Saturday, December 13, 2008

Drove my Chevy to the levee but the levee was dry

So, the Senate Republicans, led by the repulsive Mitch McConnell, who every night snuggles up to his equally repulsive spouse, the most anti-labor Secretary of Labor in U.S. history, are hell-bent on torpedoing the American automobile industry.

They are trying to practice disaster capitalism at its worst, by destroying the economy and the nation to rebuild it in their perverted image. How any decent person can support these "Republicans," I have no idea. And I am not talking about being "conservative" or adhering to a small government fiscal restraint approach to governing. Make no mistake, these idealogues you see in action are RADICALS, bent on a profound, permanent and tragic restructuring of American society. The object is the consolidation of wealth and the elimination of the middle class.

Do they care if jobs that allow people to live in a decent house, send their kids to college and spend a week at the beach disappear into either thin air or some East Asian sweatshop? Of course not. THAT IS THEIR OBJECTIVE. The right-wing bloviators on talk radio whine about "class warfare," but they are the ones that are practicing it. Damn right we're at war, and right now we're getting destroyed.

I'm toying around with something in my delusional mind. The rich of Chicago PAID to have Fort Sheridan built here on the north shore to have a military garrison around them after the Haymarket incident (the only military installation EVER paid for with private funds.) Just wondering, how much of our bloated defense budget, besides making the staggeringly rich staggeringly richer, goes to protecting the government not from enemies but from us? To eliminate forever Jefferson's right of the people to alter or abolish the form of government instituted among them?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

We're ****ed and a long way from home...

RR, Doc you've seen this but...we are screwed royally by this mess.

A "special election," while desirable, is also problematic. First you have to get the state legislature to pass something (and have it survive constitutional challenges, changing the rules during the game). Then of course THE GOVERNOR has to sign it. He can sit on it for sixty days before vetoing it, and then it goes back to the legislature for an override vote. From there the mechanisms have to gear up, nominating petitions, primaries, etc. We're going to the beach in Michigan before any voting happens.

And the Illinois attorney general is talking up a challenge via the state supreme court. The state supremes would be a real stretch. The court under Rule 382 can consider a motion on "the ability of the Governor to serve or resume office" but that seems pretty clearly aimed at physical/mental incapacitation, not mere soullessness.

More Blag-ing

None of us were shocked or surprised by the indictment of the governor. We've known he was dirty for a LONG time. We knew this day would come, but at least I anticipated it would be for something much more pedestrian. The usual "contribution" for a pension board appointment, an envelope for a highway contract, a job for someone's nephew, etc.

Even this jaded observer, though, was surprised that the governor was this stupid and greedy with such a high-profile matter, WHILE UNDER INVESTIGATION by the modern Elliott Ness. Stupid is as stupid does, I guess.

BUT--we could be screwed by this nonsense. Gov. Hair won't resign, and he cannot make a credible Senate appointment. Any legislative change in the process has a long startup time to clear. At a time when every vote counts, that seat could sit empty for months.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Where in the world is...

Mrs. Pete? (Katie, it's just a geography quiz!)

So a young man is elected governor of Illinois. Does he put up one of these?

and move here?

No, no, no, sadly. And where does the young man end up? Sadly, here.

The moral of the story? If you are elected AFTER a felon governor, all you have to do is not be a felon governor!

Good night.

Poo-flinging howler monkeys

Well said, Driftglass:

Understand that, in Illinois, Democrats now control the state House, state Senate, every state-wide constitutional office, the Mayoralty of Chicago, the city council of Chicago, the board controlling the second most populous county in the country (Cook), and almost the entire federal congressional delegation at a time when the DNC has been moved to Chicago, and an Illinois Senator is about to be sworn in as President.

So you'd think, hey, maybe now would not be the very best time to piss away a once-in-a-lifetime historic opportunity to consolidate Democratic gains by fucking up the state budget and generally carrying on like poo-flinging howler monkeys.

But you would be wrong.

Like our national politics (explicated brilliantly here by Glenn Greenwald), Illinois politics is freighted with dynasties full of talentless scions with monstrous egos and an overweening sense of entitlement, and so in the midst of an historic Democratic sea-change, Rod, Son of Mell and Todd (Stroger, current corrupt and inept President of the grotesquely bloated Cook County Board), Son of John (former corrupt and inept President of the grotesquely bloated Cook County Board, about which more some other day) have managed to induce such revulsion in the polity that even loyal, lifelong Dems are openly pining for the days when Republican Governor George Ryan could at least get shit done, and Republican Governor Jim Edgar bestrode the prairie like a bipartisan Colossus.

New Listing


The auction ends soon, the Feds are at the door!

One gently-used U.S. Senate seat, formerly held by household name. Serious inquiries only. Address all correspondence to "Public Official A."

Buy It Now! Price $1,000,000 cash, unmarked non-sequential small bills

Thoughts on the Blago Indictment

First off, I am ever-so-glad that retired GOP senator Peter Fitzgerald pushed to have Patrick Fitzgerald (no relation) appointed as US Attorney for the northern district of Illinois. Both Dennis Hastert and George Ryan fought against the appointment, as the US Attorney had a reputation for being independent, tenacious, and - most important - utterly beyond reproach. This man has gone after everyone of every possible politial stripe, without any thought as to that person's public position.

Second, Pat Quinn (sitting Lt. Governor) may be a pain in the ass, but he is also regarded as squeaky-clean. He just stated in a press conference that in his opinion, there is no way that Blago should appoint anyone to fill the senate vacancy. He called for Blago to voluntarily "step aside." He further stated that if Blago refuses to step aside, the IL Supreme Court can make a determination that Blago is too compromised to continue in his duties.

Third, Blago is either the most arrogant or the most idiotic politician since Nixon...

Fourth, if I was " Senate Hopeful 5" I'd be looking for a really good lawyer.

Fifth, if the indictment is true, Obama comes out of this looking even BETTER, as he refused to do anything more than be "appreciative" if Blago named his favored candidate (Valerie Jarrett).

More on Blagy

He did it all...

CHICAGO – Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich was arrested Tuesday on charges of conspiring to get financial benefits through his authority to appoint a U.S. senator to fill the vacancy left by Barack Obama's election as president.

According to a federal criminal complaint, Blagojevich also was charged with illegally threatening to withhold state assistance to Tribune Co., the owner of the Chicago Tribune, in the sale of Wrigley Field. In return for state assistance, Blagojevich allegedly wanted members of the paper's editorial board who had been critical of him fired.

Blagojevich also was charged with using his authority as governor in an attempt to squeeze out campaign contributions, prosecutors said.

Has any state ever had two govs in prison at the same time?

Source: Feds take Gov. Blagojevich into custody

A source said today that Gov. Rod Blagojevich was taken into federal custody at his North Side home this morning. The U.S. attorney's office would not confirm the information. A Blagojevich spokesman said he was unaware of the development. "Haven't heard anything -- you are first to call," Lucio Guerrero said in an e-mail.

The stunning, early morning visit by authorities to the governor's North Side home came amid revelations that federal investigators had recorded the governor with the cooperation of a longtime confidant and had begun to focus on the possibility that the process of choosing a Senate successor to President-elect Barack Obama could be tainted by pay-to-play politics.


What a disgrace. Stupidity should be severely punished.

My ONE rule for an auto bailout

I support action to keep the industry alive. We need to make SOMETHING here, after all.

But any company that accepts ANY federal money has to do one thing:


No more haggling, no more "talking to the manager," no more "what can I do to put you in this car today," no more undercoating, etc. No more walking out feeling like I've been had. Put a price tag on it. If I want it, I'll buy it.

Otherwise--no soup for you.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

George W. Bush: A Legacy of Lies

Howard Fineman of Newsweek and others have noted that introspection was never a Bush family characteristic. In W's case, I would add a lack of curiosity and a less than average intelligence. The NeoCon blank slate, noted by Peter, instilled in Bush an aversion for government, except as a means to impose absolute power by force of arms, bullying of friend and foe alike, and lining the pockets of powerful special interest friends. As Bush joked to an audience of fat cats, "you're my base."

The results are in and they're catastrophic. In the end, whether or not there was venality is irrelevant -- denial, as they say, ain't just a river in Egypt. The abuse of power, the shredding of the Constitution, the politicization of the Justice Department, the doctoring of intelligence to justify preemptive war, all or any of these are impeachable offenses. That they were never seriously considered during the past five years is not only the failure of a Congress too cowed to take on a president in times of war, Orwellian perpetual war, but also of large sectors of the media that sold out to profits over serious journalism. And ultimately too, of the people who twice elected this … whatever.

What we are seeing in these exit interviews is an astonishing and pathetic attempt to rewrite history, in search of a legacy. Isn't it ironic that the individual tapped to spin the Bush years is none other than Karl Rove? It seems oddly appropriate in a way that the revisionism of the Bush years should be assigned to Bush's chief propagandist, heading the so-called "Bush legacy project."

But it won't work. Karl Rove can't spin, scrub, and sanitize eight years of lies, incompetence, venality, and criminality. As Rachel Maddow said, there are certain inconvenient things called, in Bushspeak, "the internets and the google." Despite this administration's unprecedented secrecy -- its elevation of the national security state pushing the limits of government beyond even what Nixon attempted with "executive privilege," bizarre concepts such the "unitary executive," a pseudo-legal justification for giving the president dictatorial powers, and unrestrained abuse of the Patriot Act to spy on American citizens -- there is in all of this a substantial record to be examined. Records can be spun and interpreted, but they cannot be lied about.

George W. Bush exits (just GO, leave already!) as the worst ever president in American history. That’s my personal assessment, but I honestly doubt a consensus of historians would disagree. True to form, W and loyal sidekick Rove exit much as they entered: lying.