My internet is running so slooooooow tonight. In fact, I could not even get the comic pages to load properly. So because of these technical problems, the post is going to be very short.
The first cartoon is funny, but I think the color is a bit off. Cagle Post – Political Cartoons & Commentary – » Boehner Ball
He needs to be orange…
If that IQ cartoon is too small, click the link up top to see the larger image.
What is on the GOP Christmas list?
For those of us who love hockey, this next cartoon is perfect. Cagle Post – Political Cartoons & Commentary – » Wonderful Life
This next one is for Dakinikat: Cagle Post – Political Cartoons & Commentary – » Illegal Department
And the last cartoon for you…Cagle Post – Political Cartoons & Commentary – » Egypt President Morsi
Alright, now for something real funny, ‘Feel My Pudgy Hands Now!’… And Other Incredible Lines From Lindsay Lohan’s Awful Liz & Dick Lifetime Movie
Did you miss Sunday night’s premiere of Lifetime’s maudlin movie Liz & Dick? The Elizabeth Taylor biopic starring Lindsay Lohan created something of a Twitter frenzy with its general horribleness… and unintentional comedy.
Most reviews of the movie boiled down to one concrete point: “Liz & Dick is the best comedy of the year!” And that’s because the acting and the dialogue were, shall we say… so awful it’s good.
A la Tommy Wiseau‘s much-loved stinkerThe Room, this Lohan debacle contained an endless stream of terrifically terrible one-liners.
Luckily, for comedy’s sake, Vultureput together a two-minute compilation of the biggest doozies of the night.
I missed the show, but from the video it looks like it was a laugh riot. Go to that link and watch it…but don’t do it while you are eating or drinking.
This is an open thread, have a wonderful evening!
Well, the brain of Fox Propaganda network is all on wars these days. First, there’s a “war on white men” and of course, women–those emasculating bitchy feminists–are in charge of it all. The Colbert Report has a nice send up of this side splitter.
Women are far more interested in getting married than men, according to a new study by the Pew Research Center .
But who’s fault is the discrepancy? Last night, Stephen Colbert teamed up with his buddy at Fox News, Suzanne Venker, to explain why the sisters are doing it to themselves.
With biting irony, Colbert praises Venker’s argument, which claims that since the sexual revolution “men haven’t changed much …. but women have changed dramatically. In a nutshell, women are angry. They’re also defensive.”
Plus, as Colbert can testify firsthand, men want to work out of the house, pushing paper for the Man while crammed into a tiny cubicle.
“What man wants the woman to provide the money while the man stays home to do what? Witness his child take the first steps? I’ve witnessed people walk before, and frankly babies aren’t that good at it,” said Colbert.
And yes, it’s time for Bill O’Reilly to reignite the War on Xmas. If only it were true! It would be great to go to the store without having your senses assaulted by songs, sales, and crap related to national Crass Consumerism Season, wouldn’t it? Yes, atheists are stopping xmas celebrations all over the country!! It’s a huge atheist conspiracy!!! Plus, O’Reilly doesn’t understand the first amendment issues surrounding it at all since christianity is just a philosophy! Tear down those philosophical nativity scenes in front of all those churches, gawddammit!
Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly was more than happy to bloviate about the topic on Wednesday’s “The O’Reilly Factor,” getting into a near shouting match with David Silverman, president of American Atheists.At first, things started out cordial between the two as they discussed “this year’s Christmas controversy situation.”
“You’re an atheist, a nonbeliever, and I respect that, that’s fine. I don’t look down on you,” O’Reilly told Silverman. But later, after Silverman attempted to define what O’Reilly cared about, the caustic commentator characterized Silverman’s point of view as “insane” before flat out calling him a “fascist.”
Interestingly enough, during the course of the interview, O’Reilly also said, “It is a fact that Christianity is not a religion. It is a philosophy.”
So there you have it. Bill O’Reilly calls the leader of an atheist organization a “fascist” over “philosophical”—but not religious—differences.
Yes, it’s an atheist, fascist, philosophical kinda conspiratorial war thing!
So, just when you think the crazy can’t get any crazier … you find out that it’s DEMON sex that makes one gay! Wow! Isn’t scientific inquiry wonderful? Out, out damn demons! Quit making all people gay with your bad, bad demon sex!
The reigning scientific consensus on sexual orientation is that it’s an inherited, biological trait, but that’s just because scientists don’t know how to party. A far sexier explanation has been offered up by Christian magazine Charisma, which conducted its own investigation into the origins of homosexuality to reveal the real culprit: sex with demons.
“Can demons engage in sexual behaviors with humans?” the magazine asks. Why yes, they can! At least according to the article’s primary source, a former stripper-turned-ministry leader named Contessa Adams. Adams shares her decades-long struggle with demon sex, sparing no horrible, sexy detail …
Hey, just tell your parents a Demon made you do it!!!
So, more irrelevant Republicans are making pronouncements about fiscal policy. Newt Gingrich thinks the Congressional Republicans should not negotiate with the President since Republicans are the majority. Is it just me or are Republicans just really bad at math? Seventeen Republican Congressmen out the door in 2 years and we say hello to Speaker Pelosi again. All it takes is 25 House Republicans right now to wake up and care about the country.
“One of the things I would say to House Republicans is to get a grip,” Gingrich said in a speech at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif.
“They are the majority. They’re not the minority,” he said, enunciating the words as if explaining the concept to someone who did not understand it. “They don’t need to cave in to Obama; they don’t need to form a ‘Surrender Caucus.’”
“So my number one bit of advice to the congressional Republicans is simple: Back out of of all of this negotiating with Obama. The president is overwhelmingly dominant in the news media. You start setting up the definition of success finding an agreement with Obama, you just gave Obama the ability to say to you, ‘Not good enough,’” Gingrich said.
The onetime presidential hopeful ridiculed the idea of the fiscal cliff, saying it was a manufactured crisis.
Rushie Limbaugh–who makes tons of money off of stupid–tells the Republicans to just walk away too. I’m pretty sure that he doesn’t know that the deal cut by republicans that caused the fiscal cliff deadline hurts them worse than it hurts the dems. Tax rates go back up to the Clinton years and we get a big ol’ fat cut in military spending. Hey, I’m just fine with that. The question is why are Mr. Limpballs and the Newt? Perhaps its because they’re part of the right wing outrage entertainment business and they’re probably out shorting US equities as I write this.
Would somebody explain to me how the people who elected Obama, who support Obama, who love Obama in the media, in the universities, who write the history, are going to write anything critical of the guy no matter what happens? Even if there is a second term recession, you’re gonna need a telescope to find it reported, just like you need a telescope to find Oprah’s network now. It won’t be reported as a recession. So what is the leverage that the Republicans have? To my mind the only leverage they’ve got is to walk away from this, to stop playing, to stop talking, to stop playing this game.
The Republicans lost. Now, they still control the House of Representatives but Boehner still runs the show there. But the only leverage that I can see that they’ve got is to back out of this and make sure that whatever happens, they don’t have any fingerprints on it. I know what you’re saying, and you’d be right. You’re saying, “But, Rush, but, Rush, no matter what the Republicans do, they’re gonna get blamed for it.” Yes, totally true. No matter what happens. If there is a reported recession, in fact, it will be said to be the Republicans in the House fault. No matter what happens, that’s going to be said, and no matter what happens, as we sit here now, the American people, the majority of whom, are gonna believe that.
So back out of this and make sure you don’t have any fingerprints on this at all. “But, Rush, but, Rush, aren’t your fingerprints going to be on it if you back out? Couldn’t the case be made that Republicans backing out and letting Obama have his way is, in effect, allowing this transformation to happen, can’t you say there would be fingerprints there?” Yes. But I’m telling you there’s another aspect to this that Obama is attempting to pull off here, and if the Republicans aren’t careful, it’s going to happen. Not only is he not worried about a recession in the second term, ’cause even if there is one, it will not be reported as such.
Part of Obama’s transformation of America is wiping out the Republican Party. And anyone who fails to understand that that is also part of Obama’s agenda at this moment, anybody who fails to understand that is really not paying attention and is too caught up in traditional conventional wisdom about, “Well, it was just another election. Well, yes, Obama won. Yes, we marshaled our forces, but we need to stand for pro-growth policies and all that rotgut.” Yes, we do. There’s no way we’re ever gonna be tied to pro-growth policies if our fingerprints are on this coming disaster.
For the life of me, I cannot in any way shape or form figure out what is wrong with these people. I just see vendettas and personal power grabs. As Harry Reid said yesterday: “I don’t understand John Boehner’s brain”. I swear they all must be sots like Boehner.Even the normally reasonable Republicans seem bonkers these days. I think they’ve all just gone nuts on ODs. They’re not even making sense. Susan Collins has decided that a Secretary of State or UN Ambassador should never go on a Sunday Show because it’s too “political”. John McCain and Lady Lindsey Graham think that giving misinformation on Sunday Shows–like say, Saddam Hussein definitely has massive amounts of WMDS and deserves to have his country invaded because of them--should be removed from consideration for any office.
Here’s a good example of crazy from Senator Jim Inhofe: Benghazi Will ‘Go Down As The Biggest Coverup In History’. Obviously, he’s forgotten the Iran-Contra affair which would have been a whopper had our president not been so damned senile during his last term. Then, there’s Watergate and oh, the crap they made Colin Powell tell the UN about Iraq. But, oh, no …Benghazi is a cover up and the worst.
Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) on Wednesday made a strong claim about the Obama administration’s handling of the Sept. 11 anniversary terrorist attack on an American compound in Benghazi, Libya, declaring that it was a conspiracy of historic proportions.
“This is gonna go down as the biggest coverup in history,” Inhofe predicted during an appearance on Fox News. “The administration deliberately covered this up and misrepresented what happened in Benghazi.”
He later stood by his claim when pressed by Fox News’ Bill Hemmer.
Does having black people in office make these guys lose their marbles? How do they all seem to have such a tenuous grasp on reality? Is it they see that the 1950s or the 1850s are finally gone? WTF is it with these folks? They LOST. THEY LOST. They lost by A LOT!!!
What can you do with pretzel logic like this? Republican Rep. Chris Gibson says he won’t be bound by anti-tax activist Grover Norquist’s pledge not to support any tax increases because his congressional district number changed. Yup, the pledge only was good for one set of geography and not the new one.
I wish that I was a world famous fantasy or SF author so that you could think this was all satire, or Huxley-like, or some kind of dysfunctional dystopia novel, but it ain’t and I’m not. This is the ONE of TWO political parties that call the policy shots in our country. Nope, Republican office holders have turned our country into the Great Zombie Wasteland. They are all completely delusional.
And, now for yet another result of Fox convincing all the white men of Angry White Menistan to think the country is against them … one more old angry white man shoots a young black teenager.This time its about loud music coming from a car in a convenience store parking lot. He’s going all in for the Stand Your Ground defense. Yes, this is the dysfunctional dystopian American created by the likes of the Southern Strategy, the repeated meme that some foreigner stole the presidency, and there are wars on Xmas, Guns, and White Men. Don’t like some one’s music? Shoot now and say you saw a gun later. Don’t ever think we solved a lot of this with the the Civil War and the Civil Rights movement. We’re taking their freedom to stomp us all under their boots. Seventeen year old Jordan Davis is dead because some drunk white dude felt put out by a car stereo in a parking lot.
In what could become another test of Florida’s broad self-defense law, a software developer charged with killing a Jacksonville teenager said he reached for his gun and fired eight rounds only after he was threatened with a shotgun.The suspect, Michael Dunn, 45, of Satellite Beach, was arrested Wednesday on charges of second-degree murder and attempted murder.
Dunn told his lawyer that the victim, Jordan Davis, 17, who was parked at a convenience store in Jacksonville on Friday night with three other teenagers, pointed a shotgun at him through a partly rolled-down window, threatened to kill him and began to open the door. The shooting occurred after a dispute over loud music coming from the teenagers’ sport utility vehicle.
Davis, a junior at a Jacksonville high school who had moved from Georgia two years ago to live with his father, died after being shot twice.
The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office said officers had not found a shotgun in the car.
Dunn and his fiancee, Rhonda Rouer, fled the convenience store in his Volkswagen Jetta after the teenagers left because he was afraid they would return, his lawyer, Robin Lemonidis, said. He did not call the authorities; the police arrested him the next day, finding him because a witness noted his license plate number.
This is what we get when folks like Limpballs, Jim Imhofe, Susan Collins, Bill O’Reilly, the Lady Lindsey, McGrumpy and the lot of those so-called conservatives lie their customers into angry paranoia.
Susan Rice. Eric Holder. Van Jones. Lisa P. Jackson. Valerie Jarrett. Shirley Sherrod.
What do these folks have in common?
They are all black public servants appointed by Obama and witch hunted by Republicans on completely bogus story lines. Sixty Six percent of that list are also women.
How much crazy do we have to put up with? You’d have think the last election would’ve told Republicans something loud and clear but it obviously didn’t. Some people never learn.
Meanwhile, Fox says there is no war on women and Mississippi is one JUDGE away from ensuring women can’t access their constitutional right to abortion. Virginia Republicans are likely to nominate Ken Cuccinelli, Va. Attorney General for Governor next year.
IN THREE YEARS as Virginia’s attorney general, Ken Cuccinelli II (R) has demeaned his office by using it as a blatantly partisan bully pulpit to attack Obamacare, illegal immigrants, homosexuals and climate-change scientists. Now he has managed to bully Virginia’s Board of Health into a stance — unprecedented in state history — that could force most of the commonwealth’s 20 or so abortion clinics to close.
The fight is not over yet. Not by a long shot. Some constitutional rights are more equal than other. Two legs good. Three white legs better. What is on your reading and blogging list?
I am really out of it today. Anyway, I just have a few links for you tonight, regarding crime…courts and books.
This first link was posted in the comments and I think it should get front page attention, since we have been covering this case from the very beginning.
We cover a lot of depressing stuff on this site: rape, anti-abortion laws, more rape, etc. But this article on a defense attorney who likened an 11-year-old survivor of gang rape to a conniving spider who lured her rapists into a web might actually be the most soul-suckingly disheartening story I’ve ever read.
20-year-old Jared Len Cruse is accused of gang-raping an 11-year-old Cleveland, Texas girl along with twenty of his male friends over the course of four months; you may remember our coverage of the story last year. But because she said “yes” when defense attorney Steve Taylor asked if she had been a “willing participant” and acknowledged that she hadn’t made an “outcry” until questioned after sex tapes of the assault started circulating around Cleveland High School, Taylor argued that she was “the reason” that twenty teenagers and adult men raped a child on videotape.
“Like the spider and the fly. Wasn’t she saying, ‘Come into my parlor, said the spider to the fly?’” Taylor asked.
I actually feel nauseous.
I feel sick too, but it actually gets worse.
Former Cleveland Police Department Sgt. Chad Langdon, the lead investigator on the case and a much-much-MUCH-needed voice of reason, testified that an 11-year-old cannot legally give consent for a sexual encounter, because she is eleven years old.
Prosecutor Joe Warren asked Langdon what he would say if it had been his own sons involved in the case. “Oh, then it would have totes been the little girl’s fault,” he said. Just kidding! “I would not whitewash it or sweep it under the rug,” he responded.
Oh, by the way? Cruse is already serving an eight-year sentence on convictions for aggravated robbery and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. But that’s irrelevant, right? Given that the child he raped is a total devious slut.
According to the Houston Chronicle, he’s the second of the 20 male defendants who are being tried for sexually assaulting the girl; the first, Eric McGowen, was convicted and received a sentence of 99 years in prison, so at least that’s promising. Seven juveniles have received probation and six adults got 15 years in the slammer after pleading guilty in exchange for plea deals. Is there anyone in the area who wasn’t involved in assaulting this girl, I mean, anyone who wasn’t lured in to her whorish web?
Let me say this again, for all the assholes out there who have been blaming the victim since the very first reporting of this disgusting crime…THE VICTIM HERE IS ELEVEN YEARS OLD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Oh yeah, the victim is a girl…which probably factors into the shit we have been seeing with this case.
In connection with the subject of rape, finally someone is doing something about the f’d up laws, that say a rapist has rights to custody/visitation of the child they “fathered.”
A Democratic legislator in Arkansas wants to strip convicted rapists of their rights to children conceived during the rape.
State Rep. John Charles Edwards (D-Little Rock) has introduced legislation that would take away the parental rights of convicted rapists who father a child during the rape. He said the bill, which was inspired by a Georgetown Law Journal article , would prohibit men convicted of rape from seeking custody of or visitation rights with the child conceived. Edwards said this would allow the victim to sever a potential lifelong relationship with her rapist.
“We had no protection for a woman who had conceived a child through rape,” Edwards told HuffPost.
Read the rest at the link.
The ACLU had a post up on their blog that also touches on the subject of crime…this time the suspects are immigrants.
Banjoville has a cop that waits as the Spanish Mass is held at the Catholic Church, then he proceeds to pull over any “brown” skinned drivers…for reasons like busted tail light, or no signal used when turning right out of the church parking lot.
When I read this quick review below, I immediately thought of Boston Boomer, this looks right up her alley. Quick Reads: “The Injustice System” by Clive Stafford Smith
By Clive Stafford Smith
Accused of a sensational double murder in 1986 Miami, Trinidadian millionaire Kris Maharaj seemed destined for death row, and ended up there thanks to a conviction-hungry prosecutor and a hapless defense attorney (now a circuit court judge). This memoir, which reads like a true-crime thriller, describes how defense lawyer Clive Stafford Smith got his client off death row by uncovering brazen misconduct, both judicial (one judge actually solicited a bribe from the defendant) and prosecutorial (withholding evidence). It also turned out that the murder victims, presented in court as upright businessmen, had been laundering cash for a drug cartel, and skimming off the top. Smith’s account leaves us utterly convinced of his client’s innocence and delivers a powerful indictment of the system we rely on for justice.
And since we are on the topic of books. Here is the yearly list for New York Times Book Review’s 100 Notable Books of 2012 – NYTimes.com
The year’s notable fiction, poetry and nonfiction, selected by the editors of The New York Times Book Review.
Take a look at the list…see if anything interest you.
This is an open thread.
One of the things that drives me crazy as an economist and a citizen looking at this so-called “fiscal cliff” is that our fiscal strife has been created by the people least likely to suffer from its resolution. Congress gave the Bush administration authority to start a series of unfunded, reckless wars that have lasted well over a decade. Congress passed the Bush administration’s reckless tax cuts and generous loopholes that have benefited the few at the cost of the many. The Bush administration’s and Congress’ lack of oversight and deregulation of the financial services’ industry created a low-risk, gambling casino with the national investment and savings accounts and the debt markets. This led to a huge recession. These are the roots of our fiscal problems. But, the discussions around cleaning up messes in the District mostly surround Social Security which has nothing to do with the national debt and deficit and items that have become more necessary to average Americans since Congress and the Bush Administration broke the country with its bad policies.
Here’s some of the latest examples. Closing loopholes and unnecessary deductions for certain constituents is a good idea. However, which of these things are on the chopping block? Inkling its way up the priority list is the major middle and working class deduction and source of household wealth: the mortgage interest deduction. I have no problem with eliminating second mortgages, mortgages on boats, and mortgages on second properties. These benefit very few people and really serve little policy purpose. Capping the deduction–with an annual COLA adjustment to the median price and below-based mortgages is also fine. However, what are we likely to see?
As the Obama administration and lawmakers on Capitol Hill scramble to defuse automatic spending cuts and tax increases set to take effect Jan. 1, a herd of sacred cows — from Social Security and Medicare to deductions for charitable giving and mortgage interest — are in danger of losing their untouchable status.
Members of both parties have largely steered clear of detailed proposals so far. But plans put forth in the past year by President Obama and Mitt Romney to place limits on annual total tax deductions are likely to crimp the mortgage-interest deduction for certain taxpayers. Top congressional Republicans also have expressed openness to limiting total tax deductions as part of an overall budget deal. In addition, the presidentially appointed Simpson-Bowles fiscal commission suggested scaling back the mortgage-interest deduction as part of its own set of tax-related proposals.
Current law allows homeowners to deduct the interest paid on mortgage balances up to $1 million, including on second homes, as well as on $100,000 worth of home-equity loans. The deduction overwhelmingly benefits wealthier families, partly because they tend to have larger mortgages and pay more interest, and partly because most low- and middle-income Americans do not itemize deductions on their tax returns. It also tends to favor homeowners on the East and West Coasts, as well as those in large cities such as Chicago, where average home prices are higher.
Edward Kleinbard, a tax expert and law professor at the University of Southern California, said the mortgage-interest deduction represents the kind of government “extravagance” that the country no longer can justify, given its fiscal troubles.
“We simply cannot afford wasteful government subsidy programs anymore, and this is one of the most important examples of that,” Kleinbard said. “It’s very much a subsidy to those Americans who need it least.”
Mitch McConnell continues to service Grover Norquist and the Club for Growth. He’s back on his high horse for no tax increases for the wealthy. Ending tax cuts for the wealthy endlessly shown to have no ill-impact on the economy. There is also no real benefit to extending them.
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) slammed the door Thursday morning on Democratic demands to raise tax rates on families earning more than $250,000 per year.
“We’re insisting on keeping tax rates where they are, first and foremost, to protect jobs and because we don’t think government needs the money in the first place,” McConnell said on the Senate floor.
“The problem, as I’ve said, is that Washington spends too much. But if more revenue is the price that Democrats want to exact, then we should at least agree to do it in a way that doesn’t cost jobs and disincentivize rates, as we all know raising rates would do,” he said.
McConnell’s comments came a day after Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) shot down a proposal by a senior GOP lawmaker, Oklahoma Rep. Tom Cole, to agree to extend tax rates only for families earning below $250,000 and resume the battle against higher tax rates on the wealthy next year.
Boehner said President Obama and Democrats should focus on finding ways to cut spending and reform entitlement programs.
The fate of the Bush-era tax rates — which will expire for all income levels in January — has dominated the debate over the slew of tax increases and spending cuts that are set to begin next year.
McConnell scolded the president Thursday for sticking fast to his campaign pledge to seek higher taxes on the rich, and made clear that raising tax rates on anyone is unacceptable.
The debate over Medicare is likely to be equally absurd. Medicare needs some reworking. Most of its problems comes from the pharmacy benefit which currently allows Big Pharma to price gouge participants and the taxpayers. But, you wouldn’t know that from the conversation. Republicans are playing games with Amercan’s health. They appear to be clinging to the Ryan’s voucher plan which would be disastrous for the majority of retired seniors.
The austerity crisis talks have hit a peculiar impasse. The problem isn’t, as most analysts expected, taxes, where Republicans seem increasingly resigned to new revenue. It’s Medicare. And the particular Medicare problem isn’t that Democrats are refusing the GOP’s proposed Medicare cuts. It’s that Republicans are refusing to name their Medicare cuts.
Politico quotes a “top Democratic official” who paints the picture simply: “Rob Nabors [the White House negotiator], has been saying: ‘This is what we want on revenues on the down payment. What’s your guys’ ask on the entitlement side?’ And they keep looking back at us and saying: ‘We want you to come up with that and pitch us.’ That’s not going to happen.”
That’s partly politics. If nothing else, Republicans are respectful of Medicare’s political potency. Recall that a core Republican message in both the 2010 and 2012 elections was that Democrats, through Obamacare, were cutting Medicare too much. Republicans, already concerned about their brand, don’t want to rebrand themselves as the party of Medicare cuts.
But it’s partly policy, too. The fact is that short of converting the program to a premium support system — a non-starter after they lost the 2012 election — Republicans simply don’t know what they want to do on Medicare.
Scour the various outlets for Democratic policy ideas and you’ll find plenty of proposed Medicare cuts. President Obama’s 2013 budget, for instance, includes hundreds of billions in Medicare cuts (see pages 33-37), and caps the program’s long-term growth at GDP+0.5 percent. More recently, the Center for American Progress released a 46-page proposal for cutting Medicare by almost $400 billion.
Republicans, meanwhile, have focused their energy on a long-term effort to convert Medicare to a premium-support model. Paul Ryan’s 2013 budget kept the Affordable Care Act’s Medicare cuts for the next 10 years and proposed to convert the program to a premium-support model in the future. Mitt Romney’s platform proposed reversing Obamacare’s Medicare cuts and offered a vague framework for converting the program to a premium-support model in the future.
If you dig deep into the Republican think tank world, you can find a few proposals that focus on the near-term.
The current fiscal ‘cliff’ framework appears to place a lot of burden on those least able to take it as well as those least responsible for creating the problems.
Cut through the fog, and here’s what to expect: Taxes will go up just shy of $1.2 trillion — the middle ground of what President Barack Obama wants and what Republicans say they could stomach. Entitlement programs, mainly Medicare, will be cut by no less than $400 billion — and perhaps a lot more, to get Republicans to swallow those tax hikes. There will be at least $1.2 trillion in spending cuts and “war savings.” And any final deal will come not by a group effort but in a private deal between two men: Obama and House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio). The two men had a 30-minute phone conversation Wednesday night — but the private lines of communications remain very much open.
No doubt, there will be lots of huffing and puffing before any deal can be had. And, no doubt, Obama and Congress could easily botch any or all three of the white-knuckle moments soon to hit this town: the automatic spending cuts and expiration of the Bush tax cuts, both of which kick in at the end of this year, and the federal debt limit that hits early next.
Go to the Politico story for a concept of what’s at stake and at issue.
Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said Thursday there had been “no substantive progress” in fiscal-cliff negotiations in the two weeks since congressional leaders met with President Obama.
Boehner, addressing reporters after a meeting with Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner in the Capitol, called on the White House to “get serious” about the talks and warned of a “real danger” that Jan. 1 would come without a deal if President Obama did not offer up specific spending cuts he would be willing to accept.
“Despite claims that the president supports a balanced approach, the Democrats have yet to get serious about real spending cuts,” Boehner said. “Secondly, no substantive progress has been made in the talks between the White House and the House in the last two weeks.
“Listen, this is not a game,” he added. “Jobs are on the line. The American economy is on the line, and this is a moment for adult leadership.”
The Speaker criticized the president for holding “campaign-style rallies” instead of engaging in serious talks.
The CIA keeps hoping that their cold war mind control programs (of which there were many back in the 1950s and 1960s), usually referred to by the umbrella term Project MKultra, will disappear down the memory hole; but occasionally it still rears its ugly head.
Yesterday was one of those occasions. The New York Times published an article by Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist James Risen about a new lawsuit by Eric and Nils Olson that accuses the CIA of covering up the real causes of their father Frank Olson’s death.
First, a little background. Frank Olson was a scientist who worked at Ft. Dietrich in Maryland on top-secret research related to Project MKultra. From Wikipedia:
Frank Olson was a senior U.S. microbiologist at Fort Detrick in Frederick, Maryland. He was recruited from the University of Wisconsin, where his departmental advisor was Ira Baldwin, the civilian scientist who, along with industrial partners like George W. Merck and the U.S. military, established the U.S. bioweapons program in 1943, a time when interest in applying modern technology to warfare was at an all-time high.
His specific research work at Fort Detrick’s Special Operations Division has never been revealed, but he was clearly involved in biological weapons research. He had been assigned as a contact with the CIA’s Technical Services Staff, run by Dr. Sidney Gottlieb and his deputy Robert Lashbruck regarding experiments with bioweapons, toxins, and mind control drugs. This was the MKNAOMI – MKULTRA program, previously known as Project Artichoke and earlier, Project Bluebird, and justified based on claimed Soviet efforts to create a “Manchurian Candidate.” In 1953, as Deputy Acting Head of Special Operations for the CIA, Olson associated with Dr. William Sargant, investigating the use of psychoactive drugs at Britain’s Biological Warfare Centre at Porton Down. Hence, he was privy to the innermost secrets of the CIA interrogation and biowarfare programs.
In 1953, Olson was dosed with LSD without his knowledge at a retreat with his coworkers. Not surprisingly, he freaked out and became “paranoid.” A week later, he tried to resign his position, but his superiors sent him to New York City to see a psychiatrist involved with the CIA’s research, Harold Abramson. That night Olson supposedly committed suicide by jumping out of his 10th floor hotel room. Robert Lashbrook was in the room at the time, but claimed to have no idea how it happened.
Olson’s family had no idea what he had been working on or the details of his “accident.” All this came out after Congress began investigating the CIA’s insane mind control programs in the 1970s.
Eric and Nils Olson…said they plan to file a lawsuit in United States District Court here on Wednesday accusing the C.I.A. of covering up the truth about Mr. Olson’s death in 1953, one of the most infamous cases in the agency’s history.
During the intelligence reforms in the 1970s, the government gave the Olson family a financial settlement after the C.I.A. was forced to acknowledge that Mr. Olson had been given the hallucinogenic drug nine days before his death. President Gerald R. Ford met with the Olson family at the White House and apologized.
At the time, the government said Mr. Olson had killed himself by jumping out of a hotel window in Manhattan. But the Olsons came to believe that he had been murdered to keep him from talking about disturbing C.I.A. operations that he had uncovered.
Mr. Olson’s sons said that their past efforts to persuade the agency to open its files and provide them with more information had failed, and that a court challenge is the only way to find out the truth.
“The evidence points to a murder, and not a drug-induced suicide,” said Eric Olson, Frank Olson’s older son, who has devoted much of his life to investigating his father’s death. When the government told his family that his father had committed suicide, “one set of lies was replaced with another set of lies,” he said.
The Olson brothers claim that
In 1953, Mr. Olson traveled to Europe and visited biological and chemical weapons research facilities. The Olson family lawsuit alleges that during that trip, Mr. Olson witnessed extreme interrogations, some resulting in deaths, in which the C.I.A. experimented with biological agents that he had helped develop. Intelligence officials became suspicious of him when he seemed to have misgivings about what he had seen, the lawsuit contends. Eric Olson said Frank Olson also appeared to have deep misgivings about the use of biological weapons that was alleged in the Korean War.
According to Risen, it was after Olson expressed his “misgivings” that he was dosed with LSD. The lawsuit was filed yesterday afternoon.
Of course the CIA has never stopped developing methods of torture and mind control, as we learned during the Bush administration when the Abu Ghraib story broke and we began learning about the torture methods that were used on suspected terrorists and the CIA black sites in torture-friendly countries around the world.
I doubt if anything will come of this lawsuit, but I’m happy that Olson’s story and MKultra are back in the news. Perhaps a few people will read about it and wake up to the terrible things our government has been doing for decades and continues to do today.
In other news, the UK Guardian in cooperation with BBC Panorama and the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) are in the process of publishing their research on Great Britain’s network of offshore tax havens. From the Guardian: Offshore secrets revealed: the shadowy side of a booming industry.
The existence of an extraordinary global network of sham company directors, most of them British, can be revealed.
The UK government claims such abuses were stamped out long ago, but a worldwide joint investigation by the Guardian, the BBC’s Panorama and the Washington-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) has uncovered a booming offshore industry that leaves the way open for both tax avoidance and the concealment of assets.
More than 21,500 companies have been identified using this group of 28 so-called nominee directors. The nominees play a key role in keeping secret hundreds of thousands of commercial transactions. They do so by selling their names for use on official company documents, using addresses in obscure locations all over the world.
This is not illegal under UK law, and sometimes nominee directors have a legitimate role. But our evidence suggests this particular group of directors only pretend to control the companies they put their names to.
Another article reveals the real identities behind Britain’s secret property deals. Another article reveals how BBC Panorama filmed undercover in offshore tax havens.
Someone should tell Mitt Romney to turn off Fox News and read the Guardian for the next few days.
Speaking of Mitt Romney, he’ll be having lunch with President Obama at the White House today. The Boston Globe reports:
At some point late on Thursday morning, Mitt Romney will be driven to the steps of the White House. He will get out of the car, be escorted to a room adjacent to the Oval Office, and sit down for lunch.
But rather than arriving as an occupant, the one-time presidential hopeful will be a guest in someone else’s house.
In a meeting that has been weeks in the making, Romney will join President Obama for private lunch at the White House just 23 days after he lost the election. It will be the first time they have met since the election, and it follows several weeks in which Romney has started to contemplate life outside of politics.
I wonder if they’ll discuss the “gifts” that Romney claims Obama gave to the “47 percent” in order to get elected? I’m still waiting for mine.
At the Atlantic, Jen Doll writes about What Obama and Romney’s Lunch Might Look Like — or Should.
Mitt Romney and Barack Obama are having lunch! Mitt Romney and Barack Obama are having lunch! This is exciting to Americans because we just spent several mortifying days with our several mortifying relatives eating hopefully decent turkey, and now Romney is in our last-week’s shoes, sort of, as he prepares to sit across a table in a strange kind of tradition, breaking bread with a man he not so long ago vowed to defeat. So, yes, that’s slightly uncomfortable, perhaps. Kind of like the opening montage on Project Runway when those people who got kicked off in the first few episodes are all in your face saying how they’re number one and they’re going to win this whole thing, just watch.
This lunch will happen Thursday. Press is not allowed, which seems advisable. The lunch will be held at the White House (Obama’s home turf advantage) Private Dining Room (“next to the Oval Office in the West Wing”), and is the fulfillment of a promise Obama made on election night, as we reminded you earlier, that the president would meet with his former opponent. This is their first meetup since the election, or as the White House statement puts it, “It will be the first opportunity they have had to visit since the election.” Visit, of course, is the euphemism your grandmother uses.
This lunch, between a couple of men who didn’t seem terribly keen on each other just a few weeks ago, brings up a host of modern-day etiquette questions. Here, we do our best to answer them.
Read the rest at the link. It’s very funny.
The Tom Ricks vs. Fox News story continued into a third day. Ricks was invited to appear on MSNBC and said no. According to the WaPo’s Melissa Henneberger, Ricks’ Fox News putdown was
no mere partisan smackdown; it was more subversive than that, and even more bracing. Because as it turns out, Ricks doesn’t want to play on either the red or the blue team, and has no loftier view of Obama-cheering MSNBC than of Obama-jeering Fox.
When I talked to him Tuesday, he said yeah, actually, he had had some other TV invites, but we shouldn’t waste too much time clicking around looking for his next appearance: “MSNBC invited me, but I said, ‘You’re just like Fox, but not as good at it.’ They wrote back and said, ‘Thank you for your candor.’”
Henneberger asked Ricks if he had planned his Fox News smackdown ahead of time.
“It just kind of tumbled out,” he said, after “this fathead comes on and says the pressure is increasing on the White House; no, they’re backing off! Now their spokesman says I apologized; they’re just making stuff up.”
He told the young woman who pre-interviewed him that he felt the whole issue had been exploited for political reasons, “but my impression was she’s new to the game and thought that because I’m pro-military — and I do consider myself pro-military,” he’d naturally agree with the Foxified narrative.
After three years in the archives researching “The Generals,” Ricks said, “I’m blinking my eyes,” in the TV lights, and taken aback at how much a little truth-telling can set a guy apart around here.
Ricks was even more harsh in an interview with HuffPo yesterday.
Ricks hammered the point home when speaking with HuffPost Live’s Ahmed Shihab-Eldin. In response to Clemente’s statement indicating that Ricks “apologized” after the interview, “ignored the anchor’s question,” and doesn’t have “the strength of character to [apologize] publicly,” Ricks had one thing to say: “that’s horseshit.”
He recounted his hallway conversations once again, which included complimenting Fox News host Bret Baier on his weight loss and telling a Fox News staffer he was tired. “It was not an apology for what was said at all,” he added.
When asked about his decision to turn down an invitation to appear on MSNBC, Ricks said, “Fox really seems to sell outrage as its product, and MSNBC doesn’t as much. But they both seem to me to be running political campaigns almost more than they are running news networks. So I don’t particularly like either. That said, I’m not a fan of TV news generally. I think it’s a lousy place to get your information from.”
That’s all I have for you today. Now it’s your turn. What are you reading and blogging about?
Insomnia is a bitch…so feeling up for something to spark some wild dreams? Something wonderful to put you to sleep? Or, should I say something to put me to sleep…check this out.
Stunning Vortex on Saturn Swirls in NASA Photos This is one big ass storm.
This spectacular photo of a polar storm on Saturn was taken by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft on Nov. 27, 2012. It is a raw and unprocessed image.
Can you believe this photo was shot and sent via Cassini to Earth on the same day!
Amazing new photos from NASA’s Cassini probe orbiting Saturn reveal a dizzying glimpse into a monster storm raging on the ringed planet’s north pole.
Cassini took the spectacular Saturn storm photos yesterday (Nov. 27) and relayed it back to Earth the same day, mission scientists said in a statement. The pictures reveal a swirling storm reminiscent of the recent Hurricane Sandy that recently plagued our own planet.
The tempest is located in a strange hexagonal cloud vortex at Saturn’s north pole that was first discovered by the Voyager spacecraft in the early 1980s, and sighted more closely by Cassini since then. The strange six-sided feature, which is nearly 15,000 miles (25,000 kilometers) across, is thought to be formed by the path of a jet stream flowing through the planet’s atmosphere.
Science is a beautiful thing.
Saturn’s mysterious northern vortex, a vast hexagon-shaped storm, dominates this photo taken Nov. 27, 2012, by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft. This image is a raw and unprocessed view.
Cassini, the first spacecraft to orbit Saturn, was launched in 1997 and arrived at the gas giant in July 2004. The probe has logged more than 3.8 billion miles (6.1 billion kilometers), and made some major discoveries about the Saturn system, including revealing the presence of hydrocarbon lakes on the moon Titan and spewing water geysers on the moon Enceladus.
“Eight and a half years into our history-making expedition around the ringed planet and we are still astounded by the seemingly endless parade of new planetary phenomena,” the mission scientists wrote.
Good night…sweet dreams!