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Archive for March 18th, 2009

Throughout history, there have been more than a few unfortunate and ill-conceived branding and marketing ideas to have been thrust into public view. I’m not just talking about minor infractions like the recent Cocaine energy drink or that children’s candy with the hard plastic “prizes” suitable for choking buried inside. I’m talking about serious failures. Probably the most famous example of an epic fail product was the diet pill known simply as “Ayds,” circa 1982. The slogan: “Why take diet pills when you can enjoy Ayds?” I’m not making that up.

In the past several years, this caliber of epic fail has also appeared at various political protests. There’s the infamous mullet-headed pro-war demonstrator holding a sign reading: “GET A BRAIN! MORANS.” And just a couple of weeks ago, there was this display of fail by a protester from the far-right blog Free Republic:

As the sign demonstrates, the funniest and most contradictory aspect of the recent far-right revolution is, hands down, the tea bag thing. But it’s not just about the double entendre aspect of “tea bagging.” A lot of it has to do with the idea that far-right conservatives are emulating the Boston Tea Party.

Let’s recap. It began with the on-air rant from the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange by the Coward Rick Santelli — “coward” because he’s apparently too afraid to go on The Daily Show and, instead, Jim Cramer went on and took a beating for something that Santelli basically started. Nevertheless, according to one of the official tea bag websites, Santelli is credited as the patron saint of the movement.

And unless I’m mistaken, the basic idea of the tea bag revolution is to protest against government bailouts and in favor of tax cuts for the wealthiest five percent of Americans. Ultimately, the tea baggers (can I call them that?) appear to be against allowing the Bush’s tax cuts to expire. Strangely, they also appear to be against President Obama signing into law the largest middle class tax cut in history. They’re also against helping middle and working class “losers” keep their homes. (By the way, your neighbor’s mortgage is your problem. Just watch your property values plummet as soon as there’s just one foreclosure on your block.)

This series of Obama policies, they say, portends tyranny in America. Of course none of the policies of the Bush administration were considered tyrannical by many of the current tea bag leaders. You know the list of Bush trespasses. The illegal searches and seizures, the illegal electronic eavesdropping and torturing. The suspension of habeas corpus, the record deficits, the doubling of the national debt and so on. None of that was tyrannical. But allowing the tax cuts for the wealthiest five percent to expire is absolutely the vanguard of totalitarianism.

So the organizers of the movement have picked up on Santelli’s tea party reference and are rebelling against higher taxes for the rich and corporations by purchasing thousands of tea bags and dumping them into various waterways.

To sum up: higher ’90s-era tax rates for the wealthy and corporations? Tyrannical. Tax cuts for the middle class? Also tyrannical. Therefore, emulate the Boston Tea Party as a means of underscoring these positions.

Here’s the problem.

The Boston Tea Party was ultimately precipitated by a massive corporate tax cut.

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Cassano’s Million Dollar A Month Contract

Here’s that agreement that Joseph Cassano signed with AIG in March 2008, which gave him a $1 million a month consulting contract, after he had run the company into the ground.

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Obama Would Crush Sarah Palin In 2012: Poll

The Huffington Post |  Megan Slack   |   March 18, 2009 12:07 PM

A poll released by Public Policy Polling found that President Obama would crush Sarah Palin in a hypothetical, head-to-head presidential election for 2012.

Polling suggests that such a contest would result in the largest popular vote blowout since George McGovern ran against Richard Nixon in 1972.
Obama leads Palin 55-35 in the hypothetical contest. He has an 89-7 advantage among Democrats. Among Republican he trails 66-17. Last year exit polls showed Obama
winning only 9% of the Republican vote, so it appears Palin would lose a lot more voters
within her party than McCain did.

The poll showed Obama to have a 55 percent approval rating among voters, while Palin had only 39 percent favorability.

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President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Gordon Brown looking kinda, sort've chummy in the White House

President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Gordon Brown looking kinda, sort've chummy in the White House

Obama gave Brown a DVD. Which smacks of an “Oh, Christ. What shall we get him?” moment at the petrol station

Jeremy Clarkson | The Sunday Times | March 15, 2009

Back in the Eighties, a French industrialist described Britain as an American aircraft carrier off the coast of Europe. And then last week Jacques Myard, a member of the French assembly, mocked the special relationship we claim to have with the US, hinting, with a rather cruel smile, that when it comes to foreign policy, they are the masters and we are the lapdogs, wagging our tails whenever they throw us a biscuit. Which isn’t very often.

It would be easy to scoff at this Gallic arrogance, arguing that while Monsieur Myard can sit under his wisteria enjoying some lovely cheese, his country’s antipathy towards America means that all the pop music on French radio is rubbish and that his government cannot afford a new aircraft carrier.

However, if you look at Gordon Brown’s recent trip to Washington, Johnny Frenchman would appear to have a point. Gordon gave Obama Barrack a penholder carved from the timbers of an antislavery ship. The sister ship, in fact, of the one that was broken up and turned into the desk in the Oval Office.

Barrack, meanwhile, gave Brown The Graduate on DVD. Which smacks of an “Oh, Christ. What shall we get him?” moment at the local petrol station.

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by Bill Graveland and Shannon Montgomery | Daily Herald-Tribune, Alberta, March 17, 2009

CALGARY – The rage on the man’s face was evident as he berated police officers preventing him from entering the building where former U.S. president George W. Bush was making a speech Tuesday.

[A woman holds a protest sign outside the Calgary convention centre where former U.S. President George Bush was making a speech to the business community in Calgary, Alberta March 17, 2009. (REUTERS/Todd Korol)]A woman holds a protest sign outside the Calgary convention centre where former U.S. President George Bush was making a speech to the business community in Calgary, Alberta March 17, 2009. (REUTERS/Todd Korol)

‘‘There is a war criminal upstairs that has committed murder,” screamed the man, who identified himself only as Splits the Sky. ‘‘If I try to get in there you will arrest me. What is wrong with you?‘‘I am going in there and make a citizen’s arrest,” he said as he attempt to push past police. ‘‘Arrest George Bush. Arrest George Bush.”

A few minutes later he was handcuffed and hustled past a long line of Calgary’s business elite waiting to get inside the Telus Convention Centre.

Protest organizers say at least four demonstrators were arrested at Tuesday’s event.

About 60 Calgary police officers were on duty outside to control between 200 and 300 people carrying signs that read ‘‘No to U.S. Crimes Against Humanity,” ‘‘Indict Bush For War Crimes” and ‘‘Canada Is Not Bush Country.”

Another sign read ‘‘Shoe Him The Door” – a reference to the Iraqi journalist who threw his shoe at Bush during a news conference in Baghdad in December.

Two Calgary men showed up at the demonstration to support the former U.S. president. Their signs read ‘‘The World Is Safer Because of George W. Bush.”

‘‘Thank you, George Bush. Thank you, George Bush,” they chanted.

‘‘He doesn’t sit down and negotiate with terrorists,” shouted one of the men, who identified himself as Merle.

‘‘Try doing this in Cuba,” he said as he pointed to the jeering protesters.

There were shoes everywhere during the protest. A young woman wearing a hood, orange jumpsuit and a name tag that said ‘‘Club Gitmo” was pulling a shoe cannon along with a target festooned with pictures of Bush.

An obviously amused police officer told her to leave.

Some of those opposed to Bush’s visit have said he should be arrested as a war criminal because of alleged torture at military prisons in Iraq and Guantanamo Bay.

Tuesday’s speech was one of the first public appearances Bush has made since leaving the presidency in January with a dismal approval rating and much of the blame for his country’s collapsing economy. The speech was closed to the media.

‘‘It’s not too late to turn back. Walk away,” the demonstrators yelled to some of the 1,500 guests invited to hear Bush speak to the Calgary Chamber of Commerce.

A couple of hundred people lined up early to go through a special security screening room before entering the hall where Bush was speaking.

A few said the former president has to take some of the responsibility for what has happened in the United States, but also has the right to talk about his administration.

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