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Saturday, December 31

In a first, gas and other fuels are top US export

This is how it ends. Not with a bang, not with a whimper,
but with a Ka-ching!

Published: Saturday, December 31, 2011 at 3:00 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, December 31, 2011 at 1:38 a.m.
NEW YORK - For the first time, the top export of the United States, the world's biggest gas guzzler, is - wait for it - fuel.

Measured in dollars, the nation is on pace this year to ship more gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel than any other single export, according to U.S. Census data going back to 1990. It will also be the first year in more than 60 that America has been a net exporter of these fuels.

Read the rest...if you can stomach it!

Oh! By the way. 
Happy Same Old Year - courtesy of America's Terrorists, 
Big Business.

Friday, December 30

How progressive is your Rep or Senator?

Here's a cool site that compares how progressive those who Occupy Congress are in their voting habits.

To get a better indication of your anointed one, compare your rep to Grijalva of Arizona.

A lower score means voting was basically for a Republican, conservative, big business/pharma or war monger measure.

So how does your stack up? Time to replace him or her?

Sunday, December 25

Christmas Gifts

Well, another Christmas is almost past, Dear Readers, and overall this year was a complete success.

As is traditional in my family, we had a formal sit down dinner on the 24th, followed not by the Airing of the Grievances but by the opening of presents. I got three books on African history (King Leopold's Ghost, The Scramble for Africa, and The Boer War) and a new pair of work boots. I definitely needed the latter.

Everyone else in the family was satisfied with the gifts they received, and were immensely stuffed by the meal I made. Said meal consisted of:

Prime rib with bacon-spinach stuffing
Duchess potatoes with mushroom gravy
Spiced carrots
Minty orzo with peas
Rum-raisin apple pie
Lemon fruitcake


Then I saw the news this morning, and I received another gift - the gift of delicious schadenfreude. It seems that neither Rick Perry nor Newt Gingrich will be on the ballot in Virginia when that state holds its primary later next year. You see, you need to post up ten thousand signatures in order to get on the ballot, and Rick and Newton failed to do it.

Well, no problem, you say; they'll just run a write-in campaign. Ah, but Virginia's election laws prohibit write-ins during the primaries. So Rick and Newt are left out in the cold.

Adding to this comedy of errors was the statement made by Gingrich's campaign staff, which likened the contretemps to Pearl Harbor and called it a setback (implying that the Japanese attack that killed 2,000 Americans was also a 'setback'). I'm waiting to see how that gets walked back.

Meanwhile, I shall go to bed having had a very merry Christmas.

Friday, December 23

Boehner Pwns Himself

It's not fun being Speaker John Boehner this Christmas.

I'll try to contain my laughter and deep, warm, fuzzy freudenschade.

And it started with an extension of the payroll tax cut. Earlier this year, the Democrats suggested a one-year extension, and the Republicans balked. So the Dems in the Senate suggested a two-month stopgap, and the Republicans in the Senate (after due amounts of hemming and hawing) decided it was a pretty good idea. The Senate passed it easily, with wide bipartisan support, and sent it on to the House.

And things fell apart.

I will now digress, to give you a little insight into the fundamental differences between the House of Representatives and the Senate. When the Constitution was being drawn up, Alexander Hamilton suggested that the Senate be what the House of Lords was in Britain - the Upper House, populated by people who were above the baser instincts of those drawn and elevated from the great masses of the people.

(This, by the way, is why the original version of the Constitution - now modified by the 17th Amendment - required Senators to be elected by state legislatures, not by popular vote.)

The House of Representatives, on the other hand, was to be and still is elected by popular vote. Its members tend to be passionate and somewhat more vociferous than their Senate counterparts. Some might even say 'bumptious,' requiring the Speaker to be strong leader capable of directing not only his own caucus but by negotiating in good faith with the opposition.

Okay, digression over.

The payroll tax stopgap hits the House and got hit by a dung-bomb. You see, the extreme-right-so-extreme-that-if-you-squint-they-look-anarchist wing of the GOP said no. These are the same people who'd rather see Americans lapse into poverty by the millions rather than let Obama or the Democrats be perceived as winning. Buoyed, then, by the extremists in his caucus, Boehner said no.

And the backlash began. The Right Wing Propaganda Mouthpieces (like the Wall Street Journal) stood aghast at the very idea of Republicans actually refusing a tax cut. The Senate GOP perked up, and the wrinkled old woman Minority Leader (Mitch McConnell) refused to back Boehner's bright idea of setting up a conference. Even Karl Rove weighed in, saying that the Republicans had "lost the optics."

Boehner capitulated yesterday, as his own House caucus started to fracture.

Boehner plans on putting the bill up on a unanimous consent motion, which doesn't require calling the full House back into session. However, it means that only one Republican has to object to scotch things and make the Speaker look like many are perceiving him to be - a weak leader.

The Speaker of the House cannot be a weak leader, and it's been vividly illustrated that Boehner can't even command his own caucus, much less the more fractious and bumptious Tea Party members. He's lost respect, and you can't get respect back easily once you've lost it.

If one, just one, GOP House member says no to the motion approving the bill, payroll taxes will go up and the blame will be laid completely at the feet of the Republican House caucus and its leader, Speaker John Boehner. People will get extremely pissed at seeing their taxes go up while the GOP continues to insist on lowering taxes on the insanely rich.

One analyst suggested a fight developing, behind the scenes right now, between partisans within the House GOP.

Watch closely, and have some popcorn or Raisinets handy.

We may have Speaker Eric Cantor by Groundhog Day.

Thursday, December 22

That Was Quick

Four days ago the last US troops left Iraq.

Barely had the dust settled on the highway leading out into Kuwait than things went to shit. I have to confess, it was quicker than I expected, but in hindsight you can see where it was starting.

Years ago, on this very bit of blogging soil, Dear Reader, I predicted that when we left Iraq - no matter when we inevitably left that country - the Shiite majority and the Sunni minority would come to blows. The Sunnis have been the ruling faction in Iraq ever since the British created the nation out of several Ottoman provinces after the Great War and installed a Hashemite monarch from the Hejaz.

The Shiites are now in power, and simmering tensions are now coming to a boil. The political infighting that prevented a viable governing coalition in Baghdad for months got worse as soon as the Americans left.

Iraqi PM Maliki has issued an arrest warrant for Vice President al-Hashemi, alleging terrorism and purported ties to death squads. Al-Hashemi has hightailed it to Kurdistan.

And in a coordinated attack reminiscent of so many over the past years, fourteen bombs have gone off, killing about 70 and injuring 200.

Now, many people are going to excoriate President Obama for "leaving too early." But it wouldn't have mattered if we had left five years ago, or fifty years from now.

I'm just surprised they waited four days to start up.

Wednesday, December 21

Turn out the lights...the party's almost over...or not!

C O U N T D O W N !
One year to go!

It's over! 
The end of days! Armmmaaggedddddion! Transfiguation! Transmogrification! Dogs and cats living together...well, wait a minute!

Before you go bequeathing stuff to the nematodes who may be left, take a little bit of time to read this article. I know the rabid doomsdayers among you won't believe until you awaken December 22, 2012 (or the 24th depending on other factors) that the earth and all of us will still be here those days. So if you really, really feel things will happen the way sensationalistic authors and Hollywood claims, please feel free to donate all your worldly possessions to me so I can redistribute the wealth Christmas Day, 2012!

Below is the conclusion of the author. Don't believe it? Still think you're going to Valhalla or wherever? Then please send me your (good) stuff!

Worries about The End

More worrisome than the film itself is public hysteria around the actual date of December 21 (or 23), 2012, which has generated a great deal of fear and, for some people who are a bit more emotionally fragile, threats of suicide (see this article from National Geographic for more examples and information). This hysteria has been fed by the makers of the film for the purpose of hyping it, and it is growing increasingly difficult (particularly on the internet) to find voices of reason in an often-sinister wilderness of open speculation on the subject.

Hopefully, this hysteria will subside as calmer heads prevail and make their voices heard. Though we have a more-than-excellent chance of waking up on December 22 (or 24), 2012, in the same shape as we were when we went to sleep, we might want to keep an eye on those of us who are a bit more impressionable than others. Take a moment to let these worriers know they should take all the scary things they are reading on the internet about 2012 with a grain of salt - or twenty. After all, the ancient Maya didn't seem concerned enough to really write much of anything about it. Should we?

Monday, December 19

He's Not So Ronery Now

Kim Jong Il is dead. North Korea announced last night that the 'Dear Leader' had died at the age of 69, and has been duly succeeded by his youngest son, Kim Jong Un.

Note the adjective 'youngest.'

Jong Un's got two older brothers, who might conceivably harbor a soupcon of resentment at being cut out of the dynastic succession (the DPRK's unique even among Communist countries in that regard). Remember Fredo in Godfather II?

Yeah, like that.

According to the analysts, the young man's uncle is the Gray Eminence in Pyongyang. We'll have to see what develops. The rest of Asia is watching as well, and the markets took a dive on the news.

Because the one thing we don't want to see in a small, authoritarian, impoverished nation with a nuclear arsenal is uncertainty at the top.

Monday, December 12

For those who slammed Peter, and to an extent me, for being concerned theorists about this New American Century...

The growing menace of domestic drones

From salon: 
"...Last week, I wrote about the rapidly growing domestic drone industry and the largely undiscussed dangers it poses. The Los Angeles Times yesterday reported that local police in North Dakota used a Predator B drone — the most common unmanned aircraft employed by the U.S. military to attack and kill “insurgents” in the Muslim world — to apprehend three men. The suspects had refused to turn over six cows which had wandered onto their land (the laws governing open-range ownership are in dispute and the farm owners claimed they are entitled to keep the cows); after being tasered in an earlier incident on their land for allegedly resisting arrest, they brandished weapons at the officers who came to seize the cows. The police, armed with a warrant, then called in a Predator drone to fly over their land, locate them, and transmit video images to the police; when the drone revealed the suspects were unarmed, the police entered their property and arrested them."

Read the rest here:

Then update your passport. And if you think you're ok because "you don't do anything wrong", two things for ya.
1. Wait until you drive 5 mph over the speed limit day OR night and get tagged by local money/power hungry cops for local money hungry municipalities and IF you keep driving without a license, " the music is gonna get you!"

2. If I find who any of you Vichy Democrats who didn't raise any objection to this, I'll report you (anonymously, of course) as a possible _________ (fill in the blank) and I'm sure "Those Who Watch" will be curious to give you a chance to express your innocence...and I'll just laugh. (Those Who Watch jis luvs informants!) 

Oh, and one other thing. No where does it say that political groups, private companies, banks, Wall Street Corporations, Debt Collection Companies, Credit Card Companies, the RIAA, The MPAA or Telecom Companies or Apple or Microsoft or WalMart or especially Fox News or any other poor, persecuted copyright holders or besieged or beleaguered businesses (by the bad American Terrorist People until proven subservient) can't have and operate  their own drones...or join with a group of others to lower their costs!  
Lots of new jobs for traitors at...
The New American Blackwater Eye!

Looking forward to the Conventions next year...and the filling of those internment (or better yet, interment) camps that don't exist!

Welcome to Blade Runner - The Directors Government Cut!

Sunday, December 4

Good Morning Blues... ('tis the season!!)

Remixed and repackaged for your holiday listening pleasure

Uploaded by SwingMan1937
"This one's so early that Basie, Jimmy Rushing & the band still have Kansas City seeping out of their pores.

Great big band blues as only the Count could serve it up - this is the seemingly rare originally issued 'good' take that's not used on the Basie "Early Years" set put out in 1996.


"GOOD MORNING BLUES" (The Real Tuesday Weld Clarkenwell Mix) // Count Basie The original song, "Good Morning Blues," was one of signature tunes for Basie, the inimitable pianist, composer and big-band icon. A love song wrapped in a Christmas wish, the song is remixed here by Stephen Coates and his outfit, The Real Tuesday Weld, who give it a stripped-down, jazzy shimmy, based on Basie's sing-song piano riff and string flourishes.

Thursday, December 1

The One-Percent Holiday Song

(Sung to the tune of 'O Tannenbaum,' because why not.)

Oh Ninety-nine, oh Ninety-nine,
Why are you so sad this year?

Oh Ninety-nine, oh Ninety-nine,
Why should I shed a single tear?

This Christmastime it's plain to see
It's none for you, and all for me!

Oh Ninety-nine, oh Ninety-nine,
Why don't you get off your lazy rear?

Friday, November 25

Cross One off the Old Bucket List

Yesterday I had to work, and everyone on my shift participated in bringing in something.

I decided to go out on a limb and cook a turkey for the very first time, ever. I brined it well, then roasted it. It turned out great, as I tested it before bringing it in to work by performing a radical unilateral mastectomy on it for dinner Tuesday night.


Two coworkers also brought meat, and we feasted! Most everyone else brought side dishes and desserts, which was fine. Nothing like a well-rounded menu.

But something was ... odd.

The two coworkers who brought meat had brought in three whacking great pans of smoked turkey, barbecued pork with a tasty mustard-based sauce, and ... Something Else.

I asked it if it was goat, and the guy said Yes. He said it with a smile, which triggered Immediate ALERT warnings on the threat board in my head.

However, I tried some.

I knew instantly it WASN'T goat.

The meat was stringy, like over-braised beef, and it was way too peppery for my taste. And the ribs were far too small and delicate for it to be goat.

So I ate it anyway, and later confronted one of the guys. No, he admitted, it wasn't goat.

It was raccoon.


Good old Procyon lotor had been on my plate, and I had eaten it.

Excellent! I can now cross another item off my culinary bucket list!

What did YOU try yesterday that you hadn't tried before?

Friday, November 18

Obama sends Sec. Clinton to Myanmar for Historic visit (it's been over 50 years)

From the Daily Mail (first Goog hit this morning)

50 Years? What took us so long?? Can you say .....Yadana and Yetagun pipelines?

PIPELINES! (I bet we're already there)

The Price of Oil -- Human Rights

A well-documented instance of corporate collusion in human rights abuses is Burma. The Yadana and Yetagun pipelines built by Unocal and Halliburton (US), Premier Oil (UK) and TotalFinaElf (France/Belgium) are the largest foreign investment projects in Burma. In response to a lawsuit initiated in 2000 by local villagers, with the support of EarthRights International and the Center for Constitutional Rights, a US federal judge found that there was:

“evidence demonstrating that before joining the Project, Unocal knew that the military had a record of committing human rights abuses; that the Project hired the military to provide security for the Project, a military that forced villagers to work and entire villages to relocate for the benefit of the Project; that the military, while forcing villagers to work and relocate, committed numerous acts of violence; and that Unocal knew or should have known that the military did commit, was committing, and would continue to commit these [abuses].”

In April 2005 Unocal agreed to compensate Burmese villagers in a landmark case.

Here's a recent (translated) opinion piece for more background
I'm really happy that the dangerous dam project collapsed

Oh MOTHER SUU PLEASE SING LOUDLY. I hope Mrs. Clinton's vision of a democratic Burma is the same as yours

'When the Music's Over', fear not, cause Jimmy Fallon is here!

Watch Jimmy Fallon as Jim Morrison perform the Reading Rainbow Theme Song

h/t to commenter at TheBigPicture.

Tuesday, November 15

MAY THE MUSICIANS OF THE WORLD SAVE US!! APEC World Leaders Dinner Gets Occupied


Honolulu - A change in the programmed entertainment at last night's Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) gala left a few world leaders slack-jawed, though most seemed not to notice that anything was amiss.

During the gala dinner, renowned Hawaiian guitarist Makana, who performed at the White House in 2009, opened his suit jacket to reveal a home-made “Occupy with Aloha” T-shirt. Then, instead of playing the expected instrumental background music, he spent almost 45 minutes repeatedly singing his protest ballad released earlier that day. The ballad, called “We Are the Many,” includes lines such as “The lobbyists at Washington do gnaw.... And until they are purged, we won't withdraw,” and ends with the refrain: “We'll occupy the streets, we'll occupy the courts, we'll occupy the offices of you, till you do the bidding of the many, not the few.”

Those who could hear Makana’s message included Presidents Barack Obama of the United States of America, Hu Jintao of China, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono of Indonesia, Prime Minister Stephen Harper of Canada, and over a dozen other heads of state.

“At first, I was worried about playing ‘We Are The Many,’” said Makana. “But I found it odd that I was afraid to sing a song I’d written, especially since I'd written it with these people in mind.”

The gala was the most secure event of the summit. It was held inside the Hale Koa hotel, a 72-acre facility owned and controlled by the US Defense Department; the site was fortified with an additional three miles of fencing constructed solely for the APEC summit.

Makana was surprised that no one objected to him playing the overtly critical song. “I just kept doing different versions,” he said. “I must’ve repeated ‘the bidding of the many, not the few’ at least 50 times, like a mantra. It was surreal and sobering.”

continue reading -- pictures and video also

Friday, November 11

On the Eleventh Hour, of the Eleventh Day

Today the lonely winds are loose
And crying goes the rain.
While here we walk the field they knew
The dead who died in pain.
The fields that wait the slow hours long
For sounds that shall not come.
In other fields, in other earth
The laughing hearts are dumb.

- Elsdon Best


On this day, remember.

Remember the fathers, the sons, brothers and husbands; the mothers, the sisters, daughters and wives.

Remember them all. Both the dead, and the living.

Thank them if you chance to meet one, and greet them for what they are. Care for the wounded, care for their loved ones left behind.

Friday, October 28

Halloween Hijinks

I think Stephen Colbert's right about this one:

One commenter pointed out that no one was demanding "Braaaaiiinnsss" over in Judea back in the day.

But, nowadays, they do ask for brains. Just go to any Christian church - they ask you to check it at the door. Makes things easier, you know.

Thursday, October 27

A Rebuttal (and Rant)

Back on October 24th, a gentleman wrote an editorial letter to a local newspaper. In that letter, he suggested that the New York City Police Department use water cannons to "cut loose" on the OWS protesters in Zucotti Park. He added that it might be salutary to wet down the protester's camping gear along with the occupants.

I'm certain that he was probably applauding the police action in Oakland, California several nights ago. One of the park occupants there, an Iraq War veteran, was hospitalized in critical condition after being struck in the forehead by a police projectile. He has since been upgraded to fair condition. That should teach him, huh?

I would like to appeal to Mr. Jones, the writer of the aforementioned letter, that the Oakland PD didn't go far enough. Police departments have automatic weapons now - maybe he'd much rather see the police start shooting until all of the protesters are dead. Men, women and children, the old and young, healthy and infirm - all dead.

That'll teach them a lesson, will it not?

In fact, Mr. Jones, it will send a harsh but necessary lesson to all Americans, and that lesson is: Keep your head down, don't dissent, obey, stay in line, don't make waves, don't rock the boat, you can't fight The Man, dissent is anti-American, disagreeing with the wealthy is treason.

Distilled, Mr. Jones, the lesson you want to impart is Americans are slaves and should keep their mouths shut and know their place.

And it'll teach a lesson to the next person who dares raise their head in this democracy and has the unbridled temerity to ask, "Isn't there some way to make things better?"

Sunday, October 23

This Way to the Egress

The war in Iraq was over.

George W Bush said so, under a huge banner that read "Mission Accomplished."

Of course, he was wrong, as he'd been so wrong on so many things. The war in Iraq - touted as a neat, fast military adventure that would be relatively bloodless and paid for by the Iraqis themselves out of their oil revenue - has cost us over 4400 American lives and went a long way to crippling our economy.

Last week, with combat operations halted, we still had 45,000 troops in Iraq.

We were negotiating with the government there over a Status Of Forces Agreement, or SOFA. There were a few sticking points, notably how many troops will remain behind to help train the Iraqi Army.

Those talks foundered last week, and President Obama is calling the troops home.

Why did the talks cave in?

Well, the nice comfy SOFA the US was asking for included a clause granting immunity from prosecution for US troops stationed there. We've had similar clauses in other countries, but in this case Iraqi PM al-Maliki's guys put their foot down. To be fair to the Iraqis, I'd put my foot down as well.

What we'll be left with in Iraq after the last soldier, sailor, Marine and airman leaves is a couple hundred troops to safeguard our Brobdingnagian ziggurat of an Embassy - oh, and about 5,000 'contractors.'

For 'contractors,' read 'mercenaries in the pay of the US State Department.'

But we must rejoice.

The war in Iraq is (finally!) over.

Who won?

Iran, of course.

And what kind of welcome will our troops face when they come home?

I'm SO glad you asked!

Unemployment is still high, thanks to the economy that was crippled in part thanks to financing two wars with borrowed money. Lawmakers are considering cutting veteran's benefits -

Wait! What?

Yes, you heard me. Lawmakers are considering cutting veteran's benefits. For a Congress that has fetishized the military since 9/11 (HE SAID 9/11! EVERYBODY DRINK!) this move is particularly odious. 53,000 Americans were injured physically, and many more were doubtless injured mentally by what they've had to endure.

Once again, we'll have a Lost Generation, but they won't be talking about Vietnam. They'll be talking about Iraq.

Thursday, October 20


Al-Jazeera is reporting that Muammar Qaddafi is dead.

The report, given to al-Jazeera by a military commander of Libya's National Transitional Council, states that Qaddafi died after wounds he sustained in his capture as the last regime stronghold of Sirte fell to the NTC forces.

NATO and the US State Department are trying to confirm it.

Wednesday, October 19

Restaurant Review

Yesterday was my birthday (yeah, yeah, I know - yay me) and in honor of making it fifty years without serious mishaps I decided to go celebrate. Being a contrary sort, I treated my immediate family to dinner.

I chose the Bosphorus Turkish Kitchen, in Lakeland on South Kentucky Avenue.

There were two Turkish restaurants in Lakeland; one of them, the Istanbul, has gone bust. I was resolved to try out the Bosphorus before anything happened to it as well.

The place is small and cozy, and run by a single family. The cook, an older man, came out from the kitchen to welcome us and help his son get us seated.

We started with appetizers: Lavas, hummus, and fried feta cheese rolls. Lavas is bread, made fresh on the premises and cooked when you order it. It's topped with sesame seeds and a drizzle of butter, and came to us piping hot from the oven and puffed up high. You're supposed to tear it up, and the dough is soft, sweet and chewy. The hummus was very tasty, flavored with garlic and olive oil, and the bread only got better as you dipped it in the chickpea spread. The feta cheese rolls are the staff's answer to mozzarella rolls - seasoned feta, wrapped in phyllo and fried. Tasty.

Now time for the main course!

I ordered the Special Chicken Adana for $14.99. What I got was wonderful - chopped chicken mixed with spices and cheese, cooked on a skewer and served on a bed of rice, with a green salad sharing the plate with it. The dressing on the salad was tasty, but the chicken! The chicken was perfectly seasoned and delicious.

My brother had the lamb Adana Kebab. The lamb, prepared pretty much the same way as the chicken, had a nice spicy kick to it (we swapped a bite each of our entrees). My mother had the Iskender Kebab, a nice combination platter that featured chicken and lamb doner (a mixture of lamb and spices, shaved off a rotating mass as it roasts).

Absolutely delicious.

Dessert consisted of one order of Kunefe, shared between me and my brother. Kunefe is phyllo, shredded very fine and baked with unsalted cheese, then topped with ground pistachios and sweet syrup. Very tasty and rich.

Drinks? I had a glass of Yakut Kavaklidere, a full-bodied red with a bit of oak to it and a solid finish. It made an excellent counterpoint to the chicken. Dessert was served with Turkish coffee, which came in a small cup and lived up to the old proverb that coffee must be "black as night, hot as hell and sweet as love."

The verdict?

I give the Bosphorus Turkish Kitchen four stars. The staff are attentive and friendly, the setting is clean, and the food is well worth the trip and reasonably priced (the most expensive single item is the Mixed Grill, at $19.99). Parking may require a bit of a walk, but you'll need a bit of exercise after dinner anyway.

Check the place out when you're in Lakeland!

I'm Waiting ...

... to see when Mitt Romney finally gets fed up with Rick Perry and draws the straight razor I know he's hiding in his sock.

Yes, I believe that the Mormon former Governor of Massachusetts is capable of cutting a bitch, especially an uncouth blowhard like Rick "I Balance My State Budget using Federal Money" Perry. Based on his expression during the "True Housewives of Beverly Hills"-style circle jerk that passed for a debate last night, it won't be too much longer.

Now, what else did I take away from that gabfest?

1. Herman Cain has literally no idea what he's talking about. He started using an apples and oranges analogy when describing his Inverse Number of the Beast Tax Plan, but he can't dodge the simple fact that not only will you and I be paying his taxes (which, he concedes, may rise) but also the state and local imposts (which can also rise).

2. Michele Bachmann's getting even farther into The Crazy.

3. Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich should not have been up there on that stage.

4. Ron Paul stepped over the line by bringing up Ronald Reagan's actual record, and not parroting the sugar coated and well-glossed-over standard GOP boilerplate about Saint Ronnie. What caused the pin-drop silence in the room was an airing of Cain's earlier comments in which he stated that he would consider negotiating a swap with al Qaeda in order to free an American soldier taken hostage (as Israel did with Hamas to free Gilad Sharit). Score one for Paul, although his stands on almost everything else shows that he'll never make President.

5. The final thing I took away from this sorry spectacle is that it desperately needed topless chorus girls to distract the audience away from these rubes.

I look forward to the first GOP primaries - which, based on their current internecine strife, will probably start next month.

Sunday, October 16

Did You Know?

Did you know that the British Secretary of State for Defense, Liam Fox, resigned earlier this week? While it's not exactly my strong point, this attracts my attention for the strange connection between this guy, the UK Conservative Party, and various neocon and right-wing elements here in the US.

Did you know that we've sent troops to central Africa, to help local troops there find and defeat the head of the fanatic Lord's Resistance Army?

Did you know that Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Moron) has suddenly decided that the Occupy Wall Street protesters are not an armed mob intent on toppling the established order?

Did you know that Herman Cain's 9-9-9 tax proposal might have been cribbed from a computer game - and in any event, why aren't the religious kooks in this country figuring out that 9-9-9 is 6-6-6 upside down?

Did you know that Cain's money comes, in part, from the Koch Brothers?

Did you know that an undersea volcano erupted off the coast of the Canary Islands?

The more you know ...

Saturday, October 15

The Future of Armored Warfare

What with a wave of fiscal austerity sweeping the world in the wake of the economic crisis, some nations are deciding to economize.

Case in point, the German Bundeswehr's SmartPanzer:

Or the French Army's Vespa TAP-M20:

Wednesday, October 5

Pity Party!

It's a bad time to be a Modern Republican.*

You have a field of political candidates that make the famous 'Seven Dwarfs' look like real balls of fire, and every time they open their gaping pieholes you just want to cringe in anticipation at what might come out.

For example:

Michele Bachmann actually blaming the Obama Administration for the Arab Spring uprisings that have toppled ruthless dictators in the name of democratic reforms, then following it up with some kind of unhinged screed about the terrorist group Hamas stationing missiles in Cuba.

Herman Cain ragging on Rick Perry for the quite obviously racist name of a hunting ranch, then taking the breathtaking stance that African-Americans have been "brainwashed by the liberal plantation" (whatever the hell that means). He then blamed the unemployed poor for being unemployed and poor.

See what I mean?


But through it all, the Modern Republicans* hoped. Somewhere, somewhere, they reasoned with ever-growing desperation, there had to be The One. The One who could beat Obama, The One who could defeat the bad economy with a casual flick of his brawny wrist, The One who oozed charisma from every pore and who would make the world safe for the Koch Brothers.

They thought they had found The One, in Chris Christie, the fin-de-siecle William Howard Taft lookalike who is the incumbent Governor of New Jersey. Much to their disappointment, Christie said that 2012 "wasn't his time."

Of course, being Governor of New Jersey is a little bit like being Governor of Louisiana - you have to be nearly as crooked as a screwworm in order to get that high. I'm originally from the Garden State, and say "a little bit" as the government in Trenton and the counties is corrupt, but still gets things done by and large.

That left only The One from the last go-around. The Magilla from Wasilla. The Grizzly Mom. The Maverick. The Rogue.

Sarah Palin.

It's greatly to her credit that The Half-Term Governor managed to keep her name out there for so very long, milking her bus tours and book deals and TV shows for all they were worth in order to subsidize her and her family. Roger Ailes of FOX went almost suicidally honest when he declared earlier this week that he hired Palin because she was "hot" and could draw in viewers.

(I hope he meant "hot" as in popular, as she's not very attractive.)

To a fanfare of kazoos and bongos, Sarah Palin announced today that she will not be running for President.

And you could hear the groans come up from the gaping maws of the Modern Republicans* as The Grifter became The Quitter once again. Her lust for money, it seems, has managed to outweigh her Potomac Jones - practically the only thing that can serve as an antidote to that most potent lure.

As it stands now, the best chance the Modern Republicans* have is Mitt Romney. The Romneybot, The Mittens, The Dogboy.


*I am not one.

Wednesday, September 28

"if you're not paying for the service you are using, you are the product they are selling."

Facebook tracks you even after logging out
".......Facebook is a lot more than a social network and ultimately wants to be the premier platform on which people experience, organise and share digital entertainment," said Ovum analyst Eden Zoller.
But in alarming new revelations, Wollongong-based Nik Cubrilovic conducted tests, which revealed that when you log out of Facebook, rather than deleting its tracking cookies, the site merely modifies them, maintaining account information and other unique tokens that can be used to identify you.

Whenever you visit a web page that contains a Facebook button or widget, your browser is still sending details of your movements back to Facebook, Cubrilovic says.
"Even if you are logged out, Facebook still knows and can track every page you visit," Cubrilovic wrote in a blog post......

I beginning to hope for a mega solar flare to TAKE IT ALL down. My bad, I know, but this is REALLY making me want to just turn it off.. TURN IT ALL OFF!!!!

Say it ain't so, George!!

B'gosh and B'gorrah!

It seems some of us might just have been right all along when we conspiracy theorists bitched about vote machine rigging! But, oh no, those who knew the TRUTH claimed we were just radicals looking for any excuse.

Even though I and some others along with probably hundreds of still others around the country did already show the Diebold Machines could have been hacked to change election outcomes, many, even on the Left, with the full agreement of those inpower, proclaimed "we wuz crazy and sore losers!"
Now it seems we were right all along. So what happens now? I know...let's have a re-vote of the entire 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008 and 2010 elections everywhere in this country. But let's do it with paper ballots! It should only cost around, say, 700 billion! I know. You're all gonna say, "Where will that money come from? We just don't have it!" Well, actually we do have it. 'Loose change' from our polio-tician's, bankster's, CEO's, Wall Streeter's and Corporation's couches should more than cover it.

If that don't work, why we can just get Barry and Congress to pay for it with another bail out! This time we could call it, um... 


(Bailout Unscrupulous Rightwing Fascism)

If you want to ketchup on the bullshit that's been thrown at us by our trusted RepubliCrat Government since 2000, check out this site.

"The best government money can buy" - Greg Palast
Should be "The best power government corruption can steal."

Friday, September 23

Good God!!!!!!!!

There isn't a type large enough to express my disgust at this.

Italian Scientists Who Failed To Predict Earthquake Put On Trial

"ROME -- Seven scientists and other experts went on trial on manslaughter charges Tuesday for allegedly failing to sufficiently warn residents before a devastating 2009 earthquake that killed more than 300 people in central Italy."

(Read the rest, but not on an empty stomach.)

But the lawyer for the victims said science was not on trial. (Uh-HUH!)

The Religists, Tea Bigots and Republicans must be using all the Kleenex in the world!
Nobody expects the (Italian) Inquisition.

Thursday, September 22

Wednesday, September 21

Is Obama about to lose control, or will he stand up for Americans over business and the Right?

Update: The Fed will NOT bow to the wishes of the GOP's desire for another recession. No word yet on what Obama thought.

This will empirically define the real Obama.
If he does nothing and the Fed goes along with the Republicans, it will show beyond any doubt that Obama cares only for the affluent and cares nothing for the American people. 

He MUST take a definitive stand for the people on this or it will truly show he's lost whatever control he and his supporters believe he had.

Tuesday, September 20

World War Three...or how I learned to love the Koch Brothers

Growing up in the 50s and 60s, we were taught (taught being the operative word) that the Soviets wanted to and would start World War Three. We all knew that this would be the last war when it came. Atom bombs, missiles and planes raining destruction from the skies and radiation everywhere would make life virtually impossible. We all knew World War Three would be between the United States and the Soviet Union. Few would survive to go on to a better future. But only a few. And only a special few.

We were wrong. World War Three would be started by our own people, the businessmen, the wealthy of the United States against the Middle and Lower Class People of the United States.

The election of St. Ronnie in 1980 was the preparation for the attack. Laws that had effectively constrained business for nearly 50 years were being challenged and changed and in many cases, repealed. Still, the war on Americans by the Corporations needed something more. It came in the guise of a Democratic President with at first a Democratic then Republican Controlled Congress. Agreements made to send American jobs overseas were a major battle won by business and a huge stepping stone on the pathway to all out war.

Slowly, as things seemed to prosper in the 90s, these businessmen worked the politicians to get what they wanted, repeal of Glass-Steagall. All that was needed now for the final push to the beach was a willing and very cooperative president. They got that in 2000 with the direct aid of the Right Wing Supreme Court, the Congress and especially the media which the wealthy had been acquiring for nearly 30 years. Plans were falling in place.

Conveniently, an attack on the United States happened at just the right moment executing the most improbable set of circumstances imaginable. Now was the time for a major strike. It was the surprisingly (already) hastily produced Patriot Act. 200 years of Constitutional Law was obviated in the name of Pseudo Patriotism and National Security with cries of "fight them over there so we don’t have to fight them over here" energizing a gullible, poorly informed through Right Wing owned media, public.

We had a chance to reverse this in 2004 but the propaganda from the Right Wing, the wealthy and media, especially from Fox via the ignorant sheep saw to it there would be continued War on Americans even though the same politically apathetic Americans thought the War was against Americans by Iraq.

There were small political victories by some of the concerned Left and in 2006 it looked for all the world as if things would turn around. But those we depended on to do so, turned on the Liberals and Progressives and sided with the wealthy in order to enrich themselves.

In 2008 we elected what we thought was a man who would surely reverse the corruption of at the very least the previous 8 years. But to the shock of Liberal Democrats and Progressives, he did no such thing. Instead, he and the people he installed and the party he headed sold out those who had put him and them in power. 

More and more power has been given to business. More and more restraints put on civil liberties. Unemployment grew and nothing was done to stop it while business and those running the Corporations got everything they wanted and more from Obama and his Congress.

Many feel Obama sold us out but there are those who believe otherwise, those who, much as the Bush 28 per centers supported everything he did, now sound just like those same single-minded Bush Apologists. Most pretend to be centrists or moderates but in actuality are Vichy Democrats like the French of 1940 willing to go along with and ignore the duplicity of this administration so long as they are still employed and have not lost what most other Americans have lost.

But all of what has happened so far is merely the beachhead of World War Three. Our president, who has done precious little to stop the Corporate March to totalitarianism suddenly finds himself in need of us again. So now he’s making mouth noises as though he’s somehow seen the light and for the first time in his Imperial Presidency, appears to be fighting for the common American by challenging the Corporations. How? He’s telling the drug companies they must provide the same conditions for Medicare and Medicaid. He’s telling the wealthy they will have to pay more taxes. He wants to end the farm subsidies. Can oil subsidies and mandatory jobs be far behind?Does he really understand the consequences of this tack?

All of this sounds well and good but it is merely allowing Corporate America to enter the next phase of their all out war on Americans. It’s all well and good Obama is saying he wants to do this. But if he does it (to get the votes for his re-election) what will the Corporations do? Why, they will have no choice but to raise prices, move more jobs overseas and lay off more Americans because they can’t keep their bottom line overflowing with profits or keep their already wealthy investors even greedier, and then blame Obama for it. The Republicans will use this against him in the election in 2012 and the completely Stupid American Public (SAPs) will believe them.

And when this happens, and it will, there’s nothing Obama will do about it. Oh, he’ll claim to the moderates and centrists he tried knowing full well what the result would be. If you think the inflation the Obama Administration has legally jerry-rigged is bad now, just wait.  By then, it will be too late. Once this goes down, the war is over and Corporate America officially wins.

Those who supported him will, of course, claim they were surprised he could do such a thing even as they spiral into the lower class they thought only existed for others. They’ll complain: too late.

Don’t believe it? Just wait. The alternatives that would have righted this foundering ship were ignored… on purpose, by a more than willing conscript in the White House.

A few thousand traitorous Americans will have done what powerful nations couldn’t do in over 200 years. And they will have been aided and abetted by the same Flock of American People who blindly and still willingly follow a puppet of the Corporations.

Karl Rove wanted to create a one party government – one that “will last a thousand years.” He didn’t. But it looks as though Obama did. Maybe not a thousand. But I’m betting on 50 to 75.

Show me I’m wrong.

Monday, September 19

Watch these full screen...(they look better!)

It is to laugh...

...and cry!

Sunday, September 18

The earth in a minute...

From Universe Today via

 Bad Astronomy

The earth in a minute. 600 pictures by James Drake strung together to form a movie of the International Space Station circling the globe. View it at your highest resolution.

It always amazes me that the first thing the "morans" on earth complain about when money is tight is "we're wasting money in space when  people on earth are starving or have no homes or no education" yet not once do I hear from these concerned humans that "if we weren't killing brown and yellow and red and black people, those on earth would HAVE food and homes and education!"

What a Wonderful World!

Kind of a shame we can't take some Congress Fools up there, and let them experience this...from outside the station! (EV Suits optional!)

From Phil Plait at Bad Astronomy:

A lot of people on Twitter were asking about the brown-green arc above the Earth. That’s an aerosol haze, a glow caused by particles suspended high above the planet’s surface. It’s an extremely thin layer, so it’s best seen edge-on, for the same reason some very thin shells in space are bright only around the edges. From the ground it’s too faint to see this clearly, and from space it’s only visible on the night side of Earth.

Here's the youtube url:

Thursday, September 15

global warming or conspiracy or what?

I haven't posted here in ages, but Jersey started commenting on organic and being off the grid in comments for Father Tyme's 'Through an age darkly...' post below.

I am not off the grid, nor close to it yet, but I attempt to grow all my own vegetables. Because I live in a normally conducive climate and I'd really prefer to not support The Man at Monsanto or Cargill or whichever others are in bed w/ the US Gubmint. Maybe I am just old-fashioned that way. Maybe I just want to know that organic means organic and isn't just trendy green-washing.

Technically, I am west of the state's breadbasket, which covers territories starting in the Sacramento valley and ranges down into the San Joaquin valley towards Bakersfield, but this means as a result that I have better opportunities to water my raised beds with saved rainwater, because the central valley (especially the San Joaquin) has been in this bitter drought for years now. Drought and agriculture do not mix well, needless to say (google phrases like "delta smelt" and you'll find a lot of gasbagging and handwringing that at least view didn't do jack shit to address possibilities like growing more drought-tolerant crops, much less break out of the monoculture mold.) A couple years ago I decided to plant some crops which are traditionally grown in the southwestern states, kind of as a precautionary stop-gap. It was a good way to emphasize heirloom crops, get away from hybrids which don't always breed true when seed is saved, and to emphasize water conservation. I grow maize and legumes from Native Seeds at this point and some tomatoes and peppers as well. (It all started because I was looking for teosinte to grow from seed, but that's another story.) My rationale was that because the state's been in a drought and we've had a couple dry-ish winters in the SF Bay Area, I might as well start to adapt growing patterns because the summers here are hotter than the devil's buttcrack much of the time, requiring tons of water. So I grow Mitla Black beans for dry and green beans, and because they enrich the tomato beds. At least that is how it worked in 2010. And I grow maize, squashes and pole beans in a Three Sisters arrangement at the back corner where corn does well, with plenty of Fourth Sister volunteers of various sunflowers planted by my hens when I let them in to scratch and turn over the soil late fall.

Things went pretty well last fall. I had several pounds of sunflower seeds for the hens, I had dried corn to crack for them in the winter, and we had winter squashes for the cold months. And after the first official heavy rains, in the tomato and pepper beds we wound up with boxes of fruit to be ripened in a sunny spot in the living room and/or roasted and cooked with. Not huge fruits mind you, but tasty, and it was nice having that bit of sunshine in our Christmas tamales come December.

Not so this year.

In the spring, I had wised up some on my bean choices for the back corner. Teparies may be preferable if you anticipate a dry summer and need a quick grower, and are actually dry-farmed in some places; I'd interplanted them with a fast-maturing corn, and was hoping to plant and harvest twice. Dry-farming is very popular for tomatoes as well, but I've not tried that yet, although I've certainly let tomatoes get a bit dry so they'll root deeper and suck some of the water out of the amended clay at the bottoms of the growing furrows; works grand near the end of the growing season when the plants are more mature and fruiting like mad because they sense the season ending.

In addition, I'd read Carol Deppe's very good if idiosyncratic and stubborn 'The Resilient Gardener'. I ordered some squashes she recommends for regions where the growing season might be shortened for some reason, like Sweet Meat. I ordered garbanzo beans because they seemed a good transitional legume that tolerates a bit of cold as it builds up your nitrogen. And I went batshit crazy and ordered organic seed potatoes from Fedco in ME. Because, well... because I thought I might do well with them. Why not? I'd been growing organic red potatoes in half barrels and wanted a little more variety.

Starting in October, when the rains slowly began on the heels of Indian summer, I turned the hens out to scratch and weed and poop and turn over soil in the early evenings, and on the weekends. It's become a helpful step because the soil is kind of poor here. Then I sowed favas as a winter and spring crop to keep the soil busy and to leave more nitrogen and some mycorrhizae fungus to ensure good water retention in the spring, covered quite a bit of soil with straw, and let winter happen. One of the big issues with growing in clay-heavy soil, where you'd be better off throwing pots than planting, is that clay is a mess during the rainy season. We've slowly adjusted to this, adding straw and other organic materials before the rains come, sometimes working things in with our cultivator before sowing fava and laying on the straw. Technically we're looking at a decade of such activity before we have SOIL, in fact. But we're determined to speed it up, adding around 200+ lbs of home-composted amendment yearly. A lot of people will add sand to make water flow better in such soil, but that just ensures having to water more often and winding up with cranky plants which are still nitrogen- and phosphorus-starved, IMHO.

Anyway, spring came, I harvested about 20 lbs of shelled fava beans (damn they were tasty if a lot of work), we yanked up and composted all the fava plants, and got cracking with planting. Starting with the back corner. I alternated Anasazi corn and tepary beans in the rows, in a nice checkerboard, after we tilled just to reinvigorate the soil and work in more finished compost. Then we did squashes and sunflowers nearby, sowed brassicas which would mature before the temps climbed up, and we had flats full of tomato and pepper seedlings waiting to go outside, too.

And then it started raining, and would not stop for several weeks. This was in March. Now sporadic rainfall into April is common here, but nonstop for weeks leading up to April is not. During this time I was also brooding chicks in the house, they were going to be meat birds and layers, because we'd eaten a couple hens at Thanksgiving and Christmas, and the flock wasn't really laying much in their second winter and early spring. Anyway, I managed to find time to replant seeds, because the beds had gotten so compacted by the rain, after turning it over again, with a shovel this time, as it dried out some.

And then we got colder weather. It snowed one afternoon when the normal temp would have been around 65F. I was out there wiring some tarps onto the coop and pen for the younger chickens, just to keep out the rain which had begun when I got home, and then realized I wasn't wet at all, and that it was clumps of snow falling out of the sky... And so then we got more rain, and it took forever for the very important back corner to germinate, and the crops basically failed back there, save the sunflowers. The only squashes I got this year were volunteers from when I'd fed the hens pumpkin guts after Hallowe'en last year (these came up in the onion and tomato beds.) And so the hens got to eat baby corn, because the corn plants got maybe a foot tall, if even that, and not a single ear matured.

We stuck with it and sowed a shitload of seeds, got tomatoes and peppers into the beds, and nothing grew for a couple months. Why? It wasn't stinking warm enough. And then it was too warm. Summer squashes did not grow. There were no bees in the yard to speak of other than a couple big fat orchard bumbles which favored the flowering sages; the rest of the local bees were confused, methinks, or had not wintered over at all.

Anyway, this is an awful lot of pissing and moaning, I'm sure, but it makes me wonder exactly how bad it must be in the midwest right now, in the plains where corn is grown as an industrial operation, and soybeans similarly, and where I hear grains are failing.

If Sara the hippie farmer in CA cannot grow an organic bonanza of veggies, just imagine what has befallen the fuckersons at Monsanto et al who claim erroneously that they are feeding the world when what they are in fact doing is enslaving the world with their crop technologies, pesticides, and fake fertilizers that reduce soil fertility. Friends of mine in neighboring cities had better results, but everyone had at least two or three specific crop failures. Corn. Squashes. Potatoes. Etc.

Even worse, while organic farming is a helluva lot more resilient than industrial, it is not infallible either. I was fully expecting to eat from my yard this year, saving, pickling, preserving, et al. Mind you the fall growing season is coming, so I am going to try again, and have plenty of things to attempt to grow like napa cabbages, turnips, carrots, more brassicas, et al. But if this were all I had to rely on, I'd be pretty fucking hungry right now. So would the cats and chickens. It is all well and good to read Mother Earth News and get a bug up your butt to plant your own tomatoes this year, but that's almost always done w/ the tacit assumption that you'll be buying the rest of your food from somewhere. What if the sources for the somewhere had crop failures?

Apparently Rick Perry doesn't believe in Global Warming, which means he doesn't believe in changing weather patterns either. Does he think the wildfires and drying aquifers are due to demons or something? Or a conspiracy? Michelle Bachmann doesn't believe it in either, never mind that her hairspray contributes to it, as does her mouth whenever she opens it to make weird noises that resemble human speech.

I have better plans for this coming spring, which include keeping the tv switched off.

Sunday, September 11

Through an age darkly...

Some thoughts.

How will the wealthy divide up America and who gets to make the decision as to who gets what? Won’t that be interesting to watch?

America’s Kingdoms! I imagine the Kochs will set up their fiefdom in the Midwest; Gates in the Pacific Northwest; T. Boone Pickens in Texas; etc. The fight over New York City and surrounding area should be a hoot to watch. They’ll turn on each other sure as a dollar buys a vote. Internecine wars will be common place among AIG, Bloomburg, Wall Street, the Banksters until a real winner emerges.  Foreclosed homes will be allocated as rewards to the lower lords for fealty.
And of course while the Masters of this Universe are eating the carcass the founding fathers bore, China and the rest of the world will be striking deals with our new feudal lords for access to our services.
All in all it will probably get pretty medieval again. And the extinct middle class will walk around in a daze wondering how this could happen to them and how they could be treated so badly by those they unswervingly supported.

Who will pay the police to protect the wealthy once there are food, power and fuel shortages and the citizens take to the streets? The hired mercs of the wealthy, like the people on the street, won’t be able to buy anything with inflated money because there will be nothing to buy. And the wealthy sure as hell won’t share their bounty with those who they “pay money” to protect them. I’m sure it will come as quite a shock to them.

Is there really much difference between today’s Tea Publicans and the Spanish Inquisitors of the Church? They both denied science. They both were corrupt. The both tortured. They both ruled and tried to with all the nastiness they could. They persecuted those who wouldn’t believe as they did. They repressed dissent and free speech. They imprisoned any who dissented however trivial.

Crime and murder will be common place among the “rabble” consigned to the outer areas. Small warlords will abound. Gangs will rule until united by an all powerful warlord who will make deals with his feudal masters.

Yep. You betcha. The next few decades of the Second Dark Ages should be lots of fun. Will a new and better empire arise from the chaos of the early 21st century? Maybe after 50 or 75 years it might. And it might even last for a hundred years or so…but knowing human behavior, it'll probably end just like the current times. If those humans of the 22nd century are anything like us, I wouldn't bet a sack of flour.

Grab your popcorn. I got mine. You won't want to miss one glorious minute of the future Americans allowed to be created.

Aurora Alert for 9/11 & 12

From Spaceweather

GEOMAGNETIC ACTIVITY CONTINUES: Earth's magnetic field is still reverberating from the impact of a CME on Sept. 9th with intermittant geomagnetic storms in progress around both poles. High-latitude sky watchers should remain alert for auroras mingling with the light of the waxing full Moon. Aurora alerts: text, voice.

On Sept. 9th and 10th, Northern Lights were spotted in the United States as far south as Washington, Wisconsin, Vermont, Montana, Maine, Minnesota and North Dakota. In Michigan, it was like a day at the beach:

Shawn Malone took the picture from the shores of Lake Superior near the city of Marquete.

Aurora appeared right after dusk, barely visible because of the moon. Gradually the fog moved in, creating a surreal landscape- the aurora and a fogbow!
5d/1600/2.8/5 sec exp/2.8

Shawn Malone

Image taken:

Sep. 10, 2011


Marquete MI

Short, not so sweet

and we have no proof 9/11 resulted in cancer for responders...
so we don't have to pay.

It's V-A Day!

from 1981...
but may as well be today!

God, I can't wait for tomorrow. The hypocrisy is making me crazy.

Wednesday, September 7

Question: What's the Difference Between 9/11 and a Cow?

Answer: You can't keep milking the cow for ten years.

Black Tuesday was a tragedy. Yes, it was a crime perpetrated by people who deliberately put themselves beyond the pale of civilized behavior as we understand it. While the radical's motives were unjustifiable to us, their motives were perfectly justifiable to them. They shall not be revisited here, in the interest of brevity.

However, what happened after 9/11/01 was not a crime. It was worse. It was a mistake.

As the dust and debris settled, the rest of the world stood with us. Even Iran and the PLO, for Cthulhu's sake, supported us. NATO activated the collective security clause of the North Atlantic Treaty out of sympathy for our cause. As the injured party (and there is no doubt we were injured on that day) we had the moral high ground.

We squandered that moral position, so badly that now not even the British trust our motives unreservedly any longer - so much for the "special relationship." We beat down the Taliban in Afghanistan, and had al Qaeda pinned down in the Tora Bora region. Then, we took the eye off the prize and went haring off to attack Iraq.

We had no business attacking Iraq. Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11, and none of the 19 hijackers were Iraqis (fourteen were Saudis, but we didn't invade Saudi Arabia for it). Saddam and Osama mutually loathed each other - Saddam considered Osama to be a religious extremist troublemaker, while Osama considered Saddam to be a socialist secularist apostate. I watched and listened to Colin Powell prostituting himself at the UN Security Council, and I was unconvinced that we had any casus belli in Iraq.

Shortly after we invaded Iraq, one of my coworkers (who gets all his news from Fox and told me that we were at war and that I should shut up and follow the President. I pointed out that that's a pretty slavish and servile thing to do in a democracy, war or not - and besides, I asked, if we were truly at war, why weren't taxes up? Why weren't we conscripting? In response, he called me a liberal (which is wrong on several fronts).

We gave up our moral position, and frittered away the respect that we once enjoyed. And anyone will tell you that respect, once lost, takes a hell of a long time to gain back.

We borrowed, hand over fist, with ruinous consequences for our economy. Osama said himself that he didn't NEED to defeat the USA militarily - all he had to do was bleed us white economically. I will state, here and now, that he won that fight, with a lot of help from a bunch of greedy bastards in this country and in Europe.

We have stretched our military forces - the finest body of fighting men and women on Earth - to the breaking point and even beyond in some cases.

We have vomited up some of our most cherished ideals, including the idea that we can be secure in our homes, property, persons, etc. from government intrusion. We have willfully violated international treaties, which under our Constitution have the force and effect of Federal law.

And so matters stand, ten years on.

Ten years ago, I quoted Aeschylus: "Cry sorrow, sorrow - yet let Good prevail!"

Good has not prevailed.

10 years after- we are so screwed

by blondesense liz

Good morning fellow travelers,

I've been thinking a lot as we near the tenth anniversary of 9/11 and reflect on that big hole in the ground in lower Manhattan.... I shouldn't think so much as it makes my head hurt at my age.... I can barely type what I have been thinking about but here goes: The Terrorists Won. I'm pretty sure the terrorists are the oligarchs.

The American people handed over the keys to the country to corporate shills and incompetent boobs. It is now "patriotic" to shut up and do as you're told. If you try to save money in the bank, you don't make any interest. If you go to college, you can't get a job when you graduate no matter how well you did in school. If you decide to serve your country in the military, they screw you royally in every way. Stuff you pay for via taxes is now referred to as "entitlements". No one questions pentagon spending at all when the lobbyists posing as congress debate what programs ought to be cut. No one questions the fact that the US can invade or bomb the hell out of any old country without a formal declaration of war. We've never paid more for health insurance and never paid so much in co-pays that it could bankrupt a family easily.

A few hundred people control more than half the wealth in the US. It doesn't seem fair but if I complain about it, I am labeled a socialist because that's now a bad thing. People think we should support the filthy rich so that when we become filthy rich ourselves, we won't have to pay taxes on it. duh. We are one of the lowest taxed countries in the world, but it's not low enough for the uber-wealthy.... what more can they buy? What do they need all that money for?

If there was indeed a "liberal agenda" Grover Norquist would have been assassinated.

I'm starting to think that more than half of the American people are complete idiots... I used to think that it was more like 30%- but the number is growing. I wouldn't drink the water if I were you.

Will need something like the French Revolution to get out of this mess? I hope not.

God (if there is one) is not omnipotent. God is a wussie just like the Democrats.

Over and out

Tuesday, September 6

It's dated, but up to date.

A Letter to Peter of Lone Tree

In a post published today [June 15, 2009] at the Dark Wraith Publishing online property Big Brass Blog, contributing writer Peter of Lone Tree quotes from author Chris Hedges' recent article, "The American Empire Is Bankrupt," which paints a brutally grim picture of the death spiral of the United States economy and the coming deprivations its non-elites will suffer.

Good evening, Peter of Lone Tree.

Although I greatly enjoy the writings Chris Hedges has published on American religious extremism, his apocalyptic vision of the future of the American economy is generous to a fault and parochial to a rather unexemplary era and its uninspired citizens.

We have received what essayist Jonathan Schell describes as "An Invitation to a Degraded World," and we have accepted it. The acceptance has come in each election from 2000 to the present, and that includes the presidential election last year.

We cannot help ourselves: we embrace the folly of reactionism, and Brand X of the Left is seen as a viable substitute for Brand X of the Right. In the end, the candidates of one company are pretty much the same as those of the other. Duopolies offer choice only to those who have forgotten that choice includes the option, "No."

On we trod, though, into a future not as good as that of our parents.

But not really. I lived through bad times when I was growing up. The death of my father at the end of the '60s was a metaphor for a world and a nation on the precipice of upheavals I did not understand; but, then again, hardly anyone else did either, and the particulars of my circumstances of a degraded world were not the cause of the plight in which my mother and I found ourselves. The truth of the matter is that life was becoming a changed thing for many people way back then.

And before my time, life was becoming a changed thing for the people who had lived to see the turn of the last century, too.

And before their time, life was becoming a changed thing for the people who had lived to see the time after that war between the states.

And before their time, life was becoming a changed thing for the people who had lived to see the dawn of the 19th Century.

And before their time...

You get the picture.

The future is an invitation to a degraded world, a lesser thing, always packaged in the new, the better, the not-old-and-worn-out. Our walk to that place has become a breath-taking sprint, even as we curse the landscape as it becomes more ominous, more barren, more foreboding.

We look back and cannot help but imagine in the time before now a sun higher in the sky, a world less confusing because we know how the story went. The future is a story not told and, therefore, not known. We are never ready for it; and now, as we run at full speed into its maw, we have no means by which to prepare ourselves, much less to prepare that place in which we shall spend the remainder of our days.

If it is of any comfort, though, we do know the part about how bad it's going to be there in that future. It is the place where the ones we love die, the ways we once lived are gone, and the joys we had are faded to the stuff of sadly fleeting dreams about which we can tell no one because no one cares.

The past is about ghosts we knew: they speak through our individual and collective memories.

The future is about ghosts we can only imagine: mostly, they speak through our individual and collective fears.

Times really are going to get rough. I have written many articles about what is coming, and I have now lived long enough to note with a degree of satisfaction that my predictions, economic and otherwise, are being proved accurate. A quite general article of mine about the future is one entitled, "The 21st Century, Epilogue." I took a more metaphorical approach in my story, "The End of Time."

So many people do not listen, though. They have to hear ghosts for themselves. That means they'll have to wait, just like they have for generation after generation; and when they see the future in all its ugliness, they'll wonder why it had to be that way.

Perhaps a few people in that time will notice something particularly awful about those ghosts to come, as terrible as they'll be as they stand before us in the plain sight of that degraded world out there just after tomorrow's sunset: those ghosts of the future will look an awful lot like us.

Right now, as we stand here on the edge of tomorrow accepting that invitation to which we just cannot say, "No," we ensure that ours will be the grave from which will usher that sullen place — that awful, degraded world — of apocalypse and misery otherwise called the future.

We never learn, do we?

The Dark Wraith has spoken. [From The Dark Wraith Forums of June 15, 2009.]

Saturday, September 3

And they huffed and they puffed...

More letters from the Right

Bu...bu...but my remote's lost don't know what to do!

This is what happens when adults(?) lose the ability to remember how to change TV Channels or to look for news from more than one source.
It also shows that P.T. Barnum was a right. 

I present you with:
Another local graduate of the Fox News Vocational Rehab School of Journalistic Propaganda.

Why pay to study current events in today's "liberal colleges" when you can learn all you really need for free in just 24 hours sitting comfortably in front of your TV, on YOUR OWN COUCH?

Get the REAL story! Fox News!

IQ test for Congress

Saturday, September 3, 2011
Read more: IQ test for Congress - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

I believe real unemployment is 20 percent or more. The national debt is over $14 trillion and spiraling upward. Programs like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are heading toward insolvency. Given these circumstances, I would think our leaders in the U.S. Congress would focus all of their efforts on resolving these major issues.
Instead, Democrat members of Congress like Maxine Waters, John Kerry, Jesse Jackson Jr., Nancy Pelosi, Diane Feinstein and Andre Carson spend their time attacking the tea party and Fox News. Why, rather than solving America's problems, do they spew vile insults, fuel class warfare and make incendiary accusations of racism?
The answer is that they spent the last six years implementing failed policies and realize that they have no accomplishments to offer in the 2012 election. The only cards they have left to play is to avoid the issues and focus on smearing their opponents. This is a despicable tactic at any time, but especially now, when so many Americans are being hurt by the prolonged poor economy.
The recent asinine statements from the aforementioned Congress members make a good case for instituting some type of IQ test to qualify candidates for Congress.

Michael G. Bitterice


Thursday, September 1

I think we should cancel LABOR DAY this year.

I can't help but wonder how many folks are celebrating their "worker's rights" these days.

Labor Day -- from wiki:

The form for the celebration of Labor Day was outlined in the first proposal of the holiday: A street parade to exhibit to the public "the strength and esprit de corps of the trade and labor organizations," followed by a festival for the workers and their families.

Morale, also known as esprit de corps when discussing the morale of a group, is an intangible term used to describe the capacity of people to maintain belief in an institution or a goal, or even in oneself and others.

yup - no 'bout A-doubt it -- I'm officially canceling it.

Compromise Or Cowardice? President Obama 'Yields' To Speaker Boehner. Moves Job Speech Date, by Veronica Roberts @ All Voices

What would YOU say?

I'll start...


Thursday, August 25

How to eat a dead terrorist, by Mark Morford

SF Gate:

"So deeply mesmerized was I by Nicholas Schmidle's chillingly detailed, wildly intense New Yorker piece describing nearly every gut-wrenching decision, stratagem and gunshot during the Navy SEAL's momentous takedown of Osama bin Laden on that fateful night in Abbottabad back in May, that I almost missed it.

....But amidst all the hardcore politics, grisly details and hugely cinematic spectacle, one vital detail swung by almost without notice like a thief in night-vision goggles; it was a potent flash of insight so devastating and telling I re-read the passage a few extra times to really let it soak in, to induce a deeply felt shudder and sigh.

It was this: We do this sort of thing all the time.

......The information is certainly out there. Nasty blogs abound that attempt to get the word out that America is enacting this or that horror on this or that innocent civilian, prisoner, population. The Iraq operation alone killed untold thousands of innocent civilians, women and children. General outrage quotient of the majority of Americans? Zero.

The truth remains: To the mainstream, America is all flag waving patriotism and God-sanctioned moral righteousness, and any blood or misery or harrowing "Hurt Locker"-like suffering is reserved for some faraway place most can't locate on a map. Americans remain, along with a few almost equally well-pampered allies, perhaps the most coddled, blindfolded, happily ignorant populace on earth.

And then comes the kicker: This is how we like it."