Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Bernard Goldberg: Charlatan

Let me just come out and say it: I don't like this guy. Never have. His flimsy, right-wing rhetoric is simply the adult manifestation of a long-held high-school type grudge, and as such, has no merit. Plus, anyone that admits to agreeing 90% of the time with the pernicious demagoguery of a fringe dingbat like Ann Coulter is undeserving of any modicum of respect on my part. ( I wonder if Coulter's repeated calls for Arabs to be converted to Christianity across the board, is part of Goldberg's 10% ideological parting with the blonde blabbermouth. Hmm...)

But what has forever sealed his fate 'round these parts is his doctoring of a 2008 Tom Brokaw interview with Charlie Rose to further his bias of the mainstream media, and by extension their supposed love affair during the presidential campaign with then-Senator Obama. Media Matters did its homework and has caught Goldberg in the act, exercising his own trumped-up version of the bias he regularly accuses the mainstream media of committing, in his most recent book. (Nope, I'm not even gonna mention its title. Fuck him.) In editing the transcript of the Brokaw-Rose exchange--in which they each question their respective knowledge of both presidential candidates--Goldgberg omits key words in certain sentences, as to spin the general meaning, and uses parts of one response to tailor the answer to a different question to his intent: their lack of knowledge about Obama, only, when in fact they raised the same questions about Sen. McCain in the same interview, as well.

You're a class act, Goldberg.

But wait--surely he defended himself righteously when confronted on this point and called Media Matters on their lies, right?

"The overall point Tom Brokaw is making is that neither he nor others in the media knew as much about Barack Obama as they wanted to know. This is an impression that left not only me but apparently Tom Brokaw feeling uneasy."

OK, so what he is basically saying here is Yeah, well, what matters is that I think I'm right, not if I'm accurate or ethical.

Yes! Cheers to you, Goldberg. But if you ever say anything about unethical journalism again, you lying hypocrite, hope that you don't bump into me afterwards, 'cause I just might take you out back and spank ya with a 2x4. Your other lame ass book should've included your own name in its asinine list, for you, sir are most assuredly one of the people that's screwing this country.

The GOP's Waterloo?

The Republicans have taken a stand: right now it seems they are going to be loyal obstructionists during President Obama's administration, and cave to the whims of despicable clowns like Rush Limbaugh, currently the de-facto leader of the GOP. (It's not pretty how they cower at his feet.) Not one House Republican voted for the President's economic stimulus package. Not one. But it passed, regardless. So much for the GOP "reaching across the aisle", "wanting this president to succeed", and the myriad of other empty platitudes and clich├ęs. (Surely, there might be some more bipartisanship in evidence when it comes to a vote in the Senate.)

It must really suck to have been carrying water eight years for an inept, ignorant, spoon-in-his-mouth, aged frat boy; saddled with a Republican presidential candidate you never really wanted; seen your economic, foreign, domestic, and social policies rejected outright by not only the majority of the American people but from within your own party, among whom the first African-American president in US history is said to have a more than 50% approval rating. Ouch. That's gotta hurt.

But, wishing failure on a popular president and starting on this path by opposing his popular economic recovery measure, out of political grandstanding and spite, is that part of the game plan? Of course, these scoundrels are betting on the stimulus to fail, so they can gloat, regardless of how badly in need their constituencies are; or if it works out, banking on the voters to be suffering from political amnesia two years from now come election time, and not remember who voted against the package. The problem with that one is with EVERY SINGLE ONE of the House Republicans voting "no", there is absolutely no room for cover. And, hopefully, the Dems running against them will be sure to remind their constituents of this travesty.

Oh, man. The GOP is flirting with oblivion. Safe travels!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Shitty Bank and Your Tax Dollars at Work (ripping you off)

On the condition of anonymity a noted musician, award-winning author and friend of mine, has graciously accepted my request to share his recent credit card fiasco with all of you.

The last time I bought a book of stamps, the postal rates went up again before I had used them up, so I don't keep stamps around.

So when I had to postal-mail a number of pages of legal mumbo-jumbo back to a corporate business office last week so they could pay me for something I did last summer, it meant a trip to the post office, which is always a mission of last resort. It was a high ratio of mumbo-jumbo to dollars paid out, too--all the pages of both copies of the "agreement" wouldn't fit in a standard business envelope, and I didn't have a flat document mailer.


So I stood in line at the post office--a long line--to buy a 99 cent document mailer, then went off to address it, sign the documents, and use the automated kiosk to weigh it and purchase the $1.68 postage the envelope would need. The automated kiosk wouldn't take cash, of course, you had to have plastic. So I dipped Mr. Credit Card into the slot.

Declined. Huh?

Back into the line--wait, wait, wait--to hand over $1.68 in cash to a human.

So why was my card declined?

We have a Citibank credit card that has what I'd call a high balance. It's at 11%, and I'm careful to keep the payments current. We've had this card for 20 years. It expires next month, and we always receive a new one in the mail when that happens.

But this month something weird happened. It went over the credit limit. I thought I had made the payment. And in fact, I had. Turns out that Citibank unilaterally jacked up the interest rates on a number of cards--at least that's what they told us when we called. From 11% to 24.99%.

At a time when the Fed has a near-zero interest rate. They're getting the money for free, and charging me 24.99% for it.

And--*if* I have this right, but hey, I only have a master's degree, and not in finance--that higher interest rate pushed the balance over the top,triggering a $39 over-the-limit fee, which will now continue to rack up interest in turn, into the infinite future.

That $39 fee plus interest? It now counts as an asset on Citibank's books. Which means it's part of the assets of our country. But it doesn't exist. They made that $39 up. It's a nonconsensual hallucination. No new nugget of gold was dug out of the earth to match it. It doesn't represent any new productivity on my part. That $39-plus-interest-into-infinity is phantom money that Citibank has decided it's entitled to.

How much of Citibank's assets is phantom money? Apparently, quite a lot.

Well, we have to get this interest rate down, we said to the helpful Citibank representative on the phone. There are two ways to do it, said the helpful representative: one will drop us back down to the interest rate we had before, but the card then will not be renewed when it terminates in February. A-ha, after milking us steadily for finance charges over twenty years, they're now trying to limit their exposure to new purchases. The other option is to take a 13.75% rate and the card will be renewed. We took the 13.75% rate.

This kind of thing used to be called loansharking.

The moral of this story is, if you have credit cards (and you probably do), watch 'em like a hawk right now, because they're pulling some funny shit.

Such bullshit. The Mob must be pissed at the banking industry legally adopting their m.o. And WE are paying for it/making it happen.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Rush on Obama: "I Hope He Fails"

Talk about loyal opposition. Fuckin' hack. He goes on to compare desiring success for the Obama administration with a victory for affirmative action. Ah, what a great patriot you are, Limbaugh. That's what I call having your country's best interest at heart. Anyone surprised?

Obama Presidency: Day 1 (racism is over)

Un-fucking-believable. It's gonna be a long 4 years (8?) watching/listening to brain dead right-wing hacks like Glenn Beck spout off this kind of nonsense.

from Crooks and Liars:

Glenn Beck helps lead the right-wing mewling about Rev. Joseph Lowery's benediction at President Obama's inauguration yesterday:

Good thing Barack Obama distanced himself from Jeremiah Wright. Is this how the post-racial Obama administration begins? I mean, I understand that he's an older gentleman, and that's fine, but, really? Someday brown can stick around, the yellow man can remain mellow? And white will embrace what's right? Can you imagine anyone else saying something like that? Even at the inauguration of a black president, it seems white America is being called racist.

Mr. President, I want to believe, I want to trust, I want to hope for change. But I am really failing to see how this is any different. USA Today reports something that I am actually shocked by -- that you smiled when he said this and shook your head. And it's not like you didn't know what you were getting yourself into. This is the same reverend that made Coretta Scott King's funeral all about politics.

Someone call the Waaaahmbulance, stat!

First, it might be helpful for Glenn Beck to know that the Rev. Joseph Lowery isn't merely an "older gentleman": he is in fact one of the sole surviving lions of the Civil Rights movement, a close and longtime ally of Martin Luther King (as well as Rosa Parks), and the founder of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, one of the major organizations in the battle over desegregation.

In other words, he's man who's been to the mountaintop that Glenn Beck thinks is just a handy piece of scenery upon which to chew.

Indeed, it is the persistent fantasy of the very same white conservatives who trafficked in suggestions that Barack Obama was secretly Muslim -- and that Muslims themselves are innately suspected of terrorism -- that somehow racism has been magically overcome by Obama's election (which they only coincidentally opposed, you know).

Being a true right-wing populist nutcase, Beck never quits while he's behind, and goes on to dig an even deeper hole:

And yet the only we ever heard about was the guy on the right that was going to open things up, that didn't say anything about yella being mella.

America is with you today, Mr. President. And you're right, we are all tired of the partisan bickering, the racial divides, the greed and the corruption. There are many people in this country who didn't vote for you, myself included, that actually want you to succeed. My family has been down on our knees for the last month praying for you and your family and your safety. You may be fascinated to learn that many of us don't hate minorities. That we don't want to starve the poor. And we're perfectly fine with brown sticking around.

Ah, it's good to see Beck acknowledging that maybe it's OK if "brown sticks around." Because we'd have had a hard time figuring that out from his previous Latino-bashing pronouncements on CNN.

A sampling:

"Every undocumented worker is an illegal immigrant, a criminal and a drain on our dwindling resources." -- Glenn Beck, September 4, 2007

"I've got a quick message for illegal aliens if you happen to be watching. You better start packing your bags. And to the politicians in Washington who are soft on illegal immigration, start packing up your office, because when the terrorists strike, which they will, and we find out that they're here illegally from some other country, we will be telling all of you to get the hell out." -- Glenn Beck, May 9, 2007

"America's border crisis. Rape, drugs, kidnapping, even murder. It is beginning to look a lot more like a border war." -- Glenn Beck, November 8, 2007

"It's time we wake up in this country. We are dealing with an illegal alien crime wave, and drug smuggling is just the beginning." -- Glenn Beck, January 12, 2007

And this one is similarly indicative of a tolerance of brown people (or lack thereof):

Somebody comes across the border in the middle of the night, why are they doing that? Really, three reasons: One, they're terrorists; two, they're escaping the law; or three, they're hungry. They can't make a living in their own dirtbag country.

Of course, Glenn Beck isn't the only right-wing phony twisting his pearls over Rev. Lowery's benediction. Seems Michelle Malkin is in need of a fainting couch too. (Give me an L!) Along with a whole host of their fellow wingnuts.

All because, evidently, Obama's election was supposed to mean that we're now officially over racism so we don't need to talk about it anymore.

And the ironic thing is, they accuse liberals of turning Obama into a "magic negro."

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Why I'm Glad I Voted for Obama

In the most recent issue of Esquire magazine, as part of their "What I've Learned" feature, Gov. Bill Richardson (D-New Mexico) shares an anecdote about Barack Obama that took place during one of the Democratic Presidential Primary debates.

As I'm chatting with Obama, the moderator says, "Governor Richardson, what do you think of that?" And I look at him like a deer in the headlights. I was about to say that I hadn't heard, when Obama puts his hand over his mouth and says, "Katrina." So I gave my four-point plan on Katrina. When I was done and the debate moved on, I looked over and said, "Thanks, you're okay." He said, "Nothing to it, brother."

And there you have it.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Sen. Al Franken (MN)

Its got a nice ring to it. Well, not if you're a GOPer, but hey...

Reuters:

Democrat Al Franken will be declared the winner of the tight U.S. Senate contest in Minnesota, emerging from a ballot recount with a slim margin over Republican Norm Coleman, state officials said on Sunday.

But Coleman, the incumbent, has asked Minnesota's supreme court to require that a few hundred additional absentee ballots be included in the recount -- and he could then ask the court to investigate the contest all over again.

"At the moment, Franken has a 225-vote lead," after the weekend counting of what were deemed the last uncounted absentee ballots, said Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie, a Democrat who oversaw the process.

Hmm...

from Xmastime:

I wonder if the Israeli/Hamas fighting of the last week will lead some of us to wonder why we're so unequivocally pro-Israel. Now, I'm not saying if we should or shouldn't be. But it seems odd that of all the many, many things politicians in Congress argue about, Israel is not one of them - it is taken for granted that of course your stance will be pro-Israel if you're running for office. It's a no-brainer; how many times have you read about a politician being told if he's not pro-Israel he/she is committing "political suicide"?

Meanwhile, we can't get anyone to agree on healthcare, or education, or Social Security. We can't even get everyone on the same page when it comes to SAVING THE PLANET. Yet Israel, for some reason, is not open to debate. All of our leadership is pro-Israel, yet I don't really know anybody who knows or cares about it's goings-on. And I live in Brooklyn. Yes, I'm sure there are many people who DO care, but how many times have you heard "gee, I hope they work things out over there" vs. "oh, let's let everybody blow themselves off the planet over there"? Yet from coast to coast, we kind of numbly nod along "oh sure, Israel, of course we're on their side." The adamancy of Congress about this issue is in almost inverse proportion to the public's interest or sentiment, but nobody seems to really work up a sweat about it. Interesting to me.