Saturday, August 25, 2007

David Gergen on Bush's VFW speech

DAVID GERGEN: Well, he may well have stirred a hornet’s nest among historians, because there are so many differences between this struggle and what we faced in past, and I think by just invoking Vietnam, something he has tried not to do. He’s tried all along to say this is not Vietnam. By invoking Vietnam he raised the automatic question, well, if you’ve learned so much from history, Mr. President, how did you ever get us involved in another quagmire? Why didn’t you learn up front about the perils of Vietnam and what we faced there?And Vietnam and Korea, of course, were not victories for America. Korea ended in a draw and Vietnam ended in a loss. So it’s surprising to me he would go back to that to make — and I think he’s going to get a lot of criticism, or a lot of critiques, that will disagree with him and point out differences.

There's more ... video is here.

David Gergen is obviously another flaming liberaltard a$$hole who wants to see America loose! He can't possibly know anything about war or world affairs. He doesn't have ANY experience and it's apparent that he's just another run-of-the-mill Bush Hater!

Friday, August 24, 2007

A brief lesson in stereotyping history

from the Mahablog

[I]nstead of actually studying the life and words of Churchill for understanding, Righties simply evoke the man as an archetype of bulldog, never-give-up tenacity. I’ve read that Bush keeps a bust of Churchill in the oval office, for inspiration. And perhaps there’s something like tantric identity yoga going on here; Bush imagines himself to be the great Churchill, the wrathful dakini of Stubbornness.

Very likely righties associate Churchill with his great oratory of World War II and know little else about him. They don’t stop to consider that in his “blood, sweat, and tears” speech Churchill was talking about a major military power capable of raining bombs on London (and, in fact, preparing to do so). Hitler’s Germany and today’s Iraq are in no way equivalent — except in the minds of righties, for whom “Hitler” has become the Demon Enemy whose spirit infests the bodies of all enemies, whoever they are and whatever their capabilities and intentions.

By the same token, Neville Chamberlain is the archetype of cowardly appeasement. Righties may know little else about the man except that he “appeased” Hitler — not an uncommon practice among right wingers of the 1930s, who considered Hitler and Mussolini to be swell guys who hated communism as much as they did.

Read the rest ...

I've often found it discouraging to try to engage Righties in a conversation about history ... particularly the history of the period from 1932 to 1945. I'm often left with the impression that they got their information from 1950s and 1960s era movies like "To Hell and Back", and "Flying Leathernecks" and TV series such as "Desert Rats" of the same period. Their understanding of the events and their significance is an amazing parody of reality.

I roll my eyes when I hear how Roosevelt maneuvered us into a war with Germany ... in spite of the fact that the actual war started in 1939 and the US didn't enter until Japan bombed Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 and Germany declared war on the United States three days later. They declared war on us. Germany had invaded Poland and Russia. Hitler had conquered France. The Battle of Britain was already past. Japan had invaded China. In short, we were about the only country of any significance with whom they weren't at war and they declared war ... yet, it was Roosevelt who was somehow responsible!

The Righties revile Hitler, yet he was more anti-communist than they are. Yet before December 7, 1941 conservatives in the United States (Everit Derkson [R-IL] in particular) opposed the Lend Lease Program we extended to Great Britain, Russia, China and other of the Allies engaged in resisting the rise of Fascism.

It's all very confusing ... mostly because I sense that they are very confused.

It's not unlike Bill O stating before a national audience (on several occasions even after being publicly corrected) that American troops engaged in atrocities during WWII at Malmedy.

History's version of the Malmedy Massacre.

Bill O'Reilly's of the Malmedy Massacre
(with critique by Keith Olbermann).

As a matter of fact, it's EXACTLY like Bill O and his backwards vision of history.

And here's another example of Right-think that came looking for me.


Shop targets U.S. hunters with camo Bibles

By Ed Stoddard

DALLAS (Reuters) - An on-line outdoor retailer in the United States is selling camouflaged Bibles, a curious product which says a lot about American culture.

"Our NIV (New International Version) Bible in Realtree camo is our best selling item, followed closely by our camo Bible cover," said David Lingner, the president of Arkansas-based Christian Outdoorsman, which sells Christian-themed hunting and angling products online.

The cover of this Bible is graced by leaves and tree bark. This enables the devout who also hunt to take their Bible into the woods with them while concealing it from their prey.

The C in Christian on the shop's Web site is shaped like a fish hook while the O in Outdoorsman has a cross-shaped rifle scope site inside of it.

Jesus Wept ...

Right wing games ultimately have a huge cost

"My station was intimidated by the administration and its foot soldiers at FOX News."

That is CNN's Christiane Amanpour explaining why the major television networks failed to properly scrutinize the Bush administration's claims before the Iraq war. Instead, they joined FOX in broadcasting the Bush administration's pro-war talking points without a response.

"Amanpour: CNN practiced self-censorship" USA Today, September 14, 2003

For those who only get their "news" from FOX Noise, Christiane Amanpour is one of the most respected journalists on planet earth. If you listen to FOX, you wouldn't know that.

The current fear is that the Bush administration, with the help of FOX Noise, is fomenting another war, this time with Iran. History has proved these people wrong from the beginning.

They told us there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. There weren't.

They told us al Qaeda and Saddam were in league. They weren't. Al Qaeda didn't have a foothold in Iraq until we created the circumstances that allow that to happen.

They told us we'd be greeted as liberators. We weren't

They told us that Iraqi oil would pay for the war. It hasn't? You and your children and your children's children will be paying the bill for this adventure for some time to come.

We were told it would be a piece of cake. It hasn't been.

We were told the troops would be provided with everything they needed. They haven't been.

We were told that we had sufficient troops to win the war. The fact of the matter is, we have just enough boots on the ground to loose the peace?

How can you trust these people? Law of Averages? They have been wrong about everything so far. You figure they gotta get something right eventually and this might be it?

You can do something about it.

Reversing the Historical Spin

According to Wonkette:

What’s more American than the Reagan-Bush administration arming the Islamofascist Islamists of Iran to pay the Ayatollahs back for releasing the American hostages as a political stunt to let Reagan and Bush 41 win the White House so they could pay international arms/drugs dealers to supply right-wing Central American death squads with money and weapons? These whimsical 1980s trading cards remind us that the same motherfucking people have been fucking up everything with the same fucking “enemies” or “allies” forever.

Play here ...

OK ... Ronnie-boy probably wasn't as bad as I think he was but he sure wasn't the god-like creature the Right wing-nuts imagine he was. Given all the right hand spin over the yeas, it's a relief to see a little spin in the other direction.

You may not totally agree with Wonkette's assessment but, if you discount it totally out of hand, you've been totally brain washed.

Experience is a wonderful teacher

... but sometimes it's better to let the rattle snake bite the other fella.

Here's an interesting video.

Word of the day


The gift or power of being in all places at one time, but not in all places at all times, which is omnipresence, an attribute of God and the luminiferous ether only. This important distinction between ubiquity and omnipresence was not clear to the mediaeval Church and there was much bloodshed about it. Certain Lutherans, who affirmed the presence everywhere of Christ's body were known as Ubiquitarians. For this error they were doubtless damned, for Christ's body is present only in the eucharist, though that sacrament may be performed in more than one place simultaneously. In recent times ubiquity has not always been understood -- not even by Sir Boyle Roche, for example, who held that a man cannot be in two places at once unless he is a bird.
- Ambrose Bierce, "The Devils Dictionary"

Who Said "Martial Law"?

Feds Train Clergy To "Quell Dissent" During Martial Law [VIDEO]

Pastors and other religious representatives could become secret police enforcers who teach their congregations to "obey the government."

The video to your right is a shocking KSLA news report which confirms that so-called "Clergy Response Teams" are being trained to by our federal government to "quell dissent" in the event of a declaration of martial law. Pastors and other religious representatives could become secret police enforcers who teach their congregations to "obey the government" and how to participate in property and firearm seizures, mass vaccination programs and forced relocation.

Check out the video ...

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Bumper Sticker Mentality

Glenn Greenwald / Salon

One way to look at the threat posed by Islamic radicalism (let us call it Option A) is to see it as the Epic War of Civilizations, the Existential Threat to Everything, the Gravest and Scariest Danger Ever Faced which is going to take over the U.S. and force us all to bow to Islam.

Another way to look at it (let us call this Option B) is to dismiss it entirely, to believe there is nothing wrong with Islamic radicalism, to think it should just be completely ignored because it poses no dangers of any kind.

There are, however, other options besides A and B. Therefore, to reject Option A is not to embrace Option B.

One would have thought that logical principle too self-evident to require pointing out, but as is typically the case when one assumes that, one is proven wrong.

On a different note, is the curriculum for history classes in some American states restricted to learning about Hitler and the Nazis and 1938 and Hitler and Germany? It must be, because there are many right-wing fanatics whose entire understanding of the world is reduced in every instance to that sole historical event -- as though the world began in 1937, ended in 1945, and we just re-live that moment in time over and over and over:

Love war? You are Churchill, a noble warrior. Oppose war? You're Chamberlain, a vile appeaser. And everyone else is Hitler. That, more or less, composes the full scope of "thought" among this strain on the right.

Read the lead up ...

The real joke is when you do a little reading about the Bush family history and find 'ole grand-dad, Prescott, was a Nazi sympathizer who was involved in an aborted plot to overthrow Roosevelt ... with the ultimate aim of entering the war on the side of Nazi Germany. Maybe that has something to do with the the fascination ... does the German American Bund ring a bell? If not, look them up. It'll be instructive.

Is there a conspiracy? Not at all, but rotten apples don't fall very far from the tree.

Bringing Honesty and Integrity to American Politics

Ex-Illinois Governor's Conviction Upheld
Appeals Court Upholds Former Illinois Gov. George Ryan's Racketeering Conviction.

By MIKE ROBINSON Associated Press Writer
CHICAGO Aug 21, 2007 (AP)

A federal appeals court upheld former Gov. George Ryan's racketeering and fraud conviction Tuesday, but he will be allowed to remain free on bond while his lawyers make a fresh appeal.

The 73-year-old former governor, once the state's most powerful Republican, had been under a court order to report to prison within 72 hours of the failure of his appeal.

Another part of the never ending story ...

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Try THIS on for size ... (2)

Food for Thought

Eavesdropping in a DC parking lot

Scene: Man cuts a woman off to snatch a coveted parking space along a Clarendon street. Woman (looks to be in her mid 60's) stops car and gets out. She goes over to the man and starts tearing him a new one:

Man: Ma'am, it's just a parking space, settle down.

Grandma: Don't tell me to settle down!

Man: Ma'am think about your dignity, think about your self respect!

Grandma: Don't talk to me about fucking self respect you motherfucker!

Yup ... really.

Why do I find this so amusing?

Will you still need me when I'm 64?

Not that it makes a heck of a lot of difference but, today is my Birthday ... the 62nd. I could retire and start taking Social Security but, as Candy pointed out this morning as we listened to the cats trying to get into the bathroom cabinets ... bump, bump ... bump, bump, bump ... it wouldn't be enough.

She's right. It wouldn't. Not by a long shot!

The packers arrived yesterday morning at about 9am and began the mindless business of boxing everything that we own. I say "mindless" without malice or negative judgment. In one who packs other's belongings, it's a virtue. We could never pack as efficiently or effectively. We would continually be figuring out what should go with what. It would be an agonizing, thought-filled process that would go on forever. On the other hand, the packers were well beyond that. If it moved and it fit, it went into the box they were working on at the time. End of story.

They were done by 1pm. Our month of packing yielded some twenty or twenty five boxes neatly stacked in the garage. Their three or so hours, excluding frequent cigarette breaks, left piles of boxes as tall as a man, impeding transit throughout the house.

I made a couple trips between houses yesterday afternoon, trying to move a few essential things. The idea was to spend the night n our new place. The two cats made the journey without slipping into insanity. However, it took them until abut 9pm to come out of hiding and start exploring.

While I was dealing with the packers, Candy was trying to deal with the phone guy who's object seemed to burn as much time as possible on the assignment and the Sears delivery guys, who installed the new 50/50, solid black refrigerator with interior water dispenser without incident. (I have a thing about refrigerators that have crap on the outside door. I much prefer clean lines.) The refrigerator looks for all the world like the monolith from Kubrick's movie "2001".

I'd sorta planned to watch part one of the three part "Warriors of God" series on the tube but, when it came right down to it, I couldn't bring myself to sit there in front of the TV, listening and watching more depressing things done in the name of the deity. Instead, I spent a couple delightful hours on the phone, listening to the Cox Communications automated telephone answering menus, trying to reach and actual human being so I could get at least one of the damned computers up and running. Though I eventually went to bed in defeat, leaving the cable modem and the wireless router in a room together overnight seems to have done the trick. It appears they have reached an accommodation and, now they are conversing with one another again.

Of course, in moving the "essentials" yesterday afternoon, it seems I omitted my toothbrush and my morning regimen of blood pressure and anti-cholesterol pills. I'm considering going out for bacon and eggs to ease the pain of that discovery.

A cigar in the back yard at dawn went a long way to soothe the savage beast. By comparison to the street noise of the old place - ass end hard pressed against Houghton Road and virtually every bit of commuter traffic on the far east side of Tucson - the almost silence of the new place is soul refreshing in the extreme. We're in gated community, about a half mile from the nearest boom box on wheels. Just considering the prospect almost makes me giddy. There are places in our small (though at least three times the size of the yard we're leaving) where you an almost pretend you're not in the city limits.

I think I'm going to like it here. I think I'm going to like it here for a long time.

Well, at least until I'm 64.

By definition - religion

Pulling one coin after another from the air, he dropped them, thunk, thunk, thunk, into the bucket. Just as the audience was beginning to catch on — somehow he was concealing the coins between his fingers — he flashed his empty palm and, thunk, dropped another coin, and then grabbed another from a gentlemen’s white hair. For the climax of the act, Teller deftly removed a spectator’s glasses, tipped them over the bucket and, thunk, thunk, two more coins fell.

As he ran through the trick a second time, annotating each step, we saw how we had been led to mismatch cause and effect, to form one false hypothesis after another. Sometimes the coins were coming from his right hand, and sometimes from his left, hidden beneath the fingers holding the bucket.

He left us with his definition of magic:

“The theatrical linking of a cause with an effect that has no basis in physical reality, but that — in our hearts — ought to.”

The rest in the New York Times ...

Monday, August 20, 2007

The Observer

More Bush Support for the Constitution

The $80,000 Anti-Bush T-Shirts

by Bill Katovsky on HuffPost

Last year, I wrote on HuffingtonPost about a young Texas couple who had been arrested for wearing anti-Bush T-shirts at a Fourth of July event in Charleston, West Virginia, where the President was scheduled to give a speech.

Jeff and Nicole Rank, of Corpus Christi, Texas had stood quietly in the crowd, wearing hand-drawn T-Shirts with Bush's name on the front and the international "No" symbol. They didn't yell, they didn't cause a fuss. Yet they were forcibly removed from the event by a phalanx of law enforcement officials at the behest of Bush operatives.

It was another egregious example of how little the Bush White House genuinely respects freedom of speech.

Can't spoil a Bush photo op, can we? Nonetheless, the Ranks' wrongful arrest made national news, and the ACLU decided to handle the couple's case against the U.S. government for a violation of their civil rights.

Well, justice prevailed (sort of) on Thursday, when the government settled the lawsuit for $80,000.

More here ...

What my friends on the right seem to miss is that the REAL client in every case the ACLU takes is the Constitution - without exception. The degree to which one decries the ACLU's defense of the provisions of the Constitution (whatever the surrounding circumstances) is a good measure of how opposed one is to the actual rule of law and the degree to which one actually hates America and what it stands for.

Hilary and the Princess Bride

Clinton may be a target of Rove's reverse psychology

In a tactic from the '04 Bush-Kerry match-up, the strategist could be trying to divert attention away from a more formidable Democrat.

By Peter Wallsten / LATimes / August 19, 2007

WASHINGTON — Day after day last week, outgoing White House political strategist Karl Rove delivered slashing attacks on Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, the Democratic presidential front-runner. Her healthcare record was "spotty and poor," he declared. Her candidacy was "fatally flawed," he said. And no one with her negative poll numbers, he stated, "has ever won the presidency."

Why did Rove, who often stays in the background, step forward to deliver such public attacks -- especially when the Democrats haven't begun to choose their presidential candidate for 2008 and when the general election is more than a year away?

The answer might seem obvious: Rove saw Clinton as a formidable opponent and wanted to get his licks in early.

For high-level campaign professionals like Rove, however, that kind of thinking may be too simple.

The decision to focus on the New York senator to the exclusion of other potentially formidable Democratic standard-bearers such as Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois offered a rare glimpse into a world where things are not always what they seem -- the world of modern-day electioneering, whose denizens often prefer going from A to B by way of Z.

The rest of the piece is here ...

Reading that put me in mind of some dialog from the movie, The Princess Bride:

Man in Black: All right. Where is the poison? The battle of wits has begun. It ends when you decide and we both drink, and find out who is right... and who is dead.

Vizzini: But it's so simple. All I have to do is divine from what I know of you: are you the sort of man who would put the poison into his own goblet or his enemy's? Now, a clever man would put the poison into his own goblet, because he would know that only a great fool would reach for what he was given. I am not a great fool, so I can clearly not choose the wine in front of you. But you must have known I was not a great fool, you would have counted on it, so I can clearly not choose the wine in front of me.

Man in Black: You've made your decision then?

Vizzini: Not remotely. Because iocane comes from Australia, as everyone knows, and Australia is entirely peopled with criminals, and criminals are used to having people not trust them, as you are not trusted by me, so I can clearly not choose the wine in front of you.

Man in Black: Truly, you have a dizzying intellect.

Vizzini: Wait til I get going! Now, where was I?

Man in Black: Australia.

Vizzini: Yes, Australia. And you must have suspected I would have known the powder's origin, so I can clearly not choose the wine in front of me.

Man in Black: You're just stalling now.

Vizzini: You'd like to think that, wouldn't you? You've beaten my giant, which means you're exceptionally strong, so you could've put the poison in your own goblet, trusting on your strength to save you, so I can clearly not choose the wine in front of you. But, you've also bested my Spaniard, which means you must have studied, and in studying you must have learned that man is mortal, so you would have put the poison as far from yourself as possible, so I can clearly not choose the wine in front of me.

Man in Black: You're trying to trick me into giving away something. It won't work.


Man in Black: Then make your choice.

Vizzini: I will, and I choose - What in the world can that be?

Vizzini: [Vizzini gestures up and away from the table. Roberts looks. Vizzini swaps the goblets]

Man in Black: What? Where? I don't see anything.

Vizzini: Well, I- I could have sworn I saw something. No matter. First, let's drink. Me from my glass, and you from yours.

Man in Black, Vizzini: [they drink ]

Man in Black: You guessed wrong.

Vizzini: You only think I guessed wrong! That's what's so funny! I switched glasses when your back was turned! Ha ha! You fool! You fell victim to one of the classic blunders! The most famous is never get involved in a land war in Asia, but only slightly less well-known is this: never go in against a Sicilian when death is on the line! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Ha ha ha...

Vizzini: [Vizzini stops suddenly, and falls dead to the right]

Buttercup: And to think, all that time it was your cup that was poisoned.

Man in Black: They were both poisoned. I spent the last few years building up an immunity to iocane powder.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Is it too soon to say "I told you so"?

"Viewed from Iraq at the tail end of a 15-month deployment, the political debate in Washington is indeed surreal. Counterinsurgency is, by definition, a competition between insurgents and counterinsurgents for the control and support of a population. To believe that Americans, with an occupying force that long ago outlived its reluctant welcome, can win over a recalcitrant local population and win this counterinsurgency is far-fetched. As responsible infantrymen and noncommissioned officers with the 82nd Airborne Division soon heading back home, we are skeptical of recent press coverage portraying the conflict as increasingly manageable and feel it has neglected the mounting civil, political and social unrest we see every day. (Obviously, these are our personal views and should not be seen as official within our chain of command.)

"The claim that we are increasingly in control of the battlefields in Iraq is an assessment arrived at through a flawed, American-centered framework. Yes, we are militarily superior, but our successes are offset by failures elsewhere. What soldiers call the “battle space” remains the same, with changes only at the margins. It is crowded with actors who do not fit neatly into boxes: Sunni extremists, Al Qaeda terrorists, Shiite militiamen, criminals and armed tribes. This situation is made more complex by the questionable loyalties and Janus-faced role of the Iraqi police and Iraqi Army, which have been trained and armed at United States taxpayers’ expense."

Who's saying that?

Buddhika Jayamaha is an Army specialist. Wesley D. Smith is a sergeant. Jeremy Roebuck is a sergeant. Omar Mora is a sergeant. Edward Sandmeier is a sergeant. Yance T. Gray is a staff sergeant. Jeremy A. Murphy is a staff sergeant.

Infantrymen and noncommissioned officers with the 82nd Airborne Division soon heading back home.

Obviously a bunch of down and out hippy-commie pinkos who want to see America loose!

You can pick up on the rest of what they have to say right here ...

Note: The 82nd Airborne does not have a reputation for being wusses or running from a fight. You can find a little bit about their proud history here.

Requium for Deceit

Bill Moyers on Carl Rove, the manipulator..

Seriously Ironic

following by Mark Silva on The Swamp

Michael Brown, the former federal official who bore the brunt of criticism for the government's handling of Hurricane Katrina, has moved on to a new career -- offering disaster relief and data-mining for government agencies and other customers.

One company he represents, InferX, has found work with the Pentagon's Missile Defense Agency, Brown says, and is attempting to sell its services to airlines and agencies that monitor passengers for potential terrorist threats.

Another, Las Vegas-based Noninvasive Medical Technologies, which makes health-care monitors and has a contract with the Air Force for combat-casualty care. Its wireless equipment allows medics to set up triage in the field. "I could have used this in Katrina, in a heartbeat," Brown says.

Brownie is doing another heck of a job ...

UH ... did anyone read his resume?

The Family Values Party Strikes Again

Former aide to GOP officials arrested in prostitution sting

StarTribune / Minneapolis- St. Paul, MN

Tim Droogsma, a former press secretary to a U.S. senator and a Minnesota governor, was arrested Tuesday in a mid afternoon prostitution sting on St. Paul's East Side.

He allegedly arranged a deal for sex from an undercover officer through Craig's List, police spokesman Tom Walsh said Wednesday.

Authorities cited Droogsma, 50, of Red Wing, on a misdemeanor charge of engaging in prostitution and jailed him for about 12 hours before releasing him on his own recognizance early Wednesday.

Sordid details here (if you need more)...

The Best They Have to Offer

Rudy, the Anti-Statesman

Giuliani's loopy foreign-policy essay.
By Fred Kaplan / Slate

A Little Out of Step?

Rudy Giuliani's essay in the latest issue of Foreign Affairs, laying out his ideas for a new U.S. foreign policy, is one of the shallowest articles of its kind I've ever read. Had it been written for a freshman course on international relations, it would deserve at best a C-minus (with a concerned note to come see the professor as soon as possible). That it was written by a man who wants to be president—and who recently said that he understands the terrorist threat "better than anyone else running"—is either the stuff of high satire or cause to consider moving to, or out of, the country.

The article contains so many bizarre statements, it's hard to know where to start, so let's begin at the beginning and go from there.

Find the rest of it here...

Abandoned Dreams