Saturday, December 1, 2007
It's World AIDS Day. Get informed and stay safe. I've seen too many bright, productive lives wasted to this horrible disease.
The vile Freeper commentary continues on and on, and grows progressively more revealing of the pathology of the Republican base. The tone of commenters over at Politico is no less despicable. But according to Joe Lieberman flack and Politico contributor Dan Gerstein, left-wing bloggers are the ones who need "some adult supervision."
I dare ya to come try and supervise me, asshole, not that you're an adult.
I feel for the poor tormented gent that did that hostage deal. When I was drinking, I felt like doing shit like that a time or two, and but for the grace of God might have. He didn't hurt anybody, and I hope he gets the help he needs.
Look on the bright side of the incident - he did it on the premises of a Democratic candidate. If he'da tried that at a Repug facility, they'da had him shot and killed for interfering with the process of their failing attempt to hang on to power.
CAIRO, Egypt — Yes, Iran has medium-range ballistic missiles that could reach American air and naval bases in the Persian Gulf and possibly hit Israel or southern Europe.
The Iranians may have some longer-range missiles. Or maybe their arsenal contains little more than faulty North Korean, Russian and Chinese knockoffs, some of which are descendants of Germany's World War II V-2.
News Flash: Every missile on the planet is a descendant of the V-2. Captured German rocket scientists were a war prize for both us and the Soviets and both sides' first missiles looked suspiciously like the V-2 these guys already knew how to build. With a different paint scheme, of course.
President Bush repeatedly has pointed to an Iranian ballistic missile threat as the main reason for building a billion-dollar missile-defense system in Eastern Europe to protect Europe and the United States.
Ah, bullshit. The real reason is to line the defense industry's pockets with yet still more of our money. And to make an inadequate little twerp feel like a big man, of course.
Here's the money shot:
Critics of the U.S. proposal to build a ballistic missile shield in Poland and the Czech Republic describe the project as, in Coyle's words, "a system that doesn't work for a threat that doesn't exist." They say the shield would stop only an "unsophisticated threat," meaning one or two missiles that were launched without decoys.
"Do you think Iran would attack Europe or the United States with just one missile and sit back and see what happens?" Coyle said.
They know damn well what would happen to them. "Gee, let's lob a rock at the giant sitting over there on that big pile of rocks and make him run away!". I don't think so.
The Bush administration's fixation on Iran also worries Western officials eager to avoid the embarrassment of another Iraq-style preemptive strike based on incomplete or bogus intelligence, some of it from exile groups with obvious agendas.
With absolutely no sense of history himself, and a brain full of holes instead of a memory, Bush probably thinks no one will remember.
"Nobody is going to believe that hogwash about WMDs, not anymore, not after Iraq," the senior Egyptian diplomat continued, speaking on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to discuss Iran publicly. "The U.S. would be alone on this one. Nobody can afford another such dangerous adventure."
Got news for ya, Egypt Man - we couldn't afford the first one, either. We'll be paying off on this subprime president for generations.
Friday, November 30, 2007
D.K. Garments is a subcontract factory with 150 foreign guest workers (135 from Bangladesh and 15 from Sri Lanka), which has been producing Victoria's Secret garments for the last year. None of the workers have been provided their necessary residency permits, without which they cannot venture outside the industrial park without fear of being stopped by the police and perhaps imprisoned for lack of proper documents.
The Victoria's Secret workers toil 14 to 15 hours a day, from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 or 10:00 p.m., seven days a week, receiving on average one day off every three or four months. All overtime is mandatory, and workers are routinely at the factory 98 to 105 hours a week while toiling 89 to 96 hours. Treatment is very rough, as managers and supervisors scream at the foreign guest workers to move faster to complete their high production goals.
Workers who fall behind on their production goals, or who make even a minor error, can be slapped and beaten. Despite being forced to work five or more overtime hours a day, the workers are routinely shortchanged on their legal overtime pay, being cheated of up to $18.48 each week in wages due them. While this might not seem like a great deal of money, to these poor workers it is the equivalent of losing three regular days' wages each week.
Workers are allowed just 3.3 minutes to sew each $14 Victoria's Secret women's bikini, for which they are paid four cents. The workers' wages amount to less than 3/10ths of one percent of the $14 retail price of the Victoria's Secret bikini
Ladies, change your Christmas wish lists accordingly.
You know, it's what's inside the garment that's important. A flannel shirt and a come-hither look work for me.
Of course, if Mrs. G catches me posting about naughty ladies' sexy lingerie, it won't matter much...
The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee rejected White House claims of executive privilege and demanded Thursday that key White House aides testify in the case of the controversial firings of U.S. attorneys.
Sen. Patrick Leahy ruled that president has no claim of executive privilege protecting Karl Rove and others.
The committee's investigation has found "significant and uncontroverted evidence that the president had no involvement in these firings," Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont, said. Thus, the White House can't claim executive privilege or immunity, which are meant to protect private communications between a president and White House aides, he ruled.
The committee has issued subpoenas for White House chief of staff Josh Bolten and former political adviser Karl Rove, among others.
Note to Senator Leahy: All these former White House criminals think their shit don't stink and they're above the law. They're just gonna keep shinin' you on like they've been doing. Grow some balls and put some teeth into getting them to appear in front of you or they won't do it. Hint: Bench warrants, U.S. Marshals, handcuffs, orange jumpsuits.
Click to magnify the problem
Tomgram. Take a lunch. Long informative article, but here's the crux of the biscuit:
Finally there is that unresolved question of developing Iraqi oil reserves. For four years, Iraqis of all sectarian and political persuasions have (successfully) resisted American attempts to activate the plan first developed by Cheney's Energy Task Force. They have wielded sabotage of pipelines, strikes by oil workers, and parliamentary maneuvering, among other acts. The vast majority of the population -- including a large minority of Kurds and both the Sunni and Shia insurgencies -- believes that Iraqi oil should be tightly controlled by the government and therefore support every effort -- including in many cases violent resistance -- to prevent the activation of any American plan to transfer control of significant aspects of the Iraqi energy industry to foreign companies. Implementation of the U.S. oil proposal therefore will require the long-term suppression of violent and non-violent local resistance, as well as strenuous maneuvering at all levels of government.
Shorter: We're trying to loot their oil and they want to keep it so we must shoot them or bribe them until there's no one left who doesn't see it our way.
Market forces, peak oil, competition? Bah! We're the baddest motherfucker on the block, so we'll just take it. We're bullies for the bottom line.
That's what America has become under Cheney/Bush. I don't like it one bit.
So surge "success" doesn't mean withdrawal -- yes, some troops will come home slowly -- but the rest will have to embed themselves in Iraqi communities for the long haul. This situation was summarized well by Captain Jon Brooks, the commander of Joint Security Station Thrasher in Western Baghdad, one of the small outposts that represent the front lines of the surge strategy. When asked by New Yorker reporter Jon Lee Anderson how long he thought the U.S. would remain in Iraq, he replied, "I'm not just blowing smoke up your ass, but it really depends on what the U.S. civilian-controlled government decides its goals are and what it tells the military to do."
As long as that government is determined to install a friendly, anti-Iranian regime in Baghdad, one that is hostile to "foreigners," including all jihadists, but welcomes an ongoing American military presence as well as multinational development of Iraqi oil, the American armed forces aren't going anywhere, not for a long, long time; and no relative lull in the fighting -- temporary or not -- will change that reality. This is the Catch-22 of Bush administration policy in Iraq. The worse things go, the more our military is needed; the better they go, the more our military is needed.
Don't expect this to change if Hillary or Obama are elected, either.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke on Thursday hinted that another interest rate cut may be needed to bolster the economy. The worsening credit crunch, a deepening housing slump and rising energy prices probably will create some "headwinds for the consumer in the months ahead," he said.
Mr. Bernanke, I may not be an economist, shit, I'm not even good with money, but even I know the "headwinds" already are a-blowin'. It's not the fact we might have a recession, the only question is how bad it will be.
Bernanke said he expects consumer spending will continue to grow and suggested the country can withstand the current problems without falling into a recession. But he indicated that consumers could turn more cautious as they try to cope with all the stresses.
One question, sir. How? How can you expect the average American to absorb all the hits to their income they're taking (with wages remaining stagnant) and still spend like demons. Don't any of these idiots understand that a lot of the money being pumped into the economy by Joe Six-pack is the result of all that low cost money floating around thanks to cheap home loans? The days of cheap credit are gone for the foreseeable future. People ain't flipping their mortgages every couple years to draw more and more equity out of their homes, that well has dried up and now the bills are coming due.
Gas prices are going up daily and in turn, so are the prices of everything else. The dollar is worth less and doesn't buy what it used to. Do they make these predictions based on fantasy?
"I expect household income and spending to continue to grow, but the combination of higher gas prices, the weak housing market, tighter credit conditions and declines in stock prices seem likely to create some headwinds for the consumer in the months ahead," Bernanke said in his speech.
Because everything I've been hearing says this shit will get worse before it gets better:
LOS ANGELES -- U.S. foreclosure filings nearly doubled in October from the same month last year, the latest sign many homeowners are falling behind on mortgage payments and increasingly losing their homes, according to a mortgage research company.
Tighter lending standards and the ongoing housing slump are making it harder for homeowners who can't afford their mortgage payments to sell their homes or refinance.
One alarming trend in October was an increase in the number of homes that were repossessed by lenders after they failed to sell at trustee auctions.
Well yes, because if you ask a real estate agent who'll tell you the truth, they'll tell you they are holding the largest inventory of unsold homes ever. That's affecting the trades.
Now, there are fresh doubts about how solid the labor market will remain. Economists expect November payrolls to increase by just 87,000, or about half the gain in October. So far, job losses are centered in the residential construction, other housing related areas and manufacturing. In the service sector, hiring has held up fairly well, although the pace of job growth has ebbed. However, with businesses feeling and acting less confident about economic and financial conditions, a broader slowdown in overall hiring is likely. [all ems mine]
While the stock market weenies might love this temporary reprieve, lowering interest rates is only a band aid measure, one that will have other implications down the line, like inflation and an even lower dollar. It's time to take our medicine now but, like everything else this administration does, the collapse will be pushed off as long as possible, hopefully (for the Rethugs, on many levels) onto a Democratic President.
The wife of Dan Senor, who served as a spokesperson for Bush in Iraq, is now working for CNN. Normally, who a reporter's spouse wouldn't and shouldn't matter. And, it wouldn't if Campbell Brown didn't show an obvious bias. Last night, in her first week on the job, she attacked MoveOn:
Yeah, that liberal bias. If the news media ('news' being a very loose connotation of the word in this case) were biased to the left, do you think we'd be in Iraq right now? Do you think the chimp would have won in '04?
[NY State Comptroller Alan Hevesi's] decision to step down came as Albany prosecutors were preparing to ask a grand jury to indict him on charges of defrauding the government and on other felonies stemming from his use of state employees as chauffeurs and aides to his wife ...
Needless to say, Hevesi is a Dem. Think Rudy'll be stepping out of the race anytime soon? Yeah, me neither.
Tip o' the Brain Bucket to JasonC for the link.
Thursday, November 29, 2007
George W. Bush is focusing now on his legacy. Duck. Run. Hide.
What Bush will almost surely be pushing for is permanent U.S. bases in Iraq, enshrined in a pact he can sign a few months before he leaves office. And here, as they used to say, is the beauty part: As far as Bush is concerned, he doesn't have to seek congressional ratification for such an enduring commitment of American force, treasure and lives.
But if Bush tries to lock the next president into permanent U.S. bases in Iraq, he may also be locking in a Democrat as the next president. Ironically, just when events on the ground in Iraq aren't looking as disastrous as they did six months ago, Bush's efforts to make the U.S. presence permanent would drape the necks of the Republican presidential and congressional candidates with one large, squawking albatross.
Well, if it gets the goddam Repugs out of power, drape away. Note to Dems: start looking for a way out of the permanent quagmire King George is fixin' to get us into. I don't think criminally insane sociopathic dry drunk warmongering traitors' signatures on a contract are valid, just for starters.
The president who waged a preemptive war now wants to lock in place a preemptive occupation. Only this time, instead of preempting a foreign nation, he is seeking to preempt Congress and his successor. It's the logical conclusion for his misshapen and miserable presidency, and I doubt the American people -- if they have any say in the matter -- will stand for it.
If we had any say in the matter, Bush, Cheney, the lot of warmongering, lying bastards would be in prison as we speak.
Last night, former Attorney General John Ashcroft delivered an address on national security at the University of Colorado. [...]
During the speech, Ashcroft caused an uproar when he declared Guantanamo Bay was a “good place” for detainees. In addition, he defended the torture tactic of waterboarding:
Ashcroft also responded to questions from the audience. The first question came from a woman who asked if Ashcroft would be willing to be subjected to waterboarding.
“The things that I can survive, if it were necessary to do them to me, I would do,” he said.
Ashcroft apparently believes that torture should be allowed as long as it doesn’t kill him.
OK then, as soon as he says that, handcuff and blindfold him. Strip him naked and put him in a too-large jumpsuit that someone else has worn for about a week, without any underwear. No shoes. March him onto a corporate-type jet (a simulator will do). Fly him around for about ten hours without letting him go to the bathroom, but feed him a nice greasy meal and all the water he can hold. March him out into some place that smells funny, maybe some guttural-sounding foreign language in the background, and directly into a dank concrete room with an agricultural stock tank as its only furniture. Take off the blindfold and introduce him to a coupla large, sweaty, hairy-chested, stubbly chinned bozos wearing some light bondage gear who then strap him to the board and elevate him, head down, over the watering trough. A little alcohol on their breaths wouldn't hurt, nor would visible foot-long gaggers of meth on a mirror and white circles around their nostrils and a little crazy in their eyes. When he says "but you're not going to kill me, right?", the answer should be "We'll try not to, but you get the same guarantee everybody else gets. We're getting better at it - haven't lost one all week."
By this time he will have soiled the GI jumpsuit with about everything he's got. Hey, a little dramatic effect can work wonders!
NOW ask him what he thinks of waterboarding. I guarantee you he will think differently about it already, and they haven't even done it yet. For a bonus, ask him what he thinks of 'rendition' as well.
Then go ahead and waterboard his ass just fer grins. The asshole deserves it for saying it's OK. Ten seconds oughta do it. Then march him into the next room where the Fourth Estate has gathered, with lotsa lights and cameras, for a press conference. The look on his face would be priceless, not to mention the flop sweat and, er, aroma. Film at 11.
Ah, to dream...
By the way, if that happened to me, all they would have to do is show me the waterboard setup and I'd tell 'em anything and everything I thought they would like to hear. And then some. They'd think they'd hit the Mother Lode of intel. Be more like the Mother Load. Might come up with a big stinky one of those for 'em too.
The Village Voice
Giuliani's business contracts tie him to the man who let 9/11's mastermind escape the FBI
The contradictory and stunning reality is that Giuliani Partners, the consulting company that has made Giuliani rich, feasts at the Qatar trough, doing business with the ministry run by the very member of the royal family identified in news and government reports as having concealed KSM—the terrorist mastermind who wired funds from Qatar to his nephew Ramzi Yousef prior to the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, and who also sold the idea of a plane attack on the towers to Osama bin Laden—on his Qatar farm in the mid-1990s.
In other words, as incredible as it might seem, Rudy Giuliani—whose presidential candidacy is steeped in 9/11 iconography—has been doing business with a government agency run by the very man who made the attacks on 9/11 possible.
This is a good article and quite long. The details are nice to know, but not essential. I just made the print real big and speed-read it as I scrolled.
Here's the crux of the biscuit: Giuliani's in business with the very people he's basing his campaign on 'defending' us from. Just like the Bushes. We need another one of those in the White House like we need another itchy asshole.
Joe Biden says Rudy's only sentence consists of 'noun, verb, 9/11'. He's right - "Pay Me, Terrorist."
7. Anyone who actually votes for one of these idiots is either insane, on drugs, or of diminished mental capacity.
Well, it didn't take long, thanks to Shakes, to find an example. To use the oft-repeated line: "The stupid, it burns!"
Off to the shop, still shaking my head ...
But, but... I thought that Saddam Hussein was a terrorist, funding al-Qaeda, and plotting against the United States. Would trading with the enemy not be an act of treason?
Oh wait, he is a Texas oil-man, I get it. Because oil-men or Texas energy-men in particular seem to have a good deal of luck when it comes to the US justice system - that is, if they are prosecuted to begin with.
Heh ... Silly me.
1. The 'compassionate' part of 'compassionate conservatism' is officially dead.
2. Anybody who takes this cast of weenies seriously needs to have their head examined.
3. Rudy and Romney are two little girls in man's clothing. Gotta be. (no offense to pre-pubescent girls intended)
4. John McCain realizes he's not as good a liar as the rest of them. Either that or he realizes he's in beginning-stage Alzheimer's.
5. I'm surprised they didn't bring an Arab virgin on stage, gang rape her, waterboard her, and then send her to Gitmo, just to prove once and for all which one of them was more 'manly'.
6. It was the biggest buncha hypocrites ever assembled.
7. Anyone who actually votes for one of these idiots is either insane, on drugs, or of diminished mental capacity.
And just this note:
Bill Clinton should shut the fuck up (so should Chris Matthews). Maybe Bill shoulda spent a little less time paling around with 41 and spoke up when the time was right, when we were the only small, faint voices screaming about the mistake of going into Iraq. His two cents could have made a difference in 2002. Saying what he did yesterday wasn't helpful and means shit now.
As for that moron, Matthews, can he show any more faux outrage over Clinton's remarks than he did last night? Jesus H. Christ, he was foaming at the mouth. Regardless of Clinton's comment (dumb as it was), it'd be nice if Ol' Chris coulda shown some outrage at the crap Bush has pulled over the years instead of offering up his doughy, quivering ass for the Chimp's amusement.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
... Imagine listening to this man who is threatening to attack Iran and plunge your region into conflagration. You know, you see some crazy shit back home, but sitting there and listen to Bush and Rice talk about peace, well, that's like sitting next to a farting camel - you wanna make sure you're not on the downwind side of the stink.
Karl Rove told Charlie Rose that Congress pushed President Bush to a war with Iraq prematurely. I assume this also means that Bush only used illegal drugs in his youth because cocaine repeatedly leaped up from tables and flew into his nose.
KO and MFBTGR* tore Turdblossom a new one over it, too.
What a fuckin' asshole Rove is. And that's in addition to being yer basic lyin' sack o' crap.
And BTW, if Rove is still employed by Newspeak when my subscription runs out, I'm not renewing it. There's better comic books, which is what allowing, nay, paying, Rove to spew his shit has turned that magazine into.
*My Favorite Big-Titted Greek Redhead
Alex LeMay’s documentary “Desert Bayou” tells a Hurricane Katrina story that you almost certainly haven’t heard. The film opens on a sunny, picturesque day in Salt Lake City when a JetBlue airliner cruises in for a landing. A rainbow paints the mountaintops surrounding the airport. As the jet pulls up to the gate and the doors open, the passengers exit carrying their luggage. This isn’t an ordinary day, and these aren’t ordinary passengers, however.
The plane is from New Orleans, and its passengers are 600 African American evacuees who were unable to leave the city before the storm struck. The bags they carry contain all the possessions they were able to save from their homes. The evacuees boarded the airplane without being told where they were going, only finding out their destination in midair. What follows is a Hollywood high concept: 600 black evacuees in Utah—welcomed by some and feared by others—confronting their own ideas about being alone in a desert environment populated almost exclusively by white people.
Holy shit. From a rooftop in The Big Easy to Salt Lake City? Not that there's anything wrong with SLC (cough), but...
Click if you must
There may be more to Lott's decision to quit than just that he wants to stand under a lamppost in too much makeup and a floozy suit and make a lot of mattress money.
Think Progress. Many links. Be sure to read the comments. Heh.
But the right-wing American Spectator magazine speculates that brewing corruption scandals may have contributed to Lott’s decision:
The tin-foil-hat crowd was almost immediately pushing a Jack Abramoff angle to the surprise resignation of Sen. Trent Lott. But a more recent scandal brewing — which has already ensnared Sen. Ted Stevens, among others — may also be playing on Lott’s mind.
Lott, Stevens, as well as Rep. Dennis Hastert all have ties to Bill Allen, a larger than life Alaskan businessman who owned Veco, an oil-field services company, and who was a huge benefactor of Republican politicians.
And as if that wasn't enough:
Larry Flynt’s Hustler offers another reason for the senator’s resignation: “Senator Lott has been the target of an ongoing HUSTLER investigation for some time now, due to confidential information that we have received.”
This kinda shit ain't really all that important, but it sure is fun to see these Repug scumbags scurry when the rocks get turned over and expose them to the light.
A comment from CAFKIA in response to The Goat Rumor:
[rushlimbaughvoice] Did you hear that people? I mean, are you listening?! There is no, none, zero, zip, nada PROOF that Trent Lott doesn't blow goats. People, lie to yourselves if you want to but, where I'm from, if we smell smoke, we know there is a fire somewhere. This is huge, HUGE people but, you watch, you just watch, because Trent Lott was nice to a Democrat once, this is the only place you will hear this news. I am the only source you can trust on this. Oh I'm a big enough man to admit when I'm wrong folks so, you listen to me. If any proof becomes available, I will publicly apologize on the air to Mr. Lott. But folks, don't hold your breath because I am telling you there is no proof. I'll just bet he doesn't even deny it. Senator Lott, will you come on my show and deny that you have blown black and brown goats?? Let's just see.[/rushlimbaughvoice]
Question - how many times can you re-use bleach? This is getting expensive...
The U.S. military has identified the remains of a New Jersey airman listed as missing in action since his plane went down in Laos during the Vietnam War, the Defense Department said today.
Air Force Capt. Stephen A. Rusch, of West Amwell in Hunterdon County, was 28 when his F-4E Phantom II fighter-bomber crashed after taking enemy fire in March 1972. Immediate efforts to find the crash site, in Salavan Province, were unsuccessful.
Another MIA can rest in peace.
For all those who say the Defense Department's Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command is a waste of money, tell that to Capt. Rusch's family.
I have three family members who died in foreign lands (two in Russia, one in Africa, we think) during WW2, and the only information they got back home (years after the war ended) was that they probably died in the fighting, their bodies remaining where they fell. My Ur-Tante (my mother's great aunt) who I had the opportunity to know, held out hope until the day she died (at 106) in the early 70s that her husband might be alive somewhere.
As regulars around here know, I don't care much for the belief in souls or an afterlife, but it's the living families who spend years in confusion and denial wondering about their loved one's status who deserve to know.
Astronomers have found an enormous void in space that measures nearly a billion light-years across.
It is empty of both normal matter - such as galaxies and stars - and the mysterious "dark matter" that cannot be seen directly with telescopes.
Jokes aside, this is way cool.
Thanks to Blondie for the link.
[A big Brain welcome to Shakes' readers.]
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Of course, acknowledging the holocaust in Iraq might change the debate over the war. While Iraqi lives do not count for much in US politics, recognizing that a mass slaughter of this magnitude is taking place could lead to more questions about how this horrible situation came to be. Right now a convenient myth dominates the discussion: the fall of Saddam Hussein simply unleashed a civil war that was waiting to happen, and the violence is all due to Iraqis' inherent hatred of each other.
In fact, there is considerable evidence that the occupation itself – including the strategy of the occupying forces – has played a large role in escalating the violence to holocaust proportions. It is in the nature of such an occupation, where the vast majority of the people are opposed to the occupation and according to polls believe it is right to try and kill the occupiers, to pit one ethnic group against another. This was clear when Shiite troops were sent into Sunni Fallujah in 2004; it is obvious in the nature of the death-squad government, where officials from the highest levels of the Interior Ministry to the lowest ranking police officers – all trained and supported by the US military – have carried out a violent, sectarian mission of "ethnic cleansing." (The largest proportion of the killings in Iraq are from gunfire and executions, not from car bombs). It has become even more obvious in recent months as the United States is now arming both sides of the civil war, including Sunni militias in Anbar province as well as the Shiite government militias.
Is Washington responsible for a holocaust in Iraq? That is the question that almost everyone here wants to avoid. So the holocaust is denied.
Do the right thing, George, like the last Holocaustmeister - kill yourself and have Dana Perino pour gasoline on your corpse and light it. She'll know how to spin it so you'll come off looking more like an ideological moron than the war criminal you are - it'll be Clinton's and the Librul Media's fault. Just do it.
One of the most majestic dining rooms in New York City is in the Church of the Holy Apostles. After the landmark building was nearly destroyed by fire in 1990, the Episcopal parish made the decision not to replace the pews so that the nave could become a place of various uses. There are traditional Sunday services, of course, and the gay and lesbian synagogue on Friday evenings. And every weekday more than a thousand people eat lunch at round tables beneath 12-foot stained-glass windows and a priceless Dutch pipe organ.
"You can't get more Biblical than feeding the hungry," says the Rev. William Greenlaw, the rector.
[...] But poverty is not a subject that's been discussed much by the current administration, who were wild to bring freedom to the Iraqis but not bread to the South Bronx. "Hunger is hard for us as a nation to admit," says Clyde Kuemmerle, who oversees the volunteers at Holy Apostles. "That makes it hard to talk about and impossible to run on."
[...] An agriculture bill that would have increased aid and the food-stamp allotment has been knocking around Congress, where no one ever goes hungry (my em and no shit!- G). Donations from a federal program that buys excess crops from farmers and gives them to food banks has shrunk alarmingly. [...]
This place is a blessing, and an outrage. "We call these people our guests," says the rector. "They are the children of God." That's real God talk. The political arena has been lousy with the talk-show variety in recent years: worrying about whether children could pray in school instead of whether they'd eaten before they got there, obsessing about the beginning of life instead of the end of poverty, concerned with private behavior instead of public generosity.
There's a miracle in which an enormous crowd comes to hear Jesus and he feeds them all by turning a bit of bread and fish into enough to serve the multitudes. The truth is that America is so rich that political leaders could actually produce some variant of that miracle if they had the will. And, I suppose, if they thought there were votes in it. Enough with the pious sanctimony about gay marriage and abortion. If elected officials want to bring God talk into public life, let it be the bedrock stuff, about charity and mercy and the least of our brethren. Instead of the performance art of the presidential debate, the candidates should come to Holy Apostles and do what good people, people of faith, do there every day—feed the hungry, comfort the weary, soothe the afflicted. And wipe down the tables after each seating. Here's a prayer for every politician: pasta, collard greens, bread, cling peaches. Amen.
Folks are going hungry in this country because there's no profit or votes in feeding them, so the pols don't want to see them and don't want us to see them. Everything's fine, go to the mall in your SUV, don't worry about a thing, consume, consume, consume, after all we're the richest country ever, what could possibly go wrong?
Well, Bush, mainly. The easiest way to be right 90+% of the time is to blame Bush for anything and everything that goes wrong. The impending recession he's started by borrowing us into the poorhouse, and the spending cuts on programs that work - government isn't supposed to work, so when it does, cut it off at the knees until it doesn't so you can prove it doesn't work - along with runaway corporate greed promoted as policy, is going to make a lot more hungry people a little ways down the road. It's going to get worse before it gets better.
Over the years, I've participated in various food giveaway programs as volunteer labor. It's amazing the number of folks who show up, and who depend on the generosity of others to get enough to eat. It doesn't matter why. The point is, there are folks going hungry in our great nation. I applaud the churches and local organizations who help get food to those in need, but they need more help from the Feds than they're getting now. A damn fine use of tax money, and a 'moral value' to boot.
They can also use a little help from the rest of us too. Particularly at this time of year, there's usually a big barrel at the supermarket to donate food for the needy. Doesn't have to be fancy stuff, just edible. When the supermarket brand of spaghetti & meatballs or mac'n cheese or whatever goes on sale, spend an extra buck and toss a can or box in there. Someone may get a meal who otherwise wouldn't.
BAGHDAD - Iraq's government, seeking protection against foreign threats and internal coups, will offer the U.S. a long-term troop presence in Iraq in return for U.S. security guarantees as part of a strategic partnership, two Iraqi officials said Monday.
The Iraqi officials said that under the proposed formula, Iraq would get full responsibility for internal security and U.S. troops would relocate to bases outside the cities. Iraqi officials foresee a long-term presence of about 50,000 U.S. troops, down from the current figure of more than 160,000.
So we will have permanent bases in Iraq and, like Korea, a tour in Iraq will become a regular rotation. I just have one question.
In Korea, U.S. forces (in theory) are arrayed toward an invasion from the country to the north, a sovereign nation and declared enemy. (In reality, U.S. forces in South Korea are nothing more than a speed bump, hopefully slowing down the North Korean onslaught until troops can be deployed from Japan and other places.) There is a border (the DMZ) and the NKPA understands crossing said border will trigger a war, period.
Click to embiggen ... a lot. Pic from here.
So, now that we've looked at 'The Korean Situation for Dummies', let's see what Iraq has in common with that.
Nothing proven, though CENTCOM's latest bogeyman is Iran. Somehow I don't see over a million Iranian infantry massing along the border, nor are they moving a million artillery pieces to their frontier with Iraq.
Syria, well maybe. We pin everything we can't pin on Iran on Syria though they too are not mobilizing their military to the border.
Saudi Arabia, you mean the place where most of the Jihadists come from? Whose ruling family, a monarchy, are regular business partners of the Bush family? Whose land sits on the world's largest oil deposits? The Saudis are our friends, don'tcha know.
So what kind of security will the 50,000 remaining U.S. troops be providing? Remember the line: "Iraq would get full responsibility for internal security and U.S. troops would relocate to bases outside the cities." The violence in Iraq is mainly sectarian, a civil war, Blue and Gray, under the purview of 'internal security' as it were. So I ask again, what will U.S. troops be there for?
Spencer Ackerman* puts a point on it:
... Make no mistake: this is Nouri al-Maliki offering the U.S. a permanent presence in return for guaranteeing the security of his government. (Would-be PM Ayad Allawi can't make President Bush a counteroffer as good as that.) In exchange for a platform for the indefinite projection of American power throughout the Middle East, the Bush Administration probably considers protection for Maliki and his coterie to be a small price to pay ...
I'll refine it a bit more.
If al-Maliki remains in power (thanks to the U.S. military) he might be more amicable to allowing foreign ownership of Iraqi oil fields. Bush and Cheney failed in their first attempt, seizing the oil under the auspices of removing a brutal dictator. To salvage the mess, it seems they are prepared to support a puppet government who will legislate the oil fields to us (Halliburton, KBR, et al) in return for security.
All this does is let us buy (the price being a permanent U.S. presence as what would essentially be a 'palace guard') what we couldn't take by force. A rule as you vote next year: Don't vote for anyone who advocates a continued presence in Iraq.
And if we are going to look for some commonality to this mess in the annals of history, we only have to look right next door, to Iran. You see, we've done this before and all it's accomplished is to make everything in the region far more complicated.
We're supposed to learn from our mistakes, not make them over and over again.
Off to the shop ...
*TPM link thanks to Steve Benen.
Monday, November 26, 2007
That is a fair sampling of Worst, but only for openers, because this file is the biggest of the three by orders of magnitude, fairly bursting with names and events that sound in the reading of them like a roll-call of doom and nightmare, for that is precisely what they are.
Worst was as terrible as it could get, or so it was believed, until now, until the creation of a new fourth category became unavoidably necessary. The bewildering and terrifying fact of the matter is Worst has been fully and completely trumped by the times, relegated to silver-medal status and the lower podium. The grim reality of this brave new deranged world is the nation is now swarming with so many new and different horrors, which were upon us in one brief and ravaging eyeblink of time. It went beyond Worst just that fast.
As such, the new category is titled Beyond.
Beyond, for starters, is the fact nearly every American citizen stands surrounded by a confluence of mortal perils that threaten to completely unravel and eviscerate their country. Nearly every American will be severely and painfully affected should these dangers turn lethal ... and yet hardly anyone in America actually knows this. Almost nobody understands or recognizes the cocked and loaded gun pressed against their collective head, even as the trigger is slowly yet steadily squeezed and there are live rounds sitting in the chamber waiting for the hammer to drop.
One of those bullets is named George, just like his father, and he is an unimaginably dangerous fellow.[...]
That oughta set the hook. Go read.
He closes with:
This barely scratches the surface of the situation as a whole, and that fact alone is pretty much Beyond even Beyond all by itself. If the national economy doesn't collapse before springtime now that debt has again become a bad thing and the dollar is turning into pudding, if Pakistan doesn't fall apart and lose control of its nuclear weaponry, if Iraq and Afghanistan magically stop being lost causes, and if George and Dick actually decide to obey the law and leave office next year, there will only be fifty more disasters left sitting on our national plate.
Only fifty? Boy, that would just be wild, almost like a vacation, really. It's good to have something to look forward to. I guess.
I guess. It's amazing to think that it's now optimistic to foresee only fifty disasters left behind by the Bush Cartel. Yeesh.
Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul, an underdog Texas congressman with a libertarian streak, has picked up an endorsement from a Nevada brothel owner.
Dennis Hof, owner of the Moonlite BunnyRanch near Carson City, said he was so impressed after hearing Paul at a campaign stop in Reno last week that he decided to raise money for him.
"I'll get all the (working girls) together, and we can raise him some money," Hof told the Reno Gazette-Journal. "I'll put up a collection box outside the door. They can drop in $1, $5 contributions."
It's only fitting. I'm sure Repugs are amongst the largest, er, contributors, yeah, that's the word, to the BunnyRanch's bottom line seeing as how it's about 5 miles due east from the Nevada State House on the only road out of Carson City that goes in that direction. I'm quite certain that illegal brothels elsewhere prosper from Repugs as well.
One of the gals endorsing Paul goes by the handle "Air Force Amy". One can only assume she's a FUNdie...sorry. You can see her, most of her in fact, at the BunnyRanch link. Oh what the heck, here. Maybe work safe if you work in the back room of an automotive garage or motorcycle shop.
GOP Candidates Refuse To Campaign On 'Black Friday'
"In the great tradition of our party's Southern strategy, we're waiting for the 'White Sale' in January."
Need new sheets to wear to inspire 'the base' for the primaries, do they?
CHAVEZ, AHMADINEJAD MEET IN TEHRAN
At Piss Off Bush Summit.
Sponge, meet keyboard...
Iraq: Majority of Foreign Fighters From Libya, Saudi Arabia
And United States.
U.S. Reviewing Aid to Pakistan
Musharraf may need additonal funds to suppress opponents of martial law.
Book: Former Press Secretary McClellan Admits He Lied for President
White House disparages “absurd allegations of admitted liar.”
That may be the best take on WH CYA spin tactics I've seen in a while - "He lied for us because that was his job and we told him to, so that makes him a liar, so how can you believe anything he says?"
Wall Street Bonuses Set Record
Things haven't been this good since 1929.
At a campaign stop in South Carolina, Freddie Thompson said "a day in paradise" is a day spent with rifles, shotguns and pistols.
I know a buncha guys with guns, NRA (the gun owner's Hustler* magazine) members all, and I see the look in their eyes when they're showing off one of their prized possessions. It's the same look I used to get (back when I was single) when a beautiful woman would break down and agree to make love to me. Serious, when I see a buncha gun nuts get together, I go looking for a raincoat because the spooge'll be sailing as soon as the circle jerk breaks out.
Guns are tools, just like hammers and wrenches. I'm just wondering if these are the same guys who go to Home Depot or Lowe's, buy a buncha tools on impulse, and never fix a damn thing around their homes. You know who you are, I hear your wives bitching about you all the time when they drop the car off for service. "Hey, Fixer? You got a lotta tools, how do I get my husband to fix the faucet?" Hire a plumber, lady.
Same thing with guns. They're used for self-defense or hunting for food. How many of them would throw their guns down and run away if somebody started shooting back?
Guys like these, from 'Fearless' Freddie Thompson on down, should grow up and get a life. As Mrs. F says to old guys in little red sports cars accompanied by a young woman half their age: "Sorry to hear about your dick."
Just imagine what Freddie would do as president with all the 'really good' guns the military has.
Off to work ...
*Not at work or in front of the kiddies.
... Independents actually do like him, Democrats actually do like him, which is helpful if you’re going to run in a general election ...
Personally, I think St. John should be institutionalized at worst, relegated to chasing moths at night by the porch light at the least, but that's just me. JasonC has the best quote I heard all weekend:
Bitch, please. McCain is a pandering asshole, who pissed any remaining dignity he had left long ago. No one is buying your horseshit, David. Go away.
I'd only add "and take McCain with you".
Pic and link thanks to bluegal.
Responses to Rethug talking points (more at the link):
"Aw you liberals just hate America."
No. We love democracy and we want to return it to America.
You want a presidential dictator.
We love liberty and we want to return it to America.
You want to tap our phones.
We love equality and we want to return it to America.
You think some people are better than others.
We love honesty and we want to return it to America.
You love lobbyists and corruption.
Sunday, November 25, 2007
Somebody should teach these folks the rudimentary art of maneuvering in a gas station. Maybe that's as close as their GPS could get them...
Can recycling go too far? Seen in a roadside rest area at Gold Run, California:
Clicking makes these pix positively huge!
Only in California!
Injured soldiers who lost their limbs fighting for their country have been driven from a swimming pool training session by jeering members of the public.
The men, injured during tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, were taking part in a rehabilitation session at a leisure centre, when two women demanded they be removed from the pool. They claimed that the soldiers "hadn't paid" and might scare the children.
Maybe if you told your sniveling little rugrats the reason these vets lost their limbs and explained to them the 'moral value' of compassion and sacrifice ... Ah, why do I bother explaining terms conservatives have no capacity to understand?
The good news is, this happened in Britain and not here, though I wouldn't put it past some of our self-centered assholes either.