Saturday, October 27, 2007

Quote of the Day

A 'comment' on a post at The Carpetbagger Report about the Flip wingnut & Co. throwing shit at George Soros and hitting themselves right in the face with it:

You know, Michelle Malkin isn’t even the kind of Olongapo boom-boom-short-time girl you’d pick up if you walked into the bar totally shitfaced.

Maybe she's a Benny Boy? Somebody with a strong stomach please check this out.

We've had too many of these ...

Dix Hills – Suffolk County Executive Steven Levy has presented the Suffolk Medal of Distinguished Service to the families of five Suffolk soldiers who died in service to the country while fighting in Iraq or Afghanistan.

At a Veterans Appreciation Ceremony, held at the Brentwood campus of Suffolk County Community College, Levy presented the Suffolk Medal of Distinguished Service to:

  • Richard and Laurie Baylis, parents of Army PFC Matthew Baylis of Oakdale;
  • Richard and Nicole Lundin, parents of Army Cpl. James Lundin of Bellport;
  • Jose and Elsie Pacificador, parents of Army PFC Paulo Marko Pacificador of Shirley;
  • Patti and Kevin O’Neill, sister and brother-in-law of Army CW4 John Engeman of Northport;
  • Tim and Janet Scherer, parents of USMC Cpl. Christopher Scherer of East Northport.

  • ...

    I'm sick and tired of my neighbors losing sons and daughters in this misbegotten war.

    Yeoman's work ...

    The San Diego Humane Society is coordinating the animal rescue from the fires and they're busting their butts. Give 'em a hand if you can.

    This hurts ...

    This hits home for me. Heh ...

    Jack Daniels water supply is running low and putting the century-plus whiskey business in jeopardy.


    The water here has become a precious commodity. The water source for the whiskey is a spring flowing through the Jack Daniels property. For more than 140 years this spring, known as Cave Spring, has been the water supply for Jack Daniels. It is one of the most essential parts of the whiskey’s recipie.


    But this year there is a problem - that water supply is starting to flow less and less. Hamilton said the drought Tennessee is in is taking a toll on Cave Spring.


    Jack wouldn't be Jack without the water. Oy! To me, it is the Elixir of the Gods.

    Thanks to Cookie Jill for the depressing link.

    Saturday whorage

    As with mostly every Saturday, another chapter of my novel Thirty Days at Zeta is up at The Practical Press.

    Leave your own links in comments. Let us know what you're talking about.

    Friday, October 26, 2007


    Every day I look for a good cartoon to put up. Usually I don't find any. Not today. Too many to choose from. Go here and look.

    Laura Bush Slams Newspapers on 'Freedom' and Iraq

    Editor & Publisher

    ALI AL SALEM AIR BASE, Kuwait First lady Laura Bush told hundreds of U.S. troops Thursday that the American people stand by them in the Iraq war and the security situation in the country was improving due to their efforts.

    "I'm here to tell you that the American people stand with our troops," she said. "No matter what you might read in the newspapers, people do appreciate the gift of freedom."

    Oh, the poor dear! She was supposed to be a rich, still marketably attractive widow by now. That window has closed. So sad.

    Note to Laura: Ya done yer job, Pickles. Award yerself a bonus Prozac, pour a tumbler of yer favorite colorless booze, and take a break and relax. You've earned it, shillin' fer that worthless bastard yer married to, Heaven knows. Ya might wanta put some fresh batteries in that other thing, too...

    Osama's pretty safe from our flip-floppin' big shots

    I guess I got a little theme goin' this morning. I'm a pro-2d Amendment guy and a firearms and shooting sports enthusiast, not to mention being possessed of a strong survival instinct, i.e. I will personally prevent my own demise, or that of those around me, at the hands of another rather than wait like a good Librul for the cops to come and draw a chalk line around my corpse. Guns work darn good for that.

    So normally I wouldn't link to the anti-gun Gun Guys, but sometimes they have some good shit. This is one of those times.

    We don’t get into presidential politics much on

    But a boast on Tuesday in New Hampshire caught our attention.

    While speaking at a company called Thompson, which bills itself as “America’s Master Gunmaker,” John McCain declared:"I will follow Osama Bin Laden to the gates of hell and I will shoot him with your products.”

    We’re all for hunting down Osama, but the current administration has failed to do that over the past several years.

    Now, I'm familiar with the Thompson/Center Contender. The outfit makes other firearms as well, but that one's a premium piece. Comes in lotsa calibers, very accurate, which is good 'cuz it's a single-shot, and a mite pricey.

    Knowing that Sen. McPCain's a little bucks-down at the moment, I thought perhaps he'd have trouble swingin' the ducats for one of those, so I thought to offer him the loan of my Dad's old shootin' arn, a 1914 Smith & Wesson Military & Police Hand Ejector Second Change revolver in .38 Special. It's in excellent shape, with a lock-up as tight as, if not better than, a brand new equivalent. The old wheelgun's got a real tall 'great plains' front sight blade and delivers an accurate shot at 100 yards, an incredibly long range for a handgun, so Johnnie wouldn't even have to get real up-close, albeit shootin' the fella'd be a mite personal, to bin Laden to do him.

    It'd be Win-Win! OBL'd be pushin' daisies (poppies?) like everyone says they want, I'd have a historically significant firearm, and McCain'd get a big boost in his ratings. That's OK. He ain't gonna win nuthin' nohow.

    That last sentence came home after I read this next paragraph. I think the theme today is poof!.

    (We should note that when challenged later about his statement, McCain backtracked a bit. "I certainly didn't mean I would actually shoot him. I am certainly angry at him, but I was only speaking in a way that was trying to emphasize my point," McCain said. "I would not shoot him myself.")

    Thanks for clearing that up for us John.

    Go on home to beautiful Arizona, John, take up knittin' and rock on the porch. That kinda flip-floppin' out of a strong statement ain't gonna help you be president of anything. I take that back. Maybe the other ladies in the sewin' circle won't mind. Maybe you can be president of that if the opposition's not too tough.

    Maybe I'm wrong about this. Maybe it's gettin' too close to the Gates of Hell that spooks him. Being close to that many politicians and lawyers'd spook anybody.

    Goddammit, Bush, kill the sonofabitch, you incompetent twit!

    At the not inconsiderable risk of having Fixer beat me black and blue, thump me a pink belly with sap gloves, and rub noogies in my noggin with dirty gravel, I will now link you to a Colonel Hunt. I got no idea what he was a Colonel in. I'm doing this at great personal peril to show you that even though a stopped clock is right twice a day, which is a pretty generous comparison considering the record of this outfit, it's wrong again one second later.

    We know, with a 70 percent level of certainty — which is huge in the world of intelligence — that in August of 2007, bin Laden was in a convoy headed south from Tora Bora. We had his butt, on camera, on satellite. We were listening to his conversations. We had the world’s best hunters/killers — Seal Team 6 — nearby. We had the world class Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) coordinating with the CIA and other agencies. We had unmanned drones overhead with missiles on their wings; we had the best Air Force on the planet, begging to drop one on the terrorist. We had him in our sights; we had done it. Nice job again guys — now, pull the damn trigger.

    Unbelievably, and in my opinion, criminally, we did not kill Usama bin Laden.

    That was the 'got it right' part. How 'right' perhaps even the Colonel doesn't know. Operative word is 'criminally'.

    Something bothers me that the Colonel didn't really address: since when does 'the best Air Force on the planet' have to 'beg' to shoot up the bad guys in a war zone? Orders to the contrary when it comes to this particular bad guy? We'll get to that in a moment.

    Then the Bird gets back to normal:

    You cannot make this crap up; truth is always stranger and more telling than fiction. Our government, the current administration and yes, our military leaders included, failed to kill bin Laden for no other reason than incompetence.

    There is certainly a wealth of incompetence in the Bush administration, but that's not the reason they didn't 'pull the trigger' on OBL. Perhaps the Colonel knows and can't bring himself to say it, but the real reason is that it would be a 'friendly fire' incident. If Osama had a cell phone filled with C-4 up to his ear, Bush wouldn't hit 'send'.

    Bush needs bin Laden and al Qaeda as boogiemen to scare hash marks into our skivvies, not that I need any help with that at my age. He needs them to justify the damage he has already done to the United States and the rest of the world and plans to do for at least the next fourteen months. Bin Laden dead, poof! goes the pouf.

    Besides, the bin Ladens are old family friends and business partners in crime of the Bush famiglia.

    Then, remarkably, I wholeheartedly agree with the Colonel again:

    Our men and women are being blown up and killed every day in Iraq and Afghanistan. Every family who is separated from a loved one during this war is being insulted by our government when they fail to kill those who have already killed us and will not hesitate to do so again and again. Damn it guys, PULL THE DAMN TRIGGER.

    Setting aside for a minute the fact that Bush's Oil War is a criminal enterprise that surpasses even the family traditions he was raised with, even people on his side are starting to complain about the way he is going about it. The right (heh) reaction for the wrong reasons.

    Why Those Who Love America Are Feeling Brokenhearted

    I hadn't thought of the word 'brokenhearted' to describe the way I feel until I read this piece by Andrew Greeley, but it fits perfectly.

    I am ashamed for America. Note carefully that I do not say I am ashamed of America. Despite all its inherent flaws and all its tragic mistakes, the United States stands, however incompletely and with whatever imperfections, for the highest standards of freedom and democracy that the world has yet known.

    I am ashamed for America because all the evil done in the nation's name in recent years is turning off the light on the mountaintop.

    Mr. Greeley manages to sum it up in four paragraphs, which is a pretty good trick considering there are hundreds of thousands of pages yet to be written about it.

    4. At a remarkably frank meeting of middle-range officers (majors and colonels) at Fort Leavenworth, the soldiers debated not whether there should have been a war in Iraq, but who was to blame for losing it. Was it the senior officers or the joint chiefs or the civilian leaders? The war is not even over yet, and already the officers who fought it and will have to fight its continuation have already given up hope. Too bad for them, because the president has made up his mind that we are still going to win the war and the Democratic presidential candidates speak about a 10-year presence in Iraq. Whatever the political leadership is or will be in 2009, no candidate seems capable of saying, "We're getting out now!" And the rest of the world laughs at us because both parties are led by fools.

    Anyone who cares about the United States and its legacies has to be brokenhearted at what has been done to our beloved country by the crazy people who are running it - people who have become so skilled at deception they don't even realize anymore that they are deceiving. Just like the Democrats don't realize they are again stealing defeat out of the jaws of victory.

    All I have to add to this is that 'hope springs eternal' in my foolish broken heart.


    Shakes has a great post up at Comment is free:

    Can you feel the Doddmentum yet? Last week, after leaders of the senate intelligence committee reportedly reached an agreement with the White House that would, via new legislation, grant immunity to the telecom companies who complied with the national security agency's warrantless spying program, Democratic presidential candidate and senator Christopher Dodd emerged as a potential leader on the issue of privacy and constitutional protections. First he swore to put a hold on the bill. Then he vowed to filibuster if Democratic leaders tried to proceed with it despite his hold.


    I'm not jumping on the Dodd wagon yet, but by golly, the man is doing the right things. Good Friday morning reading ... if you're not going to work.

    I, on the other hand, woke up late (the Mrs. is away on business) and I'm scrambling. Thank God it's fucking Friday.

    More from Shakes on the subject here.

    Thursday, October 25, 2007

    Quote of the Day

    "You can roll horse manure in sugar, doesn't make it a doughnut."

    I like that!

    That was the response to the revised SCHIP bill going through the House as we speak, by a Repug congressmanette from Florida. Repugs know all about rolling our doughnuts in manure to give their enablers some sugar.

    San Diego Fire Evacuees vs. Katrina Evacuees: Who Ya Got?

    I've been thinking about this comparison between these two disparate groups of people, but I've held off posting about it because I didn't think I could do it justice. The Rude Pundit has given me the swift kick in the slats I needed.

    One of the mightier acts of bullshit sophistry that's already started (and will continue) is the comparison of how "well-behaved" are the people who have evacuated to San Diego's Qualcomm Stadium from the fires engulfing the nearby areas and how utterly degraded and savage were the people who made their way to the Superdome and Convention Center in New Orleans before, during, and in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

    [...] And certainly what Glenn "If You Hire a Cretinous Retard, Expect Him To Say Cretinous, Retarded Things" Beck spewed about America haters getting their houses burned down will be less offensive than what's coming. Yeah, it's all race and class-based, and it's also pathetically narrow and simple-minded.

    Yes, what's happening to people in California is hideous, awful, and other adjectives, and it's great that the evacuees there are being treated like human beings. But other than the desperate president trying desperately to not look like a desperate boob and trying to make sure everyone sees he's in charge and that he's "learned lessons" since Katrina, there is no reason to compare. Indeed, comparing the two masses of people at the evacuation sites is not unlike comparing apples and drowned people.

    Well...they both float. For a while.

    The two disasters have nothing - I say again, nothing - in common other than bad things of wildly different severity happened to people in wildly different circumstances. The demographics, logistics, emergency response, the aftermaths - all as different as night from day.

    The SD evacuees' houses weren't on fire for the most part, just in danger. They were warned by methods ranging from a loud hailer on a cop car to personal calls by a 'reverse 911' system. Most of them had plenty of time to load essential shit in their SUVs and boogie to Qualcomm or wherever. I guarantee you that every last swingin' dick and dickette drove themselves out of harm's way. Public transportation in SoCal is for 'the help', and usually involves a lot of walking anyway. Those folks have bank accounts (Boy, do they!), credit cards, resources. Even if their houses go up in smoke, they're in no physical danger. The evacuation facilities are plush, to say the least. Good eats, plenty to drink, rock bands, crafts for the kids, shitters that work, pet care, grazing for horses, the works. The roads are open and resupply is not a problem. Emergency responders, firefighters, cops - they all showed up. If their houses burn down, we have LtGov Garamendi (who would make a good Governor, but that's another story), former state Insurance Commissioner, to make sure the "pay as little as late as possible" insurance companies cough it up.

    Contrast that with Katrina. Those who could evacuate, did. Those who didn't own a car were stuck. Emergency responders, public transportation, medical personnel, everybody who could, got the fuck out. And couldn't get back in, partly because of road conditions, partly because of government bungling (all levels), and in many cases were not allowed to. The floodees were without food, water, operating toilets, etc., etc. , for days. Many died due to government ineptitude. We all know how much help the Chimp and FEMA weren't. And still aren't, really. The insurance companies played their despicable games all along the Gulf Coast, except amongst the rich and powerful who wouldn't stand for it.

    Two years on and we see how well things are going on the Gulf, particularly in NOLA. Not very.

    Of one thing I am certain: the SoCal evacuees will not be dispersed to try and turn their area into a Repuglican region. It already is. That's the reddest heavily populated area (I know where my 'reddest area' is, even though I can't see it without hurting myself. Heh.) in my state.

    In short, it's a lot better to be an upscale, if not rich, white suburbanite in a predominantly Repuglican area than it it is to be a poor black city dweller in a Democrat(ic) one.

    The thing that's most irritating about these bullshit comparisons between the 'good' evacuees and the 'bad' evacuees is that it comes up at all. It's only happening because of the poisonous atmosphere in this country brought about by the newly resurgent tolerance, even promotion, of racism, and the class and culture wars started against the have-nots by the haves and the right-wing administration they side with, to further their fascist corporate war-mongering agenda of domination.

    The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer, all by design, with the aid of a carefully oiled conspiracy to divide the American people and thus conquer all of us, including their unwitting toadies. Luckily, even some of those morons are starting to catch on.

    They must not - I say again must not - prevail. They won't. There are many like me who consider themselves in the fortunate half of our society who demand fairness and justice for the other half.

    I was right. I didn't do this subject justice. There's so much more to say. I guess I've got time to get back to it if the sap rises again. Later, and please pardon the rant.

    Plamegate Finale: We Were Right; They Were Wrong

    David Corn, in his last "Capital Games" article in The Nation, on Plamegate:

    It's like the war: false statements, false cover stories, and failure to concede the errors in judgment and action that have caused harm to national security. But the meta-narrative of Bush and his neoconservative allies is one of no apology, no surrender. They say and do what they must to shield themselves from the consequences of their actions. Reality be damned. What matters is what they can get away with. In the case of Valerie Plame Wilson, they did escape retribution. In the larger case of the Iraq war, they are still hoping to.

    I hope all the neocons and war profiteers end up in a nice camp somewhere. Manzanar springs to mind. Or The Hague. Or Lubyanka. Or the Tijuana jail. Or under it. Somewhere fitting for their crimes.

    Endgame for Iraqi Oil?

    Jack Miles on how how Bush's Oil Grab is BOGging down. This may be the light at the end of the tunnel unless Cheney makes Bush go to war with Iran. This article is a little technical, but the Devil is in details. It's a Tomgram, so take a lunch.

    The oil game in Iraq may be almost up. On September 29th, like a landlord serving notice, the government of Iraq announced that the next annual renewal of the United Nations Security Council mandate for a multinational force in Iraq - the only legal basis for a continuation of the American occupation - will be the last. That was, it seems, the first shoe to fall. The second may be an announcement terminating the little-noticed, but crucial companion Security Council mandate governing the disposition of Iraq's oil revenues.

    The game will be up because, as Antonia Juhasz pointed out last March in a New York Times op-ed, "Whose Oil Is It, Anyway?":

    "Iraq's neighbors Iran, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia?. have outlawed foreign control over oil development. They all hire international oil companies as contractors to provide specific services as needed, for a limited duration, and without giving the foreign company any direct interest in the oil produced."

    By contrast, the oil legislation now pending in the Iraqi parliament awards foreign oil companies coveted, long-term, 20-35 year contracts of just the sort that neighboring oil-producers have rejected for decades. It also places the Iraqi oil industry under the control of an appointed body that would include representatives of international oil companies as full voting members.

    The news that the duly elected government of Iraq is exercising its limited sovereignty to set a date for termination of the American occupation radically undercuts all discussion in Congress or by American presidential candidates of how soon the U.S. occupation of Iraq may "safely" end. Yet if, by the same route, Iraq were to resume full and independent control over the world's third-largest proven oil reserves - 200 to 300 million barrels of light crude worth as much as $30 trillion at today's prices - a politically incorrect question might break rudely out of the Internet universe and into the mainstream media world, into, that is, the open: Has the Iraq war been an oil war from the outset?

    Gee, ya think? There's lots more, and it's well worth reading, but I'll cut to the chase:

    Time will tell, but not too much time. The eerie silence of the Bush administration about oil grows all the more deafening as the price of crude climbs toward $100 a barrel. Blood for oil may never have been a good deal, but so much blood for no oil at all may seem a far worse one.

    It's all been a swindle on the grandest of scales, and the incompetent evil little pricks in this administration couldn't even do it right. They sure managed to kill a lot of people and spend a lot of our money, though, and that will continue for a long time even though folks are wising up.

    The clock will not start to run down on BOG until 20 January '09 at the very earliest, of that we can be sure, and then only if Bush decides to step down like he's supposed to.

    Memories ...

    I meant to blog about this earlier. When I was in the Air Force, I passed through Clark AB in the Philippines several times. My esteemed colleague over at The Practical Press, The Fat Lady Sings, was a Navy wife stationed at Subic Bay. She posted an essay the other day that brought back many memories, fond and not so fond. I urge you to read it.


    This was P. I. – Subic Bay. It made Bangkok look like Vegas on family night. Have any of you seen the HBO series Deadwood? OK – now you have some idea of what I’m talking about (sans the carnivorous pigs). Why in hell have wives there at all, you may ask? Oh please! Didn’t you know the Navy was a family institution? Reagan was president, God Damn It! There had to at least be a veneer of respectability. I mean, what would mom and pop back at the old homestead think if they knew junior was getting his roto routered in some dingy bar by a skinny 13 year old girl with hopeless eyes? Not to mention being strung out on crystal meth or amyl nitrate, as well. So the powers that be made a point of shipping families in – by the plane load. Most MAC flights would cost $10; but P. I. – P. I. was free. A garden paradise, they said. Lovely blue ocean. Marvelous shopping. Not one word about poverty, hookers and filth. Then there were the snakes and bugs. Big fuckers – eat you alive in a heartbeat. And the humidity! Jesus H. Sebastian Christ! You know – P. I. is the only place I’ve ever been where it rained out of a clear blue sky. No lie – hot rain too; it got so humid, the air would have to shed water. Imagine 100 degrees with 110% humidity. Like living inside a pressure cooker.


    Wednesday, October 24, 2007

    My neighbors ...

    Don't fuck with this lady:

    OCTOBER 24--Swinging an ax she retrieved from behind the counter of a Long Island convenience store, a diminutive clerk fought off an armed man who tried to rob her Saturday night, a confrontation caught by a store surveillance camera ...

    Heh ... Video here.

    Questions ...

    Do you take anything a 'government spokesperson' says at face value anymore? Or, in lieu of that, do you, once you hear of a story or issue on TV, do your own research to determine the truth for yourself because you don't trust [name of your regularly watched network news program] not to spin it somehow?

    I'm trying to determine if it's just my own paranoia.

    If Only...

    Click to make the smoke billow out his head even bigger!

    From Slate

    Flash! Al Qaeda! Fire! Fear!

    Subhead: Only Repuglicans Can Save You From Nonexistent Dangers That They Invented To Scare You Into Voting For Them

    Under a big, bold headline at the very top of Raw Story:

    Did al Qaeda start the California wildfires?

    As more than a million people escaped the flames, Fox News anchors couldn't help speculating about a terrorism link to the blazes ravaging southern California.

    Correspondent Adam Housley said he's received "hundreds of comments" from readers of his Fox News blog speculating about a link to terrorism.

    Thus solidifying the opinion of folks like me who think you have to be an ignorant, misguided moron to watch FAKENews'

    And then, under a teeny tiny blurb at the very bottom of Raw Story:

    Wildfires ravaging California are the result of the region's unique climate and geography combining with a burgeoning population that is increasingly encroaching on rural areas, experts say.

    Now that's more like it. Of course, the F** viewers who can read might notice that that story is from AFP, and you know how those Frogs lie!

    I was born in Southern California and lived there for 35 years. These fires have been occurring annually as far back as I can remember, and historically as far back as the Spaniards could remember and the Indians before that. The fires weren't really much of a problem until the coastal flatlands got all built out and people started spreading up the surrounding hills, to the 'wildland interface' of dry, brush-covered hills that are all over the place surrounding the urban areas down there.

    I guaran-goddam-tee you that SoCal doesn't need any terrorist help to catch fire. The F** Noise bullshit is just more fear-mongering from paranoid Repuglican operatives who want their daddy to save them. It's too much to hope that they would ever develop a sense of shame and disgust at their own verbal diarrhea from passing on such utter crap from WH/neocon talking points.

    By the way, when I'm Emperor of California, there will be a $100,000 cash bonus, or more if needed, for each person who leaves the state for good. Anybody who wants to move here will be required to bring a year's supply of water with them as the price to gain entry. After I wrote that last sentence, I got a vision of little brown people with many, many water jugs on really long poles trudging northwards...

    Quote of the Day

    Huckabee: Immigrants are Taking Jobs Away from Aborted Fetuses

    The Elephant in the Middle of the Newsroom

    So has anyone else noticed the two most glaringly absent words from the California wildfire news stories? Those two words would be the National Guard. Much of the needed equipment and manpower are in Iraq of course leaving California hamstrung and one very ticked off Fire Chief of Orange County.

    From the Army Times:
    Schwarzenegger directs Guard to battle fires

    Staff report
    Posted : Wednesday Oct 24, 2007 6:25:09 EDT

    Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has directed 1,500 California National Guard troops to be available to support efforts to fight at least 14 wildfires in the southern part of the state, according to a news release from the National Guard Bureau.

    The troops include 200 Guard members who were patrolling the California-Mexico border as part of Operation Jump Start, a mission to help the Customs and Border Protection Border Patrol keep illegal immigrants from entering the U.S.

    More than 200 troops were sent to help evacuate residents in San Diego. About 100 were sent to Qualcomm Stadium, home of the San Diego Chargers, and 100 others were sent to Del Mar Fairgrounds.

    The governor also requested that four California Guard helicopters be available to help firefighting efforts. As of Monday night, most of the troops remained on standby, and they will deploy at the direction of the governor’s Office of Emergency Services.

    Of course the Governator says that everything's ok. And considering the size of these wildfires, that's quite an impressive number of National Guard troops - isn't it? I've watched both CBS and ABC national newscasts in the past 24 hours. Not one did they mention the National Guard or what they are or are not doing. Any other year that had wildfires to such an extent, you would have seen National Guardsmen in practically every camera shot. Here's some further reading:

    California Fire & Iraq

    Fire chief says state unprepared for deadly Calif. blazes

    N.C. National Guard to fight CA wildfires

    You can get away with robbing a bank ...

    But you never escape the IRS. Isn't that what finally brought Al Capone down?

    Off to work ...


    George writes to Nancy:

    you are an embarassment to americans, nancy. representative stark spoke the truth. you can't get an impeachment investigation of crimes you helped hide for bush but you will attack a democratic representative who speaks for over 60% of the american people.

    when the full history of american politics is known, you will be seen as one sad, easily maniupulated puppet of the bush regime.

    So can you.

    Advice for Dems ...

    Since they're a spineless bunch, in general, a little advice from Steve Soto that might help them, being they don't seem to like confrontation:


    And the lesson for Democrats is this: frame everything as a choice between needs here at home and wasting money overseas on Iraq. If you want to make a dent on Iraq, start talking up the money wasted on corruption, Condi's negligent management, and the money wasted on a failed strategy whose only goal is to take us into the next war in Iran.

    I hope they can handle at least that much.

    Tuesday, October 23, 2007

    What it's all about ...

    Great, great thanks to Maru UL for the pic. Click to embiggen.

    That about sums it up ...

    Thoughts on the Masthead Art

    Every morning, even before the caffeine has kicked my awakeness anywhere close to following my half-open eyelids, I see that lovely Toktong Pass exhibit from the Marine Corps Museum.

    It just dawned on me, in true "lights on in yer head, dipshit" fashion: That's US here at the Brain!

    Sittin' all alone out in the cold, thanklessly freezin' our beboops off, lookin' for a chance to lob a few at the enemy and praying for a secondary explosion, wonderin' if it's all worth it or if it will make any difference in the scheme of things.

    A wonderful and maybe subtle metaphor.

    Fixer's a lot smarter than he looks.

    Brinksmamship's Just A Pissin' Contest Until Someone Steps Off The Cliff

    NYTimes editorial on Turkey v. the Kurds: more widely predicted problem the Bush administration failed to plan for before its misguided invasion — and one more problem it urgently needs to deal with as part of a swift and orderly exit from Iraq.

    Exit? Bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha! Ain't part of the plan, Buckwheat.

    Turkey’s civilian leaders are feeling strong popular pressure to lash back. The leadership should realize that the conflict is providing a dangerous opening for Turkey’s generals. The military is determined to regain the upper hand over Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whom they detest for his party’s roots in Islamic politics.

    Ankara needs to know that an invasion would not only add to Iraq’s chaos and raise the specter of a regional war, it would also do major damage to Turkey’s international standing and finish off its prospects for joining the European Union.

    I'm not sure, but the Europeans might actually like to find an excuse to keep Turkey out of the EU.

    Washington should also explain the dangerous facts of life to the leaders of Iraqi Kurdistan, who have done nothing to rein in the guerrillas or drive them out of their territory. Iraq’s president, Jalal Talabani, who is a Kurd, did no good Sunday when he first said he wanted “to solve problems peacefully,” but then declared that Iraq would not even turn over “a Kurdish cat” to Turkey.

    The Kurds will find it much easier to prosper if they can live in peace with Turkey, whose businessmen already invest heavily in their region. And Mr. Talabani and other Iraqi Kurds need to understand that their enclave of comparative peace and prosperity will not survive a regional war.

    Washington must now try to walk both sides back from this brink. [...]

    That's the kiss of death! This administration isn't competent enough to throw a beer party in a brewery, and I hope they never try. The brewery, if it survived, would never again turn out a drinkable product.

    With so many other problems in Iraq, the Bush administration apparently thought it could ignore this one. It can’t. If it doesn’t now move quickly, Iraq’s disastrous civil war could spiral into an even bigger disaster — a regional war.

    The neocons' wet dream ain't turnin' out exactly like they want. No way, no how, ain't gonna happen. Their WH shills have demonstrated their near-perfect Reverse Midas Touch - everything they touch turns to shit - in the Mideast, and they'll be lucky if they can protect their rich friends in the small Gulf states. Hell, we'll be lucky if OPEC lets us buy the goddam oil at the inflated prices that are resulting from Bush's (and our) deflated dollars, let alone locking it up for our OCs.

    Good going, Dick 'n Bush. You fuckers have screwed the pooch as bad as anyone ever has.

    Lately I've been reading a lot about the First World War, since I feel that all our Middle East problems today stem directly from it. I mean 'directly' as in 'a straight line'.

    One pistol shot fired by a Serbian nationalist killed a man. Normally, murder is handled by the criminal courts, but this murder was seized upon by a warmonger who wanted to crush Serbia once and for all. The whole deal got a little out of hand, resulting in the deaths of 40 millions, the fall of two already-crumbling empires, a couple more that weren't, and the rearrangement of many. many lines on the world map by politicos that shouldn't have, not to mention the most colossal case of PTSD in recorded history, that of a certain Austrian war vet and house painter who later had tremendous influence in today's Mid East. We are reaping now what was sowed then.

    If I could go back in time, there are two things I would do. The first is to go back to Sarajevo in June of 1914 and knock the pistol out of Gavrilo Princip's hand just before Ferdy and his ol' lady rolled by in their big Gräf & Stift. If I was successful at that, perhaps I wouldn't have to do the second, which would be to travel to Ie Shima in 1945 and be the most outstanding Japanese anti-aircraft gunner ever. If 41 hadn't gotten out of his plane alive, he'da never been able to conceive 43 and the world would be a better place today.

    Who's the Biggest Manwhore?

    The Rude Pundit on the most recent Repug candidate panderpalooza. The first paragraph, which you'll have to go read for yourself, describes consensual (I think) acts that I've never even heard of. Frozen cookie dough? Brr.

    Everything you need to know about the Republicans candidates for president is contained in this simple fact from last night's Fox "news" debate: they spent more time on gay marriage than on the war in Iraq.

    Coming on the heels of the serial rim jobs given by the Republicans to Tony Perkins and the Family Research Council at their Value Voters Summit (motto: "Come for the proselytizing and sanctimony, stay for the non-kosher buffet"), the debate was dominated by a simple question asked of simple men: "Which of you hates more people?" Or, as the Fox "news" correspondents asking the questions put it, "Who's more conservative?"

    [...] And when it came to the gays, oh, snap, how they went after each other like old drag queens at a Liza Minnelli yard sale.

    About halfway through the debate, the fine Fox-ers got around to asking the candidates what they might actually do as President. On health care, the answers boiled down to: "Give insurance companies everything they want." On education: "Give private schools everything they want." On taxes: "Give rich people everything they want." On foreign policy: "Give the neocons everything they want."

    Shorter: Be Bush. That's workin' out just great, huh?

    Ron Paul, the sanest one of those morons, which isn't saying very much, went against Repug retard talking points and injected some actual reality into the proceedings and got a typical kool-aid drinkin' response. From a BradBlog post which is worth reading:

    PAUL: Well, there's a very big difference, and I think the American people, if we as a party realize this and understand it, 70- some percent of the people in America want the war over with. They're sick and tired of it and they want our troops to come home.


    Mr. Paul is credited with 'winning' the BS-fest, and was roundly dissed by one of the worst of the true believers, a JuliAnnie man supporter.

    One of these clowns, from the weakest field in memory. is going to be the Repug presidential nominee and will go up against a Dem nominee from the best field we could hope for. There's not much at stake, just the future of our country and the world.

    How could we possibly lose?

    Easy. The Dems are good at shit like that.

    Dear Harry & Nancy ...

    Is this what you are afraid of?

    Just 25% of Americans approve of the way President Bush is handling his job as president and 67% disapprove, according to the latest American Research Group survey. This matches the lowest approval rating he's ever recorded in the poll.

    When it comes to Bush's handling of the economy, 23% approve and 67% disapprove. This also matches Bush's lowest ever approval rating for his handling of the economy.

    You should be ashamed of yourselves.



    Great thanks to the wonderful Maru for the link.

    Quote of the Day

    Digby on the imminent war with Iran:

    ... After all, trying to take over the world has made many a failed leader's historical reputation. Unfortunately, Junior probably doesn't realize that it rarely turns out to be a good one.

    How it was ...

    [A big Brain welcome to Salon readers.]

    Josh Marshall reminds us the United States was not created to be a "Christian nation".

    I've sort of gotten tired of explaining that, no, the Founding Fathers actually weren't all born-agains and bible thumpers. Not hardly. (Probably better to say that the great majority ranged from believers in an entirely impersonal God -- Deists -- to believing Christians who nonetheless viewed popular religious enthusiasm with a polite and paternal disdain.) But presidential candidate and former Arkansas Governoer Mike Huckabee, himself a Baptist minister, actually told a crowd yesterday that "most" of the signers of the Declaration of Independence were "clergymen."


    One was a clergyman. The Rev. John Witherspoon of New Jersey.

    One of my heroes, John Adams:

    "The United States of America have exhibited, perhaps, the first example of governments erected on the simple principles of nature; and if men are now sufficiently enlightened to disabuse themselves of artifice, imposture, hypocrisy, and superstition, they will consider this event as an era in their history. Although the detail of the formation of the American governments is at present little known or regarded either in Europe or in America, it may hereafter become an object of curiosity. It will never be pretended that any persons employed in that service had interviews with the gods, or were in any degree under the influence of Heaven, more than those at work upon ships or houses, or laboring in merchandise or agriculture; it will forever be acknowledged that these governments were contrived merely by the use of reason and the senses."

    The United States is a secular nation, period. The minute it becomes 'christian' (or any other religion) it no longer remains the United States. The U.S. is a nation of men, not of God.

    Adams quote from here.

    Monday, October 22, 2007

    "...I felt the unity that had been stolen from us in 2003."

    Here's the latest from Riverbend:

    Syria is a beautiful country- at least I think it is. I say “I think” because while I perceive it to be beautiful, I sometimes wonder if I mistake safety, security and normalcy for ‘beauty’. In so many ways, Damascus is like Baghdad before the war- bustling streets, occasional traffic jams, markets seemingly always full of shoppers… And in so many ways it’s different. The buildings are higher, the streets are generally narrower and there’s a mountain, Qasiyoun, that looms in the distance.

    The first weeks here were something of a cultural shock. It has taken me these last three months to work away certain habits I’d acquired in Iraq after the war. It’s funny how you learn to act a certain way and don’t even know you’re doing strange things- like avoiding people’s eyes in the street or crazily murmuring prayers to yourself when stuck in traffic. It took me at least three weeks to teach myself to walk properly again- with head lifted, not constantly looking behind me.

    She goes on about her family's trials, travels, and travails. They're safe and settling in.

    Thanks, George. You asshole.

    Bush's Pentagon Papers

    Part of a much longer (so what's new?) Tomgram:

    Think of it this way: If Freud believed that dreams were the royal road to the individual unconscious, then the top officials of the Bush administration believed torture to be the royal road to their ultimate dream of unconstrained power, what John Yoo in his "torture memo" referred to as "the Commander-in-Chief Power."

    It was via Guantanamo that they meant to announce the arrival of this power on planet Earth. They were proud of it. And that prison complex was to function as their bragging rights. Their message was clear enough: In this world of ours, democracy would indeed run rampant and a vote of one would, in every case, be considered a majority.

    Why not? It was a 'majority of one' Supreme who put the Current Sonofabitch into the White House. Why not continue with a proven scam?

    Sometimes, it's just a matter of refocusing to see the documents, the statements, the acts for what they are. Such is the case with the torture memos that continue to emerge. Never has an administration -- and hardly has a torturing regime anywhere -- had so many of its secret documents aired while it was still in the act. Seldom has a ruling group made such an open case for its own crimes.

    The urge of any criminal regime -- to ditch, burn, or destroy incriminating documents, or erase emails -- has, in a sense, already been obviated. So much of the Bush/Cheney "record" is on the record. As Karen J. Greenberg wrote, back in December 2006, "What more could a prosecutor want than a trail of implicit confessions, consistent with one another, increasingly brazen over time, and leading right into the Oval Office?"

    Looking back on these last years, it turns out that the President, Vice President, their aides, and the other top officials of this administration were always in the confessional booth. There's no exit now.

    There may be no karmic escape from their crimes, but there are electronic money transfers and corporate jets to extradition-free Paraguay. Bush and Cheney, you should go now.

    Homebrewed Helos in Nigeria

    As an unreconstructed ol' gearhead, I admire anyone who can perservere enough do this:

    Mubarak Muhammad Abdullahi, a 24-year-old physics undergraduate in northern Nigeria, takes old cars and motorbikes to pieces in the back yard at home and builds his own helicopters from the parts.

    "It took me eight months to build this one," he said, sweat pouring from his forehead as he filled the radiator of the banana yellow four-seater which he now parks in the grounds of his university.

    The chopper, which has flown briefly on six occasions, is made from scrap aluminium that Abdullahi bought with the money he makes from computer and mobile phone repairs, and a donation from his father, who teaches at Kano's Bayero university.

    It is powered by a second-hand 133 horsepower Honda Civic car engine and kitted out with seats from an old Toyota saloon car. Its other parts come from the carcass of a Boeing 747 which crashed near Kano some years ago.

    Go read the rest. It's inspiring. Makes ya wonder how many, or even if, young Americans with all the advantages are doing stuff like this Nigerian kid is. I'll bet not many, more's the pity. A few years back, some inmates at a Nevada State Pen built a helo out of an old 350 Honda, but they got caught before they could find out if it could get up high enough to get over the wall.

    I've built motorcycles from the ground up, but I never tried to fly 'em!

    This young man gets today's "Gordon's Gyro Gearloose Award".

    PKK May Declare Ceasefire

    AFP via Raw Story

    Iraqi President Jalal Talabani said Kurdish rebels were set to declare a unilateral ceasefire on Monday, in the face of mounting Turkish threats to strike their bases in northern Iraq.

    "The PKK has decided to declare a ceasefire from their side tonight," Talabani told reporters, referring to the separatist Kurdistan Workers' Party, regarded as a terrorist outfit by Turkey and the West.

    I think that is a wise decision and I hope they do that. I hope also that it's not too late.

    Somebody musta got to the PKK and told 'em to knock off the cheap shit before they fuck everything all the way up. The Iraq Kurds are doing OK for now and a Turkish invasion just might be the monkey wrench in the works that they don't need. None of us need it.

    Oh, the irony...

    Ironic Times

    Bush Gets Support From Some Generals
    General Electric, General Dynamics, General Motors.

    Kurds, Turks Prepare for Battle
    Winner takes on winner of Syria-Lebanon, survivor going to regional final against winner of Israel-Iran or Pakistan-India, whichever ends first.

    Bush Warns of Threat of World War III
    As long as he remains in office.


    Makes sense ...

    The General's inner Frenchman likes Chris Dodd for most of the same reasons I do:

    My inner Frenchman has been an Edwards supporter and a Gore awaiter. Now, he's tired of waiting, and he never really got over the Amanda/Shakes debacle or Edwards' seeming eagerness to adopt the neocon's Iran rhetoric. He wants to support a candidate who shares his values, a candidate who isn't a afraid to stand up to the proto-fascists who would trade a false sense of security for our most basic constitutional rights, a candidate who isn't talking about an Iraq withdraw plan that will take decades to complete, a candidate who believes that universal health coverage doesn't mean shifting the burden from business to the individual, a candidate for whom we can all be proud to support, a true liberal, not one of the DLC's self-styled "progressives."


    I'm not ready to endorse anybody yet, but Dodd has distinguished himself from the pack.

    Off to work ...

    Tip o' the Brain to MJS for the link.

    The Turks ...

    Or, How can Iraq get any more fucked up? Swopa looks at the game of chicken being played on Iraq's northern border:

    Note the vicious circle of this logic: Turkey knows that invading Kurdistan would be foolish. But the only way it can achieve its goal of quashing the PKK is to convince the Kurds and Americans that it will invade if they don't do the job.

    Except that the threat to invade isn't plausible enough to force the Kurds and Americans to act, since they know (and they know that Turkey knows) that invading Kurdistan would be foolish.

    So for Turkey, the only alternative to getting stuffed... is to do the foolish thing and invade Kurdistan.


    [blink, blink]

    Just consider the change in dynamic there if Turkish troops begin to engage the PKK in a full-on effort. The only place that's relatively peaceful, the area our main supply lines run through, will be turned into another dangerous alley for our convoys. A good portion of our air transport missions are run out of Incirlik Air Base in Turkey. If our relations with Turkey suffer, do you think they would be so inclined to allow us to continue on such a scale, if at all?

    As far as the Americans, or the Iraqis [snicker], acting to contain the PKK, I ask with what? Troops we don't have enough of to pacify 'Sunnistan' or 'Shiastan', let alone Kurdistan? Blackwater mercenaries who'll only make the situation worse by killing anything that moves? Or will we just ignore it and hope it goes away? But, as of yesterday, that last option has been taken from us. From an NYT article Swopa links to:


    But the Sunday ambush on Turkish troops was carried out by a much larger force than the P.K.K. typically uses, the Western official said, and appeared aimed at drawing Turkey into [the] conflict.

    “I think we’ve passed the threshold,” Mr. [Suat] Kinikli [a lawmaker from Mr. Erdogan’s party and a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee] said. “It looks like for two days or three days there will be a holding off and a waiting period. Unless the U.S. comes up with something magic in the next few days, which is highly unlikely, we’ll probably go in.”


    Yeah, we all know the magic the Chimp can pull out of his ass.

    You know, I love all the people who were all 'rah-rah, kill the ragheads' without any thought of the complications arising from our actions. Osama is still free, 6 years after he murdered 3000 people, oil prices are through the roof, the economy is a mess, and now the war threatens to escalate, dragging more in the region, and maybe Europe, into the conflict. Oh yeah, and we're still trying to goad Iran into a fight.

    I'm not optimistic we'll be able to stuff this genie back in the bottle anytime soon.

    Sunday, October 21, 2007

    Repug Infighting In CA-04

    It's always a good thing when your enemies are fighting with each other. I came across the John Doolittle News which compiles news about my aptly named congresscritter, which led me to an article in the Auburn Journal. Auburn is a town in the Sierra Nevada foothills, and the county seat of Placer County.

    GOP rep says Doolittle shouldn't seek re-election

    WASHINGTON (AP) - Political pressure on GOP Rep. John Doolittle grew Wednesday as a fellow California House Republican said it would be best if Doolittle didn't run for re-election.

    Doolittle, a nine-term conservative from Rocklin, is under Justice Department investigation in the influence-peddling probe involving jailed GOP lobbyist Jack Abramoff. His fundraising has slowed and he's drawing Republican primary challengers amid mounting concerns that he would not be able to win re-election next year despite the fact his district is among the most conservative in California.

    The 'influence peddling' involved sweat shops and the sex trade in the Northern Mariana Islands, and possibly the firing of the US Attorney for the NMI when he tried to look into it. Details in the archives of Dump Doolittle and Doolittle

    GOP Rep. John Campbell of Orange County became the first House member to say publicly Wednesday what other lawmakers and aides are saying privately - that Doolittle should step aside and not run for re-election.

    "I am very concerned about the situation in that district and our ability to comfortably hold what is a safe Republican district," Campbell said in an interview with The Associated Press.

    Doolittle is facing two declared Republican opponents, one of whom - political newcomer Eric Egland - raised more money than the incumbent in the third quarter of this year. Other Republicans are waiting in the wings and have expressed interest in the race if Doolittle steps aside.

    Doolittle has insisted he won't drop out, and said in his statement that he has received local support for his re-election.

    He barely won re-election last year against Democrat Charlie Brown, who's seeking a rematch this year and is way ahead of Doolittle in fundraising, with more than $380,000 cash on hand to Doolittle's $77,700.

    There you have it. The Repug 'leadership' in DC is ready to toss the Abramoff-related criminal overboard rather than lose the district to a Dem. No Semper Fi in this bunch. They must know the actual facts of the situation, and don't want Doolittle to get re-elected and then have to go to jail during his term. Why, that might make the news!

    The Wes' Coas' Faction of Alternate Brain, strategically located in CA-04 (at my house) so as to bring you the latest on the eagerly anticipated, long hoped-for upcoming downfall of Doolittle, is 100% solidly behind retired USAF LightColonel (looks like he got out of the Air Fundies in the nick of time) Charlie Brown For Congress.

    Just sayin' ...

    I watched Timmeh's interview of Stephen Colbert this morning. I'd have to say it was the hardest-hitting interview he's done in 15 years. Sad.

    A big Brain welcome to Sideshow readers.

    Real Christians ... again

    As regular readers know, I'm probably considered an atheist by most. Though I consider myself a spiritual man, I don't believe in organized religion or the worship of some deity.

    That said, I respect people's beliefs. I don't want to do away with religion (just keep it out of my fucking government) and I admire people who who can strictly adhere to their faith's teachings. I admire their commitment and, generally, every religion has a 'Golden Rule' thus bringing out the best in those so devout. Mother Theresa comes to mind, as does Gandhi. My aunt, for example, is a devout Roman Catholic. She doesn't curse (the worst I've ever heard her say was 'shit' and I think she said Hail Mary's and Novenas for a month afterward), she is a good person, participates in charities and events to raise money for the poor, regardless of skin color or faith. If I had any pull with the Vatican (that would be the day), I'd put her up for sainthood.

    Then there are those, in this nation and others, who have taken their religion's teachings and perverted them, or ignored them completely, all the while looking down their nose at anyone with differing beliefs or without belief at all. They profit immeasurably, both monetarily and in terms of their personal political power, and these are the folks I have problems with. The Roberts Family, for instance:


    • As of 2003, Richard Roberts was compensated at the following levels -- $181,469.00 in annual salary from ORU; in excess of $100,000 as Vice President of City Plex; and an additional $41,530/year from the Oral Roberts Evangelistic Association. Additional incomes from "Make Your Day Count" could not be verified but are likely.

    • According to the Draft report, Richard Roberts stated in a taped phone call, "I have the deck stacked -- I am elected to three year terms and if a Regent appears to give me trouble, I remove him. I stack the deck...." (Draft report cites a numbered tape as documentation.)

    • Richard Roberts receives complete housing benefits from the university which includes all associated costs: e.g., 13 internet/cable connections, wide-screen televisions, hot tubs, an Imperial Stove ($15,000), Washer/Dryers ($6,000), and all furnishings. The family selects furnishings for the home, the ministry then pays for the items and arranges for delivery.

    • The Roberts home has been remodeled 11 times in the last 14 years. Each time, Mrs. Roberts demands more changes. During the most recent renovation, an $800 bathtub was installed for daughter Chloe.

    • Dead bolt locks were installed on all bedroom doors at the insistence of the Roberts' oldest daughter. This was precipitated by Mrs. Roberts repeatedly moving into the home her 16 year old male "friend," which made her daughters uncomfortable.

    These people prey on and take advantage of the most uneducated, hopeless, and gullible amongst us and what they do is no different from the Osamas and Arafats of the world. The Roberts' mock the beliefs of their followers, waste their donations, and flagrantly disobey the teachings of a man who would most surely frown on their lifestyle.

    From what I have seen over the course of my life, I feel confident making the general statement that our 'religious leaders' are the most immoral of us all.