Saturday, June 11, 2005


What the fuck are they doing to my old unit? Special Operations Command used to shy away from publicity. It's the only way we could do our jobs. Boy has shit changed.

DSM Update

The inimitable Kevin Hayden deconstructs the Minutes and gives us talking points.

Update: 19:55:

With a big boost from, the count of signatures on Congressman Conyers' letter to Bush asking for answers to the Downing Street Minutes is 478,348 and climbing. Clearly we will pass the goal of 500,000 before the Congressman delivers the letter to the White House on Thursday and we all rally in Lafayette Square Park.

. . .

Thus far 124 organizations and blogs have joined the coalition.

The right thing

LONDON (Reuters) - The world's wealthiest countries agreed on Saturday to write off more than $40 billion of impoverished nations' debts in a drive to free Africa from hunger and disease.

[. . .]

Now, if we could only fix the corruption that runs rampant in most governments on the continent.

Note to men

Especially male bloggers. I wrote this post to show my support for my female colleagues. I suggest you shut up and listen to me. If you're threatened by women, get over yourself. Face it, women, when they put their minds to it, can do anything we can do, probably better, and certainly more thoughtfully. Strong, competent, independent women are here to stay, especially in the Democratic Party. Time to get used to it. We need them.

Instead of bitching and moaning, are you listening to me, Mr. Kos, get off your high horse. The Sister was right, you were wrong and that's that. Quit your whining and take the ad down, bitch. You've offended enough women. Much as I enjoy watching beautiful women covered in whipped cream feel each other up, I did not link nor advertise the video. I never would and you shouldn't either. It is offensive to many of your female readers and not aligned with the principles of the Democratic Party.

It's time some of these Neanderthals realize women are demanding respect because they've been denied it for too goddamn long, given a pat on the head and told to go make cookies. Been told not to make waves and just play along. Horseshit.

The 'Old Boy Network' is going the way of the dinosaur, should already be there within our party. You guys who don't think women should speak up should shut the fuck up and consider us the lucky ones. The female bloggers on our side are one of our most valuable resources and their views should be accepted and considered.

I am fortunate to be married to a woman who's made a name for herself by working her way to the top of her field by swimming against the tide of male prejudices (why in hell she married a crazy man like me still baffles me). A corporate executive, she threw out the Old Boy Rulebook and wrote her own, earning the respect of her Japanese employers. No small feat in anyone's book. Her competence, independence (she wants me, she doesn't need me), and intelligence is amazing and outstanding. We have women like her among our ranks. They should be respected and their talents noted, not used as excuses for our own failings and insecurities.

So boys, if you want women who'll shut up and obey, become a fucking Republican. I want the women who are my colleagues here in Blogtopia (y!sctp!*) to be of the intelligent, independent, self-assured type. Guys, when they say something, it behooves us to listen. Thank you very much.

*yes! skippy coined that phrase!

NOW Follow-up

Yesterday I posted about the subject matter of last night's NOW on PBS:
I don't know who Hedges is, but I will. Moore (Damn, I wish he had a different name!) is a christo-fascist wingnut whackjob. This oughta be good.
Well, now I know more about Mr. Hedges. He is the son of a Presbyterian minister and his mom graduated from a seminary. He was raised in Christianity and was a damn good counter to Roy Moore on the show. He's been a war correspondent and now he writes for books and magazines, and posts on Click 'n read. There's a lot of quotes I could have chosen, but I chose this one:
This myth, the lie, about war, about ourselves, is imploding our democracy. We shun introspection and self-criticism. We ignore truth, to embrace the strange, disquieting certitude and hubris offered by the radical Christian Right. These radical Christians draw almost exclusively from the book of Revelations, the only time in the Gospels where Jesus sanctions violence, peddling a vision of Christ as the head of a great and murderous army of heavenly avengers. They rarely speak about Christ's message of love, forgiveness and compassion. They relish the cataclysmic destruction that will befall unbelievers, including those such as myself, who they dismiss as "nominal Christians." They divide the world between good and evil, between those anointed to act as agents of God and those who act as agents of Satan. The cult of masculinity and esthetic of violence pervades their ideology. Feminism and homosexuality are forces, believers are told, that have rendered the American male physically and spiritually impotent. Jesus, for the Christian Right, is a man of action, casting out demons, battling the Anti-Christ, attacking hypocrites and castigating the corrupt. The language is one not only of exclusion, hatred and fear, but a call for apocalyptic violence, in short the language of war.
He has a lot to say and this article is recommended reading. By me. What else do ya need ta know?

Moore? He's even more of a christo-fascist wingnut whackjob than I thought. I wish he'd change his name.


Via Laura Rozen:


EDITOR OF CLIMATE REPORTS RESIGNS Philip A. Cooney, chief of staff to President Bush's Council on Environmental Quality, has resigned, White House officials said. Mr. Cooney's resignation came two days after documents revealed that he had edited government climate reports in ways that cast doubt on the link between greenhouse-gas emissions and rising temperatures. Mr. Cooney has no scientific training. Dana Perino, a deputy White House press secretary, said the decision was unrelated to revelations about the documents. Mr. Cooney did not respond to e-mail or phone messages left at his home. Andrew C. Revkin (NYT) [my emphases]

I've been looking for this link for a couple days. I can't believe this is the only article that mentions it. Another example of Chimpy Inc 'fixing the facts around the policy'.


"Let facts be submitted to a candid world" - Thomas Jefferson

25 Reasons to Impeach Bush.

Go Howie!

To expand just a teensy bit on Fixer's post, I offer William Rivers Pitt on The Maniacal Dr. Dean:
If the leadership qualities of those in charge of the national Democratic Party could be squeezed into a shampoo bottle, the directions on the back of the bottle might read something like this: "Make tentative statement. Offer equivocation to avoid appearing adamant. Scramble for cover when colleague offers stinging critique of opposition. Stab colleague in back in public. Palpitate and fret, hem and haw. Lather, rinse, repeat."

Quite a recipe for success, yes? Not lately.
And then along comes Howard Dean, chairman of the DNC, outspoken and uncompromising, swinging Willie Stark's meat ax with a will and a purpose. He dared to say that he hates Republicans, that the leadership of that party hasn't worked a day in their lives, that the GOP has become a radical hothouse of right-wing Christians, almost all of whom are white, and that House majority leader Tom DeLay should go back to Texas and get his looming prison sentence over with. Insert palpitations. Suddenly, Democrats like Joe Biden and Bill Richardson start knocking over furniture and old ladies in their rush to get to a microphone so they can distance themselves from the wild man.

Yes, yes, lather and rinse and repeat. The problem with all the equivocation is that it obscures a simple fact that requires exposure and discussion in this country: Dean was right. Ninety nine percent of Republicans in the state legislatures in all 50 states, and in Congress in Washington DC, are white. Even in states and districts with large minority populations, the Republican representatives for those places are almost uniformly white Christians.
The answer is straightforward, and appropriately bold after several years of ineffective limp-noodle Democratic leadership. Every time Dean fires off one of his salvos, reporters flip open their notebooks. Headlines get made, discussion begins, and a whole lot of people start debating the facts and merits of his statements. Is the Republican leadership run by right-wing yahoos? Is DeLay going to jail? Controversy begets press. Dean can see, as well as anyone else, how effective the moderate, soft-touch, treading-lightly approach has been working lately for the Democrats.

But how are we going to win those white Christian middle-America voters to our side by having Dean basically call them out? asks the ruffled Democratic leadership. The answer to this lies at the heart of what the Democratic party has been failing at for a while now. The voters who are supposedly going to be alienated by this kind of talk are the very same voters who look for guts, strength and straight talk from the leadership of this country. All too often, Democratic leaders come off sounding like they are saying seven things at once, leaving the impression that their spines are somewhat slippery. Boldness, on the other hand, begets confidence, even in disagreement.

These Dean statements also, coincidentally, whip the Democratic base into a roaring frenzy as they hear an actual Democratic leader speak their beliefs out loud and in public. One of the things Dean is working on every day is to redirect DNC fundraising away from the big-dollar donors who give equally to both parties in order to hedge their bets. Dependence on this breed of donor causes the party to crab towards the middle and avoid anything resembling true opposition.

Dean wants DNC fundraising efforts to be focused on the common citizen, the Democratic activist who has been screaming at the party to say what must be said, and Dean's inflammatory statements spark the kind of donation avalanche that turned his Presidential campaign into a financial juggernaut. He may have lost in the end, but the manner in which he raised campaign money changed the face of electoral politics. He is porting those lessons into national DNC fundraising efforts, and statements like these go a long way towards making those efforts wildly successful.

Memo to Dean: Keep doing what you are doing. Lather, rinse, repeat.


The psychology of propaganda

And our part in it. A good essay on the use of 'access' granted to reporters, by the always thoughtful RJ Eskow.

DSM Update/Britain

Reader/commenter Russell got me thinking about this, so I took a trip across the Pond via The Sunday Times.

President George W. Bush has finally responded to a question that much of America has been asking: did a secret memo prove that Washington was gearing for war in Iraq months earlier than the White House has admitted?

The Downing Street memo on US preparations for war in Iraq was revealed in The Sunday Times five weeks ago. But it wasn't until Tony Blair's visit to the White House this week that the resulting controversy made waves in Washington, and revived a long-dormant American debate about President Bush's march to war from the summer of 2002.

It has also provoked embarrassed questions in the US media as to why so many newspapers and broadcast outlets here ignored the story for so long.

[. . .]

It's called Blogswarm, bitches!

[. . .]

Yet now the controversy is out in the open and there is no further doubting of the memo's authenticity, or excuse for media foot-dragging. The original Sunday Times report was widely quoted in leading newspapers this week. A Democratic senator entered the memo into the record of a meeting of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee.

A group of 89 Democratic congressmen has already written to the President questioning him about the claims in the memo, and several of their number have told The Sunday Times they do not intend to let the matter drop, despite the White House's refusal so far to respond. [my emphasis]

[. . .]

We will not let it drop. No way, no how. We're gonna fuck their collective ass with this until they choke. And by 'we' I mean bloggers. The Brits have noticed:

It is not that often, we have to admit, that an item posted one night on Times Online is still getting hundreds of thousands of hits six weeks later, especially when what bloggers like to call 'the mainstream media' have largely ignored its existence.

But that is what happened to the now infamous secret Downing Street memo, posted on the site on May 1 alongside a story by Michael Smith of The Sunday Times. And if the document has taken on a life of its own it is largely because of the bloggers and their web-savvy allies on the US Left.

[. . .]

This is the Boston Tea Party all over again. In the end, we might all be hanging on some far off hill, but fighting for what we believe is worth any cost. Reach down and grab a feel, make sure the brass is shiny and firm, because we're gonna need every bit of 'em before this fight is over. Remember, when the enemy is cornered and hurt is when his fight is fiercest. Don't kid yourselves into believing, even for a minute, that they will not resort to anything to hold onto their power. Yes, the tinfoil hat is on, but there is nothing I would put past these people. Not when so much money is involved.

Piss off the Dick

Via Jane:

[. . .]

And while you're in activist mode, the bunch at Pandagon are having a blog-a-thon starting at 8 am today to raise money for Amnesty International. Dick Cheney hates 'en, and the backhanded imprimatur of the Sith Lord is the biggest testament I can think of to the fine work that Amnesty International continues to do around the world, so stop by and throw 'en a few bucks. . .

Any time you can make Dick Cheney's sphincter tighten, you should take the opportunity.

Tony the Twit

You see, this is why I try not to lie. After so many lies, anything you say is bound to contradict something you said before. To wit, Maurinsky:

So is it really a defense to point out that they were planning to do this before they went to the U.N.?

The White Party

Howard Dean was right. Via Maru.

. . . 99 percent of all Republican legislators are white. . .

. . . Of 3,643 Republicans in the state legislatures, only 44 are minorities, or 1.2 percent. In the Congress, with 274 senators and representatives Republican, only five are minorities. . .

Friday, June 10, 2005

And Now, From Zomboo's House of Horror Movies...*

Grannyinsanity tagged my feathered young fanny with this one, bless her heart:

Total Number of Films Owned: 150+ including some complete with commercials.

Last Film Bought: Victory At Sea. Not actually a film, rather all 26 episodes of the '50s TV series about WWII at sea. Stirring narration, moving music. Watched it on TV as a kid, bought the DVD to replace/complement my VHS copy.

If you're picky, picky, picky, the last movie I bought was Shrek 2. before that, Windtalkers.

Last Film Watched: The Empire Strikes Back

Five Favorite Films That I Watch Frequently or That Mean A Lot To Me: Grapes Of Wrath, On Any Sunday, Sands Of Iwo Jima, Uncommon Valor - another '50s TV series about the Marines in the Pacific in WWII, Glory Days: A History Of Early American Motorcycling.

Granny threw this one in:
I'll add a category before I pass this on to Pansypoo, Gordon, and Patia.
Thanks for the comma, Granny.

Movie you would most like to see again if you could find it: 2001: A Space Odyssey (Note from Big Daddy G: Click the link. Totally Bitchin'!) I've seen this movie many times (including a couple times in the '60s that I can't exactly recall), but one that stands out was seeing it in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1970. The references to "Howard Johnson's" went right over their heads but the reference to "BBC 12", which went right over our heads, cracked 'em up.

Like most of these memes, if you want completely different answers, ask me again tomorrow.

*It wouldn't be Saturday night on Reno TV without some of the worst low budget examples of the genre and some of the scaaariest movies ever made.

This is too good

From Swerve Left:

Remember the Republican histrionics over Whitewater? With such high sensitivity levels to government corruption and backroom deals, I wonder how the same people will react to hear of the Everglades land scandal. In 2002, the Bush administration offered to overpay a prominent Florida family of Bush supporters for oil and gas rights to Everglades land by as much as $80 million.

[. . .]

And the hits just keep on coming.

An Army in trouble

Melanie has the lowdown on the recruiting mess. The Army's getting desperate and we have only our 'enlightened leadership' to thank. Recruiting goals have gone out the window and standards have been lowered. Gordon and I kid all the time but, in all seriousness, can the Draft be far off?

DSM Update

From Paul the Spud at the Sister's place (I'm lazy and there must be 30 links over there on this page):

A Non-story the media can afford to ignore?

As Daffy Duck would say, "My feathered fanny!"

If you haven't signed the letter yet, get going.

IMMEDIATE UPDATE: Oh, my mistake... it's actually 450,978.

That sound you hear is Bush wetting his pants.

the Minutes

William Rivers Pitt's take on the Downing Street Memo. It's a good piece, you should read, and he boils it down to this:
And now, the Minutes. Tomorrow, the Minutes. Every day, the Minutes, until there is a reckoning.
That about sums it up, I think.

Tonight on NOW

From Truthout:
There is an important national debate raging about the place for God and faith in America. From the rise to political power of the Christian right to the separation of church and state, the changing role of religion in the public square has far-reaching consequences for the nation. On Friday, June 10, 2005 at 9 P.M. on PBS (check local listings), NOW goes in-depth on these issues in interviews with journalist and author Chris Hedges and former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Alabama Roy Moore.
I don't know who Hedges is, but I will. Moore (Damn, I wish he had a different name!) is a christo-fascist wingnut whackjob. This oughta be good.

Mean Dean

All you Dean fans need to go read what John Cory says about the Doc. Via Truthout.
The Bush GOP is a Wal-Mart of five-and-dime ethics, self-enriching corporate sponsored war, imitation morality made in China, and a fresh baker's dozen of half-truths for every occasion. America on sale: to the right folks in the right place at the right time for the right price. Going once, going twice ...

Bible-thumping-bunko artists shove the hand of God into your pants pocket for thirty pieces of silver to buy membership lists from the likes of David Dukes and the KKK, because we all know, Heaven is white with just a touch of beige. And if you question that, James Dobson will take his Bible belt and show you the lashing love of Jesus.
Bush lied and people died. Nope - not news. Ohio Republicans involved in financial and voting scandal. Nope - not news. Republicans jam Democratic phone lines during 2004 election to stop the vote. Republicans hack into Democratic computers. No news there. Tom Delay has repeated ethical lapses and takes money from lobbyists like Jack Abramoff. Nope - not news. The White House edits critical environmental reports to refute scientific fact. Nope - no news there. Wait a minute - this just in:

Howard Dean said something mean.

Oh my God! Stop the presses! Did you hear? Dean has gone mean, pass it on. Get Candy Crowley at CNN and Chris Matthews at MSNBC. Don't forget Scarborough. This is a week's worth of programming! Get Holy Joe Lieberman to speak for the good Democrats. Get Jive-Joe Biden, he'll be good for a sensible quote to contrast with the madness of Howard "Beal" Dean.

Quick, do you know why Republicans are against federal money for stem cell research? They're afraid the Democrats will use it to grow a spine. (ba-da-boom)
Like I said in the beginning, this administration has stocked its shelves with half-truths. The price of one half-truth is a whole life. And a whole lot of life is dying for the dollar lies of Bush Inc.

I want someone who will stand up not stand down. I want someone outspoken and outrageous and out there, for me. I want someone on my side, not on my back for more money. I want someone who fights, not folds at the first sign of fake indignation.

To paraphrase my good friend Titus: You whiny Democratic Leadership wussies - get down off the cross and use the wood to build a bridge to get over it! We love Howard Dean!

John Cory is a Vietnam veteran. He received the Purple Heart and Bronze Star with V device, 1969 - 1970.
I enjoyed that so much I'm speechless.


As you all know, Shakespeare's Sister and Pam Spaulding have done a MASTERFUL job coordinating and organizing the Big Brass juggernaut. My sincere gratitude to them for attempting, and being successful, in this Herculean effort.

I would also like to express my gratitude to The Heritik and CNTodd at Freiheit and Wissen who have done yeoman's work aggregating the Swarm on a daily basis.

From me, and on behalf of my partners here at the Brain, I would like to say thank you. You have our undying gratitude. Somewhere the Founding Fathers are smiling on you, for you are all examples of the best traditions of American activism. Good work and good on ya's. I'm proud to be associated with you.

Update: 15:10:

The Sister left a comment and I thought I'd put it up because it seems I left out some folks:

I also have to add that Charlie from Shades of Grey has been doing a bunch of programming work and Misty from Expostulation is helping me with pulling news into the Alliance News thread at the Forum. And there were lots of other people who helped me coordinate this whole thing in various ways, but I really relied on Charlie and Misty, who stepped in to save me just as I was about to go over the edge.

Shit does happen

I woke up this morning to an email from Shakespeare's Sister bringing good news.

Raw Story

The ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee has scheduled hearings on the 2002 minutes between senior British and American officials which asserted that intelligence was "being fixed" to support the case for war in Iraq, RAW STORY has learned.

The hearings, which will be held next Thursday, will bring renewed attention to what is being called the "Downing Street memo," actually official minutes of a secret 2002 meeting.

Conyers office has revealed that they will introduce new documents that corroborate the Downing Street Memo at the hearings June 16.

[. . .]

We've done this, ladies and gentlemen. The hundreds of us who've banded together under the Big Brass Alliance banner and other groups who've done the same. I hope you all realize the power we have to get things done when we speak with one voice and demand action. We are powerful and we will take this nation back. We will put America back on the right track.

But we still have a lot of work to do. We have to give our reps support in the coming Repub shitstorm that will surely swamp us when the hearings start. We want to come out of this hearing with Articles of Impeachment in hand. We can do this if we continue the Swarm.

Thursday, June 9, 2005

Pep rally

The Rude One:

The Rude Pundit's said it before and he'll say it again: Howard Dean will fuck your shit up. Stand that motherfucker up at the gates of hell. Let that son of a bitch loose in the dainty Democratic china shop and let's break some fuckin' dishes. Howard Dean knows the score, man; he knows that the faithful, those who actually believe that the fight is not the path to surrender, want a spokesperson who's willing to pick up the unpinned grenade that just landed near him and shove it up the ass of the enemy who tossed it. Goddamn, it would have been magnificent to have seen him debate the President. On stage, Bush would have been begging for the privilege to lick the sweat off Dean's balls. [my emphases]

[. . .]

That's right. Pack their collective ass with gunpowder and a fuse and light the sumbitch. We need Howard Dean, and tell your Dem representatives to listen to the fucking party chairman and not undercut him. Are you listening Senators Edwards and Biden, Governor Richardson? Get with the program or shut the fuck up.

Soldier Rap, The Pulse of War

I don't listen to rap, but the kids like it and most of the front line trigger pullers are kids, so this was bound to happen, and it's a good way to let off steam and let their vatos back home know whassup. From Newsweek:
It took only a few ambushes, roadside bombs and corpses for Neal Saunders to know what he had to do: turn the streets of Baghdad into rap music. So the First Cavalry sergeant, then newly arrived for a year of duty in Sadr City, began hoarding his monthly paychecks and seeking out a U.S. supplier willing to ship a keyboard, digital mixer, cable, microphones and headphones to an overseas military address. He hammered together a plywood shack, tacked up some cheap mattress pads for soundproofing and invited other Task Force 112 members to join him in his jerry-built studio. They call themselves "4th25"-pronounced fourth quarter, like the final do-or-die minutes of a game-and their album is "Live From Iraq." The sound may be raw, even by rap standards, but it expresses things that soldiers usually keep bottled up. "You can't call home and tell your mom your door got blown off by an IED," says Saunders. "No one talks about what we're going through. Sure, there are generals on the TV, but they're not speaking for us. We're venting for everybody."
Read the story, but here's some of the lyrics:
One of their most popular numbers starts in a hushed tone, almost a whisper:

"There's a place in this world you've never seen before / A place called streets and a place called war / Most of you wanksters ain't never seen the fleet / You talk about war and you've only seen the street." ("the fleet" is what Marines call the Fleet Marine Force, the combat arms - Ed.)
Last month Snap learned that an explosion had killed a good friend in Iraq. "It just makes me want to be here more, knowing that people want to hurt us," he says. He and Ten Gram rap on: "I'm a pit bull at night, I'm out to gitcha / Devil Dog mentality bitin' whoever's witcha / I taste blood, I'm tired of marchin' in the mud / I throw down my 9 and now I'm pumpin' slugs." Refusing to give in is what the music is all about.
If you would like to hear or download some of Snap and Ten Gram's stuff, go to 4th25.

Thought Criminal and Proud of It

Or What We Still Haven't Learned from George Orwell. Go read it.
Throughout his life, Orwell fought unrelentingly against the conformist mentality, believing that it hindered the ability of citizens to think politically and behave socially. Orwell's presence on this front is still sorely needed. Take the two recent U.S. presidential elections.
For Orwell, "freedom" for a writer meant the freedom to criticize and oppose anyone and everyone, including those closest to you. Orwell was a socialist and so wrote, "paradoxically, in order to defend Socialism it is necessary to start by attacking it." Just the same, in order to defend the Democratic Party, one must identify what is wrong with it. Or, in order to defend a war in Iraq, integrity requires one to point out everything that has gone wrong. Applicable to all ideologies and allegiances, this is a principle you either understand, intellectually and intuitively, or you do not.
Not exactly Headline shit, but a good view of the guy who predicted our looming situation. Readin' makes ya smart.

More ineptitude . . . squared

I gotta get the Mrs. from the station, but go read this at TomPaine. Iraq's previous fuckup is running our Intelligence Community now, so Chimpy found himself a new one.

Thanks to Elise for the link.

DSM/Big Brass Update

Major DSM News!

Two big pieces of information:

1. Since joining the campaign to get signatures on Congressman Conyers' letter to President Bush this morning, has received over 240,000 signatures to that letter and is currently receiving several thousand new signatures each minute.

2. House Judiciary Democrats have invoked Rule 11 of the House Rules and requested an additional day of hearings on the Patriot Act and civil liberties implications of the Administration's terrorism related efforts.

BradBlog reports:

[. . .]

See the Sister for more details.


The Yelladog connects some dots:

[. . .]

1. "intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy" as early as one year before the invasion- confirmed by the DSM. What if it was even earlier?

[. . .]

I agree whole heartedly, my friend:

I'd be willing to be the farm, Chimpy Inc planned to invade Iraq long before September 11th

Yeah, what did we get?

Pissed Off Patricia:

It appears that all of bush's judicial nominees are marching straight through the Senate and to the bench. Frist says the nuclear option is still on the table. So what exactly was the agreement that the seven Democratic Senators agreed to when the gang of fourteen met? What did the Democrats compromise and what exactly did the Republicans compromise? Again, what exactly did the Republicans compromise?

[. . .]

How true. Once again, the Democratic Party learns what the Republican idea of 'compromise' is. I said it before this whole compromise thing got hashed out(here and here):


No, no, no, no, no, no! Listen to me, Lugnut. The Repubs killed 69 of Clinton's appointments in committee. We're only filibustering 7 of Bush's. Repeat after me. No Compromise, No Quarter, No Deal. Stand up to the wingnut sonsabitches for cryin' out loud.

Nobody listens to the F-man. How many of the 7 we had problems with will blow right through Senate confirmation? 5 or 6, if not all 7 I'll bet ya. Jesus Christ, grow a set will ya's. If it weren't for Harry Reid, Howard Dean, and Teddy Kennedy, the wingnuts would be stretching our butts more then they are already. I don't know about you, but I'm getting sore.

Update: 2 seconds later:

Jane has something tangentially related.

When Marine recruiters go way beyond the call

You ain't gonna believe this one! Oh, sure you will. From the Seattle Post-Intelligencer:
For mom Marcia Cobb and her teenage son Axel, the white letters USMC on their caller ID soon spelled, "Don't answer the phone!"

But warnings and liquid crystal lettering can fade. So, two weeks ago when Marcia was cooking dinner Axel goofed and answered the call. And, faster than you can say "semper fi," an odyssey kicked into action that illustrates just how desperate some of the recruiters we've read about really are to fill severely sagging quotas.
Go read about the "odyssey". And if you see some guys in Undress Blues hanging around your kid with a big sack, grab him and run for his life!

Reefer Absurdity

Sorry, folks. It'll go away in a few days. Couldn't pass this one up. Will Durst on you-know-what:
That roar from the red states you hear is the orchestrated shout out that conservatives normally toss whenever we godless heathens have been defeated. And one of the ironies can be found in the accompanying sound of millions of brewskies being popped in celebration. What is wrong with these people? Don't they realize that marijuana grows in the ground? They don't call it "weed" for nothing you know. Think of all the different complicated operations you need to perform in order to make liquor. It's not like you can walk into your backyard and pluck a pina colada off the cocktail tree. Pot: you pick it, dry it and smoke it. Hope you're not saying God screwed up here, are you? It's pot. It's not heroin. It's not acid. It's not even Marlboro Lights. For crum's sake, you can bake it into brownies. Brownies! What's more American than that?
Read the rest. It's funny.

The Famous DSM

At Truthout:
In setting up his question to Mehlman on Sunday, Russert said, "Let me turn to the now famous Downing Street memo" (emphasis added).

Famous? It would be famous in America if the D.C. press corps functioned the way it's supposed to.
The fact that it took five weeks for more than a handful of Washington reporters to focus on the memo highlights a striking disconnect between some news consumers and mainstream news producers. The memo story epitomizes a mainstream press corps that is genuinely afraid to ask tough questions and write tough stories about the Bush administration. Worse, in the case of the Downing Street memo, it simply refuses to report on the existence of a plainly newsworthy document.

"This is where all the work conservatives and the administration have done in terms of bullying the press, making it less willing to write confrontational pieces -- this is where it's paid off," says David Brock, CEO of Media Matters for America, a liberal media advocacy group. "It's a glaring example of omission."
Slowly, the Downing Street memo is getting that attention. "Stories are starting to trickle in now only because so many ordinary people are raising hell about it," says David Swanson, co-founder of, which launched on May 26. This week, thanks to constant exposure on the Air America radio network, the site is receiving 1.7 million hits a day, according to Swanson. "My colleagues are doing more radio shows than we can fit in during a day."
If the mainstream media showed little interest in the memo and its ramifications, those outside elite newsrooms did. On Tuesday, a query on the blog search engine Technorati retrieved 3,039 sites on which the Downing Street memo was being discussed.
Looks like the ol' poultry truck is grabbin' a gear.

A related story about Step and Fetchit's response to questions.

More housekeeping

Whenever Mrs. F comes home from a business trip, she tells me about people she runs into who read the Brain (yes, even in Ohio). The usual line, when she tells them she's married to the F-man, is 'That's your husband'? Trust me, if you knew the Mrs., you'd wonder why she lowered her standards too.

Anyway, I just wanted to extend the invitation to those folks who read regularly, to comment. No pressure, but if you've got something to say, don't feel shy about saying it. We welcome intelligent debate (sometimes not so intelligent) here, pro and con. All I ask is that you don't recite Republican talking points. We all know 'em and have heard enough of 'em. That's it, have a nice day.

You may now return to regularly scheduled activities.

Way uncool

Reprinted in its entirety:

a skippy contributor - yours truly - has been fired from a major "liberal" blog - and his work of the past several months destroyed. nobody will tell me why. it's either for the crime of a) criticizing john edwards, with whom the editor recently socialized, b) being too easy on howard dean, which is odd, because i've been getting heat from dean supporters for the same post, or c) criticizing an influential liberal blogger for seeming to favor edwards. (or, of course, some combination of the above)

i wrote more about it here .... skippy, jill, and the rest of the gang - we're still friends, right?:

it seems so stalinist, so kafka-esque. I feel like one of those soviet officials who gets deleted from the photographs of dignitaries on the reviewing stand after falling from political favor. are we on the left now censoring each other? is the 'blogosphere' now becoming another battleground between the 'ins' and the 'outs'?

RJ Eskow is one of my favorite bloggers. Fortunately, I never did visit BOP much and never linked to them. If I did, they'd be off the 'roll instantly. We're about what's good for the Party, and criticism of our reperesentatives, when they drop the ball, is part of our strength.

Just to make clear, I don't censor my partners here, whether they agree with me on an issue or not. Debate and opposing opinion should be welcomed in light of making our Party more inclusive. Criticizing John Edwards, or any other Dem, is part of the process when they make a bonehead move. If we didn't, we'd be nothing more than Republicans.

The GM atrocity

Aside from the fact that their automotive electronics suck (Delphi be damned), Travis has a roundup of where all their money went;

[. . .]

$12,798,572: GM CEO Wagoner's 2003 compensation including stock options
$12,477,364: Wagoner's unexercised stock options from previous years

[. . .]

But it's pension plans and worker compensation that are killing the car giant. Not! It's crap cars and executive greed.

Generosity revisited

Are you one of those who bitch, 'we're supporting every foreign country, yadda, yadda, yadda'? If you are, just shut the fuck up. Via my esteemed colleague SheaNC at Pourquoi Pas:

President Bush kept a remarkably straight face yesterday when he strode to the microphones with Britain's prime minister, Tony Blair, and told the world that the United States would now get around to spending $674 million in emergency aid that Congress had already approved for needy countries. That's it. Not a penny more to buy treated mosquito nets to help save the thousands of children in Sierra Leone who die every year of preventable malaria. Nothing more to train and pay teachers so 11-year-old girls in Kenya may go to school. And not a cent more to help Ghana develop the programs it needs to get legions of young boys off the streets.

[. . .]

According to a poll, most Americans believe that the United States spends 24 percent of its budget on aid to poor countries; it actually spends well under a quarter of 1 percent. As Jeffrey Sachs, the Columbia University economist in charge of the United Nations' Millennium Project, put it so well, the notion that there is a flood of American aid going to Africa "is one of our great national myths."

The United States currently gives just 0.16 percent of its national income to help poor countries, despite signing a United Nations declaration three years ago in which rich countries agreed to increase their aid to 0.7 percent by 2015. Since then, Britain, France and Germany have all announced plans for how to get to 0.7 percent; America has not. The piddling amount Mr. Bush announced yesterday is not even 0.007 percent. [NYT] [my emphases]

[. . .]

So stop worrying that some poor unfortunate brown or black person in some Third World toilet is getting your 'hard-earned money'. Stop saying 'charity begins at home'. We give nothing unless it suits U.S. interests and a bunch of poor spearchuckers in Africa, without oil, are just gum on the bottom of our shoes. You know who gets the money?


[. . .]

The Israeli government is the largest recipient of US financial aid in the world, receiving over one-third of total US aid to foreign countries[4], even though Israel's population comprises just .001% of the world's population and has one the world's higher per capita incomes.
[. . .]


Out of a US foreign aid budget of about $14 billion in 2003, Egypt was the second largest recipient with $1.3 billion in military aid; $615 million for social programs.

That was the bribe for them to stop shooting at each other. Israel and Egypt, Begin and Sadat, the Jews and the Pharaohs. Maybe it's time we started cutting some of the billions we send there until a realistic peace is worked out. Maybe we should send some of that to people who really need it instead of to Occupiers and Jihadists.

So, the next time you catch yourself saying 'what are we sending all that money overseas for', keep your big trap shut and don't show your ignorance. Ask yourself instead why we're supporting Egypt and Israel to the detriment of the really needy.

Beat me to it

I was gonna write about this yesterday (14, yes, 14 ribbon magnets on each side of a customer's car), but it was already done. Via 42 from Virtual Pus:

There are few things in this world that disgust me more than fake patriotism. I am getting sick and fucking tired of seeing these goddamned yellow ribbon magnets on the backs of SUVs. A simple yellow ribbon tied on a tree or a mailbox during a time of war is supposed to signify that the person displaying it has someone in harm's way in whatever bullshit war the warmongers have dragged us into.

[. . .]

Wednesday, June 8, 2005

Repub generosity

From AMERICAblog:

. . . Bush and Blair trumpeted a new U.S. plan to spend $674 million more on famine relief. . .

The only problem? It's completely wrong. Bush did NOT increase funding by $674 million. All he did was release money that had already been allocated by Congress. This is bad on many levels. Most casual viewers will believe what the media reported, that the US dug deep and offered up an extra $674 million to help the hungry. The truth is that the US is the most miserly of the major industrialized powers -- we give FAR less in foreign aid than every other country in the G8. [my emphasis]

[. . .]

We can spend hundreds of billions in Iraq. We can provoke a war for no damn good reason. Yet we can't do any more to help these poor people. And while we're on the subject of fucking the Africans, there's more wingnut ideaology at AMERICAblog:

What Tony "$82,000 to David Duke" [link added - F-man] Perkins of the Family Research Council conveniently doesn't tell folks is that some of the money these African churches are refusing to accept are money for people with AIDS and more.

People are literally STARVING over there according to the Washington Times of all sources, and the religious right is LAUDING them for turning down help from churches who have elected a gay man as bishop. I'm sure the parents and children who die as a result of this will be proud of Tony Perkins and the FRC for worrying more about the anti-gay agenda than a person starving to death. And note what the churches over there say about how America's religious right has let them down.

Who would Jesus starve, Tony?

[. . .]

Oh, but we're 'pro-life'.

Sweet Jesus

I started off my day there and will probably end there. Return with me once again to the Great State of Ohio. This time for sex education.

Ohio has spent $455,000 in taxpayer money to teach abstinence-until-marriage-only sex ed to students in middle school and high school. Dr. Scott Frank, a leading public health researcher at Case Western Reserve University decided to check out exactly what the kids were learning. . .

HIV can be transmitted through "tears and open-mouth kissing."

Contraceptives are to blame for mental health problems in teens.

Taking the pill will increase a girl's future chances of infertility.

Students should just "follow God's plan for purity."

Ah yes, turning out well-adjusted adults as fast as we can make 'em.

Link via Atrios.


I added links to the membership of the Big Brass Alliance in the sidebar at right. All 372 of them. Check 'em out.

Update: 16:25:

Via Rook's from Liberal Oasis. A good take on the tipping point we've reached in the Downing Street scandal. W's hemming and hawing was telling.

Nothing will change

From DoD (USAF) Press Releases:

Release No. 020605
June 8, 2005

WASHINGTON - The Air Force invited the National Conference on Ministry to the Armed Forces to visit the United States Air Force Academy to provide an outside perspective on religious respect issues there, Air Force officials announced today.

The Acting Secretary of the Air Force, the Honorable Michael L. Dominguez, asked the NCMAF team to provide their external perspectives to Lt. Gen. Roger Brady, leader of a Headquarters Air Force task force established to review policies affecting religious respect at the Academy.

[. . .]

This is so they can say they're doing something at the Air Force Academy. Nothing will come of this, mark my words, but I'm gonna be on it like a hawk. The F-man has already besieged his representatives and active-duty Air Force friends to look deeper into the sexual harassment and religious intolerance at the Academy. This is my Air Force that's broken. I'll keep you informed and tell you whom to bitch to once the report comes out.

If Watergate happened today

Jonathan Alter:

[. . .]

But imagine if Nixon were president in this era. After he completed his successful second term, I'd have to write a retrospective column like this:

President Nixon left office in 2005 having proved me and the other "nattering nabobs of negativism" wrong. We thought that his administration was sleazy but we were never able to nail him. Those of us who hoped it would end differently knew we were in trouble when former Nixon media adviser Roger Ailes banned the word "Watergate" from Fox News's coverage and went with the logo "Assault on the Presidency" instead. By that time, the American people figured both sides were just spinning, and a tie always goes to the incumbent.

[. . .]

Hat tip: Maru

O'Reilly Deep-Sixed

Normally I don't bother with stuff about that obnoxious loudmouth, but sometimes it's so good I just gotta! From Sweet Jesus, I Hate Bill O'Reilly:
An automated message at Corporate Travel Service, Inc. didn't try to hide the fact that there was little interest in spending eight nights on boat with FOX News Channel's top personality:

"Hello and thank you for your interest in the Thomas More Law Center Cruise with
Bill O'Reilly. Unfortunately, the cruise did not have the participation that all parties anticipated. Although the guest appearance by Mr. O'Reilly and the other speakers have been canceled, the ship will still sail..."
Here's the line that made me spew coffee out of everything above my knees:
...a Caribbean fantasy week with O'Reilly.
I can't top that! I wouldn't even try.

More on this at News Hounds, whose motto is "We watch FOX so you don't have to".

NYT & WaPo on the Herb

The New York Times has an Editorial and an Op-Ed today on SCOTUS' decision on medical marijuana.

The Washington Post chimes in on the Court's real motive.

Daily DSM

John deconstructs the Chimp's statement yesterday on the Downing Street Minutes:

. . . The hardest things I do as the President is to try to comfort families who've lost a loved one in combat. It's the last option that the President must have - . . .


Dear media fucknuts -

. . . I have been of the opinion that you in the media are pretty fucking lazy these days, but the lack of interest in this story makes me rethink that, perhaps you're just in the pocket of the administration. That's pretty fucking sad. . . .

Two must-reads.

Update: 14:55:

I have more on this at Pourquoi Pas. And while you're there, check out this awesome post by colleague Youngfox.

The faces of the fallen go unseen as the screams of bomb-torn children go unheard.

What I don't get

Is why the people of Ohio (not all) are so pro-Republican. Ohio is one of the states that has been screwed regularly by Bush policy, yet it's a bastion of wingnut ideaology.

COLUMBUS - The Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation admitted today that it lost $215 million in a high-risk fund that few people knew about.

The bureau had invested $355 million with a Pittsburgh investment firm, MDL Capital Management, beginning in 1998.

But last year, after diverting $225 million into a fund that works like a hedge fund, the fund lost $215 million. Although the bureau has known about the loss since last year, Gov. Bob Taft was notified about it today.

[. . .]

How much dry-fucking can one group of people take before they come to their senses?

Link via Atrios

Pot Shot from Frisco

Even though the Supremes have ruled against the moral value of compassion for the suffering of our fellow man, there may be one more round in the magazine, the last bullet, so to speak. Read this editorial in the San Francisco Chronicle:
Next week, Congress will vote on the Hinchey-Rohrabacher amendment that would prevent the Justice Department from spending money on arresting or prosecuting medical-marijuana patients in states that have declared the use legal.
That must be some other Rohrabacher than California's. Oh well, even a blind pig finds an acorn once in a while.
If enacted, the law would offer a temporary solution to a growing conflict between federal laws prohibiting the cultivation, possession or distribution of marijuana, and states where voters have approved the medical use of cannabis.

"As long as we can allow these patients to use their medicine without fear of prosecution, that would be good enough for us," said Robert Raich, Angel Raich's husband and attorney. "This amendment would, at least, take care of that for one fiscal year."
"In its decision, the Supreme Court made it clear that the ball is now in Congress' court,'' said Angel Raich. "I hope for myself, my children and for other patients out there that our congressional leaders put compassion first."

Until that law is passed, let's start by urging California Sens. Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein to support the Hinchey-Rohrabacher amendment.
You know what to do if you care about this. Your congresscritters' addresses can be found at the top left of The Brain. Fixer made it easy for you.

Tuesday, June 7, 2005

You're gonna hurl

Check this out:

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Buried in the 700-plus page energy bill currently under debate in the U.S. Senate is a provision that provides hundreds of millions of dollars worth of federal loan guarantees for a power project apparently to be built by four former Enron executives . . . [my emphasis]


Hat tip: Jill @ Skippy's

So? . . . revisited . . . again

Raw Story via the King:

Kennedy becomes the first senator to raise the issue in the Senate, after earlier reports that Massachusetts' junior senator, John Kerry, would speak about the minutes in Washington.

[. . .]

So after all the bluster by Kerry, he wormed out of an issue again. Good on Teddy for putting it out there though.

"The contents of the Downing Street Minutes confirm that the Bush Administration was determined to go to war in Iraq, regardless of whether there was any credible justification for doing so. The Administration distorted and misrepresented the intelligence in its attempt to link Saddam Hussein with the terrorists of 9/11 and Osama bin Laden, and with weapons of mass destruction that Iraq did not have."

Update: 19:25:

More on Kerry's bungling from TBogg:

[. . .]

Jesus, they had additional substantive evidence that the Swift Boat Liars were full of shit and refused to release it. The incompetent way that matter was handled knows no bounds.

[. . .]


Some snapshots of religious zeal in the US: there are churches in Texas where 20,000 worshippers pray every Sunday; Alabama's most senior judge was dismissed for refusing to remove the Ten Commandments from his court; the re-election of George Bush returned with the support of thousands of evangelicals lured to the polls by local laws banning homosexual marriage.

[. . .]

Despite the separation of church and state being enshrined in the US constitution, more than 40 per cent of US citizens said religious leaders should use their influence to try to sway policy-makers. In France, by contrast, 85 per cent of people said they opposed such "activism" by the clergy.

[. . .]

But the US appears to be exceptional among industrialised nations because of the numbers who believe religion should influence policy-makers. [Link] [my emphases]

[. . .]

So tell me how this idealogy differs from the Taliban or the Ayatollahs in Iran. We cannot let these people complete their takeover. We have to win in '06. One house of Congress at the least. And pray Rhenquist stays alive until next Christmas.

Swallow first

My friend was watching a mutual friend's cat while he was on vacation. Before he left, he warned that the cat was old (21 years old), and not doing so hot. He suspected that he was ready to die. Sure enough, the cat died on the last day of vacation. My friend asked me how he should tell him. I gave him these options to break the news.

[. . .]


Contest . . . of sorts

Tell me where these come from:

FIRST, require all laws that apply to the rest of the country also apply equally to the Congress;
SECOND, select a major, independent auditing firm to conduct a comprehensive audit of Congress for waste, fraud or abuse;
THIRD, cut the number of House committees, and cut committee staff by one-third;
FOURTH, limit the terms of all committee chairs;
FIFTH, ban the casting of proxy votes in committee;
SIXTH, require committee meetings to be open to the public;
SEVENTH, require a three-fifths majority vote to pass a tax increase;
EIGHTH, guarantee an honest accounting of our Federal Budget by implementing zero base-line budgeting.

If someone doesn't get it, I'll tell ya after dinner.

Better yet, I'll give the first correct answer a signed copy of one of my books [my choice] to use as a doorstop.

Update: 16:15:

And the winner is The Chemist!

I do believe that's the RepublicanContract with America.

Hey, they were close!

P.S. I couldn't even type that with a straight face. Sigh...why does no one call them on these things?

Something else heavy and long-winded will be on it's way presently.

The NOW Show on DeLay

Here's a transcript.

The ethical questions dogging Majority Leader Tom DeLay continue to grow. Have his favors to lobbyists led him from family values to supporting virtual slavery?

REP. CHRISTOPHER SHAYS (R-CT): My instinct, my gut, tells me there'll be more because Tom is constantly pushing that ethical limit to the extreme

I put my printer on the case. I'll read it in the bathtub. I'll be pretty pink 'n shriveled when I get done with this one. Or maybe I'll just watch the video again...

More on DSM

From The Nation:
We have also made contact with several other members of Congress, and we believe that it will not be long before a group in Congress officially calls for an ROI.

Unfortunately, as most Nation readers know, the Downing Street Minutes have only been a story in the rest of the world, especially in Britain. In the United States it is taking much longer for the mainstream to pick up on it, and the issue is still being treated far less seriously than the seriousness of the charges warrant.

Fortunately, the blogosphere has found this new proof of George W. Bush's "misleadership" much more compelling than the mainstream press has; writers like Apian have posted incisive diaries on, which regularly covers the story, as has Georgia10 and her friends, who founded the wonderful site

Despite a slow start, the Downing Street Minutes may have a long life expectancy, and the Misleader of the Pack may yet have to confront the truth.

This thing is gaining speed like an overloaded poultry truck, but when it finally gets up to speed there'll be no stoppin' it (you get my brilliant reference to the brakes on most farm trucks if you've ever driven one!). Oh, Bush'll duck and dodge like he always does, but when it runs his ass over, he'll know he was hit by a truck and there'll be chickenshit and feathers everywhere! We'll enjoy omelettes made out of the rest.

The Noose May Be Tightening All Over D.C....

My favorite Texas babe, Molly Ivins, is on the job. Via Working For Change. Go read this one, sports fans.
A jaw-dropping article in The Texas Observer shows that two lobbying clients of Jack Abramoff paid $25,000 to Grover Norquist's group for a lunch date and meeting with President George W. Bush in May 2001. Abramoff brought the Indian chiefs to the White house at the request of Norquist, a leading "movement conservative" in Washington. In addition, Abramoff obtained $2.5 million in contributions from the Indians for a nonprofit foundation run by his wife and himself.

Norquist, Abramoff and Karl Rove have worked together for 30 years, since they were national leaders of the College Republicans. Norquist, DeLay and Abramoff are all key players in the "the K Street Project" to turn the Washington lobby corps into an arm of the Republican Party.

The Observer was too tasteful to crack any jokes about how forgettable a meeting with this Great White Father (my emphasis) might be. Dubose reports: "According to a source close to the tribal majority, Chairman Poncho recently 'revisited that issue' of his visit to the White House. He had previously denied it because he thought he was responding to press inquiries that implied he had a one-on-one meeting with Bush. He now recalls that he did in fact go to the White House on May 9, 2001. ... That meeting lasted for about 15 minutes and was not a one-on-one meeting. ... Abramoff was at the meeting."

According to the new version, Bush made some general comments about Indian policy but did not discuss Indian gaming. Abramoff billed the Coushatta $25,000 for the meeting. ...

Abramoff set up a meeting with Bush prior to swindling the livin' shit out of his tribal clients in cahoots with DeLay? Sounds like it! O, Dance of Joy!
I doubt there is a more important story in this country today. All reporters who want to be the next Woodward and Bernstein should follow Dubose and Martin to the local ends of this story

On the domestic front, this could be right up there with the Downing Street Memo. It's not nearly as serious, of course, but it'll do if it helps link Bush to DeLay and some of his "high crimes and misdemeanors". More grist for the mill.

I wonder how many o' them pencilnecks'll fit in one noose? Maybe if we had a real strong rope...

Also, good article in the Texas Observer about DeLay's big night.


Fum da Sistah (A little Noo Yawk for ya, Froggy):

Congressman Conyers is up to 145,000 signatures on his letter to President Bush. If you still haven't signed the letter, head on over - and encourage everyone you know to show their support by signing, too.

[. . .]

If ya ain't signed . . . don't make me come to your house.

Downing Street - Prologue


[. . .]

"the RAF and US aircraft doubled the rate at which they were dropping bombs on Iraq in 2002 in an attempt to provoke Saddam Hussein into giving the allies an excuse for war."

[. . .]

I'd be willing to be the farm, Chimpy Inc planned to invade Iraq long before September 11th.

Get 'Em, Blondie!

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Thin-skinned Jews

Okay, here's where I get in real trouble but it has to be said. Time for American Jews to grow thicker skins. I'm tired of you taking offense every time a goyim makes a Jewish joke. I'm married into a Jewish family. Thanks to the Internet, I get to see all the email jokes they send one another, some I'd never repeat. I'd feel that uncomfortable. If you don't want the stereotype, don't promote it amongst yourselves. It's like the blacks calling themselves niggas and then get pissed when the crackas call 'em the same thing.

I'm tired of you screaming anti-Semitism every time someone equates Jewishness with being a lawyer. Sorry but . . . If you want people to stop making so-called racist references, don't keep calling blacks schwarzers or Norwegians (You know who you are). Stop looking down your nose at everyone who isn't Jewish. And stop blaming me for what happened in Germany 60 years ago. I wasn't born at the time and my relatives, most Germans, weren't Nazis. Don't give me shit about it, I didn't do it.

Another thing, stop defending Israel blindly. Israel lost its soul a long time ago and their government closer to the Nazis you detest than you choose to admit. The 'Occupied Territories' are nothing more than big Concentration Camps, regardless of what you delude yourselves into believing.

And it's time to stop looking at your religion as your nationality (This goes for every other fucking religious group too). You're an American first. We're all Americans and we have bigger problems than worrying about who called whom what. And no, Bush is not good for Israel.

Note: I'm wearing Kevlar today so take your best shot.



(New York-WABC, June 6, 2005) - A warning for millions of customers of CitiFinancial - an affiliate of Citibank - your personal and financial information is missing. Computer tapes were lost by UPS during shipment - tapes that contain account numbers and social security numbers.

[. . .]

And last year:

(TOKYO, March 19 2004 Reuters) - The Japanese banking unit of U.S. financial giant Citigroup (C,Trade) said on Friday that a magnetic tape containing information on over 120,000 of its customer accounts had gone missing in Singapore. The back-up tape, which had monthly transaction data on 123,690 Citibank customer accounts in Japan, went missing on February 21 while a local security company was transporting it, the Japanese unit of Citibank NA said in a statement.

[. . .]

And this is just Citicorp. It's time for some Draconian punishments for these corporations who treat our confidential info like old, used toilet paper. The loss of personal info can totally disrupt someone's life and these companies should be forced to improve their computer security. As of now, all they do is shrug and say 'oops'. Horseshit.

So? - revisited

Re: My post last night:

"When I go back (to Washington) on Monday, I am going to raise the issue," he said of the memo, which has not been disputed by either the British or American governments. "I think it's a stunning, unbelievably simple and understandable statement of the truth and a profoundly important document that raises stunning issues here at home. And it's amazing to me the way it escaped major media discussion. It's not being missed on the Internet, I can tell you that." - John Kerry - 1 June 2005

The question still stands. Did Kerry bring this up yesterday, or is he blowing smoke? I figure the latter or we would have heard about it, right?

Monday, June 6, 2005

Lyin' One-Sided Sound Bites

I know now what Fixer means when he says he posts in a blind rage. That's what I'm doin' now. I sincerely hope this is the last time I post on medical marijuana, but it probably won't be.

I was just watching the CBS Nightly News. They were doing a story, if those little blurbs they do can be called stories, on SCOTUS' decision to override states' rights in the medical marijuana issue. They had two sound bites from high-ups that got me right up off the couch, screamin' and shakin' my fist. Since I was simply watching TV, I have no attribution or links.

The first asshole, gloating over the decision said, "There's no medical crack. There's no medical methamphetamine. There's no medical heroin. Why should there be medical marijuana?"

The ignorant, lyin', obsequious asshole!

There absolutely is medical cocaine, which is the base for crack. It is used in all kinds of procedures where blood vessels need to be constricted. A friend of mine had a gram shoved up each nostril prior to surgery to repair a badly broken nose, for example. Doctors get it in big brown bottles for (at that time) about $5 a gram. Now, I'm glad there's not a lot of $5/gram cocaine, or any of the other drugs, floating around, but the sonofabitch didn't know what he was talkin' about, or he was lying.

There absolutely is medical methamphetamine. It's used as an appetite supressant, a mood-altering drug, and as a stimulant to keep people awake and alert should they have the need. I don't know about these days, but in my day, you could get it from the Navy doctors before a multi-day patrol where you had to be on your toes for days at a time, and the Doc didn't get it on the street.

There absolutely is medical heroin. Enlightened societies use it as a painkiller. In the U.S. we use morphine which is very similar, and many other opiates, for the same purpose. Opiates can be highly-refined botanical products, or synthetic.

Naturally, these are manufactured by pharmaceutical companies and not in someone's bathtub.

Then there was another moron, from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, or some such, who said, "Marijuana won't make it as modern medicine."

What an asinine comment! Marijuana is not modern medicine. It's been used for thousands of years as have many other naturally-occurring botanical substances. It's been a traditional, herbal, holistic folk remedy, used for nausea, menstrual cramps, all kinds of things. Do you think the fuckin' hippies invented it to thumb their noses at the establishment, fer chrissake?

Now to the part that pissed me off: CBS (all the other corporate media do the same thing) let 'em have their say and used it without presenting very much of the other side, as if it were true or all you needed to know on the subject. Toadies to the Man. Boss-approved guardians of the status quo masquerading as journalists. THEY ALL SUCK!

It's not about compassion for your fellow man, that's for damn sure. It's all about money, power, and control, as we've said many times.

Please forgive the rant. I feel better now.

I hope the two sick ladies who started the court case feel better too.

All Too True

Wallpaper noire. Thanks to Paul the Spud.


Has Kerry raised the issue in Congress today? I can't find anything.

Gettin' deep

The bullshit's starting to come in like the high tide. Via 18 1/2 Minute Gap:

WASHINGTON - U.S. intelligence and foreign allies have growing evidence that wanted terrorists have been residing in Iran despite repeated American warnings to Tehran not to harbor them.

[. . .]

Wasn't it Scott Ritter who predicted a June invasion?

[. . .]

On Iran, Ritter said that President George W. Bush has received and signed off on orders for an aerial attack on Iran planned for June 2005. Its purported goal is the destruction of Iran's alleged program to develop nuclear weapons, but Ritter said neoconservatives in the administration also expected that the attack would set in motion a chain of events leading to regime change in the oil-rich nation of 70 million - a possibility Ritter regards with the greatest skepticism.

[. . .]

Ritter said this in February of this year, by the way.

Bumper Crop of Bumper Stickers

I saw these bumper stickers on the car ahead of me on my way to work this morning:

United States Marine Corps

Military Wife


I am pro-choice, and I vote!

and my favorite,

Who Would Jesus Bomb?

It made my day.

The High Cost of Prohibition

Like, wow, man. I seem to be stuck on this topic. Or maybe I just forget what I posted previously. More on mary-ju-wanna from Alternet.
This week, over 500 leading economists, led by conservative icon Dr. Milton Friedman, called for a national debate about whether prohibition of marijuana is worth the cost. The occasion was a new report by Harvard University economist Dr. Jeffrey Miron estimating - - probably conservatively -- that replacing prohibition with a system of common-sense regulation could mean $10 billion to $14 billion per year in reduced government spending and new revenues.

"We believe such a debate will favor a regime in which marijuana is legal but taxed and regulated like other goods," Friedman and colleagues wrote. "At a minimum, this debate will force advocates of current policy to show that prohibition has benefits sufficient to justify the cost to taxpayers, foregone tax revenues, and numerous ancillary consequences that result from marijuana prohibition."

A good case can be made that prohibition costs too much -- in money, but also in ruined lives and harm done to society. But first, let's talk about dollars:

It's always about "dollars", ain't it?
According to the federal government, nearly 15 million Americans use marijuana at least once a month. That's equal to every man, woman and child in the states of Oregon, Nebraska, Indiana and Oklahoma combined. It's nearly as many Americans as will buy a new car or truck this year. It's a huge market.

These 500 economists are right: There might be a better way, and it's time to start talking about it.

Unfortunately, when reason and common sense go up against Big Bucks and Puritan ideology, on any subject, but especially this one, they lose.

Voted Off The Internet

I guess this just had to happen. Go read about the "Ultimate Blogger" competition.

It makes me way glad I don't do this for a living or have aspirations to glory. Sheesh.

Take a blue pill, Dave...

Here's Digby on the Supremes' decision on medical marijuana:
The good news is that, as Stevens says in the opinion, it preserves the right of federal legislators to change the laws, so that's nice. When we finally get over our reefer madness in this country, which I expect to be in a couple of hundred years or so, maybe the Armageddon Party can join with the Theocrats and make it legal. But of course, it won't be necessary because Pfizer will have found a way to perfectly re-create the effect of marijuana in a pill form and will have made millions selling it by prescription to those who can afford it --- which is, after all, the whole point.

Those liberal activist judges again, huh?

The Mugging Of The American Dream

If you're looking for something to read while you eat lunch, this oughta do it. A speech by Bill Moyers. Via Alternet. Sample:
A profound transformation is occurring in America and those responsible for it don't want you to connect the dots. We are experiencing what has been described as a "fanatical drive to dismantle the political institutions, the legal and statutory canons, and the intellectual and cultural frameworks that have shaped public responsibility for social harms arising from the excesses of private power." From public land to water and other natural resources, from media with their broadcast and digital spectrums to scientific discoveries and medical breakthroughs, a broad range of America's public resources is being shifted to the control of elites and the benefit of the privileged. It all seems so clear now that we wonder how we could have ignored the warning signs at the time. Back in the early l970s President Nixon's Attorney General, John Mitchell, predicted that "this country is going to go so far to the right that you won't recognize it." A wealthy right-winger of the time, William Simon, President Nixon's Secretary of the Treasury, wrote a polemic declaring that "funds generated by business...must rush by the multimillions" to conservative causes. Said Business Week, bluntly: "Some people will obviously have to do with less...It will be a bitter pill for many Americans to swallow the idea of doing with less so that big business can have more."

We've seen the strategy play out for years now: to cut workforces and wages, scour the globe in search of cheap labor, trash the social contract and the safety net meant to protect people from hardships beyond their control, make it hard for ordinary citizens to gain redress for the malfeasance and malpractice of corporations, and diminish the ability of government to check and balance "the animal spirits" of economic warfare where the winner takes all. Streams of money flowed into think tanks to shape the agenda, media to promote it, and a political machine to achieve it. What has happened to working Americans is not the result of Adam Smith's benign and invisible hand but the direct consequence of corporate money, ideological propaganda, a partisan political religion, and a string of political decisions favoring the interests of wealthy elites who bought the political system right out from under us.

I love that guy. I hope he comes back to TV.

Didn't think so

MSNBC Breaking News

Supreme Court: Federal government can prosecute over medical marijuana use.

While Gord and I were hopeful, I don't think anybody expected a different outcome.

Take a second

Today is the 61st anniversary of D-Day. Take a second to remember.

Money worries

Jane speaks on the economy:

It should be clear to all by now that the crazy, clueless bastards at the helm of this country scare the crap out of me. But the depth and breadth of that cluelessness, and the implications for us all, are becoming ever more apparent . . .

[. . .]

It's clear that 5 years into this Administration that Bush has no vision of where to take the country. Iraq was the vision. Iraq was their idea of how to solve the problems of America in the 21st century. Invade a country, prop up a client state, and extract neocolonial "free market" advantages from raping the country of its oil. This is what happens when you hand the keys to the most powerful nation on the earth to a bunch of rednecks and business school graduates. There's not as much difference between the two as you might think.

[. . .]

A good post and a good article.

Dam it

Read the Ghost, it'll make you smile.

Agency's out

Time via the Sister:

. . . A new White House memo excludes CIA director Porter Goss from National Security Council meetings. The biggest changes in Washington often come about with just a few strokes of the pen. And so a dry, one-page internal memo quietly issued by the White House is being viewed as a kind of eulogy for the once mighty Central Intelligence Agency.

[. . .]

It's the latest evidence that Negroponte is consolidating his power as the nation's intelligence czar. The May 2 memo, obtained by TIME and also reported late last week by, states that "effective immediately," Negroponte will participate in meetings of the NSC and its domestic counterpart, the Homeland Security Council (HSC). Meanwhile, CIA Director Porter Goss "will attend NSC and HSC meetings at the direction of the President."

That's the polite Beltway equivalent of saying, "Don't call us. We'll call you."

[. . .]

So, even though Bush's lackey, Porter Goss, is running the show over at Langley, it's obvious the (p)resident's closest advisors (Rove, Card, Cheney) don't want any objective assessments to sneak into the White House, even from the people from whom it's required. It also puts one more layer of bureaucracy between the Agency and the end-users of its product. I wonder how much editing is done between Langley and 1600 and if any of the original context remains.

Sunday, June 5, 2005

Great Thanks

This morning we reached our highest rating ever in the TTLB Ecosystem. Amazing in itself, let alone on a Sunday. (The highest traffic days for us are Tuesday and Wednesday) I know most of it is due to the Big Brass Alliance Blogswarm and will probably taper off again, but I just wanted to say thanks to all the people who've stopped by and those who've linked to us. You helped us pass a milestone and I'm incredibly grateful. Also thanks and gratitude to my partners, without whom it would never have been possible.

[This is staying on top today]

Republican Gods


. . . Being the great winners of ideological struggle apparently entitles them to raise all Republican leaders to the status of gods. In fact, there is no Republican leader on earth, from Joe McCarthy to Richard Nixon, who has not been entirely misunderstood until now. They have all not only been great warriors and leaders of men, they are also, each in their way, Jesus-like in their transcendent love for their fellow man and devotion to peace. All of them. Even the paranoid drunks and crooks.

[. . .]

Bush was right, the line between good and evil is as fine as black and white. It's the difference between us and them.

Here come the Judge

A corollary to Gordon's post below:

With remarks to a civic group in Enfield recently, Superior Court Judge Howard Scheinblum engaged in what is seldom forgiven in Connecticut's public life: candor.

The judge asserted what can neither be denied nor acknowledged -- that public policy on drugs doesn't work. Speaking from his 15 years of experience on the bench, Scheinblum estimated 90 percent of criminal cases in Connecticut are connected in some way to the pursuit of illegal drugs, and he asserted that society would be far better off to let users of such drugs obtain them by prescription and to be charged for them according to their ability to pay.

That is, the judge said, drugs are not the problem, not the cause of thievery, robbery, and violence; drug prohibitions.

[. . .]

I wonder how long it will take the wingnuts to start screaming about having him removed from the bench.

[. . .]

Judge Scheinblum's analysis only seems cynical, but it has been borne out by the political action of Connecticut's prison guards union against the transfer of inmates to prisons out of state where costs of imprisonment are lower. The families of prisoners have protested as well, but the union didn't care about prisoner welfare; it cared about losing business.

The judge's analysis also has been borne out by state government's refusal to audit drug-criminalization policy. The policy's failure is obvious, but politicians are paralyzed by fear of the policy's financial beneficiaries and the fear of asking the public to challenge old but faulty assumptions.

As with many other policies in Connecticut that are never evaluated for results, the "war on drugs" is not meant to be won; it is meant to be waged. Even its racially disproportionate casualties are not enough to prompt politicians to engage in candor like Judge Scheinblum's. Indeed, Connecticut's politicians are happy to put half the state's young men of color in prison if the other half can be hired to guard them. [Link]

[. . .]

It's all about money and votes [power].

Hat tip: Cookie Jill @ Skippy's

Blast! Shit! Sue!

Fixer's the expert at blowing people off the shitter, but apparently it doesn't require outside help. From MSNBC News:
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - A man who says he was severely burned when a portable toilet exploded after he sat down and lit a cigarette is suing a general contractor and a coal company, accusing them of negligence.

"When I struck the lighter, the whole thing just detonated - the whole top blew off," said Jenkins, a methane power plant operator with North West Fuels Development Inc. "I can't tell you if it blew me out the door or if I jumped out."

I guess whether he jumped or was pushed is a moot point. Ya end up out in the parking lot with yer pants around yer ankles and a magazine in yer hand, you're gonna get kidded by yer homies! I guess if he had the shit scared out of him, he was at least in the right place.

You know, I've occasionally been called not the sharpest tool in the box, but you would think that a methane plant operator would know better than to light a match within a country mile of the plant.

Medical Marijuana and a Government That Does What It Wants

The front-page lead article with the big headline on Friday in my local paper, the Sierra Sun, was all about local response in Nevada and Placer Counties to medical marijuana dispensaries. It may require free registration to read, but do it. It's interesting, but the point for this post is a federal government that bends the rules to get what they want:
Federal vs. state law

Federal law and California law butt heads on the medical marijuana issue, and it remains unclear which statute takes precedent. A Supreme Court case, Raich v. Ashcroft, is expected to resolve this conflict.

The crux of the Supreme Court case is whether medical marijuana cultivation and distribution is considered "interstate commerce", which falls under federal jurisdiction.

The federal government argued that even if marijuana is cultivated and given away for free it still constitutes interstate commerce. The plaintiffs said that marijuana that is cultivated and consumed in a single state, and is not bought or sold, is subject only to state law.
(my emphasis)

The Supreme Court finished hearing arguments on the case last year and is currently formulating a decision.

"When that decision is handed down it will eliminate much of the murkiness surrounding the enforcement of medical marijuana uses", said Sgt. Ron Ashford of the Placer County Sheriff's Department.

"In the legislation there is a lot of room to move there - a lot of leeway", Ashford said.

Meanwhile, patients and operators of the marijuana dispensaries wait for the court decision that is expected to either endorse or criminalize the distribution of medical marijuana.

"We have a ton of patients that are terrified," said Lincoln, from her job at the Colfax marijuana dispensary. "If we get taken away they will not know what to do."

I won't go into the use of marijuana here. Those of us who know, know that the biggest danger users face is twofold: 1) You might gain weight, which is actually helpful in AIDS cases, for instance. Not so helpful at Krispy Kreme maybe, but plenty fun; and 2) Getting caught with it makes you a criminal for nothing more than smoking an herb that God, yes, the same God that Republicans like, put on the planet for our use, but they'll never cop to that!

We all know that marijuana was basically legal to use until 1937, when Harry J. Anslinger, head of the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs (BNDD) needed padding for his statistics against truly dangerous drugs like heroin and cocaine and lumped this roadside weed in with them, against the advice of professionals who knew it to be relatively harmless.

We also know there is a racist element to the prohibition against some drugs: cocaine was made illegal to suppress Negroes, and marijuana to suppress Mexicans. Then, as now, non-existent, manufactured fear was used to justify action. This has been a tried and true government tactic for a long time, but it's used more by this administration, in all areas, than by most others.

Marijuana isn't actually illegal to possess per se, merely to possess without a tax stamp, which cannot be obtained without presenting proof of possession, such as a baggie-load, which is illegal to possess without the tax stamp, etc., etc., which is the catch-22. There are no tax stamps anyway. Pretty clever, damn their eyes.

There is also the Puritan fear that someone, somewhere, is having FUN!

Add to those the fact that medicine is the focus of great profit for the pharmaceutical industry and they haven't yet figured out how to make huge profit off of something that you can grow for free in your bathroom or closet. When they get that one right, the rest may be a moot point, but they don't want to rock the boat.

The federal government is pretty securely in Big Pharma's hip pocket, and the prison and law enforcement industries rely on marijuana and other drugs to provide employment, clientele, and -wait for it- FUNDING! Are we starting to get the picture, boys and girls?

This really is all about money and power: CEO's, employees, stockholders, pharmacists, cops, lawyers, judges, prison guards, prison-building contractors, huge government agencies and all who stand to profit or gain power from prohibition, all stand to have their livelihoods, and their multi-billion dollar industries and fifedoms diminished, if all of a sudden they are forced to reverse years of building fear of and dominion over a harmless fuckin' roadside weed by the WILL OF THE PEOPLE which they don't much give a shit about. They do fear the people's voice, however, and suppress it whenever they can, lest actual Democracy upset the applecart.

So, since the people have voted for the use of medical marijuana, the best the Fed can do is to bring up Interstate Commerce as a justification to stick its nose into a state matter because they don't like the way it's going? Pathetic.

Here's my solution, at least for California: California is the world's sixth largest economy. Marijuana is California's number one cash crop. You'll have a hard time getting our ag dept. to cop to that, but it's documented and they know it.

I propose -are you listening, Ah-nold?- that we simply refuse to pay any more federal taxes and instead, pay them to the State of California. Tell the Feds to get fucked. Since we only get back about a third of what we send the Feds, we'll have a lot more money and our budget problems will go away.

We will be in the forefront of the legalization of harmless, holistically useful plants as well. We've already voted to legalize medical marijuana. In that, the people have spoken, as they have in many other states.

If this sounds like a call to secession, hey, what we got right now ain't working very good, so let's try it. Maybe we could get other progressive states to go along.

And what of all the states in Jesusland that depend on the rich, populous states for their existence? Bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha! Who gives a shit? Get a job or die, motherfuckers!