Friday, September 28, 2007

Is There Anything This Guy DOESN'T Do "Because of 9/11"?

Gun control, his wife calling on the cell phone, ghoulish fundraisers--it's just an all 9/11 world, all the time for Rudy...

Rudy decides to get out of bed in the morning...because of 9/11

Rudy eats a nutritious breakfast...because of 9/11

Rudy notices the heavy traffic...because of 9/11

Rudy takes in the sales at the outlet mall...because of 9/11

Rudy takes a restroom break...because of 9/11

Damn city's because of 9/11

Must see twin tower teevee...

Rinse, for president.
Medved: "The Only Thing They Can do for Me is Read My Columns and Shine My Shoes."

Michael Medved insists slavery wasn't such a bad thing--besides, it meant you really could get good help at an affordable price for a long time.

And you've gotta appreciate SadlyNo's opening line in conclusion:

And this is the crux of it right here; the fiery, dense kernel of stupid, crapulous, filthy, racist tripe that generations of wingnuts past have applied the titanic pressures of their stupidity to in order to produce a perfect diamond of codswallop.

Christ and the Adulterous Floozie Mayor

Yeah, he actually made the comparison:

"I'm guided a lot by the story of the woman that was going to be stoned, and Jesus put the stones down and said, 'He that hasn't sinned, cast the first stone,' and everybody disappeared.

"It seems like nowadays in America, we have people that think they could've passed that test," he said. "And I don't think anybody could've passed that test but Jesus."

Well, now that Jesus has forgiven your adultery, you can ask him for help with your shameless pandering to the wingnut Bible thumpers.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Changing the Tone

I suppose "go fuck yourself" is, technically, changing the tone...

OK, so the picture above is more illustrative as allegory than literal as it relates to this absolutely horrible and tragic story...but after working fruitlessly on a few other images, I kept going back to the shot of the Cheneys--smug and complacent beyond all decency, not caring in the slightest about the lives they've so casually shattered, even as they no doubt want to "do what's best" for their newest grandchild.

It reminds me of Michael Palin's character tenderly playing with his kids in the movie Brazil...or the recently uncovered photographs from Auchwitz showing the staff relaxing after, well, days filled with unspeakable acts of evil.

Well, I've digressed...sorry. Anyway, the latest example of the Team Bush anti-Midas touch is a case of what amounts to a total breakdown of a US soldier, testifying at the trial of another soldier who ordered him to kill an unarmed Iraqi while on sniper patrol. The soldier himself will be tried later, as will others. Think about it--everyone from the C.O. down to the victim's life will have been destroyed, thanks in no small part to Mr. Cheney, pictured above...and I doubt he gives a shit whatsoever...

A U.S. soldier cried Thursday as he told a court-martial that his staff sergeant ordered him to shoot an unarmed Iraqi. He said the sergeant then laughed and told the trooper to finish the job as the dying man convulsed on the ground.

The military reported, meanwhile, that it had opened an investigation into the deaths of five women and four children this week in a village where American forces had carried out ground and air assaults...

In the court-martial, Sgt. Evan Vela, 23, spoke barely above a whisper as he recounted shooting the man on May 11 near Iskandariyah, a mostly Sunni city 30 miles south of Baghdad.

Vela said Staff Sgt. Michael Hensley of Candler, N.C., told him to shoot the man, who had stumbled upon their snipers' hideout, although he was not armed and had his hands in the air when he approached the soldiers.

"He (Hensley) asked me if I was ready. I had the pistol out. I heard the word shoot. I don't remember pulling the trigger. It took me a second to realize that the shot came from the pistol in my hand," he said, crying.

Vela said that as the Iraqi man was convulsing on the ground, "Hensley kind of laughed about it and hit the guy on the throat and said shoot again."

"After he (the Iraqi man) was shot, Hensley pulled an AK-47 out of his rucksack and said, 'this is what we are going to say happened,'" Vela said, before he was dismissed from the witness stand to compose himself.

That's Cheney's--and Shrub's--and Limbaugh's and every other cretin's glorious war, a war they'd never have the courage to fight in for a day, much less four or more tours. A war that breaks pretty much everyone and everything it touches.

Ain't it grand?
You Just Can't Make This Stuff Up

There's a Blackwater USA spokesperson named Anne...Tyrrell. True, it's not an EXACT match (two "r's" as opposed to just one), but it's goddamned close enough...Tyrrell's dismissive attitude towards the Congressional the fact that the Executive Branch is fucking SHIELDING Blackwater (via the State Department), well...

No, milk and cookies aren't keeping me awake, but there's something about Blackwater that's more than a little fishy...
Rush Limbaugh=Talking Excrement

You've got to ask yourself how a first-class chickenhawk/oxycontin addict like Lamebone is even allowed to broadcast...
Arbusto Jefe y El Agua Negra

Call it private sector "efficiency:"

The American security contractor Blackwater USA has been involved in a far higher rate of shootings while guarding American diplomats in Iraq than other security firms providing similar services to the State Department, according to Bush administration officials and industry officials...

The officials said that Blackwater’s incident rate was at least twice that recorded by employees of DynCorp International and Triple Canopy, the two other United States-based security firms that have been contracted by the State Department to provide security for diplomats and other senior civilians in Iraq...

Blackwater, based in North Carolina, has gained a reputation among Iraqis and even among American military personnel serving in Iraq as a company that flaunts an aggressive, quick-draw image that leads its security personnel to take excessively violent actions to protect the people they are paid to guard. After the latest shooting, the Iraqi government demanded that the company be banned from operating in the country.

"You can find any number of people, particularly in uniform, who will tell you that they do see Blackwater as a company that promotes a much more aggressive response to things than other main contractors do," a senior American official said.

Despite the growing criticism of Blackwater and its tactics, the company still enjoys an unusually close relationship with the Bush administration, and with the State Department and Pentagon in particular. It has received government contracts worth more than $1 billion since 2002, with most coming under the Bureau of Diplomatic Security, according to the independent budget monitoring group OMB Watch...

The company’s close ties to the Bush administration have raised questions about the political clout of Mr. Prince, Blackwater’s founder and owner. He is the scion of a wealthy Michigan family that is active in Republican politics. He and the family have given more than $325,000 in political donations over the past 10 years, the vast majority to Republican candidates and party committees, according to federal campaign finance reports.

Mr. Prince has helped cement his ties to the government by hiring prominent officials. J. Cofer Black, the former counterterrorism chief at the C.I.A. and State Department, is a vice chairman at Blackwater. Mr. Black is also now a senior adviser on counterterrorism and national security issues to the Republican presidential campaign of Mitt Romney.

Something, though, doesn't add up: Blackwater's received over a billion dollars in government contracts, yet supposedly employs only 550 individuals full time, plus another thousand or so as independent contractors. That doesn't pass the smell test (I've heard, for instance, that private security forces comprise the second largest contingent of armed non-Iraqis...the largest contingent of course being American forces).

Neither does this rather unpleasant story detailing how the State Department is blocking a Congressional investigation of the firm, which is characterized by State as "a misunderstanding," which means we've truly stooped to banana republic levels at this point: "misunderstanding" means "stonewalling." That kind of stuff might be common in Guatemala--or Texas--but rule of law is supposed to mean something in the United States.

And the whole privitization of the military in general is just plain troubling. Ashley has commented on this. Lindsay Beyerstein has documented some first-hand encounters with Blackwater back when they were "providing security" in New Orleans...and shoot, I recall walking past several ninja'd-up types on my first few trips to the city late in 2005. They gave me the impression of being a death squad, or, at the very least, made-mafia types, able to shoot you at will, with ready-made excuses already in the pipeline.

Imagine what they can get away with over in Iraq.

Which makes Shrub's imperious petulance all the more infuriating: if he knew what Blackwater was capable of morphing into, then he reveals a deep contempt for basic democratic principles and genuinely embraces despotism. If not, then he's profoundly ignorant. Or perhaps he embodies more than a little of both.

Not good.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Tell Us How Much You Care, Mr. Cooksey

Fortunately, not all of the state's electorate is from Orleans Parish. Fortunately, many of the people who once composed a great deal of the electorate in Orleans no longer lives in Louisiana. Thus, they are not taking part in the patronage system which has existed in New Orleans for at least 150 years and is the source of so much corruption.

Yeah, they sure look like they've benefited a whole bunch from the "patronage system," don't they, Mr. Cooksey. Yeah, it sure is "fortunate" they "no longer live[] in Louisiana."
See It Then, See It Now

Their Master's Precedent

Hullabaloo demonstrates how the more things change, the more they stay the same. As for my own thoughts...what a bunch of Grand Old Whiners. Not worth a wooden nickel, the whole lot of em.
But it WILL Spite Your Face...

A significant side effect to a number of "Mexicans stay away" ordinances has been economic downturn, particularly in areas in the midst of urban renewal.

Unfortunately, the wide net being cast by these modern day Know-Nothings affects not just illegal immigrants, but legal residents as well as budget bottom lines for towns and municipalities as they watch tax revenue drop when businesses close...or watch legal fees rise as the constitutionality of such legislation is contested.

Oh, and if you link to the article, you'll see it's not just the South that blames bad things on "outsiders." They do the same in Jersey...and almost certainly anywhere and everywhere else.

One other thing: I STILL haven't seen a single anti-immigrant wingnut speak out against the widespread employment of foreign nationals with dubious-at-best legality in New Orleans...perhaps the one place in this country where there really IS competition between them and local citizens for some jobs.
A Nice Little Slightly Used Car War...

Why buy a Cadillac when for the same price you can get a Yugo?

This time around, Team Bush is demanding another $190 billion dollars for "war," although, once again, no one really has the first clue as to how much is actually going for, you know, war...and how much is being stuffed away in the various off-shore bank accounts of miserable excuses for humanity like Dick Cheney.

Category 5 levee protection, Children's health insurance, road and bridge repair, increased funding for education...$190 billion dollars would pay for a lot of stuff. It takes a real special sort of ugly greed to insist that kind of money must instead be wasted over there, or used to artifically inflate Halliburton's stock price. Dick Cheney is certainly that ugly, but that's no excuse for those enabling the whole sorry mess.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Be It By Design or By Accident...'s good that Pravda-Upon-Hudson's little select wall of shame came tumbling down, allowing everyone to once again catch up on either intelligent opinion writers...or David Brooks, for the braindead (or for those who need to know what the braindead are, for lack of a better term, "thinking").

Bob Herbert makes some especially salient points today:

Republicans improperly threw black voters off the rolls in Florida in the contested presidential election of 2000, and sent Florida state troopers into the homes of black voters to intimidate them in 2004.

Blacks have been remarkably quiet about this sustained mistreatment by the Republican Party, which says a great deal about the quality of black leadership in the U.S. It’s time for that passive, masochistic posture to end...

And, lest ANYONE forget, it's not like Rethuglican "heroes" have been anything close to heroic in this regard...unless your idea of heroism is pandering to vicious, ugly racism:

Dr. Carolyn Goodman, a woman I was privileged to call a friend, died last month at the age of 91. She was the mother of Andrew Goodman, one of the three young civil rights activists shot to death by rabid racists near Philadelphia, Miss., in 1964.

Dr. Goodman, one of the most decent people I have ever known, carried the ache of that loss with her every day of her life.

In one of the vilest moves in modern presidential politics, Ronald Reagan, the ultimate hero of this latter-day Republican Party, went out of his way to kick off his general election campaign in 1980 in that very same Philadelphia, Miss. He was not there to send the message that he stood solidly for the values of Andrew Goodman. He was there to assure the bigots that he was with them.

"I believe in states' rights," said Mr. Reagan. The crowd roared.

In 1981, during the first year of Mr. Reagan’s presidency, the late Lee Atwater gave an interview to a political science professor at Case Western Reserve University, explaining the evolution of the Southern strategy:

"You start out in 1954 by saying, 'Nigger, nigger, nigger,'" said Atwater. "By 1968, you can't say 'nigger' -- that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states’ rights, and all that stuff. You’re getting so abstract now [that] you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things, and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites."

Winning one for the Gippet...
Hey Rudy, Since You Seem to Love It So Much

Why not build yourself a scale model and hold an annual re-enactment, you freakish ghoul.

So the Chimperor needs a little friendly assistance with all them big, ferrin werds.

Apparently, though, he has even more trouble with simple words. Like, "I'm so very sorry, Nouri." Makes you wonder just how much thought and how many prayers actually, you know, went out...
Billlions of Manufactured Crises Hawked Daily

Have Some More?

This is just pathetic on so many levels. I mean, it's painfully obvious that a goddamned representative in the United States Congress possesses the mentality of a high school sophomore, unable to comprehend why anyone would dare question her decisions on who to shun and who to play friends with (Rush Lamebone?) for the day.

But isn't that just like the GOP in general? They really DO hold the American public in DEEP contempt, occasionally useful for the illusion of a democractic imprimatur, but otherwise relegated to the status of "consumer." Funny enough, that's exactly what the media thinks, too. Indeed, that's what the media NEEDS: overstuffed consumers, mainly perched on the couch, eyeballs aglaze in front of the tube...leaving the confines just long enough to do some meaningless job, followed by a trip to the Super Wal-Mart for cheap, outsourced, manufactured crap, a burger and fries at the in-store McDeath, then a stop at the gas station on the way home for bargain basement gasoline: only $2.75 a 30,000 casualties (and counting), plus a half trillion dollars.

And for fake outrage, what's better than the "Jew" York Times and Move On. It's like having Madeline Murray O'Hair AND the ACLU to kick around.

Monday, September 24, 2007

The Other 2005 Big One in the Gret Stet

It's the second anniversary of Hurricane Rita's landfall, which, to be honest, seemed to be a stronger storm for me up here in Red also was a bit more stressful, as I've got family down in New Iberia. Thankfully, they were spared the worst of nature's wrath.

As this article Greg Peters linked to says, "I don't think there's going to be an old normal."

About the only 'normal' thing is that, just like with Katrina and the Federal Flood, Team Bush is dragging their feet when it comes to providing disaster assistance...which would be one thing if this administration was at least consistent in their stinginess and penury...but they couldn't open their checkbook fast enough for Florida in 2004...
Dazzling the Lizard-Brains

I keep hammering on this, but it just seems on a gut-level to be a point that needs to be made...watching Shrub bark and bray about fiscal responsibility is a little like listening to made members of the Gambino family talk about the need to follow both the letter and spirit of the law.

Yet...I can't think of A SINGLE INSTANCE when the so called free press has seen fit to notice Team Bush's possibly criminal and most certainly-wasteful-beyond-almost- any-conception handling of public funds. It's enough to make you think the press corpse (sic) is either genuinely brain dead, part of a conspiracy, astoundingly lazy and/or literally addicted to myths about government spending...or just plain stupid.

This is a government that LOST $9 billion dollars in CASH--360 TONS of the stuff. They're going to lecture ANYONE on fiscal restraint?

By the way--it took about 10 seconds to search for "$9 billion missing." It's not like the press really has to do much in the way of leg work to, you know, actually research this.
Sort of Like the Outlet Mall, But For Guns and Explosives

Yet another instance where Keystone Kops would qualify as an improvement--your private security contractors in action (another h/t to Rising Hegemon):

Federal prosecutors are investigating whether employees of the private security firm Blackwater USA illegally smuggled into Iraq weapons that may have been sold on the black market and ended up in the hands of a U.S.-designated terrorist organization, officials said Friday.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Raleigh, N.C., is handling the investigation with help from Pentagon and State Department auditors, who have concluded there is enough evidence to file charges, the officials told The Associated Press. Blackwater is based in Moyock, N.C.

The U.S. attorney for the eastern district of North Carolina, George Holding, and a spokeswoman for Blackwater did not return calls seeking comment Friday. Pentagon and State Department spokesmen declined to comment.

No commment--duh. I don't think I'd comment either if I was THAT dumb. But, combined with a media that would need long pointed fangs before even being accused of sheep-like behavior going ahead glossing this stuff over while reserving genuine vitriol for Move On ads, it's just par for the Rethuglican course...

"And Take the Fucking Garbage Out, Rudy."

"Yes, dear."

I wonder if the pundidiot class will launch into a cacaphony of "if Rudy can't stand up to his wife, how can he stand up to the terrorists" statements over the next few days.

If it'd been a Democratic candidate--and ESPECIALLY if it'd been John Edwards--the resulting noise might well have drowned out everything else for upwards of a week.