Saturday, October 20, 2007

Dear Senator Obama ...

Wrapping yourself in the cloak of religiosity is not gonna get you my vote. As Dodd is moving ahead of the pack, in my book, you're falling behind.




So, some resolution to the B-52 'nuke incident'.

I was in SAC for 2 years. A B-52 base. Being assigned to an aircraft maintenance squadron, I was authorized to be around the nukes themselves, the Air Force's PRP (Personnel Reliability Program), on alert-loaded aircraft (And let me tell you, being a few inches from weapons that could level a city and kill all within is something I never got used to. An ass-puckering experience.). To receive said authorization, I had to undergo a security check equivalent to a cavity search. I think the Air Force was aware of every bowel movement I had since I fell from my mother's womb. Several times a year, drills were run to keep us sharp and up on all safety and security regulations.

... The certification process looks at a person's psychological profile, any medications they are taking and other factors in determining a person's reliability to handle weapons ...

So tell me, have the standards in the Air Force fallen so far that 70 people can choose to disregard protocols in place for 50 years? Do they have any standards at all anymore?

WASHINGTON - The Air Force said Friday it would punish 70 airmen involved in the accidental, cross-country flight of a nuclear-armed B-52 bomber following an investigation that found widespread disregard for the rules on handling such munitions.


The missiles were supposed to be taken to Louisiana, but the warheads were supposed to have been removed beforehand.

A main reason for the error was that crews had decided not to follow a complex schedule under which the status of the missiles is tracked while they are disarmed, loaded, moved and so on, one official said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on the record.

The airmen replaced the schedule with their own "informal" system, he said, though he didn't say why they did that nor how long they had been doing it their own way.


"Their own way"? Are they fucking high? How can they take the handling of nukes so casually?


Newton said the flight in question resulted from an "unprecedented string of procedural errors," beginning with a failure by airmen to conduct a required inspection of the missiles before they were loaded aboard the B-52 bomber at Minot. The crew flying the plane was unaware nuclear warheads were on its wing, though it wasn't explained what role they played in the mistake.


What the fuck kind of base were they running up there? I'm flabbergasted. I can't believe all these people (from wing commander, to MMS commander, to the load crews) just decided to turn their backs on their duty and obligation. This isn't the Air Force I know. It's an accident waiting to happen.

Saturday whorage

The next chapter of my novel Thirty Days at Zeta is up at The Practical Press.

And a sample of the scintillating, intellectual conversations we have at work.

As always on Saturday morning, pimp your own stuff in comments.

Hey, Idiots ...

And I'm talking about Dems in Congress, it's about time you understood causal relationships. Chris Dodd does. He does something good, like standing up to that shitty FISA bill and he gets money from us.

Senator Dodd's campaign communications director Hari Sevugan tells me that $150,000 in small contributions have poured into Dodd's campaign in the past 24 hours, since his announcement that he will put a hold on--and may even filibuster--a foreign intelligence surveillance bill approved yesterday by the Senate Intelligence Committee ...

As for Harry Reid, since you don't understand why we elected a Dem majority last year, I'm prepared to write you a check matching your donations from the telecom industry for the past five years if it would convince you to do your job. I realize it's a simple Pavlovian training procedure, the same one I use to train my dogs, but I'm hoping it's something you'll understand. You sure as hell don't understand what "doing the right thing" means, maybe money might motivate you to look out for your fellow man as opposed to special interests.

Yes, Harry, $25,000 can be yours (I'll even pay cash). All you have to do is show up at my front door and ask for it. Of course, you'll have to agree to push my agenda, but that's what it's all about, ain't it? (Hey, lobbyists do the same thing in back rooms, but if I gotta bribe ya, I want everyone to know it. You and I can pose for pictures. We can even get one of those 'big checks' made up. You know, the kind they give to the lottery winners? Or, if you want cash, we can get pics of me handing you a briefcase.)

I generally frown on bribery, but it seems dead presidents are the only things that hold your attention. The average guy like me, the majority of Americans, have been ignored by you in favor of people with bucks. We're desperate, Harry, desperate for leadership, and if money will buy it, so be it.

And a note to Dem Presidential candidates: Mr. Dodd just jumped out in front of the rest of you by a length in the effort to get my vote in the primaries. Take note.

And an aside to Mr. Dodd: If you do manage to pull off this filibuster/hold, you'll get the max donation from me (Sorry, but nobody gets money from me before the fact anymore. Prove your worth and you get it, not before)

Friday, October 19, 2007

Real Christians ...

My dad told me about conscientious objectors getting beat up and harassed back when he was in the Army ('50 - '54). Hopefully this guy didn't get the same treatment. It's good to see a Christian actually following Jesus teachings. I respect anyone who actually lives their faith's tenets.


"In following Jesus' example, I could not have fired my weapon at another human being, even if he were shooting at me," said Brown, who plans to continue seminary classes he began by correspondence while in Iraq.


After all the hypocrisy that's been shoveled upon us over the last few years, this guy's a refreshing change of pace, though it is strange to hear of a CO at a time when there's no draft.

Thanks to Logan for the link.

"Big fat NO!"

Think Progress

Iraq to Cheney: ‘Big fat no’ on bases in Iraq.

The Iraqi government has “put the U.S. on notice” that they do not want permanent U.S. bases in Iraq, CNN reports today. The message was “delivered directly to Vice President Dick Cheney at the White House” by Iraqi National Security Adviser Mowaffak Al-Rubaie, who told CNN that Iraqis say, “No, big fat no, N-O for the bases in Iraq”:

The people of Iraq, the parliament, the council of representatives and the government of Iraq, they all say no, big fat no, N-O for the bases in Iraq. No military bases for Iraq because we believe that is in direct encroachment to our soveriegnty, and we don’t need it.

Direct to Cheney. Not Bush, Cheney. The Iraqis know what's up.

They'll no doubt get their reply from The Dick soon - "Your sovereignty, my ass. Don't get uppity with me, boy. We're in charge in Iraq and we're going to get your goddam oil and you ain't got a fuckin' thing to say about it. As soon as we do, don't worry, we'll cut your sand-nigger asses loose and you'll be on your own. Then we'll enjoy seeing just how much your countrymen like you."

Flash! Hookers 'do it'...

This is just a bald-faced, shameless attempt to appeal to your (tee-hee!) prurient interests. I know this is 'old news', but apparently that's about what the gals thought Cunningham was too, 'old news'. From TPM Muckraker:

Prosecution Rests in Wilkes Trial

Of course, they closed with the hookers.

Both of the prostitutes told the same story: Wilkes' nephew brought them into the hotel suite. And from there:

"They asked us if we wanted to get naked and get into the Jacuzzi," [Donna] Rozetta said.

"What did you do," prosecutor [Phillip] Halpern asked.

"We got naked and got in the Jacuzzi," Rozetta replied.


Then there's the "Peel me a grape, Cunny Honey..." incident. Heh.

The only question that came to my mind whilst reading this stuff was: after ya get the gals nekkid, where do ya swipe the ATM card?


Could the Cunning ham deal have anything to do with L'il Fat Denny's early retirement? Gee, ya think?

I think it would be a lot easier for all these Repugs to leave the ship if they took off the rat shields. Heh.

Quote of the Day

From Corrente:

Call (202) 224-6472, and say: "Hi, is this the number I call to get retroactive immunity for my past illegal acts?"

That’s Senator Jay Rockefeller’s office. [,,,]

They'll probably reply, "Hell yeah! If you got the money, Honey, we'll fix the crime!"


"A Spinal Growth Supplement For Democrats"

Beating yourself ...

So, who has their hands in Harry Reid's pocket? This ain't what I call leadership:

Tim Starks of Congressional Quarterly reports that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) plans to bring the Senate's surveillance bill up for floor debate in mid-November. That's despite the hold that Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT) plans to place on the measure -- something first reported by Election Central's Greg Sargent.


So how much you wanna bet the telcos bought Harry? After this year's election, I'm changing my party affiliation to 'I'. I've had it with all of them.

Tip o' the Brain to Jane.


This is how your government works.


Let's just describe very factually and dispassionately what has happened here. Congress -- led by Senators, such as Jay Rockefeller, who have received huge payments from the telecom industry, and by privatized intelligence pioneer Mike McConnell, former Chairman of the secretive intelligence industry association that has been demanding telecom amnesty -- is going to intervene directly in the pending lawsuits against AT&T and other telecoms and declare them the winners on the ground that they did nothing wrong. Because of their vast ties to the telecoms, neither Rockefeller nor McConnell could ever appropriately serve as an actual judge in those lawsuits.


It's all bullshit. Even the Dems are in some "Big's" (Big Oil, Big Pharma, Big Ag, Big Defense, Big Insurance, Big Telco) pocket. They talk a good line but in the end they're not gonna derail the Gravy Train. Until we remove private financing from the electoral process, the Average Joe is gonna get screwed in favor of "Big".

Principle, Decency, and the American Way are circling the bowl, flushed in favor of a yearly "Power Auction". The highest bidder gets to skate. It's disgusting and immoral. It is unAmerican.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Quote of the Day - Drei


Bulky, abrasive loudmouth Lynne Cheney says she would be uncomfortable with Hillary Clinton as president — and wishes the Democratic front-runner were more like her own husband, a large, secretive foulmouthed angry black man with a mechanical ticker and no scruples.


Heh ...

Stark Raving Truth

I am proud that Pete Stark is a D from the SF Bay Area of CA.

The Repugs are goin' all girly batshit over some of his remarks. One or two of them might have been a skosh over the top, but Rep. Stark is a Hell of a lot more polite than I would have been, which is one of the reasons I'm not in politics.


Stolen from that Philadelphia guy:


I'm not supporting anyone - and that's being honest, I really haven't decided who I'm going to vote for - but I always believe in rewarding good behavior.

This is why.


Thanks to our buddy Lambert for the pic.

Spineless Wimps

Clicking will embiggen it, but why bother?

Or maybe you could try letting Bush's SCHIP veto stand or granting the telecom companies immunity from prosecution for breaking the law by bending over for Bush.

I know there are pols who try to do what's right, but there ain't a nutsack's worth o' balls amongst all the rest of 'em.

Baghdad Déjà Vu All Over Again


A vintage military guide shows that America has been lost in Iraq since World War II

The Bush Administration didn't have the best information about Iraq before they invaded. If only they had listened to the U.S. military—from fifty years ago. It's all there in A Short Guide To Iraq, a pamphlet issued to GI's on Rat Patrol duty during World War II, helping the Brits protect oil fields and supply lines to the Russians. The White House might have learned some valuable lessons, like don't touch the Iraqis, or look at their women. On the following pages, highlights from the War Department's guidebook, discovered in Southern Methodist University's digital archive.

I'll bet Bush doesn't let SMU put it in his library. Too much - any - info about Iraq is too much.

This old manual is interesting, but all our GIs need now is directions to the exit

"I won't go huntin' with you Dick..."*

Senator Obama on The Tonight Show about one of his black (heh) sheep relatives. Via Raw Story.

Sen. Obama added that he was "OK with" being related to Cheney, but noted that he wasn't eager to be "invited to the family hunting party."

I don't blame him, but I wish I could go hunting with The Dick. I haven't had an accidental discharge for years and I'm due. Well, not with a firearm, anyway.

*From an old country song title.

WWIII 'worth starting'

From Raw Story, with video from today's Today Show:

In an appearance on NBC's Today Show, Air America's Rachel Maddow suggested that President Bush's warning against allowing Iran to acquire nuclear know-how should not be mistaken for a promise that Republicans can be trusted to prevent World War III.

"What he's saying is that World War III is worth starting, if only over the issue of Iran's nuclear know-how -- not even over the issue just of them having weapons," Maddow stated,

I don't know if that's what Bush meant or not, but I don't trust that warmongering sonofabitch as far as I can throw him, except to make bad choices and do the wrong thing

President Bush had indicated in Wednesday's press conference that "if you're interested in avoiding World War III, it seems like you ought to be interested in preventing [Iran] from having the knowledge necessary to make a nuclear weapon."

"Right now probably the most anti-American country on earth is Pakistan," Maddow continued. "Pakistan not only has a nuclear weapon but has demonstrated that they will proliferate that technology on the black market. The idea that Iran would be cause for World War III but Pakistan's no big worry to us is psychotic."

Remember that Pakistan has nukes because we enabled them to have them. Another brilliant Reagan idea.

While acknowledging that "the administration totally lacks credibility for taking the country to war yet again," Smerconish insisted that "I think historically when the country feels imperiled, the Republican Party benefits. ... It helps the GOP in the '08 cycle."

Maddow responded, "This is good for the country, to know that if you vote for a Republican candidate for president, you are voting for a war with Iran."

A warning to take to heart.

Quotes of the day

From a piece on Bush's press conference the other day at The Swamp:

As for Putin’s plans to remain as prime minister:

"I've been planning that myself,'' Bush joked.

Joked. Yeah, right...

And from 'comments', the Chimp thinking to himself about a reporter asking an actual question:

'He wouldn't be so cocky with a couple electrodes attached to his nut-sac.'

Neither would you, Bushie-boy.

Goalposts ... moving

Froggy hits it on the head:

I haven't said anything about S-CHIP yet, though I support passage of that legislation, but here's what I find interesting about it. For years and years I've been listening to conservatives say, "Well, all these programs are there to help the poor, but what about me? I'm middle class. Why aren't there any programs to help the middle class? After all, we pay for all of these other programs." Okay, so along comes this S-CHIP bill and it will help middle class children, only now we hear, "Well, look at those Frosts. They aren't poor and destitute and starving in the street and they got help from this program. It's wrong, I tell you. These programs, they're for the really, really poor."


You know why? Because it's not about getting what others have (the poor getting free health care at the expense of the middle class), it's about denying people what little they do get. The Rethugs don't want to be part of the program, they want to do away with the program altogether.


Amanda looks at it from another angle:


Certainly, chastising people for having children sounds a tad incongruous with the standard issue right wing anti-choice view that puts child-bearing into the “mandatory” category, but really this little passage from Hemingway reveals why they’re not “pro-life” or even “pro-baby”, but anti-choice. Like, any realistic choice. You don’t get a choice to abort that pregnancy but he’s also firmly against your choice to have the baby. Ideally, you’d be constrained to a handful of choices: Kill yourself, abstain from sex your whole life unless you’re a member of the elite class, or just let your babies with medical problems die for lack of care. Luckily, with the handy-dandy anti-choice policies, you’ll be making more whether you want to or not, and eventually some will be tough enough to get out of childhood, and then we’ll know for sure they’re healthy enough to pass the military physical exam, because we’ll be needing them to get the oil out of another country.

Hey, if you don’t like it, you should have chosen your socioeconomic class better when god was letting your pre-born soul in heaven pick your family.


Update Zwei:

Cliff Schecter:

I have not usually been one to have litmus tests, but for me, the vote on SCHIP is a litmus test. Not just as to whether you're a Democrat, but a human being.


Didn't take long ...

I can imagine what folks would do if they had to ration something like food or gasoline or electricity. This will get worse:

Imagine this: You catch your neighbor breaking the law, something minor, like watering the lawn when there's a water restriction or speeding in your neighborhood. Should you report your neighbor?


And when resources are scarce -- for example in the drought zone -- the more neighborly method of finger pointing can get out of hand. In Georgia, citations are delivered daily, as a result of neighbors telling on neighbors


Let me tell ya. If the 'Bush Economy' crashes hard a la 1929 (businesses folding on a large scale, 40% unemployment), people are gonna be killing each other in the street over basic conveniences.

And no, after 6 years of Bush, I have no faith in Americans taking the high road in any circumstance.


Click for bigger BS

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Shit, meet Fan ...

Seems the Turks don't give a shit what the Chimp says:

ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkey's parliament resoundingly approved a motion on Wednesday allowing troops to cross into northern Iraq to hunt down Kurdish rebels there, but its Western allies and Baghdad urged Ankara to refrain from military action.


And we know what happens when a congress approves a "use of force" resolution.


Iraq's government said on Wednesday it would send a team to Ankara for further talks to find a peaceful solution to the crisis. NATO and the European Union also urged restraint.

Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan has played down expectations of any imminent attack but the parliamentary vote gives NATO's second biggest army the legal basis to cross the mountainous border as and when it sees fit.


So, in other words, our guys are gonna have to deal with another player in the insurgency "as and when Turkey sees fit" to engage the Kurds. We have a clusterfuck over there already. What's worse than a clusterfuck? Because that's what we're gonna have if this comes to pass.

I take it back ...

There is a god and he/she has a great sense of humor:

Darth Fucking Cheney and b. HUSSEIN Osamabama are EIGHTH FUCKING COUSINS????

And isn't Al Sharpton related to Strom Thurmond somehow? Now I'm really late ...

Yeah, what's wrong with you people?



This is what Republicans call "solutions to problems:" all of you people who work in jobs that don't offer health insurance, and can't afford the ridiculously expensive private health care plans that are available, well, you need to get a job that provides health insurance for your whole family --- or don't have kids.


You know, I should ask my customers who have problems paying their bills (we work with folks when they have financial shit) if they're Republican or not. If they say they are, should I ask them why they don't have health insurance to pay for their kids' doctor bills so they can pay for their car repairs? If they are, shouldn't they have gotten a job that gives them family health benefits and enough of a salary allowing them to afford auto maintenance? Should I ask them to sell their $500 - $750,000 house to buy a new car or buy their own insurance?

I hear the Rethug candidates talking about which of them are real Republicans. They all are genuine article. None of 'em can tell the truth about anything and the only people they give a shit about are themselves and those who put big money in their pockets.

Speaking of auto repair, I'm late for work. Later ...

We were just helping ...

And the road to Hell is paved with good intentions. Not that I believe their excuses:

Verizon Communications, the nation's second-largest telecom company, told congressional investigators that it has provided customers' telephone records to federal authorities in emergency cases without court orders hundreds of times since 2005.

The company said it does not determine the requests' legality or necessity because to do so would slow efforts to save lives in criminal investigations.


From January 2005 to September 2007, Verizon provided data to federal authorities on an emergency basis 720 times, it said in the letter. The records included Internet protocol addresses as well as phone data. In that period, Verizon turned over information a total of 94,000 times to federal authorities armed with a subpoena or court order, the letter said. The information was used for a range of criminal investigations, including kidnapping and child-predator cases and counter-terrorism investigations.

Verizon and AT&T said it was not their role to second-guess the legitimacy of emergency government requests.


Whatever happened to erring on the side of caution? I'm sorry, but when privacy issues are concerned, the people holding my confidential information had better demand a court order before they release shit about me.

This is unthinkable and unconscionable. I'm really tired of the Constitution being used as a roll of toilet paper.

This could get ugly ...

Thanks to unbridled development and poor planning:

ATLANTA, Oct. 15 — For the first time in more than 100 years, much of the Southeast has reached the most severe category of drought, climatologists said Monday, creating an emergency so serious that some cities are just months away from running out of water.


“I think there’s been an ostrich-head-in-the-sand syndrome that has been growing,” said Mark Crisp, an Atlanta-based consultant with the engineering firm C. H. Guernsey. “Because we seem to have been very, very slow in our actions to deal with an impending crisis.”


L.A. went through this* back when Gord was a pup, but water-rich states are already beginning to guard theirs with fervor. I saw Gov. Granholm on TV the other day and she made it quite plain folks better stay away from the Lakes:


Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, a fellow Democrat, had a terse response when told of Richardson’s remarks last week to a Nevada newspaper that the Great Lakes are “awash in water” and that there should be a “national water summit” to discuss water-sharing among states.

“Hell, no,” was Granholm’s reaction last week. This week, a Granholm spokeswoman said the Michigan governor was now pleased that Richardson had changed his view. Granholm and other public officials in Great Lakes states have taken steps to limit water “exports” out of the lakes and their tributaries, which contain 18 percent of the world’s fresh surface water.


*Thanks to Atrios for the link.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

A little extra on the Armenian Genocide Resolution

Click to watch 'em fly through the air embiggelated!


Note to Limbaugh, Boehner & Friends: Republicans Pushed Turkish 'Genocide' Resolution in the U.S. House in 2000 and Again in 2005

If The Resolution is a 'Democratic Ploy,' It Sure Was Clever to Have the GOP House Speaker Lead the Way!

ALSO: Recalling FBI Whistleblower Sibel Edmonds's Claim that Hastert Called Off Full House Vote After Possibly Receiving $500k from Turkish Interests, And Additional New Information on Her Gag-Ordered 'States Secrets' Case...

Don't miss it!

We have a lot of Armenians in California, around Fresno in the Central Valley and Glendale in the San Fernando Valley. They have long memories and have been trying to get this resolution passed for a long time. For one reason or another, usually because Turkey is very strategically placed and we need them and don't want to piss them off, it never has until maybe now.

The 'historical mass killings' as Bush so euphemistically describes the Armenian Genocide in a rare calculated instance of not tripping over his own tongue, are very well documented and known.

Why is the House doing this now? Who cares? If not now, then when? Time to call a spade a spade. If it pisses off the Turks and embarrasses the Chimp, so fuckin' what?

Law of The Dick

"Cheney's Law" airs tonight on PBS.

Seattle PI:

...what many think of as a frightening situation -- one illuminated over multiple episodes by "Frontline" producer and director Michael Kirk. "Cheney's Law," the "Frontline" season opener airing tonight at 9 on KCTS/9, is Kirk's and reporter Jim Gilmore's latest examination of Cheney's push to consolidate power in the executive branch. It also is the producer's 10th film examining the Bush administration's post-9/11 policies. Past work includes "The Torture Question," "Rumsfeld's War" and last year's look at Cheney's efforts to effectively disempower the intelligence community, "The Dark Side."

Cheney was only partway into formulating a plan to centralize power in the Oval Office, a three-decade effort that finally bore fruit in this administration. But he didn't have the ability to give his views a voice until he met Addington, a man who shared Cheney's vision and, better yet, could interpret it through a constitutional prism.

Neither could do anything until 9/11, an event journalist Ron Suskind succinctly called "a moment of preparation meeting opportunity."

Good article. Read.

I'm not going to miss this show. Neither am I going to miss the final film in the series, which will hopefully be very soon and titled "Hangin' Dick".

Cruella de Ramalamadingdong

Pensito Review expands on Fixer's post:

Is it possible there is a bottom to the depths of rightwing hackery? Probably not, but there is a rumor going around that Michelle Malkin, the rightwing pundit most likely to skin puppies to make a fur coat, has been fired as the occasional guest host for the Bill O’Reilly comedy hour on Fox News because of her vicious attack on 12-year-old Graeme Frost and his family.

And here is the rumor: A commenter at HuffPo, BryanFromPalpatine, added this delicious morsel of unsubstantiated gossip about Fox’s firing Malkin, whose maiden name is Maglalang:

A little birdie at NewsCorp tells me that this e-mail is a “beard” for the actual reason: more than a couple of the mucky-mucks at NewsCorp are a bit less than thrilled about the tales of Michelle [Malkin] Maglalang not only propagating the harassment of the Frost family but actually stalking them — and how quickly they spread from the dirty f$#@ing hippie side of the Intertubes to corpo… pardon, me, mainstream media.

Look for Ms. Maglalang’s total presence on FOX News to be further curtailed

Of course, if there is sufficient gloating on the left about Malkin’s fall from grace, Fox News chair Roger Ailes will probably give her a primetime show.

Apparently she was canned because advertisers dropped out over her rancid smear of young Mr. Frost. Rightly so.

FIXED'News' relies for its portion of Murdoch's income on a constant supply of revenue from hard-on pill and incontinence mopper-upper makers that cater to their viewers' needs and desires.

It's not the garbage they SAY, it's what advertisers will PAY. The Flip whore will get her own primetime show when they can find someone low enough to support it.

Get Well, Mom

More on Randi Rhodes here.


Noo Yawk Daily News

Air America radio host Randi Rhodes is temporarily off the air, but claims she was brutally attacked near her Manhattan apartment are bogus, her lawyer and a police source said today.

A police source said Rhodes never filed a report and never claimed to be the victim of a mugging. Cops from Manhattan's 17th Precinct called her attorney, who told them Rhodes was not a victim of a crime, the source said.

Rhodes' lawyer told the Daily News she was injured in a fall while walking her dog. He said she's not sure what happened, and only knows that she fell down and is in a lot of pain. The lawyer said Rhodes expects to be back on the air Thursday. He stressed there is no indication she was targeted or that she was the victim of a "hate crime."

It's OK to be a little paranoid about the bad things wingnut retards might do, but Mr. Elliott should have checked the facts before flying off at the mouth. The right-wing gasbags will no doubt have a field day with this.

A tip o' the Brain to Froggy for alerting us.

Oh, the humanity ...

How high will they go? Oil prices that is:

The question now is whether we have hit a critical cost or not. Some suggest consumers won't significantly change their habits until it crosses $100, followed by $120 per barrel but time will tell. What this ought to be doing is pushing Washington to step up plans to develop alternative energies because we will not figure this out over night and need to be serious about this before the problems become more painful.


What bugs me is this administration will do nothing in the way of alternative fuels unless it benefits one of their big campaign contributors. Further huge profits are in store for Big Oil until it all goes bust and they're not gonna give that up.

That said, for the first time in more years than I can count (ran out of fingers and toes), I don't own a vehicle with a V-8 engine. For a former race engine builder, drag racer, and motor head, that's saying something.


Or, Even Fox Noise has standards. Go figure:

I’m a little concerned about Our Lady of the Concentration Camps. Now that she’s been fired (or resigned, whatever) from The O’Reilly Factor, she’s going to have some extra time on her hands.

So, in the spirit of comity and intra-blog civility, I thought I would maybe quickly whip up a batch of suggestions for Top Ten New Jobs for Stalkin’ Malkin:


She should never work as a 'journalist' again though, as we've seen in the 'Bush Era', incompetence is rewarded. She'll probably be the Editor-in-Chief of WorldNutDaily soon.


Froggy on Rudy:


When judging presidential candidates, I find malfeasance with respect to equipment supplied to firefighters more disturbing than a penchant for spending your own money on expensive haircuts. But that's just me and my value system.

Indeed, my friend. And the Digby article he cites explains why:


Giuliani came into office in 1994, shortly after the first WTC attack. He knew then that the radios didn't work properly and yet it took him seven years to deal with the problem. And when he finally got around to it, he gave Motorola a sweetheart, no-bid contract for radios that were never tested in advance. When the NYFD got them, they didn't work and they had to be reissued the same radios that had proved inadequate in 1993.


Get well soon ...

This pisses me off:


But right now I'm listening to John Elliot and he says Randi was attacked last night while she was walking her dog. She wasn't carrying a bag and was just in sweats, and she was beaten up pretty badly and had some teeth knocked out. Elliot is saying it sounds like it was neither a sexual assault nor a robbery and he suspects it was political. The way things are going, he could be right.


I hope the crybabies on the right aren't resorting to violence and it was just a crackhead who needed a jumbo or some nut. The political system in this country is fucked up enough. We don't need an escalation.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Daddy Frank's Underlying Point

p m carpenter on Daddy Frank's 'Good Germans' piece:

For my money, the New York Times' Frank Rick stands unrivaled among the commentariat in eloquence, perspicacity and formidability, and he confirms his singularity virtually every week. He manages to articulate rage with a calm, surgical style that paradoxically intensifies the reader's preexisting rage -- something most of the vast and sympathetic blogosphere has yet to comprehend, and something most of Rich's print colleagues are simply incapable of matching.

In short, he's talking only, and loosely but pointedly, about the much-disparaged, right-wing whipping boy of the intellectual elite -- and by that I mean those who are intellectually engaged; those who reside on Main Street, not merely in ivory towers. Everyone else is too busy -- to the right's unending gratification and its own causation -- with the distractions of consumerism to be bothered, which is what got us into this mess in the first place.

I think 'distractions' - "Look! A shiny nickel!" - is the operative word. All kinds of distractions. Most folks took Bush at his word - "We'll handle this. You're safe in our hands. Keep shopping." - while he lied about everything in sight, committed war crimes, shredded the Constitution, stacked the Supremes, amplified his executive power, wrecked the military, ruined the economy for all but the rich, diminished the United States in the eyes of the world, instituted christofascism in the land, and, lest I forget, revived racism and rule of the robber barons. All of that and more whilst dangling from the strings of the neocons and big business interests, with the help of his Repug Congress.

Other distractions, from WMD to Mission Accomplished to We Don't Torture to You're A Traitor If You Don't Buy This Scam were carefully orchestrated for the few who were actually watching. Enough of them with a voice bought into the deal, it matters not whether from fear or ignorance or willful blindness, even encouraged it, to let it happen.

I don't have any idea what Mr. Rich said back then because I never heard of him until a little over three years ago. Since then, he's been very vocal about Bush and his criminal war. We've known it for a long time, but the vast herd of the public has lagged behind and has only recently lifted its woolly head from the bullshit-fed green grass and realized they've been screwed, blewed, and tattooed in every imaginable way by Bush, Cheney, the neocons, and Repugs in general as a matter of the policies of power and greed.

As far as I am concerned, Mr. Rich had a hand in the awakening, along with a very few others, and I commend him for it.

The awful Repug Rule is coming to a long overdue end, albeit too slowly, but we will be paying for it, figuratively and literally, for generations to come.

Just as an afterthought, I wonder if our 'Good Germans' will be subject to something akin to what the US Army did to the GGs of the Third Reich after the discovery of the death camps located just outside their towns and which they, of course, knew nothing about. The Army made them go into the camps, smell the death stench, bury thousands of the victims themselves, and, worse, made them confront the lies they had been content, happy even, to believe.

Don't blame him ...

A lot of talk around Left Blogtopia (y!sctp!) about the Frank Rich article I linked to yesterday.

Basically, the argument is that Ol' Frank got a set of balls pointing the finger at us when he was part of the 'MSM' who enabled the Chimp and Cheney. And I agree, to a point.

Ladies and Gentlemen, this is our country. We enabled them too. We were the ones who allowed that mess in Florida after the 2000 election instead of protesting in the streets. We were the ones who elected these idiots for a second term. We are the ones who don't give a shit what happens in Washington, we can look the other way when others are persecuted and prosecuted, so long as no one fucks with our slice of the pie.

We were the ones who were bought off by tax rebates (where's that $300 now?) while the rich got to pay even less. We were the ones running around aroused, turgid, and erect when the bombs started falling on Baghdad. We were the ones who stood up and cheered when Saddam's statue was pulled down.

We were the ones who allowed them to build the prison at Gitmo and we were the ones who didn't give a shit when evidence of our atrocities (Abu Ghraib, rendition, secret prisons) came to the surface.

Blame Congress, blame the Chimp, blame the press but they are us. It is our country and they are our employees. If a business owner lets his employees run his business into the ground, it's his own fault.

Yes, maybe Frank Rich doesn't get that he's part of the problem, but we are the bosses and we are the ones who have let the American brand be run into the ground. Through our apathy and selfishness we have let the employees take over.

Yes, it might do Frank some good to look in the mirror, but so should we. For crying out loud, half of us don't even bother to vote. We are America and we should all have seen it coming back in '99. Some of us did, most of us didn't but it doesn't absolve any of us from our collective sin of not giving enough of a shit to pay attention.

However the 'Bush Era' ends, it'll be up to us to fix it. How we do that will determine America's legacy.

Off to the shop ...

Supporting the troops



The keyboard commandos are in grave danger of jumping the patriotic shark at this point. As much as these movie addled children love the glory they think other people dying confers upon them, the horror of war is actually very real. And the reality affects those who fight it directly, not those who sit in judgment between trips to the mall. Many men and women who have been involved in this thing, regardless of their politics, are injured in body, mind and spirit. But these cheerleaders on the right apparently aren't willing to put up with any veteran who doesn't hide all feelings of ambiguity, pain or disagreement. They are already calling them "phony", mentally unstable or malingerers in the right wing noise machine. It's not likely to get any better.


Because ... you know:


The liberal mindset is what causes PTSD. Boys being raised to men without a strong male role model, and having a false sense of what life is about is causing our young men to go to war and come home freaked out.


Even conceding the above statement is true (it's not), it tells me that not enough tough, strong, able-bodied, conservative men are signing up to "defend our freedoms" in Iraq. If more conservatives would join the military, we wouldn't have to worry about paying for the medical expenses to straighten out the minds of all them 'liberal crybabies' who, you know, have actually had to face and kill the enemy.

Why do I get the feeling these big talkers would be the first to crap their pants and end up under a bed, sucking their thumbs and drooling as soon as the shooting started?

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Do Re Mi

My previous two posts are pretty dark and gloomy, so I thought I'd lighten things up a bit. Here's (sorta) Arlo singin' one of his Dad's songs. The backup group is The Dillards, whom you may remember as The Darlings on The Andy Griffith Show.

Mrs. G and myself were huge fans of this group since the early '60s, years before we met. Mrs. G liked them to the point that I'm glad the term 'groupie' with its negative connotations hadn't been invented yet. She just went to see them in concert a lot.

In the video, the guy with the 'Mayberry' T-shirt and the big grin is Doug Dillard, one of the world's best banjo pickers. I smoked a joint with him one time in the back room of The Palomino Club. He told me I had a nice grin, which, coming from him, was like Jesus telling me I was a good boy.

At this point, I went to YouTube to snag this jewel out of my favorites and was chagrined to find that embedding had been disabled by request. Shit. This means to me that the album is about to come out. While this diminishes the value of posting it right here on The Brain, it's well worth seeing and hearing, so please go check it out here. Enjoy.

The man who knew too much

I doubt if this will appear in a U.S. newspaper, but I'm damn glad it does in a Limey one:

He was the CIA's expert on Pakistan's nuclear secrets, but Rich Barlow was thrown out and disgraced when he blew the whistle on a US cover-up. Now he's to have his day in court.

He prepared briefs for Dick Cheney...

'Briefs' must not mean the same thing in Blighty that it does here. A large brain bleach, please...

He soon discovered, however, that senior officials in government were taking quite the opposite view: they were breaking US and international non-proliferation protocols to shelter Pakistan's ambitions and even sell it banned WMD technology. In the closing years of the cold war, Pakistan was considered to have great strategic importance. It provided Washington with a springboard into neighbouring Afghanistan - a route for passing US weapons and cash to the mujahideen, who were battling to oust the Soviet army that had invaded in 1979. Barlow says, "We had to buddy-up to regimes we didn't see eye-to-eye with, but I could not believe we would actually give Pakistan the bomb.

How could any US administration set such short-term gains against the long-term safety of the world?" Next he discovered that the Pentagon was preparing to sell Pakistan jet fighters that could be used to drop a nuclear bomb.

Barlow was relentless in exposing what he saw as US complicity, and in the end he was sacked and smeared as disloyal, mad, a drunk and a philanderer. If he had been listened to, many believe Pakistan might never have got its nuclear bomb; south Asia might not have been pitched into three near-nuclear conflagrations; and the nuclear weapons programmes of Iran, Libya and North Korea - which British and American intelligence now acknowledge were all secretly enabled by Pakistan - would never have got off the ground. "None of this need have happened," Robert Gallucci, special adviser on WMD to both Clinton and George W Bush, told us. "The vanquishing of Barlow and the erasing of his case kicked off a chain of events that led to all the nuclear-tinged stand-offs we face today. Pakistan is the number one threat to the world, and if it all goes off - a nuclear bomb in a US or European city- I'm sure we will find ourselves looking in Pakistan's direction."

When these neocons came to power in 2001, under President George W Bush, Pakistan was indemnified again, this time in return for signing up to the "war on terror". Condoleezza Rice backed the line, as did Rumsfeld, too. Pakistan, although suspected by all of them to be at the epicentre of global instability, was hailed as a friend. All energies were devoted to building up the case against Iraq.

[...]Everyone started shouting. General Einsel screamed, 'Barlow doesn't know what he's talking about.' Solarz asked if there had been any other cases involving the Pakistan government and Einsel said, 'No'." Barlow recalls thinking, " 'Oh no, here we go again.' They asked me and I said, 'Yes, there have been scores of other cases.' "

The meeting broke up. Barlow was bundled into a CIA car that sped for Langley. It was a bad time to be the US's foremost expert on Pakistan's nuclear programme when the administration was desperate to prove it didn't exist. [...]

That woulda scared me shitless. See reference to 'briefs'. Barlow's lucky to be alive.

Later that year, Reagan would tell the US Congress: "There is no diminution in the president's commitment to restraining the spread of nuclear weapons in the Indian subcontinent or elsewhere."

The Pentagon officials who were responsible for Barlow's downfall would all be out of government by 1993, when Bill Clinton came into the White House. In opposition they began pursuing an aggressive political agenda, canvassing for war in Iraq rather than restraining nuclear-armed Pakistan. Their number now included Congressman Donald Rumsfeld, a former Republican defence secretary, and several others who would go on to take key positions under George Bush, including Richard Armitage, Richard Perle and John Bolton.

Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz headed the Commission to Assess the Ballistic Missile Threat to the United States, which concluded in July 1998 that the chief threat - far greater than the CIA and other intelligence agencies had so far reported - was posed by Iran, Iraq and North Korea: the future Axis of Evil powers. Pakistan was not on the list, even though just two months earlier it had put an end to the dissembling by detonating five nuclear blasts in the deserts of Balochistan.

Contrary advice was not welcome. And Bush's team set about dismantling the government agency that was giving the most trouble - the State Department's Nonproliferation Bureau. Norm Wulf, who recently retired as deputy assistant secretary of state for non-proliferation, told us: "They met in secret, deciding who to employ, displacing career civil servants with more than 30 years on the job in favour of young, like-thinking people, rightwingers who would toe the administration line." And the administration line was to do away with any evidence that pointed to Pakistan as a threat to global stability, refocusing all attention on Iraq.

[...] This time, with supporters of the Iraq war in retreat and with Pakistan, too, having lost many friends in Washington, Barlow hopes he will receive what he is due. "But this final hearing cannot indict any of those who hounded me, or misshaped the intelligence product," he says. "And it is too late to contain the flow of doomsday technology that Pakistan unleashed on the world."

· Adrian Levy and Catherine Scott-Clark are the authors of Deception: Pakistan, The United States And Global Nuclear Weapons Conspiracy, published later this month by Atlantic Books, £25.

Sounds swell, huh? Like ridin' a fast bike in the desert, I just hit the high spots with the quotes. Go read the rest. We are reaping our own whirlwind, instigated almost thirty years ago by one of Bush's predecessors in a long line of criminal Repuglican presidents.

Eternal Nightmare

From Make Them

[...] Sanchez says it was his duty to obey orders and not dissent publicly when he was on active duty, but that in retirement he feels obliged to speak the truth. By acknowledging candor is incompatible with military service the former officer has mocked the Senate resolution that condemns questioning the integrity of warriors. According to the prevailing wisdom, Sanchez must be regarded as a traitor.

He is not alone. Everyone who tells the truth about the Iraq War is deemed to be a traitor, just as everyone who lies about the Iraq War is exalted as a patriot.

Yet when the fairy tales are cast aside, it becomes clear that America is losing in Iraq and will continue to lose in Iraq because there is nothing to win in Iraq.

Except for oil. The price of crude oil reached a new high on Friday, so the estimated Iraqi petroleum reserves are now worth eighteen trillion dollars. It should not be hard to believe that people will lie when so much money is at stake, especially when you consider that most people are willing to lie for free. But when the mammon is vast the lies become correspondingly enormous, with presidents and generals and senators and journalists all brazenly insisting that truth is fiction and vice versa.

It is not conspiracy… it is self-interest. In American politics those who lie on behalf of Big Business prosper, which explains why Democrats campaign by opposing the war but govern by supporting the war. [...]

When the deceivers are no longer dependent upon corporate largesse they occasionally tell the truth. [...]

But of course. What other motive could there have been? Protecting the homeland from non-existent super weapons poised to smite us all? Vanquishing Al Qaeda in Iraq even though Al Qaeda wasn’t in Iraq? Deposing a brutal dictator (in the name of fighting tyranny) after having supported that brutal dictator (also in the name of fighting tyranny)? Promoting the sacred democratic values that we don’t bother practicing in the United States? Selflessly shepherding Iraqi peasants towards modernity so they can afford to join Club Med?

Or did we conquer Iraq because that is what Jesus would have done?

Once you get past the majestic mountains of bullshit across the fruited plain, the truth is that we are in Iraq because the fucking Iraqis had our goddamn oil. Now that we have reclaimed what God rendered unto us we are never giving it back.

During the 2000 Florida recount, I became acquainted with an advisor to Al Gore’s campaign. I recently asked this guy why the former vice president had decided against running in 2008. He responded that if Gore became president the Iraq War would end and that Gore understands the Iraq War will not be allowed to end, therefore Gore cannot become president. Mr. Gore believes that he could win the presidency again, but as the 2000 election demonstrated winning the presidency and becoming president are two very different things.

Consequently, next year Americans will experience yet another farcical exercise in democracy. No matter who wins the election the Iraq War will continue. American soldiers will continue to die and American taxpayers will continue to pay so that American corporations will continue to thrive. That is reality, and there is no relief in sight.

When Ricardo Sanchez said the nightmare is endless, he wasn’t exaggerating.

That is a very bleak picture and I hope it isn't completely true at the same I fear it most certainly may be. That sentence was carefully constructed to demonstrate my deep-seated confusion as to why what's right and what is are so far apart.

Unlimited greed and lust for power is an awful thing. No wonder the Repugs are against science - the scientists may find a gene that causes it. Maybe there's one for gullibility too.

We are all "Good Germans" ...

Frank "Daddy" Rich:

“BUSH lies” doesn’t cut it anymore. It’s time to confront the darker reality that we are lying to ourselves.


By any legal standards except those rubber-stamped by Alberto Gonzales, we are practicing torture, and we have known we are doing so ever since photographic proof emerged from Abu Ghraib more than three years ago. As Andrew Sullivan, once a Bush cheerleader, observed last weekend in The Sunday Times of London, America’s “enhanced interrogation” techniques have a grotesque provenance: “Verschärfte Vernehmung, enhanced or intensified interrogation, was the exact term innovated by the Gestapo to describe what became known as the ‘third degree.’ It left no marks. It included hypothermia, stress positions and long-time sleep deprivation.”


As the war has dragged on, it is hard to give Americans en masse a pass. We are too slow to notice, let alone protest, the calamities that have followed the original sin.


I've said it many times before. Karl Rove took a page from the Nazis' playbook and used it to his best advantage. Too bad it took so long for the mainstream to figure it out.

Get up!

I just love blues instrumentals. One of my favorites, and one guaranteed to get you up and going, is Robert Randolph and the Family Band doing Ted's Jam. Enjoy!