A fresh-caught PFC makes $1,587.90 a month, a Spec 4 makes $1,758.90. A new 2LT hardly is rolling in dough at $2,555.70 a month. For being in a combat zone, the pay is tax-free and the government give an extra $225 or so. That is what they get paid to risk their lives, their limbs and their health.
Congressmen and Senators are paid $14,108.33 a month. They have the best health care system in the world and they pay nothing for it. They are not at personal risk, the most that can happen to them is that the voters fire them at the next election cycle. They risk far, far less than those soldiers do each and every day in Iraq and Afghanistan.
So the idea that 105 Democrats in the House caved on the FISA bill because they were afraid of losing their jobs rubs me the wrong way.
The 105 rat-fuck weasels are backstabbing the Constitution, not for glory, not for personal gain, but because they are abject cowards. We do not need friends such as those.
Saturday, June 21, 2008
I had nothing but British cars at the shop yesterday, including this little beauty.
And, to get you going in the morning, what could be my favorite tune of all time.
Queen - Fat Bottomed Girls
Friday, June 20, 2008
... I have one question: when I break the law because a voice in my head assured me, with no basis in the law, that what I was about to do was completely legal, I can get off too? Right?
Silly Creature, we're not of the correct class to expect that kind of justice. We can't afford it, my friend.
UPDATED: Keith Olbermann has vehemently denied rumors from the New York Post (owned by Rupert Murdoch) that he threatened to quit if he isn't given Tim Russert's job as host of "Meet the Press." Olbermann also said, "But I don't even consider myself qualified for it."
The big question is whether Olbermann would still do "Countdown." Olbermann should still be able to do both shows, but perhaps be given more time off for "Countdown," giving Rachel Maddow more of the screen time she deserves on MSNBC.
More screen time for Rachel Maddow! Be still my heart!
OTOH, KO is doing fine right where he is. What to do, what to do...
Olbermann and Gregory will be on the short list, since the network will likely fill from within the ranks of NBC News, an understandable move. But who else would be on the list?
Friedman and I agree on one thing: Chris Matthews should not be considered. Among many reasons, his style isn't conducive to the Sunday morning tradition. Chuck Todd is an outside pick, but his name will likely come up.
One name from the outside but who does have experience at NBC News is Gwen Ifill. Ifill, host of "Washington Week in Review" and contributor to the "NewsHour with Jim Lehrer," has worked at NBC News, and would be a great pick if someone from outside the network is chosen. If Olbermann isn't picked, she would be my second choice.
I agree with all of that.
Is there someone else you think would do a better job than Olbermann? Or perhaps you want to keep Olbermann right where he is. Or maybe you like the sugesstion of either Olbermann or Ifill. Either way, let us know who you want to see as the next host.
Four Western oil companies are in the final stages of negotiations this month on contracts that will return them to Iraq, 36 years after losing their oil concession to nationalization as Saddam Hussein rose to power.
BAQUBA, Jun 18 (IPS) - Just about everyone in Iraq is a loser as a result of the occupation, but none more than women. One of the more obvious signs of that is the very large number of widows.
For a widow, all things are the same, dark.
"Being a widow means being dead in Iraq today," a professor from Diyala University, speaking on condition of anonymity, told IPS. "This is because of the tremendous responsibilities cast upon her."
The widows have become victims of the occupation, but also of social codes. Women are not supposed to commit mistakes, and when they do, their mistakes are rarely forgiven. Women are easily accused of doing 'bad things', regardless of proof.
"Islam gives respectable freedom to the woman when she loses her husband," a religious cleric told IPS. "But because of their ignorance, people place severe restrictions on the woman."
Iraqi widows ain't like single moms here (not diminishing the job they have to do as well). The basic civil rights we take for granted (equal for men and women) are non-existent there. Our presence is helping to create yet another generation of widows.
Tyranny is tyranny, no matter the technology.
So it’s simple and crystal clear: The Fourth Amendment means that the government doesn’t get to read your data—to the Framers, “paper”—without a warrant.
It’s simple. And anybody who tries to make it complicated is trying to fuck you.
Off to work. TGIF!
Six days after Tim Russert's death, his replacement on "Meet the Press" has been named -- at least for this Sunday.
Brian Williams, the NBC anchor and Russert's longtime friend, will fill the moderator's chair for the discussion of presidential politics and whatever else pops up. His guests will be Sens. Joe Biden (D-Del.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.).
We ain't surprised, are we?
Hello, people? You know the Republicans lie about everything, right? They lied about the war, they lied about WMD, they lied about 9/11, they lied about the Clintons, they lied about their own compassion, they lied about military casualties. So why do you believe them when they tell you that China is drilling off the coast of Cuba?
Because that is NOT HAPPENING, people. No, no, a thousand times no. Dick Cheney, the father of all lies (in his other incarnation as Satan) started this particular lie. Think about all the times over the past five years this moronic monster has told you that the Iraqi "insurgents are in the last throes" of their insurgency. How many times was it true? Once? Even once?
Nope. Not even once. [my em]
Links aplenty at PC's place.
*Apologies to the Captain and Tennille.
Thursday, June 19, 2008
Republicans are going down.
Let me say that again (‘cause it feels so good): Republicans are going down. Hard.
A tsunami this way cometh, and it’s got GOP loaded in its GPS.
Anyhow, November 4th is going to be a serious party in a whole lot of households across the entire planet, but November 5th is in many ways going to be even more amusing. For, along with getting clobbered in the race for the White House, the Republicans are going to get smashed all across the ballot, from the US Senate all the way down to local dogcatcher races. They are going to be shell-shocked zombies. The walking wounded. Poster-children for PTSD. And, they are neither going to know what to do about it, nor will they have any particularly attractive options from which to choose.
Many of the looniest of the regressive right will insist that their problem was that they simply weren’t conservative enough! The rest of us here in the reality-based world should cross every finger, toe and any other bodily appendage we can, in the hopes that these folks win the fratricidal war inside the party. Yeah, man, that’s what America wants! Not less of the thirteenth century, but more! More war! More bankruptcy! More lies! More recession! More deficits! More economic predation! More environmental destruction! More trashing of the national reputation! More Constitution shredding! More democracy debasing! More corruption! More sexism, racism, xenophobia and homophobia! More polarization and rancor in our politics! More imperial presidency accountable to no one! More drowned cities! More incompetence! More Bushes! (Yo, Jeb – what up, dude?) Of course! What could Republicans ever have been thinking? The problem with conservatives is that they didn’t realize until too late that America is actually more conservative than Bush, Scalia, DeLay and the rest.
[...] This party is today nothing whatsoever other than a vehicle for corporate predation. It pretends to give a shit about abortion or affirmative action to get votes. It pretends to be pious to sucker preacher-programmed Jesus Freaks into voting for it. It pretends to care about national security because a good fright always comes in handy on election day (and also because there’s loads of fat, no-bid contracts to be had from the corpulent military-industrial complex). In fact, though, it doesn’t care about any of those things.
Indeed, in truth it is a misnomer to even consider the GOP to be American in any real sense of the normal meaning of that term. Ironically, the party of xenophobia and so-called national security has long been little more than a wholly-owned subsidiary of corporations whose locations and tentacles are completely global, and whose only real interest is in importing wealth to shareholders and management, while exporting risk elsewhere. [...]
[...] Indeed, this is probably what the McCain candidacy now represents, though pre-November 4th he must still genuflect deeply in the direction of the rapacious right – whether of the corporate, imperialist or religious stripe.
My guess is that you can’t bury these guys forever, and that, anyhow, the new Republican Party that emerges after their near-death experience in 2008 will be much more moderate than the crazed one of the Reagan-through-W era (and how could it not be?).
All of that would be a major improvement on the horror story we’ve all lived through these last decades, though of course, even better would be to slay the beast once and for all.
Meanwhile, whatever happens, progressives are about to live through the Woodstock of schadenfreude.
Enjoy the ride. Boy, have we ever earned it.
As far as I'm concerned, the money line in that piece is "slay the beast once and for all".
Note to Repugs: Payback is a sucking chest wound and you made the ammo that we will be very pleased to shoot you and pin an Ace of Spades to your forehead with.
I'm trying to not be smug just yet because it could all go horribly wrong, but a little anticipatory practice smugness, just to see what it feels like for later, feels good and can't hurt.
Democrats have been worrying a lot lately about a possible October surprise. You know, some dramatic game changing event deliberately dropped into the closing months of the campaign in the hope of saving John McCain’s bacon: something along the lines of war with Iran, catching Osama bin Laden or McCain proving the Beltway pundits right by actually walking on water.
McCain can easily demonstrate his prowess at walking on water by taking one more teeny step off the end of the pier he's already standing on. My money's on straight to the bottom. Johnny, meet Davey Jones. Heh.
So does worrying so much about this (other than the walking on water part) mean we’re paranoid?
Nope, no paranoia here: There’s obviously nothing irrational about fearing that George W. Bush will do anything — and I mean anything — to keep his team in the White House. He’s proven as much on multiple occasions, most shamefully through the deliberate manipulation of terrorism alerts for political gain. Besides, Bush & Co. have plenty of incentive to continue their pattern of gaming the machinery of American democracy. If nothing else, how happy can they be over the prospect of having Barack Obama’s Department of Justice investigating their various crimes?
No, it seems pretty clear that the irrational thing would be to not worry about an October surprise.
But would one even work?
It might, I suppose, but personally I doubt it. Bush, the most politically obsessed president in memory, in terms of subverting federal policy for political ends, overplayed his hand long ago. No one believes him anymore. In fact, even if he were to act in absolute apolitical sincerity in, say, launching a few missiles at Mahmoud Ahmadinejad a month or two before the election, people would still assume the worst.
He’s earned our abiding distrust the good old-fashioned way — by lying almost every time he opens his mouth.
I don’t doubt that he may well try to help McCain through an October surprise, but my money’s on it backfiring in a big way.
Steve's talkin' about the October Surprise backfirin' on McCain, but if Bush does something truly demented like bombing Iran, the backfire could extend waaaay beyond that as far as the U.S. is concerned. My visual of the 'backfire' Bush could cause goes something like a car backfire that blows the carburetor and exhaust pipe, cylinder heads attached, right off the engine with an impressive display of pyrotechnics, along with a flyin' hood and crap on the seat. God help us.
The U.S. isn't likely to try Bush administration officials for war crimes--but it's likely that a European country will.
After a couple of false starts at the end of the Civil War and World War I, the idea of prosecuting prominent policymakers as war criminals was launched after World War II, when the historic tribunals convened in Nuremberg and Tokyo. Significantly, one of those cases involved lawyers whose crimes included the preparation of legal memoranda explaining how the leadership could dispense with the troublesome requirements of the Geneva and Hague Conventions in dealing with detainees. The Nuremberg proceedings inspired the special purpose tribunals created for Cambodia, Yugoslavia, and Rwanda, among others, and laid the groundwork for the International Criminal Court.
But the questions hanging over efforts to enforce the law of war with respect to political leaders remain. Only extremely unusual circumstances will lead a country to try one of its own leaders for war crimes. Curiously, the Bush administration is responsible for the most prominent recent case: the prosecution, before a U.S.-financed and -advised special court in Baghdad, of Saddam Hussein and a number of his senior lieutenants.
Is it likely that prosecutions will be brought overseas? Yes. It is reasonably likely. Sands's book contains an interview with an investigating magistrate in a European nation, which he describes as a NATO nation with a solidly pro-American orientation which supported U.S. engagement in Iraq with its own soldiers. The magistrate makes clear that he is already assembling a case, and is focused on American policymakers. I read these remarks and they seemed very familiar to me. In the past two years, I have spoken with two investigating magistrates in two different European nations, both pro-Iraq war NATO allies. Both were assembling war crimes charges against a small group of Bush administration officials. "You can rest assured that no charges will be brought before January 20, 2009," one told me. And after that? "It depends. We don't expect extradition. But if one of the targets lands on our territory or on the territory of one of our cooperating jurisdictions, then we'll be prepared to act."
Viewed in this light, the Bush Administration figures involved in the formation of torture policy face no immediate threat of prosecution for war crimes. But Colin Powell's chief of staff, Colonel Larry Wilkerson, nails it: "Haynes, Feith, Yoo, Bybee, Gonzales and--at the apex--Addington, should never travel outside the U.S., except perhaps to Saudi Arabia and Israel. They broke the law; they violated their professional ethical code. In the future, some government may build the case necessary to prosecute them in a foreign court, or in an international court." Augusto Pinochet made a trip to London, and his life was never the same afterwards.
The Bush administration officials who pushed torture will need to be careful about their travel plans.
I think once the criminals are ensconced in a heavily fortified compound in Paraguay they will be beyond the reach of all but Special Ops. Tom Clancy described exactly how to get 'em all with one round in Clear And Present Danger.
Can you say 'Enron'? - Fixer
Following up on yesterday's post about oil production and prices, Keith Olbermann, obviously an avid reader of the Brain, expands the discussion. This is probably as close to the reason why the prima benzina costs what it does as we're likely to get:
Like most of what is wrong in our country, it boils down to greed, lobbyists, Wall Street, and Repuglican corruption and incompetence at everything except enriching themselves at the expense of everyone who isn't part of their criminal enterprise.
Watch for spin that blames Clinton, "We started it but he didn't stop it so it's all his fault."
I think it's important to remember that they don't care about "credibility" at least the way we think of it. This is about the death by a thousand cuts, not any particular story. They start with a few tales that acclimate people to the idea that the Democrat has something to hide. He's not being forthcoming. Something's not quite right. Over time it creates a general sense of discomfort with the person, eventually even on the part of those who know it isn't true. (They resent the victim for making them have to deal with these things. It's exhausting.)
It should start coming in like high tide in the Bay of Fundy any time now.
Late for work. Bye ...
The House will vote on an emergency supplemental spending bill Thursday after Republican and Democratic leaders struck a deal with the White House late Wednesday, aides said.
There should be no compromise with the White House on anything anymore.
The compromise bill will include about $165 billion in funding for the Iraq war with no conditions, such as banning torture or blocking a "status of forces agreement" between the Bush administration and the Iraqi government. [my em]
Keep acting like losers and that's what'll happen once again. Twits.
Link via the BooMan.
Well I refuse to be lectured on national security by people who are responsible for the most disastrous set of foreign policy decisions in the recent history of the United States. The other side likes to use 9/11 as a political bludgeon. Well, let’s talk about 9/11.
The people who were responsible for murdering 3,000 Americans on 9/11 have not been brought to justice. They are Osama bin Laden, al Qaeda and their sponsors – the Taliban. They were in Afghanistan. And yet George Bush and John McCain decided in 2002 that we should take our eye off of Afghanistan so that we could invade and occupy a country that had absolutely nothing to do with 9/11. The case for war in Iraq was so thin that George Bush and John McCain had to hype the threat of Saddam Hussein, and make false promises that we’d be greeted as liberators. They misled the American people, and took us into a misguided war.
Our military is overstretched in Iraq. We have nearly 150,000 troops in Iraq, many on their second, third, or fourth tour of duty. Meanwhile, Afghanistan is sliding toward chaos, and risks turning into a narco-terrorist state. The Taliban is on the offensive in the south. A recent Taliban prison break in Kandahar freed hundreds of militants, and underscored the volatile situation on the ground. The coalition casualties in Afghanistan last month were higher than in Iraq. That’s the result of the Bush-McCain approach to the war on terrorism.
Get it together, people. This man is our last, best hope short of revolution (and that would probably do more harm than good). John McCain will put this country over the edge. This is our last chance to fix what we fucked up for the last 8 years.
Great thanks to Oliver Willis for the link.
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
... So, one of our readers emailed me and noted that it's all and well and good for Bush to attend Tim Russert's wake, but has he ever bothered to attend the wake or funeral of a US soldier who died in Iraq? ...
Of course he went to Timmeh's funeral. Russert helped get him what he wanted.
The House Judiciary Committee has written a letter to Karl Rove reminding him of a pending subpoena requiring his appearance on July 10 to answer allegations that he played a role in the prosecution of former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman. Rove has not yet agreed to testify publicly and under oath.
MSNBC’s Dan Abrams asked Judiciary Committee member Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) whether Chairman John Conyers would follow through on his threat to have Rove arrested if he does not appear.
“If that’s what it takes,” Wasserman Schultz replied. “We really cannot allow the co-equal branch of government, the legislative branch, to be trampled upon by the executive branch.”
You people ain't been exactly sterling at 'not getting trampled upon', but if you grow some sack and give it a try, here's my offer:
As a qualified Marine Corps Prisoner Escort, aka 'Brig Chaser' (see below), it would be my distinct pleasure to go clap that motherfucker in irons for you. The card has expired, but the desire to use the
Also, I'm not Halliburton or KBR. I'll work pretty cheap in this case since it's my patriotic duty, delivery guaranteed.
Click to emBRIGgen. Heh.
So perhaps Mr Bush's most significant legacy, as far as Britain is concerned, will be the destruction of the instinctive trust of America and its leaders that once prevailed here. It is no exaggeration to say that Mr Bush has done more damage to relations between our two nations than any president in living memory. This rupture is not an accident of circumstance; there are no impersonal forces of history to blame. This sorry state of affairs is the consequence of the actions of a single leader and his small coterie of advisers.
In one sense, this is a discussion about history. Like all second-term American presidents, Mr Bush's power is waning by the day. His legacy will be for academics to debate. The pertinent question now is to what extent Mr Bush's huge unpopularity has contaminated wider public attitudes to America in Britain. Can a President Obama, or a President McCain, heal the wounds? Or is the damage permanent? One would have to suspect that the situation is recoverable; not least because America itself seems as eager for change as Britain. But whether the relationship will ever return to what it was pre-Bush, is another question entirely.
And whatever the future holds for transatlantic relations, there will be very few in this country who watched President Bush's plane depart yesterday without a feeling of profound relief that the end of this disastrous presidency is finally in sight.
You and us both, my Limey brethren.
Re 'watching Bush's plane depart': the saddest moment on these shores will be watching it arrive.
Fall can be a time of surprises. No, not the new TV season, but the kind of surprises that come up in the election year.
The official term "October Surprise" came about in 1980 over an alleged plan for a massive military invasion of Iran for rescuing the hostages. And it also applies to the alleged plot that claimed representatives of the Ronald Reagan campaign conspired with Iran to delay the release of 52 Americans held hostage until after the election. But the element of the "October Surprise" has been an issue in numerous elections.
So no matter whether it's September, October, November, are we getting a fall surprise? Will it be an invasion of Iran? Will Bush resign, giving the reins briefly to Cheney, and nominating Condoleezza Rice to replace Cheney? Will it be a replacement for McCain on the ticket?
Let us know what you think: what might the October surprise be in 2008?
OK, for what it's worth here's my worst-case scenario, and it'll come as no 'surprise': Besides the déjà fuckin' vu of an attack on Iran, a real one this time, 'Baby Doc' Bush will declare martial law, suspend elections indefinitely, decree himself President For Life for reasons of national security, and wipe his ass with what's left of the Constitution.
Professor Smartass whose motto is "Blind obedience and leader worship is patriotic....(if you live in North Korea)."
Congress finds Big Oil holding back fields that could DOUBLE US output
Rush Limbaugh and other right wing commentators have blamed high oil prices on limits on off-shore drilling near the US and in ANWR, but what makes people think big oil will pump more if we give them more oil fields?
Right now, they hold leases to federal land that they AREN'T DRILLING ON that could DOUBLE US oil output according to the House Committee on Natural Resources. They have introduced a bill to make them use those fields or lose them:
Oil and gas companies, however, are not required to demonstrate diligent development. Because of this, oil and gas companies have been allowed to stockpile leases in a non-producing status, while leaving millions of acres of leased land untouched. The Rahall legislation directs the Secretary of the Interior to define what constitutes diligent development for oil and gas leases.
They are holding those fields back to control the price and keep it high, just as they aren't shedding too many tears over the violence in Iraq or war talk about Iran since that drives up the price of oil too.
In fact, before the Iraq War, OIL & GAS JOURNAL fretted that when the sanctions came off, Saddam would pump too much oil and drive down prices--unless there was a war. We gave them the war, and they rewarded our sacrifice of tax dollars and soldiers lives by gouging us at the pump.
If they didn't charge us less for giving them Iraq, why would they for ANWR?
Tell your congressman and senators to support the Responsible Federal Oil and Gas Lease Act of 2008 (H.R. 6251).
When you've got something that people need, the key to big profit is just let them have barely enough of it. The difference in this respect between the oil companies and high-priced hookers is that I like hookers. At least when they put you over a barrel, you asked for it.
Here's a little personal note on how much profit there is in oil right now. In the far dim mists of time before I was born, my mother was an executive secretary for the Barnsdall Oil Co., a Bush family-related outfit that had interests in Middle Eastern oil as well as in the U.S. Later known as Sun Oil and then Sunray Oil, they were later conglomerated into Standard Oil of California and so on and so on until now. One thing you learn from studying the history of oil companies is that they all sprang from just a few people and they're all in cahoots.
Just as an aside, I have in my possession an actual shell fragment from this.
My Mom passed away in 1948. She left me an oil royalty that pays me to this day. I think it's 2% of 6% or 6% of 2% or something like that on a tract in Southern California somewhere. This thing has paid me like clockwork, usually quarterly or semi-annually for sixty years. I'm not exactly sure what the money's for, oil production, gas storage, or what. I just cash the checks.
I'm not exactly in the same league with the Oil Sheikhs, which includes the Bushes. For all these years, my checks have been worth at most a coupla hunnert bucks a year. They've gone up and they've gone down. A big one would buy me'n Mrs. G a dinner out.
Until this year. So far in '08 I've been getting a check every month and they've averaged about $375. The company that administers my payout offered me $5100 a month or so ago to buy me out. Fat chance! Even at $4+ per gallon, my piddling 'oil holdings' are paying for every drop of gas we use and then some. Thanks, Mom.
We need a President who's not in the awl bidness (thank you, Molly. You tried to warn us.) who will actively promote and adequately fund research into the dozens of alternative energy possibilities, from hydrogen to hemp oil. We're not going to drill ourselves out of this mess, and we need to change our lifestyles and ways of thinking about all kinds of energy use, but a little relief at the pump could make a big difference in people's lives right now. With all the profit in oil at present, I'll repeat myself: Fat Chance.
US President George W. Bush is ranked only slightly above the rulers of Pakistan and Iran as one of the least-trusted leaders in the world, a survey released on Monday showed.
Only 23 percent of people outside the United States had "a lot or some" confidence in Bush, compared to 22 percent for Ahmadinejad and 18 percent for Musharraf.
I'm sure it took a great effort for him to beat out the leaders of Burma, several -Stans, and half the nations in Africa.
Don't fret - I'm sure we'll gain the top spot in least-trusted leaders in Bush's third term.
Well smack my ass and call me Sally, Larry Craig, David Vitter, or any other hypocritical rethug, what a shock. Betcha the funny little pins were made in China. Why wouldn't we still call it the White House? Smirky O'Stutters has been there 8 years and we don't call it the ShitHouse, do we?
And another thing, if John McSame is President will we call the White house a nursing home?
Redefining pathetic, heckuva job.
While Mrs. Atrios obviously shares a pseudonym with me, she didn't share a last name. We didn't think much about this when we got married - there were a few purely practical reasons it was easier for her to keep her name - but it seems perfectly normal. Normal, at least, until we realize that for a lot of people it's a freaking weird thing to do.
Mrs. F and I have different last names too. Back in 1990, when we got married, we got the 20 questions routine all the time. For the record, the Mrs. was well-known in business circles before she met me and it would have been a hassle for everyone concerned to make the change. I personally didn't care one way or the other; she's my wife, I know it, she knows it, and that's all that counts. I think it's more fitting anyway (she's an independent woman in her own right and doesn't need to reflect my 'light'* to shine) and I really don't see the logic of changing a woman's name beside the fact it signifies 'ownership' of the woman by the man. I don't see many men taking their woman's last name, do you?
I figured that by now (close to 20 years later) different last names for spouses was common enough where it didn't raise an eyebrow anymore. Guess not.
*Yeah, yeah, I know. Leave the smart ass remarks in comments. Heh ...
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Mentally distressed veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan are being recruited for government tests on pharmaceutical drugs linked to suicide and other violent side effects, an investigation by ABC News and The Washington Times has found.
If the WT is involved, it means even the wingnuts are pissed-off at this one. Good. This kinda shit crosses party lines.
In one of the human experiments, involving the anti-smoking drug Chantix, Veterans Administration doctors waited more than three months before warning veterans about the possible serious side effects, including suicide and neuropsychiatric behavior.
"Lab rat, guinea pig, disposable hero," said former US Army sniper James Elliott in describing how he felt he was betrayed by the Veterans Administration.
As much as I've been helped by the VA, and they helped me save my own life, it's getting harder and harder for me to respect them. One unconscionable stupid fuck-up after another and so on and so on will do that.
Months after he began taking the drug, Elliott suffered a mental breakdown, experiencing a relapse of Iraq combat nightmares he blames on Chantix.
"They never told me that I was going to be suicidal, that I would cease sleeping. They never told me anything except this will help me quit smoking," Elliott told ABC News and The Washington Times.
On the night of February 5th, after consuming a few beers, Elliott says he "snapped" and left his home with a loaded gun.
Go read the rest of this.
Pfizer maintains that "the benefits of Chantix outweigh the risks" and that it continues to do further studies on the drug.
The FAA has prohibited commercial airline pilots from using Chantix because of its possible side effects.
Note to the next President: Barry, you fix this first thing. Clean house over there and get some Veterans in charge of it.
Crossposted at The American Patriot Institute.
John McCain pretends to be a reformer when a teevee camera is near. In reality has lived to protect the status quo with cover-ups and misdirection—and that is the extent of his record.
Like 2006, corruption is a big issue in 2008. It is impacting the Main Event and many Senate and House races.
And in September a corruption bomb will drop on the GOP.
And what about Mr. McCain?
Disaster. Who started this rumor that he was a war hero? Where does that come from, aside from himself? About his suffering in the prison war camp?
Everyone knows he was a prisoner of war in North Vietnam.
That’s what he tells us.
Why would you doubt him? He’s a graduate of Annapolis.
I know a lot of the Annapolis breed. Remember, I’m West Point, where I was born. My father went there.
So what does that have to do with the U.S. Naval Academy down in Annapolis?
The service universities keep track of each other, that’s all. They have views about each other. And they are very aware of social class and eventually money, since they usually marry it.
How, exactly, is your cousin Al Gore related to you?
They keep explaining it to me, and I keep forgetting.
What about your grandfather, Thomas Gore of Oklahoma ?
He invented the whole state. It was Indian territory. There was no state until Senator Gore.
How did you feel when you heard that Buckley died this year?
I thought hell is bound to be a livelier place, as he joins forever those whom he served in life, applauding their prejudices and fanning their hatred.
As irascible an old fart as ever at 82. There's hope for me yet.
[...] The reality is that the once independent-thinking McCain has by now completely remade himself into a prototypical, dumbed-down Republican Party stooge - one who plans to rely on the same GOP strategy that has been winning elections ever since Pat Buchanan and Dick Nixon cooked up a plan for cleaving the South back in 1968. Rather than serving up the "straight talk" he promises, McCain is enthusiastically jumping aboard with every low-rent, fearmongering, cock-sucking presidential aspirant who's ever traveled the Lee Atwater/William Safire highway.
Like Hillary Clinton, an erstwhile vilified liberal who remade herself as a flag-waving, Sixties-bashing champion of "hardworking Americans, white Americans" once the remarkable candidacy of Barack Obama forced her off her old turf, the one-time "insurgent" McCain has finally decided to sail with the wind at his back by going dumb and courting the same talk-radio demographic that used to despise him. What enables him to do so is a key insight: that while George W. Bush may be unpopular as an individual, fear and hatred in this country have never gone out of style.
Never mind that Iraq isn't exactly Vietnam, or that Barack Obama isn't Jane Fonda - what matters is that the Republicans nominated a wounded old soldier who now gets to spend the next five months trying to exorcise his personal demons, and this serendipitous circumstance fits nicely with the party's national strategy, despite the fact that pinning these old hurts on the likes of Obama makes no sense at all. Still, it's not hard to hear, in McCain's quasi-coherent rants, his bitterness at being abandoned to years of savage tortures while millions of little Hillarys and Bills and Obamas-in-training were getting high and balling each other during the Country Joe and the Fish set at Woodstock, instead of standing up and saluting the "winnable" war effort that got McCain sent to Vietnam in the first place.
Then as now, the crime of the Obama class in the eyes of a wronged veteran like McCain wasn't that they caused these wartime sufferings; it was that they didn't cheer them as righteous and necessary, and unhesitatingly support the sending of more soldiers to the same fate. In the present day, it is George Bush who got us into this new Vietnam-like mess and revived the specter of tortured prisoners, but McCain's anger isn't focused in that direction. He's not mad that it's happening again, not looking to blame the people who actually started the fire. Instead he seems re-energized by the fact that we are all back in that same hell, back to living the PTSD-inducing nightmare that McCain himself never got to leave - and if it takes dumbing down his act and playing to the Rush and Hannity crowd to give his story a happy ending this time around, he won't hesitate. So if you thought Hillary was bad, buckle your seat belts: The really dumb stuff is just beginning.
I certainly hope that the dumb fuck Americans Matt quotes in the article are in the minority. Yeah, there are a lot of them, but I pray there aren't enough this time.
THE outgoing top US military commander in Afghanistan has described the Taliban as "resurgent" after a week when 890 prisoners — including nearly 400 Taliban fighters — were freed in a jailbreak in Kandahar.
In the worst single attack on coalition forces in Afghanistan this year, four US marines were killed by a roadside bomb on Saturday. A fifth marine was wounded in the attack.
In a sober assessment, General Dan McNeill, who departed on June 3 after 16 months commanding NATO's International Security Assistance Force, or ISAF, said although record levels of foreign and Afghan troops had constrained repeated Taliban offensives, stabilising Afghanistan would be impossible without a more robust military campaign against insurgent havens in Pakistan.
Of course, this has nothing to do with the commitment and professionalism of our troops. This has everything to do with the leadership from 1600 and the politics of keeping them in power.
Of course, we should never have 'gone in' to Afghanistan to begin with. I wrote this a few months back:
According to the narrative we've heard since 11 September 2001, the nation of Afghanistan harbored Osama bin Laden and facilitated the attacks on the US. Fine. Why did we go in there saying 'we'll take out the Taliban, but we're gonna go over there and win hearts and minds'?
Let me explain something. You don't go to war worrying about winning hearts and minds. You go to war to break the enemy, pound him far enough so he surrenders. War is ugly, dirty, and a last resort but if you're gonna go, you have to go ugly and dirty. Why in Hell do you think they call it 'war'?
We should have blown Afghanistan to shit, period. Fuck the innocents, fuck everything and kill 'em all. Worry about building hearts and minds later. There should have been a horrible price exacted from them for attacking America. Instead, we have the mess we do now. We have guys in Hindu Kush getting killed using the same tactics the Mujaheddin used against the Russians. You don't go in to a war worrying about offending sensibilities. It's war for crying out loud.
As I said then, the Brits and the Russians learned the same lessons we're learning now. No one can occupy Afghanistan and no outsider can expect to operate like the people who were born and raised there. These people have been living this way for thousands of years and there is no way to bend them to our will, regardless of the puppet government we install, regardless of the amount of troops we have stationed there.
They have not paid the price for attacking the U.S. (or the Taliban would not have been able to pull off this jailbreak) and now we're footing the bill, monetarily (in both Afghanistan and Pakistan), in American lives, and in American prestige. In addition to the Iraq mess, we now have another quagmire on our hands. Ineptitude, ignorance, and delusion have been the watchwords of our military policy since 2001 and it will only get worse before 20 Jan 2009. We should have been out of Afghanistan by now and should have never gone into Iraq. I'm certain we will learn many more hard lessons before we wise up and go.
John McCain will continue this fiasco, and the one in Iraq, and America can't afford to pay the price. Afghanistan should be given the commitment it deserves, if we actually do want success there, or we should leave. Iraq was lost before it began. We cannot maintain the status quo and expect the American military, and the American economy, to survive.
Monday, June 16, 2008
MIDWEST HIT WITH FLOODS OF BIBLICAL PROPORTIONS
Bush promises to fly over region.
GOP Tries to Energize Base
Blocks windfall profits tax for oil companies.
Obama Embarks on 50 State Strategy
McCain embarks on 5 judge strategy.
Bush Says He'll Abide by Supreme Court Decision
Will spell out compliance in signing statement.
Bush Doesn't Want to Be Remembered as “Guy Really Anxious For War” in Iraq
Rather as “guy really anxious for war” in Iran.
Jump in Monthly Jobless Rate Highest in 22 Years
Bush: unemployed should tap into their trust funds.
Way too many good ones today. Go see.
“Mary had a little lamb / And when she saw it sicken / She shipped it off to Packingtown / And now it’s labeled chicken.”
Lately, however, there always seems to be at least one food-safety crisis in the headlines — tainted spinach, poisonous peanut butter and, currently, the attack of the killer tomatoes. The declining credibility of U.S. food regulation has even led to a foreign-policy crisis: there have been mass demonstrations in South Korea protesting the pro-American prime minister’s decision to allow imports of U.S. beef, banned after mad cow disease was detected in 2003.
How did America find itself back in The Jungle?
It started with ideology. Hard-core American conservatives have long idealized the Gilded Age, regarding everything that followed — not just the New Deal, but even the Progressive Era — as a great diversion from the true path of capitalism.
'The True Path of Capitalism' - kill as many as you want, there's more where those came from, just get the money!
Such hard-core opponents of regulation were once part of the political fringe, but with the rise of modern movement conservatism they moved into the corridors of power. They never had enough votes to abolish the F.D.A. or eliminate meat inspections, but they could and did set about making the agencies charged with ensuring food safety ineffective.
Perhaps even more important, however, was the systematic appointment of foxes to guard henhouses.
Ah, the True Path! Of Fascism as well as Capitalism.
But then, the same thing can be said of other cases in which the administration stood in the way of effective regulation. Most notably, the administration’s refusal to countenance any restraints on predatory lending helped prepare the ground for the subprime crisis, which has cost the financial industry far more than it ever made on overpriced loans.
The moral of this story is that failure to regulate effectively isn’t just bad for consumers, it’s bad for business.
The Predators couldn't care less about the future of 'business'. They want their profit now and the hell with tomorrow. It's shortsighted and fucks us all, but they're rich. End of story.
McCain's so called town halls are actually rallies hosted by the local Republican Party. The host, Chris Myers, identified himself as a local leader and claimed that New Jersey is going to go red because of the 2000 people in the gym. (About 1% of us were Obama supporters, someone held a sign up at the end, no one interrupted McCain's speech.) However if McCain can't fill a small gym in his only trip to New Jersey this month, his candidacy is in trouble.
The seating was staged. There were about 20 people with Veteran's hats and all were seated directly in line with McCain's podium in the front and back. Your cameras from home would make it appear that half the people there were veterans. In reality it was about 1%. Mixed into the Veterans was one angry woman who had a sign claiming she was a Hillary supporter voting McCain. This one sign was placed directly in the spot where the cameras were most likely to pick it up. She was planted there. It also appears that there was one singular woman who pulled the same stunt Thursday night at the so called Fox News McCain town hall meeting in New York. These people aren't real Clinton supporters, this too is staged.
Then Joe Lieberman took the stage claiming he was a Democrat (should have been a period there, I think - G) supporting John McCain while taking pot shots at Obama in vague terms. Joe is no Democrat. Then it was Tom Kean, the whitewasher of the 9/11 committee, trying to give McCain credit for the commission which McCain and Republicans have sandbagged the American people with. Then John McCain took the stage.
[...] Joe Lieberman and John McCain have been big reasons why Washington has failed the American people for the past 30 years so the more irrelevant they are, the better off the American people are.
You could see the veins in McCain starting to burst, he got very uncomfortable that his scripted rally just got derailed by this gentleman and then he ended the rally by thanking everyone and saying God Bless America.
Again, this was not a town hall meeting. If McCain wants tough questions he can come to Netroots Nation and be asked tough but fair questions for an hour.
I was disappointed I couldn't ask my two questions because I know I can inform people more about John MCCain in 10 minutes than the national media has in 10 years.
I can't wait 'til he tries this shit up against Obama! I'm layin' in a supply of popcorn and butter!
Historians see little chance for McCain
One week into the general election, the polls show a dead heat. But many presidential scholars doubt that John McCain stands much of a chance, if any.
Historians belonging to both parties offered a litany of historical comparisons that give little hope to the Republican. Several saw Barack Obama’s prospects as the most promising for a Democrat since Roosevelt trounced Hoover in 1932.
The article goes into a lot of whys and wherefors, but that's the happy gist of it.
As demonstrators clashed on the barricades to Whitehall today, George W Bush snuck into Downing Street via the St James Park entrance. Riot police blocked the road from Parliament Square to the park, but few realised what had happened anyway.
As the predictable speeches poured out of the pa one 'Socialist Party' stand even had a stab at flogging silkscreens of Che Guevara at a fiver a pop. Knocked out no doubt in some south asian sweatshop for pennies this surely wins a coconut for global capitalism.
No matter. At 6.45 celebs led a pre-arranged token march the fifty yards to the Whitehall barricade. Constables smirked, Stop the War having briefed them of their limited intent.
Others turned out to have different ideas. As placards and sticks flew, a determined mass pushed at the centre. Police jumped to secure the barriers but to no avail. Soon they were in the air flying over the police line's heads.
Cops responded with vicious baton blows. Fingers and heads bled, stabs were made to the stomachs, people fell to the floor but the crowd pushed on. A senior officer ran the line shouting "No Arrests, No Arrests, orders from the top".
Stop the War stewards now pushed to the front to try and calm matters. Ill briefed cops, not realising they were on the same side walloped them with sticks.
As dusk fell the TSG riot cops took the front line. The crowd responded with a sit down, punctuated with the odd punch up and, relative calm having being restored, the introduction of the usual snatch squads.
Bush came, Bush went, Brown probably got bitch slapped - hell, who knows how the Queen managed at tea.
The only thing we can positively relish it that it's the farewell tour and if we're lucky enough he'll stay alive 'till the end and we won't get 'Old Dick' Cheney in charge.
I got nothin' much to add to that except I'm hopin' B&C'll bunch up and get got with one round.
[...] Phil Griffin, the senior vice-president in charge of MSNBC ("Phil thinks he's my boss," Olbermann says), raised the matter of tone. Why did Olbermann need to end his commentary by telling the President of the United States to "shut the hell up"?
"Because I can't say, 'Shut the fuck up,' that's why, frankly," Olbermann responded. The line stayed in.
"Bill O'Reilly made Keith Olbermann," Phil Griffin says. Olbermann concurs, saying, "I really do owe him a percentage of my salary."
His bosses loved it. "I think we're onto something," the president of NBC News, Steve Capus, told me. "That's what we keep hearing from the audience, more and more, is that they appreciate that we have people who are actually speaking truth to power, or being transparent in their own personal viewpoints." That's another way of saying that liberals, after many failed attempts, seem finally to have found their own Bill O'Reilly. [...]
It's nice that ours isn't an out-and-out asshole, and has more brains to boot!
Griffin added that a certain level of stress is part of the job of managing Keith Olbermann. "You ride the horse, and you start winning, and then all of a sudden you're off. And we're just riding, full speed. And it can be a dangerous ride."
Some advice about 'dangerous rides' from one who knows: stay sober, crank it full bore, look where you want to go, and don't let go of the handlebars.
Once a staple in the workplace and the quintessential Father's Day gift, the necktie has seen its popularity wane as many men have opted to ditch the decorative collar accessory in favor of a more laid-back look.
The sentiment is vastly different from the attitude of the 1950s where neckties were common workplace attire, and even Ward Cleaver wore a necktie at home as the father that always knows best on the television show "Leave It To Beaver."
I am a big fan of the necktie and dressing for dinner. It's the way I was brought up, dad was a businessman and my parents used to have dinner parties here (in the 60s and 70s) for his clients and contacts. Looking back at it, it was very Ricky and Lucy (though without the schtick), drinks and cigarettes (everybody smoked back then) before dinner, gathering around the table, and then more drinks and cigarettes after dessert.
The men aways wore jackets and ties and the ladies wore dresses. I, as a little kid, was also dressed, usually in a bowtie and jacket. I guess it stuck. You won't catch me out in a restaurant without a jacket and tie on. My tie collection grows bigger yearly (I have a thing for wild ties and whenever I see one I get it) and must number around a hundred. Another part of it is, I think, that I wear shitty clothes to work (I'm a mechanic, for those who don't know) every day and it's a refreshing change to dress humanly on the weekends.
It's a shame to hear people are not wearing them anymore but that won't change anything (except maybe make a good tie more expensive). I got my own style and I don't change for trends.
Great thanks to El Comandante for the link.
Sunday, June 15, 2008
Go see Times Online:
At 61, Emmylou Harris is still the drop-dead-gorgeous queen of country rock. But behind closed doors the singer has sad secrets to reveal
I love and respect Ms. Harris enough that I ain't even gonna make a cheap joke about 'Emmylou' and 'behind closed doors' in the same sentence. Some things are too sacred and even a dirty ol' man like me won't do.
The Times Online article is excellent. Don't miss it. I've said it before and I'll say it again - thank the stars for the foreign press.
"OK God, let me put up on the screen one of the key Commandments you handed down: 'Thou Shalt Not Kill.' But how do you square that with all the hurricanes, floods, and other natural disasters that you yourself have created?"
One can only imagine God's answer to a typical seemingly-hardball-yet-really-softball trademark Timmeh question. Here's a couple I came up with:
"Do as I say and not as I do." (Maybe God's a Repuglican after all! If there really is a God, we're screwed. Heh.)
"I made you as toys and I can play with you any way I want to. So there!"
"I changed my mind, asshole. So sue me."
"I don't even really exist. You idiots made me up in your own likeness to give power over yourselves to others in hope of giving meaning to your worthless little lives and have a fantasy that you'll live on after the worms are done with you. Morons!"
I could go on and on. It's too easy. We have some truly twisted minds out there, valued readers all, whom I ask to please add your own in 'comments'. Let 'er rip!
If there's pain at the pump in the U.S., Mexico may just have a remedy. A gallon of regular unleaded gasoline in San Diego retails for an average price of $4.61 a gallon. A few miles south, in Tijuana, it's about $2.54 — even less if you pay in pesos.
The lower prices mean a U.S. motorist could save almost $54 filling up a two-year-old Ford F150 pickup with a 26-gallon fuel tank in Mexico.
The differential in diesel is even greater, selling at $5.04 a gallon in San Diego County and $2.20 in Tijuana.
Gas is cheaper in Mexico because of a government subsidy intended to keep inflationary forces in check. (my em)
That would never happen here, of course. Our subsidies are designed to profit the oil companies twice - at the pump as well as from our tax money. Fuck us. Besides, we as taxpayers and consumers are expected to fund both sides in Bush's War On Terror to perpetuate it.
A word of caution about Mexican gas: I have replaced more than one set of pistons in motorcycles because of that stuff. Bikes are more highly tuned for performance than cars, and modern engine management systems can probably handle it just fine (Fixer? 'Nucks?), but I would say if your engine starts sounding like gravel rattlin' around in a tin can, put in some American gas quick. It's cheaper than an engine job.
In the French imagination, Barack Obama is already the president.
To the French, the Democratic primary was the general election.
The word “elite” is not a pejorative here; it’s a compliment. It does not occur to Parisians that Americans will choose the old, white-haired one if they can have the cool, skinny one with the Ray-Bans, John le Carré novels, chic wife and secret cigarettes.
In Old Europe, they’ve moved on, assuming that the American president has done all the damage that he can do. The blazing hostility toward W. has faded to indifference and a sort of fatigued perplexity about how les imbeciles de regime cowboy got into office, and how America could have put the world through all this craziness.
Ze Grenouilles, zey are, how you say, wrongamundo. Bush has plenty of time left to fuck things up even more and no doubt intends to do so.
Paris responded with a yawn. (Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to say.) A Bush organizer asked people sitting in the back of the hall to move to the front, so the empty seats would not be visible on TV. The image of the U.S. abroad has improved slightly, according to a new Pew poll, but only in anticipation of seeing the back of this president.
It's nice to see MoDo come out of her petty snarkiness now that the Dem primary is over. Or at least direct it to better effect. Maybe the hot flashes have passed...
The ludicrous idea that votes from Clinton supporters would somehow make up for McCain defectors is merely the latest fairy tale brought to you by those same Washington soothsayers who said Fred Thompson was the man to beat and that young people don’t turn up to vote.
Also those who say the Earth is flat and don't sail off the edge.
Happy Father's Day to Daddy Frank and all you otha fathas out there.