Saturday, October 13, 2007

Won’t Back Down

By: Naomi Wolf

(Naomi Wolf is the author of "The End of America: A Letter of Warning To A Young Patriot" as well as "The Shock Doctrine")

I wish people would stop breaking into tears when they talk to me these days.

I am traveling across the country at the moment — Colorado to California — speaking to groups of Americans from all walks of life about the assault on liberty and the ten steps now underway in America to a violently closed society.

The good news is that Americans are already awake: I thought there would be resistance to or disbelief at this message of gathering darkness — but I am finding crowds of people who don’t need me to tell them to worry; they are already scared, already alert to the danger and entirely prepared to hear what the big picture might look like. To my great relief, Americans are smart and brave and they are unflinching in their readiness to hear the worst and take action. And they love their country.

But I can’t stand the stories I am hearing. I can’t stand to open my email these days. And wherever I go, it seems, at least once a day, someone very strong starts to cry while they are speaking.

In Boulder, two days ago, a rosy-cheeked thirtysomething mother of two small children, in soft yoga velours, started to tear up when she said to me: `I want to take action but I am so scared. I look at my kids and I am scared. How do you deal with fear? Is it safer for them if I act or stay quiet? I don’t want to get on a list.’ In DC, before that, a beefy, handsome civil servant, a government department head — probably a Republican — confides in a lowered voice that he is scared to sign the new ID requirement for all government employees, that exposes all his most personal information to the State — but he is scared not to sign it: `If I don’t, I lose my job, my house. It’s like the German National ID card,’ he said quietly. This morning in Denver I talked for almost an hour to a brave, much-decorated high-level military leader who is not only on the watch list for his criticism of the administration — his family is now on the list. He has undertaken many dangerous combat missions in his service to his country over the course of his career, but his voice cracks when he talks about the possibility that he is exposing his children to harassment.

Jim Spencer, a former columnist for the Denver Post who has been critical of the Bush administration, told me today that I could use his name: he is on the watch list. An attorney contacts me to say that she told her colleagues at the Justice Department not to torture a detainee; she says she then faced a criminal investigation, a professional referral, saw her emails deleted — and now she is on the watch list. I was told last night that a leader of Code Pink, the anti-war women’s action group, was refused entry to Canada. I hear from a tech guy who works for the airlines — again, probably a Republican — that once you are on the list you never get off. Someone else says that his friend opened his luggage to find a letter from the TSA saying that they did not appreciate his reading material. Before I go into the security lines, I find myself editing my possessions. In New York’s LaGuardia, I reluctantly found myself putting a hardcover copy of Tara McKelvey’s excellent Monstering, an expose of CIA interrogation practices, in a garbage can before I get in the security line; it is based on classified information. This morning at my hotel, before going to the airport, I threw away a very nice black T-shirt that said `We Will Not be Silenced’ — with an Arabic translation — that someone had given me, along with a copy of poems written by detainees at Guantanamo.

In my America we are not scared to get in line at the airport. In my America, we will not be silenced.

More here ... and a very important read.

My comment? What's happening in YOUR America?

Reagan's "Trickle Down" Economics are working for someone ...

but probably not you!

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The richest one percent of Americans earned a postwar record of 21.2 percent of all income in 2005, up from 19 percent a year earlier, reflecting a widening income disparity among different classes in the nation, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing new Internal Revenue Service data.

The data showed that the fortunes of the bottom 50 percent of Americans are worsening, with that group earning 12.8 percent of all income in 2005, down from 13.4 percent the year before, the paper said.

It said that while the IRS data goes back only to 1986, academic research suggests that the last time wealthy Americans had such a high percentage of the national income pie was in the 1920s.

from Reuters via Yahoo.

My take?

Lets see what that actually looks like:

In 2005 -

Wealthiest 1% of the population = 21.2% of the total income for the year

Poorest 50% of the population = 12.8% of the total income for the year

Lets look at it another way. If there was $100 on the table and 100 of us in the room, 1 of us would get $21.20 to play with while 50 of us would get to SPLIT $12.80 BETWEEN US - or about $.25 apiece.

Do you think things have improved in the last couple years since these stats were compiled? umm ... for whom? Can you spell "T-R-I-C-K-L-E U-P"?

And all those tax breaks for the guy who gets the $21.20 to play with based on the theory that he'll invest the money and create jobs? Well, he is investing the money and he is creating jobs ... in Honduras and in the Far East, all over the world where slave labor rates are the custom ... not here.

The next time you're asked to vote for a tax cut, ask who gets the DIRECT benefit. If it isn't you, vote NO. Don't be suckered by the indirect benefits of the Trickle Down theory. It's a scam. You're betting that a right wing, conservative capitalist, when confronted with the choice of money in his pocket or money in yours will opt for protecting your interests. Personally, I'd take the conservatives at their word ... you're on your own, baby! And he has no interest what-so-ever in seeing you join the club, either.

Reagan's Trickle Down Economy is a myth, a scam, a hustle and a con game. If you're in anything other than the top quartile of wealth in this country ... you're the mark in a Three Card Monte game. Oh, there's always a winner, but get a clue ... it ain't you.

Friday, October 12, 2007

99% Fact-Free

the following is from

How to spot political ads powered only by hot air.


In this article we examine two examples of what we call "fact-free" advertising, which we see in abundance. These ads seek to associate the candidate with a string of positive words and images but are void of specifics. Voters should beware.

We have chosen an example from Republican Mitt Romney that is full of words such as “families,” “values,” “patriotic,” “strength” and “innovation.” Who could be against any of those? Romney is also squarely against “waste in the federal government,” but who isn't? And what does he consider "waste?" He doesn't say.

Our example from Democratic candidate John Edwards also pushes the "strength" and "patriotism" buttons, showing that vacuous words are a bipartisan tactic. Edwards also speaks loftily of making America "the country of the 21st century," whatever that means. He says he'd "lift families out of poverty" and "strengthen the middle class" but doesn't say how, or define what he means by "middle class." He says, "We know what needs to be done," but doesn't say what that is.


These ads are examples of what propaganda experts called “glittering generalities.” They are both appealing and vague, involving the listener emotionally while allowing the speaker to remain uncommitted. We'd call them misleading, except that they really don't make any factual statements.

Read it all here. Don't get fooled again.

South Park introduces a new unit of measure

Learn about it here ...

Right: She's all yours ...

and that says a lot about who you are ...

COULTER: Well, OK, take the Republican National Convention. People were happy. They're Christian. They're tolerant. They defend America, they --

DEUTSCH: Christian -- so we should be Christian? It would be better if we were all Christian?


DEUTSCH: We should all be Christian?

COULTER: Yes. Would you like to come to church with me, Donny?

DEUTSCH: So I should not be a Jew, I should be a Christian, and this would be a better place? (snip) We should just throw Judaism away and we should all be Christians, then, or --


DEUTSCH: Really?

COULTER: Well, it's a lot easier. It's kind of a fast track.

DEUTSCH: Really?

COULTER: Yeah. You have to obey.

DEUTSCH: You can't possibly believe that.


DEUTSCH: You can't possibly -- you're too educated, you can't -- you're like my friend in --

COULTER: Do you know what Christianity is? We believe your religion, but you have to obey.

DEUTSCH: No, no, no, but I mean --

COULTER: We have the fast-track program.

COULTER: No, we think -- we just want Jews to be perfected, as they say.

DEUTSCH: Wow, you didn't really say that, did you?

COULTER: Yes. That is what Christianity is. We believe the Old Testament, but ours is more like Federal Express. You have to obey laws. We know we're all sinners --

DEUTSCH: In my old days, I would have argued -- when you say something absurd like that, there's no --

COULTER: What's absurd?

DEUTSCH: Jews are going to be perfected. I'm going to go off and try to perfect myself --

My take on it? Can you spell B-I-G-O-T?

Sample the Dog

... observations on modern America from Timbuk3.

Sitting in a living room in a condo
Gazmo's on the rug with little Cassy-O
Gazmo's gettin nervous
Cassy wants to sample the dog.

She says: "Bark, howl, do what you like
But if you're going to growl, just growl into the mike
We're gonna play a game called sample the dog"
Sample the dog...

There's a new age family out in North Carolina
A dog named Jamaica, a daughter named China
A son who plays in a band called Sample the Dog

Third world music on the stereo
Dust on the keys of the piano
& China's in the kitchen tryin to sample the dog
Sample the dog...

Now Cassy can't read & China can't write
& the Board of Education mumbles in the night
A prayer for our nation: "Lord let us
Sample the dog..."

The exact same thing is happenin' today
In a million homes across the USA
Everybody's workin', tryin' to sample the dog

and then there's this:

... get it here, too.

They sure don't write Rap like that.

Do ya think I'm being too cynical?

Gore accepts the Nobel Peace Prize

"I am deeply honored to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. This award is even more meaningful because I have the honor of sharing it with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change–the world’s pre-eminent scientific body devoted to improving our understanding of the climate crisis–a group whose members have worked tirelessly and selflessly for many years. We face a true planetary emergency. The climate crisis is not a political issue, it is a moral and spiritual challenge to all of humanity. It is also our greatest opportunity to lift global consciousness to a higher level.

"My wife, Tipper, and I will donate 100 percent of the proceeds of the award to the Alliance for Climate Protection, a bipartisan non-profit organization that is devoted to changing public opinion in the U.S. and around the world about the urgency of solving the climate crisis."

My take? In terms of leadership, was Bush really the best we could do? As a man and as a leader, he looks smaller and smaller every day --- while Gore gains in stature. The people who put Bush in the White House look more an more myopic and petty and gullible. They'd rather elect some inarticulate frat dude with whom they think it might be fun to have a beer than a man of substance, who knows what he's talking about and who cares about the continuing future of the planet. The Born-Again Bush sees the future coming to an end as soon as he can figure out how to make the Armageddon of bronze age prophecy into a reality.

It's about "likability" to those who voted for Bush ... not about intelligence. They got what they deserved ... a smirking, arrogant frat boy who's thought process is perfectly reflected in his ability to express it. Unfortunately, the rest of us ended up with him, too.

Democracy is predicated on an educated electorate. That's the blessing ... and the Achilles Heel. If Bush was the best we could do ... I'm very disappointed in us.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

It's not a practical question?

Jenna at a frat party.

In an interview with TIME Magazine, Jenna Bush was asked:

If the war in Iraq is so noble, why aren't you and your sister serving our country there?

Her answer:

"I understand that point, but there are many ways to serve our country, and I think my skills are better suited for teaching and representing the U.S. in Latin America through UNICEF. I respect the men and women of our country who are over there fighting. It is an unbelievably selfless thing to do. But if people really thought about it, they would know it's not even a practical question."

It was the part about it not being a practical question that caught my attention. How dismissive and how condescending! So, I did a little research (Wikipedia is a wonderful thing) -- but being somewhat of a student of the First and Second World Wars, I pretty much knew the answer already. Here's what I came up with:

Theodore Roosevelt's children. You remember Teddy Roosevelt, that flaming LIBERAL Republican who made a career as President breaking up corporate monopolies and establishing the National Parks system - as opposed to facilitating corporate welfare and selling off public lands like the current occupant?

All the Roosevelt sons except Kermit had had some military training prior to World War I.

After the declaration of war, when the American Expeditionary Force (AEF) was organizing, the Roosevelt boys' father, Theodore, wired Major General "Black Jack" Pershing asking if his sons could accompany him to Europe as .. get this! ... privates. Pershing accepted. However, as a result of their military training prior to WWI, Archie entered service with the rank of 1st Lieutenant and Ted Jr. was offered the rank of Major. Quentin had already been accepted into the fledgling Army Air Service. Kermit would volunteer with the British in the area that would eventually become modern-day Iraq. How ironic.

Franklin D. Roosevelt's children. You know, that flaming SOCIALIST who saddled us with Social Security ... as opposed to vetoing legislation that would help Americans in need as the current occupant does...

During World War II his son, James, was second-in-command of the 2nd Raider Battalion of the Marine Raiders, an early US Marine commando unit organized and trained to conduct guerrilla-style attacks behind enemy lines. Eventually he retired at the rank of Brigadier General, winning the Navy Cross and Silver Star in combat.

Elliott Roosevelt was a bombardier in the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) during World War II. He flew a P-38 Lightning in the North African campaign of November 1942.

Early in 1940, when Britain was at war with Germany, Kermit (not the same Kermit as above - they were a generation apart) negotiated a commission in the British Army with the assistance of his friend, Winston Churchill — who was by then Prime Minister of Britain. His first task was to lead a contingent of British volunteers for the Winter War in Finland. According to a contemporary story published in Picture Post, he had resigned from the British Army to lead the expedition. This story was probably a necessary cover so that he would be able to travel with the volunteers through neutral countries. However, before the expedition could be launched, Finland was forced to make peace with Russia. Kermit served with distinction in a British raid into Norway and was later sent to North Africa.

Son, John Aspinwall Roosevelt, served in the navy until 1946.

It was a practical question for them. Someone please explain to me why it's not a practical question when put to a Bush. I think someone should ask a follow up question. What do you think?

Obscure GOP Pervert of the Day

[another] Christian Clown Busted With Porn Cache

Life imitates art?

from Agitprop

At first it was obscure GOP pervert of the week, but we've had to change it to a daily feature:

An Illinois man who worked as a "Christian clown" named Klutzo was arrested yesterday on child pornography charges for allegedly taking naked photographs of young boys at a Philippines orphanage. According to a federal criminal complaint, Amon Paul Carlock took the illicit photos during a "clowning" trip to the House of Joy orphanage earlier this year.

More here ... and here.

My take? How many anagrams can you do with a name like "Amon Paul Carlock"? My goodness, there are almost enough letters for a limerick! CONTEST TIME!!! Post in the comments!!

An aside, quoted from the Washinton Post article:

The Peoria Journal Star is reporting that in December 1986, Carlock wrote a letter to the State Journal-Register on the dangers of pornography. In that letter he calls himself a "Christian Conservative" and 16-year veteran of law enforcement. His complaint was over a cartoon which he referred to as "smut."

um ... "Christian Conservative? That would make him a Republican, right? Can you spell H-y-p-o-c-r-a-c-y?

Things Change When We Realize WE Are the Government

from Huffington Post by Dave Johnson

Have you ever heard the song that goes, "This land is your land, this land is my land, this land was made for you and me"? The lyrics to this song make the point that the United States belongs to you, and that you are the government.

The Constitution of the United States and of the State of California begin with the words, "We, the people..." because here the people are the government. And it is time we all realized it.

Last week I wrote about the way we think about our government.

Ronald Reagan liked to say "Government is the problem, not the solution" and, "The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: "I'm from the government and I'm here to help.' " ... [But] the Constitutions of the United States of America and of the state of California both begin with the words, "We the people." So "we, the people" are the government. ...When you think about it this way, it makes the things Ronald Reagan said sound contradictory. How can we, the people be the problem? How can it be scary that we, the people are here to help each other?

Our government is US working together to take care of each other. This is a monumental shift in the way many of us have come to think about our relationship with our government. Government is not some "them" out there, like the conservatives want you to think - government is you, and me, and all of us in this together, for each other.

There's more here ...

America's Armageddonites

by Jon Basil Utley on AntiWar

Utopian fantasies have long transfixed the human race. Yet today a much rarer fantasy has become popular in the United States. Millions of Americans, the richest people in history, have a death wish. They are the new "Armageddonites," fundamentalist evangelicals who have moved from forecasting Armageddon to actually trying to bring it about.

Most journalists find it difficult to take seriously that tens of millions of Americans, filled with fantasies of revenge and empowerment, long to leave a world they despise. These Armageddonites believe that they alone will get a quick, free pass when they are "raptured" to paradise, no good deeds necessary, not even a day of judgment. Ironically, they share this utopian fantasy with a group that they often castigate, namely fundamentalist Muslims who believe that dying in battle also means direct access to Heaven. For the Armageddonites, however, there are no waiting virgins, but they do agree with Muslims that there will be "no booze, no bars," in the words of a popular Gaither Singers song.

These end-timers have great influence over the U.S. government's foreign policy. They are thick with the Republican leadership. At a recent conference in Washington, congressional leader Roy Blunt, for example, has said that their work is "part of God's plan." At the same meeting, where speakers promoted attacking Iran, former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay glorified "end times". Indeed the Bush administration often consults with them on Mideast policies. The organizer of the conference, Rev. John Hagee, is often welcomed at the White House, although his ratings are among the lowest on integrity and transparency by Ministry Watch, which rates religious broadcasters. He raises millions of dollars from his campaign supporting Israeli settlements on the West Bank, including much for himself. Erstwhile presidential candidate Gary Bauer is on his Board of Directors. Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson also both expressed strong end-times beliefs.

Read the rest of the piece here ...

(Emphasis added.)

My Coment: Are these the people you want to lead your children into the future? Their future is based on the presumption that they, and they alone, know the mind of God. What makes their vision more valid than the vision of the Fundamentalist Muslims whom they so closely resemble?

Rachael Maddow on "The Slime Machine"

Maddow on Countdown: “Twelve year old Graeme Frost, meet Cindy Sheehan, meet 9/11 widows, meet Staff Sgt. Brian McGough, meet Michael J. Fox, meet the kids who were targeted by Mark Foley, meet Jack Murtha. I mean, Graeme Frost as a twelve year old now joins an esteemed list of Americans who have been personally attacked, personally slimed, called liars and cowards and frauds, and threatened for daring to publicly espouse a view that the right disagrees with. I mean, just when you think you’ve found the person who they can’t possibly slime, I don’t know, say a twelve year old kid just out of a coma, turns out yeah, the bar does actually go that low, it’s just astonishing.”

My take? Rather than debating the merits of an issue, the Right Wing slime machine prefers to attack the messenger. It's become their modus operandi; avoiding the issues and engaging in personal attacks. I know there are sincere conservatives out there somewhere and the conservative take on issues is worth consideration as often as not but their party has been hijacked by the shrill Coulter Republicans. As long as they're comfortable allowing Coulter, Limbaugh, Hannity, Bill O'Lie-to-Me and their ilk to act as the voice of their party, they're doomed.

You can fool all of the people some of the time and some of the people all of the time but you can't fool all of the people all of the time.

Here's a bit from TIME Magazine, who's reporters spent a little more time investigating the story:

"It turns out, however, that not everything about the Frosts' life pops up on a Google search. While Graeme does attend a private school, he does so on scholarship. Halsey Frost is a self-employed woodworker; he and his wife say they earn between $45,000 and $50,000 a year to provide for their family of six. Their 1936 rowhouse was purchased in 1990 for $55,000. It was vacant and in a run-down neighborhood that has improved since then, in part because of people like themselves who took a chance. It is now assessed at $263,140, though under state law the value of that asset is not taken into account in determining their eligibility for SCHIP. And while they are still uninsured, they claim it is most certainly not by choice. Bonnie Frost says the last time she priced health coverage, she learned it would cost them $1,200 a month.

In short, just as the radio spot claimed, the Frosts are precisely the kind of people that the SCHIP program was intended to help.

These are the people that the Right Wing slime machine characterizes as "socialist patsies". I hope they're proud of themselves and their failed attempts to spin the story. For myself, I'm ashamed that the dialog has crept this low. These are real issues and they involve real people who deserve to be treated with more dignity that the Right is capable of extending. Now, because of the Right Wing Slime Machine, their address has been published and they receive death threats - all because of a knee jerk reaction on the Right as it instinctively attacked the messenger rather than trying to make the case that the SCHIP program is not a good policy decision. Pray that these people never disagree with YOU.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Smoke Signals

I found myself in a conversation about the anger that it seems everyone feels toward their parents (or a parent) at one point or another during the course of their lives. It reminded me of a little movie I rented about a year ago called "Smoke Signals", based on a couple short stories by Sherman Alexie. Small though the movie was in terms of distribution and box office, it was a stunning coming of age story. The movie is also notable because it is the first feature film made by a Native American crew and creative team. The cover says it's a comedy ... but it's not. There are some very funny things that go by ... but there are very funny things in life too. That doesn't make life a comedy.

Beyond that, there is the sheer number of awards it has won:
  • 1998 American Indian Film Festival: Best film
  • Christopher Award
  • 1998 First Americans in the Arts: Outstanding Achievement in Writing (Sherman Alexie), Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Film (Evan Adams), Outstanding Achievement in Directing (Chris Eyre)
  • 1998 Gotham Awards: Nominations: Open Palm Award
  • 1998 National Board of Review: Special Recognition For Excellence In Filmmaking
  • 1998 San Diego World Film Festival: Best American Independent Feature; Best Screenplay (Sherman Alexie); Best Actor (Adam Beach); Best Director (Chris Eyre)
  • 1998 Sundance Film Festival: Filmmaker's Trophy Chris Eyre); Audience Award. Nominations: Grand Jury Prize
  • 1998 Taos Talking Picture Festival: Taos Land Grant Award (Chris Eyre)
  • 1998 Tokyo International Film Festival: Best Artistic Contribution (Chris Eyre) (tie)
  • 1999 Chlotrudis Awards: Nomination: Best Actor (Evan Adams)
  • 1999 Florida Film Critics Circle Awards: Best Newcomer (Chris Eyre/Sherman Alexie)
  • 1999 Independent Spirit Awards: Best Debut Performance (Evan Adams). Nominations: Best Supporting Male nomination (Gary Farmer), Best First Screenplay nomination (Sherman Alexie)
  • 1999 Young Artist Awards: Nominations: Best Performance in a Feature Film-Supporting Young Actor (Cody Lightning)
On a personal level, it gave me an insight into my relationship with my parents - both of whom have been gone for some time.

Rather than outline the plot (you can find that by following the linked film title above), let me just leave you with the closing lines from the last scene of the movie:

How do we forgive our fathers?

Maybe in a dream?

Do we forgive our fathers for leaving us too often or forever when we were little?

Maybe for scarin' us with unexpected rage or for making us nervous because there never seemed to be any rage there at all.

Do we forgive our fathers for marryin' or not marryin' our mothers? Or divorcin' or not divorcin' our mothers?

And should we forgive them for their excesses of warmth or coldness?

Shall we forgive them for pushin' or meanin' or shuttin' doors or speakin' through walls or never speakin' or never bein' silent?

Do we forgive our fathers in our age or in theirs or in their deaths, saying it to them or not saying it.

If we forgive our fathers, what is left?

My take: In the end, no one does the right thing.

On another level, the movie has a wonderful subtext that shouldn't be missed. No matter how different we may seem culturally, we are all human beings first and the similarities between us are far more striking than any cultural differences we might pick out. There cannot be a better lesson in these troubled times.

Four Stars and Two Thumbs Up. It doesn't take a big Hollywood budget and a mainstream studio to make a picture that can move you, teach you, comfort you and help you to explain yourself to yourself. As a matter of fact, those things would probably get in the way.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Republican Senator Larry Craig's new music video

Featuring the Village People doing backup ... it's a real toe-tapper.

The Economic Lies From the GOP Debate

Hale "Bonddad" Stewart
Posted October 9, 2007 | 05:36 PM (EST)

Actually, I didn't watch the debate. I haven't watched a debate yet and won't until we get down to two candidates. But I can tell you exactly what the Republicans said without seeing them.

Reagan's policies saved the country, tax cuts pay for themselves, and deficits don't matter.

So let's see the real record of Republicans, shall we?

After the click.

My comment: Try running some proportional deficits on YOUR credit card and see what happens to your credit rating. These "Family Values" people simply can't count.

Let's hope our children never get an education. If they do, they may figure out how much we've charged against THEIR credit card and if they figure that out, they may not be visiting you in that nursing home during your golden years.

The "Greatest Generation" set the stage for the greatest generational transfer of wealth - from their generation to ours - in the history of the planet. We are setting the stage for the single greatest transfer of debt - from our generation to the generations that follow us - thanks to the Family Values folks and their idea of fiscal responsibility. They would rather borrow, borrow, borrow than "pay-as-you-go". They call THAT "tax-and-spend".

Giuliani: 9/11 Tourette’s?

For Rudy Giuliani, 9/11 is the answer. To almost anything, it seems.

After all, it's why America fell in love with him on that darkest of days, when the mayor was the only person on TV reassuring the nation. It's why he's the Republican front-runner for President.

"For me, every day is an anniversary of Sept. 11," he said in Florida last month.

Giuliani wastes no opportunity to bring up 9/11 on the campaign trail. Sometimes, it looks like a stretch.

Read all about "Giuliani, the Jeopardy Edition", on the New York Daily News site where all the answers are 9/11 no matter what the question is.

All politicians are liars, some more than others ...

Just taking the credit, my dear ... who looks this stuff up anyway?

On his Web site, Rudy Giuliani claims that he grew New York City's police force by 12,000 officers between his inauguration as mayor in January 1994 and mid-2000. That's just not true. Most of the cops he's counting – 7,100 to be exact – were already housing or transit police who were simply folded into the New York Police Department. The merger of the departments didn't increase the number of police in the city at all.

The actual increase in the size of the force was about 3,660, or about 10 percent, during the period Giuliani pinpoints. And Giuliani doesn't mention that the cost of hiring about 3,500 of the officers was partially covered by the federal government under President Bill Clinton.

On another matter, we question Giuliani's claim that on Sept. 11, 2001, he had a new command center "up and running within half an hour" of being forced to evacuate his primary center near the World Trade Center. In his 2002 book, "Leadership," he says that "we arrived about noon" at the backup site, which was two-and-a-half hours after the evacuation.


My comment: After 7 years of being lied to by the Bush administration I guess we're used to it and Giuliani should fit right in. Another liar? We'll all feel right at home.

Another Family Values warrior is "called home"

Autopsy: Pastor found in wet suits after autoerotic mishap


An Alabama minister who died in June of "accidental mechanical asphyxia" was found hogtied and wearing two complete wet suits, including a face mask, diving gloves and slippers, rubberized underwear, and a head mask, according to an autopsy report. Investigators determined that Rev. Gary Aldridge's death was not caused by foul play and that the 51-year-old pastor of Montgomery's Thorington Road Baptist Church was alone in his home at the time he died (while apparently in the midst of some autoerotic undertaking). While the Montgomery Advertiser, which first obtained the autopsy records, reported on Aldridge's two wet suits, the family newspaper chose not to mention what police discovered inside the minister's rubber briefs. Aldridge served as the church's pastor for 16 years. Immediately following his death, church officials issued a press release asking community members to "please refrain from speculation" about what led to Aldridge's demise, adding that, "we will begin the healing process under the strong arm of our Savior, Jesus Christ."

... from Smoking Gun.

The Fighting Fundamentalist headlines it a little different for the folks:

"Former LU Student & Dean Gary Aldridge Apparently Murdered"

However, the MSM (MainStream Media) reports a little bit of cover-up might be involved. You be the judge.

"Montgomery pastor's death remains a mystery"

My comment: At least it's not another pedophile priest, fer Christ sake!

Just words ...

and Tortured Logic ...

... or catch the video here.

STEWART: How is fake drowning, sleep deprivation, how isn’t that torture?

OLIVER: That is not torture.


OLIVER: Because we don’t torture.

STEWART: Meaning we don’t do those things?

OLIVER: No, no. Meaning if we do do those things, they must not be torture.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Jonathan Swift's "Modest Proposal"

Jonathan Swift - Foretelling

As appropriate a solution to the "right to life" controversy now as it was three hundred fifty years ago.

Something any Right minded, practical, unregulated free-enterprise and family values lover of unrestricted capitalism could get warm and snuggly about!

Listen to the audio reading of the essay here.

"Do You Remember 9/11?":

My Conversation With Two Conservatives and a Marine

blog post by DJK on FOX ATTACKS

That's a question I was actually asked at a barbecue this past weekend. That's a hell of a thing to ask a person you've only just met. The woman who asked it had no idea if I had lost a friend or relative on 9/11, or what that day meant to me. It's akin to asking someone, "Do you have brain damage?" or "Are you a complete idiot?" It's like asking a parent who had lost a child, "Do you remember that your kid died?" It’s condescending beyond belief, but conservatives seem to think it’s clever.

The woman who asked it (I'll call her Mrs. R) was the mother of the barbecue's host, a former marine who specializes in teaching water combat. He once told me that Chuck Liddell could kick his ass on dry land, but he would undoubtedly kill him if they were in waist-deep water. Mr. R (retired Air Force) was also there, having made the trip with Mrs. R from Danville, CA, a wealthy white suburb not far from my hometown. Two of the other guests were also marines, one who had been on two tours in Iraq and another who had completed three.

I don't have many chances to talk face to face with many conservatives or soldiers, and I'm always curious to hear their opinions firsthand. The conversation started with a discussion of the high property costs in California, despite the bursting of the housing bubble. We had not spoken about politics, but I saw a good way of getting there by asking Mr. R if he thought the government should have stepped in to restrict subprime loans, which are largely seen as the culprit behind the housing crisis and the record number of foreclosures. Mr. R, who I guessed was a conservative republican, said that the government should not get involved and the free market should be allowed to work its magic. I asked him why that should be the case if the housing crisis affects the entire US economy. He didn't have an answer.

Read the rest of the questions they didn't seem to have answers for after the click.

More from those wonderful folks who brought you Family Values

DiFatta twice detained for lewd conduct in mall restrooms

Posted by The Times Picayune October 04, 2007 9:57PM
By Christine Harvey St. / Tammany bureau

St. Bernard Parish Councilman Joey DiFatta, who on Thursday withdrew from the 1st Senate District campaign, has been stopped twice since 1996 for suspicion of engaging in lewd behavior in public restrooms in Jefferson Parish, records obtained by The Times-Picayune show.

Get the dirt here.

My comment: Did I mention he's a Republican? Did I have to? Somehow you already knew.

Oh, no, it can't happen here. We're civilized, after all.

Bush's "Enhanced Techniques" A Lot Like Klaus Barbie's

from Huffington Post by Joseph A. Palermo

The Butcher of Lyon - 1940s

In 1987, there was finally a trial for the 73-year-old Klaus Barbie, "the Butcher of Lyon," the former head of the Gestapo in France. Barbie was accused of torturing thousands of Jews and people associated with the French Resistance. The Americans had spirited Barbie out of France right after World War Two because he was a valued anti-Soviet intelligence asset. The wartime predecessor of the Central Intelligence Agency provided him with a new identity in Bolivia.

It was recently revealed that President George W. Bush's Justice Department secretly approved the CIA's use of "enhanced interrogation techniques" that are remarkably similar to some of the techniques that the convicted war criminal Klaus Barbie preferred.

During Barbie's trial six of his victims came forward to describe the torture techniques he used to persuade them to give up the names of French Resistance fighters. Lise Lesevre, 86, described how Barbie tortured her for nineteen days where he repeatedly nearly drowned her in a bathtub. Ms. Lesevre belonged to a resistance group and was arrested while she was carrying a letter intended for a Resistance leader.

Barbie wanted names so he ordered her to strip naked and get into a tub filled with freezing water. Her legs were tied to a bar across the tub and Barbie yanked a chain attached to the bar to pull her head under the water for as long as he determined necessary. Each time she felt like she was going to drown and came up coughing and gasping for breath. "During the bathtub torture in the presence of Barbie," Ms. Lesevre testified, "I wanted to drink to drown myself quickly. But I wasn't able to do it. I didn't say anything."

Barbie's bathtube treatment, in practice, sounds a lot like President Bush's "waterboarding."

But the Bush Administration would never torture anybody because Bush recently said: "This government does not torture people."

Ms. Lesevre refused to talk and the a German military tribunal, a secretive military court not unlike those the Bush Administration employs as part of the "Military Commissions Act," convicted her.

The tribunal ordered her sent to a secret women's prison at the Ravensbruck concentration camp where she miraculously survived the war.

The German military tribunal "convicted" Ms. Lesevre of the crime of "terrorism."

Sourced here.

My comment: Explain to me again how we tell the good guys from the bad guys. Please. I'm confused.

How will history view us from a perspective of 50 years? And what will you tell your children when they ask how you reacted to the torture of others in your name?

Mark Twain's "The War Prayer"

After hearing various clergy lead prayers in support of the war, Twain penned what he thought was the unspoken subtext of these preachers' sermons:

"O Lord our Father, our young patriots, idols of our hearts, go forth to battle -- be Thou near them! With them -- in spirit -- we also go forth from the sweet peace of our beloved firesides to smite the foe. O lord our God, help us to tear their soldiers to bloody shreds with our shells; help us to cover their smiling fields with the pale forms of their patriot dead; help us to drown the thunder of the guns with shrieks of their wounded, writhing in pain; help us to lay waste their humble homes with a hurricane of fire; help us to wring the hearts of their unoffending widows with unavailing grief; help us to turn them out roofless with little children to wander unfriended the wastes of their desolated land in rags and hunger and thirst, sports of the sun flames of summer and the icy winds of winter, broken in spirit, worn with travail, imploring Thee for the refuge of the grave and denied it -- for our sakes who adore Thee, Lord, blast their hopes, blight their lives, protract their bitter pilgrimage, make heavy their steps, water their way with their tears, stain the white snow with the blood of their wounded feet! We ask it, in the spirit of love, of Him Who is the Source of Love, and who is the ever-faithful refuge and friend of all that are sore beset and seek His aid with humble and contrite hearts. Amen".

My comment: Is this who we are or who we want to be?

Better late than never

Would you buy a used car from this man?

Fredrick of Hollywood is on a campaign blitz, in case you hadn't noticed. The following is from the Day 1 campaign diary of a reporter-blogger trying to stay awake for the punch line:

Fred Thompson’s Wocket’s Wed Gware; no toilets in Council Bluffs; the homeless discuss the race

Matt Taibbi / Rolling Stone

I was only back on the campaign trail for about four hours before I started to feel unhappy again; this was back a few weeks ago, on actor Fred Thompson’s kickoff tour (see “Running on Empty” in the current Rolling Stone), specifically on a bus run between Des Moines and Council Bluffs on the afternoon of Thompson’s first day of campaigning.

Thompson had had a rough start to his presidential experience. His people had chosen to start things off by having a cow-eyed former Miss Iowa named Carolyn Haugland sing the national anthem for the large crowd of press and supporters gathered at a Des Moines convention center. Haugland is something every state should have – a right-wing beauty queen with a Hannitoid political blog (“That’s when it dawned on me,” she writes, “Bin Laden isn’t just a terrorist. He’s worse – a liberal!”) who eschews post-pageant catalogue work for stridently patriotic campaign performances. Her anthem would have been fine, except that she has a mild lisp. She ended up sounding like Robin Williams doing Elmer Fudd doing Bruce Springsteen doing “Fire.”

“Oah de wam-m-m-pahts we watch…” she belted. “Wuh so gaow-want-wee stwee-e-e-e-ming. And de wockets wed gware…!”

From there Thompson’s handlers cued his campaign video, entitled “The Hunt For Red November.” The signature propaganda piece in a campaign that labors openly to blur media fantasy and political reality, the video is additionally confusing in that it starts off with a photo array of Democratic candidates Edwards, Hillary and Obama, interspersed with a dramatic HUNT FOR RED NOVEMBER title frame set against a frankly “Red” background. I thought they were trying to say something about the “Reds” on the other ticket, and so did someone in the crowd behind me. “Do they mean communiss?” I heard someone whisper in an Iowan twang.

So I ran to Todd Harris, the Thompson campaign’s press guy, just to check. He seemed pissed by the question. “No,” he sighed. “Red November, red state. Republican.”

“Right, but in the original movie, it was Red like Lenin Red, and you’ve got Hillary and Edwards there all covered in red… Do we want a Red November, or do we not want a Red November?”

“We want it. Now it means Republican,” he said, trying to smile, then walked away.

You can find the rest of the article here.

Just another "phony soldier"?

Why I fight and why we all must.

by John Bruhns (DC) · 10/07/2007 11:39:00 AM ET

As the war drums were beating for Iraq I knew something was wrong. I was paying attention to President Bush as he continually accused Saddam Hussein of possessing weapons of mass destruction and being linked to terrorist organizations such as Al-Qaeda. Yet, there was no solid proof that any of Bush's accusations had any validity to them. I guess if you repeat the same lies over and over again they begin to sound true. How else could Bush have tricked the nation into an unjust and unnecessary war in Iraq?

At the time I was stationed at Fort Riley, Kansas. It seemed as if the moment I arrived there in June 2002 the only message being sent from the top down was to be ready for war with Iraq. We trained vigorously that summer for war. And in January 2003 my unit deployed to Fort Irwin, California for a month long desert warfare training exercise. Immediately upon returning from Fort Irwin my unit received orders to deploy to Kuwait for the military buildup to topple Saddam Hussein and his government in Iraq.

We scrambled to get our gear and equipment ready for what would be the inevitable war with Iraq. It took a couple weeks to prepare, get medically screened, and write out our wills. Then we were put on standby to deploy at a moments notice.

There was a mixed sentiment among the troops I had served with at the time. For some troops Bush's word was enough for them to go to Iraq to fight and die for what they believed was necessary for our country. There were some who didn't pay attention to the politics. They felt that they were soldiers who had no other option but to go to war and take their chances. In a sense, that is what good soldiers do. I felt alone for the most part because I kept paying attention to what Bush was saying and what the UN weapons inspectors were reporting. To me it just wasn't adding up.

But before I could blink my eyes I was on the border of Kuwait and Iraq ready to invade on day one. It wasn't long before we received our attack orders and pushed into Iraq.

It was a rough ride to Baghdad. Right from the start 150,000 troops were cluttered and stacked upon each other with our vehicles breaking down due to the harsh terrain of the southern Iraqi desert. We were in the middle of nowhere and out in the open. If there were ever a time for Saddam to use his weapons of mass destruction it would have been the perfect opportunity for him. We were in the perfect location for him to attack us -- out in the open desert with no other population. He could have launched the alleged stockpile of WMD directly upon the US military and killed no one but our troops. If Bush really was convinced that Saddam had such a massive WMD arsenal why would he place us in the most vulnerable position for him to use them on us? Probably because Bush knew they did not exist otherwise he never would have allowed such a stupid battle plan to take place.

We pushed into Baghdad facing heavy resistance from the primarily Shiite populated cities in southern Iraq. It was strange being that the Shiites were Saddam's enemies who he had oppressed for decades. To me it was clear that they hated us more than Saddam because we were invaders from the west. Saddam might have been a horrible man, but we were worse in their eyes. It was frightening to realize that the people who Saddam murdered by the thousands actually preferred him to us.

My stay in Baghdad was not much different. It was very confusing because the enemy was so unidentifiable. We didn't know who we were fighting, and that made it extremely difficult to distinguish between the civilian population and the insurgents. As time goes on you stop distinguishing between the two. My perception was that we were fighting the Iraqi people who resented our presence in their country -- not Al-Qaeda as George Bush kept drilling into the minds of the American people.

We were attacked almost on a daily basis by rocket propelled grenades, AK-47 assault rifles, improvised explosive devices, and mortars. This kind of violent activity led to thousands of pre-dawn raids on Iraqi homes. And when you kick in the door you enter the homes as if you are going after Bin Laden himself. In a sense we started to treat the Iraqi people as if they are all terrorists causing them to resent us even more. In the following days of each raid violent activity would double and for some reason no one could understand why.

I participated in the training of the Iraqi Security Forces. Their training cycle was one week long and it was extremely insufficient. There was no trust factor between us and them. During their weapons qualification I can recall being told by my range NCO to stand directly behind the Iraqi soldier just in case he tried to turn the weapon on us. My instructions were to "jump him and kill him." When the training cycle was over we incorporated them into our units to accompany us on missions in order to train them. Prior to the missions we never told them where we were going because we were positive that the insurgency had infiltrated the Iraqi Security Forces. If they knew where the mission would take place they could tip off the larger insurgency element and set us up for an ambush. Almost all of them covered their faces out of fear or shame of being seen with American troops in their communities. As a rifle team leader leading a team of Iraqis wearing hoods and carrying AK-47 assault rifles down a narrow alley in Baghdad it is needless to say that my anxiety level was through the roof.

Before I left Iraq I made a promise to myself that I would do everything in my power to stop this war if I was lucky enough to make it home.

Upon honorable discharge from the US Army in February 2005 I relocated to the Washington, DC area. I immediately became a vocal critic of the war and traveled the halls of Congress going door to door hoping to share my experiences with those who empowered Bush to send us to war. For a few months it fell on deaf ears, but after a while some members of Congress began to listen.

From there on I spoke at rallies, demonstrations, town hall meetings, and on behalf of anti Iraq war candidates running for office. I joined the Democratic leadership in promoting legislation that called for an end to the war.

It's been years now and sometimes I feel out of breath and tired from screaming at the top of my lungs for end to this madness in Iraq. But we are still there and it appears that there is really no end in sight.

Even General Patraeus can't say that we are safer because of the war in Iraq. During our troop surge the Iraqi government fell apart. We have granted amnesty to Sunni militias in Anbar with American blood on their hands, and we are now arming and financing them out of desperation to stop the violence. We are doing the same for Shiite militias loyal to Al Sadr who is a mass murderer of US troops. The Iraqi government, police force, and security forces are rampant with corruption. Is this the Iraq that our troops were sent off to die for? If Bush cared the slightest bit I would love to ask him that question.

Now it has been suggested by General Petraeus that the surge has been such a success that we can bring home 30,000 troops by this summer. Really? That would mean that if there were any gains made by the surge they will evaporate almost immediately into thin air. We will be right back were we started with fewer troops in an extremely hostile environment -- The Rumsfeld Doctrine. What then? Do we have another surge? Is that possible with a broken military? OF COURSE NOT.

Bush and his loyalists in Congress won't even allow our troops to rest after mulitple deployments that go above and beyond the call of duty.

During the last Democratic presidential debate the front runners for the nomination could not even guarantee that our troops would be home by the end of their first term in 2013. For me that is just tragic to hear.

The American people want an end to this war so badly. If the politicians will not listen it is our duty as Americans to make them listen. We owe it to our country and our troops to ensure that our members of Congress no longer allow themselves to be bullied by a coward like George W. Bush. If Bush vetoes legislation for our troops and an end to the war Congress must shove it right back in his face. We must act now while there is still a chance to make Congress do their job as a co-equal branch of government and start bringing this war to an end. They need to be equally as defiant as Bush has been for the last 7 years and fight fire with fire when it comes to this President. After all, that is what we elected them to do.

I will fight for an end to this war with my last breath. We all must.

John Bruhns
Iraq Veteran

Sourced here.

What is the world coming to? Or is it just some on the Right finally "coming to" after a few years of delirium?

Talk about taking a genius to state the obvious ... Right wing Conservative, John Cole is shrill:

"Seriously - what does the current Republican party stand for? Permanent war, fear, the nanny state, big spending, torture, execution on demand, complete paranoia regarding the media, control over your body, denial of evolution and outright rejection of science … Hillarycare doesn’t scare me as much as Frank Gaffney having a line to the person with the nuclear football or Dobson and company crafting domestic policy."

"That is why the Republican party is in shambles. The majority of us have decided that the movers and shakers in the GOP and the blogospheric right are certified lunatics who, in a decent and sane society, we would have in controlled environments in rocking chairs under shade trees for most of the day, wheeled in at night for tapioca pudding and some karaoke."

My comment: Is it possible that a couple people on the right are starting to come to their senses? Last night I see a piece by George Will telling the Values Voters to grow up. This morning its John Cole suggesting that Right wing anathema Hilary isn't as scary as Gaffney and Dobson. Earlier, polls show that 65%+ of Republicans are starting to believe "Free Trade" ain't what it's cracked up to be and 32% think it's a good idea to start taxing the rich to help pay for much needed universal health care ... a thought that borders on ... OMG!!! ... SOCIALISM!!! What ever is the world coming to?

And I find myself agreeing with Cole! Dobson and Gaffney and company ARE scary!

The world is turning up-side-down!!!

There are a bunch of people out that who've believed from the word "HELLO!!!" that:

  • Gaffney and Dobson and their ilk are very scary people
  • That Free Trade has a big down side for this country
  • That Universal Health Care should be an important priority here in the richest country on the planet
  • That Values Voters had their heads up their behinds
  • That a progressive tax has merit, where those who MAKE the most OWE this country the most for the opportunity to be wildly successful ... financially ...

They're called Liberals or Progressives ... but most often labeled Marxists and Socialists by Right Wing-nuts who see anyone to the left of Attila the Hun as some kind of Commie sympathizer.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

"Values Voters" need to grow up

We're ALL Values Voters ... and we ALL vote our values!

I'm not a big fan of George Will's but he's one of the few on the Right who hasn't gone totally insane. I read this quote from an interview he did with George Stephanopolis and I had to laugh. All I could think of was the old adage, "It takes a genius to state the obvious."

George Will: "Social conservatives should grow up. If they want to rally around somebody, why don’t try that? Huckabee needs support and money now. If the social conservatives are half as important as they think they are, they would rally around one of these people [..] And then decide what you care about. If you care about judges, then you’re gonna get satisfied by Giuliani, then get in line and play politics. But there’s a vanity in this group right now. They call themselves “values voters.” I’ve news for them: 100% of the American electorate are values voters; they vote their values … And this, this, kind of semantic imperialism that they have where they say “we vote values”. Everyone else votes what?"

(emphasis added)

Read the quote and see the video here.

Fort Hunt's Quiet Men Break Silence on WWII

Interrogators Fought 'Battle of Wits'

By Petula Dvorak - Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, October 6, 2007; Page A01

For six decades, they held their silence.

The group of World War II veterans kept a military code and the decorum of their generation, telling virtually no one of their top-secret work interrogating Nazi prisoners of war at Fort Hunt.

When about two dozen veterans got together yesterday for the first time since the 1940s, many of the proud men lamented the chasm between the way they conducted interrogations during the war and the harsh measures used today in questioning terrorism suspects.

"We got more information out of a German general with a game of chess or Ping-Pong than they do today, with their torture," said Henry Kolm, 90, an MIT physicist who had been assigned to play chess in Germany with Hitler's deputy, Rudolf Hess.

Blunt criticism of modern enemy interrogations was a common refrain at the ceremonies held beside the Potomac River near Alexandria. Across the river, President Bush defended his administration's methods of detaining and questioning terrorism suspects during an Oval Office appearance.

Something worth thinking about ... here.

My comment: Rush Limbaugh would call them phony soldiers today. They weren't macho enough for the draft dodging chicken hawks! They were just effective ... more than we can honestly say about the techniques being used today that get what the interrogated imagines the interrogator wants to hear.

George Bush's Paranoia War

Dr. Martha Stout

When the president of the United States behaves in ways that redouble the population's fears, his behavior is a psychological issue. When the White House uses advertising specialists to instill in our minds terrifying visual images of mushroom clouds above American cities, American psychologists should be concerned, to say the least. When our chief executive dwells yet again on "death and destruction" in a speech he makes as we observe the sixth anniversary of our national trauma--and tells us that if we hinder his war policy, our enemies will "come here to kill us"--it's time for professionals who know about the effects of psychological trauma to speak up. As such a professional, I invite any person of reasonably sound mental health to engage in this brief and illuminating fantasy:

Imagine for a moment that somehow the American presidency falls to you, instead of to George Bush, and that, for reasons known only to you and your conscience, you accept the position. Not long after you move into the Oval Office, the United States is hit by a disastrous terrorist attack. Counterterrorism measures that should have been attended to long ago must now be designed at emergency speed--protective systems for the skies, the ports, the nation's nuclear facilities, its food supplies--but you can see that, just now, your stricken countrymen are scarcely able to think at all. Their physical and psychological landscapes have been disfigured by inscrutable "others" from a distant part of the world, and they are deeply traumatized and subclinically paranoid. The resonance of their fear is almost palpable. In this uniquely vulnerable state of mind, three hundred million people turn to you en masse, and, prepared to trust your answer implicitly--to cling to it, even--they ask you the following question: What should we do now?

Find the rest of this though provoking article here.