Saturday, May 3, 2008

"...she drank it like wine"

This is dedicated to Hillary Clinton. The synch's a little off, so don't look right at it or it'll make you dizzy, like Canadian whiskey.

Quote of the Day

Paul Krugman on Repuglican'ts:

If a problem can’t be solved with deregulation and tax cuts, they pretend it doesn’t exist.

We're probably lucky. Those things are directed at a very small constituency. Imagine the trouble they would cause if they tried to solve the rest of the problems they created.

So ...

Iraq is about oil (as opposed to WMD, Freedom, Democracy, and all the other stuff)? McCain says so.

If I were a terrorist

Location, location, location...

Dave Lindorff on why Bush's hideout in Paraguay might not work out so good after all:

Given that President Bush, once he leaves office on January 20, 2009, will no longer have the diplomatic immunity conferred upon heads of state, or the Constitutional protection against indictment by domestic prosecutors, it makes sense that he would be looking for a safe haven from the long arm of the law.

After all, the guy is guilty of a huge laundry list of international crimes, from the Crime Against Peace and Conspiracy against Peace in the UN Charter, to Geneva Convention violations such as approval of torture of prisoners, collective punishment of civilians, the killing of children and child soldiers, the failure to protect occupied citizens, the use of banned weapons, etc., etc., and also of domestic crimes, ranging from political use of government employees, conspiracy, treason, lying to federal officials, defrauding Congress, etc.

No wonder he wants to do what Klaus Barbie, Josef Mengele, and Adolf Eichmann did, and hole up in Paraguay.

Only trouble is, Paraguay may not be such a safe haven for long.

Last month, a former Roman Catholic Bishop with leftist, populist tendencies, Fernando Lugo, surprised almost everyone in Paraguay, and no doubt President Bush, by winning the national presidential election, ousting the Colorado Party for the first time in 61 years. There is talk that among other things, Lugo is thinking of returning Paraguay to the community of nations, by signing some of those extradition agreements.

If he does that, Bush may be stuck having to hide behind his rump squad of Secret Service agents down at the Crawford Ranch, hoping they can keep the process servers from Brattleboro and Marlboro, VT, with their war crimes arrest warrants, at bay.

Once Bush loses his flimsy 'Executive Privilege' and the ability to pardon himself, I hope the Vermont cops will be the least of his worries.


The North Shore Animal League is having its yearly Adopt-a-thon starting this morning:

In 1995, Pet Adoptathon began simply as a North Shore Animal League America adoption weekend, with the goal of finding homes for each dog and cat in the shelter. The first weekend in May was set aside and plans were made to stay open 36 hours straight. Local media was called and special fun activities were held under the big tent-all to call attention to the many dogs, cats, puppies and kittens at the League. And it worked! That weekend, over 500 needy pets were placed in excellent adoptive homes.

It became apparent that the overwhelming success had to be shared. Soon the League extended invitations to shelters everywhere to participate in Pet Adoptathon '96. That year, over 700 animal organizations joined together; the result was thousands more loving adoptions. And every year since, Pet Adoptathon has continued to grow. Last year, over 1,500 organizations participated all across the United States and around the globe. Twelve years later, Pet Adoptathon has fostered over 250,000 loving adoption worldwide.

This is a national event with many shelters participating nationwide. See if you can find it in your heart to help. Adopt a pet or make a donation. It's one of our favorite causes and our Shayna is an NSAL alumnus (Class of '98) too.

Saturday whorage

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

Our friend 42 has created a new bumpersticker. Get yours before Election Day.

Let us know what's going on with you in comments.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Bumpersticker of the Day

I found a catalog from Northern Sun in my P.O. Box that was in there by mistake. You lose, Ann. They got tons of lefty shit.

More flag criminals ...

The head of the Joint Chiefs thinks elections this year might be messy. Mr. Aravosis:

It's hard to read this in a good way. Navy Admiral Michael Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in yesterday's Washington Post that the elections this year would make us vulnerable. It's a very weird quote, and one that a military officer in a country that isn't a banana republic probably shouldn't be making.


It is. But that just goes to show you, if you want to achieve and remain at the flag rank, you have to push the propaganda. More strange comments at the link.

It ain't whether ya win or lose, it's how ya place the blame

Arrest Bush

I'm down wit dat!

Ted Rall

The high-level discussions about these ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’ were so detailed, [Bush Administration] sources said, some of the interrogation sessions were almost choreographed — down to the number of times CIA agents could use a specific tactic. These top advisers signed off on how the CIA would interrogate top Al Qaeda suspects — whether they would be slapped, pushed, deprived of sleep or subjected to simulated drowning, called waterboarding, sources told ABC news.”

Bush knew.

Not only did he know, he personally approved it. He likes torture.

“Yes, I’m aware our national security team met on this issue,” he confirmed. “And I approved.”

George W. Bush has publicly confessed that he ordered torture, thus violating the Convention Against Torture. He, Cheney, Rumseld, Rice and the other Principals must therefore be arrested and, unlike the thousands of detainees kidnapped by the U.S. since 9/11, arraigned and placed on trial.

Because the torture ordered by Bush and his cabinet directly resulted in death, they must additionally be charged with several counts of murder. Fifteen U.S. soldiers have been charged with the murders of two detainees at the U.S. airbase at Bagram, Afghanistan in 2002. They were following orders issued by their Commander-in-Chief and his Principals.

Having spent considerable time with 'principals' in high school, arrest 'em all for torture I say!

The Supreme Court has never resolved the question of whether a sitting president can be arrested by civilian authorities. Even if he were charged and convicted, many legal experts say he could issue himself a pardon.

There is, however, a person who could begin holding Bush and the others accountable for their crimes.

She is Cathy L. Lanier, the 39-year-old chief of D.C.’s Metropolitan Police Department. Chief Lanier, take note: you have probable cause to arrest a self-confessed serial torturer and mass murderer within the borders of the District of Columbia. He resides at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Go get him.

Fuckin' A! Here's my scenario: lock the sonofabitch up and let the legal proceedings start. Given Bush's holdings in Paraguay, he's a flight risk, so deny him bail and leave him in remand while his case grinds its way slowly through the system. Hell, there are lotsa guys in jail who weait months, if not years, in jail like that.

He can go ahead and pardon himself. Only the walls will hear him.

Don't forget Cheney. He can't be left loose to officially become president. He needs to go to Gitmo or Bulgaria or somewhere to await trial. Given that he's the Dark Lord, maybe Azkaban. The Dementors will be disappointed because he has no soul to suck out, but that's tough shit.

Put the book back in the guest bathroom, Georgie

OpEd News

News Flash: SMU Bush Presidential Library Rejection, passed 844-20

This rejection passed on Wednesday morning, 30-April-08, at the quadrennial General Conference of the United Methodist Church that is still meeting in Fort Worth, Texas.

This body is the highest authority of the denomination and cannot be over-ruled by any other body within the denomination.

To my darling Methodist wife: I am very proud of your people today for not wanting their school's good name sullied by association with the anti-Christ.

Note to the Chimp: Try Yale. Maybe you can get a 'legacy' library. They're 'elite' enough that all you have to do is give them money.


The story appears to not be true as pointed out by a really rude penguin. Looks like the SMU Methodists chickened out. They voted to hand it off to some bigger Methodists who probably won't dare diss Bush. Oh well.

A comment from the correcting article:

Why anyone affiliated with any Christian organization would want to be associated with this blight on American mores is beyond me.

Torture, invasion and the raping of our constitution shall forever be the earmarks of the Bush administration. A library? It should more approach a holocaust museum.

Or a dungeon.

The Criminalization of Raw Milk


On April 25, 2008, in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, Mark Nolt, a Wenger Mennonite (Horse and Buggy Mennonite) dairyman, threatened for months with arrest for selling raw milk without a permit was removed from his property by state troopers.

Jonas Stoltzfus, a friend, fellow farmer, and Church of the Brethen, was asked by Mr. Nolt to speak for him, and said of the raid yesterday - "Six state troopers and a man with the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture trespassed onto his property, and stole $20-25,000 of his product and equipment."

The permitting issue, ostensibly for food safety, is contradicted by a look both at raw milk itself and at its competition, corporate milk - pasteurized and often from cows injected with rBGH.

Four issues stand out:

Yes they do. Go see. Hint: the term 'corporate milk' should be a clue.

Monsanto sells rBGH-milk associated with cancers, Clinton hired Monsanto employees which approved their own genetically engineered product, Hillary Clinton has been silent up to today about the risk rBGH poses to women, PR firms strongly push the milk on all ages. None face jail or fines for altered facts, for PR campaigns encouraging even children to drink rBGH-milk, or for banning labeling of it, which has put the entire US population at medical risk for years. Monsanto, the Clintons, Burson-Marsteller and Goodby, Silverstein and Partners are all making millions.

Mr. Nolt, released after being taken off by state troopers, refused to accept a ride from them. He started walking. Friends gave him a lift home.

Raw milk is not generally available in the small town where we live now, but me'n Mrs. G drank raw milk for years. Pasteurization was basically an improvement that allowed people to not get sick themselves from drinking milk from sick cows. What Big Milk is putting in the product these days isn't any good either, but it keeps production levels up.

I'm with Mr. Nolt in another way: I've walked home from jail lotsa times.

Bush admits lying about 'winning'


RADDATZ: But the overall thing -- when you say, "We're winning," you know what the American people hear. You know how that will play.

BUSH: Well, yes. I think we -- and I wanted -- that's as much trying to bolster the spirits of the people in the field as well as -- look, you can't have the commander in chief say to a bunch of kids who are sacrificing either, "It's not worth it," or, "You're losing." I mean, what does that do for morale?

So Bush essentially lied to our soldiers in order to keep them believing that they were "winning" a war that they were losing because of years of lies and mismanagement coming directly from Bush and Cheney.

Now people died as a result of these lies and the Bush-Cheney malfeasance.

That, my friends, is some hypocrisy. It's also criminal neglect.

He didn't just lie to our soldiers. He lied to everyone.

And he knew that he was lying all along. We knew that, of course.

Why are Bush in Cheney still in office and not in prison?

Union's War Protest Shuts Down West Coast Ports


West Coast ports were shut down on Thursday as thousands of longshoremen failed to report for work, part of what their union leaders said was a one-day, one-shift protest against the war in Iraq.

"We're loyal to America, and we won't stand by while our country, our troops and our economy are being destroyed by a war that's bankrupting us to the tune of $3 trillion," the president of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, Bob McEllrath, said in a written statement. "It's time to stand up, and we're doing our part today."

About 25,000 union members are employed at 29 West Coast ports, but the protest took place only during the day shift. A spokesman for the main West Coast employers' group, the Pacific Maritime Association, said it appeared that about 6,000 workers did not show up for work, which meant that about 10,000 containers would not be loaded or unloaded from about 30 cargo ships.

On the Seattle waterfront, members of the United Auto Workers and the Service Employees International Union mixed with self-described socialists while many of the scores of police officers on the scene ate box lunches and petted their horses.

In Oakland, Calif., some truckers who said they were angry about high gas prices decided not to cross picket lines at the port.

"I got here ready to haul," said Cesar Lara, 41, a resident of Richmond, Calif., born in Zacatecas, Mexico. "They told me it was a picket but if I wanted to go in I could. But I'm supporting them and to end the war."

Kevin Schroeder, director of Local 13's political action committee, said, "The children of middle-class people are over there dying, so we decided to do something. We are fortunate enough to be in an organization that has a platform to do something."

My hat's off to everyone who participated in this action. That said, one shift won't do anything other than perhaps raise awareness. Hit Big Biz in the pocketbook for a week or so and it might do even more when W**-M***'s shelves run bare of cheap Chinese gimcracks.

Now, if everybody who works for The Bigs stayed home one day...

This thought just jumped into my head: Wanta raise awareness? How about all the 'fast food' employees strike for one day? Folks'd notice that.

Why is it ... revisited

That nothing the Bush administration does goes according to plan? Nelson Mandela, for crying out loud?

Nobel Peace Prize winner and international symbol of freedom Nelson Mandela is flagged on U.S. terrorist watch lists and needs special permission to visit the USA.


Then again, maybe it is going according to plan?

Now I'm going ... according to plan ... sort of ...

Why is it ...

I know more about Miley Cyrus (What the fuck kinda name is Miley?) than I ever wanted to know? Is there nothing else going on in the world? Thank God it's Friday. I always manage to find a couple hours on the weekend to sit and watch the Beeb and EuroNews and see what everybody else (aside from Barack, Hil, and Miley) is doing.

Off to work ...


Pre-911, this might have gotten a raised eyebrow from me at most. In today's climate, the DC Madam's suicide sounds pretty suspicious to me. Our pal Montag:

... I think we do need a public disclosure of all her clients, it would do them all some good.

We might find out 50 years from now if anyone cares by then. Somehow, I don't think a senatorial hack from LA was the most powerful person with a 'service' appointment.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Ya hadda take a poll?

WASHINGTON (CNN) — A new poll suggests that George W. Bush is the most unpopular president in modern American history.


No shit, Sherlock.

Obscenity ...

For Exxon Mobil, $10.9 Billion Profit Disappoints

Exxon Mobil, the world’s largest publicly traded oil company, said Thursday that its first-quarter net income rose 17 percent, boosted by surging oil prices.


Heaven forbid they give the American public, you know, the folks who have to buy your product or starve, a break when times get bad. Ya made a $60 billion off us last year, you know, when the price of gas was half what it is now. Greedy bastids.

Laura Bush, docile doormat

Mark Morford has his claws out:

I know. It's not exactly against the law to be docile and quiet. It's not exactly a crime to simply want to be a good mother and housewife (noble and under-respected callings, both), to not seek the spotlight and not hunger for power and influence. And besides, meek, shy girls who want nothing more than to marry the male equivalent of a tub of spackling paste at age 22 and never think for themselves and never inspire anyone to do anything need role models, too. Right?

But then again, no. For in choosing to be and do almost nothing at all for all these years, Laura has also come to epitomize the compliant, unobtrusive woman, the worst kind of example for modern young women today. This is, of course, why conservative Republicans and fundie Christians love her. They call her "classy." What they mean is: She knows her place, keeps her mouth shut, possesses exactly zero sexuality, speaks only when spoken to, lets the men do the "real" work, stays so far off in the background she might as well be wallpaper.

Much more. Enjoy.

My heart goes out to Pickles. Georgie's drinking was supposed to have killed him long ago and didn't, dammit. Laura was supposed to have been a rich widow while she was still marketable. That train has left the depot and now she's stuck with that bastard.

MFBTGR Banned From NBC

Crooks and Liars. Video, links, and comments.

Tim Russert Takes Offense, Bans Arianna Huffington From NBC News

Oh, did the poor widdle WATB get his feelings hurt? Or were Arianna’s words just a little too close for comfort?

I don't know what 'WATB' means but I'll take a stab at it:

Wussy Asshole Talkshow Bitch.

Partisan Supreme Court Errs

Cynthia Tucker on the Supremes' partisan ruling on Voter ID:

There will be no apologies from this precinct. I have long argued that harsh voter ID laws are unfair, unconstitutional and un-American, and I will continue to say so.

The fact that a group of wealthy male jurists favors suppression of the franchise hardly makes it right. After all, the Founding Fathers believed that only white men should have the vote. They weren’t right, either.

On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a wrongheaded ruling that upholds Indiana’s voter ID law, widely believed the harshest in the nation. For now, the decision validates similar laws in several other states, including Georgia.

It’s no coincidence that Republicans rule in most state Legislatures that have pushed through these laws. For decades — since the civil rights movement enabled black voting rights, in fact — Republicans have used the guise of protecting against “voter fraud” to justify laws that harass, intimidate and invalidate voters of color. Having given up trying to woo black and brown voters with progressive politics, the GOP has resorted to procedures that suppress their vote.

The late Chief Justice William Rehnquist, then a young Arizona attorney active in Republican politics and an adviser to Barry Goldwater, was accused of harassing black and Latino voters at the polls in Phoenix in 1962. Testifying before the Senate in 1986, after Rehnquist had been nominated as chief justice, James Brosnahan, a former assistant U.S. attorney, said that he had investigated complaints about behavior by Rehnquist and others that “was designed to reduce the number of black and Hispanic voters by confrontation and intimidation.” (Rehnquist denied the charge and was confirmed.)

Who the fuck do you appeal a wrong SCOTUS decision to?

The Great Derangement

Here's a promotional video for Matt Taibbi's new book The Great Derangement.

A tip o' the Brain to JAZZ from HELL.

Joke of the Day

Got this one today out of a magazine in the waiting room at the offthal awfulmolly eye doctor's office. The magazine will remain nameless, but let's just say it's the rag Americans read to stay misinformed. Funny jokes, though, and Big Print too!

An 11 year-old girl is telling her dad that she wants to join the Army. The dad says there are better opportunities and suggests she consider the Air Force.

"But I don't wanta be a pilot", she says.

Dad replies, "There are lots of other jobs in the Air Force, Honey."

"I don't wanta be a flight attendant either."


The Festival of Wrights

About the Masthead ...

I've received some questions lately from folks who are bored with the masthead art here. I'm gonna reprint Gord's thoughts on it:

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

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

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

A wonderful and maybe subtle metaphor.

Fixer's a lot smarter than he looks.

And I'll add that it was sent to me by Lurch.

Don't hold your collective breath waiting for it to change.

Mission Accomplished ...

Pic thanks to Digby.

Five years on ...

"in the Battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed."

I'd hate to see what losing looks like.

Cross-posted at API.

The stupid continues ...


Turns out the Rhodes Scholars over at “Fox and Friends” think Abraham Lincoln debated Frederick Douglass in the famous Lincoln-Douglas debates of 1858. Of course it was Stephen Douglas. Something tells me Frederick would have had a tough time winning a Senate seat back then. Just a thought.


Pardon me while I smash my forehead into my desk repeatedly.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Idiocracy ...

I agree with Dr. Attaturk. Can't. Stand. The. Stupid. Anymore.

Dumb as We Wanna Be

Believe it or not, Thomas Friedman:

It is great to see that we finally have some national unity on energy policy. Unfortunately, the unifying idea is so ridiculous, so unworthy of the people aspiring to lead our nation, it takes your breath away. Hillary Clinton has decided to line up with John McCain in pushing to suspend the federal excise tax on gasoline, 18.4 cents a gallon, for this summer’s travel season. This is not an energy policy. This is money laundering: we borrow money from China and ship it to Saudi Arabia and take a little cut for ourselves as it goes through our gas tanks. What a way to build our country.

It amounts to about half a tank each. Big whoop.

The McCain-Clinton gas holiday proposal is a perfect example of what energy expert Peter Schwartz of Global Business Network describes as the true American energy policy today: “Maximize demand, minimize supply and buy the rest from the people who hate us the most.”

The McCain-Clinton proposal is a reminder to me that the biggest energy crisis we have in our country today is the energy to be serious — the energy to do big things in a sustained, focused and intelligent way. We are in the midst of a national political brownout.

Go read the rest of this one. Two out of the three candidates must think the people they are pandering to are morons.

Quote of the Day

The Rude One:

... McCain's announcement of his health care plan yesterday was a goddamned insult, a gigantic shit taken on the working class ...

Get the steel cage ready


Capitol Hill insiders say the battle for congressional superdelegates is over, and one Senate supporter of Barack Obama is hinting strongly that he has prevailed over Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Not so fast, said Clinton spokesman Phil Singer.

Lady and Gent, don yer speedos...

Bush/McCain: The Arlington Plan

Politics Plus

All of the soldiers interviewed passed the rigorous health screening given recruits before being accepted into the Army. All were deemed physically and psychologically fit in a second screening as well, before being deployed to Iraq, and served honorably there in combat. None of the soldiers interviewed during this eleven-month investigation had a documented history of psychological problems.

Yet after they returned from Iraq wounded and sought treatment, each was diagnosed with a pre-existing personality disorder, then denied benefits. As in Town's case, Army doctors determined that the soldiers' ailments were pre-existing without interviewing friends, family or fellow soldiers who knew them before they were wounded in combat.

In this article you will hear from Army doctors who say wounded soldiers are routinely misdiagnosed. One says he was pressured by superiors to diagnose personality disorder in cases where soldiers were physically wounded or suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Inserted from The Nation

This is just the introduction to a major five page article, and I urge you strongly to click through and read the rest. I have watched with growing frustration as Democrats in Congress have put forward measure after measure to improve the lot of our troops and veterans only to see them either vetoed by the ChickenHawk-in-Chief or fall to GOP filibusters, in which the GOP could always count on John McHypocrite to vote against our nation's troops and vets.

GW Bush, McConJob, and the GOP have a formula for supporting our troops and vets. I call it The Arlington Plan. If that isn't clear, see the graphic.

Live Veterans cost money that might better go to the war profiteers. Dead ones cost nothing. Nor do any the government can screw out of their benefits. See Chief's post just below this one at API.

Crossposted at The American Patriot Institute.

Stimulating the war economy

Click for an even bigger check

When caught, Army acts

Following up on last week's post about the awful living conditions for Iraq returnees at Fort Bragg, from Yahoo!News:

Army officials said Tuesday they are inspecting every barracks building worldwide to see whether plumbing and other problems revealed at Fort Bragg, N.C., last week are widespread.

Yeah, like the soldiers didn't tell the Corporals who didn't tell the Sergeants who didn't tell the First Shirt and so on and so on that shit was backing up into the barracks. Gimme a break.

I wonder how many of those GIs wrote to their Congressmen about the conditions? In my day, that was the way to get things done. When the Congresscritter inquired of the Commanding General just WTF was going on, things happened. It may have been out of trying to avoid an investigation and resultant damage to their careers rather than a sense of duty to the enlisted swine, but things got done.

Oh, silly me, I forgot - the military works for Bush now, not us. Congress doesn't count any more.

I got a sneakin' hunch that these kinds of things are known by the local brass, but get put on a to-do list because the Bush administration would rather borrow trillions to profit their cronies than expend thousands on the welfare of the troops. I've heard that some bases have even had trouble paying their electric bills.

The operative word here is 'revealed'. One rightly pissed-off dad with a video camera and YouTube made more difference than a barracksful of soldiers in knee boots. That got this deal moved to the top of the list. The Army'll put a little PR lipstick on the pig and hope it goes away.

Support the troops. Yeah, right, until they gotta do something expensive like hire a plumber.

Crossposted at The American Patriot Institute.

Dear Wolfgang and Jacqueline

"What's With Your 'Crazy' U.S Politics?" -- A Letter to European Friends

In short, the McCain that Stewart and many others admired for his "maverick" willingness to confront the Bush Administration on campaign-finance reform, torture as state policy, racial intolerance inside the GOP, etc., is no more. Now it's the old guy who knows he has one arrow left in his quiver and is going to stand with the fundies and extreme conservatives on all the major issues because he believes that's his only chance to wind up in the White House. To quote Stewart again: "Has John McCain's Straight Talk Express been re-routed through Bullshittown?" The answer is, sad to say, yes.

A key House Democratic committee chairman the other day wondered aloud what I've heard voiced quietly elsewhere: If Hillary can't get the nomination in 2008, she'll so wound Obama that McCain might slip in. Or, even if Obama were to win the election, he'd be so damaged as to be unable to govern easily. In either case in 2012, Clinton, the only one left standing, figures she would be perfectly positioned to take the nomination.

Talk about "crazy"! Those reasons seems much too convoluted to be taken seriously, not the least because Clinton, in this scenario, would be universally recognized as the Dem spoiler who ruined the party's best shot for taking back the White House. She would be the Ralph Nader of 2008 who would never be forgiven by the very activist Democratic base she would need in a future run for the presidency.

Please read the rest.

Good. God.

I've written many times before that the neocons who've run this show into the ground for the past 8 years, longer if you count from Newt's 'Contract with America' days, think they're qualified to run a country after watching Star Trek and 24 reruns incessantly. Sadly, no:


Now a fixture at Department of Homeland Security science and technology conferences, SIGMA is a loosely affiliated group of science fiction writers who are offering pro bono advice to anyone in government who want their thoughts on how to protect the nation.

The fact that my tax dollars are going to buy juice and cookies for these schmendricks makes me feel all warm inside.


Please, please let me wake up one morning to realize that this has been one long bizarre dream induced by my use of LSD in the late '70s. In the past 15 years we have drifted so far from reality that somebody has to be under the influence of hallucinogens, be it I or the people in charge.

I'm going to work now. Tomorrow, I get to see if I have to pay more than $4 for a gallon of regular gas. Now that's reality.

Conscience ...

There are some for whom sleep, after seeing the America they took an oath to defend go down the tubes since September 11, has become a very tenuous thing. To wit:

GUANTANAMO BAY, Cuba, April 28 -- The Defense Department's former chief prosecutor for terrorism cases appeared Monday at the controversial U.S. detention facility here to argue on behalf of a terrorism suspect that the military justice system has been corrupted by politics and inappropriate influence from senior Pentagon officials.


[USAF Col. Morris] Davis also decried as unethical a decision by top military officials to allow the use of evidence obtained by coercive interrogation techniques. He said Air Force Brig. Gen. Thomas W. Hartmann, the legal adviser to the top military official overseeing the commissions process, was improperly willing to use evidence derived from waterboarding, a form of simulated drowning. "To allow or direct a prosecutor to come into the courtroom and offer evidence they felt was torture, it puts a prosecutor in an ethical bind," Davis testified. But he said Hartmann replied that "everything was fair game -- let the judge sort it out." [my em]


The Bush administration wasn't looking for convictions, much as the prosecution was trying to avoid acquittals. They wanted propaganda fodder, to Hell with the outcome of the trial. They don't care about "keepin' us safer", never did, they just care about how it all would play during election season.

Great thanks to our pal Montag for the link.

Double standards

Obama/Wright = Oh, the outrage! What do we tell the children??!!! Do we want a President who hates America??!!!!

McCain/Hagee/Parsley = [crickets]

Let someone tell me the press is not in the tank for McCain.

Man-child ...

I know pre-teens who take more responsibility for their actions than our President:


Even I'm embarrassed for Bush trying to pull this switcheroo. But he didn't stop with gas prices, he blamed Congress for the farm bill, stopping nuclear power plants, foreclosures, the economy, and I think Miley Cyrus' photo spread. If Truman said "The buck stops here," then Bush's mantra must be "Who wants this buck?"


When I was little (5 or 6), being an only child, I used to blame the cat or the dog when I got into trouble. That didn't work either.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

100 Years ...

In 2003, allegedly to disarm Iraq of weapons of mass destruction, the US and Coalition forces launched a war to bomb Saddam Hussein into oblivion, topple the Ba’athist regime and instate a new era of “liberty and peace.” By late April, down plonked Saddam’s statues (the man himself remained underground) and tanks rolled into Baghdad flying the US victory flag. Five years, 3 980 US military deaths and in the calculation of Nobel laureate and former World Bank economist, Joseph Stilgitz, $3 trillion later, no WMD have been found, while Iraq overflows with blood and despair.

Even by Iraq Body Count’s conservative estimate, between 81,000 and 89,000 Iraqi civilians have been killed since the 2003 invasion. The World Health Organisation estimates that from 2003-2006, the US-led Multi-National Forces (MNF) and sectarian fighters have been responsible for the deaths of 151,000 Iraqi civilians. According to the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI), approximately 34,452 people were killed in 2006 alone, while the group Just Foreign Policy places the figure of civilian casualties in the last 5 years at a colossal 1 million.

The massive post-invasion death toll in Iraq has left tens of thousands of children orphaned and women widowed. In 2006, studies by the Ministry of Women’s Affairs concluded there were approximately 300,000 widows in Iraq’s capital city alone. In 2007, Iraq’s anti-corruption board estimated there were 5 million orphans in Iraq.


John McCain will continue this in our name. I can't abide that.

See ya in Kuwait, F-Man!

"Use the Corolla. The armored car's fer haulin' hookers."

More outrageous waste, fraud, and abuse of our tax dollars by KBR. Muckraked!:

Some explosive testimony this afternoon from a panel of whistleblowers testifying before the Senate’s Democratic Policy Committee on contractor abuse in Iraq.

A contractor died when a DynCorp manager used an employee’s armored car to transport prostitutes, according to Barry Halley, a Worldwide Network Services employee working under a DynCorp subcontract.

“DynCorp’s site manager was involved in bringing prostitutes into hotels operated by DynCorp. A co-worker unrelated to the ring was killed when he was travelling in an unsecure car and shot performing a high-risk mission. I believe that my co-worker could have survived if he had been riding in an armored car. At the time, the armored car that he would otherwise have been riding in was being used by the contractor’s manager to transport prostitutes from Kuwait to Baghdad.“

Other revelations:

- Kellogg Brown & Root contractors used to destroy countless quantities of still-usable equipment that was difficult to transport in “massive burn pits” that were “burning 24 hours a day.”

Nice new truck gets a flat tire. Put on the spare? Nah, burn it. We're on cost-plus. Buy a new truck.

- KBR’s ice foreman “was cheating the troops out of ice at the same time that he was trading the ice for DVDs, CDs, food and other items at the Iraqi shops across the street.”

How much is ice at your local store? Coupla bucks a bag? I'll bet that sonofabitch 'ice foreman' is charging us 50 bucks a bag for all the ice he stole, and then overcharged the GIs for the DVDs and stuff.

- When KBR whistleblower Frank Cassaday reported weapons looting, he was placed in a jail tent by KBR security.

- KBR employees looted Iraqi palaces for treasure to sell on eBay.

I think we can justifiably add KBR to the list of 'enemies' arrayed against our troops in Iraq.

Why don't we just cut out the middleman? It would be a lot less hassle to just burn the money in the parking lot outside the print shop.

MPT for McCain!

As you may have heard, John McCain is now attacking Barack Obama based upon favorable comments about Obama allegedly made by a leader of Hamas. The fact Obama has repeatedly and unequivocally condemned Hamas apparently isn’t good enough in McCain’s book.

McCain On Obama: “Clear Who Hamas Wants to be the Next President”

While some small-minded sorts might claim that it’s wrong to try to hold a candidate responsible for the statements of an organization he’s specifically condemned, John McCain knows better. He realizes that candidates are 100% responsible for everyone who purports to support them, no ifs, ands or buts (Rev. John Hagee, anyone?).

That is, after all, the straight-talking way.

And we here at Marxist Polygamist Terrorists, Inc. couldn’t agree more! And it is in that very spirit that we hereby proudly announce our enthusiastic and unconditional endorsement of John McCain for President of the United States!

We want to make it very clear where Marxist polygamist terrorists stand in this election! And where we stand is squarely behind John McCain!

So, as Big John McCain would put it himself . . . If Senator McCain is favored by Marxist polygamist terrorists I think people can make judgments accordingly.


McCain will no doubt accept the endorsement with glee, given that the organization has 'Inc.' in its title.

More on voter ID

Expanding a little on Fixer's post, here's what the DNC has to say about the Repug-biased SCOTUS decision on voter ID:

After the ruling, Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean and DNC Voting Rights Institute Chair Donna Brazile issued the following statement:

"Today's decision by the Supreme Court is deeply disappointing and not justified by the facts. It is an affront to our nation's ideal that all people, regardless of their background or beliefs, have the right to vote and have that vote counted. This case has never been about securing the right to vote. Instead, it has confirmed the lengths Republicans will go to in their attempts to limit voting rights in order to win elections. This decision runs counter to the principles on which our great nation was founded, and we will not let them get away with it.

Good luck. They've gotten away with nearly everything they've tried.

SCOTUS has come up with an unconstitutional blatantly partisan ruling about a non-existent problem made up by the Repugs to try and limit other-than-Repug access to the polls. Bolstering this administration's suppressive policies is what SCOTUS gets paid to do these days. To quote the first of the justices who should be hung from the yardarm, "Get over it".

We'll try. 11.4.08 and 1.20.09.

McCain vs. McCain

A 'recommended read' by Fareed Zakaria:

He seems to think he can magically unite the two main strands in the foreign-policy establishment. He can't.

On March 26, McCain gave a speech on foreign policy in Los Angeles that was billed as his most comprehensive statement on the subject. It contained within it the most radical idea put forward by a major candidate for the presidency in 25 years. Yet almost no one noticed.

In his speech McCain proposed that the United States expel Russia from the G8, the group of advanced industrial countries. Moscow was included in this body in the 1990s to recognize and reward it for peacefully ending the cold war on Western terms, dismantling the Soviet empire and withdrawing from large chunks of the old Russian Empire as well. McCain also proposed that the United States should expand the G8 by taking in India and Brazil—but pointedly excluded China from the councils of power.

[...] What McCain has announced is momentous—that the United States should adopt a policy of active exclusion and hostility toward two major global powers. It would reverse a decades-old bipartisan American policy of integrating these two countries into the global order, a policy that began under Richard Nixon (with Beijing) and continued under Ronald Reagan (with Moscow). It is a policy that would alienate many countries in Europe and Asia who would see it as an attempt by Washington to begin a new cold war.

Cold war, hot war, mox nix. McCain'll have 'em both.

[...] His speech reads like it was written by two very different people, each one given an allotment of a few paragraphs on every topic.

The neoconservative vision within the speech is essentially an affirmation of ideology. Not only does it declare war on Russia and China, it places the United States in active opposition to all nondemocracies. [...]

Declaring war on Russia and China. One guess how that's gonna work out...

McCain appears to think that he can magically unite the two main strands in the Republican foreign-policy establishment. But he can't. This is not about personalities but about two philosophically divergent views of international affairs. Put together, they will produce infighting and incoherence. We have seen this movie before. We have watched an American president unable to choose between his ideologically driven vice president and his pragmatic secretary of State—and the result was the catastrophe of George W. Bush's first term. [...]

The second Bush term is even worse, and the third Bush term will be worse than that.

Quote of the Day dos

"I make up crap that isn't true and tell it on TV. Just like Fox News."

Craig Ferguson at the White House Correspondents Dinner.

Catch his whole performance at Deadline Hollywood Daily. Three videos and comments. IMNSHO, Part 2 is the best one.

Quote of the Day

Just another before I leave, a commentary on our 'success' in Afghanistan:


"We never sell the drugs for money," boasted one of the smugglers. "We exchange them for ammunition and Kalashnikovs."


Supporting the troops ... really

Brother Deuddersun reprints a letter from's John Stolz. Of course the Rethugs want to screw the troops any way they can in their quest to run a war on the cheap, especially a certain Republican Presidential Nominee:


We need your help. This week, Senators John McCain, Lindsey Graham, and Richard Burr offered a watered-down substitute to the 21st Century GI Bill, which was introduced by Senators Jim Webb and Chuck Hagel.

We need you to write to your Senators telling them that the McCain bill is unacceptable.


Details at API.

Off to work ... Is it Friday yet?

McCain's legacy ...

William Wolfrum writes it:


"When McCain won the U.S. Presidency (controversially winning nine states by one vote each), the United States had reached lows it had not seen since the Great Depression era. With the nation at war on four fronts as he took office (Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Alabama), McCain quickly responded by taking an 87-day holiday and changing his middle initial to "Dubya."

Upon returning to office, McCain continued to do little but show old movies of himself to people visiting the White House. It was under these circumstances that the U.S. reached full recovery.

It was Sept. 2009 when the "American Miracle," as many have taken to calling it, began. First, the dollar strengthened based on absolutely nothing. Job creation also skyrocketed, as business owners around the nation decided that hiring people could be a way for their companies to stop hemorrhaging money. Acting on this news, oil prices plummeted to $42 a barrel, and the price of gas at U.S. pumps averaged $1.28 a gallon. Health insurance rates plummeted based on the "well, everyone else is doing it," economic theory. Wealth inequality closed dramatically as the poor were not anywhere near as poor and the rich were just slightly less rich. All U.S. infrastructure simultaneously strengthened in 2010, based on what McCain called the "successful privatization of the U.S. infrastructure." Critics pointed out that no private companies had done anything, and that it had all just sort of "happened."


Heh ... If you want another do-nothing corporatist in the White House, McSame is your man.

We're just gonna swab your ...

In light of the SCOTUS ruling yesterday, it's just a matter of time until just about every Dem or progressive constituency is marginalized. Digby sums it up quite succinctly:


First of all, let's not forget that this may be the biggest political land mine the Bush administration has set for Democrats. "Voter fraud" was, you'll remember, at the bottom of the US Attorney scandals and one of their main tools for suppressing the Democratic vote. This is the realization of a very long term plan to chip away at the Voting Rights Act. Republicans, like all aristocrats, know that if enough average people vote, they will lose. Period.


It's the only way the genuine elites can win. Wait for the cries of voter fraud in November.

Monday, April 28, 2008

John McCain and Bush's torture powers

Glenn Greenwald*

There are two reasons, and two reasons only, that the Bush administration is able to claim this power: John McCain and the Military Commissions Act. In September, 2006, McCain made a melodramatic display -- with great media fanfare -- of insisting that the MCA require compliance with the Geneva Conventions for all detainees. But while the MCA purports to require that, it also vested sole and unchallenged discretion in the President to determine what does and does not constitute a violation of the Conventions. After parading around as the righteous opponent of torture, McCain nonetheless endorsed and voted for the MCA, almost single-handedly ensuring its passage. That law pretends to compel compliance with the Conventions, while simultaneously vesting the President with the power to violate them -- precisely the power that the President is invoking here to proclaim that we have the right to use these methods.

McCain will hate the 'gooks' forever for what they did to him. This time, thanks to him, we're the gooks.

*Re the Starbux ad I had to watch to enter Salon: $10 for 3lbs of good French Roast at Costco beats the crap outta $4 a cup.

Another one gone


Dick Rossi, the Flying Tigers pilot who downed six Japanese planes during World War II and later helped preserve the history of the world-famous volunteers, has died. He was 92.

In his 65 years as president of the Flying Tigers Assn., Rossi and his wife helped organize reunions of the pilots and other Flying Tigers, and through speaking engagements helped spread awareness about their role in history.

Though the Flying Tigers were viewed as heroes, they were not seen as veterans by the U.S. government until 1991. Before then the Pentagon argued that the men were volunteers. That position changed after classified documents revealed the role of the government in forming the group.

"Not seen as veterans". They weren't the only ones who did their duty and weren't recognized officially as veterans until long after their service, like the WASPs and Merchant Marine. Some things never change in the government's battle to save money on benefits.

When I was a kid I think I read every word ever printed about the Flying Tigers. They were and are my heroes.

So long, Sir.

Nevada Republican Convention canceled

Blue Lyon: Living Blue in a Red County

Gord's note: Lyon County is the next county south and east of Washoe County, where Reno is located. It covers 2000+ square miles and has a population of about 34,000. Its main claims to fame are legalized prostitution (Yea!) and a Superfund site (not so yea, but a lovely photo nonetheless).

Anjeanette Damon live blogged the Nevada Republican State Convention. Read it all, from the bottom up.

Rules fight over the delegate selection.

Well, we can't say this hasn't been an interesting year. For once, it isn't the Democrats in the news.

Click on Anjeannette's link and go have some fun! Let's just say those pesky Ron Paul supporters gummed up the works. Heh. Mr. Paul is of some use after all!

In related news, Reno has had a swarm of earthquakes of increasing intensity since February. I'm about 20 miles west of the epicenter and haven't felt a thing.

One report said they were felt 'as far away as northwest Reno'. That's less than five miles away. Pansies! We're 180 miles from Frisco and we feel their quakes all the time.

There's a lot of highfalutin' scientific talk agoin' on as to why, but I have two theories: either the Sierra Nevada is just rising up a little due to relief from the great weight of water that has been shifted to Reno's rapid expansion and development, or God is having a belly laugh over all the support for Ron Paul.

Use our water, share our seismic activity. Welcome to California, Reno. You'll really feel like part of the team when you start paying taxes at our rate.

Oh, the irony...

Ironic Times

Contains more square footage than all of Saddam's 70 palaces combined.

Study: Human Race Faced Extinction 70,000 Years Ago
Handful of people survived by ignoring problem, shopping more and cutting taxes.

Recession Has Silver Lining
When economy dives, hemlines traditionally rise.

Airlines to Begin Charging $25 for Second Bag
Of pretzels.

Last resorts ...

No, it's not a travel post.

It's about how we make grave mistakes at the polls and then pray to a higher being to fix them. Instead of electing people who act to preserve the environment, we elect assholes who come up with catchy names like 'Clear Skies' and 'Healthy Forests' for legislation allowing their corporate cronies to rape Mother Nature, and then we pray for rain.

Instead of electing people who look out for the 'working folk', we elect assholes who can count CEOs of oil companies as their base, and then we pray for low gas prices. Idiots:

Come on, people. Instead of praying for lower gas prices, you need to v-o-t-e out all the Rethugs who rubber-stamped the current administration's policies and warmongering that got us here.


Maybe, if you'd all vote with your heads instead of your faith, we might not be paying double what we did last year for gas. Stop voting for the guy you want as a drinking or BBQ buddy (I certainly don't want the people I drink with running the country) and vote for the guy (or girl) who actually knows what they're doing.

To Barack and Hil supporters: Either of them is better than George Bush and John McCain.

To people who won't vote at all if one or the other wins the Dem nom: You'll be doing more damage to this nation than you realize.

To people who will vote for McCain if one or the other wins the Dem nom: You're fucking idiots and it's time to pull your head out your ass.

I'm tired of having to explain this every couple days, but it seems like every other day I run into a Hillary hater or someone who "ain't voting for no black guy". Hil, on her worst day, is head and shoulders above Bush and McCain and it's too early in the morning for me to get into a rant on racism.

Get with the fucking program and realize the future of our nation is at stake in this election. If you fuck it up this time, no amount of praying will help us.

Off to the shop. Yes, I'm leaving early, but I gotta pick up dad-in-law's car to service it and replace a side view mirror.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Quote of the Day

Ranger Jim and Lisa:


Freedom is a hard-won possession in a social construct, and one usually independent of God. God is a limiting concept on human freedom, because if you buy into it, the only freedom you have is what is dispensed to you from on high. He circumscribes your actions, sanctifying or damning them. He does not unleash you from controls, because in that system, you are as a child, and children would do themselves great harm without rules.


Sunday crazy redneck music blogging

In honor of the Democratic presidential primary flusterpluck, I dedicate this to the late Democratic party. by the late Boxcar Willie:

Note the locomotive with no front on its boiler about 25 seconds in. If I'da been sittin' in that thing when its front blew out, my behind'da blown out too...

Glam metal...klezmer?

Boy, ya sure can stumble across some weird shit at YouTube! (If there's any doubt, check this out.) Anyway, I was checkin' out some traditional Eastern European Hasidic and Ashkenasic Jewish jazz as is my wont sometimes, when I ran across this from Seattle, which figures:

An odd combination to be sure, but in the spirit of ever onward and upward (I think), now I'll try ta find some redneck hip-hop. I'll find it, too. Ah'll be back...

Update: I'm ba-ack. You're safe. The 'redneck hip-hop' I found is some of the stupidest shit I've ever seen.

When do the 72 virgins show up?

As regular readers of the Brain, the smartest folks on the planet, may have guessed, I'm a huge fan of John Prine. He ain't all that much of a singer but he's a helluva good songwriter. This particular song has been covered by everybody as have most of his songs.


Fixer, after the video plays, click on the second thumbnail from the left at the bottom.

Going to shit ...

How long have we been in Afghanistan? And now the Mayor of Kabul President Karzai almost gets his ass shot off.

KABUL, Afghanistan – President Hamid Karzai survived an assassination attempt at a military parade in central Kabul on Sunday, when suspected Taliban insurgents fired mortars and bullets at the dignitaries assembled in the spectator stands.


Like I've said in the past, we learned nothing from the British and Russian invasions. They will run us out of there as well.

Holy Crap!


We're starting the demolition in the coming week (once I get off my ass and order the dumpster) and we've been cleaning out cabinets in order to clear the construction area. Needless to say, since we've been in the house (12 years), we've been stashing important papers anywhere they'd fit, always giving the excuse "next year we'll get really organized".

Well, it's gotten to be overwhelming.

So, yesterday we went and got two nice file cabinets (chestnut color, to go with my office decor) and I spent the day putting them together. Today we're getting really organized.

Good. God. With all this paper, we've been living in a 3200 sq. ft. fire hazard. Anyway, that's my day today. Oy! See yas later.


I got 2 shredders going at once. I feel like I work in the Office of the Vice President. Heh ...