Saturday, September 22, 2007

Put a cork in it...

You vill click, ja?

AFP via Raw Story

A prosecutor in Bolzano, northern Italy seized wine bottle labels on Wednesday bearing a portrait of Hitler and other Nazis from a winery near the Austrian border, the company said.

The Lunardelli company said it had sold around 20,000 bottles featuring the Hitler labels per year. It also sold wine with images of Mussolini on the label, which were not seized by police.

The bottles make up part of a product line started in 1995 called the "historic collection", selling wine with labels with the faces of Winston Churchill, Antonio Gramsci, an Italian Marxist philosopher, Adolph Hitler, Karl Marx, Napoleon Bonaparte, Benito Mussolini, and Che Guevara.

I wonder if they have Bush on a label in their "Dictators and Despots" line? Oh, right, he's in the bottle, not on it...

The Regional Pist, Regina's Proudly Independent Drunken News
has more which you can go see. Apparently, folks from Northern Europe ain't too pleased with what the paisans in Southern Europe are up to.

I'm not a wine man. To me, Italian wine is red and comes in a raffia-covered bottle with a big plate of spaghetti.

I tried some German wine once. I think Gewürztraminer is German for 'battery acid'.


On a related note:

British professor wins prize for bar-fight research

Done a little research on that topic my own self over the years. The 'prizes' I got took days to wear off and sometimes required sunglasses even after dark. Heh.

Rowdy bars may no longer be quite as dangerous thanks to a British professor who won a criminology prize on Wednesday for his work showing how injuries from broken glass can be reduced.

Limey beer mugs are heavy and have handles. You can get a pretty good swing goin' with one of 'em. My preferred method, right in between the obligatory "Oh yeah?" and the "You !@#$%^&*...", is: raise mug to lips, drain said of suds, lower the mug to the length of your arm in a cross-body fashion and backhand the sucker right in the chops with it. Try to surprise him. If you do it in a nice smooth motion you'll get extra style points in addition to maybe not getting hit back! A good follow-through helps with that, in other words: Apply, repeat as necessary.

If you can, hit your opponent with a bottle of ketchup - if it breaks, he'll think he's bleeding to death. Fight over. You win.

One word of caution: Be prepared to vibrate for several minutes after clockin' someone with an unbreakable bottle!

Saturday whorage

No whoring of a new chapter today. We'll be starting a new story next week and I'm still collecting input for which one I'll post. Vote here if you like.

Pimp your own stuff in comments. See yas later, got a honey-do list to work on. Heh ...

Friday, September 21, 2007

They get letters ...

[A big Brain welcome to Sideshow readers.]

MoveOn, from my Inbox:

Dear MoveOn member,

Yesterday, an amazing thing happened. After the Senate's shameful vote, and after President Bush called MoveOn "disgusting,"1 our email started to fill up with messages like this one:

I'm currently in Iraq. I do not agree with this war, and if I did support this war, it would not matter. You have the RIGHT to speak the truth. We KNOW that you support us. Thank you for speaking out for being our voice. We do not have a voice. We are overshooted by those who say that we soldiers do not support organizations like MoveOn. WE DO.

YOU ARE OUR voice.


All day, messages from vets and military family members kept pouring into our email, many of them aimed at the Senate:

I have given a son to this country. My brother, my father, my uncle have all served honorably and bravely. I am a loyal American. I am outraged and sick to death of the tactics this administration uses to try to silence dissent to a war that is unjust, built and maintained on lies, political power, and greed. I was content to let others fight more loudly, but no more.
–Sharyn W., NC

I am a prior soldier who served in Iraq for 13 months, and am now an expecting mom with a husband who is deployed in Baghdad. I don't think I can ever forgive the Bush administration for the lies that tricked America into this war and hurt my family so badly. I am ashamed of those American politicians who would condemn an organization for practicing the Freedom of Speech that so many soldiers have died for.
–Danielle B., OH

As a US Navy veteran and an Iraq war veteran of over a year I want to ask, What has happened to us? What has happened to our voice? Where is this country going with stopping free speech and free press? ... Every time I think of the long nights I had in Anbar remembering what I was fighting for, well here it is....
–Ahmad H., LA

Anybody in Washington listening?


The lovely Avedon is as annoyed as I am at the Dems who caved on this stupid resolution against MoveOn:


How dare you?

Have you ever seen the Senate condemn Saxby Chambless for morphing his Democratic opponent with Osama bin Laden?

Have you ever seen the Senate condemn Ann Coulter for calling for the assassination of a Supreme Court justice?

Have you ever seen the Senate condemn Fred Phelps?

And what about the attacks on General Wesley Clark, or the treatment of General Shinseki? Did they condemn that? Did they even manage to muster up a little outrage over the full-scale attack on anyone who'd ever been awarded a Purple Heart during the 2004 campaign?


But the Republicans call on you to condemn a mainstream organization that tells the truth about Petreaus disgracing the uniform to act as Bush's personal political shill and you fall right in line. How dare you?.

I think I can speak for every Maryland voter when I say we did not vote for you to go to Washington just to condemn your own supporters.

We sent you there to hold this administration accountable, to restore the Constitution, and to end the occupation.

When are you going to start doing that?


Our Acme economy

Paul Krugman on the declining almighty dollar, thanks George:

Lots of buzz suddenly about the possibility of a sharp fall in the dollar. The Canadian dollar is back at parity with the greenback; there are rumors that the Saudis are planning to diversify into euros, and maybe even that the Chinese might break the dollar peg. A nice summary at Barry Ritholtz’s blog The Big Picture.

So, according to the story, one of these days there will be a Wile E. Coyote moment for the dollar: the moment when the cartoon character, who has run off a cliff, looks down and realizes that he’s standing on thin air – and plunges. In this case, investors suddenly realize that Stein’s Law applies — “If something cannot go on forever, it will stop” – and they realize they need to get out of dollars, causing the currency to plunge. Maybe the dollar’s Wile E. Coyote moment has arrived – although, again, I’ve been wrong about this so far.

My personal opinion, and I know nothing about economics but that's never stopped me, is that the rest of the world is seeing Bush drag our economy into the shitter with him, or maybe they're just punishing us for his misdeeds, and are looking elsewhere for a stable currency standard. In any case, Bush is getting us fucked over as he oversees the decline of the United States. Happy legacy, fuzznuts.

We Have Seen the Enemy — And Surrendered

If you're interested in health care for everybody, go read Barbara Ehrenreich:

Bow your heads and raise the white flags. After facing down the Third Reich, the Japanese Empire, the U.S.S.R., Manuel Noriega and Saddam Hussein, the United States has met an enemy it dares not confront – the American private health insurance industry.

...the Republican idea of actually feeding the private insurers by making it mandatory to buy their product. Will I be arrested if I resist paying $10,000 a year for a private policy laden with killer co-pays and deductibles?

Note: The private health insurance industry is not big because it relentlessly seeks out new customers. Unlike any other industry, this one grows by rejecting customers. No matter how shabby you look, Cartier, Lexus, or Nordstrom’s will happily take your money. Not Aetna. If you have a prior conviction – excuse me, a pre-existing condition – it doesn’t want your business. Private health insurance is only for people who aren’t likely to ever get sick. In fact, why call it “insurance,” which normally embodies the notion of risk-sharing? This is extortion.

And what about the two to three million insurance industry employees whose sole job it is to turn down claims? Well, I have a plan for them: It’s called unemployment. What country in its right mind would pay millions of people to deny other people health care?

Well, pretty much alone in the industrialized so-called civilized nations, THIS ONE. Not in its right mind at all, just greedy capitalists.

The time of robber baron health care for obscene profit is past. The 'insurance' companies know it and are fighting tooth and nail to preserve their own money spinning scam, but the writing is on the wall. They are like dinosaurs except that these dinosaurs are fighting the meteorite that will make them extinct with shitpots full of cash to legislators.

Déjà fuckin' vu all over again...


That was the closest I could come to puke green.

Another Bush Exercise in Futility - So What's New?


This fall, Americans are going to witness a brutal and ham-fisted "crackdown" on illegal immigration by the Bush Administration. It will be a stark and tragic illustration of what happens when a vocal and well-organized minority of hardliners hijacks the country's legislative process.

The results are entirely predictable - the results of bad public policy are in some ways easier to forecast than good. [...]

In every case that people blame foreign-born workers for decimating native employment in an industry such as roofing or meat-packing there were lax regulations and busted unions --the conditions that allowed employers to turn them into undesirable occupations for Americans -- before there was a shift to undocumented workers.

The crackdown will hurt a few employers that rely on illegal immigrants, but anyone who thinks the Bush Administration -- effectively a mouthpiece for corporate America -- will truly threaten employers' supply of cheap labor doesn't appreciate how great the cost of losing our immigrant workforce would be.

After a few months of these photo-op raids, Bush will declare victory over illegal immigration, and cite statistics showing that the flow of immigrants from Latin America has decreased. The claim will be bogus, but the data will be legit -- the current wave of immigration peaked in 2001 and was decreasing before the right realized that immigrant-bashing was a good, pseudo-populist wedge issue.

That brings us to the easiest prediction of them all: despite the fact that the flow of immigrants has been decreasing since well before Bush decided to make a showy crackdown, most reporters will be too lazy to fact-check the administration's claims and a lot of Americans will end up believing a policy that could never in a million years work is in fact working beautifully.

Sounds about par for Bush's course: convince people that chicken shit is chicken salad and they'll happily chow down. Mmmmm - please sir, my I have another?

Here's the money line:

More likely, he is trying to punish the hardliners within his base who have derailed all the efforts to pass a balanced set of immigration reforms. After all, it is not often that a senior Republican official announces a new White House policy and then says, as Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff did recently, that "there will be some unhappy consequences for the economy out of doing this."

That's it in a nutshell - the one - the only - policy Bush has gotten anywhere in the vicinity of being right, and the racist xenophobic good christians and phony patriots in his base won't have anything to do with it.

Those morons want a crackdown. Actually, they'd like to see everybody with a complexion darker than Appliance White sent back "where they came from". They want to see laws that have been ignored in favor of cheap labor for as long as anybody can remember enforced mightily all at once and the devil take the hindmost.

Bush is saying, "You don't like my policy? You don't think we need these people? OK then, WATCH THIS!"

Bush won't let it go too far. He's still beholden to the other half of his party, the big money half, so he'll use a lotta flaps and no throttle as usual, and give the morons what they want without actually doing anything, and then he'll lie about how much he's accomplished. As usual.

He's just gonna fuck with a lot of 'little people' and make their lives miserable. As usual.

God responds to lawsuit

Following up on my previous post, the Almighty has apparently heard that He is being sued and gives enough of a Holy Shit to respond. From AP:

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — A legislator who filed a lawsuit against God has gotten something he might not have expected: a response. One of two court filings from "God" came Wednesday under otherworldly circumstances, according to John Friend, clerk of the Douglas County District Court in Omaha.

"This one miraculously appeared on the counter. It just all of a sudden was here — poof!" Friend said.

Poof - just like that! Yep, that's Him.

Chambers, a self-proclaimed agnostic who often criticizes Christians, said his filing was triggered by a federal lawsuit he considers frivolous. He said he's trying to makes the point that anybody can sue anybody.

Not so, says "God." His response argues that the defendant is immune from some earthly laws and the court lacks jurisdiction.

It adds that blaming God for human oppression and suffering misses an important point.

"I created man and woman with free will and next to the promise of immortal life, free will is my greatest gift to you," according to the response, as read by Friend.

There was no contact information on the filing, although St. Michael the Archangel is listed as a witness, Friend said.

If you don't think God has a sense of humor, and a sick one at that, look around at the other shoppers next time you go to Wal-Mart. Or at Bush.

Is it just me?

As I watch the news coverage of the "Jena 6", I am overcome with a sense of anger and sadness. Unlike some of you youngsters, I remember the civil rights marches (and atrocities) of the 1960s. I remember Watts and Newark. Why, 40 years later, are we going through it again? Our pal Scout Prime has the same feelings:


I grew up in a small all white town in Wisconsin. I was idealistic and though I thought I knew what was going on, I soon learned in Mississippi that I was quite naive. Each day we would work on the playground sometimes taking breaks to walk to the store for snacks. On several ocassions as cars drove past us someone would lean out the window and yell at us..."ni**er lovers." The town knew who we were and why we were there and didn't like it one bit. A few college students were in our group and they were working on voter registration. One day one told us that he had been out in the country talking on the porch with a woman about registering to vote. A pick-up truck pulled up and 3 men got out. One held a machine gun and told him he better leave. Of course he did.


You can thank the Republicans for this, for pandering to the base of racists, warmongers, and radical Christians. It sickens me that racism has become en vogue once again, where people feel confident spewing their hateful garbage with impunity. Thanks again, Mr. Bush.

The plane! The plane!


Sadly, these stories are true, while so much that is said about Iraq is myth and delusion. As the famous American war correspondent Martha Gellhorn wrote about armed conflict, there is “the real war and the propaganda war.” During the congressional hearings about the surge, I kept thinking of Tattoo on Fantasy Island, half expecting Ambassador Crocker to tug on Gen. Petraeus’s sleeve and say, “Look, boss, da plane.” Smiles, everyone, smiles!


The Canadians, it seems, still practice journalism the way it was intended. Excellent article, courtesy (along with the pic) of FDL.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

I rest my case ...

Remember what I wrote this morning?


I'm tired of the laziness and ass-covering. I'm tired of my elected representatives being scared of bullies. I'm tired of people being resigned to the fact that anything they do will be shot down so why bother trying ...

Well Hell, I didn't have to wait long to prove my case.

The GOP-introduced resolution condemning MoveOn just passed by a huge margin, 72-25. Roughly half the Democrats in the Senate supported it.


I can take it. I'm a Mets fan.

Saddam killed him ...

Seems, according to our Nitwit-in-Chief President, Saddam killed Nelson Mandela*. Can we send the guys with the white suits, butterfly nets, and rubber wallpaper to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue now?

*"Fuck, somebody shoulda told me," Nelson probably said today.

He had me worried ...

I figured our pal Creature had gone over the deep end:

Dear President Bush,

Let me begin by saying that you are the greatest president ever and it is my pleasure, as a citizen of the United States, to serve you in any way I can.


But he links to the Sidney Blumenthal article I was gonna blog about, but read Creature's letter and then read Blumenthal. It's too fucked up for fiction.

Assholes v. Dickheads

Birmingham Blues - Suburban Housewife Gone Bad (Intriguing, no?)

This is too funny. Larry Klaymans’ Judicial Watch, the right-wing Scaife-funded “watchdog” group that spent most of the 1990’s suing the Clinton administration, is suing Ari Fleischer’s pro-war Freedom’s Watch for trademark infringement. Seems the TV show West Wing parodied the litigious organization back in 2000, creating a fictional group called Freedom Watch. Klayman was flattered, and bought rights to the name.

Right-wing smackdowns are so entertaining.

Ari Fleischit's war-mongering commercials are getting personal with me - I get one Nevada TV station and I watch Jeopardy on it every night. They've been airing those bullshit ads for a coupla weeks now.

Then KOLO-TV adds insult to injury: paired up with Ari's Seig oder Sibirien scam are religious ads for the Mormons. I had to re-install the chicken wire in front of my set.

"I ain't goin' out there without my posse!"

A 'recommended read' at Attytood

More proof "the surge is working": Right-wingers claim even the CIA is afraid to go outside without trigger-happy Blackwater

There's been a lot going on this week -- so much that I haven't been able to comment on maybe the biggest story of all, and that is the uproar surrounding the U.S. security firm Blackwater USA and its alleged shooting up of civilians in Baghdad. It's the biggest story because Iraqis are so angry over this, it may be the final tipping point in their relationship with their self-proclaimed liberators.

The bizarre logic here escapes me. The surge is working so well that our own CIA agents -- trained for months at "The Farm" in Virginia to learn how to kill a man with a ballpoint pen, and that sort of thing -- are now afraid to walk out the front door without a bevy of allegedly trigger-happy men toting machine guns and firing indiscriminantly?

My God, what was it like in Baghdad before the awesome power of the surge?

And from Cursor:

"If Blackwater and other private contractors are shut out of Iraq, Democrats in Congress and Iranian intelligence operatives may have stumbled on a way to end the Iraq War."


Go peruse the 'Tood.

Oil and Betrayal


George Lakoff of the The Rockridge Institute examines what Alan Greenspan's admission that "the Iraq war is largely about oil" means for America's troops and for the people of Iraq:

[...] Greenspan even advised Bush that "taking Saddam Hussein out was essential" to protect oil supplies.

Saddam was probably extorting too much baksheesh in the 'oil for food' scam and the OCs were pissed off about it.

Yes, we suspected it. In a deep sense, many of us knew it, just as those in Washington did. But now it's in our face. Greenspan put the mother of all facts in front of our noses, and we can no longer be in denial. The US invaded Iraq for the oil.

'Suspected' my ass. We've known this all along.

Think about what it means for our troops and for the people of Iraq. Our troops were told, and believed because they trusted their president, that they were in Iraq to protect America, to protect their families, their homes, their friends and neighbors, our democracy. But they were betrayed. Those troops fought and died and were maimed and had their marriages break up for oil company profits. An utter betrayal of our men and women in uniform and their families, a betrayal of their sacrifices, day after day, month after month, year and year — and for some, forever! Children growing up fatherless or motherless. Men and women without legs or arms or faces — for oil company profits.

And hundreds of thousands of Iraqis killed, more maimed, and millions made refugees. For oil profits.

Mr. Lakoff has a coupla paragraphs about the oil ripoff by U.S. OCs 'Production Sharing Agreements'.

But none of this will work without military protection for the oil companies. That is what would keep us there indefinitely. The name for this is our "vital interests."

What is most frightening is that they may mean what they say, that they may have a concept of "victory" that makes sense to them but not to the rest of the country. If the goal of the invasion and occupation of Iraq has been to guarantee access to Iraqi oil for the next 30 years, then any result guaranteeing oil profits for American oil companies would count as "victory." Suppose the present killing and chaos were to continue, forcing us to keep our troops there indefinitely, but allowing the oil companies to prosper under our protection. That would be a "victory." Or if the Iraqi army and police force were to develop in a few years and keep order there protecting American investments and workers, that too would be "victory." If the country broke up into three distinct states or autonomous governments, that too would be "victory," as long as oil profits were guaranteed and Americans in the oil industry protected. And it doesn't matter if a Republican president keeps the troops there or a Democratic president does. It is still an oil company "victory" — and a victory for Bush.

That's the crux of the biscuit right there, folks. Screw the Constitution, screw the American people and everybody else, break laws, commit war crimes - none of it matters as long as Bush's bros get more and more money. Whenever Bush decides to leave office - IF he decides to leave office - he'll still be in the awl bidness and still be beholden to the OC people who've gotten him this far without any actual brains or talent on his part. If it weren't for them, he'd be goin' "Want fries with that?" for a living.

I say again, we've known that this Iraq war & occupation have been all about OIL from the get-go. So have an awful lot of other folks, both the good and the bad. Whatever his motives for saying what he said, I'm glad Greenspan spoke out. His is a voice that people listen to. Even the MSM.

State Prick

Florida finally did something right:

The Committe For Updating Florida State Symbols (CUFSS) designated Rush Limbaugh as Florida's State Prick the spring of 2007.

Go here for more info. Scroll down. You can't miss it.

Coming down ...

I know I probably piss a number of people off when I come down on the Dems. Trust me, I know the Rethugs are being obstructionist, forcing the Dems to get a supermajority for every bill they want to pass. We saw it with Webb and Habeas yesterday.

Thing is, I expect more from the Dems. I hold them to a higher standard than I do the Rethugs. I expect their best efforts should be focused on doing the right thing, not political expediency. When they cave to the Chimp, namely over the FISA bill, just to get out of town for the August recess, I got a problem.

It started in '02, when the Chimp's play for war in Iraq was endorsed without much discussion. When many of us knew what the result would be long before the first U.S. boots hit the ground in Iraq. Don't tell me none of the Dems knew the same things. They've spent the last 5 years laying the blame at the Chimp's feet when all they had to do was what the Rethugs are doing now.

They did the same with Bush's Supreme Court nominees, caving when they should have put up a fight. Sorry, but if you're not going to fight for yourself, for the people you represent, just because someone might call you a pussy or some such, well you won't get much respect from me.

I was called names in '02, '03, '04 for voicing my displeasure with the war, for saying it was a big mistake, for saying it was only for oil. So were a lot of people who expected someone to stand up and do the right thing. Guess what? We were right. About everything.

Yes, I'll vote Dem. I certainly won't vote for a Republican ever again. But I'll be damned if I actually go out and support people I don't respect. I will not push the party line if I don't agree with it and I will certainly vote for a viable third party alternative if that ever comes to pass in our fucked up political situation.

I'm tired of the laziness and ass-covering. I'm tired of my elected representatives being scared of bullies. I'm tired of people being resigned to the fact that anything they do will be shot down so why bother trying. Are there any folks out there willing to stand up for 'the right thing' regardless of political expediency or the will of special interest? It doesn't seem there are. Everybody talks a good line until they worry about reelection.

The seat they hold is not theirs, it's ours and we decide who holds it. If you won't do what we send you to Washington to do, you should be replaced. You represent the majority of the people in your districts and those are regular working folks, not multi-billion dollar conglomerates.

If you want my support, earn it.

And let me just add, there are individual Dems who are doing yeoman's work. I'm speaking of Dems collectively because if they don't all get together and on the same page, ain't shit gonna change.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Crash and burn ...

Once again. Webb and habeas fail.

Nice to see the Rethugs support the troops and respect civil rights. Motherfuckers.

Your party of 'Moral Values'

Wow, another Rethug with deviant desires. Go figure. Remember that list Gord linked to last week?

Federal prosecutor arrested in child sex sting: a republican US Justice Department official from Florida has been arrested on suspicion of traveling to Detroit over the weekend to have sex with a 5-year-old.


Add another name to it. And these people feel they have a right to pass judgment on my morality?


The Noo Yawk Observer on Murdoch's new financial channel:

“There is no reason we could not have Wall Street Journal coverage of politics, international affairs, lifestyle, travel, you name it,” Mr. Murdoch said of FBN at a Goldman-Sachs-sponsored event on Tuesday, according Variety.

But most Journal staffers sounded none too thrilled about teaming with the new network. “It’s probably called FBN for a reason,” said one. “As in, ‘Fibbin’ …” (my em)

Guffaw! Fuckers are too stupid to check their own acronyms. Good luck with their financial advice. Probably as shitty as everything else anything with the name FOX does.

WSJ is gonna be MUD with asshole Murdoch in charge.

Mandatory Christianity


A military watchdog organization filed a lawsuit in federal court Tuesday against the Pentagon, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, and a US Army major, on behalf of an Army soldier stationed in Iraq. The suit charges the Pentagon with widespread constitutional violations by allegedly trying to force the soldier to embrace evangelical Christianity and then retaliating against him when he refused.

The complaint, filed in US District Court in Kansas City, by the nonprofit Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF), on behalf of Jeremy Hall, an Army specialist currently on active duty in Speicher, Iraq, alleges that Hall's First Amendment rights were violated beginning last Thanksgiving when, because of his atheist beliefs, he declined to participate in a Christian prayer ceremony commemorating the holiday.

I think I need not point out but will anyway that Thanksgiving is not a religious holiday. It matters not. The 1st Amendment guarantee of 'freedom of religion' also guarantees 'freedom from religion'.

The complaint charges that Hall, who is based at Fort Riley, Kansas (Figures - G), has been forced to "submit to a religious test as a qualification to his post as a soldier in the United States Army," a violation of Article VI, Clause 3 of the Constitution.

The Military Religious Freedom Foundation said Defense Secretary Robert Gates is named as a defendant in the lawsuit because he has allowed the military to engage in "a pattern and practice of constitutionally impermissible promotions of religious beliefs within the Department of Defense and the United States military."

The higher-highers who pulled this shit are hardly living up to their oath to defend the Constitution, and breaking the law as well. So what's new?

I hope this trooper takes 'em for their shorts, and makes 'em knock off this cheap shit.


I just discovered Iraq Oil Report. Good stuff. Example:

Bush/Patraeus/Crocker kept repeating last week the fact that the oil pipeline from Kirkuk to Turkey was reopened after spending most of the war years under attack and out of commission, a small sign of progress. A bomb blast Tuesday morning corrected that.

Check it out.

Sorry to break into your post, pardner, but I didn't want to do another post. Guess who also has a blog now? Krugman! I'll update the blogrolls after dinner. - F.

Bush stands between Cheney and 'first strike' on Iran

Click it. Maybe he'll explode.

Raw Story

Foreign policy expert says Bush has ruled out first-strike on Iran; Worries about 'accidental' conflict

Tells RAW he doesn't believe Bush is in the 'Cheney gang' yet

Clemons, director of the American Strategy Program at New America Foundation and publisher of The Washington Note, says Bush has deviated from a Cheney-laid track to launch a first-strike on Iran, citing, as examples, frustrations that the vice president's aides are airing, a conversation with a journalist who sat in on a December 2006 strategy meeting, and private conversations with high-level foreign policy players.

Of the indications that Bush has thus far tabled a preemptive strike, Clemons believes "the most significant is that the Cheney wing feels that Bush is not on their side and they're frustrated with that. The fact that the Cheney wing feels they need to tie Bush's hands, 'end run' the president and remove the 'diplomatic course' from the field of options in front of the President is an indication that Bush hasn’t decided to bomb."

In a truly painful twist of irony, it appears that the Chimp is the only thing standing between us and another criminal war. Oh fucking swell.

This does not exactly fill me with confidence, but it'll have to do. We'll see if, and for how long, Bush can stand up to Satan's Dick.

WWII as unintended metaphor

I'm anxiously awaiting Ken Burns' new documentary miniseries, "The War", on PBS in a few days. Good article in Newsweek about it, and an unintended side effect. Mr. Burns started this project in 2001, so who knew?

Inevitably, though, this documentary also puts you in a moment Burns never foresaw: today, in Iraq, and on a far different home front. No scrap drives, Victory Bonds, rationing or air-raid wardens yelling at you to pull down your shades. Where "home front," in fact, is a quaint expression—except to the families, far fewer than in World War II, with a reason to take it personally. And "war effort" means yellow-ribbon decals in the mall parking lot. In the current war, Burns says, "we're not permitted to shoot the caskets coming back. In this film, we show huge nets from a trawler, each one filled with 15 or 20 flag-draped coffins. Today you can't show the bad stuff. You can't even find the bad stuff, without behaving like a pornographer on the Internet. We don't even know the cost anymore." When Burns began work on "The War" in 2001, he couldn't have known Iraq would become the film's secret subject, even though the place is never mentioned.

Everything these days is about Iraq, from children's health care to New Orleans.

Let's be clear ...

When I posted a link to Atrios' post about Harry Reid finally laying down the law, it was met with understandable cynicism. Personally, I agree with the cynics but it would be a refreshing change if we actually managed to end this mess before the elections next year.

I quoted Kevin Drum the other day, naming the real reason we won't see a conclusion to Bush's Folly.

... And finally, Democrats would no longer have the war as an issue to run on in 2008.

I think we should resign ourselves to the fact that even if it's within the Dems' power to force the Chimp to pull back, it won't happen.

Unfortunately, the Iraq Occupation has been the easiest thing for the Dems to flog to illustrate the Chimp's incompetence. It is simple. All they have to do is point and say "look how bad it is over there". There's no need for 'nuance', no need to explain policy or legal issues to the populace so they understand the issues (sometimes we as bloggers tend to overestimate the general public's ... attention to the issues). Iraq is an easy soundbyte.

"Look, dead soldiers."

"Look, dead Iraqis."

"Look, the wasted money."

"Look, the ineptitude."

"Look, Candidate A, B, C, and D supported the President in this fiasco."

They don't have to do 'nuance' (remember Kerry '04). They don't have to explain policy and procedure and they don't have to explain legal precedent. They just have to point, the horrific failure obvious to all except the Chimp's 'true believers'. The Dems are going to use it all the way to next November and they will not end the horror until they are assured of victory.

Politically expedient but disgusting never the less. The Dems will use Iraq for their purposes just as the Chimp used it for his. Unfortunately, the only ones who are paying are the troops and the Iraqis.


That is why, though Kleiman's treatise sounds great, it will never be implemented. The ongoing Iraq War is a known quantity, a massive cudgel with which to beat the Republicans. What becomes of Iraq after U.S. troops leave is a political uncertainty. The Dems will never leave themselves so exposed if it all goes to shit over there when we leave (you know the Rethugs will say "look, we pulled out and now the whole region is in chaos"). Not until President Clinton (most likely) sits in the Oval Office. They're not going to jeopardize their advantage.

Off to the shop ...

Baffling the NYPD ...

Now, the New York City Police Department is a professional organization. Regardless of their faults, they do keep a lid on a city of 8 million, no small task. Most cops in this area have seen everything (try to give one of 'em a line of bullshit and see what happens), but there's some shit they're just not prepared for. To wit:

(Queens - WABC, September 18, 2007) - New York Police cornered a cow loose on the streets in Queens Tuesday night.

It happened on 144th Street and 85th Avenue in the Jamaica section.

A mounted trailer has been dispatched to transport the cow, though the animal is not in custody yet.

Police say the animal was spotted at approximately 9:43 p.m. Tuesday.

They say they don't know where the cow came from. An investigation is still ongoing.

Heh ... I love NY.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Are they listening ... finally?

Looks like Harry's growing a sack.

God sued, skips...

Raw Story

A Nebraska lawmaker is taking his complaints about frivolous lawsuits limits all the way to the top.

State Sen. Ernie Chambers is suing God.

"It's a lawsuit against a defendant who has perpetrated much harm and damage on the human race," Chambers said on CNN.

Good on yer, Mr. Chambers, but lemme tell ya how this is gonna go - on your court date, God will Fail To Appear. The judge will issue a bench warrant for His arrest. He'll grant you a judgment in the absence of the Defendant. Good luck trying to collect from that Stiff.

The lawsuit notes that Chambers tried several times to contact the defendant, KETV reported.

“Plaintiff, despite reasonable efforts to effectuate personal service upon Defendant ('Come out, come out, wherever you are') has been unable to do so,” the suit says.

There's more to this than that, but that's the funny part.

I'd like to (censored) her too...

Click to engorge


Comic Kathy Griffin's "offensive" remarks about Jesus at the Creative Arts Emmy Awards will be cut from a pre-taped telecast of the show, the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences said on Tuesday.

"A lot of people come up here and thank Jesus for this award. I want you to know that no one had less to do with this award than Jesus," an exultant Griffin said, holding up her statuette. "Suck it, Jesus. This award is my god now."

God, I love that gal!

The speech drew fire from a leading Roman Catholic group, the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, which condemned Griffin's remarks as "obscene and blasphemous."

I'd like nothing better than to take a leak in the holy water font just before Donohue gets there and takes a finger dip. And then tell him that he just crossed himself with my piss.

And by the way, Kathy's not the only one with pants around the ankles right now...

Bush's Fake Sheikh

Greg Palast with today's 'must read':

Did you see George all choked up? In his surreal TV talk on Thursday, he got all emotional over the killing by Al Qaeda of Sheik Abu Risha, the leader of the new Sunni alliance with the U.S. against the insurgents in Anbar Province, Iraq.

Here's what you need to know that NPR won't tell you.

1. Sheik Abu Risha wasn't a sheik.
2. He wasn't killed by Al Qaeda.
3. The new alliance with former insurgents in Anbar is as fake as the sheik -- and a murderous deceit.

In other words, Abu Risha was the PR hook used to sell the "success" of the surge.

The sheik wasn't a sheik. He was a fake. While proclaiming to Rick that he was "the leader of all the Iraqi tribes," Abu lead no one. But for a reported sum in the millions in cash for so-called "reconstruction contracts," Abu Risha was willing to say he was Napoleon and Julius Caesar and do the hand-shakie thing with Bush on camera.

There are some real sheiks in Anbar, such as Ali Hathem of the dominant Dulaimi tribe, who told Rick that Abu Risha was a con man. Where was his tribe, this tribal leader? "The Americans like to create characters like Disney cartoon heroes." Then Ali Hathem added, "Abu Risha is no longer welcome" in Anbar.

"Not welcome" from a sheik in Anbar is roughly the same as a kiss on both cheeks from the capo di capi. Within days, when Abu Risha returned from Dubai to Dulaimi turf in Ramadi, Bush's hand-sheik was whacked.

On Thursday, Bush said Abu Risha was killed, "fighting Al Qaeda" -- and the White House issued a statement that the sheik was "killed by al Qaeda."


Who got Abu Risha? Nothing -- NOTHING -- moves in Ramadi without the approval of the REAL tribal sheiks. They were none-too-happy, as Hathem noted, about the millions the U.S. handed to Risha. The sheiks either ordered the hit -- or simply gave the bomber free passage to do the deed.

But creepy and deadly or not, these capi of the desert were effective in eliminating "Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia." Indeed, as U.S. military so proudly pointed out to Rick, the moment the sheiks declared their opposition to Al Qaeda -- i.e., got the payments from the U.S. taxpayers -- Al Qaeda instantly diappeared (my em).

This miraculous military change, where the enemy just evaporates, has one explanation: the sheiks ARE al Qaeda in Mesopotamia. Just like the Sopranos extract "protection" payments from New Jersey businesses, the mobsters of Anbar joined our side when we laid down the loot.

Here's the money line:

So the great "success" of the surge is our arming and providing cover for ethnic cleansing in Anbar. Nice, Mr. Bush. And with the U.S. press "embedded," we won't get the real story. Even Democrats are buying into the Anbar "awakening" fairy tale.

This Iraqi got it right: the surge is a crock.

We knew that. Funny how as soon as we started coughin' up the loot, the windows quit gettin' broken. A "return on success" is how it's described by our little punk chimp.

I'm glad things are better in Anbar. It's good for the Marines to take fewer casualties, but I'm not exactly thrilled about getting to pay for 'ethnosectarian' genocide. 'Ethnic cleansing' sounds almost nice, like sweeping and swabbing to make the joint look better. It's MURDER.

The sheikhs punk'd Bush bad, but that's not hard to do, and he gets the talking points he wants even if they're complete bullshit.


More on this at AlterNet. 'Must read' #2, with video:

RR: There have been a lot of reports about the fact that the people who the U.S. is working with, the supposed "freedom fighters," the "counter-insurgents" are former insurgents. They were Iraqi al Qaeda before they started working with the Americans. That is troubling because if they were fighting the Americans once, they'll fight Americans again. And more troubling for the future of Iraq is the fact that many of the tribes that the U.S. is working with are war criminals who are directly responsible for ethnic cleansing and who are using American support to prepare for sectarian civil war. The U.S. is funding Sunni militias. They already funded the Shia militias. They're now funding all sides of this sectarian war.

Please read. It behooves us to know more than we are allowed to get from the MSM.

Wish I was there ...

Yeah, right. The Chimp waving his prick (or flinging shit) to impress the righty bloggers:


" N.Z. Bear," one of the eight guests sitting around a table with Bush at the White House, reported: "Responding to one of the bloggers in Iraq he expressed envy that they could be there, and said he'd like to be there but 'One, I'm too old to be out there, and two, they would notice me.'"


At which point all the assembled bloggers pulled their pants to their ankles and began flogging furiously.

Froomkin points out the irony:


He certainly hasn't ever put himself in harm's way. The president who avoided serving in Vietnam as a young man has made only three visits to Iraq since declaring that major combat operations were over more than four years ago. All three of the visits were unannounced and featured extensive security.


I'd wager none of the bloggers have served either but all of 'em can talk a good line. I wonder if they all had to take turns fellating the Royal Prick for the opportunity.

Suck a cock ...

And you're under the bus. Break the law ... not so much:

Today, Melanie Sloan, the executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), sent a letter to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) asking that he remove Senator Ted Stevens (R-AK) from his committee assignments and refer the criminal matters surrounding the FBI investigation into Sen. Stevens' activities to the Senate Ethics Committee.


Selling your power and influence is quite all right. Soliciting gay sex in an airport restroom is a mortal sin. Don't get it, but I've given up trying to understand Washington in general, the Republicans in particular.

It's getting so even the most clueless of us can see the blatant hypocrisy.

Thanks to Steve Benen for the link.

Monday, September 17, 2007

"...a man whose history makes Bill and Hillary Clinton look like Ma and Pa Kettle"

Digby on Lardass, Julieannie, "family values", and racial bias. A good read.

[...] Many social conservatives are phonies, and the rest are willing dupes. I'm not sure why people are still surprised by this. How many diaper wearing wingnut senators and teenage boy-chasing conservative congressmen does it take to prove that the whole family values campaign was just another market tested bludgeon with which to hit liberals over the head?

The truth is that "family values" for the most part is just a phrase certain tribal conservatives use to assert their moral superiority over the rest of us, probably in an attempt to deflect the fact that they are, at heart, cruel bigoted small-minded jerks. And there is no more cruel, bigoted, small-minded jerk than Rudy Giuliani, the poster boy for the newly pragmatic Republican Party. (You remember the Republicans, don't you? The party that lived by its principles and talked straight, unlike the terrorist loving hippies?)

Matthews and the rest of the talking heads won't touch the real reason why the allegedly religious, moralistic, family values loving far right seems to be so taken with the urban hedonist, Rudy Giuliani. But it's really not hard to figure. They recognize a kindred spirit, and it's that spirit that animates his crazy talk about terrorism too. He's all about kicking dark-skinned ass and that is an intensely appealing attribute to the GOP base. In fact, when you strip all the marketing and polling and propaganda away, that's what it's all about.

There's not much to add to that.

Oh the irony...

Ironic Times

Petraeus Reports Slow, Steady Progress in Iraq
At this rate, in forty years things will be back to way they were before war.

Chrysler Recalls 369,000 Vehicles for Brake Problems
Owners advised to approach dealership at slow speed, open door, put left foot on ground, push down hard.

(Mopping up keyboard)

Study: Altruism, Sex Activate Same Pleasure Center in Brain
Public advised to tip well when paying for sex.

Doubt Cast on Age of Robe of St. Francis of Assisi by Carbon Dating
Also by “Clearance Sale, 30% Off” tag.

Many more.

"Hotel Minnesota"

Tired of Larry "Wide Stance" Craig yet? So am I, but go see Loose Bruce riff on the old Eagles' tune. Is it just a coincidence that 'kazoo' rhymes with 'wazoo'?

A: Whatever Bush told him to say.

Will Durst on Petraeus' testimony:

Q. The General said we have raised the number of trained Iraqi security forces fighting alongside American troops. Is it a significant rise?
A. 60%. From 5 to 8.

Q. 5 to 8 brigades? Divisions?
A. No. Troops. Used to be 5 guys we could trust. Now it's 8.

Q. Doesn't the latest National Intelligence Estimate report Iraq's government is paralyzed by internal squabbling and petty personal differences?
A. Yes, so if you think about it, we have made strides in installing an American style democracy.

Q. What does the General mean when he says security gains since the surge have been "uneven."
A. "Uneven" is traditional Pentagon speak for "getting our butts handed to us on a paper plate."

Q. What about those benchmarks that were, oh, so important in January?
A. Turns out they weren't really all that important. What is important is other stuff. Stuff that looks good right now.

Q. What ever happened to "we'll step down when the Iraqis step up?"
A. Someone stole the steps.

Q. Was a timetable provided for reducing troops in Iraq?
A. Nothing clear cut. Something to do with snow and Hell.

Go read the rest. It'd be a lot funnier if it wasn't so true.

You can't do that to Sister Bertrille...

Think Progress, with video:

Fox censors Sally Field’s anti-war speech at Emmy’s.

At tonight’s Emmy Awards show, the audience cheered Sally Field’s acceptance speech, which recognized the mothers of U.S. troops. “Surely this [award] belongs to all the mothers of the world,” she stated. “May they be seen, may their work be valued and raised. Especially to the mothers who stand with an open heart and wait. Wait for their children to come home from danger, from harm’s way, and from war. I am proud to be one of those women.”

Field then continued, “If mothers ruled the world, there would be no –” But the Fox Emmycast cut off her sound and pointed the camera away from the stage, silencing the rest of her sentence: “god-damned wars in the first place.” Watch it:

Fuck you, Murdoch. And the Bush you rode in on.

Mercs: Kick rocks...


BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Iraq's Interior Ministry has revoked the license of Blackwater USA, an American security firm whose contractors are blamed for a Sunday gunbattle in Baghdad that left eight civilians dead. The U.S. State Department said it plans to investigate what it calls a "terrible incident."

This might be an interesting development to keep an eye on. There are as many U.S. mercenaries operating in Iraq as there are actual troops, at much higher pay (thank you, taxpayers) and far less oversight, i.e. no rules of engagement and almost no chance of prosecution for misdeeds.

It remains to be deen if Bush will allow this blow to Blackwater's bottom line to stand. Iraq is their main source of employment and income and this will hurt 'em. No loss as far as I'm concerned.

My solution? Draft every last one of those mercenary sonsabitches and let 'em operate under the UCMJ at GI pay. We'll see how many of 'em are truly dedicated individuals. If they don't want to serve under those conditions, just disarm 'em and drop 'em off at a bus station in Anbar or Diyala.

Bottom line ... again

Kevin Drum cites the overwhelming reason this war will go on until sometime in '09:

... And finally, Democrats would no longer have the war as an issue to run on in 2008.

Ya think any of the Dems'll be honest about it? Neither do I. Off to work ...

The new AG ...

Do you think he won't be confirmed? Schmuck Schumer respects him and he did rule against the Bush administration a couple times. Sure, he's a Kool-Aid drinker all right. TBogg finds this little gem (link to the Weekly Standard article at TBogg's):

April 4, 2003:

"There's been a certain amount of pop sociology in America ... that the Shia can't get along with the Sunni and the Shia in Iraq just want to establish some kind of Islamic fundamentalist regime. There's almost no evidence of that at all. Iraq's always been very secular."

For those of us who live in the real world and work for a living, this is analogous to the cobra laying down for a nap with a mongoose. This fight has been going on for what, a thousand years? Yes, when the Americans arrive the Iraqis will be so overwhelmed by our awesomeness (remember 'Shock and Awe') they will put away their differences, join hands, and sing Kumbayaa.

He will soon be the highest-ranking law enforcement officer in the nation. God help us.

And for those stopping by who have been drinking whatever the Rethugs have been serving lately, the only reason Iraq was a secular nation was because Saddam disarmed the populace and ruled with an iron fist. Saddam was our hedge against the Shi'a in Iran and now that is gone. Like we say at the shop, "you can't fix stupid".


D over at LGM finds this from Michael Mukasey, AG Apparent:

Last month, Mr. Mukasey wrote an op-ed article in The Wall Street Journal in which he seemed to embrace a view shared by the administration suggesting “current institutions and statutes are not well suited” to the military effort against terrorism. He recommended that Congress intervene “to fix a strained and mismatched legal system.”

A "military effort against terrorism" is a failed policy as we've seen thanks to Osama's last release. The greatest successes in the "War on Terra" have come from excellent police work, not bombing the shit out of folks who never did anything to us in the first place.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

L'idiot, L'douchebag ...

Translation here.


Blue Girl:


Only a dolt would use the word "ordinary" to describe a city in which armed gunmen ethnically cleanse neighborhoods, a household is lucky to receive two hours of electricity a day, and the water supply, when available, is not potable. Violence is verifyably down somewhat, but that is due to the fact that the ethnic cleansing has been, for the most part, successful, and the remaining holdouts hunker down and venture not outside, lest they encounter militias that will kill them.


Nobody is living an ordinary life in Iraq.

Toktong Ridge Runners

Once again, I thank Fixer for his impeccable taste in choosing masthead art. This one shows Marine mortarmen on Fox Hill in the Toktong Pass phase of the Battle of the Frozen Chosin during the Korean War. The young Jarhead is no doubt praying for a fire mission - four or five rounds outta that 81 and he could warm his hands on the tube! Kinda reminds me of home too - winter's a-comin'. My mortar's a different color, though...

Basically, the Marines were sent northwest from the Reservoir to try and link up with 8th Army who were were heading east to try and link up with the Marines. The Marines made it as far as Yudam-ni when the Chinese hit 'em too hard for them to proceed. The Toktong Pass was the MSR and the only route to or from Hagaru-ri where most of the 1st Marine Division was located. Fox Co., 7th Marines held the pass so they wouldn't be cut off by the Chinese.

I found some photos of the Toktong Pass immersion gallery at the National Museum of the Marine Corps, and from another account of the museum display:

Beyond the atrium, visitors face combat.

In Korea's Chosin Reservoir, 250 men of the Fox Company hunkered along the icy Toktong Pass supply route, spending five days defending it from Chinese soldiers, said retired Col. Joseph Alexander, a Marines historian from Asheville, N.C., who consulted for the museum and wrote some 800 captions for the exhibits.

Half the men of Fox Company were killed.

To fully explain that standoff, the museum would have to import piles of dead bodies, plunge the temperature to 20 below zero, invoke frostbite in its visitors and keep them awake for days in foxholes, overwhelmed by the stench of human waste and death.

I was going to go into more detail of the actual fight, but that quote summed it up pretty good, I think. There is no dearth of information on this battle, so you can hit the links or the google if you wish to learn more.

Verbal quagmire, administration spin, senatorial preening, numbing standoff

Daddy Frank

"Sir, I don't know, actually": The fact that America's surrogate commander in chief, David Petraeus, could not say whether the war in Iraq is making America safer was all you needed to take away from last week's festivities in Washington. Everything else was a verbal quagmire, as administration spin and senatorial preening fought to a numbing standoff.

Not that many Americans were watching. The country knew going in that the White House would win its latest campaign to stay its course of indefinitely shoveling our troops and treasure into the bottomless pit of Iraq. The only troops coming home alive or with their limbs intact in President Bush's troop "reduction" are those who were scheduled to be withdrawn by April anyway. Otherwise the president would have had to extend combat tours yet again, mobilize more reserves or bring back the draft.

I don't think Bush would dare bring back the draft on his so-called 'watch'. He'll leave that to his successor, should it be necessary, like he's doing with the rest of the messes he's created. I do not put it past him one little bit to extend tours in Iraq, call up the last of the reserves, and otherwise generally continue to wreck what's left of our military in a futile effort to keep the Iraq clusterfuck going until he's back down on his ranchette and can safely and smugly blame the defeat of his insane policies on someone - anyone - else. Just like he's always done.

[...] On cable the hearings fought for coverage with Britney Spears's latest self-immolation and the fate of Madeleine McCann, our latest JonBenet Ramsey stand-in.

General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker could grab an hour of prime television time only by slinking into the safe foxhole of Fox News, where Brit Hume chaperoned them on a gloomy, bunkerlike set before an audience of merely 1.5 million true believers. Their "Briefing for America," as Fox titled it, was all too fittingly interrupted early on for a commercial promising pharmaceutical relief from erectile dysfunction.

Add hard-on pills to God, guns, and gays. That's Bush's and Fixed Noise's base, all right. If ya can't fuck, ya can always fuck over someone to make up for it. Take the damn pills. Good luck tryin' to find someone who'll screw for you. The Repugs definitely need a screwin' of some type.

Mr. Bush, confident that he got away with repackaging the same bankrupt policies with a nonsensical new slogan ("Return on Success") Thursday night, is counting on the public's continued apathy as he kicks the can down the road and bides his time until Jan. 20, 2009; he, after all, has nothing more to lose. The job for real leaders is to wake up America to the urgent reality. We can't afford to punt until Inauguration Day in a war that each day drains America of resources and will. Our national security can't be held hostage indefinitely to a president's narcissistic need to compound his errors rather than admit them.

Bush loves 'freedom' or so he says. Well, he's got it:

"Freedom's just another word for nothin' left to lose"

Bush may not have anything left to lose politically, but our troops and the Iraqis sure do. Thanks to that punk, we all lose.

This changes the subject a little but I couldn't resist paraphrasing Me & Bobby McGee a little bit since I was already thinking about it:

"Georgie dumbed his cabinet down just before it rained,
Rode us all the way to New Orleans"

Sorry 'bout that. Go read the rest of Pop's op-ed.

Hungry croc ...

A great allegory from Strange Maps:

Click to embiggen.

Bottom line ...

Thers says all that needs to be said (and the Mets references are spot on too):


It’s a simple thing. This war is deeply unpopular because most Americans don’t think all the death has been worth it ...

This war will become glorious and popular again at exactly the same moment when all the corpses arise from their graves. And not a moment before ...

As soon as the Dems realize this we can start the endgame.