Friday, December 29, 2006

Reagan/Bush Ally Executed

So, Saddam Hussein has been executed. He was Reagan & Bush Sr's man in Iraq:
"...all evidence pertaining to the massive Anglo-American support given to Saddam during the worst years of his savage reign has been completely supressed. The crimes for which he has been sentenced to death were carried out while Donald Rumsfeld was shaking his hand and Ronald Reagan was supplying him with moolah, diplomatic support and direct military intelligence to target his poison gas attacks on Iranian forces and aid his bombing of Iranian cities. [And people wonder why Iran doesn't like us] The crimes for which he is currently on trial -- gassing the Kurds -- were not only countenanced by George Herbert Walker Bush and his administration (which included Dick Cheney and Colin Powell in key positions), but Bush went on to reward Saddam with showers of money (much of it funneled through secret bank accounts), military hardware -- including dual use technology for WMD -- and agricultural credits, which allowed Saddam to use his hard currency reserves for more weaponry... Further charges -- moot now -- would doubtless have included Saddam's brutal suppression of the Shiite revolt following the Gulf War: a revolt openly fomented by Bush I who then betrayed the Iraqi rebels, specifically allowing Saddam to break the rules of the post-war armistice and use his attack helicopters on the Shiites, and also using the American forces still in place there to prevent Shiite rebels from reaching buried arms caches. Many of the mass graves over which American officials -- like the unctuous Colin Powell -- have publicly shed salt tears were, again, the result of direct collusion with Saddam by American officials, many of them now in power once more." (link)
Get the picture? The Bush crime family, including their crime bosses Cheney and Rumsfeld, wanted Saddam Hussein dead because he was living evidence of their shared responsibility for the atrocities committed in Iraq for decades. It's never been a "war on terror". It nothing more than an old-fashioned Godfather-style power struggle between rival crime families. Only, this time, it happens to be played out on a country that sits atop what are said to be the second largest untapped oil reserves on the planet. And we, all of us, are considered expendable in the neocons' quest to enrich and empower themselves. (see also Why the Bush Crime Family Wants Saddam Iced).

And what has it got them?:
"In every vital area, from Afghanistan to Egypt, his policies have made the situation worse than it was before... What an amazing bloody catastrophe. The Bush administration's policy towards the Middle East over the five years since 9/11 is culminating in a multiple train crash. Never in the field of human conflict was so little achieved by so great a country at such vast expense. In every vital area of the wider Middle East, American policy over the last five years has taken a bad situation and made it worse... So here's the scoresheet for Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Israel, Palestine, Lebanon and Egypt: worse, worse, worse, worse, worse, worse and worse."
And still, Bush vows he will continue along the same course until he has destroyed us all. Thanks to the neocons, the Bush administration, and "conservatism", America of the 21st century will resemble nothing so much as Germany of the 1930s-40s.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Here's a Treat for After Christmas...

Here's a treat to help with that "morning after" post-christmas feeling:

Everybody... Lambretta Twist!

Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas!

For those of us who write political blogs, Christmas has become a whole new experience, thanks to the rightwing fundamentalist christian taliban psychos who think the world was created in Norman Rockwell's image, and who have invented this asinine so-called "war on christmas".

Fortunately those of us who still manage to remain sane in spite of the madding shrieks and howls from the bubbling cauldron of disfunction on the right, are well aware that winter holiday celebrations of all kinds have been going on for many thousands of years. The history of these celebrations (see here and here) demonstrates that they are for everyone, not just fundmentalist wackos who want to possess it (and everything else) for themselves. So this year, I say, Merry Christmas to those of us who are fed up with the ridiculous blather of the fundamentalist christian "right".

Merry Christmas and happy holidays... to the rest of us! By the way: Wassail!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Saturday Night is Music Night at Constantly Amazed!

Okay, holiday music is in order, so here are a couple I hope you like.

First, Stu Hamm's version of Vince Guaraldi's immortal "Linus and Lucy"... playing both bass line and melody on the bass. Groovy!


Also, a little something special for the Snoopy dancers in the audience...

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Another Presidential Press Conference:


Oh, did I mention the lies?

Forgive me, my friends...


...for I have been busy/lazy/whatever, and have not posted very well lately. Please don't give up on me! I'll try to get back into it ASAP. Peace!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Weekend Musical Interlude

Lately I've been trying to make weekends "music time" around here at Constantly Amazed. Now... what better way to ward off a winter chill than a little Tom Waits? Pour your self a drink first. You know.


Here's another, because Tom Waits' music is too good to leave without an encore.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Barking Up The Wrong Tree, or; Pining for the Good Old Days

Well, we've all seen the hubub over the removal (and apparent restoration) of Christmas trees at SeaTac airport.

The whole thing is laughable at one moment and pitiful the next.

Laughable because of the sheer irony that Christmas trees are totally pagan holiday trimmings that have nothing to do with the central purpose of Christmas. In fact, the practice was condemed by Christians, including the Puritan "pilgrims". Apparently both sides of the argument have been proceeding under the erroneous impression that Christmas trees are actually Christian. LOL! Honestly, that's like saying jack-o-lanterns are the Christian symbols of Halloween.

Pitiful because I, as a Non-Christian, have always loved Christmas festivity and decorations, and I like to see the trees. I guess it's always been the pagan in me. But it saddens me to see any group call for the removal of trees, especially on the premise of some weird perversion of tolerance. It's hardly worth the effort to diagram the chaotic cyclone of twisted logic and contradiction involved with this simple issue.

I say, let the trees go up, along with menorahs or stars or crescents or pentagrams or whatever people need to remind them that the winter holiday is, to a very few of us, a season of giving and sharing and joyful invitation to join the celebration.

Monday, December 4, 2006

Up Hill(ary) Climb

Clinton dogged by ‘electability’ questions, says the headline of this article, "N.Y. senator is Democratic frontrunner, but national appeal unclear".

Well, I personally do not like Hillary as a candidate. For one thing, she was in favor of the war against Iraq, which is reason enough to give me pause. But in political terms, consider the landscape: Republicans have proven time and again that they place greater value on character assasination of their political enemies than on the welfare of the country. A Hillary presidency would be like the Whitewater witch-hunt years ten times over, every day. The repukes would devote all their time and resources (including millions or billions of taxpayer dollars) to attacking her instead of doing the jobs they were elected to do. The right wing media would go after her full bore, too. If the repukes regained control of congress, they would invent a reason to impeach her. Her whole term(s) would be one long adversarial mudfest. I'd rather see a president who can operate as free from conservative hate-mongering as possible. Although, who knows: they might go after any non-republican (or even moderate republicans) with the same energy as they would devote to Hillary Clinton.

Michael Moore's Post-Election Message

Yeah, I know, I'm a little late with this one. But, since the repukes are still in power (and, true to form, avoiding any real work), there's still time to review Michael Moore's Liberal's Pledge to Disheartened Conservatives. Even though I'm trying to get back to doing more writing and less re-printing of news items etc., I liked this enough to reprint it here. Enjoy.

To My Conservative Brothers and Sisters,

I know you are dismayed and disheartened at the results of last week's election. You're worried that the country is heading toward a very bad place you don't want it to go. Your 12-year Republican Revolution has ended with so much yet to do, so many promises left unfulfilled. You are in a funk, and I understand.

Well, cheer up, my friends! Do not despair. I have good news for you. I, and the millions of others who are now in charge with our Democratic Congress, have a pledge we would like to make to you, a list of promises that we offer you because we value you as our fellow Americans. You deserve to know what we plan to do with our newfound power -- and, to be specific, what we will do to you and for you.

Thus, here is our Liberal's Pledge to Disheartened Conservatives:

Dear Conservatives and Republicans,

I, and my fellow signatories, hereby make these promises to you:

1. We will always respect you for your conservative beliefs. We will never, ever, call you "unpatriotic" simply because you disagree with us. In fact, we encourage you to dissent and disagree with us.

2. We will let you marry whomever you want, even when some of us consider your behavior to be "different" or "immoral." Who you marry is none of our business. Love and be in love -- it's a wonderful gift.

3. We will not spend your grandchildren's money on our personal whims or to enrich our friends. It's your checkbook, too, and we will balance it for you.

4. When we soon bring our sons and daughters home from Iraq, we will bring your sons and daughters home, too. They deserve to live. We promise never to send your kids off to war based on either a mistake or a lie.

5. When we make America the last Western democracy to have universal health coverage, and all Americans are able to get help when they fall ill, we promise that you, too, will be able to see a doctor, regardless of your ability to pay. And when stem cell research delivers treatments and cures for diseases that affect you and your loved ones, we'll make sure those advances are available to you and your family, too.

6. Even though you have opposed environmental regulation, when we clean up our air and water, we, the Democratic majority, will let you, too, breathe the cleaner air and drink the purer water.

7. Should a mass murderer ever kill 3,000 people on our soil, we will devote every single resource to tracking him down and bringing him to justice. Immediately. We will protect you.

8. We will never stick our nose in your bedroom or your womb. What you do there as consenting adults is your business. We will continue to count your age from the moment you were born, not the moment you were conceived.

9. We will not take away your hunting guns. If you need an automatic weapon or a handgun to kill a bird or a deer, then you really aren't much of a hunter and you should, perhaps, pick up another sport. We will make our streets and schools as free as we can from these weapons and we will protect your children just as we would protect ours.

10. When we raise the minimum wage, we will pay you -- and your employees -- that new wage, too. When women are finally paid what men make, we will pay conservative women that wage, too.

11. We will respect your religious beliefs, even when you don't put those beliefs into practice. In fact, we will actively seek to promote your most radical religious beliefs ("Blessed are the poor," "Blessed are the peacemakers," "Love your enemies," "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God," and "Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me."). We will let people in other countries know that God doesn't just bless America, he blesses everyone. We will discourage religious intolerance and fanaticism -- starting with the fanaticism here at home, thus setting a good example for the rest of the world.

12. We will not tolerate politicians who are corrupt and who are bought and paid for by the rich. We will go after any elected leader who puts him or herself ahead of the people. And we promise you we will go after the corrupt politicians on our side FIRST. If we fail to do this, we need you to call us on it. Simply because we are in power does not give us the right to turn our heads the other way when our party goes astray. Please perform this important duty as the loyal opposition.

I promise all of the above to you because this is your country, too. You are every bit as American as we are. We are all in this together. We sink or swim as one. Thank you for your years of service to this country and for giving us the opportunity to see if we can make things a bit better for our 300 million fellow Americans -- and for the rest of the world.

Signed,
Michael Moore
P.S. Please feel free to pass this on.

Saturday, December 2, 2006

Saturday Night with SAHB

SAHB... the Sensational Alex Harvey Band. Now that I have joined the ranks of the "let's put youtube videos on our blogs while it's still free" movement, I'll share one from a band I've been diggin' since a friend and I used to listen to the 8-track of their live album back when I was in high school back in the [gasp] seventies.



By the way, Alex Harvey died in 1982. But, like the pirate Yellowbeard ("Us Yellowbeards are never more dangerous than when we're dead"), he still rocks.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Catching up on this-n-that

Official Presbyterian Publisher Issues 9/11 Conspiracy Book
The September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks were orchestrated by the U.S. government, according to a book to be released later this month by Westminster John Knox Press—a division of the denominational publisher for the Presbyterian Church.
Environment drowning in bottled water
"Although in the industrial world bottled water is often no healthier than tap water, it can cost up to 10,000 times more," states an article at the Earth Policy Institute Web site. "At as much as $2.50 per liter ($10 per gallon), bottled water costs more than gasoline." ...making and hauling all those plastic bottles burns massive quantities of fossil fuels. Most of those bottles are made from crude oil derivatives... making bottles to meet Americans' demand for bottled water requires more than 1.5 million barrels of oil annually, enough to fuel some 100,000 U.S. cars for a year. Worldwide, some 2.7 million tons of plastic are used to bottle water each year.
Good Riddance To The Gingrichites: GOP 'Chess Club' Ruled The House For 12 Years And Won't Be Missed
The men who ran the Republican Party in the House of Representatives for the past 12 years were a group of weirdos. The iconic figures of this era were Newt Gingrich, Richard Armey and Tom Delay. They were zealous advocates of free markets, low taxes and the pursuit of wealth; they were hawks and often bellicose; they were brutal critics of big government. Yet none of these guys had success in capitalism. None made any real money before coming to Congress. None of them spent a day in uniform. And they all spent the bulk of their adult careers getting paychecks from the big government they claimed to despise.
And finally:
"This administration has been by far the most incompetent, inept, and with more moral cowardice, and obsequiousness to their wealthy contributors, and obliviousness to the public interest of any administration in modern history, and probably in the entire history of the country." - Al Gore, speaking for me... thanks, Al

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Okay, I'm back...

...and I brought something really, really weird with me. Maybe you've seen this before, maybe not. It freaks me right out. It's even been logically explained to me, but it still just freaks me out.

Here it is: the Flash Mind Reader.

If you follow the directions, it might just freak you out too 8^)

P.S. When you've finished with that, there's also this. Who needs unauthorized wiretapping?

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving posts always present a veritable cornucopia of possibilities (pun intended, I guess). Sure, there are the things we're thankful for, blah blah blah, what wine goes with tryptophan, parades, and the unique, singularly inescapable hell that is "family".

Well, one thing that thanksgiving seems to be truly about is food, and lots of it. Turkey, of course, or the hip alternative. Weird pies, things made out of green beans, "stuffing" (a term which always struck me as being a little curious, like something Vincent Price would offer during a meal: "Here, my dears, have some... stuffing).

Well, my saucy gastronomes, you're in luck! Because I am here to guide towards the lime-green light of truth known as The Gallery of Regrettable Food. Before you can truly appreciate what you have on your table this season, you MUST examine the gallery. Then, and only then, can you truly appreciate, and be thankful for, your Aunt Edna's Tuna Beet Mold.

Bon Appetit!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Me too, ay?

Seems like so many bloggers have been posting music bits and whatnot, and dammmit, I should do that too! So, just because it's Tuesday, here's a bit of weirdness. Thumpety-whackety-whoo!


Thursday, November 16, 2006

The Empire Will Strike Back

Conservative leaders plan a comeback

Just so you don't have to register with the LA Times to read the article, I'll just paste a few bits here:

Awaking to the dismal reality of widespread defeat, more than 100 of the conservative movement's most ardent leaders gathered as they have every Wednesday for more than a decade in a downtown conference room to discuss strategy... speaker after speaker declared that voters had not rejected conservative ideas but had merely rejected Republican Party leaders who strayed from the movement's basic values.
Translation: They got caught.
"There was no ideological rejection in this election," said Richard Lessner, former executive director of the American Conservative Union... "This was about the Republican Party not behaving like Republicans."
Translation: This was about republicans behaving exactly like republicans.
What is needed now [they] said, is reinforcement of their principles of cutting taxes and spending along with promotion of social causes such as the fights against abortion and same-sex marriage.
Cutting spending? What do republicans know about cutting spending?
The star guest was Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman, who reminded participants that after losing the White House to Clinton in 1992, the movement turned its losses into the 1994 takeover of Congress. "We have a long history as a movement... of using our difficult election outcomes to make ourselves better," Mehlman said. "...I think we need to look at it as a big opportunity as a party and a cause to return to our reformist approach and our reformist principles."
This guy was the head of the RNC, and he doesn't know that "conservatism" and "reform" are, by definition, opposites?
A Republican National Committee memo laying out talking points for conservative pundits, bloggers and other supporters... underscored that message, calling for the party to "refocus conservative principles of less government, lower taxes, less regulation, strong national defense, judicial restraint and fiscal conservatism."
Who do they think they're kidding? The size of government explodes under republican control, they spend money like mad, their idea of national defense is a Hitlerian fantasy, and their definition of "judicial restraint" is that corporate criminals, republican politicians, and their cronies are all above the law.
At the same time, the conservative leaders made clear where they thought the GOP had strayed from its principles.
Translation again: They got caught.
And their criticisms underscored some long-simmering tensions within the conservative movement that foreshadowed the GOP losses
...But not enough to make them do anything about it until, you guessed it, they got caught.
Several participants said the growth of government over the last 12 years — accelerated under the Bush presidency — had discouraged traditional supporters who had long viewed the GOP as the party of limited government.
Guess what? Goverment expanded more under Reagan and Bush than it did under Carter or Clinton. These so-called "fiscal conservatives" are delusional. Hypnotized. Fooling themselves, and sadly, fooling the poor saps who support them.
One election-night poll presented Wednesday illustrated that concern. It showed that more voters now considered the GOP the party of big government.
Finally. It's about @#$%^ time.
"There's no doubt in my mind it was not a repudiation of conservatives but it was a repudiation of the Republican Party," said the group's president.
Lately we've been bombarded with republicans' lamentations that their party stopped being "conservative" a long time ago. Too bad they didn't consider that a problem until, you guessed it, they got caught.
For his part, meeting host Grover Norquist said in an interview that he viewed the election as a bump on an otherwise smooth road to continued conservative dominance... Despite short-term setbacks, Norquist said, the conservative movement is "perfectly healthy. No one is losing because they favor tax cuts, are pro-life, pro-gun or pro-growth... And Democrats will be standing there, naked to the winds, having been forced by Nancy Pelosi to vote for tax increases, gun control and impeaching the president," he added, referring to the future speaker of the House.
That's the same Grover Norquist who supports Central American death squads as a tool for political change and likes to give money to Jack Abramoff.

Yup, they'll be back in new costumes. Let's be ready.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

The Flip Side

An argument currently rages about whether the President should be impeached. Now, I am totally in favor of impeachment. I think it is more than necessary; it is a duty that would be more dangerous to neglect than to pursue. Nevertheless, some disagree. One who does is Robert Reich, of whom I am a fan. He makes his case for replacing impeachment with other goals in this article: What the Dems Should Do Now. He makes a very good point, although I am still in favor of impeachment.

Monday, November 13, 2006

The Lifelong Failure Who Never Matured Beyond His Twisted Silver Spoon Adolescence

Can Bush Sr. and His Team Save Son’s Presidency?

HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA...

Fiscal Restraint

From Newsweek (emphasis mine): Where the Republicans Went Astray:
"From the beginning of Gingrich's tenure, the GOP's K Street offensive had warned lobbying firms along Washington's K Street corridor that they would be wise to hire Republicans if they wanted access... Before long, lobbyists could be seen in committee rooms writing legislation. With corporate coziness came the abandonment of fiscal restraint. Committee chairmen now routinely handed out 'earmarks,' special provisions authorizing spending for members' pet projects. In 1987, President Ronald Reagan vetoed a highway bill because it had 152 earmarks. In 2005, President Bush signed a transportation bill with 6,371 earmarks"
Youch! The party of small government sure knows how to get the job done, ay?

A Commentary on an Old News Item

President's Radio Address (from 11/11/2006):
"One freedom that defines our way of life is the freedom to choose our leaders at the ballot box. We saw that freedom earlier this week, when millions of Americans went to the polls to cast their votes for a new Congress. Whatever your opinion of the outcome, all Americans can take pride in the example our democracy sets for the world by holding elections even in a time of war."
Since when have we ever suspended elections during wartime? Apparently, Bush & Cheney & Rove et al discussed the possibility of doing just that. We know he doesn't write his own speeches. This statement was made to plant the seed in Americans' minds that the Bush regime and/or their repuke successors have the power to take away our right to vote.

This is a recurring theme in the Rovian neocon theory of political success: they take away peoples' votes, whether through fraud or by force, and after that they exercise tyrannical control.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Poetic Justice

Even though I grew up in deer-huntin' country, I'm always rootin' for the deer.
A deer being kept in a pen attacked and killed his owner Sunday, state police said... The buck that killed [him] was among about a half dozen deer penned up on his property
"his owner" !? Yeah, right! I think the deer showed the bastard who owns whom!

Thursday, November 9, 2006

A Constantly Amazing Election

Karl Rove’s stated goal was to create a permanent one-party control over all branches of government. So, perhaps, was Caesar’s, and Napoleon’s, and Stalin’s, and Hitler’s, and so on and so on ad infinitum. It is an entirely un-American approach to government; to deny representation to roughly half the population. My impression of Rove is that he really regards American politics as a sort of competitive game, wherein the goal is to win the contest, capture all the pieces, and so on, with no consideration whatsoever of the effect it has on the human lives which hang in the balance. We are just his game pieces. He lost this round, but I expect he will return more determined to win his pieces back in 2008. Expect diabolical behavior on an extraordinary scale.

The Democrats in congress have now been given their orders: Do a better job than the Republicans, or get thrown out next time. This a golden opportunity for the Democratic party to prove they can be a superior representational body. The Republicans blew it when they had the same opportunity. Now it’s the Democrats’ turn. It wasn’t too long ago that the repukes enjoyed similar victories and proclaimed it a “landslide”, a “mandate”, and “political capitol”. The Republicans thought their success released them of all accountability. Through their arrogance, they became pigs at the trough, giving full expression to all the most hideous aspects of human nature. Democrats must not make that mistake: they are placed in a position wherein they are expected to demonstrate highly ethical behavior – no lying, no stealing, no deception, and so on – and if they catch one of their own doing bad things, they need to punish the culprit, not hide them in the basement like the repukes. If they can’t manage that, then they are just as replaceable as their predecesors.

The Democrats must also not mimic Republicans’ gloating over their 2004 victories. There was a lot of sniping back and forth, with the right claiming their “sweeping mandate,” and the left replying, “2% is not a mandate.” And despite their previous rhetoric, Republicans will pull the same “obstructionist” tactics, like filibustering, for which they sneeringly chastised Democrats.

And to those who say the Democrats are as hopelessly corrupt as the Republicans, all I can say is, there is always hope for, and potential for, positive change. The Dems have turned themselves around before – they were once the party of southern racists, and the party of Vietnam. They are now the party that most Progressives choose as the vehicle of choice for expression of progressive values. That in itself is a step forward, and they should keep that momentum.

Everyone is saying the Iraq war is the most important thing. But don’t let that distract from the enormity of damage the Bush administration has done in so many other areas – domestic policy, environmental policy, non-Iraq-related foreign policy, trashing of our Constitution, implementation of the so-called “patriot act”… the list is far too long to repeat here. We must not ignore those things by becoming too myopic; all these problems need to be addressed as soon as possible, while we have the chance.

And finally, the question of impeachment. My position, for the record, is this: we should impeach the president and the vice president, and pursue punitive action against other cabinet members including Rice, etc. Why? Because the only effective deterrent to crime is certainty of punishment. If the Bush Cabal is allowed to ride off into the sunset without being held accountable for their misdeeds, then we are establishing the precedent (or reasserting the already established one) that it is okay for an American executive administration to behave the way they did. We must not send that message. We must not allow crimes of this magnitude to go unpunished. Impeach.

By the way, I still say 9/11 was an inside job.

Wednesday, November 8, 2006

My Last Chance...

...to post my favorite picture of Rumsfeld!

Tuesday, November 7, 2006

When the Dust Settles...

Can we still impeach if Dems only control the House, and not the Senate?

Sunday, November 5, 2006

Republican Man In Iraq Saddam Hussein Sentenced

So, Saddam Hussein, beloved ally of Ronald Reagan, George Bush Sr., Donald Rumsfeld, etc., has been sentenced to death for using the weapons provided to him by United States of America.


Here is a little background on Saddam Hussein that you probably won't find in the Sunday paper anytime soon:
Saddam's move to gas the Kurds is a great talking point for some U.S. propagandists who gleefully note that the "Butcher of Baghdad" has "gassed his own people." The Kurds were poisoned mostly with Mustard Gas, which blisters the skin and lungs, as well as Nerve Agents and good old-fashioned cyanide.

The downside to the whole "gassing his own people" angle is, of course, that the United States under President Ronald Reagan was actively supporting Iraq with logistical and military assistance at the time, in one of those little "proxy wars" with the Soviets that always turned out so well.

In the late 1980s, Reagan dispatched a very special envoy to the Middle East, one Donald Rumsfeld, who wined and dined Saddam even as the dictator was slicing and dicing the Kurds. Rumsfeld claims he warned Saddam about those bad old chemical weapons at the time, but the warning somehow got lost between his uttering it and the notes he submitted to the State Department describing the meeting.

U.S. companies were recruited and encouraged, both covertly and overtly, to ship poisonous chemicals and biological agents to Iraq, by the administrations of both Reagan and George Bush Sr., according to the Washington Post and numerous other reports. The CIA also followed up on these efforts with various military and intelligence assists.

U.S. care packages to Saddam included sample strains of anthrax and bubonic plague, which must have seemed like a really fucking great idea to someone at the time. With U.S. assistance and on its own initiative, Iraq also reportedly developed new and improved toxins, such as ricin and sarin gas.
The moral to the story? It is this: it doesn't matter if you play nice with the Reagan/ Bush/ Republican/ Neocon/ Conservative/ Dominionist/ Rovian/ Whatever the hell they are marketing themselves as these days. In the end, they will kill you to death without a moment's hesitation.

By the way, Saddam is alleged to have killed 300,000 poeple over 35 years, I think. the Bush administration is alleged to have killed 650,000 people over three years. So, not only will he be executed, he'll die knowing that he's only half as lethal as we are.

Life Edited as a Reality Show

An headline in Sacramento's Sac Bee newspaper says:
Campaign 2006: GOP on the rebound
Republican Senate candidates have bounced back in two largely overlooked states, strengthening their party's chance to retain control of the U.S. Senate in Tuesday's elections, according to an exclusive series of McClatchy Newspapers-MSNBC polls.
A headline from Newsweek reads:
NEWSWEEK Poll: GOP Losing More Ground
Republican candidates are falling further behind Democratic rivals, according to the new NEWSWEEK poll.
If you watch reality shows like Amazing Race or whatever, you know that those shows are edited so that the end of the episode is portrayed as a suspensful, down-to-the-wire race to the finish between two contenders. These polls remind me of reality show editing. If only it were as simple as a footrace to the finish.

Friday, November 3, 2006

Just When I Thought It Couldn't Get More Bizarre

So, according to this article in Vanity Fair, the neocons are criticizing the Bush administration for screwing up their plans? The word "irony" doesn't really do it for this one. The building is comdemned, and the architects are mad at the contractors for their shoddy workmanship, without considering that maybe the design was flawed from the beginning, too.

The sad thing is that the neocons will keep on going in the belief that if only they could put together a team that would carry out their plans the right way, then everything would be okay. No matter that their ideology is doomed to failure. It's like, there is still a Nazi party and a Fascist party and so on, but those are just remnants of die-hard loonies. Eventually, the neocons will be relegated to that status, too, if they don't manage to kill us all first.

Thursday, November 2, 2006

Grr

I just spent a hell of a long time composing an eloquent post about a vitally important subject. Then I accidentally deleted it. I am greatly bummed. Damn.

Well, that won't stop us, will it? Truthseekers: if you want to read a really great message about a truly important subject check out this post at Fuzzy and Blue, especialy this flash video. And try exploring the links you find when you google "depleted uranium" (also pictures and videos).

What it means is that we have been waging an aggressive nuclear war of conquest against the middle east for years (and yes, we used it in the Balkans during Clinton's presidency, too, and it was just as wrong then). "Spreading democracy"? More like "spreading demonically". America was once a beacon of hope, and now it stands for death from the skies. We open up the gates of hell and turn their babies into monsters. And our leaders try to tell us "they hate us for our freedom". Right. Who wouldn't defend themselves however they could against this?

Wednesday, November 1, 2006

Bush's Bosses

Bush says Rumsfeld, Cheney should stay - Yahoo! News:
"President Bush said Wednesday he wants Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Vice President Dick Cheney to remain with him until the end of his presidency, extending a job guarantee to two of the most-vilified members of his administration."
...because it's not his administration (duh!). Rumsfeld and Cheney are old cronies from the Nixon administration (you can google their bios), and are two of the architects of this neocon regime which was designed, in part, as vindication for the fall of Nixon and the damage that did to the Republican party. Of course he "wants them to stay"... they're in charge, not him! (I know we call it the "Bush administration", for lack of a better term. That's so people know what we're talking about).

Here's another great, short, article on the subject: After President Meets Reporters, Former Supporter Now Suggests He May Have 'Lost His Mind'

Quick Thought

Before I head out the door for work, a quick thought on the uproar over Kerry's joke in his speech to students: Screw Kerry. He betrayed millions of us by handing the 2004 presidential election to the neocons. He's an eloquent asshole, strongly defending the intent of his statement, but actions speak louder than words: if he's so damn smart, he wouldn't have phrased his criticism that way in the first place. Unless he is deliberately working towards Democrat losses, to further the aims of his Skull & Bones brethren.

I am saddened that any on the left still defend this bastard. He helped facilitate a fascist victory in 2004, and this latest statement is another typical example of Kerry's habit of helping Republicans win elections. It was a stupid statement, the backpeddling rationalizations don't work, and he has again damaged progressive political momentum. To hell with Kerry.

Monday, October 30, 2006

For Halloween-Eve...

One of my favorite, most favorite, most favoritest-favorite artist in the whole world is the wonderful Edward Gorey. He was not only an illustrator, but a prolific author as well. His work speaks to my soul, and always has. So, for Halloween Eve, please enjoy one of my favorite Edward Gorey stories:

For more on Edward Gorey:
an article here
Goreyography
Edward Gorey House
The Gorey Details (I love this one!)
and of course the Wikipedia site.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Duh- Duh- Double Standards

An article in the Sac Bee states: Democrats' agenda is sketchy. That's one of the most popular criticisms to make against Democrats these days - that they "don't have a plan," etc. The sub heading of the story, for those who don't want to do the painintheass registration thing, says,
"Minimum-wage hike, lobbyist limits and oil-subsidy repeal are identified as early priorities."
Okay, what's sketchy about that? Furthermore, it's kind of ironic, not to mention typical of right-wing two-faced hypocrisy, that right-wingers howl and whine about what Democrats plan to do when they're in office, but out of the other side of their faces they accuse Democrats of not having a plan. Which is it? They can't have it both ways, can they?

Well, it turns out they can - because now, with the election so close, the Republicans are suddenly pretending to be Democrats! Schwarzenegger is passing one piece of "liberal" legislation after another. Santorun runs ads where he boasts of cooperating with Pelosi. Bush says he's ready to channel Murtha and "cut and run". And on and on. LOL! The Republicans are now wishing they were Democrats!

Repukes for Sale! Get Your Repukes Here!

Yup, the most efficient government money can buy: Big Oil's 10 favorite members of Congress

@#$%^

Bush Officials Were ‘Rooting’ For North Korea to Test Nuclear Weapon, just they were 'rooting' for the 9/11 disaster to occur. All part of the 'plan' they're so proud of.

Friday, October 27, 2006

More from the Party of Moral Superiority

Yeah, those Republicans play fair and square, alright.
Ohio GOP Smears Al Franken In Press Release With Doctored Photo, Fabricated Quote
Bunch of sleazeball liars and their enablers.

AAAUUUGGGHHH!!!

Severe Election Problems Seen in 10 States! Damn! If this doesn't get straigtened out like right-the-f**k-now, there's going to be hell to pay, because there's an awful lot of us who will be ready to grab the pitchforks if we go to bed on election night with polls dramatically favoring Democrats, and find that, once again, the results magically transformed into a Republican victory. How long must we be subjected to this vote theft!?

And another thing: this is something the repukes should care about, too. If they establish the precedent that this election fraud is okay, then eventually the opposition party will say, "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em," and mount a counter-attack (or counter-a-hack).

UPDATE: More problems in Sacramento...

----------------------------------------------------
By the way, here's a great post at Is America Burning about protecting our vote, etc.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

What Do We Expect?

What do we expect after we vote? Well, I'll tell you -- or, rather, Ken Grandlund will, in another one of his eloquent essays on progressive politics. I highly recommend this post by Ken, because it really speaks for so many of us. We don't ask much, do we? Just a little honesty, integrity, and Common Sense.

By the way, Ken's post brings something to mind. The Republicans were, not too long ago, and several times, presented with a golden opportunity: to demonstrate that theirs was the superior political ideology, as they have claimed for so long; to finally prove that they could actually back up their words with deeds. As we know, they have failed miserably.

Well, if the Democrats manage to win this election (I'm not ruling out another election fraud fiasco until the dust has settled), they will be presented with the same opportunity. I believe that this is vitally important -- they have the golden opportunity to prove that they are not a party of liars, theives, perverts, and traitors, as the Republicans are. If the Democratic party cannot achieve this one, simple task -- to not be like Republicans -- then I say screw 'em. It will be time, then, for progressives to get really progressive, and migrate en masse to an alternative party.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

From the LOL Files

ABC News: New Iraq Strategy Includes a Shift in Rhetoric:
"In a sign the administration is re-evaluating its own rhetoric on Iraq as the midterm elections approach, White House spokesman Tony Snow announced Bush would no longer use the phrase 'stay the course.' "
I know, it's already been written about. But I just can't let this one go by. It's just too hilarious. "Stay the course", for those too young to remember, was a Reagan-era phrase to begin with, and every repuke ever since has made it their motto. The Bush cabal has been repeating it for years, over and over and over and over and over. And, the repukes and their ministers of propaganda have said just as often that anything other than "stay the course" is cut-and-run treason. So now Bush himself is the cut-and-run guy? Just like during Vietnam? LOL!

Why Do Lies Have to Last So Long?

An article asks, "Why has Iraq war lasted nearly as long as WWII?"

I'll tell you why. Because we never planned on leaving in the first place! Did this guy buy that line of BS about going to Iraq, overthrowing a dictator, and then coming home!? What a gullible sap! Ha! We're talking about a government of war profiteers and embedded government contractors! It's a permanent occupation, man, it's an acquisition, we have annexed Iraq the way Saddam Hussein tried to annex Kuwait.

Just google permanent bases in Iraq or some such thing. I keep having to repeat this: we are there forever!

Uh-oh: Updated (see bottom)

This does not bode well: Absentee voters report flaw
Sacramento County election officials said Monday that they have received dozens of complaints from residents who reported they were mailed incomplete or flawed absentee ballots.

After investigating, officials said Monday afternoon that the county will mail 40,000 potential absentee voters, telling them to recheck their ballots and informing them how to request a new ballot for the Nov. 7 election.
Absentee was supposed to be the safe way to vote. At least, it became the progressives' method of choice: "I'm gonna vote absentee!" we told ourselves and our friends. Well, like everything else that is in any way good, it seems the powers-that-be have deemed absentee voting too much of a threat. Once it's gone, we'll be pretty much screwed.

I guess the only way to get representation in government is to become a crooked lobbyist.

Update: More of the same! California is another Ohio, it seems.

Friday, October 20, 2006

But Right-Wingers Never "Nuance"

Okay, on the one hand:
Priest admits he fondled Foley.

On the other hand:
Priest denies sexual relationship with Foley. Right. Sure, he
"...described several encounters that he said Foley might perceive as sexually inappropriate."
Ya think?
"They include massaging Foley while the boy was naked, skinny-dipping together at a secluded lake in Lake Worth and being nude in the same room on overnight trips."
"...might perceive as sexually inappropriate"? I should think so. But, then he adds :
"...Mercieca said there was one night when he was in a drug-induced stupor and there was an incident but he couldn't clearly remember."
Okey-dokey, then.

The priest's story is bad enough. Especially in light of the fact that nobody is surprised by this sort of behavior by a Catholic priest. Nobody. It's business as usual. It's so well-accepted that Foley and his attorneys know that involvement with Catholic priests can now be used as an excuse for a lifelong pattern of sexual deviance.

Two pitiful souls whose cycle of exploitation has come full circle.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The American Taliban Marches Onward...


The worst threat to America is already here.



thanks to Worried & Granny for the link

Friday, October 13, 2006

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Old McDonald Had a...

...international free-trade incident a-brewin', apparently.

Oh, the irony. "Minute-man" types want to put a new Berlin wall along the Rio Grande, while farmers, who are hardly a bunch of birkenstock-wearing, tofu-and-granola-chomping liberals, are saying they need Mexican workers to maintain Americans' cheap-chubby way of life. It makes for grand theater, potentially: tighty-righties will sell their own grandmas if it makes them an extra buck or two, but unless they allow Mexican workers to enter the US freely, they (and we) will start to see a chain reaction of cost increases. Not just produce; no way, Jose. It will effect all the other goods and services touched by farming. Foods of all kinds, canned, bottled & jarred. Oils. Pet foods. The trucking industry, and all the business touched by that. It'll be something to see, alright.

My opinion about illegal immigration? Glad you asked. Here 'tis: I believe we are citizens of the planet. I believe we should all be able to cross borders freely, without restrictions, and live and work wherever we want and/or are able to, limited only by our ablity to learn a language or a trade.

Sometimes, conservatives are still heard to say that America was built on such opportunity, that it is one of the most important facets of American character. Why are so many "conservatives" now afraid to live in a country like the one they claim to honor? Oh, that's right - in the age of terror, those same conservatives are the most terrified of all.

Ooops...

Did I forget about Columbus Day? Apparently. Well, it's best left forgotten, I think. A celebration of European expansionism? Whatever. I know it was bound to happen eventually, but I'm sure Native Americans would rather have seen things play out differently. I guess they didn't have a bunch of Republican anti-immigration howlers to put up a giant fence.

Monday, October 9, 2006

(With Dark, Ominous Cello Music in Background...)

G-g-ggaaauuuhhh!

From out of the depths, the musty animated thing ambles forth, shuffling through the graveyard of dead rhetorical justifications, clutching the mad vision he has nurtured from deep within the cold crypt of the Nixon administration from which he sprang. The sneering hunchback walks! Augh! He lives, and yet he has no heart!

Once a human not too unlike many others, he rose to ultimate power (behind the throne) of the party of "optimism." He still rises to cry out to his minions,
...But not much happy talk follows. Not a lot of hope, either. He does, though, talk about the prospect of "mass death in the United States." ...he is back on the road delivering a grim message about danger, defeatism and the stakes of the coming election.
But for now, the danger is contained:
More than half of Cheney's fundraisers in this two-year cycle have been behind closed doors.
And, like vampires who cannot look into a mirror, the Sneering Hunchback's minions cannot even bear to suffer his foul presence:
Even at a lunchtime speech to Wisconsin Republican donors that was open to reporters, gubernatorial candidate Rep. Mark Green did not stand on stage, ensuring no pictures of the two together on the news, and some other Republican candidates did not attend at all.
But still, he remains their dark master, and they bow deeply to him.
..."It's a very, very hard job that he and the president have, that they've had handed to them. You can belittle people for the things they should or should not have done. But..."
The translation for humans is this: "It's a very, very hard job that he and the president have, that they've had handed to them" [by the Supreme Court, bypassing the will of the voters and casting our precious right to vote into their bottomless pit of oblvion]. "You can belittle people for the things they should or should not have done." [And well you should, because those things make the difference between a country led by a real leader, and one held in the diabolical clutches of a slathering villain like Dick Cheney, Lord of the Halliban, and the reigning Ghoul-in-Chief.]

By the way, Don't forget what they do in his fiendish laboratory...

Sunday, October 8, 2006

Random Thoughts...

1.
Abramoff Knew US Would Invade Iraq in March, 2002... seven months before Congress authorized the president to go war.

2.
Here in Northern California, Bush flew in to speak at a closed-door rally at a country club for local politico John Doolittle (R-Abromoffwhore). "For the first time in his career, (Doolittle) is going to have the opportunity to introduce the president to his constituents, and he is tremendously excited about that," Doolittle spokesman Richard Robinson said… The lunch is a $2,000-per-person fundraiser for Rep. John Doolittle with about 300 in attendance at Serrano Country Club. A political science professor at University of the Pacific in Stockton, said Bush's four-state fundraising trip plays to his strength while reducing the risk of political embarrassment. "This is a place, just like an Air Force base or an Army base, where he's not going to get a lot of hecklers," he said of Bush's visit to California's agricultural heartland. "He's always been highly controlled with his events. What they want here are good, positive media events -- do no harm is very important to them -- and money.” And, incidentally, Doolttle's wife Julie Doolittle's company, Sierra Dominion Financial Solutions, earns a 15 percent commission on money she brings in for the Doolittle campaign, meaning their household could take in more than $90,000 as its share of donations from Tuesday's 311 paying guests.

3.
From the LOL files: "No sooner did Congress authorize construction of a 700-mile fence on the U.S.-Mexico border last week than lawmakers rushed to approve separate legislation that ensures it will never be built" That's why they call themselves Minutemen... 'cause that's how long their legislation was effective.

4.
And finally, Marijuana may stave off Alzheimer's, but I forget why.

Me? Suspicious?

In light of pre-Foley-scandal reports that Conservative websites claim Rove has been promising GOP insiders an 'October surprise', my wheels are spinnin' about how the alleged October Surprise is or is not connected to the scandal. Did "Foleygate" actually catch the repubican party by surprise? Or, is it part of a greater scheme? After all, the information was brought to light by a republican. But how could that be used by them to their advantage?

The only possible scenario I can come up with at this point, if I had to, is that the scandal would serve to divert attention from the extremely bad news about the two wars (Afghanistan & Iraq), then the repuplicans will follow up by stealing the election with electronic voting machines.

Anyone else? I'm open to suggestions.

ROFLMAO!!!

Jeb Bush hides in supply closet: "PITTSBURGH -- Florida Gov. Jeb Bush took refuge in a subway station supply closet when he was greeted by protesters on his way to a campaign event for a Pennsylvania Republican senator. Officers used stun guns to subdue two protesters, saying they disobeyed orders to disperse, Bob Grove, a Port Authority spokesman reported. 'It was a very tense situation. They were very close to the governor and shouting on top of him,' Grove said. The protesters, members of the United Steelworkers union and an anti-war group, chanted: 'Jeb go home.' "

Friday, October 6, 2006

A question:

Could this election cycle be the beginning of a new era of alternative political parties? The author of this article says,
"If the Democrats can’t take the Hill now, they deserve to go the way of the Whigs... the Democrats’ message is murky. In the Senate, they decry the Mexican fence, then more than half of them vote for it. They label the Iraq war as a mistake, then vote $70 billion more for it. They object to Bush’s torture bill, yet flinch at a chance to block it in the Senate... It was that kind of profound indecision on a moral issue (slavery) that led to the demise of the Whigs before the Civil War."
Indeed. I'm registered as an independent, but I end up voting democrat as the only viable opposition party against the republicans, who are by far the greater of two evils.

Maybe partisan politics is changing in America. In the time since I've been blogging and monitoring politics more closely (since about June 2004), I've seen a lot of dissatisfaction among democrats. The "Kerry betrayal" of 2004 (when Kerry conceded while there were thousands of absentee votes yet to be counted) clinched it for many of us: the democratic party, we were harshly reminded, could not be depended upon to represent the interests of Progressives - we who are proponents of human rights, civil rights, social justice, fiscal responsibility, and sensible national defense. Sure, they have done some good things, but they also put us in Korea and Vietnam and kept us there, and many of them seem to acquiesce to the repukes so often it's embarrasing.

Similarly, I have also been noting a lot of dissatisfaction among self-described "conservatives" for many months, maybe a couple of years, toward the republican party. True, most of them describe their problem by proclaiming that Bush is too liberal (I swear, they actually believe that). But nevertheless, stupid dissent is still dissent. Dissatisfaction seems to be the rule among party (ex)loyalists today.

There are lots of alternative political parties. The 21st century is still young... maybe we'll see a change in our lifetime. After all, it has happened before.

Wednesday, October 4, 2006

Remember the Reagan-Bush White House Prostitution Ring?

If not, here's the story reproduced from the days before the "interweb":

Reagan-Bush White House Prostitution Ring, Page 1
Reagan-Bush White House Prostitution Ring, Page 2

That's about the time they coined the phrase "family values", isn't it?

Tuesday, October 3, 2006

We're Keeping Lists, You Know

Right-winger are so above reproach, aren't they? Morally superior? Ethically immaculate? Chosen by God? Led by divine guidance? Of course they are. Here are some examples of rightwing conservative family values*

Example #1
Example #2
Example #3
Example #4

* to republicans, "family values" = the amount they can get from selling your children.

I So Totally Love This Clip.

Enjoy: Crooks and Liars » Cliff on Predatorgate and oh so many Republican scandals. Go ahead. Play it again and again. I did. 8^)

Monday, October 2, 2006

I Can't Stop..! (Updated)

I swear, I try to stop just blogging about news items, I try to stop blogging about the stuff that you've probably read better posts about elsewhere, but as dogs are my witness, some stories come along and no matter how hard you try to ignore them they grab you and look at you and make faces and make ridiculous noises and jump up and down and point and laugh and then cry and then look at you again and scream at the top of their lungs, republicans are the most painfully ridiculous creatures ever to be excreted from the asses of the thundering dinosaurs! Why? Well, for one thing, Bill Frist, repuke hotshot and another beacon of modern conservatism, says we sould put the Taliban back in power!

That's right, the same Taliban that we spent eighty-some-odd-billion or so dollars to over throw, along with countless gallons of soldiers' blood and pounds of flesh, the same Taliban that supposedly had more to do with 9/11 than Iraq did, the same Taliban who's downfall was supposedly a crucial part of republicans' "spreading democracy"... that's who Frist, presidential hopeful and republican extraordinaire, says should be put back into power. "We can't beat them," says the proud member of the party of optimism, chosen by God to spread freedom throughout the third world. Or is he spreading something else?

Those darn flip-floppin' republicans... I guess he was for the invation and overthrow of sovereign nations before he was against it.

UPDATE: Oh, I almost forgot to mention - remember the republican talking point that Bush & Co keep repeating, emphatically, to justify their foreign policy - "We must honor the solders' sacrifice by completing the mission" - ? Right. What is it they accuse us on the left of... "cut and run"? Right.

GOP=Gross Old Perverts

Okay, here's the deal in a nutshell: The "right", that is, conservatives, republicans, neocons, and other fascism-apologists are all over the blogoshere and the media trying to justify Foley's actions by claiming that Clinton's affair was somehow comparable. That is ridiculous, and here is why:

Clinton had consentual sex with an adult. His action was not sanctioned by the democratic party; it was in fact condemned by them (and still is).

Foley, on the other hand, is a pedophile, in fact, a serial pedophile, whose depraved perversion was officially sanctioned and protected by republican leadership. The main difference between Foley and Clinton is pedophilia vs. conenting adult behavior. That's the difference between these champions of hypocrisy who have, for years, fashioned themselves as the epitome of conservative values, and the rest of us who are lucky enough to see right through them: they protect and nurture child molesters, while we find such behavior repugnant. Their followers, aupporters, rationalizers and apologists, slavishly defend them, as if brainwashed, swearing that these are the morally superior leaders, and they all swear that the greatest evil on earth is liberalism.

Add to that, the fact that anyone who allows such behavior to go unchecked, let alone protects it by covering it up, is complicit, right? I mean, if you know someone is molesting a child and you allow it to go on, are you not part of the problem (to put it mildly)? How about of someone is molesting your child, and another person knows about it, but keeps it a secret to protect the molester? Those who call define themselves as conservatives, even as the leaders and examples of true modern conservatism, think that's okay, apparently.

I think that says a lot about us and them.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Their Moral Compass

Congressional leadership “knew for months about e-mail traffic between Representative Mark Foley and a former teenage page, but kept the matter secret and allowed Mr. Foley to remain head of a Congressional caucus on children’s issues.”

Here's more typical repuke hypocrisy from the party of deviant pedophiles.

Also found on the web:
“It’s vile,” said Rep. Mark Foley, R-West Palm Beach. “It’s more sad than anything else, to see someone with such potential throw it all down the drain because of a sexual addiction.” — Talking about Bill Clinton — 1998
Think Progress offers an excellent rebuttal to the repukes' comparison of this to Clinton:
"President Clinton had a consensual relationship with an adult. The fact that it was an extramarital affair was virtually unanimously condemned by members of both parties."
One more thing: Right-wingers always insist that Clinton's impeachment had nothing to do with the Lewinski affair. Now, Fox news, the mouthpiece of the republican party and the right wing ministry of propaganda, finally admits that it did.

Friday, September 29, 2006

In Case I Disappear

In Case I Disappear,
by William Rivers Pitt

I have been told a thousand times at least, in the years I have spent reporting on the astonishing and repugnant abuses, lies and failures of the Bush administration, to watch my back. "Be careful," people always tell me. "These people are capable of anything. Stay off small planes, make sure you aren't being followed." A running joke between my mother and me is that she has a "safe room" set up for me in her cabin in the woods, in the event I have to flee because of something I wrote or said.

I always laughed and shook my head whenever I heard this stuff. Extreme paranoia wrapped in the tinfoil of conspiracy, I thought. This is still America, and these Bush fools will soon pass into history, I thought. I am a citizen, and the First Amendment hasn't yet been red-lined, I thought.

Matters are different now.

It seems, perhaps, that the people who warned me were not so paranoid. It seems, perhaps, that I was not paranoid enough. Legislation passed by the Republican House and Senate, legislation now marching up to the Republican White House for signature, has shattered a number of bedrock legal protections for suspects, prisoners, and pretty much anyone else George W. Bush deems to be an enemy.

So much of this legislation is wretched on the surface. Habeas corpus has been suspended for detainees suspected of terrorism or of aiding terrorism, so the Magna Carta-era rule that a person can face his accusers is now gone. Once a suspect has been thrown into prison, he does not have the right to a trial by his peers. Suspects cannot even stand in representation of themselves, another ancient protection, but must accept a military lawyer as their defender.

Illegally-obtained evidence can be used against suspects, whether that illegal evidence was gathered abroad or right here at home. To my way of thinking, this pretty much eradicates our security in persons, houses, papers, and effects, as stated in the Fourth Amendment, against illegal searches and seizures.

Speaking of collecting evidence, the torture of suspects and detainees has been broadly protected by this new legislation. While it tries to delineate what is and is not acceptable treatment of detainees, in the end, it gives George W. Bush the final word on what constitutes torture. US officials who use cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment to extract information from detainees are now shielded from prosecution.

It was two Supreme Court decisions, Hamdi v. Rumsfeld and Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, that compelled the creation of this legislation. The Hamdi decision held that a prisoner has the right of habeas corpus, and can challenge his detention before an impartial judge. The Hamdan decision held that the military commissions set up to try detainees violated both the Uniform Code of Military Justice and the Geneva Conventions.

In short, the Supreme Court wiped out virtually every legal argument the Bush administration put forth to defend its extraordinary and dangerous behavior. The passage of this legislation came after a scramble by Republicans to paper over the torture and murder of a number of detainees. As columnist Molly Ivins wrote on Wednesday, "Of the over 700 prisoners sent to Gitmo, only 10 have ever been formally charged with anything. Among other things, this bill is a CYA for torture of the innocent that has already taken place."

It seems almost certain that, at some point, the Supreme Court will hear a case to challenge the legality of this legislation, but even this is questionable. If a detainee is not allowed access to a fair trial or to the evidence against him, how can he bring a legal challenge to a court? The legislation, in anticipation of court challenges like Hamdi and Hamdan, even includes severe restrictions on judicial review over the legislation itself.

The Republicans in Congress have managed, at the behest of Mr. Bush, to draft a bill that all but erases the judicial branch of the government. Time will tell whether this aspect, along with all the others, will withstand legal challenges. If such a challenge comes, it will take time, and meanwhile there is this bill. All of the above is deplorable on its face, indefensible in a nation that prides itself on Constitutional rights, protections and the rule of law.

Underneath all this, however, is where the paranoia sets in.

Underneath all this is the definition of "enemy combatant" that has been established by this legislation. An "enemy combatant" is now no longer just someone captured "during an armed conflict" against our forces. Thanks to this legislation, George W. Bush is now able to designate as an "enemy combatant" anyone who has "purposefully and materially supported hostilities against the United States."

Consider that language a moment. "Purposefully and materially supported hostilities against the United States" is in the eye of the beholder, and this administration has proven itself to be astonishingly impatient with criticism of any kind. The broad powers given to Bush by this legislation allow him to capture, indefinitely detain, and refuse a hearing to any American citizen who speaks out against Iraq or any other part of the so-called "War on Terror."

If you write a letter to the editor attacking Bush, you could be deemed as purposefully and materially supporting hostilities against the United States. If you organize or join a public demonstration against Iraq, or against the administration, the same designation could befall you. One dark-comedy aspect of the legislation is that senators or House members who publicly disagree with Bush, criticize him, or organize investigations into his dealings could be placed under the same designation. In effect, Congress just gave Bush the power to lock them up.

By writing this essay, I could be deemed an "enemy combatant." It's that simple, and very soon, it will be the law. I always laughed when people told me to be careful. I'm not laughing anymore.

In case I disappear, remember this. America is an idea, a dream, and that is all. We have borders and armies and citizens and commerce and industry, but all this merely makes us like every other nation on this Earth. What separates us is the idea, the simple idea, that life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are our organizing principles. We can think as we please, speak as we please, write as we please, worship as we please, go where we please. We are protected from the kinds of tyranny that inspired our creation as a nation in the first place.

That was the idea. That was the dream. It may all be over now, but once upon a time, it existed. No good idea ever truly dies. The dream was here, and so was I, and so were you.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Remember Bush Gave the Taliban $43 million

With all the hubub recently about which president did a better job of trying to kill Osma Bin Laden, it is rather important to remember that, several months prior to “9/11”, Bush gave the Taliban $43 million dollars. I had a longer, more eloquent post to acompany this, but in light of current events, I'll just stop here.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Watch your backs, my friends...

...because the days of free-speech blogging may have finally have come to a close. We all knew it was coming, but it is still sad to see it happen. The US Government, and the Republican party in particular, has decided to authorize tyrannical power for itself. It will now have the power to imprison anyone it wants to, for whatever reason it dreams up, for as long as it wants to, without ever having to charge them with a crime, without the right to a trial, and they can be taken anywhere and tortured to death without anyone answering to anyone for anything. That is the America that "conservatives" want. A tyrannical, Soviet-style dictatorship where all dissent is crushed and the omnipotent state rules with an iron fist. They want to keep us in line with fear and ignorance. Mostly fear.
Vice President Dick Cheney and his willing lawmakers rewrote the rest of the measure so that it would give Mr. Bush the power to jail pretty much anyone he wants for as long as he wants without charging them, to unilaterally reinterpret the Geneva Conventions, to authorize what normal people consider torture, and to deny justice to hundreds of men captured in error.

These are some of the bill’s biggest flaws:

Enemy Combatants: A dangerously broad definition of “illegal enemy combatant” in the bill could subject legal residents of the United States, as well as foreign citizens living in their own countries, to summary arrest and indefinite detention with no hope of appeal. The president could give the power to apply this label to anyone he wanted.

The Geneva Conventions: The bill would repudiate a half-century of international precedent by allowing Mr. Bush to decide on his own what abusive interrogation methods he considered permissible. And his decision could stay secret — there’s no requirement that this list be published.

Habeas Corpus: Detainees in U.S. military prisons would lose the basic right to challenge their imprisonment. These cases do not clog the courts, nor coddle terrorists. They simply give wrongly imprisoned people a chance to prove their innocence.

Judicial Review: The courts would have no power to review any aspect of this new system, except verdicts by military tribunals. The bill would limit appeals and bar legal actions based on the Geneva Conventions, directly or indirectly. All Mr. Bush would have to do to lock anyone up forever is to declare him an illegal combatant and not have a trial.

Coerced Evidence: Coerced evidence would be permissible if a judge considered it reliable — already a contradiction in terms — and relevant. Coercion is defined in a way that exempts anything done before the passage of the 2005 Detainee Treatment Act, and anything else Mr. Bush chooses.

Secret Evidence: American standards of justice prohibit evidence and testimony that is kept secret from the defendant, whether the accused is a corporate executive or a mass murderer. But the bill as redrafted by Mr. Cheney seems to weaken protections against such evidence.

Offenses: The definition of torture is unacceptably narrow, a virtual reprise of the deeply cynical memos the administration produced after 9/11. Rape and sexual assault are defined in a retrograde way that covers only forced or coerced activity, and not other forms of nonconsensual sex. The bill would effectively eliminate the idea of rape as torture.
This is not to be taken lightly. No, you should be furious. This gang of criminal thugs who posture and pose as they spew poisonous lies about democracy and freedom, while doing their utmost to rip those things away from us like jackals tearing the viscera from a fallen buffalo. They want to turn this country into a grim dungeon of fascism, drenched in a rhetorical cloak of fundmentalist dogma to stoke their machinery of fear and hatred. The Bush administration, led by the giggling murder monkey and the snarling hunchback who controls him, and their boot-licking lackeys in congress, have taken a giant step towards turning this country into the same thing they supposedly went to war against. All that talk about Saddam Hussein's "torture chambers," and "rape rooms"... it turns out the Bush administration wasn't condemning those things. They were envying them.

Read the piece my friend Mike of the North blogged about:
"...right-wing Republicans don't believe in democracy and never have. They have always admired military dictatorships and seem to be working hard to set up the equivalent here in the United States. Their goal is to create an authoritarian government, with control of the media and the judiciary; to weaken all restraints on executive power and eliminate democratic freedoms; to undermine the public education system through fiscal starvation and rote learning, so that the poor will learn only enough to follow orders; and to create the kind of economic inequality so many Third World countries enjoy--by filling the pockets of a tiny group of extremely rich individuals and impoverishing the rest, thereby providing a mass of cheap labor. This policy began under Ronald Reagan and has made huge leaps under the Bush regime. We don't have too much further to go to achieve this right-wing 'ideal'."
Whoever still supports the Bush administration and their litany of diabolical treachery should be made to suffer the same justice that the Bush regime would inflict upon its enemies.

Just Google "torture bill." And, remember the words of Martin Niemöller, because he is surely the author of the progressive bloggers' mission statement:
“First they came for the Communists, but I was not a Communist so I did not speak out. Then they came for the Socialists and the Trade Unionists, but I was neither, so I did not speak out. Then they came for the Jews, but I was not a Jew so I did not speak out. And when they came for me, there was no one left to speak out for me.”

Double Standards..?

Okay, so the IRS is going after a church becaused the pastor (or whatever) made anti-war statement, and under the Bush regime, clergy speaking out against war is a violation of the separation of church and state. Fair enough. But why is it still okay for Fallwell and Robertson and all those other diabolical characters who make political statements advocating death and destruction on a grand scale? And furthermore, are they going to go after George Bush's Church, too, after it has made anti-war statements? Answer: No, because whatever snarling, bloody-fanged, soul-devouring deity is worshipped by Bush, Cheney, etc., has elevated them above such things. They're the "rules are for other people" party. No wonder they're so popular.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Hard News

MSNBC reports: "Man with 10-year erection awarded $400,000". Now, that's what I call a stiff sentence. The jury must have been nuts. Somebody really got shafted. But, when so many of us feel impotent in the face of overwhelming odds, sometimes the little guy can rise to the occasion and penetrate the wall of injustice. Why, any Tom, Dick, or Harry can walk into a courtroom and stand firm on principle. Whether they use a hired hand or a pubic defender, in the end, the long and short of it is, justice is blind.

Coup-Coup, Coup-Coup...

Throughout my life, the same recurring news item has popped so often it has become a stereotype: in some third-world country, a government is overthrown in a military coup. A high-ranking military leader annouces they have taken control of the nation of Whatsitstan. It's hardly noticed when it happens. It's practically expected. Still, it is usually confined to small countries that are more or less bit-players on the world stage. Not always, but ususally.

So, how do you think it makes me feel when a bunch of military leaders get together and smack the Bush regime in the kneecaps over their asinine warmongering? I'll tell you - you could knock me over with a feather... and they could knock the country over with a military coup, if they felt like it.

Hey, these guys aren't the whole team, you know... they're just a few of the current- and former- military who hold a dim view of the neocons' global bloodlust. Not everyone's soul is for sale, even those whose desire to defend their country was perverted into being stormtroopers and cannon fodder for the Halliban.

The "Liberal Media" Strikes Again



Only good news for us, by golly!

Close But No Cigar

Apparently, the California Governor* vetoes measure for universal health care. Too bad, for I am a proponent of universal health care. Most people either love the idea or hate it; few seem to be indifferent about it. But when I lived in a major city in the southwest, I knew a young couple who had lived in England and Canada, and they said socialized medicine was great - they said that at least they knew they could get help if they needed it. Better to wait in line and get healthcare than have no line at all between you and your grave.

*Yeah, the same Governor that smokes Cuban cigars, which are illegal in this country. Just sayin'.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Kickin' Fox Ass! Updated Numerous Times

Think Progress reports how Clinton Takes On Fox News and kicks their ass. Right on!
There's more...
...and more...
...and more..!
...and an updated clip that shows Clinton kicking Fox's ass again. Thank god there are democrats with the stones to stand up against neocon propaganda bullshit merchants like Fox. If the republicans had not prevented Clinton from going after Bin Laden in the first place like he wanted to, there would not have been a "9/11". That's right, I said it -- the republican party caused 9/11 by preventing the capture of Osama Bin Laden!

Clinton ran a more effective war on terror than the neocon bush administration (who are actually complicit terrorists themselves, in my opinion). All the bushies can do at this point is lie about it to the gullible masses!

Another update: Think Progress » Chris Wallace Ignores 20,000 Emails Demanding He Ask Rice About The U.S.S. Cole

Random Thoughts and Two-Minute Takes

  • I’m predicting gasoline prices will go down to $1.95 per gallon before the election, as republicans utilize their tried-and-true campaign strategy of bread and circuses.

  • Will electronic voting machines be used to steal the election(s) again? I'm hoping not, but expecting they will. Helped along, of course, by the fact that we progressives have no political party to oppose the repukes except for the democrats, the Ed Macmahon of political parties.

  • Why doesn't Angeledes run ads detailing Schartzenegger's corruption? There's certainly no shortage of sources (like here and here). Instead, he runs the same, lame ad about Schwarzenegger supporting George Bush in 2004. Like that is a @#$%^ revelation. Way to win over those swing voters, Phil. Why does the only viable opposition party in the nation seem to want to lose elections?
  • Okay, so sue me...

    ...but I like boxing. I mean, there are only two sports I've enjoyed watching in my life, boxing and gran prix. Anyway, I thought this tidbit was interesting:
    "Also significant and unprecedented is that Maskaev's victory meant all four major heavyweight title belts now are held by fighters born in the former Soviet Union: Maskaev (WBC), Wladimir Klitschko (International Boxing Federation), Nikolay Valuev (World Boxing Association) and Sergei Liakhovich (World Boxing Organization)."
    It's like the bizarro-world version of Rocky IV or something. I think it's interesting. Hmm.

    Just Sayin'...

    ...good one 8^)

    Thursday, September 21, 2006

    The Timeless Tradition of Vile, Loathsome, Contemptible Pigs Who Own The World

    Dick Cheney (R-LyingSackofShit), doing what he does best: Lying his ass off in order to rape whole nations, kill and maim countless innocent people (including children), and secure vast profits in blood money for himself and his war profiteer fascist cronies. This snarling, hunchbacked, hypocritical liar is beneath contempt, and those who support him and his government, after all they have done, are no better.

    This is the republican party. These are the lying criminals who promised to "restore honor and dignity" to the White House. Now republican bloggers are whining and wailing because they can't face themselves or what they have done to the world. Well, live with it, repukes: Thanks to you, this is the face of conservatism.

    (Here's another recent article about this depraved monster.)