Sunday, April 30, 2006

Games? Games? GAMES?

"I think they are playing games."
"The international community is completely of one mind, that no one wants, needs or really can tolerate a nuclear-armed Iran in the midst of the world's most volatile region. That is the consistent view," Rice told CNN's "Late Edition."
Excuse me, but what about Israel?
By the late 1990s the U.S. Intelligence Community estimated that Israel possessed between 75-130 weapons, based on production estimates. The stockpile would certainly include warheads for mobile Jericho-1 and Jericho-2 missiles, as well as bombs for Israeli aircraft, and may include other tactical nuclear weapons of various types. Some published estimates even claimed that Israel might have as many as 400 nuclear weapons by the late 1990s.(emphasis added)
It doesn't take a rocket scientist (sic) to figure out that any country in the mid East with nuclear weapons can't be tolerated. What about that Dr. Rice? (oh, the irony of that Doctor)

Odds and Ends

Yipee! Its finally warm!

Guess who'w buried here (died from chewing too much gum)!

Ireland, 1972

The good old days

No, this isn't the last century. This is 2001!

An Air Force of One (Air Force One?)

Man Buys Fighter Jet on EBay

BEIJING - A Chinese businessman has bought a MiG-21f plane from a U.S. seller on the online auction Web site eBay for $24,730 and plans to use it to decorate an empty space at his offices, a newspaper reported Sunday.
"I like to collect valuable items. I have the buying power and my company has an empty space where I can display the plane," the newspaper quoted Zhang as saying.
Right! Ain't no terrists goin to get him.

On the other hand:

"There is the precedent of a Chinese company buying a retired aircraft carrier, but I don't know if this jet plane is a banned item," Zhang reportedly said.

Probably this one:

Ah, those inscrutable Chinese.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

I'm Sorry, Senator, The Price Went Up

Its now 20 gallons of gas!
Federal authorities are investigating allegations that a California defense contractor arranged for a Washington area limousine company to provide prostitutes to convicted former congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham (R-Calif.) and possibly other lawmakers, sources familiar with the probe said yesterday. (emphasis added)
Shocked, I tell you. I am just Shocked! And there is always:

MIAMI, April 28 -- Talk radio icon Rush Limbaugh surrendered to authorities Friday on a charge of committing fraud to obtain prescription drugs, concluding an investigation that for more than two years has hovered over the law-and-order conservative.
You get a nickel
I'll get a dime
We'll go upstairs
And have a good time.
Cocaine, running 'round my brain.
(actually, its Oxycontin, but that doesn't rhyme with brain).

Friday, April 28, 2006

Having a GREAT Time!

Yes, Siree:
Before the two Cabinet members left Baghdad on Thursday, Rice dismissed any suggestions of tension. "Secretary Rumsfeld and I have an excellent relationship," she told Fox News. "We're working very hard together. We're actually having a great time here in Iraq." (emphasis added)

Wish you were here!

Bush League Republicans

Bush League Republican

Bush League Republican

Bush League Republican

Bush League Republican

Bush League Republican

Bush League Republican

Just keep saying it: "Bush League Republican"

Friday Crab Blogging

Thursday, April 27, 2006

What do you mean my Administration's under there?


Let me get this straight. We have a government that is given the duty to do certain things in our interests. Has this government served us?

1. We are now told by a Senate Committee that FEMA is broken beyond repair. As citizens, we can ask, "Who is responsible for this screw up?" And "Who is going to handle the disasters this summer?"
2. The price of fuel both for cars and trucks AND for home heating oil and electricity (generated from the same)is going through the roof. I have a picture which I will post which shows the price of a gallon of regular gas in the Fall of 2001: $1.09!! As citizens, we can ask, "Who is responsible for this screw up?" More importantly, "Why was it not foreseen?"
3. Every single argument for the war in Iraq is bogus. We cringe when we even hear the word. As citizens, we can ask, "Who is responsible for this screw up?" (and it isn't retired generals)
4. Does anyone doubt that the climate is warming and that we are experiencing major effects from this (tsunamis, tornadoes and hurricanes of unheard of ferocity)? As citizens we can ask "What is our government doing to address this issue?" I'll tell you, they are DENYING it. Listening to Michael Critchon, the idiot. (Thank god he didn't stay in medicine.)
5. Extraordinary Rendition is UnAmerican. Torture is against the Law. As citizens we can reasonably ask "Where is the Constitutional permission to commit these odious sins?"
6. It is against the Constitution to spy on the American People. As citizens we can reasonably ask "Why are you spying on us? Where are our Courts? Why is this allowed to continue?"

7. Nuclear weapons are apparently still "on the table" for Iran. Why has this question not caused our country to go ballistic?

And then, "Why did you impeach a President for lying about sex when you won't even think about what is going on now?"

Would you like that in in dollars or euros, Sir?

Just so you knew:
In January, Exxon posted the highest quarterly and annual profits of any U.S. company in history:

$10.71 billion

for the fourth quarter of 2005 and $36.13 billion for the full year.

And I just posted this below (A Drop in the Tank? A Drop in the Bucket? Or a Drop in the Polls? You Decide.):
Greenstein said Republican leaders would likely start negotiations with the Medicaid and SCHIP cuts approved by the House -- between $14.9 billion and $20 billion over five years.... (emphasis added)
Doesn't seem right, does it?

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

How do you starve a War?

Senate Shifts Iraq Funds to Border Patrols

It takes a Republican. Why didn't we think of that?

Woops! Not so fast:
Sen.Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., said Gregg's cuts would "take money from troop pay, body armor and even the joint improvised explosive device defeat fund. Now that is a false choice and it is a wrong choice."

Let's get our service men and women home ASAP.

The Only Solution

It is possible that the only solution to the horror that is Iraq is to get the United States out of there and a UN peacekeeping force in place. There are many countries that have not participated in the infamous "Coalition of the Willing" that could send blue helmets. It is insane to think that the situation will stabilize under the current "government" in Iraq with American armed forces in a billion dollar embassy and permanent bases. Not only is this "government" almost powerless, it is opposed by a significant, armed segment of the population. A segment that is not going to disappear into the night.

The necessity of a very large (200-300,000) peacekeeping force can be gauged by the inability of 130,000 U.S. troops to quell the insurgency. There is nothing but an endless stream of bombs, bodies, death, and destruction. The guilt of America is high. It will have to be addressed after the situation is better.

The cost of the UN peacekeeping should be bourne entirely by the United States. It most certainly will be less than the $1 trillion that has been spent on War. American contractors, including the criminal Kellog-Brown-Root will have to leave. Where at all possible, mid-East and European construction firms should be employed.

Will this happen? Not while our Boy King is still "deciding."

Should this happen? Of course.

A Drop in the Tank? A Drop in the Bucket? Or a Drop in the Polls? You Decide.

What I like about this guy is his take action policy:
Bush directed his environmental agency Tuesday to stand ready to ease clean air rules if they interfere in gasoline supplies this summer. Industry analysts said that likely would have only a marginal influence on prices.
Of course you can't mess with your base, though:
GOP Blocks Measures Boosting Taxes on Oil Companies' Profits
Provisions Passed by Senate Would Raise About $5 Billion
House Republicans have raised strong objections to Senate-passed provisions that would raise nearly $5 billion in taxes over five years -- primarily by changing arcane accounting rules that have allowed oil companies to substantially lower their tax bills, according to House and Senate tax aides familiar with the talks. (emphasis added)
No siree. You can't have those little kiddies getting healthcare:
The Senate and House have a "good chance" of reaching a compromise to include some Medicaid cuts in the fiscal year 2006 budget, Robert Greenstein, executive director of the... Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, said Wednesday, CQ HealthBeat reports. Greenstein said Republican leaders would likely start negotiations with the Medicaid and SCHIP cuts approved by the House -- between $14.9 billion and $20 billion over five years.... (emphasis added)
So, now we have it. The Boy King would rather dole out $400 MILLION retirement packages to his oil buddies than provide medical care for poor kids.

Let them eat cake!!!

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Just Think If He had Lied about Sex

ANKARA (Reuters) - An official in Turkey's ruling party has been arrested for chewing gum while laying a wreath at a monument to the country's revered founder Kemal Ataturk, the state Anatolian news agency said Monday.

Veysel Dalci, head of the local branch of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) in the Black Sea town of Fatsa, was charged with insulting Ataturk's memory during Sunday's ceremony marking Turkey's National Sovereignty Day.
Meanwhile, Little Scotty goes out in style (From First Draft):
The leaking of classified information is a very serious matter. And the unauthorized disclosure of classified information can severely harm our national security. We have talked previously about the terrorist surveillance program and how the unauthorized disclosure of that program has shown the enemy our playbook. We are engaged in a difficult and long war against a bunch of ideological extremists who want to do everything they can to stop the advance of freedom in this world and want to harm innocent Americans and innocent people in the civilized world. And that's why it's important that we not show them our playbook. So the leaking of classified information is a matter that the President takes very seriously.
You know, I think he really believes this. He'll go back to Texas believeing it. Now to get ready for the Snow Job.

Monday, April 24, 2006

The 5 Steps to Do Do

When you are in deep doo-doo, you do do strange things:

1. DEPLOY GUNS AND BADGES.....Under the banner of homeland security, the White House plans to seek more funding for an extremely visible enforcement crackdown at the Mexican border, including a beefed-up force of agents patrolling on all-terrain vehicles (ATVs). "It'll be more guys with guns and badges," said a proponent of the plan.....
I guess he didn't see all those people in the streets of almost every major city a few weeks ago. This seems like the stupidest thing in the world. I would have thought a rational immigration plan would go over with everybody, including the owners of all those industries that make use of cheap labor. What do I know.

2 MAKE WALL STREET HAPPY. In an effort to curry favor with dispirited Bush backers in the investment world, the Administration will focus on two tax measures already in the legislative pipeline--extensions of the rate cuts for stock dividends and capital gains....
Excuse me. Excuse me. While it is true that 1% of the population has benefited extraordinarily in the last five years, could I remind you of something? 1% doesn't win a lot of elections! The middle class is pissed off. The lower class is in despair. Maybe NOW they'll vote.

3 BRAG MORE. White House officials who track coverage of Bush in media markets around the country said he garnered his best publicity in months from a tour to promote enrollment in Medicare's new prescription-drug plan. So they are planning a more focused and consistent effort to talk about the program's successes after months of press reports on start-up difficulties. Bolten's plan also calls for more happy talk about the economy....
Wow! Reminds me of a song from South Pacific. The only happy people in the economy are at the top. Again, you don't win elections with 1%.
....They also plan to highlight any glimmer of success in Iraq, especially the formation of a new government, in an effort to balance the negative impression voters get from continued signs of an incubating civil war.
This is just mind boggling. What do they expect? A miracle? This may be a smoke screen for saying that the whole problem has always been Iran and we need to "take them out." But to think that Iraq will evolve into anything more stable in the short run is just pure idiocy (why am I not surprised that they think this?)
4 RECLAIM SECURITY CREDIBILITY. This is the riskiest, and potentially most consequential, element of the plan, keyed to the vow by Iran to continue its nuclear program despite the opposition of several major world powers....
There is one thing that stands out above all else in the Iran question. Russia has come out strongly in support of Iran (one of the "major world powers"). Russia still has lots and lots of nuclear weapons. Do we want to go eyeball to eyeball with Mr. Putin? I don't think so.
5 COURT THE PRESS. Bolten is extremely guarded around reporters, but he knows them and, unlike some of his colleagues, is not scared of them. Administration officials said he believes the White House can work more astutely with journalists to make its case to the public, and he recognizes that the President has paid a price for the inclination of some on his staff to treat them dismissively or high-handedly....
Every time Bush opens his mouth it is a disaster. When he went unscripted he was unintelligible. The World needs less of our boy king, not more. As for Scott McClellan, he has been a broken record for the past year. His "Cannot comment about an ongoing investigation, but the President believes that X is innocent...". And now, and now, Ta Da:
His (Bolton's) first move, working with counselor Dan Bartlett, was to offer the press secretary job to Tony Snow of Fox News radio and television....
Just what the Country needs, George W. Bush channeled through Fox news. Oh, wait. That's been happening for almost six years.

What we really need from this Administration is a little honesty.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Mary McCarthys

Not this Mary McCarthy:
The American, if he has a spark of national feeling, will be humiliated by the very prospect of a foreigner's visit to Congress— these, for the most part, illiterate hacks whose fancy vests are spotted with gravy, and whose speeches, hypocritical, unctuous and slovenly, are spotted also with the gravy of political patronage, these persons are a reflection on the democratic process rather than of it; they expose it in its underwear.
"America the Beautiful," Commentary (September 1947)
But a Mary McCarthy all the same.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Hey! Y'all get that in Hong Kong?

Nice Threads.

FLASH: Democrats change name of Party to "Constitution Party"

If only.

Umbilical X-Ray

Vice President Dick "Killer" Cheney uses X-ray vision to read tiny notes inscribed on his umbilicus (belly button to you, W). Cheney is doing this THROUGH CLOSED EYES. He received this super power during the early days of his vice presidency when Jerry Falwell "laid on the hands."

Gone to Massachusetts

(a h/t to Spenni)

The Children of Iraq

SteveG has a very insightful post up over at DailyKos entitled PTSD: What About the Children? It winds up with this para:
Our two oceans are such an incredible luxury for us. It keeps us at a comfortable distance from most of the rest of the world so that the suffering need only be observed from our living rooms between game shows and sitcoms. But that suffering does not end when the cause is mitigated. PTSD is not just for soldiers. Political decisions have lasting human consequences with very long half-lives.
Human beings are blessed (or cursed, depending on your point of view) with very large brains that retain the memory of events often for a lifetime. How this is done we still don't understand. But, to be sure, there is a difference between short term and long term memory. Short term can be fleeting. What goes into long term is much more permanent. (Why this gives us a survival advantage is food for though.)

The fact that we don't remember much of our childhood doesn't mean that it is not there. Freud was very clever in sorting out this situation even if he may have been off on the mechanism. One thing for sure, though. We remember traumatic events. They get burned into our brains with a branding iron. Think back on your childhood and see if this is not the case.

Which brings us to the subject of SteveG's post, the traumatic experience of children in Iraq and what this is going to do to them in the future. It is very hard to imagine an entire nation with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Remember, a disproportionate number of the current Iraqi population are children. Like this one:

and this one:

and this one:

I have been collecting photos of Iraqi children. I now have well over 500.

Just think about it. What we have done.

Our Dear Gov - 37

Click Comic to enlarge

Friday, April 21, 2006

Thursday, April 20, 2006

The Wisdom of Eric Blair per Billmon

Billmon has done it again with this piece:

If It Quacks Like a Duck

It is hard to blog knowing that people like Billmon can push electrons like this post through the cable into my CPU.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

The Grand Experiment

It may be that we are in the middle of the biggest experiment of the last two hundred years. I am referring to the ongoing crisis that exists in these United States in our form of government. Every time a great country has reached a crisis like we are currently experiencing, and I will summarize my understanding of it below, that country has disintegrated. Sometimes to rebuild (as in China or Japan), but almost always the stress of events has caused the basic structure to fracture and collapse. (Egypt, Persia, Greece, Rome and the Ottoman Empires are well known example. Bernal Diaz's description of Cortez and the destruction of the Aztec Empire in "The Conquest of New Spain" is just as poignant.)

What we have seen over the past five years in particular, is a challenge to the American system that was instituted with our Constitution. Yes, it has been challenged before, most notably by the Civil War. People also often refer to Truman's attempt to break the steel worker's strike during the Korean War as a Constitutional challenge, but this seems miniscule compared to what we are going through today.

Let me be blunt, although I will be viewed much as a heretic was viewed in the Middle Ages. The attack of 9/11 was, in reality, a minor blip in the life of our country. As tragic and as brutal the experience, the number of deaths pales in comparison to other tragedies such as the Civil War, WWI, WWII and Vietnam. Why the attack of 9/11 is of some importance is the use that has been made of it by Bush administration to advance an agenda which has resulted in the current crisis.

The elements of the crisis are well known. They begin before Bush took office. The Republican capture of the House of Representative in the mid term elections of 1994 set the stage though the Reagan years were an earlier preparation. Certainly the fiasco in Florida in 2000, which paved the way for this current administration, was a far more significant event than 9/11. The capstone to date has been Iraq, though an invasion of Iran would make the Iraq War pale in comparison. There can be little doubt now that the planning for the invasion of Iraq had begun even before 9/11. While the administration continues to deny it, the reality is that the justification given to the American people (and the UN, and the World) for the invasion was a fabric of lies. Since that time we have had nothing but boondoggle after boondoggle including Katrina.

However, it is not the ineptness of the administration that is so disturbing, of course. It is the contention by Ashcroft, Gonzales, Cheney and, ultimately, Bush, that they are above the Law that strikes at the heart of our system of government as enshrined in the Constitution. The Valerie Plame affair and the Wiretapping scandal are prime examples of this attitude, though there are more including the use of torture and the secret incarceration of suspects without trial.

Let me repeat, the crisis that I see in our country is that the President and his Administration do not feel that they are bound by the laws as passed by the Congress. This is a very serious situation.

This is not to say that Bush and company could have brought us to this impasse alone. They had the active complicity of the Congress and the Supreme Court. They also had the complicity of a cheerleading media led by vociferous pundits on television and paradoxically quiet editorial pages. This has never happened in our country before. Heretofore the press has been vigilant watchdogs if not outright cantankerous overseers.

So, in conclusion, we are involved in a gigantic experiment, at least vis a vis the American experience. Can our Constitution, as it was written and as it has been understood up until this time, survive an imperial presidency floundering forward with a boy king at the helm? Many see the elections in November as the critical juncture. If Congress can re-establish itself in its rightful place as a co-equal branch of government, maybe we have a chance.

If not, the experiment has failed.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Another Crisis

This was a tragedy. It is very sad. I feel for the family of these people. The response is very serious:
Olmert and senior advisers and security chiefs met for two hours Tuesday to weigh a response. The group decided to hold Hamas responsible because it did not denounce the bombing — a sharp departure from the previous Palestinian leadership's immediate condemnations of such attacks.
And even more significant:
Earlier, Israel's U.N. ambassador, Dan Gillerman, told the U.N. Security Council that the Hamas government's verbal support for the bombing, as well as recent statements by Iran and Syria, "are clear declarations of war, and I urge each and every one of you to listen carefully and take them at face value."

Gillerman said a new "axis of terror" — Iran, Syria and the Hamas government — was sowing the seeds of the first world war of the 21st century. (emphasis added)
Please remember that there are other victims, many of them children, in this conflict.

and that these Palestinian children are just as dead or just as wounded as the Israeli.

And that violence, breeds violence.

I think that there is a real chance that Israel will launch a preemptive war against its neighbors. When Israel is attacked in turn (i.e. its neighbors defend themselves), Israel will use nuclear weapons (they have 200-300 of them and they declare that they won't be annihilated).

What then, Mr. Bush?

Original Flavor Oatmeal

As a child I hated oatmeal. I haven't lost this particular anticlivity. So, it was with some sense of shock and awe this AM when I went back into our little break room and found someone chowing down on "Original Flavor Oatmeal."

IMHO, the only thing Quaker Oats oatmeal was good for was the container it came in. Many a Cub Scout project started with the words "obtain one Quaker Oats box and then ...."

Monday, April 17, 2006

Hey, W, I've got their phone number!

Shades of P.T. Barnum:
MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian police are looking for two mystics who persuaded a student to part with more than $160,000 in exchange for lifting a curse, RIA news agency reported Sunday.

"Two unknown women, on the pretext of lifting a curse, stole $150,000 and some jewelry by means of deception. The total amount stolen is estimated at 4.48 million roubles ($161,800)," the agency quoted a police source as saying.
So, W, there is definitely a curse on your house. (Its name may be Cheney). Get a hold of these ladies and, for a fee, they can get rid of him. They might do Rumsfeld and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, too.

Historical Note:
P. T. Barnum Never Did Say
"There's a Sucker Born Every Minute"
.... History, unfortunately, has misdirected this quotation..... Actually, it was said by his competitor.
Read on if you are interested.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Easter Sunday and the Stupidity Shield

I think I remember from my distant past that this is a day when we are supposed to rejoice. I wish we could. I promise to return to snark tomorrow, since snark may be the only shield against stupidity. Let me direct you to three things:

1. There is an excellent post up in the Seattle Times entitled Coming home — disillusioned by an Iraqi war vetern (x2). This is an intelligent man who has seen Iraq first hand as opposed to the bloviating idiots that fill our airways and White Houses. Read it and weep.

2. Juan Cole yesterday sent us to this photo link. Here is one of the more benign ones:

A child listens as U.S. soldiers question his father about an attack in the Abu Ghraib district of Baghdad on April 1.

How can we continue to do this to these people? And, how can we nuke children like this? How can we even think about it? Shouldn't there be something in the moral makeup of a person that immediately reacts in disgust and horror when it thinks of using nuclear weapons on children? And, trust me, there will be children killed. Ah, but then I forgot.

Kitchner had no trouble sending millions to be butchered. (See Oh! What a Lovely War!)

3. Finally, AMERICAblog recaps the NYT Editorial that is a smack down to the WaPo Editorial last week about the "Good Leak." (If you don't know the background, AMERICAblog summarizes it.) They make the following observation:
Bush didn't declassify the document until AFTER he authorized it to be leaked AND apparently AFTER it was leaked. That means he authorized the leak of still-classified material, which is a crime.
They go further to say:
It looks like Patrick Fitzgerald may have now stumbled upon proof that George Bush engaged in an illegal conspiracy to transmit classified information to parties unauthorized to receive such information, and he did it for malicious reasons.

Whether or not Valerie Plame's name is involved, it's looking a lot like Fitzgerald may have just nailed Bush and Cheney.(emphasis added)
May I make a humble observation? On the one hand we have a President who is mentally challanged having to decide whether to nuke Iraq and on the other hand defend against a probable impeachable offense. This isn't a good mix. While Iraq has been centrifuging uranium, Bush has been courting disaster.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Shrillness (deleted)

And then there is this:
For his efforts, Mr. Raymond, who retired in December, was compensated more than $686 million from 1993 to 2005, according to an analysis done for The New York Times by Brian Foley, an independent compensation consultant. That is $144,573 for each day he spent leading Exxon's "God pod," as the executive suite at the company's headquarters in Irving, Tex., is known.

Despite the company's performance, some Exxon shareholders, academics, corporate governance experts and consumer groups were taken aback this week when they learned the details of Mr. Raymond's total compensation package, including the more than $400 million he received in his final year at the company.
See how good I am? No Comment.

The last of the Shrill (I promise)

Drunk Driving
Arbusto and Bin Laden
Harken Oil insider trading
Executions in Texas
Stealing Florida
Tax breaks for the wealthy
Osama Bin Laden (where are you?)
Tax breaks for the wealthy
Secret Energy Panel
Fool me Once
Downing Street Memos
Bin Laden set to strike PDB
Aluminum Pipes
Sixteen Words
Joe Wilson
Chaos in Iraq
More Chaos in Iraq
Tax breaks for the wealthy
Record Deficit
Valerie Plame
Chaos in Iraq
Lies, sex and video tape
(had to put that in to see if you were reading)
Trent Lott
Medicaid Cuts
Scooter Libby
Social Security Boondoogle
Medicare Drug Boondoogle
Tom Delay
Civil War in Iraq
Worried Generals





Its a question of perspective.

Friday, April 14, 2006