Saturday, July 9, 2005

pShrinking Wingnuts

Digby catches it perfectly:

[. . .]

That is not what we are dealing with here, however. We are dealing with a group of right wing glory seekers who chose long ago to eschew putting themselves on the line in favor of tough talk and empty posturing --- the Vietnam chickenhawks and their recently hatched offspring of the new Global War On Terrorism. These are men (mostly) driven by the desire to prove their manhood but who refuse to actually test their physical courage. Neither are they able to prove their virility as they are held hostage by prudish theocrats and their own shortcomings. So they adopt the pose of warrior but never actually place themselves under fire. This is a psychologically difficult position to uphold. Bullshitting yourself is never without a cost.

[. . .]

Now, I've learned that in combat (or in any similar high-stress, life and death situation) there are two types of people. Those who can and those who can't. You can't guess it about someone or yourself. You have to live the situation to find out. Those of us who've been there know talk is cheap. That's why the chickenhawks (and the 51% of the electorate who listen to them) piss me off so much. They have no idea what they're talking about. My grandfather (WW1 and WW2 on the German side) called them 'Movie Warriors'.

Old fashioned ethics

As opposed to the self-serving shit that's being shoveled nowadays. From the guy in the tuxedo:

Let's say that you're a reporter. You witness a murder. You happen to know the murderer. In fact, the murderer happens to be a source of yours that you talk to regularly. Now a prosecutor calls you to testify before a grand jury about the murder that you witnessed. Do you have a responsibility to testify?

If you were a priest, there's no conflict here. If you personally witnessed the crime, you have a moral responsibility to talk to the proper authorities.

[. . .]

Say it with me: 'Source privilege' cannot be used to cover up a crime. Period.


I hope nobody is under the impression what we do here at the Brain is journalism.

Resilience and wisdom

Ol' Yella:

[. . .]

Perhaps having suffered so many insults to their collective safety from old enemies is the reason that the British were so hesitant for their government to go rushing out to make new ones.


My weekly commentary is up at Pourquoi Pas.

Friday, July 8, 2005

Good question

JRH asks:

[. . .]

I don't get how these right wing idiots can say with a straight face that we need to focus on who the real bad guys are instead of arguing with each other by calling out people who disagree with them. Sean Hannity did something similar on his show yesterday that I caught the end of. How do they not choke on the hypocrisy coming out of their mouths?

[. . .]

Because it keeps them their jobs, my friend. They're all part of the Republican spin machine and they'd spout their diatribe in Swahili if the WH and RNC told them to. The thing that pisses me off even more is that so many people in this country believe this shit. You know how many people I've heard in the last 36 hours say we should nuke Mecca? How many people say criticizing the 'War on Terra' is hurting our troops? And this is New York.

Friday Cattle Dog London Blogging

The Princess takes a break this week to let us think about London in happier days.

More below the fold . . .

Novak's a Rat

We knew that. My apologies to rats. David Corn speculates on How Novak Covered His Ideological Ass And Sold Journalism Down The River For Partisan Gain.

No good options for Iraq

Go read the opinions of experts and others at Knight-Ridder.

There are easier options of what to do with the sonsabitches that got us into this mess: Leavenworth, the gallows, or a firing squad.

Turdblossom Three-fer

Here are three articles about Rove on the same page at Truthout.

From Joe Conason:

Even as Matthew Cooper of Time and Judith Miller of The New York Times both face prison time for protecting their White House sources, a question arises that the indignant Washington press corps seems to have forgotten to ask: Why hasn't the President of the United States tracked down the officials who leaked the CIA identity of Valerie Plame Wilson, fired them and turned them over to the special prosecutor?

I assume that's a rhetorical question. We know damn well why: Because he's a moral coward. He isn't about to out his Machiavellian brain because then he'd have no one to do his thinking for him except Cheney, and he needs all the help he can get to keep his little charade going as long as possible. Bush has absolutely no acquaintance with the truth and no guts to go against the demons who put him in power, not that he would want to. He has power, but no will to do the right thing. He never has and never will.

From Paul Kuhn:

O'Donnell is standing by his statement, which set off a flurry of "Is it Rove?" stories and blog posts over the weekend. On Arianna Huffington's Huffington Post, O'Donnell has continued to blog about "breaking" the story that Rove was Cooper's source, and likely Novak's as well. After naming Rove on the PBS program "Friday," O'Donnell proceeded to say, "When [Bush] finds out it's Karl Rove, the question becomes, What does the president do then?"

"It was a deliberate act that I was planning for months," O'Donnell told Salon. "What I've been doing with the Huffington Post is simply staying abreast of the story while it was evolving, and it turns out that a blog is an absolutely perfect way to do that," he said. When asked about his sourcing, O'Donnell replied: "I will not characterize my sourcing in anyway." Then he added, "After my public revelation of it, I obtained yet another highly authoritative source on this matter, on the same thing. That Rove is the person Matt Cooper is protecting - had been protecting up until today."

It has been said that the wheels of justice grind slowly, but exceedingly fine. I wish they'd change the gearing and speed 'em up, even if the end result is a little more coarse.

GOP cranks up fear-mongering

Of course they have. They have no shame. From Sirotablog:

You knew it was coming, didn't you? That's right - within 24 hours, the right-wing spin machine is up and working to transform the tragic London bombing into a way to attack progressives as weak on terrorism. Sadly, it is a tactic that continues to emasculate many Democrats, who still can't seem to find the guts to stand up to this nonsense.
Here's a dose of truth for the Republican Party in Washington, D.C.: your war-mongering policies and devotion to creating a constant state of panic/fear in this country has made America less safe, especially in light of your negligence on homeland security. Your heated rhetoric that indicts the strength and patriotism of progressives is a sad attempt to cover up your own pathetic failures.

Now, here's a dose of truth for the insulated Democratic establishment in Washington - an establishment that continues to lose elections, yet, incredibly, refuses to change: if you continue to pathetically cower in the face of all of this; if you continue to ignore the courageous lawmakers in your ranks who know the party needs to stand up; if you continue to defend the Iraq War in light of public opposition to it, in light of proof that the Bush administration lied about it and in light of proof it made America less safe; and if you continue to have positively no courage of any convictions and positively no ability to give voice to the concerns of the majority of Americans, then you will unfortunately continue losing elections far into the future.

I think that about says it.

Did the Brits know?

Did the Brits know it was going to happen? It seems the Israelis and American FBI did. The King of Zembla is on this like shrink wrap.

. . . Contrary to original claims that Israel was warned "minutes before" the first attack, unconfirmed rumors in intelligence circles indicate that the Israeli government actually warned London of the attacks "a couple of days" previous.


The Sister's angry. A must-read:

[. . .]

I'm angry because on September 11, 2001, terrorists struck on US soil. These terrorists were part of a group called al-Qaida, which is led by a man named Osama bin Laden. Nearly four years later, and after a war in Afghanistan to remove the regime which supported him, bin Laden remains on the loose.

I'm angry because that corrupt Afghani regime, the Taliban, is regaining power, opium production in Afghanistan is skyrocketing, women are still being killed for trying to assert a modicum of independence, and we have all but abandoned the country to further ruin.

I'm angry because we shifted our focus away from Afghanistan and al-Qaida to a vague "war on terror," which diluted our emphasis on the perpetrators of a great American tragedy and made it eminently easy to position ourselves as the consummate victims, thereby indefinitely delaying any examination of our own role in the global community, other than the self-proclaimed purveyors of freedom and liberty at the end of a gun.

[. . .]

Who's winning what?


Former enemies Iran and Iraq say they will launch broad military co-operation including training Iraqi armed forces.

"It's a new chapter in our relations with Iraq," said Iranian Defence Minister Admiral Ali Shamkhani.

[. . .]

This is the first visit to Iran by an Iraqi military delegation since the war, in which a million people died, started.

The promise of co-operation comes despite repeated accusations by the US - which has about 140,000 troops in Iraq - that Iran has been undermining security there.

"No one can prevent us from reaching an agreement," Mr Shamkhani said when asked about possible US opposition.

[. . .]

Is this what our children are dying in Iraq for? So Iraq can make nice with a member of the 'Axis of Evil'? So the oil city of Basra can become a Shi'ite theocratic city-state? Not that I personally give a shit about whom the Iraqis ally with, were it not for the cost to the American people in lives and capital.

As we learned from the events of yesterday, the 'War on Terra' is a sham. We are not safer, the 'flypaper' theory [we're fighting them in Iraq so they won't come here] was proved wrong, and now the people who we're giving freedom and democracy seem more inclined to accept the friendship of an Islamic theocracy than a Western democracy.

So, what are we doing except wasting time and treasure in the money-pit known as Iraq? We sure as Hell ain't getting cheap oil.

Links via Corrente.

Thursday, July 7, 2005

A ride you won't soon forget...

Dear Fearless Leader,

I've noticed for a couple years now that you have trouble staying upright on two wheels. I done figured it out, and your troubles are over. Here's the deal: you ain't goin' fast enough. The gyroscopic effect hasn't fully kicked in at those slow speeds.

So here's what I propose: I'll tune you up a motersickle that'll go so fast it'll never tip over. I been wrenchin' on them things fer nigh on forty year, and I know how to make 'em go, by golly. We'll get ya a big American V-Twin with a stroker kit and a hot cam, carb, an' pipe setup. Won't be a faster sled on the road. Your eyes'll light up like a kid at Christmas.

I also know all about brakes, tires, and steering, as well as all the non-essential shit, like a kill button. I'll make sure the wheel and swingarm bearings, brake fluid, throttle return spring and stuff like that are all up to snuff, so to speak.

We got some groovy mountain roads out here in California. I'd love to show 'em to ya. During our ride I just know you'll get a lot closer to God. Hope to hear from ya real soon.

Your pal

A glimmer of hope

Good news (maybe) via Maru via MyDD:

Occasionally I get e-mails from Washington folks who work on the Hill claiming to possess juicy insider digs on our public servants and their corporate paymasters. I usually delete said e-mails, as I don't want to be responsible for propagating dirty rumors or false information that can't be corroborated. I'd rather let Judith Miller and the New York Times do that. Nonetheless, in the past 24 hours I have been contacted by three separate congressional Democrats in Washington, and a Justice Department official, first by e-mail and later phone, who all say the same thing: Karl Rove is about to be indicted.

[. . .]

These are all anonymous sources so take it for what it's worth, but it's nice to think about on a sad day.

A Steady Hand at the U.N.

From the WaPo:

UNITED NATIONS -- The face of American power here is a 5-foot-1 woman who can charm foreign envoys even when she is enforcing policies that infuriate them. Anne W. Patterson, the acting U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, represents a stark contrast to the confrontational John R. Bolton, whom President Bush has nominated to represent the United States at the world body.

Senior U.N. delegates say they value her pragmatism and they are in no hurry to see her replaced by Bolton.

"There are plenty of people who would like to see Bolton delayed indefinitely," one senior U.N. official said. "I haven't heard anyone saying we'd rather work with her than him, but obviously that's implicit."
Patterson has won high marks from her colleagues and staff members, who describe her as a smart manager who listens to advice from her specialists. She has won praise from human rights advocates for her role in implementing one of the largest U.S. foreign assistance programs, Plan Colombia, while serving as ambassador to Colombia.
Patterson has also demonstrated a willingness to compromise, supporting a politically controversial decision to allow the Security Council to grant the International Criminal Court, which the United States opposes, a mandate to investigate war crimes by Sudanese officials in Darfur.
"There is a natural tension between political appointees and career appointees and she absolutely bridged that," said Christopher Burnham, a former senior State Department official who oversees the U.N. department of administration. "I believe so strongly in Anne's talents that I hope that she will either stay on, or that the president will ask her to take on new and important responsibilities in Washington. I think it's important that this administration not lose a woman of such capability."

A smart woman? Imagine that! Listens to advice? Willingness to compromise? Well liked and works well with others? These attributes would seem to be what is called for in a job of this type, trying to work with the rest of the world, but I don't think they're on Bush's list along with loyalty, rock-brained (Sorry, rocks!) ideology, and "staying on (the wrong) message".

Listen up, Georgie: You made a mistake nominating Bolton. Eat it and move on. Do the right thing for once and tell this lady to unpack and stay a while.


In my ranting this morning, I forgot to convey my condolences to the people of Great Britain and London in particular. I have so many fond memories of London and her people and I am sorry for your loss. You'll be in our prayers tonight.

So, ladies and germs, what do we do with our leaders who've spent so much money, so many lives, in the wasteful mess that is Iraq? They sure as hell haven't made us any safer, have they? Spain, Moscow, London, all these have happened since 'we have al-Qaeda on the run', since 'Mission Accomplished'. Let's get a grip, folks, and run these assholes out of office before they get us all killed.

Buried in the 24th paragraph...

...of this NYTimes article is the nugget:

In his statement in court, Mr. Cooper did not name Mr. Rove as the source about whom he would now testify, but the person who was briefed on the case said that he was referring to Mr. Rove and that Mr. Cooper's decision came after behind-the-scenes maneuvering by his lawyers and others in the case.

Gee, I'm glad the NYTimes saw fit to squander all that ink on such an insignificant little point. Yeesh.

Interesting Times

By William Rivers Pitt via Truthout:

Many an ancient lord's last words have been, "You can't kill me because I've got magic aaargh." - Terry Pratchett

Maybe ten thousand times in the last few years, someone has stated with profound assurance that the Bush administration is in trouble, that the hammer is coming down, that some form of accountability is in the offing. Maybe ten thousand times, these predictions have turned out to be wrong. Nowadays, it takes a special kind of fool to think this White House can be easily cashiered for its gross violations, lies and flat-out crimes.

But it is getting awfully crowded around here. Bush's numbers are still cratering, the nation has stopped buying into the idea that he is some kind of Great Protector, the Brits are bugging out of the chaos in Iraq, Afghanistan is heating up, the Jesus Brigades on Bush's right flank are preparing to wig out unless they get some kind of Falwell clone onto the court, and one of the journalists used to destroy the career of a CIA operative who worked to rid the world of weapons of mass destruction is cooperating with a prosecutor.

Don't blink this week. You might miss something.

I never blink, but I might miss something during the times some new administration outrage comes out when my eyes roll backwards into my head. It's a reflex.

A Little More Good News...

From The Financial Times.

President George W. Bush is unlikely to seek a recess appointment for John Bolton in the near future, increasing the sense that his nomination for US ambassador to the United Nations is running out of steam.

A senior administration official suggested that a recess appointment (a presidential confirmation of an official while the Senate is in recess) (parentheses added for clarity - Ed.) would antagonise relations with Democrats ahead of what is expected to be a contentious Senate debate over filling a vacancy on the Supreme Court.
"Perhaps [the Bush administration] is trying to send a signal to [Mr Bolton] that he should withdraw his name," the aide said.

A pinpoint of light on a very dark day.

I think costs are bound to go up...

From Working For Change:

7/7/1863: First military draft by U.S. (exemptions cost $100).

I'll bet exemptions will cost enough in the upcoming draft that, once again, only the rich won't have to go.

Some Good News on a Sad Day

There will be many posts in the blogosphere today about the bombings in London and Smirky McFlightsuit's response, so I thought a feel-good article about an honest-to-goodness honest politician, a real "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" type might be in order.

Donna Frye has been a lone voice for the average San Diegan on San Diego's City Council. She doesn't live in the back pocket of developers and big-business types like her colleagues. And she's not afraid to piss off the powers-that-be or take an unpopular stand. God love her! Last November, she entered the mayoral race as a write-in candidate five weeks before election day against the incumbant mayor and a Republican fat-cat. She ended up in a run-off with incumbant Mayor Dick Murphy and lost only because the local courts said that, while her name was written on more ballots than those cast for Murphy, some voters forgot to check the "other" box. Disgusting.

San Diego is teetering on the verge of bankruptcy, and Mayor Murphy didn't have a clue about how to fix it, so he bailed last spring. Now we're having another mayoral election, and surf-shop owner Frye is again on the ballot. She is a true light in the darkness of American politics, and I hope to goodness that she wins.


MSNBC Breaking News

Blasts shut down London train system; injuries reported -
Multiple explosions on central London train lines Thursday morning injured several people, British Transport Police said.

So, we're winning the 'War on Terra', just like we're winning the War on Drugs. That reminds me, I gotta pick up a bag o' cheeb from the Jamaicans today. BTW, London has closed-circuit television cameras all over the place. There should be some serious footage of the explosions by this evening. Another thing, let's hope the NYPD takes a closer look at things than they usually do. I just put my wife on the train to NYC a few minutes ago. Hope this ain't a coordinated attack. Remember (p)resident Dicknose, if my wife gets hurt, you're gonna answer to me.

Another note: Security's real good too, being that all the G8 leaders are in the Kingdom. Way to go, assholes. That little troll Bloomberg says that too when we have dignitaries here. "New York is the safest place in the world with all this security." Yeah, keep believing that, dickheads. The Brits did. Yep, 'after 9/11, everything changed'. Ain't nothing changed.

Prediction: Tony Blair will be unemployed by this time next month.

A worthy goal is dedicated to the impeachment of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney for violating the Constitution of the United States.

Go see 'em. Thanks to Froggy for the link. And G.D. gives us this reminder:

. . . Read Federalist No. 65 and then check Article. II. Section. 4. of the US Constitution. Bush and Cheney have committed impeachable offenses of great significance and need to be removed from public office now . . .


At the end of the Iraq war, vast sums of money were made available to the US-led provisional authorities, headed by Paul Bremer, to spend on rebuilding the country. By the time Bremer left the post eight months later, $8.8bn of that money had disappeared. Ed Harriman on the extraordinary scandal of Iraq's missing billions

[. . .]

The "financial irregularities" described in audit reports carried out by agencies of the American government and auditors working for the international community collectively give a detailed insight into the mentality of the American occupation authorities and the way they operated. Truckloads of dollars were handed out for which neither they nor the recipients felt they had to be accountable.

[. . .]

There appears to have been good reason for the Americans to stall. At the end of June 2004, the CPA would be disbanded and Bremer would leave Iraq. There was no way the Bush administration would want independent auditors to publish a report into the financial propriety of its Iraqi administration while the CPA was still in existence and Bremer at its head still answerable to the press. So the report was published in July.

The auditors found that the CPA didn't keep accounts of the hundreds of millions of dollars of cash in its vault, had awarded contracts worth billions of dollars to American firms without tender, and had no idea what was happening to the money from the Development Fund for Iraq (DFI), which was being spent by the interim Iraqi government ministries. [The Guardian via Rising Hegemon]

[. . .]

Chimpy Inc is not a political administration, it is a criminal organization; crooks, liars, and thieves, nothing more.

Wednesday, July 6, 2005


Berlin, Baghdad, what's the difference?


Go see the roo . . . again . . . and again . . . and again . . .

Now watch this drive!

Dear Leader doing 'hard work'.

And speaking of the Chimp in Pictures, Pam has a good one.

One of these days, that asshole's gonna get us in real trouble...

From Sisyphus Shrugged via Are You Effin' Kidding Me?

A regional security alliance dominated by Russia and China yesterday demanded the US and its allies in the "war on terror" name a date for the removal of their military bases from central Asia.
Both Moscow and Beijing have their own energy interests in the region, and have shown signs recently of forging a new anti-US alliance.

Sanobar Shermatova, an Uzbek political analyst based in Moscow, said: "There is a growing feeling in central Asia that the Americans are only a source of instability."
You know, what's interesting about that list is how many great and good friends of Our Fearless Leader are on it.

Practically all of them, as a matter of fact.

They represent more than half of the human beings on earth.

And they control a great deal of our trade.

And they've taken over a great deal of our manufacturing.

And they hold our paper.

And they don't particularly like us, now, do they?

And they've gotten together to do something about it.

And our army is tied down in Iraq serving as a training exercise for every wannabe terrorist in the world with a plane ticket -

which the Saudis have historically been good for, and at $60/barrel they can certainly afford it -

and who have lots and lots of lovely explosives that Mr. Rumsfeld's hand-picked generals let them have in case lots for free.

Oh, and bin Laden definitely isn't in Pakistan.


Hawks, take a bow. You guys really did change the balance of power in the world.

Still, if your luck holds, you'll end up standing on top of the rubble, which means you win, right?

I got nothin' to add to that.

The pigeon's singing

Let's see what falls out, if anything. Why do I think Chimpy Inc has him so intimidated he'll lie his motherfucking ass off:

WASHINGTON - Time magazine reporter Matthew Cooper agreed Wednesday to testify about who in the Bush administration leaked the identity of an undercover CIA operative, while New York Times reporter Judith Miller refused to reveal her source.

[. . .]

Breaking: Judy Kneepads is going to JAIL. See ya's.

Our Georgie

My governor and his whelp:

"With supreme guts and righteousness, President Bush went into Iraq," Gov. Pataki told the Republican National Convention last August. The place erupted with applause. It was all very stirring.

Almost one year later, Pataki's son Teddy is, with supreme guts and righteousness, seeking a three-year law school deferment from the Marines, which last week commissioned the recent Yale grad as a second lieutenant.

[. . .]

If the cause in Iraq is even half as important as the governor has led us to believe, then surely his son is more needed in Fallujah than in some Cambridge lecture hall. If, on the other hand, the governor no longer considers the war important enough to justify his son's immediate contribution, then he should speak up as loudly as he did in the winter of 2003. Which is it, George?

Enjoy being the sphincter-licking whore you are for another year, George. Look in your rearview mirror. See the guy coming up fast? His name is Eliot Spitzer and your ass is gonna be unemployed.

Link via Skippy.

DemVet has more.

Info . . . maybe too much

As most of you know, the Brain was a year old on 4 July. A couple days before, I posted a short history of the blog over the last year. It just occurred to me (thanks to an email from a reader who asked the question) that I never mentioned how I came up with the name.

It's a reference to a wild night in London about 20 years ago. The Colonel (Vietnam vet, search and rescue, and all around stand-up guy) came and got us out of the lockup and asked me how we ended up in the jam. I told him. He said, "you gotta stop thinking with the alternate brain, Sarge." That is all.

'Hard work'

Link via his Highness, the King:

Cindy Sheehan [That would be this Cindy Sheehan - F-man] has already had her heart ripped into a million pieces by the illegal Iraqi war, losing the son she loved more than life itself only five days after he arrived in Baghdad in April 2004.

[. . .]

No one should have to experience such pain, but the cold reality of war is that someone's child actually dies and there are actual parents left living with the hopeless task of trying to cope with the pain.

[. . .]

So when Sheehan received an invitation to meet privately with President Bush at the White House two months after her son died, the least she could have expected was a bit of compassion or a kind word coming from the heart.

But what she encountered was an arrogant man with eyes lacking the slightest bit of compassion, a President totally "detached from humanity" and a man who didn't even bother to remember her son's name when they were first introduced.

Instead of a kind gesture or a warm handshake, Sheehan said she immediately got a taste of Bush arrogance when he entered the room and "in a condescending tone and with a disgusting loud Texas accent," said: "Who we'all honorin' here today?"

[. . .]

"The whole meeting was simply bizarre and disgusting, designed to intimidate instead of providing compassion. He didn't even know our names," said Sheehan. "Finally I got so upset I just looked him in the eye, saying 'I think you can imagine losing someone. You have two daughters. Imagine losing them?' After I said that he just looked at me, looked at me with no feeling or caring in his eyes at all."

Sheehan said what really upset her about the meeting is that Bush appeared to become annoyed and even angry at her daughter Carley, 25, who also attended the White House get-together.

"My daughter said to him directly 'I wish I could bring my loved one back' and he said something like 'so do we.' Later she told me that after he made his remark he gave her one of the filthiest looks she had ever had gotten in her life.

[. . .]

Like I've always said, this administration only 'supports the troops' if they are able-bodied enough to carry a rifle. The only reason the Chimp even deals with the families is for propaganda purposes. Don't forget, (p)resident Stupid McMoron has never attended a GI funeral. Never paid his respects to anyone whose blood stains his hands.

Tuesday, July 5, 2005

The Social Security Time Bomb

Read what folks are saying, from The Onion:

"This certainly is bad news for the elderly, coming as it does on the heels of the Federal Aging and Ice Floes Act."
"It's good I already have a taste for dog food."
"Everybody relax. We'll be fine as soon as we get our money back from Iraq."

I'm collecting warm clothes and getting a Petsmart discount card.


Pic courtesy of Zen Comix.

Heh . . .

Again, from the Sister:

. . . I just dare Karl Rove to tell either The Fixer or Gordon to his face that liberals aren't patriots and don't care about defending their country. Go ahead, Karl. I double dog dare ya! . . .

Yeah, me too.

Well said

Driftglass via AOB:

[. . .]

The Chaffes, the McCains, the Snowes...they slink in the shadows, drawing their tattered Small Government rags around them, playing out some ghastly, humiliating, Norma Desmond/Sunset Boulevard charade, pretending that they're still Big Shots in a wholly imaginary Republican Party that is long, LONG dead in everything but name.

But since they have neither the honesty nor the integrity to acknowledge that the Party they once loved is a corpse - murdered by the very vampires they themselves invited in - they're reduce to scampering around out in the cold like some out-of-favor pet that no longer amuses a tyrant child. Listening hungrily for the dinner bell, hoping that they can scrape together one last shred of their dignity to barter away for whatever greasy scraps fall off of Karl Rove's plate.

And like a Gilbert and Sullivan version of "The Stand", the spawn of the wraiths who now dress up and dance in the Dead Flesh of the Party Once Known as Republican are gathering in Las Vegas next week to plot their various mini-me evils. Mostly trying to figure out a way to Whitewash the fact that they are vociferously cheerleading a war based on what we in the Real World call LIES...while scattering like roaches when the Recruiter Man come around.

[. . .]

Yes, indeed. The Republican Party I belonged to so many years ago is dead. It's why I left when I saw the writing on the wall in '92. Best political move I ever made.

Cold War Rehashed

Just as Bush's war against Iraq is compared against the Vietnam war, so is the War on Terror compared to the Cold War by Robert Scheer.

The "war on terror" is turning out to be nothing more than a recycled formulation of the dangerously dumb "domino theory." Listen to the way President Bush justifies the deepening quagmire of Iraq: "Defeat them abroad before they attack us at home." If we didn't defeat communism in Vietnam, or even tiny Grenada, went the hoary defense of bloody proxy wars and covert brutality in the latter stages of the Cold War, San Diego might be the next to go Red.
We fight in Iraq today because Bush listened to a band of right-wing intellectual poseurs who argued America could create a reverse domino effect, turning the Middle East into a land of pliable free-market, pro-Western "democracies" through a crude use of military force. This is rather like claiming a well-placed stick of dynamite can turn a redwood forest into a neighborhood of charming Victorians.

Does this mean Fixer will come out west and go into the home construction business? Shit, he'll make a pile, pun intended.

For four years the White House has framed the war on terror as an open-ended global battle against a monolithic enemy on many fronts, rather than employing a modern counterterrorism model that sees terrorism as a deadly pathology that grows out of religious or ethnic rage and must be isolated and excised.
But why has the White House pursued this nonsensical approach over the loud objections of the country's most experienced counterterrorism and Islamic experts? Because it allows the administration all the political benefits the Cold War afforded its predecessors: political capital, pork-barrel defense contracts and a grandiose sense of purpose.

And because the war on terror has no standard of victory, it can never end - thus neatly replacing the Cold War as a black-and-white, us-against-them worldview that generations of American (and Soviet) politicians found so useful for keeping the plebes in line. It's a one-size-fits-all bludgeon.
The former general who led us in World War II warned of the dangers of an unbridled militarism. "In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex," said Eisenhower, a Republican, in 1961. "The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes."

In a related article, Daniel Ellsburg, of "Pentagon Papers" fame, claims to have written Bush's war words - in 1965.

Later, mates

Via the Sister:

The Ministry of Defence has drafted plans for a significant withdrawal of British troops from Iraq over the next 18 months and a big deployment to Afghanistan, the Financial Times has learnt.

In what would represent the biggest operational shake-up involving the armed forces since the Iraq war, the first stage of a run-down in military operations is likely to take place this autumn with a handover of security to Iraqis in at least two southern provinces.

[. . .]

While the MoD insisted that no decision had been made on Afghan or Iraqi deployments, John Reid, defence secretary, said yesterday that Iraqi forces could begin to take charge of security in their country within a year. []

[. . .]

So where are we gonna get the troops to make up the difference? I'm hoping the Iraqis can take over from the Brits, but somehow I think the insurgents will move in as soon as the British leave and we'll have more U.S. troops bogged down there.


Granny pointed me to this yesterday. Now that I'm sober I could read it:

A Strategy of Lies: How the White House Fed the Public a Steady Diet of Falsehoods

Colonel Sam Gardiner (USAF, Ret.) has identified 50 false news stories created and leaked by a secretive White House propaganda apparatus. Bush administration officials are probably having second thoughts about their decision to play hardball with former US Ambassador Joseph Wilson. Joe Wilson is a contender. When you play hardball with Joe, you better be prepared to deal with some serious rebound. [my emphasis]

[. . .]

This is illegal, ladies and gents. Another count to add to the indictments.


This is the first year in memory where I didn't blow anything up on the 4th. It was a nice, sedate little gathering in my backyard, just my brother- and sister-in-law and my niece joinng the Mrs. and myself. I did celebrate my ass off though and now I dread going in to the shop this morning, hungover and knowing there'll be a line of cars waiting that got broken over the long weekend. See ya lata, if I live though it. Ha!

Monday, July 4, 2005

Cool Off A Little...

Well, I'll be dipped, you should pardon the pun! It actually works!

Click to embiggen


This is a good day to reflect on this stuff, but we should think about it all the time. From the LATimes.

Patriotism consists of multiple, positive actions on behalf of the United States - registering voters, working in an AIDS hospice, volunteering at a disadvantaged school or raising questions about the Bush administration's full-throttle militarism. Almost no one today discusses the idea of national service that would require young people of different ethnicities and economic backgrounds to come together for community projects, not military ones. The most disturbing aspect of the New Patriotism is its suggestion that dissent about the war in Iraq - or even a simple questioning of progress there - is unpatriotic.
In Viroli's account, the good patriot makes sacrifices, works hard to preserve republican values and participates in civic life. This version of patriotism emphasizes positive freedom - our ability to act on our own behalf for the sake of the freedom of the republic - as opposed to negative liberty - passively allowing the state to protect us and in the process rob us of our liberties. The patriot works aggressively to defend the freedoms that make a people a republic.
We should reflect on these earlier traditions in American history. Although appeals to patriotism are almost always used for repressive purposes, a patriotic position should not be simply grounded in a citizen's reflexive acceptance of fear and surveillance. It is also an active involvement in civic life.

I hope blogging my ass off qualifies as part of "civic life".

Paying up

Being it's our nation's birthday.

Someone once said with pungent simplicity that if a trend is unsustainable, it will end. The suburbanite lifestyle is not just an immoral and ostentatios display of wealth and an attempt to exclude anyone else who doesn't think just like they do, it's so energy, resource and time intensive that it cannot ultimately be sustained.

[. . .]

Americans took over a continent with enormous gifts of natural resources (rich praries, vast lands, timber, metal, oil & gas deposits, abundant & teeming oceans, lakes & rivers), and built a recklessly wasteful lifestyle on their thoughtless rape of nature's bounty. Those gifts have now been used up. America was oil independent until the early 1970s and actually exported oil, but now we must import 70% of our oil needs. Nature always holds the trump card.

[. . .]

Because of the recklessly inefficient lifestyle and infrastructure requirements of the suburbs, they are likely to see county taxes go up even more than in the cities before things collapse. This huge pendulum that has been swinging toward the suburbs for generation, driven by low energy costs, formerly abundant natural resources and massive public subsidies, is now slowing. The next recession is likely to reverse the pendulum for the first time in our history.

[. . .]

The Dilettantedude has an excellent introspective on the health of our nation and what we're doing to her.

A nation of morons

So much for the day off. Via Cookie Jill at Skippy's:

WOODSTOCK, Ont. (CP) - Ontario workers are well-trained.

That simple explanation was cited as a main reason why Toyota turned its back on hundreds of millions of dollars in subsidies offered from several American states in favour of building a second Ontario plant.

[. . .]

Several U.S. states were reportedly prepared to offer more than double that amount of subsidy. But Fedchun said much of that extra money would have been eaten away by higher training costs than are necessary for the Woodstock project.

He said Nissan and Honda have encountered difficulties getting new plants up to full production in recent years in Mississippi and Alabama due to an untrained - and often illiterate - workforce. In Alabama, trainers had to use "pictorials" to teach some illiterate workers how to use high-tech plant equipment.

"The educational level and the skill level of the people down there is so much lower than it is in Ontario," Fedchun said. [my emphases]

[. . .]

And how does being an ignorant moron make us a better nation? If the Jesus freaks, Wal-Mart, and (p)resident C-student finish their job on our economy and educational system, we'll be a Third World toilet in 20 years, doing nothing more than providing unskilled, manual labor for India and Europe. Being stupid isn't something to aspire to.

Just this

Came across this from DemVet:

[. . .]

It's a shame that it takes an unfortunate event like the Mess in Mesopotamia to get the attention of guys who write for the CSM [Christian Science Monitor]. Back in the day, my young enlisted men were working 16+ hours a day on the "roof", and having to get food stamps to provide for their families back home. Pay and allowances for the hardest working and most vulnerable of our troops has long been a sore point with me. No US serviceman should have to resort to living hand-to-mouth, ever while in the service of our country, but yet the politicians who extol their virtues rob them of their pride and dignity with the same breath. And it's still going on, in spades.

If I had a single wish, it would be to educate the members of the military about the voting records of their members of congress on all matters that dealt with their pay and allowances and once a quarter lock them in a room with some of these soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines to explain their votes. In detail, and with no bodyguards. Oh, and hand out the congresscriminal's pay and benefits sheet to each attendee as they arrived in the room.

[. . .]

Hear, hear.

Born on the 4th of July

The nation and this blog share a birthday today. The U.S. is 229 and the Brain is 1. Happy Birthday to both. I'll probably be taking the day off unless something happens. To all our readers, commenters, and fellow bloggers, have a safe and happy 4th.

Sunday, July 3, 2005

High Crimes and Really Stupid Moves

Got this From the Wilderness while cruisin' Wolcott. This is the best article I have read to date that ties the whole Plame deal together as a teeny little part of a much larger whole. It is much, much deeper than I thought. The article is quite long, but the whole deal is very complicated and takes a lot of words to sort out. Please, please, please, pretty please with sugar, go read this one. Here's a little teaser. Did I mention I'm a bitch? Ha!
The CIA Director's job by definition, whether others like it or not, is to be able to go to his President and advise him of the real scientific data on foreign resources (especially oil); to warn him of pending instability in a country closely linked to the US economy; and to tell him what to plan for and what to promise politically in his foreign policy. In light of her position in the CIA's relationship with Saudi Aramco, the outing of Valerie Plame made much of this impossible. In short, the Bush leak threatened National Security.
These jerks are doing real damage to their masters' interests.
There are a multitude of signs that the Bush administration is being "swarmed" in what is becoming a feeding frenzy as opposition is surfacing from many places inside the government, including the military. The signs are not hard to find.
Journalist Wayne Madsen, a Washington veteran with excellent access to many sources has indicated for this story that the Neocons have few remaining friends anywhere. All of this is consistent with a CIA-led coup.
It is one of the greatest ironies of the Plame affair that the Bush administration, spawned and nurtured by oil, might have committed suicide by vindictively, cruelly and unthinkingly exacting personal retribution on an intelligence officer who had committed no offense, and who was, quite possibly, providing the administration with critical oil-related intelligence which the President needed to manage our shaky economy and affairs of state for a while longer to squeak through to re-election. In our opinion, nothing better epitomizes the true nature of the Neocons.
Please report back with comments. Here's mine: I LIKE IT!

Update: Fixer found many good links. In light of the big story this week, I especially like this one.

Not to blow our own horn, well, not too much anyway, one thing I've noticed about our hook-up is that either one of us can pour lead downrange while the other spots targets and feeds the belt.

Bust Bob

If you like the "Douchebag For Liberty" as much as me 'n Fixer, go see this. Thanks, firedoglake.


Why hasn't the MSM been all over this?

SCOTUS fight


Gang, I just got off a conference call with the Vast Left Wing Conspiracy--they are learning to do what the right does so well, and are now coordinating with the blogs. We have a job to do in this SCOTUS nomination season. We know that, that's why we have blogs. We are going to be coordinating on each step of this fight, and the one we are all looking down the road to: Rehnquist's retirement, probably later this summer. We're going to be getting their oppo research, their talking points. About damn time.

I'm glad to say that Just a Bump and Judging the Future are going to be part of the fight to preserve individual rights, the freedom to determine your own values and to uphold human rights.

Sorry, that's classified

Via Pudentilla blogging at Skippy's:

WASHINGTON, July 1 - Driven in part by fears of terrorism, government secrecy has reached a historic high by several measures, with federal departments classifying documents at the rate of 125 a minute as they create new categories of semi-secrets bearing vague labels like "sensitive security information."

A record 15.6 million documents were classified last year, nearly double the number in 2001, according to the federal Information Security Oversight Office. Meanwhile, the declassification process, which made millions of historical documents available annually in the 1990's, has slowed to a relative crawl, from a high of 204 million pages in 1997 to just 28 million pages last year. [my emphasis]

[. . .]

And whatever incriminating that wasn't classified has already been shredded.


Paraphrasing Sen. Chuck Hagel on MTP:

I saw 58,000 get chewed up by Vietnam and I'm gonna ask the hard questions so it doesn't happen in Iraq.

Maybe he has trouble sleeping at night? He also stood by his statement earlier in the week.

"Things aren't getting better; they're getting worse. The White House is completely disconnected from reality," Hagel tells U.S. News. "It's like they're just making it up as they go along. The reality is that we're losing in Iraq."

Good on him. Let's hope a few more moderate Repubs have an attack of conscience. Chris Dodd was good too.

Update: 14:10:

The essential PSoTD has more detail on Ol' Chuck.

Cool stuff

Thanks to Victoria for the link.

Breaking even

Matt Ruben has two interesting statistics.

A little cold water

The wonderful Dave Johnson sets our feet back on the ground:

Everyone is excited that Karl Rove might be named as the Plame leaker. But Time's story is out, and there's a problem. From the story:

He [Rove's lawyer] did say that Rove himself had testified before the grand jury "two or three times" and signed a waiver authorizing reporters to testify about their conversations with him.

Reporters wouldn't be going to jail to protect a source who has signed a document releasing them from confidentiality. So either it is someone else, or the reporters understand that Rove signed the document as a formality, and worse things than jail will happen to them if they snitch on this White House.

[. . .]

While we're all giddy (I know I am) over Photoshopped pics and the thought of Rove being drug out of 1600 and thrown into an unmarked Crown Victoria, I think we should prepare for him to be well insulated from this mess. Like the commenter he quotes:

There's a problem undermining the glorious fantasy of the "great unraveling" (of the trail of bread crumbs right up the BushCo hierarchy). These guys obsess about Watergate. For thirty years they've been thinking about and practicing (Iran-Contra) how to prevent a repeat of what they see as Nixon's great failure -- not being crooked, but being caught at it. (They've incidentally been searching for, and constantly attempting to manufacture, a "Democrat Watergate", with no success.)

[. . .]

Time to get a little reality. Even if there is a connection, I seriously doubt he's going to be called to account. We are the Reality-based Community after all.