Monday, March 31, 2008

Who could have known?

As he begins a tour to tout his security cred, Old Johnny Two-Face admits the truth of the matter.
John McCain, on the first day of a tour intended to tout his security credentials, admitted today that he was caught off guard by the recent violence in Iraq.

McCain, who plans to devote the week to showcasing his family's tradition of military service, told reporters in Mississippi that he had not expected the Iraqi leader, Nuri al-Maliki, to launch an offensive against Shia militias in Basra - especially without informing the Americans.

"I just am surprised that he would take it on himself to go down and take charge of a military offensive," he said. "I had not anticipated that he would do that."
Just another case of "who could have known", it could happen to any geezer, but Old Johnny does give good barbecue.


Old Johnny's pride and joy



As Mrs. McCain agrees with her husband as to just how big it is.

Old Johnny Two-Face McCain

And this report from the NY Daily News shows how deserving of that handle he is.
When Sen. John McCain addressed the nation's burgeoning mortgage mess last week, he insisted it was time for a little "straight talk."

"I will not play election-year politics with the housing crisis," the GOP presidential hopeful insisted while unveiling his plan, which many have since described as friendlier to the mortgage industry than the Democrats' proposals.

What McCain did not say - which some believe smacks of politics - is that two of his top advisers were recently lobbyists for a notorious lender in the mortgage meltdown.

John Green, the senator's chief liaison to Congress, and Wayne Berman, his national finance co-chairman, billed more than $720,000 in lobbying fees from 2005 through last year to Ameriquest Mortgage through their lobbying firm, disclosure forms reviewed by the Daily News show.

Ameriquest, which since has been bought out, was forced to settle suits with 49 states for $325 million. More than 13,680 New York homeowners got taken for a ride by the company, records show.

"They would be defined as the most blatant and aggressive predatory lenders out of everybody,

Quote of the Day

I think during this entire primary coverage, starting in Iowa and up to the present -- FOX has done the fairest job, and remained the most objective of all the cable networks. You hate both of our candidates.
Gov Ed Rendell, PA,

Another "Charge to Keep"

And like the cowpoke in Our Dear Embattled Leader's favorite painting, Housing Secretary Alphonso R. Jackson will try to get out of town in a hurry while eveybody is looking elsewhere this morning. As I have said before, please let the door hit you in the ass on your way out, we need the laugh.

Monday Music Blogging

A couple of swinging tunes from 1943



Vine Street Blues - Wingy Manone & His Orchestra



When the Saints Go Marching In - Wingy Manone & His Orchestra

Krugman puts on his re-org boots

And wades into the latest muddy water release from the Treasury Dept. As this is mainly a release of "finless brown trout", he strongly urges us to avoid this run.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Another call for Help

From Firedoglake:
We've got 29,494 cosigners to the complaint against John McCain with the FEC, well on the way to our goal of 30,000. If you haven't signed on, please do -- we'll be delivering the signatures on Monday. You can sign on here.

Help Jon Powers win NY-26

Jon is running for the seat in Congress recently abandoned by multiple scandal participant, Tom Reynolds. Of all the candidates, he brings the most to the table in all regards except cash. As you can see in this news report, most of his opponents Democrat and Republican will be self funding. The most troublesome if lifelong Republican turned Democrat to bash Reynolds, Jack Davis, $3 million is hard to resist. Jon may not have the most money, but he has the most donors and the endorsements of many of the local committees. He is a real Progressive running for Congressat a time when our country needs to begin moving forward, again.

Contribute here
to help a good man do his part to restore our good country.

Muqtada rising

Sure looks like it. He has just called for a stand down of his militia after Maliki's government troops were unable to defeat him. Even worse for Maliki, who is often viewed in Iraq as a Nouri-come-lately supported by Iran and the US, Muqtada managed to burnish his nationalist cred by calling for an end to Iraqi on Iraqi violence and a united front against the invaders.
After failing to break the resistance of Shiite militias in the five-day siege of oil rich Basra, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki sent a top general to hold talks with his Shiite rival, Muqtada al Sadr, Saturday night only to be rebuffed by the firebrand cleric, an Iraqi official close to the negotiations said.

The circumstances in which the negotiations with Sadr took place suggested the government is no longer able to dictate the terms of an agreement with Sadr but now must seek a deal. General Hussein al Assadi, a Baghdad-based commander, traveled to Najaf to call on the head of Sadr's political bureau there, Lewaa Smaisam. From his office, the two men telephoned Sadr, who is believed to be in Iran, where he is studying religion. But they could not reach agreement,
After all these years, poor Maliki should have known better than to listen to Cheney. And now the weakness of his position has been shown to all, which may be a good thing for Iraq.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

My boss will love this

The Caffeine Click Test - How Caffeinated Are You?

Voices from beyond the Beltway

Which would be in the real America that the rest of us live in. If you look to the top of the right hand column you will see a badge that links to the "Responsible Plan to End the War in Iraq," that some 42 Democratic candidates are putting forward to let us know where they stand on Iraq. Go read it and sign on with these true Americans and tell Our Dear Embattled Leader and Old Johnny Two-Face McCain that we have had enough.

Taking sides in a Civil War

Never the smartest thing to do, it is really bad when you prop up a guy who can't stand on his own.
Witnesses in Basra said that members of the most powerful militia in the city, the Mahdi Army, were setting up checkpoints and controlling traffic in many places ringing the central district controlled by some of the 30,000 Iraqi Army and police forces involved in the assault. Fighters were regularly attacking the government forces, then quickly retreating.

Senior members of several political parties said Saturday that the operation, ordered by Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, had been poorly planned. The growing discontent adds a new level of complication to the American-led effort to demonstrate that the Iraqi government had made strides toward being able to operate a functioning country and keep the peace without thousands of American troops.

Since the Basra assault began Tuesday, violence has spread to Shiite districts of Baghdad and other places in Iraq where Shiite militiamen hold sway, raising fears that security gains often attributed to a yearlong American troop buildup could be at risk. Any widespread breakdown of a cease-fire called by Moktada al-Sadr, the Shiite cleric who founded the Mahdi Army, could bring the country right back to the sectarian violence that racked it in 2006 and 2007.

For the third straight day, the American military was reported to be conducting airstrikes in support of Iraqi troops in Basra. Iraqi police officials reported that an American bombing run killed eight civilians.

In Baghdad, the American military was also drawn deeper into the violence generated by the Basra assault, as the military issued a statement saying that American soldiers had killed nine Iraqis that it called terrorists in firefights around Sadr City, the Shiite slum that forms Mr. Sadr’s base of support. The statement said that seven of the Iraqis were killed after they attacked an American unit and two more when they were caught placing roadside bombs. Later Saturday, the military announced that two American soldiers had been killed by a roadside bomb in Shiite-controlled eastern Baghdad.
Neither Maliki's DaWa nor Sadr's Mahdi Army was strong enough to win it all, but the US choice of sides may well create new alliances against the one we choose. And James Glanz has an analysis of what happens when you take on an old alley fighter in his warren of alleys.

A hopeful sign

The Armed Forces Inaugural Committee in Washington has immediate assignment opportunities for retirees and members of the Individual Ready Reserve.

The committee provides military support to the 2009 presidential inauguration, which is scheduled for Jan. 20.

Interested retirees and Army Reserve soldiers holding IRR status should contact the reserve operations section of the Human Resources Command-St. Louis.

• Telephone: 1-800-318-5298, extension 0355.

• Email: HRCSMissionRequirement@conus.army.mil.
If only the need were immediate.

Coming soon to a neighborhood near you

Recession: The Movie




Friday, March 28, 2008

Krugman hands out grades

To the remaining candidates and their positions on the economy as stated in their recent speeches. Old Johnny Two-Face McCain show himself to be a true loser who would do little but reward the current malefactors of great wealth. His look at the other two might surprise you.

Their intentions were good

If you believe their stories, but the CIA's problems are no less because they no longer have the hours of interrogation tapes.
When officers from the Central Intelligence Agency destroyed hundreds of hours of videotapes documenting harsh interrogations in 2005, they may have believed they were freeing the government and themselves from potentially serious legal trouble.

But nearly four months after the disclosure that the tapes were destroyed, the list of legal entanglements for the C.I.A., the Defense Department and other agencies is only growing longer. In addition to criminal and Congressional investigations of the tapes’ destruction, the government is fighting off challenges in several major terrorism cases and a raft of prisoners’ legal claims that it may have destroyed evidence.

“They thought they were saving themselves from legal scrutiny, as well as possible danger from Al Qaeda if the tapes became public,” said Frederick P. Hitz, a former C.I.A. officer and the agency’s inspector general from 1990 to 1998, speaking of agency officials who favored eliminating the tapes. “Unknowingly, perhaps, they may have created even more problems for themselves.”
Once again, it's not the crime that gets you, it's the cover-up.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

A damn good reason never to shop at Walmart, EVER!

You may not have heard of the Shanks and their legal encounter with WalMart. If not, here is a synopsis of their plight.
Shank suffered severe brain damage after a traffic accident nearly eight years ago that robbed her of much of her short-term memory and left her in a wheelchair and living in a nursing home.

Two years after the accident, Shank and her husband, Jim, were awarded about $1 million in a lawsuit against the trucking company involved in the crash. After legal fees were paid, $417,000 was placed in a trust to pay for Debbie Shank's long-term care.

Wal-Mart had paid out about $470,000 for Shank's medical expenses and later sued for the same amount. However, the court ruled it can only recoup what is left in the family's trust.

The Shanks didn't notice in the fine print of Wal-Mart's health plan policy that the company has the right to recoup medical expenses if an employee collects damages in a lawsuit.
Note that the court, and not WalMart, had the decency to restrict the recovery to the settlement only. Lord knows what those morally depraved corporate bastards would have gone after had they been allowed the full amount allowed by law. Life has been very kind to WalMart and the Walton family. That kindness has not extended to the Shanks.
The family's situation is so dire that last year Jim Shank divorced Debbie, so she could receive more money from Medicaid.

Jim Shank, 54, is recovering from prostate cancer, works two jobs and struggles to pay the bills. He's afraid he won't be able to send their youngest son to college and pay for his and Debbie's care.

"Who needs the money more? A disabled lady in a wheelchair with no future, whatsoever, or does Wal-Mart need $90 billion, plus $200,000?" he asked.
And to add greater injury to this family, their 18 year old son was killed in Iraq. I know that WalMart has no responsibility for that tragedy but after seeing what those ethically bankrupt SOB's will do, I wouldn't put it past them.

Keith has it right.

This should make us loved everywhere

I'm willing to convert if you stick an M-4 in my face.

The latest finger point

In the great blame game for the mortgage disaster is the auditors.
New Century Financial, whose failure just a year ago came at the start of the credit crisis, engaged in “significant improper and imprudent practices” that were condoned and enabled by auditors at the accounting firm KPMG, according to an independent report commissioned by the Justice Department.

In its scope and detail, the 580-page report is the most comprehensive document yet made public about the failings of a mortgage business. Some of its accusations echo charges that surfaced about the accounting firm Arthur Andersen after the collapse of Enron in 2001.

E-mail messages uncovered in the investigation showed that some KPMG auditors raised red flags about the accounting practices at New Century, but that the KPMG partners overseeing the audits rejected those concerns because they feared losing a client.
Funny how at the heart of every financial scandal is an auditor that goes along with whatever the hairball idea de jour is at the time.

The Joy of Outsourcing - Military style

The NY Times takes a long look at one company contracted to supply the Afghan Army with small arms ammunition. A hastily formed company run by a couple of small time hustlers who wanted to break into the big time world of arms dealing. Your tax dollars at work, Bushie style.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Joe Galloway this week

4000 dead and VP Dickwahd and public apathy make up his column this week. It's not cheerful, but it's needful.

Maliki starts a brawl

Right after Dickwahd passes through the neighborhood. And in this brawl he gets all kinds of good air support from the US. And everybody is counting the minutes until Muqtada says Fuck It or whatever they like to say in Iraq and calls off his ceasefire. And then the shit will really hit the fan. And no one will seriously consider challenging the Pause in troubled times like these.

Another Mission Accomplished for Dickwahd.

Jane Hamsher has filed a complaint

Against one of the many aspects of Republican electoral criminality. Specifically, a complaint against John McCains gross violation of his own law on campaign spending. You, too, can sign on the complaint with the FEC right here. And don't forget to pass this on to your friends and family.

You have to wonder just what we pay for

When you read something like this, it is hard not to believe that all we get for our tax dollars are the uniforms they wear.
Authorities revealed Tuesday that a man carrying a loaded shotgun was arrested in January near the U.S. Capitol, and explosives left in his truck nearby went undetected for three weeks.

Police initially searched Gorbey's truck in January and said there were propane tanks and wires but no immediate danger. They used a robotic camera to look inside the vehicle and a powerful water hose to destroy suspicious items inside.

Now U.S. Capitol Police are investigating how their bomb squad missed the bomb.

The device was made of a can of gunpowder taped to a box of shotgun shells and a bottle with buckshot or BB pellets, according to court documents
And the robots they play around with.

Well, that stuff is hitting the fan in Iraq, big time.

And as is usually the case, right after Big Time has 'left the building'. The latest chapter in the Iraqi power struggle that the US sits in the middle of is still confused and no one has yet pulled out all the stops, but it looks like Li'l Georgie and his General Boy won't have to pull out any more troops. We are still backing the pro Iran party and no one really know how this will end.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Tom Toles Tuesday


The surge is working so well

That they won't be bringing any more troops home this year after they reach the 140,000 level.
Troop levels in Iraq would remain nearly the same through 2008 as at any time during five years of war, under plans presented to President Bush on Monday by the senior American commander and the top American diplomat in Iraq, senior administration and military officials said.
And as was obvious from a long time ago, the next president will have to end the occupation. No way Li'l Georgie is going to do the right thing.

The sad part is while these big swinging dickheads are making decisions that will determine who lives or dies, they are having their own little War of the Words, like a bunch of schoolkids.
During the briefing to the president, General Petraeus laid out a number of potential options, the officials said, but avoided using the term “pause.” That word has gained traction here in Washington over recent weeks to describe the plateau in troop levels that is widely expected to last through the fall elections and perhaps beyond.

Instead, he described the weeks after the departure of the extra brigades ordered to Iraq in January 2007 as a period of “consolidation and evaluation,” a phrase first used publicly by Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates during a visit to Iraq in February.
Still I have to admit that Li'l Georgie was right about one thing, the 4000 troops did not die in vain. They died in Iraq and Germany and in transit but not in vain. We haven't invaded Vain, yet.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Gun go bang - in plane, on approach to land

You know that program that allows some airlines crew members to carry firearms, after training that includes semi annual re-certification? Well just the other day, a pilot, who was so qualified, had his weapon discharge in the cockpit as the plane was in a landing approach. He was in the left seat which means he should have been landing the plane at the time. There was no threat and, thankfully, he only shot a hole in the side of the plane with no major damage done, except to his future with the airlines.

Pistols are fairly simple devices compared to your average Airbus. It does not take a lot of training to know what a pistol will do when you handle it in a certain manner. The fact that this putz had training in flying an Airbus AND handling firearms in a flight situation and the pistol still discharged should make his discharge immediate and complete. But it does make you wonder how many more like him are out there.

Does George know Jesus?

If one will believe the good Vicar of Putney, no he doesn't. Our Dear Embattled Leader's actions have long belied his claims to Christianity but it takes a vicar to contrast those actions to the truth of Christ.
The crucifixion turns this world on its head. For it is the story of a God who deliberately takes the place of the despised and rejected so as to expose the moral degeneracy of a society that purchases its own togetherness at the cost of innocent suffering. The new society he called forth - something he dubbed the kingdom of God - was to be a society without scapegoating, without the blood of the victim. The task of all Christians is to further this kingdom, "on earth as it is in heaven".

Yet, for all his years in office, it is hard to think that President Bush has done anything much to make this kingdom more of a reality. Instead he has given us rendition, so-called specialised interrogation procedures, and the blood of many thousand innocent Iraqis. Given all this, what can it possibly mean for George Bush to call himself a Christian?
It can mean that George is telling one more in a very long string of lies.

Monday Music Blogging

To celebrate Dyngus Day a couple of polkas from Johnny Pincon



The Hambone Polka



Marybelle Polka

Another Bush milestone

From the AP
A roadside bomb killed four U.S. soldiers in Baghdad on Sunday, the military said, pushing the overall American death toll in the five-year war to at least 4,000. The grim milestone came on a day when at least 61 people were killed across the country.
All these anniversaries and milestones, how does George manage to keep up.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

The life of a Sky Pilot

It ain't all beer and skittles when you know that "the life and the resurrection" are only for the head guy and not the followers.

Have you thanked a Republican lately?

Or everything you ever wanted to know about how to eliminate a middle class.

LA Times examines the Two Faces of Old Johnny McCain

Aside from repeating the fallacy that the surge is working, the LA Times does a decent job of enumerating the many positions on both sides of the Iraq situation that Old Johnny Two-Face has taken. In all cases his position seems to have been what was most salable at the time.


Legacy time for Bush & Cheney


Adam Zyglis


Tom Toles

Republican bad manners

It seems that among their myriad other faults, the greedy bastards just don't know how to say thank you. Work hard, put your life on the line for the US and what do you get?
During his nearly four years as a translator for U.S. forces in Iraq, Saman Kareem Ahmad was known for his bravery and hard work. "Sam put his life on the line with, and for, Coalition Forces on a daily basis," wrote Marine Capt. Trent A. Gibson.

Gibson's letter was part of a thick file of support -- including commendations from the secretary of the Navy and from then-Maj. Gen. David H. Petraeus -- that helped Ahmad migrate to the United States in 2006, among an initial group of 50 Iraqi and Afghan translators admitted under a special visa program.

Last month, however, the U.S. government turned down Ahmad's application for permanent residence, known as a green card. His offense: Ahmad had once been part of the Kurdish Democratic Party, which U.S. immigration officials deemed an "undesignated terrorist organization" for having sought to overthrow former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.

Ahmad, a Kurd, once served in the KDP's military force, which is part of the new Iraqi army. A U.S. ally, the KDP is now part of the elected government of the Kurdish region and holds seats in the Iraqi parliament. After consulting public Web sites, however, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services determined that KDP forces "conducted full-scale armed attacks and helped incite rebellions against Hussein's regime, most notably during the Iran-Iraq war, Operation Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom."
What a terrible crime he committed, he tried to overthrow Saddam Hussein before Our Dear Embattled Leader. Honest to God, that is the reason given by our own U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services!
Ahmad's association with a group that had attempted to overthrow a government -- even as an ally in U.S.-led wars against Hussein -- rendered him "inadmissible," the agency concluded in a three-page letter dated Feb. 26.
Ahmed says he is shamed by this denial, but he is not the one who should be shamed, we are. As Will Shakespeare might put it, "How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is to have a thankless government!"

42 more success stories for the surge.

A suicide car bomber penetrated tight security to strike an Iraqi military base on Sunday in the deadliest of a series of attacks that killed at least 42 people across Iraq. In Baghdad, the U.S.-protected Green Zone came under heavy fire by rockets or mortar rounds.

Seven people also were killed and 14 wounded in a suicide car bombing in the Shiite area of Shula in the capital.
Let's all congratulate Old Johnny Two-Face McCain on this latest success of the surge.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

A Warrior who is dumb about War.

New Rules - Bill Maher



Bill starts a little slow but he is up to speed when he talks about Old Johnny Two-Face.

Is Canadians smarter than we?

It's hard to say, they have oil and other stuff we want. They have hockey and more donut shops per capita and really good beer, eh. Their money comes in all kinds of colors and it is equal in value to ours. Their football fields have 10 more yards, long and across, and they are smart enough to stop playing in November. And their legislators can question their chief executive on their turf regularly and boot him out right away if he really fucks up. That last line may be why they have newspapers that print stuff like this.
Historians will argue over whether George W. Bush is the worst president the United States has ever endured. But that is not the point. Five years after Bush's ill-starred invasion of Iraq, three years after Hurricane Katrina and seven months into the unravelling of the U.S. financial system, the point is that the 43rd president of the United States – regardless of his ranking in the pantheon – is a unique and unmitigated disaster.
And with advancing global warming, one of these days their snowbirds will leave Miami to the Cubans.

Thanks to Gordon for finding this

How convenient

Adm Fallon is stepping down from his current post on March 31, but will not actually retire until later. That later will be after the appearances of Amb Crock-er and Gen Petraeus before Congress. Because he will still be in the service, the Pentagon has announced that he will not be joining those two worthies in their journey up Capitol Hill.

Dickwahd in Israel

And a review of his remarks boils down to this.
Honest Injun Olmert, we will give you all the cluster bombs you want.

Hey, you towelheads, get off the lawn!
And nobody knows how many kisses he planted on King Abdullah's ass when he was in Saudi Arabia.

What would New Jersey be without Moonachie?

If you listen to the governor, a more cost effective place. If you listen to the residents of that small borough, a diminished state full of large, uncaring and bloated municipalities. The governor does have a fiscal crisis on his hands so he is picking on the least politically influential boroughs, demanding they merge into larger units or lose their state aid. This has raised howls of protest from the people who love their little towns and a little dark humor.
A blog called "New Jersey: Politics Unusual" speculated on possible new names for merged towns. For example, if Hillsdale, Mount Airy and Clinton merged, they could rename their new town "Hillary Clinton." And Ho-Ho-Kus could merge with Hoboken and become "Ho-Ho-Ho."
Having grown up in a small Jersey borough, I am on their side. It would be a shame to lose a Moonachie to the Misbegotten Sods in Trenton.

An ode to Old Johnny Two-Face



The Angry John McCain Song from NashvilleNancy

Have you ever survived a bomb explosion?

If so, you can probably feel empathy for Ali as he describes his experience with a pair of car bombs and the aftermath.
In a shy, soft voice Ali tells me how he had been standing with a friend in Karrada when a bomb went off at the side of the road. "I heard an explosion very close by," he says. "I saw smoke and chaos and people screaming. I saw my friend Hassan, who was running and carrying a child who had lost an arm. I saw a nice-looking girl - the Karrada girls, you know how beautiful they are. She was dead. And I saw a girl who had only one eye.

"I couldn't bear it," he tells me. "I started to scream and cry.

"Then suddenly there was another explosion. This time, you know, I didn't hear much, I just saw a tall column of orange fire a few metres away from me and then smoke. I didn't know what had happened, but the people who had run over to tend the injured from the first bomb were now lying on the street screaming.
But Ali was not lucky enough to escape without taking some shrapnel himself.
At the hospital, Ali and the others sat in a corridor waiting to be treated by the overstretched medical team. "There were children there who were all red," he remembers. "It looked as if they had no faces, they were so covered with blood."

After waiting a while he was transferred to another hospital, where a doctor examined him. "The doctor told me I just had two bits of shrapnel in my arm and leg," Ali says. "He asked me why I was crying. I told him it wasn't for myself but for all the boys and girls around me."

The doctor took out what looked like pliers and asked Ali to look away. "He got the first bullet out, but the second didn't come so easily and I screamed."
They may have been short of anesthesia and pain killers, but at least he had a doctor to pull out the big pieces. Just another day in George W Bush's Great Blessing on Iraq.

Friday, March 21, 2008

McCain breaks his own law

And the AP tries to say it isn't so because he didn't accept the money. Sadly, the AP overlooks the fact that he was automatically granted places on the ballots of a number of states he could not otherwise afford to achieve.
McCain has now spent $58.4 million in his primary bid, surpassing the $50 million limit he would have faced if he participated in the public financing system he had been certified to join. McCain has decided not to accept the public matching funds, but the FEC wants him to assure regulators that he did not use the promise of public money as collateral for a $4 million loan.
We won't mention the use of funds not taken pledged as collateral for a loan. Really, who in their right mind would ever believe a Republican. But even if he derived no materiel gain from the public funding, he did opt in and he was told, very publicly that it was up to the FEC to release him from its restrictions. All of which goes to show that Old Johnny Two-Face was totally in character as a member of the Keating 5 and hasn't changed a spot since.


Paul Krugman's Depression Primer

In which Dr. Paul explains how circumventing the rules often brings the disaster that the rules were in place to prevent. This type of activity is also referred to as Voodoo or Republican Economics.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Security isn't a dirty word



Blackadder was hilarious satirical comedy until the Bushoviks came along and adopted it as a Grand Plan.

McCain caught in another lie.

This one is of no great import by itself, it is simply part of an overarching pattern of deceit.
Of all the claims in support of John McCain's bid for the White House, perhaps none is quite as grand as this. As he arrived in London today, the publishers of his new book insisted the Republican senator's family was descended from the Scottish king, Robert the Bruce.

For a veteran war hero staking his presidential campaign on military credentials, an ancestral link to a warrior who overcame the English to reclaim Scottish independence in 1314 has obvious appeal. But according to experts, the story may be no more than that.

Asked by the Guardian to investigate McCain's past, genealogists and medieval historians described the link to Robert the Bruce as "wonderful fiction" and "baloney".
Something like this is usually called a pleasant little fiction, every family has one. But when the teller of this PLF has a long history of fraud and falsehood, it is just another brick in the wall.

John McCain in a nutshell

SilentPatriot posted a clip from Hardballs in which Bill Maher delivers up the best McCain slogan yet. From it he put together this bumper sticker. Wonderful stuff.


Funny paper that New York Times

Under cover of presenting news, the articles are too often fluff or propaganda or someone's talking points presented without a thought to their honesty. Look into the editorial page and you will often find a piece more fact filled and analytical than anything on the preceding pages. Such is the editorial response today to Our Dear Leader's spew of garbage and bullshit about Iraq yesterday. It's a long one today but it has more facts than all the front pages last week and no attempt at balance because the facts themselves are not balanced. Read it and share with family and friends who may have trouble understanding why Kool-Aid is not always good for you.

Another on bites the dust

Republican Congressmoops seem to be a cowardly lot these days, totally afraid to run for re-election. Tom Reynolds of the NY 26, noted enabler of Tom Foley and as yet undetermined participant in the NRCC fraud, has decided to call it quits. Whether it was his proximity to another scandal or the fact that he would have to face a real Democrat instead of fellow-Republican-turned-Democrat-every-election-year Jack Davis this year, we will probably never know. Whatever the reason for Tom's departure, we do hope he lets the door hit him in the ass on the way out, we need the laugh.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The kind of comment you would expect

From someone who doesn't know shit about foreign policy.



Someone like "Old Johnny Two-Face" McCain

Quote of the Day

The military has done its job; it is time for this administration and Iraq's political leaders to do theirs.
Sen Harry Reid D-NV

Time Has Come - Chambers Brothers


What Fixer says

Right on, right here.

What the Experts said on the War in Iraq

Christopher Cerf and Victor S. Navasky, on the 5th anniversary of its beginning, report on their expert study of what the experts have said about Iraq.
For those who may have been too young to see, or are too old to remember, our original study, "The Experts Speak: The Definitive Compendium of Authoritative Misinformation" (1984), we recall that notwithstanding the best efforts of our worldwide cadre of researchers, we were unable to identify a single expert who was right.

At the time, despite those findings, our scholarly integrity compelled us to concede the statistical probability that, in theory, the experts might be right as much as half the time. It was simply that we hadn't found any.
They almost had it with this one.
June 14, 2006: "I think -- tide turning -- see, as I remember -- I was raised in the desert, but tides kind of -- it's easy to see a tide turn -- did I say those words?" ( George W. Bush.)

Arsenic & Old Lace

It's not just a play anymore. According to the LA Times, two old ladies are accused of taking in homeless men and taking out insurance policies on them before taking them out.
The septuagenarians stand accused of murdering a pair of Los Angeles homeless men in a chillingly deliberate scheme that required them to feed and shelter their victims for two years -- the period after which insurance companies often cannot contest policies -- before crushing them to death under cars in dark alleys.

"They waited for two years, with murder on their minds each of those days," Deputy Dist. Atty. Truc Do told jurors in her opening statement. "They started this murder plot with greed, and you're going to see that even when the jig was up, these defendants remained greedy."
Who says it doesn't get cold in LA?

Wexler on Iraq: Five Years of Lies

The latest from Rep. Robert Wexler


Push to start

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Robert Fisk on suicide bombers

Everything you always wanted to know about people who would blow themselves up in the middle of a group of strangers. Napoleon had a dictum, "Know your enemy", but can you ever know someone who sees value in killing himself?
But a month-long investigation by The Independent, culling four Arabic-language newspapers, official Iraqi statistics, two Beirut news agencies and Western reports, shows that an incredible 1,121 Muslim suicide bombers have blown themselves up in Iraq. This is a very conservative figure and – given the propensity of the authorities (and of journalists) to report only those suicide bombings that kill dozens of people – the true estimate may be double this number. On several days, six – even nine – suicide bombers have exploded themselves in Iraq in a display of almost Wal-Mart availability. If life in Iraq is cheap, death is cheaper...

...Not even a disparaging remark about those who would send him on his death mission – that they were prepared to live in this world while sending others like Khaled to their fate – could discourage him. "I am not going to become a 'shahed' [martyr] for people," he replied. "I am doing it for God."

It was the same old argument. We could produce a hundred good ways – peaceful ways – for him to resolve the injustices of this world; but the moment Khaled invoked the name of God, our suggestions became irrelevant. Rationality – humanism, if you like – simply withered away. If a Western president could invoke a war of "good against evil", his antagonists could do the same.
Imagine that, Li'l Georgie is sharing his legacy with someone else.

Tip o'the hat to Outta the Cornfield

Quote of the Day

He has no idea what's going on. Even by his standards, he's wrong
Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, noticing the consistency of Dear Leader to a real crisis.

R.I.P. Arthur C. Clarke



1917 - 2008 and beyond.

Today is Toonsday

From two of the best - Toles and Oliphant





Monday, March 17, 2008

A few of our favorite things - Iraq style

From McClatchy, we get a rundown of he many blessings Our Dear Embattled Leader has brought to Iraq.
five years after the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, they still swelter in the summer and freeze in the winter because of a lack of electricity. Government rations are inevitably late, incomplete or expired. Garbage piles up for days, sometimes weeks, emanating toxic fumes.

The list goes on: black-market fuel, phone bills for land lines that haven't worked in years, education and health-care systems degraded by the flight of thousands of Iraq's best teachers and doctors.

Even so, for five years she hasn't been able to keep milk or meat in the refrigerator for more than a few hours because it spoils so quickly in the daily blackouts.

A kitchen cupboard holds a barely touched box of rationed tea, which Kareem described as "so bitter no amount of sugar can sweeten it." She said that she'd once used a magnet to clean metallic flakes from a bag of government-supplied rice. She barred her four children from drinking tap water after she found worms floating in a glass she'd poured.
And let us not forget the wonderful government we have given them.
"If the phone actually worked, I'd be happy to pay today," the soft-spoken father of three said. "I don't believe it's that hard for the government to bring back services. But they had 50 sessions of parliament just to remove the stars from the flag. I guess they're too busy."
Phenomenal progress.

The peasants are grumbling louder these days

The NY Times, for some odd reason, had a reporter fluff up a piece on how valuable Alan D. Schwartz, Bear Stearns CEO was and what should JP Morgan Chase do with him. The piece is just so much crap, but the fun is in the comments that follow below it. My favorite:


Tar & Feather

Jail

— Posted by NoSympathyForTheDevil

Short and sweet.

VP Dickwahd al-Cheney greeted in traditional manner

Much to the fury of Old Johnny Two-Face whose arrival was greeted by a thundering silence, Dickwahd received the customary large explosions of welcome when he slunk into Baghdad.
A female suicide bomber penetrated one of the most secure perimeters in Iraq Monday evening and killed at least 42 people near the Imam Hussein shrine in the Shiite holy city of Karbala, according to the Iraqi authorities...

...North of Baghdad, two American soldiers were killed just after noon on Monday when a large roadside bomb exploded near their vehicle, the American military command in Baghdad reported. The soldiers were part of a team working to clear a roadway of bombs and other threats, the military said.
Contrast this to the warm and open welcome to Iran's Ahmadinejad just weeks earlier. Although the slinking in style of entrance does suit Dickwahd very well.

UPDATE: McClatchy nails the spirit of Dickwahd's visit with this headline.
Cheney cites 'phenomenal' Iraqi security progress as bombing kills 40

Monday Music Blogging

Capercaillie -



Coisich A Ruin

Let the bailouts begin!

$2 a share or $270 million was a real cheap price for Bear Stearns, but then again maybe all they got was a building and a name. We, the taxpayers are putting up a $30 Billion line of credit to cover the "assets" and
In a highly unusual maneuver, Fed officials said they would secure the loan by effectively taking over the huge Bear Stearns portfolio and exercising control over all major decisions in order to minimize the central bank’s own risk.
Let us hope that while they exercise control they also pay attention this time.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Europe does sex scandals better

Great title and so true. But then Europe is so much older and wiser than we are, as Theodore Dalrymple points out.

JP Morgan Chase close to buying Bear Stearns

One rumor had it priced at a 30 % discount to market close Fri for the investment bank that has been at he heart of so much of the trouble on Wall St and beyond. My question is, 'Will they abrogate all Bear Stearns executive contracts and have security frog-walk them out of the building after they clean out their desks?' Seems only fair to me.

UPDATE:
Boy was that rumor ever wrong, Bloomberg says JPMC is buying Bear for $2.00 a share.

George W Bush's legacy for Iraq

Just as Walter Strobel looks at what George W Bush's legacy means to the US, Patrick Cockburn has the view from Iraq the the Sunday Independent.
Five years after the invasion of Iraq, the US and the Iraqi governments claim that the country is becoming a less dangerous place, but the measures taken to protect Mr Maliki told a different story. Gun-waving soldiers first cleared all traffic from the streets. Then four black armoured cars, each with three machine-gunners on the roof, raced out of the Green Zone through a heavily fortified exit, followed by sand-coloured American Humvees and more armoured cars. Finally, in the middle of the speeding convoy, we saw six identical bullet-proof vehicles with black windows, one of which must have been carrying Mr Maliki.

The precautions were not excessive, since Baghdad remains the most dangerous city in the world. The Iraqi Prime Minister was only going to the headquarters of the Dawa party, to which he belongs and which are just half a mile outside the Green Zone, but his hundreds of security guards acted as if they were entering enemy territory.

Five years of occupation have destroyed Iraq as a country. Baghdad is today a collection of hostile Sunni and Shia ghettoes divided by high concrete walls. Different districts even have different national flags. Sunni areas use the old Iraqi flag with the three stars of the Baath party, and the Shia wave a newer version, adopted by the Shia-Kurdish government. The Kurds have their own flag.
Under the guise of creating a "free and democratic" Iraq, Our Dear Embattled Leader has torn asunder all the bonds between people that had made it a country. Helluva legacy, Georgie Boy! Sure would be nice if you lost even one nights sleep over what you have done.

History sees no reason to wait

To provide a clear eyed assessment of the legacy of George Walker Bush, the 43rd president of the United States. Walter Strobel, writing for McClatchy on the 5th anniversary of the start of Our Dear Embattled Leader's Glorious Little War, provides a fair compilation of how well it has turned out for the US. He suns it up nicely in the beginning.
It was a decision that only President Bush had the power to make: At about 9 a.m. on March 19, 2003, in the Situation Room in the basement of the West Wing of the White House, he gave the "execute order" to begin Operation Iraqi Freedom, the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.

Now, five years later, the consequences of that act will soon be beyond Bush's grasp. In 10 months, they'll land on the desk of his successor.

Thanks in part to the Iraq war, the next U.S. president — Republican or Democrat, black or white, man or woman — will take office with America's power, prestige and popularity in decline, according to bipartisan reports, polls and foreign observers.
Doubtless, the spirits of James Buchanan and Warren Harding thank you for making their time in office look so good, George.

Good news for America

The Republican Party is in pretty bad shape nationally and most of it is self inflicted. One can only hope the damage is bad enough to overcome the efforts of the lap dog press to save their cocktail wienies.

Old Johnny Two-Face in Baghdad

Ostensibly to show his foreign policy chops, as he will go on to meet other leaders after he returns the rug he bought on his last visit and gets the one Cindy told him to buy. It is unlikely that Maliki will pay Johnny any more mind than he does to Our Dear Embattled Leader. Neither Republican has figured out that the Iraqis are fully capable of waiting out US patience, regardless of Republican intransigence. As for the other relationships, none of them will buy you a cup of coffee in any international negotiation nor a dimes worth of good will. Still, it is probably better if Old Johnny Two-Face is out of the country when his campaign spending report shows he has exceeded the limits for publicly funded candidates.

Sunday Sermon w/ The Rt. Rev. E. Izzard


Saturday, March 15, 2008

Iraqi oil was going to pay for the war

And as we reach the fifth anniversary of George W Bush's signature failure, it sure looks like it is doing just that, but not for us.
The sea of oil under Iraq is supposed to rebuild the nation, then make it prosper. But at least one-third, and possibly much more, of the fuel from Iraq’s largest refinery here is diverted to the black market, according to American military officials. Tankers are hijacked, drivers are bribed, papers are forged and meters are manipulated — and some of the earnings go to insurgents who are still killing more than 100 Iraqis a week.

“It’s the money pit of the insurgency,” said Capt. Joe Da Silva, who commands several platoons stationed at the refinery.
But the money to be made from the black market feeds more than just the insurgents, it is a large part of the economy where anything that keeps your family fed is right and proper. And what can be done about it? Not much.
Last year, a new Iraqi Army brigade commander, Col. Yaseen Taha Rajeeb, was assigned to the refinery. He helped stop some of the most blatant theft. But the colonel’s paychecks were stopped soon after he began cracking down, and he was fired this year.
So after five years of occupation, the Iraqis are remaking their lives as best they can, US troops are still dying and we still do not know why.

Happy Anniversary


Two questions

Joe Galloway starts his column this week asking the only two questions about Our Dear Leader's Glorious Little War that matter.
This month marks the beginning of our country’s sixth year of war in Iraq, and still the question is: Why? The other question is: When will it end?
Sadly, after touching all the major points of current concern, he, like Dear Leader, has no answer to either question.

George speaks and Gail Collins listens

And is not the least bit impressed by Our Dear Embattled Leader's rhetorical ineptitude. While Gail spends her time pointing out the failures of ODEL's speechifying, she misses the whole basis of how he speaks. Since becoming Our Fearless Leader, Li'l Georgie only speaks well in two circumstances, one, when he is well rehearsed as with the SOTU and two, when he really believes in what he is saying, like when he wants to start another war and blow up people. The rest of the time he just can't keep that shit eating smirk off his face, as if he is convinced he just pulled a fast one on you. And when the crowd response is off the mark he makes really dumb jokes as if to say, don't take this so seriously, I don't.

But we have to take him seriously because he is the president and as such, the stupid son of a bitch can make trouble just by eating pretzels.

Friday, March 14, 2008

My, My that was quick

According to MSNBC, the FBI and the Dept of Chertoff Job Security took less than a day to revoke the security clearence of the, as yet, unindicted Gov. Spitzer when the news of the investigation was leaked.

Just out of curiosity, does anyone know if Karl Rove ever lost his clearence?

Did Petraeus just say the Surge failed?

The surge was supposed to give Iraqi pols time and space to get their shit together. The good General says that hasn't happened.
Iraqi leaders have failed to take advantage of a reduction in violence to make adequate progress toward resolving their political differences, Gen. David H. Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, said Thursday.

Petraeus, who is preparing to testify to Congress next month on the Iraq war, said in an interview that "no one" in the U.S. and Iraqi governments "feels that there has been sufficient progress by any means in the area of national reconciliation," or in the provision of basic public services.
In keeping with the Bushovik tradition of reinforcing failure with failure, the General has decided this is a good excuse to not bring the troops home before the election and embarrass Our Dear Embattled Leader.

Why I love Tom Toles


Paul Krugman scares me

When he looks at the current state of the economy and says things like this
Still, that’s not what has me worried. I’m more concerned that despite the extraordinary scale of Mr. Bernanke’s action — to my knowledge, no advanced-country’s central bank has ever exposed itself to this much market risk — the Fed still won’t manage to get a grip on the economy. You see, $400 billion sounds like a lot, but it’s still small compared with the problem...

..What if this initiative fails? I’m sure that Mr. Bernanke and his colleagues are frantically considering other actions that they can take, but there’s only so much the Fed — whose resources are limited, and whose mandate doesn’t extend to rescuing the whole financial system — can do when faced with what looks increasingly like one of history’s great financial crises.

The next steps will be up to the politicians.
Just after I have finished reading news stories that say this.
A toxic blend of economic and financial developments is testing policy makers and lawmakers who are struggling to contain the slump brought on by the collapse of the mortgage market, a downturn that now looks sure to push the economy into a recession. Though current conditions are a far cry from the 1970s, resurgent inflation is raising the threat of stagflation — a condition in which unemployment and the price of goods and services both rise.

Since the credit markets began to seize up in August, the steps taken by the Federal Reserve and the rest of the federal government have often bolstered stocks briefly, but so far they have done little to stem the larger downward drift.
And then I remember that the Republicans have spent the last 20 years cutting up the social safety net and giving the pieces to themselves. It's going to get ugly and you better hope you have yours, Jack.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Some more of the George W Bush legacy

From McClatchy:
A car bomb in central Baghdad killed at least nine people Thursday and wounded at least 20, Iraqi police said.

The explosion occurred on al Khayam Street in the Bab al Sharji neighborhood, not far from a bridge leading to the Green Zone. It was less than three miles away from where a double bombing killed 70 a week ago.

The bombings bookend a week that saw an increase in violence for U.S. soldiers and Iraqi civilians.

Since Monday, 12 U.S. soldiers have been killed in suicide bombings, roadside bombings or rocket attacks. The latest deaths came Wednesday when three soldiers were killed by rockets that hit their base near Nasiriyah, southeast of Baghdad.

Also on Thursday, the body of a Catholic Chaldean archbishop was found near Mosul. Archbishop Paulos Faraj Rahho was kidnapped Feb. 29 in Mosul as he left Mass. The three people with him were killed.

How to be a Millionaire-Republican style

The latest news out for the National Republican Congressional Committee audit scandal says that Christopher J. Ward came just short of a million in funds diverted. We can only wonder if Rep. Tom Reynolds, the man who hired Ward for the position as Treasurer, is considering giving him a bonus to put him over the top. It's what they do on Wall St. And to top this fine extravaganza of Republicanism, Ward also did similar work for 83 other campaign committees who have not yet submitted revised audits.

Stay tuned, more to come.

One way to say he is a liar

From the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi



Amen!

More news on the NRCC dirty laundry

Reading the WaPo article makes me wonder just who it was that said Republicans were good with money.

The Face that sank a NY governor

The New York Times identifies the escort known as Kristen who played the pivotal role in the end of Eliot Spitzer. They even have pictures and a link to her MySpace page. It seems to me that $1000 hr is indicative of how bad inflation is in this country.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

With the approaching 5th anniversary

It's time to make another call for IMPEACHMENT

NoJohn.com

Showing off the many sides of Old Johnny Two-Face.




Thanks go to AmericaBlog

McCains Lobby Posse

Old Johnny Two-Face McCain having aroused the ire of a major player in the defense bidness is finally getting some bad press for the Lobby Posse running his campaign. The NY Times has a look at how that well oiled team worked together to achieve he tanker contract for Airbus.
“I had nothing to do with the contract except to insist in writing on several occasions as this process went forward that it be fair and open and transparent,” he said at Tuesday at a public forum in St. Louis.

Although Mr. McCain says he moved to the sidelines, some of his top supporters were heavily involved in lobbying for EADS. The tanker deal could grow to $100 billion, making it one of the biggest Pentagon purchases ever, and the jousting for it involved extremely intensive and expensive industry lobbying on both sides.

Mr. McCain’s campaign co-chairman, former Representative Thomas Loeffler, a Texas Republican, also runs a lobbying firm, the Loeffler Group, which earned $220,000 working for EADS in 2007. Mr. Loeffler was the McCain campaign national finance chairman when his firm was hired to lobby for EADS.

Two other Loeffler executives who were registered to lobby for EADS are now top campaign advisers for Mr. McCain: Susan Nelson, the finance director, and William L. Ball III, the former Navy secretary. Ms. Nelson and Mr. Ball left the lobbying firm to join the campaign.

Another major money raiser for Mr. McCain, Wayne Berman, who was named vice chairman of the campaign last year, also worked for EADS through another lobbying firm, Ogilvy Government Relations, where he is a partner. Ogilvy earned $240,000 from EADS in 2007.

Also supporting Mr. McCain and lobbying on behalf of EADS was Kirk Blalock, a national chairman of Young Professionals for McCain and a former aide to President Bush. Mr. Blalock’s lobbying firm, Fierce, Isakowitz & Blalock, earned $320,000 from EADS in 2007, according to disclosure forms required by Congress.
Old Johnny Two-Face first knocks out the opposition then steps aside and lets his posse earn their keep. They show their gratitude with appropriate contributions and other kinds of support. Brilliant!

Quote of the Day

The national policy of promoting abstinence-only programs is a $1.5 billion failure, and teenage girls are paying the real price.
Cecile Richards president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, commenting on the report that 1 in 4 young women between 14 and 19 are infected with one of four common sexually transmitted diseases.

How many do you know?

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Now we know why Dickwahd al-Cheney is touring the Middle East

In an unexpected but not unpredicted move, Adm William Fallon has put in for retirement from Central Command. This action comes in between the publishing of an article in Esquire suggesting this would be the first move toward Our Dear Embattled Leader's Next War and the beginning of a journey to the Middle East by notorious warmonger and unstable human being, Dickwahd al-Cheney. Make no mistake, Dickwahd is up to no good, he never has been and he never will. As Froomkin suggests,

"I'd try real hard to find out what Cheney tells the Israelis about Iran."

Just thinking, Johnny Two-Face's birthday is August 29, close enough to the election to make a wonderful present from Georgie & Dickwahd.

Jamaica may become Paradise

Rastafarian priest Headley Samuel holds up a stem of pungent marijuana and reveals his recipe for bliss: "Fast, breakfast, drink aloe vera and smoke ganja."

His routine, which he says takes him to "the highest spiritual realm", makes him a lawbreaker. But soon that may change. Jamaica, the largest producer of cannabis in the Caribbean, is considering decriminalising use of the drug.
The Guardian 3/11/08

Pretty spliffy! Sounds like just the thing Mary Ann could use.

A little late, but it's official now

Saddam Hussein had no connections to al-Qaeda and George W Bush, Dickwahd al-Cheney, Rummy, Colin Powell and all their minions were lying their asses off to get their war on. The report from the Institute for Defense Analyses clearly states the first part and makes the second part glaringly obvious. And a whole lot of people are dead because you can fool all of the people some of the time, which was all they needed.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Not to worry, people

Old Johnny Two-Face McCain is tough enough to take this for another 100 years without flinching.
On Monday, the soldiers were walking in a shopping district of the predominantly Sunni Mansour neighborhood when a man in his 30s detonated his explosives about 30 feet away, said a police officer who witnessed the attack. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not allowed to talk to the media.

Four of the soldiers died at the scene, and the fifth died later from wounds, the military said. Three other American soldiers and an Iraqi interpreter were also wounded in the attack, which military spokesman Maj. Mark Cheadle said was "was reported to us as a suicide bomber."

Iraqi police said two civilians were also killed.
Grit his teeth some, blink maybe, but he won't flinch

UPDATE: Three more troops died in Diyala, John got some more teeth gritting to do.

While we argue about telecom amnesty

The NSA, which was the recipient of the bounty of all you communications, continues to do its stuff.
Two former officials familiar with the data-sifting efforts said they work by starting with some sort of lead, like a phone number or Internet address. In partnership with the FBI, the systems then can track all domestic and foreign transactions of people associated with that item -- and then the people who associated with them, and so on, casting a gradually wider net. An intelligence official described more of a rapid-response effect: If a person suspected of terrorist connections is believed to be in a U.S. city -- for instance, Detroit, a community with a high concentration of Muslim Americans -- the government's spy systems may be directed to collect and analyze all electronic communications into and out of the city.
Siobhan Gorman has a long and detailed front page article in the Wall Street Journal today. Go read it and if you don't feel violated afterwards, you probably use too much Vaseline.

Thanks to Froomkin for the tip.

Spitzer dips his wick

And gets caught. Not sure where this will end up, but at least Spitzer was a good Democrat and did it with a woman.

Monday Music Blogging

Jenny Lewis and The Watson Twins "Rise Up With Fists"



with an annoying Sarah Silverman and laugh track

From the pen of Ben Sargent


Sunday, March 09, 2008

Quote of the Day

Many of my comrades were subjected to very cruel, very inhumane and degrading treatment, a few of them unto death. But every one of us--every single one of us--knew and took great strength from the belief that we were different from our enemies, that we were better than them, that we, if the roles were reversed, would not disgrace ourselves by committing or approving such mistreatment of them. That faith was indispensable not only to our survival, but to our attempts to return home with honor. For without our honor, our homecoming would have had little value to us.
"Old Johnny Two-Face" McCain, way back when he opposed torture in 2005.

Need a drug route, buy a country

Or at the least, buy all the government services you need to transport the goods to Europe. West Africa is providing all the best locations the days and the prime spot, according to this article in the Guardian, is Guinea-Bissau.
A senior official at the US's Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) with a long record of fighting transatlantic drug trafficking, explained how and why the capture of Guinea-Bissau took place, and the trail to Europe. 'Geographically, West Africa makes sense. The logical things is for the cartels to take the shortest crossing over the ocean to West Africa, by plane - to one of the many airstrips left behind by decades of war, or by drop into the thousands of little bays - or by boat all the way. A ship can drop anchor in waters completely unmonitored, while fleets of smaller craft take the contraband ashore.

'A place like Guinea Bissau is a failed state anyway, so it's like moving into an empty house.' There is no prison in Guinea-Bissau, he says. One rusty ship patrols a coastline of 350km, and an archipelago of 82 islands. The airspace is un-patrolled. The police have few cars, no petrol, no radios, handcuffs or phones.

'You walk in, buy the services you need from the government, army and people, and take over. The cocaine can then be stored safely and shipped to Europe, either by ship to Spain or Portugal, across land via Morocco on the old cannabis trail, or directly by air using "mules".' One single flight into Amsterdam in December 2006 was carrying 32 mules carrying cocaine from Guinea-Bissau.
Not exactly Miami, but they don't have to worry about Crockett & Tubbs.

A discussion of his cancer

Is just the thing as Old Johnny Two-Face prepares to become a become a larger cancer himself on the body politic. He is doing OK now, in spite of his age, but this is a very good reason to examine his VP selection very closely.

Cong. Wexler responds to Rogue AG Mukasey


Sunday Sermon w/ The Rt. Rev. E. Izzard


Saturday, March 08, 2008

The Great Republican Energy Initiative begins tonight

Daylight Saving Time to all you sentient beings. Spring ahead!

And I am betting they had no idea how it would affect the troops.
On Sunday, you’ve got to roll your clocks forward an hour. On Monday, you’ve got to roll your sleeves up, as the Corps’ new uniform standard goes into effect with daylight-saving time.

All leathernecks in garrison worldwide will be required to wear the summer season desert cammies with sleeves up effective March 10, according to a Corps-wide message issued Thursday by Commandant Gen. James Conway.

The news of the uniform change comes as regions of the U.S. continue to be pelted with winter storms, which the service chief said he’s taking into account.

“In recognition of the possibility of temperature extremes within the first few weeks after changing to/from [daylight-saving time], commanders may direct a deviation to the [Marine Corps Combat Utility Uniform] sleeves up/down policy as climatic conditions warrant,” Conway said in AlMar message 007/08.

Foster wins Fat Denny's seat

And after 21 years of use by that junior varsity zeppelin, Bill Foster will have a lot of room to grow. Congratulations to him on his hard earned victory.
564 of 568 Precincts Reporting - 99%

Bill Foster (D): 52% (50,947)
Jim Oberweis (R): 48% (46,125)
Results courtesy of the Great Orange Stan

Some headlines more accurate than others

Bush’s Veto of Bill on C.I.A. Tactics Affirms His Legacy
An article in the NY Times by Steven Lee Myers under this headline attempts to have us believe that Our Dear Leader's legacy is one of a strong executive. He then goes on to describe a rogue president willing to violate every code of ethical and moral behavior, the words of his self proclaimed Savior and numerous laws and treaties to try and satisfy his own personal demons. Most assuredly stopping another attempt to control his irrational behavior "affirms his legacy"

We always knew the Bushoviks couldn't count right

And now we find out they have developed a way to pass on their numerical disability to their successors.
The hand-held mobile computers that are supposed to replace the pens and paper long used by census takers aren't working properly, and delays could send the cost from $600 million to as much as $2 billion.

The Census Bureau has done little, if any, planning for what to do if the handheld mobile computers can't be made to work. As a result, an important census dress rehearsal this spring has been delayed by a month as the agency looks for backup plans.

"I cannot over-emphasize the seriousness of this problem," Census Bureau Director Steve Murdock told a Senate hearing this week.

That same day, the Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress, designated the 2010 census a "high-risk area."

The GAO's designation, which provides guidance for Congress about where the next bureaucratic crisis might lie, was the equivalent of a "Beware of Landslides" sign at the entrance to a treacherous mountain road.
As they have done little planning for a pencil and paper alternative, the question may well be 'Whose landslide?'

American Enterprise Institute wants another surge

This time in Afghanistan. There is one small obstacle, the deputy commanding general of Combined Joint Task Force 82, Brig. Gen. Joseph Votel says that's not what we need.
“it’s hard for me as a guy in uniform to not want more soldiers here, but frankly, that’s not what we need,” he said.

Instead, he said, the country and its government are in desperate need of other types of specialists, such as engineers, farmers, agronomists, hydroelectric power experts and transportation experts...

...Votel, who said he had not seen the report, said that “what we need here are people who can come in and develop big-time power.”

“We’ve got dozens and dozens of water projects ... That’s great, but what we need is” power-generating stations on par with the big dams in the U.S.
We know which way Our Dear Embattled Leader wants to go, don't we.

McCain reducing reliance on lobbyists

Whether it is an effort to distance himself from the many lobbists on his staff or just an opportunity to grab some help from the men who made Our Dear Embattled Leader the Glorious Failure he is, old Johnny Two-Face is taking on the burden of supporting Dubya's displaced minions.
It’s no secret that Steve Schmidt, Bush’s attack dog in the 2004 election, and Mark McKinnon, the president’s media strategist, are performing similar functions for McCain now.

But other big-name Bushies are lining up to boost McCain, too.

Ken Mehlman, who ran Bush’s 2004 campaign, is now serving as an unpaid, outside adviser to the Arizona Republican. Karl Rove, the president’s top political hand since his Texas days, recently gave money to McCain and soon after had a private conversation with the senator. A top McCain adviser said both Mehlman and Rove are now informally advising the campaign. Rove refused to detail his conversation with McCain.

The list could grow longer. Dan Bartlett, formerly a top aide in the Bush White House, and Sara Taylor, the erstwhile Bush political adviser, said they are eager to provide any assistance and advice possible to McCain.
Old Johnny Two-Face always goes for the best, but for his sake, he better hope that Ken & Karl keep him out of the loop on the voter fraud schemes they are hatching. You know how Johnny can't keep a secret.

John al-Hagee McCain supports torture

While the Republican candidate has not directly stated that a taste of the waterboard is good for other people, he is in support of Our Dear Embattled Leader's veto of the bill that would set limits on interrogation techniques to what is found in the Army Field Manual on Interrogation. This would have ruled out the techniques that professional interrogators have consistently said do not work. It would have eliminated Dickwahd Cheney's source of new videos and forced him to watch reruns. The veto reinforces Dear Leader's conception of himself as beyond the reach of the law and also makes a liar (again) of old Johnny Two-Face with his support of Dear Leader's veto. And, in keeping with this mendacity, John al-Hagee McCain has finally spoken out against Hagee's anti Catholic statements, in fact he says he has repudiated the statements. However, he has not repudiated the support of this loathsome creature, financial or otherwise. It takes a lot to feed two faces.

Friday, March 07, 2008

It's easy when you make the rules.

I have a friend at work who is always going off on the lush pay packages for CEO's and others of their ilk. I am definitely going to share this article from the LA Times with him.
Two consultants hired by Countrywide Financial Corp. raised concerns about Chairman Angelo R. Mozilo's lucrative pay package, but key recommendations were ignored and the company eventually hired a third advisor whose aim was to achieve "maximum opportunity" for Mozilo, documents show.

The result was a pay contract that "was significantly more generous to Mr. Mozilo" than originally recommended, according to a report released by a congressional panel Thursday.
When you only hire those people who say what you want to hear, then soon the only people working are those who say what you want to hear.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

54 with a double

From McClatchy:
A homemade bomb followed by a suicide bomber ripped through a middle-class Baghdad neighborhood Thursday evening, killing at least 54 people, police said.
And John al-Hagee McCain thinks the Iraqis should have another 100 years of this.

Found this in my files today

When I first saw it, it was an exaggeration, not anymore.



I don't remember where it came from, if you know pass it on so I can give credit.

The latest on the National Republican Congressional Committee scandal

In addition to the vaporous audits since 2003, the NY Times is reporting that"Hundreds of thousands of dollars are missing". At this stage the presumption is that they were stolen, but given the Republican penchant for creative accounting and financing, it may not be long before we can put quotation marks around the word stolen. Fot the time being we can enjoy the mealy mouthed excuse from Tom Reynolds, R-UBlievingthis, attempting to explain why his appointee behaved so much like a Republican.
Mr. Reynolds said in a statement that he and the national Republican committee were possible victims of “an elaborate scheme resulting in financial irregularities” by a “long-serving professional staff member,” a reference to Mr. Ward. “At no time were there any red flags raised,” the lawmaker said.
And the reply from John Gerken, campaign manager for Jon Powers, a Democrat who is challenging Mr. Reynolds.
“Does Tom Reynolds ever accept responsibility for his poor leadership or does he just pass the buck?”


EXTRA GOODNESS: The NYT takes a moment to highlight the troubles of the NRCC.
The F.B.I. investigation comes at an especially awkward time for House Republicans, who are struggling to raise money for Congressional races in November.

Their job has been made even more difficult by the large number of Republican lawmakers — more than two dozen from the House — who have announced their retirements, and by a series of unrelated criminal and ethics investigations of other Congressional Republicans.

A wonderful response

Karin Pally, writing on the LA Times website, takes on the Doughy Pantload and slices and dices his trash talking to oblivion. And who can't enjoy a beginning like this.
In his Feb. 26 column, Jonah Goldberg provides us with textbook examples of the logical fallacies employed to such good effect by Joseph McCarthy and his minions in the 1950s. I thought we had driven a stake through the heart of McCarthyism, and that Red-baiting had met its well-deserved end. But Goldberg, who is as slimy as Gollum, the cave-dwelling hobbit in "Lord of the Rings," has brought it back with a vengeance.
Sadly, DP gets paid to put the crap out there, not to be accurate and someone will always miss the correction.

Just one question?

Who corrects the mistakes? As the DOJ cranks up its all encompassing data network, composed of information from law enforcement agencies ranging from the NYPD to the Podunk Police, there will be mistakes in that pool of information. Mistakes not only snare the innocent, they let the guilty go free. In an administration noted for its refusal to take responsibility for anything, it is fair to ask who will clean this stable?

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

All McSame-Same this fella

Saw this spot at TPM and Alternate Brain and liked what I saw. I think we should share it with all our friends.


In Memoriam Music Blogging

Jeff Healey



See the light

No Page 3 girl yet

But there are big changes on the way at the Wall St Journal. With Murdoch in charge anything is possible though he will probably stick to what has worked before for him. Cut the news staff, beef up the glitz, gloss and gossip and never, ever be ashamed to print what makes the boss happy. So far, according to the Washington Post, the only change will be on the sports page, but after that, who knows.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Congress, the appendix of Government

With the upcoming surrender on telecom amnesty by Yellow Leg Democrats, the Bushoviks are really feeling their oats. Why else would they have one of their minions decalre that Congress is irrelevant, in Congress!
The Bush administration says the 2002 congressional authorization to go to war in Iraq gives it the authority to conduct combat operations in Iraq and negotiate far-reaching agreements with the current Iraqi government without consulting Congress.

The assertion, jointly made Tuesday by U.S. Ambassador David Satterfield and Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs Mary Beth Long, drew an incredulous reaction from Democrats on a Joint House committee during a hearing on future U.S. commitments to Iraq.

“It's the view of the administration that as long as there’s trouble in Iraq that you have authorization of this Congress to continue there in perpetuity and define trouble as you desire?” asked Rep. Gary Ackerman, D-N.Y.

“We have authorization to defend the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq,” Satterfield replied. “The situation in Iraq continues to present a threat to the United States.
That is the essence of Bushovism in a nutshell, if we define it, it exists. And its corollary, you don't exist in our world. The perfect explanation why no Republican should be left standing after Election Day.

Maintain your focus, people.

In case you hadn't heard, several states are having primaries and caucuses today. To listen to all the rumbling going around, it will or won't be a make or break moment for somebody's favorite candidate. Regardless of the outcome, all Americans must all remain focused and dedicated on the one true result our country needs.




The defeat of John al-Hagee McCain

R.I.P. Jeff Healey

Your music will be missed.

Damn fools!

Another gripping memoir of human strength and courage has turned out to be fiction.
In “Love and Consequences,” a critically acclaimed memoir published last week, Margaret B. Jones wrote about her life as a half-white, half-Native American girl growing up in South-Central Los Angeles as a foster child among gang-bangers, running drugs for the Bloods.

The problem is that none of it is true.

Margaret B. Jones is a pseudonym for Margaret Seltzer, who is all white and grew up in the well-to-do Sherman Oaks section of Los Angeles, in the San Fernando Valley, with her biological family. She graduated from the Campbell Hall School, a private Episcopal day school in the North Hollywood neighborhood. She has never lived with a foster family, nor did she run drugs for any gang members. Nor did she graduate from the University of Oregon, as she had claimed.
This appears to be an upcoming trend for modern day memoirists.
The revelations of Ms. Seltzer’s mendacity came in the wake of the news last week that a Holocaust memoir, “Misha: A Mémoire of the Holocaust Years” by Misha Defonseca, was a fake, and perhaps more notoriously, two years ago James Frey, the author of a best-selling memoir, “A Million Little Pieces,” admitted that he had made up or exaggerated details in his account of his drug addiction and recovery.
This really pisses me off because I like a ripping good yarn as much as the next person. To have to lie about it to market it is a damn shame.

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