Saturday, February 17, 2007

Language ...

People have informed me that I use ... colorful language frequently here at the Brain, as do my cohorts, and were a bit taken aback. Listen, I write the way I speak and when I get pissed, and that's why I blog, because I am pissed off to the core, the expletives come forth. The good thing about blogging is I actually get to see what comes out of my mouth before the rest of the world. I'm a lot more delicate, sympathetic, understanding ... let's just say I tone my language down when I write here, as opposed to when I'm speaking; I make Richard Pryor and Eddie Murphy sound like altar boys. Consider yourselves lucky. Heh ...


Buncha potty-mouths in comments too. Tsk, tsk ...

We are the machine ...

The machine is us ...

Video courtesy of Dave Johnson.

The list grows ...

We got another big al-Qaeda guy and John adds his name to the list.

I started keeping track of this list in September 2005 after noticing our frequent success at catching top lieutenants/associates/#2’s/etc. of al Qaeda in Iraq’s then leader, Abu Musab al Zarqawi ...

It's about time...

Somebody woke up. Pensito Review:

In his President’s Day commentary, USA Today founder Al Neuharth says that he once disputed the idea the George W. Bush was America’s Worst President Ever - but now he has seen the light ...

Let's hope USA Toady changes its tune a bit to point out what we have since this fucking idiot took office.

Speaking of delusional idiots, Rethugs and Joe Lieberman voted to quash discussion of the war in the Senate today. I hope you CT Dems who voted for Lieberman are shitting blood right now. You helped the Rethugs keep their man in the Senate, idiots.

I hope Senate, and House, Dems realize the time for Mr. Nice Guy is over. It's time to end this war and the only way to do it is to cut off funding for it, period.

God save the Queen

Harry's going to Basra.

Jenna: (crickets)

Not Jenna: (crickets)

Just sayin'.

Tip o' the Brain to Oliver Willis.

Who gives a fuck ...

If Britney Spears' head finally matches her box (definitely not work safe, though your kid probly seen it)?

The whore ...

If it's Saturday, another chapter of my novel The Captains is up at The Practical Press.

And how's your day going?

Black and White

From Fred the Cat. I'm wondering if the catnip line was directed at yours truly. Heh ...

"Dad's Gonna Kill Me" revisited

I posted about this before. I'm doing it again. This one's better.

No shit ...

It's not like we didn't tell you so:

WASHINGTON — The U.S. general commanding the security crackdown in Baghdad said Friday that he has asked for reinforcements beyond the 17,000 U.S. combat troops already committed to the Iraqi capital as part of President Bush's emergency build-up.


The final number of reinforcements will be determined by the Pentagon - and possibly by Bush - as part of plans to expand the number of U.S. soldiers in Baghdad.


This 'surge' has already gone to Hell and it hasn't even cleared the gate yet. If they're not going to reach strength until May, yet already the COs are calling for more, what the fuck is gonna happen in June? Where the fuck are we gonna get the troops? Oh yeah, that's right; we're stop-lossing you and sending you back, Sarge. Fith tour? Ol' Lady's had it and left with the kids and your brother? Family back home having to go on welfare and food stamps? Who gives a fuck? You're fighting them over there so we don't have to over here. This is what you signed up for. Suck it up and keep firing.

House Minority Leader John Boner Boehner (R-Idiot): "What we're doing in Iraq is worth any sacrifice."

Yeah, don't see you or your kids in BDUs riding through Baghdad in an unarmored Humvee.


Might not be about the Iraq surge after all. Colonel Gardiner:


Although the devices were not IED’s like those found in Iraq, the explosions were in the area a group sponsored by the United States may be operating. The area in Iran is Sistan-Baluchestan near the borders of Afghanistan and Pakistan. Sy Hersh and a number of other reporters have said this is the area in which the MEK (or the mouthful name Mujahedin-e Khalq) have been operating.

This morning a Chinese newswire is reporting that the Iranians have evidence linking the attacks to the United States.


Upon reading the last sentence I thought "that's not our style", and then I read on.


Even if the United States were behind the operation, it is unlikely the Iranians would find weapons and materials that would be identifiable as American. US organizations that are involved in covert operations are very good about not leaving signatures that can be traced.

That is even more of a concern. The Iranians are choosing to make an issue.


The last sentence here means the Iranians are kicking the tension up a notch. Their force readiness levels have just gone up and the guys at the pointy end are just a little more nervous ... more inclined to shoot first and ask questions later. More inclined to take a shot at a U.S. ship or aircraft coming just a bit too close. This could get ugly soon.

The Lesson The Dems Haven't Learned

"Politics is like football. If you see daylight, go through the hole." --John F. Kennedy


They did it in Germany ...

Greenwald [sub or watch short vid] beats up on ubertwerp and Likudnik Frank Gaffney [video]:


That is why they are so eager to equate criticism of them with treason and to stifle debate. They have not only lost the debate over Iraq and general Middle East militarism, but their continuous extremism and deceit is being exposed, and they fear being held accountable. It is only natural that they want to render criticism of their war and their conduct impermissible.


I wish my mom were still alive to recount the stories she told me of how the Nazis slowly but surely stifled any dissent. Many of the citizenry not trusting their neighbors by the time the war started, all wondering who was in the employ, either monetarily or ideologically, of the Gestapo. My grandfather was elected mayor of the little town that is my ancestral home just after the war and told of the time it took to heal the wounds of Nazism, the suspicion and distrust of the townspeople toward each other and authority.


And that was the point of Gaffney's column as well -- that it should be considered not only un-American, but actually criminal, to criticize the war and the people such as Frank Gaffney and Doug Feith who concocted it and sold it to the country. But ultimately, that tactic will get them nowhere. Americans are not going to be persuaded by the idea that they are obligated to refrain from criticizing Doug Feith, Bill Kristol and the wars they have spawned, to say nothing of the new ones they are attempting to foist on the country.

It is insufficient simply to have persuaded Americans that the invasion of Iraq was a mistake. It was not merely a mistake. It was the by-product of extremely deceitful ideologues who exploited the 9/11 attacks to implement a very destructive agenda that long pre-dated 9/11 and that has nothing to do with combating terrorism other than the fact that terrorism is the pretense used to justify that agenda.


So, can we revisit the question of whether Bush and Cheney let 9/11 happen, if not facilitated it, now?

Just guess ...

Via our pal Lambert, WaPo has a short aticle about the red tape keeping our wounded (seriously) vets from getting the care they need once they get back home.

Department of Veterans Affairs doctors are furious over a recent decision by the Pentagon to block their access to medical information needed to treat severely injured troops arriving at VA hospitals from Iraq and Afghanistan.


"My JPTA account has been disabled within last few days," [Dr. Shane] McNamee wrote. "I called the hotline and was told that all VA accounts have been locked. Could not get a good answer why. Anyhow -- I have 4 [Iraq/Afghanistan] service members to arrive within the next 2 days. This information is terribly important," the doctor wrote.


Yup, supporting our troops. Heaven forbid you want to bring them all home though, then you're 'undermining them'. I don't know how more 'undrmined' you can get when you come home with a serious brain injury and your treating neurosurgeon can't get your records because of some inter-agency prick-waving contest. Support the troops? Yeah, as long as they can carry a rifle and shoot straight.

Journorwellianism ...

And no, I don't want to be known for coining that phrase, but that's what we got. And they bitch and moan about blogger ethics. Personally, I think we're a far more ethical bunch than the 'journalists' who bring us the news. We're a damn sight quicker to correct ourselves when we fuck up than they are. Cdr. Huber sums it up nicely:


The greatest threat America faces is not Iran or the terrorists or weapons of mass destruction or Russia or China. It is the purposeful and focused internal campaign, being conducted by right wing ideologues, to destroy the citizenry's capacity for critical thinking.

To make us so confused and so afraid that at the end of the day, we have no choice but to believe what Big Brother tells us, even if we know he's contradicting himself and making no sense whatsoever.

The first casualty of the 'neocon era' was the truth. Let's hope we can save it before they put it to rest in Arlington next to the Consitution.

Friday, February 16, 2007

A little lighter fare for Emmylou fans

I need to get away from the political bullshit for a while. There are finer things in life that we need to be reminded of once in a while.

Normally, I stay away from "Best of" albums, but every now and again there's a good one, and rarer still an outstanding one.

One such, and I'm listening to it right now, skin and senses all a-tingle, is "Heartaches and Highways". Go see. You can listen to it. Guest artists include Gram Parsons, Roy Orbison, Dolly Parton*, and Linda Ronstadt.

This album gets a thumbs-and-everything-else-that'll-point up from this Olde Farte. If you only own one Emmylou Harris album, (o you poor thing!) make it this one.

Just an aside, but Ms. Harris' album "Quarter Moon in a Ten-Cent Town" is the only album (well, OK, 8-track!) that I could leave on all night in a camp of a coupla hunnert drunk, stoned, partying, rock fan desert riders without having my battery cable cut. A true testimonial to the lady's talent to create music with the power to soothe savage beasts.

Bonus Emmylou Alert:

PBS Soundstage is airing Real Live Roadrunning March 1, 2007 at 10:00 PM ET (check local listings). (Emmylou and Mark Knopfler live in concert, from LA's Gibson Amphitheater, performing favorites from their album All the Roadrunning, such as "This is Us," "Right Now" and "All The Roadrunning," as well as favorites from each of their respective solo catalogs, like "Red Dirt Girl" from Emmylou and "Romeo and Juliet" from Mark)

Looking up all these links for you while listening to sweet, sweet music has been very therapeutic. I feel lots better now. Thanks.

*Ms. Parton's website is a construction zone today.

New York Archdiocese Slams City's Condom Distribution Program

From NY1

"The Catholic Church is ripping the city's condom giveaway.

New York Archdiocese Cardinal Edward Egan and Brooklyn Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio released a joint statement calling the condom distribution program “tragic” and “misguided,” saying it promotes an "anything goes attitude."

The city began handing out free subway themed condoms on Valentine's Day - and plans to hand out some 26 million."

No, Cardinal Egan and Bishop DiMarzio, not the program, it is your attitudes that are tragic and misguided. Stop living in the Dark Ages. Programs like this save lives. Attitudes like yours cost them.


Undermining U.S. troops

From the International Herald Tribune:

"How do you explain to the thousands of American troops now being poured into Baghdad that they will have to wait until the summer for the protective armor that could easily mean the difference between life and death?

It's bad enough that these soldiers are being asked to risk their lives without President George W. Bush demanding that Iraq's leaders take any political risks that might give the military mission at least an outside chance of success. But according to an article in The Washington Post this week, at least some of the troops will be sent out in Humvees not yet equipped with FRAG Kit 5 armor. That's an advanced version designed to reduce deaths from roadside bombs, which now account for about 70 percent of United States casualties in Iraq." [more . . .]

Not only is the administration sending them to risk their lives in a war that shouldn't have been fought in the first place. It sends them without appropriate equipment for the job they are being asked to do. How many more deaths in this illegal war is it going to take before Congress finds the spine to pass binding resolutions? Binding resolutions of impeachment. Bush and Cheney (and a few more) in shackles. They are nothing more than murderers and should be treated that way.


A First Step

"WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. House of Representatives on Friday denounced President George W. Bush's Iraq troop buildup in a symbolic but politically potent challenge to his unpopular war strategy.

The Democratic-controlled House voted in favor of a resolution opposing the Republican president's decision to send another 21,500 troops to Iraq. The measure does not force Bush to act, but supporters hope to pressure him to reverse course and start bringing troops home."

Honest, It Wasn't Abe


During House floor debate on the Iraq War resolution Thursday, Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska) fell into a trap that's caught plenty of other Iraq war supporters -- misquoting Abraham Lincoln as advocating the hanging of lawmakers who undermine military morale during wartime.

"Congressmen who willfully take action during wartime that damage morale and undermine the military are saboteurs, and should be arrested, exiled or hanged," Young quoted the 16th president as saying.

The only problem: Lincoln never said such a thing. It was actually J. Michael Waller in a piece he wrote for Insight magazine in December of 2003. Waller later told Annenberg's that the "supposed quote in question is not a quote at all, and I never intended it to be construed as one."

Annenberg counted 18,000 subsequent references to the Lincoln "quote" by people who typically support Bush's war policy and, moreover, oppose critics of the president's war policy.

Shortly after he left the House floor Thursday, Young found out that -- woops -- he had mistakenly put words in Abe's mouth. Young's spokeswoman, Meredith Kenny, said the congressman took the quote directly from an article he read in The Washington Times on Tuesday, which as of Thursday had not been corrected.

Then there's this.

I think it would be of great benefit to our nation to hang the bastards who got us into this criminal war and occupation, all those who support it, and every last fuckin' Moonie we can get our hands on. Dibs on Blankley's suits.


Schumer: "We Will Get to The Bottom of This"

As we all know, Bu$hCo (thanks, Lurch) is packing federal courts all over the land by replacing good prosecutors with bad ones, aka 'house shills', for the purpose of protecting themselves and investigating their opponents, aka 'the sane ones'. TPM Muckraker, with video:

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), speaking on the Senate floor this afternoon, vowed to "get to the bottom" of the administration's December purge of federal prosecutors, and said that if they found that the prosecutors had indeed received positive job evaluations from the Justice Department before being booted, "there will be real trouble."

Go get 'em, Chuck!

The 14th Annual TGFTLSBIAC Awards

It's 'awards time' again. Will Durst

Inside the Beltway, they call politics show business for ugly people, but absolutely no awards are given out to our hardworking representatives. Unless you call the honor of serving us, the unwashed hoi polloi scurrying about their districts, a just award. "Being elected to serve to good people of (insert place name here) is all the award I need." Gag. But some of these guys and gals have gone the extra mile and deserve to be recognized for their unstinting effort in making my job as a political humorist as easy as slam dunking from a step ladder.

And although attempts to secure a television deal for the awards ceremony this year were less than successful, our salivating expectations of extreme schadenfruede will not be absorbed by the bib of lamentation, as we hand out for the 14th time, the prestigious TGFTLSBIAC awards. The "Thank God For These Liquid Squeezebags Because I'm a Comic" Awards. Your gift bag is in the mail.

Here's just a few:

THE BEST IMPRESSION OF A SLEEPY LIZARD IN SEARCH OF A WARM ROCK AWARD: and the winner is... I'm sorry, we're all winners. The award goes to Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell, edging out 6-time winner Vice President Dick Cheney.

THE MOST IMPORTANT MAN IN AMERICA AWARD: For the 7th year in a row, Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens' doctor.

THE COMEDIC TIMING OF AN END TABLE AWARD: It's a tie! Hugo Chavez and John Kerry.

THE UNCLEAR ON THE CONCEPT OF PAYBACK AWARD: is given to the entire Republican Party Congressional Caucus for whining about the Democratic Party cutting them out of the legislative process.

Many more. Enjoy.

Oh Baby! Gimme a Snow Job...


It would be perhaps more precise to call paid-GOP-propaganda-shill-on-FOX News-turned-paid-GOP-propaganda-shill as White House Press Secretary, Tony Snow, a smarmy prick.

But he's also a daily hypocrite in his arrogant and deceitful dealings with the lapdogs of the White House Press Corps. He's their male dominatrix. He cracks the whip of mistruths as he casts out snide asides and the well-paid stenographers of the status quo roll over and retreat to their submissive stenography.

You can go read the rest to get the context, but that part got me goin'!

Warlord or Druglord?

In his post "Escalations", a few below this one, Fixer talks about the intentional missing of opportunities and offers of help in Iraq and Afghanistan by Iran. It's like refusing an offer of a garden hose from a neighbor you don't like when your house is on fire. Stupid. In this case, more evil than stupid, but stupid nonetheless.

Here's another opportunity for major help in Afghanistan blown all to Hell, this time by the DEA. Time magazine's cover article for the week of 2/19:

For a week and a half in April 2005, one of the favorite warlords of fugitive Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar was sitting in a room at the Embassy Suites Hotel in lower Manhattan, not far from where the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center once stood. But Haji Bashar Noorzai, the burly, bearded leader of one of Afghanistan's largest and most troublesome tribes, was not on a mission to case New York City for a terrorist attack. On the contrary, Noorzai, a confidant of the fugitive Taliban overlord, who is a well-known ally of Osama bin Laden's, says he had been invited to Manhattan to prove that he could be of value in America's war on terrorism. "I did not want to be considered an enemy of the United States," Noorzai told TIME. "I wanted to help the Americans and to help the new government in Afghanistan."

For several days he hunkered down in that hotel room and was bombarded with questions by U.S. government agents. What was going on in the war in Afghanistan? Where was Mullah Omar? Where was bin Laden? What was the state of opium and heroin production in the tribal lands Noorzai commanded--the very region of Afghanistan where support for the Taliban remains strongest? Noorzai believed he had answered everything to the agents' satisfaction, that he had convinced them that he could help counter the Taliban's resurgent influence in his home province and that he could be an asset to the U.S.

He was wrong.

As he got up to leave, ready to be escorted to the airport to catch a flight back to Pakistan, one of the agents in the room told him he wasn't going anywhere. That agent, who worked for the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), told him that a grand jury had issued a sealed indictment against Noorzai 3 1/2 months earlier and that he was now under arrest for conspiring to smuggle narcotics into the U.S. from Afghanistan. An awkward silence ensued as the words were translated into his native Pashtu. "I did not believe it," Noorzai later told TIME from his prison cell. "I thought they were joking." The previous August, an American agent he had met with said the trip to the U.S. would be "like a vacation."

So here's a guy, head honcho of a million Afghanis, with inside connections to the Taliban and the 9/11 terrorists, who thinks the U.S. is the one who can help his native land and decides to help us.

So what do we do? We lure the guy to New York, ostensibly to discuss what kind of assistance and intel he can offer, and then arrest him.

Valuable intelligence assets are seldom paragons, and the best are valuable precisely because they have traveled down the darker alleys and know where opportunities and danger lie. However unsavory the résumé, says Alexis Debat, senior fellow at the Nixon Center and an expert in counterterrorism in South Asia, "it is always a smarter move to leave someone in place as long as you are getting reliable information." Noorzai's story is both a symbol and an example of this critical debate over means and ends. [...]

So, half the time our bureacracies' right hands don't know what their left hands are doing, and the other half the time their right hands conspire with their left hands. Either way, all they ever accomplish, whether by omission or comission, is to royally screw the pooch.

Noorzai has a flair for the dramatic gesture. In January 2002, to convince the Americans that he wanted to work with them and demonstrate not only his worth but his influence over his tribe, he delivered 15 trucks loaded with weaponry, including about 400 antiaircraft missiles, that the Taliban had concealed in his tribal villages. The gesture apparently had the desired effect. Over the next few months, Noorzai said he met with U.S. military and intelligence officers five times. The purpose, he says: "To make the situation in Afghanistan stable and also to help the Americans negotiate with the moderate members of the Taliban to reconcile with the [new] government."

The trial can be seen as a test case for the costs and benefits of arresting and prosecuting a man like Noorzai. Does the potential cost to the battle against terrorism in Afghanistan outweigh the benefit to the war on drugs? These are the kind of wrenching questions that the U.S. must weigh in its new twilight struggle for stability both at home and abroad.

For his part, Noorzai insists that his offer to help stabilize Afghanistan was sincere. He is also certain that he offered his help to the right people: "I still believe American and NATO forces are the only ones who can help Afghanistan rebuild." They will just have to do it without him.

This is quite a long article, but well worth reading. A prime example of how the turf wars inside our government are helping to squander good will, valuable assets, and a vast potential for assistance we desperately need. The next Afghani local leader who thinks he ought to help us probably will think better of the idea and just not.

I think valuable aid in stabilizing Afghanistan would have been well worth leaving Mr. Noorzai in place and helping him in return, but noooooo, DEA's rocket scientists wanted a cheap ass drug bust to make their numbers look good and to Hell with our main effort in Afghanistan. Those idiots couldn't figure out how to throw a beer party in a brewery if you handed them a case of chips.

Pre-war Intelligence Came From Magic 8-Ball

From Andy Borowitz:

"Much of the pre-war intelligence that led to President George W. Bush’s decision to invade Iraq in 2003 came from the popular fortune-telling toy known as the Magic 8-Ball, according to documents released today.

As Congress debates the war in Iraq, scrutinizing the pre-war roles of such former administration figures as Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and his deputy, Paul Wolfowitz, the news that a small plastic ball shaped the decision to go to war came as nothing less than a bombshell." [more . . .]

The sad part is that it is almost believable.


Quote of the Day

Great, great thanks to reader Oz in comments for sending me here:


They will pat our troops on the back, throw them a parade, and then send them half-the-world away to die - who cares as long as these fake heroes back at home don't have to do a damn thing except stick a fucking magnet on their car and attack us so-called "liberal hippie leftists".


Off to work ...

Escalations ...

What the armchair chickenhawk generals on the right fail to get is that shit we do has consequences. When we start kicking over other nations, their neighbors start getting worried. When we rattle the saber toward another nation, their neighbors go shopping*:

Leaders of Sunni Arab states are embarking on a military spending spree in an attempt to contain the growing threat from Iran.

Alarmed by the progress of Iran's nuclear programme and the prospect of a military clash between its Shia regime and the United States, Gulf leaders intend to use billions of dollars of oil revenue to purchase a huge array of military hardware.


So, let's see. We attacked Iraq for little justification and are hinting, strongly, we're about to attack Iran. Instead of making the Middle East a 'more stable place', we've precipitated an arms race. And now, the people who really should be removed from power (the House of Saud and the other Oil Princes), the people who oppress their populace and use their money to build palaces to themselves, will now be more powerful and the chance of their own people affecting 'regime change' becomes smaller.

Instead of accepting peace overtures and beginning a dialogue with the Iranians, we disregarded their offer and refused to talk**. We've blown the opportunity to normalize relations with Iran on more than one occasion in our zeal to oust Saddam and steal Iraq's oil. The Iranians wanted to help us oust the Taliban in Afghanistan and would most certainly have helped us get rid of Saddam. Had Bush's intentions been as advertised, actual regime change in Iraq and an attempt to build a democracy, the Iranians would have helped us.

So, after 'everybody was an American' on 9/11, we have progressed through four years of lies and deception, diplomatic mistakes, military disasters, and billions wasted, not to mention all the fucking lives squandered, to achieve nothing but to make things worse. Sadly, I believe, this could all have been averted had we only sat down to talk. The incompetence of this administration has been criminal, and that's not counting the crimes they committed to get us into war in the first place.

Tip o' the Brain to:

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Lots more Donohoohah*

A whole shitpot full of it in the wake of him trashing Sis and Amanda. Read 'em all. Excerpts:


Frances Kissling, head of Catholics for a Free Choice, talks about the right-wing activist who forced the John Edwards campaign to part with one of its bloggers.

What happened is [the Swiftboating of John] Kerry repeated, in a way. I think that's the goal. What you have are these right-wing Catholic groups, the Catholic League and Priests for Life and Fidelis, which came out after Donohue went after [Marcotte] calling for Obama and Hillary to repudiate Edwards for hiring them. What it is is part of the 2008 attack by conservative Catholics against Democrats, whether they're Catholic or not: Anything they can do to discredit the candidates is what they're going to do.

Any comment, any statement, and he's right there to claim that it's anti-Catholic. And one is used to this kind of thing getting attention from Fox [News]. But it's surprising that it's now being treated seriously by the mainstream press.

Now, were those bloggers pushing the envelope? Yes they were. Is it surprising that Edwards would hire them? Yes! From my perspective was that a good thing? Yes! From a mainstream perspective? Maybe not.

But what Amanda wrote is certainly no different from what prominent Ph.D.s, tenured professors of theology, are saying when they're talking about sex and Christianity. But this is it, Donohue doesn't like serious scholarly examination of Christian principles, or stories, or myths any more than he likes satire of it. He is an equal-opportunity bully when it comes to those things. It's a basic belief, whether it's about this or the Danish cartoons, put forward by some in the religious community, which says that what we believe is off-limits; it cannot be criticized because we have said it is sacred. And then there are the rest of us in democratic societies who say nothing is above criticism and that democracy even includes the right to ridicule.

There is something about this man and his attacks on women that is frightening. There was a while when I refused to go on air with him [for television appearances] because -- you know I am a very strong person -- but I felt physically threatened by this man. He never physically threatened me, but I felt like I was in the presence of an abuser. So for a long time I just refused because it was too degrading to be in his presence. I got over it eventually and have done a few things with him since. I understand that he is so offensive that he does himself damage; as long as I can maintain my equilibrium with him attacking me in the most vicious ways possible -- that only does me credit and makes him look like the abuser that he is. But the glee with which he went after Vanderslice and the glee with which he has gone after these women marks him as an abuser.

The Charlotte Observer

Donohue throws fire bombs for a living.

He takes aim at popular culture that invokes, spoofs or criticizes Catholic (read: Christian) symbols or tenets. The trouble is, he can't differentiate between healthy debate -- or meaningless entertainment stunts -- and real religious bigotry.

Donohue is also just as guilty of using overblown language and expressing bigoted ideas as the bloggers he criticizes.

Consider his remark, reported above, about Hollywood and Jews who hate Christians, made on the MSNBC program "Scarborough Country" in 2004.

Consider this statement made in 2005: "The gay community has yet to apologize to straight people for all the damage that they have done -- for contaminating the blood supply in New York City and around the country."

It's hard to take someone that uninformed seriously when they see anti-Catholic bias behind every tree.

He gets paid $300K a year to do that. Plush pay for a cush job in which there's no real work, so he makes damn sure he finds bias "behind every tree" even if he has to invent it himself.

What it comes down to is this: People like Bill Donohue are bullies. They use fear and derision to derail views and ideas different from their own. That's dangerous. It short circuits the fundamental right of free speech.

AlterNet. Paul Waldman takes the MSM to task.

Donohue runs an ongoing medicine show of disingenuous outrage, charging that any criticism of the Catholic Church -- if it comes from progressives or Democrats -- is "anti-Catholic bigotry," while defending all manner of bigotry so long as it comes from conservatives.

Again and again, all it has entailed is a call from Bill Donohue -- whom Mark Silk, the director of the Center for the Study of Religion in Public Life at Trinity College, described as "a thug" -- to set reporters' fingers tapping on their keyboards, another "controversy" made to order.

Despite there being some factual element buried deep within the story -- the two bloggers, Amanda Marcotte and Melissa McEwan, were, in fact, working for John Edwards, and they had previously written strong, even intemperate words criticizing the Catholic Church -- this controversy was at its heart no different from the madrassa fiction.

Both were attempts by right-wing operatives to create a scandal out of nothing in an attempt to damage a Democratic presidential candidate; in both cases these right-wing operatives sought to enlist the help of the media to do their dirty work.

And in both cases, the liberal blogs fought back (albeit for slightly different reasons; it wasn't Edwards they were defending, but two of their own). They spread the facts, they put pressure on the media to report them accurately and they generally made the kind of ruckus the right wing has been much more effective at creating. In the end, Edwards did the right thing and refused to fire Marcotte and McEwan. Still, Donohue got the scalp he wanted: Marcotte quit the Edwards campaign this week. (You can read her explanation.)

The 2008 election will be a test of whether blogs have the power to enforce some standard of truth and shame on those news organizations that buy into made-up tales like the Obama madrassa story.

During the 2004 campaign blogs were still a novelty, an emerging information source and organizing tool with mostly unrealized potential. Four years later they have become a major player, and journalists -- terribly threatened though they may be by the idea that ordinary, uncredentialed people might be checking their work and calling them on their mistakes -- have finally realized that blogs can't be ignored. And if there's one thing bloggers don't hesitate to do, it is calling journalists to account when they have sinned.

As many a blogger has argued, they are much more accountable than traditional journalists -- write something inaccurate on your blog, and within minutes others will fact-check you and demand a correction (which on blogs is put right with the original post, not buried deeply somewhere in the publication a week later). So we can hope that that spirit of accountability will extend to the reporters currently booking hotel rooms in Des Moines and Manchester.

You don't have to let the right-wing smear machine lead you around by the nose. You can exercise your own judgment about what's true and what's a lie. You can give the public something better than what they've gotten in the last few campaigns. You can be true to your profession's noble ideals and the demands of democracy.

Lastly, Media Matters says Donohue knows a 'gook joke' when he tells one.

In a September 19, 2003, article on the annual game, the Columbia Daily Spectator, Columbia's student newspaper, reported that at the 2002 contest, the "Columbia University Marching Band, long known for its clever and often off-color jokes, made one that eventually gained national media attention." According to the Spectator, Hao, who was the "Marching Band Poet Laureate," "referred to 'Fordham tuition going down like an altar boy,' angering many students and fans from the Jesuit Catholic-run university."

Donohue subsequently appeared on Donahue with Hao to discuss the joke and promised to "demonstrate that the kid's a phony." Donohue then added that he had mentioned a hypothetical to Hao earlier that day on a different MSNBC program: "[W]e could hypothesize that there'd be a Columbia University pingpong team made of Asians, and somebody goes out there and says 'All gooks go home.' " Donohue finished his demonstration by asking: "Now, what's wrong with a gook joke?" After Hao responded that "the gook joke's completely irrelevant," Donohue stated: "All I'd ask for you is show the same degree of respect for Catholics as you would for Asians. You don't like the gook jokes? I don't like them, either. So just wise up." After a commercial break, Donohue returned to his argument and asked: "What about the gook jokes? I want to know, why don't you have a sense of humor about gook jokes?"

From the transcript:

DONOHUE: Why don't you lighten up a little?

Let me answer that. Because you got everything comin' that I can possibly shovel on you, and then I'll jam the shovel up your ass.

*Recently, somewhere, someone complained about "The Vagina Monologues" on a sign, so the play's venue changed it to "The Hoohah Monologues", which I thought was kinda cute. The complainers didn't. I use it in the context of Donohue because I think he ain't nothin' but a loudmouth pussy.

Fire dog what?

No doubt proving the theory that even a blind pig will find a truffle once in a while, even the Gray Lady gets one right.

The perjury trial of I. Lewis Libby Jr., former top aide to Vice President Dick Cheney, has drawn every major news organization in the country to the federal courthouse in Washington. But none has fielded a bigger team - or was more openly crushed by the defense decision this week not to put Mr. Cheney and Mr. Libby on the stand - than

Even the Web-savvy may ask, Fire dog what? A collective of liberal bloggers, fueled by online donations and a fanatical devotion to the intricacies of the Libby case, Firedoglake has offered intensive trial coverage, using some six contributors in rotation. They include a former prosecutor, a current defense lawyer, a Ph.D. business consultant and a movie producer, all of whom lodge at a Washington apartment rented for the duration of the trial.

With a yeasty mix of commentary, invective and inside jokes, Firedoglake has seen its audience grow steadily during the trial, reaching 200,000 visitors and requiring an additional computer server on its busiest days - like Tuesday, with the revelation that Mr. Cheney would not appear.

"After all that, Shooter lets me down," wrote Jane Hamsher, creator of Firedoglake and organizer of its trial team. Mr. Cheney is nicknamed on the blog for his infamous hunting accident, which handily rhymes with the nickname for his former aide, Scooter.

At Firedoglake and other sites on the left, Patrick J. Fitzgerald, the prosecutor, comes across as a righteous avenger, exposing the perfidy of Mr. Libby in particular and the Bush White House in general.

Go read the rest. They give away her age. She damn sure don't look it, even with her recent medical problems. Hey, that's just cheap gossip, but if it makes ya go read...

Jane and her gang show what a lot of work, smarts, and a fire in the belly for truth, justice, and the American Way can do. Props (this time) to the NYT for recognizing it.

Jane's our pal, and I hope she thinks the same of us. I think I can speak for the rest of the Brainiacs (in my case, the Old BrainFart) that we're very proud of her.

Helen Thomas' Seat (bad visual, I know)


Politico blog Shenanigans is reporting that Helen Thomas, long-time Presidential correspondent, may be about to lose her front row seat in the Press Briefing Room.

Apparently, being the first woman officer of the National Press Club, the first woman member(and president) of the White House Correspondents Association, and the first woman member of the Gridiron Club, not to mention covering every president since John F Kennedy, does not necessarily entitle Thomas to a front row seat. But at this point it' s up in the air; White House Correspondents' Association President Steve Scully says only "I can tell you categorically no decisions have been made."

The rationale for such a move? It seems the latest White House Press Room renovations will only create one extra seat per row but many of the cable news networks having been hankering after a front row seat for some time. Who will be the winner in this reverse game of musicals chairs? Well, if it's between CNN or Fox, then, a Politico source wondered, "how do you choose between the two?" (Hmmm, how, indeed.)

This isn't the first time Thomas has been moved to the back of the room. A number of years ago she was given back row status for Press Conferences because she gave Bush a hard time no longer worked for a wire service (she's technically a columnist now).

According to Thomas it makes no difference where she sits, "I know how to shout". After watching her chase down Steven Colbert at last year's White House Press Association Dinner, we have no doubt.

Leave the Old Ay-rab in front. She's earned it. And speaking as an incipient old folk myself, seniority is about all we got left.

And just how do us Olde Fartes (y,Lctp) handle those long press conferences? Depends.

Quote of the Day

"When we were putting the board [of directors] together, somebody [Fred Malek] came to me and said, look there is a guy who would like to be on the board. He's kind of down on his luck a bit. Needs a job. Needs a board position. Needs some board positions. Could you put him on the board? Pay him a salary and he'll be a good board member and be a loyal vote for the management and so forth.

I said well we're not usually in that business. But okay, let me meet the guy. I met the guy. I said I don't think he adds that much value. We'll put him on the board because - you know - we'll do a favor for this guy; he's done a favor for us.

We put him on the board and [he] spent three years. Came to all the meetings. Told a lot of jokes. Not that many clean ones. And after a while I kind of said to him, after about three years - you know, I'm not sure this is really for you. Maybe you should do something else. Because I don't think you're adding that much value to the board. You don't know that much about the company.

He said, well I think I'm getting out of this business anyway. And I don't really like it that much. So I'm probably going to resign from the board.

And I said, thanks - didn't think I'd ever see him again. His name is George W. Bush. He became President of the United States. So you know if you said to me, name 25 million people who would maybe be President of the United States, he wouldn't have been in that category. So you never know. Anyway, I haven't been invited to the White House for any things."
-- David Rubenstein, The Carlyle Group

Creatively Using Google Earth

From BoingBoing:

Google Earth: helpful for evading death squads in Iraq

BBC News Baghdad correspondent Andrew North reports that some people in Iraq are using Google Earth to avoid sectarian violence in Baghdad.

Faith-based Hypocrite

Think Progress

Bill Donohue Defended Bush Catholic Outreach Staffer Who Was Outed As Sexual Predator

During the 2004 presidential campaign, George Bush's Catholic outreach coordinator, 54-year-old Deal Hudson, was outed as a sexual predator for taking advantage of a drunken 18-year old while he was a professor. The National Catholic Reporter reported:

According to documents obtained by NCR, Hudson invited a vulnerable freshman undergraduate, Cara Poppas, to join a group of older students for a pre-Lenten "Fat Tuesday" night of partying at a Greenwich Village bar. The night concluded after midnight in Hudson's Fordham office, where he and the drunken 18-year-old exchanged sexual favors. The fallout would force his resignation from a tenured position at the Jesuit school, cost him $30,000, and derail a promising academic career.

Hey, half of the college experience is trying to get girls drunk so you can get a little, usually doesn't pan out anyway, but it's 100% inappropriate for a prof to do that with a newby freshman who don't know shit. It's similar to priests molesting altar boys. Hell, the Big Dog got impeached for less.

Yet at least one prominent right-wing figure came to Hudson's defense: the Catholic League's Bill Donohue (Surprise, surprise! My em.), who has spent the last several days calling for the heads of two John Edwards bloggers. Donohue ardently defended Hudson in a statement, even invoking the Virgin Mary in downplaying his sexual assault:

In a press release, Bill Donahue, president of the Catholic League, minimized the charges against Hudson and attempted a joke at the Virgin Mary's expense. "Effective today," Donohue wrote, his organization had "a new requirement for all future employees: all candidates must show proof of being immaculately conceived, that is, they must demonstrate that they were conceived without sin."

The American Spectator reported later, "Responding to complaints, the Catholic League has removed the press release from its website."

I'm sure the 'complaints' were from Donohue.

This is the kind of asshole we are dealing with here, folks, and that's not near the worst thing he's said by a long shot, just that he said it in defense of a filthy old fool. Talk about "attack dogs"! Rabid ones. I know how we deal with rabid dogs where I come from. It's not pretty, but they don't bite anyone again.

Donohue needs to have his ass handed to him, along with many other wingnuts in the RS3M*. They need a rapid response, constant, factual hammer job. They need to be exposed for what they are so the world can see.

Candidates can only do it up to a point. It's a distraction from getting their message out and trying to popularize themselves to get elected. Also, they have to stick to the facts of the specific attacks in their rebuttal and can't get personal, unlike their attackers, who use any means.

And unlike us. I'm all for getting the personal goods on these pricks and shouting it from the rooftops. I'd just love to get the goods on some of the wingnut slimeballs' bedroom habits. Film at 11. That might be a little disgusting, but I'd do it for my country. Donohue himself probably doesn't do much in the rack besides sleep, but I'd bet dollars to donuts that he's a drunk.

When the light of day shines on these jerks, they'll go back under their rocks. The MSM won't do it unless it's about showbiz-type celebs, but we damn sure can.

All's fair in love and war, and this fer goddam sure ain't love.

Please pardon the rant, but this whole Sis and Amanda deal has me royally pissed off. The politicians and pundits can sling all the shit at each other that they want to. It's their game, it's what they do, it's their whole fucking lives. When they come down on two reg'lar gals to get at the guy they just wanted to help get elected, they're going way over the line as far as I'm concerned. It's like using a howitzer on a chipmunk. The ladies didn't sign on for that kind of abuse, don't deserve it, and probably don't have the experience or the killer instinct to defend themselves against it. They certainly don't want all the exposure and inquiry into their use of their own free speech and their private lives. I think I'm glad they saw the writing on the wall and got out of the cesspit.

I wish it had been me. I'da loved to go on one of the gasbag shows with Donohue. Or any wingnut asshole. I would like nothing better in this world than to create some 'must see TV' by knockin' the motherfucker on his ass live and on camera.

*Repuglican Spin, Slime, and Smear Machine.

Before the Invasion, There Was Feith

Robert Scheer

Someday, you are going to read a whole lot about the shenanigans of one Douglas J. Feith and an elaborate scheme to get the United States to invade Iraq. That is because Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., has been determined to get to the bottom of this sordid tale and is now, fortunately, head of the Senate Armed Services Committee and thereby empowered to get at the truth.

Last week, his focus led to the partial declassification of a report produced by the Pentagon's inspector general. Although its shocking revelations did not get the coverage they deserved - what with a jealous astronaut under arrest and the death of a certain voluptuous stripper/heiress - efforts such as Levin's eventually will uncover the full picture of why President Bush committed to a war costing tens of thousands of lives and an expected $1 trillion that served no valid national security purpose.

Good piece, you should only go read.

Shorter: Normally, CIA intel would go directly to the President, if we had one. Instead, the intel went to UnderSecDef Feith, appointed by Cheney and Rumsfeld for the specific task of "correcting" intel that didn't agree with what they wanted the Chimp to see in its 'Agency analyzed' aka 'objective' form.

So was the White House in on this hustle? It is hard to imagine it wasn't, because Feith was selected by Cheney and Rumsfeld to run the "alternative" intelligence operation precisely because they knew he was an inveterate hawk, long committed publicly to a rollback strategy that would ensure Israel's security through regime change in the Arab world, beginning with Iraq.

Yeah, that worked, huh? I'm getting sick and tired of these assholes putting Israel ahead of the United States.

More important, why did the president raise Feith's analysis over that of the government's lavishly funded intelligence agencies? That is the basic question, and one that truth-diggers such as Levin eventually may be able to answer.

I'll take a wild-assed guess that the Chimp/Cheney/Rumsfeld wanted 'plausible deniability' and to be able to blame the faulty, aka 'cooked', intel on the CIA, which they've done.

Now that the cat's little nose is sticking outta the bag preparatory to jumping out with claws extended to scratch the livin' crap out of 'em, Bush and Cheney are gonna blame it all on Feith.

I saw this somewhere the other day: look for Feith to be the "new John Dean". Thrown under the bus by the Nixon Gang, Dean clambered back up to a table in front of a Senate investigating committee and spilled the beans big time. Let's hope.

Get 'em, Senator Levin. They all need to answer for what they've done.

"The weed is winning!"

Another good Texan, Jim Hightower, on the stupid War On Weed (WOW).

I tried to post it, but there's a broken tag in their 'embed' and I don't know enough to fix it. Almost did, though.


"Whenever a fellow tells me he is bipartisan I know he is going to vote against me." --Harry Truman

It's preposterous!


The president spent much of the hour-long televised session in the East Room addressing skepticism about his government's assertions regarding Iran and fears of a widening regional conflict. "The idea that somehow we're manufacturing the idea that the Iranians are providing [explosives] is preposterous," Bush said. Repeating a reporter's question, he added: "Does this mean you're trying to have a pretext for war? No. It means I'm trying to protect our troops."


Yup, if the Chimp says it, it must be true. Pardon me if I don't believe it. At this point, unless the Chimp shows me pictures of Ahmedinejad riding a bomb like Slim Pickens, I ain't gonna believe shit coming from the White House. There's 3100 new markers in Arlington and we still haven't found Saddam's WMD. How many more lives are we gonna waste looking for Ahmedinejad's?

Welcome to readers of Salon's Blog Report.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Bloggers on the Bus

Here's an interesting article in Time about politics and bloggers that mentions Ms. Marcotte prominently and Sis less so.

But bottling the lightning of blogger authenticity is not easy. Many blogosphere activists suspect anyone signing on with a campaign of selling out. And in the era of drum-tight message control, campaigns are not inclined to tolerate the independence bloggers need to maintain their credibility.

Getting the marriage between campaign and blogger right is probably more important for Edwards than for any other Democratic candidate. The former vice-presidential candidate is moving hard to the left to differentiate himself from Clinton and Obama ahead of next year's primary contests. The blogosphere, with its surfeit of Democratic base voters, is a natural target audience: almost a third of the estimated 5 million daily political blog readers identified themselves as strongly liberal in a George Washington University study published last October.

The least tangible, yet most important, asset that bloggers bring to a campaign is their credibility with their fans, which is earned over years and gives their endorsement of a candidate real weight. Joe Trippi, who as Dean's campaign manager in 2004 employed up to six bloggers, says that letting the bloggers operate freely while on the payroll is crucial: he remembers cringing as he read Moulitsas' criticisms of Dean even as the campaign kept writing $2,500 monthly retainer checks.

Honesty requires biting the hand that feeds you when it's screwin' up.

Marcotte's pre-Edwards blogging oeuvre may have been provocative and profanity-laced, but it was still not far from the mainstream of the blood sport that is political blogging. And there is a welcome wonkishness to Marcotte, who, unlike some star bloggers, is not afraid to parse policy with her readers. Those qualities helped earn Pandagon, which will continue in the care of other bloggers while she's gone, a dedicated and sizable fan base. Marcotte has made it clear to her fans that working for a campaign requires a change in tone. "I know how the game works," she wrote in a recent post. "I'm more interested in helping my candidate win than anything—luckily we see eye to eye on most issues."

I think that last sentence says it all about why she quit so quickly. She wants Edwards to win and if bailing out to try and tamp down the uproar is required, so be it. I respect that.

If we liken the whole blogosphere to High School, which ain't that much of a stretch, I'm perfectly content to watch the BMOC and the jocks and the soshes run for student office, vie to be valedictorian, and stab each other in the back for whatever adolescent reason. I'm happy as a clam out here in the parking lot, sneaking a smoke and selling them their hubcaps back.


I wasn't gonna write about it because it's really not worth it, but since we've been graced by the presence of a couple trolls today, it got me thinking about it. I mean, it seems like wasted effort on their part. Maybe one of them can stop breaking my balls for a minute and 'splain it to me.

Do they think they're going to give one of us or our readers some sort of epiphany? That somehow, because of their idiotic arguments they're going to change someone's point of view? This is the last place to attempt that.

Are they trying to piss somebody off? That's just playing with fire. A lot of the folks who hang around here don't take kindly to people pushing their buttons. So somebody tell me what the attraction is.

I'm a live and let live guy. I don't go on right wing sites and dick with 'em. I don't waste my time for the same reasons; I certainly don't think I'll be able to convice them of anything. If they dick with my friends (Shakes in particular today) I'm gonna take exception, but I'm gonna do it here. I don't give a damn what they write about her and I'm sure she doesn't either. I don't give a damn what they write about me on their blogs.

So, back to why they bother. Do they think this is a debating society? That I will somehow give any of their arguments enough credence and credibilty to debate? Do they think I will be somehow impressed with them because they can make convoluted arguments with third grade logic? Do they somehow think their arguments will get me to respect them as men and women?

At this point, if you're still swallowing the Rethug line, you're either employed by them or a gullible fool. If you watch Fox News and believe the crap they spread, you're nothing more than a brainwashed ignoramus. If you can't see, especially after reading this page and the comments from vets who've been there, what the occupation in Iraq is doing to our military, to our security, and to our integrity then you have no idea how the world works. I certainly will never respect you.

So, trolls will be ignored from now on. No engagement, no debate, no discussion. Their statements will be left to stand for themselves. They should take into account, however, that eventually I will get fed up.

So tell me, trolls. Why do you bother?

Injured GIs told to cough it up...

WPXI (Pittsburgh)

Soldiers who were paralyzed, suffered brain damage and lost limbs owe the government enlistment bonus money.

They must pay the money back because they didn’t fulfill their tour of duty.

Sometimes I am absolutely flabbergasted at the lack of decency and downright stupidity shown by the military bean counters. They offered 'em money to join, they joined, they sent 'em into harm's way, they got harmed, and now they want their goddam money back for breach of contract? Un-fuckin'-believable!

I am sure this won't stand, but for now it takes the fuckin' cake!

Repugs: "Don't debate Bush's War or we lose."

Think Progress

But a leaked letter obtained today by Majority Leader Steny Hoyer's (D-MD) office reveals that conservatives have formulated a strategy to avoid talking about the central question of the debate.

In the letter, leading conservative Reps. John Shadegg (R-AZ) and Peter Hoekstra (R-MI) inform their allies: "The debate should not be about the surge or its details. This debate should not even be about the Iraq war to date, mistakes that have been made, or whether we can, or cannot, win militarily." Shadegg and Hoekstra warn, if conservatives are forced to debate "the surge or the current situation in Iraq, we lose."

Instead, they write, "the debate must be about the global threat of the radical Islamic movement." The problem is they lose that debate too.

This ain't exactly hot news, but they've already lost, both Bush's War and in the court of public opinion, and they know it. What they're trying to do is keep people who already know it from finding out about it, and save their political asses and their cushy big-bucks jobs with the attendant power and perks.

You lost because you supported stupid criminals in an immoral adventure, assholes. There's not much left to save, so admit you're caning a dead horse and then STFU and let real people try to fix the fuckin' mess you've made.

Calif. Senate OKs resolution against Bush's War


Amid accusations that it would give comfort to America's enemies, the California Senate approved a resolution Tuesday calling for a halt to boosting the number of troops in Iraq or spending any more taxpayer dollars on the war without explicit approval from Congress.

As might be expected:

Republicans stood to oppose the resolution, which expresses the opinion of the Legislature but is legally meaningless.

One said the Democratic Party should be ashamed of supporting terrorists, who could soon be attacking California cities.

Hereafter follow some wingnut accusations. I'll spare you.

Sen. Sheila Kuehl, a Santa Monica Democrat, responded: "Balderdash. If anything is supporting and emboldening our enemies, it is this war... This war was a mistake, and the rest of the world knows it."

Good on ya Sheila, and the rest of my state senate who voted for this too.

Ms. Kuehl, who played "Zelda" on The Many Loves Of Dobie Gillis back around the Dawn of Time, is the state senator for the district chosen for refuge by Fixer's favorite verbal bamboozler. Why he chose Santa Monica is a mystery to me - the area, whose former senator was Tom Hayden of "Hanoi Jane's husband" fame, is so lefty it's known locally as "The People's Republic of Santa Monica". I hope he finds this out in the supermarket checkout line, or maybe when the valet 'loses' his SUV...

I am Spartacus



Well the denizens of Crazyville – who are all terribly brave when it comes to threatening women, and yet for some reason seem collectively and conspicuously unable to find their way out of Mommy’s basement and down to the recruiting office to demand a Surge Billet in their Dear Leader’s Excellent Iraqi Adventure – should know that Shakes has lots of friends.

Lots and lots and lots of friends.

And we are all Spartacus.

So is he, and so is he.

And so are they.


Do you get what's going on here?

Trickling away

Liquid alert for Fixer only.

Since it's in my contract that I have to read Fixer's links, occasionally I do. This time, I'm glad I did. This jewel from My Left Wing:

Freedom, especially freedom of speech, is never lost in one big Hollywood moment, instead it trickles away, a grain of sand at a time until we suddenly find the vessel of freedom empty. Joe McCarthy knew this as he set about methodically picking away at individuals who were the 1950s equivalent to Amanda Marcotte, ruining their lives--in some cases forever.

Amanda Marcotte and Melissa McEwan have been the victims of a hate campaign as vicious as any Joe McCarthy conducted. They will survive this because they are survivors, but the wounds are deep. If John Edwards will not speak out against this as the Minnesota Democrats failed to defend Rick Kahn, then he may well have derailed his presidential train.

I am sorry for John Edwards, sorry for the Democratic Party and most sorry that as much as I keep hoping the Party will change it seems to keep shooting itself in the foot. There are too many bullets there already, which may be why the party keeps limping along.

I'm reminded of the campfire scene in Easy Rider where Captain America complains to Jack Nicholson's character about the treatment they receive from the citizenry just for exercising their Freedom, to which the reply is words to the effect of, "Freedom? They're scared to death of Freedom."

Happy Valentine's Day

Pic thanks to Watertiger, where you'll have to go for an explanation.

About 18 years ago I met the love of my life. How she's put up with me all these years is still a mystery but I'm glad she does. I love ya darlin'.


For those who aren't as lucky as we are.

Fuck it ...

I'm running for President (I already thought about my cabinet). Why not, everybody else is. Could a 45 year old pothead be much worse than what we have now or the current group of pretenders? What the fuck goes on with you people? Here's all you have to do and the American people will follow, at least the majority.

1. End the war in Iraq and bring the troops home. Explain to Lockheed, UT, Northrop, Raytheon, and the rest that the gravy train is pulling into the last stop. Explain to the generals and admirals 'Weapons r' Us' is closed.

2. Healthcare for everyone, don't care how it's done so long as Big Insurance and Big Pharma don't make a windfall. I've had it with seeing people with shitty or no insurance lose everything because they got sick. It's time healthcare ceases to be a worry for Americans.

3. Government spending; pay as you go, period.

4. Any initiative 'faith-based' in nature will be vetoed on arrival. Any 'faith-based' organizations coming to the government with their hands out can get lost. Go get some of your TV preachers to sponsor you or the Vatican for that matter. All you churches, synagogues, mosques, and other houses of worship who try to meddle in the running of the government will have their tax exempt status revoked forthwith and permanently. I wonder what the levy on the Catholics alone would do to fund universal health care? Just sayin'.

5. Real campaign finance reform. No lobbying. Businesses will not be able to lobby the government, neither will associations, unions, or any other 'entity'. Only non-profits will be able to lobby for government funds. You wanna lobby the U.S. government? Write to your elected representative. Other nations and their agents will not be allowed to lobby members of the U.S. government except through offical channels (your ambassadors to ours) Oh, you poor lobbyists will be out of jobs? Try earning an honest wage for once. By the way, the government will now fund campaigns. You get a set amount and you have to make due. Anything you don't use goes back into the fund until next election season.

6. Alternative energy. Time for Big Oil to pay their fair share. Say hello to taxes out the ass Exxon/Mobil and the rest. You want your tax breaks back? Give me a power source to replace petroleum and doesn't pollute. You'll get a tax break then. Oh, and by the way, the government will regulate your prices and profit margins from now on, you greedy motherfuckers. You don't like that? I'll nationalize the fucking oil companies, assholes.

7. Taxes. If you move your assets offshore to avoid taxation, you will be assessed a penalty equal to double your hidden assets. Don't like that? Gimmie your fucking passport. You're now a citizen of whatever country helps you hide your money. You ain't living here if you ain't paying your fair share.

8. National Service. A good portion of you don't give a fuck about this country because no one ever forced you to appreciate it. America ain't all about the bucks. You wanna be an MBA? You wanna be a basketball star? Well before you head off to that university, you owe the federal government a couple years. Military or civilian, your choice, but you're gonna have a stake in this country. Maybe you'd give a little more of a shit about who you're electing if you spent some sweat and blood on this nation's behalf.

Now, if a Dem came out and said this, tell me you wouldn't vote for them. What the fuck are you idiots waiting for?

Bottom of the barrel ...

Offered without comment via Oliver Willis:

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Army and Marine Corps are letting in more recruits with criminal records, including some with felony convictions, reflecting the increased pressure of five years of war and its mounting casualties.

According to data compiled by the Defense Department, the number of Army and Marine recruits needing waivers for felonies and serious misdemeanors, including minor drug offenses, has grown since 2003. The Army granted more than double the number of waivers for felonies and misdemeanors in 2006 than it did in 2003. Some recruits may get more than one waiver.



Fuck it, I am gonna comment. Do you realize the implications of the above? Do you realize we are turning our military into a haven for thugs and criminals?

"Ah, hypocrite," you say. "We know you went into the military to get out of an auto theft charge."

True, but we weren't at war. Yeah, we played little shit games, dicking with the Soviets and North Koreans, kicking over Grenada, but I wasn't taken in just because I was a warm body. The judge saw me as a semi-intelligent young punk who would only end up back in court at a later date if he sent me to juvenile hall. He did it to rehabilitate me, not to fill a dire need for cannon fodder and deck apes. To some it's splitting hairs, to me it makes a world of difference.

Now, my hope is some of these guys they've given waivers to, if they survive, might come back learning the lessons I did. Some might decide the military is what they were meant to do and stay in to make it a career. I wish them the best.

It's the ones who come back and use what they learned on the battlefield for nefarious means. The ones who would see the military as an education in the deadly arts and use that education for personal gain. The ones who've already proven they have no respect for authority. We've done posts before showing gang grafitti on American tanks and self-propelled artillery pieces.

Do you want members of the Cryps, Bloods, and MS-13 having advanced special warfare training? Do you trust these guys to show weapons discipline in an already tense situation over there? Me neither.

It's time to end this war, bring the troops home, and rebuild our military, returning it to the honorable institution it was before the Chimp and Rumsfeld got hold of it.

You just lost my vote

Dear Mr. Edwards,

So, now you accepted Shakes' resignation too. Good on ya. Nice to know you are so politically spineless and I no longer have to listen to you sound pretty good. It doesn't matter what you say anymore because I know, when push comes to shove, you will cave to pressure without prompting. We don't need someone like you in the White House.

Instead of using this 'scandal' to take a stand and expose hate mongers like Bill Donohue, show them for what they really are and how they have a negative effect on the serious discourse in this nation, you took the easy way out.

That tells me you will be stifled to inaction, if you do make it to the White House, every time the Republicans and their flying monkeys raise their voices a decibel. Sorry, Mr. Edwards, but I want a leader in the White House, not a pussy.

You are not Presidential material.


PS - I see you learned how to stand up to your critics from John Kerry. You see where that got him. Go back to your 'mill town'.


Far better than I could have said it. But then, I'm usually not one for delicacy. Heh ...

And a 'by the way', our 17 year old intern at the shop has bigger balls and she wasn't issued a set at birth.


Brother Lurch is of the same mind. Again, said much better than I did.

And yes, I'm late for work, but as I watch the traffic report, I see there are accidents all along my 30 mile route. Ain't going nowhere until the sun comes up.


And do you think Mr. Edwards will say something about this? Yeah, I doubt it too.


Fuck work. Much as I love Harry, he ain't worth dying for. Seems like everybody on Long Island forgot what snow and ice were all about since last winter.


Today's 'please read' is Anna Quindlen's column on Bush's War in the Feb. 19th Newsweek:

The course of this war has been a consistent scene of carnage with ever-changing underpinnings. Uncover weapons of mass destruction, lay hands on Saddam Hussein, oversee elections, teach the Iraqis to police themselves. Bring stability to the region. The last has been an illusion. Over the last year many Americans have finally realized how thoroughly they were sold a bill of goods. The picture of the peaceable kingdom painted by the Bush administration nearly four years ago was that of a country, riven by religious and ethnic violence for centuries, suddenly turned into the equivalent of a Connecticut suburb: town meetings, friendly neighbors, a common purpose, perhaps a shopping mall.

No one tries to sell that snake oil anymore. Now the party line is that American forces will get out, but they cannot get out now. They cannot get out now because Iraq would become a place of civil war, of untrammeled violence, of complete chaos.

Iraq has been a place of civil war, untrammeled violence, complete chaos for a long time now. American intervention has not made that better. It has made it worse.

Get out now. Provide plenty of consultants to organize police forces and help with reconstruction. Persuade the Iraqi government, such as it is, to ask for peacekeeping assistance from other nations. Put the arm on allies in the Middle East to participate for the sake of stability in the region. Recognize that much of this is about access to oil, and negotiate accordingly while trying to persuade Americans to go to rehab for their fossil-fuel addiction.

The most tangible pact America made with the Iraqi people was to capture Saddam Hussein and bring him to justice. Done. The most nonsensical and paternalistic one was to bring freedom to the Iraqi people. That they must do themselves.

Last paragraph. I have emboldened the "Quote of the Day".

The people who brought America reports of WMDs when none existed, and the slogan "Mission Accomplished" when it was not nor likely to be, now say that American troops cannot leave. Not yet. Not soon. Not on a timetable. Judge the truth of that conclusion by the truth of their past statements. They say that talk of withdrawal shows a lack of support for the troops. There is no better way to support those who have fought valiantly in Iraq than to guarantee that not one more of them dies in the service of the political miscalculation of their leaders. Not one more soldier. Not one more grave. Not one more day. Bring them home tomorrow.

I have nothing to add to that.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Three for one ...

Three alumni from one high school here on Long Island have been killed in Iraq. I lived in Mineola when Mrs. F and I got married and this has devastated the community. If it's up to the Chimp they'll give more lives before it's over.

Good question

Our pal Lambert:

If Bush wants to support the troops, why doesn't he get them some fucking armor?


The Army is working to fill a shortfall in Iraq of thousands of advanced Humvee armor kits designed to reduce U.S. troop deaths from roadside bombs -- including a rising threat from particularly lethal weapons linked to Iran and known as "explosively formed penetrators" (EFP) -- that are now inflicting 70 percent of the American casualties in the country, according to U.S. military and civilian officials.


U.S. Army units in Iraq and Afghanistan lack more than 4,000 of the latest Humvee armor kit, known as FRAG Kit 5, according to U.S. officials. The Army has ramped up production of the armor, giving priority to troops in Baghdad, but the upgrade is not scheduled to be completed until this summer, Army officials said. That is well into the timeline for major operations launched last week to quell violence by Sunni insurgents and Shiite militias, which the U.S. military now views as the top security threat in Iraq.


The only 'surge' is gonna be in Bethesda, Walter Reed and Wilford Hall.

Stop Bush. Dump the Dollar

Paul Craig Roberts, an Assistant Treasury Secretary under Reagan has an interesting proposal for stopping Bush. From Information Clearing House:

"The US is totally dependent upon foreigners to finance its budget and trade deficits. By financing these deficits, foreign governments are complicit in the Bush Regime’s military aggressions and war crimes. The Bush Regime’s two largest lenders are China and Japan. It is ironic that Japan, the only nation to experience nuclear attack by the US, is banker to the Bush Regime as it prepares a possible nuclear attack on Iran.

If the rest of the world would simply stop purchasing US Treasuries, and instead dump their surplus dollars into the foreign exchange market, the Bush Regime would be overwhelmed with economic crisis and unable to wage war. The arrogant hubris associated with the “sole superpower” myth would burst like the bubble it is.

The collapse of the dollar would also end the US government’s ability to subvert other countries by purchasing their leaders to do America’s will.

The demise of the US dollar is only a question of time. It would save the world from war and devastation if the dollar is brought to its demise before the Bush Regime launches its planned attack on Iran."

Might just work, but I doubt it will happen.


Obama Gets It

But the New York Press doesn't

"When Australian Prime Minister John Howard openly hoped that Senator Barack Obama would never become our president for fear that he would hurt the war on terrorism, Obama fired back by demanding that Howard either send 20,000 more troops to Iraq or shut his mouth . . ."
We need more of that from democratic candidates! The New York Press, unfortunately, spends the rest of the article dissembling and missing Obama's point entirely.


Doesn't look like Farsi to me...

The Agonist raises many questions about the origin of this mortar round found southeast of Baghdad in January.

I think it's Russian. The 'HE' obviously stands for 'Highski Explosiveski'.

Using Cheney's '1% Doctrine', just fuck it: bomb everybody.

Everything you would ever need to know about U.S. M29A1 81mm mortar ammo here.

What I know about mortars is from my Marine Corps experience: you don't have to be a rocket scientist to lug one around.

Oh, No! Not them too...

Paul Krugman touched on this, but Oliver Willis expands on it:

In the last few days we've been subject to a p.r. campaign by the administration and their allies in the media focused on supposed Iranian funding of the Shiite faction in the Iraqi civil war. But at the same time, Saudi Arabia is funding the Sunni side. Once again, Saudi Arabia gets a pass.

Private Saudi citizens are giving millions of dollars to Sunni insurgents in Iraq and much of the money is used to buy weapons, including shoulder fired anti-aircraft missiles, according to key Iraqi officials and others familiar with the flow of cash.

Saudi government officials deny that any money from their country is being sent to Iraqis fighting the government and the U.S.-led coalition.

But the U.S. Iraq Study Group report said Saudis are a source of funding for Sunni Arab insurgents. Several truck drivers interviewed by The Associated Press described carrying boxes of cash from Saudi Arabia into Iraq, money they said was headed for insurgents.

So when do we bomb Riyadh?

Austrian rifles used in Iraq

[Welcome to readers from The Agonist. ~ Fixer]

Raw Story

A total of 100 HS50 Steyr-Mannlicher rifles were discovered during raids in Baghdad, the British Daily Telegraph reported Tuesday quoting US military sources. The guns come from a batch of 800 of the 50-calibre rifles sold by Steyr-Mannlicher to the Iranian security forces in 2005. A representative of Steyr-Mannlicher said the matter would be investigated.

The 12-kilogramme Steyr-Mannlicher HS50 is a large-calibre precision gun which can be easily assembled and disassembled, the manufacturer said. It can pierce body armour or armoured troop transporters from a distance of up to 1,500 metres.

Each gun costs around 15,000 euros (19,500 dollars).

As you can see, this ain't no stamped-out mass-produced cheapie. It is not intended for self-defense, but rather to purposefully break things and kill people from extreme range.

Expect an administration announcement that we are going to bomb Vienna.

Tongue firmly in cheek on this one!

Diplomatic victories ...

K ...

After five years of fart-offs, the Bush Administration has pretty much gotten the North Koreans to agree to the same deal (Oil for shutting down reactors) that the Clinton Administration got -- the deal they decried as a horrid sell-out.


And they got to improve their missile technology in the interim.

Off to work ...

Disappointed in Amanda, Disappointed in the Edwards Campaign

Picking up from Gordon's post on the subject. Personally, I'm disappointed that Amanda quit. Being a Jersey Guy, my reaction to a situation like this is to dig in my heels and double whatever would be annoying Donohue. Instead, Donohue has at least a partial victory now. He has had an effect on the hiring of a campaign in which he has no interest beyond destruction. And has probably made other campaigns leery of getting involved with bloggers. I truly hope that Shakes manages to hold on. Amanda made the wrong move. The Edwards campaign, btw, contributed to this by no ignoring Donohue in the 1st place. He is not a spokesman for any legitimate group. Until we start standing up to such people, they are going to keep getting away with it. Politics is a street game, there is no etiquette.


Monday, February 12, 2007

Into the political Web

The EssEffChron sounds off on the big Sis/Amanda brouhaha.

WARNING to political candidates: the Internet isn't always your friend. Ask John Edwards, Democratic presidential contender.

He had hired a pair of progressive women bloggers, thinking they'd help buff his street cred as the plain-talking advocate of liberal policies.

But past writings by the pair were never fully vetted and contained insulting posts on Catholic leaders and policies. After two days of cogitating, Edwards tried to finesse things: He was offended by the writings, but wouldn't fire either one.

Bloggers, hired or not, are creeping ever closer to the center of the political ring. They bring huge followings, unfiltered views and plenty of swagger. Edwards, struggling for oxygen in a crowded political tank, can't be blamed for trying them out.

Watch out, candidates. Bloggers don't submit their work to campaign central. They do their own homework and write it up their way. They're fun, fascinating and completely untamable. The blogosphere confers a definite hip factor, but needs a buyer-beware label, too.

It may be the first cyber-dust-up of the 2008 campaign. But given the growing role of the Internet in fundraising, direct messages and hired blog commentators, candidates and voters may be in for different campaign season.

No particular comment. Sounds about right.


Also from the EssEffChron:

One of the chief campaign bloggers for Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards quit Monday after conservative critics raised questions about her history of provocative online messages.

Amanda Marcotte posted on her personal blog, Pandagon, that the criticism "was creating a situation where I felt that every time I coughed, I was risking the Edwards campaign." Marcotte said she resigned from her position Monday, and that her resignation was accepted by the campaign.

"No matter what you think about the campaign, I signed on to be a supporter and a tireless employee for them, and if I can't do the job I was hired to do because Bill Donohue doesn't have anything better to do with his time than harass me, then I won't do it," Marcotte wrote Monday night.

I certainly don't blame Amanda for quitting in the face of Donohue's hypocritical attacks. When you're up to your ass in alligators, sometimes it's hard to remember your main objective was to drain the swamp.

I am reminded of the story about the General who was visiting an outpost in a combat zone. He kept hearing a 'whiz-plop!' noise and asked what it was. The local commander told him there was a sniper on a nearby ridge and this went on all the time. When the General asked why they didn't send a squad up there to kill him, he received the reply, "Hell, General, they might put someone up there who can shoot!"

I hope Donohue finds this out by hearing the 'whiz' after he feels the 'plop!'.