Saturday, September 30, 2006

The Scotsman

In my previous post about the Celtic Festival, or the next post if you read 'em from the top down, I made mention of "the liftin' o' the kilt". That rang some bells in my head (loud ones to be heard over all the little voices) and I remembered this song, with a comment from the site:

Well a Scotsman clad in kilt left a bar on evening fair
And one could tell by how we walked that he drunk more than his share
He fumbled round until he could no longer keep his feet
Then he stumbled off into the grass to sleep beside the street
Ring ding diddle diddle I de oh ring di diddly I oh
He stumbled off into the grass to sleep beside the street

About that time two young and lovely girls just happend by
And one says to the other with a twinkle in her eye
See yon sleeping Scotsman so strong and handsome built
I wonder if it's true what they don't wear beneath the kilt
Ring ding diddle diddle I de oh ring di diddly I oh
I wonder if it's true what they don't wear beneath the kilt

They crept up on that sleeping Scotsman quiet as could be
Lifted up his kilt about an inch so they could see
And there behold, for them to see, beneath his Scottish skirt
Was nothing more than God had graced him with upon his birth
Ring ding diddle diddle I de oh ring di diddly I oh
Was nothing more than God had graced him with upon his birth

They marveled for a moment, then one said we must be gone
Let's leave a present for our friend, before we move along
As a gift they left a blue silk ribbon, tied into a bow
Around the bonnie star, the Scots kilt did lift and show
Ring ding diddle diddle I de oh ring di diddly I oh
Around the bonnie star, the Scots kilt did lift and show

Now the Scotsman woke to nature's call and stumbled towards a tree
Behind a bush, he lift his kilt and gawks at what he sees
And in a startled voice he says to what's before his eyes.
O lad I don't know where you been but I see you won first prize
Ring ding diddle diddle I de oh ring di diddly I oh
O lad I don't know where you been but I see you won first prize

Background: I first heard this song sung by Bryan autoharpist. It's a popular tune for morning radio programs, and it's popularity has spread incredibly over the past thirty years from Dr. Demento to Renaissance festivals. Heck, I used to stand up in the middle of the cafeteria in college and sing it at the top of my lungs. Yes, every Scotsman has heard the song...and is probably sick of it! But I still love the song, and performing it is even more fun. Oh! Don't forget to get a free Real Men Wear Kilts sticker!

You can listen to the song at the site.

Bryan Bowers is probably the world's best autoharp player. He plays six parts of a song with five fingers. Check him out.

Celtic Festival

This weekend is the 10th Annual Celtic Festival in Grass Valley, California. You can listen live at KVMR.

I was reminded of this when our friends Bev and Bentley stopped by on their way to it. They were in costume, Bentley in a black kilt and Bev in a period dress. They looked very nice.

Bentley left me with this thought, "Playing the bagpipes is like blowing up an air mattress with four holes in it!"

We listened to it on the way to the supermarket. We heard some good Cape Breton fiddle music and "the liftin' o' the kilts". I'm glad it was audio only!


More Charlie Brown

Raw Story has video of Democratic Congressional Candidate Charlie Brown (CA-04) laying into Doolittle (Repugnant) on Sacramento TV news:

Rep. John Doolittle (R-CA) knew of and tolerated forced abortions, sex slavery and sweatshop conditions in the Northern Marianas Islands, says his challenger.

Retired Lt. Col. Charlie Brown, Democratic candidate for California's 4th District, asserts Doolittle was aware of the abuses while he helped, with the aid of convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff, to fund the islands' government that allegedly exploited its workers.

In a debate on KCRA 3 TV News in Sacramento, Brown faced off against former Rep. Doug Ose, acting as a spokesman on behalf of incumbent Congressman Doolittle. Brown at one point says that Doolittle "got $10,000 from Abramoff's firm, the largest ever paid by Abramoff to a congressman."

Further KCRA coverage on the accusations can be found here.

And learn how you can "Win FREE Laser Hair Removal". Yeesh.

Also see "Dump Doolittle".

This is a good issue to use against Doolittle. Shows his "moral values" and criminal behavior. I hope folks give a shit.

Just as a point of local trivia, the newsanchors, Dave and Lois, are married. To each other.


Back from Monaco. Nothing special in my book. The same rich, pompous assholes we have in New York, but their toys are beautiful. They're also getting set up for the Grand Prix so we were dodging construction crews as we walked around the city. Have a look.

Yes, I think I'll have another ...

Blog who?

Not a peep out of me yesterday, didn't even open the laptop. See that, AOB, I can relax. I tossed some pics up from our trip to Florence yesterday, more to follow later on. This morning we're in the home of the Grimaldis, Monte Carlo, and I'll post pics from here later.


More from Florence.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Charlie Brown Update

Charlie Brown for Congress

[Sacramento: On October 1st, 4th CD Candidate Lt. Col. Charlie Brown and former NATO Supreme Allied Commander General Wesley Clark will join forces for a campaign rally titled "Service Before Self," a central theme of Brown's Congressional campaign. The rally will focus on the need for honest, responsible leadership to guide America through dangerous times, and will also pay tribute to those who have dedicated their lives to putting the security and quality of life of the American people first.

The rally, which will also be attended by veterans, military families, police, fire fighters, teachers, and others, comes on the eve of President Bush's visit to the 4th CD---where he will headline a $2,000 a plate fundraiser for Rep. John Doolittle - an 8 term incumbent who has been weakened by his close connections to Congressional bribery scandals, and the practice of paying his wife a 15% commission on funds raised for his campaign committees.

Lt. Col. Brown spent 26 years in the U.S. Air Force, as a helicopter rescue pilot at the end of the Vietnam War, a Reconnaissance pilot, and eventually, as coordinator of surveillance missions over Iraq's no fly zones in the 1990s. Charlie's wife Jan is also a veteran, and his son has served three rotations in Iraq with the Air Force.

Gen. Clark is a West Point Graduate, a highly decorated Vietnam Veteran, and former NATO Supreme Allied Commander whose distinguished military career spans nearly 4 decades. Clark also ran for President of the United States in 2004.

Brown and Gen. Clark will both be speaking at the Oct. 2nd event, and will be available for brief press interviews.

WHO: 4th CD Congressional Candidate Lt. Col. Charlie Brown, former NATO Supreme Allied Commander General Wesley Clark (featured speakers), as well as numerous area veterans, military families, firemen, teachers, police officers, and other supporters of Charlie Brown for Congress.

WHAT: Brown for Congress Campaign Rally

WHERE: Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Corner of 15th and L Streets, Sacramento, CA .

WHEN: Monday, October 2, 2006, 5:00-5:45 p.m.]

Col. Brown will be in my area from about the 6th to the 14th of October. I'll keep you posted and try to make one or more event.

Lordy, lordy, gimme $40.

File this one under "I guess it had to happen sometime". From Eyeteeth:

Pastor Marty Baker of Stevens Creek Community Church, an 1100-member evangelical church in Augusta, Georgia, has discovered a way to "give to Caesar what is Caesar's and give to God is God's"--while keeping a bit for himself: he's installed an ATM-style "Giving Kiosk," in the church--one sold by his for-profit venture.

"It's truly like an ATM for Jesus," Baker said.

When I was church-goin' kid, my aunt would give me a little envelope to put my donation in. It was for anonymity: some people gave a lot, some gave a little. I found the value of this system later in life: a dime makes a distinctive 'clink' in the collection plate and everybody turns and looks at you!

A poor devil, but not the Devil

Dissident Voice

Chavez said George Bush is the Devil.

With all due respect, I beg to differ.

The Devil is a Christian take on a mythological character, a trickster god, with versions in many different traditions -- as Hermes, Loki, Coyote, etc. The most important aspects of this personality are a cunning intelligence, a knack for deception, a delight in mischief, and lack of moral scruples. Bush scores high on lack of moral scruples. But where is the creativity and the intelligence?

The biggest point of difference is this: Satan doesn't use force. He deceives; he tempts; he seduces. But he doesn't bully. He doesn't even twist arms. And he certainly doesn't "shock-and-awe" his victims. The kind of behavior most associated with George Bush is more like what we'd expect from the God of the Old Testament than from Satan. Compare "thou shalt have no other gods before me" to "You're either with us or you're with the terrorists." Or compare the U.S. love of aerial bombardment to the treatment of the city of Sodom. Or recall that early speech in which Bush explained that, being the President, he doesn't have to explain his decisions and compare that to God's speech in the Book of Job.

George Bush's power isn't to sell and to seduce, but to buy, to bully and bludgeon. The success of his presidency (and say what you will, it is a smashing success, practically every Bush backer was handsomely rewarded, some beyond their wildest imagination) does not depend on Bush's salesmanship skills but on the state of ruin of public signification. Take the latest torture show. Take John McCain, Mr. Principles, who supposedly hates torture because he was tortured in his Vietnamese cell. For many months he held fast, publicly resisting George Bush's campaign to legalize and institutionalize torture on principle. But finally he agreed to a compromise that effectively allows torture to continue -- as long as nobody hears them scream. Why? Was his month-long opposition a charade? What does the popular McCain have to fear from the lame duck George Bush? Does he not trust his ability to make the case for his "convictions" (which do have, in fact, wide support)? It is one thing to cut political deals in the normal business of the senate, or under pressure, and quite another to compromise needlessly on the very principles that one's public persona and biography is built upon. But McCain's persona, like all of Washington's politicians and opinion makers, is virtually weightless; it can spin in any direction with the gentlest blow of wind. Only in this world full of sound and fury but signifying nothing can an empire be effectively sold and managed with tales told by an idiot.

Torture is applied to get one to follow a script, admit to certain crimes, sign a certain confession, submit, be silent, be broken. It doesn't matter what the victim thinks. It is not therefore by chance that torture is brought back by a President who is a "unilateralist," not only in the technical "foreign policy" sense, but also in the larger sense of having no concern for anyone else's heart or mind. Nor is it by chance that the legalization of torture is rubberstamped by a chattering class that no longer cares whether it is making sense or not. It would be facetious to draw an equivalence between the torture of detainees at Abu-Ghraib and other places and the "torture" of having to listen to George Bush (or James Carville, etc. etc.) There is of course a world of difference between torture of the real and the metaphoric kind. But there is also an underlying unity of purpose. In both cases the goal is not to convince but to subdue, not to communicate but to dominate.

I just posted that because I like it. If you like it, go read the rest.

Also see El Diablo Protesta. If you need a translation, just ask.

"Power and testosterone can be dangerous..."

I love Maureen Dowd. I like Tavis Smiley, too. Raw Story has a video of MoDo on Tavis' show. Win-win!

She flogs her book "Are Men Necessary?", tells why men are necessary (heh!), tells of her mother's best advice - "winterize your car", political cat fights, the Clintons, Bush, Iraq, feminism and her fantasy of working at a 'militia bar in Wyoming', and more, all in 10:22.

Click on 'video'. Go see. Enjoy.

"Congress passed a tyrannical law..."


Here's what happens when this irresponsible Congress railroads a profoundly important bill to serve the mindless politics of a midterm election: The Bush administration uses Republicans' fear of losing their majority to push through ghastly ideas about antiterrorism that will make American troops less safe and do lasting damage to our 217-year-old nation of laws - while actually doing nothing to protect the nation from terrorists. Democrats betray their principles to avoid last-minute attack ads. Our democracy is the big loser.

Last week, the White House and three Republican senators announced a terrible deal on this legislation that gave Mr. Bush most of what he wanted, including a blanket waiver for crimes Americans may have committed in the service of his antiterrorism policies. Then Vice President Dick Cheney and his willing lawmakers rewrote the rest of the measure so that it would give Mr. Bush the power to jail pretty much anyone he wants for as long as he wants without charging them, to unilaterally reinterpret the Geneva Conventions, to authorize what normal people consider torture, and to deny justice to hundreds of men captured in error.

These are some of the bill's biggest flaws:

A long list, actually an obituary for "the rule of law", follows.

We don't blame the Democrats for being frightened. The Republicans have made it clear that they'll use any opportunity to brand anyone who votes against this bill as a terrorist enabler. But Americans of the future won't remember the pragmatic arguments for caving in to the administration.

They'll know that in 2006, Congress passed a tyrannical law that will be ranked with the low points in American democracy, our generation's version of the Alien and Sedition Acts.

This will eventually be struck down just as those acts were, but in the meantime our rights and civil liberties have been struck a mighty fascist blow.


A Letter From Jesus Camp

Satirical Political Report

[Well, yesterday we took a close look at the daily itinerary at Camp Jesus. Today, we share an insider's view from a whistle-blowing camper, with thanks to the classic Camp Granada by the immortal Allan Sherman.

Hello Muddah, I'm in pieces
Here I'm stuck at, Camp for Jesus
Camp is really, like a prison
And they're just about to do an exorcism

Six a.m., blowin' reveille
Class at ten, Study "Devilry"
Kids all screaming, top of their lungs...
Can't understand them since they speak in ancient tongues

All the counselors, hate the Jews
And the Muslims, Confucius too
And the coaches, for sports like soccer
Say they never want to deal with a Macaca

Don't worry 'bout me, though I'm homesick
And my scalp has, just a few ticks
But there's one problem, that I can't fix...
My bunkmate's forehead has a hu-mongous "666"

Take me home, I'm, falling to pieces
Christ Almighty, I hate Camp Jesus
This is worse than, nightmare fiction
For the play I drew short straw for Crucifixion

Take me home, I'll, be a good boy
Clean my room, not, touch my own toy
These fanatics, just can't stand them
One day here seems like a whole goddamn millenium

Dearest Mother, Dearest Father
Boot camp and Anbar, would be less bother
Come and save me, come to my aid
Color War at camp is called the next Crusade

Wait a minute, they're serving hot fudge
If you defame, a liber-al judge
And if you beat up, a homo queer
You're a cinch to lock up Camper of the Year!]

Sex Toy of the Week

The George Bush Butt Plug

Invade an Iraqi, an Afghani, or at even an Iranian when you want. With this fat headed, huge stub of a plug no ass is safe anywhere ...

Everybody should send one of these to the White House. Used ones...

Thursday, September 28, 2006

The "Good News" in the NIE

Cdr. Huber at My Left Wing:

I'm not certain what young Mister Bush's people were thinking when they decided to release this. It sure doesn't contain much in the way of that "good news" the administration tells us we're not hearing enough of.

I guess the "good news" here is that four in 10 Iraqis don't approve of attacks of U.S.-led forces.

There is no fixing this mess. The kind of "resolve" we will display by "staying the course" is the kind of resolve it takes to run your head over with a tractor. And the only "political will" involved in continuing our self-destructive course in Iraq is the will of our political leaders to hide the egg on their faces.

Much more in between the quotes. That ol' Squid's got his finger on it.

White House Pronounces Musharraf, Karzai, Bush Dinner Meeting a Success

Unconfirmed Sources just made my day, except for the lack of a 'Liquid Alert'. Damn, but these keys are sticky!

The evening began with the three leaders discussing highly classified plans for the war against Al Qaeda over drinks. The only tense situation occurred when Afghan President Karzai almost disclosed the secret location of Al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden, but he was quickly and politely muffled by Bush and Musharraf. The White House described the meeting overall as very cordial otherwise, and filled with much of the exaggerated nuances in body language that they had expected.

In typical Bush administration tradition, Bush early on assigned nicknames to both leaders, and referred to them as "Pervey" and "Karzey" throughout the evening.

Go see. Trust me, there are pictures you don't wanta miss!

How to avoid WWIII

Today's theme seems to be Bush's WWIII plans, God and voters should only forbid. Robert Parry at Consortiumnews:

This future of endless war and expanding repression represents Bush's grim vision. But the countervailing question is this: Is there a realistic alternative?

The answer is "yes, but." There are still routes available that might lead to a more peaceful world that isolates, marginalizes and eventually eradicates terrorist ideologues. But these strategies would require extraordinary bravery, wisdom, patience, humility and tolerance.

Kinda lets Bush out, huh?

Another important step back from World War III would come with a phased American withdrawal from Iraq.

Though Iraq would surely continue to suffer civil strife, a U.S. military departure would remove what the U.S. intelligence community has called the "cause celebre" for the jihadist movement and would create a dynamic for Iraqis to go after any remaining foreign al-Qaeda operatives.

As we have noted in the past, one of the major worries of the al-Qaeda leadership - expressed in the so-called "Zawahiri letter" - is that a rapid U.S. military withdrawal from Iraq would cause the non-Iraqi jihadists to lay down their arms and go home. [See's "Al-Qaeda Letter Belies Bush's Iraq Claims."]

Indeed, Bush's policies have dovetailed so perfectly with al-Qaeda's dream of engaging the West in a worldwide struggle that CIA analysts believe bin Laden took the risk of releasing a videotape only days before Election 2004 to help Bush gain a second term. [See's "CIA: Osama Helped Bush in '04."]

This "Bush-bin Laden symbiosis" is likely to continue until Congress finally asserts its power over making war or until Bush leaves office.

Given Bush's personality, it seems unthinkable that he would ever admit that he had made a mistake by invading Iraq or that he would order a full troop withdrawal. Nor is he likely to cooperate with peace initiatives by other nations that involve real compromise.

But a Republican defeat in the Nov. 7 elections could at least limit Bush's ability to interfere with initiatives by other international players who might want to step back from the brink of World War III.

Conversely, another Republican victory might well lock in a future of near-endless war abroad and ever-increasing political repression at home.

You better believe that last sentence.

When the Dems take back the House and Senate, that'll be the end of Bush's imperialistic war-mongering pipe dreams. Maybe. Whaddya wanta bet that, in an attempt to make himself look good when OBL can no longer help him, Bush's minions will produce bin Laden's body, evidence that they really were looking for him and thus really cracking down on al-Qaeda?

Note to the pathologist, if one is permitted to examine the corpse: look for freezer burn.

Terrorism and the Republican Way

William Rivers Pitt

Reagan propped up Iraq and was directly responsible for that nation's development of chemical and biological weapons. During the same period, he was selling missiles and other armaments to Iran, an avowed enemy of the United States. At the same time, he was laying the foundation for what eventually became the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, as well as the al Qaeda terrorist network that operated from that country.

George W. Bush used those Iraqi weapons of mass destruction as a pretext for a war of choice against Iraq, a move that has aided and strengthened Shia fundamentalism in Iran while undermining global security. His war against Afghanistan, to destroy the very regime whose roots were laid down by Reagan, has recently been exposed as a farce; the Taliban has come roaring back to life, bringing battles and bombs back into the daily routine of that battered nation.

Creating chaos and destruction in the Middle East, thus delivering a more dangerous world, stands as the main legacy for these two Republicans in that region. Reagan and Bush pursued policies that have made this nation and the world vastly less secure, and supporters of both would have us ignore these hard truths in lieu of empty talking points. Republicans are strong on national defense, you see. Republicans keep us safe.

With friends like these, who needs friends?

If Republicans even have any friends, the friends probably don't even like 'em.

Reading the Gas Pump Numbers

Interesting article at TomDispatch. Just take a light lunch, it's not as long as some.

Is this the result of some hidden conspiracy between the White House and Big Oil to help the Republican cause in the elections, as some are already suggesting? How does a possible war with Iran fit into the gas-price equation? And what do falling gasoline prices tell us about "peak-oil" theory, which predicts that we have reached our energy limits on the planet?

A scholarly discourse follows.

My personal prediction as a gasoline expert, based on my deep-seated, long-standing experience of knowing how to a)remove my gas cap, and b)reach for my wallet, tells me that gas prices will reach their lowest point on about the 1st of November, stabilize for a week, then climb at an alarming rate to a new peak so The Oil Company can recoup its election season 'losses'.

Bush War III: Going to War to Save His Own Ass

A 'must read' from Truthout.

War talk is in the air again, and because of the looming November election, it has to be taken extra seriously.

Ordinarily one would say that the real sign of an imminent attack would be a convening of Congress to approve a use of force authorization, or perhaps an attempt in the United Nations to win endorsement for an attack from the UN Security Council, but clearly this is not happening. And for good reason. Bush would never succeed in winning Security Council approval for a military action against Iran, particularly after insulting the council members by the massive package of lies that he and Colin Powell presented the last time he sought such a vote - for an attack on Iraq - in 2003. Nor would he likely be given the go-ahead by Congress this time around, with all of the House and a third of the Senate facing re-election on November 7 by an electorate that has grown weary of war, angry at a half trillion dollars wasted, and sick about the thousands of flag-draped coffins and broken GIs returning home, with nothing to show for it all but two dysfunctional, war-torn former countries in the Middle East.

The problem is that Bush, who has trashed the Constitution to the point that it is now little more than a historical artifact, doesn't think he needs approval from the UN or even from the Congress to embark on his most dangerous, bloody and immoral war yet.

According to this confirmed White House criminal (Bush has been found guilty by the US Supreme Court of violating the US War Crimes Statutes and by a Federal District Court of violating the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and the Fourth Amendment), he has the power as "commander in chief in time of war" to act in violation of both Constitution and law, as he sees fit.

We need only note how Bush, in his address at the UN General Assembly last week, was careful to describe the leaders of Iran as "supporters of terror." Be warned: this was a deliberately chosen linguistic construct which means he is asserting his right to attack them as part of that phony "war" on terror, based upon the long-outdated and grossly misrepresented 2001 AUMF.

Why would Bush be willing to do such a thing, against the advice of his generals, against the wishes of the American people, and against all logic and decency?

Clearly he is afraid - afraid that a Democratic Congress will finally start calling him to account for his accumulated crimes against the nation and the American People. That's why he is desperately trying to get the Republican-led Congress - while it still can - to pass legislation retroactively exonerating him and his subordinates for their criminal violations of law and Constitution. That's why he is racing around the country raising money for candidates - even including liberal Republicans whose positions he privately abhors.

At this point, all this president cares about is saving his own sorry ass.

He thinks that another phony, criminal war will rally support for him and the Republicans in time to stave off defeat at the polls. I'm pretty sure he's crazy.

I don't know much about international policy, but then, neither does Bush. I do know that if you go looking for trouble, you're gonna find it. Fighting should be for defense of self or others, except in the really rare instance of someone who is such an asshole they really need a whuppin'.

Iran is like a guy who's takin' karate lessons to keep bullies from pickin' on him: he'll be no threat for a long time, but the bullies better pick on him while they can. If those bullies are still bunged up from a previous scrape, he might whip 'em anyway.

Bush is like a guy who got to be prez of a motorcycle club by hook and by crook. He's such an asshole that the other guys would dearly love to see him miss a turn and go flyin' off a cliff, but they support him because that's what you do. When they go into a bar, most of the guys just want something to cut the dust, but Bush wants to pick a fight. Coulda just had a cold one and chatted with the locals, but Nooooo. First, he picks a fight with the smallest, least threatening guy there. His club backs him up. Bush just watches. Then he wants to pick a fight with another guy just because he thinks it'll make him look like an even bigger man. This time, the rest of the patrons realize this guy is dangerous, and gang up and hand the club its ass. Didn't hurt Bush, though. He just started it. He didn't fight.

What the club (that's us, folks) needs to do to preserve life and limb is take Bush out back and fuck him up themselves before he can get them in any more trouble. Take his shiny bike away from him and put him on the bus to Texas. Then pick a prez with at least rudimentary social skills who ain't a wannabe bad guy.

They won't be welcome in that saloon for a long time, either. Should never have been there in the first place, given their leader's attitude.


I'm sitting in the bar on the MS Noordam not giving a shit. Just got my WiFi paid for; nothing is free. I'll be back later ... maybe. The Labatt's is tasting awful good.


Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Oh, the irony...

Ironic Times

White House Places Anti-Drug Videos on YouTube
One spot shows Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld getting high, then paranoid, then ordering invasion of Iraq.

First All-Billionaire Forbes 400
For once, Bush can credit his tax cuts.

Bush Fingers Syria As Terrorism Sponsor
If they don't cut it out, we'll stop sending them our prisoners to torture.

Cocaine Cola to Market Three New Products
Heroin Rush, Cherry Meth, Ecstasy Orange all test well with teens.

520 Years Ago, Spanish Inquisition Briefly Halted
Grand Inquisitor Tomás de Torquemada (shown) seeks "clarity" regarding rules for interrogating prisoners.

Usually I only post three of those, but when the cat's away, the mice will play!

They had 'other priorities'


Editor's Note: Almost 2 1/2 years ago, we published an article about the Bush administration's strange refusal to admit to even one second thought about its approach toward al-Qaeda in the eight months before the 9/11 attacks. This insistence on the infallibility of George W. Bush and his inner circle is relevant again, with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice dismissing as "flatly false" criticism from former President Bill Clinton about the Bush administration's pre-9/11 inattention to the threat.

Indeed, the Right is assembling what amounts to a counter-history -- complete with a fictional docu-drama aired on Disney's ABC-TV -- pinning the blame for 9/11 on Clinton and portraying Bush as a man of principle and resolve. When Clinton angrily protested this revisionist history during a Fox News interview, he faced a new round of ridicule for his "crazed" reaction.

This Orwellian moment, in which the past is altered to justify actions in the present, reminded us of that article from April 5, 2004, which was responding to an earlier phase of this evasion of responsibility. We are republishing the story below:

Go refresh your memory. What we're getting now is just an updated rerun. This is an election year too.

Brain Salad - Just Say Maybe

LATimes again. Hey, when they're hot, they're hot.

A couple of months ago I was at a Hollywood party - except it was in Silver Lake - when two attractive, daughter-aged women came in with a large trash bag, which turned out to contain about three pounds of extremely exotic, highly fissile marijuana. They dumped the bag out on a coffee table right in front of me.

The party, a rather listless affair until then, perked right up.

I'll bet I don't even have to suggest you 'go read'. Heh.

Sayonara, Rosie


Iva Toguri D'Aquino, who was convicted and later pardoned of being World War II propagandist "Tokyo Rose," died yesterday of natural causes, said her nephew, William Toguri. She was 90.

Tokyo Rose was the name given by soldiers to a female radio broadcaster responsible for anti-American transmissions intended to demoralize soldiers fighting in the Pacific theater. D'Aquino was the only U.S. citizen identified among the potential suspects.

In 1949, she became the seventh person to be convicted of treason in American history and served six years in prison. But doubts about her possible role as Tokyo Rose later surfaced and she was pardoned by President Gerald Ford in 1977.

Don't worry Rose. Rest easy. Anti-American propaganda is alive and well in this administration under the guidance of a criminal mastermind also named after a flower - Turdblossom.

Mostly, the WWII GIs got a kick out of your broadcasts. Your propaganda, intended to scare and demoralize them, didn't.

Turdblossom's bullshit is also intended to scare and demoralize a wider audience, the American public. It worked for a while, but folks are starting to see through the smoke.

He will soon join you in being the rare American who is convicted of treason, along with the vice-president and their talking puppet Bush.

It's OK that you were pardoned, for you did no real harm. The current propagandists are doing immeasurable harm to our country, but it's OK with me if they're pardoned as well. After they're hanged.

Midterm Elections Resource

Cursor has put together a Resource Page to help you find info on the next election of a lifetime this coming November. Handy.

Quote of the Day

I know AOB's gonna yell at me but I'll squeeze in one more before I go. Digby:

Makes a tear come to the eye, doesn't it, the way men [loose use of the term. ~ F] like McCain and Lieberman keep evoking Lincoln and the Bible as they work to institutionalize torture and continue a bloody, useless war that kills thousands and thousands of people? It's all very inspirational.


Just got back from dropping Shayna off and Jeeves will be here with the car in about an hour. Gonna grab some lunch and we're gone. See yas.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

One more ...

Before I get back to drying everything in the house (Shayna just got her bath). I leave you with this because Sun Tzu's The Art of War was one of the best books I've ever read, at the behest of a good officer I met while at NCO Leadership School. Commander Huber, whom I believe also falls into that category, quotes liberally.

Is it one more or one less?

Click to embiggen if you ain't sick enough already.

In honor of my birthday, I offer the following:

A portrait of the way I feel sometimes

The Golden Years*

I cannot see
I cannot pee
I cannot chew
I cannot screw

My memory shrinks
My hearing stinks
No sense of smell
I look like hell

My body's drooping
Have trouble pooping
The Golden Years have come at last
The Golden Years can kiss my ASS!

Dyslexia has its bright side: If I look at it just right, I'm 16.

*A coupla those might be true. Or might not. Discuss.


We're leaving tomorrow afternoon but I got a million things to do this evening (last minute laundry, giving Shayna a bath) now that work is squared away, and tomorrow morning (taking Shayna to the Hound Hotel, last minute packing) so I'll say goodbye now. It'll probably be a couple days before I pop back in, but I doubt I'll be paying attention to the news anyway. The most you'll get from me is some pics and travelogue during rare periods of sobriety. Drunken comments about the Chimp and the Rethugs on everybody else's posts are a certainty. Heh ...

As always, Gord has the conn (that's Squid talk) until I get back to the States. Behave yourselves or you'll have to answer to the crazy old Jarhead.

Arrivederci, I'll talk to you from Roma.

Girls' Night Out

I got this in an e-mail from my friend Bev and just had to share:

Last night, my friends and I went to a Ladies Night Club. One of the girls wanted to impress the rest of us, so she pulled out a $10 bill. When the male dancer came over to us, she licked the $10 bill and stuck it to his butt cheek! Not to be outdone, another friend pulled out a $20 bill. She called the guy back, licked the $20 bill and stuck it to his other butt cheek. In another attempt to impress the rest of us, my third friend pulls out a $50 bill , calls the guy over, and licks the $50 bill. I was worried about the way things were going, but fortunately, she just stuck it to one of his butt cheeks again. My relief was short-lived. Seeing the way things were going, the guy raced over to me! Now everyone's attention was focused on me and the guy was egging me on to try and top the $50. My brain was churning as I reached for my wallet. What could I do?

The woman in me took over!

I got out my ATM card, swiped it down the crack of his butt, grabbed the eighty bucks, and ran!!!!

Ignorance is no excuse, even if it's true

Go see the video at One Good Move.

Shatteringly Obvious

Ellis Weiner at HuffPo

Like the idea that the earth moves around the sun, that DNA is a double-helix, and that Preznit Bush recites facts in a condescending sing-song, as though to an idiot, because that's how they were explained to him, some of the most important truths are shatteringly obvious once you see them.

So here's today's, discovered by my wife in one of those magical Eureka moments--the cry of sudden perception, not the vacuum cleaner--that give one hope that one's brain (hers, if not mine) can still cut the mustard and fry it up in a pan. Read it and weep, or stand up and cheer, or just copy it onto an email for worldwide distribution:

The reason Americans think the Democratic Party is "weak on terror" or "weak on security" is because Democrats don't stand up to Republicans. (my em)

Could anything be more (retrospectively) obvious? (I'm not saying no one else here has realized this. But I hadn't, and I haven't read anyone, anywhere, making as big a deal about it as should be made. So indulge my enthusiasm.) This picks up on everyone's ecstasy over Bill Clinton's sharp and, really, pretty unrelenting retort to the odious Chris Wallace recently. Arianna correctly chided him on coming late to the partisan game and hoping he'll do it some more.

Hand. Forehead. Smack.

I hadn't thought of it that way, but I realizeds instantly that that's the whole goddam problem. You don't get a bully to lay off by letting him bully you and hoping he'll go away. You deck him as many times as it takes for him to get the message. Once'll usually do it. Bullies are cowards.

The Dems have to, absolutely have to, stand up to these Republican bullies. We've said this for a long time. It seems like it's finally starting to happen, but nothing ever happens fast enough.

There's more:

I'm sorry--what? "The facts" are with the Democrats?

Please. It didn't matter in 2004 and it won't matter now. "The facts" are footnotes in Swahili when people's heads and hearts are filled, as Karl Rove intends to fill them, with fear. How grotesque a percentage of what we laughingly call the electorate still believes Saddam was behind 9-11? How many people still listen to Rush Limbaugh with a straight face and without experiencing significant sensations of nausea?

No, "the facts" are very cute, and objectively true, and everything, but remember whom you're trying to convince when you cite them: People who still think maybe Republicans aren't so bad.

What kind of person still thinks that? What kind of person, at this late date, is even tempted to re-elect a Republican? Aside from the religious nuts and the career right-wing loons, the authority-worshippers, the Strong-Daddy idolators, and the sincerely ignorant?

The answer is, the fearful, the freaked-out, the perfectly nice but anxious people who simply can't believe that their president is the callous, narrow, desperately insecure liar we know him to be. These are the people who, if given the proper "space" in which to judge, will indeed vote Dem. They saw Katrina. They hear "torture." They see, or try not to see, the daily slaughter in Iraq. Many of them, mirabile dictu, probably "believe in" global warming and evolution. They remember Jack Abramoff and Bob Ney and Tom Delay, or they will once they're reminded.

The good news is, Dems can show they've got spine, and guts, and stones, and spunk, and even moxie, by doing what they probably secretly want to do anyway (unless they're really, really pussies): fight the Republicans.

You treat them as proxies of the terrorists and you fucking eviscerate them.

Is it "not nice"? Is it not "civil"? Alas, no, it isn't. Does it "coarsen our political discourse"? A little--but, then, no one will notice, since it's already been coarsened by six years of endless, shameless, criminal administration lying. Besides, without vigorous opposition, it isn't political discourse. It's empty debate society namby-pambism.

You do this, Democrats, not because it's satisfying (although it will be); not because those of us writing for the left and liberal blogs insist on it or we'll go completely insane and require lifelong psychiatric care at the expense of the state (although we will).

You do it because it's the right thing to do to neutralize the lies and smears already under way (ask Jack Murtha) and sure to get worse. By fighting back, by spitting in the eye of your "good friend" on "the other side," you're showing the fearful, the nervous, and the uncertain outside the Beltway that you've got what it takes to protect them from the other bad guys--the ones who aren't Republicans.

But what if that means that you can't wave collegially at Dennis Hastert at the Capital Grille, or enjoy a bipartisan laff with Sam Brownback at the next Correspondents' Dinner? Shut up. Don't even ask me such things.

Just, as the saying goes, do it. Because, if you don't, there's no reason for the people whose votes you want, to think you'd have the nerve and resolve to do any serious damage to terrorists.

Because, really. If you can't slap down a bunch of clowns in suits, how can you protect us from the suiciders?

I love that attitude! As if you couldn't tell!

Yesterday, I came up with a phrase which I actually ripped off from a character in The Sand Pebbles. When the little Chinese coolie Po-han (Mako) is fighting a huge loudmouth sailor (Simon Oakland) in a bar for love and money, and is gettin' the livin' shit pounded out of him, Jake (Steve McQueen) gives him the advice that eventually saves the day. Our present situation is exactly parallel, and it'll save our day, too:


"Osama sez wet 'em, and vote for us or die."


Hey, by the way, Dear Readers - Have any of you noticed how in the last few days, a lot of folks on the right have used the words of Osama bin Laden as the gospel truth? Seriously. They've been quoting the crap out of him as if he were the decider.

Chris Wallace quoted bin Laden to Clinton, saying the U.S. was weak after ending the involvement in Somalia. [Therefore, of course, Clinton was weak.]

Now the White House is quoting bin Laden, saying Iraq is the most serious issue today. [Therefore, of course, we have to stay.]

In God's name, and for all of America's sake - WHY ARE THEY LETTING HIM HIJACK THE CONVERSATION? Why does his word have any goddamn gravity in this White House and their pawns in the media?

Answer: They're Republicans. And OBL scares the pee out of them. There's your strong American leadership.

I disagree somewhat: what scares the pee out of the Republicans is that they're likely gonna get booted out in November and their cushy little gravy train of steamrolling us to get everything they want is gonna come off the rails. No more cushy jobs, no more big corporate money, no more little-dick-compensatory untrammelled power.

Their whiny little leader is using OBL to try to make Americans wet their britches so they'll keep 'em in power so they don't have to give up their sandbox.

"Strong American leadership" is both a distant memory and a dream for the future at this point.


" quiet and boring as Mary Poppins' bedroom."

War Nerd has a few opinions about what's going wrong in Afghanistan and why.

We were spoiled by initial success in Afghanistan; we got the Taliban down and then just stopped paying attention. Dunno if you remember this far back, but after 9/11, when it was obvious we had to go in there and root out Osama, everybody was saying Afghanistan was unwinnable, "the graveyard of empires," etc. And the campaign seemed to stall at first, till we took Mazar-I-Sharif and sent the Northern Alliance rolling into Kabul. Boom, game over, victory party, let's go home.

Except the new wars just don't work that way. The tough part was really just beginning. The biggest problem once we took Kabul was tribal. Reporters are always calling the Taliban "Islamic extremists," but it's way simpler than that: the Talibs are Pushtun, and our allies in the Northern Alliance were their old tribal enemies the Tajiks, Uzbeks and a few free-agent Hazaras.

The Pushtun are the biggest tribe in the country, if you can call it that, by far. Afghanistan is 42% Pushtun, and the second-biggest group, the Tajiks, are only 27%. Pushtuns are -- now how can I say this nicely? -- insane. The craziest Taliban rules, like demanding every man have a beard that was at least ZZ Top length, aren't Mohammed's rules; they're just Pushtun tribal ways.

It's like if the Baptists took over in Fresno, they'd make it God's rule that every guy had to have an extended cab on his pickup, and if you asked where in Scripture it says that, they'd shoot you. That's the Pushtun way: total tribal insanity, all the time. They're so "sexist" that feminists might like them, because they don't even think of women as "sex objects." To a Pushtun guy, nine-year-old boys are the sexiest thing on earth.

I get tired of having to say it, but: not everybody thinks like we think. Not everybody wants what we want. The Pushtun want (a) somebody to kill; (b) women kept in their place, somewhere between a the clay oven and the livestock; (c) nobody reminding them that there are other ways to live.

And our idea of pacifying them was to rub everything they hate right in their face, with their old enemies as enforcers. You have to wonder why the Pushtun didn't explode even bigger, even sooner. Well, basically because we handed off the job to some of our allies who did a pretty decent job of keeping the lid on as long as they could. There was a good British contingent up there, who not only did their usual great job of soldiering but handled tribal relations pretty well. Along with them, the Aussies and even the Canadians were on the job.

Too bad we didn't give the Brits total control of the so-called GWOT and let them play it their way. I can tell you what the old 19th c. Brits would've done. Problem: huge, restless tribe (Pushtun) smarting from recent defeat and totally uninterested in "peace." Solution: ship every Pushtun of military age to Sunni Triangle as honored guests of the British Empire and give them enough ammo to make the place as quiet and boring as Mary Poppins's bedroom.

The Pushtun would be happy as the Seven Dwarves, whistling while they worked on quieting down the Sunni; the Sunni would be...well, maybe not happy but definitely quiet -- "quiet as the grave," as the saying goes. And the Brits would step back into the shadows and let them fight it out till the end of time. A great system, worked for centuries.

Interesting article. A 'recommended read'.

Tough titties, bitches

Seems we've got another round of troop deployment extensions coming up.

"What do you mean, you want to go home? We've got an election to steal win."

Quote of the Day

I couldn't decide which quote to choose.

Monday, September 25, 2006

The Dems and the Generals

Seems like the latter are coming forward and the former are growing the balls to let them:

The Senate Democratic Policy Committee today, seeing that Bill Frist's Senate has provided no oversight of the Iraq war, today convened its own hearing and called several witnesses who would know what they were talking about...

Video of the flag officers' testimony at the link.

Update (Tuesday morning):

A thought before I head off to the shop. How much you wanna bet the swiftboating of these honorable men will begin before the end of the week? Maybe sooner ...

Not good


I planned on not blogging for a while, but this morning I found out that Molly Ivins' breast cancer is no longer in remission...

Our good thoughts and prayers to one fine Texan.

O'er the Bounding Main

Sir! Click to embiggen, Aye Aye, Sir!

Thinking about the Fixers' upcoming vacation and Med Cruise brought back lotsa memories. I've been on a Med Cruise, too, in USS Fremont APA-44, pictured to port. My cruise even had its own name: LanForMed (Landing Force Mediterranean) 2-65.

I went and checked out the Fixers' ship, ms Noordam. Nice, but she doesn't hold a candle to Fremont in terms of basic amenities, and believe me, Fremont's amenities were pretty basic!

Noordam has five restaurants, no doubt world class. Fremont had one mess deck, in a class of its own. None of those pesky choices for us! You stood in line for breakfast, ate, aka "greased down", then got right back in line for lunch, etc. I skipped this step for 30 days: since I was TAD from 2d Service Bn. to BLT 2/2, and not part of the battalion, I got to eat first! Since I wasn't part of the battalion, they assigned me to mess duty. If you've ever seen two PFCs arguing about who's got more time in grade so he can go up the ladder first whilst manhandling a full garbage can of food scraps to the fantail in a pitching sea, you get the idea.

Noordam has 82,500 tons displacement, is 935 feet long, carries 1918 passengers, and will do 24 knots. Fremont had 16,000 tons displacement, was 492 feet long, carried 1200 passengers, and could do 18 knots on a good day if nothing broke. Much sportier I think, albeit slower.

An APA's armament is its boats. Fremont carried the following boats:

4 LCM-6 (Mike) boats, 56 foot, 28 ton steel landing craft for carrying troop and vehicles -- capacity, 120 combat equipped troops each.

12 LCVP (Peter) boats, 36 foot, 9 ton armored wooden landing craft for carrying troops and vehicles -- capacity 36 combat equipped troops each.

2 LCPL, 36 foot, 9 ton steel fiberglass boats used primarily as command craft.

I think 'LCPL' stands for 'Landing Craft, Peerless Leader'. Heh.

I could find no specs on Noordam's armament.

Just as an aside, I embarked and disembarked Fremont several times, but the only time I used a gangplank was in port. There was a sportier arrangement at sea involving the side of the ship and cargo nets. I have no idea how Mr. 'n Mrs. F will get on and off Noordam out in the middle of the ocean. Probably something modern and high-tech, no doubt.

Fremont was commissioned in 1943. Noordam is brand new and thus unproven. Ah, but the Fixers are risk takers!

Fremont spent her first coupla years visiting tropical paradises such as Saipan, Palau, Leyte, Luzon, and Iwo Jima. Cruising the Med musta been like being put out to pasture for her.

I could go on and on. If you're interested in seeing what this old tub, with apologies to tubs, was all about, click here. Extensive site, with a rousing version of "Anchors Aweigh".

Bon Voyage, Mr. and Mrs. Fixer. My cruise might just possibly have been a little more bare-bones than yours, but I hope you have a good time anyway. Remember: don't all rush to the side to see the sea turtle like we did! You might tip it over!

What's Wrong With Calling Bush A Devil?


Across the U.S. political and media spectrum, there was wide agreement yesterday: Name-calling and personal attacks are bad for national and global dialogue. Prompting the unity were Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez' comments that President Bush was the devil incarnate, "El Diablo."

Among those exercised (and exorcized) about Chavez' name-calling were some of the loudest name-callers in American media today -- including Rush Limbaugh and other rightwing talk hosts. Limbaugh tried to equate Chavez' remarks with the alleged Bush-bashing that comes from top U.S. Democrats. In case you've forgotten, it was Limbaugh who ridiculed Chelsea Clinton, then 13, as the "White House dog."


Let me be clear: Those of us who use facts instead of rant; reason and argument instead of name-calling and personal attacks; evidence instead of intimidation and accusations of disloyalty -- we have the moral authority to tell Hugo Chavez that his comments were out of line.

How about those of us who use fact, reason, and evidence as rant, name-calling, intimidation, and accusations of disloyalty?

But the Limbaughs, Hannitys, Scarboroughs and O'Reillys are in no position to point any fingers. Nor are the executives at Disney, GE and News Corp who have made them the loudest voices in American media.

Nor, for that matter, is Team Bush -- whose strategy has been to demonize and intimidate critics and other members of the "reality-based community."

As Shakey's Sis sez: "No, Mr. Chavez - Bush isn't the devil. I've seen the devil's work. He's competent."

Mr. Chavez has the right in this country, unlike in Venezuela, to say any damn fool thing he wants to, even if it is a little over the top. I think he owes the Devil an apology, though.

Wallace, Bin Laden, Republicans and Clinton

Juan Cole

Here is the video of President Clinton on Fox Cable News.

Wallace maintained that he also asked tough questions about failure to tackle Bin Laden of Republican politicians.

Here is Wallace interviewing Republican Vice President Richard Bruce Cheney on Bin Laden in February, 2005. Compare these softballs to the hatchet job he did on Clinton:

By all means, compare away. No need to, really. Since Faux News is the White House house organ, I think you know the outcome. Actually, I think the White House has its organ stuck firmly in F** News' fart pipe. I think they both like it.

This is THE Smoking Gun

A BuzzFlash editorial

This is THE smoking gun. This is Bush's own 16 revamped intelligence agencies who have concluded that the Iraq War has expanded terrorism. Thousands upon Thousands of American and Iraq lives destroyed. Billions of dollars wasted.

Congress will be won or lost based on the ability of the Democrats to bring truth to power on this intelligence finding by ALL of the top 16 Bush spy agencies.

The Dems cannot let Rove divert attention -- which he is already doing -- or spin this into a political tit for tat -- which the media is arleady doing.

The Dems have a patriotic responsibility to get this information through the pro-Bush media filter to every hamlet in America.

The Dems need to be focused, aggressive, and unrelenting in getting this finding out.

They cannot become defensive or distracted by the magician of the dark arts (Rove) in the White House.

The future of America, our national security and democracy is at stake.

Note to Dems: this is the 9lb. hammer, aka BFH, you've been looking for. You don't have to hit the nail right on the head, just swing the sonofabitch. Repeatedly and hard. Take it from this ol' 'sickle mechanic: this administration is like a rusted-up bike, all stuck together. If you're afraid to beat on it like you got a pair, you'll never get it apart. Use a little heat, too. You'll knock something or someone loose from Rove's grasp sooner than you think. Then their whole deal will fall apart.


BEFORE November.

[A big welcome to BuzzFlash readers, and thanks to BuzzFlash for the linkage. ~ Fixer]

Newsweek - runnin' scared?

Raw Story

The United States edition of the October 2, 2006 issue of Newsweek features a radically different cover story from its International counterparts, RAW STORY has learned.

The cover of International editions, aimed at Europe, Asia, and Latin America, displays in large letters the title "LOSING AFGHANISTAN," along with an arresting photograph of an armed jihadi.

The cover of the United States edition, in contrast, is dedicated to celebrity photographer Annie Leibovitz and is demurely captioned "My Life in Pictures."

I have nothing against Annie Liebovitz, but this ain't about her. I think a story about how Bush and Rumsfeld are losing Afghanistan by sheer incompetence should take precedence over a celebrity bio, more or less a puff piece.

Click the link to see the International edition cover and cover story.

Whoever got to Newsweek did their job. They made them cave, which isn't unusual for the Bush-fearin' press, dammit.

Enough Bill Clinton already

Look,I know alot of people are nostalgic for Bill, and considering what we're stuck with at the moment I can see why.

I don't know about anyone else,but I find it rather alarming that there's even a push to get another Clinton elected. How much of America's history do we really want claimed by two political dynasties? I personally would find it remarkably refreshing to have someone in the White House without the last name Bush or Clinton. Both families had their shots at this,and look where we are. Stop it.

If Hillary gets the Democratic Presidential nomination we will lose. Why? Because America is a bunch of babies who are not ready for a female President,that's why. And can you honestly stomach at least 4 yrs of yet another Mellon Scaife funded 24/7 round of mud and shit slinging(were she to happen to win)? Baggage people, Baggage. Don't we have enough of that now?

Bill Clinton IS NOT A PROGRESSIVE. That word is being attached to the Clinton name and it's bullshit. In fact,if one were to be accurate,he's probably more of a moderate conservative with some liberal leanings. The man is trying to do some good work with his Global Initiative, but he's WAY too close to the Bush family for my comfort level. Let him stick to humanitarian work,it suits him. Hillary is a decent Senator I suppose,but again, she's not a liberal and she's not even close to Progressive. Moneyed interests seem to win out with the Clintons,and the sooner people quit pining away for the glory days of the Clinton White House,the better off we'll all be in the end. Bill was a decent president,not our best,but not our worst either. He definitely left the place in better shape than it was when he got there, which should be the goal of any President. I give him props for that much. And BTW people,the Global Initiative is why his face is all over the TeeVee these days, he's not there to do us any favors. There's nothing wrong with that,this initiative has some admirable goals,but could we stop with tying hopes and dreams to the guy? Please?

I'd love to see this time and energy devoted to more truly Progressive candidates. And with all due respect to Senator Clinton, if she gets the party nomination, our chances of taking back the White House will drop like a rock off a cliff. Unless the GOP runs such a stinker of a candidate people turn out in droves to vote against them. Ok,at this point any GOP member is a stinker,but some would be far worse than others. America is too confused and immature to accept a candidate that's not a white guy right now. Does that bring me any comfort or joy? Nope. It's 2006 for gods sake,we should be over that crap by now. But the fact is,the country is not over it,and it will probably take at least a decade or more before we're even close.

I have no doubt that the Clintons have alot of political experience and wisdom to share, they're both smart,fairly savvy,and Bill,when speaking on behalf of the CGI and it's mission has become quite the Statesman. He also seems to have a fairly extensive knowledge of American history, which puts him WAY ahead of most right wingers these days. Hillary is no dummy either,but kids,she's not a Liberal,she is a moderate conservative with liberal leanings like her hubby. I'm not against that political stance ,but too often that stance capitulates to right wing agendas. That is something I have a problem with.

And let's be honest about something else too. Our voices are not being heard inside the Beltway. And they won't be until there's a push to remove the big money from the political process. That push has to come from OUTSIDE,it will NEVER happen from the inside out,NEVER. Think about it,Congress is who votes for campaign finance reform,they vote their own pay raises, and every one of them benefits from keeping things the way they are. Money is a powerful motivator. Once people get a taste of that,it's hard to pull back from it. Along with this system being money driven,we're now seeing a huge transfer of wealth, and no one is doing a damned thing about it. Why? Think about it,who passes the laws that allow that to happen?

Progressive politics,in the true sense of the word is The Voice of the People,you and me. Grassroots,netroots,whatever the hell you wanna call it,it is what it is. Anyone who cannot or will not embrace that and listen to us and then ACT on that is NOT a Progressive. Politicians listen to consultants and advisors and focus groups and marketers,not us. That's the problem,and until it's addressed,America will continue to decline. It's time for something new,someone new.

Of course this is just my opinion,I could be wrong.

Updated to Add: If you have never read Paul Wellstone's Conscience of a Liberal,find a copy and spend an hour or three reading it,it's not a thick book. One part that grabbed me was when Paul talked about money and what happens for the love of money on Capitol Hill. He found it humiliating and disgusting to have to pander for funding, and proposed making campaign finance reform a state level issue first. What Senators do to protect their perks is disgusting, the book gives you a peek into what goes on when the subject of gifts,contributions,and campaign reforms is discussed amongst our nation's Senators. If states could pass laws(easier for regular folks to get involved and raise hell too on the state/local level)with clear and strict guidelines,you can impose those same laws on your federal level elected officials,at least while they're pandering to get elected in your State. We vote them in or out based on lots of dumb criteria,why not look at their ethics;what they DO to get elected and stay there? Clever people could make an issue of that,especially if you frame it as an issue of cleaning up corruption and giving the people more of a voice. Any elected official against that is going to have a rough time justifiying that to people who work for a living. I'm just sayin'......

Apocalypse Now


More than 100 miles to the northwest, in Bamian, another Green Beret team was having its own leadership problems. For many in ODA 2015, Chief Warrant Officer Kenneth C. Waller, their team commander, was too hungry for a fight and had a habit of planning risky missions without their input.


His end runs, and his flamboyant prose, incensed Waller's superiors at headquarters. They were so annoyed by his tendency to act on his own that they marked his periodic sightings on a wall map, calling the exercise "Where's Waller?"

The team leader had trouble within his own ranks as well. The Bamian unit's senior noncommissioned officer, Master Sgt. Pasquale "Jim" Russo, sent a defiant note to battalion officials in December openly challenging Waller's proposal to raid an area that was thick with enemy fighters. "I can't think of many more principles of combat that we have not violated," Russo said of the plan.


Not long after Russo's complaint, a sizable contingent of the 2015 team let battalion leaders know they preferred not to serve under Waller, several members said. It was an almost unthinkable act of mutiny.


There is a lack of leadership, from the top down, and the responsibility lies with the Chimp and Rummy. Read the article and tell me how we're doing anything different than we did in Vietnam. Let me know why U.S. forces shouldn't be despised, shouldn't be looked at as homicidal killers out to satisfy a bloodlust.

War is one thing. It's ugly and disgusting and stuff happens in the teeth of it that makes one question their humanity. But when we have what amounts to rogue units operating without regard to the chain of command and the rules of engagement, something is extremely wrong.

And you wonder why we are nearly universally hated in the world.

An aside: As I pack for vacation, I make a conscious effort not to pack any clothes that would obviously identify us as Americans. Used to be, walking the streets of Europe, I'd be offered money for a t-shirt I was wearing with a big American flag on the front. Now that shirt won't leave the country. Sad.

Tip o' the Brain to Sarah for the link.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Daily Dave

Peter King Watch has the new Mejias campaign commercial.

Learn about the candidate and volunteer - Dave for America

Contribute - Dave's ActBlue page.

Vote for Dave Mejias. Do you live in NY-03?


I'll probably piss a buncha people off but since, like PBS, it's the season for bloggers to ask for money for whatever reasons, let me just say this.

There is a reason I don't charge for ad space here. There is a reason I foot the bill for any, and all, incidentals. There is a reason I don't ask for donations or accept them.

This way no one can say we are in anyone's pocket. No one can say Mr./Ms. _________ has their arm up my ass, making my lips move. If I can't afford to have a blog, or pay my bills because of my blogging, there will be no blog.

It's about appearances. If we endorse a candidate, it's because we believe he/she is the best for their constituency, not because the DNC tells us to, not because they pay us to. Same goes for policy. I will not allow the perception we are shilling for anyone. The minute I take the first dime is the minute that perception grows. The minute you accept any money, the question arises 'who else do you take money from and why?' I refuse to have our integrity questioned by anyone. I will not compromise my honor for anyone.

I am under no illusions, that if this blog disappeared tomorrow (or if Kos or Atrios disappeared tomorrow), it will be an incredible loss to Blogtopia (y!sctp!). Someone else will pick up where the Brain left off and in 6 months (probably less) we wouldn't even be a memory. The strength of blogging comes from the combined chorus of voices speaking truth to power. A blog falling by the wayside is not the end all. Some of us might do well disabusing ourselves of our irreplacability. That's the way life is, in business, in the military, and in the blogosphere.

If you decide to quit your job and become a full-time blogger, great but, like retirement, make sure you have the resources before you take that leap. No one twisted your arm to get into this. Don't tell me you're starving because you have a product no one else can provide. You don't. Don't tell me you have to blog full time to be on top of every breaking story. You don't. Your readers don't owe you anything and if you think they do, maybe you should start charging for your content.

Free advice

To Dem candidates: Fire your consultants. Start making phone calls to your constituency and they'll tell you what they want. The 'consultants' have been losing elections for you since '94.


It's that simple. Recent polls have shown that voters by a 2-1 margin think that national security is more of an issue this fall than economic issues, so Democratic candidates must resist the advice of Beltway consultants to play up economic issues and give short shrift to discussing security and Iraq. It was this hesitancy to take on Bush directly over Iraq and his choices in fighting the war against terrorists that led to Democratic losses in the last two elections. Democrats can show voters that they understand the importance of strengthening our hand in Iraq and in the war against terrorists by changing course on both, and they can highlight how more rubber-stamping by GOP incumbents in the next Congress will assist the terrorists and endanger our troops unnecessarily.

And an aside: We'll be leaving for Rome on Wednesday afternoon. I've begun packing today because ... well ... Mrs. F has to live for 16 days away from home. So, if you're at JFK Wednesday evening and see a beautiful woman walking across the terminal carrying tickets, and a pile of luggage following, that's me. Blogging will be sporadic until then (I have to work tomorrow and Tuesday too) but I'm assured we have WiFi on the ship so I'll pick up once we're aboard.


From Rob the Squid:


OTHER FRIENDS: Bail you out of jail and tell you what you did was wrong.

MILITARY FRIENDS: Would be sitting next to you saying, "Damn...we f***ed up...but that was fun...but I'm not calling the CO this time!!!!"


To all of you ...

Who said I was too hard on McCain the other day.


And to John McCain, I wouldn't mind making you a new reservation at the Hanoi Hilton, you miserable piece of shit. You deserve everything the VC did to you, you morally corrupt, self-serving, comtemptible, reprehensible, lowlife worm. Read a book on Bushido and take the appropriate steps; that would be the only way you could earn respect in my eyes. You have no honor, don't even know the meaning of the word. Anything you did in the military, your imprisonment, has been disgraced by your actions. When I get there, I'm gonna make sure Lucifer has a special space reserved for you.


Watch this and tell me what a 'maverick', what an 'honorable man', he is. He's just a dishonorable piece of shit whom I wouldn't let lick the sweat off my balls.


Remember in 2000, when the Bush cronies used to say the 'adults were in charge now'? This is not the work of adults.


So I sincerely hope that our foreign minster will have the sense to turn down any and all invitations to travel to Venezuela in the near future. If Condi Rice is pushed around, threatened with handcuffs and asked to spread her arms and legs, what this administration might feel honor bound to do in return doesn't bear thinking about.



WASHINGTON, Sept. 23 - A stark assessment of terrorism trends by American intelligence agencies has found that the American invasion and occupation of Iraq has helped spawn a new generation of Islamic radicalism and that the overall terrorist threat has grown since the Sept. 11 attacks. [my em]


Keepin' us safer.

Tip o' the Brain to Mustang Bobby.

... more torture ...

Disturbing. From the General:


So I decided to take in the Yakima County Republicans' booth. It's always fun to check it out in all its red, white, blue, and glittering glory, looking like what Las Vegas would look like if it was built by a bunch of Baptists.

It was manned by a guy in his sixties or early seventies and two women of about the same age. I told them how excited I was about the new torture legislation, and how I hoped we could start "torturing people right and left soon."

That seemed to stun them for a moment. Indeed, one of the ladies looked horrified. Finally, the old guy smiled and said, "yeah, more torture." The lady to his right repeated it, "more torture." And then the horrified one relaxed, smiled and spoke the same words as well, "more torture."

That's when it became a little weird, because they kept repeating it, three or four times each, stuttering "more torture, more torture, more torture," as I stood there in front of them, dumbfounded. I'm not making this up.


This is your America, ladies and germs. All you Republican voters have created this by mindlessly voting for criminals who told you what you wanted to hear. Well, there's a bridge that spans the East River I'd like to sell ya, morons.