Tuesday, October 31, 2006

If Halloween were Iraq...

TelltaleHeart, over at Eschaton tonight proposed the following rubric for understanding the US Invasion, Conquest, Occupation, Rape, and Pillage of Iraq in truly festive terms.

Suppose you viewed Trick-or-Treaters as law-breakers, trespassers, and potential threats to your domestic tranquility, the equivqalent of islamo-fascist terrorists in the Middle East.

In Bushland, there would be only option available to you:

1. Immediately invade a random neighbor's house and kill or subjugate all the occupants, and then

2. Lure the trick-or-treaters over there, beat 'em up, kill those you could, and capture others... so you don't have to fight them at home...

No Bush Left Behind: Wholly COW! Neil Raking In NCLB Dough

Bill Berkowitz, via MediaTransparency dot com and buzzflash):

These days, with the help of the Saudi Royal Family, a former junk bond dealer, a Russian mobster, the Rev. Sum Myung Moon, and mom and dad, family string-pulling is again paying off.

The Los Angeles Times recently reported that Ignite! Learning, a company headed by Neil Bush "and partly owned by his parents is benefiting from Republican connections and federal dollars targeted for economically disadvantaged students under the No Child Left Behind Act." The company has managed to "place its products in 40 U.S. school districts and now plans to market internationally," the Times reported.

"Interviews and a review of school district documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act," by the Los Angeles Times, "found that educators and legal experts were sharply divided over whether Ignite's products were worth their cost or qualified under the No Child law."

According to the Times, "Most of Ignite's business has been obtained through sole-source contracts without competitive bidding. Neil Bush has been directly involved in marketing the product."---Read On!

Somehow, this greedy, oleaginous predator--to say nothing of the rest of this criminal family cabal--needs to be seriously FUCKED UP!!!

If You Won't Sleep With Me, The Terrorists Will Have Won

If you have ever lost an opportunity for extreme sex because your Latin skills atrophied before you graduted from high school, then X-Treme Latin: Unleash Your Inner Gladiator. By Henry Beard. Gotham Books; 108 pages; $17.50 is the resource tool for you. The Economist review says just about all that is needful:

FOR years now, Henry Beard, the founder of National Lampoon, has been pursuing a rollicking crusade to put Latin back in everyday life. As he explains, Latin is widely used by lawyers to cheat you, by doctors to scare you witless and by houseplant sellers to shift their wares. (See, under “Botanical Latin”, grandiflora, tormentosa, pendula, rugosa and sempervirens, all of which mean “leafless clump of dry brown twigs in one week flat”.) This book lets the homunculus (little guy) get his own back.

And how. There are insults here for every occasion, from air rage (Heia, amice, utrum illae sunt sarcinae tuae, an modo Carthaginem despoliasti?, “Hey, pal, is that carry-on luggage or did you just sack Carthage?”) to computer trouble (Assume plicam damnatam, o tu moles muscaria muscerdarum, “Download the goddam file, you bug-ridden piece of shit”). But there are handy phrases too for bumper stickers (Malim praedari, “I'd rather be pillaging”) and invaded barbarians (Vos non victores, sed liberatores salutamus!, “We welcome you as liberators, not conquerors!”). All through the book, the morphing of empire-building Romans with Americans, chariots with Cadillacs, swords with guns and Julius Caesar with Jesus Christ (“What would Caesar do?”) is an endlessly diverting read.

First prize for devilish translating goes to “wet T-shirt contest” (certamen inter mammosas tunicis madefactis vestitas), closely followed by “sushi bar” (taberna Iaponica pulpamentorum incoctorum marinorum). The finest-resonance award goes to crapulentus sum (“I'm wasted!”). But since Latin is for lovers, special mention should go to a highly topical chat-up line containing the much-maligned future perfect: Nisi mecum concubueris, phobistae vicerint, “If you won't sleep with me, the terrorists will have won.”
(Phonetically (iirc): Nissi make-um kon-kube-weriss, fobistay weecherint--fyeieio).

Monday, October 30, 2006

Just In Case You Absently Wondered If A "New" Dem House Would Be Any Different...

It won't.

In Key House Races, Democrats Run to the Right

Published: October 30, 2006

ASHEVILLE, N.C., Oct. 28 — In their push to win back control of the House, Democrats have turned to conservative and moderate candidates who fit the profiles of their districts more closely than the profile of the national party.

One such candidate, Heath Shuler, was courted by Republicans to run for office in 2001. Mr. Shuler, 34, is a retired National Football League quarterback who is running in the 11th Congressional District in North Carolina. He is an evangelical Christian and holds fast to many conservative social views, like opposition to abortion rights.

“My guess is that if Democrats are in the majority, it’s going to be because of these New Democrat, Blue Dog candidates out there winning in these competitive swing districts,” Representative Ron Kind of Wisconsin, co-chairman of a caucus of centrist House Democrats, said in an interview.

But if candidates like Mr. Shuler do help the Democrats gain majority control of Congress, it could come at a political price, which may include tensions in the party between its new centrists and its more liberal political base.

While Democratic leaders have gone to great lengths to promote the views of these candidates, some, like Mr. Shuler, have views on issues like gun control and abortion that are far out of step with the prevailing views of the Democrats who control the party. On some issues, they may even be expected to side with Republicans and the Bush White House.

Did Anybody In Congress Know They Were LOWERING Restrictions On Declaring Martial Law?


If so, who knew, when did they suss it out, and why THE FUCK did they not move fucking heaven and earth to stop it?

In a stealth maneuver, President Bush has signed into law a provision which, according to Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont), will actually encourage the President to declare federal martial law (1). It does so by revising the Insurrection Act, a set of laws that limits the President's ability to deploy troops within the United States. The Insurrection Act (10 U.S.C.331 -335) has historically, along with the Posse Comitatus Act (18 U.S.C.1385), helped to enforce strict prohibitions on military involvement in domestic law enforcement. With one cloaked swipe of his pen, Bush is seeking to undo those prohibitions.

The Supreme Court is the sole remaining bastion against the Bushevik assumption of truly dictatorial powers. Four of the nine justices--the boys from Opus Dei: Roberts, Alito, Scalia, and Thomas--are already acolytes of the "unitary executive' theory. Kennedy is likely to agree with them. I do not think the omens are good that the Court will rein in Gibbering George and his minions.

But mebbe that's just me?

For The Detained, Life At Gitmo "Not ALL That Bad," Sez US DoD Official

Which is probably a good thing, inasmuchas more than three-quarters of the detainees there now may spend the whole rest of their lives there, in dentention.

“If US prisoners saw the detention regime these people are in, they’d be knocking down the door to get into Gitmo,” said Cully Stimson, the Defence Department’s assistant secretary of defence for detainee affairs, on one of his regular trips to the base last week...Detainees are segregated by their level of “compliance,” and most are considered not fully compliant. That label determines what colour uniform they wear-from white for fully compliant to tan and orange for different levels of non compliance. It determines whether a man lives alone or with nine others, as well as what kind of tooth brush he gets and whether the mat on top of his concrete or metal bed is 1-inch (2.5 cm) thick or four (10 cm). One of the few things not affected by compliance level is the daily “voluntary” interrogation.

Yet another step in the development of 'democracy' that makes a fella proud to be an American...

Israeli Jets 'Intimidate' German Aircraft Patrolling Lebannon

Now here's a story with no small amount of deja vu-y resonances

BERLIN, Oct 29 (KUNA) -- German airforce patrolling the Lebanese coasts as part of UNIFIL peace mission have been initimated by Israeli fighter planes last Friday, the German defense ministry confirmed on Sunday.

A defense ministry spokesman told the semi-official German T.V. station Z.D.F. today that a German navy helicopter was intimidated by the Israeli planes. The German Die Welt weekly magazine, which reported the incident, said German defense ministry officials were "astonished" by the Israeli annoyance.

Israeli Defense Minister Amir Peretz had telephoned his German counterpart for assurances that Israeli warplanes would not intercept German ships operating at the Lebanese coasts, the magazine said. The German defense ministry a few days ago said six Israeli jetfighters were involved in an armed incident with a German ship patrolling off Lebanon as part of the UN force in the Arab country.

The Israeli warplanes fired shots as well as anti-missile defence flares while flying low over the German vessel, the defense ministry said.

KUNA is the Kuwaiti News Agency. Deutsche-Welle also has the story.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

You're gonna wanna bookmark this, if you haven't already done so

By "this," of course, I mean


click on 'the show'. The current 'show' is very good, but most are. The guy's REALLY good.

and the rest of the site's a total time-pig!!!
proceed with asperity, but with caution, too...

Better Blog-pimping through better blog-whoring!

Friday, October 27, 2006

Nicaragua Succumbs to Catholic Pressure, Outlaws ALL Abortions

FYEIEIO (truthout.org):
Nicaraguans voted last night to outlaw all forms of abortion - including operations to save a pregnant woman's life - after a campaign by the Catholic church. The main political parties supported a bill establishing jail sentences of six to 30 years for women who terminate their pregnancies and doctors who perform the procedure.

The sadistic RC motherfuckers...again...this was orchestrated in Rome, by Red-Shoes Ratzi the nazi...

And of course this will not stop abortions; it only punishes already desparate people. I detest, loathe and abhor the Roman Catholic Church: greedy, sadistic fuckers...

Today, Gibbering George Again Raised High The GOPuke Banners Of Intolerance To Gay Marriage

Predictably, the (ostentatiously) desparate fascist fux of the Bushevik regime have siezed upon yesterday's New Jersey Supreme Court decision to mobilize their rabid, flying-monkey/fundie base to 'fight the fags.' The decision stops short of requiring the State to recognize 'gay marriages, but it upholds the rights of gay couples to the same legal guarantees and privileges as are granted by the State to mixed-gender marriages. (Slam-fucking-dunk 14th Amendment reasoning, imho; though, as I intimated yesterday, the timing is perplexing.) Unsurprisingly, Gibbering George declaimed on the topic at length today in public gatherings and to his lap-dog press corps.

Over at Eschaton, "Chris Tucker" proposed the following as a Democratic prophyllactic against this intolerant, divisive, toxically bigotted tactic:

If I were Howard Dean, this would be the talking points memo to all Democratic candidates for the remainder of October:"The national Democratic strategy should simply to ignore the NJ decision.
"The GOP wants to scare you and distract you with gay marriage and flag burning and scary terrorists hiding under your bed this Halloween season.

"They don't want to talk about the disaster that is Iraq, the disaster that is the coming economic crisis, brought on by massive, unforgivable deficit spending to pay for the failed war in Iraq, billions and billions of YOUR dollars a month go to pay for George Bush's "War on Terror in Iraq", a country that had NOTHING to do with 9/11, NOTHING to do with Osama Bin Laden, NOTHING to do with ANY real or potential terrorist threat to America.
"They don't want to talk about the years-long coverup of Mark Foley's despicably inappropriate behavior towards the young men in, and out, of the Congressional page program. The GOP preferred to protect Foley's seat in Congress, rather than the children under their dubious protection."

"As your jobs flow to China and India, your hard earned tax dollars flow into the pockets of Bechtel and Halliburton. As your hard earned wages go to pay for prescription medicines, the pharmaceutical companies use those dollars to lobby the GOP controlled Congress and Senate for even more sweetheart tax breaks, to put the rest of your money into the pockets of the CEOs of those companies.
"As your sons and daughters struggle to pay for college, lobbyists like Jack Abramoff spend lavishly to wine and dine GOP Congressmen and Senators on behalf of their clients, while the GOP controlled Congress and Senate cut Pell grants and other government programs that helped American families send their kids to college.

"The Democratic party considers "Gay Marriage" something for the individual states to decide. We have far more important matters of concern to the American people to devote out time and energies to address.
"This Halloween, don't let the GOP 'trick' you into giving them a 'treat'. Vote Democratic. Vote to turn on the lights in the halls of Congress, and chase the GOP boogiemen away, once and for all."
Chris Tucker Homepage 10.27.06 - 5:08 pm #


A REAL God Would Compel Noxious, Loathesome Vermin To Erupt Projectiley From ALL Slimeball's Orifices Hourly For The Rest Of His Life!

Yesterday, I noted that I typically refrain from writing--as long and as much as possible even from thinking--about Rush Limbaugh (hereinafter always referred to in unflattering corruptions of his given name). The reason I avoid prosodyzing over Slimeball is that considering, even cursorily, the "speech acts" in which he so cavalierly engages, and the victims upon whom he inflicts them with such sneering, impudent, impunity, fills me with cold rage. I believe I might attack and injure him, if the occasion presented. I want to take that stogey, turn it around, and make him swallow it. I freely admit I have borne this animus against him, unremittingly, for 20 years--give or take.

The current imbroglio into which Slimeball has dumped his toxic bloviating--Michael J. Fox's disease/disability and the political uses to which Fox has appropriated his condition--elicits from me those familiar symptoms: at the barest minimum, I want to be present when Slimeball incurs injuries (like Chris Reeve's) or receives a diagnosis (a la Mike Fox) that writes his destiny in stone--absent a miraculous, yet scientifically plausible, cure.

With that in mind, consider this report on the most recent installment from ThinkProgress:
Rush Limbaugh has smeared Michael J. Fox, claiming that he exaggerated the symptoms of his Parkinson’s disease in an ad supporting embryonic stem cell research. (He also mocked Fox by impersonating tremors associated with the disease --albeit invisibly to his audience--on air.) In an effort to deflect criticism, Limbaugh told Katie Couric the following: “I believe Democrats have a long history of using victims of various things as political spokespeople because they believe they are untouchable, infallible, they are immune from criticism.”

As I watched the video of Slimeball flopping and shaking, accompanied by the unfolding narrative the unregenerate bully spun to his moronic, degenerate, knuckle-walking, slack-jawed, drooling ditto-heads, and then considered Fox's reply, I was struck by how ignoble Slimeball is, and how fortunate that he's never yet propogated. And how I hope he copmes to experience the consequences of his professed opinions.

The Shade of Terri Schiavo Stalks CO Congresscritter Musgrave

I don't usually frequent the Kos site.

I got pointed there today by a poster on Eschaton (sorry I neglected to note to whom the hat-tip belongs) to read of the experience of Michael Schiavo at a public appearance by Colorado Conggresscritter Marylin Musgrave, a certifiable flying monkey who has endeavored to appropriate the memory of Terri Schiavo and her family to make political capital from the tragedy.

Michael Schiavo took affront at these tactics and now appears at functions at which Musgrave will make public appearances and take public questions. Summary:

...(T)here are real parallels between Marilyn's outrageous behavior on Tuesday and the course our country is on. Like Marilyn Musgrave, too many of our "leaders" in Washington just refuse to see what's happening in Iraq, they refuse to see the members of Congress in hand-cuffs, they refuse to see people still living in the tragedy of Katrina, they refuse to see our un-insured and homeless.

Like Musgrave, they'd rather run away than face any American who sees what's really going on.

Please, please, please help Angie Paccione (Musgraves' opponent on Nov. 7).

America needs this Congress to be swept away and take Marilyn Musgrave with it..

Read the rest of it.

Musgraves' behavior was, if Schiavo's account is to be believed (and there is no reason to doubt it), reprehensible, cowardly, and utterly without honor. The demagogues who tell lies about us ought to be required to walk among their victims and bear the responsibility for their calumnies.

A Suitably Broad Brushing in Red

Wolcott (at vanityfair.com):

Conservative pundits and politicians regularly jeer that these Jurassic Parks of geriatric do-gooders and brainwashed college students don't represent the "real" America—the God-fearing, flag-waving, decent-living, high-octane, steeped-in-common-sense, everyday-low-prices heartland. Yet even as blue states hug the coasts and red states spread like a bloodstain across America's outstretched body, the influence of these elitist enclaves remains pervasive, corrosive, rotting away the pillars of moral order and foisting abortion, divorce, pornography, gay marriage, snail-darter environmentalism, secular humanism, dovish appeasement, moral relativism, and Rosie O'Donnell's TV comeback upon a once virile nation. The very names of the enclaves breeding such bacteria make the nostril hairs quiver. Hollywood. Berkeley. San Francisco. Madison, Wisconsin. Cambridge, Massachusetts. Martha's Vineyard. Georgetown. And, worst of all, New York City, especially Manhattan, most especially its Upper West Side, disparaged by its critics as the outpatient clinic for last-gasp liberalism.

It's the Republican red states that are lowering the country's moral standards and dragging us through muck and malaise, the red states that are pustulating with horny hypocrites, rampant crime, polygamy, crystal-meth labs, federal handouts (The Economist recently christened Alaska "America's welfare state"), illegitimate births, blimping waistlines, and future generations of dumb bunnies. JonBenet Ramsey, dolled up and immortalized in her beauty-pageant footage, is the pre-pubescent red-hot-mama mascot of red-state Babylon. (emphases added)

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Molly Ivins: Slimebaugh's attacks on Michael Fox are WAY beyond the pale

Normally I foreswear commenting on Slimebaugh, anymore.

For one thing, I've grown weary of it, after nearly 20 years.

For another, it's about as challenging--and as satisfying--as shooting fish in a bucket.

But I do like how Molly Ivins does it:

AUSTIN, Texas—It’s a race to the bottom. For misinformation and cruelty, not to mention plain old dreadful manners, it is so hard to beat Rush Limbaugh. We can only measure the Great Blowhard against himself.

Even by Limbaugh standards, his recent attack on Michael J. Fox, the actor, is several levels lower than tacky. Fox, who has Parkinson’s disease, has done some political ads favoring candidates who in turn support stem cell research.

“He is exaggerating the effects of the disease,” Limbaugh told his listeners. “He is
moving all around and shaking, and it’s purely an act. This is really shameless of Michael J. Fox. Either he didn’t take his medication or he’s acting. This is the only time I’ve ever seen Michael J. Fox portray any of the symptoms of the disease he has.”

The reaction from Parkinson’s experts was swift and angry. “It’s a shameless statement,” said John Rogers of Parkinson’s Action Network. “It’s insulting. It’s appallingly sad, at best.”

So then Limbaugh, big-hearted guy, says while still on the air in the same broadcast:
“Now, people are telling me they have seen Michael J. Fox in interviews and he does appear in the same way in the interviews as he does in this commercial. ... All right, then, I stand corrected. ... So I will bigly, hugely admit that I was wrong, and I will apologize to Michael J. Fox if I am wrong in characterizing his behavior on this commercial as an act ... .”

Then Limbaugh went on to say, “Michael J. Fox is allowing his illness to be exploited and in the process is shilling for a Democrat politician.”

Exploiting his disease by pushing for a cure. Gee, I never thought of that. Do you think the late Christopher Reeve was faking it? Is Nancy Reagan exploiting her late

Yeah, the whole fucking world's waiting for the drug-addled shit-stain to criticize Nancy...

There's more. Go read. But I sure wish somebody'd take a baseball bat to Rush's fat, shit-encrusted cranium and render him eligible for some stem-cell-research-based treatment.

Bob Scheer: ENRON Execs ARE Guilty; But The Fault Goes Higher

Ken Lay's probably dead, and Jeffie Skilling's likely gonna die in jail. I sincerely hope so. But they're really just minor players, pawns and drones.
The Enron crooks would never have been more than petty thieves were it not for the political support they received from their fellow Texas oil buddies. They knew that, and they paid for it: Over the years, Lay and Enron gave the Bush family politicians $3 million in contributions, as well as lending the campaigning George W. a jet on at least eight occasions.

They did so because, without the deregulation of the energy industry pushed by the first President Bush, Enron would have remained a minor company without the capacity to swindle. At the time, Lay wrote a column supporting the elder Bush’s reelection by praising him as “the energy president” because “just six months after George Bush became president, he directed ... the most ambitious and sweeping energy plan ever proposed.”

Specifically, Enron benefited mightily from a key ruling by Wendy Gramm, head of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission under George H.W. Bush, permitting Enron to trade in highly profitable energy derivatives. A mere five weeks after rendering that ruling, Gramm, the wife of then-Sen. Phil Gramm (R-Texas), abruptly resigned to join the Enron board of directors, where she served on the company’s now-infamous see-no-evil audit committee. Secretary of State James Baker and Commerce Secretary Robert Mosbacher also rushed to work for Enron after their White House tenures.

Dubya first got involved with Enron’s Lay when they both worked on his daddy’s campaign, and the relationship flowered during his years as the governor of Texas. There is, in fact, a long paper trail of “Dear Ken” and “Dear George” exchanges that have come to light, thanks to Freedom of Information Act requests. The correspondence exposes the active support given by Bush to Enron’s expansion into markets ranging from Uzbekistan to Pennsylvania. As Lay wrote to Bush in a letter dated Oct. 7, 1997: “I very much appreciated your call to Gov. Tom Ridge a few days ago. I am certain that will have a positive impact on the way he and others view our proposal.”

In payback for Bush’s support, Lay became a Bush “pioneer” fundraiser, dumping in more than $2 million in contributions from himself and Enron executive funds. Lay’s influence with Bush extended well into the first year of the Bush administration, when Bush stonewalled California while it was being extorted through a manufactured “power crisis” by Enron and other energy companies to buy energy at grossly inflated prices.

The Enron boss also became a principal architect of the new Bush energy policy in the months before his downfall, completely undermining the spirit of democracy. In fact, the public has still been denied access to the six secret conversations Lay had with Vice President Dick Cheney when the vice president was quarterbacking the Bush administration’s response to the California energy crisis, which saw the prosperous state preposterously hit by rolling blackouts. Lay provided Cheney with a key memo opposing price caps that would have mightily aided California consumers.
There's more. Go read...

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

God. Guns. Gays: GOOOOD for the GOPukes

Along with topical issues such as immigration and affirmative action and TERROR, those three "Gs" constitute the perennial core of the GOPuke electoral GOTV strategy.

So I just gotta ask: Doesn't anybody else think it a bit 'coincidental' that the New Jersey Supreme Court would hand down a decision "opening the way for gay marriage," according to the constant din of the cabloids and the wires, just inside two weeks from an election in which until now it seemed there was every indication that the bat-shit-crazy, flying-monkey evangelical fundies on the Right would have little incentive to partcipate?

I applaud the Court for its decision. Indeed, it seems that any other would have been inconsistent with principles enshrined in the 14th Amendment; equality for couples of any sexual preferrence before the law is a 14th Amendment slam dunk.

Just the same, eight states — Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia and Wisconsin — will be voting Nov. 7 on constitutional amendments that would ban same-sex marriages and, in most cases, civil unions as well. There are crucial Senatorial contests on the ballot in four of them. And the New Jersey decision handed down today is chum in the water for the demented partisans of sexual intolerance. There is no doubt that they are prepared top play that card for their advantage, according to prominent flying spokesmonkeys. A story carried on the wire earlier today proclaimed: "Right hopes for boost from NJ ruling.

David Crary of the AP reported that the New Jersey Supreme Court ruling Wednesday that ordered equal rights for same-sex couples
was instantly hailed by gay-rights leaders, but it also energized their conservative adversaries, who predicted a backlash in their favor in the Nov. 7 election.

"This is a wake-up call for people who believe that marriage doesn't need constitutional protection," said Glen Lavy, senior counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund, which has opposed same-sex marriage in numerous court cases nationwide.

Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League, called the ruling "a plus" on the premise it would stir up resentment of "arrogant judges" and boost conservative election prospects.

Didn't this happen in 2004, too? Didn't Massachussets high court also issued an opinion which required the State to grant to same-gendered couples the same privileges it granted to hetero couples JUST BEFORE the election?

I guess this may be the last wave, at least, since all but a very few States have already passed such measures, and they haven't been struck down on appeal.

I'm awaiting more falling shoes, on any of the remaining fronts. Maybe the "October Surprise" will be an 'attack' along the border by Mexican terrorists demanding immigrants be given guns to defend themselves against the Minutemen?

Global Press Freedom Index: US Loses Ground to Tie (With Tonga) For 53rd

From WaPo (click the headline above for the link):

Shorter: The USofA, ranked 17th in the first survey in 2002 (and, not incidentally, the country which more or less invented the idea of a 'free press'), now ranks 53rd--tied with Botswana, Croatia, and Tonga; Northern European countries top the index, with no reported censorship, threats, intimidation or physical reprisals, either by officials or the public, in Finland, Ireland, Iceland and the Netherlands. All of those countries were ranked in first place.
Some poor countries, such as Mauritania and Haiti, improved their record in a global press freedom index this year, while France, the United States and Japan slipped further down the scale of 168 countries rated, the group Reporters Without Borders said yesterday. The news media advocacy organization said the most repressive countries in terms of journalistic freedom -- such as North Korea, Cuba, Burma and China -- made no advances at all.

The organization's fifth annual Worldwide Press Freedom Index tracks actions against news media through the end of September. The group noted its concern over the declining rankings of some Western democracies as well as the persistence of other countries in imposing harsh punishments on media that criticize political leaders.

"Unfortunately nothing has changed in the countries that are the worst predators of press freedom, and journalists in North Korea, Eritrea, Turkmenistan, Cuba, Burma and China are still risking their life or imprisonment for trying to keep us informed," the organization said in a news release. North Korea holds the worst ranking at 168.
So we're not as bad as them, anyway...I feel so much better.

FYEIEIO: Here's the Top 10:
1) Finland, Iceland, Ireland, Netherlands
5) Czech Republic
6) Estonia, Norway
8) Slovakia, Switzerland
10) Hungary, Latvia, Portugal, Slovenia

"Does this mean that under this law, ultimately the only thing keeping you, I, or the viewer out of Gitmo is the sanity and honesty of the president?"

Short Answer: Ayup!

Longer (via Carla Binion at Information Clearinghouse):

On October 17, George W. Bush signed into law the Military Commissions Act of 2006. This new law gives Bush power similar to that of Stalin or Hitler, and grants agencies within the executive branch powers similar to those of the KGB or Gestapo.

Bush justifies this act by claiming he needs it to fight the "war on terror," but a number of critics, including former counterterrorism officials, have said the administration has greatly exaggerated the threat and used illogical methods to combat terrorism. (Examples are listed below.)

Except for MSNBC's Keith Olbermann, few television news reporters have bothered to mention that the Military Commissions Act has changed the U.S. justice system and our approach to human rights. As Olbermann said of the new law on his October 17 Countdown program, the new act "does away with habeas corpus, the right of suspected terrorists or anybody else to know why they have been imprisoned."

Jonathan Turley, George Washington University Constitutional Law Professor, was Olbermann's guest. Olbermann asked him, "Does this mean that under this law, ultimately the only thing keeping you, I, or the viewer out of Gitmo is the sanity and honesty of the president of the United States?"

Turley responded: "It does. And it's a huge sea change for our democracy. The framers created a system where we did not have to rely on the good graces or good mood of the president...People have no idea how significant this is. What, really a time of shame this is for the American system. What the Congress did and what the president signed today essentially revokes over 200 years of American principles and values."

... Robert Dreyfuss covers national security for Rolling Stone. He interviewed nearly a dozen former high-ranking counterterrorism officials about Bush's approach to the war on terrorism. In his article, "The Phony War," (Rolling Stone, 9/21/06) Dreyfuss says these officials conclude:

· The war on terror is bogus. Terrorism shouldn't be treated as if it were a nation to be battled with the military, but should instead be fought with police work and intelligence agencies.
· Terrorism is not an enemy, but a method. Even if the United States were to wipe out every terrorist cell in the world today, terrorism would be back tomorrow.
· Bush lacks a clear understanding of the nature of the "enemy" and has no real strategy for dealing with them.
· The Bush administration confuses the issue by grouping "Al Qaeda" with everything from Iraq's resistance movement to states such as Syria and Iran.
· Today, there's virtually no real "Al Qaeda threat" to Americans.
· Bush's policies have spawned a new generation of "amateur terrorists," but there are few of them, and they're not likely to pose a major threat to the U.S.
· Though Bush has said he will fight his "war" until every last terrorist is eliminated, terrorism can never be defeated, merely "contained and reduced."

Dreyfuss says, "In the short term, the cops and spies can continue to do their best to watch for terrorist threats as they emerge, and occasionally, as in London, they will succeed. But they are the first to admit that stopping a plot before it can unfold involved, more than anything, plain dumbluck."

Sheila Samples On Mike Malloy's Banishment & Return

Ms. Samples, a former US Army civilian publicist, has the number of the SCUM at AAR.

Much to the dismay of the Bush Crime Family and the Flying Monkey Right, their most fervent nemesis, talk-show host Mike Malloy, will return to progressive airwaves on Monday, Oct. 30 -- a whole week-and-one-day before the mid-term elections. When you consider the corruption and scandals oozing like slime from the right over just the past week-and-one-day, Malloy's return is not a moment too soon.

Mike Newcomb, a Pheonix physician and award-winning radio host, has joined Sheldon and Anita Drobny, the original co-founders of Air America Radio, to form the progressive Nova M Radio Network,Inc. which will feature the popular Malloy nightly from 9 p.m. - midnight ET on 1480-AM KPHX Phoenix, the nation's 5th largest city and 15th largest radio market; and on 1380 KDXE-AM Little Rock, Ark. More information on podcasting, Internet streaming and archives will be posted in the interim on the Nova M site and on Malloy's website.

Earlier this week, Malloy said, "We're starting out on two stations, but we're already getting requests from affilliates over a wide spectrum, such as Seattle, Portland, San Diego, Madison, Ann Arbor...This is for real," Malloy said. "We're in it for the long haul. We just sat down together and said 'Okay, dammit -- We've had enough of this. We're gonna fight back!'"

Newcomb, Nova M CEO and Chairman, couldn't agree more. He and the Drobnys plan to lease or to own and operate radio stations across America. In his Introductory Letter to "We the People," Newcomb announced that Joe Trippi, of Trippi and Associates, has joined the Nova M team. Newcomb said Trippi, who changed electoral politics forever by his revolutionary use of Internet fund-raising and campaigning during the Howard Dean presidential run, will help Nova M Radio to "reach out to millions of us who share common values and common goals."

Internationally renowned pollster John Zogby, President and CEO of Zogby International, will co-host a weekly one hour show, "The Pulse of the Nation." Newcomb said Zogby will poll particular hot-button political issues and cultural issues, and each program will include expert guests and audience participation. At the end of each show Zogby will reveal the poll's secret results so listeners will know if they have their fingers on "The Pulse of the Nation."


So: they've got the chairs and the people to swing 'em. Let the fun begin (again).

Monday, October 23, 2006

More 'Remains' Have Been Unearthed At The WTC Site

It won't stop the rebuilding, though.

But it got me thinking about those events and that day. And about the claims by the Chattering Chimp and his minions that their job was and is to prevent the recurrence of such events. And that the absence of subsequent IXXI-like events signalled their success in forestalling such events.

Actually, it was their job to have prevented the first one. At which job, either by ignorance, duplicity or complicity, they failed miserably.

That fact notwithstanding, however, I would maintain that they need not worry at all about the recurrence of the events of IXXI. In all likelihood, by their sheer magnitude, scope, and scale--and by the scope, and scale of the policies and practices now in place to prevent such a catastrophe from happening again--the events of IXXI, themselves, completely and utterly preclude their repetition.

That is, due to what happened on IXXI--and the aftermath--the odds of their being "another" similar event are just about ZERO. So, by already having had one IXXI, the Busheviks have just about guaranteed they will have protected us from another one.

Heckuva job, Bushie...

NB: This should not be taken to be an assertion that nothing bad can ever happen again. Just that, as with Pearl Harbor, the repetition of that particular disaster is pretty much eliminated, by its having happened in the first place.

Some Decent Waves Comin' Your Way, Cabo & Mazatlan...

An October 23, 2006 diagram illustrating the projected path of Hurricane Paul. Hurricane Paul gained strength on Monday as it headed across the Pacific toward the posh beach and golfing resorts on the tip of Mexico's Baja California peninsula, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said. (NOAA/Handout/Reuters)

It'll mean lotsa rain for the Southwest USofA before the weekend...

Well if even GW Bush wasn't enough of a putz to completely fuck it up...

A Jewish cowboy for Texas governor? "Why the hell not," answers Kinky Friedman, the cigar-chomping entertainer, seen here in April 2005, who has become surprisingly competitive in the contest for President George W. Bush's old job in the Lone Star State.(AFP/Getty Images/File)

So THIS is where the Oxycontin comes from???

(photo: REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque)

It's "va-FAN-culo," paisan!

(AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

The Coalition of the Billing: Accountable To No One, Mercs Ravage For Fun & Profit

Remember the furor over the death and mutilation of the four Blackwater, Inc. 'contractors' in Fallujah? The Nation did a longish piece several months ago on their fates and the trajectories of events that led to their deaths. Probably, that single event did more to trigger the battles for and the eventual razing of Fallujah, some weeks later, than any strategic of tactical considerations.

Contractors? Nice euphemism.

Truth? The four men were mercenaries, who sold their consciences. This 'out-sourcing of death, slaughter, and murder--once regarded by most civilized societies as anathema--now is apparently permitted under the rules of contemporary USer militarism, however, if the mercs are working for the USer regime

Journalist Robert Young Pelton has taken up the subject in a newish book, Licensed to Kill: Hired Guns in the War on Terror. The United States has encouraged the use of the private sector in all facets of the War on Terror, placing contractors outside the bounds of functional legal constraints. With the shocking clarity that can come only from firsthand observation, Licensed to Kill painstakingly deconstructs the most controversial events and introduces the pivotal players. Most disturbingly, it shows that there are indeed thousands of contractors—with hundreds more being produced every month—who’ve been given a license to kill, their services available to the highest bidder.

Makes ya prahd t'be a Murkin, Ah'm tellin ya...

Did Democrats Surrender In War On Civil Liberties?

Short Answer: You betcher sweet ass they did, the cowardly fucknozzles.

In fact, under the 'leadership' of the Clenis, they led the way. Click the link in the headline above, and read the account (via CounterSpin).

Money quote (and summation):

So, who is honestly supposed to believe that ushering the Democrats back into office in November will bring any sort of legitimate change -- in Iraq, or back at home?

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Open Thread...

All the big guys do it.

WTF, I figgered, ya know???

Dont stab anybody with a sting-ray spine!

In South Dakota, The Stakes Are High!

From Kate Michelman , on the plebiscite on South Dakota's abortion law--the money quote:
(W)hat ought to be more frightening for women everywhere is the foundation on which they base those arguments: Women, they say, are incapable of making a rational decision to terminate a pregnancy, because it is in women's "nature" to care for children. Antiabortion laws, therefore, are "protecting women's rights" from predatory husbands, boyfriends and abortion providers. Yale Law School professor Riva Siegel has documented how antiabortion activists hope to use this rhetorical frame to "take back" the words "freedom" and "choice," in the process taking back more than a century of struggle to establish women as rational, thoughtful actors capable of making moral choices on our own behalf.

The worst mistake progressives can make is to assume either that this terrible law will fall of its own weight or that it is an isolated case that needn't worry the rest of the nation. More than a dozen other state legislatures, including Ohio and Missouri, have similarly draconian legislature pending.

Fight Extremists in South Dakota this Election Day!
The South Dakota Campaign for Healthy Families is a coalition of concerned citizens and groups fighting the abortion ban in South Dakota. The ban is a ban on all abortions unless to prevent the death of a woman, and if South Dakota does not repeal it on November 7, it will become law. The extremists will be emboldened and ready to take this effort to every state.

In the next few days, we need to put a new ad on TV to educate undecided voters and tell them that the ban has no exception for women who face dangerous health situations.
Please contribute $10, $25 or $50 to support a woman's right to choose.

A Lot Of Folks On The Left Are Asking: "What Will The Dems Do When They Regain Some Power?"

Good question.

But, imho, not the proper one.

What they/'we' should be asking is: What are we gonna do when the Dems DON'T regain power?

Cuz, good vibrations and hope and earnest desire notwithstanding, there is nothing on the landscape that suggests to me that the coming 'election' can withstand a concerted effort to steal it, again.

For there to be any protection against another out-right theft, the SCUM* will have to pick up the story. There are several reasons why they won't.

1) There are already floating about several narrative possibilities to explain how the vote-as-counted can be at WIDE variance from the pre-vote polls.

2) The SCUM have a structural bias in favor of the status quo. Supportable claims of massive electoral malfeasance would challenge--and endanger--the whole house of cards of which the SCUM (either the actors themselves or--more likely--their employers and owners) are staunch up-holders and major stock-holders.

3) The SCUM honor process, not results. They report Barry Bonds' home runs faithfully, despite the claims that he's juiced himself. They report the legislative fate of bills, despite the machinations that ensued to bring about the results. In a horse-race, the splits don't matter til you're trying to handicap the next race.

I believe that, optimism and polls notwithstanding, there is a very high probability that the SCUM will report an Nov. 8 that, improbably but not inexplicably, the Pukes have lost ground, but remain in control over BOTH houses of Congress.

So the question under consideration, at least in the back of the discourse, ought to be: What then?

*SCUM: So-Called Unbiased Media

Saturday, October 21, 2006

For A LONG Time, I Have (Tiresomely, To Many) Cautioned That The "Internets" Were TOO Democratizing To Survive Success...

...for very long, in their present configuration. For the past several years (and to the enduring and increasing irritation of no small number of my blog-mates at Eschaton and elsewhere) I have--!optimistically!--predicted that the Web would not survive the 2008 election cycle in the current state of ideological anarchy and public participation which now prevails, and has marked the medium as something special from the very beginning.

As Ellul remarked in his foundational work "Propagandas", almost half a century ago, propaganda (which is of course nothing more or less than publically sponsored political ADVERTISING) is the ONLY way the modern state knows by which to communicate with the People. In the Modern State, all public communication emanating from the State is "propagandistic" (in the worst senso fo the word, since there is no other) in both form and intention. The public relations/State propaganda complex, set in motion almost 90 years ago mainly by Woodrow Wilson and Edward Bernays, has far too much invested--in money, lives, and effort--in the process of wholly controlling the media of public communication to permit this upstart medium to now upset the efficient, all permeating "applecart" they have built so laboriously, and expensively.

I am both proud and almost inexpressably saddended that Bill Moyers has come to a similar conclusion and recognized the truth of that proposition. Last Wednesday, Oct. 18, with the airing of the program Bill Moyers On America: The Net At Risk, the official template for the permanent alteration of the structure of the Net was unveiled, its parameters were revealed, and its advoactes and acolytes identified. to survive long in their present configuration. The attack on 'Net neutrality' is about to succeed in dimming--if not dousing--democracy's newest emerging beacon. In an essay published last week on tompaine.com, Moyers outlined the essential issues:

The Internet has become the foremost testing ground where the forces of innovation, corporate power, the public interest and government regulation converge. Already, the notion of a level playing field—what’s called network neutrality—is under siege by powerful forces trying to tilt the field to their advantage. The Bush majority on the FCC has bowed to the interests of the big cable and telephone companies to strip away, or undo, the Internet’s basic DNA of openness and non-discrimination. When some members of Congress set out to restore network neutrality, they were thwarted by the industry’s high spending lobbyists. This happened according to the standard practices of a rented Congress—with little public awareness and scarce attention from the press. There had been a similar blackout 10 years ago, when, in the Telecommunications Act of 1996, Congress carved up our media landscape. They drove a dagger in the heart of radio, triggered a wave of consolidation that let the big media companies get bigger, and gave away to rich corporations—for free—public airwaves worth billions.

This time, they couldn’t keep secret what they were doing. Word got around that without public participation these changes could lead to unsettling phenomenon—the rise of digital empires that limit, or even destroy, the capabilities of small Internet users. Organizations across the political spectrum—from the Christian Coalition to
MoveOn.org —rallied in protest, flooding Congress with more than a million letters and petitions to restore network neutrality. Enough politicians have responded to keep the outcome in play. (Emphasis added)
Until Congress returns for the 'lame-duck' session, that is.

Then, absent the constraints of the electorate, the filthy, fascist sell-outs of BOTH the GOPuke and Dumbocrap persuassions will succumb to their pressures of their REAL employers and confer upon the established media carriers their hearts' desire: the ability to commodify the public discourse in EXACTLY the same ways it was commodified upon the introduction of all previous means of mass communication and propagandization.

Remember these times, cuz they're passing. Moyers himself casts the outcome this way:
The monopolists tell us not to worry: They will take care of us, and see to it that the public interest is honored and democracy served by this most remarkable of technologies.
They said the same thing about radio.
And about television.
And about cable.
Will future historians speak of an Internet Golden Age that ended when the 21st century began?

That's the question, alright.

My guess is the answer is "Yes."

To The Images "Khobar Towers" And "Beirut Marine Barracks"...

...We may now have to add "Foreward Base Falcon." There, 13 km outside the so-called Green Zone in Bagdhad, on the night of Oct. 10, 2006, a coordinated mortar and rocket attack reportedly reduced the ammo/gas/supply dump to rubble and killed as many as 300 USer troops.The first I heard of it--and I'm an assiduous student of the USer foray into disaster in 'our' ICORP in Iraw--was today, Oct. 21.

(The link to the source of this report--which includes a casualty list from the attack--is under the headline of this post. Mad Props & Thanks to Atriot correspondent 'mimi' in Berlin for the heads-up. I do not think it's a coincidence that she does not live inside the sway of ths SCUM. Photo: Novosti Press Agency)

Molly Ivins: Don’t Count the Republicans Out

Molly sez:

Put me in the depressive Dems camp. We always look good going into the last two weeks, until we get hit with that wall of Republican money (though I do think Ohio is beyond political recall at this point for the R’s). Of course, both sides always complain about unfair advertising, but I must admit that almost all political advertising strikes me as ludicrous and I don’t notice the D’s looking simon-pure. A little shading, a little emphasis here and there—I’m hard to shock on political ads, but I do get more than miffed when they take the truth and just stand it on its head...

I’m the one who has been writing for two years that the American people are fed up with the war in Iraq and with the Bush administration’s lies and incompetence. I’m the one that keeps beating the Washington press corps about the head over how out of touch it is. I’m the one who has been insisting there’s a Democratic tide out here, and that the people are so far ahead of the politicians and the media it’s painful to watch.

So how come I’m not thrilled? Because I watched this happen two years ago—same rejection of the Iraq war, same disgust with Bush and Co., same understanding that Republicans are for the rich, period, same polls showing D’s with the lead going right into Election Day. And the same geographic gerrymander and same wall of money in the last two weeks. I’m not close to calling this election, and I’m sure not into celebrating anything yet.

What do all these things have in common?

American Council of Life Insurers,
John Deere,
Phoenix Companies,
American Federation of Government Employees,
Honeywell International,
Constellation Energy,
Friends of American Hospitals,
Friends of Israel,
John Hancock Financial Services,
BMX Technologies,
Lumber Dealers,
Northeast Utilities Employees,
the Farmers Group,
American Apparel and Footwear,
Real Estate Investment Trust,
American Bankers Association ...

All are significant share-holders in Joe Lieberman:
WASHINGTON -- Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman collected millions of dollars in campaign cash since his Democratic primary loss by tapping a lengthy list of major contributors to President Bush, dozens of Washington special interest groups and a lot of loyal Democrats. Lieberman's 1,877-page campaign finance report, made public by the Federal Election Commission this week, shows that while he relied on a lot of familiar Democratic names to help him collect $5.1 million since beginning his general election campaign Aug. 9 as an independent, he also got significant help from the White House donor network.
Any questions?

(Tip o'de hat to Atriot 'portia' for this catch.)

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Tooooo Rich! Heather Wilson's Hubby Gropes Boys, Too

Mad Props to AttaTurk (rising-hegemon.blogspot.com) for linking the following RawStory

Congresswoman on page board buried file on husband's child abuse allegation

Brian Beutler
Published: Thursday October 19, 2006

A file naming the husband of Congresscritter Heather Wilson (R-NM) in charges of "inappropriately touching a minor (boy)," which allegedly was suppressed by Congresswoman Wilson when she was a State official almost a decade ago, has been obtained by RAW STORY.

In 1995, just three days into her tenure as Secretary of the New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Department, Wilson removed from NMCYF Department records a routine working file alleging that Wilson's husband had engaged in inappropriate contact with a minor. The file was then transferred to the department's attorney in Wilson's own Albuquerque office, where, mysteriously, it soon went missing.

At the time, a local investigative newsteam learned about the swap, but could not confirm certain details of the file.They were not able to recover the document itself.

More than ten years later, RAWSTORY has uncovered and confirmed the authenticity of the police incident report believed to have been included in the missing dossier. Filed as a case of child abuse in 1993, it contends that Wilson's husband Jay Hone, an Albuquerque attorney, touched a then-16 year old boy "in a manner that was not welcome."

Charges were never filed against her husband, but Wilson's handling of the affair drew the ire of Bob Schwartz who at the time served as district attorney in Bernalillo County. He described Wilson's actions to the news team as"absolutely inappropriate," citing her "obvious conflict of interest." He also admonished Wilson for not following official procedure for the removal of official documents. "If this file is behind Secretary Wilson's desk," Schwartzsaid, "then she shouldn't be behind this desk anymore. She should resign."

Wilson originally denied removing the file to the news team. Footage from that investigation had been available on the internet site YouTube asrecently as several days ago, but has since been removed by the site overconcerns regarding copyright infringment.

In that video, also uncovered by RAWSTORY, Wilson is seen flatly denying ordering the removal of the document. The Congresswoman ultimately admitted to doing so in a press conference just days later.

Six years after the incident, in 2001, Wilson began a three year term on the House Page Board, where she sat while rumors of Mark Foley's inappropriate behavior with underage men were reportedly widespread. Her campaign staff told the Albuquerque Tribune that she only became aware of the Congressman's behavior after an ABC News report on the matter prompted him to resign.

Wilson also currently serves on the Congressional Missing and ExploitedChildren's caucus, from which disgraced ex-Congressman Foley was forced to resign when he recently quit Congress in the wake of the scandal.

RAW STORY spoke with members of Wilson's legislative and campaign staffs, but neither office was able to providecomment before press time.

Wilson is in the race of her career against Democratic opponent Patricia Madrid, the incumbent NM Atorney General, a race that has been characterized as 'too close to call' by many observers. The effects of this revelation are difficult to ascertain immediately, but the taint of the Foley "affair" has been toxic to other candidates tarred by that brush.

The Feex She Ees, How Joo Say Eet, Een, Como No?

In Ohio, the now-legendary/notorious site of some of the most egregious election fraud and manipulation in recent memory, starting as long ago as 2005, "hundreds of thousands of voters-- mostly urban apartment dwellers (likely black) and students-- who are primarily Democratic-- were sent notifications that they would be purged from the eligible voter lists if they did not respond the letter. But, reportedly, the letter was designed to be easily overlooked, perhaps treated as junk mail. Failure to send in a response caused the voter to be removed from the voting roll. "

This could mean, according to Ohio voting rights activist and attorney Bob Fitrakis, that "the Ohio elections may have already been won" by incumbent Mike Dewine and gubernatorial aspirant Kenneth Blackwell.

Fitrakis, told OpEdNews, "Essentially, by purging these rolls, the Republicans, by shrinking the electorate, have already won in Ohio. IF they can't win, which is what the polls show among registered voters, the way to win is to use their nuclear option-- to target black voters, young voters and the working poor-- by purging them so they can't vote.

"They aren't challenging voter eligibility in Republican areas. This is coming from the Republican Party. They're not targeting their own base. If it follows the pattern from 2004, they will have purged heavily Democratic areas. They will challenge high performance democratic precincts," Fitrakis said.

The attorney/activist says he plans to file suit to win an injunction to have the purged voters restored to the voting rolls. And he encourages other interested parties to join him.

"I would urge the DNC-- the party can't let this stand. They could proceed to Federal court and argue that this is a civil rights case-- against blacks and young people. They could file their own suit. They could join our suit. There are a lot of ways they could do it procedurally. They could intervene as an independent party. They could join our lawsuit. I would welcome any action by them," Fitrakis said.

Whether or not the Ohio Democratic Party does actively seek to re-enfranchise its purged voters will be a measure of how seriously the Party actually wants to contest the Ohio federal election agenda of the GOPhascists...

We may and should regard this as a sample case of one of the ways in which the fascists of the GOP will assuredly attempt to steal the so-called election next month.

And it should also be a salutary, albeit redundant, lesson in the dangers of the centralization of too much knowledge and power in the hands of partisan (and ambitious) elected officials...

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

"The Net At Risk": MUST SEE TeeVee

Do NOT forget: Tonight's Part Three of the new Bill Moyers show: Moyers On America.

9 pm everywhere...PBS...

That total shit-licking, slime-bucket (and former FOB), Mike McCurry, co-chairman of (ironically named) Hands off the Internet, a coalition of telecommunication-related businesses who want nothing so much as to get their grubby hands all over it, and Ben Scott, policy director of the nonpartisan public interest organization Free Press, which advocates in favor of net neutrality, and representative of SaveTheInternet.com, will respond to the program, each other, and to viewers' comments.

In the meantime, check out the Citizens Class on The Net at Risk.

This has gotta be MUST SEE teebee if you're a member of the virtual polity...

Real Jeopardy

Koch Industries = $702,755
ExxonMobil = $614,132
Valero Energy = $555,200
Chevron Corp = $370,687
Occidental Petroleum = $363,025

What energy companies are the largest contributors to political candidates, and how much have they contributed?

So far in 2006, oil companies have contributed over THIRTEEN MILLION dollars to Congress Critters.

Tell Congress to Say NO to Big Oil! Take Action Today.

Oh, by the way: LCV did NOT withdraw it's endorsement for Loserman, and so is still on my shitlist, contribution-wise...

If one picture is worth 1000 words, here's a whole fucking library.


There are four videos associated with this site. They contain some very vivid images. This is YOUR Army, YOUR government, YOUR money at work...


Monday, October 16, 2006

US Agri-Bidness: A'growin' an' a'glowin'

Michael Pollan, reviewing the latest E. coli outbreak, and the fallout therefrom, recently opined in the NYTimes:

(T)hese days, the way we farm and the way we process our food, both of which have been industrialized and centralized over the last few decades, are endangering our health. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that our food supply now sickens 76 million Americans every year, putting more than 300,000 of them in the hospital, and killing 5,000. The lethal strain of E. coli known as 0157:H7, responsible for this latest outbreak of food poisoning, was unknown before 1982; it is believed to have evolved in the gut of feedlot cattle. These are animals that stand around in their manure all day long, eating a diet of grain that happens to turn a cow’s rumen into an ideal habitat for E. coli 0157:H7. (The bug can’t survive long in cattle living on grass.) Industrial animal agriculture produces more than a billion tons of manure every year, manure that, besides being full of nasty microbes like E. coli 0157:H7 (not to mention high concentrations of the pharmaceuticals animals must receive so they can tolerate the feedlot lifestyle), often ends up in places it shouldn’t be, rather than in pastures, where it would not only be harmless but also actually do some good. To think of animal manure as pollution rather than fertility is a relatively new (and industrial) idea.

Mr. Pollan speak. If you value your health (or if not your own, then perhaps your family's), you listen...close!

A whole New Generation of Fascist "Ennablers?"

The invaluable Bushwatch dot com has the following meditation on the utterly contemptible, gutless, reprehensible capitulation of the US Congress to the Busheviks' demands for more and more dictatorial powers:

Ronda Hauben recently pointed out that "unlike Hitler [re his Enabling Act], Bush didn't seek a constitutional amendment [to have the Military Comissions Act of 2006 passed]. Instead, he asked Congress to pass this fundamental change to the Constitution as a normal bill, and they complied." She clarifies: "In Germany, the Enabling Act required an amendment to the Constitution. In the U.S., the Military Commissions Act also requires a constitutional amendment, which requires that two-thirds of the Congress co2nsider and approve the amendment and then a vote by the legislatures of two-thirds of the states to approve the amendment. An alternative means for seeking an amendment is to have two-thirds of the states call a constitutional convention, approve the amendment, and then vote in favor of the change."
None of this has happened, so legal scholars have noted that Bush's Military Comissions Act is unconstitutional.

This week, apparently, the gibbering Chimp plans to sign this outrage. Other than the intervention of the divine Dime-Sized Hole, there is nothing that will prevent it. Ted Rall, in a post quoted extensively below, says it best: "We are done."

Eyes on "The Prize": A 'Sweet' Deal For The Big Four

Penguin, over on Eschaton this morning, noticed this piece from AlterNet dot org:

Part One: "Even as Iraq is on the verge of splintering into a sectarian civil war, four big oil companies are on the verge of locking up its massive, profitable reserves, known to everyone in the petroleum industry as "the prize."...Both independent analysts and officials within Iraq's Oil ministry anticipate that when all is said and done, the big winners in Iraq will be the Big Four -- the American firms Exxon-Mobile and Chevron-Texaco, and the British BP-Amoco and Royal Dutch-Shell -- that dominate the world oil market. Ibrahim Mohammed, an industry consultant with close contacts in the Iraqi Oil Ministry, told the Associated Press that there's a universal belief among ministry staff that the major U.S. companies will win the lion's share of contracts. "The feeling is that the new government is going to be influenced by the United States," he said."

Wanna know the funniest thing?

The best chances for discovering new reserves is out in the sparsely populated western provinces--Anbar, anyone? The Shi'a and the Kurds now occupy then ground above the biggest proven reserves, but the Sunnis--the insurgents, if you recall--claim those western regions. Which is yet another reason why Iraq will certainly be split into three autonomous regions...

Click on the headline of this post to link with the (rather long, but fascinating) article...and listen to this while reading

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Ted Rall: Some folks seem not to appreciate him, for some reason; but he fuukin NAILS it!

This is the conclusion of a much longer piece which is up on Common Dreams dot org.

How did we get here? Good Germans--and many of them were decent, moral people--asked themselves the same thing. The answer is incrementalism, the
tendency of radical change to manifest itself in bits and pieces. People who should have known better--journalists, Democrats, and Republicans who are more loyal to their country than their party--allowed Bush and his neofascist gangsters to hijack our republic and its values. They weren't as bad as Bush. They just couldn't see the big picture.

Just as no single rollback led marked the transition from the Weimar Republic to the Third Reich, no event is individually responsible for America's shocking five-year transformation from beacon of freedom to autocratic torture state. It wasn't just letting Bush get away with his 2000 coup d'état. It wasn't just us standing by as he deliberately allowed his family friend Osama bin Laden to escape, or as he invaded Afghanistan, or as he built the concentration camps at Guantánamo and elsewhere, or even Iraq. It was all of those things collectively.

The Military Commissions Act signals that our traditional system of beliefs and government has irrevocably devolved into moral bankruptcy. Memo to Senator McCain: You don't negotiate with terrorists, and you don't compromise with torturers.

It doesn't matter how much food aid we ship to the victims of the next global natural disaster, or how diplomatic our next president is, or
whether we come to regret what we have done in the name of law and order. Our laws permit kidnapping, torture and murder. Our laws deny access to the courts. The United States has ceded the moral high round to its enemies.
We are done

Just about says it all, imho.


Larry Beinhart: Fear the Penis
Submitted by BuzzFlash on Fri, 10/06/2006 - 11:46am

Thank God for Mark Foley.
It proves that the American people still care about something.
It happens to be penises. But still.
They care about who talks about them, who plays with them, who covers them up, who uncovers them, who covers up the uncovering of them.
Even Jon Stewart put the big penis cover-up ahead of the fact that this government just passed a law that says that George Bush can say, “Hey you, you’re an enemy combatant,” and once he says that, they can whisk you away.
This is literally true. It’s like that joke in the first grade:
Make me a milkshake
Poof: You’re a milkshake
If George Bush says: you’re an enemy combatant. Poof! You are one. And then they can take you to Guantanamo, do not pass go, do not call your attorney, do not see a judge, do not hear the charges against you, go straight to the cage they want to put you in. The cage comes with lights that stay on 24 hours a day and wake-up calls every fifteen minutes so you never get to sleep and special exercise programs where you stand for hours in ‘stress’ positions, upward screaming cat, squatting tortured turtle, and other lite abuses that used to be quaintly prohibited by the Geneva Conventions.
Today’s joke:
Q: What do Americans do after they commit war crimes?
A: They pass a law that says they can’t be prosecuted for committing war crimes.
If you don’t find that funny, if you actually think that’s serious, then ask how come nobody else does. How come CNN doesn’t care, NBC, the NY Times? How come the Democratic leadership doesn’t care?
How did that that bill –- that contains all those provisions and more -– get passed without a filibuster? Without a fuss?
Thank God for Mark Foley. An old congressman hitting on teenage boys, that’s real news.
I was watching CNN yesterday. It was All Penis, All the Time.
Here’s a quote, from one of their reporters, “One question always rises to the top who knew what, and when did they know it?”
That’s true, but only when it has to do with a penis.
Last week Bob Woodward’s new book came out. One of the things he revealed was an additional meeting between the head of the CIA and Condoleeza Rice, back in July, 2001, in which he tried to shock her, shake her up so she would do something about terrorism.
That meeting is important for several reasons.
The fact that she didn’t anything about it led to the deaths of at least 3,000 people. Call me crazy, call me irresponsible, but that seems more important than an old queen hitting on young teens.
That meeting was kept secret from the 9/11 Commission, congress and the American people. There’s no security reason for it to be secret. Only a political one. Proof -- once again -- that 9/11 happened because the Bush Administration was asleep at the wheel.
When the book came out, Rice denied the meeting had happened. She flat out lied about it.
Documents proved it took place.
I don’t see CNN, or anybody else, hounding the White House about Condoleeza Rice’s cover up and her lies.
“One question always rises to the top: who knew what and when did they know it?”
Yeah, when the warnings are about the use of a penis. But not when the warnings are about a terrorist attack on New York.
The Rice lie and cover-up is not insignificant. It’s not ancient history. Because the whole point of Woodward’s book is that it’s still going on. The real experts are still warning the Bush administration that their policies –- and lack of policies -– are deadly disasters. Costing lives, costing money, creating enemies, with no chance of success. The president is still putting his fingers in his ears and not hearing them. His spokespeople are continuing to pretend the information doesn’t exist and lying, by omission and commission, to congress and the American people.
Even if we concede that obscene instant messages are a greater danger to the Republic than a military quagmire into which we entered based on deliberate lies, the danger from Mark Foley is done. The danger from additional congressman trolling for young stuff, if there are any, is easily met (A War on Congress, does have a certain appeal and would be vastly cheaper than the War on Terror). But the war in Iraq, and the war in Afghanistan, go on and on and on, like toxic Energizer Bunnies, killing and maiming, laying waste to the landscape and breeding virulent new strains of violent jihadists.
A few years ago, there was a play -- still around –- called the Vagina Monologues.
American politics, at the same time, turned into the Penis Monologues.
Anything else, in between penises, is just marking time. Fail to get bin Laden, who cares? Discover proof that the administration made up stories so they could have their war in Iraq, no big deal, according to the NY Times it wasn’t even news. Best estimate is that American bombs and artillery killed 100,000 Iraqi civilians; it would be rude to mention it. Then there’s all that money that disappeared. Paul Bremer blew through twenty billion (yes, Billion) dollars that was supposed to be held in trust for the Iraqi people and there’s no records and nothing to show for it. After that was gone, the occupation authorities blew through another twenty billion that was supposed to go for the reconstruction of Iraq. Let’s not ask where the money went –- no major media outlet has.
If you’re in the cable news business, you’re happy. This is the first really good penis since Bill’s.
If you’re anti-Republican, there’s another bit of good news. The Republican’s are slipping. It took Dennis Hastert a full week before he remembered to blame Bill Clinton.

Let me close with this. Advise to the youth of our country.
Dear youth; if you have dreams of going into politics, you should be fearless. Do not fear committing war crimes. Do not fear lying about terrorist warnings. Do not fear losing billions of dollars or reconstructions that never happens. But if you have a penis –- whether you’re a man or a woman -– leave it at home, before you venture forth to do battle in the field of America’s political wars.

Larry Beinhart is the author of Fog Facts: Searching for Truth in the Land of Spin, and The Librarian, which just won the Grand Prix de Littérature Policière.

I have a persistent dream of finding Pombo's shark-severed head on a beach, and kicking the thing back into the surf

Big-time California Cong-Crit/sleaze-machine Richard Pombo, who tried like mad to distance himself from the Jack Abramoff/Bob Ney/Tom DeLay/Mariannas scandals, apparently has MUCH closer ties to the dirty business--which involved coercing women into the sex trade, compulsory abortions, and other pretty typical GOPuke depredations--than he previously let on. The MotherJones link in the headline will take you to the whole story:

They...establish that between 1996 and 2001 Abramoff and his associates met with
Pombo’s staff on more than two dozen occasions.

Pombo’s spokesman Brian Kennedy told the AP that those meetings "never happened” and the staff-level contacts were "greatly inflated." Abramoff, who pleaded guilty in a congressional corruption investigation, is "an admitted felon" who can't be trusted, Kennedy said.

As Mother Jones reported in September, Pombo has received at least $31,250 from Abramoff, his associates and clients, and even accompanied him on a delegation to the Marianas in 2004.

Is there a smarmier, more unctuous, more repulsive, more repellant GOPrick than David Brooks?

It would be difficult to imagine one.

Not that I'd want to waste much time on the project.

How soon can we expect this repugnant fucknozzle advocating for a 'new' Saddam-like strongman (Ahmad Chalabi?) to take over in Iraq so as to bring 'order?'

Video from Crooks & Liars when you click on the headline of this post. Be sure you've got a bucket into which to puke your breakfast.

May We Have A Hearty "FUCK YOU, JOE!" For That Paragon of Private Privilege Against Public Interest, NoMoJo Lie-berman?

A Front-Page Report in the Hartford Courant today portrays shit-schmuck Joe "BlowBush" Loserman's ambivalence about the Party he's busily butt-fucking, with apparent impunity. The worst-case scenario for Democrats--and for democracy--is that Shit-Whistle Joe retains his seat, but as an independent who casts the tying vote in a closely divided Senate (49-49, with Sanders in Jeffords' seat), thereby giving Darth Cheney the deciding vote. If that happened more than once, it'd be grounds for a contact on the motherfucker...
Just sayin'...

Jim Gilchrist, the fascist fuck founder of the anti-immigrant "Minutemen", fleas from debate on Democracy Now

The chickenshit fuck had a lawyer with him when he went to be interviewed and engage in a discussion with Karina Garcia, the leader of the group of Columbia U students who drove him and his brownshirts off the stage at Columbia last week. The gutless fucke faded when Garcia asked him about the ties between the Minutemen and the notoriousl right-wing/neo-nazi group, the National Alliance.

The transcript is available at the link in the headline of this post, as is a replay of the audio from the broadcast.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Doing the Numbers: How Many Dead in Iraq, REALLY?

A study out yesterday from The Lancet estimated the death toll from the violence and mayhem occasioned by the ICORP if Iraq to be between 450 and 700 THOUSAND.

This number, if true, would be exponentially larger than the conventional wisdom propagates.

Of course, since the start of the conflict, the USer DoD has callously maintained they do not keep and have never kept, any count of the collateral damage/civilian casualty/innocent victims fallen to USer ordinance or arms.

The number of dead from the ICORP of Iraq is, of course, important as a marker in the USer politics of the impending 'election'. So much has been made by the apologists for the slaughter and the advocates for its continuation of discrepancy between the 'conventional' numbers and the 'unreliable' numbers reported in the Lancet study.

Fortunately, there is a blogger/correspondent--"Cervantes" by name--who has substantial background in the methodology of the Lancet study, and who has crafted a remarkably clear, cogent, and concise critique and clarification of the problematic issues which have been used to discredit its findings.

This is really GOOD. Click on the headline of this post to link to Cervantes' blog.

Spiders on Drugs: "O What A Web We Weave..."

Many years ago--it had to have been in the late '70s or early '80s--I visited the Forest Service Museum in Flagstaff, AZ, and there I saw an exhibit of photographs of spiders' webs which had been constructed by the animals under the influence of various knds of mood- and mind-altering pharmacological products. No small number of people to whom I had described this experience over the years expressed doubt about my description of the phenomena I witnessed.
Google to the rescue.
The spider web pictured on the left here was created by a 'straight' spider. The web on the right, however, was created by a spider which had consumed a fly laced with LSD. Spiders have also been dosed with caffein, chloral hydrate, meth-amphetymine, and cannabis, and the resulting webs have been photographed.
Results of those experiments may be seen here.

1st Lady Laura Bush, Just Before Unhinging Her Jaw

...and swallowing the head of the child in her arms...

I wouldn'a believed it either, til I saw it with m'own eyes...heh heh...

...but Denny Hastert's ass REALLY IS this fuckin' wide...

Did VA Hide Figures Showing 1 in 4 US Veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan Disabled From Service?

Short answer: You betcher sweet ass! From Democracy Now:

Newly released documents reveal that more than 150,000 soldiers who left the military after serving in Iraq and Afghanistan have been at least partly disabled as a result of service - this translates to one in four veterans. What’s more, it appears the Department of Veterans’ Affairs was trying to hide the figures.

While the number of Iraqi deaths since the US-led invasion is the subject of much dispute, the number of American soldiers killed is a carefully recorded figure. So far, 2,754 US troops have been killed in Iraq. While the US death toll is widely reported in the media, the hidden cost on soldiers who return from fighting is not.

Newly released documents reveal that more 150,000 soldiers who left the military after serving in Iraq and Afghanistan have been at least partly disabled as a result of service - this translates to one in four veterans. What’s more, it appears the Department of Veterans’ Affairs has tried to hide the figures.

The documents on the number of disability claims filed by veterans were obtained under the Freedom of Information Act by the National Security Archive at George Washington University. But the VA initially denied the existence of the records for nine months. It was only after the Archive advised the VA that it was prepared to file a lawsuit did the agency manage to locate the records.

Paul Sullivan is the director of programs for Veterans for America and a former VA analyst. He helped the Archive with their FOIA request.

How DO You Recognize Fascism?

According to “The Anatomy of Fascism” by R. O. Paxton (Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 2004, pp 219-220), ideas underlying fascist actions include:

(1) a sense of overwhelming crisis beyond the reach of any traditional solutions,

(2) the primacy of the group to which one has duties and the subordination of the individual to it,

(3) the belief that one’s group is a victim which justifies any action, without legal or moral limits, against its enemies,

(4) dread of the group’s decline under the corrosive effects of individual liberalism,

(5) need for authority by male chiefs,

(6) superiority of the leader’s instincts over reason,

(7) the beauty of violence devoted to the group’s success, and

(8) the right of the group to dominate others without restraint from any kind of human or divine law.

See anybody you know in there?

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Why DO Jewish organizations, supported by the contributions of liberal Jews, strategize with Republicans on how to smear these same liberals?

The conservative colonization of much of the media, K Street lobbying firms and a good chunk of the judiciary has been well documented. It would therefore be surprising if other political institutions were resisting this trend. Perhaps some are, but don't for a second think that the conservative message machine is going to stop there. Over the years, owing to a variety of reasons and specific historical moments, the Republicanization and increasing hawkishness of the American Israel Political Affairs Committee (AIPAC) has continued apace, with little heed paid to the ramifications of this shift or its increasing alliance with the far right.

So begins Eric Alterman's most recent article for TheNation.com. It continues (after some CYA blather):

Not long ago, an anonymous tipster with access to a member of AIPAC's board of directors passed along an e-mail with an inside story on just what has been happening behind the scenes. A few years ago, the source's boss, according to the e-mail, said that "he didn't like Rudolph Giuliani because Giuliani was "too conservative" for his taste. Immediately he got involved with AIPAC, he declared that he couldn't support Democrats anymore unless he absolutely had to, and he started hosting politicians such as Jim Bunning, Sam Brownback and Conrad Burns at our offices, because they are strongly "pro-Israel."

"AIPAC is committed to turning the country completely over to ultra-right-wing Republican control. I am sure it colludes with other organizations to make this happen," the source concluded.

He also forwarded a few e-mails sent on a "pro-Israel" mailing list, complaining about Democrats who voted against recent House and Senate resolutions supporting Israel in its war against Hezbollah. The e-mail notes, "Four Republicans. Nineteen Democrats [voted against the resolutions]. Now, tell me again which party you belong to...and why?

"Irrespective of your party affiliation, I urge you to join AIPAC and to get involved politically to help elect Senators and Representatives who support Israel and democracy around the world."
(The list was so sloppily compiled that it included Ernest Hollings, Gary Condit and Earl Hilliard. Senator Hollings left office two years ago, while Condit and Hilliard have been out of their seats for four years each.)

The shift is not exactly news. Back in March 2002, Michael Massing wrote this in The American Prospect: "During the 1980s, when AIPAC was establishing its reputation, policy was effectively set by four ex-presidents: Robert Asher, a lighting-fixtures dealer in Chicago; Edward Levy, a building-supplies executive in Detroit; Mayer "Bubba" Mitchell, a scrap-metal dealer in Mobile, Alabama; and Larry Weinberg, a real-estate broker in Los Angeles (and a former owner of the Portland Trailblazers). Asher, Levy, and Mitchell were stalwart Republicans who raised huge sums for that party; Weinberg was a Scoop Jackson Democrat."

But its fruits have taken time to reveal itself, as AIPAC's Republican leanings have come closer to the forefront of the organization's actions. This past July, as Daniel Levy
reported (again) in The American Prospect that when Democratic Congresswoman Betty McCollum of Minnesota voted against Resolution 4681, the Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Act, one AIPAC official took a page out of Karl Rove's playbook and publicly accused her of supporting terrorists. The bill, as one might expect, doesn't exactly contain the provisions for crushing terrorism, since it was written to make it difficult for nongovernmental organizations--except those providing healthcare--to receive American funding, while denying US visas to members of the Palestinian Authority and prohibiting official US contact with Palestinian officials. It also ends all American funding for United Nations agencies that in any way directly assist the Palestinian Authority. In a rare instance of a Representative taking a case like this public, McCollum, a self-described "strong supporter of Israel and of a strong US-Israeli relationship," banned any representative of AIPAC from her office and published a letter about the incident in The New York Review of Books, demanding an apology.

Gallup polls conducted during the Israeli/Hezbollah conflict this past summer showed, as Ari Berman wrote in The Nation in July, "that half of Americans support Israel's military campaign, yet 65 percent believe the United States should not take sides in the conflict. But it's hard to imagine any Congress, or subsequent Administration, returning to the role of honest broker." This hardly matters to AIPAC or the conservative groups in its orbit. Berman writes that "Christian conservatives increasingly aligned with AIPAC demand unwavering support for Israel from their Republican leaders" and as such, Republicans tend to buck the party line at their own determent.

It's a truism that most American Jews are liberal Democrats. For decades, neoconservatives have argued that they are bucking their own interests in staying true to these values and should join the Republicans, where, together with right-wing conservatives they will insure that support for a fair settlement for the Palestinians will remain as low as taxes on the extremely wealthy. So far, these arguments have had almost no effect on Jews, who supported Democrats as loyally as any single constituency in the last election. But the argument has worked on the leaders of many Jewish organizations. What we are left with, therefore, is a paradox. American Jews are liberals; they support Democrats. But Jewish organizations strategize with Republicans on how to smear these same Democrats, supported by the funds of these same liberal Democratic Jews.

Anyone know what's Yiddish for 'oy vey'?