Thursday Reads: Defense Authorization Bill, Ron Wyden, the Filthy Rich, and Bird Crashes

Good Morning!!

So far I haven’t been locked up in Guantanamo or debtors’ prison. I hope the rest of you Sky Dancers still have your freedom too, such as it is.

Yesterday the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Defense Authorization bill, which includes language permitting indefinite detention by the military of “al Qaeda members” without specific charges or trials. You can read the bill here.

Our craven and cowardly President had promised to veto this bill, but today the White House reneged on that promise, and Obama is set to sign it once it passes the Senate tomorrow or Friday.

The White House backed down from its veto threat of the defense authorization bill Wednesday, saying that the bill’s updated language would not constrain the Obama administration’s counterterrorism efforts.

While the White House acknowledged it still has some concerns, press secretary Jay Carney said President Obama’s advisers wouldn’t recommend a veto, a threat that had been hanging over the Pentagon policy bill for the past month.

Obama and his crew don’t care about the fifth amendment, habeas corpus and all that jazz–just that the president is the one who decides who is an “al Qaeda member” and therefore will be whisked away to indefinite detention. Wanna bet there are suddenly going to be a lot of “al Qaeda members” in the Occupy movement? From

As revealed in the Senate deliberations last week, the Obama administration itself requested the principal authors of the provision – John McCain and Carl Levin – to include language authorizing due-process-free military custody for American citizens. The initial threat of veto was apparently nothing more than political theater on the part of the White House.

According to The Hill, the following changes satisfied the White House concerns:

The bill deleted the word “requirement” from the section on the military detention of terror suspects, which was among the most contentious parts of the bill.

The national security waiver allowing the executive branch to move terror suspects from military to civilian courts was placed in the president’s hands rather than the Defense secretary’s, a change Levin said Obama had asked for.

The conference bill was based on the Senate language, which was not as harsh as the House bill when it came to trying terror suspects in civilian courts.

The administration called the provision in the bill that establishes the authority for military detentions unnecessary because the executive branch already was given this authority following Sept. 11.

Carney’s statement said if the administration finds parts of the law “negatively impact our counterterrorism professionals and undercut our commitment to the rule of law,” it expects the bill’s authors will correct those problems.

Oh well, then no worries… Except that lots of people who care about the Constitution aren’t so happy about it. Here’s a statement from Laura Murphy of the ACLU:

“The president should more carefully consider the consequences of allowing this bill to become law,” Laura W. Murphy, director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office. “If President Obama signs this bill, it will damage both his legacy and American’s reputation for upholding the rule of law. The last time Congress passed indefinite detention legislation was during the McCarthy era and President Truman had the courage to veto that bill. We hope that the president will consider the long view of history before codifying indefinite detention without charge or trial.”

Unfortunately, Barack Obama is no Harry Truman.

Here’s a statement from Human Rights Watch:

“By signing this defense spending bill, President Obama will go down in history as the president who enshrined indefinite detention without trial in US law,” said Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch. “In the past, Obama has lauded the importance of being on the right side of history, but today he is definitely on the wrong side.”

The far-reaching detainee provisions would codify indefinite detention without trial into US law for the first time since the McCarthy era when Congress in 1950 overrode the veto of then-President Harry Truman and passed the Internal Security Act. The bill would also bar the transfer of detainees currently held at Guantanamo into the US for any reason, including for trial. In addition, it would extend restrictions, imposed last year, on the transfer of detainees from Guantanamo to home or third countries – even those cleared for release by the administration.

There are currently 171 detainees at Guantanamo, many of whom have been imprisoned for nearly 10 years. As one of his first acts in office, Obama signed an executive order for the closure of Guantanamo within one year. Instead of moving quickly to close the prison and end the use of the discredited military commissions, he supported modifications to the Military Commissions Act.

“It is a sad moment when a president who has prided himself on his knowledge of and belief in constitutional principles succumbs to the politics of the moment to sign a bill that poses so great a threat to basic constitutional rights,” Roth said.

The bill also requires the US military take custody of certain terrorism suspects even inside the United States, cases that previously have been handled by federal, state and local law enforcement authorities. During debate over the bill, several senior administration officials, including the secretary of defense, attorney general, director of national intelligence, director of the FBI, and director of the CIA, all raised objections that this provision interfered with the administration’s ability to effectively fight terrorism. In the last 10 years over 400 people have been prosecuted in US federal courts for terrorism related offenses. Meanwhile during that same period, only six cases have been prosecuted in the military commissions.

“President Obama cannot even justify this serious threat to basic rights on the basis of security,” Roth said. “The law replaces an effective system of civilian-court prosecutions with a system that has generated the kind of global outrage that would delight recruiters of terrorists.”

The bill also reauthorizes the AUMF that Bush used to get us into Iraq. Emptywheel has a lengthy post in which she wonders: Feinstein’s “Fix” on AUMF Language Actually Authorize Killing American Citizens? You probably should read the whole thing, but here’s the summation:

…by affirming all purportedly existing statutory authority, DiFi’s “fix” not only reaffirmed the AUMF covering a war Obama ended today, but also affirmed the Executive Branch’s authority to use deadly force when ostensibly trying to detain people it claimed present a “significant threat of death or serious physical injury.” It affirms language that allows “deadly force” in the name of attempted detention.

In any case, it’s one or the other (or both). Either the AUMF language became acceptable to Obama because it included American citizens in the Afghan AUMF and/or it became acceptable because it affirmed the Executive Branch’s authority to use deadly force in the guise of apprehending someone whom the Executive Branch says represents a “significant threat.”

My guess is the correct answer to this “either/or” question is “both.”

So DiFi’s fix, which had the support of many Senators trying to protect civil liberties, probably made the matter worse.

In its more general capitulation on the veto, the Administration stated that the existing bill protects the Administration’s authority to “incapacitate dangerous terrorists.” “Incapacitate dangerous terrorists,” “use of deadly force” with those who present a “significant threat of death or serious physical injury.” No matter how you describe Presidential authority to kill Americans with no due process, the status quo appears undiminished.

Finally Al Jazeera asks: Is the principle of indefinite detention without trial now an accepted and permanent part of American life? I wonder if Michelle Obama is still proud to be an American today?

There is some other news, of course. For one thing, it seems as if Rep. Ron Wyden of Oregon must have more energy I can imagine having. As of today he managed to get the decisions on rural post office closings postponed until next May; he joined with Rep. Paul Ryan (!) to propose a medicare overhaul; and he and Darrel Isa (!) have proposed an alternative to the entertainment industry bill that would effectively shut down social networking on the internet. Check out those links if you’re interested.

One of my favorite economists, Robert Reich, has an analysis of Newt’s Tax Plan, and Why His Polls Rise the More Outrageous He Becomes.

Newt’s plan increases the federal budget deficit by about $850 billion – in a single year!


Most of this explosion of debt in Newt’s plan occurs because he slashes taxes. But not just anyone’s taxes. The lion’s share of Newt’s tax cuts benefit the very, very rich.

That’s because he lowers their marginal income tax rate to 15 percent – down from the current 35 percent, which was Bush’s temporary tax cut; down from 39 percent under Bill Clinton; down from at least 70 percent in the first three decades after World War II. Newt also gets rid of taxes on unearned income – the kind of income that the super-rich thrive on – capital-gains, dividends, and interest.

Under Newt’s plan, each of the roughly 130,000 taxpayers in the top .1 percent – the richest one-tenth of one percent – reaps an average tax cut of $1.9 million per year. Add what they’d otherwise have to pay if the Bush tax cut expired on schedule, and each of them saves $2.3 million a year.

To put it another way, under Newt’s plan, the total tax bill of the top one-tenth of one percent drops from around 38 percent of their income to around 10 percent.

What about low-income households? They get an average tax cut of $63 per year.

Oh, I almost forgot: Newt also slashes corporate taxes.


Dakinikat clued me in to this post at Naked Capitalism: “Let Them Eat Pink Slips” CEO Pay Shot Up in 2010, which links to this article in the Guardian.

Chief executive pay has roared back after two years of stagnation and decline. America’s top bosses enjoyed pay hikes of between 27 and 40% last year, according to the largest survey of US CEO pay. The dramatic bounceback comes as the latest government figures show wages for the majority of Americans are failing to keep up with inflation.

America’s highest paid executive took home more than $145.2m, and as stock prices recovered across the board, the median value of bosses’ profits on stock options rose 70% in 2010, from $950,400 to $1.3m. The news comes against the backdrop of an Occupy Wall Street movement that has focused Washington’s attention on the pay packages of America’s highest paid.

The Guardian’s exclusive first look at the CEO pay survey from corporate governance group GMI Ratings will further fuel debate about America’s widening income gap. The survey, the most extensive in the US, covered 2,647 companies, and offers a comprehensive assessment of all the data now available relating to 2010 pay.

And these oligarchs couldn’t care less if we like it or not. They own the White House and the Congress and we don’t.

I’ll end with a bizarre and very sad story out of Utah:

Thousands of migratory birds were killed or injured after apparently mistaking a Wal-Mart parking lot, football fields and other snow-covered areas of southern Utah for bodies of water and plummeting to the ground in what one state wildlife expert called the worst mass bird crash she’d ever seen.

Crews went to work cleaning up the dead birds and rescuing the injured survivors after the creatures crash-landed in the St. George area Monday night.

By midday Wednesday, volunteers had helped rescue more than 3,000 birds, releasing them into a nearby pond. There’s no count on how many died, although officials estimate it’s upwards of 1,500.

“They’re just everywhere,” said Teresa Griffin, wildlife program manager for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resource’s southern region. “It’s been nonstop. All our employees are driving around picking them up, and we’ve got so many people coming to our office and dropping them off.”

Those are my recommendations for today. What are you reading and blogging about?

71 Comments on “Thursday Reads: Defense Authorization Bill, Ron Wyden, the Filthy Rich, and Bird Crashes”

  1. Pat Johnson says:

    Obama just makes it more and more difficult to defend him against the hateful GOP.

    I fail to see the difference between either party when he continues to allow the Constitution to be shred into flakes of confetti without batting an eye.

    The base that he needs to drag him over the line in 2012 is going to leave him at the altar. For those who don’t believe that Mitt or Newt stand a chance better reconsider because if more of that base considers staying home as the only choice left it won’t take much for one of them to ride into victory.

    It only takes 51% to pull out a win no matter how high or low the turnout.

  2. ralphb says:

    Wyden and Ryan’s plan is the same one Newt Gingrich proposed in the ’90s. Remember when they were talking about letting Medicare “wither on the vine” due to competition?

    He must be up for election this year. Seems he always has one of the “proposal blasts” at the end of the session before.

    • ralphb says:

      It’s also dishonest on it’s face. Here’s what they say about imposing a cap on Medicare spending.

      In the event that these efforts did not stem the rising tide of Medicare spending, there would be a cap on the program’s rate of growth. But unlike other proposals, spending that exceeds the cap would neither be addressed through bureaucratic cuts nor passed on to seniors by default as higher premiums.

      How exactly do you cap spending without impacting anyone?

    • jawbone says:

      Wyden was reelected by huge margin in 2010. Not up again until 2016.

      I’d suggest he’s not planning on running again….

  3. Allie says:

    Remember when all us Hillary supporters got clubbed over the head with her AUMF vote again and again in 2008? Good times….

    I’d love to know how many former HRC supporters will turn out for BHO next year. Can’t imagine very many.

  4. Pat Johnson says:

    Remember when the DNC pushed Obama down our throats by insisting this was a “different candidate”?

    Remember Donna Brazile declaring that they “did not need us” this time around?

    Remember how the “super delegates” rushed to the mic to declare their support for Obama before one vote had been cast in the primaries?

    Remember how the Obots labeled those of us who “resisted” these admonitions by calling us “racists” for even suggesting he was not ready to lead?

    Remember when the MSM demanded Hillary “pull out” of the competition and pave his way to victory?

    Remember the fawning and unearned accolades heaped upon Obama as “The One”, the new face of feminism, the nation’s answer to post racial conflct?

    Remember the comparisons that came out of nowhere referring to him to FDR, JFK, MLK?

    Remember the fainting and squealing from the crowds who wept at his entrance?

    I do. And I wonder just what these morons think now as he continues to sell out, back peddle, twist, contort, and cave under to the GOP demands.

    A complete disaster asking for a 2nd term to do it all over again. How doe we support that?

    • ralphb says:

      Well you have to admit he is “different”, just not in a good way. I don’t know how to support that. I didn’t in ’08 and am sick at the thought of doing it now.

      • Pat Johnson says:

        I still am unable to figure him out.

        Is he just “indifferent” or an actual creation of Wall Street?

        Whatever he is, he is not a Democrat. Bernie Sanders, and Independent, has more Democratic creds than The One.

      • quixote says:

        I’ve seen his kind before. The suck-up desperate to be one of the ingroup. All he wants is to be accepted into the Old Money commenting on the quality of the caviar at their country club. How he gets there isn’t the point. To him. Given the system as it is, which he’s never tried to change, carrying a Dem label was the simplest route.

      • ralphb says:

        It just looks like taking the easiest way out in everything.

      • Gregory says:

        Bad thing ralphb is that I did not support Obama in ’08 but am kind of backed into a corner and pretty much have to support him now. This two party system really sucks.

      • ralphb says:

        Gregory, I feel the same and am pissed about it. Living in TX, it may not matter to me so I can write in Roemer or Occupy for that matter.

      • bostonboomer says:

        I think you have him pegged, Quixote. Sadly for him, he’ll never really be accepted by the elite class. He’s just a tool.

    • foxyladi14 says:

      never forget.

    • Minkoff Minx says:

      Remember that Nobel Peace Prize awarded to him for his….wait, what was it that he did to get that Peace Prize anyway?

      I didn’t support the Obama disaster in 2008, and I can’t see myself supporting him…by voting for him in 2012.

  5. ralphb says:

    BuddyRoemer: I don’t support torture, or denying personal liberties. “@kleinmaetschke: .@BuddyRoemer What’s your stance on NDAA?”

    I like Buddy Roemer more every day. You know our system is broken when a former governor of LA and multi-term congressman can’t get on a debate stage that contains Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum. That’s just sick.

  6. Pat Johnson says:

    Obama “sealed the deal” the day he appeared at the Dem Convention and gave a rousing speech. Attractive, articulate, biracial, the Dem Machine were convinced that this man had the capabilities to crush the “inevability” of Hillary Clinton’s run for the WH. For them, the Clinton Baggage was not going to gain back the WH regardless of how horrible the Bush years had been.

    So they propped him up, invented a narrative, pushed back the skeptics, and convinced the public that this was the “hope and change candidate” needed to win. With little experience, a thin resume, and few qualifications beyond a landslide win against Alan Keyes in IL, this little known creature was carried into the WH and proved them all wrong!

    As “Bush Redux” we found ourselves burdened with a leader who turned over the reins of governing to a congress enjoying an 11% rating among the electorate and who capitulated without much effort to whatever barrier the GOP erected. “Selling out” was easier to do than taking a stand, protecting the middle and lower classes, and taking the GOP to the woodshed.

    And all for what? So that we could sit back and pat ourselves on the back for electing a biracial candidate regardless of qualification or experience? When competence was called for we chose the “celebrity route” instead and this is what we got.


    • peggysue22 says:

      I remember catching a John Kerry vid in 2008. When asked what it was about Obama that made him uniquely qualified for the White House. Without missing a beat, Kerry said:

      ‘Because he’s black.”

      I nearly fell of my damn seat. But in a perverse way Kerry was right and the editor over the Black Agenda wrote a blistering editorial a few months ago. Only a black president could have dismantled the New Deal without a major-duty domestic upheaval and most likely a lot of ugly violence in the streets. What Obama has done not simply to the Democratic Party but the entire country is nothing short of breathtaking. Minority voters still cling to Obama because presumably ‘he’s one of them.’ Only he’s not. He’s for himself. His political history before he came to DC is replete with double deals, backstabbing and getting on the gravy train, anyway, anyhow.

      All the country ended up with was a continuation of the disastrous GW years. We desperately needed a strong leader to plow through the rubble Bush and Cheney left in their wake. What we got was a classic Trojan Horse.

      Will I vote for this fraud? Not until Hell freezes over.

  7. Gregory says:

    “It is a sad moment when a president who has prided himself on his knowledge of and belief in constitutional principles succumbs to the politics of the moment to sign a bill that poses so great a threat to basic constitutional rights,” Roth said.

    Where do people get these ideas? Robert Bork was a constitutional scholar as well. Don’t know anyone who thinks like he does. Both Scalia and Roberts are constitutional scholars. I don’t think they really believe in the document or what it stands for. Fidel Castro went to college at Harvard and he turned into a communist/dictator.

    Just because someone is an “expert” on something doesn’t make them believers in that something. In the case of our legal system it just means they are more adept at manipulating it to suit their liking. And people with power and authority always want more power and more authority. It is like a positive feedback loop. Doesn’t hurt if you believe yourself to be morally superior either.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Obama isn’t an “expert” on the Constitution in any sense anyway. He taught some beginning courses at U. of Chi, basically as an adjunct. He’s never published anything in an academic journal. He’s no “professor.”

      • quixote says:

        That really bears repeating. He is not a scholar. He never researched anything up to the point of coming up with something publishable. And believe me, if you sink into some of the stuff published in peer-reviewed journals, that is not a high bar for scholarship. In any field. He never even met that. Didn’t write anything for the Harvard Law Review when he was Ye Ed. either. He just needed the piece of paper with Harvard Law School on it for his ambition to break into the elite. He isn’t and never was a scholar of any kind. He can’t even be bothered to study the policies and laws that cross his desk now, if Suskind is anything to go by.

      • northwestrain says:

        Absolute power corrupts absolutely — and when someone such as 0 with no moral core, gain that power — history is full of example — 0 is just one more bad man.

        “”Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men.”

        This arose as a quotation by John Emerich Edward Dalberg Acton, first Baron Acton (1834–1902). The historian and moralist, who was otherwise known simply as Lord Acton, expressed this opinion in a letter to Bishop Mandell Creighton in 1887:

  8. ralphb says:

    Doesn’t hurt if you believe yourself to be morally superior either.

    This is probably the key to all of them and their horrible behavior.

    • Pat Johnson says:

      This will be determined in 2012 when the candidates make their trek to the knee of Rick Warren in another televised event to prove which of them is holier than the other.

      Another exercise in sheer showmanship when Rick Warren’s blessing is sought to make us feel safer knowing which candidate has a closer relationship with the imaginary man in the sky.

      Yes, American politics is unlike no others across the globe when it comes to picking and choosing the most religious among us to lead a nation of diversity and thought.

      Will wearing magic underwear trump the one who does not? Will we begin to demand receipts for weekly offerings as to who gives more to the collection box? Does the practice of baptizing dead people suggest sanctimony? Is conversion into the Catholic faith a redeemable tribute?

      Inquiring minds need to know.

  9. Woman Voter says:

    Well, if anyone wondered, now you know why Occupy Wall Street has no leaders, but Obama is willing to lock us all up, torture and even kill us without due process. NDAA and SOPA are tools of a draconian government out to control it’s people via fear and oppression. We can no longer go around the world declaring our ‘good values’ because we lost that.

    The took away mega phones and OWS developed ‘Mic Check’, I wonder what innovation will come about from these oppressive laws that a very few are willing to speak out against.

    Well, if you don’t hear from me for a loooong while, put up a page for the Missing Protesters, along with this poem (you can’t lock up a person’s spirit) :
    Sacred Spirit.Yeha-Noha (Wishes Of Happiness And Prosperity)

    • quixote says:

      Huh? Why might you be gone for a looong time? Nothing bad, I hope. Just a general desire to escape the news? If so, I may join you.

      • northwestrain says:

        What I think Woman Voter means is that if any of us are vocal enough in blogs or any social networking — then we might be one of the disappeared. Like what happened in Argentina.

        The USA is now officially a Police State — banana republic. We are all being spied on and “evidence” is being collected on all of us.

        Any night now our homes could be raided — and we could be warned. Or our home or car could be targeted for a visit by an armed drone. It doesn’t matter if it was a mistake — the Police State could “justify” the kill with “evidence” that we weren’t happy and thrilled about the passage of new Gestapo laws.

        And I’m NOT a paranoid person. But I have now lived long enough to see the police state environment of military bases creep into the civilian world.

        The military police loved to tell high school students living on military bases — that the US Constitution was no longer valid once we set foot on the Base. Only the law of the Commanding Officer counts for anything. Just change that to the whim and mood of the Prez of the USA — and the warning of the military police is current.

  10. ralphb says:

    Census shows 1 in 2 people are poor or low-income

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Squeezed by rising living costs, a record number of Americans — nearly 1 in 2 — have fallen into poverty or are scraping by on earnings that classify them as low income.

    The latest census data depict a middle class that’s shrinking as unemployment stays high and the government’s safety net frays. The new numbers follow years of stagnating wages for the middle class that have hurt millions of workers and families.

    “Safety net programs such as food stamps and tax credits kept poverty from rising even higher in 2010, but for many low-income families with work-related and medical expenses, they are considered too `rich’ to qualify,” said Sheldon Danziger, a University of Michigan public policy professor who specializes in poverty.

    “The reality is that prospects for the poor and the near poor are dismal,” he said. “If Congress and the states make further cuts, we can expect the number of poor and low-income families to rise for the next several years.”

    And here is the idiot right’s typical response. Maybe I shouldn’t but I detest these rotten people. There is no redemption for these asshats.

    Robert Rector, a senior research fellow at the conservative Heritage Foundation, questioned whether some people classified as poor or low-income actually suffer material hardship. He said that while safety-net programs have helped many Americans, they have gone too far, citing poor people who live in decent-size homes, drive cars and own wide-screen TVs.

    Damn fools don’t want to consider that the newly poor probably had the wide screen TV, car, and decent home before falling from the middle class. This story seems about right for the everyday Americans they want to consign to a life of miserable poverty.

    The struggling Americans include Zenobia Bechtol, 18, in Austin, Texas, who earns minimum wage as a part-time pizza delivery driver. Bechtol and her 7-month-old baby were recently evicted from their bedbug-infested apartment after her boyfriend, an electrician, lost his job in the sluggish economy.

    After an 18-month job search, Bechtol’s boyfriend now works as a waiter and the family of three is temporarily living with her mother.

    “We’re paying my mom $200 a month for rent, and after diapers and formula and gas for work, we barely have enough money to spend,” said Bechtol, a high school graduate who wants to go to college. “If it weren’t for food stamps and other government money for families who need help, we wouldn’t have been able to survive.”

    • quixote says:

      What’s going on is just staggering. The LATimes did a piece on a 16 year-old fast food waitress who also works cleaning, who’s the main paycheck for her mother and two younger kids … and who goes to high school and is in ROTC.

      I’d meet people like that when I was teaching at a community college and feeling persecuted because I had to work 16-hour days (plus or minus two hours) seven days a week. And then people like that would come along who were working just as hard, but for half the pay and one tenth the chance of escape. I’d be dealing drugs. I still don’t understand where they get the strength from not to.

    • northwestrain says:

      Who is going to buy all that stuff that the 1% produce in their factories (over seas)?

      Never mind — just open more Dollar Stores, Dollar General and Family Dollar Stores.

      • quixote says:

        One of the posts ralphb linked to in another thread showed this protest poster:

        “Soon the poor will have nothing left to eat but the rich.”

    • foxyladi14 says:

      I don’t get MOM charging rent

  11. bostonboomer says:

    Can you believe there’s another Repub debate tonight?!

  12. The Thinker says:

    I need to comment on the bird story at the end. Wha??? Birds are not that stupid. Why would they *this* year, suddenly believe a parking lot is a lake? Haven’t we had parking lots for a century or more?

    We had a sudden mass bird die off here in AR (5000+) as well as a corollary fish die off at the same time last New Year’s. And these birds, like those in Utah, did not just die quietly in the fields from starvation or storm (there was no storm, it was a mild night), they fell from the sky all at once. It has also happened in several other states.

    Here it was blamed on the noise of New Year’s fireworks. Like fireworks haven’t been used around the world for thousands of years. And if loud noises were what killed them, wouldn’t war zones be littered with dead birds?

    Scientists have gone out of their way to explain that this is a perfectly natural and common occurrence that somehow no one has ever seen before in all of time. (??)

    Jus’ sayin.

    • Minkoff Minx says:

      Thinker, this has happened before, in the same Walmart parking lot, just not to this extent. More than 4,000 birds crash-land in parking lot – CBS News

      Officials said to the Salt Lake City Tribune that birds have crash landed there before, but it rarely happens and never in such large numbers.

    • peggysue22 says:

      They had a similar event in rural NJ, my home state. The same excuses were employed–fireworks [think it was around the 4th], a series of electrical storms, yada, yada,

      Turns out it was a scheduled, deliberate kill because a number of ‘important’ farmers were having their corn crops raided. So, the government came in and poisoned the birds. Only they seem to have been a little over zealous or whatever they used was off the charts because in one small town residents reported being swamped in dead bird bodies. I saw photographs. It was definitely creepy–all over the lawns, the roads, every roof littered, parked cars covered in feathered corpses.

      I suspect the lies and excuses were to head off public disgust and/or outrage from environmentalist and animal right’s groups.

      And the beat goes on. Lies R US.

    • jawbone says:

      NPR had a bird expert who said the birds use light as their cues — and when there’s light on a parking lot it can appear like a lake….

  13. northwestrain says:

    hey — watch what you say about north-westerners!! Damn it!

    Oregon like Washington has a liberal west and a conservative east — the dry weather on the east tends to suck out common sense. But then the liberals brought the 0 plague on the world.

    One example — the east side of both states has a vast mostly underpopulated land mass — and they want roads to places with little or no traffic. Their justification is that the western part of the state has ferries as part of the highway system. Also the dumb eastern politicians demand that the ferries have mostly names of eastern WA cities.

    Then the supreme dumbness of Eastern WA– their D Congressional Rep was the SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE — didn’t matter — the NRA went after him. It was supposed to be about “term limits” which was in reality just a way for the GOP to sneak in some of the sleaze bag politicians. Anyway the democrat speaker of the house lost the election (one of the last old fashioned Republican liberal/moderate). So then the stupid voters in eastern Wash think that the green horn guy they now had as a Congressional rep would be speaker of the house.

    • ralphb says:

      Tom Foley was taken out in really bogus fashion. Look on the bright side, his replacement didn’t last long. 🙂

      As for Wyden, he’s been doing that crap on health care since the ’90s. Last time around it was co-sponsoring bills with Bob Bennett. I don’t know if it’s legitimate belief on his part that some kind of HMOs will save a ton of money or his contributors want him to believe it. It’s still wrong.

      • northwestrain says:

        Wyden is a flake — and Oregon is a very strange state. Although Oregon voters did pass assisted Suicide.

        Wyden’s motive for joining Ryan? From what I’ve been reading — the Wyden/Ryan plan is flat out bad and harmful to anyone on medicare.

  14. northwestrain says:

    Anyone remember Global Warming (PC’d to Climate Change)??

    One of the warnings about Global Warming was that the frozen tundra would melt and what was once frozen would be released into the environment. Well it’s happening . . . .

    Also 0bambam the two faced is really working hard to save the environment — NOT!!!!

    • northwestrain says:

      from the link above:

      “Scientists estimate that there are hundreds of millions of tonnes of methane gas locked away beneath the Arctic permafrost, which extends from the mainland into the seabed of the relatively shallow sea of the East Siberian Arctic Shelf. One of the greatest fears is that with the disappearance of the Arctic sea-ice in summer, and rapidly rising temperatures across the entire region, which are already melting the Siberian permafrost, the trapped methane could be suddenly released into the atmosphere leading to rapid and severe climate change.

      Dr Semiletov’s team published a study in 2010 estimating that the methane emissions from this region were about eight million tonnes a year, but the latest expedition suggests this is a significant underestimate of the phenomenon.

      In late summer, the Russian research vessel Academician Lavrentiev conducted an extensive survey of about 10,000 square miles of sea off the East Siberian coast. Scientists deployed four highly sensitive instruments, both seismic and acoustic, to monitor the “fountains” or plumes of methane bubbles rising to the sea surface from beneath the seabed.”

      • quixote says:

        Anybody who knows anything about it has had their hair on fire about the feedback loops since forever. Fifteen years? I don’t even remember. It’s not my field, but I can read. Here’s me way back in 2005.

      • quixote says:

        (As I see that posted, I realize I should add that I’m NOT saying your point is old or been-there-done-that! Just trying to second it by banging on the table. The permafrost data – methane bubble data is among the most terrifying out there.)

      • northwestrain says:

        Many of us have been singing the same song.

        0 made a claim while campaigning — saying that when he was elected the ocean levels would go down. He talked on one side of his mouth while getting campaign money from some of the worst foes of the environment.

        The evidence is building that the Prez is totally ignorant of Science, Scientific methodology or anything remotely related to Science.

  15. ralphb says:

    The problem with American politics in a nutshell.

    Sheldon Adelson commits $20 million to pro-Newt Gingrich group

    Casino magnate Sheldon Adelson is planning to direct $20 million to an outside group backing Newt Gingrich’s presidential campaign, multiple sources told POLITICO – the first answer to urgent pleas from allies to the former speaker’s long-time billionaire supporters.

    After leaving Congress, Gingrich cultivated a network of a few dozen uber-wealthy backers who poured tens of millions of dollars into a network of groups that helped him maintain a foothold in politics. Now, operatives supporting his presidential campaign are asking those same donors to write fat checks to a suite of new super PACs they hope can spend big on ads to offset Gingrich campaign fundraising that had lagged behind his rivals.

    • northwestrain says:

      Politicians being bought — this is really shoving the prostitution of politics out in the open.

      • foxyladi14 says:

        and they are not cheap either!!! roll:

      • ralphb says:

        They don’t care anymore if everyone knows. The politicians have decided that people can’t do anything about the situation anyway, so who cares. The fact that someone is willing to pay big bucks for him actually helps him with other donors and some dumb voters.

  16. foxyladi14 says:


  17. northwestrain says:

    China begins downward spiral.

    Housing bubble bursting —

    Many economists are saying that a world wide depression is already here.

    • ralphb says:

      Between the EU and China, it’s kind of hard to see how a depression gets put off again. Frankly, I think the 0.1% want deflation.

  18. ralphb says:

    Charlie Pierce is again wonderful …

    In Congress, a Merry (and Stupid) Christmas Compromise

    In the rush of holiday preparation, it may have escaped your notice that this is National Sellout Day, when we celebrate the arrival of baby Jesus into this world so that the Magi can show up at the stable, pay him homage, present him with gifts, and then peddle his location to Herod for 25 denarii and a bucket of oats for the camels.

    The Democratic party certainly has gone to great lengths to remind us what day it is. They have made great preparation. They have cooked the goose (their own, naturellement, and ours) and placed it on the table in the traditional manner, with a knife stuck in its back. They have rehearsed all the traditional holiday songs, including Ploys to the World, Hark the Deceitful Scumbags Sing, and Angles We Have Played on High. They have filled the wassail bowl to overflowing with the customary holiday libation, Hot Mulled Blood of Constituent.


    Here’s a tip, gang: The American people are not angry at government because people yell at each other and nothing ever gets done. The American people are angry because people yell at each other and nothing the American people really want ever gets done. They want higher taxes on billionnaires. They want Medicare kept out of the hands of the vandals. If they think about it a little, they even like their jurisprudence with a little habeas corpus sprinkled on top. Instead, they get endless platitudes, and the steady, futile placating of an insatiable political opposition.

    Jesus wept.

    • Sophie says:

      Sorry Charlie, the magi didn’t “peddle his location to Herod.” As the story goes, God came to them in a dream so they went home using a different route to avoid Herod. That’s why Herod ordered murder of young boys in Bethlehem children. And that’s why an angel came to Joseph and told him to bring the child to Egypt.

  19. Minkoff Minx says:

    Just put a new quick open thread up, since this one is getting a bit long in the comments….