Saturday, August 5, 2006


Tell me again who supports the troops.


Back from Boston and we had a great time. The bride was beautiful (but I knew that when she was a baby) and the groom (whom I finally had a chance to sit and talk with) is an impressive young man. Samantha made an excellent choice. I wish them all the happiness Mrs. F and I have found.

That said, I had time constraints getting home. I had to get to the vet on Long Island by 3 to pick up Shayna or I couldn't get her until Monday. Mrs. F nagged at me from Providence to New Haven for my excessive speed (95 mph straight through) but we made it to the vet by 2:50.

Also, we stayed in Braintree, MA which, for me, was very cathartic for we were only a few miles from the home of my hero, President John Adams and his wife Abigail.

A note from the road: We saw a bunch of Ned Lamont bumper stickers going through Connecticut. Not a single one for Lieberman. We caught Holy Joe's ad on WPLR 99.1, the one where he says 'experience matters' and had a good laugh. And to the city fathers of the City of New Haven, thank you very much for fucking up I-95 through the city. Good lord what a horrendous traffic pattern (thanks to construction). To the yahoo from Texas in his pickemup truck in the left lane, going 45 mph, towing a piece-of-shit ancient camper with no brake lights, I hope a Kenworth runs your moron ass over.

And lastly, I'm pretty tan on my upper body, but I wear long pants all day at work so my legs don't get as much sun. It was really sunny today (and I wore shorts driving home) and it seems my left leg was exposed to the sun for the entire trip (3 1/2 hours) home. I got a wicked sunburn:

Are you Rapture Ready?

Sadly, No! has the definitive audio-visual Rapture propaganda. I would say that this film, for 'film' it surely is, is a perfectly good waste of ten minutes except for the fact that it predicts global warming better than anything else I've seen, and it's older than I am, fer chrissake!

This is yer grandparents' Rapture, folks. There's nothing new except for the hateful attitude of today's Rapture cultists.

Get off the pot, George!

"...the powerful keep the ganja out."

Today's Joemoment

Go see this video clip. Liquid alert! Many more at The Young Turks.

Friday, August 4, 2006

About what we've come to expect from this poseur

A little break in The Madness, part deux

First, if you read posts from the top down like I do, scroll down one and read An Angry Old Broad's post. Are you back? OK, read this one.

Since AOB's kinda The Brain's adopted Mom/den mother/warden, and on the theory that "if Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy!", I figured I'd go quietly and play "Better Know a Blogger" too. Then too, since Fixer's gone for the day, "when the cat's away, the mice will play".

Re Sturgis: Officially known as the Black Hills Motor Classic but commonly known as the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, it's one of the two or three biggest 'sickle get-togethers in the country, and one of the oldest. The first one was in 1938 and was sponsored by the Jackpine Gypsies Motorcycle Club. If ya like bikes, those links'll thrill ya!

I was a Harley-Davidson mechanic for half of my ongoing 30+ year career in the motorcycle biz, both at o-fish-ul dealerships and independent shops ("scab shops" to the dealers. Snooty bunch!). When it was time for a big run like, say, The Redwood Run, I'd go the other way. I worked on the damn things all week, and if I ended up at the same run as my customers, which happened a coupla times before I wised up, somebody'd always snitch me off and I'd end up working on the sleds of guys who were too cheap to bring 'em into the shop before they actually broke down. On my days off. For free. Swell. If I refused, then of course I was a money-grubbing asshole and not a true "bro" etc., etc., so I'd let myself get suckered in for the sake of my employer who depended on these guys for a living.

Anyway, I developed a technique for when someone'd hit me up to spend my weekend working on their load for free, sitting in the dirt, with whatever tools I (never them) could scrounge up, no parts or handcleaner for miles, in amongst a buncha drunks who didn't seem to mind if I didn't get to party too: I'd get ahold of a hammer, the bigger the better, swing it around in my upraised hand, pretend to be knee-walkin' drunk, and launch myself at the 'sickle kinda slurrin', "Sure! You betcha, bro, glad to! Lemme at the sumbitch! I'll fixsh it up good fer ya!". It got my message across and they thought better of it, just in case I really was that drunk. Everybody had beer on their breath, so who could tell? I only actually did that once, but it worked. I quit goin' on runs after that.

I try not to work on Harley-Davidsons these days. When folks ask me why, I tell 'em, "Oh, I hit myself in the head with a hammer and forgot everything I ever knew about 'em." They'll usually say, "Oh, that's too bad" and I'll reply, " The worst part was how many times I had to hit myself in the head before I found the right spot!"

The demographics of the riders, and the whole scene, has changed to where it just isn't fun for me anymore. F'rinstance, in my younger days, the point of a run was to ride, then party around various campfires, camp out when you'd had enough, then wave goodbye and ride home the next day or whenever. These days, there's as many guys who tow their trailer queens behind their motor homes as actually ride there. You can party uninvited at a stranger's campfire and make new friends. Try that in a stranger's $100K motor home and watch what happens. In my day the crowd were motorcyclists, first, last, and foremost. These days, they're pretty much weekenders in on a faddish trend. Kind of an exclusive trend as well. Go price a Harley-Davidson and you'll see what I mean. It's a big money deal now, and it kinda wrecked it for this dyed-in-the-wool ol' broke 'sickle tramp. Us dinosaurs just can't catch a break anymore.

By the way, I own a couple of H-Ds, but in my always-in-the-saddle younger days I always rode a Triumph. Before "electric legs" they were easier to start, and lighter and faster than Hogs. Cheaper and more reliable, too, if you knew what you were doing.

In those days, if you couldn't fix it, don't travel on it. We would take off on a weekend ride with ten bucks, maybe less, in our pocket. Nobody had a credit card, and if the damn thing broke, we'd fix it on the spot if we could, or throw it in the run truck if there was one, or whatever it took as a group effort. Today, the bikes don't break near as much, and when -no, if- they do, the riders whip out their cell phones and call their tow service and then cuss, or maybe sue, their mechanic for not anticipating the problem with their $30K machines. Like I say, things have changed.

Enough snivelling. That was fun!

I hope Mr. AOB has a good time. I just know he'll be so sick of seein' scantily-clad tattooed big-titted blonde gals that he'll be glad to get home.

Husband,meet thin ice

Now, where was I? Oh, yeah...

1)What's your favorite childhood book or story?

I used to really like the WWII potboilers for kids. The war hadn't been over all that long then, and there were a lot of them left over. The ones I remember usually featured an RAF Spitfire (never a Hurricane, perish the thought!) pilot with a name like Rex Upright-Studley or some such, who was always in the process of giving it all for King and Country, dogfighting the Hun, always outnumbered, canopy, landing gear, control surfaces, radiator, parachute, ten cylinders and a third of his prop all shot away, low on ammo ("I gave the FW-190 a two-second burst from my dwindling supply..."). He always won, nursed his ship home to a pancake landing, ran to a new plane and went at it again. No wonder we won!

I was a good reader early on, and read a lot of stuff that was above my age level. I like Westerns, detective stories, Sci-Fi, history and historical novels, almost anything, but these days there's so much non-fiction that I feel I have to read just in order to keep up that I don't read anywhere near as much fiction as I'd like to. Someday, when The Madness has abated...

Having said that, I never miss a new Harry Potter!

2)What's your favorite thing to eat in the summertime?

Ice cream. I loved Oregon Blackberry but Baskin-Robbins quit making it after about fifty years, the bastards! Chocolate, French Vanilla, Coffee, all OK. With caramel topping.

3)Favorite black and white movie?

Grapes of Wrath without a second's hesitation, followed by Sands of Iwo Jima (I liked the colorized version too) and Dr. Strangelove. I like b-westerns as well.

4)Whatcha Readin'?

Leatherneck Legends by Dick Camp. Follows the careers of several famous Marine Generals from WWI up through Vietnam. Some of those old boys were still in the Corps when I was. They should be proud!

Water and the California Dream by David Carle. Fascinating to this native Californian. Traces the history and greed/growth of my state from Spanish days 'til the present. If you only read one book about California in your life, read this one. As Mark Twain said, "Whisky's fer drinkin'. Water's fer fightin' over!"

One book I should have read and haven't is Special Operations by Richard H. Wood, which I got as a Christmas present from the author. It's quite the weighty tome and I haven't read it because I'm afraid the damn door will slam shut!

5)If failure was off the table,and impossible,what would you do with your life that you aren't doing now?

Run for President or Vice-President on a ticket with Fixer. Not everybody'd like us, but everybody else would. We'd tell some uncomfortable truths, right a lot of wrongs, hang a lot of people who deserve it, comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable, boy would we ever!

When the country was back on the right track, I'd get me a Civil War surplus forty acres and a mule and grow hemp and pot, which would be legal to do by then. I'd style around in a screamin'-motherfuckin'-yellow, or maybe red, '59 El Camino that I imported from Free Cuba. I might wear out, but I'd never rust.

Thanks for comin' up with this deal, AOB. It was fun. We won't miss a thing - The Madness will still be there when we get back to it.

Happy Anniversary, too.

Since it's Friday,A little break in the madness

What a week,what a mess,eh? Since I don't have an Ipod,I can't do the bloggy Friday shuffle thingy.My digital camera is with the husband on the road to Sturgis(he SO owes me.He forgot our 13th Anniversary and left here without so much as a mention of it.His ass is mine when he gets home,heh,heh.He won't do that again,trust me.The Electra Glide is getting deocrated with Hello Kitty and sparkly rainbow and unicorn stickers if he so much as looks at me sideways.Husband,meet thin ice),so no new pics of kitties or gardens today.

Sooo,instead of the ususal Friday bloggy things people do,I thought maybe we could play Better Know A Blogger(or blog commenter for those of you who are blog free).

1)What's your favorite childhood book or story?
Mine are:
Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak(I have a "wild rumpus"t-shirt,and all the Todd McFarlane Wild Things figurines,I love that book)

Heidi by Johanna Spyri (I think I read that book at least 20 times when I was around 10 yrs old.I wanted to move to the Alps something awful when I was a kid because of that book)

Almost any Dr Seuss book(except the Cat in the Hat,I think I read it to my son every day for 3 yrs,yikes)

I was such a nerdy little kid that I spent many an hour reading the Encyclopedia Brittanica set my grandma had at her house too.

2)What's your favorite thing to eat in the summertime?
I gotta go for ice cream,an obvious choice.Almost any flavor will do.
But I LOVE pasta primavera with fresh veggies from the garden.I make a mean white cheese sauce with lots of parmesan and romano,olive oil and fresh,organic whipping cream.Yummy.Oh,and roasted red peppers,man,I could eat those every day.

3)Favorite black and white movie?

I'd go with the old Hitchcock movies,Rear Window is high on my list.And then there's To Kill A Mockingbird,Mr Smith Goes to Washington,and the original Manchurian Candidate.

4)Whatcha Readin'?

I've got two books I'm working on now.
The Tao of Willie for right before bedtime. I love Wille Nelson,he's just so cool.

Endgame,Vol 1,The Problem of Civilization by Derrick Jensen.Jensen is not easy to read at ALL.He's an amazing writer,but the atrocities he delves into make his books tough going.
Here's a little excerpt from the book's intro,which I know all you vets will appreciate:

"I just got home from talking to a new friend,another long time activist. She told me of a campaign she participated in a few years ago to try to stop the government and transnational timber corporations from spraying Agent Orange,a potent defoliant and teratogen,in the forests in Oregon. Whenever activists learned a hillside was going to be sprayed,they assembled there,hoping their presence would stop the poisoning. But each time,like clockwork,helicopters appeared,and each time,like clockwork,helicopters dumped loads of Agent Orange onto the hillside and onto protesting activists*.The activist's campaign did not succeed.

"But",she said to me,"I'll tell you what did".A bunch of Vietnam vets lived in those hills and they sent messages to the Bureau of Land Management and to Weyerhauser,Boise Cascade, and other timber companies saying,"We know the names of your helicopter pilots and we know their addresses".

I waited for her to finish.
"You know what happened next?",she asked.
"I think I do",I responded.
"Exactly",she said."The spraying stopped".

(*For those of you who don't know,timber companies,almost without exception,ALWAYS spray crap all over the ground before and after they clearcut a forest.Why?So nothing else will grow there naturally.Oh,they'll sometimes come back and plant trees so they can say they have some sort of environmental concern,but what they plant is most often one or two single kinds of poison resistant trees.This practice is called monoplanting.This is not replanting a forest,forests are not neatly monoplanted and then they recover.I've walked massive clearcuts before,it's one of the saddest experiences I've ever had.)

5)If failure was off the table,and impossible,what would you do with your life that you aren't doing now?

Anyone who knows me or has read anything I've written knows my answer.I wanna be a farmer.I want a totally self sufficient and sustainable farm I can leave to my kids when I die so I know they have something to eat and a roof over their heads even when times get tough.Give me 20 or so acres,a horse or two and some tools and a little tractor,and a nice little farmhouse,and I'd be deliriously happy.

Happy Weekend everyone.Stay cool,stay safe, and if you can't behave,try not to get caught.

World War III

About to leave for Boston so I thought I'd leave you something to chew on. According to Billmon, it's inevitable:


What's become clear to me is that the Democratic Party (even it's allegedly anti-war wing) will not try to stop this insanity, and in fact will probably be led as meekly to the slaughter as it was during the runup to the Iraq invasion. Watching the Dems line up to salute the Israeli war machine, hearing the uncomfortable and awkward silence descend on most of Left Blogistan once the bombs started falling in Lebanon, seeing how easily the same Orwellian propaganda tricks worked their magic on the pseudoliberals -- all this doesn't leave too much room for doubt. As long as World War III can be sold as protecting the security and survival of the Jewish state, I suspect the overwhelming majority of Democratics will support it. [my em]


It's time for a little awakening in this country. It's time to separate calling a spade a spade, with regard to Israel, from the cries of anti-Semitism. As long as we take the position that Israel can do nothing wrong, and support every action she takes in the region, the chance of an all out world war will exist with a high probability.

This crap they are engaged in now is as fruitless an endeavor as our occupation of Iraq. If, after three weeks (more) of constant bombardment, Hezbollah is able to launch 200 rockets into Israel, something is extremely wrong. The 'war plan' has failed and continuing this folly will only galvanize Iran's hold over the hopeless and disenfranchised in the region.

With our nation's reputation unbreakably tied to Israeli policy, we can no way distance ourselves from the hate people of the region feel for Israel. Personally, I'm perfectly willing to pay for my own sins (and the sins of my nation) when the day of reckoning comes, but until Israel becomes the 51st State, I refuse to take responsibility for theirs.

I'm tired of the Israelis shitting all over the region in the name of self defense and our elected leaders coming out four square behind them. Don't tell me this is a fight that began thousands of years ago. Hezbollah and Hamas are the children born of Israel's policy (and ours by proxy) toward the Palestinians over the past forty years.

It's time in this country for us to dispel the conventional wisdom that criticism of Israel is somehow a slight of the Jewish religion. I happen to be very happily married to a Jewish woman, (the granddaughter of Russian immigrants escaping that tyranny) and have the utmost respect for her beliefs, but her loyalty is to the United States, not Israel.

We've fought for a long time to dispel the meme that we, because we criticize the Bush administration's policies, are anti-American or traitors, I will certainly not stand for being called an anti-Semite because I criticize Israel. I certainly will not stand for Israel leading us into a war that will eventually cost more American lives. We've lost enough thanks to the failed policy in Iraq, it would be a crime to lose more thanks to Israel's failed policy toward its neighbors.

As I've said many times before, Israel has every right to live in peace and retain its sovereignty, but they created Hamas and Hezbollah (as we created Osama bin-Laden) and I do not see our obligation to bail them out when every policy they've impelemented over the past forty years in the name of 'self defense' has been a colossal failure. I mean, if they were successful, Hamas and Hezbollah should be nothing more than a bad memory by now, right?

It's time for us to rethink our policy of appeasement for Israel and come up with some serious, new diplomatic initiatives for the region. If we continue on this course, not only will we plunge the entire region into war but make us less safe at home. As we've seen on 9/11, they can get us here. If we don't change the way we deal with the region, it will come back to bite us eventually. It's time for us to realize we are Americans first. If your first loyalty is to Israel, maybe it's time for you to move there.

Link thanks to Attaturk.

Thursday, August 3, 2006

"He started it! He hit me back!"

Pissed-off Patricia nails Israel/Lebanon and our non-response:

Let's say you have a nine year old son and I have one too. We are neighbors. We look outside and see our kids fighting. They are hitting one another with big pieces of lumber and both are bleeding. Which do we do first? Do we try to figure out a way to keep them from fighting in the future, as they continue to beat the hell out of one another? Or do we stop the fight, get the kids cleaned up, see to their wounds, and then work on a way to stop them from fighting in the future?

Too right-thinking and logical for overcompensating pencil-dicked power-mad imperialists and fundies to deal with.

Bush walks right into Castro's trap

Fixer touched on this in his post yesterday:

A word of warning to the Chimp and the neocons. Don't think, because Fidel is ailing, you can dick around in Cuba. You don't need an Iraq 90 miles off our coast.

David Sirota, obviously a daily reader of The Brain, follows up:

Open today's New York Times, and you will see that the Bush administration is now publicly bragging that once Castro dies, America is planning for a full-on take over of Cuba. In one story, we find out that "Sean McCormack, a State Department spokesman, made it clear on Tuesday that the United States would take an active role in shaping events on the island if the Cuban leader dies." That is the kind of declaration easily interpreted/spun by anti-democratic forces in Cuba as no-holds-barred diplomat-ese for the very imperialism Castro has been warning his people about for the last half century.

In another story, we discover that the administration is now announcing that if Castro dies, "the United States would also send special monitors and advisers to Cuba in the weeks after a full transition began." In the wake of the Vietnam War, which infamously started out with U.S. military "advisers," again - this is clearly fodder that could be easily spun to confirm Castro's own message. And it is especially stupid and destructive to our long-term goals/credibitlity when, at the same time our government is haughtily strutting around making these proclamations, the White House is also saying "it viewed attempts by Venezuela or other countries to influence the transition in Cuba as unwarranted intervention."

The same thing goes in the situation with Cuba. The stupidest thing American officials can do is publicly walk into Castro's portrayal of our ambitions. By doing that, we are confirming the negative suspicions that many Cubans must have, considering they've been hearing about it over and over and over again for the last 50 years.

I think I can safely say that whatever Bush does will be wrong, and that we and the Cubans will pay for it for years.

If it was up to me, I'd drop the embargo, permit and encourage travel and trade, help 'em out with a little humanitarian aid should they require such a thing in a workers' paradise (rolls eyes), and let Cuba decide its own future for itself without foisting any Chalabi-type exiles off on 'em for his own gain at our expense. Fuck a buncha Republican votes in Florida.



Since the Vietnam War era, it has been common to say that wars are begun by powerful men whose sons stay home, while the sons of men and women with calluses on their hands and dirt under their nails cross oceans to fight, and perhaps to die.


A White House aide, who requested anonymity because his information was preliminary, said Wednesday that he knew of no top Bush administration official who had a relative who had served in Iraq and Afghanistan.


This didn't surprise anyone, did it? Off to get the Mrs. from the train.

NYT via Dave Johnson.

Interesting statistic ...

More than a third of the American public suspects that federal officials assisted in the 9/11 terrorist attacks or took no action to stop them so the United States could go to war in the Middle East, according to a new Scripps Howard/Ohio University poll. [my em]


I could believe they looked the other way.

Link via George.

And just a note: The Mrs. and I are heading up to Boston early tomorrow morning for a wedding tomorrow afternoon. I seriously doubt I'm taking a laptop because we're heading home early Saturday. So if I don't post over the next 14 hours, I'll see you sometime Saturday evening. Gord's in charge. Listen to the old man.

The Indian and the White Guy made me do it

I got this joke from Williams and Ree years ago. For some reason, it's runnin' around in my head, and my demons tell me I'll never get it to go back in its hole if I don't tell it, so here goes:

Q: Whaddya call an old English drummer and Daniel Boone's friend playin' a word game in an obscure African dialect?

A: Ringo and Mingo play Mandingo lingo Bingo.

Thanks. I feel better now.

The Sins of Condibel

I hate to admit it, but this picture of Condi got me hot! Those lips! That scowl!

Rummy UA*

Yahoo! News

WASHINGTON - Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said he essentially was too busy to testify at a public hearing on the Iraq war, raising a new furor on Capitol Hill over the three-year-old conflict.

Speaking to Pentagon reporters Wednesday, Rumsfeld said he thought it was enough for him to attend a private briefing with the entire Senate on Thursday. Citing his crowded calendar, he declined the Senate Armed Services Committee's request to testify publicly on Thursday morning.

Come November, they won't be requests and I'd like to see him try anddecline a subpœna, the arrogant prick. A bench warrant, a ride in the back seat of a Crown Vic sittin' on his hands, and a coupla nights in the stony lonesome won't hurt him, but it'll make me feel good.

Rumsfeld also offered an explanation for why as many as two-thirds of the Army's brigades and many National Guard units are rated not ready for combat. He said the Pentagon is wrestling with standards that would best describe the condition of the units. And he noted that highly experienced units coming home from Iraq leave a lot of equipment behind, and as a result are considered not combat ready.

"The Army today is vastly better than it was two, four, six or eight years ago," he said. "It has much more equipment, much better equipment, and it's better trained and more experienced."

I don't know whether he's senile, in denial, living in a parallel universe, scared of spending the rest of his life in jail, or E) all of the above, but he's definitely as wrong as he possibly can be. All the spin in the world can't cover up his failures.

If he actually believes any of his own bullshit, he's off his rocker. Maybe he's a sociopath for whom lying is just the normal means to an end. It's everybody else's fault for not believing him.

He needs to be removed from office NOW and held accountable for his egregious mishandling and subsequent destruction of the military, his roles in the bungled occupation of Iraq as well as in the decision to criminally invade and occupy Iraq in the first place. He's not the only culpable one by a long shot, but he's one of the big ones.

*UA = Unauthorized Absence. The Marine Corps equivalent of AWOL, for which you go to the brig.


I guess Rummy showed up anyway. Wonkette:

Defense Secretary's Senate Testimony Equal Parts Smug, Delusional


Update II:

Here's a 9:53 video of Sen. Clinton laying out Rumsfeld's pathetic record and his responses.

Nowhere did I hear him answer her actual question, which was, "Why should we believe your assurances now?"

Mel's dual diagnosis

I'm sorry about this. I know I told you I'd keep the Mel Gibson shit to a minimum but this was too good not to share. From Bill Maher, whom I don't like a lot of the time either.

[...] Yes, liquor releases demons, but I want to know why the demon in Mel Gibson is hatred of the Jews to begin with (I know, the father). Why, when Mels's id is released, its about the Jews fucking everything up, just like it was with Hitler. Except Mel Gibson, when his id is in check, I believe, really knows how wrong that is, and how stupid. He, I believe, at least fights with himself about this.

But he'll never win as long as he's so religious, because, I hate to tell you, the disease isn't alcoholism, the disease is religion.

Alcohol and religion have their place, but abuse of either one can fuck you up. What the results of an abusive amount of both of them might be staggers the imagination, but it can't be good, as Gibson seems to be proving.

As a heroin addict I once knew said when comparing alcohol and heroin, and which I think applies to the misuse of religion as well: "Same soup, different bowl." I take that to mean that the "disease" is addiction whatever the substance: you know it's wrong to use it the way you do, but you do it anyway.

Perhaps we need to come up with a word that describes religious extremists in socially negative terms, along the lines of 'wino' or 'junkie', and then get them off the street and into treatment. For their own protection and, more importantly, ours. It's too bad they don't stagger and piss themselves and pass out in public, or commit burglaries and stickups for money to support their hatred and intolerance, so we could identify them easier.

Maher concludes:

And Mel, let me remind you: The Jews have not started all the wars in the world. But they have greenlit all the movies.


Yellow Elephants in CT

From Kos hisself.

Look who's getting organized on behalf of Joe Lieberman:

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Tue, 01 Aug 2006 18:52:09 -0400
From: "[windows-1252] College Republicans"
Reply-To: College Republicans
To: collegerepublicans@PRINCETON.EDU
Subject: Unconventional Primary Campaign Opportunity (LIEBERMAN)

People interested in campaigning for Lieberman in the Democratic Primary will have lodging accommodations paid for (by his campaign), as well as food and transportation.

Lieberman's campaign will be offerind lodging accommodations and food for College Republicans.

If that ain't the last nail in his coffin, there ain't one! Ooops! Bad analogy, but I'm right again: persons of the Hebrew persuasion don't have nails in their coffins. So sue me! He's toast.

Say what you will ...

I know I'm supposed to be a tough guy and all, but one of my favorite websites is Cute Overload. I have to stop there at least once a day and smile.

AOB's Rule # 5.

Wednesday, August 2, 2006

Get well soon

Regardless of his politics, ya gotta respect Fidel for giving the finger to 8 or 9 U.S. Presidents and living to tell about it. I hope he lives long enough to give the Chimp the finger once more.

A word of warning to the Chimp and the neocons. Don't think, because Fidel is ailing, you can dick around in Cuba. You don't need an Iraq 90 miles off our coast.

Texas goes first

connecticut should have its statehood taken away from it.


You know you suck when...

An Air Force weenie puts up this sign and doesn't get in trouble for it.

Hopefully the last...

There's a Hell of a lot more important shit than this going on, but here's MoDo on Mel Gibson via Voxefx:

"Moreover, it is the elders' considered view that whereas alcoholism may require a process of recovery, anti-Semitism is a more intractable and less chic failing. This was not a moment of insanity, even if Gibson is insane. His hatred of Jews was plain in his movie and in his twisted defense of it, which was made when he was sober under the influence of his primitive world view. Perhaps he thinks that all he needs to do is spend a few months in AA - Anti-Semites Anonymous - and find some celebrity sponsor and run for absolution to Larry Zeiger, I mean Larry King, where he can say with perfect sincerity that the Holocaust was a terrible thing and gut yontif.

"But the elders have instructed Larry to be strict with the uncircumcised offender. He is to appear only opposite 'American Idol' and in the company of David Gest.

"We understand that Gibson cannot do it alone. But why do we have to do it with him? We would find it hard to be in a room with him unless, of course, he wants to count some money with us. Why doesn't he turn to the vast number of his Christian brothers and sisters who show no trace of anything resembling his disgusting prejudice?

"Mad Max is making Max mad, and Murray, and Irving, and Mort, and Marty, and Abe. But we're not completely heartless. If he wants to do Shylock at dinner theater, fine. If he agrees to fill his swimming pool with Kabbalah water, fine."

I don't give a rat's ass about Gibson. This might hurt him a little in the movie biz or public opinion for a while, but he's richer than Crœsus so who cares? It's not really going to hurt him, but if it makes him take stock of himself it might even help him. So what? What's one crazy bastard more or less in the overall scheme of things if he has no political power?

An unfortunate side effect of the 1st Amendment is that obnoxious assholes are allowed to spout despicable damfool bullshit. He's free to say what he wants. He can take the consequences, too.

This crap is enough to give a guy religion, any religion, just so he can pray, "Please, dear God, make this nonsense go away."

Any and all of the attention paid to the constant meaningless shenanigans of celebrities is somewhat akin to the "bread and circuses" prior to the downfall of Rome. We got more important stuff, such as the downfall of the United States under Bush, to concern ourselves with, and we better get to it as a nation and stay on it. Save the side trips 'til we're safe from the likes of him.

"If I lose the primary, I'll run in Cuba"

"Heavy G's Smartass Monday Wednesday" seems to be on a roll. I have plenty of help from The Satirical Political Report.

[Given the overlapping developments of troublesome polls in Connecticut, and the sudden illness of Fidel Castro, Senator Joe Lieberman announced today that if he fails to beat Ned Lamont in next week's Democratic primary, he intends to run for the position of El Commandante in Cuba.

Lieberman emphasized that he would look forward to running under Cuba's electoral system, where he wouldn't be subjected to the type of degrading primary challenges that a three-term U.S. Senator has to put up with.

Senator Lieberman also discounted any problems created by cultural differences, saying that as an orthodox Jew, he would have no problem growing a Castro-like beard.

"Besides," Lieberman added, "the Cuban and Jewish people have a lot in common; they both prefer Florida to their home countries."

Lieberman, anticipating the worst-case scenario in the Connecticut primary, also went out of his way to praise Cuban culture, asserting "that unlike some former President who shall go nameless, Cubans know what to do with a good cigar."

In related news, President Bush, sick of trying to clean up his own messes, cited the developments in Cuba as a precedent for handing power over to brother Jeb. However, this met with strong objections from a bi-partisan majority in Congress, who expressed a preference that Bush be succeeded by Raul Castro.

Finally, asked about the scenario of a Jew getting embroiled in the politics of a Latin communist dictatorship, Woody Allen was quoted as saying that it was absolutely "Bananas."]

I about went "bananas" trying to pick a quote from that for you, so I didn't.

Bush and the "Lord of the Flies"

A BuzzFlash editorial

Okay, we are back to our primary theory about the Bushevik Neo-Con one-party government: if you pile failure on failure, they believe it will add up to success.

It's kind of (as we implied yesterday) like sweeping up the dung of an elephant (how appropriate) and hoping that if you get the pile high enough, it will turn into mouth-watering fudge.

Yum! Please, Sir, may I have another?

Of course, behind every man who believes that he has God like powers, there is a Beelzebub (Satan's assistant) pulling the strings. Dick Cheney, you can come out of the bunker now.

"According to the renowned 16th century occultist Johannes Wierus, Beelzebub is the chief lieutenant of Lucifer, the Emperor of Hell, and presides over the Order of the Fly." (Wikipedia)

And, of course, flies feed off of dung.

From 'Comments':

There once was a Bush King of Dung,
who spewed forth much crap from his tongue;
When he opened his mouth,
shit would spew and fall south,
whence his praises by fools would be sung.

I worked with an old gentleman once who wouldn't say 'shit' if he'd had a mouth full of it. One day he got frustrated with something and couldn't quite express it. The boss gave him some advice that I will pass on: "Say 'shit', Clarence. It helps."

A 26 Count Indictment? Whee!

TPM Muckraker

The Bush administration may have broken over two dozen federal laws and regulations -- some of them multiple times -- according to an unreleased report from the House Judiciary Committee Democrats.

The document, an update to the Democrats' December 2005 report, "A Constitution in Crisis," will be released later this week, according to knowledgeable sources. It is several hundred pages long, with over a thousand footnotes.

In earlier days such a report would be easily ignored. But with the looming possibility of Democrats taking control of the House of Representatives in November, Conyers' charges pose a potentially serious threat to the Bush administration. After all, it takes only a simple majority vote in the House to impeach a sitting president.

On their face, the laundry list of alleged wrongs form a natural basis for impeachment proceedings -- but Conyers has insisted he has no intention of rushing to impeach. No, a slow walk to possible impeachment (preferably down a path that includes months of hearings) is more what the would-be chairman envisions, he has said.

My call to the White House was not immediately returned.

My instinctive reaction is, "Get a rope!". It's too bad we can only hang the sonofabitch once. Upon reflection, it'll be more fun to roast him slowly on a spit rather than toss him into the fire, but we need to get him out of his stolen office yesterday.

I hope this gets legs and goes somewhere - forward, not into the bin.

9/11 Live: The NORAD Tapes

Vanity Fair or Truthout

How did the U.S. Air Force respond on 9/11? Could it have shot down United 93, as conspiracy theorists claim? Obtaining 30 hours of never-before-released tapes from the control room of NORAD's Northeast headquarters, the author reconstructs the chaotic military history of that day - and the Pentagon's apparent attempt to cover it up.

Quite long, but well worth a read.

Related, from today's WaPo:

9/11 Panel Suspected Deception by Pentagon

For more than two years after the attacks, officials with NORAD and the FAA provided inaccurate information about the response to the hijackings in testimony and media appearances. Authorities suggested that U.S. air defenses had reacted quickly, that jets had been scrambled in response to the last two hijackings and that fighters were prepared to shoot down United Airlines Flight 93 if it threatened Washington.

In fact, the commission reported a year later, audiotapes from NORAD's Northeast headquarters and other evidence showed clearly that the military never had any of the hijacked airliners in its sights and at one point chased a phantom aircraft -- American Airlines Flight 11 -- long after it had crashed into the World Trade Center.

This stuff is taking a long time to come out, but come out it surely must. The wheels of justice grind slowly, but exceedingly fine.

Note to Justice: Speed it up. Us Olde Fartes (Lctp*) would like it to happen in our lifetimes, thank you very much.

*Lurch coined that phrase.

Meetings ...

I was kidding Gord in the comments of his post yesterday on the combat readiness, or the lack thereof, of a good percentage of army units.

F: Didn't I tell you I'd be fixing Humvees in Kuwait?

G: Fixer, after you fix it, you're likely to be stickin' out the top of it with Ma Deuce in yer hands.

F: With my luck, probably.

G: On the bright side, I may be the one feedin' ya ammo. Every cloud has a silver lining!

I've been saying that a Draft is just around the corner since I started this blog, only half kidding when I said my boss Harry (another Vietnam vet like Gord), Gord, and I are gonna be sharing a tent or a barracks room in the Middle East one day.

With the state of the Army today, should another conflict arise (or a major escalation in the Mid East, which seems closer on the horizon than ever), a Draft is a serious possibility. With the problems Gord points out, and the fact recruiting quotas aren't being met, and the caliber of people they are accepting, I don't see how it can not happen. Well, there's one way, but I don't think even the Chimp is stupid or desperate enough to use nukes or another form of WMD on the region.

Remember that in November, you folks who use a conventional voting machine. Those of you who will be using touch-screen well ... it doesn't matter. Think about your high school or college age kid carrying a rifle in Iraq (or Iran or Syria), or riding in a Bradley or Humvee, a target for any moron with an RPG or AK. This election might just well be the difference between a Draft and bringing our troops home and starting to heal our reputation in the world. Face it:

Everybody. Hates. Us.

And if we expand this folly, we will only lose more credibility, blood, and treasure. Get them out of Congress in November, the lives of your children and the fate of Planet Earth (the only home we have, by the way) depend on it.

Tuesday, August 1, 2006

Tell me again ...

How glorious war is:


The Lebanese soldiers were trying take down the names of all who had died, but I found a man with a clipboard who had taken down 40 names, and he said that they weren't accurate, because some of the children were blown into bits and they couldn't fit them together accurately and there might be -- they couldn't put the right head on the right body, and therefore they might not be able to have an accurate list of the dead. But he was doing his best in the circumstances of war to maintain the bureaucracy of government.


So ...

Holy Joe takes Wal*Mart money.

The Last Plantation

If there's anybody who thinks there's no racism in our country, go see this video at Guerrilla News Network.

By now, you've probably heard about the March 29th run in between Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney and a Capitol Hill police officer. But you probably have not yet heard this side of the story. In true GNN fashion, we go beyond the superficial coverage of the mainstream press to uncover a different perspective on the story. GNN's Ian Inaba, director of the new documentary American Blackout talked to four police officers about allegations of racism on Capitol Hill and the now infamous incident.

The folks they're talking about are Members (heh) of Congress and the Capitol Hill Police, not some backwoods bozo (button it!) with a Stars 'n Bars sticker on his old pickup. Disgusting.

The bottom of the barrel

Raw Story

Experts: Not a single Army Combat team left ready to deploy

A group of national security experts formed by Democratic leadership has reported to Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) that, "there is not a single non-deployed Army Brigade Combat Team in the United States that is ready to deploy," RAW STORY has learned.

"The bottom line," the group concludes in a letter to Democratic leadership, "is that our Army currently has no ready, strategic reserve."

This degraded readiness condition stems from the heavy deployment of combat forces the Army has sustained these past four years. Predictably, this has resulted in accelerated wearout of large quantities of Army equipment, disruptions in training schedules, and strains on meeting recruitment and reenlistment goals. We called attention to this looming problem in an earlier report, "The US Military: Under Strain and at Risk," January 2006, but that report was met with indifference and denial by the administration. This problem can no longer be denied.

The administration's willingness to put our nation at such strategic risk is deeply disturbing. And its failure to adequately support the soldiers who are risking their lives for this nation is unacceptable. The readiness degradation that has already occurred could lead to a downward spiral that will take years to correct unless promptly addressed. Under these conditions, it is important for the Congress to step forward to exercise its oversight responsibilities for equipping and training the Armed Services.

Bush and Rumsfeld have taken the best Army in the world and broken it from overuse and abuse and they have no intention of trying to mend it, like a rich kid with an expensive 4x4 who just keeps rammin' rocks with it but who's scared to ask daddy for money to fix it because daddy'll figure out what he's been up to and take it away.

If something like Grenada should happen, they'd have to send the cooks and bakers. I'll skip the jokes about how being forced to eat army chow would make anybody surrender and probably violates the Geneva Convention to boot.

Point is, the U.S. is in deep shit if anything should come up, and it just might, given Bush's big mouth.

As far as Congress stepping forward to exercise its oversight responsibilities, they haven't done so yet in any matter involving removing their lips from Bush's unit. There's no reason to believe they'll start now.

November. Our only hope.

The Iraq War Powers Repeal Act of 2006

Raw Story

A piece of legislation sponsored by Democrats in the House of Representatives seeks to withdraw authorization for President George W. Bush to make war in Iraq, RAW STORY has learned.

The Iraq War Powers Repeal Act of 2006, H.R. 5875, was introduced on July 25 by Rep. Lynn Woolsey, a Democrat of California. The bill employs the rationale that since President Bush declared "mission accomplished" in May 2003, the US has been engaged in an occupation, not a war, which Congress never authorized.

"It's become very clear that we're not in war," Woolsey explained last week. "We're occupying Iraq and the president never came to us and asked us for permission."

And Bush lied his ass off as to his true intentions to get the permission he got.

Naturally I'm in favor of this bill, but I doubt it will go anywhere. I sure would like to see it brought to the public's attention, though.

Ned Lamont on the Colbert Report

Video and transcript at Crooks and Liars. Go.

A thought ...

Before I leave for work (the Mrs. and I overslept this morning so I'm running late).

Are you uncomfortable in this heatwave? I know I am, having to work on hot cars all day, in and out of the shop. Here's something to think about as you go through your day, trying to stay somewhat cool.

In Iraq, our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines deal with this every day, many doing their jobs wearing 75 - 100 pounds of gear. That's not counting getting shot at, blown up, and having to deal with the stench of death and sewage all the time.

Could you do it? In my book, the only definition of "support the troops" means bringing them home.

And if anybody cares how I spent the hottest day of the year.

Monday, July 31, 2006

"Worst ever security flaw found in Diebold voting machine"

Paul the Spud over at Shakey's Sis turned me on to this post at Brilliant at Breakfast. A definite 'must read'.

SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA -- "This may be the worst security flaw we have seen in touch screen voting machines," says Open Voting Foundation president, Alan Dechert. Upon examining the inner workings of one of the most popular paperless touch screen voting machines used in public elections in the United States, it has been determined that with the flip of a single switch inside, the machine can behave in a completely different manner compared to the tested and certified version.

The most serious issue is the ability to choose between "EPROM" and "FLASH" boot configurations. Both of these memory sources are present. All of the switches in question (JP2, JP3, JP8, SW2 and SW4) are physically present on the board. It is clear that this system can ship with live boot profiles in two locations, and switching back and forth could change literally everything regarding how the machine works and counts votes. This could be done before or after the so-called "Logic And Accuracy Tests".

A third possible profile could be field-added in minutes and selected in the "external flash" memory location, the interface for which is present on the motherboard.

So what does this mean to the layman? Well, you know those little "flash drives" that you use to copy files from one PC to another? If you don't, they are mini-hard drives housed in a casing about the length and width of a tongue depressor cut in half. They plug into the USB port of your PC and become just another drive that you can look at in Windows Explorer. What this means is that by opening up the PC that houses the voting machine software and flipping a switch, you can set the voting machine to boot from the internally-configured drive to an external flash drive instead. So someone could very easily plug in a flash drive and reboot the PC after the polls close to manipulate the totals, then shut it down and walk away.

This is not "vulnerability to hacking." This is "open to rigging" -- and Diebold isn't even trying very hard to hide the fact that their machines can be rigged, and that they are DESIGNED SPECIFICALLY for this purpose. Diebold makes most of the ATMs in this country, and I don't know about you, but I have never once had to deal with an ATM error. So it isn't that Diebold doesn't know how to make a secure machine running secure software.

This machine was developed EXACTLY according to spec. Now who gave them the specs?

It looks like they can either be shipped with the desired results already installed or the desired results can be added at any convenient time if your precinct's outcome comes down from Rove or the RNC too late for the factory to do it.

And you thought Mrs. Bowers was kidding about the Diebold Vote Correcting Machine™, eh?

Quote of the Day


One of the many delusions under which Holy Joe suffers is that he is black...

'American Lie'

Heavy G's Smartass Monday continues with the long-awaited sequel to 'American Pie' from The Satirical Political Report.

I started singin'
"Hi-Hi, Miss American Lie"
Drove my Chevy to the levee
But the levee's not dry
And FEMA boys were drinkin' whiskey and rye
And singin', "this'll be the day the poor die"
"This'll be the day the poor die"

Now for six years we"ve been on our own
GOP graft grows like a rollin' stone
But that's not how it used to be
When the jester acted like a king or queen
In a way that totally pissed John Dean
And a police state, that's comin', for you and me

Oh, and while the jester's looking down
King Cheney stole his thorny crown
Civil liberties, were adjourned
No verdict was returned
And while Condi shut out Richard Clarke
The Neo-Cons war-gamed in the park
And Congress sat out in the dark
The day democracy died

There's more.

Laughable foreign policy


Haass, the former Bush aide who leads the Council on Foreign Relations, laughed at the president's public optimism. "An opportunity?" Haass said with an incredulous tone. "Lord, spare me. I don't laugh a lot. That's the funniest thing I've heard in a long time. If this is an opportunity, what's Iraq? A once-in-a-lifetime chance?"


Real foreign policy experts say we're gonna get splattered from the blowback of our Middle East adventures.

Link thanks to Maru.

How to prevent Inconvenient Results

In her article on "Bush's Four Point Plan For The Middle East", Mrs. Betty Bowers (America's Best Christian) writes:

As some of you with fetishes for picturesque, historical chestnuts may recall, Democracy Version 1776 included something known by nostalgia addicts as the "Constitution." More to the point, Democracy Version 1776 was also a rather quaint type of government wherein citizens underwent the tedious, charmless task of actually tallying the votes cast. Such laborious counting can, of course, lead to inconvenient results. This is precisely why America wisely dispensed with being subjected to the unpredictable vicissitudes of voters' actual preferences by making so many polling stations Democracy 2000 compliant after installing Diebold Vote Correcting Machines™.

You see, American Democracy Version 2000 is all about pushing placebo screens, rather than the anal, wholly superfluous preoccupation with memorializing those quixotic stabs at LCD pixels. If we had only thought to bundle up a few container ships with Diebold Vote Correcting Machines™ and sent them to Lebanon, the same software that allowed our handsome President to win Ohio, would have ensured that Hezbollah was trounced by a number of votes roughly equivalent to 400 times the population of Beirut. Instead, Islamic extremists are gaining power, making a trigger-happy Israel mail-order a few thousand more triggers. Oh, snap!

[...] In a stroke of inspiration, Condi has appropriated her method of brokering peace from Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie by regarding America's two biggest threats (Iran and North Korea) with a snarling, "I'm not talking to her! She knows what she did."

I hope this will keep us all in compliance with An Angry Old Broad's Rule No. 5. Assuming of course that nervous laughter brought on by a humorous approach to the awful truth is acceptable. I'll await a ruling.

Oh, the irony...

Ironic Times

Condi: "It's Time for a New Middle East"
Demolition has already begun.

Bush Has New Plan to End Iraq Violence
First step: lose control of Congress.

You know, that one just might work.

New Florida Law: History Is Fact, Not Subject to Different Interpretations
Except for Evolution.

Three Supreme Court justices voted that the President can ignore the U.S. Constitution and the Geneva Conventions.

Plenty more where those came from.

The Chimp in a China shop

In a recent post, Fixer brought up the idea of "it's time for Nixon to go to China" as a metaphor for what might help in the Middle East. I ran across pretty much that same phrase in a post at HuffPo by Cenk Uygur entitled "How George Bush Can Rescue His Presidency". Since I figured there's about as much chance of that happening as there is that I'll need my ski parka and longjohns when I go to my final reward, I got kinda fascinated and read it. Actually, I figured the guy was smokin' some really good shit and I was hopin' maybe he'd say where he got it! He didn't. Drat.

Just as an aside, I didn't know who this Uygur guy was, but I've been reading quite a bit of his stuff lately and I like it, so I read his bio. He's been described as "Part Howard Stern, Part Howard Dean". Heh. Sounds OK to me.

Imagine what would happen if George Bush brokered a real peace deal in the Middle East. I know it seems absurd and I know there's no way he's going to do that while holding on to the ridiculous "bomb our way to democracy" and "first strikes rock" doctrines. But what if Nixon went to China?

What if Condoleezza Rice won the internal turf battles and convinced George Bush that he would have a real legacy if he converted all of his tough talk into leverage needed to actually strike a deal with the Iranians. A deal that would stabilize Iraq, Iran, Lebanon and, most importantly, Israel and Palestine.

Would he have to make concessions? Absolutely. Would he get everything he wants in the deal? No way. Would the neocons be furious and send Dick Cheney to yell at the president? Of course. But if he was willing to stomach all that, he could come out with a historic peace deal.

Here's the outline of the deal:

Here he outlines the deal.

You have to wonder why we've never tried to empower the moderates and alienate the extremists in the Middle East before. It would seem to be far better strategy than doing the opposite through shocking (and awing) bombing campaigns.

If we just spent half the money we would normally spend occupying Iraq for the next ten years on investments in Middle Eastern infrastructure, we would be the most popular country in the Arab world. Give everyone in the Middle East an internet connection and they'll be wearing jeans rather than a burqa in less time than you could say Paris Hilton.

Nothing I've stated is undoable. In fact, it can be argued that George W. Bush is uniquely situated to make this happen. Other US administrations might not be able to pull this off because our Middle Eastern negotiating partners might not believe the alternative to peace is so bad. But under Bush, they have to realize he's crazy enough to start a war so calamitous that it could bring down all their governments.

Do I think he's going to do it? Of course not! I don't think he has it in him. He is not that grand and he is not that wise. So, instead it will be a presidency that will be remembered for gross incompetence, enormous tactical errors and historic deceptions. But it's not like he didn't have a chance to turn all of that around, even this late in the game.

What separates George Bush from all other bad presidents is not his ability to get himself in a hole, but his fervent insistence on digging in further. It's not easy to be the worst president of all time. You really have to work at it.

And it's hard work, too. The Chimp's told us so himself. Go read the rest.

On Mel Gibson

Just a question. Is it the Jews' fault you made so much money or are ya gonna let 'em slide on that count, you miserable, Holocaust-denying prick?

I hope they run you out of Hollywood and you go broke, having to go back to Aus in disgrace and live in the Outback, forgotten until they find your bleached bones in a pile of Dingo shit.

I'm done now.


Or, why we should have more women running things:


There are many ways to tell the story of the Iraq War, but no question that one of them begins with a group of Republican men who under a compulsion to prove they were meaner and tougher than they'd been back in the days when they were a) in high school and no one chose them for the team, and/or b) part of the first Bush Administration. They bought into their own hormone-drenched slogans about fast strikes, shock-and-awe and surgical bombing. Now, three years later, having wrought a disaster, they continue to resort to the bromides of testosterone, accusing the war's critics of being wussy for even discussing a pull-out. (Even the war's moderate critics make the mistake of believing that everything would have worked just fine in Iraq had we sent in more troops. But there's no evidence whatsoever that this would have improved anything, never mind that we barely had the troops to send.)


I should say more progressive women, not enablers like Condi (she's not black) and Karen 'Sasquatch' Hughes.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

I know ...

I know I annoy a lot of people on our side with my criticism of Israel. Let me put this out right now. I firmly believe in Israel's right to exist and its inhabitants right to live in peace, free from harassment. I believe Israel's sovereignty should be defended as we would another ally. What I will not condone is their belief that any action on their part to 'protect themselves' is justified.

Israel has a responsibility, as the most powerful nation in the region, to the people who live under their control. Nothing, I repeat, nothing Israel has done over the last forty years has been the least bit beneficial to the Palestinians and, to a lesser extent, the Lebanese. Israel's safety, tenuous as it is, has been bought at the expense of hundreds of thousands of people who share the land with them. Lives lived without hope, under the boot of the Israeli Defense Forces.

I do not condone the use of terror tactics against civilian poplulations and terror comes in many forms. There is the obvious, practiced by Hezbollah and Hamas, civilians and innocents the primary targets. But there is also the 'soft terror', when the economy and infrastructure of an area is destroyed and the population reduced to living in destitution for generations. This seemingly endless repetition of violent cycles is regressive at worst and stagnating at best.

Israel has to move on, as well as her neighbors. Think about it, this cycle we've been living for forty years. When will it stop? When an all out war decimates the populations of all concerned? Will we go on like this for another forty years? Another eighty? Will it end with Israel setting off a nuke? It's time someone takes a stand and says enough.

I refuse to believe this region of the world will be a meat grinder for the indeterminate future. It is time for the U.S., as Israel's most generous benefactor, to start issuing some ultimatums, not allowing them to rampage over sovereign, democratic nations and tie it to the coveted foreign aid Israel receives that keeps it a sovereign state. It is also time for us to use serious carrot and stick diplomacy with the terror groups as well as their sponsors.

We can have a dialogue with Syria and, with some prodding and a little malleability, Iran. We have been talking peace through the barrel of a gun for more than forty years, maybe it's time to try something different. Bush 41 had a dialogue with Syria before Gulf 1, SECSTATE Baker making many trips back and forth between Damascus and Washington and finally getting the Syrians to join the coalition against Saddam; it can be done.

Opposing Israel in this case is not anti-Semetic, not anti-Jewish. It is about the moral imperative. It is about doing the right thing, for Israel, for the region, and for the interests of the United States in the long run. A commitment to dialogue and economic betterment for the region, not to violence, will settle this and we must condemn the violence where we see it, from whatever side it comes.

It is time for Nixon to go to China.


Related Reading:

Commander Huber

Glenn Greenwald

Quote of the Day


Which means that it's all up to his nibs, the man who thinks he's Winston Churchill (if Shrub really had been Winston Churchill, the Nazi Party would be holding its rallies in Hyde Park right now.)

A Senate Race in Connecticut

Editorial in today's New York Times, presented in toto:

[Earlier this year, Senator Joseph Lieberman's seat seemed so secure that - legend has it - some people at the Republican nominating convention in Connecticut started making bleating noises when the party picked a presumed sacrificial lamb to run against the three-term senator, who has been a fixture in Connecticut politics for more than 35 years.

But Mr. Lieberman is now in a tough Democratic primary against a little-known challenger, Ned Lamont. The race has taken on a national character. Mr. Lieberman's friends see it as an attempt by hysterical antiwar bloggers to oust a giant of the Senate for the crime of bipartisanship. Lamont backers - most of whom seem more passionate about being Lieberman opponents - say that as one of the staunchest supporters of the Iraq war, Mr. Lieberman has betrayed his party by cozying up to President Bush.

This primary would never have happened absent Iraq. It's true that Mr. Lieberman has fallen in love with his image as the nation's moral compass. But if pomposity were a disqualification, the Senate would never be able to call a quorum. He has voted with his party in opposing the destructive Bush tax cuts, and despite some unappealing rhetoric in the Terri Schiavo case, he has strongly supported a woman's right to choose. He has been one of the Senate's most creative thinkers about the environment and energy conservation.

But this race is not about résumés. The United States is at a critical point in its history, and Mr. Lieberman has chosen a controversial role to play. The voters in Connecticut will have to judge whether it is the right one.

As Mr. Lieberman sees it, this is a fight for the soul of the Democratic Party - his moderate fair-mindedness against a partisan radicalism that alienates most Americans. "What kind of Democratic Party are we going to have?" he asked in an interview with New York magazine. "You've got to agree 100 percent, or you're not a good Democrat?"

That's far from the issue. Mr. Lieberman is not just a senator who works well with members of the other party. And there is a reason that while other Democrats supported the war, he has become the only target. In his effort to appear above the partisan fray, he has become one of the Bush administration's most useful allies as the president tries to turn the war on terror into an excuse for radical changes in how this country operates.

Citing national security, Mr. Bush continually tries to undermine restraints on the executive branch: the system of checks and balances, international accords on the treatment of prisoners, the nation's longtime principles of justice. His administration has depicted any questions or criticism of his policies as giving aid and comfort to the terrorists. And Mr. Lieberman has helped that effort. He once denounced Democrats who were "more focused on how President Bush took America into the war in Iraq" than on supporting the war's progress.

At this moment, with a Republican president intent on drastically expanding his powers with the support of the Republican House and Senate, it is critical that the minority party serve as a responsible, but vigorous, watchdog. That does not require shrillness or absolutism. But this is no time for a man with Mr. Lieberman's ability to command Republicans' attention to become their enabler, and embrace a role as the president's defender.

On the Armed Services Committee, Mr. Lieberman has left it to Republicans like Lindsey Graham of South Carolina to investigate the administration's actions. In 2004, Mr. Lieberman praised Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld for expressing regret about Abu Ghraib, then added: "I cannot help but say, however, that those who were responsible for killing 3,000 Americans on September 11th, 2001, never apologized." To suggest even rhetorically that the American military could be held to the same standard of behavior as terrorists is outrageous, and a good example of how avidly the senator has adopted the Bush spin and helped the administration avoid accounting for Abu Ghraib.

Mr. Lieberman prides himself on being a legal thinker and a champion of civil liberties. But he appointed himself defender of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and the administration's policy of holding hundreds of foreign citizens in prison without any due process. He seconded Mr. Gonzales's sneering reference to the "quaint" provisions of the Geneva Conventions. He has shown no interest in prodding his Republican friends into investigating how the administration misled the nation about Iraq's weapons. There is no use having a senator famous for getting along with Republicans if he never challenges them on issues of profound importance.

If Mr. Lieberman had once stood up and taken the lead in saying that there were some places a president had no right to take his country even during a time of war, neither he nor this page would be where we are today. But by suggesting that there is no principled space for that kind of opposition, he has forfeited his role as a conscience of his party, and has forfeited our support.

Mr. Lamont, a wealthy businessman from Greenwich, seems smart and moderate, and he showed spine in challenging the senator while other Democrats groused privately. He does not have his opponent's grasp of policy yet. But this primary is not about Mr. Lieberman's legislative record. Instead it has become a referendum on his warped version of bipartisanship, in which the never-ending war on terror becomes an excuse for silence and inaction. We endorse Ned Lamont in the Democratic primary for Senate in Connecticut.]

It's about time, Gray Lady.

More brain power

A wingnut (no link) decided to call me on this post, saying Israel is justified in going after Hezbollah regardless of civilian casualties:


And to those who want to say I told you so, claiming that Hizbullah has prepared for this moment and therefore the change in world opinion should have been expected because of the civilian casualties - that is no excuse for letting Hizbullah continue to exist to threaten Israelis...

What all of these righties fail to understand is perception. Oh, they get it all right when it comes to spinning American perception of their failures, but they never take into account others' perceptions around the world. Every policy is, when you boil it down, about the next election in this country.

There's a way to go after Hezbollah without inflaming your neighbors, you know, the people who want to kill you as it is but haven't been given a good enough excuse. Hezbollah was waiting for Israel to pull this, as I said in the aforementioned post. They've had six years to fortify but the wingnuts, like the Israelis, can't seem to wrap their minds around it. Well lookee here, I just grabbed this via Michael Stickings:


[Hezbollah's #2 Sheikh Naim] Qassem admitted Hezbollah had been preparing for conflict since Israel withdrew from south Lebanon in 2000. He claimed it had not been convinced that Israel's aspirations in Lebanon were over, despite its withdrawal.


The hubris and arrogance of the Bush government is matched by the Israelis. This is not an operation over the disappearance over two Israeli soldiers. This is about Iran and Syria. This is the beginning of a proxy war* by the Bush administration to take on Iran because U.S. public sentiment for opening up a new front in the 'War on Terra' is nonexistent. The missing soldiers were an excuse, pure and simple.

And Hezbollah, thanks to the support of Iran and Syria, was ready for it. Do you think it's some sort of accident we are seeing them using longer range rockets as the Israelis drive them farther north? They let the Israelis believe they weren't so well equipped until they actually had to play their hand. We've had twenty days of this and Hezbollah is continuing to fire into Israel.

The Israelis were of the same mind we were when invading Iraq, the cakewalk mentality of being on top for too long. Our quagmire continues and Israel's newest is just beginning. I quote Sheikh Qassem once more:

... Hezbollah's leadership is used to being in the field...

The Israelis might well defeat Hezbollah eventually, but the damage they are doing to themselves in the long run will be far worse than anything they can do to the Lebanese. The Oil Kings' grip on the Arab Street, and their own power, will not last forever. Allegiances will change as surely as the sands shift and it might not do for Israel to continue a policy of remaining an island in the midst of shark-infested waters.


More answers if we had the brains to implement them.


And for the bloggers on our side who believe that by critcizing Israel we're showing disregard for the lives of Israeli citizens, let's remember one thing. The IDF has killed far more innocent Palestinians and Lebanese than Hamas and Hezbollah have killed Israelis, now and cumulatively. After 40 years, when will they get it that Israel's heavy handed tactics don't work? If they did, this conflict would have been over by now. Remember, this is happening as retribution for the lives of 2 Israeli soldiers. Hundreds of innocent dead for 2 soldiers who knew the risks. An eye for an eye, my ass.

*TPM link added after the fact. Via Atrios.

So what does it take ...

For a troll to surf our archives and place comments on posts 2 years old? I just don't get it. I just saw them today (a year after he wrote them) as I was going through some of the old posts and I'm here scratching my head. It seems cowardly to me, being there's no point in my responding a year after the troll posted the comments. It's not as if anyone will see that he supposedly gave me my comeuppance, nor will anyone care. Gotta love the brain power of the Right.

Life is for Living (updated)

I'll admit it,I've been feeling rather hopeless lately,watching one's country come unhinged isn't exactly my idea of entertainment. It's not depression really,more like just being overwhelmed by all the ugliness and sad news. The cure for feeling helpless and afraid is action. IMO,I think most of this callous nastiness in America stems,in part,from people being locked into a very small and unyielding comfort zone. Sometimes it pays to get out and breathe some fresh air or do something a little different. It is in that spirit that I bring you some links that are a bit different than the norm.

1) "The Media"

Anyone with an IQ higher than a toadstool knows that if you want to find out what's going on in the world without a bunch of lies and half truths you don't watch American TV or read the papers and just accept that as is.Bloggers on the left side of the dial tackle this crap daily,but there are other things people can do besides blog their little hearts out.

The Prometheus Radio Project provides resources,support and information about starting your own low power FM radio station.

Be The Media is another resource for people looking to involve themselves in creating their own media countermessages to the standard fare.

You can create your own internet TV channel. I like this better than You Tube/video blogging,it seems a bit more substantial.

Become a Freeway Blogger. Even if your message only stays up a short time,using this technique can reach literally thousands of people in a short time for practically no money at all. Depending on where you live,you might have to be sneaky to pull it off,but it's worth the effort I think. This idea could also transfer into other areas besides overpasses and beside busy highways. Use your imagination.

Donate books to your public library system.I do this a couple times a year.I either buy two copies of a book I have found helpful and donate one,or I'll rumage through my bookcases and pull out titles I've read and abosrbed enough that I don't need the book anymore. You don't have to jump through hoops to do this,call your main library branch and ask them where to drop off your donations.Where I live all you have to do is take the books to any library and drop them off. You can also buy a magazine subscription for your library in their name as a gift if you see they don't carry a particular magazine you like.Contrary to what conservatives would have you believe,libraries aren't just hangouts for homeless people,dirty hippies and middle school kids doing homework.The two suburban branches near my house are constantly busy,with people of all ages milling around.Many libraries also have public meeting/conference rooms you can use for free,start a progressive book club or political salon and center it around your library branch.

Another thing you can do is design and print up your own bookmarks with any message you want to convey.I've done this before,putting the URL for Media Matters on book marks and placing them inside all the conservative author's books on our library's shelves.Heh.All you need is card stock and a printer(I made a bookmark template on my computer and got 8 book marks from one piece of paper).You can also do this at the bookstore,targeting any book or groups of books you wish.The key here is to place the bookmark in the center of the book,making sure it doesn't stick out of either end.

2)Reclaim the Flag.
Fly the flag at home,not just on Veteran's Day or the 4th of July,but year round.Learn how to properly display and care for your flag. And with all the talk these days of flag burning,how about something a bit different? Hold a ceremonial Flag Washing(wash those conservative cooties off,in a symbolic way). Most flags today are made of washable fabric,so gather up some friends,some mild detergent,large buckets and cold water(never use hot water,the colors will run and fade,and go easy on the detergent),and string up a clothesline for them to dry on. This might even be a neat fundraiser for a progressive candidate or cause. Just make sure you follow proper flag protocol,and you can educate the public about it at the same time. As for flag disposal,when your flag gets faded or worn,some libraries have drop off boxes for old flags,you can contact your local VFW or other vet's groups and ask if they'll dispose of them properly,or you can do it yourself following the accepted guidelines. It's our flag too,it's time we took it back from the people who have so tarnished what it stands for.I'm even going to get myself one of those little flag pins to wear,just like the wingnuts do.

3)Channel your anger constructively.I know we're the"angry left",and we have every right to be pissed. And as tempting as it is at times,slapping the dogshit out of a wingnut asshole won't solve much,and might get your ass hauled to jail. Sooo,you gotta find outlets. Aggression is best worked out physically where no one gets hurt,via exercise,sports,painting the house,whatever it takes.Go for walks,get enough sleep and all that other"mom advice".Take what's left and channel that into your own community.Volunteer for something,it's doesn't have to be political. Or be an independant volunteer.Look around your community,find a problem and work to fix it,one person at a time.

4) Commit random acts of kindness. Yeah,I know,that's a cliche,but little things count,especially nowadays. At the toll booth,pay the toll for the car or two behind you. Leave some fresh flowers on a grouchy neighbor's doorstep anonymously. Drop off some art supplies or paper and pencils at your nearest school(so teachers don't have to pay out of pocket for them). Cook a hot meal and deliver it to an elderly neighbor or young mother on your street. Buy crayons and coloring books for a children's hospital. If you garden, Plant a Row for the Hungry,or give your extra produce and flowers to a neighbor who may be struggling with an illness,job loss or a death in the family.

5)And Finally,Don't Forget to Laugh,at least once a day.

Updated to Add:
Go read the comments section to this post and rethink what I said above about donating to libraries.The comments from our favorite penguin, Badtux the Snarky Penguin, lend common sense and expertise to the conversation and some wonderful ideas regarding kids and books.Check it out.