Saturday, June 4, 2005


Via Seeing the Forest


Jane figures out why the wingnuts are all nuts about stem-cell research. Of course it all has to do with money.

Weekly referrals

"Rambling Prose"
"Dog's Brain"
"Nuclear Options"
"Bend Over"

And the one I'm happiest about:

"John Conyers Petition"

It's working!

Arousing Gordon

[. . .]

House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, facing allegations of unethical conduct, has turned to Richmond lawyer and Republican activist Richard Cullen for legal help.

DeLay, R-Texas, recently retained Cullen and the firm where he is a partner, McGuireWoods LLP, a DeLay spokesman confirmed yesterday. Cullen is a former U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia and a former state attorney general, appointed by then-Gov. George Allen, now a U.S. senator.

Cullen will handle a wide range of matters for DeLay, including ones that may come before the House ethics committee, DeLay spokesman Dan Allen indicated in an e-mail. He declined to say why Cullen was selected. Cullen would not comment yesterday. [Link] [my emphasis]

[. . .]

I'll bet ya the old man passes out from all the blood rushing from one head to the other. Ha!

Thanks to Xan @ Corrente for the link.

The 'Trade'

It seems we leave our mark wherever we go:

[. . .]

While drug problems have been historically unknown in Iraq (out of fear of repression striking traffickers and consumers or quite simply from lack of information), OICS has worried about the new trend since its March 2004 annual report. "Drugs have started to enter the country in huge quantities, notably through the Eastern border," with Iran, revealed Iraqi Minister of the Interior Nouri Badrane then, who worried especially about the increase in narcotics consumption among young Iraqis: "Consumption of these drugs is on the rise, due to unemployment, insecurity, and the sense of uncertainty about the future, especially among young people." A few months later, his equivalent at the Health Ministry talked about "a problem that has become endemic," submitting a number of 2,029 registered addicts. [my emphasis]

[. . .]

How much you wanna bet the Ayatollahs in Iran are getting their cut from every ounce of smack that passes through on its way from U.S. controlled Afghanistan to U.S. controlled Iraq. Um, hello? Mr. Chimp? The Iranians are laughing at us as they're using us, you stupid, smirking loser.

Great thanks to Morrigan for the link.


From DoD Transcripts. Rummy in Singapore:

[. . .]

Among other things, the report concludes that China's defense expenditures are much higher than Chinese officials have published. It is estimated that China's is the third largest military budget in the world, and clearly the largest in Asia.

China appears to be expanding its missile forces, allowing them to reach targets in many areas of the world, not just the Pacific region, while also expanding its missile capabilities within this region. China also is improving its ability to project power, and developing advanced systems of military technology.

[. . .]

China has important decisions to make about its goals and its future. Ultimately, China likely will need to embrace some form of a more open and representative government if it is to fully achieve the political and economic benefits to which its people aspire.

[. . .]

After all we've done to the world in the last 5 years, after all of the regression with regard to civil rights in this country, the man's got a set of stones lecturing China about anything.

Save me, Jesus!


BBA News:

From now on, instead of sending important information by email, I will be posting to the Big Brass Alliance Forum set up by Pam, to whom we owe a great deal of thanks.

Details at the Sister's place.

Update: 10:05:

As of now there are 307 members of the BBA. The swarm is spreading across Blogtopia (y!sctp!)

More essence

From Legal Fiction:

[. . .]

It's correct of course to criticize Bush for all this stuff. But the cold truth is that we - the American public - are now equally to blame. We saw what was wrong and chose not to care. Having seen what was wrong, we chose to ratify the administration's conduct.

This is how people around the world see us. The last time I was in Europe was a couple months before the last election. Most of the Brits I spoke with then were hopeful we'd come to our senses and elect Kerry. Well, that crashed and burned. I'll let you know how the mood has changed when I get back from Paris in November.

From the mouths of babes

Welsh singing star Charlotte Church branded US President George Bush "a right weirdo" and opera legend Pavarotti a "big fat diva", it was reported today.

[. . .]

[. . .]

Church, 19, said gaffe-prone Bush had no idea where Wales was when she met him after performing for outgoing President Bill Clinton in Washington in 2000.

"Clinton was lovely, in tune with everyone else, but George Bush just hasn't got a clue what he's doing," she said, according to the Daily Record.

"He asked me what state Wales was in. I said: 'It's its own country next to England, actually Mr Bush.'

[. . .]

Why does everyone see it aside from 51% of us? And why has stupid become fashionable in this country?

Thanks to Suburban Guerrilla for the link.


WASHINGTON -- Online political activists want the Federal Election Commission (FEC) to stay cool when considering proposed rules that some fear will chill online political debate, particularly in the blogosphere.

The FEC agrees, but the courts do not.

Faced with a mandate from a federal court to extend some aspects of campaign finance laws to include the Internet, the FEC finds itself in the awkward position of proposing rules it didn't want to write in the first place.

[. . .]

Firstly, let me go on the record that anyone who wants to curtail my speech (and that of my blog partners) here can kiss my white ass. I will not shut up, will not back down, will not bend to pressure; I don't care who is applying it. You might as well put a sniper on my neighbor's roof, because that's the only way you'll get me to stop. End of story.

Secondly, there are a lot of people (mostly Lefty bloggers, mostly the big ones who are making their living from their blogs. You know who you are. The same ones who wouldn't even give the Big Brass Alliance or Downing Street a mention. Are you jealous of the Sister?) worrying about this. To them I say, grow some balls, will ya? Fuck mobilizing your lawyers, you big bunch of pussies.

Stand up and give the people proposing this legislation the finger and remind them this is still America for crying out loud. What, are you afraid of upsetting your apple cart? You all talk about how the Repubs are curtailing freedom, yet you get all mealy-mouthed when it affects you and your little lemonade stands of opinion on the Web. Maybe you've been in your high exalted position a bit too long and gotten used to being the Masters of Opinion on the Left. As always, power corrupts.

It's also why I don't peddle my books here or ask for money to help run this site. Like I always say, my reputation for integrity means everything to me and I'll be damned if anyone can suggest I'm in someone's pocket or using my site as income. Go check my closets, motherfuckers. All my skeletons are out in the open.

So, in closing, I have two things to say. To the government and those who want to legislate me out of the process I say FUCK YOU. Come get me, bitches. To those on our side who suddenly seem to have rubber spines I say, lead, follow, or get out of the way. You're slowing men (and women, you PC busybodies) of action down.

Friday, June 3, 2005

Downing Street Minutes

I published 'em at Below the Fold, replete with my highlights and notes.

The stench of hypocrisy 9


It is interesting that the ACLU got a ruling requiring that all the Abu Ghraib pictures be released to the public. What is really interesting is that the government argued that releasing them would be contrary to the Geneva Conventions. (Via Talk Left)

[. . .]

It's incredible how these folks can take both sides of an issue, vacillate back and forth, and not bat an eye, keeping a straight face the whole time. Ya gotta hand it to 'em, they are shameless.

Cannon fodder and deck apes

. . . alleviate the personnel crunch by retaining soldiers who are earmarked for early discharge during their first term of enlistment because of alcohol or drug abuse, unsatisfactory performance, or being overweight, among other reasons." [my emphasis]

[. . .]



There are 762 active hate groups in the United States. Turns my stomach.

Thanks to the Old White Lady for the link.

The essence

. . . But fear is a powerful thing: deep, psychological, repressed fear - that if the truth is not held back, then the monsters of anarchy must be unleashed. It is better to take down a President for something a great deal more prosaic than war crimes and mass murder. Because what does it say about us if our leader is guilty of such things? [my emphasis]

[. . .]

It's a good read.

Booze and whores

Harry and I were talking today. For those who don't know, Harry's my boss, also one of my oldest and closest friends. He's ex-Air Force too, did his time in Thailand in the mid-Sixties as a B-B counter [bomb loader]. He, like me, is convinced we're gonna get called back in. He's happy because they're gonna take me first.

Anyway, we swap war stories constantly, generally about the business girls and bars we knew in the Far East. There are two or three we have both been in [bars, not business girls, although there was this one old one on Okinawa . . .] though our dates of service are 20 years apart. We also generally agree that some of our fondest memories of our military service involve one or both [bars and business girls], preferably both at the same time.

So today we got to thinking. If they did call us back, we'd probably go somewhere in the Mid-East. We then got to thinking about, you guessed it, bars and business girls in the region. Bars? None, not in an Islamic society. Black Market? Mortgage the house and maybe get arrested and thrown in the stockade. Business girls? We're both happily married.

If we get called back, Harry and I are moving to Canada.


Via AlterNet:

[. . .]

The [Republicans] talk about a culture of life. What about a culture of corruption in this country? We have the leader in the Republican Party [in the House of Congress], who the president just endorsed as doing a fine job, and who the chair of the Republican party endorsed as doing a fine job.

I happen to think that's true; the Republican definition of a fine job is to be reprimanded three times in a row [by the House ethics committee]. The Republican definition of a fine job appears to be if your leader is under investigation and three of his aides have been indicted for allegedly funneling $600,000 of corporate money into Texas campaigns. That's how Republicans do business. They think it's fine. Americans don't think it's fine. We need to get the culture of abuse and corruption in Washington out of here.

[. . .]

-Dr. Howard Dean, DNC Chairman.

This is why I'm glad Tom Daschle and Terry McAuliffe are gone. Do you think those two wishy-washy assholes would say anything like this? You know I'm one for straight talk and it's about time the Dems have someone who will put the straight scoop out there without mincing words.

Dudley Do-Right in the Valley of Death

Really long article in the LATimes about Eliot Spitzer, for those of you who may be interested.

Cambode Terrorist Raises Money for GOP.

Following up on Fixer's post, apparently terrorism is OK if it's against communism and you raise money for Republicans. From the LATimes.
Yasith Chhun often boasted to newspapers and magazines about masterminding an attack on government buildings in Cambodia and his plans to overthrow the Southeast Asian country's communist regime.

The U.S. State Department declared the group he headed, the Cambodian Freedom Fighters, a terrorist organization in 2001.

But that label didn't stop Chhun, 48, from gaining friends among GOP stalwarts, such as Rep. Dana Rohrabacher of Huntington Beach and the National Republican Congressional Committee, which raises funds for electing Republicans to Congress.

Rohrabacher said he was aware of the State Department's concerns about the Cambodian Freedom Fighters but remained a supporter of Chhun and his allies because of their passionate efforts to topple the Cambodian government led by Prime Minister Hun Sen.

"The State Department quite often will worship at the altar of stability and not consider liberty and justice as part of the equation," the congressman said in a phone interview. When "you talk about a dictator like Hun Sen, you don't want stability, you want change. Let's hope our State Department is not condemning anybody who would act to eliminate Hun Sen."

As a Californian, I am shamed by Rohrabacher. That idiot has been a disgrace for years, but that's Orange County for you.
Sakphan Keam, an English-Khmer translator in Long Beach, said many of the city's Cambodian Americans equate the Republican Party with reform overseas, a belief that was strengthened by President Bush's invasion of Iraq.

Reform, indeed.

The upshot of the article is that the guy isn't being indicted for terrorism per se, but for raising between $100,000 and $200,000 for the terrorist freedom fighter organization on U.S. soil. I think it may be because he only raised $6500 for OC Republicans and gave the rest to furriners.

Charges Against DeLay Tonight on PBS

From Truthout:
Allegations of ethics violations swirling around House Majority Leader Tom Delay have raised serious questions about a possible epidemic of "pay-to-play" politics in American government. On Friday, June 3, 2005 at 9 P.M. on PBS (check local listings), NOW investigates the charges against DeLay and shines a spotlight on the real-world consequences of special interests, lobbyists, and big campaign donors using money and gifts to exert influence over our elected officials. The program looks at the sweatshop working conditions in the Marianas Islands, an American territory, which is the focus of new allegations that an aide to DeLay offered federal money to local legislators to support a local leader who opposed reforming the garment industry there.

I was sad to see Bill Moyer's leave NOW, and dismayed that it was cut to a half hour, but David Brancacchio is doing OK.

More on AI

No, not Artificial Intelligence (some of which is sorely needed in Washington). Frenchie has more on the Amnesty International report:

[. . .]

Amnesty International first communicated its concerns about the treatment of prisoners to Rumsfeld in January 2002 and continued to raise these concerns at the highest levels as allegations of abuse mounted from Afghanistan, Guantanamo and Iraq.

[AI's William] Schulz said this administration responded by preventing human rights workers from investigating or visiting the detention facilities in question. Schulz contrasted the administration's actions in this regard to countries such as Libya and Syria that have allowed independent monitors to examine prison facilities. [my emphasis]

[. . .]

I thought we were the ones with the 'moral values'?

Extra scratch

I have my own methods of getting the Chimp to admit to something (just leave me alone with him for a couple hours), but somebody might want to try it the old fashioned way:

A progressive blog,, is offering a $1,000 reward to anyone who can get United States president George W. Bush to answer a question about pre-Iraq war intelligence . . .

The $1000 question:

In July 2002, did you and your administration "fix" the intelligence and facts about non-existent Iraqi WMD's and ties to terrorism - which were disputed by U.S. intelligence officials - to sell your decision to invade Iraq to Congress, the American people, and the world - as quoted in the Downing Street Minutes?

Good luck.

Thanks to Maru for the link.

Distractions, Traitors, and Laying Blame

This is getting traction:

. . . But claiming that the people who brought Nixon down are responsible for the Khmer Rouge and the Killing Fields? ARE YOU EFFIN' KIDDING ME? . . .

Here too:

[. . .]

Let me just quote the part of Noonan's article I'm interested in talking about:

Felt helped produce was a weakened president who was a serious president at a serious time. Nixon's ruin led to a cascade of catastrophic events--the crude and humiliating abandonment of Vietnam and the Vietnamese, the rise of a monster named Pol Pot, and millions--millions--killed in his genocide. America lost confidence; the Soviet Union gained brazenness. What a terrible time. Is it terrible when an American president lies and surrounds himself by dirty tricksters? Yes, it is. How about the butchering of children in the South China Sea. Is that worse? Yes. Infinitely, unforgettably and forever.

[. . .]

So, with this 'Wingnut Logic' in play, Tom sees an opening for us:

[. . .]

If we're going to seriously accept an argument that Nixon was capable of stopping Pol Pot then it's not too crazy to contend that Clinton could've stopped al-Qaeda if he hadn't been critically weakened by "Lewinsky-blowjob-gate." Clinton would've been in a position to seriously go after al-Qaeda if he wasn't distracted by the impeachment saga of 1998 and 1999.

[. . .]

So, Ken Starr, and the rest of you wingnuts who pushed for Clinton's impeachment, all you 'pundits' who were foaming at the mouth as if you just took Monica's place as the Devil in the Blue Dress, all you 'family values' people who screamed so loudly that Clinton was ruining this country with his absent morality, we will be coming for you soon.

You see, you 'distracted' Mr. Clinton from his job of keeping us safe from terror. For that, you will all be indicted on charges of treason and sedition, as well as accomplices in the murder of 3000 innocent people at WTC. And you know what? Peggy Noonan will now be known as 'Cell Block Sally the Gitmo Fluffer'. Pat Buchanan will be assisting.


Stole this from Pauly at A Mockingbird's Medley:
I heard a really bad joke last year:

Q: What's the difference between Iraq and Vietnam?

A: Bush had a plan to get out of Vietnam.

Thursday, June 2, 2005

DSM Update

From the lovely Pam:

The Brad Blog reports that the John Conyers Downing Street Letter to Bush petition has topped 86,000 signatures so far, with the ante upped to 250K, over the 100K originally requestion. Amazing. Conyers on the response:

[. . .]

If you ain't signed, do it now, goddammit.

I [heart] Doris Colmes

Fuck if I know who she is, but I found this of hers over at Smirking Chimp:

[. . .]

And, that's what's happening now. I smell the long-forgotten skunk, the long-forgotten rot of fascism. What is happening all around can no longer be denied. What I ran away from so desperately in 1938 is coming back full circle. Only the jack-boots have not yet arrived . . .

Fuck my second hand stories from my mother about that time, and fuck my harping, read it from someone who was there at the time.

Rummy could wreck a junkyard with a rubber hammer...

James Wolcott has a few things to say about Rumsfeld.
Donald Rumsfeld, whose Steely Resolve more and more resembles aluminum siding, is a man unafraid of confronting the full spectrum of America's enemies from Al Qaeda to Amnesty International.

His retirement as Secretary of Defence will leave a trail of ruination as its legacy that will stretch forward into the indeterminate future.

"When Rumsfeld leaves office, what will his successor inherit?"

"A volunteer military without volunteers. The Army missed its active-duty recruiting goal in April by almost half. Guard and Reserve recruiting are collapsing. Retention will do the same as "stop loss" orders are lifted. The reason, obviously, is the war in Iraq. Parents don't want to be the first one on their block to have their kid come home in a box.

"The world's largest pile of wrecked and worn-out military equipment (maybe second-largest if we remember the old Soviet Navy). I'm talking about basic stuff here: trucks, Humvees, personnel carriers, crew-served weapons, etc. This is gear the Rumsfeld Pentagon hates to spend money on, because it does not represent 'transformation' to the hi-tech, video-game warfare it wrongly sees as the future.

"Commitments to hundreds of billions of dollars' worth of future weapons programs that are militarily as useful as Zeppelins but less fun to watch..."

"Finally, the equivalent of an unfavorable ruling by a bankruptcy judge in the form of a lost war. We will be lucky if we can get out of Iraq with anything less than a total loss."

Yeah, I'd say that about covers it.

I got nuthin' to add to that. There's more. Go read.

He's All Ours Now, Heh-Heh!

South Knox Bubba is wending his merry way up the California coast along Highway One. He's posting his daily travelogue along with some beautiful, even for him, photos. Go see.


Maybe I'll start packing the tools again.

Raising Hell

Gord's post below got me thinking. I always tell you to contact your congressweasels and bitch, right? Well, I made it easy for ya today:

[Alabama], [Alaska], [American Samoa], [Arizona], [Arkansas], [California], [Colorado], [Connecticut], [Delaware], [District of Columbia], [Florida], [Georgia], [Guam], [Hawaii], [Idaho], [Illinois], [Indiana], [Iowa], [Kansas], [Kentucky], [Louisiana], [Maine], [Maryland], [Massachusetts], [Michigan], [Minnesota], [Mississippi], [Missouri], [Montana], [Nebraska], [Nevada], [New Hampshire], [New Jersey], [New Mexico], [New York], [North Carolina], [North Dakota], [Ohio], [Oklahoma], [Oregon], [Pennsylvania], [Puerto Rico], [Rhode Island], [South Carolina], [South Dakota], [Tennessee], [Texas], [Utah], [Vermont], [Virginia], [Virgin Islands], [Washington], [West Virginia], [Wisconsin], [Wyoming]

And I'm putting a link in the sidebar so you can find this info again easily.

Premature Ebombulation

This article in The Nation is about the US/UK bombing of Iraq prior to the criminal invasion and what it may mean. Go read, it's a gooder.
But there was a catch: The war hadn't started yet, at least not officially. This was September 2002--a month before Congress had voted to give President Bush the authority he used to invade Iraq, two months before the United Nations brought the matter to a vote and more than six months before "shock and awe" officially began.

At the time, the Bush Administration publicly played down the extent of the air strikes, claiming the United States was just defending the so-called no-fly zones. But new information that has come out in response to the Downing Street memo reveals that, by this time, the war was already a foregone conclusion and attacks were no less than the undeclared beginning of the invasion of Iraq.

It only takes one member of Congress to begin an impeachment process, and Conyers is said to be considering the option. The process would certainly be revealing. Congress could subpoena Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Gen. Richard Myers, Gen.Tommy Franks and all of the military commanders and pilots involved with the no-fly zone bombings going back into the late 1990s. What were their orders, both given and received? In those answers might lie a case for impeachment.

This is getting better and better.

Too much fun...

Today is mos' def not a slow news day. Go to Cursor and rock out.

Ugh! Great White Assholes

6/2/1924: U.S. Congress agrees to give citizenship to some Native Americans.

Gee, that was big of 'em, huh?

Can I be the one to stick the fork in him? Huh? Huh?

Go read Geov Parrish about Deep Throat, the Downing Street Memo, and the Media.
Here's what John Dean, key Watergate figure, wrote about Dubya's case for the Iraq war in a June 2003 column for "To put it bluntly, if Bush has taken Congress and the nation into war based on bogus information, he is cooked... Manipulation or deliberate misuse of national security intelligence data, if proven, could be a 'high crime' under the Constitution's impeachment clause."

Snowballs start out slowly too. When they git down the mountain a little ways, sometimes they turn into avalanches. Our media needs a few little "balls" to get the avalanche started, though.

Can you hear me NOW?

From Rob the squid:

A Google news search reveals that the majority of the coverage of the Downing Street memo is either on foreign news sites (France, New Zealand) or on blogs (Brad Blog). Only a few U.S. sites (aside from bloggers, such as the Big Brass Alliance) have made mention of the story, and then it's from the "U.S. largely ignores Downing Street Memo" angle.

[. . .]

Why is it the only American news outlet that even mentions the memo is Fox?

Update: 16:30:

Rook puts his own unique spin on the Fox situation.

One way in, one way out...

Since Interstate 80, "Main Street USA" is about a mile from me and I have to use it a lot, I thought I'd give ya a little diversion from politics. I love reading about Way Out West in the Noo Yalk Times! You can choose from a multitude of I-80 web cams here. Take a little break in the mountains.

Red on Dems' Strategy

Apropos of Fixer's post, below, go see what Ariana has to say.


Oliver Willis takes a look at ours.

True sacrifice

Echidne takes one for the team.


Or the lack of it. London's Financial Times does a piece on how the U.S. is losing control of their Iraqi puppets allies.

[. . .]

In the more sombre assessment of others in the administration, however, the US has long lost its grip on Iraq's political process. "We are losing control," said one veteran Arabist in the administration who requested anonymity.

[. . .]

Geoff Porter, analyst with the Eurasia Group consultancy, said US interests had been "stymied on most fronts", with US officials frustrated with, and ignorant of, Iraq's fractious politics. "There is an air of resignation, with people throwing up their hands that this will be a long-term process."

[. . .]

So, another part of this fiasco gone to shit. The Bush administration can't even get the underhanded shit right. I mean, you take over a country less than half your size, with the greatest, best trained military in the world, and you can't even install a puppet democratic government you can control? Did anything go right in Iraq, you murderous, inept fools?

Thanks to the Wankers for the link.

There's more at the door

Ask along that man who's wearing a carnation.
Bring every single person
from Victoria Station,
Go into that hospital
and bring nurses and patients,
Everybody go home and fetch their relations!

- Welcome - The Who

The Swarm continues:

[. . .]

Progressive Democrats of America has joined with, a coalition of veterans' groups, peace groups, and political activist groups to launch a campaign urging the U.S. Congress to begin a formal investigation into whether President Bush has committed impeachable offenses in connection with the Iraq war and they need everyone's help! Here are some simple tools to alert your local media outlet about this new coalition. Demand a Resolution of Inquiry!

[. . .]

I forgot to give proper credit. Sorry, Froggy. I've picked your pocket twice in the same post from two different sources. It's gotta be some sort of bloggy record.

Update: 11:25:

Froggy finds someone else who noticed:

while many of his former supporters are still angry with senator john kerry, he seems to finally have caught on and is following the lead of the emerging real leaders of the democratic party---bloggers.

[. . .]

Update: 13:00

More from the Sister:

[. . .]

The Big Brass Alliance, in addition to supporting Congressman John Conyers' and's efforts to pursue a formal inquiry into the administration's actions leading up to the Iraq war, is also throwing its weight behind the Awaken the Mainstream Media campaign started by Daily Kos diarist smintheus.

[. . .]


finds the best shit.

Deep Throat redux . . . sorta

Jaye at Blondie's:

[. . .]

Enough of who Deep Throat is or what he did. Get on your knees and thank Gawd for him and Daniel Ellsberg. Medal of Freedom anyone? More about how Watergate is more and more like, Jesus, what do you call the Bush administration's scandals?

Yellow Cakegate?
My Pet Goatgate?
Electiongate? Part I and Part II?
Mission Accomplishedgate?
The president looked stoned on the night we went to war against Iraqgate?

[. . .]

With all these 'gates', the Chimp administration should be rounded up and sent to Leavenworth for the rest of their newborn natural lives.



The Republicans have been trying to abolish Constitutional government for some time. And each time, the wave breaks further up the beach.

Nixon, the first wave: Watergate, and the plumbers, were felonies orchestrated and directed from the White House. And Nixon tried to use national security as a cloak to hide his crimes. But our Democratic institutions - and here I use the letter "D" in both upper and lower case - were strong enough to withstand the assault. Hearings were held, and Nixon resigned rather than face impeachment.

[. . .]

Little by little. The Repub machine is like a glacier, moving steadily forward over decades. Interesting post.

Bend over . . . again

NEW YORK, May 23, 2005 - Troubled United Airlines ended its traditional pension plans dramatically earlier this month, abandoning them in a highly publicized move to the federal government's pension insurance agency. But many other traditional plans die quietly, either converted to "hybrid" plans or frozen and replaced with worker-funded 401(k) plans.

And it's happening with increasing frequency.

[. . .]

Here comes another bailout of big business.

[. . .]

The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp., which insures private sector pensions, says the number of covered plans has dropped from a high of 112,208 in 1985 to fewer than 30,000 today. Of those remaining, some 20 percent are hybrid designs such as cash balance plans under which companies allocate pay and interest credits to accounts in each employee's name.

[. . .]

There's a statistic from the Pension Benefit Guaranty Fund that private pensions already $450 billion in the red and will go higher as more companies default on their plans. 20 of the major Fortune 500 companies have not paid into their own plans for a couple years now as it is and 39% of plans are underfunded.

A note: Defaulted pensions picked up by the PBGF are generally worth a third of what they originally were.

Once again, everything big business touches manages to go to shit. To wit: The savings and loan industry, the airline industry, the prescription drug industry, and the energy industry. Oh, did I forget to mention these folks (and their lobbying PACs) are the Repubs biggest campaign contributors?

Now, do you think upper management is taking any wage or benefit cuts? Do you think they feel this kind of stress?

[. . .]

"I calculated that under the cash balance plan, I would have to work until 78 to get the same annuity (monthly benefit) I would have had at age 65 under the old plan," Krueger said.

[. . .]

How, at 65, do you deal with suddenly having to work another 13 years? Do you think this poor woman will have any kind of retirement? Odds are, she'll die working for the man just to scrape out some sort of existence. It's criminal.

My dad was a crusty old Brit, but he gave me a few pearls of wisdom that have proven true over the years. Most of it had to do with relating to women, but he always said that if you want to live like a human being when you retire, don't depend on anyone.

Nobody cares if you can afford to live but you. I never expected to get a pension or Social Security, but there's a lot of folks in their '60s and '70s who are living on a combination of company pensions and SSI. What does that do to them when their income is suddenly cut by two-thirds? What are they gonna do when the Chimp fucks up what's left of their SSI?

It's time for a change in the way we think in this country. We've become too much a 'disposable society'. Instead of revering our old folks and learning from them, we just treat them like chattel, to be tossed away when they're no longer useful. Sort of what they're doing to our troops.

Wednesday, June 1, 2005

This Explains A Lot

Trust in a bottle:

...Swiss and American scientists demonstrate in new experiments with a nasal spray containing the hormone oxytocin.

After a few squirts, human subjects were significantly more trusting and willing to invest money with no ironclad promise of a profit.

The researchers acknowledged their findings could be abused by con artists or even sleazy politicians who might sway an election, provided they could squirt enough voters on their way to the polls.

Apparently, this has been on the market since the 2000 election, and the Republicans are adding regular and stronger doses to the water supply, especially in the red states. I guess some of us are lucky enough to be immune.

Sure does explain why 51% of the nation buys the Repugs' crock of shit.

Fox notices!!!!

The Blogswarm makes it to Fox? Believe it or not. See the Sister for details.

History . . . heh

Speaking of paying attention to history. Mr. Cleek notices the wingnuts are already prepared for the book burnings. They have a list.

More on Darfur

A corollary to my post yesterday. Eugene reports on what's . . . better yet what's not (help for the millions of refugees) going on in Sudan.


This summary is not available. Please click here to view the post.


Will over at Pusillanimous Wankers gives us this horrible statistic:

This month Brazil announced that almost 1/5 of the Amazon basin has been cut down. Most of it has been developed into cattle and soybean conglomerates.

[. . .]

Maybe the big shots at all these corporations should spend some time with the Navajo, learning about the concept of stewardship of the only planet we've got.

Absurd and Ironical Too

From the Boston Globe:
When our State Department released in March its own massive annual report of human rights abuses around the world, it was quick to criticize other nations for human rights abuses. The State Department often quotes Amnesty International on other nations' abuses. But there was no self-criticism of our prisoner treatment in the so-called war on terror.

The reason is quite ironic. A year ago, Assistant Secretary of State Michael Kozak said, ''The reason we don't do a report on ourselves is the same reason you wouldn't write investigative reports about your own finances or something; it wouldn't have any credibility. Somebody else needs to do that. It's not that we're against being scrutinized, and indeed we are scrutinized by many other organizations: Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International."

With new allegations of Guantanamo prisoner treatment by the Associated Press, the questions continue about American moral authority. If the chaos continues, what could the Bush adminsitration possibly say next?

I don't know, but it'll probably be another doozie.


WASHINGTON - A human rights group's report about conditions at the U.S. military's prison at Guantanamo Bay is "absurd," President Bush told reporters Tuesday.

[. . .]

Lying sack of shit. The Heretik reveals more injustice:

[. . .]

One detainee who said he was an Afghan refugee in Pakistan accused the country's intelligence service of trumping up evidence against him to get bounty money from the U.S.

[. . .]


Can be heard! The Sister emailed me this link during the night (video file). CNN's Inside the Blogs picked up on the yesterday's Blogswarm. They didn't go deep enough for my liking, but the Big Brass Alliance got noticed. An excellent start. Good on ya, Sister and good on our contemporaries who've joined the alliance.

Note: It would have been nice if some of the big fish in Left Blogstonia (© Rook) would have signed on to this or at least given it a nod. Do you hear me Atrios? Don't tell me you don't read the Sister. Or is this beneath you at this point? You and your fill-ins wasted enough time on Deep Throat; couldn't spare a line or two for the here and now, could ya? Must be nice becoming one of the 'Liberal Elite'. There are others, but I might as well give the finger to the top guy. Trickle down and all. [Drops pants and moons] KMA, pal. And another thing, if I want a travelogue of Spain, I'll tune in to Rick Steves. Get over yourselves.

Tuesday, May 31, 2005


[This will stay on top today]

Current posts begin below this one.


Blogswarm: What it's all about.

Big Brass Alliance
: Why we're doing it.

After Downing Street: The memo and info.

John Conyers' petition
: Sign it.

[. . .]

Since the terrible tragedy of 9/11, when terrorists struck on American soil to devastating results, there has been an increasing sense that supporting our troops is the province of a particular political party. Our president gravely intoned, in an infamous with-us-or-against-us speech, that those who disagreed with the actions taken by a Republican administration and a Republican-led Congress were siding with the terrorists—a sentiment that came to mean, for many on the Right, that even liberal American patriots who might disagree with the president’s course of action were traitors. Dissent, an important and necessary part of any democracy, was suddenly treasonous.

Bush’s entire presidency has relied on his ostensibly unique ability to “keep America safe.” His reelection campaign exploited 9/11 and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq for every ounce they were worth, with his supporters demeaning the possibility that any other political party could oppose his actions yet still be patriotic Americans. And even many of those who oppose the Iraq War supported the Afghanistan invasion, because its purpose was to eradicate the al-Qaida terrorist network which had perpetrated the 9/11 attacks. So what would it mean if this national security president had never wanted to invade Afghanistan, had never wanted to pursue al-Qaida and its leader Osama bin Laden (who remains on the loose to this day)? What would it mean if Iraq, which contrary to administration claims had no weapons of mass destruction with which to harm America or America’s allies, had been the only target all along? And what would it mean if the case for that war had been conceived out of thin air?

It would mean that we all had all been hoodwinked, including our soldiers who had been sent to die by a president who cared not for bringing to justice those responsible for an attack on American soil, and had cared not for the truth. It would mean a national disgrace.

[. . .]

This is our best chance to begin the process of getting Bush & Co out of the White House prematurely. We have to shame our legislators into putting as much effort into this as they did investigating Clinton and Lewinsky. This is our Whitewater and Interngate, except this really matters.

Special props and kudos to Shakepeare's Sister for her exceptional work getting this diverse bunch of liberals organized. You're the best, darlin'


Sorry this place looked like it got hit with a HERF* gun for a while. Somehow, Blogger ate half the code on my template. If I haven't said so in a while, BLOGGER SUCKS WET MONKEY ASS!

*High Energy Radio Frequency. The aliens have 'em.

Santa and the Chimp

Outstanding. Go see.

Hat tip: The Disgruntled Chemist

Just like here

The people who tell the truth are persecuted.

KHARTOUM, Sudan (Reuters) -- Sudan arrested a second aid worker from the Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) [Doctors Without Borders] aid agency on Tuesday over a report on hundreds of rapes in the troubled Darfur region, the agency said.

[. . .]

MSF Holland published a report in March detailing about 500 cases of rape during a period of 4 1/2 months in Darfur, where a rebellion has raged for more than 2 years.

The violence has killed tens of thousands and forced more than 2 million from their homes.

[. . .]

Now, if Bush said, "Let's get rid of the despot in Sudan because of the outrages committed there by the Janjawid and government troops", I'd probably go back in to help these people. These are people who need protecting. I'm not talking about the Somalia-type bullshit. A military presence and a diplomatic and economic full-court press. It wouldn't have cost us half of what Iraq has already. Sudan could have been a noble cause and an example of American goodwill and assistance.

Great thanks to RiverRocks for the link.

Et tu, Italy?

Francesca finds the Italian people want to know about the Downing Street memo too:

Italian activists are also starting to press Berlusconi and his administration on the issue of the Downing Street Memo, something that is getting almost zero media attention in Italy (surprise, surprise). The letter linked asks to what extent Berlusconi knew of the intentions of Bush and Blair back in 2002 in terms of invading Iraq. Was Berlusconi aware that Saddam was less of a threat than Libya, N. Korea, or Iran?

[. . .]

People are beginning to see through the load of bullshit that's been shoveled for the last 5 years. Like the profound RJ Eskow says:

. . . I hate cliches, especially this one, but let's hope this is a 'tipping point.' Help us push it until it tips . . .

Who fucking cares?

W. Mark Felt, who retired from the FBI after rising to its second most senior position, has identified himself as the "Deep Throat" source quoted by The Washington Post to break the Watergate scandal that led to President Nixon's resignation, Vanity Fair magazine said Tuesday. [Link]

[. . .]

I give a fuck what happened 30 years ago. I give a fuck who ratted on Nixon. It's over, he's dead, and this guy will be soon. Want to give me a fucking woody? Find me a 'Deep Throat' in the Chimp White House so we can get the current moron the fuck out.

Suck my ass

You wingnut, Jesus-freak assholes.

Donald and Tim Wildmon's AmTaliban American Family Association couldn't succeed with a Disney boycott, so now they are refocusing that message of intolerance and wingnuttery -- and going after Ford.

[. . .]

My boys at Ford:

[. . .]

At Ford Motor Company we recognize that diversity is not only a reality of our global nature, it’s a distinct advantage, and one that we value and embrace. We also know that we can only leverage the benefits of diversity by understanding and respecting the differences among all employees.

[. . .]

Pam has all the details. I'm proud to say I worked for Ford Motor Company as an engine builder for Motorsport Division. It was a great place to work and diversity was encouraged. Good on 'em for having the balls to stand up to these dingbats.

"Unity through Diversity" - The House of Blues


Having just posted a note to the Big Brass Alliance, and making an offer which I am already beginning to regret (See comments at Shakey's Sis), I came across an op-ed in the Boston Globe.
THE IMPEACHMENT of President Bush and Vice President Cheney, under Article II, Section 4 of the Constitution, should be part of mainstream political discourse.

Minutes from a summer 2002 meeting involving British Prime Minister Tony Blair reveal that the Bush administration was ''fixing" the intelligence to justify invading Iraq. US intelligence used to justify the war demonstrates repeatedly the truth of the meeting minutes -- evidence was thin and needed fixing.

President Clinton was impeached for perjury about his sexual relationships. Comparing Clinton's misbehavior to a destructive and costly war occupation launched in March 2003 under false pretenses in violation of domestic and international law certainly merits introduction of an impeachment resolution.

The president and vice president have artfully dodged the central question: ''Did the administration mislead us into war by manipulating and misstating intelligence concerning weapons of mass destruction and alleged ties to Al Qaeda, suppressing contrary intelligence, and deliberately exaggerating the danger a contained, weakened Iraq posed to the United States and its neighbors?"

If this is answered affirmatively Bush and Cheney have committed ''high crimes and misdemeanors." It is time for Congress to investigate the illegal Iraq war as we move toward the third year of the endless quagmire that many security experts believe jeopardizes US safety by recruiting and training more terrorists. A Resolution of Impeachment would be a first step. Based on the mountains of fabrications, deceptions, and lies, it is time to debate the ''I" word.

I don't care what anyone thinks about Ralph Nader. He's on the right side of this deal, and has a still-powerful voice.

If I have to pay off on my offer, maybe a bowl of jalapenos and a quart of Cholula...

Note to the Big Brass Alliance

I am a humble part of this and agree that Bush should be impeached, indicted, tried fairly, and hung on the courthouse steps on his way out of the courtroom.

Ain't gonna happen as long as there's a Republican-controlled Congress.

Work on getting Democrats elected in 2006.


Via Skippy:

US troops outraged Iraq's new government yesterday by arresting one of the country's foremost Sunni leaders only to release him later and call the whole episode a mistake.

- The Telegraph

[. . .]

Ya know, shit like this doesn't need to happen. I mean, we've been there for two years. We should know who is who by now. One of our objectives (so the White House says) is 'winning hearts and minds'. Hel-lo, McFly, this ain't the way to do it.

River has her own ideas:

. . . The Americans are saying Muhsin was "detained and interviewed", which makes one think his car was gently pulled over and he was asked a few questions. What actually happened was that his house was raided early morning, doors broken down, windows shattered and he and his three sons had bags placed over their heads and were dragged away . . .

[. . .]

Was it meant to send a message to Sunnis? That's what some people are saying. Many people believe it was meant to tell Sunnis, "None of you are safe- even the ones who work with us." It's just difficult to believe this is one big misunderstanding or mistake.

[. . .]

I wouldn't put it past Chimpy Inc. to do it.

Monday, May 30, 2005

More women

In high places. I saw the first of these ads this morning.

Studies show that by age 12, most girls lose interest in math, science and technology and their chance at most future jobs. Girls Go Tech is an initiative to encourage girls to develop an early interest in these subjects and, ultimately, maintain that interest as they grow up to help ensure a more diverse, dynamic, and productive workforce in the future. The PSA campaign highlights the math, science and technology behind everyday life, and encourages young girls to, "Set your sights on math and science. It's a great way to see the world." The PSAs direct viewers to visit, an interactive website which provides activities that encourage girls to become interested in how things work.

- The Ad Council

Personally, I'd like to see more women in the engineering fields. I'd like to see a few more women mechanics too. You should work with the ugly bastids I have to. Yeesh!

Our Honored Dead

As part of your Memorial Day observance, you might want to go here.

What are the gentlemen supposed to start, again?

Go read about Frist trying to cozy up to NASCAR fans at Charlotte. Hah!

Rising Foreclosures

The downside of the housing bubble is starting already, and where else but with lower-income folks. From the WaPo:
To walk Thayer Street in northeast Philadelphia is to count, door by door, the economic devastation afflicting a working-class neighborhood. On a single block, 18 of the 42 brick rowhouses have gone into foreclosure in the past three years.

"Mortgage companies convinced us to refinance, and each time our bill went up," O'Mara said as he surveyed his narrow street from his shaded front porch. "You fall behind and they swoop down on you."

State and federal regulators place much of the blame for the foreclosure problem at the feet of mortgage brokers and bankers, who have crafted ever-riskier ways for Americans with poor credit to buy homes. Interest-only and adjustable-rate mortgages account for 63 percent of new mortgages.

But many policymakers say the rise in foreclosures leads to a larger question: Is the push to boost homeownership -- successive presidential administrations have strongly promoted it -- backfiring? As home prices and personal debt rise to record levels, they note, homeownership has become an albatross for millions of Americans, destroying rather than creating wealth.

But the Reinvestment Fund, a Philadelphia-based think tank, analyzed 22,979 foreclosures for the state Banking Department and found a more problematic profile. Those homeowners, most of whom are blacks, Latinos or working-class whites, live close to the economic margin.

They have low incomes and little or no health insurance -- 40 percent of those who sought emergency foreclosure help cited medical costs as the cause of their distress.

Pennsylvania's foreclosure problem is not just an urban phenomenon. Montgomery County contains a genteel stretch of suburbs north of Philadelphia. But from 2000 to 2003, county officials recorded almost 5,000 foreclosure filings, a 14.6 percent increase. Arline, Woodland and Lindbergh avenues run through Abington, a pleasant lower-middle-class town with ranch houses and cherry trees, children's slides and neatly tended gardens. On each of these blocks, three or four houses have gone into foreclosure in the past four years

Philadelphia Sheriff John D. Green has a front-row seat as these dramas play out. In mid-June, he will auction another thousand or so foreclosed homes. "My staff and I watch the suffering every day," he wrote recently in a letter to residents posted on his Web site. He said they "witness the heart-wrenching scenes as families lose their primary means of wealth building and face eviction."

And so it begins....

Caution: Wheels coming off

The essential Krugman:

[. . .]

But the Bush administration, which was ready neither to look for a way out of Iraq nor to admit that staying there would require a much bigger army, simply threw out the rulebook. Regular soldiers are spending a lot more than a third of their time overseas, and many reservists are finding their civilian lives destroyed by repeated, long-term call-ups.

Two things make the burden of repeated deployments even harder to bear. One is the intensity of the conflict. In Slate, Phillip Carter and Owen West, who adjusted casualty figures to take account of force size and improvements in battlefield medicine (which allow more of the severely wounded to survive), concluded that "infantry duty in Iraq circa 2004 comes out just as intense as infantry duty in Vietnam circa 1966."

The other is the way in which the administration cuts corners when it comes to supporting the troops. From their foot-dragging on armoring Humvees to their apparent policy of denying long-term disability payments to as many of the wounded as possible, officials seem almost pathologically determined to nickel-and-dime those who put their lives on the line for their country.

[. . .]

Much more serious, because it would be irreversible, would be a mass exodus of mid-career military professionals. "That's essentially how we broke the professional Army we took into Vietnam," one officer told the National Journal. "At some point, people decided they could no longer weather the back-to-back deployments."

And we're already seeing stories about how young officers, facing the prospect of repeated harrowing tours of duty in a war whose end is hard to imagine, are reconsidering whether they really want to stay in the military. [my emphases]

[. . .]

Yes, but with 'Stop-loss', their commitments become open-ended. The backdoor draft has begun already, and if recruiting continues this downward trend, a front door draft is imminent.

Link via Corrente.

Someone I used to be...

This op-ed made tears well up in this ol' Jarhead's eyes.
ON this Memorial Day, more than two years after the invasion of Iraq, American troops are still fighting and dying. Their deaths have become a staple of the evening news, a permanent column on the front page. Most of the time, we don't even notice anymore. Until death touches someone we know, or someone we used to be.

On the morning of Jan. 26, while I rush my daughters through their bowls of cereal, brush their hair and get them ready for school, I learn that a CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter has crashed in western Iraq, killing 31 men. Twenty-six of them are part of my old unit: Company C, First Battalion, Third Marine Regiment, stationed at Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Kaneohe Bay.

My co-worker looks over at me from his desk and says, "Did you know any of them?"

No, I didn't know them.

What I know is the base where they lived. The way they ran up K.T., Kansas Tower, this giant hill in the middle of the base, gasping all the way to the top. I know the view from the apex, overlooking the vivid blue of Kaneohe Bay, a rainbow in the background. I know how good a cool breeze felt when they reached the top, after running past the flight line, beyond the beach where their leg muscles burned and their feet sank into soft, warm sand. I know what drives a marine, at the end of his endurance, choking back vomit as the battalion runs in a huge formation, to suddenly break ranks and run to the man carrying the Colors, the battalion flag, and take it from him, sprinting around 800 marines in a giant circle before returning it and dropping back in line. I know what they smelled like when they were sweating out the beer they drank the night before.

There's more.
No, I didn't know the marines who died, but I miss them just the same. I go to work each day, safe in my cubicle, checking the news for word of the war dead, looking for friends and thinking about that recruiter's card in my wallet.

I know exactly how this guy feels. I felt great pride the day members of my old outfit, 3rd Battalion, 8th Marines, rescued downed pilot Scott O'Grady in Bosnia f'rinstance. They've been in Haiti recently, and then in Fallujah for the elections. I wish they were at Camp Lejeune with their families, or, for the single guys, getting drunk in J'ville and trying to make out with the bar hogs (Not, I hope, with the same ones I tried to...).

There's a lot of guys like me and we will never forget.


The best one I've heard in a very long time. The Dark Wraith:

[. . .]

Somewhere along the way, some politician-be it a Republican; an Independent; or God forbid, a real Democrat-needs to lay it out for the American people:

No, I'm not giving you a tax cut. You've had too many. In fact, I'm going to raise taxes, most particularly on the wealthy, not just because they can afford it, but also because it's when they screw up that the most damage gets done that the government has to clean up. And if the rich people say anything, I'm going to rip into them for the bunch of perpetual crybabies they are.

Oh, yes, and about cutting federal spending: we need to chop down a lot of pork-barrel projects. That's always on the agenda. And we'll probably get rid of some social services spending, too, but that's sure as Hell not a priority when we've got so many people doing without in this country. Before we do much cutting of domestic programs, we're going save a whole lot of money by knocking it off with starting wars against stupid little dictatorships halfway around the world. That's too expensive, especially when they get so bitchy about the part where we try to take their oil.

And finally, if any of you stand up and start whining about 'immigration reform', 'fair trade', or 'wage concessions', you're going to get kicked right in the ass, even if you can't pull your head out before my boot hits paydirt.

[. . .]

There's a lot more. A good treatise on what needs to be done and why it probably won't happen.

Buy this book

And Michelle Malkin gets sodomized by a black man who's hung like a horse. Well, maybe not, but I'm sure it'll raise her blood pressure.

I don't like to plug my stuff here, but I'll gladly shill for Neiwart.

We got 'em too

Jesusland doesn't have a monopoly on morons.

(New York-WABC, May 30, 2005) - A Dix Hills man was charged for allegedly letting two 50-pound leopards run around his house endangering his four children.

Thirty-four-year-old Anthony Barone, was arrested after Suffolk County police were called by his battered wife to their 601 Caledonia Road home .

Officials tell Eyewitness News, the 32-year-old wife told them that Barone had repeatedly punched and kicked her, breaking her nose. After allegedly assaulting her, he chained her to a downstairs wall for several hours.

[. . .]

Whaddaya mean I can't kill her? She's my wife, ain't she? This mental midget lives about a mile from me.

Update: 12:20:

It must be Moron Day. Lambert finds another:

GENEVA, Ill. A 46-year-old man allegedly set his own home on fire in order to get two visitors to leave, police said.
(via AP)

Gord asks

In comments here:

I know absolutely nothing about the EU situation. Keep 'em coming, maybe I'll learn something.

He gets. From AMERICAblog:

[. . .]

Ultimately the problem with this constitution is that it has been trying to be all things to all people so every country reads into it what they want to read into it and perhaps everybody is right and everybody is wrong. Even many of the "non" voters believe in Europe (there's really no alternative) but there's a strong undercurrent of resentment about the Euro-ruling class jamming decisions through without consultation to the voters.

[. . .]

So where now? Beyond a government shuffle, who knows? The EU is the only choice moving forward but it's hard to say where this will al go. Somewhere in the 40,000 word document is a pile of mushy-worded nothingness that gives some wiggle room for possible changes and of course there's always the possibility of another vote on the constitution. It's going to happen but it will be later rather than sooner. With the Dutch prepared to vote "no" as well on Wednesday changes will have to come. [my emphasis]

Update: 13:35:

More on this from Freiheit und Wissen.

. . . The France "no" vote signals that the "Americanization" of Europe is unacceptable . . .

Remember . . .

No words necessary.


Riverbend dissects Thomas Friedman:

[. . .]

One thing I found particularly amusing about the article- and outrageous all at once-was in the following paragraph:

"Religiously, if you want to know how the Sunni Arab world views a Shiite's being elected leader of Iraq, for the first time ever, think about how whites in Alabama would have felt about a black governor's being installed there in 1920. Some Sunnis do not think Shiites are authentic Muslims, and they are indifferent to their brutalization."

Now, it is always amusing to see a Jewish American journalist speak in the name of Sunni Arabs. When Sunni Arabs, at this point, hesitate to speak in a representative way about other Sunni Arabs, it is nice to know Thomas L. Friedman feels he can sum up the feelings of the "Sunni Arab world" in so many words. His arrogance is exceptional.

[. . .]

I know Gord likes Friedman, but he suffers from the same problems our leaders do. You might be able to take an American out of the country, but it's damn difficult to take the country out of the American. I'll believe River's assesment of the situation long before I'll accept Friedman's.

Thanks to tena at First Draft for the link.

What to believe?

[. . .]

In their biggest coup of "Operation Lightning," Iraqi and U.S. soldiers arrested a former general in Saddam Hussein's intelligence service who was also a member of his Fedayeen secret police during a raid in western Baghdad, the scene of some of Sunday's heaviest fighting.

"He now leads the military wings of several terror cells operating in the west Baghdad neighborhood of Ghazaliyah," the military said in its announcement about the former general. It did not release his name or provide further details.

[. . .]

Is this like every other 'terrorist leader' we capture? Are we ever gonna know who this guy is, or will it fall by the wayside as with most of these 'major arrests'? Are they even gonna bother releasing a name or is this just propaganda? I personally don't care at this point because the situation in Iraq is seldom how the government calls it.

The thing is we've reached a point, after being inundated with bullshit (Fox News, fake government-produced news pieces, government-controlled Jesus freaks) for the last five years, nothing is believable anymore. Think about it, ladies and germs. This is America, but the White House propaganda machine reeks of Goebbels' Germany. I mean, if we captured all these 'leaders' we say we have, there should only be about 5 terrorists left to catch. Right?

Nothing has changed 2

(Newark, N.J.-WABC, May 29, 2005) - It is a loophole in airline security so big, you could fly a plane through it.

Senator Charles Schumer lashed out at the Department of Homeland Security which he feels has ignored a law put in place to keep terrorist from boarding airplanes and repeating what we saw here September 11th.

[. . .]

But Schumer says there's a gaping hole in security at both airports, a way for terrorists to slip through the cracks.

Senator Schumer: "If they know their names will be checked on domestic flights but not on foreign, you don't have to be a rocket scientist to get on a foreign flight and come here."

A new law requires airlines to transmit flight manifests to U.S. officials within 15 minutes of takeoff. Homeland security had until February 14th to come up with a game plan, but Schumer points out that deadline has come and gone and that those lists aren't being checked until the plane is airborne. [my emphasis]

[. . .]

While we're fighting the 'War on Terra' in Iraq, the people we should be worried about have unfettered access. So what exactly did the Patriot Act do besides abrogate our civil rights? It sure as hell hasn't made us any safer.

More lies and treachery

From the beautiful Francesca:

[. . .]

How many freaking smoking guns do we need for people to understand that this war was not a war of necessity, but one that the Blair and Bush administrations actively pursued? Phony evidence, really bad intelligence, and now we even tried to bully Iraq into freaking defending itself so we would have an excuse to invade.

This is all more evidence of the existence of the 'Why Does A Dog Lick His Balls?'[*] School of International Relations and Diplomacy.

[. . .]

It'd be nice if the media put as much work into finding out exactly what kind of scam Bush and Blair pulled on the Yanks and Brits that they put into finding about that dreaded Oval Office BJ.

*Answer: Because he can.

Update: 07:10:

Dave Johnson says:

. . . I honor the sacrifice of our men and women in the Armed Forces. And freeing the people of Iraq is a noble cause, though I sure wish America had had the option of approving it or not on those terms. . . .

Sunday, May 29, 2005


We talked about whom we should remember this Memorial Day. Gillard speaks to some we should forget.

[. . .]

Recently, there have been calls for supporters of our folly in Iraq to enlist. Their usual reaction is to act as if we were expecting a heart-lung donation. Cries of "why didn't you enlist to support Kosovo" and other pathetic nonsense usually follows to justify their rank cowardice.

The sad part is that these people understand the military about as much as they understand cricket. They read some hack like Max Boot or some minor historian like Victor Davis Hanson and take them seriously. They like the war porn, but can't go beyond that.

[. . .]

I'd love to get these assholes on a C-130, each with a 'chute. I'd kick 'em all out over Baghdad and Fallujah. Give 'em something to 'warblog' about.

Under the radar

Michael Stickings:

Poor Jacques Chirac. The French have rejected his beloved European Constitution. In today's referendum, the "No" side won over 55% of the vote, with turnout somewhere between 70 and 80%.

Am I happy about this? Yes and no.

[. . .]

He's a pretty sharp guy from Toronto. It behooves you to check out his blog. More to the point, the doings in Europe will affect us more than we realize. Partly because news from Europe isn't deemed worthy compared to the 'Runaway Bride' and Dawn of the Dead . . . er, Michael Jackson.

Holiday cheer*

Be safe and careful while in the process of merrymaking. I don't give a shit if you kill your damn self on the road this weekend, but it's the innocent folks you take with you that concerns me. And remember why you have the day off tomorrow.

*I'm sitting here, watching NASCAR, realizing that since I went into the military, this holiday is never cheery for me. It also would have been my mom's 82nd birthday tomorrow. Since it was her birthday, there was always a party here on Memorial Day. Fond memories of my youth. It will be solemn here, as it has been for the last 9 years since mom passed. The Mrs. and I will have a drink for her, and for those who died in the service of the nation she loved so much.

Fluffed 'n Stuffed

I'm honored to be tagged, I think. On the theory that there's no fool like an old fool, let 'er buck!

Three names you go buy (that won't give away your identity): Never had to go buy one, got given the only name I go by by my parents. I did go from AKA to DBA once.

Three screen names you've had: Only two, Gordon and Anonymous.

Three physical things you like about yourself: Still pretty strong, no (OK, one!) gray hair, good balance. Hard to pick only three items from a menu of perfection!

Three physical things you don't like about yourself: Dicky-Do Syndrome (my tummy sticks out farther than my Dicky-Do) and my toenails suck. Other than that, everything's as it was meant to be. I got better things to do than kvetch about shit I got no control over.

Three parts of your heritage: Scots, English, Polish. A North Atlantic/Baltic chowder(head?) via Illinois, although I'm from L.A.

Three things you are wearing right now: Sweat pants, pocket tee, moccasins. Good thing ya didn't ask for one more or I'd be describing a lot of cartoon characters!

Three favorite bands/musical artists: Emmylou Harris, Kathy Kallick, Jimmy Buffett. Silly question: why limit yourself to three? I can have a hundred favorites if I want, and I do, so there!

Three favorite songs: Out of thousands? Gimme a break! OK, Big Rock Candy Mountain and Do-Re-Mi by Woody Guthrie, original or any cover. Geronimo's Cadillac by Mary McCaslin & Jim Ringer.

Three things you want in a relationship: Common interests, humor, to be supported in the manner to which I would like to become accustomed. Don't want 'em, got 'em!

Three physical things about the preferred sex that appeals to you: As long as they don't look like Jabba the Hutt or stop a clock, just a smile and a nice general appearance. One thing I've noticed as I get older: back when I was a kid, the pretty girls were all as young as I was. Now, there's more pretty gals in their fifties (and beyond) than you can shake a stick at. Gray hair and a little amplitude don't hurt a bit.

Three of your favorite hobbies: Motorcycles, that's it. Street or strip, track or trail. More of a calling than a hobby, tho'. I eat, sleep, breathe, talk, ride, collect, dream, live and love 'em. My folks said I was going through a phase. If they were right, I'd say that just shy of fifty years is a fairly long phase.

Three things you want to do really badly right now: I do enough things really badly. There are, however, some things I would like to do really well, but that wasn't the question.

Three things that scare you: The fact that half of my countrymen are brain-dead scared-shitless blind idiots, that a good many of the entirety of us don't seem to give a shit that they've been sold down the river by their "leaders", and that I may not live long enough to see the USA turn around and be a nation to be proud of again.

Three of your everyday essentials: Coffee, cigarettes (roll 'em myself), family (wifey and my pups).

Three careers you have considered/are considering: Writer, but I'm lazy and have no discipline or imagination. Retirement. At one time I wanted a career in the motorcycle industry. I managed to pull that one off.

Three places you want to go on vacation: Russia, including Siberia; Scandinavia, including Finland; New Mexico.

Three kids' names you like: I don't give a shit what people call their spawn, but I like Biblical names like Cain or Ananias.

Three things you want to do before you die: Learn to play a stringed instrument; deck George Bush (and a bunch of others) on national TV, or alternatively, to have a front row seat at the twelve-rope hanging that will signify a sea change in American politics and culture; win a National Championship Hare 'n Hound, one-handed while drinking a beer and gettin' head from Arriana Huffington.

Three ways you are stereotypically a boy: I can pee through a knothole, ride a bike no hands, and have a picture on my wall of Steve McQueen riding a Triumph.

Three ways you are stereotypically a girl: I don't mind sitting down to pee, I liked City of Angels, and I go nuts over bargains.

Three celeb crushes: Jill Hennessy, Lucy Lawless (she could crush me! Oooh, Xena...), Lexa Doig. Danica Patrick just had the highest-ever finish (4th) by a woman in the Indy 500, so add her to the list.

It ain't my style to tag folks in public, 'cuz maybe they'd rather not be bothered with it, but you know who you are.

Democracy marches on . . .

Via Roxanne:

LONDON, May 30 (Reuters) - Women are raped, murdered and abused with impunity all over Afghanistan despite the overthrow of the Taliban that was supposed to have ushered in a new era of rights for women, Amnesty International said on Monday.

[. . .]

"Throughout the country, few women are exempt from violence or safe from the threat of it," Amnesty said in a report based on extensive interviews in Afghanistan.

"Husbands, brothers and fathers remain the main perpetrators of violence in the home but the social control and the power that they exercise is reinforced by both state authorities and informal justice systems," it added.

[. . .]

If we would have put half the troops on the ground in Afghanistan that we have in Iraq, a lot of this wouldn't go on. What in Hell was Laura doing there last week, kvelling over how good women have it there? Ladies, if you let the American Taliban push their agenda here, you'll end up being treated the same way.

Self-fulfilling prophecies


[. . .]

However, what concerns me most is this -- the Bush administration now may be using the radicalization they themselves caused as an excuse to begin a new war against an enemy even less clearly defined than "terrorism" was.

[. . .]

Never let it be said Karl Rove allowed an opportunity slip away. Of course, after the week they've just had, maybe he's lost his touch. Maybe somebody will call bullshit when he wants to attack Iran or Syria. Didn't Sy Hersh say the balloon goes up next month?

Tagged and snagged 2

Well, so much for me keeping a low profile. The lovely and talented Jane of Firedoglake tagged me with this. (You too, old man, so stop laughing)

Three names you go buy (that won't give away your identity): Itchy, Warf Rat, Asshole (my boss Harry's personal pet name for me)

Three screen names you've had: Troubleshooter, Writer, Fixer

Three physical things you like about yourself: Chest, arms, legs (I'm pretty athletic)

Three physical things you don't like about yourself: Unmanagable hair, scars (got a bunch of 'em; I lived an interesting life), and my ass is getting bigger. (Do I look fat in these Gord?)

Three parts of your heritage: British (several types), German, French.

Three things you are wearing right now: World Cup '94 t-shirt, boxer shorts, a wedding ring. (That's it, I'm lying in bed).

Three favorite bands/musical artists: The Who, Led Zeppelin, Rolling Stones

Three favorite songs: Fat Bottom Girls - Queen, Thank You - Led Zeppelin, Dirty Work - Steely Dan.

Three things you want in a relationship: Communication, intelligence, sex. (Lots of sex.)

Three physical things about the preferred sex that appeals you: Mammalian protruberances (size don't matter, just gotta have 'em.), a ready smile, and something about the eyes that I have yet to pin down, though my wife got it and other women I've been very attracted to did too.)

Three of your favorite hobbies: Writing, driving (fast), traveling.

Three things you want to do really badly right now: [CENSORED], become King, sell books like Tom Clancy does.

Three things that scare you: The state of this nation and the fact it could get to this point, that my wife might get caught in another terrorist attack (WTC '93 & '01, Colin Ferguson on the LIRR), infants.

Three of your everyday essentials: Coffee, cigarettes, marijuana.

Three careers you have considered/are considering: Gynecologist for supermodels, King of the World, mercenary.

Three place you want to go on vacation: Africa, the Holy Land, Russia.

Three kids' names you like: Hey, You, and Come Here. (Makes things easy.)

Three things you want to do before you die: See most of the world, meet George W. Bush in a dark alley, do the Maine to The Keys run in a sailboat with the Mrs. and the dog.

Three ways you are stereotypically a boy: I generally have to drive, I love sports, and I can fix anything. Honorable mention: I wear womens underwear on my head when the Mrs. leaves me unattended when she shops.

Three ways you are stereotypically a girl: I carry a shoulder bag, I blow kisses at men I work with, I watched The Bridges of Madison County with the Mrs. Honorable mention: I wear the Mrs.' panties when I don't have any clean ones of my own.

Three celeb crushes: Kate Jackson, Bernadette Peters, Andrea Thompson.

Now, it's time for me to reach out and touch someone. My three suckers victims: the CultureGhost, the incomparable Eponymous, and Michael Stickings of The Reaction. Start thinking!