Saturday, February 16, 2008

What Price Glory?

Expanding on Fixer's post a little, here's a short graphic explanation of the Marine Corps mindset - Ah, their shirt fronts and cold steel'll see 'em through anything! And we got plenty more where those came from.

Either that or it's an old home movie of me...

I couldn't find any video of the later color remake with James Cagney, Dan Dailey, and the youngest Robert Wagner you'll ever see, but I highly recommend you should watch it. Lotsa humor and pathos both. Here's a plot summary of the 1926 version, but the later one's the same:

U.S. Marine sergeants Quirt and Flagg are inveterate romantic rivals on peacetime assignments in China and the Philippines. In 1917, W.W. I brings them to France, where Flagg, now a captain, takes up with flirtatious Charmaine, inn-keeper's daughter. Of course, Quirt has to arrive and spoil his fun. But the harsh realities of war and the threat of a shotgun marriage give the two men a common cause...

My favorite scene, and I think it's in both versions, is where a drunken Captain Flagg (Cagney, McLaglen) gets tossed out of a sidecar into a nice fresh pile of manure. It should happen once in a while to all officers. Might help keep 'em a little humble.

What price a Marine?

[A big welcome to envoys sent by the Palace.]

I know. File this under the heading of 'no shit', but now it's official:

WASHINGTON - Hundreds of U.S. Marines have been killed or injured by roadside bombs in Iraq because Marine Corps bureaucrats refused an urgent request in 2005 from battlefield commanders for blast-resistant vehicles, an internal military study concludes.


"If the mass procurement and fielding of MRAPs had begun in 2005 in response to the known and acknowledged threats at that time, as the (Marine Corps) is doing today, hundreds of deaths and injuries could have been prevented," writes Gayl, the science and technology adviser to Lt. Gen. Richard Natonski, who heads the department. "While the possibility of individual corruption remains undetermined, the existence of corrupted MRAP processes is likely, and worthy of (inspector general) investigation."


Once we finally start objectively investigating, the IG's office will be swamped for years looking into all the abuses committed over the Chimp's term. The biggest one was going into Iraq in the first fucking place.

As for the Marines, this administration looks at them the same way they do the Great Unwashed Gord told us about. The lives of the proles are worth very little to Chimp & Co. and so are the lives of Marines.

Thanks to Mr. Aravosis for the link.

Let The Mystery Be

We lost a pal this week. This one's for him.

It's all bullshit ...

With all the bluster over McCain not being a "true conservative" by the Rethugs, now that McCain's nomination is almost a certainty, the flip-flopping commences.

Tom DeLay last month:


"If McCain gets the nomination, I don’t know what I’ll do," DeLay said at the Capitol Hill Club, according to a source in the room. "I might have to sit this one out."


Tom DeLay this week:


He told Republicans at a meeting in McCain's home Arizona Legislative District 11 that he'll support the senator for president if he secures the nomination. And that's become more of a "when" than an "if."


The Carpetbagger has more examples.

As the old truism goes, if a Republican's lips are moving, odds are he's lying.

Bush is an un-American SOB, period.

The Last Chance Democracy Cafe

Normally we here at The Last Chance Democracy Cafe try to avoid using language quite this abrasive: effective advocacy, after all, should grow out of strong arguments and solid evidence, not from the screeching of insults.

But every once in awhile, I guess, only screeching will do.

In the years that have followed Sep. 11, 2001, George W. Bush has, of course, repeatedly manipulated the fear Americans feel over terrorism for political gain. He does this in a particularly reprehensible way — working to actually stoke, rather than to retard, the fear, so that he can use it as a tool for turning one American against another. Then, like some evil alien parasite from a Star Trek episode, he’s feasts on the resulting hatred to his political benefit.

There is some good news, however: fear, it turns out, has a limited shelf life. As I said recently, “But the thing about being scared all the time is that people will only cower in fear for so long before saying, screw it, and getting on with their lives.” And sure enough, Bush’s political manipulation of the fear of terrorism is starting to lose its punch: so much so, in fact, that House Democrats are actually showing signs of fighting back.

'Bout fuckin' time. A weak response is better than none, I suppose.

The point, you see, isn’t that history will eventually judge him to have been a very bad president, which, of course, it will — probably the worst ever. No, what he should really be worried about is that history will judge him to have been a very bad American.

But a good Repuglican. Money and power are their God, and Bush is their Chimp King. Sure, there's a little collateral damage to millions of peasants (us), but the Great Unwashed (us) isn't really important in the scheme of things as long as they don't get wind of what the Masters are up to and rise up. Bread and Circuses and misdirection prevent that. Go shopping and Trust your Betters.

It's starting to not work for them.

Too many goodbyes ...

This week. Moderate is packing it in.

From the mouths of idiots ...

Comes common sense. I'm no fan of Charles Barkley. From some of the crap I've heard coming out of him, I put him in the same category of sports 'heroes' who are too stupid to find their ass with both hands tied behind their backs. (see: Clemens, Roger; McGwire, Mark; Bonds, Barry) But, however, Barkley does manage to see a few things through a reality-based lens. He was on with Wolfie yesterday and Nicole has the transcript:


BARKLEY: Hey, I live in Arizona. I have got great respect for Senator McCain. Great respect. But I don’t like the way the Republicans are taking this country. Every time I hear the word “conservative,” it makes me sick to my stomach, because they’re really just fake Christians, as I call them. That’s all they are. But I just — I’m going to vote Democratic no matter what. [..]

BLITZER: All right. One quick point before I let you go. You used the phrase “fake Christians” for conservatives. Explain what you’re talking about.

BARKLEY: Well, I think they — they want to be judge and jury. Like, I’m for gay marriage. It’s none of my business if gay people want to get married. I’m pro-choice. And I think these Christians — first of all, they’re supposed to be — they’re not supposed to judge other people. But they’re the most hypocritical judge of people we have in this country. And it bugs the hell out of me. They act like their Christians. And they’re not forgiving at all.

BLITZER: So you’re going to get a lot of feedback on this one, Charles.

BARKLEY: They can’t do anything to me. I don’t work for them. [em in orig]


Way to go, Charles. Didja finally go back to school and get your degree?

The proverbial 'gun to the head' ...

I've been on the Saudis this morning, miserable scumbags that they are, because I learned of the pending execution of a woman for the practice of witchcraft. Then I stopped over at the Palace and His Highness alerted me to this:

Saudi Arabia's rulers threatened to make it easier for terrorists to attack London unless corruption investigations into their arms deals were halted, according to court documents revealed yesterday.


Ah yes, this is what friends do. I know my friends always threaten me with violence if I don't do what they demand.


He was accused in yesterday's high court hearings of flying to London in December 2006 and uttering threats which made the prime minister, Tony Blair, force an end to the Serious Fraud Office investigation into bribery allegations involving Bandar and his family.


Hmmmm ... Bandar, Bandar, where does that name ...? Oh, now I remember:


Why, if we thought even half of that story was true, we'd be tempted to call the little Saudi motherfucker a common terrorist. But we know for a fact that our stalwart commander-in-chief would never deal with terrorists, and Mr. Bush sure-as-shootin' deals with Prince Bandar -- or, as he's affectionately known in Kennebunkport, "Bandar Bush":


Birds of a feather. I wonder where the citizens of Britain and the US' interests fall in all this? Oh, that's right, just shut up and go shopping.

Saturday whorage

The next chapter of Thirty Days at Zeta is up at The Practical Press.

I'll also be posting at Main & Central for a while until everything is straightened out over there.

Let us know what's going on at your place. Leave your links in comments.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Fair Trial My Arse

Just go read the Case of the Contraband Underpants.

Campaign Starts to Push John Conyers to Begin Impeachment Proceedings...

...and the hell with Nancy Pelosi. Jonathan Turley

It has been well-known that Speaker Nancy Pelosi has insisted that there will be no impeachment of President Bush during her term. Activists, however, have reported that John Conyers may be considering confronting Pelosi and starting such proceedings after a meeting in his office. They have started a campaign to show Conyers that he will have the support of the Democratic base, even if he lacks the support of Democratic leadership.

The meeting and campaign is detailed here.

This follows Mukasey’s bizarre rationalization of why he will not allow a criminal investigation into the Bush torture program. Click here

The Democratic leadership has been helping the White House behind the scenes to block any serious investigation of torture to avoid triggering an impeachment investigation and the disclosure of Democratic knowledge of the torture program. Conyers, however, is the wild card. Any impeachment move would be a direct confrontation with Pelosi. He would be lionized by Democratic activists, who have grown unhappy with Pelosi. Indeed, it may be difficult for Pelosi to survive such a public fight and to secure the votes needed next Congress to be renewed as Speaker. It is worth watching.

Democrat or Repug, there's a lotta people who need to take their lumps. They know they done bad. Grin and bear it, bitchez.

Go get 'em, John.

Rule by fear or rule by law?

Dave Lindorff

President Bush has turned to the cheapest lies in an effort to protect himself from being exposed as a criminal in the ongoing campaign to have the National Security

So what is it that the White House and the NSA have been up to all these years that Bush and Cheney are so frightened to have outed?

The answer seems painfully clear, especially given that we know the program began before Sept. 11, 2001 -- a period when Bush and Cheney were famously uninterested in investigating terrorism.

They had to have been spying on us -- most likely on the groups that had protested Bush's election fraud, the Democratic opposition, possible leakers in his own administration, and then, in the wake of 9-11, the questioners of the official story of that tragic event, the growing anti-war movement, the impeachment movement, critical journalists, etc. -- in short, the same kinds of people that President Nixon, back in the 1970s, unleashed the NSA on, and which led to passage of the FISA law and the FISA court in the first place.

A related op-ed from the EssEffChron:

Beginning in 1999, the government has entered into a series of single-bid contracts with Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg, Brown and Root (KBR) to build detention camps at undisclosed locations within the United States. The government has also contracted with several companies to build thousands of railcars, some reportedly equipped with shackles, ostensibly to transport detainees.

What could the government be contemplating that leads it to make contingency plans to detain without recourse millions of its own citizens?

Yeah, I wonder. Even though it appears this shit started before Bush's cabal seized power, it's only under him that I wonder about it or worry about it happening.

Anyone know where the 'fast forward' button is on this time-space deal?


Olbermann Video

Here's the video of the transcript below. He must have to get his pants cut special, he's got such a set. We need more like him who tell the president we see through his shit and where to get off..

Quote of the Day

From the Rude One:

... (By the way, Texas deciding the future of the country? Goddamn, sometimes it aches that Molly Ivins ain't here tell us how insane this has become.) ...

Off to work. Thank god it's Friday ...

Olbermann's "Special Comment"

[Reprinted without any comment from me - F]

Now, as promised, a Special Comment.

A part of what I will say, was said here on January 31st.

Unfortunately it is both sadder and truer now, than it was, then.

“Who’s to blame?” Mr. Bush also said this afternoon, “Look, these folks in Congress passed a good bill late last summer… The problem is, they let the bill expire. My attitude is: if the bill was good enough then, why not pass the bill again?”

You know, like The Gulf of Tonkin Resolution.

Or Executive Order 90-66.

Or The Alien and Sedition Acts.

Or Slavery.

Mr. Bush, you say that our ability to track terrorist threats will be weakened and our citizens will be in greater danger.

Yet you have weakened that ability!

You have subjected us, your citizens, to that greater danger!

This, Mr. Bush, is simple enough even for you to understand.

For the moment, at least, thanks to some true patriots in the House, and your own stubbornness, you have tabled telecom immunity, and the FISA act.


By your own terms and your definitions — you have just sided with the terrorists.

You got to have this law or we’re all going to die.

But practically speaking, you vetoed this law.

It is bad enough, sir, that you were demanding an Ex Post Facto law, which could still clear the AT&Ts and the Verizons from responsibility for their systematic, aggressive, and blatant collaboration with your illegal and unjustified spying on Americans under this flimsy guise of looking for any terrorists who are stupid enough to make a collect call or send a mass e-mail.

But when you demanded it again during the State of the Union address, you wouldn’t even confirm that they actually did anything for which they deserved to be cleared.

“The Congress must pass liability protection for companies believed to have assisted in the efforts to defend America.” Believed?

Don’t you know?

Don’t you even have the guts Dick Cheney showed in admitting they did collaborate with you?

Does this endless presidency of loopholes and fine print extend even here?

If you believe in the seamless mutuality of government and big business — come out and say it!

There is a dictionary definition, one word that describes that toxic blend.

You’re a fascist — get them to print you a t-shirt with “fascist” on it!

What else is this but fascism?

Did you see Mark Klein on this newscast last November?

Mark Klein was the AT&T Whistleblower, the one who explained in the placid, dull terms of your local neighborhood I-T desk, how he personally attached all AT&T circuits — everything — carrying every one of your phone calls, every one of your e-mails, every bit of your web browsing into a secure room, room number 641-A at the Folsom Street facility in San Francisco, where it was all copied so the government could look at it.

Not some of it, not just the international part of it, certainly not just the stuff some spy — a spy both patriotic and telepathic — might able to divine had been sent or spoken by — or to — a terrorist.


Every time you looked at a naked picture.

Every time you bid on eBay.

Every time you phoned in a donation to a Democrat.

“My thought was,” Mr. Klein told us last November, “George Orwell’s 1984. And here I am, forced to connect the big brother machine.”

And if there’s one thing we know about Big Brother, Mr. Bush, is that he is — you are — a liar.

“This Saturday at midnight,” you said today, “legislation authorizing intelligence professionals to quickly and effectively monitor terrorist communications will expire. If Congress does not act by that time, our ability to find out who the terrorists are talking to, what they are saying, and what they are planning, will be compromised…You said that “the lives of countless Americans depend” on you getting your way.

This is crap.

And you sling it, with an audacity and a speed unrivaled even by the greatest political felons of our history.

Richard Clarke — you might remember him, sir, he was one of the counter-terror pro’s you inherited from President Clinton, before you ran the professionals out of government in favor of your unreality-based reality — Richard Clarke wrote in the Philadelphia Inquirer:

“Let me be clear: Our ability to track and monitor terrorists overseas would not cease should the Protect America Act expire. If this were true, the president would not threaten to terminate any temporary extension with his veto pen. All surveillance currently occurring would continue even after legislative provisions lapsed because authorizations issued under the act are in effect up to a full year.”

You are a liar, Mr. Bush, and after showing some skill at it, you have ceased to even be a very good liar.

And your minions like John Boehner — your Republican congressional crash dummies who just happen to decide to walk out of Congress when a podium-full of microphones await them — they should just keep walking, out of Congress and if possible, out of the country.

For they — and you, sir — have no place in a government of the people, by the people, for the people.

The lot of you, are the symbolic descendants of the despotic middle managers of some banana republic, to whom “Freedom” is an ironic brand name, a word you reach for, when you want to get away with its opposite.

Thus, Mr. Bush, your panoramic invasion of privacy is dressed up as “protecting America.”

Thus, Mr. Bush, your indiscriminate domestic spying becomes the focused monitoring, only of “terrorist communications.”

Thus, Mr. Bush, what you and the telecom giants have done, isn’t unlawful, it’s just the kind of perfectly legal, passionately patriotic thing for which you happen to need immunity!

Richard Clarke is on the money, as usual.

That the President was willing to veto this eavesdropping, means there is no threat to the legitimate counter-terror efforts underway.

As Senator Kennedy reminded us in December:

“The President has said that American lives will be sacrificed if Congress does not change FISA. But he has also said that he will veto any FISA bill that does not grant retroactive immunity.

No immunity, no FISA bill. So if we take the President at his word, he’s willing to let Americans die to protect the phone companies.”

And that literally cannot be.

Even Mr. Bush could not overtly take a step that actually aids the terrorists.

I am not talking about ethics here.

I am talking about blame.

If the President seems to be throwing the baby out with the bathwater, it means we can safely conclude… there is no baby.

Because if there were, sir, now that you have vetoed an extension of this eavesdropping, if some terrorist attack were to follow…

You would not merely be guilty of siding with the terrorists…

You would not merely be guilty of prioritizing the telecoms over the people…

You would not merely be guilty of stupidity…

You would not merely be guilty of treason, sir…

You would be personally, and eternally, responsible.

And if there is one thing we know about you, Mr. Bush, one thing that you have proved time and time again… it is that you are never responsible.

As recently ago as 2006, we spoke words like these with trepidation.

The idea that even the most cynical and untrustworthy of politicians in our history — George W. Bush — would use the literal form of terrorism against his own people — was dangerous territory. It seemed to tempt fate, to heighten fear.

We will not fear any longer.

We will not fear the international terrorists — we will thwart them.

We will not fear the recognition of the manipulation of our yearning for safety — we will call it what it is: terrorism.

We will not fear identifying the vulgar hypocrites in our government — we will name them.

And we will not fear George W. Bush.

Nor will we fear because George W. Bush wants us to fear.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Explanations ...

The two posts up here earlier today have been removed at the request of family. They will be restored in the future (with comments) along with an explanation.

That is all.

When the cat's away...

Raw Story, with much more and video of the scurrying Ratpunks:

House Republicans staged a walk-out Thursday afternoon to protest Democratic plans to bring contempt charges against two Bush aides and speculation that the chamber's majority members are planning not to bow to President Bush's demands on a controversial spying law.

They're gone? Note to the remainder of the House: Vote on every goddam thing you can think of! Stay late. Drink scads of coffee and pop bennies! This is our big chance!

How stupid do you think we are?

I think the answer is "Stupid enough that we can let the telcos get away with this shit with impunity".

Scholars and Rogues on telecom immunity:

I’m with Feingold (video) - I call bullshit. Of all the lies that the American public has been asked to endure since early 2001, this is easily one of the biggest. In terms of plausibility, this far surpasses the whole Iraq/WMD debacle, because in that case there was actually evidence to be fudged. Here we’re simply asked to accept that some of the nation’s finest corporate lawyers saw nothing remotely wrong with a program that a pre-law student with middling marks at a third-rate community college could tell you was iffy at best.

Two responses ought to quickly lay this parade of foolishness to rest. First, I’ve seen telecom lawyers throw up roadblocks over innocuous official communications due to little more than arguments over comma placement. Legal departments in these kinds of companies are legendary in their aversion to risk, and they can imagine risk in places that wouldn’t bother a textbook paranoid schizophrenic.

Second, Joe Nacchio realized it was illegal and politely declined. Let me repeat: Joe Freakin’ Nacchio, a guy whose epic lust for power and cash has him facing prison and brazilians of dollars in fines. When a deal is too crooked for the devil himself, I don’t want to hear a damned word about how Legal thought it was all kittens and rainbows (my em).

The Senate needs to nard-stomp this immunity crap and then start summoning attorneys at Verizon and AT&T. Bring a stick, too. Somebody will eventually sing, and once you get one on record the dominoes will start to fall.

Meanwhile, stop insulting our intelligence.

Ain't gonna happen. First, they don't think we have any, and second, they don't think we have the need, or even the curiosity, to know what they are up to.

Also, the telcos are among the top five largest lobbyists. The pols are scared to death of not getting those big checks.

I'm seriously considering trying to start a movement wherein everybody, in every phone call, e-mail, or internets entry, threatens Bush or talks about how to make and where to get ingredients for explosives, maybe a little about, er, product placement of same. They'll go nuts trying to investigate everybody.


In case you missed it, here's* KO, Jonathan Turley, and most of the Usual Suspects on telecom immunity:

*Just fer grins, check out 'Cop eats Pot'. Heh.

Aboard the Exxon Condoleeza

Robert Scheer with a good read:

Whadda you mean "we," Mr. TV Pundit? When you say "we" are doing better in Iraq or, even more absurd, that "we" were right to invade that country in the first place, are you putting Joe Blow American in the same bag as the top officers of Exxon, which made $40.6 billion in profit last year thanks to the turmoil in the energy markets? That royal "we" is good for the royals who control our government, but its persistent use embodies a pernicious lie that betrays the core ideal of representative democracy.

We are conned since early childhood to look with dark suspicion upon anyone who points a finger of accountability at the robber barons of the corporate world. It is for that reason that Exxon’s outrageous profits made in exploiting an energy crisis that has hurt so many ordinary Americans barely elicits media outrage of any sort. Nor does this fact get much play in the presidential race. To her credit, Hillary Clinton took umbrage over Exxon’s then record-setting profit of $39 billion last year, stating: "I want to take those profits and put them into an alternative energy fund ... that will actually begin to move us toward the direction of independence."

From the hysterically negative response of the right-wing media, you would have thought she had hailed the second coming of Karl Marx. No wonder this year with even higher profits there was no similar outcry from any of the leading candidates. They should be outraged because the taxpayers they are supposed to represent are forking over a lot of money for the military in order to make the world safe for Exxon.

The lifeline of Exxon is not its oil drilling skills but rather the power of the U.S. government, particularly the military, that can be marshaled to intimidate those nations that would dare challenge Exxon’s right to profit exorbitantly. Whether it’s about pushing for a pipeline crossing Afghanistan or tying up Venezuela’s foreign assets in international courts, as Exxon managed to do last week, the U.S.-based oil giants strut with the full confidence that Uncle Sam will back them up.

But who will back up Uncle Sam except ordinary American soldiers and taxpayers who sacrifice to fight and fund battles that have nothing to do with their national interest? What a sorry record U.S. oil companies have compiled in places like Venezuela, Nigeria and the Persian Gulf down through the decades. But throughout those imperial adventures backed by U.S. gunboat diplomacy, there was the illusion that the plundered loot would be shared with the folks back home. The next time you fork it over at the pump remember the $40.6 billion Exxon got, and you will get the point that "they" and "we" are hardly in the same boat.

We're all in the same boat. They're in the Grande Salon doing whatever it is rich folks do. The rest of us are bailing like crazy or on iceberg watch. Our buckets got holes in 'em and our shouted warnings go unheeded on the bridge. Davy Jones is grinnin' like a Cheshire cat about the imminent arrival of all the souls, rich and poor alike, from this Ship of Fools.

Quote of the Day

Mike Celizic via vastleft:


And after several hours of watching our elected representatives posing, posturing, blustering and thundering, the viewer was left with little wonder that Congress has a lower approval rating than cockroaches. They’ve had 35 years to reduce our dependence on foreign oil, and we still don’t have a comprehensive policy. We’ve just had a report that Lake Mead may go dry in 13 years, and they’ve done nothing to curb unsustainable growth in that region. Yet they have leisure aplently to quiz a guy who throws a baseball — a professional entertainer, for pete’s sake — about how he came by his skills. While some asked tough questions of the baseball hero among them, others fawned over him as if he were Desmond Tutu. [my em]


Word ...

Bad reporter! Bad! Bad!

Clicking will make it bigger, but watch out for the center panel!

From the EssEffChron

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

What it's come down to ...

Jillian zips off some honest campaign slogans for Dems.


"Vote Democratic! We’ll probably kill fewer brown people than the other guys. Maybe."

"Democrats - for when your biggest hope for government is that they won’t use your tax dollars to violate the Nuremberg laws, the Geneva Conventions, and your own damn Constitution."


Seems our two choices have come down to horrible (McCain) and not so bad (Hillary and Barack).


Condi and SECDEF Gates wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post today. Who cares? I ain't even linking to it. What I will link to is the comments section. It says it all.

Great thanks to Dr. Attaturk for the link.

Making Pot Legal:

We Can Do It -- Here's How

An article that may be of interest to some of you folks. You know who you are.

Trust the Ol' Jarhead - there's no such thing as too much ammunition.

Closer to the truth

Click to blow him up. If only...

Of course, what he doesn't mention is that he was put up for nomination to his post specifically on the understanding that he wouldn't prosecute Bush & Co. You can't go back on a promise to an organized crime family.

A bit of a stretch...

My title's not nearly as good a pun as this visual one:

Click to embiggen

I just wish it was the Chimp wearing the hemp necktie with the natty knot. Ah, to dream...

Lifted from Slate

Parton Tour A Bust

AFP via Raw Story

Country-singer Dolly Parton has postponed an upcoming US tour due to a back injury -- and she reckons her legendary bust size might have something to do with it.

"I know I have been breaking my neck and bending over backwards trying to get my new Backwoods Barbie CD and world tour together, but I didn't mean to hurt myself doing it," Parton said in the statement.

"But hey, you try wagging these puppies around a while and see if you don't have back problems," she quipped.

I think back problems would be small price to pay for that privilege. I'll chance it...

Upholding our Constitution ...

Not so much. Bloated gasbag, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, thinks torture is okay ... so long as we do it:


Seems to me you have to say, as unlikely as that is, it would be absurd to say that you can’t stick something under the fingernails, smack them in the face. It would be absurd to say that. [em in orig]


Seems to me, it would be absurd to say I couldn't stick something under Fat Tony's fingernails to find out how much it was worth to him to sell out his country in 2000.

Now I'm going to work ...

Hmmmm . . .

Offered without comment:

Click to embiggen.

Gotta go to work ...

One less Bush Dog ...

This interests me more than the Presidential races. It's time to get the 'Lieberman Democrats' out of Congress and this is the first step:

U.S. Rep. Albert R. Wynn (D) conceded a short time ago after losing to Prince George's County lawyer Donna F. Edwards.

Wynn, who had served in the 4th District for eight terms, had been targeted by an aggressive advertisement campaign, funded in part with hundreds of thousands of dollars from national labor groups and liberal organizations. The effort apparently convinced voters that Wynn had fallen out of step with his overwhelmingly Democratic district during his 15 years in Congress.


Congrats to Donna and her supporters. That's one less Dem vote for stupid and dangerous Republican/Neocon policy initiatives. We learned yesterday, what happens if we let these cowardly, bought-off assholes remain in office.

Best in Show!

Uno, the 15" Beagle! Westminster's over and it was another good show.

Click to embiggen

Congrats to all the owners, handlers, and of course the dogs, who braved the shittiest weather we've had in NYC all winter to compete. All the dogs were great and it was difficult to pick a favorite.

I linked to some videos of the breed judging, both of whom are favorites here at the Brain.

The Springers: Welsh - English

The Cattle Dogs

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

So ...

There is no accountability in America anymore ... well, except for us folks who can't afford to buy off our representatives. If I set up hidden cameras in my neighbor's 16 year old daughter's bedroom in the name of 'national security', I'd be cooling my heels at Ossining for 7 1/2 to 15. Instead of my charitable giving, I shoulda dropped 20 grand to get my senators elected. Fucking scumbags:

The Senate today -- led by Jay Rockefeller, enabled by Harry Reid, and with the active support of at least 12 (and probably more) Democrats, in conjunction with an as-always lockstep GOP caucus -- will vote to legalize warrantless spying on the telephone calls and emails of Americans, and will also provide full retroactive amnesty to lawbreaking telecoms, thus forever putting an end to any efforts to investigate and obtain a judicial ruling regarding the Bush administration's years-long illegal spying programs aimed at Americans. The long, hard efforts by AT&T, Verizon and their all-star, bipartisan cast of lobbyists to grease the wheels of the Senate -- led by former Bush 41 Attorney General William Barr and former Clinton Deputy Attorney General Jamie Gorelick -- are about to pay huge dividends, as such noble efforts invariably do with our political establishment.



And I spoke to soon. At least about giving Dianne Feinstein shit over her vote on this prematurely. She actually did the right thing. An apology is in order and I offer it without condition:


“I have decided to vote against the FISA Bill before the Senate. This is not an easy decision because I strongly believe that we need to modernize the law relating to the gathering of foreign intelligence, and I support many of the provisions in the Senate bill.

However, I believe this bill didn’t do enough to protect against the assertion of executive power. I have said on many occasions that without the additional language to strengthen and tighten the exclusivity already in FISA, I could not support final passage.



And, as usual, when I look for a line to sum it all up, I generally look to UL:

... McCain voted with the Republicunts, because he's a straight talking maverick who bucks the party line ...

The Founders weep.

Soldier's Joy

Usually I like to post music videos on the weekend for a little fun. This one ain't for fun.

"Soldier's Joy" is one of the oldest and most widely distributed tunes in the English-speaking world. It's usually played on a fiddle as a reel or country dance tune.

This is the first time I've heard words put to it. Guy Clark is a singer-songwriter of note, and he has crafted a powerful anti-war lyric about pain, trauma, PTSD and addiction in Veterans, very applicable today. Some things never change, the difference between a Minié ball or an IED is just a matter of changing times. The damage to the soldier is very similar, given the advances in medical care.

One big difference between then and now is that opiates were legal and common. When the Civil War Vets were sent home, they were pretty much on their own and did the best they could to cope or forget. Today, that kind of self-medication will get a Vet locked up.

I first heard this a coupla months ago and have looked for it on YouTube occasionally since. It was posted on YouTube last week. I could not have asked for a better presentation.

Soldier's Joy, 1864

Thank you, lanechaffin.


Running late. See yas after work ...

And stop in and pass on your condolences to Pissed Off Patricia, regular commenter here and blogmistress of the Morning Martini. She had to say goodbye to her Bichon, Murphy, yesterday after 16 years of being a faithful friend.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Perfect timing ...

As usual from the Bush White House. Mannion:

Call me a cynic but...

...somehow I don't think it's coincidental that it took just long enough to put the case against them together that their trial will have to take place during the Presidential election campaign.

Six years, going on seven, and suddenly we're ready to go to court?


Amazing, ain't it?

Pic stolen from UL.

Toke or Chew. Your call...

Latest Anti-Pot Quack Science: 'Marijuana Makes Your Teeth Fall Out'

If it makes my teeth fall out of the jar they're in, I wanta try some of that shit!


If you haven't seen Barack Obama's "Yes We Can" video yet, go see it.

Then go see this one.

Army Buried Study Faulting Iraq Planning


The Army is accustomed to protecting classified information. But when it comes to the planning for the Iraq war, even an unclassified assessment can acquire the status of a state secret.

That is what happened to a detailed study of the planning for postwar Iraq prepared for the Army by the RAND Corporation, a federally financed center that conducts research for the military.

Go read.

In the military, there are eleven "General Orders" that all service personnel must learn and live by. There is an unspoken 12th General Order as well, and the Army seems to be following it to the letter. Or letters. The text of the order reads 'CYA'.

R.I.P. G.O.P. A.M.F.

Check out GoLeft TV

Oh, the irony...

Ironic Times

Death of 108-Year-Old Man Leaves Only One Living Veteran of World War I
He's currently serving in Iraq.

McCain Proves Himself to Conservatives
He shoots a gay abortion doctor who is here illegally.

Oliver Stone Will do “Unbiased” Movie About Bush Presidency
Working title: “The Empire Strikes Out.”

U.S. Tries to Stay Out of Dispute Between Venezuela, Exxon Mobil
Despite being wholly owned subsidiary of Exxon Mobil.

Study: Chimps Reluctant to Barter Goods
Leery of free trade without regulations, safeguards.

Amsterdam May Close Red Light District
City leaders in talks with Disney.

Gee, kinda like Las Vegas. There goes the neighborhood...

And finally, some "news you can use":

Knee-Brace Harnesses Power of Walking to Generate Electricity
Which powers backpack beer cooler.

I recommend knee-pads for knee-walkin' and a pillow on yer face for when the thing quits generatin'...

Mukasey's Law


We have Godwin's law, which argues that:

"As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one" (Wiki).

Now we have something else, something I never thought an American leader would say in public, let alone argue in front of Congress. What we now have is Mukasey's law, which I will define as such:

"When a democracy is in decline, the increasingly illegal and immoral acts of its leaders will be justified by the same arguments used by the Nazis to justify their illegal and immoral acts."(my em)

The Attorney General of the United States quite literally turned to the Nazi defense in order to argue why he won't allow the Department of Justice to investigate war crimes committed by US military and intelligence personnel under the orders of the US President. [,,,]

In other words, what Mukasey is saying is that the White House, DOD, and CIA all relied on a bad legal opinion of John Yoo (the DOJ hack), and as a result, they should not be held accountable. Before I get to the truly sinister background of this argument, let me first point out that every department's, cabinet's, and even White House's own legal council signed off on the legal permission slip to torture issued forth by John Yoo.

In fact, David Addington, Dick Cheney's legal council was promoted. Alberto Gonzales, the White House council was also promoted. Yoo went off to get a full professorship at Berkley. Not only have the legal minds behind the US torture program escaped accountability, so have their leaders and the actors who carried out the orders of those leaders. Everyone from inception to execution has been given a pass. And even though Yoo is being blamed now entirely, he too has yet to face any questions. He has not been disbarred even. It is a slap in the face of justice to watch this charade play out on the public stage, for the world to see.

More importantly, it is a failed argument already tested in the world court by morally deranged politicians, lawyers, doctors, and others we have come to call war criminals.

But not here. Oh no, this is a democracy! We don't do things like that! We have freedom to commit any crimes we wish to and not ever have to face accountability or prosecution. Bush said so!

In a perfect world there would come a day of reckoning. Probably not in this one.


The last paragraph of a 'must read' article on Mukasey by The Old Ay-rab:

Just when we were celebrating the near-demise of the hard-core conservatives in the Bush administration, we get Mukasey.

Even after you cut off the head of a rattlesnake, it doesn't die 'til sundown. True or not, I urge the administration's fading sun to speed up its westward journey.

Tom Lantos 1928-2008

CQ Politics

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Tom Lantos , D-Calif., a leading congressional champion of human rights, died Monday at the Bethesda Naval Medical Center.

Lantos was born in Budapest and was the only Holocaust survivor ever elected to Congress. When he disclosed his illness last month, the California Democrat praised his adopted homeland, saying, “It is only in the United States that a penniless survivor of the Holocaust and a fighter in the anti-Nazi underground could have received an education, raised a family, and had the privilege of serving the last three decades of his life as a member of Congress.”

That, ladies and gentlemen, is what America is all about.

There is much more in the obit including his escapes from a Nazi labor camp and his work in the underground.

Godspeed, Tom.

Don't do it, John ...

Unless one of 'em offers you the Vice Presidency:

An Edwards aide confirms to me that John Edwards met privately with Hillary on Thursday to discuss the possibility of making an endorsement, and will meet with Obama tomorrow, as first reported by Mark Halperin.



'Must see' viewing in the Fixer household tonight and tomorrow. The 132nd Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show will be at Madison Square Garden and on the USA Network. 4 new breeds have been added to the AKC Directory this year, though we always root for our favorite.

Princess Shayna asks "How can you not love dogs?"

Dogs rule.


If we're so winning in Iraq, how come all our 'VIPs' who visit there have to sneak in like thieves in the night?

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Oh Boy! I love 'wheels'!

This is just a pretty song to try and make up for the one just below.

There's 158 163 of these Transatlantic Sessions videos at last count. Stick around...

Sunday Crazy Redneck Music Blogging

This is just for fun. I'll try to make it up to you later. Listen to the announcement from the White House at the end.

Supporting the troops ...

Not. Via UL, we find that stateside employers don't want to give jobs to vets of the 'War on Terra'.

WASHINGTON - Strained by war, recently discharged veterans are having a harder time finding civilian jobs and are more likely to earn lower wages for years, partly because of employer concerns about their mental health and overall skills, a government study says.


No shit. I know guys who still haven't gotten over Vietnam. It's not like the military is any help:


"The military has worked on assisting service members in completing and translating their skills to match equivalent civilian job descriptions; however, training for marketability may require much more preparation than having the ability to improve a resume," the VA study said.


Yeah, well I say horseshit:

A document from the Department of Veterans Affairs contradicts an assertion made by the Army surgeon general that his office did not tell VA officials to stop helping injured soldiers with their military disability paperwork at a New York Army post.


Now, NPR has obtained a four-page VA document that contradicts the surgeon general's statement to McHugh. It was written by one of the VA officials at Fort Drum on March 31, the day after the meeting. The document says Col. Becky Baker of the Army Surgeon General's office told the VA to discontinue counseling soldiers on the appropriateness of Defense Department ratings because "there exists a conflict of interest."


Yeah, run 'em through the Catbox four or five times and then turn 'em loose with minimal benefits (going as far as to collude with the VA to deny those benefits). Don't offer them any help and then expect them to deal with the world again. When employers hear that 120 killings were committed by 'WoT' vets after they got home, when they hear the military won't give the vets mental health benefits, how the hell is an employer supposed to react to the guy looking for a job after he spent 4 tours in Iraq? I've dealt with my own PTSD and while I'd give a vet a chance, you can bet I'd keep a close eye on him for signs he was getting twitchy. I know how I was when I really didn't give a shit about anything but stopping the dreams and I've lost a couple jobs because of it.

It's time to get out of Iraq, period.

Blogroll Amnesty Day

A week later and I think I'm done. Anybody I missed? Leave me a link in comments.

And just an addendum: A link from the Brain blogroll is really 3 links. In case you're unaware, our 'mechanic' blog Fixer & Gordon, and my travel blog Worlds, share blogrolls with the Brain. Vat a bahgain, dahlink!

Mystery to me too ...

Um, yeah.

Priorities ...

Seems the war ain't a priority for Dems in Congress these days. What the fuck did we elect them for in the first place? Matt Taibbi with an excellent description of our congressional leaders.

Harry Reid:


Solidifying his reputation as one of the biggest pussies in U.S. political history, Reid explained his decision to refocus his party's energies on topics other than ending the war by saying he just couldn't fit Iraq into his busy schedule. "We have the presidential election," Reid said recently. "Our time is really squeezed."


And Nancy Pelosi:


Pelosi seemed especially broken up about having to surrender on Iraq, sounding like an NFL coach in a postgame presser, trying with a straight face to explain why he punted on first-and-goal. "We just didn't have any plays we liked down there," said the coach of the 0-15 Dems. "Sometimes you just have to play the field-position game...."


I tell ya, if (big if) a Dem wins the White House, we'd better see some swift movement on Iraq; a little leadership because the majority leader and the Speaker sure ain't providing it. Most of our woes in this country is related, whether directly or not, to that fucking war. We elected these assholes to bring our people home, not pussyfoot around with a President who has a 30% approval rating.

So, once again ...

The American people might not play any significant part in the decision of who represents us:

WASHINGTON — Seeing a good possibility that the Democratic presidential nomination will not be settled in the primaries and caucuses, Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama are lavishing attention on a group that might hold the balance of power: elected officials and party leaders who could decide the outcome at the convention in August.


Known as superdelegates because they are free to cast their votes at the convention as they see fit, they are the object of an intensifying and potentially high-stakes charm offensive by the candidates and their supporters.


And they wonder why, generally, about half the population couldn't give a shit about voting. There are so many places in the process where the fix can be put in, it really doesn't matter what we think anymore.


Not that I'm a big fan of Donna Brazile, but I have to hand it to her on her principled stand:

... "if it gets to the convention and superdelgates decide the nomination, I'm leaving the party."

Yeah, I'll have a big problem with it myself.

Cold War Redux ...

I remember, one hot August day in 1985, standing on the alert pad on Carswell AFB, just taking in the scene of 10 B-52 bombers, all loaded with multiple warhead nuclear cruise missiles, and their attendant KC-135 tanker support, baking in the Texas sun. The reason I remember the time so well; it was when it finally dawned on me how much firepower this group of 15 aging aircraft represented. Here, before me, their crews sequestered in the alert bunker waiting for the order to nuke the Soviet Union, in all it's destructive glory, was the nuclear kilotonnage with the capability to obliterate most of Russia. This pre-Armageddon menagerie was duplicated on 10 or 15 other bases in the U.S. and worldwide. I remember it so well because the realization made me feel more insignificant than I ever did in my life (a big thing for, with an ego like mine, insignificance generally isn't in the vocabulary).

Another milestone in my life was when the Soviet Union began its fall, the obvious fall, not the one that began with the death of Leonid Brezhnev. It was the day the Berlin Wall came down. There is a piece of it sitting in my China cabinet. It was the day my people began the trip down the road to reunification (if you don't know, I'm a first-generation American of German descent). It was also the day I knew the B-52s on the alert pad would begin to have their nuclear cargo offloaded in favor of conventional weaponry. It was the day I believed the 'necessity' of having nuclear weapons had passed. I thought the B-52s (and the Soviet Tu-95s) would be retired shortly, the need for the doctrine of Mutual Assured Destruction a thing of the past.

With these thoughts in mind, one would think it's time to send the B-52s back to the depot base for another in a long line of refits as its mission will change once again. Cernig notes the Bush administration is doing its best to provoke the Russians into another arms race:


it all started because Bush withdrew from the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) treaty so he could build his missile shield. Of course the Russians are worried about this. For one thing, Russian Foreign minister Sergey Lavrov is correct when he says that this expansion of the US missile defense system from American territory to northeast Asia and to European nations close to Russia's borders looks very like an attempt to encircle Russia and reduce it's own deterrent ability. It doesn't look good that influential neocon think-tanks are pushing for the Bush administration to overturn treaties against weaponry in space either.


2009 can't come too soon.