Saturday, July 7, 2007

Wanna go?

Mrs. F just booked a cruise for October 2008 (Yes, we'll be back before the elections). It's the same one (sort of; no Azores and one city in Spain is different) we did last year from Rome to New York. We figured we'd let you know now and if anybody wants to join us, there's enough time to make arrangements.

Of course we'll be cruising with Holland America Line, aboard our old friend MS Noordam.

I've added links to my travelogue from last year below and you can get the cruise itinerary and booking details here if you're interested.

Transatlantic: Rome - NYC September 2006


Blog who?



Making steam

Bottled Lightning

Naval Grafitti

Proud to be an American

Porta Delgado and Horta

Email me if you have any questions. Not that I make anything from it, but we book all our cruises through

And just to be clear, I'm not leading a group thing like the conservatives do. This is my vacation. I'm willing to share my cruise expertise as well as my experience in Europe (as well as libations at the bar, heh ...) but I ain't no tour guide (or nursemaid and hand-holder). The reason I'm putting this out here is because it's a great trip and I'm giving folks the heads up. It's cheaper if you book ahead.

Circular logic

p m carpenter on the dismissal of ACLU v. NSA about illegal wiretapping:

Hence if some pea brain of an autocratic president patently violates his constitutional oath by trampling on your constitutional rights, and you in fact can prove it, you in fact can't prove it, because you can't "provide evidence that [you] are personally subject" to the patently unconstitutional violation, because the violator is permitted to claim that your proving it would be harmful to national security, which he happens to be dismantling by trampling on your First and Fourth Amendment rights, which is absurdly illegal, which you can prove, which is why you sued in the first place, but the president's illegality against you is protected by his greater illegality against the nation. Got it?

Oh. I'm getting it all right. So are we all. A kiss and some lube would be nice.

Reagan’s NSA Chief: Impeachment May Be Necessary

Daily Kos

Retired three-star Army General William Odom threw Commander Guy under the bus today. And Odom is no ordinary three-star. From 1985-1988 he served as chief of the NSA under Ronald Reagan.

So take a deep breath, Red America: It's going to be hard to spin this one.

Just as an aside, they're starting to spin like dervishes. I wonder if we can generate electrical power from it...

Writing for Harvard University's Nieman Watchdog, Odom called for the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq. Now, he's done this before, so that's not where the news is. Rather, the good stuff came at the end of Odom's piece - when he delivered a three-step plan by which Congress can force the President to give in. Here's a summation of what Odom said:

1. Redefine what "supporting the troops" means.

2. Flatly refuse to appropriate war funds "for anything but withdrawal operations with a clear deadline for completion."

3. If that doesn't work, Congress should impeach the President for "the 'high crime' of squandering the lives of soldiers and Marines for his own personal interest."

There is a movement building here. It's something about that "I-word." It's been popping up all week. And perhaps if more leaders like General Odom will speak out, it'll gain a head of steam. Maybe people are beginning to see that our military is, as Odom puts it, "combat-exhausted to the point of losing effectiveness." And maybe people are finally starting to realize that the person responsible for doing such a thing is actually aiding the enemy - and that it's become a national security issue. Thus I agree with Odom about what the Congress should do if Commander Guy remains obstinate: They must take decisive action. Because you can call it incompetence and you can call it treason. But either way, destroying the military is most assuredly a high crime against the people of the United States.

I don't care care if we throw the motherfucker out for the 'high crime' of gettin' drunk and pissin' in the potted palms at White House parties. Just get him OUT!

Quote of the Day twofer

These are both from the blog DownWithTyranny linked to in Fixer's post just below this one. From their masthead:

"When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross." - Sinclair Lewis

Mr. Lewis had that one dead nuts.

And from the body of the post, in a nutshell:

If a coward and bootlick like Doolittle is abandoning Bush, believe me, it is all over.

I hope DWT's got that one right too. The lyin' and dyin' and stealin' need to be over with very soon.

Ship. Rats. Leaving.

Gord's weasel turd crook elected representative is jumping ship too. I wonder if he thinks it'll keep the FBI off his ass?

Tip o' the Brain to Nicole @ C & L.

Whore today, gone tomorrow ...

Yes, as I do every Saturday, another chapter of my novel The Fourth Estate is up at The Practical Press.


I've been going over some of the stuff I've written, looking for something to follow The Fourth Estate. I decided on Thirty Days at Zeta, a sneak preview of which is here if you're interested.

Friday, July 6, 2007


Fire Lardass and give the show to Schuster.

My idiot neighbors ...

Suffolk County, New York (where I live) is very ethnically diverse and most folks are pretty open-minded (right next door to Nassau, the 'reddest' county in the NYC Metro Area). Unfortunately, we have our share of assholes too:

A 7-11 clerk, of Pakistani descent, was sucker-punched by a man who yelled, "you terrorist," as he hit him. Now, cops say, they are calling it a hate crime.

The attack happened in Oakdale, Long Island.


"The clerk is a 56-year-old U.S. citizen of Pakistani descent," [Suffolk County Police] inspector Mark Griffiths said.


A big thank you to Fox 'News' and the Republican Party.

Sacrifice is for suckers

The little man with the big sack, Paul Krugman:

On this Fourth of July, President Bush compared the Iraq war to the Revolutionary War, and called for "more patience, more courage and more sacrifice." Unfortunately, it seems that nobody asked the obvious question: "What sacrifices have you and your friends made, Mr. President?"

On second thought, there would be no point in asking that question. In Mr. Bush's world, only the little people make sacrifices.

The Bushies, it seems, like starting fights, but they don't believe in paying any of the cost of those fights or bearing any of the risks. Above all, they don't believe that they or their friends should face any personal or professional penalties for trivial sins like distorting intelligence to get America into an unnecessary war, or totally botching that war's execution.

The hysteria of the neocons over the prospect that Mr. Libby might actually do time for committing perjury was a sight to behold. In an opinion piece in The Wall Street Journal titled "Fallen Soldier," Fouad Ajami of Johns Hopkins University cited the soldier's creed: "I will never leave a fallen comrade." He went on to declare that "Scooter Libby was a soldier in your - our - war in Iraq."

Ah, yes. Shuffling papers in an air-conditioned Washington office is exactly like putting your life on the line in Anbar or Baghdad. Spending 30 months in a minimum-security prison, with a comfortable think-tank job waiting at the other end, is exactly like having half your face or both your legs blown off by an I.E.D.

Yeah, except it doesn't hurt or screw you up for life. Our troops and their families are at war, not the rest of us.

This is not our war - it's Bush's and his supporters' war. Period. Everyone but them are just pawns in a deadly crime that will play out until Bush leaves office and/or Halliburton, the oil companies, and all Bush and Cheney's other buddies get all the loot.

Fuck us.

$592M doesn't buy as much as it used to...

Go read about a coupla minor little problems with the new US embassy in Iraq.

U.S. diplomats in Iraq, increasingly fearful over their personal safety after recent mortar attacks inside the Green Zone, are pointing to new delays and mistakes in the U.S. Embassy construction project in Baghdad as signs that their vulnerability could grow in the months ahead.

A toughly worded cable sent from the embassy to State Department headquarters on May 29 highlights a cascade of building and safety blunders in a new facility to house the security guards protecting the embassy. The guards' base, which remains unopened today, is just a small part of a $592 million project to build the largest U.S. embassy in the world.

The first signs of trouble, according to the cable, emerged when the kitchen staff tried to cook the inaugural meal in the new guard base on May 15. Some appliances did not work. Workers began to get electric shocks. Then a burning smell enveloped the kitchen as the wiring began to melt.

All the food from the old guard camp - a collection of tents - had been carted to the new facility, in the expectation that the 1,200 guards would begin moving in the next day. But according to the cable, the electrical meltdown was just the first problem in a series of construction mistakes that soon left the base uninhabitable, including wiring problems, fuel leaks and noxious fumes in the sleeping trailers.

Finally, on May 25, a KBR hazardous-materials expert discovered that all 10 generators had developed leaks. The fuel tanks were installed without corrosion protection or leak detectors, and fuel had begun to saturate the soil around the tanks. The cable said that Teflon tape designed for water pipes had been used on the fuel tanks, and that such tape "will dissolve on contact with diesel fuel." KBR refused to operate the power generators unless its liability was waived.

This deal reminds of the Fawlty Towers episode where Basil hired his incompetent buddies to wotk on the hotel to save a few quid and they like to fucked it all up. Difference is, the incompetent embassy builders are fuckin' it all up in ways we could never imagine, only cost is no object. Hell, it's just our tax money. This administration thinks the taxes we pay are for wipin' Halliburton's ass with.

You wanna talk about pardons?

How about these, since we're being all nostalgic (Clinton did it too!) lately?


Iran Contra.
Jimmy Hoffa.
George Steinbrenner.
Richard Milhous Nixon.


Just askin'.

Now I'm outta here ...

Movin' on up!

Pic thanks to Dr. Attaturk.


Well we're movin on up,
To the east side.
To a deluxe apartment in the sky.
Movin on up
To the east side.
We finally got a piece of the pie.

~ Apologies to George and Weezy.


Looks like al-Qaeda has a nice, shiny, new broadcast center and studio. Good thing we "got 'em on the run". Wonder if Halliburton built it for 'em, or the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers*?

Off to work ...

*And yes, that is exactly what I'm implying.

Supporting the troops ...

Seriously. From General Odom:

Every step the Democrats in Congress have taken to force the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq has failed. Time and again, President Bush beats them into submission with charges of failing to "support the troops."

Why do the Democrats allow this to happen? Because they let the president define what "supporting the troops" means. His definition is brutally misleading. Consider what his policies are doing to the troops.


If the Democrats truly want to succeed in forcing President Bush to begin withdrawing from Iraq, the first step is to redefine "supporting the troops" as withdrawing them, citing the mass of accumulating evidence of the psychological as well as the physical damage that the president is forcing them to endure because he did not raise adequate forces. Both Democrats and Republicans in Congress could confirm this evidence and lay the blame for "not supporting the troops" where it really belongs – on the president. And they could rightly claim to the public that they are supporting the troops by cutting off the funds that he uses to keep U.S. forces in Iraq.


Unfortunately, General, the sad truth is most Americans don't give a fuck about the troops. All this is happening 'over there' to 'other people's kids'. If we had a draft, this war would have been over 2 years ago and we'd be talking about President Kerry.

As long as the American people are able to shrug their shoulders and say "well, they volunteered for it", the troops will be the last consideration in ending the war. I would even go so far as to say that if the Democrats didn't see Iraq as their leg up back to power, they would give as much of a shit about the war as the Republicans do.

Great thanks to our pal X at Creature's place for the link.

Weak ...

Dear Congressman Wexler,

I appreciate your initiative, but Congress does not have the time to futz around with more 'non-binding resolutions'. Everybody except the brain-dead 27% have had it with this President. Just saying 'Congress doesn't approve' without any teeth behind it is useless, merely preaching to the choir. It is time for drastic, definitive action. If you haven't realized it by now, Bush doesn't care what Congress thinks, doesn't give a shit about the will of the American people. You wanna do something useful? Proffer Articles of Impeachment. Put forth something with teeth and dare the Republicans to vote against it.



Thursday, July 5, 2007

Bring 'em on. Home.

From the brilliant teenager, Ava Lowery:

I know that, in general, I am preaching to the converted here, but if just one person views this and begins to have doubts that they didn't have before, I've succeeded.


Blog while you can ...

Net Neutrality just went into the dumpster:


It would be hard to imagine life without the Internet. It has become part of our daily lives, where we can gather news, meet people, exchange ideas, and register for classes. Here are just a few examples of what the Internet will be like if Congress fails to restore strong Net Neutrality protections:


Somebody at the top doesn't like the Brain? They send me a bill I deem not worth paying for the privilege of blogging and that ends it. Not that we're at the top of any watch lists for 'progressive subversives' but suppose you didn't have Crooks and Liars? Or Think Progress? Or Raw Story? Or Media Matters? Or BuzzFlash?

Once more, the Bush Corporatists have commandeered the process, able to control the message that gets out to the public. They did it with the press and now they're going to do it to the alternative voices.

Proud to be an American ... not so much anymore. The America I knew disappeared on 7 November 2000.

Hope you had a happy and safe 4th.

Great thanks to Tengrain for the pic.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Born on the Fourth of July (Alternate Brain Edition)

On top today. New posts begin below this one.

I was gonna write something sappy and nice about the fact this blog is 3 years old today. Instead, I'm reposting Keith Olbermann's Special Comment from last night. It is, after all, the reason we're here in the first place.


Finally tonight, as promised, a Special Comment on what is, in everything but name, George Bush’s pardon of Scooter Libby.

“I didn’t vote for him,” an American once said, “But he’s my president, and I hope he does a good job.”

That — on this eve of the 4th of July — is the essence of this democracy, in seventeen words.

And that is what President Bush threw away yesterday in commuting the sentence of Lewis “Scooter” Libby.

The man who said those seventeen words — improbably enough — was the actor John Wayne.

And Wayne, an ultra-conservative, said them, when he learned of the hair’s-breadth election of John F. Kennedy instead of his personal favorite, Richard Nixon in 1960.

“I didn’t vote for him but he’s my president, and I hope he does a good job.”

The sentiment was doubtlessly expressed earlier. But there is something especially appropriate about hearing it, now, in Wayne’s voice.

The crisp matter-of-fact acknowledgement that we have survived, even though for nearly two centuries now, our Commander-in-Chief has also served, simultaneously, as the head of one political party and often the scourge of all others.

We as citizens must, at some point, ignore a president’s partisanship. Not that we may “prosper” as a nation, not that we may “achieve”, not that we may “lead the world” — but merely that we may “function.”

But just as essential to the seventeen words of John Wayne is an implicit trust — a sacred trust:That the president for whom so many did not vote, can in turn suspend his political self long enough, and for matters imperative enough, to conduct himself solely for the benefit of the entire Republic.

Our generation’s willingness to state “we didn’t vote for him, but he’s our president, and we hope he does a good job,” was tested in the crucible of history, and far earlier than most. And in circumstances more tragic and threatening.

And we did that with which history tasked us.

We enveloped “our” President in 2001.

And those who did not believe he should have been elected — indeed, those who did not believe he had been elected — willingly lowered their voices and assented to the sacred oath of non-partisanship.

And George W. Bush took our assent, and re-configured it, and honed it, and sharpened it to a razor-sharp point, and stabbed this nation in the back with it.

Were there any remaining lingering doubt otherwise, or any remaining lingering hope, it ended yesterday when Mr. Bush commuted the prison sentence of one of his own staffers.

Did so even before the appeals process was complete…

Did so without as much as a courtesy consultation with the Department of Justice…

Did so despite what James Madison –at the Constitutional Convention — said about impeaching any president who pardoned or sheltered those who had committed crimes “advised by” that president…

Did so without the slightest concern that even the most detached of citizens must look at the chain of events and wonder:

To what degree was Mr. Libby told: break the law however you wish — the President will keep you out of prison?

In that moment, Mr. Bush, you broke that fundamental compact between yourself and the majority of this nation’s citizens — the ones who did not cast votes for you.

In that moment, Mr. Bush, you ceased to be the President of the United States.

In that moment, Mr. Bush, you became merely the President… of a rabid and irresponsible corner of the Republican Party.

And this is too important a time, sir, to have a Commander-in-Chief who puts party over nation.

This has been, of course, the gathering legacy of this Administration. Few of its decisions have escaped the stain of politics.

The extraordinary Karl Rove has spoken of “a permanent Republican majority,” as if such a thing — or a permanent Democratic majority — is not antithetical to that upon which rests: our country, our history, our revolution, our freedoms.

Yet our democracy has survived shrewder men than Karl Rove.

And it has survived the frequent stain of politics upon the fabric of government.

But this administration, with ever-increasing insistence and almost theocratic zealotry, has turned that stain… into a massive oil spill.

The protection of the environment is turned over to those of one political party, who will financially benefit from the rape of the environment.

The protections of the Constitution are turned over to those of one political party, who believe those protections unnecessary and extravagant and “quaint.”

The enforcement of the laws is turned over to those of one political party, who will swear beforehand that they will not enforce those laws.

The choice between war and peace is turned over to those of one political party, who stand to gain vast wealth by ensuring that there is never peace, but only war.

And now, when just one cooked book gets corrected by an honest auditor…

When just one trampling of the inherent and inviolable “fairness” of government is rejected by an impartial judge…

When just one wild-eyed partisan is stopped by the figure of blind justice…

This President decides that he, and not the law, must prevail.

I accuse you, Mr. Bush, of lying this country into war.

I accuse you of fabricating in the minds of your own people, a false implied link between Saddam Hussein and 9/11.

I accuse you of firing the generals who told you that the plans for Iraq were disastrously insufficient.

I accuse you of causing in Iraq the needless deaths of 3,586 of our brothers and sons, and sisters and daughters, and friends and neighbors.

I accuse you of subverting the Constitution, not in some misguided but sincerely-motivated struggle to combat terrorists, but instead to stifle dissent.

I accuse you of fomenting fear among your own people, of creating the very terror you claim to have fought.

I accuse you of exploiting that unreasoning fear, the natural fear of your own people who just want to live their lives in peace, as a political tool to slander your critics and libel your opponents.

I accuse you of handing part of this republic over to a Vice President who is without conscience, and letting him run roughshod over it.

And I accuse you now, Mr. Bush, of giving, through that Vice President, carte blanche to Mr. Libby, to help defame Ambassador Joseph Wilson by any means necessary, to lie to Grand Juries and Special Counsel and before a court, in order to protect the mechanisms and particulars of that defamation, with your guarantee that Libby would never see prison, and, in so doing, as Ambassador Wilson himself phrased it here last night, of you becoming an accessory to the obstruction of justice.

When President Nixon ordered the firing of the Watergate special prosecutor Archibald Cox during the infamous “Saturday Night Massacre” on October 20th, 1973, Mr. Cox initially responded tersely, and ominously:

“Whether ours shall be a government of laws and not of men, is now for Congress, and ultimately, the American people.”

President Nixon did not understand how he had crystallized the issue of Watergate for the American people.

It had been about the obscure meaning behind an attempt to break in to a rival party’s headquarters; and the labyrinthine effort to cover-up that break-in and the related crimes.

But in one night, Nixon transformed it.

Watergate — instantaneously — became a simpler issue: a President overruling the inexorable march of the law. Of insisting — in a way that resonated viscerally with millions who had not previously understood — that he was the law.

Not the Constitution.

Not the Congress.

Not the Courts.

Just him.

Just - Mr. Bush - as you did, yesterday.

The twists and turns of Plame-Gate, your precise and intricate lies that sent us into this bottomless pit of Iraq; your lies upon the lies to discredit Joe Wilson; your lies upon the lies upon the lies to throw the sand at the “referee” of Prosecutor Fitzgerald’s analogy… these are complex and often painful to follow, and too much, perhaps, for the average citizen.

But when other citizens render a verdict against your man, Mr. Bush — and then you spit in the faces of those jurors and that judge and the judges who were yet to hear the appeal — the average citizen understands that, sir.

It’s the fixed ballgame and the rigged casino and the pre-arranged lottery all rolled into one — and it stinks. And they know it.

Nixon’s mistake, the last and most fatal of them, the firing of Archibald Cox, was enough to cost him the presidency.

And in the end, even Richard Nixon could say he could not put this nation through an impeachment.

It was far too late for it to matter then, but as the decades unfold, that single final gesture of non-partisanship, of acknowledged responsibility not to self, not to party, not to “base,” but to country, echoes loudly into history.

Even Richard Nixon knew it was time to resign

Would that you could say that, Mr. Bush.

And that you could say it for Mr. Cheney.

You both crossed the Rubicon yesterday.

Which one of you chose the route, no longer matters.

Which is the ventriloquist, and which the dummy, is irrelevant.

But that you have twisted the machinery of government into nothing more than a tawdry machine of politics, is the only fact that remains relevant.

It is nearly July 4th, Mr. Bush, the commemoration of the moment we Americans decided that rather than live under a King who made up the laws, or erased them, or ignored them — or commuted the sentences of those rightly convicted under them — we would force our independence, and regain our sacred freedoms.

We of this time — and our leaders in Congress, of both parties — must now live up to those standards which echo through our history:

Pressure, negotiate, impeach — get you, Mr. Bush, and Mr. Cheney, two men who are now perilous to our Democracy, away from its helm.

And for you, Mr. Bush, and for Mr. Cheney, there is a lesser task.

You need merely achieve a very low threshold indeed.

Display just that iota of patriotism which Richard Nixon showed, on August 9th, 1974.


And give us someone — anyone – about whom all of us might yet be able to quote John Wayne, and say, “I didn’t vote for him, but he’s my president, and I hope he does a good job.”

Good night, and good luck.


I would like to thank all of our contributors, fellow bloggers, commenters, and readers who make the Brain what it is, more than I ever expected when I hit the "create your blog" button 3 years ago. I am truly honored and privileged.

Thank you all.

And for those of us too lazy to read...

No Joy This Fourth Of July

Bob Geiger

"A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people." - Declaration of Independence

But I'm going to skip the barbeques and just go to work today. I do this because the state of my country under the reign of George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and their entire cabal of crooks and non-patriots, leaves me with a feeling so hollow and barren that I simply cannot use drinking a beer, eating a hot dog or watching fireworks as a soothing balm.

George W. Bush has taken our country and made us despised throughout the world, ruined our global reputation in a way that may take a generation to salvage and made us far less safe in a dangerous world. Indeed, he has used our nation's wealth and power to make the world a more dangerous place.

His administration has also found a way to diminish a great holiday like our Independence Day, to make us feel less like proudly waving our flag and to even cause many like me, who have worn our country's uniform, to wonder what the hell it was for.

And, for that, every American who voted for Bush, should take time this July Fourth to perform a truly patriotic act and be profoundly ashamed.

Please read the rest.

Bush - Accessory before, during, and after the fact

William Rivers Pitt

Quite the boomerang, yes? Bush respected Fitzgerald, the truth, the jury and the rule of law on Monday night, but didn't respect these things in the morning. Mr. Bush, in doing so, has proven himself once again to be a quintessential moral philanderer, screwing around with justice at a whim, a serial cheater and a man who absolutely cannot be trusted.

A wise man once said that the life of the law is procedure. There are processes to be undertaken, papers to be filed and forms to be obeyed. In this commutation, no procedures whatsoever appear to have been followed. The haste in which this action was undertaken smacks of fear, desperation, and of a cover-up in process.

Bush has the constitutional power to offer commutations, of course. But if this commutation was granted to Libby in order to derail a criminal investigation, if it was granted to cover up prior or ongoing criminal activities, that is itself a crime meriting the impeachment of George W. Bush.

This, more than anything else, must be investigated.

This isn't over by a long chalk, unless our representatives and law-enforcement officials choose the safe path - public statements, toothless accusations, substanceless denunciations - in lieu of true and effective action. The rule of law itself is on the hook here. This cannot be allowed to stand.

Note to Congress: All it takes is the balls to do what's right. How long are you gonna let this criminal and his cabal get away with telling us to go fuck ourselves?

Quote of the Day - Sensible Lefty Blogger Edition

Digby on Impeachment:

Has there ever been a president who deserved it more? I don't think so ...

Quote of the Day - Flippy Floppy, Squishy Sqashy Edition

“I don’t believe my role is to replace the verdict of a jury with my own, unless there are new facts or evidence of which a jury was unaware, or evidence that the trial was somehow unfair.”

George W. Bush, in his autobiography, "A Charge to Keep"


Hat tip to Taegan Goddard's Political Wire

Quote of the Day - Born on the Fourth of July Edition

I am the living death
The memorial day on wheels
I am your yankee doodle dandy
Your John Wayne come home
Your Fourth of July firecracker
Exploding in the grave

Ron Kovic

Ron on The Forgotten Wounded of Iraq here.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

But Clinton did it ...

The lovely Pam Spaulding:


As for the "Clinton pardoned Marc Rich" argument, the idea that all presidents pardon people they're connected to, well, hell, when over 3,500 soldiers have died because Marc Rich obstructed the investigation into who outed a secret CIA front company in order to preserve the lies that got those soldiers into a war, then we can talk.


Retirement Bonus

By e-mail from Mrs. G:

The Navy found they had too many officers and decided to offer an early retirement bonus. They promised any officer who volunteered for retirement a bonus of $1,000 for every inch measured in a straight line between any two points in his body. The officer got to choose what those two points would be.

The first officer who accepted asked that he be measured from the top of his head to the tip of his toes. He was measured at six feet and walked out with a bonus of $72,000.

The second officer who accepted was a little smarter and asked to be measured from the tip of his outstretched hands to his toes. He walked out with $96,000.

The third one was a non-commissioned officer, a grizzly old Chief who, when asked where he would like to be measured replied, "From the tip of my weenie to my testicles." It was suggested by the pension man that he might want to reconsider, explaining about the nice big checks the previous two officers had received. But the old Chief insisted and they decided to go along
with him providing the measurement was taken by a medical officer.

The medical officer arrived and instructed the Chief to "drop 'em," which he did. The medical officer placed the tape measure on the tip of the Chief's weenie and began to work back. Dear Lord!" he suddenly exclaimed, "Where are your testicles?"

The old Chief calmly replied, " Vietnam."

Worst Person in the World

The Bushies have lost the "Okie From Muskogee"

The latest from Merle Haggard:

When a Haggard video is showing the past 2 Presidents without showing the current one, when a Haggard video is displaying the logo of Veterans for Peace, when a Haggard video speaks of pulling back from Iraq, the time is right to put impeachment on the table. Impeachment of Bush, impeachment of Cheney and impeachment of Gonzales. After they are impeached, convicted and removed from office, they should be turned over to the criminal justice system.

The lyrics to the above for those of our readers that don't understand "Country":

America First

Why don't we liberate these United States
We're the ones who need it the worst
Let the rest of the world help us for a change
And let's rebuild America first

Our highways and bridges are falling apart
Who's blessed and who has been cursed
There's things to be done all over the world
But let's rebuild America first

Who's on the hill and who's watching the valley
Who's in charge of it all
God bless the Army and God bless our liberty
Dadgum the rest of it all

Yeah, men in position but backing away
Freedom is stuck in reverse
Let's get out of Iraq and get back on the track
And let's rebuild America first

Why don't we liberate these United States
We're the ones who need it the most
You think I'm blowing smoke
Boys it ain't no joke
I make twenty trips a year from coast to coast


Hat tip to R.J. Eskow over at firedoglake for the video.

Dear Dems, 2

Please do something with this asshole.


Off to work ...

PS: To my neighbors on the north side of Long Island Sound. That really bright, white shiny thing you see on the far shore when you look south to Long Island, that's my hairy white ass. How about kissing it?

Great thanks to my neighbor Blondie for the link.

Dear Dems,

Once again, the Bush administration has told us to go fuck ourselves. The commutation of Scooter Libby's sentence is just another (the latest in a long line of offenses) example of the 'power elite' in Washington putting themselves above the law.

The Rule of Law in this nation has been set aside repeatedly by the use of signing statements by the President and outright obstruction of justice. This is one of the most blatant examples of this policy to date.

My question to you, Senator Reid and Speaker Pelosi, is when, finally, you will throw down the gauntlet and call for the removal of the President, Vice President and their staffs? The United States of America cannot stand 18 more months of these criminals at the helm.

You can no longer sit back and wait for next year's elections. The time for action is now. As you can surely see, the President pays no heed to the will of the people and it makes one wonder whether he will see fit to leave once his term is expired.

You don't think it can happen? Think again. Since the 110th Congress was seated in January, he has ignored subpoenas, refused to allow his people to testify, refused to submit documents the Congress and American people are entitled to see, and has obstructed proper oversight blatantly. Do you think Cheney, through Bush, will care about the results of next year's election if they decided there is still money left to loot from the Treasury, if they think there is a chance for them to get their hands on Iranian oil?

It is time, Speaker Pelosi, to put impeachment back on the table. It is time, Senator Reid, to say "not one more dime for Iraq". It is time for the Democrats to do the right thing. It's time for them to do what we overwhelmingly sent them to Congress to do.

Personally, I don't think the American people are willing to wait until next year either. I think they've had enough and Congress' recent polling numbers show that. I have a feeling there might be a lot more independent runs at Congress over the next few cycles; don't feel too smug in the knowledge "the Republicans are worse than we are". We might just have a third alternative soon and then you'll go the way of the Republicans if you're not careful. I'm sure there are a lot of people out there who support the Dems only because there is no other progressive alternative (I include myself in that group). If you don't want to be replaced, you'll start to listen to us, you'll start to earn our support. Right now, the only Democrats I'd consider supporting are Waxman, Conyers, and Murtha. The rest of you suck.

Grow some balls and do what's right.



Monday, July 2, 2007


The Chimp just gave the nation the finger.


Maru captures my feelings exactly:

Jesus K. fuck. Preznit Asshole McFuckinstein has commuted convicted criminal Scooter Libby's prison sentence, because it was "excessive." I'm sure any or all of us can hope for the same treatment if we ever need it. Fuck me and excuse me while I BARF MY FUCKING COOKIES. Fuck.

Chimp Commutes Libby's Jail Sentence


President Bush commuted the sentence of former White House aide I. Lewis "Scooter' Libby on Monday, sparing him from a 2½-year prison term that Bush said was excessive.

The felony conviction and the $250K fine stand, as if that matters to a rich politically-connected man. He hasn't pardoned him YET.

This shows that committing a crime in the service of the King is OK, and if you're stupid enough to get caught, your loyalty means you at least won't have to go to prison.

Just so we all remember ...

Just what an asshole our President is. Atrios:

4 years since George Bush said "bring 'em on," approximately 3370 US troops have been killed in Iraq.


Quote of the Day

“Good lord, the nation is being run by a bunch of petulant, selfish, narcissistic 11 year olds. Some days it is just more obvious than others, isn’t it?”

Christy Hardin Smith @ firedoglake


Cough it up ...

You folks know I don't ask for money for anything, except to donate to candidates, but I'm breaking one of my rules on behalf of my friend.

Shakes has had to move her operation to a dedicated server after the Denial of Service attacks she's been experiencing and it's costing a bunch (she doesn't have the ad revenue of a Kos or Atrios). I know a lot of our readers hang out there and enjoy the community she's built. If you can spare some, send it her way.

Back after my shower ...

Passages from Saudi school textbooks

Remember, the Saudis are Bush's buds. Here's some of what the kids are being taught, from the Kuwait Times:

"Just as Muslims were successful in the past when they came together in a sincere endeavor to evict the Christian crusaders from Palestine, so will the Arabs and Muslims emerge victorious, God willing, against the Jews and their allies if they stand together and fight a true jihad for God, for this is within God's power."

"Jews are the people of the Sabbath, whose young people God turned into apes, and whose old people God turned into swine to punish them." "As cited in Ibn Abbas: The apes are Jews, the keepers of the Sabbath; while the swine are the Christian infidels of the communion of Jesus."

"The clash between our [Muslim] community (umma) and the Jews and Christians has endured, and it will continue as long as God wills. In this hadith, Muhammad gives us an example of the battle between the Muslims and the Jews."

"Narrated by Abu Hurayrah: The Prophet said, The hour [of judgment] will not come until the Muslims fight the Jews and kill them. [It will not come] until the Jew hides behind rocks and trees. [It will not come] until the rocks or the trees say, 'O Muslim! O servant of God! There is a Jew behind me. Come and kill him.'."

Nice, huh?

Here's one that makes me wish Bush 41 was a Muslim:

If a Muslim man, father, or grandfather kills someone from his offspring, he is not punished.

JulieAnnie goes to Glasgow


"Thank God, as the memories of 9/11 begin to fade, I needed some fresh burning debris as my campaign backdrop."

Oh, the irony...

Ironic Times

Immigration Debate Ends
Administration mulls next distraction from war in Iraq.

High Court Strikes Down Affirmative Action
Justice Thomas writes majority decision, after which he's asked to leave.

High Court, 5-4, Overturns Constitution
Rules 1787 document not original intent of Founders.

There's never been a better time to buy opium.

Courage Without the Uniform

NYTimes, out from behind the paywall via Truthout:

Portland, Oregon - Every time a soldier from Oregon dies in the Iraq war, Senator Gordon Smith calls up the mother or surviving spouse, and commiserates. His son killed himself four years ago, he tells them. He knows what it's like to lose a boy.

He has made this call 103 times. Inevitably, after the tears and the awkward pauses, they ask him this question about their lost loved one in Iraq: was it worth it?

"I wish I could tell them what they want to hear," said Senator Smith, a Republican. "I wish I could tell them something else. I say, 'I hope history proves me wrong, but...' " and then he trails off.

Later, on the floor of the Senate, he said the words that are still echoing around the political world:

"I, for one, am at the end of my rope when it comes to supporting a policy that has our soldiers patrolling the same streets in the same way, being blown up by the same bombs day after day. This is absurd. It may even be criminal."

It was that last word that set people on fire. Conservatives called him a traitor - to the party, the country. Liberals embraced him. Bring on impeachment!

If anything, the senator feels stronger today than he did then, though he said he would change one word in his speech. "If I could take back any word, it would be 'criminal,' " he said. "I'd replace it with the word 'insane.' "

The war has started to resemble a postapocalyptic sci-fi film like "Blade Runner." Here is a troubled superpower headed by a pair of delusional men, with a rag-tag army fighting a constant low-grade insurgency. The cause has long since been forgotten, the slogans are hollow, death lurks around every shadowy corner.

But if we are to retrieve our honor, to restore our place in the world, to make good on those lost Oregon lives, it may be because people like Gordon Smith couldn't take it any more, that he finally said enough - bring the kids home.

Add one more Republican Senator to the "Good" list. With Hagel, that makes two, but the number is increasing though not exactly by leaps and bounds.

Hiding in plain sight

Daddy Frank on Cheney:

Who knew that mocking the Constitution could be nearly as funny as shooting a hunting buddy in the face? Among other comic dividends, Dick Cheney's legal theory that the vice president is not part of the executive branch yielded a priceless weeklong series on "The Daily Show" and an online "Doonesbury Poll," conducted at Slate, to name Mr. Cheney's indeterminate branch of government.

The ridicule was so widespread that finally even this White House had to blink. By midweek, it had abandoned that particularly ludicrous argument, if not its spurious larger claim that Mr. Cheney gets a free pass to ignore rules regulating federal officials' handling of government secrets.

That retreat might allow us to mark the end of this installment of the Bush-Cheney Follies but for one nagging problem: Not for the first time in the history of this administration - or the hundredth - has the real story been lost amid the Washington kerfuffle. Once the laughter subsides and you look deeper into the narrative leading up to the punch line, you can unearth a buried White House plot that is more damning than the official scandal. This plot once again snakes back to the sinister origins of the Iraq war, to the Valerie Wilson leak case and to the press failures that enabled the administration to abuse truth and the law for too long.

We're still playing catch-up. In a week in which the C.I.A. belatedly released severely censored secrets about agency scandals dating back a half-century, you have to wonder what else was done behind the shield of an executive order signed just after the Ides of March four years ago. Another half-century could pass before Americans learn the full story of the secrets buried by Mr. Cheney and his boss to cover up their deceitful path to war.

Go read.

Why put people through hoops? Because they can...

What about all the hoops we have to jump through just to board an aircraft? - Fixer, in the post just below this one.

The following is a letter to the editor in the July Leatherneck - Magazine of the Marines. The link is 'read only' so I had to type it, but I wanted you to see just how stupid these airport 'security' pogues can be.

[Marines Should Take Careful Note When Traveling In Uniform

As an American civilian, I feel very safe flying in the United States. Our airports have strict guidelines, which are carried out every day.

A young United States Marine went to board a flight [New Orleans International Airport, Gate 6A, at 5 a.m. for U.S. Airways flight #2238, scheduled to leave at 6:02 a.m., May 8] dressed in his service alpha uniform, as stated in his orders. He went in line and received his boarding pass and handed in his luggage. With his orders and identification card in hand, along with his carry-on bag, the Marine stood at the entrance of the gate to go through security.

The uniform he was wearing is the official uniform of the United States Marine Corps. It has many metal pieces keeping it straight and tight. It has metal clips in the collar and on the tie. It requires straps that keep the shirt tucked down into the trousers that connect all the way down to the socks. There are metal buttons, dog tags and any ribbons and badges earned pinned to the uniform.

The Marine was early for his flight, yet he did not get through the metal detector after removing most of his uniform. He was made to sit down and wait for the entire line of people to pass through security before a search was done on him. He stood in humiliation as many walked by and stared at him. Anyway, they then rudely spoke to him and patted him down. They finally took a handheld device to scan him.

After waiting 30 minutes for all other passengers to pass through and then another 15 minutes of searching, the Marine was finally allowed to go on to his flight. There were only a few minutes before his flight took off; he was far from his gate; and he had to re-dress himself and to proceed so as not to be late for his next post. I am not sure if he made his flight, but it took 90 minutes to put this uniform together and put it on the way it is supposed to be. The humiliation and anger was all over the Marine's face, but he kept his composure.

I do not understand why this happened. He had official U.S. Government orders in hand as well as his ID. If this is how it has to be, then the U.S. Government needs to provide airlines with trained security guards who are familiar with the uniforms the government wants military personnel to wear. Should they be flying from a base to a base? Should they be harassed like this? I am asking for answers to how this could happen and what we can do to make it better and easier for our military men and women to fly without delaying their orders.

I am that Marine's mother. How could this happen?

Theresa Remel
Baton Rouge, La.

Mrs. Remel later e-mailed us saying that her son arrived 7½ hours later than scheduled. He did not face any penalties because his recruiter called his unit well in advance of any potential problem. She further wrote "The commanding officer at my son's base was informed of the incident" and is looking into it. - Sound Off Ed.]

I suspect a little exaggeration in the amount of time it took this lad to reassemble his uniform, but mothers do that.

I fully realize the necessity to search people. I personally volunteer to strip search tall big-titted Nordic types to see if their chachabingoes are full of Semtex. I'll leave it to someone else to search the wheelchair-bound granny's catheter for fuel-air explosives or boxcutters. These things are necessary, dammit, but putting that young Jarhead through this kinda shit is just plain chickenshit.

You'd better hope not ...

Whatever happened to "fightin' them over there ...*"?

A secret U.S. law enforcement report, prepared for the Department of Homeland Security, warns that al Qaeda is planning a terror "spectacular" this summer, according to a senior official with access to the document.


So what about all the freedoms we've given up? What about all the hoops we have to jump through just to board an aircraft? What about all the NYPD Hercules Teams who seem to come out of the woodwork every time someone jaywalks? What happened to "keepin' us safer"? What happened to "Osama will get us if we don't vote Republican"? Hmmmm?

It seems to me, we're no better off than we were on 10 September 2001.


"This is reminiscent of the warnings and intelligence we were getting in the summer of 2001," the official told

U.S. officials have kept the information secret, and Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said today on ABC News' "This Week with George Stephanopoulos" that the United States did not have "have any specific credible evidence that there's an attack focused on the United States at this point."


So, Mr. Bush. Just say this happens. Who in Hell are you going to blame for it? Clinton? The Democrats? The gays? The blacks? The Hispanics? All of the American people? I just have one question for the White House.

After wasting so many of our young lives and so much of our money in Iraq, after putting the people of Lower Manhattan at such risk after 9/11, after completely screwing the American people in the name of 'The War on Terror', who do you think the American people are going to blame if a major terror attack comes to pass? I have a funny feeling they're gonna be looking at you.

Off to work to make more money for the government to waste ...

*A disclaimer on the link: This comes from the ABC 'investigative' team. You know, Brian Ross, who'd rather regurgitate a government press release than do any actual investigating.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Why are Americans such pussies?

I stole this in toto from Amato because I think my fellow Americans can learn something.

BBC is remarking on how calm the public was during the ‘car bomb’ attack on the Glasgow airport, how little panic or ‘terror’ there was - mostly just people whipping out their mobile phone cameras and filming everything in sight.

Arrests made on the M6 motorway in Cheshire last night as well. People got out of cars and offered to HELP the police.

Glasgow Airport is back up and running, passengers being interviewed coming off planes have said things are running smoothly, no problems. A bit of a hassle walking around the cordoned off bits of the airport, but no one’s complaining. Lots of smiling faces.

It’s almost psychology in reverse - the more fanatics try to terrorise the British, the more the British refuse to be terrorised. We’re more worried about the goddamned rain at the moment.
[my em]

Too bad our citizens scare so easily and allow themselves to be manipulated by people who never looked into the business end of an enemy rifle and probably would shit themselves, drop into the fetus position, and start sucking their thumbs and drooling if they did.

I'm tired of people saying the Republicans are strong on national security. They're just a bunch of draft-dodging pussies. I'll give 'em credit; they talk a good line but when push comes to shove, they're the biggest cowards I've ever seen.

You doubt me? Answer me this then. Why did we attack Iraq who had no nuclear weapons, rather than blast that insane midget in North Korea* into atoms because he did? Right, cowards never pick a fight with anyone who can hurt them**.

*Aside from the fact North Korea has no oil.

**Addendum (Monday morning):

As with the case in Iraq, sometimes cowards misjudge the situation and get their ass handed to them.

See yas ...

Lurch finds the Aussies have had it. How long before Gordon Brown brings the Brits home too?

El Laberinto del Faun

I watched Pan's Labyrinth on PPV last night. IMNSHO it was definitely worth the $3.99. It was all in Spanish with subtitles, but even I could understand most of it. I can best describe it as an anti-fascist adult fantasie noire. Go click around the site and see if it's up your alley.

How long have I been saying it?

How many times over the past 3 years have I said the Founding Fathers are rolling in their graves? Well, our pal Scout Prime finds most Americans feel that way too.

"Invasion of the Party Snatchers: How the Holy-Rollers and the Neo-Cons Destroyed the GOP."

I watch Bill Moyers' Journal every Friday night. It never disappoints. This past Friday, he interviewed Victor Gold, a long-time GOP man who's had it with what's been done to his party and our political process and wrote a book whose title is the title of this post.

I like the fact that he calls the whackjob religious right "Holy Rollers". It puts them in their place and describes them accurately as the batshit crazy theocons they are. I'm going to use it a lot, I think.

You can see the interview here, with transcript, and more about the book here (don't ask why I chose to link to a fly fishing blog. I don't know either.). I'm not recommending you buy this book, but it'll probably be remaindered before too long and you'll be able to get it at the supermarket for $3. Repugs don't want to read the truth, if they can read at all, and Dems already know it.

Also see Eleanor Clift's take.

Also see this from Mr. Gold:

Former Bush Speechwriter Hints at 9/11 Inside Job

Our Chamberlain ...

Lynne Olson, author of Troublesome Young Men, makes comparisons not between Bush and Churchill (as the Chimp would probably have it), but between Bush and Chamberlain, and the similarities are striking:


Like Bush and unlike Churchill, Chamberlain came to office with almost no understanding of foreign affairs or experience in dealing with international leaders. Nonetheless, he was convinced that he alone could bring Hitler and Benito Mussolini to heel. He surrounded himself with like-minded advisers and refused to heed anyone who told him otherwise.

In the months leading up to World War II, Chamberlain and his men saw little need to build up a strong coalition of European allies with which to confront Nazi Germany -- ignoring appeals from Churchill and others to fashion a "Grand Alliance" of nations to thwart the threat that Hitler posed to the continent.


A lot in the article I didn't know. Gotta get the book.

American lessons ...

From a Canadian. An excellent Sunday morning read:


Those of us who didn’t grow up in America, but under the sway of America’s media, imbibed a very pure form of the American mythos and civic religion. The American Civil Religion, with it’s secular saints such as Jefferson, Hamilton and Washington and it’s written Constitutional scripture is also a source of wonderment. Canada has no equivalent, no deep sense of history, no touchstone that is written back to to justify the present. Those words of your founders, those words that resound through history are words that inspire men and women who have never seen America and never will.

The Declaration of Independence spoke to all humans, with its assertion that all men are created equal and have unalienable rights. The US system of government, with its checks and balances, seemed unique and able to take shocks that might topple other democratic forms of government.


Americans hung a lot of Nazis for the crime of pre-emptive war. Men who were in no way involved in the Holocaust swung high at Nuremberg because they attacked other countries that hadn’t attacked them first.


America was founded in explicit rejection of aristocracy and inherited power. An American, I was taught, bowed to no one. And for most of two centuries, America tended to have less disparities of income and wealth than other western nations. Oh aye, during the gilded age, there were great disparities within America, but they were still less than in Britain, or France, or most of Europe. And America had the most social mobility - you really did have the most chance to make it to the top from the bottom (though this remained rare, despite the ideal.)

That’s no longer the case - America is the Western nation with the most inequality of any. And social mobility is dropping through the floor - a generation ago it was higher than almost anywhere, but the evidence coming in now is that if you aren’t born well off, your odds of moving up in the world are worse than they have been in generations. Meanwhile the tax code has been jiggered to remove much of the Estate Tax and to benefit unearned money over that earned by an honest day’s work. America is becoming a nation where power and money are inherited, where the rich get richer and where the working and middle classes are expected to borrow from their betters at usurious interest rates to make ends meet.