Feds tipped to ‘mob summit’ – Raid nets private McCain event

Federal agents acting on a tip from an informant were expecting a high level criminal meeting when they stormed a mansion in Phoenix’s wealthy Biltmore community.

Special Agent Joan Edgar Tolson said a confidential informant had alerted the FBI’s elite Joint Operating Intelligence Division (JOI Division) to “a big, big sit-down involving shady characters” at the home, owned by local businessman Jack Hussein Londen.

Instead, the heavily armed, black-clad agents burst in on a heavily moneyed, black tie John McCain fundraising event.

“Our first thought when we saw how well dressed the crowd was was that we hit the mother lode,” Tolson told a press conference held at JOI Division headquarters. She said their warrant was issued based on the probable cause that Londen is a known kingpin in the insurance and media industries.

Republican National Committee spokesman Strom Hussein Frandle criticized agents for taking too long to realize their error. “JOI Division inconvenienced a lot of people and kept them from important, completely legal special interest activities,” said Frandle.

“She’s lost control, I’ll never know just why or understand,” he said of Tolson. He said he would have Tolson fired if it emerges she is not a Republican.

Tolson defended her agents. “A number of people made for the exits when agents first went in, so we thought we were in the right place,” Tolson said. He went on to say that one person detained trying to escape through the kitchen was released after he was identified as former Senator Phil Gramm (R-Texas). Also questioned and released was fugitive financier Robert Vesco, who was found halfway out the bathroom window.

Sources say the McCain campaign has turned to small private fundraising events because of the need to distance the presumptive Republican nominee from President Bush, avoid large crowds of protesters, escape media scrutiny, and an inability to fill larger public venues.

However, Leilani Frandle (no relation) of the organization Sane People For the 50 States (SPF-50) told reporters that her group doesn’t object to McCain holding fundraisers in private, so long as there is ample sidewalk area out front. “We get nine to ten thousand anti-war protesters every time McCain comes back to Phoenix, your normal neighborhood sidewalks don’t have room for that many marchers.”

Strom Frandle said accommodating more demonstrators would not be possible, as crowd control would be a burden to local law enforcement. But Lt. Martin Hussein Milner of the Phoenix Police Department said that would not be a problem. “We always like the overtime,” Milner said.

None dead in non-shooting – Liberal doesn’t open fire in church

Tragedy was avoided at an ultra-conservative Kentucky church on Sunday, when an emotionally balanced liberal did not shoot and kill members of the fundamentalist congregation.

Church spokesman John Threesixteen smiled and paused his Tivo in mid-700 Club when reporters called Monday with questions about Norm Descript, a registered Democrat from Louisville.

“We were somewhat concerned when he pulled into the parking lot in his Saab 9000. We don’t get a lot of Obama bumper stickers here,” said Threesixteen.

“I talked to Mr. Descript following the worship service, and he said he was just curious about us, and wanted to reach out to conservatives. To each his own, I guess,” Threesixteen said.

Threesixteen said Descript did not snap, scream, draw a weapon, or fire shots of any kind.

Police did not find a note in Descript’s vehicle expressing anger over the “conservative movement” and its intolerance of gay couples, among other things.

Officers who went to Descript’s home following the non-shooting found books by the Dalai Lama, Noam Chomsky and Al Franken.

In other news, Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) was indicted today on corruption charges. A Washington grand jury issued the indictment concerning false statements Stevens made about an oil services company in Alaska, and a series of Internet tubes installed in his home.

When bulls**t masks the national shame

The headline from WaPo was – Oil May Become GOP’s 2008 Issue – which gives a great indication of where the economic debate is heading. Think about it, with annual 5.0 percent GDP growth rate over the past decade and a trade deficit has growing by over 25 percent per year, you are not paying for today’s gas, but yesterdays. You are paying interest on the massive debt.

But that is just the start, you are also being assured there is no recession. How is it possible that inflation has remained low over the past decade while housing, healthcare, energy and higher education costs have skyrocketed?
How has the government been able to conclude that inflation doesn’t present a problem for the economy?
How can the government report inflation without measuring food and energy costs?

Easy really if you ignore reality and just punch in the figures people want to see. Then you talk about every other bit of bullshit on the planet and take people’s thoughts away from an increasingly rapid ride toward economic disaster.

US government’s get away with this kind of ‘pea and thimble’ game because your economists still think the economy is the markets, there are no informed critics to spill the beans. Well few anyway, I found an excellent series of explanations here and here

Another message from John McCain

Hello, my friends. It’s me again, John Sidney McCain III, bringing you another installment in my ongoing series, Spare Change You Can Believe In.

My opponent Barack Hussein Obama has been telling Americans that I’m running for President Bush’s third term. Bloomers! There are all kinds of differences between the president and me.

How’s this for different: a market-based solution to homeland security.

People seem upset about domestic surveillance. Fine, I can see their point. When Phil Gramm wants to pick up the phone and call me, no one needs to listen-in on two old farts chatting about recipes, The Young & Restless, energy trading deregulation, or sub prime mortgage bundling.

Here’s some Spare Change You Can Believe In: when I’m in the White House, Americans will be able to get a new USA Rewards card.

Here’s how the USA Rewards system will work. In exchange for access to all your PINs and passwords (which I promise will be used for marketing purposes only), you’ll earn Patriot Points every time you pay FICA, donate to participating political parties, or reenlist in the armed forces.

Patriot Points will be redeemable for interest on disaster repair loans, discount admissions to national parks and the Smithsonian, flu shots, food stamps, and assistance from faith-based organizations.

Most important is that the USA Rewards card will keep you safe. A harmless little GPS chip called the Super America National Tracking Aide, or SANTA, will let the DHS know where you are at all times, and whether you’re sleeping, awake, bad or good. Everyone loves SANTA, my friends, and SANTA is Uncle Sam’s best friend on Facebook. SANTA will help DHS identify troublemakers and assign them COAL status, short for Communist or Arab, Likely.

So to sum up: not Bush’s third term; Rewards card; big discounts; keeping you safe; Christmas.

One last thing. It takes a long time to say “my friends,” my friends. So from now on I’m going to do like the texters do, and shorten it to ‘MFs,’ and sometimes ‘MFers.’ Because I’m young and hep too.

So thanks for listening, MFers. Please join me again for the next: Spare Change You Can Believe In.

Mayor Pretty Boy weds again

San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom snuck off to Montana this weekend to tie the knot with his 34 year old actress fiance Jennifer Siebel.   Methinks I smell a political agenda here.  The last time he married was just before he became mayor.  Does he have gubernatorial aspirations?  Then a trophy wife would be key, I mean look at our current first lady.  She’s a Kennedy, a reporter and has the looks of a beauty queen.  I’m just wondering, since Mayor Newsom and his first wife were billed as, “The New Kennedy’s” how will the media characterize this match?  “The new Clintons” perhaps?

iNews Friday – now with Merged Headline Translation, 7/25/2008

From the iNews 9000 Turbo wi-fi headline translator–

Headline: President Bush Makes Little Girl Run Off Crying At White House T-Ball Game
Translation: Bush – Little girl “cried more than Sammy Sosa did when I traded him to the White Sox”

Headline: New York Times turns down an op-ed from McCain
Translation: 5,000 word piece, “food that doesn’t get stuck in my dentures,” will run with the restaurant reviews

Headline: Turkey injects hopes into Iran nuclear talks
Translation: Cindy McCain stole basting-injection roast turkey method from Martha Stewart

Headline: Bush Meets With New Russian President for First Time
Translation: Attempt to look Medvedev in eye thwarted by mirrored sunglasses
Translation (Turbo mode): Bush looks into Medvedev’s soul – finds kidney stone, polyp; recommends further tests

Headline: McCain Mistakenly Refers to Defunct Czechoslovakia
Translation: Miss Teen South Carolina Lauren Caitlin Upton resigns as McCain campaign advisor
Translation (Turbo mode): McCain hopes to rebound with fact-finding trip to Prussia
Translation (Enhanced Turbo mode): Lieberman takes blame – abandoned whispering post to pal around with evangelicals

Headline: US and Czech Republic Sign Defense Agreement
Translation: Fine print requires Czech Rep. and Slovakia play reunion concert for McCain inauguration

Headline: Guantanamo Judge Blocks Use of Some Statements
Translation: Opposing counsels warned against saying “I’m out of order? This court is out of order!” or “Now, I’m just a simple country lawyuh”

Headline: Barak and Obama hold breakfast meeting
Translation: McCain befuddled at report – does double-take, blinks, rubs eyes, shakes head making that lleughll-lleughll-lleughll sound

Headline: Court tosses FCC ‘wardrobe malfunction’ fine
Translation: Government regulators take control of Janet Jackson’s boob – people holding boob will not lose assets – other boob will reopen as IndyFlash Federal Boob

Headline 1: Obama rocks 200,000 in Berlin
Headline 2: McCain visits German restaurant in Ohio
Merged Headlines Translation: McCain practices his “HELLO CLEVELAND!” in arena tunnel

Headline 1: GOP kills effort to release oil from US stockpile
Headline 2: Oil rebounds from two-day tumble
Merged Headlines Translation: “Who says conservation isn’t profitable?” asks Boehner

Wiseline Institute Northwest and the Wiseline Institute NeWs Service will be on holiday for two weeks starting July 31. Check back August 1 for the first of three exciting iNews specials.

Like a Heartless Terminator?

Or a sly politico?

As the yearly budget process winds down here in California, our legislature struggles to close a $17.2B shortfall with proposals that range from borrowing against future state lottery earnings (our Governator) to enacting a sweeping tax increase package (the Democrats).   Republicans, though, have said “no” to new taxes, and so negotiations have ground to a halt.

The Governator on CNNBut with the budget 30 days overdue and the state running out of money, Governor Schwarzenegger has come up with a plan to force the legislature to finish: Starting next week, he’s going to slash state worker’s pay until the budget is passed.  “How does the governor get that authority?”  you might ask.  Well…it’s a little known CA Supreme Court ruling that allows the governor to basically impoverish state employees by cutting their pay down to the federal minimum wage of $6.55/hour—even below CA’s minimum wage of $8.00/hour.  And does this rule cover all workers? NO IT DOES NOT! Only hourly workers are affected. The Governor’s staff, the legislators, along with a wide swath of highly compensated managers and employees don’t get touched. So instead of simply shutting down the government—fair to all—our jack-hole of a governor is going to force a huge number of state employees to labor for pennies until he gets his way.

So the question is:  Why would the Governator use the anger of state employees to force the legislature’s hand rather than the anger of California’s citizens?  The answer lies in his future political aspirations.  Barred from running for president, the highest position he can aspire to now is to become one of California’s senators, and that’s just what he’s planning—to challenge Barbara Boxer in 2010.  Schwarzenegger has cynically calculated that he can afford to f*ck 200,000 state workers where f*cking 20M voters might put a crimp in his senatorial campaign.

So perhaps Schwarzenegger is both, a sly politico with the heart of a terminator.

Bachmann seeks sustainable energy future – “Today’s animals are tomorrow’s petroleum,” Congresswoman says

Representative Michele Bachmann (R-Minnesota) today announced she is launching a new initiative to put the U.S. on a path to a sustainable energy future. The conservative lawmaker, in a speech to the Better Living Through Dividends Institute, a Washington DC think tank, said “the obvious thing to do is to make the supply of oil self-sustaining.”

“We need to get started today on making sure the Earth’s supply of oil is sustainable. My plan proceeds from the scientific fact that oil from beneath the Alaska tundra and from under the ocean floor came from dinosaurs. Therefore we should start killing as much wildlife as we can now, caribou for instance, and bury them deep in the earth so that they may become petrochemicals for future generations,” said Bachmann.

“Put simply, today’s animals are tomorrow’s petroleum,” she said.

Because organic matter takes takes millions of years to become oil, Bachmann asserts that her plan actually takes a longer-term view toward solving the energy crisis than the energy challenge issued last week by Al Gore. The former Vice President said America can convert to a electricity supply based on solar, wind and other alternative sources in as few as ten years.

Bachmann dismissed Gore’s proposal. “Ten years? That’s not long enough. Just in case I’m wrong about this whole Second Coming of Jesus thing, Earth has billions of years left until the Sun goes nova. That should be our planning horizon, not Al Gore’s quick-fix, Band-Aid approach,” Bachmann said.

Bachmann went on to say she is drafting legislation that will put her plan into action. The first step will be to exempt from environmental protection laws all aspects of exploration, extraction, refining and transportation of oil. “The process of finding oil and getting it to our gas pumps should be able to wipe out as much wildlife as possible, helping ensure there will be new petroleum reserves far far in the future,” Bachmann added.

“My plan literally kills millions of birds with one stone,” she said.

Pig heaven for a political tragic

Former deputy PM and leader of the Aussie National Party has just resigned. I’ve been poking sticks at Mark Vaile, also my local member, for years now. So some time around mid August I will be into election mode, supporting the current state MP Rob Oakeshott in his effort to shift to the federal arena.

Now there are rumblings that Canada will go to the polls in the autumn. Stephen Harper’s minority Conservative government has passed its use-by date. Survival to now has reflected the fact that no party had the voter support needed to form a majority government.

While the Conservatives focused on crippling their opposition, Liberal leader Stéphane Dion has been busy promoting his ‘green shift’ plan. Surprisingly voters in Canada and Australia are embracing climate change policies which come a personal cost to all.

Just goes to show, given a choice between playing politics or leading with ideas the ideas are actually winning. Of course when it really starts to hurt living standards the outlook might not look so rosy, but for now the momentum is with climate change action.

For a political tragic this is pig heaven; involved in one campaign and closely watching two others. There will be campaigning lessons to learn in all three shows, particularly the power of ideas over political posturing. But if Obama was watching Dion and Rudd he would be thinking seriously about sticking his neck out with some brave policy statements.

TSA Now Actively Retaliating Against Critics

Whether or not there is a policy regarding use of the terror watch list as a means of silencing agency critics, it’s not much of a stretch to imagine that a list of 1,000,000 people—having no mechanism for vetting and removing individuals—is going to get abused. The evidence mounts:

“Coincidentally, this all began in May, shortly after I began a series of investigative reports critical of the TSA. Eleven flights now since May 19. On different airlines, my name pops up forcing me to go to the counter, show my identification, sometimes the agent has to make a call before I get my ticket…”

— CNN Reporter Drew Griffin