Thursday, May 31, 2007

Fred Thompson, So?

Some Republicans are getting all 'het up' that Fred Thompson seems to be running in the Primary. I'm not sure what it is, Hollywood? I've seen him compared to Ronnie, I seriously doubt he's got the charm to cover as much incompetence as Ronnie demonstrated. R R is hero to the very people going nutz over illegal immigration amnesty - his deal, and we're paying for it now; terrorism - he could have had them in Beirut, pussed out even though he knew who and where; corruption - maybe 2nd only to some other real pieces of work, though not close to GWB; fiscal responsibility - give me a break, Presided over the greatest deficit up until then, tax break and break the govt. Charming and folksy were his achievements, good in a dog, not much of a recommendation for POTUS.

And Thompson is different from the current crop exactly how? A consistent conservative, oh sure, 1 1/2 Senate terms and... A real resume - actor, lobbyist, Senator, minority counsel to Watergate, and??? Which R is he supposed to be an improvement over? I don't think it would take much to improve on the current crop, but I just don't see it.

Politico has the story, but what's interesting is the comments. Desperation?

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Where To Now, Republicans?

I've been spending a fair amount of time over at Central Sanity which has several Republican/Conservative contributors because I seem to have become some sort of voice for the left as a contributor. It's a peculiar sort of mission for me, a whole lot of the left thinks I'm something odd. But as reading goes it's a pretty good place, the standards are pretty high and it's not just a regurgitation of Rightwingery. So, a question occurred, who is going to lead the Republicans? Not in a Presidential run, the Party, which will essentially be the make up of the Congressional Delegation.

There are those who vie for the lead on Party principles, Newt, DeLay, Viguerie, Boehner, Flake, Rove, and Norquist are some of the primary contenders. The Newt has a lot of ideas, I've thrown rocks at some, and some like "modernizing big government," don't seem to have much meaning to me. I don't like him, I haven't liked most of the ideas he's publicized, and I also think he's harmed himself with the Party "leaders" with his Clinton federal shut-down collision.

DeLay says so much Christian Right stuff that much of the socially moderate wing of the R's isn't going to buy in, and the corruption scandals get laid pretty much at his doorstep. His K Street project and earmarking for political gain propensities offend many fiscal conservatives. What DeLay means by rebuilding the conservative movement seems pretty unclear beyond God stuff. I've tried to read his blog, but I really can't stand that kind of abuse of my intellect.

Viguerie is a champion of civil liberties and small government with small taxes, he has a new book, "Conservatism Betrayed : How George W..." which lays out his discontent. He may be one of the more credible conservatives, but his agendas gore some pretty popular items.

Flake (AZ) and Pence (IN) are low tax small government crusaders, No Child..., prescription drug program and even Medicare are poison to them. Economic freedom, limited government, and individual responsibility are their mantra, and are nearer Goldwater than most. Whether the R's have the stomach for that battle is questionable, and selling the public - particularly the center - on the idea would entail not positioning the corporate world as the benefactor at the average citizen's expense. It'll play in sound bites, but as a policy agenda there are some real politically unattractive hits on programs.

Boehner seems to be drawn to the politics of opposition, at this point he is a BushCo creature, but national security seems to be his biggest thing.

I leave Rove out of any analysis, what he actually believes is a mystery beyond the acquisition of power. He seems to believe that co-opting government into the private sector is a method of reforming government into something market driven - whatever that is supposed to mean. Currently it means government subsidy of corporate incompetence and corruption, even Republicans are starting to find that a little difficult to swallow.

Monday, May 28, 2007

War On Terror

We've heard this for years now, "war on terror" demands this, that, or the other thing. This phrase is truly a piece of nonsense, look at the words themselves:
"War" is a military engagement with an organized foe with a definitive goal and end,
"Terror" is a tactic engaged in by individuals, organizations, or governments.

So what we have is some kind of war being waged on a tactic. It's a bumper sticker. There is no war against terror, there has been a war against the Taliban and al-Qaeda in Afghanistan. In Iraq we started a war with Saddam Hussein and quickly overwhelmed his army. Since that point we have been engaged in conflict with an assortment of "bad guys." This is no longer a War, it is a series of deadly encounters with people of wildly varied agendas having only in common an opposition to American troops and each other. "Terror" is not even a definition of their combat tactics, it is applicable to a car bomb in a crowded market, but certainly not to sniping, IEDs, and firefights. Sniping is a common military tactic, IEDs are no more than mines without the title, and a firefight is what engaged units do.

Words count, they are supposed to be a method of communication, in this instance words have been used to lie about what is being done and further to dissemble aims. An action against a tactic can be accomplished with treaties, diplomacy, and law enforcement but it is not a War. The tactic is being misrepresented to the public, much of what is called terror are straightforward military tactics we ourselves use and while some of our weaponry carries a different name, they are the same thing. Finally there is what the phrase covers, wiretapping citizens without a warrant is not a war it is terrorism practiced on the citizenry, torture is not a war, it is terror, disappearances are not a war, they are terror. The tools the BushCo tries to use are not a part of warfare, they are assaults on civil liberties and humane behavior, these are the agendas of the War on Terror.


If you think I exaggerate see AP on the Alabama Homeland Security including gay rights, anti-war, and other single issue social issue organizations on a list of organizations which may habor terrorists. This one got publicized because blogs took it up, think there are other "lists" elsewhere?

On Memorial Day

***Cross Posted From Central Sanity***

Today is Memorial Day, barbecues, races, travel, and just maybe some remembrance. The first up should be remembrance for those who have served and given, sometimes all. So, let's stop and think about some things.

Those who serve do so at the behest of our government, and whatever your view of whatever conflict our government has conducted, it is still our government and they are or were our soldiers. The soldiers made the decision to serve the nation, to act for all of us, knowingly. Their jobs range from creative to stupefyingly boring, from safe to incredibly dangerous, but they are all done in our service for poor pay and often in anonymity. We owe all of them more than we can repay with a little holiday, so let's at least make something of the holiday.

Whether they've died, been mangled, had their minds torn, or simply filled their time, they have done the extraordinary, they have served for others. They have gone beyond the simple living a constructive life, they have taken on the burden of people they do not know, people who may not even appreciate what they've done. Finally, there are the headstones marked with flags, these mark those who gave their futures to us and whose family and friends shared in that giving. Dying in combat is not glorious, it is a dirty terrifying thing, but there is glory afterwards, we give that back to them when we honor them today, and all the other days. Their memory and their loved ones deserve that glory - that acknowledgement of their sacrifice for us.

Please give this a thought today, remember who paid for this day.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

You're Under Attack, and Have Been

The citizens of the United States of America are under attack and no, it is not by the maniacs of Al-Qaeda, it comes from within. The sleeper cells are our own citizens and their foreign partners. We stare out across oceans worrying and the attack is already here. You think GeorgeII is the problem, if you look in.

There are four pillars of actual government and three supporting ones, there are in the pillars the Executive, the Legislative, and the Judicial and then the free and independent press. The support system consists of and electorate, the free expression of religion, and the freedom to associate for the redress of grievances. These, the absolute foundation of American government, are now under sustained and determined attack. The attack is carried on without bombs and bullets, the blood and smoke are elsewhere.

The Executive branch has become a political tool, people forget that the vast majority of bureaucracy is within the Executive and its hiring policies are now politico/religious. The aims of the political heads of the Executive are now the rule enforcer's bible. The nuts and bolts of the running of government are now in political hands. Hatch act be damned. The mechanisms of government are now in the hands of the political faithful and the infrastructure is used as a Party extension. The enduring strength of the Executive was the brake applied by the rules and those in whose care the rules resided - no more.

The Legislative branch is held hostage by the high cost of election, placing the funding in the hands of wealth and elite businesses. Be under no illusion that the situation is of an accidental nature, the reinforcing elements are intimately entwined, both organizationally and economically. The cost of actual legislation is huge, the research and drafting costs are beyond the budget of most legislators, this cost is passed on to those with an interest and those most able to afford expressing that interest are wealth and business elites. The growth of the non-voting electorate and of the non-affiliated vote drive up the cost per vote and make more likely a rule The huge costs of reaching voters is borne increasing by corporate wealth which is the ownership of the method of reaching out, thus the owners of dissemination are the financiers of the politicians. Beyond the actual financing is the spread of the canard that a vote does not count and is somehow for sale, while in absolute terms the vote is still in the hands of the voter, a constant drumbeat of media propaganda leads to the devaluation of grassroots contributions and the depression of the vote.

The Judicial branch is under constant attack from religious zealots, partisan interference, and the Executive and Legislative. Nominations second competency to partisan issues and religious correctness, interpretation of law is seen as legislation from the bench by the right as they engage in exactly the same behavior. Judicial funding is threatened by Legislators, the body responsible for the writing of the law. The Executive, who nominates federal judge ships, refers to the Constitution as a mere "piece of paper."

A free and independent press is virtually non-existent today, the constriction of media ownership and its concentration in non-media corporate hands leads to a situation where the ownership has a vested interest in the corporate viewpoint. News and programing reflects the desires of ownership and the constriction means a narrower range of desires is reflected. Political careers depend upon that media, to express their policies and votes and then their qualities as candidates. Restricted news budgets push journalists into an unhealthy dependency upon government sources and their good will to get news, resulting in the parroting of official positions. Programing can easily become propagandist, violence and ethical disconnects are a steady fare, protagonists frequently violate both actual legal limits and ethical/moral constraints "for the general good." The moral depravity in media so frequently bemoaned by the religious right is sexual in nature rather than the violations of their creed in actual morality, which they approve. The media is attacked as left or right biased, canards, the bias is corporate supporting the pursuit of profit rather than an actual political ideology.

The attack on the electorate is multi-pronged, it comes from the four pillars and the corporate interests. The Executive operates as though it has some kind of "mandate," ignoring that it represents the interests of the entire citizenry, regardless of their vote or party, the Legislative panders for votes and then represents its financing constituency or a narrow base, the judicial refuses to enforce the very real franchise rights of citizens, bowing to political and media pressures. The press leaves the electorate uninformed and propagandized, increasing the advantages of incumbency. Legal fictions and corporate interests are allowed to drive down voter rolls through disenfranchisement, and to spread the propagandist notion that voting is a purchasable commodity of little value to the ordinary citizen. While the media will run public service announcements touting voting, the ordinary runs devalue it. The electorate is misinformed, mislead, and discouraged to the point where it is considered a success to achieve a 53% turnout, resulting in elections won by nearly a quarter of eligible voters.

Free expression of religion is being consistently undermined by Executive writs, legislation, judicial fiats, press slants, and religious pressure. Religion is co-opted by government monies and promises of government interference in public neutrality. Tax exempt religion is used in political activities prohibited to it, and religious activities permissible are harassed on tax basis. There is across the board encouragement of legislation of religious tenets and a lessening of the teaching of the actual core beliefs of the religions.

Free association is discouraged and prevented, dissent is framed as traitorous and union organization is complicated to the point of prevention. Free speech zones are established to keep expression away from officials and media. Low power radio is restricted and prohibited, political organizations are ignored if not in favor or unless they commit a gaffe. Grass roots organizations fight for public notice, corporate favored organizations need only reach out.

This is only a light overview, it should be frightening, if you'd really like to be frightened take any one of these core elements of the US government and research it. If you wonder why government is ineffective at representing the ordinary citizen, think about this, and who it is that benefits.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

War, McCain, Romney, and Assorted Nitwits

Candidates Hillary and Obama voted against the War funding bill so John McCain shoots from the hip stating that the nay vote is, "waving a white flag to Al-Qaeda." Um, John, the Iraqis would be happy to take care of Al-Qaeda with us there or not, Afghanistan and Pakistan are another issue. Your hot shot cowboy let that one slip out of our grasp, he wanted to go play for oil, not national security. The Republikans have made much to do about what tough sonsabitches they are, with other people's money and other people's kids for the benefit of those who couldn't even see the troops past their noses.

Romney's opinion of the Clinton/Obama votes was, "a vote that singularly defines their lack of leadership and serves as a glaring example of an unrealistic and inexperienced worldview on national security," showcasing no doubt his vast experience in the world arena and national politics. Maybe that book of Mormon creates magical world view. Either of the criticized candiates meets or exceeds the ex-governor's total experience.

Now it's been pretty apparent that I have little use for Hillary as a Democrat, even with all her baggage she's got more sense in her little finger than these two. McCain, of course, touted his military experience and his behavior as a POW was exemplary, but guess what flyboy, a jet and the crap in the dust and streets of Iraq have not squat to do with each other. It also didn't have anything to do with with the ground pounding in 'Nam. Next time you'd like to take a tour of a market, go to one of Pence's.

Chief chickenhawk GWB was backed up by a coterie of them, Cheney, Rumsfeld, ad nauseum and you can add Romney, unless them 'durn varmits' count, and truthfully add in the flyboy. Sure, you don't have to be an infantryman to qualify for national office, you don't even need to be one to command troops successfully, but whanging the war drums and touting your experience had better be backed up, ask AWOL in Chief... If this is the best the Republikans have to offer, they deserve to be in the wilderness for awhile. When the most sensible one of the bunch is Libertarian Ron Paul...

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Iraq, Bush, Congress, and Dead Enders

The BushCo gets its money for war with no more than hypothetical strings. So why does he get money to just exactly as he pleases with War in Iraq? Dead-enders. What? When the Vietnam War sputtered to an end without funding a group cast blame for the loss on Democrats, that group was the dead-enders. The people who insist that we would have won in Vietnam except for the traitors in Congress. This might ignore the fact that the US, despite inflated body counts, won every stand up battle and couldn't do anything with it. American troops were not defeated in battle and neither were they defeated at home, they were defeated by an untenable position, an unwinnable conflict. Military victory consists of taking and holding dirt, this proposition is to a great extent dependent on the populous in the conflict. They must either support the taking and holding or be either too frightened or too dead to resist. They were "none of the above" in Vietnam, we were not going to "win." But the dead-enders never acknowledged that and the Democrats are afraid of them.

Moving on to the true stupidity of this stance, the dead-enders would never vote for Democrats. The Democrats were convenient whipping boys for their refusal to face facts, the fact that the Eisenhower inspired domino theory and his inserting of the US into that "Asian ground war" doomed us to 53,000 dead troops in a lost cause supporting a blood thirsty corrupt dictatorship. No it wasn't LBJ or JFK, it was Eisenhower who started the game. We are doing the same thing again, a conflict with no coherent support from the populous which also is not sufficiently afraid of us to not resist. LBJ and Nixon also believed it was just a case of troops and money to "win." There is the rub, "Win." If you like the idea of winning it would be a good idea to know precisely what is meant by the term. Forget about going in under false pretences, how about false goals, or a complete lack of goals that have anything to do with reality. How in the world can the deluded dreams of a few dead-enders drive Democratic Congressional policy?

I am just exactly sick and tired of this culture of fear that's been the BushCo legacy, Rush Limbaugh talking points driving Democrats...

Soldiers, No Fags

Nope, I won't apologize for the ugly word, if you want to talk about "don't ask, don't tell," and the military you either can play nice and get absolutely no where or you can put things in the terms they're really about. It is not a soft issue, it is an issue of military unit cohesion and discipline. That's what they say, anyhow. Somehow it seems a bit more like politics than unit security. There is a bond in military service, along with other dangerous occupations, that bond develops through shared risk and shared values, not sex. There are informal rules of behavior within any such organization which cannot be violated without risk, but these rules are known to all members and seldom violated.

The military has fired 58 Arab language specialists for being gay. It is really difficult to understand how their gayness balances against our national security needs for Arabic speakers. It apparently also mystifies Rep. Marty Meehan who has sent Rep Ike Skelton of the Armed Services Committee a letter signed by 40 members asking the committee to hold hearings regarding the linguists.

There is something much more offensive in the policy than the word used to illustrate it, there is a concept that the sexual orientation of a citizen affects their ability, capacity, or moral fitness to serve their nation. Their nation. It is not an issue of "us" versus "them," it is an issue of the United States of America against all comers, our nation. This is just plain stupidity and rank bigotry.

Crossing Lines With Monica

Monica is sorry. The point of Civil Service Rules is to allow the machinery of government to run without the interference of political agendas. This is not about an Administration or Congressional Majorities which are political agendas, this is about the actual gears of government. These are the people who do the nuts and bolts of governance, in some ways your county court's clerks or secretaries. They are not elected or subject to partisan spoils, it is in fact important that the papers be done in an even handed manner, whomever they effect. An Assistant DA does not get to make political decisions about the words of the law, it is simply the law the law passed by political agendas.

Monica apologized for asking political questions of career employment applicants. She may actually not have known what she was doing is against the law for one and that the law is not a pointless obstruction in the path to BushCo godliness. She might not have known because she graduated from a half-assed school and polished her knowledge in the RNC as an oppo researcher before getting in over her head. There are 150 of her fellow alumni in the Administration. This is a perfect example of ideology trumping competence - BushCo in three words.

Bush, Iraq, and More Lies

George II went to the Coast Guard Academy and...tied 9/11, Iraq, and Ossama together, again. There are few things in life that I like less than people who lie and here's some whoppers,

"Here in America we are living in the eye of a storm." Sorry, there are storms and this ain't it.
"Hear the words of Osama bin Laden: He calls the struggle in Iraq a `war of destiny.'"
"Victory in Iraq is important for Osama bin Laden, and victory in Iraq is vital for the United States of America."

Not to pick nits, but Ossama could give a rat's patoot about winning in Iraq, he can't and he knows it - unlike George II - what he wants is to kill Americans and destabilize the area.

All of the stuff he trotted out was old news and mostly speculation about "credible" but unconfirmed intelligence. The people involved dead or Gitmo'ed, mostly dead. Iraq was posed as the center of al-Qeda, rather than Pakistan - possibly because Pakistan/Afghanistan is embarrassing.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

P-O'd and Not Gonna Get Over It

Boy I can't tell you how glad I am to have achieved a Democratic majority in both houses of Congress, just darn ecstatic to find that we managed to get rid of the plutocratic war mongering Republikan majority so we can...have a Democratic plutocratic war mongering bipartisanship.

Yahoo. George II and BushCo can do just exactly as they please if the stamp their feet enough, you know, veto war funding with timetables and let every criminal plutocratic and wannabe criminal plutocratic business person hire every illegal alien they like. It really makes no difference that the cannon fodder is primarily blue collar and the wage depression of labor gluts crushes blue collar wages, that way soldiering looks much better. What exactly is the point of Congressional oversight if you just let BushCo do as it pleases?

Do you get it? If you can't make a living because some illegal has the job you can always go get shot at. It would be ever so technologically difficult to create a hiring verification system that matched: Name, SS, Address, No Duplicates and gave a simple Yes/No and include some very real consequences for violating both fraudulent documentation and illegal hiring. Jail for fraud and Davis-Bacon Act wage match fines for employment violation and jail for subsequent violations. Those illegally present could be given 6 months to wind up affairs and leave and by registering move to the head of the line for legal entry, those caught after the fact - deportation and asset seizure, serious jail for repeated offenses. A carrot and a stick.

Americans won't do the work is nonsense, they just won't do it for the available wages. Farmer X can't compete - when the playing field is even he certainly can, when his neighbor is hiring illegally and paying serf wages there's a problem. It certainly speaks volumes when the left and GeorgeII want the same thing and it involves the establishment of a serf class and a further depression of labor wages. What drives this particular lunacy? I've heard liberal guilt - about what I'm not sure - and I've postulated it's a "feel good" solution fixation - the idea that nobody gets overtly hurt. It is obvious when people are arrested, it's much less obvious that the guys building your house are sliding into disaster as they struggle with wages at 60% of 1980 levels. This certainly isn't because their work is easier, safer, or somehow "dumber;" it has to do with a labor glut that started with Ronnie Reagan's amnesty bringing previously hidden workers into the market and encouraging both illegal entry and illegal hiring by demonstrating the Federal disinterest in labor and law.

Here is the upshot, you can get citizenship by soldiering or for 8 years you can be a disenfranchised serf working to replace American labor and all the potential illegal immigrants know that getting in is all it takes, the Feds will eventually just amnesty again. At some point wages will be sufficiently depressed that American labor will either rebel or quit. The rebellion won't involve the people getting rich on predatory hiring, it will fall on anyone brown and speaking either with an accent or a foreign language - racism. It has absolutely happened before, Northern racism has its roots in employment competition, WWII sparked a northern migration of blacks to fill jobs vacated by soldiers and created by war production.

The Democratic Party label used to stand for economic and social justice, explain to me what these two actions stand for, go right ahead.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

More 5th, More Immunity

Now just how swell does this look, Monica Goodling - Albie's aide takes the 5th and gets immunity, now former Rove aide Suan Ralston has taken the 5th before Waxman's House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform concerning contacts between BushCo and Abramoff. Raw Story quotes her attorney Bradford Berenson, "She has material, useful information about both of those subjects."

What could be so incriminating for a Rove aide? Berenson gives a list, "The subjects this morning that she will be unable to testify to...are the subjects of the relationship between Jack Abramoff and his associates and White House officials, including Ms. Ralston, and the subject of the use by White House officials of political e-mail accounts at the RNC," oddly political sounding subjects for taking the 5th. Politics is an art, the making possible of policy ideals, a concreting of the abstract, it really needn't be criminal - except possibly under the BushCo regime. You don't suppose Ms. Ralston is a Liberty grad? Nah, Loyolla and Keller Universities, but she is also a grad of...Preston Gates - gasp - Abramoff.

It just gets a bit more unsavory as time goes on at BushCo. Maybe after '09 we'll get to see some orange jumpsuits and handcuffs - maybe GeorgeII will trade his flightsuit in for one...

Conspicuous Absence At Falwell Funeral

While over 10,000 people attended Jerry's funeral, some you might have thought would be there were not. From what I can tell, AP, Tim Goeglein (White House - who???), VA Lt Gov. Bill Bolling, and VA AG Bob McDonnell amounted to the elected significant ones and the Republican Presidential candidates were not. Considering the impact of Jerry on the Republican Party something seems amiss. The RNC isn't mentioned as attending, nobody who counts in the White House, and nobody from Congress, I wasn't there either...

Seems important people had much better things to do...

Dow and Murdoch

Rupe Murdoch's attempt to buy the Wall Street Journal is being frustrated by the Bancroft family's disinterest and because they hold the controlling shares of Dow Jones nothing will happen unless they get interested. They are so disinterested that the board has not even responded to Murdoch's $60 per share or $5 billion. The Ottaway family, with 6.2%, has stated that such a purchase would "damage" the Dow Jones name. Bloomberg , who competes with Dow Jones, while noting the "frustration," seems to believe that Murdoch will stick with his bid, for awhile at least.

Considering the nearly knee jerk conservatism of the WSJ's editorial board this would seem to be a blunt statement regarding News Corp journalism. There is little to be done about Rupe's junk, the Republicans let him in, he's here, he owes them, and he's got bucks.

Labor 'Losers'

Maybe you thought working with your hands was of some value to this nation, well, "ardent Freetrader" Cokie Roberts has this to say in a syndicated column this weekend, "losers and their labor bosses should not be allowed to dictate trade policy." It is apparently just a fine thing for Democrats to make secret trade deals with BushCo.

Now at the risk being snarky, if George W Bush likes something the proper course of action would be to 'back away slowly.' When somebody with his track record is happy about a trade deal the only question is just how badly the average American is going to get screwed. The fact that it is Democrats who are in this mix is insult added to injury. If you look real carefully you'll probably also find that these are the same people who are fans of adding illegal immigrants into the labor pool with an amnesty. If you are American labor, you just got another finger stuck in your eye. (do I sound happy?)

Go ahead and suck up the propaganda crap, this is exactly how co-option works, "free trade" and "poor poor brown people," all sounds real nice and it is exactly propaganda. Starting with Reagan's amnesty construction wages slid to presently around 50% and NAFTA has watched manufacturing jobs leave (it's tough to out-source a building so you in-source). These people do not mean free trade, they still mean managed trade - can you say patents and intellectual property rights - the question is whose benefit it is managed for. Wake up.

We Didn't Do It

Reuters reports shelling of an Islamist stronghold, it's in southern Lebanon and we have nothing to do with it, and neither does Israel. There's something different.


Yosemeti Sam had a 2 gun thing for for them dang blasted varmints, hopping up and down, red mustachios bobbing the six guns would blaze - comically. The Republikans are so short of debating points that this passes for politics:

"Maybe Mitt should get out his small varmint gun and chase those Guatemalans off his yard," roars McCain in regard to the immigration bill proposal. But then, as he knows from his own record of statements, things can change rather abruptly, "wait a couple of weeks and see if the winds change and Mitt comes back around."

It has been said that, 'consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds,' and it possible that BushCo suffers from the ailment but holy mackerel sometimes you kind of expect a certain amount of coherence, kinda like Hillary and Iraq... I'd be damned embarrassed to be any of them.

Litvinenko Charges

According to ABC the British Crown Prosecution Service is readying charges for the murder of Alexander Litvinenko. Andrei Lugovoi, and possibly also Dimitri Kovtun are expected to be accused of poisoning Litvinenko with Polonium-210, Lugovoi had tea with him the day he was poisoned and the investigators found a contaminated teapot at the Millennium Hotel. Logovoi is a former Russian secret service bodyguard whom the Russians have indicated they will not extradite.

Litvinenko was not among the most savory of people and his associations and activities no doubt led to his demise. At the same time the levels of corruption and autocracy within Russia leave one with a particularly odd smell in the nose. Putin does little to diminish this view. I suppose it pays to remember that GWB looked into his eyes...

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Newt and Jerry Show

Re-writing history or just making things up might be something you wouldn't expect at a university commencement, though with a politician making the speech it might seem a tad more reasonable - then if the pol were the Newt, it might seem downright likely. I won't hold you in suspense, the nonsense from Liberty U. follows:

"A growing culture of radical secularism declares that the nation cannot profess the truths on which it was founded. We are told that our public schools can no longer invoke the creator, nor proclaim the natural law nor profess the God-given quality of human rights."

In case you're wondering how this works,

"Too often, the courts have been biased against religious believers. This anti-religious bias must end," so it would be important for the students to follow Falwell's example, "Anybody on the left who hopes that when people like Reverend Falwell disappear that the opportunity to convert all of America has gone with them fundamentally misunderstands why institutions like this were created," so be ready to be converted - like it or not.

In case you're wondering "anti-religious bias" doesn't involve any actions against churches or religion, it involves not allowing them to impose their cults on the rest of the country. The hallmark of fanaticism is a statement like "convert all of America," which holds the implication that there is no other possible way and all of the country will just have to get along with it - they have the divine right.

This is the Republican Party in action, this is what they tell their young, somebody care to explain the difference between this point of view and the Taliban?

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Rupe, The New York Post, Junk, and What's New

Rupert Murdoch has spent some time recently trying to persuade people that his organization publishes real journalism and rises to the level of real papers like...oh, say... The Wall Street Journal - the people being the owners of Dow Jones. You might have to look around the world pretty hard to find somebody with two active brain cells that believes they publish something beyond fish-wrappers. That might seem like a bit of exaggeration until you stop to consider that the broadcast versions are Faux News and Fox Network, and since their employees include Brit Hume, Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly, and Chris Wallace your hands might start shaking when you contemplate the WSJ in the same hands.

Mentioning fishwrappers brings up the latest brouhaha over at The Jew York Post and its 'gossip' showcase Page Six. Jared Stern was suspended after allegations he demanded money for favorable coverage who is considering suing and whose lawyer obtained a statement from Ian Spiegelman also a former writer alleging editor Col Allen frequented a strip club, that long time column author Richard Johnson took a $1000 gift, and that Rupert Murdoch, Post owner, directed Page Six to avoid articles unfavorable to China where he was conducting business. Page Six published the allegations and denied some of them, sort of, in a rather botched preemptive strike. It has turned out to be a rather poor version of a soap opera - you know, darn near the definition of august journalism and high journalistic standards.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Graduation, Fort Benning, ITB - 2-19 Alpha

Pvt 1st Class Nicholas A Butcher 5/4/07
Fort Benning, Georgia
Marksman Medal ( -1 Expert ) M16
Expert Medal Grenade
Yes, Scottie and I are proud of him.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

So, Jerry Falwell Is Dead

A bigoted prick drops dead of a heart attack and we're bombarded with, 'oh what a wonderful Christian and great American' until I could puke. Let's get this straight, this is the guy who stated baldly that 9/11 and Katrina were the fault of pagans, gays, abortionists, ACLU, and essentially anybody (secularists) who wasn't his narrow mean minded version of Christian.

Oh yeah, he rallied his troops and in the process created an atmosphere of bitter partisanship and theocratic legislators. He repeatedly made the claim that the US was a Judeo-Christian nation, completely at odds with the historical facts. Moving beyond the building of "Christian morality" in his flock to the legal enforcement of it he built an opposition that despised him and his Religious Right.

Since he was so fond of blaming occurrences on God's revenge on people, makes you wonder what he thought about as he died of a sudden heart attack, was it the devil or God being sick of his crap. I figure his nasty old heart just gave out, like they do sometimes. He claimed to hate the sin and love the sinner as he demonstrated the opposite, I despise hypocrisy and will make no pretence to find somebody like him lovable. So long Jerry, I ain't gonna miss ya.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Voter Enhancement

An outline for an oral report, somewhat shorthanded:

John Jay expressed the opinion held by many including Madison & Washington that the upper classes were a better sort and the owners of the country should govern it. Nixon’s opinion was that what worked was as during the Founder’s time when 200K out of 3.5-4Mil voted & that the Republic would never have “survived if all the dummies had voted along with the intelligent people." We’ve seen it over the last 6-7 years, 50-60mil mostly poor and minority.

The US is one of the few established democracies without “Universal Voter Registration” where the government automatically registers all eligible voters. Fully implemented this would nearly 1 in 3 voters. Less fraud (or accusations of) because it would do away with partisan voter drives right before elections and help keep judges out of the process. Also cuts the surge crush on voter officials, one of the probable causes of the lines in Ohio. This could bridge between libs and conservatives and the under registration & fraud concerns. Technology exists, merging SS, DL, Census, Tax, & other Fed forms. States could require HS Juniors or Seniors to complete registration forms. It would also be an opportunity for civics lessons.

Election Day Registration is used in 6 states, ID, ME, MN, NH, WI, & WY which tend to have higher than average voter turnout – but they are also high “social capital.” Still leaves the responsibility to the individual. Both are snagged in partisan battle.

Make voting easier – Saturdays or National Holliday, the 1st Tuesday in November was established by Polk in 1845 to follow harvest and allow Monday as a travel day for farmers. It makes little sense today on a busy workday, it would be a small trick to have Election Day as a Federal Holliday.

Voting as a Right, it is not a Federal right to vote for President, that is the State’s decision. HR 28 Right to Vote Amendment has all D & 1 I support.

DC lost its representation in congress in 1801 when Congress voted to take control of DC, just 26 yrs after “No taxation without representation.” How to deal with this is varied, there is a bill in the House to give DC a voting Rep, Sen. Lieberman ( I) to give DC 1 Rep & 2 Sen.

Ex-felon & prisoner – around 4.7 Mil are unable to vote due to felony conviction, varying state to state, and only 2 states allow prisoners to vote – ME, VT. Felon lists have been used fraudulently to disenfranchise. A national regulation might clean this mess up.

Overseas voter registration can be very difficult. 3-7 Mil. Live overseas at any one time. DOD frequently has problems with registrations. This seems ridiculous in the modern world, but it is the case that various states treat this process differently, mail delays occur, foreign offices run out of applications, lose them, and generally turn the process into a nightmare.

Over the last 5 years the DOJ CR division has almost completely fallen on the side of vote restriction. Many career employees have resigned.

Recommended Sources:

Demos –
FairVote –
DC Vote -
Right to vote – Felony Disenfranchisement –
US Commission on Civil Rights –
Dem Abroad –
R Abroad –

Saturday, May 12, 2007

A Monica Problem

Apparently in the DOJ you could have "a Monica" problem when it came to promotions or hiring and that problem seemed to have involved your politics and possibly religious leanings. There are political appointments and then there are career appointments, and there is a clear line between the two. In career hiring education, experience, and competency are the determining factors and these people are protected by civil service laws and rules. The idea being that having good people in the system outweighs the narrow advantages of partisanship and patronage.

In the case of Robin Ashton, a seasoned criminal prosecutor, she left the Executive Office for US Attorneys after her promotion was nixed because Monica Goodling felt she was a Democrat and couldn't be trusted. Monica Goodling was a relatively inexperienced lawyer, a fairly recent graduate of Pat Robertson's Regency U, who somehow was hired and promoted apparently only on the basis of being an oppo researcher for the RNC in the 2000 election and a Robertson grad. As she moved up the chain her power increased until she was a part of selecting the US Attorneys to be fired.

Some of her hiring interviews questions included questions about which Supreme Court Justice, legislator, and President they most admired or even, "have you ever cheated on your wife." These kinds of questions all imply partisan interests and have had negative effects within the ranks of career Justice employees. This is, apparently, classic BushCo procedure and can create havoc within DOJ for years to come.

The NY Times has more on Monica's moves up the ladder in DOJ and the employees affected by her tenure there. A Federal Judge has now approved Congress' grant of limited immunity to Monica which clears the way for them to force testimony in the face of her 5th Amendment stand. This may be the big appearance that kicks over some significant apple carts.

Bush Lost the War, Bush Made Us Weaker

Bill Mahr said to say it and say it and say it again. The War wasn't lost by troops, it wasn't won by "insurgents," BushCo lost it. Sure, America shouldn't have gone but for the jingoists, here's a news flash, your flight suit wearing AWOL guardsman business incompetent twit god's voice in government numbskull lost it, threw it away. After letting the neocons lead us into Iraq, George II let the greed head drown the government faction run the place, don't misunderstand, the Iraqis were relatively happy up until then. They ain't happy now, evidently. Oh George'll drag this out so some Democrat gets to pull the plug on his mess-adventure so it can be their fault, you know, weak kneed Democratic librulls.

You remember that War on Terror thing, you know post 9/11 get the world together and kick some ass idea, Afghanistan and the world cheering it on, right up until BushCo tossed it in Iraq. The world doesn't like us much now and according to intelligence we're making terrorists faster than we can kill them. Iraq is an ideal training camp for learning to fight US troops or others. Afghanistan and Pakistan held the bad people, we seemed to lose attention. If you think things sucked before, this ought to make it look like child's play.

Well, George II has 18 months to keep things screwed up, that's awhile, but it ain't 6 years. That's a small consolation.

I'm Harry

Bill Moyers has an article titled "I'm Harry," referencing Prince Harry and his fellow troops who have, in the face of some criticism regarding the effect of his presence on the safety of themselves, purchased T-shirts with that silk-screening. I'd give you a short review but considering Moyer's credentials as a writer and commentator, I'll pass and just send you over there. Suffice to say, I agree wholeheartedly.

Friday, May 11, 2007


The master of boxing, Muhamed Ali, coined the term for wasting your opponent's time and energy by letting him punch himself out without harm to yourself. Republicans and the rest of BushCo are engaging in this tactic regarding Iraq. We have to wait until July to know how it's going, then September, and the Democrats punch to no effect. BushCo takes hard line stances, hears some public relations Republican opposition, and takes a more moderate stance - publicly and vaguely. The voters hear all this and some nod their heads think progress. Pah, rope-a-dope, this mess is going in the same exact direction with the same exact techniques and will get passed on to the next President and if that President is Hillary it will continue, despite her claims. Never forget, she has approved the aims of George II, she's just quarreled with his failure. The media chattering class, who need to keep their jobs, will tout flexibility, slam political games - while playing, cover meaningless stories, and manufacture balance as the killing and destruction continues.

If you care, push at Congress, no cave-ins, no kid gloves, let's brawl.

Trade Deal, Democrats, Bush

May 10th a handful of Democrats announced approval of a trade deal with BushCo, the details of which are secret, except evidently from the Lobbyist's - you know, the official political party in power. The nations apparently involved are Panama, Peru, Korea, and Columbia which supposedly was to be excluded for its human rights violations and its government's linkage to right wing death squads, targeting among others, union organizers. Some of the happy noise comes from National Association of Manufacturers, the Financial Services Forum, Microsoft and the Emergency Committee on Trade and BushCo. Every time labor and actual small business has taken a hit from trade deals these have been amongst the cheerleaders.

There certainly are questions that can be asked, first and foremost, why the secrecy? There is exactly one reason to do things in secret - you don't want people to know what you're up to. Just exactly who is most affected by trade deals? The people who don't get to know what is going on. How is it that the BUSINESS lobby is so happy about secrets? Evidently because it's not secret if you're one of those who gets to profit and gets to 'do' the public. How is it the Democratic leadership is happy and unions and environmental groups don't know what's going on?

There are warning signs all over this "deal," first and most emphatic is that BushCo likes it, this says something clearly, the average American is going to get screwed and the wealthy elite and mega-corps will get a gift on the back of the average American. If the Lobbyist Party likes it real well, rather than tolerates it, the average Americans take it in the neck. Secrecy should scream "sell-out," there is no other good reason for it. The exclusion of those with an agenda other than the well-fare of the mega-corp and wealthy elite states clearly the agenda in operation.

There certainly are Democratic reps who won't sit still for this, but there is still in operation the pukes who'd sleep with the Republicans on something like this. The political sell-out of the ordinary citizen still goes on and this time the Dems are a part of it, like the bad old days before you had only Republicans to blame for it. Will the Left lay down on this? Why not, they've turned into the working person's worst enemy in the issue of amnesty and illegal hiring and the plutocrat's tool.

It is a truly strange time when an advocate of the worker gets lumped in with the Right wingnuts and the tools of the elite claim the badge "progressive." Ever hear of "Co-option?" It is the tool of the political elite which involves using non-germain issues to bring ordinary opponents into the fold in defiance of their own interests. If you have some idea that Ted K and Hillary are so worried about being nice to "illegals" you ignore the interests they serve and who donate large amounts to them. Crushing the economic interests of the American worker benefits just exactly whom? My liberal friends, you've become hopeless, "the man" has sucked you in and purchased your allegiance with cheap lying rhetoric and emotional propaganda. You've pretty much abrogated any legitimacy in this trade deal issue, so just keep quiet while you watch the sell-out. I won't.

Virginia and the NY Mayor

The state of Virginia recently passed a law making under-cover firearms purchases by non-law enforcement individuals a felony. This might seem like a rather odd sort piece of legislation but its target is rather large - NY,NY Mayor Bloomberg (R). It seems the Mayor has inflated ideas of his status, he has been sending undercover investigators to other states to make straw-man purchases of firearms, an illegal activity under federal law. Now, I know little of Mayor Bloomberg and since his city has draconian firearms regulations he does have that agenda in his own town, I'll repeat that, his town. He has people violate or attempt to violate federal law in order to issue law suits against other state gun shops. NY,NY law enforcement or private investigators have no police powers any place other than NY,NY. The feds can go to any state to enforce federal regulations and within a state or other entity their own law enforcement has power to do so. Anybody else is committing a crime and the fact that the feds have not arrested and prosecuted Bloomberg's undercovers makes a statement about the exaggerated import of NY,NY.

The unequal application of law in this country is an abomination and while we see it all the time that does not mean we should be complacent about it. The motive for the commission of a crime has no bearing whatever on whether the act is criminal or not and the status of the conspirators has no bearing either. What matters is whether they have standing under law to commit the act, and Bloomberg and his accomplices have no standing outside NY,NY. Bloomberg seems to believe that he as Mayor of NY,NY is so important that he can send people to our homes to commit crimes.

If you think about this in a clear and rational manner and apply the Federal Laws that everybody else is subject to you get a rather nasty outcome. The Mayor of NY,NY is running an organized criminal operation in violation of Federal Law, that would make RICO applicable on top of the violations of Federal Firearms Law. He not only isn't being prosecuted, certain elements are lionizing him. You try this crap...

Virginia sent him a letter of warning, he doesn't like it. I do. Law means what it means, for all of us.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Telling The Truth

Nah, when your wife is obviously pleased with her atrocious hair-do and asks you if you like it, don't go there. This is pointless infliction of harm on another in the pursuit of a literal definition of "truth." These little opportunities for diplomacy occur infrequently and are no qualifiers of the practice of telling the truth.

While I am not an appropriate model for a paragon of virtue I understand and adhere to the practice of veracity and forthrightness. As a candidate in the Democratic Primary election in the OR 2nd CD it was not in my interest to make a critical stand on illegal immigration and amnesty, it was not especially valuable to be an ardent supporter of the 2nd Amendment, and it certainly wasn't helpful to be an advocate of a reasoned and locally influenced environmental policy, but I went ahead and did it. I did it for a simple reason, I intended to act on it if elected. It would certainly not have hurt me in the General Election, but you have to get there first and getting there wasn't worth being a liar or even an equivocator.

The BushCo is an example of political expediency trumping truth, if you're interested in the DOJ and US Attorney firings The National Journal has some with held emails that show just how dedicated to that project BushCo is. Yes Gonzo knew Rove, et al took hand in the process, everybody lies and waits it out.

The GOP made sure a visit by 11 (R) Congressmen to the White House in order to"read the riot act" to the President got plenty of press. Right, today the House voted to give George II half his demanded funding for Iraq with the other half held for progress review in two months, 2 Republicans voted Yea. So where were those 11 come vote time? Voting with BushCo. Say one thing, do another, its called lying.

The American people can be lied to, for awhile, they can be frightened into stupidity, for awhile, but in the long run there is an inherent sense at work there. Eventually the steady drip drip of falsehoods and exaggerations wears through their natural desire to respect the Presidency. This points up the true danger of the BushCo policies where the truth is concerned, an erosion of confidence in our government and the belief that it is composed "of the people." We have a voter turnout of 54% for a Presidential Election and that is indicative of a cynicism concerning government. At some point either the electorate will divorce themselves from the process or there will be a reaction violent and destructive from a disenfranchised disaffected citizenry. Chaos is the inevitable result of this kind of separation between a government and the governed.

Religion and Candidates

I have no axe to grind with religion, it seems to work very well for some people. The candidates appear to have some religion or the other. They seem to be pretty proud of it. OK.

If the case is that their having a religion is of some sort of value and issue in the election then how is it that their version is off limits? Now let's not go into some bigoted rampage on this, but they've made it important so what does it amount to? Three Republican candidates do not accept evolution, this means that if any of these people are elected, a President of the United States of America will be in denial of basic scientific thought. That would be called superstition. Does that mean that the atomic bomb is magic? The same damn principles of dating and determination of composition are at work in the bomb. That strikes me as a risky proposition.

Now they started this stupid game of faith, so, let's get it out in the open, what does your faith mean exactly? Who gets screwed by your version? What part of the previous 2 millennium do we get to live in? How are we going to maintain the First Amendment under your Presidency? You guys made this an issue and I want to know exactly what it is you propose to do with this oh so important faith of yours.

This is stupid. Exactly what possible difference does their having faith make in governing? Is there some idea that faith or lack there of determines competency in governing? If an agnostic became President the US would fall apart? The loons would run rampant; looting, raping, and pillaging in the absence of a theistic President? Can a person have morals and ethics absent religion? Oh for Pete's sake, this opens an entire can of worms, Romney's Mormonism becomes, in fact, an election issue as does each of the other candidates' religion. They don't want to be measured on the basis of their particular version, but they still want it to be a big deal; sorry, no way. They're not going to tell you just exactly what their version intends so you'll have to look at those versions and make your best guess from its official statements. They're not going to like that. Screw 'em.

Rothschild Pound House Inn, Columbus, GA

I have, on occasion, spent large dollars for hotel lodging and while I've been generally satisfied I have not ever been as well treated as I was by the folks at the Rothschild Pound House. This is not your ordinary bed and breakfast, it is a neighborhood. If this sounds strange, the complex consists of both sides of an entire city block in an old Victorian neighborhood a few blocks off downtown. On one corner is the Rothschild house, a great 2 story Victorian with a wrap around porch, tower, 5 suites, and two large formal sitting rooms. Nest door are 2 "cottages," single story smaller Victorians, followed by another 2 story. Directly across the street from the Rothschild is a large 2 story which is the owner's home, next door are 3 cottages, followed by an old butcher's shop which is now Cafe 222, with a beautiful stamped metal ceiling and covered outdoor dining space which is home, of your complimentary breakfast - from menu. At lunch time they serve an outstanding buffet.

My cottage, 2 doors from the cafe, had a large sitting/front room, a large bedroom, a bath with 6 foot whirlpool tub/shower, a small kitchen, a nice front porch, and a gazebo in the backyard. The tables were near period, while the bed and sitting furnishings were new. The refrigerator was starter stocked, a fairly large cable TV selection provided, and wireless access provided from the property account. It was spacious, spotless, and very nicely served.

A word about the staff, their professionalism was only exceeded by their courtesy and friendliness. I found that my needs were not only met but exceeded and they constantly sought means to make my life more pleasant and convenient. Only on one other occasion have I blogged about lodging so you must understand that I do not lightly hand out kudos. I had paid to be comfortable, well, I surely got that, and much, much more. For a little while I became a member of a family in Columbus, GA.


The Rothschild Pound House

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Rule of Law and Sheepskinned Stupidity

Let's assume that some university granted you a diploma that somehow qualified you to be the William R Kenan Professor of Government at Harvard University, that would seem to indicate that you had some understanding of US government and its foundational document - The Constitution. Harvey C. Mansfield has those credentials and an astonishing level of stupidity backed by a lot of inapplicable references to other governments' crassness of power hunger backing The Case For the Strong Executive in the WSJ. He opens his argument with a disdain for the term "Imperial Presidency" being applied critically to the BushCo regime, 'apologizes' for what he's about to promote by stating that under other circumstances he would be "defending the rule of law." This statement alone should scare the snot out of any American.

Somehow Aristotle, Machiavelli, Locke, and Cromwell get rung into a discussion of the Republic created by our Constitution and how that underpinning law is inadequate to circumstances outside of those of peace. The argument begins and ends with the proposition that the ends justify the means. The Bill of Rights becomes optional in his scheme, in fact that there is a mistaken liberal opinion assuming "that civil liberties have the status of natural liberties; and are inalienable." An odd appellation for something written down by the Framers and referred to repeatedly in discussions regarding the BOR at the time. Under his scheme the Constitution becomes a guide subject to convenient revision at any time it is inconvenient to the exercise of an energetic executive.

You would think that a Harvard professor of government would be aware of the bad end Cromwell came to and might avoid using the very arguments that brought it about. Nope, he is a paragon of governance and what he saw as utilitarian is some brought forward from England's parliamentary form of government into out own. Locke is touted as a "wiser liberal" as he promotes the idea of "doing the public good without a rule." What part of Revolutionary War is it that Mansfield doesn't get? These yahoos were messing about quite a while previous to that little dust-up in Monarchical/Civil War England.

I don't deny any of these people their due in the understanding of the evolution of governance, but to bring in their completely alien experiences to a discussion of disregarding the further evolution of governing called the Constitution is simply academic posturing, as is the liberal sprinkling of Machiavelli's Italian. You are to ignore the simple equation he is proposing, rule of law is subordinate to rule of personality (man) in uncertain times. Now, Machiavelli was a creature of the rule of personality, Cromwell was a ruler of that philosophy, George III carried it onto America's back, and later America bled copiously to defeat: Hitler, Mussolini, et al - all examples of the rule of man in uncertain times.

By the way, the problems in Iraq "arise from having wished to leave too much to the Iraqis, thus from a sense of inhibition rather than imperialism."

If you do not understand my insistence that the 2nd Amendment is meaningful today, you should go read this tripe passed off as a serious discussion of the future of American law and liberties and reflect on where it came from and who ascribes to it. In shorter words - these people are scary; and frankly, treasonous.

The Queen Of Battle

Some of you may recognize this appellation, it refers to the Infantry. The infantry takes and holds ground, many other pieces of the war machine are more glamorous, but short of all out nuclear destruction, those pieces are the servants of the infantry. It may seem odd to call the Navy servant to the Infantry, but what they do serves the interests of the Infantry. Dirt is where people live and governments hold sway and dirt is what the Infantry is all about.

On Thursday at Fort Benning, GA 2-19 Alpha Co turned blue and Friday officially became Infantrymen. Aged 18 to 41 they spent 14 weeks being turned from ordinary men into "The Queen of Battle." My son, Nick, was one of them. I am proud of him.

Whatever one may think about the mess in Iraq, these are very fine young men. They have given up more than just the last 14 weeks. Their individuality is given over to needs of a unit, their future is in the hands of others with ends of their own. The Battalion's own history explains the expectations they are held to, they are known as The Rock of Chickamagua, earned by holding as the Union forces retreated and suffered 75% casualties finally fighting with fixed bayonets, ammunition exhausted. They train under that flag and its streamers denoting 85 battles and its symbolism is deeply impressed on them.

I sincerely wish that they never have to put their skills into actual use, I am not hopeful. These are precious resources to be used carefully and wisely.

More and More Abramoff

Kevin Ring is beginning to cause some, um, concern over at the Rep John Doolittle (R-CA) office, he quit his lobbying job last month on the same day the FBI raided Doolittle's wife Julie's office in their home. So? Well Ring is also a former Doolittle aide and later an employee of ... Jack Abramoff. Doolittle took campaign money from Jack and used his sports box. Oddly, Jack Abramoff had a job for wife Julie, and there is some question whether she did anything for the $5K/month. It might be worrisome that Ring is connected to Abramoff who is serving time, Rep Ney who is serving time, and 11 convicted aides and is apparently is under some pressure.

At Preston Gates Ring lobbied Doolittle on water and labor issues. Labor included Doolittle working to help the Mariannes Islands. You might remember that outfit - low paid workers in locked compounds, forced into prostitution and abortions, and denied the ability to return home - essentially slave labor camps, who put on a nice show for GOPs, made their stay very nice and handed around lots of money, even Tom DeLay had fun. Somebody was doing petty well in the Mariannes, and they didn't work very darn hard. Doolittle wrote a letter about how much labor conditions had improved for his GOP colleagues.

You can form your own opinions, but I cannot believe the GOP's emphasis on wealth and power at any cost is blameless in this mess. Some politicians need to pay, not just for blatant corruption, but for the mindset that allowed and encouraged this. Don't expect the GOP to fix it, the Abramoff shot across their bow was last year...

Friday, May 04, 2007

Sooner Than Expected

Purchase of a lap top and accommodations with wireless have allowed me get back on a little sooner than expected. Columbus, GA is in point of fact a fair sized place where, despite my "Yankee" accent and generally furry appearance I have been treated with very nearly small town courtesy and friendliness. The accommodations are outstanding and my Hosts have gone far beyond the general commercial good treatment. More on this later.

My son, Nick, graduated today. He is now an infantryman. I am proud of what he has accomplished, today's basic is not a "gimmee," his platoon started at 253 men and finished at 198. He is much changed. So far what I've seen of the changes are improvements, but as he has gone onto FL with my wife for some vacation and I'm waiting for my flight out of Columbus, I'll have to wait awhile to get a good measure.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

A Sort of Vacation

I'll be off line for a few days, my son graduates from Boot Camp at Ft Beening GA this week and I'm going to be there for him. Sorry Georgia, I've been there 30 years ago and that was soon enough, leaving NE OR for GA isn't a vacation.

He's done well and I'm proud of him, he missed Expert by 1 point with M16, Expert Grenades, and is receiving a couple ribbons. Service for others is one of the highest callings.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

The Source Weekly - Bend OR

There's a pretty cool little rag over in Bend, OR named "The Source," that I've had the pleasure of reading and being interviewed by its editorial board. In fact, theirs was one of the few endorsements my Primary campaign got, that's a disclosure - if you will - but it really is a good read.

I have a little more to thank them for, 4/7 and 4/29 they picked up a blog post from me and noted it on "The Wandering Eye." It is complimentary to have professionals pick up your stuff and give it a boost, thanks guys.

This is them Online , so I've returned the favor.


There are a lot of ways to make an untrue statement, some of them are understandable and some are reprehensible. It is easy enough to misspeak yourself, particularly under the pressure of public speaking, it is commonly a case of knowing what you mean to say and confusing the words, generally quickly corrected. There are the cases of moving words around or dropping them in quotes, pretty harmless if the sense is kept, mostly embarrassing. These are accidents that can happen to anyone and if you speak or write for the public often enough it becomes more likely.

After accidents you start to run into the deliberate stuff, exaggeration and minimization are common enough and pretty generally winked at, which probably isn't good for us. One of the more insidious forms is telling a sort of truth that isn't at all, statistics are good for this, a certain behavior increases your risk of cancer 500% - horrid stuff - until you find out that your ordinary chances of contracting that variety of cancer are 0.0001%, in fact a meaningless increase as a worry factor. The Brady gun control outfit included adult males in their twenties in child gun fatalities - knowingly - along with suicides and justified shootings, why bother? Certain "news" media run an actual story and then have comments from experts - generally think tank representatives - and don't bother to note the political agenda of the organizations. This stuff is bad for us, we think we're getting information and we're getting something else, good decisions are not based on poor data.

The highlight of this particular exercise is lying, this one is an egregious offense against the people, spin is a "polite" or "soft" description. It is an important issue, at one time it was important enough to shed blood over, being called a liar was a deadly insult. I don't know that dueling is a good method of correction, but there should be very serious consequences. Most Americans are used to not getting things completely straight from politicians and take much of what is said with a grain of salt, but there is a difference between careful language and outright lying. BushCo has taken this practice to lengths I've never seen and I've paid close attention to politics for forty years.

When the citizenry does not know what its government is doing because the government is lying to them some very bad things happen. The government is allowed to do things it should not or not do things it should, that is pretty obvious, but what wrecks the system is having the public lose confidence that the government is truthful and therefore reliable. It is not just about paying taxes or writing to your representative, it gets much more basic, the public quits. This is an outright attack on our form of government - government of the people and by the people - it stops the process in its tracks. People quit voting, people quit paying attention to anything they're told (they're all liars, all the same), every piece of our institutions come into question. It gets as basic as "consumer confidence" - why believe things are working, the people telling you are liars. While I have vehement disagreements with the current administration's politics, their recourse to lies drives me to distraction, it is in simplest terms - absolute treason. It is a deliberate institutionalized attempt to destroy our form of government.