Saturday, August 18, 2007

Comments on this week's masthead art

First of all, thank you, Fixer. When I saw that first thing this morning, all sleepy-eyed and waiting for the coffee to kick in, I didn't have to look in the sidebar to see what it was.

Even though I was six years old at the time of the Marines' fighting withdrawal from the Chosin Reservoir, its images are burned into the tribal memory of Marines of all generations. I won't bore you with the details, hit the link. Suffice it to say that the Jarheads pretty much turned getting their ass kicked into a tremendous moral victory.

Now, I like ships and planes and depictions of the big picture, but all that boils down to the guys who suffer for their leaders' ambitions - the snuffies with their rifles. Sometimes they fight and suffer and die for the good of mankind, like in WWII. Sometimes the cause is just in the beginning, like Korea, Vietnam, and Afghanistan, but is later perverted into something that shouldn't have been.

Sometimes they fight and die for reasons that are perverted and immoral right from the get-go, for purely evil political ambition and greed, spun as "defending the vaterland homeland" so they think they're acting in their country's best interests when they're actually being used in the service of a very few zealots. Remind you of anything?

That trooper in the painting - cold, hungry, scared, but still on his feet, still a fighting man - is retreating in the worst conditions imaginable due to a series of his leaders' mistakes.

First, MacArthur's egomaniacal decision, not just to chase the North Koreans back to North Korea, but to chase them all the way past North Korea and into China. "Home by Christmas" was the mantra. My ass. Besides being a bad idea, no doubt fostered in his mind in the wake of his startling against-all-odds victory at Inchon, ol' 'Dugout Doug' chose to ignore a coupla minor details, like the fierce North Korean winter that came howling down from Siberia pretty reg'lar every year since about forever.

The other thing he chose to ignore was really minor, like about a gazillion Chinese just across the Yalu River from where MacArthur said he was going to stop his advance, but really wanted to keep going 'til he got to Moscow. Communist China was only a year old at the time, and Mao Tse-Tung had only recently kicked the Nationalist Chinese, with whom we had sided against the Japanese, off the mainland and onto Formosa. They did not want an American army on their border, for good reason, and sent so many "volunteers" (I've been 'volunteered' like that) into the fray that it caused one young Marine to ask, "Hey, Sarge, just how many hordes are there in a Chinese platoon?".

MacArthur then chose not to believe reports from his field commanders that the Chinese were in the fight. He pressed on regardless, until it became obvious that all the spin in the world, and the First Marine Division and Eighth Army as well, weren't going to stop them. The technical term for how 8th Army dealt with it was "bugged out", but 1stMarDiv, surrounded by Chinese, did a smart about face and fought their way out.

The other leader's mistake was Truman's, who let MacArthur do this. He later fired MacArthur over it and for calling for us to nuke China, but the damage was done. If Truman had drawn MacArthur up and had him stop at the 38th parallel, the war would have been over, or at least would have been reduced to about what it is now, a coupla million soldiers glaring at one another across the DMZ. Instead, the Korean War dragged on in virtual stalemate for 2½ more years at hideous expense in blood and money and isn't over yet. All as a result of extremely poor judgment on the part of two men.

Remind you of anything? The model here is 41's Gulf War - objective gained, army stop, do not go to Baghdad, do not collect quagmire, do not wreck nations (ours as well as theirs) in the process. There's a nation or two on the border to consider as well.

The parallel to what is happening in Iraq is not exact, but it is most certainly there. Today, the hideous expense in blood and money is the result of extremely poor judgment of the two most powerful men in the world, a ruthless demented zealot and his sock puppet, a demented clueless dry drunk, an easily-led zealot of a different kind who is lost in denial to the detriment of the nation and the world for generations to come. It almost makes you wax nostalgic for the days when a washed-up old general could do something stupid, but be held accountable for it. Ah, those were simpler times.

And the troopers? Still fighting and dying. For nothing but greed and oil. At least the Korean War and Vietnam War were fought at the outset to contain the spread of Communism.

I fervently wish for our troops to get the Hell out of Iraq before they have to fight their way out like the trooper in the painting.

Karmic Delight

A 'totally must read' by Mark Morford:

But then, something happens. In the midst of all this consciousness review and energy sifting, you pause. You take a karmic time-out. You lift your head from the hardscrabble tumult of your cosmic computations and look around, maybe read the papers and take in the recent headlines and suddenly it hits you like a dominatrix spanks her evangelical preacher in the hot fetish dungeon of cosmic irony: The stuff you've done? That horrible little army of things you think are so dire and awful and mean? Child's play. Trifles. Piddly little nothingness of who-the-hell-cares, barely registering on the Richter scale of pain and injustice and true human misprision.

Because now perhaps you are reading up on the rise and fall and much-desirable end of this one particular man, this dank, sweaty, adipose embodiment of a sad political caricature, this shockingly powerful force of darkness and cruelty and pure, unfiltered iniquity known to the world as Karl Rove.

You are not Karl Rove. You are not, so far as you know, the master orchestrator of what is increasingly recognized as the most disastrous, divisive, scandal-ridden, secretive, abusive, warmongering, hate-inspiring, homophobic, morally debilitating neoconservative administration in modern American history.

This is not you. This is not your life. You did not put into power the most embarrassing, bumbling, ethically dangerous leader the modern free world has ever known, and that includes Dick Nixon and Warren Harding and that guy from the 1800s who beat his kids and drank paint thinner and died after two weeks in office.

You did not work like a feral dog to rally the most narrow-minded and intolerant and easily terrified segment of our society, the hardcore evangelical Christian right, to support your candidate and his childish, good vs. evil worldview by employing an insidious message of hate and fear and homophobia, all rife with a rather shocking misunderstanding of God and sex and love and complex foreign policy. This, you can be assured, is not you.

Can you feel the prayer start to roll? To gain momentum and brighten your dreary day and illuminate your very soul? You bet you can.

Do not miss this one!

Saturdays with the whore

Saturday = Blogwhore

Chapter 21 of my novel The Fourth Estate is up at The Practical Press.

1985 ... again?

In '85, when I was with SAC, I had hurt my back on the flightline. My recovery, since I couldn't go back to full duty for 6 weeks, was spent sitting behind a desk in the supply squadron, going over parts inventories (coincidentally, this was the same time I learned there was no way I could ever work in an office without going completely homicidal).

Anyway I, and a couple others who worked there, found major discrepancies in prices the Air Force was supposed to be billed and what we were actually charged by our subcontractors. These were the days of the $700 toilet seats the Navy was buying. Needless to say, big investigations ensued, every congress weenie and their brother had to get on TV saying it will never happen again.

Well, 20-odd years later, guess what?

Aug. 16 (Bloomberg) -- A small South Carolina parts supplier collected about $20.5 million over six years from the Pentagon for fraudulent shipping costs, including $998,798 for sending two 19-cent washers to an Army base in Texas, U.S. officials said.

The company also billed and was paid $455,009 to ship three machine screws costing $1.31 each to Marines in Habbaniyah, Iraq, and $293,451 to ship an 89-cent split washer to Patrick Air Force Base in Cape Canaveral, Florida, Pentagon records show.


The scheme unraveled in September after a purchasing agent noticed a bill for shipping two more 19-cent washers: $969,000. That order was rejected and a review turned up the $998,798 payment earlier that month for shipping two 19-cent washers to Fort Bliss, Texas, Stroot said.


Great thanks to Maru for the link.

Friday, August 17, 2007

U haz a color 2

The Unapologetic Mexican has some great new crayons. Wish I had 'em when I was young, but then, those were the 1960s. Seriously.

The Utah mine ...

PW @ FDL explains it all succinctly with one sentence. Works for NOLA and the I-35W Bridge in MN as well:

... Another, more apparent reason, would be in the decided pattern of laissez-faire malignant neglect promoted by the twelve-year Republican Congress and the six years of Republican White House occupants Bush and Cheney ...

Indeed. They're letting this country fall apart.


More on this line of thought from Digby.

Snow Go

Think Progress

After the recent resignation of Karl Rove, media outlets speculated on what the rest of President Bush’s term will look like without “the Architect.” The President is “fighting lame duck status,” reported the AP. In response, White House Press Secretary Tony Snow shot back: “As the president has said many times, he’s going to sprint to the tape.”

But even Tony Snow doesn’t want to be around for that sprint. In an interview with the conservative Hugh Hewitt show, Snow signaled that he will not stay until the end of the term. He also mentioned that there are “probably a couple” of other high-level resignations “coming up in the next month or so.”

The more of them that leave, the better, but the only two resignations that really count will be Bush and Cheney.

Links at site.

A wise man speaks

Is Jenna knocked up?

When I heard that Miss Bush was engaged, my first snarky thought was that there was going to be a "miracle" right after the ceremony - a 'premature' 12-pound baby born with hair, teeth, and wearing a football jersey. Mrs. G picked up on the fact that Jenna was wearing looser clothes than she usually does. A guy would never spot that, but women sure would.

Well, damned if Wonkette didn't overhear us and pick up on the story!

And the 'Christian values' involved with a shotgun wedding? Well, she didn't get an abortion, and the bride and groom appear not to be related. At least not too closely.

Purple Hearts backordered

Houston Chronicle

Korean War veteran Nyles Reed, 75, opened an envelope last week to learn a Purple Heart had been approved for injuries he sustained as a Marine on June 22, 1952.

But there was no medal. Just a certificate and a form stating that the medal was "out of stock."

"I can imagine, of course, with what's going on in Iraq and Afghanistan, there's a big shortage," Reed said. "At least, I would imagine so."

The military has been using stocks of Purple Hearts for the last 62 years that they ordered in anticipation of casualties from the invasion of Japan. After Korea, Vietnam, all the other smaller wars, and now Iraq and Afghanistan, they're finally running out.

The Navy did finally get some more medals and are going to send one to the old Jarhead. He had already bought his own, but I bet they won't send him his $42 back.

You have to be an idiot to be a Repuglican

Daniel Kurtzman relays one of Turdblossom's 'memorable quotes':

"As people do better, they start voting like Republicans - unless they have too much education and vote Democratic, which proves there can be too much of a good thing." --Karl Rove

Well, that explains NCLB, huh? They're trying to grow Repuglicants.

You don't have to be particularly well-educated to see through the Repug bullshit. I've been on to 'em since Nixon. All you have to be is awake. Which still lets out enough Americans to have let them do their dirty deeds, and not dirt cheap either.


Our pal 42 has a personal finance blog you should check out. Having read him almost daily for the past 3 years, his financial advice and musings have mostly been spot on (more than the so-called experts on the tube) and it's great to see his insights gathered together in one place.

Well, since I’ve been blabbing away on my regular blog 42 about money and saving and personal finance a lot lately I figured I’d start a new one devoted to that topic and return to general yelping about all the rest of it on the other one. I might cross-post stuff from 42 over here as I see fit.


Make him one of your regular reads too.

Circle Jerks

The Fundies are coming to Florida to talk about homosexuality. There's something, ain't it? On the same plane as a Catholic priest giving marriage advice.

And why is it that to me the phrase "inform and empower involved Christian citizenship" actually means "brainwash and propagandize involved Christian sheep"?

TGIF, off to work ...

U haz a color ...

So u don't count.

Lance Mannion takes apart the stupid article in Time by Thomas Duffy and sums up the 'evangelical' mindset perfectly.


The Beltway Insiders assume that the only religious vote that matters is the white evangelical Protestant vote.

The Democrats' most loyal constituency includes some of the most devout Christians in the nation, African Americans. But they're not white so their religion doesn't count.

The Democrats are making serious inroads among some of the most devout Catholic voters in the nation, Hispanics. But they're not Prostestant so their religion doesn't count.

Recently, the Democrats have taken away the Republicans' advantage among Muslim voters. But they're not Christian so their religion doesn't count.

And everybody knows Jews are all atheists anyway, right?


Today's Republican Party: It's all about the racism.

Great thanks to Digby for the link.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Quote of the Day Drei

Sifu Tweety:


Hey, you, hotshot cardiologist: that robot heart you gave Dick Cheney? The one that’s keeping him alive despite the nightmarish maw of eternal blackness currently devouring his humanity from the inside out? Thanks a lot, jerkoff. Really helpful.

Fall in! Rap on the hatch like you got a pair!

Old Marines can get this doormat here. Heh.

SciFi and Pink Floyd are coming true


The Bush administration has approved a plan to expand domestic access to some of the most powerful tools of 21st-century spycraft, giving law enforcement officials and others the ability to view data obtained from satellite and aircraft sensors that can see through cloud cover and even penetrate buildings and underground bunkers.

Administration officials say the program will give domestic security and emergency preparedness agencies new capabilities in dealing with a range of threats, from illegal immigration and terrorism to hurricanes and forest fires. But the program, described yesterday by the Wall Street Journal, quickly provoked opposition from civil liberties advocates, who said the government is crossing a well-established line against the use of military assets in domestic law enforcement.

But civil liberties groups quickly condemned the move, which Kate Martin, director of the Center for National Security Studies, a nonprofit activist group, likened to "Big Brother in the sky." "They want to turn these enormous spy capabilities, built to be used against overseas enemies, onto Americans," Martin said. "They are laying the bricks one at a time for a police state." (my em)

I remember reading a SciFi novel about a group of American "insurgents" after the satellite-imagery police state became a reality. The title was "CenterForce" and it was written in 1974 by T.A.Waters. I still have it. You'll know why I bought it when you see the cover. You can get it from Amazon for 95¢.

Everybody'll be OK if they just stay on their knees and eat their grass. Those who dare to stand up and speak out will be Enemies of the State.

Just another brick in the wall.

Drag Queen Defies U.S.

Shit, I thought this was about Shirley "Cha-Cha" Muldowney! Not a rail job in it. With video.


If you own a Ford product with cruise control, go read this.

Cross-posted at Fixer & Gordon.

Quote of the Day Zwei


There is NO GOP money that isn’t dirty money.

There is NO GOP principle that doesn’t come back to evil.

Backing Down From Cowards

From BuzzFlash:

The Democratic Party cowers at the bellicose threats of Bush and Cheney, though beyond the macho posturing, both men have barely the right to be called men. Bush ran away on 9-11. He ran away from Cindy Sheehan in Crawford. The boy is a coward. Cheney hid in his bunker and assured noninterference from the US military on 9-11. He turned a grave, rookie hunting accident into a scandal because he wasn't man enough to admit his foolishness until considerably after the fact. And Karl Rove, well, just view the Youtube video of him running from some college students who attempted to make a citizen's arrest after one of Rove's on-campus propaganda speeches.

Bush's junta resembles a malevolent group of prepubescents more than it does a collection of mafiosos. Congenital ineptitude and management by mistake are not symptoms of a battle- or street-hardened group. These guys are all spoon-fed rich kids who've stolen the car keys.

Democrats are acting like pop psychology parents who refuse to correct their wayward charges. Time-outs and stern talkings-to aren't going to corral these brats gone wild. Reid and Pelosi need to grasp this concept and call out Bush and the Republican obstruction machine. After all, with Congress' approval ratings in the toilet, what do they have to lose? The '08 elections?

If they refuse to stand up to the spoiled brats that infest our government, that will be absolutely guaranteed.

If the Dems lose in '08 they might as well disband and let whatever happens to our country happen. Keep your rifles clean, just in case.

Note to BuzzFlash: Some of us law-abiding otherwise-fairly-liberal citizens know what firearms are for, and how and why and when to use them. If the Fascist-in-Chief tries to impose martial law, declares himself President-for-Life, tries to revoke very much more of the Constitution, or any one of a host of other crimes against our Liberty, we may have to show you.

Man the buffet!

Joe Conason puts that fat little fuck Turdblossom in his place with one simple response to a Rove quote from just after 9/11:

"It was a moment to summon our national will," he thundered, "and to brandish steel."

The only steel Mr. Rove ever brandished was a fork, [...]

Bada bing!

What they really want ...

[A big Brain welcome to Avedon's readers.]

Most of us have guessed this, most believed it probable, but now we have proof:


If President Bush copied Julius Caesar by ordering his army to empty Iraq of Arabs and repopulate the country with Americans, he would achieve immediate results: popularity with his military; enrichment of America by converting an Arabian Iraq into an American Iraq (therefore turning it from a liability to an asset); and boost American prestiege while terrifying American enemies.

He could then follow Caesar's example and use his newfound popularity with the military to wield military power to become the first permanent president of America, and end the civil chaos caused by the continually squabbling Congress and the out-of-control Supreme Court. [em in orig]


Um ... Congress? Ms. Pelosi? Mr. Reid? Time to get these assholes out.

Big tip o' the Brain to BillyDoom @ Blondie's.

I'm no financial guy ...

Before I met Mrs. F, I thought money was to be spent on beer and pussy, but what little I remember from my history classes, isn't this what triggered the first stock market crash in '29?


Second example: today any wealthy individual can take $1 million and go to a prime broker and leverage this amount three times; then the resulting $4 million ($1 equity and $3 debt) can be invested in a fund of funds that will in turn leverage these $4 millions three or four times and invest them in a hedge fund; then the hedge fund will take these funds and leverage them three or four times and buy some very junior tranche of a CDO that is itself levered nine or ten times. At the end of this credit chain, the initial $1 million of equity becomes a $100 million investment out of which $99 million is debt (leverage) and only $1 million is equity. So we got an overall leverage ratio of 100 to 1. Then, even a small 1% fall in the price of the final investment (CDO) wipes out the initial capital and creates a chain of margin calls that unravel this debt house of cards. This unraveling of a Minskian Ponzi credit scheme is exactly what is happening right now in financial markets. [my em]


Quote of the Day

“It is never to soon to unleash hell on conservatives.”

Martin Lewis at Huffington Post

. . and the time to begin is now.


Suicide rate highest in 26 years for Army personnel

The AP obtained a report I just ran across at Huffington that is to be released on Thursday that describes the suicide rate within the Army as being

"at the highest rate in 26 years, and more than a quarter did so while serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to a new military report.
Last year, "Iraq was the most common deployment location for both (suicides) and attempts," the report said."

The numbers may not be considered significant by some; I consider them significant and certainly indicative of a desperate measure taken to get OUT of untenable situation.

"In addition, there was a significant relationship between suicide attempts and number of days deployed" in Iraq, Afghanistan or nearby countries where troops are participating in the war effort, it said. The same pattern seemed to hold true for those who not only attempted, but succeeded in killing themselves.

There also "was limited evidence to support the view that multiple ... deployments are a risk factor for suicide behaviors," it said."

There's more at

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

A prelude to war: What's really behind Bush's Iran move


[...] How could Bush stage an attack on Iran without the authorization of a skeptical, Democratic Congress?

Today, the White House has solved that pesky problem in one fell swoop. By explicitly linking the Iranian elite guard into the post 9/11 "global war on terror" in Iraq and Afghanistan, Bush's lawyers would certainly now argue that any military strike on Iran is now covered by the October 2002 authorization to use military force in Iraq, as part of their overly sweeping response to the 2001 attacks.

This has clearly been the thinking for some time, particularly with talk -- unfulfilled, of course -- by some Democrats on Capitol Hill of either revoking the 2002 authorization or placing explicit curbs on attacking Iran.

I hope Bush - and Cheney in particular - come to a bad end very soon, for if they do not, we surely will.

Attacking Iran is orders of magnitude a worse idea than invading Iraq, as bad as that was. The Iranians might actually kick the crap out of us and kill many thousands of our guys on their own turf. We can leave Iraq on our feet, but we might leave Iran feet first.

Worst case scenario is that the madmen in charge may use nuclear weapons against a nation that poses no nuclear threat to us in an attempt to stave off defeat.

The only other time nuclear weapons have been used was to minimize casualties and hasten the surrender of an already defeated nation with no power of retaliation whose leaders were in denial. A nuclear attack on a non-nuclear nation this time is gonna bite us on the ass. If not one way, then another.

"Satisfactory Progress" and "Boy, have I got a bridge for you!" Dept.

This was sort of buried in an article in the LATimes about General Petraeus' upcoming magic report:

Despite Bush's repeated statements that the report will reflect evaluations by Petraeus and Ryan Crocker, the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, administration officials said it would actually be written by the White House, with inputs from officials throughout the government.

And though Petraeus and Crocker will present their recommendations on Capitol Hill, legislation passed by Congress leaves it to the president to decide how to interpret the report's data.

Did we expect anything else? Just another dog & pony show, with dead dogs & ponies at that, to get yet another Friedman Unit in Iraq.

I might have more respect for Gen. Petraeus, maybe even Bush (shudder!), if one of 'em'd just come out and say, "We can't leave now. The Iraqis haven't given us the oil yet. We may have to go to Plan B and just steal it. That'll start with the re-institution of the draft because we don't have enough military left to do it. We are prepared to make any sacrifice on your part for massive profit on our part."

Having said that, my respect for Gen. Petraeus is going the way of my respect for Colin Powell for allowing himself to be used as a political tool by war criminals.

Bumper Sticker of the Day

Click for 'expandomatic'

I don't know why anybody would want to put this cop magnet on their ride, signifying to the bacon that they are probably a) loaded and holding, and b) a (Gasp! Bust 'em!) Librul, but if your judgment is clouded by the devil weed you can get one here.

"...a very, very bad canoe trip..."

Garrison Keillor, the stereotypical "Mr. Minnesota Nice", sounds off on Turdblossom. A 'recommended read'.

Every canoe trip has a self-appointed Master Woodsman. In civilian life he may be a mild-mannered clerk in a cubicle but out on the trail he is transformed into the song leader, pathfinder, the great helmsman, the tier of correct knots and the authority on bears. He shows you how to do everything except the things you really need to do, such as (1) relieve yourself in some dignified manner and (2) get out of here and find a hotel. Your body aches from sleeping on the ground and you are thinking about "Lord of the Flies" and what it says about the fragility of civilization, but he is relentlessly upbeat. And then it dawns on you: Your suffering is what turns him on. The man is a sadist.

At this point, the current administration is like a very, very bad canoe trip with a week left to go, and Karl Rove is the Head Counselor who has found a path to the highway.

He left the White House with a wave and a grin and not in handcuffs as some had hoped, followed by the usual backwash of commentary on how important he was, or how not important in comparison to how important some people thought he was, and what I find eerie about the man is his inexhaustible self-confidence and optimism. He was the Master Woodsman. According to some accounts, his positive outlook was responsible for the Current Occupant's sunny disposition in the face of bad news. No wonder Rove's nickname was "Turd Blossom." He could put fecal matter on his lapel and call it a boutonniere.

[...] Goodbye and good riddance.

Good riddance, yes, but he still needs to answer for his crimes.

A good 'Fundy'


Deer Island, New Brunswick - Tides are a fact of life on the Bay of Fundy, and here more than most places. Strong enough to carry a small sailboat backward, they flow around this island in reversible rivers. Currents smash together in a violent chop or conspire to create whirlpools – including the hemisphere's largest.

People have long dreamed of harnessing these tides, including Franklin D. Roosevelt, who wanted to build dams from Deer Island to the Maine and New Brunswick mainland as part of an aborted Depression-era energy scheme. Until recently, the environmental and monetary costs of tidal dams nixed most efforts.

But with high energy prices and increased demand for renewable energy, tidal power is taking the stage again. It's greener this time, with new technologies that promise to generate clean, predictable power without dams or negative environmental consequences.

More than a dozen developers have been working on this so-called "in-stream" technology inspired by wind turbines. Most of their prototypes incorporate turbines attached to the seafloor, where tidal currents spin them safely beneath the shipping lanes and, hopefully, without troubling marine life. Almost all require further field-testing before they're ready for large-scale deployment.

I like this idea. It could deliver power from a source that's renewable twice a day. I'll bet Big Energy is trying as we speak to figure out how to charge for the Moon's pull.

I believe there's also a project like this in the East River. Fixer?

What’s the real reason Karl Rove resigned?

You can take a poll at Mad Kane's. Here's a few of the choices:

Karl has a deal to write a George Bush bio and has always wanted to write fiction.

Needs more time to blow Jeff Gannon.

He made the DC Madam's List

Rove wants to write memoir: "I, Turd Blossom" with first scratch and sniff cover

Something else has come up, and he left to cover it up

She even let me add one:

Rove going to Paraguay to pave the way for when Bush flees U.S.

I don't really care why he left. I just wanta see his slimy ass in prison.

On the table, Nancy

A good read by Bruce Fein:

President Woodrow Wilson recanted his no-war pledge, President Franklin D. Roosevelt disowned his balanced budget promise and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., should learn from those examples. She should reconsider her "impeachment [of President Bush] is off the table" pledge. As Ralph Waldo Emerson advised, "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines."

The speaker's reluctance is understandable. The president's tenure expires on Jan. 20, 2009. An impeachment inquiry could embolden al Qaeda, the Taliban, Iraq's insurgents and Iran's nuclear-minded mullahs. President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and a majority of Republicans in Congress would attempt to portray the exercise as naked partisanship. Their enthusiasm for impeaching President Bill Clinton over lying under oath about Monica Lewinsky would be no deterrent.

But countervailing constitutional concerns are more compelling. Bush has crippled checks and balances and protections against government abuses. If these claims and practices are not repudiated, the precedents will lie around like loaded weapons, ready for use by any White House incumbent to intimidate rivals or to destroy the rule of law/

Mr. Fein is making one of the most reasoned cases for impeachment that I've heard. Personally, I don't care if they toss those sonsabitches outta our White House for gettin' drunk and pissin' off the balcony. Just get 'em out NOW.

Another one ...

Remember the other day when I directed you to Lurch and Mark from Ireland's War of the Bridges series?

Well, the 'insurgents' dropped another one yesterday.

Off to the shop ...

The Behavior Police ...


Trouble in transit, got through the roadblock
we blended in with the crowd
We got computers, we're tapping phone lines
I know that ain't allowed
We dress like students, we dress like housewives
or in a suit and a tie
I changed my hairstyle so many times now
don't know what I look like!


~Life During Wartime - Talking Heads

Seems TSA has taken a page from the Israelis' playbook. Thing is, it will probably be implemented looking through the lens of conservative, scared-shitless of the brown men, gung-ho assholes. Republicans and their sycophants, in other words.

Cliff Schecter sees the hazards:


Got that? Micro-expressions are cause for alarm. A mere flicker. I can see the signs now: "Poker faces advised beyond this point."


Nooooo, really? Civil liberties? Like they ever counted. And about those different cultures, would that lead to "blink profiling" or "twitch discrimination"? What if you're Middle Eastern with a poker face, but American with a nervous cough? What a challenge, huh? Whew! I don't envy them Face Cops!


Hello, McFly?

Listen to me. I don't have to like my President as a person. I don't care if he/she cheats on his/her wife/husband. I don't care about having a beer with him/her; don't even want to. I don't care if they have the personality of a dial tone or look like they just rolled out of bed or were beaten with an ugly stick.

All I want from a President is someone who puts the rights and interest of the American people ahead of anything else.

Mustang Bobby elaborates.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Learn from the fall of Rome, US warned

Like, no shit! Financial Times

The US government is on a ‘burning platform’ of unsustainable policies and practices with fiscal deficits, chronic healthcare underfunding, immigration and overseas military commitments threatening a crisis if action is not taken soon, the country’s top government inspector has warned.

David Walker, comptroller general of the US, issued the unusually downbeat assessment of his country’s future in a report that lays out what he called “chilling long-term simulations”.

These include “dramatic” tax rises, slashed government services and the large-scale dumping by foreign governments of holdings of US debt.

Drawing parallels with the end of the Roman empire, Mr Walker warned there were “striking similarities” between America’s current situation and the factors that brought down Rome, including “declining moral values and political civility at home, an over-confident and over-extended military in foreign lands and fiscal irresponsibility by the central government”.

Shorter: Bush is the worst president ever, and he and his cabal and cronies are ridin' us down the road to ruin.

Sticky Rice

I was down at the Kwik-E-Mart getting breakfast and saw this on the back of the newspaper the clerk was reading and ran right home and found it for you. I ran a little more after the breakfast burrito kicked in too...

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice wants to continue serving President George W Bush until he leaves the White House, her spokesman has said after Bush's top aide Karl Rove resigned.

"And she has a lot that she wants to accomplish on behalf of this president, on behalf of the American people," he said.

I think her track record pretty much assures us which side of that diametrically opposed choice she'll go down on opt for.

A new way...forward?

Quote of the Day

Pensito Review with a short and sweet summation of Turdblossom:

What an asswipe.

Couldn't have said it better myself.

"Thank God And Greyhound You're Gone"*

Eugene Robinson

Buh-bye, Karl Rove. On your way out of the White House, don't let the screen door hit you where the dog should have bit you.

I can't say that I'll miss George W. Bush's longtime political strategist -- the man Bush used to call "Boy Genius" -- because, well, that would be such a lie. And anyway, to quote one of the great country song titles -- "How Can I Miss You When You Won't Go Away?" -- I don't believe for a minute that Rove really intends to withdraw from public life. I predict he'll be writing op-eds, giving interviews to friendly news outlets and calling Republican presidential candidates to warn them not to abandon Bush, no matter how low his approval ratings slide. Rove's new job will be to put lipstick on Bush's hideous legacy -- and, in the process, freshen up his own.

That's gonna take a lotta lipstick. Gotta call my broker about some Revlon...

Here's another ol' country song title that might apply to Bush after Turdblossom, "I'm So Miserable Without You, It's Almost Like Having You Here".

The problem, of course, is that what Rove did and how he did it were awful for the nation.


Yes, politics is about winning -- they don't give style points for graceful failure. But the us-or-them brand of politics that Rove mastered and that Bush practiced has been a disaster for the nation and its standing in the world.

Turns out it wasn't all that wonderful for Rove's 1000 Year Reich Permanent Repuglican Rule either, but it's gonna take a long time to clean up.

"I'll be on the road behind you here in a little bit," Bush said to Rove as the two men faced reporters yesterday.

Not soon enough.

Amen, brother

*Another ol' country song title.

I'll watch this one

I usually catch the lowlights from the debates online so I don't have to sit through all the drivel. Saves on replacing TVs when I launch something at it. This one I'm gonna watch every minute of. The Rethug YouTube debate is back on.

A deal ... heh ...

Guess what? Congress made a deal with the Chimp and they expect him to stand by it:


There'll be no recess appointments this time around, Roll Call reports (sub. req.), meaning the White House won't be taking advantage of Congress' vacation to install any contested nominees. That's due to a deal between Bush and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV).

Last recess, the White House made a number of controversial recess appointments, including Swift Boat backer Sam Fox as ambassador to Belgium. In order to prevent that sort of thing from happening again, Reid had plotted to keep the Senate in "pro forma" session during the recess -- whereby the Senate floor personnel show up every three days to make it an official session. But now Reid and Bush have made a deal, according to Roll Call. Bush won't make any recess appointments and Reid has promised to move some of his nominees when Senate gets back in session.


Swopa says it best:


Who wants to bet that sometime in the next few weeks, Bush makes some recess appointments anyway?


Didn't Congress 'make a deal' with the Chimp on the FISA bill? Just askin' ...

Off to work ...

First they came . . .

First they came for the terrorists
I didn't speak out
I wasn't a terrorist

Then they came for the enemy combatants
I didn't speak out
I wasn't an enemy combatant

Then they came for the protesters
I didn't speak out
I wasn't a protester

Then they came for the journalists
I didn't speak out
I wasn't a journalist

Then they came for the rest of us . . .


Based on the famous poem from Martin Niemöller
Cross-posted at Jersey Guy

Monday, August 13, 2007


I'm sure all us political junkies have been having a good time what with all the gasbaggery flyin' around about the Iowa "ya gotta be an idiot to be a Repuglican" Straw Poll, but there were things goin' on in Iowa last Saturday that were actually important, and which attracted far greater public interest than a buncha pygmy losers. Rightly so, too.

There were 14,117 votes cast for those clowns statewide, which is hilarious when you think of all the money (and watermelons, in Huckabee's case) spent, all the media attention and hyped importance of the event.

14,117 is pretty small potatoes compared to the 24,000+ folks in attendance, in a town of 8200, at the Knoxville Nationals on the same day.

Let's keep things in perspective. All the free-floatin' lyin' hot air that all the politicians can put out, and it's a lot, can't hold a candle for excitement to a buncha 1200-lb, 850-hp little race cars goin' sideways on a dirt half-mile at over a hunnert miles an hour.

Them Iowans ain't stupid. The pols'll be there any old time, and they're pretty useless anyway. The Nationals come but once a year. Priorities.

Quote of the Day



Preznit Stupie's li'l Turd Blossom will be returning to Texas to "spend more time" with his pasty, squidlike family before he's hopefully hauled off to prison. In any event, he will now be free to more effectively destroy democracy from the shadows, as he continues to plot to bring another corrupt, powermad rethuglican to the thro presidency.


No Light, Just Tunnel

A post at Empire Burlesque about the bi-partisan effort to continue the occupation of Iraq. I think the guy's a little off, but there are some great quotes.

We invaded your country. We occupied your country. We wrote your constitution, in which the arbitrary decrees of our colonial viceroy were imposed as fundamental law. We looted your money. We armed your sectarians. And we are going to keep a large number of troops in your country, come what may. But we aren't going to baby-sit you anymore. No, if you don't get your act together -- and sign the goddamned Oil Law already -- we are just going to withdraw to our permanent bases and watch you kill each other. -- That is the sum total of the leading Democratic candidate's position on Iraq.

Up to the word 'but', it's pretty much Bush's position. After 'but' would be an improvement. Mr. Floyd wants our troops out yesterday, as do I, but it ain't gonna happen.

American troops were sent into Iraq on a criminal mission, an act of aggression that was the moral and legal equivalent of the Nazi invasion of Poland or the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Their continued presence in Iraq only exacerbates all the evils that the "serious" people say will happen if America withdraws. (As if these things weren't happening in Iraq right now.) The Iraqis will never hammer out any kind of political accommodation as long as American troops are in the country, dividing the nation into "collaborators" and "insurgents" just by their very presence (much less by their alliance with one faction or another). The Iraqis will never come to any kind of fair agreement on the distribution of the nation's oil wealth as long as American troop are in the country, emblems of the nearly universal (and certainly correct) belief among Iraqis that the West is out to steal their oil.


Spinner Emeritus

There's an awful lot of crap speculation and buzz flyin' around the internets today about Turdblossom leaving the sinking ship. I think I'll wait for the dust to settle a little so we can see this more clearly, but I like this comment at Slate:

While other Bush officials are openly exposing the secrets and dysfunction of their time at the White House, Rove was as upbeat as ever in his exit interview with the Wall Street Journal. Bush's approval rating will improve, he said; the situation in Iraq will turn around; and another Republican will make it into the White House in 2008. Rove will also apparently regrow his hair and play for the Cowboys.

By the way, I used Slate's title for this post, but Rove is just a sociopathic liar. A 'spinner' is something else entirely, and a lot more fun.

Not in any way related to that last sentence, there's some good Rove stuff at Firedoglake too. Here's an example:

Bumper Sticker of the Day

Click to increase the threat of al-Qaeda

Gleefully stolen from The Existentialist Cowboy.

The question the Dems should have been asked at the 'Gay Forum'


"Is Democratic timidity a biological fact, or is it merely a choice?"

The stench of hypocrisy 18

How's that workin' out for ya, Dick?


Top White House aide Karl Rove has said he will resign at the end of August.

"I just think it's time," Mr Rove said in an interview for the Wall Street Journal, adding that he was quitting for the sake of his family. [my em]


The Beeb.

Something big is happening and I don't think we're gonna like it.

Off to the shop ...

And just a thought before I run. Will he now be able to testify before Congress? Just askin' ...

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Sphincter tightening ...

Brother Lurch and Mark from Ireland have been keeping track of the War of the Bridges. Something you don't hear about because that's just too nuanced for the press to get or the 'great military minds' in the Bush administration to realize:


The war of the bridges continues, as the insurgents seek to isolate as many communities as possible. As a bonus, these lost bridges also isolate US occupation forces, making reinforcement and supply more difficult.


If anything, the insurgents are patient. Bad things are gonna happen when all the bridges are gone.

Balad Bridge

Pitrokimiwiat Bridge

More links there. Read and get worried.

"MINE, all mine..."

The midnight, the morning, or the middle of day,
Is the same to the miner who labors away.
Where the demons of death often come by surprise,
One fall of the slate and you're buried alive.

It's dark as a dungeon and damp as the dew,
Where danger is double and pleasures are few,
Where the rain never falls and the sun never shines
It's dark as a dungeon way down in the mine.

From the original lyrics of "Dark As A Dungeon", first recorded by Merle Travis on August 8, 1946, since covered by almost everybody, and every bit as relevant today as it was then when I was less than a year old, has been for thousands of years, and likely will be for a long time to come.

Why do miners continue to die in mine 'accidents'? Well, it's dangerous work at best, but mainly because the fix is in, that's why.

From DailyKos:

As a Senator from Kentucky, Mitch McConnell heavily counts on political contributions from large mining interests to help keep him in office. Natch, once ensconced in the halls of power he has long lists of favors to return.

But McConnell is in a unique position to deliver the gravy to mining and other corporate interests: he happens to be married to the BushCo's Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao, a woman quite obviously installed in this position to undermine any progress of workers' rights, safety legislation or wage improvements (my em).

For those of you interested in how the Senator and his wife do double duty for their corporate cronies, this is a good place to start.

It's pretty much "get the money from the mine operators and fuck the miners who elected me" on McConnell's part.

Murray, who owns the mine in Utah, is a real piece of shit work. From Mother Jones:

But it should be said that the Democrats and Mr. Murray have no love lost. Murray has given heavily to Republicans, including, according to the Post, $100,000 last year alone from his political action committee to GOP congressional candidates.He has used his ties with important Republicans—particularly Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), whose wife, Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao, oversees mine safety—to avoid facing the music for safety violations. The Utah mine's safety record was fairly average, despite fines for safety violations in the hundreds of thousands, but nationally, Murray's mines have a shoddy safety record. When confronted in 2002 with safety violations, Murray threatened to have the inspectors fired, referring to his close friendship with McConnell. "The last time I checked," he said, "he [McConnell] was sleeping with your boss."

Great guy, huh? Would you trust him with your life?

Fuck no, I wouldn't. I wouldn't trust the sonofabitch in a junkyard with a rubber hammer.

Again from Kos:

In the wake of the Utah deaths, will Mitch decline to run for reelection "due to health reasons"? Will Chao suddenly decide "to spend more time with the family"? Tune in tomorrow for another thrilling installment of As The Stomach Turns....

That's the best we can hope for. It'll be too late for the trapped miners in Utah, but at least maybe their deaths, if such is their fate God should please forbid, in the wake of other recent disasters and a boost from that loudmouth Murray, will not be entirely in vain.

There's entirely too much dying amongst the peasants just to enrich Bush's rich pals.

Just as a closing thought. I know some guys who were mechanical engineers in mines in Idaho. They regularly went to depths of fifteen thousand feet. I asked them how they felt about that, and they told me that the money was real good and there's not much difference between 500 feet and 15,000 feet if the damn thing caves in on you. Gulp.

There are many links at the links.

Now I've seen everything. You may shoot me now...

From Yayhoo!News:

Presidential hopeful and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, second from left, plays with his band, Capital Offense as an Elvis Impersonator from Duncan Hunter's campaign helps out with a rendition of Johnny-Be-Good at the Iowa Straw Poll in Ames, Iowa, Saturday, Aug 11, 2007. (AP Photo/David Lienemann)

I think Huckabee is one of the least objectionable of the 'wannabe ain'tgonnabes' of the pathetic lineup in the Repug campaign, but why do they bother?

I think the name of the band is very apropos. Heh.

As far as the E'vis impersonator being from the Duncan Hunter campaign, everybody in that loser's campaign is impersonating something, like intelligent human beings or good Americans.

I feel the same way about that wingnut throwback that The Dixie Chicks did about Bush: I'm ashemed he's from California, even if he is from the red-ass bottom of the state.

Hunter is one of those assholes who persist in saying 'Democrat' this and 'Democrat' that when he should be saying 'Democratic'. Frosts my ass.

He's a surfer. So was I in my younger days. Anybody got a good Great White sighting report? Surf's up, Duncan duuude...

"...issuing orders to dead generals"

Roger "Waffles" Ebert reviews the film No End In Sight (be sure to go see the trailer) and closes with:

Although Bush and the war continue to sink in the polls, I know from some readers that they still support both. That is their right. And if they are so sure they are right, let more young men and women die or be maimed. I doubt if they will be willing to see this film, which further documents an administration playing its private war games. No, I am distinctly not comparing anyone to Hitler, but I cannot help being reminded of the stories of him in his Berlin bunker, moving nonexistent troops on a map, and issuing orders to dead generals.

I understand he needs all the viewers he can get and doesn't want to piss people off, but that's like saying, "I ain't sayin' ya got yer nose up anyone's ass, but boy is the tip o' that thing brown and stinky!". Heh.

Zere zeems to be a theme today, nicht wahr? (Heels click.)

Living in the W.R.A.


The Weimar Republic fell because the advocates of democracy in Germany were too timid to fight back against the thuggish tactics of Hitler's storm troopers. They passed the "enabling act" after the Reichstag fire (read terrorist act) that gave him virtually omnipotent power to "protect the homeland."

The right wing is right about one thing: the Democrats in Congress don't have the will or the wherewithal to put up a fight for the Constitution. Bullying works against a caucus without a backbone.

Hitler's power was legally granted to him by those who thought that the "homeland" faced grave threats.

The gravest threat, of course, that the German homeland faced was Hitler himself.

That is an analogy to Congress's abject surrender to Bush that is, indeed, worth repeating.

We've said many times that the Busheviks have no sense of history and thus are doomed to repeat it. I think we've been wrong all along.

I think now that they've assiduously studied and put into practice Hitler's methods of attaining and expanding power. They sure seem to be doing it by the book, and they're too stupid to have thought it up all over again by themselves.


WaPo op-ed on how they pulled off their latest "Reichstag Fire" moment.

Good grief ...

Let's see ... the anti-war ideologues are enlisting(?) ... so they can go to a war zone(?) ... and then get on TV to speak poorly of all the good stuff going on in Iraq ... I think ... Oy!

Catapulting the propaganda ...

O'Hanlon and Pollack by Greenwald:


Yet in their Op-Ed, they purported to describe the encouraging conditions in four places other than Baghdad -- Ramadi, Tal Afar, Mosul, and the Anbar Province -- as though they could possibly have made any meaningful observations during their visits which were all roughly the duration of the average airport layover. Worse, both O'Hanlon and Pollack -- and especially Pollack -- in their interviews repeatedly described their optimistic observations about Iraqi cities in such a way as to create the misleading impression that these were based upon their first-hand observations.


This is the Chimp's way of warming us up for shit. These two clowns come back from Iraq and say everything is peachy and next month, Gen. Petraeus will ask for 'just a little more time and a few more troops'. And the Dems, believing these two faux 'war critics', will roll over once again.

If you want something closer to the truth, Tony Cordesman went along with the two Bush shills.


Yup, things are fine and dandy over there.

Thanks to Maru for the vid.

A broken Army ...

[A big welcome to Brilliant at Breakfast readers.]

"Army Strong" has been replaced by "Army Tired":

Exhaustion and combat stress are besieging US troops in Iraq as they battle with a new type of warfare. Some even rely on Red Bull to get through the day. As desertions and absences increase, the military is struggling to cope with the crisis


You wonder why they're floating the draft trial balloon?


Where once the war in Iraq was defined in conversations with these men by untenable ideas - bringing democracy or defeating al-Qaeda - these days the war in Iraq is defined by different ways of expressing the idea of being weary. It is a theme that is endlessly reiterated as you travel around Iraq. 'The army is worn out. We are just keeping people in theatre who are exhausted,' says a soldier working for the US army public affairs office who is supposed to be telling me how well things have been going since the 'surge' in Baghdad began.

They are not supposed to talk like this. We are driving and another of the public affairs team adds bitterly: 'We should just be allowed to tell the media what is happening here. Let them know that people are worn out. So that their families know back home. But it's like we've become no more than numbers now.'


Contrary to what the wingnuts, and a lot of folks on our side, believe, our troops are people, not programmed killing machines. The troops are beginning to realize they've been used and exploited.


The anecdotal evidence on the ground confirms what others - prominent among them General Colin Powell, the former US Secretary of State - have been insisting for months now: that the US army is 'about broken'. Only a third of the regular army's brigades now qualify as combat-ready. Officers educated at the elite West Point academy are leaving at a rate not seen in 30 years, with the consequence that the US army has a shortfall of 3,000 commissioned officers - and the problem is expected to worsen.

And it is not only the soldiers that are worn out. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have led to the destruction, or wearing out, of 40 per cent of the US army's equipment, totalling at a recent count $212bn (£105bn).


Brigades don't have equipment and the officers and senior enlisted are leaving as soon as they are able. It won't be long before our Army is nothing but a gang of unruly, drug addicted street fighters.

If we're gonna stay in Iraq for "9 - 10 years", where in Hell are we gonna get the troops from? Is public opinion gonna suddenly change and people begin to push their kids to enlist? Will the recruiting crisis suddenly go away?

I know the Chimp and Cheney think they can hold on for another 18 months, longer if the 'terrorist attack' they've been warming us up for takes place and they manage to declare martial law (you know the Dems will roll over again), but I don't think our guys can hold out that long. I think the Chimp (or at least the folks who run the show) know that and that's why the 'slip of the tongue' by General Lute (regarding the draft) was anything but.

Sometime in the near future, you just might see the U.S. Army defeated by a buncha 'raghead camel drivers'. The once 'greatest army in the world' may just have their asses handed to 'em before this is over.


Watch this:

Great thanks to Dr. Attaturk.

Update Zwei:

This whole mess reminds me of a joke going around in Germany toward the end of WW2 my grandfather used to tell:

Klaus: "Manfred, what sits in the grass and shakes?"

Manfred: "The Volkssturm."

We are almost as desperate now.

... Typically, members of the Volkssturm received only the most basic of military training. This included brief indoctrination training, and then training on the use of basic weapons such as the Karabiner 98k rifle and Panzerfaust. There was no standardization of any kind and units were issued only what equipment was available. And while some Karabiner 98ks were on hand, members were also issued Gewehr 98s and Gewehr 71s in addition to a plethora of Belgian, French, British, Italian and other weapons that had been captured by Germany in her five years of war. Also the Germans had developed primitive cheap weapons to supply the volkssturm, like MP 3008 machine pistols and the Volkssturmgewehr 1-5 submachine rifle. These factors only compounded the ineffectiveness of the Volkssturm. Finally, members took a customary oath to Hitler and were then dispatched toward the enemy ...