Saturday, July 22, 2006

Two for two

Afghanistan is being run just like Iraq*:

The most senior British military commander in Afghanistan today described the situation in the country as "close to anarchy" with feuding foreign agencies and unethical private security companies compounding problems caused by local corruption.

The stark warning came from Lieutenant General David Richards, head of Nato's international security force in Afghanistan, who warned that western forces there were short of equipment and were "running out of time" if they were going to meet the expectations of the Afghan people. [my em]


And don't forget the opium farmers are harvesting a bumper crop as we speak. I'm waiting for the Chimp to start blaming the troops for this. Couldn't be the leadership, could it?


Let's make it three for three. Wolcott** on the price we'll have to pay for Lebanon. This one has must-read status.

*Link via BuzzFlash.
**Link via Watertiger.

Pay attention, Lugnut ...

This is the beginning of the end ...

Quote of the Day

From commenter Susan on this post at Kevin Drum's:

Shorter Dershowitz:
for all rules, Israel is always the exception.
for most of the others, America can claim exception too - as long as it conforms to what Israel wants.

for all the rest of those brown people out there.....not so much.


I advanced the suggestion over a year and a half ago (here and here). Today, Michael Stickings says they're actually considering it.


The partition of post-Saddam Iraq may be inevitable, just as the partition of post-Tito Yugoslavia was, but what we're talking about here is the partition of a single city (and the country's most important city), a city "close to anarchy". It might seem as if partition could reduce the sectarian violence, given the recent "dramatic rise in the number of killings and lawlessness" -- what other viable options are there? -- but look how partition worked out for Northern Ireland, Cyprus, India/Pakistan, etc.


Warning:This post contains video which is not suitable for children or sane people.You have been warned.

Before I give you a painful illustration link,I'd like to address something.I am no scholar,and heaven knows that there's half a trillion books I've never read,papers I've never written or colleges I didn't attend.But what is the DEAL with people who dig Ayn Rand?

Every person I've met who embraces a Randian view of the world is either completely insane,or has suffered some sort of traumatic event fairly early on in life that has made them angry, just plain cold,cruel and not just a little vicious.And then there are the spectacular creatures who are little of both.

Enter The Pammy. (don't worry,it's not a direct link to her,I wouldn't give her the blog hits.And besides Fixer would take away my Brain keys and chase me outta here.And rightfully so. See also this link from TBogg.Put down the beverages and food and get sharp objects out of your reach before clicking over.Wolcott's even taken Pam on a few times,it's rather like watching a bad accident for James I think.He doesn't wanna pay attention,but he just-can't-not-do-it sometimes,poor guy)

If you don't know Pam,she's the poor man's Michelle Malkin/Ann Coulter hybrid She-Beast on the internets. The Little Green Fascists love her,which pretty much speaks for itself.The company you keep and that sort of thing.Just to give you an idea if you aren't familiar.

Aside from the thought that Pammy and Carmella Soprano might share an interior decorator(yes,I notice stuff like that because if I had a"real"job outside motherhood,I'd be an interior designer,it's my niche), what in the hell does this woman have to be so violently snottily angry about?Something went terribly,horribly wrong somewhere.To be that high maintainence takes some dough,which means she's not living a deprived life,far as I can tell.She's also got kids,so surely there's some love and joy in that,right? She seems to have many male wingnutty admirers,so it can't be a lack there(assuming there's no current Mr.Pammy,I never hear mention of one).Her blog gets linkage from the bigger right wing players,so she's got her audience,so what gives? It also appears she doesn't have an actual outside the home job,so I assume she's fairly well off,financially.So there's not really a job stress thing happening here to blame it on. So again,what the hell is her problem? The answer has to be a personal life that's shredded,I can't think of anything else.

I think what we're seeing is a nervous breakdown in progress documented via webcam. Healthy,happy,normal,well adjusted people aren't this nasty.

But here's the thing that wierds me out...She's got an audience of people who agree with her. And dare I say,some of them actually find her attractive.

Suck my ass

Now that things have completely gone to shit for the Repubs, they're beginning to embrace reality. The so-called moderates are starting to see the more radical wingnuts turning on them. Don't come looking to me for absolution now that you get it.


It's very hard, after more than three years of anticipating, dreading and now watching the catastrophe blossoming in Iraq, to tolerate the pathetic whimpering of former hawks who've finally managed to drag themselves into the searing light of reality -- and feel ill used because they must suffer the slings and arrows of the deluded goons who still refuse to leave the cave of winds. Welcome to the camp, guys. Ivan over there will show you around.

Back in days of the real gulags, the Stalinists used to talk about "useful idiots" -- well-meaning but hopelessly naive Western politicans and intellectuals (i.e. parlor pinks) who could be used to advance the proletarian cause, even though their reward in the event of an actual revolution would have been a one-way ticket to Siberia. For the comrades of the modern authoritarian right, guys like Sullivan and Djerejian served a very similar purpose. But now they're not so useful any more, in fact they've been revealed as deviationists -- which means they must be struggled against, lest they infect the party cadres with their counterrevolutionary poison.


An excellent piece by Billmon.

Tip o' the Brain to Atrios.

The right stuff ...

If you want to get out of a war zone you need money and status. From our pal Scout Prime:


Among those enrolled in the summer Arabic program at the American University of Beirut, students told ABC News, those from Harvard, Yale and Princeton were in the first group evacuated - by high-end private security firms. Students from other American schools were left behind, waiting it out for days while the U.S. embassy formulated its plan.


And if you're a Lebanese-American and speak accented English, you can bet your ass will be the last one on the chopper.


I've been meaning to write about the Chimp's stem cell bill veto and his exploitation of the 'snowflake babies' (Why does the movie The Stepford Wives [the 1975 Katharine Ross version] begin playing in my head when I see that?) but 42 said it better than I could in the appropriately snarky manner. Stolen completely:

I can't find a pic right this second, but Preznit's post-veto photo-op yesterday with a pile of gurgling white babies (I'm pretty sure they were all white) conceived in vitro was about the most idiotic thing we've yet to see from this know-nothing celebrant of ignorance. Maybe someone forgot to tell him that for every one of those pwecious widdle white wug-wats a bunch of embryos were grown, harvested, then discarded after one of them won the Womb Prize.

Embryos that are destroyed to produce gurgling white drool monsters for infertile assholes who refuse to adopt is celebrating life. Taking those otherwise-discarded embryos and using them to research treatments for our most dreaded diseases and injuries is a culture of death.

Someone please help me distinguish between the two, because I sure as shit can't on my own as I am not very smart, but I can lift heavy things.

Oh hey, here's a pic. Yeah, they're all white.


This is the topic of most of the Saturday Cartoons today.


Eleanor Clift* quoting Arlen Sphincter**:


There are 400,000 embryos languishing in storage tanks at fertility clinics; only a very small number are candidates for adoption. "Even with federal funding available to encourage adoption, the number [of pregnancies from these embryos] is 128, which makes it conclusive that these 400,000 embryos will either be used for scientific research or thrown away,"


Yup, they're really kicking the doors in to get them zygotes.

*Link via memeorandum.
**Thanks to Lambert.

The Ballad of Dumb George

By William Rivers Pitt

I cannot believe how incredibly stupid you are. I mean rock-hard stupid. Dehydrated-rock-hard stupid. Stupid so stupid that it goes way beyond the stupid we know into a whole different dimension of stupid. You are trans-stupid stupid. Meta-stupid. Stupid collapsed on itself so far that even the neutrons have collapsed. Stupid gotten so dense that no intellect can escape. Singularity stupid. Blazing hot mid-day sun on Mercury stupid. You emit more stupid in one second than our entire galaxy emits in a year. Quasar stupid.

- "The Ultimate Flame," author unknown

George W. Bush is a good man, word has it. He's plain-spoken, they say. A regular fella. A good guy to have a beer with, except he supposedly doesn't drink anymore.

I wish, more than anything, that he were drinking. I wish he were drinking all the time. I wish, oh how I wish, that he were stand-up-fall-down-ralphing-down-his-shirt loaded every minute of every day. It would be a comfort, simply because it would explain a great many things. Having a drunk for a president is, after all, a fixable situation. Put him to bed at Camp David for a few weeks and surround him with Secret Service agents. Let his body clean itself out. Problem solved, and really, would anyone actually notice his absence?

I don't believe Bush has gotten off the sauce, if truth be told. I know more than a few boozers who, like George, periodically show up with odd wounds on their faces they got from falling over or running into walls. The injuries that appear on George's mien from time to time can perhaps be explained away - maybe Dick Cheney is stalking the halls with a shotgun loaded with rock salt and blasting anyone, even the boss, who gets in his way - but if "George still drinks" were up on the big board at the MGM Grand sports book, I'd take the bet no matter what the oddsmakers had to say.

Having a drunk for a president is manageable. Having a stone bozo for a president, on the other hand, is a calamity of global proportions.

Then, Mr. Pitt starts in on his boorish, obnoxious behavior over the last few days. Fun stuff.

What's next? Will George go to the United Nations, sit on Kofi Annan's head, and fart like some bratty brother tormenting a sibling? Will the cameras catch him playing penny hockey during Middle East peace negotiations? You can't say it'll never happen. It reminds me of the scene from "Caddyshack" where the golfers are hiding in the bushes and betting on whether the Smails kid picks his nose. It is not too farfetched a concept to believe that the other G-8 leaders were doing something very similar while watching Bush.

There were, by my count, no less than twenty different moments in the last few days where George brought shame and disgrace upon this country. He did not do this by being too tough, or too soft, or too strident. He did this simply by being himself. His head is an echo chamber where very stupid bats roost. He has the intellect of a bag of rocks. Maybe it's impolite to say this, but it has to be said.

And yeah, Mr. Uygur, it is really, really scary. I wish the man were a drunk. I'd sleep better, and so would the world.

True, as long as the Secret Service keeps him from pushing any red buttons.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Quote of the Day*


... You know, what the world needs now is not love, sweet love, but a motherfucking tribunal removing this goddamned sociopathic, End Times-lovin', cracker nutjob from the allegedly most powerful public office in the world ...

*More regular than not lately.

Here we go...with Bush's head in the sand


[Although U.S. military spokesman Maj. Gen. William Caldwell warns that insurgents are streaming in for "an all-out assault against the Baghdad area," Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte is reportedly blocking an update of the National Intelligence Estimate that would describe the situation in Iraq as "civil war."]

God help our troops and Iraqi civilians. This is gonna get ugly - and all because Bush doesn't want to know about it.

Stem cell research gets $150mil in CA. Fuck Bush.


Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Thursday ordered a loan of up to $150 million to the state's voter-approved stem cell research institute, catapulting California into the lead as the nation's top public funder of the divisive research.

The governor's action, a day after President Bush vetoed expanded federal support for embryonic stem cell science, is expected to kick-start the state's long-delayed program to pay for cutting-edge research projects.

Of course, this is for the good of mankind. Did I mention that this is a gubernatorial election year?

The Republican governor's move could also help him win over moderate voters by drawing a sharp distinction with the president, who is unpopular in California. The action drew derision from the governor's opponent in the November election, Democrat Phil Angelides, who called it a "smokescreen to cloud the memory of California voters that it was Arnold Schwarzenegger who campaigned for President Bush in Ohio and helped put him back into office.

"For the past year, while I was fighting for immediate funding for the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine, the governor failed to lift a finger to stand up to the anti-research activists," Angelides said in a statement.

Ironically, Hall noted, Bush's first-ever veto - based on his opposition to the destruction of embryos in some forms of embryonic stem cell research - served California well. "I think with one stroke, the president energized [the institute's] program," he said.

Connecticut, Maryland, Illinois and New Jersey have approved some state funding for the work. And on Thursday, the governor of Illinois announced that he was diverting $5 million from the state budget for stem cell research - also in response to the Bush veto.

Schwarzenegger's $150 million loan dwarfs those efforts.

It is also about quadruple the budget for embryonic stem cell research at the federal government's National Institutes of Health, which is strictly limited by the Bush administration to select stem cell lines created before 2001.

Another watchdog group that has worked to ensure that the institute is accountable to taxpayers cautiously applauded the loan.

It's "better than going hat-in-hand to fat cats with a potential vested interest in the outcome, begging for money," said John Simpson of the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights in Santa Monica, who criticized a recent private gala held by the institute to raise funds to keep it afloat.

Among stem cell scientists Thursday, the mood was good.

All Bush did with his veto was show conclusively that his moral compass spun its needle off long ago, if he ever had one to begin with, which I doubt. His previous limitation on funding to only use old stem cell lines is somewhat akin to limiting research on gas mileage to carbureted pushrod engines: irrelevant to reality and a hindrance to scientific progress, not to mention blatant pandering to a few christowhackos. Big surprise, huh?

It also shows that he's lost control over Congress. This is good. They won't automatically do what he wants them to do anymore, so he has to veto them to stifle the will of the majority. Look for more of this as he gets weaker.

To sum up Bush's attitude, I shamelessly paraphrase Robert Goodloe Harper: "Millions for armaments and pork, not a penny to help sick people!"

Kudos to the states who are funding stem cell research. By the way, there is plenty of government funding for this work. In China and India.

At the moment, I personally have no need for the benefits of said research, unless they come up with a cure for CRS*. Time will tell. Or maybe it already has...

*Can't Remember Shit

"...a genuine threat to the foundations of the system."

David Sirota on the possible democratic implications of the Lamont/Lieberman race.

That's what's really got the pundits, the political operatives and the insiders frightened: the simple fact that ordinary citizens have the nerve to challenge a Senator who purports to represent the "center" but is way, way out of touch with mainstream America. Put another way, the Establishment is in a rage that voters have the gall to demand a seat at the political table. This is a political table the Establishment has gotten used to seeing as its own exclusive property, and goddammit, they are pissed that regular Americans would dare to raise their voices and say enough is enough.

Please go read the rest. You'll like it.

Honk! Gotcha!

Will Durst comments on the Chimp's embarrassing performance at the G-8:

Bush, as bored with the whole concept of diplomacy as a five year old stuck in the quantum physics section of a Jamaican library, and obviously distressed at not finding Premier Putin to gaze soul searchingly into the eyes of, wandered around the big conference table finally lighting upon German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Distractedly, he began to give her a backrub prompting a typical Tuetonic reaction, in which Ms. Merkel tensed up tighter than a retaining wire on the mast of a sailing ship in a force five gale. She hunched her shoulders, grimaced, and threw up her hands in an apparent plea for the World Court to augment Bush's future war crimes trial with a sexual harassment charge.

What did he expect? For her to turn around and whisper seductively, "I'll give you a week to cut that out?" She's German, for crum's sake. East German. Everyone knows the East Germans are as cuddly as a stainless steel teddy bear. I imagine we should consider ourselves lucky he didn't grab her butt and make "honk-honk" noises. Or pulled a "gotcha" where he pokes her in the chest and then tweaks her nose after she looks down. And you know the cupped hand under the armpit thing is definitely in his arsenal.

Can you imagine Roosevelt giving the Reichs Fuhrer a back rub? Well, actually, I guess Neville Chamberlain kind of did, but that's not the point. Instead of grandstanding for its election year base, it is incumbent upon Congress to save our nation further embarrassments by passing a law immediately prohibiting all of the members of the Bush family from any televised meeting with a foreign leader where food is being served. And mittens. They should be required to wear mittens.

I got nuthin' to add to that!

Crickets ...

I didn't hear this on the news. I wonder why?

Jul 20, 2006 - SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - A federal judge declined motions on Thursday to dismiss a lawsuit against AT&T alleging the firm illegally allowed the U.S. government to monitor phone conversations and e-mail communications.

AT&T asked the court in late April to dismiss the case, and two weeks later the U.S. government also asked the federal judge to dismiss it because of the secrecy of the issue.


I wonder what we'll learn from discovery in this trial. I wouldn't be surprised if the eavesdropping is more widespread and more detailed than we ever imagined.

Link via a dispatch from The Palace.

How come?

How come the Voting Rights Act isn't a permanent law of the land? Why must the Congress re-ratify it every so often? Shouldn't it just be understood, in this great nation (supposedly), that everyone has free and unfettered access to the polls? Will there be a time in the future where we might consider repealing these rights for a portion of our population? WTF?

And to the NAACP: Why the fuck, after all this time, did you even let the Chimp address the organization? Does it mean that much to you? And if it does, after the disrespect he's shown to you since he's been in office, what does that say about your leadership? It seems, to me anyway, that your priorities are a bit misguided.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Quote of the Day*

*With preamble, by Froggy:


So another opportunity came and went and the worst president in the history of the United States continues to pour bag after bag of cement on his legacy, hardening it into a record by which failures in the future will be judged. Ten, twenty, one hundred, maybe two hundred years from now, if our nation is fortunate enough to survive that long, presidents will be comforting themselves with this thought, "Well, I may be a complete screw-up, but at least I'm not George Bush." [my em]

I call bullshit

It's just not enough for the citizens of Rightwingnuttia that they have pretty cushy lives,oh no. I don't know what it is about these folks,but I am sick to death of them being in charge of some pretty crucial stuff when they have no clue at all about themselves,let alone anyone else.

I don't know when it happened,and I doubt it is only one thing that made it happen,but somewhere along the line,we pretty much seem to have lost a collective national understanding about Cause and Effect,AND that there are consequences to actions,both long and short term.

The little kids of today are going to grow up to be complete idiots,Generation Loser,if someone doesn't intervene and make it stop.

Look,I know history has an element of spin to it,that's why there are SO many books on the subject.Everyone has their own perspective,historians sometimes do bring their biases and the like with them.They're human.As it is, schools make history boring on purpose and barely focuses on any one event and rarely relates things to the present day to make it relevant.Kids learn names and dates and places and a couple of sentences to describe them,and it's on to the next thing.

So I have to ask why the law? What the hell is Jeb up to?


Why the Katrina-like response to rescuing our people from Lebanon? Blah3 via Maru:

A reliable source tells me that the reason the United States has been so slow in evacuating its citizens from Lebanon is that the public diplomacy (i.e., P.R.) issues raised by evacuating under Israeli assault are so complicated. Individuals within the State Department, I am told, have been reluctant to create an impression that the Israeli assault on Lebanon is as bad as it is or that civilian U.S. citizens are being threatened by U.S. ally Israel. If a conflict this severe had broken out in, say, Indonesia, the American embassy would have been shut down the next day and its personnel and families rapidly brought to safety. That's how things normally work. In this case, however, the diplomatic message sent by shutting down the U.S. embassy in the face of Israeli bombing would have contradicted the U.S. government message of support for the Israeli mission against Hezbollah terrorists, which, when added to the general concern within lower-level diplomatic circles about ever creating a Fall of Saigon-style visual for the news media, have led the Americans to be slower than they could have been about getting U.S. citizens out of harm's way. [my ems]

I'm hardly ever speechless.

Type or I'll shoot...

Sort of in the same vein as my previous post, but from an unexpected source. I am now pointing a revolver at my finger to get it to link to an article in the The American Conservative about how the hardly-ever-right wing is reacting to the Noo Yawk Times disclosure of warrantless spying.

But the notion that the program was "carefully crafted to safeguard civil liberties" was a leap of faith - and conservatives used to assume the opposite: that liberty needed to be guarded against government. There was no judicial approval of these searches and no congressional oversight of the program, but the side of the aisle once distrustful of federal schemes nodded blind assent.

Was it so long ago that prominent conservatives vigorously opposed Bill Clinton's power grabs and his trampling of due process? Or was there a hidden asterisk noting that government power should only be limited when Democrats occupy the White House? Now security trumps - or, in reality, political promises of security. Or perhaps, like the prior proclamations of fidelity to limited government, the fixation on safety is simply another ruse to smear liberals and spur donations.

The Bush administration simplified the issue: freedom of the press kills. Snow warned that "the New York Times and other news organizations ought to think long and hard about whether the public's right to know, in some cases, might overwrite somebody's right to live." Treasury Secretary John Snow, in a letter to Bill Keller, denounced the Times article as "irresponsible and harmful to the security of Americans and freedom-loving people worldwide." "Freedom-loving people" thus becomes a trump card against the First Amendment. And "freedom of the press" threatens to become the single biggest obstacle to the U.S. government forcibly imposing freedom on the rest of the world.

Survival of the Republican congressional majority may hinge on suppressing criticism of administration policies, and this storm of media-bashing may be crafted to keep the lid on news about other government surveillance systems. Over a period of barely six months, leaks resulted in Americans learning that the feds were conducting thousands of warrantless phone taps in the U.S., that they had arm-twisted telephone companies to turn over the calling records of tens of millions of Americans, and that our government has been sifting through international banking records to its heart's content. National Journal recently revealed that the Bush administration is continuing to pursue Total Information Awareness, even though Congress compelled the formal abandonment of that program in 2003. The endless threats of treason prosecutions against whistleblowers, reporters, and editors may be a last ditch attempt to prevent Americans from learning about secret presidential orders that would make the NSA wiretapping look like kids' stuff (my em).

Just because much of the media is biased does not mean that the Bush administration is trustworthy. Perhaps it is naive to expect commentators to be more honest than politicians. But the "treason" stampede among right-wing talking heads indicates just how much conservatism has changed. And the Right's knee-jerk defense of every Bush power grab has so decimated their credibility that prominent conservatives will have as much standing to gripe about Leviathan during a reign of someone like Hillary Clinton as her husband has to complain that American culture no longer respects chastity.

I do agree with the author that the media is biased, insofar as it hasn't let truth interfere too awfully much with its blowing Bush until very recently, but I don't think he meant it that way. Heh.

It seems as if the real Conservatives, with whom I mostly disagree except on Big Government and some of their fiscal policy, are finally noticing that their party has been highjacked by neocons, wingnuts, and christo- as well as regular old fascists. And leave us not forget plain ol' morons. Reveille, motherfuckers!

Granted, the author seems to be against said coup mostly from the standpoint that the Repubs may lose their majority because of it, but he says it like it's a bad thing. The congresscritters are more concerned with the security of their seats than with national security. Then there's that jail thing...

I hate it when I have to agree with a Republican, but, hey, he's right about a lot of stuff here, even if he's right for the wrong reasons.

They hate our freedom...

From The Carpetbagger Report

As if FEMA hasn't done enough already, the agency now believes it can interfere with hurricane victims living in FEMA trailer parks doing interviews with reporters. If there's a reasonable explanation for this, I can't think of it.

Residents of trailer parks set up by the Federal Emergency Management Agency to house hurricane victims in Louisiana aren't allowed to talk to the press without an official escort, The (Baton Rouge) Advocate reported.

In one instance, a security guard ordered an Advocate reporter out of a trailer during an interview in Morgan City. Similar FEMA rules were enforced in Davant, in Plaquemines Parish.

FEMA spokeswoman Rachel Rodi wouldn't say whether the security guards' actions complied with FEMA policy, saying the matter was being reviewed. But she confirmed that FEMA does not allow the news media to speak alone to residents in their trailers.

No, that's just crazy. There's no legal way for a government agency to interfere with two First Amendment freedoms, without explanation, simply because the affected Americans happen to have been victims of a hurricane.

Imagine losing your home to Katrina. You feel like your government has let you down. Left with limited options, you're living in a FEMA trailer park, which is on public property. A reporter wants to talk to you about your experiences - but the government tells you that you're not allowed to talk to a journalist without a FEMA representative on hand to monitor what you say.

Asked for an explanation, you're told, "That's just a policy."

I have a hunch we'll see this policy get "corrected" fairly soon. It's inviting a lawsuit FEMA is certain to lose. And as a matter of common sense, it's indefensible.

There is an explanation for this which is pretty obvious although not at all reasonable: our present regime needs darkness to survive. They are trying to keep their incompetence, corruptness, wrong-headed policy, botched implementation of same, and the sheer waste of many billions of tax dollars - our money - from becoming general knowledge. It's so egregious and widespread that it's awful hard for them to hide, due in large part to that "goddam piece of paper", the Constitution, you know, the one that lets you talk to whomever you damn well please even with the hob-nailed jackboot tracks from them stomping all over it.

The troops in Iraq aren't allowed to talk to the media without a minder for the same reason. The "liberal" press gets threatened and called traitors for printing stories that expose governmental law-breaking for the same reason.

From Bush on down, these assholes are scared to death of what will happen if the man in the street, not just us political junkies, finds out what they are up to and how their constant mis-management of everything they've touched has damn near wrecked this country and the world.

I have but one word for them: November.

The link in the quote goes to an article at the First Amendment Center. Check it out.

Live with it

Umm ... no:

Today during lunch, KCAL in Los Angeles presented some fuel industry pollster [sorry - no link on their site] who believes that $4/gal. gasoline isn't going to faze the American people. Instead, they will make adjustments in other spending categories to accommodate the higher pump prices. Indeed, he insists - they already have!


Let me explain something, being I make part of my living in the car business. People are hurting now. We've raised our prices for motor oil 18% in the past year, not that we want to, but as a small shop, we couldn't afford to absorb the increased price for long. It also affects our parts prices. The parts houses have added a fuel surcharge for deliveries, a service we can't do without because it's impossible for us to detail one guy to run all over Long Island chasing for stuff.

I see it in the neighborhood too. The soccer moms are carpooling now and the kids who are old enough are walking. No longer do you see a line of Explorers and Tahoes dropping off the kids for summer school. Now they cram as many kids as possible into one car and each mom has a day to drive. And we're talking about people who can afford it. Most of my customers are 'upper one percenters'; doctors, lawyers, Wall Street and corporate types.

That's not counting what it's doing to the older folks on fixed incomes who are 'house rich' (property values in the area have skyrocketed). Aside from the medcal profession and the pharmaceutical companies gouging them, the price of gas is forcing them to walk a very thin line between existence and destitution. I know the local senior citizens' transportation ridership has almost doubled in the past year and they've added another bus to the route.

The average price of regular gas on Long Island (via personal anecdote) is about $3.30/gal and people are hurting. Not that I'm hurting, yet, but the price of my commute has doubled and it torques my sphincter every time I have to put $65 in the tank to fill up the Mrs.' Explorer; it's $40 to fill my Ranger.

With the value of real wages going down every year, as the rich get richer in this 'booming economy', the pinch is being felt higher up the economic ladder. So you tell me, Mr. Oil Company Executive, how $4/gal gasoline 'isn't going to faze the American people'? It might not faze the members of the board and their friends, but it's sure fucking with the folks down here. I'm tired of making you motherfuckers rich and you telling me I can afford to pay more. A warning: Don't come to my shop talking that bullshit because one of us will hand you your ass.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

A hundred a day ...

But the oil's gonna flow soon (cough *bullshit* cough).

What's that?

Is that the sound of sphincters tightening?

ANKARA, Turkey - Turkish officials signaled Tuesday they are prepared to send the army into northern Iraq if U.S. and Iraqi forces do not take steps to combat Turkish Kurdish guerrillas there - a move that could put Turkey on a collision course with the United States.


This should be good ... It's not as if we didn't know the Turks and the Kurds would be a problem.

Thanks to the Old White Lady for the link.

This is How They Do It...

The Goddess Of Talk Radio managed to find a copy of an actual Republican talking points memo (warning:pdf file) with pretty explicit instructions on how to talk about war and terrorism.This isn't the whole thing,but it's enough to get the idea.

You know why liberals don't do this? Because we aren't freaking liars that's why. The truth doesn't take that long to tell,seriously.Especially when it's big stuff at stake.The truth can be complicated,but boiling it down takes a short time. Lies on the other hand have to be crafted and tested first to see if they sink or float(like a turd in a punchbowl).

My ex husband used to fuck around behind my back all the time(note the ex ).How did I find out?Simple.It took him half an hour to explain where he was for half the night.If he had really been"at the office",then a two sentence explaination would have been all he offered. Liars just can't help themselves,they've gotta try to be all crafty and sneaky and shit,and they can't just offer a normal and rational explaination,they gotta go flying off and make things complicated.That's the first clue to me that someone is lying like a dog on a rug.(sorry Princess Shayna,no offense meant to you or any other doggies out there)

An Imperial Defeatist -- And Proud of It

Michael T. Klare at TomDispatch.

In our world, the truth is that being against empire -- against the transformation of the U.S. into a giant, gated, overarmed, globe-spanning version of a failed Rome is apolitical sanity, the sort of thing that could and should be embraced by left, right, and center. What we probably need in this country is a new American Anti-Imperialist League of the sort Mark Twain was involved in way back at the end of the nineteenth century in opposition to a war of suppression in the Philippines.

Why, then, are we squandering so many lives and so much treasure in a desperate effort to hold on in Iraq? Only one answer makes any sense from a Washington policymaker's point of view -- to remain the dominant military power in the Persian Gulf and thereby control the global flow of oil. This is the only interpretation that fits with the Pentagon's admission that it plans to retain at least some bases in Iraq indefinitely, no matter what sort of future government emerges in Baghdad (or whether such a government approves of our presence or not).

Let's be very clear: the pursuit of empire and success in what the President calls "the global war on terrorism" are mutually incompatible. The more we seek to dominate the Middle East, Central Asia, and Africa, the more we will provoke anti-American fury and the very violent extremism with which we claim to be at war.

A retreat from empire would also force us to use oil more sparingly and this, in turn, would enable us to address another critical threat to American security: the danger of catastrophic environmental damage caused by global climate change. As Hurricane Katrina demonstrated, our shores are highly vulnerable to powerful hurricanes; and higher ocean temperatures, caused by global warming, are producing increasingly violent ones. Global warming is also contributing to the extreme drought and susceptibility to voracious forest fires in many areas of the American West. By reducing our petroleum consumption and relying more on ethanol, bio-diesel, wind power, solar, and other domestically-produced, alternative sources of energy -- but especially by putting our money into the development of such alternatives rather than to imperial expansion around the globe -- we can, in the long run, reduce our exposure to violence abroad and to environmental catastrophe at home.

So yes, I'm a "defeatist" when it comes to imperial expansion. But I'm a hawk when it comes to overcoming terrorism, saving American lives, averting environmental collapse, and promoting core American values. This is the only truly patriotic course that any of us can espouse.

"Mine! Mine! Mine!" and "Hooray for ME and fuck you!" are not 'core American values' no matter what we're being told by rich and comfortable imperialist wingnut greedheads.

Vote-flipping in Georgia

Atlanta Progressive News

"You've got electronic voting machines. Many people called in and shared their concern. They pushed the button for Cynthia McKinney and Hank Johnson came up. It wasn't one time, it wasn't two times, it was many, many times," Karen Fitzpatrick, who has been monitoring elections for US Rep. McKinney's re-election campaign, told Atlanta Progressive News in an exclusive interview.

Let me repeat: The McKinney Campaign says they have documented complaints of voters here in Georgia whose votes FLIPPED BEFORE THEIR VERY EYES on Diebold machines.

I think this is good news. It doesn't matter that this occurred in a Democratic primary, or who's doing what to whom, or for what reason - what matters is that people, voters, saw with their own eyes right in front of them that these machines are susceptible to tampering. Thank our lucky stars that the nitwit who did the tampering wasn't smart enough to hide it from folks standing right there.

I suppose it's possible that the machines are just poorly designed and manufactured to the point of being incredibly inaccurate, but I don't believe that for one second.

We've known about Diebold all along, but this brings it into the light of day. Every last one of their damn machines should be de-certified and sledge-hammered to dust. In the wrong hands, and there are plenty of them, these machines are a danger to Democracy.

Speaking of "the wrong hands", let's also work on criminally partisan poll workers and voter (read 'minority Democrat') disenfranchisement as well.

Help wanted

I was checking out "The Top 10 Conservative Idiots, No. 252" and ran across this White House employment opportunity ad:

White House Director of Lessons Learned

Responsibilities: Director reports to President Bush once every nine years or whenever a lesson is learned, whichever occurs first.

Requirements: Three years of high school or equivalent. Ability to work alone in a small, windowless, telephone-free office is essential. Typing/Minesweeper skills a plus. MUST BE DISCREET.

$106,641 a year for a high school dropout who doesn't have to know anything or do anything except light typing and a little casual EOD. For once, I feel over-qualified!

Helpful advice for Connecticut Dems

This Modern World

Can't have it both ways, morons

War Preznit; is he or isn't he? C&L has an excellent catch from the hearing room.

Back to yer hole

A present for AOB.

Ralph-Fucking-Reed* is out.

ATLANTA - Former Christian Coalition leader Ralph Reed, unable to overcome his ties to disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff, conceded defeat Tuesday in Georgia's Republican race for lieutenant governor.


It'd be nice if they served him with indictments soon too.

*AOB says that's his name now and who am I to argue?

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

That's more like it...


Americans will not have to pay for evacuation, senators' aides say

The announcement came after stranded Americans, along with politicians and their families back home, expressed anger with the situation.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi criticized the billing policy, accusing the government of "quibbling over payment" rather than finding the most expeditious means of getting Americans out of harm's way.

"A nation that can provide more than $300 billion for a war in Iraq can provide the money to get its people out of Lebanon," the California Democrat said in a statement earlier Tuesday.

Fellow Democrat, Sen. Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, said: "We must not abandon American citizens in a war zone. Our government should be focusing on the fastest, safest way to get Americans home, not how much to bill them once they get there." She had said she would introduce legislation to get the fees waived.

But on Tuesday night Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice addressed the billing issue, telling Sen. John Sununu that she was waiving the requirement, Sununu's office said. The New Hampshire Republican is of Lebanese descent and had joined Pelosi and Stabenow in lambasting the fee.

The U.S. military does not charge for evacuations. Nor do the governments of France, Ireland, Britain and Italy, which already have ferried hundreds of their citizens out of Lebanon.

That's where I got confused. I thought the military was doing the evacuation. Hell, the Marines evacuated the goddam P.L.O. and didn't charge 'em! Well, they escorted 'em through the 'Root to a ship. Let 'em keep their guns, too. Marines evacuate folks from different shitholes all over the world all the time and I never heard of anybody being charged for it. 25,000 is a lot of people, but Marines just shrug and get on with it: 10 civilian pukes or 1000, it pays the same.

I knew folks'd have to pay to get home commercial, but their own government makin' 'em pay to get 'em the Hell out of a war zone is so chickenshit I never considered it.

Oh, now I remember: Republicans don't think government should provide emergency services to citizens for all that tax money, do they? It's supposed to go to their accomplices buddies.

It was embarrassing enough hearing about the Chimp's antics at the G-8. I guess gettin' caught bein' life-endangering cheapskates was too much for State.

I never thought I'd catch myself saying this, but good on ya, Condi. A day late and a dollar short, but it was the right thing to do. For once.

A tip o' the Brain to Shakey's Sis. I was over there tryin' ta tell a joke and saw Waveflux's post on this.

Quote of the Day*

*More of a themed** thing today. Bulldog:


So, Ehud Olmert, Fuck YOU! If you make the decision to continue to escalate things by engaging Iran and/or Syria, you may be held responsible for starting WWIII. Granted, that would make some people pretty happy, but it isn't the way to solve this situation.

And while I'm at it: John Bolton? Fuck you too, you walrus-'stached asshole! The shit you just pulled by vetoing a draft proposal to admonish Israel for the killing of Palestinian civilians and the destruction of the only power station in Gaza was reprehensible. You are definitely living up to the kind of diplomat I and many others thought you'd be.


**If you haven't guessed, the theme is 'fuck you'.


Is Haloscan sucking ass or what?

Never mind ...

What is WRONG with these people?

Honest to Christ,is there some sort of toxin or something in the air where these morons work and live?It's time for some massive toxicology screenings,because something is seriously,basically,organically WRONG here.

Behold The Wingnuttery

You know,I know they hate everything and everyone except money and violence and greedy,nasty white people,but the rest of us aren't ready to go to hell in a handbasket quite yet.I've got grandbabies I'd like to see grow up in a relatively sane and safe world.I'm not asking for perfection,just some basic understanding of Cause and Effect,maybe with an eye towards,oh,how 'bout a better future? I know,it makes sense,which means it's evil and traitorous,I keep forgetting.

Why do these fucks even bother getting out of bed in the morning if they hate the world and everything in it so much? Let's see now,they hate:

Brown people in general

Anyone who isn't a James Dobson"christian"

Liberals(which is anyone to the left of them)

Poor people(even white ones really)

Middle class working people

Women(especially their naughty parts)

Little kids,especially poor and middle class little kids

Who am I leaving out?

That's an awful lot of hatin' to be doing every day.And it might be just me,but the list seems to keep expanding to include every single soul outside their very narrow parameters.Hell,they don't even like clean air and water for fuck's sake.Something is WRONG with them,not us,THEM.

The Big Iraq Candy Mountain

From DCDL, a member of Drinking Liberally:

In the Big Iraq Candy Mountain, it's a land that's fair and bright,
No one's ever heard of IEDs, and the streets are safe at night.
Kidnappers all have rubber knives, and the car bombs don't go off.
There's a nice cool breeze, and no disease,
And we finally found those WMDs,
In the Big Iraq Candy Mountain.

Oh, the flowers and sweets from the crowds in the streets
By the Coca-Cola fountain,
The eagles soar, and there's no civil war,
In the Big Iraq Candy Mountain.

In the Big Iraq Candy Mountain, the terrorists always lose,
And the folks have purple fingers, and they vote for who they choose.
The women wear just what they want, and the men can shave their beards.
The people are free, there's democracy,
And Sunni, Kurd, and Shi'a are a family
In the Big Iraq Candy Mountain.

In the Big Iraq Candy Mountain, not a single child is hurtin',
And billions of dollars are all well spent, thanks to friends at Halliburton.
The schools are freshly painted, 'lectricity runs all day.
They get HBO, and there ain't no snow,
And the people never, ever want our troops to go,
In the Big Iraq Candy Mountain.

Nicely done, in my not-so-humble-opinion.

This may explain Bush et alia...

This headline in the LATimes caught my eye:

When Man Mated Monkey

Of course, the very idea of ancestral human beings and chimpanzees "exchanging genes" makes people squirm, because (let's face it) this means sexual intercourse between our ancient human and animal ancestors. It is hard enough to contemplate our parents copulating; to think of our very great-grandparents not only descended from "monkeys" but having sex with them is difficult to conceive. But conceive is what they evidently did.

In Bush's case, and many others, I think think the man-on-monkey relations occurred a lot more recently. It would add a whole new dimension if his dad's sister was the simian...

It's OK, Angela, he rubs everybody the wrong way...

This is all over the place today, but Shakey's Sis has the best one:

Eclipsing even his father's unfortunate chunk-hurling on the Emperor of Japan, Bush has made yet another shameful blunder on what is now undoubtedly the most embarrassing official trip abroad for any American president. After stumbling from Putin's smackdown at his suggestion that Russia ought to emulate the democracy in Iraq to babbling about wanting to eat a pig to getting caught on tape cursing while chomping on a roll, Bush channeled the Creepy Guy at Work who gives a female coworker an unwanted massage, much to his repulsed target's chagrin.

Of course, it wasn't just any gal The Groper went after. It was German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Video at Crooks and Liars, or in the original German.

Taylor Marsh: This is why Iraq and the Middle East are in flames, and we have no credibility around the world. We have a prepubescent president in charge. It is an outrage.

Lindsay: Every woman will recognize the guy who sidles up and starts "casually" giving you a backrub without even looking at you, because he wants to preserve deniability in case you freak out. Like any practiced groper, Bush stares right past Merkel as she recoils from his touch.

Unannounced back rubs of the knead-'em-'til-they-relax type have helped me on occasion, and I've given them as well, but they're rarely appropriate and then only amongst friends.

Bush's lack of social graces amongst the highest-placed people in the world, and on camera to boot, shows him to be a churlish boor, and personally obnoxious in addition to his arrogance. Chancellor Merkel would have been entirely justified to deck his ass.

The sonofabitch's behavior is downright embarrassing.


The Carpetbagger Report

But this nevertheless strikes me as troubling. As Dibgy put it, "This woman is the Chancellor of Germany." Indeed, she's entitled to a high degree of respect and decorum, not a rub-down from a frat-boy in chief.

I hesitate to make too big a deal out of this, and most of the U.S. media ignored it completely, but I've long believed there are certain standards for how one behaves in professional settings. If this were a meeting of corporate executives, and a male CEO from one major company began giving an uninvited massage to a female CEO from another company, it'd be considered inappropriate, as I believe it should.

Makes you proud, doesn't it?

Bush has never done anything to make me proud. This puerile antic made me cringe.

Wait ...

Until oil reaches $100/bbl which, thanks to the neocon fuckup of the Middle East, might not be too far down the road. If you think we got power problems now:


Con Ed reports that some 9,000 customers in Westchester are without power as a result of the high temperatures.

Thousands of people in Yonkers will have to endure the heat without air conditioning. That's because of a power outage. At one point in the day, around 11,600 customers in Yonkers were without power.


Better get used to the heat, folks. Next summer you might not be able to afford your electric bill if you use air contitioning. You know, everybody's so afraid of terrorist attacks in this country. I'm more afraid of what my fellow Americans will turn into when they can't afford to cool and heat their homes or buy gas for their cars. If you think the anarchy in Baghdad is bad, wait until our pampered asses are put in a vise.

Shut up, shut up, shut up ...

I hear this a lot: "Were supporting the world. We give all our money to the U.N. and other coutnries". No, we don't, idiots:


Denmark gives the most amount of its GDP (1.01%) to developing countries; Norway gives 0.91%; the Netherlands give 0.79% and so on until the end of list, where the USA sits. Yes, America ranks DEAD LAST in foreign aid at a pathetic 0.1% of its GDP, compared to the other 21 nations listed as developed nations. The idea that the US government is a heroic bunch that runs around the world helping the poor and the disempowered is not backed up by the evidence. We have one of the stingiest governments on earth. [my em]


More 'conventional widom' myths busted here.

Tip o' the Brain to the Roo.

You have an outstanding balance, sir

I say this to customers every three months, when I go through the unpaid bills and start hassling people for money, followed by 'pay up or I'm taking your car' if the balance is going on its second quarter. Looks like the government is taking a page from my book:

This information is current as of today, Sat Jul 15 12:20:12 2006.

A message to the American citizens in Lebanon:

The Department of State continues to work with the Department of Defense on a plan to help American citizens depart Lebanon. As of the morning of July 15, we are looking at how we might transport Americans to Cyprus. Once in Cyprus, Americans can then board commercial aircraft for onward travel. Commercial airlines provide the safest and most efficient repatriation options to final destinations.

The Department of State reminds American citizens that the U.S. government does not provide no-cost transportation but does have the authority to provide repatriation loans to those in financial need. For the portion of your trip directly handled by the U.S. Government we will ask you to sign a promissory note and we will bill you at a later date. In a subsequent message, when we have specific details about the transporation arrangments, we will inform you about the costs you will incur. We will also work with commercial aircraft to ensure that they have adequate flights to help you depart Cyprus and connect to your final destination.

The Department of State continues to work around the clock and will continue to send updates as appropriate. [my ems]

Are you fucking kidding me?

Let's see ... We can spend $6bn a month in Iraq, give the wealthiest of us a tax cut, and spend hundreds of millions on a missile defense system that doesn't work, yet we can't afford to rescue American citizens in a war zone? Or do we have a different standard for Americans who can trace their lineage to that part of the world? I may be wrong, but I'm almost positive the students we evacuated from Grenada didn't get a bill for services. Probably, as we (all of us who participated in the 'rescue mission') all suspected at the time, the brand new 10.000 ft. runway the Cubans built was the real prize and the students' lives were the excuse to take it.

Isn't it the duty of the U.S. government to protect its citizens?

Great thanks to Atta J. Turk for the link.

Monday, July 17, 2006

A moment of silence please

MYRTLE BEACH, South Carolina (AP) -- Robert Brooks, the chairman of Hooters of America, Inc. who made his fortune selling chicken wings served by scantily clad waitresses, was found dead at his home Sunday, officials said. He was 69.


I'll refrain from comment, but you can probably figure ... a sad day in mandom ... he was a visionary ...

Link thanks to Matt.

Who they are ...

Sumo, blogging over at Froggy's, has a short history of Hamas and Hezbollah. Just in case you're confused.

Where's Bush?

He's eatin' roast pig, scarin' babies, and cussin' on TV in St. Pete. Pretty much like when he's in Crawford.

Geov Parrish wonders where he is on another, possibly important matter:

Only one man stands between Israel and World War III -- unfortunately it's the president

Go read the article.

Hezbollah took the credit for killing 241 Marines of my old regiment, including attached soldiers and sailors, by means of a truck bomb at BIA in 1983. Reagan's response to that is one of the reasons that makes bad guys the world over think they can get away with anything to this day.

Maybe, probably, Bush should intervene and rein in Israel. My personal opinion is "fat chance".

I hope he waits until the IDF sends all those Hezbollah bastards, their families and accomplices, to Hell in little pieces.

We Must Preserve The Earth's Dwindling Resources For My Five Children

If you're gonna take anything in The Onion seriously, well, don't, but sometimes it provides food for thought disguised as satire, irony, and ridicule of those who need it.

As we move into the 21st century, it is our responsibility to think of the future of the earth - not for ourselves, but for those who will inherit what my husband and I leave behind when we're gone. If we do not join together and do what's best for this, our only planet, there may not be an environment left in which my five children, and their 25 children's 125 children, can grow up and raise large upper-middle-class families of their own.

Nothing less than the preservation of my descendents'(sic-G) lifestyle itself is at stake.

Imagine a world devoid of pristine wilderness for my progeny to explore on the weekends in the sport-utility-vehicles of the future, leaving my youngest son, Dylan, with nowhere to blow off steam on off-road adventures. Imagine a world in which my beautiful middle son, Connor, is denied his twice-daily half-hour hot showers because of water shortages. Picture what it would be like for my oldest boy Asher, preparing to start his first semester at Stanford, to have to go without basic amenities such as cable television, satellite radio, central air, or massage chairs, all because of the shortsighted squandering by his parents' generation of our non-renewable energy sources today.

There's more. Go read.

At the top of The Onion is an ad for Bill Maher's new DVD, New Rules: New Rule: "Call things what they are. If your morning coffee contains crushed ice, whipped cream and caramel, it's a milkshake!"

An old Chinese proverb says, "Wisdom begins with calling things by their right name."

There's nothing new.

Trying to Rope In Support for Hemp

Some good news for a change. LATimes via Raw Story:

AB 1147 is not the biggest bill of this legislative session, but it is one of the most intriguing - and most fun.

Start with its purpose: to legalize the growing of hemp, a cousin of marijuana - both members of the notorious cannabis family.

Then proceed to the bill's joint authors, a pun that's unavoidable. (Groooan - G)

One is a liberal San Francisco Democrat, Assemblyman Mark Leno; the other a conservative Irvine Republican, Chuck DeVore.

If nothing else, this bill shows it is possible for two legislators of diametrically opposite ideologies to acknowledge some common ground and work together to change public policy.

Both agree that hemp - advocates call it industrial hemp - is taking off worldwide as a plant used for fiber (in car door panels, for example), food (energy bars, granola, smoothies) and body care (shampoos, soaps).

And they think it's illogical that the federal government allows the importation of foreign hemp for American manufacturing into legally sold products, but bans the growing of hemp by American farmers. So they're trying to force the issue.

Their bill would sanction the growing of hemp in California for sale within the state, but forbid interstate commerce of "viable" seeds - those that can germinate - in an effort to keep the feds from nosing around. No doubt federal courts ultimately would sort it all out.

The bill also would define hemp, under California law, as a safe crop, not a drug.

About fuckin' time.

Hemp has a long and distinguished history, at least until it was unfairly maligned by drug warriors during the last century. Rope, sails and paper have been made from hemp all through civilization. The Declaration of Independence was drafted on hemp paper. George Washington and Thomas Jefferson grew it.

In the 1800s, hemp was America's third-largest agricultural product. But it was labor-intensive and became less economical because of the cotton gin and the abolition of slavery. Still, hemp was grown in California until the Depression, when the feds cracked down on marijuana and mistakenly booked its innocent cousin in the bust.

During World War II, Washington begged farmers to resume growing the crop, promoting a "Hemp for Victory" campaign. But in 1970, cultivation was banned under the Controlled Substances Act. Any hemp needed for making products had to be imported.

One major opponent is the 7,000-member California Narcotic Officers' Assn. It says officers would have trouble distinguishing between marijuana and hemp. Pot is a short plant. And although hemp grown for fiber is bamboo-tall, when it's cultivated just for seed, the plant looks more like marijuana.

"If the Canadian Mounties can understand the difference, don't you think American law enforcement could?" responds Roulac. "It's an insult to the intelligence of American officers."

It's not very hard to insult the intelligence of most cops. Some of them could maybe learn to tell the difference. The poppy is California's state flower, and no one busts the poppy farmers for growing opium. At least I don't think so...

Besides intriguing and fun, AB 1147 is sensible. Not allowing farmers to grow marijuana's harmless cousin is akin to reefer madness.

No shit.

I hit the wrong button and erased this once, and I ain't even been smokin' nuthin', honest!

Smart kid...

Daily Mail(UK). Go see the photo.

It was supposed to be a light-hearted photo opportunity showing the gentle side of the world's most powerful man.

Unfortunately, nobody told the baby.

Despite being closely vetted by both the U.S. secret service and German intelligence agents, the startled infant voiced a noisy protest as it was handed to George Bush.

Unable to placate the wailing child - despite all his skills of diplomacy - President Bush was forced to hand it back to its waiting mother.

And the baby, whose parents are German, was not the only one unhappy with Mr Bush's presence in the village of Trinwillershagen, in the former East Germany.

Around 5,000 protesters did their best to interrupt the outdoor meeting and meal between the president and Germany's chancellor Angela Merkel. Eventually shielded from the noise by 40 tons of barbed wire and 12,000 policemen, the pair sat down to dine on a roasted wild boar slaughtered earlier that day, uninterrupted by protesters. (my em) Or babies.

40 tons of barbed wire and 12,000 policemen. To have a fuckin' picnic. What a waste of resources. Note to the Chimp: eat at home. It's cheaper for everybody.

Smart as the kid was in bawlin' at the very touch of that slimeball, he missed a golden opportunity to take a great sauerkraut-laden dump on the world's most reviled man and the symbol to the rest of the world of what the United States has become.

"You just want war, war, war..."

Following up on Fixer's post "Our Goebbels" (scroll down), Juan Williams pushes back at Kristol. At Think Progress:

This morning on Fox News Sunday, William Kristol argued that the Bush administration's "coddling" of Iran had "invited" the latest outbreak of violence, and that the United States should join in the current fighting. Juan Williams pushed back:

You just want war, war, war, and you want us in more war. You wanted us in Iraq. Now you want us in Iran. Now you want us to get into the Middle East. ... You're saying, why doesn't the United States take this hard, unforgiving line? Well, the hard and unforgiving line has been, we don't talk to anybody. We don't talk to Hamas. We don't talk to Hezbollah. We're not going to talk to Iran. Where has it gotten us, Bill?

Kristol threw up his hands and didn't answer. Watch it:

Transcript follows.

I don't know if Americans use this word, or even get the concept, but Kristol and his war-mongering ilk need to be publicly denounced. The more, the better.

Signs of the times...

The last line in a good post about Lieberman/Lamont at HuffPo by Jane of Firedoglake:

Battle of the Yard Signs: Lieberman is definitely losing. Overheard at an event recently, "If this boils down to a competition over the most lawn signs, it'll be Ned vs. Coldwell Banker."


Our Goebbels

Cenk Uygur:


For those of you lucky enough to not know Bill Kristol, he is the top neocon intellectual (how's that for a gigantic oxymoron) in the country. He is the editor of The Weekly Standard, the bible of neo-conservatism and warmongering. He is in effect their propaganda minister. And like all good propaganda ministers, he will never bring his pampered, powdered soft ass anywhere near a battle line. But he can't wait for your kid to die in the wars he starts.


It's guys like Kristol who legitimize the foolishness of the Bush administration; the same ones who turned an extramrital blowjob into a national crisis, supposedly worthy of impeaching a President. These people are more dangerous to this nation than al-Qaeda thanks to their stupid, deranged vision of what this nation should be about. They've put fringe behavior on the same plane as reasoned intellectual thought and their pawns in the news media have given them credence thanks to their warped interpretation of 'fairness'.

It is people like Kristol who have given ideas that would have been laughed at years ago a stage and a network of advocates who've exerted constant pressure on the political system. Corruption and patronage have become 'business as usual' for this bunch and any concern for the 'good of the nation' has been left by the wayside.

They've riled up fringe groups, who were once barely given a thought, to attack the foundations of science and the civil rights of Americans, throwing everything accomplished over two centuries away, tarnishing the shine of a place known for its enlightenment.

Living in New York, you sometimes take for granted the diversity here. You see the lady in the harbor and its accepted that most of us have come from somewhere else, can trace our roots back to one wave of immmigration or another and can basically accept there will be more, from other lands looking for what this nation has to offer; the American Dream. People like Mr. Kristol have turned that dream into a nightmare for many who don't look like them or speak English. My people on the German side who came here didn't speak English either when they arrived.

My uncle, Heinrich Konigsamen, came here in the late thirties. He lived in Yorkville in the city, a predominantly German neighborhood and he never learned English. He enlisted in the Marine Corps the day after Pearl Harbor and survived the mad hop through the islands of the South Pacific, learning the language in the process. Over the last three years, we've lost ten Hispanic boys from my town in Iraq. I am certain some didn't speak the language or didn't do it well. Are any of them less Americans?

Mr. Kristol and his ilk would have you believe they are. He would have you believe that rich, white, American interests are more important than anyone else's, even Americans who don't speak English or are brown or black or poor. He would have you believe the natural resources of sovereign nations belong to us and we have the right to dictate how they are used.

While I don't deny Mr. Kristol and his fellow propagandists the right to free speech, I demand morally honest people stand up for their fellow Americans this November. It's time to send them a message at the polls saying that all Americans are important and the poor are not here just to be used for cannon fodder in wars to enrich the despicably wealthy even more.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

It's alot like poking yourself in the eye with a sharp stick...

[ Moved up top for the day. New posts begin below. - Fixer ]

because it feels so fabulous when you stop.I'm warning you now,if you choose to go where angels fear to tread,have a strong drink or a bong hit ready,you're gonna need it.

Now and then,just to get a feel for the swampy,bug infested landscape of Outer Wingnuttia,I visit Michelle Malkin's website.We at the Brain don't do linkies to Outer Wingnuttia,for obvious reasons,so you will have to don your hipwaders and hose yourself down with DEET to go see what I'm talking about.And then go take a shower,otherwise you'll smell like raw sewage and bug spray for the rest of the day.I go there because Michelle is usually among the first to manufacture the outrage of the week,and she's got a syndicated newspaper column in addition to being a Fox "news"regular.Alot of wingnuts take their cues from her(even referring to her as Mama Michelle),so she's useful as a barometer for the entire state of Wingnuttia(inner and outer).

On July 4th,Code Pink,along with Cindy Sheehan and a few Hollywood notables(and regular folks too), began a vigil that included a hunger strike until the troops come home.Personally I think that's a dumb idea,because no way in hell can a person go forever without food.This War on Terra has no end in sight,and let's face it,if you commit to something like a hunger strike,you'd better hope no wingnut sees you eating so much as a saltine and Gatorade or you will pay.I get the symbolic gesture involved here,but we all know wingnuts and what they do by now.When I first heard about this,my immediate response was "crap,just give the wingnuts some more ammo why don'tcha?"A far more effective action might have been raising a few bucks for Operation Helmet or something like that,but I digress. Empty gestures to "Support Our Troops"has already been done to death,literally,do we honestly have to go there anymore? Or perhaps the cost of skipping a meal or two could have gone into sending food to soldiers and Marines who aren't being fed properly in combat.I'm just sayin'...

Michelle's blog entry on this topic includes a You Tube short film from her "Hot Air"(insert your own more than obvious joke here)website,a video that begins with Michelle stuffing her yap with food.Oh Teh Funny,that Michelle,she's such an imp.The most telling part comes when she reads from Cindy's blog,in her "cindy voice".

Is it just me or does this video remind you of a very young teenager,one of the popular kids,making fun of the school nerd or the fat kid?I'm thinking her blog needs a makeover. A theme of some sort. Something befitting the caliber of writing and"thinking"that goes into such an outstanding blog entry.

I bring this up because wingnut women seem to loathe other women,to the point of being pathological. In Michelle's case,she seems to work overtime to garner male approval and yes,even lust. IMO,she doesn't allow comments on her blog and doesn't want HER personal info out there not because she's afraid of some evil liberal doing harm to her(nevermind that she has no qualms about doing it to someone else).I think she's scared of her fanboys showing up at her front door,because she knows precisely what sort of jagoff fantasies they harbor about her. She also knows what they're capable of,she's just hoping they channel that wierd mixture of violence and/or sex towards their "enemies".It's funny that the wingnut women bitch about women who work outside the home(Peggy Noonan for example whines about this often),blaming feminism for the downfall of the American Family,when they themselves spend time not raising a family to forge careers of their own,something that would not be allowed in their vision of America. Wingnut paymasters expect alot of their well compensated servants,there doesn't seem to be alot of vacation time or sleep allowed while meeting those output commitments. That's not very compatible with being a traditional Mom,especially when your kids are young. In Michelle's case the irony goes one step further in that her husband is the stay at home parent and primary caregiver.I for one think that's great,more men should do that if their wives make more money than they do.I know a couple of stay home Dads who do a great job with the kids and all that domestic stuff.It's actually rather,well,Progressive.The irony is staggering,don't you think?


While everyone's yelling about the stupid shit Condi said today, I noticed something else. Former SECSTATE Madeline Albright followed Condi on Little George today. I noticed the difference between a Kool-Aid drinking, clueless idiot and an accomplished Foreign Service Officer.

And speaking of clueless idiots, Bill Kristol's balls are dissected by Commander Huber.

"The Sins of Ralph Reed"

Here's an article in GQ via a post at HuffPo.

"The problem now," says Matt Towery, the pollster, "is that he's got to prove to everyone that he wasn't quite bright enough to know [the Abramoff stuff] was wrong but that he's bright enough to govern their state as lieutenant governor."

The reason he doesn't talk to reporters is that he can't afford to. If he does, they'll just start asking him all those uncomfortable questions that have nothing to do with being lieutenant governor. Mostly, they'll ask about his relationship - his multimillion-dollar relationship - with convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff. And that's if they're only skimming the surface. Give them some time and they'll ask about his work for eLottery or Enron or Microsoft; or his shilling for China; or his close call with the statute of limitations in Texas; or the way John McCain got slimed in the 2000 South Carolina primary; or something called the Black Churches Insurance Program. Maybe they'd even ask how he squares up his professed salvation through his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ with...well, with everything else.

Those would be awkward conversations.

Quite a long article, maybe a little snarky:

And that's what Reed was paid to do: froth up the wackos on behalf of the morons and the monkeys.

A 'quote of the day', perhaps? Enjoy.

This post is dedicated to An Angry Old Broad, the Brain's fearless correspondent in the Georgia combat zone.

They get letters

GregR writes to Holy Joe.

The Real Agenda

'Must-reading' from, believe it or not, The New York Times:

It is only now, nearly five years after Sept. 11, that the full picture of the Bush administration's response to the terror attacks is becoming clear. Much of it, we can see now, had far less to do with fighting Osama bin Laden than with expanding presidential power.

Over and over again, the same pattern emerges: Given a choice between following the rules or carving out some unprecedented executive power, the White House always shrugged off the legal constraints. Even when the only challenge was to get required approval from an ever-cooperative Congress, the president and his staff preferred to go it alone. While no one questions the determination of the White House to fight terrorism, the methods this administration has used to do it have been shaped by another, perverse determination: never to consult, never to ask and always to fight against any constraint on the executive branch.

One result has been a frayed democratic fabric in a country founded on a constitutional system of checks and balances. Another has been a less effective war on terror.


To a disturbing degree, the horror of 9/11 became an excuse to take up this cause behind the shield of Americans' deep insecurity. The results have been devastating. Americans' civil liberties have been trampled. The nation's image as a champion of human rights has been gravely harmed. Prisoners have been abused, tortured and even killed at the prisons we know about, while other prisons operate in secret. American agents "disappear" people, some entirely innocent, and send them off to torture chambers in distant lands. Hundreds of innocent men have been jailed at Guantanamo Bay without charges or rudimentary rights. And Congress has shirked its duty to correct this out of fear of being painted as pro-terrorist at election time.


More sanity ...


People are confusing two things, Israel's right to exist and Israel's right to dominate the region. Of course, the Israelis have the right to get back their servicemen. But to cause suffering among innocent people? Lebanon didn't attack Israel. Hezbollah did, and there is a difference.

The illusion of technology makes it seem that the IDF can bitchslap their neighbors at will. Well, Hezbollah shows that time doesn't stand stil.

Israeli leaders think this is the early 80's. where they were surrounded by weak states and could impose their will with ease. But it isn't and Iran has the ability to halt oil production in the Gulf as well as make the occupation of Iraq untenable. Hezbollah isn't the PLO, they're willing to die in place.


I hope Gilliard is right and "this ends at a conference table". Unfortunately, we have a bunch of folks in this nation and Israel who are downright giddy over the prospect of a holy war and some of those folks have the ear of people in charge.


Raising the stakes:

Iran warned its arch-enemy Israel of "unimaginable losses" if it attacks Syria and vowed that it was standing by the Syrian people.

"We hope the Zionist regime does not make the mistake of attacking Syria, because extending the front would definitely make the Zionist regime face unimaginable losses," foreign ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi told reporters.


So what's the point of bombing Lebanon when Hezbollah has a safe haven in Syria? Or does Israel plan to ignore the warning? Do I see the dead hand of Franz Ferdinand reaching up from the grave?

Why do you think they love 24?

I've said this for years. The Repukes think the world works like a Tom Clancy novel or a cheesy TV show. Digby notices too:


I'm reminded of a story I heard about Kirk Gibson after he made his famous home run in the 1988 world series. Some sportswriter asked him if he thought he really was better than Roy Hobbs in "The Natural." Gibson replied, "Of course I am, Hobbs is a fictional character."

It seems to me that a lot of people on the right really don't understand that distinction. I don't know whether it's a pathetic attempt to appear "hip" or whether they really think it makes sense.


Man, I know this first-hand. After my book Lightning Crashes came out, do you know how many people told me, 'if you'd just build one of those engines you talked about, you'd solve the energy crisis'? No shit. Thing is, it's science fiction. I do not have plans in my head for a power source that's a combination of cold fusion (which doesn't work) and strong force theory (we don't have the technology). If I did, I'd be the King of the World and half our problems would be solved.

Now, slowly, read my lips. TV and spy novels aren't real. They are not based on fact. A guy like Jack Bauer (of 24) or my lead character would have been killed by the bad guys in the first hour. Thanks to Tom Clancy, people think every conflict can be solved by small Special Forces units who operate with surgical accuracy. Basing foreign policy in the premise of a fictional TV show is a sign we've lowered the bar to new depths regarding the people we elect to run this country. It's a sign the pundits are idiots.