Saturday, June 21, 2014

Smoke gets in your eyes

By Capt. Fogg

Remember Rosemary Woods? Perhaps I should give my customary sigh and ask if you're even old enough to remember Richard Nixon's secretary who, as she claimed was dextrous enough 'accidentally' to erase a potentially incriminating tape seven times! that was long before e-mail but she gave many months of material to the comedians of the mid 70's when Republicans were heavy handed thugs and bungling burglars as well as ordinary liars, crooks and cheats. The psychotic religious mystics and professional manipulators came later. Somehow we became inured to such executive chicanery by the time the Bush White house lost some 22 million e-mails. Losing data was part of the nature of things said Darryl Issa, and how "shameful" of the Democrats to whine about it.

They've become so smooth, of course, that we no longer hear the tables turn and turn they do and the White House press secretary nor any Democrat can dismiss the whole lame story by saying "we screwed up" and get away with it. Once again, it's the old Republican refrain "It's OK when we do it" and of course, making a bombastic fuss about e-mails is a convenient diversion from the fact that there really is no evidence of any scandal. Sad to say, too many people still see fires when the sleazemeisters light their smokescreens.

It works so well that all the smoke about Benghazi has obscured the fact that the ten embassy attacks and 60 dead during the Bush/Cheney years have disappeared from the American consciousness, even now that the elderly warmongers have risen once again like Nosferatu from his foetid coffin, seeking to spill more American blood. Does anyone have a stake?

I'm tempted to write my Democratic senator to suggest a new national anthem: Smoke Gets in Your Eyes. I've always liked the tune.

(Cross-posted from Human Voices.)

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Friday, June 20, 2014

Never forget, never remember

By Capt. Fogg

Good morning Republicans and welcome to another bright new day of washing our sins in Obama. And haven't we been having fun preempting the Democrats from using our martial spirit, thanking every veteran for his service by damning Obama for rescuing the one and only soldier (oops, warrior) who was treasonously disillusioned with our dear war? Another day, another reason to impeach!

And welcome back to our neocons. Awake after their long sleep to remind us how Obama's weakness has, as we predicted, turned our faultless, perfectly arranged, positively inspiring bastion of freedom in Iraq into a flaming hell of Extremist violence. Let's greet their resurrection with a resounding chorus of Bonzai Benghazi, Benghazi as we turn his success in capturing a perpetrator into another outrage and let's waste no time since corroboration that the attack really was a response to an Internet video works against us.

It may be another good time to toss out more chaff, more distraction: immigration, gay marriage, climate change racism and Christian rights to make sure the Libtards exhaust themselves chasing the chum while we triumph where it counts, our weapons gleaming in the bright light of a martial dawn.

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Thursday, June 19, 2014

Well, at least someone's war will be paid for with Iraq oil...

By Carl

Just not ours:

Sunni militants hung their black banners on watchtowers at Iraq’s largest oil refinery, a witness said Thursday, suggesting an ever-increasing stranglehold on the vital facility by insurgents who have seized vast territories across the country’s north. A top Iraqi security official and a militant fighting for control of the plant said the government still held it.

The fighting at Beiji, some 250 kilometers (155 miles) north of Baghdad, comes as Iraq has asked the U.S. for airstrikes targeting the militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. While U.S. President Barack Obama has not fully ruled out the possibility of launching airstrikes, such action is not imminent in part because intelligence agencies have been unable to identify clear targets on the ground, officials said.

The Iraqi witness, who drove past the sprawling Beiji refinery, said militants also manned checkpoints around it. He said he saw a huge fire in one of its tankers. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he feared reprisals.

Iraq still holds the facility, but it’s just a matter of time.

ISIS/ISIL seems to have a game plan in place: they’ve been very methodically gathering economic power in addition to strategic positions and military hardware. This does not bode well for the Iraqi people or for that matter Iran and Syria.

But there’s also an element of Dispensational Christian-like thinking involved:

The three-year Syrian war has attracted even more foreign fighters than the Afghan war. One possible reason is a prophecy, popular among global jihadists, about the final battle before Judgment Day. “There are hadith, or sayings of the Prophet Muhammad, that predict an apocalyptic war of good vs. evil, and according to one hadith, it would start in Syria,” says Solahudin, a Jakarta-based terrorism expert.

Yeah. That’s going to work out well.

By the way, it’s not just America that is reaping what it sows.

(Cross-posted to Simply Left Behind.)

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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

But of course, Republicans will want to go back to this

By Carl

US Healthcare: DOA

The 2014 Commonwealth Fund survey found that the United States ranks lowest when it comes to quality and efficiency of healthcare systems among 11 industrialized countries.

The healthcare system of the United States has been a topic of heated debate in the last decade but its performance has always remained consistent, ranking worst among industrialized countries for the fifth time. It was also the case in 2004, 2006, 2007 and 2010. The United Kingdom was ranked as the best while Switzerland followed closely behind. The researchers also studied Australia, France, Canada, the Netherlands, Germany, Norway, New Zealand and Sweden.

The report said the United States spent $8,508 on healthcare per person in 2011 but the United Kingdom only spent $3,406 per person even as it ranked higher in providing quality and safe healthcare than the U.S. All other 10 nations spend a lot less than the U.S. healthcare per person and as a gross domestic product but still achieved better quality.

So let’s sum up: most expensive, lousy results, and as the article goes on to state, the results would be even worse but for the fact a significant and substantial percentage of Americans simply opt out of any healthcare whatsoever.

Because expensive.

Where does all that money go, then, if not into patient care?

Believe it or not, right into the ground, if we are to believe a study by US News and World Reports:

Over the past year, “the profit margin for health insurance companies was a modest 3.4 percent,” Newman points out, quoting data provided by Morningstar, a company that rates mutual funds. Morningstar would have no reason to low-ball the insurance industry’s profits; its readers are looking for highly profitable sectors of the economy where they can invest. But the health plan industry is not one of those sectors: insurers ranks 87th out of 215 industries.

“The most profitable industry over the past year has been beverages, with a 25.9 percent profit margin,” Newman reports, “Right behind that were healthcare real-estate trusts (firms that are basically the landlords for hospitals and healthcare facilities) and application-software (think Windows). The average for the oil and gas industry overall was 10.2 percent, three times the margin in the health insurance industry.

But those insurance company profits are slightly masked by the fact they are net profits, after things like, ohhhhhhhhh, executive salaries and bonuses, and who knows what other hidden little benefits.

Now, drug companies are not a whole lot better but at least they serve a purpose. For instance, Amgen earned about a 30% profit, but this is after credits for R&D and amortization of drug development costs against the revenue they generate. No one is suggesting they should stop doing vital research or get some premium profit for saving lives.

Which is something insurance companies create obstacles to: saving lives. They are our death panels. They are our “just say no” brigade.

This is the scenario Republicans want to take us back to: sticking our healthcare dollars into the ground under hospitals and clinics, rather than use them to save lives.

(Cross-posted to Simply Left Behind.)

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Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Dirty Dozen Brass Band - "Remember When"

By Richard K. Barry

The Dirty Dozen Brass Band is at the Toronto Downtown Jazz Festival next week, and I might just have to check them out. Weaving funk and bebop into the traditional New Orleans jazz style. Oh yeah. Because in New Orleans brass bands are a thing.


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When you get dissed by bigoted rednecks...

By Carl

You’ve really shot your load:
The Duck Dynasty clan — the family behind the popular A&E reality show — is backing one of its own for the congressional seat that may or may not be vacated by Rep. Vance McAllister, the married congressman who was caught on a security tape making out with a married staff member.

McAllister, a Louisiana Republican, first said he would not run again after the kissing video went viral, then said he was keeping his options open, and is now leading a recent poll even though he has not declared his intentions.

But now a new entry in the race: Pharmaceutical representative Zach Dasher, a member of the Duck Dynasty family, says he is joining the race.

McAllister won a special election to Congress in 2013 in large part because of the support of the racist, homophobic, pedophilic clan members.

McAllister then felt his oats, felt her oats, and the rest is history. McAllister, as the excerpt above points out, has hedged on whether he’ll seek re-election or not.

Apparently, marriage vows are not the only vows he has ambiguous feelings about. In truth, what is the shmuck going to do after Congress, anyway? He has some experience in the oil business, but then this is Louisiana and you can’t spit without hitting an oilman. He does own some fast food franchises and a paper hat probably suits him. 

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Fox lies, America dies

By Capt. Fogg
You’ve done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?

asked Joseph Welch of "tailgunner Joe" McCarthy, for decades the prototype for the vicious, unscrupulous and dishonest Republican Jihadist. The unstated but nearly universally understood answer was "hell no."

McCarthy has been somewhat de-demonized after years of propaganda and revision, but compared to what we had in 1954, at the height of the Communist witch hunt, the wealthy Corporate Political monsters now stomping on America like something from a 50's Japanese monster movie makes those little demons as pathetic as the rubber suited Godzilla compared to the thousand foot tall computer generated version.

But is it surprising that the one thing Foxzilla has to say about the ultra radical (too radical for the al Qaeda leaders) ISIS, now rendering all those dead and wounded and all those spent billions nugatory, is that not only is this not Bush's fault, but Bush foresaw that this would happen if we had some weak, Muslim-smelling, black Communist incompetent like Barack Obama in the White House. 

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Monday, June 16, 2014

Thank you, Mr. Bush

By Capt. Fogg

Our efforts against Al Qaeda in Iraq and elsewhere have been much like the indiscriminate use of antibiotics, killing off the weak bacteria and letting the strong get stronger. The group they're now calling ISIS seems more radical and has more blind hatred for America and the West than the old guard and they're likely to "take back" the Iraq we set up for destruction, killing hundreds of thousands and putting control into the hands of brutal and incompetent people.There's not a hell of a lot we can do, even if that most strange of bedfellows Iran joins forces with us, setting new records in the World Cup of irony.

As much as that idiot John McCain and that fool Tony Blair would like to re-invade, it's not likely to happen, although some wag might suggest that the only reason to suggest such a thing would be an opportunity to call Obama cowardly and weak. They're already doing that and have been doing that since before he was elected. But speaking of irony, hardly anyone seems, except perhaps for Fareed Zakaria, to be calling attention to the weak, cowardly and dishonest George W. Bush who lied us into invading a country, a recent ally, where Al Qaeda was not, that had nothing to do with an attack on our country and doing it with an inadequate force and a non-existent plan for what to do after the conquest.

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