Monday, March 31, 2008

The Fixx in the house

But I have Tears For Fears for our nation

When I Woke Up This Morning You Were On My Mind

Like SteveAudio still does, I used to do studio work, unlike Steve I worked only as an engineer.

I wanted to be a musician, I just could never afford the lobotomy. [/rimshot]

But seriously folks, I got over wanting to be a musician by age 17. I came to realize my true calling was as an engineer. And my first love was always live engineering.

There's just something about doing a live show that turned me on. In the studio you work for days, weeks, months on a project and hopefully you get a good product.

You can will spend hours going over the same 8 bars. And there's always the budget and deadline issues. You can make a mistake on the first day and have to live with it the rest of your life. (e.g. I occasionally hear one of the songs I recorded/mixed on the oldies station and I still cringe.)

But when you work live you get one shot at it. And when it's over you either blew it or killed. Usually somewhere in between. But regardless of that particular night's performance tomorrow is another day.

But some nights are special. You get the right band, the right equipment, the right audience, and it makes your hair stand up. It's just f***ing magic! And you know you were an integral part of it.

Live sound felt so good to me I left a gig as studio manager to work freelance live, at a 50% pay cut. At that time in my life the trade off was worth it.

I have a different job now, in a different state and in a much different industry, but when I woke up this morning I was thinking about some of my favorite bands I worked with at the China Club and The Troubadour. I'd like to present two of them to you.

So without further ado, ladies and gentlemen, please welcome SOY COWBOY!(Not just another Thai-Western band)

If that wasn't your cup of tea you might find this cover of Paint It Black more approachable.

For the second set tonight please give it up for Human Drama!

I like my current job, and I really got to hate all the traveling and persnickety crap from my old job, but I do miss the nights when everything was golden.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

The Pall on the Mall that is America

Police Arrest Anti-War Protester, 80, At Mall

An 80-year-old church deacon was removed from the Smith Haven Mall yesterday in a wheelchair and arrested by police for refusing to remove a T-shirt protesting the Iraq War.

Police said that Don Zirkel, of Bethpage, was disturbing shoppers at the Lake Grove mall with his T-shirt, which had what they described as “graphic anti-war images.”
Zirkel was charged with criminal trespassing and resisting arrest. He was released on bail. A spokeswoman for mall owner Simon Property Group did not immediately return calls seeking comment.

Generally speaking, a mall has the right to control what happens on its property, said John McEntee, a Uniondale commercial litigation lawyer.
Gee, would that be this John McEntee!? Well there's a lawyer who never met a corporation he didn't suck hind tit on!

Why wouldn't the reporters do just a tiny bit of research [Note to Anastasia Economides & Matthew Chayes, it's called 'Google!'] and find how many Federal and state judges have disagreed with McEntee?

Maybe it's legally true in New York that cops can yank an 80 year old Catholic Deacon out of his seat in the mall and arrest him for wearing a t-shirt, maybe it's not.

Is it too much to ask that reporters do the same research as a profession that I can do as a citizen?

Seriously folks, they get paid for this? I get paid to do medical research, but on my own time I spent 20 minutes on Google, 2 phone calls, and have a more balanced piece.

Even if it is legal, it's even more legal to boycott and/or complain to the Simon Group who owns these bastions of non-free speech:
Simon Property Group, Inc.
225 West Washington Street
Indianapolis, Indiana 46204
(317) 636-1600

Cross posted at VidiotSpeak

Friday, March 28, 2008

Around blogtopia (ywksctp!)

From the 'How Could They Tell the Difference' file, WTF?!? informs us:
Homeland Security office filled with feces

ST. PAUL, Minn., March 19 (UPI) -- Someone with an urge to purge took it out on the Minnesota Homeland Security and Emergency Management office in downtown St. Paul, police said.

An unknown man defecated in several rooms Friday afternoon and left on foot before an officer arrived, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported Tuesday.
Mooing on, Cookie Jill over at Skippy's place catches another example of the taint that is Bushco:
USDA might limit meat recall information

Under pressure from the food industry, the Agriculture Department is considering a proposal not to identify retailers where tainted meat went for sale except in cases of serious health risk, The Associated Press has learned.
The plan is being considered as the USDA puts the final touches on a proposed disclosure rule. It had lingered in draft form for two years until getting pushed to the forefront in February, when 143 million pounds of beef were recalled by Westland/Hallmark Meat Co. in Chino, Calif., after undercover video by an animal-rights activist showed workers abusing crippled cows.
I have a quick correction for the AP, they weren't 'crippled cows', they were 'downer cows.' And I have a question for the USDA, did your scientists decide it wasn't a 'serious health risk' or did your politicians decide?

And we're late in wishing I Miss FafBlog, Spot a happy blogiversary!

And once again, the only across the aisle blog we link to, the infamous Jon Swift continues to fan the flames of the dems meltdown.
Obama supporters also understand that voting should never be about picking the lesser of two evils or about making a strategic choice. If you don't agree with everything your candidate says, believe he or she can do no wrong and think that the other candidate is evil and that everyone who supports him or her is a traitor, then you really have no business voting at all.
We agree to a point, but we would add that no one but us, actually me, should get to vote.

After all, it worked for Cheney and his vices.

Thanks, you've been great! We'll be weak all here, don't forget to tip your cows and milk your waitresses ... wait a minute! That was supposed to be blow the guards and tie up the safe!

Cross posted at VidiotSpeak

While You're Out, Don't Forget To Pick Up Some Lobbyist...Oh, And Cat Food


Thursday, March 27, 2008

The JustUs League

Mukasey Vows Corruption Crackdown

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Attorney General Michael Mukasey vowed anew Thursday to crack down on crooked politicians and public officials, dismissing critics who accuse the Justice Department of letting partisan loyalties interfere with corruption cases.
Feinstein questions elimination of public corruption unit in L.A.

U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) on Wednesday called on Atty. Gen. Michael Mukasey to explain the recent disbanding of a high-profile unit in the U.S. attorney's office in Los Angeles that specialized in prosecuting public corruption cases.

In a letter to the attorney general, Feinstein said she read about the shake-up in news accounts.

The articles described how U.S. Atty. Thomas P. O'Brien decided to eliminate the public corruption and environmental crimes section and transfer its 17 prosecutors to other units in the office.
Mukasey's response?
During his speech, Mukasey pointedly spoke of charges brought against two former Republican congressmen: Randy "Duke" Cunningham of California and Bob Ney of Ohio.
Uhh, OK, but they were before Mukasey was in charge.

In related news:
Jailed Ex-Governor Sought for Testimony

WASHINGTON (AP) — The House Judiciary Committee asked the Justice Department on Thursday to allow imprisoned former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman to testify before Congress about possible political influence over his prosecution.

Attorney General Michael Mukasey indicated that he would not support the request for a temporary release
And now for some good news
Ex-Ala. Governor to Be Freed on Bond

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — A federal appeals court approved the release of former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman on bond Thursday while he appeals his convictions in a corruption case.

The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the former governor had raised "substantial questions of fact and law" in challenging his conviction.

Cross posted at VidiotSpeak

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

All, all that I know, Is that I stand here before you as criminal

(Jane at the FEC)

John McCain is a maverick? Well, he might have been if he played one on TV like James Garner. But seriously, main-stream media, stop it, just STOP IT!

There is no maverick, there is a right-wing suck-up for whom no hateful preacher is awful enough. And there's no Straight-Talk Express, instead, there's a hypocrite who will break the law that he co-sponsored.

Our friend Jane and the kids at FireDogLake have taken action. Christy writes:

Yesterday, on behalf of a large number of progressive bloggers and activists, Jane went to the FEC and filed an official complaint against John McCain's alleged campaign finance violations. We've been asking a lot of questions about this, and the answers have been less than forthcoming. So, instead of just sitting here and stewing about yet another GOP ethical problem, we decided to put our action where our concerns were.

As you'll see from the video, Jane handed over the official complaint to the FEC yesterday to get the process going:

“John McCain is a campaign finance criminal who is flouting the very regulations he championed,” Jane Hamsher commented while delivering the complaint. “He believes the law is for someone else, not him. It's the height of hypocrisy.”

Indeed. More from FDL:

As Markos of DailyKos pointed out in joining the complaint, “John McCain has officially blown past campaign spending limits mandated by his original acceptance of public campaign funding. While he has signaled his intent to withdraw from such financing, that has been hindered by the fact that he used the promise of public funding to secure a campaign loan.” Guess the campaign finance laws only apply when they aren't inconvenient for McCain's ambitions.

As you likely know, the FEC is stymied at the moment due to the Bush Administration trying to shove Hans Von Spakovsky and all of his "caging" and other alleged nefarious campaign activities onto the election commission as a GOP dirty tricks ringer. Because the Democratic-led Congress said "no way" to Hans being voted through in a bloc vote, the Administration and their pal, Mitch McConnell, have balked at any FEC commissioner vote in the Senate. Which means that in this very important 2008 election cycle, the FEC is unable to act promptly to enforce the campaign finance laws.

Even so, FEC Chairman David Mason sent McCain's campaign a strongly worded letter (PDF), letting them know that even though McCain didn't consider his word on accepting public financing binding, that the FEC was not about to let him off the legal hook. What did McCain do? He ignored the letter, secured a loan based on representations of obtaining public financing and then blew past the public financing law spending limits...and he's still raising campaign cash, too.

That about covers it. Here's the link to the petition. Add your name, be counted. Let's stop this trigger-happy hypocrite.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Use them up and throw them out


AMY GOODMAN: Maybe we have a clip. Maybe we have a clip of what Dick Cheney had to say. Let’s give it a try. I think this is from our headlines today. This is the Vice President, Dick Cheney.

    VICE PRESIDENT DICK CHENEY: The President carries the biggest burden, obviously. He’s the one who has to make the decision to commit young Americans, but we are fortunate to have a group of men and women, an all-volunteer force, who voluntarily put on the uniform and go in harm’s way for the rest of us.

AMY GOODMAN: That was Dick Cheney. Tomas Young, was that the quote you would like to address?

TOMAS YOUNG: Absolutely. From one of those soldiers who volunteered to go to Afghanistan after September 11th, which was where the evidence said we needed to go, to the master of the college deferment in Vietnam, the last conflict we didn’t go into voluntarily, many of us volunteered with patriotic feelings in our heart, only to see them subverted and bastardized by the administration and sent into the wrong country. Yes, we volunteered, but we didn’t volunteer where you sent us to go. And I realize that we don’t choose where we get to go, but we at least should be sent in the right places to defend the Constitution, just as we volunteered to do. That’s all.

Bill Moyers talks to Phil Donahue and Ellen Spiro about the making of Body of War.

Body of War

Winter soldiers:
The name comes from a quote from Thomas Paine, the revolutionary who rallied George Washington’s troops at Valley Forge, saying: “These are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman."

Paine was trying to keep Washington’s army from deserting in the face of a bitter winter and mounting defeats at the hands of the British. Members of Iraq Veterans Against the War say the same type of courage is needed to confront the evils unleashed by the U.S. occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan.
Lawless Atmosphere

"The problem that we face in Iraq is that policymakers in leadership have set a precedent of lawlessness where we don't abide by the rule of law, we don't respect international treaties, argued former U.S. Army Sergeant Logan Laituri, who served a tour in Iraq from 2004 to 2005 before being discharged as a conscientious objector. “So when that atmosphere exists it lends itself to criminal activity."
The movie: Leading to War, How did the US government lead its people to war?

Bush's War on Frontline on PBS.


On the occasion of a friend's grim milestone

A war in one's lifetime brings much in the way of unpleasant news, but none so stark as the statistical enumeration of the lives spent to maintain its pace.

In this instance, it is my opinion that it would be somewhat presumptuous for a non-citizen to bemoan the loss of a foreign power's troops via the stratagem of castigating the profiteers and ideologues who manipulate them, albeit with the offered understanding that all war is a racket, and that a life expended in its brutal service is a life wastefully shortened of potential.

And thus what I have to offer is simple, and absent of sloganeering...The hope that all of America's fallen service personnel are given the full measure of respect due the honorable position that they have fulfilled in societies that ask so much and often, sadly, give back so little.

"Show me the manner in which a nation or a community cares for its dead and I will measure with mathematical exactness the tender sympathies of its people, their respect for the laws of the land and their loyalty to high ideals."
– William E. Gladstone.

Monday, March 24, 2008


We all know about the 4,000 confirmed American soldiers' deaths in Iraq.

But how many more are there like this?
Joan McDonald believes her son was a casualty of the war in Iraq, but the Army says that while he did suffer a severe head wound in a bomb blast, the cause of his death is undetermined, keeping him off the casualty list.
5 years. 4,000+ American deaths. 30,000+ American casualties. 100,000+ Iraqi deaths.

No end in sight.

Cross posted at VidiotSpeak

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Why so unforgiving and why so cold?

According to my calendar it's Spring, according to my weather it's not.

But I still have the music in me

Here's the studio version

I can just hear some young guns out there saying 'yeah, I can play that, faster and better.'

OK ... but could you write it?

Get up, stand up: stand up for your rights!

$40,000 for Man Tasered on YouTube

About two months went by after Jared Massey was tasered by a highway cop in Utah before he turned to YouTube.
Like other YouTube tasings, waves of outrage over excessive force followed — fire the cop, ban Tasers — and the police started an investigation a week and a half later. But the initial results were discouraging for the critics: The cop was cleared of wrongdoing; Mr. Massey paid the speeding ticket that he protested before being shocked twice.
The deal was announced a week after a Utah prosecutor ruled the Mr. Massey did not commit any crimes in the traffic stop, according to The Salt Lake Tribune. His civil case focused on the fact proven in the video — that the officer did not seek to arrest him before drawing and firing the Taser.
But wait, there's more!
The man who videotaped a St. George police officer's tirade against him last year, and put it online labeled "Cop Gone Wild," filed a federal civil rights lawsuit Monday over the incident.
The confrontation happened about 2 a.m. Sept. 7 in a commuter parking lot in
south St. Louis County at Spokane and Reavis Barracks roads. Darrow, who runs
his own painting business by day and attends community college at night, told a
reporter last fall that he was there to meet a friend.

He also said that he installed a video camera in his Nissan Maxima after
previous run-ins with police.

But [police Sgt. James Kuehnlein], who has since been fired, approached his car and began questioning him.

Darrow responded with queries of his own about the justification for the stop.
He also asserted his Fourth Amendment rights to privacy.

Kuehnlein had Darrow step out of the car, pinned him against
Darrow's car, then got in Darrow's face and shouted, "You wanna try me tonight?
You think you've had a bad night? I will ruin your (expletive) night."

Darrow said no. Kuehnlein then suggests he could make up reasons to detain or arrest Darrow, the suit says. "Do you want to go to jail for some (expletive) reason I come up with?"
Darrow was released after about 18 minutes, the suit says, and never arrested.
Although Kuehnlein also claimed to be taping the encounter with his dash-mounted video camera, the tape has since been lost or destroyed.
Nothing pisses off a cop more than standing up for your rights, just make sure you get it on tape.

If you act now you get a special bonus track!
Rights of Protesters Violated, Judge Rules

The Bush administration violated the public’s right to free speech by keeping protesters far removed from the 2005 inaugural parade, a judge ruled yesterday.

U.S. District Judge Paul L. Friedman found that the National Park Service violated its own regulations by giving the inauguration’s private organizers preferential treatment and extraordinary control over access to Pennsylvania Avenue. The Presidential Inaugural Committee roped off most of the parade route and allowed only those with tickets inside: largely a crowd of Bush administration donors, supporters and friends coming to celebrate the start of President Bush’s second term.

Protesters were limited to small, specific areas, leading to a lawsuit by antiwar activists.

“The inauguration is not a private event,” Friedman said in his ruling. “The National Park Service, on behalf of the PIC, cannot reserve all of Pennsylvania Avenue for itself, leaving only the Ellipse and the northern part of John Marshall Park to protesters.”
Friedman said the Park Service allowed the Presidential Inaugural Committee to apply almost a year ahead of anyone else for a permit, contrary to its usual regulations. It then granted the committee exclusive use of nearly all of the parade route from the Capitol to the White House and allowed the group to use the area for five months before Inauguration Day, instead of the typical three weeks.
See you can stand up for your rights, all it takes is lots of money and lots of time. Oh, and get it on tape.

Cross posted at VidiotSpeak

Friday, March 21, 2008

Hey Joe, where you going with that gun in your hand?

Ambassador Wilson, I have great respect for you, and your hair. And what was done to your wife was wrong. You have many friends in the bloggersphere, but tonight, you have one less, because of this from HuffPost:
In 1998, as Senior Director for Africa in President Clinton's National Security Council, I helped orchestrate six phone calls, some late at night, directly from President Clinton, three each to Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles, and Eritrean President Afwerki, to stop the air war between the two countries. Two of Barack Obama's senior advisers, Tony Lake and Susan Rice, were also involved in that effort, and could attest to the importance of presidential involvement if they would choose not to remain silent as a ploy to protect their candidate's slender credentials.

. . . In former Yugoslavia, President Clinton played a similar role, reaching out to friends and allies, to adversaries and belligerents, in order to reach agreements that permitted the deployment of an international peacekeeping force.

. . . Contrast the above examples with the last seven plus years of George W. Bush and the conclusion is inescapable: presidential leadership is critical and should be tempered with experience and capability.

No problem so far, we can all agree that the last 7 years were really bad.

But then to go here:
Senator Obama is clearly a gifted politician and orator. I disagree profoundly with his transparently political efforts to turn George Bush's war into Hillary Clinton's responsibility. I was present in that debate, in Washington, from beginning to end, and Obama was nowhere to be seen. His current campaign aides in foreign policy, Tony Lake and Susan Rice, were also in Washington, but they chose to remain silent during that debate, when it mattered.

Claims of superior intuitive judgment by his campaign and by him are self-evidently disingenuous, especially in light of disclosures about his long associations with the Rev. Jeremiah Wright and Tony Rezko. But his assertions of advanced judgment are also ludicrous when the question of what Obama has accomplished in his four years in the Senate is considered.

Joe, you've jumped the shark. Time to pack the show up, and start a second career in directing, because this writing won't sell. I won't even bother with the Wright & Rezko cheap shots; you should be ashamed. I'm glad you passionately support Sen. Clinton, but her past is filled with shady characters whose misdeeds shouldn't be used to attack her. Comes to mind James Blair and Robert L. "Red" Bone:
Hillary Rodham Clinton was allowed to order 10 cattle futures contracts, normally a $12,000 investment, in her first commodity trade in 1978 although she had only $1,000 in her account at the time, according to trade records the White House released yesterday.

The computerized records of her trades, which the White House obtained from the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, show for the first time how she was able to turn her initial investment into $6,300 overnight. In about 10 months of trading, she made nearly $100,000, relying heavily on advice from her friend James B. Blair, an experienced futures trader.

. . . A close examination of her individual trades underscores Blair's pivotal role. It also shows that Robert L. "Red" Bone, who ran the Springdale, Ark., office of Ray E. Friedman and Co. (Refco), allowed Clinton to initiate and maintain many trading positions – besides the first – when she did not have enough money in her account to cover them.

Innuendo? Yes. Criminal acts? Who knows. Let he who has not sinned sail down the Whitewater rapids.

The more important point is that Bill Clinton, praised above as acting responsibly in a crisis, was a Governor of a small Southern state with plenty of internal problems, and virtually no foreign policy implications. While his terms as Governor were neither disastrous nor glorious, his election to the Presidency was based on charm, charisma, and national dislike for George H. W Bush, who had vast foreign policy experience.

To continue:
Obama has stated that he will rely upon his advisers. But how will he know which ones to depend upon and how will he be able to evaluate what they say?

Yes, how will he know who to listen to? I re-cap from earlier in the Wilson piece:
Two of Barack Obama's senior advisers, Tony Lake and Susan Rice, were also involved in that effort, and could attest to the importance of presidential involvement if they would choose not to remain silent as a ploy to protect their candidate's slender credentials.

So Lake & Rice were invaluable as counselors to Clinton, yet untrustworthy as aides to Obama? Sorry, pal, can't have it both ways.
Which of his shifting coterie of volatile advisers would he turn to? Will it be the one who repudiated his withdrawal plan, exposing his real intention, prior to being forced to resign? Or will it be those advisers who remained silent until politically convenient -- several years and several thousand lives after the shock and awe invasion, conquest and disastrous occupation of Iraq?

Oh just stop it! Support your candidate, that's fine. But this argument is specious, especially when your candidate has her own credibility issues. Face it, the bulk of Hillary's Foreign Policy experience is from being First Lady. And while that's a fine thing, it's no better than the experience of a Senator from Illinois, or New York. She may have met many foreign leaders, yet her interaction with them was ceremonial, not substantive.

Sorry Joe, this season is over.

Thursday, March 20, 2008


Sling It Again Dick


So what if I selected myself with a knowing wink when asked to recommend someone in the number 2 slot who could keep an oedipally conflicted figurehead from looking unpresidential?

So what if I secretly met with Oil and Energy executives, generous donors to my campaign all, to formulate a plan that would fleece the consumers more effectively without bothering the public about the details?

So what if I have mobile industrial paper shredders visit my residence at taxpayer expense to deal with masses of inconvenient documents related to my activities which, even though I ostensibly work for the people, I deem that they have no right to know about?

So what if I shot some lawyer in the face when I'd been drinking, got caught trying to hush it up, then pulled some strings and had him apologise to me?

So what if I told my trusted dogsbody to release classified information against U.S. law to the press in order to smear someone who was tasked with providing reliable information to the CIA on verifiable threats, just to get back at her husband who had revealed an element of our chicanery?

So what if I lied...again...and again...and again, right to all of your faces?

So what if when I was defense secretary, I helped downsize the American military so that it couldn't cope effectively with a multiple conflict scenario, just in time to involve it with one?

So what if the company that I used to C.E.O. for gets all the no-bid military outsourcing contracts it can handle while I get richer by the second from it?

So what if people think that whether through omission or commission I left the door open for our enemies to attack us one Fall day?

So what if I don't think I'm part of the Executive branch, but a law unto myself, and subject to no external review or control?

So what if I knew that the various premises for going to war with a foreign country was bogus, but I fast-tracked the rush to conflict anyway?

Do you really think I care that a majority of Americans wanted out of Iraq in 2006, and even more now...and don't want a conflict with Iran?

So goddamn what?

Why don't you ask Pat Leahy how I feel about you all?

Love & kisses,


Let's See a Show of Hans

A war of utter folly

Responsibility for this spectacular tragedy must lie with those who ignored the facts five years ago

The invasion of Iraq in 2003 was a tragedy - for Iraq, for the US, for the UN, for truth and human dignity.
The elimination of weapons of mass destruction was the declared main aim of the war. It is improbable that the governments of the alliance could have sold the war to their parliaments on any other grounds. [...]
Responsibility for the war must rest, though, on what those launching it knew by March 2003.

By then, Unmovic inspectors had carried out some 700 inspections at 500 sites without finding prohibited weapons. The contract that George Bush held up before Congress to show that Iraq was purchasing uranium oxide was proved to be a forgery.
They could not succeed in eliminating WMDs because they did not exist. Nor could they succeed in the declared aim to eliminate al-Qaida operators, because they were not in Iraq. They came later, attracted by the occupants. A third declared aim was to bring democracy to Iraq, hopefully becoming an example for the region. Let us hope for the future; but five years of occupation has clearly brought more anarchy than democracy.
In 1945 the US helped to write into the UN charter a prohibition of the use of armed force against states. Exceptions were made only for self-defence against armed attacks and for armed force authorised by the security council. In 2003, Iraq was not a real or imminent threat to anybody.
Washington and Moscow must begin nuclear disarmament. So long as these nuclear states maintain that these weapons are indispensable to their security, it is not surprising that others may think they are useful. What, really, is the alternative: invasion and occupation, as in Iraq?
'nuff said.

Cross posted at VidiotSpeak

You Say It's Your Birthday?

Let's see a show of hands. How many of you know who Gerald Holtom was?

Yeah, me neither, but we're all familiar with his work
World's best-known protest symbol turns 50

It started life as the emblem of the British anti-nuclear movement but it has become an international sign for peace, and arguably the most widely used protest symbol in the world. It has also been adapted, attacked and commercialised.

It had its first public outing 50 years ago on a chilly Good Friday as thousands of British anti-nuclear campaigners set off from London's Trafalgar Square on a 50-mile march to the weapons factory at Aldermaston.

The demonstration had been organised by the Direct Action Committee Against Nuclear War (DAC) and the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) joined in.

Gerald Holtom, a designer and former World War II conscientious objector from West London, persuaded DAC that their aims would have greater impact if they were conveyed in a visual image. The "Ban the Bomb" symbol was born.

He considered using a Christian cross motif but, instead, settled on using letters from the semaphore - or flag-signalling - alphabet, super-imposing N (uclear) on D (isarmament) and placing them within a circle symbolising Earth.

The sign was quickly adopted by CND.

Holtom later explained that the design was "to mean a human being in despair" with arms outstretched downwards.

Cross posted at VidiotSpeak

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

I'm a queen on the street and a king at the station, It's a secret of mine, not a sign I'm gonna make that right

Multiple choice question: What would you say if I told you somebody cut me off in traffic, I followed them into a parking lot, pulled a gun and fired several rounds thru their windshield wounding the 20 something mom driver and her 8 year old child?

Should I;
a) go to jail, directly to jail, do not pass go, do not get bail?
b) go to jail, directly to jail, do not pass go, but have a high bail I can afford?
c) get an expense paid vacation?

If you answered 'c' you were correct:
California Officer On Leave After Shooting Mom, Son

Oceanside police are investigating what sparked an apparent road rage incident in a busy parking lot that ended with a woman and her son being shot by an off-duty San Diego police officer.
Police have not said who they think was the aggressor in the incident, but they believe it started after one of the parties committed some sort of right-of-way violation in front of the parking lot. When it was over, the officer had fired two bullets through the windshield of a Honda. Inside were a woman and a child.

"We understand that there were several rounds fired from the off-duty police officer and that the occupants of the car, an adult female and a male juvenile, were injured as a result of the gunfire," said Sgt. Kelan Poorman of the Oceanside Police Department.

Both were flown to Sharp Memorial Hospital and Children's Hospital.
"Right now, we've got statement from the son at this time.
The mother and child had to be MediVaced by chopper. The shooter gets a paid vacation, (sorry if my LEO friends disagree, but when my employer pays me while I'm taking time off, that's a vacation.)

And the fact they flew the wounded child to a different hospital than his mother, then interrogated the wounded child without a parent, LG or lawyer present is disgusting and maybe against the law.

INAL, and I don't have all the facts, but I would like to point out that every news story said the victims had to be MediVaced. To 2 different hospitals. So I have a couple of questions.

Q1) Was it in the same helicopter that made 2 stops or were their wounds serious enough that 2 simultaneous MediVacs had to be performed?

Q2) If this mom and her 8 year old boy's wounds were serious enough to require MediVacs to different hospitals then why, after being shot on Saturday night were :
The woman and child remained hospitalized Monday, but authorities said their injuries were not life threatening.
Well, golly, thanks to these unnamed 'authorities' for giving us their medical opinion!

Q3) Did anyone administer a BAC on this cop before he went on vacation?

The other driver, a white female in her 20's, was not armed
and the spin is in:
[Oceanside police Sgt. Kelan Poorman] said he did not know whether White [...] White acted in self-defense.

"I think that's probably why the shots were fired, but I'd be speculating," Poorman said.
Yeah, that it, that's the ticket, it was self-defense ... against an unarmed Mom and her 8 year old.

But wait, there's more!
Police: Woman in Oceanside shooting refusing to talk

A woman shot Saturday by an off-duty San Diego police officer during an alleged road rage incident has refused to speak with investigators, police said Tuesday.
Poorman said investigators don't have the authority to make the woman submit to an interview. [...]
Three days after the incident, investigators have yet to release key details about how the traffic dispute escalated into gunfire.

"They (investigators) don't want to try this in the court of public opinion
," Poorman said.
So they don't have the authority to make her submit, but they can interrogate her son!? And if they didn't want to "try this in the court of public opinion" why are they releasing statements saying the cop fired in self-defense and the woman refuses to talk?

Wanna know why she refused to talk? Her lawyer told her not to.

I just know someone is going to ask 'if she didn't do anything wrong, why not talk to the cops?' And my reply would be 'what the hell is wrong with you!?' The cops shot her. The cops shot her son. The same cops are saying the officer fired in self-defense. The same cops interrogated her 8 year old son in the hospital without parental permission.

Of course you hire a lawyer, and when you hire a lawyer you should listen to their advice.

Then the poor, poor, Poorman also said White had already talked to investigators. Yeah, when White wasn't in a hospital bed and when White was interviewed at the Oceanside police station Saturday night with his attorney and peer support officers from the San Diego Police Department present.

This story stinks of cover-up and of the cops banding together, as always, to protect their own at the expense of the innocent civilians who pay their salaries.

If I lived in Oceanside I'd want my money back.

More anniversaries

Update (SteveAudio):
The BBC has released a remarkable film about the killing of three international peace activists by the Israeli army in the occupied Gaza Strip. Documentary evidence provided in the film strongly suggests that the American Rachel Corrie - and two British activists - were murdered.

These pictures tell the story:

The Iraq war


This will be George Bush's legacy: The Iraq quagmire, the Bush blunder, the unnecessary war, the war of choice, the attack on a sovereign nation that had not attacked us on 9/11/01. None of the multitudinous reasons .... excuses.... given for our being there have ever been found to be true.

The neocons told us this war was what they wanted long before Bush was president; while Clinton was president, they sent him a signed letter asking we take on Iraq. Many of us guessed that when Bush was given power, we would be at war with Iraq within two years. This projection was made without the fantastic excuse of 9/11.

9/11 didn't actually change anything except for our sense of superiority. We finally joined the rest of the world in coping with terrorism within our own borders. Our foreign policies had finally come home to roost.

So Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz finally got their war. It will be fast! And cheap! The oil will pay for everything! Saddam is bad! He mocked George Bush senior! His moustache is evil! The neocons were indifferent to anything but what they were about to get their hands on.

So the country literally came apart. Very much like what happened in Yugoslavia, old enmities rose up once the dictator was gone. Foreign insurgents flooded in, religious differences began to show, tribal loyalities became strong. Instead of fighting one enemy in one war, there were suddenly twenty wars with fifty different reasons going on. It became a civil war.

And Bush had deliberately opened the Pandora's box. Without a real plan. They thought Chalabi, who had been groomed to pop into place, could just slip into Hussein's spot. But somehow the people didn't want him. Several 'leaders' later, no one is able to unify the factions that now control the country, or even get any kind of agreement between the sockpuppet politicians to vote together. When Bush complains that the Iraqis aren't doing enough to get the government going, the response is, "What Iraqi government?" Many of the pseudo politicians that were voted in with purple fingers are actually out of the country. If the people do not support the government, there is no government. I guess that's a hard concept for George.

So now we have been there five years. What have we accomplished? What have we done? We have a tenuous peace with al-Sadr who has agreed to a ceasefire. We have teamed up with the very people who were shooting at our soldiers just a few months ago to help them shoot at the al-Qaeda... who were not in Iraq until we attacked. We are balancing a dangerous tightrope between the Saudi-supported Sunni and the Iranian-supported Shiite, trying to prevent Iran from taking over a huge section of Iraq. Saudi Arabia is sending insurgents and an immense amount of money into Iraq to fight .... our soldiers, yet we are supportive of the Saudi government and have offered them a huge arms deal. More and more tangled loyalities confuse the issue. There is no one 'bad guy' to defeat. I haven't even mentioned the Kurds and Turkey.

So. How do we 'win' this fight? How do we win this war? How do we extricate ourselves from this quagmire?

John McCain says we will be there for hundreds of years.

Both Democratic candidates say we will leave.

As we ponder this conundrum, bombs are going off and soldiers and civilians are dying. All because of Bush.

This will be his enduring legacy.

The Iraq war.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Saying something stupid

Sadly, stupidity isn't a test for commenting on a popular blog. In this case, I found this comment at Huffington Post:
Barak Hussein Obama

1) He LIES about his relationship to Rev. Jeremiah " God Damn America" Wright. . Who even though he knew how radical this guy was kept him on the campaign for an additional year. Of course in 20 years he never heard of his invective. He never heard but kind words form his favorite "uncle".

2) He LIES about his deal to buy his house with Tony Rezko. He says he only worked 5 hours for the man but amazingly REZKO while defaulting on $10 million in other debts, conspired to buy half of the land Obama's house is on at 100% of asking price, so Obama can get his piece at 65%.
He LIES when he says he hardly knew this man who gave $250,000 to his campaign not the $100,00 he first LIED about.

3) He LIES about his sexual relationship with Larry Sinclair and the attendant drug use.

4)He LIES about NAFTA telling OHIO voters he'll re-negotiate the treaty while telling the Canadian Government not to worry, he'll do no such thing.

5) He LIES about the war saying he has always opposed it while voting for funds to fight it.

6) He LIES about his intentions about bringing the troops home. He says he will. He says he'll send them back into Iraq. He says he'll do whatever the #%*& he wants when he is commander in chief.

7) He LIES about bringing Democrats together while running a formidable and vicious attack on Hillary.

8) He LIES about health care saying his plan does not MANDATE the collection of premiums from hard working Americans as Hillary's would, when if fact his plan would MANDATE everyone buy the coverage for their kids....and he would collect the premiums in the same MANDATED fashion.

9) He has his staff say on national television that the infamous photo of him in Arab/Muslim attire was taken when he was on a diplomatic mission. WHO sent this idiot on a diplomatic mission: NO One.
So the truth is HE LIES why he was in Africa or he LIES about conducting foreign policy for the United States while unauthorized: also a crime.

10) He has LIED his way to position in this election where he might actually win. Not to worry, if that sad event happens the media and McCain will call this guy out so forcefully he won't know what hit him.

No point in unpacking all the crap, lies, straw-man arguments, and delusions in this piece. Is the author racist, a fervent Hillary supporter, ar a Right-winger? Doesn't matter. His/her mind will stay totally fact-free during this election cycle.

And that's pretty scary.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

If I promise you the Moon and the Stars, Would you believe it?

Children, if you don't stop that squabbling I'm going to turn this car around!

OK, enough snark, here's the point; The widening divide between Hillary and Obama supporters apparently has some on both sides saying they would refuse to vote, or even worse, they would vote for McCain if their candidate wasn't the Dem nominee.

Get over it, we never get the candidate we want!

So sit down, take a deep breath, and ask yourself this; what's worse for the country?
4 more f**king years of bushco policy that has already killed 4,000 Americans and 1 million+ Iraqi civilians in an illegal war, or either Dem candidate as president?

You can't always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you just might find, you get what we need. And we need anyone but Bush III.

To close with a ringing endorsement; Vote for a Democrat, they suck less.

Cross posted at VidiotSpeak

You'd better go now

Two awkward things happened in Democratic politics this week:
NYTimes: Gov. Eliot Spitzer, who gained national prominence relentlessly pursuing Wall Street wrongdoing, has been caught on a federal wiretap arranging to meet with a high-priced prostitute at a Washington hotel last month, according to a law enforcement official and a person briefed on the investigation.

ABC News: Sen. Barack Obama's pastor says blacks should not sing "God Bless America" but "God damn America."

What do they have in common? Gotcha politics, that's what. Scott Horton at Harper's had a lot to say about the tail wagging the dog:
The Justice Department has yet to give a full account of why they were looking into Spitzer’s payments, and indeed the suggestion in the ABC account is that it didn’t have anything to do with a prostitution ring. The suggestion that this was driven by an IRS inquiry and involved a bank might heighten, rather than allay, concerns of a politically motivated prosecution.

All of these facts are consistent with a process which is not the investigation of a crime, but rather an attempt to target and build a case against an individual.
Jill at Brilliant at Breakfast has a lot to say about the manufactured and marketed outrage over Obama's pastor's remarks:
Frankly, while I find Rev. Wright's words and tone to be unnecessarily inflammatory, I also find that I don't have a lot of argument with anything he said.

We live in a culture that has been defined by victimology ever since the 9/11 attacks. We like to think we are a strong people, but look at how Americans have behaved over the last six-plus years. Yes, this country endured a terrible attack. Thousands lost their lives on September 11, 2001. But it is not "hating America" to say that we have to look at our policies and the leaders we have supported, often under the "enemy of my enemy is my friend" doctrine, to LEARN from what happened and avoid similar situations in the future.

There's no getting around the fact that Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda were directly spawned by American policy -- in this case, arming the Afghan Mujahadeen against the Soviets during the latter's invasion of Afghanistan in the late 1980's. There's also no getting around the fact that the American policy of "Israel By Definition Can Do No Wrong" has contributed to the mess we now find in the Middle East.

Indeed. Both men acted rashly, foolishly, and needed to step aside. Elliot, dude, what were you thinking? Go away, think about it, have a drink with Gary Hart, and in a year or so you'll be a regular pundit on the talking head shows. Like Dick Morris.

And Rev. Wright, you know the old adage about the efficacy of honey vs. vinegar? You could have made your point wonderfully, eloquently, and with less self-sabotage by not saying "God Damn America". You're like an over-the-top soul singer who spins every note into a 3 octave cadenza, just to hear the sound of their own voice.

Just because you can doesn't mean you have to.

Friday, March 14, 2008

When first you practice to deceive ....

Woo hoo! After all the rethuglican harping about voter fraud I've discovered it actually does exist!

And, surprise, surprise, surprise ... rethuglicans are responsible:
Ohio's revised election code includes an election falsification clause (Revised Code 3513.20), which says that if a voter who changes parties is challenged by poll workers as to the sincerity of his change of heart and also signs an affidavit stating that he supports the principles of the party to which he's changing -- when in fact he doesn't support them -- then he would be committing election falsification. Election falsification is a felony that is punishable by six to twelve months in jail and a $2,500 fine.

It's clear that cross-over voting occurred in large numbers in Ohio this year. The Ohio secretary of state's office doesn't have statistics yet on how many voters crossed parties in the primary (it's still compiling them), but the Cleveland Plain Dealer is reporting that in Cuyahoga County alone, the state's largest county, at least 16,000 Republicans switched parties for the primary.
Of course they'll never be prosecuted because IOKIYAR!

Cross posted at VidiotSpeak

Don't understand, I'm wondering why; How can this happen it's so out of line

McCain says al Qaeda might try to tip U.S. election

Republican presidential candidate John McCain said on Friday he fears that al Qaeda or another extremist group might attempt spectacular attacks in Iraq to try to tilt the U.S. election against him.
If there's anything AQ wants it's 4 more years of Bushco and 'stay the course' rhetoric. It's proven to be the best thing that ever happened to AQ and their stated goal of disrupting the American economy.

So why would McLame say that? Was it so Bush could declare an emergency and institute martial law to steal yet another election?

And before you think I crimped my tinfoil hat just a little too tight today I think you should look at the little known Executive Directive 51 Bush signed a year ago:
National Security and Homeland Security Presidential Directive

The National Security and Homeland Security Presidential Directive (National Security Presidential Directive NSPD-51/Homeland Security Presidential Directive HSPD-20, sometimes called simply "Executive Directive 51" for short), signed by United States President George W. Bush on May 4, 2007, is a Presidential Directive which specifies the procedures for continuity of the federal government in the event of a "catastrophic emergency." Such an emergency is construed as "any incident, regardless of location, that results in extraordinary levels of mass casualties, damage, or disruption severely affecting the U.S. population, infrastructure, environment, economy, or government functions."
The directive specifies that, following such an emergency, an "Enduring Constitutional Government," comprising "a cooperative effort among the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of the Federal Government," coordinated by the President of the United States, will take the place of the nation's regular government, presumably without the oversight of Congress.[4] Conservative activist Jerome Corsi and Marjorie Cohn of the National Lawyers Guild have interpreted this as a break from Constitutional law in that the three branches of government are equal, with no single branch coordinating the others.
The signing of this Directive was generally not covered by the mainstream U.S. media or discussed by the U.S. Congress. [...]It is unclear how the National Security and Homeland Security Presidential Directive will reconcile with the National Emergencies Act, a U.S. federal law passed in 1976, which gives Congress oversight over presidential emergency powers during such emergencies.
After receiving concerned communications from constituents, in July 2007 U.S. Representative and Homeland Security Committee member Peter DeFazio made an official request to examine the classified Continuity Annexes described above in a secure "bubbleroom" in the United States Capitol, but his request was denied by the White House, which cited "national security concerns."[8] This was the first time DeFazio has been denied access to documents.
Did you get the "Such an emergency is construed as "any incident, regardless of location, that results in extraordinary levels of mass casualties, damage, or disruption severely affecting the U.S. population, infrastructure, environment, economy, or government functions" part? The 'emergency' doesn't have to take place in the US, tho it might.

Considering their track record, it's impossible to consider that anything is out of bounds for these bastards.

A quick side note on McLame's hypocrisy. In the same article at the top he also castigated fellow Senate members for "not responding to the will of the people."

Well John, 60% of Americans want the US out of Iraq.

UPDATE: ThinkProgress reminds us of a recent McClain statement: "I disagree with what the majority of the American people want"

Cross posted at VidiotSpeak

Thursday, March 13, 2008

The latest buzz

How are our bee friends doing as spring comes on in a hurry?


In Britain:

Beekeepers have warned that most of the country's honey bees could be wiped out by disease in 10 years unless an urgent research programme is launched to find new treatments and drugs. They are to launch a nationwide campaign, including protests, to force the government to fund the £8m research project which they say is needed to save the nation's bees.

Ministers say they have no budget for such a programme, a claim rejected by keepers, who are to lobby MPs, gather at the House of Commons for a protest meeting and begin a letter campaign to raise support for research funds.

'Beekeeping is still reeling from the varroa mite, which carries a number of viruses and which devastated thousands of hives across the country when it reached Britain 10 years ago,' said Tim Lovett, president of the British Beekeeping Association. 'Now there is a real danger that colony collapse disease - which has wiped out 80 per cent of bees in parts of the US - will appear in this country. Unless we develop effective protection, there could then be massive losses of bees across the country.'

In America:
In the United States, the honey bee problem and its ramifications have not even been discussed in any 2008 Presidential election event. All the presidential candidates promise the usual increasing bounty of new government spending oblivious to the fact that the disappearing honey bee crisis, if unresolved, may create huge food price inflation and food scarcity during their second presidential term in office.

In the First National Beekeepers Conference in January 2008 in Sacramento, California, beekeepers complained about the lack of government action as they confront financial catastrophe. In general, United States honey bee inspection remains critically under funded, understaffed, and under appreciated.

While there still is no solution to the problem of colony collapse disorder, ongoing research into the problem is focused on three main theories - pesticides (herbicides, fungicides), mono-nutrition, and viruses. There may be just one cause of CCD or it could be a combination of several problems. The truth is that we are not near a solution to the problem of disappearing bees from their hives since a cause has yet to be clearly identified and time may be running out.
In the Corporation of Haagen-Dazs:
NEW YORK ( -- Haagen-Dazs is warning that a creature as small as a honeybee could become a big problem for the premium ice cream maker's business.

At issue are the disappearing bee colonies in the United States, a situation that continues to mystify scientists and frighten foodmakers.

That's because, according to Haagen-Dazs, one-third of the U.S. food supply - including a variety of fruits, vegetables and even nuts - depends on pollination from bees.
Um ... guys?

If we lose the bees, we won't be just worrying about the loss of flavors of ice cream!! By that time we'll be stepping over starvation victims lying in the streets.

But nice of you to put it into perspective!

crossposted at Rants from the Rookery

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Another one bites the dust

Karl Rove just added another Democratic scalp to his collection: Eliot Spitzer's.
Spitzer has not been charged with any crime. He was railroaded by the Corporate Media, led by Rupert Murdoch's NYPost and FOX News, with Karl Rove's "loyal Bushies" leaking furiously from Bush's InJustice Department.

So what's the standard here? If hiring prostitutes is a disqualification for office, then David Vitter must resign today too. In fact, a good chunk of the men in politics must also resign (and possibly a few women as well). And a bunch of reporters and editors must quit as well. And pundits too - yes I'm talking 'bout you, Dick Toesucker Morris.

If adultery is the standard, then Larry Craig must resign today, along with half the men in politics and the media.

Spitzer pissed me off with this, after being such a gung-ho Yew York Attorney General. The question also begs to be asked, who leaked this to the media, and why not Clients #1-8? Why just Spitzer? Clearly he did bad, but is he the only one?

There's an agenda here, waiting to be discovered. And it will have an R after the names.

As far as I'm concerned, regarding Republican closet cases and hypocrites, it's Game On. No one is immune, no one is safe. That means you, David Drier. And you, Lindsay Graham. And yes, you again, Larry Craig.

Scott Horton at Harpers offers some perspective:
Note that this prosecution was managed with staffers from the Public Integrity Section at the Department of Justice. This section is now at the center of a major scandal concerning politically directed prosecutions. During the Bush Administration, his Justice Department has opened 5.6 cases against Democrats for every one involving a Republican. Beyond this, a number of the cases seem to have been tied closely to election cycles. Indeed, a study of the cases out of Alabama shows clearly that even cases opened against Republicans are in fact only part of a broader pattern of going after Democrats. So here are the rather amazing facts that surface in the Spitzer case:

(1) The prosecutors handling the case came from the Public Integrity Section.

(2) The prosecution is opened under the White-Slave Traffic Act of 1910. You read that correctly. The statute itself is highly disreputable, and most of the high-profile cases brought under it were politically motivated and grossly abusive. Here are a few:

Yep. The Structuring charge which went nowhere but led to money laundering which went nowhere led to Mann Act violations last used decades ago.

Spitzer screwed up big time, but this was a witch hunt, not a legitimate prosecution. like I said before, anyone with a sordid history and an R after their name, you're toast now.

Want to win the oil endgame? Want to stop the oil wars?

Give yourself 20 minutes and listen to Amory Lovins!

Amory Lovins was worried (and writing) about energy long before global warming was making the front -- or even back -- page of newspapers. Since studying at Harvard and Oxford in the 1960s, he's written dozens of books, and initiated ambitious projects -- cofounding the influential, environment-focused Rocky Mountain Institute; prototyping the ultra-efficient Hypercar -- to focus the world's attention on alternative approaches to energy and transportation.

His critical thinking has driven people around the globe -- from world leaders to the average Joe -- to think differently about energy and its role in some of our biggest problems: climate change, oil dependency, national security, economic health, and depletion of natural resources.

Lovins offers solutions as well. His book and site Winning the Oil Endgame shows how all US oil use can be eliminated by 2040. Lovins has always focused on solutions that conserve natural resources while also promoting economic growth; Texas Instruments and Wal-Mart are just two of the mega-corporations he has advised on improving energy efficiency.

crossposted at Rants from the Rookery

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Oh, this is right big of them

Gitmo prisoners can now phone home:
GUANTANAMO BAY NAVAL BASE, Cuba - The U.S. military said Tuesday that it will allow detainees to make regular phone calls to their families from Guantanamo Bay prison, where many have been confined in extreme isolation for as long as six years.

The new policy by the Defense Department, which previously said security concerns prevented such calls, is part of a strategy to ease conditions for frustrated prisoners at the U.S. Navy base in southeast Cuba.

A Pentagon spokesman, Navy Cmdr. Jeffrey Gordon, said the telephone policy reflects a commitment to maintaining the health and well-being of Guantanamo detainees. No start date has been set for the program.

Inmates' contact with the outside world generally has been limited to mail delivered by the International Committee of the Red Cross and meetings with their lawyers. The military has allowed a small number of detainees to speak with their families, but typically only on "humanitarian" grounds such as following a death in the family.

Detainees' attorneys welcomed the phone calls but said reconnecting with family could make life more painful for those at Guantanamo, where the U.S. military holds about 275 men on suspicion of links to terrorism, al-Qaida or the Taliban.

Marc Falkoff, a Northern Illinois University law professor who represents 17 detainees, said one of his Yemeni clients has a 6-year-old daughter with whom he has never spoken.
crossposted at Rants from the Rookery

Monday, March 10, 2008

The Reign in Spain Declines To Extradict Due to Pain

Spain drops extradition attempt against Guantánamo torture pair

Spain yesterday dropped its attempt to extradite two British residents who had been freed from Guantánamo Bay, after accepting that torture they suffered during five years of American custody had left them too weak to stand trial.
The Madrid judge who issued the warrant, Baltasar Garzon, accepted British medical reports which found the men were suffering from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other serious medical conditions.

Banna is said to be severely depressed, suffering from PTSD, and to have diabetes, hypertension and back pain, as well as damage to the back of his left knee. Deghayes is also suffering from PTSD, and depression, is blind in his right eye, and has fractures in his nasal bone and his right index finger. Both men are said to be at high risk of suicide.
And Bush says he doesn't torture.

One would think it would end there, but the British Home Office still wants to not only break these men, but break their families:
The Home Office refused to guarantee to let the pair stay with their families in Britain and said: "Their immigration status is under review."

Deghayes and Banna arrived back in Britain with a third British resident, Abdennour Samuer. Banna, from north-west London, was arrested in the Gambia in 2002 after he did not accept an MI5 request to become an informant.
I guess that's not surprising since they don't mind sending political refugees back to their home countries to a fate worse than, but including, death.

Cross posted at VidiotSpeak

Sunday, March 09, 2008

'In order to dream you gotta still be asleep'

Bummer Wave

As public outrage and contempt over the ham-handed malfeasance of the last 8 years of American Empire Lite commingles with the tentative hope that after January 2009 the nightmares will fade away like hazy black mist, and we will all awaken to a new 'new morning in America', there are more than a few signs that this too is but a fleeting gossamer dream, irrespective of how the worm turns or not this November.

From Watergate, where America blinked and allowed an insider successor of a failed president to give pardons and control of incriminating documents and recordings back to a malefactor ripe with incipient dreams of unquestioned power...

To Iran-Contra, where a president in the early stages of mental breakdown relinquished control of his office to a shadow government filled to bursting with 'neat ideas', that not only committed treason against the United States (by selling arms to a rogue nation and using the profits to finance an outlawed foreign conflict, with the added 'value' of putting more illicit drugs on American streets than ever before), but also stalled criminal proceedings against itself long enough to...wait for it...grant pardons to all the major players under indictment as a firewall against the taint reaching to the highest places...

To the shabby little dogwagging skirmishes, incipient police state development and winking 'business as usual' of the Clinton 90's, in tandem with self-righteous elected hypocrites whipping themselves and the credulously suggestive members of the populace into a petulant media tantrum over marital infidelities and parsed words while the real bad news passed stealthily under the populace's radar, this era then being brought to a weak denoument by yet more pardons of questionable dealings and associates.

And so here we are. 2008. The final year of George W. Bush's and Richard V. Cheney's co-presidential epoch on behalf of corporate enrichment and population enslavement through greed, gross exploitation of the appalling national ignorance of and bias against a nation's own laws, and fear of the unfamiliar world beyond their quivering noses.

Perhaps it is the final year, or perhaps not...Perhaps, with the Democratic-controlled legislative branch preparing to imminently capitulate to an Executive branch demand for telecom immunity (a patent farce if ever there was one, considering that all existing laws allowed this administration to pursue threats to the state handily and with retroactively issued permission, provided that they could show grounds to a friendly court for that pursuit), we see the final step of insulation against prosecution, along with the corruption of the Justice Department (through seeding it with zealots and complicit types), wanton destruction of evidence even after being legally ordered to desist, and the appointment of approving minds to the highest courts of the land - and now perhaps yet another terror event for purposes of outcome control, midwifed through self-interested officials looking conveniently the other way, need not come to pass. Perhaps.

We see before us a population only now struggling to come awake from their fatuous slumber because their subjective interests are being threatened by someone and something even more rapaciously ignorant and greedy than themselves.

And so they seek a champion, someone who will give them hope, someone who will help them to forget the monster they brought into being, whether actively or passively, and bring back the lazy warm feelings inside such as a kitten might get from rolling in a sunbeam.

Horseshit. Pure fucking horseshit.

Just like a child cannot have ice cream at dinner until the peas and carrots are finished, a nation can't have the good times back until the hard work of rebuilding is accomplished.

And I would say this to you, each and every one of you Americans:

Unless you can develop and foster the collective majority will to root out all of these malfeasants, from the Executive office on down, and clean house using the laws of the land that have been so recklessly flouted in the last decade...Then you are a failed nation.
And you will be eventually assimilated by more resolute nations who do not share your weaknesses and lack of purpose, if they have not already made substantial inroads in doing so.

That is your fate, but it is your fate to change.

I am pro-American, and I have always been. America is a splendid concept, and a nation that other nations could aspire to. But America has shown incredibly bad judgement, and has established a rather odious track record in letting bandits and crypto-fascists run its affairs (and subsequently forgiving themselves for their own crimes) while ogling the jiggling distractions for far too long to maintain any sort of credibility without now showing the necessary resolve to affect lasting permanent remedies.

Don't just hope.

Dare. And act.

Or shut up and suffer the long delayed consequences.

I wanna get lost in your rock n roll

There are many reasons people take up musical instruments: peer approval, coolness, love of music. And some are more gifted than others. When I first picked up a guitar, I had a natural affinity, and it came fairly easy. Within a year, I was giving lessons to the guys who had been my mentors before.

That said, I and every other so-called good guitarist, are nothing compared to this guy. I truly am not worthy:

Thanks, friend, for your love of the instrument and music. I am humbled and inspired.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Blackwater withdraws military base project near San Diego

It's not a retreat, it's a withdrawal:
Blackwater Worldwide officials have announced they are pulling their application to build a training center on an 824-acre site in the East County community of Potrero.

The North Carolina-based company dropped off a letter to the county planning department today notifying officials of their decision not to pursue plans for the project on a former chicken and cattle ranch.

“Although our project would have brought a great benefit to San Diego County, – providing local, state, and federal law enforcement with access to low-cost superior training facilities while bringing much-needed jobs to the area – the proposed site does not meet our business objectives at this time,” states the letter from Blackwater vice president Brian Bonfiglio.

Bonfiglio said noise tests the company conducted at the site did not meet county standards, and the cost of reducing the noise was too expensive. He said Blackwater had spent well over $1 million in its effort to get government approval for the site.


Bonfiglio said opposition to the project played no role in the company's decision to withdraw the project.

Opponents of the project were stunned and pleased to hear the news.

That's wonderful, but now we don't know where they are going to pop up next and what kind of plans they'll have while they have White House protection. Border patrol with a shoot-to-kill mandate? Detention Centers for citizens as well as illegal immigrants where no lawyers ever set foot? Training and infiltrating local police with training for martial law?

To prevent the cancer from metastasizing we have to be always alert to what this megabillion dollar company wants to do next.

crossposted at Rants from the Rookery

I'm not feelin' too good myself, oh oh

Conservatarians are really stupid. In fact, they might just be too stupid to live. Example: Megan McArdle attempts to swat down Ezra "I know more about health care than anyone alive" Klein:
Ezra Klein offers an analogy about mandates:
First, Obama aside, mandates matter because, sometimes, folks have to be protected from their worst instincts. That's why we force everyone to pay into fire departments through taxes. Otherwise, some folks would opt out under the theory that they don't do much cooking, and we don't want their houses to burn down.

But this is not true. We force everyone to pay into fire departments because fires have very bad negative externalities: if your house catches on fire, unless you live on a rural farm, there's a good chance that your neighbor's house will burn down too. Fire prevention is a genuine public good; most health care, with the exception of things meant to stop the spread of infectious disease, simply isn't.

If she means most health care isn't a genuine public good because it's designed to provide the most profit for the insurance companies, then she's right.

If she means that most health care isn't a genuine public good because healthy, happy workers are more productive and take less time off, then she's off her conservative meds.

And if she means that health care isn't a genuine public good because companies have to pay to help keep their workers healthy and more productive, she's being an idiot.

Too often conservatives adopt simplistic world views: spending money = teh bad. Instead of realising that spending a little money for insurance results in more productivity, not only within a company but within a country, they try to be penny-wise, pound foolish.

And as is often the case, the ideology gets in the way of self-interest. On that note, it's really fun to watch them justify ideology, even when it results in a negative outcome.

Maybe some day they'll grow up.