Words of Advice:

"Never Feel Sorry For Anyone Who Owns an Airplane."-- Tina Marie

"
If Something Seems To Be Too Good To Be True, It's Best To Shoot It, Just In Case." -- Fiona Glenanne

"
Flying the Airplane is More Important than Radioing Your Plight to a Person on the Ground
Who is Incapable of Understanding or Doing Anything About It.
" -- Unknown

"There seems to be almost no problem that Congress cannot,
by diligent efforts and careful legislative drafting, make ten times worse.
" -- Me

"What the hell is an `Aluminum Falcon'?" -- Emperor Palpatine

"Eck!" -- George the Cat

Monday, June 30, 2008

Fatal Hubris

If you have spent any time reading literature or history, you can find no shortage of leaders of both nations and companies who have come to believe in their own greatness and the infallibility of their judgments. They all come to ruin in the end, more often than not resulting in the crippling or outright destruction of what they once ruled.

In that thumbnail sketch is the short history of the Bush Administration. Led by a man who was in curious and surrounded by others who both praised him and who were convinced of their own infallibility, the Bush Administration had an opportunity that was handed it to become one of the great or near-great administrations. They not only missed the opportunity, they squandered it to the point that the only debate now is whether or not Bush will be regarded by history as either the worst president in American history or among the worst.

In essence, the early days of the Bush Administration focused on two men who had a long track record of despising democracy and winking at war crimes. Almost five years ago, the Toledo Blade ran a lengthy series about Tiger Force, a U.S. Army force during the Vietnam War that left a long and gruesome trail of atrocities and war crimes behind it. Two of the men who were instrumental in burying the record of those atrocities were two high-level officials in the Ford Administration: Richard Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld.

The Bush Administration believed in their own infallibility, which is why they felt that, with the legal assistance of the Gang of Five, that they could disregard the U.S. Constitution, U.S. law, international law and the Geneva Conventions. They used the cover of a national tragedy to ram an extreme Right-wing agenda through a supine Congress (when they even bothered going to Congress), in an attempt to turn the societal clock back to the 1890s. They eventually overreached, foundering on the Social Security, when they tried to dismantle that system.

The problem for Bush is that infallibility falls to pieces at the first failure. It became clear to more and more people that the Iraq War was a clusterfuck. But that wasn't enough.

What was enough was Hurricane Katrina, which stripped the bark off Bush and exposed his Administration as a cabal of ideological idiots. Bush came across as both uncaring and clueless, praising people when it was obvious to everyone else, including, finally, Fox News, that the Federal efforts were a rife with failure, partisanship and incompetence. The Bush Administration used the efforts to recover from the two hurricanes (Rita soon followed) as a weapon against local Democrats. The Bush Administration could not even help Americans without trying to use aid as a weapon. The federal efforts in New Orleans were a sham at best and criminal malfeasance at worst.

It became clear to everyone that Kayne West understated the point: George Bush not only didn't give a damn about Black people, George Bush didn't give a damn about anyone.

Once the wheels came off the wagon of the Bush Administration, there was no putting them back on. Even if they tried to do it right, as in the recent floods along the Mississippi River, the best praise they could garner was: "Well, they're not fucking up as badly as they did in New Orleans."

But even with that, the collapse of the housing market, which was fueled by the active neglect of the Bush Administration and former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan (formerly the "Sage of Wall Street", now the "Guru of Greed"), drove home to tens of millions of Americans the point that the Bush Administration is driven by ideology, not by reality. Bush abandoned the housing market to the greedy fucks in the financial industry, and another Enron resulted across the nation, as people who knew better abandoned prudence in order to hawk worthless securities. Those securities were not "blue chips," they were worthless.

As a direct result of Bush's and Greenspan's beliefs that all regulation is bad, the world's economy came within a hairsbreadth of collapse and there is a possibility that it still may yet fall to pieces.

All of this is due in no small part to the hubris of the Bush Administration, which believed it could do no wrong.

Which is why the approval rating for the Bush Presidency is setting records for "lowest ever" whenever a new poll is announced. By the time the next president is inaugurated, George Bush may have an approval rating lower than that of brain cancer.

Now Isn't That Special

A Federal appellate court was not amused when the jailers from the Bush Administration, to support a military commission finding of "yeah, this guy is dangerous," produced three documents that all quoted the same source. The court quoted a Lewis Carrol poem in their smackdown of the Tsar of the Baboons:

From The Hunting of the Snark: "I have said it thrice: What I tell you three times is true."

The Federal court said that repeating an allegation does not make it anymore true and they directed the Bush Administration to either do the detainee hearing fairly, release the guy, or transfer him to another nation. They also seemed to be less than impressed that the Bush Administration was relying on the Chinese government for some of its information.

The legal underpinning for GITMO is a foundation made of quicksand.

Cat Follies

Grace had (to steal a phrase from DCup) poo-berries on her ass today. Fortunately, it was a small crop that could be dealt with by the use of baby-wipes, followed by a water-soaked paper towel and a dry one.

I cooked a whole chicken last night. George was in pig heaven; Jake had some and Gracie couldn't be bothered. My mistake afterwards was leaving it on the counter to cool before I de-boned the carcass, for George jumped up onto the counter and helped himself. He was licking the skin of the chicken, which I removed and trashed.

I made a sandwich to take into work. I used processed turkey from the deli counter of the supermarket. Jake and George were right there for their share but after last night's fresh chicken, George turned up his nose at sliced turkey. It takes so little time for those cats to become spoiled.

And so, another week begins...

The Incompetence of the Bush Administration; Aviation Edition

If you are interested in aviation and you have not been reading Don Brown's blog "Get the Flick," you are missing a view of how aviation works from the point of view of an air traffic controller.

He has had a front-row view of how the Bush Administration has run a vital public service and his view of their performance is: FAIL!

From the point of view of the recreational pilots, the destruction of the system of Flight Service Stations (FSS) has been one of the worst moves made by the Bush Administration. Every pilot talks to FSS at some time or another, whether by telephone for pre-flight briefings or by radio for weather updates. Bush destroyed the FSS system and handed over the function to Lockheed-Martin as a way to "improve performance" and "save money."

The first part was an utter crock. There have been times when it has taken over a half-hour to talk to a FSS briefer and when you did get a briefer, the person on the other end of the line had no better understanding of the local conditions than George Bush had of the conditions in Iraq. Lock-Mart's incompetence drove pilots to either using DUATS or else looking at the weather on the Weather Channel and then checking the Notices to Airmen (NOTAMs) on web sites. The second part is bullshit, for as Lock-Mart now has a stranglehold on the FSS service, they are ratcheting up their bill to the FAA.

(You know, of course, that sooner or later, some GOP asswipe is going to say 'let the pilots pay for it." And when pilots don't and opt for other sources of information, they will make it a violation of FAA regs not to call Lock-Mart prior to every flight.)

From the point of view of the professional pilots, the sheer arrogance and incompetence of the Bush Administration has resulted in the degradation of the Air Traffic Control system. The Bushies refused to negotiate with the controllers's union and imposed its own version of a "contract." The folly here is that if you remember the mass firings of controllers by Bush's God, Ronald Reagan, and then look at the calendar, you can easily see that all of the controllers hired after that are retiring. The "work rules," imposed by the idiots appointed by the Tsar of the Baboons run from the petty to the onerous, from dress codes imposed on people who work in windowless rooms, unseen by everybody, to mandatory overtime and seven-day work weeks.

It should come as no surprise that as controllers are reaching their early retirement date, they are. More are quitting before then, fed up with the picayune petty-ass chickenshit imposed by Bush Administration political appointees, people who could go broke selling cold drinks during a heat wave.

The Cluelessness of the Decider and His Minions

This is an article about how the war in Iraq stripped vital resources from Afghanistan when there was an opportunity to deal a very hard blow against al Qaeda. That was a very high-level decision on the Bush Administration and, as a result, al Qaeda has even more fighters in its camps now than they did in 2001.

Lieberman expects that there will be a terrorist attack next year. What he did not address was what the fuck the Bush Administration has been doing for the last seven years about it. While the dust was still settling after the 2001 attacks, the Republicans wasted no time blaming Clinton for the attacks. Bush has launched two ineffective wars to try and defeat terrorism (his take on it, not mine) that have resulted in an end cost of well over two trillion dollars, cost the lives of somewhere around 5,000 Americans (if you add in the contractors), maimed tens of thousands more, killed over 100,000 civilians and displaced millions.

For all of that cost, the benefits to American security have been negligible at best, and counter-productive at worst.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Sowing the Wind

According to an article in the New Yorker by Seymour Hersh, the Bush Administration is expanding covert operations in Iran aimed at destabilizing that nation.

The Democrats are going along with this.

"These operations, for which the President sought up to four hundred million dollars, were described in a Presidential Finding signed by Bush, and are designed to destabilize the country’s religious leadership."


First, there is the rank hypocrisy involved in this. The Bush Administration has spared no effort in complaining about Iranian-funded interference in Iraq, but the Bushies seem to think it is just peachy to fund guerrillas operating inside Iran.

Second is the sheer stupidity of this. We are not dealing with people who are disinclined to take vengeance. After the USS Vincennes shot down an Iranian airliner, killing 290 civilians, the Iranians allegedly arranged for the bombing of a Pan Am airliner, killing almost as many people.

The Bush Administration is smoking crack if it thinks that it can carry our covert actions inside Iran without repercussions. The Democrats are complicit in this, too. The Iranians have too many ways to make their displeasure known.

If all of a sudden there is a major ramping-up of violence inside Iraq, the blame for that may well reside, once again, with George Bush and his cadre of incompetent mischief-makers.

UPDATE: Of course, the Bush Administration is denying everything.

"Mr. Straight Talk" Finally Pays His Taxes

When you own eight homes, it can be hard to keep track of when taxes are due.

My heart bleeds for him.

Almost every place I know of, being four years behind in paying property taxes means the property gets sold at a tax sale.

Maybe the rules are different for Republicans.

(H/T to Blue Girl)

Ah, Much Better

I got some flying in today, about 1.4 hours worth. It was hot, but it was overcast, so there weren't any heat-induced thermals. I kind of got drenched from a passing shower while doing the pre-flight, but there was no electrical activity (the AM band was clear), so no thunderstorms, and the visibility was fine the entire time.

Even at $5.65/gal for aviation gasoline (and I used 13 gallons), it felt good to fly.

(I did manage to put over $50 of gas into a Honda Accord without running the tank down to "empty."-- ouch!)

Waking Up and Smelling the Coffee

The Evangelicals are starting to realize that hitching their wagon to one political party has been a huge mistake.

No fucking shit, folks. It took you this long to figure that out? For tens of millions of Americans, the Evangelical movement is nothing more than another special interest political grouping, like AARP. The Evangelicals hooked up with a bunch of economic and ecological rapists and plunderers and they did become the useful idiots of the pirates. I doubt very much if the economic agenda or the environmental agenda of the Bush Administration and the other thieves on the Right are in the interests of 98% of those calling themselves Evangelicals, but they fell into lockstep like a bunch of good little Germans.

The kicker has to be Dubya the Inept, a man who is a self-professed Evangelical and whose actions have largely been as far away from the tenets of Jesus as it is possible to get without morphing into Joseph Stalin. Dubya has frittered away eight years in combating climate change and has probably squandered the last chance we had for addressing the problem without wrenching economic dislocation. His overarching philosophy of "whatever is good for the oil industry is good for the USA" has led us into becoming the world's most powerful pariah state. To benefit the rich, Bush has taken a hammer to the middle class and the poor.

For a great percentage of this country, George Bush is the public face of an Evangelical politician. No wonder they are runing as far as they can from him.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Zimbabwe's Sham Election

Bush called the presidential election in Zibabwe "a sham."

Bush is, of course correct. Funny how it took over a month for the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to rig the first round before they pronounced the results and it is taking them only a day or so for them to tally the vote for the second round,

But Bush has lost all credibility when it comes to elections, for if anybody knows anything about holding sham elections, it is George Bush.

Wanted! Dead or Alive!

WANTED FOR WAR CRIMES, CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY, HOMICIDE, AIDING AND ABETTING SECTARIAN CLEANSING, and ORGANIZING FRAUDULENT ELECTIONS!


Name: George Walker Bush

Aliases Include: The Chimperor, Disgustus Maximus, Dubya, Dorquemada, The Decider, Der Monkey Fuhrer, The Tsar of the Baboons, The Moron-in-Chief

Citizenship: U.S.

This fugitive is a Caucasian male, 62 years old, 6' tall, gray hair and weighs approximately 200lbs.

He is protected at all times by a cadre of heavily-armed bodyguards who have sworn a blood-oath to give up their lives to protect him.

EXERCISE EXTREME CAUTION WHEN ATTEMPTING TO ARREST THIS DANGEROUS CRIMINAL!

It is strongly recommended that any attempt to arrest him be carried out by the use of a large military force.


For further information, contact the International Criminal Court, Office of the Prosecutor, Post Office Box 19519, 2500 CM, The Hague, The Netherlands, Tel: 31 (0)70 515 8515

(Please feel free to copy and circulate)

"No American Should Think That We're Free"


so sayeth David Addington, Vlad Cheney's chief torturer.

Yes, I know I am taking that line out of context. So sue me. This is the gentleman who bears the second-greatest responsiblity, other than Dick Cheney, for turning this nation from "a beacon of liberty and freedom" into "a nation of torturers." When a brutal bunch of thugs like the junta in Myanmar or the Mugabe regime justify their torturing of dissidents by pointing to the actions of Americans at Baghram Air Base, Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghraib or the CIA's network of secret prisons, the responsibility for that can be laid at the feet of David Addington.

Dana Milbank's story is also worth reading.

Addington, a real piece of purile pond scum, is the enemy of freedom and liberty. This is the man who came up with the idea that the Vice President is accountable to nobody on the face of this planet. This man would cheerfully order the imprisonment of a million Americans and the execution of thousands, if not more, and he would not lose a night's sleep over it. Addington would have been at home carrying out Stalin's Great Purge in the 1930s. He would have excelled on the staff of Joseph McCarthy.

Freedom is often more at risk from those who say they seek to preserve it. Addington is one of those.

"We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty. We must remember always that accusation is not proof and that conviction depends upon evidence and due process of law. We will not walk in fear, one of another. We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason, if we dig deep in our history and our doctrine, and remember that we are not descended from fearful men -- not from men who feared to write, to speak, to associate and to defend causes that were, for the moment, unpopular." -- Edward R. Murrow, 1954

(H/T to the Alternate Brain)

Caturday

This is Rocky. He is not my cat. He is part Maine Coon, a very pretty cat, and has about the worst attitude of any cat I have ever known.


Jake is just chilling out on top of the TV cabinet. His flab is drooping over the edge a little.


George is waiting for his ride in the laundry basket. When I do the laundry, he hops into the empty basket and I have to give him a ride around the apartment so that he can see things from high up. This started when he was a kitten; he is now 12 years old.

George, Gracie and Jake check out the newest crop of cat grass. It takes a week to grow it and they can demolish it in a very short span of time.

Anyway, I ended the work week the way it began, by washing Gracie's shit-laden ass.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Hatfield, pt 2

When a case settles like this, the trade-off is fairly obvious: The defendant thinks it is going to get hammered at trial and the plaintiff realizes that even if that happens, by the time the case goes through trial and then a round or two of appeals, it will be many years before a check is cut.

But what if the FBI has another suspect in mind and one that, in retrospect, was obvious on an Inspector Clouseau level? Then they might envision getting really hammered at trial and that might spark a real urgency to settle this thing.

I don't know if that is what is going on. I'm just speculating.

Everybody's Working For the Weekend

Including John McCain, who takes every weekend off, he has such a "fire in the belly" to become President.



The presidency is not just a job, it is a calling. We have a lot of serious challenges facing this nation, we do not need another part-time preznit, like Still-President Bush has been.

On the other side of the coin, given what a miserable failure and a total fuck-up Dorquemada has been, he should have taken even more time off.

Sure, "The FBI Did Nothing Wrong." You Dumb Enough to Buy That One?

The Department of Justice is paying Dr. Steven Hatfield $2,825,000 now and then $150,000 a year for the next 20 years to settle his civil suit.

The DoJ issued this statement: "By entering into this agreement, the United States does not admit to any violation of the Privacy Act and continues to deny all liability in connection with Dr. Hatfill's claims."

I call "Bullshit!" Nobody, not even the Feds, will agree to pay someone $6 million just to go away without determining that they would get whacked at trial for damages of an order of magnitude or greater.

When you hear that the FBI is calling someone a "person of interest", think of Steven Hatfield, Richard Jewell and Brandon Mayfield. Think of how the FBI and the Attorney Generals, especially Ashcroft and Gonzales, have been more than willing to claim that innocent men are guilty of heinous crimes. Think about how so many of the high-profile terror investigations have fallen apart.

When the FBI or the Department of (in)Justice announces a high-profile charge or investigation, your Bullshit Meter had better be pegged.

How To Pretend You Give a Shit About the Election

The Onion to the rescue!

Does Your Brain Squish Against Your Skull When You Reverse Direction Too Quickly?

Sean Hannity changed his tune so fast that he had to have suffered whiplash. From Think Progress:

HANNITY: The news today brings a clear foreign policy victory for the Bush administration. But will the press report it that way? Joining us now for analysis, former ambassador to the U.N. and a Fox News contributor, John Bolton. What do you think this means?

BOLTON: I think it’s actually a clear victory for North Korea. They gain enormous political legitimacy…In return, we get precious little. I think this is North Korea demonstrating again that they can out-negotiate the U.S. without raising a sweat.

HANNITY: Boy I tell you they’ve done it time and time again, and I’m sorta perplexed, Mr. Ambassador, to understand why we keep going back to the well knowing that they haven’t kept the agreements in the past. Whatever happened to Reagan’s “trust but verify”?

That had to hurt....

It's Not Just the Tsar of the Baboons

Even when Bush tries to do some good, such as expanding the programs to combat AIDS in Africa, he gets blocked the the ideologues in his own party. After all, it makes no ideological sense to focus on doing things that work rather than doing thing that pass some ideological purity test.

But the Republicans don't care if more people die. The Wingnuts have welded their minds shut, they know what is right, regardless of what the reality is on the ground.

These are the seven idiots, all Republicans:

Senators Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, Jim DeMint of South Carolina, Richard Burr of North Carolina, Jim Bunning of Kentucky, Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, Jeff Sessions of Alabama and David Vitter of Louisiana.

If you are a resident of one of those states, you might want to pick up the phone and call their offices to ask why they are such morons, But I suspect you already know the answer to that question.

"Negotiating With Terrorists and Rogue States is Wrong"

Unless, of course, the negotiations are done by the Bush Administration.

Needless to say, the "Bomb Everybody" wing of the GOP is mad at Chimpy. Even his vice president is mad at him.

Morning Follies

I usually have cereal and yogurt for breakfast. Jake likes yogurt and he usually hops up on the couch, so I put the bowl there so he can make the first pass at cleaning it.

Gracie climbed up on the couch this morning. She dipped her tail in it and then smacked me with it.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Blackwater Raided by ATF!

Seems the boyos at Blackwater arranged for a sham purchase of automatic weapons; the local sheriff was the supposed owner, but Blackwater paid for them and held onto them.

ATF raided Blackwater's HQ.

If you buy a gun and say it is for you, but you then give it to someone else, that's a sham purchase and is illegal as all fuck.

The law might also apply to big GOP donors like Blackwater.

The Death of a Free Nation?

That would be the United States of America.

As you know, a few Senators were determined to filibuster the FISA bill to death. The Senate voted to cut off debate on the bill

Fifteen Senators voted against cutting off debate:

Biden (D-DE)
Boxer (D-CA)
Brown (D-OH)
Cantwell (D-WA)
Dodd (D-CT)
Durbin (D-IL)
Feingold (D-WI)
Harkin (D-IA)
Kerry (D-MA)
Lautenberg (D-NJ)
Leahy (D-VT)
Menendez (D-NJ)
Sanders (I-VT)
Schumer (D-NY)
Wyden (D-OR)

Only the Vermonters and New Jerseyites had both of their senators vote to kill FISA. These Senators are Heros of the Constitution.

As Firedoglake noted, this was the real vote. Various pissant Senators will vote, unsuccessfully, against one provision or another, but that will be just a fucking sham, little more then theater.

If your Senator is not on the list above, your Senator, either actively or tacitly (five did not show up, two are ill [Kennedy and Byrd] and the other three are too busy campaigning [Clinton, Obama, McCain]) is in favor of a system of electing a tyrant. Those eighty-five (OK, 83, Kennedy & Byrd get a pass on this) senators have endorsed the Nixonian principle that "the king president can do no wrong."

If your Senator is not one of the fifteen (plus two), then I strongly urge that you vote for whoever runs against them in the next election, irrespective of party.

For they have trashed the principle of "a government of laws, not men" and they all deserve to lose their phony-baloney jobs.

Let the Litigation Begin!

The Supremes released the decision on D.C v. Heller. All 157 fraking pages of it.

Between the outlawing the use of capital punishment if the victim isn't killed and confirming that people have an individual right to own guns, I would gather that nobody is going to be happy with the Court this week.

So arguably, they are doing their job well.

A Reason to Vote in San Francisco

You should vote because there is going to be a referendum on the ballot to name a sewage treatment plant after George W. Bush.

It'd be better to name a public bathroom (or a torture chamber) after him, but this will do.

Blogging will be light for a bit, as I am whomping up a post for Target: Babies in Open and those tend to be rather lengthy.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Ralph, Ralph, Ralph. Shut Up. You're Making a Fool of Yourself.

Ralph Nader says that Barack Obama is "talking white."


Just shut the fuck up, Ralph. You're sounding like the sort of brain-damaged, self-involved, doddering old fool many of us suspect that you have become. Is Obama "talking white" because he is discussing issues of concern to all Americans? Is Obama "talking white" because he isn't solely focused on civil rights issues? Is Obama "talking white" because he isn't talking about your issues? Or is Obama "talking white," in your opinion, because he can string a speech together without sounding like some clown in a rap video?

Ralph, just go far, far away. Your time is long past.

Will Your Senator Stand with Chris Dodd?

Sen Chris Dodd, yesterday, 6/24/08

"Mr. President: I rise—once again—to voice my strong opposition to the misguided FISA legislation before us today. I have strong reservations about the so-called improvements made to Title I. But more than that, this legislation includes provisions which would grant retroactive immunity to telecommunications companies that apparently have violated the privacy and the trust of millions of Americans by participating in the president’s warrantless wiretapping program. If we pass this legislation, the Senate will ratify a domestic spying regime that has already concentrated far too much unaccountable power in the president’s hands and will place the telecommunications companies above the law. "

Read the rest of it. Or watch it by click on the photo.

Is your Senator going to stand up for the rule of law and against the institution of a system of government by an elected tyrant?

Or is your Senator going to cast a vote as an enemy of the Constitution?

West Coasters, Answer This One, Please

How is it that county-owned land in Santa Barbara gets transformed into micro-ranches for rich folks, one of whom just happens to be the governor for California?

"Tuesday's event, at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, is just north of a 25-acre coastal enclave Schwarzenegger and his wife, Maria Shriver, bought this spring for $4.7 million. A former Santa Barbara County ranch in Carpinteria is being transformed into privately owned estates."

Is this just another one of those sleazy-ass land deals that California (and Florida) is known for? Or is there a tad bit of favoritism/corruption going on?

(H/T to Skippy)

Summertime

The ball of hair next to Gracie is just from brushing one side of her.


That's all stuff she won't be shedding onto my furniture.

(She's not considered to be a long-haired cat, by the way.)

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

How to Save Some Federal Cash

Let's make Chimpy the ambassador to the Hauge. After all, he's going to wind up living there anyway. We can cut a deal with the Dutch so that the Milosvic Wing of the war crimes prison doubles as the official residence of His Most Criminal Excellency.

We won't have to provide a security detail, either. So we can save money there, too.

Remember Bill Clinton's Haircut?

You know, the one he got on Air Force One and supposedly tied up LAX (a story that turned out to be another Wingnut myth, by the way)?

Well, the Tsar of the Baboons managed to tie up a good portion of Heathrow Airport and the Brits were not at all pleased about having their airline schedules trashed for Dorquemada's convenience. 68 flights were canceled so that Der Monkey Fuhrer could visit the Brits.

What a shock. Bush doesn't give a fuck about anybody at all. Get a clue, people.

Pity the Airlines?

James Wysong asks: "But in the back of your mind, don’t you kind of feel sorry for the airlines?"

Ah, no. I don't.

Give Me a Fraking Break; Religion Edition

So some fucking Right-wing nutball of a preacher gets upset at Obama over Obama's view of the Bible and it's major fucking news for MSNBC and CNN, judging by their web sites.

Who gives a rat's ass? I sure don't, because that is why I am not linking to the stories. The preacher involved is the same nutjob who has leveraged a few morons with word processors into gaining virtual control over the FCC. If you have ever wondered why they won't air "Saving Pvt. Ryan" on network TV anymore to commemorate D-Day the way that they once did, blame that guy.

But if you want to read a report about how the Republicans managed to turn the Justice Department under Ashcroft and Gonzales into another arm of the GOP, you're going to have to go elsewhere, for that is not worthy of a headline to either MSNBC or CNN.

FISA and the White Flags of Steny Hoyer

In the middle of Glenn Greenwald's piece on how Steny Hoyer is of the opinion that total surrender is the same as compromise, comes this little piece of information:

Look at Question 16 of this Fox News poll: Republicans think that Congress is doing a better job than do Democrats.

Think about that for a bit. That is what the constant and unremitting surrender by the Democratic leadership in the Congress, particularly Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer, gets you. The Republicans are happy.

The Democrats give Bush every fucking cent he wants on Iraq. They give Bush everything he wants on FISA.

Even worse, did you know that it is not just wiretapping anymore? Under the new FISA bill, the Attorney General can send his goon squads to search anyplace they want and, seven days later, they have to apply for a retroactive warrant.

The FISA blog has the scoop on this
.

Let's face it: Under this Administration and under this Congress, there has been a bipartisan consensus that the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution is a dead letter. "Dead letter" is a legal term for "it ain't worth the fucking paper it's written on."

Fourth Amendment, 1791- 2008, read as follows:

"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

This is part of why we kicked out the Lobsterbacks in the 1700s, folks. Freedoms and liberties, such as the Fourth Amendment, is why we had a revolution to begin with.

The Democrats and the Republicans have sold our most sacred birthrights for the mere hope of security and safety. They are all gutless, spineless, soulless, worthless, despicable cowards, pure and simple.

More than that: They are enemies of the Constitution of the United States.

No Comment Required

Obama Pictures and McCain Pictures

John Miller, R.I.P.

John Miller was one of the last of the aviation pioneers, died yesterday at age 102. Among his many accomplishments, he flew the first rotary-wing aircraft from coast to coast

His last words were: "I guess my flying days are over."

He was an active pilot for 84 years. More here.

Want to Know How to Operate a Death Squad?

If you want to prop up an autocratic regime by murdering its opponents and you don't know how to go about it, never fear!

The U.S. Army wrote the book on it.
All 219 pages.

(H/T to the Alternate Brain)

Yeah. Everything is Going to Plan

An Iraqi politician who was allied with the U.S. opened up on a group of American soldiers, killing two. Four more Americans died when the city council office they were visiting exploded.

The Federal Court of Appeals, in the first court challenge of the determination of a detainee's status, threw out the determination.

Home prices are tumbling nationwide. Consumer confidence is dropping.

On a far cheerier note, a look at the 21 year-old female trap-shooter on the U.s. Olympic team.

The IRS is raising the mileage deductible to 58.5 cents per mile.

Ah, I got nothing. Go surf the blogroll. There are a lot of good folks there.

Losing the War of Ideas

In a two part series, the WaPo (I'm linking to the MSNBC repeater) looked at how the Bush Administration and al Qaeda have sought to get their message out to the Middle East.

The clear conclusion: The Bush Administration, so far, has clearly lost the battle of ideas.

That is not just my conclusion: "It is just plain embarrassing that al-Qaeda is better at communicating its message on the Internet than America," Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said.

There are a lot of reasons why this is happening, but they all boil down to one overarching reason: The stunning incompetence of the Bush Administration. Read the article about how they have fucked up running a cable TV network, doing stupid shit such as broadcasting Christian messages to a Muslim audience and doing the ultimate sin for television: Being boring as shit.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Are Republicans Praying For a Terrorist Attack?

You might conclude that from the words of Charlie Black. McCain's chief strategist: "Certainly it would be a big advantage to him."

Of course, now that his words have gone viral, Black is apologizing profusely. Sort of. Maybe.

I think it just shows the mind-set of those maggots.

Remember the 2004 elections? Every other week, the Committee to Re-elect the President Department of Homeland Security was playing games with the Stoplight of Death. This week it is orange. No, it's yellow, but orange for airlines. No, now it's yellow for airlines and orange if you work on Wall Street, but it's flaming-ass red if you are a Republican trying to hold onto your job.

Once the election was over, two things happened in short order. First, the Stoplight of Death went to yellow and stayed there. Second, the Marines assaulted Fallujah, an attack they had to hold off on executing for seven months, only because the Bush Administration did not want to see that on the evening news during the election season.

Yes, the Bush Administration let the fucking resistance have seven months to prepare for an attack just so it wouldn't cost Bush or his minions some votes.

So now we know: The Republicans pray for terrorist attacks, they play games with the terrorist threat level and they will gladly sacrifice a few hundred Marines if they can get any advantage out of it.

The question is this: Are the American people gullible enough to buy into the GOP fear machine this time around?

70 Million Acres

That's almost 110,000 square miles.

That's a tad bit smaller than the area of Arizona.

That is the area of the Gulf of Mexico where the oil companies have oil and gas leases and where they are not drilling.

The next time some Wingnut asshole (OK, there is some redundancy there) starts ranting about "liberruuls" and drilling in ANWAR, ask this question:

Why should we give the oil industry new areas to drill in until they finish up drilling where they already have the right to drill?

Would you give your kids dessert if they don't finish what they already chose to put on their plates?

Last Chore Before Bedtime Last Night

And that was to give Gracie yet another butt shampoo.

Which was just the thing that I really wanted to do before hitting the rack to get ready for another week at Ye Olde Salte Mine....

CitiGroup Is Murdering Its Workers!

“More than half of [6,500] have already been eliminated,” [an anonymous source] told The Associated Press.

OK, they're laying them off, and that person was probably referring to "jobs" and not "people," but given that transnational companies these days are kind of unwilling to obey laws, who knows for certain?

Might want to see if they've increased the amount of mandatory overtime at the Soylent Green factory.

Darwin 1, Criminal 0

A perp broke down the door of a house in Texas and then went to pull his gun to shoot the homeowner.

Problem for him was that he never heard of the rule "keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are aligned and you have decided to shoot," for he managed to shoot himself in the abdomen in the process.

He didn't make it to the street before he collapsed and expired.

(H/T to Justin Buist)

The Influence of the Daily Show

Last week, as I noted here, the chief foreign correspondent for CBS News was the guest on the Daily Show.

So today there is a story that quotes heavily from that interview to discuss how the networks have radically scaled back their war coverage. (There's none of that "you should only log in" bullshit on the IHT's web page.)

If you want to know what is going on in the world, there has never been a better and easier time to do it. You can read coverage from news sources around the world and that's before you even get into the blogs. The networks may not be paying any attention to the Wars of the Quarter-Bright King, but that doesn't give you an excuse for not knowing about them.

George Carlin, R.I.P.

George Carlin died of heart failure at age 71.



The New York Times referred to him a "splenetic." He might have had fun with that word.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Bangity, Bangity, Bangity

The pistol range I shot at up until last Winter went under. Supposedly the proprietor "lost his lease." Thing is that a pistol range is pretty hard to rent for other purposes, so it opened under new management.

I haven't thrown lead through a handgun in five months, it felt good to do it today. I was shooting at a reduced-size silhouette at 25' and I was pretty sucky at it. Went through about 60 rounds of 9mm and 30 rounds of .45 ball.

Next project is getting my dead ass to a rifle range.

The Flight Watchmen

This is an article in today's WaPo magazine about how the Feds are keeping an eye on transportation security nationwide.

All that technology, all that interconnectivity looks impressive, until you remember that they can't figure out a way to remove Nelson Mandela's name from the Terrorist Watch List.

We Are So Screwed; Freedom Edition

There may be a darker reason behind why the Democratic leadership is backing the FISA cave-in, beyond them being a bunch of spineless fucks not worth the oxygen they use.

The Democrats may be looking at the power that the Republicans have managed to invest in the presidency and they may be saying "me want."

While there may be some street justice in the Democrats being able to order up wiretaps on Republicans on the flimsiest of excuses or throwing a bunch of Republican politicians in jail on trumped-up charges, the caution is that such power is corrupting in and of itself. The Founding Fathers knew that unlimited power, gained for ostensibly good reasons, will turn the wielder of such power into evil.

The Founding Fathers also knew that once the leader of a nation has unlimited power, no such leader will ever surrender it of his free will. Such power was lost by revolution or by the collapse of the state from within or the destruction of the state from an external enemy. Sometimes it was a combination of factors, such as when the Roman Empire rotted from within until it could be conquered.

No good comes of a nation that gives its leaders unchecked power.

And if we don't rein in our imperial presidency, no good will come of us.

McSame's Veep?

According to the Times of London, Tim Pawlenty, the governor of Minnesota, is on the short list to be the vice-presidential candidate behind John McBush.

Pawlenty believes in something called "Sam's Club" conservatism, which I guess means that he is going to import lots of cheap-shit ideas from China: “Sam’s Club is a metaphor for hard-working, middle-class people who want government to be effective and to deliver value.”

Wrong. Republicans are not about "effective government," Pawlenty.

Republicans are about destroying government. Republicans are about fucking over the middle class.
Republicans don't give a fuck about anyone who makes under $300,00 a year in investments.
Republicans don't give a rat's ass about anyone who takes home a paycheck.
Republicans are about giving tax breaks to the super-wealthy.
Republicans are about raping the land and pillaging the seas so their rich campaign contributors can make more money.
Republicans are about corrupt no-bid contracts.
Republicans are about committing war crimes.
Republicans are about demolishing our system of checks and balances in favor of power in the hands of an unchecked tyrant, accountable to no one.
Republicans fear dissent, they fear free speech.
Republicans are about staffing government with ideologues in the Soviet model.
Republicans hate the First, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Eighth, Fourteenth and Nineteenth Amendments to the Constitution.
Republicans hate the bedrock freedom of Anglo-American law: The Right of Habeus Corpus.
Republicans love America and hate 93% of the people in it.

If you cared at all about the middle class, Pawlenty, you should have become a Democrat, like Jim Webb did. You are in the Party of Bush, the Party of Tyranny, the Party Against Freedom.

But you know that for, after all, you have been loyal to George Bush and now you are loyal to his political son, John McBush.

Campaign Financing

Am I the only one who is having a deep laugh at the "conservatives" over their feigned outrage at Obama because he is not going to take money from the Federal government for his campaign? Aren't the conservatives the same folks who are all about "not relying on government financing" and shit like that?

Saturday, June 21, 2008

The Soldiers and the Congressmen

The weather forecast for Baghdad is for highs around 109degF.

Every day, the soldiers go out and do their jobs. They wear long-sleeved shirts, long trousers, boots and gloves. They put on a helmet, body armor and strap on the rest of their "battle rattle." And then they go to work. They risk their bodies and their lives because it is what they agreed to do. Thousands of them have come home in steel-gray boxes. Thousands have come home without parts of their bodies. Many, many thousands have suffered closed-head brain injuries that will hamper them for the rest of their lives. Hundreds of thousands will suffer the psychological wounds of war for decades.

And yet they leave their bases each day and go do the job that they were sent there to do.

A fresh-caught PFC makes $1,587.90 a month, a Spec 4 makes $1,758.90. A new 2LT hardly is rolling in dough at $2,555.70 a month. For being in a combat zone, the pay is tax-free and the government gives them an extra $225 or so. That is what they get paid to risk their lives, their limbs and their health.

Congressmen and Senators are paid $14,108.33 a month. They have the best health care system in the world and they pay nothing for it. They are not at personal risk, the most that can happen to them is that the voters fire them at the next election cycle. They risk far, far less than those soldiers do each and every day in Iraq and Afghanistan.

So the idea that 105 Democrats in the House caved on the FISA bill because they were afraid of losing their jobs rubs me the wrong way.

I expected the Republicans to vote the way that they did, they are nothing if not loyal to their party and if Der Monkey Fuhrer orders them to go goose-step down to the floor of the House and vote a certain way, they will. (The real surprise was that one GOP congressman voted the other way, Rep. Johnson of IL- either he has a real pair or he was drunk as hell.) If the Bush Administration ordered the GOP congresscritters to vote to rip up the Constitution, they would. They are just lackeys and henchmen, minions with no free will.

But I expected the Democrats to stand up for freedom, for liberty, for the rule of law and for the Constitution. That is what we send them to do almost two years ago.

When given the choice between having a back-stabbing "friend" or an enemy, I will pick having an enemy every time, for at least I can trust them to be what they are.

The 105 rat-fuck weasels are backstabbing the Constitution, not for glory, not for personal gain, but because they are abject cowards. We do not need friends such as those.

They should all be flogged.

FISA- Write Your Senator

It may be futile, the deal may be done, but please, go to the web sites for your two Senators and register your strong opposition to the House's capitulation to the Bush Administration on FISA.

Contact forms and telephone numbers for reaching your senator are here.

Try to make these points:

  • The previous FISA bills that the Bush Administration opposed had provisions for retroactive approvals of wiretap requests.
  • The FSA court does not have a long record of rejecting applications for wiretaps.
  • In a nation that operates by the rule of law, you do not get to break the law just because the President says you can (laws are not just for little people).
  • The telecom companies have lots of lawyers, they knew the requests were not legitimate.
  • The courts are the best place to determine whether or not the telecom companies broke the law and they can easily afford the litigation (this isn't an action against a blind newsy).
  • And if you want, throw in comments that it was things such as this sort of overreaching government power grab that caused us to kick out the British 230 years ago, and you can throw in a reference to Ben Franklin's comment abut the false choice of sacrificing freedom for safety.
Try to keep it pleasant and professional (save the invective for your blog). But feel free to lambaste them if they vote wrong.

As for your congressman, if he or she are one of the weasels who voted for the Surrender Our Liberties Bill, let them have it. This is a letter that the Ornery Bastard sent.

If your congressman stood up for the Constitution, write them and let them know that you appreciate their vote. This is what I sent mine:

I am proud of you for your vote on the FISA bill. It takes real courage to stand up for the causes of freedom and liberty when the opponents are beating the drum of fear.

Thank you for standing up for the Constitution.

Very truly yours,

And above all, feel free to contact the Democratic Party and tell them off (but try to keep it clean).

Caturday

Here are a couple of photos of George enjoying a late snack. They show off his haircut quite nicely.


That is an old Vertical-Speed Indicator that came out of my airplane about a decade ago. It was WW2 surplus; pretty fucking shitty of them to make an aircraft instrument that only worked for fifty years...


I keep that shelf empty as it is a place that George can get to and the other, more gravitationally-challenged, cats cannot.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Steny Hoyer and His Rat-Fuck Weasel Orchestra

Now appearing on C-Span: Live from the Well of the House, it's Steny Hoyer and the Rat-Fuck Weasels. Appearing every day the Congress is in session, and don't forget to tip your waitress.

This is the list of Democratic cowards.

They should all have to eat out of dumpsters, for they are not fit to mingle with polite society. If your congressweasel is on this list, call him or her up and ladle out a ration of shit, for that is what they should be forced to eat.

Ackerman, Gary- Bayside, New York
Altmire, Jason- New Democrat
Arcuri, Michael- Blue Dog, New Democrat
Baca, Joe- Blue Dog
Baird, Brian- New Democrat
Barrow, John- Blue Dog, New Democrat
Bean, Melissa- Blue Dog, New Democrat
Berkley, Shelley- New Democrat
Berman, Howard- Chair, Foreign Affairs Committee
Berry, Marion-
Bishop, Sanford (GA)- Blue Dog
Bishop, Tim (NY)- Southhampton, New York (Long Island)
Boren, Dan- Blue Dog
Boswell, Leonard- Member, Intelligence Committee, Blue Dog
Boucher, Rick-
Boyd, Allen (FL)- Blue Dog
Boyda, Nancy (KS)-
Brown, Corrine- Progressive
Butterfield, G.K. -
Cardoza, Dennis- Blue Dog
Carney, Chris- Blue Dog, New Democrat
Castor, Kathy-
Cazayoux, Dan-
Chandler, Ben- Blue Dog, New Democrat
Childers, Travis-
Cleaver, Emanuel- Progressive
Clyburn, Jim- Leadership, Progressive
Cooper, Jim- Blue Dog
Costa, Jim- Blue Dog
Cramer, Bud- Member, Intelligence Committee, Blue Dog
Crowley, Joe- Jackson Heights, New York, New Democrat
Cuellar, Henry- New Democrat
Davis, Artur (AL)- Leadership, New Democrat
Davis, Lincoln- Blue Dog
Dicks, Norm-
Donnelly, Joe- Blue Dog
Edwards, Chet (TX)-
Ellsworth, Brad- Blue Dog
Emanuel, Rahm- Leadership, New Democrat
Engel, Eliot- Bronx, New York, New Democrat
Etheridge, Bob- New Democrat
Giffords, Gabrielle- Blue Dog, New Democrat
Gillibrand, Kirsten- Blue Dog, New Democrat
Gordon, Bart- Blue Dog
Green, Al-
Green, Gene-
Gutierrez, Luis- Progressive
Harman, Jane- Blue Dog, New Democrat
Hastings, Alcee (FL)-
Herseth Sandlin- Blue Dog, New Democrat
Higgins, Brian- Buffalo, New York, New Democrat
Hinojosa, Ruben-
Holden, Tim- Blue Dog
Hoyer, Steny- Majority Leader
Kanjorski, Paul-
Kildee, Dale-
Kind, Ron- New Democrat
Klein, Ron (FL)- New Democrat
Lampson, Nick- Blue Dog, New Democrat
Langevin, James- Member, Intelligence Committee
Lipinski, Dan-
Lowey, Nita- White Plains, New York
Mahoney, Tim (FL)- Blue Dog, New Democrat
Marshall, Jim- Blue Dog
Matheson, Jim- Blue Dog
McCarthy, Carolyn (NY)- Garden City, New York, New Democrat
McIntyre, Mike- Blue Dog, New Democrat
McNerney, Jerry-
Meeks, Gregory (NY)- Jamaica, New York, New Democrat
Melancon, Charlie- Blue Dog, New Democrat
Mitchell, Harry-
Moore, Dennis (KS)- Blue Dog, New Democrat
Murphy, Patrick- Member, Intelligence Committee, Blue Dog, New Democrat
Murtha, Jack- Chair, Appropriations Defense Subcommittee
Ortiz, Solomon-
Pelosi, Nancy- Speaker of the House
Perlmutter, Ed- New Democrat
Peterson, Collin (MN)- Chair, Agriculture Committee, Blue Dog
Pomeroy, Earl- Blue Dog
Rahall, Nick- Chair, Natural Resources Committee
Reyes, Silvestre- Chair, Intelligence Committee
Richardson, Laura- Progressive
Rodriguez, Ciro-
Ross, Mike- Blue Dog
Ruppersberger, Dutch- Member, Intelligence Committee
Salazar, John- Blue Dog
Schiff, Adam- Member, Intelligence Committee, Blue Dog, New Democrat
Scott, David (GA)- Blue Dog, New Democrat
Sestak, Joe- New Democrat
Sherman, Brad-
Shuler, Heath- Blue Dog
Sires, Albio- Jersey City, New Jersey
Skelton, Ike- Chair, Armed Services Committee
Smith, Adam (WA)- New Democrat
Snyder, Vic- New Democrat
Space, Zach- Blue Dog
Spratt, Jack- Chair, Budget Committee
Stupak, Bart-
Tanner, John- Blue Dog
Tauscher, Ellen- New Democrat
Taylor, Gene- Blue Dog
Thompson, Bennie (MS)- Chair, Homeland Security, Progressive
Udall, Mark (CO)- running for Senate
Wilson, Charlie (OH)- Blue Dog
Yarmuth, John-

(H/T to the Booman Tribune)

Volkswagens

Have you noticed that in the recent VW ads, they call them "Vee Dubs" rather than "Vee Dubyas," which is what people used to always call them.

I probably can guess at the reason for that...

Spineless, Worthless, Cowardly Democrats

The House passed the total cave-in to Chimpy on electronic surveillance.

Fucking Democratic surrender monkeys. They are a bunch of gutless weasels. Their idea of "compromise" was nothing of the sort, it was nothing more than the abject and total appeasement of a tyrant.

Actually, they are not fit to be called weasels. They are more like the black mold that will grow on a toilet.

Here is the roll call list.
The Fascists are the ones who voted "Aye", those in favor of the Constitution voted "Nay." (I do not have the time to extract the Brown-underwear Democrats from the Brownshirt Republicans, but when I find such a list, I will post it.)

This is how Dan Froomkin of the WaPo put it:

"What kind of a country is it where, when the head of state asks you to do something that may well be illegal, but assures you that he considers it legal, you can't be held accountable for doing it?

"Welcome to the new U.S. of A."


I expected no less of the Republicans, for they are nothing if not prostrate in their loyalty to the Tsar of the Baboons. But every Democrat on that list should be pelted with rotten fruit at every public appearance. Their kids should shun them, their spouses should refuse to have sex with them, their dogs should bite them and their cats should piss on their pillows.

The Destruction of the Republican Party in 2008

(Click on it to order one)

Over at the Alternate Brain, they discussed a post on the Regressive Antidote which posits the notion that because of the breathtaking incompetency of the Bush Administration, that the Republican Party may suffer a mortal defeat this fall.

On one hand, the implosion of the GOP and the rise of another party is overdue. Their core platform for the last sixty years has been fear-mongering of one kind or another. From the Red Scare of the 1940s and 1950s into various forms of race-baiting (which were reinforced when the racist Southerners left the Democratic Party after the civil and voting rights of the 1960s were enacted), to gay-bashing and xenophobia, the GOP has been the party of hate and fear. They can't claim to be the party of fiscal responsibility, a look at the Federal deficit under Reagan, Bush the Elder and Bush the Dumber shows the truth of that, and that is before you get into the myriad contracting scandals of the Dorquemada Administration. The GOP claims to be the party of "small government", but they have created the most monstrous department, the Department of Reich Homeland Security, since the creation of the Department of Defense.

All the GOP has in its quiver is fear. Fear of Commies. Fear of Nigras. Fear of Beaners. Fear of Fags. Fear of Ragheads. Fear, fear, fear. This is perfectly illustrated in that "Mister 9/11 Himself" has joined the McCain campaign. (Yes, John McCain is being "helped" by an ex-presidential candidate who spent $50 million to win one delegate.)

The Republicans may only have one hope, and that is that John McCain can distance himself enough from Dubya the Inepter to show some independence. Problem there is that every time the Tsar of the Baboons opens his mouth, out comes words that are eerily similar to McCain's positions, enough so that the "John McSame" argument is reinforced.

On the House and Senate side, those Republicans running for re-election are trying to desperately distance themselves from Der Monkey Fuhrer with votes on the farm bill, votes to provide unemployment insurance, and other measures. It may be too little, too late, as most of those incumbents have a lengthy track record of unquestioning loyalty to the Bush Administration.

But please remember that a functioning democracy needs at least two strong parties. The Republicans went truly off the rails when they had control of the Congress and the White House. They did massive damage to the country, but they sowed the seeds of their own immolation by doing so. If the GOP had curbed its batshit-crazy wing and governed from the center, they might have held power for a couple of decades, until people got tired of them. But they didn't, they tried to destroy the government from within and the problem there is that a government staffed with ideologues cannot do anything right, whether it is plan a war or respond to natural disasters. The American people have this crazy notion that with all of the taxes we pay, it is not too much to ask for competence.

So it is indeed possible that the Republicans may suffer a defeat that will be the worst electoral thrashing since 1932. But if that comes to pass, there are perils for the Democrats, for the Moonbat Wing of the Democrats is no less batshit-crazy than the Wingnuts of the Republicans.

This is the harbinger issue: Gun control. As much as the mouth-breathing rabid anti-gunners like to throw up polls that pretend to hold that gun control is what the American people want, the fact is that in the last few decades, the number of states allowing concealed-carry of firearms has grown from a handful to an overwhelming majority, and all of that happened without the rivers of blood that the anti-gunners were forecasting. When the Clinton Administration rammed through the Brady Bill in 1993, the payback was a loss of Congress the following year.

(Feel free to blame Sarah Brady for the rise to power of Newt Gingrich and Tom DeLay.)

In order to gain power, a party must mobilize its base. In order to keep power, the base of the party has to be taken into account, but no party can hold onto power without the support of significant numbers of voters outside of the base of the party. To keep a majority, a party must govern more or less from the center, shading to the base's side on some issues, but keeping in mind that it holds power with the consent of the moderates in the electorate.

The Democrats lost sight of that in 1993, after having control of the House of Representatives for almost forty years. The Republicans lost sight of that in less than a dozen years. If the Democrats win big in the elections this Fall, they need to be frequently reminded of that if they really want to drive a stake into the GOP. Bush and his henchmen had a chance to drive the Democrats into a long-term minority position and they muffed it by Bush's signature management style of overreaching coupled with incompetence.

The Democrats need to keep in mind that they need more than their committed base to hold onto power. Otherwise they will be history, too.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Out-of-Control Federal Security Fucktards

That it takes special legislation in order to remove Nelson Mandela from the Terrorist Watch List is a national travesty.

Democrats Cave, Again

They caved on telecom immunity.



I said here, ten months ago, that if they caved on telecom immunity, that I'd not give the party another fucking nickel.

I meant every word.

Fuck them. Fuck all of them. Fuck their staffs. The Republicans take a meat-ax to the Constitution because they, deep down in their blasted and twisted souls, they really do not like the idea of "we, the people." In what passes for their heart-of-hearts, the Republicans are royalists who think that the big error of 1789 was not putting in a system where only the uber-rich could vote. Republicans probably regard George Washington as the biggest class-traitor that ever was.

Democrats, on the other hand, do nothing to stop the GOP axe-murderers because they are scared to.

At the end of the day, there is little difference between the two parties, for it's democracy and the Constitution that take it in the neck.

As do the rest of us.

So no, not another fucking nickel for the DNC.

Don't Fear the Reaper

Heros

The military defense lawyers, who are damaging their careers by doing their jobs with honor and fidelity to the law, are heros in my book.

I did not expect this, but I did not have very much contact with the JAG Corps during my time in uniform. You have to have some understanding of military culture to recognize what an unusual thing it is for a military officer to do what is right, rather than what is career-enhancing. The Navy generally operates on a "one strike" system, so these lawyers are, in all likelihood, damaging their careers by doing their jobs in fidelity to the rule of law and ethics.

Would only that fidelity to the Constitution and the rule of law had been in the minds of the Cabal of Five.

Corruption & Oil

Iraq's Oil Ministry is close to signing some large "no-bid" contracts with Western oil companies (predominantly British & American ones).

Anyone care to bet that there are not huge payoffs and bribes being thrown around? These contracts may make Halliburton, KBR and Blackwater look like a bunch of petty-ass thieves in comparison.

Care to bet as to whether there is going to be a significant signing bonus from the friends of Dorquemada and Darth Cheney, if not for themselves in the form of "donations" to the Bush Preznidenshul Lie-berry and maybe some no-show directorships for both men?

This is Just Creepy

Human feet are washing up on various shorelines in Vancouver. The feet are inside running shoes.

Oh, Gee. Who Could Have Foreseen That?

If there is to be an expansion of offshore drilling, the first problem is a shortage of offshore drilling rigs.

That's a problem that was readily apparent to everyone but the Tsar of the Baboons.

The article goes on to point out that the operating costs for such drilling rigs (which are really ships, rather than the shallow-water rigs that have legs that go to the sea floor) have quadrupled since Bush began his wars. There is also a problem with obtaining enough trained workers to operate the drilling rigs.

George Bush has to be smoking crack if he thinks that, by his edict, anything is going to change anytime soon.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The Grill Cleaner

A friend gave me a Hamilton-Beach electric grill awhile back. It's basically their knock-off of a George Foreman grill; you put the stuff in the grill, close the upper lid and the drippings run off. The plats come right out, it's easy to clean, it doesn't smoke and it's a nice little unit.

Tonight I used it to cook up some boneless chicken parts that had been on sale. I had some of the pieces and refrigerated the rest for later use. I left the grill on the counter to cool before cleaning.

My kitchen is in a corner of the apartment and, because there are no windows, it is dark if I haven't turned the light on. As I walked into the kitchen, I heard "laplaplaplap," but I couldn't see anything. I turned on the light and there was George, up on the counter, licking the grill clean. (I didn't see him because the electric grill is black and so is George.) George knows he's not supposed to be on the counter; he always jumps down fast when he's busted. But he is a willful cat.

He did a pretty good job of cleaning it, it just took a little bit of soap and water to finish up. He might have a new job, at that.

Gracie hopped up on the couch the other night and laid down next to me, accompanied by the rank smell of stale cat poop. Sure enough, she had gotten shit on her ass again, so once more, it was off to the shower for her. That is fun for both of us. (Of course, she managed to press her shit-laden posterior against my thigh, which meant the nightgown I was wearing went right into the wash.)

Never a dull moment with these critters.....

Well, Isn't This a Coincidence

Sen. Chris Dodd is the chairman of the Senate Banking Committee. Somehow, miracle of miracles, he manages to qualify for some mortgages from Countrywide at a "special VIP rate."

Dodd arguably didn't get anywhere near as good a deal as did Sen. Kent Conrad, who personally called the chairman of Countrywide in order to get an interest rate that was 1% lower. Dodd may have not asked for the rate he got, which wasn't all that much lower, but Conrad certainly did.

See. Oh. Double-R, Yew. Pee, Tee...

What Do These Two Countries Have in Common?

Japan from 1941 to 1944 and the US from 201 to 2009?

Both Japan and the US were led by war criminals.

Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba, who investigated the abuse at Abu Ghraib, has concluded that George Bush is a war criminal.

Accusing George Bush of being a war criminal: It's not just for us Moonbats anymore.

"At Least I Don't Plaster on Makeup Like a Trollop, You...."

Neither coffee nor work-safe.



(Gods, I love WTF is it Now)

Why I Am Sounding Like My Mother

Music was just better back before hip-hop:



(The crappy-ass shit that kids listen to nowadays. They have the nerve to call the monotonal gruntings of some mysogynistic moron "music", just because it's accompanied by some punk-ass scratchings from a record.)

The Tsar of the Baboons is a Retard

Either he is retarded or he is a complete and utter fraud.

Dorquemada thinks that drilling for oil off the coasts is the cure for high oil prices.

Passing over the part that it was his Dad who was involved in banning drilling for oil off the coasts and it was his brother who was vociferous in not drilling anywhere near Florida, drilling for oil off the coasts will do nothing for gasoline prices.

First off, they need to update the exploration. Then they have to build new drilling rigs. They have to build the pipelines from the producing rigs to the shore. They have to build either transfer stations from the pipelines' terminals to either tankers to carry the crude and they have to build and crew the tankers or they have to build pipelines to transport it to refineries. They have to train the crews for the new rigs.

Then there is the issue of refinery capacity. The oil companies bought out and then tore down most of the independent smaller refineries in the late 1980s and into the 1990s when fuel was to cheap for them to make a profit. Basically, for most of the last 20 or so years, the focus of the oil industry was to reduce refinery capacity, not to expand it.

But Dorquemada is pretending that all that can be done within a matter of a few weeks or months.

He is either too stupid to feed himself or he is lying. (Not that the two options are mutually exclusive.) In signing onto Der Monkey Fuhrer's energy policy, the GOP is one again demonstrating that they are the willing slaves of Chimperor Disgustus.

And John McCain is proving, once again, that he is really John McBush.

Motherfucking Spammers!

This blog has been hit four times in the last three days by spammers, who have posted their shitty-ass spam as comments.

What I would like to do is hunt their sorry asses down and mount their heads on pikes, to be pecked at by crows, as a warning to all other spammers, but the law unjustly frowns on such things.

So I have had to compromise: I am enabling comment moderation. So your comments will not show up until I drag my dead ass to the computer and check them. I am sorry for the inconvenience, I do like to encourage free discussion, but I will not permit this blog to be used as a forum for spreading spam.

If you are a spammer, fuck you and fuck your horse. I most sincerely hope that you get fired, that the transmission of your car explodes either in heavy traffic or on a remote rural road, that the Feds throw you in prison for spamming, that you will soon die a long, agonizing death and that your blasted soul will then forever reside in the deepest pits of Hell. Have a nice day.

Antidote For Depressing Shit



(H/T to the CrankyProf)

This Morning's Depressing Shit

Lara Logan, the chief foreign correspondent for CBS News, was on the Daily Show last night. She said that because our news media is not paying much attention to the wars, that the troops have come to believe that they are doing a job nobody cares about.

(The days where foreign correspondents were guys in old rumpled trenchcoats are long gone.)



McClatchy found confirmation that the Defense Department was moving prisoners around to avoid scrutiny by the Red Cross.

The McClatchy series as to how this nation came to be a nation that tortures people and holds people indefinitely for no goddamn reason also continues today.

There was a cabal of five lawyers in the Bush Administration who were directly responsible for producing legal opinions that "international laws against torture are only for losers." They are:

David Addington, chief of staff for Vlad Cheney.
Alberto Gonzales, former White House counsel and then Attorney General.
William J. Haynes II, former Pentagon general counsel.
Timothy E. Flanigan, former deputy to Gonzales.
John Yoo, lawyer in the Justice Department.

As the article points out, these five goons did more than just say "torture is OK by us," they set up a system that virtually ensures that nobody who actually tortured people would ever be held accountable for it.

Addington, Gonzales, Haynes, Flanigan & Yoo, Torturers-at-Law. Our Motto: "No War Crime Too Evil To Rationalize."

UPDATE: Medical examinations of 11 former prisoners have confirmed that they were tortured. Expect to hear more from the Bush Apologistas about how torture is no different than a USC frat party.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

People Whose Mothers Should Have Had Retroactive Abortions

The clowns who came up with this button--

-- by their conduct, make a compelling argument why abortion should be legal until the 300th trimester after conception.

Let's just get this one right out there: If you are going to make and sell buttons like this, you might as well parade around wearing a white sheet.

For you are not "funny" or showing a "hard political edge" and that is not "humor." That is "racism" and you, ladies and/or gentlemen, are "racists."

(H/T to WTF Is It Now?)

Yeah, Well. So Sue Me.

-35

As a 1930s wife, I am
Very Poor (Failure)

Take the test!



I don't know how one can score a -35 on a 0-100 test, but hey, nobody ever accused me of being Harriet Nelson. From that score, I'm probably not even Morticia Addams.

I also tried the husband test and scored well into the negative range. I probably ought to go rent Ted Kaczinsky's old cabin...

Appeasers

The Tsar of the Baboons went in front of the Knesset and said that "talking to our enemies is appeasement."

Seems the Israelis were not paying attention to His Offalness. First they negotiated with Syria, and now with Hamas.

But then, since the average retarded teenager has a more sophisticated world outlook that Dorquemada, that the Israelis would see it in their interest to try and reach a deal instead of pulling triggers is not a surprise.

Torture Nation Continues

The atrocities at abu Ghraib were not the result of a few "rouge elements" or "bad apples." They were the direct result of policies that were handed down from the office of Vice President Richard Cheney.

Some folks had a clue that this was not going to turn out well:

"This looks like the kinds of stuff Congressional hearings are made of," Mark Fallon, deputy commander of the Criminal Investigation Task Force at Guantanamo, wrote in an Oct. 28, 2002 e-mail. "Someone needs to be considering how history will look back at this.”

I think we know enough to guess how history will look back on this and the most gentle word is: "Unkindly."

And, just like the Germans did in World War II, the Administration sought to hide evidence of torture and war crimes from the Red Cross.

Look for most of the GOP to line up and support Bush instead of supporting nebulous concepts such as "the rule of law" and "the Constitution," though.

The GOP had better keep this in mind:

In the United States, the oath is sworn to "preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States." It was in Nazi Germany that the oath was taken to give unswerving loyalty to the Fuhrer.

The GOP had better refresh itself as to which country they are living in. Their unbendling loyalty to the Tsar of the Baboons will not go down well in the pages of history.

One Problem That is Not the Fault of the Tsar of the Baboons

There are too many law schools in the U.S. of A.

(I could have told them that!)

How Our Government Fucks Over the Troops

If you are medically discharged from the Army for a severe disability, you are basically on your own for the year or so it takes for the Veterans' Administration to process the disability paperwork.

And if that means you have to live in a homeless shelter or on the streets until then, our government thinks that is just tough shit.

Meanwhile, John McCain, a man who, from the time of his birth until now, has received taxpayer-paid health care (including 100% disability from the VA), votes time and time again against bills that provide more help to our troops and our veterans.

Torture Nation

The excellent series by McClatchy continues today, with an article about how al Qaeda has been able to turn the prison at Guantanamo into an indoctrination school for militants.

If you missed the other articles, they are all here.

McClatchy's reporters tried to get answers from Ft. Fumble, but they won't talk. Actually, that's sort of overbroad; they would submit a statement if the statement was printed exactly. You know, the same crap of "we don't torture people" and "we treat everybody humanely," all bullshit that has been exposed as nothing more than lies.

Baracknophobia

The Daily Show had a piece last night how a lot of the TV news sources, especially Fox News, just throw up rumors about Obama as fact:



(The clip may begin with a lame-ass commercial. Deal.)

The interview last night was with David Inglesias, the U.S. Attorney who was fired for refusing to engage in politically-motivated prosecutions. He threw out a great line:
"I thought I was working for the Jedi Knights when I was working for the Sith Lords."

Monday, June 16, 2008

I Am So Fraking Out of It!

It wasn't until today that I heard of "Rick Rolling."

If you are equally clueless, you probably remember Rick Ashley from the 1980s:



This is the Wiki entry for it. You'd use that video or just the song itself as a prank or at a protest.

Or at a John McCain rally.

At a Scientology protest:



Some local Fox News show:



(Next post will cover that new-fangled invention: the Leyden Jar!)

Battlestar Galactica- "Revelations"

Hole.

Lee.

SHIT!

I did not see that coming.

But we're going to have to wait until 2009 for the final episodes, apparently.

That is a real motherfraker.

UPDATE: The Science of BSG has some thoughts about why what seems to be on the show may not be that in fact. But if you are a BSG fan and you didn't see last Friday's episode yet, do not click on that link! Or, for that matter, don't read the comments to this post.

UPDATE II: What I said about "not clicking on this link if you haven't seen the show" goes fraking double for this excellent analysis of the episode. It seems I'm by far not the only one who wants to make time fly until `09, and not because we don't want to have to live through this fraking preznitdenshul campaign.

Michelle Obama's "Blame Whitey" Rant

Comment follows the clip, so play it first, please.



Yes, folks, that's what the Wingnuts have been getting themselves in a tizzy over. They make shit up and then spread it around to see if it sticks. And it does, which is why you can find people who think that Obama is a "secret Muslim" or who think that he attended a madrassa or that Michelle Obama spewed a "blame whitey" rant.

But really, what can you expect? The "Big Lie" is the game that the GOP plays, which is why there are significant numbers of people in this country who still, to this very day, believe that Saddam masterminded 9/11.

(In the reality-based world, we refer to them as "morons.")

(H/T to Balloon Juice)