Saturday, September 5, 2009

Republican Gomorrah

This esplains a lot...

Many of the usual suspects.

"Republican Gomorrah: Inside the Movement That Shattered the Party"

In a Democracy Now! exclusive, award-winning journalist, Max Blumenthal, joins us for the first extended interview about his debut book, Republican Gomorrah: Inside the Movement That Shattered the Party. The book traces the rise of the radical right in the U.S. and how it used the concept of personal crisis to grow as a movement and eventually capture control of the GOP to transform it from the party of Dwight Eisenhower to the party of Sarah Palin.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Thanks to StartLoving1.

A brief note: I think the christian right has to be pissing off any real Christians there may be out there. Let's hope the little lambs run out of other cheeks to turn pretty soon and start wailing on the phony bastards that are giving them all a bad name.

The rest of us ought to wail on 'em for making our country a laughingstock all over the world, and on the media for giving them attention out of all proportion to their zero worth and giving them an impact that no bunch of fringe loonies should be allowed to have.

That said, the one thing they've done of any benefit is to shatter the Repug party. Perhaps we should just let them finish the job.

Saturday Emmylou Blogging

A clip from this years performance at the 2009 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.

A cappella ("in the style of the chapel"). Be still my heart...

Thanks to ZviZeav.

Just because ...

Don't know why, but the Mrs. and I have been in a Paris mood all morning, French music CDs have been playing for the last few hours and the Mrs. has been cooking for the week. Might not be everybody's thing but the slideshow is excellent.

Joe Dassin - Aux Champs Elysees

Take heed ...

Oliver Willis has a message for the Dem 'leadership':


A trigger is a waste of time and a poor substitute for the public option. If Harry Reid and President Obama try to push this excrement sandwich we folks on the left should all find something more interesting to do in November of next year, like bowling.

No shit. Pass crap and that's what you'll all get next year.

Good Morning, Maggots!

This is without a doubt the finest motivational speech ever recorded, and a similar experience in my youth during a few moments when I thought I mighta made a teensy-weensy little mistake, formed the basis of my friendly conversational technique for dealing with recalcitrant individuals and wingtards.

Note to Barry Obama: Watch this until you can do it with feeling, preferably after your speech to the school kids and before your speech to Congress, although if you get those mixed up, it might be fun. Might be good for bipartisanship as well, as heads will explode across the political spectrum all over the country. Aw, shit, just do it to both of 'em. Neither the little bastards nor the big ones have ever been talked to like this and definitely should be. Heh.

Aw, hell, you won't. If you would like to see this properly done to Congress and produce results, call me an' Fixer and we will be happy to deliver similar to a closed-door session those clowns will never forget. The doors will stay closed until we're sure it took.

NSFW. Why are you working on Saturday anyway?

R. Lee Ermey as Gunny Hartman in 'Full Metal Jacket'

Thanks to steverowley66.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Nailed it ...

Our pal Comrade Misfit in three paragraphs (great musical accompaniment too, by the way):


When the Germans sent their army into France in 1914, they expected a quick victory ...


Undoubtedly Napoleon expected that the Russians would capitulate easily. It didn't work out that way.


Wars almost always turn out different from what the planners envision. The blathering of imbecilic civilian sloganeers who say things like "we can fight them in Kabul or in Topeka" only betray their own ignorance.

Shopping Day

It's a shopping day, starting with breakfast at Q's. I'm thinkin' of chicken fried steak 'n eggs. Thinkin' of it pretty much to the exclusion of all else right now, so I'll leave ya with a coupla little tidbits:

Welcome Back To Pottersville

Assclowns of the Week #76: Reading the Tea Leaves/Labor Day edition

So hop on board the conservative clown car and let’s peer in the windows and laugh at these August assclowns and much, much more!

#6 is my favorite.

P.M. Carpenter

Progressive malpractice

The health-care "debate" has dragged on so long and consumed so much political oxygen -- thank you, Congress -- we're becoming brain-damaged players in a vast stage management of vastly superfluous scripts. Worse, we are reaching the point of empty hype and hysteria over rational engagement.

Naturally I exclude the right from the "we" of that diagnosis, since they're beyond brain-damaged. They flatlined long ago, the poor dears, and now feature themselves in nothing but -- even for Roger Corman -- bad Roger Corman flicks. With pupils dilated and arms rigidly extended their call goes forth, "Must ... kill ... progress."

But what of the still-conscious actors? [...]

Well, Fixer covered a slight show of consciousness. We will see...

See yas later.

Buchanan is right. Way too far right.

Following up on Fixer's post from yesterday, from TPM Muckraker:

According to Buchanan, Hitler's invasion of Poland -- which led to Britain's declaration of war on Germany, and the start of World War II -- was motivated merely by Germany's desire to regain the city of Danzig, which had been given to Poland in the Versailles Treaty. Had Poland simply negotiated with Hitler, war could have been averted. In fact, Hitler wasn't bent on world, or even European, domination. He would have been happy with just Danzig, Austria, and the Sudetenland, you see. Hitler "wanted to end the war in 1940, almost two years before the trains began to roll to the camps." It was only thanks to the aggression of Britain, Russia, and the U.S. that the conflict was expanded. So, goes the implication, any deaths that occurred after 1940 -- including the 6 million that comprised the Holocaust -- are on the Allies' heads.

In fact, the column is just a bite-size version of an argument Buchanan made last year in book form. (Really, it's a chance to tout the book.)

It's not shocking that Hitler apologists exist. And this is hardly the first time we've seen evidence that Buchanan is one of them. But it boggles the mind that a person who believes this has been given such a prominent media platform, such that his writing appears on one of the web's most highly-trafficked news site, and he himself appears regularly on a major -- and supposedly liberal-leaning! -- cable news station.

The very first commenter appears to have been clawing around in my head and nails it dead nuts:

Hitler did not want war in the same way that Buchanan and the modern GOP do not want bipartisan conflict. It is much preferable for your adversaries to give you everything you want without condition or hesitation. When your adversaries do not immediately surrender and become your mindless servants, they force you into the tragic choice of conflict. All blame for the conflict -- and for the shameful and immoral way in which you conduct yourself during that conflict -- is theirs, not yours. - CN

Yeah, WWII was all Europe's fault for not handing itself over to him. And so should those damn commie Dems. Yeesh.

Many more comments.

Thank god for the progressives ...

At least some Dems have some balls. The Progressive Caucus won't vote for a bill without the 'public option' and the Speaker agrees:


In a letter delivered to the White House moments ago, the two leaders of the bloc of House progressives bluntly told President Obama that they will not support any health care plan without a public option in it — and demanded a meeting to inform him face to face.


That lets me head to work with a smile on my face.

Quote of the Day

JF @ TPM via Ol' Fez:

How long did it take the right to go from: "if you criticize the President you are a traitor" to "School children should not trust the President."

Thursday, September 3, 2009


(stays on top today - G)

We just needed a little more room.

I learned about the rise and fall of the Nazis as close to first hand as someone can while not being alive and living in Germany at the time. I heard the stories from Germans who were virulently against Hitler (they even wrote a book about it - Hauenstein gegen Hitler). I know, from people who witnessed first hand, the horrors and atrocities committed in the name of the fascist leadership. I know what they did to resist, to save lives when it seemed the rest of their nation was in the tank for the Nazis.

Hitler himself came to deliver a speech in my town and none of the townspeople showed up (they all went into their houses and drew the shutters), the Nazis having to bus people in from other places to have a crowd for der Fuehrer to address. The people of my town were some of the first in Germany to see American troops (we're 10 minutes from the French border) and greeted them like liberators. From the time I can remember, I was taught how to spot a fascist in seconds by their words and deeds. It's why I'm so anti-'conservative'. The only difference between them and the Nazis is their intensity. I could write 20 pages on the similarities.

70, 80 years later, aside from some particularly foolish, stupid, and crazy (not the good kind of crazy like me, but the seriously crazy) people, I thought the crimes of my people toward themselves and the rest of the world were settled. I thought it was universally understood that it was a horrible time in human history and should never be repeated. My people went so far as to criminalize Nazi speech and symbols to assure we never get in touch with our 'inner beast' again.

Then there's Pat Buchanan. Dday:


I guess the news peg for this is the anniversary of the start of WWII in September 1939, but Pat Buchanan has gone ahead and apologized for Hitler, claiming he sought no empire or wider war with Europe, and had merely benign interests of German unification at heart: [my em]


A lot was justified by the term "German unification" (mostly bad), almost as much as the "Word of God" gave license to massacre and atrocity over the course of history. This paragraph makes me sick:


Indeed, why would he want war when, by 1939, he was surrounded by allied, friendly or neutral neighbors, save France. And he had written off Alsace, because reconquering Alsace meant war with France, and that meant war with Britain, whose empire he admired and whom he had always sought as an ally.


As "American exceptionalism" pervades our foreign policy today, so did "German exceptionalism" in the years between the wars. Germany was humiliated after WW1, a great wound to a very proud people (believe me). German unification was to be just that, a consolidation of the lands occupied by ethnic Germans outside German borders. It was a broad swath of Europe, comprising parts of Russia (You don't think "White Russian" is only the name of a drink, do you?) in addition to the Slovak states. The term "Grossdeutschland" wasn't pulled out of someone's ass; the idea of a "Greater Germany" was at the heart of Nazi policy.

I'll agree with Pat on one point. Hitler didn't want war, if he could take what he wanted without a firing a shot. You can bet there was no moralizing in Berlin if it was determined something desired could only be had by force. The tanks rolled the next day.

Hitler and his criminal band wanted a pure, white, Germany that stretched from the shores of Dunkirk to the Bosporus, from Scandinavia to the Sahara, and nothing was going to stand in their way. From the bloodthirsty SS commanders to the greedy industrialists to the exceptional propaganda machine (rivaled only by today's Republican Party), the overriding philosophy was to expand German influence and acquire the resources needed to keep what they took.

Pat Buchanan is horribly, dangerously wrong to portray Hitler as some sort of pacifist, forced into war at the tip of the Allied sword. Hitler was mad but those who envisioned riches and power as a product of his 'expeditions' enabled him. Emboldened by early victories, conquest of Europe and the reacquisition of the African colonies was a certainty. To suggest the Allies drove Hitler to war is ridiculous when the intent was there from the beginning. To suggest the atrocities committed at the camps (and on the streets) were somehow aggravated by the Allies taking a stand against Hitler in the early days is nearly criminal.

It's easy to see why Pat wants to soften Hitler because the right in 21st Century America has their own version and the similarities are too striking to be ignored. If those on the right can't make Hitler more 'human', Dick Cheney stands a good chance of going to jail and the Republicans are liable to go the way of the Nazis. It is quite worrisome to me where some can find justification for anything Hitler did, let alone hint that the Allies were somehow complicit. There are too many Americans out there who would listen to this trash and believe it's time to start rounding up and executing the untermenschen. It is amazing how far we've fallen.

A little Thursday afternoon Guinea fingerpickin'

Chillax, folks. We've almost made it through another week of Repug lies and fearmongering. Congress'll be back in session next week and everything'll calm down. Suuuuure it will...

Franco Morone ~ Carolan's Concerto

Thanks to progressivo2, Portugal.

Giving the finger to health care reform

A follow-up to my post about the MoveOn We Can't Afford To Wait Vigil I attended yesterday evening. They held these all over the place. Apparently they weren't all quite as calm as the one I went to.


Authorities are searching for a healthcare reform activist today who they said bit off the finger of a 65-year-old counter-demonstrator during a fight at a rally in Thousand Oaks.

“It all started with their difference in philosophy over healthcare reform,” said Senior Deputy Eric Buschow of the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department.

The incident occurred about 7 p.m. Wednesday at a “We Can’t Afford to Wait Vigil” organized by affiliates of the activist group, which drew supporters of President Obama’s healthcare plan, Buschow said. The rally also attracted several counter-protesters, he said.

During the rally at Lynn Road and Hillcrest Drive, near the Oaks Mall, the two men got into a heated argument and began fighting.

“At which point, one man bit off the left pinky of the other,” Buschow said.

That perhaps was not the best way to get the point across. It is something I would never do. Of course, I have no teeth and would just try to equal my opponent up on that score. Heh.

This gets better! From Talking Points Memo (better story than the LATimes. Actual eyewitness account of the fisticuffs. Heh.):

Sheriffs deputies soon arrived. Kuns isn't sure where the finger biter took off to, but did see the bitten man walk in the direction of a hospital a couple blocks away. The AP has since reported that a hospital spokeswoman said the anti-reformer lost half his finger, though doctors reattached it and sent him home last night. "She says he had Medicare," the story states.

Zing! One wonders if the 'anti guy' got the delicious irony of having his nosepicker sewn back on by socialized medicine! My sides hurt...

G's prediction: Watch for the Wingtard Noise Machine, perhaps Crazy Becky or Michelle Ramalamadingdong, to spin this incident to accuse Liberals of cannibalism, perhaps due to a certain Kenyan influence.

" Maoist indoctrination camps except with less rice."

The Rude Pundit on President Obama's upcoming commie indoctrination speech to students:

Some abusive parents have decided that their blind ideology is more important than exposing their children to ideas not approved by Rush Limbaugh and are actually preventing them from watching the speech. Because why? They're afraid Obama will seem like a nice guy when he doesn't have a Hitler mustache?

Oh, sweet, stupid motherfuckers who shouldn't have been allowed to breed, like it or not, when someone is the President, that person is the President of all of us. So, sorry, conservatives madly craning your necks to lick your own taints over Obama's speech, he's your President, too. The only way he's not your President is if you leave the country. On the left, we lived with that knowledge for 8 years. You're not even up to ten months. A little advice here: let this one go.

Or maybe we should put a positive spin on the ignorance on display here. Maybe this actually accomplishes Bill Ayers' goals in education moreso than sitting and watching the speech. Indeed, maybe what the parents are teaching their kids is to question authority. So, in that context, dear, dumb assholes, good luck with that when your kids become teenagers.

Teenagers questioning authority? Why, I never heard of such a thing! (Chortle) Be careful what you wish for...

Death, Republican Style

Jacob Weisberg in Newsweek

The republicans charge that Democratic health care reform would, in Sen. Charles Grassley's words, "pull the plug on Grandma." According to Sen. Jon Kyl, the bills before Congress would ration medical treatment by age. Rep. John Boehner says they promote euthanasia. Sarah Palin has raised the specter of "death panels." Such fears are understandable. It's not preposterous to imagine laws that would try to save money by encouraging the inconvenient elderly to make an early exit. After all, that's been the Republican policy for years.

It was Grassley himself who devised the "Throw Mama From the Train" provision of the GOP's 2001 tax cut. The estate-tax revision he championed will reduce the estate tax to zero next year. But when it expires at year's end, the tax will jump back up to its previous level of 55 percent. Grassley's exploding tax break has an entirely foreseeable, if unintended, consequence: it incentivizes ailing, elderly rich people to end their lives—paging Dr. Kevorkian—before midnight on Dec. 31, 2010. It also gives their children an incentive to sign DNR orders and switch off respirators in time for the deadline. This would be a great plot for a P. D. James novel if it weren't an actual piece of legislation.

[...] Republicans in Congress have created a similar inducement for Grandma not to die before January 2010, but to make sure she is gone by January 2011.

But why would Republicans be trying to kill old people? After all, senior citizens are more likely to vote for the GOP than for Democrats. They were the only substantial demographic segment John McCain won in 2008. You'd think conservatives would want them to hang on as long as possible. The problem is that because of the Democratic programs Social Security and Medicare, the aged are expensive for government to keep around. The writer Jodie T. Allen once explained the reason for the GOP's "pro-death" policies: faced with an unpalatable choice between cutting benefits and raising taxes to pay for the growing costs of entitlement programs, Republicans gravitated toward a third alternative—restraining growth in life expectancy. If you want lower taxes and aren't willing to risk cutting spending, you need fewer beneficiaries.

I do not wish to alarm older, wealthier readers, but you may find family gatherings becoming increasingly tense over the next year. Do not be surprised if your heirs try to sit you down for a "conversation." And do not be surprised if you experience something like the following nightmare: You're in a hospital bed, hovering in a state of partial consciousness. Beneath the mask, that surgeon has a familiar face … wait, isn't that … Dr. Grassley? And who's that with the syringe—Nurse Palin? At which point, if you are lucky, you will wake up in a cold sweat.

I wonder if the Repugs will support Medicare reimbursement for 'end of life counselling' with estate planners and tax lawyers? Does Grandma have to show up herself or can we just plan for her?

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

We Can't Afford to Wait Vigil

Mrs. G conned wheedled threatened gave me 'the look' convinced me I should accompany her this evening to Truckee Regional Park for a candlelight vigil for health care reform sponsored by the local MoveOn folks. I think so far there's 27 people signed up to attend. It's a small town.

'Candlelight vigils' always struck me as being held for missing and deceased people. Hmmmm. Maybe health care reform qualifies at that.

I'm not really expecting any birthers/deathers/racists/wingtard assholes to try and disrupt the event, but I dug out my old gloves with the pennies sewn into the backs of the fingers and knuckles just in case. Mrs. G talked me outta taking them though. That's an illegal weapon that could land me in the clink. She just said to use my bare hands and purity of heart.

I couldn't find very much on this event to link to. Might be able to tomorrow. I hope my name isn't in it. I'll let ya know how it goes.


The vigil went pretty smooth. A coupla Dead Enders showed up with stupid signs like "RIP Mary Jo Kopechne" and some other wingtard BS about tort reform and "fear Obamacare" and stuff like that. Maybe three people. They didn't shout or try to disrupt things.

The only thing even close to an incident involved a pro-Bush asshole and a bigger, younger guy than me. They got into it verbally a little, not even really very loud. After a few seconds a woman in the crowd told them they were being rude and disrespecting the speaker and to shut up, and they did. Given the tone of her voice, I would have too!

The whole deal was like an open air AA meeting. A few people, all ladies, told the crowd their health care horror stories and how we need health care reform right effin' now, which I think we all know.

One of the Dead End Quarter reps went and whispered in the lady's ear who was running things. I don't know what he said, but I think he was asking for mic time because the next thing she said that we could hear through the speaker was to the effect of "If you have a different point of view, that's fine, but get your people together and have your own event. This is our time." Good for her.

The most exciting moment involved the lady sitting next to us. She had a candle with a Dixie cup around it to catch the wax and the cup caught fire. I had a nice chat with her old man. He was from Massachusetts, called himself a conservative, said he'd never voted Repuglican in his life, and that all our country's problems were caused by 'the haters' and big money. Who was I to argue?

There were maybe forty people showed up and it lasted about an hour. Buncha reg'lar folks. Nothing substantial got accomplished, but I'm glad I went.

And yes, I went ready for anything. I had a little flashlight about the size and weight of a roll of quarters, if you know what I mean. Lit it a coupla times.

Embassy Guards Gone Wild: The Pictures (NSFW)

Following up on yesterday's post. Just go.

Northern Racism Alive and Well and Stupid

If you should by chance know someone who lives up north, like, oh gee, I don't know, say in Suffolk County, New York, you should go read El Rude-o. Links at site.

Here's a fun little story from about ten years ago: the Rude Pundit was once sitting around with a group of professors, and the subject got around to how one defines "white trash." It's one of those charming theoretical discussions you get to have when you're overeducated and proud of it. He sat there for a moment while this circle of Northerners trotted out every trailer-living, tobacco-chewing, hick-talking stereotype (which, to be clear, exists in numbers far too large). And, of course, there was the defining element of these awful people from the South - their racism. Finally, the Rude Pundit spoke up and said, "As the only person here who has actually lived in a trailer in the South, I've gotta say that there's neighborhoods in Brooklyn or Boston where you'll find white trash racists who make the residents of Backwards Ass, Alabama, look like hippies." This was met with blinking and agreement and a change of subject.

It hardly needs to be said, but every once in a while, as all the redneck townhall protesters from the south, the midwest, and the west are paraded out on the airwaves like a barn beauty pageant, we need to be reminded that violent, stupid white people exist all over this devolving nation of ours.

Suffolk County, New York, out on Long Island, is the place...[...]

[...] The county is also rife with stupid fucking white people joining stupid fucking white people gangs and groups that exist solely to demonstrate how fucking stupid stupid fucking white people can be.

Suffolk County is hardly unique.

Dissecting the Scrambled Brains of the GOP

Yuck, although you can get the result in a taco off the truck - buche wingtardo . If you don't mind contracting a disease.

A good read from The Existentialist Cowboy

The Bush regime was as utterly incompetent as it was evil. Otherwise, Dick Cheney, who supervised 911, would have just ordered his minions to 'plant' WMD in the areas his 'task force' had already targeted for theft! In retrospect, the Bush regime turns out to have been half-assed crooks, half-assed murderers, half-assed liars, a ludicrous gang that couldn't shoot straight.

The GOP under Bush was determined to stay the course if it killed us. Indeed, it killed many of us, primarily those who had been 'left behind' in Texas and elsewhere. Killing Iraqis and stealing oil was, perhaps, their career path of last resort!

It was Ronald Reagan who put a smiley face on "psychosis", i.e. the indulgence of delusion as long as it makes you feel good or, at least, better about yourself. [...]

Similarly, it was during the 2000 election debacle that Robert Novak said Democrats were 'trying to steal this election by counting votes!' Antonin Scalia would not be outdone. He said that continuing the recount would be harmful to Bush! Scalia did not know when to shut the flock up, adding:

Count first, and rule upon legality afterwards, is not a recipe for producing election results that have the public acceptance democratic stability requires.

Go read the rest. Ride 'em, cowboy!

5 Years

Today is the fifth anniversary of my gig here at the Brain. Yesterday if ya count testing to see if it actually worked. It seems to have. In Blogtopia, that's an ice age!

When I started, I didn't know jack shit. I still don't, but I mean in the technical sense. I didn't know how to cut & paste, blockquote, upload and download graphic material, HTML, links (I thought 'hot links' were Louisiana sausage), none of the tricks and tidbits I use regularly today. There wasn't even any YouTube then, which seems stunning now.

I made one comment in my first post that embarrasses me a little still, which is that I wouldn't use quotes very much. For one thing, I didn't know how, I actually thought you had to type them and thought that was too much like work, and I didn't quite realize just how much work goes into original commentary. It didn't take me very long to understand that reference quotes are the life's blood of political commentary, and longer quotes are a great way to get someone else's good points or the meat of a subject across.

Fixer was very patient. He taught me a lot and I picked up more along the way.

Fixer and I have never met, although I hope we do some day. We've never talked on the phone, although we've heard each other's voices on videos. We communicate via e-mail and snail mail on a very irregular basis. The only editorial direction I've ever had from him was to "hold down the porn" when I discovered how to upload photos. He lets me do whatever I want completely how I want to, which is a polite way of saying I'm hung out to dry out here on the left coast all on my own, although I prefer to think of it as holding down the left flank without the possibility of reinforcements. It works out pretty well, and he and I agree on a lot more subjects and have more in common than I would have thought, considering the differences in our ages and backgrounds, which are really not all that dissimilar when you think about it which I'm sure we do and wouldn't have had we not hooked up, not to mention the cultural differences of being from opposite ends of the continent. Must be something to do with us both being mechanics: it's pretty near impossible to bullshit a broken car or bike into acting right, although we're both experienced enough to get away with it once in a while. I better stop that line lest I give away any trade secrets.

That said, I consider Fixer my friend and a potential dangerously hilarious running mate (visuals of the back seats of po-leece cars with CA and NY license plates, their occupants sitting on their hands and laughing like fiends). Heh. Alternatively, us laying on our backs looking up at the undersides of crapcan Humvees with sand blowing up our asses, figuring out how we're gonna liven up the EM/NCO Club later.

Which goes directly to the beauty of the internets: distance is no longer a bar to like minds or the dissemination of ideas. If nothing else, we find that we are all pissed off about the same things. It's also no bar to disagreement or learning, and we must listen to one another and learn something new every day or we will be just like our enemy, the right wing.

I love this gig. This is the best 'job' I've ever had, and I've never stayed on a 'real' job this long ever in my life. The pay is immeasurable. Literally, both in terms of money (none) and satisfaction (immense). This is the perfect spot for an opinionated retiree if only because it keeps me off the street and out of trouble.

Thank you, Fixer. You've given me a home and a voice and I'm here as long as you'll have me. I'd say "'til death us do part", but...

And thank you, dear readers, without whom this would just be graffiti.

I'll close this with a little ditty from my third-ever post:

"We're all friends on this old boat
And none of us are sissies.
We tuck each other in at night,
And blow each other............kissies!"

Hmmmm. Maybe not all that much has changed in 5 years after all...

A little more Tina ...

You can thank Gordon for getting me aroused yesterday.

First, the best version of this tune evah:

Ike & Tina Turner live - Proud Mary

Next, something a little closer to the 21st Century (after she unloaded Ike) that gets the blood going:

Tina at the Grammys 1985 - What's Love Got To Do With It?

And lastly, back to the "Good Old Days":

Ike & Tina - River Deep, Mountain High

Okay, I'm done ...

Accountability and Responsibility ...

Greenwald gives Joke Line a lesson:

I'm ambivalent about whether even to acknowledge this obviously disturbed, Cheneyite rant from Joe Klein. On the one hand, I don't want to be dragged down into what is, for him, quite clearly a deeply emotional and personal matter (having its roots in things like this, this and this); I don't think very many people care about petty feuds and engaging them isn't the purpose of what I do here. Moreover, Klein's commenters (as usual) have done a thorough and masterful job of demolishing what he wrote, as have several others. On the other hand, when someone like Klein -- first in a secret club composed of several hundred journalists, editors, bloggers and other peers and colleagues, and then using a megaphone like Time -- repeatedly calls you a military-hating, unpatriotic, ignorant, Limbaugh-like, "mean-spirited, dishonorable, graceless, bully" who doesn't care if America Stays Safe, and that then is "reported" in various places, it's probably prudent to say something. So I'll just make a couple of general points illustrated by all of this that I think are worth making:


There's about 20 links in that paragraph and many more throughout the piece. Though it's a takedown of 'The Line', it applies to all the Washington 'insiders'. A good read.


(2) Klein's complaint that "twice in the past month, [his] private communications have been splashed about the internet" is revealing. The first incident was when he went to a beach party, spat a slew of insults (I'm not only a "civil liberties absolutist" but also "evil") in front of a group of people, all while speaking with an individual he didn't know but who happened to be a prolific and excellent blog commenter, sometimes blogger and I.F. Stone's granddaughter. She then wrote about what he said in a very widely-linked post. That's who Klein, in yesterday's post, bizarrely called a "rather pathetic woman acolyte of Greenwald's."


It's how Joke Line and his pals look at us all, like gum on the bottom of their shoe ... until it comes to buying the rags in which they're published.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

A Little Tuesday Tina

Here's a little number about the future of our country after the Repugs get done with it if they have their way. They almost pulled it off with B&C, and they're still trying. The 'hero' we don't need is any more assholes like them.

Thanks to Ichnos71x2, Italy.

Animal House in Afghanistan

US Embassy Guards Go Wild In Kabul: Prostitution, Brawls, And Vodka "Butt Shots"

I'm almost ashamed of myself. When I saw that headline at HuffPo, my first thought was of old school Marine embassy guards. You know I had to read on...


Drunken brawls, prostitutes, hazing and humiliation, taking vodka shots out of buttcracks — no, the perpetrators of these Animal House-like antics aren't some depraved frat brothers. They are the private security contractors guarding Camp Sullivan, otherwise known as the US Embassy in Kabul.

Mercs again. Thank God. I have never been this glad in my life to be wrong.

Not that there's anything wrong with prostitutes and brawls, but as an old man with an old man's puritan sensibilities, I just hope there's a shot glass clenched in between those buttcracks and the vodka...

I don't want my tax dollars going to perverts, after all. Unless they're Marines.


Here's another one:

Theft, hookers, melting down Iraqi gold to make cowboy spurs? All in a day's work for private military contractors in Iraq?

I say when the last of our troops leave Iraq, we don't tell the mercs. They'll find out in due time.

"We must slit our wrists!"

The Colorado Independent

In a fiery speech that had her conservative Colorado audience cheering, U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann railed against the dangers of health care reform and other Democratic initiatives, warning the proposals “have the strength to destroy this country forever.”

“This cannot pass,” the Minnesota Republican told a crowd at a Denver gathering sponsored by the Independence Institute. “What we have to do today is make a covenant, to slit our wrists, be blood brothers on this thing. This will not pass. We will do whatever it takes to make sure this doesn’t pass.”

Note to Ms. Bachmann: That's the best idea you've ever had, Fruitcake! I hope the whole damn Dead End Quarter takes your advice.

Don't take any chances that it won't work - slit 'em longways. Deep, too.

Mexico's health care lures Americans

USA Today

MEXICO CITY — It sounds almost too good to be true: a health care plan with no limits, no deductibles, free medicines, tests, X-rays, eyeglasses, even dental work — all for a flat fee of $250 or less a year.

To get it, you just have to move to Mexico.

¡Ay caramba!

Time to take Dick Cheney into Custody

I couldn't agree more. Here's the first and last paragraphs of a good post by ondelette at FDL:

I don't write about torture as much as I used to. But I do think a little clarification of what the law is, and what the obligations of Eric Holder and Barack Obama under the Convention Against Torture are, is in order. Further, if Mr. Holder, as expressed, wants to prosecute those who went beyond the good faith interpretation of the Department of Justice memos, then with all due respect, Mr. Attorney General, Richard B. Cheney should be a target of those investigations.

Hereinafter followeth the litany of crimes and an admission by the unrepentant evildoer.

In other words, Mr. Cheney is to be taken into custody on the allegation of torture, at the beginning of the proceedings, before the preliminary inquiry, not at the end, and foreign governments are then to be notified as to whether or not the arresting state is going to "exercise jurisdiction", i.e. conduct investigation, prosecution, punishment, and reparations. And there is nothing in the CAT specifying that special procedures are to be taken for former members of the fourth branch of government, regular guests on Sunday talk shows, or people whose daughters claim "political controversy" or "policy debate" on TV. U.S. Marshals, your duty is clear.

Go get him. Make Marshall Dillon and Mary Shannon proud! They're fictional characters of course, but the idea that Cheney is going to be arrested is fantasy even though it is supremely warranted.


Bob Cesca's Awesome Blog!

Cheney and the 'No Attacks Mythology'

I guess the other thing that offends the hell out of me, frankly, Chris, is we had a track record now of eight years of defending the nation against any further mass casualty attacks from Al Qaida.

You know which other two-term administrations had "eight year track records defending the nation against any further mass casualty attacks from Al Qaida?"

All of them.

Every two-term administration ever can boast the same thing.

And they achieved it without selling out our values and breaking international law. Sorry, Dick, but you're a liar, a coward and a war criminal.

Bob forgot 'traitor'.

There are laws against us lying to the authorities, from the local cops on up, but there seems to be no law against them lying to us even if it starts an unnecessary war. There ought to be. Perhaps it comes under 'high crimes and misdemeanors'. Like treason.

Traitors and war criminals hang.

Cowards have to live with themselves. The same lack of character that makes them cowards makes it easy for them. Cowardice seems to be a 'moral value' amongst neocons although they think nothing of sending others into harm's way for no good reason.

They say a coward dies a thousand deaths. I'll settle for one state-sponsored one in Cheney's case.

A little Frank Zappa ...

His way of giving the Jesus freaks and snake oil salesmen the finger:

Frank Zappa Live - Cosmik Debris


For Oblio:


The price of meat has just gone up but your old lady has just gone down.


Quote of the Day

Our pal Nunya is reading Cruel and Unusual:


It's hard to go back over all the stuff that Bush/Cheney pulled. I don't think I've ever hated people that I never met like I hate that traitorous duo.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Oh. My. God!!!1!1!!!

(Stays on top today - G)

Dick Cheney is offended! No shit. He's complaining the White House is "politicizing the Justice Department", because AG Holder is looking into the torture of "enemy combatants" at Gitmo and black sites around the world.

You know, not that any government agencies were politicized during the Bush administration. Not that the CIA was tasked to gin up evidence of Saddam's "WMD program" as an excuse to invade Iraq. Not that FEMA was led by a horse lover and political hack who knew nothing about emergency management and allowed New Orleans to drown. Not to mention our emails and correspondence - and who knows what else - collected and scanned for 'subversive activity'. Not that a whole buncha U.S. attorneys were fired because they wouldn't falsely prosecute Democrats and look the other way when it came to Republican irregularities. Not to mention the manipulation of the color-coded terrorist threat status system when it suited.

You see, this is an opening that could send Cheney to jail. Now, being the cynic that I am, I don't expect more than a few low-level operators to eventually stand trial. I don't expect to see Yoo, Addington, or anyone else from the former administration to go to jail, let alone Cheney. Holder is using Yoo's memos as the legal yardstick to begin with, as opposed to the Geneva Conventions and settled U.S. law. The fact Cheney is so worried makes me happy but the only way they'll get him is if someone turns. Hopefully, the investigation will put enough pressure on Yoo, or another puppet, to give up his masters.

I'm disgusted the probe has such a narrow focus but if it will make those in power think twice about arbitrarily breaking the law in the future, I'll consider it a good thing. In a perfect world, the Dems would have shoved the entire Bush term up the Republicans' collective ass and they'd jam a single-payer health care bill down their throats. Neither is going to happen with the 'leadership' we have in the Congress and White House now but any gain is better than sweeping the whole thing under the rug. If they had a set of testicles (or any political sense) among them, they would use the crimes of the Bush administration to cripple the Republicans to the point of irrelevance.

The fact Cheney is out there at all, let alone getting "offended" says the investigation is on the right track. The fact he's putting pressure on his pals in the Fourth Estate to back him up speaks volumes about the degree of his concern. If there is any sense in the White House, now would be the time to increase Holder's mandate. The news of the investigation becoming more 'wide-ranging' would certainly increase the pressure on those with consciences, on those who put more value on their own skins than those of their former employers, maybe even enough for them to come forward in an attempt to trade their knowledge of misdeeds for their freedom. One can only hope.

George Bush, Dick Cheney, and their henchmen belong in jail (whether it be a federal prison or a penitentiary in Holland) for what they've done to this country and I hope prosecutions are coming. In this world, however, I'd settle for a little truth.

Siege warfare ...

I thought the hard part would be over when we got the Chimp to leave and kept McCain/Palin out of the White House. Looks like the hardest part is ahead of us. The Incomparable Krugman:


No, I haven’t lost my mind. Nixon was surely the worst person other than Dick Cheney ever to control the executive branch.

But the Nixon era was a time in which leading figures in both parties were capable of speaking rationally about policy, and in which policy decisions weren’t as warped by corporate cash as they are now. America is a better country in many ways than it was 35 years ago, but our political system’s ability to deal with real problems has been degraded to such an extent that I sometimes wonder whether the country is still governable.


I've wondered that for a long time.


Given the combination of G.O.P. extremism and corporate power, it’s now doubtful whether health reform, even if we get it — which is by no means certain — will be anywhere near as good as Nixon’s proposal, even though Democrats control the White House and have a large Congressional majority.

And what about other challenges? Every desperately needed reform I can think of, from controlling greenhouse gases to restoring fiscal balance, will have to run the same ga[u]ntlet of lobbying and lies. [my ems]


Our Congress is bought and paid for, and I don't have a clue how we can change that.

GOP Town Hall Handbook Revealed

[A big welcome to Crooks and Liars readers. Thanks, Mike! - F.]


Excerpts from the book entitled "Taking My Country Back from Those People"

Chapter One: Fail to the Chief

As you know, job one for the true patriot is to do whatever is necessary to make Barack Obama fail. Whatever he is in favor of you know is just his sick subversive plan to take away your guns, have illegal aliens take over your house, and grant abortions on demand to legally married gays.

(You will notice we don't call him 'President' because as you all know, he imported dozens of thugs from Kenya where he was born a Muslim, to rig the last election which he stole from our real president, Sarah Palin.) So, since Obama is in favor of health care reform, you have to be against it. Ignore all the America-hating liberals who tell lies that there is anything wrong with our health care system. Remember, if you don't have health care or your health insurance plan has just said they won't pay for your illness, it's only because you haven't been praying enough.

Chapter Five: Know your Rights!

When those Christ-haters who own the media start to tell you that bringing guns and shouting down any discussion on health care is wrong, just tell them you are exercising your First and Second Amendment Rights. Having the God-given right to shouting and waving guns are all you need to know about your rights. The other stuff in the Bill of Rights is Communist propaganda. When Sarah Palin takes her proper place as our real president, she will abolish the useless Third through Tenth Amendment to the Constitution and replace them with the Ten Commandments.

Actually, they are combining their First and Second Amendment rights. I've done it for years - they're shooting off their mouths.

Update by F on Wednesday morning:

Seems there's a quibble about attribution for the quotes. From comments:

You are pilfering and reposting a copyrighted essay by Citizens For Legitimate Government.
Attorney R J Shulman wrote that essay for CLG.
Please provide PROPER ATTRIBUTION: shulman_gop_...led_310809.html
That is the source URL, despite your welcoming 'Crooks & Liars' readers who are reading *our* essay.
Thank you.
Lori R. Price
Managing Editor
Citizens For Legitimate Government

Everybody happy now, even though it's the same link Gordon posted? Christ ... Don't do much blog, do ya, lady?

Click on whatever fucking link you want.

Update by F on Thursday evening:

It goes on:

My reply to her in comments:

Lori, I'm welcoming Crooks and Liars readers who stop here, thanking Mike Finnigan for the link. That said, since the CLG link seems to not be good enough, I'll post your comment and links.

Figured that would be the end but no:

To Fixer, regarding this comment: 'Lori, I'm welcoming Crooks and Liars readers who stop here, thanking Mike Finnigan for the link.'
Understood, and thank you for the repost of the source URL.
Yes, you are correct that you did provide the link to CLG, so I'm sorry for assuming it was your blog that was at fault.
That having been said, the crooks and liars *at* Crooks and Liars should have provided the link to the original essay -- at CLG -- and not to the secondary/reposting site -- the Alternate Brain blog.
I pointed this out to them, but the no-integrity slugs at C&L kept it as is.
Finnigan is implying, with the layout of his post, that the essay is yours and not CLG's... pathetic is as pathetic does.
Lori Price

But a man has his limits:

Lori, every day, Mike links to blogs not as big as Crooks and Liars. He was linking to us because we referenced your essay and had some relevant commentary on it. He does this with a lot of blogs, I believe, to show us some love in the way of traffic. Do me a favor, Lori. Stop over at C & L every day for a week and you'll get what he's about. Over 4000 (at latest count) C & L readers have read your essay thanks to Mike sending his readers to us to see it. Those 4000 readers (at latest count) are also seeing you make a mountain out of a relative molehill.

I also won't sit back and let you impugn the character of people ("the no-integrity slugs at Crooks and Liars") I have come to respect over the past 5 years. At least, not here.

You're starting to get on my nerves and I suggest we call it a day before you start to piss me off. You got your attribution twice over. Be satisfied with that.


CAMBRIDGE (IWR Satire*) - A study conducted by scientists at MIT found that, in general, Republicans have much longer noses than their Democratic counterparts. They said this was do to a "Pinocchio Effect" caused by members of the GOP telling a higher frequency of untruths than average Americans.

According to lead scientist, Heirlooom Tomotso: "It's not that Independents or Democrats don't lie; the problem with Republicans is that they believe their own lies after they make them up causing them to lie with impunity. This makes their noses to grow unaturally long as predicted by Darwin's law of nasal selection".

*Satire has to be clearly labelled these days because it is perilously close to be taken for the truth when applied to anything the Repugs do.


Yeah, ya are, lady

Think Progress, links and video

Texas Secessionist To Health Care Reform Advocates: ‘Go Back To The U.S. Where You Belong’

On Friday, ThinkProgress reported that “tenthers” in Texas were set to hold a pro-secession rally in Austin this weekend. According to the Texas Observer, upwards of 200 people attended the rally, where one speaker declared, “We hate the United States!”

We don't like you much either, asshole.

From The Texas Observer. Molly Ivins' old paper is still on the job.

So the secession leaders were a little peeved that they couldn’t get their good friends in the Texas GOP to show up today. After all, Fox News is paying attention: Miller was a guest on the Glenn Beck Program on June 23, discussing the possibility of Texas seceding.

Beck'll be a perfect fit in Texas. As a matter of fact, let's shove every right-wing loony in the country into Texas just before we slam the border gate shut on 'em.

Here's the best line from the Texas Observer article:

And they wonder why Perry and friends didn’t show up. Even for our governor, these people are toxic.

Note to Texas: You wanta secede? Here it is in words you can understand:

No deje que la puerta del éxito ya en el culo a la salida, pendejos.

Who's Funding The Taliban?

The short answer is: almost everybody in the world, including us, but there are no short answers in Afghanistan. A 'must read' if you're interested in why we're losing that clusterfuck when we didn't have to.


To understand why America and its allies are losing the war in Afghanistan, consider the story behind one deadly attack. On July 6, in the northern Afghan province of Kunduz, a powerful improvised explosive device, or IED, detonated under the wheels of a U.S. humvee. Four soldiers died, as did their translator and a bystander. The makeshift bomb was assembled with goods from the local bazaar. The man who placed it was probably paid the going rate of $750, according to government officials, or more if he captured video proof of dead soldiers. And though the local Taliban covered his expenses and fees, the cash very likely came from money donated by the international community to rebuild Afghanistan's roads, bridges, clinics and schools.

[...] "The Taliban obtains revenue from a variety of sources, including extortion of funds from both legitimate and unlawful activity," says David Cohen, the Treasury's assistant secretary for terrorist financing. Major General Michael Flynn, senior military intelligence official at NATO's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan stresses Mafia-like activities such as extortion and kidnapping for ransom. "I would say that there is more money going into the pockets of local leaders [of the insurgency] from criminal activities than there is from narcotics money," he says.

It's important to remember that the Afghan insurgency is not a cohesive movement but rather a loose affiliation of groups united by a common goal: the expulsion of foreign troops. Provincial rebel leaders are left largely to make their own plans and find their own funding. Drug money is more likely to go to national leaders of the insurgency, like Mullah Omar, who provide guidance and training for local groups. Local commanders, on the other hand, "absolutely raise their own funds through criminal activities to pay for food, IEDs, weapons and salaries," says Flynn. The billions of dollars spent on reconstruction projects are far too tempting a target to pass up. As a result, the Taliban, once an organization of seminary students seeking to establish a caliphate, is embracing criminal elements that feed on insecurity for financial gain. Together with poor governance, ineffective policing and a weak justice system, the nexus between the Taliban and crime is becoming dangerously entrenched in Afghan society. "The Taliban are acting like a broad network of criminal gangs that enables them to utilize different sources of income," says Ahmad Nader Nadery of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission.

Afghans are learning the hard way how difficult it is to deal with this level of criminality. The day after the American soldiers died in Kunduz, Jan's construction site was hit. A bulldozer and 12 trucks were torched and two of the drivers caught by the Taliban and held for ransom. Jan, 72, with closely cropped hair, a thick white beard and a string of amber prayer beads, claims he was targeted in retaliation for not paying off the Taliban, even though the provincial governor and district governor say he did. Not that Jan would have refused — he says the Taliban never asked. "If the Taliban had asked for $100,000, I would have gladly paid them," says Jan. "This equipment was worth $230,000." What probably happened, says Abdul Wahid Omerkhil, district governor of Char Dara, where the attack took place, is that Jan paid off the wrong people. "It usually happens like that. You pay one group and you don't pay the other, and they will burn you."

[...] "The problem is that the people here are demanding a school or a road or a bridge, and the foreigners want to help," Omer says. "If we don't build, the people complain, but if we do, this problem arises. Either way, the Taliban benefits." A foreign official in Kunduz who asked not to be identified says, "No one is going to come save these construction companies. The Taliban know that the international community is concerned about security, but they also know it wants to pursue development as much as possible. So extortion is the easiest crime."

It's not just the big foreign-aid projects that get hit. Local businesses are victims too. In Kandahar, says a businessman who asked for anonymity out of fear of Taliban retribution, even the smallest shops pay a "business license" to the Taliban. [...]

There is some disagreement about what to do about this or even if anything can be done, but they all miss the most obvious solution:

Kill Taliban.


A 'Quote of the Day' from "Obama's Next Afghan Move" by Joe Klein in Time:

"Last week I spoke to a couple of Army Rangers who had just engaged the enemy," Mullen told me. "They said it was like fighting the Marines. The Taliban were well trained, better organized, much tougher fighters than they'd been in the past."


Rangers are tough bastards, but if they had fought the Marines they most likely wouldn't be in any shape to talk about it.

Update II:

Dexter Filkins, NYT:

The situation on the battlefield is difficult on its own. But it is, of course, inevitably bound up with the political stalemate in Kabul. As American commanders and diplomats have said repeatedly here, no amount of troops can substitute for a lack of political consensus among ordinary Afghans.

In this way, the politics in Kabul and the fighting in the south feed off of each other, for better or worse.

“If people decide that we could not give them anything through the democratic process, then the insurgency will be strengthened,” Mr. Abdullah said. “And then the United States will need to bring more troops and more resources here — and for what?”

That’s a question that President Obama, General McChrystal and, ultimately, the American people, will have to decide.


Oh, the irony...

Ironic Times

RNC Mailer: Dems' Health Plan Could Deny Medical Treatment to Republicans
Unless they need an abortion.

Or euthanasia and sterilization.

Glenn Beck Loses More Advertisers
White Citizens Council, American Nazi Party, KKK pull spots.

India Legalizes Gay Sex
Primarily to irritate Pakistan.

Musicians Beaten by Taliban at Wedding in Afghanistan
Doors tribute band returns to U.S., calls “gig in 'Stan” a big mistake.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Sunday Clunker Blogging

A coupla old trucks wait for that last cocktail...

The Dirt Band w/Linda Ronstadt ~ An American Dream

Thanks to Mogipbob, Canada.

How to turn a one-holer into a four-holer

Four Marines clear a portable toilet during a field operation in Okinawa, Japan.

I've cleared a few in my time too. Didn't need no gun neither...

Thanks to KyoraStryker.

Marijuana's new high life


Cannabis is moving into the mainstream, with fashion, films, TV and politicians acknowledging it's here to stay.

Marijuana's role on TV and in the movies is no surprise, says Robert Thompson, a professor of television and pop culture at the University of Syracuse S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. "The people who are making movies and television shows, from the scriptwriters to the director and the producers -- a very large chunk of those are probably people who grew up not only much more comfortable with marijuana's presence in society, but probably as consumers themselves of it.

"As a result," Thompson said, "it's almost switched with alcohol. Think back to Dean Martin and Foster Brooks -- their whole comedy act was the fact that they were in the bag -- that now is seen a lot less often. The stoner is the new drunk."

Shorter: "Hic!" has been replaced with "Duuuuuude...".

Did something happen between 2003, when Tommy Chong started a nine-month stint in federal prison for selling a mail-order water pipe, and the June THC Expo, when he stood signing autographs and shaking hands, barely a roach clip's throw from row upon row of swirling glass pipes, smoking devices with octopus-like tentacles, whirring motors and price tags as high as $800?

Some people point to the Obama administration as the biggest game-changer. "It was when [former President George W. Bush] and his boys were run out of office, that made the biggest difference," Chong said by phone near the end of the "Light Up America and Canada Tour" that reunited him with Cheech Marin.

Roberts cited the election as the tipping point as well. "The whole show teetered on who won the election," he said. "If McCain had won, I'd have never have put up my money. But Americans are no longer living in fear."

In addition, trend watcher Laermer points to a more subtle shift: aging baby boomers -- a generation famous for tuning in, turning on and dropping out -- who are keeping their party habits going into their golden years.

"It's hard to fathom that the fifty- and sixtysomethings would be against pot after all the pot they smoked," Laermer said, "Their kids would laugh them out of the room if they started telling them not to smoke pot."

And their grandkids...

Roberts, for one, is ready. He's already booked 50,000 square feet at the Los Angeles Convention Center for next year's THC Expo. It's going to happen April 23-25 -- right after the April 20 date that's become a kind of pot smokers' national holiday.

"They're happy to have us back," Roberts said. "They told me the food concessions sold $38,000 worth of food on the first day alone -- and that's more than they do in a whole week at the California Gift Show."


As an example of how people aren't afraid to talk about weed anymore, I offer this quote by Joe Klein - yes, that Joe Klein (I only call him 'Joke Line' when he's fuckin' up) - from an article about Ted Kennedy in Time magazine:

[...] But we talked again about that day soon after, and memorably so, since neither of us was sober. It was at a cocktail reception at Ethel Kennedy's home, for recipients of the Robert F. Kennedy journalism awards, one of whom happened to be me. In celebration, before the ceremony, a Kennedy who shall remain nameless took me down to the barn for an intense herbal experience. When I returned to the house, there was Teddy — and it was immediately apparent that he was as shiffazed as I was stoned. We greeted each other like old comrades in arms, sat in a corner and talked... [...]

I rest my case. I like 'shiffazed' too.

Democratic Strategy