Saturday, November 13, 2004

Don’t Say I Didn’t Tell You So

My God, get me a stake! Ronnie Raygun has come back to life but with an Austrian accent! Let’s put an end to this before he truly wakes up:

Mark my words: the Republicans will try to move heaven and earth to get a constitutional amendment allowing foreign-born citizens who have been in the United States for 20 or more years to run for president so Ahhnold can be their Golden Boy of 2008. He’s already following their lie-to-the-voter, do-whatever-I-want platform to perfection. But will voters remember come election day? Well, is Dubya filling out a change-of-address form?

And you thought Clinton had an intern problem. You ain't seen nothin' yet!


WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Vice President Dick Cheney walked out of a Washington hospital on Saturday after undergoing tests to check his symptoms of shortness of breath.

[. . .]

I was hoping to hear, "Vice President Hastert was just sworn in . . ." No such luck.

The flu

From the Dog:

[. . .]

As always, Americans prove totally incapable of assessing the actual risks of anything. Hence, we seem to have no problem as we value "intellectual property rights" of government subsidized pharmaceutical companies who refuse to set realistic prices for AIDS drugs in the third world as more important than (1) saving human lives over there, and (2) reducing the possibility of devastating pandemic that will infest and blow back over here. We stand by as our own government-- alone in the world-- fails to step up to make sure it has ample alternative supply of this year's flu vaccine (a mistake that will probably result in the unnecessary shortening of thousands of American lives). But we go apeshit at the possibility of (Arab) terrorists exploding a nuclear device in one American city.

[. . .]

This Avian flu will be 'The Next Big Thing'. Melanie looks at the possible pandemic too.

A programming note

Over at Creativity, my redheaded step-child of a blog. An experiment:

I'm debating writing a book online. A little each day, posting it here as I write. I know Stephen King did something like it, writing and selling a chapter at a time. I'll have to think about it.

More to come . . .

[. . .]

I'm thinking of time constraints. No, this is not a non sequitur. See my post below. I write novels of about 150,000-175,000 words. It might take a year to get it all out here. Ah well, something more to think about . . .

[. . .]

Okay, this is the way it's gonna be. I'm gonna post a section - a 'scene' if you will - when I write it. It might drag on a while (months to a year) but hopefully my writing skills will keep you interested. Comments always welcome. I'll probably be starting in the next week or two and I'll post a firm date when I have my outline together.

Background: This will be the tenth book in a series of 14. Unlike the others I've written, I know how this one's gotta end. Generally, I start with a concept and see where my characters take it. I've already got an idea how it's gonna go - I've been working on it for about 5 years - but I have yet to be happy about the results. I'm turning to this 'public writing' deal out of desperation. I'm willing to try anything at this point to get this one done.

The problem is - and I have to be vague so as not to give anything away - that in the world I've created, a tipping point is reached on many levels. Now, my writing involves many aspects - political, social, military, economic - that conspire to shape this world, and there are a few things I have yet to resolve in a concise, succinct manner. All my other attempts have been over 200,000 words and that's a bit too long. Tom Clancy can get away with it, I can't.

A word about editing. Don't break my balls about typos. I use MS Word to write, and I was gonna use it to write and then cut and paste here, but that won't work out too well, too time consuming to go back and redo all the italics and formatting for this (CSS/HTML) platform. I'll probably miss a few things, even though I have a spell checker. This spell check doesn't know shit about grammar and homonyms.

So, with that said, tally ho. I'll let you know when the balloon goes up.

Note: If you want to see what my writing's all about, go here.

Now, as regular readers of this blog know, I've refrained from hawking my books here. This is not the forum and I'm not starting now. This is purely an invitation to our readers to get a look at my creative processes. I won't be bothering you folks coming here for political diatribe, and the foodies who wait, salivating, for Gordon's next post about something to eat. I'll post a link in the sidebar once I get started for those who might be interested. Now, back to your regularly scheduled ranting and raving.

This is good

"And a slick DJ in a blazer with a badge came on and said 'here we go'!*

From WaPo:

The deputy director of the CIA resigned yesterday after a series of confrontations over the past week between senior operations officials and CIA Director Porter J. Goss's new chief of staff that have left the agency in turmoil, according to several current and former CIA officials.

John E. McLaughlin, a 32-year CIA veteran who was acting director for two months this summer until Goss took over, resigned after warning Goss that his top aide, former Capitol Hill staff member Patrick Murray, was treating senior officials disrespectfully and risked widespread resignations, the officials said.

[. . .]

So, all the career people are leaving and are gonna be replaced by political hacks. Didn't I say that here, here, and here? If we thought the Agency was in sad shape before 9/11, wait until you see what they do to it now.

*'Sally Simpson' from The Who's Tommy.

Another one bites the dust

WASHINGTON Nov 12, 2004 — Rod Paige, who rose from racial segregation to become the nation's first black education secretary, intends to leave his Cabinet position, an administration official told The Associated Press Friday.

[. . .]

I wonder who'll (p)resident Dicknose'll get to replace him? Jerry Falwell maybe? Judge Roy Moore? He's gotta do something to pander to the Christo-fascist base after the Gonzales nomination.

From ABC via Corrente.

Saturday Cattle Dog blogging

Princess Shayna

Friday, November 12, 2004

Thought For The Day

Saw this on A Mockingbird's Medley:
"If reality is outlawed, only outlaws will be real."

A fine thought. I just wanted to share.

Trolling Bait

This might be getting away from the political theme of The Alternate Brain a little, and then again it might not. Cultural diversity is political, ain't it? Since we seem to have latched on to a pretty erudite mob of culinary experts and critics, I invite them to read this restaurant review and then comment. I don't know jack about Filipino, Thai, or any food from Mongolia to India, and not that much about that either. Let 'er buck, boys and girls!

Fuck you, Grandma 2

AARP's been bought. Via Atrios:

The White House dislikes the word "privatization,'' which it sees as a misleading and imprecise way to describe Mr. Bush's ideas for Social Security. Democrats insist that the term is accurate.

E-mail messages circulated within AARP in recent weeks indicated that the group would avoid the word whenever possible.

One message, by an editor of an AARP magazine, says, "There is a new forbidden word at AARP: Social Security privatization.''

Another e-mail message, by a manager of its Web site, says, "The term 'privatization' is stricken from our vocabulary forever.''

David M. Certner, the organization's director of federal affairs, said "privatization'' had no fixed meaning or definition. To some people, he said, it means "getting rid of the entire program'' - a goal not favored by the White House.

You knew they went under when they endorsed that stupid prescription drugs card plan thing that did absolutely nothing. Except allow his cronies in the pharmaceutical industry to make more profits off our seniors. Now they're not even taking an objective look at Bush's Social Security savings account not-privatization thing that will probably do absolutely nothing. Except allow his corporate cronies to fuck our seniors again. Didn't AARP begin life as an advocacy group or something like that? I'd think twice about getting involved with them at this point.

War Story

We had a request from The CultureGhost to share our war stories. Mine are boring and Fixer's are probably classified for seventy-five years or until he dies, whichever comes last, so I went and found a modern-day one. I think it's a barn-burner, but decide for yourself. From Gen. Bing West, USMC Ret., in Fallujah, via Slate. You can learn more at WestWrite.
The Watchdogs of Fallujah

Subject: How the Pioneer Robot Plane Helped Win an Artillery Duel

Spotting insurgents was not a problem for "The Watchdogs"—Marine Air Wing unit VMU-1 that operated the Pioneer. Based in a tent next to a runway a few miles outside Fallujah, the Watchdogs had flown several hundred surveillance missions over the city during the past five months. The insurgents had no place to hide. When they came out of doors, they were seen, tracked, and attacked—day after day. Several times the Watchdogs had seen pickups suddenly swerve into empty lots, the occupants jumping out, setting up long tubes, firing a few rockets and scurrying off before a response attack could be launched.

Today's mortar attack from the mosque, though, broke the usual shoot-and-scoot pattern. This time the mortar crew was staying and fighting back. The half-completed mosque looked like a small soccer stadium, with an oval-shaped courtyard wall several stories high and an empty interior court. In the center of the court was a single mortar tube pointed north toward Camp Fallujah, the logistics hub of the coalition operation. Every 10 minutes or so, three insurgents sprinted from a large house a few hundred meters north of the mosque and disappeared under the eaves of the wall. A few minutes later, they dashed out, each dropping one round down the tube and madly sprinting back to the house.

"What do you think, guys?" asked Neumann, whose leadership style was inclusive. "The tube or the house?"

"House!" came back the chorus.

"Stay in there, muj. You're almost in paradise. Don't leave now. Don't leave."

The courtyard door opened, and a man walked to the truck and slowly drove away.

"Boot muj sent out to get the Coke. Luckiest bastard on the planet."

The muj get to go to Heaven and the Marines live to fight another day, or hopefully, come home. Read the article for all the in-betweens.

I also recommend Gen. West's book, The March Up: Taking Baghdad with the 1st Marine Division. I read it and liked it.

This Day In History

From Geov Parrish in Working For Change:
1926: First civilian airplane bombing in U.S. occurs when private plane drops three explosives on Charles Berger's Illinois farmhouse in feud between rival beer and rum factions.

Can't we all just get along?

The problem with Dems

You see, this is the problem I have weith my fellow Democrats, ones in high places. They have no fucking balls. Joe Biden, whom I like a lot says this:

"I think he's a pretty solid guy," Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr., Democrat of Delaware, said of Mr. Gonzales.

And my senior senator from NY, Schmuck Schumer:

"There's a feeling that Gonzales is less confrontational that John Ashcroft and he at least tries to reach out," Senator Charles E. Schumer, Democrat of New York, said in an interview. "His style is not to throw down the gauntlet. So the White House has taken a step back from the red-hot confrontation that Ashcroft embodied, but we don't know how big a step back."

And that nut-job Pat Leahy from Vermont:

Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (Vt.), the ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, saying: "I don't see Judge Gonzales as being a controversial nomination -- at least not a lightning rod type."

So that's the Dem mindset. "At least it's not Ashcroft." We've been through the most divisive election in history, the Repubs have branded us as traitors, and these fucking guys just roll over and play dead. This is why we're in Iraq, because none of 'em had the testicles to stand up and say 'no'. And we wonder how these Fascists got so much power? You can compare the Dems to the German government just before Hitler took over. (Expect a Reichstag Fire in the next 48 months. Tinfoil hat? I don't think so.) Nothing against John Kerry, but I think we need a few more Howard Deans in Congress before we need another Kerry.

It's time for 'Machine Politics'. The Democratic Platform and Talking Points should be defined, refined, and turned into the Holy Grail. Red state Dems should toe the line or get their membership card and funding yanked. Ever listen to a Red state Dem? Republican Lite, and that's unacceptable. Guys like Zell Miller should be tossed out of the Party, period.

Stupid lines like the ones above should also put funding in jeopardy. Every Bush nomination should be challenged, especially the nomination of someone with a record like Gonzales. What, afraid of pissing off the Latins? They'll get over it, especially when they lose more of their freedoms and they're the target of hate crimes by newly emboldened Jesuslanders.

It is unconscionable that Washington has gone back to business as usual. What we do in the next decade will influence American history for the next century and it's time to lay the groundwork to bring this country back to its former glory. It's time to plan for the 2nd American Century. We need our leaders to lead, not go through the motions.

Hello, Democrats, being in Washington is not about the Georgetown party circuit. It's about keeping the dream of our Founding Fathers alive and waking us from this national nightmare known as the Bush Administration.

And a bit of truth from Lambert:

The Democrats have to get used to the idea that the Republicans work all the time. The Republicans don't take time off because they got all emotional about the election. The Republicans don't take time off because, after all, the Senate isn't in session. The Republicans don't take time off because it's the holiday season. The Republicans don't take time off because, after all, the President just got elected and it's OK to give him some slack. The Republicans never stop, and since their goal is the destruction of the Democratic Party and all it stands for, it's really surprising, or not, that Schumer and Biden are so lazy and willing to go along.

Quotes courtesy of Corrente.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Level-headed analysis

Ha, not from me but The Head Heeb. Arafat's legacy:

[. . .]

Arafat died a leader who betrayed his people's trust in the most profound way possible, and he died a humiliating death, lingering in a Paris hospital while his wife and colleagues fought over his financial and political legacy. In the end, however, the manner of his death may have been a partial atonement for the damage he has done to the Palestinian nation. Had he died in an Israeli attack, or had he died suddenly under circumstances where his succession could not be arranged, the region might have gone up in flames. As it is, he died under the eyes of French doctors who could certify that the cause of his death was natural, and his week in limbo provided time for his burial place to be negotiated and an orderly succession arranged. The chances of building something from the ruins are, if not great, at least somewhat better than they would have been had Arafat died at the Muqata.

For better or worse, we now enter the post-Arafat era. Undoing the damage he has done to his country won't be impossible; other nations have recovered from worse. It will, however, be difficult, and the track record of other countries in similar positions isn't encouraging. Often, as in Cote d'Ivoire, the successors of a revolutionary leader seek to retain legitimacy by taking a hard-line nationalist stance. Other times, founding leaders who become corrupt are succeeded by equally corrupt strongmen or committees, resulting in a continuation of the status quo. And needless to say, reform in Palestine is not completely under the Palestinians' control. Many of the questions in the months ahead - whether the Palestinian Authority can conduct orderly elections, whether it can re-establish effective control of its territory, and whether it can restart peace negotiations - will be answered as much by the actions of Israel, Europe, the United States and the Arab world as by the Palestinians themselves. Even the best-intentioned Palestinian leadership will find it difficult to move forward.

[. . .]

Entire post.


Go see this. When you're thoroughly pissed off, read on. Again, from Wolcott.

Dig This

From James Wolcott. Scroll, or read, down a little ways to "On Borrowed Time."
Under a second Bush term, the neocons are more entrenched and missile-rattling than ever, eyeing Iran, Syria, even China. But the fist they shake at the world is a flabby one, as the world has somberly, resentfully come to recognize.

"As for George W. Bush and his neoconservative helpers, they will go down in history as the grave diggers of the American empire."

The horrid irony of it is that they will probably get to be buried in a National Cemetery along side real Americans.

The Wrap That Ate L.A.

Yesterday over at The CultureGhost there was quite an exchange about California Cuisine. G.D. Frogsdong extolled the virtues of the California Cuisine a la Chez Panisse and that got me going. I like Mexican food. I consider it the ultimate California Cuisine. New Age it ain't. My folks liked Mexican food and introduced me to it in the late 1940's during my formative years. Of all the lessons they tried to impart to me over the years, that one stuck.

For many years, you couldn't get even a taco, the most basic Mexican dish I know of, outside the American Southwest. Thankfully, this has changed. It is now safe to travel anywhere in the United States with confidence that you can find something you like to eat. Ingredients, spicing, and the names of the dishes may vary from place to place but that just adds to the fun.

I ran across an article in the Los Angeles Times that set my mouth to watering over a dish that many see as a humble, but satisfying, dish: the Burrito. Burritos can range from the little cardboard-tastin' ones from the convenience stores to humongous luscious mothers that will flat intimidate you. In my ongoing mission to promote cultural diversity, and mainly to set your mouth to watering and give you some ideas, here are some excerpts. WARNING: Do not read this when you are hungry if you own small pets and have tortillas handy.

Like pizza, which supposedly comes from Naples, or that all-American phenomenon, the hamburger, invented, so they say, by some fancy-pants in Germany, burritos have transcended their roots, real or supposed. And unlike the chile relleno, the enchilada, or even the soft taco (The 'Big 3' of combination plates - Ed.), which, if made "correctly" should be pretty much the same wherever you go, burritos, regardless of their origin, are not mired in tradition. The burrito as we know it is puro Californiano and, like all things Californian, a product of innovation and reinvention.

A great burrito, as opposed to a merely good one, has a certain gestalt, in which every element adds up to something so delicious it can't exactly be explained, except to say you know it like you know a good PB & J. (Only in California will you find the words burrito and gestalt in the same sentence! PB&J is good, but a good burrito is transcendental. - Ed.)

Here lies the part you want to read: descriptions of the different fillings, like machaca, carnitas, albondigas, pollos mole poblanos, pescas, y camarones and others and variations thereof. You read. I'll meet you farther down the page.
This may sound overly radical even to an Angeleno, but hey — so did the albondigas burrito until, er, 10 minutes ago. In San Diego, the guacamole gateway to the U.S., these are just a part of breezy, laid-back, burrito-eating life. San Diegans have lately moved on from carne asada to Philly Cheesesteak burritos and "California burritos" — carne asada, guacamole, sour cream and, you guessed it, French fries. Maybe they should have dubbed it a steak-frites burrito.

¡Ay, caramba!

Hungry by now? And well you should be. One little hint about choosing a Mexican eating place: Some of the smallest taquerias have some of the best food. These are usually mom-and-pop type joints, and who would you rather have cook or otherwise be in charge of your Mexican lunch than a Mexican mom? Listen to the folks speak for a minute before you order; if you hear any language other than Spanish, split. There are a lot of other brands of immigrants trying to cash in on our love of Mexican food and most of them can't prepare it for sour owl shit. Street stands and the big trucks with the fold-down sides are good too. Chain fast-food places take good ingredients and wreck 'em, although some (Del Taco, El Pollo Loco) are better than others. Sit-down restaurants are good choices, usually.

Enjoy, mis amigos and you will no tienes hambres no mas. Me gusto es.

Veterans Day

Take the time for reflection today. Think about the millions of lives given in defense of this country and the ideals we hold dear. There are many who gave parts of their body and minds and live amongst us, take the time to think about them today too. And think about all of the men and women serving on active duty now, in places all around the world. If you know a vet, take the time to shake his or her hand and say thanks. Vets, past and present, have always been willing to do what most can't or won't, in order to preserve our way of life. Acknowledge that willingness and say a prayer for those who will give their lives in the future.

In Flanders' Fields

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Verse and link courtesy of Melanie.

Hurry up 2

MSNBC Breaking News

Al-Jazeera reports Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat dead -

Thank you. See you in Hell.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Doo-Doo Happens.....

It's a slow news day. So far. Count your blessings. Just so you'll know there's really important, well, shit, taking place in the world, here's the scoop from Dave Barry of the Miami Herald. May require free sign-in.
I am often criticized for writing immature ''bathroom'' humor, and not enough about important topics. So today I'm going to write about a major international event that is going to take place Nov. 17-19 in Beijing, China: The World Toilet Summit.

But for all the flaws of our public toilets, they stand head (har!) and shoulders above those of much of the rest of the world. In parts of Europe, when you enter a public restroom, you often find yourself face to face with some hideous dripping slime-covered contraption originally built by Vikings out of petrified mastodon bones. And as if that's not scary enough, sometimes there's a lurking ''attendant'' who might belong to a completely different gender from yourself, and who expects you to tip her even though it's clear that neither she nor anybody else has ever actually cleaned the restroom, as evidenced by the presence of bacteria the size of wolverines.

So I applaud the World Toilet Organization for its efforts to improve the world's public toilets. I think this concept could be used in tourism advertising (``KOREA -- Come for the History; Stay for the Public Toilets''). You probably can't attend the summit, but you CAN take part in (I am STILL not making this up) World Toilet Day. This year, it's Nov. 19. Let's all take a few moments to observe this very special occasion. And then let's wash our hands.
Don't that beat all?

Hurry up

Will Yasser Arafat please DIE already??!!!!

More wingnuttery

May 17 - The White House's top lawyer warned more than two years ago that U.S. officials could be prosecuted for "war crimes" as a result of new and unorthodox measures used by the Bush administration in the war on terrorism, according to an internal White House memo and interviews with participants in the debate over the issue.

[. . .]

The concern about possible future prosecution for war crimes—and that it might even apply to Bush adminstration officials themselves— is contained in a crucial portion of an internal January 25, 2002, memo by White House counsel Alberto Gonzales obtained by NEWSWEEK. It urges President George Bush declare the war in Afghanistan, including the detention of Taliban and Al Qaeda fighters, exempt from the provisions of the Geneva Convention.

[. . .]

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you your new Attorney General. And you were worried about Ashcroft? This guy is smarter.

Link via WTF Is It Now??.

Update: 16:30:

Guess where Mr. Gonzales was a corporate lawyer? Say it with me . . . yup, ENRON.

Bush/Rove Thank Suckers

From The Onion.
The Republican party—the party of industrial mega-capitalists, corporate financiers, power brokers, and the moneyed elite—would like to thank the undereducated rural poor, the struggling blue-collar workers in Middle America, and the God-fearing underpriviledged minorities who voted George W. Bush back into office," Karl Rove, senior advisor to Bush, told reporters at a press conference Monday. "You have selflessly sacrificed your well-being and voted against your own economic interest. For this, we humbly thank you

"My family's been suffering ever since I lost my job at the screen-door factory, and I haven't seen a doctor for well on four years now," said father of four Buddy Kaldrin of Eerie, CO. "Shit, I don't even remember what a dentist's chair looks like... Basically, I'd give up if it weren't for God's grace. So it's good to know we have a president who cares about religion, too."

Kaldrin added: "That's why I always vote straight-ticket Republican, just like my daddy did, before he lost the farm and shot himself in the head, and just like his daddy did, before he died of black-lung disease in the company coal mines."

Added Bush: "God bless America's backwards hicks, lunchpail-toting blockheads, doddering elderly, and bumpity-car-driving Spanish-speakers."

We ofttimes say in jest what we mean the most.


[. . .]

Guerrillas trying to open a “second front” have launched a wave of attacks that have killed at least 13 Americans since Monday apart from the Fallujah operation.

Major Francis Piccoli, of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, characterized fighting overnight as “light to moderate” and said U.S. casualties were “extremely light.”

[. . .]

This is what happens when politicians try to run a war. Guys like my boss Harry and my partner Gordon saw it first-hand in Vietnam and we're seeing it now in Fallujah unfolding in living color. We've been telegraphing this since the spring, but it was put on hold until after the election season. All the guys we really want to kill have left town weeks ago and they're doing their business in other cities, leaving an irritant force behind to kill as many Marines and ground-pounders as possible before they go under. We've got another half dozen Fallujahs to pacify once we get done here. Do we have the troops to leave behind to keep order once the civilians return? Not if we have to fight more battles like this. It's getting drafty again.

And while that's happening:

[. . .]

In Baghdad, however, kidnappers abducted two members of Iraqi interim prime minister Ayad Allawi's family, the government said.

A militant group calling itself Ansar al-Jihad said in a Web posting to have carried out the kidnapping and threatened to behead the hostages within 48 hours unless the siege of Fallujah is lifted and prisoners freed. The claim's authenticity could not immediately be verified.

Armed men snatched one of the Prime Minister's cousins, Ghazi Allawi, and the cousin's daughter-in-law from their home in Baghdad's western Yarmouk neighbourhood Tuesday night, government spokesman Thair al-Naqeeb said.

[. . .]


So, they're gonna have elections there and we can't keep the Prime Minister's family safe? Righto. What a clusterfuck.


Michael Ledeen:

[. . .]

Finally, there's Powell supine acceptance of Foggy Bottom's conventional wisdom on every subject, forgetting that the foreign service isn't supposed to make our foreign policy; it's supposed to carry out the president's policies.

Who should replace him? Zell Miller.

[. . .]

Yup, Zell Miller for SECSTATE. What's he gonna do, challenge Schroeder and Chirac to a duel? Fucking asshole.

Adam Yoshida:

[. . .]

If anyone needs to work to “bring the country together” it’s those on the left who have divided it so badly. Those who sought to destroy this great man should get down upon their knees and beg the victors for mercy. And maybe, just maybe, we’ll let a few of them linger on for the simple reason that they amuse us. My life’s goal is to see the Democratic Party virtually obliterated and left as a rump of people like Stephanie Herseth who both mostly agree with us anyways and are easy on the eyes.

That’s the future of the Democratic Party: providing Republicans with a number of cute (but not that bright) comfort women. [my emphasis]

Let’s face a hard truth: this was the bitterest Presidential campaign in living memory. The Democrats and their allies staked everything on the defeat of this President. All of the resources they had accumulated over a generation of struggle were thrown into this battle: and they have failed. Despite all of their tricks, despite all of their lies, the people have rejected them. They mean nothing. They are worth nothing. There’s no point in trying to reach out to them because they won’t be reached out to. We’ve got their teeth clutching the sidewalk and out boot above their head. Now’s the time to curb-stomp the bastards.

[. . .]

Do you think Mr. Yoshida is jealous? I mean, being that his side won and he still can't get laid. Doesn't the Bible say something about patronizing 'comfort women'? Wingnut hypocrite. Oh, and any time you want to come for my woman and try to curb stomp me, let me leave you with the words of your Dear Leader. Bring it on, bitch.

Oy gevult! Links via Atrios.

Update: 04:55:

And this via Pandagon:

Not that this is your source for breaking news, but just because it feels good to write it, CNN is reporting that John Ashcroft has resigned.
Killjoy Atrios notes (correctly...sigh),

Sadly, it's not a moment for jubilation. They'll likely find someone who's actually much more competent about throwing away civil liberties and who is more popular.
Well, it's still a moment for jubilation.

MORE: And, of course, we thought we were rid of Ashcroft when he lost his Senate seat, and he came back, more powerful than ever. So, what, Chief Justice Ashcroft?

Talk about drinking the Kool-Aid. The man who lost his Senate seat to a dead man [Mel Carnahan] should be a Supreme Court Justice? Yeesh.

Update: 14:20:

DemVet disassembles more of Ledeen's bullshit and Jo ain't happy. Neither am I after reading it. Ledeen needs a grenade shoved up his ass.

Happy 229th Birthday

The United States Marine Corps was founded on 10 November 1775 at Tun Tavern, Philadelphia. Today marks 229 years of service to the Nation. Every year the Commandant sends a birthday message to the Corps. I was going to post this year's message from General Hagee, as it is well written and uplifting, but you know basically what it says, "Rah-rah-ree, hit 'em inna knee, rah-rah-rass, hit 'em inna otha knee," so I won't. You can read it at Leatherneck: Magazine Of The Marines if you wish. Instead here's the Birthday Message that started the tradition. It is as appropriate today as it was then.

General John A. Lejeune's Birthday Message (1921)

On November 10, 1775, a Corps of Marines was created by a resolution of the Continental Congress. Since that date, many thousand men have borne the name Marine. In memory of them, it is fitting that we who are Marines should commemorate the Birthday of our Corps by calling to mind the glories of its long and illustrious history.

The record of our Corps is one which will bear comparison with that of the most famous military organizations in the world's history. During 90 of the 146 years of its existence, the Marine Corps has been in action against the Nation's foes. From the Battle of Trenton to the Argonne, Marines have won foremost honors in war and in the long era of tranquility at home. Generation after generation of Marines have grown gray in war in both hemispheres and in every corner of the seven seas [so] that our country and its citizens might enjoy peace and security.

In every battle and skirmish since the birth of our Corps, Marines have acquitted themselves with the greatest distinction, winning new honors on each occasion until the term "Marine" has come to signify all that is highest in military efficiency and soldierly virtue.

This high name of distinction and soldierly repute we who are Marines today have received from those who preceded us in the Corps. With it we also received from them the eternal spirit which has animated our Corps from generation to generation and has been the distinguishing mark of the Marines in every age. So long as that spirit continues to flourish, Marines will be found equal to every emergency in the future as they have been in the past, and the men of our Nation will regard us as worthy successors to the long line of illustrious men who have served as "Soldiers of the Sea" since the founding of the Corps.

Today is also the fiftieth anniversary of the dedication of the Marine Corps War Memorial, also known as the "Iwo Jima Flag-Raising statue" located in Arlington National Cemetery. So that the men immortalized in the Memorial will not be forgotten, they are: PFC Ira H. Hayes USMC, PFC Franklin R. Sousley USMC, Sgt. Michael Strank USMC, PFC Rene A. Gagnon USMC, Cpl. Harlon H. Block USMC, and Pharmacist's Mate Second Class John H. Bradley USN. Hayes, Gagnon, and Bradley survived Iwo Jima. All have since passed away.

Semper Fidelis and Happy Birthday, Marines.

Tuesday, November 9, 2004

Gotta be a New Yorker

Fuck the South. From Corrente.

The First


AG John Ashcroft and Commerce Secretary Don Evans have just tendered their resignations. More as I get it.

Update: 18:15:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Attorney General John Ashcroft and Commerce Secretary Donald Evans resigned in a post-election shake-up of President Bush's Cabinet, the White House announced on Tuesday.

"The president accepted their resignations," White House spokesman Scott McClellan said.

Update: 18:30:

Link via Bubba. More here.

It's your uterus

Xena Phobe[she's the voice behind the radio ads, married to Mrs. F's cousin, and one damn sexy lady] at Billionaires for Bush sent me this:

President Bush has announced his plan to select Dr. W. David Hager to head up the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) Reproductive Health Drugs Advisory Committee. The committee has not met for more than two years, during which time its charter lapsed. As a result, the Bush Administration is tasked with filling all eleven positions with new members.

This position does not require Congressional approval. The FDA's Reproductive Health Drugs Advisory Committee makes crucial decisions on matters relating to drugs used in the practice of obstetrics,gynecology and related specialties, including hormone therapy,contraception,treatment for infertility, and medical alternatives to surgical procedures for sterilization and pregnancy termination.

Dr. Hager, the author of "As Jesus Cared for Women: Restoring Women Then and Now." The book blends biblical accounts of Christ healing Women with case studies from Hager's practice. His views of reproductive health care are far outside the mainstream for reproductive technology.

Dr. Hager is a practicing OB/GYN who describes himself as "pro-life" and refuses to prescribe contraceptives to unmarried women. In the book Dr.Hager wrote with his wife, entitled "Stress and the Woman's Body," he suggests that women who suffer from premenstrual syndrome should seek help from reading the bible and praying. As an editor and contributing author of "The Reproduction Revolution: A Christian Appraisal of Sexuality Reproductive Technologies and the Family," Dr. Hager appears to have endorsed the medically inaccurate assertion that the common birth control pill is an abortifacient.

We are concerned that Dr. Hager's strong religious beliefs may color his assessment of technologies that are necessary to protect women's lives or to preserve and promote women's health. Hager's track record of using religious beliefs to guide his medical decision-making makes him a dangerous and inappropriate candidate to serve as chair of this committee. Critical drug public policy and research must not be held hostage by antiabortion politics. Members ofthis important panel should be appointed on the basis of science and medicine, rather than politics and religion . . .[my emphasis]

Yeah, I need the Mrs. going to a faith-based OB/GYN. And while she's reading the Bible and praying for relief of PMS, she'll be shoving a knife in my gizzard. No, sir, it's a little white pill called Anaprox and it saved my life. Forward your complaints about Dr. Hager's appointment here.

Book Report: Soul On Bikes

I don't know about you, but every once in a while I get sick and tired of politics. This happened to me a couple of days ago and I decided to read a book just for fun. Reading for fun? What a concept! The Book I chose was one that's been sitting on my coffee table for six months waiting patiently for the election to be over so I'd have some time. The book is "Soul On Bikes; The East Bay Dragons MC And The Black Biker Set" by Tobie Gene Levingston with Keith and Kent Zimmermann, foreward by Ralph "Sonny" Barger (founder and long-time President of the Oakland Hell's Angels).

I wanted to read this book for a number of reasons. I know a lot about motorcycles and riders, but very little about the black biker scene. The few dealings I've had over the years with black riders and clubs have been positive and downright enjoyable. Also, I actually knew one of the Dragons a buncha years ago. More on that later. Last, but not least, the book was on sale, and I'm a sucker for that.

An enjoyable read with no politics. At last.

This book is basically the life story of Mr. Levingston, from his boyhood in Louisiana through 'til the present. He is now 70 years old and going strong.

The second chapter, about Mr. Levingston's upbringing in northeast Louisiania as a sharecropper, one of twelve children, is worth the price of the book all by itself. One memorable passage tells how the only time he got an afternoon off from plowing to go fishing was the day his mule died while he was at dinner! I've wished for similar.

He moved to Oakland, California as a young man in the mid-fifties and got active in the East Bay scene, forming the Dragons Car Club. They tried a mixed-race policy, but the one white boy in the club was such an asshole that, when he left, they decided to go all-black. After one memorable incident, the Dragons had to lay low for a while and re-emerged some time later as the East Bay Dragons, an all-black, all Harley-Davidson, motorcycle club. No dressers for these guys either. They built and rode choppers, which was unusual for black riders at the time, 1959.
"You could describe us as a premiere, all-American, West Coast, California MC. All black, all Harley. And damned proud on all counts."

These are rough-and-tumble type guys, no shrinking violets. A quote that I am sure even some of us old farts can relate to:
"I don't normally pick fights, but man, if someone pushes me the wrong way, then it's on."

From this point on, the book describes the Dragons' lifestyle, bike runs, their involvement in drag racing, fights, and their relationships with other motorcycle clubs, black (Star Riders MC, Rattlers MC), white (Hell's Angels MC, Gypsy Jokers MC), and indifferent (Chosen Few MC). Also their ups and downs as a club and individuals, and the growth and maturing process over the years that we all go through.

The 1960's in the Bay Area of Northern California was an interesting time, in the sense of the old Chinese curse, "May you live in interesting times", and the Dragons were right in the middle of it. There were hippies and a jazz and rock n' roll scene in San Francisco, the Free Speech and Anti-War student revolution in Berkeley (Berserkley, to some of us), and Outlaw Bikers in Oakland. There were drugs everywhere, which, if you can remember it, fueled all this shit nicely.

The sixties were the high-water mark for California's outlaw bike clubs. There was public fear and loathing of them, completely out of proportion to the threat they actually posed, which is detailed elsewhere as to the over-reaction of the state Attorney General and law enforcement. I won't go into it here. There's about twenty movies you can rent, none of which helped. Or were in any way factual, but that's showbiz. The Dragons were not an outlaw club per se, but since they rode Harley-Davidson choppers and wore cutoff Levi jackets with a flaming big patch on the back, the distinction was lost on the man in the street.

The author recounts an incident when, on a run to L.A., they stopped in some little tank town for gas and were confronted by a mob of armed, angry white men. Something to do with 50 Negro chopper riders at your one-pump gas station, I think. The lady who ran the cafe said she never sold as many burgers as when the Dragons came to town. The Highway Patrol arrived, and defused the incident by clearing US 99 for about fifty miles and telling the Dragons to "Get on the highway and go balls out. You won't be hassled." Good solution. The Dragons liked it, cuz it's fun to go 100mph in formation and not get a ticket. Those days are long gone.

On the societal transformation that was taking place, Mr. Levingston tells about the Dragons' relationship with Huey Newton and the Black Panthers, and their involvement with the growing cultural awareness of the black community. Also, the confusion amongst the (white) public and police that any black man wearing a leather jacket was a Panther ready for a shootout. He describes a traffic stop:
"Look here. It says 'East Bay Dragons'. Don't say nothing about no Panthers."

Later on, the author describes the awful eighties, when cocaine was king, and the effect it had on the black community and the Dragons. He mentions Reagan and the CIA in the same sentence as wondering how the crack got into the black community in the first place.

No politics in this book. Nope. I wouldn't have any of that. No siree, Bob.

I mentioned earlier that I knew one of the Dragons. His name was 'Bags'. In the early eighties I worked at Harley-Davidson of Reno and Bags was a customer. More of a 'friend of the shop' actually. He would come into the service department and shoot the shit, but never had any work done. He was all-Harley, all the way, and an Ace Wrench in his own right. He didn't need us, but we all became friends due to our common interest in Harley-Davidsons. We used to eat lunch sometimes at a really decent BBQ joint that he owned in Sparks. When I got the book, I thumbed through it and, on the very first page that opened, there was Bags' picture. I thought that was cool and set the book down to read later. Six months later, as it turned out. In the book, I learned Bags' real name for the first time: Albert Norman Jr. At the end of the book I also learned that Bags had died in a bike wreck while on his way to Reno for a rally in 1999. Even though I hadn't seen Bags in nearly twenty years, that was a strange feeling.

This is an excellent book, written in a conversational style with considerable black and down-home idiom. I got so into it that I read its 260pp in one sitting, allowing for bathroom breaks and ice tea refills, of course. While it appeals primarily to motorcyclists, there is a strong socio-historical and cultural and anthropological tone to it. I highly recommend it. You can get it from the Big A for less than cover price. It is a worthwhile addition to any thinking person's library and a damn good read. Lotsa pictures, too.

Ride Free, Brother Bags.

Little Red Piggies At The Trough

From today's Daily Howler. This'll piss ya off:
CONTEMPTUOUS VALUES: Many readers—many readers—sent us the Tax Foundation tables which show which states are federal free-loaders (Go read these - G.). And yes, the “red states”—the states whose denizens love to preach that bracing self-reliance—routinely take in more federal money than they submit in taxes. Meanwhile, who subsidizes these free-loading states? Who else? “Contemptuous” “elitists” from northeastern blue states, whose troubling values red-staters love to ponder! In 2003, for example, red-state New Jersey received only 57 cents in federal spending for every dollar submitted in taxes. But then, the top ten states whose pockets are picked include eight which are nominally blue:
1) New Jersey: 57 cents
2) New Hampshire: 64 cents
3) Connecticut: 65 cents
4) Minnesota: 70 cents
5) Nevada: 70 cents
6) Illinois: 73 cents
7) California: 78 cents
8) Massachusetts: 78 cents
9) New York: 80 cents
10) Colorado: 80 cents

And from yesterday's Daily Howler:
THE FAILING FIFTEEN: Here are the fifteen least healthy states. We rank them from 36th most healthy down to number 50. Alas! All fifteen of the states are “red.” But then, so is number 35—Texas:

36. Missouri
37. Nevada
38. New Mexico
39. Kentucky
40. Oklahoma
41. North Carolina
42. Florida
43. Alabama
44. West Virginia
45. Georgia
46. Arkansas
47. South Carolina
48. Tennessee
49. Mississippi
50. Louisiana

As a matter of fact, eleven of the top 15 states are “blue”—and all 15 at the bottom are “red!” And the criteria used in this study actually seem to favor “red” states. After all, if “snake bites during religious services” had been one of the study’s criteria, the rankings would probably be less red-friendly than they already are.
Uh-oh! Blubbering “red-staters” will keen and wail about the slur against their religion! But maybe if they spent more time building healthy societies, they’d find themselves with less time on their hands to collect and nurture treasured grievances against those “contemptuous” “blue-state” “elitists.” You know—against the troubling “blue state elites” which help pay red-staters’ way through life? We can’t remember where we saw it, but we recently saw the figures which show the way the federal government transfers money from the industrious “blue states” to the blubbering “red.” Can someone remind us where we saw these data? They appeared in some mainstream publication last week, and we think they deserve some mention when boo-hooing people like Alterman’s e-mailer complain of those harsh, cruel “elites.”

On the other hand, maybe red-staters would have more time to build healthy societies for their children if they weren’t so busy divorcing each other. Despite the impressive “moral values” they love to vote on, red states lead the nation in divorce—and elite Massachusetts has the lowest divorce rate! Yes indeed, there they are—drinkin’, divorcin’ and boo-hoo-hooing about their lack of respect from the values-free blue! Not that this keeps these troubled “red-staters” from holding their hands out every year for their annual federal pay-out—money from their more industrious blue state neighbors, the ones whose “elitism” they love to attack.

Maybe we're on to something here. On the other hand, maybe Bush is on to something, too. You deep thinkers out there start figuring out how to get our own money back, dollar-for-dollar, and start making those 'tax-plus recipients' earn their own living like the rest of us do. I'm sure they'd rather not bite the hand that feeds them, but maybe we can bite it off for them.

Junk Science?

The theory of Global Warming is junk science. So says the Bush Maladministration. But then there's this:

WASHINGTON Nov 8, 2004 — Scientists say changes in the earth's climate from human influences are occurring particularly intensely in the Arctic region, evidenced by widespread melting of glaciers, thinning sea ice and rising permafrost temperatures.

A study released Monday said the annual average amount of sea ice in the Arctic has decreased by about 8 percent in the past 30 years, resulting in the loss of 386,100 square miles of sea ice an area bigger than Texas and Arizona combined.

[. . .]

For the effect of this unprecedented and rapidly accelerating warming trend, check out Gordon's post about the plight of the Shishmaref people last month.

Also check out this by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. He's done as much for the environment as his daddy did for equal rights and to bring down the Mob.

(p)resident Nuke-The-Whales' environmental policy is faith-based. He has faith in his corporate cronies' ability to milk Mother Nature until every last bit of profit is wrung out of her.


So you don't think the war in Iraq is a Holy War? From Lean Left:

We will see in the end who will win -- those who worship God or those who deride him. We are ready to face them, we will not let the city down, and with God's help we will teach them a lesson and inflict heavy casualties on them.
Guerrilla fighter in Falluja, quoted by the New York Times.

The marines that I have had wounded over the past five months have been attacked by a faceless enemy. But the enemy has got a face. He's called Satan. He lives in Falluja. And we're going to destroy him.
Lieutenant-Colonel Gareth Brandl, commander of one of the battalions assaulting Falluja

Monday, November 8, 2004


It's long, but worth it.

. . . We can think and discuss and argue and get angry with each other for various sins of political incorrectness all day long. And in the end, we're left facing the fact that more people than we thought possible are just plain assholes. They're mean. They're weak. They're cowardly.

They're hateful. And they're fucking stupid.

They just voted in their president. And they're marching us toward a fascist state .

(And it doesn't matter if the election was Diebolded and robocalled and thwarted at the polls, either: it should never have been close enough to steal.)

These people never vote for good government; they don't even believe in government. They're spoiled little toddlers who freak out when they're expected to share. They don't think they have to pay for anything that they take. And they're right--they don't.

We do .

[. . .]

I like this guy a lot, reminds me a bit of Wolcott.

Fallujah and Hue

From TomDispatch:
On the American side, our troops have been used as pawns in a game of political chess that certainly will leave them more exposed in any battle for Falluja than might otherwise have been the case. Our ultimate threat, of course, is that those 10,000 soldiers backed by air power and artillery will make an example of Falluja, producing an American version of the Roman solution to Carthage. It would serve as a fierce example of what might lie in store for any incompliant Sunni or Shiite city. As the intelligence outfit Stratfor recently put it in a report, "The Politics of Storming Al Fallujah": "[T]he fate of Al Fallujah will likely serve as an example to tribal leaders throughout the country who have remained undecided about their relationships with coalition forces and the IIG [Iraq Interim Government]." In other words, if you can't "liberate" them, crush them.

I have heard comparisons between the battle for Fallujah and the battle for Hue in Vietnam, but the only ones that stick, in my opinion, is that both fights were (are) in urban areas and both were (are being) fought by Marines with little or no help from so-called "allies". I think the Corps is being used because its tribal memory of Hue is relatively fresh. It's even the same outfit, the First Marine Division.

There are major differences. The NVA appeared virtually overnight in Hue at the onset of the Tet Offensive and the VC, who were already there, became active with their arrival. The 'insurgents' in Fallujah, whom we can roughly equate to the VC as far as training, motivation, and military organization, have been active in the city for months and are no doubt dug in hard and ready to meet their maker, as no doubt they surely will. If they are on the ball at all, they will have established defenses in depth, have defined fields of fire, and have mined and booby-trapped everything in sight. I think we'll find some of that HMX and RDX, the hard way.

The Marines, I am afraid, are stepping into a shitstorm. Their recourse will be to use massive firepower from supporting arms, which are organic to the Marine Corps, well co-ordinated and awesome in destructive power. Fallujah will be called Flat-lujah in a matter of days. They did not destroy Hue as it was an old Royal Vietnamese capitol, and home to many of Vietnam's cultural treasures. Fallujah, on the other hand, has been a center of dissent in Iraq and even Saddam trod lightly there. They will have to "destroy it in order to save it."

The Marines, Army, and Iraqi Security Forces have Fallujah surrounded. Nothing should be able to get in or out. It is besieged and cut off from resupply. This was not the case in Hue. The Marines assaulted from one direction and the NVA came from another. It was the first time in military history that the supply lines of the opponents actually crossed one another at right angles.

There are approximately 10,000 American and Iraqi troops assaulting an estimated 3000 to 5000 insurgents. In Hue, about 2000 Marines assaulted, fed in piecemeal as required, against an unknown number of NVA/VC of whom 5,113 were KIA and 89 captured. Nothing is known of the number of their wounded. The Marines lost 147 KIA and 857 WIA seriously enough to be evacuated. Those numbers of KIA are suspect due to the policy of not reporting 'Died Of Wounds (DOW)' as battle casualties if they made it to hospital. The ARVN lost 384 killed and 1800 wounded, mostly during the initial assault by the NVA.

The battle for Hue took place in three distinct phases: The battle to get to the Citadel, the site of the old Imperial Palace; the fight for the Citadel, and the Mop-up. The battle lasted 26 days.

Most of the civilians have left Fallujah. Most of the citizens of Hue remained and thousands were murdered by the VC as 'enemies of the people'. The ones who could get out after the battle started did so, but many could not.

Here's the kicker: U.S. Marines fought and died to regain what the ARVN could not defend. When the fight was over, the U.S. gave credit for retaking Hue to the South Vietnamese to shore them up politically, even though they had little or nothing to do with it. I think the same thing will happen in Fallujah: The Marines will die and then be slapped in the face, again, when the Bush cabal gives the credit to Iraqis. Political pawns indeed.

All wars are bad. This one is criminal.

My source book is Battle For Hue, Tet 1968 by Keith William Nolan.

Let's have an Opposition Party!

So says Kevin T. Keith at Lean Left and I'm in full agreement.


Damn, I'm good. I conned . . . er, bamboozled . . . er, invited Knox Rover to join the team here at The Brain and, in a serious lapse of judgment, she accepted. Silly girl. Another of Bubba's readers that I hijacked to work here. She's also a regular commenter here too. I guess I owe the old boy a commission. So, I expect everyone to welcome her with gusto.

Gord and I decided last week that we needed to fill out the staff a bit, get other perspectives besides we two crusty old farts. Rover is a most welcome addition, a paragon of class and profundity. Welcome aboard, darlin', your addition raises our social standing quite a bit. Tally ho!

Senator Hart On Faith

There is a lot of stuff in the papers today about religion and faith, which to me are different. Former Democratic Senator from Colorado Gary Hart opines in today's NYTimes.
If we are to insert "faith" into the public dialogue more directly and assertively, let's not be selective. Let's go all the way. Let's not just define "faith" in terms of the law and judgment; let's define it also in terms of love, caring, forgiveness. Compassionate conservatives can believe social ills should be addressed by charity and the private sector; liberals can believe that the government has a role to play in correcting social injustice. But both can agree that human need, poverty, homelessness, illiteracy and sickness must be addressed. Liberals are not against religion. They are against hypocrisy, exclusion and judgmentalism. They resist the notion that one side or the other possesses "the truth" to the exclusion of others. There is a great difference between Cotton Mather and John Wesley.

There is also the disturbing tendency to insert theocratic principles into the vision of America's role in the world. There is evil in the world. Nowhere in our Constitution or founding documents is there support for the proposition that the United States was given a special dispensation to eliminate it. Surely Saddam Hussein was an evil dictator. But there are quite a few of those still around and no one is advocating eliminating them. Neither Washington, Adams, Madison nor Jefferson saw America as the world's avenging angel. Any notion of going abroad seeking demons to destroy concerned them above all else. Mr. Bush's venture into crusaderism frightened not only Muslims, it also frightened a very large number of Americans with a sense of their own history.

He says a lot more in the piece, but I think those two paragraphs sum up a huge rift (one of many) in our national outlook quite nicely.

Bush - Choice Of The Ignorant

Calling the people who voted for Bush the "Retarded Right" may not be very nice but it may be a lot closer to the truth than just sour grapes. Bob Herbert in today's NYTimes:
I think a case could be made that ignorance played at least as big a role in the election's outcome as values. A recent survey by the Program on International Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland found that nearly 70 percent of President Bush's supporters believe the U.S. has come up with "clear evidence" that Saddam Hussein was working closely with Al Qaeda. A third of the president's supporters believe weapons of mass destruction were found in Iraq. And more than a third believe that a substantial majority of world opinion supported the U.S.-led invasion.

This is scary. How do you make a rational political pitch to people who have put that part of their brain on hold? No wonder Bush won.

The survey, and an accompanying report, showed that there's a fair amount of cluelessness in the ranks of the values crowd. The report said, "It is clear that supporters of the president are more likely to have misperceptions than those who oppose him."

Very cleverly planted and nurtured "misperceptions", I might add. They were led down the Rose Garden path and bought it hook, line and sinker, because they wanted to and Rove well knew it.
I haven't heard any of the postelection commentators talk about ignorance and its effect on the outcome. It's all values, all the time. Traumatized Democrats are wringing their hands and trying to figure out how to appeal to voters who have arrogantly claimed the moral high ground and can't stop babbling about their self-proclaimed superiority. Potential candidates are boning up on new prayers and purchasing time-shares in front-row-center pews.

A more practical approach might be for Democrats to add teach-ins to their outreach efforts. Anything that shrinks the ranks of the clueless would be helpful.

While I agree with the last line, it could get me in trouble. I will say no more on that subject. For now.
What the Democrats don't need is a candidate who is willing to shape his or her values to fit the pundits' probably incorrect analysis of the last election. Values that pivot on a dime were not really values to begin with.

Which is exactly why I refuse to participate in so-called "healing" which is just another word for "capitulation", the way it's being used. The ignoramuses need to have their collective ass kicked, or one ass at a time if need be.

It is also the best reason to not try and appeal to these voters by shifting our attitude toward pandering to the "dark side". If we become as phony as the Right just to win, we have lost.

The Crusades, Round 2

Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war,
With the cross of Jesus going on before.
Christ, the royal Master, leads against the foe;
Forward into battle see His banners go!*

The balloon will be going up on the Fallujah operation probably today or tomorrow and thus begin a period of indeterminate length in which we will lose a lot of good Marines. Take it from me, urban, house-to-house fighting is the worst type of warfare their is. (I chased a sniper into a pitch-black tunnel under the DMZ in Korea and ran down a squad of Cuban infantry through the airport at Fort Georges, Grenada.) As if any type of warfare is good. Natural cover abounds and you don't have enough eyes in your head to keep track of where all the fire is coming from, and a grenade or RPG is your biggest fear. Pray for all of our boys and girls as this operation commences.

That said, many will die on this Holy Crusade and the blood of all involved is on Bush's hands. Are these the moral values the people of Jesusland voted for? Guess what, Jesuslanders, the blood of those Marines who will die in Falluja, and the other half-dozen cities that will have to be pacified, is on your hands now too. He is your prophet and you gave him his 'mandate'. I ask this one question. Would the kind, benevolent Jesus I learned about in my limited Roman Catholic education want this?

*Verse courtesy of Jesus' General.


Melanie at Just a Bump in the Beltway has this:

I think a case could be made that ignorance played at least as big a role in the election's outcome as values. A recent survey by the Program on International Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland found that nearly 70 percent of President Bush's supporters believe the U.S. has come up with "clear evidence" that Saddam Hussein was working closely with Al Qaeda. A third of the president's supporters believe weapons of mass destruction were found in Iraq. And more than a third believe that a substantial majority of world opinion supported the U.S.-led invasion.[my emphasis]

[. . .]

I love Bob Herbert, another who calls 'em as he sees 'em. Melanie, whose insights I also value, comments thusly:

I think this whole argument is wrong, based on an exit poll that asked a badly worded question. Everybody votes on "values" all the time, asking yourself "Who among these candidates is likely to do the best job?" is a values question, with "best job in my eyes" the value in question.

This whole discussion is another one of the things the media does instead of reporting. It would be silly if it weren't such a serious subject.

I brought you the results of the PIPA survey last month and it appears to me that the election was more about that nasty campaign than anything having to do with faith or facts. [my emphasis]

[. . .]

And she goes on to declare another truism:

Karl Rove is an excellent perception manager.

Indeed. Gordon sent me this from during the night:

[. . .]

Christians have gone from a majority in this country to a minority. Why? We gave it away by sitting back and doing nothing. Shame on us!

If we continue to sit back and do nothing, one day soon, we just might find ourselves being locked up, or worse, for being a Christian. Think about it. It's already happening all over the world.

[. . .]

Please, I beg of you, get fired up. Vote! Get others to vote for Bush! God is still on the throne; woe to our country if we continue to allow him to be taken out of everything he has blessed us with. He owes us nothing, and we certainly deserve nothing. And nothing is what we will end up with if we don't start taking back the ground we gave away.

These are excerpts from a letter to the editor, illustrating Melanie's point perfectly. This is the Rovian mindset, the perception of the Democrats as the vassals of Satan among the Jesuslanders. Jeez, the title of the letter is "A vote for Kerry is a vote for Satan". This is the perception they have of us, created by the Republicans and the Christian churches who support them. How do we fight this? How do we get these perceptions, that now have become strongly-held beliefs, to change? We have to change them, ladies and gentlemen, for as long as these people see the battle between Republicans and Democrats as the conflict between all that is Holy and the Ultimate Evil, we will never make any inroads into Jesusland.

As long as we are seen as Lucifer's vassals, the divide will remain. As I see it, our only hope is for 'God's Chosen One' to shoot himself in the foot. We can show them evidence of His fuckuppery but it won't be believed because of their perceptions of us. Facts are for the folks who live in Realitystan. The only way, I think, for us to win the hearts and minds of the Jesuslanders is for God to get fed up with them using him as a campaign prop and send 'em a message. I'd say locusts or a flood should do it.

Sunday, November 7, 2004

This is what I like


[. . .]

If "values" are the new battleground, which I mostly doubt, then I say bring it on, Larry Flynt-style. Let the scarlet A's be handed out, the closet doors swung open, and weekly church attendance records of members of congress and the administration be compiled. If sinning godless heathens are the problem, then let's be clear about who the sinning godless heathens are.

[. . .]

Yeah, let's get all that dirty laundry out there. Let's see how many folks in favor of outlawing gay marriage have taken it in the ass. Let's expose the hypocrites for what they are. Anybody got videotape?

Oh, Maureen! Oooh, Baby......

Ms. Dowd of the NYTimes in today's Op-Ed in a rant about Karl the Nerd and how his insecurity and anger at the 'cool' guys is forcing our 'rush to darkness'. Here's some highlights, but read it all or I'm coming for you.
Just how much did Karl Rove hate not being one of the cool guys in high school in the 60's? Enough to hatch schemes to marshal the forces of darkness to take over the country?

Oh, yeah.

Even as a child, I could feel the rush of J.F.K.'s presidency racing forward, opening up a thrilling world of possibilities and modernity. We were going to the moon. We were confronting racial intolerance. We were paying any price and bearing any burden for freedom. We were respecting faith but keeping it out of politics. Our president was inspiring much of the world. Our first lady was setting the pace in style and culture.

W.'s presidency rushes backward, stifling possibilities, stirring intolerance, confusing church with state, blowing off the world, replacing science with religion, and facts with faith. We're entering another dark age, more creationist than cutting edge, more premodern than postmodern. Instead of leading America to an exciting new reality, the Bushies cocoon in a scary, paranoid, regressive reality. Their new health care plan will probably be a return to leeches.

America has always had strains of isolationism, nativism, chauvinism, puritanism and religious fanaticism. But most of our leaders, even our devout presidents, have tried to keep these impulses under control. Not this crew. They don't call to our better angels; they summon our nasty devils.

The new evangelicals challenge science because they've been stirred up to object to social engineering on behalf of society's most vulnerable: the poor, the sick, the sexually different

Back in 1994, Newt Gingrich said he wanted the government to mold the moral character of Americans and wipe out remnants of the "counterculture McGoverniks." He got derailed, but now he and his pious friends are back in full cry, messing with our psyches and excluding themselves from the rules they demand others follow. They'll eventually do themselves in, but will they do us in first?

That's the only question left, isn't it? To Chris Matthews, Tim Russert and all y'all big-ass pundits: This gal's got the balls you left behind in your climb to fame and fortune. Up with her and fuck you.

Back Door Draft

Just heard this on CNN, but could find nothing to link to yet. [link here - The Fixer] Mr. Miyasato of Hawaii, an Army veteran of the Gulf War, has been recalled to active duty for duty in Iraq due to his critical MOS of fuel truck driver. Mr. Miyasato completed his eight year obligation nine years ago and is not in the Reserves. He is married, a father, and has just started a business.

His Congressman, Rep. Case, has inquired of the Army as to what the hell is going on, but has received no reply, although Mr. Miyasato has been granted a 30-day delay before he has to report to North Carolina for duty.

The Congressman thinks the Army is just trying to get warm bodies anywhere they can. Anybody who falls for this, in my humble opinion, is 'HaHa! Shame on you! Fooled ya, sucka!'

Draft? Oh, no, Fearless Leader wouldn't do that! Wouldn't he? Don't be so sure. His lies are starting to unravel as we speak. Good.

I'm sure there will be more on this later.

More Whining On The Bright Side

After reading Fixer's post I have to admit something out loud that I've thought for quite a while now. I haven't wanted to because it's unpalatable, to say the least, but now it's unavoidable: Bush's election may very well have been for the best.

Naturally, we all wanted his madness to end right fucking now! Guess what. Ain't gonna happen and the sooner we realize we had our collective ass kicked by masters, the better off we'll be and the sooner we can plan for the rematch.

When the world hands you lemons, make lemonade. We've been handed the biggest lemon in history, so we oughta be able to make a lot of lemonade. So much that we can make those bastards drown in it. If the Lemon Laws applied to politicians instead of used cars, we'd have 'em by the short n' curlies. But I digress.

It should be obvious to even the most casual observer that the Right does not care about facts, truth, performance, or serious issues to select their "leader". Instead, they care about bullshit issues like their so-called "moral values". Moral values are fine. I have them and voted accordingly for the more moral candidate, but their side believes in selfish, negative, bigoted, intolerant, ritualistic values as opposed to spiritual values. Style over substance. Rove realized this and played to it and it paid off big time.

The Dems made their big mistake, it seems in retrospect, in thinking that Americans do care about what's right about the real issues. If we become more like the Right and pander to the dark side, then we've lost for good and all. Someone once said, "I'd rather be right than President", and that's where we stand now.

What do we do? Good question.

First, we all gotta do a lot of thinking. The better minds among us will come up with something. We've got time now, two or four years.

Second, HAMMER! HAMMER! HAMMER! We gotta keep hammering away at everything we see the bastards do that's wrong, which is nearly everything. We'll have a lot of unwitting help with this from the administration, I am sure. Also, there are quite a few administration insiders that will be bailing soon, like rats leaving a sinking ship. I hope some of them turn on their former masters and let us in on some of the behind-the-scenes shit we need to know to bring the bastards down. It would help if the various media realize what patsies they've been and grow a pair. We need that, but don't count on it. If it happens, it will help a lot, and be a pleasant surprise.

While blogging around, I've noticed that there are generally two responses to our defeat. There are those who say to try and come together and heal the wounds and division in our country. Like that'd work. It's a noble idea but it plays right into their hands. It would help them consolidate their power and, worse, they'd be more convinced they were right. To all who follow this road I say, while you're down there on your knees........

I wish I had the patience to look this shit up, but someone else said, "I'd rather die on my feet than live on my knees." This is the other response. We're down now, but by no means out. I've had my ass kicked before, and it always went a lot better on the second go-round. We now know the oppo's strengths as well as their weaknesses. If they try that double-throw-down secret sucker punch again we can be ready for it. Their strength will become their weakness. Political Judo, so to speak. With a little Kung-fu, Karate, and fuck-'em-up waza thrown in, plus the old number tens in the crotch for good measure. This is the camp I am firmly in. I am going to get a copy of "The Art Of War" by Sun Tzu and study it.

This administration may implode from within. That is good, but we gotta help it along.

By the time you read this, I will have thunk up a whole bunch more I wish I had said, so stand by.

I regret that I have but one keyboard to give for my country.

It is most definitely on.

I Thought I Had More Than That...

All I know about currency fluctuation and the state of the dollar is to be able to tell what's going on when I open my wallet and peer inside, but this article in the Washington Post even helped ME understand what's going on.

The gay perspective

See Genia at Sisters Talk.

McCarthyism and ideology

Go read Jeff's latest.

[. . .]

It seems that all that President Bush has to say these days is that America comes first in the world and his audience goes wild! All he has to say is that he wants to spread democracy and freedom to the entire world and his audience again, goes wild!

[. . .]

Bringing in an America vs. the rest of the world political climate that Bush seems to aspire to will MOST DEFINITELY lead to our downfall.

Whining on the bright side

In my cruising around the Blogosphere since 3 Nov, I've noticed a lot of bloggers on the Left complaining about the vote count in certain 'battleground states' (FL & OH), and whether all the votes were counted or not. My 2 cents? Shut up and quit whining. We had a corps of lawyers that was division strength, how come no suits were filed, no restraining orders were filed, nothing? What would be the point, even if there were voting irregularities, to attempt a recount now? The best we could hope for now would be that Kerry actually did win, probably by less of a margin than Bush took Florida in 2000. What would be the point?

Do any of my Left-wing colleagues think that Kerry could actually have gotten anything done with a Repub majority in both Houses of Congress? Don't you think he would have been ratfucked at every turn? Don't you think that four years of gridlock and partisan squabbling would do anything for this country? A draft will be necessary, unless Bush just leaves Iraq and lets it completely degenerate into anarchy. Do we want John Kerry (or any other Dem) to be linked to that? Have we forgotten what Vietnam did to the Democratic Party? No, what we got last Tuesday was a gift, and we just have to look at it that way.

Bush has no excuses, and the Congress neither. If Iraq degenerates even more (and you know it will) do we want a Dem being accused of "screwing up what Bush had started"? You know the Rovians would play that hand. No, now that I've gone from wanting to turn Jesusland into an Air Force (Nellis 2) bombing range, to as much rational thought as I can muster, I see now that the results of this election were the best gift the Dems could have received. Early Christmas. Our hands remain clean as we heckle from the sidelines. And heckle we must, loudly and frequently, to anyone who'll listen.

We have to start framing the issue now (think Newt and the boys when Clinton was elected in '92 and what happened in '94), set up now for a run at the Congress in the '06 midterms. "Look at what the Republicans have done. Iraq, Iraq, Iraq. Deficit, deficit, deficit. They've had X years, what do we have to show for it?" Beat them at their own game. We have to raise an issue and beat them over the head with it. If we keep 'em looking over their shoulders for the next few years, they're bound to make mistakes.

Tell the reality-based folks the truth, but keep it simple for the Jesuslanders, 2 issues for them. Iraq. Do you want one or more of your 12 kids going there as cannon fodder? Deficit. You work 2 jobs to make ends meet. If it keeps going like this, how many jobs will your children have to work in order to keep their heads above water?

So, quit whining and forget about the past. What's done is done and it's time to look toward the future. Remember THE MISSION. By the time we put a Dem in the White House in '08, we want a Dem majority in Congress to welcome him/her. Don't tell me it can't be done. Think Boston and Philadelphia 1776, think Paris 1812, think Appomatox 1865, think MLK a hundred years later. We do want a mandate in '08. Not a Bush (51%) mandate, but a Reagan-Mondale mandate. A thorough beating with at least half of Jesusland receiving redemption in addition to all of Realitystan. That's what we want and will settle for nothing less.

Because it's on.

Update: 07:15:

And one of the talking points for '06 will be the housing bubble, which will surely burst before the end of Bush's reign. When that goes, so will mortgage interest rates, straight up. Let's see what all of these defaults will do the the banking industry. You see, folks, most of the people buying new houses while interest rates were low were just barely affording it. When higher interest rates (thanks to the deficit) blow their budgets out of the water, the banks will be left holding the bag. (Never mind those who have refinanced at variable interest rates.) Let's hammer this too, as hard as possible.

An' Spliff Too, Mon...

G.D. Frogsdong at Blanton's and Ashton's has a good thought:
Get up, stand up, stand up for your rights, get up, stand up, don't give up the fight

We need a Bob Marley in this country. Eminem just doesn't cut it for me.

I'll buy it. Can I be the one who gets to shoot the Sheriff?

I Kid You Not

Go read Are You Effin' Kiddin' Me? 'til your eyeballs hurt. Here's a coupla excerpts:

To put it another way, the animals can now be let out of our cages. There is no more reason to hold us back.

And we will make them curse the day they left the left with nothing left to lose. (my emphasis)

You, dear readers, are hereby drafted as soldiers in the opinion wars. You must strike early, strike hard and strike often. Go for broke (my emphasis).

And where are they getting this data on morals? EXIT POLLS?!? ARE YOU EFFIN' KIDDING ME?!? How can you have one story that says "Exit Polls Blow It Out Ass, Will Never Be Used Again" sitting right next to a story that says "Exit Polls Show Election Was A Referendum On Morals"? H-h-h-h-how?!

Just in case anyone isn't sure, remember what "moral values" means:

Gays shouldn't have rights

"Abortionists" should be killed

The poor do not deserve your help

It's better to be sectarian in all aspects of life

None of the above applies to rich people

This guy is good. He must be. He links to US!

That Explains It

Saw this one on PST, at the bottom of the page:

"The Cracker Belt hates us because of our freedom."

Read, don't scroll, your way down to it.