Thursday, June 30, 2005

Family Values?

The Republicans like to shout from the rooftops that they are the "Party of Family Values." Well, they had a chance to put their money where their mouth was today in the House of Representatives. And it comes as no surprise that they failed the test.

Rep. Davis (D-FL) sent up an amendment that would modify the current three-year rule on family members traveling to Cuba. A Rep. (R) from Arizona rose to support it, citing the case of a certain Mr. Lazio. Mr. Lazio is a naturalized American citizen who left his divorced wife and two sons behind in Cuba (they had agreed to it, apparently). Mr. Lazio joined the US Army, and was awarded the Bronze Star for service in Iraq. Meanwhile, he found out that one of his sons was sick and in a hospital in Cuba. He asked for permission to go.

He was denied, since under current rules he had to wait three years between visits and it wasn't his turn yet.

Reps. Diaz-Baralt (R-FL), Ros-Leihtenen (R-FL) and Menendez (D-NJ) all jumped on Davis and anyone else who rose to support this amendment. The arguments were long and passionate, but boiled down to this: Those representing the Cuban-American community in the US would rather deny a person the right to visit a sick son or hold the hand of a dying relative than allow Fidel Castro to get his hands on a single US dollar.

Now, everyone knows that Fidel Castro is a denatured pig, but after 46 years of sanctions, assassination attempts and general meanness from the Great Power to the North, he's still as firmly entrenched in power than ever. The only people who suffer from the sanctions are the actual Cuban people, not those ruling the country.

The debate petered out after Rep. Jeffords (I-VT) rose to blast an amendment that would privatize airplane service and maintenance stations, but came roaring back when Rep. Rangel (D-NY) took the floor. Rangel's on the Ways and Means Committee, which is currently debating CAFTA. He argued in support of doing away with sanctions against Cuba altogether, citing our loss of moral standing in the hemisphere, the fact that sanctions are usually considered an act of war (or at least an unfriendly act), and the benefits that could be given to Cuba by allowing trade with the only Communist state in the region.

Needless to say, certain Republicans started foaming at the mouth, and I thoroughly enjoyed watching it.

So much for the "family values" line. If another GOP political whore uses it again, call them down on it, hard.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

12 Puppies, 1 Cat, 2 Iraqis, and a Bunch of Fish

And no, it's not an elaborate joke.

There was some movement in the news today, but I can not discern a pattern to any of it. Let's take a peek (in order):

Twelve puppies were stolen from a pet store in Orlando, Florida. They were purebred, but the thieves didn't take the AKC registry papers. The thieves are either stupid or there is some other motive for stealing puppies. Hmm. Fighting dogs do need to eat; what better food to give them? (Hey! If you worked where I work, you'd think the same way.)

In Spring Hill, Florida (other side of the state), a cat was found in a neighbor's yard, its throat slit and its body cut in half. Sheer meanness, psychosis, or a ritual of some kind?

Two Iraqis were arrested by Mexican police as they tried to cross the border near San Diego. They say that they were approached by a man in Baghdad who offered to help them reach their relatives in California. This is weird. Schwarzenegger is still Governor - who'd want to go to California?

Finally, tropical fish were seen swimming out of a storm sewer in Pinellas County, Florida after recent heavy rains. The fish were part of a now-defunct fish farm.


Bush's Sales Pitch

President Bush went on national TV last night to talk about Iraq. Facing an audience of about 750 largely supportive soldiers at Fort Bragg, NC, El Presidente tried to reprise his role as Willy Loman. He said that his "greatest responsibility is to protect American people" and repeated his oft-stated mantra that "this nation will not wait to be attacked."

I took notes during the speech, which was held on the first anniversary of our rather shabby handback of sovereignty. For those of you who don't recall it, L. Paul Bremer, our Viceroy, signed over the title to the country, then left for the airport as fast as he could. Almost as if he was afraid to stay there a minute longer than he had to.

Anyway ... back to Our Leader's speech. It was well-crafted, and (as he always is when he has a prepared statement to work from) he was articulate, even eloquent.

He mentioned 9/11 four times, and one of those times was to lash the war in Iraq to the mast of the larger war on terror. He also spoke of the war in Iraq as removing a source of instability - disregarding the fact that the country was stable before we invaded. He spoke of pursuing peace in Iraq on two fronts, political and military, and extolled the perceived effects of Operation Vicarious Manhood on the rest of the region.

As for the possibility of our withdrawal from Iraq, he said that "as Iraqis stand up we will stand down," that we will "stay as long as we are needed" based on the "sober judgement of our military leaders." Establishing a timetable for that withdrawal would send the wrong message, so he said.

He once again harked back to his father's generation, who destroyed not one, but two evil empires, at a cost in human life that would make Americans cringe in terror nowadays. Finally he called upon the country for patience, and made an appeal for people to enlist in what is becoming an increasingly unpopular military adventure.

My opinions?

I was unimpressed. I was unimpressed in 2002, I was unimpressed in 2003, I was unimpressed in 2004, and I am unimpressed now.

This war was started based on lies and faulty, manufactured information from unreliable sources and spread by shabby little people with private or political agendas. I said then that nothing good will come of it, and so far nothing good has (I will overlook the obvious pleasure of terrorist masterminds, who are enjoying the chance to hone their training and skills in Baghdad, Ramadi and Fallujah).

But Bush and his minions will still insist that we march off to war crying "Remember 9/11!" with the same venom and vigor with which we marched to war crying "Remember Pearl Harbor!" Just one thing, Georgie - we didn't invade Brazil in response to Pearl Harbor.

I have grown weary of World War Two analogies and 'parallels' being drawn by the right wing, their media catspaws and their supporters. American troops will always fight bravely, even when their leadership orders them to do stupid things.

In the movie The Princess Bride, one of the villains says that the greatest Classic Blunder is getting into a land war in Asia. Did anyone realize that Iraq is part of Asia?

So he did his salesman bit - it remains to see how many people fall for the pitch.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

News Weirdness

I read several news websites over the course of a given day, and sometimes I run across some truly interesting things.

From the BBC:

The Herald, a state-run newspaper in Harare, Zimbabwe, has published a story stating that the US and the UK used "unspecified 'unconventional' chemical weapons" to manipulate the climate, causing widespread droughts and famine in southern Africa.

Hmm. Didn't know we could do that ...

Also from the BBC:

Two hundred years ago this year, the British Fleet under Nelson destroyed a combined Franco-Spanish fleet under Villeneuve off the Spanish Cape of Trafalgar. The victory ended Napoleon's aspirations to invade and subjugate England, and confirmed English naval supremacy until the First World War.
The obligatory battle reenactment will be fought between a 'red' force and a 'blue' force, in order to spare any hard feelings on the part of the French.

Excuse me? This would be like fighting a reenactment of the Battle of Apomattox Courthouse and having Grant surrender to Lee in order to spare any hard feelings on the part of the former Confederate states.

From Korean Central News Agency (North Korea):

"The normalization of the relations between the DPRK and the U.S. can never come true so long as the latter remains hostile to the DPRK and keen to overthrow the former's system. If the U.S. is interested in normalizing the bilateral relations, it should recognize and respect the system in the DPRK and give up its intention to bring it down."

Oh, so it's that easy, huh? Surprising that no one's pointed it out to Bush yet.

Operation Pointy Thing

"Operation Dagger."

"Operation Sword."

What the hell is it with these operational codenames? Does someone in the Pentagon have an edged weapons fetish or something?

Better names for these tactical operations might be "Operation Vicarious Manhood" or "Operation Distraction" or even "Operation Let's Act Like We're Winning."

The Casus Belli

An article in today's Washington Post (; you'll need to register but it's free) summarized the movements in London and Washington during the runup to our adventure in Iraq. It pointed out the problems faced by the Bushite Junta (thin intelligence, weak public support and no postwar planning), and the concerns that the Blair Government had about the whole thing. Blair's chief foreign policy adviser, David Manning, even went so far as to say, "They may agree that failure isn't an option, but this does not mean they will necessarily avoid it."

The Blair Government also viewed with a certain amount of alarm that the US had stepped up its bombing campaign in Iraq months before the UN resolution allowing the use of force, and the prevailing opinion was that the rest of the Bush Administration considered Powell's speech to the UN in 2003 to be a sham.

So, with all the inevitability of a Greek tragedy and the awful grandeur of a slow-motion train wreck, we went to war in Iraq. Then the mistakes started to rear their ugly heads. We weren't able to get the pipelines running at 100% as Wolfowitz had so blithely assured us, our viceroy in Baghdad (Medal of Freedom winner L. Paul Bremer) fired the entire Iraqi Army (which guaranteed an insurgency, by the way - throw that many soldiers out on the street with no pay and you're just ASKING for trouble), our equipment proved inadequate to protect our troops, etc.

Could it have been avoided?

My contention is that it couldn't have been avoided, no matter what anyone did. Bush had wanted to settle scores with Hussein even before he was nominated in 2000, and he had surrounded himself with people who thought the way he did or wouldn't say No to him. Surrounding yourself with sycophants guarantees that your point of view will be reinforced, but it also guarantees that bad decisions will not be argued with. And invading Iraq was A Bad Decision. Here's why:

1. We had the Taliban and al Qaeda on the run in Afghanistan, and the rest of planet was supporting us because they saw the danger. Now, if Pakistan would have cooperated with us, Osama bin Missin might be dead or in custody now.

2. Iraq was contained, pure and simple. Saddam had abandoned his WMD programs, and if someone had listened to people other than Achmed Chalabi, we'd have known that.

But we are there now, public support is dwindling, and Bush knows it. The long-lasting cloud of Certainty that has muffled his ears and blinkered his eyes is starting to fade away. I hope that when the time comes we can extricate ourselves from this mess, and then concentrate on reestablishing our credibility and our reputation.

Because both our credibility and our reputation have been shattered. In trying to fight terror, we have detained without arrest or trial, tortured and abused, and invaded another sovereign nation. Iraq is now the best and largest training camp for terrorists ever (this according to General Abizaid, btw). Nations now consider us a threat, or at least someone that can't be trusted.

Strange days.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Split Court Press

The Supreme Court of the United States has handed down two decisions regarding the display of the Ten Commandments in our nation. Both decisions are guaranteed to piss Somebody off, so let's take a look at them.

In a Kentucky case, the Supremes ruled that the Commandments could not be displayed in the courthouse, as they were there for a demonstrably religious reason. (Although the Commandments and Moses are shown in the Supreme Court building in DC, the actual tablets are blank, as I recall.)

However, in a Texas ruling, the Supremes did a little shuck and jive. They ruled that the Commandments, which were displayed as a monument on the courthouse grounds along with several other stones depicting various legal and religious bases of our government and code of laws, was perfectly legal because of the context in which it was located. Uh huh.

Both decisions were 5-4 splits, which shows just how crazy things could get if Chief Poobah Rehnquist retires. He is, after all, 80 years old and has cancer. Justice Stevens is 85, and Justice O'Connor is 75 - they are the three oldest members.

I think that Certain People in the Bushite Junta must lie awake at night and fondle themselves to fantasies about not one, but three vacancies in the Court on Dubya's watch. There would be some serious movement away from many legal positions if that happened and Dubya's lapdog GOP Senate managed to send three Freaks up.

First thing, right out of the gate: Goodbye, Roe v Wade. Second, Lawrence v Texas. Third, maybe Miranda v Arizona. And the list goes on.

Now, none of the Nine have announced their retirement, so the balance of the Court remains intact for now. Selection of the possible candidates must be interesting. One of them is the current Attorney General, who said that torture was perfectly hunky-dory and that the Geneva Conventions were "quaint."

Alberto Gonzales would be a perfect storm candidate - the first Hispanic on the highest court in the country, despised by the Democrats for his stance on torture, despised by the extremist GOP for his favorable rulings on abortion while on the Texas Supreme Court.

I'll have to lay in a supply of vodka and chocolate cookies for the confirmation hearings.

Nature Pissed Off

Ordinarily I believe in no power superior to my own mind, but you have to admit that the recent spate of natural events might give the credulous room to think:

Earthquakes in California
Fires in the American Southwest
Floods in China
Shark attacks in Florida
Bear attacks in Alaska
Karl Rove actually seen in the sunlight (which could severely injure his maggotlike fishbelly-white skin)

And so on. We're into summer, which is the Silly Season, that time of year when Americans start worrying about stupid shit. We've seen this before, when a combination of Brittney Spears, shark attacks and Gary Condit served to distract the public away from the looming menace that finally broke like a thunderstorm over our heads on September 11, 2001.

What will be this year's Summer Distraction?

Pride and Prejudice

Last weekend saw a gay pride rally in Tampa, earlier the scene of a Hillsborough County Commission resultion that barred the county from advertising said rallies. A very diverse crowd, both straight and gay, participated in the march and accompanying rally.

Also this past weekend, the University of Florida committed a bit of a faux pas by publishing the name of ex-Governor Charley Johns in its list of notable alumni. Mr. Johns was a segregationist who also wanted to round up any homosexual students or teachers at the University of Florida and expel them from the campus.

Granted, this all happened back in the 1950s, before the Stonewall Riots that began the modern gay rights movement. But it was still wrong of the UF staff to overlook this aspect of Mr. JOhns' history.

Weekend Recap

Well, let's see what happened over the weekend while I wasn't paying attention, shall we?

Donny the Jowl Rumsfeld was on a Sunday talk show and related the startling news that, despite what Dick the Smirk said about the "last throes" and all that, the insurgency in Iraq could last another 12 years or so. How he got that figure he wouldn't say, but it sounds like PIFTA to me.

PIFTA = Pulled It From Thin Air. Long-range economists do that a lot, and now apparently so does Donny the Jowl.

Rumsfeld also admitted what the BBC reported on several months ago - we've opened negotiations with some of the insurgent groups. So much for our principled stand on never negotiating with terrorists, eh Donny? I guess politics is the art of the possible, after all.

More bombs in Iraq, killing another number of people in Mosul. The Butcher's Bill for George Bush's vicarious assertion of his manhood is now about 1740. Most of those died after Dubya declared "Mission Accomplished" in that oh-so-obviously staged aircraft carrier photo op.

The tragic deaths of three small kids in Camden NJ was ruled an accident by the police there. Of course, there'll be an investigation into why no one thought of checking the trunk.

I didn't miss much, did I?

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Moral Continua

One of the most creative (and labor-intensive) parts of writing my novels (See link on this page) has been devising a fully workable language for the alien race I created. The Kashlani are ancient, and to a certain extent that long history has given them a very broad moral perspective.

There is a word, reget, that sums this up. Reget is a morally neutral position, between truth (g'reget) and falsehood (z'reget). They learned, over hundreds of thousands of years, that all truth is based on how a person perceives that truth. And that perception gives them a sense of balance - they are not dogmatic, and far less prone to extremes than we are.

Playing Candide

Yesterday was payday, so I spent a good portion of the morning casting aspersions and puppy biscuits to the lupine pests lolling about my doors, and afterward I spent an enjoyable amount of downtime at Tampa's Ybor City. For those of you who don't know, Ybor is a historic district that is now a fashionable ghetto of nightclubs, bars and restaurants. You can have a great time there, or get your throat slit (which has happened before).

But I digress.

Today I got up bright and early to do yardwork. I mowed and trimmed the yard, weeded my gardens, pressure washed my patio and then set up an herb garden so I can have fresh mint and &c. when I want to. All in all, a busily productive day cultivating my garden like Voltaire's famous character.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Karl Rove

Steve Gilliard, over on The News Blog, asked people to send a letter via email to their Republican Senator or Representative concerning the speech Karl Rove gave earlier today. Here is the letter I sent to Rep. Adam Putnam, who represents my district:

"According to the New York Times, presidential advisor Karl Rove recently said that liberals in this country want our troops to die.
As a Republican, I find this deeply offensive. I don't feel this is the sort of rhetoric our country needs during wartime, and I resent the idea that anyone wants any of our troops to come to harm. In making such statements Mr. Rove is not only impugning their politics, he is degrading their basic humanity.
As a constituent of yours, I would like to know, sir, if you agree with Mr. Rove's statements. Does he speak for you?"

I just received a reply from his office. Although it's sign by him, I have no way of knowing if he actually read it or not, but here goes:

"Dear Mr. Reimer:
I have received a form letter from you that stated: "According to the New York Times, presidential advisor Karl Rove recently said that liberals in this country want our troops to die."
He said no such thing. I have attached the article you referenced from the New York Times, which clearly shows that White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove did not utter the remarks you attribute to him, nor did he say anything remotely similar.
One of the most distressing elements in our society today is the harshness of the rhetoric that comes from the extremes on both sides of the aisle. Recently, Senate Minority Whip Richard Durbin compared the actions of the U.S. Marines guarding terrorists at Guantanamo with Adolf Hitler, Josef Stalin and Pol Pot, who were responsible for the torture and murder of tens of millions of innocent civilian. To prove his analogy, he cited the facts, among others, that prisoners were forced to live in non-airconditioned cells and listen to rap music. He reluctantly returned to the Senate Floor to apologize for his ridiculous and offensive remarks only after the Democratic Governor of his home state openly criticized them.
As a member of the Florida Legislature and the U.S. House of Representatives, I have adhered to the belief that reasonable people may differ, and that they may discuss their views without being disagreeable. Our nation will be better served if everyone took a deep breath and paused before engaging in hurtful political invective -- or passing along the prepared form letters of special interest advocacy groups without first checking the facts.
Sincerely,Adam Putnam
Member of Congress"

Apparently someone on his staff reads The News Blog.

"Last Throes?"

Ordinarily, when someone speaks of something in its "last throes," the phrase conjures up visions of a wounded animal, weak and mortally wounded but still capable of biting.

Such was the comforting image Vice President Richard "the Smirk" Cheney gave to the American people last Memorial Day. The Iraqi insurgency, he implied, was dying.

Reality paints a somewhat different picture.

"The top American commander in the Persian Gulf told Congress on Thursday that the Iraqi insurgency has not grown weaker over the past six months, despite a claim by Vice President Dick Cheney." - CNN,

That's General John Abizaid, the overall commander of US forces in Iraq, telling the Senate Armed Services Committee that the insurgency keeps getting a steady influx of new fighters, and that (plus reports of dwindling public support and a lot of incompetence on the part of the US Government and military hierarchy) prompted Senator Kennedy (D-Seagrams) to call for Donny the Jowl to resign.

Not a good day for Donny, it seems.

NBC last week carried a disturbing item about the insurgency - they're getting technically more polished in their attacks. Evidence revealed the use of shaped charges in IEDs that could shatter even an up-armored Humvee, and damage a Bradley or a tank. It's not really a surprise - think of all the foreigners coming into Iraq. Many are Saudis, beneficiaries of an excellent educational system and some having college degrees. A lot of those degrees are probably in technical fields such as engineering and chemistry.



A very long time ago, there was a god called Moloch that required a particularly stiff kind of payment for his putative services. In exchange for the usual things a god provides (fertility, good luck, destroying people who piss you off, etc.), Moloch demanded that children be fed into the fires that surrounded his likeness.

Spiffy. Gotta love religion.

Moloch is still around, but we've very cleverly changed his name and wrapped him up in red, white and blue bunting. And the current High Priest of Moloch (a.k.a. Secretary of Defense Donald "Donny the Jowl" Rumsfeld) is looking for your kids.

High schools that accept Federal money under the Every Child Left Behind Act will have to pour names, Social Security numbers, and addresses of students into a recruiting database so that the Merry Minions of the Military-Industrial Complex can chat them up about how wonderful it would be to enlist. Based on recent stories of recruiters lying and basically stalking kids, it's going to be a hardsell.

Now, parents who don't want their kids recruited can opt out of the system, by filling in the blanks in another database. Uh huh. And I have some prime real estate in Afghanistan to sell you ...

Many people see this for what it is - an easy way to set up a draft. It's a sneaky way, assuredly, because we have Donny the Jowl and everyone else in Washington swearing black, blue and puce that there'll never be a draft.

Meanwhile, Moloch's getting peckish.


The House just voted to ban flag burning, and the Senate might pass it as well. Okay, but what's the accepted way of disposing of an old or tattered flag?

By burning it!

Does this mean that the American Legion will get themselves arrested for "retiring" a flag?

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Two Quotes to Ponder:

"As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron."
- H.L. Mencken

“That we are to stand by the president, right or wrong is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public.”
-Theodore Roosevelt

Putting Condi In Her Place

Secretary of State and White House Eye Candy Condoleeza Rice was in Egypt on Monday, laying some verbal whupass on Our Allies in Southwest Asia. Among other things, she said (according to the BBC), "Throughout the Middle East the fear of free choices can no longer justify the denial of liberty ... [I]t is time to abandon the excuses that are made to avoid the hard work of democracy."

Now, this was probably greeted with some fixed smiles and rolling eyes in Cairo, but it was Our Dear Allies Oh And Our Chief Supplier Of Oil, Saudi Arabia that shut her down. Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal said, "The row is really meaningless ... the assessment that is important for any country in the development of its political reform is the judgment of its own people."

In other words, "Sit down and shut up, you infidel woman."

I wonder how Condi's words would have played if she'd said them in Israel, whose 'democratic' government has for years denied a significant segment of their population the full exercise of civil liberties, as well as exercised a largely brutal occupation.

I'm certain that Egypt and Saudi Arabia will gradually democratize and grant more civil liberties. Hell, they might even stop jailing anyone who disagrees with them, or shutting down any form of political opposition.

But not because Condi says so, and not because the US says so either. Sovereign nations have an inherent right to self-determination.

Holy Crap!

Asahi Shimbun (actually it's English mirror) has run the following story:

"A 15-year-old boy admitted he murdered his father for embarrassing him and killed his mother to end her misery before blowing up their home in Tokyo to conceal the crime, police said Wednesday."

Well isn't that special?

"The boy was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of murder after fleeing to an onsen inn in Gunma Prefecture.Police quoted the teen as saying: 'I killed them. My father made a fool out of me. I thought I should kill my mother with him because she was always saying that she wanted to die because of all the hard work she had been doing. I'm now feeling regret.'"

How nice - NOW he feels regret. And here's the last, oh-so-obvious piece of the puzzle:

"The teenager's classmates expressed shock when they learned of the arrest. They described the boy as quiet ... "

Gee, another "quiet kid" who goes completely bugnuts crazy. And not in the US of A either.

The madness is spreading.

This Week's Punk Award

Yes, I decided that I will choose the worst Punk each week and showcase his or her Punkery for all the non-Punk world to see.

And this week's (yeah, yeah, I know it's only Wednesday, but this was a no-brainer) Punk Award goes to Senator Richard 'Dick' Durbin, D-IL.

Last week, Sen. Durbin made a statement that caused many in the Senate and a lot of Republican apologists to go all vaporish. He essentially said that our treatment of detainees at Guantanamo Bay's Camp X-Ray was close to the treatment meted out in German-occupied Europe back in the 40s, the Soviet Far East in the 20s-80s, and Cambodia in the 80s (that's Nazis, Gulags and Pol Pot for those who need a pointer).

At the time, I was pleased that Durbin refused to apologize or retract his comments. But apparently the attack dogs in the media and in the Senate finally broke him. It started with his "clarifying" his statement, and ended with his emotional apology on the Senate floor yesterday.

It was sad to see a United States Senator bend over like a soggy taco or a three-dollar crack whore with an anal fetish. But then again, maybe not; we've gotten used to seeing Our Elected Representatives get down on their knees and beg for the Hits of Black Acid, or vie for the opportunity to suckle like pigs on a sow's teat.

Strange days are ahead.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Nothing Better To Do?

The United States Congress, particularly the lower House of Representatives, is a very busy place. Here's a partial list of the important things the House needs to address:

Medicare reform
Medicaid reform
Social Security reform
The Downing Street Documents
Veteran's issues
War in Iraq
War on Terror

But what greeted my delicate sensibilities when I put on CSPAN this afternoon? A debate on a Constitutional amendment banning the "desecration" of the flag.

What fresh hell is this?

Now, all apart from the obvious stupidity of the very idea (and leaving aside the fact that the conservative majority in the Supreme Court said that burning the flag was protected speech under the First Amendment), the concept of "desecrating" a flag struck me as rather, well, odd.

Let's crack open the dictionary, shall we?

Desecrate (de-si-krAt): 1. to violate the sanctity of. 2. to treat disrespectfully, irreverently, or outrageously.

Note two of the words in that definition, "sanctity" and "reverent." I suppose that one can desecrate a cross (in fact, there's a web site that offers exactly that - but I wouldn't know nothing about that). But a flag?

A flag is a symbol. In our country, which acknowledges no sovereignty except that of the people (which is why the US Constitution starts with "We the People" instead of anything about a King or God), the flag is a symbolic proxy for our power in national affairs. Its presence in a courtroom signifies that the court acts with the authority of the people.

We salute the flag. We do not worship it. The nation is a state, a community of all the people. The nation is not a God, despite what certain people might tell you.

So why, with all this important stuff to discuss and vote on, is the House whipping itself up about flag burning?

I guess it's because they have Nothing Better To Do.

The Latest Distractions

The latest bit of news (fluff) to be dredged up and smeared across our faces to draw our attention away from the Total and Egregious Mess we're in is a news item from GQ magazine. Two of the soldiers who had been guarding Saddam Hussein in his undisclosed location (question: is Saddam's room down the hall from Cheney's?) revealed a few items about the current lifestyle of the former Evil Terror Oh My God Lock Up The Children Dictator of Iraq.

He likes Raisin Bran for breakfast, Cheetos and Doritos are his favorite snack food. He dislikes both Bushes (hey, who doesn't?) but admires Reagan. He also denies any link to Osama bin Missin' and al Qaeda, and stated that Bush knew going in that Iraq had no WMDs. Oh yeah, and he's almost compulsively obsessed with cleanliness. The two soldiers also said that he's convinced he's still President of Iraq, and dispensed advice to his guards.

I'm certain that Saddam can be quite charming, but then many psychopathic personalities are like that. If you've ever met a con man or an Evangelical, you'll know what I'm talking about. His compulsive cleanliness can be explained in two ways: he always seems standoffish in videos taken of him while he was in charge, and many inmates will get crazy about staying clean - they don't have much else to do.

Now, I'm sure that these two soldiers might have to face disciplinary action. They didn't disclose where he was held, of course, but public disclosure of details about his living conditions might piss off Rumsfeld.

All in all, another little distraction to take our minds off the mess in Iraq, by reminding us of a "high point," the arrest of Saddam.

Speaking of distractions, Senator Joe "Carbon Copy" Biden (D-DE) has announced that he's looking into running for President again. Has the Plagiarist forgotten that he was chased out of the race back in the 80s like a flea-bitten cur, or does he think we've forgotten? I'm sure he'd have more funds for his campaign this time, since he sold his soul (at interest) to the credit card companies that are such a huge feature of life in his state.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Another Black Eye for Frist

The vote was held in the Senate at 6:03 ET on the Motion to Invoke Cloture on John Bolton's nomination. The final tally was: 54 Ayes, 38 Nays. 60 votes were required to pass the motion.

Famous Last Words?

"The level of activity that we see today from a military standpoint, I think, will clearly decline. I think they're in the last throes, if you will, of the insurgency." - Vice President Richard Cheney, 5/30/05 (Source: CNN.)

"The ranks of the Vietcong are thinning steadily ... we have reached an important point when the end begins to come into view." - General William Westmoreland, December 1967 (Source: Karnow, Stanley, Vietnam: A History. New York: Penguin Books, 1983.)

"I really hope this isn't about positioning for the 2006 election." - Rep. Conaway (R-TX), on President Bush's 'expanation' for the war in Iraq, 6/20/05 (Source: Fox News.)

"It sounds like you have a pretty good idea of where he is. Where?" "I have an excellent idea of where he is. What's the next question?" - CIA Director Porter Goss, TIME, 6/19/05.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Bits and Pieces

Just a few things that have popped into my head today.

The United States Army's Field Manual FM 34-52 ( states quite clearly that "The use of force, mental torture, threats, insults, or exposure to unpleasant and inhumane treatment of any kind is prohibited by law and is neither authorized nor condoned by the US Government." It further states that it "yields unreliable results, may damage subsequent collection efforts, and can induce the source to say whatever he thinks the interrogator wants to hear."
So why do it?
I think that the reason for the abuses we've seen at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo and Bagram boil down to two things: racism, and revenge. For the past 20 years we've slowly been conditioned to consider all Arabs (and neighboring ethnicities, such as Persians, Berbers, etc.) to be the collective Enemy Of Everything We Hold Dear, and this perception is fed by a slow infusion of racist ideology designed to demonize them. If you demonize the enemy, you objectify them and that makes it easier to mistreat or kill them with a clean conscience. After Black Tuesday, many Americans wanted to "get revenge" on those vicious animals who didn't think like us, didn't act like us, and quite probably were the Spawn of Satan.
I feel that torture can be actually fun, if done in private between consenting adults - oops, I'm giving too much away, aren't I?
The vicious beating meted out to the National Guardsman from Kentucky at Gitmo was totally reprehensible. There are other, easier ways of extricating a problem detainee from his cell. I speak from experience about this. What we're seeing at the 'detention centers' is torture. Torture condoned by the Department of Defense, torture supported by the Attorney General, torture for people who could be held by us In Perpetuity.
Bush's Big Mouth
George Bush cranked up the rhetoric about Iran's presidential elections, with predictable results. Iran doesn't like us, but was willing to discuss a modus vivendi that would allow a gradual softening of positions, followed by - dare I say it? A reestablishment of ties?
Ah, but this is the Bush White House we're talking about; people there still talk to Manucher Gorbanifar, the biggest jiveass west of anywhere.
One of the problems with sycophancy is that the truth often falls through the cracks. It's still there, but the legion of yes-men you surround yourself with will never tell it to you. Saddam found that out, eventually. I think it was when he appeared on camera, shaken and confused, just before Baghdad fell.
Foreshadowing? I can't tell; my foresight is on the blink, and I haven't touched my Tarot cards lately.
The Death of Discourse
One of the things I've discovered in talking about the Iraq War, the War on Terror, Bush, etc. and one thing becomes apparent.
People are willing to talk To you, but not With you.
As the discussion grows more heated, the points of view grow more extreme and finally calcify there. Ordinarily nice people who dislike abortion become foaming antiliberal maniacs who think that any woman who even thinks that her body is her own responsibility should be sent to Guantanamo, while ordinarily nice people who take issue with Dubya's positions on things become just slightly crazy, to the point of advocating war crimes trials at the Hague (when we have procedures to handle that nicely, thank you).
To quote a wise man, "Can't we all just get along?"

"We Have Met The Enemy ...

... And He Is Us."

Walt Kelly, the late and renowned creator of the Pogo cartoons (back when cartoons could be both socially relevant and funny) wrote this memorable line about thirty years ago, but it's amazing how appropriate it is. Because, ladies and gentlemen, it's true.

We have become our own worst enemy. There are Official Government Spokespeople holding forth that what is going on In Our Names at Guantanamo Bay is perfectly okay. Supporters of this position are fulminating at anyone who suggests that our treatment of the detainees is anything approaching unethical, if not illegal.

These same people are attacking the Downing Street Memo as irrelevant - because, they say, it was written by a low-level bureaucrat and can be disregarded. Um, just to clue you in, guys and gals - the Wannsee Protocol, which started the Holocaust, was written by a low-level bureaucrat. A colorless mensch named Eichmann. Remember him?

And apparently a US soldier was beaten brain-damaged by other US soldiers at "Gitmo" during a drill. The hapless soldier, a National Guardsman from Kentucky, is suing for $15 million. The story was printed in the Los Angeles Times on June 16th. Now, if this is how our soldiers treat one of our soldiers (apparently they weren't told it was a drill), how do you think the real detainees are being treated?

Still, the Administration is out there telling us that everything's okay, and we've "turned the corner" in Iraq. Unfortunately, if you turn the corner often enough, you find you're just going around in circles. And all of President Bush's repeating the now-discredited "reasons" for invading Iraq are not going to make things better.

When the House of Representatives voted in 2001 to abdicate its Constitutional responsibilities and give Bush a blank check to use whatever he wanted to use to fight terrorism, there was one dissenting voice. Representative Barbara Lee, D-CA, said as she defended her position, "I am convinced that military action will not prevent further acts of international terrorism against the United States ... as we act, let us not become the evil that we deplore."

We have met the enemy, and he is us.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Does George Bush Think Americans Are Idiots?


Let's look at two excerpts from the President's weekly radio address and see, shall we? By the way, the excerpts are courtesy of CNN:

"We went to war because we were attacked, and we are at war today because there are still people out there who want to harm our country and hurt our citizens."

Now, this statement would be true across the board, IF he was speaking about our foray into Afghanistan, and the wider campaign against terrorism. But Bush is speaking about Iraq, because his approval rating numbers on Iraq are fast falling through the basement and into the septic tank. Iraq attacked us? When?

For those of us who may have forgotten, here's why (in order) we invaded Iraq, and why the Administration had to abandon the reason:

1. Iraq had WMDs. False; Iraq had no such weapons in 2002, or in 2003.

2. Iraq had conspired with al Qaeda in the 9/11 attacks. False; the 9/11 Commission found that there was no link between the Hussein Government and al Qaeda (in fact, there is evidence that the two loathed each other). Further, most of the hijackers who turned four airliners into piloted cruise missiles were from our Ally, Chief Oil Source and (therefore) Extremely Good Friend, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

3. Iraq was training terrorists. Partially true. The Kurdish peshmerga ran training camps in the north, and one high-value terrorist planner was holed up in Baghdad. But the peshmerga looked to us for moral, if not material, support in their struggle against Saddam.

4. We had to remove Saddam. False; Saddam was contained. The United States has supported, subsidized and trained vicious thugs and right-wing dictators for decades. Shall I call the roll?
Fulgencio Batista
Manuel Noriega
Anastasio Somoza
Shah Reza Pahlavi of Iran
Saddam Hussein al-Tikriti
Augusto Pinochet
Osama bin Laden
... and the list goes on.

5. We want to set up a democracy in the Middle East. Wait a minute here: Isn't Israel a democracy? How about Turkey?

The reason I say that I list these reasons "in order" is because as one reason was found to be near-total codswallop, the Administration dropped it and brought up a new reason. My apologies, Mr. President; a growing number of Americans are not buying it any more. They see (although obviously you cannot) more and more stalwart men and women being brought home injured, mutilated, haunted or dead. Eligible highschoolers are starting to vote with their feet, as they walk away from recruiting stations.

A growing number of people (including politicians on both sides of the ever-expanding political divide) are now calling for a withdrawal of our troops, or at least a timetable for such a withdrawal. There are signs of slippage in unit morale among our soldiers in Iraq, if the recent fragging incident in Tikrit is any indication.

Bush's answer? "Their (the terrorists') goal is to get us to leave before Iraqis have had a chance to show the region what a government that is elected and truly accountable to its citizens can do for its people."

Bush also counters with a tired argument that a schedule for withdrawal will only further embolden the terrorists.

The terrorists are already emboldened; they can strike with impunity and inflict a great amount of damage on civilians, police, Iraqi soldiers and US troops alike. And there always seem to be more of them - and not all of them are foreign troublemakers. As for the "government that is elected and truly accountable to its citizens," that government knows, deep in the hearts of all of its members, that they are dead. They were dead when they took the job. The instant we leave, they will be targets.

This war has poisoned civil political discourse in this country, and it has almost totally destroyed whatever moral ascendancy we could hope to claim in the world. Let us pull the troops out and give them the triumphal parades they richly deserve.

Let us bring the troops home.

The Media Song

(sung to the tune of "My Favorite Things" from Sound of Music):

Bird flu and Gitmo
And Middle East tension
Short snappy sound bites
That grab your attention

News that ain't fair
Though they tell you it is
This is a day in the Media Biz!

Gee Dubya's Ratings
The Downing Street Memo
Will they impeach him?
I really just don't know

News that is biased
Though they tell you it ain't
Whitewashed (for sure!) in the Media Paint!

When the bombs fly
And our troops die
And I'm feeling sad
I watch a few hours of the Missing Teen
And then I don't feel so bad!

Sex crimes and car bombs
But no global warming
Pay no attention
To the chaos that's forming

News that ain't fair
Though they tell you it is
This is a day in the Media Biz!

Live police chases
And new Amber Alerts
Fat talking heads
And Viagra adverts

News that is pablum
That they ram down your throat
This is the Media - you don't get a vote!

When the bombs fly
And our troops die
And I'm feeling sad
I watch a few hours of the Missing Teen
And then I don't feel so bad!

They're Baaaack .....

But then, they never left.

This is from al-Jazeera:

"A senior police officer in Kandahar has said the main government building in Mian Nishin, headquarters of the district by the same name, is under Taliban control after a Friday night attack.
"Afghan police said on Saturday that Taliban fighters had attacked a district capital for a second straight night and took 18 policemen prisoner, a day after detaining more than a dozen."Right now, the district headquarters is under the control of the Taliban, "said the officer, who declined to be named. "The Taliban surrounded the district headquarters and captured 18 officers," he added.
"Mian Nishin, in Kandahar province, was the scene of joint operations by Afghan and US-led forces early this week in which government officials said nine fighters were killed.
"On Thursday, the Taliban had captured 11 police officers, the district police chief and a senior local government official in Mian Nishin.
"The Taliban said Their fate would be decided by its leadership."

Our invasion of Afghanistan seems to be moving right along. We pushed the Taliban south and east, across the border into the semiautonomous tribal areas of Pakistan (where they can hide with the tacit complicity of Our Ally). We surrounded and bombed the crap out of Tora Bora, but somehow(?) bin Laden escaped.

So now the Taliban are coming back, with attacks centering around their old power base in Kandahar. We've killed about 150 of them, but they keep on coming.

About two weeks ago, Chicken Noodle Network ran a short item in their crawl (that little scrolling thing at the bottom of the screen) that reported 2,000 cases of cholera in Kabul, and fears of a cholera epidemic.

Once again, a first-rate example of American Nation-Building at its finest.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Jeb Bush is a Necrophiliac

Yep, he just can't stop screwing with the dead.

Weeks after the death of Terri Schaivo, Governor Jeb "the Moron's Brother" Bush has used his authority as Governor of Florida in yet another attempt to curry favor from the extreme right Culture of Life So Long As It's Not Foreigners crowd. He has ordered the State Attorney for Pasco and Pinellas County to begin investigating the 911 call made by Schaivo's husband when she collapsed in 1990.

Yes, folks. 1990. Fifteen years ago.

She's dead, Jeb, and it makes you look very bad to be hounding her husband fifteen years after her accident in order to score some cheap points with people you might want to support you in your Presidential run (and don't give me that fake "I'm not running" bullshit, you turd; you'll run at first opportunity).

Jeb's currying the righteous favor (fervor?) of the culture of life, who apparently believe that it's essential to save little blobs of cells, but it's okay to blow fully grown people to kingdom come, or kill doctors who might perform an abortion.

Which brings up another interesting point: While the Terri Schaivo Brouhaha was going on, and people were getting arrested trying to bring her water, a little baby named Sun Hudson lay dying in a Texas hospital. The doctors there had disconnected his life-support, over the objections of his mother.

Now why, you may ask, did the doctors do this hideous thing?

Texas has a neat law, called the Futile Care Law of 1999, that tells doctors to pull the plug on people they consider beyond hope. Who signed this law?

None other than that paragon of the Culture of Life, George W. Bush. Jebbie's brother.

Sun Hudson has died, but you won't see Texas Governor Perry demanding an investigation. You see, letting unrecoverable patients die is the law in Texas.

Guantanamo - Not Your Ordinary Prison

As my profile says, I work in law enforcement, specifically in corrections (that's jails and prisons). I want to say a few words to address the flap over what's going on at Camp X-Ray, and to compare it with what I face when I go to work every day.

First, the number of inmates. Senator Leahy, in Wednesday's Judiciary Committee hearing, related the startling news that no one (NO ONE) was able to tell him what the exact population of Guantanamo was. At the facility I work in, we keep a running total count of every single person housed. I can tell you what the exact headcount is at any given moment throughout the day. Does this mean that my facility's procedures are better than the Federal Government's?

Second, the food. Yes, the inmates here eat well (better than I, but I'm dieting). In my nearly 19 years on the job, I have seen 90-pound drug addicts come in and exit six months later weighing close to 200 pounds. Our menus are reviewed monthly by a certified dietician.

Third, the treatment. If any officer, ANY OFFICER, was observed or documented treating an inmate in the ways described by LCDR Swift or in the Time article (let's not forget Abu Ghraib), that officer would be disciplined. The discipline would range from a written reprimand all the way to firing, or possible civil and criminal liability. And here is where Gitmo and my workplace part ways.

Our treatment of inmates is based on the rule of law, and the construction of laws is based on our Constitution. Federal judges have said that the detainees have the right to a fair and rapid trial, and to have an attorney. But Assistant Attorney General Wiggins testified that, basically, a detainee can be held without charge, without trial, for the duration of his natural life if necessary.

Now, before you say, "They're terrorists," I want to acquaint you with three guys. They are John Lindh, Richard Reid, and Jose Padilla. Lindh and Padilla are US citizens, born in this country; Reid is British.

Lindh was caught in Afghanistan, bearing arms against his country.

Reid was caught trying to set off a bomb in his sneakers.

Padilla was caught talking to higher-ups in al Qaeda about a dirty bomb.

Lindh was afforded the full protection of Federal law, was tried and convicted, and is in prison.

Reid was afforded the full protection of Federal law, was tried and convicted, and is in prison.

Padilla sits in the Consolidated Navy Brig in South Carolina. Since his arrest in 2002, he has not been charged with any crime, and only got access to a lawyer last year.

There's a drop-off here, folks. Justice for one American, justice for a foreigner, no justice whatever for another American. X number of detainees being held for years without charges, access to attorneys or family, abused seemingly at the whim of their captors.

This is NOT America.

And THAT'S what Senator Durbin was trying to say.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

"The President did not have the authority to wage this war in the first place."

- Constitutional Attorney John Bonifaz, at the Downing Street Memo Hearings (from Crooks and Liars, via BradBlog).

The DSM Hearing has been held, ladies and gentlemen, in a basement meeting room at DNC HQ in Washington because the Republican-controlled Congressional leadership wouldn't give them a room, and scheduled several important votes to take place during the allotted time for the hearings in order to disrupt things.

It availed them not. The DSM hearing (I saw a bit of it, and there are times when I really do despise dial-up connections) was well-attended and the witnesses were eloquent. Their evidence was heartfelt, and damning.

However, Mr. Bonifaz missed something, I think. I bow to his greater experience in Constitutional law, but:

While it is true that Article 1, Section 8, Clause 11 of the United States Constitution clearly states that "To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water," the House and Senate surrendered their prerogatives to the President.

They did it twice, actually: On September 14, 2001, three days after Black Tuesday (when fear still gripped the hearts of many Americans), and again on October 9, 2002, when they authorized the use of force against Iraq. I won't bore you with the blow-by-blow listing of all the parts of the Resolutions; the one for Iraq starts with a rehash of the 1990-91 Gulf War. So, the House of Representatives and the Senate of the United States have abdicated their responsibilities under the Constitution.

They handed over their legal rights to a President who has, basically, pissed it straight down his trouser leg.

Maybe, after the 2006 Congressional elections, we will find a Congress more likely to stiffen their spines and take their rightful authority back from a President who has squandered thousands of lives and billions of treasure in this unjust and illegal war.

When Do We Invade?

No, I don't mean Syria or Iran.

I direct your attention to the central African nation of Zimbabwe, whose President Robert Mugabe has instituted a terror campaign against those who voted against him in the last (rigged) election. Zimbabwe is usually closed to journalists, but a BBC crew slipped in and watched as government bulldozers flattened a village.

So far 200,000 Zimbabweans have been driven from their homes, and this isn't a first for Mugabe. Last year he began a pogrom against the white minority in that country, dispossessing them of their large farms.

All righty then. When do we invade? I mean, here we have a ruthless, corrupt dictator who is oppressing his own people. Hell, he probably tortures people, too.

Don't we have the same interest in "promoting democracy around the world" in Africa as we do in Southwest Asia?

Could the Senate Democrats Finally Be Growing Spines?


Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) stepped out on a limb today by holding forth that our nation's interrogation tactics at Guantanamo Bay's "Camp X-Ray" were actually copied from regimes that followed similar tactics. He dropped the N-word, the G-word and added a new one, the P-word. Now for those of you playing along at home, that would be Nazi, Gulag, and - surprise! - Pol Pot, the Khmer Rouge tyrant of Cambodia whose followers massacred 2 million of their own people.

Needless to say, the pro-Fascist pundits started screaming, and demanded that Durbin be tried for treason or apologize.

Mirabile visu, a Democratic Senator refused to back down or offer an apology for his rhetoric, and even challenged the Bushite Junta to apologize for their tactics down at Gitmo.

Could it be that Howard Dean is setting an example, and more Democratic leaders may follow his lead? Could we start seeing Democrats in office start showing that they haven't all voluntarily castrated themselves?

Stay tuned ....

"This Guy's Not Right, So Don't Let Him In."

It used to be (I think) that one heard this in the South quite a lot, usually in connection to someone with a skin that wasn't agreeable to those anxious to maintain the Accepted Order of Things. Back then, those who were shut out were known as "niggers" and "kikes."

Fast forward on the Wayback Machine, Sherman, and meet the South's newest pariahs.

The County Commission of Hillsborough County (Tampa), Florida voted today to exclude sex offenders (by which I think they mean rapists and child molesters) from city-run hurricane shelters. "They'll have to fend for themselves," remarked a fellow who was part of the meeting - that would be the county's Sheriff, whose remark was greeted with applause by the Commission.

Now, I have a number of things to say about this (aside from expressing great relief that I don't live in Tampa). First, - did I say I'm glad I don't live in Tampa?

Okay, second, I have little patience with sex offenders, and can find a use for them as mulch (I'm told - nevermind where - that blood's great for poinsettias) but not much use for them otherwise. But to lock them out of a possibly lifesaving shelter seems to me to be beyond the pale. One can hear lawyers licking their chops in anticipation of the court challenges to this one.

Of course, Tampa's known for doing stupid things, like saddling their taxpayers with a brand new stadium for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (I shall now observe a moment of silence and thank God I'm an Oakland Raiders fan) or trying to run strip-club owner and Real American Joe Redner out of town.

How are you going to tell if a sex offender is trying to get into a hurricane shelter? Run background checks? Maybe station an officer or two at every door of every shelter? Sure, why not? The police won't have anything else to do while a Category 3 hurricane waltzes across the trailer parks, condos and tract housing developments.

Now, on to other news from the Left Coast of Florida: In Hillsborough County (where Tampa's located, incidentally) County Commissioner Ronda Storms has made good on a promise she made last week to seek a new policy that would ban public libraries from advertising Gay Pride and Lesbian Pride Month.

I always seem to smile more in June, as the days grow hotter and homosexuals come to the Disney attractions, wear red shirts and cause "Christians" to start foaming at the mouth like rabid Rottweilers. Watching the adherents of a religion whose principal mandate is "love your neighbor as yourself" go into complete hoo-hah Nazi overdrive is always a hoot.

Anyway, Ms. Storms managed to get the resolution passed by a 5-1 vote (Commissioner Kathy Castor disagreed). And another vote, 6-1, made sure the resolution would stick like gum to the Commission's shoes by requiring a supermajority to repeal it. Nice way to booby-trap it, Ms. Storms.

The court challenges to all of this blathering Roundhead madness will probably start tomorrow, if they haven't started already.


Yesterday I decided not to blog anything, and concern myself with certain other matters, like yard work and sleep.

So I took care of my yard (the recent rains had made it get sort of high), and slept six hours. After some more work, I settled down and watched CSPAN's coverage of the Senate Judiciary Committee's hearings into the status of detainees at Guantanamo Bay.

I found it rather amusing in some spots. Air Force Brigadier General Hemingway, the top legal adviser for the 'military commissions' that try these detainees, was unable to tell Sen. Leahy the exact number of detainees. Rather surprising.

Even more suprising was Sen. Leahy's remark that NO ONE knew the exact number, not even Rumsfeld. All in all, a bad day for General Hemingway, whose chances of retiring with his second star looking pretty dim right now.

I just woke up (again), and will be saying a few things about the Downing Street Memo and our unjust war in Iraq. Later, though; I have things to do.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

What Fresh Hell Is This?

"A Kansas preacher and gay rights foe whose congregation is protesting military funerals around the country said he's coming to Idaho tomorrow to picket the memorial for an Idaho National Guard soldier killed in Iraq." - Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 6/14/05 (emphasis mine)


This complete asshole ('Pastor' Fred Phelps of the Westboro Baptist Church) says that God is killing our troops. Apparently, God is peeved that we're a "society of all-American heretics" and is punishing us for our lack of morals. Oh, and God is smiting our troops because 'Pastor' Phelps' church got bombed six years ago.

Um, 'Pastor' Phelps? Just a thought here ... maybe the reason your church got bombed is because you're a completely hatefilled homophobic douchebag who not only doesn't deserve the appellation "Christian," but also doesn't deserve to live in this free nation.

Go live in Iran, you fucking mullah. They'll love you over there.

Today's Butcher's Bill

From CNN:

"Attacks Tuesday in the oil-rich northern city of Kirkuk and in the Sunni Muslim heartland killed at least 24 people and wounded scores more in Iraq, authorities said."

"The U.S. military announced Tuesday the deaths of three American soldiers within the past two days."

"In the Iraqi city of Ramadi on Tuesday, coalition forces [in other words, US forces] shot five civilians to death and wounded four others while they traveled in a station wagon at a "high rate of speed" toward a checkpoint, the U.S. military said in a statement."

From al-Jazeera:

"Abd al-Rahman [Kirkuk police chief] said: "Security is tight in Kirkuk city and in its suburbs," but he said he thought "terrorists" were still managing to target civilians. "It is very obvious that they are killing a big number of civilians. This proves the terrorists' failure to reach police and army forces in Iraq," he said."

However ...

"Two policemen and four civilians, including two children below the age of 10, were killed and four civilians were wounded when the car exploded as a police patrol passed by," another police officer [in Kanaan] added."

Approximately 1704 Americans dead in Iraq (depending on who you talk to).

Approximately 20,000 - 100,000 Iraqis dead (depending on who you talk to).

How long, O Lord? How long?

Don Rumsfeld

I really can't think of an epithet vitriolic enough.

Thanks to the BBC, Don "The Jowl" Rumsfeld, the Secretary of Defense in George Bush's Criminal Gang, has been given the opportunity to concede that Iraq's security situation is not statistically better than it was when the Saddam Hussein regime fell in 2003 ( Further, Rummy added that ""I think the US is notably unskilful in our communications and our public diplomacy ("

"Notably unskilful?" Now that's the understatement of the year, and I think we should be grateful that enough light has penetrated Donald Rumsfeld's supernally thick skull that he can actually say something like that.

Of course, he also hastened to modify his statements, adding that only the Iraqi people are capable of defeating the insurgency (begging the logical conclusion that we're incapable), and that It's All The Media's Fault that our reputation in the world is starting to smell like a combination of soiled cloth baby diapers and raw tuna left out in the sun for two weeks.

Quoth the Rumsfeld, "The people in Gitmo... 99% have the best food probably, the best medical treatment, they've ever received in their lives." How nice! Guantanamo Bay really looks like a lovely place for summer vacation now. Best food, best medical care - I suppose that offsets the spartan living conditions and the occasional torture.

Then Der Rumsfeld shifted smoothly into Russia-Bash mode (his favorite, right behind China-bashing). His screed now was that Russia's arms deals with Venezuela were "damaging its business reputation."

Maybe so. But you might think that the United States, the largest arms salesman On The Planet, would welcome a little bit of competition, all in the interest of good clean capitalism.

Maybe not.

Monday, June 13, 2005

It's All in Black and White

The Senate decided, after - oh, I don't know - about 120 years to finally apologize for not outlawing lynching. It was necessary, as President Truman once said, to take the authority to prosecute lynch mobs away from the (mostly) Southern states who practiced it. Naturally, the Southern Senators made it their mission in life to block anything that held even a whiff of what is mostly Human Decency.

Okay, fast forward to now. According to reports cited by Driftglass, Corrente and others, apparently 12 Senators dared not speak their names in support of this nonbinding, painless "apology." One wonders what they had to hide, or in their states would be pissed off by their actions. I can see some preacher-man foaming with rage if he ever found out, and telling his congregation to vote the rascal out.

Moving right along, Howard Dean called the GOP to the carpet once again. Certain segments of the Voting Rights Act are due to expire in 2007, and Dean challenged the Republicans to renew those provisions before ever, ever trying to attract more African-Americans into the Party. It seems hypocrisy sticks in Dean's throat.

It should stick in the GOP's, as well. Or would, if Some Particular Republican throats weren't slack from Hits of Black Acid and forced fellatio.

Bits and Pieces

"Politics is mostly pill-taking."

This little pearl of wisdom comes from onetime Republican Speaker Thomas B. Reed, who became disenchanted with the aggressive actions of the United States against Spain in 1898, and later against the Phillippines in 1901. I should think he was speaking mostly of bitter pills, since Reed left politics with a heart completely filled with hate toward the entire political process, Republican and Democrat.

Now Walter Jones (R-NC), who became the butt of many jokes for his mind-bogglingly stupid "Freedom Fries" bullshit, has finally seen the light. He stopped getting on his knees to take upon his tongue the tiny, yet potent, Hits of Black Acid that Bush and his criminal gang have handed out liberally to anyone who wished to stick their tongues out. Walter Jones is now against the war, going so far as to write the families of the 1,701 Americans who have died For A Lie.

Well done, Congressman Jones. You finally allowed your conscience to filter through the drug haze.


"Anger is not the WHOLE Republican agenda. There’s also xenophobia, paranoia, whining victim mentality, criminal fiscal irresponsibility, hatred of Science, “magical thinking” and a worship of Ignorance all wired together with cancerous cult ideology founded on a debased and perverted view of Christianity. So they've got that goin' for them." - Maestro Driftglass

While I usually find myself agreeing with everything Driftglass says (and he reminds me a Lot of that Renowned Deity of Journalism, Dr. Hunter Thompson), I am not a Republican who espouses any of this complete and utter dog manure.

I am a member of the Big Brass Alliance - I am working to break the wall of lies and take the GOP back from the fringe lunatics.

Which got me thinking - when did the fringe hijack the Party? Reagan could never have beaten Carter (although he might have - Carter proved again that teaching Sunday School is not good Presidential training) without that fringe. We need to go back as far as 1972, when Nixon sold the Party out. Knowing he couldn't get re-elected, he basically guaranteed a Democrat victory by allowing the Miami Convention to be run by the Agnew and Goldwater supporters. They even had Goldwater speak and tell everyone he was Right even back in 1964 - just a bit premature.

With a taste of power, the Fringers ran amok over the moderate and liberal wings of the GOP, forcing out virtually all of the liberals and making the moderates a hunted minority. They couldn't have done it without help, though - and for that, they allied themselves with the most hateful group in America. Evangelicals.

They come from all walks of life, but I won't weary you with a list of their qualities - Maestro Driftglass has done that admirably. They must be stopped.

They must be stopped, and I will endorse, support and vote for Democratic and Independent candidates for local, state and Federal elections until the Bombs-n-Jesus Crowd is pushed back into the fringe from which they came, and political discourse returns to sanity.

Michael Jackson got aquitted.
Big fucking deal.
Now, maybe the media will concentrate on getting Bush and His Criminal Gang the treatment they justly deserve.

Father's Day Gift Ideas

Father's Day is fast approaching, and I received a message from the Directorate of Dirty Tricks' Poetic Justice Division, Irony Unit concerning a few of their thoughts on the matter:

For George W. Bush: Army enlistment papers for his two daughters.

For Richard Cheney: The news that his wife's going to 'turn' lesbian.

For Florida Governor Jeb Bush: Another drug arrest for his daughter (or an abortion - the Division's still unsure about this).

For all of the bloggers and pundits who supported our war in Iraq, but have never lifted a finger to enlist in order to REALLY support it: A draft.

For California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger: English diction lessons from a California teacher of his choice.

Does anyone else have any gift ideas?

Lies, Damned Lies, and George W. Bush

My thanks to Skippy the Bush Kangaroo for the following link:

It's an editorial from the St. Petersburg Times newspaper, and the title of it sets the tone: "The American People Have Been Had."

We've been lied to, folks.

Recent leaks of information from Britain, starting with the Downing Street memo, have shown that the US military had started offensive operations against Iraq a full 8 months before we actually invaded in 2003. Because the case for war was iffy at best, intelligence was being "fixed" around the issue to provide a pretext for invading.

More information has shown that George Bush wanted war with Iraq even before he became President, and as a knee-jerk reaction to the 9/11 attacks was determined to invade Iraq. Only an intervention from Tony Blair managed to shift priorities to al- Qaeda and Afghanistan, albeit temporarily.

We've been lied to, folks, and the result is 1,701 dead Americans (that figure is for people actually killed in Iraq; the actual figures may be much higher, but the Department of Defense is fudging the numbers.) Our all-volunteer, professional military is starting to feel the effects of this war; the Army has failed to meet its recruitment figures for May, and the first murmurs of an impending draft are starting. As pointed out in several different editorials, the most powerful and best-trained army on this planet cannot secure a small stretch of highway between Baghdad and its airport. Couple that with declining morale and no faith in the Iraqi military to do the job, and the conclusion is that the US Government is crippling our military.

We've been lied to, folks, and the fault lies squarely at George W. Bush's feet. Before anyone starts trying to deflect blame from the Presidential Boob, I point out that authority can always be delegated - responsibility never can. So the fault lies not in Don Rumsfeld, or Dick Cheney, or Wolfowitz or Perle or Rice.

The responsibility for this war rests on George W. Bush.

He has lied to the American people.

He must be impeached, tried, and punished for breaking his oath to us.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Howard Dean - the Dems' Newt Gingrich

As a Republican, I know that I'm supposed to hate Howard Dean and everything he stands for, because a) he's a - gasp! - Democrat, and b) because of his recent statements. Well, to my way of thinking hatred requires a personal knowledge of the person. I must say that I've never met the Doctor, so I can't hate him.

Now, his recent statements: Dean has said nothing but the truth, and you have to give him credit for that. According to the demographics, the GOP is 81% white and Christian. With all respect to Rep. Cantor and RNC Chairman Mehlman, Jewish Republicans are probably in the minority (along with African-Americans, women and gays - oh, and anyone who's Republican and NOT a Christian). To be fair, the Democratic Party is 58% white and Christian.

And it's also true that some Republicans probably have not needed to do a fair days' work for a fair days' wage - but then, you could say the same about some of the Democrats.

When I hear Dr. Dean letting the GOP have the sharp edge of his tongue, I'm reminded of Newt Gingrich. He never tired of lambasting the Democrats at every opportunity, and his overheated rhetoric served as a rallying cry for the GOP.

Dean is exactly what the Democrats need. He can rally the grassroots members and mobilize support.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Science News ...

Or, How to Piss Off Religious Folk.

Scientists are on the quest for LUCA. No, not Luca Brazzi - he's sleeping with the fishes. The LUCA stands for Last Universal Common Ancestor, and it's theorized that it is the lifeform from which everything living on this planet - me, you, Pat Robertson, monkeys, fish, plants and demonically fluffy kittens are all descended (although I'm not certain about Pat Robertson).

(And I'm not too sure about the kittens, either. Sometimes you have to beware of The Cute Things.)

Anyway, LUCA was presumably an archeocyte, part of that vast and weird group of single-celled, extremely simple organisms that lived three to four Billion years ago. Perhaps I should slur that, like Carl Sagan did: "Three to four ... Billlllllllyun years ago." That makes LUCA older than bacteria, and way older than nucleated cells like an amoeba.

Now, this is the sort of science that grabs my interest and fills me with awe at how we managed, through billions of years of evolution, to reach the point we're at right now. And it fills me with glee as well, because this is just the sort of thing that's guaranteed to Completely Piss Off the 'Christian' Fundamentalists and Intelligent Design Yahoos in this country.

Anyone who points to The Flintstones as "evidence of intelligent design" is just aching to display his or her total ignorance. And I have my own answer to the ID nuts - or, rather, I borrowed it from David Hume.

Hume says, "Look around. This Universe of ours is largely a patch-up job, wholly irrational in spots and seemingly governed by chaos math. Now, if there were a Designer, he's either a very young one just starting to play with the Ron Popeil Home Cosmos Kit, or he's an old and senile deity who shouldn't have started the project in the first place."

And no matter WHAT an ID freak tells you, the "designer" in "intelligent design" is God - they just leave the name out, hoping that they can get it to the kids before anyone catches the omission.


There was some buzz late on Friday about Rep. Jim "Fat Bastard" Sensenbrenner's (R-WI) behavior during a hearing on the Patriot Act, so I got up early this morning and watched the whole damned thing on CSPAN.

If there is a God, I want to thank Her for CSPAN, by the way. Where else can you watch Fat Doughy Special Interest Cocksuckers Behaving Badly?

Sensenbrenner acted as if the entire proceeding was a waste of his oh-so-valuable time, and showed it by his demeanor and his rigid adherence to the time limits (even to violating etiquette and cutting off witnesses in mid-sentence). Finally he made a statement to the effect that none of the witnesses had managed to show a link between what they were saying and the Patriot Act, gaveled the meeting closed, and he and the other Republicans on the committee walked out.

The Democrats tried to carry on with the meeting, but there were a few moments when you couldn't hear them (committee staffers had shut off the microphones). All in all, a very bad display of behavior on the part of Rep. Sensenbrenner. I'm just glad he's not from MY state - and I feel sorry for those people from Cheeseland that he does represent.

Rep. Jackson-Lee referred to what one witness referred to as "legal black holes," generated by the Patriot Act, the Gonzales Memos ( you remember - the ones that said that torture was okay) and other weirdness. She pointed out (correctly, in my opinion) that the Committee Chairman's actions were indicative of what we're seeing out of Washington these days - the desire to shut out any whiff of dissent, or any hint that what they are doing Just Might Be Wrong.

Amnesty International's Pitts was there as a witness, and several of the GOP (notably Coble of North Carolina) called in the clans on him for the "American Gulag" characterization of our prison camp at Gitmo. Well, maybe it IS, in fact, an unfair characterization, but the use of the term, I think, was deliberate: It's easy to pronounce, and at two syllables it's catchy - attention-deficit Americans can remember it better.

A better characterization would be to equate Guantanamo and the Patriot Act to the German Nacht und Nebel Erlass in the 30s and 40s. Anyone who was considered a possible enemy of the state just disappeared "into night and fog."

Or, as Rep. Jackson-Lee pointed out, a legal black hole.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Congratulations, Huzzahs and Mad Props

I just got an email from Shakespeare's Sister, a member of the Brass Blog Alliance. Representative John Conyers (D-MI), the ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, will open hearings next Thursday on the Downing Street Memo. According to the post in her blog, the hearings will include corroborating evidence and witnesses who will peel back part of the layer of lies that has sunk us into this morass of a war.

The truth will out - but sometimes it's like an archeological dig.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Fear, Patriotism, and "Security"

People seem to panic easily, running in small frightened packs like drug-crazed lemmings when danger looms on the horizon. Such a small frightened pack of drug-crazed lemmings was the US Congress after 9/11/01. Without a murmur of debate, without full knowledge of its implications, and without (in most cases) even READING the godsdamned thing, Our Elected 'Leaders' signed off on the USAPATRIOT Act and sent it to a President all too willing to sign it.

Now, I will admit that I tasted the rank bile of fear on Black Tuesday, but I kept my head on straight and realized something. In fact, I said it online and was vilified as being too alarmist. Here's what I said: "I fear that the Administration will use this as a sort of Reichstag Fire, in order to put the screws to our civil liberties."

It's screw time, folks. Congress is renewing several provisions of the Act that represents the greatest assault on our freedoms since the McCarthy Era, and is even considering strengthening various other bits of it (like the FBI no longer having to wake up a judge for a subpoena or order before breaking into YOUR home, reading YOUR mail, tapping YOUR phone or email, etc.).

Now, I'm a patriot, as are the great majority of people living in this country. I pay taxes and have the general expectation of privacy (even though no such provision exists in the Constitution). But what stops the Government from snooping on you even though you aren't a terrorist?

And where is the accountability? Who watches the watchers?

Now, all of this Patriot Act bullshit, the "Homeland Security" - which should send a chill up the spine of anyone who has read any history - and the airport/border security (which is good at stopping butter knife-wielding old ladies, but rather iffy on chainsaw-wielding maniacs) is designed to make you afraid. Not safer; there is nothing that can make you safer. The idea is to whipsaw you from one manufactured crisis after another so that you'll be more amenable to giving up your freedom in exchange for the illusion that you are safe from terrorism.

Besides, the Patriot Act was redundant when it started. All of its provisions already existed as separate laws; the Act strengthened and expanded them. It would have been better to expand just the relevant laws, and avoid poking the Government into areas they shouldn't be.

Write your elected representatives and tell them how you feel. Let the Patriot Act sunset; it's time for it to die.

A Few Good Men?

A recent article by Susan Paynter in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer details a very disturbing story. An 18-year-old high school student answered a phone call from a Marine Corps recruiter, who then started badgering him into joining the Corps. Finally the recruiter and another Marine showed up at the teenager's workplace, hustled him into a car and drove him off to the bright lights of Seattle.

You can read the article for the details of what happened next; I'll hit a few high points. One thing they offered this kid was an "apathy discharge." If he got tired of the Corps, he could just quit. And he didn't have to go to Iraq if he didn't want to. There is a happy ending, despite the appearance of a lawyer. The kid went home with his mother, and there are two Marine recruiters who have some 'splainin' to do.

What in the Names of Jesus, Allah, Ganesh and Quetzalcoatl were these assholes THINKING of? Sure, our all-volunteer military is running short of recruits - there's an unpopular war going on, and few young people feel the desire to be blown into fragments. But this smacks of impressment; since a draft is (so far) out of the question, recruiters have resorted to unethical and (as related above) downright illegal tactics.

I wonder if this is what the recruiters were told during their "stand down" a month or so ago.

Why I Am (Still, Despite Everything) A Republican

"Maybe sometime you or Blondesense Liz or other sane Republicans might say why you bother with that party." - Mark Foxwell

Mark poses a good question (and it appeared as a comment in an earlier post, when I recited a sort of catechism). Why, after everything that has happened and is going on, do I still identify myself as a Republican?

Part of it is that I am fiscally quite conservative, which is historically a Republican attribute. I believe in capitalism and the profit motive, and the fact that keeping government spending low means that taxes are lower and more money goes into my pocket instead of to the IRS.

On social issues I am moderate. Some issues (abortion, gay rights, gay marriage, etc.) I am quite liberal toward - an almost Jeffersonian ideal, which basically boils down to "so long as you don't infringe on my rights or break the law, you are free to do as you please." I am pro-death penalty, however, because I don't believe that some criminals are capable of being rehabilitated.

Now, with all this, why am I a Republican? I believe that Republicans traditionally stood for social moderation and fiscal conservatism. It was a political party for staid Episcopalian and Presbyterian people, thrifty and not inclined to innovations.

So it was with some trepidation I watched Ronald Reagan get elected. I voted for him, I'll admit; the first time I voted since turning 18 (hey, you get a new toy, you just fester to try it out). I started seeing more and more of some weird fringe-dwellers who claimed to be Republican, yet they seemed ... odd, as if they were aliens, just off the boat and wandering around with a sort of parvenu intrusiveness.

I fought with the only weapon I have, my vote. When Pat Robertson won the Iowa Caucuses in 1988, I actually explored the idea of emigrating to New Zealand or Australia. But I am an America, born and bred, so I decided to stay and try to change things.

I am still trying to change things, despite incredible arguments with family members and friends, and long debates online that seem to quickly degenerate into name-calling. Because I am almost what Eric Hoffer calls a True Believer - but most definitely not in the same way he describes one.

I believe in the original ideals of the Republican Party, and try to persuade people that what is the public face of the Party is NOT an ideal worth buying into.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Here Come Da Judge(s)

"Controversial judge gets confirmed - finally," said the link in the Chicken Noodle Network (CNN)'s website, and it was so. Judge Janice Rogers Brown was confirmed to the position that had been denied to her by the Democrats due to her extremist views on abortion.

The Democrats should have publicly DARED that smarmy asshole quack Frist to "go nuclear." But I suppose it's long past hoping for that any of them develop a spine when Judge Pryor comes up for a vote.

Now HERE'S a real piece of work. This jerkoff's got, at best, a 13th Century mentality and has a take on the Separation of Powers that would make all of our Founding Fathers wince. And thanks to the Democrats rolling over like weasels and exposing their softest parts to Frist and the GOP, there is Nothing We Can Do About It.

Remember, Federal judicial appointments are For Life unless the judge does something Serious. Like openly fornicating on the bench with some fat young boys fresh from the Neverland Ranch, or selling his position to the highest bidder on fucking eBay.

A Letter

I received the following email from Rep. Adam Putnam's office, in reply to a letter I sent him earlier this week:

"Dear Mr. Reimer:
Thank you for your recent correspondence in opposition to American military intervention in Iraq. I appreciate hearing from you.
(Yeah, I'll bet.)
As you are aware, since 9/11, America has been a nation at war. Iraq has emerged as the central front in the war on terror. If we fail to establish a safe and secure Iraq, then we leave the region to become an incubator for terrorists. Now that Saddam’s reign has ended, we cannot abandon our goal of moving Iraq toward a self-government that could help bring peace and stability to one of the world’s most volatile region.
(Of course, it only emerged as the 'central front' AFTER we invaded and turned the place into a terrorist recruiting poster.)
Our enemies are closely monitoring our actions in Iraq. They are hopeful that we will waiver; that we will cut and run. They would most certainly seize on such an opportunity, and the safety and well-being of our troops should not be the rope in a political tug-of-war. We must finish the job we started to ensure that the terrorists of the world cannot attack our nation or its people again. This is a generational war that will be fought for years to come, and I believe that it is imperative that we stay the course.
(Does anyone feel a draft?)
The overwhelming response to the recent democratic elections in Iraq, where millions of Iraqis risked their lives to cast their ballots, is an encouraging sign. Even initial critics of our military action have conceded that President Bush's policy is resulting in the spread of democracy in a land where many had known only oppression. Now that democracy has taken its first tentative steps in this volatile region, we must ensure that it is allowed to grow.
(The current prediction I have is that the present governmental framework will collapse from the flaws built into it by the US, and another strongman despot will take over.)
While we obviously disagree on this issue, I thank you for taking the time to share your views. If you are experiencing difficulties with a federal agency, are interested in legislation that is pending before Congress or merely wish to express your opinions, please visit my website at
(Rest assured, I will.)
May God continue to bless America.
Adam Putnam
Member of Congress

"Downing Street" Gets Outed

The "Downing Street Memo" - which surfaced during PM Tony Blair's reelection campaign and outlines the efforts by the Bushite Junta to "fix" the intelligence on Iraq before going to war - finally made it, however dimly, into the mainstream consciousness. A reporter finally asked a question about it at the Bush/Blair press conference on African aid, and Senator Kennedy (D-MA) used it as a foundation to excoriate the Bushies.

Blair's response was a flat denial, and a reassertion of his position that Hussein did, in fact, pose an imminent danger; Bush's response was a bit more subtle. While neither admitting nor denying what the memo says, he insinuated that the memo was released for a partisan political reason.

Maybe so - the Year of the Rat has never ended, after all. But when something like that surfaces, the first question is "Who stands to benefit from this?" Neither the Conservatives nor the Liberal Democrats had a really good chance to unseat Labour, due to Britain's electoral arrangement. So, who would benefit?

Apparently no one in either government. Blair's position in the Commons was weakened in the general election, while Bush seems content to ignore it and continue to pile lie upon lie.

Sen. Kennedy's speech to the Senate was a masterpiece of vituperation, and he probably pulled rank on Kerry in order to say what needed to be said. Perhaps NOW we can start seeing some activity in both houses of the Congress and hopefully we can get somebody in DC to grow enough backbone to enter an impeachment of Bush and his criminal gang.

Criminal? You betcha. And I'm not just talking about lying to the American People and catapulting the propaganda.

I'm talking about getting us into a war that, like it or not, is starting to look more and more like Vietnam (complete with tunnels).

I'm talking about the Department of Defense apparently under-reporting the number of American deaths as a result of combat operations in Iraq.

It's an ugly situation, and I can see no good reason for it other than the Completely Bugnuts Crazy notion that you should rape and ravage two countries' economies in 8 years, then somehow blackmail your successor into pardoning you so you can enjoy your gains on some tropic island.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

"Manchurian Candidate?"

I've seen several people, in blogs and elsewhere, refer to Our Beloved Leader as the "Manchurian Candidate." That got me thinking about the movie - not the lame remake starring Denzel Washington, but the superior original, starring Frank Sinatra and Lawrence Harvey as Raymond Shaw.

Raymond Shaw was a generally intelligent person who was brainwashed to be a killing machine.

Dubya wasn't (at least, as far as I know - his and Kerry's academic credentials notwithstanding).

Bush is not Raymond Shaw, dear reader - he's Johnny Iselin, the US Senator played by James Gregory. Iselin was essentially a clueless dunderhead who said whatever his wife told him to say. Which begs the question - who's pulling Dubya's strings?

Dick Cheney and Karl Rove? Obvious choices, both; close enough to keep tabs on him and prevent him from straying too far from the message du jour.

It may be that neither are pulling Dubya's strings. It may be that he's an incredibly smart person who is acting stupid just to distract us.

Now, before you get on my ass about being paranoid, let me say this: "You only have to be right once to make paranoia completely worthwhile."

Monday, June 06, 2005


This has occured to me quite a few times since 2002, when the Bushies shifted attention from Afghanistan to Iraq so quickly that I nearly got whiplash. The actions of the present Administration fit quite nicely into 3 of the 4 counts of the 1945 Nuremberg indictment (the remaining count, that of Conspiring to Seize Power, is rendered moot by the reelection).

I'm sending this to Rep. Putnam from my district, as well as to Senators Nelson and Martinez.


PLAINTIFF: Walter Reimer, a Citizen of the United States of America



GEORGE WALKER BUSH, President of the United States of America

RICHARD CHENEY, Vice-President of the United States of America

DONALD RUMSFELD, Secretary of Defense, United States of America



1. Conspiring to Wage a War of Aggression

TO WIT, that the Defendants did, beginning in 2001, conspire and combine in such a manner to build a pretextual case for a war of aggression against another sovereign nation, i.e. The Republic of Iraq, and in so doing did conspire to falsify or rely upon unreliable and uncorroborated foreign intelligence. This conspiracy resulted in, to date, the deaths of 1,657 American military personnel and approximately 100,000 Iraqis.
Such a conspiracy is a violation of the Defendant’s oaths of office, in which they swear to “support, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States,” and is also a violation of international law, treaties, and the Charter of the United Nations.

2. Waging a War of Aggression

TO WIT, that the Defendants did plan and execute a plan for the invasion of another sovereign nation, i.e. The Republic of Iraq. The justification for said invasion was a preventive war under Article 51 of the United Nations Charter. The Republic of Iraq, its military and its national leadership did not pose an imminent threat to the sovereignty, security, or citizenry of the United States of America. Therefore, the waging of an aggressive war against The Republic of Iraq is in violation of the United Nations Charter, and by extension (due its ratification by the United States Senate in 1945) a violation of United States Federal law.

3. Crimes against Humanity

TO WIT, that the Defendants, under color of their authority, did allow persons to be held in confinement without charge, trial, representation or due process, in violation of the Geneva and Hague Conventions; that the Defendants, under color of their authority, did allow persons detained by the United States to be transferred to other nations to be tortured, in violation of the Geneva and Hague Conventions; and that the Defendants ignored or evaded the obligations placed on them under United States Federal and international law regarding the treatment of prisoners of war and persons interned during time of war.

THEREFORE, the Plaintiff respectfully requests that a criminal investigation proceed against the Defendants, as well as against those others not named who, delegated by the Defendants, perpetrated these offenses; and the Plaintiff further respectfully submits that the charge in Count One above constitutes a High Crime or Misdemeanor under the United States Constitution, warranting impeachment of the Defendants.

Naturally, I don't expect anything to come out of this, but hey, it's good exercise.

Bush Baby

My state, like many others, has a trouble with 'failing' schools. These are schools that, try as they might, just can't seem to get the kids to learn a damn thing so that they can go on to become productive members of the community and make informed decisions.

But not to worry. Several years back, our Governor (and not coincidentally the President's brother) Jebediah Bush offered an idea. It's called an "Opportunity Scholarship," which sounds really neat taken at face value. Apart from it being classic Orwellian Newspeak.

Basically it's a voucher program, where you can pull your kid out of a 'failing' school and either move to another public school or receive a voucher to help pay your kid's way into a private or parochial school (and there are quite a few parochial private schools in Florida). But there's two minor hitches in this idea.

One, taking money away from a 'failing' school just makes its pattern of failure continue. Without funds for teachers, materials and equipment, the school will eventually languish.

Second, it's unconstitutional.

Florida's Constitution states very clearly that state funds will not be applied either directly or indirectly to a sectarian purpose. Jebbie (a good Catholic - I saw him looking dazed and confused at the Pope's funeral) was just following in his Big Bro's footsteps, trying to do his part to bolster the religious community in his state. So he can perhaps be forgiven.

Nahhh ....

Naturally Jeb deployed the Lawyers, and the state Supreme Court (widely regarded as the most liberal in the South) will start hearing the case this week. I expect Jeb to get a bloody nose from this, and appeal to the US Supreme Court.

Based on the State and US Constitutions, and some of the case law, I don't think Jebbie stands a chance. It's been a bummer of a year so far for him - first he pissed off the Far Right "Culture of Life" crowd with Terri Schiavo (I watched to see if he'd actually have the balls to violate his oath of office and risk arrest), and now this. The posturing and backstabbing to choose his successor has already begun.