Monday, June 28, 2010

Waste Deep in the Big Oily

Governor Bobby Jindal is a piece of ... work:
Gov. Bobby Jindal urges Obama to get deepwater drilling back quickly

Jindal vetoes bill to open oil spill records

Jindal's statement doesn't address the specific question of why Louisiana is using only 1,053 of the 6,000 National Guard troops available to the state.
But, but, he has a better plan!
I, Bobby Jindal, Governor of the State of Louisiana, do hereby proclaim June 27, 2010 as a Statewide Day of Prayer In the State of Louisiana and in the Gulf of Mexico.
Jesus Christ Bobby, don't you think god already knows about the spill, and that your policies are helped cause it!? Instead of asking folks to pray how about asking them to go down to the shore and clean some birds or use those absorbent ShamWows to clean up the mess.

I mean, for god's sake Bobby, first you say you turned down the stimulus money, then you're caught handing out big checks of the stimulus money and taking credit for it; you say the Feds should back off while whining that they're not doing enough!

The only thing you have going for you in the party of gNOPE is you have been out dumbed by your fellow Gulf Coast Governors. And that's not a nice thing to say about anyone.

Bobby et al, pray in one hand, shit in the other. Let me know which one gets full first.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Been a soldier for a thousand years . . .

So McChrystal was sacked today, for obvious reasons. He's a complicated guy, who voted for Obama, and banned Fox News from TV's at his headquarters.

But lest anyone remember him fondly, he's still this guy:
Pulitzer Prize–winning investigative reporter Seymour Hersh, describing McChrystal's role in what he calls an "executive assassination wing" of the military's joint special-operations command that Hersh claims reported directly to former Vice President Cheney's office (NPR, March 30, 2009).

McChrystal has been accused of involvement in covering up of the fact that Tillman had been shot by his own comrades, having approved a citation for a posthumous medal that attributed his death to "enemy fire," though the general also penned a memo warning the White House against describing the circumstance of Tillman's death for fear of future embarrassment.

An official investigation blamed McChrystal for “inaccurate and misleading assertions” in the formal recommendation of Tillman for a Silver Star.

And this guy:
Camp Nama, for example, was clearly authorized by high authorities, was a mini-concentration camp for detainees, with U.S. soldiers in no uniform, with no names, licensed by their commander-in-chief to beat and terrorize and torture at will. Money quote from a soldier who witnessed the systematic, approved abuse:

"Once, somebody brought it up with the colonel. 'Will [the Red Cross] ever be allowed in here?' And he said absolutely not. He had this directly from General McChrystal and the Pentagon that there's no way that the Red Cross could get in — they won't have access and they never will. This facility was completely closed off to anybody investigating, even Army investigators." ...

Was he just allowing his staff to shoot-off their collective mouts, or was he condoning clear and obvious disrespect for the chain of command? Was he even trying to organize a "soft coup"?

McChrystal’s, of course, playing innocent now, and he’s apologized to the White House, but it’s hard to believe a man who spends his every waking hour plotting strategy would “accidentally” leak these kinds of whopping gaffs to the press.

It should serve as a reminder to everyone that not all military coups are violent overthrows of a democratically elected president. Sometimes, disgruntled generals can perform “soft coups,” a gradual, sneaky undermining of presidential authority and policy. Oops, did I just mentioned we’re killing civilians to the press? Whoops! Did I just discredit the president to Rolling Stone?

I dunno. But he's clearly not in charge of his staff. And that doesn't bode well for a military commander.

And he doesn't seem to understand this kind of soldier:

Sunday, June 20, 2010

I`d rather switch than...

The Old Switcheroo

...listen to this twaddling swill.

Crooks & Liars:

Sen. Joe Lieberman is telling his critics to "relax" over a bill that would allow the president to disable parts of the internet as he deems necessary.
China has an internet "kill switch" and the U.S. should too, according to Lieberman.

"We need this capacity in a time of war. We need the capacity for the president to say, internet service provider, we've got to disconnect the American internet from all traffic coming in from another foreign country, or we have to put a patch on this part of it," Lieberman told CNN's Candy Crowley Sunday.

"So I say to my friends on the internet, relax. Take a look at the bill. And this is something that we need to protect our country.

Right now China, the government, can disconnect parts of its internet in case of war and we need to have that here too," he said.

Sounds awfully needy...apparently becoming a apologist for communist repression tactics and "rogue nation" behaviors isn't the same sort of career-blasting minefield within American politics that it once was.

Good to know, comrades! And Senator one of your "friends on the Ìnternet", congratulations on becoming another of the "many nooses around the neck of U.S. imperialism". That'll show those libs!

Of course, I'm sure I won't be the only 'party' pooper to bring this pesky detail to the fore:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.



Thursday, June 17, 2010

Sweet Home Alabama

But it's so beautiful!
Photographer: Dave Martin/AP

US Rep Joe Barton said today:
"I'm speaking now totally for myself, I'm not speaking for the Republican Party, I'm not speaking for anybody in the House of Representatives, but myself. But I'm ashamed of what happened in the White House yesterday.

I think it is a tragedy of the first proportion that a private corporation can be subjected to what I would characterize as a shakedown, in this case a $20 billion shakedown, with the Attorney General of the United States, who is legitimately conducting a criminal investigation and has every right to do so to protect the interests of the American people, participating in what amounts to a $20 billion slush fund that's unprecedented in our nation's history, that's got not legal standing, and which sets I think a terrible precedent for the future."
Gosh Joe, you say you aren't speaking for the Rethugs!?

Say it ain't so Joe, because in your prepared remarks you echoed exactly the talking points prepared for you by the Republican Study Committee!

So make up your dammed minds rethugs; either the government isn't doing enough or it's doing too much.

It's sure easy for Barton (R-TX_BP) to say, his Gulf coast is up wind and tides and his biggest contributor is the oily industry.

Even rethuglicans disagree:
"The oil spill in the Gulf is this nation's largest natural disaster and stopping the leak and cleaning up the region is our top priority. Congressman Barton's statements this morning were wrong," House GOP leaders John Boehner, Eric Cantor and Mike Pence said in a statement.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Little things I should have said and done

Special thanks to The Sailor for keeping it up here, while I've been dealing with work, a complicated move, in other words, life.

Things are slowly getting back to normal, which means the Right in this country are becoming more idiotic than ever. Witness the magical thinking from Orange County Register columnist Brian Calle about eMeg Whitman:
Meg Whitman's meteoric rise to the top of the California GOP ticket should leave Jerry Brown shaking in his sandals, but her candidacy also ought to cause many of the down-ticket Democratic candidates, including Sen. Barbara Boxer, some sleepless nights. Whitman has proven she is credible, viable and willing to spend as much money as it takes to get elected – and she has enough to do so. Oh, yeah. And after a nearly $100 million knockdown, drag- out primary battle with Republican Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner, she is also "battle tested." Democrats beware.

Battle tested my ass. About as "battle tested" as The Donald after one of his "The Apprentice" episodes, where his money and hubris are enough to propel him to the bottom of reality show ratings.

Read the whole editorial, where she is painted as a successor to St. Ronnie, able to connect with moderate Dems. While Reagan did connect with "Reagan Democrats", who were fooled & foolish, that ain't gonna happen now. The only Dem who might vote for Meg is Mickey Kaus. And while I really like Mickey, his political instincts are pretty far right for CA.

No, Meg is that recent breed of MBA, who thinks that a CEO can be a CEO anywhere, and that California needs a CEO who has no clue about the flawed initiative process here that binds & restricts the legislature on spending.

All I can say is that at least she's not the incompetent nincompoop Carly Fiorina is. While eMeg's tenure at eBay was largely lackluster, she didn't nearly ruin the company the way Fiorina almost did Hewlett-Packard. But she'll prove to be an incompetent chief executive if elected the November.

Beware, California, of zealots masquerading as public servants.

For a prescient look at the idiocy that is Whitman, here are some quotes from a March 2009 Fortune article by Patricia Sellers:
  • She's appalled that California has nearly doubled state spending during the decade through 2008. (See: Initiative process. Voters voting for idiotic propositions)
  • Although Whitman was Fortune's Most Powerful Woman in Business in 2004 and 2005 (and eBay has christened its San Jose headquarters Whitman Campus), there's no denying that her performance as CEO sputtered in her last three years there. The company's growth hit a wall. Profits fell. The stock, as high as $59 in late 2004, now trades around $12 a share.
  • Whitman had no interest in a political career until the fall of 2006, when Mitt Romney, her boss at Bain in the early '80s, invited her to breakfast in Silicon Valley and asked her to help him run for President. Whitman became one of Romney's finance co-chairs and helped him raise $12 million in California, out of $72 million he raised nationwide. She also coached him on team building and, as he says, "making my message more clear."
  • She's pro-choice and anti-gay-marriage but supports gay civil unions. (Really? Really?)
  • Brown displays a mix of ridicule and respect when he describes candidate Meg's positioning this way: "'I ran a business. I can buy my campaign. I have zero experience in government. I want to take on the most difficult state government job in America. Therefore, make me governor.' That's her campaign."
  • To talk job creation, which she says is the key lever to lift the economy, she went to see the Texas governor, Rick Perry, last October. (When I think populism, Perry isn't who comes to mind)
  • To talk education, which accounts for half of California's $100 billion annual budget, she visited former Florida governor Jeb Bush.
  • Meanwhile, she's aiming to slash the state's workforce at least 10% and expenses an additional $15 billion.
Idiocy, ignorance, ideology. The Holy Trinity for Republicans.

And lastly re laMeg, my friend Robert Cruickshank has this @ Calitics:
Speaking of Meg Whitman, she's apparently well along in her training as a member of the dark side. In 2007, she physically assaulted an eBay employee who was trying to prepare her for a press interview. The employee pressed charges and later settled out of court. Here's the New York Times story:
In June 2007, an eBay employee claimed that Ms. Whitman became angry and forcefully pushed her in an executive conference room at eBay's headquarters, according to multiple former eBay employees with knowledge of the incident. They spoke on the condition of anonymity because the matter was delicate and was deemed to be strictly confidential.
The employee, Young Mi Kim, was preparing Ms. Whitman for a news media interview that day. Ms. Kim, who was not injured in the incident, hired a lawyer and threatened a lawsuit, but the dispute was resolved under the supervision of a private mediator. Two of the former employees said the company paid a six-figure financial settlement to Ms. Kim, which one of them characterized as "around $200,000."

The article goes on to describe how Whitman was reputed to bully her staff, "express[ing] sharp bursts of anger toward employees whose work or preparation she found lacking."

This is the same woman who now wants to be governor of California. Will she shove the Speaker of the Assembly when she doesn't get her way? Verbally abuse her Director of Finance when it becomes clear her "fire everybody" strategy only worsens the budget deficit? It certainly does not speak well to Whitman's judgement or her personality, which appears to be that of a pampered CEO who cannot deal with the rest of society as equals, but instead treats them like indentured servants.

Swell. We now have a governor who plays a tough guy in the movies, and we have a candidate who acts like a bully in real life.

For some relief from the pain, consider this, another perfect piece of music, having nothing to do with today's rant:

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Summer Breeze Makes Me Feel Fine

Kinda hard to tell from the pic below but this was a great sailing day:

Close up of the 'heel-o-meter' pictured above, next frame would be me dropping the camera and grabbing the tiller!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Murder by Numbers

Bump and Update:
Israeli Document: Gaza Blockade Isn't About Security

As Israel ordered a slight easing of its blockade of the Gaza Strip Wednesday, McClatchy obtained an Israeli government document that describes the blockade not as a security measure but as "economic warfare" against the Islamist group Hamas, which rules the Palestinian territory.
Two things; collective punishment is a war crime, and Hamas is the democratically elected government for Palestine, they 'rule' only because they were elected. The Bush regime pushed for the election, but didn't like the results.

So when the Israeli government says they are blockading arms, they are actually blockading aid to Palestinians. (See Palestinians/Palestine.)

Original post below:
Some more thoughts on Israel's latest act of state sponsored terrorism.

First, why is Israel blockading Gaza? Instead of resorting to a bushism of 'the terrists hate us fer arr freedoms' let us look at what Israel has to say:
Details of Gaza blockade revealed in court case

BBC News has seen documents, submitted to an Israeli Court, which give more detail than ever before about how and why Israel maintains its Gaza blockade.

In one document, Israel describes the import curbs as "a central pillar in the armed conflict with Hamas".

It also confirms estimates were made of how many calories Gazans need, but says these were not used for policy-making.
Israel says the blockade is to pressure Hamas, which does not recognise Israel and backs attacks on its citizens.[Well, that's not quite true, Hamas was the democratically elected gov't of Palestinians and has supported attacks on Israeli citizens, but it also recognizes Israel's right to exist.]
But Israel has never published a list of banned items, saying it approves requests on a case-by-case basis.
"Food Consumption in the Gaza Strip - Red Lines" which sets out the minimum calorie intake needed by Gaza's million and a half inhabitants, according to their age and sex.
Among the large range of goods currently forbidden are jam, chocolate, wood for furniture, fruit juice, textiles, and plastic toys.
Sounds like "collective punishment" to me and recalls certain images from Jewish history.

I guess those damn kids should have stayed off Israel's lawn.
Several years ago, when Ariel Sharon was prime minister, his main advisor, Dov Weisglass “jokingly” said that Israel’s siege was intended to put Gazans on a diet:“It’s like a meeting with a dietitian. We need to make the Palestinians lose weight, but not to starve to death.”

And why this?
Israel rejects international investigation of raid

Israel on Thursday rejected calls from the United Nations and others for an international investigation of its deadly raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla but left the door open to foreign involvement.

Israel says the commandos used force, killing nine people, only after activists attacked them with knives, crowbars and clubs, as well as two pistols grabbed from raiders. Activists who had set sail for Gaza with tons of aid, hoping to break Israel's 3-year-old blockade of Gaza, say Israeli commandos fired first.

Officials have insisted Israel's military already is investigating the raid and the country is capable of conducting a credible review.
Has there ever been an investigation that Israel's military conducted that didn't clear themselves? And to attack someone in international waters in a pre-dawn raid with attack boats and helicopter gunships and then blame the victims because they defended themselves with clubs against guns is ridiculous.

And come on now, the best commandos in the world are whining 'but he had a stick, I was forced to shoot him 4 times in the head' just doesn't wash.

Remember when I mentioned that Israel confiscated laptops and cameras from the civilians on board the flotilla? Well here's why:
Israel's army has been using confiscated videos to justify its deadly raid against a Gaza-bound aid flotilla, and the Foreign Press Association wants it to stop.

The organization, which represents hundreds of journalists in Israel and the Palestinian territories, says the military seized video and equipment from dozens of reporters on board the main ship.

The FPA demanded Thursday that the military stop using the captured material without permission and identify the source of the video already released. The material appeared Wednesday on the army's YouTube site labeled as "captured."

The FPA says the military is now selectively using footage to bolster its claims that commandos opened fire only after being attacked.
What was Israel's intention for what they did? It was definitely an act of war against every country with a flag on one of those ships. If not an act of war, then the soldiers who fired and killed those people need to be rounded up and released to the dead citizen's country for a proper murder trial.

Is this just a huge distraction, and from what? What is Israel doing right now that they'd risk such a backlash so that nobody would notice. I'm just sayin'.

And just as an aside, what do you think would've happened if Iran had done what Israel did? But that's a story for another day.

Compared to all that, this is brain bleach:

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

It's The End of the World As We Know It, And I Feel Fine

NYT Headlying:
U.N. Says Iran Has Fuel for 2 Nuclear Weapons

In their last report before the United Nations Security Council votes on sanctions against Iran, international nuclear inspectors declared Monday that Iran has now produced a stockpile of nuclear fuel that experts say would be enough, with further enrichment, to make two nuclear weapons.
Ahh, there's the rub that their hysterical headline reduces a mountain to a molehill. See, if the standard of having a nuclear weapon is dependent on "further enrichment" then every country in the world has a nuke.

So what we need to take away from this is that Iran doesn't have weapons grade uranium, AKA nuke. And to acquire it they would need to enrich uranium well beyond their current technical expertise. The last 1% takes as much refining as the first 99%, and they would have a lot less resultant material.

One would hope that the NYT, or us, had learned their lesson after lying us into one war, but I guess to them that's a feature, not a bug.

Brain bleach begins in 3 ... 2 ... 1 ..

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Now, what do you own the world?

Any sane person should find this despicable:
BP’s long-term credibility was at stake last night as its chief executive fought to halt a headlong slide in its stock price and the Obama Administration announced a criminal investigation into the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster.

After losing a third of its value in six weeks, BP is expected to promise shareholders this week that their annual dividend — more than $10 billion last year — will be maintained.

More than £12 billion was wiped off the company’s value yesterday as President Obama vowed to bring to justice those responsible for what he called “the greatest environmental disaster of its kind in our history”.

Eric Holder, the US Attorney-General, announced a criminal and civil investigation, to be conducted by the FBI and other federal agencies, after meeting local officials in New Orleans. “If we find evidence of illegal behaviour we will be forceful in our response,” he said after BP shares endured their worst day’s trading in more than two decades, dragging down the FTSE 100 and with it the value of dozens of leading pension funds.

$10 billion dividend?

This takes tone deaf to a new level. Seriously, Tony Hayward is asking to be hurt. While I doubt he will be, he should talk with security folks before appearing in public anytime soon.

Of course, Holder could simply arrest him . . .


I looked for a good song with "hurt", "die" or "kill" in the lyrics, came up short. This will have to do (ignore the short commercial please):

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Piracy on the high seas

Whether you call it piracy or state-sponsored terrorism, Israel just committed both. They attacked unarmed humanitarian aid ships in International waters and killed 19 people.
Israel Attacks Gaza Aid Fleet

Israeli forces have attacked a flotilla of aid-carrying ships aiming to break the country's siege on Gaza.

At least 19 people were killed and dozens injured when troops intercepted the convoy of ships dubbed the Freedom Flotilla early on Monday, Israeli radio reported.

The flotilla was attacked in international waters, 65km off the Gaza coast.

Avital Leibovich, an Israeli military spokeswoman, confirmed that the attack took place in international waters, saying: "This happened in waters outside of Israeli territory, but we have the right to defend ourselves."
You have a right to defend yourselves from food and doctors!? OK, even if I were to acknowledge that, why would you kill them in international waters!?

No, a thousand time NO, you don't get to attack and kill people in international waters just because you think they might attack, when you've established they have no offensive capabilities! These folks were just trying to deliver humanitarian aid to a place that has been devastated by war.

My suggestion? Stop giving Israel our tax money and arms.

Update: The Guardian/UK is putting the death toll at 10:
Israelis Opened Fire Before Boarding Gaza Flotilla, say Released Activists
First eyewitness accounts of raid contradict version put out by Israeli officials

"I am one of the first passengers to be sent home, just because I have baby. When we arrived at the Israeli port of Ashdod we were met by the Israeli interior and foreign ministry officials and police; there were no soldiers. They asked me only a few questions. But they took everything – cameras, laptops, cellphones, personal belongings including our clothes," she said.
Michalis Grigoropoulos, who was at the wheel of the Free Mediterranean, said: "We were in international waters. The Israelis acted like pirates, completely out of the normal way that they conduct nautical exercises, and seized our ship. They took us hostage, pointing guns at our heads; they descended from helicopters and fired tear gas and bullets. There was absolutely nothing we could do … Those who tried to resist forming a human ring on the bridge were given electric shocks."

Grigoropoulos, who insisted the ship was full of humanitarian aid bound for Gaza "and nothing more", said that, once detained, the human rights activists were not allowed to contact a lawyer or the Greek embassy in Tel Aviv. "They didn't let us go to the toilet, eat or drink water and throughout they videoed us. They confiscated everything, mobile phones, laptops, cameras and personal effects.
It's especially telling that Israel is confiscating evidence of their assault.

More here with video.