Saturday, May 31, 2008

If you don't get the judge you want ...

Get another one. Montag:

So to keep the Gitmo trials on their proper and preplanned schedule, the Defense Dept has removed the presiding judge who threatened to suspend the trials for that most frivolous of reasons, fairness for the defendants.


Far be it for them to let fairness get in the way of a trial.

Bush Refuses to Read McClellan’s Book, Calling It ‘A Book’


“I have no intention of reading Scott McClellan’s book,” Mr. Bush told reporters, “because it’s a book.”

Mr. Bush said he was “surprised” that Mr. McClellan had written a book to criticize him because “if you’re trying to communicate some criticism to me, a book is pretty much the last place you’d put it.”

The president said that he thought the chances of his someday reading Mr. McClellan’s book were “zero,” adding, “If I didn’t read the Iraq Study Group’s report, I really don’t think I’m about to read Scott McClellan’s little book.”

“Scott McClellan would have had a much better shot if he had put his memoir in Xbox 360 format and then slipped it into a package labeled ‘Grand Theft Auto 5,’” he said.

For his part, Mr. Bush said that there was in fact a book published this week that had caught his eye: the new James Bond thrilled entitled “Devil May Care.”

“Now, that book looks like it could be good,” he said. “Maybe I’ll have Laura read it to me.”

Bush can read just fine. He's 'aliterate', which means he he chooses not to read. That is unconscionable in that office, and much much worse than 'illiterate'.

I want a President who reads everything he can get his hands on, including, say, The Constitution, history, and the opinions of experts instead of listening to neocon ideologues with an agenda and falling for their evil ideas.

Top McCain Fundraiser, War Profiteer Sued Over Iraq Fuel Deal

Crooks and Liars

A little-noticed civil lawsuit in Florida is shining a light on an unusual but hugely profitable Pentagon contract to ship millions of gallons of aviation fuel to U.S. bases in Iraq through the kingdom of Jordan.

The deal involves a cast of influential characters, including the king of Jordan’s brother-in-law, who is suing Harry Sargeant III, a top Florida-based fundraiser for Sen. John McCain’s presidential bid.

No wonder Senator McCain wants to stay in Iraq for 100 years, one of his top fundraisers is making hundreds of millions of dollars in profits from it — and you can rest assured, Sargent isn’t the only war profiteer who keeps McCain neatly tucked in his back pocket.

McSame old, McSame old. Yeesh.

County clerk to invoke executive privilege

Yahoo! News

MARTINEZ, Calif. - For 18 years, Stephen Weir has been in charge of the office that hands out marriage licenses in California's ninth-largest county. And for just as long, Weir has been unable to get a license himself because the love of his life is a man.

The irony did not escape him.

"Always the bridesmaid, never the bride," he quips with a rueful smile.

So Weir hopes the citizens of Contra Costa County understand if their clerk-recorder invokes executive privilege and opens up for business a little early on June 17, when same-sex couples may be able to legally wed in California.

He and his partner, John Hemm, want to be first at the counter that day. They plan to be the first to exchange vows and kisses in the conference room Weir converted into a wedding chapel that hosts 1,200 couples a year, but that he could never use.

Now there's a use of 'executive privilege' i got no problem with! Best of luck, you guys.

BTW, Contra Costa County is called 'CoCo' by the locals. As in 'Chanel' perhaps? ;)

They all suck ...

Even Tom Brokaw.

The cherry don't fall far ...

From the tree. The sexy, beautiful, Shemekia (daughter of Johnny) Copeland:

Shemekia Copeland - It's 2 A.M.

Saturday whorage

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

Let us know what's on your page in comments.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Brand W ...

No, Golda, it ain't kosher by a long shot ...

Memo to Scott McClellan: Here's what happened

From McClatchy's Nukes & Spooks, many links and comments:

Until now, we've resisted the temptation to post on former White House press secretary Scott McClellan's new book, which accuses the Bush White House of launching a propaganda campaign to sell the war in Iraq.

Why? It's not news. At least not to some of us who've covered the story from the start.

But the responses to McClellan from the Bush administration and media bigwigs, history-bending as they are, compel us to jump in. As we like to say around here, it's truth to power time, not just for the politicians but also for some folks in our own business.

Bush loyalists have responded in three ways:

1) Scott, how could you? This conveniently ignores the issue of what Bush did or didn't know and do about intelligence on Iraq, converting the story line into that of wounded leader and treasonous former aide. (That canard was the sole focus of a CBS news radio report Wednesday night).

2) Invading Iraq was the right thing to do. Okay. When do Bush, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, et al *not* say that? Dog bites man.

3) It was an intelligence failure. The CIA gave us bad dope on WMD and, well, they're the experts. More on this in a second.

So far, I haven't heard the administration actually deny any of the charges, just try to shoot the messenger and blame others for their failures. Typical Repug spin, slime, and smear.

The news media have been, if anything, even more craven than the administration has been in defending its failure to investigate Bush's case for war in Iraq before the war.

So the Pentagon tells the media what kind of reporting is in- and out-of-bounds?

Hogwash. Hogwash! HOGWASH.

Enough self-aggrandizing trumpet-blowing. OK, Scott, What Happened?

Here's what happened, based entirely on our own reporting and publicly available documents:

Looong list follows.

We could go on, but the rest, as they say, is history.

That's what happened.

The only new thing I've heard outta McLiellan is that the Chimp couldn't remember if he snorted cocaine. That doesn't pass the, you should please pardon me for this, sniff test. His supporters say he used to drink a lot and that may be why he doesn't remember.


I've snorted cocaine when I was so drunk I could barely stand so I could drink more, but I also snorted it when I was sober. If you do one, you do the other. Period. I don't remember each occurrence of cocaine use, of course. There were hundreds, if not thousands.

Bush is lying about that like he lies about everything else.

Heroes and Bums

Brent Budowsky

Scott McClellan, and millionaire and Medal of Freedom recipient George Tenet, embody everything that has gone wrong in Washington in the dark age of the Bush years. They stand for the courtier, the sycophant, the seeker of power at all costs. Instead of risking their careers while others gave their lives for policies that were catastrophic, the likes of McClellan and Tenet did the wrong thing first, then the get-rich-scheme later, to make a bundle from their bungles, and a fortune from their bad faith.

Contrast this with the courage and integrity of genuine military heroes such as Adm. Fallon, retired Marine Corps Gen. Anthony Zinni and retired Army Gen. Eric Shinseki.

Fallon, Zinni and Shinseki spoke with clarity and conscience, with integrity and courage. They spoke real truth to power, when the power hated their words and retaliated against them. They put their military judgment, the integrity of their military advice, their honor in what they felt was best for their troops and the nation ahead of personal advantage and career opportunism.

While Fallon, Zinni and Shinseki acted with principle and honor, standing against the unwise polices of a disastrous presidency, McClellan and Tenet courted favor with power first, then peddled their wares for profit later while the number of Gold Star mothers continues to rise.

Make no mistake: Fallon, Zinni and Shinseki are heroes. McClellan and Tenet are bums.


Modern "Journalism"

Click to embiggen

The dogs and ponies are doing fine

Think Progress, with video, links, and comments:

Yesterday, CNN’s Michael Ware dismissed Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) recent assertion that Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) travel to Iraq in order to get a better sense of the war. Ware said that U.S. officials’ trips to Iraq are usually “divorced from reality” adding that its “impossible” to “get much of a real picture.” Ware then noted that McCain’s own trips to Iraq have not helped him get a sense of the realities in Iraq:

WARE: I’ll issue a word of caution, too. I mean Senator McCain has been here, what, more than half a dozen times. And we’ve seen him get assessments of Iraq terribly wrong. So I wouldn’t be hanging my hat on the fact that your opponent has only been here once.

McCain did make a correct assessment of the dog and pony shows the administration had the Brass trot out for him. I've stood, and passed, inspections with inoperable gussied-up-to-look-good gear too. Shoot it may, but shine it must.

It's like assessing a used car by its paint job. You'll be sor-ree! It's no basis for foreign policy.


McCain falsely claims Mosul is ‘quiet.’

Today at a townhall meeting in Wisconsin, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) tried to claim that President Bush’s policies in Iraq are “succeeding,” by pointing to the “quiet” in Mosul and other cities:

So I can tell you that it is succeeding. I can look you in the eye and tell you it’s succeeding. We have drawn down to pre-surge levels. Basra, Mosul and now Sadr city are quiet and it’s long and it’s hard and it’s tough and there will be setbacks.

Mosul, however, is not quiet. In fact, today AP reported, “Another suicide bomber driving a police vehicle struck Iraqi commandos earlier Thursday in Mosul, killing three of them and wounding nine other people, according to battalion commander Capt. Aziz Latif.”

Thank you, McSenile, for proving my earlier point.

Racing to the checkered keffiyeh

Forget Rachael Ray, Michelle Malkin Claims Indy 500 Sold Out to Terrorists

"It's just one more example of the Indy-fada."

Thanks, Don.

And at a discount too ...

Heh ... Ted.

Now I'm late. Outta here ...

That deaf, dumb, and blind kid ...

Sure plays a mean pinball*.

NY Governor Patterson [sic] has directed that NY will recognize out of state same-sex marriages. It's not totally clear from the NY Times article whether this includes civil unions that are not called "marriage" from other states. I would expect so.


I'm so glad we elected Spitzer or we never would have gotten to know Mr. Paterson. He makes me proud to be a New Yorker.

Off to work, TGIF ...

*Apologies to The Who and Mr. Paterson for the editorial reach.

The mountain comes to Mohammed ...

It's a minuscule change, but even the Arab men can be progressive if they want:

Bahrain's king has appointed a Jewish woman as the country's envoy to the United States.

Houda Nonoo said she was proud to serve her country "first of all as a Bahraini" and that she was not chosen for the post because of her religion.

She is believed to be the Arab world's first Jewish ambassador.

Ms Nonoo, 43, has served as a legislator in Bahrain's 40-member Shura Council for three years and is head of the Bahrain Human Rights Watch.


Let's hope it's contagious.

Link thanks to Chris.

Correct ...

Though I think any moral authority we might have had has evaporated over the last 8 years. Turkana:


It's been a habit of the Democrats to let Republicans get away with their crimes. New administration, new Congress, move on, let bygones be bygones. It is imperative that the next Democratic president and the next Democratic Congress establish the principle that no one is above the law. Here's part of the reason why:

Earlier, Bolton had defended the US's right to launch pre-emptive nuclear attacks and to promote regime change or, if necessary, a military attack on Iran to prevent it acquiring nuclear weapons.

If people like Bolton aren't held accountable, not only will the U.S. continue to cede any moral authority on any human rights issues anywhere, but these same people will continue to turn up in other Republican administrations, ready and enabled to cause more crimes, more destruction, and more death.


If (big if) the next President is a Dem (unlike many others, I'm not convinced it will happen), priority #1 should be holding the members of the Bush administration accountable for their crimes. Probably won't happen, but it would do a lot to restore our credibility in the world (and do a lot to put the fear of god into the Rethugs).

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Holy Puke!

Matt Taibbi of The Smirking Chimp and Rolling Stone, one of the best journalists going, went undercover and joined Hagee's sheep.

If you've ever been curious about the subtleties of vomiting demons, watch this interview.

Watch it even if you've never been curious about such a weird subject. Apparently, they damn near ran out of demons to the point they were pukin' up the 'demons of handwriting analysis'. Funnier'n shit, but...Yeesh.

A tip o' the Brain to AlterNet.

McCliellan's Tell-All: Better Late Than Never. For Some.

Click to embiggen

Can He Take a Frisk?

MoDo is in full snark mode about Hil as Veep:

After “Rahmbo” Emanuel, the Illinois congressman dubbed “the hostage negotiator” by the Obama forces, fails to talk Hillary down, Barack Obama knows that he is left with one final roll of the dice. He sets up a secret meeting with Bill Clinton in neutral territory at Rahm’s hideaway office in the Capitol.

“Mr. President, I’m going to run a very transparent administration, everything on C-Span. So I’ll need a full accounting of your foundation donors.”

“Oh, sure thing, buddy, from this day forward.”

“No, Bill, we’ll need full disclosure of your business dealings for the last eight years. And you can no longer accept Arab millions — not if I’m going to talk tough to them about oil. I can’t send Hillary on diplomatic missions to the Middle East if you’re taking money from Dubai and Kuwait. And no more trips to Kazakhstan. I wouldn’t want to have to put a Geiger-counter bracelet on you to check that you’re not involved in another shady uranium deal.”

“Ha, ha.”

“We need to know where that $11 million came from that you guys loaned your campaign. And the $15 million from Ron Burkle at Yucaipa and the $3 million from Vinod Gupta. And you must spill about any offshore accounts in the Caymans. And no more big-money speeches, Bill. You guys have already cashed in for more than $100 million.”

“I’m not debating the meaning of the word ‘speech,’ Bill. We’re going to have an administration so squeaky clean that it makes Jimmy Carter look like Marc Rich. All your trips abroad will have to be authorized by a higher authority.”

“The State Department? Fine, I’ll check with them.”


“Oh, no. Not that.”

“Yes, Michelle. She’ll have you on a much shorter leash, Bill, and it’s not so fun. There’ll be no more Ron Air, no Burkling and Binging. Eight long years of Michelle watching your every move. No eruptions of any kind. And that big telescope in the Naval Observatory is off limits. We’re going to be a family-values administration. And in the campaign, we’ll use you the way Al Gore did: Not at all. No more Bill YouTube meltdowns.”

More. Enjoy.

I think ol' Bill can take a frisk. The question for the lovely Ms Dowd is: Can you? And what time should I be there to administer it?

Quote of the Day

About McFlipFlop's change of tune in a speech to Nevadans about the nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain, which is a HUGE issue there:

If a man told you for years that he didn't love you, essentially had no regard for you at all, and then suddenly, when he needed you, told you he adored you, would you fall for it?

Oh babybabybaby, Papa needs...

Beat it, Pops.

How about a big, steaming cup of ...

Dunkin Donuts coffee Shut the fuck up? I'm not a big fan of Rachel Ray, she just annoys the crap out of me and there are far better chefs out there, but this latest Michelle Malkin faux outrage has made it to the national news and I figured I'd add my two cents. Background from Sadly No!:

She just won’t be deterred. Despite being roundly ridiculed by, like, everyone for her latest jihad against Rachel Ray’s scarf, Michelle Malkin has dedicated her entire weekly column to the affair. Read. Weep:


So now Skippy tells us Dunkin Donuts has pulled the ad:


so by acquiescing to malkin's bigoted demands, dunkin' donuts itself has acted in a bigoted manner, eg, implying that all people who wear a kaffiyeh are to be suspected of terrorism.


Pic stolen from the Roo.

So, Ms. Malkin and your willing idiots, RR is a Jihadi sympathizer, or at least Dunkin Donuts is, right? Well, what do you say to the US troops who wear them in the desert? What, you didn't know a shemagh is GI issue?

Pic courtesy of Armed Forces Merchandise Outlet, where you can buy 'em.

Now, please, SHUT. THE. FUCK. UP.


And just another example of hardly-ever-right wing stupid (there is no way to fix stupid, by the way) at Sadly No!, There's more 'outrage' about Obama naming the wrong concentration camp his uncle helped liberate. Why this is an issue, who would know (aren't we all glad the camps were liberated, period?), but the twits had to bother the folks who run the 89th Infantry Division of World War II website. The reply:

Please crawl back under the rock you came out from.

Good day

Raymond Kitchell, veteran 89th Inf Div

Another buncha vets after my own heart.

Really late for work now, hadda kick the Mrs. out at the airport. Don't worry, I slowed down to 20 mph before I made her jump. Heh ... Later.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Utah Phillips, 1935-2008

U. Utah Phillips, The Golden Voice of the Great Southwest, folksinger, storyteller, labor & social activist, and anarchist, passed away May 23 in Nevada City, California, which passes for 'the big city' at the other end of my county.

I did a post on this fine old gent just before the 2004 presidential election when he realized that corporate fascism had taken us over to the point where he felt it was necessary to compromise his vow to never participate in systemic politics and vote for the first time. He urged progressives to set aside their differences, vote against the Bush regime, and get back to fighting amongst themselves after the danger had passed. Which it hasn't yet, of course, but he was right.

From my local paper, the Sierra Sun:

“Phillips died at home, in bed, in his sleep, next to his wife,” according to his family, which was in seclusion Sunday at his home about a mile from downtown Nevada City.

Pretty good way to go, although I don't know if I'd want to surprise Mrs. G like that.

The folk musician’s remarkable career included international acclaim for the stories and songs he wrote about social and labor issues, as well as his career as a hobo who ran the rails as a young man. He also once ran for the U.S. Senate.

Phillips’ musical career stretched over 38 years and his songs were performed by Emmylou Harris, Waylon Jennings and Joan Baez. He earned a Grammy nomination for an album he recorded with Ani DiFranco.

He once told The Union that “folk music is the glue that holds the community together,” as people gather to share food, music and to dance.

From the EssEffChron:

Mr. Phillips rose to prominence on the folk scene with the single "Moose Turd Pie," a song from his 1973 debut album "Good Though!" That song was about serving moose feces to fellow laborers during the time Mr. Phillips worked as a cook in a railroad gang.

I think I've had that. I live in a big railroad town. It's all in the spicing...

While an irrepressible comedian onstage, Mr. Phillips took his social commitments seriously. A brief stint in the Army that included a tour of Korea in 1956 inspired his work with the peace movement. For a while, Mr. Phillips was a railroad tramp, drinking heavily and ending up in a homeless shelter in Salt Lake City operated by an anarchist.

The son of labor organizers, he ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate from Utah on the Peace and Freedom Party ticket in 1968. He also made a run for the presidency in 1976. Later, he founded the Peace and Justice Center in Nevada City and helped start the Hospitality House, a local homeless shelter.

Last night, Democracy Now ran a previously un-aired 2004 interview with Mr. Phillips. This is the first interview with him I've ever seen. Entertaining as all get out, and some words of wisdom we'll not again hear the likes of. I highly recommend watching it. A transcript as well.

A selection of videos of his work here.

This old gent put the 'left' in 'progressive'. He was the epitome of the 'left wing commie pinko liberal', a title coined by the rabid right to describe anyone who doesn't agree with them and one I am proud to claim even though I'm not.

Utah Phillips walked the walk. His passing is a huge loss. One of his signature songs is 'Railroading on the Great Divide'. See ya on the other side of the great divide, Utah.

Salvage ...

I betcha there's a couple Martians in an old pickup truck making money off all the crap we leave up there.

Seriously, if there is other intelligent life out there, why would they stop in to visit us? From their perspective, the Solar System must look like a junkyard.

Off to work ...

Thanks to Oliver Willis for the link.

Quote of the Day

The Rude One on McCain's 'experience', and other things:

Just because someone's been fucked a lot doesn't mean they know how to do the fucking.

Of course we were ...

As Mr. Philadelphia Dr. Fez-head says:

Scott McClellan tells us Dirty Effing Hippies we were right about most everything.


Former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan writes in a surprisingly scathing memoir to be published next week that President Bush “veered terribly off course,” was not “open and forthright on Iraq,” and took a “permanent campaign approach” to governing at the expense of candor and competence.


McClellan repeatedly embraces the rhetoric of Bush's liberal critics and even charges: “If anything, the national press corps was probably too deferential to the White House and to the administration in regard to the most important decision facing the nation during my years in Washington, the choice over whether to go to war in Iraq.


Nothing we didn't know, but it's nice to hear one of them admit it. Ya think anything will come of this 'revelation'? Me neither.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Wanted: Agent Provocateurs

The Misfit:

If you look like a hippy and you have the morals of a snake, then the FBI wants to hire you!

Turns out it is straight piecework, you have to give them somebody to arrest. Presumably, if you agitate for bad things to happen and then turn people in for following your lead, the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force will give you oodles of cash.

You'd think that after the cops and the FBI got caught doing this stupid shit in the 1960s that they would have learned their lessons. Apparently not. The police have a long track record of using agent provocateurs to start trouble as an excuse for arresting lots of people.


Turn in your friends, your neighbors, even family and get paid to do it. Do you know an Enemy of the State? Turn 'em in now and make big bucks.

What has happened to this country?

Peeved at Prices? Don't Blame the Dealer

I worked at gas stations off and on for forty years. I live in a tourist trap town way up in the mountains, and gas prices have been 40-50¢ higher than the metro areas the tourons come from for the 28 years I've lived here. I used to get customer complaints all the time. It's a waste of time to unload on the hose jockey or cashier, but I guess they have to vent at somebody.


Every time Sohaila Rezazadeh rings up a sale at her Exxon station on Chain Bridge Road in Oakton, her cash register sends the information to Exxon Mobil's central computers. If she raises the price of gasoline a couple of pennies, chances are that Exxon will raise the wholesale price she pays by the same amount.

Through a password-protected Web portal, Exxon notifies Rezazadeh of wholesale price changes daily. That way the oil giant, which is earning about $3.3 billion a month, fine-tunes the pump prices at the franchise Rezazadeh has owned for 12 years.

Now, however, Rezazadeh says she cannot stay in business. Credit-card fees are eating her profit margins. Exxon, which owns the station land, last week handed Rezazadeh a new lease raising her rent about 30 percent over the next three years. She stuck a copy on the window of her station to show customers who are angry about soaring pump prices. Rezazadeh has told Exxon that she cannot make money with the rent that high. Her territory manager's reply, she said, was simple: When you go, leave us the keys.

Although Exxon owns and operates few stations anymore -- less than 10 percent of the 12,000 Exxon outlets in the United States -- it uses franchise agreements to maintain tight control over stations that bear its brand. The company dictates everything from the number of pumps to hygiene practices to the placement of food on convenience store shelves. "They monitor everything," Rezazadeh said.

Even some of Exxon's successful and loyal dealers complain. Jerry Daggle owns five Exxon stations in Northern Virginia, and even though they have different competitive conditions and prices, "Exxon magically lets me make about 8 cents a gallon" at each one, he said.

Well, at least their profit has gone up. Forty years ago when gas was 30¢ a gallon, the dealers only made a nickel. Those were the days when two, count 'em two, impeccably turned out attendants, who made maybe $1.75 an hour and could just about live on it, would trot out and wash your windshield and rear window and check under your hood, the point of which was really to sell stuff, oil, wiper blases, whatever. Everything was done right at the car window and the customer never had to get out of the car, which was very handy for the occasional driver who forgot his pants (I worked at a station in Hollywood once. Trust me, it happened!).

Daggle, who has been an Exxon dealer for two decades after working his way up from pumping gas, said he has done well. But he still cannot fathom how the oil company can charge him different wholesale gasoline prices for each of the five Northern Virginia stations he owns. The stations all sell the same Exxon-branded gasoline, delivered from the same terminal in Newington, where it arrives via the same pipeline. Sometimes, Daggle said, it's even dropped off by the same truck and driver hours apart on the same day.

The only thing that's different is the price, which can vary by 35 cents per gallon, Daggle said. [...]

Historically, gasoline marketing has been a low-margin business. For decades, when oil was plentiful, margins were kept low to move as much crude oil through the system as possible. Now, major companies don't have to fight to move product, but they are still battling for nickels and dimes at the pumps.

Like other parts of the retailing business, gasoline marketing has become more concentrated and high volume than it was in the days when mom-and-pop gas stations lured customers with free drinking glasses.

Trading stamps. I remember S&H Green Stamps and Blue Chip Stamps. You'd paste 'em into booklets and redeem them for mail-order merchandise. If you forgot the stamps when you gave the customer his change or credit card slip to sign (I'm dating myself again. Heh.), boy would they howl!

Oddly enough, when prices are rising rapidly and consumers are most upset is usually when profit margins are slimmest for station owners. When prices are falling, as they were in September 2006, is usually when jobbers and station owners make the most money.

How much depends largely on Exxon. "If I had raised my gas, within a couple of days, almost inevitably, they would have raised my wholesale price. It's an unspoken rule," Daggle said. He said his Gainesville station makes most of its money from repairs, not gas sales.

Selling gas remains a cutthroat business in an industry awash in profits. Three years ago, when Daggle bought the Gainesville station, a share of Exxon stock was about $50. Buying and fixing up the station has cost him $800,000, and he hasn't yet drawn a profit from it. "If I had bought the stock," he said, he would have nearly doubled his money and would have "never lifted a finger."

Any money a station makes these days is from the service bays or the convenience store. Selling gas is almost a public service, and here's the rub: gas always has been and still is, even at $4+ a gallon, the cheapest thing you can buy for your car.

It's going to get worse before it gets better, on the off chance it ever will get better.

David Sirota Sees A Populist Revolt Brewing

A BuzzFlash interview with David Sirota:

We have a trade and a globalization policy that is designed to create a race to the bottom among ordinary people. When you force American workers into direct unfettered competition with workers who are enslaved, with workers who are allowed to be paid a dollar a day, with workers who are allowed to be employed in sweatshops, you are creating a wage-cutting environment that's destroying competition towards the bottom.

-- David Sirota

BuzzFlash: David, first we want to encourage all the BuzzFlash readers to buy and read The Uprising: An Unauthorized Tour of the Populist Revolt Scaring Wall Street and Washington. The mainstream corporate media is probably not your biggest fan, so we want to do our best to promote the book.

David Sirota: That's exactly right.

BuzzFlash: Why don't they like you?

David Sirota: I think the frame of the book tells it all. The book is about a backlash to the status quo. It's about a backlash to the media and political establishment. It's a sequel in many ways, to my first book, Hostile Takeover, which is about big money taking over the government. This book is about the uprising against that "Hostile Takeover." Obviously, the people and forces and institutions that have perpetrated that hostile takeover are going to be hostile to a book that describes the uprising against that establishment. When you tell the truth, sometimes people don't like it.

Like, DUH! Only about 99% of the time.

David Sirota: That's right, and that's a huge thing that people sometimes people forget -- that corporate control of the media is more than just a certain network won't cover the parent company. It's actually a whole ideology. And the ideology is deeply ingrained. The media does not question corporate issues -- the concentration of corporate power, the general deregulatory agenda that corporations push. Most issues relating to money and the accumulation of profits are either off limits, or soft-pedaled in the corporate media, because the corporate media is not objective when it comes to those things. It has an ideology.

I do think that the uprising is a backlash to that. I think we are at a precipice. If you look at public opinion data, if you look at the stories in my book, The Uprising, you will see that all of this is boiling now, and that this election and what comes out of the election could end up changing the direction of the country in a really serious way, in an exponential way.

We desperately need this to happen, but it won't until times are so bad for reg'lar folks that they pick up their scythes and pitchforks and march on their state house, city hall, the Capitol, whatever. That day is coming, and I think we should should try and short circuit the Second Great Depression and the widening Middle-East War and get on with it.

Fat chance Americans will get off their fat behinds until all they got are skinny behinds, so we'll just have to wait.

Please God, oh pleasepleaseplease let it be so...

Click to embiggen

Memorial Day at ‘South Pacific’

This is a coupla days late, but every day is, or should be, Memorial Day.

Daddy Frank looks at war and racism through the lens of the Broadway revival of 'South Pacific'. A 'recommended read'.

The Lincoln Center revival of this old chestnut is surely the most unexpected cultural sensation the city has experienced in a while. In 2008, when 80-plus percent of Americans believe their country is in a ditch, there wouldn’t seem to be a big market for a show whose heroine, the Navy nurse Nellie Forbush, is a self-described “cockeyed optimist” who sings of being “as corny as Kansas in August.”

Watching “South Pacific” now, we’re forced to contemplate Iraq, which we’re otherwise pretty skilled at avoiding. Most of us don’t have family over there. Most of us long ago decided the war was a mistake and tuned out. Most of us have stopped listening to the president who ginned it up. This month, in case you missed it, he told an interviewer that he had made the ultimate sacrifice of giving up golf for the war’s duration because “I don’t want some mom whose son may have recently died to see the commander in chief playing golf.”

“South Pacific” reminds us that those whose memory we honor tomorrow — including those who served in Vietnam — are always at the mercy of the leaders who send them into battle. It increases our admiration for the selflessness of Americans fighting in Iraq. They, unlike their counterparts in World War II, do their duty despite answering to a commander in chief who has been both reckless and narcissistic. You can’t watch “South Pacific” without meditating on their sacrifices for this blunderer, whose wife last year claimed that “no one suffers more” over Iraq than she and her husband do.

The show’s racial conflicts are also startlingly alive. Nellie Forbush, far from her hometown of Little Rock, recoils from de Becque when she learns that he fathered two children by a Polynesian woman. In the original script, Nellie denigrates de Becque’s late wife as “colored.” (Michener gave Nellie a more incendiary word in his book.) “Colored” was cut in rehearsals then but has been restored now, and it lands like a brick in the theater. It’s not only upsetting in itself. It’s upsetting because Nellie isn’t some cracker stereotype — she’s lovable (especially as embodied by the actress Kelli O’Hara). But how can we love a racist? And how can she not love Emile’s young mixed-race children?

Then and now, the show concludes with the most classic of American tableaus: Emile, Nellie and the two kids sitting down to a family meal. It’s hard for us to imagine how this coda must have struck audiences in 1949, when interracial marriage was still illegal in many states (as it would be in 16 until 1967). But nearly 60 years later, this multiracial family portrait has another context. The audiences watching “South Pacific” in this intense election year are being asked daily to take stock of just how far along we are on Nellie’s path and how much further we still have to go.

And so as we watch that family gather at the end of “South Pacific,” both their future and their country’s destiny yet to be written, we weep for the same reason we often do when we experience a catharsis at the theater. We grieve deeply for our losses and our failings, even as we feel an undertow of cockeyed optimism about the possibilities of healing and redemption that may yet lie ahead.

The only 'optimism', and it's not at all 'cockeyed', I feel is that maybe, just maybe, Bush and the neocons will actually leave office in January, and the damage they have done will start slowly grinding to a halt so the daunting task of repair work can begin.

Other than his slight attempt to be uplifting at the end, ol' Pops did a good job as usual. Well worth a read.

Getting by ...

I asked this question a while back and my neighbor Blondie brings it up again. Living on Long Island (as she and I both do) car travel is a way of life (mass transit isn't good until you get into the 5 Boroughs of NYC. The eastern counties - Nassau, Suffolk - don't even compare). To get anywhere you have to drive, so the price of gas hits us especially hard:

So what do you do when you're a part time employee who makes about $10/hour and it takes you a gallon or so of gas to get to work and another gallon or so to get home and they ask you to come in on Saturday morning for a couple of hours and the gas price is up to $4.15 for regular at the cheap gas station?


The real 'mission' ...

Every Sunday, our pal (and fellow New Yorker) Creature does his 'Truth in Comics' post. He always finds excellent toons, but I stole this week's offer.

Click to inflate.

Could be from The Onion ...

But it's not. The New York Times:

President Bush opposes a new G.I. Bill of Rights. He worries that if the traditional path to college for service members since World War II is improved and expanded for the post-9/11 generation, too many people will take it.

He is wrong, but at least he is consistent. Having saddled the military with a botched, unwinnable war, having squandered soldiers’ lives and failed them in so many ways, the commander in chief now resists giving the troops a chance at better futures out of uniform. He does this on the ground that the bill is too generous and may discourage re-enlistment, further weakening the military he has done so much to break.

So lavish with other people’s sacrifices, so reckless in pouring the national treasure into the sandy pit of Iraq, Mr. Bush remains as cheap as ever when it comes to helping people at home.


Hey, if they don't want to, or can't, carry a rifle anymore, what the fuck good are they?

Great thanks to Mr. Aravosis for the link.

Things that make me sick ...

One of the worst is watching this idiot placing the wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns.

Pic stolen from C & L.

And Bob Geiger says it just about right:

Dead Troops Remembered By President Who Had Them Killed

Yes, that's a harsh headline for this piece.

But I'll ask you to forgive me because, as a Veteran, there isn't a day on the calendar that causes my hatred -- and I do indeed mean hatred -- of George W. Bush to bubble over the top more than Memorial Day.


The Chickenhawk-in Chief says a lot of things that make this Vet's blood boil but stuff like saying that he prays "...that our country may always prove worthy of the sacrifices they have made" is almost vomit inducing.


Makes me wanna puke too, pal.

Cross-posted at API.

Monday, May 26, 2008

I'm Ba-ack...

Click to make it HUGE!

I'm back, but I'm beat, even after a night's sleep. The above photo shows conditions on the traditional first weekend of summer. We got rained, sleeted, snowed, and hailed on for the first 200 miles of our 1000-mile trip and the last 200 miles. I could hear God laughing, "New motorbike, huh? Let's break 'er in right!"

Maybe posting today, maybe not. See ya soon.

Not to put too fine a point on it ...

The Normandy American Cemetery - Normandy, France

But Memorial Day is not a 'happy' holiday.

Memorial Day is a time to reflect on the people who sacrificed their lives so you can live the life you do in this country.

Especially this year, the 6th since the War in Iraq began, when over 4000 of our service people have died, not to protect this nation or our way of life but in an illegal, unjustified provocation. 4000 dead for nothing. 4000 lives wasted.

I'll have a 'happy' Memorial Day when Bush, Cheney, and their minions are in a dock in The Hague.

Cross-posted at API.

Obama, Osama ...

Kill 'em all.

I wonder what would happen if someone like Donna Brazile or Rachel Maddow said this about McSame?

Trotta: …and now we have what some are reading—as a suggestion that somebody knock off Osama , umm, ah… Obama, well both if we could ... haha ...

Probably would be shipped off to Gitmo so quick her head would spin.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Quote of the Day

From Blue Girl over at "Watching Those We Chose":

"So take the long weekend to lick your wounds, and when Tuesday rolls around, start with mending fences. It is time to get over yourself. It isn't about you, or me, or even the candidates. It is about electing a Democrat and saving the Supreme Court."

It cannot be stressed enough how important this election is for the Democrats to win because of the Supreme Court. It and the process will be out of reach, possibly forever, if the Republicans retain control. The country is, in effect, in the grip of a criminal syndicate, it is time to take it back and to see that it stays taken back.


Hillary's "Assassination" Comments

I've been alternately outraged and stunned by the utter senselessness of and utter lack of sensitivity shown by Hillary's comments last Friday. I wanted to write something about it, but (as is not at all unusual) could not find the means to express myself. Then I read this post, "Palpitations...And No Pride To Speak Of" by Lower Manhattanite over at Group News Blog and knew that he had encapsulated my feelings pretty precisely. This is a must read.

Hillary was waiting for the big mistake that would end the game. She got it.