Saturday, November 11, 2006

"Dogs and Marines, Keep Off the Lawn"

This is in honor of Veterans the other 364 days of the year and in peacetime.

Tommy by Rudyard Kipling

I went into a public-'ouse to get a pint o'beer,
The publican 'e up an' sez, "We serve no red-coats here."
The girls be'ind the bar they laughed an' giggled fit to die,
I outs into the street again an' to myself sez I:

O it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, go away";
But it's "Thank you, Mister Atkins," when the band begins to play,
The band begins to play, my boys, the band begins to play,
O it's "Thank you, Mr. Atkins," when the band begins to play.

I went into a theatre as sober as could be,
They gave a drunk civilian room, but 'adn't none for me;
They sent me to the gallery or round the music-'alls,
But when it comes to fightin', Lord! they'll shove me in the stalls!

For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, wait outside";
But it's "Special train for Atkins" when the trooper's on the tide,
The troopship's on the tide, my boys, the troopship's on the tide,
O it's "Special train for Atkins" when the trooper's on the tide.

Yes, makin' mock o' uniforms that guard you while you sleep
Is cheaper than them uniforms, an' they're starvation cheap;
An' hustlin' drunken soldiers when they're goin' large a bit
Is five times better business than paradin' in full kit.

Then it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy how's yer soul?"
But it's "Thin red line of 'eroes" when the drums begin to roll,
The drums begin to roll, my boys, the drums begin to roll,
O it's "Thin red line of 'eroes" when the drums begin to roll.

We aren't no thin red 'eroes, nor we aren't no blackguards too,
But single men in barricks, most remarkable like you;
An' if sometimes our conduck isn't all your fancy paints:
Why, single men in barricks don't grow into plaster saints;

While it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, fall be'ind,"
But it's "Please to walk in front, sir," when there's trouble in the wind,
There's trouble in the wind, my boys, there's trouble in the wind,
O it's "Please to walk in front, sir," when there's trouble in the wind.

You talk o' better food for us, an' schools, an' fires an' all:
We'll wait for extry rations if you treat us rational.
Don't mess about the cook-room slops, but prove it to our face
The Widow's Uniform is not the soldier-man's disgrace.

For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Chuck him out, the brute!"
But it's "Saviour of 'is country," when the guns begin to shoot;
An' it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' anything you please;
But Tommy ain't a bloomin' fool - you bet that Tommy sees!

Oh Just Shut Up

I don't know why I subject myself to Atlanta's talk radio idiocy,but once in awhile in the car I do,just to see what the dipshits are up to. Because it's a holiday,the main conservatard station is replaying crap from this past week.

So I'm listening to some woman(Laura Ingraham?I'm not sure) go on and on about the minimum wage hike and how it will destroy the economy and actually increase the number of scary brown people who come here. Yawn,seriously,it's obvious these people learned nothing from this week's elections.

Then she takes a call from this guy who is livid about the conservative upset,he's voted loyally,sent them money,etc,for 30 years. And he's pissed,PISSED mind you, that now the war is going to end. Yes,folks,the war might end,heaven help us all. So he rattles on some more,and he says he's leaving work early because he's just too upset to work. (someone please,get this man a fucking wa-haaaa-mbulance,stat) .The show host tells him not to leave work,that's what liberals do,and someone has to keep the economy going.

Ya know what? FUCK YOU lady and your jackass warmongering caller too. My husband put in 70 hours this week,how many hours did you work this week? Let's see,3 hours a day,times 5,that's 15. And being the generous soul I am,I'll give you another 15 to do staff meetings and what you call show preparation.Even though I doubt reading RNC talking points requires that much work. So,just to be "fair and balanced"I'll give you 30 hours a week for a job that doesn't require any heavy lifting,mentally or physically, and that pays you several times what my husband makes. Once my husband hits 30 hours his week ain't even half over yet you stupid,vapid,lying,she-beast. If liberals decided to take the day off this country would stop running,so shut your empty headed pie hole. I wish my husband would work less,but he can't. He goes to work sick,hurting and sore all over,and brings lots of work home with him too. Liberals are lazy my ass.

And as for you, sad widdle caller who has his poor widdle feewings hurt because the war might be over soon...I've got two words for you: Enlist Motherfucker. I'll drive you to the recruiter's office my damned self. I'll even send you care packages once you get to Iraq, you little snivelling bitch. Talk to me when you have sand caked in the crack of your ass and the next hot shower you get is weeks away in polluted water because fucking KBR can't do their job. Oh,and on the way home from the recruiter's office,we'll swing by the VA hospital and you can go tell the heroes there how pissed off you are that the war might end soon. Go on,say it,right to their faces. Then,we'll stop off at the VA mental health center/outpatient clinic and you can tell those guys and gals the same thing. And since it's Veteran's day,let's visit a cemetary and you can tell that shit to families placing flags and flowers on their loved one's graves you evil,demented shithead. Do a tour in Iraq and then we'll see how much you like this war your Party loves so much. If you refuse to serve,then shut the fuck up. Jesus Tapdancing Christ I am sick of these people.

When I was a kid,I had two cousins(actually their mom was my grandpa's sister.We called her Auntie),about a decade older than me who did more than one tour of duty in Vietnam. They had 3 sisters,also older than me,and I hung out at their house on the weekends alot. Before they left,I was their very favoritist little cousin. They doted on me,even let me hang out with them and their friends,even though I was a little kid and a pain in the ass. I was a precocious kid,learned to read when I was 3,by the time I was in 3rd grade I was a total science geek,and they made a huge deal about showing off how smart I was to their buddies. Bobby and Dick,the best friends a kid could have. I didn't have an older brother or older sister,so they were the next best thing. I got to be the baby of the family at their house and all of them spoiled me rotten.

Both of them came home from the war in one piece,addicted to heroin. Suffering from PTSD. After that,I never got to be alone with them anymore. No one would tell me why,but I knew. I wouldn't realize til much later on what they had to do"over there",and how that pretty much stole who they were before.

Their mother raised 5 kids by herself,her husband left one day and no one ever saw him again. She worked two jobs and in her spare time(haha)put herself through nursing school. I have no idea how she did it but she did. Blue collar working class families from that time almost without fail had at least one kid in Vietnam.

They came home to a nation that didn't honor them with any parades or admiration. To a government who exposed them to toxins in the battlefield and lied about it,denying them benefits. To families who didn't fully comprehend why they were there or what they were faced with in the jungle. To this day there are still homeless Vietnam Veterans. Some families never recovered from their lost loved ones,those who died and those who came home forever changed.

If we learn anything at all from Iraq and Afghanistan,maybe it should be this:

If our so called "leaders"want a war so bad,let them send their own kids first. Maybe that should be THE first rule of warfare. If they won't do that,then perhaps the war they want is bullshit. And maybe we should wonder if it's not all just a lie to enrich pasty white "bidness men". And maybe,maybe,we should refuse to send our kids to die to fatten their wallets.

And finally,thank you,Fixer,Gordon,Nina,Lurch,Sizemore and all the many other Vets who come here to chat,rant,and occasionally scheme and dream. To all of you and all Vets,thank you for your dedication,courage,sacrifices,and service. You are the spine of the nation,that allows all of us to stand just a little taller.

Dedicated the wounded on Ward 7-D

Waltzing Matilda

Forgotten -- except on Veterans Day

From Open Forum in the San Francisco Chronicle:

Since America mobilized after 9/11, the organization I lead, Swords to Plowshares, has met with Bay Area veterans and their families through our Iraq Veteran Project. Some of the vets we talk with are doing well. Others are struggling. All have tales to tell of the hardships visited on them and their peers -- divorce, debt, homes lost, jobs lost, businesses lost, nightmares, panic attacks, rages, fear of redeployment and suicide.

Claims for VA disability benefits have increased 36 percent since 2000: The backlog has never been greater. It can take months or years for disabled veterans to secure benefits they deserve as a result of their military service. The complexity of Iraq combat disabilities, such as traumatic brain injury, environmental hazards and post-traumatic stress disorder, may slow the process further. If a veteran's claim is upheld, he or she is entitled to retroactive benefits. But they and their families can face severe financial difficulties while they await resolution of their claims. Recent reports published by the National Security Archives show a disturbing disparity in claims resolution between National Guard and Reserve and regular forces. Fewer Guard and Reserve members are filing claims than their regular Army counterparts and are half as likely to prevail. This information was released only after threat of lawsuit from veterans' rights organizations.

Congress. In April 2005, the "Comprehensive Assistance for Veterans Exposed to Traumatic Stressors Act" was introduced, only to languish and die. The bill laid out a proactive strategy for the VA and the Pentagon to recognize mental-health needs and respond quickly. Dr. Charles Hoge, whose study in the New England Journal of Medicine shows that one-third of returning troops are at risk for post-traumatic stress disorder and thus would qualify for mental-health services, testified to the enormous unmet need in subcommittee hearings. And yet, Congress did not value our service members enough to hold full legislative hearings on the subject. Instead, it slashed funding for Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center by half in the 2007 Defense Appropriations bill. This, despite knowing that traumatic brain injury caused by the concussive force of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) is the signature wound of this war.

It failed to move legislation that would have extended presumptive VA health-care eligibility from two years to five years. Considering the delayed onset of post traumatic stress disorder, this shorter coverage will impose unnecessary and cruel obstacles for veterans in need of mental-health services. Congress also failed to approve legislation that would have provided counseling and supportive services to Iraq and Afghanistan veterans at risk for homelessness.

We will ensure veterans have a voice. For your part, let your lawmakers know that you support reintroduction of the Comprehensive Assistance for Veterans Exposed to Traumatic Stressors Act. And let it be hoped that, next year, we, as a nation do better by our veterans.

Please read the rest.

If you get the idea that we care about Veterans around here, you're right.

Keep it covered

Stolen unabashedly from Sumo; more at the link:

Let's hope our people don't see another year in Iraq.

War Stories from Ward 7-D

Stolen from AOB in comments because she says it so well:


Dems need to get on the stick and get more money and people working for the VA, for PTSD therapies, head trauma injuries(Randi's caller was also recovering from brain damage)and get these folks some money for mortgages and college. That's the LEAST we should be doing for our veterans. There also needs to be money set aside to get our homeless vets off the street,their numbers are growing and that is NOT acceptable.

Last night I watched a show on San Francisco PBS station KQED called "California Connected" about some Iraq Veterans with Traumatic Brain Injury undergoing lengthy treatment at the VA hospital in Palo Alto CA. These kids are going to have to live with their condition for sixty or more years.

The show itself made me cry for the young soldiers that were profiled. The concurrent thought that funding for TBI research and treatment has been cut ENRAGED me.

TBI is the signature injury of Bush's War.

Please go watch "War Stories From Ward 7-D". Since the show was made in California for California viewers, I don't know if it has been aired elsewhere. It's a half-hour show and I know that's a big commitment of your time, but I also know that this show needs to be seen by as many folks as possible to galvanize them into demanding some action from our new Congress.

Most of us are privileged to go about our business as usual this Veterans Day. Many of these TBI casualties will never have normal 'business as usual' ever again. It behooves us as a nation, and as caring people, to make sure they get rehabilitated to the extent possible and that their needs are met for as long as it takes.

Some more thoughts on Veterans Day

Looks like the poetic muse is loose in the Brain in honor of Veterans Day. Here's a couple from The Master*:

If any question why we died,
Tell them, because our fathers lied.

A Dead Statesman

I could not dig: I dared not rob:
Therefore I lied to please the mob.
Now all my lies are proved untrue
And I must face the men I slew.
What tale shall serve me here among
Mine angry and defrauded young?

*Rudyard Kipling. Selections are from Epitaphs.

On the 11th Month on the 11th Day at the 11th Hour...

In Memoriam

The young dead soldiers do not speak.
Nevertheless they are heard in the still houses.
(Who has not heard them?) ...

They say,
We were young. We have died. Remember us.

They say,
We have done what we could
But until it is finished it is not done.

They say,
We have given our lives
But until it is finished no one can know what our lives gave.

They say,
Our deaths are not ours,
They are yours,
They will mean what you make them.

They say,
Whether our lives, and our deaths were for peace and a new hope
Or for nothing
We cannot say.
It is you who must say this.

They say,
We leave you our deaths,
Give them their meaning.

Archibald McLeish

Two Soldiers, as sung by Bob Dylan. (You have to download a wee Rhapsody Media Player that's free, and the song is worth it.)


Jesus Camp to close. Hopefully they'll be able to save the minds of the poor children they fucked up.

Shameless blogwhoring

Chapter 4 of my novel The Captains is up at The Practical Press.

Veterans Day

[Originally posted 11 November 2004. ~ F.]

Take the time for reflection today. Think about the millions of lives given in defense of this country and the ideals we hold dear. There are many who gave parts of their body and minds and live amongst us, take the time to think about them today too. And think about all of the men and women serving on active duty now, in places all around the world. If you know a vet, take the time to shake his or her hand and say thanks. Vets, past and present, have always been willing to do what most can't or won't, in order to preserve our way of life. Acknowledge that willingness and say a prayer for those who will give their lives in the future.

In Flanders' Fields

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Verse and link courtesy of Melanie.


Stolen from AOB in comments because she says it so well:


Dems need to get on the stick and get more money and people working for the VA, for PTSD therapies, head trauma injuries(Randi's caller was also recovering from brain damage)and get these folks some money for mortgages and college. That's the LEAST we should be doing for our veterans. There also needs to be money set aside to get our homeless vets off the street,their numbers are growing and that is NOT acceptable.

Friday, November 10, 2006

The Lighter Side

Got this from Mrs. G via e-mail:

A young boy went up to his father and asked him, Dad, "What is the difference between 'potentially' and 'realistically'?

The father thought for a moment, then answered, "Go ask your mother if she would sleep with Brad Pitt for a million dollars. Then ask your sister if she would sleep with Brad Pitt for a million dollars, and then, ask your brother if he'd sleep with Brad Pitt for a million dollars. Come back and tell me what you learn from that."

So the boy went to his mother and asked, "Would you sleep with Brad Pitt for a million dollars?"

The mother replied, "Of course, I would! We could really use that money to fix up the house and send you kids to a great university!"

The boy then went to his sister and asked, "Would you sleep with Brad Pitt for a million dollars?"

The girl replied, "Oh, good heavens! I LOVE Brad Pitt and I would sleep with him in a heartbeat. Are you nuts?"

The boy then went to his brother and asked, "Would you sleep with Brad Pitt for a million dollars?"

"Of course," the brother replied. "Do you know how much a million bucks would buy?"

The boy pondered the answers for a few days and then went back to his dad.

His father asked him, "Did you find out the difference between 'potentially' and 'realistically'?"

The boy replied, "Yes, 'potentially', you and I are sitting on three million dollars, but 'realistically', we're living with two hookers and a future congressman."


Ja, naturlich ...

The Germans are the first in:

Just days after his resignation, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is about to face more repercussions for his involvement in the troubled wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. New legal documents, to be filed next week with Germany's top prosecutor, will seek a criminal investigation and prosecution of Rumsfeld, along with Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, former CIA director George Tenet and other senior U.S. civilian and military officers, for their alleged roles in abuses committed at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison and at the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.


I don't care who metes out justice as long as it's done.

Link thanks to Flame.

Election Aftermath, CA-04

Congratulations to Charlie Brown, even though he lost to Doolittle. Just like Dave Mejias in Fixer's district, Col. Brown was the first serious major opposition to this entrenched Repuglican ever. He gave it a helluva shot and damn near did it.

Kudos as well to Espresso, Charlie's overworked volunteer for the eastern Sierra in Placer and Nevada Counties. She worked her be-boops off. Part of an e-mail she sent out:

As you all most likely know, Charlie did not win, but missed the target by slightly less than 3% District wide. I understand that Nevada County went for Charlie, Placer did not (and as a Placer County resident, let me be the first to say "Why yes, we are inbred idiots! Thanks for asking!")

You did good, kid. It was all them flatlanders from the western slope. We simple hill folk blame everything on them anyway. I live in Nevada County and I'm proud of us.

Just as an aside, Espresso lives about a thousand feet higher in the mountains than I do, and probably considers me a flatlander. Neither one of us trusts anybody below 6000 feet.

After looking at the Secretary of State's election report (courtesy of our long-lost buddy Travis), all our cow counties went for Doolittle, which indicates to me that the farther you live from electricity and indoor plumbing, the more likely you are to vote Republitard. You shit with the goats, you smell like 'em.

It threw a scare into Doolittle, though. From the Sackatomatoes Bee:

Rep. John Doolittle, sounding chastened by a victory Tuesday that was too close for comfort, said Wednesday he will not run for a position in the House Republican leadership next week and will work to remove the legal "cloud" that threatened his re-election.

"The message from the election is that I need to re-evaluate, to be more in touch with my constituents and see how to best meet their needs," he said in an interview with The Bee.

Doolittle also said he will work aggressively to resolve any questions the Justice Department might have about his relationship with disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

"I'd just like them to know what I know," he said. "That above all else was a real drag on my campaign."

That ball and chain and nine-pound hammer you're gonna get in the pen might be a little drag on yer ass too. Happy landings.

In his concession speech early Wednesday, Brown said his strong showing against Doolittle in the heavily Republican district ushered in a new era of politics.

"No Republican will ever take the 4th District for granted again," he declared.

On other issues, Doolittle said he will lose some effectiveness in promoting construction of an Auburn Dam because he no longer will be among the Republican majority on the House Appropriations Committee.

That, in and of itself, is a victory. Most of the folks in the foothills, and those downstream who know what's goin' on, don't want that dam on the American River. The ones in favor of it are developers and others who have a vested interest in continued growth of our already over-populated state. That's a whole 'nother story.

Try again next time, Charlie. You did fine.

Election Aftermath, CA-11

Congratulations to Jerry McNerney, CA-11's new Congressman-elect. Ya done good against great odds.

From the EssEffChron:

TO FULLY understand Tuesday's Democratic victory, look no further than California's 11th Congressional District.

It was there that Jerry McNerney, an obscure Democratic candidate with almost no political experience, toppled Rep. Richard Pombo, R-Tracy, a powerful member of the Republican majority in Congress.

Pombo suffered from being a protégé of disgraced former Majority Leader Tom DeLay, who elevated this San Joaquin County rancher with a hatred of many environmental regulations to chairman of the House Resources Committee. He also had received contributions from convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

Pombo's efforts to weaken environmental regulations inspired the anger of environmentalists who, among many others, flooded his district to promote McNerney's candidacy. Almost the entire volunteer effort was run independently of the Democratic Party (my em).

The GOP selection of Pombo to head a committee charged with guarding the nation's environment was one of the most cynical acts of its now shattered majority. His departure from Congress is long overdue.

And from Misery Watch:

A particularly strong good riddance

The election results were overwhelmingly positive. So many creeps were swept out. But one in particular deserves special notice.

Heh. That was the nicest thing they said about him. Their post goes into more detail about Pombo's assholarity and crimes.

A major victory for the Grass Roots. For the rest of us as well.

Fuck The South? Not so fast there buddy...

Now that the elections are behind us and we have Democratic victory to savor, I'd like to talk about something that's been bugging the hell out of me. I'm seriously not trying to slam anyone in particular here either, I'm just kinda pissed about this "Fuck The South"attitude that persists in more than a few Democratic and liberal political circles. Gee thanks alot there,nice to know it's ok for me to devote my time and energy(and money) to people I can't vote for and when you win,I still can't convince you that not everyone south of the Mason/Dixon is a mouthbreathing redneck dipshit. No,appearently I deserve to be given shit because I live here and it's not your fault. Trust me,if I could afford to move I would,for environmental reasons more than anything else. Republican attitudes towards business and expansion lay the countryside to waste,I hate that. When I bought my home 10 yrs ago I lived in a rural area. Now I live in the suburbs,without having had to move so much as a box. Suburbs are a virus,but I digress. I'd love to live in a blue state that has it's shit together better than Georgia,but I gotta work from where I am,blooming where I'm planted as it were.

Howard Dean's 50 State Strategy is a great plan,it should be fleshed out some more and really firmed up as much as possible. I think once that happens this will become quite a formidable and positive political machine,as long as it does not succomb to big bucks and big egos too much(a little is inevitable,but it can be kept in check). And hopefully at some point,the people with influence in the Party will realize that some political investment in the South does have a payoff,but it will require some patience,some nurturing and some time. There are progressive liberal types here who are starving to help get Dems elected,but we often aren't asked to do anything for our own people,here.

Last summer,at Yearly Kos,there was a panel on the South and it's politics,whether that can shift or not,blah,blah,blah. I never got to see it on C-Span,but I noted that none of the bloggers on the panel lived in the South(If I'm wrong about that I stand corrected,but I don't think I'm wrong). I wonder if any of them have ever visited the South,outside of a blue splotch like the actual city of Atlanta. This is a Problem. If we want to weaken and minimalize Modern Conservativism(hey,they called themselves that first,not me),we're gonna have to convince Southerners that they need to start voting in their own best interests. You ain't gonna do that if you continue to keep southern progressives on the outside looking in. And you certainly won't do it by assuming everyone who lives in the South is an idiot.

I'm not saying there is NO Dem organizing and working going on here,there is,but it's very much a club for"professionals",or so anemic and uninspiring it borders on depressing. It's not too grassrootsy,but it is very "establishment". You don't win hearts and minds with that stuff. Especially of people who have to work for a living.

We had a fairly good Dem running here against an incumbent Repub for the U.S. House,but I never saw one TV commercial,one local TV appearence,a bumpersticker or sign,no literature,flyers or events. Nada. I went to his campaign headquarters to volunteer and no one could make up their minds if they needed my help or not. I hung out there for a few days,did some phone calls,brought in food,etc,but quit,simply becaus I was underwhelmed by the energy being devoted. It was like this was a hobby and a social club or something. It was fucking depressing. And even with all that, he got 30 percent of the vote,investment could have put him over the top by enough of a margin to win. It's not about how much money you spend,it's HOW you spend it that makes for a good campaign. You also have to get people on the ground fired up,excited,and take that to the people,one on one around kitchen tables.

Our Hispanic population is growing by leaps and bounds. With no one reaching out to them who has their best interests at heart, many won't vote,or if they do,they won't go to the polls fully informed. That's a huge untapped amount progressive potential. The Hispanic community also has it's own media,it's own small business community,infrastructures that are perfect for politics and helping to organize.

Women are another part of the population in the South that is virtually ignored by Democrats. We're the ones paying attention to the schools. We do the shopping for our families,we know how much prices effect our bottom lines. Many of us are single mothers (more untapped progressive potential,big time) who have to work more than one job to support our kids. Many of us are white suburban moms who worry about college tuitions that have gone through the roof. Many of us have families in tremendous debt. We wonder if the Occupation of Iraq will take our kids or their friends away from us. We deal with husbands who cheat on us,family crises,aging parents,churches who aren't woman friendly,politics that won't take us seriously.

Red State America is a wierd place to be sure. Megachurches and McMansions co-mingle,there's a Super WalMart every 3 miles and a mall of one kind or another in between. There are multi-million dollar new schools that undereducate and warehouse our kids and no one seems to notice. Shopping is entertainment,SUVs and Big Trucks rule the roads. But alot of people still aren't happy,and they know somethin' ain't right,they just can't put their finger on why or what. I think I have a couple of ideas as to why and what.

First and foremost is a lack of community investment. It's not all that"neighborly" in these parts. Some of that has to do with how developers develop,it's more isolating than communal. Urban sprawl is not all that warm and welcoming. Outside of church,or perhaps kid's sports or the golf course,there's no place to belong. This means there's a huge void that megachurches seized on. Give the people something else that solid,they WILL come.

Second,there's no counter message. No alternative to the southern GOP brand of politics and religion with big bidness all swirled in. What we don't need here is Dems trying to be more like the Repubs,we need a completely different deal. And it can be done without religion taking a front seat. I call it Bread and Butter Politics. Jobs,pensions and retirement,the ability to save and maybe even invest a little,healthcare costs,a fairer and easier to understand tax structure,schools,government corruption,the occupation of Iraq and what that means for the future,better schools,a safe and healthy food supply,you get the idea. These things do matter to families,even suburban ones.

I know lots of families who are struggling and carrying huge debts even with a 6 figure salary. They're one health care crisis or a couple of paychecks away from financial disaster. If you talk to them about economics and the real effects of politics on their own economic future,they'll respond positively.

The GOP machine in Georgia took a blow when Ralph Reed was laughed out of the primaries. It would have been a perfect opening for a solid Dem to come in and make inroads. Instead we got Mark Taylor,who had nothing to offer voters to challenge incumbent governor Sonny Purdue. Taylor got his ass handed to him. I've had more pleasant and exciting root canals than Taylor's campaign. Whoever ran that mess should be run out of poltics and into an exciting career at McDonald's working the deep fryer.

Georgia,for all it's red state pain in the ass-ness, has some stuff going for it that could help create Progressive inroads,such as:

A fairly healthy organic and industrial farm industry. There are food co-ops and other venues in place that fit in with a Democratic platform perfectly. Support the family farmer,you'll find a friend there.

Our schools simply need better curriculums,we are woefully behind in many ways. Bring people some sane changes to NCLB and religious wingnut nonsense and people will respond,happily.

Urban Sprawl has surpassed infrastructure capacity,and it's taking it's toll. Traffic is a mess,public transportation is limited,utilities are on tenuous ground. Sane city planning is needed desperately.

Women and minorites,as I said above,huge untapped voter base. Stop treating us like we're stupid and second class. The things we care about are good for everyone.

Small businesses here are taking hits from the WalMarts of the world,support them,you'll find a loyal voting bloc. Combine them with small scale farmers and you'd have an even bigger voting pool.

Atlanta's GLBT community is huge and has outreach outside the city limits. There are allies there with organizing experience.

Also,the Southern suburbs are full of white people who aren't FROM the South and don't have "southern traditions"as baggage.Like me. Hell,I can go for days without actually meeting someone who was actually born here. You think all those people are conservatives? No way. We didn't come here for the politics,most of us came here when jobs up north dried up or companies transferred us to the region.

Yeah,the wingnuts are moneyed and loony,but they are not invincible. They're very comfortable here,which means there are weaknesses that are obvious if you look for them. By writing off the South you're proving that the Southern Strategy works and you're engaging in the same divisive politics that let the GOP claim the South as it's own. Stop It.

Happy Birthday

Today is the 231st Birthday of the United States Marine Corps. I thought this year I'd bring you the history of the Eagle, Globe, and Anchor.

[The history of the Marine Corps emblem is a story related to the history of the Corps itself. The emblem of today traces its roots to the designs and ornaments of early Continental Marines as well as British Royal Marines. The emblem took its present form in 1868. Before that time many devices, ornaments, and distinguishing marks followed one another as official marks of the Corps.

In 1776, the device consisted of a "foul anchor" of silver or pewter. The foul anchor still forms a part of the emblem today. (A foul anchor is an anchor which has one or more turns of the chain around it). Changes were made in 1798, 1821, and 1824. In 1834 it was prescribed that a brass eagle be worn on the hat, the eagle to measure 3 1/2 inches from wingtip to wingtip.

During the early years numerous distinguishing marks were prescribed, including "black cockades, "scarlet plumes," and "yellow bands and tassels." In 1859 the origin of the present color scheme for the officer's dress uniform ornaments appeared on an elaborate device of solid white metal and yellow metal. The design included a United States shield, half wreath, a bugle, and the letter "M."

In 1868, Brigadier General Commandant Jacob Zeilin appointed a board "to decide and report upon the various devices of cap ornaments for the Marine Corps." On 13 November 1868, the board turned in its report. It was approved by the Commandant four days later, and on 19 November 1868 was signed by the Secretary of the Navy.

The emblem recommended by this board has survived with minor changes to this day. It consists of a globe (showing the Western Hemisphere) intersected by a foul anchor, and surmounted by a spread eagle. On the emblem itself, the device is topped by a ribbon inscribed with the Latin motto "Semper Fidelis" (Always Faithful). The uniform ornaments omit the motto ribbon.

The general design of the emblem was probably derived from the British Royal Marines' "Globe and Laurel." The globe on the U.S. Marine emblem signifies service in any part of the world. The eagle also indirectly signifies service worldwide, although this may not have been the intention of the designers in 1868. The eagle they selected for the Marine emblem is a crested eagle, a type found all over the world. On the other hand, the eagle pictured on the great seal and the currency of the United States is the bald eagle, strictly an American variety. The anchor, whose origin dates back to the founding of the Marine Corps in 1775, indicates the amphibious nature of Marines' duties.]

If you ask a Marine, he (or 'she' - PC, you know) may tell you that the 'foul anchor' actually symbolizes the often turbulent relationship between the Marine Corps and Uncle Sam's Canoe Club the U.S.Navy. Gotta be nice to 'em though, they drive us where we need to go.

I am a little miffed that I never got to wear "black cockades", "scarlet plumes", and "yellow bands and tassels". Well, not on duty anyway...

I chose the emblem above just to get this in:

"You Marines are just part of the Department of the Navy."

"Yeah, the men's department." (rimshot)

Today, brothers Lurch, Moderate Man, and Deuddersun also wish the Corps a Happy Birthday. Check 'em out. Also, please read my posts for 2004 and 2005 if you like. The '05 one in particular comes as close as I'll probably ever get to timeless prose.

Happy Birthday, Marine Corps, and as always, Semper Fi.

We need our pound of flesh

A lot of folks, more than I thought would, are saying impeachment might not be a good idea when the 110th Congress starts in January. They say, and I understand the point, that impeachment is not good for the country at this time, when we are in disarray and we have some really serious issues to deal with. Listen to me, impeachment has to be considered and acted upon. Why? We need our pound of flesh.

The people of the United States have to see that disregard for the laws of the land, the disregard for the Constitution, and the disregard of the international community cannot happen without paying a price. Just as you and I have to pay when we break the law, so must these assholes.

We cannot perpetuate the meme that because you're rich and connected you get to walk. We see it often enough with celebrities and the wealthy when they run afoul of the law, when they are given the benefit of the doubt because of who they are or how much money they throw around. This is far more serious.

George W. Bush is guilty of criminal acts in the United States and crimes against humanity in the international arena. Can we shrug and discount impeachment when the process was used against Bill Clinton for getting a blowjob? What does that say about the imeachment process itself? What does that say about our priorities as a nation? What does it say about us as human beings when we view an extramarital affair with more disdain than the murder of 3000 of our troops and countless Iraqis?

Internationally, impeachment would send a strong message to our allies and the world that we realize the mistake we made and are doing our damnedest to correct it. If we contain Bush for the next 2 years and then let him ride off into the sunset, we would send the message that we didn't care about the damage wrought in our name at his hand. Impeaching Bush would be a tangible act of contrition that would go a long way to restoring our credibility on the international stage.

No, ladies and germs, impeachment is a necessity for us to move on. The rule of law, shit on for the past 6 years, has to be reestablished and there is no better place to start than with the man who is responsible for this mess.

I want my pound of flesh.


Can you hear the violins playing?

The hundreds of Republican staffers - not to mention more than a few Members - who will lose their jobs in the next few weeks are going to face a hostile marketplace on K Street as unemployed Republicans flood the market.

Tuesday's election results sent at least 20 incumbents in the House and Senate packing and flipped control of the House to Democrats. It also flipped a decade-long trend of Republicans as the darlings of the lobbying sector. While GOP aides are flooding the town with their resumes, it's now plugged-in Democratic aides whom companies and firms really have an eye for.


You know the old saying, 'lay down with dogs ...' These are the people who kept the Rethug Machine going. I hope they all end up living under a bridge in a refrigerator box.

Link thanks to Skippy.

The new SECDEF

His Highness has some good background on Rummy's replacement. I can't wait until all these Cold War relics die off.

Do-it-yourself Impeachment

This came to us as a comment on a previous post. Go see and read Impeach for Do it now.

Thursday, November 9, 2006

A Come-to-Daddy Moment

Maureen Dowd

Poppy Bush and James Baker gave Sonny the presidency to play with and he broke it. So now they're taking it back.

They are dragging W. away from those reckless older guys who have been such a bad influence and getting him some new minders who are a lot more practical.

In a scene that might be called "Murder on the Oval Express," Rummy turned up dead with so many knives in him that it's impossible to say who actually finished off the man billed as Washington's most skilled infighter. (Poppy? Scowcroft? Baker? Laura? Condi? The Silver Fox? Retired generals? Serving generals? Future generals? Troops returning to Iraq for the umpteenth time without a decent strategy? Democrats? Republicans? Joe Lieberman?)

The defense chief got hung out to dry before Saddam got hung. The president and Karl Rove, underestimating the public's hunger for change or overestimating the loyalty of a fed-up base, did not ice Rummy in time to save the Senate from teetering Democratic. But once Sonny managed to heedlessly dynamite the Republican majority - as well as the Middle East, the Atlantic alliance and the U.S. Army - then Bush Inc., the family firm that snatched the presidency for W. in 2000, had to step in. Two trusted members of the Bush 41 war council, Mr. Baker and Robert Gates, have been dispatched to discipline the delinquent juvenile and extricate him from the mother of all messes.

While Vice went off to a corner to lick his wounds, W. was forced to do his best imitation of his dad yesterday, talking about "bipartisan outreach", "people have spoken", blah-blah-blah - after he'd been out on the trail saying that electing Democrats would mean that "the terrorists win and America loses."

He was asked if his surprise at the election results showed he was out of touch with Americans. "I thought when it was all said and done," he replied, "the American people would understand the importance of taxes and the importance of security."

Not the way you do 'em, asshole.

So it was just that the American people were too dumb to understand? W. also managed to bash Vietnam vets, saying that this war isn't similar because there's a volunteer army, so "the troops understand the consequences of Iraq in the global war on terror." Is that why W. stayed out of Vietnam? Because he understood it?

An ashen Rummy was also condescending during his uncomfortable tableau with W. and Bob Gates in the Oval Office, implying that he was dumped because Americans just didn’t "comprehend" what was going on in Iraq. Actually, Rummy, we get it. You don't get it.

"Baker's no fool," a Bush 41 official said. "He wasn't going to go out there with a plan for Iraq and have Rummy shoot it down. He wanted a receptive audience. Everyone had to be on the same page before the plan is unveiled."

It appears as if an intervention to impose some 'adult leadership' has been in the works for a while. Say what you will about 41, his gang can't, as in 'not possible', do worse than the idiot spawn.

Especially with the Congressional oversight which we have been promised.

More of your base are belong to us

I served as part of the superb Deval Patrick/Tim Murray ground team. Volunteers from all over Massachusetts were able to participate in a Get Out Our Vote effort that gave Democrats in Massachusetts a real mandate for change. Team Patrick had field organizers who worked with their own communities, with volunteers from union members to students to moms to veterans to little old ladies doing whatever they had time to do and more. On Election Day I stayed until the polls closed, making phone calls and then I went out and knocked on doors, ready to give a ride to the polls then and there if necessary, and I wasn't the only one. I believe grassroots efforts like this played a significant role in the Big Blue Force that pulled our country back from a fascist precipice and I feel safer already.
And thank you Dean for the 50-State Strategy. We didn't win them all but if you face your enemy at every point you're not going to win every single battle. However, all of us, our nation, and the whole planet are winners and we owe plenty to those who didn't triumph this time. Connecticut didn't make Lamont its junior Senator, but Lamont ran a principled, issue-driven campaign that won him great admiration in CT and New England. Like many Democratic candidates who lost, including Dave Mejias and Charlie Brown, Lamont has gained 'name-brand' recognition and put important issues to voters. (I guess we can never underestimate the power of incumbency and Republican gerrymandering.) An example is Jerry McNerney, who beat Pombo in CA-11 in 2006, but remember, he lost decisively in 2004 and stuck with it. We have a bunch of high-quality candidates out there who I have high hopes for in 2008. Ohio barely sent mean Jean back to the House but we are also sending Fighting Dem, Netroots candidate Jim Webb to the Senate. I first heard of him via blogs. Not on national or local news and not in the national or local papers but right here on the internet. Blogs helped set the stage and the voters of VA brought it home. (I guess Allen must be thinking in that allenesque way, what a difference a macaca makes.) I contributed to Webb's campaign through ActBlue. I also contributed to Tester, Brown, Mejias, Paccione, Lamont... (And considering that I was laid off a bit over a week ago I have to say that I am kinda glad the midterms are over. Now I can take my finger off the button before my wallet explodes and concentrate on getting a job.) In short this was a great win for the Dems, particularly in the face of the lies, distortions, and attacks of the GOP, not to mention an alternate brainless media that has not been doing its job. Who would have thought, two years ago, that we would see the fall of the Republican majority come so soon? (Alternate Brain, Jo Fish and Main and Central kept me from utter despair.) The Dems have taken back Congress and I think this shows that a solid majority of rational people can prevent a fundamentalist minority from hijacking American politics, and that is something to celebrate. As Gordon noted yesterday, Ya done good, Americans. You beat the biggest criminal political machine in history by a knockout.

Aye, I

First, my 'quote of the day':

Start printing up subpoenas! - Fixer

Then go read this, by David Swanson.

Chairman John Conyers Jr., Chairman Henry Waxman. Those titles will prove to be the most important outcome of yesterday's elections, even if the Dems get the Senate too. It's investigation and impeachment time. Vice President Cheney has already announced his plans to "probably" refuse to obey a subpoena from Congress. Democrats need to be preparing for that crisis now. And I don't mean just elected Democrats. I mean you and everyone you know who has the sanity to no longer call themselves Republicans. I mean you, Harold Meyerson, who published an op-ed in the Washington Post advocating a bait and switch: run on health care and education and then take up impeachment after the election. It is now after the election. I mean you, Arianna Huffington, who argued that impeachment would distract from the election and could be addressed later. It's later now. And before you start whimpering about the 2008 elections looming, consider this ...

A democracy that limits itself to elections will die. A democracy that appears like Brigadoon for a day every two years and then becomes a dictatorship for 729 days is dead. Citizen activism begins today, November 8th. We have a moral duty to impeach and distant elections be damned. But, even so, consider this.

In each of the nine cases in the past when one party has raised impeachment, that party has benefitted in the next elections. In other cases when a party has failed to press for impeachment when the grounds for it were widely known, that party has suffered. (Remember Iran Contra?) And look at what just happened yesterday.

Exit polls reported that voters by a margin of 62-33 percent voted on national, not local, issues. They voted for four, closely-bunched national reasons: corruption, terrorism, the economy, and Iraq. By 57-41 percent they disapproved of Bush's handling of Iraq. They didn't give a damn about taxes or "values" or local pork.

Democrats yesterday gained majorities in at least six new state legislatures: New Hampshire, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin. This creates six new bodies that citizens can ask to send impeachment charges to the US House of Representatives. Bills that would do that have already been introduced in three state legislatures: Vermont, Illinois, California. New Jersey activists are hard at work, intent on being the state that comes through.

Whether we get an impeachment or not, we should push for it just so our congresscritters get the message.

Ed Bradley has died

Ed Bradley, the sort of reporter that Kieth Olbermann might admire, has died. I didn't even know he was ill, but he died of leukemia in NYC today. RIP, Mr Bradley.

"Well, we ran a little over the estimate..."

William Rivers Pitt offers up some good thoughts, as he always does, to contemplate during our national post-election 'breathing space'.

Let us be absolutely clear on what has taken place. This was not simply a midterm election, not just a historic running of the table, not just a scathing repudiation of virtually everything the Bush administration has stood for since they swaggered into Washington six long years ago.

It was so very much more than this.

The back of the "Neo-conservative Revolution" has been broken, perhaps not for all time - simply because nothing truly evil ever really dies - but for a good long while. The ideology foisted upon an unwilling public by the likes of Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Perle, Ledeen and the rest, the ideology that has given us slaughter in Iraq and a ravaged reputation abroad, has been exposed and eviscerated. The Project for the New American Century, and all that was spawned from it, has been relegated, for now, to the dustbin of history.

As unutterably massive as this is, it still does not capture the entirety of the event.

All we have to tie together this amazing and confusing experiment are a few old pieces of paper. The Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights are the only truths that each and every citizen of this country have completely in common. They are our unifying theme, our organizing principle, and we share this together because the basic idea was, and remains, that these belong to us and defend us and set us, now and forever, free.

Before the sun came up on Wednesday, that shared heritage had been under a savage, unrelenting attack by men and women who have no respect for the idea and the dream which makes us all that we are as a people. The right to a trial has been shattered, the right to stand before your accuser has been removed, the right to be secure in home and person from governmental intrusion has been swept by the boards, and all by a president who once referred to the Constitution as "just a God damned piece of paper."

These cancers have not been cut out simply because of an election, of course. But the first, vital step towards repairing our shared heritage was taken on Tuesday night, simply because we have at long last returned to the basic Constitutional requirement of checks and balances within this government. No longer will the best interests of the people be slapped aside by people who have no patience for the process that was laid out by wiser and better men. Some logs have been thrown in the road, and for now, a real chance for healing has been gifted to us by the very democratic institutions these people would shun and shatter. The power of the vote, so often maligned and disdained, has been restored.

Much remains to be done. The departure of Donald Rumsfeld from the Pentagon will not heal Iraq, nor will it bring back to life the soldiers and civilians who have died thanks to the hubris of others. The cornering of Dick Cheney has not sapped him of his power. George W. Bush remains an incurious front man whose very existence in that seat of power will stand as a constant threat to the safety and security of this nation and the world entire.

"U.S. envoy tells Iraqis election won't change policy," reads the Associated Press headline from Wednesday. That, in and of itself, says all we need to know about what remains to be done. For the first time in far too long, however, an opportunity has arrived to do more than scream into the thunderstorm and damn the rain.

The real work begins now.

Caution: automotive analogy ahead. This should have been two posts. Fuck it, I'm rollin'!

A good part of any job, as any mechanic will tell you, is the diagnosis, which the customer sees for the first time in the written estimate. The other part of the job is thoughtful application of theory, experience, knuckles and know-how, applied in such a manner so as to make the customer happy and not lose yer ass doin' it.

There's a third part, after the job is complete. This is the 'creative writing' phase, in which the mechanic prepares the final statement of cost for the customer. This is where the customer's expectation of final cost is revised to justify additional problems encountered during the repair process. He knows generally what's coming. He may bitch mightily, but, if the job is done correctly and he has no further problems, he'll be satisfied.

If it's OK to do a job well, it's OK to be paid well for doing it.

Most of the time you get what you pay for. Sometimes you don't. Our nation is in one of those times you don't.

If Bush were a mechanic, and speaking as a mechanic, thank God he's not, he'd be in jail right now, cleaning customer-applied tar and feathers out of his ass along with some buckshot. If he had pulled this shit on some of the adult motorcyclists I've dealt with over the years, he'd be dead.

Bush is like the worst sort of incompetent shade-tree shyster mechanic you could imagine, the kind that gives the rest of us a bad name, and has caused reams of legislation to protect the customer and make honest mechanics' lives miserable.

First, he completely bungled his diagnosis of what went wrong, and of what was required after 9/11. He had always wanted to dismantle the engine of Iraq, when all that was really needed was some work on the alternator of Afghanistan. He lied, and insisted the crankshaft needed replaced, knowing it didn't but desperately, pathologically, wanting to. Congress, as inept a customer as Bush was a mechanic, and whom we entrusted to get the problem fixed and keep our nation runnin' good, OK'ed the deal on an open-ended estimate. Kinda like lettin' the tow truck driver negotiate for you when he's in cahoots with the garage. Big mistake.

Then, this man who should never have been allowed anywhere near so valuable a toolbox, turned to. He took Afghanistan apart and then lost interest and left it on the bench in pieces Then, even though it ran a little rough and coulda used minor work, he took Iraq apart with hammers instead of wrenches.

He couldn't fix what he had fucked up, but he kept asking us for more and more money, which he split with his buddies to go buy beer and crank so they could do the unnecessary in ever more of a frenzy of destruction and incompetence.

When we started to complain about all the bungling, the unnecessary work and expense, he blamed us for getting in the way of fulfilling his long-standing fantasy of being a great mechanic who thought he could fix anything. He took the great vehicle of our Constitution further and further apart, trying to fix what wasn't broken, and in the process he fucked it up big time, all the while insisting that his was the only way to do it and we should go fuck ourselves.

That's where our country stands now: strewn in pieces all over a backyard, some parts turning rusty, some lost in the weeds, with a bunch of incompetent, cranked-up power-drunk wrench jockeys damn near breakin' their arms pointin' blame at anyone who isn't them.

Somewhere along the line, some sooner, some later, we realized we needed a new, competent mechanic, one who would tackle the job of re-assembling our nation from parts in unlabelled boxes and cans, under workbenches, fallen through holes in the floor. Bush and his evil little elves fought this tooth and nail.

So we took a vote.

What we've got now, just after the election, ain't perfect, but for the first time in years there's hope. Bush is still there, but we're on the verge of wresting the most destructive of his tools out of his grubby little mitts. We've banished some of his henchmen who contributed to the mess, and replaced them with folks who need to be given a chance to roll their sleeves up and see what they can do with the mess Bush has left.

Cooler heads have already been called in. Bush 41's practical mechanics are rushing to get Junior's ass out of the crack he's gotten us into. Again. The first time was in Florida in 2000, and they may be regretting it. Baker and Gates are heavyweights, and Baker owes the nation big time for getting the Chimp installed as president, waaay over his head, in the first place. Gates, for all the Iran-Contra bullshit, knows the Middle East pretty well, unlike that senile old war criminal and despoiler of the military, Rumsfeld. We will see how well reality-based adults handle the mess caused by Bush's juvenile, delusional, ideological wet dream.

Things are lookin' up. Perhaps we can yet turn the United States from a badly used Fiat (carefully chosen word) back into a smooth runnin' Cadillac.

And the third part? The final bill? It will be the biggest shock anyone has ever had, but we will have to pay it. It always costs a lot more to have a good mechanic straighten out the mess caused by a bad one.

Don't choose a mechanic based on what he tells you about his abilities, 'cuz he's lyin'. Talk to his customers and look at some of his work. Peer into his toolbox, see what he's got to work with. If the majority of us had done that earlier, we wouldn't be in the jam we're in now. Maybe we've learned that lesson. Then again...

I know this analogy is looser'n a goose, but you folks are smart. You'll get it.

Boo Freakin' Hoo

America can lay claim to a plethora of bullies of all kinds. Most Americans, at one point or another, have either been a bully or have been bullied in large and small ways. The bullies have been in charge for much longer than BushCo has been in power,it always been that way. To a certain degree, the nation lionizes and admires bullies,hell,watch "reality TV"for awhile,the biggest asshole usually wins. Work in The Corporation for awhile,it's obvious who gets ahead,the biggest asshole,almost without fail. The prickier the better. And when they get pricked back,they immediately reveal how old they are mentally.

The problem with this of course is that there are always jackasses who like to smack other people around,either literally,or emotionally,or both. Small,shallow,spoiled,cruel spawn of some horrific and demented,souless meeting of the Damned. So what could be solid tenaciousness and a firmly grounded work ethic and sense of responsibility is perverted to a mindless need to destroy something or someone every single day. And to do that with a sense of purpose and satisfaction. Which is my long winded way of saying that striving for "success" is twisted into a lack of emotional maturity and a breakdown in having any empathy at all,for anything or anyone. Sprinkle in a sense of selfish entitlement and exceptionalism and you have what truly are the very worst qualities human beings are capable of. Abusive,greedy self entitlement can only end badly,nothing good comes from it,ever.

This sort of madness sucks the energy and life force out of anything good,or beautiful,or unspoiled,or free,or joyous,or life affirming. It's exhausting and even deadly sometimes for those on the recieving end. Which is exactly why we are where we are as a Nation at the moment. It's like an abusive relationship in striking ways. The upside is, it's possible to escape and heal, to fight back and win. But it's not easy or bloodless,you gotta reach deep,be smart,fight smart and mostly,feel the fear and move ahead BECAUSE of the Fear,not in spite of it. I think,in part at least,this is why America just turned out to vote as we did. We're starting to wake up and see that the fear is being inflicted on us,it's made up shit mostly. Made up by soft pasty rich guys and all their enablers. Soft pasty rich guys who go around stirring up shit wherever they go because they operate on the notion of chaos making it easier to rape and pillage and steal and become obscenely wealthy. If you can turn people on each other,neighbor against neighbor, parent against child(or vice versa),friend against friend,race against race,religion against religion,gender against gender, hetero vs homo,well,that's how you really fuck up a country. The system lets you get rich doing it,it's the ultimate human weakness,greed.

America is way too strong to be destroyed from outside. The people in power know this,they've used our fears and prejudices on us from the beginning of time to keep a ruling class in place. And we lose in that deal,they don't. As we see....

Now,I don't expect what I've just said here to be common wisdom for quite some time. I think,to put it simply, that most of us are sick and tired of being kicked around and picked the (much)lesser of two evils with a bit of "wtf,it couldn't be alot worse"from the people who defected away from the GOP this time around. We're not"there"yet,seeing en masse that alot of the shit we fight amongst ourselves about is foisted upon us by the UnAmericans in our midst and the ones in charge of things. IMO,part of the whole Progressive "thing"should be to point that out to people,firmly,but gently with alarming regularity. United We Stand,Divided We Fall and all that stuff. This is not to say we don't have some really amazing Dems who just got elected(or re-elected),but others will need watching and kept on track,progressively speaking. We can do that,if the work that we put into this election is any indication.

Fortunately for Us,we had a pretty decent Democratic Republic thingy happening before the current facist hoardes and their flying monkeys got the keys to Everything. We have a much softer place to land,than say, people in South America who have to rise up from totally destroyed countries and fight their own brands of corruption and powerful,rich people who fuck things up for everyone else. We'd be wise,I think, to use that soft landing place to our advantage.

We have much to clean up before we get back on track though,the work is going to be exhausting and tireless. We simply must band together and not allow little,petty,and idiotic things to keep us divided. The Task at Hand will be much easier if we have each other's backs. That's how we really win this thing in the end. At the end of the day,most of us want the same stuff. A healthy place to live and work,good schools for the kiddies, a fair day's pay for a fair day's work,health care that doesn't make us go broke,safe streets, a place to call home, food on the table and maybe,the shot at a better life for ourselves and our families than those before us had.

The list of people we're supposed to be hating has become so large that people are finally seeing that hit home. Like all of the sudden they're supposed to hate the same neighbor you've lived next to for years and really become fond of (wingnuts don't have those experiences,they can't relate). Your kids play together, you hang out sometimes or are at least cordial,hating on your brown neighbor,or your liberal neighbor,or your gay neighbor fucks up the neighborhood,who would want to make life tough when it's going ok? Most people wouldn't. When you've already seen someone as a human pretty much like you that inflicted hate doesn't make any sense. And this is part of why today's conservatives are quickly finding themselves on the outside looking in. AND IT"S DRIVING THEM NUTS. Which,while really amusing,also makes them dangerous. This shit ain't over by a long shot.

Everytime we put differences aside and work together,a wingnut's head explodes while they cry. And to that,we should turn together and say loudly and proudly:

Boo Freakin' Hoo. We Got Better Things To Do. Than Listen To You. Boo Hoo. Boo Hoo. Boo Freakin' Hoo.

Get with the program,grow the fuck up,contribute something good and constructive,or move the FUCK out of the way and go be an asshole on your own time,in your room. You can come out when you can behave like an adult,if you're lucky.

Location, location, location ...

I've been thinking (since we clinched the Senate last night) of an appropriate place to build the gallows. You know, for a time when the trials are over. I came up with a few places.

The National Mall, Washington, DC - Nation's capitol and all the shit that goes with it.

Mount Vernon - George Washington's home as a sacrifice for tarnishing the reputation of the great nation he helped build.

Monticello - Thomas Jefferson's home for the same reasons.

Braintree, MA - The home of John Adams, for he hated tyrants more than any of the other Founders.

Arlington National Cemetary - So the last thing they see are the markers for the sons and daughters they sent here.

Your thoughts?

Ya see ...

What Gord and I have been telling yas for 2 1/2 years? Bullies are cowards and the Rethugs are bullies. Once ya hit 'em back they run.

Look at Rummy's situation. The voting machines hadn't even cooled off yet and he's submitting his resignation, and the Chimp wasted no time in accepting. Know why? Because we just hit 'em back really hard. Instead of standing up and continuing the 'you're doing a heckuva job, Rummy' line, they run and throw their big pal under the bus. In record time. If they actually believed their own bullshit, Rummy would still be there two years from now. The guy who had a permanent job a couple days ago, the guy they all had confidence in to win the 'War on Terra' is now a goat. Cowardly.

Look at Rush Lintball and the other Rethug talking heads and bloggers, now saying they're 'liberated' from having to carry someone's water whom they don't believe in. Cowards. Spineless cowards who'd compromise their 'principles' for a temporary ride on the Gravy Train. How can you repeat talking points you know to be lies, you know are doing damage to the nation, you know are getting Americans killed only because it's the Party Line? Now they're trying to have it both ways. Didn't they break Kerry's balls for being a 'flip-flopper'? Much as I have my own issues with John Kerry, he has more ethics and principle in his little finger than the right wing blogosphere and pundit corps combined. Lintball, Hannity, and the rest should swing right along with Chimpy, Darth, and Rummy.

These are the people who will do anything and say anything just for a paycheck. In the last 48 hours, you've seen the Right's true colors. Incompetence, disloyalty, and cowardice. These are the people who've been running your nation for the last 6 years.

Take a good look at their true nature and remember for the next time they tell you only they know what's good for America.

I got yer 'family values', right here.

Wednesday, November 8, 2006

Short and to the point

Webb wins. Game, set, match. Yippee!

Do you smell something?

The Bush is burning. Sumo watched the Chimp's press conference and rounded up some great cartoons. Heh ... I love all the gloating. It's good to have something to gloat about.

Quote of the Day

Our pal 42:


"OK, first we have a nice fillet of Karl Rove's ass, defatted, marinated in vinegar to remove the toxins, and charcoal-grilled. It also comes with a side of Potatoes de Suckitbitchez and a Pelosi Friscovalues salad."
"Hmm... Next?"


Every time someone I know to be a Republican came into the shop today, I'd just look at 'em and chuckle. A few of 'em avoided me completely. Ha-ha.

What's next?

Today's 'must read', by Dave Lindorff:

So the question is: what next?

We're already hearing a lot from the mainstream media about how this was all about voters wanting less extremism and more civility in government.


This was about voters who have had it with neocon imperialist militarism, had it with government lying, had it with corruption, and had it with campaign tactics that equate opposition to the president with support for terrorism.

Of course it's true that some of the Democrats who will be replacing Republican office-holders are conservative (some are liberal, too). That's not the point, though. They are almost all honorable people who entered their races as underdogs earlier this year, not expecting to win, and who ended up winning because the voting public, whether liberal or conservative, wants them to clean the Stygian Stables, which have filled up with six years with of crap and bullshit.

Now the Democratic leadership in Congress doesn't see it that way. They seem to be buying into the media illusion that what the public wants is civility in government and respect for the president. That's certainly how Rep. Nancy Pelosi, the likely new House majority leader, puts it (even though her home district in San Francisco voted 61 percent for an impeachment resolution).

But civility and respect are not going to get the job done (my em).

It is perhaps wishful thinking to believe that Bush, as richly as he deserves it, will be impeached for war crimes. We can leave that to future prosecutors, either in a better post-Bush America or in other nations, since war crimes don't have a statute of limitations, and Bush has a good 20 years left in him if he manages to stay off the bottle.

That said, there are crimes and constitutional violations that even Republicans should agree call for his impeachment (and in some cases Cheney's). Among these are:

Long list follows. Eat lunch here.

American voters don't want politeness. We want our country back. We have just proved to Republicans that we will punish lying and corruption. In the next election, Democrats should be on notice that we will also punish cowardice and inaction.

A great start for newly empowered Democrats would be to revoke or rephrase the September 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force, which was passed to authorize Bush to invade Afghanistan and to pursue Al Qaeda. Bush has been claiming ever since that the 2001 AUMF made him permanent "commander in chief" in an unending "War" on Terror, with the right to ignore the courts and acts of Congress. It is clearly in Congress's power to redefine that AUMF more clearly, to make it unambiguously clear that it did not authorize the president to be generalissimo, that it was referring exclusively to combat outside the U.S., that it expects him to stay within the law and the Constitution under the resolution, and that the AUMF itself in any case has an expiration date. This is a move that even some Republicans--especially after their recent drubbing--will support.

The new Congress should also promptly revoke the military commissions law, and especially the parts that revoke habeas corpus, that grant the president and his gang retroactive immunity from prosecution for authorizing torture, and that undermine the Posse Comitatus Act, making it easier for a president to declare martial law. Again, it should be possible to get significant Republican support for this effort.

Although it doesn't deserve it, the Democratic Party has by default been given a chance in this off-year election. So far, the leadership is showing every sign of preparing to blow it.

That means it's up to us voters to make sure elected Democrats in Congress get the message, first by voting them into power, and then by riding them hard to make sure they take aggressive action to put the administration in the dock and rescue the Constitution and the country. A good start would be to go to Starting an Impeachment Movement.

Remember, we only got one-third of the government back. We still got King George to deal with, and deal with him we must.

Wingnut snivelling

I think I'm posting out of pure joy today. It's a different feeling, and I hope it lasts, but I'll take what I can get.

Some folks ain't so happy. Go see Wonkette:

With the Burns/Tester and Macaca/Webb final results a few hours or months away, we thought it was time to take a look at our favorite conservative Message Board and gauge the response.

We speak of Free Republic, of course. This particular editor has been a Freeper Fan for 10 years and even attended some of their marches at the U.S. Capitol - OK, I walked by a few of their protests, by accident.

Let's see how they're taking the beating, after the jump.

Just go see. It's about what you'd expect, and expect a lot more of it in the days to come. Here's a coupla 'comments' from Wonkette's readers:

Commie Homo Vampire Mexicans are coming to get you.

Freepers threatening to move to Australia (?) is the new liberals threatening to move to Canada.

Now that the terrorists have won you no longer have the freedom to be a gay meth snorting child molester....

Go see for yourself. It's fun!

To all the hyperbolic whining, moaning, snivelling and complaining wingnuts, I say (middle finger held proudly aloft):

Suck it, bitchez!

Covering the spread

Sorry, guys, the Mary Carey story was last week. Daddy Frank, yesterday evening, on election 'coverage':

Here's what we know in the early going. Everyone on television - and certainly anyone who looks at the Internet - knows that the exit polls look very good for Democrats in Senate races. But we're not allowed to say that because we all know what happened with exit polls in 2004.

So we must congratulate those networks that stepped into the gap and trumpeted with graphics their fearless position that Lugar, unopposed, has been reelected in Indiana.

Otherwise, as I watch cable TV and float on the sea of bloviation, I hope others are sharing my delight in the reemergence of William Bennett as a pundit on CNN. He seems to know little about the specifics of his races, repeats G.O.P. talking points without even bothering to dress them up with some of those literary references that have marked his "serious" and "scholarly" works. But why doesn't Wolf or Lou or someone ask him what we really want to know: Which bets did he place on which candidates, what were the spreads, what was the over-under? Here is a great journalistic resource for CNN and no one is taking advantage of it. This explains in part why its ratings cannot catch up with Fox.


Maybe someone'll ask about 'point shaving'. See previous post.

'Crybaby pussycats'. NOT!

I love to blow my own horn (I can reach that!), but I don't get the chance very often. It's even better when I can do it and congratulate American voters at the same time:

...we have to do it by enough votes that it will be hard for them to steal the election...

We did it, folks.

Greg Palast had a little pre-election prediction:

For six years now, our investigations team, at first on assignment for BBC TV and the Guardian, has been digging into the nitty-gritty of the gaming of US elections. We've found that November 7, 2006 is a day that will live in infamy. Four and a half million votes have been shoplifted. Here's how they'll do it, in three easy steps:

Three easy steps follow.

Add it all up -- all those Democratic-leaning votes rejected, barred and spoiled -- and the Republican Party begins Election Day with a 4.5 million-vote thumb on the vote-tally scale.

We can find reports of election day 'irregularities' aka 'Republitard vote theft crimes' everywhere. Here's just one example:

With hours left to go before polls close, reports of problems have been widespread, especially in states where close or "bellwether" elections are taking place, RAW STORY has learned.

Details and links follow that opener.

One last quote from Mr. Palast:

So, what are you going to do about it? May I suggest you -- steal back your vote.

It's true you can't win with 51% of the vote anymore. So just get over it. The regime's sneak attack via vote suppression will only net them 4.5 million votes, about 5% of the total. You should be able to beat that blindfolded. If you can't get 55%, then you're just a bunch of crybaby pussycats who don't deserve to win back America.

Looks like we slid the 'crybaby pussycats' jacket. Whew! I got a hunch there's a new bunch of 'crybaby pussycats' this morning. It'll be fun to watch.

Ya done good, Americans. You beat the biggest criminal political machine in history by a knockout. The Repugs were right. For once. It's all about 'turnout'*. See what you can do when you get pissed-off in mass quantities? What took you so long?

It's a start.

*Go find an outlaw biker and ask him what a 'turnout' is. It befits the Repugs today.


Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is stepping down, sources tell CNN.

Good. More as it develops.


Boy, that was fast! I no sooner clicked back to what I was doing after posting the above than:

CNN is reporting that President George Bush will announce the resignation of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld at a news conference set for 1 PM EST.

A senior administration official confirmed the news to CNN White House correspondent Suzanne Malveaux, and said that Rumsfeld had already written out his resignation.

It's a start.

Update deux. Thanks, Nina.:


Officials said Robert Gates, former head of the CIA under the first President Bush, would replace Rumsfeld. NBC News' Tim Russert confirmed Rumsfeld's resignation and the replacement pick.

I was holdin' out for Fixer. Oh, well. Thank God it ain't Lieberman, the neocons' wet dream.

Shoot me, Dick ...

The wonderful Neil Shakespeare.

Take a deep breath ...

The House is ours and the Senate might be. It's a day for patting ourselves on our backs. But the work is just beginning. I don't plan to give the Dems a chance to become complacent.

Hear this, Ms. Pelosi, Mr. Ried, Chairman Dean. You've got your chance and some big plans, you'd better do what you've promised in your campaigns. Minimum wage, the Bush tax cuts, health care, the war in Iraq, there's a lot of work to do, including investigations into the shady dealings in the White House.

You have a job to do. The nation is counting on you to restore America's principles and credibilty and you can bet I'm gonna hold your feet to the fire.

I love the sound of subpoenas being served.

And to all the Rethugs who lost: Get. The. Fuck. OUT!

Tuesday, November 7, 2006

We tried ...

But no cigar. CNN calls NY-03 for Peter King. Fortunately, his ass is gonna be off the Homeland Security Committee. Congratulations to Speaker Pelosi and the rest of the House Dems who unseated Rethugs to take at least one chamber of Congress.

I wish Dave Mejias and his staff the best and congratulate them for giving Peter King the tightest race of his political career. I plan to support Dave in his future political endeavors if he feels the urge to run for national office again.

More tomorrow, I'm tired.

...and how did your voting experience go today?

Following up on yesterday's post, I just got back from voting and thought I'd share.

The touchscreen machine was sitting right there next to the check-in table. I asked if anyone had spilled coffee on it yet and one of the ladies said, resoundingly, "NO!". I told 'em I figured they'd have got that out of the way first thing and the other gals laughed.

We didn't have to show any ID. They had our names in a book, and we just signed our names as usual. It's still a friendly deal out here in Mayberryland.

The voting booths were set up directly in front of the poll workers, who were all women. They had a few words to say about getting to look at folk's derrieres showing below the privacy screen all day, and there was a comment about one guy in shorts who had hairy legs.

Our voting booths are cardboard with a trash-bag privacy screen. They've used these for the 26 years I've been here. They're not very spacious, and I don't much like standing to fill out a long ballot like ours, so I just sat at a table. We have modernized somewhat: a ball-point pen was used instead of a pencil.

This year I got to put my ballot directly into the optical scanner instead of a box. The thing looked for all the world like a shredder, but didn't sound like one. It yanked the ballot out of my hand so fast I was lucky to get let go of it!

Just for fun, I went and looked at the touchscreen machine. Yep, Diebold. The polling-place commander, Mavis, said nobody had used it yet. This was at 2pm and I was voter no. 205 for the day, which is more than usual. I've gone there at 6pm and been no. 85. She said she hoped nobody wanted to use it, as even though she had been snapped-in on it, she wasn't sure how to use it. She didn't even want the thing there. Her parting words to me were, "Don't you even tell nobody we got the damn thing!"

Yes, ma'am.

Repugs suck the poll

Shakespeare's Sister is doing a heckuva job (sorry, Sis!) posting on polling place problems. Go see.

"Rumsfeld is an obnoxious jerk and a war criminal"

From Cursor:

Watch CNN's Jack Cafferty call Defense Secretary Rumsfeld "an obnoxious jerk and a war criminal." Cafferty later indicated that he "stepped over the line" in criticizing 'Saddam's Unindicted Co-Conspirator.'

My favorite curmudgeon didn't go very far "over the line" if at all. "Obnoxious jerk" may be a little too subjective. Maybe a little too complimentary in this case as well.

Rumsfeld is still a war criminal, just one of many in high places in this maladministration.

Voters Angered by Robo Calls in California

TPM Muckraker

From TPM Reader DG in California's 4th District, where the NRCC robo calls have been hitting:

We were calling Dems today to GOTV. Phone Bankers are getting yelled at by Dems who have been getting the Robo Calls and blame Brown. Another aspect to this is that the phone banker volunteers get discouraged after being yelled at so much, you hear "Is this really doing any good calling these people?"

Update: We're trying to get as many examples of the NRCC's robo calls together that we can. We're collecting them here.

I must have said "fuck you" to machines forty times in the last few days.

A lady, an actual person, called me on behalf of a coupla candidates for our local airport district. I said I was already going to vote for them and the gal was so relieved not to get yelled at or cussed out that I could hear her relax. We had a nice chat.

The illegality lies in the robocallers' not identifying themselves at the beginning of the call. That they purport or mislead folks into thinking it's from the opposing candidate is just sleazy. If you listen to the call, they identify themselves at the end, but who does? Hell, I've hung up on both Clintons and Al Gore this week. Mrs. G talks to them...


St. Petersburg Times

Today is Election Day. It should also be, in my humble opinion, a national holiday.

We hear all the time about the embarrassing low voter turnout numbers around the country, so it should be a no-brainer that we make it easier for people to get to the polls.

Like by not making them choose between voting or getting fired for missing work.

In retiree-dominated communities like Citrus County, this is not such a huge issue. For many of our residents, every day is Saturday and it is not a hardship to vote.

Oh, Lord, please don't make every day Saturday for us Olde Fartes (Lctp)! One bath a week is plenty!

But that is not the case across the United States. And even here, there are thousands of younger workers who can't break away from the construction site or the restaurant to vote.

This is probably a good idea, but it pre-supposes knowledge of the issues and an interest in being a good citizen.

While it would be nice if more folks took an interest in their country, we need smarter voters as well as more of them. If you need proof of that, look at what's in the White House.

It would probably do just as well to make disallowing employees time to go and vote into a felony. More employers need to be recognized as the felons they are, anyway.

Please go read the rest of the article. It's interesting.

As long as you're goin' to keep havin' 'em, vote for their future

In honor of An Angry Old Broad's new granddaughter Molly, I present this piece from The Progressive Daily Beacon:

Maybe you don't want to vote, because Bush and Republicans were successful in their effort to "turn off" voters - and turned you off they did! However, maybe you have one to a dozen reasons to vote. They might be reasons, perhaps, that you don't normally consider while pondering whether or not to vote. The reasons you should vote this year: your children.

What, you might ask, do your children have to do with you voting or not voting? The answer, of course, is simple - everything!

What will you tell your children when they ask, "What did you do to help stop global warming?"

What will you tell your children when they ask, "What did you do to ensure every child in America had health insurance?"

What will you tell your children when they ask, "What did you do to ensure I could attend college?"

What will you tell your children when they ask, "What did you do to protect my civil liberties?"

What will you tell your children when they ask, "What did you do to stop our government from torturing human beings?"

What will you tell your children when they ask, "What did you do to prevent our economy from collapsing under the weight of massive debt?"

What will you tell your children when they ask, "At what point did you decide that too many of my friends were dying for a war based on lies?"

Maybe you don't want to vote, because "things have gotten too nasty." Maybe you don't want to vote, because you are too busy? Maybe you don't want to vote, because there isn't a difference between the parties?

Maybe you just don't think your vote matters? If your kids matter, your vote matters! On November 7, get out and vote. Your children and their future are depending upon you...and your vote!

Even though I personally feel that it's purty near time for the human race to stop breeding before it fucks itself out of a place at the dinner table, I know it's not going to happen until it becomes way more obvious that there's too many of us for the planet as we know it to support.

When God appoints me his right-hand man on Earth, I will implement a replacement-minus program, starting with Republicans and fundies.

In the meantime, on an individual level, a new child is generally recognized as a joyous event, so congrats AOB.

The rest of us will now go and vote for the future of our country on Molly's behalf.

"The most important election in my lifetime"

Gore Vidal, with video.

We're facing the most important election in my lifetime - which does not quite extend back to that of Abraham Lincoln, but it's pretty close. There'll be nothing more important in the voting line that one can foresee that will come our way while any of us is still hobbling around. This will determine whether we regain the republic which we have lost over the last five years.

The coup d'etat was so rapid that even I, who am ready for such things ... I thought, these people are going to make a grab for it. But I thought, my heavens, there's still the courts.... Even a shameless Supreme Court is not going to back up the loss of habeas corpus....

So, my fellow countrymen, as I sit here, not yet at Gettysburg, I have a notion that this is the most important vote that you'll probably ever cast. Because should this gang of thugs continue in the two houses of Congress, there isn't any chance of getting the Constitution back....

This is the last chance, really, by getting some new chairpersons to head committees in the House ... to have a clean sweep, which, in normal times, if we'd ever enjoyed them, would have happened by now. Now it has got to happen, or welcome to the Third Reich.


Campaign '06 - Goodbye and Good Riddance

Molly Ivins

AUSTIN, Texas - Right to the end, this insane conversation between reality and Not Reality. The president of the United States STILL says we are reducing terrorism by fighting in Iraq; STILL says we are creating democracy; STILL says we're preventing the spread of nuclear weapons and making Israel more secure; and, shoddiest of all, STILL not allowing that our fallen have died in vain.

While this perfectly insane dialogue has been taking place, Congress stands before us so hopelessly corrupt that the stench has washed all over the country. Perhaps my least favorite excuse for cheating is "Everybody does it." NO, everybody DOESN'T do it. Nor does the system make you do it, or alcohol or drugs or Jack Abramoff. I do not want to hear one more excuse - apologize and go.

On the other hand, I am really going to miss the stories this Congress provided. Remember Terri Schiavo? I mean, you wake up one morning and there it is, kind of like finding Fidel Castro in the refrigerator. And you listen to these people who hold high elective office having this debate - as though they know, as though they have any idea, as though they have any right. And then there are some of the troops, like Randy "Duke" Cunningham, semi-owner of the houseboat The Duke-Stir. Some days you couldn't wait to get up to find out who'd been indicted. I miss watching Katherine Harris from Florida wear less and less blue eye shadow as she went through her Senate race.

Well, it's been rank - racist, sleazy, lying and full of insinuating scare tactics. Thank God it's over.

No shit. The campaign is over. I hope we wake up tomorrow to the only outcome that can save the United States of America.

Then let the games begin! And the '08 campaign, of course. Yeesh.