Saturday, April 26, 2008

'Support the troops!' Yeah, right. Again...

From Attackerman:

“America has three-quarters of a billion dollars to spend on the embassy in Baghdad, but our troops have to live like this.”

In my service days, I lived variously in Quonset huts, WWII-vintage two-story brick barracks, six-man pyramidal tents, snap-together shelter-half pup tents, old ships and new ships, and occasionally in godforsaken places with no roof and a long walk to plumbing, and I never once saw anything like that.

Crossposted at The American Patriot Institute.

The Real Race in November is Between …?

Crooks and Liars

[...] But there is little doubt the Democratic nominee will have to defeat both McCain and the media in the fall.

We’re playing against a stacked deck in November. You haven’t seen nothing yet.

CorporaComm has decided. It's up to us this time. What a novel concept...

All the president's liars

Mark Morford on White House/Pentagon retired military shills/liars:

Fun new game! Which TV news "military expert" is really a whore for the Bush administration? (Hint: all of them)

Did it work? Were you duped?

Were you calmly and methodically and rather nefariously led to believe that maybe, just maybe, the situations in Iraq and Afghanistan and Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib and the rest, right along with tales of soldier suicides and torture and staggering civilian body counts and the utterly disastrous Bush military policy weren't really all that bad after all?

Wrong. Oh, how horribly wrong.

So I ask again, did it work? Was America duped? Well, yes and no. There's little doubt that this insidious, sustained PR attack — and make no mistake, it was/is an attack on the American people; such calculated "psychological operations" aimed at U.S. citizens are actually very illegal, though it's enormously difficult to prove so in court — swayed millions of Americans, gave fuel to the preemptive attack argument, inflamed (and still inflames) the warmongering right, scammed the media, fanned the pro-war fires for years before the public recoil finally kicked in.

But oh, kick in it did. This is the fascinating thing. Even all those high-ranking military experts lying like well-decorated dogs in one of the most impressive, appalling PR campaigns in American history could not keep Bush from collapsing, could not prevent Americans from learning the real facts of the failed war and toxic presidency — eventually.

And maybe this is a good thing. Because now, given the scope of the Bush administration's lies — the true scale of which we may never fully know — the recoil is even more forceful than it ever might've been, the anti-neocon, anti-Bush revolt is potent and heartening and enormously helpful to the Democratic cause, perhaps far more than if Bush and his cronies had told the truth in the first place.

Then again, if they had been the slightest bit honest, if Bush had even a hint of integrity, we'd never have launched this staggeringly botched, futile war in the first place, and maybe we wouldn't be where we are now, with the American experiment under Bush far less of an experiment and far more of a cyanide tablet.

Please read the rest.

Flag Decal

Here's a little song that I hope will make you smile. There's a version with a slide show set to the actual recording of the song that you might like as well, but I like this live one. You'll see why.

A bad week ...

For John McCain. Dday lays out every gaffe, every waffle, every flip-flop; a masterful job:


The week started with a front-page story about his legendary temper, with new stories revealed therein. Then McCain embarked on a "Forgotten Places" tour this week, traveling across the country to places that "conservatives don't normally appear." And now, we know why. In Alabama, he attracted a largely white crowd in the landmark of the civil rights movement, Selma, and praised a ferry that was constructed due to an earmark, after condemning the practice. He then departed for Youngstown, Ohio, where he offered a stirring defense of free trade at a plant which closed earlier in the decade. When asked about the "cheap dumping of foreign goods" on US shores, McCain replied "I can't turn that around," which ought to be comforting to unemployed steelworkers.


But my question is, will the Average Joe and Jane even notice? The cable channels won't tell them, neither will the dead tree media. So, how are the gonna know just how big of a drooling sphincter he really is?

Saturday whorage

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

At our travel blog, I introduce you to the person who gets us on all those great cruises without my ending up in the poor house.

And from the shop, how a teenage girl can make grown men paranoid.

Whore your own links in 'comments'.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Quote of the Day - Zwei



So don’t talk to me about the left. There is no left. It was killed when the labor unions bought into the war machine and became fat and complacent. It died when working people indulged racism and hatred and voted for smooth-talking liars who turned around and screwed them for everything they had. It was murdered when so-called liberals sent thousands of kids down the pipeline to Vietnam. Now we just sit and wait for scraps, hoping that some candidate will bring us “change.” But I don’t believe in left and right any more. I believe that there are greedy corporate pigs who own the country and are running the government. And then there are the rest of us, mostly trying to just get by.



I was reading about an unlucky gent whose last earthly vision was of something a little higher up the food chain than he was, in the waters off Solana Beach, California. Sorry, Dude...

Anyway, I haven't thought much about Solana Beach in the last forty years, and not an awful lot before that.

Solana Beach was kinda notorious among Marines. It was a very small town, located right on Hwy. 101 which was the main north-south route in those days before I-5. There was a gas station there that was the transfer point for prisoners between the San Diego and Camp Pendleton MPs. Nothing fancy, just out of the back of one camper-capped pickup into another. I got to go along for the ride once.

Just for those whose enquiring minds want to know, no, I was not the transferee. I served for a few weeks in the MP & Guard Battalion whilst in a brief casual status between electronics schools at MCRDSD.

The main things I remember from that brief tour of duty were a) how to operate a floor polisher, and b) how to rapid-fire a 12-ga. pump gun so in case of a brig riot I could fire into my fellow Marines.

Getting High Before a Firefight? Bad Idea, Dude


Smoking weed can improve your performance in all sorts of activities -- from playing reggae music to watching Battlestar Galactica to writing blog posts.

If you're an already ill-trained, semi-motivated soldier in the Afghan Army, however, spliffs are a particularly poor way to prepare for battle, as this little clip illustrates...

Watch this if ya wanna see a guy get his mellow harshed big time. Luckiest bastard in the world!

There's another video clip at the site. Looks like Fixer's back yard. Heh.

Getting high is fine in the right time and place, which is almost any time other than combat, which requires a high degree of concentration and alertness to say the least. Soldiers depend on one another for their very lives, and the round that gets a stoner might come from any direction.

Wingnut Wanker Wants Wiots

Sorry 'bout that...

7 News Denver

Talk show host Rush Limbaugh is sparking controversy again after he made comments calling for riots in Denver during the Democratic National Convention this summer.

He believes electing Democrats will hurt America's security and economy and appeared to call on his listeners to make sure that doesn't happen.

"We do, hopefully, the right thing for the sake of this country. We're the only one in charge of our affairs. We don't farm out our defense if we elect Democrats ... and riots in Denver, at the Democratic Convention will see to it we don't elect Democrats. And that's the best damn thing that can happen to this country, as far as I can think," Limbaugh said.

Limbaugh's comments prompted Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper to say: "Anyone who would call for riots in an American city has clearly lost their bearings."

Last I heard, 'inciting to riot' was a crime. Perhaps Mr. Limpbaugh can regain his 'bearings' in jail as he comes down off the hillbilly heroin. We can only hope that there are many terminally horny inmates in the hoosegow with him and that he'll have many volunteers to examine the cyst on his heinie that kept him out of the military as well...

There has been talk of a demonstration in Denver if a certain candidate is chosen as nominee over another candidate who is actually ahead in the primaries, but I haven't heard of anyone actually calling for a riot until this fucking moron.

Top Ten Ways George W. Bush Can Improve His Approval Rating


10. Fewer embarrassing gaffes, more humiliating blunders

0. Replace "Hail To The Chief" with Black Sabbath's "Iron Man"

8. Send FEMA to rebuild Knicks

7. Change name to Barack W. Obusha

6. Show America you're not some stiff workaholic by blowing off work sometimes

5. Jump Snake River in rocket powered "Sky-Cycle"

4. Become trapped in an elevator until January 20, 2009

3. Less of this (VT: Bush dancing in New Orleans)

2. Ask father for tips on how he achieved his 31% approval rating

1. Hide Cheney's medication

Re No. 1: While potentially entertaining, may have even more disastrous side effects than the meds themselves seem to have had. Have someone standing by with a net.

Israelis Claim Secret Agreement With U.S.


A letter that President Bush personally delivered to then-Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon four years ago has emerged as a significant obstacle to the president's efforts to forge a peace deal between the Israelis and Palestinians during his last year in office.

Please read if you're interested, but it's basically just more Bush double-dealing to make sure Israel 'wins' and AIPAC and the Likudniks are served, no matter what bullshit comes out of this administration's lying mouths.

Georgetown Terminates Feith

That was a tease, as much as I'd like Feith, among others, to be 'terminated'. The Jesuits haven't done things like that, at least not openly, for years.


It's not much but it's something. Georgetown University has decided not to renew Doug Feith's contract.

Word from campus is that both students and faculty had pretty much had it with the arch war criminal walking around campus although I also heard that he is such a goofy, pathetic guy that some students felt sorry for him. One told me, "he's like the nerdiest loser I ever saw. He cannot have done the things he's accused of. He's too obtuse."

I told her to read Arendt's "The Banality of Evil."

In any case, the Jesuits have done themselves proud by, at long last, giving Feith his walking papers. I wonder where we'll turn up next. In a McCain administration or in the dock at the Hague?

Perhaps both.

I went to a Jesuit college for a while. Those guys are the Vatican's Hell's Angels. Good for them in this instance.

No neocon anywhere should be allowed to work or take profit from their criminal actions until they come clean and tell all. Then they should get a sumptuous last meal.


Iraq war architect blames Powell for Iraq

The man who led the office that supplied the Bush Administration with "raw intelligence" on Iraq now says everyone else is to blame but himself.

Remarked Milbank wryly, "It must have been very difficult being Doug Feith: correct all the time, and surrounded by idiots."

Feith's pointing more fingers than he's got. Apparently, the guy who is going to get all the blame will be the last one to come out with a self-serving book.



The Issue

ISPs have been restricting the free flow of P2P Internet traffic through their networks for years. In some cases, ISPs have pushed past the boundaries of acceptable behaviour. Their tactics now involve forging "hang-up" messages between computers communicating through their networks. Here at Vuze, where P2P technology is the foundation of our business, we decided to take a stand. We decided that enough is enough.

I don't know what 'P2P' technology is, but I've been getting 'hang-up' disconnection messages lately when I go to certain sites. It doesn't happen all the time, but it happens. Sometimes it can be resolved with one click, and sometimes it recurs 'til I just give up and go away.

To me, this machine is just a fancy hammer - a tool to be used. I know not how it works. Some of you folks have technical expertise that I can only dream about. So I ask you, dear readers:

What's going on here? Is it just me? My machine? AT&T? Whaaaa...? Is this something I should concern myself with?

Your comments are welcome. Please enlighten this old fart.

Quote of the Day

Mr. Petulant on the Justice Antonin 'Fat Tony' Scalia 60 Minutes interview this weekend:

Sure, We'll Get Over It When Conservatives "get over" Roe v. Wade

Now we ask ...

Why does McCain want to be President so badly? Digby:


Yes. Even I hadn't actually thought of it in quite that way. This guy is old, he's rich, he's famous, he's had cancer and he's not particularly popular in his own party. His signature issue of Campaign Finance Reform was achieved (and he used it for toilet paper when it got in the way of his relentless quest for the presidency.) It's not like there was some grassroots groundswell that drafted him. Indeed, last summer he was pretty much out and he just ground it out until he got the nomination.


Is it because he wants vengeance on 'the gooks'?

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Senator McCain?

What were you doing when Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans?


Petraeus Promotion Frees Cheney to Threaten Iran

Expanding a little on Fixer's post, from IPS:

The nomination of Gen. David Petraeus to be the new head of the Central Command not only ensures that he will be available to defend the George W. Bush administration's policies toward Iran and Iraq at least through the end of Bush's term and possibly even beyond.

It also gives Vice President Dick Cheney greater freedom of action to exploit the option of an air attack against Iran during the administration's final months.

The madman has the keys. Oh fucking swell. It's been in the works for a while:

But Petraeus had already effectively taken over many of the powers of the CENTCOM commander last year.

As the top commander in Iraq, Petraeus was in theory beneath Fallon in the chain of command. But in reality Petraeus ignored Fallon's views and took orders directly from the White House. Petraeus was in effect playing the role of CENTCOM commander in regard to the twin issues of Iraq and Iran.

It had become increasingly evident to Fallon that he was not really running things at CENTCOM, according to the source. Fallon's frustration about Petraeus' de facto power over Middle East policy was the main reason he was ready to step down.

Fallon's resignation announcement on Mar. 11 was followed less than a week later by a 10-day Cheney trip to the Middle East in which the vice president talked explicitly about the military option against Iran during visits to Turkey and Saudi Arabia. That suggested that Cheney felt freer to wield the military threat to Iran with Fallon neutralised.

A thousand-foot-long aircraft carrier loaded with nukes, conventional high explosives, a nuclear powerplant, hundreds of thousands of gallons of jet fuel, and 6000 sailors can indeed be sunk by enemy action. If Iran picks the right spot, and it just might, a carrier will plug the Straits of Hormuz like a cork in a bottle.

Get ready for a hell of a lot of coffins full of sailors and $10 a gallon gas if Cheney and Petraeus manage to pull it off in their remaining nine months, and they're trying to.

So Sioux Me...

Click to embiggen

"The Paris Hilton of Politics"


Today in Youngstown, a city hit hard by unfair trade agreements, economic downturns, and the mortgage crisis, John McCain actually compared his campaign's early money struggles due to wasteful and extravagant spending to the economic challenges facing residents of Youngstown.

"John McCain is truly the Paris Hilton of politics," said Doug Kelly, Executive Director of the Ohio Democratic Party. "The husband of a beer heiress has displaced the daughter of a hotel magnate as the new grand champion of simultaneously ignoring and insulting working people."

Please God no McCain sex video...

I wish the 4th Amendment ...

Would get the same amount of support from the government the 2nd Amendment does:

"Federal agents at the border do not need any reason to search through travelers' laptops, cell phones or digital cameras for evidence of crimes, a federal appeals court ruled Monday, extending the government's power to look through belongings like suitcases at the border to electronics," is the lead paragraph of an article on the Wired Blog Network.

"The unanimous three-judge decision reverses a lower court finding that digital devices were "an extension of our own memory" and thus too personal to allow the government to search them without cause. Instead, the earlier ruling said, Customs agents would need some reasonable and articulable suspicion a crime had occurred in order to search a traveler's laptop," the article continues. [my em]


Not no more.

Off to the shop ...

[A big welcome to Sideshow readers.]

China, Berlin, the West Bank, the Florida Straits ...

What are 'Walls don't work', Alex:


Anyone with a mere moiety of their marbles might draw a parallel between our much-touted "border fence" and the Great Wall of China, primarily the fact that neither are/were any good at keeping out the immigrants, be they Huns, Mongols or Guatemalans. But facts have never deterred the Bush Regime, and they called for bids for a "virtual fence" - not an actual barrier, but a skein of electronic devices and cameras that could alert the Border Patrol to people crossing our borders.

The contract was let to Boeing, for $860 billion dollars, and they set up a pilot project ("Project 28" - original, huh?) along a 28-mile stretch of boundary. At a cost of $20 million. DHS Secretary Chertoff accepted the pilot project on February 22.

So guess what?

It doesn't work:

"The government is scrapping a $20 million prototype of its highly touted "virtual fence" on the Arizona-Mexico border because the system is failing to adequately alert border patrol agents to illegal crossings, officials said."


More of your money circling the bowl ...


For kissing wet monkey ass Bush's butt for so long and so well, Gen. Petraeus is getting a promotion, from CINCMNF-I to CINCCENTCOM. As our pal Creature says:

... I guess this means the Iraq war is over and the Iran war is set to begin ...



Dear Congress,

If Bush provokes a war with Iran, will it then be time to drag him from the White House in shackles, along with Cheney, Condi, and the rest of the war criminals?

Just askin', since it seems there hasn't been anything they've done so far that rises to your lofty standards of criminality. Will it take the destruction or disablement of a carrier strike group in the Persian Gulf to jog you all back to reality?



P.S. - You can be replaced too, you know.


Pic from here, click to embiggen.

And if you think I'm losing my grip, or your geography skills have atrophied, just take a gander at this map. The Straits of Hormuz (only 21 miles wide) are the only way in or out of the Gulf. Were I an enemy commander, where would I set up to ambush a CSG? Now you get why I, and a whole buncha other vets, believe we would take greater losses than we are willing to bear, more than our 'leaders' even realize. The Persian Gulf will be our Waterloo.

And just an addition before I split: Just think about what our troops already in Iraq would face should the Iranians decide to seriously support the Shi'ia insurgency (Moqtada) or send regular troops across the border. We can't keep 'foreign fighters' from crossing Iraq's borders as it is. Just think about the consequences if the Iranians decide to cross in division strength.

Whatta da fuck?

Fuckina God comea down anna went zap, anna now I got a biga fuckina head anna biga fuckina teeth:

Italian wall lizards introduced to a tiny island off the coast of Croatia are evolving in ways that would normally take millions of years to play out, new research shows.


Whatta da fuck he listen to Ben Stein for? Heh ...

Great thanks to Shakes for the link. And apologies to my Italian friends but I had Chico Marx in my head when I read the article.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Just desserts ...

Not that I'm one for unprovoked violence but ...

Thomas Friedman Gets A Pie In The Face During Speech At Brown

Would it be all right ...

If he called black folks 'niggers' too?

Arizona Sen. John McCain refused to apologize yesterday for his use of a racial slur to condemn the North Vietnamese prison guards who tortured and held him captive during the war.

"I hate the gooks," McCain said yesterday in response to a question from reporters aboard his campaign bus. "I will hate them as long as I live."


How is this man qualified to be President of the United States?

Thanks to Avedon for the link.

Understatement of the Day

Click to further emmoronisize

Due no doubt to lack of space, ol' Pablo left out a few sure-fire candidates, like Pee Wee Herman and the clowns at Wayne's World. I'm glad to see my Marine role model included, though...

Israel Sees Iran Threat Recede


In the clearest indication yet that Israel now believes Iran's nuclear aspirations will be curbed, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has said that efforts being undertaken by the international community will ensure that Tehran does not acquire nuclear capability.

Even Israel's warmongers are smarter than ours. It sounds like they're trying to avert another criminal war by Bush that won't help Israel one bit. Think it'll matter to Cheney and Bush? Hell no. They want to bomb Iran. Their minds are made up and facts have never bothered them one bit.

"The less we talk, the better," Olmert told the daily Ma'ariv. "We mustn't issue threats, like the things I heard recently."

He must be following our Democratic primary campaigns as well. Heh.

Senators Want VA Official Out For Suicide Cover Up

From CBS in L.A.

In the wake of a CBS News report that revealed the Department of Veterans Affairs deliberately withheld critical information about the true suicide risk among veterans, Sens. Patty Murray, D-Wash., and Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii, today both called for the resignation of Dr. Ira Katz, the VA's top official for mental health.

Murray, a senior member of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee, says "Dr. Katz's irresponsible actions have been a disservice to our veterans and it is time for him to go." She continues, "The number one priority of the VA should be caring for our veterans, not covering up the truth."

"Covering up the truth", of course, is the hallmark policy of this administration, particularly in any war-related costs that do not go directly to the war profiteers.

No comment...(chortle!)

'Taser Shock Triggers Fire in Man's Pants'

War Hero? Maybe...

I was reading an interesting article about Bush's Paraguayan Fiasco in CounterPunch and ran across another interesting article about McCain.

War Hero? Meet the Real John McCain: North Vietnam's Go-To Collaborator

What actually happened in his POW camp that twisted John McCain and made him the unstable bully he is today? Was it abuse, as he claims, or was it the fact that he collaborated extensively and has to cover up? In this EXCLUSIVE expose, Vietnam war historian Douglas Valentine gives us the answer. Read how the Vietnamese protected and promoted him and how in return Hanoi John danced to their tune. McCain was on Vietnamese radio so often he was tagged as "the PW Songbird". SUBSCRIBE NOW to read the true story of Glory Boy McCain, only in our newsletter.

They lost me at 'Subscribe Now!' but there's quite a few excerpts:

How McCain behaved when he was a prisoner is key. McCain is probably the most unstable man ever to have got this close to the White House. He’s one election away from it. Republican senator Thad Cochrane has openly said he trembles at the thought of an unstable McCain in the Oval Office with his finger on the nuclear trigger.

“This is the lesson of McCain’s experience as a POW: a true politician, a hollow man, his only allegiance is to power. The Vietnamese, like McCain’s campaign contributors today, protected and promoted him, and, in return, he danced to their tune. . .”

I have no certain knowledge of the veracity of the charges in the article and I don't give a shit what McCain did as a POW. Whatever he did, it made no difference to the outcome of a war that was predestined to fail.

The Code of Conduct, which basically says "name, rank, and serial number or kill me" is a pipe dream. It's been pretty much recognized that it goes out the window when the bamboo slivers and waterboard come out and that the prisoner is under constant pressure and duress and can do whatever he needs to do to survive. Hell, if I had been in his situation I'da gave up my grandma for a roast rat with a side'a cockroaches.

I do worry about his mental stability. He's in unquestioning support for our present criminal war and occupation in Iraq and wants to expand it to Iran. I do not want a hotheaded bully who failed big time long ago to have the opportunity to push a red button to avenge himself.

A Word From The Middle Class

Click to embiggen

Quote of the Day

From a good op-ed in the LATimes titled 'Meet John 'Dubya' McCain' with the subhead 'If you like George Bush's foreign policy, you'll love the GOP's current candidate', the last line:

McCain may know what he believes about the world, but the world bears little resemblance to his beliefs.

We got one of those delusional morons as president now. We don't need another.

Think about this ...

I have a 30 mile commute each way to work. Mass transit isn't an option; I have to drive. The price of gas has doubled in the past year but my pay hasn't gone up to cover it. At what point does it become counterproductive to work where I do? How many other commuters are in the same boat, where the price of gas, the price of insurance, the price of maintenance for the car (let alone the price of food and everything else going up) gets to the point where they'll have to start looking for work closer to home because they can't afford to work where they do now?

If you're not worried about what the Republicans have done to the economy, or what McCain will do to what's left of it, you sure as hell ain't paying attention.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

So ...

How does McCain get 100% disability from the VA when guys coming home from Iraq with serious brain injuries and missing limbs don't? Just askin' ...

Zanzibar ...

The other day, Gord linked to a YouTube of Billy Joel's Allentown and it got me to thinking about Billy (another Long Island boy who grew up not far from me) and his music. I've known the man on and off for thirty years and shared quite a few drinks with him. We see each other a couple times a year now, when he can sneak off for a couple beers in the 'old man bar' across the street from the shop or when I run into him at the dentist's office (we go to the same guy). Gord would love his collection of old motorcycles, especially the Nortons.

I was home on leave from the Air Force when he was writing Goodnight Saigon and we spoke for a while on the experience. He wanted to learn all he could and he talked to every vet he knew. I think his research was complete:

But whenever I think about Billy, or whenver I run into him, one song always comes to mind. Zanzibar.

Thanks for the trip down Memory Lane, pardner!

Truck off

Go see a Bill Maher video I couldn't snag at 23/6

New Rule: On Earth Day this Tuesday, responsible vehicle owners must show their support for the planet by giving every Hummer driver they see the finger.


I would like to add a personal observation on Earth Day.

There is an old Chinese proverb, which if there ain't, they're easy to make up, which says, "Wisdom begins by calling things by their right name". We better wise up.

Global warming, climate change, call it what you will, is absolutely no danger to our planet. The planet will only be in danger when the Sun goes out and incinerates Earth in its dying throes.

The danger is to life on the planet. That's us and everything else that depends on things like food, water, and, oh yeah, oxygen.

The planet will get along just fine without us as it did for billions of years before life emerged and will for until whenever after life on it is gone, thank you.

"The fix is in."

I don't share Fixer's views on the third Bush term of McCain as any kind of certainty, just as an awful possibility, but our old pal R.J.Eskow does. And guess who's helping the old geezer...

It's unclear whether ideology, friendship, or other motives underlie deceptions like Blitzer's. It probably varies by reporter. What's important is that only reporters who practice these deceptions get the job. Here's a glimpse into the reasons why, as deftly summarized by Dana Milbank:

"John McCain and Barack Obama both appeared before the nation's newspaper editors yesterday. The putative Republican presidential nominee was given a box of doughnuts and a standing ovation. The likely Democratic nominee was likened to a terrorist."

It doesn't matter whether a reporter distorts the facts in favor of McCain out of ideological preference, or just because they like the guy. What matters is that only those reporters will get to cover the campaign - because the publishers making those decisions want the Republican to win.

There is a clique of media execs, journalists, politicians, and co-opted "independent" experts. They sold America the war in Iraq, and now they're trying to sell it John McCain. And guess what? They'll probably succeed.

Those Democrats who think they're going to when (sic) in November should take fair warning: The fix is in. The Conspiracy of Shared Values has chosen McCain, and they don't usually lose. [...]

Fixer, I love ya brother, but I hope you and R.J. are dead wrong on this one.

Benny the Teener's Demands


...we here at 23/6 have uncovered Benedict's papal hospitality rider.

It didn't reproduce very readably so you have to go see. Worth it. Liquid alert.

The Playbook ...

How it should be done:


As Greenwald notes, the GOP and its propagandists in the press frequently “personify the sexual sleaze and amoral hedonism against which they endlessly sermonize.” Examples include Newt Gingrich, a serial adulterer who ditched his first wife while she was recovering from cancer surgery; Rush Limbaugh, with his drug addiction and “Viagra-fueled jaunts to the Dominican Republic”; David Vitter, the “Values Voter” champion who frequented Madame Deborah Palfrey’s high-class prostitution service; Mark Foley and his lewd emails to congressional pages; Larry “Wide Stance” Craig, Bill “Falafel King” O’Reilly, etc., etc. In each case, Greenwald shows that all of these men have a long record of statements supporting “family values” issues such as the Federal Marriage Amendment and the Defense of Marriage Act, and that none of them personally adhere to the lofty standards that they espouse for others.

In addition to Republicans’ proclivity for personal vice, Greenwald also documents their shameless chickenhawkery and how their alleged love for small government disappears the minute they gain political power. They are, in short, completely full of shit about everything they claim to stand for and deserve to be hammered for it repeatedly. Greenwald’s tone throughout the book is not gentle, which is one of the reasons why fed-up lefties such as myself enjoy reading him so much. His polemical prose has all the tact and subtlety of a chainsaw, and given the subject he’s discussing, this is entirely appropriate. After all, it’s difficult to point out that vast swathes of our political elites are full of shit by being polite and restrained. [my em]


Will a Dem ever grow a scrotum, that actually has balls in it, to say what needs to be said? Sadly, no.

We've been screaming for 4 years (here anyway) about how 'full of shit' the Republicans are and it hasn't really done any good. Yes, I know turnout has been high in the primaries and more people seem interested in the process, but the thing troubling me most is that McCain is still so close in the polls against either Dem candidate. By rights, he should have the same approval ratings as the Chimp.

I think the media's fawning over McCain will ultimately prove to be the undoing of the Dems, regardless of who gets the nom. There will be no equal treatment, the Dem dissected and inspected and McCain given a wink and a nod. Thanks to the media's treatment of him, a good portion of the nation still sees him as the maverick, straight-shooter, war hero, though he is neither. When Obama's relationship with Rev. Wright underwent the equivalent of a cavity search and McCain's endorsement by Rev. Hagee was hailed as a diplomatic coup, you know it's gonna be a long summer.

Off to work ...

Quote of the Day

Athenae on CNN's hiring of former WH spokesliar Tony Snow:

... I'm so glad we have Fox as the conservative answer to CNN's liberal agenda ..

Monday, April 21, 2008

Oh, the irony...

Ironic Times

New Book: Gitmo Torture Techniques Inspired by TV Series “24”
Overall war strategy inspired by movie Duck Soup.

Cindy McCain's “Family Recipes” Lifted From The Food Network
Husband's foreign, domestic policies lifted from Fox.

Dr. Jack Kevorkian to Run for Congress
Rest in Peace Now candidate says, “You shouldn't have to murder someone just to get a lethal injection.”

Anthropologists Synthesize Neanderthal's Voice
Similar to human's, but can't pronounce "nuclear."

Study: Boomers to Flood Medical System
Advised to smoke, drink, eat a lot, cease all but sudden bursts of strenuous exercise.


Study: Sad Shoppers Spend More
First good news for retailers in months.

Have a day.

McCain: "Telling the truth is a cheap shot!"

The Hill

During a somewhat testy interview with George Stephanopoulos, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said Sunday that Elizabeth Edwards took a “cheap shot” at him by claiming that the presidential candidate had government healthcare his whole life.

Well, let's see - son and grandson of admirals - military dependent health care. Naval aviator - government health care (you guys who remember goin' to sickbay, quit laughin'!). Congressman and Senator since 1982 - the best medical plan money (ours) can buy.

If you figure he had government 'health care' from the North Vietnamese for a few years, and maybe spent the years after his release in the VA system, I'd say that's his whole life.

A term usually used for long-time repeatedly incarcerated folks pretty much applies to McCain as well: he's 'state-raised'.

Just go the doctor whenever you feel like it and don't worry about paying a bill or insurance premiums. That's McCain's experience with health care. He's possibly a little out of touch with the normal American experience in this regard as well as all the others.

Randi wrap-up


First, a follow-up in regard to the whole Randi Rhodes saga. With Rhodes finally finding a happy home courtesy of Nova M Radio, she opened up about what led to the falling-out with Air America Radio. And, contrary to popular belief, it wasn't the 'whoregate' thing that led to her departure. A very candid Rhodes opened up on the air about what transpired over the past few weeks.

Enjoy. We love ya, Mom!


Billy Joel got it right. (Embedding disabled, dammit!)

Lyrics here.

Bush's Trojan Taco

Why would anybody want a yummy taco encased in a rubber? Oh, I get it: to protect us from the Chinese NAFTA filling. But I digress...

Greg Palast

Psst! George Bush has a secret.

While you Democrats are pounding each other to a pulp in Pennsylvania, the President has snuck back down to New Orleans for a meeting of the NAFTA Three: the Prime Minister of Canada and the President of Mexico.

You’re not supposed to know that – for two reasons:

First, the summit planned for the N.O. two years back was meant to showcase the rebuilt Big Easy, a monument to can-do Bush-o-nomics. Well, it is a monument to Bush’s leadership: The city still looks like Dresden 1946, with over half the original residents living in toxic trailers or wandering lost and broke in America.

The second reason Bush has kept this major summit a virtual secret is its real agenda. More important, the agenda-makers, the guys who called the meeting, must remain as far out of camera range as possible: The North American Competitiveness Council.

Never heard of The Council? Well, maybe you’ve heard of the counselors: the chief executives of Wal-Mart, Chevron Oil, Lockheed-Martin and 27 other multinational masters of the corporate universe.

Harmonization has nothing to do with singing in fifths like Simon and Garfunkel. Harmonization means making rules and regulations the same in all three countries. Or, more specifically, watering down rules – on health, safety, labor rights, oil drilling, polluting and so on - in other words, any regulations that get between The Council members and their profits.

Take for example, pesticides. Wal-Mart and agri-business don’t want to reduce the legal amount of poison allowed in what you eat. Solution: “harmonize” US and Canadian pesticide standards to Mexico’s.
Can they do that? Can Bush just say, “Eat your peas – even if they’re radioactive?” Under NAFTA, at least the way George Bush reads it (or has it read to him), he can. At any rate, he does.

The three chiefs of state will meet privately with the thirty corporate chiefs where they are also expected to legally erase more of our borders, to expand the “NAFTA highway.” Technically, the NAFTA highway is a set of legal rules governing transcontinental shipment. Some fear NAFTA highway expansion will allow a new flood of cheap Mexican products into the US and Canada. Not so. Their hunger to expand the NAFTA highway is to bring in even cheaper Chinese goods.

Say what?

As trade expert Maud Barlow explained to me, the new “NAFTA highway” will allow Chinese stuff dumped into Mexico to be hauled northward as duty-free “Mexican” products. That’s one of the quiet agendas of this “Summit for Security and Prosperity,” the official Orwellian name for this meet. Think of the SSP “harmonization” as the Trojan Taco of trade.

There will be other anti-SSP protesters in New Orleans as well, from America’s populist Right. They are concerned that the Security and Prosperity Summit is worse than the “NAFTA on steroids” that Barlow fears. The populists see in the SPP a nascent “North American Union,” and the elimination of the good old US of A.

They’re wrong, of course. The U.S. of A. has been long eliminated, at least economically. The Competitiveness Council is a multinational crew, with one shared set of country clubs, beach homes, art collections, union busters and lobbyists knowing no borders.

The populist radio hosts railing against the coming North American Union don’t realize that these CEOs won’t take away their flags or Fourth of July or Star-Spangled Banner. The rags and flags will always be kept around to con the schmucks along the Yahoo Belt into donating their children to the Iraq Occupation or other misadventures. A billionaire like Carlos Slim, the richest man on the planet (sorry, Mr. Gates), didn’t buy the Mexican government to “protect” his nation from Gringos but to protect his media monopoly.

So there is no United States of America nor Canada nor Mexico - at least as we like to imagine ourselves in our national fairy tales: self-governing democracies run by we the people or nosotros el pueblo. There’s just the diktats of the North American Prosperity Council. Get used to it.

Barlow said that the US Ambassador to Canada told her the legal changes wrought in New Orleans will not be put before the three national Congresses for a vote. “We don’t want to open up another NAFTA.” So, they’ll skip the voting stuff. Democracy is so, like, 20th Century. (my em)

Is Bush just a reluctant participant in this “harmonizing” of our economic fate? The meetings are secret, so I can’t say for sure. But I note that, at the opening ceremony, if you read his lips, you can see our president singing the national anthem as, “José, can you see?”

Bush has done a pretty good job of leveling our economy and Mexico's. For God's sake don't anyone tell him about the economy in the Horn of Africa! That'll look to his masters like an even better role model for us.

Paraguay turns left


The ruling party concedes power after six decades. Left-leaning Fernando Lugo ran on a platform of "change."

Lugo's victory was historic in Paraguay, where the Colorado Party has held power even longer than the communist regimes of China, North Korea and Cuba. Spurring his triumph was widespread discontent with the ruling party's long record of corruption, cronyism and economic stagnation.

The election of Lugo was the latest triumph by a left-leaning leader in Latin America, where a so-called pink tide of democratically elected presidents has altered the region's political map in recent years.

The days of relying on ruling-party contacts for jobs and other needs will end, Lugo declared. Supporters said his time as a priest and bishop cemented his honest image in this overwhelmingly Roman Catholic nation.

Despite his rhetoric, he has refused to be labeled a leftist, saying he is a centrist responding to the needs of the downtrodden and the teachings of Liberation Theology, a Catholic doctrine favoring the poor and subjugated.

The Vatican has assailed Liberation Theology for Marxist tendencies.

The Colorado Party's time in power includes the 35-year dictatorship of Gen. Alfredo Stroessner, the anti-communist strongman who was ousted in 1989. But the party survived Stroessner and went on to dominate almost two decades of shaky democracy - until Sunday's stunning defeat.

Congrats to the Paraguayans on gettin' the right wingers out of office. We hope to do the same here for almost exactly the same reasons. We've had enough 'shaky democracy' our own damn selves.

Note to the Bushes: Ha! Thought you were gonna hide yer Devil Spawn there after 1.20.09, didja? A nice landlocked right-wing dictatorship with no extradition treaty with the U.S. where he could live out his miserable life in comfort instead of in Leavenworth. Well, all of S.A. is goin' "red", seems like, but it means something a little different down there. Enjoy.

Note to Paraguay: Work on that extradition thing. We'll want him back. We can get him like Israel got Eichmann, of course, but that's messy and iffy. We're not as good at that sort of thing as Israel is.

Unraveling Iraq: Twelve Answers to Questions No One Is Bothering to Ask About Iraq


Can there be any question that, since the invasion of 2003, Iraq has been unraveling? And here's the curious thing: Despite a lack of decent information and analysis on crucial aspects of the Iraqi catastrophe, despite the way much of the Iraq story fell off newspaper front pages and out of the TV news in the last year, despite so many reports on the "success" of the President's surge strategy, Americans sense this perfectly well.

Imagine what might happen if the American public knew more about the actual state of affairs in Iraq - and of thinking in Washington. So, here, in an attempt to unravel the situation in ever-unraveling Iraq are twelve answers to questions which should be asked far more often in this country:

As the colons indicate, there's an explanation of each one.

1. Yes, the war has morphed into the U.S. military's worst Iraq nightmare:

2. No, there was never an exit strategy from Iraq because the Bush administration never intended to leave - and still doesn't:

3. Yes, the United States is still occupying Iraq (just not particularly effectively):

4. Yes, the war was about oil:

5. No, our new embassy in Baghdad is not an "embassy":

6. No, the Iraqi government is not a government:

7. No, the surge is not over:

8. No, the Iraqi army will never "stand up":

9. No, the U.S. military does not stand between Iraq and fragmentation:

10. No, the U.S. military does not stand between Iraq and civil war:

11. No, al-Qaeda will not control Iraq if we leave (and neither will Iran):

12. Yes, some Americans were right about Iraq from the beginning (and not the pundits either):

Noticeably missing were representatives of the group of Americans who happened to have been right from the get-go. In our country, of course, it often doesn't pay to be right. (It's seen as a sign of weakness or plain dumb luck.) I'm speaking, in this case, of the millions of people who poured into the streets to demonstrate against the coming invasion with an efflorescence of placards that said things too simpleminded (as endless pundits assured American news readers at the time) to take seriously - like "No Blood for Oil," "Don't Trade Lives for Oil," or ""How did USA's oil get under Iraq's sand?" At the time, it seemed clear to most reporters, commentators, and op-ed writers that these sign-carriers represented a crew of well-meaning know-nothings and the fact that their collective fears proved all too prescient still can't save them from that conclusion. So, in their very rightness, they were largely forgotten.

Now, as has been true for some time, a majority of Americans, another obvious bunch of know-nothings, are deluded enough to favor bringing all U.S. troops out of Iraq at a reasonable pace and relatively soon. (More than 60% of them also believe "that the conflict is not integral to the success of U.S. anti-terrorism efforts.") If, on the other hand, a poll were taken of pundits and the inside-the-Beltway intelligentsia (not to speak of the officials of the Bush administration), the number of them who would want a total withdrawal from Iraq (or even see that as a reasonable goal) would undoubtedly descend near the vanishing point. When it comes to American imperial interests, most of them know better, just as so many of them did before the war began. Even advisors to candidates who theoretically want out of Iraq are hinting that a full-scale withdrawal is hardly the proper way to go.

So let me ask you a question (and you answer it): Given all of the above, given the record thus far, who is likely to be right?

"Right" is whatever gets votes this year. Damn, why couldn't there be a different word for 'wrong' than 'right', as in 'right wing'?

Quote of the Day


I'm kind of surprised at how many people are willing to go on the record as saying that John McCain is temperamentally unfit to be president of the United States. I don't really think of McCain as this unhinged, vindictive kind of a guy. I guess I've been somewhat brainwashed by the media's love affair with McCain, just like the rest of the nation. Dude is crazy. [my em]

Too bad many Americans think McCain is a 'stand-up guy'. Like I've been saying since McCain got the Rethug nom, don't feel too confident you'll have a Democratic president next year.

"Bomb, bomb, bomb ...

Bomb, bomb Iran." Since John McCain is so eager to feed the bloodthirsty Republican 'base' some red meat in the form of an escalation against Iran, Cdr. Huber takes a look at what might probably happen if we did begin a bombing campaign over there:


The Navy’s tasks in an operation against Iran would include projecting air power ashore (from the carriers and cruise missile shooters), keeping the Strait open, and deterring or stopping another tanker war like the one that broke out in the 80s during the conflict between Iran and Iraq. To do all those things, the Navy pretty much has to go into the Gulf, and it has to go through the Strait to get there.

In the bathtub, defense in depth becomes nearly impossible to conduct. The state of the art anti-ship weapons Iran recently bought from the Russians—the SSN-22 Sunburn missile and the rocket torpedo—are bad news. One school of thought says the only way to defend against them is to stay tied to the pier stateside, but it’s not just the latest generation of ship-killers we need to worry about. Any time you find yourself in a point defense situation against a homing weapon designed any time after 1970 or so your whole day just became irretrievable.

I rather doubt that anything short of extra terrestrial intervention could actually sink a 100,000-ton Nimitz class carrier, but a rocket torpedo up its stern could send it out the Strait under tow. That would be an unmitigated nightmare. Even if not a single member of the ship’s crew were killed or injured, for a minor power like Iran to have knocked one of America’s preeminent instruments of military might out of action would be a strategic catastrophe for the U.S.


We've already gamed this scenario, in 2002, and the U.S. was handed it's ass.


In the days since the encounter with five Iranian patrol boats in the Strait of Hormuz, American officers have acknowledged that they have been studying anew the lessons from a startling simulation conducted in August 2002. In that war game, the Blue Team navy, representing the United States, lost 16 major warships — an aircraft carrier, cruisers and amphibious vessels — when they were sunk to the bottom of the Persian Gulf in an attack that included swarming tactics by enemy speedboats.


We cannot 'win' in Iran, just as we can't win in Iraq. We don't have the money, the troops, or the national will. If the Chimp doesn't destroy this nation before he leaves, McCain will once he's elected.

Cross-posted at API.

"Bring it on."

Haven't we learned? Seems Condi is as clueless* as her boyfr ... boss:

BAGHDAD — Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice mocked anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr as a coward on Sunday, hours after the radical leader threatened to declare war unless U.S. and Iraqi forces end a military crackdown on his followers.


The only reason we've been able to show some sort of 'success' (questionable at best) is because the Mahdi Army has generally remained at home. Baiting Moqtada into all-out hostilities can only have dire consequences.


Quoting Skippy:

you tell 'em, condi! nothing's worse than a leader who talks tough but refuses to join the fighting himself!


Analysis from Moon of Alabama:


Sadr's last campaigns were not impressive in a military sense. But by now he might have gotten some serious advice on how to achieve something. A good advice might have been to look at logistics.


If you can't feed, fuel, and resupply an army, it ain't much of an army anymore.

*Great thanks to Pale Rider for the link.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Sunday Crazy Crossdressing Redneck Music Blogging

Yesterday on our shopping trip I picked up Dolly Parton's Backwoods Barbie. I like it, so I went lookin' for the title track to share with you. Just as an aside, one track may be the first time I ever heard Dolly cover Fine Young Cannibals!

Sometimes when I'm lookin' fer crazy redneck music I get a hell of a lot more than I bargained for!

See the best drag/cabaret performances in town at the Monkey Business Bar in Wilton Manors, Florida. Never a cover charge!

Next time I'm in town...

Never. Ever. Forget.

Sometimes when I'm lookin' fer crazy redneck music I find something entirely different.

Very touching video of Katrina disaster put to the music of Mary Gauthier's "Mercy Now"

Fun stuff ...

Via Danger Room, neighbors beware. Heh ...

What's wrong with this picture?

Click to embiggen

Fuck it. Bush should make sure they display the flags of Nazi Germany and The Japanese Empire for state greetings as well. They lost too. Difference being, those flags are not a national embarrassment to the majority of Americans..

Out of touch?

McCain ain't 'out of touch'. He's delusional. Oliver Willis:

This guy just doesn’t get it. In an interview with Fox News’ Neil Cavuto, John McCain told him that America’s economic problems are “psychological” and just a little of his patent-pending straight talk would do wonders for the Republican Recession.


Flag Criminals ...

Maybe we should yank their pensions and benefits?


To the public, these men are members of a familiar fraternity, presented tens of thousands of times on television and radio as “military analysts” whose long service has equipped them to give authoritative and unfettered judgments about the most pressing issues of the post-Sept. 11 world.

Hidden behind that appearance of objectivity, though, is a Pentagon information apparatus that has used those analysts in a campaign to generate favorable news coverage of the administration’s wartime performance, an examination by The New York Times has found.

The effort, which began with the buildup to the Iraq war and continues to this day, has sought to exploit ideological and military allegiances, and also a powerful financial dynamic: Most of the analysts have ties to military contractors vested in the very war policies they are asked to assess on air. [my em]


I would certainly feel comfortable calling these retired flag officers traitors.


Greenwald is on this too:


At the same time, though, in light of questions on this very topic raised even by the NYT back in 2003, it is difficult to take the article's underlying points seriously as though they are some kind of new revelation. And ultimately, to the extent there are new revelations here, they are a far greater indictment of our leading news organizations than the government officials on whom it focuses. [em in orig]


Cross-posted at API.