Saturday, August 11, 2007

Quote of the Day - Late Night Edition

Cdr. Huber:


And I am horrified that, by fiat of the worst commander in chief in U.S. history, a vital decision on foreign policy is about to be dictated to Congress by a four-star general.

It's the fucking Principle, not malice

A megachurch canceled a memorial service for a Navy veteran 24 hours before it was to start because the deceased was gay. As the pastor states, it's about the principle of the thing, ya know - the word of Gawd, not about any ole' mlaice.

Cecil Sinclair, 46, who served in the first Gulf War "died Monday from an infection after surgery to prepare him for a heart transplant. " He worked as a janitor at High Point Church.
The 5,000-member High Point Church was founded in 2000 by Simons and his wife, April, whose brother is Joel Osteen, well-known pastor of the 38,000-member Lakewood Church in Houston. Now High Point meets in a 432,000-square-foot facility in Arlington, near Dallas.

Of course, John at Americablog and a few other places have had their say....... suffice it to say, sanctimonious bullshit ALWAYS sets me off, and yep - this quote did it.
"Can you hold the event and condone the sin and compromise our principles?" Simons said in the article. "We can't." *
"Even though we could not condone that lifestyle, we went above and beyond for the family through many acts of love and kindness," Simons said.**
* The pastor, 'Reverend' Gary Simons, is brother-in-law of nationally known preacher, Joel Osteen.
**Simons said ...
the church offered to pay for another site for the service, made the video and provided food for more than 100 relatives and friends of Sinclair's."
I fuckin' feel better......

Yes ...

I'll admit to being a Francophile. Pudentilla:


no french soldiers have died in iraq. french citizens pay half what americans do for better health care. do the french chuckle when right wing hacks in america mock them, or do they merely indulge themselves with a gallic shrug and a smile?

Best. Healthcare. In. The. World.


MANY advocates of a universal healthcare system in the United States look to Canada for their model. While the Canadian healthcare system has much to recommend it, there's another model that has been too long neglected. That is the healthcare system in France.

Although the French system faces many challenges, the World Health Organization rated it the best in the world in 2001 because of its universal coverage, responsive healthcare providers, patient and provider freedoms, and the health and longevity of the country's population. The United States ranked 37.

The French system is also not inexpensive. At $3,500 per capita it is one of the most costly in Europe, yet that is still far less than the $6,100 per person in the United States. [my em]


Tell me why we wouldn't want something like this here beside the fact the HMOs and Big Pharma won't make windfall profits every year?

A word about the masthead art

Thank you, Fixer, for the trip down memory lane with this week's art. It's very nostalgic, warm and fuzzy even, to recall the good ol' days of rum, sodomy, and the lash! Aaargh...

Perseid Meteor Showers

Last night I was walkin' my pup about 11:30. I do this every night, but last night I got a great reminder of what time of year it is. I was walking past my neighbor's house when the sky lit up. I thought his motion sensor light had come on. I looked up and there was a good size fireball to the south, headin' eastbound and down. Blue center, orange on the edge, trailin' flame. It was over in half a second, but damn, it was bitchin'!

The meteors won't all be that exciting of course, but tonight and tomorrow night are going to be the best nights for viewing the annual Perseid meteor shower, and it will be especially prime this year as it's the dark of the moon. It should be especially good if you live in area without much light pollution.

So get a comfy seat you can lean back in and go outside tonight and look up.

Roll over, Dems. Arf!

That darlin' Old Ay-rab:

President Bush has the Democrats' number on Capitol Hill. All he has to do is play the fear card and invoke the war on terror and they will cave.

What's more, the president has found out that he can break the law and the rubber stamp Democratic Congress will give him a pass every time.

It boggles the mind to imagine what secret executive orders the next president will uncover after Bush leaves office and what the American people will eventually learn about the secret infringement of their rights.

That's assuming he doesn't impose martial law and declare himself President For Life.

If he does in fact allow Democracy to return, he'll be safe from prosecution in Paraguay.

Quote of the Day

The great PSoTD in toto:

Anyone who thinks we need a horrible terrorist event in our country to "wake America up" is a potential terrorist. It doesn't matter what the reasoning is - they believe in the use of terrorism as a means to an objective of purpose in this country. And all of those people should be shipped out of this country immediately, even if Fox News can't staff their network anymore.

Drafty ...

Do I have to dig up all the instances where I've said one day Gord and I will be fixing Humvees in Kuwait?

WASHINGTON (AP) - Frequent tours for U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan have stressed the all-volunteer force and made it worth considering a return to a military draft, President Bush's new war adviser said Friday.

"I think it makes sense to certainly consider it," Army Lt. Gen. Douglas Lute said in an interview with National Public Radio's "All Things Considered."


Shit that the Chimp is 'considering' today becomes policy in 6 months. I won't tell you 'I told you so' when they come for your kid.

Tip o' the Brain to Joe for the link.


And you know why they're considering this? Good ol' Cenk Uygur:

According to McClatchy Newspapers, Dick Cheney is on the precipice of convincing Bush to attack Iran. Diplomacy has gone nowhere because Cheney set a precondition that could not be met (stop enriching uranium before we negotiate over whether you should enrich uranium). There are almost no competent pro-diplomacy advocates inside the administration. All the generals who disagreed have been replaced. And the so-called opposition party is the biggest set of push-overs in the history of this country.

Do you think the Democrats will be able to stop Bush if he decides to strike Iran? If you do, you have no idea what you're talking about. It is an IGNORANT position to think that Democrats would even fight back against military strikes aimed at Iran, let alone effectively stop them. The Democrats WILL fold like a house of cards the minute the first bomb is in the air. They will rally around the flag like a bunch of trained Pavlovian dogs.


You don't think they're gonna stop with air strikes, do ya? The Iranians are going to retaliate against our troops in Iraq and, seeing the great job we're doing 'winning hearts and minds' there, I'm sure the locals are more than willing to help them. If we hit Iran, the draft will be just around the corner.

Yawn ...

NEW YORK (Reuters) - New York police stepped up security throughout Manhattan and at bridges and tunnels on Friday in response to an Internet report -- which authorities said they could not verify -- that al Qaeda might be plotting to detonate a dirty bomb in the city.


I wonder what bad news they're trying to distract us from this time?

Sorry, but I've been lied to for so long by this administration, and the fact the info comes from these clowns, I'll take it seriously when I don't have to turn on the bathrooom light to take a leak in the middle of the night.

Give me whority* or give me death ...

As with every Saturday morning, barring cataclysm or vacation, another chapter of my novel The Fourth Estate is up at The Practical Press.

*Okay, it's a reach but it's early.

Obcenity ...

One man's porn is another's political witch hunt:

WASHINGTON, Aug. 9 — Tom Rogers, a retired Indianapolis detective, toils away most days in his suburban home office reviewing sexual Web sites and other Internet traffic to see whether they qualify as obscene material whose purveyors should be prosecuted by the Justice Department.


I know the kind of 'toiling' I'd be doing if I was surfing for porn all day long.

"Hey, where'd Fixer go?"

"See that little pile of dust on the chair in front of the computer?"


"That's him. No more bodily fluids."

Heh ... But seriously, this is what the government can waste your money on.


The grant, about $150,000 a year, has helped pay for Mr. Rogers and another retired law enforcement officer in Reno, Nev., to harvest and review complaints about obscene matter on the Internet that citizens register on the Justice Department Web site.

In the last few years, 67,000 citizens’ complaints have been deemed legitimate under the program and passed on to the Justice Department and federal prosecutors.

The number of prosecutions resulting from those referrals is zero.
[my em]


So, we're paying these two jerk-offs 75 grand a year to field complaints from people who've had their sensibilities offended because they landed at a porn site, either accidentally or whatever? What's the test?

"Hey, Sam, did Granny Lesbian Fetish get ya off?"

"No, Tom, stayed limp as a noodle."

"Well, that ain't obscene. Next ..."

And you wonder why this guy looks like Smilin' Bob?

Pic courtesy of NYT.

Pic courtesy of Enzyte.

It'd be nice to use this money to ... say ... add a couple more inspectors to the FDA payroll. Maybe a couple more shrinks at the VA to help our guys coming back from the war? I don't know ... something useful as opposed to supporting a couple Viagra crash test dummies.

Great thanks (I think, heh ...) to the lovely Avedon for the NYT link.

Friday, August 10, 2007

The Meaning of American Pie

I got this via e-mail from an old school friend just a few minutes ago. I think it behooves us all to attend a class reunion every half century or so. I liked it so much I had to share.

It's about music, but it goes deeper than that. Call it "20 years of America in 8:45". The shit we're going through now may be worse, and indeed it is because it's NOW and could have been prevented if the powers-that-be had any sense of THEN, but it's nothing new. Enjoy.

And yes, we did dress like that...

The power of the purse ...

Digby hits the nail on the head:


Only in a society and economy fueled by high tech imperial warmaking could "sacrifice" be seen as a result of ending the war. But that's how Sanchez sees it, and rightly so. Her constituents would sacrifice their well-paid livelihoods if she were to vote against that defense spending bill. Neat how that works, isn't it?


Indeed. My dad made (and I hate to admit this because I don't want anyone to get the wrong idea) millions as a defense contractor during the Vietnam War. He had contracts with Grumman Aerospace, Republic Aircraft, Rockwell, Bell Helicopter, Boeing Aircraft, Remington Arms, DoD, and NASA and employed 150 people (union, he was a Dem after all. Well, except for me, whom he paid minimum wage so he didn't have to hear the remarks about "the boss' kid having a cushy job"). His business started going down when Republic Aircraft left Long Island not long after Vietnam was over. He always told me that he would never see the profits he did during that time unless we got into another war.

He'd kid me when I was in the Air Force, asking to arrange something like dropping a bomb in the wrong place, in order to drum up more business. His favorite line was "America runs on war" and he was absolutely right. At least my dad earned the money he made from the American taxpayer (I know how hard he worked, watched him kill himself working 18 hour days to make that damn company run), not swindled it away like Halliburton, KBR, and the rest of the current crop with connections.

The Military/Industrial complex and the filthy rich who run it have a lot more to say about how this illegal war will end than the elected representatives of the people. They employ a lot of people who vote (how many thousand people work at Boeing?) and if this war ends, those people are gonna vote with their wallets. All they need to hear is they're losing their jobs (and more importantly benefits) because of government cutbacks.

The moral aspects of this war should be enough to bring it to an end, but it won't as long as so many jobs depend on keeping it going.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

It's easy for soldiers to score heroin in Afghanistan

Salon has a good article on the ease with which our troops can score smack in Afghanistan, the how and why, and what may lie in store for returning Vets. This is going to be with us for a generation or more. May require a site pass. Worth it.

With deepest apologies to Rudyard Kipling:

When yer bored out of yer skull on Afghanistan's plains,
Roll out yer needle and shoot up yer veins...

Simultaneously stressed and bored, U.S. soldiers are turning to the widely available drug for a quick escape.

BAGRAM, Afghanistan -- Just outside the main gate to Bagram airfield, a U.S. military installation in Afghanistan, sits a series of small makeshift shops known by locals as the Bagram Bazaar. For Afghans, it is the place to buy American goods, but the stalls that make up the heart of the bazaar are also well known for what they provide American soldiers stationed at Bagram. Walking through the bazaar it takes less than 10 minutes for a vendor in his early 20s to step out and ask, "You want whiskey?" "No, heroin," I tell him. He ushers me into his store with a smile.

Back in the States, it is not difficult to find a soldier who has returned from Afghanistan with an addiction. Nearly every veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom I have spoken with was familiar with heroin's availability on base, and most knew at least one soldier who used while deployed. In June, I spent a week in Southern California talking to veterans who had used while in Afghanistan. Getting one of them to talk to me on the record, however, was tougher.

But they also don't want to get in trouble with the military for talking to the media. They believe that tarnishing the military's image would bring far more consequences than actually getting caught for using (my em).

Yeah, the military's got enough PR problems these days. Yeesh.

The methadone clinic in the West Los Angeles VA hospital itself has seen significantly more. An individual familiar with the methadone program at the hospital says they are "lined up 50 or 60 deep each morning." While the source does not know the service record of the patients, the source says, "These are young guys." The VA has 250 substance abuse centers nationwide.

Belcher of New Directions expects the caseload to pick up later, echoing Jodie Trafton's words about a delay between addiction and treatment. The Afghanistan and Iraq veterans Belcher's group has been seeing have been discharged about two years on average. "That's how long it takes for them to be forced into a detox unit by family, or law enforcement, or circumstances."

Both Iraq and Afghanistan veterans are coming home with substance problems. But the reasons behind their addictions are frequently different.

Because the deployment to Iraq is so much larger than the deployment to Afghanistan, with more than five times as many troops in country at any given time, the VA is likely to be treating more Iraq veterans than Afghanistan veterans for substance abuse. Anecdotally, addiction among veterans returning from Iraq seems largely linked to post-traumatic stress disorder. Overall, more than a third of the VA's 350,000 substance abuse patients from every era also suffer from PTSD. For soldiers suffering from PTSD, the use of heroin and other illicit drugs is frequently a form of self-medication, and a way to keep their stress and trauma at bay.

Many of the addicts returning from Afghanistan, however, point to sheer boredom as the reason for their use. "I had to work 12 hours a day, seven days a week, but half the time there was nothing to do," one reservist who served at Bagram complained. Another expressed frustration at the number of contractors sharing their positions. "It really pissed us off that we were there doing the same job as KBR guys who were making three or four times as much. It sucked." Bored and disillusioned with the process and mission at hand, many soldiers turn to heroin to pass the time and escape the monotony. While heroin is available in Iraq, it is that much easier to obtain in Afghanistan, a source country.

But both conflicts have something in common with a prior war -- Vietnam. [...]

There's that 'V word' again. The parallels continue to grow:

The number of troops who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan recently passed 1.5 million early this year. No expert has yet ventured an estimate of what percentage will come home addicted to heroin. For now, Anthony Belcher is going with his gut. "You can make analogies to Vietnam ... Afghanistan and Iraq, especially Iraq, seem to be another Vietnam."

Track suits and running shoes instead of black pajamas and Ho Chi Minh sandals, sand instead of jungle. They're still shootin' AKs at our guys, though. Some things never change.

The 'how':

The shopkeeper apologizes for the delay in the courier's return, lights a cigarette, and tells me to call ahead next time. He offers me his cell number. "I can have it ready then, no wait. But now you have to wait 10, 20 minutes. OK?"

I ask why he doesn't have any heroin ready to sell, that last year shops had heroin on hand. He apologizes again, and says the district governor has cracked down. "They are sweeping the shops now, because of the Cheney bomb."

Now shopkeepers have moved big ticket items off-site for safety. Bulletproof vests, DVD players, military gear and other items stolen or traded for on base have been relocated to protect against confiscation. Heroin, hard liquor and Viagra, meanwhile, have been moved to locations within a 10- to 15-minute radius of the bazaar.

Gee, what a crackdown! 15 minutes is less time than you wait for a pizza.

There is nuch, much more in the article. Also, at the bottom of page 4 there are links to related articles that may be of interest. Check it out.

The party of hypocrisy ...

Stolen from PW @ Jane's.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

The environment is all around us and closing in...

Good stories, one in Newsweek about global warming, and in related news, one in Time about New Orleans.

Nah, no such thing ...

As global warming. Yeah, and if you ever told me we'd get a tornado in Brooklyn I'd ask you to share whatever you were smoking.

An EF-2 tornado tore through Bay Ridge, Brooklyn.

Nor do we get flooding like this unless we get nailed with a hurricane.

Bayside, Queens Long Island Rail Road station this morning.

More here.

So what, is this what we can expect on a regular basis now? But Al Gore is fat ... like Michael Moore.

To Fresno and Back*

*With apologies to Audie Murphy and Fresno.

As you know (backstory here), Me'n Mrs. G went to Fresno to pick up her new sled last Saturday. The motorcycle part went very well, the folks at Harley-Davidson/Buell of Fresno were friendly and professional and treated us beautifully and everything went smoothly, exactly as planned. No glitches whatsoever. They threw in a coupla $24.95(!!!) T-shirts, a chrome license plate frame, and a coupla nylon ratchet-type tie-down straps that had secured a new Hawg in its shipping crate.

Those tie-downs saved my ass. I had one set with me and was prepared to buy a set if I had to, but I didn't have to. Please enjoy the funny visuals of, a) the service department wise-ass who stalled the bike trying to ride it up the loading ramp into our pickup and then just sat on it while sorta paddling with his feet and exhorting two of his minions to push faster, dammit!. Even I got a kick out of that one. I've loaded hundreds of bikes into trucks and never saw that before! Pushing someone else's fat ass up a ramp is usually not in the cards. Heh.

Funny visual b) yours truly sweating all over the new bike in the 100° Fresno coolth whilst trying to figure out how to tie down a motorcycle I'd never tied down before into a pickup that had never had one tied down in it before, using only locally available materials and 40 years experience. The comp tie-downs did the trick. I was a little leery of ratchet tie-downs without hooks before, but they were what was called for given the lack of tie-down points on this bike, and now I kinda like 'em.

Kind of a sad commentary on our litigious society was that the deal closer guy had Mrs. G sign a buncha places that she had declined things like the extended warranty and insurance (we had our own) so when something went wrong later on we couldn't come back and sue 'em. We're old school - you get the money, we get the bike, we'll take it from here, see ya around. Not everybody's like that, and I don't blame 'em one bit for taking precautions.

"...the havoc Gord and Mrs. G are wreaking on the people of Truckee with the new bike. Heh ...- comment by Fixer.

It's a nice thought, but the only thing that got any havoc wreaked on it was me'n Mrs. G. We're talkin' climate change and deteriorating infrastructure pretty much from here on out.

We left home a little after 6AM, just after daylight. Temperature was 44°. Naturally, as we came down outta these hyar hills and the day progressed, it warmed up to about 98° by the time we got to Fresno, which is smack dab in the middle of California's Central Valley. Nothing unusual about a hot summer day in those parts, so we were expecting it.

What we didn't expect was the pickup's thermometer to read 111° when we passed back through Sackatomatoes Sacramento at 5PM on our way home. That's pretty warm, even for there. Thank you, Mr. Toyota, for that lovely air conditioner! An hour and a half and 6000 vertical feet later when we got home, the temp was a gorgeous 76°, thus reaffirming why I like living in the Sierra, which on many days is the coolest spot in the whole state.

Interestingly enough, the very next day Sacramento set a new record for its lowest high temperature for the date ever at 76°. Go figure.

I think a 67° swing in the same day might be a 'personal best' for me. Maybe I'll go from the top of Mt. Whitney at dawn to the depths of midday Death Valley to try and beat it, but I'd have to go out of my way to do that instead of just going about my business like on this trip.

Get your motor runnin'
Head out on the highway
Lookin' for adventure
- Steppenwolf

I-80 down to Sac ain't too bad, except for the aroma of fryin' truck brakes. US99 from there on south is fuckin' junk. The fast lane's pretty bad, but the truck lane's worse. The next time you slice a tomato or put on a cotton shirt, they rode in a big rig up or down that road from farm to market. As a result of all that wear, the surface is more like glued-down gravel than pavement. It's bumpy and potholed as well, and it sucks. It doesn't get resurfaced very often because that would cost money and impede commerce. It might get fixed more often if it collapsed, but it's got nowhere to collapse to. It's actually somewhat dangerous to drive on and there are accidents on it all the time. It's scarier'n shit, too. It had my full and complete attention for the lovely 320 miles we enjoyed on it. I only used it because it's the only direct route to where we were going.

I-80 back up into the mountains is just as bad. Every item labelled Made in China (or, increasingly, Hecho en China. Heh.) that comes into this country through the Golden Gate heads east to your local Wal-Mart up I-80 on a truck. A tremendous amount of truck traffic passes right by my house every day.

Exacerbating the problem is the weather conditions in the mountains in winter. The big rigs are clawing for uphill traction with several sets of tire chains. The snowplows haul ass in a shower of sparks and sand to keep the road clear. Thousands of folks in a mad dash to take their money to Reno don't help. Then there's the Chinese Gambling Tour Buses...(shudder!)

I-80 through the Sierra gets fixed pretty often because it gets real dangerous in the wintertime. Folks crash all over the place, and it closes the road for hours, not to mention the time and expense of emergency responders. If you want a thrill, picture a big rig swapping ends in front of you on an icy downhill slope that you can't really stop on either. All you can do is try to slow down without sliding out yourself. You just sorta aim your rig and look for a soft cheap place to hit. Real 'pucker power'. In between fixin's, I-80 gets pretty bad pretty quick.

I'm not really snivelling about road conditions. They're the way they are because of overuse and under-funding for maintenance. It's the way it is for a lot of reasons and I'm used to it if not happy about it. Folks who use those roads every day probably don't even notice it. I'm a lot happier stayin' up hyar in the hills and hidin' from the world under my porch. I have friends there.

Some stats: Total mileage for the day was 525. Elapsed time was 12½ hours. One stop each in either direction for food, to take on fuel, and to drain the dogs. $60 for gas and $40 for breakfast and lunch out, which leads us to what I call "Gord's Theorem" - "These days, a hunnert miles costs twenny bucks". The corollary to which is, "Why, tarnation, I remember when ya could spend a week in a nice whorehouse fer less'n that!"

The mission was successful and a good time was had by all. The trip kicked our ass for a day or so, but everybody's fine now. Thanks fer puttin' up with my rant.

Keep your eyes on Fixer & Gordon for a 'first impressions' post on the new bike in the next coupla days.

Bush as Clouseau

p m carpenter's commentary on the situation in Basra:

Maybe Dick only meant to say that Basra is in the last throes of things going pretty well, because the less tendentious view is that the city is imploding from "the systematic misuse of official institutions, political assassinations, tribal vendettas, neighborhood vigilantism and enforcement of social mores, together with the rise of criminal mafias that increasingly intermingle with political actors."

That, anyway, is how the International Crisis Group looks at it. And given Mr. Cheney's rather chronic case of the wrongs, I believe I'll go with the ICG.

Up to a point, that is. Because in addition to its above assessment of mayhem and carnage, the ICG, as reported by the Washington Post, "described Iran, Britain and the United States as equally confused about what is happening in Basra."

Now hold it right there. Other nations may possess more resources, others more history, and still others more cultural traditions; but when it comes to confusion, the Bush administration bows to no country.

The administration's obliviousness to Basra's deteriorating situation reminds me of Inspector Clouseau's analytical powers -- especially the classic scene in which the unobservant detective devotes all his attention to berating a posturing blind man for packing around an "unlicensed minkey," while the cohorts of the imposter -- who's actually a look-out man -- are robbing the nearby bank.

And it's not just Basra, for its implications elsewhere are devastating: "The current U.S. security operation to 'clear, hold and build' in Baghdad and its surroundings is almost a replica of Operation Sinbad, which British and Iraqi forces conducted in Basra from September 2006 to March of this year with a mission of 'clear, hold and civil reconstruction.'"

Hence our continued presence is merely a waiting game for the bad guys -- a farce being played out with deadly predictability. As one U.S. intelligence official candidly framed it: "The British have basically been defeated in the south."

And this comes after the Brits' oft-touted "victory" in the south, which we'll soon be told we're achieving in Baghdad.

I guess the Brits figured out they were assigned to the part of Iraq without any oil and decided to leave before they had to admit defeat.

Defeat for Cheney and Bush will be if we have to leave without a lock on the oil. They will gladly kill thousands more U.S. troops in their heroic effort for Big Oil's bottom line.

Rove's Diary

Go see "Rove's Diary" at The Crisis Papers:

Impeachment "off the table"? Thank you, Madame Speaker. You've just let us pass Go as often as we like, collect the $200 each time, and hang onto a permanent Get Out of Jail card. Thank God! Even just the existence of an impeachment panel -- since it's pretty certain the Senate would not convict -- would derail many of our initiatives, forcing us to devote most of our time and energy on playing defense, not our strongest suit.

Dems are clueless about how to stop us. They're used to playing by the rules, getting along to go along, compromising to get things done, democratic niceties, etc. But we don't operate that way. That way lies namby-pamby, always worrying about who not to offend. You think like that and your agenda gets bogged down in the reality-world.

It's much more effective to rev up the old rammer, hit 'em and hit 'em hard, grab what we can get, full-scale smashmouth politics, call their bluff, demonize them, cut 'em off at the knees, rub their noses in their powerlessness, find their weak points and go for the jugular, take their strong points and demolish them. You'd think after six years, the hapless Dems would have figured all this out by now, but they still stand there like deer in the middle of the road, mesmerized by the headlights of our power and ruthlessness. God, I love this job!

In short, we're good to go for another 16 months. And, if things somehow go spinning out of control and it looks like we may be facing political or criminal jeopardy or a landslide defeat of the GOP at the polls, some "imminent" act of terror might "require" us to declare martial law, postpone the election, and rule by decree for awhile. Let them suck on that one!

We'll probably have to engineer a replacement for al-Maliki, who is to governance what a fish is to a bicycle. Petraeus, who is dependent on our favors, will give us six more months after September -- he'll report that there is some good "progress" on the ground and the new Iraqi government "deserves a chance" to succeed -- and we'll try to get six or eight more months after that to take us through the election campaign. Petraeus then can join al-Maliki among the fall-guys when the war is lost. Joining the scapegoat list will be the Democrats, of course, who didn't "support the troops" and thus stabbed our war effort in the back. Certainly, we in the Bush Administration are not going to be caught anywhere near that humiliating defeat.

Domestically, we'll consolidate our power base inside the government and take care of our enemies outside, if you get my drift. The Dems certainly have helped give us the enormous police powers that make our job such fun. We're always two steps ahead of them, and, surprisingly, they haven't put two and two together as to why we always know how to block their next move.

Gotta run. I'm rehearsing another rap number for a You Tube ad against the Democrats. It's called "Lie Back and Enjoy It, Bee-itch."

Parody and satire are never very far from the truth. Grrr.

A Question About Vietnam

There's a story about Vietnam that I wonder about. I figure Vietnam War Vets would be the people to ask,seeing as how they were there and stuff.

The story goes that anti war protests in America are what actually ended the war.

I'm not sure I totally buy that. Let me explain.

In April of 1975,I was about to turn 15,so I was not old enough to really know much more than I saw on the news about the War itself. I had cousins who served and later knew a guy who did two tours there. ALL of them came home FUBAR. Heroin and meth addicted,Agent Oranged,PTSD,you name a mess,these guys had it.

One of my cousins told me once that he thought it was kind of arrogant that war protestors thought the powers that be actually gave a fuck about their protesting. The PTB had shown they were perfectly willing to use guns at Kent State and tanks rolled through Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in 1973(against poor indians with limited fire power). If the protestors had really been that powerful ,my cousin argued,the government would have brought that shit to a halt ASAP. (Instead the feds sowed paranoia and distrust within the anti war movement-as well as within the American Indian Movement,civil rights groups,etc-via COINTELPRO. These actions caused the implosion of many groups,but that's a whole other topic).

So,I throw this one out to vets for discussion. Protesting ended the War In Vietnam,true or false?

I'll be late but ...

[A big tip o' the Brain to Salon and Sideshow readers.]

I can't let this slide. From a good article about Bush's base*, I lift this quote from a bigot homophobe Bush supporter:


"The Democrats keep complaining and whining about intrusion or privacy and all that," Heiser said. "If we didn't have that, then the terrorists would be blowing us up. The stuff he's done is what's protected us. Every big city in this country is pretty much liberal, but guess where the terrorists are going to hit first? They're going to hit the big cities. That's what I think is so funny about the Democrats."


Listen to me. This is a prime example of cowardice in action. An example of "I'm so scared I'm shaking in my boots and I'll give up my freedom, my rights, and most of all my dignity to feel safe" mentality. How much you wanna bet this guy is all "rah-rah, kill the ragheads" to his buddies at the circle jerk golf course? Heh, a 'raghead' ever looked at him cross-eyed, he'd probably shit himself.

Look, this stupid shit is what got us into this mess after 9/11. Everybody, including our leaders, were scared shitless and let Bush/Cheney do anything they wanted "to keep us safe". See post below.

And by the way? Were I a terrorist planning to do something to have the biggest effect on the U.S. I tell you what I would do. One beautiful September day, just after school is back in session, schoolhouses all across the American 'heartland' would start blowing up. You think I'd try something in a place where NYPD Hercules teams come out of the woodwork with more firepower than a Marine infantry squad? Puh ...

Bush has his base so snowed it's incredible. Cowards with beer muscles who are convinced they're protecting the 'liberal' cities from harm. Assholes like this are what got us into this ungodly clusterfuck to begin with.

And a side note to W. Thomas Smith: Go fuck yourself.

Oy, gotta go ...

*Great thanks to AMERICAblog

I'll protect myself, thank you ...

Shakes Kathy [oops!] on the 'Daddy State':


I, for one, do not want to be "protected" by renouncing my constitutionally guaranteed right to speak freely and to dissent when I feel that dissent is called for. I don't want to be "protected" by a government whose idea of "protection" is stripping me of the expectation that I can make phone calls, write letters and e-mails, and pursue my interests and concerns without said government breathing down my neck and watching everything I do and say. I don't want to be "protected" by people for whom "protecting" me means treating me like an irresponsible child who cannot be trusted with important information.


Off to work ...

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

The Fear of Fear Itself

A pretty good NYTimes editorial:

It was appalling to watch over the last few days as Congress — now led by Democrats — caved in to yet another unnecessary and dangerous expansion of President Bush’s powers, this time to spy on Americans in violation of basic constitutional rights. Many of the 16 Democrats in the Senate and 41 in the House who voted for the bill said that they had acted in the name of national security, but the only security at play was their job security.

But mostly, the spectacle left us wondering what the Democrats — especially their feckless Senate leaders — plan to do with their majority in Congress if they are too scared of Republican campaign ads to use it to protect the Constitution and restrain an out-of-control president.

But the problem with Congress last week was that Democrats were afraid to explain to Americans why the White House bill was so bad and so unnecessary — despite what the White House was claiming. There are good answers, if Democrats are willing to address voters as adults. To start, they should explain that — even if it were a good idea, and it’s not — the government does not have the capability to sort through billions of bits of electronic communication. And the larger question: why, six years after 9/11, is this sort of fishing expedition the supposed first line of defense in the war on terrorism?

Mr. Bush’s incessant fear-mongering — and the Democrats’ refusal to challenge him — has had one notable success. The only issue on which Americans say that they trust Republicans more than Democrats is terrorism. At least those Americans are afraid of terrorists. The Democrats who voted for this bill, and others like it over the last few years, show only fear of Republicans.

The Democratic majority has made strides on other issues like children’s health insurance against White House opposition. As important as these measures are, they do not excuse the Democrats from remedying the damage Mr. Bush has done to civil liberties and the Bill of Rights. That is their most important duty.

Please read the rest.

"Let them eat cake!"

TPM Cafe on the royal arrogance of this administration:

Washington Post reporter, Glenn Kessler, has just published a new biography of Condoleeza Rice. According to news reports, there is an anecdote in the book that perhaps best expresses the way the Bush Administration overall feels about workers--and about their own exhalted right to rule.

According to Rice's best friend, Stanford University's Prof. Coit Blacker, when our Secretary of State was on a shopping trip to purchase some jewelry and the saleswoman brought her earringt that she didn't deem worthy of her salary (paid for by us, the taxpayers), Rice snapped "Let's get one thing straight. You're behind the counter because you have to work for the minimum wage. I'm on this side because I make considerably more."

This, of course, from an Administration official who is part of a gang that had to be force fed a federal minimum wage raise. Let's hope she shows a bit more respect for the foreign leaders with whom she negotiates than she apparently does for the milliions of workers who pay her salary and who can't afford to call out a salesperson or be so rude.

I hope she is reminded very soon, graphically and finally in the first person, of what befell the first Marie Antoinette:

...she was executed by guillotine at the height of the French Revolution in 1793, for the crime of treason.

Saul Friedman also weighs in on the non-diplomat Rice:

...I can’t think of a single thing she’s accomplished on her watch. And it’s time for the press to catch on.

A good thought, but if the press were to 'catch on', they might have to say something about it. Fat chance.

'Good - I still have my head....'

Can you imagine if this were to occur in any of our cities, day after day after day?

Good, I still have my two hands and they still working properly, and what else?, oh, i still have my two legs working, I still have my head stuck to my neck, my two eyes working,my mouth and nose, no blood on my white T-shirt but why do I have this terrible pain in my ears? oh now I know why. the reason of this pain in my ears is the explosion. it just happened two or three seconds ago. It is 8,10 am when I was in the mini bus coming to work. A loud sound. OMG, its an explosion

Quote of the Day

“These are the Pretendocrats (another listener suggestion) - they pretend to fight the Bush administration, while actually doing squat.”

Cenk Uygur at Huffington Post


Monday, August 6, 2007

Family shit ...

Mrs. F's mom has taken a turn for the worse, healthwise, after battling cancer (of various forms) for 40 years. The docs at Sloan-Kettering aren't hopeful and we're setting up hospice care so we can get her home from the hospital.

Blogging on my part will be sporadic for the next couple weeks until we get everything squared away. I'd be appreciative if folks with the keys to this joint leave a post now and then. Listen to Gord and I'll be dropping in from time to time. Sorry this is so sudden but we're it up to me, I'd arrange a different outcome. If I had that kind of power, the Chimp would have been hit with a lightning bolt long ago.

And just this. I can't say enough about the staff at Sloan, after seeing what they've done for both my mother-in-law over the years, and Mrs. F last year. They are truly the best. As close to miracle workers as there can be.

"Duuude - burn one in there..."

Ya can't make up shit like this:

The top spot in a Congressional softball league belongs to drug reform advocates who are "busting the stoners-as-slackers stereotype," Roll Call reports.

The "One Hitters," took over the No. 1 spot in the Congressional Softball League last week, and the team fielded by Students for a Sensible Drug Policy and NORML holds a 13-3 record in the league comprised of lobbyists, Capitol Hill aides and interest group employees.

"Kris Krane, executive director of Students for a Sensible Drug Policy and the softball team’s captain, chalks up its success to the five years the team has been playing together — and a little extra motivation that comes from trying to dispel the myth that folks who want marijuana legalized are all munchie-craving, lava-lamp-gazing losers," reports Roll Call's Heard on the Hill gossip column.

This is the One Hitters' fifth year in the intramural softball league, and the team previously made headlines when the Office of National Drug Control Policy refused to face them on the field two years ago.

“Everyone knows that ONDCP backed out because they were scared of losing to us on the field, much the same way they are afraid to debate us because their policies fail in the court of public opinion,” said center fielder David Guard, who is associate director of the Drug Reform Coordination Network. “We have an open challenge to the Drug Czar to play or debate anytime, anywhere.”

The team's next game is Tuesday against the "No Talent AZ Clowns," whose players come from the offices of Arizona Sens. John McCain and Jon Kyl.

The last paragraph was the frosting on the cake!

Nice picture of a cola de zorro at the site, too.

Oh, the irony...

Ironic Times

Wal-Mart to Carry Faith-Based Bible Action Figures
Shown: Samson sodomizing Goliath.

Slight Chance of Victory in Iraq, Say Generals
Slightly better chance of Dick Cheney running through halls of Congress in a diaper, they add.

Consumer Confidence Index Soars
Many feel collapse of Western Civilization will create some excellent bargains.

If we stop shopping, the terrorists win.

Iraqi Soccer Champions Will Get $10,000 Each From Grateful Government
Enough to flee country.

I hope they send the team member who didn't go back to Iraq a check.

Dems: BOP

Click to embiggen

Quote of the Day

“There comes a time when giving in to the demolition of constitutional protections can no longer be considered a matter of being weak or unthinking. Rather it must be considered complicity.”

Meteor Blades at Daily Kos


That's about right ...

From JB at Balkinization, a look at what our future holds:


Do not be mistaken: We are not hurtling toward the Gulag or anything that we have seen before. It will be nothing so dramatic as that. Rather, we are slowly inching, through each act of fear mongering and fecklessness, pandering and political compromise, toward a world in which Americans have increasingly little say over how they are actually governed, and increasingly little control over how the government collects information on them to regulate and control them. Slowly, secretly and imperceptibly, the mechanisms of government surveillance are being freed from methods of political control and accountability; and the liberties of ordinary citizens are being surgically removed under a potent anesthesia concocted from propaganda, fear, ignorance and apathy.


Disgusted, I'm going to work. Happy fucking Monday ...

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Quote of the Day

Steven D:

Congress is officially irrelevant.

All you need to know ...

About the FISA 'compromise' the Dem dupes gave the Chimp. Larisa:


Make NO mistake, we are in serious peril when an Attorney General who has subverted the Constitution per request of his boss, lied, obstructed justice, and defended torture, is now in full authority to declare who is going to be a target of warrant-less surveillance. You may not see this as seriously as I do, but then again, you have not lived under a dictatorship to know the difference. Mostly though, the people who failed most, are the citizens of this country - who should have taken to the streets and shut down all commerce, all traffic, and disengaged from the machine of government. You did not shut it down. You did not even try. You waited as your hopes were put entirely in the hands of cowards. [my em]


Sadly, she is correct. Sadly, we are too comfortable. Sadly, we most probably deserve what befalls us in the future until enough of those comforts are taken from us. Maybe then we'll take our nation back. Maybe not. Maybe, like an addict, we have to hit bottom before we see the light. There's still a long way to fall.

Traveling creationist shows!

Oh Christ! As if we didn't have enough problems with our own creationist nuts! Meet the Foundation for Scientific Research (Science Research Foundation).

On a recent afternoon inside Istanbul's busiest subway station, a young man beckoned commuters into a subterranean "fossil exhibit" full of skulls and insects dating back millions of years.

But this was no mainstream scientific display. One colorful poster advertised the "myth" of the evolution of the horse. Another, displaying a flying pterodactyl, denounced the evolution of birds as "fake."

The display is one of many traveling shows put on by the Foundation for Scientific Research, an Islamic creationist group that has become a household name in Turkey. Now, the groups says it is distributing its books – published in 59 languages including Arabic, Chinese, Swahili, and Polish – to 80 countries.



Asked whether she would agree with that, Clinton said, "I don't think, based on my 35 years of fighting for what I believe in, anybody seriously believes I'm going to be influenced by a lobbyist or a particular interest."

Well, I do. I believe that every politician can be bought, the only determining factor being the price for turning their backs on their principles (if they have any to begin with).

No one should be allowed access to a candidate based on contributions. I don't care if they're lobbying for a 'good' cause or 'bad' one. Good and bad in this case is extremely subjective and I don't trust our elected officials to be able to tell the difference. Not when money is involved I don't.

Lobbying groups should go the way of the dinosaurs.

Let me elaborate.

If a group feels the need to inform a senator or congressperson about a particular issue, the meeting should be taking place in a government office, with the minutes recorded either on video or paper. Lobbying groups should not be able to donate to a campaign or give a rep any gifts. The situation has gotten way out of hand and any politician who endorses it is using it to their own benefit.

Those who should be replaced ...

The 16 senators* who voted to give the Chimp what he wanted in the FISA bill:

Evan Bayh (Indiana);
Tom Carper (Delaware);
Bob Casey (Pennsylvania);
Kent Conrad (North Dakota);
Dianne Feinstein (California);
Daniel Inouye (Hawai‘i);
Amy Klobuchar (Minnesota);
Nancy Mary Landrieu (Louisiana);
Blanche Lincoln (Arkansas);
Claire McCaskill (Missouri);
Barbara Mikulski (Maryland);
Bill Nelson (Florida);
Ben Nelson (Nebraska);
Mark Pryor (Arkansas);
Ken Salazar (Colorado);
Jim Webb (Virginia).

You all suck and I will be supporting your opponents in the Dem primaries in your respective states.

*Via Greenwald.