Monday, January 31, 2011

Hysterical Raisins: The Teatanic

Rachel Maddow of MSNBC has devoted two segments since Tuesday to criticism of CNN’s decision to air Michele Bachmann‘s Tea Party response to the State of the Union:

 Inexplicably, a national news network decided that they would give Michele Bachmann a job that her own party never did.

CNN’s Piers Morgan leapt to his new network’s defense on Twitter saying:

Sorry, but just nonsense for @maddow to say @cnn shouldn’t have run Tea Party speech. Rep(ublican) split is proper news, may decide next election.

Maddow was right and Morgan was wrong. The Bachmann SOTU response was poorly done and satirized on SNL.

BTW the bats in the night sky and on Michele's blouse are a nice touch!

Bush out of poltics, but returns to baseball.

In a recent  interview, former President George W. Bush said he was done with politics and that he is uninterested in campaigning or raising money for political candidates. 

The 43rd president took questions from C-Span this past Monday at a Southern Methodist University (SMU) forum.

Asked whether he was “through with politics,” Bush replied: “Yeah.”

Bush said he was returning to his first love. baseball. He has been hired to manage the New York Yankees. Bush was the general manager of the Texas Rangers before he got into politics.

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Saltwater Aquarium picture with Kodak Z710

This image was improved with the Gimp photo editor.

We took this with our "new" Kodak Z710 camera. We shot this in auto mode with the flash suppressed on a tripod. The orange and white fish is a clown fish, the yellow fish is a blenny , the blue fish is a blue tang. There is also a cleaner shrimp and an anemone in the photo. A six line wrasse is in the upper right of the tank.

There is also a jaw fish and a goby in the aquarium , but they are not in this picture.

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Huckabee: Egypt crisis threatens world

Mike Huckabee warned Monday in Israel that the situation in Egypt--

could threaten the world and all those who seek peace and security
The real threat to Israelis not the bomb but the people behind it, not weapons but the madmen behind them.

Huckabee was taking part in a special session of the Knesset Committee for Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Affairs as part of his trip, This is his 15thtrip to Israel.

Huckabee also said that "good Israeli-U.S. relations are not just an option." Huckabee believes a strong relationship with Israel is an "obligation of all of us in the American government."

Rightardia doesn't agree. 

We see Israel as an albatross around the neck of US foreign policy. We blame Israel more than we do Palestine for the failure of peace in the middle east. Both the US and the Palestinian Authority has made Israel offers its government should not have refused.

If the Camp David Accords go up in smoke, Israel has only itself to blame.

We think Huckabees's Bible based diplomacy is misguided and therefore he would be a bad choice as president.

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Great web site on VA disability claims

Veterans Claims Self Help Guide
VA Disability Claims Guide - Author Vike17
This guide has been compiled to help veterans understand the VA a little more on how, why, and what is needed to ultimately succeed with their compensation claims.

The author compiled this guide after years of experience in helping other veterans obtain their deserved benefits. Author Vike17

This is one of the best vet help sites Rightardia has seen: see

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Newsy: Synthetic Hydrogen Fuel for $1.50 a Gallon?

Multisource political news, world news, and entertainment news analysis by

January 28, 2011 (2:23)
The latest innovation is a synthetic hydrogen fuel from a British company which promises to produce it in mass for just $1.50 a gallon. This fuel will work in autos with a minimal retrofit.

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SNL: Michele Bachmann Gets A State Of The Union Response Do-Over

Saturday Night Live's Kristen Wiig, playing Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, got a second chance to respond to Obama's State of the Union Address.

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Crooks and Liars: Riot Police protect Billionaires at Rancho Mirage

Video streaming by Ustream

This is live video sent back from the Quarantine at the the Kochs rally in Rancho Mirage about an hour and a half ago.

There are about 1500 people or so there, peacefully protesting the convocation of billionaires at the Rancho Las Palmas resort.

The purpose of the meeting is to figure out how to impeach Obama and take over the government in order to preserve their wealth, justice, and liberty at the expense of the middle class. 

This is class warfare at its finest. 

Glenn Beck was the keynote speaker last night, and Eric Cantor was also on the guest list. (Full list here (PDF)).

The pdf is a hoot. These billionaires think they are protecting "American Properity."

Scores of riot police guarding the driveways into the resort. At least 25 people have been arrested.

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WH Blog: "All Governments Must Maintain Power through Consent, Not Coercion"

Posted by Jesse Lee on January 28, 2011 at 7:42 PM EST

From an overnight memo from his National Security Advisor, to a Presidential Daily Briefing that was 40 minutes in length and focused entirely on Egypt, and on through the day, the President and much of the White House spent the day focused on the unfolding situation in Egypt.  This evening the President spoke out after a phone call with President Mubarak.

Rightardia read an email from NewsMax that indicated Donald Trump, of all people, thinks the US is the laughing stock of the world and that we have a bad middle east policy. Trump is thinking about running for president.

Rightardia would imagine the main stream media would have a field day if Trump ran for president. Wasn't the current economic crises caused by real estate speculators like Trump?

Should the Us use the GOP solutions and foolishly rush in where angels fear to tred? If the US were to offer support to Mubarek , it could spur violence and demonstrations in other Arab counties.

The US is spending $2 billion a week in Afghanistan ans we don't need to start another foolish venture in the middle east to extend GW Bush's and Dick Cheney's evil empire. Apparently, this is what Trump thinks needs to be done.

Trump also implies we need to use our military power to bring oil prices down.

Trump wants to play hardball with China and stated that the that the Korean trade agreement is bad. Obama refused to sign the initial agreement and got concessions from the Koreans who will build more auto plants in the US.

The US economy would suffer greatly if we got into a trade war with China. It's Chinese investment that is keeping the US afloat and China and Japan are two of the biggest owners of the US national debt.

Trump's ideas might have worked in the Old America post GW Bush.  His ideas are hopelessly dated in the multi-polar world that now exists.

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Sunday, January 30, 2011

Egyptian armed forces try to maintain control

Fighter jets swooped low over Cairo on Sunday in what appeared to be an attempt by the military to show its control of a city beset by looting, armed robbery and anti-government protests.

Minutes before the start of a 4 pm (1400 GMT) curfew, at least two jets appeared and made multiple passes over downtown, including a central square where thousands of protesters were calling for the departure of President Hosni Mubarak.

Police could be seen returning to some streets nearly two days after virtually disappearing, creating a security vacuum only partially filled by the presence of army troops backed by tanks at key sites around this city of 18 million people.

After days of escalating chaos, gangs of armed men attacked at least four jails across Egypt before dawn Sunday, helping to free hundreds of Muslim militants and thousands of other inmates.

Rightarida beleives the tanks were US Abrams M1-A1, the jets were US F-16Ds and the helicopter was an Russian Mi-8. 

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Kodak Z710 camera review

First of all, this is not a state of the art digital camera. The latest cameras are around 12 megapixels (MP). This camera is a 7.1 MP. Rightardia  liked the price.  On Ebay with shipping it is under $80 and even less on 

The feature we liked most is that is a single lens reflex (SLR) which means if you look through the viewfinder rather than at the LCD display, you will see your image exactly as the camera has it composed.

An SLR under $100 is a great price. It also has a LCD display and has several modes: close-up, portrait, video, landscape, auto and so forth to name a few.

It comes with a 2GB SD Ram card that should be enough for most users. We installed the SD card in a USB memory card reader and had no difficulty looking at the images on a Linux Fedora laptop.

It comes with the excellent Kodak EasyShare Windows software, a battery, a neck strap and a USB cable with a mini USB cable connector that is needed to connect the camera to a computers USB port. There are loads of accessories and lenses for this camera on Ebay.

The 10x zoom is great!

The Schneider Krueznach lens is quite sharp and there are lens filters and adapters you can buy for the is camera on Ebay for under $30.00.

The bad news: No image stabilization; slow performance; and the camera can low light no better than ISO 400. ISO 400 will meet most user requirements.

We were impressed how the camera worked in low light conditions. The image we saw in the viewfinder looked like something you would see with night vision goggles.

The digital image at night was faithful to the viewfinder.

The bottom line: Kodak's Z710 has some nice features and a good lens, but slow performance and no image stabilization.

if you ever have a problem with the camera, you can get it repaired for $89. 


The techs will:

  • Run your camera through our certified testing process

  • Replace your cameras main control board

  • Test the unit and confirm full functionality 

  • Verify your camera has the most up-to-date firmware

  • Complete a final external cleaning of the unit

  • Ship your unit back at no additional charge

  • The bottom line: Kodak's Z710 has some great features, a great lens, but slow performance and no image stabilization>. For the price, Rightardia is very satisfied.

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    This review was done gratis without any consideration.

    Dick Morris provides incredibly bad unsolicited advice

    DJanuary 29, 2011 3:38 pm ET by Media Matters staff
    Dick Morris

    In his column today, Dick Morris calls on President Obama to offer the United States' full support to embattled Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, and "throw its weight against an Islamic takeover" in Egypt.

    Morris believes  the "Muslim Brotherhood, dominated by Iranian Islamic fundamentalism, will doubtless emerge as the winner should the government of Egypt fall,"

    He wants the White House "needs to send a signal to the [Egyptian] military that it will be supportive of its efforts to keep Egypt out of the hands of the Islamic fundamentalists."

    From Morris' column

    In the 1950s, the accusation "who lost China" resonated throughout American politics and led to the defeat of the Democratic Party in the presidential elections of 1952. Unless President Obama reverses field and strongly opposes letting the Muslim brotherhood take over Egypt, he will be hit with the modern equivalent of the 1952 question: Who Lost Egypt?

    The Iranian government is waiting for Egypt to fall into its lap. The Muslim Brotherhood, dominated by Iranian Islamic fundamentalism, will doubtless emerge as the winner should the government of Egypt fall. The Obama Administration, in failing to throw its weight against an Islamic takeover, is guilty of the same mistake that led President Carter to fail to support the Shah, opening the door for the Ayatollah Khomeini to take over Iran.

    Right wing BS

    This is right wing BS! the US had no presence in China before or after the Red Chinese revolution and the Soviets were supplying the Red Chinese with arms and training. Had the US had invaded China after we defeated Japan, who the Red Chinese were fighting, we would have been defeated.

    The Soviets were armed to the teeth after defeating the German Wehrmacht and they would have intervened in China, if the US had been foolish enough to blunder into an Asian land war like a right wing cowboy would.

    Likewise, the Iranian revolution was a reaction to a CIA coup that put Shah Pavlavi in power, a man who was never the legitimate leader of Iran. The shah gave the SAVAK, his secret police, virtually unlimited powers and it tortured many Iranians. The Major actually has seen some slides of the SAVAK's torture chambers. It was awful.

    If the US were to provide military support to Mubarek, it could stimulate more revolts throughout the middle east and the US would lose all of the credibility we gained with the election of President Obama.

    If we have learned anything form US interventions in Viertnam, Iraq and Afghansitain, it is that you cannot force a government on people who don't want it.  You can win battles as we did in Vietnam, but lose the war.

    These military interventions and invasions are expensive. Some economists believe 90 per cent of the deficit relates to the in the red spending  of past wars.

    Of course, the GOP will tell you that Social Security and Medicare need to be cut back which have nothing to do with the present financial crises the US.

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    Media Matters: Fox news uses talk radio shill to misrepresent global warming data

    January 28, 2011 11:49 am ET
    Fox & Friends hosted right-wing radio host Brian Sussman to cast doubt on global warming science by, in part, misrepresenting Arctic sea ice and temperature data. Fox & Friends portrayed Sussman as a credible expert on climate change despite his history of using misinformation to attack global warming science. 

    Sussman Attempts To Cast Doubt On Global Warming By Suggesting Arctic Sea Ice Is Expanding. On the January 27 edition of Fox & Friends, Sussman stated global warming "is a shakedown operation being conducted by political activists with Ph.Ds who at the end of the day want to see cap and trade imposed upon the United States."

    Sussman went on to cite Arctic sea ice data and temperatures to purportedly explain "really what's happening":

    STEVE DOOCY (co-host): So we got fifteen inches of snow here in New York City overnight, and there are lot of people who are saying, look, the reason why we're having these severe weather patterns - you know, it's really hot in the summer now and we have these great big storms in the summer and all this dumping of winter weather is because global warming has screwed up everything.

    SUSSMAN: This is a shakedown operation being conducted by political activists with Ph.Ds who at the end of the day want to see cap and trade imposed upon the United States. But here, really what's happening, Steve, this is weather. They keep saying, well, the Arctic was really warm and as a result we're seeing the jet stream dip down.

    The Arctic during the month of December was 25 to 30 degrees below zero. That's not warm. The month of December -- during the month of December, the Arctic ice refroze 1.2 million square miles. The Arctic is covered with ice right now. These are machinations that defy the imagination. [Fox News' Fox & Friends, 1/27/11]

    In Fact, Arctic Sea Ice Extent In December Was The Lowest In The Satellite Record For That Month.

    Global warming deniers love to mix up short term weather changes in the US with long term climate studies. This, of course,is comparing apples to oranges.

    Men like Brian Sussman are anti-intellectual shills who often receive funds from the energy industry political action committees to spew disinformation about global warming.

    Studies in the Arctic and particularly Greenland confirm global warming is real. The Antarctic is also birthing large icebergs into the sea.

    Many prophesies indicates the world is entering the watery world of the Age of Aquarius.

    According to the Esoteric Christian tradition, such as the Rosicrucians, the proximity and entrance in the Age of Aquarius—occurring after the present Age of Pisces, or age ruled by the "Sword"—will bring to the majority of human beings the discovery, true living and real knowledge of the inner and deeper Christian teachings which the Christ spoke of in Matthew 13:11 and Luke 8:10.

    This age is regarded as an intermediary preparation toward the Christ in the etheric plane, the New Galilee: the "new heavens and a new earth" to come at an unknown point in the future.

    source: Wikipedia

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    Washington Whispers: B+ Obama report card for week 106

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    St. Petersburg Times: Should Florida courts have less power to kick amendments off the ballot?

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    Politifact: President Obama's SOTU address comments on health care

    PolitiFact | Job Crushing, granny-threatening, budget-busting monstrosity?
    Published on Saturday, January 29th, 2011 at 10:00 a.m.
    By Robert Farley

    "You may have heard once or twice that this is a job-crushing, granny-threatening, budget-busting monstrosity," Obama said. "That's about how it’s been portrayed by opponents. And that just doesn’t match up to the reality."

    PolitiFact has rated these Republican attacks.

     See the complete article at

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    NMA: News Corp implicated in UK celebrity phone-hacking scandal

    Is Rupert Murdoch  involved?

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    Hysterical Raisins: AZ Republican governor convenes a real death panel

    Gov. Jan Brewer’s budget plan proposes to eliminate health-care coverage for more than 280,000 Medicaid recipients, to close a budget deficit her office estimates at $1.15 billion for fiscal 2012.
    Brewer has said she has no choice but to recommend cuts to the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System given the magnitude of the state’s fiscal crisis.

    Make no mistake about this decision. People will die!  

    So much for the government insuring domestic tranquillity. Low taxes are more important than saving human life.
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    Wikipedia compared to Conservapedia

    Wikipedia has an 11 rating on Netcraft and an 8 on Alexa. This is quite impressive to have such high and converged ratings form two very different companies that rate Internet audiences.

    Conservapedia is not so fortunate: It has a 77177 rating from Netcraft and 59154 rating from Alexa.

    The Democgraphics are interesting, too. Wikipedia has very even distribution among the viewer ages and sex, and is overrepresented by people with graduate educations and under-represented by people with no college.

    Conservapedia is greatly overrepresented by young people 18-24 and men. Most of the viewers have no college or some college. It is under-represented by viewers with college or graduate school.
    From Conservapedia's Creation Wiki

    The audiences of Wikipedia and Conservapedia are complementary and Rightradia doesn't mean that as a compliment to Conservapedia. The conservapedia crowd in younger, male and less educated than Wikipedia's.

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    Hillbilly Report: Creating Reality Michele Bachmann Style

    by: By BERRY CRAIG Sun Jan 30, 2011 at 00:31:13 AM ES

    MSNBC’s Chris Matthews was flamed out the other night over Rep. Michele Bachmann’s claim that the

    Founding Fathers worked tirelessly until slavery was no more in the United States.

    Matthews called Bachmann a "balloon head."

    The founders, several of whom owned slaves, were long gone by the 1860s. it was the Civil War, the Emncipation Procalmation and the 13th Amendment to the constitution ended slavery.

    CNN’s Anderson Cooper also took Bachmann to task on his TV show.

    He said Bachmann "airbrushed herself some new history" and suggested her comments were "either a deliberate rewriting of our history or signs that she has a shaky grasp" about what happened in the early days of our republic.

    The GOP has been involved in historical revisionism since Newt Gingrich, a history professor, was the Speaker of the House. 

    Conservatives were on the wrong of the slavery, child labor, the minimum wage and many other historical issues.

    One Tea Party group wanted to ban the discussion of slavery in the revolutionary period because this issue besmirched the Founders. In Texas, the State Board of Education wanted Jefferson removed from the history books because of his mistrust of organized religion.

    Rightardia has heard the standard GOP historical lies: the US was founded as a Christian nation, the Black Robed Regiment of clergy led the colonies against the British, the Civil War was fought over States' rights, the Great Depression was caused by the Democrats and the Voting Right Acts were sponsored by Republicans. 

    All of these are fabrications, half truths and in most cases: outright lies.

    Most of this "alternative" right wing alternative reality history can be found on Conservapedia. 

    Conservaepdia was founded because of the "academic liberal bias"of Wikipedia. 

    In other words, scholars with Ph.ds are baised but the hacks who write Conservpedia  know 'the truth." Much of itthe Conservapedia truth based upon the Bible.

    We found this in the Conservapedia Commandments:

    It is appropriate to quote or cite Wikipedia to illustrate the liberal view of an issue. For example, one could cite the Wikipedia atheism or evolution articles to illustrate a liberal view in regards to atheism or the evolutionary paradigm.

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    HBO: Bill Maher Overtime 1/21/2011

    It looks like Bill Maher has closed his old blog down and is now using the HBO blog for his blogging. Unfortunately, the HBO blog doesn't contain any of Maher jokes on the show.

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    Democratic Underground: The World's Economic Problems Can Be Summed Up In One Sentence

    Edited on Sat Jan-29-11 03:51 PM by Tom Clash

    But first let me tell what it's NOT.

    It's NOT about Poor People getting too much government assistance.

    Or taxes being too high.

    Or Old People getting too much Social Security.

    Or the "lazy" jobless getting too many benefits.

    Or too much education.

    Or not enough education.

    Or the Deficit.

    Or the National Debt.

    Or People of any Color, Religion, Race, Creed, Sex, Orientation or Lifestyle


    Rightardia agrees. the current economic crises in the US was caused by Wall Street financiers, real estate speculators and years of deregulation. It has nothing to do with Medicare or Social Security.

    Wages have remained flat for the middle calls since the 1980s. The Republicans believe a a well-heeled wealthy elite is essential to the economic health of the US. The Democrats believe the middle calls is the key to a vibrant America.


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    WH Blog: Obama weekly address 1/30/2011

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    SNL: Mubarek explains the Egypt crises

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    WIN: Union to Sue South Carolina Governor Over Her Anti-Union Efforts At Boeing

    By Doug Cunningham
    South Carolina governor Nikki Haley

    The AFL-CIO and the International Association of Machinists are suing South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley for saying the state will try to keep unions out of a Boeing new plant n Charleston.

    The suit in U.S. District Court seeks a court order telling the governor and her director of the South Carolina Department of labor, Licensing and Regulation to remain neutral when it comes to union activities.

    Nikki Haley is a Tea party member that Watzername endorsed. She is a political neophyte and it was alleged she was involved in adulterous affairs during her gubernatorial campaign.

    Rightardia guesses adultery is prerequisite to high office in SC. The last governor, Mark Sanford, had the same problem. 
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    CNN: Egypt shuts down Al Jazeera's Cairo bureau

    (CNN) -- Egyptian authorities have shut down Al Jazeera's Cairo bureau according to Al Jazeera.

    Al Jazeera sees this as an act designed to stifle and repress the freedom of reporting by the network and its journalists," the network said. "In this time of deep turmoil and unrest in Egyptian society it is imperative that voices from all sides be heard; the closing of our bureau by the Egyptian government is aimed at censoring and silencing the voices of the Egyptian people.

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    Saturday, January 29, 2011 GOP develops new program to control school lunch welfare cheats

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    RTAmerica: Riots in Cairo

    RTAmerica | January 28, 2011 
    Protests inspired by the revolt in Tunisia have dominoed along Egypt, Yemen and Algeria with citizens calling for governmental change. 

    What will this mean for US involvement in the region? Investigative journalist Wayne Madsen explained Egypt is an important ally of the US and receives more US foreign aid than any other Islamic country in the region. 

    The US never thought that Mubarak was going to be toppled from power. 

    US Vice President Joe Biden has continually referred to him as a close ally and refused to call him a dictator.

    The Us loves to talk about free speech and human rights except when it effects dictators like Mubarak whom we support. 

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    Science Daily: Climatic Fluctuations in Last 2,500 Years Linked to Social Upheavals

    ScienceDaily (Jan. 27, 2011) — There are striking chronological parallels between significant variations of climate and major historical epochs, such as the Migration Period and the heyday of the Middle Ages.

    This is the conclusion reached following a study undertaken by researchers from Switzerland, Germany, Austria, and the USA, in which they were able to reconstruct the summer climate in Europe over the last 2,500 years from the information provided by annual tree rings.

    This is interesting because there has been a lot of social and economic upheaval in Europe: Greece, Spain, Portugal and Ireland and now in the Middle East. We also have a financial and real estate collapse in the US.

    The entire planet is facing a global warming crises.

    Story Source: The above story is reprinted (with editorial adaptations by ScienceDaily staff) from materials provided by Universit├Ąt Mainz.

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    RTAmerica: US blindsided by Egypt unrest

    RTAmerica | January 28, 2011 

    Protests inspired by the revolt in Tunisia have dominoed along Egypt, Yemen and Algeria with citizens calling for governmental change. 

    What will this mean for US involvement in the region? 

    Investigative journalist Wayne Madsen explained Egypt is an important ally of the US and receives more US foreign aid than any other country in the region. 

    The US they never thought that Mubarak was going to be toppled from power. Especially since US Vice President Joe Biden has continually referred to him as a close ally and refused to call him a dictator.

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    Egypt revolution puts Israel and the US in a pickle

    Hosni Mubarak’s leadership of Egypt is likely very close to over.

    Mubarak is an American ally which  leaves the U.S. Department of State in rather a pickle.

    Some, like former George W. Bush deputy Brad Blakeman says it’s time to go all in with the Egyptian protestors, but Fox News contributor Kirsten Powers is refuses to think the problem is that simple to solve.

    Egypt is no longer a belligerent toward Israel because of the Camp David accords. 

    The US pays billions of dollars to Egypt as part of the Camp David accords. of course, the new Egyptian government could throw this agreement out the window,

    Israel stupidly offended the Turkish government, Israel's biggest Islamic ally and refuses to apologize for interdicting a peaceful Turkish ship convoy to the Gaza. The Turks have a far larger navy than Israel and the Air Forces are equivalent.

    If the Turks and Egyptians form an alliance, this could mean big trouble for Israel. Throw in Syria into the mix and Iranian nukes and Israel could be in a world of hurt!

    Then add in recent revelations about the Palestinian Authority (PA)  who  agreed to give away East Jerusalem in negotiations with Israel two years ago. We think the PA is finished and Hamas will be strengthened over this disclosure.

    It would be great if the government of Benjamin Netanyahu would dissolve over his crises. He is hardly equipped to deal with such dynamic changes in the Middle East. What conservative is equipped to deal with change?

    A diplomatic leader of Israel like Tzipi Livni is greatly needed now!

    source: Mediate

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    FBI breaks up human trafficking ring

    Thai migrant worker
    Massive Case Involves 600 Thai Victims

    It seemed pretty straightforward: labor recruiters in Thailand approached impoverished rural farm workers—who made around $1,000 (U.S.) 
    annually—and offered jobs on American farms for higher pay. 
    Many, hoping to provide a better life for their families, accepted the offer, which was made through an American company called Global Horizons, in the business of recruiting foreign workers to work in the U.S. agricultural industry. 

    But once in the U.S., the Thai workers soon discovered a harsh reality: they worked for little or no pay, and they were held in place with threats and intimidation.  

    Eventually, their plight became known to law enforcement, and earlier this month, after a multiagency investigation, two additional defendants—accused of being part of the scheme to hold 600 Thai nationals in forced agricultural labor—were indicted in federal court in Honolulu.

    They joined six individuals who had been indicted last fall.

    Among those indicted? 

    The CEO of Global Horizons, several Global employees, and two Thai labor recruiters.

    The latest indictment alleges a conspiracy among those indicted that began in 2001 and ran until 2007.

    How the scheme worked.

    Thai recruiters allegedly met with rural farm workers, promising them good salaries, lots of hours, decent housing, and an employment contract that guaranteed work for up to three years. All the workers had to do was sign the contract…and pay a “recruitment fee.”

    The recruitment fees were substantial…anywhere between $9,500 and $21,000. And even though they were given the option of paying a portion of the fee upfront and the rest while working in the U.S., the workers still had to borrow money to pay the smaller amount and up their family’s land as collateral.

    Meanwhile, back in the U.S., Global Horizons was soliciting client growers—at various agricultural conferences and through mailings—with offers to supply foreign agricultural workers.  

    Conditions were tough.

    According to the indictment, once in the U.S., workers found that the work was not as plentiful as they had been led to believe, the hours not as long, and the pay not as good (that is, when they were paid at all).  

    Map showing route from Thailand to Hawaii

    While working on farms in places like Hawaii and in several other parts of the country, they sometimes lived under brutal circumstances: at one place, workers were crammed into a large shipping container, with no indoor plumbing or air conditioning. 

    Guards were sometimes hired to make sure no one escaped the living quarters. And workers sometimes witnessed threats of violence or experienced it first-hand.

    They were made to feel as though they had no way out: workers’ passports had been confiscated upon their arrival and they were told if they escaped, they would be arrested and sent back to Thailand, with no way to repay their debts and possibly leaving their families destitute.

    Human trafficking investigations like these are—and will continue to be—a priority under the FBI’s Civil Rights Program. During fiscal year 2010 alone, we opened 126 human trafficking investigations and made 115 arrests, with the assistance of our law enforcement partners often working together on task forces and working groups.

    But perhaps more gratifying, we were able to completely dismantle 12 human trafficking organizations. And resulting prosecutions led to $2.7 million in fines and restitution for the victims of human trafficking.

    source: FBI press release

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    Boing Boing: Ayn Rand took government assistance while decrying others who did the same

    Was Ayn Rand the mother of Marty Feldman of Monty Python?

    An interview with Evva Pryror, a social worker and consultant to Miss Ayn Rand's law firm of Ernst, Cane, Gitlin and Winick verified that on Miss Rand's behalf she secured Rand's Social Security and Medicare payments which Ayn received under the name of Ann O'Connor (husband Frank O'Connor).

    Rand is considred the founder of the Libertarain movement.

    As Pryor said, "Doctors cost a lot more money than books earn and she could be totally wiped out" without the aid of these two government programs.

    Ayn took the government money even though Ayn "despised government interference and felt that people should and could live independently... She didn't feel that an individual should take help."

    But alas she . . . said it was wrong for everyone else to do so.

    Is Social security and Medicare government assistance.

    Yes, but it's not welfare because a working Americans must have 10 years or forty quarters of FICA contributions to be entitled to standard Social Security benefits and Medicare Part A that covers hospitalization.

    Social Security also has the Social Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) programs.

    SSI is provided for elderly immigrants who cannot meet the statutory requirements for normal Social Security. However, tax scoff-laws who haven't been paying FICA like the Gulf Coast fisherman who were caught up in the BP oil spill, will also be eligible for this welfare when they can no longer work.

    These FICA tax scoff-laws will also have to use Medicaid for their medical needs which is a welfare program. Of interest, most of the people who are on welfare live in the Red States.

    Rightardia has written several articles on the Red State welfare apparatus. The Red states have more people on food stamps and related welfare programs than any of the other states. They have more military bases and other federal installations. 

    The Red States are also recipient states that receive more in federal aid than they pay in with income tax. Most of the people who don't pay federal income tax are Red Staters.

    In the US the other major welfare programs are programs Food Stamps and Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF).

    source: Boingboing

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    Schools are being deregulated in the UK

    Eight applications are now in the final stages to open free schools in England. these schools are unlinked for the local school councils that would be equivalent to a school board in the US.

    In the US, conservatives have been fiddling with education for the past decade with charter schools, Edison schools,and vouchers. According to the UN's OECD,  the US system has substantially slipped.

    How about it, wingnuts? You're big on deregulation. How about deregulating schools so teachers aren't unencumbered with a bunch of silly riles.

    For example, in Florida English teachers have to maintain a writing folder on each of their students to show they are progressing in their writing. This puts a tremendous burden on the teacher and is frankly unnecessary.

    Undoubtedly some pointy headed bureaucrat was distressed with writing scores in years past and decided to take out on the English teachers.

    Deregulating schools from state and school board control is a fine idea. Perhaps if we got the politicians out of education, out schools would actually improve.

    What a good idea from the UK!

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    Huffington Post: Netflix Ranks Internet Provider Performance

    Netflix just launched the latest volley in the boiling battle between the movie-streaming company and the Internet providers who want to charge them by the bit.
    click on graphic to enlarge

    When you provide streaming media services, a reliable high speed Internet is essential

    Netflix published a report card on Thursday rating different Internet service providers on their ability to deliver the streaming power the company depends upon.

    We noticed that Time-Warner (Bright House's road Runner) beats  Verizon FIOS. 

    Rightardia switched to Bright House after numerous billing ans service problems with Verizon FIOS. Rightardia discovered Verizon FIOS is slower and pricier than Brighthouse Road runner.

    Since the switch, we have had no significant problems. 

    Many seniors we have talked to said they liked FIOS but simply couldn't afford it.

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    Impeach Clarence Thomas

    Clarence Thomas, for the past 20 years has checked "None" under"Spouse's Non-Investment Income" on his financial disclosure forms.

    We now know, was untrue. The law that is the basis for the disclosure form, includes reference to possible criminal penalties under 18 U.S. Code. Common cause discovered Thomas' wife, had,in fact, made more than $600,000 from the right wing organization,

    Under Title 18, United States Code, Section 1001, it is a crime to knowingly and willfully;

    make any materially false, fictitious or fraudulent statement or representation;in any matter within the jurisdiction of the executive,
    legislative or judicial branch of the United States.

    Violations are punishable by a fine and 5 to 8 years in prison.
    Thomas could be charged with separate counts for each year he falsely
    stated that his wife had no "Non Investment Income.

    The Department of Justice publishes a handbook to provide guidance to
    prosecutors. The handbook details the history of 18 USC 1001 and
    states as follows:

    Amended - 1001 will thus reach those documents that have most often been the subject of congressional false statement prosecutions, such
    as vouchers, payroll documents, and Ethics in Government Act (EIGA)
    financial disclosure forms

    Clarence Thomas' time has come. As a criminal defense attorney, I would have a hard time saying that he did not knowingly and wilfully make false statements when he said his wife did not receive any "Non Investment Income" year after year when she was getting over $100K a
    year.--Alaska Dave.

    Impeach this worthless supreme, Clarence Thomas. He has a made a joke out of the Supreme Court. 


    Alaska Dave's Diary and the Daily KOS

    Newsgroups: alt.politics.bush, alt.crime, alt.politics, alt.politics.republicans, alt.politics.democrats
    From: Raymond <>
    Date: Fri, 28 Jan 2011 23:32:47 -0800 (PST)
    Local: Sat, Jan 29 2011 2:32 am
    Subject: Clarence Thomas should be INDICTED -- UPDATED

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    Politics Daily SOTU: Middle of the Road!!

    One of the most muted SOTU addresses that Rightardia can remember.

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    Pavlovian Obeisiance: Raise the Social Security cap

    Social Security is funded by the FICA payroll tax, the most regressive of the federal taxes because of the $102,500 cap that has a minimal impact on the most affluent Americans.

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    NMA EXCLUSIVE: How Obama prepared for the State of the Union

    The State of the Union is an annual address delivered by the President of the United States to a joint session of Congress.

    The president must wait to be invited into the House of Representatives chamber.

    Next Media Animation caught up with President Barack Obama, moments before he delivered the 2011 State of the Union. This is how the president prepared for one of the most important speeches of the year.

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    Governor Rick Scott’s Weekly Radio Address

    FROM: Brian Burgess, Governor Rick Scott’s Communications Director

    Learn more about Governor Scott’s work to bring jobs to Florida by eliminating job-killing regulation, holding government accountable and making sure Florida has the best educated workforce.

    Grifter governor rick Scott is starting to sound like Fox News. The unemployment  in Florida has little with government regulation.

    We are still waiting to hear more about those 700,000 new jobs that Scott says he will create. I don't think the Scott's honeymoon as governor will last long.

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    Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), Queen of the Tea Party, wants to cut $4.5 billion from the health care, earned in blood on the battlefields, for our American
    military veterans.

    A host of veterans groups slammed Bachmann’s plan:

    –Veterans of Foreign War national commander Richard L. Eubank said,

    The only discussion the VFW wants is to tell the congresswoman that her plan is totally out of step with America’s commitment to our veterans.

    No way, no how, will we let this proposal get any tractionin Congress,” said Eubank. “There are certain things you do not do when our nation is at war, and at the top of that list is not caring for our wounded and disabled servicemen and women when they return home. 

    I want her to look those disabled veterans in the eye and tell them their service and sacrifice is too expensive for the nation to bear.

    The National Veterans Foundation’s Rich Rudnick told ThinkProgress that Bachmann’s plan is

    Terribly misguided. Veterans benefits are minimal to begin with and that Bachmann’s scheme would be a “real step backwards.

    Cutting back on the VA right now would be showing contempt for American servicemembers’ sacrifices.
    Disabled American Veterans Washington Headquarters Executive Director
    David Gorman said Bachmann’s plan is:

     “[s]uch an ill-advised proposal[it] is nothing short of heartless.

    It is unconscionable that while our nation is at war someone would even think of forcing our wounded warriors to sacrifice even more than they already have.

    Their injuries and disabilities were the result of their service to the nation, and our nation must not shirk its responsibilities toward them. 

    How do you tell a veteran who has lost a limb that he or she has not sacrificed enough? Yet Rep. Bachmann wants to do just that.

    Veterans for Common Sense executive director Paul Sullivan said"

    Cutting veterans’ health care spending is an ill-advised move at a time when the number of veterans continues to grow as troops return from Iraq and Afghanistan. It's is really astonishing to see this. Chairman Ashwin Madia said,

    Michelle Bachmann’s plan would turn veterans away from the care they’ve earned and deserve. Congress voted for two wars that have created many veterans that now need help, and we cannot – and will not – turn our backs to them.

    That’s bad policy that I think even a majority of Republican voters will stand squarely against.

    You might think Bacmann's views aren't shared by other Republicans. Think again! the GOP has a very chequered record when it come to supporting veterans.

    Democrats do a much better job of supporting America's vets. This is very clear in the voting record of the two political parties.

    If you are a vet and vote Republican,  all Rightardia can say is were so sorry.

    Join the dumb and proud in the Tea Party.

    Newsgroups: alt.politics
    From: Kickin' Ass and Takin' Names
    Date: Sat, 29 Jan 2011 01:41:19 -0500
    Local: Sat, Jan 29 2011 1:41 am

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    How GW Bush wrecked the Veterans Administration

    Republicans have always more concerned about taking a veteran's disability away than providing awards to deserving vets.

    The VA secretary directed that a review of all the VA claims that had been approved in the past. If you lost a disability while Bush was president, now you know why. Here is the letter VA sent to their Regional Offices. 

    Subject: NEW

    Date: Fri, 22 Jul 2005 13:43:00 -0700 (PDT)



    Essentially the Republican VA secretary suggested that veterans are welfare cheats.  It take years to process a VA disability claim and the process is bureaucratic and comprehensive. Unfortunately, the VA often errors on the side of the government, contrary to congressional law. 

    •  When Bush took office in he had 69,000 in 2000 that were backlogged 
    •  There was a 400,000 claim backlog by 2007
    • After Obama's  inauguration, 803,000 VA claims had been backlogged 
    The increase in claims was also caused by returning vets form Iraq and Afghanistan, and changes to public law which affected presumptive disabilities and the Veterans Claims Assistance Act of 2000.

    The Bush letter would conservatively required that at least one third of all VA awards be reviewed. Rightardia suspects the actual percentage is a lot higher. Many VA awards would extend back to to the Korean and World War 2 Eras.

    The major had a 0 per cent rating for a medical condition that was re-evaluated in 2002. Of interest, he provided documentation to the VA and his disability was raised to 10 per cent. Why would the government waste time re-evaluating a 0 per cent rating?

    Between the two wars that Bush started and due to the absurd review of the old VA awards, the Republicans left the VA behind the claims power curve, one that General Shinseki, the VA secretary, is still trying to dig out from.


    VA, "SOLDIERS RETURNING FROM IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN: The Long-term Costs of Providing Veterans Medical Care and Disability Benefits," by Linda Bilmes, Kennedy School of Government

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