Confession time

Oooookay. So I admit it. In the 1970s I had such an enormous crush on this woman I would have crawled through broken glass just to nibble on her ear. I loved her voice, I loved her choice of material and I thought she was just about the most gorgeous woman ever. And I finally did see her in concert, twice, without the broken glass. Maybe I was lame, but there it is. And this was always one of my favorite songs (written by Gary B Wright); it always choked me up.

And a little strangeness that cropped up in YouTube. I had a beautiful silver-gray cat I named Phoebe, after one of my favorite singers. And here she is with . . .

Clitoral Economics

Barbara Ehrenreich, AlterNet.

Here’s some unique imagery on the current economy…

With all the talk about how to stimulate it, you’d think that the economy is a giant clitoris. Ben Bernanke may not employ this imagery, but the immediate challenge–and the issue bound to replace Iraq and immigration in the presidential race–is how best to get the economy engorged and throbbing again.

The conservative and liberal proposals are worrisome.  Bush proposed to give out tax rebates — except to those earning less than $40,000 a year, a move described as “disaster capitalism” by Naomi Klein, wherein disaster is turned to the benefit of the “haves.”

The liberal proposals sound good, and they are good:  Increase food stamp allotments and extend unemployment benefits — both excellent ideas.  But why the concern….?

The economic rationale for more a progressive stimulus package, which we hear now several times a day, is that the poor and the freshly unemployed will spend whatever money they get. Give them more money in the form of food stamps or unemployment benefits and they’ll drop more at the mall. Money, it has been observed, sticks to the rich but just slides off the poor, which makes them the lynchpin of stimulus. After decades of hearing the poor stereotyped as lazy, stupid, addicted, and crime-prone, they have been discovered to have this singular virtue: They are veritable spending machines.

The liberal proposal is based simply on the fact that the poor and unemployed spend every cent they get.  I’m thinking it might be because they’re hard up for cash?  Maybe?

If we have learned anything in the last few years, it is that the economy is no longer an effective measure of human well-being. We’ve seen the economy grow without wage gains; we’ve seen productivity grow without wage gains. We’ve even seen unemployment fall without wage gains.

Yes, the economy has been “booming” in the past several years, but not everyone is doing well, as one might think.  The rich really are getting richer, and the rest of us are getting poorer.

In fact, when economists want to talk about life “on the ground,” where jobs and wages and the price of Special K are paramount, they’ve taken to talking about “the real economy.” If there’s a “real economy,” then what in the hell is “the economy”?

We’ve become a country with a diminishing middle class — more and more rich folks, and many more poor people.  Apparently “the economy” involves the rich, who don’t live on silly things like paychecks — they live on interest and dividends!

Here’s an interesting thought….

So I’m proposing a radical shift in rhetoric: Any stimulus package should focus on the poor and the unemployed, not because they spend more, but because they are in most in need of help. Yes, when a parent can afford to buy Enfamil, it helps the Enfamil company and no doubt “the economy” too. But let’s not throw out the baby with the sensual bubble bath of “stimulus.” In any ordinary moral calculus, the baby comes first.

Now that’s some radical thinking!  Help those most in need of help — great idea!  People are more important than profit.  Ms Ehrenreich is going to be run out of town on a rail…

My point is just that our economy–with its dizzying bubbles, wild lending sprees, reckless downsizings, and planet-wide hyper-sensitivity–has gotten too far disconnected from ordinary human needs. We could take the current crisis as an opportunity to fix that, at least in part, by shoring up government support for the needy and the dislocated. Or we can wait around and watch while the appropriate imagery gets nasty, as this ghostly creature, “the economy,” starts acting like a nymphomaniac junkie in withdrawal.

The moral of the story is, if politicians could ever find the “real economy,” they could stimulate it.

Senate Poised to Capitulate to Cheney’s Fear-Mongering

by Marjorie Cohn

After a January 24 debate in the Senate on amending the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, the Senate appears ready to capitulate once again to the Bush administration’s agenda of sacrificing liberty for questionable security.

On the day before Congress was slated to take up this issue, Dick Cheney addressed the Heritage Foundation, the most influential right-wing think tank. He was given a thunderous reception, to which he quipped, “I hold an office that has only one constitutional duty – presiding over the Senate and casting tie-breaking votes.” But the most powerful vice president in this nation’s history was about to strong-arm Congress into doing the administrations’ bidding.
Continue reading

The End of Privacy

by Elliot Cohen
via: Truthdig

Amid the controversy brewing in the Senate over Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) reform, the Bush administration appears to have changed its strategy and is devising a bold new plan that would strip away FISA protections in favor of a system of wholesale government monitoring of every American’s Internet activities. Now the national director of intelligence is predicting a disastrous cyber-terrorist attack on the U.S. if this scheme isn’t instituted.

It is no secret that the Bush administration has already been spying on the e-mail, voice-over-IP, and other Internet exchanges between American citizens since as early as and possibly earlier than Sept. 11, 2001. The National Security Agency has set up shop in the hubs of major telecom corporations, notably AT&T, installing equipment that makes copies of the contents of all Internet traffic, routing it to a government database and then using natural language parsing technology to sift through and analyze the data using undisclosed search criteria. It has done this without judicial oversight and obviously without the consent of the millions of Americans under surveillance. Given any rational interpretation of the Fourth Amendment, its mass spying operation is illegal and unconstitutional.

But now the administration wants to make these illegal activities legal. And why is that? According to National Director of Intelligence Mike McConnell, who is now drafting the proposal, an attack on a single U.S. bank by the 9/11 terrorists would have had a far more serious impact on the U.S. economy than the destruction of the Twin Towers. “My prediction is that we’re going to screw around with this until something horrendous happens,” said McConnell. So the way to prevent this from happening, he claims, is to give the government the power to spy at will on the content of all e-mails, file transfers and Web searches.

Read entire article..

I knew this was coming. I feel this country slip-sliding away..

Its only a matter of time before they crack down on non-MSM journalism, blogging and commenting. How long before people become so self-conscious about what they are writing or saying that all discussion stops? Clamping down on the internet is the last step to control the message, and people’s ability to speak freely. Will our free speech soon vanish? Will anyone who disagrees with the government’s policies be identified as dissenters? What will happen to those dissenters?

None of this is new. There are plenty of examples in the book I am reading right now (The Shock Doctrine). It has happened in the past – in other places. I just never believed it could happen here in the US.

The worse part, nobody is doing a thing to stop it.

Friday News, Views, and Blues

Hillary says Bill may have gone to far and they are going to back off. Well, that’s easy to do after you’ve already put it out there and its already planted in peoples’ minds. Job well done.

Its a lot like when Mike Huckabee called that press conference to say he wasn’t going to run that attack (video) ad because it was just too awful, he was above doing that, and then proceeded to show it in order to prove his point (making sure the journalists there had their video cameras up and running)…

BuzzFlash asks “So what will you do with your “rebate check”?” I hope everyone realizes that they will have to BORROW the money to send everyone in this country their money, thus increasing the debt even further.. We are donating ours to our local food bank where at least it will do some good..

For the latest on the handcounting in NH, here are the latest posts (here and here) from BradBlog. And, Happy Birthday to BradBlog today (4 years)! Great job!

If you missed the Republican Debate in Florida last night, you can read the live-blogging here.

Bush’s ‘Iraq Plan’ may be unconstitutional:

In November, President Bush and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki outlined a “long-term relationship” for the United States to defend Iraq’s security. But experts believe that not only is this agreement unprecedented, but also potentially unconstitutional.

Palestineans in Gaza bulldoze down another part of “the wall” in order to escape to Egypt for supplies – now that Israel has cut off supplies to Gaza. Let me see here, Israel cuts off supplies of food, water, electricity, etc.. and people are just supposed to lie down and die instead of fighting for their very lives.. I get it now.. For a more balanced assessment of this entire situation, read this guest piece at Juan Cole’s Informed Comment.

I learned something new this morning. All three of the leading Democratic candidates support the death penalty. (I didn’t not know that..)

Kristen Breitweiser writes” What Giuliani Should Do Once He Drops Out of the Race” at Huffington Post this morning. Breitweiser is one of the “Jersey Girls” who lost her husband on 9/11 and wrote the powerful book “Wake-up Call“. Its a great post and she ends with this:

“So what should Giuliani do once he drops out of the presidential race?

If he really wants to be a 9/11 hero, then Rudy should devote his time, money, and name to getting every single 9/11 rescue worker the proper health care benefits and support they deserve.”

Here’s an interesting post on our ‘Conflict-avoidance Congress’..

Attorney General Michael Mukasey said Friday he doesn’t plan for a special prosecutor to investigate whether the CIA broke the law when it destroyed videotapes of terror interrogations, defying some in Congress who want an independent look at the politically charged case. Me thinks he DOES have an opinion of whether waterboarding is torture, and perhaps he is not so ‘independent’ in his thinking…

The NY Times endorses Hillary Cinton, and inches towards historical revisionism:

Senator Hillary Clinton earned the endorsement of the New York Times of her candidacy for the Democratic nomination for president in a Friday editorial. But in giving the New York lawmaker their nod, the Times’ editorial board appeared to be subtly revising its stance in the lead up to the Iraq War, painting the picture that it outright opposed the March 2003 invasion.

“We opposed President Bush’s decision to invade Iraq and we disagree with Mrs. Clinton’s vote for the resolution on the use of force,” the Times’ editors write in Friday’s endorsement. But editorials published by the paper in 2002 and 2003 point to a much more ambivalent record on the movement towards the March 2003 invasion of Iraq, rather than the direct opposition the paper asserts in the endorsement.

The NY Times also endorsed John McCain.

More articles and posts have been popping up on the Sibel Edmonds story in recent days. Here are several. Here and here and here and here and here. Then there is THIS, and this and this and this. I am still waiting for the MSM to do something with this story..

Why is this not a surprise?: US quietly demands Iraq give defense contractors, US military immunity from prosecution

And from that debate last night: Was that a whisper in Romney’s Ear? (I heard it and thought it was really strange at the time..). More thoughts on this from AfterDowningStreet..

For the blues…

Here’s a little John Lee Hooker ~ Boom Boom.. (I picked this song to go with the pounding boom boom boom boom in my head this morning..)

Those who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones..

via: Raw Story

On Friday morning’s episode of the Today Show on NBC, host Matt Lauer discussed Monday night’s testy debate between presidential candidates Sens. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) and Barack Obama (D-IL). In particular, he focused on her allegation that Obama had represented Tony Rezko, the indicted Chicago businessman whom she referred to as a “slum lord.”

Lauer then presented Clinton with a photo of Rezko posing between Sen. Clinton as first lady and her husband during his presidency. He asked if she remembered meeting Rezko. (This article has the video).

Clinton is playing dirty, and she’s a hypocrite. I for one have had enough of this kind of stuff.