The AIG Bonus Tax is a Bill of Attainder

Does the House of Representatives ever bother to read the Constitution?

Article 1, Section 9, Clause 3...

No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed.

And how do the federal courts interpret this clause?

U.S. v. Lovett...

Legislative acts, no matter what their form, that apply either to named individuals or to easily ascertainable members of a group in such a way as to inflict punishment on them without a trial, are 'bills of attainder' prohibited under this clause.

And in Cummings v. Missouri...

A bill of attainder, is a legislative act which inflicts punishment without judicial trial and includes any legislative act which takes away the life, liberty or property of a particular named or easily ascertainable person or group of persons because the legislature thinks them guilty of conduct which deserves punishment.

The stupid AIG bonus tax will probably never make it out of the Senate, but if it ever saw the light of day, the federal courts would nullify it in a New York minute.

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Obama: Corruption We Can Believe In

Glenn Greenwald has recently posted a very abstract jeremiad about our corrupt "establishment," with multiple concurring citations from Atrios,Paul Krugman,Matt Taibbi,Armando, (Big Tent Democrat on TalkLeft), and even Eliot Spitzer, recently returned from the dead by a collective realization that he was right about everything.

Our "establishment" is corrupt, and public outrage about the AIG bonuses is a very good thing, because it scares the corrupt "elite," and fear is the only force that can control those monsters.

This is only half right, as far as it goes, but it doesn't go quite far enough, and stops at a politically safe distance from the Oval Office, which is exactly where the buck is supposed to stop, and where Barack Obama continues to enable and support the most corrupt financial "establishment" since almost exactly the same corrupt "establishment" produced the Great Depression.

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Michelle Obama, in proportion to $1 Trillion

It isn't easy to represent even a minimal estimate of the amount of money which has already been committed to melting banks, even leaving aside the latest addition of $1 trillion in "quantitative easing," and the graphic below is just another try.

A dollar bill is about 6" by 2.5". A stack of 100 dollar bills is about 1" high. So $100 is about 15 cubic inches. $1 trillion is accordingly about 10 billion times 15 cubic inches, or 150,000,000,000 cubic inches. One cubic foot is 12 x 12 x 12 inches, or 1728 cubic inches. 150,000,000,000 divided by 1728 is about 86,500,000 cubic feet. This is about the same volume as an 82 storey building, 440 feet wide, and 220 feet deep. Michelle Obama is about 6 feet tall.


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Our God is Insane

Enormous crimes against humanity were trivialized by show-trials staged for pathetic hillbillies, imprisoned along with their prisoners in incomprehensible dreamscapes at Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib, where arithmetic devolved into sado-masochistic improvisation.

Arithmetic devolved into sado-masochistic improvisation...

All the money in every bank mysteriously disappeared, and more money even more mysteriously reappeared, and even more money even more mysteriously disappeared, and even more money even more mysteriously reappeared, and disappeared and reappeared and disappeared and reappeared and disappeared and reappeared...

Our great Dreamer who dreams our world, our God is insane.

Our God is insane, and enormous crimes devolve into sado-masochistic trivialities, show-trials staged by pathetic hillbillies, banks improvised in incomprehensible dreamscapes at Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib...

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Surreal Zoology at the New York Times


In an article yesterday about Jonathan Krohn, a robotic child-actor who performs at GOP conventions, the New York Times took a detour into surreal zoology unequaled in American journalism since Hunter S. Thompson was attacked by giant bats on the way to Las Vegas in 1971.

Little Jonathan's most recent venue was the Conservative Political Action Conference last week, and the Times provided some background about that event:

The annual convention brings in the movement's grand old lions, like Rush Limbaugh...

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A Republican Death Plan for Humanity

David Krieger, president of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, which works closely with the U.N. and IAEA, has produced a crystalline summary of the legacy of Reagan, the Bushes, Gingrich, Tom Delay and all the other clowns and psychos who transmogrified the party of Abraham Lincoln into a reactionary mob.

"It was a death plan for humanity."

Mr. Krieger was primarily referring to the promotion of nuclear weapons by George W. Bush and Congressional Republicans for the last eight years, but the same formula also applies to their endorsement and support for every factor that harms the global environment and their opposition to anything that might preserve or restore it.

It was a death plan for humanity, and the rest of the planet along with us.

This defines the Republican Party since 1980, and it's up to the rest of us to make those words its epitaph.

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Chimps and Chumps


Thousands of depictions of George W. Bush as a chimpanzee were floating around the media for 8 years, and nobody noticed the racial implications of any of them!

"Comme c'est bizarre, comme c'est étrange et quelle coincidence!"

Most of the people demanding that the Post fire Sean Delonas probably don't even know that his cartoons run on Page Six, and mostly cover sports and entertainment, and only what you might call the most grotesque elements of national politics, like the economic stimulus designed by Larry Summers and Tim Geithner.

Personally, I think of Summers and Geithner as goddamned blood-suckers and chumps, but now that criticism of the ridiculous tax-cut stimulus has been rebranded as racism, I guess we can all forget about the millions of jobs and houses that will be lost because of absurd concessions to Republicans, and go back to our usual media-induced stupor until another wave of phony outrage or phony concern or some other form of news about nothing comes out of nowhere and distracts us again.

It only makes the whole stupid mess even stupider that it coincided with the 8th anniversary of the great Chandra Levy super-spectacle that distracted almost everybody from the stolen Presidential election in 2001.

So now that a cartoon from Page Six of the New York Post has crowded any criticism of the brain-dead stimulus out of the news, I want to add my little voice to the chorus of praise for all the unscrupulous hustlers who divert us from unpleasant realities year after year, by updating one of Sean Delonas' cartoons from a few weeks back...


(Note: If the idea of a chimpanzee is inextricably linked to African-Americans in the popular consciousness, then it follows that most people who saw George W. Bush compared to a chimp would connect one more dot, according to the usual laws of classical conditioning that made Pavlov's dogs jump when they heard a bell previously associated with electric shock.

Bush... Chimpanzee... African-American!

But this never happened.)

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"Nation of Cowards"


"Though this nation has proudly thought of itself as an ethnic melting pot in things racial, we have always been, and we, I believe, continue to be, in too many ways, essentially a nation of cowards." Eric Holder, Attorney-General of the United States.


"Though this nation has proudly thought of itself as an ethnic melting pot in things racial, we have always been, and we, I believe, continue to be, in too many ways, essentially a nation of cowards." Eric Holder, Attorney-General of the United States.


"Though this nation has proudly thought of itself as an ethnic melting pot in things racial, we have always been, and we, I believe, continue to be, in too many ways, essentially a nation of cowards." Eric Holder, Attorney-General of the United States.



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Exactly Seven Years of Torture

Federal judge Richard Leon recently ordered the release of five detainees in our torture camp on Guantanamo Bay. They arrived there January 20, 2002, and it is exceedingly unlikely that federal prosecutors will exhaust their options to appeal Judge Leon's ruling before the last day of the Presidency of George W. Bush, January 20, 2009.

A lawyer for one of the defendants has published a brief description of her client's confinement.

For a few minutes each day, he sees the camp guards who bring his meals. He has had no other human contact. The glaring lights in his cell are on 24 hours a day, seven days a week. When we left the cell, we could hear Saber shouting -- brief, truncated cries. We could not understand what he was saying.

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Obama's Torture Maven

Along with almost nobody else, Glenn Greenwald has been reporting some strange news about President-Elect Obama:

Obama's transition chief for intelligence policy, John Brennan, was an ardent supporter of torture and one of the most emphatic advocates of FISA expansions and telecom immunity.  

Greenwald has documented Brennan's support for various forms of "enhanced interrogation" in detail, and the good news is that Mr. Brennan opposes water-boarding. That's all the good news.

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