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31 July 2008

Schwarzenegger Is An Idiot

by: Debra

Moderate my ass!!  Instead of holding the feet of the people in California government (read Republicans) to the fire and slashing their pay to minimum wage, what did he do?  He slashed the pay and fired 22,,000 of the people of California WHO ACTUALLY DO THE WORK AND NEED THE MONEY to the federal minimum wage which is a dollar and a half less than what Californians used to get.

The alternative is to force the Democrats to cut every single program except the ones the less than one third of Republicans who pretend they are legislators, want.  Just to make him happy.  It's the lousy two thirds majority vote to approve the budget that the Rethugs have been using against the people of California for years. If he thinks he's going to be elected to replace Barbara Boxer, he is sadly mistaken.   His next position is going to be on the unemployment line.  With all the people he just shafted for political gain.  We won't vote again for a backstabbing, cigar smoking asshole who only takes care of his buddies.  How are all the innocent people supposed to pay their rent, buy gas and/or make a car payment?  How will they get to work since he has slashed public transportation to the bone?  Why were the people of California so stupid as to replace Gray Davis with this numbskull?

In return for his stupidity there should be a complete work stoppage.  Nothing in any government office gets done until pay is restored.  Period.  When a person is hired to do a job, they are offered a certain salary and told what the requirements are to earn it.  Why in the world would someone want to do a job that they are going to get paid so little money for that they can't afford to live in the state? 

We have the highest rate of foreclosures in the nation and I don't see that changing any time soon.  Maybe it's time for a recall of the dumbest governor since the lamppost. 

Arnold needs to go.  Preferably to H E double hockey sticks. It's obvious that all the steroids shrunk what little brains he had.



Two For One

by: Foiled Goil

Al Qaeda's chemical weapons expert has been killed...
Officials: Al Qaeda's Mad Scientist Killed

CIA Drone Targeted Chemical Weapons Expert Abu Khabab Al-Masri On Afghanistan-Pakistan Border

July 29, 2008

One of al Qaeda's top chemical and biological weapons experts was killed in an air strike by a CIA pilotless drone in a remote Pakistani border region, senior Pakistani intelligence officials told CBS News Tuesday morning.

Intelligence officials investigating the early Monday missile attack confirmed that Midhat Mursi al-Sayid Umar, also known as Abu Khabab al-Masri was one of six men killed and his remains had been positively identified.
U.S. Strike Killed Al Qaeda Bomb Maker

Terror Big Also Trained 'Shoe Bomber,' Moussaoui

Jan. 18, 2006

ABC News has learned that Pakistani officials now believe that al Qaeda's master bomb maker and chemical weapons expert was one of the men killed in last week's U.S. missile attack in eastern Pakistan.

Midhat Mursi, 52, also known as Abu Khabab al-Masri, was identified by Pakistani authorities as one of four known major al Qaeda leaders present at an apparent terror summit in the village of Damadola early last Friday morning.

· · ·
30 July 2008

Because We Need More Smiles

by: Debra

At the other place.

· ·

One More Instance Of GOP Hypocrisy

by: Debra

Support the troops!  Unless you're a member of the GOP and think that 25 million is too much to spend on paralyzed veterans.  A bridge to nowhere is okay, helping people who can't walk or pee without assistance is not.  And then to add insult to injury the GOP tries to use the issue to accuse the Demowienies of avoiding dealing with high gas prices.  Otherwise known as offshore drilling for their corporate buddies.
Republicans blasted the bill as an attempt to bait them and distract from measures to deal with high gas prices.

"They're using every trick to get us away from dealing with high gas prices," said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).
Let's recap the GOP support of the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Bad armor, insufficiently armored vehicles, no plan other than shock and awe, multiple tours, poor medical care if they get back to the United States in less than pristine condition, ignoring the emotional costs of war in veterans, closing brain injury units as the incidences of brain injuries in the troops was increasing due to the IEDs that nobody "could have foreseen", obstruction of the GI Bill and now willing to let injured veterans be forever hostage to other people for help.   

The best part?  Tom Coburn has the nerve to consider himself a doctor. Unlike recently departed Randy Pasuch, not the kind that helps people.



Greasing The Slippery Slope

by: Foiled Goil

The Vast and Dangerous Transfer of American Spying to Mercenary Companies

Johnson considers just how incompetent and unscrupulous a thoroughly privatized intelligence 'community' has turned out to be.

Editor's note--

Chalmers Johnson has produced a superb new article on what privatization has meant to the U.S. Intelligence Community.

Focusing on Tim Shorrock's new book, Spies for Hire, Johnson traces the history of "the wholesale transfer of military and intelligence functions to private, often anonymous operatives" from Ronald Reagan's day to the present, reminding us of just how crucial the Clinton administration was to this development. He also lays out just what can happen when the intelligence budget soars and startling amounts of it are placed in private, for-profit hands. Not only, he claims, has the privatization of intelligence made it easier for enemies to penetrate American intelligence and greased the slippery slope to the loss of professionalism within the community of intelligence analysts, but, perhaps most serious of all, it has ensured the loss of the most valuable asset any intelligence organization possesses -- its institutional memory.

Johnson concludes: "The current situation represents the worst of all possible worlds. Successive administrations and Congresses have made no effort to alter the CIA's role as the president's private army, even as we have increased its incompetence by turning over many of its functions to the private sector. We have thereby heightened the risks of war by accident, or by presidential whim, as well as of surprise attack because our government is no longer capable of accurately assessing what is going on in the world and because its intelligence agencies are so open to pressure, penetration, and manipulation of every kind."


Entire article here. Also see:

Tomgram: Chalmers Johnson, Warning: Mercenaries at Work

at TomDispatch


Ruin and Resignation

by: Foiled Goil

Tough GOP race just got much tougher

Aaron Blake:

Sen. Ted Stevenss seat is in serious jeopardy, whether or not he is the Republican candidate in November.

Stevenss indictment Tuesday leaves Alaska Republicans in an unenviable situation just three months before the general election, a race where their longtime senator was already in deep trouble.

The Ted Stevens' Road to Ruin

Kate Klonick:
We've had a lot of coverage today at TPMmuckraker on the freshly indicted Sen. Ted Stevens (R), but we've actually been following Uncle Ted and his son, Ben, here at TPMm for more than a year.

So for the benefit of our readers we thought we'd wrap it up into one neat little package so you can see how an 84 year-old U.S. Senator can go from free gas grills to federal indictment.

Ladies and gentleman, we present:

The Ted Stevens' Road to Ruin, the ultimate in Ted Stevens' timelines.
Stevens Resigns from Two Committees

Kate Klonick:
Consistent with GOP bylaws that require Members who are under felony indictment to relinquish their ranking posts on committees, Stevens, the longest-serving Republican Senator, has officially stepped down as ranking member of both the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee and the ranking member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense.
More posts on Ted Stevens at TPM Muckraker.

...Speaking of resignations:

Waxman Joins Chorus Urging Special Counsel To Resign

Andrew Tilghman:
Special Counsel Scott Bloch is under investigation by the FBI. His own employees can't stand him. And now pressure is mounting from Capitol Hill for one of Washington's top watchdogs to step down.

House oversight committee chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA) sent Bloch a letter yesterday urging him to step down from the agency charged with investigating allegations of retaliation against whistle blowers.

The mission of the agency should be the paramount consideration. It is for this reason that I have concluded that OSC would be better served with new leadership and urge you to step down as the Special Counsel. Such a move would be in the best interest of the agency and the federal employees its charged to protect.

· · · ·
29 July 2008

by: astraea

Alaska Sen. Stevens Indicted

by: Foiled Goil

Grand jury indicts Alaska senator

Alaska Republican Sen. Ted Stevens was charged Tuesday with making false statements after a wide-ranging probe into ties between an energy company and lawmakers in his home state, according to a federal indictment.

Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, was indicted on Tuesday by a federal grand jury.

In a 28-page indictment from a federal grand jury, Stevens was charged with seven counts of making false statements on his Senate financial disclosure forms.

The indictment says Stevens "schemed to conceal" the fact that Alaska's Veco Energy paid for hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of work on his home.

FBI and Internal Revenue Service agents searched Stevens' Alaska home in July 2007 in connection with the probe, which has already snared two oil-company executives and a state lobbyist.

USA Today:
Update at 2:06 p.m. ET: Here's a copy of the 28-page indictment.

This is the section of the court filing that Friedrich referred to when he discussed the possible motivations of the donors.
It was a part of the scheme that STEVENS, while during that same time period that he was concealing his continuing receipt of things of value from ALLEN and VECO from 1999 to 2006, received and accepted solicitations for multiple official actions from ALLEN and other VECO employees, and knowing that STEVENS could and did use his official position and his office on behalf of VECO during that same time period. These solicitations for official action, some of which were made directly to STEVENS, included the following topics: (a) funding requests and other assistance with certain international VECO projects and partnerships, including those in Pakistan and Russia; (b) requests for multiple federal grants and contracts to benefit VECO, its subsidiaries, and its business partners, including grants from the National Science Foundation to a VECO subsidiary; and (c) assistance on both federal and state issues in connection with the effort to construct a natural gas pipeline from Alaska's North Slope Region.


What A Crock!

by: Debra

Only because they aren't looking in the right places.   This is just like when they redefined hunger as food insecurity.  In less than half a mile on Seventh Street in San Jose there are currently 11 motor homes or 5th wheels currently parked and being lived in.  Then there are the side streets with one or two vehicles that are also occupied.  In the Bush economy it is possible to have a job and not have a home or a drug problem.

It affirms the very significant change in policy shift that took place over the in the last six years, said Mr. Culhane, who studies homelessness trends and policy, of the decline in the numbers of chronically homeless. Were moving in the right direction, without a doubt.

I'll just bet everything is going according to plan.  The plan to transfer everything of value from the have nots to the have mores.

I just want to be your stepping stone.  So much for the myth of serving the public.  It's always about the benjamins, isn't it?

Major tactical error.  He should have gone to see the troops by himself, they deserved it.  But then you would have to have spent some lonely time in a hospital bed to understand that.  CNN gets interviews and soundbites all the time, these guys are still suffering the initial shock of being wounded.

Great, just great.  275 minutes a week.

Why aren't Republicans looking for another candidate?  Melanoma of the head and face are the most fatal of skin cancers and McCain has had more than one occurrence.  Between this and his encroaching senility, the odds of him finishing his term as Senator, much less President, is seriously in doubt.

The Food Network, the one that used to show you how to cook but now mainly shows you people eating at places you can't get to, has replaced the disgraced Robert Irvine with the Giggler on Dinner Impossible.  Instead of letting the ripped off John Besh handle the duties, they are forcing Michael Symon down our throats.  Well, I'm not swallowing.  And I'm not watching either.  Bring back Robert Irvine or let Besh do it. Who cares if Irvine stretched his resume, he did the job he was hired to do.  If Symon is the Iron Chef for the week, I skip it and now it looks like Dinner Impossible has become Dinner Unwatchable.  The giggle and the soul patch are just the tip of the iceberg. I miss the old Food Network, the one that gave me ideas for dinner, not dining out.


· ·

The Dominionist Cast Asunder

by: Dark Wraith

Monica Goodling Behind Bars, by Dark WraithJustice Department investigators have released a report in which they conclude that top aides to former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales improperly and illegally assessed DoJ job applicants based upon political affiliation and loyalty to conservative values. Both Monica Goodling, Gonzales's White House liaison, and D. Kyle Sampson, Gonzales's chief of staff, who have since both resigned from the Department of Justice, were the subject of scathing review by the investigators, who found that applicants for jobs were vetted using such inappropriate and unreliable resources as rumors and information obtained from online investigative services. In one case, a prospective candidate for a position at DoJ was denied the job because of a rumor that she was a lesbian.

Recall that the Good Lady Monica Goodling was granted limited immunity by a federal judge at the behest of Democratic leaders in the House of Representatives who were so hard-up for someone with whom to chat about Bush Administration misdeeds that they were willing to hand a potential criminal a Get Out of Jail Free card.

Here's the good news: Ms. Goodling claimed under oath that, although she "crossed the line" in some of her decisions at DoJ, she did not "hold the keys to the Kingdom" at DoJ and "was not the primary White House contact for purposes of the development or approval" of the plan to fire U.S. Attorneys deemed insufficiently dedicated to the Bush Administration and the prosecution of Democrats. In fact, she crafted her congressional testimony in such a way as to impugn others at DoJ and cast herself as something of a lesser player who really wasn't responsible for any specific violations of law or Department of Justice rules.

The DoJ investigators' report that came out today paints a starkly different picture of her; hence, a case can be made that she committed perjury before the Congress and did so even though she had so-called "use immunity." The findings in the report are not mere allegations by her detractors: they are the published results of investigators at the very nexus of federal law enforcement.

That means the young Dominionist law school graduate of Pat Robertson's Right-wing Regent University may now be prosecuted as a common criminal.

With respect to the engulfing evidence of wide-spread criminal acts now weighing upon Bush Administration officials, it is of more than passing note that the Right-Wing Authoritarian Followers in the United States for so long have proclaimed their love of that auld-timey, butch, Git Tuff on Crime talk until it's one of their own who qualifies for the Big House. The double standard is palpable.

However, for my own part, I do not want to see Monica Goodling incarcerated.

The ladies waiting for a new bunkmate at the federal penal institution deserve better than a Bible-beating zealot vibrating the prison bars with her everlasting proclamations of martyrdom.

The Dark Wraith will, however, grit his teeth and watch the YouTube version of Ms. Goodling's first day doing hard time.

Cross-posted from The Dark Wraith Forums

· · · · ·
28 July 2008

On the Bush DOJ's Dazzling Hiring Habits

by: Missouri Mule

Remember angel-faced political hack Monica Goodling? A new report out today details allegations about how she and other high level Bush drones at the Justice Department violated federal law by factoring political preferences into their hiring practices for non-political jobs. You can read the 146 page report, if you must, but it would probably be a hell of a lot easier to just read some of the notable bits culled from the investigation:

Goodling's Interview Questions:

"Tell us about your political philosophy."
"What is it about George Bush that makes you want to serve him?"
"Why are you a Republican?"
"Aside from the President, give us an example of someone currently or recently in public service who you admire." (When one interviewee responded "Condoleezza Rice," Goodling frowned and said, "But she's pro-choice.")

Goodling's Job Candidate Screening Process:

Checking and for job candidate's political donations.
Lexis-Nexis search strings using a job candidate's name and political buzzwords like "liberal," "homosexual," and "gay."
Note that candidate is "pro-God in public life" and "pro-marriage, anti-civil union" in interview notes.

Accepted Euphemisms for Republican job candidates at Bush DOJ:"Rock solid Americans"

Not "Rock Solid Americans":
A highly qualified prosecutor who wasn't given a DOJ counterterrorism job because Goodling didn't like that his wife was active in Democratic politics. (The job was given instead to a less experienced candidate who met Goodling's standards.)

A job candidate with 18 years of criminal prosecution experience whose rsum thrown in the trash because Goodling believed he was a Democrat.

An Assistant U.S. Attorney who was repeatedly denied promotions because Goodling believed she was homosexual.

More Befitting "Rock Solid American" Status in Bush Justice Department
A job candidate suggested by the Bush White House who "used profanity in the interview, acted abrasively, and when asked what his greatest weakness was, responded 'Blondes.'"

On behalf of blondes everywhere, what up?

Blondes are unapologetically joked about and ridiculed in public because people think we be stupid and just because our har is yeller, and they're not too shy to say so. Most folks think the average blonde doesn't know the difference between come'ere and sic'um. The stereotype of the dumb blonde is as old as that, uh, really dark stuff that grass and trees and stuff grow in.

If you don't believe it, consider that there are entire websites devoted to collecting and distributing dumb blonde jokes. Which reminds me, how many blondes does it take to change a lightbulb? Two. One to hold the Diet Coke and the other to call "daaady!" I love that one.

Or this one: What do you call it when a blonde dyes her hair brunette? Artificial intelligence. Har-dee-har-har.

From Sea To Shining Sea

by: Debra

After almost three and a half years of blogging, these last few days I have been finding it difficult to care.  I've always had varied interests, but since 2004 they have been limited to politics, cooking and a few other assorted hobbies, but mainly politics.

Through the years, many of the blogs I enjoyed reading caught Ted Barlow disease and disappeared.  The latest were Mixter's Mix and Ponzo (I guess I'm not an invited reader).  I doubt if I'll quit, but my energy is low and readers are few.  I am a first-born and will always have an opinion about everything (just ask me!), but I'm tired of being irritated and disappointed in my country and my government.  That isn't going to change because I stop writing about it constantly, but the world needs more positivity and right now the only thing I'm positive about is that we are rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

In the last four years it has become sadly apparent to me that most Americans are of the sit and wait variety.  They are willing to sit and wait, hoping that things will change for the better and are content to focus on their own lives and the lives of troubled stars, pregnant stars and "reality" shows that have nothing to do with real life.  Anything but paying attention to how the country has changed around them.

What really brought it home to me was this season of Jeopardy!  One of the things I noticed about the contestants was that they knew stuff about movies and obscure musical groups and very little about the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the Revolutionary War or how and why this country was founded, but they could name some specialized mammal that I, nor anyone I know, has ever heard of.  Now, that's depressing.

The election isn't going to change things by much since our freedoms have been whittled down to almost nothing and there wasn't a peep from the general populace during the process and I don't expect a majority will demand them back.  Using the excuse that it won't get worse is just sad.  Our media hasn't done its job and the people haven't asked it to, people are too busy pretending that life is a reality show and everyone will get a do-over.  And besides, it won't affect them, it only affects the bad people.  Until it's too late and their homes and jobs are gone.

When I was a little girl and we were stationed on Air Force bases throughout the world, unlike today we had no choice about radio or televisions stations.  It was Armed Forces Radio and Television Service and the government spin on world happenings, or it was learn a new language.   No such thing as cable or the internet.   I'll never forget going to see the original Batman movie and having Burt Ward's voice blow us out of the seats.  We had been watching the tv show on a Puerto Rican station (because tv didn't start until the news came on at five and went off again at ten) and Robin had a boy's voice, so the change was pretty noticeable.  AFRTS eventually showed Star Trek a year behind the States and we were really surprised to see that black girl on the bridge.  But I digress.

I loved going to the movies, except for one thing.  The Star Spangled Banner was played before every movie and it was required that you stand and put your hand over your heart.  I hated it.  When we got back to the States and moved to California we still had to recite the Pledge of Allegiance every morning at the beginning of classes.  I hated that also.  Only seniors were allowed to not stand and recite and when I became one, my butt never left the chair.  Not once did I feel guilty or unpatriotic.  Otherwise I wouldn't have joined the Army two days after graduating high school.

Why did I hate doing those things so much?  Well first of all, they forced us to do it.  Since it was by rote and not intention, it was just like reciting the ABCs and had less impact.  Ask anybody you know to recite the Pledge or the Anthem slowly and sound out the words and you'll realize that 98% of the people have not a clue as to what they are saying.  If, and it's a big one, they can do it without the singsong repetition.  It's amazing how many words aren't correct. 

Secondly, America The Beautiful should be our anthem not some old Enlgish drinking song.  We really do have a purple majesty, they are called the Rockies and they don't try to usurp power for themselves or their cronies.

I want my country back even though I know that it's impossible.  The one from the late sixties and seventies that had hope, that just knew things were going to get better and wasn't afraid to stand up and demand that justice be served to those who deserved it.  Not even a President was immune.  Not the country that currently exists in its place and demands that someone who lied about taking steroids be forced to spend years in jail while one who outed a CIA spy has his sentence commuted and people are begging for him to be pardoned.   My how the priorities have changed.

And not in a good way.



Remember last week when Bob Novak tried to kill again?

by: Missouri Mule

You know what is impossible anymore? Trying to run down someone on the streets of D.C. without a Politico reporter being right there as the cops have you all trussed up. This is what happened to long-time syndicated columnist, father of the Swift Boat Kerry-smear operation's leader, and actual lizard Robert Novak last week. Apparently he had no idea that he ran someone over in his little black Corvettemost likely because the pedestrian was motionless on the ground. They're so hard to see like that! According to one person on the scene, a bicyclist had to jump on his windshield to get him to stop driving off. Novak has always been extremely decisive. Once he decides to do something, there's just no stopping him.

Apparently, Novak was listening to NPR when the accident occurred and did not hear the impact. There is so much in that sentence which makes my heads spin that I do not know where to start.

Update---Robert Novak Hospitalized

Now don't all you folks who've been making fun of syndicated conservative columnist Robert Novak feel terrible? He has a brain tumor, people! He was happily relaxing on Cape Cod over the weekend and suddenly felt quite poorly and off he went to the hospital. Turns out: Not the coleslaw. Was brain tumor. Now everyone will be really nice about him for a little while, even though he just ran someone down in the street the other day.

But let us keep in mind a saying from back in the heady, early-90s, frequently said among members of the AIDS activist group ACT-UP. There was a bit of a habit of thinking that people with HIV could do or say no wrong, because the group was, overall, engaged in the project of providing them with self-determination. And yetwell, the saying was: "An asshole with AIDS is still an asshole." Tony Snow's cancer didn't make him any less of a sometime-liar in the service of the White House (just as it didn't detract from his good qualities); Robert Novak's brain tumorand our best wishes for an effective and timely treatment!also doesn't make him not a shnook. Seriously, did Saint Susan Sontag die for nothing, people?

Obama Doesn't Sweat. He should.

by: Missouri Mule

by Greg Palast

"In wing-state Colorado, the Republican Secretary of State conducted the biggest purge of voters in history, dumping a fifth of all registrations. Guess their color. In swing-state Florida, the state is refusing to accept about 85,000 new registrations from voter drives - overwhelming Black voters.

In swing state New Mexico, HALF of the Democrats of Mora, a dirt poor and overwhelmingly Hispanic county, found their registrations disappeared this year, courtesy of a Republican voting contractor.

In swing states Ohio and Nevada, new federal law is knocking out tens of thousands of voters who lost their homes to foreclosure.

My investigations partner spoke directly to Barack Obama about it. (When your partner is Robert F. Kennedy Jr., candidates take your phone call.) The cool, cool Senator Obama told Kennedy he was "concerned" about the integrity of the vote in the Southwest in particular.

He's concerned. I'm sweating.

It's time SOMEBODY raised the alarm about these missing voters; not to save Obama's candidacy journalists should stay the heck away from partisan endorsements - but raise the alarm to save our sick democracy."

Mr. Palast, I'd like to shack your hand.
27 July 2008

John Edwards Will Not Be Vice President

by: Dark Wraith

John, Rielle, and the Shadow

Here we go, again. Rumors about adultery involving John Edwards are flying. It's the same girl as before: all-around moonbat and former drug addict-turned-amateur videographer Rielle Hunter, whom Edwards hired to chronicle his campaign on film. The National Enquirer claims Edwards and Hunter were seen together Monday night at the Beverly Hilton.

The story gets really strange with the return of whispers that Hunter's illegitimate child was sired by Edwards. It seems that Andrew Young, Mr. Edwards' close friend, is saying the kid is his, not John's.

One way or the other, Right-wing bloggers with nothing better to do with their miserable little lives are having a party with all this sleaze, which means this is just another Right-wing plot, right?


Ask yourself this: Who benefits right now from John Edwards being destroyed? If that doesn't help, try this one: Whose dirty politics machine got the rumors about Edwards and Hunter into the news back when Edwards was still a candidate?

Is American politics great or what?

· · · · ·

Sunday Morning Quickie

by: Debra

Favorite blog post title of the week.  Deflator Mouse Pops The Obama Balloon.  The post was excellent as usual, but the title made me snicker for hours. 

If you like Jeopardy! and who doesn't, this site is for you.  They have archives of clues and questions and it's current.   Trivia heaven.

From the you have got to be kidding department and coming to your email inbox shortly, we have the Obama Death List.  The hardly ever right wing is so desperate to belive anything but the truth that they have concocted a list that attributes a murder to Obama at the grand old age of nine using the excuse that it was an initiation ritual because Islamists must spill the blood of another before age ten in order to prove their loyalty to Allah.  Really?  He cut a kid's head off at the age of nine?  Most of the people on the list don't even exist.   While there is no proof whatsoever that Obama attended a madrassa and killed someone, there is proof that the current First Lady caused the death of a classmate in 1963.  I'm not even voting for Obama and this is so over the top, that I just might.


· ·

Quoting Molly

by: Foiled Goil

We need people in the streets, banging pots and pans and demanding, "Stop it, now!"
Molly Ivins Remembered:
Congress must work for the people...

We are the people who run this country. We are the deciders. And every single day, every single one of us needs to step outside and take some action to help stop this war. Raise hell. Think of something to make the ridiculous look ridiculous.
Stand up!
So keep fightin' for freedom and justice, beloveds, but don't you forget to have fun doin' it. Lord, let your laughter ring forth. Be outrageous, ridicule the fraidy-cats, rejoice in all the oddities that freedom can produce. And when you get through kickin' ass and celebratin' the sheer joy of a good fight, be sure to tell those who come after how much fun it was.

· ·

One More Day, Please

by: Foiled Goil

I don't want to fade away.
Give me one more day, please.

Eric Clapton: "Bell Bottom Blues"
Live Acoustic Version

[ 5:07 ]


March 13, 2008

by: Dark Wraith

Rumors of what happened are as wild as any conspiracy theory could get. This much is clear: on March 13, 2008, the U.S. House of Representatives went into secret session, the fourth such closed meeting in recent memory. Ostensibly, the session was closed to outsiders so a "debate" about the then-pending revision of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) could be held.

This version of what was going to happen is supported by the following video capture of Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) raising an objection to the proceeding long enough to probe House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) on the need for the secrecy.

As can be heard, once he had put into the record his concerns, Kucinich withdrew his objection and stated that he would not attend the secret session; this, unfortunately, means he cannot attest to what actually happened in that meeting of the House on March 13, 2008, although he would have been prohibited by House rules from revealing the content of the proceedings, anyway, even if he had attended.

While the topic of the meeting was set forth in public record, the rumor mill has recently brought forth claims that the content of the secret session was considerably different from a debate about revising FISA., among other sites, asserts that insiders are saying the following matters were discussed:

• The United States economy is facing 'imminent collapse' late this year.

• The 'financing system' of U.S. government is facing 'imminent collapse' early next year.

• A 'civil war' resulting from the economic chaos is possible.

• Citizens likely to be involved in an uprising will be pre-emptively rounded up.

• Those detained will be incarcerated in REX 84 camps being built throughout the country.

• Members of Congress may become subject to 'retaliation' because of the severe problems that will ensue if the economy collapses.

• Provisions have been made for relocating Members of Congress and their families to safe locations should civil unrest threaten their safety.

• The collapse of the U.S. government's means of financing operations, along with the collapse of the United States economy, will compel, or perhaps propel, the binding of the United States with Canada and Mexico into the North American Union.

• This North American Union will then issue a new currency, called the "amero," which will function as a fiat currency similar to the euro of the European Union.

As can be seen from the progression of items in the list above, the rumor slides gracefully into full-blown, North American Union conspiracy theory by the end. Moreover, it is somewhat difficult, although not impossible, to see how a session of the House that was approved on the pretext of a debate about revising the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act could become a closed-door tell-all about the death of the United States as an independent republic. It is, of course, possible that some of those who supported the revision of FISA might use the occasion of a closed-door session to show a coming economic apocalypse that requires extraordinary measures be available to federal law enforcement authorities. This might explain why so many otherwise sane members of the federal legislature voted to pass the abomination of the revised FISA that is now the new law of the land with respect to spying on people.

As an alternative, it is also quite possible that many members of the federal legislature are simply too stupid to grasp the fact that law enforcement authorities now, thanks to the new FISA, have free rein to write and use computer code for routing wiretaps and aggregating the acquired data that is so complex that not one federal judge currently on the bench has even the slightest prayer of ever figuring out what the snoops are doing to comprehensively eliminate American citizens' right to privacy.

All of the back-and-forth about what really happened in the U.S. House of Representatives on March 13 aside, the cautionary tale from the conspiracy theory version is this: a government that conducts its business behind closed doors invites not just bad legislation, but also wild conjecture about what is really going on.

Imminent collapse of the U.S. economy and the federal government's ability to finance operations, FEMA concentration camps operationalized to hold malcontents by the hundreds of thousands, the end of the United States of America as a sovereign nation: these are all the stuff of rank conspiracy theories now given life by federal legislators who clearly believe the public's business is none of the public's business, at least when it comes to debating legislation to eviscerate the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution of any practical meaning whenever federal law enforcement deems necessary.

Instead of cracking down on the staggeringly common use of National Security Letters by the FBI to circumvent judicial control over searches and seizures, the Congress has handed law enforcement at the federal level carte blanche to spy at will; instead of condemning telecommunications companies for working with the Bush Administration to illegally spy on Americans, the Congress has handed those criminal conspirators immunity from civil actions by the citizens whose rights they violated; and instead of openly conducting what was apparently an important debate about further degrading the constitutional protections of the citizens of this country, the House of Representatives went into secret session.

Whether or not there is a grain of truth in what the conspiracy theorists say happened during that closed-door debate, the salient question is quite obvious. If our elected representatives do not trust us in their deliberations, why, then, should we ever trust what they say when they condescend to address us?

It seems that, whatever was said in that closed-door session of the United States House of Representative on March 13, 2008, it was all too important for us to hear.

The good news is this: eventually, we will find out.

Unfortunately, that's also the bad news.

The Dark Wraith will now accept applications for conspiracy theorists-in-training.

Cross-posted from The Dark Wraith Forums

· · · ·
26 July 2008

Wexler Turns Up The Heat On Impeachment

by: Foiled Goil

Rep. Robert Wexler brings on the heat at the Judiciary Committee hearing on the abuse of executive powers. Transcript and other videos are available at Crooks and Liars.

The opening statement of Rep. Robert Wexler during the House Judiciary Committee hearing on the constitutional limits of executive power:

[ 5:03 ]

"No regime should ignore the will of its own people."
--Guess Who

· · ·

Appropriate and Necessary: Impeach for Crimes and Misdemeanors

by: Foiled Goil

Impeachment Hearings are the Appropriate and Necessary Next Step

The Nation:

Tammy Baldwin, D-Wisconsin: "What this Congress does, or chooses not to do in furthering the investigation of the serious allegations against this administration and if just cause is found, to hold them accountable will impact the conduct of future presidents, perhaps for generations."
(The) American people have been forced to sit by while credible allegations of abuse of power mount:

We have seen this Administration fabricate the threat of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction and allege, despite all evidence to the contrary, a relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda. These lies dragged our country into a preemptive and unjustified war that has taken the lives of more than 4,000 U.S. troops, injured 30,000 more, and will cost our nation more than a trillion dollars.

We watched as this Administration again undermined national security by manipulating and exaggerating evidence of Iran's nuclear weapons capabilities and openly threatened aggression against Iran, despite no evidence that Iran has the intention or capability of attacking the U.S.

We have looked on in horror as the Administration suspended habeas corpus by claiming the power to declare any person an "enemy combatant" ignoring the Geneva Convention protections that the U.S. helped create.

We have seen torture and rendition of prisoners in violation of international law and stated American policy and values, and destruction of the videotaped evidence of such torture, under the tenure of this Administration.

We have seen this Administration spy on Americans without a court order or oversight in violation of the Fourth Amendment.

We watched as U.S. Attorneys pursued politically-motivated prosecutions in violation of the law and perhaps at the direction of this White House.

We watched as Administration officials outed Valerie Plame Wilson as a covert agent of the CIA and then intentionally obstructed justice by disseminating false information through the White House press office.

As we know, the framers of our Constitution called for impeachment only in the case of high crimes and misdemeanors. The standard is purposely set high because we should not impeach for personal or political gain only to uphold and safeguard our democracy. Sadly, in my judgment, at least two high ranking administration officials have met that standard. Although the call to impeach is one I take neither easily nor lightly, I now firmly believe that impeachment hearings are the appropriate and necessary next step.

Crimes and Misdemeanors

Corruption in the Bush administation

Go to the interactive chart:

Slate chart

Each scandal is represented by a colored circle that encompasses the people who are implicated. As it's easy to see, many of the players here are mixed up in two, three, or more of the alleged crimes. [snip]

Mouse over the scandals, and click on the scandal titles and the names in the diagram for more detailed information.

Or read the text version.

· · ·
25 July 2008

VoteVets New Ad

by: Foiled Goil

Our New Ad on Timelines, McCain and Iraqi Freedom

Senator McCain once said that if the Iraqis asked us to leave, we would have to leave. Those of us who served agree with that. Senator McCain now either has to back off his refusal to set a plan to leave Iraq, as Prime Minister Maliki requested a number of times in the past week, or tell the American and Iraqi people why he would overrule Iraq's government and turn our troops into an indefinite occupying force. Those are his only two options. Our new ad makes that clear.

[ 0:37 ]

· · · ·
24 July 2008

Sheep and Lambs

by: Dark Wraith

Alternet has published an article entitled, "America's Middle Class Can't Take Much More Punishment," adapted from a story by Matt Talibani at The article provides anecdotal evidence of the strain bearing down on middle class Americans laboring in an increasingly adverse economy plagued by inflation, job worries, declining median income, more and more people slipping into poverty, and a general sense of what might be characterized as despair.

In comments on the article at BlondeSense, I submitted a counter-point to the current concern about the disappearing middle class and the wellspring from which comes its constituents' misery. Below, in edited and expanded form, is that response.

This would be the same American middle class whose members voted in substantial numbers for George W. Bush and his Republican and Democratic enablers in Congress.

This would be the same middle class whose members sat in front of their televisions saying not a discernible word in protest as we laid siege to and destroyed a sovereign nation in an aggressive attack built on transparent lies.

This would be the same middle class that has for years declined the opportunity to demand of its leaders that they resolutely stop China from pegging its currency to the dollar at such a ridiculous, disequilibrium exchange rate that tens of millions of American jobs and hundreds of billions of dollars in industrial capital disappeared overseas.

This is the same middle class that just gobbles up those nice, fat tax rebate checks without bothering to ask where, exactly, the United States Treasury, which is compelled to borrow hundreds of billions of dollars to pay its regular bills, is getting the money for those pandering rebates. (HINT: it's from the same people to whom we sent that money in exchange for their cheap imports; the rest comes from the American banking system that profits from every cycle of Treasury securities auctions the Federal Reserve prints staggering quantities of money to cover.)

This is the same middle class whose people bitch to High Heaven about our educational system, yet themselves are ignorant of history, economics, and even basic English grammar and who, at any opportunity, stick their own noses and those of their kids in front of mind-rotting television.

This is the same middle class that chose to blubber and wave flags after the attacks of September 11, 2001, rather than scream bloody murder for retributive accountability from the man who was so hard-up to be President that his thugs stole an election less than a year before.

This is the same middle class that now chooses between an addled, corrupted corporate shill and a corrupt, inexperienced, pandering chameleon.

This is a middle class whose members think their civic duty to the body politic is to the extent of maybe voting in this or that election and then washing their hands of further, on-going, vigilant watch and action over the stewards they elect to lead them.

Yes, this American middle class is suffering; and yes, some members of that middle class—especially the young—do not deserve what is happening to them.

Perhaps those who do not deserve it, including the young lambs being led with their parents to the collective slaughter, should take up the matter with the many who do deserve it.

Live like sheep; bleat like sheep.

The silence of the lambs is, nonetheless, deafening.

The Dark Wraith is rather impatient with those who expected better than what they got from the leaders of this era.

Cross-posted from The Dark Wraith Forums

· · ·

Double Down Doubletalk Denial

by: Foiled Goil

McCain doubles down on his surge timeline confusion.

Think Progress:

Yesterday evening, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) denied that he was wrong in claiming the surge policy in Iraq began the Anbar Awakening. Pressed by a reporter, McCain argued that the surge actually began before more troops were added to Iraq:

[ --see video at link-- ]

But McCain has previously admitted that the surge only entailed the increase in troop levels.

Countdown Wednesday

The News Hole:

Double Talk Express: [ video 9:19 ]

Which came first, the surge or the surge? Apparently, the surge did. In our fifth story on the Countdown: Senator McCain -- who yesterday wanted you to believe that the surge pre-dated the Sunni awakening in Anbar -- now wants you to believe that the surge started before President Bush said it did. If that is not confusing enough... The presumptive Republican nominee would also have you believe that the surge....and the Anbar awakening... and the counter-insurgency in Iraq... are all the very same thing.

Message for History: [ video 4:50 ]

Senator John McCain...Having been confused about the basic timeline of the surge...Having accused his opponent, basically, of sedition... Tonight, in our fourth story on the Countdown, following that up... by questioning Senator Obama's commitment to preventing another Holocaust.

Rove: McCain Got His Facts Wrong On The Iraq Surge,
But Dont Make A Big Deal Of It

Think Progress:
Last night on Fox, Hannity & Colmes co-host Alan Colmes noted that CBS News chose not to air a portion of its interview with Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) in which McCain falsely claimed that President Bushs surge policy in Iraq began the Anbar Awakening.

[ --see video at link-- ]

But former Bush aide turned Fox pundit Karl Rove would have none of it.

When are a series of major mistakes just "a series of small gaffes"?
When John McCain makes them.

America Blog:
The so-called "dean" of the political punditry, David Broder, basically said McCain can make mistakes and we don't care -- because the insiders all know McCain:
McCain benefits from a long-established reputation as a man who says what he believes. His shifts in position that have occurred in this campaign seem not to have damaged that aura.

And, apparently, all of McCain's recent mistakes haven't damaged that aura either. Hence, this paragraph buried in today's Washington Post:
McCain also made a series of small gaffes this week, referring to the "Iraq-Pakistan border" and later to the country of "Czechoslovakia," neither of which exist. And his mistaken comment yesterday that the troops increase in Iraq began a movement called the Awakening, which started months before the military buildup, forced a day of explanations from his campaign.

A series of small gaffes? On foreign policy? McCain's alleged strong suit?

· · ·

shedding light on China

by: astraea

That olympic torch...
*********, Connecticut, CPTV
Olympic Demonstrators Compete in New Haven
BY: Derek Lartaud - Mon, 04/28/2008 10:00
Article Audio 1:28 minutes (0.71 MB) Download this Article

On the Upper Green in New Haven this weekend, demonstrators gathered

New Haven was one stop for the Human Rights Torch Relay, a multi-city, international campaign to raise awareness for human rights abuses in China.
Event participants were there for different reasons. Some were advocating for a free Tibet, some protested against Chinas involvement in Darfur, others spoke out against the persecution of Folun Gong practitioners.
John Kusumi is Director Emeritus of the China Support Network, a sponsor of the event. The network serves as an advocate for oppresed groups in China. Kusumi believes that a disruption to the Olympics can have a real impact on the Chinese government. ...

go, read, and be sure to watch the video.

related: Candle in My Window for Tibet

McCain's Neverending War

by: Foiled Goil

Jed Lewison presents John McCain's neverending war in Iraq, a look back at the presidential candidate's record in his own words from 2002 - present.

Jed Report:
My newest video features John McCain talking about the Iraq war from 2002 through the present, exposing -- in his own words -- the lie behind his claim that he was the war's "greatest critic." It demonstrates his chilling commitment to fighting this war no matter what the people of America -- or Iraq -- want.

It is long -- nine minutes, thirty seconds -- but much of the material it contains will likely be new to you... and devastating to McCain.

[ 9:29 ]

· ·
23 July 2008


by: blackdog

An old favorite, I can't help but laugh.

To not have a laugh at this is to either be dead or close to it.

Minor Update

I've taken care of most of the loose ends around here, my cousin will feed the Woof in my absence and I should be at my folks house tomorrow afternoon in preparation for what comes Friday. My biggest regret is being away from my woolly buddy. I don't know how long my recovery will be, but from what I've heard it will be at least a week before I return, maybe more depending on the luck of the draw.

So during that time be kind to each other and kick some social/political/economic/world ass.

When I get back, and I plan on it, blackdogs are tough but somewhat dim, I will do some catching up to see how you behaved. If I find any delinquents there will be consequences. Like I said, blackdogs are tough.

Thank all of you for the privilege of my being here.

Into the fold! Onward! Adios for now,

Well, maybe not just yet, I leave this for your contemplation, used to go here lots with the Chop dog. Horseshoe Meadows is a little to the left of this shot, a great place to be at any time, well maybe not in the dead of winter. Whitney Portals is straight ahead, actually Mt. Whitney is just behind this first range, here we are looking west. The reddish hills are the Alabama Hills. Lots of lizards, and the Chop lived to hunt lizards. Most of which were faster than him however.

This was some of the most beautiful country you could ever see. I count myself fortunate to have been there.

Plus I needs some magnificent theme music to calm my toes and my spirit, so here's this again.

Maybe one more. Just because I need it, and I am a little apprehensive (scared).

Maybe the best bet is to laugh through some of the crap, don't give it the benefit of objective reality. Things will change, time will continue to pass, life will go on.

Hell, I still sorta love my rabbit.

Tortoise Vs. Felines

by: Debra

A little light hearted entertainment.

A Real Ninja Turtle

Determined little guy, wasn't he?


Who Knew?

by: Debra

Every soldier that has died in Iraq could have been used to quell the Taliban in Afghanistan and catch Osama bin Laden.  Years ago.  After almost seven years of constant war and not much has been accomplished except spreading the pain of loss to more of our military families.  So much for making the instigators pay for 9/11.  Bin Laden looks like the winner in this contest.  One man holding out against the might of the United States for seven years.  There is something just not kosher about this situation.

Ferengi Rule #269. Trying to please an enemy makes you the loser every time. Too bad the Demowienies haven't learned that. They seem more comfortable operating by Ferengi Rule #28. What's in it for me?

Living on the poor side of town is about to get slightly easier since Macy's, Wal-Mart and a British grocery chain discovered that there is money in those neighborhoods.

Officer Nugent sounds like a person who must have put his fingers in the electric sockets many times if he believed that a man could survive six 50,000 volt taser shocks in three minutes.  And then three more a few minutes later.  He sounds like the kind of person who laughed every time he watched don't tase me bro.

Absolutely unconscionable.  Raising the price of a drug that needs to be used as soon as possible in order to prevent mental retardation in affected infants from $1,800 a dose to $23,000 smacks of a "let's make money mentality" as opposed to a "let's use this drug to help children", especially since they didn't have to do research and development on it.  Shameful.  On the bright side, Hopkins proved that there was a $15 alternative that worked equally well.  The universe can work in mysterious ways.

Search engines can be another indicator of an economy that isn't doing so well.  Searches for pizza (Dominos by 980%) are up and sit-down restauraants are declining.  U-Haul and Motel 6 are popular again while Macy's has dropped almost out of the top 50.



Investigate War Crimes Now

by: Foiled Goil

Nine Reasons to Investigate War Crimes Now

By Jeremy Brecher and Brendan Smith

Retired General Antonio Taguba, the officer who led the Army's investigation into Abu Ghraib, recently wrote in the preface to the new report, Broken laws, Broken Lives:

"There is no longer any doubt as to whether the current administration has committed war crimes. The only question that remains to be answered is whether those who ordered the use of torture will be held to account."

Should those who ordered war crimes be held to account? With the conclusion of the Bush regime approaching, many people are dubious, even those horrified by Administration actions. [snip]

Meanwhile, the evidence confirming not only a deliberate policy of torture, but of conspiring in an illegal war of aggression and conducting a criminal occupation, continues to pile ever higher. [snip]

Despite the reluctance to open what many see as a can of worms, there are fresh moves on many fronts to hold top U.S. officials accountable for war crimes.

Courts: U.S. courts have issued a barrage of decisions against the Administration's claim that they can do anything and still be within the law...

Congressional investigation: ...Senate hearings in June revealed that treatment of Guantnamo captives was modeled on techniques allegedly used by Communist China to force false confessions from U.S. soldiers.

Impeachment: ...Rep. Dennis Kucinich for the first time brought an impeachment resolution to the House floor that incorporated a devastating, thirty-five article indictment spelling out Bush Administration war crimes and crimes against the Constitution. Now Rep. Conyers has announced that the Judiciary Committee will hold hearings on the charges July 25.

Truth commission: In response to General Taguba's accusations, New York Times Op-Ed columnist Nicholas D. Kristof has just called for the establishment of a truth commission -- like that of post-Apartheid South Africa -- with subpoena power to investigate the abuses in the aftermath of 9/11 and "lead a process of soul searching and national cleansing."

International: In May, Vanity Fair magazine published an article by British human rights attorney Philippe Sands, in which he described the reasons Administration lawyers face a real risk of criminal investigations if they stray beyond U.S. borders. The British parliament is about to launch an investigation of Washington's lying to the British government about its use of its facilities for "extraordinary rendition." Constitutional lawyer Jonathan Turley recently said, "I think it might in fact be time for the United States to be held internationally to a tribunal. I never thought in my lifetime I would say that."

Prosecution: ...Americans of all political stripes overwhelmingly support the appointment of an independent prosecutor to investigate both the destruction of the CIA's interrogation tapes and the possible use of torture by the agency. Every segment of the electorate -- including majorities of Democrats (82 percent), independents (62 percent), and Republicans (51 percent) -- want to hold this administration accountable for its role in the destruction of the torture tapes.

Vincent Bugliosi, the former Los Angeles County Prosecutor who has won twenty-one convictions in murder trials, including Charles Manson's, has just published The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder, which argues that there is overwhelming evidence President Bush took the nation to war in Iraq under false pretenses and must be prosecuted for the consequent deaths of over 4,000 U.S. soldiers.

Dean Lawrence Velvel of the Massachusetts School of Law at Andover is planning a September conference to map out war crimes prosecutions against President Bush and other administration officials. Velvel says that "plans will be laid and necessary organizational structures set up, to pursue the guilty as long as necessary and, if need be, to the ends of the Earth."

Citizen action: Voters in Brattleboro and Marlboro, Vermont this spring approved a measure that instructs police to arrest President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney for "crimes against our Constitution," should they venture into those precincts.

All these developments suggest approaches that might be used to hold Bush Administration war criminals accountable. Establishing accountability for U.S. war crimes in the Iraq war era is the sine qua non for initiating a new era on different principles. Here are nine reasons why we must not let bygones be bygones:

1. World peace cannot be achieved without human rights and accountability.

2. The rule of law is central to our democracy.

3. We must not allow precedents to be set that promote war crimes.

4. We must restore the principles of democracy to our government.

5. We must forestall an imperialist resurgence.

6. We must have national consensus on the real reasons for the Bush Administration's failures.

7. We must restore America's damaged reputation abroad.

8. We must lay the basis for major change in U.S. foreign policy.

9. We must deter future U.S. war crimes.

As Rep. Wexler put it, "We owe it to the American people and history to pursue the wrongdoing of this Administration whether or not it helps us politically or in the next election. Our actions will properly define the Bush Administration in the eyes of history and that is the true test."
Read the entire article here.

· · · ·

Manifesto in Black

by: Dark Wraith

The Politics of ChoiceI know little that is genuine truth, but of this I am most certain: the United States government, as a matter of policy set each and every day to practice, systematically and of necessity lies. Its elected representatives, its civil servants, its judges, its contractors, its instrumentalities, agencies, commissions, operatives, and private advocates lie. They lie with numbers, and they lie with words.

Most perniciously, they lie with facts.

Their reports, their pronouncements, their justifications, their declarations, their accusations, their claims, their projections, and their promises are, prima facie, lies. The fruit of this poison tree issuing forth from the seeds of prevarication are the laws of the land: by the very nature of the seed from which is born this foodstuff that nourishes our civil society may not come a rule of law that is fit for all who live under the flag of this nation.

We have, in the words of the former neoconservative favorite Francis Fukuyama, come to the end of history: the legislation enacted by the Congresses, the affirmations by the Presidents, the interpretive and legislative rules crafted by government agencies are uniformly in their effect to the end of predating upon the weak to provide foul swill to a wanting public that is appeased by hateful violence of the state masquerading as law enforcement. No further history may be written when a civil society has become a docile mob living vicariously, even while cowering in fear, ignorant of the difference between compliance and obedience, assuming the latter is a refined and civilized extension of the former.

To believe anything that emanates from this government is to be at peril of embracing a lie, whether that lie be from a conservative or from a liberal. The individuals who comprise the sentient heart of this government are liars, and they must be such in order to be a part of this government. They cannot help themselves; they cannot even so much as see that they are lost to the lies they must sustain in order to remain a part of the official instrumentation of something far greater than they and far more corrupt than they should want themselves to be.

This, I know: only the truly evil conservatives and liberals want the nation we have come to have in this degraded century; yet, none of better nature can stop it. Neither John McCain nor Barack Obama is a bad man in any materially moral sense. Although the details of their visions of this nation may differ markedly, each wants a good place for the citizenry, a safe place for the people, and a free place for the men, women, and children of this world.

Neither, however, can give us back that which we have lost; so they must lie with earnest promises, meaningful plans, serious vows, and reasoned logic about the way forward to better times. And people will believe them; people will vote for them and be excited about them, and many of those people will remain hopeful even as these men, each in his own ways, renders evidence of his intention to do other than what his acolytes think he will do.

This is the way of the foolish as they goad their putative leaders forward along the narrowing passage of perilous lies below which is the chasm of precipitous, calamitous consequences.

For example, we can stay in Iraq as an occupation force, as John McCain would have us do, or we can leave in short order, as Barack Obama would want; but these two roads converge in a wilderness, and that place is called collective damnation. If we stay, we continue the destructive imposition of military presence ruling over people who want us gone; but if we leave, we wash our hands of the horrific tragedy we — yes, we a people — created. Both John McCain and Barack Obama must lie to the American people, for each is compelled to craft a platform to hide from those who would elect them the miserable truth that we have already made monsters of ourselves, and whatever we now do is to the purpose of serving ourselves, even as we, both liberals and conservatives, find our own convenient reasons for dismissing our absolute, categorical responsibility for the wreckage we have made of a sovereign nation.

Take a long, hard look at a killed Iraqi child. Tell yourself that this is not your doing. Soothe yourself. Tell yourself you are not responsible; it's someone else's doing. It's an insurgent; it's a bad American airstrike; it's George W. Bush. It's someone else who did it, not you. Then, once you feel all better, be sure to vote for the candidate who will tell you what you want to hear: we need to leave Iraq, or we need to stay there. It's all the same: seeds from the fruit of a poison tree of lies that will, themselves, bear lies tailored to your need for self-exoneration.

This is how the valence of Hegelian historical inevitability gets assigned, and the folly of self-deception cannot long be held at bay, certainly not this time, because the same force that makes corrupt any choice we now select in our dealings in the Middle East will one day become tangibly manifest in the fire and shrapnel of embittered terrorists who will unmercifully punish us just as we unmercifully butchered their ancestors and kin.

Neither John McCain nor Barack Obama can mitigate the inevitable: lies beget consequences, and those consequences are not only the superficial catastrophes of far away places we can keep at bay by hiding in our homeland.

The United States economy cannot now be saved from tribulation because no leader could be elected on a platform of truth about that which must be done. Neither can our United States of America as a nation of free people be saved, for it is already dead: freedom has become a commercial slogan in the unrelenting program of law enforcement run amok by fearful legislators whipped forward by those whose appetite for obedience by the people has become married to the unstoppable train of technological innovations that cynically thwart the simplicity of constitutional due process.

To the extent that an engine of systematic lies is the foulest of enemies of a free people, the United States government is, then, an enemy of the American people that was once collectively free; and to the extent that collective freedom exists only when each within that aggregate is free, this government of pervasive, metastatic lies is an enemy to each and every person who is free by natural law that transcends the particulars of time, place, and circumstance.

In passing, I note that this conclusion I herewith openly publish, even as it defiantly expresses my intention to freedom, at once definitionally serves the repressive state to the end of actionable claim against me. I have no harbor in the Constitution, for it is now subservient to what the highest court of the land calls "constitutional law," which is the body of that very same court's own rulings, which are mandatory precedent upon all lower courts in the land. Even if, by some oddity of case, the courts were to defend my right to speech, the federal legislature has both actively and tacitly given its permission to the President to do as he pleases in extra-judicial pursuit of "terrorism," however the government chooses to define it. Both pretenders to the throne of Empire have endorsed the wretched disposal of constitutional rights against unreasonable searches and seizures, yet their respective supporters refuse to see them as two faces of the same tin coin of authoritarianism ringing mightily while delivering nothing of value to the besieged Constitution and those it rightfully protects.

I am not afraid of this government, for I know it is the engine of empire dying before my mortal eyes. I need do no more than write and speak of its collapse, for it hastens its own death with each passing day, with each passing, more outlandish, more insistent lie.

I need only wait, write, and teach; and in that last modality of my death watch upon this wrongful and elderly monster whose name is Anathema, I shall prepare the young for the time that is to come that they may be not only prepared through revelation for a circumstance of awful tribulation, but knowing of why it has come, how it will proceed, and to what ends they must dedicate their learning and, indeed, their very spirits that they may continue on past the time when this government, of its own tragic destiny, has passed into sullen history, yet one more failed state of glorious ideals eviscerated by the consuming and all-destructive spiral of lies and their consequential burden of corrosive, suicidal distension.

And so I pause in the course of my own journey to the end of days to defy this government—nay, to challenge this government—to silence me. I dare this government to call me its enemy as I have, in this place for all to see, called it the enemy of my freedom.

Silence me lest I remain to my solemn task of shining a light down the darkling and now inexorable path that is the way to the cemetery of empire.

I wish only that the light I cast could illuminate for me that which lies beyond the graveyard, for I know that the better place—a bright place of learned hope and vigilance in freedom—exists, yet I know neither its form nor its time. That good place is there, but I cannot see it, so I must craft my hope of its good and great landscape within my soul, that place where lies cannot make permanent camp, that place my government long ago abandoned to the ill shadows of fleeting fortune and paltry powers that sovereigns so willingly substitute for a living spirit fed by the wellspring of a people unbridled in their freedom.

While hope is never enough, knowledge is abundance; and so, even as I sound the clarion call of the end of this history, I offer a horn of plenty to those who can steadfastly endure this government's crying shame of decadence in political oppression and economic misery in its last years and days. In caution, though, be forewarned: the wrath of generations to come will lay to waste the lives and deeds of us all for the disdain with which we dispensed with hope through action in the name of safety through surrender. Woe be our name as the truth we cannot see becomes the justice we shall suffer.

As both meek and magnificent promise, I give you this: the time of tribulation, bearing as it must the cruel twins of consequences and truths, will someday and inevitably pass; then all of us, both the living and the dead, shall once again be free.

Free we shall be until, of course, lies once again become empire and ignorant, self-serving people find life in the shadow of empire preferable to death in defiant rebellion.

The Dark Wraith has spoken.

Cross-posted from The Dark Wraith Forums

· · · · ·
22 July 2008

My First Post as a Writer For Group News Blog

by: Minstrel Boy

Is up.

Check it out.

If they ain't on your blogroll, or your daily reading, get it up there.

Dickhead of the Week

by: blackdog

One thing you have to admit, this excuse for a journalist is consistent.

Great balls of fire, if I were a retired ex-commander of a CBG (carrier battle group) and now an elected representative from anywhere in the USA I simply would not stand for the kind of shit offered by a asswipe like Sean Hannity, who has most likely never commanded anything in his life, except for his own distorted opinions.

I've never been in the military, but it isn't the only place where you lead, or follow. I have however been in enough management and classroom situations as the instructor that I do know that it is extremely important to listen to criticism and adjust as necessary, but in the face of intolerant insubordination, even by one who is not in your chain of command , quick action against the offender is called for.

Dress there ass down, privately if possible, if not, then openly and get it over with.

In some ways I have paid my dues, as a kid I delivered newspapers at 4:00 in the morning, as an adult I had to make repairs at water and wastewater facilities at anytime of the day or night during severe weather and other conditions with 240 and 480V panels that would blow your ass to China if you screwed up, mechanical that would eat your lunch for the rest of your life if, again, you screwed up.

The whole point was to be responsible and somewhat forward in delivering service to those who counted on you. And most of them never even knew who you were.

But to be a pampered shill with a salary way to large for what the job is actually worth, and a constant inability to even attempt to find the truth is more than I can stands.

Fux News, fair and balanced.

I must be a bit piqued about my surgery Friday, my pre-op went OK this morning, at least it showed that I am still alive and am still on schedule for the event. I am impressed with most of the people at UAMS, some of whom have a certain command authority as well.

Sean Hannity, my dickhead of the week.

There, maybe my blood pressure will now come down some.

Exercises In Futility

by: Debra

Priceless.  My favorite quote of the week comes from Spencer Ackerman in Sam Stein's article about why Obama is more popular  with Jewish people than Joe Lieberman and Republicans in general.  I love how he sums it up in a nutshell.  And these are numbers that rarely get mentioned on television.
"Seventy-four percent of us view Bush unfavorably and 83 percent of us disapprove of his job performance," Ackerman wrote. "While 76 percent of the country as a whole says the U.S. is on the wrong track, an astonishing 90 percent of American Jews say the same. Only 21 percent of us approve of the Iraq war and only 29 percent think Bush is good for Israel, and those are clearly the shmucks that kissed ass in Hebrew school and snitched when the rest of us used the synagogue phone booth and cloakroom to make out."
Somebody isn't going to be in the will.  Stories like this happen all the time, it's just that when you belong to Hollywood, you have no privacy.

Unless you have money, you aren't "in" the party.  Therefore the powers that be only pay attention when they need your vote.   That is how the older generation has always treated the younger generation.

Sounds like a Lee Iacocca moment.  More symbolic than helpful and the people on the bottom who need the help are still ignored.

Of course they are.  Haven't you seen them sweating?  Arms and legs moving all the time and some drummers even sing.  It's the partying after performing that seems to kill them.

And it won't be worth a dime when the big one hits.  Some people really do have too much money.

One can only hope.  That they catch more war criminals.  Especially ones that can only speak English, mangled though it may be, and think they are above the law.

I have two and after fourteen years, I'm still very happy with them.  But then I waited twenty years after I decided I wanted one so I knew I wasn't going to regret my decision.  Plus, I'm not really prone to peer pressure.


· · ·

McExpert McGenius

by: Foiled Goil

Reality map

Foreign Policy Expert McCain: Iraq-Pakistan Border Extremely Dangerous:

How many more of these will it take before we finally dispense with the idea that John McCain is some sort of foreign policy genius who is uniquely qualified to be commander-in-chief? Today on Good Morning America, John McCain was asked whether he agreed with Barack Obama when he says the situation in Afghanistan is precarious and urgent. In predictable fashion, McCain downplays the significance of the deteriorating security situation there. In perhaps less predictable fashion, he magically redraws the borders of two Middle Eastern countries...

[ 0:34 ]

The Iraq-Pakistan Border:
Ali Frick, like a typical liberal, derides this on the grounds that there is no such border. But if she had McCain's years of foreign policy expertise and extensive conversations with John McCain she would have access to this double super-secret map of the CENTCOM AOR:

McReality secret map

· · · ·
21 July 2008

Seven For Dinner, Three Pork Chops

by: Minstrel Boy

This is what can happen when about 3 in the afternoon you find out that there have been guests invited for dinner. I'm still pretty wiped out from the four day stand at the convention. Still, folks are coming. Thing is there were only three pork chops. Seven people, three pork chops, that's some ugly arithmetic right there.

Luckily I raided the fridge and found eggs, green onions, frozen peas and carrots, I knew that there was rice in the pantry. I figured things were handled.

First things first though. My new niece was over for the afternoon while my sister and other niece did some shopping and got the senior pictures taken.

The little one said "Can you show me how you make that Peppermint Stick Ice Cream. Since I'm an old softie who cannot refuse a wonderful little girl anything I said my usual, "Whatever pleases you tickles me plumb to death darling." (if I had learned the power of phrases like that earlier on I might have been able to stay married longer)

Since clicking on Peppermint Stick, and Ice Cream will get the you recipes and the particulars I'll get straight to the pictures. . .

The peppermint candy canes being busted up.

Standing watch over the mixing. We are all truly blessed by this wonderful new addition to our family.

You can read about my new niece, Rez Drums, where she gets her Apache name, Tsa-Kalim does his Hoop Dance, Eagle Dance.

With the ice cream base chilling in the fridge it's time to get down to business. I'm making fried rice. It's a great way to stretch meat. The main trick with most Asian cuisines is prep work. Get stuff done ahead so that when you're ready to cook you get right to it.

That's the pork chops, quick pan fried, seasoned with Minstrel's Magic Stuff, then cooled and diced. Leftover corn on the cob, decobbed of course, and some cold, cooked, Cal-Rose rice.

Along with that we have some green onions, sliced fairly small, some Puerto Nuevo shrimp, peeled and deveined and quick boiled, then iced bathed, and some egg, scrambled in the wok and chopped to a little smaller than bitesize.

Big Time Cooking Tip! Always heat your wok to your cooking temperature before you add the oil. A great Chinatown chef explained it to me like this:
Wok hot. Oil cold. Food no stick. He was telling the truth.

The diced pork goes in first. You want the pork to get nice crispy edges before you

add in the green onions and the corn, then,

The rice. I guess that I should mention that while this is all going on, seasonings like chili oil, five spice mix, and soy sauce (or, if you prefer, like I do some Nouc Mam), anything you like can be added to taste. This is leftovers, not rocket science or any kind of huate cuisine.

Last, the egg and the shrimp are added, the whole thing stir fried until hot all the way through.

Looks like dinner to me. Gotta go, this boy's hungry.

harp and sword

You've Been Warned!

by: blackdog

We are blackdogs! We rule the night! Fear us, those of you who attempt to sleep while the sun is down, why do you think we sleep all day in the luxury of air-conditioning? Better make sure under the comfort of daylight that we have plenty of chow available. The above link describes how some of us clumsier fools (the UK sorts) have been traced, actually sometimes we leave more lethal marks than pawprints. Personally I have been known to leave samples of my dietary habits right next to your driver's side car door, where you just might not see it and make a real mess first thing in the morning! Happy trip to work!!

We may not rate as highly or as dangerously as Wraiths, but we do have properties that amaze and continue to mystify some, especially those of the British Isles who do not seem able to deal with us at all.Witness the Hound of the Baskervilles, who was my great-great uncle. Just try to cross the moor at night.

But then they also suffer crop circles all the time too, try that down here in a soy bean field or rice paddy and you will get your butt shot off. Yike! Yike!

My great grandfather, the blackdog Yodel told me that it was important to put the fear of gawd into bipedal types on occasion, then run like all hell was coming after you.

Just did that late last night, after most thought I was a pumpkin. No wonder I was so damn thirsty, it's about 100* here this afternoon, where I am in the AC taking it easy, but tonight, when you can't see me I will be out and about.

You can see me when the sun is up, but be on yer toes when it goes down! I will then be indivisible.

I will enter yer home, which you only thought was secure, you should have never relied on that knob-head chertoff!! all the duck tape in the world won't save you now! and I will say this, but never forget, even under waterboarding, some pussies would call torture, I will NEVER admit it!! Look Out!!

As I run off away from the scene of the crime, laughing almost too hard to keep up a cadence, I simply say to myself that I didn't do it.

And of course I never, ever did, by day I am a mild mannered fellow, but after the sun goes down...

How To Recover From Mental Recession

by: Foiled Goil

Awaken Your Inner Elephant

How to recover from a mental recession:

[ 1:02 ]

20 July 2008

Integrity, What's That?

by: Debra

How did we go from being known as the land of the free, home of the brave,  a shining beacon of light and hope to a nation that our staunchest allies believes can't be trusted to tell the truth?

When did it become okay to lie to people and then blame them for the results of listening to the sweet nothings whispered in their ears?

Racism supposedly isn't a problem in this country and anybody that thinks there is, is supposed to get over it.  That sounds all well and good unless you live in a part of the country where it's obvious that racism is alive and well.

Why did iTunes play Lunatic Fringe and Brain Damage while I was writing the above?

Sheesh!  I've always known my opinion was irrelevant, life has made that all too apparent, but thank you Glenn for pointing that nobody else's is either.

It's 10:55 Sunday morning in California as I'm writing this and I haven't decided whether or not to spend the last of my cash on going to see the Dark Knight and they already know the movie made $155.34 million for the weekend.  How is that possible?

No wonder the populace keeps losing elections.  Who knew the Netroots Nation had rules.  One of them being that you had to be nice to Speaker Pelosi, even though she hasn't done a thing that the Democrats elected her to accomplish.  Glad I didn't waste my money.

The Destroyer speaks.  Doesn't he know that everyone is at the convention and will get around to doing his bidding when they get back?


· ·

In Celebration

by: blackdog

Funny how "happy" dancing can lead to all sorts of activity, and lead even the most stalwart types down the path of happiness.

From the Mule last night:

Oh happy day!!! PeterofLoneTree is at my place and we're both doing
our happy dance. I was out of my mind with worry. We'll all sleep
better tonight, sweet blackdog.

This is for PofLT and MM. May they bask in this, and even I still have a romantic bone or two.

I have heard something about a ring, should I be worried?

Good news two days in a row.

I have io add this now, I know I've overused ir but it ia appropriate for you two, the lights that rise up at the end must represent the Mule and Petey.

To beautiful to pass over, sorry.
19 July 2008

WH Whoops

by: Foiled Goil

White House Tips Press Off to Maliki Interview

Steven Lee Myers, NYT:
The White House is quick to distribute its point of view in e-mail messages with headings like News You Can Use, In Case You Missed It, and Setting the Record Straight. So it was a surprise on Saturday morning when the White House distributed an article by Reuters that offered an endorsement of Senator Barack Obamas Iraq policy by the leader of Iraq.

White House Accidentally E-Mails to Reporters Story That Maliki Supports Obama Iraq Withdrawal Plan

Jake Tapper, Political Punch:
The White House this afternoon accidentally sent to its extensive distribution list a Reuters story headlined "Iraqi PM backs Obama troop exit plan - magazine."

The story relayed how Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki told the German magazine Der Spiegel that "he supported prospective U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama's proposal that U.S. troops should leave Iraq within 16 months U.S. presidential candidate Barack Obama talks about 16 months. That, we think, would be the right timeframe for a withdrawal, with the possibility of slight changes,'" the prime minister said.

The White House employee had intended to send the article to an internal distribution list, ABC News' Martha Raddatz reports, but hit the wrong button.

Maliki Backs Barack Obama's Iraq Plan

Ezra Klein, Prospect Org:
To really understand the importance of Maliki's comments, you need to consider their opposite. Imagine if Maliki had walked in front of the cameras and said, "at this stage, a timetable for withdrawal is unrealistic, and we hope our American friends will not bow to domestic political pressures and be hasty in leaving Iraq just as the country improves." It would be a transformative moment in this election. John McCain would talk of nothing else. The cable shows would talk of nothing else. Magazines would run thousands of covers about "Obama's Iraq Problem." Obama would probably lose the race.

Instead, the opposite happened. [snip]

Fundamentally, Maliki's comment is evidence of what the Iraqi government sees as the primary impediment to their government attaining real legitimacy: Us. The American occupation is hugely unpopular, and if Iraq is to truly stabilize, its government needs to be seen as independent from the occupiers and opposed to their continued presence. McCain needs to either come out with a new Iraq plan featuring a withdrawal component tomorrow, or explain why he believes America should fight for continued military dominance in Iraq over the objections of the American people, the Iraqi people, and the Iraqi government.

Al-Maliki's Announcement: A Big Deal

Marc Ambinder, The Atlantic:

This could be one of those unexpected events that forever changes the way the world perceives an issue. Iraq's Prime Minister agrees with Obama, and there's no wiggle room or fudge factor. This puts John McCain in an extremely precarious spot: what's left to argue? to argue against Maliki would be to predicate that Iraqi sovereignty at this point means nothing. Obviously, our national interests aren't equivalent to Iraq's, but... Malik isn't listening to the generals on the ground...but the "hasn't been to Iraq" line doesn't work here.

So how will the McCain campaign respond?

[ 0:10 ]


UPDATE: Whoops!!! There is more! Marc Ambinder updates...
McCain: My Surge = Your Progress

Here's the McCain campaign's response to the news of the day. It's considerably more optimistic and hard-headed than the utterance from the anonymous Republican strategist I quoted below.

( McCain Campaign Responds To Al-Maliki )

· · ·


by: Missouri Mule

There was a time when President Bush would compare someone who wanted to negotiate with Iran to a big, Hitler-appeasing pussy. But that was two whole months ago. Things are different now, presumably, since the Bush administration is quickly inching towards diplomatic relations with Iran and is, uh, meeting directly with them. Without meddlesome preconditions!

The president is sending a top State Department diplomat to a meeting where EU and Iranian negotiators will discuss whether or not Iran is interested in accepting a couple bribes (like this and this) to stop enriching uranium.

The Bush administration says this isn't a big deal at all and that they're only going to "listen" at the meeting. But those who saw what happened with North Korea or have noticed that John Bolton's mustachioed head is about to explode would be excused for seeing this as a coming-out party for a burst of back-channel diplomacy with Iran that was sparked largely by Bush's weak negotiating position and his desire to get something done before heading back to the ranch.

All in all, this could be good news for those who would rather we not attack Iran and might enjoy seeing President Bush sell out those cocky neocons who stood by him after getting the war they wanted so badly. Tough times may lay ahead, however, for anyone who actually wanted to stop Iran from developing nuclear capabilities, or was just pining for the historic opportunity to pay $15 for a gallon of gas.

Six For Saturday

by: Debra

This morning I woke up on a different planet.  It seems that either hell froze over last night or invasion of the body snatchers isn't just a movie.  Deborah Howell of the Washington Post thinks that there should be more substantive coverage of the candidates instead of the current media focus on soundbites.   She even made sense, seemed to think biographies and how they react to situations is important.  Weird.

Wheeeee!  Straight to the bottom.  Unless you happen to own one of the multimillion dollar estates.

Cracking me up.  "Netroots Nation" has been planned for a year and Obama picks this week to travel outside the country.  He'd rather go to a war zone than face the people who helped him get where he is.  This generation of optimists doesn't seem to have any experience with a one night stand.

I know I'm growing my own this season, but the tomato growers have lost over $100 million since the government (which couldn't find a hole in the ground with directions and a flashlight) manufactured a crisis it couldn't solve.   The ownership society is fading fast.  Unless you mean ownership by a big corporation that controls your every move.

We're toast.  Whatever he says, the opposite is true.  Bush needs to get off this false shtick of his that opening up the Outer Continental Shelf will solve the economic crisis of everyday Americans.  The only people that OCS will help are his friends in the oil companies who need to find another way to gouge the American people since they didn't anticipate that people would quit buying.   Everything.

The last episode of Dr. Horrible's sing a long blog is up. It has been a real hoot and hard to tell who's more over the top, Neil Patrick Harris or Nathan Fillion.  Or is it Dr. Horrible's heretofore unknown to him video sidekick?


· · ·
18 July 2008

The Hopes of Mice and Men

by: blackdog

I was born in the house my father built. No,no, that's not true, that was someone else, wonder who.

I was born, not found under a cow pie as I had been told forever, with a fraternal twin sister. We were premies, about 4 weeks early and small to say the least, almost 5 lbs each. At first I weighed just a tiny amount more than my sister, but she was longer. It would take 14 years before I was as tall as she. That was one of the longest times in my life. Today I might be 1-2" taller, that gives one no bragging rights.

What makes this interesting to me is that being started so small, I existed in a land of the giants. Especially my father's family, He's a pretty good sized man, about 6'1", might have been much larger if he hadn't suffered malaria and appendicitis which was treated by placing him in a tub full of ice, he survived, but it took a while. He was just a kid at the time.The malaria would wipe him out, the fever was incredible. When he got into the Air Force much later one of the first things they did was an appendectomy after he had a relapse.

Enough of that, as I said, I was a squirt, looking at my uncles and aunts who seemed so damned huge at the Turner joint, my grandmom would be back in the kitchen sweating over the huge dinner (noon) meal, no air conditioning, just a fan, but it would be hot as all hell back there, it wasn't much better in the living room. This was back in the early '60s..Anyhow this was the land of the giants, as I might have already mentioned. My Grandmom would grab my sister and I and give us both a big wet kiss, she kept a towel to wipe the perspiration off from time to time, and she was a big woman, about 5'11", and a bit heavy to boot.My Grandad was about 6'4" and a pretty neat fellow, he would sit in his chair in the living room and wait for his meals, sometimes reaching out with his cane to poke you lightly and make a noise.

My Uncles Harold and John, who had never married lived there, Harold was about 6'%', John was 6"8".Uncle Harold came out of WWII as an army Major and was asked to stay on after the war at his rank, but he went home. John was younger and lucked out, I don't think he ever served.

During these Sunday events my Uncle David (6'4") and aunt Betty, with Ronnie and Veronica (not the one yesterday) plus My uncle Louie and aunt Edith and Sarah (now Sonny) would also show up. So Dinner was a big deal indeed. These people could eat, and even when the 7 additional people there were not that much of an addition to my grandmom's daily routine.

As I was the smallest one there, I was patient, but I did sneak around into my uncle harold's and John's bedrooms, My grandmom's mother, Momich lived in an addition on the east side of the house. We always had to go see her, and to this day I am somewhat mystified about that relationship. She always treated mu sister and brother and I well, butr something was strange about the whole deal.

Poking around in uncle Harold's room was not the best choice, he was a damn good piano player, had spent much time in Europe during that war (the last one we declared) but he didn't want a little squirt wandering around all the debris that he was collecting in his room, so i learned to stay out of there, he wasn't mean, but he could be stern.

Uncle John was different, he was so damned big he had to duck his head coming through doorways, he had a little tiny bedroom off the living roo, seperated by a pull curtain. Inside there was a treasure trove, a fairly large collection of SciFi books, paperback, with the cover art that made a little squirts heart go thump, and best of all, a Heathkit shortwave radio and ham transmitter.

It was funny, but my uncle John took me under his wing, maybe it was because he hated being so damned big, and i was so small, but anyway he did.I'll never forget when he was demonstrating his electronics (vacume tube) he showed me a schematic of the receiver and I was pointing to the various components and naming them, resistor, capacitor, etc. I was about 9 or so at the time. He looked at me with some surprise and said "damn, you know more than I thought!"

My wonderful uncles Harold and John are gone now, they both died in fires.

But they will live within me for as long as I live. Along with many others.

When I was a little kid I just knew I would grow up to be a big fellow, like them, but it didn't happen.It took a while to adjust to that, but today I don't waste much time on it, there is enough other stuff going on to keep me occupied.

Maybe next time I'll tell stories about my mothers family. They were and some still are pretty cool too.

This was no rant, I don't have the energy tonight for that, maybe after the next shrub flub. I mostly want to hear from the Dark Wraith.

Major Update

Wow!! I heard from the Dark Wraith!! I now feel good enough to place this.

Have a great night all, and by all means do not look under your bed.

Band of Wankers

by: Foiled Goil

Aye. No How.

"I told King Charles VI, I knew how to win wars"

Wank more into the breach, my friends


Oh, gee the new, younger, more exciting kid on the block is getting attention and depriving the poor old Maverick of his usual entourage. Which is too bad because if he got any attention given his recent embarrassments it would be all the worse for him.

But McCain isn't going to take this lying down on his Craftmatic Adjustable bed. No, he and his crack staff of lobbyist have a new dynamic speech that is completely original and non-derivative. They've even gotten a new endorsement deal from Jell-O on the green-screen. Here's a preview:

McCain, Act 4, Scene 3:

This day is call'd the feast of Beef Ribs, my friends.
My friends, he that out eats Liz Sidoti this day, and comes safe home,
Will stand a tip-toe when this day is nam'd, my friends
And rouse him at the name of Maverick.
My friends, he that shall binge this day, and see old age, like me
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours, my friends
And say 'To-morrow is McCain's McRib Dinner.'
Then will he strip his sleeve, my friends and show his Ayn Rand tattoo,
And say 'These tats I got on Beef Rib day.'
Old men forget; my friends, I just forgot, we'll be fighting more wars
But I'll remember, with a teleprompter,
Oh what Costco meat we eat this day, my friends. Then shall our emails,
Their addresses in Ron Fournier's 'Outlook File' as "buddies"
Maverick the humble hero, Cindy and Lindsey,
Carly and Charlie Black, Phil Gramm, and of course Lieberman, my friends
Be in their pissed in pants freshly 'sprinkled'.
This story shall my friends teach my friend's son my friends;
And a dry rub shall ne'er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world -- set for 2010 my friends,
But, my friends, we in it shall be remembered-
We few, war mongering few, we band of wankers;
For he to-day that samples the propane's charms with me, my friends
Shall be a wanker; for he's quite vile, and well, you're all vile my friends, and
This day shall lead to more rendition;
And gentlemen together now-a-green screened, my friends
Shall think themselves accurs'd their client banks are not in arrears, my friends
And hold their manhoods for cheap whiles any speaks my friends
That had others chow down without them on this Beef Ribs day!!!


Education, Energy, Healthcare And Honoring The Troops

by: Debra

I admit it, I'm confused.  What exactly did she do wrong?  This isn't the Bible belt and mentioning a German study that finds a link between maternal stress and homosexuality falls into the category of proper discussion in a Biology class.  Doesn't it?

The controversy centers on an incident in June 2007, when Sheldon was asked by a student in a human heredity class about heredity's impact on "homosexual behavior in males and females." Among other references, Sheldon noted a German study demonstrating some link between maternal stress and homosexual behavior in males, according to the lawsuit.

Rep. John Peterson (R-PA) speaks some common sense on energy policy, how very few people are thrilled with the current candidates and Phil Gramm's disconnect with the average American.

Peterson: Well, Phil Gramm is a very smart guy and he knows the economy well, but Phil Gramm doesnt know the people I know. Phil Gramm must be insulated from the working poor. If he was around the working poor, he would have never said it. The working poor are struggling. This is not a recession in their mind. This is a difficult time where they are struggling to pay their bills. ... He thinks thats not going on out in America; he just hasnt been out there. He must come from a pretty affluent neighborhood and a pretty affluent family. ...

Sometimes the people who whine have more and are just angry they have to spend more. The whiners I know arent poor. 

And I thought the ABC commenters were lacking in intellectual ability. They have nothing on the Politico commenters. Heaven forbid that they should actually discuss the points of the article on energy, they're too busy getting lost on the nuances of whether the press is too liberal and giving Obama a pass and some guy defending Cheney by saying he was only in the oil business for five years. Absolutely fascinating how the 28%s are determined to stay in fantasyland.  At the expense of the country.

For years Cuba has been made out to be a backward country, but if I get breast or bum cancer that's where I'm going to wish I was.  Did you know that the food is pretty tasty there too?

Pat Tillman wasn't a friendly fire death, it was deliberate murder and the government is doing its best to cover it up.    And being shot by the people on your side isn't friendly, it's gross negligence.

Unlike the crew without a clue and their military advisers,  the troops knew they were probably going to die on Hamburger Hill  their mission in Wanat, Afghanistan.  If only our leaders had the courage that our overworked, overburdened and underprotected troops have.  If they aren't being shot or blown up, they're being electrocuted back at the base.  Meanwhile, the brass thinks the powers that be deserve to travel in style.  Why is it that Reserves, National Guard and regular troops are considered so expendable?


· ·

The Dark Wraith is MIA

by: Missouri Mule

Some of the other sinners and I are concerned about the Dark Wraith. Does anyone have any idea about his whereabouts? Dark Wraith if you're out there, please let us know you're okay, okay?
17 July 2008

It's Official

by: blackdog

Made it to UAMS this morning and my hernia is confirmed, I am scheduled for surgery next Friday.

Ending this short one on a better note, the meeting with the X and Niece went off well. I wasn't in very good form, but I have been invited back for more visits.

And thank you for your patience, I promise to try to come up with some sort of rant or other soon that has nothing to do directly with me.

Seems like someone today mentioned the full moon tonight,unfortunately we have some really shitty air over here, the sky was almost white today, the ozone levels were through the roof, the dewpoint was up, and mostly it just sucked.

But I just stepped out and a red moon is rising in the southeast, looking pretty neat.

ya think?

by: astraea

It is almost morning,
And yet I am sure you are not satisfied
Of these events at full. Let us go in;
And charge us there upon inter'gatories,
And we will answer all things faithfully.

George Lakoff gives us a synopsis of his recent work, which also happens to be a brilliant in-a-nutshell of the rational, the principles, of our beloved inflation -- er, sorry -- reasons that so lead us away from ourselves: our basic misunderstanding of how we think.
And I don't think I've ever seen a better thumbnail of all that Carl Jung was trying to clue us into. Understand this and it all comes clear.

Just read, please:

[...] There is a received view of mind, absorbed into popular culture and similar to that of the philosopher Ren Descartes, that I refer to as "Enlightenment reason". It goes like this: reason is conscious, disembodied, dispassionate, literal (it fits the world directly), logical (it leads from facts to correct conclusions), universal and serves self-interest.
This is widely taken as defining "rationality". I surveyed results from neuroscience and the cognitive sciences that contradict all these supposed properties.
Reason is mostly unconscious and physical - it uses the brain. It requires emotion and uses frames, metaphors and melodramatic narratives. It also varies depending on world view and is used at least as much in the service of empathy as self-interest.
This is real reason, how people really think, and it requires a new account of rationality that calls for a New Enlightenment.
Each of these results is crucial for understanding politics. Conservatives, using marketing techniques taken from psychology, have marketed their big ideas effectively: the nature of national security, government, the market, taxes, responsibility, family values, religion, and so on.
Progressives have failed to build institutions (such as think tanks) to get their big ideas out in public honestly. An awareness of brain mechanisms could help map effective communication.
The Political Mind [The Political Mind: Why You Can't Understand 21st-Century American Politics with an 18th-Century Brain] is an exercise in the democratisation of knowledge. It opens up the
cognitive science of politics for all to see. Journalists, policy-makers, most economists, and even many academics are stuck on the old view of reason, which leads them to fall prey to effective political marketing, mostly from the conservative side.
Cognitive Science and Linguistics, University of California, Berkeley
From issue 2663 of New Scientist magazine, 02 July 2008, page 20

Now. Marry that to below. And trust, Gnow, grok, take heart, mateys: WE CAN FIX THIS.
Fantastic misgovernment is not an accident, nor is it the work of a few bad individuals. It is the consequence of triumph by a particular philosophy of government, by a movement that understands the liberal state as a perversion and considers the market the ideal nexus of human society. This movement is 'friendly to industry not just by force of campaign, contributions but by conviction; it believes in entrepreneurship not merely in commerce but in politics; and the inevitable results of its ascendance are, first, the capture of the state by business and, second, what follows from that: incompetence, graft, and all the other wretched flotsam that we've come to expect from Washington.
The correct diagnosis is the "bad apple" thesis turned upside down. There are plenty of good conservative individuals, honorable folks who would never participate in the sort of corruption we have watched unfold over the past few years. Hang around with grassroots conservative voters
in Kansas, and in the main you will find them to be honest, hardworking people.
But put conservatism in charge of the state, and it behaves very differently. Now the "values" that rightist politicians eulogize on the stump disappear, and in their place we can discern an entirely different set of priorities-priorities that reveal more about the unchanging historical essence of American conservatism than do its fleeting campaigns against gay marriage or secular humanism.
The conservatism that speaks to us through its actions in Washington is institutionally opposed
to those baseline good intentions we learned about in elementary school: Its leaders laugh off the idea of the public interest as airy-fairy nonsense; they caution against bringing topnotch
talent into government service; they declare war on public workers. They have made a cult of outsourcing and privatizing, they have wrecked established federal operations because they disagree with them, and they have deliberately piled up an Everest of debt in order to force
the government into crisis. The ruination they have wrought has been thorough; it has been a
professional job. Repairing it will require years of political action. ~Thomas Frank, in the August 20008 edition of Harper's, excerpted from The WRECKING CREW, How a gang of right-wing can men destroyed Washington and made a killing


Harpers, SEE ALSO: Angola; Apartheid; Career as Angolan guerrilla leader; Career as superspy; Career as U.S. president; Career in conservative politics; Career in politics; Conservatism; Williamson, Craig; Entrepreneurship; Norquist, Grover Glenn; Guerrilla warfare; Iran-Contra Affair, 1985-1990; Iran Hostage Crisis, 1979-1981; Abramoff, Jack; Kemp, Jack; Savimbi, Jonas Malheiro; 1981-1989; North, Oliver; Pictorial works; Political corruption; Reed, Ralph; Republican Party (U.S. : 1854- ); Reagan, Ronald; South Africa

more George Lakoff related articles in New Scientist

Visceral politics
The World's No.1 Science & Technology News Service Visceral politics George Lakoff, Berkeley, California, US Owen Flanagan's description of my book The Political Mind: Why you can't understand 21st...
George Lakoff, 02 July 2008 From magazine issue 2663 Labeled: Letters
Review: The Political Mind by George Lakoff
...Review: The Political Mind by George Lakoff Owen Flanagan Book 18th-century brain by George Lakoff Viking Penguin $25.95...9780670019274 IN The Political Mind, George Lakoff, an eminent cognitive linguist...
Owen Flanagan, 28 May 2008 From magazine issue 2658 Labeled: Review opinion
Perspectives: Meaning and the body For nearly three decades, George Lakoff, a linguist from the University... In Philosophy in the Flesh, Lakoff and I explained embodied cognition...different meaning-making patterns. Lakoff and I have called these bodily patterns...
Mark Johnson, 12 January 2008 From magazine issue 2638 Labeled: Perspectives opinion
Grasp the meaning
...experiences, as by the support this gives to an established paradigm in cognitive linguistics: that concepts are embodied. George Lakoff, a pioneer in cognitive linguistics, has long claimed that concepts are generally based on our bodily experience...
Bo Jin, 16 June 2007 From magazine issue 2608 Labeled: Letters
Metaphors sell
...Milton Keynes, UK It's good to see George Lakoff's work on metaphor receiving the attention...military occupation of the Middle East? George Orwell warned us about all this half a century ago. Lakoff's work raises the issue again. It...
Russell Johnston, 18 October 2003 From magazine issue 2417 Labeled: Letters
How does the brain 'think big'?
...Metaphorically speaking, that is. George Lakoff, a cognitive linguist at the University...and breathing, for example. Lakoff's research has led him to believe...using these kinds of metaphors, and Lakoff says he has found thousands of similar...
Anil Ananthaswamy, 27 September 2003 From magazine issue 2414 Labeled: Features

...Newberg, Ballantine 4 Euclid's Window by Leonard Mlodinow, Free Press 5 Where Mathematics Comes From by George Lakoff, Basic Books 6 Rivers in Time by Peter Ward, Columbia University Press 7 The Quantum Brain by Jeffrey...
16 June 2001 From magazine issue 2295 Labeled: Opinion
...Himanen, Random House 2 Where Mathematics Comes From by George Lakoff, Basic Books 3 Crypto by Steven Levy, Viking/Penguin...Cole, Harcourt 9 The Universal History of Computing by Georges Ifrah, Wiley 10 Quantum Evolution by Johnjoe McFadden...
31 March 2001 From magazine issue 2284 Labeled: Opinion
Bestsellers from San Francisco
...Mathematics Comes From by George Lakoff, Basic Books 2 Robo...Universal History of Computing by Georges Ifrah, John Wiley 8 Telecosm by George Gilder, Free Press 9...Oxford University Press George Gilder is known for his maverick...
03 February 2001 From magazine issue 2276 Labeled: Opinion

I've been waiting for something to happen
For a week or a month or a year
With the blood in the ink of the headlines
And the sound of the crowd in my ear
You might ask what it takes to remember
When you know that you've seen it before
Where a government lies to a people
And a country is drifting to war

And there's a shadow on the faces
Of the men who send the guns
To the wars that are fought in places
Where their business interest runs

On the radio talk shows and the T.V.
You hear one thing again and again
How the U.S.A. stands for freedom
And we come to the aid of a friend
But who are the ones that we call our friends
These governments killing their own?
Or the people who finally can't take any more
And they pick up a gun or a brick or a stone
There are lives in the balance
There are people under fire
There are children at the cannons
And there is blood on the wire

There's a shadow on the faces
Of the men who fan the flames
Of the wars that are fought in places
Where we can't even say the names

They sell us the President the same way
They sell us our clothes and our cars
They sell us every thing from youth to religion
The same time they sell us our wars
I want to know who the men in the shadows are
I want to hear somebody asking them why
They can be counted on to tell us who our enemies are
But they're never the ones to fight or to die
And there are lives in the balance
There are people under fire
There are children at the cannons
And there is blood on the wire ~Jackson Browne - Lives In The Balance

Entertainment, Education And Life In America

by: Debra

Somebody is going to be so happy.  And they are.  G.W.Bailey should have been nominated for something, like in the best supporting actor in a comedy even though The Closer is a a drama.  Other than that, I have no complaints or interest.  Except for Michael C. Hall for Dexter, loved him.  My friend Linda will be happy about Bryan Cranston's nomination for Breaking Bad.  She just got the first season on DVD and wants to have a Breaking Bad party.  Now I have another reason to go.

Planet smashing and our earth has the scars to prove it.

That would be 25%, wouldn't it?  When I was in school very few people dropped out, now it seems the norm.  Do you think the educational system has something to do with it?  Maybe they should go back to teaching instead of testing.  Music and art classes might help those who aren't cut out to do math and science, but that's just too easy of a solution, isn't it?

Says it all, doesn't it?  Our wonderful culture of life, isn't.

Despite spending $230m (115m) an hour on healthcare, Americans live shorter lives than citizens of almost every other developed country. And while it has the second-highest income per head in the world, the United States ranks 42nd in terms of life expectancy.
Japanese, for example, can expect to outlive Americans, on average, by more than four years. In fact, citizens of Israel, Greece, Singapore, Costa Rica, South Korea and every western European and Nordic country save one can expect to live longer than Americans.

There are also wider differences, the report shows. The average Asian woman, for example, lives for almost 89 years, while African-American women live until 76. For men of the same groups, the difference is 14 years.

One of the main problems faced by the US, says the report, is that one in six Americans, or about 47 million people, are not covered by health insurance and so have limited access to healthcare.

As a result, the US is ranked 42nd in global life expectancy and 34th in terms of infants surviving to age one. The US infant mortality rate is on a par with that of Croatia, Cuba, Estonia and Poland. If the US could match top-ranked Sweden, about 20,000 more American babies a year would live to their first birthday.
The housing scam is being revealed in all its glory.  Everybody was out to make a buck and didn't care who got hurt in the process.  Now it's coming back to bite us in the ass.  Remember years ago when we dragged our heels to bail out New York City but we did bailed out Chrysler with no problem?  That was the beginning of the blatant in your face we don't care about people, we care about corporations thinking that runs this country now.  Into the ground, I might add.

I don't care how pretty it is, I'm not jumping out of a perfectly good airplane.  Do you have any idea how many Valiums I would have to take just to get on the plane?  I certainly wouldn't do it just so I could see some scenery from the air while hoping my chute would open.  A thrill queen I am not.


· · ·

Prayer While Away

by: Minstrel Boy

This is an ancient Apache prayer. Some call it "The Friendship Prayer." It was taught to me while I was a boy, my cousin and I say it to each other all the time. When he is married at the beach in a couple of weeks we will say this again.

The translations are rough. I'm sorry, but rough is about all you will be able to get with Apache. The thought processes and meanings are hard to explain. When I'm on the rez and working mostly in that language I have to make a conscious effort to purge my mind of English thoughts. They just get in the way.

This was taught to me by the great haattallii, biyi'siziini oyih (soul flyer) or, as he is better known, Silas.

si'zi' by' d yd hiljij di' di' isza'ni' tc'ndi
(I dance inside a circle of men and women they say)

s' 'n yii hd yd lz tc'ndi
(long life inside a circle is made they say)

by' d yd hljj 's' ' n yi tc'ndi
(inside our circle dances long life they say)

yxidl g dy keh'h gj zeeh tslit' tc'ndi
(having been prepared, he walks, friends, they say)

btct'd bt' n n ni s tsz
(underneath the blanket rests mother earth)

ngstst'n bik' d'i tc'dsdj
(on top of the earth our people are gathered about)

by t'jon bnlts k'es jon' bdlk jon
(their talk, good, their thoughts, good, their laughter beautiful)

bnltz' 'it''d' j ddb' lt'g'
(their wealth is of all kinds, good, uncountable)

yxidl g dy tc'ndi
(having been prepared, he walks, they say)

djn' i b b' ' gny ' yh
(sun beside them, before them, forms mirage)

bi' gny g' deyh tc'ndi
(mirage forms before them as they walk they say)

a'is' ' nyii ke'h gjg' yxidl g dyh tc'ndi
(long life, good, is their, having been prepared, he walks, they say)

Hishash aaii diji jooni tek'eh naas aannii.
(walk in beauty my friends)

ilch'eh gont'eehi beeh noh whiich'iil
(peace be with you all)

ya'll take care. play nice.

harp and sword

16 July 2008

Cluck cluck

by: blackdog

Naw, I'm not scared of hearing that i have to go under the knife again like I will hear tomorrow, but when I actually get there for the procedure I will be afraid, most would.I use a technique that simply denies objective reality.

I refuse to see just what is going on at the time, when the IV is administered I lay back and attempt to forget the present, I have enough of the past to keep me occupied. Helll, I've played 36 holes of golf in my mind waiting for something to happen.

But tomorrow will be special for another reason, after my appointment with the surgeon who will most likely want to fix my mess that happened from the two surgeries I had last year under his hand, I get to see my X and Niexe.

They are looking forward to it and so am I. Only about 11 miles out of the way, not too much there.

Am I apprehensive? Shit yeah. Will I be OK? Most likely. This is the opportunity of a lifetime. Bury many hatchets and open a new chapter.It's been about 20 years since I've seen Kathie, and my niece Veronica now has two kids of her own.

Maybe this bores some of you but I will update anyway tomorrow later.

It does not bore me at all.


by: astraea

mike writes:

the last paragraph about says it all.

i think the republic's cooked, myself.


reply:Well -- I think this is about the best position to take at present: go forward and gather info, and get it OUT THERE as best you can.

Why not impeach now? Because Rove is baiting us to do it. WHY?

But hearings are essential: Get it in the record.

With Watergate, we had a great teach-in. The current crop of activists, especially legal beagles, cut their teeth on it.

Bush and his folk are war criminals, criminals on an international level. But how many in the US understand that? Who in the US is actually informed? I'm not speaking of matters of opinion. All I know is that enough of us have had info sent to us anonymously by disgruntled, betrayed insiders who must have had no where else to turn. People who might have risked all. People we'll never know.
(There. I've said it. Will they come kill us all?)

But one thing we do know. Bush and friends have deliberately disinformed us all. They've broken law and they've broken the trust... even within their own agencies and intelligence.

Clinton's impeachment brought us MoveOn -- a great force still, and a first great showing, of the power of people on the internet. MoveOn meant simply -- censure and "move on" -- and no matter what happens, we certainly will: United We Stand, beloved. That Congress more recently censured MoveOn reflects the way Congress has been disinformed -- just as they were disinformed on the WMD, and global warming.

What makes us think that those same "representatives" will not be disinformed by the same sources during an actual impeachment? Isn't it fairly clear what's broken? Not just the media. The whole damned thing.

What we don't need is another Iran Contra carnival, its criminals and spooks come back to haunt us again, in office and on airways.

But maybe we can get them this time.

We need light -- and hearings can bring that.

Politics still suck

by: blackdog

Some more westerns, a bit more modern.

Which ones do you like?

Is The Week Over Yet?

by: Debra

When I have money, I shop for groceries and every week I've noticed that prices are up.  Not by a nickel or a dime, but by 30 to 50 cents.  Per item.  My income is fixed, which means I only have a certain amount to spend on food and it is forcing me to compromise on the quality of food that I serve my mother.  Fortunately my garden is growing.  So, how do you know when the Green Zebras are ripe?

The serranos are coming along nicely, the Early Girls are ripening beautifully and I finally have a few green beans.

Talk about emboldening your enemies.  Leaving Iraq is considered to be cutting and running, but this isn't? Afghanistan is blowing up in our faces, just like the 60 Minutes report from a few months ago that those on the hardly ever right labeled as lies and bashing the troops.  I'll be really glad when the mission is accomplished.  Whatever that mission is, because it certainly isn't about capturing Osama been Forgotten or eliminating al-Qaeda influence

Sometimes it seems like the bastion of hope and freedom that was called the United States is just a dwindling light in the rear view mirror.

The American people don't seem to learn from their mistakes.  With approval of Congress at an all time low what did the Democrats of Georgia do?  They reelected every one of their incumbents.  The people who have consistently voted against their constituents interests are free to do damage for another two years.  America isn't interested in change, it's interested in maintaining the status quo so it won't have to think.  Reminds me of the Distinguished Gentleman.

Not that the media here in the US would report it fairly, so the BBC has a handy list of some of the McCain/Obama flip-flops


· · ·

Foreclosed Upon? Get Drunk For Free!

by: Missouri Mule

Imagine, if you will, that you've just been foreclosed upon. You're sad, angry, confused and in need of a drink. Well, if you happen to live in Phoenix, you should head over to Padre's Modern Mexican where they've put a new twist on the now commonplace "Recession Happy Hour." At Padre's, everyone who presents a copy of their foreclosure notice gets one free drink. But we're guessing hysterical sobbing will get you that second drink for free too.

Complete Coverage Special Report Issue #1: America's Money - This week on CNN

Tequila and sympathy: Bars offer foreclosure specials
Padre's Modern Mexican is turning the downturn into a marketing opportunity: Bring in a foreclosure notice, get a free drink.
By Christina Crapanzano

Recession concessions
From Padre's "free drink with foreclosure notice" special in Phoenix to NYC's famed Gray's Papaya $3.50 Recession Special, these restaurants and bars are profiting from penny-pinching specials.
(Fortune Small Business) -- Are some of your customers worried about losing their homes? Take a tip from Cole Durbin, owner of Padre's Modern Mexican in Phoenix, and let them know that you're on their side.

Like restaurants across the country - from Table 8 in Los Angeles to Liberty Bar in Hoboken, N.J. - Durbin is offering up a Recession Happy Hour. But he has added a twist: Anyone who arrives at Padre's with a foreclosure notice can have any drink on the menu.

"I have no problem giving them anything they want," says Durbin, 27.

Nobody had taken him up on his offer through its first six weeks. But Arizona ranks third on RealtyTrac's list of leading foreclosure states, so worry abounds.

And worry is historically good for the bar business. Durbin's happy-hour sales are booming, up 22% in the past two months, which Durbin says has kept the restaurant's earnings even with 2007's despite the cost of rice having skyrocketed 56% between March and May.

Padre's isn't done yet. It plans to roll out new promotions throughout the summer. Up next: free rides to and from the restaurant on Saturday nights for those who might be deterred by $4 gasoline.

This Statement Will Have the Warmongers Creaming Their Jeans

by: Missouri Mule

"I know how to win wars. And if I'm elected president, I will turn around the war in Afghanistan, just as we have turned around the war in Iraq, with a comprehensive strategy for victory."

McCain knows how to "win wars?"

A cadet who graduated near the bottom of his class, a pilot who damned near burned up an entire American aircraft carrier while losing five planes, and an officer who couldn't make Admiral is suddenly an expert on how to "win wars?"

President Bush still wants his goddamn offshore drilling!

by: Missouri Mule

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Bush pressed lawmakers Tuesday to lift a ban on offshore oil drilling, saying "the only thing standing between the American people and these vast oil resources is action from the U.S. Congress." "The sooner Congress lifts the ban," he says, "the sooner we can get these resources from the ocean floor to the refineries, to the gas pump."

Translated: "We're gonna shove the price of gas up your azz so far that you'll consist to having a goddamn oil rig on the playground at your children's school."

Blogging America

by: Foiled Goil

Wholesale inflation jumps, surge hits 27 year high:
What a nation of whiners. Can we get another inspirational pep talk from Phil Gramm? Tell us how you made millions from subprime loans again, Phil. Tell us that story one more time so we can sleep soundly tonight and turn that frown upside down.

Bush - no idea on price of gas, clueless on oil impact:
This is really something to observe because besides not having any clue about the price of gas for Americans - which is important enough for a President to know these days - he is laughing about it. What a joker Dear Leader can be. He starts off by pitching our Phil Gramm-John McCain favorite - psychology - as the lead reason for our problems today. Right. As if years of thumbing his nose at conservation and suggesting that anyone who bothered was not quite macho enough. Bush speaks as though he has been the governor of Texas, with no control over the national energy plan. Can he ever accept responsibility for anything? Ever?

[ 1:38 ]

Big Oil stands by Bush plan for drilling:
Can someone tell this guy to go Cheney himself? Of course, Big Oil is hardly more popular than Bush and we already know that nothing will get in the way of their drilling projects whether its war or the environment.If only they would stop drilling a hole in the pockets of consumers.
Its an American problem, said John Hoffmeister, president of Shell Oil, adding that the powers that be in Washington need to quit the rhetoric and get on to solutions.
Right, and Shell is not an American company. Shell is a European oil company who has a very different agenda from the citizens of the US. I'm sick and tired of Big Oil deciding what is in the best interest of the US or Europe or any other country. Remember how GM used to play that game? How'd that all work out?

The husband of the beer heiress, John McCain, is in St. Louis "to rub salt in the wounds of Missourians":
All politics is local. And, John McCain just did some bad some local politics in Missouri. Remember how Cindy McCain got all those millions and millions because of her Anheuser-Busch distributorship? Yeah, and she's making a lot more from the sale of the company to a Belgian firm.

Bernanke tells Congress: economy in trouble for a while:
What a whiner. At least he's coming around to what many said months ago that inflation needs to be tamed. Earlier in this cycle many said that the Fed was too focused on Wall Street at the expense of everyone else. Bailing out Wall Street and throwing wads of cash at them was only delaying the inevitable and probably feeding inflation. It's clear now that he ignored inflation and it's coming back in a big way. It certainly didn't help us avoid a meltdown, which looks like our future in the near term.

Bush: Afghanistan war not going so well:
Ya don't say. Imagine that.

No wonder McCain can't figure out how to get online:
Learning isn't McCain's strong suit. At Google, no less, John McCain boasted of his academic failings. That explains a lot, like why he's such a worthy successor to Bush. Jed provides the video:

[ 1:04 ]

Another after effect of inflation - school lunches:
The fallout from bad economic and energy policies are eventually going to touch every part of daily life. For people who are working, there's the concern about employment, high cost of actually getting to work, fear of losing retirement money and so forth. For retirees on fixed incomes, the thought of paying more for food and gas are scary. [snip] This story on school food increases is from Boston though it could be almost anywhere. It was Reagan who reclassified ketchup as a vegetable during a previous round of cutbacks. (Yes, what an asshole.)

None of the financial options that we face in the next few years are attractive. In all likelihood we will be paying more at the pump, more to heat and more for food until there is a major change in policy. We're also very likely to have tax increases to pay for the excesses of the past when we gave away everything to Republican special interests who promised the world but delivered rubbish.

· · · · ·
15 July 2008

Take Two

by: Foiled Goil

For the irony-challenged literalists, a little Horseying around:

One pill makes you larger.

Sinking Like A Stone

by: Debra

For now is the operative phrase since this is probably the tip of the iceberg.  More banks are going to fail, we're already starting to print more money and the crew without a clue has bailed out everyone except the little people who were encouraged to buy the homes they couldn't afford and those who had their money in the failing banks.  Begging is about to become an honorable profession.

Disgusting.  And for fifty years.  Wow, remind me to never go to Zanesville, Ohio.   The city can appeal all they want, but when a white neighbor has running water with a hot tub and his black neighbors have to buy water from a treatment plant and have it delivered or collect rainwater to do laundry even though they live next to the municipal water pipes, that's discrimination.  By anyone's standards.  Or at least normal people's standards.

You don't say.
"It's a pain in the neck, and significantly interferes with my travel arrangements," said Robinson, the head of the Justice Department's criminal division during the Clinton administration. He believes his name matches that of someone who was put on the list in early 2005, and is routinely delayed while flying despite having his own government top-secret security clearances renewed last year. "I suppose if I were convinced that America is a safer place because I get hassled at the airport, I might put up with it," Robinson said. "But I doubt it."

He added: "I expect my story is similar to hundreds of thousands of people who are on this list who find themselves inconvenienced."

Bush could be flat-lined and the Demowienies would still roll over and play dead.

The United States is lagging behind in science graduates.  Gee, I wonder why.  Could it be because after many years of rigorous schooling they discover that they will earn less today than they did yesterday?  Bush and the magic veto pen strike again.  Pretty soon even the rich won't want to be doctors, they won't be able to adjust to a lower class of living.  Besides the hassle of trying to learn science while school districts start teaching the not-so-intelligent design theory and refusing to allow independent thought, there are very few models that have both fame and fortune.  Geeks are popular today, but that doesn't mean that everyone wants to be one.


· · ·
14 July 2008

Same 'ol Shit

by: blackdog

This is a repeat, but it is a good repeat.

Not much to say except for this.

Woof and I go to bed, to await whatever comes tomorrow.

Got the call from the rabbit, I go to see her after my appointment with the surgeon Thursday.

A says that Serena reminds her of Julie's younger sister. And I have to admit, she does. I play this alot just because it makes me feel better.

I'm looking forward to Thursday. Rabbits and such.

She will live forever in my mind.


by: Minstrel Boy

This was a Roman legal concept. Consuls, Pro-Consuls acting as provincial governors, and other of the highest executive postitions like commanding generals in specific military actions, say Gaius Marius in Spain, or Scipio in Africa, were given Imperium which included freedom from all prosecution, criminal and civil.

One who held the title of Imperator was not above the law, an Imperator, was the law.

In many ways this was a practical and workable solution. The Romans believed that a governor, or commander in the field, often months away from any contact with the Senate or Rome needed the authority to do as he saw fit rather than asking for legal rulings at every step of the way. If there was an insurrection, that needed to be put down, by any means neccessary. If a property confiscation took place in the course of that action, the confiscator needed to be secure in position and not be forced to go back and forth to Rome constantly to defend those actions in court.

Thing was, when the job was over, so was the Imperium. Once the title and the position were finished, all legal bets were off. In his novel, titled "Imperium", Robert Harris tells about Marcus Tullius Cicero's prosecution of Varrus after his term as Governor of Sicily. Varrus was, by all contemporary accounts, a vicious and rapacious thug who raped, robbed and plundered his way through one of the richest provinces in the Roman Sphere. While he held the imperium, he was immune from prosecution of any kind, civil or criminal. When his term ended and he returned to Rome, all bets were off. What began as a civil suit became instead and indictment of the Senatorial class who viewed the world as their own personal playground where they could, with Imperium, indulge what ever depravities crossed their minds. Cicero tried to put a stop to that by holding men accountable for the actions they made. It worked, at least, it worked that one time.

Just like when Nixon was driven from office, all the while claiming his own type of imperium (interview with David Frost, 1974, "If the President orders it, that makes it legal.) The Romans who were on the greasy end of the retribution stick chose to learn their own lessons from the legal system of Imperium.

Many of the worst offenders simply chose to remain abroad. They would take their term of Imperium, loot blind what ever was in front of them, then retire to the eastern provinces of Cappodocia, Macedonia, Egypt, or some other oriental province where money bought luxury and ease.

One holder of Imperium, was Julius Caesar. While pro-consular Military Governor of Gaul, he unilaterally began the Gallic wars. He ordered his legions into action without approval or authority from the senate, and he kept them in the fields until he was stopped by the twin barriers of the Rhine and German resistence. He knew that he had started the war entirely to gain money. The commanding general's share of the spoils in Roman law was huge. He had the largest share of any property or treasures looted, and he had the sole ownership of all captives sold into slavery. Ceasar took on his mantle of Governor mostly broke from his runs for office, he was heavily mortgaged and deeply in cash debt, mostly to Crassus. Caesar was of noble lineage, some of the most noble of Roman Nobles, a direct descendant of both Aeneus and of Venus. Thing was, he was worse than broke, he was in deep debt.

Ten years in Gaul, and Caesar wanted to return to Rome as the richest man in the Empire (and Rome was, by this time a Republic by reputation only), except of course, Crassus. The big problem that he was was that in order to enter Rome itself, he had to lay down his Imperium. Caesar knew that if he did that, decades of lawsuits and criminal prosecutions would ensue. At best, after years of legal wrangling he would be financially ruined and have to return to the status of very noble and very broke, or at worst, banishment, expulsion, and poverty abroad as an exile. Caesar and his legal team came up with all manner of twistings and inventive interpretations of Roman Law, he would run, in absentia, for Consul, or other high office that carried its own Imperium, although the requirement for candidates to stand for office in person would have to be waived. When all of his twistings and turnings of the laws upon their very heads failed, Caesar, still with his Imperium, simply used that very power to break yet another Roman Law. His crossing of the boundary at the Rubicon set off a bitter and bloody civil war. His main goal, throughout his tenure as "Dictator" and then "Dictator for Life" was mainly about avoiding prosecutions for crimes he knew that he had committed. He wanted to avoid a reckoning and judgement. He did. Caesar won, and the Roman Republic was never again anything close to that. It became, instead, under Caesar's heir Octavian, a hereditary monarchy.

President Bush, and his advisors have been claiming their own version of roman Imperium. They have claimed that we are a nation of powerful men, unanswerable to either the people through Congress, the laws through the courts, or simple human decency. They have overturned two hundred and fifty years of checks and balances. They have conducted policy meetings in secret where maps of foriegn countries were spread out on the table and various oil companies were allowed to divvy up the promised loot like a christmas pie. They have then began wars on whims to deliver those promised spoils. They have, worst of all, against the laws of this nation, against the laws of all nations, and against simple human decency instituted a regime that has detained human beings without charges or legal recourse, many of them innocent, they have tortured "confessions" out of those innocents and so perverted any concept of right, truth, and justice that there may never be any accounting or reckoning ever possible. Jose Padilla, Khalid Mohammed, and other victims of the torture regime have been driven to the point of clinical insanity by their treatment. They are so far gone that they have lost the ability to be reliable eyewitnesses to their own lives.

Through this all, Bush and his minions are claiming "Imperium" and saying that they are above, immune, and far beyond all accountings or investigations. By demanding that immunity be granted retroactively in their offenses against the fourth amendment they have admitted that they knowingly broke the law of our land for years. Otherwise, they would not have needed that protection. Hopefully there are courts left in this country that remember the opinion brought down by John Marshall in Marbury vs. Madison which held that Congress cannot simply vote to ignore the Constitution without the cumbersome process involved with amending the Constitution first.

Like the natural result of a system of "Imperium" is someone like Caesar simply using it to seize full and total hereditary power, the swift, and always certain result of an American "Imperium" will be law breaking thugs listening to our communications without cause or warrant or oversight of any kind, snatching people off the the streets both here in our country and abroad, holding them without charge, or indictment, torturing them and then putting them on trial for their very lives using the fruits of the dungeon for evidence.

That this long list of crimes and abuses happened almost from the instant the behaviors began shows the dangers that our founders thought they had protected us against.

It may well be, that as I have said, and now echoed by legal scholars (not old and tired jingle whores, but law professors and shit like Glenn Greenwald and Jonathon Turley) are now saying, like I have said, that our own system of laws and courts might have been too debased and perverted by the rampant lawlessness of recent years and that the International Courts might have to be brought in.

Bring them in I say. I would rather live under foreign laws than the perverse twistings of Authoritarian Gangsters. I am tired of only being able to pretend to my freedoms.

Harp and Sword

Counting Down

by: Foiled Goil

189 More days until January 20, 2009.

Bushwhacked Buck

What else will the decider/commander guy mess up in that time?

· ·
13 July 2008

Photoshoppers Attack

by: Foiled Goil

Attack of the Photoshopped Missiles (Updated)

See the post by Noah Shachtman for more photoshops:
Iran's propagandists aren't only ones who can photoshop a missile launch. We know how to do that on the intertubes, too. Here's an updated sample...

Desertous-operativus Idioticus

· ·

Duck, Duck, Goose, Heron

by: Minstrel Boy

In the continuing "View From My Porch" series we have this one that I just now took. I was on the porch putting some truffle ganache in to set and I saw these ducks, the Mexican Black Face Goose (which apparently decided not to continue on north to Montana this year) and the Great Blue Heron.

They graciously held their positions while I put the ganache up and fetched the camera.

Thanks birds. You're much more fun than politics.

harp and sword

Conspiracy Sunday

by: Debra

Fatigue?  Wouldn't they have to have done something first?  And by the way, Katrina didn't trigger mass evacuations.   Days after the original damage was done, the government took the opportunity to divide families and prevent return of the people by use of the diaspora technique.  The Big Easy is growing again, just not with the people who gave the city its uniqueness.   But that was probably the plan all along, n'est-ce pas?

Jimmy Carter said it many years ago in his race against Ronald Reagan, it's taken almost thirty years but the job is almost done.  North against South, rich against poor, old against young, black against white, white against everybody, coasts against flyover country, men against women, etc.  Next thing you know only those living in protected enclaves will be allowed a say in government since the rest of us will be considered savages by those who have everything.

Everything is going according to plan.  Nothing to see here, move along.  Especially if the goal was to increase the size of the underclass.  Without good paying jobs throughout a neighborhood, people won't be able to save up for down payments again and if they are working part time jobs they are credit risks and their ability to get a loan is reduced.  Or as JollyRoger likes to put it, welcome to the Shruburbs.

Egg rolls with ranch dressing?  An no one thought to test this woman for being drunk?  The thin blue line in San Jose is sustaining another hit.  Courteous?  I don't think so.  Covering up for a former coworker because they went little too fast is one thing, covering up an alcohol induced car accident where innocent people are hurt is not cool.  It's also illegal and at the rate that this story is growing, someone besides the drunk driver is going to pay.  With their job.

I've been doing my best to keep mom out of any type of care facility and her doctor and I are going to have a discussion about why he hasn't prescribed any meds for the early onset of Alzheimer's but expects me to keep her blood pressure in check.  She wanders around bewildered most of the time, having no clue that what she is doing isn't the right thing, and if she could recover even a little mental function, I would be able to get another part time job to supplement our income.  Waiting until she won't be able to feed herself is foolish and extremely tiring for me.  And I'm not the only one who has notice the misplaced priorities of the healthcare system.  Unfortunately, compared to England we have no system at all.

Who cares if we already can't live on what we make now, much less save half our income for retirement?   Living on 30% less as we get older shouldn't be too much of a strain on us.  It isn't as if we worked our whole lives and contributed to making the United States one of the greatest nations in the world.  Now when you get old you are considered to be a drain on society.  Off to the Soylent Green factory.  See what happens to a generation that didn't want to trust anyone over 30?  Now that they're 60 they can't trust anyone.  Even though it was the conservatives they themselves voted in during the '80s that set us up to have a destitute future with no way out except a lingering death.  The generations that got us through the first Depression, the Second World War and produced the children who became the computer generation, are being treated like so much toilet tissue.  And used at that.

12 July 2008

Twilight Time

by: Foiled Goil

Privacy's Twilight: Rise Of The Total Surveillance Society

Steve Elliott:

Trust Me.  Yeah, right.

We may be the last generation that will have ever known privacy.

Every day, we are one step closer to the Total Surveillance Society. Every day, we lose a little more of that part of being human that claims the right to be left alone, that knows freedom from the prying eyes of the corporate state, that has the boldness to claim some inner sanctum where the all-seeing eyes of technology cannot penetrate.

The dystopian dreams of mid-20th Century writers like George Orwell, Aldous Huxley, Philip K. Dick and Barry Malzberg are coming true all around us, but it seems the majority of citizens are so dazed by mass media distractions, by government-instilled fear, and by the drudgery of their daily existence that they can't be bothered to wake up and take stock of what is being taken from them.

Our telephones don't just transmit our voices from point A to point B anymore. The government is there in the middle between us and those with whom we speak, listening, analyzing, weighing the possibility that we are Enemy Combatants who should be whisked away in the dead of night and stored in a cage from which we'll be periodically extracted for "harsh interrogation."

The telecom companies which have been entrusted with the sanctity of our private conversations have not only rolled over -- all of them but Qwest and CREDO Mobile, anyway. They have acquiesced to the demands of government that they allow federal goons to hover over our every word. They have been paid handsomely for their complicity, but at the cost of their humanity and our freedom. And now they have been told by a spineless and morally bankrupt Congress that they won't ever be held accountable; that it's OK to break the law when the President tells you to do it. If you are rich and powerful enough to buy Congressmen, then the law apparently wasn't meant to apply to you, anyway.

Spy line noise.

Apparently Congress goes along with the attitude that if you're the President or his lackeys in the intelligence agencies, you don't follow the law -- you ARE the law, and you make it up as you go along, spinning lies upon lies as you gut the Constitution, barely able to conceal your contempt for the weak legislative branch which cowers at the mention of those nebulous bad men who are supposed to be such a threat to our freedoms that we should give them up preemptively.

Our computers don't just connect us to the World Wide Web anymore. Now instead of just being our dumb servants they are silently, secretly reporting on us, every moment of our surfing, every click, every choice, every view open to review by those governmental or corporate entities large enough to laugh at our pitiful expectations of privacy and autonomy.

Highly classified programs are run by a variety of federal intelligence and law enforcement agencies. Government agents are hunched vulture-like over their desks at this very minute, observing, storing and analyzing the communications, spending habits and travel patterns of U.S. citizens, searching for "suspicious activity," with all the breadth and ambiguity -- and potential for practically inevitable abuse -- that phrase implies.
Roll your own.

How To Fight Back

A surveillance society can work in both directions. The wide proliferation of camcorders, cell phones, and recording devices of various kinds gives we the people a way to at least record, if not prevent, the misdeeds of our corporate and governmental overseers.

The rapid dissemination of this relatively unfiltered user-generated content through blogs, through YouTube, through Digg and through social networks such as Facebook and MySpace is one antidote to those gatekeepers who would impose conformity of thought and homogeneity of information upon us.

Don't let 'em take your camera. Don't let 'em take your Internet. Don't let 'em take your independence. Don't let 'em take your cussedness.

· · ·

Drama, Trauma And Stupidity At Its Finest

by: Debra

You don't say.  It isn't just now, they've been going through the motions for years.  Pretending to represent their constituents when all what they are really representing are themselves and the corporations who give them the best bang for their buck.  I long for the old days when the Yankees were the best team that money could buy.  Not that I liked the Yankees, since I was a Reds fan.

Oh good grief, another commercial to speed through on a DVD.  It's so bad now that the running time of the movie is nowhere near the running time on the DVD.   At least the schedule for the theater lets you know that the movie doesn't start until 10-15 minutes after the scheduled showtime. 

Umm, everything?

Cracking me up.  Even Scientific American people are determined to believe that civilization didn't start in Africa.  Remember, if you have one drop of black blood, that makes you one of them thar tar babies and that mustn't be allowed to happen.  Absolutely fascinating.

Due to a mental recession and the lost because of bureaucratic nonsense, my paycheck for the last three months was never mailed (It took 10 days for the new time card to arrive and  I was so desperate that I drove it to the office instead of mailing it like they asked.  As if I could afford the gas.  I hear tell I might get paid by this upcoming Friday, or maybe not.), so my inability to pay my Netflix (automatic withdrawal I couldn't change in time, thank goodness I have food in the freezer and Shadow is leaving me some parts of the garden to eat) bill is all in my mind and I'm imagining that B of A didn't charge me $35 for not paying it.  I really should take up a career of writing fiction, then I could work for the Washington Post or whatever else is passing for a news outlet nowadays.

Even working, albeit part time,  isn't helping me out of this mess.

Update: I was referring to the commenters at SCiAm, not the writers of the article.

· · ·
11 July 2008

Peace Tonight

by: blackdog

Not much to say except for this.

Now the Woof and I go to bed, to await whatever comes tomorrow.

Waiting for a call from a rabbit.

Maybe I shouldn't do this, but tonight I will, not again.

Set Your TIVOs

by: Minstrel Boy

For Sunday night. HBO is beginning its production of Evan Wright's Generation Kill.

I read his series in Rolling Stone when it was first published and later bought the book. I thought it was one of the better things I ever read about actual combat. He did not minimize what was going on, there were some truly horrible things which happened during the initial, fast paced push into Bagdhad. Thing was, you came to love these gritty Marines.

Later I also read the memior of that unit's Platoon Leader, Nathaniel Fick, who wrote the beautiful One Bullet Away: The Making of a Marine Officer.

What struck me was that reading these memoirs, written without any contact or communication between the two authors, was that the stories jived. They dovetailed perfectly. Both on the events that took place, and the effect that those events had on the Marines who were right in the middle. That speaks volumes as to the truth of the recollections. That's an amazing thing in a combat memoir. Combat can blur all perceptions. Many times there were things that I remembered vividly, things I felt had been seared into my memory, that turned out to have been seen in a totally different way by others who were also there. Memories of combat and battles is like trying to describe a party that you only saw by looking through a tube from a roll of paper towells. Vision is restricted and most of the time restricted to the very immediate front of your sight lines. This didn't happen here.

This was a light armored Marine Force Recon outfit. They were the "pointy end of the spear" in the invasion of Iraq.

This is very well worth a long look. If you don't have HBO offer to take a cake or something over to somebody who has it. Camp out. Watch this.

harp and sword

My, How He's Changed His Tune

by: Debra

What a load of hooey.  Years ago when I worked at Universal Pictures in the Trailer department (we made all the movie, radio and tv spots for upcoming movies) Spike Lee was escorted to our department to see one of the upcoming ads for Do The Right Thing.  My friend Lisa and I were the only black people working in the department at the time and when he was introduced to us he turned his back and walked off without even saying hello.

Lisa, who was quite a looker and half black like me, stood there dumbfounded.  One of the editors, Mike I believe his name was, came over and told us not to take it personally, but that Spike was a racist and didn't consider us black enough to acknowledge.  He then went on to tell us a story about Spike and how angy he was when his own father married a white woman and now she was his stepmom.  I didn't care becuase a racist is a racist, it doesn't matter the race.  We all bleed red, can interbreed (obviously) and if the earth were invaded from outer space tomorrow the aliens probably would probably treat us all equally.

It's amazing how people change when they smell an advantage, isn't it?


Presidential Requirements

by: Debra

Does being in the military make you qualified to be President?   Yes, if you accomplish something, like your job. Being a POW for a long period of time is more of an indicator of mental trauma than it is of leadership.  Ask the guys at Gitmo.

Being a politician should automatically disqualify you from being president.  It should be an honor to serve your country, not a requirement that your country serve and obey you.  It's funny (peculiar, not haha) how that's changed in the last forty years.    There's more to being President than getting elected, just like there's more to being a parent than the ability to reproduce.

Running for one office while not having completed a third of the office you are currently holding tends to show that you either have a problem keeping the same job for any length of time or that you are in it for the power, fame and fortune. Fortune used not be part of the equation, but that has certainly changed since the invention of the speechwriter.  And cronyism.



It's the 'Visible Man!!

by: blackdog

This actually is the best picture of that fat bastard I have ever seen. And maybe by being a no-show to a subpoena from the Congress, as several others from this pitiful, inept in all things good, excelling in all things bad misadministration have also done will force many in the Congress to finally come to the conclusion that this is a Constitutional Crisis. No shit. Sherlock.

Is it just possible that even some of the more reasonable dims and repukes will actually check out their conscience and realize that they have their backs against the wall and now is the time to assert their power as a co-equal branch of government? This seems to me to be their opportunity, but if they drop the ball on this one, then you might as well kiss the Constitution goodbye, since precedent will have been set in stone and only a literal act of Gawd could change things.

Hopefull they get off their ass and act quickly, I can't wait around forever.

Hat tip to B/S Liz

Now, just to ruin your pleasure at breakfast and get you all growling.

I rest my case.

Now to ease your irritated eyes, watch this old one.

Good One To Pass Along

by: Foiled Goil

With attribution to Saje Williams:

The Right to Remain Silent

When your President declares war on a oil-rich nation that poses no threat to the United States, you have the Right to Remain Silent. If you choose to give up that right, you will be harassed, insulted, threatened, and otherwise treated as if you are no longer an American.

When you watch America's name being dragged through the mud by power hungry fools in incidents of torture and kidnapping--you have the Right to Remain Silent.

When you hear your President comment that he thinks the Constitution is just a "damned piece of paper," you have the Right to Remain Silent.

When you learn that the plans for war were already on the table before 9/11, you have the Right to Remain Silent.

When a CIA operative has her cover blown because her husband is considered an enemy of the administration, you have the Right to Remain Silent.

When that same Administration, and its corrupt partners in Congress pass laws that strip away the safety nets for vulnerable American citizens, you have the Right to Remain Silent.

When a powerful hurricane levels a great American City and you watch people suffering on television for days, while aid is turned away by the authorities, you have the Right to Remain Silent.

While this administration continues to subsidize the oil companies during times of RECORD profits, you have the Right to Remain Silent.

When viciously obnoxious pundits are welcomed onto American news programs and treated as if they're decent, hard-working folks, you have the Right to Remain Silent.

While thousands of our soldiers are sent to a dry and dusty land to kill or be killed, you have the Right to Remain Silent.

When you finally begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel, having elected a majority of allegedly like-minded citizens to Congress to fight against the abuses of this administration only to find that they don't have the spine to pull it off, you have the Right to Remain Silent.

When you realize that the Iraqi people are NOT, in fact, better off than they were under a brutal dictator, you have the Right to Remain Silent.

When you discover that there's no easy way out of the war and our troops will continue to die while Iraq staggers its way through a horrific civil war, you have the Right to Remain Silent.

When you find that this administration, after nearly breaking our military with its incompetence and corruption, is trying to come up with a way to go to war with even MORE Middle Eastern countries, despite the fact that it hasn't managed even the ghost of a victory in either front it's currently fighting, you have the Right to Remain Silent.

While a sizeable portion of the population of your fellow Americans think you should be killed or thrown in prison for daring to have a different opinion about the way all this is going, and an unfavorable view of THEIR chosen leader, you have the Right to Remain Silent.

While this administration is busy carving a canyon of debt for you and your children to carry forward into perpetuity, you have the Right to Remain Silent.

While this government's economic policies are driving more and more people into poverty and a lifetime of debt, you have the Right to Remain Silent.

If you choose not to exercise this right, rest assured, the Corporate Media will exercise it for you.

· · ·
10 July 2008

The Biggest Dickhead of the Week

by: blackdog

I really didn't think it would be possible for anyone to top William Kristol, even with most of the week to go, but it has been done, by a guy with a supposed background in economics, no less. None other than:

One of our favorite Texas crooks, ex-Senator Phil Gramm. Sticking his head out of his shell and advising his favorite and most astute pupil, non other than that Presidential contender who has fled to the extreme right, John McSame.

From the Washington Times.

Quoth the turtlehead, ex-Senator Gramm:

Youve heard of mental depression; this is a mental recession, he said, noting that growth has held up at about 1 percent despite all the publicity over losing jobs to India, China, illegal immigration, housing and credit problems and record oil prices. We may have a recession; we havent had one yet.

We have sort of become a nation of whiners, he said. You just hear this constant whining, complaining about a loss of competitiveness, America in decline despite a major export boom that is the primary reason that growth continues in the economy, he said.

Courtesy of Democratic Underground.

Obviously candidate, war-hero and Senator McSame learned his lessons well, all we really need are meds and some group therapy, and everything will be OK. Maybe we could get Dr. Phil from TV to conduct the group sessions, yeah, that's the ticket.

I hereby award Phil Gramm the Biggest Dickhead of the Week, along with the Dickhead Economist Award possibly for 2008. With only a few days in the week left, can this possibly be upstaged?


Senator Obama agrees.

Now I go crawl back under my rock. Jeez.


Contending for Biggest Dickhead Federal Agency, the EPA!

Again, courtesy of DU.


How to value life? EPA devalues its estimate
$900,000 taken off in what critics say is way to weaken pollution rules

WASHINGTON - It's not just the American dollar that's losing value. A government agency has decided that an American life isn't worth what it used to be.

The "value of a statistical life" is $6.9 million in today's dollars, the Environmental Protection Agency reckoned in May a drop of nearly $1 million from just five years ago.

Consider, for example, a hypothetical regulation that costs $18 billion to enforce but will prevent 2,500 deaths. At $7.8 million per person (the old figure), the lifesaving benefits outweigh the costs. But at $6.9 million per person, the rule costs more than the lives it saves, so it may not be adopted.

Dan Esty, a senior EPA policy official in the first Bush administration and now director of the Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy, said that "it's hard to imagine that it has other than a political motivation."

Read more:

Methinks the Wraith had a term for this, but it slips my mind now.

But what doesn't slip my mind is that I used to work with these bastards, lots. I've been to EPA conferences dozens of times all over the damn country. What a shame, they used to be pretty good.


by: astraea

Below, a poem from alice. Pure world class treasure.

(Ah Penelope! I'm thinking of a certain young scholar, taking her Greek with the classicists. They are reading book 24, Odysseus comes home, translating aloud with Lilian. And they are all weeping... Beauty. Joy. Memory. Hope. The boats will come, alice!)

Just read Perfume . Grenouille thinking of what he will be in the afterlife. I ask myself the same. Point is, we never will know -- not anymore that we will ever know where we came from. But as Jung said, part of me is already there. Same place. The me unimportant, except as the character of "being" in the "now." Psyche in humans is as "real" (mind samples, fills in spaces as humans do) as Soma or Rock or Tree, or even Water. (Genouille knows such things by scent. How do I know them?) And as that is so, that Psyche is so much of what we are, and that we are made -- it seems to me -- to make meaning, then it's a creative act to choose to make some singularity beyond the last breath and imagine breathing yourself into it. I feel it, see it in everything, the souls who have done that. These virgin auras, One.

Plotinus would like that.


She must have had a second loom
to weave her secret life
and counted every wish fulfilled
serene Odysseus' wife.

The nights she ripped asunder
her faithful days' disbloom
she must have twisted other threads
in her unthreading room.

The warp, her mocked reality
which daylife often seems,
the woof made up of fantasy
and starlit starkissed dreams.

The shuttle flew between them
a bright and bobbing dove
weaving the weeks together
'to a gossamer of love.

She wrapped herself invisibly
Penelope of old
in cloth of faithful certainty
more radiant than gold.
The tears she shed by day
were jewels in the night
caught in the fabric of her years
for his sometime delight.

And when she showed her suitors
the never-growing weft
her smile bespoke his coming
when they would all have left.

And he through wave-tossed dangers
escaped a thousand harms
to find the texture of his truth
in her awaiting arms.

The first loom on the fire
its last unraveling done
'til into their rosy secret dawn
a rising secret sun.

Rough bridegroom in her chamber
sweet-sleeping in her room
under the cover woven
upon the second loom.


Trials, Tribulations and Flat Out Bull Excrement

by: Debra

The only other thing I have to say about the FISA frakking is that everyone who voted for it should be replaced by whatever challenger they're facing in the next election.  Whether they are Humpty Dumpty or Freddy Krueger, they have to be a better representative of the people than the bought and paid for "representatives" we have now.  That is if we ever have another election, they might decide we don't need those either.  And the really sad part of the current crop of of highly paid deceivers on the public dole is that more than a few of them are lawyers and have no excuse for the way they voted except that they don't care about the American people or the Constitution.  What they seem to care about is not looking weak on whatever issue they are confronted with.  Instead of standing up for themselves and their country, they represent the interests of the corporations that donate to them in lieu of the people who voted for them and have proved they aren't fit to lead a horse to water.  Or, as my dad used to put it, if your friends jump off a cliff are you going to jump to?   The Congressional response was "hell yeah!"  But they did manage to pass these important resolutions.

How...white of them.

The great scam continues.  Foreclosures are up 53% over a year ago,  rivaling the Great Depression.   And bank seizures have tripled.  The much vaunted home ownership society continues to destroy the lives of innocent people.  People who bought into the dream that obscured reality.  Unfortunately reality will follow these people for the rest of their lives, continually holding them and their children back.  On the other hand, it makes for a ready made supply of indentured servants.  Just like in days of yore. Under the last King George.

Cops covering for one another, say it isn't so.  Good thing she didn't kill anybody.


With what?  Our good looks?

I'm pretty sure that the economy will take care of this problem, most people will have no choice except to work until they either die or become so feeble that they are put on the street to die.  That and the fact that the younger generation have had individuality and independent thought trained out of them.


How It Goes

by: Foiled Goil

In his opinion, Chief Justice John Marshall declared that any law repugnant to the Constitution is void.

From Marbury v. Madison:

The question whether an act repugnant to the Constitution can become the law of the land is a question deeply interesting to the United States, but, happily, not of an intricacy proportioned to its interest. It seems only necessary to recognise certain principles, supposed to have been long and well established, to decide it.

That the people have an original right to establish for their future government such principles as, in their opinion, shall most conduce to their own happiness is the basis on which the whole American fabric has been erected. The exercise of this original right is a very great exertion; nor can it nor ought it to be frequently repeated. The principles, therefore, so established are deemed fundamental. And as the authority from which they proceed, is supreme, and can seldom act, they are designed to be permanent.

This original and supreme will organizes the government and assigns to different departments their respective powers. It may either stop here or establish certain limits not to be transcended by those departments.


If, then, the Courts are to regard the Constitution, and the Constitution is superior to any ordinary act of the Legislature, the Constitution, and not such ordinary act, must govern the case to which they both apply.


That it thus reduces to nothing what we have deemed the greatest improvement on political institutionsa written Constitution, would of itself be sufficient, in America where written Constitutions have been viewed with so much reverence, for rejecting the construction. But the peculiar expressions of the Constitution of the United States furnish additional arguments in favour of its rejection.


From these and many other selections which might be made, it is apparent that the framers of the Constitution contemplated that instrument as a rule for the government of courts, as well as of the Legislature. Why otherwise does it direct the judges to take an oath to support it? This oath certainly applies in an especial manner to their conduct in their official character. How immoral to impose it on them if they were to be used as the instruments, and the knowing instruments, for violating what they swear to support!


It is also not entirely unworthy of observation that, in declaring what shall be the supreme law of the land, the Constitution itself is first mentioned, and not the laws of the United States generally, but those only which shall be made in pursuance of the Constitution, have that rank.

Thus, the particular phraseology of the Constitution of the United States confirms and strengthens the principle, supposed to be essential to all written Constitutions, that a law repugnant to the Constitution is void, and that courts, as well as other departments, are bound by that instrument.

The rule must be discharged.

[ 3:16 ]

"The makers of the Constitution conferred, as against the government, the Right to be let alone; the most comprehensive of rights, and the right most valued by civilized men."
~ United States Supreme Court Justice Brandeis,
Olmstead v. United States
"Where rights secured by the Constitution are involved, there can be no rule making or legislation which would abrogate them."
~ Miranda v. Arizona, 384 US 436 p. 491
"An unconstitutional act is not law; it confers no rights; it imposes no duties; affords no protection; it creates no office; it is in legal contemplation, as inoperative as though it had never been passed."
~ Norton v. Shelby County, 118 US 425 p. 442
"...So long as the people do not care to exercise their freedom, those who wish to tyrannize will do so;

For tyrants are active and ardent, and will devote themselves in the name of any number of gods, religious and otherwise, to put shackles upon sleeping men."
~ Voltarine de Cleyre

· ·


by: Foiled Goil

GD Piece of Paper

Senate Roll Call

09 July 2008

When Choice Is No Choice At All

by: Debra

It's so sad watching the happy lights go out of Obama supporters eyes.  It's never good watching people whose hopes and dreams are being shattered.  After all the rhetoric, the nasty comments directed at people (one of which was me) who didn't believe what he said about hope and change, they are waking up this morning to a candidate who cannot be distinguished from any other politician running for office.  Oh, they were s proud of themselves when they vanquished Clinton, made Edwards out to be too pretty to be effective and gloated unceremoniously when their candidate was anointed the winner by the same people who have been bought off by the telecom companies.  Now they are beginning to realize that what they got was a wolf dressed up in Little Red Riding Hood's clothes on the way to Grandma's house.  My, what big teeth he has.

In return for this uncritical devotion, their candidate didn't just move to the center, he hightailed it for the right so fast that even Regan MacNeil (I hear Bobby Jindal wants to be VP and he will fit right in with this current course of action) wouldn't be able to keep up with his changing positions.   Obama has abandoned his original base as fast as he could while telling them that he would compromise.  Yes, the former head of the Harvard Law Review is going to vote to eviscerate the Fourth Amendment, a subject I have ranted on before, and seal our republic's death so we can be a ruled by a dictator with no checks or balances and Buy n Large will control our every move.  Power corrupts.  Absolutely.

Last night I was talking with a friend and her sister and mentioned Obama's recent comments on late term abortion and that the psychological health of the mother wasn't a good reason.  Turns out the sister had lived in Texas at one time, had an abusive husband who beat her so badly that the baby died in utero and she was forced to carry it for ten more weeks until it was born.  Dead.  Needless to say, he will not be getting her or any member of her family's vote.  She was willing to forgive Obama everything until she heard that.  Makes you wonder what other positions he is going to reveal now that he feels that he has the power of inevitability.

Once again the Demowienies have picked a candidate on his "electability".  The only problem with that strategy is that you end up with a candidate that people are forced to vote for only because they dislike the other guy even more.  This is not an effective way to run a country that is supposed to be for, by and of the people.

I can't vote for either candidate because I believe they are both dangerous, they both stretch the truth to the point of unbelievability and neither one is going to make my country or my life better.  Or safer.  What they are going to do is finish destroying a Constitution that stood for over 200 years, right up until the current reign of error.

I always remember where I was on August 9th, mainly because it's mom's birthday, but 1974 was notable for several reasons.   I was leaving basic training at Ft. Jackson and rode a bus through Georgia before arriving at Redstone Arsenal, AL to learn how to repair guidance systems.   In that amount of time one President resigned for lying about his involvement in a cover up to bug the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee and another arrived in office never having been elected to any office by more than a few thousand people.  At least it was for 28 years.

This year I hope to spend it with mom and hoping that the results from the Strangebedfellows moneybomb has an impact.  It isn't as if we had an independent media who reported instead of trying to make the news or that we were marching in the streets like we were in the '60s and '70s to let our representatives know that we were serious.  Nope, today we send money via the internet a month after the damage has been done.


08 July 2008

The Best Mexican Food In The World

by: Minstrel Boy

Is at Camacho's Place. You hear restauranteurs talking all the time about the importance of Location. Here's the truth of that. If you have a good location you can serve shit burgers and people will come once to savor the view. If there's enough traffic you will never have to worry about steady or repeat business.
If your food is exceptional, people will flock to your door.

I set out this afternoon about 12:30 to be there to pick up the order I made by calling Maria Camacho at home last night. Just making the order took about half an hour because I had to give her an update on every single one of my kids, all my sisters, promise to tell my cousin, the brilliant attorney's partner hello from Maria and her son. All that good, honest local stuff.

The first landmark on the drive is The New River, or as we locals call it, Shit Creek. This is one of the most polluted waterways in the world. One mouthfull of this water can quite literally kill you.

Coming up out of the river basin, you see Billy Hale's horse operation.

Billy has some of the most prized cutters and penning stock in the West. You can take one of his ponies into a feedlot pen looking for the mostly black one with a white splotch over its left eye and once you put that horse on the cow, that cow will be forced out of the herd, and coaxed to where ever you want it to go. All you have to do is hang the fuck on. Once one of these guys gets a bead on a cow they drop into that pea picking stance and they fucking explode at light speed in what ever direction they need to go to get the job done. Nothing like a cutting horse to show you how superfulous a rider really is on a working ranch. Billy has also been kind enough to offer a very reasonable boarding set up for my arabs come September. Stud fees from Casey are involved, I don't think Casey will mind a bit.

Next is about eight miles of this:

But don't relax too much. If you miss the turn, you'll have less than a mile before you're across the border. Chertoff's fence hasn't happened yet. Here's the thing to remember, when the pavement ends you're in Mexico. Act accordingly. Lucky for us all, there's a high voltage transmission line at the road we need to turn left on.

Before I quit drinking I still managed to miss that turn a few times.

The next landmark is Farmer Ed's feedlot. This is an old fashioned farmer's co-operative venture. Hay farmers pool their resources to have a ready market for their overages. There's some damned fine beef here. The main breed is Brangus. Regular Angus cows can't take the desert heat, Bhramas taste like shit but are hardy as hell. These aren't anywhere near as tractable as the Angus beeves, but that's why Billy's horses are such top notch masters. One of Billy's Bulldog Quarter Horses will not only make that cow do what ever you want, they will humiliate the poor horned critter too.

Right across from the feed lot they are cutting a field of Timothy.

This is a great smelling crop, normally, driving past something like this I would roll down the windows and inhale deeply. Sweet, country hay. Smells great. Since there are about 3,000 cows on the other side of the road, I just keep driving.

Back down into the New River Basin to cross Shit Creek again.

Up the bluff, past Danny Phillip's Cattle yard. Another 5,000 goddamned cattle.

Then we're here. Camacho's Place, established in 1946.

The place started out as a country store, but Maria Primera, being a tender hearted soul, began making tortas and burritos for the field hands and vaqueros. Word got out and folks started showing up for cooked food. It is pure Norteño cuisine. Poor people's, working people's food. It is wonderful stuff. The parking lot is always full. People start coming in at 7 a.m. and will eat steady until 9 p.m., except on Mondays (closed) and Sundays (they open after Mass, when ever after Mass happens)

That's the original counter from the store, those are the original reefer cases too. They still work.

That's the main dining area. Those dark brown beams are the main framing of the building, and the family houses. They started out as railroad ties, but when the Southern Pacific discontinued its runs to San Diego they left all this fine timber lying around and Tapio figured "Porque no?" There are ten consecutive years of Blue Angels portraits on the wall. It's a rite of passage for new members of the Angels to come here and taste real Mexican food.

I don't know if you can make out the headline but it's about how the Skipper of the Blue Angels was surprised by his crew. They flew from Pensacola to NAF El Centro, picked up his birthday lunch and flew back. Your tax dollars at work.

Here's the three generations who have owned and operated this fine restaurant. The fourth generation (and the third Maria) are here now.

The food comes and I drive the same road back. Once at home I spread out the goodies.

Quesadilla Especiale Take an uncooked tortilla round, stuff with cotija and jack cheese, crimp and fry. Total, gooey, lucious, goodness. Also something you won't find anywhere else. This is Norteño Pocho style. Delicioso.

Arroz, Salsa Roja, y frijoles. Each one of them exquisite.

Rolled tacos. Machaca, and cotija cheese, rolled in home made tortillas and fried to a perfect crispy but not crunchy texture. The perfect mixture of crisp and chew.
There were also some flat tacos, which are exactly the same, the machaca and the cotija are flash fried together, then shredded lettuce, diced tomatos and grated jack cheese are added. I blew the picture, sorry, they're all gone now. I only got two dozen of them. Nope, I didn't blow the picture at all, just blew the order of them. Now it's right These beauties below are the tacos. Probably the smell and the anticipation drove me temporarily insane and shit.

Everything on the menu here is homemade, from local ingredients. It's all so very good. Especially since the folks here have been family friends forever. That makes it extra nice.

harp and sword

The 545 People Responsible for All of America's Woes - by Charley Reese

by: Jersey Cynic

Politicians are the only people in the world who create problems and then campaign against them.

Have you ever wondered why, if both the Democrats and the Republicans are against deficits, we have deficits? Have you ever wondered why, if all the politicians are against inflation and high taxes, we have inflation and high taxes?

You and I don't propose a federal budget. The president does. You and I don't have the Constitutional authority to vote on appropriations. The House of Representatives does. You and I don't write the tax code. Congress does. You and I don't set fiscal policy. Congress does. You and I don't control monetary policy. The Federal Reserve Bank does.

One hundred senators, 435 congressmen, one president and nine Supreme Court justices - 545 human beings out of the 235 million - are directly, legally, morally and individually responsible for the domestic problems that plague this country.

I excluded the members of the Federal Reserve Board because that problem was created by the Congress. In 1913, Congress delegated its Constitutional duty to provide a sound currency to a federally chartered but private central bank.

I excluded all but the special interests and lobbyists for a sound reason. They have no legal authority. They have no ability to coerce a senator, a congressman or a president to do one cotton-picking thing. I don't care if they offer a politician $1 million dollars in cash. The politician has the power to accept or reject it.

No matter what the lobbyist promises, it is the legislation's responsibility to determine how he votes.


Don't you see how the con game that is played on the people by the politicians? Those 545 human beings spend much of their energy convincing you that what they did is not their fault. They cooperate in this common con regardless of party.

What separates a politician from a normal human being is an excessive amount of gall. No normal human being would have the gall of Tip O'Neill, who stood up and criticized Ronald Reagan for creating deficits.

The president can only propose a budget. He cannot force the Congress to accept it. The Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land, gives sole responsibility to the House of Representatives for originating appropriations and taxes.

O'neill is the speaker of the House. He is the leader of the majority party. He and his fellow Democrats, not the president, can approve any budget they want. If the president vetos it, they can pass it over his veto.


It seems inconceivable to me that a nation of 235 million cannot replace 545 people who stand convicted -- by present facts - of incompetence and irresponsibility.

I can't think of a single domestic problem, from an unfair tax code to defense overruns, that is not traceable directly to those 545 people.

When you fully grasp the plain truth that 545 people exercise power of the federal government, then it must follow that what exists is what they want to exist.

If the tax code is unfair, it's because they want it unfair. If the budget is in the red, it's because they want it in the red. If the Marines are in Lebanon, it's because they want them in Lebanon.

There are no insoluble government problems. Do not let these 545 people shift the blame to bureaucrats, whom they hire and whose jobs they can abolish; to lobbyists, whose gifts and advice they can reject; to regulators, to whom they give the power to regulate and from whom they can take it.

Above all, do not let them con you into the belief that there exist disembodied mystical forces like "the economy," "inflation" or "politics" that prevent them from doing what they take an oath to do.

Those 545 people and they alone are responsible. They and they alone have the power. They and they alone should be held accountable by the people who are their bosses - provided they have the gumption to manage their own employees.

This article was taken from the Orlando Sentinel Star newspaper
Date Unknown

There are several other great reads at this link.

Doesn't this pic say it all........

Have you seen your congressman lately?

Charley Reese bio from Wiki

Crossposted at Blondesense

Revamp of War Powers a "disappointment" -- not to mention that The Family's Ed Meese and (pupper master) James Baker are on the committee

by: astraea

At stake, the Constitution itself. Only Obama, Constitutional Law scholar, can save it.

Bipartisan War Powers Committee Disappointed in Final Report of Baker-Christopher Commission

[...] The framers of the Constitution, wary of the royal tradition they fled, thought it essential that those who would do the fighting and dying should have some say- through their representatives- in the decision to go to war. The United States Constitution makes it perfectly clear that the declaration of war is the exclusive responsibility of the people's branch. The Commission risks undermining the Constitution's checks and balances by asking Congress to serve as the president's consultant, rather than the other way around."

Section 8 of Article I of the United States Constitution explicitly grants Congress the authority declare war, while Section 2 of Article II designates the President as the Commander in Chief of the nation's armed forces.

However, since America's military intervention in Korea in 1950, several presidents have deployed troops overseas without the authorization of Congress. More recently, White House officials argued that President George W. Bush did not need to seek authorization for military operations in Iraq, and that he should seek such authorization only as a political maneuver and not a legal necessity.

To learn more about the work of the Constitution Project's War Powers Committee, visit

re The Family, see Jeff Sharlet:

The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power

Rolling Stone:
Brownback points to his friend Ed Meese, who served as attorney general under Reagan, as an example of a man who wields power through backroom Fellowship connections. Meese has not held a government job for nearly two decades, but through the Fellowship he's more influential than ever, credited with brokering the recent nomination of John Roberts to head the Supreme Court. "As a behind-the-scenes networker," Brownback says, "he's important." In the senator's view, such hidden power is sanctioned by the Bible. "Everybody knows Moses," Brownback says. "But who were the leaders of the Jewish people once they got to the promised land? It's a lot of people who are unknown."

from Steve Perry , Minnesota Independent, Imperial Jesus: 'Family" author Jeff Sharlet on the secret history of the other Christian right
In Born Again, his post-prison memoir, the old Nixon hand and Watergate convict Chuck Colson called the Family a veritable underground of Christs men all through government. To this day, the only public estimate of the Familys size is the one Colson offered in that 1979 book: 20,000 or so worldwide. Today the groups Washington insider membership (or the portion of it thats publicly known) includes Colson, James A. Baker, John Ashcroft, Ed Meese, Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kansas), Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Sen. John Thune (R-South Dakota), Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Florida), Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Arkansas), Rep. Joe Pitts (R-Pennsylvania), and Rep. Mike McIntyre (D-North Carolina). And their bipartisan list of friends includes Hillary Clinton, who has helped the Family pass several pieces of legislation, including the bill that made it legal for pharmacists to decline to fill birth-control pill prescriptions on moral grounds.

Mom And The Girls

by: Debra

Shadow pops her head up whenever I walk past and thinks Mom is a pillow. That's Shai Shai under the covers, one of these days I''l get a picture of her sleeping on the pillow with the covers pulled up to her chin which she does all by herself. Mom and I look quite a bit alike, albeit I have a permanent tan and quite a bit less hair. Plus, she's skinny and I'm not. :LMAO Her birthday is in a month and as frustrated as I am, I hope she's still here.

Sleeping Peacefully


by: Minstrel Boy

One of the first things that you'll notice is that this is essentially a Salsa Bandera with avocado added. And yes, this wonderful stuff uses the same ingredients and techniques. Since the Salsa Bandera post covered most of the technique points I'll concentrate on the other essentials.

I'm expecting Arizona relatives to stop by for lunch on their way to San Diego. I'll be going to the world famous Camacho's Place, that legendary Mexican food restaurant in the middle of nowhere on a ditch bank between the cattle feed lot and the hay company. Expect some pictures on that sometime tomorrow. Since Camacho's is where I learned about things like Guacamole I make it myself and concentrate instead on the other find food that they make.

For Guacamole, the first step is to halve, seed, and skin the avocados. Since there are a grip of folks stopping by, and they'll be hungry, I'm using six avocados. For a Gaucamole you want your avocados to be slightly soft to the touch. Being fussy while you choose your avocados makes all the difference with this. Be ruthless.

After you've cut the skinned halves into fairly large chunks stick them into a big bowl. This is a great time to drizzle the chunks with a good dose of lime (or lemon, depends on what fruit is better), I'm using the Mexican Limón, what a southerner would call a "Key Lime" except that the Florida Keys think that trailer parks and tourist dives are better use for the land than citrus groves, they buy the limes for their pie from Mexico. These limes are small and I used the juice from four of them for the first drizzling. This will help to keep the avocados from turning brown. (more on that whole turning brown issue later)

For proportions, figure on one tomato and one onion, diced small for every two avocados. Use the Salsa Bandera techniques for seeding and removing the pith from the chiles. I'm using fresh from the garden jalepeños. The amount you use is quite simply a matter of personal taste. I used five this time. All this gets dumped right into the bowl and the potato masher is hauled out and you work it into a nice, chunky sauce.

For extra heat, should you desire extra heat, you can always add in more jalapeño, or, grab the old Tapatio® and give it a healthy shake or two.

Keep at it with the potato masher until your Guacamole is a consistency that you prefer.

Serve as a dip, with tortilla chips (these are some blue corn chips that I just made), serve as a condiment to be put on tacos, enchiladas, chimichangas, hot dogs, hamburgers, or just about any damn thing you want.

Give it a try. You'll love it. Make sure that you play around with the proportions of the ingredients. Make this wonderful sauce your very own.

harp and sword

McSame Economy: It's The Stupid BS

by: Foiled Goil

Matt, Think Progress:
On ABCs Good Morning America today, [July 7] senior McCain campaign adviser Meg Whitman defended Sen. John McCains (R-AZ) infamous flip-flop on the Bush tax cuts by arguing that McCain voted against them because they were not accompanied by a decrease in government spending. You cannot just keep tax rates low, which is what Americans want, and keep government spending growing, said Whitman.

But in a separate interview with CNBC today, Whitman contradicted this line of argument when pressed by Steve Forbes... [snip]

Whitmans claim that McCains tax cuts are not contingent on controlling spending is contradictory with the principle that she claims guided McCains vote against Bushs tax cuts. It also contradicts McCains own claims about tax cuts.

Ian Welsh, Firedog Lake:
McCain's economic plan has been leaked just before release (pdf) and it's as incoherent as one might expect. This is epitomized best by this quote:
The McCain administration would reserve all savings from victory in the Iraq and Afghanistan operations in the fight against Islamic extremists for reducing the deficit. Since all their costs were financed with deficit spending, all their savings must go to deficit reduction.
So, McCain is saying he expects to quickly "win" the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, withdraw the troops and save hundreds of billions as a result? Does anyone believe this? Would it speak worse of McCain if he really believed that he'll win within a year or two and is thus delusional, or would it be better if he knows he's bullshitting us? [...]

Bottom line: the US is not going to get out of its deficit by cutting expenses unless, say, you want to cut half the military budget or massively cut entitlements (which, to be fair, may well be what McCain's "private accounts" amount to.) Everyone squeals about how raising taxes is impossible, but the math is real simpleyou can raise taxes, or you can borrow the money. Since borrowing costs are going to start rising, probably precipitously, trying to keep borrowing out of a problem caused by living beyond your means already is just going to make the situation worse.

John McCain, in wanting to expand tax cuts, is very much the guy in the hole who instead of saying "first thing we do is stop digging" instead cries out "we need bigger shovels".

And what he's shoveling out of the hole doesn't smell like clean earth to me.

Atrios, Eschaton:
McCain's joke budget is horseshit, but as we know Republicans cut taxes and cut spending and balance the budget, just like the most popular preznit EVAH Ronald Reagan did, even when they, you know, don't, and so their budgets don't actually have to make sense.

Alex Koppelman, Salon War Room:
But there's one fundamental aspect of McCain's "plan" that ought to be drawing the most immediate attention: nearly all of it would be dead on arrival in the Democratic-controlled Congress that he will definitely face should he be elected president. Barring some wildly unlikely change in the political winds, Democrats will increase their margins in both Houses of Congress, perhaps significantly, as even the most spin-happy Republicans admit. The idea that congressional Democrats are going to even consider health care, energy, or "entitlement reform" policies that are increasingly hard to distinguish from those of George W. Bush is laughable.

And that simple reality illustrates the enduring dilemma of the McCain candidacy. He needs an "economic plan" right now in order to deal with the strong impression that his national-security-and-character focused message thinly disguises Bush-style cluelessness or indifference about Americans' economic anxieties.

· · ·
07 July 2008

Yeah, I can be a Bitch when it comes to this

by: blackdog

Blackdogs are cool, they are stealth dogs by night, and their sleeping on the floor in a hallway can give your metabolism the required stimulus necessary to keep you alive for another month as you stumble over them.

Plus, many are simply afraid of blackdogs, Stupid, I've been bitten by many things, but only once by a blackdog. I will admit that when I was a squirt I learned to pedal a bike pretty damn fast when a blackdog came after me, but then every dog in town had me on their menu then.

So this is my public service message, if you need a companion fer gawd's sake get yer ass to the shelter and adopt a most interesting buddy.

It's worked well for me.

dasho diishil go'ashee

Wonder where I got that? Here's more.

Lamento Recente

by: Foiled Goil

"The world of reality has its limits; the world of imagination is boundless."

~ Jean Jacques Rousseau ( 1712-1778 )

Late Lament [ 2:46 ]

"Our birthdays are feathers in the broad wing of time."

~ Jean Paul Richter ( 1763 1825 )


Biggest Dickhead of the Week

by: blackdog

And the week is just starting, should be interesting.

Courtesy of Democratic Underground.

William Kristol, and just who the hell gave this piece of shit the right to be on national forums?

Jeebus in a sidecar, I know drunkards, dumbasses, morons and complete idiots that make more sense than this piece of shit with a repukelikan appendage sticking out of it's ass.

Notice that caricature of a face, now where have I seen that before...

Got it! This is the reincarnation of the Joker!

Where is Batman when you really need him?

In The Garden

by: Debra

My garden isn't fancy and it isn't even in the ground (too many toxic chemicals), but it is growing despite the fact that Shadow is constantly digging in either the Jetsetter tomato pot or digging up my peas and green beans.

Facing away from the beans and peas are the tomatoes.  The right side has the Early Girls, Purple Cherokee and Ace.  The Girls are starting to ripen, as is the Cherokee.

On the left, under the bougainvillea the landlord won't let me trim,  are the Jetsetter, Green Zebra and Brandwine.  None of them are ripe because they aren't getting enough sunlight and I can't move them because the trellis is supporting them as they grow.

Then there are the serranos, of which I have flowers but no peppers.

Last and certainly not least, are the herbs, beets and chard.  I've let the cilantro go and now it's producing coriander seeds.    And you can't really see the out of control chives behind the basil that isn't doing as well as I would like.  The empty spot is where Shadow has dug up whatever she felt like chewing on.  Like the dead green bean plant on the side of the trellis.

I can hardly wait until I have enough ripe tomatoes of all sorts so I can make the Heirloom Tomato Tart.  I admit I cheat and use frozen pie dough that I add lots of cracked pepper to before blind baking it and I substituted goat cheese for the mozzarella.  It rocks!

· ·

Lattice Crust Cherry Red Raspberry Pie

by: Minstrel Boy

This is one of my favorite pies. I doubt you noticed, since you're not like around me and stuff, but posts like the last two about SERE and torture take a fucking toll on me.

I needs me some big time comfort food. Ain't kidding. I about capped on some poor slob in San Diego last Friday. My nerves are frayed and my temper's short. That can be fucking dangerous for innocent bystanders. When Ranger, who stalked the same jungles as I did, notices that my language has gotten decidedly salty, it's time to calm the fuck down and shit.


2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup cake flour (when a recipe calls for pastry flour use this 2 to 1 mix)
2 tablespoons super rich butter powder, optional* (You can usually find this at a Cake decorating store and, while optional it makes a huge taste difference)
1 cup shortening (or if you're like me and don't give a fuck use Lard)
1 whole egg
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup ice water

I use the stand mixer for the initial mixing. It's easier and more thorough. First the shortening (this time it's Crisco Butter flavor) and the flour are cut into one another for a full mix.

Now, I switch to hand mixing because a lot of this goes by pure feel. This is where cooking becomes art, a lot of the texture of the crust depends on things like the barometer and relative humidity. A crust that will be flaky and crisp but still tender just has an indescribable feel when it's in the dough stage. The only way to get that feel is to make a lot of pies. Now the liquid ingredients, the egg, the ice water (ice water is important, no substitute or shortcut will do) and the salt are all working into the dough. When it is done, you will have a smooth, mostly elastic dough. It looks like this:
E/s1600-h/killer+pie+003.jpg">eek E/s400/killer+pie+003.jpg" border="0" alt=""id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5220114695171446418" />

Separate the dough into two discs and wrap one closely with plastic. Put that into the fridge and roll the other one out, put it into a pie pan.

Trim the excess crust to about 1/2", cover closely with plastic and put that in the fridge too.

Now, on to the filling.

Ingredients for Pie filling

10 ounce package of frozen red raspberries, thawed
2 cups pitted canned pie cherries in juice
1 1/4 cup baker's sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
3 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Drain the thawed raspberries, reserving the juice. Add enough juice from the cherries to make 1 cup.

In a sauce pan mix the sugar, cornstarch, salt, cherries and the cup of juice. Over a medium heat bring to a simmer and hold for 5 to six minutes. The mixture should be somewhat thick and clear. It will burn like hell itstelf if you get any on you so be carefull. You can add up to another tablespoon of cornstarch a teaspoon at a time (3 teaspoons=1 tablespoon) to thicken the mixture more according to your own preferences. If you add cornstarch be sure and simmer the mixture at least two minutes to keep that nasty library paste aftertaste from happening. When the juice returns to thick and clear, remove from the heat, stir in the butter until it is well incorporated, set aside and allow to come to room temperature.

Put that into the bottom shell and set aside. Now, take the disc in the fridge out and roll it flat and thin. Cut that into 1" strips. Lay the strips across the pie so that they are almost but not quite touching. Starting from the center, fold every other strip back halfway, lay a strip down crossways.

Repeat this until the pie has a nice, woven lattice all the way around. Trim off the excess and crimp.

Shield the edge of the crust by cutting a circle of foil enough to cover the pie, fold that in half, cut out all but about an inch and a half from the center, and shield the edge with that.

Bake on the center rack at 400° for fifteen minutes. Remove the foil, and reduce the temperature to 350°. Bake for another 40 minutes. Note: Be sure to have a foil covered cookie sheet or something beneath the pie while it's baking to catch any drips and bubble overs. When the top crust is golden brown, remove and cool completely (overnight is best, but four to six hours should do well enough).

Remember to try to pretend humility and be gracious when you accept your acclaim for serving this wonderful pie. False humility is its very own fulfulling pride.

harp and sword
06 July 2008

The Best Western?

by: blackdog

I'm so damned sick of political bullshit tonight that I place this burning issue on the rest of you for your opinion. Personally I need escape, and this is one way I do that. This is my maybe first place winner, a great flick with a damn great soundtrack.

Or maybe it was this. Hell I don't know!

All I do know is that these films and their music captured my imagination as a little squirt, I saw both of these down at Pepper's as a little squirt on a snowy TV screen way back, when things seemed better.

I add this just because the geology and scenery are so damned magnificent, well matched by the music.

Just because tonight my mind is in the great wonderful western USA.

Are You Getting Enough Vegetables?

by: Debra

The first one is familiar and the rest are a hoot.

Q: I've heard that cardiovascular exercise can prolong life. Is this true?
A: Your heart is only good for so many beats, and that's it...don't waste them on exercise. Everything wears out eventually. Speeding up your heart will not make you live longer; that's like saying you can extend the life of your car by driving it faster. Want to live longer? Take a nap.

Q: Should I cut down on meat and eat more fruits and vegetables?
A: You must grasp logistical efficiencies. What does a cow eat? Hay and corn. And what are these? Vegetables. So a steak is nothing more than an efficient mechanism of delivering vegetables to your system. Need grain? Eat chicken. Beef is also a good source of field grass (green leafy vegetable). And a pork chop can give you 100% of your recommended daily allowance of vegetable slop.

Q: Is beer or wine bad for me?
A: Look, it goes to the earlier point about fruits and vegetables. As we all know, scientists divide everything in the world into three categories: animal, mineral, and vegetable. We all know that beer and wine are not animal, and they are not on the periodic table of elements, so that only leaves one thing, right? My advice: Have a burger and a beer and enjoy your liquid vegetables.

Q: How can I calculate my body/fat ratio?
A: Well, if you have a body, and you have body fat, your ratio is 1:1. If you have two bodies, your ratio is 2:1, etc.

Q: What are some of the advantages of participating in a regular exercise program?
A: Can't think of a single one, sorry. My philosophy is: No Pain....Good.

Q: Aren't fried foods bad for you?
A: You're not listening. Foods are fried these days in vegetable oil. In fact, they're permeated in it. How could getting more vegetables be bad for you?

Q: What's the secret to healthy eating?
A: Thicker gravy.

Q: Will sit-ups help prevent me from getting a little soft around the middle?
A: Definitely not! When you exercise a muscle, it gets bigger. You should only be doing sit-ups if you want a bigger stomach.

Q: Is chocolate bad for me?
A: Are you crazy? HELLO ..... Cocoa beans ... another vegetable!!!

Well, I hope this has cleared up any misconceptions you may have had about food and diets.

Have a cookie ... flour is a veggie!

One more thing...When life hands you lemons, ask for a bottle of tequila and some salt.


05 July 2008

If We Really Be Free

by: blackdog

Then tomorrow I won't be 53. I always thought things would be so different from what they are, but my ability to forecast is evidently limited. My folks and sister are still down at Pepper's, my sis is wallpapering a bathroom for them and she is surprisingly good at it. I've been down there the last two days, just got back today in fact.

After reading a post by the Minstrel the other day about how he was taking his Mom to a tri-tip feast, something most here have never heard of, made me think. It may be my and my sister's birthday tomorrow but we, and by that I mean to imply that mostly I owe her in her weakened condition more than I have given.

Mu sister has given, she has two kids and now two in-laws and two grandchildren. There are no male blackdogs with children to carry on this family name, this branch ends with my generation.

And I know that this saddens my folks some, but they don't bring it up much, but sometimes it is all too obvious from their adoration of my sister's family. I'm all for that, she has done well, I'm very proud of her.

Anyroad, I should have done it today, I should have stayed with them and spent the night and just goofed around with them and extended the time that is more limited every day, but I have a chance at redemption, I can do it tomorrow. I will set up the Woof for an overnight and stay down there tomorrow, maybe even fix dinner for them.

If I get there early, I bet I can catch enough brim (bream) to fry up that would make anyone want to snatch your plate.

This isn't Peppers, it's Old River off the Arkansas, Peppers has high bluffs and is much older, but it gives the idea of where them fish are. You can get an idea of the age of an oxbow by the types of trees growing along the bank and the depth. Meandering delta rivers are interesting things, Old River was created in the great flood of 1927. And it was a motherfucker.

This was just south, about a mile of where I used to live in Scott. I lived on Horseshoe Lake. Peppers is off the White River.

I should add that for them brim I like to use a flyrod and popping bug,that's how I learned to fish at the second stage, the first was with minnows and a cane pole. Minnows will catch mostly crappie but I learned to hate using live bait. Artificials for me, and either catch and release or eat your catch. Don't be a hog. I never use a treble hook anymore and with my spinner baits I have removed the barbs so there is less damage to the fish to be released. I know they mostly survive since I have seen many with evidence of having been hooked before.

I always say a sort of thanks when I clean a fish for my consumption, taking a life, even of a fish is no fun.

Funny thing, this was filmed around the Scott area, at Faulkner and Bearskin Lake, just north of where I used to live, in fact, a big Dortch house was used for one of the shootouts that my in-laws used to rent, it was huge, and should have been on the National Historic Register, but it burned to the ground some years back. A damn shame.

Nice to know such artistic work is being produced locally.

Fourth of July Meme

by: Minstrel Boy

Blogger is still resisting the posting of photos, so the cherry/raspberry post is still languishing in the drafts.

this meme is courtesty Toast

Are you "proud to be an American"?

I have that whole "conflicted" thing happening when it comes time to be proud. I know that I've been very lucky, I grew up not only poor, but reservation poor. I'm not poor today. That happened here. Proud though? I'm not proud to be a citizen who feels more and more like a subject every day. I was proud of how right after the 9/11 the newspapers of Paris, Moscow, Tehran, Madrid, Rio, hell, all over the world stood up to be with us in our grief. Now, they hate us for what we have allowed ourselves to become. Not proud. Not lately.

Favorite Founding Father?

John Adams. He has been my favorite for a very long time. We know of Adams' faults and weaknesses because he told on himself all the time. One of the sublimest moments of sheer political courage in the service of right and justice came when he undertook the legal defense of the British soldiers from the Boston Massacre. I quote a phrase from his opening remarks all the time, especially when Bush tells yet another outrageous lie. Facts are stubborn things.

Favorite president?

George Washington. He didn't want the job, he didn't like the job, yet, when it was evident that he was really the only man for the job he took it on and did the very best he could. He tried to instill non-partisan thinking, he had a cabinet of geniuses, Jefferson, Adams, Jay, Hamilton, all volatile and powerful thinkers and personalities. He was not only essential he was damned near mandatory. Without Washington with his sheer force of reputation, honor and personality there might not have been a United States.

Biggest "Patriotic Moment"?

As the seige of Dong Ap Bai was lifted, we were greeting the helos that were carrying our wounded out and bringing water, food, ammunition, and medical supplies. Somebody noticed that the flag on our command hootch was still up. Three times during the two and a half day fight, which at one point got so bitter that I put an edge on the blade of my entrenching tool to be ready for the inevitable running out of ammo, the flag had been shot off its stand. Three times, that I saw anyway, one of us at incredible risk managed to get it back up. It was tattered, scorched, ripped, and dirty, just like us. It was dawn of the third day of Tet when the resumption of air cover and supply had turned the fight to our favor, and prevented us being overrun and annihilated. Somebody saw that little flag and started to sing the National Anthem. Pretty soon all of us were singing it. Singing it over and over while tears streamed down our faces. Singing it while tending the many wounded, who were also singing. Singing the National Anthem, at dawn, after a bitter fight that was nearly lost at many points. The song was so very real. My sense of relief, grief for the fallen, pride in our stubborn resistance, all overwhelmed me. It has never been the same for me since.

Favorite patriotic song?

The Rifleman's Song At Bennington

Why come ye hither, Redcoats,
Your minds what madness fills?
In our valleys there is danger,
And there's danger in our hills.
Oh hear ye not the ringing
Of the bugle wild and free?
Full soon you'll hear the singing
Of the rifle from the tree.

cho: For the rifle, for the rifle.
In our hands will prove no trifle.

Ye ride a goodly steed,
Ye may serve a foreign master;
Ye forward come with speed,
But ye'll learn to back much faster,
When ye meet our mountain boys
And their leader, Johnny Stark,
Lads who make but little noise,
Lads who always hit the mark!

Have ye no graves at home
Across the briny water,
That hither ye must come
Like bullocks to the slaughter?
If we the work must do,
Why the sooner 'tis begun,
If flint and trigger hold but true,
The quicker 'twill be done!

John Stark was a ringtailed motherfucker in a fight.

Favorite American cuisine?

Local ingredients, raised, prepared in the local style, by local folks. This extends to fish tacos in San Diego, to taco trucks in L.A. To clams at Ivor's in Seattle, all over the country there are wonderful little mom and pop operations. My least favorite American cuisine is anything from a fucking chain.

Happiest political moment of your life?

Hearing Barack Obama speak on race.

Best fireworks display you've ever seen?

The fucking napalm and other shit they dropped on the assualting forces at Dong Ap Bai. Shit was beautiful.

America's gift to the world?

Emma Lazarus' poem on the base of the Statue of Liberty. Even as we fail to live up to those words, the mere trying to come close is ennobling.

Favorite Bill of Rights right?

One. No goddamned explanation needed.

Favorite American Holiday?

Columbus day. It perfectly illustrates the cognitive dissonance required to be an American. Columbus, while lost at sea, was discovered, and rescued by Native Americans. Yet, to hear them talk, our history begins there. Totally fucked up, yet somehow, totally American, and kind of cool in its own way.

Favorite D.C. monument?

That. Wall. Devastating. Perfect memorial, perfect art.

Your dream for America's future?

That we have an America, and a future. It's hard to hold onto much hope.

Thanks Toast!

harp and sword
04 July 2008

Stars And Stripes Salute To The Troops

by: Foiled Goil

A pictoral history and tribute to the American Military:

[ 5:16 ]


Peek-a-Boo Politics

by: Dark Wraith

Obama and Bush

· · ·
03 July 2008

Too Good to Pass Up

by: blackdog

Just spoke with Farmer Bob and life seems a bit better. So I offer this, I know I may have worn this out some but so what, this is a pretty neat ending.

The whole mini-series followed the book rather well, usually a rare thing.

Spoke with a mule earlier, that was great as well, didn't know I could speak mule.

Everyone have a great holiday, whether you like it or not. Deb's tomatoes should be ripe by now.

Yeah, I know, I've worn it out, but this just may be the best part of the whole show, I think it's simply beautiful.

And if I don't get some fried squash and onions tomorrow, then there will be hell to pay! A deviled egg or two would be nice as well, I only eat them if prepared by family, or very close friends, or me. And several big fat slices of beefsteak tomatoes, with some potato salad thrown in, maybe a chunk of ham. That's not asking too much, is it?

I must be hungry, the Woof has lots of chow, but I've been surviving the last few days on peanut butter and crackers. I've actually been looking into his bowl with envy lately.

I Started This as a Comment

by: Minstrel Boy

and it seems to have turned into a post. I'm stuck at the Mazda dealership while the ride gets some nicks in the windshield and a blinking warning light (warning of what has yet to be determined) get tracked down and fixed.

The previous post on torture and SERE training has been provoking some great responses. Thank you for your thoughts. It's good to hear from people like Mike that SERE training has evolved. It's still something that sorrows me when I realize that something that was designed to train people in resisting maltreatment has become the basis for our own behavior.

That goes against the wisdom of men like Pericles, who warned the Athenians at the beginning of the war with Sparta that if they allowed the war to change who they were as a city and a people that the Spartans would be the victors regardless of any outcomes on the battlefield.

It goes against the wisdom and actions of great leaders and generals like Grant (let 'em up easy, was his watchword with the defeated southerners), and Sherman (not many folks know that the legendary "40 acres and a mule" policy was Sherman's. He did not have the supply lines capable of dealing with former slaves, now liberated who wanted to tag along with his army sweeping through the south. Sherman's policy was to first burn the great houses, and then divide the property up among those slaves who had worked it for the profit of others. Rough justice indeed, but very just to my thinking).

Mike: so what really needs to be taught? In a combat situation folks should already be aware that there are people who will fuck with them. It wasn't so much the lessons, but the relish with which the guys in the opfor conducted them. that was the most disgusting part. Also, these lessons were given to prepare us to resist some of the vilest motherfuckers on earth. The men who did these things in Pongyang, Hanoi, Haiphong, Laos and other shitholes of despair were the pure banal face of evil. My outrage also rests with Ranger, in that these assholes are now doing this to others in our name.

Torture and mistreatment produces lies. It hardens the resolve of the enemy and ensures that any of ours who are captured will be treated with all the violence at the command of angry and wronged people. When they know that they will be raped with brooms and plumbing tools in Abu Ghraib or disappeared into a vacuum of offshore dungeons or third world battery shops no soldier with an ounce of will would ever surrender. My main lesson from SERE was that there was no fucking way in the blue eyed world that I would ever allow capture. I would not assume the passive, get along/go along stance that they tried to instill. I would fight with every loose limb, every last tooth, I would make it easier for them to fucking kill me. I would do that fast, hard, and unceasingly. That's where torture took me. Right fucking there.

Washington, by taking his stand, proved that point. During the battle of Long Island and New York, the Hessians especially, were brutal and violent to captured or wounded Continental soldiers. They tormented them with shit like heated bayonets, tying them naked across the barrels of artillery pieces which were then fired, the report of the guns would permantly deafen the unfortunates while they were horribly burned by the brass barrells. Often, a wounded soldier would be hauled to a sitting position and spiked to a tree or a wall with a bayonet and left hanging there to die painfully and slow.

Needless to say, when a Hessian surrendered, the captors often felt like they possessed a justified and reasonable agenda to give back the same treatment.

We were all, as a people and nation, lucky that among Washington's favorite books was Thucyides' The Pelopponneisian War. Washington could cite passages from that work. He could quote Pericles' warning to the Athenian Assembly. He would cite the passages that showed how the Athenians time and again ignored that advice to their own detriment and damage.

Washington issued orders forbidding the torture or mistreatment of prisoners. He established a system for the Hessians which would allow them to lay down arms and move onto the then frontier of Western Pennsylvania where there were already communities of German speaking settlers and farmers.

Word travels fast in war. When it spread among the Hessian rank and file that there was land for the asking, decent treatment and aid in establishing a new life as a property owner from the rebels, the next flogging dealt out by a drumhead court, or the next beating from a Sergeant began to weigh heavy. The Hessian privates began to ask themselves "Why should I endure these hardships for the profit of a Duke I have never met?" Hessian squads and companies began to desert en masse as units, bringing their arms and stores. Their descendants still populate the hills of Western Pennsylvania and the entire Ohio valley.

Think what might happen instead if we were to not just stop the tortures, but repudiate those who did the torturing, those who commanded the tortures be done. These people need to be hauled out of their dungeons into the light of the bar of justice. This needs to be done for all the world to see.

I doubt that it could be something done under the U.S. legal system. That might have been already too degraded and too hopelessly corrupted. Our own system of legal justice might not have any credibility left in the eyes of the world. I would suggest that the torturers and their bosses be arrested and turned over to the World Court of the Hague. Let justice prevail.

That is the only way out of this for our nation. I doubt that any among us have the moral courage, much less the will to do the dirty work of drawing the lines and taking the stands for what used to be simple human decency.

I truly grieve more than I rage. Something that was a thing of beauty and spirit has been discarded.

harp and sword

In The Spirit Of '76

by: Foiled Goil

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government.

Declaration Spirit

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

· ·
02 July 2008

McSame Ol' Doubletalk Express

by: Foiled Goil

So... McCain denies that he ever said he doesn't understand economics??

Umm... Yo, Johnny:

[ 1:31 ]

(Aren't the intertubes wonderful?)

· ·

McSame is Getting More Same

by: Konagod

I told myself I was going to ignore politics for the rest of my life during my 5-days off, but this just gives me heart a flutter. McCain has put Steve Schmidt in charge of day-to-day operations in the midst of the 2nd campaign shakeup in a year.
Mr. Schmidt is a veteran of President Bushs 2004 re-election campaign and he worked closely with Karl Rove, who was Mr. Bushs political adviser. His installation at Mr. McCains headquarters sharply diminished the responsibilities of Rick Davis, who has been Mr. McCains campaign manager since the last shake-up nearly a year ago.

This next bit just cracks me up.
The shift was approved by Mr. McCain after several aides, including Mr. Schmidt, warned him about 10 days ago that he was in danger of losing the presidential election unless he revamped his campaign operation, according to two officials close to the campaign.

And now, another step in the direction of Bush 2004 is going to save his ass?

Wow. Just when I was getting pissed off at Obama for various and sundry things, suddenly all is forgiven.

Crossposted from konagod

They Don't Even Plagiarize From the Best

by: Minstrel Boy

This really isn't big fucking news. In The Torture Team, Philippe Sands explains in great detail how the current techniques of American Torture were mostly cribbed from the SERE training from the Armed Forces. As someone who went through SERE, let me speak from experience. It was sadistic bullshit run by sick fucking bullies. It was some real REMF puke sons of bitches getting their jollies off by acting like a bunch of swaggering pieces of shit. It accomplished jack fucking shit. It didn't train anybody in any kind of knowledge except that there were a lot of pissant low rent bastards who wore the same uniforms as us. Fuck SERE. Fuck their instructors. Fuck the shitheel dog breathed pissants who thought it up, fuck the horse they rode in on, the mail they carry, and the stamps they sell. It was nothing but a waste of time.

Oh, and by the way, it was developed to combat the torture leading to False Confessions that was done by the Communist Chinese, the North Koreans, and the Vietnamese.

Still, it was fucking bullshit. Worthless fucking bullshit.

Now, we find that our own Dear Leader did not take George Washington as his guide for Commander-In-Chief. Washington hated torture and absolutely forbade it. George Washington insisted that the Continental Army treat its prisoners with dignity and the honor that is due to fellow soldiers. George W. Bush didn't take MacArthur for his guide. Bush didn't model his policy toward prisoners on the policies of Grant, Lincoln, Pershing, Eisenhower, Marshall, or Patton. No, George W. Bush thinks that all those great Americans were stupid, weak pansies. He models his policy on the deeds of Mao Zedong

He doesn't even have the stones to model the best. Consider Tomás de Torquemada. Now that motherfucker knew how to fucking torture! He got folks, mostly women, or people of property that he wanted the fucking property, to confess to all kinds of beautiful stuff. Dancing with the devil in the pale moonlight, fucking demons, blowing goats just like Mickey Kause.

Tomás de Torquemada could get anybody to say anything and did. One of his most pure expressions of mercy was to promise to strangle the penitents before the fires were lit to save them from the horrors of burning and then not do that.

Who says he didn't have a wickedly sophisticated sense of humor on top of everything else?

I thought I had exceeded my limits of outrage and disgust with the current state of affairs in this country.

I. Was. Wrong.

I don't even want to know what's next.

harp and sword

Happy Blogversarry to Group News Blog!

by: Minstrel Boy

Group News Blog has been carrying on the spirit and mission of the late Steve Gilliard.

Gilly was one of my biggest inspirations in writing and blogging. He was a polymath who was into everything. He did so many different genres with wit, style, and most of all beauty. He was a bigtime, A-list, top of the line blogger, who took the time to respond to personal emails.

Gilly was, to use the apache, Itisgoh (he who is given honor).

Jesse Wendell, Hubris Sonic, Sara and Evan Robinson, The Littlest Gator and the absolutely brilliant and impressive LowerManhattanite have not filled Gilly's shoes. No, they have done one better. They have put on their own shoes, filled them very well, and kept up the fight.

They have been given Press Credentials for the Denver shindig. You can hit a PayPal button to help the fund this.

It would be worth a few bucks just to see what happens live blogging the Nancy Pelosi Question Time.

Please, give them a shout of encouragement. Toss some cash if you can. If you can't they will understand. Encouraging words are always welcome. Discouraging words are against the Code of the West and will not be tolerated, just like rudeness.

harp and sword

Mortar Man

by: Dark Wraith

I went to the shoe store in town, this evening. That's where a former student of mine works. He promised to give me a great deal on some shoes The ones I'm wearing I've had for about three years, and it's getting hard to glue what's left of the soles back on.

This former student of mine is in the National Guard. He had told me late last Spring his stint would be up in early September. He's been working hard to finish his Bachelor's degree and get down to living a good life with the woman he's planning to marry. She's a CPA, and the two of them are quite a sight together: she's just as pretty as a model and so sweet; he's handsome and muscular, with a boyish grin that hasn't disappeared even though he's killed more than his share of people in several tours of duty in Iraq.

So I went into the shoe store looking for him. The manager recognized me and came right over. He's seen me in there a few times; I like to stop in where former students work just to see how they're doing, and this manager got to know me while we all stood around chatting. (A few of my other former students work there, too.)

The manager, John, said, "Looking for Steve?"

"Is he here tonight?"

John had this serious look on his face, almost a frown. "Steve got stop lossed. He's about to be deployed."

For a few seconds, I was dumbfounded.

John stood there, arms folded, looking down. I found my tongue and almost snarled, "Where?"

"Dunno," John answered, "I'd like to say he's heading back to Iraq."

"Iraq? Steve's a glorified cannon cocker. He's good — But short stuff? Now?" I protested.

John shook his head: "Steve's scared."

I leaned a little bit toward John and said, "This is about Iran."

"All I know is, Steve's scared," John insisted.

I sort of turned toward the big front windows of the store and grumbled pretty loudly, "Steve's a mortar specialist. What the Hell, man?"

"Guess they're short on rocket shooters," John snorted.

"Mortars don't go all that far," I said.

John perked up a little: "Hey, I was a grunt. Mortars fly farther than bullets."

"Either way, you're not talking about airstrikes," I grumbled.

"Well, someone's got to do the real fighting once the flyboys have done their show," John added.

After that exchange, we both just stood there looking out those big front windows.

John finally said, "Hey, listen, why don't you look through the clearance shoes back in the back and see if there's anything you like. I'll do you a good deal on 'em."

I thanked him and went back there. Unfortunately, the only pair in my size looked like pimp-daddy specials.

I went back up front and thanked John for the offer. He told me they'd have some more shoes on clearance this weekend.

I walked out through the big front doors and stopped at the sidewalk. I swear, I thought about turning around to see if Steve would be standing in the store with that big, boyish grin he always had when he saw me coming in. He seemed to figure he was getting a chance to give me a deal on shoes to thank me for getting him through all his math classes. He wasn't very good at math, but he never failed a test if I gave him an hour or two of tutoring the day before.

Steve is a loyal fellow: loyal to his friends, loyal to his God, loyal to his President, loyal to his country.

He's about to walk into what might be the jaws of death. Apparently, he knows it, but he's still going to do it.

That makes him a damn fine soldier.

I think I'll keep these shoes I'm wearing for a while longer. Three years ago, Steve gave me a really great deal on them.

Cross-posted from The Dark Wraith Forums

· · · ·
01 July 2008

A Weak Moment

by: blackdog

Still playing escape, so far it's working.With all the bullshit out there I find solace in places like this.

Once upon a time things were better, a rabbit and I watched this with rapt attention with all kinds of critters and had a great time, even though ray-gun was idiot-in-chief.

Where has our sense of humor or for that matter our sense of intelligence gone?

Sorry for the shitty quality of the pics, but right now I'm damn lucky to even be on line at all.

For better or worse I sent this to the rabbit, her 'puter is even more worse off than mine, so it may be a while before she sees it. But it seems important to me at this time to make these contacts with her.

I tread gently. And as a gentledog.

And I do so much recommend the book.



I leave the rest to all of you, but this was more in the spirit of Ray Bradbury than anything else put to film.

Bradbury is one of the best, and to get his magic, his nuance and innuendo on film is a very impressive feat.

The magic of a young person's imagination, when it is still a special and wonderful thing, pure and questing for truth in a forest of deceit.

It was so wonderful to imagine that life like ours existed maybe on Mars and Venus back in the 50's and even into the 60's, until better scientific information from the Mariner and Viking probes told us otherwise. Observational evidence was also accumulating, but it was more difficult to provide proof at the time. Amazing how things have changed.

Now I'll shut up for a while.

Poof! Went the hopes and dreams of one little fellow.

On the RadarCalifornia Having Hard Time Killing People; Supreme Court Having Hard Time

by: Missouri Mule

Duly Noted

California now takes between 20 and 25 years to kill off one of their many pesky death row inmates. (The state also has 30 prisoners who have been there more than 25 years.) Still, sooner or later they get 'emafter all, the average age of arrest is just 28. (Really takes the fun out of it though, when they're all old!) In short, California is finding that it is not spending enough money to kill people and so the whole system is lurching into a shambles. But it's good news for the rest of the country!

The Supreme Court ruled back in April that lethal injection was so totally not cruel and unusual, and so a killing spree began across the nation. Whee!

Except it turns out the Court don't read so good. And a couple of academics show up on the Washington Post editorial page to dispute the Court's reckless misreadings of research:

A prominent line of reasoning, endorsed by several justices, holds that if capital punishment fails to deter crime, it serves no useful purpose and hence is cruel and unusual, violating the Eighth Amendment. This reasoning tracks public debate as well. While some favor the death penalty on retributive grounds, many others (including President Bush) argue that the only sound reason for capital punishment is to deter murder.
Justice Stevens argues, "In the absence of such evidence, deterrence cannot serve as a sufficient penological justification for this uniquely severe and irrevocable punishment." Perhaps. But the absence of evidence of deterrence should not be confused with evidence of absence.
Got that? Nobody knows yet if killing people keeps people from killing people. Except, you know, after they're dead. Dead people don't kill people ever.

Sometimes I Think That I Might Be

by: Minstrel Boy

A better commenter than blogger. It's a more immediate forum. It's quicker, sometimes, more personal. When I read something and feel compelled to comment it is often a rush of emotion, or a product of quick critical thinking.

Case in point, Lisa and Ranger Jim at Ranger Against War chose to take a comment I made and turn it into an entire post.

I was responding to a Thank You post that Jim made.

Jim and Lisa have been doing yeoman service at their blog in Florida. Jim is also a combat veteran of both special ops and Vietnam. He thinks in a very different manner than most rank and file. No wonder I like him.

Thanks for the recognition. Thanks for the notice.

Thanks for the good work ya'll are doing.

Carry on.

harp and sword