Saturday, September 16, 2006


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Visit Number 100,000

If it is, you're our 100,000th visitor. Email me your mailing address and a copy of my latest book Technocracy will be on its way to you, signed with my thanks.

Good. Fucking. God.

As long as you supported the Chimp and want to overturn Roe v. Wade, you got a job. Qualifications? You don't need no steenking qualifications.

After the fall of Saddam Hussein's government in April 2003, the opportunity to participate in the U.S.-led effort to reconstruct Iraq attracted all manner of Americans -- restless professionals, Arabic-speaking academics, development specialists and war-zone adventurers. But before they could go to Baghdad, they had to get past Jim O'Beirne's office in the Pentagon.


Many of those chosen by O'Beirne's office to work for the Coalition Provisional Authority, which ran Iraq's government from April 2003 to June 2004, lacked vital skills and experience. A 24-year-old who had never worked in finance -- but had applied for a White House job -- was sent to reopen Baghdad's stock exchange. The daughter of a prominent neoconservative commentator and a recent graduate from an evangelical university for home-schooled children were tapped to manage Iraq's $13 billion budget, even though they didn't have a background in accounting.

The decision to send the loyal and the willing instead of the best and the brightest is now regarded by many people involved in the 3 1/2 -year effort to stabilize and rebuild Iraq as one of the Bush administration's gravest errors. Many of those selected because of their political fidelity spent their time trying to impose a conservative agenda on the postwar occupation that sidetracked more important reconstruction efforts and squandered goodwill among the Iraqi people, according to many people who participated in the reconstruction effort. [my em]


This is like high school, when you picked all your buddies first for the team. That's what we have. A buncha high school kids running a superpower. If that doesn't scare you, your either an idiot or uninformed.

Tip o' the Brain to Jane Hamsher.

Tire Recycling Event

Part of my day today was spent getting rid of some old tires I've had hanging around for quite a while. They're a little hard to get rid of. You can't just throw them away, and the alternative of sneakin' 'em onto some tire shop's 'old tire pile' in the middle of the night ain't worth the hassle. Some guys just load up their pickups and dump 'em out in the woods next to the old refrigerators. On my worst day, I wouldn't do that.

Today, my county sponsored a 'tire recycling day' with a government grant. Good use of tax money in my opinion. It solved my little problem in an environmentally sound way.

I ended up taking in 3 bike tires and an old set of wore-out truck tires. The truck tires were under my house. My house is built on a slope, and I can stand up in the front of my 'crawl space' if I'm careful to stand between the floor joists. I've left skin on every one of the damn things over the years, so I always wear a hat to cushion the inevitable blow.

The tires were in the back of the crawl space where I can't stand up. They've been under there since I was young, dumb, and flexible enough to put 'em there without hurting myself. Gettin' 'em out, I hurt myself. Not bad, just a sore back.

Anyway, this event was pretty professional. It was held in the parking lot of the City Hall/Po-leece officer Station/Mrs. G's workplace. It's a little ways off the state highway, and there was extensive signage. They musta thought ahead of time where they were going to put the signs, 'cuz they had 'Tire Recycling Event' with ↑, ←, →, even ↓ for folks who went past it!

They had a big trailer and a gang of guys with county employee shirts on, but I suspect some of the guys were county jail inmates. I didn't ask, but I've gone on little outings like that in my younger days. Believe me, they're welcome respites! There were signs saying "Stop here" and "Stay in your vehicle". They probably didn't want any liability if you trunked yourself on their turf. The guys swarmed the pickup and hauled out the tires, but I had to get out anyway because the guys couldn't figure out how to latch my fiberglass bed cover.

There were prizes too! We got two nice green "Nevada County Recycles" tire pressure gauges and the biggest blue recycling bags I've ever seen. We recycle almost everything around here in blue bags, and I get 33gal. ones. These were 55gal. at least! If I filled one of those, I'd hurt myself gettin' it to the curb fer sure! I was a little disappointed that there wasn't no hot dogs & soda, or a band, but that's the breaks.

Recycling counts. We recycle everything we possibly can, and it's at least double actual trash by volume. As our end of the county grows, landfill space becomes scarce, and over the last coupla years we've reduced landfill usage by 50% or more. Our county 'dump' is a private company, and has a raft of folks, Mexican ladies mostly, who sort every piece of trash that comes in. Using blue bags makes their job easier.

If ya wanta check out our recycling programs, go to Nevada County Recycles. While you're there you can navigate all over the county. Have fun!


I'll be heading to a Superfund site tomorrow to do some actual journalism. Heh ... seriously.

Dave Mejias, Nassau County Legislator and candidate for Congress in New York's 3rd Congressional District, has fought for a clean environment, safe drinking water, and encouraged the adoption of renewable energy technology; his record is in sharp contrast to his opponent Peter King's atrocious environmental record.On Peter King's watch EPA funding has been cut, polluters have been shielded against punitive lawsuits, and the amount of poisons and pollutants in our drinking water has increased. This Sunday the Long Island Environmental Community will come together to publicly announce their endorsement of Dave Mejias for Congress. These organizations agree, Mejias will fight to protect the families and environment of Long Island when he is elected to Congress in November.

Dave Mejias will be receiving the endorsement of the Long Island Conservation Voters, the Long Island Sierra Club, and the Environmental Voters Forum. Hopefully I'll remember my camera.

Take yer 'Free Speech Zones' ...

And shove 'em up yer ass. This is the New York I know.

The New York Police Department has reversed its position and will now allow an anti-war group to march to the United Nations during President Bush's visit next week.


Huge tip o' the Brain to fellow NYer Watertiger.

A question

Does anybody think, if the Rethugs were optimistic about their chances in November, gas prices would have dropped $1/gal (at least here on Long Island) in the past three weeks?

I don't.


Some of Bob's Saturday Cartoons make my point well.

George Bush, Whirling Dervish

Larry C. Johnson on Bush's flip-floppin' on OBL and his own party dope-slappin' him on torture.

Sid Blumenthal's new book, How Bush Rules: Chronicles of a Radical Regime, provides a great benchmark for evaluating what I believe is a new phase in the Bush Presidency. Sid's collection of essays certainly documents the devious, nasty tactics Bush and his boys have employed during their tenure in the White House to date. However, several events this week suggest the act is wearing thin and may be over. Let's start with the hunt/non hunt for bin Laden. [...]

What in the hell? Bush has been on so many sides of this issue that he is giving new meaning to flip flop. First it was dead or alive, followed by "bin Laden, I don't think much about him." Then, a couple of weeks ago, we heard "bin Laden/Saddam/9-11" repeated ad nauseam. And now, he's a low priority. Plus, note that Bush, who vowed to fight terrorism as a military threat instead of relying on that silly Clinton policy of law enforcement and intelligence, now believes, based on what Freddie Barnes reports, that Clinton's vision of catching terrorists based on intelligence is spot on.

The there was today's smackdown on Capitol Hill. Senators McCain, Warner, Graham, and Collins - Republicans all - delivered a major league bitch slapping to Bush. The president trotted up to the Hill with political master Rove in tow, fully expecting to bully the senators into signing off on a legal theory for secret tribunals more appropriate to Stalin's Soviet Union. NYET. Buttressed by tough letters from former secretary of state Colin Powell and former head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General John Vessey, the Senate Armed Services Committee stiffed the president. This was akin to that moment during the Watergate Hearings when Senator Howard Baker went after President Nixon. At least some Republicans have found their conscience and declined to surrender their honor for political expediency. Now, that's the Republican Party I joined.

This is something new. The Bush/Rove playbook on display in Sid's excellent work is not working well right now. Bush wants Republicans to run as tough terrorist fighters. Yet, it is tough to run on combating terrorism when your president says it is not a priority to find the man responsible for 9-11 but it is important to flout the law and leave loopholes for torture. Let's hope this marks a watershed moment.

I hope his party and the nation gives him a woodshed moment. The boy needs taken down a peg. And then impeached .

Better than lesbian porn

Just thinking about this.

Housing bubble

I feel so terrible for these people, but we knew it was coming for a couple years now. It really makes me wonder though, how much financial planning people do when considering buying a house.

Listen to me. If getting into a house means living on a shoestring and praying interest rates don't go up and you don't have a medical crisis over the life of your Adjustable Rate or Interest-only Mortgage, maybe you shouldn't be buying that house. Buy what you can afford comfortably and still have extra left over every month for savings. If you're just getting by with two kids, why have a third? Don't start on me with people have the right to have as many kids as they want. Yes they do, but if it puts them in the poor house and the children they already have will be deprived, why bother? Money isn't the answer to everything but it sure makes life easier. Maybe, before overextending yourself buying that 'dream house', think about what your family will do if you're all living out of your car because you 'had to have it' and the bank forecloses a couple years down the line.

Yes, unscrupulous mortage bankers are a big part of the problem as well as the lassiez faire regulatory climate pervading Washington right now, but it's your money; the biggest investment most people will make in their lifetimes. Make certain you're dealing with someone reputable and all of your questions are answered before you sign on the bottom line. Remember the bankruptcy law they passed a while back? If you default, they'll own you for the rest of your life.

I see it all over my neighborhood, For Sale signs are popping up like crabgrass on every street. It's a damn shame these folks who were scraping by to begin with will now be even further in the hole.

And a word of advice, since I've been seeing so many infomercials and commercials touting some idiot's 'make money in real estate' plan. Save your money. Now is definitely not the time to start speculating in real estate. You'll lose your shirt, trust me.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Keep digging ...

Good. God.

It's not a ditch, it's a freedom moat!

Quote of the Day

Brother Lurch:


That's right, gentlemen and ladies of the Congress. You too may one day stand in the docket in the Hague to answer for your part in enabling Mr Bu$h's war crimes.


So now ...

I'm a mentor.

Buckley calls for handover to Dems

Chris Buckley, scion of William F. Buckley, the 'Godfather of the conservative movement', and a noted, but literate, conservative in his own right, has joined the ranks of those who realize just how bad Bush has fucked up their ideals, their party, and the country.

"The trouble with our times," Paul Valéry said, "is that the future is not what it used to be."

This glum aperçu has been much with me as we move into the home stretch of the 2006 mid-term elections and shimmy into the starting gates of the 2008 presidential campaign. With heavy heart, as a once-proud - indeed, staunch - Republican, I here admit, behind enemy lines, to the guilty hope that my party loses; on both occasions.

What have they done to my party? Where does one go to get it back?
One place comes to mind: the back benches. It's time for a time-out. Time to hand over this sorry enchilada to Hillary and Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden and Charlie Rangel and Harry Reid, who has the gift of being able to induce sleep in 30 seconds. Or, with any luck, to Mark Warner or, what the heck, Al Gore. I'm not much into polar bears, but this heat wave has me thinking the man might be on to something.

My fellow Republicans, it is time, as Madison said in Federalist 76, to "Hand over the tiller of governance, that others may fuck things up for a change."

I doubt that the Dems can fuck things up in quite the same highly organized way the Repugs can, but let's give 'em a chance.

If you read the rest of Mr. Buckley's piece, you can almost hear his snooty Northeastern elite accent!

Molly Remembers Ann Richards

Molly Ivins

She was so generous with her responses to other people. If you told Ann Richards something really funny, she wouldn't just smile or laugh, she would stop and break up completely. She taught us all so much -- she was a great campfire cook. Her wit was a constant delight. One night on the river on a canoe trip, while we all listened to the next rapid, which sounded like certain death, Ann drawled, "It sounds like every whore in El Paso just flushed her john."

One of the most moving memories I have of Ann is her sitting in a circle with a group of prisoners. Ann and Bullock had started a rehab program in prisons, the single most effective thing that can be done to cut recidivism (George W. Bush later destroyed the program). The governor of Texas looked at the cons and said, "My name is Ann, and I am an alcoholic."

Ann got handed a stinking mess: Damn near every state function was under court order. The prisons were so crowded, dangerous convicts were being let loose. She had a long, grinding four years and wound up fixing all of it. She always said you could get a lot done in politics if you didn't need to take credit.

Ms. Ivins knew Ann Richards for many, many years. Please go read the rest.

Bring out your dead ...

An excellent post by Ed Naha over at Smirking Chimp:


As he stared into the camera, almost vampiric in his pasty-faced sense of power, it occurred to me. He's probably not wearing any pants. I mean, would a man in pants, whose family jewels were all warm and snuggly state that "The war against this enemy is more than a military conflict. It is the decisive ideological struggle of the 21st century, and the calling of our generation?"

Nope. Those are cold balls talking, not the brain.

Would a man relying on his brain blurt: "Since the horror of 9/11, we've learned a great deal about the enemy. We have learned that they are evil and kill without mercy -- but not without purpose. We have learned that they form a global network of extremists who are driven by a perverted vision of Islam -- a totalitarian ideology that hates freedom, rejects tolerance, and despises all dissent," when it would seem he was describing what he's done to his own country?


And while at SC, read this one. Seems if you blow the whistle on the illegal doings of your bosses or coworkers at a government agency, you will be shot. Well ... at least you'll be prosecuted.


Bush's corruption is the old news that never was news. By now every single regulatory body under the Executive umbrella, from the FDA to the SEC, has been completely subverted, each led and staffed by high-ranking loyalists of the respective industries they purport to supervise. The kids are driving the bus, and they're not going to tolerate tattling. But none of it is news, according to television producers--especially not similar collusion in the FCC.


And Blogger SUCKS WET MONKEY ASS this morning so I don't know if this will publish or not. I'm off to work. Happy Friday.

Thursday, September 14, 2006


I spoke of this horrible 'get out of jail free card' for the Chimp and his coconspirators last night. At least Harry will give 'em Hell if he has to:

Incredibly good news to come out of the Reid blogger conference call this afternoon: Arlen Specter's foul, pernicious NSA giveaway of the constitution will never make it out of the Senate. Reid will filibuster the bill if necessary to kill it before this session is out, there's only 2-3 weeks left.


Thank you, Senator Reid. It is difficult to express how grateful I am for such a correct, principled stand in defense of some of our most precious rights and freedoms. It is absolutely the correct thing to do; allowing the Specter bill to become law would have been disastrous, and fighting it restores a measure of my faith in the Democrats.


Thanks to Gord and all of you who contacted your reps over the past 24 hours.

The Dirty Dozen


12-Pentagon Steps to a Misfit Military

They give a good run-down of 12 steps to disaster.

The last part:

When the American war in Vietnam finally ground to a halt, the U.S. military was in a state of disarray, if not near-disintegration. Uniformed leaders vowed never-again to allow the military to be degraded to such a point.

A generation later, as the ever less appetizing-looking wars in Iraq and Afghanistan spiral on without end, an overstretched Army and Marine Corps have clearly become desperate. At a remarkable cost in dollars, effort, and lowered standards, recruiting and retention numbers are being maintained for now. The result: U.S. ground forces are increasingly made up of a motley mix of underage teens, old-timers, foreign fighters, gang-bangers, neo-Nazis, ex-cons, inferior officers and a host of near-mercenary troops, lured in or kept in uniform through big payouts and promises.

In the latter half of the Vietnam War, as the breakdown was occurring, American troops began to scrawl "UUUU" on their helmet liners -- an abbreviation that stood for "the unwilling, led by the unqualified, doing the unnecessary for the ungrateful." The U.S. ground forces of 2007 and beyond, fighting in Iraq, Afghanistan, or any other war du jour may increasingly resemble the collapsing military of the Vietnam War, the band of criminal misfits sent behind enemy lines during World War II in the classic Vietnam-era film, The Dirty Dozen, or the janissaries of the old Ottoman Empire.

With a growing majority of Americans opposed to the war in Iraq, even ardent hawks refusing to enlist in droves, and the Pentagon pulling out ever more stops and sinking to new lows in recruitment and retention, a new all-volunteer generation of UUUU's may emerge -- the underachieving, unable, unexceptional, unintelligent, unsound, unhinged, unacceptable, unhealthy, undesirable, unloved, uncivil, and even un-American, all led by the unqualified, doing the unnecessary for the ungrateful. Current practices suggest this may well be the force of the future. It certainly isn't the new military Donald Rumsfeld's been promising all these years, but there's no denying the depth of the transformation.

Go read this if you have pride in our military, or pride in your own military service. It will disgust you, just like everything these bastards get their hands on and then mistreat, abuse, and ruin.

Good Golly, Miss Molly!

Clever bastards, those Daily Show boys...

Bush's 9/11...I mean Iraq war speech was so bad and politicized that The Daily Show called in Little Richard to be an interpreter for the masses and he uncovered exactly what Bush was telling the country.

Afterwards, Jon felt compelled to reach out to President Bush in an act of solidarity to lend some helpful advice:

Stewart: "What I'm saying it this; If this is a battle for civilization, make your case and gear it up. Let's World War II this thing. Alright? And if it's not, stop scaring the shit out of everybody every two years."

Video at you guessed it.

Fear Factor:Propaganda Fatigue Edition

It's getting so I can't swing a dead cat around without hitting some form of fear propaganda and it's pissing me off.

On the teevee it's:

Could your child be at risk of molestation?(stay tuned,in complete suspense, for next Tuesday's in depth report-which won't mention that most kids are molested by a family member or someone they know and trust)

Is the air in your home safe to breathe?(part one of a 487 pt series begins on Action News at 5)

Are you ready in the event of a terrorist attack?(what you can do to protect yourself,part one of a 7,563 part series on the next Happy Morning To You Atlanta show)

And fucking heaven help us if there's one little gray cloud in the sky foretelling a coming"rain event"(yes,that is what they call it now,a rain/sleet/snow "event").Because then the Stormtracker 2 News Team will JUMP into action to tell you every fucking 3o seconds where it's raining now.And when you can expect it to stop raining.With scary graphics,screen crawls with obnoxious noises to let you know something is crawling across the screen that's an EMERGENCY damnit.It's raining,run!Hide!Be Afraid!

On the internets,every fucking so called"news"outlet has some dumbass thing or another about surviving The Terror just waiting in the bushes(heh,heh)to come and getcha.

Visit the current newstand for print media near your house.What do you see?It's either blathering celeb crap(baby Suri,ok she's cute,but so's my kid,so's all the kiddos at Atilla's school.Kids are cute-mostly-so why the fuck is this"news"?Next up,kitties,baby bunnies,and puppies are cute and furry,film at 11),or some bullshit new threat dujour.Is Anna Nicole Smith responsible for her son's death?We explore this in a Channel 6 news special report.Yeah well,kiss my ass Channel 6,and fuck the special report you rode in on.

Dear Media,
Stop it.Right now.Shut.The.Fuck.Up.You.Cowards.

I am an American and I AM NOT AFRAID.Fuck You,you cowardly dirtbags.Land of the Free,Home of the Brave my ass.

If it rains we're not all gonna die.Same goes for snow flurries,a little thunder and lightening or when the wind is blowing at 20mph.STFU already.

If someone drops a nuke on Atlanta,people will die,lots of people.And lots of people will get sick too,and then die.Duct tape and plastic wrap and bottled water won't save a soul.Do you think we don't know that already?But no one's attacking the city,give me a fucking break.The last terror attack we had wasn't a foreign threat you idiots(not to mention what you pricks did to an innocent man in your reports on those incidents),it was a white so called christian american male.No terrorist could get through Atlanta traffic to get to their destination in any timely fashion in the first place,especially someone new here.This city has a minimum of 6 hours a day of rush hour traffic,do you people not live here?You might hide in your studio or office and then fly home at top speed and hide under your bed at the end of the day,but that's because you're COWARDS.I am not a coward.

I am an American and you can't scare me.Bigger men and women have tried and failed.Bite me you pricks.

And you know what?When the stench of neoconservatives and right wingnuts finally clears,and America wakes up from the Long Nap she's taken,my hope is that many of us gather at your homes and places of"work" with torches and pitchforks to hold you personally responsible for the decline of this country.You and those who sign your overpriced paychecks.I've had it with you people.I blame you for lying and fearmongering and gossiping and allowing a disgusting virus to overtake the nation.Middle school children are more sensible,smart,and well behaved than the likes of you.Stop it,you're hurting Our Country.

You're scared of the wrong people motherfuckers.You ought to be scared of the viewing public,because we've had it with you irrelevant moral midgets.


Not learning ...

Okay, we all agree we refused to learn any lessons from the time we spent in Vietnam, proven by the war and resulting occupation in Iraq. We also haven't learned the lessons* the Russians did after they spent a decade in Afghanistan:

Soldiers deployed in Helmand province five years on from the US-led invasion, and six months after the deployment of a large British force, have told The Independent that the sheer ferocity of the fighting in the Sangin valley, and privations faced by the troops, are far worse than generally known.

"We are flattening places we have already flattened, but the attacks have kept coming. We have killed them by the dozens, but more keep coming, either locally or from across the border," one said. "We have used B1 bombers, Harriers, F16s and Mirage 2000s. We have dropped 500lb, 1,000lb and even 2,000lb bombs. At one point our Apaches [helicopter gunships] ran out of missiles they have fired so many. Almost any movement on the ground gets ambushed. We need an entire battle group to move things. Yet they will not give us the helicopters we have been asking for.


You see where I'm going here, right? We're fighting two Vietnams at once, people. Our troops on the ground are under-equipped and over-deployed and the military is breaking, all because no one planned anything past sending them in.


He continued: "We did not expect the ferocity of the engagements. We also expected the Taliban to carry out hit and run raids. Instead we have often been fighting toe to toe, endless close-quarters combat. It has been exhausting. I remember when we had to extract a Danish recce [Brit for 'reconnaissance'] group which was getting attacked on all sides; it was bedlam. We have greater firepower, so we tend to win, but, of course, they can take their losses while our casualties will invariably lead to concern back home.You also have to think that each time we kill one, how many more enemies we are creating. And, of course, the lack of security means hardly any reconstruction is taking place now, so we are not exactly winning hearts and minds."


Did anybody call over to Moscow and ask about the problems they had in that God-forsaken country? Nah, not Rummy's style, he knows everything already. And the Brits should know better.

*Big tip o' the Brain to Dr. Attaturk for the Independent link.

Ann Richards

I usually don't do obits but Ann was my governor when I lived in Fort Worth and one of the few Texans I met who were worth a damn. I had the pleasure of speaking with her at a Dallas Cowboys game when I was part of the base honor guard at Carswell AFB. A funny lady who actually took the time to bullshit with a couple Air Force weenies as if we were old friends. She also spoke the truth about the Bush clan long before anyone even thought about listening.

The Lone Star State has lost one of its greatest treasures. I hope they realize it.

Rest well, Madame Governor.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Filibuster time

Let's see if the Dems show some sack like they didn't do during the SCOTUS hearings. From Glenn Greenwald blogging at C&L:

The FISA bill proposed by Arlen Specter, in collaboration with the White House, is one of the most pernicious pieces of legislation introduced during the Bush presidency. Today, Specter's Senate Judiciary Committee voted along party lines, 10-8, to send the Specter bill to the full Senate (along with competing bills from Sen. DeWine and one jointly sponsored by Sens. Specter and Feinstein).

Because the Specter bill has the support of several supposedly "independent" Republicans (at least) as well as the White House, the only real chance to prevent its enactment is a Democratic-led filibuster in the Senate. This bill, for reasons I have set forth here and here, is incomparably destructive on numerous levels. It would, in sum, abolish all meaningful restrictions and oversight on the President's eavesdropping powers, formally adopt the administration's radical theories of limitless executive power, and destroy the ability to subject the President's eavesdropping conduct to meaningful judicial review (including holding the President accountable for past lawbreaking). As Atrios said today: "If the Democrats are unwilling to stop this, then there really isn't much point in bothering." [my em]


Time to make some calls. I made it easy. Just use the form in the 'Complaint Department' section of the left sidebar.

Well, do it. As Lambert says:

"Refusing to give a blank check?" Bush's warrantless surveillance program involved over 30 felonies. Now the Republicans want to "legalize" all 30 of Bush's felonies - retroactively.

What check is blanker than that?

The Yellow Rogue of Texas

Swiped from Deuddersun

There's a Yellow Rogue from Texas who moved up to DC
His pockets full of oil stock, he's screwing you and me.
His daddy always paid the bills no matter where he went
And his brother rigged the voting so now he's president.

He's the slickest little hustler that Texas ever saw!
He proved that with connections you don't worry 'bout the law.
You may talk about Dick Nixon or sing of Bill's cigar
But the Yellow Rogue from Texas beats both of them by far.

Repeat Vs. 1

The Yellow Rogue is quick and slick, he sure can talk the talk,
It's just that when the bullets fly, he's one more chicken hawk.
Back when the Southeast Asian war sent thousands off to die,
The chicken hawks stayed safe at home, while others paid the price.

Repeat Vs. 1

He looks great in his pilot suit, a hero on TV,
He just can't stand the smell of death, he has an allergy.
The Yellow Rogue's no pacifist; he speaks what he thinks right
But if it puts his ass at risk, he disappears from sight.

Repeat Vs. 1

The chicken hawks are sitting high, they're making money still!
They buy and sell while others die and think they always will.
It's up to us to face them down, to stand and speak what's true
Then run the bastards out of town, the whole damn thieving crew.

(Thanks to Ron Gillis)

Now try gettin' that l'il ditty out'cher haid!


It looks like Iraq's Prime Minister al-Maliki is doing what it takes to stabilize his country.

Looks like the crazy fucker from next door is infinitely preferable to a crazy bully from another 'hood who's bent on wreckin' the joint to get what he wants.

When Iran steps into Iraq for real, the insurgency/civil war/whatever will be over in a week. It won't be pretty, but it'll be over.

Our guys better not be there when that happens, and happen it will. There aren't enough of them, and their supply lines are waaaay too long. They're probably there right now mainly to prevent Iran's intervention.

It's not going to work for much longer.

Bring 'em home. The last thing we need is a war with Iran. Bush thinks he's going to start it with bombing, but if Iran starts it with artillery, armor, and infantry, we're toast. It's not our fight, and the way Bush and Rumsfeld have fucked up our military, we'll likely get tossed out of Iraq on our ass.

Just imagine 100,000 American casualties and nuclear retaliation and you get the idea. A real regional/world war, a wrong and unnecessary one we'll likely lose, and all for nothing more than evil neocon ideology.

Don't think for a minute that the rest of the world would mind seeing us get our ass kicked. Thanks, George.

Troops out of Iraq NOW. Iraq will settle its own problems the way that best (or not) benefits them. Whatever. Let's leave 'em to it.

How bad is he?

Sidney Blumenthal on Bush. How bad is he? 14 pages worth if you print it.

Bush ran as a moderate, tacked right and governed ineffectually -- before 9/11. Since then he's become the most radical American president in history -- and arguably the worst.

Bush's admirers have cast him in the mold of Shakespeare's Henry V, a wastrel royal son who upon rising to the purple realizes his leadership in war. Some detractors offered an opposite portrait of the dry drunk. But these literary and psychological theories failed to assess Bush's radicalism in the historical and constitutional terms of the American presidency.

Bush was unusually incurious and passive in seeking facts. He never demanded worst-case scenarios. His circle of advisers was tightly restricted. Only a select few of the White House staff were permitted to see him, much less interact with him. He made no effort to establish independent sources of information. He never circulated to his staff articles that sparked a policy interest in him. When his support in public opinion declined, he soaked up the flattery of his aides that the people had momentarily lapsed in their appreciation of his heroic strength and vision.

Like whores oohin' 'n aahin' to a john. Lyin' for reward.

Never before has a president so single-handedly and willfully been the source of national and international crises. The tragedy of September 11 cannot be offered as the sole justification to explain his actions. In his first inaugural address, Bush cited a biblical passage about an "angel in the whirlwind." His presidency has been a self-created whirlwind.

Angel? Bush? I think not. An angel of the devil, maybe.

The tragedy that Theodore Roosevelt described is not reserved in its broad dimensions to Britain. Roosevelt wrote his history as a lesson for Americans, who had been spared the travesties of the English revolution. Instead of Cromwell, we had had Washington. Ultimately, a people are responsible for its leaders. Bush's legacy will encompass a crisis over democracy that only the American people can resolve.

We're fixin' to, Sid.

This is an extremely long article but well worth a read.

High-ranking rapists go free, victim in jail


Members of Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW), Veterans for Peace, and Oregon constituents achieved a victory on the road to ending military sexual violence today with a pledge from Congressman Peter DeFazio's (D-Ore.) office that he will be initiating a congressional investigation into the case of Army Specialist Suzanne Swift.

The group from Camp Democracy delivered a letter containing the phone numbers of Swift's chain of command and refused to leave the office until the Congressman acted appropriately on behalf of his constituent and all women in uniform. In unison with the direct action in Washington, constituents in Oregon and Rep. DeFazio's district flooded his offices with phone calls, emails and faxes in support of SPC Swift. Rep. DeFazio also scheduled a personal meeting with Sara Rich, Suzanne's mother, and members of IVAW for September 21, 2006.

Suzanne Swift is a veteran of the Iraq war who is now held in custody at Fort Lewis, Washington. Swift had completed a tour of duty in Iraq, where she was sexually harassed and assaulted at the hands of three of her commanding officers - continuing over the course of her entire deployment. Her efforts to report her treatment were met with disrespect and dismissed. Finally, Swift suffered a breakdown due to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and went absent without leave. She was apprehended in Eugene, Oregon, in June 2006, and instead of seeing her rapists investigated, Swift herself is facing court martial and prison time.

Organizers of the action released the following statement: "Congressman DeFazio has taken an important step toward ending military sexual violence despite the military's unwillingness to follow its own procedures and regulations. This a good first step toward making sure there is never again another Suzanne Swift."

Veterans looking out for their own. No one else is going to do it, least of all the good-ol'-boy chain of command.

Those officers better do some serious time.

Crashing the Plane of State into Iraq


As is often the case, under such lies and manipulations lurks a deeper truth. In this case, let's call it the truth of wish fulfillment. The link between 9/11 and Iraq is unfortunately all too real. The Bush administration made it so in the heat of the post-9/11 shock.

Think of that link this way: In the immediate wake of 9/11, our President and Vice President hijacked our country, using the low-tech rhetorical equivalents of box cutters and mace; then, with most passengers on board and not quite enough of the spirit of United Flight 93 to spare, after a brief Afghan overflight, they crashed the plane of state directly into Iraq, causing the equivalent of a Katrina that never ends and turning that country -- from Basra in the south to the border of Kurdistan -- into the global equivalent of Ground Zero.

That's a Hell of a linkage, but apt.

Subverting Democracy With the Big Lie

Robert Scheer

If representative government were alive and well in America, President Bush would not have dared to give the speech he made Monday on the fifth anniversary of 9/11. In a blatantly partisan screed, the president ripped off a nation's mourning for the 9/11 victims in order to justify his totally unrelated and disastrous invasion of Iraq.

The president's shameless remarks on this solemn occasion were so rife with egregious distortions of fact and logic as to beg ridicule, let alone refutation by a free press, a sturdy political opposition party and an informed public. Sadly, those three essential pillars of a free society have been subverted by five years of willful presidential exploitation of our fears, mocking the Founding Fathers' historic dream of a government accountable to the public.

In urging us to join him at the barricades of what he calls "the decisive ideological struggle of the 21st century and the calling of our generation," Bush cynically conflates Hussein with that deposed dictator's sworn enemy, the religious fanatics of Al Qaeda, mere days after the Republican-run Senate Select Committee on Intelligence established yet again that the two were fundamentally at odds.

Hussein, the Senate committee announced Friday, "did not trust Al Qaeda or any other radical Islamist group and did not want to cooperate with them."

In fact, Hussein was exactly the kind of regional strongman the United States supported, trained and propped up throughout the Cold War. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, then working for President Ronald Reagan, even infamously embraced Hussein in the '80s because his Iraq was considered a bulwark against fundamentalist revolutionary Iran.

Now we have all but handed post-Hussein Iraq to Shiite fundamentalists trained by and allied with the Iran of the ayatollahs. On Monday, the prime minister of "liberated" Iraq, who spent years in exile under the tutelage of Iran's ayatollahs, was back in Tehran concluding agreements on mutual security with the leader of that "rogue regime." How bizarre that Bush's invasion of Iraq, a country that did not have a functioning WMD program, has vastly increased the power of Iran, which, according to Bush, does. Sometimes, by accident, Bush gets it close to right. "Our nation is being tested in a way that we have not been since the start of the Cold War," he said. Unfortunately, it is his administration that is testing us with its relentless incompetence, attacks on our civil liberties and inability to acknowledge the bankruptcy of its policies. The more his deadly failures have become evident, the shriller the rhetoric and the more his administration digs in its heels.

Peel back the lies and hyperbole from Bush's speech and you are left with one pressing concern: If this "war on terror" is really so important to the worldwide battle for freedom, why have we allowed this democracy-mocking demagogue to lead us through it?

Because enough of us were stoopid enough to let him get in a position to hijack the presidency - twice - and the politicians either drank the kool-aid and love it or are too spineless and/or powerless to do anything about it. We also have a media that by and large abetted him.

The times, they are a-changin'.


Figures ...

Somehow, I don't think this is what Bush, Cheney, or any of the other war mongers at 1600 had in mind when they went into Iraq.

Blood is thicker than water. A 'Greater Iran' is already on the horizon and an Islamic superpower (maybe in the form an Islamic, or Shi'a, Hegemony) is not the stuff of deranged pulp fiction writers (yours truly included) anymore. Believe me when I say we've created more problems than we solved by getting Saddam out of Iraq.

They don't get it ...

The news media that is.

I'm watching the highlights of the primary votes yesterday. Thankfully, Chafee won the Rethug seat in Rhode Island. But the talking heads don't get it.

The gist of the news reports is that Dem voters and 'moderate' Repubs want incumbents out. The fact Chafee won means things aren't going so swimmingly. The fact that Hillary won means the 'anti-incumbent' voters have lost.


A Chafee win in RI means whatever moderate, centrist Republicans there are left are desperately trying to hold on to their representation within the party. Don't forget, Cranston Mayor Stephen Laffey was supported by Grover Norquist's Club for Growth and other far-right groups. The Chafee win sends a message that a good portion of Rhode Island Repubs want their party back. Hopefully the RI Dems will put someone up against Chafee who can win but having to deal with Chafee won't be so bad if RIers send him back for another 6.

And love Hillary or hate her, she's running for re-election to the Senate on her record. She's done a lot of good for New York and she got my vote yesterday. I might not support her for the Presidency if she decides to run but she's been a good senator, the vote on the Iraq War notwithstanding.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Earmark Map

I found this little gem over at Ezra's. Navigation could be easier but it's a great resource to see where earmarks (pork) go in your area. Once you get the hang of moving the map around, roll your mouse over the '$' and other symbols to see what program got funded and by how much. Your tax dollars at work.

Quote of the Day


All 9/11 is and was to the likes of you and your craven pants-wetting supporters is another fucking campaign strategy to be used when your craze for power is threatened. Rot in hell, fuckers.

Press For Truth:9/11 (more)

The Goddess of Radio,Randi Rhodes, has audio of her interview with Paul Thompson on her website from her show on 9/7.She is also about to interview him again in the first hour of her show today(according to her homepage),she usually has audio of all her interviews on her site,so this will end up on her website by tommorrow.The link to the 9/7 Thompson interview is on her homepage along with some other good stuff.She's been all over this ABC barf fest faux crock u drama nonsense since Friday.

The reviews are in on Bush's speech. Well, sort of.

Born at the Crest of the Empire has a buncha links to reviews of Bush's obnoxious speech yesterday evening. I didn't watch it because I don't like being lied to, but everything he says is obnoxious.

I list all this as example that the speech failed. The press aren't buying it; it's not on the top of every page. This "major address on the anniversary of 9/11" is not being panned. Far worse for the Bush administration, it is being largely ignored.

This was supposed to be a major speech that rhetorically retied Iraq and the "war on terror" for the run in of the '06 campaign, but quite evidently that effort has failed.

Lying and bragging about your accomplishments when there are none has a way of catching up to you when you try, vainly and in vain, to perpetuate them.

I hope he does it on the witness stand when a real Justice Department catches up to him.

Recap of all the erroneous lies & propaganda

Go see The Best War Ever. Basically a book ad, but a good reminder about


What We Really Lost After 9/11

Pensito Review

Today's New York Times marks the empty, token sacrifice we've made since 9/11, and names what we were really cheated of.

It was a time when the nation was waiting to find out what it was supposed to do, to be called to the task that would give special lasting meaning to the tragedy that it had endured. But the call never came.

The attacks themselves have begun to acquire the aura of inevitability that comes with being part of history. We can argue about what one president or another might have done to head them off, but we cannot really imagine a world in which they never happened, any more than we can imagine what we would be like today if the Japanese had never attacked Pearl Harbor.

What we do revisit, over and over again, is the period that followed, when sorrow was merged with a sense of community and purpose. How, having lost so much on the day itself, did we also manage to lose that as well?

The time when we felt drawn together, changed by the shock of what had occurred, lasted long beyond the funerals, ceremonies and promises never to forget. It was a time when the nation was waiting to find out what it was supposed to do, to be called to the task that would give special lasting meaning to the tragedy that it had endured.

But the call never came. Without ever having asked to be exempt from the demands of this new post-9/11 war, we were cut out. Everything would be paid for with the blood of other people's children, and with money earned by the next generation. Our role appeared to be confined to waiting in longer lines at the airport. President Bush, searching the other day for an example of post-9/11 sacrifice, pointed out that everybody pays taxes.

That pinched view of our responsibility as citizens got us tax cuts we didn't need and an invasion that never would have occurred if every voter's sons and daughters were eligible for the draft. With no call to work together on some effort greater than ourselves, we were free to relapse into a self-centeredness that became a second national tragedy.

What the Times doesn't say is that it could have been no other way with a leader as morally vacant as ours, a president whose first words of inspiration were to buy, buy, buy and show our patriotism and courage by indulging in mindless consumerism.

There was a time when America could do better than this, and I'm still not convinced we chose the alternative. It's a plain fact that George Bush received less of the popular vote in 2000, and from everything I've read about Ohio in 2004, I think the chances are good he did that year also. Those of us who want something finer are still out here. We just have to get better at claiming it.

We can claim it in November, '06 and '08 both.

Lemme hear an AMEN!


Along with such other progressive evangelicals as Washington-based anti-poverty activist Jim Wallis and educator Tony Campolo, McLaren is openly critical of the conservative political agenda favored by many evangelicals.

"When we present Jesus as a pro-war, anti-poor, anti-homosexual, anti-environment, pro-nuclear weapons authority figure draped in an American flag, I think we are making a travesty of the portrait of Jesus we find in the gospels," (my em) McLaren said in a recent interview.

The phony christians need to hear more of this shit from actual practicing Christians.

Tongue-lashing. Whee!

The Last Chance Democracy Cafe on Keith Olbermann's latest telling-off of Bush. See Fixer's post.

I sometimes find myself as awestruck of Keith Olbermann's verbal artistry as Slim Pickens' "Blazing Saddles" character Taggart is of Hedley Lamarr's ("It's not *Hedy*, it's *Hedley*. Hedley Lamarr.").

Olbermann (many times over the last couple of months) has eloquently expressed the disgust which many of us feel about the Bush Administration, especially when they and their ilk malign those who would question their misdeeds, misadventures and crimes against humanity.

The title of this piece is what got me:

God darnit Mr. Lamarr, you use your tongue prettier than a twenty dollar whore.

Please leave the chrome on the trailer hitch!

Bush's Phony War

Robert Dreyfuss in Rolling Stone via Hoffmania

President Bush not only created a fake "War on Terror" to scare voters into supporting his policies -- he is failing to address the real threat facing America

The problem is, almost everything that President Bush understands about his own war on terrorism is wrong.

According to nearly a dozen former high-ranking officials who have been on the front lines of the administration's counterterrorism effort, the president is not only fighting the wrong war -- he is fighting it in a way that has actually made the threat worse. The war on terrorism, they say, has been mismanaged and misdirected almost from the start, in no small part because the president simply does not understand the nature of the enemy he is fighting.

"I hate the term 'global war on terrorism,' " says John O. Brennan, a CIA veteran who served as the first director of the National Counterterrorism Center, the primary organization set up by Bush to analyze all intelligence about terrorism and coordinate strategic operational planning. "I hate the tough talk, you know, the 'we're gonna kill these guys' stuff."

Brennan is not alone. In a survey conducted this summer, more than 100 top foreign-policy experts -- including former secretaries of state, CIA directors and high-ranking Pentagon officials -- were asked if the president is "winning the War on Terror." Eighty-four percent said no.

Five years after the attacks of September 11th, the administration has failed to grasp the shifting realities of terrorism. If the United States is to have any chance at preventing another terrorist attack -- as the British government apparently did in London last month -- there are five essential lessons the president needs to learn:


In Afghanistan, the CIA reaped an intelligence bonanza, seizing Al Qaeda's computers, files and organizational records. "Once we got Al Qaeda's hard drives, our knowledge expanded exponentially," says a retired CIA station chief. That intelligence has enabled counterterrorism officers to target Al Qaeda operatives around the world, all but eviscerating the group's foreign presence. "We've killed or captured at least one or two terrorists a day for five years, all over the world," says an experienced CIA hand. "More than 4,000 in all." A relentless crackdown in 2003 by authorities in Saudi Arabia virtually eliminated Al Qaeda there, and a terrorist group in Algeria allegedly tied to bin Laden was smashed.


If the president had kept his focus on capturing bin Laden, top officials say, he might have been able to declare a swift victory. Instead, Bush shifted from going after Al Qaeda in Afghanistan to going after Saddam Hussein in Iraq -- a decision with fateful consequences for U.S. security. "Iraq broke our back in the War on Terror," says Michael Scheuer, who headed the CIA's Al Qaeda unit until 2004.

"They're inspired by the great fucking leader," says a former CIA station chief with wide experience in the Middle East. "And we need the great fucking leader's head on a pike."

I can think of another great fucking leader's head that needs to be on a pike next to bin Laden's...


By failing to "smoke out" bin Laden as promised, the president has given hope to a new generation of freelance terrorist cells, Islamist copycats and Al Qaeda wanna-be's. "We let them get away," says a retired CIA station chief. "We took a relatively centralized organization and turned it into a generalized virus. Before Afghanistan, we were facing somewhat of a unified threat. We now have the equivalent of a phantom that we're fighting."


or President Bush, the way to stop terrorism is to wage a war. But isolated terrorists who conspire in the suburbs of London and coordinate their attacks on jihadist Web sites can't be defeated by armies -- they can only be stopped by a combination of patient, old-fashioned police work and good intelligence. Indeed, the success of the British police and Scotland Yard in halting the recent threat in London represents a textbook example of how terrorists can be thwarted.

Over the past two years, as the CIA has been forced to do the bidding of the Pentagon, scores of top agency officials have been fired or have quit in disgust. In addition, Rolling Stone has learned, the Defense Department has even blocked efforts by the agency to produce a National Intelligence Estimate -- a formal, top-secret analysis of the threat posed by Al Qaeda and other radical Islamist groups. Five years after the attacks of September 11th, the administration still lacks a unified, up-to-date analysis of who the enemy is and how best to fight him.


Terrorism is not an enemy, but a method. As such, it can never be defeated -- only contained and reduced. Even if the United States were to wipe out every terrorist cell in the world today, terrorism would be back tomorrow, because new grievances and new cries for revenge will continue to create new terrorists. In addition, there will always be violence-prone, armed insurgent groups that use terrorist methods in conflicts around the world, from Hamas in Palestine and Hezbollah in Lebanon to rebel and dissident groups in Kashmir, Chechnya, Sri Lanka, Spain, Colombia, the Philippines and the Congo.

In the longer term, with each passing day, the heavy-handed U.S. involvement in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Israel-Palestine conflict is producing new terrorists. By his very policies, President Bush is spreading the virus, not quarantining it. The war in Iraq has radicalized Muslims all over the world, and it has allowed them to portray the invasion of Iraq as an attack on Islam. "The president says Iraq is the central front in the war on terrorism, but Iraq has turned out to be the central front because we've made it so," says Wilkerson. "Osama bin Laden is probably chuckling in his cave. We gave it to him on a platter, with a knife and fork." (my em)

That, in the end, is the most important lesson of all to be learned from the campaign against terrorism. The hatred inflamed by the Bush administration cannot be fixed by cops, spies or soldiers. It can be fixed only by a more unified and coordinated stance toward the rest of the world -- one that creates allies rather than inspiring hatred.

"We need a healthier foreign policy," says Brennan, the former counterterrorism head. "It will take a diplomatic track to address this problem -- in ways other than killing people."

Not only have Bush and his fellow criminals done all the wrong things, they've done all the things wrong. Evil and Incompetent: a recipe for disaster, and that is exactly what's happening.

Gaping Holes in the 9/11 Narrative

Robert Scheer

What we still don't know about 9/11 could kill us. By "we" I mean the public that has been kept in the dark for five years by a president who may know the truth but has chosen to ignore it. Instead of grappling with the thorny origins of that disaster, George Bush willfully turned the nation's attention and resources to a totally unrelated and disastrous imperial adventure in Iraq.

Just how unrelated was definitively established last Friday with the belated release of the Senate Intelligence Committee's second report, which concluded that there not only was zero connection between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda, but that Iraq was the one country in the region where Osama bin Laden could not operate.

Despite this sorry record of neglect in Southwest Asia and the creation of a quagmire and recruiting poster for terrorism in Iraq, Bush once again arrogantly asserts that his policies have made us safer, even as he has undermined our domestic freedoms and mocked the U.S. commitment to international law, particularly concerning the treatment of prisoners.

After five years of official deceit, it is not too difficult to believe that the isolation of those prisoners was done less for reasons of learning the truth about 9/11 and more in an effort to politically manage the narrative released to the public.

In short, the most cited source that we have on what happened on 9/11, the much celebrated 9/11 Commission Report, was stage-managed by the Bush administration, just as it has controlled and distorted so much other information.

In light of that sorry record of the propagandistic exploitation of the 9/11 tragedy for partisan political purpose, is it any wonder that large numbers of Americans have doubts about all of it and that a considerable industry of documentaries and investigative reports has sprung up with alternative theories ranging from the plausible to the absurd?

Press for Truth.



Press For Truth:9/11

I hesitate to write alot about 9/11 simply because I was not in any of the locations where planes became weapons that day,no one I know died or lost someone,and while I was sickened,stunned and saddened on that day,I never had to see,smell,hear or live with the aftermath of that madness.I feel like this part of our history should be told by those impacted most,my offerings for that day are really not that relevant.I was at home,nearly a thousand miles from NYC,my husband was in Houston on bidness,and our little guy had got on the school bus early that morning,around 7am.It was probably only once out of a handful of days I went back to bed after Atilla left for school.The phone rang,waking me up.It was my husband asking me if I had the TV on(the TV is never on in the daytime at my house unless something big happens).I rolled out of bed,and turned on the TV in the living room just moments before the second plane smashed into the WTC.All the air left my lungs and my husband's voice faltered.He told me he and his boss were on their way to rent a vehicle before the mad rush began and they'd be driving home,and that he'd call me back when they got on the road.I think we hung on the phone,mostly quiet,both of us sobbing softly,for about half an hour before we decided I should go pick up our son from school.At the school,the front office knew what was happening,but no one in the classrooms did.Lots of parents were freaking out jamming the phones,a few of us took our kids home.I wasn't afraid our school would be hit,I just wanted my baby home with me,it's a Mom Thang I guess.See? I told you my reflections weren't all that exciting.I started getting pissed off maybe a month or so after 9/11,as my shock wore off and I wanted to know why this happened,HOW it could happen.

Nate over at Get In Their Face! is hosting the almost 90 minute documentary(run time is 1:24,scroll down the page just a bit,it's there,and linked on his sidebar.He's got quite the collection of films there) Press For Truth: 9/11, I just finished watching it. Let me give you a feel for the film in my immediate after viewing opinion:

You must see it. You must try to get as many people as you can to see it.You might even be able to convince any"moderates"you know to watch it,hard core righties won't like this film one bit and will attack it.Let'em try,once you watch it,you'll see how difficult it will be to pick apart.

There are no tinfoily conspiracy theories here.In fact,most of the information presented is open source,with each point made often having several sited resources.This makes it quite easy to fact check,the information has been open source from day one.Paul Thompson constructed a time line using all(or mostly,I have not looked at the whole timeline yet)open source information,his work is a large part of this film.Timelines are extremely useful in constructing a look at any part of the historical record,it makes events much easier to connect and understand.As laid out,this particular timeline(actually,it's a series of timelines) is simply STUNNING in how it connects the dots.

Here's the thing though,this information has been let out in teeny,tiny little pieces.Little pieces scattered all over the media in it's various forms.Sometimes it's front page or prominent information,sometimes it's tucked away in smaller city papers,internet sites,magazines,or audio and/or video clips,etc.But none of it has ever been pieced together to tell the story with no other motive than to tell the Truth.Until Thompson and his volunteers began digging.And digging.I cannot imagine the thousands of hours spent on this project.

Nate's also got some other really good documentary films on his site,all free for the viewing if your computer will co-operate.Go visit him,and thank him too.

The right wing has made it impossible to discuss the darkness at the heart of our nation today openly,without fear of retribution,intimidation,or even physical harm.If we can't even talk about what's wrong without fighting,lying and ad hominem attacks,we will never,ever be able to identify and fix what is broken.We must not let them do this anymore,not if we expect to survive as a country.IMO,that is one of THE most insideous things today's conservative"movement"has done.We must look into the activities and backrounds of those in power,so we can decide if the people in charge of the world are people of character and strength or criminals,murderers and cowards.We simply must be allowed to have that choice and decide if the costs of what our country does(or doesn't do) is too great to us,and to others.Democracy cannot survive without this,and right now,that's going away faster and faster with every hour we stand silent.


Olbermann at Ground Zero last night:


And there is something worse still than this vast gaping hole in this city, and in the fabric of our nation.
There is, its symbolism - of the promise unfulfilled, the urgent oath, reduced to lazy execution.
The only positive on 9/11 and the days and weeks that so slowly and painfully followed it ... was the unanimous humanity, here, and throughout the country. The government, the President in particular, was given every possible measure of support.
Those who did not belong to his party - tabled that.
Those who doubted the mechanics of his election - ignored that.
Those who wondered of his qualifications - forgot that.
History teaches us that nearly unanimous support of a government cannot be taken away from that government, by its critics.
It can only be squandered by those who use it not to heal a nation's wounds, but to take political advantage.
Terrorists did not come and steal our newly-regained sense of being American first, and political, fiftieth. Nor did the Democrats. Nor did the media. Nor did the people.
The President - and those around him - did that.


When those who dissent are told time and time again - as we will be, if not tonight by the President, then tomorrow by his portable public chorus - that he is preserving our freedom, but that if we use any of it, we are somehow un-American ...
When we are scolded, that if we merely question, we have "forgotten the lessons of 9/11" ... look into this empty space behind me and the bi-partisanship upon which this administration also did not build, and tell me:
Who has left this hole in the ground?
We have not forgotten, Mr. President.
You have.
May this country forgive you.

The entire transcript, of course, at Crooks & Liars.

Personally, I'm not in a forgiving mood. When dealing with this President and his minions, I'm looking toward vengeance.

Primary Day in NY

Polls open in 45 minutes. Get out there and pick your candidates, dammit.

And an aside: We'll be getting our 100,000th visitor sometime in the next week. Yes, I realize Atrios and Kos get more hits than that in half a day, but for a buncha folks who all have lives and jobs far removed from the profession of journalism, I think it's pretty good. My great thanks to my blog partners past and present, without whom the Brain wouldn't be half the blog it is.

Free parting gift: If I can figure out who our 100,000th visitor is, I'll send you a signed copy of my latest novel Technocracy, which can be used as a doorstop, paperweight, or as a form of home protection (hit somebody with it, you'll see what I mean).

Monday, September 11, 2006


Heh ... They named one after the old man.

That's how you know you've made it.

Alterman canned by MSNBC

9/11: America attacked twice

It would be impossible to do justice here to the legacy of 9/11 at year five and I'm not going to try. This nation was doubly cursed on this day five years ago; first by the attack itself, and second by the reaction of our dishonest, incompetent and corrupt leadership's exploitation of it for their own naked political and ideological purposes. As every single global poll during the past four years indicates, we are a less admirable nation than we were five years ago. We are more warlike, more arrogant, more ignorant, less compassionate, less generous, less free, and thanks to the Bush administration's catastrophic invasion of Iraq, far less safe.

P.S., I'm Fired...

He'll soon be at Media Matters. Good.

Some things never change...

Go see Mickey Mouse presents the Reichstag fire. Watch it for a minute or so. The captions change.

Oh, the irony...

Ironic Times

Blair Leaving, Won't Say When
Hasn't received instructions from Bush.

House Panel: Intel on Iran Weak
But good enough to warrant preemptive nuclear strike, says Cheney.

Senate Report: Saddam Had No Ties to Al Qaeda
But he was close to Rumsfeld.

Republicans Concerned Spy Agencies Playing Down Iran Threat
Fear voters not sufficiently scared.


We reported that President Bush had referred to busting the Miami terrorist plot as a great success. In fact, FBI informants provided the money, video cameras, plans, warehouse, cellphones, targets, a van and the Al Queda "swearing in" ceremonies, while the captured terrorists provided only the marijuana, so Bush must have been referring to the great success of busting some other terrorist plot. We apologize for any confusion caused by our mistake.

In the old days, you brought the weed, the cops brought the money, and you were busted. Later, the cops brought the weed, you brought the money, and you were busted. Nowadays, the cops bring the weed and the money, and you're busted. Sometimes the cops bust other cops this way. They all have guns, so sometimes it's funny.

Five Years After 9/11, Drop the War Metaphor

A guest editorial at BuzzFlash. Two 'must reads' in one day. Amazing. Must be an election year.

The war metaphor was chosen for political reasons. First and foremost, it was chosen for the domestic political reasons. The war metaphor defined war as the only way to defend the nation. From within the war metaphor, being against war as a response was to be unpatriotic, to be against defending the nation. The war metaphor put progressives on the defensive. Once the war metaphor took hold, any refusal to grant the president full authority to conduct the war would open progressives in Congress to the charge of being unpatriotic, unwilling to defend America, defeatist. And once the military went into battle, the war metaphor created a new reality that reinforced the metaphor.

Once adopted, the war metaphor allowed the president to assume war powers, which made him politically immune from serious criticism and gave him extraordinary domestic power to carry the agenda of the radical right: Power to shift money and resources away from social needs and to the military and related industries. Power to override environmental safeguards on the grounds of military need. Power to set up a domestic surveillance system to spy on our citizens and to intimidate political enemies. Power over political discussion, since war trumps all other topics. In short, power to reshape America to the vision of the radical right - with no end date.

9/11 was a crime - a crime against humanity - and terrorism is best dealt with as crime on an international level.

It is time to toss the war metaphor into the garbage can.

Bush is an occupation president, not a war president, and his war powers should be immediately rescinded. Rep. Lynn Woolsey's resolution to do just that (H.R. 5875) should be taken seriously and made the subject of national debate.

Finally, openly discussing the war metaphor as a metaphor would raise the question of the domestic effect of giving the president war powers, and the fact that the Bush administration has shamelessly exploited 9/11 to achieve the political goals of the radical right - with all the disasters that has brought to our country. It would allow us to name right-wing ideology, to spell it out, look at its effects, and to see what awful things it has done, is doing, and threatens to keep on doing. The blame for what has gone wrong in Iraq, in New Orleans, in our economy, and throughout the country at large should be placed squarely where it belongs - on right-wing ideology that calls itself "conservative" but mocks real American values (my em).

Metaphors cannot be seen or touched, but they create massive effects, and political intimidation is one such effect. It is time for political courage and political realism. It is time to end the political intimidation of the war metaphor and the terror it has loosed on America.

I couldn't have put it better myself. Go read the rest.

Cheney's influence waning

Good. The last paragraph of a three-page article in WaPo:

Mr. Cheney maintains that what matters now is convincing the country that it is really at war and that defeat is not an option. And at 65, he seems willing to wait for his vindication. As Mr. Cheney recently told NBC, "History will decide how I did."

It already has, motherfucker. Hopefully it won't be too long before the Devil collects on your deal with him.

Promises not kept. Duh.

Paul Krugman via Welcome to Pottersville, with an intro by Jurassicpork:

Still, when you consider the Bush family's cozy corporate relationship with the bin Ladens, you'd think the appearance of impropriety and conflcit of interest alone, if not because of the 3000 innocent lives taken five years ago today, would've given the Bush administration incentive to capture Osama bin Laden long before now.

But I'll let Paul Krugman have his say...

And so he does.

Five years ago, the nation rallied around a president who promised vengeance against those responsible for the atrocity of 9/11. Yet Osama bin Laden is still alive and at large. His trail, The Washington Post reports, has gone "stone cold." Osama and his deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri, are evidently secure enough in their hideaway that they can taunt us with professional-quality videos.

Meanwhile, much of Afghanistan has fallen back under the control of drug-dealing warlords and of the Taliban, which sheltered Al Qaeda before it was driven from Kabul. [...]

The path to this strategic defeat began with the failure to capture or kill bin Laden. Never mind the anti-Clinton hit piece, produced for ABC by a friend of Rush Limbaugh; there never was a clear shot at Osama before 9/11, let alone one rejected by Clinton officials. But there was a clear shot in December 2001, when Al Qaeda's leader was trapped in the caves of Tora Bora. He made his escape because the Pentagon refused to use American ground troops to cut him off.

At the same time, the administration balked at giving the new regime in Kabul the support it needed. As he often does, Mr. Bush said the right things: the history of conflict in Afghanistan, he declared in April 2002, has been "one of initial success, followed by long years of floundering and ultimate failure. We're not going to repeat that mistake."

But he proceeded to do just that, neglecting Afghanistan in ways that foreshadowed the future calamity in Iraq. During the first 18 months after the Taliban were driven from power, the U.S.-led coalition provided no peacekeeping troops outside the capital city. Economic aid, in a destitute nation shattered by war, was minimal in the crucial first year, when the new government was trying to build legitimacy. And the result was the floundering and failure we see today.

But Iraq doesn't explain it all. Even though the Bush administration was secretly planning another war in early 2002, it could still have spared some troops to provide security and allocated more money to help the Karzai government. As in the case of planning for postwar Iraq, however, Bush officials apparently refused even to consider the possibility that things wouldn't go exactly the way they hoped.

These days most agonizing about the state of America's foreign policy is focused, understandably, on the new enemies we've made in Iraq. But let's not forget that the perpetrators of 9/11 are still at large, five years later, and that they have re-established a large safe haven.

The first 'comment' is killer:

Yeah: a large safe haven bunkered in Maryland, run by the Vice President.

If this administration ever kept one of its promises other than the ones it's made to rich people, it might give me a heart attack out of sheer surprise. I'm in no danger.

The Day That Changed Everything Wasn't 9/11

Today's 'must read', from TomDispatch. As always when reading Tom, take a lunch.

When, back in the 1960s, Senator J. William Fulbright wrote of "the arrogance of power" as a defining trait of America's leaders, few in power took him seriously. So many years later, the question is: Do our present arrogant leaders have the faintest idea how limited their powers really are? As Ira Chernus, author of Monsters To Destroy: The Neoconservative War on Terror and Sin, suggests below, on this fifth anniversary of the September 11th attacks, the leadership of an increasingly cornered empire continues to put its emphasis not just on striking back, but on striking first... and wherever. This is the most dangerous, the most blinding and fearful legacy of the 9/11 attacks. In the long run, it threatens a world in rubble. Tom

Yes, it changed everything -- not September 11, 2001, when the Twin Towers collapsed, but November 9, 1989, when the Berlin Wall fell and left the U.S. at sea, drifting without an enemy in a strange new world.

The neoconservatives understand all this perfectly well -- and well before September 11, 2001. For years, they had dreamed of preserving American virtue (and American global dominance) by flaunting American military might. They just needed an ongoing series of excuses to do the flaunting. The attacks of 9/11 gave them their chance.

Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and Condoleezza Rice (all products of the Cold War era) said it clearly in the weeks following the attack. Their new war would not be a straightforward World War II-style march to victory. It would be more like… well, the war they knew, the Cold War, with its endless string of conflicts, crises, containments, and battles in the frontier lands of what used to be called the Third World. And it would be forever.

Here's the irony. Unlike the nuclear-armed Soviet Union in the Cold War years, terrorists cannot actually threaten to obliterate our country or destroy the planet. But each apocalyptic warning of war to the death by the Bush administration only hastens another kind of loss -- the loss of the American imperial power they so prize.

This is the vicious circle from Hell. The Bush administration's aggressive policies weaken U.S. power. Then its officials try to frighten the public into supporting the very same aggressive policies. We were stuck in a similar cycle, only half-recognized, throughout the Cold War years, and there's no end in sight. So far, it looks like not much has changed at all since 9/11.

Already, there is a growing awareness that the Bush Global War on Terror is doing more harm than good. Even from the foreign policy elite we can hear (though still often faintly) voices saying it's time to call it off. For now, the talk is narrowly focused on our imperial well-being -- the weakening of U.S. power and interests around the world.

Perhaps, as losses mount, Americans will eventually see the more important truth: Simplistic moralism and a pervasive fear of apocalyptic disaster weaken our society here at home. They make every step toward positive change look like a looming danger and that plays right into the hands of conservatives who are dedicated to preventing the change we need so badly. If the failed war on terror eventually teaches us this lesson, 9/11 will turn out to be the day that did indeed change everything.

To paraphrase Monsieur de Tocqueville, "America is great because she is good. When she stops being good, she will cease to be great."

We're well on our way to being neither unless we get rid of this administration and their neocon enablers. We need to re-invent ourselves in the realization that we live on this planet with neighbors, good and bad both. We don't own it. That is the true 'generational' battle.

Quote of the Day

From the ground in Baghdad:

As things stand, many 4-23 members say the sweeps are no more than a temporary fix. Some argue that the aim is only to make Iraq look good before the Nov. 7 U.S. elections - "fighting for the House of Representatives," as Sgt. Brian Patton describes it. [my em]

Tip o' the Brain to Xan.


[I think I might have posted this before. It's a letter my wife wrote to my family in Germany a few days after 9/11, recounting her experience and to get it down as some sort of record:]

14 September 2001

I wanted to tell you what has happened here, from my vantage point. This is not to scare you, but to let you know what I have been through and that I have made it out ok.

My office is directly across the street from the World Trade Center. As Birgit [my cousin who'd visited NYC 6 weeks before] may have told you, my office faces the Trade Center, and the Towers are the only thing I truly see from there. If you have seen any of the local maps, they refer to the World Financial Center and the American Express and Merrill Lynch Buildings. My office was on the 44th floor of the Merrill Lynch Building.

I arrived at work at 06:40 hours and was preparing to leave the office at 09:15 with two co-workers to visit a client in New Jersey. We were to have left the building at 09:15 to get the car to drive there. At 08:45, the office was quiet as not everyone had arrived for the day. We heard, what I thought was the sonic boom of a military plane. [Fixer] and I had heard the same sound on one of our cruises when a Coast Guard plane "buzzed" the ship. The next thing after the boom, the building shook. Since all of our windows faced the towers, someone began to cry out, "My God, the plane is going to hit the Tower". Everyone raced to the windows to open the remaining blinds and I was no exception. I watched, in horror as the tail end of the first plane disappeared into the North Tower. At the same time it was disappearing, pieces of the fuselage were falling out of the plane while a huge fireball was coming out of the opposite side. We all stood there for about 45 seconds in total disbelief, thinking this was not real and rather a stunt for a movie script. At this time, I still was unaware the plane was a commercial jet and not a military plane. We believed this was a "freak accident".

My Vice President (the big boss of the department) was of sound mind enough to call out for everyone to evacuate the office. I grabbed my things and ran out, following my co workers through the suite of our office space. We considered this an emergency and walked down the entire 44 floors of the building, only to reach street level, almost directly under the burning North Tower. It appeared to me that my company were the only ones on the stairs. We have over 225 people working for the company, and with everyone coming out at the same time, the exit area was getting crowded. We had some people who had heart conditions. We tried to help them as much as possible down the stairs and out of the building.

We kept moving outside, to allow everyone an area to exit the building. While walking outside, I started to see pieces of the burning building floating down, seeming like a feather, until it impacted the street, and exploded like fireballs on the pavement.

I passed two people, who had apparently been pedestrians on the street, who were struck by burning debris. They were burned so badly, their bones were exposed. They were burned almost beyond recognition.

After being on street level, not more than 2-3 minutes, I kept saying , "We shouldn't be here. We are too close to the area." Just after I said this, I heard the second sonic boom, and the second plane impacted the South Tower, and debris again began to rain down on us. At this time, I was certain we were under attack by terrorists. All of this transpired in just 18 minutes.

We ran through my office building towards the Hudson River, on the West side of "downtown" Manhattan. I kept my wits together enough to know we had to continue to get away, moving North of the area. People were in a panic and many of us knew people who worked in the towers. One of the girls who worked in my accounting department had a boyfriend who worked in the Tower, apparently on the floor that was struck first. She was paralyzed with horror.

In the midst of all the confusion, I was able to locate my two immediate bosses. We stayed together and continued to walk North and away from the area. We continued about 15-20 blocks on foot as there were no vehicles to be seen with the exception of emergency vehicles.

We soon saw a taxi cab, that was locked with the driver standing by and watching with horror of his own. We were able to convince him to drive us to Penn Station. We were trying to get on a train to get out of the City as soon as possible.

It took us a long time driving, but we made it to Penn Station by 9:40. I made my way inside and called [Fixer] to tell him I was alive. It was now 0945. People were in a daze trying to figure out what was going on. No one that was in the Midtown area knew exactly what was happening, but they knew it was not good.

There was a train scheduled to leave Penn Station for my home at 10:15. My Manager and I were able to get on the train. We were packed into the train with no room, all hoping against hope to get out of the City.

At 10:30, an announcement was made that the train was cancelled; Penn Station was closed; and we would have to exit the train and get out of Penn Station, only to have to go out on the streets of New York City.

I was trapped in a City under attack, with no hopes of getting home in the immediate future.

My boss and I started walking away from Penn Station in case it was the next to be hit. We were also only two blocks away from the Empire State Building. We feared this may be the next target.

[Rumors were running rampant in the hours following the attack and if you listened to the news, bombs were going off everywhere ~ F]

There was no traffic in the streets because the City had effectively been closed. It was surreal to walk in the streets of New York City with no sounds of cars, trucks, busses or overhead planes. People were wandering aimlessly, walking in the middle of the major streets of NYC, without knowing what to do or where to go.

We made our way to 42nd street, and watched, on the large exterior televisions as the Towers collapsed.

All businesses and stores had closed by this time; however; there had been people working on construction sites who had radios on. They allowed us to listen to the news. We walked a little further and stopped by a truck who was stopped with his door open allowing us to listen to a bit more of the news as we continued to walk on.

We attempted to find a hotel to stay in, however, there were none to be found, nor did I really want to think about spending the night in the City.

After wandering for hours, we were told that one of the bridges leading out of the City and towards home would be opened to pedestrians. This was on the East side of town, and "uptown" from where we were. We continued to walk towards the bridge among the masses of people just wandering. We were on a "mission" to get home and out of the City, no matter how far we had to walk.

After a while, we were now at 53rd Street and 3rd Avenue, almost on the East River, and at the midpoint of the island. The subways began working again and we were among the first to get on and get safely out of Manhattan. It took another few hours before I finally made it home at 16:30.

We have remained in the house for the past few days, glued to the television, trying to get as much news about what is happening as possible. The death toll is expected to rise to almost 10,000, if not more. Entire companies of 1500 people or more have been lost. We have no information whether my building, which is considered to be in "ground zero", will ever be able accessible again or not. Telephones are sporadic coming into and out of NY. We are awake now, Friday, since 05:30.

There have been several arrests overnight, where they believe there were three different groups, attempting to get on planes out of Kennedy airport and LaGuardia airport in NY, who were going to try to do more damage.

The World Trade Center was truly a world in itself. There were businesses from at least 15 different countries who had companies and people in the Towers. Japan had 31 companies, most of which were clients of my company. Deutsche Bank had offices there and 4 German nationals are confirmed dead with numerous others listed as currently missing.

What you see on television, if you have been watching, is nothing compared to having been there. It still seems like a bad dream, however, it is not. I have had a lot of pain in my legs from all of the stairs I walked down, and all of the additional walking, however, I sit here and say, "thank goodness I am here to feel the pain".

The people of New York and the surrounding states have pulled together for the rescue efforts. We will get past this and we will come back bigger and better than we were, once we have had the opportunity to grieve and heal.

I wanted you to know that I am ok. That is all for now.

We send our love to you all.

[As you can see, not long after New York's blackest day, we, and I speak for most NYers, were already looking to the future. We are an irrepressable bunch and as history has proven, 5 years later we are back in stride, back to our old form. I am proud, honored, and privileged to call myself a born and bred New Yorker and will be until I die, regardless of where I choose to live. ~ Fixer]