Friday, June 30, 2006

I Propose a Constitutional Amendment

Since I might be slow to post come Monday and Tuesday, I'll wish everyone an early Independence Day celebration...and I've got one more modest proposal:

Instead of a Constitutional Amendment to ban flag burning, why not amend the Constitution to allow us, in the event of an energy emergency, the full right to burn or otherwise tap for fuel whatever that thing is on top of Trent Lott's head. The sheer volume of petroleum distillates that could be extracted from that particular hunk of polyester/polystyrene/polychlorinatedbiphenol could conceivably light up the entire Eastern Interconnection for a decade or more.

OK, it's not renewable. But it'd be a lot (no pun intended) better value than it's present use atop the former Majority Leader's thick cranium. Just sayin'.

I'll bet it's an excellent heat INSULATOR, too, probably R-40 or more. If you don't want to burn it, blow it through the attic and it might cut your heating bills by up to 30 percent.

Anyway...if I decide to go postless this holiday weekend--best wishes/Happy 4th of July.
Modern Justice

Steal a little and they'll throw you in jail...steal a lot, and they'll make you King...or at least try to appoint you head of DHS.

While it's nice to see the SCOTUS make a decision that ratifies, in at least some way, shape or form, rule of law, you've gotta wonder about the quality of justice when:

Looters stealing beer, wine, and liquor get 15 years, but

Bernard Kerik, who used his position in Rudy Guiliani's administration to "accept tens of thousands of dollars worth of gifts and a loan" gets no jail time (though, admittedly, a pretty stiff fine).

This is not to justify or defend looters: if they're guilty, then punish them. But you can't tell me justice is blind if a person who stole a hell of a lot more gets to walk, even if he's looking at a six figure judgement.
I Thought I Recognized John Roberts From Somewhere

Flipping through the news stories last night about SCOTUS determining that, you know, rule of law and due process aren't such bad things, I kept seeing stock video of the Supremes...there was something about ol' Chief Roberts that kept, oh I don't know...

Then it hit me--he's freaking Dean Wormer.

And Shrub could make for a decent enough Flounder...well, maybe a fusion of him and brother Jeb: fat, drunk and the movie says, "that's no way to go through life." Unless your last name is Bush, I guess.
Hurricane Rita: The Afghanistan War of the 2005 Storm Season

The entire article is worth reading, but I'd like to highlight this paragraph in particular:

This place prides itself on its role in providing oil and seafood to the rest of the country, on its Gulf Coast wildlife, on its Cajun self-reliance. Still, nine months of cleaning up, of fighting insurance companies and of deciphering federal regulations — of wondering who will come back — have taken a toll on the people and those who serve them.

More than a good bit of "Katrina fatigue" and completely forgetting about Rita, IMHO, stems from the myth--promulgated with, ahem, more than a good bit of encouragement from Rove and his twitnut acolytes--the myth that South Louisiana is some sort of drain on the national know, the "those people" dismissal. "Those people" should have known not to live there, "those people" should have evacuated, "those people" are just a bunch of welfare queens (unlike the Halliburtons, Lincoln Groups, and Bechtels--who are "contractors" for stuff like sailboat fuel and "good news, another freshly painted Iraqi school" stories).

Well, myth busting ain't easy...but: the Gulf Coast of Louisiana is neither a welfare case nor a pleasure palace. It's a WORKING coastline that benefits the entire country. Between petro-chemical (ugh, but...), a highly productive agriculture and seafood industry, the ports...and the nice little gravy train of offshore royalties that have found their way to federal coffers over the last 50 or so years (YRHT posts today that a deal might FINALLY be in the works to provide the Gret Stet with a partial share)...the region is certainly no welfare case. We've done our part (and continue to do so).

Gulf Coast restoration, particularly here in Louisiana, is not a charity case. It's an investment that has in the past and will in the future return quite a number of dividends to the country as a whole--provided it's not abandoned.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Good Heavens, He Actually Said That...

WIIIAI has today's moment of irony:

[Bush] talked about how he’d met a Japanese woman whose daughter had been abducted by the North Koreans. “It also reminded me about the nature of the regime -- what kind of regime would kidnap people, just take them off offshore, you know”.

Here's the transcript.
Coalition of the Wilting

Romania's had enough:

Romania plans to withdraw its troops from Iraq by the end of this year, Prime Minister Calin Tariceanu said on Thursday.

The announcement regarding Romania's 890 troops follows a similar move by Italy, while Japan began withdrawing its troops from the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq last week.

According to the report, two Romanian soldiers have died in Iraq, along with another four in Afghanistan...I dunno--maybe the twitnuts can blame them "for losing" when all's said and done.

Funny--haven't heard much from Shrub about the "coalition partners" of late...for that matter, neither have I heard much about the Gulf Coast (that is, the Gulf of MEXICO coast)...
Bayou Baghdad?

Bill Quigley writes in Counterpunch and on the website Justice For New Orleans:

You may have seen on the news that we have some new neighbors --the National Guard. We could use the help of our military to set up hospitals and clinics. We could use their help in gutting and building houses or picking up the mountains of debris that remain. But instead they were sent to guard us from ourselves. Crime certainly is a community problem. But many question the Guard helping local police dramatically increase stops of young black males --who are spread out on the ground while they and their cars are searched. The relationship between crime and the collapse of all of these other systems is a one rarely brought up.

It has occurred to us that our New Orleans is looking more and more like Baghdad.

People in New Orleans wonder if this is the way the US treats its own citizens, how on earth is the US government treating people around the world? We know our nation could use its money and troops and power to help build up our community instead of trying to extending our economic and corporate reach around the globe. Why has it chosen not to?

We know that what is happening in New Orleans is just a more concentrated, more graphic version of what is going on all over our country. Every city in our country has some serious similarities to New Orleans. Every city has some abandoned neighborhoods. Every city in our country has abandoned some public education, public housing, public healthcare, and criminal justice. Those who do not support public education, healthcare, and housing will continue to turn all of our country into the Lower Ninth Ward unless we stop them. Why do we allow this?

There are signs of hope and resistance.

Neighborhood groups across the Gulf Coast are meeting and insisting that the voices and wishes of the residents be respected in the planning and rebuilding of their neighborhoods.

Public outrage forced FEMA to cancel the eviction of 3,000 families from trailers in Mississippi.

Country music artists Faith Hill and Tim McGraw blasted the failed federal rebuilding effort, saying "When you have people dying because they're poor and black or poor and white, or because of whatever they are " if that's a number on a political scale " then that is the most wrong thing. That erases everything that's great about our country."

There is a growing grassroots movement to save the 4000+ apartments of public housing HUD promises to bulldoze. Residents and allies plan a big July 4 celebration of resistance.

Voluntary groups have continued their active charitable work on the Gulf Coast. Thousands of houses are being gutted and repaired and even built by Baptist, Catholic, Episcopal, Jewish, Mennonite, Methodist, Muslim, Presbyterian and other faith groups. The AFL-CIO announced plans to invest $700 million in housing in New Orleans.

Many ask what the future of New Orleans is going to be like? I always give the lawyer's answer, "It depends." The future of New Orleans depends on whether our nation makes a commitment to those who have so far been shut out of the repair of New Orleans. Will the common good prompt the federal government to help the elderly, the children, the disabled and the working poor return to New Orleans? If so, we might get most of our city back. If not, and the signs so far are not so good, then the tens of thousands of people who were left behind when Katrina hit 10 months ago, will again be left behind.

The future of New Orleans depends on those who are willing to fight for the right of every person to return. Many are fighting for that right. Please join in.

Some ask, what can people who care do to help New Orleans and the Gulf Coast? Help us rebuild our communities. Pair up your community, your business, school, church, professional or social organization, with one on the Gulf Coast --and build a relationship where your organization can be a resource for one here and provide opportunities for your groups to come and help and for people here to come and tell their stories in your communities. Most groups here have adopted the theme --Solidarity not Charity. Or as aboriginal activist Lila Watson once said: "If you have come to help me, you are wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us struggle together."

For the sake of our nation and for our world, let us struggle together.

"Bring 'em on."

Aside from having to deal with the obvious Nazi tendencies of an Ann Coulter, or the racist rantings of a Michelle Malkin--or even the foolish, vainglorious stomach rumblings of a first-class creep like Big Time Dick Cheney--you've gotta start wondering just what the hell sort of delusions are affecting the national political leadership when something as painfully clear as the crisis of Operation Disaster in the Desert garners reactions like a dimwitted resolution, the ever popular grandstand with old Glory, or a swiftboat campaign...instead of some evident realizations...

Like, for instance, it'd be a godamned good idea (whether or not you agree Operation Disaster in the Desert is just that) to ensure, from a tactical standpoint, that the deployed forces were positioned in a way to SECURE their perimeter and supply lines. THAT, by the way, is the essence of the Murtha position of redeployment "beyond the horizon." Watching the cheerleader faction in Congress interpret this as "cut and run" reveals a profound ignorance of basic military tactics...or an equally profound lack of concern for the welfare of the troops. If NOTHING else, you'd think these assclowns would recognize that dead or seriously wounded soldiers constitute a significant loss on the military's investment...and, maybe it's just me, but you'd also think they'd have at least a small degree of human compassion for the individual soldier...or their family and loved ones.

You'd also think it wouldn't take any kind of high-level analysis to realize that killing people isn't exactly a way to win hearts and minds. And, aside from the cost in human lives, you'd think someone would understand that the monetary investment at this point FAR outweighs any possible "gain" we might salvage...

We're still spending money hand over fist...and gaining less than nothing.

Bob Herbert (sorry, no link), sums up the distinct lack of success:

After all the sound and fury of the past few years, how is the U.S. doing in its fight against terrorism?

Not too well, according to a recent survey of more than 100 highly respected foreign policy and national security experts. The survey, dubbed the "Terrorism Index," was conducted by the Center for American Progress and Foreign Policy magazine. The respondents included Republicans and Democrats, moderates, liberals and conservatives.

The survey's findings were striking. A strong, bipartisan consensus emerged on two crucial points: 84 percent of the respondents said the United States was not winning the war on terror, and 86 percent said the world was becoming more — not less — dangerous for Americans.

The sound and fury since Sept. 11, 2001 — the chest-thumping and muscle-flexing, the freedom fries, the Patriot Act, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the breathtaking expansion of presidential power, Guantánamo, rendition, the expenditure of hundreds of billions of dollars — seems to have signified very little.

And Paul Crag Roberts looks at another cost:

Many Americans have turned a blind eye to the administration's illegal and unconstitutional spying on the grounds that, as they themselves are doing nothing wrong, they have nothing to fear. If this is the case, why did our Founding Fathers bother to write the Constitution? If the executive branch can be trusted not to abuse power, why did Congress pass legislation establishing a panel of federal judges (ignored by the Bush administration) to oversee surveillance? If President Bush can decide that he can ignore statutory law, how does he differ from a dictator? If Bush can determine law, what is the role of Congress and the courts? If "national security" is a justification for elevating the power of the executive, where is his incentive to find peaceful solutions?

Emotional appeals to fear and to patriotism have led close to half of the population to accept unaccountable government in the name of "the war on terrorism." What a contradiction it is that so many Americans have been convinced that safety lies in their sacrifice of their civil liberties and accountable government.

Before concluding:

Sugar-coated propaganda doesn't present Americans with the emotional and mental stress associated with the hard facts.

In National Socialist Germany, by the time propaganda lost its grip, Germans were in the hands of a police state. It was too late to take corrective measures. Not even the military could correct the disastrous policies of the executive. In the end, Germany was destroyed. Does a similar fate await Americans?

I'm beginning to wonder if Roberts might be spot on in likening things to the particular black hole of Nazi Germany. Even as history will judge Team Bush's decision to invade Iraq--strictly on the basis of military expediency--as the worst strategic blunder since Operation Barbarossa/War on the Eastern Front, I'm beginning to think an excellent study might be made in comparing and contrasting some of the more foul smelling shitbombs emanating from Twitnuttia with their forebears back in the Old Country. Indeed, some already have. And as things continue to fall apart, it's highly likely you'll see even MORE explicit reflections of this as twitnuttia retreats into their comfort zone. Let's just hope the general public wises up, tosses the existing government out on its ear, and elects some adults BEFORE we see rhetoric transferred into action...

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Happy [cough] 50th Birthday [honk]

Our, ahem, GERMAN-inspired national interstate highway system was launched 50 years the time, I'm sure it was well intentioned; however, can anyone really say they enjoy spending on average more than 60 hours a a standstill? Shoot, most drivers here in Red Stick a/k/a Lake Charles-meets-Barry Bonds's-personal-trainer might consider 60 hours an improvement.

That said, I'm not entirely anti-car. Hell, I own one myself--a small one--and it comes in handy. But as a culture, I think we've taken the "put all your eggs in one basket" paradigm to the extreme in relying on essentially ONE mode of transit...OK, two if you count long distance air travel, although in most cities you still have to take a car to or from the airport (for the record, I've taken the bus between the NOLA airport and BR as recently as 2004, but it's not exactly a pleasant experience).

Car dealers--and the repair/customization industry--might like this a lot, but between the ever-possible breakdowns, distance to cities like NOLA...and chaos theory as interpreted by NASCAR fans (i.e., traffic), I'd be a LOT happier having some real choices...which is what you had years ago, by the way.

Sure, the roads weren't as good...but railroads crisscrossed the country, cities provided streetcars, trams, intraurbans, buses, etc. And I'll bet traffic wasn't nearly as bad for those who could afford a fossil burner (I STILL wonder why hard-core car affecionados don't push for MORE public transit: successful systems would clear up congestion. They'd also put some real teeth into drunk driving laws).

Mike Ferner has a pretty good piece up at Counterpunch looking at the decline in mass transit over the last 50 years--while the interstate system certainly provided an incentive to go out and get a fossil burner, it was more than just good roads that eliminated convenient mass transit in most of the country:

The [Jim Klein and Martha Olson produced] documentary [Taken for a Ride] tells the dramatic story of how America's passenger trains and streetcars were systematically and deliberately killed by what we now call the "highway lobby." What makes their film so important is that it goes beyond vague conspiracy theories to name names.

Klein and Olson weave General Motors promotional films, Congressional archives, interviews with citizen activists, and Department of Justice memos into a compelling pattern of events that make it clear: we didn't get into the traffic jam we're in today by accident.

For example, "Ride" explains, the oft-scorned highway lobby was not born of fuzzy environmentalist folklore. The "most powerful pressure group in Washington," began in June, 1932, when GM President, Alfred P. Sloan, created the National Highway Users Conference, inviting oil and rubber firms to help GM bankroll a propaganda and lobbying effort that continues to this day.

Sloan, unhappy with a transportation system in which the majority of people rode streetcars and trains, not automobiles, bought out Omnibus Corp., the nation's largest bus operating company, and Yellow Coach, the largest bus manufacturer. With these, he began a campaign to "modernize" New York City's railways with buses.

With New York as an example, GM formed National City Lines in 1936 and the assault on mass transit across America began with a vengeance.

Within ten years, NCL controlled transit systems in over 80 cities. GM denied any control of NCL, but the bus line's Director of Operations came from Yellow Coach, and board members came from Greyhound, a company founded by GM. Later, Standard Oil of California, Mack Truck, Phillips Petroleum, and Firestone joined GM's support of NCL.

If you've inched through traffic on a city bus or followed one for any distance, you know why people abandoned NCL's buses for cars whenever they could. It doesn't take a rabid conspiracy nut to see the subsequent benefit to GM, Firestone, and Standard Oil.

"Ride" is most compelling when it documents how the U.S. Justice Department prosecuted NCL, General Motors, and other companies for combining to destroy America's transit systems.

Brad Snell, an auto industry historian who spent 16 years researching GM, said that key lawyers involved with the case told him "there wasn't a scintilla of doubt that the defendants had set out to destroy the streetcars."

For eliminating a system "worth $300 billion today," Snell laments, the corporations were eventually found guilty and fined $5,000. Key individuals, such as the Treasurer of GM, were fined one dollar.

The post-war boom in housing, suburbs, and freeways is a familiar story. Not so familiar is the highway lobby's high-level efforts to determine our transportation future.

In 1953, President Eisenhower appointed then-GM President Charles Wilson as his Secretary of Defense, who pushed relentlessly for a system of interstate highways. Francis DuPont, whose family owned the largest share of GM stock, was appointed chief administrator of federal highways.

Funding for this largest of all U.S. public works programs came from the Highway Trust Fund's tax on gasoline, to be used only for highways. Its formula assured that more highways meant more driving, more money from the gasoline tax, and more highways.

Helping to keep the driving spirit alive, Dow Chemical, producer of asphalt, entered the PR campaign with a film featuring a staged testimonial from a grade school teacher standing up to her anti-highway neighbors with quiet indignation. "Can't you see this highway means a whole new way of life for the children?"

Citizens might agree that highways meant a whole new way of life, but not necessarily for the better. The wrecking ball cleared whole neighborhoods for the interstate highways and public protestgrew accordingly. One Washington, D.C. activist recalls, "this was a brutal period in our history; a very brutal period."

The documentary concludes with a peek into the future, interviewing corporate sponsors of the Intelligent Vehicle Highway System, a computer-controlled vision of travel which currently receives the lion's share of federal transportation research funding.

"Taken for a Ride" is more timely today than when it was made a decade ago.
Twitnuts, Shoot Your Computer!

Because it's treasonous

If you look closely, the monitor above is displaying this page--the homepage of SWIFT, the "supersecret" agency Team Bush is using to "track secret...over we don't have know" etc. etc. etc., they are truly fucking nauseating with their ridiculous and sleazy fearmongering tactics--that is, when they're not advocating the end of independent journalism.

When asked to back up the White House accusation that a recent New York Times story put American lives at risk by disclosing vital secrets to terrorists, the best press secretary Tony Snow could do yesterday was this: "I am absolutely sure they didn't know about SWIFT."

SWIFT, the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, is the international banking cooperative that quietly allowed the Treasury Department and the CIA to examine hundreds of thousands of private banking records from around the world

But the existence of SWIFT itself has not exactly been a secret. Certainly not to anyone who had an Internet connection.

SWIFT has a Web site, at .

It's a very informative Web site. For instance, this page describes how "SWIFT has a history of cooperating in good faith with authorities such as central banks, treasury departments, law enforcement agencies and appropriate international organisations, such as the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), in their efforts to combat abuse of the financial system for illegal activities."

(And yes, FATF has its own Web site, too.)

An e-mail from White House Briefing reader Tim O'Keefe tipped me off to just how nutty it is to suggest that SWIFT keeps a low profile. Among other things, he explained, "SWIFT also happens to put on the largest financial services trade show in the world every year," he wrote. "Swift also puts out a lovely magazine ."

Furthermore, as I noted in Monday's column , it has been my personal experience that your garden-variety wire-transfer form mentions SWIFT. Mine warned: "With respect to payment orders executed through SWIFT, the SWIFT operating rules shall govern the payment orders."

I wrote in yesterday's column that in spite of leveling a monstrous charge against the New York Times -- of putting American lives at risk and aiding the enemy -- the White House has never definitively explained how any of these disclosures actually impair the pursuit of terrorists.

The reason why they can't explain how these disclosures actually impair the pursuit of terrorists is patently obvious: it doesn't. On the one hand, this gang of dingbats couldn't pursue a box turtle, much less a disciple of bin Laden's armed with box cutters...and second, they don't actually give a shit. Harping on about terrorists is nothing more than an electoral tactic. Hell, when confronted with genuine crises--hurricanes Katrina and Rita--the mix and match of not caring and incompetence was so glaring even the media was forced to report on it.

Unfortunately, they've since crawled back into their holes--so much so that it took Froomkin to notice the Times's "treason" was basically browsing the world wide web.
Bring It On

The latest Suspect Device is up.
Yet Another Modest Proposal

Juan Cole suggests war apologists put their money where their mouth is:

AP says that a "safer Iraq" is needed for US investment. D'oh.

But this article reminds me of all the politicians (of both major parties) and bloggers who keep saying that things are just fine in Iraq and that the bad news is exaggerated by the "liberal media" (oh mythic phoenix!).

And, I think we ought to hold their feet to the fire. Every time someone says that in reality things are just fine in Iraq, we should ask them how much of their own, personal money they have invested in a private business enterprise in Iraq. The Iraqi-American Chamber of Commerce can help them with specific investment opportunities.

I think we should exclude buying real estate or investing in mercen . . . I mean US contracting. Also, it has to be an investment in Arab Iraq, not the Kurdistan Regional confederacy. But, if things are going so great, then surely this is the time to put $100,000 into, say, a textile factory in . . . I don't know, Baquba. Most of these politicians and bloggers on the Right could afford such an investment, and most wouldn't even be too badly off if they lost the whole wad.

So, Fox Cable News anchors, rightwing bloggers, smug pundits, etc., etc.-- Pony up. How much have you put on the line here to back up your Dr. Pangloss-style rose colored glasses? And, if you haven't put at least a few tens of thousands of dollars into a private Iraqi business, then you do not have a leg to stand on.

And then you can experience the thrill of corkscrewing down from 50,000 feet to a hair raising landing at Baghdad International (those pesky shoulder fired ground-to-air missiles are such a pain...not to mention a potential digestive "adventure") you can go check on your investments. And just between you and me, I'd forego a taxi and look instead for some sort of armored vehicle for ground transportation...I hear the way out of the airport is even worse than Baton Rouge's Plank Road late at night...
They Oughta Tax War Pimps Instead


And maybe they should go after johns, too.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Vice Can Be Virtue

Earlier I saw a Joshua Marshall post noting his preference for French Market Coffee and Chickory (and his post-Katrina scramble to secure an adequate supply)...Oyster noted it and used this to announce he'll be adding his voice to TPM's After the Levees Forum (I added a comment noting that I've never been a fan of chickory...I'll stick to plain old Community Dark Roast with plenty of half and half. Aside: back in the 80's, Community's ad campaign mimicked a political campaign. If I remember right, the tag was something like "Community for State Coffee").

Anyway...after years of being maligned, coffee is now some sort of goddamned miracle drug, chickoried or not, I guess. Last week reports came out saying yer cuppa mud might cut down on alcohol-based liver damage...well, that's a relief.

Now a report comes out suggesting coffee might cut down your risk for diabetes, too. What next?...

By the time they finish studying the stuff, they may find out that it's better to head to the local barista instead of a corporate-profit driven HMO. Cheaper, too.
Why Burn the Flag?...

When you can burn the constitution, burn the credibility of our intelligence agencies, burn the nation's reputation...and burn through almost $300 billion dollars?!?

In comparison, burning a flag--or defacing it--seems petty, doesn't it?
Points for Accuracy, I Guess

Maybe it was a case of the law of averages catching up, but Tony Snow certainly got it right when asked about military death number 2,500 in The War to Save Team Bush's Face--"it's a number."

Military spouses know this all too well:

As Holly Wren coped with her 6-month-old son and the sorrow of losing her husband in Iraq last November, she assumed that the military's sense of structure and order would apply in death as it had in life.

Instead she encountered numerous hurdles in trying to collect survivor benefits. She received only half the amount owed her for housing because her husband, one of the highest ranking soldiers to die in Iraq, was listed as single, childless and living in Florida — wrong on every count. Lt. Col. Thomas Wren was married, with five children, and living in Northern Virginia.

She waited months for her husband's retirement money and more than two weeks for his death benefit, meant to arrive within days. And then Mrs. Wren went to court to become her son's legal guardian because no one had told her husband that a minor cannot be a beneficiary. "You are a number, and your husband is a number" said Mrs. Wren, who ultimately asked her congressman for help. "They need to understand that we are more than that."

A number...or a backdrop.
What Are They Hiding?

"I don't see anything...what about you, Dick?" [Cheney: Deep Stomach Rumbles]

Maybe it's just me, but the histrionics unleashed yesterday by the tag team twins of disastrous incompetence sounded more like a desperate attempt to keep people from peering through the curtain...or at least keep them occupied while something got swept under the rug.

It's not as if the financial fishing rodeo wasn't already on record, although curiously, whoever tried to make a killing on mass killing doesn't seem to have been touched by Team Bush.

Now, I don't have any evidence, of course, but the old saying about smoke and fire might well ring true--and I'm beginning to wonder if the fishing rodeo might include a few CYA feelers...or even some good old fashioned dirty politics. I'm not saying that anyone from Team Bush was necessarily involved in the curious matter of airline stock options--but I don't doubt some members on the squad, including this generation's incarnation of Tricky Dick, sure are making a killing, profitwise, on war. Between the killer profits--and the equally devasting consequences to their personal and political reputations should there be, oh, improprieties, perhaps it's understandable that of late Cheney's adopted the persona of a rabid wolverine, recently liberated from atop Donald Trump's head.

Of course, this is all speculation. But given the less-than-savory reputations of the principal players, it'd sure be nice to see a Democratic majority in Congress come January of 2007, if for no other reason than to watch these assclowns sweat bullets during the ensuing investigations.

Speaking of sweating bullets: Ole Rush Limp-baugh might just be doing that today as prosecuters decide whether or not he reneged on his plea bargain. Oh, it'd be poetic justice if Rush got charged...but given the nature of the modern criminal justice system, the investigation will likely, no pun intended, peter out faster than the Viagra-less bloviater himself...

Monday, June 26, 2006

OK, So It Will Cost $17 Billion Dollars to Repair and Replace Army Equipment...

Fine...but I've got a question: what is DOD doing with the remaining $410 billion dollars? What were they doing with the roughly $400 billion dollars in supplemental appropriations over the last four years by their own accounting? (link is to .html, from there additional links are to .pdfs). Is anyone from "the business" administration looking into this? Oh, that's right--no one in an official capacity, though at least Waxman (D-CA) is trying...

It's NOT unpatriotic to demand accountability from military contractors. It IS unpatriotic to play profiteer with taxpayer money, particularly during wartime.
Because I Just Couldn't Stop Myself


I mean, c'mon...I've got a copy of Photoshop, for crying out loud...

All kidding aside, the nonsense re: the "big blogs" on the left is just more garbage from the twitnut spin cycle. I read DailyKos, well, daily, link to them often enough (though, let's be real--I'm not even a speck on the screen in comparison)...and while I can't recall for sure, believe I found out about both Library Chronicles and the one and only dean (emeritus) of Gret Stet blogging, Timshel himself from scanning through Kos comment threads. Ah, the golden age.

So...not that he's ever gonna see the pic, but if it offends, apologies, Kos. Hope you don't mind. And I eagerly await further instructions.
Wrong On So Many Levels

"Gear up, flaps up. OK, let's land this thing!"

Today's violence in Iraq includes 35 dead in two cities, and a United States Marine serving in Anbar Province. The expression "today's violence," to paraphrase the disclaimer from "Z" is INTENTIONAL, and should alone justify a grade of "F," if not "zero" for Operation People Die So Shrub and Cheney Can Save Face.

Speaking of "Z"--the letter, not the movie--the "policy" of late has been zigzagging to such an extent I doubt anyone can really keep up.

Let's see--last week Congress significantly contributed to global warming with a "debate" that would've been more enlightening had they instead taken to counting grains of sand on the beach. Big Time insisted he was correct to say the insurgency was in its "last throes"...and then went on to assert both that the earth was flat and remained stationary in "the aether" while the sun, moon, stars and planets revolved around it in a series of crystal spheres (OK, so I made up the part about his saying the earth flat, etc., but what the hell--it's just as nutzoid). Five Deferments Dick also talked tough on the matter of a timetable for withdrawal...except now we see that maybe there IS a timetable for withdrawal...or maybe there isn't, depending on, this time to paraphrase John Kennedy, "the weather, political and otherwise." (and btw--I'm not a JFK fan, but compared to the dingbat in charge--and his puppet, Charley McCarthy Shrub, Kennedy was a goddamned master of statecraft).

Last week Abu Gonzales held press conference trumpeting the arrest/capture of a "terrorist cell" in Miami...turns out the "terrorists" likely couldn't have so much as successfully infiltrated a George Clinton concert, though not for lack of proper attire:

A man identifying himself as Brother Corey said in an interview with CNN that he belonged to the group, called the Seas of David. He denied the group was involved in terrorism and described the Seas of David as a religious organization.

The group apparently did little to inspire fear in the Liberty City neighborhood where they took up residence.

A close family friend and a distance cousin of Stanley Grant Phanor described the leader of the group, Narseal Batiste, as a "Moses-like figure" who would roam the streets in a cape or bathrobe, toting a crooked wooden cane and looking for young men to join his group.

Man, I'm sure glad the FBI is protecting me from...guys in bathrobes toting crooked wooden canes. Sticks ARE weapons, after all.

(Note: Narseal has Gret Stet connections, having spent part of his time growing up in and around Marksville/Bunkie. But, sorry, conspiracy theorists: Avoyelles Parish did NOT suffer "God's wrath" from either Katrina or Rita...though it IS the birthplace of one Edwin Washington Edwards).

Tony Snow had hisself one big ol' hissy fit--as did Peter King (the asshole New York representative, NOT the surprisingly thoughtful CNN/SI Sports Columnist)--re: the New York Times story about Team Bush fishing through financial records, as if ANYONE from Team Bush is actually capable of understanding, much less interpretion. For chrissakes, this is a gang of clowns who couldn't run a genuine business to save their lives (and thus have turned to giving themselves government monies by the freight train load).

And, finally, sort of like a rotten cherry on top of a rancid dessert, David Brooks manages to discover the creeping commie menace in the form of Daily Kos, or, more specifically, Kos himself...who evidently is a mix/match of Stalin's cult of personality and "that Moscow gold."

Unfortunately, Daily Kos is as yet unawares of my presence here in Red State/Red City America; however I look forward to obeying his instructions as soon as his intel network notifies him...because as we all know, "the party has a thousand eyes."
Paging Speaker Hastert

Given your, ahem, expertise on the subject, will you be recommending that significant areas of the Central Atlantic Coast be bulldozed? Or should we start bulldozing and abandoning flood-prone areas of Illinois first?

Just askin'.
Behind the Facade

Another big thank-you to Scout Prime, honorary Gret Steter, for continuing to point out the abysmal record of the federal government in responding to the 2005 storms and floods. It IS a national embarrassment when Tsunami relief workers express shock at the snail's-pace of the recovery:

Two leaders of the Asian Coalition for Housing Rights who have spent the last 18-months helping victims of last year’s Tsunami took a walk through the Lower Ninth Ward Friday.

Their reaction was one of shock, because they said they expected to see more signs of recovery from Hurricane Katrina.

“We think of America as being this fabulous, powerful superpower, and it’s exactly like Third World situations,” said Tom Kerr.

“In my personal opinion, I think you should have done much, much faster. It should be much better than what I have seen today,” said Samsook Boonyabancha.

For months, they have been exchanging emails on the recovery process with the New Orleans based National Policy and Advisory Council on Homelessness. Friday, they got to see Katrina’s devastation first hand, and heard residents talk about the long, hard road to recovery.

"The fact that the relief and the support for people who live here is so minimal even though there is so much money in this country, it's really shocking," said Kerr.

Of course it's shocking. What's more shocking is the active effort on the part of the national government to ignore a serious problem while they obsess about the fool's errand overseas in Iraq.