Saturday, January 26, 2008

Raiding YouTube

Gord got me over to YouTube today thanks to his crazy redneck music and his homage to Tet, I figured I'd get you in the mood to enjoy Saturday evening partying on your future 'stimulus'.

Two of my favorite guitar men together. B.B. King and Gary Moore doing B.B.'s The Thrill is Gone:

Bai Ca Truong Son

I was reading an article at Kos by truong son traveler on the 40th anniversary of the Tet Offensive, a turning point in the Vietnam War.

The Vietnam War sums up thusly, the shortest and best quote about the eventual outcome:

As a final comment especially for those who claim that "we were never defeated on the battlefield". Those people most certainly never spent much time on the "battlefields" of this, a mostly unreported small-unit war. Not that it mattered anyway, for as General Giap said, "We were prepared to lose for longer than you were prepared to win." (my em)


I got curious as is my wont. What the hell is a 'truong son'? Turns out it's a mountain range in Central Vietnam in the Greater Annamite chain. I ran across this video. My grasp of Vietnamese is slightly less than my tenuous hold on English, but I recognized a coupla place names, and 'My' which I think means 'American' in a picture of a Huey.

While we're remembering Tet, let's not forget the outcome of that war. Enjoy this.



I wonder if in 40 years we'll be watching Iraqi videos like that.

Red Necks, White Socks, and Blue Ribbon Beer

Man, I'm on a roll today! If anyone thinks I must've lost my mind to post the previous music video (scroll down a little), this one will remove all doubt.

This is dedicated to mechanics and other folks who "don't fit in with the white collar crowd" everywhere, and to anyone who has ever found themselves shitfaced at 1 AM with their sunglasses still on the bar in front of them.

Hank Thompson

Please tell me ...

Why men feel qualified to speak on the female experience?

'Stimulus' Advice

This is dedicated to all the folks who are planning to follow Philip's advice as to how to spend your 'stimulus' check. This is very stimulating.

Red Ingle and the Natural Seven with absolutely the hokiest version of this pæan to the temptations of the flesh (Whee!) I've ever heard. Try not to get dizzy watching it. If you've already borrowed against the anticipated tax rebate loan, you probably already had a good start on this subject matter and are already dizzy, so never mind.



And the moral of the story? Spend less money on cigarettes and you'll have more to spend on booze and babes.

Saturday whorage

Another chapter of Thirty Days at Zeta is up at The Practical Press.

Leave your links in comments.

Friday, January 25, 2008

I'm with Philip ...

Headline of his post on what he'd do with his 'stimulus' check:

I'm spending my stimulus on beer and hos!


Hear hear!

More on the 935

I hope we keep talking about the report that quantifies what we've known for years until the bastards are put away where they belong. Fat chance.

Visitor Update

The other day I posted that I had some old friends coming over to visit. We had plans to go out to dinner and eat and play catch up.

Didn't happen.

They made it part way up from Reno and the snow started dumping a little. It's been doing that for days. Those folks are from L.A. and so aren't used to driving in the snow. Wisely, I think, they turned back. Me 'n Mrs. G were already dressed to go out to dinner, so we did. After a large glass of the house white zin, Mrs. G turned to the non-present Vivian and carried on quite a nice conversation.

I spoke with Vivian this morning, and told her to make sure everybody knows that Arnie, outlaw biker and former US Navy hard-hat diver* who once cleared mines in the Red Sea, weenied out in two inches of snow.

*He has a tattoo of a a hard-hat along with the text of what he likes to breathe: "Mixed Gas and Muff".

She asked me if I'd told him that. "Hell no! Ya think I'm nuts?" She said she'd tell him on the plane home where the windows don't open!

We're disappointed that our visit didn't come off as planned. Hey, they tried, but that's the way the cookie crumbles. Next time. At least we're back in touch now, and that's a good thing.

On the plus side, I did get the house cleaned up to "presentable" and the guest bathroom rebuilt to human specs...

Troops felled by a 'trust gap'

[A big welcome to Skippy's readers. - F]



As usual, the furrin press is better at lettin' us in on what's really goin' on in Iraq and the halls of power than our own. Asia Times:

With US requirements in Afghanistan - estimated by McCaffrey at four brigades permanently engaged in a campaign that would last 15 years, a continued war on terrorism in Southwest Asia has become nearly impossible. Additionally, McCaffrey says, "The US Army is starting to unravel. Our recruiting campaign is bringing into the army thousands of new soldiers who should not be in uniform" - those with criminal records, who have used drugs, who have been given moral waivers, or who have not graduated from high school. A senior Pentagon official agrees. "We have increased our recruiting totals and tripled the number of our police battalions," he says, bitterly. "We will soon have to build new stockades to handle the influx."

Build more stockades. Swell. The military really does reflect the society it comes from. Yeesh.

In fact, the shift in strategy is more the result of necessity than choice - of decisions made by commanders on the ground who opposed the White House, National Security Council, CPA - and State Department view that all opposition to the Americans must be, ipso facto, evidence of terrorism. "We've not only started to define the real enemy," a senior military office says, "but we've stopped shooting people. We've figured out that protecting Iraq is Iraq's job, not ours."

All of which raises the question of whether the United States should have invaded Iraq in the first place, an issue that is becoming more pertinent to military officers who view the American adventure in Iraq as a political and military failure.

Some of these officers have become outspoken in their condemnation of the Bush administration: which is a rarity, even among retired senior officers. "There's a reason for that," former four-star General Volney Warner says, "and the reason is that every former and currently serving military officer's fear is that we in the military will be left holding the bag, that we will be blamed for this debacle. And that's the last thing that we want to have happen. We didn't make the decision to go into Iraq. We were ordered to do it. So the blame should go where it belongs."

Remember, it's not whether you win or lose, it's how you place the blame, and the Bushies are damn good at blaming others for their own mistakes.

American military officers in key combat commands (the captains, majors, lieutenant colonels and colonels who are actually responsible for carrying out the orders of their superiors) are leaving the services in record numbers. "The Marine Corps has just ceased to exist," a former marine commander says. "They have been gutted by the insurgency. They are losing their cadre of officers, their majors and captains. They are coming home and they are dedicated and these are fine young men. And Yale and Harvard are offering them positions and the marines are saying, 'Well, we can send you to do recruiting in Minot, North Dakota.' I don't understand that. They are doing nothing to retain them. And the army is just on the ropes - the tours are being extended and then reextended. And they say the recruiting numbers are not down, but the truth is they are lowering the bar. They are letting people in now that they would never have allowed in five years ago. This is a disaster. The army is over-extended and the Marines Corps has just been eviscerated. Iraq has been a catastrophe for the American military."

More specifically, and in the view of a large number of military professionals, the reason fewer and fewer field grade officers are agreeing to stay with their chosen profession has been a loss of faith in the general officer corps, an officer corps that has consistently failed to stand up to civilian leaders and who have allowed themselves (in the words of one officer) to be "stabbed in the back by the likes of Rumsfeld, [former under secretary of defense for policy Douglas] Feith and [former deputy defense secretary Paul] Wolfowitz".

Seen in this light, the question of whether the "surge" is working seems unimportant for many American military officers: for even if it is working in Iraq (and that is still a very big if) it is clearly not working in the US military. In fact, the time for victory may long be past, as thousands of the nation's soldiers have simply lost faith in their commanders and in their government.

In a time when the rest of the nation is consumed with November's vote, America's soldiers are already voting with their feet. They are doing what Michael Mullen says they must do if they have lost faith in their country. They are leaving.

Please read the rest.

Dark as a dungeon and damp as the dew...*




That actually looks more like a wine cellar than a coal mine, but you get the idea.

*Apologies to Merle Travis.

Quote of the day due

Headline from BuzzFlash, Liquid alert!

We thought the humor writers were on strike; Fox News: U.S. economy tanking because of fear of Democrats taking White House

If you want details, go find it yourself. I'll link to F** Noise if I have to, but not today.

29 things to be happy about

Don't miss this one by Mark Morford!

Yes, it's all doom and gloom and war and global warming and Bush. Except when it's not

Excerpts:

4) Women and minorities appear to be galvanized by Hillary Clinton's presidential run. Youth and college-educated voters appear to be galvanized by Barack Obama's. No one at all is truly, deeply galvanized by Mitt Romney or John McCain or crazy little Mike Huckabee, and everyone is generally repulsed by the fetid little tyrant that is Rudy Giuliani. All of this, remarkably, seems just about exactly as it should be.

Then you're like, wait a sec, you know what? Screw the Gray Lady; Google should buy General Motors, Wal-Mart, Coca-Cola, Kraft and Dow and Viacom and pretty much all of North Korea and just wipe them all away and replace them with nice organic flowerpots and solar farms and really big trampolines. How much better! (Note to Google: Forget the NYT. Please buy The San Francisco Chronicle. Way cheaper. Plus, we're local. I would very much like to eat free sushi in your amazing cafeteria every day. Thank you.)

7) "I Don't Want to Blow You Up!" is a new children's book by the author of "It's Just a Plant." It dares to tell children that the vast majority of scarf/turban/headband/burqa-wearing peoples in the world do not, in fact, wish to bomb them, eviscerate them, eat their brains with a rhino horn or hang them upside down and steal their Playstation 3 and rape their dog. Despite what Bill O'Reilly's children's book says.

26) Karl Rove is gone. Trent Lott is gone. Rick Santorum is gone. Richard Pombo is gone. Sweet Jesus, a whole rancid stew of hardcore Bushites has vanished like rat-tailed thugs from a murder scene, leaving behind all manner of shrapnel and smoking craters and karmic wreckage for the next wave of politicos to try and clean up. But hey, at least they're gone. Mostly.

28) A whopping 84 percent of Americans claim to be somewhere between "pretty happy" and "very happy." No, no one knows what sort of crack they're smoking. I mean, haven't they all seen the global warming? The imminent apocalypse? The staph infections and the drug-resistant bacteria and the Islamo-fascists and Dick Cheney's black and vile stare? Why all the happiness? It is because of all the Prozac? Or is it because of No. 29?

Gently raise rod tip, set hook...

Ever so much more, including an alarm clock that won't last a day. Many links. Enjoy.

Quote of the Day

Fred the Cat:

... Jeez, is shopping the new answer to all American problems? ...


Off to work. It's Friday!

Are the Iraqis dumb enough ...

To let us stay?

Depends if there are rifles pointed at their heads or not:

WASHINGTON — With its international mandate in Iraq set to expire in 11 months, the Bush administration will insist that the government in Baghdad give the United States broad authority to conduct combat operations and guarantee civilian contractors specific legal protections from Iraqi law, according to administration and military officials.

This emerging American negotiating position faces a potential buzz saw of opposition from Iraq, with its fragmented Parliament, weak central government and deep sensitivities about being seen as a dependent state, according to these officials.

...


You see, even though the Republican Crime Family has managed to loot our Treasury without accountability, they've failed to gain control over the Iraqi oil reserves. The agreement will allow Halliburton and their ilk to reap rewards long after the Chimp is a bad memory. Hey, gotta plan for retirement, don't ya?

...

At the same time, the administration faces opposition from Democrats at home, who warn that the agreements that the White House seeks would bind the next president by locking in Mr. Bush’s policies and a long-term military presence.

...


And a prolonged military presence means more government contracts. And you know who gets those*, don't ya?

*Required reading today.

Selling out your rights ...

Like yesterday, I direct you to Greenwald. Like yesterday, he highlights a Dem lawmaker who's been bought and paid for by the telecom industry to cover their collective ass in the warrantless wiretap debacle. Unlike yesterday, it's not Harry Reid who's been co-opted, but Jay Rockefeller:

...

But ponder the "win" that is giving him these feelings of immense self-satisfaction. Is he finally accomplishing what Democrats were given control of Congress to do: namely, impose some checks and limits on the administration? No. The opposite is true. Rockefeller is doing the bidding of Dick Cheney. The bill that he is working for is the bill the White House demanded. Rockefeller is supported by the entire Bush administration, urged on and funded by the nation's most powerful telecoms, and is backed by the entire GOP caucus in the Senate.

...

He is being allowed to win only because he is advancing the Bush agenda and those of his largest corporate donors, and waging war against members of his own party, acting to destroy the allegedly defining values of that party. Yet he's so desperate to feel like he's won something that this is enough to cause him to strut around giddily battling feelings of cockiness over his impending "win." At least he's being honest here about whom he represents. [my ems]

...


The nation will never move toward progressive principles of honesty, ethics, and good government until paid shills like Rockefeller, Reid, Feinstein, and others are held up for what they are, ridiculed, and then drummed out of the party. Then it would be time to do some 'urban renewal' on K Street; clean out all the lobbying firms and remove the money from the process.

You know, it's bad enough having to worry about the Republicans constantly trying to screw the nation, it really torques my sphincter that we have to worry about the people on our side too. With Dems like these, who needs Republicans?

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Quote of the Day Zwei

Barbara Ehrenreich

With all the talk about how to stimulate it, you'd think that the economy is a giant clitoris.

Better have some women in there to tell 'em how to do it...

Quote of the Day

Part of a headline at BuzzFlash:

One party preaches bi-partisanship while kicking the other party in the groin, and one party hobbles around Congress on kneepads. Guess which one the Democrats are.

Lemme guess - the ones being held by the ears with the holders' cocktails perched on their heads?

Question: Can pols be impeached for giving a massive 'bi-partisan' blow job?

A Government of Liars Must Be Brought Down

Dave Lindorff

So what to do about George Bush and his gang of fabulists, who now, thanks to a study by the Center for Public Integrity and the Fund for Independence in Journalism, stand shown to have lied to Congress and the American people 935 times in what the two organizations say was "part of an orchestrated campaign that effectively galvanized public opinion and, in the process, led the nation to war under decidedly false pretenses."

Clearly we've come a long way from that first President named George who, at least in popular mythology, "couldn't tell a lie."

Yeah, now we've got one who "couldn't tell the truth". Swell.

The idea that Americans would be willing to impeach a president for lying about a sexual act, or that they would reject a candidate for plagiarizing part of a speech, but that they would then simply shrug at hard evidence that a president, along with his vice president, secretary of state, defense secretary, and national security adviser had all lied in a conscious, coordinated conspiracy to trick them into a disastrous war is hard to believe.

At this point, we should have hordes of people pressing on the iron fences of the White House, armed with pitchforks, baseball bats, and cattle prods, ready to storm the place and wreak vengeance. Where are the angry relatives of dead and maimed soldiers? Where are the idealistic students? Where are the taxpayers who've been robbed blind? Where's the outraged Congress? Where are the incensed editorialists in the media?

Hey! Wake up! This is a goddamned outrage?

Some of us were awake the whole goddam time, Dave. It's been an outrage all along.

Actually three outrages - Bu$hCo lying, lying, lying, the 'press' kowtowing to and enabling then, and the public for being more interested in bread and circuses than in the willful destruction of their country.

One wonders if even the '935 Revelation' will wake them up.

Now we are required to take action.

Even a mule will look at the guy who just smacked him in the head with a two-by-four. That was the whole point, to get his attention. Maybe the majority of Americans, to especially include Congress, aren't as smart as mules.

No editorial writer worthy of the name can ignore this scandal. No member of Congress can ignore this affront to the Constitution. No citizen can ignore this abuse.

Sure they can. They've been doing it all along. Despite the lovely packaging by the CPI, this shit ain't exactly news to those of us who've been watching. It's easier for them to stick their heads in the sand and ignore it than get off their lazy asses or fear and do what needs to be done.

There is only one appropriate response to the crime that has been documented here by the Center for Public Integrity and the Fund for Independence in Journalism, and that is impeachment. We have the crime laid out before us. We have the evidence in hand. It is now the obligation of the House to hold an impeachment hearing in which that evidence will be put before the members. After that, there must be a vote on an article of impeachment, against Bush, Cheney, Rice, Powell, and Rumsfeld, for lying to the American people.

No member of Congress who sits idly by and refuses to call these lying leaders to account deserves reelection.

A government based upon lies is by definition a dictatorship.

It is time for action. If Congress will not act, then it is up to we the people to clean house from top to bottom.

I'm all for "cleaning house from top to bottom", but I think Mr. Lindorff wants to do it at the ballot box instead of 'direct action'. It probably won't be done in the street (Pennsylvania Avenue) by the millions of Americans it would take, so it's probably the only way.

One way or another, it must be done, whatever it takes.

The Legacy of George W Bush's Presidency

The Country He Inherited, The Country He Leaves Behind

All his failures tamped into a nice little brick that will sit on a shelf at his presidential library in lieu of books. Or maybe it'll be a nice mural.

Your Democratic Congress ...

Giving the Chimp what he wants, regardless of what the voters demand.

Glenn Greenwald highlights how Harry Reid et al have been bought and paid for:

Harry Reid -- who has (a) done more than any other individual to ensure that Bush's demands for telecom immunity and warrantless eavesdropping powers will be met in full and (b) allowed the Republicans all year to block virtually every bill without having to bother to actually filibuster -- went to the Senate floor yesterday and, with the scripted assistance of Mitch McConnell and Pat Leahy, warned Chris Dodd, Russ Feingold and others that they would be selfishly wreaking havoc on the schedules of their fellow Senators (making them work over the weekend, ruining their planned "retreat," and even preventing them from going to Davos!) if they bothered everyone with their annoying, pointless little filibuster.

To do so, Reid announced that, unlike for the multiple filibusters from Republican colleagues, he would actually force Dodd and company to engage in a real filibuster ...


Ahem, Mr. Reid, Chris Dodd has a 'D' next to his name. You know, he's on your side. Or do you have a problem because Chris Dodd has more ethics in his little finger than you have in your whole body? An elected representative who wants to do what his constituency demands, as opposed to, say, the telecom lobbyists? Go figure.

...

That is what Democrats have been urging Reid to do to the filibustering Republicans all year -- in order to dramatize their obstructionism -- but he has refused to make them actually filibuster anything, generously agreeing instead that every bill requires 60 votes. Instead, he reserves such punishment only for the members of his own caucus trying to take a stand for the rule of law and the Constitution, those who are trying finally to bring some accountability to this administration. [all ems in orig]

...


No impeachment, giving in to everything Bush wants, and forcing fellow Dems to deal with an obstacle course of congressional protocol when Rethug criminals get a pass. Is he the Democratic leader in the Senate or a Republican plant? Hard to tell nowadays. Can somebody tell Harry that we voted a Dem majority to stop the criminal looting of our rights and solvency? If we wanted to keep getting fucked over, we would have voted for Republicans.

And an addendum: Just in case it's been forgotten during the last 7 years, we don't pay our reps and senators to party with the rich folks. We pay them to do the nation's business. They get too much time off as it is. I wonder if any of 'em could hold down a real job. They all should be paid like piece-workers and we might get something done.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

A blast from the past

Light to no blogging today. I got an old pal coming over that I haven't seen in about twenty years. He's in Reno to meet his daughter's fiance. She's at UNR. Last time I saw her, she was a babe in arms. Gulp. Tempus flat fuckin' fugits don't it?

Anyway, when Mrs. G heard about this, I got my orders, something to the effect of "get this fuckin' pigsty cleaned up!" So, good husband that I am, that's what I'm up to today.

I'll leave ya with this from Tony Peyser:

And finally: the percent of Army recruits with a high school diploma dropped last year, continuing a trend that has worsened since the start of the Iraq war. An army spokesman emphatically insisted, "I is not so sure that all the fact is right in this reports."

So what's new? Sounds like my recruiter...

Later.

Update:

Arnie and Vivian aren't coming 'til tomorrow. They're going to Virginia City today. In my impish way I reminded them that while they're walkin' around up there to keep in mind that there's nothing for 2000 feet beneath them except rotting timbers...

I'm just done cleaning the guest bathroom. I think I'd rather chip all the paint off USS Ronald Reagan. Not only would it probably be less work, I'd get a warm glow from smackin' him her repeatedly with the chippin' hammer.

Who killed Heath Ledger?

Because his death was the perfect distraction to clear any real news off the networks' schedules. How much you wanna bet the WH does a document dump tonight? How much you wanna bet the Jesus freaks are gonna say it was god's punishment for him being in 'that queer cowboy movie'?

God bless Auntie Beeb.

Arrivederci, Baghdad

Or, it's the Army's problem now:

Sarcastic irony in the Air Force. Who could have guessed?


Hey, when you're sitting in a bar, hangin' wit da ladies, back in a rear area while the grunts are sitting in a hole getting shot at, whaddaya 'spect, bro?

But in all seriousness, Brother Lurch has a good post up about the Corps leaving Iraq to operate in Afghanistan, leaving the Army to continue the occupation.

...

Only cynical people would claim that the Marines wanted to get out from under a situation (Iraq) that has been a complete failure, and especially to get out of Anbar before it blows up. I’m sure the Commandant and his staff felt they could contribute something significant to the fight in Afghanistan.

...


Which they can. Afghanistan has the potential to turn into the dismal failure Iraq has, as troops have been directed away from the real problem spot to fight the Chimp's vanity war in Iraq.

Being just back from Europe, public opinion (anecdotal) is clearly against getting involved (or further involved) in anything American when it comes to foreign adventures, at least until we have a new President. We won't see any more European troops over there for a year at least. If anyone can make a difference in Afghanistan, it's the Marines, though Lurch finds the political corollary to moving the Marine force from Iraq to Afghanistan:

...

This will make the proposed complete failure in Iraq the fault of the Army, and not the republicans and Mr Bu$h.


Of course, because the Republicans are "The Party of National Security". If the Army would fight the war the way the leadership wanted ...

...

By the end of 2005, Rice's opposition to any opening to the Sunni leadership in Iraq became almost obsessive, according to currently serving senior military officers. In one incident, now notorious in military circles, Rice "just went completely crazy" when she learned that a marine colonel had dispatched combat helicopters to help a "a Sunni sheikh" in Fallujah fight what the sheikh called an "imminent al-Qaeda threat".

...


What, sarcastic irony from the Air Force?

From the Department of No-Fucking-Shit:

WASHINGTON - A study by two nonprofit journalism organizations found that President Bush and top administration officials issued hundreds of false statements about the national security threat from Iraq in the two years following the 2001 terrorist attacks.

The study concluded that the statements "were part of an orchestrated campaign that effectively galvanized public opinion and, in the process, led the nation to war under decidedly false pretenses." [my em]

...


Unfortunately, you won't see this from 'the most trusted name in news'. The Chimp spread it on and the media ate it up. "Saddam = WMD, Saddam = 9/11, Saddam = Mushroom Cloud".

4000 US troops dead, hundreds of thousands of Iraqis dead, a trillion dollars lost in the Big Catbox, and the price of gas at record levels. Mission Accomplished.

Note to news media: The next time some dumbass tells you he has a big cock, make him take it out and show it to you, you gullible motherfuckers.

Great thanks to Arkades for the link.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Question

Is it just me, or is Haloscan sucking wet monkey ass today?

Iraq - Pentagon v White House

[A big Brain welcome to Crooks and Liars readers. - F]

Probably won't see this in any American 'media', but you can at Asia Times:

n part, the roots of the disagreement between the Pentagon and White House over what is really happening in Iraq is historical. Senior military officers contend that the seeming fall-off in in-country violence not only has nothing to do with the increase in US force levels, but that the dampening of the insurgency that took hold last summer could have and would have taken place much earlier, within months of America's April 2003 occupation of Baghdad.

Moreover, these officers contend, the insurgency might not have put down roots in the country after the fall of Baghdad if it had not been for the White House and State Department - which undermined military efforts to strike deals with a number of Iraq's most disaffected tribal leaders. These officers point out that the first contact between high-level Pentagon officials and the nascent insurgency took place in Amman, Jordan, in August of 2003 - but senior Bush administration officials killed the talks.

I like this next part:

By the end of 2005, Rice's opposition to any opening to the Sunni leadership in Iraq became almost obsessive, according to currently serving senior military officers. In one incident, now notorious in military circles, Rice "just went completely crazy" when she learned that a marine colonel had dispatched combat helicopters to help a "a Sunni sheikh" in Fallujah fight what the sheikh called an "imminent al-Qaeda threat".

As a senior Pentagon official now relates: "The Sunni leader literally picked up the telephone one day and called the ranking colonel at the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF)and pleaded with him, 'I need help and I need it now. Al-Qaeda is killing my tribe'." The marine colonel in question was John Coleman, the chief of staff to the same unit that had gone into Fallujah to fight the insurgency after the killing of four US security contractors in April of 2004.

"Rice was just enraged with Coleman and with the marines," a senior Pentagon officials say. "She said, 'you have to stop all of that right now and you can't do it unless you have State Department permission and the permission of the Iraqi government'. Well, the marines weren't about to do that. They were taking a lot of casualties and they were fed up. And they just concluded that it was their war and not hers," a senior Pentagon civilian recently noted. "So they just ignored her and went ahead anyway.

Good for my Marines!

Here's the money shot. Literally:

A senior Iraqi observer with ties to the tribal network confirms this view: "The Janabis in the south have strong links to those in the north, tribal links, but you should know some are motivated by sectarian concerns and some are simply extremists." The question remains, of course: what happens when the American money dries up? "The answer to that question is simple," this Iraqi says. And then he laughs: "When the money goes, they go."

Ever since this administration lied us into this immoral, criminal, unnecessary war for oil, they've done their best to ensure our defeat. They're going to get their wish. Given the way they've gone about this deal, from doing the wrong thing to doing the thing wrong, there has never been a chance of any other outcome.

Best to leave now and quit throwing blood and money down a shithole.

B Actor Bites Big One. Buh-bye.

NYT

CORAL BEACH, Fla. — Fred D. Thompson, the former senator of Tennessee, dropped out of the Republican race for president today.

There's more on his reasons in the piece, but who cares?

I prefer to think that a poll in South Carolina, AKA an 'election', showed that even southerners don't want another lazy unqualified actor as president, even if he is white and from the South.

So the Repug field eases on down to what I said a long time ago - McCain's gonna be the nominee. I guess I should go rifle my way through about five thousand or so posts and find it, but I'm just as lazy as Thompson.

The Jewish Messiah, A Novel

After reading this review, I don't want to pass this one up!

Xavier is undaunted. He has found his people and his calling: "He had to comfort the Jews." He falls madly in love with blithe Awromele, who arranges an "illegal circumcision" so that Xavier can fully claim his "Jewishness." The mohel, or circumciser, turns out to be nearly blind and, in gory slapstick scenes, botches the operation. After dragging his mauled self home, Xavier nearly dies, thanks to his wacko mother's refusal to help him. When she and her dimwitted boyfriend, who lusts after Xavier, finally bring the mutilated teenager to the hospital, it's too late to save his left testicle. But no matter, Xavier keeps it in a jar and names it King David. He also becomes famous as the good people of Basel rise up and punish the poor schlub of a mohel in an anti-Semitic frenzy. Xavier takes up painting -- creating portraits of his neurotic, coldhearted mother holding his testicle -- and fantasizes about how he and Awromele can run away together and proceed with their project to translate "Mein Kampf" into Yiddish.

How d'ya say 'ouch' in Yiddish? Oy...

'Recycling' keeps Bush and Cheney out of jail. They hope.

Roanoke.com

The White House didn't deliberately destroy e-mails it was supposed to keep, insisted spokesman Tony Fratto. The e-mails were inadvertently destroyed when the tapes storing them were overwritten.

The White House, not known for its environmental consciousness, was simply recycling the backup tapes, he said.

Yeah, right, and my ass sucks buttermilk too.

Never mind at least two federal statutes that require the preservation of presidential communications, including e-mails.

The Bush White House, after all, has never considered itself bound by the law.

Laws requiring preservation of White House communication are designed to ensure a more complete and accurate retelling of history.

That appears to be exactly what the Bush White House has been striving mightily to prevent.

These e-mails may never be able to be recovered. But Congress should conduct a full investigation to ensure that future administrations realize the law cannot be ignored without consequence.

The hell with future administrations! This administration is the one that needs to be in prison.

You’re Going Straight to Hell!

Go see the video and read the 'comments'! Liquid alert! At Mrs. Betty Bowers, America's Best Christian.

Betty and Jesus have just recorded their first music video — “You’re Going Straight to Hell!” This splendid song was written almost as much as a clarion call to those about to make a much-deserved descent as it was to provide a fabulous occasion to gloat.

A coupla sample comments:

My fellow prunes here at Mossy Oaks Maximum Security Christian Retirement Center loved your new video! Most of them feel they are already in hell, so going to the real deal would be a step up.

I imagine for Ann Coulter it will be sitting in a no-smoking room for eternity with a carton of Marlboros, a picture of Brad Pitt nude, and various other things she’s not allowed to suck on.

A Righteous Response from America’s Best Christian:

As an American Christian, I am called on by the Lord Jesus to always be on the lookout for new ways to wring a few more dollars out of His holy name. As such, I appreciate your suggestion, dear.

I couldn't make this shit up, but I'm glad someone is!

Oh, the irony...

Ironic Times

Bush Proposes Economic Stimulus Package
Money will help people pay for car they're living in.

Large families will benefit from the tax loan. For $800 they can buy three more roomy Yugos.

BUSH OBSERVES LOCAL CUSTOMS IN SAUDI ARABIA
Shown (left to right): holding hands; exchanging kisses; beheading jaywalker.

White House Takes Lead in Recycling
Sets good example by erasing then reusing all computer tapes of emails sent between October, 2003 and October, 2005.

Research: Christopher Columbus Brought Syphilis Back to Europe
In exchange for Christianity.

Sounds about right...

Bushenomics: Loot America

Excellent article at The Smirking Chimp. A 'recommended read'.

One way to think of what the administration has done, is as a leveraged buyout. That's when someone buys a company, using the company itself as the collateral for the loan used to purchase it, usually at very high interest, then pays off the interest by cutting the work force and salaries, selling outsets and even breaking up the company.

It's good for the guy who makes the deal, skims the cream off the top and gets rich. (The company that Mitt Romney got rich working for specialized in doing that.) It's good for the lenders, who get a good return (if the buyer is able to squeeze enough money out of his purchase), but it's bad for the work force, bad for the company, and, if no one comes along to replace it, bad for the business as a whole.

We've experienced a leveraged buyout of the national economy.

On raising taxes:

On the wealthy. And on corporations. That's not class warfare. That's simple practicality.

After your first $20,000, how much of the next 20 do you need, to live, thrive and survive? Damn near all of it. After your first 20 million, now much of the next 20 million do you need? Not a nickel.

The rich will whine, writhe and scream that they won't do business, they'll be driven out of business, that business will collapse. Bullshit. If they dislike keeping 20 or 30 or 40 cents of each dollar of profit so much that they won't take the dollar, someone will come along who gladly will. That's how markets work.

The last time we switched from the nonsense of worshiping unmitigated greed, disguised as free marketeering, it took a market crash and the Great Depression to move us out of our public relations-manufactured delusions and make us understand that when we all do well the rich get richer too, so let's start with the common good.

Based on the dialogue as it stands now, we will go with tinkering and twaddle, doing more of what doesn't work. And only if the whole things collapses will we address the real problems.

Pretty common sensical. Please go read.

Maggie

Click to make her pooch up


This is our new pup, Maggie, that we picked up on Sunday from Golden Gate Springer Rescue in Fremont CA. She's 2-3 years old and was surrendered by her previous owner, referred to by her foster mom, Cheryl, as a "so-called breeder". Sounds like a brood mare at a puppy mill, so I'm glad she's out of that situation. She's had one litter, we think.

Maggie's a little skittish right now, and doesn't want to try anything new, like getting in the pickup or climbing the steps to my house, but once Big Strong Daddy (me) applies a little 'oomph' the first time, then she's OK.

She's got a very sweet disposition, and doesn't appear to have an ounce of alpha in her. She and Tami are getting along good, although Tami's eyes are maybe a shade greener right now from not being the only one getting attention lavished on her. They get along OK, and I'm sure that will pass quickly.

Maggie is long of body and leg, and lean of figure. I'll bet she can run real fast, although we're not letting her run off leash for a few days. Everybody's in an adjustment period right now, but I think it will pass quickly and get settled down.

Me'n Mrs. G are very happy with her.

Remember: Until There Are None, Adopt One.

Bush pardons himself from war crimes



Comments here. I hope #7 is right.

Ownership society ...

After 7 years of Bush, now everybody owns a piece of Big Shitpile. Good thing we got us that there MBA Preznit. Hold on to your hats when the market opens today. It's gonna get ugly.

Update:

Digby:

...

I'm thinking that calling for making the Bush tax cuts permanent isn't going to cut it.


Off to work ...

Monday, January 21, 2008

'Boombox' sounds off. Wrong again!

NewsHounds

While Defending Confederate Flag, Coulter Claimed, “The Majority Of Military Bases In This Country Are Named After Confederate Officers (Such As) Eisenhower, Nimitz”

Just when you think FOX News couldn’t be any more blatantly bigoted, they pull another doozy. On Friday night’s (1/18/08) Hannity & Colmes, the producers chose an all-white panel that included a tipsy-looking Ann Coulter to discuss the use of the Confederate flag in South Carolina. “Boombox” Coulter enunciated her words clearly enough to understand but she spouted a ridiculous set of whoppers, including a claim that General Dwight D. Eisenhower and Admiral Chester Nimitz, each of whom was born after the Civil War ended, were Confederate officers with military bases named after them. With video.

Now THAT is historically preposterous and ridiculous. The Civil War took place from 1861-1865. Dwight Eisenhower was born in 1890. Chester Nimitz was born in 1885. I could find no military bases named after either of them.

NOTE: I'm no fan of Dick Morris but for once I thought he said a great thing. In another segment of the show, he made a point of saying that the Confederate flag is to African Americans what the swastika is to Jews and that just as the Germans don't put a swastika on their buildings to celebrate their history, the south should not use the Confederate flag.


Morris is absolutely correct, perhaps for the first time. Also, I think I invented a new word for Coultergeist. Is anyone offended by the word 'nutcunt'?

Speaking as an ol' Jarhead, neither were Generals LeJeune and Pendleton Confederate officers.

There is none so blind as he who will not see*




A Slate piece about Bush not always getting the intelligence reports he 'wants':

According to The Bush Tragedy, a new book by Slate's Jacob Weisberg, Bush suffers from a similar inability to distinguish between what he wants to see and what is there to be seen. This is nicely captured in an anecdote about a painting (that's it to the left of above this text; click to enlarge) that Bush put up in his office when he was governor of Texas. Weisberg writes:

In an April 1995 memo, Bush invited his staff to come to his office to look at a painting. … The picture is a Western scene of a cowboy riding up a craggy hill, with two other riders following behind him. Bush told visitors—who often noted his resemblance to the rider in front—that it was called A Charge To Keep and that it was based on his favorite Methodist hymn of that title, written in the eighteenth century by Charles Wesley. As Bush noted in the memo, which he quoted in his autobiography of the same title: "I thought I would share with you a recent bit of Texas history which epitomizes our mission. When you come into my office, please take a look at the beautiful painting of a horseman determinedly charging up what appears to be a steep and rough trail. This is us. What adds complete life to the painting for me is the message of Charles Wesley that we serve One greater than ourselves." Bush identified with the lead rider, whom he took to be a kind of Christian cowboy, an embodiment of indomitable vigor, courage, and moral clarity.

Bush subsequently took the painting to Washington, hung it in the Oval Office, and continued to tell the painting's inspiring story, adding embellishments:

He came to believe that the picture depicted the circuit-riders who spread Methodism across the Alleghenies in the nineteenth century. In other words, the cowboy who looked like Bush was a missionary of his own denomination.


Only that is not the title, message, or meaning of the painting. The artist, W.H.D. Koerner, executed it to illustrate a Western short story entitled "The Slipper Tongue," published in The Saturday Evening Post in 1916. The story is about a smooth-talking horse thief who is caught, and then escapes a lynch mob in the Sand Hills of Nebraska. The illustration depicts the thief fleeing his captors. In the magazine, the illustration bears the caption: "Had His Start Been Fifteen Minutes Longer He Would Not Have Been Caught."

I'm glad Bush mis-identifies himself with the rider. He got the 'horse thief' part metaphorically right. In the interest of sport, I recommend he get a short head start. One step. Get a rope.

*"There are none so blind as those who will not see. The most deluded people are those who choose to ignore what they already know. The proverb has been traced back in English to 1546 (John Heywood), and resembles the Biblical verse quoted (above). In 1738, it was used by Jonathan Swift in his 'Polite Conversation,' and is first attested in the United States in the 1713 'Works of Thomas Chalkley'..."

Debunking the Reagan Myth

Paul Krugman on Reaganomics, AKA 'it'll trickle down if you're downstairs in the outhouse':

This is, in short, a time when progressives ought to be driving home the idea that the right’s ideas don’t work, and never have.

It’s not just a matter of what happens in the next election. Mr. Clinton won his elections, but — as Mr. Obama correctly pointed out — he didn’t change America’s trajectory the way Reagan did. Why?

Well, I’d say that the great failure of the Clinton administration — more important even than its failure to achieve health care reform, though the two failures were closely related — was the fact that it didn’t change the narrative, a fact demonstrated by the way Republicans are still claiming to be the next Ronald Reagan.

Now progressives have been granted a second chance to argue that Reaganism is fundamentally wrong: once again, the vast majority of Americans think that the country is on the wrong track. But they won’t be able to make that argument if their political leaders, whatever they meant to convey, seem to be saying that Reagan had it right.

Yeah, that baffles me.

More 'Support the troops, my ass'

Military Times

Retired Army Gen. Tommy Franks was paid $100,000 — out of donations made to wounded veterans — for allowing his name to be used on fundraising appeals by a charity that has come under increasing scrutiny for the way it handles its money.

Ya shoulda hocked that big Medal of Freedom the Chimp gave ya, Franks. By the pound. The medal's worthless.

Lawmakers pushed Chapin and two executives of fundraising companies on the question of whether solicitations should disclose information about the percentage of donations that a group spends on fundraising.

“If we disclose, we’d be out of business,” Chapin said.

“Your words are wonderful, because if the public knew, they wouldn’t donate,” said Rep. Christopher Shays, R-Conn.

Amen.

Did they make granny do 'the McChicken'?

Local 6 (Orlando FL)

A 75-year-old woman was arrested at a Clearwater McDonald's drive-thru, because police say she wouldn't pull her car forward.

Authorities said Jean Merola, a grandmother of eight, was arrested for disorderly conduct after she refused an officer's orders to move her car while she waited for the coffee and fries she ordered at the drive-through window.

Merola said the McDonald's employees told her to wait there for her food.

Note to Self: If ever in Orlando, God should only forbid, don't get between a cop and his junk food. What an asshole. I hope they laugh him off the force.

Pimpin' for Paul

Click to make it bigger


A visit to a legalised brothel in Nevada underlines how the Republican coalition is unravelling


I wnder if The Guardian reporter was on an expense account...

[...] They have even been offering two-for-one specials to clients who go onto their computer, access Paul's website and donate money.

How about an 'early bird special' for us ol' geezers?

The Bunny Ranch's owner, Dennis Hof, has - to the embarrassment of Ron Paul - been touting his support for the congressman for a few months now. Above the lounge fireplace is a sign (photographed above): "We pound for Paul". Just inside the entrance is another pithy banner: "Pimpin' for Paul".

On Saturday, South Carolina and Nevada both vote. They are as culturally distinct as, say, Amsterdam and rural Poland.

Of course, Dennis Hof and his "girls" aren't representative of Nevada as a whole; but there is widespread tolerance for institutions such as Hof's, and there is widespread distaste for in-your-face morals politics of the sort that has come to define much of the Republican Party in recent years. South Carolina, by contrast, is solidly evangelical, the conservative edge of its politics laced with the legacy of segregation, the "morals" issues of abortion, pornography, gay marriage and so on always high up in voters' concerns.

Squaring this particular circle, winning Nevada as well as the South, might just prove one trick too hard for the Republican candidates to pull off.

Heh. He said 'trick' and 'pull off'...

There's an awful lot of Ron Paul campaign signs in front of people's houses in Northern Nevada, which is right next door to me. I think I understand the Wild West Libertarian views in a state with 24-hour saloons, gambling, and floozie parlors, but if they think Paul's the one, they're all as batshit crazy as I've always thought they were. Of course, the fundies are crazy too, but far less benign. Nevadans want government to leave them alone. The religious nutters want government to leave us alone after converting us by law.

There's never going to be very much less government than there is now, and even though we would all like there to be less, ain't gonna happen. The best we can hope for is a break from the Repugs for a while. A good long while.

This is America. If folks want to throw their votes away on a sideshow geek like Paul, let 'em, and if they do it from a cathouse it's a fitting and ironic statement about the state of American politics.

My only excuse for posting this silly shit is I'm still getting over truck lag from yesterday.

Heh . . .

How 'bout my Jints?



Click to make Plaxico bigger


Whoda thunk it?

Ain't just the po' folks ...

Seems everybody thought they'd get rich quick:

...

The bad news is they've had to cut their price to $563,000 – $226,000 below their original asking price and $140,000 less than what they paid for the three-bedroom ranch house.

...

Laguna Hills resident Paul Beyer has a different story, but a similar result. After trying for 1 ½ years to sell his Mediterranean-style house beside a bridle path in Nellie Gail, he's cut his $2.09 million price by $600,000, and still hasn't had a single written offer.

...


Sometimes, the Mrs. and I watch Flip This House just to see what others get themselves into. Since we have a good deal of experience with planning, contracting, and doing the work of major home improvements, it's more of a comedy show than anything serious to us. Their grandiose plans at the beginning of the project generally have no basis in reality, neither do the real estate agents' appraisals of it after the job is done.

The impression I get from the show is that most people who were looking to make a killing in real estate bought anything they could get their hands on, believing they could make a minimal investment and get high returns. Unfortunately, with the availability of easy credit, many folks fell into the trap.

The 'housing bubble', just like the 'dotcom bubble', was an artificial construction, brought into existence by an unregulated credit industry. Just as any internet company could get capital financing at the height of the frenzy, so could unqualified borrowers suddenly afford far more than their budgets would allow:

...

They put $70,000 down – all that remained from their $180,000 profit from the Las Flores house after taxes and paying off debts. They were able to afford the home by using two interest-only loans. Their house payment was $3,300 a month, but would reset to more than $5,000 after three years – more than they could afford.

...


What people should have learned from the 'dotcom bubble' was that such artificial constructions (brought about by investment firms looking for a new angle with which to peddle their wares) do not last and consequences (how many 'day traders' lost their shirts?) are difficult (if not impossible) to predict 3 years out. This crash was coming. Many people (including yours truly) predicted it years ago, when all the folks who were supposed to know better did nothing but say how great things are.

The subprime mess won't get fixed by a 'stimulus package' from Washington. Things are too far gone for an $800 check to fix. I'd wager most folks will use it to pay bills that are, or are pretty close to, delinquent. Nothing good will come of the economy until the price of daily living comes down.

Until the price of gas and heating oil comes down, until the vast federal expenditure on the occupation of Iraq is put to rest, and until they figure out who is going to get hurt most by the mortgage mess (most likely the middle class taxpayer), nothing will stimulate the economy. Easy credit has been the stimulus for the past five years, people spending the equity in their homes on cars and big screen TVs, the most daring getting into the real estate investment game. That well has dried up and a one-time payment of a few hundred dollars won't replace it.

We're in for tough times ahead. While you're voting for your candidates this year, make sure your choice is qualified to fix this economic mess that's going to get a lot worse before it gets better. By the time Election Day rolls around, you can bet the economy will be the number one issue concerning the electorate.

Great thanks to Mr. Philadelphia for the link.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

One can dream ...

Athenae:

... I happened to look up at my Bush Countdown Calendar and realize we're a year away from the official end of our long national nightmare. I don't know about you guys, but I plan to be so blind drunk 366 days from now that when I wake up (naked, in a tree, with a string of pearls around my waist and only a fur pelt for cover) not only will I not remember Bush's helicopter boarding moment, I won't remember BUSH ...


I'm there ...

Ronald Reagan Is Still Dead

Me 'n Mrs. G are on our way out to the Bayarreah to meet a young Springer Spaniel (yes, we'll change her name!) who is being fostered by one of the nice folks of Golden Gate Springer Rescue. If all goes well, we'll have a new family member by this afternoon.

Before we go, I thought I'd put up this reasonably cheery column by Daddy Frank wherein he assesses various Repug candidates and their chances at being p-resident:

CONTEMPLATING the Clinton-Obama racial war, some Republicans were so excited you’d have thought Ronald Reagan had risen from the dead to slap around a welfare deadbeat.

Never mind that the G.O.P. is running on empty, with no ideas beyond the incessant repetition of Reagan’s name. [...]

Thanks in part to the Giuliani campaign’s one triumph — turning 9/11 fearmongering into a running late-night talk-show gag — the usual national-security card is no longer so easy for Republicans to play. Conservatives not in denial see the crackup ahead. “All the usual indicators are dismal for Republicans,” wrote George Will last week, concluding that “Nov. 4 could be their most disagreeable day since Nov. 3, 1964,” when Barry Goldwater lost 44 states.

But might some Republican still win, especially if the Democrats are ultimately divided by race, or by the Clintons, or by their own inane new debate about Reagan? Conceivably, but only if someone besides Ron Paul is brave enough to break out of the monochromatic pack.

This, too, is laughably out of touch with reality as practiced in most American living rooms. Imagine if Mr. McCain’s Straight Talk Express stopped taking detours around the one figure who unites 60-plus percent of the populace in ire. Imagine if he started talking straight about how he’d clean up the White House mess. That might at least break the ice with the vast majority of voters who look at the G.O.P. presidential field and don’t see Ronald Reagan so much as also-rans for “The Bucket List.”

Enjoy the rest. Later.