Thursday, July 31, 2008

Caption Contest.


Who says the British doesn't have a sense of humor? This piece of graffiti from the East End of London just tugs at the heartstrings of any vicious-minded liberal. So let 'er rip, boys and girls, and give Daddy a reason to put your captions up on the fridge.

For more anti-Bush graffiti from 25 countries across 6 continents, go here. This is a great collection by Laura Copeland. Be sure to check out the anti-Obama comment in the comments section below.

The Audacity of Hopelessness


“I still haven’t gotten the invitation to your birthday party.” “It’s in the mail, you dork.” “I hate you.”

Or With Whom Would You Rather Share a Geritol?

What is this, high school? The McCain campaign of late has come off looking like a cabal of meat-headed jocks who can’t seem to do anything right against the nerds and are resorting to dirty pranks against the shiny, happy kids. Their Big Man On Campus is losing the class president election because said popularity contest is swiftly going to their shiny, happy BMOC.

So, popularity, when it goes to the other guy, is rebranded as an evil by the frustrated, furious and befuddled jocks of the GOP.

Yet, where was this self-serving bias against popularity eight years ago when some genius thought up the question, “Who would you rather have a beer with?”

Barack Obama’s growing popularity, however legitimately earned, is merely a reflection of what is and always will be a $300,000,000 popularity contest that is still decided not by the popular vote but the electoral college. Yet to Camp McCain, the worthless popular vote is in itself scary and for good reason.

Considering whom we’d “chosen” eight years ago in the wake of the beer meme, we’d exposed ourselves as an electorate with all the refined decision-making skills of starving children set loose in a candy store. That alone, I have to admit, makes me suspicious of Obama’s actual substance.

But popularity is not an inherent trait or quality but a state conferred on one by a populace. McCain’s attack ad can then be extended without much effort as saying to the American voting public (especially progressive liberals) “You suck for choosing the other guy.” It’s barely concealed contempt for the will and voice of the people. In other words, "Pox populi." A pox on all you for not liking me.

We saw this time and again during the Lieberman/Lamont senate campaign in 2006. After Lamont threw his hat in the ring, Holy Joe had the audacity to say on TV that Lamont was audacious in thinking he could represent Connecticut better than he.

We saw it again after the primary was won by Lamont when Dick Cheney called his supporters “al Qaeda types.” It's the classic wifebeater mentality. As long as things are going their way and their egos are fed, they're lovey dovey. The minute wifey decides to file for divorce and move in with someone else, their true colors come out and suddenly you're the biggest slut on the block.

Popularity’s only for our guys, doncha know, so you’d better vote for them or Al Gore, John Kerry and Osama bin Laden will fuck your grandfathers while Barack Obama videotapes the whole thing and puts their sodomy on Youtube for shits and giggles.

And considering his ongoing hissy fit regarding Obama’s popularity, how does this not in itself make the chronically underemployed McCain synonymous with other celebrities famed for immature antics outside of their own stalled careers?

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

McCain is Not So Much of a Maverick as a Desperado


This is one of the most pathetic things I've ever seen. I almost feel sorry for the poor old bastard, the operative word being "almost."

Because it was a stupid (not to mention a losing) risk to acknowledge Obama's growing popularity and to try to portray it as a weakness rather than a strength. Sour grapes make for lousy Koolaid.

Is Obama ready to lead? Until inauguration day, we'll never know any more than whether McCain is fit to lead.

But Obama doesn't think Iraq borders with Pakistan, a nation in central Asia. Obama doesn't think that Iran is funding al Qaeda. Obama doesn't think that he can cut two trillion dollars a year out of a three trillion dollar annual budget while cutting taxes even more and counting on some massive, magical windfall to balance the books. Obama knows Czechoslovakia is no longer on the map. Obama knows the real troop level and doesn't underestimate them by 25,000 pairs of boots. Obama never called for sending hot bottled water to dehydrated babies.

And I think it's safe to say that Obama knows the election is in November instead of January. Is either man fit to lead?

You be the judge...

Update: Juan Cole asks what celebrities Angry John McCain would most closely resemble. Prof. Cole suggests Amy Winehouse and Naomi Campbell. What are your suggestions?

And Now, a PSA From the McCain Campaign…


Don’t listen to John McCain.

That is all.

You think I’m making this up? Sadly, even I am not that ingenious. For months, I and I’m sure many of us have long suspected that not only are campaigns and their candidates not always on the same page but that their campaigns work not on behalf of whatever ill-informed boob they precariously balance on a stump but on behalf of their party.

Time and again, we’ve seen John McCain speaking out on various issues that are contrary to his campaign’s (Read: The GOP’s) official line. Last Sunday, McCain told George Stephanopoulos on national TV that he hasn’t ruled out raising the payroll tax in reference to fixing Social Security.

Two days later on Fox “News”, McCain spokeman Tucker Bounds told Megyn Kelly that “(T)here is no imaginable circumstance where John McCain would raise payroll taxes. It’s absolutely out of the question.” This isn’t a mere anomaly, either. As Think Progress points out, this is the third time just this week that McCain’s campaign has said that McCain wasn’t speaking for the campaign.

Translation: “Don’t listen to John McCain. Just vote for him. Well, actually, you’re not voting for him. You’re voting for the campaign (Again, read: The GOP.).”

This marks the first time, in my memory, that an election campaign has come out and admitted that its candidate is irrelevant. I’ve heard and seen candidates say (as with the Phil Gramm “whiners comment”) that people within their campaign weren’t speaking for them.

Never before now have I ever heard a campaign staffer say that a candidate wasn’t speaking for the campaign.

So, for whose campaign was McCain speaking? Obama’s?

Ordinarily, I’d go hog wild on this and be making all sorts of "empty vessel" and "male love doll" references but I can barely stop laughing long enough to correctly type these words so just go to Think Progress and read it for yourself.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Freepers on Parade



Or what I prefer to call “Penises on Roller Skates.”

Yesterday, when faced with the inconvenient truth that the asshole who shot up a Unitarian church in Tennessee last weekend, killing two and wounding many others, was one of their own, a psychopathic bigot and homophobe who was in possession of books by Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity, the proud denizens of Middle America and Freeperdom did what any group of righteous conservatives would do: Distance themselves from him and turn it into a referendum on the evils of immoral liberalism.

Remember the running of the bulls in Pamplona earlier this month? Remember the mad dash, the chaos, the blood and gore? OK, now substitute the bulls for rabid ferrets and lemmings and you’ll get the picture.

What follows are actual comments to the Freeper post that broke the sad news that Adkisson was one of their own. This is right about the time when it’s OK to breath a sigh of relief and thank Providence that you weren’t born in the corn belt and were sane enough to become liberals:
He's NO conservative... just a deluded lunatic sociopath. I don't recall the MSM targeting people with any other philosophy for outright character assassination!

Oh, perish the thought. He’s not a conservative. He’s just someone who hates African Americans, gays and lesbians and sees red at the thought of any organization dedicated to Altruism. And “character assassination” is bad enough but using a shotgun with 76 shells is sort of overkill, wouldn’t you say?

The libs and the MSM have salivated for years over the prospect of angry, white, christian, conservative terrorism against their pet immorality and perverted views of religion.

They will attempt to play this up as such as much as possible a such when the truth is, this was simply a diluded. depressed individual who snapped and became a murderer.
It has nothing to do with conservatism or traditional values, despite the upcoming best efforts of the MSM to the contrary.

The problem is, you psychopaths give us plenty of opportunities to play up “angry, white, christian, conservative terrorism”, such as the assclown who tried to blow up a building rather than lose it in divorce court… with himself still in it after leaving behind another hateful, rambling manifesto.
Are liberals now a protected class or is it because these Unitarians are “gay-friendly” that this is a hate crime?

It ain’t open season on liberals, yet? Yee-haw, ya’ll! Getcher buttfucking and flag-burnin’ in while you can, boys!
Although it makes sense that he hated liberals since that is what he attacked, I do not necessarily believe that story. I noticed the police chief did not quote the note just gave his interpretation of it.

I would love to see exactly what he said.

I love a man with an open mind and can always be brave enough to take the insane side of an argument.
Could be a liberal disguised as a conservative in order to give conservatives a bad rap.

Loonies!

Don’t stop… believing! Yes, people, our shockingly brilliant strategy of murdering our own and disguising our Manchurian Candidate as a red, white and blue shirt-wearing conservative perhaps has a few bugs in it. Next time we bomb an abortion clinic or something, we’ll need a better conspiracy. And, in response to the comment above:
One can only hope!

Never give up hope that one day we’ll be as desperately insane as Freepers.
That’s a theory that could be plausible. Maybe he’s really a liberal and wanted to end his life and make conservatives look bad. That would explain why someone who hates religion would attack a liberal church.

Drat, foiled again by those brilliant basement dwellers!
This guy is no more a true constervative than Timothy McVey was. Conservatives don’t commit acts of terrorism. I won’t believe this until the killer’s actual letter is released. It could be the sheriff is a liberal himself and is saying these things to smear conservatives.

Translation: If a guy reads conservative literature, has conservative prejudices and biases and lashes out at the very people lambasted and threatened in conservative literature and hate radio and TV, then he is not a conservative. That’s because conservatives don’t commit acts of terrorism: They just strongly suggest that others carry them out for them. Those others are, of course, we bleeding heart, animal-loving liberals.

And, just as surely as conservatives are never terrorists, all southern sheriffs are liberals.
How is this a hate crime? It is an attrocity and a vengeful act, but the people he killed and aimed at weren’t homosexuals or members of a protected class. Christians in and of themselves are not protected by hate crimes legislation.

Because… because… I’m sorry, my brain vapor-locked because I made the mistake of actually reading this more than once.
Psst. Fred “God hate f**s” Phelps is a Democrat and no conservative.
Not claiming that this man is a Phelpist, just pointing out that there are Leftists (like Phelps’ cult who protest the Iraq war weekly) who hold hate in their heart that seems to be hand in hand with this man’s actions.

Additionally there are those social conservative Democrats who “cling to guns and religion” and vote against such ballot initiatives and liberal candidates “in spite of their own economic self-interest”.

Yeah, Phelps, too, is one of our own, doncha know, since we’re renowned for loathing homosexuals and wishing death on our troops.
These types of “churches” to me are using the word only for tax purposes, because they absolutely teach nothing like any of the churches I grew up around. Then again, maybe I’m a nut too. I guess I just need to get with it, and start embracing homosexuality, gay marriage, and killing little babies!!

Admitting you’re a hateful, homophobic nut is half the battle won, my child.
So, basically, the guy was a nutcase, but I’m sure the MSM will try to portray ALL conservatives in an equal manner.

Got Paranoia?
The Left has been subverting churches for decades now.
Now they don’t even teach hate the sin but love the sinner. They teach the concept of an evolving bible where we now deny that some things even are sins and celebrate them instead.

I’ve left corrupt church leadership but have not left my faith. There are good churches out there, so I hear. But it requires investigation. Investigation too into any national church leadership they are members of.

I don’t know what can be done to put churches back on a biblical path. Elders and the like. Elections. What is the limtus test to get people in the organized church who are counter to the politics of those who’ve gained control of the church?

Ask Monica Goodling and Jim O’Beirne. They had the religious litmus tests last time I checked.
The libs appease Islamic terrorists when they kill innocents. I wonder if this church will therefore appease those who share this freak’s views?

Well, could you blame them for being scared shitless of you Freepers?
Ironically the authorities in Knoxville aren't going to prosecute the four blacks that went out and abducted a couple of UT students, raped them, tortured them and then murdered them because they were white. This incident makes national news yet the previous murders went barely noticed except for a couple of articles in the MSM...I guess if one expresses hatred for homosexuals it makes national news, gets the FBI involved and if one just hates whitey its ok...no big deal.

This guy’s right, actually. What the MSM needs is more leading news stories that stay alive for one or two hundred news cycles that involve abducted, missing and murdered white women.
In reviewing the posts I see an interesting difference between “liberal” and “conservative” political killers.

Conservatives distance themselves from the murderers who cite conservative polical purposes for killing and cry out for justice regardless of stated politcal purposes(this wacko, McVey, etc).

Liberals point out how oppressed the leftist killer is, how he or she needs understanding and that society was truely responsible for driving him or her to it or allowing a gun to exist that could do such damage. Later, they declare the killer rehabilitated and give him or her a professorship at a major university.

A bit simplistic perhaps, but truer than any liberal would like to admit. Also, let no one misconstrue my sarcasm with a lack of understanding for the victims of this wack job.

Simplistic? Oh, hardly. In fact, I can reduce it further:

Conservatives: Boo! You not us!

Liberals: Me heart bleed.

Luckily, He'll Have Plenty of Lubrication in Prison


(Image courtesy of that paragon of manly masculinity, Teh General.)

Aw, gee, looks like Turd Stevens won’t get to serve in the Senate until he’s 90. All together, now…
Aw.

Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Valdez), who never met an oil executive he didn’t beg to fellate, was indicted today by a grand jury for illegally hiding $250,000 in home renovation expenses that were believed to be paid for by VECO, an Alaskan oil company.

Those of you with somewhat better memories than Republicans may recall the hearing over two and a half years ago in which Ted Stevens, then the Chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, had a fit when Democrats insisted that the five oil executives called in to testify be sworn in.

VECO, VECO, where have I heard that name before? Oh yeah, here. Almost a year ago, we learned to little fanfare that the FBI was actively investigating why VECO got $170,000,000 in “arctic exploration” contracts despite having no experience to do it.

Amazingly, Stevens says that he's innocent and that he intends to prove it. Which may be slightly plausible to a few brain-damaged Eskimos whose brains have suffered hypothermia until one realizes who VECO was run by.

Like father, like son, Stevens’ son, Ben, was also named in former VECO CEO Bill Allen’s guilty plea to bribery charges last year, in which Stevens fils was said to have also pocketed about a quarter of a million dollars in "consulting fees" from VECO in gratitude for steering said lucrative contract VECO’s way.

The GOP, naturally, is battening down the hatches an' (like all smart mobsters) dey ain’t sayin’ nothin’.

Monday, July 28, 2008

DOJ Lawyers Lawyer Up


Frankly, it scares the shit out of me to know that our Justice Department is filled with lawyers who don't even know when they're breaking the law.

The Justice Department released an internal memo today to the House and Senate Judiciary Committees telling us basically what we've known since spring last year. That Republican operatives (gasp) hired people based on their loyalty to conservative issues and George W. Bush.

Kyle Sampson, through his lawyer, considers to this day his highly partisan hiring practices "an honest mistake." Considering that refusing to hire people for career positions at the Department of Justice because of political considerations is breaking a basic law that you would think every lawyer would know, especially one already working at the DOJ, it kind of makes one wonder what other clowns got in and what Republican credentials they had to show.

Goodling's shyster, John Dowd, bristled at the thought that his client lied to Congress by saying,
"Far from attempting to conceal information, Ms. Goodling went to great lengths to provide the Congress with relevant facts, including important information about matters that had not yet come to the public's attention."

So explain to us why she'd never admitted this information when she testified May of last year in her 5th amendment-laden non-testimony?

Here's a short list of the people Goodling refused to give "the keys to the Kingdom" of Bushworld: A man who was suspected of being "a liberal Democrat", a man with antiterrorism experience whose wife's political affiliations were suspect and even a woman just suspected of being a lesbian, which is also a clearcut case of a civil rights infraction. Then, April of this year, Goodling was accused of engineering the ouster of a highly qualified attorney for the same reason, despite the lady's extremely high performance reviews.

This brazen and frankly fascist attempt to achieve political purity at the Department of Justice is frighteningly reminiscent of Nazi Germany's attempt to keep the Homeland purely Aryan by purging their nation of Jews and homosexuals. One wonders if Goodling and Sampson marked the files of unwelcome applicants with pink triangles.

So, Bush's goon squad essentially weakened our efforts in the war on terror, set gay and lesbian civil rights back about a half a century and blatantly broke the law and expect mercy because they apologized for it afterwards and, despite how they made their living, claimed ignorance of the law.

WH mouthpiece Tony Fratto sniffed at the DOJ memo and said, "There really is not a lot new here."

Unfortunately, he's right, since this blatant partisanship that stretches from the Department of Justice all the way to Iraq is just business as usual in the kingdom of the ideologically blind.

Inhumanity Worth Dying For


Even before I read this AP article breaking the news that Jim D. Adkisson had opened fire on a Tennessee Unitarian Universalist Church yesterday, murdering two people, I knew what the motive was. We have a Unitarian church in my hometown of Hudson, Massachusetts. Those who read my last blog may recall my doing a short photo essay last May about the more than 4600 American flags that they’d planted on their property to memorialize those troops killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The poet and arch-liberal Percy Bysshe Shelley once complained to a friend that there wasn’t a single religion based on charity rather than faith. The Unitarian church comes the closest to realizing Shelley’s ideal of a religion based on charity. Unitarians welcome everybody into their houses of worship, including gays. The sign outside my local Unitarian church even features the multicolored flag indicating their longstanding invitation to the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered community. I’m not religious, to say the very least. Yet their liberal, secular humanitarianism has earned my neverending admiration and fiercest respect.

Over the decades, they have fought effectively for women’s and gay rights, sheltered the homeless, fed the hungry. Yet this admirable body of work was considered too liberal by an unemployed man, such as the kind they would've gone out of their way to help, who’d taken two lives yesterday, including a church usher who’d bravely put his own body in the way to shield the others.

A signed, four page letter was found in the SUV of the miscreant explaining his intentions to kill as many people as possible then himself during a children’s production of Annie. The church’s views and biases were too liberal for Jim D. Adkisson.

Yes. To some people (think Conservatives), helping the downtrodden, helpless and disadvantaged is a sin worth dying for, a sin worthy of Old Testament vengeance. Murder is a lesser sin than fighting for gay rights or equal rights for women.

It would be tempting to excoriate the conservative movement for this but it would be unfair. Adkisson doesn’t speak for conservatives any more than Michael Moore or George Clooney speaks for me. At worst, the most vicious and hateful conservatives, people such as Hal Turner, Ann Coulter, Pat Robertson, Melanie Morgan, Michael Reagan and others of their ideological, odious ilk, will call upon others to visit death and destruction on individuals, whole communities, even entire religions because they’re nonetheless smart enough to know that carrying out such actions will likely get them the death penalty. Which is a whole different thing than compassionate conservatism.

People like Jim Adkisson are, thankfully, a rare anomaly but one that still exists among us. Once in a while they rear their ugly head when they see their own twisted ideology challenged, or perceive it as being challenged. Once in a while, an Amish school will get shot up and children will die. Other times, Baptist churches in Alabama will get bombed and children will die. Unitarian churches in Tennessee will be attacked and, if we’re relatively lucky, as with yesterday, children will not die.

But two elderly people did die for having committed the unpardonable sin of worshipping in a church that is based not on religious dogmatism but secular charity and justice. Because, unfortunately, some people out there think that their ideology is worth killing for.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Great Moments in Republican Journalism, Part 341


The following is a blog post written by McCain surrogate Joe Repya at The Eagle's Nest:
I've seen some snake oil salesmen in my day, but the latest from Barack Obama has me stymied. Are there any educated, racial, thoughtful people out there that really believe that Barack Obama can eliminate the world of nuclear weapons?...

If this is Barack Obama's idea of national security and foreign policy, he may just receive a very cold reception from the leaders in the Middle East who have the wolves at their door steps. It just might be time for Obama to be optioned to the minor leagues to gain more experience to the real ways of world reality. Rookies!

This was posted on July 16th, before Obama took the world by storm on his whirlwind tour of the Middle East, Central Asia and Europe.

I'm sure that Repya didn't intend to use the word "racial." I'm also sure that he didn't mean to imply that "racial" people of color were stupid for supporting Barack Obama.

Hardly a paragraph in this short post doesn't reveal some synaptical dysfunction in this double Republican from teh Great White North, such as this gem:
I realize that there are many people who have bought into the "Change" bull feathers that Obama has been preaching, but lets get real now. This national security and foreign policy rookie wants everyone to believe that he possesses the charm and persuasiveness necessary to get Russia, China, India, Pakistan, North Korea, Britain and Israel to give up their nuclear arsenal. Oh, and he can convince Iran and Syria to not develop these weapons either.

Well, Nixon made great headway with the SALT treaties of the 70's, the culmination of a successful round of negotiations with the Soviets that was continued into the Carter administration in June of 1979. Carter, by that time, didn't have much more international diplomatic experience than Obama has now.

Kicking the last rickety branches out from under Repya's eagle's nest is the presumption that Syria and Iran are developing nuclear weapons. To date, it hasn't been proven that either country is.

Let's move on, shall we?
The height of naivety by this rank amateur has no bounds. How can rational people believe him? There are nations in this world that want to destroy western civilization as we know it. If they can't develop nuclear weapons, they will develop biological or chemical weapons. America needs a seasoned leader who understands that diplomacy only works when it is a two way street.

Oh my God, what were we thinking in forgetting the End of Days beloved by the Republican party? We should all be cowering under our beds and shitting in dark corners, hoping and praying that John McCain will be shuffling past the Oval Office at three in the morning on the way to the toilet when the phone rings.

Of course, "a seasoned leader" would be aware that you can't presume uncooperation on the part of rogue nations bent on our destruction unless you start negotiating with them in the first place. And Iran had signalled to the Bush administration back in the spring of 2003 that they were willing to begin the first diplomatic relations with the US since 1980. The Bush administration and the State Dept. spit in their eye (Powell said at the press conference, "I don't expect them to say they want diplomatic relations with us any time in the near future." But that was a bald-faced lie. Iran tried to establish peace talks as far back as April that year and we'd spit in the eyes of the Swiss diplomats who'd passed along the letter through proper diplomatic channels).
All the naive good intentions in the world will not work with these despots. Look how Kim Jong-Il played Bill Clinton for a chump by obtaining a nuclear reactor that helped him develop a nuclear bomb.

Bingo! Bullseye! And Bullshit. Remember, also, under whose watch North Korea finally acquired those nuclear weapons: George W. Bush and John Bolton, then Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security.
In Indiana today, Obama reverted back to the Bill Clinton position that the War on Terror is really a law enforcement matter requiring new bureaucracies for intelligence gathering and law enforcement infrastructure to stop terrorists. That concept gave us Al Qaeda and September 11, 2001 if my memory serves me correct.

No, actually, Reagan's CIA is what gave us al Qaida (although, to be fair, that practice was started by Jimmy Carter six months before the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan). The concept of "OK, you've covered your ass, now" is what gave us September 11, 2001. That and blowing off Richard Clarke when he tried to warn the incoming Bush administration about the real threat of the al Qaida network. That and having Susan Lindauer arrested and tried as a spy when she tried to warn said administration of the folly of attacking a nation that had nothing whatsoever to do with 9/11.

And said military invasion and occupation of Iraq is about as far from being the precise surgical terror-fighting apparatus proposed by Senator Obama as you could possibly get.

But none of this matters if you're a surrogate for an old bird who thinks that Iraq and Afghanistan border and that Czechoslovakia still exists 15 years after it split into the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

But, frankly, I'm tired of Republicans who treat facts like chimpanzee mechanics throwing engine parts over their hunched shoulders, especially Republicans who were for redneck zombie Fred Thompson before they were for a dessicated reed-in-the-wind like John McCain.

John McCain's Facebook Page


I swear, I am not making this up and this is not a parody. This is actually McCain's official facebook page. The picture above was one that was also used for it until Buzzflash.com made a caption contest out of it.

You won't be surprised by what one of his two favorite TV shows is. And there also seems to be some confusion as to who his employer is. Check out the incredible comments from his supporters when you get there.

...and the Persian Gulf Will Tell


Vincent Bugliosi delivered some incredible opening statements to the House Judiciary Committee last Friday. He came right out and accused the Bush administration of murder and called for the prosecution of those involved.

This is extraordinary when one considers that this would've been unthinkable a year or so ago. But this, coupled with two attempts to arrest Karl Rove and three different articles of impeachment introduced in the House for Bush and Cheney, it's obvious that the tide is turning, albeit far, far too late. From here on in, the eyes of every American who cares about the direction this country is taking will be on the Hague.

In case you haven't seen it, here it is, complete with the "outburst" that made Lamar Smith (R-Scared Shitless) ask Conyers to clear the chamber. The outburst was the unrestrained applause that came toward the end of Bugliosi's opening statements.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Mission Accomplished… Again


I read the news today, oh boy. The Yankee army has just won the war.

Imagine my surprise when I clicked on this article entitled “Analysis: US now winning Iraq war that seemed lost” that began with this breathtakingly ballsy sentence: “The United States is now winning the war that two years ago seemed lost.” Well, gee, there are very few people who would like to believe that more than yours truly. Still, I wanted to see who’d drawn up this analysis but after several paragraphs it was obvious that this “analysis” was cooked up by the same two guys who wrote this article, Robert Reid and Robert Burns.

Indeed, the breezily optimistic opening line was immediately deflated with the next sentence: “Limited, sometimes sharp fighting and periodic terrorist bombings in Iraq are likely to continue, possibly for years.” Considering that our involvement in World War II lasted just under four years against two awesome war machines across two continents, it would seem to me that this 5½ year-old war isn’t close to being over if we have several more years of terrorist and insurgent activity to look forward to.

Yet, to Burns and Reid, the insurgency is (let’s all say it together, people, with feeling and harmony) in its last throes. So how have we beaten or won over the insurgency that we’d created by disbanding the Iraqi Army?
They launched the insurgency five years ago. They now are either sidelined or have switched sides to cooperate with the Americans in return for money and political support.

So we’re buying their loyalty with cold hard American taxpayer dollars and political favoritism. Yeah, that’s certainly a firm foundation for a lasting, peaceful alliance. It’s not as if government power shifts from one faction to another or that someone wouldn’t come along with even bigger wads of cash.

Of course, a more workable solution, one never even alluded to by either Burns or Reid, the ultimate preemptive strategy, was to not invade Iraq in the first place, smashing the Iraqi Army and instead keeping them employed, solvent and somewhat not so pissed off so we wouldn’t have to use taxpayer dollars to buy their temporary loyalty. But, of course, that wasn’t even worth mentioning.

It seemed just a few months ago, we were hearing stories of Iraqi security forces shedding their uniforms but keeping their weapons while literally crossing battle zones to join Sadr’s Mahdi Army. Because to some of the anti-government Shi’ite hardliners that are still very faithful to a still-powerful Moqtada al Sadr (who’s been downgraded to a hasbeen in Burns’ and Reid’s “analysis”), there are some factors that are worth a lot more than money. Like religious ideology.

Also not mentioned was the fact that Sadr’s two ceasefires absolutely contributed to whatever few security gains we’d made in a post-surge Iraq. The problem with analyzing low American death tolls in this war (Burns and Reid just tonight claimed that number in July was as low as four but Icasualties.org tells us we’ve lost 11) is that it’s always tempting to see trends, ones that evaporate when violence starts to climb again. We saw that in Afghanistan, were lulled into a sense of false security through a near-blackout of media coverage then suddenly nine Americans were dead in a suicide bombing. Suddenly, we woke up from a pleasant dream into a waking nightmare to hear the Taliban is taking back key cities and provinces. We had them beat, too, remember?

331 American troops were killed between April and June, 2007 with 126 slain in May alone, in the first months of George W. Bush’s surge. By December of 2007, the monthly death toll had sunk to 23 then gradually began climbing back up again, resulting in 52 deaths in April. The security crackdown in Baghdad only succeeded in creating a koosh ball effect: As our forces squeezed, the insurgents simply took the fight out of Baghdad and popped up elsewhere.

The ground commanders in Iraq don’t seem to be nearly as optimistic as Burns and Reid: Even without mentioning David Petraeus’ astonishing pronouncement that Iraq’s problems can't be solved militarily, the generals are practically coming out and saying that not only is security fragile, it could also be short-lived. Let’s examine this sentence:
U.S. commanders say a substantial American military presence will be needed beyond 2009. But judging from the security gains that have been sustained over the first half of this year — as the Pentagon withdrew five Army brigades sent as reinforcements in 2007 — the remaining troops could be used as peacekeepers more than combatants.

It’s perhaps been lost on these journalists that perhaps the reason why violence is down and American deaths at alltime lows is because we’d withdrawn those five Army brigades. Or it could also be al Maliki’s endorsement of Obama’s plan to get our forces out of Iraq in 16 months, which is more or less the troop presence into 2010 that these ground commanders are talking about. But the light at the end of the tunnel that gives one an extra burst of hope and energy could very well turn out to be from an oncoming train.

Because security gains can be transitory. Casualty tolls ebb and flow. Witness what happened in Vietnam between March 8, 1965, when we sent 3500 Marines into South Vietnam, a surge that later ballooned into a nightmarish 200,000, and January 1968 when the failed Tet Offensive started.

The Tet Offensive, an urban uprising that briefly put US and South Vietnamese forces on their heels, was an ultimately failed strategy that nonetheless embarrassed the Johnson administration and was perhaps, more than anything else, was the reason why Johnson decided not to run for re-election. Whatever security gains we’d made with Johnson’s own surge were swept away by the public perception of the Tet Offensive and the Johnson administration lying to the American people about troop levels.

As Santayana tells us, history’s unheeded lessons, including the lessons of war, are cyclical in nature and, while I’m glad that fewer American troops and fewer Iraqi civilians are being slaughtered, I’ll believe the war to be over when the troops come home for good. As it is, the children who will be going to their first day of school in early September will never have known a United States that wasn’t at war and they will not know one until they’re at least in second grade.

Burns and Reid have apparently learned nothing about warfare in their 5+ years covering this war, particularly the folly of starting wars that never should’ve been started in the first place. Perhaps Robert Burns should recall a poem by his 18th century Scottish namesake who’d once overturned a mouse’s nest with his plow in much the same fashion as we’d displaced millions of Iraqis from their own homes and killed countless others:

“The best laid plans of mice and men oft go awry.”

What Good is Experience if You Can’t Remember It?


CBS News tonight did a feature about older voters who, surprise surprise, are cautiously going to John McCain (barely over half 65 or older are going for McCain). And this experience issue raises two questions in my mind:

Where was this experience issue among these same older and more reliable voters in 2000 when the two term Vice President and former Tennessee Senator Al Gore was running against a rube out of Midland whose slender and gap-infested resume included failed oil executive, baseball executive and state governor?

Secondly, what good is experience if you can’t remember any of it?

Obama made quite an impression on millions during his trip throughout the Middle East, Central Asia and Europe but fooled far fewer into believing that the trip had been some miraculous presidential finishing school that turned him into an instant statesman. International diplomacy and policies were not at stake as much as the viability of his campaign. It beefed up his photographic portfolio, not his international experience.

Perhaps Obama’s overseas trip was much more heavily covered and supposedly fawned over for two reasons: Number one, it was by far the most ambitious and expansive trip of Obama’s painfully brief national political career and, number two, it’s obvious that the press was just waiting for a faux pas, a slip of the tongue, some fumbling of basic facts that have become part and parcel to the McCain campaign and continually glossed over by the media even as McCain’s dementia sinks deeper into his gray matter.

McCain’s eight trips to Iraq and others to Afghanistan were largely ignored (save for his colossally clueless, wasteful and just plain stupid trip to that Baghdad market on April Fool’s Day, 2007) perhaps because McCain could be trusted to produce safe, geopolitically-correct sound bites.

Instead, McCain can be trusted to say something stupid and frighteningly clueless every single time he opens his mouth, such as when he claimed that Iraq and Pakistan border or that Iran's Shi’ite-run government was aiding and abetting a Sunni-run al Qaida terrorist network that would love to see that same Iranian government fall.

Yet so far, it seems the only solid selling point both candidates possess both here and abroad is that neither one are named George W. Bush. And, in the end, which one resembles Bush the least? That could be the one issue that will settle this race once and for all.

And it’s that line of thinking that saddled us with people like Michael Mukasey, who plainly got a fast up and down vote in the Senate and catapulted into the corner office of the DOJ simply because his name wasn’t Alberto Gonzales. We need candidates who can honestly win hearts and minds on who and what they are, not on who they’re not.

Friday, July 25, 2008

If a Democracy Falls in the Middle of the Wilderness...


...and only Republicans are there to witness it, does it make a sound? Apparently not, if the House Judiciary Committee's impeachment hearing today is any indication.

Back in the good ole days when presidents only bugged Democratic National Headquarters with the aid of the CIA and FBI and raided Daniel Ellsberg's shrink's office and then went to extraordinary lengths to cover it up, Congress still pulled together in a bipartisan fashion and wrote up articles of impeachment against said president.

Ah, the good old days, when crooked politicians were almost impeached before slinking out of office to avoid the sphere of exaction.

Today, we're seeing a new breed of politics and media coverage. Not only were the first impeachment hearings against George W. Bush and Dick Cheney already a partisan circus but the media and even left wing bloggers are hardly even covering it.

At last count, the number of media outlets covering the impeachment hearings numbered 364, compared to the 339 covering the news that California became the first state to ban transfats in restaurants. As regular reader Comrade Rutherford pointed out, Glenn Greenwald was among the very few A list bloggers even covering the hearing and even then it was hardly mentioned.

Up to a point, I can understand the "liberal" blogosphere's reluctance to expound upon this. After all, the hearings were literally unthinkable less than a year ago and were basically verboten according to Eva Braun House Speaker-in-waiting Nancy Pelosi. It's notable that the Democrats in the 110th congress, which so far have shown the White House about as much spine as a microwaved Twinkie, waited until Bush had less than 6 months left on his term. We've known since 2003 that Bush lied us into Iraq. We've known for years and years that the only agenda that's succeeded in Iraq is the unconscionable bloating of private industry involving, among many, many others, a corpulation who just happened to employ the man genially regarded as the vice president.

We've known these things and many, many, many other things, things that prove that everything Bush has ever said about Iraq, about NSA wiretapping, about the use of torture, extraordinary rendition, about anything and everything, has been a bald-faced lie.

Yet the official line, according to ABC, is "(t)he Democrat-controlled Judiciary Committee is concerned the Bush administration exceeded its authority in several areas." Yeah, that's right. The "Democrat-controlled" committee. In which the most vocal member is referred to by ABC's Tom Giusto as "Democrat member Rep. Robert Wexler."

I think the fact that we've had to wait for over 7 1/2 years to even address the possibility of articles of impeachment is telling and the zeitgeist is saying, as does the headline of this ABC News item, "Why now? Isn't this too little, too late?"

We should've been seeing hearings such as this literally five years ago, before the last general election. An impeachment hearing five years ago would've all but cost Bush the election in 2004 and we'd probably be out of Iraq by now. But we haven't because the Democrats wet their legs (and still do in all matters national security) everytime Bush waggles his finger at them and threatens them with a rolled-up copy of the Constitution.

The real story is the Republican party. At least the lapdog Democrats are pretending to yip and yap at the junk yard dogs of Bush and Cheney when they're almost clear of the gate. The Republicans, in an election year, still cannot quit these men anymore than poor Jack Twist could quit the emotionally-stunted Ennis Del Mar in Brokeback Mountain.

They still march behind them single file into the fucking bunker in lockstep unison, loyal to der Führer.

And it's not merely because Bush is a fellow Republican. No, no, even toad-brained simpletons like Republicans don't think in such simplistic terms. No, no, Constant Reader, they're still not hoarsely crying about Democrat-Stalinist show trials (Yes, several of these so-called lawmakers actually called this preliminary hearing a "trial") and political stunts.

It's because they'd tied their own political fortunes into Bush's lunacies, follies and Ponzi Pyramid schemes. Because they can't "reverse" themselves because that would make them look like flip-floppers like John McCain. Because they cannot and will not come into the light of day.

Because the Republican party, once a legitimate party for conservative beliefs, is so morally palsied that they simply do not know how to do anything that's remotely humane, decent and, well, right.

A Day at the Beach


Mr. and Mrs. JP are going to a beach in Cape Cod today and won't be back until tonight. Of course, it'll be a working day at the beach since your old prehistoric porcine is going to be working furiously on the rewrite of American Zen. Seize ya'll later and behave while Daddy's out.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

GWB: Colbert's Alpha Dog of the Week


Thank the Good Lord we still have conservatives like Stephen Colbert to keep us on the straight and narrow.

Ich Bin Laden I’m Not


Tiergarten Park, Germany --- Barack Obama received a rock superstar welcome while he delivered a speech at the Brandenburg Gate in Germany today. Ecstatic Germans were holding up placards saying, “Obama for Kanzler”, or “Obama for Chancellor.” Yes, not only does a growing percentage of American voters want Obama to be our president, people of other nations want him to be their leader, as well.

To date, no protests had to be kept away from Senator Obama, no burning of effigies. Nothing. Just adulation at, aptly, the Victory Column.

The choice of venue for Senator Obama to call on Germany and our other European allies to fight terrorism was brilliant and perfect. At the site of where the Berlin Wall once stood, Obama said, “The walls between old allies on either side of the Atlantic cannot stand. The walls between the countries with the most and those with the least cannot stand. The walls between races and tribes, natives and immigrants, Christian and Muslim and Jew cannot stand.”

It was, without a doubt, the most powerful speech by an American statesman in Germany since John F. Kennedy’s famous “I am a jelly donut speech” in June of 1963.

No doubt, this will make Sour Grapes McCain even more sour. So what was John McCain doing while Obama was taking Europe by storm with his only public speech during his whirlwind trip?

Pissing and moaning to Sean Handjob on Fox “News” about media bias. Here’s a partial transcript of the interview:
HANNITY: Well, let me ask you about that, because this is Barack Obama. He is your opponent, and his first trip ever to Afghanistan, hasn't been back to Iraq in 900 some odd days, and the three major networks and their big stars out there to cover this. (Getting out spoon to shove question between McCain’s chipmunk cheeks) Does that bother you at all? Is that — what do you think of that? Is that media bias?

MCCAIN: No, but, you know, one of the things that's very interesting, he had never before asked to sit down and get a briefing from General Petraeus. I mean — and the other thing I thought was interesting, he issued his policy statement towards Iraq and Afghanistan, which as you mentioned never been to, before he left.

Then Sean asked to fellate him during the commercial break and McCain begged off, saying, “Look, I love you, but I can't do that. By the way, are we still at war with Czechoslovakia?”

So there you have it. Obama takes Germany and, apparently, most of Europe by storm by calling for multilateral cooperation in the struggle against terrorism, global warming, you know, all the things ignored by Bush these past seven and a half years.

Meanwhile, McCain was basically grousing one-on-one to Fox’s Sean Hannity about Obama’s popularity and intimating that Americans are not serving their interests by voting for him.

The Scorpion and the Frog: A Republican Retelling


I’m sure we all recall the fable misattributed to Aesop of the scorpion and the frog. The story goes that the scorpion had to get to the other side of a river but couldn’t navigate the current. He happens across a frog and he asks the amphibian, “Can I get on your back and cross the river with you?” The frog, understandably, had reservations and asked the scorpion, “If I let you get on my back, you’ll sting me.” “No, I won’t,” claimed the scorpion. “Why would I do that and kill us both?”

The scorpion’s logic was good enough for the frog so he let the insect get on his back. About halfway across the river, the scorpion stung the frog. As they both began to sink, the frog asked, “Why did you break your promise and sting me? Now we’re both going to drown!” The scorpion said just before they sank into the water,

“I’m sorry. I’m a scorpion. It’s my nature.”

Well, I’ve been thinking of this parable often when recalling what the Republican party has done to this country just since the Nixon era, particularly after the last seven and a half-plus years.

Here’s the Republican rewriting of the ending:

“Why did you break your promise and sting me? Now we’re both going to drown!”

“Uh, no,” says the scorpion. “Just you. First off, I’m a Republican scorpion. This is what we do. Secondly, you see that branch next to us? While my sting has paralyzed you, rendering you unable to grasp it, I’m going to hop on that branch, which is a metaphor for a cushy lobbyist or private industry job. The branch is also highly symbolic of a criminal justice system that largely is afraid to indict and convict Republicans and allows them to get off scot-free while the victims of their self-interested policies drown in a sink-or-swim economy.”

“But, but… I voted for you!” the frog wails just before its mouth submerges beneath the raging current.

The scorpion says as it hops onto the branch, “Caveat emptor, asshole. We’re Republicans! This is what we do! Adios, stupid!”

Looking at all the policies of George W. Bush and his own scorpion army in Congress (mostly red scorpions but with some blue ones thrown in for bipartisan flavor), looking at the two lemons sold to us as two fronts in a war on terror that thus far has achieved opposite its stated goals, I keep waiting for Bush to stand before a podium in the Rose Garden and ask, “Are you scared? Well, you shouldn’t be… You’re on Scare Tactics!”

Then Bush and his so-called co-conspirators in Congress take off their jackets, undo their neckties and we share a good laugh while we’re handed a bottle of spring water and told it was all an act. The footage of mutilated bodies in Iraq was recycled from Operation Desert Storm, the war stories planted, the 4600+ war dead just a cruel joke.

The economy is actually robust, the deficit nonexistent and the extra money gouged from us at the pump since last spring will be cheerfully refunded back to us. No one’s losing their home, we can still file for bankruptcy if we need to but we’ll never have to since we’re all financially solvent and actually able to support our families without having to work 80 hours a week.

The Iranian nuclear threat was just a good-natured hoax (better hand a bottle of water to Ahmadinejad because he, too, was a victim of this colossal hoax) and North Korea didn’t actually get workable nukes under Bush’s and John Bolton’s watch. Infragard prowling the streets of America during a pre-announced martial law and killing us with complete impunity? How could we fall for that?

We keep waiting and waiting for that admission so we can all breath again but the fact is we’re not on a nationally televised cable access show and the punking is for real. The scorpion stung us because we let it after eight years of relative peace and prosperity. Because the scorpion told us that he could get us to the Promised Side of the River faster and more efficiently and that we’d get there faster and more efficiently with the aid of a soulless private industry.

We all deserve to get punked, to get stung because we could’ve and should've told the scorpion to go fuck himself, to find some other poor dumb bastard to give him a lift across that river, for enough of us voting for him so that a theft of the last two elections seemed like a plausible outcome.


Like I’ve been saying all this time, we deserve what we had coming to us just as we deserve what we will have coming to us if we elect McCain and the resurrected zombie who’ll likely be his president-in-waiting.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Whiteboarding of History, starring John McCain and CBS


Does Katie Couric deserve to be fired because McCain's real (erroneous) answer as to the timeline of the Anbar Awakening got left on the editing room floor and substituted for another answer that let him look a little less foolish?

Perhaps, perhaps not. Couric, after all, asked McCain a proper question and gave him a chance to answer it in his own words. I have no way of knowing what latitude is within Couric's considerable pay grade and if she has the juice to stand over an editor's shoulder and say, "Cut that."

Couric's only a symptom of the problem with the news media and its cyclical handjobbing of clueless Republican presidential contenders. This is essentially the same media that helped Karl Rove destroy McCain's campaign during the South Carolina primary in 2000. And now, eight years older but hardly eight years wiser, McCain is benefiting from the same media that insist on making this a solid two horse race because it's better for ratings.

Or maybe there's a more sinister motive at work here, something more selfish and sinister than ratings and the promise of future access. Something that is all but obviously delineated in a marked difference between the way the media treat McCain and Barack Obama.

The real problem, as I see it from the standpoint of a news consumer as well as a political/social/media blogger, is an inability to understanding the true meaning of fairness and balance.

The media think fairness and balance means making two candidates look as if they're on an even footing no matter the difference in qualifications for an important job such as the American presidency.

Sometimes it works, sometimes it's transparent, such as the height and intellectual difference between the two candidates in the last general election.

But fairness and balance doesn't mean making two candidates look equally qualified for a high office even to the point of airbrushing from a nationally televised news broadcast an idiotic and misinformed answer. CBS did, indeed, provide on its website a video showing McCain's real answer to Couric as well as a transcript. But you can't tell me the transcript and video were seen by as many eyes as Couric's Orwellian broadcast.

Fairness and balance means letting people do their own speaking on their own behalf, in their own words, and letting people like me form our own conclusions. The MSM have been giving McCain one pass after another when he makes one moronic comment after another.

Such as when he insists that Ahmadinejad is the real leader of Iran and that Barack Obama had pledged to negotiate with President Ahmadinejad.

When he claims, time and again, that Iran is aiding al Qaida.

When he makes repeated mentions, year after year, of a nonexistent Czechoslovakia.

When he jokes about killing Iranian civilians with bombs and lung cancer.

When he insists that he can win the election in January.

When he claims that we have 25,000 less troops in Iraq than we actually had.

When he boasts that he can kick Russia out of the G8.

I literally haven't the time to discover and source every one of the many, many senior moments that McCain has had just since last year. There simply are too many. Unfortunately, our mainstream media feel the same way since none of the above gaffes have been seized on for what they are: Troubling examples of how frighteningly unmoored from reality John McCain is.

If Katie Couric gets shitcanned from CBS by January next year as people are speculating, I wouldn't lose a wink of sleep over it. But firing Couric is not going to change the way the media report, or not report, the news any more than right wing bloggers helping to dump Dan Rather put us in a better-informed position than we're in now.

McCain Credits Bush For Lower Oil Prices; WH Says Not So Fast.


“Thanks to Dear Leader, now we can afford lubrication!”

Amazingly, according to John McCain, George W. Bush is still our savior whenever luck infrequently wafts our way like a fragrant fart. At Wilkes-Barre, PA today, McCain actually credited Bush for the slight lowering of oil prices (that so far hasn’t resulted in under four-dollar-a-gallon gas at the pumps) by getting rid of his own father’s executive ban on offshore drilling.

The problem is, the White House isn’t having any of it. WH Press Secretary Dana Perino said, “I don't know if we fully deserve the credit… We don't predict what happens in the market. We can't really tell.”

Even conservative journalists such as Stephen Covington don’t buy it, either, realizing that we need to invest in alternative energy sources.

But that doesn’t matter much in McCain’s heavily-mortgaged La La Land anymore than it matters that there’s still a Congressional ban on offshore drilling that Congress hasn’t even considered rescinding. Neither does it matter that Bush, for the umpteenth time, feigned helplessness in affecting oil prices, claiming that he didn’t have "a magic wand.”

It’s obvious that the only magic wand we’ve been seeing during this cash grab is the one Saudi Arabia, speculators and the oil cartels have been shoving up our ass (see picture above).

McCain is also conveniently forgetting that offshore drilling, even if it continues despite the Congressional ban, won’t commence for another decade, which won’t affect oil and gas prices today. So why should George W. Bush be credited for inching down gas prices?

It’s the “psychology” of the market. Phil Gramm lives, bless his black little charcoal briquette of a heart.

However, McCain also said that the oil and gas crisis is “an energy issue, an environmental issue and a national security issue.” You know, kind of the same thing that Al Gore said on the 17th:
Yet when we look at all three of these seemingly intractable challenges at the same time, we can see the common thread running through them, deeply ironic in its simplicity: our dangerous over-reliance on carbon-based fuels is at the core of all three of these challenges - the economic, environmental and national security crises.

As always, when Democrats make sense, Republicans often follow (without attribution). McCain thinks it’s possible to credit both Bush and Gore without acknowledging the great ideological chasm that divides these two men.

Wednesday Afternoon Moses Blogging


I think it’s obvious by now that the McCain campaign has always been and always will be until election day a soulless black hole into which is mightily sucked virtually every right wing lunatic in the universe, including a Rush Limbaugh who valiantly resisted its irresistible gravitational pull. Among countless others, over the last year we’ve seen hurtling toward the Straight Talk Express lobbyists, two insane evangelists, Col. Bud Day, Phil Gramm and Joe Lieberman.

Joe Lieberman, as with virtually all the moral black hole fodder that’s gotten sucked into McCain’s orbit, has proven to be a loose cannon. Because even though McCain belatedly let drop from his sleeve the hole card that was John Hagee, Lieberman is still taking up his cause. In fact, Jesse Hamilton of the Hartford Courant pretty much has Lieberman’s stubbornness nailed when he writes,
Though McCain and Lieberman have been nearly inseparable on the campaign trail, Lieberman hasn't followed McCain's example and disavowed Hagee. Instead, the Connecticut independent senator has been demonstrating, as in his campaigning for the Republican, that he'll do exactly what he wants to do.

At the Christians United for Israel confab at Washington last night, Holy Joe said, “Dear friends, I can only imagine what the bloggers of today would have had to say about Moses and Miriam.” It ought to be noted that this is the second year in a row in which Lieberman compared Hagee to Moses.

So, in Holy Joe’s fevered mind, this is what we would’ve seen a couple of thousand years ago:

SF Chronicle: Is the Exodus All Exit Strategy?



The SF Chronicle published a story today that pretty much says it all. Moses’ Exodus is not only a bust but apparently, after going on 40 years, it appears that God’s Chosen One has only an exit strategy with no entrance strategy whatsoever.

If Moses was smart, he’d cut and run and hightail it back to Egypt. It’s been going on four decades now and Moses is still insisting there’s a Promised Land. In stubbornly insisting on getting his way, Moses stood by while millions of innocent Egyptians died during ten, count ’em, ten terrorist attacks with an 11th terrorist attack when he turned the Red Sea as a weapon against the Pharaoh’s Egyptian soldiers who were trying to save them from their own confusion…

Forget the fact that Holy Joe is using a religious forum from which to launch a pre-emptive salvo about national security (Read: Israel’s national security). This wacko that Republicans put back into the Senate still insists on painting John Hagee as a Truthiness Giver who was martyred by those evil lib’ral bloggers, despite the fact that McCain was forced by political expediency to jettison that crazy fat fuck from the giant sucking black hole of his campaign.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Oh, the Inanity!


This is the "banned" George W. Bush video that the White House would love for you not to see.

At a fundraiser for professional Republican scumbag Pete Olson (who's running against Nick Lampson in Tom DeLay's old 22nd district and is only separated by 3 degrees from the biggest Republican scumbags in our day and age), George W. Bush ordered all cameras to be turned off. Miya Shay of ABC decided he was too much of a lame duck to listen to and that when Republicans insist that all recording devices be shut off some major assclownery is afoot. Hence, this video was secretly recorded.

Oh, the humanity. Oh, the inanity.

Bush talks about Wall Street getting drunk and suffering a hangover, as if it's all about his buddies and not the homeowners victimized by them, those who really are suffering through this "hangover."

Then it gets better when Bush reveals how seriously he takes the housing crisis. Yep, about as seriously as he took Katrina. About as seriously as he took 9/11 when he sat in that little chair for 7 minutes. About as seriously as he took bin Laden less than 6 months after 9/11.

About as seriously as he took torture and the NSA's warrantless wiretapping. About as seriously as he's taking skyrocketing oil and gas prices and his losing "romantic" war in Afghanistan.

Which is to say not at all.

Here's what George W. Bush takes seriously:

The evils of gay marriage and of stem cell research. Abstinence programs. Making lots and lots of money for himself and his buddies in the military industrial complex. Covering his ass. Turning Social Security into a massive crap shoot on Wall Street to further bloat his buddies in the corporate sector. Chasing phantom nukes and other WMD's.

This is a man who sees flies before his eyes and imagines he sees dragons. He sees dragons and believes they're flies. Every day this man and Dick Cheney has been permitted to live is an indictment against the American people who have willingly abdicated their rights, their quality of life, their democracy, their reputation abroad for a dictatorship that's far worse than al Qaida ever dreamed.

2.5 million people being foreclosured on this year? Fun fodder for Republicans who can still afford to buy a new house despite already owning multimillion dollar homes.

Why is this man still alive?

Monday, July 21, 2008

Green Energy by 2018


In case you never heard former President-elect Al Gore's speech on the 17th, here's the video that provides the full text.

It's chock full of truly great applause lines as well as statistics. For more details as to how you can help meet Vice President Gore's challenge, go to Wecansolveit.org to find out how to get involved beyond merely signing a petition (signed by well over 1.4 million people).

But Vice President Gore makes a pretty persuasive case as why we cannot continue to stay the course.

Fair and Balanced


My attention was piqued when I read AP’s David Bauder ask, “Is Media Playing Fair in Campaign Coverage?” At last!, I thought. Someone who actually gets it and is asking why Obama’s every silly transgression both real and imagined gets magnified while John McCain makes one idiotic statement after another as he shuffles all over the world and getting one free pass after another in the press.

Uh oh. Turns out that’s not Bauder’s point. Bauder’s trying to point out the fact that the press is cruelly ignoring poor old John and spending the lion’s share of its attention on Barack Obama. Never a mention is made explaining that the press mentions Obama in connection with items that are hardly newsworthy at all, such as Jeremiah Wright speaking his mind, whether or not Michelle Obama used the word “whitey” or Wesley Clark stating the obvious about McCain getting shot down over Hanoi alone doesn’t qualify him to be president or if Obama’s quit smoking.

So, to make his case, Bauder enlisted the aid of The Project for Excellence in Journalism. Of course, this is the same journalism think tank that said last May that there was no difference between Jon Stewart’s Daily Show and Bill O’Reilly (Hint: Here’s one major difference- Jon Stewart‘s laughs are purely intentional. Plus, Stewart’s fans understand the jokes because they follow the news, as opposed to the idiots who make up Bill O’s fan base).

Believe it or not, it gets worse: Bauder then quotes that paragon of fairness in journalism, RushBo:
“My prediction is that the coverage of Obama on this trip will be oriented toward countering the notion he has no idea what he is talking about on foreign policy and defense issues and instead will prop him up as a qualified statesman. McCain, on the other hand, is a known quantity on these issues and his position does not excite nor fit the mainstream media's narrative on Iraq and Afghanistan, so they simply ignore it and him.”

And, once again, no challenge on Bauder’s part to Limbaugh, who until recently loathed McCain and ridiculed his own foreign policy, in claiming nowadays that McCain’s “a known quantity.”

Of course, Bauder also never stumbles onto the helpful fact that a large but simple reason why all three network anchors are following Obama and his entourage as if they’re the Grateful Dead is this is Obama’s first trip to Iraq and Afghanistan. McCain, on the other hand, has already been to Iraq a total of 13 times. It’s like the Apollo lunar landing missions: After 13, who gives a shit?

If you want an indication of how the press fawns over Obama and gives him more media attention than McCain, consider in this Plame-esque moment McCain giving away basically Obama’s entire Gulf itinerary at a GOP fundraiser (and picked up by Reuters). One wonders why McCain didn’t just slip that information to Robert Novak on the sly.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Touch of Gray

I've heard of terrorists using Grecian Formula and suddenly shedding their gray. Osama bin Laden proved that last year. But has anyone noticed a change in Obama's hair color since he began his trip abroad?


This picture was taken of Barack Obama last December during a speech on terrorism. No gray hair, right?


This was taken of Barack Obama last April. Again, no gray whatsoever.


Now, this picture was taken today. Not only is he suddenly showing distinguished gray hair, he even has a magically-materialized flag lapel pin.


Now, lest you think that was just an effect of the sun shining on his head, here's an indoor shot taken of Obama last night in Kuwait while visiting American troops.


Here's another from the same day of Obama visiting troops at Camp Arifjan.

Now, Obama wouldn't be letting his hair go gray during this trip in an attempt to assume some much-needed experience and gravitas, now would he? Or is that too cynical to point out?

Another American Tragedy


In a monstrous twist of irony, Joseph Dwyer, once a recruiting poster and Iraq war icon of American compassion, died of an inhalant overdose on June 29th, practically abandoned by a dispassionate military whom he’d served so well.

Actually, there are several monstrous twists of ironies. For a man whom Army Times photographer Warren Zinn had singled out for attention in the iconic picture above and whom the Army, desperate for early heroes to catapult the propaganda “proving” the humanistic impetus behind the invasion, never considered himself a hero. To Dwyer, he was simply one of several other guys just doing his job.

Another irony is that Dwyer didn’t even belong in Iraq. He’d voluntarily gone so a single mother of two wouldn’t be separated from her children or disobey deployment orders. That alone qualifies him for hero status.

Yet heroes such as Dwyer, Pat Tillman and Jessica Lynch are branded heroes for all the wrong reasons by a Rumsfeld-era Pentagon that cynically regarded said heroes as mere pawns or cogs in a massive game of public relations that is meant to shore up and maintain support for a war regardless of how illegal or unjustified it may be. That way, to criticize the war is to criticize the hero. The two are inextricably entwined.

Forget the fact that Pat Tillman, who was surely killed by friendly fire in Afghanistan, criticized the war in Iraq as “so fucking illegal.” Forget the fact that Jessica Lynch was unconscious when she was captured, her gun jammed, and apparently well-cared for at the Iraqi hospital from which she was “liberated”, cameras present and a tiny American flag slipped into her hand at the perfect moment.

And forget the fact that Joseph Dwyer, while actually assuming a heroic undertaking in evacuating wounded children from a battlefield, never considered himself a hero and who, as he’d tried reminding us, was just one of several guys doing the same job.

Barring posthumous worth, as in the case of Tillman, the Walter Reed scandal alone proved how shabbily we treat those who have sacrificed time away from their families, body parts and even more once their usefulness is at an end. John F. Kennedy once said that you can judge the greatness of a nation by how it treats its most underprivileged citizens. But as an adjunct to that axiom, it can also be said that the moral greatness and authority of a nation is delineated by how well it treats its wounded heroes. Since at least the Civil War, we have failed miserably, still are and likely always will.

Dwyer died on June 29th after he’d overdosed on refrigerator inhalants to keep at arm's length the demons that he’d brought back with him from Iraq. He barricaded himself and shot at imaginary enemies, hid under beds when he heard fireworks, and saw in the desert landscape of El Paso, Texas and the dark-skinned Hispanic residents another Iraq.

Anyone old enough to recall the shell-shocked veterans coming back from Vietnam and presenting identical symptoms will see something disturbingly familiar in Dwyer’s post-war life and the lives of others. Despite a cyclical history of violence, substance abuse and disturbing behavior since his redeployment, the Army never separated him from his weapons and whatever help he finally got from the VA consisted of a large handful of pills and little else, what Dwyer’s father called “a pharmaceutical lobotomy.” While the local constabulary insisted he was the military’s problem, the military was pointing their own finger at the civilian authorities.

When Dwyer returned from Iraq, he declined saying “Yes” when asked if he presented symptoms of Post Delayed Stress Disorder because he held out hope of becoming a police officer like his father and three of his brothers. It makes one shudder to consider a police officer with problems like Dwyer’s being given another gun and unprecedented powers over our civilian population.

Yet after the brass bands at the homecomings pack up their instruments and the red, white and blue bunting gets taken down, after the worshipful crowd goes home, the heroes are forgotten and essentially left alone to patch up their often tattered lives. Politicians and the top brass at the Pentagon immediately forget their names while they cynically squint at the war’s hellish, pockmarked landscape looking for other heroes to replace them.

We’re used to not hearing the names of these dead and living casualties to pass the lips of George W. Bush. What would impress me, what would help convince this cynical old veteran that we are indeed being offered change that we deserve, is for someone like John McCain and Barack Obama to mention people like Joseph Dwyer while they’re overseas and mouthing pious platitudes of gratitude to our heroes and heroes-in-waiting.

A nine year-old child, one of the children of the mother whose place Dwyer had taken, shows Dwyer's picture to his friends, reminding them of how he used to put his toys together, a lesson in respect and reverence that's yet to be learned by those far older and wiser while occupying and seeking power.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Never Underestimate the Power of Conspicuous Relief


…as well as that of stupid people in large numbers.

Last Thursday, John Ashcroft marched to Congress to give testimony to the House Judiciary Committee to a verbal brass band of Congressmen. But who was blowing Ashcroft’s horn for him? The Republicans on the Committee? Nope, it was Democrats and not just any rank-and-file Democrats. We’re talking John Conyers and Robert Wexler.

And why did the father of the USA PATRIOT Act get a verbal fellating from Democrats, of all people? Because he was one of the few former Bush hacks who’ve actually bothered to show up when Congress wanted to talk to them.

Because Ashcroft has a problem with torture and illegal spying.

And, most importantly, because Ashcroft isn’t named Alberto Gonzales, absolutely the very worst Attorney General not only of this administration but in our nation’s history. And Ashcroft’s role when speaking before the House Judiciary Committee was essentially to confirm the Democrats’ deepest, darkest suspicions about that same administration: That they haven’t quite been honest with Congress and the American people and may have done a few unethical things along the way.

It reminded me of last year’s testimony given by another psychopath, Eric Prince, head of Blackwater Worldwide. Prince was supposed to deliver testimony to shed light on the massacre at Nisour Sq. in Baghdad last September 16th in which 17 Iraqi civilians were slaughtered by his own mercenaries. Instead, Prince didn’t shed light but actually tried to dim the light by telling the committee members that no Blackwater gunships had fired down on the cars below despite eyewitness accounts and bullet holes in the roofs of the cars that were there that day telling a completely different story.

Prince’s testimony was stacked so much in his favor that it was already agreed upon beforehand that mentioning his Republican connections was absolutely prohibited. Yet, at one point during the deliberations, even that wasn’t good enough. Daryll Issa, quite possibly the stupidest man in the history of Congress, then reminded the Oversight and Government Reform committee members not to mention Prince’s Republican affiliation, making Chairman Waxman, who did his level-headed best to comply with the minority Republican party’s dictum, to tell Issa, “Well, duh, no one has until now, shithead.”

Ashcroft’s game of softball toss with Congress, over three and a half years after his much-welcomed resignation, revealed nothing, gave us no new information and Ashcroft even refused to confirm saying to administration officials that “History will not judge us kindly” regarding our embrace of torture. At one point, the “new and improved” John Ashcroft / Guy Hovis actually almost burst into the national anthem.

To help lend his testimony credibility, the man who lost his Senate seat to a dead man was accompanied, for some reason, by Walter Dellinger.

Wait a minute. Walter Dellinger?!

That would be the same Walter Dellinger, attorney for Exxon Mobil, who just last February petitioned the Supreme Court to lower judgments regarding the Valdez oil spill that devastated nearly 33,000 Alaskan fishermen. It was the supertanker spill that was the environmental equivalent of Chernobyl.

So Ashcroft’s testimony was backed up by a super stooge of Exxon Mobil by the name of Walter Dellinger, who claimed that poor Exxon Mobil, who posts record profits for quarter after consecutive quarter, was victimized by Joseph Hazelwood and Alaskan courts.

How soon they forget why Ashcroft was universally despised on the left. The USA PATRIOT Act. Equating critics of the Bush administration’s legal philosophy (that includes the torture and illegal wiretapping of which Ashcroft was himself critical) with terrorist enablers. Allowing his Justice Department to be stuffed with undereducated Republican partisans from Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University.

Yes, sometimes Ashcroft followed the letter of the law. What else can you expect from the top law enforcement official in the land? Yet at other times the laws that Ashcroft obeyed and expected us to obey in turn were laws that he rewrote, laws that essentially were the first major assault on our constitutional rights and civil liberties.

But John Ashcroft has emerged from the ashes of a failed career in public service like a pudgy Phoenix and he has conspicuous relief and the even more disastrously failed public service of Alberto Gonzales to scratch against his own. Congress’s expectations and opinion of this administration is so low that when Ashcroft didn’t thumb his nose at their invitation to testify, when we were reminded that Ashcroft had a problem with torture and illegal spying on American citizens, our Congress treats him as if he’s Clarence fucking Darrow.

Lo, how the mighty (and its ideals) have fallen.

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