Saturday, October 2, 2004
Osama is in the house
"And you've also got to have a couple of surprises - and we've got a couple of surprises that we intend to spring."
I've said it before and I'll say it again. They're gonna pull Osama out of an undisclosed location, where he's been playing cards with Cheney, and parade him in front of the cameras. Either that or there'll be a 'terrorist' incident here on election day.
Thanks to Kevin Hayden at The American Street for the link.
I Like It
The allusion in "Tweet Smell of Success" to "Reichian" refers not to Robert Reich, former Secretary of Labor, but Wilhelm Reich, renegade psychotherapist and founder of the Orgone Institute, who in his 1948 book Listlen, Little Man! addressed the reader:
"You let the powerful demand power 'for the little man.' But you yourself are silent. You provide powerful men with more power or choose weak, malignant men to represent you. And you discover too late you are always the dupe."
Not a bad description of Bush's "base."
And this line in the second:
But that was before John Kerry grape-stomped Bush into a sullen mash.
A lovely mental picture, no?
That blog deserves a closer look. See ya.
Your Vote Counts
A few years ago, we had a local election and one of the measures was a $1M school bond issue. I never vote "yes" on any bond issue except Veterans' funding, just on principle, as I am against public indebtedness.
My wife and I both got home from work very tired that day and decided to shine it on. Neither one of us had ever missed an election since we were old enough to vote.
The measure passed by ONE vote. If we had voted, it would have lost by ONE vote. That's with about three thousand voters in the district. I don't know how many actually showed up, but WE could have made the difference. I'll take that back: we DID make the difference, by not showing up to do our civic duty.
I'll never miss another one.
The Two Faces of Bush
Don't Take Your Vote For Granted
In a presidential year in which only about half those eligible to vote will in fact do so, it's well to keep in mind that for many eligible voters -- among them women, African-Americans, Asians, Native Americans and the poor -- the path to the voting booth was strewn with obstacles that they first had to surmount.
University of Houston History Prof. Steven Mintz examines the history of voting rights in this election season on [here]:
"The story of how voting rights became virtually universal is not a story of unbroken progress. Rather, it is, as historian Alexander Keyssar has persuasively argued, a story of struggle. There have been periods in which voting rights have contracted and periods in which they have expanded. The United States was the first nation to expand the vote to virtually all white men, but it has also undergone periods in which voting rights were restricted, and it was one of the last Western nations to guarantee the vote to all citizens."
. . . I don't have a great deal to say, either, except this: Right now would be a bad time to become overconfident. Bush could easily recover some of his poise for the next two debates, though the issue terrain should be more favorable to Kerry. Expectations are so heavily leaning toward John Edwards that the slightest failings could generate positive coverage for Cheney. Must crucially, people need to avoid the mistake made after the Democratic Convention of sitting on our laurels. Kerry needs to stay on the offensive.
In the buildup to the first presidential debate, some CNN commentators called the event "a decisive moment"; a "key opportunity" for Senator John Kerry; "the most important night of John Kerry's presidential campaign"; a chance for the candidates to win "the very big prize" of undecided voters; or "a pivotal moment." After the debate, these same CNN commentators said Kerry performed well -- but then downplayed the significance of the debates.
[. . .]
And this from Josh Marshall:
I will spare you any pretense of mock surprise that Fox News is ridiculously biased against the Kerry campaign. But it's one thing to know it and another to get such a blazing and undeniable example of it as a story with fabricated Kerry-bashing quotes put together by the Fox News reporter covering the Kerry campaign.
[. . .]
And Tom Tomorrow:
[. . .]
. . . The gulf between what I observe when watching Bush and what the media report has just grown too wide . . .
[. . .]
Media Matters factchecks Republican operative . . . er, NBC reporter Lisa Myers:
In an October 1 segment on NBC's Today show devoted to fact-checking assertions by both candidates at the September 30 presidential debate, NBC News senior investigative correspondent Lisa Myers distorted Senator John Kerry's statements to cast them as misleading.
[. . .]
Friday, October 1, 2004
My tinfoil hat
I don't want anyone to tell me that George Bush should be president because he's a regular guy who is just like their neighbor. I don't want my neighbor to be president (actually I don't even want him to be my neighbor.) I want someone capable of speaking for more than two and a half minutes on anything. Anything at all.
Remember this: he actually spent the week studying up for this. Imagine that.
Personally, I did think Bush was smarter than he looked last night, but I guess Rove usually does have his arm up President Moron's ass, making his lips move.
The fate of one stubborn little village normally wouldn't make much of a splash. But Shishmaref and other Alaskan settlements are attracting national attention because scientists see them as gloomy harbingers. "Shishmaref is the canary in the coal mine — an indicator of what's to come elsewhere," says Gunter Weller, director of the University of Alaska's Cooperative Institute for Arctic Research.
It must be said that if Shishmaref sinks beneath the waves, it won't be much of a loss to global tourism. The village is so remote that no road connects it to the outside world. The occasional barge unloads fuel after the ice breaks up, and when the weather is good, battered bush planes ferry in DVDs and cartons of Cheetos from the Sam's Club in Fairbanks. Visually, this village is nothing like the romantic images of Eskimos in igloos from old National Geographic magazines. Weathered clapboard houses, surrounded by rusty engine parts, sit helter-skelter along muddy paths. Indoor plumbing is rare, and drinking water collects in plastic buckets under rain gutters. Empty Coke cans and cigarette packets litter the streets. In the ramshackle town hall, a sign reads, CITY OF SHISHMAREF BINGO WILL NOT BE ACCEPTING ANY MORE PERSONAL CHECKS. Another warns against siphoning gasoline from the village fire truck.
Sounds like my kind of place. Around here, they keep the fire truck locked up.
Still, like many of Alaska's native villages, Shishmaref clings to its subsistence culture. The town supports 10 dog teams, and a local musher, Herbie Nayokpuk, is known statewide as the Shishmaref Cannonball for his top-place finishes in the Iditarod race. Walrus-tusk carving is taught in school, along with the Inupiaq language. And if the town itself is ugly, it is balanced by the desolate beauty of the slate-colored sea, the ducks flying in formation over the lagoon and the musk ox roaming in emerald meadows dotted with wild cotton. Some two-thirds of the local diet still derives from hunting and fishing. In the diamond light of late summer, whole families forage for salmonberries, which the elders eat mixed with grated caribou fat. ("Eskimo ice cream," they call it.) The kids prefer it with Cool Whip.
"This is our grocery store," says Tony Weyiouanna, pulling shimmering white fish from his gill net.
The prospect of relocating whole Eskimo villages — global warming's first American refugees — is gathering political support. Last January, Shishmaref citizens voted to move to a site called Tin Creek, 12 miles away, across a lagoon. And last June, Alaska's powerful Senator, Appropriations Committee Chairman Ted Stevens, convened federal, state and local officials for a two-day hearing in Anchorage to hear impassioned pleas from village leaders who want help repairing their infrastructure or relocating. Among the most eloquent was Eningowuk, 54, a mother of six who heads the Shishmaref Erosion and Relocation Coalition. "Shishmaref is where it is because of what the ocean, rivers, streams and the land provide to us," she testified. "We are hunters, and we are gatherers. We have been here for countless generations. We value our way of life. It provides for our very existence."
Whatever the solution, the Inupiaq are looking for it to be paid for by the folks who sent them global warming in the first place. And who would that be? "The Nalauqmiu — white people," says Eningowuk with a rueful smile.
Sounds about right. The only hunting and gathering likely to produce global warming is hunting for profits and gathering dollars in mass quantities.
Please read the whole article.
Smile? More Like A Shit-Eatin' Grin
On Friday morning, Democrats all over the United States emerged from their homes with a new spring in their steps. After the presidential debate the night before, many of them had a new experience: It was possible to be for John Kerry and not just against President Bush.
Personally, I've been for John Kerry since the day he announced his candidacy. Having said that, I'd have been for Yosemite Sam if I thought he could beat Bush.
The Bush forces will no doubt try to find some way to spin this debate into a Bush victory. I could be wrong but, honestly, I think that may be beyond the talents of even Karl Rove. That's why Democrats, finally, are smiling.
Senator Kerry did this country a solid by a) showing himself to be presidential, and b) showing Bush up for the un-prepared, arrogant, do-what-I-say-and-not-what-I-do-I'm-right-and-you're-not-and-facts-don't-matter miserable failure as President that he is.
I'm smilin' so hard my face hurts. The trick now is not to get cocky and complacent. The time you get in trouble is when you think you're safe, as all (older and still alive) motorcyclists know.
It's still an upward climb, but it may have flattened out a little.
More on DeLay
The House ethics committee admonished Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) last night for offering a political favor to a Michigan lawmaker in exchange for the member's vote on last year's hard-fought Medicare prescription drug bill.
After a six-month investigation,(my emphasis) the committee concluded that DeLay had told Rep. Nick Smith (R-Mich.) he would endorse the congressional bid of Smith's son if the congressman gave GOP leaders a much-needed vote in a contentious pre-dawn roll call on Nov. 22.
They must have spent the six months kissing DeLay's ass and apologizing to him in advance.
The ethics panel, evenly divided between Republicans and Democrats, said it would take no further action in the case.
"My, my, what teensy little balls you have, grandma!"
"The better not to rock the boat, Little Red Riding Hood. Now be a good citizen and go play."
[. . .]
Kerry was poised, forthright and strong. He didn't sweat or sigh. He kicked Dubya's ass.
Bush was fumblin' an stumblin'. He sighed. As far as I'm concerned he fucked up by the numbers.
[. . .]
. . . the mighty Josh Marshall has the best one:
Now comes the hard part: winning the spin.
John Kerry made a good start of it tonight. But it is absolutely critical for his campaign and his supporters, formal and otherwise, to hit the ground running with a plan to use the grist from the debate to shape perceptions in the final weeks of the campaign.
As I said earlier, I think Kerry did himself the most good tonight simply by belying the Bush campaign's portrayal of him as weak-willed flip-flopper.
[. . .]
There was an air of prickliness and entitlement about the president that Kerry's surrogates should play up too. If you notice, one of the president's major attacks on Kerry through the debate was his claim that Kerry's criticism of the president's own war policy made him unfit to be president.
That's extraordinary -- certainly a set of rules that would put Kerry in something of a bind if he followed them, no?
And that's the best he could come up with: say I've made a mistake in Iraq and you're letting down the troops.
Notice the structure of the president's thinking: The point isn't whether he's made mistakes or screwed things up. But saying he has is bad.
Again, denial. Refusal to see what's happening. Lost. Adrift.
Thursday, September 30, 2004
Good Job, John
Kerry was poised, forthright and strong. He didn't sweat or sigh. He kicked Dubya's ass.
Bush was fumblin' an stumblin'. He sighed. As far as I'm concerned he fucked up by the numbers.
I'm certainly no expert, and I'm just the teeniest bit biased.
Update, 10:20pm OWT*
I've been watching the post-game show on MSNBC. Right after the debate, it was nearly unanimous that Kerry had "won". Within an hour, however, the spin had started as the Bush people found their footing again. I'm surprised that it took them that long: Kerry must have indeed done well.
Whaddya wanna bet that, by Monday at the latest, a good percentage of the media will reverse the outcome and declare Bush the "winner"?
We will see.
*Out West Time
What Do Women Want? Oh, No....
Freud, on his deathbed, asked, "What do women want?" The improbable answer, it now seems, may be George W. Bush.
Now, if they wanted BUSH on his deathbed, that'd be a good choice.
Remember Bush 41, taunted for rightly resisting calls to charge into Baghdad and ridiculed as a lap dog, a wimp and every woman's first husband. To me the first Bush was every woman's second husband, the one you chose after you had all the false bravado you could stand from Bush 43
Once again, all the good shit is between the quotes. Read. Enjoy.
"Justice" Dept. v. 1st Amendment (Again)
There's a new front in the Justice Department's war on terror — a battle against press freedom.
It is now up to a federal judge to remind the Justice Department that an independent press won't long survive if reporters lose their ability to protect the confidentiality of their sources.
[. . .]
The press in this country is so ineffective, so wedded to the idea of "balance", and so cowed by the right wing that it simply cannot give the public an accurate and clear picture of the situation. The information is there if you hunt for it, but this kind of equivocation and faux objectivity muddles the waters and gives people willing to lie brazenly the advantage. If the Bush says 2 + 2 = 5, the Washington Post would then write a story containing the line "But some Democrats maintained that 2 + 2 is actually 4." That is not balance or objectivity. It is aiding and abetting a falsehood. Just as the article above does.
You know, it's ridiculous. It's not just the press, it's everybody in this country. Nobody has the nuts to call a spade a spade anymore. What is it, just guys like my partner Gordon and me, and the guys I work with, who'll tell someone they're a liar, or a fucking asshole. Nobody has the balls to call anyone on anything anymore. When someone spouts drivel to you about a subject they know nothing about, do you say, 'you're an idiot, shut up'? Parbly not. I've seen guys do nothing when some other asshole says something rude to their wives. You get in my wife's face while I'm standing there, I'm gonna put you on your ass. Where are the real guys? And I'm not just talking men. Everybody's gotta be so PC because they're afraid of getting sued.
That's the way our press is. President Moral Failure lies (no, not misleads, lies) and the press eats it up. Call a lie a lie, godammit. Hell, even if you want to call it misleading, show some fucking outrage at least. If they'd let me within shouting distance of Bush, I'd call him a lying sack of shit to his face. Ya think one member of the WH press corps would say, 'but Mr. President, you know that's not true' after he throws another falsehood out there? When I watch one of the cable news networks, I take it for what it is, a regurgitation of the Republican talking points. When I watch a press conference, I see a bunch of slackers asking questions. I see a big waste of my good air.
What happened to the business when the Paragon of Journaism, Cronkite's Heir Dan Rather, is too lazy to properly source out a story? If I did my job as half-assed as the press does theirs, Harry would have pushed my toolbox into the street and kicked me to the curb long ago, friend or no friend. If Harry would run his buisiness the way the press runs theirs, he wouldn't have a business.
The press is supposed to be part of the checks and balances built in to our democracy, the voice of the people. The Founding Fathers specifically indicated a free press, the eyes and ears of the people on the system. Instead, we have a government propaganda machine reminiscent of Josef Goebbels. The press has been cowed by the right wing, so much so that they are merely vassals. At least you can hand it to Fox, they might say fair and balanced, but they make it easy enough that any moron can figure out where they stand. They are straight up about that.
And I have another question. Are reporters actually that stupid? Are the people who decide what gets reported? I mean, I'm a mechanic, people expect me to be a high school dropout and a little rough around the edges. I expect reporters et al, with their high-priced degees, to find out what's really going on, not worry about whether one candidate is wearing a red tie, or the other one sweats profusely. I expect reporters to ask Bush, what exactly is his plan for Iraq. What are they afraid of? Aren't journalists supposed to sacrifice everything for the story? Aren't editors there to separate the wheat from the chaff, calling something bullshit when they smell it instead of presenting it a fact. Jesus H. Christ, Iraq is a mess and they're still giving Bush the benefit of the doubt over his rosy outlook on the war. Can just one of them say, 'President Bush lost his grip on reality today when he said things in Iraq are going swimmingly'?
No, because they've gotten fat and lazy and they're scared that Bush might take it all away from them. You think any of 'em have the balls to sacrifice a job and report honestly? And if they are actually as stupid as Wolf Blitzer and Paula Zahn seem, what the fuck are they there for in the first place? And if they are as partisan as Bill Schneider and Howie Kurtz seem, why do they still have their jobs? I mean if it's supposed to be entertainment, say so. If it's supposed to be objective reporting, then do your fucking jobs. I mean, if people went to a comedian to get their car fixed instead of to me, it would sink in real fast that I was doing something wrong. Guys, more people look to The Daily Show for their news instead of the news networks. Guess what? Time to get on the ball. You got a little over a month to cover the most important election since FDR the right way. Get on it, before people start getting their news from Jerry Lewis.
For some Facts About Iraq v. What Bush Will Say, see this from Center For American Progress.
Here's a bunch of debate cartoons from Slate.
I was gonna get the whole 32-page "Memorandum Of Agreement" between the candidates from the LATimes in case you are so pissed off after the show that you need something boring to read to help you get to sleep, but it wouldn't come up. Boy, when something puts a computer to sleep, now THAT'S boring.
Get 'Em, Red!
The latest dirty blows are a contemptible one-two combination with which Team Bush has portrayed John Kerry as both the enemy of God and, if not exactly the ally of al-Qaida, then at least the terrorists' candidate of choice. To hear them tell it, a vote for Kerry is a vote against God and Country. Talk about hitting way, way below the belt.
What's next, a photo of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi sporting a Kerry-Edwards campaign button?
This "terrorists for Kerry" routine is as laughable as it is loathsome. Why in the world would the terrorists want to get rid of George Bush? He is their dream president, after all: a man who has alienated our allies, isolated us and united the Muslim world against us.
What a load of gutless garbage. As Thomas Jefferson made clear, "Dissent is the highest form of patriotism." But Bush can't seem to grasp that this country is too strong to be endangered by the truth -- and that, indeed, hiding the truth, the hallmark of his administration, is what is making us weaker and less secure.
Besides going off on the Bushies about fear-mongering and low-life political tactics, she has quite a bit to say about their use of religion and the Bible. Go read the whole thing. Get 'em, Red!
He Must Not Be From Texasshire
Watching Tony Blair is always instructive for Americans, and sometimes the source of envy. He faces much the same political conundrum as President Bush - a war gone wrong in a charged political season - with the added fillip that he followed Mr. Bush's lead into Iraq. But Prime Minister Blair has acknowledged the validity of the criticism he faces, and he is also not pretending that things in Iraq are humming along on schedule. "I entirely understand why many disagree," he said at the annual meeting of his Labor Party on Tuesday.
To some extent, Mr. Blair had no choice. His party is far more critical of the war than the Republicans who cheered Mr. Bush at their convention in New York. And he did not go quite so far as to invite a broad debate in Britain about the necessity of the war and the bungling of the occupation. At Brighton, Mr. Blair's official line about the false intelligence used to justify the war in Iraq was: "I can apologize for the information that turned out to be wrong, but I can't, sincerely at least, apologize for removing Saddam." That raises a lot of questions, but at least the words "apologize" and "wrong" were put on record, and his critics were not called unpatriotic.
Mr. Blair's hope at the Labor conference was to shift the focus away from Iraq and onto his domestic agenda in anticipation of an election next year. In fact, the largest protests around the conference were against a planned ban on fox hunting. But it was obvious that Iraq still casts a dark shadow over British politics. Regardless of how Mr. Blair's decision to join the United States in the invasion of Iraq plays out in his bid for a third term, at least he showed respect for his constituents by not glossing over the war and by not scorning those who consider it a terrible mistake.
There must not be a "cowboy mentality" in England. Maybe Blair doesn't have an inferiority complex. Maybe he doesn't have to listen to conniving, evil advisers. Maybe he's got some balls.
I think it's too late for Dubya to grow a pair, but I do wish he'd learn to tell the truth.
Texas Babe Strikes Again
Fixer'll like this one. Molly drives a Ford pickup. A good part of this is a follow-up to one of Fixer's posts.
This column is not about the presidential debate. It's about Other Stuff. Particularly eye-catching are the updates on the price of gasoline, your overtime pay, why the company most likely to hold the mortgage on your house could go broke, why you're getting peanuts from new tax cuts just passed by Congress and how the government is kicking hundreds of thousands of kids off health insurance while promising not to. Cheer all around.
The Natural Resources Defense Council has just put out a new study showing that the five biggest oil companies (ExxonMobil, Total, Shell, BP and ChevronTexaco) reported a $5.5 billion, or 16 percent, increase in profits during the first half of 2004 compared with the same period last year, which was no slouch either. Both ExxonMobil and ChevronTexaco posted record second quarter profits in 2004.
When the editorial page of The Wall Street Journal and moi are in perfect accord, it either means the End Times are near or we're both right for once. Accounting irregularities at Fannie Mae, the nation's largest backer of home mortgages, may force a "restatement of earnings," a lovely phrase meaning, "Oops, we cheated and got caught."
Once again, I left out the good parts to tempt you to go read the article.
Molly Ivins is widely read (and lusted after in some quarters) but she's not exactly mainstream media. Why aren't the mass media cuttin' through the shit like she does? Could it have anything to do with the phrase "Corporate America"?
Who's in charge around here?
September 28, 2004 -- JACK Daniel's has sparked outrage among serious drinkers by unceremoniously lowering the proof of its famous Tennessee Whiskey from 86 to 80. The change — which means the hooch has 3 percent less alcohol — has riled those still smarting from the "betrayal" of 15 years ago when the company lowered the strength of its 90-proof, 138-year-old original recipe, to 86 proof. . .
The Elixir of the Gods must not be corrupted any more!
Wednesday, September 29, 2004
Scott Muni dies
The best line of the day
[. . .]
Dubya, actually a reasonably intelligent and articulate (though mediocre and a n'er do well) New England Brahman scion, prep schooler and Ivy League graduate, has mastered the art of appearing to be a mentally retarded Texan. . .
War, and winning one
To the latter, I say no. If we up and split, abandoning Iraq, we'll be just as bad as that idiot (President Mission Accomplished) who began the war in the first place. As soon as the first American boot crossed into Iraq from Kuwait, we owned the place. Good, bad, indifferent, it's ours. As Americans, as the people we believe we are, we cannot cut and run. Our stature in the world has been reduced as it is with Bush at the helm, let us not sink lower. We have to leave a viable nation behind when we depart. Anything less would be inexcusable.
To the former I say, look around at the news coverage from Iraq, and Afghanistan to some extent, the dead, the wounded, the homeless. This is what war is and, had this one been not so badly planned, more would be dead. More Iraqis anyway. Ask the folks from the 'Greatest Generation' what it took to bring Japan to their knees. Read history, people. You could compare WW2 Japan to the Middle East today. At least the fanatical Japanese mindset of the time. Look what it took. Hiroshima and Nagasaki. That was after almost every Japanese city was firebomed beforehand. A hundred thousand died in Tokyo in one night. That's how we won, folks, by killing so many of them they couldn't go on. That's what war is.
War isn't some touchy-feely shit, a threat to be leavied lightly. War is killing more of the other guy's guys than they kill of yours. Destroying more of his cities and his infrastructure until he says, no mas. You don't go into a country expecting to be greeted as liberators. You go in expecting to kill as many of them as possible in the shortest amount of time to destroy their will to resist. This war in Iraq was initiated for profit, period. One of the wrong reasons to go to war. Hopefully this is a lesson learned for the next twit who is debating going to war instead of buying a red sports car.
But, as we all know, we are at war. Over a thousand U.S. troops are dead, over twelve thousand wounded, and God knows how many innocent Iraqis. Know what? We have to fight this like a war or our kids over there will be targets for years. The answer in Iraq is double the troops and break out the B-52s.
As you all know, I'm a 'kill 'em all and let God sort out the mess', kinda guy. The little use I have for Bob MacNamara, he said something once that always stuck with me. He said 'if the Americans had lost WW2, we would have been charged with war crimes for what we did to Japan.' When you are fighting a fanatical mindset, i.e. people who are willing to die for their cause, you have to break their will before you build them schools.
Now, to me, war is the most horrible thing one group of people can do to another. It should be the last choice of an enlightened leader. But if you're in one, you'd better be prepared to win it. We're in one, folks. Our fearless leader made the wrong choice to begin with, but next to cutting and running, we're going to have to make the best of it. We're going to have to seal Iraq's borders and begin door-to-door shakedowns. Get the weapons off the street (as they did in Germany after WW2) and do some serious policing. Once law and order is restored, then you can start building shit for the locals. All Bush and his cohorts thought was 'easy oil', and hoped the Iraqis would accept 'anything is better than Saddam'.
Bush is always talking about 'these terrorists respect strength'. Well we haven't shown much. Do you know how these folks have been fighting wars for the last million years or so? When they used to go invade another place, they'd kill just about everybody in it. Whoever's left are slaves. Do you think the shit we're doing in Iraq and Afghanistan is a show of strength to them? Have you forgotten about the Russians in Afghanistan? Guess what's happening again over there while we're fucking around in Iraq? They see the same commitment on our part as they did on the Russians'. World opinion is about the same too. One day, young cadets at West Point, Annapolis, and Colorado Springs will have to study the Iraq War as a case of how not to fight a war.
We can't afford four more years of Bush's strength.
Oh, the humanity
Al Lorentz, a non-commissioned officer with nearly 20 years of service under his belt, penned this column explaining why the US bound to lose in Iraq. And given his vantage point -- he's currently in Iraq -- the piece has added salience.
[. . .]
Now, the Army wants to court-martial this guy for violating Article 134 of the UCMJ and the liberal/progressive blogosphere is up in arms. Oh, how can they do that to this man who is only telling the truth? They ask. I say, have at him. I give Ol' Sgt. Lorentz credit for having a set of cojones and speaking out, but he did violate the law. Sorry, you might have spoken the truth, but as a senior NCO, you should have known better. Maybe he did and doesn't give a shit about his retirement, but I signed the same papers as he did and they say you're not allowed to speak out against your Commander-in-Chief in your capacity as a soldier.
Sorry, you do the crime, you do the time. If ya ain't prepared for that, keep your mouth shut.
Tuesday, September 28, 2004
There's Good Sense In Them Thar Hills
The publishers of The Iconoclast endorsed Bush four years ago, based on the things he promised, not on this smoke-screened agenda,'' the newspaper said in its editorial. ``Today, we are endorsing his opponent, John Kerry
The Iconoclast's publisher and editor-in-chief, W. Leon Smith, said the newspaper is sent to Bush's ranch each week. ``But I don't know if he reads it,'' Smith said
You don't see very much in a small town, but what you hear makes up for it.
That one made my day.
Not so easy, is it?
Fewer than two-thirds of the former soldiers being reactivated for duty in Iraq (news - web sites) and elsewhere have reported on time, prompting the Army to threaten some with punishment for desertion.
The former soldiers, part of what is known as the Individual Ready Reserve (IRR), are being recalled to fill shortages in skills needed for the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan (news - web sites).
[. . .]
"The numbers did not look good," said Lt. Col. Burton Masters, a spokesman for the Army's Human Resources Command. "We are tightening the system, reaching the people and bringing them in."
[. . .]
Several of those who received recall notices have already been declared AWOL (absent without official leave) and technically are considered deserters. "We are not in a rush to put someone in the AWOL category," Masters said. "We contact them and convince them it is in their best interests to show up. If you are a deserter, it can affect you the rest of your life."
You'd better show up or we're gonna fuck up your life!
With a force that generals say is stretched thin, the Army is considering $1,000-a-month bonuses to ex-soldiers who volunteer to return for overseas duty.
But we'll bribe ya if we have to. Incredible. And you know Bush has already figured out how to get that bonus money back. Yeah, boys, now ya gotta pay for your own ammunition.
63? Where'd The Time Go?
Does he look like he just snuck across the border, or is it just me?
Let's deal with a measure of public opinion that doesn't have to keep oversampling one group in order to shore up eroding support for their apparently preferred candidate - consumer confidence. It's fallen for the second straight month, because the American people are pessimists who don't believe in the President's plan for strong economic growth and have nothing to offer besides pessimism and criticism.
[. . .]
So, consumer confidence is falling, people think Iraq is a quagmire, they think Bush has the country on the wrong track, yet according to the latest ABCNews/WaPo Poll, 51% of the people are gonna vote for him. Am I missing something?
Come On, Zelda!
That's right, God took time from His/Her busy schedule of tempting potential sinners and answering the prayers of body-painted football fans to throw down a 7.1 temblor because we buy a higher percentage of the buttless chaps sold in this country. And all across the land, you heard muffled harrumphs of agreement from the faithful
Apparently God will not be satisfied until Katherine Harris is where she belongs: in prison for her crimes of stealing an election and the excessive use of hair products. And if not, repeat after me: Hurricane, Hurricane, Hurricane. Not to mention an endless series of shots of reporters in raincoats yelling at unseen cameramen tethered to concrete posts.
Durst has more balls than a bowling alley! PLEASE go read it. I left out the good parts so you would.
When we get to Gitmo, I'm gonna shake his hand! He's from Frisco, so I'll look at it first.
Did They Get A Comp Buffet, Too?
-- making money by sticking it to the tribe, then making even more by promising to undo the damage -- takes the tale to a new level of avarice and duplicity.
If anybody ever deserved to get staked to an anthill, it's these assholes.
Next time, don't use Whitey's dice, Tonto.
Scrap the Constitution, Clyde
Nonetheless, on Thursday night there will be a temptation to revert to drama criticism - to emphasize how the candidates looked and acted, and push analysis of what they said, and whether it was true, to the inside pages. With so much at stake, the public deserves better
The only "body language" I want to hear about involves Senator Kerry's foot and Dubya's ass.
A day in the life
Hmmm . . .
Wait a second.
At any other time, the price at the pump would follow the futures market. The futures price goes up one day, the price at the pump goes up the next. Except for now. What's the deal? Ya think Bush has his friends at Big Oil keeping the price of gas artificially low until after the election? I sure do. Maybe somebody with a few more connections than I have should look into this? After all, I'm just an idiot mechanic.
Monday, September 27, 2004
We have already discussed it at length, but you can never point out enough that it's the RED states -- the ones that vote Republican -- that take the most from the federal government, while it's the BLUE states -- those that vote Democratic -- that support their deadbeat asses.
[. . .]
Hey Gord, guess where our states stand? Yeah, 9th and 10th from the bottom. I was wondering where that pain in my nether regions was coming from.
Promises or the Three Lies
One of the few decent things in Bush's speech at the Republican Convention this month was his promise of $1 billion in new funds to provide healthcare to uninsured children. Inevitably, when Bush promises money for something, you have to look for the way he is simultaneously undercutting his own promise. In this case, he has ordered the withholding of $1.1 billion in unspent funding for the same children's health insurance program he promised to fund, meaning that if his promise of future funding is ever kept (they rarely are), his new funding will still represent barely 90% of the money he could provide right now if he chose to do so.
[. . .]
From Kevin T. Kieth at Lean Left.
If Bush is fucking our kids this way, can we call him a pedophile?
Just came across the actual rider signed by the John Kerry and Delusional Monkey campaigns in arranging their upcoming "debate," which will actually be (like most U.S. "debates") more of a joint press conference.
[. . .]
As Gord reminds me, you heard it 1st here.
And while we're talking about leadership
About 800 members of the 98th Army Reserve Division from Rochester, New York will begin a year-long mission in Iraq next month.
The unit, which normally trains reserve and active-duty soldiers in the U.S., will find itself training Iraq’s new army.
The 98th is a non-combat unit that doesn't even have its own weapons or vehicles.
"This is a hard war and we, frankly, inside the Army Reserve have been not properly prepared for it,” said Lt. Gen. James Helmly, chief of the U.S. Army Reserve.[my emphasis]
To quote Monty Python:
Whatcha gonna do, bleed on me?
Lessee, you're sending a unit into a combat area to teach folks who are regular targets for suicide bombers, and they're going in unarmed? What the fuck is going on around here? How the fuck . . . I mean are they . . . (Looking around) You know, I think, for the first time in my life, I'm speechless. Hey, why don't you draft me and my partner Gordon back in and give us fucking slingshots? It would be just as effective. I don't know what to say. It's good to see that the 3-star is speaking up, but Jesus H. Christ, how long are the generals and admirals gonna put up with this? It boggles the mind that we haven't begun impeachment hearings.
Go read Skippy too.
Since they are going to Courts-Martial PFC England, can't we have Preznit Lucky Sperm and Rummy join her in the dock?
Where's the leadership?
Sept. 22, 2003 — The U.S. military has launched an investigation into the alleged shooting by a U.S. soldier of a rare Bengal tiger at the Baghdad zoo, the top U.S. military spokesman in Iraq, Lieutenant George Krivo, said Monday.
[. . .]
Adel Salman Musa, the head of the zoo, said Sunday that the tiger was killed last week during an apparently drunken party between U.S. soldiers and a group of Iraqi police officers.
"One of the soldiers, who the Iraqi police said had drunk a lot, went into the cage against the advice of his colleagues and tried to feed the animal, who severely hurt his arm," he explained to AFP.
The tiger tore off one of the soldier's fingers and mauled his arm. One of the other soldiers immediately fired at the animal and killed it, he said. [my emphasis]
[. . .]
So, I ask this question again. Where were the officers? I don't know about the grunts or the jarheads, but I sure as hell wouldn't be under arms if I was drinking. Once more we see that what passes for leadership in Iraq is sorely lacking. Sure, all us enlisted weenies bitched about the officers, but generally, most officers were good leaders. What we have here is bullshit. How this situation, let alone what went down at Abu Ghraib, happened points to a failure of leadership from the top. Not just the officer corps, but the civilian leadership in the Pentagon and above. This is fucking criminal. If that asshole were in my squad, he'd have been tiger shit if I had anything to say about it. I would have giggled my motherfucking ass off as the big cat turned him into a warm meal. Asshole.
This definition from Ornicus. If the foo shits . . .
"Fascism is a poisonous ideology that grows and adapts to its circumstances -- Eurofascism reflected European vices; American fascism is similarly home-brewed. Therein lies the challenge in identifying it and combating it. Fascism always wraps itself in the flag, always seeks absolute power, always brands opponents as traitors, always relies heavily on propaganda for dissemination of its ideas, always invokes subversive enemies (at home and abroad), always embraces militarism and permanent war, always favors politicizing of police functions (and expanding them and the surveillance state), always scorns intellectuals, artists, and bourgeois democratic values, always is hostile to leftist and labor movements, and is obsessed with idealized images of a mythic "better time" of the past (while at the same time destroying that past, and the nation as a whole).
Which just goes to prove that people don't read enough about history. Everybody should have spotted this when I did. Especially the folks of 'The Greatest Generation' many of whom are eager to follow Bush into Hell.
Sunday, September 26, 2004
And while I'm at it
Lambert notes here how the US Forest Service has been politicized. A group called the NPS Retirees.org, formerly about as political as a head of lettuce, has for some time been trying to call attention to the same thing happening in the National Park Service.
Remember how they hid the contract that sent private mercenaries in as torturers at Abu Ghraib by having it "managed" by the NPS? That's almost a trivial irrelevance to the havoc they're wreaking at one of the oldest, most-respected operations the Federal government has ever run.
[. . .]
Sources inside the NPS indicate that the political appointees within the DOI and the Bureaus in Washington DC have established their own “chain of command” and meeting protocols. These meetings occur frequently and totally exclude career employees from the Bureaus. Often decisions are made that favor the political interests of those involved and not in the best interests of the missions of the Bureaus. Generally there are no records of the meetings or decisions, and decisions and actions are carried by “word of mouth.”
[. . .]
Yes, Virginia, there is a Vast Right Wing Conspiracy. There's a common factor that ties it all together. Wouldn't you know that the guy who's seen it most clearly, and talked about it most bravely, is getting set to "retire"?
[. . .]
This is outrageous. Amateurs displacing the career folks, the ones who know how things work, to work toward President Strip Mine's reelection. These people are entrusted with some of our most valuable natural resources and they're dicking things up the way the Pentagon fucked up Iraq. It's like the Political Officers assigned to Soviet military units, assuring the loyalty of the troops to the leadership. What the fuck is this country coming to when the Forest Service is being corrupted like this? I just hope Kerry can straighten all of it out. Seems like an insurmountable task.
Jo-kayed-goh be-al-doh-cid-da-hi coh* on 1600.
The Southwest Indian Foundation provides woodstoves and Christmas food baskets to needy Indians. My wife loves their jewelry.
Comes the day and, lo and behold, there it was: My very own G.I.Joe Navajo Code Talker Doll, er, Action Figure, yeah, that's the ticket. I don't play with dolls. They didn't have cool shit like this when I was a kid, so I'm making up for lost time as I progress(?) into my second childhood. I've got lotsa little toy motorcycles, too.
The Action Figure comes complete with an M-1 Garand, a backpack radio w/handset, camo-covered helmet, Marine fatigues, web belt, a sheet of Navajo code words and, because we got it from SWIF, a Junior Navajo Code Talker sew-on patch. It also speaks 7 phrases in Navajo with English translations. My wife noticed he didn't have any socks. I told her they probably had rotted off his feet in the jungle climate. Amazing what wives will notice.
It's suitable for ages 5 and up. I'm glad they left the "up" open-ended or I might feel kinda silly. I dare a 5-year-old to get the thing outta the box. Clever, these Chinese.
The reason I wanted this item is that the Navajo Code Talkers are one of my areas of interest, as is the Navajo culture. They are Marines and so am I. Many other Indian Nations, Choctaw, Sioux, etc., provided code talkers for the Army, but these are MY guys.
The Marine Corps plucked these guys right off the Big Rez, made 'em into Marines, sent 'em to Radio and Code Talker Schools, and on to the Pacific. Some of 'em had never worn shoes before. Some of 'em had to learn to speak English.
The Japanese officers, well educated and worldly men, were never able to decipher the Navajo language and break the code. The Code Talkers helped in a big way to win WWII. Their contribution to the war effort was Top Secret and the records were only de-classified in 1968 (I think) although there was a general knowledge of their effort.
I have in my collection a fine book, "The Navajo Code Talkers" by Doris A. Paul, the DVD movie "Windtalkers" , and now my G.I. Joe. I was privileged to attend a ceremony honoring one of these gentlemen while I was at the VA hospital in Prescott AZ (or here). It was held at Embry Riddle Aeronautical University (A favorite place for certain foreigners to learn to fly, by the way), also in Prescott. By design, the ceremony was held on November 10, Marine Corps Birthday, so the Marines in attendance got a piece of cake, too.
The VA hospital is located on the grounds of old Fort Whipple, which was not a bastion of friendliness to Indians when it was built during the gold rush of 1863.
So what's the point of all this? Well, besides being a travel guide to Northern Arizona (if you follow the clicks)and a short history of some really fine men, I guess my new toy has me feeling young again.
I may be eligible for the draft.
*Request mortar fire
NYT and bloggers
You gotta see this
In the late '50s and early '60s, Ballance was one of the top rock disc jockeys in Los Angeles on KFWB until he was caught in KFWB's transition to all news in 1965.
He was more of a "Top 40" kind of DJ, but the obit writers are probably too young to remember that "rock and roll" and "pop" tunes were once all lumped together.
KFWB was THE station of my youth. All we had in those days was AM radio. Everything I did for the first time as a teenager, in the car or on the beach, I did while listening to KFWB. Mr. Ballance wasn't the only DJ of course, but I remember him as one of the most popular.
You know I'm a dog lover and so's the Mrs. So, naturally I got a problem with a lot of folks who own dogs. Listen to me, please.
Don't get a fucking dog for stupid reasons. No, you're not going to breed the fucking thing. Just because you see how much puppies are going for, doesn't mean it's a 'get rich quick' scheme, you stupid motherfuckers. Being a breeder is hard work and you sure as hell don't know what the fuck you're doing. It's like never having popped the hood on a car, yet you suddenly feel you're qualified to open an auto repair shop. All you're gonna do is end up with a bunch of unwanted puppies. Here, I'll do you a favor. Google 'dog breeders' and send an email to five of them asking what the business entails. Then tell me you want to be a breeder. Did you know 3 million dogs and cats are put down every year because they're not wanted? Don't add to the fucking problem, dickhead.
Next, don't get a fucking Rottweiler, Doberman, Pit Bull, etc, as a penis extension, you idiot. Just like the sports car, you're only gonna be a little wiener with a bad dog. I see too many folks like this who want the dog as a status symbol and don't want to make the commitment to training and medical care. Moron, a dog is a twelve to fifteen year commitment on your part. It's just like having a kid. But hey, people have kids for the same stupid reasons. Think long and hard about it, please. (Kid or a dog, it doesn't matter. Be sure you want to make the commitment before you jump in with both feet. Just because you can, doesn't mean you should, ass.)
Next, if you're a compulsive person, and you see a cute little dog and you gotta have one, buy jewlery instead. At least you can hock it if you need the bread at a later date. Ain't nobody gonna buy a used dog, moron.
If you do decide to get a dog, do breed research. Every breed has their own traits (I wrote about my dog's foibles here.), so you have to see what will go best with you're lifestyle. If you're laid back and not into doing much training, a dog that requires a firm hand (Dobies, Rotties) ain't for you. Think Lab or Golden. Same thing if you got rugrats running around your house. All my friends' kids know not to run through my house because my Cattle Dog will try to herd them all back into one room:
Another thing is the dog, Mrs. F's little princess. She's short, but not little, muscular and strong as hell. If you know anything about Australian Cattle Dogs, they are smart, independent, and stubborn, sorta like me. Well, thanks to their breeding, Cattle Dogs herd cattle by nipping at their ankles to get them to go where the dog wants. Well, since our little Shayna has no cattle to work, she finds herself little jobs. One is getting us to the phone when it rings. If you've ever gotten a nip in the ass from one of these dogs well . . . let's just say it leaves a mark.
My point is that the dog looks at little kids as cattle. She tries to keep them together and won't let them run around. So today, not only do I have to keep an eye on the Mrs.' breakable shit, but I have to watch her little varmint like a hawk so she doesn't nip one of the kids. Can't break the dog of that habit, it's instinct.
If your kid gets nipped in the ankle by an Australian Cattle Dog, you're gonna have a lot of crying on your hands, trust me. If you're gonna get a mutt, use this rule of thumb. A mutt will generally act like the breed it most closely resembles.
My point is that if you're gonna get a dog, do it for the right reasons. Don't have big plans until you see what kind of dog you have, it's personality and it's traits. Get a dog because you want a pet and a companion. Anything else that flows from there is gravy.
Heed my words, Lugnut.
Bill Ballance, 1919 - 2004
How's your ass?
[. . .]
These lucky duckies who Tom DeLay and Trent Lott -- two men who never saw a millionaire's loophole they didn't fight to preserve -- saw fit to confiscate wages from? They're the millions of Americans who work full-time for minimum wage. $5.15 an hour. . .
[. . .]
So after taking away overtime pay from the people who relied on it to pay for school supplies, the Republicans this week went for the kill. They took away the one piece of tax relief aimed at America's working poor. They raised taxes on the janitors, orderlies, and food workers who make the nation run. The Republican Party raised taxes on the hardest-working Americans, and they didn't bat an eyelash.
That's today's Republican Party in a nutshell, summed up by their own terrible deeds in one terrible month. That's why we fight.
And the thing is, that a lot of those people whose tax burden just increased will vote for Bush this fall. I'll never get this faith-based voting. The non-millionaires who are Bush's base actually believe what this guy says. He, and the Repub Machine, have them so snowed. He says the things they want to hear concerning the 3Gs (Gays, God, and Guns) and uses the folks who can afford it least (and their progeny) to pay for it. He and his base of 'haves and have mores' are laughing all the way to the bank. Yeesh. As I say when I dole out my auto wisdom:
Listen to me, Lugnut. Wake up and smell the fucking coffee! Cut your losses and vote Democrat. You can't afford not to.
Along these same lines. From Bubba.
Maybe I'm wrong. From NYT via The American Street:
In Ohio, the NY Times says GOP registration is up 25% this year.
[. . .]
Democratic registration there is up 250%.
[. . .]
Ohio has taken it hard and dry more than any other state under the Bush Administration. If they go Kerry, it could be the start of something wonderful.
DoD Unblocks Overseas Voters
We're continually being told that every vote counts, but if you're an American overseas, don't count on the U.S. government to protect your right to vote. On Monday, the International Herald Tribune reported that the Defense Department, citing hacking concerns, has been blocking its Federal Voting Assistance Program website -- the site that both overseas civilian and military voters use to register -- to users of, among other major Internet Service Providers (ISPs), British Telecom and France's Wanadoo.
Following an uproar among Democrats, the Pentagon issued a rapid reversal of the Internet blockade on Wednesday. This was remarkable, not least because the block seems to have been in place for months, if not years. However, the Pentagon continues to refuse to explain why the blockade was in place in to begin with, and now claims it had been left in effect "inadvertently."
..."That the Pentagon ... has chosen to surrender to unspecified 'hackers' without firing a single shot in defense of American democracy is suspect." An unnamed Defense Department voting official was much more blunt in an interview with Salon.com: "There is no way in hell that this is not a deliberate partisan attempt to systematically disenfranchise a large Democratic voting block." Three Congressional Democrats sent the Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld a pointed letter demanding that the block be lifted.
"You would have to be naive not to appreciate that there is a very real danger of manipulation and retaliation inherent in providing for waiver of the right to cast a secret ballot by people in the military. The military is the most authoritarian institution in American life. People are subject to a chain of command, they are under constant observation, and their every activity is directed and controlled by their superiors."
Neither has the fact that the chief executive of Omega Technologies -- the company subcontracted by the Pentagon to collect these ballots -- is a Republican donor has gone unnoticed. National Review's Jed Babbin branded criticism of the confidentiality waiver as nothing less than liberal attempts to deny our fighting men and women the right to vote. In fact, however, the Democrats have high hopes for picking up more than their usual share of the Republican-leaning military vote. The non-existent WMDs, continuing violence in Iraq and Afghanistan, extended tours of duty, the calling up of the National Guard troops and retirees, and scrutiny of Bush's Guard days, may all mean gains for Kerry with this constituency
If you read all these articles, and you know you should, you will find there are 6,000,000 American civilians overseas who, no doubt because of the way that Dubya has mishandled foreign policy, are expected to vote Democrat.
Rat on 'em as you catch 'em, my fellow Americans. You know damn well they'd do it to you, and turnabout is the only fair play we're likely to see this election year.
Aye, Aye, Corporal, Sir
They're pretty reasonable, for the military. The 'do's' are about what you would expect, but the 'don'ts', some of which are not exclusive to the military, are probably only enforceable therein.
Active-duty members cannot:
Use their official authority to interfere in an election; solicit votes for a particular candidate; or require or solicit political contributions from others
Use “contemptuous words” against office holders, including the president, the vice president, members of Congress, the secretaries of defense and the military departments, the secretary of homeland security, or the governor or legislature of any state, territory, commonwealth, or possession.
Fixer and I have both been out of the service a long time, thank God. We'da both been locked up a long time ago. We probably will be yet, if Patriot Act IV ever gets passed. Maybe they'll have computer hookups in the 'guest rooms' in the citizens' wing at Guantanamo Bay by then. Overcoming the effects of the lobotomy might a problem.
Display a large political sign, banner or poster (as opposed to a bumper sticker) on the top or side of a private vehicle.
Why does the roof of the General's Humvee spring to mind? Hehheh.