Saturday, February 25, 2006

Bill Buckley

And this generation's 'Cronkite Moment'. Via Atrios.


Read Taylor Marsh too.

Pay up, Sucka

IRS exams found nearly three out of four churches, charities and other civic groups suspected of having violated restraints on political activity in the 2004 election actually did so, the agency said Friday.


I've said this for a while now. Churches, synagogues, and other houses of worship sit on some prime real estate that's not contributing to the tax base. This is America, separation of church and state and all that. Time to start contributing to our society instead of fucking our children and insinuating yourselves into our daily lives in ways that most of us don't want. It's high time you start supporting your community instead of taking from it. When I pay $8000 a year for shitty schools and poor to no services, it's time for you to kick in.

Dubai and The Bush Dynasty Deal with the Devil

Well, it's Saturday. We gotta go to the Big City today, that's Carson City, pilgrim, so while we're a-traipsin' over the hills an' through the woods, go read this BuzzFlash editorial.

The Dubai arrangement is perfectly reasonable to Bush: it's about the money. And as Kevin Phillips might tell you, for the Bush Dynasty, money and corporate cronyism trump national security any old day.

What you have here is a collision in the goals of our two real co-presidents: Rove for domestic affairs and Cheney for international affairs.

Maybe it was because Cheney was distracted with his big Saturday: a couple of beers, shooting some quail, shooting a man, followed by a "hold off the hangover" cocktail at the Armstrong ranch, an early night's sleep and desperate calls to Mary Matalin to bail him out.

Or maybe it is because Rove was distracted by a still possible indictment for betraying the nation by being involved in the outing of a CIA operative specializing in the tracking of illicit weapons of mass destruction.

But whatever the cause of the distraction, it's clear that the fault line of the insane clown posse has temporarily been exposed for all to see, even the Kool-Aid drinking rubber stamp Republican Congress.

I'll be thinkin' 'bout y'all while I'm cruisin' past Lake Tahoe. Later.

It's come to this

They've reconstituted the Underground Railroad.

The Iraqi Army

I posted on them the other day. More today from Dr. Attaturk:

About six months ago it was admitted that there was but ONE IRAQI batallion capable of fighting on its own without the United States help. But Rummy et al said "hey they are really progressing in their training".

Then a few weeks ago we heard that after all these months of training it was again admitted that there was still but ONE IRAQI batallion capable of fighting on its own without the United States help.


And the news gets even BETTER a few weeks later when you find out a few weeks later that there are NO IRAQI batallions capable of fighting on their own without the United States help.

Altogether now....


So what; are we gonna be there forever or are we gonna cut and run? Seems like the only two options to me.


Lurch expands.

"Real" conservative men

Jesus' General does satire that runs very close to the truth:

Serving in the vanguard of the Glorious Conservative Christian Revolution isn't easy. It's very hard work. I think that's why it attracts a certain kind of man. We're all conservative and Christian of course, but we also have other qualities that some might perceive as weaknesses.

You see we're a frightened bunch. We're scared of nearly everything. That's why we own so many guns and are so gung ho about sending poor people out to shoot, bomb, torture, and imprison those who scare us. That fear might seem like a negative quality at first glance, but it, along with impotence and feelings of powerlessness, is what drives us to achieve so much.

This probably isn't a major revelation to most of you. It's pretty damned obvious to anyone who's thought about how advertisers target us. Switch Rush, Hannity, or O'Reilly on and you'll hear wall-to-wall ads for male enhancement products and wealth building seminars. You don't have to be a student of Freud to see that they're targeting our fears of powerlessness and impotence. [my em]


'Enhancements' don't make you a man. Neither do guns, money, or a big dog. Women who would love you, or not, on the basis of whether you have them, or not, aren't worth having anyway.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Friday Cattle Dog Blogging

Princess Shayna is mad at Preznit Anything-For-A-Buck for trying to sell out our nation's ports to terrorist enablers. "Is he effin' kidding me?" She said to her friend across the street.

Port Poetry

From MadKane:

It's Surely Snowing In Hell
By Madeleine Begun Kane

I never thought I'd see the day
That I'd agree with Tom DeLay,
And Fristy too and Peter King,
To port sales we're all saying nay.

George Dubya ought to be quite proud,
Cause Dub's united quite a crowd.
The Dems and Libs and GOP
All think the port deal stinks out loud.

Thanks again, Sis.

The light of day

You knew this port thing wasn't done yet. When you uncover some Chimp shenanigans, there's always more beneath the surface. UPI via Maru:

WASHINGTON, Feb. 24 (UPI) -- A United Arab Emirates government-owned company is poised to take over port terminal operations in 21 American ports, far more than the six widely reported. [my em]


More on gooned-up Dick

Yesterday I posted about a report coming out that The Dick was gooned up when he blasted his buddy while booze-binging "hunting" in a Republican Green Zone in Texas. Doug Thompson of Capitol Hill Blue has caught a predictable load of crap from the hardly-ever-right who claim he "made it up" for various reasons. He replies:

Running with the story brought the usual chorus of boo-birds, the armchair commandos who dominate the partisan bulletin boards, claiming that I sit up here in my mountaintop home and just make these things up.

In reality, I could be doing just that. But why should I? The bizarre antics of the Bush administration provide far more interesting fodder for stories than anything my imagination could possibly conjure up.

Others talk about truth as if it were some divine providence of a political party or philosophical organization. Truth is non-partisan. It crosses party lines and follows no philosophical path.

We piss off partisans from both sides because we follow the truth wherever it leads. We don't give a damn who gets mad or who gets exposed. We don't apply different rules to different parties and all are held to the same standards.

We don't play favorites. Never have, never will. And we don't have to make this stuff up. The truth is far more interesting, even if the partisans don't want to believe it.

I'll betcha that the right-wing partisans get pissed off about ten to one over us lefties. With good reason. Their idea of "truth" involves more smoke than mirrors.

Mr. Thompson goes into considerably more interesting detail than the quotes. Read 'em, cowboy.

Cheweeney can't get charged with this because he was sober by the time the cops were allowed to show up, so the only reason I'm going on about this is it goes towards his character and sense of personal responsibility for his choices and actions, or rather his lack of it.

New York and New Jersey lead the way


The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey will break the lease of a big container terminal at Port Newark to stop a company based in Dubai from taking over part of the operation there, the agency's chairman said yesterday.

"Fundamentally, this is a landlord-tenant dispute," said Mr. Coscia, who is a lawyer. "We're terminating their lease because they sublet illegally."

There was no pending dispute with the operators of the container terminal before the Dubai deal surfaced. But, Mr. Coscia said, the lease states that a tenant must get the agency's approval of a transfer of ownership interest.

"Our approval wasn't sought, so we haven't provided it," he said.

Good on yer, City Slickers. Go with what ya know.

Hoist by his own fearmongering

I've been waiting for days for Paul Krugman to weigh in on the seaport deal. I'm not disappointed.

The storm of protest over the planned takeover of some U.S. port operations by Dubai Ports World doesn't make sense viewed in isolation. The Bush administration clearly made no serious effort to ensure that the deal didn't endanger national security. But that's nothing new - the administration has spent the past four and a half years refusing to do anything serious about protecting the nation's ports.

So why did this latest case of sloppiness and indifference finally catch the public's attention? Because this time the administration has become a victim of its own campaign of fearmongering and insinuation.

Now comes the port deal. Mr. Bush assures us that "people don't need to worry about security." But after all those declarations that we're engaged in a global war on terrorism, after all the terror alerts declared whenever the national political debate seemed to be shifting to questions of cronyism, corruption and incompetence, the administration can't suddenly change its theme song to "Don't Worry, Be Happy."

Mr. Bush shouldn't really be losing his credibility as a terrorism fighter over the ports deal, which, after careful examination (which hasn't happened yet), may turn out to be O.K. Instead, Mr. Bush should have lost his credibility long ago over his diversion of U.S. resources away from the pursuit of Al Qaeda and into an unnecessary war in Iraq, his bungling of that war, and his adoption of a wrongful imprisonment and torture policy that has blackened America's reputation.

But there is, nonetheless, a kind of rough justice in Mr. Bush's current predicament. After 9/11, the American people granted him a degree of trust rarely, if ever, bestowed on our leaders. He abused that trust, and now he is facing a storm of skepticism about his actions - a storm that sweeps up everything, things related and not.

He should be facing impeachment and a rope. Please go read.

What it does...

I've tried (along with most of the reality-based veterans) to give folks a taste of what it's like in combat and the effects of that on the human mind in the years that follow, dealing with post traumatic stress disorder and the effect it has on the vet and their family. In light of the South Dakota abortion ruling (hateful cocksuckers), ReddHedd relays a personal experience and illustrates the after effects of rape are almost the same as combat troops face:


As I said, I was young -- but despite how horribly brutal the rape was, I was lucky. I never had to face the choice of an abortion because I did not get pregnant. Thank God.

But every single time I hear someone talk about being pro-life without giving a thought to the woman involved, I cringe. Because I could have easily been impregnated against my will. Violently, viciously impregnated.

And now, some young girl in South Dakota who is raped and finds herself pregnant will be forced to carry the child of her rapist, feeling it grow and move, a daily reminder of the rape -- with the flashbacks, the terror, the nightmares, the gut-wrenching fear -- everything that you have to overcome after being raped, along with handling the emotions and the responsibilities that come along with a pregnancy. [my em]


And again, the loudest voices in the 'pro-life' movement are men, the group most uniquely unqualified to comment on the female experience. The 'pro-lifers' merely want to keep women from having sex and punish them if they do. Being forced to carry the child of your rapist, I believe, is criminal in itself.


Last I checked, rape and incest victims didn't ask for the violent, terrifying, horrible action taken against them. But clearly someone in South Dakota disagrees.


You might as well send these poor women to Iraq. The effect on them will be the same.


Democratic Veteran adds his two cents.

Fire me up...

First thing in the morning. I see this at Atrios and it makes my blood boil:

I wonder if we'll ever really get the full story of why Hitchens still, in his own weird way, defends David Irving. Obligatory disclaimer: I of course think having laws which lock people up for odious speech is a really bad idea.

But there really is no distinction between "Holocaust Denial" and "Holocaust Revisionism," except to the extent that the latter is an attempt to put a legitimate gloss on the former, sort of like the difference between young Earth creationism and creation science.


First off, Hitchens is a drunken idiot. He defends this:


In a 1991 speech, Irving said, "Until 1988, I believed that there had been something like a Holocaust ... but [in] 1988 ... I met people who knew differently and could prove to me that story was just a legend."

In 1990: "The holocaust of Germans in Dresden really happened. That of the Jews in the gas chambers of Auschwitz is an invention."

And, again, in 1991: "More women died on the back seat of Senator Edward Kennedy's car at Chappaquiddick than died in the gas chambers of Auschwitz."


I've been to the camps. I've seen what was done in the name of 'racial purity' and it's why these skinheads in this country piss me off so much. As a German, I've seen what fanatics did to the land I love, the place of my ancestry. I go to the graves of relatives lost who were conscripted into the army to defend that horror. And I've seen what Germans have done to ensure it never happens again. When some drunk defends a denier, an idiot who actually sees some good in Hiter's policies, it makes me nuts. Yes, the curtailing of free speech should be bothersome to us, but you're not allowed to yell 'fire' in a movie theater either.

Thursday, February 23, 2006


I got a kick out of this one Mrs. G sent me in an e-mail:


"Hello, is this here the Sheriff's Office?"

"Yes. What can I do for you?"

"This here is Floyd. I'm calling to report my neighbor, Virgil Smith. He's drillin' holes in his farwood and hiding drugs inside!"

"Thank you very much for the call, sir."

The next day, the Sheriff & his deputies descend on Virgil's house. They search the shed where the firewood is kept.

Using axes, they split every piece of wood, but find no drugs. They sneer at Virgil and leave.

The phone rings at Virgil's house.

"Hey, Virgil! This here is Floyd. Did the Sheriff come?"


"Did they split yer farwood?"


"Happy Birthday, buddy!"

(Who says rednecks aren't real bright?!)

Heh. Good thing they didn't notice the meth lab in the kitchen, huh?

How Neo-Cons Sabotaged Iran's Help on al Qaeda

Or, "Ideology trumps reality". From IPS News:

The United States and Iran were on a course to work closely together on the war against al Qaeda and its Taliban sponsors in Afghanistan in late 2001 and early 2002 -- until Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld stepped in to scuttle that cooperation, according to officials who were involved at the time.

The bureaucracy recognised that there was an opportunity to work with Iran not only on stabilising Afghanistan but on al Qaeda as well. As reported by the Washington Post on Oct. 22, 2004, the State Department's policy planning staff had written a paper in late November 2001 suggesting that the United States should propose more formal arrangements for cooperation with Iran on fighting al Qaeda.

That would have involved exchanging intelligence information with Tehran as well as coordinating border sweeps to capture al Qaeda fighters and leaders who were already beginning to move across the border into Pakistan and Iran. The CIA agreed with the proposal, according to the Post's sources, as did the head of the White House Office for Combating Terrorism, Ret. Gen. Wayne A. Downing.

But the cooperation against al Qaeda was not the priority for the anti-Iranian interests in the White House and the Pentagon. Investigative journalist Bob Woodward's book "Plan of Attack" recounts that Deputy National Security Advisor Stephen J. Hadley, who chaired an inter-agency committee on Iran policy dealing with issues surrounding Afghanistan, learned that the White House intended to include Iran as a member of the "Axis of Evil" in Bush's State of the Union message in January.

So they offered help and we told 'em to get fucked so the Chimp could look like a big man. No wonder they're tellin' the West to get fucked now.

We certainly have a buncha dildos in charge of our country. Please go read the rest.

Veep was gooned up

Got this from Lurch at Main and Central. Lurch says:

Capitol Hill (yeah - I know) reports this morning that Secret Service agents in Mr Cheney's security detail have filed multiple reports that Mr Cheney was drinking on the hunt and was in fact as drunk as a Republican left alone in a cash room at a casino.

Secret Service agents guarding Vice President Dick Cheney when he shot Texas lawyer Harry Whittington on a hunting outing two weeks ago say Cheney was "clearly inebriated" at the time of the shooting.

Agents observed several members of the hunting party, including the Vice President, consuming alcohol before and during the hunting expedition, the report notes, and Cheney exhibited "visible signs" of impairment, including slurred speech and erratic actions.

According to those who have talked with the agents and others present at the outing, Cheney was drunk when he gunned down his friend and the day-and-a-half delay in allowing Texas law enforcement officials on the ranch where the shooting occurred gave all members of the hunting party time to sober up.

The prez and The Dick love to go to Texas. They can get drunk as lords, with all kinds of folks - donors, henchmen, cops, doctors, cronies, etc. - to cover up their their knee-walkin', commode-huggin', drunken indiscretions and keep 'em out of the public eye and/or from bein' charged with anything. Beats the shit outta soberin' up in jail like us peasants get to do, huh?


I think these are way bitchin'. From Firedoglake:

The bronze medal goes to:

The Ballad of Swagger and Scowler

They came from Wyoming and Texas, addicted to
power and drink;
They bullied and lied, they tortured and spied till most folks
were too scared to blink;
But when Scowl shot a hunter he thought was a bird and
Swag let New Orleans drown,
Folks finally saw what these guys really were: a crusty old
coot and a clown.

by a littlemusicalityplease

In second place, and by only the smallest fraction (one vote), our silver medalist is:

An accident it must have been,
And not a planned attack
Because Dick shot him in the face
Instead of in the back.

by rageneau

And the gold goes to:

If epitaphs were polygraphs,
This, terse and edifying,
Would crown the veep in final sleep:
Here lies Big Time--still lying.

by 88


The most excellent Friend o' the Brain, Patrick Yelladog, has gone through some changes. The best is that his software will let me commment again. Go take a look.

Bend over . . . continued

That Rethug bankruptcy law? Remember when we all said the only people it will hurt are the ones who really need the help? Well...


"Contrary to the claims of proponents of bankruptcy-law changes that they would zero in on the alleged legions of 'deadbeats,'" the new law is doing no measurable good, said Brad Botes, executive director of the bankruptcy lawyers' group. "Instead, (it has) put new hurdles in the path of people who are already flat on their back due to financial crises over which they have no control."


Details at CorrenteWire.

Of their own making

Suckers see what they get now for letting the Chimp run roughshod over their authority:








Thanks to His Most Exalted King of Zembla for the link.

The question

I know I've been asking it for a few years now.

If the president is above the law, what would stop him from canceling elections until his declared WAR is over?

That's it. That's the central question here. Is it a hypothetical? They assert that Bush is above all laws, that the never-ending "war on terror" gives him the right - the responsibility - to do anything he feels is necessary, and that the only recourse we have is trust in his wisdom.


I've had a bad feeling about this for a while. Personally, I don't think Chimpy Inc. will go quietly. I guess the upside of the Iraq War is that with all our National Guard troops over there, there aren't enough here for Bush to effectively declare martial law.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

G.O.P. to W.: You're Nuts!

Maureen Dowd on Portgate. Thanks, Tennessee Guerilla Women.

Same old pattern: a stupid and counterproductive national security decision is made in secret, blowing off checks and balances, and the president's out of the loop.

Was W. too busy not calling Dick Cheney to find out why he shot a guy to not be involved in a critical decision about U.S. security? What is he waiting for — a presidential daily brief warning, "Bin Laden Determined to Attack U.S. Ports?"

Mr. Bush is hoist on his own petard. For four years, the White House has accused anyone in Congress or the press who defended civil liberties or questioned anything about the Iraq war of being soft on terrorism. Now, as Congress and the press turn that accusation back on the White House, Mr. Bush acts mystified by the orgy of xenophobia.

Lawmakers, many up for re-election, have learned well from Karl Rove. Playing the terror card works.

A bristly Bush said yesterday that scotching the deal would send "a terrible signal" to a worthy ally. He equated the "Great British" with the U.A.E. Well, maybe Britain in the 12th century.

One of the real problems here is that this administration has run up such huge trade and tax-cut-and-spend budget deficits that we're in hock to the Arabs and the Chinese to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars. If they just converted their bonds into cash, they would own our ports and not have to merely rent them.

Just because the wealthy foreigners who own our debt can blackmail us with their economic leverage, does that mean we should expose our security assets to them as well?

Now, however, the president has pulled us together. We all pretty much agree: mitts off our ports.

I got a couple ports I wish ol' MoDo would control...

Also, more Cafferty on the deranged port deal.

"How do you know his life would have been good?"

This video will piss you off even more than you are now. A Tip o' the Brain to Sis.

Marriage Contract

Try gettin' yer ol' lady to sign this. If she does, drop her like a hot rock fer bein' crazy. Thanks, Cleek.



Who's Counting Bush's Mistakes?

Stephen Pizzo, that's who:

Ralph Waldo Emerson said it best, "The louder he spoke of his honor, the faster we counted our spoons." And no administration in U.S. history has spoken louder, or as often, of its honor.

So let us count our spoons.

And count 'em he does. Funny thing, but I always look at the flatware in restaurants. They're all from China and Korea.

He counted the spoons a coupla days ago, so he didn't put in the port fiasco. Other than that, not much new, but it's all on one page.

I wonder what apparel he took off to count that high? Blush!

Bits 'n Pieces (Like Our Ports Might End Up)


The dirty little secret behind the UAE port security flap

Politicians and the media are loudly decrying the Bush administration's proposal to turn over port security to a firm owned by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) - a country with ties to terrorists. They are talking tough about national security - but almost no one is talking about what may have fueled the administration's decision to push forward with this deal: the desire to move forward Big Money's "free" trade agenda.

There is no better proof that our government takes its orders from corporate interests than these kinds of moves. That's what this UAE deal is all about - the mixture of the right-wing's goal of privatizing all government services (even post 9/11 port security!) with the political Establishment's desire to make sure Tom-Friedman-style "free" trade orthodoxy supersedes everything. This is where the culture of corruption meets national security policy - and, more specifically, where the unbridled corruption of on-the-take politicians are weakening America's security.

The fact that no politicians and almost no media wants to even explore this simple fact is telling. Here we have a major U.S. security scandal with the same country we are simultaneously negotiating a free trade pact with, and no one in Washington is saying a thing. The silence tells you all you need to know about a political/media establishment that is so totally owned by Big Money interests they won't even talk about what's potentially at the heart of a burgeoning national security scandal.

Here's a blast from the past:

The Central Intelligence Agency did not target Al Qaeda chief Osama bin laden once as he had the royal family of the United Arab Emirates with him in Afghanistan, the agency's director, George Tenet, told the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks on the United States on Thursday.

Had the CIA targeted bin Laden, half the royal family would have been wiped out as well, he said.

Here's the kicker from Americablog:

Bush didn't even know about the deal with the UAE that's he is now defending

Kinda sums up the whole Bush administration. Now the White House says Bush didn't even know about the UAE port security deal til it was a done deal. But he's going to defend it -- even to the point of a veto:

President Bush was unaware of the pending sale of shipping operations at six major U.S. seaports to a state-owned business in the United Arab Emirates until the deal already had been approved by his administration, the White House said Wednesday.

If this is White House spin to make Bush look better, they're wrong. It makes him look even worse and more out of touch. They've screwed up again.

Lemme see if I got this: Big Money wants to give away - pardon me, sell, they never give nothin' away - our National Security and Bush has to go along or they'll take away the shiny toy they bought him - the United States of America. They're so sure of their ownership of him that they they don't even bother to tell him! (Note: I don't believe that part but it may be true.) The CIA, who will happily blow away whole neighborhoods of common folk if there's the teensiest chance to get #862 in the line of Osama's No.2s & 3s, won't (more likely told not to) target Osama himself because they might get four or five of the Chimp's daddy's business partners. Is that about it? Am I missing anything? Of course I am, but I'm sure there'll be more later.

If the UAE, Dubai's Royal Family, the Carlyle Group, whoever, wants to open a chain of Al Qonvenience stores, that's one thing. Fine. Let 'em. But this port deal is absurd. Like Fixer says, after four years of Bush doing his best to turn the people of this country into stone pussies with fear of Arabs, Muslims, swarthy Middle-Easterners, anybody with dark skin terrorists to solidify his power, and then to hand 'em the keys to the whole East and Gulf Coasts (Two out of three ain't bad. The Chinese got my coast*.) and let 'em control what goes in and out of the U.S. is so patently, certifiably insane that it staggers belief to think that anybody could possibly be that stupid or incompetent. Well, if anybody could, it'd be the Bush administration, but I can't help but think there's more to it.

We ain't heard anywhere near the last of this amazing fuck-up. Get Bush's keys away from him. He's in no condition to keep driving this country. This could be the cliff we've been waiting for. Do we stop this bastard and his madness, or do we argue who gets to be Thelma and who gets to be Louise?

*Also Korea (South, I hope) and Singapore, I just found out.


A thought:

Think about this: we are so afraid of terrorists, that we have to kidnap people and jail them in secret prisons, keep innocent people in Gitmo, listen to people's calls without wiretaps, and buy bulletproof vests for dogs.

Yet, when the UAE, a country which defines the word shady, wants to run US ports, we're bigots for opposing this? I have no problem with Arabs. I have a problem with people who enable terrorists. Why doesn't President Bush[?]


Okay, some Kool-Aid drinkers I know were spouting the White House line yesterday - 'they're an ally in the War on Terra', 'if the Brits could run our ports, why can't the Doobies (whatever the plural of Dubai is)?', 'what, you don't like them just because they're Ay-rabs?' - like good little Faux News zombies. My response: You're even dumber than you look.

Look, I don't like the idea of the British operating our front gates. And yes, just because they are Arabs shouldn't disqualify them. I agree. The facts of anyone's birth should not be a consideration in this nation, but the ones who are hailing this deal are the same folks who constantly yell we should kill all the Arabs and take their oil for ourselves. These are the same ones who support the war in Iraq, want to nuke Iran, are anti-abortion, and want to marginalize gays. Now you're getting all 'civil rights' on us? Kiss my big white ass.

You want to make a symbolic gesture of goodwill toward the Arab world? Begin negotiations with Hamas in Palestine, pull our troops out of Iraq, press your Saudi buddies to clean up their human rights record, warn Israel to behave itself with regard to the Palestinians. That will go a lot farther to promote goodwill in the Arab world than allowing a bunch of uber-rich businessmen in UAE to run our ports. Trust me, the Arab Street doesn't give a shit.

What you are watching now is the White House getting bitten in the ass by their own bullshit and rhetoric. When you scare the Americans so badly over the course of four years, only the morons in this country believe our ports will be safe on your say so.


Joe must go.

When even Bill Frist, Dennis Hastert and Fox News have abandoned him on the matter of the ports, Commander Codpiece knows that Joe Lieberman can always be counted upon for the public fluff.


Tuesday, February 21, 2006


Link via Atrios:

Wolf, this may be the straw that finally breaks the camel's back, this deal to sell control of six US ports to a company controlled by the United Arab Emirattes. There are now actually Senators and Congressmen and Governors and Mayors telling the White House "you're not gonna do this." And it's about time. No one has said "no" to this administration on anything that matters in a very long time. Well this matters. It matters a lot. If this deal is allowed to go through, we deserve whatever we get. A country with ties to terrorists will have a presence at six critical doorways to our country. And if anyone thinks that the terrorists, in time, won't figure out how to exploit that, then we're all done. Nothing's happened yet, mind you, but if our elected representatives don't do everything in their power to stop this thing, each of us should vow to work tirelessly to see that they are removed from public office. We're at a crossroads - which way will we choose? [my em]

Jack and Olbermann should have their own show.

Dubai company set to run U.S. ports has ties to administration

Duh. Big surprise, huh? From the New York Daily News via CentreDaily.

The Dubai firm that won Bush administration backing to run six U.S. ports has at least two ties to the White House.

One is Treasury Secretary John Snow, whose department heads the federal panel that signed off on the $6.8 billion sale of an English company to government-owned Dubai Ports World - giving it control of Manhattan's cruise ship terminal and Newark's container port.

Snow was chairman of the CSX rail firm that sold its own international port operations to DP World for $1.15 billion in 2004, the year after Snow left for President Bush's cabinet.

The other connection is David Sanborn, who runs DP World's European and Latin American operations and who was tapped by Bush last month to head the U.S. Maritime Administration.

The ties raised more concerns about the decision to give port control to a company owned by a nation linked to the Sept. 11 hijackers.

"It always raises flags" when administration officials have ties to a firm, Rep. Vito Fossella, R-N.Y., said, but insisted that stopping the deal was more important.

If they couldn't get a piece of the pie, you know damn well this administration wouldn't do it. To Hell with National Security as long as their friends and crony appointees get theirs.

Maybe Bush'll take another look at this idiocy after the Al Qaeda Maru goes up in a mushroom cloud at dockside. On the other hand, that would be the next Pearl Harbor he needs to implement the rest of his domestic takeover...

Pack yer bags or STFU, O'Reilly

Following up on my previous post, it looks like "put up or shut up (yeah, like that'll happen)" time for Bill O'Reilly. Editor & Publisher's got the goods:

In a postscript to his regular New York Times column on Tuesday, Nicholas Kristof reveals that he has raised almost three-quarters of a million dollars from readers to send Fox News host Bill O'Reilly to troubled Darfur.

Today he noted that President Bush now seemed more interested in Darfur, and Olympian Joey Cheek had donated cash from his medals to help Darfur survivors. "So come on, Bill--and Oprah, and the rest of you on the little screen--and visit the world's most awful place," he suggested.

Hear, hear. Those folks' plight needs to get out to the wide audience. That may be something we could help fix without pissin' off the world. Given this administration's incompetence and ineptitude, it's a big maybe, but we ought to try. At least the good christians...

As far as O'Reilly goes, I'd like to assure him that his chances of being eaten by a lion or a crocodile are really pretty small. There's a chance he'll get his ass blown to smithereens by the janjaweed - they've never heard of him, after all. He's just another white meddler to them. There's some diseases and stuff, but I'm sure he has a good medical plan. Unlike the people he's going to see, I'm sure he'll get enough food and clean water.

I did hear that room service at the Darfur Hilton is kinda slow. Rough it, Billy boy, rough it.

My personal wish is that he just gets bit by a tsetse fly and goes to sleep for a while - like 20 years maybe. I'm not the vindictive sort.

Actually, Oprah's the best bet. People like and listen to her.


This week's Top Ten Conservative Idiots. All your favorites and some cool photos.


Tom Englehardt nails Cheney's (and therefore Bush's) mindset.

Here's the thing: Don't imagine for a second that there's anything idle or far-fetched about connecting the shooting at the Armstrong ranch to the invasion of Iraq: Militarily speaking, top Bush administration officials considered a war against Saddam's Iraq the equivalent of the sort of farm-raised "hunt" that Cheney (and, among others, Vice-Presidential pal and "cabal" partner Donald Rumsfeld) have engaged in for years.

George, Dick, and the rest of them are remarkably consistent in their modus operandi. Whether on a quail farm, in the White House, or in Iraq, they pump themselves up as hunters or warriors, while the catering goes on and the "outriders" flush the birds for them. They create fictional worlds, impose them on the rest of us, and, at least to some degree, come to believe in them themselves - and they take ultimate responsibility for nothing whatsoever. They are, in short, the quailhawks and, in the larger drama, we, I fear, are Whittington.

It looks like they cherry-picked a lot more than Intelligence, and now it's biting us all on the ass. You owe it to yourself to read this one.

Printable version at Truthout.


I always liked Betty White, especially since about 10 years ago when I learned of all the great work she does in animal rescue and supporting zoos. Seems the folks in L.A. appreciate it too:

Actress Betty White, whose many TV roles included domestic guru Sue-Ann Nivens on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" in the 1970s, was honored by the Los Angeles Zoo Monday for her commitment to animals.

The zoo made the Emmy-winning star an Ambassador to the Animals at a ceremony attended by about 50 people, including Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

A bronze plaque will be placed next to the zoo's gorilla exhibit, home to White's favorite animal.


Bravo from the Fixer household.

Bake sales

It's a great thing they're doing, don't get me wrong, but the world is seriously out of kilter when we have to run bake sales to buy body armor for the U.S. military. Am I the only one who sees the complete incongruity of it?

Monday, February 20, 2006

Standing up the Iraqis

Jeff Huber looks at how well the Iraqis are replacing U.S. units in the field:


"Only" a third of the troops in this operation were American forces, who merely came along to "observe and advise." The rest were "elite" Iraqi counterterrorism forces.

This supposedly indicates that the stand up/stand down plan is working. But having a third of a strike force go along to "observe and advise" indicates that the other two thirds still need entirely too much observing and advising.

In other words, they still suck.


Our ports

Froggy on the UAE port takeover deal. This is incredible. What they don't sell to the Chinese they sell to the Arabs. In fairness, a British company who held the contract (P&O) is selling to the Emirate corporation. I don't know if I like the idea of any foreign company operating the biggest ports in the U.S.

A little more on RFID

I got a terrific response to my questions in my previous post on how to disable an RFID chip. Mostly from The Disgruntled Chemist, whom you should all go read if you don't already. He knows a lot about beer and other stuff too.

While I was ponderin' all this technical shit, two things (almost at the same time!) popped into my head:

1) I guess in a pinch I can just carry the RFID-laced ID card in my tinfoil hat. "Curses! Tinfoiled again!", and

2) How do you detect an RFID whose presence in your pocket or in your head may not have been divulged by its sponsor?

I will now return you to Earth-based programming.

Good News


VIENNA, Austria -- Right-wing British historian David Irving pleaded guilty Monday to charges of denying the Holocaust and was sentenced to three years in prison after conceding he was wrong to say there were no Nazi gas chambers at the Auschwitz concentration camp.

Will someone please buy Ahmadinejad a ticket to Austria?

A Question or 3 on RFID

First, this article in the LATimes:

When Congress rushed passage of the Real ID Act last spring, the idea was to foil terrorists.

States would be required to replace their current drivers' licenses with forgery-proof identification cards embedded with private information that government agents anywhere in the country could quickly scan to verify a person's identity.

he federal government has yet to draft regulations for the program that would dictate what kind of technology states must use. But privacy advocates are particularly concerned about one option being considered, Radio Frequency Identification Technology, in which an embedded microchip contains information that can be read with a scanner. The technology is widely used in government and business, for such things as package tracking and the Fastrak highway toll collection system.

The GAO report, meanwhile, noted that misuse of the data is not limited to criminals. For instance, the government could place scanners in public places to track movements of citizens. The report says the chip could also be used to create profiles that "ascertain something about the individual's habits, tastes or predilections."

The main gist of the article was about California's antiquated DMV computer system and the fact that there are few people left that understand its language. Runes?

Anyway, Here's the setup: We're eventually going to get RFID in our daily lives whether it's in our Driver's Licenses or our Prefrontal Lobes. Inquiring minds want to know, whether we like it or not. Privacy is in danger of becoming a thing of the past, that "goddam piece of paper" - the Constitution - be damned.

Here's the question: What's a good way to disable these things?

If it's in my Driver's License (Should I ever get one - it's a rhetorical question at this point), perhaps placing it in a bowl of water and ten minutes in the microwave. Maybe no water, but what would it do to the microwave? Could you smack it with a hammer without leaving a mark? How do you fry the sonofabitch and leave no trace?

Obviously, if it's implanted in your head, those methods won't work. Well, they might, but...

Tattoo needle, maybe? Lasik? Wha...?

C'mon, gang. Chemist? BadTux? One of you knowledgeable computer or electronics types? High explosives are not the answer I'm lookin' for, so chill, F-Man.

Rats . . . leaving

Or, he beat me to it again. Driftglass was reading my mind the other day and PSoTD does it today. I was gonna write a post about the Repubs distancing themselves from the Chimp but this is about right:

Many Kansans, including members of The Eagle editorial board, have long admired Sen. Pat Roberts for his plainspokenness and reputation for fair brokering of issues.

So it's troubling that Roberts, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, is fast gaining the reputation in Washington, D.C., as a reliable partisan apologist for the Bush administration on intelligence and security controversies.


They're waking up out there in the heartland. Not the way I'd like, but I think they're beginning to realize the Chimp is anything but 'conservative'. Digby also notices this:


This was the cult of Bush. But, as with all modern Republican presidents who become unpopular, he will be ignominiously removed from the pantheon. They did it to Nixon, they did it to Bush Sr and they are now doing it to Churchill the second. It's always the same complaint. They failed not because of their conservatism, but because they were not conservative enough...

By the time it's all over Bush is going to be seen as a coke-sniffing, frat boy hippy by the movement conservatives. This is how they do it. And then they'll go back to doing the same things they always do --- whatever it takes to win.


The neverending cycle continues. Hopefully by '08 the Bush name will be shit with conservatives and we won't have to deal with Jebby. But they'll find another, just you wait. That's why we have to get 'em all out of Congress this year, and if we do get a majority, hound our Dem reps to actually do the right thing, stay honest, and maybe bring the nation around to a more progressive way of thinking as a whole in 20 years. Could you imagine if progressives were running the show for two decades? Think of where we'd be. It's possible. Call me naive, but this is still America and anything is possible. The day I stop believing that is the day I leave.

This just in...

Start the week with the Ironic Times:

Only 10 in 34,000 State Dept. Employees Fluent in Arabic
And eight of them work in the cafeteria.

Control of Six Major U.S. Ports
Sold to United Arab EmiratesCompany for $6.8 Billion
Cuts out the middleman in event of terrorist attack.

Proves you actually can make this shit up! If you have enought reality to work with...


Today in history, 26 years ago to be exact, at about this time in the morning, my dad dropped me off in front of the Air Force recruiter's office in Bay Shore, Long Island. On this day I took an oath to protect the Constitution from all enemies, external and internal. The Air Force and I parted ways 8 years later and I thought my job was over.

I was part of the 'real world', a civilian who, hopefully, would never have to pick up a weapon to protect this nation again. Never did I think I would have to fight once more, not as a soldier this time but as a messenger, bringing truthful information to the mis-, dis-, and under-informed. I never thought my own government would try to form a monarchy, never thought Americans, born and raised in this great and beautiful place, would try to undermine the rights and privileges codified by the iconic but fallible Founding Fathers.

They were real men, just as we are (and I use the term 'men' in the humankind way), most, I'm sure, never wanted to become revolutionaries and agitators. But they saw something wrong with the system, the Imperial system, in place at the time. Their King George stole their wealth and independence, just as ours is doing to us, and it's time to stand up again, just as they did then. It is time for ourage on a grand scale.

We have a long history of standing up for the American Principle, the intangible that makes us different from every other nation on Earth. We are truly a 'nation of the world' tracing our roots to a couple hundred different places, speaking a myriad of languages, with basically one thing in common. Our forebears came here in pursuit of the American Dream. As a first-generation American, it was a lesson I learned early in life. The lure of liberty for all and the chance at prosperity was far too sweet for millions over the past 230 years, and many found it.

Our society wasn't perfect, but we fought wars amongst ourselves to make it better for all, more equal for 'everyman', not just the landed aristocracy and we might have to fight another soon. The Founders knew we had to grow, in both land area and outlook, to be accepting of changes the future would bring and gave us the Constitution as a living, growing document. The people in power now are destroying it and it is depending on us for protection.

This November, we will see if the Founders actually did give us a system that is self-correcting. It is the reason we must educate those who are misinformed. It is why we must pressure our representatives to uphold the principles we believe in or vote them out (Lieberman and others). It has to be done this year because I feel our nation cannot stand two and a half more years of Bush and the Repuiblican crime family.

While we can't do much about the administration, the Rubber Stamp Congress must be removed, control wrested from them by those who put the good of the country before the good of the corporations. It is critical we regain control of Congress for gridlock would be far better then the Republican version of 'progress'. I will not live in a banana republic or a corporate nation and those seem to be the only two options at the end of this road they have mapped out for us.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Iwo Jima

Reposted from last year.

On 19 February, 1945, U.S. Marines assaulted the Japanese-held island of Iwo Jima.

Go read the rest Below the Fold.

The Gasbag Gap

Expanding on Fixer's post, Eric Alterman has a few words about the Blow-viators in The Nation. Here's the tag:

Indeed, as far as critical commentary goes, with the occasional exception of E.J. Dionne, there's not a single unapologetic liberal on any of these shows, save perhaps an annual appearance as a kind of anthropological curiosity. Tune in to every show every week for a year, and you are unlikely to see Frank Rich, Paul Krugman, Rick Hertzberg, Harold Meyerson or anyone associated with The Nation, The American Prospect, The Washington Monthly, The New York Review of Books, Salon, In These Times, Mother Jones or even the liberal remnant inside The New Republic.

When you think about it, it is a tribute to the American people that they remain as receptive to liberal arguments as they do, given how infrequently they hear them.

It's my own opinion that probably five or ten times as many people listen to the right-wing weekday radio gasbags as watch the big-time Sunday gasbags. It may have something to do with available programming on the AM radio in a pickup truck out in the boondocks. These folks think the programs we think to be right wing are full of Godless Liberal Hollywood Commies.

Po' little Snotty

So, Whoreward Kurtz has Ari Fleischer on to make excuses for Snot 'The Lyin' King' McClellan. Oh, poor little Snot, reporters hate the Vice President and they used him as a punching bag this week. He's just a victim of the press' anger. Sorry, but if you're Goebbels' Mouthpiece, you deserve it. The mesage I got from the show, since I haven't watched it in ages, is the Left thinks the press isn't tough enough, the Right thinks the press is too tough, so we're just gonna keep reporting the way we've been reporting and let the chips fall where they may. One question. Why does CNN feel the need for this show to exist in the first place if the status quo is going to continue, come Hell or high water?

I think he's done

The wonderful Neil Shakepeare has a series going called 'Cheney's Got A Gun'. So far there's 14 chapters. I was gonna link to 'em (there's so goddamn many of 'em though and I'm not sure he's finished) but just scroll down his page. And while I'm at it, I'm lifting one of his pieces because it talks to me.

Evolution - Neil Shakespeare


I've had the idea for a post on the Repub mindset for a long time. Mainly because it boggles my mind how people can just suspend their disbelief so easily, for so long a period of time. Well, Driftglass wrote it for me.


But, there is an initial instant when the GOP squeezes out yet another lie smack in front of the whole world that's worth watching. That magical moment at the very beginning of the Republican Lie Cycle; when some High Ranking Bush flunky shambles onto the national dance floor, squats right down, and gives birth to another monster while the everyone watches.

And for a looong moment, the music stops, and a hush falls over the Party of Lincoln...because they quite simply do not know what to do.


Since they are unwilling or incapable of thinking for themselves -- many believing free and independent thought to be, in fact, a Snare set by the Devil -- when a glitch pops up, they return to their default setting of running in tight, panicked verbal circles, mindlessly screaming Liberals are LiarsLiarsLiars until they are told what to think and say and feel and blame by an Authorized Party Technician.

Which, in this case meant that Deadeye Dick had to sit still and at least pretend he was fielding real questions from a real reporter long enough to satisfy the minimum needs of the ritual. So that tomorrow or next week when Scotty Dog is "peppered" with questions from thirty yards away, he can say, "The Vice President already covered that" a million times.


If, by this time, they don't realize what is happening in this country, they deserve what the Chimp is doing to them. The thing is, the rest of us are getting screwed too and we see it happening before our eyes. 39% of this country is made up of delusional masochists and that scares the shit out of me.

Once more unto the breach... the 2006 Elections

Glenn Greenwald recognises that we are in for a long, hard slog in our fight to protect the Constitution of the United States from the current Imperial Administration which seems determined to destroy it; it is easy to become discouraged when the White House seems to successfully halt us on every front, but as Greenwald says, this will happen "only if Bush opponents internalize the notion that they will inevitably lose because everything is against them and there is no way to change that". So what can we do? We need to make our voices heard in the right place at the right time which means looking at the 2006 midterm elections. 33 Senators and 495 Members of the House of Representatives are standing for election this year, and there will be many state and local elections as well. The 2006 Primaries are well underway and it's time to see how many of the corrupt SOBs we can dump. So who is out there? Who has ideas, energy and focus?
Fighting Dems
Veterans' Alliance for Security and Democracy
Band of Brothers
Fighting Dems on AirAmerica
ActBlue Netroots Candidates
Progressive Patriots
Blue Force
Look them up, find out more about them. Help them out, too--Hillary doesn't need your money and Joe Lieberman doesn't deserve it. UPDATE: The NYT has an article about the Fighting Dems today; this is the time, one and all, "because it's on, motherf**kers"!

We must remind ourselves that all is not lost, and who better to tell us that than either Buffy or Shakespeare's Henry V? It's Shakespeare tonight. Yes, Henry chooses to attack France, but he is also the underdog in this battle of revanchist foreign conquest and he depends on his soldiers to win. It is their resolve to trust Henry and to do their duty well that makes England victorious. Henry knows how to lead and calls on nobleman and commoner alike to come together as a unit that can totally depend on each other and finally trust and admire each other as well. Henry makes a Band of Brothers, and this is our time to be of "that happy few".

(before Harfleur: III,i)
Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more;
Or close the wall up with our English dead.
In peace there's nothing so becomes a man
As modest stillness and humility:
But when the blast of war blows in our ears,
Then imitate the action of the tiger;
Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood...
...For there is none of you so mean and base,
That hath not noble lustre in your eyes.
I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips,
Straining upon the start. The game's afoot:
Follow your spirit...

(and before Agincourt, IV,iii)
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition:
And gentlemen in England now a-bed
Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day.

And here's some theme music to keep your spirits up:
Wango Tango--Ted Nugent
Fight Song--Scott Stapp
I am Me--Ashlee Simpson
Eternal POD
Baby Got Back--Britney Spears

AS IF! This is the real music list:

Day after tomorrow--Tom Waits
War pigs--Black Sabbath or Faith No More
Two soldiers --Cowboy Junkies
Tugboat--British seapower
Am I demon--Danzig
Brothers in arms--Dire Straits
Unknown soldier--Doors
My hero--Foo Fighters
Fortunes of war--Iron Maiden
And the band played waltzing matilda--John Mcdermott or the Pogues