Retro Santa Claus Posters

Santa Enjoys a Coke Cola. I’ve seen this old advertisement described as Santa “stealing” a Coke. That’s impossible, Santa would never steal. As Santa does so much work in a single night it is customary to leave him a snack and something to drink. Obviously no one wants a warm Coke so these folks left one in the fridge to keep it cold until Santa got there.

Santa Claus arrives

Santa and children

Santa, On Comet On Cupid

Santa and wildlife friends

Ol St Nick

Santa at workbench

Surprised Santa. From an original print.

Golly Santa Card

Rudy Giuliani’s billing taxpayers for the trysts he had with his then mistress is kinda funny ( not all that funny since $400,000 dollars would put a lot of poor kids through college or feed a lot of elderly shut-ins), but much like Dick Cheney and Halliburton’s illegal deals with Saddam business money always trumps ethics, Giuliani’s terrorist ties

Meanwhile, Barrett’s latest article — probing the lucrative relationship between Giuliani’s security firm and the emirate of Qatar — prompts questions that “America’s Mayor” might have found truly hard to answer. With Qatar’s troubling record as both an American ally and a longtime haven for al-Qaida terrorists, including 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, or “KSM,” the little Gulf sheikdom is a curious client indeed for Giuliani Security and Safety, a division of Giuliani Partners.

If Giuliani was unaware of the terrorism issues surrounding Qatar before he signed his initial contract with the emirate in 2005, then he must not be quite the expert he claims to be. And if he knew of those issues but signed up anyway, that raises other questions.

Certainly he should be asked to explain his connections with the emirate and especially with Interior Minister Abdullah bin Khalid al-Thani, who has long been suspected of harboring KSM and facilitating the travel of al-Qaida operatives to and from Qatar. Whatever reasons the United States may have for maintaining diplomatic and military ties with Qatar, the contradictions in doing business with that nation for a hard-liner like Giuliani should be explored.

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Modern tales of conservative morality

  Mitt Romney is using  former CIA officer Cofer Black, who Blackwater’s vice chairman – Iraq Probe of U.S. Security Firm Grows – as his moral compass on what exactly constitutes torture.

Republicans, the so-called party of values who one assumes is constituted of people with values who court values voters keeps reinventing those good old days of traditional values like respect for the law, Trent Lott’s Brother-In-Law, Nephew, Indicted On Federal Bribery Charges

Prominent Mississippi trial attorney Richard “Dickie” Scruggs, the brother-in-law of outgoing GOP Sen. Trent Lott, was indicted by a federal grand jury Wednesday on charges that he and four other men tried to bribe a Mississippi state court judge.

According to the 13-page indictment, Scruggs and three other attorneys — including Lott’s nephew Zach — attempted to bribe Mississippi Third Circuit Court Judge Henry L. Lackey with at least $40,000 in cash.

Lackey was assigned to hear a lawsuit in which Scruggs’ firm was named as a defendant in a dispute involving $26.5 million in attorneys’ fees stemming from a court settlement with State Farm Insurance over Hurricane Katrina claims.

The indictment alleges that the bribe was intended to resolve the case in Scruggs’ and his firm’s favor. Also charged was Sidney A. Backstrom, an attorney at Scruggs’ firm; Timothy R. Balducci, a New Albany, Miss., lawyer; and former State Auditor Steven A. Patterson, an employee of Balducci’s law firm.

Lott and the various relatives, friends and  associates will no doubt claim that any scrutiny of their behavior is simply liberals criminalizing politics.

Giuliani billed obscure agencies for trips 

The practice of transferring the travel expenses of Giuliani’s security detail to the accounts of obscure mayoral offices has never been brought to light, despite behind-the-scenes criticism from the city comptroller weeks after Giuliani left office.

The expenses first surfaced as Giuliani’s two terms as mayor of New York drew to a close in 2001, when a city auditor stumbled across something unusual: $34,000 worth of travel expenses buried in the accounts of the New York City Loft Board.

When the city’s fiscal monitor asked for an explanation, Giuliani’s aides refused, citing “security,” said Jeff Simmons, a spokesman for the city comptroller.

But American Express bills and travel documents obtained by Politico suggest another reason City Hall may have considered the documents sensitive: They detail three summers of visits to Southampton, the Long Island town where Nathan had an apartment.

Auditors “were unable to verify that these expenses were for legitimate or necessary purposes,” City Comptroller William Thompson wrote of the expenses from fiscal year 2000, which covers parts of 1999 and 2000.

Rudy would be not only a worthy sucessor to Bush/Cheney, but shows signs of surpassing even the current administration in terms of moral and financial corruption.

Senator McCain (R-AZ) was for the Korea model for Iraq, staying there for sixty years or more, before he was against it. I’m not sure why the hard Right freeper types that support Guiliani have abandoned McCain. There’s only a few degrees of pure wackiness that separates the two.

Former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft says he wouldn’t mind being waterboarded,

Ashcroft also responded to questions from the audience. The first question came from a woman who asked if Ashcroft would be willing to be subjected to waterboarding.

“The things that I can survive, if it were necessary to do them to me, I would do,” he said.

Couldn’t we just settle this once and for all. All the Republicans that support the suspension of hapeas corpus, illegal government surveillance and torture can report a nice camp constructed by a private corporation owned by a Republican of course and take their turn being tortured. Rush Limbaugh, THE VOICE of conservatism likened the conditions at Abu Ghraib to a fraternity house. We get almost daily reports of Republicans crimes, surely if they can talk the talk they can walk the walk. Much like the lack of military service among most Republican leaders and pundits, their tough talk is just that. To modern Conservatives to act with some humility, to be a reasonable decent human being is considered a weakness.

Journalists in Iraq – A Survey of Reporters on the Front Lines 

After four years of war in Iraq, the journalists reporting from that country give their coverage a mixed but generally positive assessment, but they believe they have done a better job of covering the American military and the insurgency than they have the lives of ordinary Iraqis. And they do not believe the coverage of Iraq over time has been too negative. If anything, many believe the situation over the course of the war has been worse than the American public has perceived, according to a new survey of journalists covering the war from Iraq.

Above all, the journalists—most of them veteran war correspondents—describe conditions in Iraq as the most perilous they have ever encountered, and this above everything else is influencing the reporting. A majority of journalists surveyed (57%) report that at least one of their Iraqi staff had been killed or kidnapped in the last year alone—and many more are continually threatened. “Seven staffers killed since 2003, including three last July,”

Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations

A liberal media would be a truth based media, Bush Pledges `Personal’ Role on Eve of Mideast Talks

Bush will tell summit leaders later today that the “time is right” for a Middle East peace agreement leading to an independent democratic Palestinian state.

“The time is right because Palestinians and Israelis have leaders who are determined to achieve peace,” Bush will say, according to excerpts of the speech.

While Time reported, Bush, the Born-Again Peacemaker 

Condoleezza Rice summoned a small group of reporters to her State Department conference room last Wednesday to explain why President Bush, seven years after his election, is convening Middle Eastern leaders in Annapolis Tuesday for a final attempt at the creation of a Palestinian state and a declaration of peace between it and Israel.
( Time did point out one of the more brazen ironies of Bush’s efforts in diplomacy and something of a victory, his negotiations with North Korea. Those negotiations were successful due to a Clinton negotiator, Chris Hill).

But no , Bush pulls a Fred Thompson as Dubya just doesn’t feel like doing the actual work involved in ironing out the painstaking details involved in such negotiations, Bush to open Mideast conference, but won’t stay for discussion

President Bush, who’s largely ignored the risky business of Middle East peacemaking throughout his nearly seven years in office, will take center stage Tuesday at the international peace conference he’s hosting in Annapolis, Md.

He won’t remain there for long, however. Bush plans to head back to the White House after delivering his opening speech to the diplomats and dignitaries at the U.S. Naval Academy, and while surprises are always possible, White House aides said he wasn’t planning to offer new American proposals to resolve the conflict.

Nor is Bush expected to jump into extended post-Annapolis negotiations or head off to the Middle East to pursue peace in the waning days of his tenure.

Speaking of Time, if their managing editor went to a recent graduation class of journalism majors, closed their eyes and pointed, they could find a better reporter then Joe Klein, “I have neither the time nor legal background to figure out who’s right.” Its either take the time and do the research or stay out of the fray and if the journalists isn’t wise enough to figure that out on their own, that is what good editors are for. So Joe’s editor is apparently MIA.

While we all hope that the level of violence in Iraq declines, but without real political progress there will continue to be shifting alliances and some level of ethnic cleansing, Killer militias strut across Iraq. Bush propped up the Shia majority government aligned with Iran. Shia did as much ethnic cleansing of Sunni in Baghdad as they could. We get the surge were Bush and Petraeus back the Sunnis in Anbar who do help drive out al-Queada, but hang on to fundamentalist beliefs, cleanse the area of Shia and intimidate more moderate Sunnis. The Konservative blogs have been down in the basement typing victory over and over again, another Mission Accomplished and complaining that the media hasn’t given their dear leader enough credit. In a warped kind of way they’re right.

“Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of the facts and evidence” ~ John Adams

Murdock’s New York Post tries to trivialize Bush’s negligence

Some blogs are complaining about the accuracy of this story in a New York tabloid owned by Fox’s Rupert Murdock, The New York Post, ‘BLAME U.S. FOR 9/11’ IDIOTS IN MAJORITY ‘PLOTS’ THICKEN IN SHOCKING POLL

November 24, 2007 — Nearly two-thirds of Americans believe the federal government had warnings about 9/11 but decided to ignore them, a national survey found.

And that’s not the only conspiracy theory with a huge number of true believers in the United States.

The poll found that more than one out of three Americans believe Washington is concealing the truth about UFOs and the Kennedy assassination – and most everyone is sure the rise in gas prices is one vast oil-industry conspiracy.

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You just have to appreciate the clever conflating of UFOs and Lee Harvey Oswald with George W. Bush’s negligence. Knowing what we do about Bush’s decisions regarding various warnings about 9-11, that he and his cracker-jack national security advisers like Dick Cheney and Condelezza Rice were less then competent isn’t a conspiracy theory; it’s called not letting your partisan loyalties get in the way of seeing the truth. Did Bush and Cheney have imminent knowledge of the attacks of 9-11 and sit back and let it happen, of course not. Were they careless and arrogant, were their priorities out of whack. That case can certainly be made, Memo To New York Post:

The Bush Administration Was Warned About 9/11

1) Bush received intel briefing on Aug. 6, 2001 entitled “Bin Laden Determined To Strike In US.” The briefing specifically warned to “patterns of suspicious activity in this country consistent with preparations for hijackings or other types of attacks,” particularly targeted at New York.

2) CIA Director George Tenet briefing Condoleezza Rice and other top administration officials on July 10, 2001 about a specific urgent and looming threat from al Qaeda.

The NYP is just doing its job of selling papers to generate advertising revenue to put more money in Rupert’s pocket so he can turn around and generate more crap for the public to consume. Many of whom eat it up like a starving man eating a steak. Sure the story or how the story is spun is a stinking load, but when has that ever stopped the wingnut noise machine from printing or saying anything. The NYP story is also very much about trivializing the hubris and laziness that have been a hallmark of this administration. You think Bush has been irresponsible then hey you believe we’ve been visited by little green men in shiny silver suits. Putting ethics before profit isn’t much of a consideration for Murdock and his ilk and will not be for the foreseeable future. The more they contribute to the dumping down of knowledge and the general public discourse the richer they get.
What fuels the idea that a few people have that Bush let 9-11 happen. I’ll let the sociologists handle the detailed analysis, but as to Bush himself and how the Right in general has handled the sequence of events and what we know is partly to blame. With the briefings mentioned above in mind, Bush Questioned About 9/11, Testifying With Cheney

QUESTION: Two weeks ago, a former counterterrorism official at the NSC, Richard Clarke, offered an unequivocal apology to the American people for failing them prior to 9-11. Do you believe the American people deserve a similar apology from you, and would you prepared to give them one?

BUSH: Look, I can understand why people in my administration are anguished over the fact that people lost their life. I feel the same way. I mean, I’m sick when I think about the death that took place on that day. And as I mentioned, I’ve met with a lot of family members, and I do the best to console them about the loss of their loved one.

As I mentioned, I oftentimes think about what I could have done differently. I can assure the American people that had we had any inkling that this was going to happen, we would have done everything in our power to stop the attack.

Here’s what I feel about that: The person responsible for the attacks was Osama bin Laden. That’s who’s responsible for killing Americans. And that’s why we will stay on the offense until we bring people to justice.

Well, he did in fact have an inkling and did not make the possibility of an attack a priority. That last sentence is now part of a sad ironic national narrative. Rather then make Bin Laden a priority even after the fact, he made Iraq the priority. Even though not one of the hijackers was from Iraq and that as I write this the majority of foreign fighters in Iraq are Saudis, yet Bush and the winger noise machine keeps making ratcheting up the rhetoric about Iran. Six years since 9-11 and the Right still hasn’t learned a thing. They manifestly refuse to get their priorities straight and people are dying because of it.

A redacted copy of the Bin Laden memo.

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Blonde Sense has a few words on the same subject.

Antique Map Africa wallpaper circa 1590

Antique Map Africa wallpaper circa 1590

Retailers Buoyed by Strong Holiday Start, which is good for a momentary feeling of confidence. A good Black Friday distracts from the housing, credit and currency crisis. Commenting on this story, Wake up to the dangers of a deepening crisis, by Lawrence Summers – Financial Times, Economist’s View notes, Do We Need Another Rate Cut?

With respect to traditional stabilization policy, monetary and fiscal policy lags are fairly long. Because of that, past policy responses will govern our immediate future – it’s too late to do much now – and anything done now to change monetary or fiscal policy won’t be felt with any force until sometime in the future. Thus, given the growing uncertainty about the future course of economic growth, effective risk management points toward taking actions today to reduce the potential for a catastrophic outcome of a deep and prolonged recession at some point in the future.

Besides the failed nations, increasing the number of militants in the Middle-East, a lousy environmental record, out of control health-care costs and deeper economic disparity the Bush legacy might well include years of inflation or recession. Yet in the delusional world of conservatism where they still think they’re the party of values they also still think they’re the party of fiscal responsibility. This one is easy as far as predicting the course of the right-wing noise machine. A democrat will most likely be in the Whitehouse in 2009 and the lousy economic conditions will be blamed on Democrats. So the grand tradition of Bush and his supporters of never acting like grown-ups, never taking responsibility for anything will continue. What a surprise, once again Conservative economic policy that worships at the alter of irresponsible tax cuts for the wealthy and trickle down wishful thinking will be paid for by the middle-class.

Falsehood is cowardice, the truth courage

Michael O’Hanlon and Kenneth Pollack have been two of the biggest supporters of the Bush’s failed foriegn policy especially the war in Iraq, yet the media including the New York Times and ABC have fawned over them, The Media and Bush Apologists Michael O’Hanlon and Kenneth Pollack. Glenn Greenwald’s original article on O’Hanlon and Pollack and the presses tendency to pass them off as unbiased is here.

Iraqi Children Bear The Burden of An Uncalled-For War

Of the estimated 4 million Iraqis who have been displaced in Iraq or left the country, 1.5 million are children. For the most part, they don’t have access to basic health care, education, shelter or water and sanitation. They carry on their shoulders the tragic consequences of an uncalled for war.

“Sick or injured children, who could otherwise be treated by simple means, are left to die in the hundreds because they don’t have access to basic medicines or other resources. Children who have lost hands, feet and limb are left without prostheses. Children with grave psychological distress are left untreated.” That is the assessment of 100 British and Iraqi doctors.

But if we believe the narrative or rather fairy tale that Rightie pundits and bloggers regursitate daily, Iraq and it’s entire population is much better off. The media isn’t reporting the good news. At this writing only two print news sources are carrying this story. This isn’t to say that the military in Iraq is to blame, Stryker soldier “gravitated to children”

Army Cpl. Christopher Nelson and his wife had decided to wait a few years before starting a family.

So in the meantime, the 22-year-old Fort Lewis Stryker Brigade soldier lavished other children with attention, including his nieces and nephews — and the Iraqi children he met while deployed on his second tour in the war. “He just gravitated to children,” said his father, John Nelson, of Rochester, Thurston County. “The kids are really what made his day over there … and the difference they were making with the kids was what was important to him.”

But last weekend, his affection for children made him a target of violence.

Cpl. Nelson, a 2003 graduate of Rochester High School, was killed along with two other Stryker soldiers after a suicide bomber set off his explosives at a playground in Iraq’s Diyala province, where the soldiers were handing out candy and toys to children, according to The Associated Press.

Bush and his supporters are to blame. Cpl. Nelson and those children would still be alive if Bush hadn’t yanked out the weapons inspectors.

As is usually the case when a Bush loyalist has engaged in some scandalous behavior the apologists are sure to follow,

paulose-apologists.jpg

The problem with that kind of approach is the writer didn’t work with her and was not witness to her shenanigans. The lawyers that were couldn’t have had too much of an ideological ax to grind since many of them were Republicans too. Amid Turmoil, U.S. Attorney Will Shift to Headquarter

The embattled United States attorney in Minnesota announced on Monday that she would step down to go to work at the Justice Department in Washington on legal policies.

The announcement by the prosecutor, Rachel K. Paulose, 34, was made after reports of new staff turmoil in her office. At least one senior lawyer resigned on Friday from his management post in a protest over Ms. Paulrose’s leadership. Three other managers left their administrative jobs in April, also in protest.

[ ]…Ms. Paulose suggested that she was a victim of “McCarthyite hysteria that permits the anonymous smearing of any public servant who is now, or ever may have been, a member of the Federalist Society, a person of faith and/or a conservative (especially a young, conservative woman of color).”

[ ]…Ms. Paulose’s appointment as a United States attorney last year was viewed by many prominent lawyers in Minnesota, and in her own office, as symbolic of a larger problem under Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales. Under Mr. Gonzales, experienced prosecutors were succeeded by relatively young and inexperienced lawyers seen as fiercely loyal to the administration.

For Paulose to make such hysterical accusations in light of her own issues about race and gender is like George Bush criticizing Pakistan’s President Musharraf or being authoritarian, “Paulose allegedly denigrated one employee of the office, using the terms ‘fat,’ ‘black,’ ‘lazy’ and ‘ass.'”

“Falsehood is cowardice, the truth courage.” ~ H. Ballou

Right-wing Newsbusters Whines and Lies about Plame Media Coverage

Whay is supposed to be the Right’s answer to Media Matters, Newsbusters is now complaining that Valerie, Joseph Wilson and former Republican White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan are getting too much coverage by the press. Joe and Valerie Wilson Think They’re Not Getting Enough Press, By Noel Sheppard | November 22, 2007 – 22:06 ET

On Thanksgiving Day, Joe and Valerie Plame Wilson, the couple that likely has gotten more media attention in the past few years than any in America besides the Clintons and Brangelina, actually took the time to write an article whining about the press not going gaga enough about recent revelations from Scott McClellan’s not yet written book.

Honestly, I used to think Bill Clinton was the most self-absorbed person on the planet, but these two really take the cake.

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Bill Clinton the most self absorbed person on the planet? Inane school yard insults from someone that is unlikely to have meet everyone on the planet and done an in depth personality profile. Unfortunately for other Conservatives that were hoping for some acute observations, that Clinton/Brangelina tripe was the high point, the rest goes down hill faster then Chevy Chases sled in Christmas Vacation. Newsbusters and Mr. Sheppard have a number in mind. We’re not sure what that number is, but it is the number of press reports the Right thinks that any story should get. Correction, it is however many stories that are further colaboration of the fact that there was a cover-up of the details of who and when members of the Whitehouse maliciously leaked the name of a covert CIA agnet to the press.  While the phrase is getting a little tiresome, Mr. Sheppard and his Newsbuster buddies are being less then intellectually honest. Sheppard writes,

In the past few days since these 121 words were posted, there have been 126 press reports on the subject. CNN has led the way with sixteen, followed by MSNBC with six, NBC with three, and one each from NBC and CBS.

That is his rebuttal to a Huffington Post article (Treason is Not Old News) that complained about the coverage of little McClellan’s revelation  compared to other stories, Valerie Plame Wilson wrote “”Now back to Aruba and the two-year old disappearance of a blond teenager.” According to Newsbusters that posted 121 words, then  CNN and the rest for a total of 121 words plus 27 other major news outlet stories. But Plame-Wison’s point is a valid one when a Google search of the news shows that while we’re all very concerned about justice for Natalee Holloway, the disparity in coverage, thus the media’s perception of importance seems way out of proportion with the Holloway story producing over 1,200 news stories in the last half hour. While the same search for Scott McClellan’s revelations results in less then 700 news and wire reports in the last 24 hours. News busters isn’t reporting the news, they haven’t found any bias ( they have inadvertently revealed their own and that of the media toward sensationalist stories). They haven’t proven that Bush didn’t lie to the public while reassuring America that he would punish those involved he didn’t make much of an effort to get to the bottom of the matter. Scott McClellan is already on record as saying that high ranking administration officials were less then honest. From a Larry King interview,

McClellan: “I spoke with those individuals, … and those individuals assured me they were not involved in this. … said what I believed to be true at the time. It was also what the president believed to be true at the time based on assurances that we were both given. Knowing what I know today, I would have never said that back then.”

Of course we can all trust Newsbusters to give their readers the abosolute unvarnished truth about anything having to do with the Whitehouse outing of a CIA NOC agent, a Pam Meister | at Newsbusters wrote the following Reuters: Plame ‘Ex-Spy’,  August 3, 2007 – 15:41 ET

Ex-spy? That brings to mind visions of the old Mad Magazine comic Spy vs. Spy, or exotic whispers of Mata Hari. But it’s been established that Plame was not covert at the time that Robert Novak, via (as we now know) Richard Armitage, first mentioned Plame in one of his columns. Her own husband, Joseph Wilson, said as much when he appeared on CNN with Wolf Blitzer back in 2005:

WILSON: My wife was not a clandestine officer the day that Bob Novak blew her identity.

BLITZER: But she hadn’t been a clandestine officer for some time before that?

WILSON: That’s not anything that I can talk about. And, indeed, I’ll go back to what I said earlier, the CIA believed that a possible crime had been committed, and that’s why they referred it to the Justice Department.

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Meister’s seems to suffer from the same reading comprehension problems that plague many Conservatives. Novak publishes column. That day, that Novak column ended Plame-Wilson’s covert career. If her name had not been revealed there would have not been an investigation or anything for Scotter Libby to lie about. Just pretend you don’t see the part about the CIA seeking an investigation from the DOJ. They sought that investigation based on Plame’s status as a covert operative and the damage done by revealing her identity. Meister, Sheppard and Fox’s Jon Gibson would apparently give out medals for revealing the names of our NOC agents. Revelations that don’t just end the careers of experienced national security assets, but also produce collateral damage.