Saturday, June 12, 2010

Quote of the Day


I just read that Karzai of the Afghans doesn't believe that our military can beat the Taliban. I believe that in the best traditions of American good will, we should agree with him, pack up our troops and equipment, put our money back in our pocket and leave the Kabul Quagmire.


Yeah, how come?


So, it's ok to say that American born Hispanics should be forced to "go back where they came from" but saying it about Israeli Jews is worthy of a witch burning. Why is that?


Not that I want American Jews to go anywhere, but I don't think the things politicians say about American citizens of the Hispanic persuasion would be tolerated about any other group, except the gays if there was a Gayistan or something.

More Arkansas Post Mortem and a little stream-of-unconsciousness

There's so much of this the last coupla days, it oughta be on CBS, which Mrs. G calls "The Autopsy Channel" because of NCIS and the CSI: Wherevers. Heh.

Lady Jane

4. That said: suck on it, “anonymous Senior White House officials” and other assorted DC Democrats (extra hard for you, Bill Clinton). Labor is not your bitch, and their money isn’t yours to direct. They’re supposed to take what, another six years of black eyes from Blanche Lincoln just because you say so? If their $8 million buys derivatives legislation and limits the damage that the Masters of the Universe can do to the world economy in the future, it’s not only a bargain, it also means that a bunch of nurses and janitors have done more to rein in the banks than you and your entire pack of servile, visionless Wall Street lackeys has done since you took office.

Glenn Greenwald

What's going on here couldn't be clearer if the DNC produced neon signs explaining it. Blanche Lincoln and her corporatist/centrist Senate-friends aren't some unfortunate outliers in the Democratic Party. They are the Democratic Party. The outliers are the progressives. The reason the Obama White House did nothing when Lincoln sabotaged the public option isn't because they had no leverage to punish her if she was doing things they disliked. It was because she was doing exactly what the White House and the Party wanted. The same is true when she voted for Bush/Cheney Terrorism policies, serves every corporate interest around, and impedes progressive legislation. Lincoln doesn't prevent the Democratic Party from doing and being what it wishes it could do and be. She enables the Party to do and be exactly what it is, what it wants to be, what serves its interests most. That's why they support her so vigorously and ensured her victory: the Blanche Lincolns of the world are the heart, soul and face of the national Democratic Party.

[...] In other words, the White House wants unions and other progressive groups to be nothing more than Democratic Party apparatchiks, whereby they help Democrats get elected purely for the sake of preserving Democratic power, regardless of the policy outcomes that are achieved, and regardless of how hostile those outcomes are to progressives. The sooner that realization is pervasive, the better.

Both of those pieces have links to others.

So what do we as progressives do about this? On the one side we have a regressive right-wing warmongering corporatist Repuglican't Party. Support for them is out of the question. Duh.

On the other side, we have a slightly less right-wing but just as corporatist Democratic Party. Support for them is getting to be more and more distasteful even though Obama is light years better than Bush or any other Repug in every way. Yes, I said every way.

I'm beginning to understand how the fundies and 'God, guns, & gays' and other retard wingnuts must feel, if there are any of them with functioning brains, that is. The Dems are using unions, liberals, and minorities just like the Repugs use the right-wing tiny-brained: promise them anything for votes and then kick 'em to the curb once they're in power.

One answer that has been kicked around for a while and is gaining support is a (gasp!) Third Party. This has its own set of problems. For one thing, our third party will split the Dems into smaller factions just like the teabaggers are doing to the Repugs. That's a good thing when it's happening to the Repugs, a bad thing if it happens to Dems. Worse, Dems aren't as conditioned to lock-step ideology as Repugs and don't agree as easily to things they are told to like but don't.

Which brings us to 'time'. It will take a comparatively long period of time for a Progressive Third Party to congeal* (carefully chosen word) into something that can get a national following and get people elected who are outside the two-party corporatist/careerist mold.

*I chose 'congeal' because there are lots of 'third parties': Peace & Freedom, Green, Save The Alligators, Free Bagels, etc., etc., that can hold their conventions in a phone booth and come up with candidates like Eldridge Cleaver and Ralph Nader who mercifully don't stand a chance. That kind of splintering just makes the problem worse and the bleeding needs to clot.

The longer it takes to do something, the earlier you must start. Let me use the analogy of a spark plug: we tend to think of a spark plug firing all at once. It doesn't. A spark plug starts to fire an incredibly long period of time, relatively speaking, ahead of actually lighting off the fuel charge in order for it to build up enough of a kernel of electrical flame to do so. I could go on and on about the compromise of ignition timing, stoichiometry, fuel compression, cam timing & overlap, rod angle, and a bazillion other things that have to happen to get you to the convenience store for a pack of Depends, but that's for Fixer & Gordon. Point is:

Start now, results later. A viable Third Party is simply not going to spring full-blown into existence ready to take over and make things right. We're not talkin' an election cycle or two here. We're talkin', best case, a decade if we hit the deck a-runnin' NOW. Which we're not doing. Worst case, a generation. If we start NOW. Which we're not doing.

The seeds of a third party are being planted as we speak, and mighty oaks from little acorns grow. Go plant one and get a lawn chair and a cold drink and watch it. Before you can hang a tire on a rope from a branch on that mighty oak and watch your grandchildren swing, there's a lot going to happen.

Do it. Start a Third Party. Nurture it. Watch it grow to national prominence against the entrenched two-sides-of-the-same-coin corporatist moneyed powerful political system we have now. Trust me on this one, it won't happen as fast amongst Progressives and Liberals as it seems to be happening with the teabaggers because we tend to think for ourselves. That's a big difference and something to consider.

A split Democratic Party will inevitably lead to the Right Wing gaining power again, just like the currently split Repug Party mercifully has them running in circles and screaming and shouting.

Until such a time as there is a viable Third Party, I ask you to remember that the biggest enemy our nation faces is not the Democratic Party but rather the Far Right. You can call the Dems a Hobson's choice or the lesser of two evils, but whether you opt for another more progressive party or try to change the Dems from within with better candidates, Fight The Right With All Your Might. They must never gain control again. Period.

Saturday Emmylou Blogging

I've probably put up different versions of this song a half dozen times. Here it is again.

Emmylou Harris,Steve Earle & Townes van Zandt ~ If I Needed You
Thanks to 9granieri, Italy.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Successes and Failures in Arkansas

None of us are very happy about the Dem power structure biting the hand that feeds them by supporting the DINO Lincoln in Arkansa. Jane Hamsher has an excellent post on it.

The best way to impact an incumbent’s responsiveness to their constituents is in the form of primary challenges, whether they are successful or unsuccessful. Nothing else we have ever done has had as much impact. Coming from within their own party, they don’t let incumbents resort to tribalism in order to draw attention away from their record, which they are thus forced to defend. Primary challenges have never been wasted effort, so that is what we decided to pursue. We launched the 2010 Primary Project in October of 2008.

But because the parties are essentially incumbency protection rackets, when you’re supporting a primary challengers you’re running against the party and its ability to wield power. You’re also running against the corporate cash that probably triggered the accountability issue in the first place. Those factors present a very powerful set of obstacles.


Sex death apocalypse iPhone 4

Friday Morford.

Any minute now, solar power and French fry grease, nanotechnology and organic microlending neurobiological hemp-powered oil-eating magic bacteria will take over and make it all better. Right?

And you slap yourself awake. You stab yourself in the soul with an ice pick of Now. And you remember.

We are nowhere near close. It takes no effort at all to flip the lens, to walk the street in fear, to observe, say, all the blood pouring through the streets of Mexico, the violent corruption in Africa, the drug-related shootings just down the street, the raging poverty and sickness, the wall of black death we have just unleashed into the ocean.

Which side is piling up faster, the beauties or the horrors? [...]

Just go...

Nevada’s Wingnut Angle

By Madeleine Begun Kane

Harry’s hopes for November looked bleak,
With Republican odds at their peak.
But he’ll easily wrangle
The wacky Ms. Angle.
Thank you, wingnuts for picking a freak.

I think Angle is a Dem plant. Heh. Good job, Harry! The napalm was a nice touch.

Headline of the Day

World Cup: Should U.S. team wear “BP sucks” shirts vs. England?

Note to the U.S. team: Better accessorize them jerseys with sap gloves and brass knuckles. Heh.

Milo Minderbinder in Afghanistan

Good piece at This Can't Be Happening, which of course it is.

1st Lt. Milo Minderbinder
"We're gonna come out of this war rich!"

"You're gonna come out rich. We're gonna come out dead."

-From the Buck Henry screenplay of Catch 22

No one has captured the absurd spirit of US war-making better than Joseph Heller in Catch 22. Here’s one of the greatest literary symbols for capitalism, Milo Minderbinder, on the future of US warfare:

"In a democracy, the government is the people," Milo explained. "We’re people, aren’t we? So we might just as well keep the money and eliminate the middleman. Frankly, I’d like to see the government get out of war altogether and leave the whole field to private industry."

In a dynamic Milo Minderbinder would understand, the Afghan security companies protecting US troops from Taliban attacks are now cutting deals with the Taliban on a regular basis. According to an official in the Interior Ministry, if the Taliban are too strong to intimidate, a deal is made. This includes payment not to attack convoys and certain things like radio and cell phone towers.

In one instance, two Afghan security companies -- Watan Risk Management and Compass Security -- were cut out of NATO convoy protection contracts for shooting civilians. The morning the ban went into effect, a NATO convoy was attacked and two men were killed.

According to Filkins, evidence suggests these companies either attacked the convoy themselves or contracted with the Taliban to make the attack. Supply-laden trucks began to stack up on the highway, and soon the contracts were resumed and the two companies were back to work.

Milo Minderbinder should have the last word. Here he speaks with the story’s main character Yossarian, in the 1970 film version of Heller's story. The character Nately has just been killed in the raid Milo contracted on the US base.

"Nately died a wealthy man, Yossarian. He had over sixty shares in the syndicate."

"What difference does that make? He's dead."

"Then his family will get it."

"He didn't have time to have a family."

"Then his parents will get it."

"They don't need it. They're rich."

"Then they'll understand."

That's about it. Please read the rest.

In Defence Of Helen Thomas and The Myth Of Free Speech

Jonathan Cook in Palestine Chronicle:

Ms Thomas earnt a reputation as a combative journalist, at least by American standards, with a succession of administrations over their Middle East policies, culminating in Bush officials boycotting her for her relentless criticisms of the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan. But the reaction to her latest remarks suggest that, if there is one topic in American public life on which the boundaries of what can and cannot be said are still tightly policed, it is Israel.

Undoubtedly, Ms Thomas’ opinions, as she expressed them in an unguarded moment, were inappropriate and required an apology. It is true, as she says, that Palestine was occupied and the land taken from the Palestinians by Jewish immigrants with no right to it barring a Biblical title deed. But 62 years on from Israel’s creation, most Jewish citizens have no home to go to in Poland and Germany -- or in Iraq and Yemen, for that matter. There is also an uncomfortable echo in her words of the chauvinism underpinning demands from some Jews -- and many Israelis -- that Palestinians should “go home to the 22 Arab states”.

The flip side is that the other Arabs don't want them.

Ms Thomas is an Arab-American, of Lebanese descent, whose remarks were publicised in the immediate wake of Israel’s lethal commando attack on a flotilla of aid ships trying to break the siege of Gaza. Unlike most Americans, who were half-wakened from their six-decade Middle East slumber by the killing of at least nine Turkish activists, Ms Thomas has been troubled by the Palestinians’ plight for much of her long lifetime.

She was in her late twenties when Israel ethnically cleansed three-quarters of a million Palestinians from most of Palestine, a move endorsed by the fledgling United Nations. She was in her mid-forties when Israel took over the rest of Palestine and parts of Egypt and Syria in a war that dealt a crushing blow to Arab identity and pride and made Israel a favoured ally of the US. In her later years she has witnessed Israel’s repeated destruction of Lebanon, her parents’ homeland, and the slow confinement and erasure of the neighbouring Palestinian people. Both have occurred under a duplicitious American “peace process” while Washington has poured hundreds of billions of dollars into Israel’s coffers.

It is therefore entirely understandable if, despite her own personal success, she feels a simmering anger not only at what has taken place throughout her lifetime in the Middle East but also at the silencing of all debate about it in the US by the Washington elites she counted as friends and colleagues.

I've called her "the old Ay-rab" for years, but I didn't know 'til now that she actually is one. She's dead right about the United States mishandling the entire Middle East virtually forever, kinda like smoking a cigarette whilst seated on a powder keg in the middle of a lake of gasoline.

What she said after "Israel should leave Palestine", which is true of its attitude toward Gaza and the West Bank though not of the larger former Palestine, was out of line but it was her right to say it.

Repugs, neocons, warmongers, and other never-righties say a lot worse things and do not get pilloried for it. I think at her age it's plenty OK for her to bow out and retire and I hope she can enjoy her remaining years, but if she had been forty years old, those few sentences would have unfairly ruined her career, not that fairness should be expected by anyone anywhere.

This whole deal is the poster child for misdirected political correctness run amuck when it comes to Israel, which in a sane world would be called a bully. The U.S. as well for being its enabler and abettor.

Insanity ...

I don't get crazy about sporting events, mostly. If the Mets make the playoffs, I'm watching. Same goes for the Giants (The New York Football variety). And I'll try to catch Daytona and the Bristol NASCAR races. That's about it.

And then there's the World Cup. You know, real football.

Mrs. F is happy it only takes place every four years. It starts today and I'll be an idiot for the next month until it's over, trying to catch as many matches as I can. Fortunately, ESPN Satellite Radio is carrying all the games so I can listen at work and in the car.

USA/England is tomorrow and my boys, "Der Mannschaft", play their first match on Sunday v. the Aussies.

I'm out of my mind (more than usual). Heh ...

Happy Friday!

Whiners and Sheep ...

Click pic to make big. Stolen from the American Progressive Party's Facebook Page.

The Whiners complain about paying a few more percent in taxes (they can certainly afford it) and have the Sheep brainwashed to believe we're heading down the road to Marxist Russia.

Quote of the Day

Lewis Black:


"They, as far as I can tell, are attacking us with oil. And so I propose we declare war and invade them," Black suggested.


I'm down wid dat, brother.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Packing it in ...

I'll be leaving the car business in October and I give it a parting shot.

Shades of Ilse Koch

Pardon the pun. I'm a sick pup...

Mengele's Children: American Medical Experiments and Torture

AMY GOODMAN: A new report from Physicians for Human Rights accuses the Bush administration of conducting illegal and unethical human experimentation and research on prisoners in CIA custody. The report details how doctors, psychologists and other professionals monitored the effects of sleep deprivation, waterboarding and other so-called "enhanced interrogation" techniques on more than a dozen prisoners. It charges that CIA doctors and other medical personnel turned the prisoners into research subjects and collected data in order to study and refine those techniques, but did so under the guise of trying to protect the health of the detainees. The report argues that in determining how far a harsh interrogation could go, doctors, psychologists and physician’s assistants participated in justifying acts that had long been classified illegal, provided legal cover against prosecution, and helped designed future interrogation procedures.

It got me to thinking that Godwin's Law comes in handy across the board. It ain't just Hitler we compare righties and neocons to.

From The Trial of Ilse Koch:

"She was a very beautiful woman with long red hair, but any prisoner who was caught looking at her could be shot," recalled Kurt Glass, a former inmate who worked as a gardener at the Koch family villa. "She got the idea she would like lamp shades made of human skin, and one day on the Appellplatz we were all ordered to strip to the waist. The ones who had interesting tattoos were brought to her, and she picked out the ones she liked. Those people were killed and their skin was made into lampshades for her. She also used mummified human thumbs as light switches in her house."

Congratulations, Georgie and The Dick. You're the new 'Bitchez of Buchenwald'.

Outage on 16

We were a little worried about this one, but it came out OK.


California voters' rejection of Proposition 16, despite at least $46 million in backing from Pacific Gas and Electric Co., clears the way for municipalities throughout the state to follow Marin's lead and compete with the investor-owned utility as retailers of electricity.

The proposition, which would have required two-thirds approval from local voters before cities or counties could choose an alternate energy provider, lost with 52.5 percent of voters opposed and 47.5 percent in favor. In Marin the margin was much larger: 61.3 percent of voters voted no, while 38.7 percent voted yes.

"The voters saw through the attempt to buy the election. They could smell a rat," said Marin Supervisor Charles McGlashan, who heads the Marin Energy Authority board. The authority, which consists of the county of Marin and seven Marin cities, is sponsoring the Marin Clean Energy initiative, the first community choice aggregation effort in the state, which is competing for customers with PG&E.

"I'm relieved that other communities may be able to join us in creating competition," McGlashan said.

In a press release, Greg Pruett, senior vice president of corporate affairs for PG&E, said PG&E respected the voters' decision. [...]

That's white of ya, Greg. This attempt by PG&E to highjack the initiative process and con the voters into thinking their 'voting rights' were under attack to prevent competition failed because enough voters paid attention.

I have no idea what effect the overcharging of thousands of customers by PG&E's SmartMeters had on the election. Heh.

Here's an interesting bit: voters in areas where private utility companies like PG&E are predominant voted against Prop 16 in overwhelming numbers. Voters in areas with giant publicly owned utilities, like Los Angeles' Department Of Water & Power (LADWP), voted for it in large numbers. The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence, I guess.

Nobody seems to like their large utility companies very much. I get my power from the Truckee Donner Public Utility District (TDPUD) (from whom I get free light bulbs) via Sierra Pacific Power Company (NV Energy), a publicly traded company. The power appears to be ON and I like TDPUD just fine. My polling place is in their meeting room, which I think is a very fitting place to vote against the attempted power grab (pun intended) by Big Volt.

She's got the scientologist teabagger vote sewed up!

I live next door to Nevada, 12 miles from the state line and 12-miles-and-one-foot from the closest casino. Besides 24-hour saloons and legal bordellos that are the tax base of the cow counties, they have one of the wackiest politicians going in the form of Sharron Angle who won the Repug senatorial primary and will go up against Harry Reid in November.

From Dana Milbank via the EssEffZam:

According to Dana Milbank's column in the Washington Post and other news sources this morning, here are some of the wacky ideas Angle, a former substitute teacher for 25 years, is proposing:

* Bring more nuclear waste to Nevada.
* Deregulate Big Oil; BP spill was only "an accident."
* Abolish the Education Department, Energy Department, EPA, United Nations and most of the IRS.
* Eliminate Social Security -- possibly Medicare and unemployment insurance too.
* Outlaw alcohol. (See 'state with 24-hour saloons' - G)

Other odd and misinformed views:

* Abortion causes breast cancer.
* Prisoners should have massages and saunas (program created by Scientology).
* Drug sales supported the attack on 9/11.

During Angle's time in Nevada's state assembly, she voted "no" so frequently on matters of wide consensus that votes were often called as "41-to-Angle."

Angle was named "Nevada's worst legislator" several times by the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Another Republican contender, Sue Lowden, blasted Angle in this ad:

Even though about half of Nevadans view Reid unfavorably, it's hard to fathom a general electorate sending anyone as loopy as Angle to the U.S. Senate. She makes Reid look good indeed.

Whatever we think of Reid, he's better than this idiot. He's not only going to dodge the bullet, it has no primer or powder. I hope he knows how lucky he is to have Ms. Angle as his opponent. Nevadans are politically crazy and you never know, but the smart money is on Reid.

Ms. Angle may be 'loopy', but in her defense I will say she doesn't appear to be mean-spirited and downright evil in her views like Bachmann and some others.

BTW, I got the Repug "my opponent is a flaming Librul godless commie fuck!" primary TV ads from two states. Lucky me.

Lemons ...

To lemonade.

A truism ...

If Republicans are bitching about Dems doing it, they've probably already done it and more:

In the latest twist in the ever-growing Mark Kirk military service fiasco, the Illinois Senate candidate appears to have violated military regulations by campaigning while on active duty.

If Kirk did indeed campaign while serving, as a newly released Department of Defense memo suggests, the offense would be punishable by up to two years of confinement and dishonorable discharge from the military.


But it's okay because ...

[Say it with me.]

... he's a Republican.

Link thanks to Mr. Aravosis.

I'm tired ...

Of being pissed on and being told it's raining.

For reasons that could make sense only to the "effing retarded," the Obama White House has chosen not only to ignore virtually every Democratic voter group but to taunt them, rub their noses in it, and insult any Democrats who dare to demand better choices than the corporate shills that now control much of the Party and the White House.


They sure kissed our collective ass when they were running for office.


So let’s see. In just the last year, the White House has managed not merely to ignore and disappoint but often gone out of its way to mislead, lie to and betray liberals/progressives, labor unions, teachers, Hispanics, gays/lesbians, anti-war groups, dedicated environmentalists, respected pro-employment/pro-growth Nobel economists, climate scientists, financial reformers, defenders of Medicare and Social Security, mainstreet populists, civil liberties and women’s rights advocates, defenders of public interest regulation, alternative energy/efficiency supporters and even scarecrows.

In case you don’t recognize the list, that’s the core, the heart, the brains and the foot soldiers of the Democratic Party.


And in November, and the next few Novembers to come, we're supposed to forget all of this and vote like party members in good standing. Listen, I've got better things to do on a Tuesday night in November than stand in line at the voting booth. If they're gonna take my vote for granted they've got another thing coming.

I realize there's a big mess to clean up, all the leftovers from the Bush administration, but they can't be alienating the people that brung 'em. I certainly wouldn't vote Republican but it isn't mandatory I vote either. I'm tired of having to choose between the proverbial 'lesser of two evils'.

Great thanks to Watertiger for the link.


Digby is offended as well:


And, by the way, going to this length over Blanche Lincoln who is about to sign on to Murkowski's move to limit presidential power to regulate on behalf of the environment is just too ironic. What exactly are these guys fighting for?

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Memo to Sarah Palin

From The Prince of Rude (I like that!) on 'POTUS as CEO':

Could someone please hold a flip phone up to Sarah Palin and get her saying something like, "We use Trig as a door stop"? No, really, could someone get this nouveau riche redneck twat on camera talking about how she'd never shop at Wal-Mart 'cause she might get some trailer trash tears on her? 'Cause the idea that she is "a force" in the American political discourse is like coming across a tribe in the jungle that worships a monkey head.

So what's new? We had that for eight years with the Chimperor.

Now, while Palin may look at the words "chief executive" in reference to a governor or president and think it's the same thing as "Chief Executive Officer" in a corporation, it's that very analogy that has fucked us over. The government ain't a company. The president ain't a CEO. Palin is either an idiot, Chauncey Gardner with tits, or an unconscionable, self-aggrandizing moose-fucker.

See, a CEO's job is to make money for the corporation. That's it. Shit like laws and taxes and safety are impediments that must be dealt with on the way to making money. A CEO has to be a greedy bastard, a cuntish conqueror who doesn't give a fuck what has to be done to get more money. The second you say that the President of the United States is on an equivalent level with a CEO is the second you reveal that you don't know fuck-all about government and you degrade the presidency. The logical leap to President-as-CEO is a callous manipulation of the expectations of the governed, and it turns citizens into selfish shareholders.

One last thing: that Sarah Palin would invoke her two-and-a-half year stint as governor of Alaska as her "executive experience" is fucking pathetic, like a first-time tourist attempting to give directions to the locals.

It's much more fun to give directions to first-time tourists, trust me. They'll see things they never knew existed in some mighty unlikely places. Heh.

Your tar balls are in my junk shot

If it's Wednesday, it must be Morford. He's off on oilspillese.

"Oh my sweet capitalist god, I wish the top kill had worked after the useless top hat and that botched junk shot, because now the tar balls are rolling in, and the tar patties are collecting into glumpy gloops all over the beaches, and you can see the sheen stretching for 100 miles in all directions, all because the damn blowout preventer jammed and, of course, now they've dumped a million gallons of toxic dispersant on the gushing plume since the relief wells aren't nearly complete. We need more skimmers!"

Quite a mouthload, is it not? All sorts of joyful burden to roll these new and oily words around on your tongue, like candy-coated gunpowder? Like little cubes of raw demon blood? Verily.

In other words, other words. Every war, every devastation, every invention and advancement lets us further mutate, mingle and shapeshift our mindmelds, bedazzle the dictionary and upflip the lexicaldingle as we reconfigulate the snugglemodes of the metaverbalizer. You follow me? Of course you do.

Holy crap, Morford. Send me a lid of whatever yer smokin' and maybe I could follow you...

Today he is working the language like a redheaded stepchild. Do not miss this!

How George Bush, Joe Barton, Dick Cheney and Tom DeLay Caused the Gulf Oil Spill and Made Sure BP Will Never Be Held Accountable

Crooks and Liars tamps this into a nice neat brick. A 'recommended must read'.

Does everyone remember Dick Cheney's "National Energy Task Force"? The one where meetings were held in secret, and energy policy was set by the foxes in charge of the henhouse? Yeah, I figured you might.

The Center for American Progress has connected the dots between this task force, the Bush Administration energy policies, and Tom DeLay's leadership in the House of Representatives to paint a straight line right back to Cheney & Co. I don't agree with the conclusion of "Cheney's Katrina", so how about we call it "Cheney's Oil Apocalypse" instead?

How about we call it "OUR Cheney-caused Oil Apocalypse"?

Act One - The Administration complies

First, the SAFE Act is introduced in the House in 2001. It provides for the following (quotes from CAP post):

* Taxpayer funds to reimburse oil companies for the costs of complying with the National Environmental Policy Act (Sec. 6234)
* A suspension of royalties on tens of millions of barrels of oil produced in the Gulf of Mexico—especially from deepwater wells like the one now spewing into the gulf (Sec. 6202)
* Opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling — with expedited leasing, limited judicial review, and lip service to environmental concerns (Div. F, Title V)

Check off one set of recommendations, though it took Cheney and Big Oil until 2003 to get it to a conference committee. Just after the midterms, Republicans guided the bill through the House, with DeLay twisting arms as needed. With Democrats safely in the minority, the conference committee was able to exempt all oil and gas construction activities from the Clean Water Act, force BLM lease approvals within 10 days, grant unprecedented authority to the Department of Interior to fast-track permits, and allocate $2 billion for oil companies to drill in ultra deepwater areas.

A filibuster in the Senate stopped it from becoming law. Then.

Act Two - If at first you don't succeed, try, try again...


It's unclear how the Cheney Energy Act will play out in the legal morass yet to come. What we should expect are many challenges by BP lawyers to any effort to claim damages under the Clean Water Act (given the exemptions) as well as challenges for liability beyond cleaning up the spill.

But whatever happens, dear viewers, know this: The responsible parties are George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Joe Barton, and Tom DeLay.

Repeat. Lather. Rinse. Repeat. Get the word out. Put the spotlight on the real villains.

I wonder if the RICO Act might apply?

Just as an aside, if legal boilerplate doesn't give you a headache like it does to me, go read R.I.C.O. Lawsuit Against G.W. Bush. Tell me how it turned out, though I can guess that it went nowhere.

Over The Cliff

Over The Cliff: How Obama's Election Drove the American Right Insane (Paperback), From Crooks and Liars
By John Amato John Amato (Author), David Neiwert (Author), Digby (Foreword)

"Compiling example after example, the editors of Crooks and Liars, a popular blog, examine the torrent of right-wing kookery—the eager willingness of conservatives to fervently believe things that are provably false—and its ramifications both for our national discourse and our national well-being. The authors show how this outlandish, overheated rhetoric—generated by mainstream-media figures like Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, and Lou Dobbs—is accompanied by a wave of lethal right-wing violence and threatening behavior.

The book explores the main drivers of this descent into madness: the extremist Radical Right and the longtime Republican willingness—dating back to Nixon, but refined in more recent years by Lee Atwater and his acolytes—to engage in a divisive politics of resentment, both racial and cultural. The authors also examine ways ordinary Americans can stop the madness."

If it has directions on how to stop them it might be worth a read. I wonder if the phrase 'mass quantities of funerals' comes into play?

Also see C & L's page on this.


I told Mrs. G about this book and it is on its way by executive order.

"Who could have known?"

Isn't that the prevailing wisdom?

"Nobody could have anticipated ..."

Seems that if anyone in a position of authority was doing their jobs and/or paying attention, they would have seen BP's pattern of disregard for the safety of their workers and the integrity of the environment.


A 2001 report noted that BP had neglected key equipment needed for emergency shutdown, including safety shutoff valves and gas and fire detectors similar to those that could have helped prevent the fire and explosion on the Deepwater Horizon rig in the Gulf.

A 2004 inquiry found a pattern of intimidating workers who raised safety or environmental concerns. It said managers were shaving maintenance costs with the practice of "run to failure," under which aging equipment was used as long as possible. Accidents resulted, including the 200,000-gallon Prudhoe Bay pipeline spill in 2006, the largest ever spill on Alaska's North Slope.

During the same period, similar problems surfaced at BP facilities in California and Texas.

In 2002, California officials discovered that BP had falsified inspections of fuel tanks at a Los Angeles-area refinery and that more than 80 percent of the facilities didn't meet requirements to maintain storage tanks without leaks or damage. Inspectors were forced to get a warrant before BP allowed them to check the tanks. The company eventually settled a civil lawsuit brought by the South Coast Air Quality Management District for more than $100 million.


While we on the Left are all concerned about keeping the wall between church and state intact, it's time to build a wall between corporations and state because this sleazy partnership will lead to our downfall long before the theocrats get a chance to do it.

I've had all I can stands ...

And I can't stands no more.

You just have to shake your head:

A Roosevelt woman set fire to her own house Tuesday, Nassau police say, amid an ongoing dispute with her sister and her sister's boyfriend over the boyfriend's presence in the house.


I've had enough of you assholes so I'm gonna burn my house down.

K ...


Joseph Small, who also lived in the home, said he spoke with Richardson and tried to take the gasoline away from her.

"She said no one was going to live there after today," he said, adding, "I don't think she's a bad person. She just has issues."

She'll have time to sort out her issues here. The shit that happens on this fucking sandbar.

Gitmo? What Gitmo?

Seems nobody really wants to close Gitmo.

It's been more than five months since the Obama administration missed its self-imposed deadline for the closure of the detention center at Guantanamo Bay. And as things stand now, one key member of Congress says, the White House is showing little to no willingness to continue pursuing one of the more high-minded promises made by the president before entering office.


White House? Check.


The senator, who is a leading proponent of Gitmo's closure, acknowledged (more implicitly than explicitly) that the issue was, for all intents and purposes, off the table -- at least for the noticeable future. It was not the president's fault per se, he said. Though a bit of lobbying on the matter wouldn't hurt. Simply put, the congressional skepticism has been too steep to overcome.

"The majority of my committee voted basically to keep it open indefinitely. Because they took away from the money for the alternative," said Levin. "You can't close it unless you have some other place to take people and put people. I happen to think it should be closed. Our military leaders think it should be closed... I think it is dangerous to America to keep that symbol there. But as long as you have the majority of Congress that oppose closing it, all the Republicans and some Democrats, it won't be easy to close it."


Congress? Check.

Oh, that Gitmo. We're workin' on it.

I think, between the White House and Congress, they're all hoping whoever is still there will die off and solve the whole problem before any of them have to put their political ass on the line any further.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Get busy, Kathy!

Glenn Greenwald

Congrats to Rush Limbaugh on his fourth traditional marriage

No. 4 might be the lucky Mrs. Limbaugh if she plays her cards right. After all the dope and cigars and Dominican boys and high livin', how good can his heart (the physical one - there is no other) be?

Note to No. 4: As distasteful as this sounds, grease that thing up and work it. About the time it takes 6 boner pills to prop up his mighty two-incher, with any luck at all his heart will blow and you'll be rich. Make sure you're on top or keep your cell phone handy to call for a tow truck to extricate you before he rots.

PG&E Facebook Identity Theft

Today is primary election day here in California. Pacific Gas & Electric, one of our state's largest utilities (not mine, thank my lucky stars) is trying to pass Prop. 16 for its own monopolistic purposes and calling it the "right to vote" act. Total misdirection, and it had better not pass. We will see, but check out one of their tactics:


Several weeks ago, I noticed that one of my friends on Facebook was a “fan” of Proposition 16 - PG&E’s Monopoly Protection Act that is easily the worst measure on the June ballot. After I chewed him out for it, he expressed shock to even be on that page. Apparently, PG&E had added him on as a supporter without his consent. Today, just as the Prop 16 campaign boasted that it now has 50,000 “fans” on Facebook, I received a press release from the Sunrise Center in Marin County - who complained that some of their own staffers (who are working hard to defeat Prop 16) have also been added as “fans.” Besides exposing a serious loophole in Facebook’s privacy features, it also proves that PG&E’s $40 million campaign to pass Prop 16 includes committing identity theft.

Attorney General Jerry Brown should consider pressing criminal charges against PG&E, who appears to have committed identity theft. Ironically, Facebook’s former Chief Privacy Officer -- Chris Kelly -- is running to replace Brown in next week’s election.

Heh. The Daisy Chain proceeds apace...

Repug rattlesnakes

Legal Schnauzer

From the outset of his administration, President Barack Obama has said that he will "look forward, not backwards" when it comes to apparent crimes by the George W. Bush administration.

What has been Obama's reward? Republicans now are pushing for an investigation of his administration over alleged dealmaking connected to senatorial campaigns.

You heard that right. Karl Rove and other "loyal Bushies" apparently will escape scrutiny, while Obama could be under fire for his involvement with U.S. Senate campaigns in Pennsylvania and Colorado.

Could we see Obama officials, perhaps the very ones who turned a blind eye toward Bush-era wrongdoing, being investigated while Rove & Co. go free?

This is just the latest example of a lesson that Democrats never seem to get: Republicans are like a bunch of coiled rattlesnakes, who have no sense of justice or fairness and will strike blindly at the first opportunity. In fact, we have posited numerous times that quite a few Republicans are sociopaths, the kind of individuals who have no conscience and no empathy for others. They look out for No. 1 and nobody else.

Obama still has time to take off the blinders and give his OK for a full-scale investigation of Bush-era crimes. But it appears that he wants to continue using a gentle touch in dealing with GOP rattlesnakes. That's a good way to get yourself bit.

Remember, Barry, even after you cut Repugs' heads off, they don't die 'til sundown...

Match, Meet Gasoline...

Iran Red Crescent to send aid to Gaza

It's gonna happen so fuck it, get it over with. Maybe Israel and Iran will beat each other up bad enough they'll both STFU for a while. Can we pump oil up through the ashes of the Middle East?

Note to Jordan: Keep yer head down.

"it was like Pearl Harbor with wheelchairs"

The Bobblespeak Translations, "What They're Really Saying When They're Saying What They're Saying" on last Sunday's This Week:

Adm. Thad Allen (Cmdr. Coast Guard)
John Kerry (D-MA)
John Cornyn (R-TX)
George Will
Liz Cheney
Arianna Huffington
Markos Moulitsas

Tapper: Cornyn do you have a double standard for Republicans who lie about their war records

Cornyn: oh no I don’t - but Blumenthal was wrong and Kirk is a great guy who just slipped up claiming he fought alongside Patton in Khe Sanh

Kerry: I should’ve just stayed here and gotten my damm medals out of a cracker jack box

Tapper: Rupert Murdoch told me you did

Cheney: Obama caused this oil spill and he must clean it up

Huffington: you lying idiot - Dick Cheney deregulated the oil industry and BP wrecked
the economy!

Cheney: Obama should have stopped them!

Tapper: Hey the Israel National Rappelling Team boarded a ship this week

Cheney: Turkey launched a surprise armed attack on Israel by sailing in international waters with
a boat filled with aid

Moulitsas: look everybody but Deferment Liz knows that Israel totally fucked up

Cheney: Turkey attacked Israel’s ocean

Tapper: hey speaking of institutional fuck-ups - this week baseball ruined a perfect game

Will: oh my stars perfection is overrated - look if we start demanding white people get everything right then where will be?

Much more.

Quote of the Day

From the Prince of Rudeness:

... [BP CEO]Tony Hayward could go door to door along the Gulf Coast, giving blow jobs and eating pussy until his jaw is distended and his belly is bloated, and BP wouldn't even have gotten started on making it right ...

Journalism v. "Journalism"


I'm not going to defend Helen Thomas' offensive remarks -- any more than I spend any time defending Pat Buchanan's offensive remarks...


But 90 plus year old Helen Thomas gets the boot...because she's just not practicing in the proper village way, whatever that is. But apparently, below is the proper way to commit journalism!


Anniversaries ...

Three months after 9/11, every major Taliban city in Afghanistan had fallen — first Mazar-i-Sharif, then Kabul, finally Kandahar. Osama bin Laden and Mullah Omar were on the run. It looked as if the war was over, and the Americans and their Afghan allies had won.

Butch Ivie, then a school administrator in Winfield, Ala., remembers, "We thought we'd soon have it tied up in a neat little bag."

But bin Laden and Omar eluded capture. The Taliban regrouped. Today, Kandahar again is up for grabs. And soon, Afghanistan will pass Vietnam as America's longest war. [my em]


And what do we have to show for it but a buncha dead American kids. Another Bush Administration SNAFU that cost too many lives.

Thanks to Nicole for the link.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Paging Dr. Mengele ...


Of course they used detainees as guinea pigs and of course they documented it. The question is, are they still doing it?


It was the documentation that sank the Nazis. One day it will sink us too.

Quote of the Day II

Cheney’s memoir could be called, ‘I Upped Halliburton’s Income – So Up Yours.’ - Scott McClellan

Headline of the Day

Artists Asked to Lighten Faces of Latino, Black Kids on Arizona School Mural


Warning From Frommer's: Arizona Too Dangerous For Americans?

Oh, the irony...

Ironic Times

BP Orders Containment Booms Around Beachgoers
Those covered in oil will be scrubbed, released.

Radioactive Fish Found In Connecticut River
Don't need refrigeration, cook themselves.

Americans Prefer Drugs to Psychotherapy for Depression
The more the better.

Teenage Female Knuckleballer Makes Her Pro Debut
She's clobbered, yanked, booed, released, hits skids, takes HGH, makes comeback, signed by Mets.

Survey: Brits Worst-Dressed Tourists
There was no runner-up.

Being I lived in Ft. Worth for a couple years ...

This doesn't surprise me:

Louis Torres has a can-do attitude.

Just one glance at his yard, which is adorned with thousands of beer cans -- some strung together, others crafted into ornaments -- provides proof.

Torres began putting together his beer-can canopy a couple of years ago. He and his buddies share an affinity for Miller Lite and Milwaukee's Best Light, and when the cans began to pile up, Torres went to work.


Far be it one of them yahoos would toss the load into the back of his pickemup and drag 'em to the recycling center. I know I rag on Texas a lot, but this shit writes itself:

Q - What's a 'Texas savings account'?

A - A string of beer cans hanging from a tree.


The cans not only serve as yard art; they're a savings account of sorts.

"If I'm short of money and need cigarettes or beer, I'll pull down a string and cash it in," Torres said.


I'll say this; in my neighborhood, if that guy strung up a buncha beer cans in his yard at night, they'd be gone by morning and somebody else would be cashin' 'em in.

Yeah ...

BP is gonna pay all right ... not:


Thirty-seven of the 64 active or senior judges in key Gulf Coast districts in Louisiana, Texas, Alabama, Mississippi and Florida have links to oil, gas and related energy industries, including some who own stocks or bonds in BP PLC, Halliburton or Transocean — and others who regularly list receiving royalties from oil and gas production wells, according to the reports judges must file each year. The AP reviewed 2008 disclosure forms, the most recent available.


Like Exxon and Union Carbide, BP won't have to pay a dime in damages for decades.


And if you're waiting for any BP execs to face prosecution, don't hold your breath:


Over the years, the Justice Department has repeatedly pursued criminal charges in major environmental accidents, from the Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989 to the Three Mile Island nuclear accident a decade earlier. In most high-profile environmental cases, criminal charges are brought mainly against the companies involved, while corporate executives typically escape punishment.


And our pal Montag sums up my feelings quite well:


I am not a lawyer, I didn't even stay at a Holiday Inn Express but it seems to me that the recent SCOTUS grant of human rights to corporations should carry with it the assumption of a grant of human responsibilities/liabilities. If an unincorporated human would be thrown in jail, so too should the executive officers of a corporation. Just my humble opinion.

Welcome to America, where responsibility is assigned to those who can't afford the best lawyers.

Quote of the Day

Fez on BP's sponsorship of the U.S. Swim Team:

... I just hope Dawn detergent works on Dara Torres and Michael Phelps.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

It's about time ...

On every trip to Spain, in every city we've been to there, we see more bull rings closed and repurposed. It is a barbaric sport and has no place in the civilized world and it's about time Spain made a national effort to ban the sport. The Catalons are taking up the charge:


That day in Barcelona saw the biggest anti-bullfight demonstration of all time: 5,000 people marched from the Ramblas to the Plaza de Toros Monumental, where the bullfight world was busy acclaiming its conquering hero. From here it was but a step to the massive campaign of signatures – a total of 180,000 were collected across Catalonia – which eventually led to a parliamentary bill.


Barcelona has three bull rings, only one of which still operates. The other two, one being rebuilt into an apartment complex, the other a sports center, are closed. Hopefully the last one will close when (if) this legislation is passed.

Thanks to Chris for the link.

Gentlemen ...

If you can't do your job around a beautiful woman who dresses appropriately, it's your problem, not hers.

Grow the fuck up.

Thanks to our pal Montag for the MoDo link.

Los Lobos cancels show in Arizona

Crooks and Liars

Mad props to Los Lobos (website) for their principled stand against SB 1070.

This just in from Los Lobos' camp: The band is canceling its performance at the Talking Stick Resort in Arizona's Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community on June 10 as a protest against the passing of the state's controversial new immigration bill, SB1070. The band issued the following statement via its management:

“We support the boycott of Arizona. The new law will inevitably lead to unfair racial profiling and possible abuse of people who just happen to look Latino. As a result, in good conscience, we could not see ourselves performing in Arizona. We regret the inconvenience this may have caused the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, Casino Arizona, Talking Stick Resort and our fans, but we feel strongly that it is the right thing to do.”

Good on yas, mis East L.A. amigos!

Good advice...

...from Daddy Frank's column today:

Don’t Get Mad, Mr. President. Get Even.

That always works for me.

Sunday Reality Snark

Thanks to rizzio247.

"Queen of the Boogie Piano"

Brainiac Joe the Troll slid me east from Texas a little and had me check out Marcia Ball (website). Thank you, Joe.

I checked out a dozen or so of her vids and chose this older one as pretty representative.

Caution: move everything breakable for several feet around you! Try not to hurt yourself. Enjoy.

from Marcia Ball's 1988 performance on Kentucky Educational Television's "Lonesome Pine Specials"; H. Russell Farmer & Richard Van Kleeck, producers; Clark Santee, director. Copyright 1988 KET

Marcia Ball ~ Eugene

Thanks to rghm.