Monday, July 30, 2007

What about Saudi Arabia?

You know, I expect, that 15 of the 19 9/11 hijackers were Saudi Arabian (Details Here).

Do you know that "About 45% of all foreign militants targeting U.S. troops and Iraqi civilians and security forces are from Saudi Arabia" (Details Here)

You know, I expect, that the Bush administration has a very cozy relationship with the Saudis (Details Here).

You know, I expect, that Osama bin Laden himself is Saudi Arabian.

Do you know that
"Two days after the Sept. 11 attacks, with most of the nation's air traffic still grounded, a small jet landed at Tampa International Airport, picked up three young Saudi men and left.

This jet joined a veritable convoy of escaping Saudis and members of Osama bin Laden's family.

Source: TIA admits flight

There seems a rather odd silence concerning Saudi complicity in anti-American terrorist activities.

What's the reason Saudi Arabians can kill American citizens and U.S. soldiers without so much as a peep of protest?

Not only does Saudi Arabia get off blameless, but we seem to be paying them to double the size of their military!

Add to this the fact that we still haven't funded the 9/11 panel's recommendations, and it looks to me like we're financing Islamic fundamentalists while keeping our guard low.

That can't be good.

How to listen to a republican

Bkuhl over at Daily Kos has an interesting article deconstructing the way republicans argue:

Foundations of Conservatism

He outlines three techniques (Straw Man, Red Herring, and the Common Enemy) often employed by republicans anxious to evade a factually-based discourse.

While it is nice to have the techniques laid out on the dissection table there weren't any recommendations for combating them. "Deconstruction without destruction does not address the con", I sez.

Should liberals adopt these tools?

Should one pick up the Red Herring bait or ignore it?

Is this like a game of rock, paper, and scissors where you top a straw man argument with a red herring, perhaps mentioning that Rush Limbaugh is more addicted to drugs than a tie-dyed hippie when discussing single-payer healthcare?

Friday, July 27, 2007

Protection racket update

I recently posted an article called, "Protection racket?", which named several republican lawmakers involved in sexual predation and/or prostitution. Many of these republicans also happened to be publicly preachy about proper moral behavior. That characteristic is what I believe makes them fair game for ridicule.

Already there is a new name to add to the list, that of Coy Privette, a republican from North Carolina that chaired the Christian Action league of North Carolina. Perhaps, at 74, Mr. Privette was confused by the term "action"? Other members of the group did not seem to share his confusion and acted swiftly to pull the chair out from under him.

Here are the details of his arrest: Hookers and Hypocrisy

Again and again complete frauds wind up preaching morality to unsuspecting church-folk. This is no doubt because they are preconditioned to obey the most incredible stories with no evidence whatsoever. They are ripe for the plucking by the opportunistic and corrupt. I see no way to break the cycle until works become more valuable than words.

I believe the lesson expressed as parable is, "Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?" [Matthew 7:16]

Mr. Privette's current situation is indeed a thorny one. Let us hope that he will turn over a new leaf.

For whom the cat purrs

I am not sure sociologists know why, but for some reason cats are popular with bloggers. The phrase "cat blogging" is used to describe it.

I have stayed away from cat blogging, even though I have cats that are photogenic. For instance this photo portrays the theocratic yoke of a council of clerics which has gone too far. Note the dramatic look in Oliver's eyes:

What lured me into the subject was a recent article in the Boston Globe about a cat named Oscar that seems to detect when death is near for Alzheimer's patients. His response is to jump on their beds and purr:

Story here

Is this an example of cat compassion?

I made a list of other things Oscar could be thinking:
  • I call dibs on this bed.
  • Dying people smell like tuna.
  • This one's too weak to kick me off.
  • Soon the rats will come and I will be ready.
Any others?

May Oscar forgive me.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Put a face on it

The primary problem with partisan politics is that it is often ideologically driven. Rather than play silly games, president Bill Clinton had a secret to break log-jams. He didn't hide it. Here it is.

Politics is about people.

So, for instance, when it comes to the healthcare debate, which is more of a bottom-feeding-frenzy of lobbyist largess than an honest handling of the issues facing the nation, it might help to put a face on the trouble with the healthcare system we have.

Before Deamonte Driver died of a toothache I never knew such a thing was possible. Apparently the young man, he was only 12, could have been saved by a tooth extraction.

Here are the full details

Here are more details

I expect conservatives would argue that Deamonte died because he had irresponsible parents. For the purposes of debate let us accept the charge as true and address it. If it is true that Deamonte had irresponsible parents is it fair that he should bear the burden of that when his place of birth was an accident of nature? Since Deamonte was a human being, wasn't he entitled to the right to life which conservatives are so willing to protect in the womb? Since his $80 problem became a $250,000 problem which society paid, isn't there an economic argument to be made in Deamonte's favor in this case?

Deamonte is one child. 18,000 Americans die of preventable causes every year. You could also say they they die of preventable congressional inaction every year.

What is wrong when the welfare of a child is less important than the perks of a health-insurance executive?

Why has shame lost it's ability to cut in Washington?

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Alberto the bum

If Alberto Gonzales can't show any more respect for his office, his nation, or ranking members of his own party then he ought to be shipped off to some communist nation where he'll fit in better.

I have never witnessed anything as sycophantic, as unpatriotic, as cheapening to the office of the Attorney General or as disrespectful of American law as this

Watch and weep

This is the man president Bush chooses to uphold Justice on his watch?

This just goes to show the level of contempt the Bush administration has for democracy.

Heck of a job Alberto. You make us all so proud.

Flags should be flown upside-down I think.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Criminalizing Dissent?

Funny how we used to have laws and now we have "orders" isn't it? Did I miss something?

Executive Order: Blocking Property of Certain Persons Who Threaten Stabilization Efforts in Iraq

RSS Feed White House News

Fact sheet Message to the Congress of the United States Regarding International Emergency Economic Powers Act

By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, as amended (50 U.S.C. 1701 et seq.)(IEEPA), the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1601 et seq.)(NEA), and section 301 of title 3, United States Code,

I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America, find that, due to the unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States posed by acts of violence threatening the peace and stability of Iraq and undermining efforts to promote economic reconstruction and political reform in Iraq and to provide humanitarian assistance to the Iraqi people, it is in the interests of the United States to take additional steps with respect to the national emergency declared in Executive Order 13303 of May 22, 2003, and expanded in Executive Order 13315 of August 28, 2003, and relied upon for additional steps taken in Executive Order 13350 of July 29, 2004, and Executive Order 13364 of November 29, 2004. I hereby order:

Section 1. (a) Except to the extent provided in section 203(b)(1), (3), and (4) of IEEPA (50 U.S.C. 1702(b)(1), (3), and (4)), or in regulations, orders, directives, or licenses that may be issued pursuant to this order, and notwithstanding any contract entered into or any license or permit granted prior to the date of this order, all property and interests in property of the following persons, that are in the United States, that hereafter come within the United States, or that are or hereafter come within the possession or control of United States persons, are blocked and may not be transferred, paid, exported, withdrawn, or otherwise dealt in: any person determined by the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Defense,

(i) to have committed, or to pose a significant risk of committing, an act or acts of violence that have the purpose or effect of:

(A) threatening the peace or stability of Iraq or the Government of Iraq; or

(B) undermining efforts to promote economic reconstruction and political reform in Iraq or to provide humanitarian assistance to the Iraqi people;

(ii) to have materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, logistical, or technical support for, or goods or services in support of, such an act or acts of violence or any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order; or

(iii) to be owned or controlled by, or to have acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order.

(b) The prohibitions in subsection (a) of this section include, but are not limited to, (i) the making of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services by, to, or for the benefit of any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order, and (ii) the receipt of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services from any such person.

Sec. 2. (a) Any transaction by a United States person or within the United States that evades or avoids, has the purpose of evading or avoiding, or attempts to violate any of the prohibitions set forth in this order is prohibited.

(b) Any conspiracy formed to violate any of the prohibitions set forth in this order is prohibited.

Sec. 3. For purposes of this order:

(a) the term "person" means an individual or entity;

(b) the term "entity" means a partnership, association, trust, joint venture, corporation, group, subgroup, or other organization; and

(c) the term "United States person" means any United States citizen, permanent resident alien, entity organized under the laws of the United States or any jurisdiction within the United States (including foreign branches), or any person in the United States.

Sec. 4. I hereby determine that the making of donations of the type specified in section 203(b)(2) of IEEPA (50 U.S.C. 1702(b)(2)) by, to, or for the benefit of, any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order would seriously impair my ability to deal with the national emergency declared in Executive Order 13303 and expanded in Executive Order 13315, and I hereby prohibit such donations as provided by section 1 of this order.

Sec. 5. For those persons whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order who might have a constitutional presence in the United States, I find that, because of the ability to transfer funds or other assets instantaneously, prior notice to such persons of measures to be taken pursuant to this order would render these measures ineffectual. I therefore determine that for these measures to be effective in addressing the national emergency declared in Executive Order 13303 and expanded in Executive Order 13315, there need be no prior notice of a listing or determination made pursuant to section 1(a) of this order.

Sec. 6. The Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Defense, is hereby authorized to take such actions, including the promulgation of rules and regulations, and to employ all powers granted to the President by IEEPA as may be necessary to carry out the purposes of this order. The Secretary of the Treasury may redelegate any of these functions to other officers and agencies of the United States Government, consistent with applicable law. All agencies of the United States Government are hereby directed to take all appropriate measures within their authority to carry out the provisions of this order and, where appropriate, to advise the Secretary of the Treasury in a timely manner of the measures taken.

Sec. 7. Nothing in this order is intended to affect the continued effectiveness of any rules, regulations, orders, licenses, or other forms of administrative action issued, taken, or continued in effect heretofore or hereafter under 31 C.F.R. chapter V, except as expressly terminated, modified, or suspended by or pursuant to this order.

Sec. 8. This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right, benefit, or privilege, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, instrumentalities, or entities, its officers or employees, or any other person.



July 17, 2007.

# # #


I expect the power to "block" a person from their possessions will cause Japanese-Americans a modicum of discomfort if they recall the internment camps of WWII. Being separated from their property was one of the thrills of camp life.

Protection racket?

Republicans are often bellowing about family values and offering to protect us, the unwashed masses, from the evildoers that wish to prey on us.

Apparently the offer does not extend to protecting us, the unwashed masses, from the republican lawmakers and sympathizers themselves. That is too bad when you consider the conduct of the following men:

James Dale Guckert (a.k.a Jeff Gannon) was given whitehouse press credentials to ask softball-questions. He, it seems, "... had previously worked as a $200-an-hour gay prostitute who advertised himself on a series of websites with names such as hotmilitary" (Source).

Ted Arthur Haggard, former evengelical preacher, seems to have solicited a male prostitute and dabbled with drugs (Source). He was exposed by Mike Jones because..."This was a man who talked to Bush once a week. This was a man who actively campaigned against gay marriage. And he could not even abide by his own marriage vows." (Source)

U.S. Representative Mark Foley, crusader against child exploitation, whom "resigned from Congress on September 29, 2006 after allegations surfaced that he had sent suggestive emails and sexually explicit instant messages to teenaged boys who had formerly served as Congressional pages" (Source)

U.S. Senator David Bruce Vitter "In early July 2007, Vitter's phone number was included in a published list of phone records of Pamela Martin and Associates, a company owned and run by Deborah Jeane Palfrey, also known as the "D.C. Madam", which is accused by the U.S. government of being a prostitution service." (Source)

Florida Representative Bob Allen, was arrested on the afternoon of July 11, 2007 at Veterans Memorial Park in Titusville, Florida for solicitation of prostitution. According to published news reports, Allen "offer[ed] to perform oral sex for $20.00" on an African-American male undercover officer inside a public restroom. (Source)

I think the next time a republican town-square moralist comes to defend our purity from corruption that we ought to keep in mind the lessons implicit in the above stories.

To wit, Mitt Romney is the current golden boy of virtue even though he belongs to an organization that was officially racist until June 6, 1978 (Source) and has (like the Catholic church) provided a safe-haven for child molesters (Source).

Here is a look at one of Mitt's latest ads. Could he be another wolf in grandma's bed?

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Mad'Moiselle from Armentieres

I have a song book called, "Songs My Mother Never Taught Me" written by John J. Niles and Douglas Moore and published by Macaulay in 1929. It is a song collection of tunes that U.S. troops sang in World War I.

One of the tunes was called "Mad'Moiselle from Armentieres" and is today more commonly called "Hinky Dinky parlez-vous".

Here is a lyric from the original:

Mad'moiselle from Armentieres,
Mad'moiselle from Armentieres,
She got the palm and the Croix de guerre,
For washin' soldiers' underwear,
Hinky-dinky, parlez-vous.

There are other lyrics much more fun and much less printable in polite company. However, tonight I came up with lyrics that fit right in and thought I'd share them in the spirit of fun. You remember fun?

Mad'Moiselle from Armentieres
Never washed her underwears
She kept them on both night and day,
except when her husband had gone away.
Hinky-dinky, parlez-vous.

My grandfather fought in WWII and this was one of his favorite songs (it carried over). I hope he enjoys my contribution.

Key judgements of National Intelligence Estimate

One of my favorite things about the internet is the ability to track-down horse's-mouth source material. The recent National Intelligence Estimate has generated a lot of headlines, interpretations, and shouting matches. Here, simply and without comment (but with added highlighting for things which caught my eye), are the key judgements with a link to the source:

Key Judgments

We judge the US Homeland will face a persistent and evolving terrorist threat over the next three years. The main threat comes from Islamic terrorist groups and cells, especially al-Qa’ida, driven by their undiminished intent to attack the Homeland and a continued effort by these terrorist groups to adapt and improve their capabilities.

We assess that greatly increased worldwide counterterrorism efforts over the past five years have constrained the ability of al-Qa’ida to attack the US Homeland again and have led terrorist groups to perceive the Homeland as a harder target to strike than on 9/11. These measures have helped disrupt known plots against the United States since 9/11.

We are concerned, however, that this level of international cooperation may wane as 9/11 becomes a more distant memory and perceptions of the threat diverge.
Al-Qa’ida is and will remain the most serious terrorist threat to the Homeland, as its central leadership continues to plan high-impact plots, while pushing others in extremist Sunni communities to mimic its efforts and to supplement its capabilities. We assess the group has protected or regenerated key elements of its Homeland attack capability, including:

  • A safehaven in the Pakistan Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA)
  • Operational lieutenants, and its top leadership.

Although we have discovered only a handful of individuals in the United States with ties to al-Qa’ida senior leadership since 9/11, we judge that al-Qa’ida will intensify its efforts to put operatives here.

As a result, we judge that the United States currently is in a heightened threat environment. We assess that al-Qa’ida will continue to enhance its capabilities to attack the Homeland through greater cooperation with regional terrorist groups. Of note, we assess that al-Qa’ida will probably seek to leverage the contacts and capabilities of al-Qa’ida in Iraq (AQI), its most visible and capable affiliate and the only one known to have expressed a desire to attack the Homeland. In addition, we assess that its association with AQI helps al-Qa’ida to energize the broader Sunni extremist community, raise resources, and to recruit and indoctrinate operatives, including for Homeland attacks.

We assess that al-Qa’ida’s Homeland plotting is likely to continue to focus on prominent political, economic, and infrastructure targets with the goal of producing mass casualties, visually dramatic destruction, significant economic aftershocks, and/or fear among the US population. The group is proficient with conventional small arms and improvised explosive devices, and is innovative in creating new capabilities and overcoming security obstacles.

We assess that al-Qa’ida will continue to try to acquire and employ chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear material in attacks and would not hesitate to use
them if it develops what it deems is sufficient capability.

We assess Lebanese Hizballah, which has conducted anti-US attacks outside the United States in the past, may be more likely to consider attacking the Homeland over the next three years if it perceives the United States as posing a direct threat to the group or Iran.

We assess that the spread of radical—especially Salafi—Internet sites, increasingly aggressive anti-US rhetoric and actions, and the growing number of radical, self-generating cells in Western countries indicate that the radical and violent segment of the West’s Muslim population is expanding, including in the United States.

The arrest and prosecution by US law enforcement of a small number of violent Islamic extremists inside the United States—who are becoming more connected ideologically, virtually, and/or in a physical sense to the global extremist movement—points to the possibility that others may become sufficiently radicalized that they will view the use of violence here as legitimate.

We assess that this internal Muslim terrorist threat is not likely to be as severe as it is in Europe, however.

We assess that other, non-Muslim terrorist groups—often referred to as “single-issue” groups by the FBI—probably will conduct attacks over the next three years given their violent histories, but we assess this violence is likely to be on a small scale.

We assess that globalization trends and recent technological advances will continue to enable even small numbers of alienated people to find and connect with one another, justify and intensify their anger, and mobilize resources to attack—all without requiring a centralized terrorist organization, training camp, or leader.

The ability to detect broader and more diverse terrorist plotting in this environment will challenge current US defensive efforts and the tools we use to detect and disrupt plots. It will also require greater understanding of how suspect activities at the local
level relate to strategic threat information and how best to identify indicators of terrorist activity in the midst of legitimate interactions.

Source: National Intelligence Estimate

Secondary Source (PDF): National Intelligence Estimate

Some expert analysis:

Here is a link to analysis by Larry C. Johnson, whom according to his website, "worked previously with the Central Intelligence Agency and U.S. State Department’s Office of Counter Terrorism, is a recognized expert in the fields of terrorism, aviation security, crisis and risk management"

Bush drops ball

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Learning from mistakes

Every once in a while I stare with incredulity at some article written by some neocon that makes excuses for the colossal corruption, calamity plagued, unpopular presidency of president Bush.

William Kristol recently laid down a glowing tribute to Mr. Mission Accomplished, Mr. Compassionate Katrina, Mr. Stuck in Iraq, Mr. Unsmoked Osama, Mr. Anthrax got away, Mr. Jobs to China, Mr. Falls on Face, Mr. Chokes on Pretzel, Mr. Republican Albatross, Mr. Delusional, Mr. Out-of-touch, Mr. Albanian Hero, Mr. Bush:

Let's step back...

Mr. Kristol seems incapable of learning that which comes into conflict with his high opinion of his opinions.

Here is what Steve Benen at Talking Points Memo had to say about the article:

An opening for ridicule

I'd like to see Mr. Kristol take an unprotected stroll down the center of Baghdad so he can come to grips with the enormity of his misunderstanding. Perhaps he could then brush his teeth with Chinese toothpaste and relocate to New Orleans.

This isn't just spin; it is a category 5 tornado.

Laughing with Noam

Noam Chomsky has written a gem called, "What if Iran had invaded Mexico?".

Here is a choice quote from the article

"The debate over Iranian interference in Iraq proceeds without ridicule on the assumption that the United States owns the world. We did not, for example, engage in a similar debate in the 1980s about whether the U.S. was interfering in Soviet-occupied Afghanistan, and I doubt that Pravda, probably recognizing the absurdity of the situation, sank to outrage about that fact (which American officials and our media, in any case, made no effort to conceal). Perhaps the official Nazi press also featured solemn debates about whether the Allies were interfering in sovereign Vichy France, though if so, sane people would then have collapsed in ridicule."

And here is a link to the full text:

Armageddon comic relief

Monday, July 16, 2007


You may have heard opponents of universal single-payer healthcare grumble about waiting times in Canada and cite that when it comes to elective, non-life-threatening, medical procedures like hip replacement the U.S. beats Canada and their boogey-man socialist healthcare system.

Well, Paul Krugman decided to do a little checking into that defense and uncovered something truly hillarious.

"the large majority of hip replacements in the United States are paid for by, um, Medicare.

That’s right: the hip-replacement gap is actually a comparison of two government health insurance systems. American Medicare has shorter waits than Canadian Medicare (yes, that’s what they call their system) because it has more lavish funding — end of story. The alleged virtues of private insurance have nothing to do with it."

Source: Paul Krugman

If only U.S. media outlets could find it within their mission to tell a broader story by doing a little myth busting and analysis that went beyond cherry-picking he-said-she-said squabbles. Balance does not pit lies against truth, but opinion against opinion.

There is a reason you must tell the whole truth in a court of law. Sometimes telling a half-truth is fibbing.

Friday, July 13, 2007


High-school presidential scholars recently handed the president a letter that read:

“As members of the Presidential Scholars class of 2007, we have been told that we represent the best and brightest of our nation. Therefore, we believe we have a responsibility to voice our convictions. We do not want America to represent torture. We urge you to do all in your power to stop violations of the human rights of detainees, to cease illegal renditions and to apply the Geneva Convention to all detainees, including those designated enemy combatants.”

The president is an embarrassment to all but himself and not even the nations kids are willing to pretend otherwise anymore.

Here is more on the story: Amy Goodman

Thanks kids. I wish I could share my smile.

News cycles

Perhaps scholars will one-day wonder why Americans didn't force the resignation of president Bush. They surely will wonder how the Messiah of blunder could blunder and plunder at will. Perhaps they'll scratch their heads as they count the dead, or guffaw at the laws that were broken?

Surely news cycles like this one, where evidence points out that Attorney General Alberto Gonzales perjured himself before Congress, while the AP reports that the Iraq government has missed all political targets, will confound them.

"They had free speech, the right to assemble, the right to bear arms, and mass communication! They had a UN to serve as a brake! They had Congress, an independent branch of government with authority of the purse! They had a free press to examine false statements and shine the light of Truth!", they might exclaim.

And if they could travel back in time, these historical scholars, what would we tell them?

I might tell them the president was too much of a coward to walk among Americans as if they were Albanians. I might tell them about "free speech zones", "Patriot Acts", "loyalty oaths", "Paris Hilton", and "shoppnig malls". I might tell them about "unseen marches" and "unheard protests" and "Rupert Murdoch". I might tell them about "security alerts" and "Rove" and "Coulter" and "neocons".

In the end I'd tell them all the world's not a stage, but mostly reserved seating, and "reality shows" are not particapatory.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

More Moore

It was not unexpected to watch CNN libel Michael before speaking to him (accusing him of "fudging his facts") and label him afterwards (calling him "more of a left-wing promoter than Hugo Chavez"). It was disappointing, however, since health care is a matter of life and death for 18,000 Americans per year.

At least four 911's a year

What does media watchdog F.A.I.R. (Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting) have to say about the treatment?:

Action Alert

I often wonder when I see this kind of indecent exposure what kind of world these talking heads want to create.

Is it a world of gated communities, cronyism, exclusive hospitals, and diseased, fearful rabble scratching at the doors?

Is it a world where telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act?

If we don't strive to make the world a better place by alleviating suffering, then where will a better world come from?

If you have to tell lies to make your case in an argument then shouldn't you reevaluate your opinion?

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

A loud crowing

Volume does not transform a crow into a songbird, but the vocal, strangulated cacklings of a crow do overshadow the artful contributions of the robin.

Ann Coulter is to entertainment as a crow to a robin.
Both feed on death and neither makes a pleasant show.
"Ack! Ack! Gargle. Gargle. Ack!", goes the crow.
"Attack Iraq! Gargle. Gargle. Iran!", goes the Coulter.

Monday, July 09, 2007

NY Times Sounds Off

There is a rather scathing editorial in the New York Times which skewers:

While Mr. Bush scorns deadlines, he kept promising breakthroughs — after elections, after a constitution, after sending in thousands more troops. But those milestones came and went without any progress toward a stable, democratic Iraq or a path for withdrawal. It is frighteningly clear that Mr. Bush’s plan is to stay the course as long as he is president and dump the mess on his successor. Whatever his cause was, it is lost.

Source: The Road Home

Pete Seeger might express the same thing this way...

Any ignorant mule does know
better than to step on a cotton row
but their ain't no mules in Congress, so
plow the fourth one under.


Plow under, plow under
Plow under
Every fourth American boy.

One fragment of the editorial did trouble me, since it set up a straw-man "democratic candidate" and then attacked him/her as "foolish".

It is possible, we suppose, that announcing a firm withdrawal date might finally focus Iraq’s political leaders and neighboring governments on reality. Ideally, it could spur Iraqi politicians to take the steps toward national reconciliation that they have endlessly discussed but refused to act on.

But it is foolish to count on that, as some Democratic proponents of withdrawal have done [emphasis added].

I sez, "When you've been consistently, publicly, and vocally established on the dumb-side of the bell curve it takes titanic temerity to call the correct answer percentile foolish". If you view the quote through a lens of compassion, you might see a threatened ego lashing out in order to inflate itself, which is something all human beings are capable of and should perhaps be forgiven.

The only task left is to point out that there has been bipartisan support for withdrawal, for timetables, and for outright avoidance, since before the war started (Colin Powell comes to mind).

The partisan fish in this pond swim in the Bush school. Right now they are following each other in circles ignorant of the fact that they are circling the drain.


If president Bush were a football player something tells me he'd be the type to celebrate his touchdowns before reaching the end-zone. He'd be high-stepping and grinning while unaware that a defender closed in to clobber him.

It is a painful thing to watch, this premature Mission Accomplished celebration. There is a moment where those in the stands, those commentating, those watching on T.V. anticipate the "teaching moment" and cringe.

As the defender's shoulder presses dancing flesh and the ball is stripped everyone watching feels the way I feel now when I see George W. Bush, knocked senseless perhaps, and convinced he's scored.

I am one of those reserved Yankees that can do without the end-zone dancing and strutting altogether. If you ask me it isn't team-spirited and only serves to embolden your opposition, since humiliation breeds resentment.

I can picture quite clearly coach Rove turning cartwheels on the sidelines while running-back Bush goose-steps prematurely, oblivious to the forthcoming whallop. Oblivious before it and after it and confused by the groans from the audience.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Move me

If you want a great mass of people to work together, then that necessitates a common goal or belief.

The "movement" to end the institution of slavery in the United States required a shared belief that slavery was wrong.

Such a movement took time, and dedication, and perseverance. Some people spent their entire lives working, and "moving", society to embrace the idea that all men are created equal and are entitled to certain unalienable rights. Another such movement sought to include women in the full rights zone.

That ability to be a cog in the works of a great purpose escapes me.

I grew up as US napalm landed on Vietnamese children and was influenced by the high moral example which Richard Nixon set. As I grew up I saw religious leaders guilty of raping children protected by a "moral institution". As I grew up I saw Reagan shot and John Lennon shot and a Pope shot and children shot at school.

As an adult I now see ignorance championed and violence adored. I see a world where the rule of law is being abandoned for the rule of the jungle. I see global warming melting our glaciers and affecting our growing seasons. I see bees, upon which so much food depends, dwindling.I see diseases resistant to many drugs attacking humanity.

And I do not feel a part of anything that seems capable of changing all that.

Where did early emancipators find faith in each other and confidence in their direction?

Did they act without hope of success from a sense of duty?

Hope was a stowaway in Pandora's box and according to Studs Terkel it dies last.

How is Hope sown?

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Pass the ammunition

Would the N.R.A. support a law forbidding guns from religious property which would forfeit religious institutional status as penalty?

I think that might be a law which could help the US shut down madrassas on American soil, and be an aid in the west in the war on terror.

Will those on the right that seem to reflexively defend dangerous nuts like Branch Davidian David Koresh be tempted to do the same for violence-inspiring Mullahs intent on replacing democracy with Islamic theocracy?

In the following story you can read about "religious students" running around with assault weapons and fighting for Islam.

Blood flows red at mosque

Shouldn't we get ahead of this type of activity and insist religious organizations are outside right-to-bear-arms zones?

Surely peaceful religions have no need of stockpiling weapons?

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Independence Day

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Source: Declaration of Independence

WARNING: Reading of above document has been known to cause depression in this, the reign of the avenger of the world's evildoers.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Take a gander at this goose

"[W]e must always maintain the highest ethical standards. We must always ask ourselves not only what is legal, but what is right. There is no goal of government worth accomplishing if it cannot be accomplished with integrity."

- President George W. Bush, 2001 -

This AP story from June 13th, 2007 discusses how important it is to "tough on crime" GOP legislators for "maverick" judges to obey sentencing guidelines established by Congress:

Bush Seeks To Re-Impose Mandatory Minimums

What is the GOP response to a maverick president that flouts a decision by a federal judge consistent with sentencing guidelines in the Lewis "Scooter" Libby case?

The list of GOP leaders not commenting, as of Monday evening, is long: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.), who is traveling in Kentucky this week; House Minority Leader John Boehner (Ill.), who is traveling in Russia; Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.), the GOP whip; Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), chairman of conference, who is tasked with leading message operations; Rep. Adam Putnam (R-Fla.), Kyl's messaging counterpart who chairs the House conference. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas), chairwoman of the GOP policy committee, has still not voiced an opinion on Libby's commutation.

Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, is also silent at this moment, as is Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), Specter's counterpart on House Judiciary.


So far I'd call it moral cowardice.

This seems like a natural time for candidate John Edwards to reacquaint Americans to his two Americas theme.

Liars Unite

"It is fundamental to the rule of law that all citizens stand before the bar of justice as equals."

Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald

"There is overwhelming evidence that Libby lied under oath, not once but on several occasions. People who occupy these types of positions, where they have the welfare and security of nation in their hands, have a special obligation to not do anything that might create a problem."

U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton

"I am commuting the portion of Mr. Libby's sentence that required him to spend thirty months in prison."

President, chief justice of the US supreme court, commander of the armed forces, moral leader, and decider George W. Bush. Praise be to him.

Threat of Hummus

CNN once placed the phrase "Where's Obama" over a photograph of Osama bin Laden. Fox "News" Roger Ailes, perhaps feeling "scooped", tried to blur the line between Obama and Osama with a few off-colored jokes:

Story here

If words which sound alike are now considered synonyms, then I am about to perform a great service for my country.

While making a sandwich I realized that Hummus sounds like Hamas and decided to rush this observation out to you.

Terrorists are hiding in our sandwiches.

You heard it here first.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Heil Mart?

Is Wal-Mart really selling t-shirts emblazoned with Nazi symbolism?

Week 29

Does Wal-Mart feel that it must expand sales into nazi-sympathizer markets?

This can't be true can it?

Belt buckles

Here is a link to a June 25, 2007 Time cover-story with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Michael Bloomberg:

Hiding in plain sight?

Some people are highly alarmed by Arnold's choice of belt buckle, which seems an unwise public choice for the son of a Nazi SA volunteer (a.k.a Storm troopers, or brown shorts).

Does the buckle resemble the Gott mit uns deaths head skull worn by the SS?:

See for yourself

Sometimes things can look bad without being bad, and perhaps this is the case. Perhaps this is just a motorcyclin' accoutrement worn without nefarious intent. Perhaps Arnold didn't mean to scare anybody, either.

Since Mr. Bloomberg was born to a Russian/Polish/Jewish family it seems unlikely Arnold would put his arm around him if he secretly harbored Hitler's hatreds. It also seems unlikely that Mr. Bloomberg would let him.

In fact, maybe we should feel good that the son of a Nazi can warmly embrace a Jewish man on the cover of Time magazine.

The mind's eye

Before setting off to create or obtain something it is very useful, perhaps crucial to success, to formulate a picture in your mind of your achievement in ideal form.

When electing a president it is crucial to success too.

I have here a link to a great speech. A terrific speech. A speech capable of transforming America from misguided to united.

The New Vision

Armed with this fantastic speech you should now go through the candidates one-by-one and form a picture of them speaking it.

You should find that a lot of prospective candidates will be cast aside with this exercise.

The clumsy will not do. The uncharismatic will not do. The rubes will not do. The hucksters will not do. The cynics will not do.

Who is charismatic, and graceful, and optimistic?

Who, in short, is worthy of this speech in your mind's eye?

Foot Quotes

"Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge"

Charles Darwin