Saturday, June 25, 2005

Condi for VP in time for 2008? 

Dick "Go Fuck Yourself" Cheney is said to have checked himself into a cardiac unit...

More of the first throes of the latest Rove campaign?

Riot Grrls 

Interesting post from Amanda at Pandagon. As an aging, embittered dot-com-bubble survivor, I'm more of a Clash listener. Still, interesting, and I've never had the history explained to me the way Amanda does.

Out of the mouths of babes 

At his photo-op with Jafari, Bush made the mistake of allowing himself to be asked a question by an actual journalist.

An Iraqi journalist. These guys were pretty green, and got suckered by the imperial grandeur (not to mention the Grace of His Presence, of course:

Some of the Iraqis were clearly awed by the trappings of power: the twin armored limousines in the driveway with U.S. and Iraqi flags, and the gilded East Room bedecked with fresh flowers and prominent officials .

"You have a great country," remarked a radio reporter, one of the five Iraqi journalists traveling with Jafari, as he and his colleagues snapped photos of one another before the event.
(via WaPo)

Taking photos of each other for the wife and kids.... Precious...

Anyhow, here's the question one of them asked Bush:

"When will you begin the reconstruction in Iraq?"

So, to an Iraqi, it looks like no reconstruction at all has taken place—a little reality therapy for our delusional President:

[The] question that seemed to take Bush, who has already sunk a couple of hundred billion dollars into the occupation, by surprise.

Hundreds of billions gone, and no evident results on the ground. What a clusterfuck.

Of course, there's the $8 billion that simply went missing (I wonder where?), but that's just a small percentage.

So, what did Bush answer:

"We are spending reconstruction money," Bush said. "But, you know, you need to ask that to the government. They're in charge. It's your government, not ours."

Nice example of passing the buck. And what does Jafari say? Show me the money! (which was doubtless the purpose of his visit)

That didn't satisfy Jafari, who stood beside the natty Bush in creased suit pants and well-worn tasseled loafers. "We hope that Mr. Bush will try to redo a Marshall Plan, calling it the Bush Plan, to help Iraq, to help the Iraqi people," he urged. "And this would be a very wonderful step." The president, by way of reply, said "Good job" and led the prime minister to lunch.

"Good job." How patronizing.

Pitiful. And sad.

Of course, Bush has already decided on an exit strategy: Fuck the Iraqis and blame the Democrats ("The Democrats stabbed the Army in the back!", back). Jafari will never see a dime. And if Bush has a spare $50 billion lying around, don't Americans have first claim on it?

NOTE Of course, Jafari could have planted the question with the journalist. If so, that indicated, um, a certain lack of confidence that Bush was going to come up with anything at all.

Jingle time! You'll wonder where the yellow went... 

... when you fight your wars with elephants.

As The Man in The Grey Turtleneck says, everybody has linked to this story (thanks, Knight Ridder!):

Young Republicans gathered here for their party's national convention are united in applauding the war in Iraq, supporting the U.S. troops there and calling the U.S. mission a noble cause.

But there's no such unanimity when they're asked a more personal question: Would you be willing to put on the uniform and go to fight in Iraq?

I think this is the money quote:

"Frankly, I want to be a politician. I'd like to survive to see that," said Vivian Lee, 17, a war supporter visiting the convention from Los Angeles,

Those darned Republicans! Just like Dick "Go Fuck Yourself" Cheney, they always have "other priorities" when it comes time to risk their own lives...

NOTE The Yellow Elephant stickers are here, suitable for printing using Avery 5294 round labels (Thanks, patriotboy!). I think I'm going to print some out and put one next to every Bush/Cheney bumpersticker I see.

Republicans refuse to take the blue pill 

But they did drink the Kool-Aid....

Among Republicans (36% of adults registered to vote in the survey), 84% approve of the way Bush is handling his job and 12% disapprove. Among Democrats (38% of adults registered to vote in the survey), 18% approve and 77% disapprove of the way Bush is handling his job. Among Independents (26% of adults registered to vote in the survey), 17% approve and 75% disapprove of the way Bush is handling his job as president.
(American Research Group via Kos)

Republicans: 84% approve of how Bush is doing his job
Democrats: 18% approve
Independents: 17%

Anyhow, good news: It looks like Dems and independents are joining the reality-based community. No wonder Karl "Grub Man" Rove (back) is pulling out all the stops. By catapulting the propaganda at the Dems (for example, Dick Durbin), he's hoping to scare away those newly close to the Dems—the independents.

Don't the Republicans have secretaries to handle their paperwork? 

And pick up their dry cleaning, and hump their golf bags in from the club, and so forth?

Apparently not:

To avert an ethics docket stuffed with hundreds of cases, Republican leaders have contemplated declaring what amounts to an amnesty for past paperwork errors, then restating the rules and enforcing them rigorously. Substantive violations, such as accepting a trip from a registered lobbyist, would not be excused, according to aides.
(via WaPo)

So, lemme see if I get this straight. The Republicans are going to give themselves a Get Out of Jail Free card for violations of past rules, in exchange for a promise to obey the rules in the future. Hey, if I were offered that deal on, well, you name it, I'd sure take it!

Oh, wait. I didn't read carefully enough. The Republicans are going to address substantive violations. That's alright, then. I'm sure that process will be conducted with complete integrity, as would befit any [cough] Christian. Though how they're going to determine what is substantive when the paper trail has been completely corrupted, I'm not sure I completely understand...

A Public Service Announcement 

Taking a momentary break from fighting Totalitarianist Creep to point out that more Mad Cow was confirmed yesterday, and the Department of Blowing Smoke Up Your Ass is revving up to full tilt to spin it away.

I have a very long-standing interest in the subject, and posted a piece on this latest development over at my own site, as it's way too long to burden the mighty Corrente pipeline. Check it out, for backgorund, context, and what to do to keep yourself safe.

For more in-depth information, and a real thrill-ride, check out Richard Rhodes, whose book Deadly Feasts was a real eye-opener.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Blowback: Bush fucks the blue state cities yet again 

So much for the flypaper theory:

The CIA believes the Iraq insurgency poses an international threat and may produce better-trained Islamic terrorists than the 1980s Afghanistan war that gave rise to Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda, officials said yesterday.

A classified report from the agency says Iraqi and foreign fighters are developing a broad range of skills, from car bombings and assassinations to coordinated conventional attacks on police and military targets, officials said.

Once the insurgency ends, Islamic militants are likely to disperse as highly organized battle-hardened combatants capable of operating throughout the Arab-speaking world and in other regions including Europe.

Although the Afghan war against the Soviets was largely fought on a rural battlefield, the CIA report said, Iraq is providing extremists with more comprehensive skills including training in operations devised for populated urban areas.
(via Boston Globe)

Populated urban areas like New York (Democratic), Philadelphia (Democratic), Boston (Democratic), Chicago (Democratic), Los Angeles (Democratic), San Francisco (Democratic), Seattle (Democratic), Miami (Democratic)... Well, you get the idea.

It's been bad enough that the Republicans have treated homeland security as a pork barrel, and have left the (Democratic) ports unprotected against, say, loose nukes in shipping containers, and water supplies and public transportation systems unprotected against biowarfare, bombings, and so on.

But that the blowback from Bush's war of choice would be Islamic fighters trained to attack the country at precisely the (Democratic) points Bush has left unprotected... That Bush has put me and my (Democratic) city in the cross-hairs... Well, the mind reels.

Rove got one thing right (Froomkin) : I'm enraged. And anyone who isn't, isn't paying attention.

UPDATE Oh, wait. I forgot. The cities are Democratic. And Democrats are traitors. That's even worse than being gay (or, if you're in the Air Force Academy, a "filthy Jew.") So it's OK to kill us. Especially when Islamic fighters do it, that's just poetic justice. So forget you read this post, I'm sorry. I get so confused!

[Tearfully] I apologize!

UPDATE From the time vault of The Mighty Corrente Building, here's some background on loose nukes:

2005-05 (Bush port security programs make a bad situation worse), 2005-03, 2005-01 (Ashcroft (!) says loose nukes greatest threat), "Unquenchable fire from heaven" (Da Bush Code) (2005-01), 2004-11 (AQ wants to use loose nukes), 2004-10, 2004-04, (loose nukes and Iraq postwar clusterfuck looting), 2004-08 (loose nukes and Kazahstan), 2004-03 (AQ may have suitcase nukes), "Reckless indifference to the nightmare scenario.". This was posted well over a year ago. Nothing, of course, has changed, except for the worse. At some point, you wonder: Is it sheer incompetece, or malevolence?

And where are the Dems on this? Not a peep. WTF?

Please don't let the wingers freep the Greatest American poll 

Reagan greater than Washington or Lincoln? In what alternative universe?

Vote early and often!

NOTE For me (Firefox 1.04 with Flashblock extension) the voting buttons don't work (thanks, AOL). I have to move the cursor well up, almost to the masthead, at which point there's a clicking noise, and the button immediately below turns red. At that point, I click, and indeed a "Thanks for voting" button comes up.

From the vault: Since Unka Karl's making news again... 

From the time vaults of The Mighty Corrente Building, deep in the bedrock of One Corrente Square, comes this classic image by farmer:

I don't know why I didn't think to repost this at once; I must have repressed it or something.

NOTE Original post "Fresh Garden Tips! ~ USDA Approved".

Department of Changing the Subject: The latest Rove smear 

Think it's ugly now? You ain't seen nuthin' yet.

Granted, about the only thing the Republican party is good at is politics, but that, they do awesomely well. Tactically, and strategically. And their presiding genius is Karl "The Man-Grub" Rove (back, and put your drink down first. Though I have to admit Bush is pretty good too. If you read the transcripts, and forget everything you know about the man, he sounds great. Down home, and all that.)

Anyhow, it looks like we're seeing the rollout of a new Rovian communications strategy. So let's connect a few dots:

Dot one: Rove, ripping a page from the winger playbook in '30s Germany, is setting the Democrats up for the ol' stab in the back theory: "The Democrats stabbed the Army in the back!" [That's the translation of "...certainly putting our troops in greater danger. No more needs to be said about the motives of liberals." Yep, it's the liberals who sent the troops to Iraq without body armor, yessir.]

That's why Dick Durbin got savaged; and he just happened to be the target of opportunity on that particular day. If it hadn't been Durbin, it would have been somebody else. (Showing, if it needed to be shown, the folly of apologizing to the Republicans for anything. It never does any good, and it makes us look weak.)

If this meme gets traction, when we withdraw, and when Iraq collapses, or splits up, it won't be Bush's fault (and how could it be, since He has been divinely appointed to rule over us?). No, it will be the Democrats' fault. Never mind that the war, if it could have been won, was Bush's to win, and he blew it. Starting with the troop levels and going on through the lack of postwar planning to today. But never mind—"The Democrats stabbed the Army in the back!"

Dot two: Iraq President Ibrahim Jafari's visit to Washington this week. More of the usual. Juan Cole writes:

Every time the interim leader of Iraq has a photo op with US officials, he seems to feel a need to say all kinds of unrealistically optimistic things. It used to happen with the rotating presidency of the Interim Governing Council. Izzedin Salim went on saying optimistic things right up until he was killed while waiting on the Marines to let him into the Green Zone. Allawi came and said that the problems were only in four provinces (he didn't mention that one of them was Baghdad).

Now Jaafari is saying that progress is being made against what he calls "the terrorists," and that all that is necessary is an acceleration of the training of Iraqi troops (with maybe some other countries than the US helping [NATO already is].)

Most observers I know of who know anything serious about military training don't expect an effective Iraqi army to be stood up for five to ten years, so if Jaafari thinks there is a quick fix in this regard, he is just wrong.
(via Informed Comment)

So, if we don't stay in Iraq for five to ten years—with what Army?—then what? Nothing good. But that will never be Bush's fault. And how could it be? Everyone knows the Republicans are strong on defense! We would have won, if it hadn't been for the liberal traitors in our midst! "The Democrats stabbed the Army in the back!"

Dot three: Bush's upcoming speech on Iraq, at a military base, naturally. WaPo reads the Republican entrails as follows:

Bush's remarks were a preface to a major prime-time speech he plans to give Tuesday evening from Fort Bragg, N.C. His challenge is to reframe the Iraq debate, in order to maintain public tolerance for an open-ended military commitment at a time when polls suggest patience is dwindling.
(via WaPo)

And look for Bush to tell the Army—You guessed it!—"The Democrats stabbed you in the back!" He'll use nicer-sounding words than Rove, but dollars to donuts that will be the message.

I think Bush has decided he's got to cut his losses before 2006. Because things are going to get very, very bad for him quite soon—if He can't manage to change the subject. Robert Steinback (thank you, Knight Ridder) has an excellent editorial about the wave of shit moving, ever so slowly, toward the fan:

Do you want to know?

That's the only popular division that matters in the United States today: Those who want to determine once and for all if President Bush knowingly ``fixed the facts'' regarding Iraq, thereby misleading Congress and the American people into supporting an unnecessary war, and those who will cover their ears and hum loudly in order to maintain their belief that Bush and his advisors remain above reproach.

You're in one camp or the other. Either you want to know if you've been lied to, or you don't.

The American public is inching tentatively toward a reckoning unlike any this nation has ever experienced. The oh-so-clever Bush administration strategists and their quasi-media acolytes, who have kept the reckoning at bay with a deft combination of we're-at-war patriotic fervor and fear-the-evil-liberals rhetoric, are running out of parlor tricks.

Do you want to know if the president's people misled America into war? Conservative pundits are trying desperately to jump-start the sputtering media-distraction machinery that worked so well during Bush's first term.

But I get the sense this strategy isn't working as reliably as it once did. Even the Michael Jackson trial hype fizzled quickly after the verdict. The president's poll numbers have plummeted since Nov. 2, suggesting more and more Americans are tiring of the bluster and blather that had entertained them like an endless summer action flick.

I never hear anymore from the conservative readers who once admonished me for not trusting that Bush had secret intelligence about weapons of mass destruction. Or who said the British wouldn't have joined us if the case for war wasn't solid. Or who insulted the French and Germans for not going along with the madness.

I do miss those spirited exchanges. But if it means that at long last, a reckoning is under way, I'll manage.
(via Fort Wayne Tribune Sentinel)

Indeed. Welcome to the reality-based community.

But Rove and Bush only know one way to play: Play dirty, and play to the base. Losing a war? Change the subject. "The Democrats stabbed the Army in the back!"

The Plame Affair to come off the backburner? 

We should know Monday:

The justices of the Supreme Court on Thursday debated whether to take on the cases of Matt Cooper (search), a Time magazine reporter, and Judith Miller (search), a reporter at the New York Times. Both have refused to comply with federal subpoenas over the outing of former CIA official Valerie Plame's (search) identity.

The decision whether to grant certiorari, or take the appeal, is expected to be announced on Monday during the court's final session of the 2004 term. If the justices decline to intervene, both face up to 19 months behind bars.
(via FUX (and nowhere else; how very odd)

And as a bonne bouche, here's Scottie "Sucker MC" McClellan giving some really choice spin. You can't help but admire it:

Q Is the President concerned about [Cooper and Miller], and will [H]e urge whoever the leaker was to come forward? Does [H]e think journalists should have a shield?

MR. McCLELLAN: The President has actually talked about both the questions that you brought up recently. He talked about this situation and said he wasn't going to weigh in on it, essentially. That's a matter the courts are working to address.

And in terms of these two individuals, and in terms of the whole investigation that is being overseen by the special prosecutor, I think we've made our views very well known when it comes to that. No one wants to get to the bottom of it more than the President of the United States, and he has urged anyone who has information that can help resolve this matter to come forward and give that information to the prosecutors.
(via Editor & Publisher

Oh, the mendacity!

We have always been at war with Oceania! 

Or is it never been at war with Oceania? I keep forgetting. It's so confusing:

Bush then: Mission accomplished!

Bush now: "I'm not giving up on the mission. We're doing the right thing."

Um, maybe it's a different mission?

They're making my head explode again!

A flag amendment I could live with (well, not really) 

From Letters to the editor in our own Inky:

I did not realize that the President's conservative agenda was in such trouble until this week when the flag-burning amendment was pulled out of the dust bin and wrapped in the bloody flag of 9/11.

In the spirit of compromise that has been missing since that date, I would be willing to support such an amendment if it included banning the public display of the Confederate flag.

If burning the flag is a desecration that requires a constitutional amendment, how much worse was an attempt to rip 11 stars from it?

If we owe something to the nearly 3,000 people who died on 9/11, how much more do we owe to the hundreds of thousands who died to preserve the flag that the Republican majority in Congress wants to protect at the expense of free speech?

Mark Stackhouse
(via Philly)

Of course, I know we have to win over at least some of the guys with Confederate flags on their trucks (as the good Doctor says), so this proposal won't and shouldn't fly.... But I can admire good snark!

Tortured Confession 

Thank you.

I rest my case.

Cat-Herding Alert 

Please note:
Haloscan has been on the fritz the last couple days, and although you can post comments, and others can see them, it isn't counting them up, or at all. So if you see (O) Comments (or any other given #) at the bottom of a post, it may not be accurate.

You may now return to your regularly scheduled rant.

Shadows in the Hoods - Hoods in the Shadows 

1969: Richard Nixon is sworn in as the 37th President of the United States.

Nixon's Attorney General, Richard Kleindienst, "calls for the repression of 'ideological criminals'", and declares the anti-war movement an "epidemic" of "national subversive activity".

Kleindienst: "When you see an epidemic like this cropping up all over the country-the same kind of people saying the same kinds of things-you begin to get the picture that it is a national subversive activity."


"Tortures range from simple but brutal blows from a truncheon to electric shocks. Often the torture is more refined: the end of a reed is placed in the anus of a naked man hanging suspended downwards on the pau de arara [parrot's perch] and a piece of cotton soaked in petrol is lit at the other end of the reed. Pregnant women have been forced to watch their husbands being tortured. Other wives have been hung naked beside their husbands and given electric shocks on the sexual parts of their body, while subjected to the worst kind of obscenities. Children have been tortured before their parents and vice versa. The length of sessions depends upon the resistance capacity of the victims and have sometimes continued for days at a time." ~ (Amnesty International report on torture in Brazil during 1960's while under operational control of military and US-Office of Public Safety)

"During his 7 "Public Safety" years in Brazil, the use of torture against opponents of the military regime became virtually routine. In addition, the Brazilian police, many of whom were trained by [Dan] Mitrione, formed a vigilante "Death Squad" which disposed of over 100 "undesirables" without arrest or trial. - River of Painted Birds/July 20, 2004

VFW accepts Durbin apology
Pundits debate effect of Nazi remarks on senator's political future | Thursday, June 23, 2005 | By Dori Meinert of Copley News Service

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Veterans of Foreign Wars on Wednesday accepted the apology of Sen. Dick Durbin for his controversial remarks comparing the actions of American interrogators at Guantanamo Bay to Nazis and other murderous regimes.
"The senator was totally out of line for even thinking such thoughts," said John Furgess, the commander-in-chief of the 2.4-million-member organization. "But his public apology Tuesday to our service members and their families helps bring to a close an unfortunate yet preventable accident."

White House spokesman Scott McClellan said that Durbin's apology "was the right thing to do, and I think it was the right thing to say to our men and women in uniform who are serving and sacrificing in defense of freedom."

Durbin, an Illinois Democrat, made an emotional public apology on the Senate floor Tuesday night after a week of growing criticism. The controversy began June 14 when Durbin read part of a report from an FBI agent detailing the treatment of detainees at the Guantanamo Bay detention center in Cuba.

"If I read this to you and did not tell you that it was an FBI agent describing what Americans had done to prisoners in their control, you would most certainly believe this must have been done by Nazis, Soviets in their gulags, or some mad regime - Pol Pot or others - that had no concern for human beings," Durbin said on the Senate floor last week.

Dan Mitrione was a policeman in Richmond, Indiana from 1945 to 1957. In 1959 he would join the FBI. Eleven years later, in August of 1970, Mitrione was kidnapped, held for ransom, and eventually executed by Tupamaros guerrillas (Movimiento de Liberacion Nacional) in Uruguay; sparking an international incident.

Poster above reads: Radio Berlin - It is officially announced - All men of Lidice - Czechoslovakia - Have been shot - The women deported to a concentration camp - The children sent to appropriate centers - The name of the village was immediately abolished. - 6/11/42/115P


Dr. Mengele, Your 3:00 Is Waiting (Specious Nazi Hyperbole Edition) 

caduceusstlouis-e85 The issue of medical personnel assisting at the interogations in Guantanamo is not news, not even at the Gray Lady. When the Red Cross finally got past the 3-headed guardian at the gate last year, they had much the same story to tell as we read this morning in the Times, where the "questioning" of prisoners as it relates to medical ethics is getting a little more attention:
"Military doctors at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, have aided interrogators in conducting and refining coercive interrogations of detainees, including providing advice on how to increase stress levels and exploit fears, according to new, detailed accounts given by former interrogators...
The former interrogators said the military doctors' role was to advise them and their fellow interrogators on ways of increasing psychological duress on detainees, sometimes by exploiting their fears, in the hopes of making them more cooperative and willing to provide information. In one example, interrogators were told that a detainee's medical files showed he had a severe phobia of the dark and suggested ways in which that could be manipulated to induce him to cooperate."
The American Medical Association's Code of Ethics clearly states at E 2.607:
"Torture refers to the deliberate, systematic, or wanton administration of cruel, inhumane, and degrading treatments or punishments during imprisonment or detainment.
Physicians must oppose and must not participate in torture for any reason. Participation in torture includes, but is not limited to, providing or withholding any services, substances, or knowledge to facilitate the practice of torture. Physicians must not be present when torture is used or threatened.
Physicians may treat prisoners or detainees if doing so is in their best interest, but physicians should not treat individuals to verify their health so that torture can begin or continue. Physicians who treat torture victims should not be persecuted. Physicians should help provide support for victims of torture and, whenever possible, strive to change situations in which torture is practiced or the potential for torture is great."
But the semantics-freaks at the Pentagon, who are more used to waging wars of words using the firepower of legal loopholes, had this to say in their defense:
"Bryan Whitman, a senior Pentagon spokesman, declined to address the specifics in the accounts. But he suggested that the doctors advising interrogators were not covered by ethics strictures because they were not treating patients but rather were acting as behavioral scientists."
Go back to that snippet from the Code of Ethics, where it says: "Participation in torture includes, but is not limited to, providing or withholding any services, substances, or knowledge to facilitate the practice of torture." Behavioral scientists, my ass. As for the responsiblity of the psychologists in this mess, they're all a-twitter because their own code of ethics doesn't really cover it, so they're going to "discuss" it, which is no doubt of infinite comfort to some guy who's been crouched in a squat with his hands tied behind his back for 12 hours (Think it's not torture? Try it for 10 minutes!):
"But in a statement issued in December, the American Psychological Association said the issue of involvement of its members in "national security endeavors" was new.
Dr. Stephen Behnke, who heads the group's ethics division, said in an interview this week that a committee of 10 members, including some from the military, was meeting in Washington this weekend to discuss the issue.
Dr. Behnke emphasized that the codes did not necessarily allow participation by psychologists in such roles, but rather that the issue had not been dealt with directly before.
"A question has arisen that we in the profession have to address and that is where we are now: is it ethical or is it not ethical?" he said. "
Well, duh.

Meantime, the UN, without US cooperation, is going ahead with its own investigation into our possible human rights violations.

Nazis! Gulags! Pol Pot! There, I've made outrageous comparisons! What are you gonna do? Make me apologize? Fuck you, Karl Rove.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

So, what exactly did Dick Durbin feel the need to apologize for? 

And did the apology do him, or us, any good?

One thing I do know: A tearful apology didn't help the cause at all.

Durbin's a good guy, a D-Ill, not a D-MBNA or a D-FUX, but.... WTF?

This picture needs a caption! 


No Child Left Behind—by Army recruiters 

As farmer writes, the Army's desperate to make up the recruiting shortfall Bush caused by lying his way into Iraq, and somehow, for some reason, not enough Christian Youth, 101st Fighting Keyboarders, fully paid up members of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy, or Sons and Daughters of Rich Fucks are signing up.

So, the Army, not unreasonably (given the givens) has framed the issue as a marketing problem, and they're outsourcing the solution. That way, nobody has to worry about privacy laws or pesky Congressional oversight.

Here's part of an interview with Andy Cutler, the CEO of BeNow, the vendor the Army chose:

Andy Cutler is one of the world's top experts at building database marketing strategies for Fortune 500 companies.

Q: Why is a "conversation" so important in B2B marketing

Because you want to keep customers.

Q: We keep on hearing that 'integrated marketing' is the big thing now -- what does that mean to your conversation building?

[CUTLER:] You need all customer conversations to be captured in your database. That they called customer service three times last week, that you sent them email and direct mail campaigns, and also what the total value of the relationship is.
(via E-Consultancy.com)

First, the Army is going to be a having lot of "conversations" with potential candidates.

[Recruiting] is a labor-intensive, frequently frustrating business. An average of 10 telephone calls is required to produce a single “contact” with a prospective recruit. Five or six contacts are needed to gain an “appointment.”

It takes two or three appointments to set up an “interview,” a three-hour session that tests the persuasive powers of the recruiter. One in five interviews results in a “contract,” a commitment to join the Marines.
(Fort Wayne News Sentinel)

"All conversations" means just that. So, it won't be only the recruits who are in the Army's privatized database. It will be everyone the recruiters talked to. Not the 80,000 who signed up, but, using the numbers above, 10 * 5 * 2 * 80,000.

Sounds pretty innocuous, right? Until you ask yourself: What would these conversations be about? The answer: Identification and intimacy. Because that makes the 18-year-old targets most vulnerable to being recruited:

"Honestly, the best way I've found (to reach people) is simply sit down and relate to the person you're talking with," [Staff Sgt. Darrick McGee, an Army recruiter] McGee said.

"Allow them to share their experiences and ask them do they have a vision for themselves. And once they share that vision, you start to discuss, how can we get them where they're going to? It's really basic stuff, benefits. You really have to understand where the person's coming from, and I think that as a recruiter from this area, I do provide that. I've gone to the schools, I've been through a lot of the same things."
(via Roanake Rapids Daily Herald)

"Sit down and relate to the person." Sounds pretty innocuous, right? Well, not exactly:

In one well-publicized case in Colorado, Army recruiters were tape-recorded encouraging a student journalist posing as a high school dropout to create a diploma from a non-existent school to comply with military enlistment requirements.

They also were heard giving him advice on how to disguise a chronic “marijuana problem” and how to pass a mandatory drug test.
(via Fort Wayne Journal Gazette

Pretty funny, huh? An eighteen-year-old treating an Army recruiter like his Father confessor, and confessing to his marijuana habit. [Sure, the "kid" is a journalist. You think that was the first time the recruiters did what they did?]

It gets even funnier when you remember that "all conversations" means just that.

When the recruiter sits down at his terminal at the end of the day, that kid's confession is going straight into the Army's (privatized, unregulated) database, and follow the kid for the rest of his life, whether he signs up or not. As will "all conversations" about credit problems, grades in school, girlfriend trouble, and whether the kid is "undesirable" (i.e. gay, or, if the Air Force uses the same system, a Jew). Losing your Social Security number looks pretty trivial by the side of putting a potential felony into your permanent record, doesn't it?

I think the Army's going to have some PR problems on this one. Maybe they could hire Ketchum to improve their image?

NOTE The savage irony is that blaming the recruiters is really shooting the messenger. Sure, they're moral agents, and some of the tactics are, um, unsavory, but the Army wouldn't be in the fix that it's in if Bush hadn't screwed the pooch in iWaq.

Nice work, protesters! 

You can't buy press coverage like this:

Four men and a woman were charged yesterday in the melee between demonstrators and police Tuesday in Center City that left a veteran Philadelphia police officer dead of a heart attack.

[Officer Paris] Williams, a 17-year veteran, was trying with other officers to prevent protesters from nearing the entrance of the Convention Center where the BIO 2005 conference was under way.

[Reactionary death penalty maximalist D.A. Lynn] Abraham said news photographs and video helped police "ascertain precisely what appears to have occurred" during the scuffle.

Abraham said investigators believe that Williams was struck - either kicked or hit with a fist - during the struggle.

She added, however, that the autopsy showed no evidence of physical injury.

[A] member of the group, who identified herself as Init, said: "Our friends in jail did not cause any harm to any police officer.

Abraham said investigators did not have evidence at this point to justify a murder charge.

Williams, they said, had a well-equipped weight room in his basement that he allowed neighborhood youths to use.

Brian Weston, 21, said Williams could press more than 200 pounds. "He taught us how to lift weights properly," Weston said. Weston's father, Jon, the block captain, said there was never any hint that Williams was ill.

Williams was also a baker. "He made some incredible pies," said Peggy Weston, 49, Brian's mother.
(via Philly)

Leave aside the corporate food angle and whether policemen are cops or pigs or whatever.

If there was any incident that shows the self-indulgence and inanity of protests (as opposed to the sort of organizing that RDF does, for example) it's this incident. No real obstacles were put in the way of corporate food, and a man is dead in a way that will give all our enemies talking point fodder for years to come.

And what's with those stupid, stupid, stupid giant puppets?

Hacking Away 

This was emailed to me without a link, but its message is pretty simple…

Opting Out in the Debate on Evolution

By CORNELIA DEAN Published: June 21, 2005

When the Kansas State Board of Education decided to hold hearings this spring on what the state's schoolchildren should be taught about evolution, Dr. Kenneth R. Miller was invited to testify. Lots of people thought he was a good choice to speak for science…

But Dr. Miller declined to testify. And he was not alone. Mainstream scientists, even those who have long urged researchers to speak with a louder voice in public debates, stayed away from Kansas….

When the hearings ended, the subcommittee running them concluded just that. The hearings had produced "credible scientific testimony that indeed there are significant debates about the evidence for key aspects of chemical and biological theory," the panel said, and it is "important and appropriate for students to know about these scientific debates."

Still, scientists who stayed away say they did the right thing.

Declining to testify "can be made to look as if you do not want to defend science in public, or you are too afraid to face the intelligent design people in public," Dr. Miller said.

But, he said, taking part in this kind of argument only contributes to the idea that there is something worth arguing about, and "I wasn't interested in playing a role in that."

There seems to be a lot of this kind of thinking going on in the scientific, reason-based communities. Arguing with the idiots only legitimizes them.

I dunno about that. I think we should take every opportunity to testify about facts and evidence. I think we should take every opportunity to expose sloppy irrational thinking.

In any case, I will be blogging lightly for a week or so. The water board has informed me that if I don’t clear out the Russian Olives from my portion of the ditch, they will take away my water rights. They’re right—the stuff is a menace and I should have cleared it out a long time ago. But the damn seeds came from somewhere upstream, and they’ll just come again. If any of you are familiar with Russian Olive, you know what a thorny pain in the ass it is to clear. So, if you don’t hear from RDF, it’s only because of non-native, invasive species. Anybody want to debate the science of that? Russian Olives evolved to annoy humans.

Maybe there’s a metaphor in this somewhere about the wisdom of debating with irrational people. I dunno.

Marionette Nation: America--Land of the Gagged 

Your government, your media, and the reactionary right have one message for you:
Sit down and shut up.
And just in case you didn't get the message, they're going to codify it for you.

So long, suckers. Your brave new experiment in self-government is over.

Moon phases 

John Gorenfeld via the American Prospect
Dear Leader's Paper Moon
The Washington Times considers North Korea a “gulag state.” But funny thing: The paper’s owner considers it a great place to do business. ...Several years ago, the communist dictator of North Korea decided to send a birthday gift to a special friend. The gift was a rare ginseng root, and the recipient, given the ideology of the sender, may seem at first blush to be a surprise: the Reverend Sun Myung Moon, self-proclaimed messiah and proud owner of Washington’s flagship right-wing newspaper, The Washington Times.

Their relationship, in fact, is based on more than the exchange of baubles.


Ole Tiller 

Uh oh... I think Farmer Bob might have been feeding this stuff here to the raccoons:
Meanwhile Tiller has put 6 miles between himself and Farmer Bob's crazy spread. He finds himself overcome by an intense fear of water as sheets of heavy cold rain begin to soak the warm freshly renewed earth. He begins to salivate and shiver uncontrollably. In a final moment of lucidity Tiller thinks back to the raccoon that he encountered near the tool shed only days ago. There was something not quite right about that raccoon he thinks; then he takes off in a loping snarling frothy stagger toward a glowing yellow school bus delivering small hopelessly economically unproductive low income elementary school children to a local emergency storm shelter located inside an abandoned tool and dye factory. - Butternut Valley/circa: Spring 2005

43rd State Blues would make a really good name for a band.

update "this stuff here" (link above) fixed. (thanks to Serephin)


BeNow cash cow 

Your tax dollars at work. DoD contracts marketing scum to slither through the keyhole...

"The new database will include an array of personal information including birth dates, Social Security numbers, e-mail addresses, grade point averages, ethnicity and what subjects the students are studying."

Pentagon Creating Student Database
Recruiting Tool For Military Raises Privacy Concerns

By Jonathan Krim
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, June 23, 2005; Page A01

The Defense Department began working yesterday with a private marketing firm to create a database of all U.S. college students and high school students between 16 and 18 years old to help the military identify potential recruits in a time of dwindling enlistment in some branches.

The program is provoking a furor among privacy advocates. The new database will include an array of personal information including birth dates, Social Security numbers, e-mail addresses, grade point averages, ethnicity and what subjects the students are studying.

The data will be managed by BeNow Inc. of Wakefield, Mass., one of many marketing firms that use computers to analyze large amounts of data to target potential customers based on their personal profiles and habits.

"The purpose of the system . . . is to provide a single central facility within the Department of Defense to compile, process and distribute files of individuals who meet age and minimum school requirements for military service," according to the official notice of the program.

Privacy advocates said the plan appeared to be an effort to circumvent laws that restrict the government's right to collect or hold citizen information by turning to private firms to do the work.


The Pentagon's statements added that anyone can "opt out" of the system by providing detailed personal information that will be kept in a separate "suppression file." That file will be matched with the full database regularly to ensure that those who do not wish to be contacted are not, according to the Pentagon.


The system also gives the Pentagon the right, without notifying citizens, to share the data for numerous uses outside the military, including with law enforcement, state tax authorities and Congress.


Yesterday, the New York Times reported that the Social Security Administration relaxed its privacy policies and provided data on citizens to the FBI in connection with terrorism investigations.

Golly, I wonder what kind of "detailed personal information" gets one shuffled off to the "supression file"?

BeNow Inc

Operation Yellow Elephant

John "archy" McKay has additional commentary on this topic. Read Evil genius at its finest:
Back in my youth, during the days of Nixon paranoia, before libertarian meant right-wing fellow traveler, this kind of news would have sent us running for the hills to take advantage of that cache of canned peas and ammunition that we all had waiting. In those days, survivalism was an apolitical impulse, and we would have been happy to make common cause with those who believed that the name of the database was 666. Today, the libertarians (now with a capital "L"), the survivalists, and the 666 nuts are as likely to be on the side of the government as against it.

Gad, that brings back some memories. BTW: You can grow peas up out of the snow ya know.

Carolyn Chute's Wicked Good Militia


Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Note to Riggsveda 

Check your covad account, please. Night!

You'll never guess where the Southern Baptist Convention was held! 

Tennessee, sure, but where exactly? Take a guess. I'll wait.

Gaylord Entertainment Center.

Talk about the return of the repressed....

NOTE Inerrant Boy didn't actually want to be photographed with his delusional followers, so, like Frist, he participated via the Big Brother screen. Not a dry seat in the house! (Thanks to alert reader Dr. Sardonicus for the tip.)

Department of I'm With Stupid 

Yes, you can always count on the House Republicans to stand up and git tough when America's vital interests are at stake. Iraq? No. Loose nukes? No. Keeping the Bill of Rights from being shredded? No. Universal health insurance? Naah, that's for fagotty Europeans (see here for the Southron Baptist perspective on Europeans).

No, the House Republicans aren't detail men. They're into The Big Picture. And what's uppermost on [cough] their minds?

Flag burning. Yes, they've passed another Amendment proposal:

The proposed one-line amendment to the Constitution reads, "The Congress shall have power to prohibit the physical desecration of the flag of the United States." For the language to be added to the Constitution, it must be approved by two-thirds of those present in each chamber, then ratified within seven years by at least 38 state legislatures.
(via AP)

Now, call me crazy, but I always it was only possible to desecrate something sacred. And the dictionary backs me up: "desecration: n. blasphemous behavior; the act of depriving something of its sacred character; "desecration of the Holy Sabbath."

So, since we aren't a theocracy (right?), how is it possible to desecrate the flag? It's not sacred!

But leave that aside. It's really the "physical desecration" part that's got my head spinning, looking for loopholes and workarounds.

I mean, giving the Republicans the benefit here, they aren't prohibiting mental or imaginary desecration of the flag, or looking at artwork descrating the flag... So it's OK to think bad thoughts! Phew!

But suppose I put the flag in a glass fishtank, and then descrated the tank. Would that be physical desecration of the flag? I don't think so—the flag wouldn't be touched! Or suppose I focussed a camera on the flag, and then desecrated the image? Same deal. No harm, no foul! Or suppose I made a cake with Stars and Stripes frosting and then ate the cake? How could feeding myself be desecration? Jesus said: "not what goes into the mouth defiles a man, but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man." (Matthew 15:10-20)

And speaking of the Republicans:

Personally, I can't imagine a greater desecration of the flag than being right at the center of yet another winger circlejerk. Eh?


Many of you expressed a great deal of interest in my brief historical commentary on the subject of the Vietnam war - see below: Operation Yellowphant. Unfortunately I simply don't have time to respond to each and every one of your thoughtful enquiries and comments and questions and requests for home school history tutoring.

Fortunately, however, I can help you understand how I have come to some of my conclusions on matters discussed within that post and how i have come to be home-learned in important matters of history and economics and feminism and the Vietnam war and liberals and their liberalis homosexualis tyrannicus agenda. The simple truth is, if it weren't for the undying devoted companionship of my mentor, tutor, internets pen-pal and subway platform playmate Ted - Ted7000 that is, I wouldn't know the difference between a socialist and a soca band.

My friend Ted knows a lot of interesting true facts and other neat stuff about American history and and culture and politics and gender issues and peculiar sexual persuasions which drive the liberal world conquest juggernaught and, ultimately, henceforth, leach their ultimate toxic body-politic poisons into our national bloodstream. Sigh.

Ted, my lusty true fact spewing friend, is over fifty years old but he still looks like a gay teenage movie star [ Ted on Ted ] which allows Ted a great deal of access (if ya know what I'm sayin') to the engine rooms of various juggernaughts and bloodstreams and so forth.

But, anyway, what I wanted to re-emphasize with respect to my post on the true history of the Vietnam war and those who were denied access to its unfolding legacy (posted somewhere below) is that most of what I know about that unfortunate chapter in American history (including the liberal pussification of society in general) I learned from Ted who guided me like a patient headmaster leading a purblind orphan around a country fair. Every one of my Phd's in history, which are around here somewhere, can be credited in some respect or another to Ted's excellent guidance and encouragement and deliberate attention to true history facts. Thank you Ted, if it weren't for you I never would have known that Gen. Augusto Pinochet was a great raving liberal who supported Adlai Stevenson in 1956.

Anyway, in order to help you further understand the intricate crushing nature of liberalism and how it came to lay waste to our entire nation - including, as I myself have proved, barring Dick Cheney and Rush Limbaugh and Tom Delay and even our President George W. Bush hisself from serving their country in Vietnam - I've included a brief excerpt from Ted's latest important essay titled HETEROSEXUALITY IS NOW SEXIST?. What does that have to do with the Vietnam war you might ask? Well, you'll see...

As the years went by though, the professors mellowed realizing that while men may not really be needed they were, nevertheless, here, at least until biological science could find a better way to produce sperm. So, rather than treating men them adventitiously, the way our gov't is treating the Sunni population of Iraq, it was better, they reasoned, to count them as in the human race (I for one am very thankful), and even worthy of love, so long as they were cooperative and it was a gender neutral love. Anything other than "neutral" was wholly unacceptable of course, because that was, of course, exactly what led to centuries and centuries of subjugation and male domination.

In practice though most of the professors do sheepishly and eventually revert to heterosexual mating patterns that evolved over million and million of years, but they do, nevertheless, feel a solemn intellectual obligation to prove their "street creds", sisterhood, and egalitarian ideals by having a lesbian affairs or two along the way. If they were children you'd write it all off to youthful indiscretion, but they are adults; adults who teach our children.

They have brave and bold new ideas but manage to get themselves all confused with their mighty IQs. But that is what liberalism is: a belief that if your huge ego can conjure it up, it ought to be reality. Sadly, all the liberal realities are very different, contradictory, and often very deadly. If we look at the great liberals of recent history: Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Hussein, Mussolini, Pol Pot, Kim Jong Il, and Robert Mugabe we see very clearly that the more rapid and profound change these vast egos wanted the more millions who wound up dead.

Were it not for conservative Republicans and their respect for conserving history, can anyone say how far our American liberals would go? They now have a huge gov't in place that delivers far more than the American Socialist Party of the 1920s every dreamed possible in a free country, and yet they still stand for nothing each and every election cycle but more and more concentrated power in Washington with no end in sight. They want the liberal machinery of power in place; they are psychotically attracted to it beyond all sanity simply because they perceive it as a manifestation of their huge egos. They pray one day it can be used as the vehicle or mechanism through which they can bring about the rapid and probably deadly change their massive egos compel them to seek. They are compelled to seek a comprehensive new social formula the way Einstein was compelled to seek a new physical formula.

Lost on them is the 10 years of depression and 5 years of world war that our big gov't blundered into. Lost on them are the lies that powerful American Presidents told for the privilege of fighting in Vietnam and Iraq. Lost on them are the social welfare programs of the 60's that amounted to near genocide against the Black population that was supposed to be helped. Lost on them is the Social Security program that steals 13% from every working American and gives them back far less than would have by putting the money in their mattresses. But, hey, that's what liberalism is: blind and huge ego totally oblivious to history. And isn't it an odd thing in a country specifically designed by Jefferson to be free of gov't rather than to embrace an ever more powerful gov't capable of ever more deadly liberalism?

There you have it! You can't master logic like that without some kind of highly evolved sperm wiggling its way into the mix. And lets face it...when will liberals begin questioning the "lies that powerful American Presidents" tell about fighting wars. Obviously that will never materialize any time soon. That's why we need Ted to help us. Therefore I intend to announce, very shortly, my plan to elect Ted to the US Congress in 2006. Ted2006! Vote for Ted, he may not be quite right in the head, but at least he ain't a feminazi Red.

And don't miss Ted's true imaginary conversation with a smelly European liberal.

It all somehow makes sense if you let it rattle around inside your skull for a while. Or maybe not.


Pravda Circles The Wagons, Part II 

listening The Death of a Thousand finally takes its toll on Dick Durbin:
"Under fire from Republicans and some fellow Democrats, Sen. Dick Durbin apologized Tuesday for comparing American interrogators at the Guantanamo Bay prison camp to Nazis and other historically infamous figures.
"Some may believe that my remarks crossed the line," the Illinois Democrat said. "To them I extend my heartfelt apologies."
His voice quaking and tears welling in his eyes, the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate also apologized to any soldiers who felt insulted by his remarks."
A thousand tiny mindless insects, biting with a thousand tiny fascist talking points, finally shut him up and paved the way for the collective amnesia so essential to allowing Bush to ooze out of all responsibility for the abbatoir he has unleashed. Arise, ye patriots! Let your chests swell with pride at the mighty deed ye have accomplished:
"By last Friday, Durbin was trying to clarify his comments, yet the White House and top Republicans including Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist refused to relent. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, in an interview scheduled for broadcast Wednesday on Fox News radio's `"The Tony Snow Show," tried to equate the comment with actress Jane Fonda calling U.S. soldiers war criminals during a visit to North Vietnam in 1972.
On Tuesday, Chicago Mayor Richard Daley - a fellow Democrat - added his voice to the chorus of criticism, saying, "I think it's a disgrace to say that any man or woman in the military would act like that."
Meaning, I guess, that no further denigration of Lynndie England nor Charles Greider shall pass our lips, lest we be accused of thinking badly--merely thinking badly--of ANYone who wears a uniform. In fact, let's have all charges dropped and sentences commuted right now, and forget all this nonsense. Let's finally open up a good old-fashioned can of whupass on those Gitmo critters, and start yanking fingernails and gouging eyeballs straightaway. If we can do no wrong, then we can do anything.

And you can thank Hugh Hewitt for helping to crush Durbin's impertinent treason. He knew what you like. He knew what you hate. And he told you all about it so you didn't have to think too hard:
"The American electorate does not believe the conditions at Guantanamo are "torture." They do not agree that the criminal conduct of Abu Ghraib is illustrative of the American military. They do not worry that we are being overly inclusive about the population at Gitmo. They do not believe that any part of what America been about since September 11 is in any way connected with the Nazis, the Stalinists, or Pol Pot.
They are disgusted over this slander of the military, and they deserve a vote on whether Senator Durbin's argument deserves anything except complete and quick condemnation by responsible members of both parties intent on supporting the war, the military, and the country's defense."
Imagine my embarassment to discover that, since none of this reflects my own opinions, I must have left my American citizenship on the train last week. What will save me? Well, knowing the bovine American public's romance with inertia, it's unlikely that they are getting too worked up over Durbin's comments about this, fringe elements and embryophiles aside. But that doesn't stop Hugh, as he quotes from last Thursday's Al-Jazeera story on the Gitmo hearings, saying it:
"...reinforced the obvious and undeniable consequence of Durbin's recklessness: An enormous propaganda gift had been given by Durbin to jihadists everywhere, not to mention anti-Americans of every stripe."
The article in question, if read by a normal human being, actually does nothing of the kind, but rather even-handedly portrays arguments being put forward by detractors and apologists for the detainment camp. It doesn't matter...Hewitt's intent is to make clear that it's "anti-American" to object to one's nation's descent into tyranny, and he uses the bogeyman of the numberless enemy to scare us into silence about it. He quotes his soulmate from Arizona for backup:
"Arizona Republican Jon Kyl would not allow Durbin to slip away. Kyl blasted Durbin for the "consequences when enemies of the United States seize on even the flimsiest of things to take to the streets and riot . . . "
"Words have consequences." Kyl added. "It is irresponsible and it should not be engaged in, and it should not be countenanced."
In one magnificent blow for freedom, Kyl exonerates the decades-long policies of his masters and their precursors for any responsiblility for the current anti-American world climate, and implies that any criticism of them borders on traitorism. Not even Tom Daschle, on the eve of the war, was hounded by a maelstrom of frothing lunatics like this.

Later: Dogpile On Durbin: The Binge Drink of The Right

Take Dana Milbank---Please 

Greg Mitchell writing at Editor and Publisher wonders why Dana Milbank, who thought Conyers and his "trip to the land of make-believe" in the Capitol basement provided such comic fodder for his column, didn't find the reason behind the meeting nearly as interesting:
"Oddly, he seem less interested in the far more serious “make-believe” that inspired the basement session: the administration's fake case for WMDs in Iraq that has already led to the deaths of over 1,700 Americans and tens of thousands of Iraqis. No, Milbank used the valuable real estate of the Post -- its only coverage of the event -- to mock Rep. John Conyers, who arranged the meeting, and his “hearty band of playmates.”"
He goes on to recall the even bigger joke that had them all rolling in the aisles last March, one year after the start of the Iraq war and 500 American lives later, when Bush had a good yuk at the expense of the dead while mugging at the Radio and Television Correspondents Association dinner--"I wonder where those WMDs could be?"--while the hacks in the audience laughed and laughed. After cataloguing the shameful list of comments before and after the event, he explains why he's remembering them:
"I was reminded of all this at the Thursday forum when former CIA analyst Ray McGovern, after cataloguing the bogus Bush case for WMDs and the Iraqi threat, looked out at the cameras and notepads, mentioned the March 24, 2004 dinner, and acted out the president looking under papers and table for those missing WMDs. “And the media was all yucking it up ... hahaha,” McGovern said. “You all laughed with him, folks. But I'll tell you who is not laughing. Cindy Sheehan is not laughing.”
This was the woman sitting next to him whose son had been killed in Iraq. “Cindy's son,” McGovern added, “was killed 11 days after the show put on by the president ... after that big joke.”
Dana Milbank, who seems to like a good laugh, did not mention this in his story the following day."
How much more transparent can they be, these Rovian lapdogs dutifully burying the bones of Bush's crimes?

Or is it just that they are so swollen with ennui and jaded by daily outrages that they no longer even recognize an immoral man playing ventriloquist with corpses slain at his own illegal whim? Unless, that is, the Republican filter explains it for them.


Operational HQ/06.22.05/CR/YR Enlistment Drive 2005 / Summer Jobs in Iraq!

Attention Young/College Republicans! Stand up for your right to work and serve your country with pride! Stop being ignored and persecuted and marginalized by the self-important, self-satisfied and effeminate mainstream media! Tired of rich elitist kids like John Kerry or goofy old liberals like George McGovern getting handed all those war medals and stuff like that over the years. Well, are ya?... sure you are.

Remember when a young gallant southern gentleman named Tom Delay tried to sign up for action in Vietnam and he couldn't do it because they had given all the good search and destroy missions away to poor people and illegal immigrants and black guys and other affirmative action types? Tom Delay couldn't even never get a foot in the war door back then. Or when President, I mean Vice President, heh... Dick Cheney would have certainly gone to Vietnam except that he was really busy at the moment and was faithfully doing his manly duty making Lynne respectable in a traditional family way and by the time he had a chance to pull his trousers back up and tie his boot laces back together the war in southeast asia was already all over?

Or when Rush Limbaugh tried to fling himself into the free fire zone and they told him he couldn't go to Vietnam because he might shit all over himself in a hot LZ or something like that? Jeezis. Rememeber?

Thats because the Vietnam war was a liberal sissy war and the liberals back then, like John Kerry and his commie girlfriend Jane Fonda, didn't want any young God fearin' manly patriotic Christian gentlemen Republicans with steely jaws and steady hands and normal hormonal drives and potentially lucrative employment possibilities going to Vietnam and shitting all over everyone and eventually winning the war for America and thereby embarrassing the snooty elitist liberal weirdo hippy crybabies like Daniel Ellsberg and Bill Moyers and Art Buchwald. If the Vietnam war had been a God fearin' Republican freedom loving capitalist war from the get go there would be an Applebees or a Cracker Barrel on every corner in Hanoi today and you wouldn't be able to sail your company yacht up the Mekong River without running over some vacationing missionary in a fish-n-ski or a bass boat or a floating meth lab. But no....

The 60's liberals wanted all the glory for themselves (even if some pretended not to) and they wanted dopers and hillbillies and welfare queens and guys named Tyrone Washington to win the war in Vietnam for Lyndon Johnson and the Texas Democrats. President Nixon finally put an end to all that bullshit with honor (thats why the liberals hated Nixon) even if he did have to pee and shit all over himself to get the job done.

Yes, as you may have suspected, i have several Phd's in history. They're around here somewhere.

Anyway...and that's why it's ok now to stand up and say I'm a Young College Republican and I'm going to Iraq, or wherever it is, to win the war for George W. Bu$h and the Texas Republicans and Jesus Christ and western civilization. Even if I have to pee or shit all over myself to do it. This ones for you Rush ditto-baby!

vox clamantis in deserto!.

So, Young College Republicans... stand up, be heard, be counted, be proud, urinate down your own pantleg and march right up to that enlistment station and take back that tour of summer duty that is rightfully yours. For more details on Operation Yellow Elephant (OYE) and how you can take back your birthright for God and country-club and the flat tax and the GOP and other reasons I may have neglected to mention above please report to the General immediately. See:

The General can explain. See the following posts (if you haven't done so already) for further details:

Latest operational dispatch from The General.
more here
and here
and here
and here too.

Viva Las Vegas!


Tuesday, June 21, 2005

So, Unka Karl left a kitty's head in Frist's bed? 

Or maybe the Boy Emperor just yanked on the leash round his neck:

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist said Tuesday he would keep pressing for a vote on embattled U.N. nominee John Bolton's confirmation after President Bush insisted that throwing in the towel was not an option.

Hours earlier, Frist, R-Tenn., told reporters he would not schedule another vote on Bolton ''at this juncture,'' having lost two since May at the hands of Democratic critics. They are demanding more information from the Bush administration on Bolton's tenure as the State Department's arms control chief before allowing his nomination to advance to a final vote.
(via Times)


Nice to see a man who "knows his own heart," in the felicitous phrasing of David "I'm Writing as Bad as I Can" Brooks.

Yep, Frist is sure looking like Presidential timber, alright....

Girly man 

Good things happen for Democrats when they stand up and fight:v

Responding to a precipitous drop in popularity, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Tuesday said he wants to seek compromise with Democrats on the state budget and on issues he has placed before voters for a November special election.

"I feel that there is an agreement to be had," he said at a Capitol news conference. "We can resolve this, and then we can go together to the special election - Democrats and Republicans alike.

"It's all about the will. Do we have the will to represent the people of California?"
(via AP)

What you mean we?

Reading Is FUNdamental 

From the New York Times we get information we will never know:

WASHINGTON, June 19 - Law enforcement officials have made at least 200 formal and informal inquiries to libraries for information on reading material and other internal matters since October 2001, according to a new study that adds grist to the growing debate in Congress over the government's counterterrorism powers…

…The study does not directly answer how or whether the Patriot Act has been used to search libraries. The association said it decided it was constrained from asking direct questions on the law because of secrecy provisions that could make it a crime for a librarian to respond. Federal intelligence law bans those who receive certain types of demands for records from challenging the order or even telling anyone they have received it.

Keep reading, kids, LauWa is a librarian. She’s behind ya.


Frontline. Show called Private Warriors. About the contractors in iWaq. (They make at least three times what the GI's make.) Tonight. PBS.

"Demonized" Christians Fight Back 

Via The Hill, an announcement from that old constitutional amendment freak Ernest Istook (R-Okla)--who is still pissed that he can't get a flag-burning amendment passed, wants a constitutional amendment for school prayer, and wants to forbid federal funds for schools do not permit prayer. As soon as the Supreme Court hands down its decision on the public display of Roy Moore's Ten Commandments, possibly by next week, Istook, with the help of 45 co-sponsors, is ramming through a proposal for an amendment to "protect religious expression in schools and on other public property".
"Istook’s amendment, the “Pledge and Prayer Amendment,” could be the next chapter in an ongoing battle over the propriety of religious expression on government-owned property."
According to Istook's office:
"The Pledge and Prayer Amendment “would allow the display of the Ten Commandments and other historical religious documents on public property,” “allow greater freedom for students who wish to pray” and “allow students to recite the entire Pledge of Allegiance” — including the line “one nation, under God” — according to bullet points put out by Istook’s office."
This is Istook's second try, after an unsuccessful push to pass something along the same lines in 1998, and failing to get a 2/3rds majority (ah, those halcyon days!)

What do you want to bet that his definition of "other historical religious documents" won't be including Tibetan prayer flags and the Rig Veda?

UPDATE: And this is what happens when a non-Christian wants to inject "other historical religious documents" into the public space. (Thanks to Kevin from PA For Democracy for the tip.)

Your mother! 

Go Howard!

Dean, in Boston on Monday for a fundraiser, told fellow Democrats that the party can win in traditionally Republican states.

"But we gotta be there and fight in order to do it. And believe me, we are going to fight back. I don't care if Dick Cheney likes my mother or not. We are going to fight back," Dean said to cheers and applause. "I think it's great that Dick Cheney went after me, to be honest. At least they notice there's a Democratic Party that's not going to put up with this stuff any more. So there's a lot we're gonna do."
(via AP)

Pravda Circles The Wagons, Part I 

pioneers It was the worst of times; it was the worst of times. It was March(ing to war) 18, 2003, and Tom Daschle, well-known enemy saboteur, was shooting his mouth off for the aid and comfort of the WMD-bristling Iraqis:
"I'm saddened, saddened that this president failed so miserably at diplomacy that we're now forced to war," Daschle said in a speech to the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. "Saddened that we have to give up one life because this president couldn't create the kind of diplomatic effort that was so critical for our country."
Outrage! Infamy! And this at a time when we now know George Bush was doing everything in his power to avoid war, everything to find a political solution and avoid bloodshed.

True patriots, like Republican National Chairman Marc Racinot, responded in the only possible way: with hyperbole:
"It is disheartening and shameful for Senator Daschle, who has previously advocated and authorized the use of force in Iraq, to now blame America first."
Not to be outdone was Dennis Hastert:
""Those comments may not undermine the president as he leads us into war, and they may not give comfort to our adversaries, but they come mighty close."
And from Michael Barone:
"Daschle's words can only be explained as the product of a kind of hatred, unbuttressed by any serious intellectual argument, likely to hurt the party of the speaker far more than the party of the president they were directed against."
And Tom DeLay, who should know, called it:
Yes, the party of Lincoln, as they like to style themselves, was all about shutting Daschle up, following up on the Ari Fleischer talking points, originally applied to Bill Maher, that "it's a terrible thing to say, and it unfortunate. And that's why...they're reminders to all Americans that they need to watch what they say, watch what they do. This is not a time for remarks like that; there never is."

Never mind that this selective uber-patriotism was never applied for one minute to Bill Clinton. Republicans are capitalists, and capitalists are all about expediency, that's the bottom line, what makes the world go round, their core committment going forward. Have to break a few eggs to make an omelet and all that, the eggs being dissenting heads, the omelet being a big ol' mess o' profiteering at home and abroad just covered in somebody else's blood.

Fast forward to June 20, 2005, and we find Dick Durbin has been threatening the Republic with mean words about torture, when everyone would like him to just shut up and let us all forget. Summer is here, and there's fun to be had, fun in the sun, which even the inmates at Gitmo are enjoying, so can't we all just get along? And if we can't all just get along, how's about we make sure Durbin's life gets so miserable that no other treasonous little gopher sticks his head up and starts yammering about human decency and atrocities and morality, because morality doesn't mean jackshit if it isn't about some 6-celled blastocyst you can get all gooey creaming yourself over about how you can grow it up to be just like you only with more money. And don't go bringing up that crap about how Rick Santorum compared the Senate Democrats' insistence on playing by the rules to Hitler, because it's not the same, Santorum being a godly, embryo-loving pillar of Christian rectitude and Durbin being a skank-like underminer of the Good Fight and a known Hater of Our Troops.

Among the more manly defenders of The American Way of Facism is Hugh Hewitt, who yesterday suggested that Durbin should be censured because:
"Not only did Durbin's remarks injure America's position in the world, provide an enormous propaganda victory to the enemy, and slander the United States military, they also represent an escalation in the political rhetoric of the left, which is designed to undermine the public's confidence in the military, the administration, and the war. The censure resolution will oblige every senator to go on the record about how they view the American military as we enter the long phase of the war."
Not to mention the satisfying chilling effect such a resolution would have on the few remaining brave souls who might still feel moved to speak out against the injustices they see, and the way it will glue the concept of respecting and caring for soldiers to the totally unrelated concept of avoiding any and all criticism of the fraud in the Oval Office and his murderous policies.

Next, we'll visit with Hugh for a bit and learn how Islamofacist terrorists and "anti-Americans of every stripe" were heartened by Durbin's secret code language of hate, and how it's the fat mouths of the Left, and Durbin's stubborn clinging to anti-fossil fuel rhetoric, that are endangering Americans, not our realpolitik and 50 years of economic exploitation and ruthless pragmatic expansionism belied by hollow humanitarian talk of freedom.

Can't wait!

Monday, June 20, 2005

Theocracy rising: If they were Christians, it would be possible to demonize them as Christians 

Surely you remember the "Christians" at the Air Force Academy? The ones who called cadet Curtis Weinsteina "filthy Jew"? Where the chaplain urged cadets during basic training last year to warn fellow cadets that those not "born again will burn in the fires of hell"? (back)

Well, the Dems remembered, and tried to do something about it. Here's what happened:

The House passed a mammoth defense spending bill Monday evening, but only after a Republican congressman was forced to take back remarks accusing Democrats of "demonizing Christians."

The rhetorical warfare came as the House considered a proposal by Rep. David Obey, D-Wis., to put Congress on record against "coercive and abusive religious proselytizing" at the U.S. Air Force Academy.

Thank God! Ever since that airline pilot started proselytizing over the intercom during a flight (back) I've had the feeling that this whole thing about "sharing" faith was getting out of control.

Rep. John Hostettler, R-Ind., criticized Obey and Steve Israel, D-N.Y., who offered a similar condemnation of academy officials earlier this year on another bill.

"Like a moth to a flame, Democrats can't help themselves when it comes to denigrating and demonizing Christians," Hostettler said.

Democrats leapt to their feet and demanded Hostettler be censured for his remarks. After a half-hour's worth of wrangling, Hostettler retracted his comments.

Excellent! For once, the Dems call the Republicans, stand up, and refuse to be bullied.

Of course, if the theocrats were Christians, it would be possible to demonize them as Christians, but they aren't. I mean, real Christians don't lie all the time, right? Especially as a way to get the country into wars?

Republicans rejected Obey's amendment by a mostly party-line vote of 210-198.

The House instead approved by voice vote a Republican plan requiring an Air Force report to Congress on the steps it was taking to promote religious tolerance.

At issue is how Congress should respond to allegations of proselytizing and favoritism for Christians at the Air Force Academy.

The Air Force is investigating numerous allegations of inappropriate actions by academy officials, including a professor who required cadets to pray before taking his test and a Protestant chaplain who warned anyone "not born again would burn in the fires of hell."

Hostettler, a Christian [sic] and social conservative, made headlines last year when he was caught carrying a loaded handgun in a carry-on bag in the Louisville, Ky., airport. He pleaded guilty to carrying a concealed weapon and received a 60-day sentence, which he will not have to serve unless he has other criminal troubles before August 2006.

A loaded handgun in a carryon? WTF? Did Jesus say, "Blessed are the gun nuts," or what?

And all this crap is going down at the Air Force academy, in Colorado Springs, which is also a hotbed of theocratic activity (back). I hate to put on my tinfoil hat here, but the Air Force controls nuclear weapons. Do the theocrats believe in the chain of command? (And if so, why?) I mean, Dobson alone is bad enough, but a Dobson armed with nuclear weapons—the mind reels. Dr. Strangelove, here we come...

Help Make Skippy a 3 Year Old Millionaire! 

Skippy the Bush Kangaroo will turn 3 years old in July:
skippy the bush kangaroo will be turning three years old in about a month! more exciting (if you don't actually have a life), is the fact that we are about 82,000 hits short of a million visitors. wouldn't it be magical if we got our millionth visitor exactly on our 3rd blogiversary?

won't you please help skippy reach his life-long dream of a million visitors on his 3rd blogiversary by linking to this post? media works part 1...

Not only would it be magical but if you act now Robert Novak will disappear down a sulfurous crack in the earth's crust and Tom Delay will turn into a mealworm and be devoured by a chickadee. Plus Jesus will descend from the firmament riding a shimmering sunbeam and turn James Dobson's head into a giant pulsating boil which will explode in a ghastly puss-bath of gore and ooze right there on your national religious broadcasting tv station. And if thats not enough incentive to make skippy a millionaire I'll think of something else...something really disturbing, involving Preznit Make Believe and a cow pony with a huge swollen boner and and and... well, you get the picture... we have about a month to work on it.

Click the link above for radio skippy (bluegrass radio review interview.)

81,999 to go.


Losing Durbin On The Freeway 

At Corrente, we are livid that once again, the expressions of humanity and patriotism voiced by a Democrat, who dared to speak out against abuses being done by and to our country, is being screamed down as a traitor and a quisling by the rabid Right, with the eager consent of the White House. I posted the following last Friday morning at my site before I went away for a couple days...and when I finally look at the news this a.m. I find things are well along to turning Dick Durbin into the next Julius Rosenberg. This is not the last you'll hear about this sitch, from me or the others here. This can't be allowed to go on. If it does, you can soon kiss your right to say ANYthing vaguely contradictory to the prevailing politgeist goodbye:

Friday, June 17, 2005

hanged_man Sez the political traitor Senator Dick Durbin:
"When you read some of the graphic descriptions of what has occurred here -- I almost hesitate to put them in the record, and yet they have to be added to this debate. Let me read to you what one FBI agent saw. And I quote from his report:
    On a couple of occasions, I entered interview rooms to find a detainee chained hand and foot in a fetal position to the floor, with no chair, food or water. Most times they urinated or defecated on themselves, and had been left there for 18-24 hours or more. On one occasion, the air conditioning had been turned down so far and the temperature was so cold in the room, that the barefooted detainee was shaking with cold....On another occasion, the [air conditioner] had been turned off, making the temperature in the unventilated room well over 100 degrees. The detainee was almost unconscious on the floor, with a pile of hair next to him. He had apparently been literally pulling his hair out throughout the night. On another occasion, not only was the temperature unbearably hot, but extremely loud rap music was being played in the room, and had been since the day before, with the detainee chained hand and foot in the fetal position on the tile floor.
If I read this to you and did not tell you that it was an FBI agent describing what Americans had done to prisoners in their control, you would most certainly believe this must have been done by Nazis, Soviets in their gulags, or some mad regime -- Pol Pot or others -- that had no concern for human beings. Sadly, that is not the case. This was the action of Americans in the treatment of their prisoners.
It is not too late. I hope we will learn from history. I hope we will change course."
While the White House and its political cronies wax white with foam over the recent remarks by about the treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo, they seem blithely unconcerned over the implications of the recently publicized UK memos.

"Appalling!" "Beyond belief!" "Egregious misjudgment!" cried the Armies of the Rule of Law, from deep within the tender sensibilities of their fine-tuned compassion.

"Reprehensible...disservice to our men and women in uniform...should apologize," sputtered well-known human rights activist Scott McClellan about Durbin this a.m on NPR. Meanwhile, when asked about the "forum" on the Downing Street Memo held by John Conyers, Jr. yesterday, he said "Our focus is not on the past, it's on the future..." And don't fucking trouble me with this twaddle again.

Durbin doesn't need me to defend him, he has plenty of more eloquent folks doing that. But Chris Hedges, in his new book, "Losing Moses On The Freeway", has something to say about the idols of the state, and state religion, that seems particularly apt:

"Those who sanctify their own power deny this mystery (that is God). They promise that God can not only be known but also manipulated. False prophets, who say they can harness the power of God for us, lead us away from the worship of God into the corrosive idolatry of self-worship. They seek to speak not only for God, but for the nation, fusing religion and nationalism into a dangerous brew that brings us to kneel before the idol of the state...
We depend on our idols to give us order and meaning. We depend on our idols to define our place in the world. Idols give us a world that appears logical and coherent. Idols free us from moral choice. Idols determine right and wrong. Idols render judgment. We follow. We conform.
When we see the hollowness of our idols, how they have led us to waste time and energy, when we smash these false gods and peer at the uncertainty of life, those who continue to revere the idol turn against us. We are expelled from the cult, stripped of identifying power and left alone. It is easier to remain silent, to pay homage to a false god, even after this god is exposed as a fraud. Those who worship idols deal harshly with those who become apostates."
Durbin has become apostate, and the cult has begun its work.

Hey Boys and Girls! I want to be your friend...I have candy! 

I could almost feel sorry for Army and Guard and Reserve recruiters, the same way I take pity at times for telemarketers and spammers and the like. Sometimes people get desperate and take awful jobs to survive. But then I read shit like this....

(via Columbia SC State)
Army recruiters are changing their pitch.

Instead of selling benefits and jobs, they are trying to become mentors and counselors to prospects.

“We call it the Army interview,” said Lt. Col. David Dougherty, commander of the Columbia Recruiting Battalion.

Army studies show young people prefer a personal relationship with recruiters. The studies also show young people are more interested in being part of a team, want to serve others and have a deep streak of patriotism.

The new approach is being tried as the Army struggles to find enough recruits.

For the first six months of fiscal year 2005, which began Oct. 1, the [South Carolina] battalion signed 1,113 recruits to contracts, 45 more than during the first half of 2004.
Huh? They got half again as many kids suckered in and they're still under quota? How can this be?
However, the Army greatly increased its goal for South Carolina — a traditionally strong recruiting area — for this year. As a result of that higher number, the Columbia battalion missed its goal for the first half of this year — 1,599 contracts — by 30 percent.
Oh. Now I see. See intro graph about "sometimes feeling sorry for recruiters." Now back to our story....
... with an improving economy, some prospects have more options than they had three or four years ago. Then, joining the military seemed like the best path to a steady paycheck, benefits and college money.

In the mentor approach, a recruiter walks a prospect through options for the future and tries to show how the military might help in achieving those goals, Dougherty said.

The mentor approach also helps break the ice with parents, relatives, teachers, coaches, ministers and others who talk to a prospect about the decision to join the military.

Dougherty thinks the new approach is showing some benefits.
Yeah, yeah, sure, right. "Benefits" for who, exactly? would be my question. Oh, and Col. Bubba? You come near my kid with this shit and it ain't gonna be ice that gets broken, if you get my drift.

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