Friday, July 13

Michael Moore on Countdown

Olbermann interviews Michael Moore.

Countdown:Special Comment on Michael Chertoff's Gut

Olbermann and Michael Chertoff's Gut.

Thursday, July 12

Moore vs Gupta II: Gupta Goes Wild

Pardon me for the lateless of this diary, but I was a little busy during the last 24 hours having spent 15 of them at the Emergency Room with my wife who is suffering from a Kidney Infection.

In following up on my last post on Michael Moore v Dr. Sanjay Gupta this time as both of them appeared on Larry King Live my initial thoughts are that I've known a great many Doctors like Gupta who clearly thought they were the smartest guys in the room and treated everyone else with a level of disdain and contempt that was obvious. But Gupta takes that to a whole new level. Many (but not all) Doctors are already a bit arrogant, but that's nothing compared to Gupta The Great Brain Surgeon who clearly would be the biggest prick weiner at a sausauge convention.

Details over the flip.
As he has promised on Wolf Blitzer's The Situation Room, Moore provided a fact check of Gupta's "Fact Check" and pointed out exactly which errors had set him off in detail.


- Gupta's CNN report charged that although Moore complains that America is only ranked 37th in Health Care by the World Health Organization (WHO) - it neglected to point out that Cuba's care which Moore touts is at number 39. Moore points out that this is clearly shown in the film and is even visible in the trailer.


- Gupta's CNN report argues that Moore overestimates the amount spent by America on heathcare at 7,000 per person instead of their number which is $6029, and that they underestimate the amount spent by Cuba as being $25 when their number is $229. Moore counters with data from the U.S. Dept of Health & Human Services which states the figures at $7,092 in 2006 and $7,498 in 2007, while the Gupta's data for Cuba is just flat wrong. SiCKO uses a BBC figure of $251, the WHO's figure is $229.


- Gupta's report claimed that Americans live longer than Cuba, Moore points out the the UN says they don't. (77.5 years for the U.S., 77.6 years for Cuba)


- Gupta's report claimed Americans have the highest patient satisfaction rating. Moore points out that this might be because they just don't know what there missing, and that patient satisfaction is just one of the factors included in the WHO report (where we placed 37th) and then again, the people who would have the biggest complaints the 47 Million people who are uninsured aren't being included in those surveys. Ask everyone (including ME and My WIFE) and Americas satisfaction rating will plummet I promise you!


- Gupta's report claims that Americans have shorter wait time for elective procedures than Germans, but Moore points out that this claim doesn't cover the averate wait times for All Procedures in all six industrialized nations included in the study - of which America ranks next to last at number five, just ahead of Canada. All five of the other countries surveyed (Canada, U.K., Germany, Australia, New Zealand) have nationalized health care except the U.S.


- Gupta's report claims that SiCKO alleges that healthcare in these other countrie is free, when it isn't - it's paid for via taxes and the tax rate in all the countries that rank ahead of us are all higher than ours. Moore counters that he never said it wasn't paid for by taxes. "France is Drowning in Taxes" he says, but also that Americans are going bankrupt trying to pay their medical bills. How's that for "drowning?" BTW I've been Bankrupt - it's not fun.


- Gupta's report claims that even after paying all those taxes, people in these countries still aren't satisfied with their care and that 15% stll pay for private insurance. Moore counters that this figure is only 11% in the U.K., but that this doesn't replace their access and use of the existing system, it's just a supplement (PDF).


- Gupta claims that SiCKO - "Fudged the facts". Moore (correctly) calls this "Libel"

King himself - neutral "unbiased" CNN employee that he is - sets the stage: although CNN made one "minor teeny tiny error" by just being off by 900% on the cost of healthcare in Cuba, Michael Moore is clearly a crazed madman.

Part 1.


Full Transcript.

KING: By the way, that report that you just saw was updated from the version that ran yesterday. The original report did have one error.

Before I get to Michael Moore, let me ask Sanjay to -- what -- what happened with that correction?

GUPTA: -- Yes, we made a mistake, Larry, with regards to the per capita spending for Cubans. Michael correctly -- he said $251 in the movie. We said $5, misquoting him $25 per capita in the piece. And that was a mistake of ours. It was an error of transcription and it's -- we want to get these facts and figures right, as a doctor and a journalist, so we corrected that. But we wanted to make sure we just made that very transparent.


See just minor problem, nothing to see here - move along now move along. But geez, that Moore guy, what a grouch.

KING: Michael, what ticked you off so much about that report?


Well, gee I'm guessing... Everything!

MOORE: -- Well, there's still a lot of facts that remain untrue in that report.

I'll start with the per capita that we spend in this country per person. The film says nearly $7,000 per person in the United States we spend on health care every year. Dr. Gupta said it was around $6,000.

Unfortunately, he's using old statistics from 2004. My statistics are actually from Mr. Bush's Health and Human Services Department, from 2007. And that's only one of a number of things he uses. The Cuban longevity list --


Since Larry can't do math in his head, "let's see 7 - 6 carry the 0" he has to interrupt Micheal mid sentence with this urgent burning question.

KING: But how -- how vast is the difference?

MOORE: -- He's using -- well, you mean the longevity rates?

KING: No, between what he reported of being spent and you report being spent?

MOORE: -- It's a -- it's about a $1,400 difference now. This year Health and Human Services says that we're going to spend about $7,400 per person in this country, not 6,000, as Dr. Gupta said. He's using 2004 statistics.


For those of you who are math challenged like Larry, the difference is a 24.3% increase between Gupta's numbers and Moore's over the course of 3 years or an inflation rate of about 8.1%. (The projected increase between 2006 and 2007 is 5.7%) The current rate of U.S. inflation (as of this month) is 2.69%. It's highest peak since 2004 has been 4.65% in Sept of 05. I'm not an economist, but to me it seem that either way you cut it that means the average rate of profit for healthcare - compared to the general inflation rate - is about 3 to 5% greater.

So Gupta has out-of-date information which is off by 24% compared to current figures. Does he apologize? Does he correct himself? Frack No!

GUPTA: Well, you know, look, we try and look for some of the best sources that we can possibly find, because we think we owe that to our viewers.

You know, Michael has a lot of different numbers here and he's pulling them from different places. One quick example -- Michael, I think you're going to agree with me on this --

MOORE: Oh --

GUPTA: Just hang on one second. $251 is what you cited in the movie as the per capita spending, which I just corrected, by the way -- you heard that -- per capita in Cuba. You have $229 on the Web site. So your Web site and your movie, first of all, don't jive.


Just for the record, Gupta is wrong again... Moore's Site says:

SiCKO: In the U.S., health care costs run nearly $7,000 per person. But in Cuba, they spend around $251 per person.

The 2006 United Nations Human Development Report says Cuba spends $251 per capita on health care. (Human Development Report 2006, United Nations Development Programme, 2006. http://hdr.undp.org/hdr2006/statistics/indicators/52.html)


But then again, anyone who knows the web knows that a site can be scrubbed, and I've been in a ER waiting room all night so what do I know? So lets check the cached version of the page.

As of July 10th, Moore's page used to say this.

SiCKO: In the U.S., health care costs run nearly $7,000 per person. But in Cuba, they spend around $200 per person.

* The World Health Organization puts Cuba's per capita health spending at approximately $229 American dollars. WHO, "Core Health Indicators, Country, Indicator and Year selection, 2007,"
http://www.who.int/whosis/database/core/core_select.cfm


In the pursuit of truthiness, Michael updated his page after the 10th - the day he appeared on Larry King, so it probably did say what Gupta said it said on that day on that on page (although Moore's factcheck page in reponse to Gupta's report which he put up before his King appearance had both the $251 and $229 figures shown in contrast).

The difference between the two figures - both of which are current - is? 9.6%

Gupta's been off by 900% and by 25% - while Moore in all fairness has had a 9.6% discrepancy between two equally respected agencies the WHO and the UN but what's interesting is that in the film and in his webpage update Moore has gone with the higher number rather than pushing the lower Cuba figure in order to make Americas healthcare system look bad. He knows that he doesn't have to "cherry pick" the worst number in order to do that - it looks bad all on it's own.

Gutpa continues his attack claiming that Moore has been dishonest in his sourcing.

That's -- where you pulled the $251 number was a BBC report, which, by the way, stated that the per capita spending in the United States was $5,700. You chose not to use the $5,700 from one report and chose to go to a totally different report and you're sort of cherry picking data from different reports.


In his report Gupta used WHO figures to argue that Moore left out mention of Cuba being ranked at #39, when he didn't leave it out. They then skip to the UN/BBC and mistated those figures on Cuba, then they used DHHS figures on the U.S. of $6000 which are three years out-of-date but they also ignored the UN figure of $5,700.

I happened to check on the source of that $5,700 figure - it came from the UN Human Development Report for 2006 and like the other figures used by Gupta - is for the year 2003 and is four years out of date. But lets just ignore that the numbers are stale a second and pay attention to what else it says. Of the top ten ranked nations for Human Development, the U.S. is way down at number 8 and what we spend on health care is nearly twice that of all the other nations whom out rank us!

Health Care Expeditures Per Capita

See that? Yippee.. we're number 8! We're Number 8!

Up yours Netherlands.

Go U.S.A!

(Pssst. Even if you use all 2003 data. We're still Number 1 in spending, but not in results!)

And Moore is the one "Cherry-Picking?"

No, Moore is simply using the most current data. The UN hasn't yet released it's 2007 HDR report yet - so there simply isn't any more current data for Cuba - but that report will probably give us 2004 numbers for Cuba and the U.S. both. It also probably wouldn't be a stretch to expect that the UN's $5,700 figure for '03 is probably going to match HHS's $6,029 figure for '04, and confirm HHS's methodology. HHS simply doesn't have data or projection from Cuba, that's not what they do, but it does for the US and if HHS has actual numbers for '06 and projections for '07, so why not use them?

Cuz Sanjay says so.

MOORE: I'm using President Bush's own statistics from Health and Human Services. And I put this up on my Web site so people can go and source it themselves. And, in fact, when I --

GUPTA: Michael, you're using projected numbers, though, right?

You're using projected numbers?

And we're using actual numbers.


MOORE: What I did -- yes, in the --

GUPTA: You're using projected numbers.

MOORE: And in the movie -- right.

And in the movie I use the number from Health and Human Services, which as I said, nearly $7,000 per person and Health. And Human Services, last year, said it was a little over $7,000.


Note to Sanjaya: Numbers from last year are not "Projected". Gupta is trying to argue here that his data from 2003/2004 is somehow more accurate than Moore's data from 2006!

Did I mention he was a prick?

Oh and by the way, Moore had sent all this information to Gupta's producer in an email - before the report ran.

MOORE: I -- let me just finish, though. I posted this e-mail that we had with your producer a day before this report ran so that you had all the facts. You ran the story knowing that the facts were wrong and I posted this five minutes ago --

KING: But, wait a minute.

MOORE: -- and (INAUDIBLE).

KING: Why --

GUPTA: Michael, just -- just, if I can say --

MOORE: So people can read this for themselves.

GUPTA: Just because you say they're wrong, I mean it doesn't make it so, Michael. I mean we try and do what you do. We try and get the best available data --

MOORE: I'm not the one saying it's wrong. President Bush says you're wrong.


This right here is the part that gets me, Gupta apparently doesn't trust Bush's HHS (no wonder) or the UN, but he completely supports the WHO (as long as they say exactly what he wants the hear) and he has the nerve to get pissy about it.

GUPTA: We -- you took issue with the ranking of the United States health care versus Cuba, 37 versus 39. We used World Health Organization data. We used the World Health Organization data for the numbers that you just heard in terms of per capita spending. We used the World Health Organization data for mortality rates, as well.

I mean you say that was flatly untrue in terms of -- of the mortality in Cuba versus the mortality in the United States.

Michael, you just can't say things like that without backing it up.

I can show you the data. You've seen it yourself, which I think is most irksome, because you know that there's data out there that actually shows --


Irksome? IRKSOME!? Moore sent his data to Gupta's producer before he does his report - Gupta ignores him, then criticizes him for the data that he used, even though it's more up-to-date and accurate than Gupta's numbers are (but not significantly different as to indicate a different fair reading of their meaning) - then scolds him like a twelve-year-old for "not backing it up."

Let I said, Mega-prick.

If this egomaniac was flying a plane, and Captain Sanjaya was off by 25% on a flight from New York to LA due to a "clerical error" he'd either wind up 700 miles in the middle of the Pacific Ocean or crashing into the Grand Canyon. Not exactly what I'd call the "friendly skies."

What the WHO Data for the year 2005 which shows is that the Male Mortality Rate between US and Cuba is actally the same, both have a 75-year life expectancy. The difference comes with women, in the US the WHO figures give them an 80 year average, while Cuban women have a life expectancy of - get this - just a measly 79 years. In both areas 32 nations rank higher than the U.S. on average life expectancy with San Marino being the highest for men at 80, and Japan as the highest for Women at 86.

Rather than "not backing it up" Moore uses UN figures which show a difference between the U.S. and Cuba of 1 tenth of a percent, which equates to roughly 5 weeks.

I double-checked those figures as well (PDF table 10, Page 315) and what I see in the current UN data is that averaged between the years 2000-2005 the U.S. life expectancy is 77.3 and Cuba's is 77.2.

Five more weeks? Yee hah!!

That's still a lot closer than being 900% or even 25% off the mark I would think.

The scandal here isn't that Cuba is better than us on any specific issue on the whole, it's how did a nation that's been under an international embargo for the past 40+ years can even get anywhere near us while we're paying 22 Times what they pay even if you use apples-to-apple comparison of same/year same/source numbers from the WHO?

If you look at the numbers, any numbers, there's no real way you can conclude that America is getting the "best bang for it's buck" on healthcare. What we really need to be talking about is why? and on that point lets leave it to the Goopster to keep the waters nice an muddy.

Part 2.


Gupta: And you brought up the point, Larry, maybe the numbers aren't that wildly different. But I think the numbers are important here because I think the issue here is that I think it blackens the eyes of people who are actually trying to do something about health care, who actually want to know the numbers, who want to do right by their bodies and their loved one's health. It makes it very hard to advance the argument if you're not getting the numbers right.


Oh, so using out-of-date "wrong numbers" and being off by 900% and 25% blackens whose eye exactly?

This sounds a lot like that ole - "don't point out to the troops that their getting killed, it might hurt the troops" line. As if they haven't noticed The Dying, the Braindamage, the loss of limbs and the PTSD yet. Let's not bring up the statistical information that shows that we pay far more and get less or just barely what they get in Cuba, or France or Germany or Canada or New Zealand or England - let's just keep clapping for the Health "Tinkerbell" Industry so she just won't flop over on her side and die.

You wouldn't want Tinkerbell to die would you?

I also think the whole idea, Michael, of just calling it a free system I think is a little bit nebulous to people who don't fully understand what you mean by that. Yes, you've got to raise taxes significantly. I mean France is drowning in taxes. They're running a $15.6 billion debt. I mean it's very hard to pay for this sort of thing. And to just call it free and say it's free, I think, makes it very -- it's murky, Michael, at best. And I think that's what I have difficulty with when you're trying to really advance a scenario here where we can get health care for everybody. KING: Good point. Michael?

MOORE: Well, he just used the line from my film where I said the French are drowning in taxes. That's my line.

Right?

GUPTA: Well, look --



Let's get back to that 2003 UN per capita chart - the one Gupta berated Moore for not using - and add to it the percentage of GDP the that top ten nations spend both from private and public sources on healthcare with France added into the mix just for fun. (PDF Table 6, Page 301)


France just may be "Drowning in Taxes" but they certainly aren't spending all of that money on their Healthcare system. The U.S. Pays far more on it's private health care system as an overall percentage of it's GDP than France does on it's Public System. Japan literally spends about half what we do on healthcare yet Japanese women have the longest average life expenctancy in the world. Spin that.

There is no evidence anywhere that we would have to "tax ourselves to death" in order to account for all of the people that are currently uninsured in our country. At the end of President Clinton's second term we were running a budget surplus, Medicaid, Medicare and even Social Security were effectively solvent for decades. If we can afford to spend $600 Billion on killing people we can afford to spend a fraction of that to keep tham alive and healthy.

No matter what happens we are going to have a hybrid public/private system much like all these other countries, what's different and something Michael has eloquently pointed out is that people in these other countries don't have to worry about going broke to pay their doctor bills. People don't have to defer care until they absolutely have to do something because of the cost and the painful inconvenience.

When you call 9-11 and say "My House is on FIRE!" or "Someone is trying to Rob ME!" the first questing isn't "Who's your private insurance carrier" or "How are you going to pay for this?" - it's "HOW. CAN. WE. HELP. YOU?"

Anyone think we should be privatizing our police and fire departments? Anyone seriously think that those services are "Socialized?" Then why the hell do you have to prove you're insured before you can see a doctor? The people of our nation are our most precious national security asset, and should be protected as such.

As I said, I just got home from an Emergency Room after about 14 hours of waiting. On some previous visits we've been there for or as long as 23 hours before we even saw a doctor. The U.S. government mandates that all hospitals with an emergency room have to see all patients regardless of their ability to pay. One thing that could be done quickly to dramatically improve the healthcare situation in this country would be to simply expand this practice to also include preventative and maintenance trips to any doctor regardless of whether you have private insurance or not.

Medicaid and Medicare, our two current "socialized" care systems, shouldn't be limited to this Emergency Only/Triage type of care where people are in the worst shape possible. We should allow anyone, anywhere, anytime to see any doctor as a walk-in for preventative care. If we did people would be far less likely to end up in an Emergency Room with conditions that have become chronic in the first place. In the long run, this would lower costs rather than raise them.

The second step would be to outlaw insurance companies from denying care without consulting a licensed on-staff physician, and to ban care-denial insentive pay. People shouldn't get bonuses for blocking someones access to treatment.

The third step would be to ban the exclusion of care for pre-existing conditions. Free Marketeers like to present this view that people can simply "shop around" for the best price and quality of healthcare if they aren't happy with what they have - but that simply isn't true. If you have an ongoing chronic condition, most 80/20 plans won't accept you - so that choice is foreclosed to them. If people really could leave a lousy healthcare provider, the loss in revenue just might give them some incentive to improve. Right now that isn't the case and they have no more motivation other than maximizing their profits on the backs of the American public and their employers.

The problem that Hillary Clinton ran into 14 years ago was that she tried to solve every problem in the U.S. healthcares system all at once. There are large and small problems with both the public and the private aspects of our system, and we might find ourselves much further down the line if we look at these issues individually and knock them down one domino at a time.

Vyan

Update: After posting I had to go to pharmacy to pick up some Cipro for my wife. It used my last dollar, but was worth it. I expect she'll be fine, for now - no thanks to Dr. Sanjaya.

Tuesday, July 10

Michael Moore Debunks Dr. Sanjay Gupta

In less then 24 hours since his blistering appearance on CNN where he repeated asked Wolf Blitzer to apologize for their failure to present the facts to the American people prior to our entering the Iraq War - Michael Moore has now fulfilled his promise and completely fact checked the erroneous report presented by Dr. Sanjay Gupta just prior to his interview.




It's been quite a while since anyone has had the cojones to take on the Wolf in such a way and even Moore points this out as he notes how long it took Blitz to confront Dick Cheney (although admittedly all he really did was confront Lynn Cheney - and lost - then whined about it)

This time though, the one who really set Michael off wasn't Blizter it was Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

First there's the trick of pointing to something that's right there in plain sight already.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN: "(Moore says) the United States slipped to number 37 in the world's health care systems. It's true. ... Moore brings a group of patients, including 9/11 workers, to Cuba and marvels at their free treatment and quality of care. But hold on - that WHO list puts Cuba's health care system even lower than the United States, coming in at #39."

THE TRUTH:

* "But hold on?" 'SiCKO' clearly shows the WHO list, with the United States at number #37, and Cuba at #39. Right up on the screen in big five-foot letters. It's even in the trailer! CNN should have its reporter see his eye doctor. The movie isn't hiding from this fact. Just the opposite.
* The fact that the healthcare system in an impoverished nation crippled by our decades-old blockade (including medical supplies and drugs) ranks so closely to ours is more an indictment of the American system than the Cuban system.

http://www.cms.hhs.gov/...

There's the tried and true - half truth.

CNN: Americans have shorter wait times than everyone but Germans when seeking non-emergency elective procedures, like hip replacement, cataract surgery, or knee repair.

THE TRUTH:

* This isn't the whole truth. CNN pulled out a statistic about elective procedures. Of the six countries surveyed in that study (United States, Canada, New Zealand, UK, Germany, Australia) only Canada had longer waiting times than America for sick adults waiting to schedule a doctor's appointment for a medical problem. 81% of patients in New Zealand got a same or next-day appointment for a non-routine visit, 71% in Britain, 69% in Germany, 66% in Australia, 47% in the U.S., and 36% in Canada. (The Doc's in, but It'll be AWhile. Catherine Arnst, Business Week. June 22, 2007 http://www.businessweek.com/... )
* One way America is able to achieve decent waiting times is that it leaves 47 million people out of the health care system entirely, unlike any other Western country. When you remove 47 million people from the line, your wait should be shorter. So why is the U.S. second to last in wait times?

Then of course, there's outright lying.

CNN: In fact, Americans live just a little bit longer than Cubans on average.

THE TRUTH:

* Just the opposite. The 2006 United Nations Human Development Report's human development index states the life expectancy in the United States is 77.5 years. It is 77.6 years in Cuba. (Human Development Report 2006, United Nations Development Programme, 2006 at 283. http://hdr.undp.org/... )

CNN: "But no matter how much Moore fudged the facts, and he did fudge some facts..."

* This is libel. There is not a single fact that is "fudged" in the film. No one has proven a single fact in the film wrong. We expect CNN to correct their mistakes on the air and to apologize to their viewers.

Anyone else get the feeling that there's an unseen "Or Else" at the end of that last sentence?

I'm thinking there is.

Wouldn't it be nice if there was a site that did this type of fact checking against the MSM on a regular basis. A site that included audio and video clips as well as completely transcripts of what was said, then also included links and facts to show just how full of B.S. they are so often?

Oh wait...

There already is - http://www.mediamatters.org

Vyan

Wicked Wisdom - Bleed All Over Me

Wisdom Wisdom - Bleed All Over Me

Flyleaf - Fully Alive

Flyleaf - Fully Alive

Pantera - I'm Broken

Pantera - I'm Broken

Bill Kristol v Juan William in a knock down drag out over Libby

Bill Kristol vs Juan Williams over Libby Commute

Monday, July 9

LIbby was communted to Pacify Cheney

In a new Newsweek article by Michael Isikoff, the issue of the real source for Bush's communtation of Scooter Libby's 30 months sentence just may have been revealed.

The president was conflicted. He hated the idea that a loyal aide would serve time. Hanging over his deliberations was Cheney, who had said he was "very disappointed" with the jury's verdict. Cheney did not directly weigh in with Fielding, but nobody involved had any doubt where he stood. "I'm not sure Bush had a choice," says one of the advisers. "If he didn't act, it would have caused a fracture with the vice president."

Ah, it's so clear now. If Bush didn't do something to help Libby the passive-aggressive head of Forthbranch would have brooded and pouted for the next 18 months, and if any of you have ever had a taciturn spouse you know that can be a living hell.

As was shown by the four part Washington Post series on Cheney, he manages to get his way within the Bush Whitehouse most of the time, but he doesn't do it by shouting and being loud. He does it by being quiet.

Cheney has changed history more than once, earning his reputation as the nation's most powerful vice president. His impact has been on public display in the arenas of foreign policy and homeland security, and in a long-running battle to broaden presidential authority. But he has also been the unseen hand behind some of the president's major domestic initiatives.

Could you imagine the scene if Bush had been ready to let Libby swing? I can see it now...

    B: "What's wrong honey?"

    C: Sigh! Grumble

    B: "Can I get you some curly fries - they're delicious?"

    C: Eyes roll - more grumbling - some cursing and mumbling under his breath between penguin quacks

    B: "Is it the Libby Appeal thingee?"

    C: Big Sigh!

    B: "I'm sorry but there was nothing I could do. The jury decided, the judge was well within the manditory minimum sentencing guidelines that we've been pushing through the DOJ for years, the appeals court found there was not even a close call as ground to delay his reporting to prison."

    C: Exasperated Snort

    B: "Fine! FINE!" Gets out of bed in a huff. Stomps to the Big Red Prez-Phone with the Presidential Seal where the dailing buttons should be. (Picks it up, triggering a special Presidential March Ring-Tone at the other end) "Get me Fielding. We have simply got to do something about Scooter" Waits approximately 4.57 seconds. "Fred? What's that you say? Maybe if we commute instead of pardon, we might avoid some of the heat that Billy-Boy took over Marc Rich? In fact, we can use it as yet another example of how we're better than those Liberal Scum! Great Idea Fred, Get right on that and have it ready for my signature by close of business today." Turns back to his (running) mate.

    "See, isn't that better?"

    C: Wan smile.

Let all just ignore the fact that Scooter Libby was Marc Rich's Lawyer and that Rich was originally indicted by - wait for it - Rudy Giuliani, who now of course thinks that commuting Libby's sentence was "reasonable" but used to think the pardoning Rich was "a travesty."

Yeah, right. sure. Okey dokey.

Anyway I'm just positive that the President was just absolutely sick that one of his top aides was facing jail time. By the way, what's he done for his former domestic policy adviser Claude Allen lately?

Allen was detained on January 2, 2006, after one alleged theft, then arrested on March 9, 2006, for a series of similar alleged thefts in Montgomery County, Maryland. According to police, Allen committed refund theft, a form of criminal activity where goods are fraudulently returned in stores for cash.

Y'see Allen had apparently been shoplifting from Target. TARGET! Then returning the items for cash. I guess he just had some shit he really needed to buy, eh?

By all accounts Allen's behavior was bizarre given that his annual salary as an advisor was $160,000. He pleaded guilty to theft on August 4, 2006. He shed tears during his sentencing hearing and apologized to his wife, family, and friends. Noting that Allen had been publicly humiliated by his arrest, and that he accepted responsibility for the crimes without trying to make excuses, the judge sentenced him to 18 months of "probation before judgment", which means that his record will be expunged if he completes his probation successfully.

Well then, I guess the judge already took care of that issue by going straight to probation followed by automatic expungment since Claude cried in court like a big neo-con baby. Problem solved. Good thing he wasn't a Millionaire Heiress, or that would've backfired big time.

And Bush's comments on the matter were so clearly heartfelt.

"If the allegations are true, Claude Allen did not tell my Chief of Staff and legal counsel the truth, and that's deeply disappointing.

Yeah, it's so dissapointing because if he'd told your chief as staff and White House Counsel he was a freaking klepto - you'd do what exactly? Send him to Promises Re-hab Center to hang out with Lindsey Lohan?

If the allegations are true, something went wrong in Claude Allen's life, and that is really sad. When I heard the story last night I was shocked. And my first reaction was one of disappointment, deep disappointment that — if it's true — that we were not fully informed. But it was also one — shortly thereafter, I felt really sad for the Allen family.

Um, yeah - ok.

And what about former White House procurement head David Safavian? Y'know, the Iranian guy they used to play racketball with at the club after a hard day toiling with Cheney in the Bunker - David Hossein Safavian!.

On November 4th, 2003, President George W. Bush announced Safavian's nomination to be the Administrator for Federal Procurement Policy, Office of Management and Budget, Executive Office of the President.[5], where he set purchasing policy for the entire government.[6]

David Safavian was indicted October 5, 2005. He was accused of making false statements and obstructing investigations into his dealings with Jack Abramoff while he was chief of staff for the General Services Administration. His trial started May 25, 2006. Guilty verdicts on four of five felony counts of lying and obstruction were returned June 20

On June 20, 2006, Safavian was found guilty by a jury in federal court on four of five felony charges. He was found guilty of lying to the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, lying to a GSA ethics official, lying to the GSA's Office of Inspector General, and obstructing the work of the GSA inspector general. Safavian was cleared of obstructing the committee's investigation.[9]

On July 13, 2006, Safavian asked for a new trial on the grounds that the emails used in the trial constituted hearsay. Justice Department officials have until July 31 to respond to the motions. A hearing was planned for August 24, 2006.[10]

On October 27, 2006, U.S. District Judge Paul L. Friedman sentenced Safavian to 18 months in prison

I wonder if Hossein Osama Safavian has picked out a tailored orange jumpsuit already, or is he just going to go off the rack?.

So Safavian got 18 months for perjury, while Claude Allen gets probation for theft (unless he gets itchy for some towels with a bunch of ugly red circles on them) and Libby gets effectively nothing for aiding and abetting TREASON since you can't serve probation in the federal system without going to jail first, and his fine is already paid for thanks to TFucker Carlson's Dad.

Unfortunately the Prez's little King Soloman Act with Libby has managed to split the baby in two - and neither side seems to be doing that all that well as both Democrats and Republicans are now calling for Patrick Fitzgerald to appear on the Hill.

Sen. Arlen (Single Bullet Theory) Specter wants to grill Fitzgerald over...

"Why were they pursuing the matter long after there was no underlying crime on the outing of the CIA agent?"

I'm just guessing, but maybe it was because The CIA ASKED THEM too?

And also...

"Why were they pursuing it after we knew who the leaker was?"

Y'mean Richard Armitage? Well, it's true that Armitage was the first person to speak with Robert Novak and reveal that "Wilson's Wife was at CIA", something that was later confirmed to Novak by Karl Rove, but that completely ignores the fact that the by the time Novak spoke with Armitage on July 10th, Libby and Judith Miller had already spoken twice and discussed the employment of Wilson's Wife. The fact is that Libby leaked first, all the way back on June 23, 2002 long before the Russert or the Novak/Armitage conversations ever took place. The only reason Novak published before Miller is the fact that the New York Times refused to go with the story.

Good thing they had a backup plan for getting their bogus story of how Wilson was sent by his Wife to Niger as if she was asking him to take out the garbage - isn't it?

    V:"Oh Honey, could you take care of this little Yellowcake issue for me?"

    J:"Sure, sweetie - I've got my sun block, plane tickets and bags all packed for Niger. I'll be back in a snap."

    V:"Thanks, hon!"

Let's not muddy up the works with facts like the point that Valerie didn't even invite Joe to come to CIA headquaters, let alone Niger. All of that came from other people at CIA who were simply impressed with Joe's credentials. Funny how being immensely qualified has that effect on some people.

Oh and btw, Libby's story that he only heard about "Wilson's Wife" from Tim Russert is contridicted by the 8 other people he spoke to about her including Ari Fliescher and the Vice President.

Speaking of the VEEP, Patrick Leahy has some question for Fitz about him and those secret inverviews with him and the President over the Libby matter. But he's not really expecting that he'll be able to get a crack directly at Scooter himself...

It would do no good to call Scooter Libby. His silence has been bought and paid for," Leahy said, referring to Bush’s commutation, "and he would just take the fifth."

Oh well, outmaneauvered again by those sneaky White House bastiges. It's almost as bad as losing another one to Ditech isn't it?

(Shaking first in the general direction of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave)

Curse You Cheney - curse you all the Hell!

Just wait, we'll get you Impeached yet - and you're little dog Bushie too.

Vyan

Bush DOJ is a Disgrace

An article in the Denver Post cuts through the rhetoric and double-talk and explains exactly how much damage GWB has done to our system of Justice.

Bush justice is a national disgrace
By John S. Koppel
Article Last Updated: 07/05/2007 11:48:30 PM MDT


As a longtime attorney at the U.S. Department of Justice, I can honestly say that I have never been as ashamed of the department and government that I serve as I am at this time.

The public record now plainly demonstrates that both the DOJ and the government as a whole have been thoroughly politicized in a manner that is inappropriate, unethical and indeed unlawful. The unconscionable commutation of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby's sentence, the misuse of warrantless investigative powers under the Patriot Act and the deplorable treatment of U.S. attorneys all point to an unmistakable pattern of abuse.

In the course of its tenure since the Sept. 11 attacks, the Bush administration has turned the entire government (and the DOJ in particular) into a veritable Augean stable on issues such as civil rights, civil liberties, international law and basic human rights, as well as criminal prosecution and federal employment and contracting practices. It has systematically undermined the rule of law in the name of fighting terrorism, and it has sought to insulate its actions from legislative or judicial scrutiny and accountability by invoking national security at every turn, engaging in persistent fearmongering, routinely impugning the integrity and/or patriotism of its critics, and protecting its own lawbreakers. This is neither normal government conduct nor "politics as usual," but a national disgrace of a magnitude unseen since the days of Watergate - which, in fact, I believe it eclipses.

In more than a quarter of a century at the DOJ, I have never before seen such consistent and marked disrespect on the part of the highest ranking government policymakers for both law and ethics. It is especially unheard of for U.S. attorneys to be targeted and removed on the basis of pressure and complaints from political figures dissatisfied with their handling of politically sensitive investigations and their unwillingness to "play ball." Enough information has already been disclosed to support the conclusion that this is exactly what happened here, at least in the case of former U.S. Attorney David C. Iglesias of New Mexico (and quite possibly in several others as well). Law enforcement is not supposed to be a political team sport, and prosecutorial independence and integrity are not "performance problems."
Vyan

Sunday, July 8

Right Wing Attacks Live Earth ... and misses by a Planet

Today I wanted to talk about John Conyers on This Week saying the I-Word out loud in reference to the recent ARG poll indicating that well over 50% of the American people favor the Impeachment of Bush and Cheney, and the fact that the White House has refused to let Sara Taylor testify in the DOJ hearings pushing Congress one step closer to a Contempt Citation.

I wanted to talk about Bill Kriston admitting that the timing fo the Libby commute was engineered to create a debate over the Clinton pardons, a debate which they happen to be losing badly.

But Instead I'm going to focus yet again on Live Earth and just how freaking desperate and deranged it has began to make the Climate Change Deniers Club ™ .

Now I've had my own criticism's of Live Earth's lineup which I posted yesterday, but I'm not going to revise that debate because in many ways it's beside the point.

What I felt while watching Live Earth is that it really isn't about which bands did and didn't play or what they played. It was about reaching out all across the world and lighting a potential spark inside BILLIONS OF PEOPLE which just might change and save this world from itself.

The shear scope of this event has been staggering. It has shown that we can rise to this challenge even though it may seem daunting and enormous. We can each take steps, take responsibility in our own lives to help make this world cleaner, greener and possible last just a little bit longer.

The fact that they've gotten a person like me, someone who'se been an extremely outspoken and acerbic critic of modern music for the past 15 years to finally put that all that aside - just for moment - with a concert this massive is a stunning accomplishment.

Let me tell you Micheal Mustow has nothing on me when it comes to being a brutal and vicious critic of modern music. If you think political debate can be rough-house knock-down drag-out tussle, just try discussing music with musicians sometime.

In fact, I'm certain that over the years there are people who are flat-out afraid to discuss their favorite (fill-in-the-blank emo/neo-punk/cool hair-cut/pop-tart/rough trade) band with me to this very day because as both a music performer, fan and critic for 20 years I'll probably verbally rip that band into tiny peices of confetti, then burn the confetti without batting an eye.

Today though, I think I'd use those ashes in a compost pile just so I could say they'd finally accomplished something worthwhile.

Anywho... instead of debating matters of musical taste and preference let us turn to the den of scum and villany housing the Climate Change Deniers who I think we should rank along side those who continue to deny the Holocaust, those who continue to deny that Saddam was not the Mastermind of 9/11, and the last remaining 26% percent (Newsweek 7/3) of us who continue to deny that the Sock-Puppet Presidency of George W.Bush and his D/s Top Richard B. "Shooter" Cheney is a Fucking Disastrous Blight on This Nation.

Last night on TFucker Carlson, one of these CCD mouth breathers from the oil and gas lobby powered "Competitive" Enterprise Institute actually said that ....

Al Gore has been looking for a world crisis his own life, where he can come through and "save the world" He wants to be a Superhero Action Figure. Basically he makes this stuff up [about global warming]. There is no scientific support for most his claims.

A Superhero? Y'mean like Commander Guy ™ !?

No Scientific Support?

This guy actually went on National TV - while the Live Earth Concerts were taking place - and said there's No Scientific Support for what Al Gore has been saying about Climate Change?

Is that not dumb as rocks stunning?

I mean most of these guys - like say, trusty ole' Fourthbranch - usually argue that the science is "inconclusive" or that the "debate is still ongoing", but this guy, Myron Ebell, just can't seem to contain himself. He's so full of crap it's coming out of eyes, ears, nose and mouth.

Then he changed tactics and began to actually argue in favor of conservation by claiming that the Live Earth concerts were a bad idea because they use too much energy!

Which side of this mental hopscotch game are these guys playing on?

So let me get this one straight - there's "No Scientific Evidence" to support Gore's Climate Change thesis that the emission of CO2 gasses into the atmosphere tend to create a greenhouse effect which is gradually warming our planet and threatening to drastically and radically change our eco-system - yet, you really shouldn't use up all that energy cuz it's like bad, mm,kay?

Has anyone ever taught this nitwit 4th Grade Science where they usually mention, even in your basic Neo-Christian Madrossa in the buckle of the bible belt where some seem to think the Sun revolves around the Earth, that Venus the cloud covered planet is actually hotter than Mercury which is closest to the Sun?

Anyone?

Beuller?

Before I get to the really Stupifying stuff, let's point out that the Live Earth organizers went to agonizing lengths to limit the amount of travel that performers would have to make in order to reach the show.

Live Earth strives to operate in as ecofriendly a way as possible: Several staffers are dedicated entirely to helping artists minimize the environmental impact of getting to and playing the shows, and each artist is given a "Green Handbook" of touring tips, such as where to get biodiesel for their trucks and how to offset carbon emissions. And in London, the team has been discussing a deal with Richard Branson's Virgin Atlantic Airlines to reduce the carbon footprint for flights

Not only did they suggest that the artist shift to using bio-deisel for their tour vehicles - which Willie Nelson has been doing for years - they even used bio-deisel generators at the venues where possible. Also LED and compact florescent lights were employed for the show, which only use a fraction of the energy required by normal bulbs.

From the AP.

"This is going to be the greenest event of its kind, ever," former Vice President and Live Earth partner Al Gore told The Associated Press. "The carbon offsets and the innovative practices that are being used to make this a green event, I think, will set the standard for years to come."

The point is not to make the everything perfectly green, but simply to make events such as this - and for that matter most of what we do in our own private lives - greener and greener, as carbon neutral as we can get it bit by bit rather than all at once.

On this point Live Earth dramatically unveiled the lie beneath the rightwings more vicious canard. We don't have to live like Geico's favorite political-correction safe whipping boy - the caveman. We shouldn't be thinking that being Eco-friendly means living under a rock with a machette, a bic lighter and a few pairs of birkenstocks. We can LIVE IT UP and have a great big global party - and still be green. Living green isn't going to be bad for the economy and it isn't going to be bad for business. Well, to be fair, it might be really bad for the brown businesses like the ones who fund Myron and his sociopathic ilk, but then they deserve it don't cha think?

And of course, that's exactly what scares Myron - Sugardaddy Warbucks might have to go on a diet. So naturally he lashes out at those damn dirty liberals who are a threat to his meal ticket.

Global warming is a creation of the left, and the left is all about re-distributing income. We have to become an awful lot poorer, and the people in China have to become a little bit poorer to solve this problem according to the Global Warming Alarmists like Al Gore.

Yeah, we're all going to be in the poor house if we adopt cleaner emissions standards. Oh wait, most of us already are in the po' house - so much so we can't even afford to buy another vowel for the rest of the word. So gee, what's there to really lose then, eh?

And speaking of that completely non-existent Scientific Evidence...

On May 26th, James Hansen, the head of NASA’s Goddard Institute Of Space Studies and the top U.S. climate scientist, issued a new warning about the threat of a catastrophic rise in sea levels.

I suggest that a "scientific reticence" is inhibiting the communication of a threat of a potentially large sea level rise. Delay is dangerous because of system inertias that could create a situation with future sea level changes out of our control. I argue for calling together a panel of scientific leaders to hear evidence and issue a prompt plain-written report on current understanding of the sea level change issue.

And then there's the Intergovernmental Panel On Climate Change which released three reports.

One on the Science of Global Warming.

In a grim and powerful assessment of the future of the planet, the leading international network of climate scientists has concluded for the first time that global warming is "unequivocal" and that human activity is the main driver, "very likely" causing most of the rise in temperatures since 1950.

One on the Impacts of Global Warming, not only on natural resources but also on our global security.

If the impact of climate change is going to make regions of violence poorer, then they really provide a level of fertility for inciting disaffection, resentment against the prosperous world. That’s an indirect effect that can create the conditions for terrorism. There is also domestic reasons. If higher-intensity hurricanes create a lot of damage, that does in some sense have security-implications as well. There is a whole range of factors. Water scarcity is another one. I’m not saying all this translates into direct threats to the U.S., but conflict anywhere has some implication for security in the U.S. As the most powerful and most prosperous nation on Earth, it is for the U.S. to take a global view of what strategically might minimize the possibility of threats to national security.

And a third on the relatively Modest Cost of implementing Green Friendly measures to combat Climate Change.

Humans must make sweeping cuts in greenhouse gas emissions in the next 50 years to keep global warming in check, but it need cost only a tiny fraction of world economic output, a major U.N. report said on Friday.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said keeping the temperature rise within 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 F) would cost only 0.12 percent of annual gross domestic product.

Not that the facts have ever really gotten in the way of chronic deniers like Myron and his pals.

Fox News: "Al Gore’s Global Warming Movie: Could It Destroy Our Economy?"

Rush Limbaugh: "[Liberals] would have us destroy our economy and millions of jobs based on pseudoscience."

James Inhofe: "Global warming is an alarmism. It’s a type of a hoax. The reality is that a cap on carbon is a cap on the economy."

I'm thinking these guys are going to be spending time in the history books being compared to their bestest buddy Ahmadinajad for their incredible level of denial, nigh unto a pathological addiction to bullcrap.

But y'know maybe that's just me.

I'm just saying...

Vyan