Saturday, July 8, 2006

Must be an election year



"I have learned of some alleged intelligence community activities about which our committee has not been briefed," Mr. Hoesktra wrote. "If these allegations are true, they may represent a breach of responsibility by the administration, a violation of the law, and, just as importantly, a direct affront to me and the members of this committee who have so ardently supported efforts to collect information on our enemies." He added: "The U.S. Congress simply should not have to play Twenty Questions to get the information that it deserves under our Constitution."


"Bush who?"

3rd Place

Germany - 3

Portugal - 1

Well, the Mannschaft can hold their heads high in Stuttgart tonight. They are partying in Hauenstein (as if they need an excuse), though knowing my peeps, they never really stopped partying since this thing kicked off a couple weeks ago. Oliver Kahn (the German goalkeeper) played in what could be his last World Cup and performed as if he were fifteen years younger.

France vs. Italy tomorrow.

How they argue

Serious liquid alert. How Conservatives argue.

Tip o' the Brain to Pauly.

The way I feel ...

About Evan Bayh running for the Presidency. Stolen fully and completely from Digby:

Atrios says that Evan Bayh is out campaigning for president and people are comparing him to Harry Truman. Might I suggest that we actually nominate Harry Truman instead? I knows he's been dead for decades, but I feel confident that his mouldering corpse has more charisma than Evan Bayh.

Homeless Heroes With No Name

Some thoughts about homeless Veterans, and a cartoon you absolutely must see. Today's "must read".

The Fourth of July has ended, the fireworks are over, the bands have gone home, the politicians have finished their campaign rounds, the tragedy of homeless American veterans remains unconscionably with us today.

Whether we support or oppose the policy in Iraq, can we agree on this? It is morally and patriotically wrong to have homeless and hungry American veterans in the hundreds of thousands, whom we walk past so casually on the street.

As one of our greatest would say, if he were with us today, sometimes we do things not because they are easy, but because they are hard. So I propose we saythis: We pledge ourselves that by hundredth day after the inaugural of our next President there will not be one homeless or hungry or hurting veteran of any war, from any time, any place in America, and that our real battle only begins on that hundredth day.

The VA has Domiciliary and other programs for homeless Vets, but they need to be greatly expanded. Also, there are outfits like USVets. I'm sure there are many other answers to the problem, but I don't have them.

Note to Vets: There are a lot of folks out here who will help you in big and little ways if they see your need. There are also bums claiming to be Veterans to scam them. Carry your DD214, your VA card, or some means of positively identifying yourself as a Vet. Also, if you look, act, or sound crazy or dangerous, don't expect anything from folks who are scared of you as they'll give you a wide berth. Check in with Vets' outfits wherever you find yourself, like the VFW or American Legion. Better yet, join one if you can. You can be a member-at-large not affiliated with a post, but you will be welcome at any post. The WWII tail-gunner posts that didn't welcome Vietnam Vets are pretty much a thing of the past, and the Viet Vets know what you're going through. They don't scare easy or tolerate crazy bullshit either. They'll do anything for you that they're capable of, a meal, roof, shower, clean clothes, a ride somewhere. They exist to help Vets as well as their communities, and they know how.

Note to bums: Try and scam Viet Vets and they'll take you up to see a nice view of the area and then unscrew the axle nuts on your wheelchair and leave you to get back down the hill on your own. Or maybe something clever. A lot of these guys still have issues about the way they were treated when they got back from war, and believe me, they'd love you to try and pull a con on 'em just for the release of getting to fuck you over!

The problem of homeless and disturbed Vets of Bush's War and the Occupation of Iraq has barely begun. We better start thinking about what to do about it.

While I was researching stuff, I ran across the following:

The number of homeless male and female Vietnam era veterans is greater than the number of service persons who died during that war -- and a small number of Desert Storm veterans are also appearing in the homeless population. Although many homeless veterans served in combat in Vietnam and suffer from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), at this time, epidemiologic studies do not suggest that there is a causal connection between military service, service in Vietnam, or exposure to combat and homelessness among veterans. Family background, access to support from family and friends, and various personal characteristics (rather than military service) seem to be the stronger indicators of risk of homelessness.

Almost all homeless veterans are male (about 3% are female), the vast majority are single, and most come from poor, disadvantaged backgrounds. Homeless veterans tend to be older and more educated than homeless non-veterans. But similar to the general population of homeless adult males, about 45% of homeless veterans suffer from mental illness and (with considerable overlap) slightly more than 70% suffer from alcohol or other drug abuse problems. Roughly 56% are African American or Hispanic.

Many of these Veterans are not currently enrolled in Veterans Administration (VA) or aware they are eligible for services. Resources have been provided by Congress to reach beyond currently enrolled veterans to identify homeless veterans and provide services to them. In FY 2003, VA provided services to approximately 100,000 homeless veterans, the majority through the auspices of its specialized homeless programs. VA specialized homeless services programs include the Health Care for Homeless Veterans program (HCHV) and its components (the Grant and Per Diem [GPD] program, the Supported Housing program, and the and the Housing and Urban Development - Veteran Affairs Supported Housing program [HUD-VASH]; the Domiciliary Care for Homeless Veterans program [DCHV]; and the Compensated Work Therapy / Transitional Residence program [CWT/TR]).

One of the major goals of the VA's homeless veterans treatment programs is to provide treatment and assistance to homeless veterans who have been living on the streets or in emergency shelters. A primary indicator that support services have been successful is that veterans achieve a stable residence (independent housing or within a treatment setting) following residential treatment. The Health Care for Homeless Veterans (HCHV) Program is a specially funded program that provides extensive outreach, physical and psychiatric health exams, treatment, referrals, ongoing case management and contractual residential care to homeless veterans with mental health problems including substance abuse. HCHV program staff outreach to large numbers of homeless veterans; a subgroup with substantial psychiatric or substance abuse problems is placed in residential treatment programs provided through, i) local contracts with community based providers, ii) the VA GPD program, or iii) the VA Domiciliary Care for Homeless Veterans (DCHV) program. This performance measure applies to those veterans who have been placed in residential care within these three programs.

There's stuff out there, and it works. There just needs to be a Hell of a lot more of it. Soon. It ain't gonna happen under Bush and his Republicans as long as there are needy people to steal from to enrich themselves and their accomplices.

A peach of a scandal in Georgia

Garrison Keillor with a few characteristic mild-yet-scathing words about Ralph Reed.

If a preacher secretly accepts a bucket of money from a saloonkeeper to organize a temperance rally at a rival saloon and maybe send in a gang of church ladies to chop up the bar with their little hatchets, this would strike you and me as sleazy, but others are willing to make allowances, and so Ralph Reed's political career is still alive and breathing in Georgia. He has bathed himself in tomato juice and hopes to smile his way through the storm.

For those of you who may not know, tomato juice is used to get rid of skunk smell. Reed must have a vat of the stuff.

Mr. Reed left the Christian Coalition in 1997 as it was sinking, and he was paid by Jack Abramoff to organize opposition to a gambling bill in the Texas legislature, which would have opened the door to competition for Mr. Abramoff's client casinos in Louisiana.

So Mr. Reed got the good Christians of Texas to bombard the legislature with phone calls and letters denouncing gambling, for which Mr. Reed was paid millions of dollars in gambling money, by way of Mr. Abramoff's bagman, Grover Norquist.

Imagine if Ralph Nader had solicited money from Ford and Chrysler when he went after General Motors' Corvair. Or the Southern Baptists raising money from Sony and Universal to condemn movies by MGM.

Mr. Reed also argues that his stopping gambling in Texas and Alabama was a good thing in and of itself, even though he was hired by rival casinos to do it. Using the same reasoning, Lucky Luciano was on solid moral ground when he knocked off Dutch Schultz.

But the chutzpah of Mr. Reed in wheedling money from Mr. Abramoff to snooker Christians into an uproar against gambling is cold-hearted greed. And his work in behalf of the sweatshops and sex factories of the Marianas, arguing that the Chinese women imported there were being given the chance to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ, takes us to yet an entirely new level.

Mr. Reed is a Presbyterian, and the Westminster Confession says, "He that scandelizeth his brother, or the Church of Christ, ought to be willing, by a private or public confession and sorrow for his sin, to declare his repentance to those that are offended; who are thereupon to be reconciled to him, and in love to receive him."

But Mr. Reed is running for office, and that's no time for repentance. Time to hunker down and hope that the prosecutors are occupied with other matters. Smile and shake hands and keep changing the subject. If a reporter mentions Mr. Abramoff, smile and say, "I've said as much as I'm going to about that, and now I want to talk about my plan to strengthen families in Georgia."

Gambling? "I've always been opposed to gambling."

Deceit? Greed? "No charges have been filed. I have been exonerated of wrongdoing."

Will it work? We shall soon see.

I hope enough of the folks in Georgia are smart enough to see through this hypocritical, lying bastard's bullshit and keep him out of office.


Reeds IRS Filing Comes Back to Haunt Him


"Praise Jesus and pass the scotch..."

Good commentary on the remainder of Bush's term by Mark Morford at the EssEffChron.

It is like some sort of virus. It is like some sort of weird and painful rash on your face that makes you embarrassed to walk out the door and so you sit there day after day, waiting for it to go away, slathering on ointment and Bactine and scotch. And yet still it lingers.

He forgot to mention the awful itching in places it's not nice to scratch in public...

Some days the pain is so searing and hot you want to cut off your own head with a nail file. Other days it is numb and pain-free and seemingly OK, to the point where you think it might finally be all gone and you allow yourself a hint of a whisper of a positive feeling, right up until you look in the mirror, and scream.

George W. Bush is just like that.

Which is just another way of saying we are currently stuck. We are swirling around the bottom of the drain, clinging on to anything that might hold us from going under for just a little while longer. We have to let the neocon disease run its course, and just pray that at the end of it all the scarring and the pain and damage will not be so permanent, and so hideous, that we can't be seen in public for a decade.

This is where it stands: Bush can in no way risk alienating the ultra-right-wing bonk-job contingent that put him in office (they are, considering Bush's 32-percent approval rating, the only ones left even remotely supporting him -- even though, according to many estimates, they're starting to abandon him, too), and hence all policy and all agenda items from here on out will be even more vicious and desperate in an attempt to shore up the base. Hence trying to mutilate the Constitution to ban gay marriage. Hence attacking the New York Times and claiming newspapers are endangering American lives.

In other words, Bush's latest nasty, Rove-designed salvos and upcoming attacks to save a sliver of power and pride and sneering GOP control are just the beginning.

However -- praise Jesus and pass the scotch -- they are the beginning of the end.

Those quotes are from the beginning and the end. The meat's in the middle, like a sandwich.

Saturday Cartoons

Bob Geiger.



Command responsibility

We talk a lot about command responsibility and the Iraq Occupation here at the Brain because, as vets and former enlisted men, we've served under our share of good and bad officers. One, Colonel Bryant (who flew Jolly Greens in Vietnam with a search and rescue squadron), whom I've mentioned here many times, is/was (I haven't heard from him in 20 years) a man I respected. He knew when to let us run and when to use the 'iron hand', and he never let us forget our principles and honor. I've served under others who were little control freaks or lassez faire, either protecting their positions rabidly or not wanting to know anything unless the shit was about to splatter them. Guys who would always look to pin blame on someone else, rather than accept responsibility for those under them.

With that in mind, our friend Lurch has an excellent take on the need for command responsibility in light of the current situation in Iraq:


Preventing this sort of criminality during occupation is the responsibility of the leadership of the Army, from the highest military commander right down to the most junior squad leader. But unless there are strict guidelines, coupled with an energetic program of command guidance, individual lawlessness will occur in the best trained, most motivated army in the world. Violations of the laws of land warfare, atrocities like rape and murder, are more than just a secondary assault on the occupied population. They are an indictment of the military leadership and the civilian control of that leadership. To formulate and maintain the proper and honorable control of soldiers in an occupation requires leaders of principle and compassion.


After all that's gone on in Iraq since 'Mission Accomplished', there is no way, now, for us to 'win hearts and minds'. We have destroyed any chance that history will portray us as liberators.

Friday, July 7, 2006

Police states

A Brit tries to make a film in the U.S.


This, it turned out, was fine. He'd been told by his superiors to get a number. I'd given him a number. His job was done and so, just an hour or so later, I was on the streets of Los Angeles doing a piece to camera.

Except, of course, I wasn't. Technically you need a permit to film on every street in pretty well every corner of the world. But the only countries where this rule is enforced are Vietnam, Cuba, North Korea and the United States of America.


You need a permit to do everything in America. You even need a passport to buy a drink. But interestingly you don't need one if you wish to rent some guns and some bullets. I needed a 50 cal (very big) machinegun. "No problem," said the man at the shop. "But could you just sign this assuring us that the movie you're making is not anti-Bush or anti-war."


Anyway, back to the guns. I needed them because I wished to shoot a car in the Mojave desert. But you can't do that without the say-so of the local fire chief who turned up, with his haircut, to say that for reasons he couldn't explain, he had a red flag in his head.

You find this a lot in America. People way down the food chain are given the power to say yes or no to elaborately prepared plans, just so their bosses can't be sued. One expression that simply doesn't translate from English in these days of power without responsibility is "Ooh, I'm sure it'll be fine".


Didn't know whether to laugh or cry.

Link via Blondie.

Come on ...

Did anybody take this seriously? Nobody in NYC did. I'll be back after a shower.

Link via Maru.


Our pal, and Brooklynite, Glen has thoughts about this as well:


Not that the right kind of bomb placed in one of our tunnels by brighter people couldn't cause death, destruction, panic, and chaos. It would. So, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the administration again for cutting New York's anti-terrorism funding by 40% a few weeks ago.


What the Hell Is Barbara Boxer Thinking?


What the hell is Barbara Boxer thinking?

From the run up to Shock and Awe to last month's flurry of thrust-and-parry resolutions on Iraq, the junior senator from California has been one of the most consistent and vocal critics of the war. She voted no on the war in 2002 and co-sponsored the latest Kerry bill calling for our troops to be withdrawn by July 2007.

And she was one of only six Democrats to stand against the ambush vote orchestrated by Mitch McConnell and Bill Frist.

So what is she doing heading up to Connecticut to stump for pro-war Joe Lieberman and against his anti-war challenger Ned Lamont?

Look, I understand the you-scratch-my-primary-run-and-I'll-scratch-yours ethos of sticking up for your fellow Senator -- what Jane Hamsher called "the incumbency protection racket". And this isn't a progressive purity test, accompanied by the expectation of lockstep liberalism. This isn't about Lieberman's GOP-friendly positions on tax cuts, affirmative action, the bankruptcy bill, the energy bill, the privatization of some parts of Social Security, and the right to question the president.

At its core, the Lieberman-Lamont contest is about the war on Iraq. So how can Boxer strap on her Senate buddy blinders and jettison her deeply held beliefs on the defining issue of our time?

Compare Boxer's head-in-the-sands-of-Iraq stance with that of Jack Murtha. I recently called and asked him about Lieberman and whether he would ever campaign for him.

"How could I possibly support him?" Murtha told me. "I'd never campaign for him unless he changed his position on the war."

Period. End of discussion.

We need more Murtha Democrats, those unwilling to sacrifice their principles on the altar of Congressional comity, and fewer like Boxer, who has chosen to put the needs of her fellow member in the World's Most Exclusive Club above the interests of the country.

There is still time for Boxer to rethink her misguided decision to shill for Lieberman and reclaim her principles. If she needs a little nudge in the right direction, she can always call Jack Murtha.

I like Babs, but this time she's screwin' the pooch. Oops, that's a Republican deal, sorry.

These entrenched pols don't like anybody rockin' the boat, i.e. un-electing one of 'em, so they stick together. It's a choice: power v. principle, that each one of 'em has to make.

I think Babs chose poorly this time.

We'll see what she does after Joey loses the primary.

*My Favorite Big-Titted Greek Redhead

Lieberman Mulls Run As Evangelical Christian

The Satirical Political Report

Democratic Senator Joe Lieberman, facing a serious primary challenge from Ned Lamont, is considering running not only as an Independent, but as a born-again Christian as well.

Lieberman, an orthodox Jew, has read the polling data indicating that he's pissing off the liberal Jews of Connecticut, and therefore is considering a religious conversion in order to tap into a new base of support.

Already, he has garnered the endorsement of Jews for Jesus, and ironically,the anti-Christ himself, FOX's Sean Hannity.

When asked by his rabbi why he was abandoning the Chosen People, Lieberman replied: "It is time for Jews who distrust Jesus to acknowledge that he will be the Son of God for at least three more Millenia, and that in matters of faith we undermine the Father, Son and Holy Ghost at our peril."

However, Lieberman insists that he'll still retain his cultural identity, by sporting a Gefilte Fish on the back of his station wagon, and taking his Sunday communion wafer with a shmear of cream cheese or chopped liver.

Although Lieberman, unlike Lamont, opposes same-sex marriage, he still has the support of some gay rights organizations, based not only on his infamous kiss from Bush, but on the fact that he seems to enjoy kissing Bush's ass.


Fox? Henhouse?

Seth on corporate 'self-regulation'. I gotta go to work.


From the world's premier fighting unit into thugs.

A decade after the Pentagon declared a zero-tolerance policy for racist hate groups, recruiting shortfalls caused by the war in Iraq have allowed "large numbers of neo-Nazis and skinhead extremists" to infiltrate the military, according to a watchdog organization.

The Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks racist and right-wing militia groups, estimated that the numbers could run into the thousands, citing interviews with Defense Department investigators and reports and postings on racist Web sites and magazines.

"We've got Aryan Nations graffiti in Baghdad," the group quoted a Defense Department investigator as saying in a report to be posted today on its Web site, "That's a problem."


Back in 1985 thereabouts, the Air Force began their 'Quality Force Program'. They instituted mandatory drug testing (my failure of the THC part got me tossed off active duty and into the Reserves, go figure) and started cracking down on the 'mischief' we'd get into (they began to take 'borrowing' vehicles from the motor pool seriously, among other things).

Now, it seems, they'd be happy to have me back. Ladies and gentlemen, this is what happens when you break an army; when you have to settle for who you can get opposed to picking and choosing the best and brightest. You will see more abuses and crimes as time goes on and the standards fall even further. With these idiots in the ranks, the chance of war crimes being committed goes up exponentially. We can only hope Mother Nature and Darwin take a hand in the situation.

Link thanks to the most excellent Scout Prime.


Roger Ailes, guesting at Jane's place:


Somerby says: It's bad to characterize [Newsweek's supposedly Liberal columnist Joe] Klein as a Republican because he sometimes says things critical of the Republican Party in general or specific Republicans in particular.

I say: When you become a serial purveyor of fraudlent talking points concerning Democrats which are indistingiushable from Karl Rove and Ken Mehlman's Greatest Fundraising Speeches, you deserve ridicule. And that includes the insult you earn from the content of your running commentary: Republican.


Note to Bob Somerby and Joe Klein, Joe Lieberman is a registered Democrat too.

Friday Cattle Dog London blogging

After 5 years, New York's pain is still palpable. We send our good wishes to the wonderful people of London a year after the tragedy of July 7.

Thursday, July 6, 2006

Get back to work

N.J. lawmakers have a budget deal
Comes hours after Gov. Corzine urged lawmakers to compromise

Now, tell me again that Governor Corzine didn't do the right thing. That is how you get things done. By using the proper incentive.

Note to Bill Bennett: The casinos will be open tomorrow.

Top 50

Remember when the wingnuts gave themselves a sountrack? Well Pauly sat down and thought about it for a while and came up with his own list for us. It's obvious he put a lot more brain power into it than they did.

Even Ol' Gord might recognize one or two. Heh ...

Fort Apache, Iraq

Matt Taibi goes on a run with the 158th Field Artillery. Long article, but good.

To understand the war in Iraq, you first have to understand the people who are fighting it. And the way to do that isn't to burst in with your head in a point, bitching about WMDs and croaking passages from Arab-history books. Jump in the truck and shut your mouth; get on board, literally and figuratively. In America, everyone has an opinion about Iraq, even me -- but if you're going to take the step of actually going there, you've got to give it a chance.

"I love the president, he's my commander in chief," said one of the sergeants in our convoy. "But sometimes I wish he'd keep his fucking mouth shut."

That's right, motherfuckers, keep those hands up. America is driving by!

At home we deride every American soldier as a potential war criminal, we label them committers of massacres, we call them dumb and when we're really being nice, we say they're just dupes, field hands for the rich frat boys who got high on punch and drove us into this mess. But there's something beautiful about the way you can pluck fifteen American kids from the parking lots of the Midwest, drop them anywhere in the world, and you'll get the same thing every time: dip, dick jokes and 50,000 pounds of finely tuned convoy rumbling at top speed. Our kids may not be the best educated, they may not read many books, but in a fair fight, they will kick your ass.

Those are all off the first page, and there's five more! Enjoy.


I just had to add this:

[...]As a journalist in Iraq, you can't help but start to feel like what you are, which is a vermin and an outsider. In many ways, being embedded with U.S. troops in the liberal-media/Michael Moore age is sort of like being asked to march into Sunday services in a Lexington, Kentucky, megachurch wearing an assless biker-dominatrix costume: One is conscious of having been the subject of many past sermons. In the Army mind-set, the relative success and failure of the Iraq War is all a matter of perception, and if you follow that calculus far enough, which a certain unmistakable minority of soldiers will, all of the bombings are actually the media's fault.

Any journalist in Iraq who does not regularly feel the urge to puke his guts out from conscience-sickness is probably not in the right line of work, because increasingly, almost anything he does here is a gruesome betrayal of someone or other -- the soldiers and their mission if he tells too much of the truth, himself and the public if he does not.

Check back later. There may be more.

Update #2: My opinion...

...remains unchanged, even strengthened: Our GIs are doing the best they can, which is damn good, but we never had any business in Iraq, still don't, and it's not going to end well for us or the Iraqis. The only chance they have of getting well is if we leave, and it'll be painful for them. Mr. Taibbi makes the case very well.

War Not Lieberman's Only Problem at Home

Following up on Fixer's post, Real Clear Politics sums it up pretty good:

Joe Lieberman may need more than another political party. He may need another state, as well.

The received wisdom is often wrong. Polls showing Lieberman with a commanding lead in the general election were taken at a time when his opponent was called "Ned Lamont who?" The gap continually narrows as voters learn that Lamont is a serious alternative.

The contest has been framed as a vote on the Bush administration's conduct of the Iraq war, which Lieberman has slavishly defended -- more than some of his Republican colleagues, notably Nebraska Sen. Chuck Hagel. And while the war is highly unpopular in Connecticut, that's not Lieberman's only rift with his electorate. On social issues, Lieberman plays to a Bible Belt audience, which his voters are not. That would include many of the state's generally moderate Republicans.

No, Lieberman doesn't have a lock on the Republican and independent voters of Connecticut. An election, after all, boils down to making a choice. The more people see that they have a reasonable alternative in Lamont -- that there's someone they can vote for, not just against -- the worse it will be for Lieberman.

Much more. Go read.

Lamont v. Holy Joe

Here's everything you need to know about tonight's debate.

The real fun will be afterward, and tomorrow when the gasbags have had time for their staffs to analyze it and tell them what to think and say about it!

More on that lefty rag...

Gene Lyons chimes in on the Repub smear of the NYTimes and its larger implications in NWANews, and no, I didn't find this op-ed while looking for hip-hop info.

The New York Times arrogant? Goodness, yes. Condescending, too. During the decade the newspaper devoted to its farcical coverage of the Whitewater hoax, feeding out of Kenneth Starr's soft little hand like a Shetland pony, I experienced that condescension firsthand. Even confronted with dispositive documentary evidence that its Whitewater stories were bunk, its basic response never varied: We're The New York Times and you're not.

But left wing? Well, the Times, along with The Washington Post, led the 2000 "war on Gore" that basically gave Bush the presidency. Then-columnist and now executive editor Bill Keller actually quoted his 3-year-old daughter's opinion that the Democratic nominee was a stiff.

After 9 / 11, the Times, along with the rest of the newspaper consortium, buried its finding that had all the legal votes in Florida been counted in 2000, Al Gore would have been president.

Lest we forget, it was reporter Judith Miller's series of leaked, single-source "exclusives" touting Saddam Hussein's imaginary nuclear weapons accompanied by TV appearances by Condoleezza Rice and Dick Cheney carefully coordinated with Times publication dates that helped stampede the nation to war. Columnist Keller thought invading Iraq was a terrific idea.

Now the Times has its reward. San Francisco Chronicle columnist Jon Carroll thinks he knows why.

"Many members of the president's base consider 'New York' to be a nifty code word for 'Jewish,'" he writes. "It is very nice for the president to be able to campaign against the Jews without (a ) actually saying the word 'Jew' and (b ) without irritating the Israelis."

Actually, that's wishful thinking. Anti-Semitism, as such, is old hat among True Believers on the extreme right. For years, the idea's been percolating through the right's well-organized propaganda apparatus that Democrats aren't loyal Americans.

Regarding Ann Coulter's ludicrous book, "Slander," I once wrote that "the 'liberal' sins [she(?-G) ] caricatures - atheism, cosmopolitanism, sexual license, moral relativism, communism, disloyalty and treason - are basically identical to the crimes of the Jews as Hitler saw them." Michael Savage, Michael Reagan, Sean Hannity, Michelle Malkin, Rush Limbaugh and others peddle the same sterilized American update of an ancient slur. Limbaugh recently called 80 percent of Times subscribers "jihadists." Now the Bush White House, desperate to prevail in 2006 congressional elections, has taken up the cry. Reasonable people never want to believe that extremists believe their own rhetoric. But quit kidding yourselves. This is mass psychosis. The next terrorist strike, should it happen, will be blamed on the enemy within: treasonous "liberals" who dissent from the glorious reign of George W. Bush(my em). Unless confronted, it's through such strategems that democracies fail and constitutional republics become dictatorships.

Let's make sure our "terrorist strike" is at the polls this November.

Quote of the Day

2 today (yes, I know I'm late).


Too many in the media answer to 'Fifi' and not enough to 'Killer'.


People take TV way too seriously. Way too seriously.

And just a note

Before I run out the door. Remember how I was whining on the 4th about my 'off-the-boat' Italian buddy Nunzio breaking my balls about Germany losing to Italy? He was relentless yesterday. He brought four cars up for inspection and each time he asks 'so what are you doing Sunday?'

Germany plays Portugal for 3rd Place on Saturday.

More Ned

From a very interesting article by Bob Geiger on how Holy Joe's actions affect Dems in the Senate:


"I want to be clear that I will support the nominee chosen by Connecticut Democrats in their primary," [NY Senator Hillary] Clinton said yesterday. "I believe in the Democratic Party, and I believe we must honor the decisions made by Democratic primary voters."

It would be nice if Lieberman believed the same thing. But with his selfish statement on Monday, Lieberman has sent a clear message to all Connecticut Democrats that their vote on August 8 is meaningless. If they happen to decide that Ned Lamont is a more appropriate Democratic standard bearer for these times, tough luck -- Bush's Boy is going to thumb his nose at them and run anyway.

Meanwhile, Lamont has already said that he will support whomever the voters choose as the Democratic nominee, even if that person is Lieberman. [my em]


Good on Hillary. Time for the rest of the Dem leadership to take Whiny Joe behind the woodshed.

Ned Lamont.

The stench of hypocrisy 15

Brad Blog:


He contends (with a suggested measure of inside skinny) that the GOP will use the evidence and arguments of election integrity advocates, such as yours truly and others, in making their case that Electronic Voting Machine fraud may have occurred in certain close elections this November if needed.


And the Rethugs will do it with straight faces too. I tell ya, it amazes me the way they can do it. I know I couldn't. And just a note: You know this will catch the Dems flat-footed and sputtering.

Link via Dave Johnson.

Wednesday, July 5, 2006

It's not about the war ...

It's about selling out. Atrios:

Look, people, opposition to Lieberman isn't just about the Iraq war. It's about him "compromising" Democratic principles when he didn't have to, it's about selling out women, it's about thinking "bipartisanship" involves selling our your party so that Tim Russert will pat you on the head for your bravery, it's about dishonesty on things like the Bankruptcy Bill, and now it's about his contempt for the Democratic voters in his own state. And, yes, it's about the fact that the senator has indeed "lost the plot" on the Iraq war.


Joe Lieberman sold out his party and his constituents to preserve his own power. Joe must go.

CIA: Osama Helped Bush in '04

Duh. This is nothing new. We posted on this several times in October '04 just after OBL's video came out and just before the election. Robert Parry has a recent article at Consortium News that reminds us of the close relationship between OBL's and Bush's families, goals, and ultimate symbiotic success or failure. Today's "must read and imprint on your brain".

On Oct. 29, 2004, just four days before the U.S. presidential election, al-Qaeda leader Osama bin-Laden released a videotape denouncing George W. Bush. Some Bush supporters quickly spun the diatribe as "Osama's endorsement of John Kerry." But behind the walls of the CIA, analysts had concluded the opposite: that bin-Laden was trying to help Bush gain a second term.

"At the five o'clock meeting, [deputy CIA director] John McLaughlin opened the issue with the consensus view: 'Bin-Laden certainly did a nice favor today for the President.'"

But the CIA analysts also felt that bin-Laden might have recognized how Bush's policies - including the Guantanamo prison camp, the Abu Ghraib scandal and the endless bloodshed in Iraq - were serving al-Qaeda's strategic goals for recruiting a new generation of jihadists.

By demanding an American surrender, bin-Laden knew U.S. voters would instinctively want to fight. That way bin-Laden helped ensure that George W. Bush would stay in power, would continue his clumsy "war on terror" - and would drive thousands of new recruits into al-Qaeda's welcoming arms.

This is all undeniably so, on one level: that OBL came up with it unaided and on his own.

The level that no one mentions yet is this: what was the degree of contact and co-operation between the Bushes, the Saudis, and the bin-Ladens, and was it before 9/11 as well as after?

Watchdogs vs. Lapdogs

Nicholas Kristof on the administration attack on the press. Via The Unknown Candidate (good site, btw).

Take Pat Roberts, the Kansas Republican who is head of the Senate Intelligence Committee. Senator Roberts has criticized The Times, but he himself is responsible for an egregious disclosure of classified intelligence. As National Journal reported in April, it was Senator Roberts who stated as the Iraq war began that the U.S. had "human intelligence that indicated the location of Saddam Hussein."

That statement horrified some in our intelligence community by revealing that we had an agent close to Saddam.

No responsible newspaper would risk an agent's life so blithely. And The Times would never have been as cavalier about Valerie Plame Wilson's identity as the White House was. The fact is, journalists regularly hold back information for national security reasons; I recently withheld information at the request of the intelligence community about secret terrorist communications.

More broadly, the one thing worse than a press that is "out of control" is one that is under control. Anybody who has lived in a Communist country knows that. Just consider what would happen if the news media as a whole were as docile to the administration as Fox News or The Wall Street Journal editorial page.

Historically, we in the press have done more damage to our nation by withholding secret information than by publishing it. One example was this newspaper's withholding details of the plans for the Bay of Pigs invasion. President Kennedy himself suggested that the U.S. would have been better served if The Times had published the full story and derailed the invasion.

Then there were the C.I.A. abuses that journalists kept mum about until they spilled over and prompted the Church Committee investigation in the 1970's. And there are secrets we should have found, but didn't: in the run-up to the Iraq war, the press — particularly this newspaper — was too credulous about claims that Iraq possessed large amounts of W.M.D.

In each of these cases, we were too compliant. We failed in our watchdog role, and we failed our country (my em).

So be very wary of Mr. Bush's effort to tame the press. Watchdogs can be mean, dumb and obnoxious, but it would be even more dangerous to trade them in for lap dogs.

Lapdogs get pets and treats and the run of the house, while watchdogs live on a chain, eat scraps, and get beaten when they step out of line. Why? Because they're dangerous.

Too many in the media answer to 'Fifi' and not enough to 'Killer'.

Ken Lay is Dead

Without being ghoulish,or at least trying...

Just heard on the radio that Ken Lay died of a heart attack either last night or this morning. It's on CNN's front page,so I guess it's been confirmed.

Hope he packed some asbestos drawers for the journey.I hear it's hot where he's headed.

Please clarify ...

WASHINGTON - North Korea test-fired a seventh missile Wednesday, South Korean officials said, intensifying the furor ignited when the reclusive regime launched at least six missiles earlier in the day.


Why we went into Iraq and are rattling our swords at Iran? Just askin' ...

Tuesday, July 4, 2006

Happy 4th of July, folks

It's been a lazy day: a few chores, a little yard work, lotsa relaxin'. We're gonna get a pizza, and then the relaxin' part will be over.

As dusk approaches, I will don my WWI 'Tommy'-style helmet and drag my pizza-laden ass up on the roof with a garden hose just in case some drunk fool shoots off fireworks in the middle of this nice dry pine forest! Believe me, it's happened before.

I hope y'all had plenty of beer and BBQ today, and I know you kept in mind what all the celebration was about. See ya tomorrow.

What type-o-dong wazzat, anyway?

It was a fireplug-with-ears lookin' one named Kim Jong Il. Me 'n Mrs. G had on CNN with the sound turned off while we played a new CD, so we got to read about N. Korea shootin' off a buncha missiles. Actually, it's not such a bad way to watch the endless bullshit they spew while they're waiting for the facts.

I got this picture in my little pea brain: Kim shows up in the control room for the big shoot with somethin' goin' on in his mind, namely a meltdown caused by his synapses all firing through a snootful of Dewar's.

I can just see him: "Crazy? You call me crazy?! You wanta see crazy? I'll show you fuckin' crazy!!" as he throws every switch he can find!

I feel for his rocket scientists and control room technicians: between laughin' their asses off and just knowin' they're gonna get stood up against a wall and shot, they don't know whether to shit or go blind.

And when Kim sobers up and finds out he shot off three years worth of rockets, maybe he'll calm down a little

If Bush had any fuckin' class he'd call Kim Jong Il up and thank him for helpin' celebrate our Independence Day by shootin' off all them fireworks!


Italy - 2

Germany - 0

An excellent game and the Italian defense was amazing, shutting down almost every German attack. Good on 'em. It's a sad night in Germany.

Note: I'm never gonna shut my buddy Nunzio up tomorrow.

Don't try to get bigger than the Capo...

I was kinda wondering about this. One thing I know about cops, and I'm sure it applies to intelligence agents as well, is that most of 'em couldn't track a muddy puppy across a kitchen floor. They'd never solve anything without snitches. I knew Zarqawi got snitched off, the only question was by whom?

Yahoo! News

Al-Qaida leaders sold out Abu Musab al-Zarqawi to the United States in exchange for a promise to let up in the search for Osama bin Laden, the slain militant's wife claimed in an interview with an Italian newspaper.

The woman, identified by La Repubblica as al-Zarqawi's first wife, said al-Qaida's top leadership reached a deal with U.S. intelligence because al-Zarqawi had become too powerful. She claimed Sunni tribes and Jordanian secret services mediated the deal.

On Monday, an Iraqi legislator said authorities found telephone numbers of senior officials in al-Zarqawi's cell phone after his death. Waiel Abdul-Latif, a member of former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi's party, did not give names of the officials. But he said they included ministry employees and members of parliament.

He called for an investigation, saying Iraqis "cannot have one hand with the government and another with the terrorists."

Oh, but they do, of that I'm certain.

I don't know if the story is true, but it's definitely plausible. It's comforting to know that our intelligence service is working so closely with al-Quaeda in pursuit of common goals.



C.I.A. Closes Unit Focused on Capture of bin Laden

It happened last year, but the info just came out. They must have been getting close enough to OBL that the Saudis told Bush to back off. Common goals.

His age is finally gonna be higher than his IQ...

The Chimp is about to become as old as me. Go see some of his birthday cards.

What Really Worries Bush About The NYT SWIFT Revelations

The Internet Weekly Report

"If those pinko, liberal, man-on-dog, flag burning, traitors at the NY Times keep telling people what's really going on inside my administration, the American people, sooner or later, are going to start wondering why we haven't found any that Saudi Arabian money or arrested any of those princes, yet.

The last thing the American people need to be reminded about is:

List follows, with links.

Bookmark alert

Our pal RJ Eskow has started a new blog:

Here's the concept: We're dedicating this summer to freedom itself - and, in particular, to America's freedoms. We're calling it "Freedom Summer 2006." That name honors the brave souls who took part in the civil rights struggle during that first "freedom summer" of 1963.


But what's cool about it is:


This website is yours, if you can keep it. Its readers are its creators. The inspiration is "Sorry Everybody," which inspired so many people after the 2004 election.

Here's how it works:


Go see how it works.

14 Points

Anything sound familiar?

4th of July

Be safe and remember why we commemorate this day.

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.


And something else from early American history for you to consider today.


I'm hearing a lot of whining coming from across the Hudson over this:

(Trenton - WABC, July 3, 2006) - Governor Jon Corzine has ordered state lawmakers to work Tuesday, hoping to break the impasse and come up with a budget. But in the meantime, the government is closed.


In my book, Governor Corzine is doing the right thing. These state lawmakers are charged with putting a budget forth by a certain time for the Governor to sign. It's called doing your job. Governor Corzine is just providing incentive. As opposed to the situation on this side of the Hudson where we haven't received a budget on time in 25 years (usually we're halfway through the fiscal year before Pataki signs it). Maybe next year, Governor Spitzer (I can't wait) will do the same thing in New York that Gov. Corzine has the stones to do in Jersey.

More detail from my awesome neighbors at Blue Jersey.

Monday, July 3, 2006

The F-word

Michelle Goldberg at HuffPo:

I'm not claiming any kind of prescience here; this has all been obvious for a while. Dave Neiwert has been writing about it for years. But it's hard to grapple with it because we don't have a way to talk about the intermediate stages of populist right-wing authoritarianism. Mention fascism, and immediately people think you're comparing Bush to Hitler. (In fact, he's much more like the bastard spawn of Paris Hilton and Francisco Franco.) Yet while America remains long way from real fascism, fascism has come a long way in America.

Good post. Go read.


I wear this comparison out,but it's apt,and involves a not so happy tale from my past.

I used to be a statistic.A Battered Woman.

It was 20 yrs ago,and to this day,if I hear this man's name,my heart beats a bit faster and I have to catch my breath.I sometimes still have nightmares that he stars in.

The day I decided to leave was the day I almost died.But it didn't end there,because as any woman in that position can tell you,THE most dangerous time is after you manage to escape.Abusive pieces of shit don't just quit or find another victim when their current one is unavailable.She will pay,if he has anything to say about it.And many times he has alot of say in the outcome.I was lucky,and there isn't a day that goes by I don't remember how lucky I am.That brand of hate doesn't dissipate,it tends to grow and spread,like a particularly nasty infection.Defeating it takes a particular sort of tenacity mixed with smarts and courage.

Instead of just taking their toys and going home(as normal people do once a relationship ends),they amp it up a few notches.First they try the sweet approach,with you,your family,your co-workers and friends.When that doesn't work,they revert right back to threats,violence,and when possible,they'll get others in on the act.

He found me about two weeks after I left him,I still was recovering from having my head bashed into a concrete floor,repeatedly until I was unconcious.I hurt him(with a hammer)and he threatened to take me to court and file charges.I dared him to,because I would make damn sure it got on the public record what a rotten prick he is.Cowards rarely make good on their threats,but that does not mean they won't ever try.It's the Power Over You they want,and they will stop at nothing to get it back once they begin losing it.I had to move.Again.And of course he never filed a charge one against me,that would have exposed him outside his circle of nasty little cohorts.He called my boss,I called his boss,he lost his job,I kept mine.He called my parents spouting filth,I called his parents and told them he beat me and started to begin turning on my daughter.Every time he did something designed to take my power away,I did something to take it back and a little more.

I spent a year being escorted every place I went by one or more large manly types.My daughter was always with people I trusted when I wasn't around with instructions to not let her out of sight for even a heartbeat.Because he was trying to find me,by sucking up to my parents,fishing for info,by calling my boss and trying to charm her(and when that didn't work,he made shit up to get me fired.I worked with kids,he said I beat my daughter),he wasn't about to give up.After I got married the first time and moved to another state,he moved to the same state.I was lucky,he never found me after I fought him off the last time.Many women are not so lucky.

The calls from the Republican Right Wing for the stalking and deaths of NYT photographers,editors and reporters is not a lick different than the same pathology that drives the abuser.The Conservative Movement is in trouble,and they know it.Hence the ratcheting up of eliminationist rhetoric.As these "ideas"of theirs prove to be completely full of blithering fucktitude,they can feel the power they once held and wielded like a club slipping away.It will get worse before it gets better,we cannot EVER dismiss this.As more people wake up and realize they've been lied to,as proof of those lies comes to them in the form of a harder and less prosperous life,as more and more of our options as a free people dry up at the hands of the Conservative Movement,the more unhinged and violent the Right Wing will become.This level of pathology runs very deep,and it won't go away,even if we win all the right elections in November and in '08.It will get worse.We have to accept that,never forget it,and be ready for it.

The formula is simple:
For every inch of Power they lose,they want two inches back to make up for it.And they will not stop until they get it.Or Something stops them.

Now,how do we stop this madness?

Well,for one we keep doing what we're doing.It's working,but it's a slow process,that's ok.Whatever they throw at us,we confront it,expose it and move forward.Relentlessly,because our opponent is relentless.

Next,we don't allow intimidation and threats to work.What they want is for us to cower and accept what they're doing.Most of them are cowards,and alot of the rhetoric is nothing but bluster and hot air.BUT,you never ever dismiss any threat,take them seriously and take the needed means to protect yourself.Common sense generally rules here,you amp that up in accordance to the threat.The idea is to be safe and not alter your life any more than you have to.

This isn't for pacifists, kids.Turning the other cheek has gotten us nowhere,nothing but two bruised and bloodied sides of the face.This doesn't mean you go down the same road they chose,but it does mean you make it damn clear you're not going quietly and you're not backing down and that you will defend yourself if it comes down to it.You do all of that by continuing on,you may have to do it with more support and by surrounding yourself with people who have your back,but you go on.Don't go quietly.Ever.That's what they want,the only other result they want is for you to be just like them,don't go there either.

What they want is a Civil War.They aren't happy about the outcome of the first one,and they want a do over.They'll stop at nothing to get that,and the only way to stop them is to stand our ground and not concede another fucking inch.They've had more than enough time to prove themselves"superior" and they've failed.That pendulum will swing left again,and it's up to us to push that pendulum with all the force we can muster.

And in the end we will win,because what is truly best,and real and true doesn't need to be sold to anyone.Is America broken?Yes,but not to the point She can't be repaired and made better.And really,in the end,most of us want the same things no matter what our politics or race or religion.Many of those things we all share just haven't had a liberal label slapped on them for public vilification.But if you took the labels away and could present those ideas without a party affiliation,alot of us would agree on pretty basic and key issues.

The Right Wing Noise Machine is a loud,obnoxious pest that looks much bigger than it really is,like when my cats fluff up their fur to look bigger than they are.It's all show(ok,it's got fangs and claws too,but it don't change the size of the cat).This machine is barely a third of the country.And of those 1/3,many are starting to look for a new place to call a political home.And many of those former or close to former BushCo supporters,while they'll never vote for a Democrat(not easily at least)they are in fact much more liberal than they currently realize.At the time this nation was founded it was one of the only progressive places on earth,liberal compared to the Kingships of Europe and The Church at the time.We were founded on Liberal goals and ideals.Read the Constitution,The Bill of Rights,the Declaration of Independence(and what's more liberal than independence I ask you?),the language may be a bit stuffy,but it's all spelled out pretty clearly.

We will win this,as long as we remember that all they have is fear,anger,hostility and violence wrapped in a thick blanket of lies and criminal acts.This is still America,and they are Un American,and that's where our strength resides.

Oh, the ironicalness of it all...

Ironic Times

Bin Laden Releases Video Praising Zarqawi
"He did a heckuva job," says Al Qaeda's leader.

Exploding Laptop Incident Being Investigated by Dell
Computer maker warns users not to press Ctrl-Alt-Delete until further notice.

Study: Coffee Makes You More Open-Minded
White House switches to tea.

Many more. Note: Site is in "Permanent Liquid Alert" status.

How Conservatives Turned Liberalism into a Tax-Raising, Latte-Drinking, Sushi-Eating, Volvo-Driving, New York Times-Reading, Body-Piercing, Hollywood-

Book review (and sales pitch) at BuzzFlash:

How can you not love a book with the line: "It's hard to think of any leading right-wing broadcaster whom even his most devoted fans would welcome having as a brother-in-law." We would add the individual horror one would experience of having Ann Coulter as a sister-in-law!

If I pour the bleach directly in my ear, will it cleanse that thought faster?

"As it happens, the majority of brie consumers are Republicans," Nunberg writes. "But whoever actually buys the stuff, it stands for the Right's stereotype of liberals - soft, pale, runny, and French." Remember Rove's successful effort to "Frenchify" John Kerry?

Of course, the Democrats could fight back, but that would take stamina and the ability to stay on message for a very long period of time. It would be helpful if the Dems could get everyone who has an income below $100,000 a year to realize that "when it comes to the crunch, the 'freedom' that conservatives champion for working Americans amounts to no more than the right to take a job and shove it." That is if they can find a job that hasn't been sent overseas.

I'm so far behind in my reading that I'd appreciate it if one of you guys would read it and tell me if it's worth adding to my book pile.

Is he, or isn't he?

From LamontBlog via Maru:

In announcing he [Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman] would run as a petitioning candidate in November if he loses on August 8th, he has clearly stated he is no longer a member of the Democratic party. The only thing he is concerned about right now is his own desperate attempt to hold on to power.

Members of a party abide by primary results. There is no such thing as an "petitioning Democrat." If there was, Joe could accept the Republican endorsement and run as a "Republican Democrat."


In addition, Joe has just created a world of shit for his supposed friends Harry Reid, Chuck Schumer, Chris Dodd, Diane Farrell, Joe Courtney, and Chris Murphy. I wonder what they all think of this.

This is how he treats his friends. This is how he treats his party. On the slowest news day of the summer.

These are the actions of a very weak candidate, and a selfish and cowardly man.


That about says it.

"Republican Democrat" ... is that something like a Ford Camaro?

On the Fourth, Read the Declaration of Impeachment

From AfterDowningStreet

Veterans for Peace has drafted a Declaration of Impeachment using nothing but excerpts from the Declaration of Independence (plus a few words in parentheses). It reads as follows, and should be read at picnics and protests on the Fourth of July:

Excerpts therefrom:

...The history of the present King (George) a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny...To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has...deprive(ed) us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury...transport(ed) us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences

A (President) whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

We,, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People...solemnly publish and declare, That these...Free and Independent (People)...are Absolved from all Allegiance to the (Bush Administration), and that all political connection between them and (this Administration), is and ought to be totally dissolved...And for the support of this Declaration...we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor."

Note that the colonists did not just write these words. They also fought and died for them.

Supporting our troops and working to ensure that they not have died in vain are notions that no longer apply to the soldiers who died in the fields around my house in Virginia. The statute of limitations has expired, and the 4,435 who died to rid America of a King George are now in fact required - as a matter of patriotic duty - to have died in vain.

All in vain, all unsupported. Welcome to the world of free speech zones, detention without charge, no access to a court of law, no prohibition on torture. Welcome to the end of the veto and the birth of the signing statement. Welcome to an executive branch that neither obeys Congress nor so much as informs Congress of its actions. Welcome to wars of aggression for a theocratic plutocracy. Welcome back, King George.

Strong stuff, a "must read". Entirely fitting for, and in the spirit of, the anniversary of the Declaration of Independence.

Can't Win the War? Bomb the Press!

Daddy Frank hits the nail on the head once again. Go get 'em, Pop!

The real news conveyed by The Times and its competitors was not the huge program to track terrorist finances, but that per usual from the administration that gave us Gitmo, the program was conducted with little oversight from the other two branches of government. Even so, the reporting on the pros and cons of that approach was, as Mr. Snow said, balanced.

Or so he said Friday morning, June 23. By Monday, the president had entered the fray and Mr. Snow was accusing The Times of putting the "public's right to know" over "somebody's right to live." What had happened over the weekend to prompt this escalation of hysteria? The same stuff that always happens when the White House scapegoats the press (or anyone else): bad and embarrassing news that the White House wants to drown out.

List of "bad and embarrassing news that the White House wants to drown out" follows. Take a lunch.

It's not only the White House that has a vested political interest in concocting a smoke screen by demonizing the fourth estate as a fifth column. The Democrats were holding their hearing because Pat Roberts, the chairman of the Senate intelligence committee, has for two years been stalling his panel's promised investigation into how the administration used intelligence before the war. Hoping that we'd forget about that continuing cover-up, Mr. Roberts last week made a big show of calling for an investigation into the Swift story's supposed damage to national security.

The assault on a free press during our own wartime should be recognized for what it is: another desperate ploy by officials trying to hide their own lethal mistakes in the shadows. It's the antithesis of everything we celebrate with the blazing lights of Independence Day.

For all his insight and writing skill, Mr. Rich left out one teeny little part of the equation: it's an election year. The Repub turds are circling the drain and desperately need to divert attention away from themselves across the board. This is all about "Don't look at me committing despicable crimes! Look at them tellin' about it!"

Most definitely go read the rest.

The Pork Barrel Protection Act

Will Durst

With flags aflame across the nation, the time to protect other American icons is now

The pork barrel protection act So the Flag Desecration Amendment fell a single vote short of passing in the Senate. And all the liberals are celebrating way too long into the night if you ask me. I imagine the Republicans are laughing so hard right now, their drool guards are spilling over capacity. Because now, they get to bring it up again and again and accuse Democrats of dooming old glory to an ignominious fate over and over. The only problem is flags are so the-day-before-yesterday. Might as well be wearing patchouli scented elephant bells. There's a whole plethora of American icons in danger of being bespoilt that Republicans can exploit. Let's take a look, shall we?

# Cheeseburger Anti-Desecration Crusade. The only proper cheese on a cheeseburger is yellow. Either Wisconsin Cheddar or good 'ol American. That's it. You can take your Mexican Pepper Jack and your Baby Swiss and your French Gorgonzola and shred them where the sun don't shine. Like on a salad. And it's a butter grilled sesame seed bun, not sun dried tomato focaccia bread.

# Chocolate Simplification Act. It's chocolate for crum's sake. It don't get more basic than a Hershey Chocolate Bar. If it was good enough to for our brave boys in WW2, it should be good enough for those attention deficit rug rats of yours.

Many more, most of which you won't agree with any more than you did those two!

Making stupid a policy ...

WASHINGTON -- Students across the nation will have to pay thousands more in college loans beginning Saturday, according to a series of reports released today by the research arm of the Campaign for America's Future. College students and graduates will be pushed deeper into debt as interest rates on Stafford loans -- the basic student loan -- rise from 5.3 percent to 7.14 percent on old loans and to 6.8 percent on new loans at the end of this week.


I have a harder time believing this is due to ineptitude more than a desire to deny an education to the public. Ignorant people are easier to control.

Tip o' the Brain to C&L.


Seymour Hersh has a new article out about the coming (presumably) invasion of Iran and a couple things struck me.


Iran's geography would also complicate an air war. The senior military official said that, when it came to air strikes, "this is not Iraq," which is fairly flat, except in the northeast. "Much of Iran is akin to Afghanistan in terms of topography and flight mapping - a pretty tough target," the military official said. Over rugged terrain, planes have to come in closer, and "Iran has a lot of mature air-defense systems and networks," he said. "Global operations are always risky, and if we go down that road we have to be prepared to follow up with ground troops."

The U.S. Navy has a separate set of concerns. Iran has more than seven hundred undeclared dock and port facilities along its Persian Gulf coast. The small ports, known as "invisible piers," were constructed two decades ago by Iran's Revolutionary Guards to accommodate small private boats used for smuggling. (The Guards relied on smuggling to finance their activities and enrich themselves.) The ports, an Iran expert who advises the U.S. government told me, provide "the infrastructure to enable the Guards to go after American aircraft carriers with suicide water bombers" - small vessels loaded with high explosives. He said that the Iranians have conducted exercises in the Strait of Hormuz, the narrow channel linking the Persian Gulf to the Arabian Sea and then on to the Indian Ocean. The strait is regularly traversed by oil tankers, in which a thousand small Iranian boats simulated attacks on American ships. "That would be the hardest problem we'd face in the water: a thousand small targets weaving in and out among our ships." [my ems]


Take a look at the map below in light of reading the above.

Click to embiggen

To quote an old song, 'do you see what I see'? You don't need to be a professor at the Naval Academy or the Army War College to see the difficulty of defending a naval force in the Gulf, let alone getting other units in and out by sea. Iran would be our Waterloo. And that's not even asking the question, 'where would we get these extra ground troops from'?

[If it helps, think of the Strait of Hormuz as the road from Baghdad Airport to the Green Zone, only wet. - F ]


Soto has a take on the interplay between the flag officers and the civilians at the Pentagon.

Thanks to Steve Soto for the Hersh link.
Map courtesy of the University of Texas Libraries.

On 'outing' 2

Okay. I've talked about Armando's problem at Kos' place, and the fact his ego was probably as much to blame as the putz who outed him. Now it seems as if the wingnuts are going on an outing (as well as trolling*) spree (I'm not linking to their sites, but if you check the comments over the last few days you'll find 'em). Seems some on our side are doing it too.

I'll say this once.

I don't care if you leave me a link in 'comments' to Bill O'Reilly's home address, or any other wingnut (Coulter, Malkin, Assrocket), I'm not going to print it and I'm gonna delete the link. I'll beat them with facts, and I'm not lowering myself to their level, whether they're on our side or not. Just because 'they do it' doesn't mean I will.


Easy enough to find me. The link's been in the left sidebar for 2 years.


More Greenwald. Seems some folks have egg on their faces:


Although I haven't heard yet from Kilborn, I received an e-mail from Spillers this morning, in which she said:

Ironically, photos were taken with Secretary Rumsfeld's permission.


And that ain't the best part.

*Please familiarize yourselves with the Alternate Brain Spam and Troll Policy in the left sidebar. The same technology that allows you to 'out' people allows me to find out who, where, and what you are. I'm not kidding, playing around, or bullshitting. I don't make idle threats. Got it?

Quote of the Day*


I think God, Darwin and the rest of us are all happy about that wingnut abstinence thing right about now, eh?

*A feature that is becoming more daily than not.

Setting an example ...

A long piece at Yowling from the Fencepost with an important point:


Of my more difficult students, I find that their capacity to appreciate the importance of their means justifying their ends is minimal at best. In ways similar to our political representatives, it isn't how we achieve a goal that is important, it is simply that we achieve it and pay little mind to the cost to others around us. If they are challenged on their grounds that their methods to achieving a goal were -- putting it generously in some cases -- unethical, they either ignore the charge and state that they at least got 'r done or argue that their means was not unjustifiable.

Look at the model that they have to follow: The president can make a dodgy case for war, conduct it, claim success when success has been far from assured, and argue that he at least got it done when people challenge him on how he went about making that case as details of his dodge come out. Is it any wonder that more and more students are not bothered so much these days with cheating on tests via text messages and unaware of or unconcerned about their plagiarizing of material from the internet for papers or projects? We have a president who is allowed to say whatever he wants and have it rubber-stamped or rationalized by his poodles in Congress and allies in the right-wing media.


The attitude (begun during the 'Greed Orgy' of the Reagan years) has permeated every part of our society. There is no accountability and everyboody goes around as if it's their world and everybody else is a nuisance. You see it on the roads, in the stores, and eveywhere else. The 'Me Generation' is alive and well.

... Until people can see the value of working to build a strong society and world that offers the prospects of a decent, if not better, future for all our children, we will struggle under the oppressive millstone of such things as war, impoverishment, and ignorance, where only the few in power -- political and financial -- have any say in our future.

In other words, there are too many self-centered pricks making decisions.

Those damn lefty bloggers ...

Tom Tomorrow via Atrios.

Don't talk to me ...

About criminalizing flag burning while it remains legal for people to wear the flag as clothing. If you're gonna protect the flag, protect it from people who think it's a fashion statement.


And if this isn't desecration of some sort or another, I don't know what is. Do you know what that does to a New Yorker?

Sunday, July 2, 2006

Born on the Fourth of July

[I'm gonna leave this up top for a couple days. New posts begin below this one. - Fixer]

This blog is two years old on Tuesday and it's a damn shame we're still doing it. A damn shame we still find material (a lot of it) every day to vent about. By golly, if you would have told me, on the Fourth of July 2004, that Bush and his henchmen would still be in power, that the Congress would still be a rubber stamp for those same fascists, that we'd still be fighting a war in Iraq, I'd have said you're crazy. Two years ago, I figured at this point I'd have an occasional rant about the Dems making some bonehead move or another, but never still be trying to fight these crooked, inept, morally-bankrupt Republicans.


[I moved the rest below the fold for brevity's sake.]

Terrorism? Puh!

Bush wasn't interested in catching any terrorists. Like I've been saying for five years, 9/11 was a gift from Allah for the Chimp. It gave him cover to do what he planned to do all along:

I've been wondering what story the wingers were trying to distract us from, with all their yammering about Rummy's vacation homes and the usual death threats.

This is the story.

We've always thought that Bush and the rest of his criminal regime were determined to trash the Fourth Amendment, and the Constitution, from the beginning.

But now we know. Bloomberg:



Neiwert get's in depth on this, evidence Abu Gonzalez lied to Congress.

There's Just Something About Larry....

Larry Flynt.Yes,THAT Larry Flynt.

I just started reading the book he wrote in 2004(before the "elections")called Sex,Lies,and Politics: The Naked Truth.If you've not read it,see if you can find a copy.If you think he's just a smut peddaling pervosaurus,you're sadly mistaken.He's really funny,and very smart.He may be a smut peddler,but he loves America.

I'm from Ohio,so I got to be quite familiar with Mr Flynt's run ins with the law there,back in the early part of his,shall we say,colorful career. He was splashed all over Ohio news programs back then,and many a preacher on many a pulpit in Ohio raged about Larry's outspoken and often flamboyant retorts to the hypocrites in power.His First Ammendment battles in the court system have set precidents that have kept the right wing loonies at bay for many years,and those precidents are in peril.Again.Which goes to show ya,ya can never rest when it comes to keeping a democracy healthy.

I also remember the day he got shot in Gwinnett County,GA.I live a few counties west of there these days,I was still in Ohio back then,I believe.I used to have the issue of Hustler that showed Larry's wounds in all their gore,I kept it for many years.How he even survived that is way beyond me.There was alot of outrage over that issue of Hustler,but Larry's whole point has always been to get us to look at what we as a culture consider dirty and taboo.He takes sex and holds that up against real atrocity,crimes and hypocrisy.People will rail and scream over the sex,but accept and tolerate the results of violence that goes on all around them daily.They just don't want to see the blood and gore(unless it's as entertainment) or try to fix the causes of it.

Larry even wrote Ken Starr a very nice letter offering him a job to write for Hustler after the Starr Report came out.Which is hysterical.And wickedly clever.

Here we are in today's world,America, teaching kids abstinence only as sex education,we go in and mess with humanitarian efforts in Africa's AIDS crises with the same stupid assed faith based sex ed policies,which IS killing people by the way,we're completely ridiculously sexually repressed,which is being allowed to determine our reproductive health care choices,and YET:

We spend TEN BILLION DOLLARS a year,as a Nation,on various and sundry forms of pornography and "adult entertainment".Now,last time I checked,somewhere around probably 85% percent of America would ID themselves as"christian"of one stripe or another.And why is it that it's almost always some faith based group trying to portray sex as being something bad and dirty?Seems to me that it just cannot be only 15 percent of Americans spending all that money on porn and porn accessories.That means there are actually some christians who also use porn,it stands to reason.And I'm not even taking into account all the file sharing and other porn trading going on that's not counted in that 10 billion dollars.It's kinda mind boggling,lol.

My guess is that most christians who do use porn are Big C Christians,who realize being a sexual being is perfectly normal,and actually kind of nice.To them,and most normal people,porn is like a little ketchup on some really good french fries.Not so much ketchup to drown the fries,just enough to make things tastier.Who eats just ketchup?Eww.But then you have the repressed,small c christians,who were most likely somehow traumatized sexually as kids.It happens,probably alot more than we like to think about.And the more damage and rage there is folks,the bigger The Kink.I shudder to think what genres of porn a guy like James Dobson,Rush Limbaugh or Falwell has stashed away.And because they're twisted,they think the rest of us are too.It's a very odd pathology,and unfortunately,it has power in the halls of government and in the minds of way too many of The People.

Anyhoo,if you've not read the book,it's a fun read,even if it's stuff(most of which us informed liberal types know anyway,there's nothing new here really)that pisses all of us off about today's conservatives.

As Larry would say himself,he's a smut peddler who cares,and one hell of a business man.Especially when you consider his humble beginnings.

Love and Hate

As most of you know, I'm a mechanic. Before I started working for Harry, I was an engine builder at Ford Motorsport. It doesn't take much imagination to know I love high performace cars and racing. I got into the life early, my dad racing a car at Islip and Freeport Speedways on Long Island.

That said, much as I love NASCAR, I find myself becoming more averse to it. The problem is their close association with the Republican-Conservative-Neocon agenda. It's things like this that turn me off, as well as the blatant displays of 'patriotism' that are nothing more than the use of our troops as props. After being a die hard fan for over 40 years, I'm not so much of one anymore. If NASCAR is losing me, I'm sure they're also losing a lot of others who love the sport but can't abide the politization of it.

Isn't this illegal?

Glenn Greenwald:


He's urging people to find the names and addresses of New York Times editors and reporters in order to "hunt them down and do America a favor." And he said that right after he posted the link to the address of the Times photographer. And this is just the beginning of this syndrome, not the end.

Come on, you legal beagles, people have threatened to sue me for saying a lot less in a less public forum. It seems to me this dickhead [link to his page at Glenn's site] is advocating murder.

Why bother?

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla., July 1 - NASA scrubbed the launching of the shuttle Discovery minutes before its scheduled liftoff Saturday as threatening clouds encroached on the 20-mile boundary around the Kennedy Space Center. [my em]


Scrub the program and start anew, with technology that isn't 40 years old. All we're doing now is pushing our luck and putting lives in danger needlessly. Good thing our military equipment ain't this delicate.