Thursday, November 23, 2006


I’m reading the Huffington Post –its blogs, specifically – so you don’t have to…

You’re welcome…

Arianna Huffington leads off, cackling briefly about the election, and then going after the Orwellians in the Bush administration “(who) have decided to no longer use the word "hunger" to describe the 35 million Americans -- that's 12 percent of the population -- who aren't always sure where their next meal is coming from. Instead, the poor people formerly known as the hungry will now be referred to as people experiencing "very low food security."”

The old lady has a point… The kind of doublespeak she quotes herein is pretty hard to take:

“Hunger, you see, is actually the byproduct of being "food insecure" and thus harder to precisely measure. In the words of a USDA advisory panel, hunger "should refer to a potential consequence of food insecurity that, because of prolonged, involuntary lack of food, results in discomfort, illness, weakness, or pain that goes beyond the usual uneasy sensation."”

Arianna admits “Just writing that gives me an "uneasy sensation."” It triggers my slap reflex – I want to slap the clinical fool who originally penned it… But at least she goes on to admit that this isn’t just a Republican problem…


Arianna ends - more or less - saying “chang(ing) the reality of hunger in America … will take a national commitment to overcoming poverty from our leaders -- and from all of us. Something to think about as we sit down to our Thanksgiving feasts.”

Guilt… Jews invented it; Catholics perfected it… Manipulators use it as a weapon. The strict, true conservative that still hides deep within me peers out and asks, when and where has “a national commitment to overcoming poverty from our leaders” ever worked? Don’t tell me it hasn’t been tried. Churches, philanthropic organizations, Great – and lesser – societies, governments of all kinds in many lands and times have tried. The closest anyone has came to “success” that I can recall are the relatively socialized societies of Western Europe – Britain, France, Germany, Switzerland, the Low Countries, and Scandinavia. And that success has been fraught with – hopefully – unintended consequences, creating “entitled” groups notoriously smug and more than willing to aggressively protest and even riot in order to maintain their status.

Ungrateful, if you are into the guilt shtick…

It is a poison of the spirit to give a man everything he needs to survive except hope. Hope cannot be found in a stipend. Poor men have poor ways. Enrich their path.

Arianna, worry less about the poverty of hunger and more about the poverty of hope. Then you may have a chance of success.

Moving right along, John Ridley gives thanks “for the political center.”

“I'm thankful for The Political Center. The hard-core, radical middle that's finally taking control of discourse in this country. I am thankful that Republican, Democrat, Red and Blue are fading obelisks on the cultural landscape. Irrelevant, and replaced by the only ideology that is of any substance: pragmatism.”

My knees jerk, each in its own direction… I started blogging just over a year ago, billing myself as a moderate – a designation I have since changed to, by chance, pragmatist. So I should give John bravos… Except I really don’t know what he means. The more I do this the less I know what “liberal,” “conservative,” “left,” right,” or “center” mean.
Mostly, it means someone is calling someone else a name, and likely with derogatory intent…

But I agree with John on some specifics. While I think he overstates the case “the left has found a path” I agree the midterms were won “by backing the likes of small d Democrats (such as) Bob Casey, Jr. and Jim Webb”… I also agree “That Joe Lieberman’s win as an independent indicates how badly the far left … underestimated the Middle's ability to look beyond a single issue and pull votes from all sides.”

The war, of course, being that “single issue”…

I’ll take a line here to again plug an excellent WSJ Op-Ed by Senator-elect Webb: “Class Struggle.” I think he makes good points…

The American political conversation, from “a more perfect union” to “a chicken in every pot” to “it’s the economy stupid” has always been partly about prosperity… And Joe Rustbelt is nervous. His dad retired from the old factory with a good pension. He’s doing OK, which is more than can be said for his neighbor, who lost his pension in a corporate collapse. And they’re both better off than Joe, who has never even been offered anything like the sweet deals his parents’ generation got. At that, he’s lucky – he has a “family wage job.” Joe III is stuck shoveling shit for a hopelessly inadequate minimum wage. He’s considered college, but his college-educated friends don’t find their degrees help them much in the restaurant or mattress superstore, and those student loan payments suck… He’d like to break into construction, but Mexicans have taken that over, and no habla Espanol, se?... Besides, the contractors have all the applicants they need, waiting in Tijuana… Well, there is always the army…

Meanwhile, the corporate hacks who sold out Joe Sr., his neighbor, and their kids are doing fine, floating down on their golden parachutes…

The conversation has been about prosperity, but it has been about equity as well. Now, I posit Americans generally have an instinctive apprehension to equality of outcome, but very much support equity in opportunity. It’s bred into us; a product of wide-open capitalism and a frontier mentality. Well, the frontier is – temporarily, at least – closed to the average man, and capitalism has become its own worst enemy.

Joe is voting with his feet. He’s walking away from a system that seems to have turned on him. Let’s hope he doesn’t walk into something worse…

Moving on down the evolutionary tree to the domain of the lizard brain, John Seery thanks nobody in particular for the infinite superiority the dysfunctional California Yuppie lifestyle he lives today enjoys over the dysfunction of his traditional Iowa upbringing… If you like the kind of piece that sends Rush Limbaugh into spittle emitting, paper crunching tirades, you’ll love this one…

And finally, arriving at the very bottom of the evolutionary slime, we find Tony Hendra, ranting back at us… Tony offers a heartfelt prayer to whatever god he worships, first entreating the almighty? to bless Dick Cheney with another heart attack and then giving thanks that, among other things, “Thy glorious sun is finally breaking through the viscous, vomit-colored cloud-cover of Republican bigotry, repression, fear-mongering, greed and graft. A blighted carapace of despair and depression that has blotted out the clear blue sky from horizon to horizon for six long years, O Lord, like a billion pairs of enormous morbidly obese buttocks sitting on our heads.” It goes sub-slime thereafter…

Really, this is just the thing, if you’re a Republican who enjoys a good bout of holiday indigestion.

You might even want to save it… You never know when you may need a good example of far-left liberal “compassion”…

Wednesday, November 22, 2006


There are a couple of stories kicking around of late that demonstrate the folly of too much law and the unintended consequences it generates…

Last week our own lead neoconservative trooper was outright sky-falling astonished to hear the ACLU was defending a lawsuit involving guns!

Well, sort of… It was really a free speech case involving internet filters. Owing to a Federal “strings attached” arrangement, libraries which received certain Federal grants were required to install filters to prevent minors from “seeing visual depictions of sexual activity,” whatever exactly that means… Is this what we used to call porn?

Well, some Eastern Washington libraries, contrary to Supreme Court edict, didn’t remove the filters to allow unfettered adult access. “The plaintiffs include a Ferry County woman who wanted to do research on drugs and alcohol while studying at Eastern Washington University; a professional photographer blocked from researching art galleries and health issues; and an Okanogan man unable to access a Web log he maintains, as well information relating to gun use by hunters.”

Nobody is explaining how a porn filter blocked access to those subjects, but I think it’s time to slap the software writer…

And a few hundred members of Congress, too. Why do we need this law? Protect kids from porn? C’mon… They don’t need porn. They have Britney Spears, appearing here half a sneeze away from pulling a Janet. Fox calls her single and sizzling… I got another “s” word for her… And a note to Fox – she isn’t single, yet. Some icon… Keeping kids away from explicit sexuality is hopeless.

And BTW, isn’t this one of those parental functions? I know… Ma’s at work. Somebody has to pay for those porn filters.

This one is a lot grimmer… FoxNews, among many others, is reporting the case of a 92 woman who was killed in a “shootout” with narcotics officers who broke down the wrong door on a botched warrant. It’s claimed they announced themselves properly, followed all the right procedures, etc… Except it was the wrong damned house. It’s a good guess Kathryn Johnston didn’t hear their declamation before she wounded three of them…

Something in me wants to curse her aim and curse twice the apologists who insist this was justified – or at least that the cops were justified in their response. I would wish at the very least they never wear a badge again, and that the fool who got the location wrong go to jail for involuntary manslaughter, civil rights violations, and wounding – its his/her fault the cops got shot.

I would, but it’s so futile. It’s just one more case of collateral damage from the most misbegotten war this country has ever fought, the war on drugs.

Over at National Review there is a link to a ten year old article by WF Buckley and the NRO editors. If you haven’t read “The War On Drugs Is Lost” do so now. It’s long and wordy – what else? – but it makes the case very well. And it is especially significant that the observations Buckley et al made in 1996 are still so applicable.

So how goes the war today? Oh, you can search and search – you’ll find thousands of opinions, estimates, and hyperbolic rhetorical excesses – but you’ll find almost no “facts” because nobody knows. All we know for sure is that since 1996, as estimates of total users have gone up and down, methamphetamine and prescription drugs like oxycontin – Limbaugh’s balm – have become hugely popular while the old standbys maintained their popularity and availability - as cheap or cheaper than ever. We know that cops keep busting and users keep buying, while those true capitalists of the black markets wax ever more ingenious in their techniques, digging tunnels and building submarines to facilitate their enterprises…

Lost? Worse than lost: Stalemated. The war on drugs is a quagmire that makes Iraq look like a shining success. And just like Iraq, the collateral damage goes on, as Kathryn Johnston found out…

I don’t expect it to change. Religious zealots and similar dogmatists, fighting side by side with dealers, crooked cops and judges, and the huge numbers of drug customers make this almost certain. I have to wonder, though: Do the anti-drug legions realize they are perpetuating the problem? Do they realize their futile efforts are lining the pockets of those they purport to oppose?

Do they know they have blood on their hands – the blood of people like Kathryn Johnston – just as surely as do the druglords?

Do they care? Or is any means justifiable in their war?

I guess so… That’s what war means.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


I’ve a lot of different things chasing each other through the fetid crags of my dirty little mind today… I thought I’d scoop ‘em all into one bag…

First, an opinion:

Establishment liberals waxed derisive while conservatives hooted catcalls as Nancy Pelosi worked to elect John Murtha Majority Leader. After the effort failed, pundits provided a plethora of analyses as to the damage “her failure” did to her upcoming Speakership.

Keeping in mind one can be scrupulously principled and dead wrong at the same time…

You have to admit that so far the Speaker-elect is being uncommonly principled – uncommon, that is, for the House of Representatives… She clearly believes the election just over is a mandate to “get us out” of Iraq, whatever that means. She also believes Representative Murtha played a significant role in popularizing the message.

So ignoring his many other shortcomings and the potential damage of failure she pushed his candidacy.

Add to this the fact she has come out in opposition to a new draft, it becomes all the plainer she is serious about pushing to “get us out.” We won’t need a draft if we’re not stuck in Iraq…

Meanwhile, The Washington Post reports this morning that the Democrats are planning a REALLY BIG SHEW on ethics. From the article:

“Despite divisions among Democrats over how far to go in revising ethics rules, House leaders plan a major rollout of an ethics reform bill early next year to demonstrate concern about an issue that helped defeat the Republicans in the midterm elections.

But they will do it with a twist: Instead of forwarding one big bill, Democrats will put together an ethics package on the House floor piece by piece, allowing incoming freshmen to take charge of high-profile issues and lengthening the time spent on the debate. The approach will ensure that each proposal -- including banning gifts, meals and travel from lobbyists as well as imposing new controls on the budget deficit -- is debated on its own and receives its own vote. That should garner far more media attention for the bill's components before a final vote on the entire package.

"This will be the most significant ethics and lobbying reform that Congress has ever voted on," promised Rep. Martin T. Meehan (D-Mass.), one of the point men on the effort.”

I wondered if Jim McDermott would be involved in the circus, so I perused his page… Web, that is, not Congressional… Jim doesn’t even have a link to ethics…

Moving down the pecking order, Arianna Huffington bitch-slaps James Carville for his criticism of Howard Dean, opining Democrats need to send the “Agin' Cajun to the Political Consultants' Retirement Home.”

I have to say I enjoyed that, and I bet a lot of other people did too. I bet if you charged $5 a pop for the chance to slap Carville, you could pay off the National debt…

Meanwhile, with the jury still out, the vigilantes are advocating a hanging. Joshua Muravchik of the American Enterprise Institute opines in the LA Times that we must bomb Iran.

Blood pressure time… I think it is cowardly and foolish, not to mention ultimately counterproductive, to insist there is no legitimacy to Iran’s desire for nuclear power generation capacity. As I read this article, I see one theme repeated over and over… Hezbollah. Hezbollah this, Hezbollah that… Hezbollah isn’t my problem, and neither is the security of those whose problem they are…

But the nightmare Medusa of fossil fuel reliance is my problem, and as I have opined in the past and will in the future, I think the way out – the only way out – is nuclear power. I think the US should go all out to build energy self-sufficiency via nuclear power. That said, I think it hypocritical for us to attempt to block others…

Yes, I know the arguments. I don’t care. This is inevitable. And I’m tired of watching the American people be dragged around by their fears. We spent 40 years steeling ourselves for an Armageddon that never happened and in fact came closer to happening by accident than design. Now the Fear Party wants to drag us around by a fear of a nation that cannot possible give us more than a bloody nose and almost certainly won’t, if it comes to it, even try. Oh, I know. There are millions of people in the Middle East – and millions in the US – who want to create Armageddon in the unholy land, today. But I think I’m going to cast my lot with common sense. In the end, most people will realize in time all this religious stuff is pure crap and they won’t follow the freaks off the cliff…

Over at Slate Christopher Hitchens has a few choice words for James Baker & co, asking “Who’s Cutting and Running Now?” I found this piece interesting not so much for his criticisms as for it’s value as a reminder of what a radical departure GWB’s Iraq policy was from previous policies. Now, it seems some of the same people who created the long standoff between the Gulf Wars are being tapped to talk us out of the quagmire.

It’s also a flag for anyone in Iraq who is really supporting us: As Hitchens notes, Baker was a chief author of the policy that encouraged Shiite and Kurdish dissent against Saddam Hussein and then failed to support that dissent. “For millions of Iraqis, the betrayal of their uprising against Saddam in 1991 is something that they can never forget. They tend to bring it up, too, and to fear a repetition of it.”

They should.

Well, I guess all you can say is WAAAAA!!! “Young people in developed countries unhappy, survey says” Of course, a lot of theories are offered as to why kids in India are happier than kids in Japan or the US. Here’s mine: Western kids have an impossible to attain definition of success. In Japan, its work related success, in the good ‘ol USA, it’s an insidious combination of materialistic goals and obsession with beauty.

What did the Mr. wizard of my childhood cartoons say? “Be just what you is, not what you is not. Those who do this are the happiest lot.”

Maybe these kids need better cartoons.

I knew there was more to this story and I hoped it would come out. A few weeks ago, a much-reported study claimed Iraq's 'Excess' Death Toll Has Reached 655,000. Fred Kaplin at Slate took issue with the study, and his criticisms have elicited a response from the study authors, which Fred responds to.

The heart of the issue: Using an accepted statistical technique not heretofore applied in Iraq, the study authors concluded the total death rate from all causes was 13.3 per 1000. The pre-war rate had to be estimated, and was pegged at 5.5 / 1000, which is lower than in the graying West but higher than other Middle Eastern Nations which have the young populations a high birth rate provides. Other estimates, however, place the pre-war rate as high as 10 / 1000.

So even if the 13.3 figure is correct – I expect it probably it is – we still don’t know where we are because we don’t know where we came from…

This is ugly… H Candice Gorman, attorney for a Mr. Al-Ghizzawi, currently being held in Guantanamo, without, she maintains, any cause – let alone a just or legal one. Speaking of Rumsfeld, Gonzolez, and their cronies she writes: “Even if the only thing they were guilty of doing was what they did to Mr. Al-Ghizzawi, they deserve to be tried and convicted as war criminals. They need to sit in tiny cells for the rest of their lives and ponder their cruelty.”

More blood pressure… If her assertions are correct, I agree. Anyone involved in this should be stripped of all immunity and turned over to The World Court for trial as war criminals. If GWB was in on it, this alone should be a slam dunk for impeachment.

And this should be a wake-up for all Americans: Under current law, anyone can disappear into these hellholes. Being an American is a meaningless protection if you are held incommunicado. In fact, it would make it worse. If they grabbed Joe Citizen by accident and then figured it out six months of torture later, they almost certainly wouldn’t let him go for fear of legal reprisals.

IMO, the recently passed exceptions in Habeas Corpus robs the US government of all legitimacy. “We” are now ruled by criminal thugs no better than a Saddam Hussein. If they want my allegiance, they can repeal that ghastly law. Until then, it ain’t my government…

Here’s some bile from the sore-losers of the right wing: Jenean Mcbrearty laments in The Lexington-Herald Leader “Hippies still trying to ruin the country”

Note to Ms. McDipshit: I’ll take hippies over you hillbillies any day… She writes: “America won't win another war until the 1960s flower children are pushing up petunias.” Idiot. America won’t have peace until all her kind are pushing up Skunk Cabbage…

Then on a values note: William Saletan at Slate suggests a novel idea for the Democrats: "Go back to being the party of responsibility." He weaves several themes together, but the one I find the most interesting is the latest morphing of the prohibitionist vs. liberalist position on abortion. Prohibitionists have managed of late to back themselves into a corner over birth control. To Saletan, the remedy for the public perception of Democrats as the “if it feels good, do it” party is simple: Advocate that “Democrats are for reducing abortion without banning it. The most effective way, short of abstinence, is through birth control. Birth control isn't about doing what feels good. It's about taking responsibility.”

I think ultimately this will be the winning position…

And last an economic twofer: Drudge led this morning with one of those “grabber” headlines he is so fond of: GOOGLE HITS $500 A SHARE; MARKET VALUE $154,570,000,000.00

This reminded me of a piece by Daniel Gross at Slate: “The Mystery of the Disappearing Stocks” Gross offers “A bizarre explanation for the stock market rally,” suggesting “The continuing stock rally in the face of a slowing economy and a cratering housing sector is something of a mystery, baffling economists and investors alike. But there could be a simple explanation: supply and demand.

Simply put, the supply of U.S. stocks available for individual investors, mutual funds, and index funds. Call it de-equitization. In the last few days, deals have been announced or concluded to take large publicly held companies private.”

He goes on to elucidate this ongoing trend: “According to Thomson Financial, buyouts worth $334.5 billion have been announced or completed so far this year, up from $115 billion for all of last year. According to Standard & Poor's, members of the S&P 500 Index spent $325.15 billion on their own shares in the first three quarters of 2006 and have spent more than $674 billion since Jan. 1, 2005. Between buybacks and buyouts, that's more than $1.1 trillion of stock taken out of public hands in less than two years.”

I have long thought this economy is badly overrated – and I think he’s on to something here. It is the same as the just busted speculative boom in oil. There is a lot of money out there looking for a home, and fewer and fewer places for it to go.

I don’t think it will last – I think once the buyback frenzy described subsides, the P/E ratio will reassert itself and the prices will “re-align”… Translation: 8,000 DOW within a year.

Good Day…

Cross-Posted to NW Bloggers

Sunday, November 19, 2006


This morning we have another spewing of evil from the sickest bastard in America. Bob Cesca over at Huffington Post links Crooks & Liars for some fine Sunday fare:

“Pat Robertson: All Others Worship “Demonic Powers””

In its entirety:

“A viewer wrote in to ask Pat Robertson a question

Why [do] evangelical Christians tell non-Christians that Jesus (God) is the only way to Heaven? Those who are Hindu, Buddhist, Islamic, etc. already know and have a relationship with God. Why is this? It seems disrespectful.

Robertson replied that it is not all disrespectful because all other religions really just worship "demonic powers."

No. They don't have a relationship. There is the god of the Bible, who is Jehovah. When you see L-O-R-D in caps, that is the name. It's not Allah, it's not Brahma, it's not Shiva, it's not Vishnu, it's not Buddha. It is Jehovah God. They don't have a relationship with him. He is the God of all Gods. These others are mostly demonic powers. Sure they're demons. There are many demons in the world.”

Sick bastard.

This isn’t free speech, its hate speech and incitement. There are unfortunately billions of people who are religious, and he just hurled the worst possible insult at two-thirds of them. He should at the least be prosecuted and his broadcast licenses should be revoked.

And stuff your first amendment arguments, please. Freedom of speech was intended to protect political speech and was primarily intended to apply to speaking out for or against government. Likewise arguments of freedom of religion are misplaced. This isn’t a church; it’s a for-profit enterprise whose product is pseudo-religious hatred such as the above example. And like any product, it deserves to be regulated. Robertson has made millions with this. Allowing him to hide in the first amendment is despicable.

Discussing the fact he said it should be protected – he made it political by using the public airwaves. What he said should not be and neither should the speaker. If someone were incited to violence against him over comments like these, well, that’s fine by me. He asked for it.

Bring back dueling!


Well, the Brit Minister of “He didn’t say that” issued a statement yesterday, commenting on Tony Blair’s recent agreement with David Frost that Iraq was a disaster. From AFP VIA Breitbart:

“Blair 'disaster' admission over Iraq a 'slip of the tongue': official”

The piece sums the matter well:

“Downing Street moved swiftly to play down an apparent admission by British Prime Minister Tony Blair that the invasion of Iraq had been a "disaster," labelling his comments a "slip of the tongue."

In an interview Friday on Al-Jazeera's new English-language channel, broadcaster Sir David Frost suggested that the 2003 US-led and British-backed invasion had "so far been pretty much of a disaster."

"It has," Blair replied, before adding quickly: "But you see, what I say to people is why is it difficult in Iraq? It's not difficult because of some accident in planning.

"It's difficult because there's a deliberate strategy... to create a situation in which the will of the majority for peace is displaced by the will of the minority for war."

But during Blair's trip to Pakistan for talks with President Pervez Musharraf, the prime minister's official spokesman told reporters: "It was a straightforward slip of the tongue... sometimes he does this when he's half-listening to the question and wants to get on and respond."”

A slip of the tongue? A slip of the truth… These war party hawkers never tell the truth unless it’s a slip of the tongue…

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Really this is of little if any note. It’s absolutely old news that there is an irreparable disconnect between what our governments are claiming about Iraq and the actual situation. It even goes to his credit that he “slipped;” to constantly and completely deny the truth requires a psychopathic mind – one like Cheney or Rove possesses. At least Blair isn’t stark raving mad… Like our VP…

I wouldn’t have thought to comment on the matter at all, except for another bit of honesty here that I think we Americans need to consider:

“"It's difficult because there's a deliberate strategy... to create a situation in which the will of the majority for peace is displaced by the will of the minority for war."”

As this country continues down the path to a class-ridden, have vs. have not society, we need to remember the survival of our free, open, representative Republic – and the rights it guarantees – depends on overwhelming popular support. If even a few percent of America gave up on the process and decided the only way to survive was to take the fight to the streets, our Nation and its ideals would be doomed.

We have had a small taste of what terrorists can do. We have seen what tiny numbers of domestic terrorists can accomplish.

What havoc could a few million wreak? And why if they are dispossessed in the land of their birth shouldn’t they do so?

Jim Webb, the junior Senator-elect from Virginia, said much the same thing – in far more circumlocutious terms - in a must read op-ed in The Wall Street Journal back on November 15th:

“Class Struggle”
“American workers have a chance to be heard”

Read it, please. Mr. Webb obviously still believes the system can cure itself – or at least he hopes to project that belief. But I have to wonder how many of the people who elected him share that view. Seeing, as he notes:

“The most important--and unfortunately the least debated--issue in politics today is our society's steady drift toward a class-based system, the likes of which we have not seen since the 19th century. America's top tier has grown infinitely richer and more removed over the past 25 years. It is not unfair to say that they are literally living in a different country. Few among them send their children to public schools; fewer still send their loved ones to fight our wars. They own most of our stocks, making the stock market an unreliable indicator of the economic health of working people. The top 1% now takes in an astounding 16% of national income, up from 8% in 1980. The tax codes protect them, just as they protect corporate America, through a vast system of loopholes.”

Seeing the trends, and:

1) Seeing manufacturers forsake our shores in favor of profits while still expecting to market their wares here,

2) Seeing any outsourceable job outsourced,

3) Seeing corporate America use illegal immigrants to bust unions and turn family wage jobs into slave labor,

4) Seeing, as Mr. Webb notes:

“Incestuous corporate boards regularly approve compensation packages for chief executives and others that are out of logic's range. As this newspaper has reported, the average CEO of a sizeable corporation makes more than $10 million a year, while the minimum wage for workers amounts to about $10,000 a year, and has not been raised in nearly a decade. When I graduated from college in the 1960s, the average CEO made 20 times what the average worker made. Today, that CEO makes 400 times as much.”

In the face of all this, is it reasonable to expect people to remain peaceful citizens, respecting a system that respects neither they nor their needs?

I don’t think so. It certainly isn’t my expectation.

I do think that this issue was a big part of the turnaround in Congress this last election. Americans are very patient as a group – look at how long “we” tolerated failure in Iraq – but the big lie of the Bush / Republican economy has simply become too big to accept anymore. Wall Street be damned – it’s main street that matters to Joe Citizen. And main street has been raped by Wal-Martization and the globalist treachery of corporate America.

Joe Average knows the Republican establishment wants to enslave him. Joe is hoping Democrats will rise to the challenge and restore equity. If the government doesn’t do something now, a lot of average Joes may give up and start studying Jefferson… A little revolution, you know, being good every once in a while…

Saturday, November 18, 2006


Judge this one for yourself…

From Huffington Post:

“Houston Police Trample Protesting Janitors With Horses...”

If it’s true, it’s a damn shame the protesters weren’t armed and inclined to fight back. At the very least, none of these Cossacks should ever wear a badge again – and whoever ordered this should go to prison for life.

Damn… Is it absolutely certain we can’t just give Texas back to the Mexicans?


A couple of pieces this last week on environmental matters make a fine addition to the environmental loony bin – the first reminding science what it is up against, the second providing a springboard to explain a paradox that’s long needed it…

First, this from Think Progress VIA Huffington Post:

“Inhofe: Don’t Worry About Global Warming Because ‘God’s Still Up There’”

The title says it all…

Senator Inhofe, the anti-Gore… The cure is worse than the disease…

Idiot. We got these fools out of the driver’s seat just in time. But at least he provides a sterling example of just why the State needs insulation and even protection from the church…

And then from the mad scientist file of the loony bin:

“Scientists: Pollution could combat global warming”

From the article:

“Air pollution may be just the thing to fight global warming, some scientists say.

Prominent scientists, among them a Nobel laureate, said a layer of pollution deliberately spewed into the atmosphere could act as a "shade" from the sun's rays and help cool the planet.

Reaction to the proposal here at the annual U.N. conference on climate change is a mix of caution, curiosity and some resignation to such "massive and drastic" operations, as the chief U.N. climatologist describes them.

The Nobel Prize-winning scientist who first made the proposal is himself "not enthusiastic about it."

"It was meant to startle the policymakers," said Paul J. Crutzen, of Germany's Max Planck Institute for Chemistry. "If they don't take action much more strongly than they have in the past, then in the end we have to do experiments like this."

Serious people are taking Crutzen's idea seriously.”…

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Senator Inhofe of Oklahoma has recently became a defacto spokesman of sorts for a wide spectrum of opinion on global warming that ranges from those who believe the debate isn’t over to those that believe the whole thing is nonsense, and on over to those who believe it’s a socialist plot to destroy their inalienable right to drive a Hummer to work, through the forest, or down a clam beach at low tide… Realistically, the only shred of sanity these people hold onto is their assertion the debate isn’t over – we have a lot more to learn about climate dynamics before we can make the kind of projections we need to be able to make if we’re going to start spending real money on solutions, be they economic incentives or the kind of mad scientist shtick Dr. Crutzen suggested.

But a lot of the popular arguments against global warming stem from a failure to properly evaluate what we in fact already know. For example…

One of Senator Inhofe’s oft-quoted assertions is that the measured rise in temperatures posited to be due to man-generated greenhouse gasses has lagged the actual creation of those gasses by quite a long time. It is pointed out that while man has been pumping greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere throughout recorded history and in vastly increasing volumes since the industrial revolution got going 300 years ago the rise in temperatures has only been noted very recently.


Pollution. Particulates seed clouds while forming reflective layers by themselves. Unburned hydrocarbons, acid-forming oxides and ozone form smogs that reflect still more sunlight.

Put together, the effect is significant. Consider natural examples:

When Krakatau catastrophically erupted in 1883, everything from anecdotal accounts to actual measurements over the next two years pointed to reduced crop yields and unseasonably cold temperatures worldwide. While there wasn’t really good global temperature tracking back then, there was 108 years later when nearby Mount Pinatubo did the same thing – and there were significant, albeit short-lived drops noted in global temperatures.

“Air pollution may be just the thing to fight global warming”…

Throughout the first 200 years of the industrial revolution, the fuel of industry was coal – the dirtiest fuel on the planet. During the 19th century, London and southern England were famous for their impenetrable fogs – fogs created by the smog from coal burning. As technology evolved, more and more of the fuel consumed came from oil – cleaner but still very dirty. And we all know the rest. By the latter half of the 20th century, particulates, unburned hydrocarbons, ad acid-forming oxides in the air had built up past being a nuisance, past being a problem, up to the point of being in many places a crisis, killing forests, animals, and people with poisonous smogs while the acid rains literally dissolved stone buildings and destroyed metal bridges.

Back then, a little carbon dioxide was the least of our worries…

But we the people had had enough, and beginning in the early ‘70’s, we forced ourselves to change. Now we have nice clean air, sunlight reflecting smogs are far les common – and most all the fuel we consume is converted into carbon dioxide and water vapor, the two greatest contributors to global warming.

I won’t belabor the obvious any further, except to point out that the one place on earth that is bucking the trend – and measurably suffering for it – is mainland China, where downwind industrial pollution in some areas is creating cold spots and ruining crops…

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It all comes down to the simplest of ideas: There is no such thing as a free lunch. The great fuel reserves of earth are like a huge bank account built up over millions of years. Now, if somebody suddenly dumped bales of cash into the economy that wasn’t based on current economic activity – cashed in a huge bank account, so to speak – what would happen? Would there be a significant change in the economy? Would there be inflation?

Think of global warming as natural inflation…

And just like economic inflation, there are and will be winners and losers. I think that’s why so many people don’t want to believe it’s real – they know that after acceptance comes check writing time. Tony Blair’s likely successor has already endorsed a carbon tax, and so have some Republicans… It’s raising the interest rate on global warming inflation. But if I’m the payor, who is the payee? I can’t write a check to Mother Nature…

So does my contribution go to a fund to build seawalls for threatened coasts? Maybe relocate people whose ancestral lands have been destroyed by desertification? Or retrain workers whose jobs are destroyed by the downturns created by Kyoto-style arrangements?

Are “they” going to take my money and give it to the mad scientists for building city-sized smog pots designed to cloud the sun? Hmmm… I like the sun…

Who administers this? Gas taxes should in theory go to building roads. In practice even this simple guideline is hard to follow, because governments treat revenue sources the way little boys treat five bucks from grandma. They always figure out a way to spend it quick…

And what about Kyoto? If we say yes, we commit economic suicide. If we insist the whole world participates, then two-thirds of mankind is left hobbled in their quest to achieve what we take for granted. If we say no, the problem???

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I’d be willing to settle for a little practical compromise. GWB needs a legacy – something really important to work on for the next two years. Not something impossible like nation building, but rather something that can easily be done today, but only by a great leader. I have a suggestion for the President: Become the Nuclear President.

I’ll happily pay a carbon tax if the money goes to building a nuclear solution to the two biggest challenges the industrialized world faces today: Fossil fuel dependence and climate change. Will anyone else?

It beats smog pots…

Wednesday, November 15, 2006


This is telling…

Huffington Post has obtained a nasty little memo from FoxNews Vice President of “news”…

“Fox News Internal Memo: "Be On The Lookout For Any Statements From The Iraqi Insurgents...Thrilled At The Prospect Of A Dem Controlled Congress"...”

Fair and balanced, my ass…

It’s even worse without the edits:

“And let’s be on the lookout for any statements by the Iraqi insurgents, who must be thrilled at the prospect of a Dem-controlled congress.”

He… She… It? Goes on to refer to the Democrat’s Iraq plan as being a very short angle, insists twice that the war on terror isn’t over “just because the Dems won,” and stresses the need to pursue stories on a Hamas threat to American interests…

Hamas… They’re Israel’s problem – one Israel created – not ours. They’ll leave us alone if we leave them alone… Instead of pumping billions into the Israeli coffers to be used to kill Palestinian doctors…

FoxNews clearly wishes to promote Hamas as our problem – and make the problem as bad as possible.

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It’s so telling. This is a perfect example of the neoconservative attitudes that have been used to poison the attitudes of the non-thinkers among the Republicans. Everything about it is delusional.

First off, the last thing “Iraqi insurgents” want to see is a Democratic congress or administration. As Abu Ayyub al-Masri, head of Al-Qaeda in Iraq stated on the 9th:

“"I tell the lame duck (U.S. administration) do not rush to escape as did your defense minister...stay on the battle ground"… "Remain steadfast in the battlefield you coward!"”

They – all of the warring factions - are desperate to keep US over there.

It’s important to remember the “insurgents” – an idiotic term in the first place – include native-born Iraqis of at least two religions and several parties, tribes, etc as well as foreign adventurers. We provide the cause celebre that brings in millions of dollars and thousands of recruits which fuel some factions. At the same time, we are providing millions more to the phony government in cash and arms, much of which is just ripped off or turned over to the militias that hide inside the Shiite-dominated administration –fuelling the other factions. Dollars and weapons they are using to kill US troops with…

Then as we bomb and destroy, we leave behind survivors who become recruits for all factions…

The Democrats just might figure out a way to get us out of the fray without giving up the fight – to isolate the battlefield from the outside through a combination of smart battle strategies and smarter diplomacy. If that happens, one side or another will come out on top fast as all sides run out of the wherewithal to continue the battle. Their mutual eradication agendas will be starved out…

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Wars are never fought for discrete, simple reasons, let alone the reasons stated, even though the misleaders of war try to reduce their agendas of carnage to simple reasons and single provocations in the public’s eye.

The war on terror / the war in Iraq… Never before has a rationale been so twisted; never before has the truth been so thoroughly occluded…

Anyone with a lick of common sense sees that nobody in the west would be interested in the Middle East but for two reasons: Oil and Israel. The greatest driver – one the neocons won’t face – is the oil. The hard core of the neocons try to pretend they are moral, even though they are moral toilets. Admitting they are out for plunder shatters the illusions they mollify the public with.

And admitting the money that fuels “terrorism” comes out of our own pockets at the gas pump is an admission of pure stupidity they can’t make.

But still a significant minority promotes the “war on terror” for the second reason. The New York Times reminds us that the destructive religious fantasies of the evangelicals do affect American foreign policy:

“For Evangelicals, Supporting Israel Is ‘God’s Foreign Policy’”

From the article:

“As Israeli bombs fell on Lebanon for a second week last July, the Rev. John Hagee of San Antonio arrived in Washington with 3,500 evangelicals for the first annual conference of his newly founded organization, Christians United For Israel. At a dinner addressed by the Israeli ambassador, a handful of Republican senators and the chairman of the Republican Party, Mr. Hagee read greetings from President Bush and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert of Israel and dispatched the crowd with a message for their representatives in Congress. Tell them “to let Israel do their job” of destroying the Lebanese militia, Hezbollah, Mr. Hagee said.

He called the conflict “a battle between good and evil” and said support for Israel was “God’s foreign policy.”

The next day he took the same message to the White House.”

And of course when the pro-Israel lobby needs to advertise, they know where to spend their money:

“Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, the founder of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews and the Israeli government’s official goodwill ambassador to evangelicals, said the statements turned out to be superfluous because there was a groundswell of grass roots evangelical support.

Mr. Eckstein said he had discovered the depth of that support when he ran television commercials on the Fox News Channel seeking donations. The response, mainly from evangelicals, “burned out the call centers,” Mr. Eckstein said. During the five-week war, his group added 30,000 new donors. Thanks to the influx of money, he said his organization has exceeded its income from the first 10 months of last year by 60 percent, putting it on track to pull in $80 million this year. “The war really generated a momentum,” Mr. Eckstein said.”

FoxNews… Where else? They know how to reach their target audience. And no wonder Fox is interested in ginning up a Hamas threat to the US. They are after all doubly motivated by the ideologies of their senior management and their customers…

The neoconservative / religious right cabal.

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To be sure, the arguments for the war on terror and the Iraqi occupation are often couched in much more convoluted terms – but the arguments can almost always be distilled to the same two issues: Oil and Israel.

Before the election, the lead rabid monkey at Orbusmax was trying to scare people, linking an Orson Scott Card piece via Rainmaker, who claimed it was a "must read before voting." Card's writing is still a must-read, I think.

“The Only Issue This Election Day”

Card opines:

“There is only one issue in this election that will matter five or ten years from now, and that's the War on Terror.

And the success of the War on Terror now teeters on the fulcrum of this election.

If control of the House passes into Democratic hands, there are enough withdraw-on-a-timetable Democrats in positions of prominence that it will not only seem to be a victory for our enemies, it will be one.

Unfortunately, the opposite is not the case -- if the Republican Party remains in control of both houses of Congress there is no guarantee that the outcome of the present war will be favorable for us or anyone else.

But at least there will be a chance.”

Card goes on to make some unpopular assertions about our progress in Iraq and the usual arguments for the war, and he makes them very well. He very carefully refutes my position that the Iraqi insurgents want us to “stay the course.” But there is one interesting error and a paradigm assertion, made in the role of Devil’s Advocate:

“Every Congressman who says "We must set a timetable for departure" is providing ammunition to the tyrants in their campaign of terror… That is certainly not what most who call for withdrawal intend. They see Americans dying and they have no hope of victory. The Iraq War (as they call it) is costing lives and shows no sign of ending. Meanwhile, Iran is getting nuclear weapons, North Korea already has them, Syria and Iran are sponsoring continuing and escalating attacks on Israel -- how can we possibly "win" a war that threatens constantly to widen? Let's cut our losses, retire to our shores, and ...

And will you please stop and think for a moment?

There is no withdrawal to our shores. American prosperity requires free trade throughout most of the world. Free trade has depended for decades on American might. If we withdraw now, we announce to the world that if you just kill enough Americans, the big boys will go home and let you do whatever you want.

Every American in the world then becomes a target. And, because we have announced that we will do nothing to protect them, we will soon be trading only with nations that have enough strength to protect their own shores and borders.

Only ... what nations are those?”

“There is no withdrawal to our shores. American prosperity requires free trade throughout most of the world.” That is literally paradigmatic. Have we wholeheartedly accepted this? And have we accepted the burden of defending the entire trading community – for free? Consider the case as you consider Card’s mistake. Speaking in the context of the Islamist position, Card goes on:

“President Bush has offered something quite different. We don't want to turn you into mini-Americas, he says. We offer you, instead, democracy, in which you can choose for yourselves what parts of western culture to adopt. You will govern yourselves. It isn't a choice between wickedness and righteousness, it's a choice between freedom and oppression.”

“Choose for yourselves.”

I’m not sure Card speaks for all when he says we don’t want to make them into “mini-Americans.” Clearly, the globalists want as many glutinous consumers as possible. But we’ll leave that aside.

Because “choose for yourselves” isn’t how our government works, of course. We don't have a democracy - if we did, we'd have a "living, breathing" - growing, changing - constitution that meant nothing intrinsically. As a concept - one we have somewhat abandoned - we have a limited government of enumerated powers that recognizes individual rights, even ones that are destructive to society as a whole.

Oh, it's not a choice between freedom and oppression, democracy and totalitarianism? Of course not. Democracy and totalitarianism are not mutually exclusive. In a democracy, "the people" are free to elect a dictator, or anyone else.

And that is plainly what has happened in the Middle East. In Iraq, in Palestine, in Lebanon – “they the people” have democratically chosen government by tyrant – tyrants in the flesh wielding tyrannical religious attitudes.

So put it together. What if a democratically elected government declined our trade in a vital commodity or initiated an outright embargo? Will we take it – accept the decision and do without – or will we TAKE it?

In the early ‘70’s, we took it, as OPEC cut us off over our support of Israel. Back then, they supplied a significant but not crucial amount of “our” oil.

Would we take it again? That was answered when Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait. As Rush Limbaugh remarked at the time, Gulf I was about oil at market prices.

We TOOK it – we handed it back to the emir, whose claim to the land, resources, and rule of the people was as tenuous as they come. But he was – is – our lackey…

Is it ours because we need it?

At the kernel of the core lies this attitude from which all the other issues spring. It’s the attitude Fox slants everything to promote. It’s we’re right, they’re wrong, and history is on our side because we are the victors. Might gives us the right to allocate the wealth of a planet. And consistency isn’t required of us, any more than following international law is.

But it was the victors of a war on another continent who created Iraq – something Card reminds us of. The victors re-established the long defunct State of Israel. In both cases, the will of millions was ignored. We are still dealing with the backlash of those bad decisions – they are part of the roots of the “war on terror.”

We support pliant tyrants like the House of Saud and denounce nationalistic movements that bear unfavorably on our hegemony, giving tacit support to such as the Russians as they brutalize the Chechnyan separatists. More roots…

We ignored 12 years of genocide by Saddam Hussein, only taking action when it became apparent he intended to threaten the oil we apparently believe is ours by right because we need it.

We ignore the brutalities of China, whose slave factories destroy the environment as they supply our “needs.”

We ignore the genocide of Darfur. Darfur doesn’t exist to the neocons. Why? They have nothing we want. Our morals do not reach beyond our appetites.

It’s no wonder we are making enemies faster than we are making friends, Card’s assertions notwithstanding.

We’re never “fair and balanced”… Any more than Fox is. No wonder they are so popular.

Saturday, November 11, 2006


AP reports VIA MyWay News:

“U.S. Vetoes Condemnation of Gaza Strikes”


I’ve always been an opponent of the arrogant, prima donna-ish way the Israelis have handled their “international affairs” – and I think as long as we support them, any retaliation that comes our way is earned.

But at least in the past you could count on the Zionists to be efficient and effective. But since their defeat in southern Lebanon earlier this year – damn right they lost – they aren’t even efficient and effective anymore.

This bunch of yahoos weren’t shooting at the enemy. They were just shooting – it’s freely admitted the nearest enemy position reports were for targets hundreds of yards away from where they shot.

And they called it a “technical error.”

They were just shooting – they killed 19 people, most of them well-placed, peaceful professionals.

Sorry… You’re doctors appointment has been cancelled. The doctor was blown to pieces by a random barrage of artillery fire from our “peaceful” neighbors.

So here’s another good reason to be glad the Democrats won control of Congress:

“US Democrats baulk at extending Bolton term”

“President Bush has re-submitted Mr Bolton's nomination to the Senate but Senior Democrats and even a key Republican have declared there's no way the envoy's term will be extended.”

Get that creep out of there. He is a disgrace to the human race and a danger to the Republic.

We’ll just have to hope the Senate makes sure the shrub doesn’t just replace him with another neocon sycophant bent on supporting foreign over American interests. Until he appoints someone with a neutral view, I'd say we can do without an ambassador…


VIA Drudge from Reuters:

“Students at Calif. College ban Pledge of Allegiance”

Only in a world where communication is dominated by Drudges and the internet could a purely local story such as this receive so much exposure… I’ll be surprised if it doesn’t get considerable attention, although the usual foot soldiers for the cause may still be a little too shellshocked to peek out of their holes…

They didn’t ban the pledge, BTW… They banned it at their meetings – or, more accurately, they eliminated it from their proceedings by parliamentary process.

They can’t ban it, of course, as Christine Zoldos proved by “loudly reciting the pledge in front of the board on Wednesday night in defiance of the rule.”

And she insists she will do it again! Damned anarchist…

Oh well, legislative bodies set their own rules, as our contrarian political science major protester should know… After what the Republican House did over the last several years, this is small potatoes – if these kids are looking for examples to follow, that is…

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Regular readers probably know what I think of the Pledge – I think it is pure anti-American poison; 100% evil. I’m proud to say I have been a major pain in the ass on this subject at every opportunity presented since junior high school – except when I was a student government representative at my junior college.

Representatives represent… They don’t “lead”… Oh sure there is a mix; leaders get elected by people who want to go somewhere. But while 51% may be a victory, it isn’t a mandate to run roughshod over the other 49%.

This was, I think, a big part of the reason the Republican revolution has finally been put down. Real Americans, longsuffering though they habitually are, got tired of being bulldozed like a Gaza village.

Unless you are going to kill all the opposition, bulldozing doesn’t work. The survivors will get you.

So my advice to the kiddies: Climb off the bulldozer, sit down, and shut up. Your mouth won’t catch fire if you say the damned pledge. Ultimately, you will accomplish nothing if you begin by starting a riot – nothing except your own future defeat.


Huffington Post links VIA Yahoo an AP story by Laurie Kellman:

“Warrantless wiretaps unlikely to be OK'd”

Very good news; precisely the sort of thing I hoped would follow a change of the guard.

It’s not the power; it’s not the wielder… It’s the lack of oversight, aggravated by the autocratic assertion oversight is unnecessary or even unconstitutional during times of war.

This is too much power for any man to wield outside of checks and balances – and its offensive that the president should ask for it.

Well, he asked for it… Now he’s really gonna get it – on this and a lot of other issues.

Get it?


Huffington Post links VIA Yahoo an AP story by Laurie Kellman:

“Warrantless wiretaps unlikely to be OK'd”

Very good news; precisely the sort of thing I hoped would follow a change of the guard.

It’s not the power; it’s not the wielder… It’s the lack of oversight, aggravated by the autocratic assertion oversight is unnecessary or even unconstitutional during times of war.

This is too much power for any man to wield outside of checks and balances – and its offensive that the president should ask for it.

Well, he asked for it… Now he’s really gonna get it – on this and a lot of other issues.

Get it?

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