Saturday, December 2, 2006

Weekly blogwhore

Chapter 8 of my novel The Captains is up at The Practical Press.

Saturday Night Out West

I was goin' through some old (!) photos and found one of me'n Mrs. G out on the town.

Wildwood Weed

This is an old country song by Jim Stafford:

The name of this song is 'The Wildwood Flower'
Now 'The Wildwood Flower' is an old country classic
It gained a whole new popularity
The song isn't any more popular
But the flower is doin' real good

The wildwood flower grew wild on the farm
And we never knowed what it was called
Some said it was a flower and some said it was weed
I didn't gave it much thought...
One day I was out there talking to my brother
Reached down for a weed to chew on
Things got fuzzy and things got blurry
And then everything was gone
I Didn't know what happened
But I knew it beat the hell out of sniffin' burlap

I come to and my brother was there
And he said, 'What's wrong with your eyes?'
I said, 'I don't know, I was chewing on a weed'
He said, 'Let me give it a try'
We spent the rest of that day and most of that night
Trying to find my brother, Bill
Caught up with him 'bout six o'clock the next mornin'
Naked, swinging on the windmill
He said he flew up there
I had to fly up and get him down
He was about half crazy

The very next day we picked a bunch of them weeds
And put 'em in the sun to dry
Then we mashed 'em up and we cleaned 'em all
And put 'em in the corncob pipe
Smokin' them wildwood flowers got to be a habit
We didn't see no harm
We thought it was kind of handy
Take a trip and never leave the farm

A big ol' puff on the wildwood weed
Next thing you know
We's just wandering behind the little animals
All good things gotta come to an end
And it's the same with the wildwood weed

One day this feller from Washington come by
And he spied us and he turned white as a sheet
And he dug and he burned
And he burned and he dug
And he killed all our cute little weeds
Then he drove away
We just smiled and waved
Sittin' there on that sack of seeds

Y'all come back now, ya hear

Best Christmas Lights Ever

I found this at Maru's:

Excellent creativity but if this guy lived across the street from me, I'd burn the place down after the second night.

Bah Freaking Humbug

I've decided I hate the holidays.

When my kids were little,I enjoyed this time of year. Putting up the tree,buying presents and hiding them,those middle of the night gift wrapping sessions,even cooking the big ass dinner.

Nowadays,not so much.

I'm not the "typical" female as in I HATE shopping(the only exception to this is the bookstore,my only shopping weakness). This time of year is THE worst time to do it. People are mean,in a hurry,and there's always at least one spoiled brat(an adult one)who has to be an asshole because his/her gift choice isn't there. The parking lots are crowded,and full of people who don't give a fuck if they run you over. The stores are a trainwreck by 10 AM,with shit strewn everywhere. And why is it a store will have 50 damned cash registers but never more than 10 open?

Maybe it's all those years I spent working retail,maybe I'm getting cranky in my old age,or maybe I'm sick of working my ass off making the Holidays nice and pretty for everyone else. Maybe it's that my birth family has nothing more to do with me or my kids,and my inlaws don't travel for Christmas so it's just me,the kiddo and the hubby here on Dec 25th. Maybe it's a combo of all the above. But whatever it is,I just can't get all worked up about Christmas anymore.

Personally,I'd rather get gifts for no special reason at all,rather than get them because someone deemed the day a must give situation. And no jewelry,I never wear it,and if I do,I end up losing it. I'm not a blingy type of gal,never have been. Hell,my wedding ring is a tattoo for gods sake,so is the Hubby's.

Next year,I want a vacation for Christmas(or from Christmas). Go somewhere that has snow and a roaring fireplace where the meals are served to me for a change. Someplace I can ride a horse and hear hooves crunching in the snow. Where there's mountains and clean air. Where I can lie in the snow and make snow angels or get into a snowball fight. Short of that,I'd settle for Peace on Earth,Goodwill and all that stuff (hahahahaha,like that's gonna happen).

Sure,I'll buy all the kids in my life gifts,that's really who the season is for anyhoo. But really,I could do without all the rest of it and not miss it in the least.

And you just try keeping two rambunctious cats out of a Christmas tree,go ahead. Last year we had no tree,they literally had it tipped over 10 minutes after I got it wrestled into the tree stand. I ended up dragging it out on the back porch and decorating it with stuff the birds and squirrels would eat. I decorated my son's room instead,with a little fake tree and all the lights I could find.

And guys,much as I love ya all,it's a well known fact that without the women in many of your families,Christmas wouldn't happen. You would not believe the amount of pressure there is in some families to have a Martha Stewart style holiday. You also wouldn't believe how fucking neurotic that makes some women. I know,I used to be one of them. It's incredibly liberating once you get over yourself in this regard. And for some incredible reason,it's also alot cheaper. I know some people who don't get the previous Christmas paid off before the current year's holidays come 'round again. Fuck that.

Oh,and if you spend more than a dollar or two on a roll of wrapping paper,you're an idiot. And bows? Who needs 'em? Why in the hell would you spend money on something that gets ripped up and thrown in the trash in 5 seconds? That's why God gave us Dollar Stores. And gift bags. My grandma,god love her,used to carefully unwrap gifts and try to save the paper and bows. But she never re-used the damned stuff,so I have no idea why she even bothered.

Yes,I know,I'm such a buzz kill. But I quit. Why should I spend 6 hours cooking for a meal that lasts 20 minutes and then takes another hour to clean up after? And decorating,just so I can spend a few more hours taking it all down after a week or two and store it for another year?

This year,the meal is being cooked by the Honeybaked Ham store. The gifts will be shipped to me via online stores. The only thing I'll have to do is wrap and ship to family far away. And no more stupid card sending either.

A very merry UN-Christmas to all,and to all a.....oh hell,I don't know.

Quote of the Day

Pudentilla, good to hear that name again, blogging at Skippy's about George Will's whiny diatribe in the WaPo:


And then, in a somewhat embarrassed tone, the advertiser will gently explain to the crack WaPo publishing team, that the comments prove that the overwhelming majority of WaPo readers think that its highest social utility ranks somewhere between birdcage liner and fishwrap. So could they please lower the rates?

Am I the only one ...

Who's had enough of Rachael Ray? We just came back from the grocery store and her face is plastered on everything. I see her on TV, on billboards, and on the side of city buses. Enough already.

Cough ... cough ... cough ... revisited

Riffing on the thread from Gord's post last night, I think Froggy hits the nail on the head, partly, in comments, quoting Chris Rock:


Chris Rock made the point that the government doesn't like pot because they only want you to use THEIR drugs. Vioxx was fine to give to people; reefer is bad. Go figure.

We all know the death grip Big Pharma has on the FDA, thanks to its huge campaign donations. No one can make money, except the marijuana paraphenalia makers, on something anybody can grow in their backyard. But it has more to it than that. It's the denial of pleasure, thanks to the continuing influence of the Jesus freaks. Jeff, no the other one, lives it every day (we in NY haven't had Blue Laws in 30 years) and fills in the other half of the equation:


It really is about power and control: the power to deny pleasure.


Heaven forbid the public is too happy. It's like sex. The Jesus freaks in the government came up with this stupid shit* recently:


It is the only viable explanation. It is the only way to account for something like, say, the latest twist in the Abstinence Education Program from Bush's increasingly laughable Department of Health and Human Services, a $50 million slice of embarrassing government detritus that is now actually encouraging all states to tell their single, youngish residents that they should -- how to put this so you don't shoot coffee through your nose? -- that everyone should avoid sex entirely, until they turn 30.


Why? Because people having fun don't have time for church? They don't have the time to sit around for an hour and listen how some guy upstairs is keeping score of their transgressions according to some fable in a dusty old book? You know, I've noticed the highest rates of 'out-of-wedlock' births come in states where Jesus freakery is widespread. Gee, so are the rates of divorce. Wow, will ya look at that, so are the rates for domestic violence and teen pregnancy.

Man, it makes me wonder how we in decadent NYC even suvived so long; how our great city hasn't been struck down like another Sodom and Gamorrah. I mean, with all the drag queens and transtesticles running around, mixed marriages, and all them different color people, God must be pissed. Come on, people. This is the 21st Century, for crying out loud. Our President is fucking up the world and we worry about sex, reefer, and religious bullshit that hasn't been relevant in 2000 years.

Hel-lo, McFly?

God put cannabis and erogenous zones on Earth for one reason, for us to use them. If he didn't want us to derive pleasure from sex, only wanted us to procreate, he would have given us the means to fuck ourselves (I'd never leave the house ... heh). If he didn't want us to use the plants he gave us, they'd be poisonous. Jesus H. Christ, he is God, you idiots. I need a dube just thinking about this lunacy.

*Big tip o' the Brain to C & L for the link.

Friday, December 1, 2006

Quote of the Day


Our vice president has been summoned by a dictator, our president has been stood up by a puppet leader, and now the bipartisan panel charged with finding domestic political cover for a situation out of our control has reached a toothless compromise as they jerk each other off, pat themselves on the back, and enjoy their Oprah moment.


The trouble with pot

Andrew Sullivan (!)

A reader hits the nail on the head:

The difficulty with marijuana is that it produces a side effect that our government cannot tolerate. This side effect is so severe that any drug that produces it must be severely restricted or banned outright. And it is an insidious side effect. It is so insidious that it is nearly impossible to detect through measurments of body chemistry, metabolic function, critical organ functions, or tissue damage. You simply cannot find any harm caused by this side effect, but it's there.

The side effect, of course, is pleasure. Our government will never allow it.

This is the nub of the issue, I think. Sometimes, you hear attempts at justifying the ban on pot that point to marinol, a THC-based drug that allegedly helps nausea. They're for that, if necessary. And they much prefer it to marijuana, even though smoked or vaporized THC is much more effective. Why? Because marinol doesn't provide pleasure. And pleasure, even harmless pleasure, is evil and must be prevented. Once you allow people to enjoy life, there's no end to the dangers. Unless, of course, pleasure is backed up by vast industries rendering hefty taxes, like tobacco and alcohol. Then it's fine.

For my part, I find the attempt to ban any naturally growing plant to be an attack on reality, and a denial of some of the most basic freedoms. I guess that's why today's GOP is so in favor of it.

Ain't that the truth.

Economic Storm Signals

Paul Krugman on the bond market as a predictor of the economy.

Before I explain what the bond market is telling us, let's talk about why the economy may be at a turning point.

Between mid-2003 and mid-2006, economic growth in the United States was fueled mainly by a huge housing boom, which created jobs directly and made it easy for consumers to spend freely by borrowing against their rising home equity.

That housing boom has now gone bust. But the optimists and pessimists disagree both about how bad the bust will get and about how much damage the housing slump will do to the economy as a whole.

The optimists include Alan Greenspan, whom some accuse of letting the housing bubble get out of hand in the first place. On Tuesday, he told investors at a conference that the worst of the housing slump is over, saying that "it looks as though sales figures have stabilized."

That's like saying a tortilla is about as flat as it's going to get.

Maybe the best answer is to look at what the financial markets say. Not the stock market, which is a notoriously bad indicator of the economy's direction, but the bond market. (Paul Samuelson, the Nobel Prize-winning M.I.T. economist, famously quipped that the stock market had predicted nine of the last five recessions).

Here lies technical shit, yada, yada, yawn.

How serious a slump is the bond market predicting? Pretty serious. Right now, statistical models based on the historical correlation between interest rates and recessions give roughly even odds that we're about to experience a formal recession. And since even a slowdown that doesn't formally qualify as a recession can lead to a sharp rise in unemployment, the odds are very good - maybe 2 to 1 - that 2007 will be a very tough year.

Luckily, we've got good leadership for the coming economic storm: the White House is occupied by a man who's ideologically flexible, listens to a wide variety of views, and understands that policy has to be based on careful analysis, not gut instincts. Oh, wait.

Shorter last paragraph: the economy is toast.

Now this is serious!

Illegal and unnecessary war? Imperialistic occupation of a foreign country? The Constitution highjacked by fascists? The economy circling the drain? Monkey feces on the White House wall? Serious? Sure, but they pale in comparison to a heinous fraud perpetrated on the American public as noted in the LATimes:

Peanut butter is made from peanuts, tomato paste is made from tomatoes, and guacamole is made from avocados, right?

Wrong. The guacamole sold by Kraft Foods Inc., one of the bestselling avocado dips in the nation, includes modified food starch, hefty amounts of coconut and soybean oils, and a dose of food coloring. The dip contains precious little avocado, but many customers mistake it for wholly guacamole.

On Wednesday, a Los Angeles woman sued the Northfield, Ill.-based food company, alleging that it committed fraud by calling its dip "guacamole." Her lawyer says suits against other purveyors of "fake guacamole" could be filed soon.

FAKE GUACAMOLE??? Oh, the horror! Get a rope!

To protect yourself from the forces of evil, I recommend you make your own guac, which takes about ten minutes, or read the label (there are brands which actually use avocados in their product), which also takes ten minutes.

A Predisposition to Invade

Part Three of Elizabeth de la Vega's hypothetical Grand Jury investigation into how Bush et al defrauded the U.S. into war continues at TomDispatch.

Assistant U.S. Attorney: Good morning everyone. We're back here in the case of United States v. George W. Bush et al. Let's start by looking at Exhibit 1 in your packets. It's a chart that lists the main points we're going to cover in the grand jury.

Ex. 1
Evolution of the Fraud

* Bush, Cheney, et al. were predisposed to invade Iraq even before they were elected.
* They secretly began to plan the invasion immediately after September 11. Bush requested an Iraq war plan in November 2001 and began escalating military activity.
* They enlisted biased political appointees to find evidence to justify a war beginning in October 2001.
* They began, without a reasonable basis, to imply that Iraq was linked to the September 11 attacks and posed an urgent threat in the fall of 2001.
* They began a massive fraud campaign in September 2002 to overcome weak public support for an invasion and manipulate Congress into passing an authorization allowing the President to use force against Iraq.
* They invaded Iraq in March 2003, knowing that their stated grounds for war were false, fraudulent, and without reasonable basis.

Today, we'll talk about the administration's predisposition to invade Iraq.

Now, why is that relevant? Remember I told you that many fraud conspiracies begin as legitimate enterprises? They evolve into criminal activity when people begin to deceive others in response to problems or obstacles to achieving their goals. So, in any fraud case we need to know what the defendants' original objectives were.

Fictionalized testimony follows. Then, like any dope dealer with something good to sell, and entirely within the spirit of "the first one's free":

[Note: For Part 1 of Elizabeth de la Vega, "A Fraud Worse than Enron" click here; for Part 2, "The Indictment," click here. For the final five days of grand jury testimony, be sure to pick up a copy of United States v. George W. Bush.]

I don't care what anybody says ...

We ain't leaving. My fine-feathered friend Mimus:


Which begs the question of what the definition of the global war on terror actually is. If the military brass is asking for that much money on top of the half a trillion already granted by Congress, it must be pretty damn broad. And to further enliven things, this story appears right as a report that the Iraq Study Group plans to call for a major withdrawl of American troops from Iraq appears -- even though this is highly unlikely as long as Bush is president. The inflated figure could also be interpreted as evidence that an invasion of Iran is inevitable, no matter how foolhardy it would be.


Ain't nobody on the 'R' side of this equation making plans to leave Iraq.

"But F-man," you say, "this is to prosecute the entire 'War on Terra'."

What has that 'global struggle' become, I ask you?

Most of the military's assets are focused on the Iraqi occupation, only token units are fighting al-Qaeda in other parts of the world - 15,000 in Afghanistan (we see how that's going), another 1800 in Africa (though it's generally believed Somalia, remember them, will be the next Afghanistan), and a few other, even smaller, units. The occupation of Iraq eats up the lion's share of any appropriations for the 'War on Terra' and don't let anybody tell you differently.

No one is making any plans to leave Iraq, nor are they in any big hurry to combat al-Qaeda, the abidication of al-Anbar province being enough evidence of that.


But here's an even funnier thing. Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Peter Pace, who also says al-Qaeda is the main culprit in Iraq, is pulling troops out of the al-Anbar province, al-Qaeda in Iraq's base of operations, and putting them in Baghdad, smack in the middle of the civil war between Shiites and Muslims that both Bush and Pace deny is occurring. A recent Marine Corps intelligence assessment said that the battle for al-Anbar is unwinnable without a major infusion of more troops in the region. You'd think that Pace, a Marine himself, might pay heed to that report, and might suggest that rather than take troops out of Anbar to reinforce Baghdad, we should take troops out of Baghdad to reinforce Anbar.


For al-Qaeda is nothing to the White House if it isn't, first and foremost, a prop to increase the fear factor in this country, as we've all seen in the past several elections. As I've said many times, neither Osama nor Bush can live without the other.

The only way we can credibly fight the War on Terror is to pull our troops out of Iraq, let those poor people put their nation back together however they can, and focus our attention on the people who really intend to do us harm.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

"Times tables too confusing" says Bush

Don Davis

As the debate over an exit strategy from Iraq continues to dominate the headlines, President Bush has reaffirmed his rejection of a times table, as too hopelessly confusing.

As he struggled to adjust his watch to new time zones during his trip to the Middle East, Bush said that the American people have very bad childhood memories about times tables, and would not want to repeat that experience with Iraq.

Bush added that "stay the course" is a lot easier to understand than such complicated problems as "Shia X Sunni = Civil War." He also indicated that he still doesn't get the equation of "Stupidity X Arrogance = Quagmire Squared."

However, "43" still couldn't grasp the concept that "NeoCons + Vacuous Frat Boy = Apocalypse Now."

Finally, a bi-partisan commission appointed to look into Constitutional crimes committed by Bush and Cheney over the last 6 years, has concluded that the only way to save our country is by impeaching these two absolute zeros, which would be the ultimate example of "addition by subtraction."

I think a good way to 'subtract' these 'two zeros' would be by the 'addition' of about three inches to their height after a long drop on a short rope.

Message to West Point

Bill Moyers

This is an excerpt from the Sol Feinstone Lecture on The Meaning of Freedom delivered by Bill Moyers at the United States Military Academy on November 15, 2006.

Many of you will be heading for Iraq. I have never been a soldier myself, never been tested under fire, never faced hard choices between duty and feeling, or duty and conscience, under deadly circumstances. I will never know if I have the courage to be shot at, or to shoot back, or the discipline to do my duty knowing the people who dispatched me to kill - or be killed - had no idea of the moral abyss into which they were plunging me.

That experience, and the experience 40 years later of watching another White House go to war, also relying on inadequate intelligence, exaggerated claims and premature judgments, keeping Congress in the dark while wooing a gullible press, cheered on by partisans, pundits, and editorial writers safely divorced from realities on the ground, ended any tolerance I might have had for those who advocate war from the loftiness of the pulpit, the safety of a laptop, the comfort of a think tank, or the glamour of a television studio. Watching one day on C-Span as one member of Congress after another took to the floor to praise our troops in Iraq, I was reminded that I could only name three members of Congress who have a son or daughter in the military. How often we hear the most vigorous argument for war from those who count on others of valor to fight it. As General William Tecumseh Sherman said after the Civil War: "It is only those who have neither fired a shot nor heard the shrieks and groans of the wounded who cry aloud for blood, more vengeance, more desolation."

Once again we encounter a paradox: Not all our wars were on the side of freedom. The first that seriously engaged the alumni of West Point was the Mexican War, which was not a war to protect our freedoms but to grab land - facts are facts - and was not only bitterly criticized by part of the civilian population, but even looked on with skepticism by some graduates like Grant himself. Still, he not only fought well in it, but it was for him, as well as for most of the generals on both sides in the impending Civil War, an unequalled training school and rehearsal stage.

Americans also lifted the yoke of Spain from the Filipinos, only to learn that they did not want to exchange it for one stamped 'Made in the USA.' It took a three-year war, during which the army killed several thousand so-called "insurgents" before their leader was captured and the Filipinos were cured of the illusion that independence meant...well, independence. I bring up these reminders not to defame the troops. Their actions were supported by a majority of the American people even in a progressive phase of our political history (though there was some principled and stiff opposition.) Nonetheless, we have to remind ourselves that the armed forces can't be expected to be morally much better than the people who send them into action, and that when honorable behavior comes into conflict with racism, honor is usually the loser unless people such as yourself fight to maintain it.

Let me cut closer to the bone. The chickenhawks in Washington, who at this very moment are busily defending you against supposed "insults" or betrayals by the opponents of the war in Iraq, are likewise those who have cut budgets for medical and psychiatric care; who have been so skimpy and late with pay and with provision of necessities that military families in the United States have had to apply for food stamps; who sent the men and women whom you may soon be commanding into Iraq understrength, underequipped, and unprepared for dealing with a kind of war fought in streets and homes full of civilians against enemies undistinguishable from non-combatants; who have time and again broken promises to the civilian National Guardsmen bearing much of the burden by canceling their redeployment orders and extending their tours.

Finally, and this above all - a lesson I wish I had learned earlier. If you rise in the ranks to important positions - or even if you don't - speak the truth as you see it, even if the questioner is a higher authority with a clear preference for one and only one answer. It may not be the way to promote your career; it can in fact harm it. Among my military heroes of this war are the generals who frankly told the President and his advisers that their information and their plans were both incomplete and misleading - and who paid the price of being ignored and bypassed and possibly frozen forever in their existing ranks: men like General Eric K. Shinseki, another son of West Point. It is not easy to be honest - and fair - in a bureaucratic system. But it is what free men and women have to do. Be true to your principles, General Kosciuszko reminded Thomas Jefferson. If doing so exposes the ignorance and arrogance of power, you may be doing more to save the nation than exploits in combat can achieve.

I know the final rule of the military Code of Conduct is already written in your hearts: "I am an American, fighting for freedom, responsible for my actions, and dedicated to the principles which made my country free..." The meaning of freedom begins with the still, small voice of conscience, when each of us decides what we will live, or die, for.

I salute your dedication to America and I wish all of you good luck.

I respect Mr. Moyers immensely, but he sure is long-winded. Go read the rest.

A Turd Blossom by any other name...

BuzzFlash News Alert!

President Bush issued an executive order today renaming the American Civil War as the "American Sectarian Violence Conflict of 1861-1865." In the name of accuracy, all references to the previous title on federal property were ordered changed by the end of December, although current history textbooks in public schools are allowed to remain in use through the end of the academic year.

"I just don't see what was so civil about the conflict," Bush noted in a press conference. "All you really had was a lot of sectarian violence between the two sides. The truth is that it wasn’t even that bad. People just got an exaggerated viewpoint because all of the terrible things the liberal media showed on TV at the time."

Bush stressed that the important thing to remember is that "the Yankees" won because President Lincoln refused to leave until the job was done and "all the Democrats kept their darn mouths shut."

"Freeing the Mexicans was pretty good, too," he added.

"I don't quite understand how it works myself," the source said, "but Karl was really insistent that we don't ever say the words 'civil war' under any circumstance. . . oops."

President Bush remarked during the press conference that the renaming of the "American Sectarian Violence Conflict of 1861-1865" represented a turning point for his strategy in Iraq. "The enemy wants us to change our terminology," Bush said. "The only way we lose in Iraq is if we call it a civil war. . . oops."

I wish I could make up shit like that. I could be in politics...

Pull back, but get the oil...

This article in the WaPo about the Iraq Study Group's "Pull Junior's ass out of the crack again" proposals is summed up as a headline at BuzzFlash thusly:

Report: Poppy Bush's "Iraq Study Group" (Uh, We've Had Several Years to Study Iraq -- We Didn't Need Another "Group") Will Call for Troop Draw Down. Probably, Also Known as the "Retreat from Baghdad and Circle the Oil Fields" Option.

Sounds about right.

The WaPo piece is by Thomas E. Ricks and Robin Wright, both of whom know what they're talking about.

The Indictment

Part Two of Elizabeth de la Vega's court case against Bush is at TomDispatch. Part One is here.

Assistant United States Attorney: Good morning, Ladies and Gentlemen. We're here today in the case of United States v. George W. Bush et al. In addition to President Bush, the defendants are Vice President Richard B. Cheney, former National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice -- who's now the Secretary of State, of course -- Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, and former Secretary of State Colin Powell.

It's a one-count proposed indictment: Conspiracy to Defraud the United States in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 371. I'll explain the law that applies to the case this afternoon, but I'm going to hand out the indictment now, so you'll have some context for that explanation. Take as long as you need to read it, and then feel free to take your lunch break, but please leave your copy of the indictment with the foreperson. We'll meet back at one o'clock.

16. Beginning on or about a date unknown, but no later than August of 2002, and continuing to the present, in the District of Columbia and elsewhere, the defendants,


and others known and unknown, did knowingly and intentionally conspire to defraud the United States by using deceit, craft, trickery, dishonest means, false and fraudulent representations, including ones made without a reasonable basis and with reckless indifference to their truth or falsity, and omitting to state material facts necessary to make their representations truthful, fair and accurate, while knowing and intending that their false and fraudulent representations would influence the public and the deliberations of Congress with regard to authorization of a preventive war against Iraq, thereby defeating, obstructing, impairing, and interfering with Congress' lawful functions of overseeing foreign affairs and making appropriations.

57. The Defendants' Massive Fraud to "Market" an invasion of Iraq. On or about September 4, 2002, BUSH staged a photo opportunity with a bipartisan group of congressional leaders, after which he falsely and fraudulently announced that Iraq posed a serious threat to the safety of the United States and the world, while concealing from Congress and the American people the material facts that: (a) he had no reasonable basis whatsoever for his assertion; (b) he had never discussed the legitimacy of the grounds for an attack against Iraq with anyone; (c) he had never extensively reviewed existing intelligence regarding any possible threat from Iraq; (d) he had not requested an updated intelligence assessment on Iraq; (e) the United States intelligence assessment then in effect stated that Iraq had neither nuclear weapons nor a nuclear weapons program; and (f) the IC had consistently reported that Iraq had no involvement in 9/11 and no relationship with al Qaeda.

Lots - and I mean lots - of lawyerspeak. A nicely laid out bulletproof prosecution. It should only come true.

Part Three, the Grand Jury Testimony, will be out today.

On cunts, whores, and faggots ...

Just go read Shakes. Spot on. I've been guilty of this too.

Dear Iraq ...

Stolen fully and completely from Attaturk:

Oh sure, we invaded your country; occupied it like the imperial power we like to pretend we aren't; dissolved your army and your civil service; upended all your institutions; killed as many as 650,000 of your population of about 25 million; keep forgetting to get you reliable electricity; never provided adequate security in one form or another; used the occasional 500 and 1,000 pound bombs against wedding parties and funerals; and then just ignored the situation as everything went to hell because "freedom is messy".

But it is your fault for NOT appreciating it in the proper context (you know the context we tell you to appreciate it in -- after all we painted some of your goddamn schools!). So, fuck you!

Holy War

If the Chimp really wants a Holy War, he'll get one if he listens to the Rethug 'pundits'.

Colin Powell ...

Should shut the fuck up. After that bullshit Adlai Stevenson impersonation at the U.N. four years ago, the only place for him is obscurity.

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell said Wednesday at a business conference [in Dubai, UAE] that the war in Iraq "could be considered a civil war," the conference organizer said.


A civil war that he enabled with the lies he spread before the General Assembly. If I have anything to say about it, he should swing right along with the rest of the Chimp's minions. Powell is no statesman, just another lying Rethug bastid. What makes him worse than the rest is the fact he used the trust many veterans and the public placed in him to knowingly perpetuate this criminality.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Bush the helpless meets Maliki the unwilling

I liked this op-ed in the Palm Beach Post so much I'm puttin' up the whole thing:

[Today in Jordan, President Bush and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki will try to pass off a charade as a vital summit meeting.

Mr. Bush will pretend that he has some control over events in Iraq and that the United States and Mr. Maliki can work together to pacify the country. Mr. Maliki will pretend that he has some control over events in Iraq and that he cares about pacifying the country in the way that Mr. Bush wants.

From the Bush administration and Congress - and some Shiite and Sunni politicians - come grumbling that Mr. Maliki isn't the strong, unifying leader Iraq needs. Problem is, the Bush administration and Congress said just seven months ago that Mr. Maliki was the strong, unifying leader Iraq needs. That was after he replaced the unsatisfactory Ibrahim al-Jafari, who was designated prime minister but never could form a government.

Under Mr. Maliki, Iraq has a government - one that is inefficient, corrupt and increasingly linked to the militias that control much of the country. Mr. Maliki can't or won't crack down on the militias because the Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr not only leads one of the militias but is part of the government and provides the support that put Mr. Maliki in office. If Mr. Maliki stopped the Shiite militias, he no longer would be prime minister.

Since Mr. Bush can't say that in public, he falls back on his standard lines, as he did Tuesday: "We will continue to be flexible, and we'll make the changes necessary to succeed. But there's one thing I'm not going to do. I'm not going to pull our troops off the battlefield before the mission is complete." He pouts because news organizations are calling the conflict in Iraq what it is - a Shiite-Sunni civil war.

Meanwhile, The Washington Post broke news Tuesday of an assessment by the Marines that the Americans and Iraqis can't defeat the insurgency in Anbar, the sprawling, western province that is home to 1.5 million people. As the Sunnis of Anbar see it, Iran-linked Shiites are taking over, and only Sunni-led Al-Qaeda in Iraq offers any hope of security. Also on Tuesday, The New York Times reported an American intelligence official's belief that Hezbollah, the Lebanon-based, Iran-financed Shiite terrorist group, is helping to train Sadr's fighters.

The important meeting about Iraq may have taken place last weekend, when Vice President Dick Cheney traveled to Saudi Arabia. Since the Bush administration's failure in Iraq is evident, the White House must ask neighboring countries for help - if only because a collapsed state would threaten the region.

Oh, and President Bush wants more help from NATO in subduing Afghanistan. That was the job he abandoned for the misadventure in Iraq. Mr. Bush needs help in Iraq, but it won't come from Mr. Maliki.]

I think that sums it up about as neatly as I've seen.

"Moderate" theocrats? Can you spell "oxymoron"?

The wingnuts have their knickers in a twist over Andrew Sullivan's use of the word "Christianists" to describe theocrats exactly as the word "Islamist" is used. Damn good post at Pandagon:

Via Avedon Carol, I found that Glenn Greenwald is fucking up Ann Althouse's and Glenn Reynolds' entire worldviews. It's pretty amusing, the sort of thing that makes a blogger bust out the popcorn, pull up a chair and watch the show.

In the true blogosphere fashion, the entire dust-up begins because Andrew Sullivan is touchingly naive. He has taken to using the word "Christianist" (which Avedon points out was probably coined by David Neiwert) to describe Christian theocrats. The word is obviously derived from the word "Islamist", a right wing favorite that is purportedly used to distinguish between mainstream Muslims and fanatical theocrats. Sullivan's mistake is in taking the excuse of the word seriously and assuming that the same suffix could be used to distinguish between Christian theocrats and mainstream Christians

I find the whole dust-up interesting because it is just the gold standard in demonstrating what sleazy liars Althouse and Reynolds are. Oh, they want to give off the incorrect impression that they are independent thinkers, she a "moderate" and he a "libertarian", but they have been in Rote Wingnuttery mode for so long that they automatically defend violent Christian theocrats who wish to dismantle the Constitution and impose their interpretation of the Bible on the rest of us with government force. And why? Because these "non-partisans" know that the Republicans can't win without the religious fanatics.

Bust out the popcorn, pull up a chair and watch the show. More links than you can shake a stick at. Enjoy.

I think "Christianist" is a damn fine word for fundies who wish to impose their idiotic views on the rest of us by whatever means they see fit.

More Gore

Vidal, that is. Robert Scheer interviews Mr. Vidal at Truthdig. Video as well.


[laughs] Now you've been - you've seen a lot of scoundrels in your time. You've been in, you know, you've been through some periods when we've been ruled by liars. You've exposed a number of those lies...


There's a difference between that and having, uh, and having systemic lying - which is the only way these people know how to govern. The president says, "Look, look in New Orleans in no time at all, everything's gonna be cleaned up and, uh, [imitating Bush] I've given orders, and when I told you, last time I was here in, uh, whatever square this is ... it's got a church here, isn't it? It's a cathedral square! I told - what I told you then, I meant. And that's what your gonna get." He was telling the truth. They got nothing, and they got nothing the second time around. Everybody knows that about him. There are a few crazies who want to cheer the flag and this yappy little terrier as though he were a real president. Well, he's not a real president. He's a thing, a chimera who was put together by the Supreme Court, first time around, and reelected by, uh, Diebold, Sequoia and some other interested parties. Everybody knows he isn't there. Or what is there isn't for us - it's not our president. We do have a real, uh, a shadow president in Vice President Cheney, whose wife is a famous novelist given to tales of unnatural love... . But Lynne, more power to you. She's my kind of novelist.

Much, much more. Enjoy.

Webb "tempted to slug" Bush

Think Progress

At a recent private reception, President Bush asked Sen.-elect Jim Webb (D-VA), "How's your boy?" referring to Webb's son Jimmy, who is serving in Iraq. Webb answered, "I'd like to get them out of Iraq, Mr. President," to which Bush responded, "That's not what I asked you." Webb "coldly" shot back, "That's between me and my boy, Mr. President." Webb later confessed that he was "tempted to slug" Bush.

Note to Jim Webb: stifling temptation can be bad for your health. Besides, if you had knocked the dogshit out of that little sonofabitch you could have run for President and won as far as I'm concerned.

The Scariest Guy in Town

An article in Time that will warm the cockles of your heart.

In the altered landscape that is Washington, there's a new contender for the title of Scariest Guy in Town. He stands 5 ft. 5, speaks softly and has all the panache of your parents' dentist. But when it comes to putting powerful people on the hot seat, there's no one tougher and more tenacious than veteran California Congressman Henry Waxman. In the Democrats' wilderness years, Waxman fashioned himself as his party's chief inquisitor. Working with one of the most highly regarded staffs on Capitol Hill, he has spent the past eight years churning out some 2,000 headline-grabbing reports, blasting the Bush Administration and the Republican Congress on everything from faulty prewar intelligence and flaws in missile defense to the flu-vaccine shortage and arsenic in drinking water.

Come January, however, the man that the liberal Nation magazine once called the "Eliot Ness of the Democrats" can do even more, thanks to the two words that strike fear in the heart of every government official: subpoena power. As the new chairman of the House Government Reform Committee, Waxman will have free rein to investigate, as he puts it, "everything that the government is involved with." And the funny thing is, Waxman can thank the Republicans for the unique set of levers he will hold. Under a rules change they put through in the days when they used the panel to make Bill Clinton's life miserable, the leader of Government Reform is the only chairman who can issue subpoenas without a committee vote. [...]

[...] While Waxman promises what he calls oversight, the Republicans say it'll be more like a witch hunt, and the Administration is promising to fight him all the way to the Supreme Court to protect itself against what it expects to be a frontal assault on Executive power. Waxman says the G.O.P. should take comfort in the fact that he has historical perspective. "I've seen a good example of overreaching," he says, referring to the committee's treatment of Clinton. "It's not the way to behave."

It's easy to overreach when you're investigating a blow job or a Christmas card list. It's somewhat harder to overreach when you're investigating wholesale theft, abuse of power, subversion of the Constitution, and war crimes.

Go get 'em, Hank!

Two more years

Dr. Attaturk (podiatrist to the stars) has a short essay up that probably calls it correctly:

Right now, I think the next two years are clear.

Iraq is Bush's legacy -- a monumental strategic disaster that relegates him to historical infamy -- along with his enablers and they are legion. From the neocons like Wolfowitz & Feith, Laurie Myolrie, John Bolton and William Kristol; to American imperialists like Dick Cheney, John McCain, Joe Lieberman and Donald Rumsfeld; to those who fall into the cult of Bush like Rove, Rice & Hadley. And finally, the media punditry which falls between the camps from the establishment like Broder, to liberal imperialists like Peter Beinart and finally the entire right-wing blogosphere who set a new standard for cheerleading the cheerleader.


Regardless of the Dem takeover, regardless of the investigations promised, Bush will not change course in Iraq unless Congress actively takes steps to stop it. That being tightening the purse strings. That probably won't happen because all of them are scared of 'not supporting the troops'. They won't give the Rethugs that talking point. Unfortunately, it looks as if we'll have another two years of deaths and casualties, Iraqi and American, until we elect a new President who has the foreign policy credentials to work a way out of this mess.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Taj Mahal

Good article in the EssEffChron about bluesman Taj Mahal.

Hank Jr., Taj says, told him he and the band like to listen to Taj on their private jet's sound system, flying between shows. "I always liked country music, too," Taj says. "It ain't nothin' but the blues coming up another way."

Now that's an open mind! Or some really good cheeb...

Now 64, Taj is old enough to have studied at the feet of the masters -- not only the country blues guys like Mississippi John Hurt, Sleepy John Estes or Lightnin' Hopkins, but the Chicago blues crowd -- Muddy Waters, Jimmy Reed, Junior Wells and Buddy Guy, or, the king of them all, Howlin' Wolf.

"I was also real crazy about Brian Jones," he says of the late Rolling Stones guitarist. "Those guys jumped over the Elvis syndrome.

"In the United States, because of the politics of race and class, this whole thing about white boys dancing and playing the blues, everybody got stuck at Elvis. The Brits didn't get stuck at Elvis. They jumped over Elvis and said 'Your name is Elmore James and you play slide guitar -- cracking.' And that's where they went. But this is where his source was.

"And they were an island culture and they were already stretched out. Hey, you have a different kind of headspace. Everything's coming in from everywhere. Those guys did good."


Cheney gets a summons

Think Progress

Last weekend, Vice President Cheney traveled to Saudi Arabia in a visit that "was originally portrayed as U.S. outreach to its oil-rich Arab ally." Cheney made the trip purportedly to discuss a "range of regional issues," Cheney's spokeswoman said. The Associated Press reported that Cheney was "seen as a US diplomatic push to stem surging violence in Iraq."

But today's Washington Post reports that the push for the meeting came from the Saudis, not the other way around:

Saudi Arabia is so concerned about the damage that the conflict in Iraq is doing across the region that it basically summoned Vice President Cheney for talks over the weekend, according to U.S. officials and foreign diplomats.

What does it say about the nature of U.S.-Saudi relations when the Vice President can be "summoned" by the Saudi Crown Prince?

It says that Saudi subjects - not citizens - may be getting restless and the ruling family is worried about an internal uprising, as it should be, and that Bush's policies may be fucking with the oil bidness.

So they called their boy in for a "moment of prayer", aka an ass-chewing.

Bringing Bush To Court, because we're all Kitty Genovese's neighbors

Elizabeth de la Vega at TomDispatch:


"I'd like to draft an indictment of President Bush and his senior aides, and present the case for prewar intelligence fraud to a grand jury, just as if it were an actual case of mine, using the evidence we already have in the public record. That's the book I'd like to do."

With those three decades of publishing experience, I never doubted that this was an idea whose time should come -- and now it has. De la Vega has drawn up that indictment -- a "hypothetical" one, she hastens to add -- convened that grand jury, and held seven days of testimony. Yes, it's a grand jury directly out of her fertile brain and the federal agents who testify are fictional, but all the facts are true. She understands the case against the Bush administration down to the last detail; and she's produced, to my mind, the book of the post-election, investigative season: United States v. George W. Bush et al.

It's a book project, produced in conjunction with Seven Stories Press, a superb independent publisher, and officially published on December 1st. I think it's simply sensational. It makes a "slam dunk" case for the way we were defrauded into war; despite the grim subject matter, it's a beautifully designed little book, a pleasure to hold in your hand; and, because de la Vega is a natural as a writer, it's also thoroughly enjoyable reading. With genuine pride, I'll be turning the website over to excerpts from the book this week, beginning with the posting of De la Vega's introduction on the Enronization of American foreign policy today. The actual "indictment" will be posted on Wednesday; the first day of grand jury testimony on Thursday.

I assure you, this is must-read event; no less important, this is a must-buy book that must be given over the holiday season to friends, relatives, those who politically disagree with you, and even perhaps sent to Congressional representatives. Please get the investigative ball rolling by purchasing the book at or, if you want to give all involved a few extra cents, directly at the Seven Stories website.

Today, United States v. George W. Bush et al remains in the realm of fiction, but tomorrow, if you lend a hand… who knows? Tom

Ms. de la Vega:

After analyzing this evidence in light of the applicable law, I've determined that we already have more than enough information to allow a reasonable person to conclude that the President conducted a wide-ranging effort to deceive the American people and Congress into supporting a war against Iraq. In other words, in legal terms, there is probable cause to believe that Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, and Powell violated Title 18, United States Code, Section 371, which prohibits conspiracies to defraud the United States. Probable cause is the standard of proof required for a grand jury to return an indictment. Consequently, we have more than sufficient evidence to warrant indictment of the President and his advisers.

Do I expect someone to promptly indict the President and his aides? No. I am aware of the political impediments and constitutional issues relating to the indictment of a sitting president. Do those impediments make this merely an empty exercise? Absolutely not.

My third goal is to send the message home -- to whomever will listen. And this is it:

The President has committed fraud.

It is a crime in the legal, not merely the colloquial, sense.

It is far worse than Enron.

It is not a victimless crime.

We cannot shrug our shoulders and walk away.

Why? Because We Are All Kitty Genovese's Neighbors.

As Malcolm Gladwell recounts in his book The Tipping Point, Kitty Genovese was viciously assaulted, stabbed three times, and finally killed, on the way to her Queens, New York, home one night in 1964. Thirty-eight neighbors heard or watched her ordeal, but no one called the police until the attack was essentially over. The murder was universally seen as a horrifying example of modern-day indifference to the plight of others. But, Gladwell explains, psychologists Bibb Latane and John Darley conducted experiments that led to a far different explanation: "When people are in a group . . . responsibility for acting is diffused. They assume that someone else will make the call, or they assume that because no one else is acting, the apparent problem . . . is not really a problem." Ironically, then, it was not that no one called to help Kitty Genovese "despite the fact that thirty-eight people heard her scream; it's that no one called because thirty-eight people heard her scream."

For over a year now, polls have shown that the majority of Americans believe President Bush deliberately misrepresented prewar intelligence. Executive branch officials who deliberately mislead Congress and the public intending to influence congressional action have committed a federal crime. That means that roughly 100 million Americans believe Bush has committed a crime, yet most, like Kitty Genovese's neighbors, are just passive bystanders--although not, I believe, due to indifference.

Indeed, many of us are just watching it happen because we feel powerless to stop it. Hundreds of thousands of people have, in effect, called 911, but not even Democrats in Congress have been willing to answer the phone. It is not that they don't have enough information; it is, our Democratic representatives say, because it is not good political strategy.

The proposition that it is not good political strategy to insist that government officials obey the law is highly debatable. More important, strategizing in the face of an ongoing crime is wrong. Ask any legislator whether he would strategize about possible political fallout before intervening to stop a crime that was occurring in front of his eyes and the response would be, "Of course not." But that is exactly what's happening right now.

Go read Part One. Take a lunch. Then stay tuned for the rest. This gal knows her shit.

Psychotics 4 Bush!

Shakey's Sis at AlterNet:

To be filed under duh:

[Christopher Lohse], a social work master's student at Southern Connecticut State University, says he has proven what many progressives have probably suspected for years: a direct link between mental illness and support for President Bush.

None of this is actually new information. That liberal voters tend to be much better informed as a group and tend to reject authoritarianism is well documented, from both the chicken came first angle and the egg came first angle. But it's nonetheless amusing to have further evidence that the people constantly calling progressives unhinged lunatics are, you know, way more likely to be nutzoid than the targets of their gleeful finger-pointing.

Via Tom Tomorrow, who dryly notes: "Anyone who's spent any time reading right wing blogs already understood this to be true." Indeed.

I'm very relieved by this. It wasn't just me.


I don't believe the Chimp ever stopped drinking. I can't think of one sober thing he's done since he took office.

Where I work

A continuing series ...

Monday, November 27, 2006

She's Baaaack..........

Lessons I learned:

As much as I loathe alot of technology,a DVD player in the vehicle with a pre teen? Priceless.

Sunscreen is a must for long motorcycle trips. My face is fried. And peeling. Windburn and Sunburn,together as one. There goes my shot at prom queen,again.

Key West is a hoot,but I don't think I'd take a kid there. And even though it's a really gay friendly place,the homophobes just can't help themselves and have to be assholes. Though it was rather funny to see a drag queen kick a frat boy's ass. Heh.

Next time,bring cash and NO credit cards. That's all I'm sayin'.

Bikers are the coolest people in the world.

The ties on a hooded sweatshirt will beat the crap out of you while riding a motorcycle. Bumblebees hitting you in the face doing 70mph are not funny either.

Next long distance bike trip,there will be a pillow for my ass to sit on. Ouch.

Hauling a bike on a trailer reduces a pickup truck's gas mileage by about 30 percent. Ouch. Again.

The Florida turnpike is now named after Ronald Reagan. Which happened in 1998,but I never noticed til last week. Oh,and if you happen to die in a wreck down there,they'll put a little official marker in the spot you died a horrible death with your name on it. Billboards also warn you FL residents have the right to shoot your ass if they have a mind to,with a picture of a huge gun for emphasis. I'm not sure how that blends with billboards telling you to bring the family down to Disney,but there ya go.

Cracker Barrel has THE NASTIEST food I've ever eaten. ((((shudder))))

It got down to 60 degrees at night in the Keys. All the restaurants had signs inviting people in to get out of the cold and little outside fireplaces lit. Pussies.

There's no place like home.

Tommorrow I have to balance our bank accounts and pick up the cats from the vet,put gas in my car,take the kid to school,and figure out how to live on about 30 dollars between now and payday. Then,once I'm done weeping,lol,I'll be back. Hope you all had plenty of fun,frolic and turkey. I didn't watch the news,read a paper or anything like that while we were gone,so I have some catching up to do. Geeze,I leave for a week and Iraq is now offically in a civil war(haven't we been saying this for like a year at least?),I can't turn my back on these people for a minute,can I?

Quote of the Day

Commander Huber:


So stand by for more palaver about how we should stick with Stay the Course or whatever Son of Stay the Course turns out to be. But mark my words: if we keep our troops in the middle of whatever synonym for "disaster" you care to describe the situation in Iraq with, they'll either help one side commit genocide on the other or get ground into grit in the middle of it.


Trigger happy ...

Amadou Diallo revisited. NYPD killed one unarmed man and wounded two others. While I won't comment on the case yet, there are too many unanswered questions, I just want to know who trains the NYPD in firearms discipline. They fired 50 shots at these guys and only one of them is dead? That scares me more than the fact they might have made a mistake.

As the Reverend Al Sharpton said. "It took them 50 shots to realize nobody was shooting back?"

Yeah, I feel safe. Good thing this happened in the wee hours or we'd be hearing about a lot of collateral damage.


Personally, I wouldn't buy a house in a neighborhood with a 'homoeowners' association'. Generally, it gives regular people too much power and, as we see with the last crop of elected officials, most turn into tyrannical organizations. I lived in a place like that in Connecticut, when I was doing my Reserve time, and it was a sobering experience, especiallly when I parked a truck in the driveway one late Friday night. Oy! But this takes the cake:

DENVER - A homeowners association in southwestern Colorado has threatened to fine a resident $25 a day until she removes a Christmas wreath with a peace sign that some say is an anti-Iraq war protest or a symbol of Satan.


I pay how much for property taxes and services and you're gonna tell me what I can do in my own yard? You're gonna try and fine me? Suck my big, hairy, white ass.

Pic of the offending wreath and article here.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Home again...

I don't know whether it was just Haloscan or an iffy connection that prevented this from getting through, but all I have to say today is:

Happy Anniversary, Fixers!


Chapter 7 of my novel The Captains is up at The Practical Press. Also, while you're there, Dave K has a fable that'll make you think.


Now it's a civil war. Via Skippy, the NYT calls it right ... for once:


Though the Bush administration continues to insist that it is not, a growing number of American and Iraqi scholars, leaders and policy analysts say the fighting in Iraq meets the standard definition of civil war.


The Times, through Judy Miller and others, were some of the biggest cheerleaders for this war. I hope they got what they wanted.

Show me da money 2

The thing that revolutionaries, or other types of insurgents, need more than anything is money. Most uprisings fizzle because things are done on a shoestring and government, or opposing, forces have far more bread with which to buy new, and more state of the art, equipment and expertise. Seems the Iraqi insurgency has become self-sustaining.

BAGHDAD, Nov. 25 - The insurgency in Iraq is now self-sustaining financially, raising tens of millions of dollars a year from oil smuggling, kidnapping, counterfeiting, connivance by corrupt Islamic charities and other crimes that the Iraqi government and its American patrons have been largely unable to prevent, a classified United States government report has concluded.

The report, obtained by The New York Times, estimates that groups responsible for many insurgent and terrorist attacks are raising $70 million to $200 million a year from illegal activities. It says $25 million to $100 million of that comes from oil smuggling and other criminal activity involving the state-owned oil industry, aided by "corrupt and complicit" Iraqi officials. [my em]


With that kind of bread, I could stage a takeover of the U.S. government ... and win.

Tip o' the Brain to Atrios.