Tuesday, June 7, 2005

You're gonna hurl

Check this out:

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Buried in the 700-plus page energy bill currently under debate in the U.S. Senate is a provision that provides hundreds of millions of dollars worth of federal loan guarantees for a power project apparently to be built by four former Enron executives . . . [my emphasis]


Un-be-lievable.

Hat tip: Jill @ Skippy's

So? . . . revisited . . . again

Raw Story via the King:

Kennedy becomes the first senator to raise the issue in the Senate, after earlier reports that Massachusetts' junior senator, John Kerry, would speak about the minutes in Washington.

[. . .]


So after all the bluster by Kerry, he wormed out of an issue again. Good on Teddy for putting it out there though.

"The contents of the Downing Street Minutes confirm that the Bush Administration was determined to go to war in Iraq, regardless of whether there was any credible justification for doing so. The Administration distorted and misrepresented the intelligence in its attempt to link Saddam Hussein with the terrorists of 9/11 and Osama bin Laden, and with weapons of mass destruction that Iraq did not have."


Update: 19:25:

More on Kerry's bungling from TBogg:

[. . .]

Jesus, they had additional substantive evidence that the Swift Boat Liars were full of shit and refused to release it. The incompetent way that matter was handled knows no bounds.

[. . .]

Zealotry

Some snapshots of religious zeal in the US: there are churches in Texas where 20,000 worshippers pray every Sunday; Alabama's most senior judge was dismissed for refusing to remove the Ten Commandments from his court; the re-election of George Bush returned with the support of thousands of evangelicals lured to the polls by local laws banning homosexual marriage.

[. . .]

Despite the separation of church and state being enshrined in the US constitution, more than 40 per cent of US citizens said religious leaders should use their influence to try to sway policy-makers. In France, by contrast, 85 per cent of people said they opposed such "activism" by the clergy.

[. . .]

But the US appears to be exceptional among industrialised nations because of the numbers who believe religion should influence policy-makers. [Link] [my emphases]

[. . .]


So tell me how this idealogy differs from the Taliban or the Ayatollahs in Iran. We cannot let these people complete their takeover. We have to win in '06. One house of Congress at the least. And pray Rhenquist stays alive until next Christmas.

Swallow first

My friend was watching a mutual friend's cat while he was on vacation. Before he left, he warned that the cat was old (21 years old), and not doing so hot. He suspected that he was ready to die. Sure enough, the cat died on the last day of vacation. My friend asked me how he should tell him. I gave him these options to break the news.

[. . .]


Here.

Contest . . . of sorts

Tell me where these come from:

FIRST, require all laws that apply to the rest of the country also apply equally to the Congress;
SECOND, select a major, independent auditing firm to conduct a comprehensive audit of Congress for waste, fraud or abuse;
THIRD, cut the number of House committees, and cut committee staff by one-third;
FOURTH, limit the terms of all committee chairs;
FIFTH, ban the casting of proxy votes in committee;
SIXTH, require committee meetings to be open to the public;
SEVENTH, require a three-fifths majority vote to pass a tax increase;
EIGHTH, guarantee an honest accounting of our Federal Budget by implementing zero base-line budgeting.


If someone doesn't get it, I'll tell ya after dinner.

Better yet, I'll give the first correct answer a signed copy of one of my books [my choice] to use as a doorstop.

Update: 16:15:

And the winner is The Chemist!

I do believe that's the RepublicanContract with America.

Hey, they were close!

P.S. I couldn't even type that with a straight face. Sigh...why does no one call them on these things?


Something else heavy and long-winded will be on it's way presently.

The NOW Show on DeLay

Here's a transcript.
DAVID BRANCACCIO: NOW on PBS...

The ethical questions dogging Majority Leader Tom DeLay continue to grow. Have his favors to lobbyists led him from family values to supporting virtual slavery?

REP. CHRISTOPHER SHAYS (R-CT): My instinct, my gut, tells me there'll be more because Tom is constantly pushing that ethical limit to the extreme

I put my printer on the case. I'll read it in the bathtub. I'll be pretty pink 'n shriveled when I get done with this one. Or maybe I'll just watch the video again...

More on DSM

From The Nation:
We have also made contact with several other members of Congress, and we believe that it will not be long before a group in Congress officially calls for an ROI.

Unfortunately, as most Nation readers know, the Downing Street Minutes have only been a story in the rest of the world, especially in Britain. In the United States it is taking much longer for the mainstream to pick up on it, and the issue is still being treated far less seriously than the seriousness of the charges warrant.

Fortunately, the blogosphere has found this new proof of George W. Bush's "misleadership" much more compelling than the mainstream press has; writers like Apian have posted incisive diaries on www.dailykos.com/, which regularly covers the story, as has Georgia10 and her friends, who founded the wonderful site www.downingstreetmemo.com/.

Despite a slow start, the Downing Street Minutes may have a long life expectancy, and the Misleader of the Pack may yet have to confront the truth.

This thing is gaining speed like an overloaded poultry truck, but when it finally gets up to speed there'll be no stoppin' it (you get my brilliant reference to the brakes on most farm trucks if you've ever driven one!). Oh, Bush'll duck and dodge like he always does, but when it runs his ass over, he'll know he was hit by a truck and there'll be chickenshit and feathers everywhere! We'll enjoy omelettes made out of the rest.

The Noose May Be Tightening All Over D.C....

My favorite Texas babe, Molly Ivins, is on the job. Via Working For Change. Go read this one, sports fans.
A jaw-dropping article in The Texas Observer shows that two lobbying clients of Jack Abramoff paid $25,000 to Grover Norquist's group for a lunch date and meeting with President George W. Bush in May 2001. Abramoff brought the Indian chiefs to the White house at the request of Norquist, a leading "movement conservative" in Washington. In addition, Abramoff obtained $2.5 million in contributions from the Indians for a nonprofit foundation run by his wife and himself.

Norquist, Abramoff and Karl Rove have worked together for 30 years, since they were national leaders of the College Republicans. Norquist, DeLay and Abramoff are all key players in the "the K Street Project" to turn the Washington lobby corps into an arm of the Republican Party.

The Observer was too tasteful to crack any jokes about how forgettable a meeting with this Great White Father (my emphasis) might be. Dubose reports: "According to a source close to the tribal majority, Chairman Poncho recently 'revisited that issue' of his visit to the White House. He had previously denied it because he thought he was responding to press inquiries that implied he had a one-on-one meeting with Bush. He now recalls that he did in fact go to the White House on May 9, 2001. ... That meeting lasted for about 15 minutes and was not a one-on-one meeting. ... Abramoff was at the meeting."

According to the new version, Bush made some general comments about Indian policy but did not discuss Indian gaming. Abramoff billed the Coushatta $25,000 for the meeting. ...

Abramoff set up a meeting with Bush prior to swindling the livin' shit out of his tribal clients in cahoots with DeLay? Sounds like it! O, Dance of Joy!
I doubt there is a more important story in this country today. All reporters who want to be the next Woodward and Bernstein should follow Dubose and Martin to the local ends of this story

On the domestic front, this could be right up there with the Downing Street Memo. It's not nearly as serious, of course, but it'll do if it helps link Bush to DeLay and some of his "high crimes and misdemeanors". More grist for the mill.

I wonder how many o' them pencilnecks'll fit in one noose? Maybe if we had a real strong rope...

Also, good article in the Texas Observer about DeLay's big night.

Update

Fum da Sistah (A little Noo Yawk for ya, Froggy):

Congressman Conyers is up to 145,000 signatures on his letter to President Bush. If you still haven't signed the letter, head on over - and encourage everyone you know to show their support by signing, too.

[. . .]


If ya ain't signed . . . don't make me come to your house.

Downing Street - Prologue

Pauly:

[. . .]

"the RAF and US aircraft doubled the rate at which they were dropping bombs on Iraq in 2002 in an attempt to provoke Saddam Hussein into giving the allies an excuse for war."

[. . .]


I'd be willing to be the farm, Chimpy Inc planned to invade Iraq long before September 11th.

Get 'Em, Blondie!

Senator Clinton had a few choice remarks about the administration. From the NYTimes.
The senator said that left unchallenged, Republican leaders could ram through extremist judges, wreck Social Security, and make unacceptable concessions to China, Saudi Arabia and other nations that finance the United States budget deficit.

"There has never been an administration, I don't believe in our history, more intent upon consolidating and abusing power to further their own agenda," Mrs. Clinton told the gathering.

"I know it's frustrating for many of you, it's frustrating for me. Why can't the Democrats do more to stop them?" she continued to growing applause. "I can tell you this: It's very hard to stop people who have no shame about what they're doing. It is very hard to tell people that they are making decisions that will undermine our checks and balances and constitutional system of government who don't care. It is very hard to stop people who have never been acquainted with the truth."

In some of her sharpest language, Mrs. Clinton said that abetting Republicans was a Washington press corps that has become a pale imitation of the Watergate-era reporters who are being celebrated amid the identification of the Washington Post source Deep Throat.

"It's shocking when you see how easily they fold in the media today," Mrs. Clinton said, again to strong applause. "They don't stand their ground. If they're criticized by the White House, they just fall apart.

"I mean, c'mon, toughen up, guys, it's only our Constitution and country at stake."

Some of the "moderate" Dems, notably Joe Biden whom I otherwise like, are distancing themselves from the kind of rhetoric used by Hil, Dean, and Reid. Wise up, Mods. This kind of open talk, speaking truth to power, is exactly the right course. Folks with a soapbox gotta get up on it and SHOUT! We can't pussyfoot around with these bastards anymore. As I see it, political correctness and politeness are two of the reasons the Reps have steamrolled this country. They view it as weakness and work it like a red-headed stepchild to their evil ends. There's a lot of rocks that need to be turned over and maybe some noses that need bein' punched if our country is to survive.

I don't care what some folks think of Senator Clinton's seemingly centrist trend. She's got balls and a loud voice and she's using them. Kinda cute, too.

Thin-skinned Jews

Okay, here's where I get in real trouble but it has to be said. Time for American Jews to grow thicker skins. I'm tired of you taking offense every time a goyim makes a Jewish joke. I'm married into a Jewish family. Thanks to the Internet, I get to see all the email jokes they send one another, some I'd never repeat. I'd feel that uncomfortable. If you don't want the stereotype, don't promote it amongst yourselves. It's like the blacks calling themselves niggas and then get pissed when the crackas call 'em the same thing.

I'm tired of you screaming anti-Semitism every time someone equates Jewishness with being a lawyer. Sorry but . . . If you want people to stop making so-called racist references, don't keep calling blacks schwarzers or Norwegians (You know who you are). Stop looking down your nose at everyone who isn't Jewish. And stop blaming me for what happened in Germany 60 years ago. I wasn't born at the time and my relatives, most Germans, weren't Nazis. Don't give me shit about it, I didn't do it.

Another thing, stop defending Israel blindly. Israel lost its soul a long time ago and their government closer to the Nazis you detest than you choose to admit. The 'Occupied Territories' are nothing more than big Concentration Camps, regardless of what you delude yourselves into believing.

And it's time to stop looking at your religion as your nationality (This goes for every other fucking religious group too). You're an American first. We're all Americans and we have bigger problems than worrying about who called whom what. And no, Bush is not good for Israel.

Note: I'm wearing Kevlar today so take your best shot.

Accountability

Yesterday:

(New York-WABC, June 6, 2005) - A warning for millions of customers of CitiFinancial - an affiliate of Citibank - your personal and financial information is missing. Computer tapes were lost by UPS during shipment - tapes that contain account numbers and social security numbers.

[. . .]


And last year:

(TOKYO, March 19 2004 Reuters) - The Japanese banking unit of U.S. financial giant Citigroup (C,Trade) said on Friday that a magnetic tape containing information on over 120,000 of its customer accounts had gone missing in Singapore. The back-up tape, which had monthly transaction data on 123,690 Citibank customer accounts in Japan, went missing on February 21 while a local security company was transporting it, the Japanese unit of Citibank NA said in a statement.

[. . .]


And this is just Citicorp. It's time for some Draconian punishments for these corporations who treat our confidential info like old, used toilet paper. The loss of personal info can totally disrupt someone's life and these companies should be forced to improve their computer security. As of now, all they do is shrug and say 'oops'. Horseshit.

So? - revisited

Re: My post last night:

"When I go back (to Washington) on Monday, I am going to raise the issue," he said of the memo, which has not been disputed by either the British or American governments. "I think it's a stunning, unbelievably simple and understandable statement of the truth and a profoundly important document that raises stunning issues here at home. And it's amazing to me the way it escaped major media discussion. It's not being missed on the Internet, I can tell you that." - John Kerry - 1 June 2005


The question still stands. Did Kerry bring this up yesterday, or is he blowing smoke? I figure the latter or we would have heard about it, right?

Monday, June 6, 2005

Lyin' One-Sided Sound Bites

I know now what Fixer means when he says he posts in a blind rage. That's what I'm doin' now. I sincerely hope this is the last time I post on medical marijuana, but it probably won't be.

I was just watching the CBS Nightly News. They were doing a story, if those little blurbs they do can be called stories, on SCOTUS' decision to override states' rights in the medical marijuana issue. They had two sound bites from high-ups that got me right up off the couch, screamin' and shakin' my fist. Since I was simply watching TV, I have no attribution or links.

The first asshole, gloating over the decision said, "There's no medical crack. There's no medical methamphetamine. There's no medical heroin. Why should there be medical marijuana?"

The ignorant, lyin', obsequious asshole!

There absolutely is medical cocaine, which is the base for crack. It is used in all kinds of procedures where blood vessels need to be constricted. A friend of mine had a gram shoved up each nostril prior to surgery to repair a badly broken nose, for example. Doctors get it in big brown bottles for (at that time) about $5 a gram. Now, I'm glad there's not a lot of $5/gram cocaine, or any of the other drugs, floating around, but the sonofabitch didn't know what he was talkin' about, or he was lying.

There absolutely is medical methamphetamine. It's used as an appetite supressant, a mood-altering drug, and as a stimulant to keep people awake and alert should they have the need. I don't know about these days, but in my day, you could get it from the Navy doctors before a multi-day patrol where you had to be on your toes for days at a time, and the Doc didn't get it on the street.

There absolutely is medical heroin. Enlightened societies use it as a painkiller. In the U.S. we use morphine which is very similar, and many other opiates, for the same purpose. Opiates can be highly-refined botanical products, or synthetic.

Naturally, these are manufactured by pharmaceutical companies and not in someone's bathtub.

Then there was another moron, from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, or some such, who said, "Marijuana won't make it as modern medicine."

What an asinine comment! Marijuana is not modern medicine. It's been used for thousands of years as have many other naturally-occurring botanical substances. It's been a traditional, herbal, holistic folk remedy, used for nausea, menstrual cramps, all kinds of things. Do you think the fuckin' hippies invented it to thumb their noses at the establishment, fer chrissake?

Now to the part that pissed me off: CBS (all the other corporate media do the same thing) let 'em have their say and used it without presenting very much of the other side, as if it were true or all you needed to know on the subject. Toadies to the Man. Boss-approved guardians of the status quo masquerading as journalists. THEY ALL SUCK!

It's not about compassion for your fellow man, that's for damn sure. It's all about money, power, and control, as we've said many times.

Please forgive the rant. I feel better now.

I hope the two sick ladies who started the court case feel better too.

All Too True

Wallpaper noire. Thanks to Paul the Spud.

So?

Has Kerry raised the issue in Congress today? I can't find anything.

Gettin' deep

The bullshit's starting to come in like the high tide. Via 18 1/2 Minute Gap:

WASHINGTON - U.S. intelligence and foreign allies have growing evidence that wanted terrorists have been residing in Iran despite repeated American warnings to Tehran not to harbor them.

[. . .]


Wasn't it Scott Ritter who predicted a June invasion?

[. . .]

On Iran, Ritter said that President George W. Bush has received and signed off on orders for an aerial attack on Iran planned for June 2005. Its purported goal is the destruction of Iran's alleged program to develop nuclear weapons, but Ritter said neoconservatives in the administration also expected that the attack would set in motion a chain of events leading to regime change in the oil-rich nation of 70 million - a possibility Ritter regards with the greatest skepticism.

[. . .]


Ritter said this in February of this year, by the way.

Bumper Crop of Bumper Stickers

I saw these bumper stickers on the car ahead of me on my way to work this morning:

United States Marine Corps

Military Wife

POW-MIA

I am pro-choice, and I vote!

and my favorite,

Who Would Jesus Bomb?


It made my day.

The High Cost of Prohibition

Like, wow, man. I seem to be stuck on this topic. Or maybe I just forget what I posted previously. More on mary-ju-wanna from Alternet.
This week, over 500 leading economists, led by conservative icon Dr. Milton Friedman, called for a national debate about whether prohibition of marijuana is worth the cost. The occasion was a new report by Harvard University economist Dr. Jeffrey Miron estimating - - probably conservatively -- that replacing prohibition with a system of common-sense regulation could mean $10 billion to $14 billion per year in reduced government spending and new revenues.

"We believe such a debate will favor a regime in which marijuana is legal but taxed and regulated like other goods," Friedman and colleagues wrote. "At a minimum, this debate will force advocates of current policy to show that prohibition has benefits sufficient to justify the cost to taxpayers, foregone tax revenues, and numerous ancillary consequences that result from marijuana prohibition."

A good case can be made that prohibition costs too much -- in money, but also in ruined lives and harm done to society. But first, let's talk about dollars:

It's always about "dollars", ain't it?
According to the federal government, nearly 15 million Americans use marijuana at least once a month. That's equal to every man, woman and child in the states of Oregon, Nebraska, Indiana and Oklahoma combined. It's nearly as many Americans as will buy a new car or truck this year. It's a huge market.

These 500 economists are right: There might be a better way, and it's time to start talking about it.

Unfortunately, when reason and common sense go up against Big Bucks and Puritan ideology, on any subject, but especially this one, they lose.

Voted Off The Internet

I guess this just had to happen. Go read about the "Ultimate Blogger" competition.

It makes me way glad I don't do this for a living or have aspirations to glory. Sheesh.

Take a blue pill, Dave...

Here's Digby on the Supremes' decision on medical marijuana:
The good news is that, as Stevens says in the opinion, it preserves the right of federal legislators to change the laws, so that's nice. When we finally get over our reefer madness in this country, which I expect to be in a couple of hundred years or so, maybe the Armageddon Party can join with the Theocrats and make it legal. But of course, it won't be necessary because Pfizer will have found a way to perfectly re-create the effect of marijuana in a pill form and will have made millions selling it by prescription to those who can afford it --- which is, after all, the whole point.

Those liberal activist judges again, huh?

The Mugging Of The American Dream

If you're looking for something to read while you eat lunch, this oughta do it. A speech by Bill Moyers. Via Alternet. Sample:
A profound transformation is occurring in America and those responsible for it don't want you to connect the dots. We are experiencing what has been described as a "fanatical drive to dismantle the political institutions, the legal and statutory canons, and the intellectual and cultural frameworks that have shaped public responsibility for social harms arising from the excesses of private power." From public land to water and other natural resources, from media with their broadcast and digital spectrums to scientific discoveries and medical breakthroughs, a broad range of America's public resources is being shifted to the control of elites and the benefit of the privileged. It all seems so clear now that we wonder how we could have ignored the warning signs at the time. Back in the early l970s President Nixon's Attorney General, John Mitchell, predicted that "this country is going to go so far to the right that you won't recognize it." A wealthy right-winger of the time, William Simon, President Nixon's Secretary of the Treasury, wrote a polemic declaring that "funds generated by business...must rush by the multimillions" to conservative causes. Said Business Week, bluntly: "Some people will obviously have to do with less...It will be a bitter pill for many Americans to swallow the idea of doing with less so that big business can have more."

We've seen the strategy play out for years now: to cut workforces and wages, scour the globe in search of cheap labor, trash the social contract and the safety net meant to protect people from hardships beyond their control, make it hard for ordinary citizens to gain redress for the malfeasance and malpractice of corporations, and diminish the ability of government to check and balance "the animal spirits" of economic warfare where the winner takes all. Streams of money flowed into think tanks to shape the agenda, media to promote it, and a political machine to achieve it. What has happened to working Americans is not the result of Adam Smith's benign and invisible hand but the direct consequence of corporate money, ideological propaganda, a partisan political religion, and a string of political decisions favoring the interests of wealthy elites who bought the political system right out from under us.

I love that guy. I hope he comes back to TV.

Didn't think so

------------------------------------------------------
MSNBC Breaking News
------------------------------------------------------

Supreme Court: Federal government can prosecute over medical marijuana use.


While Gord and I were hopeful, I don't think anybody expected a different outcome.

Take a second

Today is the 61st anniversary of D-Day. Take a second to remember.

Money worries

Jane speaks on the economy:

It should be clear to all by now that the crazy, clueless bastards at the helm of this country scare the crap out of me. But the depth and breadth of that cluelessness, and the implications for us all, are becoming ever more apparent . . .

[. . .]

It's clear that 5 years into this Administration that Bush has no vision of where to take the country. Iraq was the vision. Iraq was their idea of how to solve the problems of America in the 21st century. Invade a country, prop up a client state, and extract neocolonial "free market" advantages from raping the country of its oil. This is what happens when you hand the keys to the most powerful nation on the earth to a bunch of rednecks and business school graduates. There's not as much difference between the two as you might think.

[. . .]


A good post and a good article.

Dam it

Read the Ghost, it'll make you smile.

Agency's out

Time via the Sister:

. . . A new White House memo excludes CIA director Porter Goss from National Security Council meetings. The biggest changes in Washington often come about with just a few strokes of the pen. And so a dry, one-page internal memo quietly issued by the White House is being viewed as a kind of eulogy for the once mighty Central Intelligence Agency.

[. . .]

It's the latest evidence that Negroponte is consolidating his power as the nation's intelligence czar. The May 2 memo, obtained by TIME and also reported late last week by GovWatch.com, states that "effective immediately," Negroponte will participate in meetings of the NSC and its domestic counterpart, the Homeland Security Council (HSC). Meanwhile, CIA Director Porter Goss "will attend NSC and HSC meetings at the direction of the President."

That's the polite Beltway equivalent of saying, "Don't call us. We'll call you."

[. . .]


So, even though Bush's lackey, Porter Goss, is running the show over at Langley, it's obvious the (p)resident's closest advisors (Rove, Card, Cheney) don't want any objective assessments to sneak into the White House, even from the people from whom it's required. It also puts one more layer of bureaucracy between the Agency and the end-users of its product. I wonder how much editing is done between Langley and 1600 and if any of the original context remains.

Sunday, June 5, 2005

Great Thanks

This morning we reached our highest rating ever in the TTLB Ecosystem. Amazing in itself, let alone on a Sunday. (The highest traffic days for us are Tuesday and Wednesday) I know most of it is due to the Big Brass Alliance Blogswarm and will probably taper off again, but I just wanted to say thanks to all the people who've stopped by and those who've linked to us. You helped us pass a milestone and I'm incredibly grateful. Also thanks and gratitude to my partners, without whom it would never have been possible.

[This is staying on top today]

Republican Gods

Digby:

. . . Being the great winners of ideological struggle apparently entitles them to raise all Republican leaders to the status of gods. In fact, there is no Republican leader on earth, from Joe McCarthy to Richard Nixon, who has not been entirely misunderstood until now. They have all not only been great warriors and leaders of men, they are also, each in their way, Jesus-like in their transcendent love for their fellow man and devotion to peace. All of them. Even the paranoid drunks and crooks.

[. . .]


Bush was right, the line between good and evil is as fine as black and white. It's the difference between us and them.

Here come the Judge

A corollary to Gordon's post below:

With remarks to a civic group in Enfield recently, Superior Court Judge Howard Scheinblum engaged in what is seldom forgiven in Connecticut's public life: candor.

The judge asserted what can neither be denied nor acknowledged -- that public policy on drugs doesn't work. Speaking from his 15 years of experience on the bench, Scheinblum estimated 90 percent of criminal cases in Connecticut are connected in some way to the pursuit of illegal drugs, and he asserted that society would be far better off to let users of such drugs obtain them by prescription and to be charged for them according to their ability to pay.

That is, the judge said, drugs are not the problem, not the cause of thievery, robbery, and violence; drug prohibitions.

[. . .]


I wonder how long it will take the wingnuts to start screaming about having him removed from the bench.

[. . .]

Judge Scheinblum's analysis only seems cynical, but it has been borne out by the political action of Connecticut's prison guards union against the transfer of inmates to prisons out of state where costs of imprisonment are lower. The families of prisoners have protested as well, but the union didn't care about prisoner welfare; it cared about losing business.

The judge's analysis also has been borne out by state government's refusal to audit drug-criminalization policy. The policy's failure is obvious, but politicians are paralyzed by fear of the policy's financial beneficiaries and the fear of asking the public to challenge old but faulty assumptions.

As with many other policies in Connecticut that are never evaluated for results, the "war on drugs" is not meant to be won; it is meant to be waged. Even its racially disproportionate casualties are not enough to prompt politicians to engage in candor like Judge Scheinblum's. Indeed, Connecticut's politicians are happy to put half the state's young men of color in prison if the other half can be hired to guard them. [Link]

[. . .]


It's all about money and votes [power].

Hat tip: Cookie Jill @ Skippy's

Blast! Shit! Sue!

Fixer's the expert at blowing people off the shitter, but apparently it doesn't require outside help. From MSNBC News:
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - A man who says he was severely burned when a portable toilet exploded after he sat down and lit a cigarette is suing a general contractor and a coal company, accusing them of negligence.

"When I struck the lighter, the whole thing just detonated - the whole top blew off," said Jenkins, a methane power plant operator with North West Fuels Development Inc. "I can't tell you if it blew me out the door or if I jumped out."

I guess whether he jumped or was pushed is a moot point. Ya end up out in the parking lot with yer pants around yer ankles and a magazine in yer hand, you're gonna get kidded by yer homies! I guess if he had the shit scared out of him, he was at least in the right place.

You know, I've occasionally been called not the sharpest tool in the box, but you would think that a methane plant operator would know better than to light a match within a country mile of the plant.

Medical Marijuana and a Government That Does What It Wants

The front-page lead article with the big headline on Friday in my local paper, the Sierra Sun, was all about local response in Nevada and Placer Counties to medical marijuana dispensaries. It may require free registration to read, but do it. It's interesting, but the point for this post is a federal government that bends the rules to get what they want:
Federal vs. state law

Federal law and California law butt heads on the medical marijuana issue, and it remains unclear which statute takes precedent. A Supreme Court case, Raich v. Ashcroft, is expected to resolve this conflict.

The crux of the Supreme Court case is whether medical marijuana cultivation and distribution is considered "interstate commerce", which falls under federal jurisdiction.

The federal government argued that even if marijuana is cultivated and given away for free it still constitutes interstate commerce. The plaintiffs said that marijuana that is cultivated and consumed in a single state, and is not bought or sold, is subject only to state law.
(my emphasis)

The Supreme Court finished hearing arguments on the case last year and is currently formulating a decision.

"When that decision is handed down it will eliminate much of the murkiness surrounding the enforcement of medical marijuana uses", said Sgt. Ron Ashford of the Placer County Sheriff's Department.

"In the legislation there is a lot of room to move there - a lot of leeway", Ashford said.

Meanwhile, patients and operators of the marijuana dispensaries wait for the court decision that is expected to either endorse or criminalize the distribution of medical marijuana.

"We have a ton of patients that are terrified," said Lincoln, from her job at the Colfax marijuana dispensary. "If we get taken away they will not know what to do."

I won't go into the use of marijuana here. Those of us who know, know that the biggest danger users face is twofold: 1) You might gain weight, which is actually helpful in AIDS cases, for instance. Not so helpful at Krispy Kreme maybe, but plenty fun; and 2) Getting caught with it makes you a criminal for nothing more than smoking an herb that God, yes, the same God that Republicans like, put on the planet for our use, but they'll never cop to that!

We all know that marijuana was basically legal to use until 1937, when Harry J. Anslinger, head of the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs (BNDD) needed padding for his statistics against truly dangerous drugs like heroin and cocaine and lumped this roadside weed in with them, against the advice of professionals who knew it to be relatively harmless.

We also know there is a racist element to the prohibition against some drugs: cocaine was made illegal to suppress Negroes, and marijuana to suppress Mexicans. Then, as now, non-existent, manufactured fear was used to justify action. This has been a tried and true government tactic for a long time, but it's used more by this administration, in all areas, than by most others.

Marijuana isn't actually illegal to possess per se, merely to possess without a tax stamp, which cannot be obtained without presenting proof of possession, such as a baggie-load, which is illegal to possess without the tax stamp, etc., etc., which is the catch-22. There are no tax stamps anyway. Pretty clever, damn their eyes.

There is also the Puritan fear that someone, somewhere, is having FUN!

Add to those the fact that medicine is the focus of great profit for the pharmaceutical industry and they haven't yet figured out how to make huge profit off of something that you can grow for free in your bathroom or closet. When they get that one right, the rest may be a moot point, but they don't want to rock the boat.

The federal government is pretty securely in Big Pharma's hip pocket, and the prison and law enforcement industries rely on marijuana and other drugs to provide employment, clientele, and -wait for it- FUNDING! Are we starting to get the picture, boys and girls?

This really is all about money and power: CEO's, employees, stockholders, pharmacists, cops, lawyers, judges, prison guards, prison-building contractors, huge government agencies and all who stand to profit or gain power from prohibition, all stand to have their livelihoods, and their multi-billion dollar industries and fifedoms diminished, if all of a sudden they are forced to reverse years of building fear of and dominion over a harmless fuckin' roadside weed by the WILL OF THE PEOPLE which they don't much give a shit about. They do fear the people's voice, however, and suppress it whenever they can, lest actual Democracy upset the applecart.

So, since the people have voted for the use of medical marijuana, the best the Fed can do is to bring up Interstate Commerce as a justification to stick its nose into a state matter because they don't like the way it's going? Pathetic.

Here's my solution, at least for California: California is the world's sixth largest economy. Marijuana is California's number one cash crop. You'll have a hard time getting our ag dept. to cop to that, but it's documented and they know it.

I propose -are you listening, Ah-nold?- that we simply refuse to pay any more federal taxes and instead, pay them to the State of California. Tell the Feds to get fucked. Since we only get back about a third of what we send the Feds, we'll have a lot more money and our budget problems will go away.

We will be in the forefront of the legalization of harmless, holistically useful plants as well. We've already voted to legalize medical marijuana. In that, the people have spoken, as they have in many other states.

If this sounds like a call to secession, hey, what we got right now ain't working very good, so let's try it. Maybe we could get other progressive states to go along.

And what of all the states in Jesusland that depend on the rich, populous states for their existence? Bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha! Who gives a shit? Get a job or die, motherfuckers!

Potpourri

Elsewhere in Milbank's column are some real jewels. I just wanta share.
When the nonprofit Broward Art Guild in Florida called its annual exhibit "Controversy," it didn't know the half of it. According to the Sun-Sentinel newspaper, Broward County's director of cultural affairs called the guild's director at home to register her disapproval of a painting called "Yahoo!" that showed President Bush being sodomized alongside images of a man in Muslim headdress and an oil barrel.

The guild is a private group but gets nearly a quarter of its funding from the county, and the pressure from the county official did the job: The painting was relocated to a corner and marked with a warning about its content. The newspaper reported that the county's complaint was provoked by a protest from another artist in the exhibit, Michael Friedman, who found the painting offensive; Friedman's artwork showed Pope Benedict XVI on a background of swastikas.

Don't that beat all? I've forgiven Joey Rats for his youthful experiences, but I'd like to see the one of Bush gettin' his fart pipe tamped. Sounds like a good show.

And this:
Q: "You've called Bush a loser."

A: "And a liar."

Q: "You apologized for the loser comment."

A: "But never for the liar, have I?"

-- from a Rolling Stone interview with Senate Minority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev).

There's more. Go read.

Amnesty Amnesia

From Dana Milbank's column in today's WaPo:
The folks at Amnesty International are practically begging for a one-way ticket to Gitmo. After the human rights group issued a report late last month calling the U.S. detention center in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, "the gulag of our times," top officials raced to condemn Amnesty.

Funny -- these officials had a different view of Amnesty when it was criticizing other countries.

Depends on whose elephant ox is being gored, I guess.
"This administration eagerly cites Amnesty International research when we criticize Cuba and extensively quoted our criticism of the violations in Iraq under Saddam Hussein in the run-up to the war," protested William F. Schulz, executive director of Amnesty International USA.

But Schulz isn't protesting too much. In the past week, traffic on Amnesty's Web site has gone up sixfold, donations have quintupled and new memberships have doubled (my emphasis).

I made a comment somewhere about the last bit: Amnesty International has been criticized for hyperbole in calling Gitmo a "Gulag", because it's not, of course. It's closer than we would like, but I don't think they use the inmates for slave labor. Yet. Not until they start "concentrating" on American citizens. But I digress. My point was that AI is dumb like a fox and figured out that by way overstating the problem (learned from Bush?) it would draw attention. It did. Good job.

Perspective


Pic courtesy of Cathie

Pit Bull

Via Granny. Rep. John Conyers is now looking for his own 'Deep Throat'. Git yer mind out the gutter, old man.

Career advancement

John is bucking for a job at The Onion.

Browbeating

There are many chapels on Camp Anaconda, Iraq, for religious services. When one wants to participate or hear religious jaw-jacking, that is where one goes.

There are also many dining facilities. When one is hungry and wants to get something to eat, this is where one goes. When religious services, Bible quoting and gospel singing are held during meal times in the DFACs [Chow Halls], this amounts to disrespect for those of other religions and those of no religion.

[. . .]

Is it really too much to ask that the preaching and pushing of Christianity be held within the chapels, where those who wish it can seek it there and those who do not wish to hear it will not be held captive and forcibly subjected to Christian ritualism?

[. . .]

Frederick Geraci
Camp Anaconda, Iraq


From Stars and Stripes via the General.

You know, the Nazis and Soviets put Political Officers within military units to 'assure compliance'. This is Team Jesus' version.

[not] Trivial Pursuit - Iraq Edition

Blondie's got some things you might not know, but would be surprised to find out.

Wingnut Anthropology

Via Relentlessly Optimistic from the ferrett, A Creationist's View of DINOSAURS and the Theory Of Evolution. [I been searching for more on this classic but have yet to find a link. The ferrett couldn't either, so we rely on Br'er Ferrett's critique.]

[. . .]

It had a big dinosaur skull on the cover, and was drawn and written quite competently. The graphic novel featured the author - a balding, white-haired, mustachioed guy in a turtleneck, if the pictures were to be believed - showing all the evidence of dinosaurs, with scanned-in photos next to huge blurbs like "CARBON DATING IS A HIGHLY FLAWED AND IMPERFECT SCIENCE!"

The thing is, he wasn't anti-dinosaur. He spent a lot of time confirming the existence of dinosaurs, then moved to quotes like "Behold the behemoth which I made with thee . . . (Job 40:15) and "He moveth his tail like a cedar . . ." (Job 40:17). This, in turn, was proof that dinosaurs existed - and furthermore, they breathed smoke and fire, just like God said they did.

Weird. But not over-the-top. He seemed normal until I got to this panel:

[. . .]


Now this is the 'classic' part. It's the classic way the wingnuts bend truth to fit their conclusions. You should be used to this by now. It's been a decade since the 'Contract for America'.

[. . .]

Yes, that's correct; he has the theory that dinosaurs, enraged by fallen angels, attacked Noah's Ark as the flood began in a no-holds battle to the finish.

And yet that was not enough. He illustrated it for a possible movie, claiming it would be far more exciting than Jurassic Park.

[. . .]


Yeah, it could happen.

[. . .]

The fossil remains of numerous dinosaurs have been found with their heads and necks arched upwards, as if in their death throes they were straining to keep their heads above water.

[. . .]


Of course! And to think I actually believed all that crap in science class.

Be afraid, be very afraid. The people who are running this country actually believe this.

In Memoriam

Today:


Pic via Skippy


Robert F. Kennedy [5 June 1968]


Tomorrow:


Pic courtesy of the D-Day Museum


D-Day [6 June 1944]

Saturday, June 4, 2005

Indeed


Via Seeing the Forest

A-ha!

Jane figures out why the wingnuts are all nuts about stem-cell research. Of course it all has to do with money.

Weekly referrals

"Rambling Prose"
"OBGYN"
"Dog's Brain"
"Nuclear Options"
"Bend Over"

And the one I'm happiest about:

"John Conyers Petition"

It's working!

Arousing Gordon

[. . .]

House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, facing allegations of unethical conduct, has turned to Richmond lawyer and Republican activist Richard Cullen for legal help.

DeLay, R-Texas, recently retained Cullen and the firm where he is a partner, McGuireWoods LLP, a DeLay spokesman confirmed yesterday. Cullen is a former U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia and a former state attorney general, appointed by then-Gov. George Allen, now a U.S. senator.

Cullen will handle a wide range of matters for DeLay, including ones that may come before the House ethics committee, DeLay spokesman Dan Allen indicated in an e-mail. He declined to say why Cullen was selected. Cullen would not comment yesterday. [Link] [my emphasis]

[. . .]


I'll bet ya the old man passes out from all the blood rushing from one head to the other. Ha!

Thanks to Xan @ Corrente for the link.

The 'Trade'

It seems we leave our mark wherever we go:

[. . .]

While drug problems have been historically unknown in Iraq (out of fear of repression striking traffickers and consumers or quite simply from lack of information), OICS has worried about the new trend since its March 2004 annual report. "Drugs have started to enter the country in huge quantities, notably through the Eastern border," with Iran, revealed Iraqi Minister of the Interior Nouri Badrane then, who worried especially about the increase in narcotics consumption among young Iraqis: "Consumption of these drugs is on the rise, due to unemployment, insecurity, and the sense of uncertainty about the future, especially among young people." A few months later, his equivalent at the Health Ministry talked about "a problem that has become endemic," submitting a number of 2,029 registered addicts. [my emphasis]

[. . .]


How much you wanna bet the Ayatollahs in Iran are getting their cut from every ounce of smack that passes through on its way from U.S. controlled Afghanistan to U.S. controlled Iraq. Um, hello? Mr. Chimp? The Iranians are laughing at us as they're using us, you stupid, smirking loser.

Great thanks to Morrigan for the link.

Chutzpah

From DoD Transcripts. Rummy in Singapore:

[. . .]

Among other things, the report concludes that China's defense expenditures are much higher than Chinese officials have published. It is estimated that China's is the third largest military budget in the world, and clearly the largest in Asia.

China appears to be expanding its missile forces, allowing them to reach targets in many areas of the world, not just the Pacific region, while also expanding its missile capabilities within this region. China also is improving its ability to project power, and developing advanced systems of military technology.

[. . .]

China has important decisions to make about its goals and its future. Ultimately, China likely will need to embrace some form of a more open and representative government if it is to fully achieve the political and economic benefits to which its people aspire.

[. . .]


After all we've done to the world in the last 5 years, after all of the regression with regard to civil rights in this country, the man's got a set of stones lecturing China about anything.

Save me, Jesus!

Un-fucking-believable.

BBA News:

From now on, instead of sending important information by email, I will be posting to the Big Brass Alliance Forum set up by Pam, to whom we owe a great deal of thanks.


Details at the Sister's place.

Update: 10:05:

As of now there are 307 members of the BBA. The swarm is spreading across Blogtopia (y!sctp!)

More essence

From Legal Fiction:

[. . .]

It's correct of course to criticize Bush for all this stuff. But the cold truth is that we - the American public - are now equally to blame. We saw what was wrong and chose not to care. Having seen what was wrong, we chose to ratify the administration's conduct.


This is how people around the world see us. The last time I was in Europe was a couple months before the last election. Most of the Brits I spoke with then were hopeful we'd come to our senses and elect Kerry. Well, that crashed and burned. I'll let you know how the mood has changed when I get back from Paris in November.

From the mouths of babes

Welsh singing star Charlotte Church branded US President George Bush "a right weirdo" and opera legend Pavarotti a "big fat diva", it was reported today.

[. . .]




[. . .]

Church, 19, said gaffe-prone Bush had no idea where Wales was when she met him after performing for outgoing President Bill Clinton in Washington in 2000.

"Clinton was lovely, in tune with everyone else, but George Bush just hasn't got a clue what he's doing," she said, according to the Daily Record.

"He asked me what state Wales was in. I said: 'It's its own country next to England, actually Mr Bush.'

[. . .]


Why does everyone see it aside from 51% of us? And why has stupid become fashionable in this country?

Thanks to Suburban Guerrilla for the link.

Pussies

WASHINGTON -- Online political activists want the Federal Election Commission (FEC) to stay cool when considering proposed rules that some fear will chill online political debate, particularly in the blogosphere.

The FEC agrees, but the courts do not.

Faced with a mandate from a federal court to extend some aspects of campaign finance laws to include the Internet, the FEC finds itself in the awkward position of proposing rules it didn't want to write in the first place.

[. . .]


Firstly, let me go on the record that anyone who wants to curtail my speech (and that of my blog partners) here can kiss my white ass. I will not shut up, will not back down, will not bend to pressure; I don't care who is applying it. You might as well put a sniper on my neighbor's roof, because that's the only way you'll get me to stop. End of story.

Secondly, there are a lot of people (mostly Lefty bloggers, mostly the big ones who are making their living from their blogs. You know who you are. The same ones who wouldn't even give the Big Brass Alliance or Downing Street a mention. Are you jealous of the Sister?) worrying about this. To them I say, grow some balls, will ya? Fuck mobilizing your lawyers, you big bunch of pussies.

Stand up and give the people proposing this legislation the finger and remind them this is still America for crying out loud. What, are you afraid of upsetting your apple cart? You all talk about how the Repubs are curtailing freedom, yet you get all mealy-mouthed when it affects you and your little lemonade stands of opinion on the Web. Maybe you've been in your high exalted position a bit too long and gotten used to being the Masters of Opinion on the Left. As always, power corrupts.

It's also why I don't peddle my books here or ask for money to help run this site. Like I always say, my reputation for integrity means everything to me and I'll be damned if anyone can suggest I'm in someone's pocket or using my site as income. Go check my closets, motherfuckers. All my skeletons are out in the open.

So, in closing, I have two things to say. To the government and those who want to legislate me out of the process I say FUCK YOU. Come get me, bitches. To those on our side who suddenly seem to have rubber spines I say, lead, follow, or get out of the way. You're slowing men (and women, you PC busybodies) of action down.

Friday, June 3, 2005

Downing Street Minutes

I published 'em at Below the Fold, replete with my highlights and notes.

The stench of hypocrisy 9

Digby:

It is interesting that the ACLU got a ruling requiring that all the Abu Ghraib pictures be released to the public. What is really interesting is that the government argued that releasing them would be contrary to the Geneva Conventions. (Via Talk Left)

[. . .]


It's incredible how these folks can take both sides of an issue, vacillate back and forth, and not bat an eye, keeping a straight face the whole time. Ya gotta hand it to 'em, they are shameless.

Cannon fodder and deck apes

. . . alleviate the personnel crunch by retaining soldiers who are earmarked for early discharge during their first term of enlistment because of alcohol or drug abuse, unsatisfactory performance, or being overweight, among other reasons." [my emphasis]

[. . .]


Blondie.

Hate

There are 762 active hate groups in the United States. Turns my stomach.

Thanks to the Old White Lady for the link.

The essence

. . . But fear is a powerful thing: deep, psychological, repressed fear - that if the truth is not held back, then the monsters of anarchy must be unleashed. It is better to take down a President for something a great deal more prosaic than war crimes and mass murder. Because what does it say about us if our leader is guilty of such things? [my emphasis]

[. . .]


It's a good read.

Booze and whores

Harry and I were talking today. For those who don't know, Harry's my boss, also one of my oldest and closest friends. He's ex-Air Force too, did his time in Thailand in the mid-Sixties as a B-B counter [bomb loader]. He, like me, is convinced we're gonna get called back in. He's happy because they're gonna take me first.

Anyway, we swap war stories constantly, generally about the business girls and bars we knew in the Far East. There are two or three we have both been in [bars, not business girls, although there was this one old one on Okinawa . . .] though our dates of service are 20 years apart. We also generally agree that some of our fondest memories of our military service involve one or both [bars and business girls], preferably both at the same time.

So today we got to thinking. If they did call us back, we'd probably go somewhere in the Mid-East. We then got to thinking about, you guessed it, bars and business girls in the region. Bars? None, not in an Islamic society. Black Market? Mortgage the house and maybe get arrested and thrown in the stockade. Business girls? We're both happily married.

If we get called back, Harry and I are moving to Canada.

Leadership

Via AlterNet:

[. . .]

The [Republicans] talk about a culture of life. What about a culture of corruption in this country? We have the leader in the Republican Party [in the House of Congress], who the president just endorsed as doing a fine job, and who the chair of the Republican party endorsed as doing a fine job.

I happen to think that's true; the Republican definition of a fine job is to be reprimanded three times in a row [by the House ethics committee]. The Republican definition of a fine job appears to be if your leader is under investigation and three of his aides have been indicted for allegedly funneling $600,000 of corporate money into Texas campaigns. That's how Republicans do business. They think it's fine. Americans don't think it's fine. We need to get the culture of abuse and corruption in Washington out of here.

[. . .]

-Dr. Howard Dean, DNC Chairman.


This is why I'm glad Tom Daschle and Terry McAuliffe are gone. Do you think those two wishy-washy assholes would say anything like this? You know I'm one for straight talk and it's about time the Dems have someone who will put the straight scoop out there without mincing words.

Dudley Do-Right in the Valley of Death

Really long article in the LATimes about Eliot Spitzer, for those of you who may be interested.

Cambode Terrorist Raises Money for GOP.

Following up on Fixer's post, apparently terrorism is OK if it's against communism and you raise money for Republicans. From the LATimes.
Yasith Chhun often boasted to newspapers and magazines about masterminding an attack on government buildings in Cambodia and his plans to overthrow the Southeast Asian country's communist regime.

The U.S. State Department declared the group he headed, the Cambodian Freedom Fighters, a terrorist organization in 2001.

But that label didn't stop Chhun, 48, from gaining friends among GOP stalwarts, such as Rep. Dana Rohrabacher of Huntington Beach and the National Republican Congressional Committee, which raises funds for electing Republicans to Congress.

Rohrabacher said he was aware of the State Department's concerns about the Cambodian Freedom Fighters but remained a supporter of Chhun and his allies because of their passionate efforts to topple the Cambodian government led by Prime Minister Hun Sen.

"The State Department quite often will worship at the altar of stability and not consider liberty and justice as part of the equation," the congressman said in a phone interview. When "you talk about a dictator like Hun Sen, you don't want stability, you want change. Let's hope our State Department is not condemning anybody who would act to eliminate Hun Sen."

As a Californian, I am shamed by Rohrabacher. That idiot has been a disgrace for years, but that's Orange County for you.
Sakphan Keam, an English-Khmer translator in Long Beach, said many of the city's Cambodian Americans equate the Republican Party with reform overseas, a belief that was strengthened by President Bush's invasion of Iraq.

Reform, indeed.

The upshot of the article is that the guy isn't being indicted for terrorism per se, but for raising between $100,000 and $200,000 for the terrorist freedom fighter organization on U.S. soil. I think it may be because he only raised $6500 for OC Republicans and gave the rest to furriners.

Charges Against DeLay Tonight on PBS

From Truthout:
Allegations of ethics violations swirling around House Majority Leader Tom Delay have raised serious questions about a possible epidemic of "pay-to-play" politics in American government. On Friday, June 3, 2005 at 9 P.M. on PBS (check local listings), NOW investigates the charges against DeLay and shines a spotlight on the real-world consequences of special interests, lobbyists, and big campaign donors using money and gifts to exert influence over our elected officials. The program looks at the sweatshop working conditions in the Marianas Islands, an American territory, which is the focus of new allegations that an aide to DeLay offered federal money to local legislators to support a local leader who opposed reforming the garment industry there.

I was sad to see Bill Moyer's leave NOW, and dismayed that it was cut to a half hour, but David Brancacchio is doing OK.

More on AI

No, not Artificial Intelligence (some of which is sorely needed in Washington). Frenchie has more on the Amnesty International report:

[. . .]

Amnesty International first communicated its concerns about the treatment of prisoners to Rumsfeld in January 2002 and continued to raise these concerns at the highest levels as allegations of abuse mounted from Afghanistan, Guantanamo and Iraq.

[AI's William] Schulz said this administration responded by preventing human rights workers from investigating or visiting the detention facilities in question. Schulz contrasted the administration's actions in this regard to countries such as Libya and Syria that have allowed independent monitors to examine prison facilities. [my emphasis]

[. . .]


I thought we were the ones with the 'moral values'?

Extra scratch

I have my own methods of getting the Chimp to admit to something (just leave me alone with him for a couple hours), but somebody might want to try it the old fashioned way:

A progressive blog, Democrats.com, is offering a $1,000 reward to anyone who can get United States president George W. Bush to answer a question about pre-Iraq war intelligence . . .


The $1000 question:

In July 2002, did you and your administration "fix" the intelligence and facts about non-existent Iraqi WMD's and ties to terrorism - which were disputed by U.S. intelligence officials - to sell your decision to invade Iraq to Congress, the American people, and the world - as quoted in the Downing Street Minutes?


Good luck.

Thanks to Maru for the link.

Distractions, Traitors, and Laying Blame

This is getting traction:

. . . But claiming that the people who brought Nixon down are responsible for the Khmer Rouge and the Killing Fields? ARE YOU EFFIN' KIDDING ME? . . .


Here too:

[. . .]

Let me just quote the part of Noonan's article I'm interested in talking about:

Felt helped produce was a weakened president who was a serious president at a serious time. Nixon's ruin led to a cascade of catastrophic events--the crude and humiliating abandonment of Vietnam and the Vietnamese, the rise of a monster named Pol Pot, and millions--millions--killed in his genocide. America lost confidence; the Soviet Union gained brazenness. What a terrible time. Is it terrible when an American president lies and surrounds himself by dirty tricksters? Yes, it is. How about the butchering of children in the South China Sea. Is that worse? Yes. Infinitely, unforgettably and forever.

[. . .]


So, with this 'Wingnut Logic' in play, Tom sees an opening for us:

[. . .]

If we're going to seriously accept an argument that Nixon was capable of stopping Pol Pot then it's not too crazy to contend that Clinton could've stopped al-Qaeda if he hadn't been critically weakened by "Lewinsky-blowjob-gate." Clinton would've been in a position to seriously go after al-Qaeda if he wasn't distracted by the impeachment saga of 1998 and 1999.

[. . .]


So, Ken Starr, and the rest of you wingnuts who pushed for Clinton's impeachment, all you 'pundits' who were foaming at the mouth as if you just took Monica's place as the Devil in the Blue Dress, all you 'family values' people who screamed so loudly that Clinton was ruining this country with his absent morality, we will be coming for you soon.

You see, you 'distracted' Mr. Clinton from his job of keeping us safe from terror. For that, you will all be indicted on charges of treason and sedition, as well as accomplices in the murder of 3000 innocent people at WTC. And you know what? Peggy Noonan will now be known as 'Cell Block Sally the Gitmo Fluffer'. Pat Buchanan will be assisting.

Har-Dee-Fuckin'-Har

Stole this from Pauly at A Mockingbird's Medley:
I heard a really bad joke last year:

Q: What's the difference between Iraq and Vietnam?

A: Bush had a plan to get out of Vietnam.

Thursday, June 2, 2005

DSM Update

From the lovely Pam:

The Brad Blog reports that the John Conyers Downing Street Letter to Bush petition has topped 86,000 signatures so far, with the ante upped to 250K, over the 100K originally requestion. Amazing. Conyers on the response:

[. . .]


If you ain't signed, do it now, goddammit.

I [heart] Doris Colmes

Fuck if I know who she is, but I found this of hers over at Smirking Chimp:

[. . .]

And, that's what's happening now. I smell the long-forgotten skunk, the long-forgotten rot of fascism. What is happening all around can no longer be denied. What I ran away from so desperately in 1938 is coming back full circle. Only the jack-boots have not yet arrived . . .


Fuck my second hand stories from my mother about that time, and fuck my harping, read it from someone who was there at the time.

Rummy could wreck a junkyard with a rubber hammer...

James Wolcott has a few things to say about Rumsfeld.
Donald Rumsfeld, whose Steely Resolve more and more resembles aluminum siding, is a man unafraid of confronting the full spectrum of America's enemies from Al Qaeda to Amnesty International.

His retirement as Secretary of Defence will leave a trail of ruination as its legacy that will stretch forward into the indeterminate future.

"When Rumsfeld leaves office, what will his successor inherit?"

"A volunteer military without volunteers. The Army missed its active-duty recruiting goal in April by almost half. Guard and Reserve recruiting are collapsing. Retention will do the same as "stop loss" orders are lifted. The reason, obviously, is the war in Iraq. Parents don't want to be the first one on their block to have their kid come home in a box.

"The world's largest pile of wrecked and worn-out military equipment (maybe second-largest if we remember the old Soviet Navy). I'm talking about basic stuff here: trucks, Humvees, personnel carriers, crew-served weapons, etc. This is gear the Rumsfeld Pentagon hates to spend money on, because it does not represent 'transformation' to the hi-tech, video-game warfare it wrongly sees as the future.

"Commitments to hundreds of billions of dollars' worth of future weapons programs that are militarily as useful as Zeppelins but less fun to watch..."

"Finally, the equivalent of an unfavorable ruling by a bankruptcy judge in the form of a lost war. We will be lucky if we can get out of Iraq with anything less than a total loss."

Yeah, I'd say that about covers it.

I got nuthin' to add to that. There's more. Go read.

He's All Ours Now, Heh-Heh!

South Knox Bubba is wending his merry way up the California coast along Highway One. He's posting his daily travelogue along with some beautiful, even for him, photos. Go see.

Brrr

Maybe I'll start packing the tools again.

Raising Hell

Gord's post below got me thinking. I always tell you to contact your congressweasels and bitch, right? Well, I made it easy for ya today:

[Alabama], [Alaska], [American Samoa], [Arizona], [Arkansas], [California], [Colorado], [Connecticut], [Delaware], [District of Columbia], [Florida], [Georgia], [Guam], [Hawaii], [Idaho], [Illinois], [Indiana], [Iowa], [Kansas], [Kentucky], [Louisiana], [Maine], [Maryland], [Massachusetts], [Michigan], [Minnesota], [Mississippi], [Missouri], [Montana], [Nebraska], [Nevada], [New Hampshire], [New Jersey], [New Mexico], [New York], [North Carolina], [North Dakota], [Ohio], [Oklahoma], [Oregon], [Pennsylvania], [Puerto Rico], [Rhode Island], [South Carolina], [South Dakota], [Tennessee], [Texas], [Utah], [Vermont], [Virginia], [Virgin Islands], [Washington], [West Virginia], [Wisconsin], [Wyoming]

And I'm putting a link in the sidebar so you can find this info again easily.

Premature Ebombulation

This article in The Nation is about the US/UK bombing of Iraq prior to the criminal invasion and what it may mean. Go read, it's a gooder.
But there was a catch: The war hadn't started yet, at least not officially. This was September 2002--a month before Congress had voted to give President Bush the authority he used to invade Iraq, two months before the United Nations brought the matter to a vote and more than six months before "shock and awe" officially began.

At the time, the Bush Administration publicly played down the extent of the air strikes, claiming the United States was just defending the so-called no-fly zones. But new information that has come out in response to the Downing Street memo reveals that, by this time, the war was already a foregone conclusion and attacks were no less than the undeclared beginning of the invasion of Iraq.

It only takes one member of Congress to begin an impeachment process, and Conyers is said to be considering the option. The process would certainly be revealing. Congress could subpoena Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Gen. Richard Myers, Gen.Tommy Franks and all of the military commanders and pilots involved with the no-fly zone bombings going back into the late 1990s. What were their orders, both given and received? In those answers might lie a case for impeachment.

This is getting better and better.

Too much fun...

Today is mos' def not a slow news day. Go to Cursor and rock out.

Ugh! Great White Assholes

6/2/1924: U.S. Congress agrees to give citizenship to some Native Americans.

Gee, that was big of 'em, huh?

Can I be the one to stick the fork in him? Huh? Huh?

Go read Geov Parrish about Deep Throat, the Downing Street Memo, and the Media.
Here's what John Dean, key Watergate figure, wrote about Dubya's case for the Iraq war in a June 2003 column for findlaw.com: "To put it bluntly, if Bush has taken Congress and the nation into war based on bogus information, he is cooked... Manipulation or deliberate misuse of national security intelligence data, if proven, could be a 'high crime' under the Constitution's impeachment clause."

Snowballs start out slowly too. When they git down the mountain a little ways, sometimes they turn into avalanches. Our media needs a few little "balls" to get the avalanche started, though.

Can you hear me NOW?

From Rob the squid:

A Google news search reveals that the majority of the coverage of the Downing Street memo is either on foreign news sites (France, New Zealand) or on blogs (Brad Blog). Only a few U.S. sites (aside from bloggers, such as the Big Brass Alliance) have made mention of the story, and then it's from the "U.S. largely ignores Downing Street Memo" angle.

[. . .]


Why is it the only American news outlet that even mentions the memo is Fox?

Update: 16:30:

Rook puts his own unique spin on the Fox situation.

One way in, one way out...

Since Interstate 80, "Main Street USA" is about a mile from me and I have to use it a lot, I thought I'd give ya a little diversion from politics. I love reading about Way Out West in the Noo Yalk Times! You can choose from a multitude of I-80 web cams here. Take a little break in the mountains.

Red on Dems' Strategy

Apropos of Fixer's post, below, go see what Ariana has to say.

Strategies

Oliver Willis takes a look at ours.

True sacrifice

Echidne takes one for the team.

Grip

Or the lack of it. London's Financial Times does a piece on how the U.S. is losing control of their Iraqi puppets allies.

[. . .]

In the more sombre assessment of others in the administration, however, the US has long lost its grip on Iraq's political process. "We are losing control," said one veteran Arabist in the administration who requested anonymity.

[. . .]

Geoff Porter, analyst with the Eurasia Group consultancy, said US interests had been "stymied on most fronts", with US officials frustrated with, and ignorant of, Iraq's fractious politics. "There is an air of resignation, with people throwing up their hands that this will be a long-term process."

[. . .]


So, another part of this fiasco gone to shit. The Bush administration can't even get the underhanded shit right. I mean, you take over a country less than half your size, with the greatest, best trained military in the world, and you can't even install a puppet democratic government you can control? Did anything go right in Iraq, you murderous, inept fools?

Thanks to the Wankers for the link.

There's more at the door

Ask along that man who's wearing a carnation.
Bring every single person
from Victoria Station,
Go into that hospital
and bring nurses and patients,
Everybody go home and fetch their relations!

- Welcome - The Who


The Swarm continues:

[. . .]



Progressive Democrats of America has joined with AfterDowningStreet.org, a coalition of veterans' groups, peace groups, and political activist groups to launch a campaign urging the U.S. Congress to begin a formal investigation into whether President Bush has committed impeachable offenses in connection with the Iraq war and they need everyone's help! Here are some simple tools to alert your local media outlet about this new coalition. Demand a Resolution of Inquiry!

[. . .]


I forgot to give proper credit. Sorry, Froggy. I've picked your pocket twice in the same post from two different sources. It's gotta be some sort of bloggy record.



Update: 11:25:

Froggy finds someone else who noticed:

while many of his former supporters are still angry with senator john kerry, he seems to finally have caught on and is following the lead of the emerging real leaders of the democratic party---bloggers.

[. . .]


Update: 13:00

More from the Sister:

[. . .]

The Big Brass Alliance, in addition to supporting Congressman John Conyers' and AfterDowningStreet.org's efforts to pursue a formal inquiry into the administration's actions leading up to the Iraq war, is also throwing its weight behind the Awaken the Mainstream Media campaign started by Daily Kos diarist smintheus.

[. . .]

Excellent



Travis
finds the best shit.

Deep Throat redux . . . sorta

Jaye at Blondie's:

[. . .]

Enough of who Deep Throat is or what he did. Get on your knees and thank Gawd for him and Daniel Ellsberg. Medal of Freedom anyone? More about how Watergate is more and more like, Jesus, what do you call the Bush administration's scandals?

Yellow Cakegate?
Iraqgate?
My Pet Goatgate?
Electiongate? Part I and Part II?
Mission Accomplishedgate?
AWOLgate?
The president looked stoned on the night we went to war against Iraqgate?

[. . .]


With all these 'gates', the Chimp administration should be rounded up and sent to Leavenworth for the rest of their newborn natural lives.

Waves

Lambert:

The Republicans have been trying to abolish Constitutional government for some time. And each time, the wave breaks further up the beach.

Nixon, the first wave: Watergate, and the plumbers, were felonies orchestrated and directed from the White House. And Nixon tried to use national security as a cloak to hide his crimes. But our Democratic institutions - and here I use the letter "D" in both upper and lower case - were strong enough to withstand the assault. Hearings were held, and Nixon resigned rather than face impeachment.

[. . .]


Little by little. The Repub machine is like a glacier, moving steadily forward over decades. Interesting post.

Bend over . . . again

NEW YORK, May 23, 2005 - Troubled United Airlines ended its traditional pension plans dramatically earlier this month, abandoning them in a highly publicized move to the federal government's pension insurance agency. But many other traditional plans die quietly, either converted to "hybrid" plans or frozen and replaced with worker-funded 401(k) plans.

And it's happening with increasing frequency.

[. . .]


Here comes another bailout of big business.

[. . .]

The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp., which insures private sector pensions, says the number of covered plans has dropped from a high of 112,208 in 1985 to fewer than 30,000 today. Of those remaining, some 20 percent are hybrid designs such as cash balance plans under which companies allocate pay and interest credits to accounts in each employee's name.

[. . .]


There's a statistic from the Pension Benefit Guaranty Fund that private pensions already $450 billion in the red and will go higher as more companies default on their plans. 20 of the major Fortune 500 companies have not paid into their own plans for a couple years now as it is and 39% of plans are underfunded.

A note: Defaulted pensions picked up by the PBGF are generally worth a third of what they originally were.

Once again, everything big business touches manages to go to shit. To wit: The savings and loan industry, the airline industry, the prescription drug industry, and the energy industry. Oh, did I forget to mention these folks (and their lobbying PACs) are the Repubs biggest campaign contributors?

Now, do you think upper management is taking any wage or benefit cuts? Do you think they feel this kind of stress?

[. . .]

"I calculated that under the cash balance plan, I would have to work until 78 to get the same annuity (monthly benefit) I would have had at age 65 under the old plan," Krueger said.

[. . .]


How, at 65, do you deal with suddenly having to work another 13 years? Do you think this poor woman will have any kind of retirement? Odds are, she'll die working for the man just to scrape out some sort of existence. It's criminal.

My dad was a crusty old Brit, but he gave me a few pearls of wisdom that have proven true over the years. Most of it had to do with relating to women, but he always said that if you want to live like a human being when you retire, don't depend on anyone.

Nobody cares if you can afford to live but you. I never expected to get a pension or Social Security, but there's a lot of folks in their '60s and '70s who are living on a combination of company pensions and SSI. What does that do to them when their income is suddenly cut by two-thirds? What are they gonna do when the Chimp fucks up what's left of their SSI?

It's time for a change in the way we think in this country. We've become too much a 'disposable society'. Instead of revering our old folks and learning from them, we just treat them like chattel, to be tossed away when they're no longer useful. Sort of what they're doing to our troops.

Wednesday, June 1, 2005

This Explains A Lot

Trust in a bottle:

...Swiss and American scientists demonstrate in new experiments with a nasal spray containing the hormone oxytocin.

After a few squirts, human subjects were significantly more trusting and willing to invest money with no ironclad promise of a profit.

The researchers acknowledged their findings could be abused by con artists or even sleazy politicians who might sway an election, provided they could squirt enough voters on their way to the polls.

Apparently, this has been on the market since the 2000 election, and the Republicans are adding regular and stronger doses to the water supply, especially in the red states. I guess some of us are lucky enough to be immune.

Sure does explain why 51% of the nation buys the Repugs' crock of shit.