You want this weasel-dick taking chances w/ your country?
Only recently have McCain's aides urged him to pull back from the pastime. In the heat of the G.O.P. primary fight last spring, he announced on a visit to the Vegas Strip that he was going to the casino floor. When his aides stopped him, fearing a public relations disaster, McCain suggested that they ask the casino to take a craps table to a private room, a high-roller privilege McCain had indulged in before. His aides, with alarm bells ringing, refused again, according to two accounts of the discussion. "He clearly knows that this is on the borderline of what is acceptable for him to be doing," says a Republican who has watched McCain play. "And he just sort of revels in it."
Monday, July 7, 2008
"People who try to claim their employer-sponsored benefits are worse off than they were two or three decades ago," said Judge William Acker Jr., who was appointed by President Reagan to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama in Birmingham and who has written extensively about ERISA. "The law that was supposed to protect them has been turned on its head."Feudal lords were also expected to provide some sort of housing for the serfs. But not in 21st century America.
On average, 60% of the value of American homeowners' possessions -- 60% of everything we own -- is accounted for by the value of our homes, according to my analysis of the Federal Reserve's most recent Survey of Consumer Finances. That means houses are a big deal for families' finances. And so therefore is what protects them -- homeowners insurance. Homeowners insurance is a classic case in which people go out and try to buy their own private safety nets rather than turning to government or to their employers for security. But homeowners have not had very good luck with this do-it-yourself approach in recent years.That's because over the last two decades -- with relatively little notice and almost no awareness on the part of the buying public -- the insurance industry has changed the nature of its policies in ways that leave homeowners on the hook for vastly more than they used to be on the hook for. As recently as the early 1990s, the most widely sold type of policy, especially in the nation's most populous areas, was a "guaranteed replacement cost" policy. Under it, your insurer promised to replace your home if it burned or was destroyed by a hurricane, essentially no matter what the cost. It was up to the insurer to get the price right and keep the coverage current. However, following a rash of disasters that included the Northridge earthquake in Los Angeles, insurers phased out guaranteed replacement cost policies in favor of "extended replacement cost" policies. Under these, the insurer provides you with up to a certain fixed dollar amount of coverage, plus typically 10% to 20%. It is up to you to decide what the amount should be. It is up to you to figure out what it would cost to rebuild your home. And it is up to you to keep your policy current. Theoretically, you could do this job. But the industry's own estimates show that more than half of American homeowners simply have too much else going on in their lives to keep tabs on changing building codes, the fluctuating price of plywood or what carpenters and plumbers are making in their neighborhoods. Similar changes -- with similar shifts of economic risk from business and government to families -- have occurred in retirement, where the switch from traditional pensions to 401(k)s has left individuals largely on their own to provide for old age.It's almost enough to make the typically sheep-like American wage-slave sit up & take notice. Except he & Mrs. Wage-Slave are being worked to an early grave in order to keep up w/ their credit card debt. At least they won't have to worry about retirement, or paying off their creditors. Gosselin, as an employee of the "objective, two sides to every story, & both of them equally valid" L. A. Times, probably wants to hold onto his his job for a while, and so, as Chris Hedges noted in last wk.'s review, he doesn't get to the underlying issues. Dig these last two paragraphs of Gosselin's piece for a lesson in weaseltry:
Some argue that in the new, globally competitive economy, U.S. business and government simply cannot afford to provide the kinds of protections against financial peril that they used to. Perhaps not. But that doesn't mean that we should automatically shunt the job of bearing these dangers to families alone. And it most assuredly doesn't mean that we should pass along the task without letting people know they've just been assigned the job of bearing a big new load of risk. But that's essentially what has happened. As a result, working Americans and their families are operating on an economic high wire -- only one or two missteps from a steep financial fall. Little wonder people are so bleak about their prospects now that times are tough.Oh, yes, we shiould at least make it clearer to the suckers how we're conning them. Crap on a crutch, what a fucking jerk!! Listening to Thom Hartmann (0900-1200 PT on your local commercial but communist radio station) this a.m., we were presented w/ a pimping of Mr. Hartmann's new book, Screwed: The Undeclared War Against The Middle Class, in which he presents the thesis that "supply-side" rather than "demand-side" economics are essentially making the middle class live in the fear that Americans seem to welcome in virtually every aspect of their horrid existences, & that this fear, of losing their jobs & houses, among other things, makes them unable to participate in the political process, even to the extent of voting. Which goes perfectly w/ the general attitude of many of the Founding Fuckers, desirous of a republic limited to white, male, Anglo-Saxon property owners, preferably Protestant, who would be allowed to elect their state legislatures, & House members, but would leave the election of U. S. Senators & the president to the state legislators. Gawd forbid that the rabble should have a say in their gov't. The current "voodoo economics" (Extra credit if you remember who called it that. Hint: His son is running This Great Nation of Ours™ into the ground at this very moment.) then, is designed to return power & wealth to the powerful & wealthy. Hartmann mentioned that even w/ the recent loosening of credit (Remember when people saved for things, at Savings & Loans or banks that paid an observable interest rate?) to the middle & lower classes, "supply-side" just doesn't work. No matter how many new factories the rich build (and when factories are built they go up in Mexico or China to exploit the fuck out of their serfs & lax health & safety laws & enforcement) w/ their tax breaks in which to make cheap plastic crap if the consuming masses don't have any moolah, the economy isn't going anywhere. Well, now we're out of money, the dollar is worth one bucket of lukewarm urine, & about 1/150th of a barrel of light sweet crude, & Mr. & Mrs. Hard Working America are in debt up to their necks, commuting zillions of miles 7 hours a day to the ticky-tacky boxes they can (sort of) afford, far away from where they work, thinking that some bullshit "mortgage deduction" will keep their taxes low, & watching their lives wasted as they work harder & longer just to keep up, their pathetic wages eaten away by inflation & minuscule to non-existent raises. To this stirring condemnation of all that America is, we can only add that the Xtian Wrong's continual effort to reëstablish the "traditional" family of the 19th century, w/mom dropping a new piece of cannon fodder for the Hebrew war gawd as often as possible, then remaining at home to "educate" the children away from the pernicious influence of the 21st century & liberal gov't. schools, is also part of the economic plot. In a single income household, he who brings home the bacon is much less able to resist the predations of his corporate managers, go on strike or whatever, if there's no other income & the missus can't possibly get any kind of work besides cleaning up after the offspring. Works out pretty well for some people, doesn't it? So our masses are just too run-down to think about or participate in political life, & are fated to remain bent over & waiting for it for all eternity. This plays in perfectly w/ the general attitude that Republicans have about voting: "It's not for everyone!"
Sunday, July 6, 2008
We steal our story today from the Liberal Bible™ (as Bill O'Reilly refers to it) the N. Y. Times.
By his own admission, Mr. McCain is not a great orator. He is ill-suited to lecterns, which often dwarf his small stature, and he tends to sound as if he is reading his lines, not speaking them. His shortcomings have been accentuated in a two-man race, particularly because the other man — Senator Barack Obama, the presumptive Democratic nominee — can often dazzle on stage.Oh yes, not only does he have trouble reading, he's a fucking shrimp. (Have any of the "old media" given us his exact height yet?) Do we need some twisted Napoleonic geek trying to prove something to his father & grandfather, both of whom made four-star admiral, while he barely got out of Annapolis, & only made captain, even after his hideous prisoner of war experience?
It's entirely "Bush III" in the campaign as well. (Except for the Fox News people, of course.)
[McCain] brought in a new adviser — Greg Jenkins, a former White House official and Fox News producer — who will oversee the producing and staging of Mr. McCain’s events. Mr. Jenkins is considered an expert at political stagecraft, oversaw many of President Bush’s appearances and served as executive director of the 2004 inaugural committee.We'll miss that semantic crutch. We at Just Another Blog™ always equate "my friend" w/ someone of a Middle Eastern culture who is about to screw us on a rug deal, but that's just us. Speaks out of both sides of his mouth, does he?
Mr. McCain is working closely with aides like Brett O’Donnell, a former debate consultant for Mr. Bush, to improve his speech and performance. He is working to limit his verbal tangents and nonverbal tics. He is speaking less out of the sides of his mouth, which can produce a wiseguy twang reminiscent of the Penguin from the Batman stories, and he is relying less on his favorite semantic crutch — the phrase “my friends” — which he used repeatedly in his campaign appearances.
[Li'l John] sheepishly volunteered that he received complaints after a recent Newsweek profile of his wife, Cindy, said that he sometimes referred to her alma mater, the University of Southern California, as the University of Spoiled Children.Oh, crap. Are we (who dropped out of said university) going to have to stop saying that as well? The man is an absolute bastard.
Saturday, July 5, 2008
In 2004, Harmon and Bozo were in the news when the International Clown Hall of Fame in Milwaukee announced it was revoking its Lifetime of Laughter Award given to Harmon in 1990 as Bozo's creator, and posthumously inducted Pinto Colvig as the first Bozo. Kathryn O'Dell, the hall's executive director, told the Associated Press that the hall had been duped into believing that Harmon created Bozo and did not discover the truth until Buck Wolf, an ABCNews.com columnist and entertainment producer, reported that Harmon was wrongly laying claim to the character. Harmon told AP he was saddened that the hall had removed his plaque and denied having misrepresented Bozo's history.There's a typical show bidness story. (Except the part where the guy got caught & something bad happened to him.) In other dead clown news, Jesse Helms, the racist Republican former senator from North Carolina croaked on the Fourth of July. We can only assume that the Spirit of America awoke for a moment or two from its stupor & struck him dead.
No cause of death was given, but his family said in 2006 that he had been diagnosed with vascular dementia.We wonder if he was diagnosed in 2006, or that his family decided to announce it then. Because from here it appeared he'd been a demented old fuck most of his life.
"Jesse Helms was a kind, decent and humble man and a passionate defender of what he called 'the Miracle of America.' So it is fitting that this great patriot left us on the Fourth of July," President Bush said in a statement Friday.How fucking revolting. Shame on Bush, that's as repugnant as anything he's ever said.
"He was a loud and clear voice for muscular, principled conservatism," said Whit Ayres, a pollster for many Southern candidates. "He was ideologically consistent, and he didn't bend with the wind."We've never understood this "Oh, he stands by his principles, you have to respect him, blah blah blah" attitude. The same can certainly be said about Hitler & Stalin. They stuck by their principles to the bitter end. Isn't the slightest consideration of the "principles" involved called for? So often those who are lionized this way have the least principled, most repugnant principles.
And he was the only senator to vote against making the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday a national holiday. His lone dissent came only after he conducted a 16-day filibuster against the King holiday, during which Helms took to the Senate floor to decry the assassinated King, a pacifist and civil rights leader, for his "action-oriented Marxism."Now really. What kind of "principle" is that? There's quite a litany of his most egregious stands & "principled" statements in the L. A. Times obit. The N. Y. Times (The Liberal Bible™) has some insight into his 19th century mind:
Mr. Helms saw himself as a simple man — he even used the word “redneck” to describe himself — who protected simple American values from the onslaught of permissiveness, foreign influence and moral relativism. For 30 years, he cut a familiar figure on the Senate floor, typically wearing horn-rimmed glasses, black wing-tip shoes and, on the lapels of his gray suits, American flag and Free Masonry pins.(Why never to wear an American flag lapel pin. Not to mention Masonry. )
Mr. Helms liked his art uncomplicated. “The self-proclaimed, self-anointed art experts would scoff and say, ‘Oooh, terrible,’ but I like beautiful things, not modern art,” he told The New York Times in 1989, during a pitched battle over federal subsidies for the arts. “I can’t even figure out that sculpture in the Hart Building.” He was referring to an Alexander Calder mobile.Thomas Kinkade, perhaps? His politics were are sophisticated as his aesthetics.
“Look carefully into the faces of the people participating,” he said in a 1968 editorial against anti-Vietnam war protests. “What you will see, for the most part, are dirty, unshaven, often crude young men and stringy-haired awkward young women who cannot attract attention any other way.”He will not be missed by any one w/ a shred of decency; we do regret his not having left the national scene much earlier.
And here are two more, not incompetence related, but Bush doing the job he was appointed to do. That is, hand over as much of the country & its money to his pals/buddies/cronies/Republican campaign contributors.
[T]he changes appear to be a last-ditch push by appointees of President Bush to dilute securities rules passed after the collapse of Enron and other large companies — measures that were meant to forestall accounting gimmicks and corrupt practices that led to those corporate failures.Oh, this guy has a lot of confidence. On what basis does he state we wouldn't tolerate Indo-Chinese safety standards? Remember dead & sick dogs & cats last yr.? Anti-freeze in toothpaste? Tech help from someone in Delhi? (Disclaimer: The only time Just Another Blog™ has had contact w/ the other side of the world for tech assistance, the woman who helped us helped us, got our high-speed web connection working, & was a pleasure to speak w/.)
James D. Cox, a securities law expert at Duke Law School who returned this week from teaching corporate law in Europe, said the shift to international rules amounted to “outsourcing safety standards.”
“We would not for a moment tolerate having American auto safety standards set by China or India,” he said. “Why should we do it for financial safety standards? There has to be some accountability.”
Meanwhile, in Big Sky Country, secret deals are being negotiated.
MISSOULA, Mont. -- The Bush administration is preparing to ease the way for the nation's largest private landowner to convert hundreds of thousands of acres of mountain forestland to residential subdivisions.Very nice. Very nice indeed. Let's see how nice.
The deal was struck behind closed doors between Mark E. Rey, the former timber lobbyist who oversees the U.S. Forest Service, and Plum Creek Timber Co., a former logging company turned real estate investment trust that is building homes. Plum Creek owns more than 8 million acres nationwide, including 1.2 million acres in the mountains of western Montana, where local officials were stunned and outraged at the deal.
"We have 40 years of Forest Service history that has been reversed in the last three months," said Pat O'Herren, an official in Missoula County, which is threatening to sue the Forest Service for forgoing environmental assessments and other procedures that would have given the public a voice in the matter.
The deal, which Rey said he expects to formalize next month, threatens to dramatically accelerate trends already transforming the region. Plum Creek's shift from logging to real estate reflects a broader shift in the Western economy, from one long grounded in the industrial-scale extraction of natural resources to one based on accommodating the new residents who have made the region the fastest-growing in the nation.
Environmentalists, to their surprise, found that timber and mining wereHere's an even uglier face:
easier on the countryside.
"Now that Plum Creek is getting out of the timber business, we're kind of missing the loggers," said Ray Rasker, executive director of Headwaters Economics, a nonprofit that studies land management in the West. "A clear-cut will grow back, but a subdivision of trophy homes, that's going to be that way forever.
"It's kind of the ugly face of the new economy."
Most are the second, third or even fourth homes of wealthy newcomers who have transformed the local economy -- 40 percent of income in Missoula County is now "unearned," from, say, dividends -- and typically visit only in the summer. In Antler Ridge, across Highway 93, Web cameras installed over bird nests and a bear den beam photos to a hedge fund partner who visits his 200 acres just a few times a year.
"He was actually in France when the bear left the den," said "remote wildlife viewing" contractor Ryan Alter, on his way to install a camera at an owl's nest. "So I sent him pictures on his BlackBerry."
"I wanted to own land out there because I was always very interested in the concept of restoration, conservation," Paul Gurinas, the hedge fund partner, said by phone from Chicago. "The fact that it's almost become kind of a housing subdivision, that isn't what I was looking for. I guess I wish I had bought the whole thing up, and then I wouldn't have to worry about it."
There's your future, America, decadent assholes w/ three or four houses, while thousands of Americans are w/o housing at all, paying you squat wages to take pictures of the very nature they're destroying. It's back to feudalism. They don't want to shred the Constitution, they want to go all the way back & destroy the Magna Carta.
A voice in the wilderness cries: "Where's your outrage? Why aren't you grabbing those guns the Supreme Court lets you have & using them? Are you really going to let this lame duck administration finish taking the vast majority of Americans to the proverbial cleaners w/o a fight?"
Friday, July 4, 2008
American way How did it start? Thousands of creeps Killed in the park American way Try and explain Scab of a nation Driven insane –F. V. ZappaIt was Ben Franklin, was it not, who said, "We've given you a republic, it's up to you to keep it?" And for over 200 yrs. we kept it, almost turning it into a democracy, even. But in the last 30 or so yrs., it's been turned into a corporatist state. I. e., we couldn't keep it. Shame, really. What did you expect, though, from a species hard-wired for wilful ignorance & blatant stupidity & a nation forged in theft & murder by the cast-off losers of other nations? Entropy, baby.
Thursday, July 3, 2008
Click here if you don't want any of your females looking slutty. Left: "Teen Vest Dress." Guess what the material is? Polyester, of course. Also note that in their universe, "pants" don't exist. Boys (& only boys) wear "trousers."
For variety? It's the "Teen Princess Dress" (above right). 100% polyester? Of course!!
Bush's Oval Office chat yesterday was reminiscent of meetings he held last summer with what I called Bush's Optimists Club. Back then, he summoned right-wing talk-show hosts as well as conservative columnists to hear him insist that he was still feeling sunny.
As I wrote in a January column, Bush's Messiah Complex, Bush has started speaking fervently about how he expects to be remembered -- and it turns out the president sees himself as a heroic figure.
And in a February column, Bush: Clueless and Happy, I noted that Bush seemed unaware of what a drag he'll be on the Republican ticket.The secret to Bush's giddiness? He's apparently mistaking Bush fatigue for Bush acceptance.
And we'll link you to something that will not appear in the dead-tree version of the WaPo until next Sunday's edition. Any Washingtonians out there who can give us an idea of how much the Sunday WaPo weighs?
But as many veterans of the Bush administration have made clear, the president's CEO style has more to do with a fanatical punctuality (he once locked Powell, his first-term secretary of state, out of a Cabinet meeting because he was running late, according to McClellan) than true resolve. This picture of an indecisive, ineffectual leader is being painted not by the predictable Bush haters but by his own former aides -- career civil servants and political appointees alike. After reading "War and Decision," the new memoir from the arch-neoconservative Douglas J. Feith, former assistant secretary of defense Bing West quipped in the National Review that the former Pentagon aide's book should have been titled "War and Indecision" -- perhaps a fitting epitaph for the Bush era.The most colossal cluster fuck in American presidential history. Aren't you glad you were there to see it?
The move of Mr. Schmidt is the latest sign of increasing influence of veterans of Mr. Rove’s shop in the McCain operation. [...] Mr. Rove, who was Mr. Bush’s senior political adviser until he left the White House last year, was said by Mr. McCain’s advisers to have offered advice in recent days to Mr. Schmidt and others on how to get Mr. McCain’s campaign on track, but has stayed mostly on the periphery. Mr. Rove is aware, his associates said, that his own legacy could be helped should Mr. McCain win the presidency.At this point, Rove's legacy could be improved if he were arrested for child molestation.
Wednesday, July 2, 2008
Now we find, on a somewhat wacky website, some of which may date to 2000, when J. Sidney was competing w/ George W. for the chance to steal the election, a link to further information about the Colonel, who appears to be a POW buddy of John McCain. These websites are both working on the premise that John Sidney is a traitor who sold out to the communists & may be a "Manchurian candidate," having had his brain perverted by the Soviets for five and a half yrs. of captivity. (Or something. So the enemies of America – including the Commies – have managed to infiltrate our entire political structure, & left us w/ the choice of a stealth Moooslim or a "Manchurian Candidate." And just whom is "Candidate" McCain supposed to assassinate, himself?) They're not too complimentary about "Bud" Day's Medal of Honor award & his "politicizing" it, either. And The U. S. Veteran Dispatch is firmly convinced that there were/are American POWs "left behind" in 'Nam by the U. S. Gov't. Not that they're big fans of the other Senator in this yr.'s mess. (Or big on the letter "s.")
"A very indecent thing," said retired Air Force Col. Bud Day.
Day's appearance on the conference call spawned a new round of broadsides as the Democratic National Committee rushed to point out that Day had appeared in the so-called Swift Boat TV ads that cast aspersions during the 2004 election on the medals that Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry earned in Vietnam. Committee spokesman Damien LaVera said that McCain himself had called the Swift Boat ads "dishonest and dishonorable."
American conservatives already suspect that Obama Jr's much proclaimed opposition to America's war against Muslim terrorist [sic] in Iraq is more about his Muslim heritage than peace. Obama Jr's "I don't think we're at that stage yet" answer to Sawyer stirred immediate reaction from a former U.S. Congressman who saw the Sawyer interview. "Yet? We all know what that means. If elected, at what stage will Barack Obama be willing to send American servicemen and women into the Kenyan meat grinder." [sic]"Obama Jr" His daddy was a colored, you know.
What the trainers did not say, and may not have known, was that their chart had been copied verbatim from a 1957 Air Force study of Chinese Communist techniques used during the Korean War to obtain confessions, many of them false, from American prisoners.What? False confessions? No, no. Torture works! It's necessary!! They're dirty Moooslims who wear their diapers on their heads! They're built upside down!!
The 1957 article from which the chart was copied was entitled “Communist Attempts to Elicit False Confessions From Air Force Prisoners of War” and written by Albert D. Biderman, a sociologist then working for the Air Force, who died in 2003. Mr. Biderman had interviewed American prisoners returning from North Korea, some of whom had been filmed by their Chinese interrogators confessing to germ warfare and other atrocities. [...] The only change made in the chart presented at Guantánamo was to drop its original title: “Communist Coercive Methods for Eliciting Individual Compliance.”Love that bureaucratic Newspeak.
Tuesday, July 1, 2008
"We must steer far clear of the errors and false assumptions that have marked the energy policies of nearly 20 Congresses and seven presidents," the presumptive Republican nominee told a crowd of oil executives in Houston.For the last 35 yrs, since the big gas-line crisis of 1973, there has been blather about "alternative, renewable, non-foreign, inexpensive, non-terrorist enabling, non-polluting miracle energy sources," & as nearly as the fine minds on the editorial staff here can determine, not one thing has been done even to head us in that direction, let alone accomplish anything. For McCain to point this out & pretend he'll do anything about it (before a crowd of oil executives, yet) is disingenuous (He's fucking lying!!!) at the least.
But McCain's record of tackling energy policy on Capitol Hill shows little of the clear direction he says would come from a McCain White House. Instead, the Arizona senator has swerved from one position to another over the years, taking often contradictory stances on the federal government's role in energy policy.When John Kerry changes his mind, he's "flip-flopping." When John Sidney McCain III is jumping all over the place, well,
Senior McCain policy advisor Douglas Holtz-Eakin said McCain's positions reflected a pragmatic approach to governing. "Sen. McCain is interested in getting results," he said.So, flip-floppery is pragmatism, war is peace, freedom is slavery, &c.? The rest of Levey's article is a lovely laundry list of McCain's outright contradictory positions & statements on energy. Much as we hate to bring up the age issue, are we looking at memory problems here? Or merely the usual political problem of which lobbyist most recently had his ear?
CHICAGO - Reaching out to religious voters, Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama called for expanding President Bush's program steering federal social service dollars to religious groups and — in a move sure to cause controversy — supported some ability to hire and fire based on faith.Aah, faith-based. You'll recall that's how the war in Iraq was won, on faith.
Obama also talked bluntly about the genesis of his Christian faith in his work as a community organizer in Chicago, and its importance to him now. "In time, I came to see faith as being both a personal commitment to Christ and a commitment to my community; that while I could sit in church and pray all I want, I wouldn't be fulfilling God's will unless I went out and did the Lord's work," he said.This is absolutely pathetic, as those of us w/ intelligence greater than that of a turnip know that "the Lord's work" is social control, leading directly to tyranny. After all, why do they call their invisible man in the sky their "Lord?" The feudal mindset of those who would be serfs, that's why.
Breaking news! The ultimate White House insider plans a tell-all book about the Bush years. Boasting unprecedented access to the president's thinking, it will run counter to almost everything we've been told about Bush's radical presidency. Who will be the latest to break the code of silence after former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan? George W. Bush.Which "Breaking news!" Goldfinger then admits is only
what went through my mind listening to the president during a meeting with a small group of journalists in the Oval Office on Monday. The session, maddeningly and often foolishly punctuated by long, off-the-record musings and soliloquies, mostly dealt with foreign policy.Can't wait for that book, filled w/ maddening & foolish punctuation, & not revealing anything but what a maddening fool G. W. is. (Speaking of punctuation, the very best Bush book would be one he had to write himself, on a strict deadline, sans ghostwriters. He can't talk, he surely can't punctuate either. That would be one hee-larious book.)
In fact, if only a fraction of what he had to say was remotely accurate, then the conventional bleats about unilateralism, war lust and cowboyishness will go down in history as the excessive caterwauling of an imaginative and hyper-partisan opposition.Sure they will. And there's nothing resembling imaginative and hyper-partisan caterwauling & bleating on the right, or among Bush's few remaining defenders, is there? Not to mention that only a fraction of what Bush ever says is accurate. The best part is Jonah's idea of "the mainstream of American presidential history," & how the Bush presidency just isn't that radical. To young Goldberg, presidential history goes all the way back to...George H.W. Bush.
Extraordinary rendition? That practice (in which we send terrorists to foreign countries to be interrogated under laxer rules) began under President Clinton. Aggressive interrogations, for good or ill, surely predate 2001. Holding prisoners indefinitely at Guantanamo without benefit of a trial? As terrorism expert Andrew C. McCarthy notes in National Review, we were doing that under the first President Bush and under Clinton to innocent Haitian refugees, who got even less due process than we give captured enemy combatants.No mention at all of, say, Reagan, selling arms to Iran & helping Osama Bin Laden get Al Qaeda underway (as Bush Jr. is doing now in Iran, per the Seymour Hersh piece mentioned here yesterday). Just Bush the First & Clinton. He doesn't even qualify his "idea" w/ a word like"modern." If it happened before he pulled his head out of Star Drek reruns, it doesn't matter. And his conclusion?
Given Obama's ideological leanings and inexperience, there's clearly plenty of room for him to make costly mistakes. But odds are he too would come to realize that America needs to win the war on terror and succeed in Iraq. Hence the greatest irony. A successful Obama presidency would have the unintended consequence of making Bush's memoir a success story.Idiocy of this caliber stands on its own, & needs no further comment from an insignificant nobody (Not published in a major metropolitan newspaper.) like the editor here.
During the trial, which began Friday, the officers told jurors that they had chased Alarcon, 29, into his Hollywood apartment building last year and seen him throw away a black object. They testified that one of the officers picked up the object a few feet from where Alarcon was standing and discovered powder and crack cocaine inside. But footage from the grainy video, which Alarcon's attorney said came from an apartment building surveillance camera, shows that it took the two officers more than 20 minutes to find the drugs. They were also aided by other officers in their search. The quality of the tape, a copy of which was obtained by The Times, is poor and it is difficult to clearly hear what is being said. But at one point, an officer seems to make a reference to the arrest report that needed to be filled out. "Be creative in your writing," the officer appears to tell another after the discovery. "Oh yeah, don't worry, sin duda [no doubt]," comes the reply.Fuck truth & honor & integrity & responsibility & accountability & all that other crap that right wingers are always bitching & moaning about.
"If I didn't have the videotape, nobody would believe me," said Alarcon, who said he was not a gang member. Civil rights attorney Connie Rice, who has studied the LAPD and pushed for reforms, said the department has tried in recent years to root out dishonest officers, particularly since Chief William J. Bratton took over in 2002. But she said, there are some who take shortcuts and lie. "In their minds, they're compensating for a system that's rigged to keep them from making the arrests and getting the convictions they want," she said.And fuck the Constitution, while you're at it. Rights? Not for people like Alarcon.
Monday, June 30, 2008
The Administration may have been willing to rely on dissident organizations in Iran even when there was reason to believe that the groups had operated against American interests in the past. The use of Baluchi elements, for example, is problematic, Robert Baer, a former C.I.A. clandestine officer who worked for nearly two decades in South Asia and the Middle East, told me. “The Baluchis are Sunni fundamentalists who hate the regime in Tehran, but you can also describe them as Al Qaeda,” Baer told me. “These are guys who cut off the heads of nonbelievers—in this case, it’s Shiite Iranians. The irony is that we’re once again working with Sunni fundamentalists, just as we did in Afghanistan in the nineteen-eighties.” Ramzi Yousef, who was convicted for his role in the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who is considered one of the leading planners of the September 11th attacks, are Baluchi Sunni fundamentalists. One of the most active and violent anti-regime groups in Iran today is the Jundallah, also known as the Iranian People’s Resistance Movement, which describes itself as a resistance force fighting for the rights of Sunnis in Iran. “This is a vicious Salafi organization whose followers attended the same madrassas as the Taliban and Pakistani extremists,” Nasr told me. “They are suspected of having links to Al Qaeda and they are also thought to be tied to the drug culture.” The Jundallah took responsibility for the bombing of a busload of Revolutionary Guard soldiers in February, 2007. At least eleven Guard members were killed. According to Baer and to press reports, the Jundallah is among the groups in Iran that are benefitting from U.S. support.Once again, the Bush administration is so fucking stupid that they are backing Al Qaeda, or its close cousins, against another group that they & the oil cos. have managed to alienate since 1953. DO THEY NEVER LEARN? WILL THE AMERICAN PUBLIC EVER NOTICE, LET ALONE ACT? IT'S A DEMOCRACY, PEOPLE!!!
As President Robert Mugabe's party said Saturday that it was poised for massive victory in Zimbabwe's one-candidate presidential runoff, President Bush called the vote "a sham election that ignored the will of the people" and warned of new sanctions.Cheese & crackers, the nerve of that little shit!! Bush may have been a proud "C" student, but he must have gotten extra credit in the hypocrisy courses at Yale. We here at Just Another Blog™ have several "sanctions" that we're ready, willing & able to apply to Mr. Bush. Moving right along, the L. A. Times's still anonymous woman or man in Harare passes along some statements about Mugabe, & some ugly facts.
After Mugabe was declared the winner, ZTV state television erupted in triumphalism, with "Congratulations Winner" flashing repeatedly. Religious commentators on ZTV read biblical excerpts to back the proposition that the country must unite around one leader anointed by God. A prayer at the inauguration said it was a "divine day" and called for God to grant Mugabe "divine authority that only comes from you."Who Would Jeezis Bomb, huh? We'll bet Mugabe has an Office of Faith Based Initiatives just like George's. Now compare the below w/ Bush's "permanent campaign," as most recently revealed by Scott McClellan.
"Every time Mugabe is cornered, he resorts to violence," said Oskar Wermter, a Catholic priest in the crowded Mbare neighborhood on the outskirts of Harare. "It's a warlike atmosphere. [Mugabe] and his colleagues live in the past in the glory days of the liberation war in the 1970s. They're still in the trenches. They see themselves as in the same confrontation with the British and the whites. "There's a possibility that now that they have manipulated the elections they will go further and crush the opposition and keep hitting them and annihilate them once and for all."Sound familiar? Try this on for size.
According to Heidi Holland, author of the book "Dinner With Mugabe," which was based in part on a lengthy and rare interview with him last year, the violence of the election "has got Mugabe written all over it. If you go to war, you go to war with your generals." She saw him as a quiet, closed figure who believes a person must hide emotions so that no one can determine what he or she is thinking. "He's not had a friend, all his life, and he admitted that to me. He said he used to like being by himself. He liked living in his head. He's a very clever man and completely cut off from his feelings so he can operate in a way that no one else can." Holland described Mugabe as "extremely vengeful" and predicted that he would try in the coming months to eliminate the opposition. "When he's rejected or humiliated -- and he knows that he was rejected and that the people voted against him -- he chalks it up and there will be a payback. I am absolutely certain that the violence will continue in the rural areas." "He lives in a reality bubble," Holland said. "Nothing impinges on the way he chooses to see things. He cannot be wrong, he can only be right. "You can ask him any question, because he knows the answer," she said. "It's only when you are skeptical about his answer that he gets sparks in his eyes."Frighteningly familiar. Again, don't say we didn't warn you. Remember when Rudy "The Catholic" Giuliani wanted to "postpone" the mayoral election that took place in NYC on 11 September 2001?
At a news conference here Monday, McCain himself said of Clark's comment, "That kind of thing is unnecessary" and distracts from real pocketbook issues voters care about.Sure. McCain really wants to discuss his non-support, then support of Bush tax cuts for that "entrepreneurial" one percent of the zillionaires. Or his gas tax "holiday." Or his plans for social Security. Or, or... J. Sidney knows damn well that he's electoral toast if economic issues come to the fore. That's why all the "Ooooh, we're going to be attacked if we elect that colored fellow," from the Rabid Weasels. Then the Bush Three campaign team pulled out some other ret'd. baby-killers for a conference call.
"Complete silliness," retired Navy Lt. Cmdr. Carl Smith said on the call. Retired Marine Lt. Col. Orson Swindle said Clark was "denigrating the character and the experience and the integrity and the performance" of McCain. "A very indecent thing," said retired Air Force Col. Bud Day. Day's appearance on the conference call spawned a new round of broadsides as the Democratic National Committee rushed to point out that Day had appeared in the so-called Swift Boat TV ads that cast aspersions during the 2004 election on the medals that Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry earned in Vietnam. Committee spokesman Damien LaVera said that McCain himself had called the Swift Boat ads "dishonest and dishonorable."Ooops. Speaking of dishonorable. And of shooting oneself in the foot. This is why Sen. O. had best get his shit together & clearly demonstrate to the American people that the Republican approach to "national security" is wrong, wrong, wrong. Both the "someone attacked us, let's find a weak country to attack to show how tough on terrorism we are," & the fact that they can't do the job right, because they're incompetents lashing out in juvenile fits of anger, rather than thinking & planning ahead. Probably won't happen though. "Tough on terrorism" is the same knee-jerk reaction as "tough on crime," "execute the baby rapists," "What? Legalize/decriminalize drugs?" & all the other "third rails" of our degraded, thoughtless American politics.
It's been easier to connect global warming to rising temperatures than to extreme weather events—and even the former hasn't been easy. Only in this decade have "attribution" studies managed to finger greenhouse gases as the chief cause of the rising mercury, rather than a hotter sun or cyclical changes. (The last two produce a different pattern of climate change than man-made warming does.)Interesting, Remember that the next time some free-market fuckwad screams "The sun is getting hotter." Tain't the same, McGee.
Think of it this way: if once we experienced one Noachian downpour every 20 years, and now we suffer five, four are likely man-made.
The Midwest, for instance, suffered three weeks of intense rain in May and June, with more than five inches falling on some days. That brought a reprise of the area's 1993 flooding, which was thought to be a once-in-500-years event. The proximate cause was the western part of the jet stream dipping toward the Gulf of Mexico, then rising toward Iowa—funneling moisture from the gulf to the Midwest, says meteorologist Bill Gallus of (the very soggy) Iowa State University. The puzzle, he says, is why the trough kept reforming in the west, creating a rain-carrying conveyor belt that, like a nightmarish version of a Charlie Chaplin movie, wouldn't turn off. One clue is that global warming has caused the jet stream to shift north. That has brought, and will continue to bring, more tropical storms to the nation's north, and may push around the jet stream in other ways as well.Drown in your own filth, bastards!!
Atmospheric conditions that bring severe thunderstorms (with hail two inches across and wind gusts of at least 70 miles an hour) and tornadoes with a force of F2 or greater have been on the rise since the 1970s, occurring about 8 percent more often every decade. Get used to it, and don't blame Mother Nature.Or just get blown away & severely bruised by big-ass hail. Anything, as long as world population decreases, & soon.
Moderator Bob Schieffer, who raised the issue by citing similar remarks Clark has made previously, noted that Obama hadn’t had those experiences nor had he ridden in a fighter plane and been shot down. “Well, I don’t think riding in a fighter plane and getting shot down is a qualification to be president,” Clark replied.So there. This is a professional military person speaking, not some schmuck who got into Annapolis & the Navy 'cause his father & grandfather were four-star admirals. There's more, some of it complementary, & all of it true.
Sunday, June 29, 2008
Gosselin fails, however, to lift his reporting, based on a series of articles for The Times, into the coherent narrative needed in a book. He never steps back to make a broader, compelling argument about the orchestrated forces that are transforming our nation. Managed capitalism, which allowed most Americans to prosper in the latter part of the 20th century, has been gradually dismantled. We now have a government that serves the interests of corporations rather than those of its citizens. The book's lack of an examination of what this transformation means for our future gives a cut-and-paste feel to the individual stories, which is accentuated by charts and graphs. He includes too many leaden recapitulations of material in previous chapters. The chapters, organized under such headings as jobs, health, housing, education, the poor and retirement, allow Gosselin to show pieces of the puzzle. They are important pieces. But unless we grasp that there is a dark logic to this transformation, that an engorged and empowered new oligarchy holds our economic and political life hostage to corporate interests and profits, we cannot grasp the grave implications for our future. Gosselin appears to tacitly accept this transformation, even as he describes its pernicious effects.You got it, no one is willing to get under the beast's skin.
Is our transformation into a corporate state inevitable? Is it part of the march of human progress? Is globalization a force of nature? Do we really face no other alternative? Those who promote the idea of totally free markets, including economists, television pundits, Washington think tank experts and elected officials, have successfully inoculated most of us from asking these questions. This is not a matter of an abuse here and an abuse there. The rise of a corporate state undercuts our most fundamental rights as citizens, creating a society in which we are forced to subordinate our common welfare to the higher priority of corporate profit. The corporate state champions, as our elite business schools do, little more than personal greed and self-interest. It disdains the public good. And the global consequences are terrifying.Oh, stop your whining, liberal loser!! Let's look at some statistics.
The U.S. economy has 3.2 million fewer jobs today than it did when President George W. Bush took office, including 2.5 million fewer manufacturing jobs. In the last three years, nearly 1 in 5 U.S. workers has been laid off. Among full-time workers who were laid off, roughly one-fourth are now earning less than $40,000 annually. According to the the U.S. Labor Department, 15 million workers are unemployed, underemployed or too discouraged to job hunt. There are whole sections of the United States that now resemble the developing world.Ooops!!. Heh heh. Wrong statistics.
And the assault on the middle class is under way. Anything that can be put on computer software -- finance, architecture, engineering -- is being outsourced to workers in countries such as India and China at a fraction of the pay and without benefits. And a college education, Gosselin points out, is no longer a guarantee of a stable job. Instead, many young men and women are stuck with dead-end, low-paying jobs and massive student-loan debt.The party's over. All political parties are over. Obama won't do shit to change anything, & deep in our hearts of darkness, we all realize that. Not a person w/ a hope of being heard dares to tell the truth about the current dismal situation, which will only deteriorate further. See you all around the drain, as we continue to circle it.
The power of national, state and judicial authorities to respond has been neutralized through huge corporate campaign contributions, political action committees and armies of lobbyists. The consent of the governed has become an empty phrase.We are now enduring an election year in which the mainstream political debate does not confront the advanced destruction of our democracy by the corporate state. Tens of millions of Americans want and need a single payer, not-for-profit health care system, but corporations are not about to see their profits diminished. But the two main candidates discuss everything except a not-for-profit system.
Saturday, June 28, 2008
"We will press for strong action by the United Nations, including an arms embargo on Zimbabwe and travel ban on regime officials," Bush said in a statement issued while he spent the weekend at Camp David presidential retreat in Maryland.Gee, could we have an arms embargo on the United Snakes, as a result of our two most recent presidential events? No arms coming in, & none shipped out either? We're perfectly willing to let regime officials travel, however, especially to places where they're likely to get picked up for war crimes. *"President Chucklenuts" courtesy of left-wing hate-monger (That boy is ANGRY!!) Mike Molloy, M-F 1800-2100 PT.
Please, professor, tell us how it is acting against one's interests to stop pumping pollutants in the air. Is it not in people's interest to leave as much land & cool, breathable air on the planet as possible for their children? Here's a free clue: Even if we got all of oil from our neighbors, cousins & friends in Canada, it only cost $10.00/barrel, & there were no climate change problem associated therewith, IT'S A STUPID FUCKING IDEA TO SPEW TONS OF CARCINOGENIC, RESPIRATORY SYSTEM-AFFECTING PARTICULATE MATTER INTO THE ATMOSPHERE ON A DAILY BASIS!!! Perhaps Prof. Benford enjoys standing downwind from campfires & barbeque grills, or even wrapping his lips around a tailpipe every so often, but most people don't like smoke or anything else of that nature in their eyes, throats or lungs. (Except pleasing, relaxing & tasty tobacco smoke, of course.) A guy who writes future fiction being this shortsighted. Like wow, man. What are we buying time for? Death from cancer?
Carbon caps and the like ask billions of people to act against their interests for many decades. Demanding that billions in India, China and other countries abort their dreams will not save us. Geo-engineering (which might better be called "climate control") can buy us time. Gregory Benford Irvine
The writer is a professor of physics at UC Irvine.
Friday, June 27, 2008
Thursday, June 26, 2008
Homoerotic Overtones Enliven NRA Meeting February 19,1997 COEUR D'ALENE, ID—Repression was the order of the day as the National Rifle Association's North Idaho Chapter held its annual convention this weekend. More than 25,000 dedicated gun lovers from across Northern Idaho flocked to the Coeur d'Alene Convention Center for the two-day event, happily sublimating homosexual impulses amid a carefully maintained facade of platonic camaraderie. Moscow, ID, resident Richard Hoflinger, 47, a longtime gun-rights activist, exhibited the collection of antique rifles through which he has channeled his culturally unacceptable impulses. "Guns should be part of any upstanding Christian family," Hoflinger said, sticking a long, thick, oily pipe-cleaner 14 inches up an 1886 Remington. In the next booth, another latent gay man, Duane Erlich, moved his hand slowly up and down a well-polished 1948 Winchester. "Ain't she a beautiful baby?" he said, displaying the kind of feminization/infantilization of firearms for which NRA members are renowned. Erlich then demonstrated the proper loading procedure for his "baby," lovingly inserting a pair of bullets into the dark, snug-fitting tunnels before thrusting the gun's bolt smoothly into the action, cocking it firmly. "This'll blow a man straight to heaven," he said. The tone of the event was set by chapter president John Henry Unger, whose opening remarks cited the "wonderful variety of weaponry on display, from little snub-nosed pieces that fit snugly in your pocket to big, meaty shooters with barrels as thick as your arm." Unger then fired his father's prize Colt Peacemaker revolver into the air, drawing raucous applause from the crowd, many of whose own fathers had suppressed latent physical attraction for their adolescent sons by channeling forbidden feelings into totemistic firearms. All over the convention floor, gun manufacturers proudly unveiled new technologies which will allow simmering homoerotic tensions to be expressed with greater nuance than ever before. At the Smith & Wesson booth, company spokesman Darrell Trace displayed a handgun made from a newly developed metal alloy whose "incredibly hard" nature, he explained, gives it no recoil after use, providing its user with "a far greater sense of control over his piece." "It's a very comfortable gun, very soft in the hands," Trace added, noting that Smith & Wesson had designed the gun to appeal to "shooters tired of coming home from the firing range with sore, worn-out wrists." But even as conventioneers reveled in a two-day orgy of firearm-to-phallus transference, a dark cloud hung over the event. The NRA has declined in power over the last decade, and its once-potent lobbyists have come out on the small end of key legislative battles like the Brady Bill, causing many members to bring their lifelong subconscious fears of castration to the fore. "If the gun-control lobby wants my rod, they'll have to yank it from my dead body," said Pocatello-area bar-owner Joseph Greer, holding a tell-tale snub-nosed revolver. "Those guys up there in Washington are tryin' to take our guns away, but we ain't gonna let 'em," Greer continued, adding classic paternal displacement to the already rich psychosexual tapestry. "No siree, Bob."©The Onion. Used w/o permission. You tough English majors going to do anything about it?
The military is scrambling to re-equip because the Pentagon failed to plan for the long and expensive war in Iraq, Murtha said. That failure, he said, makes the Pentagon's plan to add 92,000 new soldiers and Marines unrealistic. Although new troops would help reduce repeated, lengthy deployments, he said, there are more pressing demands. "It's going to come from personnel cuts," Murtha said. "That's where it's going to come from. They know it." Pentagon leaders realize they face a choice between a larger military and improved equipment, said Adm. Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. "We must reset, reconstitute and revitalize our ground forces," Mullen told a Senate panel in May. However, the costs "will force us to a smaller military or force us away from any kind of modernization or programs that we need for the future." [...] •The Army wants $17 billion a year, for as many as three years after the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan end, to re-equip itself. Since December, the Army has issued repair contracts worth more than $1 billion for armored Bradley Fighting Vehicles. •The Marine Corps estimates it will cost $15.6 billion to replace its damaged or destroyed equipment, including light armored vehicles "lost in combat." •The Air Force puts its costs at $10 billion. Sue Payton, assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition, told Congress that the wars' demands have "taken a toll on our airlift and air-refueling aircraft." Murtha said the Pentagon will need much more. He put the cost at more than $100 billion. "We went unprepared. And we're paying a heavy price for it." Repairs have skyrocketed in recent years. The Army repaired 6,000 rifles and handguns per year before the Iraq war. This year, that number jumped to 200,000, said James Dwyer, with the Army Materiel Command.Heckuva job, Bushie. You & the military morons who didn't plan ahead. At this rate, the Chicoms will be riding the Ferris Wheel at the Santa Monica Pier before Xmas, & Hugo Chavez will be wintering in South Miami.
Summary McCain released a Web ad that distorts Obama's positions on clean-energy innovation and nuclear power. The ad portrays Obama as saying "no" to energy "innovation" and to "the electric car." In fact, Obama proposed a $150 billion program of research into a wide variety of clean-energy technologies last year, long before McCain proposed to award a $300 million prize for developing a commercially viable battery package capable of powering automobiles. The ad also has Obama saying "no" to "clean, safe nuclear energy." In fact, Obama has said, "I have not ruled out nuclear...but only [would support it] so far as it is clean and safe." Analysis Sen. John McCain's campaign announced the new Web-only ad on June 25. It portrays Obama as "The Dr. No of energy security." We find that some of the claims in the ad go too far and misrepresent some of Obama's positions.From Factcheck.org, as published by Newsweek.com.
“I’m happy to tell you there’s very little in this world that I believe in. Watching other comedians comment on political, social, and cultural issues, I notice most of their comments reflect some kind of belief things were better once. I don’t feel so confined. I frankly don’t give a fuck how it turns out for this country. That is precisely what I find amusing, the slow circling [of the] drain by a once-promising species and the sappy, ever-more desperate belief in this country there’s some sort of American Dream which has merely been misplaced. My motto: Fuck hope.”And the horse it rode in on.
shame the mining giant Anglo American into not pushing ahead, under Mugabe, with its $400-million investment in a platinum mine.Anything that gets in the way of corporate profits is the best course to us. Especially if it's profits based on colonialism. Sanctions that have been applied by Her Majesty's Gov't. are against Mugabe (Who is 84 & has been in power for 28 yrs. Get out, you wretched old bastard!!) & his cronies in the ZANU-PF party. The sanctions may now be extended to family members of the 160 weasels targeted. We note that the NYT, like the LAT, is not giving the name of its reporter in Harare either. And there is yet another grim personal story in the NYT story. Don't even click if you don't want to be more horrified.
Popularity. Like Junior High. This is mostly because I'm curious. You should all be ashamed.
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