Politics, Sex, Religion, and all those impolite Human Conversations...

My Photo
Location: Oaksterdam, California

Friday, June 24, 2005

Raging Rove and a Bloody Nose

By now most everyone has weighed in on the despiccable comments make by Karl Rove. BTC News has the full text of the speech he gave to The New York Conservitive Party where I got this excerpt:

But perhaps the most important difference between conservatives and liberals can be found in the area of national security. Conservatives saw the savagery of 9/11 and the attacks and prepared for war; liberals saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks and wanted to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding for our attackers. In the wake of 9/11, conservatives believed it was time to unleash the might and power of the United States military against the Taliban; in the wake of 9/11, liberals believed it was time to… submit a petition. I am not joking. Submitting a petition is precisely what did. It was a petition imploring the “powers that be” to “use moderation and restraint in responding to the… terrorist attacks against the United States.”

I don’t know about you, but moderation and restraint is not what I felt as I watched the Twin Towers crumble to the earth; a side of the Pentagon destroyed; and almost 3,000 of our fellow citizens perish in flames and rubble.

Moderation and restraint is not what I felt – and moderation and restraint is not what was called for. It was a moment to summon our national will – and to brandish steel.

MoveOn.Org, Michael Moore and Howard Dean may not have agreed with this, but the American people did.

Conservatives saw what happened to us on 9/11 and said: we will defeat our enemies. Liberals saw what happened to us and said: we must understand our enemies. Conservatives see the United States as a great nation engaged in a noble cause; liberals see the United States and they see … Nazi concentration camps, Soviet gulags, and the killing fields of Cambodia.

Has there been a more revealing moment this year than when Democratic Senator Richard Durbin, speaking on the Senate floor, compared what Americans had done to prisoners in our control at Guantanamo Bay with what was done by Hitler, Stalin and Pol Pot – three of the most brutal and malevolent figures in the 20th century?

Let me put this in fairly simple terms: Al Jazeera now broadcasts to the region the words of Senator Durbin, certainly putting America’s men and women in uniform in greater danger. No more needs to be said about the motives of liberals.

So where did this loathing of Liberals and Democrats originate. I believe I found the answer and it's straight from the Horse's Ass Mouth:

'At the age of 9, I put a Nixon bumper sticker on the wire basket in the front of my bicycle. Unfortunately, the little Catholic girl down the street was a couple years and about 20 pounds on me. She was for Kennedy.

'When she saw me on my bike with my bumper sticker for Nixon, she put me on the ground, flattened me out and gave me a bloody nose,' he said.

'Despite that beating, I never lost interest in politics.'

One could say that is where his interest in right-wing politics began, and no more needs to be said about the motives of Karl Rove.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

What Would Rambo Do?

The Rude Pundit, with his special, delicate touch, rips into Bush and reams him over his comments about the detainees down Gitmo way that have been realeased.
Bush said that 'Some have been released to their previous countries, and they got out and they went on to the battlefield again.' It ain't that big a leap of logic to say that perhaps they went to the battlefield because of the way they were treated at Gitmo. That after a couple of years of detention with no way to contact loved ones, no access to legal processes, and at least some brutality and torture in the form of beatings, sleep deprivation, and more, one might be fuckin' pissed when one is released with nothing more than an 'oops.' Ask yourself: what would Rambo do? No, really, fuckin' ask yourself that. Would Rambo simply walk away and go back to whatever the hell Rambo did? Or would Rambo wanna go back and face down the motherfuckers who are holding his buddies? Oh, wait. That's what Rambo did."

Welcome to the Republic of the Green Zone

Riverbend describes her quotidian, dusty picture of life over Baghdad Burning
What people find particularly frustrating is the fact that while Baghdad seems to be falling apart in so many ways with roads broken and pitted, buildings blasted and burnt out and residential areas often swimming in sewage, the Green Zone is flourishing. The walls surrounding restricted areas housing Americans and Puppets have gotten higher- as if vying with the tallest of date palms for height. The concrete reinforcements and road blocks designed to slow and impede traffic are now a part of everyday scenery- the road, the trees, the shops, the earth, the sky… and the ugly concrete slabs sometimes wound insidiously with barbed wire.

The price of building materials has gone up unbelievably, in spite of the fact that major reconstruction has not yet begun. I assumed it was because so much of the concrete and other building materials was going to reinforce the restricted areas. A friend who recently got involved working with an Iraqi subcontractor who takes projects inside of the Green Zone explained that it was more than that. The Green Zone, he told us, is a city in itself. He came back awed, and more than a little bit upset. He talked of designs and plans being made for everything from the future US Embassy and the housing complex that will surround it, to restaurants, shops, fitness centers, gasoline stations, constant electricity and water- a virtual country inside of a country with its own rules, regulations and government. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the Republic of the Green Zone, also known as the Green Republic.

“The Americans won’t be out in less than ten years.” Is how the argument often begins with the friend who has entered the Green Republic. “How can you say that?” Is usually my answer- and I begin to throw around numbers- 2007, 2008 maximum… Could they possibly want to be here longer? Can they afford to be here longer? At this, T. shakes his head- if you could see the bases they are planning to build- if you could see what already has been built- you’d know that they are going to be here for quite a while

I keep thinking that if all the fine folks in Florida had been living with similar shortages of electricity and water since the devastating storms of last year, we would be calling troops home from oversees to put down the revolt that would surely be in full swing by now.

Until we can rebuild and provide a semblance of pre-war normalcy for the average Iraqi citizen we haven't a ghost of a chance to succeed there.

But then again, there is no exit strategy since there was never a plan to leave once we got there.

Techie Tuesday: Musical Car Horn

Pull over to the side of the road... Posted by Hello

Just what you need for your next sideshow a Musical Car Horn:
With 80 Built-In Songs And Sound Effects. It's the ultimate custom car horn. Comes with an awesome collection of music samples, animal sounds, and sound effects; plus, you can also record your own 10 seconds of sound. Installation is a snap. Connect to your lighter socket with the included lighter plug or hard wire to your car battery with the provided harness. Built-in speaker and microphone lets you use the horn as a PA system. Set includes corded microphone with volume control, talk/record button, and four memory keys; horn; and microphone mounting clip. Horn: 3.5" x 4" x 4". Not for use in a moving vehicle. Observe local ordinances.(emphasis added)

Well maybe it's not the best thing for a sideshow, but for $79.98 you could trick out your car and play 'undercover cop' with your tire-squealing friends. Ventilation of your auto will come free...

Monday, June 20, 2005

A Generational Committment?

Via Raw Story I found this interest tidbit: U.S. spending on Iraq may soon surpass Korean War budget
Lawmakers in the United States were scheduled to vote on Monday to approve $45 billion US in additional funding for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, making the recent Middle East foray more expensive than the entire Korean War.

Since the Sept. 11 attacks, Congress has approved $350 billion, mostly for combat and reconstruction in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The amount, which includes $82 billion approved last month, is equal to the total amount in today's dollars spent on the Korean conflict from 1950-53.

In Iraqi, currently there are no metrics for success, but for most people they understand the metrics of their bank account will soon starting questioning what benefits they're actually are getting.

Porfolio of Fear

If you want to know the cost of the constant worry over terrorists coming to a neighborhood near you and all the adminstration's fearmongering then read
Anti-Terror Absurdity in America: Hemorrhaging Money for Homeland Security
The business of fear in the United States of America has been booming ever since September 11, 2001 and the price tag for the protective cordon of high-tech gadgetry intended to keep the US safe from more terrorist attacks is enormous. Devices designed to detect nuclear material in shipping containers will cost the US government $300 million. The budget for the American Shield Initiative, a plan that calls for monitoring the country's borders with sensors or drones, comes at the hefty price of $2.5 billion. A further $10 billion is budgeted for a new computer system designed to monitor visitors, while outfitting all 6,800 aircraft in US commercial aviation with anti-missile systems will cost about the same amount. The total 2005 Homeland Security budget weighs in at a whopping $50 billion -- roughly equivalent to the gross national product of New Zealand.

'The market is growing at an incredible rate,' gushes the Security Industry Association at its 'networking lunch' with members of Congress and administration officials. Throughout the country, conventions are being held where products like mobile emergency command centers and Blackberrys that provide direct access to FBI computers are on offer. Another popular item is 'Fido,' a cell phone-sized device used to detect explosive material. Demand is high, especially now that the going rate for a decent bomb-sniffing dog in the United States has skyrocketed to $10,000.

"We'll call these the good old days in ten years," says an enthusiastic Ray Oleson, whose information technology company posted a fifty percent jump in sales in the first quarter of this year. The American newsmagazine US News & World Report calls the booming business "Washington's version of a Turkish bazaar."(emphasis added)

The tragedy is that many of these programs are not designed to make us safer but enrich the business community. Without oversight there is room for large profits and shady deals. Hopefully, some day there will be an accounting for these profiteers and all of this war's profiteers. As George Washington said in 1778, “There is such a thirst for gain [among military suppliers]…that it is enough to make one curse their own Species, for possessing so little virtue and patriotism.”

Was there a solar flare last year on this day?

Another Blogiversy today as LGO Turns One. Stop by and see Murph's picks for best posts (his own, of course).

Also on this day, Errol Flynn was born in 1909...Also Cyndi Lauper and Candy Clark share this birthday.

Today is your Bidet. You're gonna have good time.

Pop on over to congatulale our local bar-hopping blogger for his 1 year anniversary.Scamboogah's First Birthday Extrava-Tony-Danza!!

Cheers mate!

No Actual Prisoner Abuse Took Place During this Training

There is a $15 million lawsuit by the pummeled Soldier who was impersonating an unruly Guantanamo detainee
A U.S. military policeman who was beaten by fellow MPs during a botched training drill at the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, prison for detainees has sued the Pentagon for $15 million, alleging that the incident violated his constitutional rights.

Spec. Sean Baker, 38, was assaulted in January 2003 after he volunteered to wear an orange jumpsuit and portray an uncooperative detainee. Baker said the MPs, who were told that he was an unruly detainee who had assaulted an American sergeant, inflicted a beating that resulted in a traumatic brain injury.

Baker, a Persian Gulf War veteran who re-enlisted after the Sept. 11 terror attacks, was medically retired in April 2004. He said the assault had left him with seizures, blackouts, headaches, insomnia and psychological problems.

They gave him a medical retirement despite the suprising fact he still wants to serve, which is amirable after the way they treated him. By that I don't mean the beating but the denial that it even happened.
The Pentagon first said that Baker's hospitalization after the training incident was not related to the beating. Later, officials conceded that he had been treated for injuries suffered when a five-man MP "internal reaction force" choked him, slammed his head several times against a concrete floor and sprayed him with pepper gas.

Baker said he had put on the jumpsuit and squeezed under a prison bunk after being told by a lieutenant that he would be portraying an unruly detainee. He said he was assured that MPs conducting the "extraction drill" knew it was a training exercise and that Baker was an American soldier.

As he was being choked and beaten, Baker said, he screamed a code word, "red," and shouted: "I'm a U.S. soldier! I'm a U.S. soldier!" The beating continued, he said, until the jumpsuit was yanked down during the struggle, revealing his military uniform.

No one has been disciplined or punished for the assault, said Baker's attorney, T. Bruce Simpson Jr. Simpson said the Army's Criminal Investigation Division told him last month that it had completed an investigation and had referred it to the Army's legal section for review. A CID spokesman did not respond to a request for comment Friday.(empahsis added)

I wonder if they fed him better would he still be suing...

Friday, June 17, 2005

Gitmo Happy Meals

I once visited Alcatraz and this interesting fact always stuck with me about the prisoner's menu:
Historically, many prison riots had been started because of the poor quality of prison food so Warden Johnston vowed that the Alcatraz cafeteria would be the best in the prison system. Prisoners of Alcatraz dined on a menu of salads, fresh fruit, diverse entrees and even desserts.

The guards ate the same food which would sometimes includes items like asparagus. However it you went in to solitary confinement you still got your meals and beverages, including coffee, after it had all been mixed togeteher, passed through a blender, and put in the refrigerator for a few hours.

A lot of people have commented on the recent Gitmo Happy Meal offensive by Donald McRumsfeld. I like this bit by Jon Caroll:
Gitmo: Donald Rumsfeld felt compelled this week to say that things were just wonderful at the Guantanamo Bay detention center, contrary to what certain whiners may have been saying. He made special mention of the menu there, which he says is proof that the prisoners are being treated well.

A California congressman had revealed earlier that the prisoners were treated to glazed orange chicken, rice pilaf and fresh fruit. It does, of course, depend on what the chicken was glazed with -- still, I am happy to stipulate that the food is better at Gitmo than in a sodden slum basement hideout. Of course, we're not sure whether all or even most of the people at Gitmo were ever actually in a sodden slum basement hideout.

But truthfully, it's not Gitmo that worries me. There is some public oversight there, and I am sure that 98 percent of the American soldiers working there are decent men and women who take human rights abuses seriously. What worries me is the "gulag" (Amnesty International's word, not mine) of American-run prisons in accommodating nations all around the globe.

The Bush administration does not even admit that these prisons exist. The people who have relatives there cannot get confirmation that their loved ones are even alive. There is no oversight, so we may fairly assume that these secret hellholes make Abu Ghraib look like the Hyatt Regency. There is no due process, there is no habeas corpus, there is no anything.

When this happened in the Soviet Union and Communist China, we were quick to reveal it and condemn it. Now that we're doing it, we're content to repeat "national security" over and over again, much like the Communist bureaucrats who preceded us.

I can remember when I thought that, overall, being an American was a pretty cool thing.

I remember that too.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Sad, but that the way it is in Noblogus Mundi... Posted by Hello

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

"In Perpetuity" is a long time

Via the fine legal blog Talk Left we learn that the White House Admits Detainees Can Be Held 'In Perpetuity'
Deputy Associate Attorney General J. Michael Wiggins told the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee at a hearing today that the White House believes detainees at Guantanamo can be held "in perpetuity.

The word means, forever, or as used in a sentence by our allies in the Mossad: U.S. to Be Mired in Middle East in Perpetuity.

I just want to hear our fearless leader use the word once.

It'll probably come out as, "In puberty, that means forever..."

Lynching is a bad word

I think I have a motive for those Senators that didn't want to make a big fuss or be counted signing the anti-lynching resolution and it goes like this - How dare the Democrats try and take away a favored word of the GOP from their lexicon?

Remember when Orrin Hatch accused "extreme left" interest groups of "lynching" the nominee.

Remember when David Horowitz said, In fact this is the second lynch party organized by the Democrats for the same victim, Judge Charles Pickering whom the Preisdent has nominated to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.


Maybe it's time we retire the term 'Lynching' in a political context and pay homage to all those unfortunate victims of violence.

I think witch hunt is still OK, but then what do I know?

Is it news if you hear it late?

One thing about not being online is you miss getting the story before everyone else you know. That's hard on a committed news-junkie like myself.

I tried to watch the local evening news. I had forgotten how bad is was - short on nuance and details but you get sport scores. I tried to read the papers when I could get them, but since none of my neighbor subscribe I couldn't steal them. The worse was talking to someone who just read a story online and listen to them give all the details their fuzzy minds could recall.

So I missed some great breaking stories and had some funny reactions to them. For example:

-I knew the the Nuclear Option was coming down, but the way I heard it there was no big bang or mushroom cloud, only a fizzle.

-Or when I heard it said Deep Throat was a guy living in Santa Rosa, I thought it was a blogger I know up there. Then I heard he was in his 90's, so I thought maybe he's not.

-Or when I heard about the Downey Street Memo and I thought is that actor in trouble again.

So I've been playing catch up. Here is one of the finer comments on the Michael Jackson verdict by former sportscaster Keith Olbermann who is given to using sport analogies: Jackson 14, Prosecution 0 - it's a final!
It seems inarguable that the Michael Jackson case hinged on the accuser’s mother - not how she was portrayed by the defense, but how she conducted herself. The comments from Juror #5, “I disliked it intensely when she snapped her fingers at us. That’s when I thought ‘Don’t snap your fingers at me, lady,’” should be inscribed above every courtroom in the country - or at least in every prosecutor’s office.

The Jackson verdict is incredible - not because he was found not guilty - but because we saw a jury, in the highest-profile case imaginable, buying into none of the hype we were relentlessly throwing at it (and everybody else). Not influenced by the irredeemable ickiness of the defendant, nor the protests of his supporters, nor the attempt to smear the accuser; influenced, if they are to be taken at their words, by the laws that require us to believe the testimony and those giving it.

The fondest wish at a trial, of course, is that absolute guilt or innocence might be established. But neither side accomplished that in the Jackson case. Well before the closing arguments, it became evident that both the prosecution and the defense were each trying to fuzz the thing up.

The District Attorney’s office wanted to blur the essential line between the seeming probability that Michael Jackson has harbored, or even acted upon, evil thoughts about little boys, and the actual question of whether or not he ever molested a particular little boy. Just as readily, the defense was trying to blur the sleaze factor to cover not just Jackson, but the accuser and his family - a cloud of guilt that was intended to leave one wondering if anybody had, uh, clean hands here.

It didn’t work. For either of them.

He goes on in the same vein so you might want to check the rest out.

BTW Thank you Earthlink for reminding me how non-blogging types get the news - which is not at all...

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

International Weblogger's Day

Today is the 2nd Annual International Weblogger's Day.

Funny last year most folks hadn't even heard the word blog.

What the difference a year makes. Go check out this list of 587 blogs from 43 countries!

Rumors of my demise disappearance

Financially, it was one of those bad months - where the choice to buy dog food (for my dog!) or pay my ISP had to be made (love the dog more than the blog). It lead to them cutting off my service. Then they un-provisioned the DSL on my line before I got them the payment.

Since then, it's been hell trying to get Earthlink to restore the provisioning on the line which is still in the order process of a "system glitch." Well, they did activate the user account weeks after receiving a payment and not the promised 24 hours. So I'll try to blog on dial-up although it cuts down on the material I can sift through.

Not having access to the web and email is kind of like losing your only watch: after a while you stop looking at your wrist to see what time it is. It's somewhat liberating but also you are likely to be somewhat late...

Earthlink Stinks

Did I mentioned I hate I my ISP?

I wonder why they call it customer service when there is no committment to service? Is it a euphemism or an oxymoron?

What good is it to have a blog if you can't complain and then tell the person you are complainig to that you have a blog...

Techie Tuesday: Palm Tree Hammock

All strung out... Posted by Hello

No, this isn't where I have been hanging out lately. Yet I'm sure it could eventually feel like a vacation if you just add enough umbrella drinks to one of these:
With its rugged, solid steel substructure and two artificial palm trees so lifelike, they’re patented, our Palm Tree Hammock Stand creates an instant all-weather oasis. Sporting realistic coconuts, swaying palm fronds, and matching cooling-mist mechanisms

For the price of $3,495 you could probably buy real palm trees, a hammock, some astro-turf, and a super-dooper powered blender. If you need a cooling-mist get a spray bottle.

(Via The Red-Ferret Journal)

My ISP sucks!!!

Last month I was told my DSL service would be restored in 24 hours. Well it hasn't! Every few days I've called and been told that the issue has been escalated to a supervisor and they will call me in 24 hours to give me a status update. Well they didn't!

Damn you to hell Earthlink!

I'm shopping today for a new service.