Saturday, May 27, 2006

My Lai '06

I'm saddened and appalled that some of my Marines stand accused of murdering civilians. I also know how close to the edge they've been living. It's one small step over the line. A quote from Vietnam came to mind. Words to the effect, anyway:

"The most brutal person in the world is a 19-year-old American with a gun who has just seen his buddy blown to hell by an unseen enemy."

Maureen Dowd says it better than I ever could:

The investigation indicates that members of the Third Battalion, First Marines, lost it after one of their men was killed by a roadside bomb, going on a vengeful killing spree over about five hours, shooting five men who had been riding in a taxi and mowing down the residents of two nearby houses.

They blew off the Geneva Conventions, following the lead of the president's lawyer.

It was inevitable. Marines are trained to take the hill and destroy the enemy. It is not their forte to be policemen while battling a ghostly foe, suicide bombers, ever more ingenious explosive devices, insurgents embedded among civilians, and rifle blasts fired from behind closed doors and minarets. They don't know who the enemy is. Is it a pregnant woman? A child? An Iraqi policeman? They don't know how to win, or what a win would entail.

Retired Maj. Gen. John Batiste, one of those who called for Donald Rumsfeld's resignation, told Chris Matthews that blame for Haditha and Abu Ghraib lay with "the incredible strain bad decisions and bad judgment is putting on our incredible military."

By ignoring predictions of an insurgency and refusing to do homework before charging into Iraq on trumped-up pretenses, W. left our troops undermanned, inadequately armored and psychologically unprepared.

There's no excuse for what these Marines are accused of doing, but I understand what happened. PTSD doesn't have to take years to occur. For these Marines, it's never going to end, either.

Thanks to Rozius.

It made me feel like I'm actually doing something...

Sometimes this bloggin' shit really pays off. Please go read the Comment at this post.

Roll 'em!

The largest study of its kind has unexpectedly concluded that smoking marijuana, even regularly and heavily, does not lead to lung cancer.

The new findings "were against our expectations," said Donald Tashkin of the University of California at Los Angeles, a pulmonologist who has studied marijuana for 30 years.


Federal health and drug enforcement officials have widely used Tashkin's previous work on marijuana to make the case that the drug is dangerous. Tashkin said that while he still believes marijuana is potentially harmful, its cancer-causing effects appear to be of less concern than previously thought.

Earlier work established that marijuana does contain cancer-causing chemicals as potentially harmful as those in tobacco, he said. However, marijuana also contains the chemical THC, which he said may kill aging cells and keep them from becoming cancerous.


Q: F-man, what are you doing?

A: Killing aging cells. (cough, cough)

Link via Jersey Cynic.

Wrong Way Bush

Larry Johnson

It is becoming increasingly clear that when it comes to Iraq, President George W. Bush is the Wrong Way Riegels of the 21st Century. Wrong Way Riegels was a football player who became infamous for running the wrong way and scoring a safety for the opposing team. During the 1929 Rose Bowl game between Georgia Tech and California, Riegels, the center of the California Bears, grabbed a fumble, was hit and spun around, and proceeded to run 64 yards to the wrong end zone. Riegels' mistake gave the championship to Georgia Tech.

Like Riegels, George Bush is an amiable, enthusiastic player. Unlike Riegels, however, Bush's actions have weakened the military, damaged our nation's prestige, and unleashed forces in the Middle East that pose long term threats to the United States. Let's face it: Bush has scored a touchdown for Iran, our nemesis.

Memorial Day 2004 was commemorated when almost 1100 American soldiers and sailors had died in Iraq. Two years later, the number is rapidly approaching 2600. It is time for the president and Congress to get serious about how long we will continue to sacrifice our young men and women in a cause that will ultimately strengthen Iran's control of critical Middle East oil reserves. That, in my view, is not a policy worth dying for.

I quote something a Veteran of my acquaintance said a couple of years ago that holds true:

Yes, I am one pissed off motherfucker this Memorial Day. 800 of my brothers and sisters are dead, close to 5000 wounded, for NOTHING. They say Bush went to war to avenge his daddy. Well, I want vengeance for our honored dead this past year. Getting Bush out in November is not good enough. I want him in jail.

Rest in peace, my young Vet brothers. We'll get him. Somehow, some way, some day, the bastard is going to pay for throwing your lives away for a lie.

Memorial Day

[I wrote this 2 years ago and I reposted it last year too. Still works.]

You're probably saying to yourself. "Boy, the old Fixer-man is a bigger idiot than usual, bitching about this Memorial Day thing, and Americans forgetting what this weekend is all about."

You know why? Because I dodged bullets for four years in Asia, drug interdiction in South America, and killing a few Cuban Communists in Grenada. I've lost friends over the years, guys (and gals, you politically-correct busybodies) who had the same things to live for that I did, families, hopes and dreams to make something of themselves and a better life for their kids. In short, I hate war.

I am a child of war, but call me the silver lining in the dark cloud of World War II. My mom was a German Army nurse during that war, and my dad was a British paratrooper. They met in Jamaica, Queens in 1953, after dad came back from the Korean Conflict. Yes, the poor bastard moved to the U.S. after WWII and was promptly drafted into the U.S. Army in 1950. They met and married and gave birth to one child, yours truly. In my family, on both sides, going back five hundred years, military service was understood.

I had to be coaxed, at age 17, to enlist (It was either enlist or serve 6 months on a Grand Theft Auto charge). And I'm grateful that my dad convinced the judge to give me a chance to redeem myself. I served eight years total (6 regular AF, 2 active reserve), and I'm proud of the part I played in protecting the country. I'd go again if they'd take this broken down old carcass, and there are many who would also go to protect this country without question. Old bastards like me who love America and would gladly lay down our lives to protect what we have. There are many like me, a couple million of them serving on active duty right now.

They go, without question, to where our leaders send them. They lay their lives on the line every day to do what our leaders say is a noble job. They will do it again and again because they made the commitment, officers and enlisted, generals to privates, they all made their commitments to the noble ideals of the United States of America. It is our leaders' responsiblity to assure the correctness of their sacrifice. People with such commitment do not deserve to have their lives wasted by those who have never looked into the business end of an enemy rifle. Unfortunately, I feel the lives of our boys and girls are being wasted in Iraq, and that pisses me off.

We have a bunch of guys in Washington who've never served in the military. Yes, I include President No Nuts because the only reason he went into the Guard was that there was no other way out. To these guys, the lives of our military personnel are just numbers on a ledger sheet, not exeptionally trained, valuable resources who should not be squandered in pursuit of imperialistic dreams.

Solders hate war. Anybody who enjoys killing, even in wartime, is a psychopath, period. Ask any general if he wants to put his people in harm's way. he'll tell you that a reality of war is that he has to, but he doesn't want to, and he doesn't want to do it frivolously. The glib frivoloity with which the Bush Administration went to war in Iraq is criminal, and the lack of planning for the aftermath is treasonous. I'm sorry, to the soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines who have perished in Iraq, to the families who will have an empty chair at future holiday gatherings, to all those who have suffered because of this fiasco, but 800 lives have been lost for NOTHING. You have not sacrificed your lives to protect this great nation and the Constitution, you were murdered by people who only see your lives as a means to an end. Hopefully, some time soon, they will be forced to pay.

Yes, I am one pissed off motherfucker this Memorial Day. 800 of my brothers and sisters are dead, close to 5000 wounded, for NOTHING. They say Bush went to war to avenge his daddy. Well, I want vengeance for our honored dead this past year. Getting Bush out in November is not good enough. I want him in jail.

[If you would have told me, 2 years ago, that I'd be able to post this for the third time, I'd have told you the American people can't be stupid enough to reelect the Chimp. I want a Democratic majority in November. I don't want to repost this next year.]

Friday, May 26, 2006

Friday Cattle Dog Blogging

But mom, I want to see what the neighbor is doing.

Runnin' around like a chicken with its head cut off...

Light-to-zilch blogging today. Mrs. G has to karmically pay for her birthday bash with a regularly scheduled dental appointment in Reno. It's been rescheduled once, cancelled as of yesterday, and suddenly back on today. I have to make an errand and shopping list, etc., in the spirit of conservation (read: $3.00+ gas) so we can combine things to make just one trip instead of also going on our normal shopping trip tomorrow.

I'll just leave you with a short reading list. There may be a quiz! Oh, what's the use? You all pass!

Paul Krugman on Al Gore's movie and the potential test of our national character that it may help pose.
Thanks, Tennessee Guerilla Women.

Robert Parry fingers the unindicted co-conspirator in the Enron case. You'll never guess who it is!

William Rivers Pitt
on impeachment and how the Republicans are using it to try and not lose the November elections. Don't miss this one!

What's left? Vote for us, or else we'll be held accountable! That's just funny.

See ya later.

Morning question

So, now that the Chimp's biggest campaign contributor, and a member of Dick Cheney's secretive Energy Task Force, is a convicted felon, do you think anyone (Congress, the press) will demand accountabilty from the White House? Do you think someone will demand to know if the rape of California, during it's energy crisis that brought down a governor, was planned and orchestrated in the office of the Vice President?

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Damn right

I want all these politically active TV preachers to have their tax exemptions revoked.

Mrs. G's B'Day - and Free Food too!

Today is my lovely young bride's birthday. To make it complete, we're going out to dinner at our town's finest restaurant, O.B.'s Pub, and to make it perfect, we're going courtesy of Chris and Phoebe at Truckee Realty.

They send out a quarterly newsletter telling us how things are going, real estate-wise, and they always have a coupon for a drawing to win dinner at a nice restaurant. They do this mostly to see who reads the newsletter. Since we won one of these two years ago and had Mrs. G's birthday dinner at Cottonwood, I asked Chris how many people respond. Her answer was "Oh, sometimes as many as 20". A smokin' good chance to win, if you ask me!

As far as how old Mrs. G might be, well, she ain't tellin' and I ain't askin', but she got a card from one of her co-workers today that read, "I can't remember how old you are, but your cake last year had 29 candles - on my piece!"

I hope that gal ducked!

Not Ready To Make Nice? Good For Them!

Since we're at Time anyway, go read the cover story about The Dixie Chicks.


Natalie Maines is one of those people born middle finger first.

Stick it waaay high in the air, Honey. And wave it.

Keep Gitmo Open

Time has a real good article by a reporter who spent a week with the Marines of Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, Second Marine Division, in Ramadi, Iraq. These are "my" Marines, cuz I was in 3/8 for a coupla years in the '60s.

A real good look at a day in the life of a rifle squad, but the last few paragraphs really tell the story of the bigger picture.

So why does Ramadi remain beyond the U.S.'s control? Part of the problem, many officers say, is that the troops' authority to act is constrained by politics. Soldiers cannot lock up suspected insurgents without first getting an arrest warrant and a sworn statement from two witnesses. And those who are convicted often receive jail sentences that are shorter than a grunt's tour of Iraq. "We keep seeing guys we arrested coming back out, and things get worse again," says an intelligence officer.

The bigger problem, though, is one that few in the military command want to hear: there aren't enough troops to do the job. "There's a realization, as every military commander knows, that you cannot be strong everywhere," says Gronski of Ramadi. "In the outlying areas, we think in terms of an economy of force where we are willing to accept risk by not placing as many troops." But while Gronski says his fighting strength is "appropriate," other commanders bristle at the limitations. "I can't believe it each time the Secretary of Defense talks about reducing force," says a senior U.S. officer. War planners in Iraq say just getting a handle on Ramadi demands three times as many soldiers as are there now. Several U.S. commanders say they won't ask superiors for more troops or plan large-scale operations because doing so would expose problems in the U.S.'s strategy that no one wants to acknowledge. "It's what I call the Big Lie," a high-ranking U.S. commander told TIME.

There it is: the Big Lie.

Bush starts an illegal unnecessary war by lying, Rumsfeld then goes against the advice of his military advisers and turns a bad plan into a worse plan by not sending enough troops to commit the original crime. The American public has started to see through all the smoke and wants Bush's War over with because it's a)wrong to begin with and, b)failing, so Bush is trying to spread the message that everything's going just peachy and maybe, just maybe, the troop level can be drawn down by -oh, I don't know- election day. He dare not admit the whole deal was a clusterfuck from the get-go, so he can't send enough troops to do the job like he should have in the first place. Illegal war, bad planning, failure, shine it on, admit no mistakes, lie some more.

Meanwhile, young Americans are being hung out to dry, and die, for Bush's, Cheney's, Rumsfeld's and others' image of themselves, not to mention their crimes and incompetence.

Keep Gitmo open - for them.

Yo, Denny, Mess With a Criminal Enterprise, Whaddya Expect?

Heh. The 'Li'l Fat Denny' deal is gettin' good...ABC says he's under investigation...FBI denies it...his aide says it's retaliation for talkin' back to the FBI and the administration...

BuzzFlash has a good take on the whole deal:

What were you thinking, Denny? What were you thinking?

You don't start mouthing off about the Godfather and expect that he won't notice? Come on now. My friend, it's simple: they got the power and you don't. What did you think, this was a democracy or something?

I mean you start getting all hot and bothered about your former crew member, Porter Goss, being dumped from the CIA like a stiff being dropped into Biscayne Bay. You go to the big guy (Mr. Cheney) and the little guy who pretends that he's the big guy (Mr. Fredo Bush) and tell them off. What did you expect?

Let me tell you what an elephant and a mob boss have in common: neither of them forgets.

Listen Denny the Man owns your House! You got it? That's rule number one. He can come in anytime he wants to and you just put out a plate of cold cuts and some Scotch and welcome him like royalty, okay?

After all, Mr. Rove was just having the FBI go after a black Democratic Congressman to play the race card and shift the focus from the ongoing revelations about the Republican mob. It was a two-fer. Magnifico!

And what did you do? You ruined the operation.

You start screaming about how "your House" was violated and the separation of powers and all that stuff that gave me a headache in high school. The Man is the power: there ain't no separation. You dig, Denny?

Denny, after 6 years of letting the Godfather and Fredo loot your house, you should know that you aren't going to get away with suddenly slamming the door in their faces.

These guys don't take prisoners, Denny boy. They mix the concrete, shoot and bury.

So when they send you a horse's head and put it in your bed -- like this story about the FBI investigating you -- well, I'd do what the guy in my favorite film of all time, "The Godfather," did. I'd shut my trap and give them anything they want -- and one thing that they don't want is lip. You see where I'm going with this, don't you?

Learn from me, Denny. Learn.

This is a battle you can't win.

The Man is The Man and you are just expendable tuna fish to him.

He is the law, Denny. And he's the sheriff. He's the prosecutor, and he's the judge.

Think about that, Denny, before you start mouthing off again.

This time it was a horse's head. Next time it might be your head.

Ol' Denny might be using a halibut for a pillow any day now!

Jury Reaches Verdict

From Raw Story:

Former Enron chiefs Kenneth Lay and Jeffrey Skilling have been found guilty on dozens of charges of conspiracy and fraud.

Lay was found guilty on all charges, which could net him 165 years in jail.

Skilling was found guilty of the first 35 counts brought against him. He was acquitted, however, of numerous charges of insider trading.


No mention yet of when they're going to pay back all the money they stole.

Under oath, bitch

Another ha-ha!

WASHINGTON - Vice President Dick Cheney could be called to testify in the perjury case against his former chief of staff, a special prosecutor said in a court filing Wednesday.

Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald suggested Cheney would be a logical government witness because he could authenticate notes he jotted on a July 6, 2003, New York Times opinion piece by a former U.S. ambassador critical of the Iraq war.


How much you wanna bet Cheney's first words are, "Scooter who"?

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

You too, Denny?

Looks like somebody squealed on the little troll:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, Dennis Hastert, is under investigation by the FBI, which is probing corruption in Congress, ABC News reported on Wednesday.

ABC, citing high level Justice Department sources, said information implicating Hastert was developed from convicted lobbyists who are now cooperating with the government.


Ha-ha! Now back to writing.

Quote of the Day*

From Patrick Dog:

...The Republican Culture of Life: Offer expires at birth...

Back to writing.

*Not a daily feature.

Equal Time

As long as we're talkin' about marriages, let's give equal time. Again, it's none of our business, but rumor and speculation are sometimes the stuff of life on a slow news day. From Firedoglake:

George and Laura Bush's marriage has collapsed as his approval ratings plummet and a host of mounting personal problems rip the first couple apart and push them to secretly lead separate lives!

GLOBE has learned that while George and Laura still appear as the first couple at various public functions, they hardly speak to one another in private and don't even want to be in the same room together.

"When the cameras aren't on, they have nothing to do with one another," a longtime friend confides to GLOBE. "There's no interaction at all."

"For all practical purposes, they've broken up."

I hope Jane didn't actually buy that rag, the Globe! Nah, musta just read it over somebody's shoulder in the checkout line.

If I was Laura, I'd be way pissed-off: Given Georgie's drinkin' an' dopin' ways, she was supposed to be a rich widow by now. Instead, he supposedly quit them and got all self-righteous and fucked up the country and the world, and she pretty much had to sit there with her mouth shut and let him, against all better judgment.

Laura, can you say Lorena Bobbitt?

More Hil 'n Bill

Geov Parrish, obviously a regular reader of the Brain and a man poised to read my posts an instant after they're posted, agrees with my comments in my MoDo post about the speculation on the Clinton's marriage.

Okay, let me be up front about this. There are days -- about 365 of them, in the average calendar year, with allowances for leap years -- when the reporting in the New York Times pisses me off. (The nadir, perhaps, being when our self-styled "newspaper of record" sat on the domestic warrantless NSA spying story for 14 months, a decision that may well have given George W. Bush his second term.) But rarely does the Times strike me as classless, an exercise in poor taste that leaves me with an icky feeling just reading it.

But that's exactly how I felt Tuesday, reading the Times' exhaustive story on the state of the marriage between Bill and Hillary Clinton.

This is, of course, a dream article for the Republican National Committee. Without quoting a single Republican, it manages to insert a particularly tasteless incident of marital infidelity into the dialogue surrounding a probable 2008 presidential candidate, a full decade after the incident occurred. And as unsavory as that incident was, it pales compared to the repeated lies, law-breaking, Constitution-bashing behavior of the current White House occupant. The RNC could use that kind of distraction right now.

Get used to it, of course. If Hillary becomes a frontrunner in 2008, which her money and fundraising connections virtually guarantee, this is exactly the sort of thing smear-happy Republicans will pound. (They certainly can't criticize much in her senatorial record, which has often lined up nicely with the Republican agenda.) Conservative talk radio spent nearly a decade hammering away at the themes of Hillary as liberal queen bitch and Bill as amoral "Slick Willie," and they're not about to let go of a proven ratings winner.

Why the first frontal assault should come from the New York Times, though, is, as they say, "hard to gauge from the outside." Damn that liberal media, anyway.

Of course it's all about politics. It's still about as no-class as it gets.

While I was typin' and c-n-pin' this, this came to me:

"Bill 'n Hillary
Sittin' in a tree,
Nothin' but lies
From the RNC."

Nothin' new, and I apologize on behalf of my poetic muse.

The O-Zone Woman

Maureen Dowd

Al Gore must want to punch Hillary Clinton right through the hole in the ozone layer.


She made it clear who's in power and who's in Cannes when she ostentatiously promised to take her motorcade back to Capitol Hill and introduce legislation for a strategic energy fund to jolt inert government and insatiable Big Oil into action.

Her timing is cunning. This is supposed to be Ozone Man's moment in the sun. His movie, "An Inconvenient Truth," opens today, buoyed by such raves that his supporters believe his green crusade could net him both a gold statuette and a white house.

He's being hailed as the new Comeback Kid, as New York magazine calls him, a passionate pedant. (Better than a compassionate conservative.)(Amen - G)

illary is keeping Bill at a distance so he doesn't overshadow her, contradict her, embarrass her or hurt her attempt to pander to the right. But Al, who says he and Bill have made up and are now brotherly, may want to embrace the Big Dog this time, realizing the cost of muzzling him in 2000 (and the cost of taking hired guns' advice to soft-peddle the environment).

Since Hillary and Bill often rendezvous to watch "Grey's Anatomy" on Sunday nights, that's a good time for her to soak up his unmatched political smarts.

But as someone in Bill's circle wryly told Mr. Heilemann, the boy can't help himself: "You can see him talking to Hillary one minute, then ducking into his study to take Gore's call and advise him on how to beat her."

What a contest: two ersatz ex-presidents vying for the support of a real one.

I just hope that underneath all this Al/Hil shit, there's a real candidate about to surface.

And just as an aside, I think all this talk about the state of the Clintons' marriage is in exceedingly bad taste and nobody's business but theirs. Haven't the gasbags ever heard of a professional marriage? It got them pretty high up, and now their individual careers are on separate tracks. Are they supposed to get divorced like Republicans would? Or are they showing commitment to one another and some family values?

A tip o' the Brain to Tennessee Guerilla Women.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006


[Our dear friends MandT (who have the floor here anytime they want it since they closed down the Adgita Diaries) emailed this to me. Since I have my head in a manuscript and they asked me to post it, I will. I know nothing of this but it seems seriously fucked up to me. - Fixer]

Recently the Heiress to the billion dollar Korbel Champaign Fortune, and her male lover were arrested for several violent felony sex crimes against two innocent young women barely over 21.

The specific crimes of this public figure and her recently arraigned co-conspirator are these :

1. One young girl had her head slammed repeatedly into a table while being forcibly raped from behind - with the intent of forcing the victim to simultaneously perform cunnilingus on the Wine Heiress - Ms. Anderson, for her gratification.


The rest below the fold.

Save on gas money, parking, and have fun


In the first three months of this year, motorcycle sales rose 8.6% and scooter sales gained about 2% from the year-earlier period. Those numbers show a "strong start to the year," he said, because sales are typically highest during the spring and summer.

At Chaparral Motorsports, whose showroom has row after row of shiny and colorful Hondas, Suzukis, Kawasakis and other makes, sales manager Jon Gerwin said cycles were zooming out the door at a 30% faster pace than at this time last year. Motorcycles that get good mileage are the most popular, he said, and many customers say that they're afraid gas will hit $4 a gallon.

Sales of bicycles began pumping higher last year, rising 7% to nearly 20 million in the U.S., as fuel costs rose, said Tim Blumenthal, executive director of Bikes Belong Coalition, a national group of bicycle suppliers and retailers.

Even the Segway, the battery-powered, self-balancing "human transporter" that was dismissed as a fad when it debuted in 2001, has received a boost.

Here's a tip from a motorcyclist of a half-century's standing: don't forget to put your foot down when you're stopped.

And don't be like the guy who once asked me at a stoplight, "How many miles can ya go on a tank o' gas on dat ting?"

"About 200" I replied.

"Shit, I kin do dat in dis ol' Buick" he said as he roared off.

Update on Vets' Data Theft

Following up on Fixer's post, here's some more info that's coming out. From CNN via Raw Story.

Authorities waited almost three weeks (my em) to alert the public that personal data on more than 26 million U.S. veterans had fallen into the hands of thieves, a government source said Tuesday.

The data were on a laptop and external drive stolen May 3 in an apparent random burglary from the Montgomery County, Maryland, home of a Department of Veterans Affairs computer analyst, said the government source, who has been briefed on the issue.

The government did not immediately announce the theft because officials had hoped to catch the culprits and did not want to tip them off about what they had stolen for fear they would sell it, the government source said.

On Monday, officials abandoned that plan and alerted the public.

The computer disk contained the names, Social Security numbers and birth dates of every living veteran from 1975 to the present, Veterans Affairs Secretary Jim Nicholson said Monday.

The missing data do not include health records or financial information, the department said. They do include some disability ratings and data on some veterans' spouses. (Watch the implications of the security breach -- 2:23)(Link to video over there - G)

I'm confused as to whether it's all Vets or just those since 1975. It's still a bad deal for everybody. I think the best we can hope for is that the thieves were just stealing a laptop to sell and don't know how to exploit what they got. We will see.

Wonderful 'security', huh? My ass.

Clueless Denny May Have Handed Dems The House

The Capital Times (Madison WI)

In the constitutionally mandated order of succession, House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., is two heartbeats away from the presidency.

Unfortunately, Hastert is also two bricks short of a load.

During Wednesday evening's debate on the House budget proposal, Hastert, who famously proposed bulldozing New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina hit, announced that working families should not be looking for any tax breaks.

Why? Because Hastert does not think that working families pay taxes.

The speaker explained on the House floor that "well, folks, if you earn $40,000 a year and have a family of two, you don't pay any taxes. So you probably if you don't pay any taxes, you are not going to get a big tax cut. Now, if you earn $1 million a year, you are going to pay about $400,000 of taxes. Maybe you'll get a $40,000 tax cut ..."

Just to clarify, working families pay federal income taxes, state and local income taxes, Social Security taxes, sales taxes, gasoline taxes and most of the other taxes that rich people pay. While some very poor families got a bit of tax relief during the Clinton years, working families of the sort Hastert was talking about still pay more than their fair share.

The people who do not pay their fair share are those very rich folks to whom Hastert wants to give another tax break.

In the case of some politicians, a statement as wholly inaccurate as the one made by Hastert would inspire charges that he is lying.

But Hastert is the Marie Antoinette of American politics.

The fairest assumption is that he simply does not know who pays taxes in America.

A BuzzFlash news analysis says Fat Li'l Denny might have just given the House to the Dems if the Dems play their cards right. If only.

If the Democrats can finally create some message discipline, Dennis Hastert just gave them control of the House of Representatives in the fall election.

Message to Dems: Take this quote and run on it until the last vote is counted. You've been looking for an opening to the working families who can swing enough districts to retake the House, and Hastert just gave it to you.

Message to the Democratic poobahs with all the campaign cash: Don't get sidetracked, don't get distracted, don't get sucked into peripheral issues with no voter traction. Fire the losing consultants and let Hastert give you back the House.

He already has. You just need to use his own words to remove him and the GOP from running Congress.

"Hey, Marie [shown as a waitress, serving a ham and eggs breakfast], do you pay taxes? The Republican Speaker of the House says that you don't. He thinks only the wealthy need a tax break. Do you agree with him? Vote Democratic, because we know how it is to stand in your shoes. [shot of waitress taking off her shoes and rubbing her heels]"

It's a simple and winning message.

Will the Democratic leaders look a gift horse in the mouth, again?

Probably, but let's hope they wise up and work this one like a rented mule.

'Yes, I Am Actually Calling Them Racist'

Molly Ivins is getting angrier and more disgusted with Bush and the Republicans with each passing day, it seems. I hope it's a trend that catches on.

Last week, Bush visited Yuma, Ariz., to tour a portion of the U.S.-Mexico border by Border Patrol buggy. Maybe Jorge was doing a little measuring for the $3.2-million-a-mile fence the Senate recently approved, which I guarantee will be really helpful.

Are they insane? As Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano observes, "Show me a 50-foot wall, and I'll show you a 51-foot ladder."

Yes sir, you want a solution, call a Republican.

Of course, I am enchanted to discover that the entire project will be turned over to Raytheon, General Dynamics and other military contractors - think Halliburton with noncompetitive bids, anyone? Because this outsourcing stuff is just working like a charm. Another Republican solution.

By all means, reform immigration with this deep obeisance to the Republican right-wing nut faction and their open contempt for "foreigners." But do not pretend for one minute that it is not a craven political bow to racism (yes, racism - I am actually calling them racists, although they pretend it hurts their feelings. Try reading their websites and see for yourself), and to nativism, to xenophobia and to Know-Nothingism. Just don't forget what you are throwing away in the process.

Please go read the rest.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Veterans Alert!

I was wondering where they got my info from.

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has recently learned that an employee, a data analyst, took home electronic data from the VA, which he was not authorized to do. This behavior was in violation of VA policies. This data contained identifying information including names, social security numbers, and dates of birth for up to 26.5 million veterans and some spouses, as well as some disability ratings. Importantly, the affected data did not include any of VA's electronic health records nor any financial information. The employee's home was burglarized and this data was stolen. The employee has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation.


This Day In History

From Working For Change

5/22/1955: Cops in Bridgeport, Conn. cancel a scheduled dance headlined by Fats Domino, because, authorities say, 'rock and roll dances might be featured.'

I sure am glad they nipped that cultural threat in the bud!

Talk-Show Joe

Paul Krugman on Senator Lieberman.

Friday was a bad day for Senator Joseph Lieberman. The Connecticut Democratic Party's nominating convention endorsed him, but that was a given for an incumbent with a lot of political chips to cash in. The real news was that Ned Lamont, an almost unknown challenger, received a third of the votes. This gave Mr. Lamont the right to run against Mr. Lieberman in a primary, and suggests that Mr. Lamont may even win.

What happened to Mr. Lieberman? Some news reports may lead you to believe that he is in trouble solely because of his support for the Iraq war. But there's much more to it than that. Mr. Lieberman has consistently supported Republican talking points. This has made him a lion of the Sunday talk shows, but has put him out of touch with his constituents - and with reality.

Mr. Lieberman's defenders would have you believe that his increasingly unpopular positions reflect his principles. But his Bushlike inability to face reality on Iraq looks less like a stand on principle than the behavior of a narcissist who can't admit error. And the common theme in Mr. Lieberman's positions seems to be this: In each case he has taken the stand that is most likely to get him on TV.

You see, the talking-head circuit loves centrists. But a centrist, as defined inside the Beltway, doesn't mean someone whose views are actually in the center, as judged by public opinion. Instead, a Democrat is considered centrist to the extent that he does what Mr. Lieberman does: lends his support to Republican talking points, even if those talking points don't correspond at all to what most of the public wants or believes.

But this "center" cannot hold. And that's the larger lesson of what happened Friday. Mr. Lieberman has been playing to a Washington echo chamber that is increasingly out of touch with the country's real concerns. The nation, which rallied around Mr. Bush after 9/11 simply because he was there, has moved on - and it has left Mr. Lieberman behind.

Enjoy your retirement, Mr. Lieberman. We will.

A tip o' the brain to Tennessee Guerilla Women.


In case you've forgotten why Left Blogtopia (y!sctp!) is coming down so hard on poor Holy Joe, Jane counts the reasons, with a little taste of Krugman thrown in for good measure. Let his be a warning to other Dems who haven't gotten the message yet. If you're gonna kiss Rethug ass and turn your back on Democratic, progressive principles, we're gonna get you out. Just remember this: We are a force. We have power and we're gonna use it. The time is too short to let you help them fuck this nation to Hell and we're gonna stop you. We can and we will. Wake up, the times are changing.

My posting might be sparse for a while. Once again, I'm trying to finish my book Empires so we can release it by the end of the year. We'll see how that goes, since I've been working on it for 10 years.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

My Spring Break, Part 3.1

Click 'n embiggen

As far as I am concerned, that could be my ten-mile-long driveway. I can just hang a "Trespassers Will Be Gleefully Violated" sign under "Pavement Ends". For some reason, Mrs. G wants more access to stuff - like a town, you know, stores and stuff. She reminded me that one of the reasons we're we're looking around is so I won't have so much snow to shovel. I told her that if we plan ahead a little and stock up, screw shoveling it! We could get a big fast snowmobile for emergencies, like all-you-can-eat nite at the VFW. Anyway, in the spirit of compromise, I have offered to only have a five-mile-long driveway. I'm flexible. Hey, I can dream, can't I?

Near here we discovered SNARL. Go see.

Picture taken not far above McGee Creek Campground.

We're Either Making Progress or the "End Times" are Near

BuzzFlash has some things to say about Daddy Frank Rich. They conclude with:

Thank you, Frank Rich, after six years online, it's nice to see someone coming up from the rear to the front lines of the battle for the future of democracy and out national security -- with a fierce sense of outrage, patriotism and common sense.

Hear, hear.

Our young

Generally, I'm an old curmudgeon when it comes to young people. It's generational, and I have the same gripes my dad did about my generation. In other words, pay no attention to the old man ranting on the porch. In truth, I've been impressed by many young adults over the years, and the young lady who spoke truth to McCain, and made him look like a clueless twit, impressed me to no end the other day. The story, and her motivations, in her own words.