Saturday, February 3, 2007
Tailgating is banned at the Super Bowl
"The parking lot and traffic flow will look a lot different than it will during normal season games," McCarthy said. "We're going to have a security perimeter so we can screen people coming in." Among the items banned: containers of any type, coolers of any size, backpacks, bottles, banners, noisemakers and horns.
All of which will no doubt be available inside the stadium at exorbitant prices.
If they want to park near the stadium, ticket holders should buy special permits in advance. They range in price from $60 to $325 per vehicle. [...]
Much of the stadium's usual parking area will be used to host the 1-million-square foot "NFL Experience," billed as an interactive football theme park and party. On Super Sunday, it will only be open to ticket holders. It costs $15 for adults and $10 for children younger than 12.
"That's not tailgating; that's corporate sales," said Ray Bridges, a Colts fan with tickets to the game.
Considering what he's already spent, Bridges said, it's a bit much to be told that he won't be allowed to barbecue his own bratwurst before kickoff.
"I understand they want to get their concession sales, but...when you are paying two, three, $4,000 for a ticket, for them to say you can't bring in a grill, I just don't understand the thinking," he said.
Rich folks who can afford those prices have the help do that, Mr. Bridges, no doubt at minimum wage, and are served in their sky boxes.
Big Corpora has used 'security' as an excuse, to their great profit, to deny the game to the average person. Reg'lar folks will have to have their I.Q. lowered at home.
I haven't watched a football game in fifty years. I see no reason to start now.
Kenneth Quinnell, the most excellent owner of The Practical Press, is doing his second annual awards show, the Practical Press Awards 2006. A few regular readers here at the Brain are up for awards and it's a good chance for you to sample some of the original fiction, poetry, short stories, and music from the many talented contributors. Vote for your favorites if you so desire.
Nobody seems pissed off about the fact we're seeing and hearing the same things we did in '02, when the Chimp and his gargoyles began priming the pump for the Iraq War. The Mighty Wurlitzer is cranking again, inflating the gasbags for a full-court propaganda dirge to get the American people thinking Iranian Marines are just about ready for an amphibious assault on both coasts, simultaneously, with nuclear bullets, Kamikaze squads, and HERF guns. Oh my!
I mean, look at the crap coming out of Iraq. That 'false flag' operation in Karbala was traced to Iraqi generals (lord knows who was pulling the strings there), and the massacre this week outside Najaf (which looks more and more like retribution in a tribal squabble), were both attributed to the Iranians initially. Does anybody not believe this was thrown out there to see if it will stick?
Another indicator of what's coming down the pike is all the wingnuts I know are already worked into a froth not seen since the Chimp began rattling his sabre towards Iraq. I asked one guy, "what if we attack and Iran closes down the Straits of Hormuz? What are we gonna do for oil?" He said "fuck them, it's our oil." They're ready to go ... well ... they're ready for your kid to go.
McCain is ready. Lieberman is ready. McConnell is ready too. They don't want discussion of the Iraq War or the consequences to America. And they will go along with whatever the Chimp says and does.
Listen to me. Invading Iran will damage our nation beyond repair, maybe even destroy it. Do you think we will survive $10/gal gasoline and home heating oil? Do you think, if things got that bad, your neighbor would hesitate killing you for yours if it came to a choice of his children freezing or not? Are you ready for Mad Max come to America? You think it could never happen here?
Why? You think Americans are above that? I've got news for you. If things get bad here, we'll be killing each other in the streets they way they do in Baghdad. If we don't get these idiots out of the White House soon, the transition from the American Century to the American Interregnum will be short and horrible.
Friday, February 2, 2007
Now we're seeing the same thing with the Obama story; it is lingering, even after it has been totally discredited. Emboldened by a generation that has refused to punish their libelous behavior, these guys now just take whatever "facts" they like and run with them. Hannity is one culprit. Michael Savage, a spineless little fuckhead who should be torn apart by hyenas, responded to the debunking of the Obama story by telling his listeners that Obama "will not reply" to the original Insight report, a blatant lie. He added, for good measure, that "assuming the world is still here" after a Clinton-Obama administration, Obama would then run for president with "Saddam Hussein's younger grandson" as his running mate.
The very fact that the liars are allowed to continue their trade unpunished is a sort of endorsement of their original versions of the "truth." I have absolutely no doubt that many Americans believe deep down in their gullible hearts that if people like Hannity and Limbaugh were really liars, they would be pulled off the air, or punished for some reason. They see that a Michael Savage can be yanked from a lucrative job for gay-bashing, but there appears to be no punishment at all for unchecked, intentional lying, which is at least as serious an offense for a journalist.
If the press is serious about saving itself as a social institution, it has to start policing its own business. We all have to encourage the likes of Barack Obama to hire the meanest lawyers on the planet and to file the hairiest lawsuits imaginable against the Hannitys, Gibsons, and Savages of the world. We have to impress upon the victims of these broadsides that choosing to ignore that style of libel is a betrayal of the public trust and an act of political cowardice that the rest of us end up paying for in spades. That's the ugly truth: Until one of those monsters goes down in a fireball of punitive litigation, we are all fucked. And it's not going to happen anytime soon.
All those assholes need to be sued until all their millions are in the bank accounts of the trial lawyers they despise, and they're livin' under bridges like the loathesome trolls they are.
THE BATTLE OF BAGHDAD....If Tom Lasseter is to be believed -- and I think he is -- the junior officers leading our troops are not sanguine about our prospects in Baghdad. They think that Muqtada al-Sadr's militia has so thoroughly infiltrated the Iraqi army and police force that they're the ones who mostly benefit from our training:
"Half of them are JAM. They'll wave at us during the day and shoot at us during the night," said 1st Lt. Dan Quinn, a platoon leader in the Army's 1st Infantry Division, using the initials of the militia's Arabic name, Jaish al Mahdi. "People (in America) think it's bad, but that we control the city. That's not the way it is. They control it, and they let us drive around. It's hostile territory."
...."All the Shiites have to do is tell everyone to lay low, wait for the Americans to leave, then when they leave you have a target list and within a day they'll kill every Sunni leader in the country. It'll be called the 'Day of Death' or something like that," said 1st Lt. Alain Etienne, 34, of Brooklyn, N.Y. "They say, 'Wait, and we will be victorious.' That's what they preach. And it will be their victory."
.... After U.S. units pounded al-Sadr's men in August 2004, the cleric apparently decided that instead of facing American tanks, he'd use the Americans' plans to build Iraqi security forces to rebuild his own militia.
....His recruits began flooding into the Iraqi army and police, receiving training, uniforms and equipment either directly from the U.S. military or from the American-backed Iraqi Defense Ministry.
You know, everything I've heard suggests that Gen. David Petraeus is a terrific officer in all respects. And yet, there's something that's been niggling in the back of my mind for a while: namely that in August 2004, when al-Sadr was hatching this plan, Petraeus was the guy in charge of creating and overseeing the training program for the Iraqi army and police. In other words, he was the guy who was being suckered. Now he's in charge of the whole operation. Is anybody else bothered by this?
George Armstrong Custer was a "terrific" officer too. If "Moqtada al-Sadr" translates into English as "Crazy Horse", I wouldn't be a bit surprised.
Iraqi government lies over the killing of hundreds of Shias in an attack on Sunday stand exposed by independent investigations carried out by IPS in Iraq.
Conflicting reports had arisen earlier on how and why a huge battle broke out around the small village Zarqa, located just a few kilometres northeast of the Shia holy city Najaf, which is 90 km south of Baghdad.
Tribal members from both believe the attack was launched by the central government of Baghdad to stifle growing Shia-Sunni unity in the area.
Ahmed, a member of the al-Khazali tribe said "our two tribes have a strong belief that Iranians are provoking sectarian war in Iraq which is against the belief of all Muslims, and so we announced an alliance with Sunni brothers against any sectarian violence in the country. That did not make our Iranian dominated government happy."
Iraq's national security advisor Muaffaq al-Rubaii said just 15 minutes after the MNS announcement that hundreds of Arab fighters had been killed, and that many had been arrested. Rubaii claimed there were Saudis, Yemenis, Egyptians and Afghans.
But Governor Khalil's office backed away from its initial claims after the dead turned out to be local Shia Iraqis. Iraqi security officials continue to contradict their own statements. Most officials now say that the dead were Shia extremists supported by foreign powers.
The government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has a pattern of announcing it is fighting terrorists, like its backers in Washington. Many Iraqis in the south now accuse Baghdad of calling them terrorists simply because they refuse to collaborate with the Iranian dominated government.
True? Who knows? Disturbing? Yes.
Read the rest. It paints the terrible picture that our air assets are being used to commit political murder.
My commendation was for noticing and documenting serious overcharging of the Air Force for basic supplies, rivets, tools, ass wipes; back in the day of the $700 toilet seats. I was bored and started digging through files to pass the time, go figure. The contractors who were ripping us off were declared 'off-limits' (their military contracts were revoked and forbidden from doing business with the military or military personnel in the future) and I was given a thousand dollar bonus (to an E-4 in 1985, that was a nice chunk o' change) for saving Uncle Sam millions. Had I found this, they'd have made me Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, or at least Chief of Supply. Could you imagine me as a two or three star? Ha! I shudder at the thought. But do you think Blackwater, Dyncorp, Halliburton, or KBR will ever be declared 'off-limits'?
I suppose it comes as no surprise to learn that funds distributed by the anti-Democratic Party to its largest campaign donors were abused and mismanaged, but the expanse of waste and fraud is truly amazing.
"Molly had the most amazing sense of humor. Let's face, the girl was laugh out loud funny. But funny with a purpose. She really understood how to use satire as a political weapon in the tradition of Mark Twain and Jonathan Swift.
And on top of that, unlike so many of the smart-assed satirists of our day, she was a woman. A classy lady with a pair of brass cojones. For any fan of nerve, humor, and spunk, it was impossible not to adore her."
Thursday, February 1, 2007
Jonathan Schulze was a United States Marine.
He died earlier this month at the age of 25 -- not in Iraq, but back home, in Minnesota.
He died of wounds received during his seven-month tour of duty in Iraq, wounds different from the ones that earned Schulze two purple hearts. This young man died of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, of wounds to the soul and not the flesh. He died because the government that was there to send him far away to fight in 2004 wasn't there for him when he got home.
The young Marine was wounded twice in battle but returned home to rebuild his life and to cope with the things he had seen, things he had done and friends he had lost. But, by the time he was discharged from the Marines in late 2005, he was deeply troubled with images of combat and violence that he could not get out of his mind.
According to Minnesota press reports, Schulze went to the Veterans Administration (VA) center in Minneapolis on December 14, 2006, met with a psychiatrist and was told that he could only be admitted for treatment four months later, in March.
On January 11, 2007, accompanied by his parents, he went to the VA hospital in St. Cloud, Minnesota and told people at that VA facility that he was thinking of killing himself. They told Schulze that they could not admit him as a patient and sent him on his way.
The next day, January 12, Schulze called the VA, reiterating that he was feeling suicidal. He was told that he was number 26 on the waiting list.
A man who had risked his life in Iraq and done everything that was asked of him by the United States government, was told by that same government that his sacrifice would be repaid by being 26th on a list of Veterans similarly crying out for help.
On January 16, Schulze called his family and told them that he was going to do it -- he was going to kill himself. His family called the local police, who raced to his house, kicked in his door and found him hanging from an electrical cord.
Attempts to resuscitate him were unsuccessful.
"He was a delayed casualty of the Iraq war," his father, Jim Schulze, a Vietnam Veteran, said of Jonathan.
Go read the rest.
When this kid told the VA that he was feeling suicidal, they shoulda grabbed his young ass and put him in a facility on a 3-day mental hold and gotten him counseling, drugs, whatever, RIGHT FUCKIN' NOW. If he'da been in jail, say for drunk driving, and said that, the jail would've done something like that. At minimum, they'd have put him where he couldn't hurt himself and kept watch until a pro could talk to him.
Cases like Jon Schulze go to the head of the line. Period.
The VA? Apparently not. Absolutely unconscionable and unacceptable. They are complicit in his demise.
This will not be the only time we hear something like this. I fear many more like it are on the way.
With each ticking of the clock, every beating of the heart, and the passing of one day into the next; the reality grows clearer, into a focus so sharp that staring directly into its truth threatens to burn the eyes. The reality is that George W. Bush and Dick Cheney are a clear and present danger not only to global stability, but to the very survival of humanity.
Dangerous as the new Mid-East reality is now, the administration's desire to attack Iran is nothing less than sheer insanity. And yet, with each passing hour Mister Bush and Cheney are building a falsified Iraq-like intelligence dossier on Iran. When they're ready - whether the American people want to or not; regardless of the madness to ensue; only because they want to and can; and no matter the danger posed to the people of the region and the world, George W. Bush and Dick Cheney will attack Iran.
In normal times and under normal circumstances the Democratic Party's "go slow" and "feed the administration and Republicans enough rope to hang themselves" political approach would be acceptable, if not quite commendable. However, these are not normal times. Mister Bush and Mister Cheney pose a clear and present danger not only to the United States, but, too, the entire world. America's Congress has an obligation, a moral duty to the world to act now and to impeach George W. Bush and Dick Cheney.
Anything less would make them an accomplice to the madness.
With each ticking of the clock, every beating of the heart, and the passing of one day to the next - the reality grows clearer...the President and Vice-President must be impeached.
Whatever the means, peacefully like impeachment, or whatever, they need to be removed from office and hidden under a prison NOW. While we've still got a world.
While congressional Democrats test how far they should go in challenging George W. Bush's war powers, the time may be running out to stop Bush from ordering a major escalation of the Middle East conflict by attacking Iran.
Military and intelligence sources continue to tell me that preparations are advancing for a war with Iran starting possibly as early as mid-to-late February. The sources offer some differences of opinion over whether Bush might cite a provocation from Iran or whether Israel will take the lead in launching air strikes against Iran's nuclear facilities.
But there is growing alarm among military and intelligence experts that Bush already has decided to attack and simply is waiting for a second aircraft carrier strike force to arrive in the region - and for a propaganda blitz to stir up some pro-war sentiment at home.
The propaganda blitz is well under way. Hope and pray it doesn't work. Iraq was wrong, but this is far worse.
The immediate question, however, is what, if anything, can Congress and the American people do to head off Bush's expanded war strategy.
But Bush and his neoconservative legal advisers have made clear that they see virtually no limits to Bush's "plenary" powers as Commander in Chief at a time of war. In their view, Bush is free to take military actions abroad and to waive legal and constitutional constraints at home because the United States has been deemed part of the "battlefield."
Nothing short of a direct congressional prohibition on war with Iran and a serious threat of impeachment would seem likely to give Bush more than a moment's pause. But congressional Republicans would surely obstruct such measures and Bush might well veto any law that was passed.
Still, unless Congress escalates the confrontation with the President - and does so quickly - it may be too late to stop what could become a very dangerous escalation.
To Congress, the American people, military commanders, God (a regular reader of the Brain, according to his IP), and to anybody and everybody anywhere: STOP THIS MADMAN SONOFABITCH, WHATEVER IT TAKES.
The warmest-hearted populist ever to pick up a pen with the purpose of calling the rabble to the battlements, Ivins understood that change came only when some citizen in some off-the-map town passed a petition, called a Congressman or cast an angry vote to throw the bums out. The nation's mostly widely syndicated progressive columnist, who died January 31 at age 62 after a long battle with what she referred to as a "scorching case of cancer," adored the activists she celebrated from the time in the late 1960s when she created her own "Movements for Social Change" beat at the old Minneapolis Tribune and started making heroes of "militant blacks, angry Indians, radical students, uppity women and a motley assortment of other misfits and troublemakers."
It mattered, a lot, that Molly was writing for papers around the country during the Bush interregnum. She explained to disbelieving Minnesotans and Mainers that, yes, these men really were as mean, as self-serving and as delusional as they seemed. The book that Molly and her pal Lou Dubose wrote about their homeboy-in-chief, Shrub: The Short But Happy Political Life of George W. Bush (Random House, 2000), was the essential exposé of the man the Supreme Court elected President. And Ivins's columns tore away any pretense of civility or citizenship erected by the likes of Karl Rove.
She also told them, even when she was battling cancer and Karl Rove, that they should relish the lucky break of their consciences and their conflicts. Speaking truth to power is the best job in any democracy, she explained. It took her to towns across this great yet battered land to say: "So keep fightin' for freedom and justice, beloveds, but don't you forget to have fun doin' it. Lord, let your laughter ring forth. Be outrageous, ridicule the fraidy-cats, rejoice in all the oddities that freedom can produce. And when you get through kickin' ass and celebratin' the sheer joy of a good fight, be sure to tell those who come after how much fun it was."
Also please see The Texas Observer.
And is it me, or is the 'New' Blogger the same shit sandwich the 'Old' Blogger was, only with a different wrapper? New and improved, mah ais!
It's like a big Edwards 2008 locomotive is going through the bloggrrlsphere, and it has now picked up Melissa McEwan, well-known to most of you as Shakespeare's Sister.
She's on board as Netroots Coordinator, so she'll be working with Pandagon's Amanda Marcotte (my earlier post here).
You can't say that they aren't a savvy crew over there at Team Edwards, because they are scooping up the big guns on the almost-A list. Both Melissa and Amanda bring large, politically engaged and active readers that will be receptive with the Edwards message. A lot of that is due to Elizabeth Edwards, who is well-versed and ever-present in the blogosphere.
It will be interesting to see what kind of pressure this puts on the other candidates to recruit well-known voices from the netroots, and what editorial effect that will have on blogs (Amanda and Melissa will continue to write on their respective outposts while working on the campaign). This is certainly generating more buzz on the blogs than developments at Hillaryland.
2008 is certainly going to be more interesting -- and more confusing -- than 2004, as these worlds collide.
You've made us proud*, darlin'.
*Shakes began her blogging life as a regular commenter here and it's like watching your little sister find success. She deserves it and much more.
"We are the people who run this country. We are the deciders. And every single day, every single one of us needs to step outside and take some action to help stop this war. Raise hell. Think of something to make the ridiculous look ridiculous. Make our troops know we're for them and trying to get them out of there. Hit the streets to protest Bush's proposed surge. If you can, go to the peace march in Washington on Jan. 27. We need people in the streets, banging pots and pans and demanding, "Stop it, now!""Nothing that needs to be added. Nothing that can be added. As she did so many times, she summed it all up in a paragraph. Damn! I'll miss her.
Wednesday, January 31, 2007
This case's importance lies not in the narrow charge that Libby committed perjury in testifying about his role in the outing of CIA operative Valerie Wilson; that was merely one facet of a far-ranging plot to deceive Congress and the public about perhaps the most important issue of our time: The prospect of terrorists obtaining a weapon of mass destruction.
The Libby case testimony, centered on the chicanery of the vice president, certainly suggests that impeachable offenses occurred on the highest level of the White House. Just how conscious the president was of the deceits conducted under his authority, what he knew and when he knew it, is precisely what an impeachment trial would determine (my em).
Testimony already has established that Libby was nothing more than a pawn used by Cheney in the vice president's constant and ferocious campaign to trick the nation into war -- not a totally surprising quest for a man who had served as CEO for a corporation that has profited so obscenely from the Iraq agony.
Much, much more. Please go read.
Copies of handwritten notes by Vice President Dick Cheney, introduced at trial by defense attorneys for former White House staffer I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, would appear to implicate George W. Bush in the Plame CIA Leak case.
Bush has long maintained that he was unaware of attacks by any member of his administration against [former ambassador Joseph] Wilson. The ex-envoy's stinging rebukes of the administration's use of pre-war Iraq intelligence led Libby and other White House officials to leak Wilson's wife's covert CIA status to reporters in July 2003 in an act of retaliation. [my em]
I believe Ambassador Wilson told me it was a federal crime to out a covert operator. Does that qualify as a 'high crime and misdemeanor' (you know, like an extramarital blowjob) now?
The office of US Vice President Dick Cheney says he will travel to Australia and Japan next month for talks on Asian security and the global war against terrorism.
Mr Cheney's official tour will also include visiting US troops in Guam.
If The Dick wants to make a big hit with the troops on Guam, he should be seen landing in the lagoon in one of these:
That's an N3N-3, a fine, reliable, US Navy trainer in a rare floatplane configuration. Sorry about the picture, but there aren't too many pictures of them actually flying. At least that one hasn't sunk yet!
Listen to it roar!
At 65 knots (75 mph) and about 1800 rpm, the N3N-3 is a fair climber and will do roughly 900 fpm. Cruise is approximately 105 knots. The N3N is a prime example of a rudder class type plane with a large rudder reminiscent of an SB2C.
A 7-G pullout can be accomplished at 174 knots (200 mph) without approaching the 9-Gs listed as the "do not exceed" limit. The rugged construction of the N3N made it an extremely popular crop duster after the war.
No specs on range. Maybe none of 'em ever went far enough to find out. Heh. Who cares? It can land anywhere!
I personally think it would do a lot for Cheney's reputation to make a long overwater flight in a not-exactly-brand-new, yet proven, single engine aircraft. Australia to Japan and on to Guam oughta do it.
Look what such a flight did for Amelia Earhart. And she had two engines and got to sit inside. Our tough-guy Veep don't need none of that sissy shit. In the spirit of gender equality, we should hope The Dick catches up with Amelia.
Happy landings, Dick. Maybe do a coupla 10G pullouts over the troops to dazzle 'em, if ya make it that far.
There are growing suspicions in Iraq that the official story of the battle outside Najaf between a messianic Iraqi cult and the Iraqi security forces supported by the US, in which 263 people were killed and 210 wounded, is a fabrication. The heavy casualties may be evidence of an unpremeditated massacre.
A picture is beginning to emerge of a clash between an Iraqi Shia tribe on a pilgrimage to Najaf and an Iraqi army checkpoint that led the US to intervene with devastating effect. The involvement of Ahmed al-Hassani (also known as Abu Kamar), who believed himself to be the coming Mahdi, or Messiah, appears to have been accidental.
Please, please, please, let this be wrong.
Last year was the year that oil prices came close to breaching $80 per barrel. This was despite the fact that there were no significant supply interruptions and oil demand fell in industrialized countries. That raises the question of what caused the spike.
It turns out there is good reason to believe that record oil prices may have been due to our own strategic oil reserve, which the Bush administration may have been manipulating to drive up prices for the benefit of its supporters. This is something Congress must investigate, and here is some preliminary evidence.
Any finding of manipulation would be economic treason. When global oil prices increase, Americans must pay more for imported oil. That increases the U.S. trade deficit. Alternatively, one can think of price manipulation as the equivalent of a tax increase on American families paid to foreign governments.
Congress must investigate the strategic oil reserve; how it has been managed and what its purpose is. The recently announced expansion serves no real national security function (though that will be the justification) and will only drive up oil prices.
One last factoid. A recent working paper posted by the International Monetary Fund documented that oil prices in the United States appear to be politically manipulated, falling prior to elections. If you are an economist, you ask how that is done. The answer is the strategic oil reserve.
Lemme see if I understand this - two really corrupt oil patch bastards in the White House who give billions of our tax dollars to their friends in their old line of work and who are liars and cheats to the bone besides...
Manipulate oil for the benefit of large donors?
Yeah, they did it.
Maybe we need to hang 'em on a gas pump...
Germany has ordered the arrest of 13 suspected CIA agents over the alleged kidnapping of one of its citizens.
Munich prosecutors confirmed that the warrants were linked to the case of Khaled al-Masri, a German national of Lebanese descent.
Mr Masri says he was seized in Macedonia, flown to a secret prison in Afghanistan and mistreated there.
He says he was released in Albania five months later when the Americans realised they had the wrong man.
more at BBC News
This is a start. More people that have been on the receiving end of this sort of thing have to speak out. I hope they catch and successfully prosecute every single person, every one, that was involved in this.
Tim Russert became the first press casualty of the Lewis "Scooter" Libby trial on Thursday, but most of his colleagues neglected to report it**. The host of NBC's "Meet the Press" was identified, in evidence submitted to bolster the testimony of Dick Cheney aide Cathie Martin, as the vice president's platform of choice to push back against allegations that the administration knew that their claim of an Iraqi attempt to buy uranium from Niger was bogus. The overt implication is that the administration regarded Russert as a patsy, someone whose unaccountable credibility they could borrow to enhance their own, and someone through whom they could present their case with a minimum of interference.
Whether despite or because Russert sits atop the heap of Washington's political journalism community, none of the institutional press reports on Martin's testimony mentioned the demeaning Russert reference in Martin's notes. One suspects that had the reference been to Russert's opposite number on Fox News Sunday, Chris Wallace, reporters would have felt perfectly comfortable slipping in a dig or two.
Yeah, the MSM is gettin' awful brave of late when it comes to dissin' Fox Noise.
In fact, tracking down reporters who didn't know more about the case than they imparted to their readers, whether to protect sources or themselves, might be more difficult than identifying those who did. As with almost everything connected to Iraq, this was not a shining moment for many Washington journalists. There is perhaps no better source than Nobel Prize-winning author William Faulkner to give voice to the despairing press critic's view on the relationship between the Washington press corps and the Bush administration. From Light in August:
"Jesus Christ!" Grimm cried, his young voice clear and outraged like that of a young priest. "Has every preacher and old maid in Jefferson taken their pants down to the yellowbellied son of a bitch?"
Pretty much. I think they've figured out that they've dishonored themselves and the craft of journalism by their complicity in the immorality of Bush's war. Now they're trying to figure out how to clean it up without admitting mistakes or making themselves look bad.
Sorta like Bush. It ain't gonna work for them either.
One thing the Libby trial is doing a good job of is showing up their malfeasance. I hope the press corpse will admit that they done bad, take their lumps, and proceed with vigor to help undo what they've done. Fat chance, idealistic white boy.
The idea is to learn from the past, from the mistakes others have made and direct efforts toward not repeating them. Looking to the past with longing, to the times 'when life was simpler' and when 'people had values', is a childish, simplistic notion designed to play upon people's fears of the unknown future.
Like fellow Long Islander Billy Joel sang:
... The Good Old Days weren't always good
And tomorrow ain't as bad as it seems ...
Progressivism is human nature. Our drive to make things better for our fellow man, the desire to explore, to understand ourselves and the world around us. Technologically, we have come farther in the past century than we have in all the rest of human history. In the last century, we have raised the average lifespan from around 45 to 75. A hundred years ago, I'd be considered a senior citizen. How can conservatism deal with such rapid advancement when they cling to a view of life that became obsolete when Hitler was taking power?
When you stifle understanding of human nature, when you stifle scientific experimentation and exploration, when you deny fact in favor of faith, you cannot expect to move your race forward.
I don't get into ideological debates with conservatives for this reason. Conservatism (what it has become) is irrelevant, no discussion needed. It is merely a group of people clinging to a way of life they've looked back upon with rose colored glasses. Yes, it was a simpler time, more black and white issues which are easier to understand, but simplicity doesn't beget a better standard of living, or cures for diseases, or indoor plumbing and refrigerators.
It's like the folks who romanticize the Renaissance times, the knights, the gladiators, and the mysticism. Yeah, that's a romantic notion and the fairs are fun, but if you had to do without indoor plumbing, living in the constant shit-smell of open sewage pits, dying of diseases we have since eradicated, and the fact living to the age of 35 was a long life, you'd come running back to the future in a nanosecond.
Modern conservatism is a haven for those afraid of change, period (not counting the crooks who've hijacked it for their own purposes). It's a haven for people who are afraid to think about things like teenage pregnancy, the fact two people of the same sex can love each other in the same way opposite sex couples can, or the fact we are slowly becoming a global community. If you don't think we are, look at our Sitemeter stats by location (at least one representative from every continent passes through the Brain every day).
The Internet will bring the future faster, and sticking your head in the sand or your fingers in your ears won't change things. Stifling human development, human destiny, in the U.S. won't make a damn bit of difference in the Big Scheme of Things. Others will move past us, some already have, and they will blaze the trail to the future, probably to our detriment. If we don't wake up and embrace the future, embrace intellectualism, embrace discovery, this once-great nation will be left in the dust. 6 years of Bush has helped us down the chute to the Dustbin of History, only progressivism will stop that fall. You want to be conservative? Stop the Chimp from spending our money like a drunken squid on shore leave in Tahiti.
If we don't wake up soon, every good thing done during the American Century will be nothing but a minor footnote in the history books.
Tuesday, January 30, 2007
For all the talk in the '90s about how Bill Clinton epitomized the self-absorption of the Baby Boomers, the current White House occupant has magnified Clinton's failures by several orders of magnitude. All must be sacrificed to George W. Bush's whim, his need to be right, his desire to find now the affirmation and self-regard that so painfully eluded him before his 40th birthday.
All of which is preview to this prediction: Dick Cheney will be sacrificed. The Libby trial currently underway is certainly part of his whacking (to use Eugene Robinson's Sopranos metaphor from today's Washington Post column). But the story seems to me larger than trooping various White House officials into court to narrow the culprits in the Plame leak episode to Cheney and his close confederates.
Cheney is the final sacrifice -- the last layer between Bush and the disapproving public, the skeptical media, and the angry Democrats. In one sense, having him there has always provided Bush a human (and humanizing-by-contrast) buffer against the hordes who oppose him and his policies. To sacrifice Cheney is therefore to have sunk to but one level above the very bottom, the core of the presidency itself. When Cheney goes on television, as he did last week with CNN's Wolf Blitzer, proclaiming the Iraq war a success, he demonstrates that he is either (a) unhinged from reality; or (b) playing a willing role in his own, inevitable discrediting and marginalization.
Under either scenario, his neck is moving slowly but inevitably toward the noose. Somebody, after all, has to pay for the complete collapse of the Republican majority and the conservative agenda. And since Bush himself has never paid the price of his own failures in life, it is Cheney who will pay for them next.
Any guesses as to whom might replace him as Faux Veep? I don't care if he/she is a purple fuckin' hermaphrodite or Pee Wee Herman. It'll be an improvement.
A tip o' the Brain to Brother Lurch.
Boosting U.S. troop levels in Iraq by 21,500 would create major logistical hurdles for the Army and Marine Corps, which are short thousands of vehicles, armor kits and other equipment needed to supply the extra forces, U.S. officials said.
The increase would also further degrade the readiness of U.S.-based ground forces, hampering their ability to respond quickly, fully trained and well equipped in the case of other military contingencies around the world and increasing the risk of U.S. casualties, according to Army and Marine Corps leaders.
It's all good to have the best fighting force in the world, but if you can't support them, the war is lost. Worst of all our guys die needlessly.
Link thanks to BlogRevolution!
One of the small satisfactions of the Libby trial has been getting certain things that we all already knew confirmed by various former White House officials.
Q & A of Ari Fleischer's testimony follows.
The reason hearing all this is only a small satisfaction is because the real satisfaction would be if the media stopped accepting these punts -- if, in fact, they stopped playing this game altogether.
Does anyone in the press corps -- not to mention the planet -- not know that Tony Snow is still up there "punting," day in and day out? Why, then, do they still play the game? Why don't they call the punting what we all know it is: deliberate deception -- even...gasp...lying?
The media's willingness to take punt after punt, and allow the administration to "control" its "message," is part of what got us into this historically disastrous debacle, and what's still allowing Bush to punt this entire war down to the next president.
It would be a lot harder for the administration to play games with the lives of other people's children if the press refused to play along.
Like, DUH! The "press" owes us big time for their dereliction of duty. They better start payin' up. It's easy - just start telling the truth about this administration. When their journalism results in film at 11 of Bush in tar and feathers being ridden out of town on a rail, well, that'll be a good start on payback.
*My Favorite Big-Titted Greek Redhead
I'm so pleased to have received the coveted wanker of the day award from Atrios, whose civility knows no bounds. But slightly disappointed in the Matt Yglesias post that Atrios links to, since Yglesias does have a reputation for substance over slime...
Listen. Fuck civility. Civility went out the window when the press and Congress became wholly-owned subsidiaries of the Right Wing Noise Machine. People tried civility, pointing out the mistakes and underhanded dealings of the Bush administration and their rubber stamp 109th Congress. Know what we got? We were 'Bush-haters'; we were 'shrill'.
Sorry, but civility lost us our power over those who govern this nation. Civility lost us a boatload of civil rights. Civility lost us over 3000 lives and a half-trillion bucks so far. Civility got us in this mess, it won't get us out.
You know why guys like Joe Klein preach civil discourse? So they can hide behind flowery language. So they can't be pinned down by one side or the other. Guys like this have built their lives and careers kissing ass in Washington. They like hobnobbing with the 'ruling class' and don't want to compromise their positions; don't want to lose their access to the 'powerful'. They don't want to lose their invites to the DC/Georgetown cocktail party circuit.
Had the 'press' been a little more uncivil, maybe more Americans would have awakened long before last November. It's time for guys like Klein to look in the mirror, to ask themselves if they've lived up to the responsibility the Constitution endowed them with. These people are the guardians of truth in our society and they've allowed themselves to be bought. And they talk about civilty? Suck my big, hairy, white ass.
Suppose I take the same attitude toward my customers? Suppose I tell them there's nothing wrong with their car, they drive away, and the thing blows up? They're gonna come back mad and want a piece of my ass. Am I supposed to say 'you're being uncivil' and 'you have no idea what you're talking about'? I'm losing a customer, pal. If I don't do my job, my customers will go somewhere else. Listen, Joe, 31% of the American public comes to us, the 'shrill', the 'uncivil', for their news and opinions.
You see, Joe, folks know what they're getting from me, my esteemed colleagues here at the Brain, and the other wonderful bloggers in Left Blogtopia*. They know what they're getting, unlike the crap they get from folks like you. They don't expect 'fair and balanced'. They expect us to call 'em as we see 'em, unvarnished, uncivil, and yes, with a leftward slant, though I prefer to think of us as speaking for the average guy, for the vets in Iraq and Afghanistan who don't, can't, have a say because the UCMJ muzzles them. They know we don't have an agenda, aside from ending this war and electing a government who is responsive to the needs of Americans, all Americans, not just the special interest of the few, the wealthy, the connected, and the powerful who have no idea what goes on outside that highway in Washington. They know we will never be among the 'in crowd' in Washington and they know when we give someone an 'attaboy', we're not kissing their ass for some promise of access or an invite to rub shoulders with the rich and powerful. They also know when something the 'braintrust' in Washington pulls out of their collective ass affects one of us (bloggers) negatively enough to voice our outrage, odds are it will probably affect them the same way.
Joe, and all your pals who like to see themselves as 'above the fray', people don't identify with you, not after letting this nation fall so far in such a short time. It is your fault, for you all have abdicated your responsibilty to us, and Americans know it. Had you done your jobs, instead of protect your positions, Bush would never have come as far as he has in reenacting the Crusades and Inquisition. It is your fault, Joe Klein, and yours, David Broder, and yours, Tim Russert, and yours, Chris Matthews, and yours, Richard Cohen, and the fault of all your friends who feed at the Beltway 'corporate media' trough. You should be ashamed of yourselves, for the half-assed job you've done, for your 'holier than thou' attitude, and for abdicating your responsibilities.
Uncivil? You betcha. Shut up, quit whining about us, and do your job the way it was supposed to be done. Had you done the right thing to begin with, there wouldn't be a need for the shrill folks of the blogosphere. Go fuck yourselves.
*Yes! Skippy coined that phrase!
Monday, January 29, 2007
... The president’s approval ratings are at their lowest point in the poll’s history—30 percent—and more than half the country (58 percent) say they wish the Bush presidency were simply over, a sentiment that is almost unanimous among Democrats (86 percent), and is shared by a clear majority (59 percent) of independents and even one in five (21 percent) Republicans. Half (49 percent) of all registered voters would rather see a Democrat elected president in 2008, compared to just 28 percent who’d prefer the GOP to remain in the White House ... [my em]
WASHINGTON, DC—In an effort to display his administration's willingness to fight on all fronts in the War on Terror, President Bush said at a press conference Monday that American ground forces in Afghanistan will be aided by the immediate deployment of Marine Pfc. Tim Ekenberg of Camp Lejeune, NC.
I know, one Marine is as good as 3 troops from the other branches. Heh ...
"I want the American people to know that I have not forgotten that our battle for freedom began in Afghanistan, rooting out the extremists of al-Qaeda and the Taliban," Bush said. "Today, I am ordering the deployment of the 325th Marine Expeditionary Brigade, Private Tim Ekenberg, to the embattled Kandahar region."
"We will take whatever measures necessary to win," Bush added. "Isn't that right, Tim?"
Thank God the Chimp hasn't killed parody like he did satire and irony.
Plan A is if there's something to put over
Talk to Tim Russert -- he's a pushover.
Who knew the way to beat the press
Was just to go on "Meet The Press?"
A smorgasbord of Washington insider details has emerged during the perjury trial of the vice president's former chief of staff.
For example, when Dick Cheney really needed friends in the news media, his staff was short of phone numbers.
No one served up spicier morsels than Cheney's former top press assistant. Cathie Martin described the craft of media manipulation - under oath and in blunter terms than politicians like to hear in public.
The uses of leaks and exclusives. When to let one's name be used and when to hide in anonymity. Which news medium was seen as more susceptible to control and what timing was most propitious. All candidly described. Even the rating of certain journalists as friends to favor and critics to shun — a faint echo of the enemies list drawn up in Richard Nixon's White House more than 30 years ago.
We knew all this of course, but it's nice to see it coming out in the public record.
Four Alarmer Breaking: Ari F. Puts Libby in a Very Tight Spot, So to Speak. "Former White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer told a jury that ex-vice presidential aide Lewis "Scooter" Libby disclosed a CIA operative's identity to him three days before Libby has testified he learned it." Uh, Libby Seemed Quite in Control of His Memory and the Significance of Plame's Position, Indicating That Cheney, Libby and Possibly Bush Personally Put the National Security of the United States at Risk in Outing Her. This is Treason. "I think that he told me her name," which is Valerie Plame, Fleischer said. Libby also said "something on the lines of 'This is hush-hush. This is on the QT. Not very many people know about this,'" he told the jury.
From Ironic Times. Maybe not so ironical:
Big Fan: Scooter Libby Committed to Memory Every "Star Trek" Episode
He's currently on trial for not being able to remember leaking classified information.
Note to Libby, Cheney, and Rove:
"Bad boys, bad boys, what'cha gonna do when they come for you?"
They're closin' in, ya fuckin' traitors.
Update: The link now seems to point to Mitt Romney's campaign site. Definitely something weird going on.
Bev, a founding member of The Saddlerash Bluegrass Band, says they've gone over to 'the dark side' as bluegrassers refer to Celtic music. She's one day younger than I am, so I replied that at our age the occult, witchcraft, magic, etc., not to mention 'the little people', are lookin' better and better every day.
These folks play this kind of music out of the sheer love of it. At this venue, the musicians play for tips and beer provided by the pub management, and the whole purpose of this post was to share Bentley's line:
"How much Guinness could we drink anyway? There's a loaf of bread in every pint!"
McCain, who is bathed in admiration and covered with rose petals (unlike, say, our soldiers in Iraq) by the MSM, still is regularly called a man of "principle," "integrity" and a number of other hollow descriptions that are as accurate as calling Dick Cheney charming or Ted Nugent a human being.
The controversy started with a quickly discredited Jan. 17 article on the Insight Web site asserting that the presidential campaign of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton was preparing an accusation that her rival, Senator Barack Obama, had covered up a brief period he had spent in an Islamic religious school in Indonesia when he was 6.
(Other news organizations have confirmed Mr. Obama’s descriptions of the school as a secular public school. Both senators have denounced the report, and there is no evidence that Mrs. Clinton’s campaign planned to spread those accusations.)
To most journalists, the notion of anonymous reporters relying on anonymous sources is a red flag. "If you want to talk about a business model that is designed to manufacture mischief in large volume, that would be it," said Ralph Whitehead Jr., a professor of journalism at the University of Massachusetts.
I hope other 'reputable' news organizations begin to get it as well. For too long anything one of these idiots pulled out of their ass was treated as substantiated fact, picked up and spread all over the place.
The Times especially has been used as a tool of the Bush administration in their run up to the war in Iraq. If they want their reputation as the 'paper of record' restored, extra diligence on their part is required.
The American public gets it. 31% of them get their news from the Internet and blogs and I'm sure the subscription department is feeling the heat, judging from the amount of commercials imploring you subscribe. Maybe more articles like this will restore the public's faith they are telling the truth.
Well, maybe not.
And a note: I was sicker than a dog yesterday and when I changed the template back after fucking around on Saturday, I used an old one, so shit's a little fucked up. Apologies and I'll get it straightened out when I get home from work today.
DAVENPORT, Iowa - Hillary Rodham Clinton said Sunday that President Bush should withdraw all U.S. troops from Iraq before he leaves office, asserting it would be "the height of irresponsibility" to pass the war along to the next commander in chief.
"This was his decision to go to war with an ill-conceived plan and an incompetently executed strategy," the Democratic senator from New York said her
in (sic) initial presidential campaign swing through Iowa.
"We expect him to extricate our country from this before he leaves office" in January 2009, the former first lady said.
Fine, as far as it goes. What she has so far failed to say and what any credible Democratic candidate must say is that Bush had no good reason at all to go to war with Iraq in the first place. She should be calling for his impeachment.
Also from the same piece:
The White House condemned Clinton's comments as a partisan attack that
undermines U.S. soldiers.
The Democrats have to find a way to stuff the "undemines" mime down the White House's throat every time it is uttered. It seems to be all they've got left to hang their hats on.
Sunday, January 28, 2007
I've been a huge fan of Molly's for years. She's always been a strong voice for the good guys - especially at a time (the early years of this war) and a place (Texas, by God!) when there weren't very many strong voices being heard. With W. deciding yet again that he's "The Decider" it's good to remember what Molly had to say about that:
""We are the people who run this country. We are the deciders. And every single day, every single one of us needs to step outside and take some action to help stop this war."
She never sugar-coats her message. Here's another quote:
"It is possible to read the history of this country as one long struggle to extend the liberties established in our Constitution to everyone in America."
More Molly gems:
"Just when you thought there wasn't a dime's worth of difference between the two parties, the Republicans go and prove you're wrong."
"I have been attacked by Rush Limbaugh on the air, an experience somewhat akin to being gummed by a newt. It doesn't actually hurt, but it leaves you with slimy stuff on your ankle."
Molly's knife quote reminds me of that great old song, "That's The Way the Girls Are in Texas." In Ry Cooder's version he sings the last verse in heaven: "She was guilty, I was dead/and what do you think that old judge said?/'Well, that's just the way the girls are here in Texas - case dismissed!'"
This chorus is for Molly,. She's a true daughter of the Lone Star State, the San Antonio Rose in America's lefty bouquet. Give her a thought or a prayer, or whatever you care to give. She's one in a million.
I'd give Molly my left nut if it would help, but she's got plenty of those, so I'll just stick with prayers and best wishes.
Keep in mind that it was Molly Ivins that tipped us off first about what kind of guy Bush is.
DES MOINES, Iowa - New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton blamed President Bush on Saturday for misusing authority given him by Congress to act in Iraq, but conceded "I take responsibility" for her role in allowing that to happen.
You got that right, my dear. Now do something to end it.
For his part, Gates has shown his thanks to the Democrats for his cakewalk confirmation by speeding up deployment of the new troops even as Democrats struggle to fashion a non-binding resolution opposing the escalation.
Gates also picked up Bush's favorite cudgel to pound the Democrats for supposedly helping the enemy.
"Any indication of flagging will in the United States gives encouragement to those folks," Gates told reporters at the Pentagon on Jan. 26. "I'm sure that that's not the intent behind the resolutions, but I think it may be the effect."
Sometimes I wonder what organ Senate Dems use to think with. Hel-lo, McFly? Like they did during the SCOTUS nominations, the Dems just went with the flow, expecting the Chimp, reasonably chastened from the November elections, to suddenly grow a 'bipartisanship gland' or something.
So here's what we have now:
Now, as Bush rushes more troops to Iraq, the Democrats are left to debate whether the non-binding resolution on the "surge" should refer to it as an "escalation" or, as some Republicans would prefer, an "augmentation."
Wait for it. In a few months, as the hearings promised by Senate and House Dems get into full swing and the public learns more about the Chimp's corruption, the calls for impeachment will get louder. Wait for the words "impeachment will cause a constitutional crisis from which America cannot recover". Horseshit. This nation is stronger than most think. The only 'crisis' will be the lack of spine on the part of a good portion of our elected representatives.
So, the Democrats are again learning a hard lesson they should have mastered years ago, that this breed of Republicans views Democrats as suckers who can be easily seduced with a few sweet but empty words like "bipartisanship" and "comity."
Suckers indeed. And an aside to Nancy Pelosi: Put impeachment back on the table. It might be the thing that saves us.
"How could I imagine that after 30 years…my kids…my 3 year old and my not yet born will witness a civil war…will live a similar life as mine…a life with fear…a life in shelters…
31 years ago, my uncle had to rescue me from the hospital… I was a few hours old…Maybe my kid that will be born in June will have to be rescued by my same uncle from the hospital too…"
Pay close attention, folks, this is the future that Bush & Co. is building for all of us. Endless war. Endless fear.