Monday, December 30, 2013

Oh, the irony...

Ironic Times. Go see this one. Heh.

China Rejects 546,000 Tons of U.S. Grain Because It Contains Genetically Modified Material
Really? China?

Real Estate Agents Using Drones to Show Clients Houses, Neighborhoods
Can hover inside homes, peruse owners' financial papers, determine how desperate they are to sell.

Obama Calls Broccoli His Favorite Food
After meeting with his favorite person, John Boehner.
Heh.


Obama, on Vacation in Hawaii,
Attends “Choom Gang” Reunion

Michelle says she hasn't seen him in days.

Heh. Takes days to get to Colorado for OTC ganja. And remember to go back...

Polar Opposites

As a lifelong Californio I'm down wid being the polar opposite of Texass. Interesting read in WaPo.

Headline:

Texas, California embody red-blue divide
Last line:

More than any other pair of states, they stand as proxies for the national debate about the size and shape of government and which direction a divided America should go in the future.
Comments:

Here is the problem with moving to Texas,,, You would have to live there.
...

I have visited Bakersfield in the '50's ... there was a sign on the front of a store stating No CHINESE, BLACKS OR INDIANS, DOGS ARE WELCOME ... and I would still take Bakersfield over Texass ...
Heh. Much more.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas


l-r Gordon & Maggie, Santa & Roxie, Mrs. G. (Diane)
Click to emhugen!

Photo courtesy of the Nevada Humane Society in Reno for a dirt cheap $5 donation. Santa was mandatory, no choice of colors. I broke out a brand new flannel shirt just for you, Brain readers.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Oh, the irony...

Ironic Times

NORTH KOREA SENDS THREATENING FAX TO SOUTH KOREA
Follow-up to last week's threatening singing telegram.

Ted Cruz's Coloring Book No. 1 Among All Coloring Books on Amazon
If presidential election were held today, Cruz would beat SpongeBob.
Our loss. SpongeBob would be a better President.

Pastor Who Kept Predicting Rapture Dies
They found his clothes right where he'd been standing.

Google Buys Company That Makes Military Robots
When they start buying aircraft carriers it's time to worry.
Too late:

Google barge mystery unfurled

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Saturday Emmylou Blogging

Published on Dec 13, 2013
Emmylou Harris,
"Mister Sandman".
Kultnacht, ZDF German TV, 1981.

Thanks to JadeDiscoHD.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Please forgive me...

..for the light-to-none blogging. There ain't much poppin' my cork lately. I guess I've grown kinda numb to all the Repug outrage which has turned into sort of a constant low hum like the machinery noise on a ship. Without it, it would be quiet .... too quiet, and then I'd be worried. Heh. I'm sure this will change so please check in once in a while.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Won’t you please help Liz Cheney save America from evil liberal John McCain?

This is just for fun. TBogg:

In our continuing series on the Dick Dynasty that is la famiglia Cheney we are getting fan-mail from the floundering campaign of Elizabeth “Liz, Not Lez” Cheney whom you may know as Daddy’s Little Deferment or, if you’ve seen her on the teevee machine: Princess Snarlyface. In order to defeat left-wing anarchist Mike Enzi (whose last name sounds suspiciously foreign and, in fact, contains important letters that you would need to spell out the last name of Bartolomeo Vanzetti. Coincidence? Doubtful.) Liz needs you to send her your Christmas Club money before you blow it on presents and food for the kids. (Helpful hint from McDonalds: Happy Meals contain both a toy and “food”, so you’re covered). What is Liz Cheney going to do with this money? I’m glad you asked because now I have something to do with this Very Important email that LIZ CHENEY PERSONALLY SENT TO ME because we are BFF’s even though she blocks me on Twitter which is probably an oversight or something and we will undoubtedly laugh and laugh about it someday.
...

As you can see my friend Liz is under attack from “a shadowy, out-of-state Super PAC” which has launched “a dishonest smear campaign to distort my her record” and by “shadowy out-of-state Super PAC” she means “communist homosexual foreigners” which is also just her nice way of saying “people from New York City”. And these same people are like the ones who tried to elect evil secret-liberal John McCain who Manchurian-candidated his way onto the 2008 GOP ticket and then blew the whole campaign up by picking Sarah Palin as his running mate which reminded people in America that our national elections were established for the purpose of maintaining an orderly transition of power and not as a murder/suicide pact in an abandoned car parked behind a Circle K (also knows as a “Wasilla Divorce”) (my em). I mean, c’mon, McCain had to find some way to lose to a black guy. So, yeah, genius move. Well played, Johnny Mac. Not that Liz Cheney didn’t think something was up at the time.

But that was then and this is now, and these carpetbagging donors are trying to prevent carpetbagging Liz Cheney from claiming her rightful throne as the Cowboy Queen of Wyoming and she needs people like you and me who do not live in her state to give her money because when we give her our out-of-state money it is totally different because shut up. [...]
...

I am SO DISAPPOINTED because I have always wanted to meet undead-thing Dick Cheney and get to poke his unnaturally cool waxy skin and watch and see if floral arrangements wilt and die in his wake like so many Iraqi orphans. Wait til Liz hears my e-vite never showed. She’ll be mortified. I bet she sends me a nice hand-written note of apology.

And then we’ll laugh and laugh about it someday…
I...I...I have nothing to add!

Headline of the Day

New Obama Adviser Calls House Republicans A 'Cult Worthy Of Jonestown'
Quit screwin' around and get to drinkin' the "special recipe" Kool-aid, willya?

Monday, December 16, 2013

Oh, the irony...

Ironic Times

FAKE SIGN LANGUAGE INTERPRETER FROM MANDELA MEMORIAL HIRED BY OAKLAND ATHLETICS
As their third base coach.

House Republicans Criticize Iran Deal
Fear possible outbreak of peace.
And the resultant loss of profit to their major donors.

World's Largest Ship Launches
Owned by Shell, it will transport vast amounts of oil from autocrats to plutocrats.

With Rules Changes, Your Odds of Winning the Lottery Sink from 1 in 176 Million to 1 in 259 Million
You have a better chance of being struck by lightning while being bitten by a shark.
Odds slightly worse if you don't buy a ticket.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

How George W. Bush failed the GOP

How didn't he? And I'm glad he did. NOT glad for what he did.

Rachel Maddow

In the eight years of the George W. Bush administration, no hearty saplings were ever able to take root in the shade of that big tree. No one expected Vice President Dick Cheney to ever be a contender for the presidency — part of his effectiveness was his willingness to say and do very unpopular things. When he snapped at ABC’s Martha Raddatz, “So?” as she questioned him about public disapproval of the Iraq war, he wrote the perfect epitaph for his vice presidency.
...

The unpopular presidency of George W. Bush has proved to be a blackball on the résumés of a generation of Republican leaders. Maybe Cheney’s daughter Liz will break the pattern next year with a successful Senate bid in Wyoming, but if you made it through that sentence without spitting coffee out your nose, you’re in rare company.

The fascinating turmoil in the Republican Party since 2008 is not just a personnel problem — it’s also ideological. If you were putting together a legacy to inspire the next generation of conservatives, you wouldn’t pick the Bush administration’s trailing ends of land wars, budget deficits, torture, a crusade against gay rights and a financial collapse to rival the Great Depression. The isolationism and libertarian iconography of the Ron Paul wing of the party really does appeal to young people more than Bush-Cheney Republicanism. Social conservatives really do feel backed into a corner and ready to fight against a country that is turning against them faster than most pollsters can keep up. There really is something ripe for renewal in Republicans’ self-conception as fiscal conservatives, when the clear pattern is that budget deficits grow under Republicans and shrink under Democrats. The Republican Party is a churning swirl of conflicting ideological currents, and that’s going to take some time to work out.

But part of the reason it may be taking so long already is those lost years: the period from 2000 to 2008 that effectively obviated the authority and the leadership potential of all of Washington’s Republican elites. The George W. Bush administration didn’t just cast too much shade on the next generation of leadership — it also apparently poisoned the ground.
It poisoned the whole fucking nation and it will take decades, if not generations, to repair itself.

Inside the White House, the task of growing one’s own successors must seem like one of the less pressing items on the president’s long daily to-do list. But the previous administration’s trail of scorched earth and exiles has curtailed the prospects for the Republican Party and governing conservatism more profoundly than almost anything that administration pursued in terms of policy. It is a cautionary tale that Democrats and the Obama White House should heed sooner rather than later. Grow your successors, nurture your legacy.
Bush's failures were the culmination of failed Repug policies that started under Nixon, accelerated under Reagan, and hit overdrive under Bush, who drove us into the ditch at top speed. We probably would have been OK after 9/11 were it not for his weakness to go along with Cheney's criminal Iraq war. The things he did as the most incompetent President in our history were terrible to be sure, but it put an end forever to Turdblossom's "permanent Republican majority" and for that small silver lining we should be thankful.

And for this: the next Repug President hasn't been born yet.

Saturday Emmylou Blogging

From Prague concert

Thanks to 1000Magicians, UK.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Thursday, December 12, 2013

The Wars On Xmas And The Pope

Pretty entertaining take on this sheer right-wing idiocy from The Everlasting GOP Stoppers.

Limbaugh took out his dog whistle, tuned it, and patiently whistled to the rabble of dittoheads, “Here’s the deal. The Reagan coalition used poor white Christians to vote for rich, white libertarians. We scared up their votes using phony culture war outrage so that we could get rich capitalists into office to shred the New Deal and suck all the wealth up to the top. Then we wanted government welfare for the richest and their largest corporations, paid for by the poor and middle class. It took 30 years, but we’ve finally done it, and we’re not about to turn back now. This Pope is a serious threat to the American right, because the Church naturally splits the uprights between America’s social conservatives and economic liberals. For decades, the Catholic Church has been focusing on social conservatism. If this Pope switches to focusing on economic liberalism, as Jesus did, and if this becomes a new norm for the Church, it could eventually siphon off our voters. Even a small percentage of Christian voters flipped from the baloney culture war to the very real class war could devastate the GOP. And if this Catholic ethos were to seep into American evangelical churches, the Republican Party would go the way of the Whig Party. That is why we are desperately smearing him.”

The Tea Partiers clutched crosses and guns to their chests and nodded solemnly as their patriotic Confederate flags flapped in the nippy December breeze.

Just ... go.

Obama and the harsh reality check

If it's Thursday, yesterday must have been Morford on Obama.

You want the good news, or the wincingly bleak news that makes you shudder and sigh and wish you didn’t have such sad dreams? You want a bit of both? You should probably hear a bit of both.

Because here’s the thing: He did more or less what he said he was going to do – so far, anyway – which was to end Bush’s devastatingly stupid war(s), re-establish America as a respectable force in world affairs, orate in complete sentences so as not embarrass the nation on the international stage at every turn, shift the race discussion to the next level, enact at least some modest education reform, protect women’s rights, defend the middle class, slap back the GOP’s toxic plot to rule American politics for the next 75 years, and usher in an impossibly variegated, increasingly messy era of barely controlled, women-empowered, multicultural chaos in which old, fear-soaked white men no longer control every election, industry, media, cultural discussion, power source and hunk of propaganda in the nation.
...

I will never be so naive or cynical to say it doesn’t matter which party is in office (God forbid we were in a McCain or Romney presidency right now) (my em), but step back far enough and it’s more of a frothy sea of inbred powerbrokers than ever, and Obama, despite all hopes to the contrary, stands right at the helm of the ship.

Not that he necessarily wants to be there. This is easily the most acidic, obstructionist GOP in a generation, a mean-spirited, leprous party full of barely veiled racists and Tea Party wing-nuts willing to sacrifice any core value, constituent, legal precedent, national monument or social service just to undermine Obama and block him from enacting even the most basic functions and services. This appears to be the one over-arcing rule: The smart black guy can never win. No. Matter. What.

It’s true, isn’t it? America has never seen a minority party so openly hateful of a sitting president, one who is at once far more intelligent and articulate than them, but somehow, infuriatingly, far less willing/able to use that intelligence to beat them back like a pack of gun-toting monkeys. Strange.

All of which is to say: What to make of the guy, really?

More.

I'm still down wid da O-Man. Has he done things I don't like? Yes. Has he done things I do like? Yes. Enough of them? No.

The things he has done were with a Democratic-controlled Senate and House. Doing anything significant with the whiny, petty, fearful, obstructionist, racist, and hater present House GOP is like shoveling shit against the tide.

They haven't drowned his black ass yet. Let's give him another Democratic House in '14 and see what happens.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

My Civic Duty Calls

Got tagged for jury duty. Jury selection this morning. See yas.

Update:

Part of my Facebook exchange with Fixer:

I did not get selected for the jury. Didn't even get seated for selection. Doesn't matter, I'm opinionated enough I coulda had the defense attorney and the prosecutor fist fight to see which one of them got to throw me out. Heh. It was an ADW and attempted murder case, both felonies. I tend to think the prosecutor overcharged to get the defendant to plead down to ADW when it probably should have been misdemeanor battery and the guy didn't fall for it so it goes to trial. I'm just guessing at that. I don't like prosecutors very much.

I sat there with my hand cupped to me ear so I could hear which I mostly couldn't anyway so the bailiff issued me a Phonic Ear which picks up transmissions from the various microphones scattered about the courtroom. At least it didn't say "Old Fart Hearing Aid" on it. I think people are just talking more quietly than they used to...
about an hour ago · Like

Fixer Don't get me started on DAs. My mother got out of jury duty by being half-deaf. The judge asked her "Mrs. Wood, if you're seated on the jury, would you be able to hear properly?" My mother's response "if they talk into my good ear I can." Mom was like that. Heh ...
about an hour ago · Like

Gordon That was my Plan C or D too. Heh.
about an hour ago · Like · 1

Gordon The judge asked the folks if there was any medical reason they couldn't serve on a jury. My answers would have been "not since I got my medical pot card" and/or "extreme flatulence".
44 minutes ago · Like · 1

Fixer I'm sure you'd have been happy to give a demonstration.
43 minutes ago · Unlike · 1

Gordon Did sneak in a coupla SBDs. Coulda turned the volume up if if I'da had to.
46 minutes ago · Like · 1

All in all, a good day.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Right = Wrong

Conservatives on the Wrong Side of History on Mandela, Most Other Things
We've known it for years.

When has the American right ever — ever — been on the right side of history?

The answer is almost never.
...

Consider the great political earthquakes throughout history and imagine the contemporaneous—not retrospective, as we are seeing in these phony paeans to Mandela, but in-the-moment—conservative posture. The conservative position was wrong nearly every time — not just wrong, but often morally shocking from our later perspective.
...

Do you support the American Revolution? I should hope so. You would not have, however, had you been a conservative in 1785. American Loyalists, perhaps 20 percent of the white population of the day, were devoted to king and crown for mostly the usual reasons: They were older, better established, had more money, were scared of change.

How about the abolition of slavery? I reckon you’re on board with that. Well, Lord knows you wouldn’t have been if you’d been among the 1860 conservatives who started a war over it (and whose apologists today insist the Civil War was not about slavery).

In terms of domestic politics, few polemical tasks are easier than demonstrating how wrong conservatism has been about pretty much everything in all of American history.
Sadly, a tradition that continues. Much more. Read on.

GOP Guide: 'How To Talk To Women'

Or "How To Never Get Laid Again!" Via TPM.

Thanks to americanbridge21st.

Quote of the Day

From History Palinized:

If you could turn stupid into a fuel, you could use Sarah Palin to leave the Solar System.
Too late. She's already left it. Heh.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Light blogging today

I'm having trouble with my internet connection today. Loads very slow and cannot click through to very much. Better than yesterday but not much. I suspect a frozen server somewhere. We'll see how it goes. Later.

Update:

It was my router interfering with the connection. Unhooked it. OK now.

Oh, the irony...

Ironic Times

On Her Birthday, Republican National Committee Tweet Honors Rosa Parks for “Ending Racism”
And making civil rights movement unnecessary.
Dildoes, the lot of 'em.

Swedish TV Show “Biss och Kajs” (Wee-Wee and Poo-Poo) Educates Children About Bodily Functions
Late night show “Such och Foch” does similar for adults.

Report: Federal Register, a Government Agency, Still Uses Floppy Disks
It's the only agency whose data is secure.

Bob Dylan's Electric Guitar From 1965 Newport Folk Festival Sells for $965,000
To an anonymous old folkie who plans to “burn it to a crisp.”
Heh. Yeah, there are still folks who are pissed off about him going electric.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Saturday Emmylou Blogging

No info but it looks like it's from the Transatlantic Sessions.

Mary Black and Emmylou Harris ~ The Loving Time
Thanks to Michael Martins.

Note: YouTube went down while I was posting this. If no video, please check back later.

Friday, December 6, 2013

The GOP’s ‘Hey Ladies, Me Love You Long Time!’ outreach is probably gonna fail big time

TBogg, many, many links.

The GOP is taking great pains to prove to the wimmins of America that, despite their fumbling attempts to transvaginal-wand love the gals for their own good, they are super cool with other things that the ladies want as long as it doesn’t have anything to do with equal pay (including for their own), or talking about their vaginas, or destroying the First Amendment with those aforementioned vaginas. Which leaves the GOP with only forcing approving of women having lots more babies who might grow up to be another Louie Gohmert, not holding down jobs to ensure that their kids don’t become manic bomb-building pixiechildren, and probably taking time out to watch a Lifetime movie or two during the week as long as it doesn’t disrupt sammich making.

So this week the GOP is sending everyone to Camp Justwannacuddle to demystify the baffling ways of these mysterious kitchen-dwelling creatures so that they don’t startle and scare them away when attempting to woo them for their valuable votes and trust and also probably their boobs.
I think it was Jon Stewart or Stephen Colbert who said the GOP approached women and the women got a restraining order. Heh.

The Repugs' idea of "outreach" is to keep the ideology the same but on the down low while they sweet-talk the wimmens with lies. The Repugs are gonna get their asses handed to them. Rightly so.

The Worst Reactions to Nelson Mandela's Death

Lest we think he was universally admired as he should be.


Mother Jones, with links and video.

Yes, some of the reactions to Nelson Mandela's death have been less than ideal. As a few have pointed out, the comments on, say, this National Review blog post or Sen. Ted Cruz's Facebook page regarding Mandela (the guy was a commie, racist murderer, yada yada) are fairly disgusting. To be fair, some commenters on the internet are always nasty and dumb, whatever the topic. But how about people who (maybe?) should know better? Here are the worst reactions to Mandela's passing, courtesy of…

1. Rick Santorum: With a straight face, the former Republican senator and failed presidential candidate, who is now making pro-Christian movies, compared Mandela's long struggle against the apartheid regime to Republicans' battle against…Obamacare: "He was fighting against some…great injustice," Santorum said on Fox News yesterday, "and I would make the argument that we have a great injustice going on right now in this country with an ever-increasing size of government that is taking over and controlling people's lives, and Obamacare is front and center in that."
His Mixture is extra Frothy on that one.

And for good measure:

Ted Cruz posts Mandela tribute on Facebook. His fans go crazy.

That's a little off. His fans are crazy. This time they're meaner, nastier, and dumber than usual.

RIP Nelson Mandela


Being Liberal

There are many people in America who have no moral right to quote Nelson Mandela and ride the sudden wave of interest about him... If you have ever been supporting George W. Bush and his War in Iraq you are entitled to share Mandela's memes ONLY with a public admission that you were wrong... The best way to honor Mandela's Legacy would be to listen to wise men in the USA AND around the World BEFORE they die...
Fat fuckin' chance.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Vindicated Arctic Scientist Retires With Cash Settlement

YubaNet

Washington, DC December 4, 2013 — The federal scientist whose sightings of drowned polar bears galvanized public understanding of climate change in the Arctic has retired as part of a settlement of his whistleblower complaint against the U.S. Department of Interior. The agreement, posted today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), ends a benighted attempt to officially punish and intimidate scientists for the political implications of their work.
...

Following its inability to identify any scientific error, BOEM ultimately issued Dr. Monnett a letter of reprimand, the lowest level of discipline, for a series of five emails he sent to outside individuals in 2007 and 2008 – actions the agency had known about since before the IG investigation but never acted upon. Through PEER, Dr. Monnett filed a whistleblower complaint with the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) on several grounds, including that the emails documented BOEM legal violations in trying to ram through Arctic offshore drilling permits that were later thrown out in court.
...

"This agency attempted to silence me, discredit me and our work and send a chilling message to other scientists at a key time when permits for oil and gas exploration in the Arctic were being considered. They failed on the first two goals, but I believe that what they did to me did make others afraid to speak up, even internally. Following over two years of hell for me and my family, my name has been cleared and the accusations against the scientific findings in our paper have been shown to be groundless" Monnett said. "However, I can no longer in good conscience work for an agency that promotes dishonesty, punishes those who actually stand up for scientific integrity, and that cannot tolerate scientific work not pre-shaped to serve its agenda." (my em)
...

[...] "If there was any doubt, the five-year employment ban on such a well-qualified, award-winning scientist makes it unmistakably clear that independent scientific views are not welcome in any corner of the Department of Interior."
Score one tiny one for us "warmers". The Department of the Interior needs a thorough cleansing.

The Last Dead Nazi

A 'must read' by William Rivers Pitt.

Heinrich Boere, known Nazi, known murderer, known collaborator with the filthiest tide to ever wash up on the human shore, is dead. He was not the worst of them, but he was willingly one of them. He did not die free, but in fetters on a prison bed without even his own mind left to him. More than some would say it was a better death than he deserved. Most would say that justice, at least to some degree, was finally served.
...

In my own way, I mourn the passing of Heinrich Boere. Not because of what he believed or what he did; were I able, I would spit on his grave...and then light a candle, and stand a vigil, because Heinrich Boere is important to us all. When men like Heinrich Boere die, we are one step closer to forgetting that men like him lived at all, one step closer to forgetting that party-sponsored murder gangs like the Waffen SS ever existed, one step closer to forgetting that hate-fueled thuggery thrives in economic chaos, can take over, and can wreak bloody havoc.

When men like Heinrich Boere die, we are one step closer to having men like Heinrich Boere among us again, because we forget what they did when they are gone, and by forgetting, we allow them to live again. Sooner or later, inevitably, they rise when we forget.
...

It was George Santayana who said, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." Heinrich Boere is dead. Long live Heinrich Boere.

Do not forget him. If we do, we will have to do him all over again. And again. And again.

And again.
If it was up to me, neo-Nazis and those who, by any name, espouse Nazi thought or display Nazi symbols would be shot on sight, 1st Amendment be damned.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Headline of the Day

R.I.P. Obamacare repeal movement: Crusade is officially dead
Thank goodness, but there was never any doubt it would fail to succeed. Maybe the colossally overpaid Repug pols could go on to something more worthwhile now. Like Benghazi. Heh.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Oh, the irony...

Ironic Times

John Boehner Gets Health Insurance Under Obamacare
Hell freezes over.
Heh.

Limbaugh: Pope “Sounds Like a Communist”
Pope: Limbaugh “sounds like a big fat idiot.”

Report: FBI Kept Tabs on Existentialists Jean-Paul Sartre, Albert Camus
At one point J. Edgar Hoover himself met with Sartre, disguised as Simone de Beauvoir.
Afghan Opium Harvest Up 50%
Your tax dollars at work.
That's a helluva lot better use than some of our tax money goes for, like House GOP salaries.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Saturday Emmylou Blogging

Published on Nov 23, 2013

This is how I interpreted Emmylou Harris' song "Red dirt girl" in painted pictures. First I drew the story about the girl on sheets of paper, then I coloured it with water colour painting, and finally I corrected the colours in photoshop. I tried to bring up a very gloomy feeling in the last pages, and I hope the leaves illustrate her situation well. Lots of work, and I really hope you like it!

An interesting noir treatment. Yes, I like it. She got a '49 Indian Arrow pretty close too.

Thanks to Aina Rønningen.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Headin' out...

We're going out to the coast today to spend T'giving with Mrs. G's family like we always do. Posting will be light.

I'll leave you with this:

John F. Kennedy's Prophetic Rebuke of Tea Party Politics

In the speech he never got to give, the slain president spoke out against right-wing irrationality
Probably one of the reasons he got shot. See yas.

Monday, November 25, 2013

The Long Shadow Of Iran Contra

Charles P. Pierce on the Iran deal.

I am a simple man. Years ago, I made it a policy of mine that I would approve of any deal with Iran so long as it didn't involve selling missiles to the mullahs. I developed this policy in January of 1981, when I was in Washington covering the inauguration of President Ronald Reagan, and the Iranians, in one last attempt to stick it to Jimmy Carter, refused to release the remaining American hostages until Reagan had taken office. Almost immediately, the propagandists in the employ of the new president started floating to a credulous media that the Iranians had done so because they were terrified of the awesome awesomeness of Ronald Reagan. Turns out, of course, that they did it in exchange for Reagan's unfreezing their American assets and also because Reagan's people opened up a yard sale at the Pentagon where the Iranians could get good deals on TOW missiles. Ronald Reagan, as we all know, would never negotiate with -- let alone sell weapons to -- nations that sponsored terrorism. That is why Ronald Reagan was a great man who has many large and ugly buildings named after him.

(Whether or not these deals were cut by officials of the Reagan campaign prior to the election -- in other words, whether or not Bill Casey et. al. committed something like treason by undermining American foreign policy in order to win an election -- is still very much an open question. But there were, ahem, precedents.)

Consequently, I am very happy with the deal struck over the weekend between certain western powers and Iran as regards the latter's nuclear programs. Nobody is selling weapons to a country that sponsored the killing of our Marines. (Also, nobody is flying around the world acting like a jackass carrying a Bible and a cake shaped like a key. Bonus!) To me, this makes this a good deal, but the bar is obviously set pretty low. Call it the Ollie North Meridian. Also, consequently, I am less than saddened by the howling of the Republicans, especially those who were old enough to have been around when Reagan and his people sold those missiles and who never have purged their party's foreign-policy establishment of the people who thought it was a swell idea. (The Bush State Department, especially the parts of it that dealt with Central America and the Middle East, was like an Iran-Contra Old-Timers Game. Recall especially that the egregious "minority report" of the congressional Iran-Contra investigation -- the report that pretty much argued that Reagan could've sold the missiles to Khomeini personally -- was written by a rising young authoritarian lycanthrope named Richard Cheney.) Nor am I particularly saddened by the various Democrats -- Chuck Schumer, come on down! -- who are posturing for the cameras. Suffice it to say I never really cared what Bibi Netanyahu's opinion was on anything.

Iran is what we still had for a Soviet Union after the wall fell. [...]
...

To me, the unsatisfactory denouement to Iran-Contra remains the great lost opportunity a) to rein in the executive branch's ability to conduct off-the-books imperial adventurism, and b) to break the power of the neoconservative intelligentsia in matters of foreign policy, especially in west Asia. A few criminal complaints that stuck -- and an impeachment inquiry into both the president and vice-president -- would have done the job nicely. Alas, the very serious people of the day assumed we were all made of spun sugar and far too delicate to know precisely how criminal our leaders had become. This treaty represents a new paradigm, a rejection of what had become the old norms, some of which were downright idiotic. It is possible that this treaty, and what may or may not come after it, signals an end to that long era of covert adventurism and criminal mischief (my em). If that is the case, then this deal is more than worth the inevitable caterwauling that already has erupted. At least, Kerry didn't get on the plane with TOW missiles and a cake.
The warmongers' heads are exploding. Fine with me. As Churchill said. "better jaw-jaw than war-war".

Update:

From a piece by Juan Cole:

The decade-long Neoconservative plot to take the United States to war against Iran appears to have been foiled.
...

In 2003, the Neocon chickenhawks, most of whom had never worn a uniform or had a parent who did, joked that “everyone wants to go to Baghdad; real men want to go to Tehran.” When people have to talk about being “real men,” it is a pretty good sign that they are 98-pound weaklings.

The “everyone” who wanted to go to Baghdad was actually just the Neocons and their fellow travelers. Most of the latter were hoodwinked by the Neocon/Cheney misinformation campaign blaming Saddam Hussein of Iraq for 9/11. [...]
Mr. Cole is a little long-winded and knows whereof he speaks. Go read.

Update II:

Obama Crushes the Neocons

[...] And perhaps most important of all in psychic terms to the neocons, there is contemplation of the hideous reality that Obama and the path of negotiation just might work. This is the thing the neocons can’t come to terms with at all. If Obama succeeds here, their entire worldview is discredited. Check that; even more discredited.

Rouhani appears to be moving his right wing a bit. Ours, alas, isn’t nearly so flexible as Iran’s.
Sadly.

Oh, the irony...

Ironic Times

From the Latest Headlines crawl:

Self-driving car stolen by invisible man

SENATE MAJORITY VOTES TO REMOVE TED CRUZ'S TONGUE
Vote goes along party lines.

Congressman Caught With Cocaine Backed GOP Plan to Drug-Test Food Stamp Recipients
Didn't want them using food stamps to drive up the price of his drugs.

Clarence Thomas Describes His Appointment to Supreme Court as “Totally Forrest Gump”
Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know when a completely unqualified guy with a history of sexual harassment is going to be nominated.
Best case going against Affirmative Action hiring.

Report: 2022 World Cup Stadiums in Dubai Being Built by Forced Labor
But nine years from now each of those forced laborers, or their next of kin, will receive a free ticket to an early round game.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Saturday Emmylou Blogging

Published on Nov 17, 2013
From Pop Goes The Country 1980

Thanks to 1000Magicians, UK.

Friday, November 22, 2013

JFK 50 Years On

Charles P. Pierce on JFK's assassination.

The murder of John Kennedy in broad daylight in the streets of an American city remains, to me, an unsolved crime. I do not accept the notion that the Warren Commission, created to allay public panic and not to investigate, and composed of wise men from Washington who had made careers out of knowing more than they ever would tell, somehow still managed to stumble onto the correct interpretation of all of the events of that surreal weekend. (Hell, Allen Dulles was on that Commission and Kennedy had fired his lying ass less than a year earlier.) I stopped believing in the Warren Commission even before it was put together. I stopped believing in the Warren Commission when I sat on my living room floor and watched the accused murderer of the president get gunned down on live TV in a roomful of Dallas cops. I stopped believing in the Warren Commission when I watched a lynching with my parents while the dead president was lying in state in the White House and as the country went numb around me.

The Warren Commission was a natural outgrowth of a mentality that had infected the government from the moment that the government decided that it would build, in secret, a weapon that would not only win World War II, but also have the potential to end civilization if it -- or the men who allegedly were in control of it -- ever ran amok. What historian Garry Wills calls the "Bomb Power" was based from its beginnings in the notion that there were things about their government that the American people need not know. From this came an irresistible impulse to treat the American people -- for whom the Founders intended all of what John Adams called "the awful knowledge" about their leaders -- like fragile children who must be protected at all costs from what their government found necessary to do on their behalf. From this has come a hundred commissions and boards and gatherings of the shamans of the security state -- the slow bureaucratic response to the Watergate crimes, the Tower Commission on Iran-Contra, even the Simpson-Bowles budget commission -- all of which sprang from the notion that the nation's elite should conduct the nation's business in as quiet a manner as possible, so as not to disturb the horses or wake the children. The Warren Commission was the first of these, and it did its job very well. What unruly bloggers call The Village can be said to have been founded in the premise that the American people needed to be shielded, for their own good, from the full knowledge of the facts surrounding the murder of their president in broad daylight in the streets of an American city.
...

I don't know if we'll ever settle who shot from where. But I do know that, almost from the start, the government has known more about this event than it has been willing to share with the people who, allegedly, govern themselves through it. It is long past time for that to end. It has been 50 years. So many people connected, in one way or another, and by one person or another, to the events in Dallas are dead. The Soviet Union is dead. Do not protect yourselves by claiming to protect us. We have been protected for too long and from too much of what the government has done in our name. We are not children, huddled at the classroom door, wondering why the nuns are weeping, and why the world has suddenly gone so silent all around us.

I was mercifully shielded from the events surrounding JFK's assassination. It happened on my 4th day in the Marine Corps and consisted of one short announcement from my Drill Instructor, "The President's been shot. Stand by.", and that was it. I got to watch his funeral on an 8-inch black-and-white TV crammed together with about 200 other recruits in a dark, dank shower room. I hardly watched TV during my enlistment, and the war of words about it was raging when I got out three years later.

I'd like to know who did it. The only thing I'm convinced of is that Oswald did not act alone if he acted at all. Too much hearsay/speculation/revelation to the contrary. The Warren Commission was a pack of lies/whitewash/coverup. "Magic bullet" my ass. So far, the best answer is a CIA/Mafia effort, but I don't know for sure. I hope I live long enough for it to come out.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Why Fund the Library When You Could Build a New Jail?

Truthout

Lindel Toups, the chair of the Parish Council’s “New Jail Committee,” had contended that the library had more than enough funds and that its budget is “an area that we don’t think is absolutely necessary.” He singled out Biblioteca Hispana, a Hispanic-language segment of the Golden Meadow library branch, as one reason that the libraries’ funding should be redirected to the proposed jail. As Toups said,

“They’re teaching Mexicans how to speak English. Let that son of a b—- go back to Mexico. There’s just so many things they’re doing that I don’t agree with. … Them junkies and hippies and food stamps (recipients) and all, they use the library to look at drugs and food stamps (on the Internet). I see them do it.”

As Sanders noted about Toups, there are some additional reasons that he might be seeking to garner additional funds for the new detention center. Toups has some ”family members that are incarcerated,” according to Sanders, a reference to both Toups’ son and grandson having been charged in 2009 with possession of methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia.
...

The ACLU Foundation of Louisiana has raised concerns about the proposed costs for the jail and requested that the Parish Council commission an expert to review those made by a consultant, Michael LeBlanc. So far, the estimated cost and capacity needs of the proposed $25 million, 540-bed jail are entirely based on the recommendations of LeBlanc, who was hired by the Parish Council as the project’s consultant.

LeBlanc is also an “aspiring architect for the job” which comes with a “lucrative design contract,” according to the Tri-Parish Times. The Louisiana Board of Ethics has said that the architectural and consulting contracts for the proposed jail “are not mutually exclusive” even if the some person (i.e., LeBlanc) were to hold both contracts.
Shorter: The Incarceration Industry is more important than Learning Centers. It's all about the Benjamins.

In this particular case, it seems as if favors for connected cranksters plays a role as well.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Great Balls Of Hashish And Frenzied Goat-Dancing

In addition to the GOP stealing the heretofore exclusively liberal pastime of eating great balls of hashish and doing frenzied goat-dancing on the Capitol steps (unlike us libs, who like to do it in mixed company in the snowy woods), Charles P. Pierce talks about why we can't have nice things. Last ¶:

It has become remarkable how the people of this country, an ostensibly self-governing republic, fail to get what an overwhelming percentage of them say they want from their government, over and over again. You can argue, and I have, about the power of money, increased by an order of magnitude through the egregious Citizens United decision. You can argue, and I have, about the unforgivable vandalism practiced by the Republican party and the modern conservative movement that has been the prion disease in the party's higher functions that has driven it mad. But the fact remains that, dammit, there has to be a political price to pay for actively opposing something 66 percent -- or, in the case of the background checks, 91 percent -- of the people say they want. And the electorate is the only body of citizens empowered to exact these penalties, and it has been shamefully lax in doing so. Parts of the country have contented themselves with electing morons and crazy people. (How in the name of god does a buffoon like Louie Gohmert ever run unopposed?) Great portions of the country can be duped, or frightened, into voting against their own economic interests. And the great undifferentiated apathy that attends most of our elections is a deadweight on the democratic process that grows heavier by the year. If our politicians are not responsive to our needs, then it's time for new politicians, and we're the only ones who can bring that about. And yet, it's easier to complain about an inconvenient website, or a scary letter from an insurance company, or bullshit anecdotes that fall apart under the barest scrutiny. The country is ungovernable because we, The People, have decided not to govern it any more. That, to borrow a phrase from the president, is on us.
Hey, some of us are still trying.

By The Year 2016...

Will Durst on the '16 election.

Predicting the nominees right now is like betting on what the weather will be like in Wisconsin in April. Ten years from now. If everyone is so damn clairvoyant, why don’t they throw some money down on lottery tickets? These modern day alchemists might be better off focusing their skills on spinning straw into gold.

A week in politics is a lifetime. A month is two eternities. But three years is like an afternoon at your great aunt’s, while uncle Harry with the mole on his nose that 4 inch hairs grow out of, shows slides of their recent trip to the Azores.

We’re not talking jumping the gun, this is more like jumping the application of the lane chalk. Think of all the stuff that could happen between now and 2016:
...

By the year 2016, the Tea Party might be holding its annual convention in the banquet room of a Casper, Wyoming Applebee’s.
We can only hope...

By the year 2016, Jeb Bush might change his last name to something less polarizing, like Hitler. Or Nixon.
He can change it to whatever he wants. We'll know. No more Bushes. Ever.

Much more.

Monday, November 18, 2013

"Save A Flush!" Headline of the Day

Bashir: Maybe someone should poop in ‘world class idiot’ Sarah Palin’s mouth
There's so much shit comes outta her screechy piehole she'd never notice a little going in.

Oh, the irony...

Ironic Times

Despite Rumors, Vatican Says Pope Not in Danger From Mafia
“Our boys can handle their boys,” says Cardinal Fungi, in charge of Holy See security.
They'll make 'em an offer they can't refuse - eternity in hell. Heh.

Christie Half Way To Weight-Loss Goal
After losing 200 pounds.

New Evidence Dogs Originated 20- 30,000 Years Ago in Europe
After efforts to domesticate saber-toothed tigers ended in tragedy.
Famous last words - Watch this! Here kitty kitty...

Study: PG-13 Films Now More Violent Than R
Shooting people with assault weapons ok; using bad words offensive.
Sounds about right.

Blackwater is no more

Good. Me'n Fixer railed against these bastards for years. They're gone. I hope Prince dies broke and under a bridge.

Crooks and Liars with video and links.

Oh, poor widdle Erik Prince.

It's all us mean liberals' fault that Blackwater is no more. They were no match for our powerful anti-war scapegoating; just incapable of withstanding the force of of our "cold and timid souls" intent on taking down this patriotic company protecting Americans from the evil 'terrists'.

Seriously, how pathetic is that logic? Man up, Prince, and take your lumps.

Admit that Blackwater was a cesspool of corruption done completely without the input or influence of those 'timid' liberals at whom you sneer.

Did liberals make you run guns?
Did anti-war activists force you to charge the government for prostitutes?
Was it the timid souls who told you to massacre Iraqi civilians and get yourselves kicked out of Iraq?
Was it us big meanies who so tainted the name "Blackwater" with fraud, murder, corruption and out-of-control mercenaries that you were forced to change the name to Xe (which didn't work as well as you hoped and now the name is Academi) and move the corporation outside the US Justice Dept controls to the United Arab Emirates? Need I go on, because there are a ton of corruption and fraud charges levied against Blackwater/Xe/Academi?

Cry me a river, you WATB. The slime and filth that is Blackwater's reputation is entirely of your making. You just aren't man enough to admit it. Nor are you smart enough to be apologetic for it. The way the world views the US is in no small part tainted by the corruption and crime brought to the Middle East by Blackwater. We all pay for your cowardice.
We paid through the fucking nose too, in more ways than one. Thanks for fucking Fallujah you undisciplined arrogant pieces of shit. Thanks for all our troops who got shot up in a ville because YOU pissed off the locals against Americans before they got there. And thank you Rummie for the brilliant fucking idea of "military contractors" to do the jobs of real soldiers and Marines at a hundred times the price without the regulation and discipline. I hope your pal Cheney is sharing the blood money with you.

If it was up to me, private contractors, mercenaries, would be an automatic free fire zone for our REAL troops in a war zone.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Obama to Nation: Keep Your Fuckin' Plans, You Stupid Cowards

Guess Whom

Instead of Barack Obama and the House GOP agreeing that the law is the law and making it function for Americans, we get the sight of Obama appearing before the press corps and saying, more or less, "Goddamn, I'm sick of you motherfuckers whining about your shitty ass health insurance getting canceled because your provider is just a bunch of sick, greedy dickheads who would murder you where you sit if it would squeeze one more cent of profit out of your useless bodies. You wanna cling to your high deductible, low benefit policy for another year because you're scared that the black man president might be right and all that Fox 'news' noise might be wrong? Fine. Fuck it. Kiss my ass and keep your shit plan. Don't come whining to me when it turns out that your insurer drops your sorry ass when you get too sick for it. You asked to be grandfathered in, so lick grandpa's balls and tell me how tasty they are now. Now, can we please talk about the fact that Republicans want to kick over 100,000 people who just got insurance off it?"
Ever so much more...

We knew that...

Daddy Frank

CBS’s Benghazi Report Was a Hoax, Not a Mistake

[...] n Logan’s case, she perpetrated an out-and-out fictional character: a pseudonymous security contractor who peddled a made-up “eyewitness” account of the murder of four Americans in Benghazi. The point seemed to be to further Benghazi as a conservative political cause (instead, Logan’s hoax boomeranged and extinguished it) and to melodramatically exploit the tragic slaughter of Ambassador Chris Stevens and his colleagues as titillating prime-time network entertainment. Logan’s phony source, who in fact was at a beachside villa and not on site to witness anything, cooked up violent new “details” for the Benghazi narrative that seemed to have been lifted from a Jean Claude Van Damme movie.
...

[...] (3) What was the relationship between Logan, her source, and the source’s publisher, which is also owned by CBS? Accounts of the 60 Minutes scandal keep referring to that publisher as Simon & Schuster, but that’s not strictly accurate. Logan’s source was not being published by the S&S that is bringing out Doris Kearns Goodwin’s new book on Teddy Roosevelt. His book was being published instead by an S&S subdivision, Threshold, whose authors include Glenn Beck, Karl Rove, Mark Levin, Lynne Cheney, and Jerome Corsi, best known for promoting the Swift Boating of John Kerry and the birther conspiracies about Barack Obama. Why would Logan and CBS News be in bed with such a partisan publisher? Who was the editor who vetted the book containing the same hoax that Logan aired on 60 Minutes? (Threshold’s editor-in-chief is Mary Matalin.) (4) Logan said in her apology that it was “a mistake” to have included her source in her report. But as many have asked, what was the report without that source? Inquiring minds do want to know.
More. And farther along in the piece:

Excuse me for being a stickler on this point, but I see zero chance that Chris Christie could be nominated for president by the GOP unless the entire Republican convention is controlled by his unofficial campaign organization, MSNBC’s Morning Joe. The base of the GOP — the activist base that will actually vote in primaries and caucuses — loathes Christie and much of the squishy conservatism he stands for. He will fare no better with this base than Rudy Giuliani did, and Rudy at least had 9/11 at his back. In any case, your theoretical Clinton vs. Christie race would be all too predictable and tedious in style and substance, if not outcome. On the other hand Warren vs. Cruz, while also implausible, would be one hell of a ride. Or what about Rand Paul vs. Wendy Davis? Three years until Election Day, why not dream?

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The High Cost of War for America’s Veterans

A 'recommended read' at Truthout.

We are a jingoistic nation, saluting the Armed Forces everywhere from Super Bowls to automobile dealerships. But this is an abstract commercial patriotism that makes us feel comfortable with ourselves while we down another beer during halftime. On the individual level, the military casualties almost have been forgotten except by their loved ones. Unfortunately, the reception for and treatment of these soldiers far too often fails them.

Men make war. (There's no getting around the fact that war is a guy thing.) Then they make a deal to stop shooting and withdraw. (The US once used to win wars, but now it just makes deals.) (my em)

We worry - if at all - about how vets are treated when they return because of our mistaken notion that Vietnam vets suffered mightily from not being greeted as heroes. What Vietnam veterans truly suffered from was not their reception, but the war. That fact we tend to forget. Consequently, we think we can resolve all the possible nasty consequences of war by waving flags at airports as troops return. The deeper problem is that none of these veterans of the wars of choice in Iraq and Afghanistan - not one of them - should ever have been sent to war. But without a draft that can potentially strike any family in the country, those who have no fear that a family member may be compelled to serve are free to ignore the whole political and public relations process by which leaders drag the country into war and carry it on. War can be left to a supposedly "all volunteer" standing army - those poor kids with no job options or a shot at college - which is precisely what the founding fathers warned against, believing that a standing army would be used by autocrats to destroy democracy. That volunteer army, of course, is shadowed by a larger privatized for-profit army of mercenary contractors. The standing army of the poor and patriotic is alienated from the general public and left at the mercy of the president. Our recent presidents and their cronies, who hold a nearly unblemished record of evading military service, have thrown kids into war with an enthusiasm undampened by any real knowledge of what war is, while the most influential segments of the general public, feeling both grateful and guilty that their kids are safe, make no effort to restrain those war-loving leaders.

MARK KARLIN: You ask in the book, "Could there be any connections between the size of those corporate profits and Washington's patriotic dedication to eternal wartime?" This profiteering involves the private contractors on the ground in our wars, consultants and those corporations that sell big ticket items to the Pentagon, doesn't it?

ANN JONES: Absolutely. But it goes well beyond that. In 2011, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont released a Defense Department study showing that at least 300 contractors providing goods and services to the DOD had committed fraud. They included major corporations such as Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and the big winner of the war in Iraq, Halliburton. But during ten years of warfare, the DOD had given to the top 37 fraudulent contractors alone some $1.1 trillion. The DOD got that money from Congress, and I'll let you guess the identity of the top contributors to the campaign funds of Congressmen. It's said that when President [Dwight] Eisenhower drafted his famous farewell speech to the nation, he wanted to warn citizens against a "military-industrial-congressional complex." Someone, perhaps a Congressman, persuaded him that the phrase would be catchier if he left out the word "Congressional," but Congressmen are surely in it now up to their ears. It's now next to impossible to get elected to government in this country if you oppose war because the money is on the other side. Even the Supreme Court, when it declared corporations to have the rights of people, helped mightily to facilitate that arrangement.
It's always about the Benjamins. Benjamins for the care of returning Veterans cuts into the Benjamins for the MIC.

War has been a racket for-fucking-ever, since one caveman figured out how to stay safe and make money by collecting rocks to sell to the others.

War Is A Racket

A speech delivered in 1933, by Major General Smedley Butler, USMC.

WAR is a racket. It always has been

It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives.

A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of the people. Only a small "inside" group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many. Out of war a few people make huge fortunes.

In the World War [I] a mere handful garnered the profits of the conflict. At least 21,000 new millionaires and billionaires were made in the United States during the World War. That many admitted their huge blood gains in their income tax returns. How many other war millionaires falsified their tax returns no one knows.

How many of these war millionaires shouldered a rifle? How many of them dug a trench? How many of them knew what it meant to go hungry in a rat-infested dug-out? How many of them spent sleepless, frightened nights, ducking shells and shrapnel and machine gun bullets? How many of them parried a bayonet thrust of an enemy? How many of them were wounded or killed in battle?
Go read the rest.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Headline and Lead-in of the Day

How Republicans Rig the Game

Through gerrymandering, voter suppression and legislative tricks, the GOP has managed to hold on to power while more and more Americans reject their candidates and their ideas

Monday, November 11, 2013

Headline of the Day

Good read.

How the Tea Party’s Apocalyptic Politics Are Destroying the Republican Party
Yo, 'baggers, speed it up, willya?

No thanks

Thank you for please not thanking me for my service on this Veterans Day. I don't need it and I don't want it. Instead, I think we should APOLOGIZE to Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans, the living, wounded, and dead, for being so horribly used IN OUR NAME for NOTHING but an imperialistic neocon wet dream that has come to naught but a terrible butcher's bill.

George W. Bush really was trying to bring about the end of the world

Rachel Maddow

Friday night on her MSNBC show, Rachel Maddow cast a critical eye toward former President George W. Bush’s decision to speak at the Messianic Bible Institute, the headquarters of the apocalyptic cult Jews for Jesus.

She compared what we know about Jews for Jesus with evidence of meetings held during the Bush presidency and said that one can only conclude that Bush was trying to bring about the Rapture and the apocalypse in order to hasten the second coming of Jesus Christ.
...

Apparently, Rapture-baiting, pro-apocalypse religious fanatics were holding sway over U.S. foreign policy before and during the War in Iraq, the War in Afghanistan and the rest of the Bush presidency. So it should come as no surprise that the former commander in chief is consorting with these groups in the wake of his presidency.
...

Maddow said that she can’t wait until the national archives takes control of the Bush Presidential Library, “and we’ll finally get an actual exhibit or a diorama about that part of the Bush foreign policy, where it wasn’t just an accident that we were almost bringing about the end of the world, it was the point!”

And from Booman:

Last year, Glenn Beck was the main attraction at the Messianic Jewish Bible Institute's annual fundraising banquet. This year, the guest of honor will be former President George W. Bush. That shows you about where President Bush stands on the speechmaking circuit.
...

There is something so right with the optics of this tiny group of nuts sitting around in Jerry Jones' gargantuan Cowboy cathedral, talking about converting Jews to Christianity while eating pork barbecue and waiting for Glenn Beck to speak.

It's something only Hunter S. Thompson could hope to adequately explain. Who but a person with a headful of amyl nitrite could possibly put into words the tentacled depth of deranged wrong-headed bug-nuttery involved in that scene?

It's right where Dubya belongs.

With his base.

The 27%.
The Dead End Quarter. I'm praying for The Rapture just so I can see the looks on the faces of all the phony christians who thought they were going to go and didn't. God, being a humanly concocted manifestation of the mystery of the universe, doesn't want the whackos either.

Oh, the irony...

Ironic Times

Bill Banning Discrimination Against Homosexuals Passes Senate
After an exception is made for those whose homophobia is inspired by religious faith.
Wouldn't surprise me.

Scalia Says “Of Course” He Believes in the Devil, Citing Bible as Evidence
Devil says “Of Course” he believes in Scalia, citing his vote on “Citizens United.”
Of course he believes in Scalia. He holds the paper on his soul.

Harley-Davidson Introduces Lighter, Smaller Models
For little old ladies who want to join motorcycle gangs.

Earth 7 Times More Vulnerable to Catastrophic Meteor Impacts Than Previously Thought
So you can relax about global warming.
Whew!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Saturday Emmylou Blogging

Mostly Willie, but pretty new.

From the 2013 Legacy / Sony Legacy album, To All the Girls

Thanks to goodelady.

Friday, November 8, 2013

The U.S. shifts left

After 33 years of rightward and downward slide, it's about fuckin' time. E.J. Dionne.

The center of gravity in American politics moved left in Tuesday’s off-year elections.

Republicans took a big step back from the tea party. An ebullient progressive was elected mayor of New York City. And a Democrat was elected governor of Virginia after campaigning unapologetically as a supporter of gun control and a liberal on social issues.
...

And in the one direct intraparty fight over the GOP’s future, a tea party candidate lost a primary in Alabama to a more traditional conservative. A telling distinction between the victor, Bradley Byrne, and the defeated Dean Young: Byrne said that Obama was born in the United States; Young suggested the president was born in Kenya.

Young’s persistent “birtherism” is a reminder of how far right the American political discussion veered after the elections of 2009 and the midterms of 2010. The pendulum is swinging back.
I hope it swings fast and seizes solid somewhat left of center.

Republicans would be wiser to pay attention to the fact that McAuliffe re-created the coalition that twice elected Obama. When Democrats lost Virginia in 2009, Obama supporters stayed home in large numbers. This time, the electorate was significantly more Democratic, and the African American share of the vote rose sharply. In next year’s midterms, Republicans cannot count on the sort of Democratic demobilization that was helpful to them in 2010.

To say that this election nudged the nation leftward is not to claim a sudden mandate for liberalism. But it is to insist that the center ground in American politics is a long way from where it was three years ago — and that if there is a new populism in the country, it is now speaking with a decidedly progressive accent.
Shorter: We're winning. Continue the march.

The Conservative March Toward a Society of Sociopaths

Forward Progressives

Last night when discussing Stan and some of what I refer to as his asinine political beliefs, it occurred to me—Stan is exactly how Republicans want Americans to behave.

And Stan is a sociopath.

He’s a white male, strongly opposed to most other races and immigrants. Believes every single far right-wing economic theory imaginable and actually cited Argentina as a “beacon for true capitalism.” He has no remorse for others, seems to live in a world where he’s the focal point but he presents himself as extremely charming and personable when you first meet him. He has no problem ignoring social ethics or morals if it benefits his self interest. He’s told my friend that people should only worry about themselves, and not care about the struggles of others. That in life, self interests should trump everything else.
...

See, Stan is exactly the kind of person Republicans want to create.
...

Which leads us to the rapidly de-evolving Republican party. A party that doesn’t care about the environment, health care access for Americans, children, education, the well-being of our military or the poor.

They only care about themselves and how much they can possess. People who place value on inanimate objects like guns or money before human beings. Then nothing you can tell these people will convince them of anything, because your opinion doesn’t matter
.
Because the sociopath isn’t concerned about what you, I or anyone else thinks of them—only what they think of themselves. Which is why any type of disgusting behavior they exhibit is perfectly acceptable. That behavior got them something that they wanted—and to a sociopath their own self interests are all that really matter.

And that’s exactly the type of society conservatives are trying to march us toward.

And that's exactly why we're here and what we're trying to prevent. I think after 30 years of right-wing bullshit, folks are catching on and we're gaining steam. They think they've won and are getting more and more egregious in trying to undo the societal gains of the last 75 years. They're not even trying to hide it any more. It's finally out in the light of day and people don't like it. Sunlight is a great cleanser.

I saw this somewhere the other day: "The next Republican President hasn't been born yet". Fine with me.

Heh...

Who knew Ken Cuccinelli had a secret plan to force oust Bob McDonnell?

WATCH The Rachel Maddow Show explain.
They promised it's there somewhere, but the photo was too good not to share. Heh.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

How to die long before Christmas

If it's Wednesday it must be Morford on crass Christmas commercialism and Dia de los Muertos. I've been getting Christmas catalogs since August. Not so much as ONE Dia de los Muertos catalog.

It was 81 degrees outside. It was still early October, not even yet time to set clocks back an hour or pay way too much for a pumpkin in the city. Nearly three months stood like a lump of crushed hopes between that particular moment and Christmas – and yet, there they were, rows of holiday fare awaiting their rotation in the cycle of commercial life, because, well, why the hell not? Does anyone even notice or care anymore? Drug stores churn through this sort of prefab holiday crap like crack anyway, and candy canes have the shelf life of nuclear fuel rods. Might as well just leave them out all year long.
...

It’s almost enough to induce chronic bitterness. It’s almost enough to make you think there’s no other way. There is always another way.

Two days after Halloween, I stood, surrounded by walking skulls and candles, ritual and death, corrected.

It was Dia de los Muertos, of course, swarming through SF’s Mission district like a breath of fresh, funky, coffin-like air, a quirky, morbid, wonderful slap in the face to every American holiday ritual in existence, along with the ruthless machinery of capitalism that define them.

Talk about everything bland, oversold American culture is not – giddy, weird, moribund, playful, creepy, home-spun, solemn, completely noncommercial, no marketing and no major advertising and no noxious commercial jingles, no smarmy Coca Cola ads featuring diabetic polar bears sucking down toxic sugar water and not dying from global warming.

Also: Not a single megastore offering a special Day of the Dead deal on big-screen TVs. No tasteful, sweatshop-made ornaments from Pottery Barn. No special drinks, no immature misinterpretations of Jesus’ birth or death, no reindeer sweaters. It was sort of miraculous.

Instead, Dia de los Meurtos is, to my imperfect understanding, a time to honor the dead, respect your ancestors and pay homage to those loved ones you’ve lost, all during the few days when it’s believed the veil separating the living from the dead is thinnest. There are cacophonous processionals, offerings, marigolds galore (the Aztec flower of death, to which souls are drawn), photos of the deceased everywhere, altars and shrines from sublime to silly, mementos and trinkets and sugar skulls in abundance. It’s sacred, potent, playful, deeply moving. You know, just like Christmas never was.

But it’s also, if I understand it correctly, a day to sort of mock Death itself, that skinny, weak bag o’ bones who couldn’t possibly carry you away right now, and who doesn’t scare you not one bit, even though he totally does.

Is that not refreshing? No wonder American commerce hasn’t swarmed all over this idiosyncratic ritual. Unlike Mexico (and Brazil, Spain, and many others) we haven’t really developed the means to handle death or the afterlife with anything other than fear and denial. Halloween is as close as we get, and that’s become far more about kids gorging on candy and adults gorging on cocktails. The old pagan rituals? The Celtic harvest festivals? Not a clue.
My sentiment exactly. Dia de los Muertos makes more spiritual sense than Halloween, and is a better celebration than almost any of our commercially-driven "holidays".

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Dick Dynasty II

TBogg via Raw Story.

When we last checked in on la famiglia Cheney, family patriarch and Undead Thing Dick Cheney was hitting the gasbag shows and flogging his heart surgery book The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter Who Shoots You In the Face. Grande dame and soft-core lesbian fan-fic author Lynn Cheney was going Full Metal Carrie on Alan Simpson at some Wyoming society event and, yes Wyoming does too have society events so stop laughing right this minute mister or be forever persona non grata at the annual Greater Laramie Sheepherder’s Embraceable Ewe Cotillion and Tractor Pull.

But what of daughter Liz’s campaign to return, Odysseus-like, to her ancestral home in McLean, VA. as well as join the Senate as the distaff version of Ted Cruz … but without the charm?
More.

Lizzie has gone from "Daddy's 5th Deferment" to "Serious Adult Daddy Issues". Looks like the Wyomingstanians ain't having it.

Monday, November 4, 2013

The TSA shootings at LAX highlight America’s real terror threat

From The Guardian via Raw Story.

So, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the first Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agent to be killed in the line of duty was not slain by an al-Qaida terrorist, but rather by an American with a gun.
...

Now, of course, if the shooter had screamed “Allah Akbar” as he needlessly took the life of TSA agent Gerardo Hernandez, or if he had had links to an al-Qaida terror cell, there’d be no question about how to describe this incident.
As far as I'm concerned, the guy was a terrorist in a cell headed by the likes of Glenn Beck and Alex Jones. They should be up on charges as accessories before the fact.

Headline and Quote of the Day

Food stamp cuts are ideological, not fiscal: Republicans make the poor pay to balance the budget

“The capitalists can always buy themselves out of any crises, as long as they make the workers pay.”

One more in a long list of reasons the GOP needs to die.

Couldn'ta said it better myself...

A tip o' the Brain to Being Liberal.

Oh, the irony...

Ironic Times

Republicans Outraged That Obamacare Is Destroying America
And isn't rolling out smoothly enough.

Rand Paul Accused of Plagiarizing Entire Section of His Latest Book
Even titled it “The Fountainhead”.

Marijuana Likely to Be Decriminalized In Washington, D.C. by February
Just in time for Choom Gang reunion at White House.

Man Drives From New York to LA in Under Twenty-Nine Hours
Then drives from Brentwood to West Hollywood in an hour and forty minutes.

Friday, November 1, 2013

The simple meaning of Dia de los Muertos

Please watch this beautifully animated, and heart felt, short film about a little girl who visits the land of the dead, where she learns the true meaning of the Mexican holiday, Dia de los Muertos.
Student Academy Award Gold Medal winner, 2013!!

Muchas gracias to The Cgbros.

Uh ... yup...

A tip o' the Brain to Crooks and Liars on Facebook.

The War On The Poor

Paul Krugman

So what’s this all about? One reason, the sociologist Daniel Little suggested in a recent essay, is market ideology: If the market is always right, then people who end up poor must deserve to be poor. I’d add that some leading Republicans are, in their minds, acting out adolescent libertarian fantasies. “It’s as if we’re living in an Ayn Rand novel right now,” declared Paul Ryan in 2009.

But there’s also, as Mr. Little says, the stain that won’t go away: race.

In a much-cited recent memo, Democracy Corps, a Democratic-leaning public opinion research organization, reported on the results of focus groups held with members of various Republican factions. They found the Republican base “very conscious of being white in a country that is increasingly minority” — and seeing the social safety net both as something that helps Those People, not people like themselves, and binds the rising nonwhite population to the Democratic Party. And, yes, the Medicaid expansion many states are rejecting would disproportionately have helped poor blacks.

So there is indeed a war on the poor, coinciding with and deepening the pain from a troubled economy. And that war is now the central, defining issue of American politics.
Shorter: The blacks and browns are no longer subservient to the white ruling class and tend to vote Democratic. They're uppity and must be punished. Makes no difference that most of the poor are white.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Teabaggers are safe from zombies!

A tip o' the Brain to Being Liberal.

Quote of the Day

Paul Krugman

And Republicans still dream of dismantling Medicare as we know it, instead giving seniors vouchers to buy private insurance. In effect, although they never say this, they want to convert Medicare into Obamacare.

Heh. Somebody oughta 'splain "irony" to those clowns, not that they'd get it.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Crashing Glitching Bores

Will Durst on the Obamacare rollout mess hearings.

The sight of these grandfatherly types who couldn't tell a glitch from a Sneetch pretending to speak conversantly about something they have the same familiarity with as a calico cat does with calculus makes keeping a straight face difficult. Especially considering their extreme remonstrations of concern, which sound similar to cobras worrying that the mouse door is often unlocked.

Thing is, they're perfectly right. The rollout went less smooth than a 40 foot square steel donut rumbling down a pressed tin bridge. Democrats agree the website technology for Obamacare is so outdated it looks like Health and Human Services rescued it from Compuserve's trash using a dial-up modem. There are at least six or 17 areas of this country where a class of fifth graders could have constructed a more navigable site during study hall.

The ultimate techie nightmare. More crashes than Windows Vista through 27 stories of skylights. A health care portal with all the compassion and efficiency of the DMV. Coming soon: leeches. Although many claim that plenty of licensed barbers are already caucusing with the House majority. Face it, if the government created the Cloud, it would be called the Smog and leak antifreeze.
...

But by focusing their attention on the website, the GOP seems to be signaling they've accepted Obamacare, at least in theory. After trying to repeal it 50 times then shutting down the government in an attempt to defund it, they are finally, reluctantly, on board. And just want to straighten things out by letting the American people know this is the worst legislation in the history of ever.

In other words, they've graduated to complaining about the choice of the font on the menu and not the ingredients of the feast.
More.

If ya can't beat 'em, threaten 'em

From Kos in toto.

The teabagger core argument: Takers, makers and the violent end of democracy

Yeah, this is a mid-week nutpick, but it's a nutpick with a mission: To help explain the current conservative mindset.

It's a comment on a thread on Breitbart which is literally trying to unskew yesterday's Washington Post poll of the Virginia governor's race.

A veteran Virginia pollster, Breitbart News has learned, this the results of the poll are "at least" 6 points off, and notes that the Post polls ordinarily overestimate Democrat performance in the Commonwealth.

Ha ha ha! I never tire of the unskewers! But that's not what I want to focus on. Rather, it's this comment:

no amount of economic or cultural chaos and disaster will ever incite those people to turn on their democrat masters. However, considering Obamacare's devastation..should Virginia choose to drink the kool-aid too...and elect McAuliffe ...it will all but convince me that the country has totally surrendered to a communist future....and there won't be any turning the tide in 2014....

There are simply too many takers extracting from a shrinking class of makers in this country. The intricate web of taxation and regulation has imprisoned the economy....guaranteeing that the Cloward and Piven blueprint will succeed.

After that...it could be anarchy....insurrection...or revolution.....who knows?

The entire conservative mindset is encapsulated in those three short paragraphs—the sense that everything has gone to shit, but people stick with Democrats because they're takers while conservatives are makers, and that if it continues much longer ... violence! All wrapped up in a nice bundle of f'd up punctuation. (At least it was run through a spell checker.)

That whole "makers" vs "takers" was the basis of Mitt Romney's 47 percent nonsense. And it's also the modern formulation of the racists' lament, in case you were wondering why race was missing in the comment above. It's not good white people doing the taking, you know?

But that comment also hints at the desperation and resignation coursing through today's conservatives: The notion that they've lost the battle. Sure, 2008 and 2012 were big blows, but they were softened by 2010's GOP wave. They want to believe those two presidential years were anomalies, but they know better. Once Virginia goes Blue, bucking a 40-year trend in which the party in the White House lost the governor's race, it'll confirm their worst fears. They will have lost the country and 2014 will only ratify the nation's new direction.

Thus, the final appeal to violence—because if democracy fails them, then what is left? The question will be whether that violence will remain a fantasy as they politically disengage, or whether they'll begin to act on it.

The "skewed" polls show the top three spots - gov, lt gov, and AG - in VA will go to Dems. I certainly hope so. The Repug candidates are fucking crazy. Why is Breitfart trying to gin up violence?

Other than it's Breitbart (he's still dead), because the 'baggers/wingnuts/fundies/haters are starting to lose big time and they're sore losers and whiny little bitches. They talk a big game, but they're all flaps and no throttle and when all is said and done, more will have been said than done, as usual.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

GOP Still Worried About "Those People"

Paul Krugman

Lots of commentators have been referencing a report from Democracy Corps about focus-group meetings with Republicans, and with good reason: Stanley Greenberg, the organization's co-founder, has basically provided a unified theory of the craziness that has enveloped American politics in the last few years.

What the report makes clear is that the current Republican obsession with attacking programs that benefit Americans in need, ranging from food stamps to health care reform, isn't about some philosophical commitment to small government. It's about anxiety over a changing America - the multiracial, multicultural society we're becoming - and anger that Democrats are taking Their Money and giving it to Those People. In other words, it's still race after all these years.

One irony here is that at this point it's the liberals who believe in America, while the conservatives don't (my em). I believe in our ability to change while retaining our essential nature; I believe that today's immigrants will be incorporated into the fabric of our society, just as Italian and Jewish immigrants - once regarded as fundamentally incompatible with American ways - became "white" by the middle of the 20th century.

Another irony is that the great right-wing fear that social insurance programs will in effect buy minority votes for Democrats, leading to further change, is becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy. The G.O.P. could have tried to reach out to immigrants, moderated its stances on Obamacare, and staked out a position as the restrained, sensible party. Instead, it's alienating all the people it needs to win over, and quite possibly setting the stage for the very liberal dominance it fears.
Good.

Headline and Quote of the Day

Britney Spears's Music Is Used to Fight Off Somali Pirates (Stop Laughing)

“I’d imagine using Justin Bieber would be against the Geneva Convention.” Heh.
Heh.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Dark Money Kochsuckers pay fine

ProPublica. Much more and many links at site

Two dark money groups linked to conservative billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch have paid a record $1 million in fines to California to settle allegations that the combined $15 million they spent on two ballot proposals in the state was not properly disclosed.

The civil settlement, announced Thursday afternoon in Sacramento, caps a year of investigation into the activities of the two Arizona groups, Americans for Responsible Leadership and the Center to Protect Patient Rights.
...

“What is the takeaway from this trail of dark money?” asked Ann Ravel, the outgoing head of California’s Fair Political Practices Commission, which investigated the groups along with the state attorney general’s office. “This is a nationwide issue. These groups exploit loopholes in the law to undermine the clear purpose of the law, to give essential information to the public.”
...

Anonymous money funneled through social welfare nonprofits and trade associations has become a major factor in federal elections since the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision in early 2010 opened up the door to unlimited corporate and union spending on outside ads, as documented by ProPublica. In the past two election cycles, social welfare nonprofits have spent more than $350 million, mostly from unknown donors, on election ads telling people to vote for or against federal candidates.
"Social welfare non-profits" my ass. That's a carefully engineered loophole you can drive an aircraft carrier through. More like a container ship fulla Benjamins.

And while the groups have been linked to the Koch brothers, it’s not clear how exactly they’re connected. The Center to Protect Patient Rights, which operates out of a post office box in Arizona and doesn’t even have a website, has been described practically like an ATM machine for various groups affiliated with the Koch brothers. The press release issued by California authorities says the Center and Americans for Responsible Leadership “operated as part of the ‘Koch Brothers Network’ of dark money political nonprofit corporations.”

The Kochs have long been known for spending millions to influence elections behind the scenes, through a complex network of groups that critics have nicknamed “the Kochtopus.” The Kochs themselves have remained determinedly in the background.
...

The fine is the largest in California history in a campaign-finance case.

The manner in which the groups paid it speaks volumes about how dark their money really is.

They paid by cashier’s check, sent by a Sacramento lawyer’s office Thursday morning, betraying no clue to the money’s origin.
They paid the fine, chump change to them, and we still don't know who they are.

This shit has to stop, but as long as we have a right-wing SCOTUS it will not.