You’ll Probably Be Hearing About This

This is brutal but I suspect you’ll be hearing about it.
Iraqi school guard, wife beheaded as children watch,

Three suspected al Qaeda militants, including two sisters, beheaded their uncle and his wife, forcing the couple’s children to watch, Iraqi police said on Friday.
The militants considered that school guard Youssef al-Hayali was an infidel because he did not pray and wore western-style trousers, they told police interrogators after being arrested in Diyala province northwest of Baghdad.

The Bush Secrecy List

A list of all the way s the Republicans are keeping the public from knowing what their own government is doing:
TPMmuckraker | Talking Points Memo | Bush Admin: What You Don’t Know Can’t Hurt Us, 2007 Version,

Last year, we launched the insanely ambitious project of recording every significant instance of this administration stifling government information. As we said then, “they’ve discontinued annual reports, classified normally public data, de-funded studies, quieted underlings, and generally done whatever was necessary to keep bad information under wraps.” To be sure, the list will continue to grow through January, 2008.

My wife likes to say, whenever I point out the things the Republicans are doing – So what? Who is going to do anything about it?

The Far Left

Where do you have to be in your head to be able to say that the New York Times is the “far left?”
The New York Times, which helped start the Iraq war… The New York Times, which sits on stories about things like wiretapping Americans without warrants at the request of the Bush administration.
Maybe it goes back to when the right called it the “Jew York Times.” How else can you explain it?

China – Something is Going On

US warships refused entry to Hong Kong for scheduled Thanksgiving holiday visit

A flotilla of U.S. warships carrying as many as 8,000 American sailors heading for a four-day Thanksgiving holiday visit to China’s port of Hong Kong has been refused entry, the U.S. Navy said Thursday.

U.S. aircraft carrier denied access to Hong Kong

The Kitty Hawk group and its crew of 8,000 U.S. airmen and sailors had been expected in Hong Kong on Wednesday, but will now spend the holiday on the South China Sea.
Hundred of relatives of crew members of the USS Kitty Hawk had flown to Hong Kong to celebrate Thanksgiving with their loved ones. Hong Kong has been a regular port of call for U.S. sailors on “R & R” (rest and recuperation) since the Vietnam War.
[. . .] The move by Beijing coincides with “airspace controls” on Wednesday which Xinhua news agency said affected the air travel plans of 7,000 people in south and east China.
The controls were introduced for “unspecified reasons.”

Do Tax Cuts Really Help The Economy?

At the weblog Angry Bear last week, they presented some graphs in a post titled, Tax Rates and Growth Rates, Some Graphs. Go take a look.
The first graphs shows marginal income tax rates over time, and the third shows real GDP per capita, both starting in the 1950s.
As you look at these graphs, it seems that the periods of higher real per-capita growth coincide with the higher tax rates. Both graphs appear to have higher numbers on the left side, and the numbers drop as you move over to the right side. In other words, as the tax rates dropped since the 50’s, so did economic growth.
This is the opposite of the “conventional wisdom” that people have come to believe. But it’s just plain what happened – no way around it. And, to top it off, remember that FDR raised taxes on the rich, and then we started coming out of the depression. You can look those charts up as well.
For some recent validation of this observation — that higher taxes coincide with higher economic growth — remember what happened after the notorious 1993 tax increases on the very rich. After those tax increases we all shared an incredible decade of economic growth and shared prosperity. (Even the rich who paid more taxes.) The national budget was balanced and we reven started paying off the huge debt that had accumulated. Then, following the 2001 tax cuts which primarily went to the very rich growth rates have not been so hot, and regular people actually feel more pinched, not less. And the country has had to borrow an incredible amount of money – which will have serious consequences in the future.
So what could be happening here? Conservatives like to say that taxes hurt the economy. That they “take money out of the economy.” But is this really what happens?
If the money is “taken out”of the economy, where does it go? Isn’t this a perverse view of what government is, to think it is so separate from the people that it isn’t even part of the economy? Perhaps this is wishful thinking on the part of anti-government conservatives, but in reality the government puts the tax money back into the economy by paying teachers, building roads, etc.
Conservatives say that taxes are a “cost” to businesses, forcing them to raise prices. But taxes are on profits, which are calculated after costs. And if a company is doing well enough to be profitable enough to be paying taxes, why would they want to raise prices and discourage customers?
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Toys With Lead – Where Is Government?

There is lead in the toys our kids play with. What is the Republican government doing about it?
Accepting expensive trips, etc. from the toy industry, refusing to inspect toys. What else did you expect?
And who’s gonna do anything about it, punk. Democrats in Congress? Not on your life. (Or your kids’ lives.)

Campaign for america’s Future has a petition. Go sign it, and send others to see the video.

m4s0n501

What Do We Have To Say To Get You To Support Bombing Iran?

Here’s a big surprise – focus groups are being conducted on how to get people to support bombing Iran:

You all remember Ari Fleischer’s “Freedom’s Watch” astroturfing outfit? We’ve discussed this before, in the context of Ari’s trying to bolster support for staying in the Iraq quagmire; now (per Mother Jones via PR Watch) we get to see Fleischer’s Flyers and his ideological fellow travelers pimp the marketing concept of war with Iran:

“The basis of the whole thing was, ‘we’re going to go into Iran and what do we have to do to get you guys to go along with it,’” said Laura Sonnenmark, a participant in a recent focus group apparently funded by the Republican-associated lobbying group Freedom’s Watch. Sonnenmark, a “focus group regular,” said the moderator “used lots of catch phrases, like ‘victory’ and ‘failure is not an option.’” She added, “I’ve never seen a moderator who was so persistent in manipulating and leading the participants.” The final questions of the session were: “How would you feel if Hillary [Clinton] bombed Iran? How would you feel if George Bush bombed Iran? And how would you feel if Israel bombed Iran?” Neither the firm involved, Martin Focus Groups, nor Freedom’s Watch would confirm that the organization funded the focus group. But focus group participants were handed a flier with a Freedom’s Watch logo, and the group has advocated for confronting Iran, organizing forums on the “threat” posed by the country, and running ads calling the Iranian president a “terrorist.”

Click through to follow links…

Dodd Demands New Atty General Investigate White House Cover Up

Dodd Calls on Mukasey to Investigate McClellan Charges of White House Cover Up | Chris Dodd for President,

Chris Dodd today released the following statement in response to the claims of former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan that he “unknowingly passed along false information” to the American public and that “the highest-ranking officials in the administration were involved in [his] doing so,” including the Vice-President and the President:
“Today’s revelations by Mr. McClellan are very disturbing and raise several important questions that need to be answered. If in fact the President of the United of States knowingly instructed his chief spokesman to mislead the American people, there can be no more fundamental betrayal of the public trust.
“During his confirmation process, Attorney General Mukasey said he would act independently. Accordingly, today, I call on the Attorney General to live up to his word and launch an immediate investigation to determine the facts of this case, the extent of any cover up and determine what the President knew and when he knew it.”

Red Cross ASSISTED Bush Law Violations!

It is a violation of international law to “disappear” prisoners, and refuse even to let the Red Cross see them. But who cares, so what, and who’s gonna do anything about it?
Not the Red Cross, apparently.
Red Cross Monitors Barred From Guantanamo,

Simon Schorno, a spokesman for the International Committee of the Red Cross, said the organization was aware that it was not seeing all Guantánamo detainees from 2002, when the detention camp was opened, to 2004. He said the policies outlined in the manual “run counter to the manner in which the I.C.R.C. conducts its detention visits at Guantánamo Bay and around the world.”
He added that Red Cross officials worked with American officials “to resolve this issue confidentially, since gaining access to all detainees in full accordance with its standard practice was paramount.”

The Red Cross KEPT THE VIOLATION OF INTERNATIONAL LAW SECRET!
Sorry for shouting – I got a bit upset. The story continues,

The Red Cross has been critical of Guantánamo, saying publicly in 2003 that keeping detainees indefinitely without allowing them to know their fate was unacceptable and, in confidential reports, that the physical and psychological treatment of detainees amounted to torture.

So the Red Cross was complicit in these violations of international law.
The Red Cross has been looking worse and worse.