Thursday, July 31, 2008

And we'll all feel gay when Johnny comes marching home

(Video showing McCain's real support for the troops)

The (Manchester) Guardian has a take on the latest Swiftboat McCain ad:
John McCain is portraying Barack Obama as a lightweight better prepared to walk a red carpet than sit in the Oval Office. A television advert released today links the Democratic candidate for president with two starlets of questionable reputation: Britney Spears and Paris Hilton.

. . . It's unclear how effective the McCain spot will be. A Gallup poll released yesterday shows that 61% of registered voters aged 18-29 back Obama, compared to 31% for McCain. That would indicate a large segment of Hilton and Spears's fan base already plans to vote for Obama.

The Democrats today wasted little time in mocking the McCain camp for using the two women – most recently in the news for giving up custody of her children to ex Kevin Federline, in Spears's case, and for violating her probation in a drunk driving case, in Hilton's - in the advert.

McCain's ad is not only stupid, it's well, stupid. For one thing, it's not substantive, and it's pretty insulting to:
  • Millions of Americans who voted for BO during Primary season,
  • 200k Germans who showed up to hear BO speak,
  • Nouri al-Maliki, who is supposed to be the most important Iraqi leader ever,
  • Every American, Dem or Repub, who takes Presidential elections seriously.
That McCain's camp sees this as a positive attack shows a pretty shallow belief in American politics.

But that's no surprise, since they took this line of attack when BO didn't visit the 'right' troops in Germany. From Media Matters, a timeline of a smear:
At 7:42 a.m. ET on July 24, the German magazine Der Spiegel's online "Obama Live Ticker" reported that "Obama has cancelled a planned short visit to the Rammstein and Landstuhl US military bases in the southwest German state of Rhineland-Palatinate." According to Der Spiegel: "The visits were planned for Friday. 'Barack Obama will not be coming to us,' a spokesperson for the US military hospital in Landstuhl announced. 'I don't know why.' Shortly before the same spokeswoman had announced a planned visit by Obama." Accusations by conservative bloggers and Republican officials -- echoed in the media -- that Obama was "snubbing" wounded soldiers or that he placed greater importance on "working out" or "shopping" immediately followed the Der Spiegel report:

In a July 24 Hot Air entry, posted at 10:50 a.m. ET, citing "Der Spiegel's blog report[ing] on Obama's priorities," blogger Ed Morrissey wrote that "thousands of screaming German fans at the Tiergarten take precedence over visiting Americans serving their country at Ramstein and Landstuhl. Maybe one of the networks following Obama could interview a few of the soldiers about how they perceive that set of priorities from Obama." Morrissey later updated his post to say: "Obama canceled a previously-planned stop to visit thousands of American service personnel, including troops wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan being treated at Landstuhl, so he could hold a political rally for Germans and go shopping in Berlin." Morrissey's purported source for this claim was a blog entry by ABC News senior national correspondent Jake Tapper that did not mention the cancellation of the troop visit or that Obama planned to go shopping.

In an 11:38 a.m. post on The Swamp, the Chicago Tribune's Washington bureau blog, reporter Jill Zuckman wrote: "A Republican friend of the Swamp helpfully points out that Sen. Barack Obama seems to have time to visit the gym for a workout today, but not to visit the troops during his stay in Germany tomorrow." Zuckman went on to write: "Thanks to a statement from senior adviser Robert Gibbs, the issue seems to be one of ethics and propriety, rather than time." Zuckman quoted Gibbs' statement: "For the second part of his trip, the senator wanted to visit the men and women at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center to express his gratitude for their service and sacrifice. The senator decided out of respect for these servicemen and women that it would be inappropriate to make a stop to visit troops at a U.S. military facility as part of a trip funded by the campaign." Zuckman also quoted the McCain campaign's response: "Barack Obama is wrong. It is never 'inappropriate' to visit our men and women in the military."

Politico senior political writer Jonathan Martin wrote in a 1:46 p.m. entry to his blog that Republicans were "smartly" attacking Obama over the Der Spiegel report, adding: "The optics here are not good: Obama has time to get in a workout and give a speech to a crowd mostly comprised of Europeans, but can't be bothered to visit American troops wounded in action recovering at a military hospital."

On the July 24 edition of Fox News' Your World, Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) said that "one of the things that you try to do at least once when you've been to Afghanistan and Iraq, as I have, and as John [McCain] has many times, is to stop by Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany, and visit the hospital there at Landstuhl." Kyl continued: "It is a tremendous experience, but a life-changing experience. And not to be too critical, but I notice that Obama had plenty of time to shoot hoops and do some things like that, get a workout, but he didn't have time to stop by there. And I would have thought that would've been something he would really want to do on this trip."
On the July 24 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, radio host and Fox News contributor Laura Ingraham said: "I think Barack Obama could have gone there and given a very pro-American and very strong speech. I don't think this was it. I think it was a good delivery. He looked great. I think the fact that he didn't go visit the troops at the military bases, and yet figured out how to have enough time to work out in the Ritz Carlton gym -- I think that looks really bad. I don't think that plays well in Ohio. I don't think it plays well in Michigan."

In addition to the statement from Gibbs, quoted above by Zuckman, Obama campaign adviser retired Air Force Maj. Gen. Scott Gration issued this statement, as reported by on July 25:

"We learned from the Pentagon last night that the visit would be viewed instead as a campaign event. ... Senator Obama did not want to have a trip to see our wounded warriors perceived as a campaign event when his visit was to show his appreciation for our troops and decided instead not to go." also reported Gibbs' subsequent remarks to reporters on the Obama campaign plane:

"The statement that I sent out and the statement that General Gration sent out are consistent in that what General Gration learned from the Pentagon, that the trip to Ramstein and Landstuhl will be viewed as a campaign stop. ... The decision that Senator Obama made with that information was that we would not put our warriors in the position of being involved in a campaign stop. Therefore he made the decision not to make the stop."


"He could go as a United States senator, but it was pretty clear from the guidance that we received from the Pentagon that the trip would be viewed as a campaign stop. ... Given the information that we had received, Senator Obama made the decision that we were not gonna have wounded men and women become involved in a campaign event or what would be perceived as a campaign event."

By July 25, conservatives in the media began claiming that Obama had canceled the visit because there would be no media allowed inside the Landstuhl hospital. In an update to a July 24 entry to NBC News' First Read blog, NBC News chief Pentagon correspondent Jim Miklaszewski and Pentagon producer Courtney Kube wrote:

A U.S. military official tells NBC News they were making preparations for Sen. Barack Obama to visit wounded troops at the Landstuhl Medical Center at Ramstein, Germany on Friday, but "for some reason the visit was called off."

One military official who was working on the Obama visit said because political candidates are prohibited from using military installations as campaign backdrops, Obama's representatives were told, "he could only bring two or three of his Senate staff member, no campaign officials or workers." In addition, "Obama could not bring any media. Only military photographers would be permitted to record Obama's visit."

The official said "We didn't know why" the request to visit the wounded troops was withdrawn. "He (Obama) was more than welcome. We were all ready for him."

In a July 25 Hot Air entry posted at 7:21 a.m., Morrissey cited Miklaszewski and Kube's First Read post in claiming that "[w]hen Obama found out he couldn't use the visit as a photo op, he canceled." (First Read made no such allegation -- indeed, the military official quoted in the post claimed not to know why Obama decided not to go through with the visit.) Conservative radio hosts Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh made this same accusation later on June 25. On the July 25 broadcast of The Rush Limbaugh Show, Limbaugh claimed:

LIMBAUGH: By the way, he canceled that -- two appearances yesterday with the troops in Germany, and you know what the excuse now is?

Aw, Jeebus, just read the whole thing. As a serious issue, and as journalism, it falls somewhere between a game of Telephone, and making crank calls asking if they have Prince Albert in a can.

But the Right take this crap seriously. Thus showing their un-seriousness.


Wednesday, July 30, 2008

I keep straining my ears to hear a sound, Maybe someone is digging underground

I spent my early years in the California high desert, in Victorville. In that desert, although not too near, were and still are lots of mines. Dangerous abandoned mines.

Blue Girl, Red State has this about that:
Scattered all over the western United States are more than 12,200 abandoned mines on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and National Parks Service (NPS) lands, many of which pose significant dangers and public health risks. A recent audit (.pdf) by the Inspector General for the Department of the Interior finds that not only are many of the sites a danger to the public health and safety, but apparently, because they were worried about liability and cost, supervisors told staff members to ignore these problems and that employees "were criticized or received threats of retaliation" for identifying contaminated sites.

To prepare the audit, the Inspector General's staff visited more than 45 abandoned mines. The report highlights two distinct dangers to the public - dangerous levels of contaminants such as arsenic, lead and mercury are present at sites easily accessible to the public; and immediate threats to public safety posed by frequently unmarked open mine shafts and crumbling yet unsecured, access points (see above). "The potential for more deaths or injuries is ominous," the report states. The office said a "limited search" of accident records showed that 12 people were killed at abandoned mines from 2004 to 2007. Go back five more years to 1999 and the number of fatalities rises to 33.

The IG's team found that many of the open shafts weren't even marked. Placement of signs such as this, that could warn unsuspecting hikers, ATV riders and off-road mororists that a mine shaft is in the area and there is the possibility of death or injury.

Population growth and the use of off-road vehicles in the Western states are likely to increase the incidence of additional deaths or injuries.

Some of the open, unmarked shafts are large enough to swallow up an entire vehicle.

Catch that? The BLM, a federal bureau, is ignoring the problem. Think this is a silly topic? Anyone remember Kathy Fiscus?
On the afternoon of Friday, April 8, 1949, Kathy Fiscus (born August 21, 1945 - died April 8, 1949) was playing with her sister Barbara and cousin Gus in a field in San Marino, California when she fell down the 14-inch wide shaft of an abandoned water well. Ironically her father, David Fiscus, worked for the California Water & Telephone Co., which had drilled the well in 1903. He had recently testified before the state legislature for a proposed law that would require the cementing of all old wells. Within hours a major rescue effort was underway with "(d)rills, derricks, bulldozers and trucks...from a dozen towns...(t)hree giant cranes...(and f)ifty floodlights...from Hollywood studios." After digging down 100 feet, workers reached Kathy Sunday night. After a doctor was lowered into the shaft an announcement was made to the more than 10,000 people who had gathered to watch the rescue: "Kathy is dead and apparently has been dead since she was last heard speaking." It was determined that she died shortly after she fell, peacefully, from a lack of oxygen in the shaft.

Lassie isn't going to save Timmy if he falls into a mine. It's time to not only reclaim the White House, the Congress, but all the regulatory agencies who haven't been, you know regulating, during the GWBush regime.

Banking/mortgage down the toilet? Check.

Big ass holes in the ground? Check.

Veterans living in filth at Wlater Reed? Check.

Oil profits at a record level? Check.

God, it makes me tired, oh so tired.

Oh, and can anyone figure out the connection with this video? Full disclosure: I played this in a band in '68.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Now would I say something that wasnt true?

The HonorableJohn McCain, who is famous for his straight talk has finally lied so egregiously that even the MSM took notice. February 2008:
When Stephanopoulos asked, "Are you a 'read my lips' candidate, no new taxes, no matter what?" McCain responded affirmatively: "No new taxes."
Fast forward to July 2008:
McCain told ABC News' George Stephanopoulos in an exclusive interview on "This Week." "I think that’s the way that Ronald Reagan and Tip O’Neill did it -- and that's what we have to do again."

When asked if that includes a possible hike in the payroll tax, McCain reiterated that nothing -- including such a tax hike -- is "off the table."
WTF! McCain's equating Reagan, a republican president who was responsible for the 3rd worst deficit in American history, (before Bush I and Bush II), with Tip O'Neill, the Democratic Speaker of the House who called Reagan "Herbert Hoover with a smile" and "a cheerleader for selfishness" and "am amiable dunce."

And if you call now you get this bonus quote:
[Carly Fiorina, a key lieutenant to McCain who was fired from Hewlett-Packard] "The reality is when an economy is slowing, if you raise taxes and you curtail free trade through isolationist policies, bad economic times become worse," she told reporters.
Maybe it's just me, but I think that hiring a person who's firing elevated HP's stock 7.5% would be a bad economic adviser, (tho she's vying for Phil Gramm for absolute worst economic adviser ever), especially one who thinks raising taxes will lead to a depression on the same day that her boss and republican presidential contender says raising payroll taxes could be a good idea.

UPDATE: Maybe the bloom is off the rose in McCain's love affair with his base. First up, a quote from McCain's latest attack ad:
The McCain campaign yesterday unveiled its latest TV ad, which hits Obama for -- among other things -- cancelling a visit to meet with wounded US soldiers at Landstuhl. "He made time to go to the gym, but cancelled a visit with wounded troops," the ad goes. "Seems the Pentagon wouldn't allow him to bring cameras. John McCain is always there for our troops. McCain. Country first."
Next a quote, (follow the link to video), from NBC's Andrea Mitchell, who definitely can't be called an Obama supporter, but she was actually there:
Andrea Mitchell said, "That literally is not true.

Let me play a bit of Robert Gibbs, Obama's spokesman reacting to that today… The point is he had no intention of bringing cameras. I was there, I can vouch for it. Why put up an ad claiming that's why he didn't visit the troops?" [MSNBC, 7/28/08]

Cross posted at VidiotSpeak

Heard of some gravesites, out by the highway

The lovely and talented darkblack has been too busy to post this here, so I will do it for him:

For those unfamiliar with the source artwork, here's from wikipedia:
Guernica is a monumental painting by Pablo Picasso, depicting the Nazi German bombing of Guernica, Spain, by twenty-eight bombers, on April 26, 1937 during the Spanish Civil War. The attack killed between 250 and 1,600 people, and many more were injured.

The Spanish government commissioned Pablo Picasso to paint a large mural for the Spanish display at the Paris International Exposition (the 1937 World's Fair in Paris). The Guernica bombing inspired Picasso. Within 15 days of the attack, Pablo Picasso began painting this mural. On completion Guernica was displayed around the world in a brief tour, becoming famous and widely acclaimed. This tour brought the Spanish civil war to the world's attention. Guernica epitomizes the tragedies of war and the suffering war inflicts upon individuals. This monumental work has eclipsed the bounds of a single time and place, becoming a perpetual reminder of the tragedies of war, an anti-war symbol, and an embodiment of peace.

For those intent on invoking Godwin's law, blow it out your collective ass. The source of the conflict is irrelevant. The operative phrase here is "Guernica epitomizes the tragedies of war and the suffering war inflicts upon individuals". While not speaking directly for darkblack (he can indeed do that on his own), I can state that no sane person would find the trouble visited on the Iraqi people in any way redeeming or positive. I repeat, no sane person . . .

I confess to being mystified and in awe of people who are visually creative, I don't have that gene. My feeble attempts at art in both high school and early college were simply terrible. For me it's all about the music, the sounds, which create wondrous visual effects in my brain.

For that reason, among others, I am humbled and flattered that someone with darkblack's talent for the visual helps out here. Everyone blogging here has merit and talent. But darkblack, and Dancin' Dave, provide eye candy, and thoughtful and provocative art, that raises us all up.

Thanks, guys.

Monday, July 28, 2008

I`ll lie again and again, and I`ll keep lying, I promise

In answer to the unspoken question "Does the McCain campaign really believe people are either stupid or ignorant enough to believe the lies we keep telling", clearly the answer is yes. From the Obama campaign "Fight The Smears":
The truth about Barack visiting military hospitals


John McCain, his spokesmen, and his TV ads have all been politicizing our wounded heroes by making the false claim that Barack Obama snubbed wounded troops by not visiting them on his trip overseas because TV cameras would not be allowed to cover the visit.


The Obama campaign originally planned a private trip (no media) to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany to visit wounded troops, but canceled it to prevent the perception of politicizing our troops.
Senator Obama was honored to meet with our men and women in uniform in Iraq and Afghanistan during his foreign trip and has visited a combat support hospital in Baghdad as well as wounded soldiers at Walter Reed without fanfare. Barack Obama also called wounded troops at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center while overseas.

Even Andrea Mitchell, hardly an ardent Obama supporter, takes down this crap:

Yet this McCain smear will play well in Red states, where people believe Rush, Hannity, and Fox. Nice to see the Straight Talk Express of John McMaverickypants seems to have become really bent.

It will especially play well with people like this:
Over the weekend we’ve been following a story here in Clark County about a local couple who appear to be the target of racist vandalism simply because they dared to put a Barack Obama yard sign in front of their home. The Columbian ran a small item on Friday night:

Someone scratched the words “White Power” on a car belonging to a Vancouver family who recently posted an “Elect Obama” sign in their front yard.

On Sunday, Frank Wastradowski, who lives northeast of Southwest Washington Medical Center, noticed the vandalism on the side of his wife’s 1993 Plymouth. The letters, likely scratched with a key, were about 8 inches tall.

“It’s a hate crime and it’s time we get past racism,” he said.

Wastradowski said he won’t take the sign down, adding, “That’s my freedom of speech.”

Nice. Stupid. Ignorant folks like the car vandal just keep the fires of ignorance and stupidity burning.


Saturday, July 26, 2008

He''ll have to go

My friends, family and co-bloggers will appreciate why I've chosen this title, but anyone can appreciate Ry Cooder's rendition of this country classic:

Friday, July 25, 2008

Maverick is the legend of the west!

Since the legend of McMaverickypants has pretty well debunked, and we will never ever hear that word in reference to McCain, I give you, finally, the real Maverick:

Flip, flop and fly, I don't care if I die

Headline: McCain flip-flops again!

Who cares, only the left? The wing-nuts and dead-enders on the right will vote for him if he starts wearing a dress and singing Shirley Temple songs at campaign rallies. All that matters is that he doesn't have a D after his name.

Witness this where he agrees with Barack Obama's, and al-Maliki's 16 month strategy:

BLITZER: What If Maliki persists, you're president and he says he wants U.S. Troops out and he wants them out, let's say in a year or two years or 16 months or whatever, what do you do? Do you listen to the prime minister?

MCCAIN: He won't. He won't.

BLITZER: How do you know?

MCCAIN: Because i know him. And i know him very well. And i know the other leaders. And i know -- i've been there eight times, as you know. I know them very, very well.

BLITZER: So Why do you think he said that 16 months is basically a pretty good timetable?

MCCAIN: He said it's a pretty good timetable based on conditions on the ground. I think it's a pretty good timetable, as we should -- or horizons for withdrawal. But they have to be based on conditions on the ground.

Note the gratuitous and frankly wacky use of GWBush's phrase do jour horizons. Clearly McCain will say anything, ANYTHING, even something Obama said first. It's almost a tic, like he can't help himself, and it almost seems that he doesn't hear what he's saying.

MCCAIN YESTERDAY: "Speaking at a town hall meeting here, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee said that Obama, even after visiting Iraq, was showing 'a remarkable failure to understand the facts on the ground' by continuing to call for a withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq on a fixed timetable." [Atlanta Journal Constotution, July 24, 2008]

MCCAIN LAST WEEK: "An artificial timetable based on political expediency would have led to disaster and could still turn success into defeat," Mr. McCain said. [New York Times, 7/19/08]

First it's a bad idea, until it's my idea. Sheer hackitude.

I'll reach out my hand to you, I'll have faith in all you do, Just call my name and I'll be there

In the "Even a Stopped Clock is Right Twice a Day" category, Lou Dobbs has seemed at times friendly to normal, not-rich non-Republican people. You know, like the working people whose fate he bemoans when ranting about outsourcing and off-shoring jobs.

But if you want any proof where his loyalty lies look no further than the Family Resource Center Voter Values Summit:

Yep, Lou is going to appear with such conservative luminaries as Laura Ingraham, Rush Limbaugh, felon Ollie North, David Horowitz.

But wait, who is that swarthy-skinned fellow on the right . . . why, it's Barack Obama. Seriously, Obama may be Faith-friendly, but he's not wingnut-friendly. Note the weasel-words at the top: "Confirmed & Invited Speakers". BO may have been invited, and I'm sure without even looking at the list that Satan was also invited, but I'll bet anyone a dinner at Spago that BO will not be there.

Anyone want in on that action? I thought not. But I'll make the same bet that ol' Lou will be there.


The old rocker wore his hair too long

While I'm still ambivalent about John McCain's age being a negative, age can be a factor in certain situations, like an aging action star trying to make a last, fast buck on a character who should have died a noble death years ago.

But our friend Bear at Bruin Design compares the two, the aging politician and aging action star, and lo and behold:

All I can say is ewww.

I was raised on robbery

Alan Grayson is running for Congress in the Florida 8th District, and he's kinda pissed off:
Alan Grayson has spent the last four years of his life combating some of the worst abuses of the war. He has filed dozens of citizen lawsuits against crooked contractors who have cheated American troops and taxpayers. He is the prosecuting attorney in all five fraud cases currently pending against contractors in Iraq. He won a $10 million jury verdict last year, the second largest False Claims Act verdict in history in a case that the Justice Department refused to prosecute. In addition, Alan has testified before Congress four times regarding fraud in Iraq.

Tom Foreman of CNN has called Alan "a leading critic of the war in Iraq."

The Wall Street Journal said Alan is "fighting a one-man war against contractor fraud in Iraq.

There are videos all over his site besides the YouTube at the top. This is a serious guy, and anyone who could send him a few $$ would be doing a good thing.

Update: Here's from an interview Grayson did with Matt Stoller at OpenLeft:
Alan Grayson: I'm Alan Grayson, and I'm the Democratic candidate for Congress in Florida's district eight. And I'm the attorney of record in every single case now pending in Federal court involving war profiteers in Iraq. These are cases in which I represent whistleblowers. The Florida civil rights association named me Humanitarian of the Year for my work in this regard, taxpayers against fraud named me lawyer of the year, and I've been featured in Vanity Fair magazine, in media like CBS evening news, 60 minutes, and even Dailykos, imagine that.
I'm running because I'm fed up with the government mismanagement, the Bush administration's shameless pandering to war profiteers. I think they set out on a deliberate course to make this war good for the people who were their friends. And I want to try to hold them accountable when I'm in Congress. When I'm in Congress... the Bush administration's worst nightmare is going to be me with subpoena power because I know everything that they've done, and I'm going to hold them accountable for it.

Matt Stoller: But wait wait, let me just interrupt you there, the Bush administration's gone in 2009.

Alan Grayson: Oh but all the people they set up as the new kings and queens of America are still around. What Eisenhower said, that we need to fear the military industrial compex, has become true because they have manufactured a five year war that they want to perpetuate for a generation or even a century so that they can keep lining the pockets of their friends, the war whores.

Indeed. Read the whole thing, this guy is right on track.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

As long as we’re together, honey, I don’t care

John McCain only has eyes for Iraq. To paraphrase Joe Biden some months ago: A noun, a verb, and Iraq/surge.

Our friend Cenk Uygur from The Young Turks scoops the entire world media today with this pickup of another McCain gaffe:
I guess Afghanistan wasn't big enough for him.

Watch the video, it's great.

I Wonder What the King is Doing Tonight?

Continuing Ellroon's Camelot theme:

What merriment is the king pursuing tonight?
The candles at the court, they never burned as bright.
I wonder what the king is up to tonight?
Bush uses anti-terror funds to strengthen Pakistan air force

The Bush administration faced congressional criticism today for diverting funds from Pakistan's faltering fight against the Taliban and al-Qaida to pay for upgrades of the US-built F-16 combat planes.

The White House spokeswoman, Dana Perino, today insisted the F-16s had a role in counterterrorism operations. "The F-16s that they have are used in counterterrorism operations," Perino said. "We made them available to the Pakistanis and they need to be maintained."
The move puts President George Bush at odds with Congress, which last year passed legislation specifying that the money be used for counter-terrorism or law enforcement.
A state department official said the timing was dictated by a need to make payment to Lockheed by the end of July.
Oh, well, that explains it, we needed to give the $$ to Pakistan so that they can give it to Lockheed ... wait, what!?

OK, let's get a few facts straight here: America didn't 'make available' the F-16s we sold them to Pakistan, and it's been controversial for over 20 years.
F-16s don't 'target' terrorists, they target homes and villages, an F-16 can only kill a person by killing a lot of the people around them. Even 'smart bombs' are still bombs and they will always incur 'collateral damage' AKA innocent people.
Combating terrorism is more about winning hearts and minds than achieving military victories. Every time you kill civilians you create more people who hate you.

OK, 'nuff said, let's move on:
U.S. Rushes to Change Workplace Toxin Rules

Political appointees at the Department of Labor are moving with unusual speed to push through in the final months of the Bush administration a rule making it tougher to regulate workers' on-the-job exposure to chemicals and toxins.

The agency did not disclose the proposal, as required, in public notices of regulatory plans that it filed in December and May. Instead, Labor Secretary Elaine L. Chao's intention to push for the rule first surfaced on July 7, when the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) posted on its Web site that it was reviewing the proposal, identified only by its nine-word title.

The text of the proposed rule has not been made public
OK, outrage fatigue has set in so I'd just like to mention that Bush's policies have killed more Americans than terrorism.

Next up:
An American General confirms George Bush has committed war crimes
Well, I'll tell you what the king is feeling tonight:
He's numb!
He shakes!
He quails! He quakes!
And that's what the king is doing tonight.

Cross posted at VidiotSpeak

Polishing off a fine whine

Someone please call the whaaambulance for the WATB rethuglicans who have mounted a campaign to whine that the NYT had the temerity to ask McCain to re-submit his obviously deficient article.
House Republicans Fire Off Letter To New York Times
"A national publication such as the Times has a clear obligation to provide equal access to its op-ed page to both candidates," the Republicans wrote, "to convey fairness by the paper and to help further the national debate."
Well, actually, no! Newspapers have never been obligated to provide equal access. Newspapers aren't 'broadcast', and even if they were it's the Republicans who successfully fought the "Fairness Doctrine." Ye shall reap what ye sow.

And here's the nuts:
House Republicans distributed a letter on Wednesday formally "urging" The New York Times to allow a third party to take out a full-page ad featuring a rejected opinion piece by their party's presidential candidate, Arizona Sen. John McCain.
Strawman anyone!? Aside from the fact that many media outlets have already trumpeted McCain's unedited piece, no one has even suggested that McCain couldn't buy an ad in the NYT. No one has said McCain's billionaire buddies can't buy an ad. But I have to wonder, is McSame's campaign so deficient of funds that they can buy millions of dollars of TV ads but they can't but a print ad!?

Piffle, this is yet another attempt to manufacture a faux (news) controversy to cover up the fact their candidate doesn't have anything to offer except blaming American's first, negative campaigning and a fainting couch for his rich republican buddies.

Cross posted at VidiotSpeak

C'mon people now, smile on your brother

The kerning and typeface warriors are at it again, and nothing short of reality will stop them. In fact, reality won't stop them.

Jesus' General tries to help:

Atlas Shrugs

Dear Mrs. Shrugs,

Your Sunday post was an excellent example of what patrio-blogging is all about. With nothing more than a few graphics and a lot of very technical-sounding jargon, you and techdude persuaded a lot of people that Barak Obama forged his own birth certificate. That's impressive.

But why stop there? Shouldn't we take the next step and use the same technique to create a reason why Obama would fake such a document?

I certainly think so. That's why I'm submitting the following highly technical evidence suggesting that Barak Obama is actually an Amish man named Erik Gruber.

Before we begin, let's take a look at actual photographs of both Obama and Erik Gruber's twin brother, Henry.

Notice how amazingly similar they appear. Other than a few minor differences in skin coloring, hair texture, eye color, and body fat, they are spitting images of each other.

Now let's examine the photos using a number of fairly basic forensic techniques. We'll start by applying the McMahon-McMillan Inverted Refractory Process.

Notice the cyantic response of the temporal, nasal, and lip areas. The refractive similarity is striking.

We get a similar result when we apply the Whitfield Thermal Reciprocity Sampling Technique.

Really, this is too funny. Shooting fish in a barrel wouldn't even begin to describe how easy it is to lampoon the Right-wing attacks based on this.

Thanks, General.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

If ever I would leave you....

How could it be in spring-time?
Knowing how in spring I'm bewitched by you so?
Oh, no! not in spring-time!
Summer, winter or fall!
No, never could I leave you at all!

crossposted at Rants from the Rookery

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

And Another One Bites the Dust

A recurring meme I see over and over, continuing the false meme of a 'liberal bias' in the MSM, is that it's so unfair that Obama gets more coverage in the press than McSame. e.g.
The Project for Excellence in Journalism evaluates more than 300 political stories each week in newspapers, magazines and television to measure whether each candidate is talked about in more than 25 percent of the stories.

Every week, Obama played an important role in more than two-thirds of the stories. For July 7-13, for example, Obama was a significant presence in 77 percent of the stories, while McCain was in 48 percent, the PEJ said.
"No matter how understandable it is given the newness of the candidate and the historical nature of Obama's candidacy, in the end it's probably not fair to McCain," he said.
Sure, a Lexis/Nexis search will show that Obama is mentioned more often than McCain in MSM reporting, but if one looks at the stories they are usually negative stories about Obama. The perfect example of this is in the above story when they ask Rush Limbaugh to comment on whether this is unfair to McClain.

Are you kidding me!? Asking Rush Limbaugh to comment on whether the press is unfair to McCain is the same as asking a lying, drug addicted, racist, homophobic [you can Google it, but I refuse to provide the link to Rush's website where he says "... I am a homophobe ..."], sexual predator uber-republican to comment on McCain's unequal coverage in the MSM.

It's obvious that Obama gets more coverage in the MSM, it's also obvious that most of the coverage is negative.

And after all, if they were to write about McCain they might have to mention that McCain thinks:
Czechoslovakia is a country, (nope, not for over 15 years)
Iraq borders Afghanistan, (nope, not ever)
We have succeeded in Iraq, (oops, my bad, the MSM covered that lie over and over. p.s. If we've succeeded in Iraq why can't our troops come home?)
McCain has reversed course on almost every POV he's ever held, occasionally twice in the same day.

And now McCain is whining that the NYT asked him to make changes in his Op-Ed.

All I have to say to Republicans is that the "Fairness Doctrine" has never applied to the press, and Republicans are responsible for it being negated in the broadcast media. (BTW, Bill Clinton had several Op-Eds to the NYT rejected when he was President!)

It's just yet another desperation tactic by McCain and his Bush/Rove advisers to try to rouse the rabble and ignore the fact that McClain has one again flip-flopped and now endorses Obama's plan for Iraq:McCain indicates US troops could withdraw in 2 years

Cross posted at VidiotSpeak

Monday, July 21, 2008

Good News for Modern Man!

Bump & Update: It was obvious that once Iraqi PM Maliki made the comment the Bush WH would take Maliki to the woodshed and 'clarify' his remarks, and away we go:
Mr. Maliki's interview prompted immediate concern from the Bush administration, which called to seek clarification from Mr. Maliki’s office, American officials said.

Scott M. Stanzel, a White House spokesman with President Bush at his ranch in Crawford, Tex., said that embassy officials explained to the Iraqis how the interview in Der Spiegel was being interpreted, given that it came just a day after the two governments announced an agreement over American troops.

“The Iraqis were not aware and wanted to correct it,” he said.
Diplomats from the United States Embassy in Baghdad spoke to Mr. Maliki’s advisers on Saturday, said an American official, speaking on condition of anonymity in order to discuss what he called diplomatic communications. After that, the government’s spokesman, Ali al-Dabbagh, issued a statement casting doubt on the magazine’s rendering of the interview.

The statement, which was distributed to media organizations by the American military early on Sunday, said Mr. Maliki’s words had been “misunderstood and mistranslated,” but it failed to cite specifics.

“Unfortunately, Der Spiegel was not accurate,” Mr. Dabbagh said Sunday by telephone. “I have the recording of the voice of Mr. Maliki. We even listened to the translation.”
Yeah, there's just a couple of problems with their spin:
But the interpreter for the interview works for Mr. Maliki’s office, not the magazine. And in an audio recording of Mr. Maliki’s interview that Der Spiegel provided to The New York Times, Mr. Maliki seemed to state a clear affinity for Mr. Obama’s position, bringing it up on his own in an answer to a general question on troop presence.

The following is a direct translation from the Arabic of Mr. Maliki’s comments by The Times: “Obama’s remarks that — if he takes office — in 16 months he would withdraw the forces, we think that this period could increase or decrease a little, but that it could be suitable to end the presence of the forces in Iraq.”

He continued: “Who wants to exit in a quicker way has a better assessment of the situation in Iraq.”
And in a later clarification:
Iraqi officials hopes for US troop pullout by 2010

Ali al-Dabbagh made the comments following a meeting in Baghdad on Monday between Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and Democratic presidential contender Barack Obama, who arrived in Iraq earlier in the day.
Umm, so the same Iraqi gov't spokesman who said the remarks were mis-translated, (they weren't), now confirms that Maliki and Obama both want US troops out of Iraq by 2010. Hey, you say 16 months, I say 2010, let's call the whole thing off.

Original post:
Maliki: I Support Obama’s Withdrawal Timetable
And that's from Faux News!

What's the White House's reaction?
White House sends press corps al-Maliki praise for Obama plan

Cross posted at VidiotSpeak

A Lad Hussein

A Lad Hussein

Saturday, July 19, 2008

And the public gets what the public wants

McCain says it's all in your head, watch it!

Want to have some great fun and help determine the political direction of the US for the next several years? Or at least pretend to? Check out Open Cabinet, a wiki where you can pick and choose the next administration from the VPOTUS on down:
Open Cabinet is a collaborative effort to map out the next President's Administration. From the Vice President to the Secretary of Labor, let's figure out who might - and who should - staff the Executive agencies.

Built by Michael Whitney, it's quite interesting. And there's a companion blog as well. Seriously, the selections already in place are fascination, some obvious, some much less so. I'm not thrilled to see Check Hagel's (R-Neanderthal) name on the Obama list for VP. Other than on the Iraq war, the man is as Republican as one can be.

Anyway, check it out, and make your own contributions. That's what a wiki is all about.

If you're happy and you know it...

Don't read this post.


We haven't found out what's killing our honey bees yet:
WASHINGTON - Food prices could rise even more unless the mysterious decline in honey bees is solved, farmers and businessmen told lawmakers Thursday.


About three-quarters of flowering plants rely on birds, bees and other pollinators to help them reproduce. Bee pollination is responsible for $15 billion annually in crop value.

In 2006, beekeepers began reporting losing 30 percent to 90 percent of their hives. This phenomenon has become known as Colony Collapse Disorder. Scientists do not know how many bees have died; beekeepers have lost 36 percent of their managed colonies this year. It was 31 percent for 2007, said Edward B. Knipling, administrator of the Agriculture Department's Agricultural Research Service.

"If there are no bees, there is no way for our nation's farmers to continue to grow the high quality, nutritious foods our country relies on," said Democratic Rep. Dennis Cardoza of California, chairman of the horticulture and organic agriculture panel. "This is a crisis we cannot afford to ignore."

Food prices have gone up 83 percent in three years, according to the World Bank.
We're turning our oceans into an acid bath:

FORT LAUDERDALE, Florida (Reuters) - Like a tooth dipped in a glass of Coca-Cola, coral reefs, lobsters and other marine creatures that build calcified shells around themselves could soon dissolve as climate change turns the oceans increasingly acidic.

The carbon dioxide spewed into the atmosphere by factories, cars and power plants is not just raising temperatures. It is also causing what scientists call "ocean acidification" as around 25 percent of the excess CO2 is absorbed by the seas.

The threat to hard-bodied marine organisms, such as coral reefs already struggling with warming waters, is alarming, and possibly quite imminent, marine scientists gathered this week for a coral reef conference in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, said.
We are running out of rain forests, wood, and land to grow crops:
Demand for land to grow food, fuel crops and wood is set to outstrip supply, leading to the probable destruction of forests, a report warns.

The Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI) says only half of the extra land needed by 2030 is available without eating into tropical forested areas.
We're losing the penquins:
RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil - Hundreds of baby penguins swept from the icy shores of Antarctica and Patagonia are washing up dead on Rio de Janeiro's tropical beaches, rescuers and penguin experts said Friday.

And what we're not losing is being made toxic:
The Maine Center for Disease Control said Friday that lobster meat is perfectly safe but that people should not eat the tomalley — a soft green substance found in the body of the lobster.

High levels of toxic algae known as red tide have been recorded along Maine's coast this summer, forcing the state to close many areas to clam and mussel harvesting. Tomalley functions as the lobster's liver by serving as a natural filter for contaminants that are in the water.
WASHINGTON - The tomato scare may be over, but it has taken a toll — it's cost the industry an estimated $100 million and left millions of people with a new wariness about the safety of everyday foods.
I'm reading Jared Diamond's Collapse which talks about societies which become unsustainable yet the people continue to misuse and use up their resources. Overpopulation is one factor. Inability to anticipate and plan for future disasters is another. What is happening now has been repeated several times before.

I just never expected to actually be here when everything broke all at once.

crossposted at Rants from the Rookery

Friday, July 18, 2008

Just runnin' scared each place we go

As the McCain campaign deconstructs into flip-flopping, hypocrisy, and general hackery, a truly horrible video (above) has been presented on the McCain web site, criticizing Barack Obama.

In the opening sequence, these letters appear on the screen, below Obama's picture:

Not clear enough? Al Qaeda Documentary? Or Al Qaeda Commentary?

It quickly morphs into The Obama Iraq Documentary. Nice.

There is speculation in the blogosphere that Alex Castellanos is behind this video. Who? This guy:
The Republican media consultant Alex Castellanos has been called the father of the modern political attack ad — an appellation he might not offer up himself, though we suspect he’s kinda proud of it. Although Castellanos has served on the GOP media team in every general election since 1988, his most infamous spot ran in the 1990 North Carolina Senate race between Jesse Helms and Harvey Gantt, the former mayor of Charlotte, who also happened to be an African-American. The commercial was called “Hands,” and it showed a white guy sitting at a table, the camera trained on his mitts as he crumpled up a job-rejection notice. “You needed that job and you were the best qualified,” intoned the voice-over. “But they gave it to a minority because of a racial quota.” Ugly? Sure. But it won reelection for Helms. In this year’s Republican race, Castellanos worked on Mitt Romney’s primary bid, but today he sits on what’s known as the McCain Ad Council, a group of A-list Republican admen serving as outside media advisers to the GOP standard-bearer.

McCain is an empty suit, trying to appeal to the hawks, Religious Right, and Big Government Republicans that have taken over the party of Dwight Eisenhower. McCain may have had ideals, ethics, morals at some point, but he threw them into the trash to appeal to the party's base.

This is all he has left: Obama = Al Qaeda. As a defense against Bush = McCain advertising, it ain't working so well.


(h/t julian from

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Straight Outta Competence


Falling Behind Even Faster

Remember back in the '90s when the the GOP thought it was so grand that they had defeated the Clinton health care plan? Since that time there have been study after study panning the state of health care in the US. We continue to fall behind country after country as the GOP and even some Dems in Congress keep kowtowing to their special interest buddies in industry in turn for campaign funds and special favors. In every one of these studies it shouts at the fact that we, in the U.S., spend more money than other developed countries for health care and we get the least. Everybody in Congress has a good health care plan(paid for by us taxpayers), they're doing just fine while millions of us pay out the nose for just marginal healthcare insurance and millions more of us have no coverage at all.

The GOP and the other fat cats keep telling us we have a free market system but if that was the case shouldn't we buyers be getting more for our money and not less? Well we aren't, and we are falling further and further behind. Now we're #42!

The United States of America is becoming less united by the day. A 30-year gap now exists in the average life expectancy between Mississippi, in the Deep South, and Connecticut, in prosperous New England. Huge disparities have also opened up in income, health and education depending on where people live in the US, according to a report published yesterday.

The American Human Development Index has applied to the US an aid agency approach to measuring well-being – more familiar to observers of the Third World – with shocking results. The US finds itself ranked 42nd in global life expectancy and 34th in survival of infants to age. Suicide and murder are among the top 15 causes of death and although the US is home to just 5 per cent of the global population it accounts for 24 per cent of the world's prisoners.

Despite an almost cult-like devotion to the belief that unfettered free enterprise is the best way to lift Americans out of poverty, the report points to a rigged system that does little to lessen inequalities.

"The report shows that although America is one of the richest nations in the world, it is woefully behind when it comes to providing opportunity and choices to all Americans to build a better life," the authors said.

Some of its more shocking findings reveal that, in parts of Texas, the percentage of adults who pass through high school has not improved since the 1970s.

crossposted at Fallenmonk

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

What a lovely way of sayin' how much you love me

It's been obvious for some time that the Religious Right has its eyes set on what they perceive as a really big prize:
In a spectacular act of complicity with the religious right, the Department of Health and Human Services Monday released a proposal that allows any federal grant recipient to obstruct a woman's access to contraception. In order to do this, the Department is attempting to redefine many forms of contraception, the birth control 40% of Americans use, as abortion. Doing so protects extremists under the Weldon and Church amendments. Those laws prohibit federal grant recipients from requiring employees to help provide or refer for abortion services. The "Definitions" section of the HHS proposal states,
Abortion: An abortion is the termination of a pregnancy. There are two commonly held views on the question of when a pregnancy begins. Some consider a pregnancy to begin at conception (that is, the fertilization of the egg by the sperm), while others consider it to begin with implantation (when the embryo implants in the lining of the uterus). A 2001 Zogby International American Values poll revealed that 49% of Americans believe that human life begins at conception. Presumably many who hold this belief think that any action that destroys human life after conception is the termination of a pregnancy, and so would be included in their definition of the term "abortion." Those who believe pregnancy begins at implantation believe the term "abortion" only includes the destruction of a human being after it has implanted in the lining of the uterus.

In other words, they're going not only for Roe v. Wade, but Griswold v. Connecticut:
Griswold v. Connecticut, 381 U.S. 479 (1965), [1] was a landmark case in which the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that the Constitution protected a right to privacy. The case involved a Connecticut law that prohibited the use of contraceptives. By a vote of 7-2, the Supreme Court invalidated the law on the grounds that it violated the "right to marital privacy".

Yep, that's right. It was only 43 years ago that the Supremes said that humans had the right to use contraception. This is on the radar of the Right. When they talk about Supreme Court judges, this is the subtext. When they talk about "strict constructionist" judges, they mean judges who believe you and I have no inherent right to privacy.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The Real 'Surge'

While most of us have a sense that things are not going well in Afghanistan the following puts it in a little more sobering perspective:

There have been 556 Americans killed in Afghanistan since 2001. 64 of them--nearly 12 percent--have been killed in the last six weeks.
'Bring it on Bush' is spilling the blood of our men and women needlessly. He needs to be impeached and imprisoned for lying to the American people, killing Americans in a useless war and ignoring the real threat posed by the Taliban in Afghanistan. His incompetence has allowed them to rebuild and his ill advised 'surge' in Iraq is resulting in a real 'surge' of dead American soldiers in Afghanistan.

crossposted at Fallenmonk

Sunday, July 13, 2008

I Am The Bagman, I Am The Bagman

No One Really Watching Us

...He Is The POTUS.

The Sunday Times reports Stephen Payne, a Bush pioneer and a political appointee to the Homeland Security Advisory Council, was caught on tape offering access to key members of the Bush administration inner circle in exchange for “six-figure donations to the private library being set up to commemorate Bush’s presidency.”

'Boo Hoo You Rubes'


Saturday, July 12, 2008

Never an honest word, but that was when I ruled the world.

(Great live version of Viva La Vida)

I worked at and gave guitar lessons at a music store from '68-'70. The owner, a nice fellow, was a John Bircher. He had his "Take my guns . . . cold dead hands" bumper sticker on the wall, and he knew I didn't share his political outlook, and we talked about it pretty openly. Essentially he was a Libertarian, but he didn't get the 'free' aspect of the '60 cultural changes.

He once told me "Spiro Agnew is the smartest politician around." I know he was a pompous prick. And I had left the store by the time Agnew's sorry ass was indicted for bribery, so I didn't get to ask my former boss how that was working for him.

I had the same reaction tonight when I read this idiocy at RightWingNutHouse:
Phil Gramm is still one of the smartest men ever to serve in the United States Senate. This despite his clueless statement that the US is in a “mental recession” and that Americans are a bunch of “whiners” about the economy.

Really? "Smartest" and yet "clueless"? Even the above writer seems to see that Gramm might be 'out of touch':
Well things may very well look that way to the former Chairman of mortgage giant USB and a guy who gets $50 thousand a crack to regale fat cat businessmen with stories of how stupid our government is and how the private sector is always smarter. I’m sure from the vantage point of someone whose idea of rough economic times is cutting back on the number of manicure’s he receives a week from 3 to 2, things are just peachy.

Ya think? For starters, it's UBS, you tool. And the irony is, as usual, lost since you know that Gramm "gets $50 thousand a crack to regale fat cat businessmen with stories of how stupid our government is and how the private sector is always smarter" and you can't seem to interpret your own writing to see that he's just plain, stupidly dismally wrong.

Ah the private sector . . .

Here's what Gramm did for the private sector:
As chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, Gramm was instrumental in pushing major banking deregulation in 1999 that critics say has contributed to the current mortgage crisis.

The bank deregulation law, known as the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, was the most important update in banking laws since the New Deal. Its most important feature: breaking down walls between commercial banks, investment banks and insurance companies.

Gramm's critics say the deregulation of commercial banks contained in the law made it easier for banks to push risky subprime mortgages on lower-income customers.


Gramm used his prominent position in the Senate to promote less federal oversight of the energy industry. Democrats single out a provision pushed by Gramm in 2000 that exempted energy trading on electronic platforms from federal regulation.

The provision was dubbed "the Enron loophole" because it was backed by the Houston-based energy trader Enron, on whose board Gramm's wife Wendy sat at the time. Democrats give Gramm full credit for the proposal; Gramm says that he used language that was "essentially the same" as a provision approved months earlier by the House.

California officials blamed the provision for precipitating the electricity crisis in California in late 2000 and 2001. More recently, Democrats say that energy traders have used it to drive up energy prices. Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., likens the action to taking "the cop off the beat."

Here's what a real economist says about Gramm:
Phil Gramm’s career was the most aggressive advocate of every predatory and rapacious element that the financial sector has. He’s a sorcerer’s apprentice of instability and disaster in the financial system.

And about Gramm's educational bona fides:

Thank you for sending the Gramm dissertations. I have read them through with considerable interest.

Phil’s is a curious document. It is mainly an exercise in the history of economic thought, though I doubt that Gramm thought of it in those terms at the time. His topic is an issue in the theory of consumer demand, namely, what is the precise meaning of the idea that consumers have well-formed and unchanging preferences? His method is essentially, a critical review of literature.

For a Ph.D. dissertation, especially one which is not mathematical (and it isn’t), this one at 79 pages is short. It contains no advanced mathematics, no data or analysis of data, no archival or otherwise original research. It is based solely on published sources available in any well-equipped library at the time, and there is only one reference to anything written after 1960, which for a thesis submitted in 1967 is astonishing. The writing style is for the most part graceless and involute, marred here and there by misused words like “fecundities.” It is belabored and repetitive, with chapters that overlap each other. It is basically an extended discussion of a single idea.

. . . On the whole, Phil Gramm’s thesis could have been condensed to an interesting article at some point in the development of twentieth century microeconomic theory. My guess is that the proper moment for that article would have come in the late 1940s, or some twenty years before Gramm actually wrote his dissertation. By the time he did write it, the mathematical character of the field had long since outpaced the very modest display of technique here, and the concerns Gramm writes about would probably have already been considered antique in most quarters. It would be interesting to know if Gramm got anything published out of this, and if so, where.

. . . It is equally clear to me that Phil got his degree in order to move on and do something else. Had he stayed in economics, he probably would not have prospered.

Except that he has prospered.

Meanwhile, back at RightWingNutHouse, a commenter explains what is causing the economic woes:

Gramm is correct. If Americans aren’t whinners than why do we sit still as the elites propose tax increase after tax increase?

If we aren’t weak minded cretins why are we watching the government bail out financial institutions who carried out their bidding when Congress passed the Community Redevelopment Act. An act intended to grant loans to blacks, hispanics, etc who couldn’t hope to meet the requirements for a normal loan.

So we now see 2,000 foreclosures daily, up 50% from last year but equal to only two tenths of a per cent of all mortgages. Yet this will cost American taxpayers a trillion dollars so our senators and politicians can have sweetheart loans.

And what do we get? More of the same manure from both parties. Amnesty? Restricted drilling? Earmarks? Unending deficits and printing presses rivaling Zimbabwe?

As usual, not hidden far beneath the surface, is racism. The Community Redevelopment Act? Um, no. And if Gramm isn't an 'elite', then I don't know who is.

Another commenter sets things straight:

The truth is that the federal reserve system (not part of our government, but a private monopoly) started the whole thing by flooding the market with liquidity – inviting debt, both good and bad.

We, as Americans have no say and either does our government. They print as much money and create as much liquidity as they want. They answer to no one and are siphoning off the wealth of the middle class.

When Americans begin to understand that we have no control over the federal reserve, then they will begin to realize that the federal reserve actually controls us.

Most in government and many in the media know this but won’t say a word.

The stupid, it just burns sometimes. No mention of a certain war in Iraq that costs $536 billion and keeps going up.

The "secret service" makes me nervous, those White House "dicks" get all their kicks when they observe us!

Librarian and former reporter Carol Kreck is shown in the above video being ticketed and then removed by police during a McCain rally in Denver earlier this week.

In the video, a representative from the Denver Center for Performing Arts claims it was "representatives of the Secret Service" who asked for her removal. But it seems that isn't true:
It was Sen. John McCain's staff who asked security at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts to remove people holding protest signs at the venue — not U.S. Secret Service agents, who were not involved in Carol Kreck's ouster from the galleria.

A video of the incident circulating widely on the Internet shows a DCPA security guard saying that he was told by the Secret Service to remove Kreck, who was holding a paper sign that said "McCain = Bush."

But Thursday, after two days of being vilified by bloggers, letter writers and others, the Secret Service emphatically denied involvement.

. . .

"A representative of Senator John McCain's staff respectfully asked that the venue for its July 7 Town Hall Meeting, The Denver Center for the Performing Arts, not allow persons to display signage within the Arts Complex," DCPA officials said in a statement.

DCPA spokeswoman Suzanne Blandon said the guard who told Kreck to leave was "simply mistaken" in identifying the Secret Service as the agency that wanted her to leave. Blandon said the guard did not intend to use the Secret Service as leverage and did not mean to mislead anyone.

Maybe yes, maybe no. Ms. Kreck has a piece up at HuffPost where she adds:
Because it is without attribution, the lede in Cardona's story reads like she took the word of the DCPA and the Secret Service for gospel, which might not have been such a good idea.

Where is the statement from McCain's staff in this story? And why did it take the Secret Service two days to claim they had nothing to do with my ouster?

. . . The Secret Service claims what happened in the courtyard would be "inconsistent with our established policies and procedures." But the Secret Service has been hit several times with lawsuits alleging violations of First Amendment rights when citizens expressed opposition to administration policies. Locally, Denver attorney David Lane is suing them for a violation of Steven Howards' First and Fourth Amendment rights. Howards approached Dick Cheney in a Beaver Creek mall and told the vice president his policies in the Middle East were reprehensible. He was arrested; charges were dropped.

(As the New York Times reported, that issue devolved into "Secret Service agents -- under oath in court depositions -- accusing one another of unethical and perhaps even illegal conduct in the handling of Mr. Howards's arrest and the official accounting of it.")

Many of you have been inquiring about the status of legal proceedings. Colorado ACLU has deputized two attorneys to handle my case: criminal defense lawyer Pete Hedeen will take care of the trespassing charge. I will not pay a fine, I will not accept diversion. That leaves two options: dropped charges, or going to trial. After that is resolved, David Lane will proceed civilly.

Indeed. No word from the McCain campaign. Of course, that would only add to the week's blunders. And no word from the Secret Service who as a rule do not comment on stuff. Except when they do for their own PR purposes.

In which I respond to yet another Blackwater apologist

Jessica in London wrote a comment to this post. As with Doug, I'm going to respond in a post.
Blogger Jessica said...

Why does everyone insist on concentrating on Blackwater in this discussion?

It's one company. ONE company.

The industry, and all that's good and noble about it - and it IS worthwhile, despite hysteria over a one or two unfortunate incidents the leftist media like to whip up into a frenzy - is so much more than ONE commercial company who, whilst admittedly powerful at the moment, can be brought to heel by the power of economics.

Get over this ridiculous preoccupation - look beyond it and understand that having companies that stop rebel factions cutting open pregnant women is much more desirable than inaction and the status quo... one example obviously, but these companies operate in areas the perennial arm chair critical is clearly too spinelss to go, and yet they feel compelled to preach to the world like they are some sort of authority.

The positive effects of these companies have so much more benefit than the negatives ones - which are arguably inevitable due to the unfortunate nature of the environment they operate in. But if they actually meant to cause international outrage, you'd be reading about their anitics every day. But you dont, you only see the the dirge of the ill-informed, gutless critic. Wake up, and understand the world around you is not wrapped in cotton wool.
7/11/08 12:43 PM
As I said in the comments section, Jessica, thanks for the comment. I'm going to respond, your comments are indented and in bold.
Why does everyone insist on concentrating on Blackwater in this discussion?

It's one company. ONE company.

The industry, and all that's good and noble about it - and it IS worthwhile, despite hysteria over a one or two unfortunate incidents the leftist media like to whip up into a frenzy - is so much more than ONE commercial company who, whilst admittedly powerful at the moment, can be brought to heel by the power of economics.
Yes, Blackwater is one company. One company which, as of this moment, has made about one billion ... BILLION taxpayer dollars with its no-bid contracts with the government. No oversight, no accountability. No person would hand over his hard earned money to a stranger and not check up on what was being done with it, right? Why on earth should we not have oversight with this company? Being brought to heel by cutting off funds won't make any difference at this point. Blackwater is richer than some countries.

There are many more defense contractor companies than just Blackwater in Iraq and Afghanistan. This is known. But not all of them are run by a fundamentalist Christian during a time of a great religious power struggle within the US; not all of them are attempting to set up many bases in many different states; spread out into intelligence work and spying, border patrol, citizen control. Erik Prince has his sights on things we cannot even guess and he has the money now to achieve them. Check out his connections to the government, politicians, local police, and religious groups.

Blackwater is truly the tip of the enormous defense contractor iceberg, but it's what we can see. We know there's a lot we will never know about.

And 'one or two unfortunate incidents'? You say 'unfortunate' when innocent bystanders die? There are many more incidences, just not reported in the media. How about we go ask Iraqis what they have experienced when interacting with Blackwater? Our own military? We will definitely be hearing more and more of these stories soon.
Get over this ridiculous preoccupation - look beyond it and understand that having companies that stop rebel factions cutting open pregnant women is much more desirable than inaction and the status quo... one example obviously, but these companies operate in areas the perennial arm chair critical is clearly too spinelss to go, and yet they feel compelled to preach to the world like they are some sort of authority.
It's not a ridiculous preoccupation when Iraqis and millions of angry Muslims believe that Blackwater and the US military are one and the same. Yet one is run by the Geneva Conventions (or was) and rules of war and one is answerable and accountable to no one. Blackwater is presumed to act in our name yet will not answer to us. The company is even hiring Chileans and South Africans who have worked in the most oppressive of governments. This clearly qualifies them as mercenaries. Mercenaries who owe their allegiance to Erik Prince and to Blackwater, not to the US people.

As to your bizarre reference to sliced up pregnant women? Besides being the overused canard dragged out in every conflict since the world began to incite hatred of the enemy, our 'good and noble' side has tortured, bombed, killed innocents. You want to start listing atrocities? Abu Ghraib? Bagram? Gitmo? How about starting with the murder of the 17 innocents in the Mansour district in Baghdad? Pointing fingers is almost useless because no one involved is clean of such horrors, the tangle of militias, tribes, Shiite and Sunni, neighborhoods against neighborhoods is almost impossible to track.

What we've activated in Iraq by removing a feared strongman as Saddam is to fling off the lid on Pandora's box. Those who know the area have said there are about 20 different civil wars going on. You want to reference which 'rebel factions' are slicing up which 'pregnant women'? It depends on where you are, what time of day it is, and which militia has gotten their hands on more ammo. Rape and murder of women, pregnant or not, is a tool of terror and of war, one of the first things that happens when society collapses.

By the way, how is Blackwater 'stopping rebel factions'? They aren't combatants, right? Are they diplomats? How exactly are they stopping rebel factions?
The positive effects of these companies have so much more benefit than the negatives ones - which are arguably inevitable due to the unfortunate nature of the environment they operate in. But if they actually meant to cause international outrage, you'd be reading about their anitics every day. But you dont, you only see the the dirge of the ill-informed, gutless critic. Wake up, and understand the world around you is not wrapped in cotton wool.
Please tell me of the positive effects when the insignia you wear and the behavior you do inspires fear and hatred in the population. And how would you know about these effects, 'Jessica'? Do you know someone who is working for Blackwater? Are you yourself working for Blackwater? How would you know at all about what is going on in Iraq? Are you being an armchair 'supporter' or have you been there? Or are you reading on the net as I am doing?

Journalists have been targeted in Iraq and the news is hard to get and hard to get out and Blackwater is not telling us what they are doing, are they? One politician, Marshall Adame was protected by Blackwater on a visit and was so horrified by their behavior that he complained. Blackwater went after him in his election.

'The dirge of the ill-informed, gutless critic'? Really? (Dirges are funereal songs which is rather appropriate.) But are you suggesting that the American people should stop caring what is going on and only cheer on our wonderful war without question? Ill-informed? That they should not try to understand the Iraq war, all of its implications, present and future, and attempt to get many different perspectives rather than the swallowing the obvious propaganda? Gutless? Because they think the war has been a horrible blunder? Because they didn't sign up right away to fight the glorious War on Terror? Are you serious? Being awake means knowing what is going on, not accepting without question things being done in one's name. Cotton wool only muffles the noise.

Finally, in your first section ....'good and noble'? I beg your pardon? A company whose business it is to make money in times of war. What is good and noble about being a warmonger? There is no incentive to make peace, or to make things stable. The continuation of war and instability is what guarantees profits. How on earth is that good and noble?

Answer me this. Do you believe that war solves problems and that if someone resists you should hit them harder? Do you think you can frighten and cow a population into submission? Are all Iraqis bad? Are Muslims inherently evil? Do you believe there a crusade by Christianity against Islam? Can you explain why we are in Iraq in the first place? Do you believe in the Rapture? Do you have children?

I get the theme of your comment by the words you've used: hysteria, whip up, frenzy, ridiculous, preoccupation, perennial arm chair critic, spineless, compelled, preach, dirge, ill-informed, gutless. I believe it is hysterical, ridiculous, spineless, gutless, and ill-informed NOT to ask questions, demand answers, make posts, tell people.

Why on earth would you support Blackwater, Jessica, unless you have a connection to it?

crossposted at Rants from the Rookery and American Street

Friday, July 11, 2008


Bad Hosts or Just Crackers?
Here's a story that will destroy your hopes for a reasonable humanity
Webster Cook says he smuggled a Eucharist, a small bread wafer that to Catholics symbolic of the Body of Christ after a priest blesses it, out of mass, didn't eat it as he was supposed to do, but instead walked with it.

This isn't the stupid part yet. He walked off with a cracker that was put in his mouth, and people in the church fought with him to get it back. It is just a cracker!

Catholics worldwide became furious.

Would you believe this isn't hyperbole? People around the world are actually extremely angry about this — Webster Cook has been sent death threats over his cracker. Those are just kooks, you might say, but here is the considered, measured response of the local diocese:

"We don't know 100% what Mr. Cooks motivation was," said Susan Fani a spokesperson with the local Catholic diocese. "However, if anything were to qualify as a hate crime, to us this seems like this might be it."

We just expect the University to take this seriously," she added "To send a message to not just Mr. Cook but the whole community that this kind of really complete sacrilege will not be tolerated."

Wait, what? Holding a cracker hostage is now a hate crime? The murder of Matthew Shephard was a hate crime. The murder of James Byrd Jr. was a hate crime. This is a goddamned cracker. Can you possibly diminish the abuse of real human beings any further?
It seems like the uproar is about the cracker actually being the body of Jesus once the cracker is consecrated. I'm pretty sure cannibalism is illegal in this country.

Of course, I thought necrophilia was illegal too ... and in that case Wisconsin agrees with me:
Wisconsin law bans sex with dead bodies

Wisconsin law bans sex with dead bodies, the state Supreme Court ruled Wednesday in reinstating charges against three men accused of digging up a corpse so one of them could have sex with it.

The court waded into the grisly case after lower court judges ruled nothing in state law banned necrophilia.
Well, I guess I was only 1/2 right, you can eat dead bodies, but you can't have intercourse with them ... or it's OK to eat live bodies, but you can't have sex with them?
I'm so confused.

Continuing my confusion: Longtime readers, (yes, I'm talking to both of you), know I'm a fan of Justice Bedsworth's online column. What is there not to like about a judge who titles his column "A Criminal Waste of Space"?
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you
Bronko Nagurski and the Magical Penis Thieves
[just read the whole thing, the title makes sense.]
Speaking of blogtopiates, skippy, (who coined the phrase 'blogtopia'), had his 6th blogiversary* yesterday!!! Happy blogiversary to skippy and all his crew! Here's to many more!

*(y, wkjmctp!)

Cross posted at VidiotSpeak