Friday, March 31, 2006

Don't You Like the Smouldering
Bomb Crater We Gave You?

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice conceded Friday that the United States probably has made thousands of "tactical errors" in Iraq and elsewhere, but said it will be judged by its larger aims of peace and democracy in the Middle East. ~ AP - March 31, 2006
I'm sorry. War is not like buying an anniversery present. It is not the thought that counts.

While we're at it, Condi also said, "the right to protest, that's what democracy is all about." No! Democracy is about the right to have our leaders hear us.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Kaloogian Does the Sema

The fundamental condition of our existence is to revolve. There is no object, no being which does not revolve. ~ The Ritual of the Sema, Whirling Dervishes

Faster, faster, like a whirling dervish spinning round
Faster, faster, until the Centre cannot Hold
~Here Comes The War, New Model Army
Spin, spin, spin,
like a Whirling Dervish. Howard Kaloogian has got to keep spinning. Gotta love Josh Marshall for finding Dear Howard's latest excuse for calling an Istanbul street scene peaceful "Downtown Baghdad." His latest spin is blaming the military. It seems conditions in Iraq are so peaceful the military asked them to only use nondescript photos because "if we posted something that was easily identifiable, it could be a target." What could be less identifiable in Iraq than pictures of Turkey. Of course, that excuse puts to lie Kaloogian's original concept that Iraq is calm and stable. It's pretty bad when you get caught in a lie so bad your only way out is to call yourself a liar.

The Great Disenfranchisement

In Los Angeles County, the database rejected 14,629 people — 43% of those who registered from Jan. 1 to March 15. ~ Los Angeles Times March 30, 2006
A history book will be written in England in the year 2056 titled "The Fall of the American Republic." Chapter Six will be called "The Great Disenfranchisement."

In the year 2006, enforcement in full of the ironically named Help America Vote Act (HAVA) began. In the beginning of that year, states were required to maintain centralized voter databases. A program first developed by California Secretary of State Bruce McPherson required that voter registers match exactly numerous other databases. This caused the massive rejection of voters. A discrepancy as little as a drivers licence address spelling out "Street" while the voter registration using the abbrevation "St." would be sufficient grounds to reject the voter's application. People who moved, renewed their drivers licences, and changed their political party were the first victims.

At that time, the Republican Party was growing unpopular. The effect of enforcement of HAVA was that most people who abandoned the Republican Party lost their rights to vote. This led to shocking, at the time, Republican victories in the State of California in 2006. Republican leadership quickly realized the potential of using databases to restrict voter access. By greatly increasing the complexity of the voter registration process, the right to vote could be restricted to a select group of people.

Eventually, it would cost thousands of dollars for an individual to navigate the system. Exhaustive effort was necessary to ensure that all of the databases where a voter might be lists held exactly the same information. A single, minor deviation was sufficient to end a person's right to vote. While voting, itself, was still free, a Poll Tax, of sorts, was established that ensured only the wealthiest would vote. In 2052, less than three million Americans were allowed to vote in the Presidential elections. Many believe today that this Great Disenfranchisement was a vital component in the growth of one-party rule in the United States.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Howard Kaloogian: His Photogate

But you're a dirty little liar with a message of obsession to come
~ Dirty Little Things, Velvet Revolver
Howard Kaloogian is running in the special election to replace the disgraced Congressman Duke Cunningham in the California 50th District special election. Apparently, he wants to prove his qualifications by being an even a bigger liar than dear old Duke. He put this photo on his web site - (shown here as edited by Josh Marshall. Top photo is Kaloogian's.)

The caption discribes it as a "photo of dowtown Baghdad while we were in Iraq." He claims it is proof that "Iraq (including Baghdad) is much more calm and stable than what many people believe it to be."

Little Problem. It ain't Baghdad. Ain't even Iraq. Kaloogian and his crew didn't even take it.

Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo provides point-by-point proof that the photo is of suburban Istanbul, Turkey. It appears to come from a commercial Turkish photographer and is part of a portfolio that includes these shots. As con-games go, this was a pretty good try. It took some serious sleuthing by jem6x a regular guy who comments on Daily Kos to sniff out the truth.

Update: I had to rejigger things a little. Dear Howard has taken the picture off his site - as if that will make it disappear.

Metal Detector Etiquette:
San Diego Court Division

In short, in matters vegetable, animal, and mineral,
He is the very model of a modern Major-General.
~ Pirates of Penzance, Gilbert & Sullivan
Just finished a tour of jury duty and I have discovered a foolproof way to smuggle a gun into the San Diego County courthouse.
  1. Buy a military uniform on E-Bay, Navy seems to work.
  2. Go to a swap meet and get a nice selection of service patches and medals.
  3. Get a haircut - look neat, trim, military-like.
  4. Casually walk through the metal detector with your gun well hidden.
  5. After you set off the alarm, the bored sheriff deputies will smile and wave you through.
I saw this work with Navy blues and Marine camos. Apparently, in this post 9-11 world, the San Diego Sheriff Department gives a free-pass to anyone in uniform. The courthouse metal detection protocol has gotten very casual. Sloppy even. The chatter in the jury lounge was that it is harder to get scissors onto an airplane than it is to get a gun into court. If you try this, remember, you didn't hear if from me.

Monday, March 27, 2006

U. S. Military in Latin America,
a Brief History Lesson

"America is reducing military and economic aid to Latin American countries," a San Diego Union-Tribune editorial complains. The issue is the refusal of Latin American countries to exempt the United States from the International Criminal Court that prosecutes genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. Given our history, less military aid is a wonderful thing for Latin America.
  • 1902 Cuba - Allowed independence on the proviso that the US may intervene militarily at will. Got Gitmo on a perputual lease. Independence lasted until 1906, when a US governor was installed.
  • 1903 Columbia - Wanting to build the Panama Canal, President Teddy Roosevelt organized a rebellion in the Columbian province of Panama, sending the Navy to assist the coup.
  • 1909 Nicaragua - The US supported a coup, invaded with Marines, and occupied the country until 1933. Before leaving, we trained the death squads of the Guardia Nacional and began the long Somoza dictatorships.
  • 1915 Haiti - Marine occupation was oppressive, although we did build several roads. It lasted until 1934.
  • 1916 Dominican Republic - Again the Marines invaded the country, installing a military dictatorship that lasted until 1924.
  • 1930 Dominican Republic - Trained by the Marines, Rafael Trujillo ruled as a brutal dictator until his assasination in 1961. Oddly enough, the Marines put him in power and the CIA killed him. The following five years the CIA had a cottage industry installing various military juntas.
  • 1933 Cuba - Army sergeant Batista becomes dictator. Batista lost power in 1944 while the US was preoccupied with World War II. Batista regained power in a bloodless coup in 1952, after which Cuba became a haven for American gangsters.
  • 1946 US Army School of the Americas - After World War II, the US founded the School of the Americas. In the following decades they trained thousands of Latin American soldiers in the arts of torture and murder.
  • 1954 Guatemala - The US ended the Ten Years of Spring, a period of peace and liberty in Guatemala, with a coup codenamed Operation PBSUCCESS. We acted at the behest of the United Fruit Company (the origin of the term "banana republic").
  • 1964 Brazil - A US backed military coup takes power and rules for 20 years.
  • 1973 Chile - A CIA coup installed the butcher Augusto Pinochet. Among his successes were six concentration camps and the Caravan of Death.
  • 1974 Argentina - Using skills learned at the School of the Americas, the Argentina military waged the "Dirty War" against their own people.
  • 1975 Operation Condor - A coalition of secret police from Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay, and Uruguay with the support of the US. They engaged in kidnapping, torture, and assassination. In 1974, Uruguayan military officials threatened to assassinate US Congressman Edward Koch. The FBI refused requests to protect Koch.
  • 1979 El Salvador - (Although I could pick just about any year to illustrate.) The Revolutionary Government Junta overthrew the right-wing dictatorship to try an interesting CIA experiment, sound like leftists while backed by right-wing death squads. It didn't work; civil war ensued.
  • 1981 Nicaragua - The Contra war against the Nicaraguan people defined the Reagan Administration. Funded, often illegally, by the United States (Iran-Contra) the Contras were world renown for the brutality with which they killed civilians.
Things are not improved. Neo-cons believe the El Salvador death squads were successful. The Pentagon has admitted they are making plans for the invasion of Venezuela. The wisest thing the governments of Latin America can do is keep the United States military far away. They should not exempt the United States from the International Criminal Court because most of the crimes against humanity perpetuated upon their people was backed by the United States. We are nothing but bad news in Latin America.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Cheney's 'Standard Tour Rider'

The Dick Cheney's "downtime suite" requirements on The Smoking Gun has been fodder for much humor, and I'm not above joining it. This is not where he is sleeping, just where he waits until he delivers his speech.

Jon Stewart on the Daily Show observed that his required 68 degrees must be the perfect temperature for reptiles (In truth, that is wrong. But it is the perfect temperature for a goldfish.). Others have focused on his need for all televisions to be tuned to FOX News (Lest he accidently be exposed to a smattering of the truth, and explode.) Wait Wait, Don't Tell Me did a wonderful rife on his requiring a private bathroom (picture the Vice-President walking down the hall in his bathrobe with a towel drapped over his shoulders, then waiting in line at the urinal).

My favorite is item #4, "all lights turned on." Although Cheney has been called the Dark Lord of Shadows, it seems that lit'l Dickie is afwaid of the dark.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Any Port in the Sea of Corruption,
Hong Kong Division

In fact, the Pale was ’a weltering sea of corruption—­the captains out of credit, the soldiers mutinous, the English Government hated; every man seeking his own, and none that which was Christ’s.’ ~ James Godkin, The Land-War in Ireland
After the kerfuffle regarding the sale of U.S. ports to a Dubai firm, you would think that the Bush Administration would have gotten the message that their own people weren't entirely happy with selling port security to foreign governments. Wrong! The latest news from the AP is that our loopy little government is hiring a Hong Kong firm (That's Communist China for you right-wing wackos who are want to to call anyone you disagree with a commie pinko.) to do cargo nuclear security checks in the Bahamas. Duties that would normally go to customs agents will be outsourced to Hutchison Whampoa Ltd. of Hong Kong.

Of course, it is a 'no-bid' contract, although I am certain it is not a 'no-bribe' contract. In 1999, the Clinton Administration blocked Hutchison from buying part of the Panama Canal for security reasons. In 2003, White House darling Richard Pearle negotiated the sale of bankrupt Global Crossing to Hutchison. The FBI opposed this saying it would gain control of contracts for secure Pentagon communications. (Source: Wikipedia) A military intelligence report cited Hutchison in 1999 with close ties to the People's Liberation Army and as a potential risk for smuggling arms and other prohibited materials into the United States from the Bahamas.

The AP article quotes Sen. Norm Coleman (R-MN), "We must not allow an unwarranted fear of foreign ownership or involvement in offshore operations to impair our ability to protect against nuclear weapons being smuggled into this country."

In fairness, Hutchison does have facilities already in the Bahamas.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Tax Accountant Liberation

It is a very sad thing that nowadays there is so little useless information.
~ Oscar Wilde
The Information Age has officially run amok. The IRS is ever so quietly changing the rules to allow accountants and tax preparers to sell your income tax information. Why this change is happening is a mystery. The official reason, simple "housecleaning," is absurd. Clearly, this is part of the marketing database mania. The biggest beneficiaries, aside from H&R Block and the other sellers, will be the credit agencies, like EquiFax. Being able to merge your tax data in with your credit history will give them a valuable commodity. Once your tax returns are in the public domain, the uses they can be put to are limitless.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Helen Thomas v. George Bush

Transcript of Presidential press conference regarding why we went to war against Iraq, March 21, 2006
HELEN THOMAS: They (Iraq) didn't do anything to you, or to our country.
GEORGE BUSH: Look -- excuse me for a second, please. Excuse me for a second. They did. The Taliban provided safe haven for al Qaeda. That's where al Qaeda trained --
THOMAS: I'm talking about Iraq --
BUSH: Helen, excuse me. That's where -- Afghanistan provided safe haven for al Qaeda. That's where they trained. That's where they plotted. That's where they planned the attacks that killed thousands of innocent Americans.
Poor George, after all this, still can't tell the difference between Afghanistan and Iraq, between Al-Qaeda and Baathists. That's why we went to war. That's why thousands died. Because Bush didn't know any better.

Paranoia Alert #1

President Bush said Tuesday the decision about when to withdraw all U.S. troops from Iraq will fall to future presidents... ~ Associated Press
Not meaning to sound paranoid, (okay, I really do mean to sound paranoid) but one way to read this statement is as a pledge to extend his occupation of the White House as long as he feels it is necessary to win the Global War on Terror. It's not like Bush has shown any particular respect for the Constitution thus far. I keep having this nagging feeling he believe that term limits are for wusses and that God does not want him to abandon his post with the task unfinished. No facts to share, just numbing fear.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Bush: 'strategy is working'

Bush still believes. If that is true, I'd hate to see what a failure looks like.

Iraqi Family Executed: The Stench of Truth

The stench of truth: a life for a life, to be kind is to be unkind.
~ Fire by
Kitchie Nadal
The report out of Iraq that U.S. troops executed an eleven member family, including a 6-month old child, just smells truthful to me. The story goes that American forces decended from helicopters onto a house in the little town of Abu Sifa, north of Baghdad, seeking an Al-Quada member. After arresting the man they wanted, the household was handcuffed and killed with shots to the back of their heads. They then destroyed the house with rocket fired from the helos. The official version says that the house was destroyed in a firefight and the Al-Quada man was the only one left alive in the rubble.
  • The odds that the only survivor would be the only one they were looking for are long, 12 to 1. I have a motto - There is no such thing as a coincidence. Its corollary is - This kind of luck is always suspicious.
  • The report of the executions came from a dry Iraqi police report, believable because it is not propaganda.
  • The hospital autopsies comfirm the police report.
  • It is the kind of thing that happens when unit cohesion is still strong but morale is broken. 'Punish them that were hiding the bad guy.' 'There is no justice but my justice.' This the mindset of a besieged soldier just trying to survive his own terror.
  • Why even the children? James Mitchner in his epic novel Centennial explained a similar incident where a cavalry troop massacred an indian encampment. "Nits grow into lice," the commander said.

From this distance, I can't know the facts. I can only guess. I can pray again, as I have so often with this war, that I am wrong. Problem is, I haven't yet been wrong.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Viva la Cuba

If being anti-Republican, anti-Bush, anti-war, and anti-unilateralist didn't catch the prying eyes of the NSA I'm guessing that rooting for Cuba in the World Baseball Classic isn't going to make a difference.
Cuba - 3
Dominican Republic - 1

Viva la Cuba.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

'Kill 'em All' - Judical Division

Greek Solider: What are we going to do?
Xena: We're going to kill them all!
~~'Xena: Warrior Princess' episode, "The Price"
The movement to stack the judiciary has been going too slowly for many Republicans. This impatience has led several of these 'patriotic, religious' souls to propose hastening the deaths of some of them.
  • Republican posterslut Anne Coulter - "We need somebody to put rat poisoning in Justice Stevens' creme brulee."
  • Pat Robertson's 700 Club call for his followers to pray that God "remove" three liberal Supreme Court justices.
  • Mark Byron's "fantasy" about killing five Supreme Court justices and twenty-one Democratic senators.
  • Tom DeLay's threat against judges.
  • Senator John Cornyn's suggestion that violence against judges is justified.
  • The man who offered a $50,000 bounty for the death of Florida Judge George Greer. The Terri Schiavo case revealed a lot of people who demostrated their reverence for the sanctity of life by wanting to kill people they disagreed with.
  • Right wing death threats against justices and other judges.
It makes the lesser lights who just vilify judges they don't like, such as James Dobson comparing judges to the KKK, seem quaint. I could go on. I haven't even touched the neo-Nazi sites (and I won't, I have my pride, and a weak stomach) where things get graphic. The Republican War-On-Judges is serious, over 700 federal judical officials nationally receive death threats annually (Source: U.S. Marshals Service). Adding state and local judges (no one is keeping track of these) and the number is well into the thousands. If these threats had come from Al-Quada, the nation would be outraged. But the threats mostly come from anti-abortion activists and other "right-to-lifers," property rights activists, and religious fundamentalists. The War-On-Judges is a Republican phenomenon. It is past time we realize that.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Timing of Israel Jail Attack in Jerico

Life is all about timing... the unreachable becomes reachable, the unavailable become available, the unattainable... attainable. Have the patience, wait it out. It's all about timing. ~ Stacey Charter
The timing of Israel's raid on that jail in Jerico is curious. According to the Jerusalem Post and Kajaleej Times, IDF Special Forces converged on the jail within 20 minutes of United States and British peace monitors leaving Jerico. The monitors were withdrawn, according to British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, because the Palestinian Authority could not ensure their safety. In those 20 minutes Israel brought in tanks, bulldozers, and Special Forces and even developed a campaign name, Operation "Bringing Home the Goods." This is extreme efficency, even for the Israel Defense Force.

That efficiency, the swiftness, leads to my curiosity. The operation had been planned for several days (source: Jerusalem Times). It is certain that the Americans and Brits gave Israel a heads-up they were leaving. It is implied, and near certain, that there was coordination between Britian and the United States with Israel to prepare for this mission. This
intrigue was noticed with anger in the Arab world. The American and British involvement in the Arab-Israeli conflict is not as an honest broker. If the curious evidence speaks the truth, we are planning military ops with Israel. It astonishes me that we continue to pretend to be impartial.

This link, has additional information.

Monday, March 13, 2006

'Sleep is a symptom of caffeine deprivation'

Without enough sleep, we all become tall two-year-olds. ~JoJo Jensen, Dirt Farmer Wisdom, 2002
The latest spin twirling out of the White House is that the reason for all the screw-ups is that the White House staff is sleep deprived. At one level, I want to believe that. I once put in 22 hours a day working on a San Diego City Council campaign. I slept on the floor of the campaign headquarters and made 2 am runs to Denny's for coffee. I kept it up until the campaign manager and the candidate pulled me aside and told me to go home for a couple of days, I was beginning to scare the volunteers. (We won.)

But, I can't believe these guys. This is a president who is famously an 'early-to-bed' kinda guy who vacations for months at a time. The joke from John Ashcroft was, Bush works 24/7 - 24 hours a week, 7 months a year. On entering office Bush announced that the era of long hours at the White House was over. This new line echos his theme from the first Bush-Kerry debate, "It's hard work." They are not up to the task and are resorting to lame excuses. Although, if they are having trouble sleeping I will give them this.
They have done so many mean things all their lives they can't sleep anyhow. ~ Mark Twain

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Why John McCain Doesn't Matter Anymore

And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith
- Acts 9:18
In an interview on MSNBC, McCain urged Republicans to write-in George Bush in a 2008 presidential straw poll at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference. That brownnosing statement is not why. The Why is not what he has said but his silence.
  1. After Bush's signing statement vowed to ignore McCain's anti-torture bill whenever Bush wanted to, McCain was silent.
  2. On NSA domestic spying, was troubled, two days later untroubled, he called for hearings in the press but was silent in the Senate, and recently he has been quiet as a little church mouse munching on the Holy Wafers.
  3. On the Dubai Ports World kerfuffle, McCain's only thoughts were to ape Bush's talking points.
  4. Even on his signature issue, campaign finance reform, McCain has abandoned his post. McCain can only think of programs designed to give him a compitive advantage in '08.
There was a time, six years ago, when I respected John McCain. I disagreed with his politics but thought him an honorable man. That is a rare species in Washington. I even changed my registration to Republican so I could vote for him in the California primary. John McCain is the textbook example of a man who is selling his soul for a chance at power. This modern Faust is sacrificing everything he believes, even his own self-respect, to be President. It is a sad drama, a tragedy even.

Friday, March 10, 2006

The Crooks Just Keep On Coming

I asked a man in prison once how he happened to be there and he said he had stolen a pair of shoes. I told him if he had stolen a railroad he would be a United States Senator.
- Mother Jones by way of CaptainVideo commenting on HuffingtonPost
Yet another Bush White House official got caught believing the Law doesn't apply to him. What incredibly petty criminals these people are. I am embarrassed we have allowed such small time thieves and thugs to govern us.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Why I love my people

Over at Daily Kos was a posting from a woman who was being scammed and threatened by a large home contracting company in Michigan, Hanson's. While Hanson's is the scum of the earth, the response of the people at Daily Kos was inspiring. Advice, support, offers to help. There are so many good people on this Earth, the Hanson's (as well as the Bushs and Cheneys) of this world are in trouble. We outnumber the bastards.

Predictions Gone Wild

Lord, I wonder what's has got the matter
Wit' time, you know, wit' time
It seems like the hours, oh, everything done changed
-- Hoodoo Man Blues, Junior Wells (1935)

I've been going over the entrails of a chicken and feel the need to expand on my prediction regard the Dubai ports kerfuffle. It's not good enough to predict what will happen (Congress blocks the deal, Bush vetos, Congress doesn't override). Anyone with halfway decent mojo could do that. I'm going to tell you how it happens.

Dubai Ports World will form a partnership with some Americans. It won't be Halliburton like the NY Daily News reported. That would be to difficult to make fly. No, it will be a new shell company composed of Republican lackeys. DPW will capitalize the whole thing and run things. The lackeys will reap some sweet salaries and, in turn, pass along hefty contributions to Republican campaigns.

I predict the Republicans will make lemonade out of this bushel of lemons. When this started they didn't stand to gain from the deal. When it's finished, they will have made it a fancy money laundering scheme to pocket millions of Middle East petro-dollars. See if they don't.

Update: No sooner I finished writing this word crossed the wires that DPW had found their partners. So, a further prediction: they will not sell their stake in the ports, they will simply turn over mangement of the ports to some Americans. They would have done that anyhow. Nothing of my prediction changes. (I'm not sure I like it this far out on a limb.)

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Port Prediction

Congress will pass a bill blocking the Dubai Ports World port acquisition. Bush will veto it. No override vote will be taken.

The Company of Cowards

It was a company of cowards
I could tell by the way they ran

New Christy Minstrals song from the 1960's

The display of cowardice by Republicans in the U. S. Senate yesterday was as abject an act as I have ever witnessed. The Republicans on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence didn't just refuse to investigate the illegal, unconstitutional warrantless spying on American citizens. Story. No, they authorized it. The fear in their quaking little hearts at the mere thought of fulfulling their oaths of office to defend the Constitution was striking.

Here are the ignoble eight:
  • C. Patrick Roberts, KS, Chairman - new nickname, "the little yellow stain of treason"
  • Orrin Hatch, UT - sold his soul for a future nomination to the Supreme Court
  • Mike DeWine, OH - payback for presidential support before a contested primary election
  • Kit Bond, MO - explained his vote in favor of allowing the torture of prisoners by saying, "The last thing we want to do is put undue burdens on military and intelligence officials..."
  • Trent Lott, MS - regarding the Abu Ghraib photos, "Nothing wrong with holding a dog up there unless it ate him..."
  • Olympia Snowe, ME - Likes to call herself a moderate Republican, but whenever push comes to shove, she gets shoved. One of the weakest willed people in either house of Congress.
  • Chuck Hagel, NE - The only one on the list who actually disappointed me. He has been strangely quiet, mute even. My gut tells me the threats made to him were pointed. This man's silence is a sign he is terrified.
  • Saxby Chambliss, GA - once said, "turn the sheriff loose and arrest every Muslim that crosses the state line".
There is a bottom line to this. The United States Senate has been turned into the Roman Senate under Julius Caesar, a meaningless relic that is allowed to bloviate as much as they want as long as they don't attempt to actually do anything. More on this thought anon.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Any Port in the Sea of Corruption, Part 2

Thriving industrial societies have been swallowed up and the Earth is slowly submerging beneath the expanding Sea of Corruption.

Solving the President's Dubai Ports World problem has arrived at its logical next step. Bring in Halliburton. According to the New York Daily News, the Administration is pressuring DP World to take on an American partner and the company described as best equipped to the task is Dick Cheney's old firm. Of course, what an oil and gas exploration company knows about running a passenger cruise terminal would fit in a thimble, with room left over for a finger. But, this isn't about efficiency. It's about corruption.

If you think about it, it's reassuring, really. There just aren't that many totally corrupt businesses in the country if they keep having to go back to Halliburton.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

'Stay the Course' - for Whom?

the only people who want us in Iraq is Iran and al-Qaeda. I’ve talked to a top-level commander the other day, it was about two weeks ago, and he said China wants us there also.
Rep. John Murtha (D-PA)
Face the Nation, CBS March 5, 2006
  • Al Quada loves it that we are bleeding in Iraq. The more we bleed, the more they rejoice.
  • Iran is grateful we overthrew the Sunni leadership in Iraq, allowing Iran to begin building a Persian/Arab Shi'ite alliance. Because of us, Iran will become the single greatest power in the Middle East.
  • China loves that every day we fight meaningless brush wars we grow smaller in power, wealth, influence, and respect.

They all want us to "stay the course."

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Parsing the reasons

I'll turn him into a flea. A tiny, helpless flea. And I'll put that flea in a box. And then I'll put that box in another box. Then I'll mail that box to myself, and when it arrives, I'll smash it with a hammer! - The Emperor's New Groove

In defense of the Patriot Act, DeRoy Mordock at the Nation Review lists every single reason he could think of for the Act. Some perspective:
  1. 2,977 people killed during 9-11. (Equal to the two largest reports of civilian deaths at Ten percent of the total civilian death count in Iraq caused by the war.)
  2. $659,000 seized entering Eqypt. (Enough to buy a nice, middle class house in San Diego County.)
  3. 1,320 pounds of heroin taken from three "al-Qaeda- and Taliban-linked San Diego weapons dealers." (one-tenth of one percent of the Afganistan heroin production in 2004.)
  4. 401 total terror suspects arrested using the Patriot Act. (There are 463 street gangs with 39,032 members in Los Angeles alone. There were 291 gang related homicides in Los Angeles in 2004.)
These were the best reasons one of the finer minds at Nation Review (a bit of an oxymoron, that) could come up with. "Killing a flea with a hammer" seems an understatement. I guess I'm suppose to feel safer with this overweening attack on the Constitution passing the Senate by a vote of 89-10. I have a lot more to fear from the Patriot Act than I do from the tiny squad of terrorists it is suppose to interdict.

Friday, March 03, 2006

The Enemy Within

An otherwise unremarkable blog on the wonders of the Patriot Act contains these remarkable sentences -
This fifth-column comprises 8-10% of the US population, and we cannot win the War on Terror until we fight the enemy within. The Patriot Act is a strong tool to do this, as it is a lightning rod by which many Anti-Americans expose themselves.

Do the math, 8-10% of the population is 24 to 30 million Americans that the War of Global Terrorism folks believe to be enemies of the state. That number is:
  • half of the people who voted for John Kerry in the last election.
  • 12 times the current number of people held in of all the federal and state prisons in the United States.
  • the entire population of Iraq.
  • equal to all the people who passed through the Soviet gulag and those sent into internal exile during the complete reign of Joseph Stalin (1929-1953) [Source: Anne Applebaum].
  • One last stat, the high end estimate of the victims of the Nazi Holocaust is 26 million humans.
After reading that remarkable brace of sentences I was reminded of a tin-foil hat posting I found some time ago that claimed to have found evidence of the construction of concentration camps inside the United States. I am beginning to believe it now.

I am not yet convinced that an American gulag is inevitable. I am more convinced now that the number of Americans that John Yoo, Alberto Gonzales, Michael Savage, Dick Cheney and their disciples believe are traitors is a hell of a lot larger than I ever feared. By their definition, I am proudly a traitor. I am proudly a Fifth Columnist who views their vision of America as a perversion.

[Takes a deep breath. Stares at the screen for a few moments, listening to his heart beat.]

Come get me, you bastards!

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Can I get a little personal, here?

I got hay fever, blocking up my head
Hay fever, I ought to be in bed
How can I dance when I can hardly breathe
Wish I could cure this infernal allergy
I got hay fever blocking up my brain
Hay fever, feel the sinus pains
And all the pills and the powders are in vain
Thought I was cured but here it comes again
It goes ooh-ah
Hay Fever, Misfits

I hate my hayfever. Hate, hate, hate! I walk by some flower I'm allergic to and the sinuses start flowing like a New Orleans levee. Bing! One minute fine, next minute drowning in my own post-nasal drip. Fifty years of this shit.

I've become a connoisseur of allergy medicines. Allegra, fine, but I have to take it before an attack, like they are predictable. Claritin is way overrated. Entex PSE could dry up the Pacific Ocean but it's like drinking twelve cups of coffee. Atarax is a great antihistamine and an even better date rape drug. I've never tried Entex and Atarax together; I think I might explode. The pill's kicking in, gotta take a nap ...