Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Bush and the Anti-Sex League

That the Bush Administration is funding anti-sex programs for everyone under the age of 30 should not surprise anyone. This has nothing to do with morality and has everything to do with control.

There is a rising tide of totalitarian governments trying to control the sex lives of their subjects as a way of demostrating absolute control. As nascent totalitarians, the Bushites would naturally want to develop programs to regulate the people's sexuality.

As pointed out by George Orwell in 1984, if the government can deprive people of sexual contact it is easy to refocus their energies. The government (and the Party) will become the sole target of both love and devotion and can use pent up emotions to spread hate and war.

Afganistan's Taliban and Iran's mullahs are well known examples of governments that have invested an inordinate amount of effort in controlling their population's sex lives for just this purpose. The Khmer Rouge in the 1970's went so far as to regulate when married couple could meet and have sex and who every citizen would be allowed to marry.

This is not morality. This is all about who controls your life and your body - you or your government?

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Missing Weapons in Iraq

Over 14,000 American weapons are missing in Iraq. Not surprising. Insurgencies throughout history have armed themselves with their enemy's own weapons. Native Americans during the Indians Wars, the French Resistance, and the VietCong all scavenged for their weapons. A powerful occupying army brings in all the weapons insurgents could every use. They just need to get them.

How is it the occupation army in Iraq is losing so many weapons? Some are stolen, others are sold by entrepreneurial Iraqis and Americans. Remember, a large number of Americans in Iraq are paid mercenaries who would think nothing of selling guns to the enemy if it means a tidy profit. The irony is that it is likely that several of the 23,000 casualties in Iraq to date were caused by American weapons sold to the rebels.

One Death Every Three Minutes

Thoughts inspired by an article in Iraq of Tomorrow by Dr. Sayyar Al Jamil.

For three and a half years, every three minutes, another Iraqi needlessly died because of American arrogance and Bush incompetence. With an ill-planned invasion we opened a floodgate of death with no idea how to close the gate or even begin to stem the flow. Twenty-five acres of farmland can be irrigated an inch deep with the blood spilled in this war. Forty thousand tons of flesh have been consumed by the war monster in Iraq. And the rate of death continues to accelerate. It is pleasant to blame Bush and Rumsfeld and Cheney for they have cheerfully bathed in the blood. But we are all at fault. We have stood by while an orgy of death has been played in our name. We have not protested often enough, we have not screamed loud enough. We have allowed the butchers to stay in business for far too long.
The price good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men. ~ Plato
To do evil that good may come of it is for bunglers in politics as well as morals. ~ William Penn

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Heard It All Before

Excuse me for having no faith in General George Casey's prediction that Iraq will magically be all better in 12 to 18 months. I've heard it all before.

Feburary 7, 2003 - It is unknowable how long this conflict will last. ...I doubt six months. ~ Donald Rumsfeld
January, 2004 - we are about to enter into a very critical six months. ~ Tony Blair
August, 2005 - The next six months will be very critical ... whether the Iraqis are really going to be capable of defending themselves ~ Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NB)
June 7, 2006 - The next six months will be critical in terms of reining in the danger of civil war. ~ Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad
October 5, 2006 - The next six months will determine the future of Iraq. ~ General George Casey
October 24, 2006 - It is going to take another 12 to 18 months or so till ... the Iraqi security forces are completely capable of taking over responsibility for their own security that's still coupled with some level of support from us. ~ General George Casey

In Artificial Intelligence this is called the "Horizon Effect." If a computer is faced with an insurmountable problem, say in a chess position, it will plan so as to postpone the inevitable defeat beyond its ability to see ahead. If it can't see the defeat then it no longer exists.

The Administration and Pentagon have a similar cognitive disfunction. They always see perfection six months in the future. Things may be horrible now, but in six months.... It is a sign of how bad things are in Iraq today that General Casey thinks it will take two or three six months for things to become perfect. It is all a failure of critical thought combined with My Pink Pony wishes.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Keith Olbermann Proves the Power of the Spoken Word

Keith Olbermann has renewed my faith in the spoken word. I'm old enough to remember when political rhetoric actually involved using complete English sentences to express complex thoughts. I had grown to feel that this era of "sound bite" speaking had killed off the art of political speech that can touch both the soul and the mind.

Keith Olbermann's Special Comment (MSNBC's Countdown) for October 23 is an elegant dismantling of the Bush presidency. With both passion and intellect Olbermann points to how Bush and Osama Bin Laden have become allies in their mutual goal to terrorize the American people. In six years in office the only thing Bush has successfully accomplished is spreading fear itself.

It was riveting television. Read the transcript or watch the video. Be proud of the art of political discourse again.
All that need further be said is to add three words to Shakespeare. Mr. President, you, and that advertisement of terror, are full of sound and fury—signifying (and competent at) nothing. ~ Keith Olbermann, October 23, 2006

A: Truncate the Name So People Have to Guess for Whom They Have Voted

Q: What is yet another way to use electronic voting machines to steal an election?

In Virginia, in selected counties, the voting machines have been configured to cut off Democratic Senate candidate James Webb's last name. To vote for Webb you have to vote for James H. "Jim" ... But that won't cause any confusion because there is also a James T. "Jim" (last name cut off) on the ballot.

These voting machines are manufactured by Hart InterCivic out of Texas (State motto: Over seventy years experience in rigging election returns). The election authorities all agree they want to fix the problem, eventually, but not this year. My favorite excuse is from Sheri Iachetta, general registrar for Charlottesville, "I completely understand (people complaining), but it's not something I can control."

Ah, sister, you bought those machines in 2002. You had the responsibility to insure they worked perfectly before you paid for the fucking things. It is totally in your control.

Source: WaPo via DailyKos.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Troops Petition For Redress - End the War

Congress shall make no law abridging the right of the people to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. ~ First Amendment, United States Constitution
It is DoD policy that Members of the Armed Forces shall be free to make a protected communication to a Member of Congress. ~ Department of Defense Directive 7050.6, 4.1.1
Sixty-five active duty members of the Armed Services have petitioned Congress to end the occupation of Iraq and bring our service members home. The press release was issued today; there will be a press conference on Wednesday. May this mark the beginning of the end.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

What's So Bad About Peace, Love, and Understanding?

The latest attempt at fear-mongering by Republicans is to charge that if Democrats gain control of Congress they will establish a Department of Peace. Rep. Roy Blunt has sent out a press release saying that if Nancy Pelosi becomes Speaker of the House all sorts of bills will be passed. Heading the list is a Department of Peace. All the sites that mention this simply regurgitate the Blunt release.
an aside: A sign of how demoralized Republicans are is their inability to express individual thoughts. All they seem able to manage just now is cutting and pasting from some official's mass e-mail.
I have searched in vain for any conservative reason for why a Department of Peace would be a bad idea. As best as I can surmise, to conservatives, Peace is such a demonic concept that mere mention of the phrase "Department of Peace" gives them the willies. They can't explain why it gives them the willies, they just know that Peace is Bad.
second aside: This home school site does try to explain the evils of Peace (aside within an aside: nothing explains the insanity of the religious home schooling advocates than this guy). As far as I can understand his rambling writing, Peace is Slavery and only through constant war is liberty possible.
There is proposed legislation to establish a Department of Peace in both the United States and Canada. The goal is to create a government effort towards seeking non-violent resolutions to domestic and international conflicts. Throughout history, violence has been the easy answer to a disagreement, especially when the strong want to impose their will upon the weak. Like playground bullies, violent resolution to conflicts is the mark of an immature society. It has been known for some time that mankind will not survive as a species until we can move past the quick resort to violence.

A Department of Peace does not make war impossible. It does not require us turning our swords into plows and spears into pruning hooks. It simply means, as a people, we will seek the path of peace first. And what is so bad about that?

Update: I forgot to include the link to the home schooler who considers Peace to be an anti-Christian evil. It's here.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

The Ugly American Award - Robert Tuttle

Robert Tuttle is the United States Ambassador to the United Kingdom. This award does not question whether Tuttle is qualified for the job he holds representing this country with its only significant ally in the Iraq War. He is clearly not qualified. Tuttle is a Southern California car dealer who bought the posting to the Court of Saint James with a $59,000 campaign donation to George Bush in 2004.

This award is not because Tuttle is a lying scumbag, although he is. In November, Tuttle denied the US military was using white phosphorus bombs on civilians in Fallujah. He had to retract that lie when the proof surfaced. The next month he denied the US was sending people to Syria to be tortured, "extraordinary rendition." The embassy staff had to retract that fib.

This award is granted to Robert Tuttle because he is an arrogant SOB. London has established a system of road tolls to regulated traffic in the center of the city. Tuttle has defiantly labeled the tolls an illegal tax and has refused to pay. Thus far, he has racked up over one million pounds ($1.9 million) in delinquent tolls and fines. The mayor of London has called Tuttle a "chiselling little crook."

For approaching the art of diplomacy in the same way he would selling a used car - equal portions of bald-faced lying and petty thievery - for doing everything he can to piss off the only friends we have left in the world, Robert Tuttle is awarded the Ugly American Award for October.

The Ugly American Award is given monthly to someone who has tainted us all throughout the world with his or her supercilious gall and general, all around, assholery.


Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Celebrating 'National Character Counts Week'

How Republicans have chosen to celebrate National Character Counts Week (Oct. 15-Oct. 21).

It's Hard for a Pimp
Rep. Don Sherwood (R-PA) had a long-term extra-marital affair with a woman he “repeatedly and violently physically assaulted and abused.” President George Bush flies in tomorrow for a Sherwood campaign rally ($350 to get in the door, $2,500 for a picture with the President, $5,000 if both you and your mistress want a picture with the President). Bush is one of over 40 Republicans who are whoring for Sherwood.

Star-Studded Endorsements
Michael Steele, Republican candidate for Senate in Maryland, announced two key endorsements this week. Fight promoter Don King (convicted killer) and former heavyweight champ Mike Tyson (convicted rapist) have both endorsed Steele's campaign, surprisingly, at Steele's request. Way to wrap up the violent felon vote there Mike.

Double Dipping
This week, Rep. Curt Weldon (R-PA) caught the FBI's attention twice. That takes more than a little effort. On Monday, his daughter's office was raided by the FBI related to Weldon's influence peddling for a Russian energy company. Today comes news that Weldon's ties to a crooked Serbian businessman are under investigation. The businessman is barred from doing business in the United States because of his relationship with former Yugoslav dictator Slobodan Milosevic. And the week's not over yet.

Oval Office Orgasms
President Bush chose Character Counts Week to sign the bill granting him the legal right to torture prisoners and obliterating the right of Habeas Corpus. Look at the faces behind Bush. The glee in the room at the prospect of inflicting pain of helpless prisoners is palpable. Congressman Duncan Hunter (R-my district), second from the right, is positively orgasmic.

To Republicans, this is what Character is all about.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

How Much Privacy Do You Want?

MSNBC has a online survey querying about people's attitudes regarding privacy and the onslaught of corporate and government domestic spying. It is worth taking the survey.

Art is from a great site, the Propaganda Remix Project. It is worth a bookmark.

Monday, October 16, 2006

All I want Is to Change the Channel

I am living in a country where the borders between reality and television/movie fantasy has disappeared. I don't know what is real life and what is scripted programming any longer.

Big Brother Is Watching
It is not just a metaphor from the Orwell novel 1984 or the movie renditions. He really is watching as we walk down the street. Look up, sometimes you can see the cameras. He knows every purchase we make, whether we prefer corn flakes or sugar puffs for breakfast. What do you think that supermarket discount card is for? All the Google searches I made researching this have been logged and recorded. And, so what? We really don't care. We feel safer from muggers, terrorists and people who would steal our identities. Actually, the Feds are rather sloppy about securing all the information they have gathered.

If you rejoice at the knowledge Big Brother cares for you, the Students for an Orwellian Society are for you. If, on the other hand, you care about keeping certain things private, visit the Privacy Rights Clearhouse but, beware, Big Brother will know you've been there.

Desire is Irrelevant - I am a Machine
It's bad enough that Arnold Schwarzenegger is (and will likely remain) my Governor. The new breed of robot warriors being developed for the Pentagon are "self-learning and adaptability." They don't need detailed programming to seek out and destroy their targets. They can figure things out for themselves, adapt to injury, even teach each other. We are planning to produce swarms of killer mechanical cockroaches (remember that X-Files episode), each individually intelligent and able to attack in concert. Judgement Day will approach to the sound of scurrying little artificial feet.

'If torture is evil shouldn’t we boo Jack Bauer'
Last June, the Heritage Foundation (right-wing think tank if you didn't know) hosted a seminar on how close to fact the televison series "24" is and whether we should care if it is real or fiction. Homeland Security Director Michael Chertoff took time off from his busy job protecting the nation to be the keynote panelist. Chertoff praised the show's realism while moderator Rush Limbaugh thanked the show for giving torture a good name. The quote above is from National Review writer Jonah Goldberg.

Share and Enjoy
What started me on this flight of fear is a little story about intelligent elevators and intelligent floors. The elevators use artificial intelligence to manage riders while the floors track your movements by body weight so the floor knows exactly where, when, and how quickly every individual has walked. The floor will even know if you are carrying something on the return trip.

This reminded me of the Sirius Cybernetics elevators in the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy who were so intelligent they got bored with just going up and down and ended up sulking in the basement.

Really, I swear, I'm trying not to panic.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Sacrifice for the Troops or Bring Them Home

A writer at California Conservative (and Rightfielder) wrote what appeared to be a thoughtful reconsideration of the Iraq War. He had recognized all that was going wrong with the war and how impossible the task is. Then it ended with his heart going out to the servicemembers and a renewed dedication to fight a war he knew to be hopeless to the death (someone else's death).

(my reply)
I was going to congratulate you on your arrival in the world of rational thought, but, in the end you got all wobbly. Perhaps reading this will stiffen your spine. If you truly want to support the troops -
  1. Demand your government institute a military draft to quintuple the size of the Army;
  2. Demand your government significantly raise your taxes to pay for properly supplying the troops;
  3. Demand your government try, convict, and imprison war profiteers such as Halliburton;
  4. Enlist in the Army. If you are too old (the current enlistment age is 42) the chances are you have children of enlistment age, insist on pain of disinheritment that your children join the Army. Your children must join the war.
If you are not willing to make the sacrifices necessary to truly support this war with your blood and your wealth, then support the troops by bringing them home from that Hellhole they should never have been sent to in the first place. War is not a football game. Supporting the troops means more than standing on the sidelines and cheering while they are maimed and killed.

I believe you are sincere but I am sick and tired of armchair patriots who parrot "Support the Troops" as if that phrase is not meaningless rhetoric. Sacrifice for the Troops or bring them home.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Why Was Adam Gadahn Charged With Treason

Over at Redstate (Know Thine Enemy) a blogger asks why al-Qaeda propagandist Adam Gadahn is the first person in 60 years to be charged with treason. Since I been banned there for excessive reasonableness I'll answer here.

The treason indictment was the October Surprise Karl Rove had promised. They were planning on promoting the hell out of it. Unfortunately (for Karl), more interesting news has buried it and, if they had tried their promotions, it would have looked like "wagging the dog."

NOTE: Commenters at Redstate, true to their authoritarian wet dreams, are hoping for the mass arrest for treason of war opponents. And they want mass arrests. The Futurist identifies 8-10% of Americans as Fifth-Column traitors, "we cannot win the War on Terror until we recognize and thwart this internal enemy."

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

A Cynic's Prediction

Republicans will retain both houses of Congress.

How can I say that given the news, the polls, and the palpable depression coming from right-wing pundits?
  • The odds have always been against us. In the Senate, Republicans have a 40-27 advantage among senator seats not up for election. We have to win 73% of the Senate elections to gain a one-vote majority. Republican gerrymandering of House districts means that Democrats will have to win 54% of the national votes cast to get 51% of the House seats.
  • The prospect of wide spread vote fraud. The primary election in Maryland was a test of just how much fraud Diebold can get away with and the answer was, a hell of a lot.
I will now take my Prozac and crawl under my bed until the depression lifts.
A cynic is not merely one who reads bitter lessons from the past, he is one who is prematurely disappointed in the future. ~ Sidney Harris
A cynic is a man who, when he smells flowers, looks around for a coffin. ~ H. L. Mencken
Expect the worst and you increase your chances of being pleasantly surprised. ~ me

Monday, October 09, 2006

Striding Boldly Into the Past

The Southern California city of Escondido (about 40 freeway miles northwest of my little hovel) has passed an ordinance making it illegal to rent any living space to "illegal aliens." The law would send landlords found to have rented to illegal aliens to jail for up to six months. Obviously, the easist way to stay out of trouble will be for Escondido apartment owners to rent only to white skinned people and to refuse to rent to people who speak with a Spanish accent or, worse yet, speak Spanish.

This law is in the long California tradition of encouraging people of color to sleep in the healthy outdoor environment of our canyon shanty towns. From the 1920 Alien Lands Act, which made it illegal in California for aliens to rent or own any property, through racially restrictive housing covenants, where landowners could legally prevent Jews, African Americans, Latinos, and Asians from buying homes in nice neighborhoods, California has been a leader in efforts to maintain the racial purity of our housing stock.

Of course, in the 1940's and 50's the Supreme Court overturned California's many restrictive laws. But, this is a new time with a new Supreme Court which can be counted on to understand the virtue of protecting Escondido's citizens from being exposed to brown skinned people speaking a strange language.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Iraq War: Quarterly Update

American Military Deaths
3rd quarter 2006 ..... 180
average - quarter ... 1.96 deaths per day
Total ................ 2,714

American Military Wounded
3rd quarter 2006 ..... 1,880
average - quarter ... 20.43 wounded per day
Total .............. 20,687

Iraqi Security Forces and Civilian Deaths (est.)
3rd quarter 2006 ..... 4,062 (a 35% increase from the previous quarter)
Total .............. unknown
This number may be a gross underestimation - The New York Times reported 3,438 Iraqi civilian deaths in July alone.

Approximate Number of Insurgent Attacks
January 2006 ........... 80 attacks per day
2nd quarter 2006 ..... 120 attacks per day
July 2006 .............. 135 attacks per day
estimated from a chart in this report

tag: ,

Friday, October 06, 2006

The Pure Definition of Godliness

When that gunman captured an Amish school last Monday, killing as of now five children, there was during that horror an act of purity divinity.
13-year-old Marian Fisher ... appealed to Charles Carl Roberts IV to shoot her first because she thought it might allow younger girls to survive. ~ CNN
No violence, she did not attack the gunman. She did not rant or rage neither did she meekly submit. She just had calm courage. She boldly offered to sacrifice her life in an effort to save others.

Jesus is quoted saying "greater love has no man than to give his life for another." Mahatma Gandhi taught Ahimsa, the non-violent respect for all life. This young girl practiced their teachings with a purity that both men would have honored.

This is an age when most of the great religions on Earth are competing to see which can most effectively kill the most people in the name of God. In the Middle East, some imans are teaching the Jihad of Death. In Israel, oppressing Muslim Arabs has become an article of the faith; the more religious the Israeli the more forceful the oppression. American clergymen are preaching that hatred for gays, immigrants, and a broad spectrum of other humans is the only way to show a love for God. Yet, all of them have passed far from the teachings of their faith.

Viktor Frankl, writing of Holocaust survivers, observed that the most noble of concentration camp vicitms were the first to die. They were the ones who would sacrificed for others in a time and place when sacrifice meant quick death. He wrote, "the best of us did not return." Young Mirian was among the best of us.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Two Gun Teachers

It is inevitable. After there is a school shooting some legislative gun nut who spends way to many evenings polishing his pistols gets an insane notion.

What if, he thinks, teachers and janitors were strolling down school halls with guns strapped to their hips? What if the principal kept a fully loaded semi-automatic shotgun on the wall behind his desk? What if Miss Tyler, the spinster English teacher, kept a 9mm Beretta tucked in a garter holster between her thighs? What if Jimmy, the janitor all the girls are scared of, took to totting a Cobray Mac-10 with him?

If every teacher thought he was John Wayne, if every janitor thought he was Rambo, how much safer our schools would be.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

You Call It Lazy, I Call It Research

I have been wasting away a morning when I could have been doing some witty writing by reading what others have penned. There is some good stuff out there today.

Congressman Attacked by 'Beasts'
Just about everyone is talking about Matt Drudge's creative defense of Congressional Predator Mark Foley. According to Drudge last Monday, the "poor congressman" was "being played for all he was worth" by "16 and 17 year-old beasts." In the perverse little world that Matt Drudge lives in, 16 year-old boys are all slavering sex beasts prowling for naive, sexually inexperience congressmen three times their age.

Hastert's Fat Is a National Treasure
Dennis Hastert has been way too fat for way too long, even his metaphors are getting fatty. In an interview with Rush Limbaugh (no stranger to fat) where the House Speaker call the Mark Foley scandal a vast left-wing conspiracy he dropped this little bon mot, "We are the insulation to protect this country, and if they get to me it looks like they could affect our election as well." Dennis Hastert is the blubber that surrounds the vital organs of the American Heartland. Without his quivering lipids embracing the body politic we would all freeze to death in this cold world.

After several days of struggle, the Republican talking point on the Foley scandal has resolved into blame the Democrats. Democrats knew all about this for years while Republicans were clueless because ... well, they can't seem to explain that yet. But Vast Left-wing Conspiracy has become the universal talking point.

Not Funny, Just Scary
One of the teenagers harassed by Foley has been receiving threats. The only possible source is right-wingers trying to terrorize the child. Heard it first at Dependable Renegade.

Torture...Secret Detention... oh look, Sex
Steve Bates points out that the obsession with Foleygate has buried the more important story, the fact that Congress passed laws legalizing torture and outlawing Habeas Corpus for anyone that the President deems unworthy of human rights. He wonders if Republicans are using Foleygate to do a little "dog wagging."

Hey, Mark, how did you vote...never mind
Hecate caught something I had missed. While on the House floor, Foley had cybersex with at least one page and ABC news has the transcript. They sit close together in Congress. It makes me wonder how uncomfortable it was for Foley's colleagues when Foley got itchy fingers. Did his congressional neighbors have to get up and go to the vending machines when Foley started text-messaging a page? Or, is a little phone sex SOP on the Republican side of the aisle during those boring roll call votes? I would love to know who was sitting next to Foley during his sex-messaging sessions.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Following the Foley Money

I've long believed that political contributions are nothing more nor less than legalized bribery. The story of how sexual predator congressman Mark Foley quieted concerns about his page-trolling is proof as to how direct these bribes can be.
  1. Rep. Rodney Alexander (R-LA) brought Foley's solicitation of a page to the attention of Rep. Tom Reynolds (R-NY) sometime last spring.
  2. Reynolds, chair of the National Republican Congressional Committee, had a conversation with Foley.
  3. On July 27, Foley's campaign committee wrote a check for $100,000 to Reynold's committee. That is the only contribution Foley's campaign has made to any campaign in 2006.
  4. Reynolds reports to Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert that the Foley situation has been resolved.
  5. The matter is very quietly dropped until the shit hit the fan last week.
Was that $100,000 hush money? Of course it was. Congressmen use their campaign committees to buy influence and favors from their colleagues all the time.
The converstion between Reynolds and Foley went something like this:
Reynolds: Mark, you've been e-mailing pages again, haven't you? One of the pages talked. Didn't we tell you to cut that out?
Foley: Am I in trouble?
Reynolds: No. Not if you show your loyalty to your party, to your colleagues, by writing my committee a generous check. I promise I'll make this whole thing disappear again.
Foley: How's fifty grand?
Reynolds: You can do better than that.
Foley: Hundred-k?
Reynolds: Sounds good. So, have you been able to bang any of those boys lately.
Foley: Nah.
Reynolds: Aw, tough luck. If you do, remember to gift them up good so they won't talk.
Foley: You bet.
Foley gave the National Republican Congressional Committee $200,000 just before the 2004 elections. Any guesses what that successfully covered up?

Foley's campaign gifts.