Monday, April 30, 2007

The Maggots Gather On The Rotting Corpses

...of the dead at VT. The Brady Bunch and their followers couldn't let the bodies cool before they started in with their faked up statistics and fear mongering. BushCo immediately rushed to the scene and got his photo op. The Libertarian nuts started banging away on a gun in every house to cure social ills. Goddam what a sick bunch of bastards.

Look here, a nut did something nuts and people who should not have, died. It's not about guns, it's not about having them or not having them, it's about a nut. I'll bet you'd like a softer more "correct" description of this person. Fine - loon. There is an entire world of difference between moody, eccentric, quiet loner and a psychotic murderer and some people were making warning noises but our polite nice society let him cook in his own juices. Then a whole raft of people want to take advantage of that failure to make their own agendas look good.

Gun control freaks - do you have any idea what carnage a sword wielded by a maniac in close quarters would wreak? Things do not commit mayhem, but a lot of them are darned useful for it.

Gun nuts - just how many people do you think could exceed the abysmal hit rate of police in combat situations?

George W Bush - NOTHING you can say is going to make you look better or more concerned for our citizenry.

I can not begin to tell you how offended I am for the parents and participants in that tragedy by this piling on of people with agendas - including the commercial interests of the media. There is only one lesson here, pay attention to your fellows, care about them, care about how they're doing, care about what they might do. Just plain humanity would do for a start.

Guantanamo Unrest - Lawyers' Fault

Like many Americans I find lawyers annoying, right up until I need one. Lots of lawyer jokes are bandied about - for a pretty good reason. Oddly enough, a whole US agency full of them, DOJ, seems to feel the same way about them, well, the subset known as defense attorneys.

The Justice Dept wants to limit Guantanamo detainees' access to lawyers because there's unrest. Supposedly the attorney mail system was used to inform them of military operations in Iraq, activities of terrorist leaders, efforts in the war on terror, the Hezbollah attack on Israel and abuse at Abu Ghraib prison. Apparently this supposedly got them more stirred up than being jailed without hearing, isolation, and the legal rules about court appearances.

Why is it no surprise that DOJ under Gone-zales and BushCo doesn't want these people to have access to lawyers, or Constitutional guarantees, or humane detention? Could it be that the same knuckle-dragging Bible beating incompetents that don't understand the 1st & 4th Amendments and can't find Habeas Corpus in the Constitution have a made to order playground in Cuba?

It's getting to the point that nothing repressive, repulsive, corrupt or incompetent that BushCo gets up to surprises me anymore. It's also getting real difficult to manage a day without foaming at the mouth. Richard Nixon didn't get me this pissed off and I knew what a scumbag he was long before he was elected and watched like a hawk after he was. It's a real nasty commentary on the bunch in power over the last 6 years to compare RMN favorably.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

GOP's 11th Commandment

Apparently like many of the 10 that are indirectly referenced this one isn't getting enforced or followed either. "Thou shalt not speak ill of thy fellow Republicans." CNN's Bill Schneider notes that it's the Republican's turn to form a "circular firing squad." Former VA Gov Gilmore states that Romney is a liberal up north and a conservative in the conservative states. Romney fires back that other leading candidates have changed their tunes. GWB comes in for his share of criticism, odd for such a "disciplined" party. Gov Huckabee doesn't want to see the GOP taken over by non-conservatives.

Here's their real problem, none of them knows what conservative means anymore. That's hardly an exclusive difficulty, I don't know anybody that knows what any of them mean by it, either. What they're up against is that the same word is used for mutually exclusive things. I don't mind their confusion, if they spend some time in the hinterlands they might figure out how to be a principled Party instead of the opportunistic fear mongering greed heads they've become.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Democratic Debate - Debatable?

I missed the debate itself, Eastern Time isn't conducive to Pacific Work Time, but I watched the "analysis" well past my tolerance for it. What struck me is what wasn't said, and it wasn't said about issues that the Democrats own.

The disparity of wealth in this country has passed the bounds of rational thought, it has become so egregious that fury over it would be understandable, much less a reasoned argument that it is bad for the country as a whole. Racism and other prejudices are endemic, I don't mean just the stupid "in your face" comments of an Imus, I mean all of it on every person engaging in it, whatever their race or other status. The self-defeating racism/classism of "Don't be a snitch," is probably more harmful than 100 Imuses with 10x the audience. Homophobic agendas not only harm the gay community, but create a reality of 2nd class citizenry among law abiding citizens. Xenophobia creates a situation where the very real economic and political considerations surrounding 12-20 million illegal aliens cannot be discussed - because some in the debate are loons. The effects of running this country on debt rather than income are huge and soon to become more so, there is a disaster looming and little baby steps aren't going to address it. The income garnered by paper pushers and CEOs in comparison to workers managed to get ignored. Even more ignored was the disparity in tax burden, no one bothered to mention the hammering taken by wage earners.

It's early yet, the gloves are still on and nobody wants to make a mistake, like taking a real strong stand, so what you get is analysis that calls Hillary "Presidential" for making a "retaliation" statement. These folks had better wake up and remember that if they want to play in the General election they need to win the Democratic Primary.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Of Evil and Experts

The BushCo and its adherents / apologists have two favorite words, evil and expert. These words probably seem at first glance to be completely divorced from each other, but I think after defining them and exploring their usage we'll see a rather uncomfortable connection. I like Webster's Ninth New Collegiate, it's a little dated but gives quick and common usage definitions so I'll refer to its most relevant entries for:

evil (adj) : morally reprehensible : sinful, wicked

(2) expert (n) : one with the special skill or knowledge representing mastery of a particular subject

The administration has taken action against quite a few individuals and organizations on the basis of their "evil," without ever quite defining what that particular aspect is. George II says that people who use car bombs are evil. We certainly do not like car bombers or suicide bombers, but somehow the moralistic stance is lost on me, I have a problem differentiating between a 500 pounder dropped from a plane and an exploding Toyota, the object being the same, a big bang and people and things broken. The apparent moralistic difference seems to be a matter of budget, we can afford fancy airplanes and they can afford stolen Toyotas. As far as targeting goes, we do have a rather frequently used phrase - collateral damage. We do not like what they do, I certainly don't, but evil is an odd word in this usage, maybe applied to torture we'd have something real...

Experts are the "go to" reference for the White House and their adherents in the face of criticism or other policy ideas regarding Iraq. "The experts all say," is one of their favorites, by which they mean "their" experts. Now please pay close attention to who these experts are and who they are not, for example, in the lead up to the Iraq War the experts were primarily the authors and contributors to "The New American Century," a think tank exhortation to use "super-powerdom" energetically and for the benefit of US interests. The current term for these people is neocons (new conservatives - a misnomer if ever), and the who of them was primarily - once in power and pissed not to be, back in power. Now the odd part of it is that definition from Webster - mastery of a particular subject. This means you know it, cold, and you will be right about it. I think you can take it from there... Who they were not is just as telling, they were not agents with their feet on the ground, career analysts lost in the bowels of the building at mid-level, career diplomats from the area, in fact not political powers with something to gain, not to mention qualifying for the definition. Those people, in fact, got it mostly right, and it is just exactly what we did not do.

You will hear repeatedly from the BushCo experts that leaving Iraq will result in a bloodbath and a failed state refuge for terrorists to attack us. Keep in mind that these are the same experts who've been running the show since before we ever attacked the place and their track record of getting things right qualifies them as window washers or street sweepers or something inconsequential and harmless - not Policy.

The experts who advise this administration are so completely stupid that they mistake military tactics and logistical realities for a moral referent, they also are the morally bankrupt bunch that advocates the US engaging in actual evil - torture. Their qualification as expert is a self-referent, they are experts because somebody listens to them, it has absolutely not one single thing to do with experience, study, or especially results. They do not engage in critical thinking, they engage in ideological justification. Let's get one thing straight, al-Qeda is not going to win in Iraq if we're not there, the Shiites will slaughter them in short order. The Shiite militias don't like us - considering our results, not far fetched - and they do not want us there. Yes, they are primarily theocratic, but the whole place is theocratic with Saddam removed and it's going to go that way the second we leave, stable government or not. What they are not, is dedicated to harming the US on its home ground - that would be al-Qeda. There certainly will be some "score settling" between the Shiites and Suunis based on Saddam and al-Qeda, but the blood bath is already going on, with us in the middle. That middle is a bad place to be, we're busily trying unsuccessfully to keep them apart while attacking the ones attacking us and pissing everybody off in the process, which pretty much means adding to the ones attacking us and smashing whatever is left that wasn't already smashed.

There certainly is evil within the world population, but there is considerably less of that than what are simply policies and tactics we don't like. There is evil in terror, but primarily terror is an underdog's military tactic, and it holds much in common with military tactics we have engaged in ourselves. Mass artillery barrages and carpet bombing are tactics of terror, ask anyone who has been caught in it, Desert Storm certainly showed the utility of those tactics. Give "The New American Century" a read to find out the basis of the "experts" opinions, you might find the policy basis something you'd recognize as evil.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The Tillmans

I've always believed that there is particular honor involved in taking some jobs, a short list would include soldiering, policing, fighting fires. There are plenty more, but I have a point that references these more closely. These jobs involve personal risk, service to our fellows, and generally lower pay, soldiers lowest. Nobody taking these jobs is a hero for doing so, they deserve special regard, but heroism is another thing. This is where things run off the tracks.

Pat Tillman left a good paying rather glamorous job to serve his country, for that he deserved special regard, perhaps more than many enlistees since he had a very good alternative job. This kind of measuring is risky business, but in search of service he gave up quite a bit. Then he gave it all up, his life. Death in battle whether from foe or fratricide is death, the ultimate sacrifice for your country, you can give no more than that. Death in battle is not glamorous, it involves shredded flesh and pain and an aloneness that can only be marginally comprehended. Far from home and friends and cheering crowds Pat Tillman gave it all up - and it wasn't enough. Friendly fire wasn't the only mistake, the lying began.

The dirty bloody cruel business of war apparently needed some PR. A family and a nation were lied to, not just mislead, not mistakenly misinformed, deliberately lied to. A family in grief was sacrificed to spin - the nice name for political lying - the manufacture of a hero. There are people who do heroic things and their heroism should never be devalued by lies or by calling a job heroic. I have no idea if Pat Tillman ever did anything heroic, his death was not, it was a mistake. He did an honorable thing in serving, that in itself should have been sufficient, but somebody, or somebodies wanted more and that was as wrong a thing as could have been done to his honor.

Our soldiers deserve at the very least to know that their reputations will be treated with respect, that they will be honored for what they have done. I give them that, freely and with no help from the liars.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Somebody Likes Albie

Someone other than Alberto Gonzales seems to think he's doing a good job, and that opinion is the one that counts, GWB's. The President had this to say about Albie's performance before the Senate Judiciary Committee,

"The attorney general went up and gave a very candid assessment, and answered every question he could possibly answer, honestly answer.”

While I don't think George II is particularly linguistically astute, I also can't help but wonder about the qualifier in that sentence, "honestly answer." People seldom qualify a statement when they don't have a quibble with its contents and there seems to be a quibble here. The simple statement would have been that the AG, 'answered every question he could answer,' the qualifier of, "honestly answer," is exceedingly odd. Lack of memory, however dubious, would be included in, "answered every question he could answer," honesty has not squat to do with the statement unless it's brought in for another unstated issue. Now an entire kettle of fish is opened.

What questions couldn't he honestly answer? "I don't recall," is not an answer, it is an excuse for no answer, so then, does, "honestly answer," refer to, "I don't recall," or something else? This is the President of the USA speaking on an issue that one would think he took seriously, considering it regards the top law enforcement officer in the US, his appointment, his responsibility. George's pretense at being a "cowboy" has nothing to do with reality, he's the son of big old money, Ivy League educated (sort of), and the associate of the same groups, he's no hick, unexposed to the language of the "elites" (that would be the literate). Anyone can get tongue-tied on occasion and his modest intellect with tremendous draws on its attention can certainly get credit for plenty of that, but this isn't tongue-tied, this is an entirely extraneous addition except in regard to unstated thoughts. Call it a Freudian slip.

No, I don't think this bunch is being forthcoming and forthright, the documents with huge redaction's deny forthcoming and forthright seems disqualified by their chief spokesman. It certainly is not enhanced by a performance that included over 70 faulty memory excuses, c'mon folks this guy is supposed to be a lawyer and memory is just a little important to lawyers. Evidently a former Texas Supreme Court justice, former counsel to the President, and current USAG shouldn't be allowed to go outside without his address written on his palm. Sure I buy this one.

“There’s no traction with the public because there is no serious allegation of wrongdoing,” said White House counselor Dan Bartlett. Maybe not, but then White House officials are also saying that for Gonzales to step down would lead the people to think there was wrong-doing. I actually wonder if these guys would recognize something with "traction with the public."

Monday, April 23, 2007

The Bhagdad Wall

I'm not exactly real surprised to find out that the Iraqi PM al-Maliki doesn't like the idea of a wall around the Sunni enclave at Azamiyah, what I am surprised at is that anybody thought it was a good idea. Resident Ahmed al-Dulaimi figures it's "collective punishment" of the area and would turn it into a prison. al-Sadr figures Sadr City would be next. I think Berlin is a pretty good example of just what a bright idea this is.

Evidently where we've gotten to is that any idea is better than what we've got. Any idea other than the US getting the heck out.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Gonzales' Version of Memory

Memory is a rather convenient way to assert things, "I have no recollection," or "as I remember," are useful statements to make when a person doesn't want to answer or give an answer that might not be quite truthful. Memory is locked away inside a head, unless a person has recently made a contradictory statement, such answers are unassailable - legally. There is a huge problem with using such an out when you hold an important position - you show yourself to be either covering something up or mentally deficient. In Albie's case, maybe both.

The guy was out of his league when he first went to work for GWB and the "drown the government" disrespect for governing mindset led to his advancement - that and kiss ass. There's not much to be said politically for toadyism leading to advancement, both Parties have been guilty of such behavior in individual cases, but the disregard for the actual complexity and art of governing is symptomatic of BushCo. I am an employer and I try very hard, sometimes too hard, not to fire people; but, if I do fire someone I know exactly why I did, what led me to believe I needed to, and when I decided to do it. It is an important decision, it has ramifications for me and heavy consequences for the work force - both the fired and the remaining ones. Anybody who sees this differently has no business having employees.

I have a good memory, everyone who knows me knows that - and knows my weak areas (names). I have complicated days (no nothing as earth shattering as "Meth Day") but my days involve a great many activities. I may not remember something as immaterial as how many nails I used in a few minutes, but I will remember the status of nail supply, and I certainly remember demonstrations of incompetence or non-performance. I am the boss, I am responsible for the end product - if it isn't right I get to fix it and if it isn't right enough times I won't get the job to begin with. It is important for me to know what is going on and to have competent people. This is about a construction site not DOJ.

Anybody who finds this level of competence acceptable is either a fool or a lick spittle like John Coryn (R - TX) or an ijit like George II.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Bush Uses Another Tragedy

There is nothing that can minimize the terrible events at VT, well, almost nothing. The President of the USA could do it. He could do a political appearance.

Oh, that's small mean minded rhetoric...

No, it is not. 32 people died at an institute of higher learning for no discernible reason and that is tragic. The same day over 100 Iraqis died for no discernible reason and 30-80 manage to do so every day. Oh that's war... No, it is simple murder and considering the randomness it is simply unreasonable. The guy at VT was a loon... Yes and someone who'd blow up a car at a market is what? A loon. Random madness occurs on a daily basis in Iraq and the "on switch" was George Walker Bush. I'm sure it would become completely tiring to watch him make "touching" speeches daily about the Iraqis, or the GIs, or Darfur, or car crashes, or ...

Yes, I'm sick of this twit and I wouldn't give him much credit for doing something right, but this nearly made me throw up. What the hell gives in his little mind? What sort of balance does this indicate, concern for whom? His poll standings? Returning coffins are secrets, but VT is a public spectacle. No, VT was certainly not his fault, finally it was no one's fault other than Cho's, but this public display of grief was nonsense. Yes, a soldier expects to be at risk, they also expect to be well used, they expect that their risk is for their country, they expect to be well lead, they expect to be grieved for.

I've waited days to write this, in hopes that anger and disgust would fade sufficiently to make a measured posting, it hasn't, it's grown. 9/11 was so huge that his constant references to it for political benefit were nearly understandable, this is just plain unconscionable.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

FBI, Search,GOP Congressman - Put Them Together and What Do You Get ?

US Rep John Doolittle (R - CA) had his Oakton, VA home searched Friday by the FBI. Sierra Dominion Financial Solutions, Inc run by his wife, Julie, was the target. Doolittle is a 9 term conservative from N CA who has denied any wrong doing.

"My wife has been cooperating with the FBI and the Justice Department for almost three years and that cooperation is going to continue in the future. I support my wife 100 percent and fully expect that the truth will prevail."

All these hints, you had to figure the rest out, but I'll be nice and pull it together for you. Jack Abramoff.

Rep Doolittle took campaign cash, used Abramoff's sport's box - without reporting it - , and acted with the Interior Dept on behalf of Abramoff's Indian clients. Wife Julie was on retainer to Abramoff for events planning from 2002-4 receiving $66,690. The day of the search Kevin Ring, a former Doolittle aide who went to work for Abromoff, resigned from his law firm abruptly and without explanation. In 2000 Ring discussed with Abramoff the possibility of getting Julie a job with a non-profit that has been accused to doing favors for Abramoff in exchange for cash. Julie was employed by her husband as fundraiser until it became a scandal in last year's election.

Does the VA US Attorney still have a job? So the dirty connection in all this is Abramoff and GOP. You have, no doubt, recoiled from the screen in shock and disbelief... OK, and we're making great progress in Iraq, also.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Immunity Monica

John Conyers isn't too impressed with Monica Goodling's attorney and the perjury trap defense for taking the 5th. Just how unimpressed he is was shown by his proposal to grant limited immunity. This means that she still has to tell the truth or face perjury charges but other stuff is out. Her problem now is that the "perjury trap" nonsense means nothing, she has no 5th coverage because nothing she testifies to, truthfully, can be used against her - no self-incrimination. With immunity if she refuses to testify she's gotten herself in the way of contempt of Congress which can get you a year in jail. She'd have been farther ahead to have testified and taken the 5th where she thought she could during the hearing.

Goodling may be an alumnus of a 5th rate god's diploma mill sort of place, she may be totally inept and over her head, but her lawyer went to an actual law school so she should have known that IF she'd done nothing wrong taking the 5th was a matter of waving a red flag in front of Congress. She has now shown herself to be hostile before ever testifying to anything, and she's thumbed her nose at people who are pretty sure they're important. A bad start.

I've had reason to go toe to toe with people with more power and resources than I have, I started out leading trump with a hammer held back to finish with, it's not smart to lead a loser when you don't have anything back. (yes, I like to play cards) Her starting position was a stupid one, she no longer has any ability to protect people if that's what she wanted and if she's played fast and loose with the rules, she's going to have to say so. I'd say her career has degenerated to ambulance chasing from here on. I suppose she could teach ethics at Robertson's place, you know, "if you say God enough times, whatever you do is fine," ethics.

Monday, April 16, 2007

AFA Asks for Gonzales Resignation

April 16, 2007

Honorable George W. BushPresident of the United States of America1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NWWashington, DC 20500

Honorable Alberto GonzalesAttorney GeneralU.S. Department of Justice 950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20530-0001

Dear Mr. President and Attorney General:

We, the undersigned co-founders of the American Freedom Agenda, urge the Attorney General to submit his resignation and the President to accept.

Mr. Gonzales has presided over an unprecedented crippling of the Constitution's time-honored checks and balances.

He has brought the rule of law into disrepute, and debased honesty as the coin of the realm.
He has engendered the suspicion that partisan politics trumps evenhanded law enforcement in the Department of Justice.

He has embraced legal theories that could be employed by a successor to obliterate the conservative philosophy of individual liberty and limited government celebrated by the Founding Fathers.

In sum, Attorney General Gonzales has proven an unsuitable steward of the law and should resign for the good of the country.

The President should accept the resignation, and set a standard to which the wise and honest might repair in nominating a successor, who will keep the law, like Caesar's wife, above suspicion.


Bruce Fein, Chairman
Richard Viguerie
David Keene
Bob Barr
John Whitehead

Fun With Polls

I don't place a great deal of stock in Presidential polls nearly a year before a vote, but they can give a sense of what's going on. The Republican picture is a mess, a few "ifs" and the thing goes all over the place. Giuliani had a 16 point lead which McCain has cut to 6 points, unless Fred Thompson or Gingrich get in, if they do, the lead drops to 3 points; 27-24. Thomson gets 11% or 12% without Gingrich who gets 8% or 10% without Thompson. Mitt would be in 4th with them at 10%. 13% have no idea who to vote for. I'm glad I don't have to pick from that mess.

Democrats are seeing some shifts, Hillary 36% - Obama 28% and Edwards at 15%, Richardson & Clark 3%; a Gore entry at 15% would cut into Clinton, Obama, and Edwards. GOP error 5% and Democratic error 4%. CNN poll through Opinion Research Corporation - D 498, R 368.

I won't pretend to understand the Republican poll, I think Giuliani is going to have problems once this goes past NYNY's 9/11 Mayor, but that presumes something like a reasonable ( not really ) response from R voters.

Hillary Clinton continues to cruise on BILL's name, that's not going to last since she will have to say what she wants said, and she's not Billary. Obama has charm, the question is whether it will generate large numbers of hardcore support or if he can produce policy points that will. Edwards needs media attention as a front runner, their validation to get his policy points to stick, Richardson is in worse condition on the media front, he needs to be taken seriously.

What strikes me as ludicrous is that the Democrats have such a strong field that the short support ones, Clark & Richardson, are head and shoulders above "the best" the R's have to offer. While I have reservations about all the Democrats (ok huge ones about Hillary) they all (except Hillary) would make good candidates. So we're clear, I didn't start to dislike her until she was Sen. Clinton, that one I don't like.

What I see from the Democrats is that there is room for several to do much better if the field shortens, I don't believe much of any support for the tier under Obama would go to Clinton. In fact, as the campaign goes forward and Hillary's "inevitability" evaporates I expect her percentage to fall, her earlier 37% may be the highest she will have and that would not carry her through. 63% if the poll is not hers at her best and I don't believe any of that 63% would go her way with a viable alternative. At a convention, those votes will go elsewhere, with this polling - as previous as it is - Edwards and Obama look to be the likely beneficiaries.

Fun with polls, we may be seeing some trends, but the serious campaigning has yet to begin and there will be some movement with policies coming out and the personalities getting more exposure.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Rice Said WHAT??

"I'm very glad that there was, in fact, a consequence. I think that this kind of coarse language doesn't belong anywhere in reasonable dialogue between reasonable people," said Rice regarding Imus' firing.

Oh for god's sake. I just got done complaining about Al Sharpton and then I saw this. A lot of people have died because of or been slandered by this mongering BushCo sleaze and she's got the nerve to pick on Don Imus? I think my head just exploded.

Her mangling of historical fact and outright lies...I can't say anything reasonable or polite - I'm going to bed. BushCo has no shame.

Speech, Free and Otherwise

One of the more egregious things I've heard said about Imus' firing was that it was a violation of free speech. What Imus had was not free speech, he had compensated speech, he was paid to say things. His employers are in the "saying things" business and as such are in control of what they want said. They, finally, didn't like what they were paying him for, so they quit paying him for it. I'll leave the why of it to others.

Regardless of where or how you say things (or write them) there are consequences of speech, the consequences can be good - I have an audience - it's a well mannered one -I'm proud to have. Sometimes the consequences aren't so hot - Imus. Sometimes the consequences aren't enacted or are delayed - Sharpton. Imus got to pay, now I'm calling for some consequences for "The Rev," he's used race and racism to unjustifiably attack people and even instigate violence, unjustifiably, so it's time he doesn't get to play the "outraged victim." His crap differs from Imus' by exactly two factors - he's black and he hasn't apologized. There is another set of differences, he's been sued for it and lost and as far as I know, nobody has died because of Imus' speech. I've already complained to the networks about holding Sharpton up as a paragon, maybe they didn't hear it enough.

Be under not illusions, if it had been my decision, I'd have warned Imus some time ago to fix his stuff or he'd be gone, this time would've taken me about 5 minutes to figure out how to say, "Get lost." President Bush has earned the appellations of George II and BushCo that I hang on him, he earned them through actions and general behaviors and those were entirely voluntary, not a matter of sex or race. The news media seems to be composed of twits who can't remember anything or research anything regarding a "black spokesman."

I don't do PC, I also don't try to be gratuitously rude. Remember that I'm a hard core lefty who owns and shoots guns and dragraces and defends labor from illegal hiring. I would be an odd representative for PC. If somebody tries to run Imus at you as PC run amok or a free speech issue, I've given you some ammo, not to mention an example of anti-PC that isn't rude.

You're a heck of an audience, you make this exercise in free speech enjoyable.

Friday, April 13, 2007

What A Week...

The only thing about this week that I'll miss is Kurt Vonnegut, what an amazing slightly canted mind. Working backward the White House says the dog ate its homework, oh, that was Leahy, idjits. We got to watch race baiters slam a racist, that was entertaining, but honestly, the guy had an 11 million audience (IIRC) and that makes it an all day everyday story - geeze - almost as important to the world's well-being as the paternity of Anna whossit's baby. Hugely bad news for soldiers in Iraq, you get to stay an additional 3 months. Supporting the troops might involve a big push back against the mental cases who them there, barely a whimper. Carl Levin seemed to blink - Harry Reid is the tough guy?? Karl Rove comes to Portland OR??? cough, choke, gag... Hey, now, the bright spot is that Carla from Loaded Oregon got press credentials for this mess. Draft DeFazio is gaining ground with small donations to persuade Pete that there's support for a run against G. Smith, help out with this one. McCain hitched his wagon to GWB, silly stuff, and seems to be paying a price for it - this whole thing leaves me shaking my head. Mitt is a lifetime hunter - never licensed - well varmits - well, a couple times anyhow, there are a few other little discrepencies as well. There's the usual stink about the OR gay anti-discrimination bills, from the usual suspects. Here's a particularly odd one, churches should be exempt from employment issues - I thought a job was a job, you know, pay somebody to do something and there are rules for all of us.

I've been working long days so blogging has fallen off some, it's going to get worse for awhile. No rest for the wicked...

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Why Does Kay Coles James Matter ?

You may not know the name, but it is a deal that Kay Coles James was Regent University's Dean of Government School, that's because George II named her as Director of the Office of Personnel Management, the executive branch department of human resources. In case you don't watch televangelism, that's Pat (700 Club maniac) Robertson's "university." That half-assed, ok, per US News and World Report 4th tier - tied at 136th law school has contributed 150 employees to the executive branch. Monica Goodling graduated in 1999 when the school's credentials barely exceeded a comic book cover ad's "Earn a Law Degree." She's now taken the 5th... For the entire horrid story see The Carpetbagger Report.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Imus and Sharpton - Bull****

Don Imus made some totally unacceptable statements about the Rutgers' women's basketball team, which I won't repeat. He said they were "humor" gone wrong, no, they were out and out racism. Sure, Imus should be able to say what he wants, the problem is that he sells a product - words - for a company whose product consists of words and reaches a lot of people. He should get thumped for it, by his company, his audience, his advertisers, and others affected. But when Al Sharpton piles on a calls for his firing and states that apologies aren't enough, I begin to think I'm living in an alternate universe. Why? Tawana Brawley.

In 1987 15 year old Tawana Brawley disappeared and was found 4 days later in a garbage sack covered in dog feces with racial epithets scrawled on her. She claimed a gang of white policemen abducted her and raped her. Al Sharpton and others hopped aboard, claimed to be her "advisers" and managed to make statements that ended in a 1998 $395 million defamation suit victory for former prosecutor Steven Pagones. The whole mess was driven by race, black Tawana and white Pagones and Sharpton and Brawley's deceit.

I listened as Sharpton laid out Imus, be of no doubt, he had a scalping coming, and then brought in his daughter and asked Imus if she was a *** (no it's rude). At that particular moment I thought I might puke, I'm sure his daughter isn't but he has no grounds to complain about another man's speech. He used his in the most despicable manner to ruin men (and their families) dedicated to public service in order to advance Al Sharpton. He's pig. So is Imus. But pigs calling down pigs for being pigs is either too comical for belief or so sad and twisted as to bring tears. Imus betrayed himself as a racist, Sharpton has profited from being a racist for decades, one is somehow worse than the other? Maybe the Romans had the right idea, sew these two in a bag together and toss them in the Tiber.

Here's what's worse than those two, the media feeding frenzy about their meeting, like principle meets evil and dominates. Cough. Choke. We get "news" from these nitwits. I'm sorry, if I'd been covering that story I'd either have been laughing my butt off about it or foaming at the mouth - I'm still not sure which reaction this junk deserves. You decide, but I'm sure not going to pick sides between two self-serving pricks.

I don't like those *isms, whether it's race, sex, religion, nationality, what ever. I don't use them, I make an immediate determination about those who do, and I never let that stuff color my judgements of character or policy issues. I was raised to believe that racism and classism were uncivilized and stupid, I've extended my childhood teachings to include prejudice of any sort, but I'm afraid that also leaves me felling pretty intolerant of people like Al Sharpton and the media shills who puff him up.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Who Is Brent Tolman ?

Firedoglake puts it a little more interestingly, "Why Isn't Brent Tolman In Prison Yet ?" and the question arises from the insertion of the clause removing Senate approval of re-appointed US Attorneys. Who inserted it appears to be one Brent Tolman, Counsel to Senate Judiciary Committee reporting to Sen Specter, who never bothered to tell Specter or any other Senator. Why he inserted it is possibly much more interesting, when Specter discovered the addition and tried to find out about it he was told it came from (gasp) DOJ, no names just that. Tolman shortly after the insertion was appointed US Atty for Utah with the backing of Sen Hatch (R-UT).

What is also odd in the whole mess is the prevalence of Mormons in the mix, Karen Allen's piece examining Kyle Sampson makes the point that there is a virtual "mormon mafia" in operation in BushCo. Between graduates of BYU and Pat Robertson's "school" you have most of the players in the DOJ mess. Don't get this wrong, our Circuit Court Judge is a Mormon and he not only gets but also deserves my admiration as a person and as a Judge. However, there certainly is no statistical reason for this prevalence.

Bush Vacation

AP noted that the President has spent 409 days of his Presidency on vacation at the Crawford "ranch." Maybe some folks think that's a little excessive out of about 2300 days, I'm not so sure. I wonder if the nation wouldn't be in better shape if the numbers were reversed since 18% isn't a real big percentage although it does average out to 3 months per year - most of us might get 2 weeks or .4%. I know, he has a tough job - too bad he's so bad at it.

DeFazio, The Senate, And Eastern Oregon

I won't tell readers that Peter DeFazio will win a Senate race in Eastern Oregon, he could and conditions are good, but it will take smart politics to do it. Democrats out here are hungry for a Candidate and Peter DeFazio has a consistent and honorable record. His easy going populism should play well in an area that has not benefited from Republican economic policies. He would not have to dodge a gun-grabber identity, his "B" rating from the NRA is not too bad for a national Democrat. Gordon Smith has a voting record that he is stuck with, if a campaign makes sure of it.

Democrats can win out here, Ron Wyden (D) has carried or nearly carried these counties, Gov. Kulongoski got good numbers (despite his campaign's early lack of attention) and local Democrats can do well. There are national issues that have, over the years, very nearly poisoned the well for Democrats, but a DeFazio campaign could overcome that. Money and press are a large part of that, but so is grass roots, and Democratic Parties in the counties can be or are active. The $5 contributions mentioned here are the kind of thing that show a grass roots support. A candidate must have visible support out here, signage and press and a campaign headquarters of some sort are a must and that takes attention. Ron Wyden pays visible attention to Eastern Oregon, others have dropped the ball. Fortunately for national candidates most television out here is westside, their ads get play, but on the ground support is essential. Newspapers, radio, and a general noise level are important. A viable candidate will get newspaper attention, but letters to the editor from locals and a general buzz are only possible from grassroots.

Peter DeFazio is a skilled politician and he knows this stuff, that's why a demonstration of support is so important, those $5 contributions.The Senate is very narrowly in Democratic hands, any Democratic losses would be catastrophic and additions would be hugely beneficial. Peter DeFazio is one of the best of the Democrats in the House today, in order to show that the loss of his presence in the House is outweighed by his chances in the Senate he needs to be shown broad support, he and the national Democratic machine. Bloggers can help, but it will take more than that, his Website has important info on his activities and contact information, he encourages E-mail as post mail is slow to reach him. Phone calls and letters:

Washington, DC Office2134 Rayburn H.O.B.Washington DC, 20515Phone: (202) 225-6416

Eugene Office405 East 8th Ave. #2030Eugene, OR 97401Phone: (541) 465-6732

Coos Bay Office125 Central, Suite 350Coos Bay, OR 97420Phone: (541) 269-2609

Roseburg Office612 S.E Jackson Street, Room 9Roseburg, OR 97470Phone: (541) 440-3523

If you'd like to see someone like Peter DeFazio as Oregon's other Democratic Senator it's going to take persuasion. The Smith people have more money than god himself and certain rather stupid editorial boards on their side, Pete needs to be shown that he has more on his side. Not only does Gordon Smith need to be sent home, he needs to be replaced by someone like Peter DeFazio, that being the case, why not have the actual article?

This will be cross posted at Chuck for and Bluesteel Democrats and Draft DeFazio since it's been awhile since I've had somebody to actually be "For." I'm doing my little part, how about you?

Mitt and Facts, Not Related

If you've paid any attention to Mitt Romney over the years you have to wonder exactly which Mitt you've got this week. When it was convenient, he was pro-choice, now it's not and he's anti-abortion. Gays can't expect to know what he's got in his mind, now he doesn't like them, he didn't used to mind them. Now we get to the crux of the matter, how insignificant does something have to be for Mitt to say things that just don't seem to be so? How about hunting and owning guns? Is this really an issue? I own guns and hunt. I also drag race. I also read. I listen to the Blues. Do you care? I don't care if Mitt never shot a gun, I don't care if he never even saw a gun. What does that matter? Hunting is not a political statement, it is a rather demanding hobby, one that involves some expense and time and energy and skills. I hunt because it gets me out in the wild and because it involves what is nearly the ultimate competition. I pit my intelligence and ability to reach out against an animal's instincts, superior senses, camouflage, and knowledge of terrain. It is very fair, although the price of failure for the animal is considerably higher. There is one other aspect I don't expect a non-hunter to quite grasp, I develop a much closer relationship with my food. None of this is political, it's not Democratic or Republican, it a thing of its own. So what is all this about?

The WaPo has an article about Mitt's claims to have been a lifelong hunter and gun owner. Mitt lived in Michigan, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Utah and those states say he's never had a hunting license. He said earlier this year that he owned a firearm, apparently he does not. He joined the NRA as a life member last year after being a strong gun control advocate. Do Mormons get born again? Apparently so, just as a different political incarnation. He's said that he hunted small game in Utah regularly and didn't need a license for that there. Current Michigan, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire regulations require a license for small game, the Utah regulations seem to require a license. At one time I lived in Michigan and do not remember any period where a license was not required.

I wouldn't vote for the man anyhow, but I cannot see the reason to make a point of hunting if you don't. Hunters are a shrinking minority as it stands, today, so who is he trying to appeal to?

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Who CAN We Talk To ?

Nancy Pelosi leads a delegation to talk to Assad in Syria and the White House blows a gasket all over the media and particularly the right noise machine. Evil countries cannot be talked to by the USA. Evil is one of those words that gets tossed around in politics, it's a sort of generic for us not liking what they are doing. I'm not defending what they do, but I really prefer more specific words.

The White House says they will not talk to Syria. They say it is because they support terrorists and interfere in other countries. I wonder exactly what talking or not talking has to do with that? If we're not to talk to them there must be something about talking to them that somehow benefits them or what they do. Talking to a country recognizes that it exists, um, they exist whether we talk to them or not. I suppose the stance could be taken that it somehow legitimizes them; they belong to the UN, their leaders do actually run the places, in fact they run the places in ways we don't like. I think they're already legitimate and what they do is a fact (or purported fact) so not talking to them doesn't make it not happen. If talking to them is supposed to create an aura of power for them the problem with that idea is that they already have the power to do the things we don't like and they know it and so do their people. These are some of the rationales for not talking that I've been able to come up with and I've actually tried to come up with some that aren't strawmen; but I ain't having any luck. As far as I can tell, not talking to these people makes all our stances regarding them postures. The Prez can pose for the cameras being tough guy, well heck, we already know he can wear a flight suit, "clear" brush, use Old West terminology, and movie lines like, "bring it on." So what?

If I object to my neighbor storing garbage, making a stink, and drawing pests complaining to my wife and friends will have no more effect than stomping my feet and moaning. I could actually go next door and tell him that it stinks and is drawing pests and I don't like it. Blowing up his house is not a good option, persuading him that there is mutual benefit available is a better approach. Syria is not run by a lunatic, there are reasons they do what they do. If there are reasons and we know them and understand them we have an idea of how to approach them with another path. You can't know something by guessing, you get answers by asking and, yes, you have to know how to ask. Trying to understand something is not the same as approving, it is in fact a strategic advantage to know what your opponent is thinking and why.

The world is a dangerous place, bad intelligence and guessing are the tools of failure in an arena where failure is not a good thing. Talking to your friends is nice, they say nice things and sometimes you make nice deals, talking to your enemies or opponents is critical, while you may not make nice deals you get the opportunity to not make real stupid mistakes (Iraq) and possibly make trade-offs. You might find that what is a major issue to your opponent involves what is to you a minor inconvenience, this isn't blind optimism, it has factually been shown throughout history. The problem is that during stare downs the rhetoric frequently obscures the actual issues and stupidity ensues.

Well, stupidity has ensued enough times under this administration, you'd think they'd have figured something out by now, but noooooo.

Draft DeFazio

There is a new link on the page to a new blog put together by Carla and Torrid over at Loaded Orygun. Check it out, think about it.

Dick Cheney, Rush, Truth, Are You Kidding?

Inspector General Thomas F. Gimble wrote a report for the Defense Department about the handling of some intelligence about pre-war Iraq and it featured Douglas Feith's assertions that Saddam and Al Qaeda had a mature and symbiotic relationship. Turns out nobody in the actual intelligence business believed it and for the perfectly good reason that it was hogwash. Dick believed it, Feith was their guy doing what he was told to do and they got what they wanted and it was...garbage. It was then, it was when the report was issued, and it was yesterday when Dick told Rush ,

"[A]fter we went into Afghanistan and shut him down there, he went to Baghdad, took up residence there before we ever launched into Iraq; organized the al-Qaeda operations inside Iraq before we even arrived on the scene, and then, of course, led the charge for Iraq until we killed him last June. He's the guy who arranged the bombing of the Samarra Mosque that precipitated the sectarian violence between Shia and Sunni. This is al-Qaeda operating in Iraq," Cheney said. "And as I say, they were present before we invaded Iraq."

Feith's nonsense (and he's admitted it was just that) was leaked to the right-rag Weekly Standard before the war and were praised by Cheney at the time as the "best source of information on the topic." It was certainly as good as the "yellow cake" uranium letter.

And so regardless of the facts and regardless of the ISG's report, the Dick is still playing the same tune. Now is Al Qaeda in Iraq today? Surely it is, after all we took out their secular enemy and made mincemeat of the apparatus that opposed them, not to mention gave them a "cause." The picture of Dick Cheney standing in the bushes watching George II give his press conference regarding the Iraq war funding bill and Nancy Pelosi's trip to Syria must give you pause. I'll leave it to your imagination what was running through his addled pate.

Cheney feels as though they're the only people allowed to talk to foreign leaders, so that if there's a chance things will get screwed up, they're the ones doing it. After Pelosi noted that she hoped peace talks could get under way Cheney's reaction to Rush was,"It was a non-statement, non-sensical statement and didn't make any sense at all that she would suggest that those talks could go forward as long as the Syrians conducted themselves as a prime state sponsor of terror." There are people the US just cannot talk to, Syria being one of them. North Korea used to be one of them, but since they have no oil and do have nukes and a loony in charge they apparently can now be talked to. Of course Bill Clinton was a traitor and Democrat when he talked to them. Boy is the White House pissed, they're so pissed it escaped their notice that Republicans just got back from Syria.

These people are so partisan and so locked into their little ideology or somethingology that they can't keep the lies straight, the players straight, connect dots that are right next to each other, or even tell convincing lies. You'd expect more from a five year old.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Swiftboats, Belgium, and Fox

Apparently the last notable thing Belgium did was get run over by the Germans in WWII, otherwise it'd be silly to send them an ambassador like Sam Fox. As he kissed up to John Kerry in the Senate he professed to not know who the Swiftboat Liars for Bush were. He just gives money to anyone who asks. ( I don't have any, but I do have a measure of pride, I won't ask ) I have no idea how the Belgians will react to this one. I knew a Belgian girl 30 some years ago, she had what I'd call national pride, I'm pretty sure she'd be pissed.

The position must have been pressing since George II used a recess appointment to get Fox in, oddly the Democrats didn't think much of him, and they were only going to be gone a week. On of BushCo's more notable recess appointments was John Bolton to UN, you remember Mr Walrus Doom and Gloom. He's done well on TV, for the last week you can't turn the damn thing on without that 'stash showing up - good grief - "The Daily Show."??? You don't suppose it's George who is voting for that mope on the American Idol show, do you? I don't watch that show and I couldn't carry a tune if it had a handle but I've seen clips and that kid sucks. Maybe after he's 35 the Republicans will run him in honor of GWB.

I seem to have lost Fox. He did strike me as eminently forgettable, or is that richly forgettable.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

The Fifth and Monica

Max Blumenthal says it so well, "But as scrutiny of her actions intensifies, the evangelical Goodling must resort to the 5th Amendment -- man's law -- to avoid breaking the biblical commandment against lying. Only the goodly and godly Pat Robertson could have prepared her to make such a decision." Here's something really scary, she's only one of 150 graduates of Pat Robertson's Regent University serving in BushCo.

The Democrats aren't too pleased with Goodling and her attorney's idea of just not showing up because of the Fifth, they sent John Dowd a letter telling him she needs to cough up with what questions she refuses to answer. The Democrats wrote, "If her testimony is truthful, she will have nothing to worry about in terms of a perjury prosecution," to counter Dowd's claim that the hearings were a "perjury trap." If I've read this story right, either she's worried BushCo hasn't come out with its latest version and she'd be off message OR she's already participated in some illegal activities and anything she testifies to will bring the shoe down on her. She participated in the firings and helped brief McNulty before he gave his "inaccurate" version so maybe the lying is already a done deal. Odd behavior whatever for a "good" Christian to have to take the Fifth before Congress of the USA.

McCain and Pence Go Shopping

The problem with McCain - Naval Air and Pence - USAF is that their experiences of war were remote. Yes, you know you're being shot at in a jet; and sometimes you get shot down and imprisoned, but that is a different deal from the personal experience of dirt sloggers. They live in and with the death and destruction, blasted buildings, rotting bodies, bleeding buddies are all right there. Not 20,000 ft down and nice clean safe barracks away, and the tools are basic and pretty personal, rifles and grenades and etc give a close up of what you're doing and is being done to you. No million dollar hot rods with buttons and pretty gauges, nope, real basic stuff.

The market trip was the kind of political asininity that kills campaigns, you cannot afford to look that stupid, I'm safe shopping here; this typical neighborhood. One that's been cleared, is covered by 100 troops, snipers, Blackhawks, and Apaches, not to mention body armour as dress code, dumber than a box of rocks.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

In Fact, Assignment Zero

In Fact was a fortnightly news letter of 4 pages edited by George Seldes, its presses ran from 1940 to the mid-50s, killed by McCarthyism. No, it wasn't a "pinko" paper, but it was liberal/progressive, very. What In Fact truly specialized in was the news that the rest of media wouldn't print. They may have been the very first media to bring to press the link between health and cigarettes, in the 1940s. They got the stories the majors wouldn't print, a lot of those stories came from the reporters for the majors. Yes, media constriction was an issue that long ago, as was business interference with news reporting. Seldes (1890-1995) got the stories and published without fear, and naturally Joe McCarthy and his media mopes couldn't abide that. I have to think that the Bloggers would please Seldes, he'd be horrified by a lot of the sourcing - or lack, but the iconoclasm would please him.

In that vein, Jay Rosen of Press Think aimed me in the direction of Assignment Zero a compendium of Pro and Amateur news reporters. The idea, in general is two fold, one give a miss to the dollar domination ( this seems assumed ) and secondly that more eyes and ears are better than less, with the added benefit of the freshness of view of amateurs. I'm interested to see where this goes, I'm much too isolated out here in NE OR to be of any use to them, but I am interested. Realistically, while Baker City may be the center of my universe, most of the rest of the country gets along well without knowing anything about us. Some of my readers are much more "urbane" and I hope they'll take a look and see if there's something they'd like to do. They're recruiting.

Monday, April 02, 2007

NYT is Late

I have to laugh when the NYT Editorial Board brings out something like The Rovian Era on 4/1 and I had "Machiavellian Politics" on 3/28 and "Rove and the Hatch Act" on 3/30. I'm not alone in beating them to the punch, but I am truly amused that a small time Blog published by a "nail bender" from NE OR gets the jump on them. I have to admit they stopped short of using some of the pejoratives I did, but then, they're pussies.

Some of what drives this little commentary is that one of my Blogger Buddies has backed out of the game due to feeling, um, ineffective. I know that he might easily have beaten the NYT on this, also. It's not irrelevant to have a smaller readership and beat the Times out, it may be easier to do, but speaking to the public is meaningful, even if the public is small.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

It's the Media's Fault

John McCain visited the wholesale market in Bhagdad that was bombed in February and declared, "You read every day about suicide bombings, kidnappings, rocket attacks and other terrible acts. What we don't read about and what is new is a lot of the good news -- the drop in the murders in Baghdad, the establishment of security outposts throughout the city ... the deployment of additional Iraqi brigades to Baghdad," apparently hoping to make some intelligent point. Let's see if I've got it right, 71 people died in multiple car bombings in February in this market and the fact that it didn't happen again the day John McCain was there means all it good? Sure, John, nothing happened there, but a few days ago Tal Afar one of your shining examples from a couple months ago erupted in bombings and police revenge killings.

"Just as we read about all the negative events in Iraq the American people must be aware of the positive developments under this new plan, and the media has a responsibility to report all aspects of what is taking place." I know, at least several families sat down to breakfast and didn't die so that would be news. The media has reported on the drops in violence in Bhagdad, and then noted the uptick outside Bhagdad. Let's be realistic here Mr McCain, that is drops in violence not absence and the folks who live there (as opposed to the USA as Senators) don't find it real reassuring that they're just slightly less likely to get blown up or murdered.

I'm not real sure what John would have the media do about Iraq reporting, which stories should they ignore rather than have to try to put up a minute by minute report? Last week's good news seems to turn into this week's bad news on a regular basis, should the media put several million reporters on the ground and follow around the Iraqis on a daily basis? This little girl made it to school today, that one had her head ripped off by a flying car hood, this neighbor didn't kill his neighbor today, 35 bodies were found in the next neighborhood over. Does the Senator notice that the US news seems a little similar? Nobody followed me to work today and noted that I was neither robbed, murdered, abducted, or ...

Listen up, a single violent episode from a single day in Iraq would be 24/7 news if it were the US it happened in. Who the hell is it that's not being straight here? The media? How stupid is this? Maybe it'll work with the 20+% that backs George II. All it does for me is piss me off.