Friday, September 3, 2004

Bad Mo'sickle, part two: Tweakin' On Liberty

Joe watched the limo until it was out of sight. He went inside the shop and poured himself another cup of coffee. It had boiled down a little and was thick as gravy. Good, he thought, I'm gonna need it strong. He drained the cup in two big gulps and went to work.

He rolled the ratty-looking machine onto the wash rack, and noticed his hands were already greasy just from touching the grips. He stuffed a shop rag into the now open exhaust port. Knowing what soon might be likely, he slid a baker's sheet pan under the bike. He set his Gunk can near the bike. He used the old style Gunk, mixed with kerosene, and had a jet permanently attached. He hooked up the air hose and adjusted it to a gentle spray, knowing the bike wouldn't take a full-pressure blast. He sprayed Gunk onto the bike, being sure to get it into every nook and crannie, some he couldn't even see for all the grease and dirt build-up. He took a stiff brush and brushed as much of the motorcycle as the brush would reach. He uncoiled a hose from a wall rack. "Showtime," he thought and began to wash off the Gunk and, hopefully some of the grime. As the grunge began to slough off, he could hear the faint 'tink' of metal bits hitting the baking sheet. "Glad I put that there," he thought, "wouldn't do to have to fish all those pieces out of the drain. Might need some of 'em."

The bike looked a lot better, but not shiny new. Pretty beat up, in fact. Joe took the boxes out of the saddlebags and took them inside. While the bike dried in the sunlight, he began laying out the parts to see what he had to do.

There were exhaust pipes. There was a primary cover, a timing cover, transmission, oil tank and battery covers, rocker covers, mostly the kind that slipped over the actual parts instead of replacing them, the kind used to cover up dents and dings. "Cheap shit," Joe thought. "For a guy with so much moolah, he's sure a tightwad." There was a new front brake lever with leather rawhide streamers and many pieces of trim, all brand new and gleaming. And cheap. They were the cheapest kind of chrome plating, nickel-strike. They would look fine for a little while, then tarnish and finally rust. Joe looked at the boxes. Just as he had suspected, every last piece was from places on the other side of the Pacific rim.

With one exception. In a small box, with a Made in America label, was a new camshaft set. Joe held the cams in his hand and looked at them. "Wow! Way radical. I ain't puttin' these things in. Probably wouldn't even fit. That'd be the end of whatever's left of the mill, that's fer sure." He put the cams back in their box and put it back in the saddlebag.

Joe rolled the bike in and up on the lift. It was very wobbly. "Damn, the mung and drool were holding this thing together," he thought. He gathered all the bits from the baking sheet, with a magnet because the grunge was two inches deep. He sifted the rest for aluminum and found some. There were also some beer bottle caps and two empty condom wrappers. There was a small, empty vial. These, Joe set aside.

Planning ahead, Joe dumped a large coffee can full of used hardware onto a shop rag and got after the job. He
replaced the pipes. They were a copy of the famous "Chattanooga Rattlers", straight-through and guaranteed you couldn't sneak up on anything from five miles away on a clear night. He put on all the chromed tin. He replaced the hand levers , and put a used brake cable to replace the badly frayed one. "Whew!" Joe thought, "about one more pull on that, it'd be Katy-bar-the-door!" Every last piece required something besides remove and replace to get it to stay on. He used many, many used nuts, bolts, clamps, and other fasteners. The old motorcycle fairly gleamed when he was through. There were a lot less bungee cords.

"Not bad," he thought, "not bad at all." He pondered the old sled, and the work he had done, and let out an audible sigh. "Man, all that work, and it's still just puttin' lipstick on a pig. I gotta do some more for it. Li'l ol' Georgie don't deserve it, but this poor ol' scooter sure does. I guess I just volunteered myself. Thought I got over that in the Navy. Oh, well, maybe I can pad his bill a little. Better get goin'. I'm burnin' daylight."

Once more into the fray. He concentrated on areas that would improve performance and safety. He adjusted the valves, points, and timing. He put in spark plugs that still had some electrode. He fixed the manifold air leak and adjusted the carburetor. He charged the battery cleaned the terminals, and replaced some connectors. He replaced the tires with some less worn out ones, and the rusty old rubber band of a chain with a better used one, knowing the hooked sprocket teeth would grind it to dust in a few hundred miles. He aligned the wheels . He adjusted the clutch and brakes. He drained the oatmeal-weight motor oil and replaced it with good 50 weight oil. He checked fluid levels. He lubed every pivot on the bike. He tightened up the loose stuff and loosened up the tight stuff. He checked the lights. "Well, he don't have a brake light, and the taillight's dim. No high beam, but I don't guess Georgie looks very far ahead anyway." He replaced the bulbs. He tested everything he could, and at last he was done. He rolled it off the lift and out the door. It didn't wobble now, as he had used many, many more fasteners, and there were no bungee cords left.

"Well, I had the wheels off, so I gotta ride the damn thing." He took a deep breath and let it out slowly. "Here goes nothin'," he thought. He put on his helmet and gloves and threw his right leg over the saddle. He wondered if he should call 911 just so they'd be ready. He went through the starting procedure , turned on the key, made sure the spark was retarded, found compression with the kickstarter and wondered how many kicks it would take to start it. He gave it a measured kick, lest it slip through and hurt his knee, or kick back and hurt the other side of his knee, and it started. First kick. Just like that. Joe was dazzled. He shut it off and tried it again. Again, it fired right up and sat there idling roughly. When the cylinders felt just barely warm to his hand, he adjusted the mixture and the idle smoothed out.

The bike had a foot clutch and hand shift. He disengaged the clutch , heard the plates rattle happily, and put the transmission in gear with the tank-mounted shift lever. He fed in the gas and clutch and the bike moved off, just like it should. "Well, she seems OK. Let's see what happens."

He rode around for a half an hour. The shop was on the edge of town so he took it on some back roads. It worked fine, but it wasn't fast, and he wasn't sure of the brakes, so he took it real easy. The engine ran well, but there were some clatters and clanks and whirs, but Joe figured it to be just showing its age and lack of care. "Boy, they made 'em to last in the old days. Never figured on cold-hearted guys like Georgie, I bet." He rode it around for a while to test roadholding and steering until he was satisfied that it would go where it was pointed. He enjoyed the ride a lot more than he had thought he would. He rode back to the shop and shut it down. "Didn't figure that old ride would be that much fun," he thought and dismounted. Out of the corner of his eye he thought he something on the bike, a smile maybe, but when he turned to see, it was gone. As an afterthought, he gave the gas tank a pat. In the center of his brain, he heard a faint, grateful, "thanks, buddy."

"Well, it's up to Georgie now. Tomorrow's soon enough."

Joe locked up his shop and went home.

End of Part Two

Just one thought

Before the limo gets here. The first thing that entered my mind when I heard Clinton had 'chest pains':

Who was he fucking?

Ha! I'm outta here.

It Was A Bad Motersickle, Vroom! Vroom! Vroom!

Joe stood in the morning light, coffee cup in hand, outside his shop, "Smoke 'n' Roar Motorcycle Emporium", idly musing on what the day might bring his way. His idyll was soon, if not shattered, at least mildly discombobulated by a clanking and rattling in the distance. It got louder and louderand seemed to be coming his way. He sensed something familiar about it, but couldn't quite put his finger on it. Then he knew: over the general din and cacophony came the unmistakable potato-potato exhaust note of a large-displacement American-made V-twin motorcycle, a type much beloved by all Americans. His very being trembled: Work!

The bike hove into view, pulled into the lot, and stopped right in front of Joe. Its rider reached under the seat, jerked on something that caused the engine to quit with a loud backfire, and the rear exhaust pipe fell off. Just as the engine's innards ground to a halt Joe thought he heard, in the center of his brain, a plaintive "Thank you".

Joe, an experienced motorcycle man, took a step back and beheld what lay before him. In a flash his mind's eye sent a signal to his brain, befitting his intimate knowledge of day-to-day mechanical problems : HOLY SHIT!

Fighting back an unfamiliar urge to run for his life, Joe calmed a bit as his mind processed information and fed it to him a bit at a time instead of all at once, which had been quite a shock. Before him was a bike of a type he had seen but rarely, a make not manufactured for many years, once held in esteem for its power and beauty.

Not this one. This bike was the filthiest, grimiest, greasiest, grungiest motorcycle Joe had ever seen. It had at least a dozen bungee cords, some with no hooks, that seemed to be vital to the mechanical integrity of the machine. Joe leaned forward and, knowing that as a mechanic he was exempt from the powerful taboo against touching another man's bike, tentatively, gingerly, tugged at one underneath the fuel tank. The carburetor sagged noticeably. Joe straightened and did a visual once-over of the machine. The tires were bald, but only on the right side, as if the rider only turned in small circles in that direction. Oddly, they seemed to be over-inflated. He noticed saddlebags, cheap imports, stuffed full, with cardboard boxes sticking out front and rear.

Enough, he thought to himself, if I get stuck with this thing I'll check it out more thoroughly later. Might as well get to it.

"Hi. My name's Joe. What can I do for you?"

The rider, who had by now removed his goggles, gloves, and WWII- style cloth flying helmet of the type used in the Pacific, replied, with a grin on only the right side of his face. Joe thought he must have fallen off hard at some point.

"Howdy, pardner. My name's Georgie and this is my sled "Liberty". I need you to do some work on 'er. "

Duh, thought Joe, I could'a told you that.

"What I need," Georgie went on, "is for you to take all the stuff in the bags and put it on the bike. All brand new chrome. She's gotta look all shiny and new pretty soon."

"Okay," Joe said. "Fill me in on the bike a little. It might need some other stuff besides chrome. Where'd you get it? How long have you had it? Stuff like that."

"All righty. This used to be my Poppy's ride. He got'er from his buddy and rode 'er for four years. He wanted to keep 'er for four more, but he had to give 'er to another guy. Willy, that's the other guy, he rode 'er for eight years. He wanted to give 'er to his buddy, but I hornswoggled him out of 'er." Georgie's shoulders twitched up and down at this remark. "Whoo-whee! She was in pretty good shape when I got 'er, but, Hell, I been ridin' 'er hard and puttin' 'er away wet, if you catch my drift." He winked at Joe. "Folks done told me I didn't pay enough attention to 'er, that she needed some work, but I just blamed it on Willy and kept on truckin'. Now there's another guy wants 'er an' I don' wanna give 'er up. I waited all my life to get a sled like this, and I'll hang onto 'er at any cost. She's my bitch. She'll do whatever I tell 'er to do and like it. Anyway, these parts cost a ton o' dough and I need 'em put on quick."

Joe took an instant dislike to the fellow, and thought he should have turned him away, but somehow he had taken a liking to this once-proud machine. Maybe he could help it out a little.

"You got it, Georgie. Come back tomorrow. Do you want an estimate?"

"Naw. I don't care what it costs. I got plenty. Cool. See ya manana, then." Georgie got into a limousine that, unnoticed by Joe, had been idling at the curb, and sped off.

End of Part One.

Lawyers At Work

This an actual warning on a box of nails (Steve Harvey, LATimes, 9/03/04):

"Do not shoot nails through any part of your body. This could cause long lasting damage, hurt like Heck, and cause you to use language unbecoming a professional. Although we appreciate your creativity, do not use strips of nails as a comb, toothbrush, Q-tip, musical instrument or anything other than fastening wood together. All Halsteel nails are engineered to come equipped with one pointy end (the business end) and one flat end. Keep the pointy end directly opposite anything that can bleed or be damaged. Don't bite on nails (even for the iron), run with scissors in your hand or sit too close to the TV. You should wait 30 minutes before entering the pool after eating, don't blow dry your hair in the bathtub and don't make funny faces or cross your eyes (they'll stay that way.)"
I think he must have seen this box of nails on the shelf of the hardware store in Crawford, Texas. It sounds like the brand Dubya would use. I wonder if the directions for use are on the other side of the box. I hope they're not on the bottom. All the nails would fall out while he was figuring out how to use them.

A Moment Of Prayer

"Eternal Father, strong to save,
Whose arms doth bind the restless wave,
Who bids the mighty ocean deep
Its own appointed limits deep,
Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee
For those in peril on the sea."
Old Mariner's Prayer
That should take care of the QM2 and all those who sail in her.
While you're at it, Lord, how about having Frances send a little message to JEB and Katherine Harris about who's really in charge in Florida. Oh, yeah, wouldn't hurt if you blew the Diebold warehouse to Kingdom Come, while you're at it!


I'm done for the day unless any shit hits the fan. Gotta pack the Mrs. and . . . well . . . on the grounds that I'll get stabbed in my sleep, I'll leave it at that. You'll probably hear from me sometime tomorrow morning, once I get to my hotel in Kensington.

Just one thing. If you're the praying type, say a little one for the poor kids in that Russian school.

I leave you now in Gordon's capable hands until I get across the pond.


From ABC Channel 7 in New York:

Protesters disrupted the 62-minute speech twice. Bush was forced to stop speaking both times because the crowd shouted both women down, drowning him out too. [my emphasis]

Aren't these the people who are supposed to keep us more secure? Why is it that protesters can crash the party every night? How is it that hooligans can get that close to the President of the United States? I guess it's a good thing none of them were wearing a bomb belt, huh? By the way, was the Secret Service sleeping?

Oh, this is lovely

Being that I'm leaving for London tonight. From TAPPED:

The British public, you see, despise our president.

Let's hope they don't extend that to reg'ler Americans. Hell, I despise him too. Gimmie a pint.

You bought him, you keep him.

We don't want him back. Via Digby:

[. . .]

After gauging the harsh reaction from Democrats and Republicans alike to Sen. Zell Miller’s keynote address at the Republican National Convention, the Bush campaign — led by the first lady — backed away Thursday from Miller’s savage attack on Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry, insisting that the estranged Democrat was speaking only for himself.

Late Thursday, Miller and his wife were removed from the list of dignitaries who would be sitting in the first family’s box during the president’s acceptance speech later in the evening. Scott Stanzel, a spokesman for the Bush campaign, said Miller was not in the box because the campaign had scheduled him to do too many television interviews.

[. . .]

Full story.

Well, it just proves the old saying. Be careful what you wish for . . . I'm giggling my motherfucking ass off.

Kerry hits back

Via Kos (he got a transcript):

[. . .]

We all saw the anger and distortion of the Republican convention. For the past week, they attacked my patriotism and my fitness to serve as commander in chief. Well, here's my answer. I'm not going to have my commitment to defend this country questioned by those who refused to serve when they could have and by those who have misled the nation into Iraq.

The vice president even called me unfit for office last night. I guess I'll leave it up to the voters whether five deferments makes someone more qualified to defend this nation than two tours of duty.

[. . .]

Go get 'em, Big John.

Kos is experiencing technical glitches. I'll have the link up later.

Update: 06:05:

Finally. Read the speech here.

Thursday, September 2, 2004

Let's do the Time Warp again!

It's Chicago 1968 again, 'cept not as bloody. From theoria at Kos:

Hundreds of people are gathered at Central Booking (100 Centre Street, Manhattan) cheering on detainees as they are slowly released from jail. They were coming out at a steady pace of about one per five minutes or so. (You do the math... I'm a lazy bitch.)

[. . .]

At first we were lined up on the sidewalk directly across from Central Booking, but the cops eventually started pushing us into the park. People kept pushing back onto the walk (but not blocking it) in order to greet newly freed KIDS and guide them to medical attention in the park.

NYPD eventually brought out the barricades, but a group of singers linked arm in arm proudly waltzed around the barricade (and back) in an act of defiance.

[. . .]

Message to Republicans:

DON'T EAT THE BROWN ACID! I repeat: DON'T EAT THE BROWN ACID! Oh . . . I see . . . too late. Never mind.

Water Sports And Class Warfare

A little while ago, Diane and I were watching Crossfire during her lunch hour as we do every day. Sometimes I have to stick my fingers in my ears to protect them from her scathing invective (read: git down cussin') at what those jerk right-wingers spew, but today, it's my turn.

They showed a clip of John Kerry relaxing on his sailboard in the ocean off New England. He wasn't going fast and it looked like he was trying to keep from getting run over by a large vessel of some type that was very near him. Republican skipper, no doubt. Anyway, it was cool and I'm sure he was having fun. And then, over the clip, that scum-suckin', sheep-stealin', sleazebag, slimy-ass bald-headed chicken fucker Bob Novak says, I paraphrase: "Must be what rich East Coast guys do for fun."

That M*****f****r! Have you seen that rig H.W. and his idiot spawn tool around in on the water off Kennebunkport? If I had enough money for a big, fast cigarette like that one, I'd move to a different neighborhood and have matching Escalades! Rich East Coast guys? I like Begala and Carville, they were sitting right there, and neither of them called the BHCF on it. For this, I fault them.

It's a small thing, maybe, but it struck me in a larger context: I live in a resort community, and I see every kind of recreational and sporting gadget available, and the guys who have them aren't all rich. Everything costs money to do: sailboards, street and dirt bikes, mountain bikes, snowmobiles, skis and snowboards (Novak and others mentioned these in the "rich guy sport" category last winter, too. What a crock), fishing/skiing/party/bass boats and their motors, personal watercraft, fishing tackle, firearms, and, oh what the Hell, bowling balls and crochet hooks, too. Whatever lifts your skirt.

Point is, these things are affordable pastimes/ hobbies/ lifestyles for working people. They need something to look forward to after a hard week in the salt mine, or they'd go NUCKING FUTS! It's their money, they earned it, they can spend it any damn fool way they want to.

So for Novak to point out a relatively inexpensive middle-class pastime as being a province of rich people is simply another lame attempt to brand Kerry as one of the liberal elite and separate middle class voters from him. How can he do this when there's a way rich guy in the White House who looks at the rest of us like we're the help, who comes from an even more patrician background, the aw-shucks bullshit be damned, and another who has stolen millions from us who whispers in his ear (and probably Pets his Goat on the side)?

Wrong-headed, partisan, ideological, misdirection, that's why, and he knows he can get away with it. If a Liberal, or just a garden-variety Democrat, ever said something like that, the Right would be all over him for promoting class warfare. They're very, very good at this, as lying with a straight face is just a tactic. The end justifies any means, large or small, to keep this chimp on the throne. Be afraid, be very afraid. Nah, that's a mis-speak. Be ANGRY,be VERY, VERY ANGRY.

There's class warfare all right, and they started it, to divide and conquer. It's up to us not to fall for it. Tell your friends.

You're right, Fixer, this is great therapy, and cheap too!

Essential Saletan

[. . .]

The case against President Bush is simple. He sold us his tax cuts as a boon for the economy, but more than three years later, he has driven the economy into the ground. He sold us a war in Iraq as a necessity to protect the United States against weapons of mass destruction, but after spending $200 billion and nearly 1,000 American lives, and after searching the country for more than a year, we've found no such weapons.

Tonight the Republicans had a chance to explain why they shouldn't be fired for these apparent screw-ups. Here's what Cheney said about the economic situation: "People are returning to work. Mortgage rates are low, and home ownership in this country is at an all-time high. The Bush tax cuts are working." But mortgage rates were low before Bush took office. Home ownership was already at an all-time high. And more than a million more people had jobs than have them today.

[. . .]

In a democracy, the commander in chief works for you. You hire him when you elect him. You watch him do the job. If he makes good decisions and serves your interests, you rehire him. If he doesn't, you fire him by voting for his opponent in the next election.

Not every country works this way. In some countries, the commander in chief builds a propaganda apparatus that equates him with the military and the nation. If you object that he's making bad decisions and disserving the national interest, you're accused of weakening the nation, undermining its security, sabotaging the commander in chief, and serving a foreign power—the very charges Miller leveled tonight against Bush's critics.

Are you prepared to become one of those countries?

[. . .]

Go read it, godammit.

Yo, Tony, fuhgeddaboutit

Via Kos:

John Kerry supporters in America have been told by Peter Hain that Downing Street is hoping the Democratic candidate wins the US presidential election in November.
Mr Hain, who sits in the cabinet as Leader of the Commons, has been in the US on a near-private visit. He met Labour supporters in New York, as well as members of the Kerry team. He has declined to discuss the visit, and his public remarks at a party thrown by the former Sunday Times editor Harold Evans were largely bland. But in private discussions with guests, his tone was markedly different.

Those who met him had the strong impression that he was acting with No 10's support, and that a Democratic victory was clearly sought. Such a supposition ought to be natural, but historic ties have been jolted by the strategic and sometimes personal alliance between George Bush and Tony Blair over Iraq. Mr Hain's visit may be seen by some as diplomatic ground-covering in the event of a Kerry victory.

In public the government will remain studiously neutral. And some Blairites doubt that Mr Kerry has the campaign drive to defeat the incumbent.

But in a sign of frustration inside the Labour party over the government's neutrality, the Blairite group Progress is to issue a scathing attack on Mr Bush's record, although the group is sympathetic to the action in Iraq; Alan Milburn, the former cabinet minister, is its honorary president.

[. . .]

Full story.

Blair realizes that our 'special relationship' with the Brits has been given a wedgie by President Flightsuit. I was wondering when he'd stop being Bush's crash test dummy.

Thanks Glen

Though I always thought deft meant subtle:


I haven't piled onto the Bush twins' debacle. By now, it seems gratuitous. But one of the deftest takes on Laura was from The Fixer. Warning: he doesn't seem to take many prisoners.

And I've never been accused of being subtle. Thanks Glen (from A Brooklyn Bridge, which should be part of your daily reading), now four of us read this fucking blog!

Avast Matey, There's Buggery Aboard, addendum to last post

This should have gone into the last post. I forgot. One of those senior moments I told you about. This is from Martin Mull, one of the finest, most underestimated comedic minds of the ages:

"We're all friends on this old boat
And none of us are sissies.
We tuck each other in at night,
And blow each other............kissies!"

Now, what is this shit doing on a political blog, you ask? Well, everything has a political slant if you look for it. In these two posts we have touched on: The military-industrial complex: the Navy, ships, and ropes, sails, and hammocks (all manufactured and sold by companies); military recruiting techniques (See Fahrenheit 9/11) and the condition of enlisted servicemen; small businesses; retirees, and, oh yes, I believe we might have mentioned the gay community.

See how it all ties together?

Mantail On The Fantail

As I was thinking wistfully of all the fun Mr. and Mrs. F. are going to have on their sea cruise, I was reminded of my own, long ago, first introduction to the manly nautical life. I had just reported aboard (If you can call being dumped out of a sack onto the poop deck "reported aboard") the finest ship of the line in the Queen's Navee, the H.M.S. Poufter Boy.......
Note: Think of the dulcet, gentle voice of "Long John Silver" in the movie "Treasure Island".

"Aarrr! First time to sea, eh, matey? Bunk o'er here by me and I'll show yeh the ropes. Aarrr! There's a good lad, right enow! Stay away from that gang o'er there, they'll have yeh beaten, buggered, and sissified by the dog watch! They like nowt better than friggin' in the riggin', keep a weather eye on yer arse, 'specially while yer reefin' on the royal flyin' topgallant. 'Tis a long way down and they'll take yer measure there. Aarrr! I long for the good ol' days of rum, sodomy, an' the lash! T'were a gentler time, I can tell you!"

I spent a memorable career at sea, and with my pension, I acquired an extensive collection of show tunes which I play to soothe the customers at my interior decorating business. A lot of my best customers are retired sailors.

But seriously, I think the Fixers' biggest danger at sea will be the Buffet. Bon Voyage.

Nazis, once more

See, I'm not the only one. Stole the pic and the post from Digby.

Rebel Yell!

The GOPers in the hall are so excited by the blood dripping from Zell's mouth that I think I fear they will soon be speaking in tongues. I'm getting worried for their health. This much hate can cause strokes and heart attacks if not controlled.

But don't you think Zell's speech and speaking style would be greatly enhanced by a little moustache and a snappy uniform? I mean, it goes so well with the Riefenstahlesque stage set.

I have to wonder if we might not have seen a Buchanan moment there.

Greetings, Gordon

I don't know if you should be honored or not, but this is my first posted comment on any of Mr. Fixer's blog spots, but I felt compelled to write.

I read your bio, at 0500 EDT, and immediately noticed how much you remind me of The Fixer!! The two of you may be twin brothers of different mothers. By the way, what is wrong with OYSTERS?!

This is a very scary thing to think that there may actually be two of you. God help the world now that the two of you have teamed up!!

Having been married to The Fixer for 14 years, please send my best to the Lovely Diane; I know what she has gone through for the past 31 years and can emphathize completely.

Thanks for the offer to row us across the Atlantic, but I'll let the ship's crew handle that. You can master the blog until we get back, but I can assure you that The Fixer won't stay completely silent the entire time, he is physically unable to do that!! He just may not be as prolific and for that we thank you for stepping in!! They are size nine, not ten, by the way!!

(Posted by Mrs. Fixer)

Womens' Rights

As Bill Clinton said: "Being Pro-Choice does not mean you're pro-abortion." This via Corrente:

Bush and the Right to Life

Next time one of the Fetish for the Fetus people gets in your face about Republicans being the Party of Life, the party that has cut funding for anybody anywhere in the world who even thinks about telling a woman who wants one where she can get a clean, safe abortion, mention these other lives they never want to talk about:

(via BBC)

Almost 200 women die each day after having a botched abortion, according to a report.

Ipas, a non-governmental organisation based in the United States, says there are 70,000 such deaths each year.

It says unsafe abortions are also leaving thousands of women with long-term debilitating injuries. The biggest problems are in Asia.

Have we forgotten the bad old days when women would die in back rooms at the hands of unethical doctors? I wonder, if the Fluffer Twins had an unwanted pregnancy or two, would President Testicle-deficient and Laura make them follow through or take them to a clinic forthwith?

Who Is This Fool?

Who the Hell are you and what have you done with The Fixer? You may well ask.

My name is Gordon, and I'm gonna help fill The Fixer's size tens for a while while he and Mrs. F. are on vacation. Fixer is a brave man, or maybe just desperate. We met on SouthKnoxBubba and traded barbs and he doesn't know my ass from a fence post, nor I his, but we get along just fine. He recruited me (That happened once before about 40 yrs. ago, and I done fell fer it agin), maybe because he liked my style, or maybe I was dead last on a long list and couldn't think up an excuse quick enough. No big deal. I count my lucky stars to be doing this and not rowing the QM2 across the Atlantic! The boy is smooth, just like them NooYawkers we hear about. I wish them a pleasant and adventurous holiday. I've promised to try not to burn his house down with an errant mouse click, but he said "Don't worry about it" so I won't.

Gordon is my real name. I don't use a nom de blog for one simple reason: During those senior moments when I forget my name, which are getting closer together, all I gotta do is check inside the neck of my T-shirt and I'm home free, or check the nice necklace that my wife gave me, which not only has my name on it, but my address, phone number, e-mail, not one but two maps showing how to a) find my house, and b) the location of the dog house and directions on how to slide me into it feet first, in case I get home late, and a bail-bond ad - "We'll Cut You Loose Before They Cook Your Goose". It's never failed. A gift of love.

Gordon is an old Gaelic name, meaning "He who will be carried home on his shield". Prophetic? Not yet.

About moi, not that you give a fat rat's ass: I'm 58 years old, married for 31 years to the Lovely Diane, no kids (If anyone's gonna play with a train set on Christmas, it's gonna be me, you betcha). We have two rescued Springer Spaniels. We don't have to buy them books or clothes, and they are fixed, so they can date. I was born and raised in Los Angeles , and for 24 years have lived in a small crossroads town in the beautiful Sierra Nevada, which is Spanish for: High Place With Snow Up To Your Culo. Since one of the roads is I-80, and Reno NV is only 35 miles away, I feel as cosmopolitan as any city slicker, as the high tone of my posts will no doubt convince you in short order.

You already knew I wasn't in NuYalk, dintcha? The lack of accent must've given me away.

I like: Motorcycles (English and red Italian jobs); Americana, Celtic, Old Time & other acoustic music, Mexican food, "Smoky ol' barrooms and clear mountain mornings", pick 'em-up trucks, guns (I'm not that liberal), nice people and the fewer of them, the better.

I don't like: Intolerant people, oysters, SUVs owned by folks who don't know how to put them in 4-wheel, and people who think they know what's best for me when it's really just best for them.

I despise: George W. Bush and his lyin', thievin', truly EVIL cabal. Which brings us to the point (neat segue, huh?): This is a political blog. I may stray from the main point from time to time, but I'll be baack. (Ah-nold's our Governator, remember?) I won't quote a lot of stuff; you can get that anywhere. My style is more one of philosophy, observation, opinion, attempted humor, and tirades against truly egregious right-wing miscarriages of the American Way, and there are many.

Three weeks ago, I couldn't spell "blog". Now I are one. We'll see how it goes.

Wednesday, September 1, 2004

Let's See If It Works

Hola! Mi nombre es Gordon. Ooops! Click to English. There. Fixer, if you get this let me know. What else?

Psst, Grandma, Fuck You

From Lambert at Corrente:

Bush privatization: 350,000 axed from private Pfizer's drugs plan

Wait a minute—I thought the Republicans were supposed to be compassionate? I guess Pfizer didn't get the memo:

Dr. Mark B. McClellan, the administrator of the federal Medicare and Medicaid programs, declined to comment on Pfizer's action yesterday, other than to note that he had urged all of the drug makers "to continue their existing programs."

[. . .]

Big Media Matt gets laid

From Matt Yglesias:

Postcard From the Downward Spiral

Me at a party last night: "I've never really been around a lot of Republicans before." "So now you think better of us?" "Not really."

Overheard in a hotel lobby: "I get the feeling these New Yorker liverals just don't understand how 9-11 changed things. It's like they don't even remember it." (no, fuck you).

Later, in Starbucks, two Young Republicans dialogue. "What does SoHo mean?" "Maybe it's like a hooker from the South." (South of Houston Street, asswipe). "I heard the bagels here were supposed to be different, but they seem the same to me." (because you're in a fucking Starbucks moron). "I would have expected Bush to get more support in New York -- there seem to be so many Mexicans living here. (they're Puerto Ricans, and . . . what?).

Then cute girl at adjacent table: "hey...aren't you the guy who wrote that there were no cute girls in Midtown?" That turned out better.


From Digby:

[. . .]

This is one of the most potent arguments against bigotry. Here you have someone who is obviously a talented politican (if playing for the wrong team --- the GOP, that is) and he can't be allowed to run for higher office because of the prejudices of a bunch of medieval lamebrains. This happens all the time in all walks of life and it's so patently unamerican. This is, after all, the country where anyone is supposed to be able to make it on the merits. As Clinton used to say, we don't have a person to waste. (Like arabic translators...)

Then again, I have to ask myself why any self respecting gay person would be a Republican when most of his comrades believe he is a repellant deviant (unless he's a Catholic priest in which case it should be overlooked.) To me, it's like a black man joining the KKK. Don't get it.

[. . .]

Entire post.

Al Franken

Why is it that the nebish is the only one with the cojones to call Joe Scarborough on his interpretation of the facts. And Scarborough, when Franken gets on a roll, tries to cut him off. The Nazi fuck.

And then Sacroborough says, "I've also said that facts are stupid." Fucking idiot.


I'd like the three of you who read this blog to give a warm welcome to Gordon, who will be blogging here until he runs away screaming. I found him hanging out over at Bubba's place and he actually replied to my one-liners. Idiot, look what I got him into, but it got him off the streets. I wish him all the best.


"I remember sitting in the window of the White House, watching my husband . . ."

So what are you? The fucking White House cat? I didn't think anyone could be a bigger idiot than her husband until I heard her speak. Jesus H. Christ, I looked in her eyes and saw a 'space for rent' sign.

The fluffers


BUSH TWINS SPEECH, 10:26 P.M.: Welcome to the Sweet Valley High Republican National Convention. Jenna and Barbara Bush took to the podium this evening and confirmed that, yes, they are too ditzy and inarticulate to help their dad on the trail. The twins managed to systematically embarrass each and every important member of the Bush team with their DOA jokes. No one, from Andy Card to Karen Hughes, was spared. The girls ragged on their “Gammy” Barbara Bush for being a prudish, un-hip, old lady who doesn’t appreciate Sex and the City. “You’re just not cool,” they giggled. Gammy wasn’t laughing. Neither was Dick Cheney. And neither was I.

Did anybody vet these girls? Karen Hughes told Larry King that she had worked on Laura Bush’s speech. Did she even glance at the girls’ prepared text? Was there one?

Even the folks over at the Corner were cringing. When that happens, you know it’s bad.


Always thought he was an idiot, but last night he proved it with this line:

"If you believe that government is accountable to the people, you're a Republican."

Accountability? The Repubs don't know the meaning of the word.

From the Blogosphere:


As if you weren't lucky duckies enough, now those of you who are unemployed, underemployed, stuck at a job you hate because there are no alternatives--- you are "girly men".
If you have no health insurance, no benefits, no overtime pay, and have to work multiple jobs to make ends meet -- you are "girly men".

If you aren't a rich oil baron, you are a girly man.

If you aren't a rich movie star, you are a girly man.

If you are a woman, you are a girly man. Er, or something like that.

Glad we got that cleared up.

From Glen at A Brooklyn Bridge:

Re: Ahnold. Please meet me in the ER. My skull just exploded.

From Atrios:

Suck it up if you're unemployed. Pussies.

From Ezra at Pandagon:

Now Arnold is one the "if you believe in happiness and smiles, you are a Republican". I don't think anyone in the world is convinced by these rhetorical pot brownies.

I'll probably have more tidbits after work.

Tuesday, August 31, 2004


From Digby:

No Glory

One of the hazards of democracy is that if we endorse our government's willingness to use torture, others will feel justified in holding we the people as responsible for it as our leaders. It's unlikely that the billion Muslims on this planet will continue to see a distinction between themselves and the Islamic radicals if the people of America validate the illegal actions of this government and extend this administration's power for four more years.

This is going to haunt our country forever. We unleashed the beast and I fear we will all pay a heavy price if we do not hold our leaders accountable.

Another waffle

Bush talking to Matt Lauer. Lauer asks him if Iran is still considered part of the Axis of Evil.

"Are they evil?" Lauer asks.

Bush's answer: "A government that supresses its people is not good."

Lauer coaxed him a few times and the rat bastid wouldn't use the word 'evil'. Why not? Does that mean North Korea is off the list too? Or was Saddam the mastermind behind the triumverate and now that he's gone, the other two evil places aren't that evil anymore? Or could it be that if Bush even hinted about attacking Iran, the American people would drag him from the White House and string him up on the Mall?

Karen Hughes

Is this the MOST UNFUCKABLE woman in the ENTIRE U.S. of A. or what?

I'd do Janet Reno first.

And one more thing

Via Eschaton:

NEW YORK (CNN) -- Delegates to the Republican National Convention found a new way to take a jab at Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry's Vietnam service record: by sporting adhesive bandages with small purple hearts on them.

Morton Blackwell, a prominent Virginia delegate, has been handing out the heart-covered bandages to delegates, who've worn them on their chins, cheeks, the backs of their hands and other places.

Blackwell is president of the Leadership Institute, a nonpartisan educational foundation he founded in 1979. According to its Web site, the institute prepares conservatives for success in politics, government and the news media. [my emphasis]

Just a word of warning. I catch anybody wearing them, you'll need more than a fucking band aid, you low-life motherfuckers.

They'd better show

Where are the Anarchists? We've been promised Violent Anarchists for days now. You know this is Republican spin. The news media has been pushing this since Friday. "Anarchists will protest the Convention. If Seattle is any indication . . . blah, blah, blah." The Repubs are salivating, waiting to link the Violent Anarchists to Kerry. "See what the Dems do," they'll say. "These are 'shadowy liberal groups' directed by the Kerry campaign to disrupt the Convention."

So, damnit, I want Anarchists. Get them out there, and I hope they protest peacefully.

And this . . .

Just thinking, as Scarborough interviews another Repub outside, ya think MSNBC could have sprung for some kind of windproofing for their microphones? You know, like one of those fuzzy yarmulkes you see all the time? Jesus H. Christ, you can barely hear these Jesus freaks talking over the wind noise.

Oh . . . wait . . . that's a good thing. Never mind.

Thoughts on 9/11

From Meryl Johnson at The American Street:

[. . .]

What did Bush have to do with 9/11 except to allow it to happen because he was too arrogant and ignorant to pay attention to Clinton's warnings about al Qaeda? The 9/11 Commission seems to have been able to find plenty of indications that something major was about to happen. Even strong indications that whatever was about to happen would involve hijacked planes. To not have enough airport security to prevent four -- count em, four -- planes from being hijacked at the same time, and then to not even notice that four planes had been hijacked until they began to crash into buildings -- and then, once aware that something was amiss, not be able to figure out what to do about it, has to mean that those responsible for protecting public safety were not only asleep but in a deep coma.

And what has he done since then for this city besides showing up three days later for a photo-op? His immediate REAL response was to betray us by not allowing the REAL reports on air quality at the WTC site to be released, thus poisoning all who worked there and everyone who lived near there. How many of the workers at the site, who could have been protected by at least wearing a mask, are now sick, probably damaged for life? Yeah, now he calls them heros. I guess they just weren't heroic enough or important enough to protect their safety by telling them the truth. The police and firemen who sacrificed so much that day certainly aren't being rewarded like heros -- they've been working without a contract for two years. Or, in the Bush every-man-for-himself ideology, they should have figured out for themselves that the air was poisonous and not believed the reports that the air was safe? Oh, there's a long list of sins against the city, a history of utter contempt for the city and its suffering, the most recent being that remark about the "unseemly scramble for money" by city officials afterwards. Only a bunch of psychopaths could act like this and then come to this wounded city to claim credit for how noble their response has been. Their response? Establishing the huge, incredibly expensive, meaningless "Homeland Security" department, taking away the workers' rights to do it, which seems mainly tell us to buy lots of duct tape, to issue dubious terrorist alerts based on a color scale -- and, of course, the amazing decision to attack Iraq while ignoring the real terrorist danger. [my emphasis]

[. . .]

Go read the entire post.


To the people of Athens. I sure as hell had no confidence in your abilities to get the Olympic facilities completed, to keep the place secure, and make everything run with precision.

I say here, before the world, that I'm sorry. I apologize for not giving you the benefit of the doubt and I congratulate you for doing an extraordinary job. I enjoyed the Olympics immensely. Thank you for doing your very best, you were all fantastic.

Tucker Eskew

This is the first time I've listened to this asshole. He sounds like a fucking Jesus-freak evangelist. BTW, they're all still trying to spin Bush's moron statement to Matt Lauer.

Update: 15:21:

Pat Robertson is on with Scarborough. Oy!!! Oh, and Robertson is okay with Giuliani's and Schwartzenegger's pro-choice, pro-gay marriage positions because they support President No Nuts. As they'd say over at Corrente. Yet Another Republican Hypocrite.

I've finally gone to Hell

Not that I expected to go anywhere else, but every 10 minutes I see that fat troll Denny Hastert's face on the tube this morning. I've surely awakened in Hell, in a Kafka-esque sort of way.

Monday, August 30, 2004

Is the nation drunk?

Via Skippy the Bush Kangaroo:

Sentient Non-Idiots For Kerry Repubs pick a fight about Vietnam while Bush ruins America right now? Is the nation drunk? - By Mark Morford, SF Gate Columnist
Friday, August 27, 2004

And isn't it funny how at least 13 members of Congress have actually requested that the United Nations monitor this year's U.S. presidential election, just because, just in case, just to ensure there's no voter rolling and election rigging and chad hanging and outright shameless Florida reaming like last time?

And isn't it even more funny how, when firebrand U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown, from Florida, brought the issue up on the floor of Congress, she was actually shouted down by the Republicans, scolded that she was out of order and told her comments should be stricken from the record?

[. . .]

And isn't it hilarious how the absolute worst thing the Right has been able to dredge up about John Kerry is that he might sort of maybe have exaggerated some facts about his various Vietnam medals and acts of and valor and deeds of astounding heroism, which is sort of like saying well sure you saved 10 babies from that burning building, but jeez, you were wearing special shoes at the time and by the way couldn't you have saved 11? Traitor!

And how hard should we guffaw while we note that, as Kerry was volunteering in Vietnam and earning his medals and risking his life in the most volatile and ugly and pointless and lethal and hideous war in American history unless you count Iraq, which you really really should, Dubya was "serving" in the Air National Guard, which we all know translates to mean "hangin' down in Tijuana slamming tequila shooters and annoying the waitresses, all while praising Jesus that he had a daddy who could keep him away from scary complicated violent stuff."

Whoa. Let me take that back. That was totally out of line and inappropriate and disrespectful of our fine incoherent president, and I have absolutely no proof that Dubya was such an embarrassment, such an incompetent AWOL serviceman. Very sorry.

[. . .]

Go read.

Are you really better off?

Stole the whole thing from Kos:

In case Bush's speechwriters are having a hard time getting a grip on his record, here are some stats to help frame it:

Change, real median household income (2003 adjusted dollars)

Bush II: -$1,535
Clinton: +$5,489
Bush I: -$1,314

Change, number in poverty

Bush II: +4,280,000
Clinton: -6,433,000
Bush I: +6,269,000


And if he wants to add a little bit of up-to-the-minute data to spice up his speech, he can add a bit of this:

Personal incomes of U.S. residents grew 0.1 percent in July, the slowest growth in two years, the Commerce Department estimated Monday.

Consumer spending increased 0.8 percent in July after a revised 0.2 percent decline in June. With spending rising faster than incomes, the personal savings rate fell from 1.3 percent to 0.6 percent, the lowest since December 2002.

All hail Bush the economic wonder!

Like they say, 'if you want to live like a Republican, vote for a Democrat'.


Stole this from WTF Is It Now??:

And who could forget this classic:

Nervous New Yorkers

I've told you all about my wife, the terrorist magnet? She was in the WTC for the bombing in '93, she was on the Long Island Rail Road train with Colin Ferguson when he decided he had to kill everyone, and she had a front row seat for 9/11 (44th Floor of the Merrill Lynch Building of the World Financial Center). If you're down at Ground Zero, it's the building with the dome across the street. Look up to the top floor and wave to her. Anyway, I always write her an email in the afternoons when I get home from work. The folks who went through 9/11 up close are nervous with the Convention in town. From her reply this afternoon:

Hi Baby!

I am trying to stay as calm as possible, but it is not that easy. There are a lot of choppers flying around making a lot of noise. They catch everyone's attention and set the nerves on edge.

[. . .]

Yeah, President Nitwit, exploit us some more. Fuckwad asshat. (Thanks to Democratic Veteran for the term 'asshat'. It's apt.)

Oh yeah, fuck you too, Mayor Bloomberg, you little troll bastid. Did you have to invite them HERE?

Update: 15:30:

From The Talking Dog:

[. . .]

One curious person waiting at the cul de sac (around 15 minutes before we could cross the street-- I like to exaggerate, but it was quite a while) asked me "How does business get done with this going on?" This being the virtual shutdown of central midtown traffic-- 7th Avenue and 34th Street, I venture to guess, is easily one of the 10 highest traffic intersections in the City, as Penn Station (and nearby Madison Square Garden) are caddy-cornered with Macy's. I responded, simply, "It doesn't." The other fellow nodded, acknowledging the virtual shutdown of the City. Certainly, anyone here at the office who could get away with not being here... is not here.

The streets were... quieter than usual, except for police, who are... everywhere, and in force. I find it less than funny that, if this is how the City reacts to be visited by a bunch of Americans, how it can possibly dream of having the Olympics. Then again, we probably won't, so no need to worry about that.

[. . .]

Tell me, why the FUCK couldn't they do this whole fucking thing at the Javits Center? It's on the West Side, out of the way, the protesters could march down the West Side Highway, it would have been SO fucking easy.

You don't think so?

Then what the FUCK are we fighting for? From the NY Daily News:

[. . .]

In an interview on NBC-TV’s “Today” show broadcast to coincide with Monday’s start of the Republican National Convention in New York, Bush said retreating from the war on terror “would be a disaster for your children.”’

“You cannot show weakness in this world today because the enemy will exploit that weakness,” he said. “It will embolden them and make the world a more dangerous place.”

When asked “Can we win?” the war on terror, Bush said, “I don’t think you can win it. But I think you can create conditions so that the — those who use terror as a tool are — less acceptable in parts of the world.” [my emphasis]

[. . .]

So you squandered all those lives in a fruitless war? Fuck you very much, you low-life, piece of shit, asshole.

Update: 15:20:

Andy Card (WH Chief of Staff) is on with Scarborough now, trying to spin President Clueless' idiot remark before it gets out of hand. I hope it gets out of hand.

Joe Scarborough

Is a fucking idiot. Just watching him interview Tad Devine of the Kerry camp. Joe's nothing but a young Bob Novak with hair, but not as smart.

New acronym

From Corrente: YARH = Yet Another Republican Hypocrite.

From New York Times:

Among the stoutest defenders of "Unfit for Command: Swift Boat Veterans Speak Out Against John Kerry," the best-selling book arguing that Mr. Kerry lied about his record of service in Vietnam, is the columnist Robert Novak.

Unmentioned in Mr. Novak's columns and television appearances, however, is a personal connection he has to the book: his son, Alex Novak, is the director of marketing for its publisher, the conservative publishing house Regnery.

In a telephone interview, Robert Novak said he saw no need to disclose the link.

"I don't think it's relevant," he said.

"I'm just functioning as a columnist with a point of view, and a strong point of view," he added.

Bob Novak was irrelevant years ago.

Update: 16:40:

From Digby:

Novak, like so many Republicans in this era, has completely lost his honor both as a journalist and a citizen. This man is not a journalist, he is a GOP propagandist and should not be afforded the same kind of shield offered to real journalists in protecting their sources. The profession should shun this guy. By allowing him to evoke that shield in the Plame case, they are likely to lose it all together.

Sunday, August 29, 2004

Bubba on Crosswire

South Knox Bubba is guest blogging on's Republican Convention blog, Crosswire. Bubba's the voice from the left, opposite of West Knox Momma, the right wing pundit. They started today and I think the exchange is great. Bubba is his usual enlightened self and the comments are direct. Stop over there. Of course, you'll find some of my diatribe in the comments too.


You know, I'm thinking tactically here, but we're leaving Southampton, England on September 11th aboard the Queen Mary 2. Now, I know the odds of something happening are infinitesmally small, but to me that's a big fat target and the timing is perfect. Ah well, no sense worrying about it. I promise I'll take as many of 'em with me as I can before I go down.

Clusterfuck Update #2

From Wampum:

Militia commanders captured or surrendered at the end of US military operations at the Shrine of Ali in Najaf: 0

Militia men captured or surrendered at the end of US military operations at the Shrine of Ali in Najaf: 0

Heavy weapons captured or surrendered at the end of US military operations at the Shrine of Ali in Najaf: 0

It appears to me that the forces of Muqtada al-Sadr were successfully extracted from encirclement by vastly superior forces. The Abizaid-Sanchez-Kimmitt line since Bremmer decided to arrest-or-assassinate al-Sadr and triggered the May-June shoot-out in Fallujah which is still the balance-of-forces issue, is that the Sadrist movement, reconstituted as an armed militia and operationalized as a defensive force in some urban areas, was using the local population as "human shields".

It appears to me that the thousands of marchers that accompanied Sayeed Ali Sistani from Basra to Najaf inserted themselves into the front edge of the battle area, after taking casualties from US forces or their Iraqi surrogates (Diwaniyyah group, Hilla group, Kufa group), forcing the abandonment of Paul Bremmer's policy (arrest or assassination) by the Alawi regime, and the Abizaid-Sanchez-Kimmitt policy (unlimited collateral damages in the execution of the Bremer policy).

[. . .]

The NeoCon reading is that taking an abandoned fixed point defended section of a city and some assault rifles and RPGs is a victory of American and Allied Arms. It wasn't. A whole bunch more regular Army and reservists got killed or wounded for several weeks of meaningless ballet around a contemporary Porkchop Hill. A lot of munitions, including 2,000 lbs "guided" bombs, were expended on graves and hotels, with the obvious "hearts and minds" consequences graveyard vandalism and civilian targeted aerial bombing always has.

[. . .]

Entire post.

Again, tell me why we're there? Oh yeah, I'll hear about it all week. Thank God I'm heading out of the country on Friday. These two weeks away from this crap will be refreshing.

NYC security

Don't know what's scarier, the threat of terror or the stormtroopers in the streets. From Meryl Johnson at The American Street:

There's nothing to compare with watching paranoia do its thing. Anyone in NYC who farts during the next couple of weeks is going to be in danger of being arrested as a bioterrorist. Think I'm joking? I'm not. I'm suggesting a Group Fart as a demonstration.

Here's what I know now about the Big Plan. I watched Ridge, Pataki, and Bloomberg make their announcement from the floor of Madison Square Garden. Security is going to be provided by federal, state and local agencies. On the federal level, he Secret Service, of course; that makes sense because they always protect the president. The FBI wasn't mentioned, but they're certainly around. Homeland Security -- the coast guard, (well, this is a port) and various "classified" agencies -- apparently around 8 of them. On the state level -- the national guard and the state police. Locally, the poor old NYPD, with many of its members in plain clothes, especially on the subways. Plus something very vague about "help" from New Jersey and Connecticut. Who pays for all this? The taxpayers, of course, although Bloomberg made a pitch saying "private contributions" will cover much of the cost of the convention. Everybody made a big pitch about New York being "the safest city in America." Not with all these paranoid nuts around, it isn't.

The fun has already begun. Without announcing in advance that this was going to happen, the streets closest to the Madison Square Garden were suddenly closed off yesterday afternoon, creating an amazing traffic mess. Geez! Nobody's even there yet! I was planning to go to Macy's today, but I don't think I'll be able to get there from here. I was also hoping to sneak some photos of the security in the area. They wouldn't arrest a little old lady with a cane for taking pictures, would they? Yeah, they probably would, or at least take my camera away -- especially since it's a tiny digital camera, and I'd be sneaking around. I might try a bus ride to see how and where the busses are being rerouted, and whether they just stop dead at around 23rd St. There was a wonderful photo in the paper today of -- I guess it's the National Guard with machine guns -- standing at attention at the entrance to Victoria's Secret. Good grief! Who's likely to attack Victoria's Secret?

[. . .]

Entire post.

How does he hate us?

Via Just a Bump in the Beltway from uExpress:

[. . .]

Whether you agree or disagree with the words pouring from the podium over Americans who see reflections of themselves in George W. Bush, the real issue of this election will not be mentioned. The core issue is this: Our president is incompetent. He is not a good president.

Let me count the ways:

(1) He has divided the country; we are all part of a vicious little hissing match. We were united and humbled on Sept. 12, 2001. We are divided and humiliated now, telling lies about each other.

(2) He has divided the world. "We are all Americans now," headlined Le Monde on that Sept. 12. Now there are days when it seems as if they are all anti-Americans.

(3) He is leaving no child or grandchild without debt. He has taken the government from surplus into deficit in the name of national security and increased private investment. We can pay the debt in two ways: with more government revenues (taxation) or by borrowing -- against the sweat and income of new generations. The president has chosen to borrow.

(4) He campaigns as a champion of smaller government, but is greatly increasing the size and role of government. Ideological conservatism, it turns out, costs just as much or more than ideological liberalism. Conservative and liberal politicians are both for increasing the reach and power of government. The difference between them is which parts and functions of the state are to be empowered and financed. The choice is between military measures and order, or more redistribution of income. Money is power.

(5) He is diminishing the military of which he is so proud now as commander in chief. The invasion and occupation of Iraq (news - web sites) have obviously not worked out the way he imagined -- naked torture was not the goal. But the far greater problem for the future is that our proud commander has revealed the hollowness behind the unilateral superpower. From the top down, we have not been able to win Iraq, much less the world. And going into Iraq has compromised or crippled the war on terror he declared himself.

(6) He is diminishing scientific progress, the great engine of the 20th century. Only the truly ignorant can believe that the proper role of government is to hinder medical research and environmental study in the name of God.

(7) He is diminishing the Constitution of the United States. Cheesy tricks like amending the great text of freedom to attack homosexuality can be dismissed as wedge politics. But it is worse to preach against an activist judiciary while appointing more activist judges who happen to hold different beliefs, particularly the idea that civil liberties are the enemies of patriotism, security and freedom itself.

(8) He has surrounded himself with other incompetents. The secretary of state is presiding over the rape of diplomacy and its alliances. The secretary of defense has sent our young men and women into situations they were never meant or trained to handle, and now they are being ordered into battle by an appointed minister in a faraway land. The national security adviser does not seem to know that her job description includes coordinating defense and diplomacy. And then there was our $340,000-a-month local hire, Ahmed Chalabi, sitting in the gallery of our House.

(9) He has been unable or unwilling to deal with declining employment and the rising medical costs of becoming an older nation.

(10) He is, as if by design, destroying the credibility of the United States as a force for peace in the world -- an honest broker -- particularly in the Middle East.

[. . .]

Read Richard Reeves' entire op-ed piece.

Clusterfuck news

From NYT via MaxSpeak:

BAGHDAD, Iraq, Aug. 28 - While American troops have been battling Islamic militants to an uncertain outcome in Najaf, the Shiite holy city, events in two Sunni Muslim cities that stand astride the crucial western approaches to Baghdad have moved significantly against American plans to build a secular democracy in Iraq.

[. . .]

American efforts to build a government structure around former Baath Party stalwarts - officials of Saddam Hussein's army, police force and bureaucracy who were willing to work with the United States - have collapsed. Instead, the former Hussein loyalists, under threat of beheadings, kidnappings and humiliation, have mostly resigned or defected to the fundamentalists, or been killed. Enforcers for the old government, including former Republican Guard officers, have put themselves in the service of fundamentalist clerics they once tortured at Abu Ghraib.

In the past three weeks, three former Hussein loyalists appointed to important posts in Falluja and Ramadi have been eliminated by the militants and their Baathist allies. The chief of a battalion of the American-trained Iraqi National Guard in Falluja was beheaded by the militants, prompting the disintegration of guard forces in the city. The Anbar governor was forced to resign after his three sons were kidnapped. The third official, the provincial police chief in Ramadi, was lured to his arrest by American marines after three assassination attempts led him to secretly defect to the rebel cause.

The national guard commander and the governor were both forced into humiliating confessions, denouncing themselves as "traitors" on videotapes that sell in the Falluja marketplace for 50 cents. The tapes show masked men ending the guard commander's halting monologue, toppling him to the ground, and sawing off his head, to the accompaniment of recorded Koranic chants ordaining death for those who "make war upon Allah." The governor is shown with a photograph of himself with an American officer, sobbing as he repents working with the "infidel Americans," then being rewarded with a weeping reunion with his sons.

[. . .]

Full story.

If Iraqis and American soldiers weren't being killed wholsale, Presdient Ballbag's fuckups would be funny in a Gomer Pyle-esque kind of way.


Just watching Hillary on Stephanopolous and Lil' George is letting her run. She's nailing all of the talking points. Way to go, girl.

And George Will isn't as smart as he thinks he sounds.

Rogues gallery

From Digby:

Rogue Element

The long awaited first installment of the Washington Monthly article by Marshall, Rozen and Glastris is online. It is looking more and more as if we have another rogue element that's been working out of DOD and I have to assume, some part of the White House. The many interconnecting webs seem to lead to and through the forged Niger documents, Chalabi, "Clean Break" and Valerie Plame. It's got the earmarks of a John LeCarre novel and if it weren't so incredibly dangerous it would be amusing.

The article is entitled "Iran Contra II" and that is apt for more reasons than the recurring roles of Mr Ghorbanifar and Mr Ledeen. Once again we see a marked "impatience" with the unfortunately cumbersome working of democratic government. That this may have happened for the second time in twenty years featuring many of the same people is a pretty clear indication that letting bygones be bygones will not do when dealing with this sort of traitorous, undemocratic behavior. The stakes are a hell of a lot higher now that they ae crashing airplanes into NYC skyscrapers. If there is an immediate lesson to be gleaned by the people, perhaps the simplest is that when you have a stupid and easily manipulated man at the head of the government, his minions and courtiers spend all their time jockeying for position and finding shortcuts to get their way. If Kerry happens to win he really must bite the bullet and see that this is investigated and people are brought up on charges. It's completely unbelievable that these same players came back into government and ran their game all over again. Unbelievable.

[. . .]

Entire post. Read it.

See where your money goes

The moving counter at the top right is the rate and amount of money we're spending in Iraq. Unfortunately, something we can't quantify is the cost of the nearly 1000 U.S. lives lost in Mesopotamia.

Thank you, President Flightsuit, you fucking asshole.

Intelligence failures

From Kos:

And no, I'm not talking about Bush's intellect.

Bush has been president for four years, yet we have had to suffer the following "intelligence failures":

  • 9/11. Ashcroft de-emphasizes anti-terrorist activities in order to satiate his anti-pornography obsession. Bush completely ignores a document titled "Bin Ladin Determined to Strike the United States" and promptly went on a month-long vacation.

  • Plame Affair. The administration outs the CIA's top nuclear non-proliferation official in bid to discredit administration critic.

  • Saddam's WMD. Bush and Cheney make clear they want evidence, regardless the truth. They create a shadow intelligence inside the Pentagon to independently assess intelligence when CIA doesn't offer the expected "truth".

  • Saddam's WMD, Part II. Colin Powell makes an ass of himself at Security Council when he tries to prove Saddam's evil intent, and proves nothing more than that Iraq has warehouses and trucks.

  • Chalabi. The Pentagon's top choice for Iraq's post-war leadership lets Iran know we have cracked their communication code. Once upon a time we could listen in to one of the Axil of Evil's most guarded communications, including communications with terrorist groups like Hizbollah. Now we cannot. An intelligence failure of epic proportions.

  • Administration outs Al Qaida mole. We finally turn one of Bin Laden's baddies, and the administration outs him days later to justify terror alert. Terror alert turns out to be unjustifiable anyway, based on years-old info.

  • Ouch. This is one brutal failure after another, and aside from 9-11, the rest are ALL the fault of the politicians in the Bush Administration.

    [. . .]

    Entire post.

    Update: Pentagon spies

    From Knight-Ridder via Eschaton:

    WASHINGTON - An FBI probe into the handling of highly classified material by Pentagon civilians is broader than previously reported, and goes well beyond allegations that a single mid-level analyst gave a top-secret Iran policy document to Israel, three sources familiar with the investigation said Saturday.

    The probe, which has been going on for more than two years, also has focused on other civilians in the Secretary of Defense's office, said the sources, who spoke on condition they not be identified, but who have first-hand knowledge of the subject.

    In addition, one said, FBI investigators in recent weeks have conducted interviews to determine whether Pentagon officials gave highly classified U.S. intelligence to a leading Iraqi exile group, the Iraqi National Congress, which may in turn have passed it on to Iran. INC leader Ahmed Chalabi has denied his group was involved in any wrongdoing.

    [. . .]

    But they both center on the office of Undersecretary of Defense Douglas Feith, the Pentagon's No. 3 official.

    Feith's office, which oversees policy matters, has been the source of numerous controversies over the last three years. His office had close ties to Chalabi and was responsible for post-war Iraq planning that the administration has now acknowledged was inadequate. Before the war, Feith and his aides pushed the now-discredited theory that former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was in league with al-Qaida.

    No one is known to have been charged with any wrongdoing in the current investigation. Officials cautioned that it could result in charges of mishandling classified information, rather than the more serious charge of espionage.

    The Israeli government on Saturday strenuously denied it had spied on the United States, its main benefactor on the global scene.

    [. . .]

    Two sources disclosed Saturday that the information believed to have been passed to Israel was the draft of a top-secret presidential order on Iran policy, known as a National Security Presidential Directive. Because of disagreements over Iran policy among President Bush's advisors, the document is not believed to have ever been completed.

    Having a draft of the document - which some Pentagon officials may have believed was insufficiently tough toward Iran - would have allowed Israel to influence U.S. policy while it was still being made. Iran is among Israel's main security concerns.

    [. . .]

    But it's okay if you're a Republican. Could you imagine if this occurred under a Democratic administration? Yeesh!

    The Head Heeb has more on this here.

    Josh Marshall at TPM does too here and here.

    Update: NY Terror Arrests

    From Lambert at Corrente:

    Gaslight watch: Guess where the latest "terror" arrests are?

    Could it be? In New York? On the eve of the Republican Coronation Convention?

    Bien sur!

    This is so fucking transparent. As usual, you have to read to the bottom to get the killer detail:

    Two men have been arrested in connection with an alleged plot to bomb a subway station in midtown Manhattan, sources said early Saturday.

    At least one of the men may have an affiliation with a terrorist organization, according to two law enforcement sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity. The sources said the group in question was not believed to be al-Qaida.

    Well, who were they? Winger militia? Christians?

    The two men tried get explosives to bomb the station but did not succeed in obtaining any, the sources said. There was no timeline for the plot, which was first reported by WNBC early Saturday.
    (via AP)

    "No timeline," eh? So, um, why now?

    Remind you of anything? Like the extremely non-political Orange Alert right after the Democratic Convention?

    So, Republicans blowing more smoke to make Presdient Mission Accomplished look like he's tough on terror.