Thursday, July 31, 2008

Spy Czar gets new powers

By Libby

Bush signed a new order on intelligence agencies vesting almost complete power in his national intelligence director, Mike McConnell. The CIA will no longer be in charge of intelligence policy. They will now be merely implementing the decisions of Bush's appointee.

The White House felt compelled to volunteer that no civil rights were abridged in the making of this drastic revamp of 50 years of tradition. A sure sign that there's something buried in the paper that does. I can hardly wait for the public release to find out, how.

Labels:

Bookmark and Share

The last refuge

by Capt. Fogg

My inbox is like a lobster trap. At night while I sleep, it's out there collecting crawly ugly things from the creepy critters that live under rocks, eat nasty stuff, pretend to be outraged at Barak Obama's obvious lack of patriotism and insist that we immediately send some infected bit of racist outrage to "everyone you know."

Today's prize winner is titled:

Obama The Patriot -
Removes American Flag From His Plane


Of course that's not quite the truth.The truth is that the airline he was using featured a flag on the tail and when his campaign leased the plane and painted his name and slogan on it, the flag was moved to the fuselage, as you can see. According to the author, this indicates gross lack of patriotism and disrespect to the flag. While it would be easy to eviscerate such an idiotic argument, perhaps I can save a thousand words with a few pictures. Look at McCain's plane. Not only no flag, it's a French airplane. That's right French! OhmyGod - ohmyGod tell everyone you know!


But wait, there's more! look at McStraightalk's tour bus. NO FLAG! Is he ashamed? Is he not a patriot? Is he a:




Commieliberaltreehuggingelitistamericahating
democratsurrendermonkeyfrancophileterroristappeaser?




Send this to everyone you know before it's too late!


In a way, I should be gratified that racist right wing America can't come up with anything but this shell game, but I doubt it will backfire on them and if Obama is elected, I'm positive that his administration will face more vicious opposition from enemies domestic than any president in our history and the better he does, the worse it will get.

Cross posted from Human Voices (notorious terrorist appeaser and America hater)

Labels: , ,

Bookmark and Share

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

I had no idea

By Libby

Richard Cohen is supposed to be a liberal? I thought he was supposed to be a pseudo-moderate now.
Richard Cohen and others like him who play the role of "liberal" in the mainstream media are the reason why so many people hate liberals. They're idiots.
That last bit I was sure about already.

Howver, I didn't know that apparently, when pushed, Joe Klein can be almost brilliant.

Maybe I'm the last one to find this out. Avedon tells me if you want to figure out what holiday Google is celebrating with their cute little drawings, you can just mouse over the picture and it tells you. Not only that, if you want to know more about the holiday you can click on the picture and it will give you a reference page.

And this is the first I've heard about this story. Some Google exiles started up their own search engine. Cuil, which is supposed to be read as cool. But they still have a few bugs to work out of the system. Some of their results are not safe for work. That's not cool at all. [Via Newsroom-1.]
Bookmark and Share

Doing what comes naturally

expatbrian

I haven't posted in nearly a week because I've been so busy at my new job. I got to thinking about it last night and realized that this is perhaps the hardest job I've ever had - and the one I love the most.

I spent about 30 years selling things. Stuff. And most of the stuff I sold is stuff that people really don't need. I guess I got into selling stuff because it's easy to get into. If you're good at it, you can make a decent living at it. I was good at it, but I always hated it. Talking about this product or that, making it sound as if you simply cannot live without it. Most of it crap that I either would never buy myself or couldn't afford.

I use to tell myself that I liked it because I got to be outside, driving around instead of stuck in an office somewhere. I did have a lot of freedom that way. But at the end of the day I was stressed out and miserable.

Once you start in a job like that, it's hard to get out of it. My resume became longer but all the positions were in sales so that was all I was qualified to look for. Even when I moved to Singapore the only job I could find was in sales. And I just hated it more and more.

Then I got incredibly lucky. Because I was in Asia and because I was a white American I was offered a job teaching English. I still don't know how my name came up considering that I have absolutely no experience teaching English or anything else for that matter.

Teaching in a classroom is hard work. It's a performance and you must be on your game all the time. I think that's true for any good teacher. Additionally, my students are all beginners from foreign countries whose proficiency is limited at best. It's hard and I love it. I'm nearly 60 and finally am doing something satisfying that I like to do. I waited way to damn long.

The moral of this story is, don't wait. If you're a parent, encourage your kids to seek out what they love and follow a path that leads in it's direction. If your a student, do the same. Don't wait until you're 60. You may not be as lucky as I was.
Bookmark and Share

Operation Iraqi fiefdom

by Capt. Fogg

So the government of Iraq is sovereign? Well obviously not when it comes to being able to ask an occupying army to leave or to make Iraqi law apply to their actions or being able to tell foreign powers and their carpetbaggers that no, they can't just come in and take their only natural resource.

In case you haven't been reading the papers, one of the architects of our conquest of Iraq, Richard Perle, has been making oil deals which include a venture near the Kurdish city of Erbil . Needless to say Iraq, to which this area allegedly belongs and which is trying to put together legislation affirming its ownership of its resources, is displeased. Of course he's not the first and not the only entity with close ties to President Bush to attempt to circumvent US policy and Iraqi law for private gain. The State Department is investigating, but one expects nothing to come of it as long as the carpetbagger oil men themselves run our country.

Perle, together with Turkish AG Group International, has been talking with Kurdish officials and with Kazakhstan's ruthless and corrupt dictator Nursultan Nazarbayev, who has been involved in a US oil bribery investigation about all kinds of oil deals. Mr. Perle, who began pushing an attack on Iraq nearly 10 years ago and who invented dishonest scenarios including Saddam Hussein dancing around the maypole withOsama bin Laden to justify it all, calls Nazarbayev "visionary and wise," says The Wall Street Journal. Sometimes words fail me.

Will a Department of State under another Republican president continue not to object to such imperial appropriation of another country's resources while continuing to sell that country as an independent nation struggling for freedom against foreign enemies? Who knows, but Mr. McCain has not said much other than to talk about "victory" and "surrender" nor has he any record of maintaining a consistent position for very long.

But unless you're looking for this sort of news, you won't be aware of it and you'll probably buy into the comic opera scenario they've been presenting for 7 years. You'll be made far more aware of the fist bumps and the funny sounding middle name of the other candidate. You'll wave the flag and talk about honor while your country becomes another corrupt and greedy empire pushing its will on the world through fear and force of arms.

Cross posted from Human Voices

Labels: , ,

Bookmark and Share

Cheezus!

By Capt. Fogg

I finished my coffee, put down the Michio Kaku book on multidimensional universes and opened my e-mail to find this.

What can you say? Whatever multidimensional universe I was born into, it must have been the wrong one.




Yes, but will it transubstantiate?

Labels: ,

Bookmark and Share

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

What's the matter with Democrats

By Libby

Glenn Greenwald is a on a roll today. Hot on the heels of the post I linked to below, he explains why we need to fight against Democrats who vote like Republicans.
Perhaps most remarkable, some polls -- such as one from Fox News last month -- reveal that the Democratic-led Congress is actually more unpopular among Democrats than among Republicans, with 23 percent of Republicans approving of Congress compared with only 18 percent of Democrats. One would be hard-pressed to find a time in modern American history, if such a time exists at all, when a Congress was more unpopular among the party that controls it than among voters from the opposition party.
Thoreau concurs and speaks to my thoughts on the matter.
Given the extent of the rot in the Democratic Party, I’d be overjoyed if anybody lost an election as a consequence of voting for telecom immunity, torture, or war funding. Yes, even if it means electing a Republican. Sometimes you have to clear out some dead wood, no matter how bad their replacements might be, to teach the remainder a lesson.
Professional politicians being what they are, it's pointless to blindly support any party. The only way we're going to change the Beltway dynamic is exact a price from the entrenched pols on both sides that have come to view themselves as an entitled class who are above the petty concerns of the people who elect them.

Sure the strategy comes with risks and clearly enabling a Republican to gain the seat of a bad Democrat would be no improvement. But sometimes, the long term message is more important than the short term results. This is one of those times.

Labels: ,

Bookmark and Share

Truly pathetic

By Libby

Pete Abel received a video attempt at parody done by the RNC that is really cringe worthy. I think these people have to come to grips with the fact that they're just not funny. Pete's so digusted he's disowning the Republican party altogether. Hard to blame him. Who would want to be associated with an organization that considers such a cheesy product worth sharing?

On a related note, Democrats are surely more creative and amusing, but the rules to remain a member in good standing are pretty pathetic too. I'm thinking I'm going to join Pete in switching my afiliation to Independent.

Labels: ,

Bookmark and Share

The golden door

by Capt. Fogg

If you travel internationally, you may or may not have seen the hassling of those without US passports. It has been a bit embarrassing at times to have arrived with traveling acquaintances of impressive professional and educational backgrounds and to watch them being treated as though they were being booked at the police station or entering Checkpoint Charley at the height of the cold war. The fingerprinting however is only part of what many have to go through before even getting a visa. Examination and audit of their financial records and visa fees are part of the lengthy process. It's not just the huddled masses we're rejecting these days, it's the affluent customers, yearning to boost our economy. Many Europeans and others just don't think it's worth it all, despite the lure of bargain prices for those with Euros or Sterling to spend. Who can blame them?

Of course we're number one, and we don't care what those damned foreigners think -- "let them go back to their third world hellholes," is a common sentiment among the angry, nationalisticlouts who seem to comprise an alarming proportion of our population. I've heard those exact words too often. Although we need people with money to spend to come here and spend it more than ever; although tourism is a three quarter of a trillion dollar industry, it's down as much as 40% percent is some locations. Think Las Vegas, think Disney, Manhattan, the Grand Canyon; think trade shows, academic seminars.

The Christian Science Monitor describes the Chinese owner of 1200 electronics stores who would love to visit the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas - he can't get a visa and so he's not going to order any American products or spend money at hotels and casinos and restaurants and stores. He'll go to the Berlin show instead and he's unlikely to be treated as rudely as he will be here in "English only or go to hell" America. Europeans are opting for Euro Disney and gamers are choosing Macau and we're losing a whole lot of money.

But we're Americans and we own the center of the world, don't we? So what if we're the only developed country without a campaign to promote foreign tourism. Who cares?

Cross posted from Human Voices

Labels:

Bookmark and Share

Monday, July 28, 2008

What if...

By Libby

I see that John McCain had a potential melanoma biopsied today. Much as don't want him to win the election, I certainly wish him well and hope this turns out to be nothing serious.

But it made me think, what if he really did have cancer and had to drop out of the race? Who would replace him? I would think they might go with Romney. He doesn't have the charisma of Obama, but he's attractive and he's white and he would have a good chance of taking Michigan. It could really change the dynamics of the race.

Labels:

Bookmark and Share

The law is the law even when it isn't

by Capt Fogg

We pretty much forgot about the Supreme Court decision that the Washington DC law forbidding people to keep a functioning handgun in their homes. I mean,when the court rules a law is invalid, they stop enforcing the law right?

Wrong. The Washington City Council passed an "emergency" law today that keeps in place almost all of the law that was ruled unconstitutional. Apparently the decision was made that ordinary autoloading pistols where the ammunition is loaded "from the bottom" are actually machine guns. and thus cannot be owned without a special license. Of course this is no more ridiculous than the former "assault rifle" ban which defined an assault rifle by the way it looked rather than by the way it operated, but I digress. The Washington DC City Council seems to have ruled that a 6 shot revolver is vastly different than a 6 shot semi automatic pistol and that's that. When Dick Heller, the man who brought the suit against the Washington Gun Ban tried to register his gun in compliance with the law, he was told by the police, who know quite well how dishonest this is, that he could not because it was -- oh yes -- a machine gun. Whether the law in our Capitol is the law depends on what the definition of is is.

OK so we have a municipal police department who simply refuses to acknowledge the ruling as long as an illegal law is on the books and is willing to effectively write it's own gun control laws. That's close enough to an act of insurrection, but as Congress has the power and responsibility to govern the District of Columbia, and whereas Nancy Pelosi being a Californian hoplophobe refuses to allow Congress to repeal a law that has been ruled unconstitutional, Congress may be considered to be aiding and abetting a rebellion as well.

Remarkable. Perhaps we can expect some sort of rebel flag to fly over the capitol in the near future. Of course a discharge petition to bring the bill to repeal the illegal law directly to the floor has been filed, but so far it doesn't have half of the required signatures. I have a better solution. If Washington won't secede, let's expel them; let's declare them to be enemy combatants, seal the border and build a wall around these folks. They won't have enough firepower to do anything about it and we're better off without the lot of them.

Cross posted from Human Voices

Labels: ,

Bookmark and Share

Through a glass darkly

By Libby

I have a really busy day today so I'm giving you the links and you'll have to supply your own analysis.

Bill Kristol makes his debut at the NYT today. I hope the Grey Lady has the good grace to be embarrassed by this tripe.

The effects of expensive gas. People are driving less reducing pollution and demand. Accident deaths are diminishing. All good. Revenues from federal taxes for highway and bridge maintenence are down. Not good.

McCain is a clueless dork and a liar and his latest campaign tactics show us just how petty and mean a person he really is.

All you highest common denominator readers already know the surge was not a success really. Now how do we get the talking heads to figure out that nobody loves a wall.

I hate to link to the AP but I have no time to find the source for this. Some 22,000 vets called a suicide hotline. Thankfully it prevented some suicides. I worry about happens to those who didn't call though.

And finally if you got through all that, you could probably use some awesome photos of Jupiter to take the bad taste out of your brain. [via]

Labels: , , , ,

Bookmark and Share

Just how stupid do they think we are?

by Capt. Fogg

"Beginning this moment, this nation will never use more foreign oil than we did in 1977, every new addition to our demand for energy will be met from our own production and our own conservation. The generation-long growth in our dependence on foreign oil will be stopped in it's tracks right now."

-President Jimmy Carter-

In 1979, Jimmy Carter proposed a plan: He called for consumers to conserve energy; he urged a dramatic increase in the use of solar power; he called for research into alternative fuels; he called for a cap on imported oil. Of course this idea didn't survive the Reagan Revolution. It wasn't long after the Hollywood cowboy took office that all Carters plans were stopped in their tracks and Americans decided to make up for their inferiority complexes by driving ever bigger and more faux-outdoorsy trucks and we all began to use more fuel than ever before. Dick Cheney expressed the Republican sentiment succinctly by saying conservation isn't "the American Way."

I guess honesty and taking responsibility for one's actions isn't the American way either -- not in Republican America anyway. McCain seems to be excluding himself when he tells us the escalating prices of oil are the result of congressional inaction for 30 years. He seems to be excusing Republican Presidents as well. The truth is, the Republicans have been of Cheney's persuasion since Eisenhower, at the very least and John McCain has sat in that Congress for 26 of those years. He’s consistently opposed investments in renewable energy.

The Bush administration of course refused to discuss it's energy policy and took the case for refusing to tell us who was involved in writing it all the way to the puppet Supreme Court.

Of course Gasoline averaged less than $1.50 a gallon when George the Liar and the man from Halliburton took office -- but as usual, it's Clinton's fault, it's the Liberal tree huggers, It's Barak Obama. Well it's not. It's your fault. You elected these people, you made heroes out of pirates and crooks and thugs and you fell for their promises of prosperity through borrowing and consumption and $4 a gallon is the price of your folly.

Now watch as you do it again.

Cros posted from Human Voices

Labels: , ,

Bookmark and Share

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Anything to win

By Libby

I already talked about McCain's lame new ad yesterday but Steve Benen does such a great job of debunking the disgracefulness of it that I'm recommending you read that too.

Steve also has the goods on a new viral email that is spreading through Wingnuttia like wildfire. It's already been disproved and denounced by military brass and the author has recanted the whole story but I hear some of the wingers who blogged it are refusing to admit it's a fake.

These would be the same bloggers that hounded poor Private Scott Beauchamp for months for allegedly making up a war story they didn't like. I'm hoping John Cole will report on that because I'm not going to read those people. My quality of life, and my blood pressure, has improved immensely since I put them on my DNR list.

Meanwhile, I have more on McCain's pathetic pandering here at Newshoggers. He's had quite a day on the teevee. He denies he ever used the word timetable, claims we were really greeted as liberators in Iraq and announced that he, and only he, knows how to get bin Laden but apparently he's not willing to share that plan unless he's elected.

Labels:

Bookmark and Share

McCain strikes it rich on oil

By Libby

How unsurprising.
Oil and gas industry executives and employees donated $1.1 million to McCain last month -- three-quarters of which came after his June 16 speech calling for an end to the ban -- compared with $116,000 in March, $283,000 in April and $208,000 in May.
Seems he made a little speech about lifting the restrictions on offshore drilling right before heading to Texas for a series of fundraisers with energy industry executives. The next day he raised the million plus at a private luncheon.

The understatement of the year goes to David Donnelly, the national campaigns director of the Public Campaign Action Fund, who notes, "The timing was significant."

Labels: ,

Bookmark and Share

Meet the McCain's hairdresser

by Libby

Back when the primaries featured a cast of dozens, we endured three months worth of media obsession about John Edwards haircut. Okay, maybe it was only three weeks, but it felt like months. I know it was a non-story and these things aren't important, but if one blessed haircut was worth that much coverage, don't you think our 'liberal press' might devote just a pixel or two to the McCain's full time hairdresser?

I mean, I don't think she lives with them, but she's clearly close to the family and literally goes everywhere with Cindy, including trips to the Far East and to fancy fundraisers in London. She's featured regularly on Meghan's McCain Blogette, yet this passing mention is the only press attention I've seen paid to her. So let's give Piper her due.





Granted, since John McCain doesn't really have enough hair left to need much attention, Piper no doubt works for Mrs. McCain, but she's on the bus and on the plane and at the parties so she should be considered a campaign operative. And again, I don't think there's anything wrong with Cindy employing a personal hairdresser. Surely she needs to look her best when she's appearing with John or on his behalf, but I do wonder how they handle reporting Piper's salary.

I would think her salary should be reported as an expense of the campaign so you might think a media that was so interested in the price of one haircut might also report what it costs to keep a fulltime hairdresser on hand at all times.

Labels: ,

Bookmark and Share

Pride goeth before the fall

By Libby

Native New Englanders are a proud lot and the third and fourth generation Yankees are largely dependable GOP conservatives. So it wasn't that surprising that they refused to take free fuel oil from Hugo Chavez when he first offered it. However, now that the cost of heating oil is projected to rise to alarmingly unaffordable levels, not even the GOP dares to block the assistance program and New Hampshire will take Chavez up on his offer.

Of course, at this point, probably no one is as mad at him for publically calling Bush an idiot. I expect it sounds mild to what they call him in private these days. [Via Avedon.]

Labels: ,

Bookmark and Share

Media matters

By Libby

I meant to get here sooner this morning, but I got involved in a debate at DetNews with my idiot co-blogger JD. I rarely bother because there's no challenge to it. It's like shooting ducks in a barrel but it happened to fit into my plan to focus on media malfeasance over there today. Anyway, on to the links.

There's a lot of reasons I love Molly Ivors, but one of the biggest is her unique ability to eloquently deconstruct MoDo, so I don't have to read that insipid waste of prime NYT bandwidth.

And Avedon is especially hot this morning. Everything she linked to is worth reading but I especially agree with this comment.
I'm not gonna feel confident about winning the election unless Obama is at least 20 points ahead of McCain by election day. Because I'm sure that the combined efforts of Republicans to prevent Americans from making their will known will be enough to wipe out a substantial lead, and we'll need an even bigger lead to thwart their plans.
Electoral fraud is going to rob us again if he doesn't get that big plurality but the good news is, I've been seeing more of the big A-listers taking on the issue lately. It's going to take all of us to make enough noise to bring this debate into the traditional media.

Oh, I almost forgot. If you're looking for something visual and succinct, Watertiger never disappoints with her array of photos and her mad captioning skills. I can't decide whether I like this or this one the best.

Labels: ,

Bookmark and Share

Cast the first stone

By Capt. Fogg

I'm disgusted by violence; I always have been. I'm human enough, none the less, to recognize in myself the urges we inherit from the common ancestor we share with Chimpanzees and yes, I'm quite capable of committing violent acts under the right circumstances, my antipathy notwithstanding. One of those circumstances would be to prevent violence being committed upon others and particularly upon women and children. I'm afraid I would become uncontrollable if forced to witness what Iran plans to do to a group of women for having sex or something close to it in violation of some religious code from the dark minds of the dark ages.

Despite a pledge to hold a moratorium on such crimes against nature, decency and humanity, Iran announced last week that it was going to stone 9 women and one man for adultery.
"The European Union calls on the Iranian government and parliament to abolish, in law and in practice, recourse to cruel and degrading punishment and, in particular the use of stoning, as a method of execution,"
reads a statement from France Thursday, which holds the current EU presidency. Fat chance.

In case the procedure is too vague to depict the horror of watching women and girls buried up to their shoulders be pelted with fist sized stones until they either bleed to death or as the skull fractures, the eyeballs hanging by threads from a pulped face, the brain damage becomes sufficient to cause them to stop breathing, here's a picture. Here's a glimpse into the dark heart of religious madness. Here are the people who worship a merciful God and thereby demonstrate his non-existence. Here are people I would gladly kill regardless of the personal cost.

Look into her eyes and smash her in the face with a brick - go ahead, but just don't let me get my hands around your God fearing neck.


Cross posted from Human Voices

Labels: , ,

Bookmark and Share

Saturday, July 26, 2008

McCain launches lame attack ad

By Libby

The stink of desperation is permeating the McCain campaign. Obviously fearful and jealous of the positive reception that Obama received in the allied countries, he's releasing an ad criticizing Obama for failing to visit the wounded troops in Germany after the Pentagon threw an 11th hour restriction on the visit.

The ad just drips deceit, claiming Obama didn't visit because he couldn't bring cameras; ignoring the visits Obama made under the radar at Walter Reed and with the wounded troops in Iraq. In fact, Obama was planning to go alone without the media in Germany, but as Andrea Mitchell reported, the Pentagon told him at the last minute that he had to preauthorize the event and come with Senate staff who were no longer with him. McCain also claims Barack voted against funding the troops when in fact it was McCain who sided with the White House in voting against Jim Webb's bill that increased benefits for the serving troops. Obama voted for it.

And just this past week, McCain said that veteran's health care should be rationed. "At a town hall meeting in Dover, N.H., McCain talked about the need to 'concentrate' veterans’ health care on people with injuries that 'are a direct result of combat.'" So in other words, the soldier that gets electrocuted in the shower because of KBR's substandard oversight of subcontractors is out of luck.

I find it irritating almost beyond endurance, but in a way I'm glad to see it. I think it's a lousy ad and it just establishes the McCain persona as a whiny old McGeezer.

Labels: ,

Bookmark and Share

Vincent Bugliosi rips Bush a new one

expatbrian

In case you missed this over at C & L, I think it's the best thing on YouTube today. Bugliosi is given a platform before the Senate Judiciary Committee to defend his new book, The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder. The repubs on the committee got a little more than they bargained for.





Labels: , , , , ,

Bookmark and Share

Happy Birthday Mick

expatbrian


Mick Jagger turned 65 Saturday. I don't think I've ever seen another performer with his energy and durability. He's like Levi's. He just never wears out.

What blows me out even more is that these same 4 guys who make up the legendary Rolling Stones have stayed together for decades. They don't just get together for reunion concerts. They perform constantly and still tour. Unbelievable.

Oh, and by the way, Mick is now eligible for a $180 dollar a week state pension.

Labels: , ,

Bookmark and Share

Building a better Democratic Party

By Libby

Matt Stoller introduces us to Alan Grayson, Democratic candidate for Congress in Florida. He's the attorney of record in every single case now pending in Federal court involving war profiteers in Iraq. He's representing the whistleblowers. And this is the best campaign ad of the season so far.



As Matt points out, "Democratic leaders, who tend towards a bipartisan approach to solving problems, are going to be in for a shock from the left. People like Grayson aren't just going to speak out, they are going to organize within Congress, something the current progressive caucus doesn't do. That is in fact both their quickest route to power and what they believe in."

Labels: ,

Bookmark and Share

McCain is just like George W. Bush, only old.

By Libby

Sometimes, I read Digby and I wonder why I even bother to blog.
This is what Wes Clark was talking about and why they staged a full-on fainting party. McCain is running as a military leader --- but he isn't one. He's a politician who was in a war as a young man and was captured by the enemy. It was heroic service, but it wasn't leadership. And yet the myth of military leadership is the foundation of his claim to the presidency.

The title of this post was also cribbed from hers. All I would add is the McGeezer is also crankier.

Labels: ,

Bookmark and Share

Friday, July 25, 2008

Blogging everywhere

By Libby

New posts at Newshoggers on the police state and the travails of Andrew Giuliani and at Detroit News about Obama's missed visit with the wounded troops and they myths around oil prices.
Bookmark and Share

Internet in the corporate crosshairs

By Libby

Via Avedon some troubling news from Canada. At ICH, a report on a proposed test run of de-neutralizing the intertubes in the name of corporate profit.
In the upcoming weeks watch for a report in Time Magazine that will attempt to smooth over the rough edges of a diabolical plot by Bell Canada and Telus, to begin charging per site fees on most Internet sites. The plan is to convert the Internet into a cable-like system, where customers sign up for specific web sites, and then pay to visit sites beyond a cutoff point.
So in other words, just like cable, you pay for a package with predetermined channels and if you want to visit something not listed, it becomes a pay for view extra. I don't know about you, but I might visit over a hundred sites in any given day when I'm looking for information. I would be priced out in matter of hours. Not to mention, return visits to sites I visit daily for updates. And then there's the other side of the equation.
And this is where the Internet (free) as we know it will suffer almost immediate, economic strangulation. Thousands and thousands of Internet sites will not be part of the package so users will have to pay extra to visit those sites! ...

There are so many other implications as a result of these changes, far too many to elaborate on here. Be aware that we will all lose our privacy because all websites will be tracked as part of the billing procedure, and we will be literally cut off from 90% of the information that we can access today. The little guys on the Net will fall likes flies; Bloggers and small website operators will die a quick death because people will not pay to go to their sites and read their pages.
And what about people who conduct business through the internets? Small entrepreneurs would be out of business. Comparison shopping could cost more than you save. In short, everything that is good about the internet would be gone. This is why we have to fight now to preserve neutrality.

[cross-posted to The Reaction]

Labels: ,

Bookmark and Share

Impeachment on the table

By Libby

Well maybe quite on the table yet, but they're talking about putting it on the menu. Avedon passes on the good news.
The House Judiciary Committee is having a hearing today on dealing with Dennis Kucinich's Articles of Impeachment of George Walker Bush and Richard Bruce Cheney. Kagro X has details. Perhaps you want to make yourself familiar with Committee Caller. After Downing Street plans to live-blog the hearing.
I don't suppose it will really go anywhere, but at least they're not totally ignoring it.

Labels: , ,

Bookmark and Share

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Pentagon released number two AQ

By Libby

I've been tied up all day but the Newshoggers have a ton of new content worth reading. If you're not up for the full scroll, at least make sure you read this one on the trial of bin Laden's driver.

This is why the White House doesn't want fair trials with open testimony.
Soon after Osama bin Laden's driver got here in 2002, he told interrogators the identity of the al Qaeda chief's most senior bodyguard — then a fellow prison camp detainee.

This startling information was revealed in the fourth day of the war crimes trial of Salim Hamdan, 37, facing conspiracy and material support for terror charges as an alleged member of bin Laden's inner circle.
Here's the part they don't want us to find out. The bodyguard was released without ever being charged in 2004. Of course, as Cernig notices, by then Bush had us mired in Iraq and bin Laden was so forgotten.

Only one Friedman Unit away from being free of this arrested adolescent.

Labels: , ,

Bookmark and Share

Obama breaks downs the wall

By Libby

I'm sure all you highest denomination readers don't need my help in finding Obama's speech in Berlin today. I blogged it at Detroit News where surprisingly Henry Payne also posted an eloquent post praising Barack's performance.

The usual suspects are snipping at the corners of it, trying to desperately to find some flaws but it's difficult to deny it was knockout. Obama looked like the President already. Too bad the US Foreign Service workers were ordered to stay home and had to miss it. I wonder how many snuck off to catch some it anyway? It's a once in a lifetime chance to witness history. I know I would have.

Obama is reported to have played down expectations making clear that he is speaking as a private citizen, though he was honest about his target audience.
“There’s no doubt,” he said, “that part of what I want to communicate on both sides of the Atlantic is the enormous potential of us restoring a sense of coming together.”
Which is exactly what we need to do. It's a small planet and we're all in this together. That much should be obvious by now.

Meanwhile, the usual suspects in the wingosphere are finding the idea of diplomatic internationalism appalling, accusing Barack of wanting to be president of the world. I have to ask, as opposed to what -- Bush declaring himself emperor of it? I'll never understand wingut logic.

Labels:

Bookmark and Share

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

McCain in his own words...

By Libby

Not a day goes by that John McCain doesn't claim he fought bitterly against the White House about Iraq strategy right up until the surge. I guess he's hoping that most Americans aren't aware of that internet tradition called YouTube where the historical record lives on into infinity.



The video tells the truth, so is the McGeezer a liar, or just senile? This link should be sent to every sadly deluded voter who buys into the 'straight talk' deceit. Assuming most of us are not on such mailing lists, at least pass it on far and wide. [Via a post that should be read in full.]

Labels: , ,

Bookmark and Share

New Obama attack ad

By Libby

It's outrageous. Horribly unfair. An abuse of the First Amendment. A disgrace to democracy.... Just kidding. It's done by three of our own but mild profanity alert. May be NSFW if you work in an uptight office.



Of course, everyone is blown away by Watertiger's remarkable voice but mad props to Thers for the script and Dan McEnroe for the stellar production as well.

[cross-posted to The Reaction]

Labels: , ,

Bookmark and Share

Leave them laughing

by Capt. Fogg

George has a habit of making an ass of himself when he's with the power elite he was born into and thinks the cameras and microphones are off. At a June 18th fundraiser, the Real George Bush stepped up to the mike thinking it would all be off the record, but somehow missed the fact that a camera was still on.

A video of Mr. Cocky joking about the privations of living on "government pay" for 8 years and about how housing prices haven't fallen enough to please him yet, begins with comments from the Harvard MBA about how Wall Street has to stop trying to do "all these fancy financial instruments." It first appeared on You Tube but it has now disappeared -- I wonder why -- but you can still see it for the moment on Raw Story. Enjoy watching him laugh it up with his cronies while they foreclose on your house and you're reading the classifieds looking for work you can still afford to commute to.

Still looking for a President you can have a beer with? Think John McCain the millionaire is going to come over to your house to watch the game and laugh at your jokes about rich people and liberal elitists?

Cross posted from Human Voices

Labels: , ,

Bookmark and Share

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

US Vets refused the right to vote?

expatbrian

Almost. Secretary of the Dept. of Veterans Affairs, James Peake, continues to refuse to allow non-partisan groups from helping vets register to vote. Like everything else being revealed about the real treatment our vets receive when they come home, this is a national disgrace.


Peake, if this order stands, you're nothing but a pig just like your boss.

Wounded vets and amputees who have no mobility and thus cannot get out of the VA hospitals to register are shit out of luck. Because Peake will not allow even The League of Women Voters to assist them to register. His reason? It would interfere with the quality of their medical care! I guess Peake hasn't been following the news which has told us repeatedly that there IS NO quality medical care in the VA facilities.

What is the real reason? These vets, like all the Iraq and Afghanistan vets are volunteers, every one. We must assume that they supported the war. Why not let them register to vote? Um, it couldn't be that the administration is worried that these tens of thousands of wounded vets might be having second thoughts about the war, could it? That maybe now that they have been there, seen it up close and personal, experienced the truth of the Iraqi horror, that they might vote for someone who promises to end it? That maybe they will vote for anyone who might spare their buddies from possibly becoming victims like them?

I don't know the reason. I'm just a dumb old fart with a computer. But I do know that we should be bending over backwards to insure that our vets have access to every single American right and priviledge that they have volunteered to fight and die for. And, as I understand it, despite administrations attempts to manipulate it, voting is still an American right.


Labels: ,

Bookmark and Share

Absurdity Within the Catholic Church

expatbrian

Three devoted women, who have taken a lifelong vow to become Catholic Priests, were immediately excommunicated by the church. But if you are a MALE priest and you rape a child, no prob. Your status in the church is solemnly and sacredly secure.

There is just no way that I can say it more succinctly than this:
...Sunday in Boston all three were “ordained” in a ceremony run by a pro-women priest organization. The Archdiocese of Boston promptly declared that the women had automatically excommunicated themselves by such action. Their excommunicable sin: yearning to dedicate themselves to the church and faith they love.

Meanwhile, here’s who hasn’t been excommunicated: hundreds of priests and bishops who’ve admitted to or been accused of multiple sexual assaults on children and teenagers. Some resign. Some are defrocked. But many more remain Catholics in good standing or even retain their titles, their pay, their clerical trappings and the support of the church.

“I’m not sure I’ve heard of anybody (in the sex scandal) being excommunicated for raping a child,” said someone who follows these cases nonstop. “But a woman who wants to say Mass?”
Off with her head! Clearly, the priest's behavior is considered minor compared to these three women who have the gall to want to serve their local people by becoming priests. Here's an example of who the church believes is more fit to preach to your children than these three women.
Francis E. Bass, a former bishop in the Davenport, Iowa, diocese, was accused of abusing many boys and of sharing them with multiple priests in group sex orgies. He settled a lawsuit with the archdiocese after the statute of limitation ran out for criminal prosecution. The archdiocese, by the way, asked the Vatican to defrock Bass. The Vatican said no, leaving him free to say Mass every day.
The list of perverts that have been protected by the Church seems endless. Just read the article. Not to mention their complicity during the Holocaust and acceptance of slavery. Their arrogance knows no bounds.

And now, the pope is in Australia of all places, apologizing for the sexual rape and abuse of children by his priests and bishops there! He's doing a goddamn world apology tour! I know he's trying to use his papal aura to convince victims not to sue, but I sincerely hope they are not swayed by his insincere mumblings of regret. Go for the money folks, while there's still some left.

How about a new victim's slogan. "They got the sucks, NOW we get the bucks."

Has a nice ring to it.
Bookmark and Share

Vanity Fair nudges New Yorker


By Libby

I swore I wasn't going to say another word about the New Yorker cover, but Vanity Fair posts a response that's just too tempting to share. They repeat the meme with a snarky little piece showing the cover they allegedly had in the works but pulled because of the kerfluffle over their competitor's art.

As you can see they used the same imagery, and it works as snark, but it's still not funny. At least it didn't make me laugh. The prescription bill bottles instead of the gun. The constitution instead of the flag. The walker instead of the outfit, all that stuff worked, except the fist bump. It would have been much more amusing, and relevant, if they had showed Cindy handing him cash instead.

Labels: , ,

Bookmark and Share

Monday, July 21, 2008

We need a new drug

By Libby

Following up on Fogg's brilliant post, here's a little statistic you probably didn't know. For all the blaming on world demand, when it comes to oil addiction, we're number one.
California alone uses more gasoline than any country in the world (except the US as a whole, of course). That means California's 20 billion gallon gasoline and diesel habit is greater than China's! (Or Russia's. Or India's. Or Brazil's. Or Germany's.)
That's quite a habit and that's just one state. Granted it's a big one but add the other 49 and the odd terrority, well, that's a lot of crude. And like any addict, most Americans are scrambling to look under the carpet for the last few grains of the drug instead of standing up and confronting the problem. I think it's going to be a rude awakening.

[Via the indispensable Newshogger researcher Kat]

Labels: , ,

Bookmark and Share

Hummers for ever

by Capt. Fogg

Conservatives like to prattle about the sense of entitlement Americans have about many things, but they seem to be no different than the people they chastise when it comes to a sense of entitlement to cheap and plentiful petroleum. Rising fuel costs however, may just bring about the undoing of the Republican empire from within and without unless the public can be convinced that there really is an abundance of oil and that it can be available at your corner Mobil station just as soon as we teach those Liberal Enviros a thing or two about priorities.

Of course we've listed so far to starboard of late that George H. W. Bush would have to be thought of as a radical left wing extremist for having signed a ban on exploration in some parts of the Gulf of Mexico. George the Lesser has undone it and the patron saint of deceit, Newt Gingrich is wagging his forked tongue about a "Drill Here. Drill Now. Pay Less." program to collect a million signatures that would somehow convince congress to "act immediately to lower gasoline prices" by allowing exploration off America's coasts.

Of course reality checks would quickly flock about such words but for the screeching of the addicts wanting oil and more oil and more oil NOW. Still the reality is that we're talking about unexplored areas at a time when explored resources still aren't being used. 83% of the currently leased fields are just lying there for an assortment of reasons including there being no oil where we thought there was.

We really can't be sure how much oil would be available and at what cost, but we can be sure that by the time anything did show up at the pump, the ballooning world demand would gobble it up. What Newt is really demanding could be better described as "poke around in the gulf, maybe drill a decade or so from now and pay pretty much the same if not more." Messiahs do well in such times with their wild promises and prophecies and even when they fail, their disciples don't accept it or recognize the failure. I think we're in times like that. The public just isn't going to accept that we don't own the world, we don't own very much oil and even if we produce more, we will still have to compete to buy what the rest of the world wants. Welcome to Globalization.

It's easier to dream about the kingdom of Hummers forever that we are entitled to by voting Republican. It's easy to sell the idea that faith will bring us the lifestyle we feel entitled to no matter who we squelch to have it: Faith that we can drill our way to eternal oil and borrow our way to eternal prosperity, Faith that we haven't been using it up so fast that we can't solve it by using it up faster.

Energy independence? sounds great in campaign speeches, but it's hokum. According to government estimates, what we would see from our domestic drilling would be about 1% of the worlds demand by the time it could be pumped. It can only provide us with cheap oil if the rest of the world sinks back into poverty and that's not going to happen and we're not going to be able to make it happen.

Still it's easy to make us hysterical - we already are and we're hysterical enough to believe in magic and to stone anyone who doesn't. We may just drill away for decades hoping for the second coming of the Sacred SUV's God want's us to have as his chosen people, while the rest of the world, leaner and more efficient, outpaces us. We may just burn up an appreciating asset to finance our Hummeresque lifestyle and find that we wish to hell we had saved some for later.We might just vote Republican.

Cross posted from Human Voices

Labels: , ,

Bookmark and Share

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Media Bytes - Werewolves of London Edition

By Libby

Song in my head stolen from Atrios today. I love Zevon. Saw him live in a small venue in lovely downtown Noho about ten years ago. He rocks in person too.

Mostly light fare for today's edition. No real heavy reading. I have this short profile of my friend Marc Catone and a short article on a really interesting UN project in Africa. Dr. Congo, who is just one guy with a low wattage radio station trying to convince the resident rebels to go home peacefully, before they're blasted to smithereens.

And this is just a quick point and click favor for a new friend. Please vote for Sue. She's on the left and apparently could make a little money if she wins the vote. She's losing right now so please help by voting between now and Aug. 11. You can vote once a day if you feel ambitious.

Moving on to the video segment of today's edition, CSPAN archived some of the big speeches at Netroots Nation. If you scroll to new programming you can see it in its entirety.

And this one is time sensitive. I got the link from Molly and the explanation from Mary at a different blog.
I’m not a musical person, I’ve seen bits and pieces of Buffy and Firefly and am not a Whedon fangirl, but I loved this. It gets pulled tonight at midnight, so take some time out of your Sunday to catch this. If you miss it, it’s $1.99 per act on iTunes (yes, even internationally).
I don't get the references being woefully uniformed on pop culture but I did watch some of the first segment already and Dr. Horrible's sing-a-long blog is funny. It was apparently created during the Hollywood writers strike in an attempt to circumvent the studio stranglehold on distributing creative work. It's worth supporting for that alone.

This next video, sent to me by George Lessard is apparently based on the true life effects of Congolese children accused of witchcraft. It's really moving, and even though it's subtitled in French, it's easy to follow and the music is infectious. It's sad in the beginning but it has a happy ending so stick through to the end. "Enfant Dit Sorcier" ("Child Accused of Being a Witch").

Speaking of witch hunts, my friend Dave Borden has been fighting against the prohibs in the war on some drugs for many years. Here's video of an interview he did that aired on a news network that broadcasts primarily to Arab audiences across Europe and the Middle East. It's about 25 minutes long.

Finally, for today's eye candy, a very cool gallery of fungi photos. I can't pick a favorite. Loved them all.

And this is a live web cam of theCorpse flower at Smith College greenhouse. It's just been sitting there for days but it look like it is finally going to unfurl today. I don't know how fast it goes but today's definitely the day to check it out if you're looking for action shots.

Update: The corpse flower is completely open and it's lit up so you can see it at night. Be glad you don't have to smell it. I understand it gives off a foul odor.

Labels: ,

Bookmark and Share

CentCom pushes Maliki walkback

By Libby

As expected, the Iraqi government tried to mitigate yesterday's bombshell of the Der Spiegel interview with Maliki where he effectively endorsed Obama's Iraq plan. But I get the feeling their heart isn't really into it. It's clearly a US driven psyop.
Update II: Dr. Ali al-Dabbagh, a spokesman for the Iraqi government, issued a statement saying Mr. Maliki’s statement had been “as not conveyed accurately regarding the vision of Senator Barack Obama, U.S. presidential candidate, on the timeframe for U.S. forces withdrawal from Iraq,” but it did not address a specific error. It did soften his support for Mr. Obama’s plan and implied a more tentative approach to withdrawing troops. More of the statement, which came from the U.S. military’s Central Command press office...
Meanwhile, stands by their interview and further notes:
Other major newspapers in Baghdad on Sunday, including the government affiliated al-Sabah, the independent daily al-Mashriq and Iraq's leading paper al-Zaman quote the SPIEGEL interview at length. There is no mention of al-Dabbagh's statement denying Maliki's support of Obama's withdrawal plans, but it may have come after the papers went to press.
More likely, they will never mention it if they don't have to. The original message plays well in Baghdad and is exactly what Maliki needs to shore up his own tattered political standings at home. The Iraqi people want us out and he needs to at least appear to be standing up for that position.

Labels: ,

Bookmark and Share

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Obama scores in Kuwait

By Libby

Obama's visit got overshadowed by the Maliki interview but over at the Great Orange Satan, somebody found video of Barak in Kuwait. Scroll down at that post for some YouTubes.

I recommend viewing the last one if you're short on time, even though it's the AP version. It has good footage of the big highlight when Obama makes what looked like an all net, three point basket and it captures the overall spirit of the visit well.

I was really struck by how animated and happy the soldiers looked to be there. Gave Barack a standing ovation. Marked difference from the grimly polite applause when Bush tours the troops.

Labels:

Bookmark and Share

Anatomy of a news story - the Maliki interview

By Libby

I'm posting this for the archives, even though I'm sure you already heard about Maliki's interview with Der Spiegel where he made these remarks.
"U.S. presidential candidate Barack Obama talks about 16 months. That, we think, would be the right timeframe for a withdrawal, with the possibility of slight changes." [...]

Asked if he supported Obama's ideas more than those of John McCain, Republican presidential hopeful, Maliki said he did not want to recommend who people should vote for.

"Whoever is thinking about the shorter term is closer to reality. Artificially extending the stay of U.S. troops would cause problems."
But the really explosive quote is getting less attention.
"So far the Americans have had trouble agreeing to a concrete timetable for withdrawal, because they feel it would appear tantamount to an admission of defeat. But that isn't the case at all. If we come to an agreement, it is not evidence of a defeat, but of a victory, of a severe blow we have inflicted on al-Qaida and the militias."
Not the narrative they had in mind at 1600 Penn Ave.
The White House said on Friday President George W. Bush and Maliki had agreed that a security deal under negotiation should set a "time horizon" for meeting "aspirational goals" for reducing U.S. forces in Iraq.
Shook them up so badly there that some unfortunate staffer ended up sending out an internal notice about the article to the media by mistake.

Doesn't do much for McCain's pitch either. The unnamed sources in the campaigns were quick to respond.
"His domestic politics require him to be for us getting out," said a senior McCain campaign official, speaking on the condition of anonymity. "The military says 'conditions based' and Maliki said 'conditions based' yesterday in the joint statement with Bush. Regardless, voters care about [the] military, not about Iraqi leaders."

An Obama official, also speaking on background, asks:

"So given that al-Maliki said today that it’s time for an official timetable and that Obama “is right when he talks about 16 months,” will McCain honor that commitment and call for withdrawal or change his position that we should leave Iraq if asked?"
Meanwhile, it didn't take long for the White House to walk Maliki back. He's already said he was misinterpreted, but come on. That's a whole lot of statement to misconstrue. As Kevin said, everybody is going to know that Maliki was forced into a retraction.

Of course, on the plus side for McCain, the interview dominated the cycle and took some of the spotlight off Obama's visit in Afghanistan. Come to think of it, that could explain why the White House pumped it up this morning. Maybe that mistaken email wasn't a mistake after all.

Labels: ,

Bookmark and Share

Al Gore drops in on Netroots Nation

By Libby

The yearly Kos convention, now renamed Netroots Nation, appears to have been a blazing success. Word has it about 2,000 showed up for the event and judging by the scattered reports I've seen, a good time is being had by all. Al Gore surprised the convo with an appearance this morning. TP live-blogged his speech and it's probably a little late for this link but the convention website has been streaming live video from the panels.

A lot of major media have also showed up, including Katharine Seelye from NYT's blog The Caucus who posts on what has been fondly called "The F*uck Panel" in certain circles of Blogtopia. She has quotes from a few bloggers you might recognize opining on blogger civility and the dreaded "F" word.

I'm not much for these giant events anymore myself, but in reading the coverage, I almost wish I had gone.

Labels: , ,

Bookmark and Share

2008 - an election just waiting to be stolen

By Libby

My posting has been light because I'm a little burned out this week, but I hope you've been following Newshoggers in my absence, where my guys have been flagging the stories that matter. One on particular you should read is about an ex-McCain advisor who has come forward with some credible evidence that the 2002 election in Georgia was stolen by the Republicans. Cernig has the link but here's the money quote.
Stephen Spoonamore is the founder and until recently the CEO of Cybrinth LLC, an information technology policy and security firm that serves Fortune 100 companies. At a little noticed press conference in Columbus, Ohio Thursday, he discussed his investigation of a computer patch that was applied to Diebold Election Systems voting machines in Georgia right before that state's November 2002 election.

... Spoonamore received the Diebold patch from a whistleblower close to the office of Cathy Cox, Georgia’s then-Secretary of State. In discussions with RAW STORY, the whistleblower -- who wishes to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation -- said that he became suspicious of Diebold's actions in Georgia for two reasons. The first red flag went up when the computer patch was installed in person by Diebold CEO Bob Urosevich, who flew in from Texas and applied it in just two counties, DeKalb and Fulton, both Democratic strongholds. The source states that Cox was not privy to these changes until after the election and that she became particularly concerned over the patch being installed in just those two counties.
It's useful to remember that the results of the major contests at that time came in opposite to what the polling was showing right up to election day and Republicans won.
The lesson here is obvious. I've been warning about Diebold stealing this election for months now but no one listens to me. People who were lulled into complacency because we barely eked out a majority in 06 would do well to remember that Diebolds are still in wide use and the company is still owned by GOP friendly operatives.

We know Rove is a long term planner. What better way to get away with stealing 08 than by allowing that tiny and ineffective majority to be elected in 06? I thought at the time there were several races that were a lot closer than they should have been, but winning the majority took the steam out of the verified vote movement. Think about it.

Labels: , ,

Bookmark and Share

Friday, July 18, 2008

Send Karl Rove to Jail

Psssst.... Do something.



Sign the petition.

Labels: ,

Bookmark and Share

Are we there yet?

by Capt. Fogg

So you don't want to call it a recession yet? You say it's too soon to tell? You haven't seen enough evidence? Well how about this: Not only will there not be a new Starbucks across the street from the Starbucks next door to the Starbucks, they're going to close a bunch of them. 12 cafes in my area alone, including one in a Palm Beach mall where there are currently 4. Who said the economic news is all bad?

I'm guessing that the Starbucks planned for a semi rural intersection across the street from a church here won't be built now which means a few more trees will survive and the traffic remain manageable. We may get a Dunkin' Donuts however; in an area that's already commercial and where there would be a waitress instead of a Barista; where you can just order a coffee and receive it without the phony pseudo Italian names or the snotty prices. They make great doughnuts too.

Long live the recession!

Cross posted from Human Voices

Labels:

Bookmark and Share

Rumor and humor

By Libby

I have to agree with John Cole that this is the best campaign bleg I have ever seen. Apparently over 4,000 people have agreed so far and more are joining in the fun every minute.

Meanwhile, when I saw this profile on Rachel Maddow yesterday, my first thought was they should give her Tweety's job. Well, lo and behold, via Avedon, I see it's rumored that the NBC execs agree.
"The remaining (few) conservatives at NBC are angry about The Suits plan to replace a show host, probably Chris Matthews, with faradical far-left openly lesbian Air America host(ess) Rachel Maddow. Maddow makes no secret of her beliefs, or her ability to use her time on the air to promote them."
Very cool. Rachel got her start in show biz in a small radio studio a couple of blocks from where I lived in lovely downtown Northampton. Loved her then, and love her now. I hope the rumors are true. I might even start watching teevee again if they give Rachel her own show.

Labels:

Bookmark and Share

Tough guys don't think

by Capt. Fogg

I don't know who the readership of the Army Times is. I don't know if the people who post comments there are military personnel or not. I do know that if they represent any significant fraction of the Armed services, Obama isn't going to get many of their votes. Reading comments on an article introducing Barak Obama, I have to conclude that I'm looking at the least informed, most bigoted, prejudiced, stupid and absolutely rabid Americans at large in the world. Despite John McCain's disgraceful attitude toward military benefits and pay and despite his enthusiasm for continued occupation of Iraq and the opening of new fronts with the old arguments, he seems the choice of the men with shaved heads.

Obama is a communist, muslim insurgent pacifist appeaser coward, you see and he represents, amongst other things, the no longer existent USSR. Actually any accusation, any idiotic epithet seems appropriate without concern for things and events or contradictions having anything to do with the real world. His wife is a traitor, he's a terrorist and worst of all, he's never worn a uniform. McCain has, and that makes all the difference.

Am I imagining it, or has our military in effect seceeded from mainstream American culture? Radical hairstyles that once would bring severe repremand are de rigeur. Contempt for civilians seems almost worthy of third world armies and war -- any war -- is a worthy war. I hope I'm being truly misled by what I read, but even among the many retired military officers I associate with here, I'm hearing a contempt for democracy in principle and for the indecisiveness and weakness of civilians. What I'm seeing is the search for another Commander Guy who has never had a doubt about anything the US has done or a scruple about anything we might do in the future: another strutting drum major, another prancing cheerleader who knows nothing about economics, history world affairs, international politics - but looks good in a flight suit. Five years in jail trumps five years at Harvard and hot rod Johnnie doesn't have a wife who ever had a doubt about American exceptionalism whether it be about Slavery, wounded knee, Jim Crow, the trail of tears, the Chinese exclusion act, Joe McCarthy, Father Caughlin, the internment of American citizens of Japanese ancestry, Kent State, the Gulf of Tonkin hoax, the WMD hoax, the Niger Uranium hoax or abu Ghraib. We're number one.

Of coure it's not hard to be paranoid these days or to feel that these are dangerous times, but I see very little danger from "terrorists" and none from invading armies. I see and smell danger from creeping nationalism, Xenophobia, militarism, Christianism and all the massive polarizations tearing us all apart. Read it yourself. See if the comments about Obama reflect anything but the howling of beasts.

I'm not sure Obama ever refused to say the Pledge of Allegiance or whether Richard Nixon wore a lapel pin to bed at night. I don't care either. I wouldn't give a flying damn if Obama were a Muslim or his grandparents were "typical white people." I'm not sure if I've been proud of a damned thing this country has done in my lifetime other than liberating Western Europe, defeating the Empire of Japan or landing on the moon and those were a long time ago. I'm not sure how many people really think like these people, but I am sure of one thing -- if it's their country come next year, it's not my country any more. They can have it.

Cross posted from Human Voices

Labels: , ,

Bookmark and Share

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Demented

By Libby

Hate mail of the month comes from my old friend Frank at the Detroit News.

Reply to Ms.Spemcer: You are correct when you claim it is a "gratutitous" remark you made about McCain. As the Doubleday Dictionary tells us that "gratutitous" "is without cause ,uncalled for, unnecessary" and your remark was certainly that. You have a closed mind that will not accept anything that does not fit your goals coupled with the fact that your mind will not accept new info from others. You have a set, almost demented, mind. To you all things not of the Demcratic genre is "evil'. Thank God (Yes despite the fact that your fellow travelers have made, and will continue to made,attempts to remove God from our lexicon there is a GOD) That there are, and has been people on both sides of issues that look at facts and then make up and/or change their opinions (think Libermen).

To read you, which I seldon do, is to waste time on foolish words Frank Mannino
This is the most cogent criticism he's ever made, possibly in his whole life. I pissed him off so much, he had to think about it and he looked things up. I love that. It feels like progress somehow.

Labels: ,

Bookmark and Share

The wife of a candidate

By Libby

In remarks made to Glamour magazine, Obama said the right wing media, new and old, have been unfairly attacking his wife. That's true enough but he went on to suggest that "spouses be off limits, calling them 'civilians' and saying 'they didn’t sign up for this.'" I'd have to disagree.

In the old days, the candidate's wife was pretty much a background figure who did little more than stand on stage and smile adoringly at her husband, if they even appeared on the campaign trail at all. Now they take an active role in the campaign, appearing alone at events and that makes them as fair a target as any surrogate. Granted the surrogates get way too much attention from the press, but that's a whole other argument. One that deserves discussion perhaps, but is unlikely to change in a media obsessed with inventing scandals out of thin air.

In any event, as long as the wives are active in the campaigning, I don't think it's realistic to expect they'll escape the usual scrutiny. As we used to say around the ACLU office, the antidote to bad speech is more speech, not less. Better to fight back against the false memes than complain about them.

Labels: , ,

Bookmark and Share

Don't we look foolish enough already?

by Capt. Fogg

I don't think I want to watch the Olympics this year. It's not that this iteration of the games will be any more or less boring or fulsomely nationalistic than the event ever has been, but I'm afraid that some self-appointed ambassadors are going to make damn fools and hypocrites of us.

My first reaction was "tell me it's a joke" when I read the Reuters item telling us that an unspecified group of "human rights activists" have asked George W. Bush to complain to the Chinese government about political prisoners while he is there, and to wear a wristband that declares: "free the North Koreans." They intend to show up under full sail in Beijing wearing their version of the trendy rubber band rhetoric. I can almost hear the jeers.

Tell me it's a joke.

According to White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe, Bush will not be taking wristbands with him. I'm glad to hear it. Another thing George will not be taking with him on the trip is moral authority; or indeed anything else that gives him the right to demand that China not expel illegal aliens coming across the Korean Border looking for work, or that they release militant Islamic separatists, much less to extend them anything resembling the right to Habeas Corpus.

It's not that no criticism is due, it's that we are in no position to make it. I can well imagine my own feelings should a Chinese delegation show up here demanding that we free Puerto Rico, close Guantanamo and open the border with Mexico.

I mean, it's really a joke, isn't it?

Cross posted from Human Voices

Labels: , ,

Bookmark and Share

It's time for some campaignin'

expatbrian

Absolutely classic....

Labels: , ,

Bookmark and Share

A Common Sense Republican

expatbrian

I know. It sounds like an oxymoron. But this is the most sensible commentary on the election and it's probable impact that I have read from either side of the isle.
I'm a lifelong Republican - a supply-side conservative. I worked in the Reagan White House. I was the chief economist at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for five years. In 1994, I helped write the Republican Contract with America. I served on Bob Dole's presidential campaign team and was chief economist for Jack Kemp's Empower America.

This November, I'm voting for Barack Obama.
Larry Hunter offers up a brief but down to earth, reasonable argument for his decision to switch sides for the good of the country. I like it and I think it's well worth a read by repubs and dems alike. It's about time that we crawled out of our political party boxes and started thinking about what is ultimately the best for the nation at this absolutely critical point in time.
These past eight years, we have spent over a trillion dollars on foreign soil - and lost countless lives - and done what I consider irreparable damage to our Constitution.

If economic damage from well-intentioned but misbegotten Obama economic schemes is the ransom we must pay him to clean up this foreign policy mess, then so be it. It's not nearly as costly as enduring four more years of what we suffered the last eight years.
Here here. Read it. Pass it on.

Labels: , ,

Bookmark and Share

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

American values

By Libby

Via Avedon, here's some cheery news for a change. The filthy rich get caught red-handed.
Hundreds of super-rich American tax cheats have, in effect, turned themselves in to the IRS after a bank computer technician in the tiny European country of Liechtenstein came forward with the names of US citizens who had set up secret accounts there, according to Washington lawyers investigating the scheme.
Liechtenstein wants to arrest him "for violating the country's bank secrecy laws." I want to give the guy a medal myself.

On a related note, I wonder if this guy is on the list. Fox Business Channel analyst Jonathan Hoenig, who manages a hedge fund and wrote the book Greed is Good, had this to say about working for the common good of society.
"We're in this culture of altruism now which worships self-sacrifice." Hoenig concluded scornfully. "Anything you do for yourself is bad. Any time you sacrifice your own wants or desires to help someone else, well that's inherently good. I just think there's something unbelievably un-American about that. People should pursue their own wants."
There you have it. The personification of the "I got mine, too bad if you didn't get yours" creed. Greed as the new defining American value. I don't know what's worse. That Hoenig would feel free to say that on television or that it's likely a lot of people would agree humanitarian values are for losers.
Bookmark and Share

No lie too lame

by Capt. Fogg

Burning burning burning burning
O Lord Thou pluckest me out


All of what most of us say and do and believe has nothing to do with reason or even with facts. That anyone can, as many obviously do, blame the 2001 attack on Democrats as part of a belief system under which our country is divided by phallic metaphor between tough and wimpy, hard and soft, unbending and flaccid is evident. The cornerstone, the unquestioned first principle is that Democrats are Liberals and liberals are defenseless and advocate defenselessness -- history and dictionary be damned.

Of course the attack was aided and the attackers abetted by the refusal of the Republican government to pay attention to warnings and the effective shutdown of anti-terrorism planning. Why it was the Democrats' fault that the airlines weren't forced to incorporate reinforced cabin doors, I don't know and why the myth persists that Democrats resisted counterattack I don't know either, other than to say this is a nation of insane people.

So why is it surprising that yet another insane billboard has cropped up in Florida, with yet another picture of those tired towers burning and the fully expected and indeed inevitable plea not to vote for Democrats. It wouldn't be surprising even had Bush admitted responsibility, admitted incompetence or even complicity. Democrats advocate defenselessness, unilateral disarmament, appeasement and general flaccidity and they would in the minds of the mindless even if they were all Goosestepping down Pennsylvania Avenue in black, shiny boots and even though the party supported Bush's programs in near unanimity. Belief is truth and truth is belief.
"Liberals get abjectly hysterical whenever the truth about them is pointed out,"
reads a comment at Republican website Lucienne.com. Hysteria of course is a familiar condition at such places; obsessively so, albeit mostly unnoticed except when projected onto others. The calm, dispassionate commentary by Republican agitators and polemicists, it's implied, should be an example to abjectly hysterical Liberal hotheads like -- well, like me. Of course the hysteria is theirs, the truth is not, and so it will remain until the inevitable collapse of the United States into an authoritarian, aggressive, nationalistic, xenophobic cauldron of irrational right wing idiot rage; flags flying, neon crosses ablaze and the twin towers forever smoking on billboards in the hot Florida night.

Burning

Cross posted from Human Voices

Labels: , ,

Bookmark and Share

Talking with billionaires

By Libby

I sat in on a conference call yesterday with former US Comptroller General Dave Walker. I don't think he's really a billionaire, but he recently quit the White House and is now the CEO of a new billion dollar think tank, The Peter G. Peterson Foundation, dedicated to spreading the word about our impending fiscal breakdown.

I have the details at Newshoggers so I won't repeat it here. Oddly, I enjoyed it more than I expected. I generally avoid such things like the plague and I wasn't even planning to talk so as not to prolong the ordeal. I ended up pretty much taking over the call and challenging Mr. Walker at length.

I actually liked him. He was much responsive than I expected. As for the project, well it looks good in the broad outline but I'm reserving judgment until they get much specific about the solutions side of the deal. Hard to get a read on them. If you look at the trailer for the movie they're pitching, IOUSA, it sure looks non-partisan, but I have a feeling their underlying agenda is to privatize the social safety net.



It's an impressive effort in any event and with the heavy hitters on board, they may end up becoming influential. I think they're worth keeping an eye on.

Labels: , ,

Bookmark and Share

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Afterthought

By Libby

I would have laughed if the New Yorker cover was of that image inside a computer screen with a black silhouette of the back of a hunched over figure at the bottom. That small addition would have made it funny.

Meanwhile, I see those of us who didn't find it funny are being accused of humor impairment by some guy who probably has it framed with a engraved plate attached that says "The Real Democrats."

Geez. Sometimes a joke just falls flat. Go ask John McCain. [via]

Labels: ,

Bookmark and Share