Mark Kleiman directs us to these articles

April 29, 2005

Bush loves persecutors

Jonathan Zasloff writes:

1. April 23: Crown Prince Abdullah's henchmen arrest and persecute Christians.

2. April 25: Bush welcomes Crown Prince Abdullah to Crawford.

3. Why do Republicans have such contempt for people of faith?


Two unanswered questions about the Social Security thing:

(Wow -- last few days, whew -- really sick -- wonderful how you just say stuff when you're so sick with intestinal virus you start hallucinating, thinking your government and your president are your enemies and evil and just don't care.)

So the questions:

1. Why does the SS rate (15% more or less {?}) cap at $88,000?

Why don't people who make $150,000 a year, or $350,000 a year or $7 million a year pay the same rate as we do, the same non-deductible portion of their income? No one has ever explained that, that I've heard, why it was set that way?

(I know, I know -- cuz the rich protect the rich. Maybe. But if so, Everett Dirkson once told his re-election team they should spread the rumor that his opponent had sex with sheep. And when they said, "But you know he doesn't," Dirkson said, "I know, but let's make the sonofabitch deny it.")

2. When an employee pays 7% + of his or her salary as the share the employers match, 2-4% of the salary (that number they keep saying "Only 2% or 3% or 4%.") is the most bare-faced of misrepresentations since the absolute guarantee of WMD's.

That 4% not being paid into Social Security is actually 53% of that employee's contribution going to the stock market. How does that help the financial balance of the Social Security system?

No one asks, no one answers -- see the cat? see the cradle? Tell me which card is the red queen and win some money, which shell is the pea under, and finally: "No, how could you say that? That's not my dick up your ass -- I'm a doctor and I'm taking your temperature. For your own good."

3. Oh, one other thing -- has ANY plan this pissant put forth (from Mephisto Oil to WMD's and invading Iraq) -- has ANYTHING Monkey Boy has proposed EVER worked out as promised?


Oh, and to that last point -- has any plan this man has put forth, all of which have failed -- done anything but, while failing, take money from the US Government and the taxpayers and give it to his or Dick Cheney's or his father's pals? Any plan at all? The man's either a stone cold liar -- or else a total idiot with a puppeteer's hand up the back of his jacket.

How much would keeping the tax equal all the way up the income ladder add to the Social Security fund?

And how will pulling 53% of an employee's contribution -- or 26.5% of the total, adding in the employer's share and/or the amount paid by self-employed people -- how will that make the fund more solvent?

Find the red queen and get rich.

(All these figures are approximate -- I don't care if it's 15% or 15.6% or what. I don't care if it's $88,000 or $92,00 -- regardless of the numbers, these questions need to be answered.)



Dear Monkey Boy -- to clarify yesterday's post

I am not going to do anything to hurt you, for all you've hurt me and all of us not a part of your crowd. Won't do anything except to keep writing these posts demonstrating my almost incomprehensible contempt for you.

The ones who are going to do you are Cheney and Rove -- they're going to cut your balls off for the benefit of their masters and leave you holding the empty bag.

Most of my contempt is because of your strategy of driving the debt through the ceiling by letting your pals loot the treasury as a way of justifying the gutting of all social service programs -- let the poor die, is your philosophy, and if the middle class is up to their eyes in debt paying your insurance company friends, well that'll keep them out of your hair. Correction -- SOMEONE'S strategy, the same one used under Ronnie Reagan and your dad.

So now you come all crocodile tears complaining -- as if you gave a shit -- that "Oh my, social security is going to die and we need to protect it."

I wonder how many people are cursing your name right now and have been for a while.

You want to blame someone, blame your dad, who wanted Jeb up there not you, blame him for Cheney and Rove, blame him for the Carlyle Group and the Pipeline they want, and ultimately all his partners... the people who really run things in this country.

We can't change anything -- we don't even know the names of the people who give your masters their orders. But at least we can flip a middle finger or spit as your motorcade drives by. We can call you an asshole while waiting in line at a supermarket and have a dozen strangers say, "You got THAT right."

Your presidential library should be designed to look like a giant lollipop, because if you don't see what a sucker they're making out of you as they steal from us, you're even dumber than anyone thought. And they're laughing their asses off because you STILL just don't get it -- they'll use you till hell won't have it and then toss you aside like a used condom out the window of the back seat of a '72 Buick on a Saturday night. And they'll walk away with impunity while national and international contempt for you will make Watergate look like Disneyland.

Not that the thought generates any sympathy -- you played the game, you took the prizes, you killed the Texas Death Row prisoners, killed Iraqis, our soldiers and Marines, killed the old and the sick by making their medical care and drugs too expensive for them, and now you get to eat the shit. Yum-yum, eh?

You'll find out what Bill Clinton went through when your Dad's pal's decided to make him suffer for having had the temerity to beat him. But while he stood up there and dealt with it and came out victorious, you'll crack -- you won't even make it through the second round -- and once again, we'll all see how much more of a man he is than you.

Hell, as WC Fields said, "I could carve a better man out of a banana."

They call your administration Nazi's, not because of anti-semitism or any of such things your people put up for a smokescreen. Aside from the myriad connections you and your family and they and their families have to the Third Reich.

They call you Nazi's because you have systematically shut down the legal avenues of opposition, slandered and destroyed reputations of anyone who opposes you -- and all in pursuit of the same "Dreamquest for Impossible Perfection"* they had -- to rule the world, because if you can rule the world, well then maybe you'll be a GOOD boy and mommy and daddy will love you.

You and Hitler -- horrible damage, vicious times, damned forever, but in retrospect, just two pathetic losers who could create nothing but pain.

Fuck you.

Respectfully yours..

*Term coined by John Aes-Nihil of Aes-Nihil Productions




You go, George W.

Stick with it, Monkey Boy -- if you want John Bolton in New York telling it like he sees it to the reps of the rest of the world, why shouldn't you get it?

And if you want the Godly 10 on Federal courts, Ms Brown and the rest of the "I'm right -- it's the laws that are wrong" crew, hey, it's your country isn't it? I mean you guys own it now, or at least for a while, right?

And if you want to gut Social Security by pulling 2 trillion dollars out and giving it to your friends on Wall Street, well, who's gonna stop you, right?

Fucking Democrats hate God and love anal sex, just like Mr. Robinson said, and are all secretly plotting to bring back Communism.

I say you should get whatever you ask for because I truly believe in a saying by another man of vision and power, Napoleon Boneparte. He said this:

"Never interrupt your enemy when he's making a mistake,"

and I add this bit of wisdom just so you can get prepared for what comes next:

"Be careful the asses you kick on the way up -- they're the same ones you'll have to kiss on the way down."

What I love about that second quote is that none of you guys EVER think it will apply to you. Oh, you'll still be a rich kid, but you will be spit on and reviled every where you go. Because you forgot that while you don't have to run for office again, the other Republicans -- the actual Conservatives -- not the Right-Wing Crazies who like to call themselves Conservative -- do -- and if there's one thing congressmen know, it's how to find out which way the wind blows. They're already turning against you for their own survival.

You're gonna end up like Nixon ... even Ken Lay won't answer your phone calls. And as we all dig out of this depression and the chaos of worldwide civil wars -- your legacy to us -- you will not be able to show your face in public -- and at the 2012 Republican Convention, your name -- like your father's at the 1996 Convention -- won't be mentioned by anyone.

Hey -- even the hard-core Nazi's started saving Jews when they saw the end was coming, but since you rely on Karl Rove -- a man who will never have to take responsibility for what he told you to do -- you'll never see it coming, never fall over until the ground shifts under your feet.

Stay healthy, live a long time in the Hell you're creating for yourself.

At least the rest of us, while we dig our way out of the Depression you're putting us in, at least we will have SOMETHING to laugh about.



So, let me get this straight...

We've got these people who are in charge of making and unmaking our laws, deciding where to spend our money and how much in each place, and at this time, they're all part of the same gang of thugs as the Head Bully and his cronies. The first group they bullied was the opposition party ("You want to get goodies or go broke? You can get rich with us or we'll destroy you.") So, they spend their time and our money:

1. Beating up faggots, the traditional hobby of bullies everywhere, spending immense amounts of time thinking about the idea of two men getting married, like it's something they really like to think about. "The idea of two men getting married..." They never mention two women getting married, or only as an afterthought. It could be that's an alternate fantasy to the one about the men, but perhaps, more likely, it is, as Lenny Bruce said about why standup comics do fag jokes but not dyke jokes, because "we all know they'd come up on stage and beat the crap out of us." Well, of course it was a stereotype -- but it's obvious the so-called humans in congress and the White House are dealing only in stereotypes.

2. Beating up any little girl who is in total terror because she trusted some guy who promised promised promised he'd pull out before he came OR that he WAS wearing a condom and now she's pregnant and she lives in a state where she has to tell their parents in order to stop the pregnancy (because she's too young to make a choice, but old enough to raise a child), but she knows her parents would cripple her if they knew, and sometimes it was actually Daddy or mom's brother Uncle Barney who put it in there. Now she can go to prison for crossing an imaginary line to another state where she's actually allowed to make a choice about her life. (They've been doing this for centuries, these cross-mongers, beating up little girls Used to be as witches. Now they just scream 'Murderer' at them.)

3. Spending vast amounts of time jock-sniffing professional athletes, because they have a good excuse --they're using - GASP! YIKES! -- steroids. Because you have these young men and women who have honed their bodies into magnificent machines and developed their considerable talents and have gone into professional sports (like the NFL or MLB) where they will proceed to trade the viability of that body and their talents for lots of money until they become rich and crippled and retire, or retire rich and find themselves somewhat crippled forever. BUT, the idea that they might use a particular drug to help them get bigger and better is horrific, because they're only allowed to destroy their bodies and cripple themselves (and get rich) NATURALLY.

4. Pass a law saying that anyone who defaults on his credit card balance -- an UNSECURED LOAN offered without request to that person because of zip code or whatever (you can ask Fair, Isaac what the level of credit determination is) -- can no longer just give it all up and go into bankruptcy and try to start over. Not if that person is of moderate means. (This is not like the Texas Homestead law that says you can't take a person's home away, which is why, once the Enron scandal blew up, Ken Lay and the rest of them invested millions in upgrading their homes in River Oaks with built-in electronic controls, saunas, tennis courts, etc.)

5. Because there's no important business to take care of, other than attacking the opposition -- which has already become your slaveys -- as being against God and people who believe in God, because they have only passed 95% of the head bully's judicial nominees, digging in their heels only at the ones so totally bizarre that they're unqualified to even carry on an objective discussion. Some of them are so crazy because they're religious fanatics. Some because they're so sexually inverted they can only get off the way England's famous Lord Justice Goddard did (look it up). Some were child abuse victims. But really -- you show me ONE of the congress or White House mob who ever got 95% on any college test (especially the head bully) without Poppy having bought it for them.

Because there's really nothing else they need to focus on -- like (I risk sounding like a "LIBERAL" here, but trust me, that is NOT what I am) a collapsing rail and bridge and highway infrastructure; or 40 million people without medical insurance; or a CIA and an FBI neither of which can find its ass with either or both hands because in the past 5 years, the head bully and his masters and his henchmen have bullied every one of them every time one has been able to find said ass, running them out of the company, demoting them, demanding that they find instead Fidel Castro's ass or some other and call it their own; a rising number of terror events going from one or two a week in 2003 to more than one every day in 2004 with more and more people in the US understand why everyone in the world is pissed off at these swaggering shits that call themselves our government, understanding why H.L. Mencken once said:

"Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit upon his hands,
hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats."

Understanding why Rudyard Kipling, anticipating exactly these types of bullies strolling right into this sort of quagmire, flags waving, bands playing and all starry-eyed young soldiers actually believing there was a good reason to piss their lives away and that their C-in-C and his advisors know what they're doing and actually could find THEIR asses with both hands and a Geo-synchronous satellite connection:

"At the end of the fight
is a tombstone white
And the name of the late deceased
With an epitaph drear:
'A fool lies here
Who tried to hustle the East.' "

There are some members of congress who think first and think second and when they refuse, on the grounds of conscience, to go along with the lynch mob, are mocked and called names by the others and threatened.

So what does that say about us?

We let them do it.



I like Mark Kleiman's point about the Frist, Christ (hmm, they spell their names alike -- so close ... Betty Bowers needs to watch out) attack on Democrats:

If the Senate Democrats are hostile to the twelve Bush nominees they're holding up because those nominees are "men and women of faith," does that mean that the 206 Bush nominees the Senate has confirmed were all atheists?


The Yamashita Principle, or Why Are Donald Rumsfeld, George Tenet, et al still running around loose?

Redrum Rumsfeld not responsible for Abu Ghraib?
AG Alberto Gonzalez not responsible?
General Ricardo Sanchez not responsible?

Even though the current inquiry included this statement:

"Sanchez and his former top deputy, Maj. Gen. Walter Wojdakowski, were cited in the Kern-Fay-Jones report for failure to "ensure proper staff oversight of detention and interrogation operations" in Iraq, specifically at the Abu Ghraib prison."

Think about that statement as you read this blog I posted in August of 2004 explaining the Yamashita Principle -- and am re-posting today. First some background:

After WWII, Dugout Doug MacArthur ("I shall return ... after the fighting is over.") set up a Court Martial to try Japanese General Tomoyuki Yamashita for war crimes.

Yamashita's combat troops had violated an Open City agreement made for Manila, and Yamashita, left with only clerks and cooks, was unable to stop them from running amok -- and they did credit to that term, "running amok."(Perhaps their standard was "When in the Philippines, live up to the local customs." Not dissing Phillipinos -- the word "Amok" is from the Phillipine Insurrection.)

Cynics and realists believe the real crime was that MacArthur and his family owned property in Manila -- a great deal of property -- and Yamashita's soldiers damaged it. MacArthur put him on trial.

Hear ye, Hear ye:


Here's the official language:

Part I

Responsibility of a Military Commander for offences committed by his troops. The sources and nature of the authority to create military commissions to conduct War Crime Trials, Non-applicability in War Crime Trials of the United States Articles of War and of the provisions of the Geneva Convention relating to Judicial Proceedings. Extent of review permissible to the Supreme Court over War Crime Trials.

Tomoyuki Yamashita, formerly Commanding General of the Fourteenth Army Group of the Imperial Japanese Army in the Philippine Islands, was arraigned before a United States Military Commission and charged with unlawfully disregarding and failing to discharge his duty as commander to control the acts of members of his command by permitting them to commit war crimes.

The essence of the case for the Prosecution was that the accused knew or must have known of, and permitted, the widespread crimes committed in the Philippines by troops under his command (which included murder, plunder, devastation, rape, lack of provision for prisoners of war and shooting of guerrillas without trial), and/or that he did not take the steps required of him by international law to find out the state of discipline maintained by his men and the conditions prevailing in the prisoner-of-war and civilian internee camps under his command.
Let's check that charge out again:

...that he did not take the steps required of him by international law to find out the state of discipline maintained by his men and the conditions prevailing in the prisoner-of-war and civilian internee camps under his command.

(An aside -- eyewitnesses have made it clear that some of those POW Rapees were 100+ nurses who were removed from the evacuation vessels and left behind in order to put several valuable grand pianos belonging to the MacArthur family on those LSTs.)
The defense argued, inter alia, that what was alleged against Yamashita did not constitute a war crime, that the Commission was without jurisdiction to try the case, that there was no proof that the accused even knew of the offences which were being perpetrated and that no war crime could therefore be said to have been committed by him, that no kind of plan was discernible in the atrocities committed, and that the conditions under which Yamashita had had to work, caused in large part by the United States military offensive and by guerrilla activities, had prevented him from maintaining any adequate overall supervision even over the acts of such troops in the islands as were actually under his command.
In other words -- "No one told me. I didn't know." OK.

And the verdict? (Some legal language deleted below.)

The Commission sentenced Yamashita to death and its findings and sentence were confirmed by higher military authority. When the matter came before the Supreme Court of the United States ... the majority of that Court, in a judgment delivered by Chief Justice Stone, ruled ... that the offence of which Yamashita was charged constituted a violation of the laws of war, and that the procedural safeguards of the United States Articles of War and of the provisions of the Geneva Prisoners of War Convention relating to Judicial Proceedings had no application to war crime trials.

Yamashita was executed on 23rd February


So -- do RedRum Rumsfeld and his Wormtongue advisor AG Gonzalez fit that definition?

I would suggest that all that twisty legal language sent down from the High Place about how to get around the Geneva Convention would suggest they not only set the conditions for it, they also provided the perps with a defense argument in advance.

Here's an opinion from a more contemporary source in Tony Blair land:

The Yamashita Principle

The final topic for discussion is the Yamashita Principle or the Doctrine of Command Responsibility which was discussed on the SNCO and JNCO CLM packages.

This is a well-established principle of the Law of Armed Conflict. It creates the situation whereby an individual in a position of command is responsible for the actions of his subordinates.

From the first sentence we can see that any order given that results in a war-crime being committed renders the person giving the order criminally liable. The second sentence is perhaps not quite so well known. Failing to prevent crimes can also confer criminal liability on the Commander, if he/she knew or had information from which he/she should have concluded that the crime was going to be committed and also if no action was taken against the perpetrator of a war-crime.

Who Does It Apply To?

It applies to all commanders, even after their authority has been delegated. The delegation of command authority can not absolve the commander from his/her responsibility. The theory behind this is that the Commander is responsible for the delegation and the man/woman to whom he/she delegates. He/she should ensure that he/she only delegates to those who can be trusted to adhere to LOAC.


The first thing that a CO must do is show that he/she has ensured that his/her troops are properly trained in the LOAC. The minimum standard is achieved by the completion of ITD(6). However, it is open to the CO to arrange further training to complement the ITD package.

Control and Monitoring

The CO must ensure that the subordinate chain of command is fully aware of the need to control and monitor the actions of their subordinates, and for the prompt, accurate reporting of all incidents that could lead to war-crimes investigations.


So I say again, why are Rumsfeld and Tenet and Gonzalez and Sanchez still running around free?

Clint Eastwood for AG and Hang 'em High


Breaking News: Jaafari presents Cabinet to Talabani

The Scotsman reports that prospective Prime Minister Ibrahim Jaafari has presented his cabinet to President Jalal Talabani. Jaafari, a religious Shiite from the Dawa Party, gave 17 cabinet posts to Shiites, including the sensitive one of Interior (which includes domestic intelligence). Sunni Arabs will get the Ministry of Defense and a vice-premiership, as well as at least 3 other cabinet posts. Ex-Baathists among the Sunni Arabs have been excluded.

The president and his two vice presidents (these are Kurdish leader Jalal Talabani, Sunni Arab Ghazi al-Yawir, and Shiite member of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq, Adil Abdul Mahdi) will now approve the cabinet. If they give the go-ahead, Jaafari will submit it for a vote in parliament. He needs a 2/3s majority or about 182 votes in the 275-member parliament. The Shiite list has about 145 and the Kurds have 77, so they alone can approve the government if they like. (update: A reader just alleged to me that the new government requires only a simple majority in parliament. If so, and if the presidency council does not balk, Jaafari is assured of getting his government through...)

For detailed, informed, calmly analyzed, intelligent daily reportage on events in Iraq (mostly), go to Informed Comment

Nice to know there's at least ONE person out there being what feels like and appears to be objective, methodical, and non-hysterical.

Thank you Professor Cole.


DeLay Woes Prompt Rush to Refile Forms

"Ole man shredder, 'dat ole man shredder/
He don't say nothin' but 'Go and prove it,'/
'Dat ole man shredder/he keeps me here in my job."

Lawmakers Fear Ripples Over Ethics

By Mike Allen
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, April 26, 2005; Page A01

Members of Congress are rushing to amend their travel and campaign records, fearing that the controversy over House Majority Leader Tom DeLay will trigger an ethics war that will bring greater scrutiny to their own travel and official activities.

Some offices have sharply limited staff travel, and some members are not traveling at all because of the intense review they believe they will face in coming months.

Lawmakers are paying old restaurant bills, filing missing forms and correcting erroneous ones as journalists and political opponents comb through records and DeLay (R-Tex.) attempts to answer questions about travel financing and his past relationships with lobbyists.

Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) wrote to the Federal Election Commission on April 15 to report that he had discovered that the Washington restaurant Signatures had not charged his credit card -- as he said he had directed -- for a 2003 fundraiser for 16 people that cost $1,846. The event was hosted by Jack Abramoff, a lobbyist and part-owner of the restaurant who is now under congressional and criminal investigation for his handling of millions of dollars in fees from Indian tribes. Abramoff was not at the event.

--- Jack Abramoff? No charge for an $1,800 dinner? Oh my. Must be a coincidence. "I ordered them to cover it up ... ahh, umm ... to pay it immediately. Yeah, 'pay it immediately, that's the ticket.' "

'I never thought about this event again until it was brought to my attention very recently that no payment or reimbursement for the event has ever appeared on our FEC report,' Vitter wrote. He wrote to Signatures at the same time, directing the management to 'charge my credit card today.'"

"... he just keeps shredding along..."


OK, NOW I Understand What's Happening in the Senate

Some years ago, while I was a docent at the San Francisco Zoo, I was walking near the Orang/Chimp enclosures. The day before had been a birthday party for Rusty, the big orangutan, and gifts were always shared with the chimps whose round little concrete pedestal was adjacent and each could see the other. So they gave the chimps several things, including T-shirts (always popular).

As I came near, Cobby, the old male, was dunking a T-shirt in his water bowl to give it heft, then threw it at some man standing there watching him. Nailed him. (Cobby was a Free Throw champ, usually flinging feces at people who stared at him too long. There were times, around the zoo, when it looked like Ash Wednesday, little dark smudges in the middle of so many visitors' foreheads.)

The man got mad, picked it up and raised his arm in the NFL QB throwing position.

At which point I yelled: "Hey, please don't do that. Don't do that."

To which the man replied, pointing to Cobby, "HE STARTED IT!"

And I said, "But he's a fucking ape ... in a cage. What the fuck are you?"

The man dropped the T-shirt and stalked away, muttering so I could hear it:
"Not fair. HE started it."

As I watched Bill Frist and his hard-riding henchmen this past week or so, I thought of that incident and realized it was their role model, that Cobby and The Stranger had written their script.

Please: do not assume I ascribe one role to the Republicans and the other to the Democrats. I have no idea which is which. I only know they change roles every so often, but still play the same game.

Right now, the Democrats are saying: "THEY started it," pointing to the Republicans in reference to their dead-ending 60 of Bill Clinton's judicial appointees.

Simultaneously, the Republicans are pointing at the Democrats, saying: "THEY started it," referring to the Democrat's threat of filibuster.

And the anger levels go up and down/

and the posturing Senators go round and round...


"I don't care what you say -- I think she's cute, that little honey downstairs."


George W Bush's 'Love Child' revealed!


"Holding hands in Crawford... When the Weather is fine ... Nice work if you can get it.. when Prince Abdullah says:"You're Mine." Monkey Boy as a Rich Bitch?



Informed Comment: "Monday, April 25, 2005

4 Carbombings Kill 23, Wound at Least 80
2 US Troops Killed

Thomas Wagner of the Associated Press reports that on Sunday, guerrillas detonated 4 car bombs in Baghdad and Tikrit, leaving a trail of death and mayhem behind them. Wagner writes,

A vehicle packed with explosives was driven into a crowd gathered in front of a popular ice cream shop in Baghdad's western [Shiite] al-Shoulah neighborhood Sunday, police Maj. Mousa Abdul Karim said. Minutes later, as police and residents rushed to help the victims, a second suicide car bomber plowed into the crowd. At least 15 people were killed and 40 wounded. Shattered glass, pools of blood, and pieces of flesh littered the scene.

The bomb killed at least 11 and wounded 40.

In Tikrit, guerrillas exploded car bombs in front of a police academy, killing at least 6 and wounding 33."

Dear George, Don, Condoleeza, et al:

In the words of a wise reality-based man:

"If you get TO it
and you can NOT do it,
then there you jolly well are, aren't you?"
Lord Buckley

in other words:

"Where in the waste is the wisdom?"
James Joyce, Finnegans Wake


This from the online Independent (UK) via Atrios through the link titled "Soylent Green is People."

GM industry puts human gene into rice

By Geoffrey Lean, Environment Editor

24 April 2005

Scientists have begun putting genes from human beings into food crops in a dramatic extension of genetic modification. The move, which is causing disgust and revulsion among critics, is bound to strengthen accusations that GM technology is creating 'Frankenstein foods' and drive the controversy surrounding it to new heights.

Even before this development, many people, including Prince Charles, have opposed the technology on the grounds that it is playing God by creating unnatural combinations of living things.

Environmentalists say that no one will want to eat the partially human-derived food because it will smack of cannibalism...."

Do scientific, political, engineering, movie-TV-making, and etcetera developments based purely on "because we CAN," really ever do anything but make things worse?



"Memo to wingnuts: The pharmacists who want 'freedom of conscience' to refuse to fill legal prescriptions for women seeking contraceptive devices are no different from the diner owners who wanted 'freedom of conscience' not to serve blacks.

This decade seems to be all about licensing bigotry and calling it conscience. It's an old argument, but it still has resonance: If men could take a morning-after pill, there would be no 'freedom of conscience' issues. If I pop a Viagra and accidentally inseminate a woman, who gets the blame?"

Hint: Not me.


The Scandalous Gap in Homeland Security's Defenses

This via the always reliable, always remarkable and always charming Wonkette

How to Survive a Zombie Attack (Op-Ed)

By dr zeus


I finally saw Dawn of the Dead (2004), and I just have to wonder, did these people even think about how they would survive a zombie attack? Since we've had a rash of zombie movies lately - 28 Day, Shaun of the Dead - I think someone needs to publish a zombie survival guide to help these people out. And that someone is me, because I for one don't welcome our new zombie overlords.

First things first, you have to know your enemy. Zombies come in two flavors: fast and slow. Fast are definitely cool, but you'll need more than a baseball bat and a pair of running sneakers to survive that zombie attack. Slow zombies - well why the heck would anyone die from a slow zombie? If you can't get away from a slow zombie, you earned dismemberment.

Let's suppose that you made it through the first 10 minutes of the zombie-fest, and while most of your town are looking for live flesh to feast on, you're wondering how to hot-wire a car and get out of town. You need a plan of action...


I'm assuming the reader isn't currently experiencing a zombie outbreak. If you are, skip down to the next section.

Preparing now for zombiedom is a good idea. Remember what the TV preacher said, 'When hell is full, the dead will walk the earth.' So it's bound to happen sooner or later. Since it would look wierd if you started bricking up your windows and stockpiling rifles, you have to be smart about this.

First, get to know the guy in town who bought a pallet of Spam to survive Y2K. He probably still has a ton of that stuff around, and knows all the good hiding places.

Next, scout out all the big box retailers that carry ammo and food. Not too many eh? Tough luck, blue-stater. Someplace like WalMart is ideal, especially with the Garden Center for seed and stuff for longterm survival. A big bonus would be a nearby Home Depot or some such place so you can get plenty of lumber and quick-mix concrete for fortification.

While you're preparing, always keep in mind locations where people congregate - you're likely to find lots of zombies there when things turn ugly. Highways, malls, and schools are especially bad. You also might want to mention to your friends and family in passing how well your hiding place could be defended, etc. That way, when the zombies come, they'll remember you said that and come help you. I don't recommend telling them you're preparing for a zombie invasion..."

Continue on, if there's still time: kuro5hin

So all those terrorists have to do is die, come up again as zombies, and eat their way across America.


What I heard about Iraq -- Eliot Weinberger

This revealing list of statements from Eliot Weinberger found via Ambidextrous

What I Heard About Iraq:

"I heard... a year after the first Gulf war, I heard Dick Cheney, then Secretary of Defense, say that the US had been wise not to invade Baghdad, since it would have meant getting 'bogged down in the problems of trying to take over and govern Iraq.' I heard him say: 'The question in my mind is: How many additional American casualties is Saddam worth? And the answer is: Not very damned many.'

In February 2001, I heard Colin Powell say that Saddam Hussein 'has not developed any significant capability with respect to weapons of mass destruction. He is unable to project conventional power against his neighbors.'

That same month, I heard that a CIA report stated: 'We do not have any direct evidence that Iraq has used the period since Desert Fox to reconstitute its weapons of mass destruction programs.'

Two months later, I heard Condoleezza Rice say: 'We are able to keep his arms from him. His military forces have not been rebuilt.'

On September 11, 2001, six hours after the attacks, I heard that Donald Rumsfeld said that it might be an opportunity to 'hit' Iraq. I heard that he said: 'Go massive. Sweep it all up. Things related and not...'"

Continue on to the rest at Common Dreams



Study a positive sign on Alzheimer's

---I'm posting this in its entirety because I took it from and it may be a Premium piece -- hey, if you can afford online access, you can afford -- for minimal loot -- a Premium subscription to You will then get stuff like this any time, day or night:

By Lauren Neergaard

April 24, 2005 | WASHINGTON -- The first attempt at gene therapy for Alzheimer's patients appeared to significantly delay worsening of the disease in a few people who have tested it so far, scientists reported Sunday.

Far more research is needed to see if the experimental treatment, which requires a form of brain surgery, really helps.

But if the approach pans out, researchers say delivering protective substances, called growth factors, into a diseased brain holds the potential to rescue some dying brain cells.

In one patient, the brain tissue showed new growth, which was a first, according to a study published in Sunday's edition of the journal Nature Medicine.

''It won't cure the disease," said the lead researcher, Dr. Mark Tuszynski of the University of California, San Diego. That is because Alzheimer's destroys different types of cells in different areas of the brain; the new gene therapy targets just one of those.

The preliminary success indicates that similar approaches might help other neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson's, Tuszynski said. ''This is in a sense proof of principle for the potential use of growth factors," he said.

Doctors at Chicago's Rush University Medical Center have begun a second small study of the approach in Alzheimer's patients. Tuszynski, who co-founded a biotechnology company that is funding the Chicago work, hopes larger studies will begin within another year.

Tuszynski and colleagues took skin cells from eight patients in the early stages of Alzheimer's and modified the genes to secrete a protein found in healthy brains called nerve growth factor, or NGF.

Earlier studies had shown that injecting NGF-producing tissue into the brains of aging monkeys could reverse deterioration. Simply injecting NGF into people would not work. If it goes into the wrong part of the brain, it can cause serious side effects.

So, doctors drilled holes into the patients' skulls and implanted the NGF-producing skin cells directly onto Alzheimer's-injured spots.

Six patients were tracked for almost two years. Tests involving memory and other skills found their rate of cognitive decline slowed by 36 percent to 51 percent, better than is usually seen with medication, Tuszynski reported.

The first two patients were awake and moved during the cell implantation, causing bleeding in their brains; one patient died five weeks later. Remaining patients received the implants under general anesthesia to keep them still, and the researchers reported no further problems.

The brain tissue of the study participant who died had new growth protruding from Alzheimer's-injured cells at the implant site, the first time that sort of recovery has been seen from a human brain treatment, Tuszynski said. Additionally, PET scans of the other participants showed a measurable increase in their brains' metabolic activity.

''These results need to be interpreted with cautious optimism," said William Thies of the Alzheimer's Association. With so few patients in the study, ''it's really impossible to tell whether the benefit was due to the treatment or natural fluctuation in symptoms," he said.

Moreover, he said, it would never be practical to perform brain surgery on millions of patients. Already, 4.5 million Americans have Alzheimer's, and with the country's population aging, a staggering 14 million may have it by 2050.

But if the gene-therapy approach ultimately works, it could revive interest in finding easier methods, he said.

As for the next step, instead of genetically modifying skin cells, Dr. David Bennett of the Rush University Medical Center has begun injecting the brains of up to 12 Alzheimer's patients with an NGF-bearing virus.

Animal studies suggest the virus may penetrate injured brain cells better, producing more of the protective growth factor for longer periods, he said.

''It's cautious optimism with a big C," Bennett stressed. ''It can't be a cure, obviously ... but maybe it'll do something."


Insurgent Violence Escalates In Iraq

I was directed to this article by "Informed Comment" Juan Cole's satisfyingly rational obervational daily journal regarding events (mostly) in Iraq:

And understand, I am NOT happy about this deveoping situation, even if I did predict it ... it's agonizing, watching a slow-motion car crash in progress and no matter how much we shout at the drivers to hit the brakes or turn the wheel, they've got the windows up and their music blasting at 1000 watts.

Over 100 Killed As Post-Election Calm Dissipates

By Ellen Knickmeyer
Washington Post Foreign Service
Sunday, April 24, 2005; Page A01

BAGHDAD, April 23 -- Violence is escalating sharply in Iraq after a period of relative calm that followed the January elections. Bombings, ambushes and kidnappings targeting Iraqis and foreigners, both troops and civilians, have surged this month while the new Iraqi government is caught up in power struggles over cabinet positions.

Many attacks have gone unchallenged by Iraqi forces in large areas of the country dominated by insurgents, according to the U.S. military, Iraqi officials and civilians and visits by Washington Post correspondents. Hundreds of Iraqis and foreigners have either been killed or wounded in the last week...

... In city after city and town after town, security forces who had signed up to secure Iraq and replace U.S. forces appear to have abandoned posts or taken refuge inside them for fear of attacks.

''We joined the police, and after this, the job became a way of committing suicide,'' said Jasim Khadar Harki, a 28-year-old policeman in Mosul, where residents say patrols are dropping off noticeably, often appearing only in response to attacks.



SF 49ers shock the NFL

With the first pick in the 2005 draft, the San Francisco 49ers pick Pope Benedict XVI. "We need a real monster out there on the field," said Coach Nolan. "I haven't seen anyone scare so many people since Godzilla."


Who's playing politics?

Who's playing politics?

- - - - - - - - - - - -
By Joe Conason

April 22, 2005 | In defense of John Bolton's nomination as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, the White House is once again exploring the boundaries of 'reality-based' perception. The Bush administration and its allies are pretending that opposition to Bolton is strictly partisan and political. Yet what must be clear to anyone observing this process is that Democrats alone could scarcely have stalled Bolton, let alone inflicted what may be fatal damage to his nomination.

Indeed, despite unanimous Democratic misgivings about Bolton's rigid ideology and undistinguished record, he would be on his way to Turtle Bay by now -- except for the serious doubt and strong dissent expressed by Republican legislators and diplomats about his conduct, competence, honesty and temperament.

On Wednesday, White House press secretary Scott McClellan attributed the problems encountered by Bolton to 'ugly' tactics by Democrats, whom he accused of 'playing politics' on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, a charge he repeated in his usual robotic style when reporters questioned his false narrative. 'The accusations that are being made [against Bolton] are unsubstantiated,' he insisted at the White House press briefing. 'Again, Democrats continue to raise them.' Then on Thursday morning, the president echoed his spokesman's complaint, demanding that the Senate 'put aside politics and confirm John Bolton to the United Nations...'

... Politics" may actually be driving the Republicans who oppose Bolton, both within and outside the Senate. Their reasons to reject him might be idealistic, pragmatic or even opportunistic. In every case, however, they no longer feel automatically obliged to swallow whatever the White House is serving. And their independence can only be encouraged by Bush's declining public approval ratings, currently languishing well below 50 percent, with a substantial majority of citizens worried about the country's direction.

From the beginning, the president's advisors have pretended not to see or hear dissident Republicans. That insulting arrogance, which mirrors Bolton's own behavior, may well be the ultimate mistake in this misbegotten episode..."

The Bushwahs actually recognizing reality?

The Republicans no longer willing to bend over EVERYTIME Bush's mouth opens and passes along Karl Rove's schemes?

What could possibly be happening here?

Could it be that Bush, so arrogant in his knowledge that he doesn't need to run for election ever again, forgot that the Republicans in congress still do, next year, for example.


The Rude Pundit

Ahh, ain't it innaresting how great gutter minds ooze in the same direction?

The Rude Pundit

Ahh, there's nothing worse than long break-ups, the lingering, inevitable death of a long-term relationship, where you've tried to keep your demanding partner by compromise after compromise, hoping against hope that at some point your partner will see it your way, maybe not be so suffocating, when, deep in your aching gut, you know, you know, that the break-up has to happen or everyone's life is just going to be a long slog through misery and recrimination.

And now we can all look forward to a fond farewell to Roman Catholicism in America. Oh, c'mon, now, Roman Catholicism, don't cry. It's not you, it's us. See, here in America (and most of the developed world), we desire simple things like sexual freedom, women's rights, and lack of molestation. We've changed, not you, and if a relationship can't evolve, it has to die, right? Right?

The link will take you to the rest.


A Clarification about my attitude toward "Eggs" Benedict XVI

I don't know if he will be good for or bad for the billion people who believe in the Roman version of Christ. I don't know if he was a willing member of Hitler Youth or a forcibly-impressed recalcitrant one, or what he thought as he watched prisoners from Dachau. I don't know what the Holy Roman Church needs, and I don't whether a high-handed authoritarian is a good thing or bad thing IN THE CONTEXT OF RUNNING THAT RELIGIOUS CORPORATION. I would hope he would be of service to those who believe, elevate them, help them to fulfill themselves, to improve their selves.

But I'm not Catholic -- I'm an American. And I know that I do not appreciate this man's efforts to influence our elections -- to interfere with the lives of those of us who DO NOT subscribe to this man's particular version of moonlight. For that reason -- because this foreign lobbyist has tampered with out secular rights -- and because his is the CEO of the organization -- it is only proper that the Catholic Church should lose its tax exempt status -- start paying property taxes, income taxes, taxes on corporate profits (which aren't a hell of a lot here).

Every cent that church -- and any church -- fails to contribute means each and every one of us must pay more. And that is not the same as "Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion..." Congress is propping up religious groups that apparently not only can't support themselves, but also use the power of their executive structure over their followers to deprive the rest of us of a free and fair election.

Tax the churches.

Hands off America, Ratburger.



On Pain, addiction, and powerlessness

I find this one excellent and to the point -- it is part II of a posting, the first part of which is the narrative of a woman named Lorraine and her struggle with chronic pain. Use the link on the headline to read it all.

The politics of addiction.

Hello. My name is America, and I am sitting in this meeting because my friend Lorraine suggested I should come.

I'm not sure really when my addiction began. I look back over the past two-hundred odd years of my history and I see all sorts of psychic wounds. I had a tyrannical father, and I rebelled against him. Took up arms against him, and drove him out. I thought that would take care of my problems, but I wasn't done hurting myself. Even when I had the chance, I chose to cut myself off from parts of my body--Africans, women, those without property--told myself that those parts of me were less important, and that I didn't need to pay attention to the discomfort those parts of me caused.

Since then, those parts of me keep getting hurt, but I don't want to go back to that original wound and deal with it. That would require feeling some things that I'd prefer not to feel. I'm in pain now, but I've developed a whole host of ways of dealing with my pain. I know some of you think that qualifies as addiction. But I'm not ready to admit I have a problem yet.

I've got ways of dealing with my pain, however. They're called distractions. There's war, which is always good for taking my mind off whatever's bothering me. If I focus my attention on getting control over other people's lands and cultures, I don't have to think about the unmanageablility of my own culture. I've got plenty of women and poor people and racism, but I don't to focus on that right now. That would hurt.

If I can't shoot someone, maybe I can buy something. I like to spend money. Buying things makes me think I can be happy. I'll go out and buy a new gas-guzzling car that lets me sit high up on the road, or I'll buy the newest gadget or the newest pair of shoes from Nike. I know people suffer who make those products, but I don't want to think about those things. That would make me uncomfortable.

I'm not very comfortable with my sexuality, either. Too many feelings attached to that, too. But if I tell homosexuals and women how to conduct their private lives, then maybe I can exert some control over this stuff that makes me feel bad. I think about my body and it makes me feel icky. But if I make someone else feel icky about their body, perhaps they'll shut up. And I won't have to deal.

I'm really not comfortable with what's happening to the color of my skin, either. It used to be pale white, but now, it's starting to darken up; parts of me are speaking a language I can't understand. Makes me feel out of control. I think I'll tell everyone they have to keep to their own kind. Speak English, damnit. I can't stand feeling uncomfortable.

The hallmark of addiction is an inability to deal with one's feelings. I could go on and on about why I think we're a nation of addicts. I think we need a major intervention, but I'm not sure we've hit bottom yet. The only problem I have is that until we collectively hit bottom, some of us are going to wind up falling a hell of a lot farther than others.


Soft vs. hard energy path: the political lines harden

From The Christian Science Monitor

There's nothing like paying $2.50 per gallon at the gas pump to shift your attention to energy issues. And that may be especially true of politicians faced with grumbling constituents tired of forking out wads of cash to fill 'er up.

In Washington this week, President Bush and lawmakers of both parties are pushing their energy agendas. Mr. Bush, who began developing his still-languishing energy strategy shortly after he took office in 2001, prodded Congress to "get a bill to my desk before the summer recess."

The measure debated before the full House of Representatives Wednesday and Thursday - with passage expected Thursday afternoon - contains much of what Bush wants. But critics say it's also filled with unnecessary subsidies, over-reliance on nonrenewable resources like oil and coal, and an overall philosophy that even Energy Department economic analysts say won't significantly reduce dependence on foreign oil or affect the price at the pump.

The road to a new comprehensive energy program has been a long, hard slog.

Let's not forget it was Saint Ronnie of the Raygun in Space who gutted support for alternative enrgy research, thereby giving control of such things to the Europeans and Japanese to then sell to us, not unlike VCR's and DVD players.


New Pope condemns Spain gay bill

From BBC World News:

"Pope Benedict XVI has responded firmly to the first challenge of his papacy by condemning a Spanish government bill allowing marriage between homosexuals."

And yet, it's the Vaticannibals who wear dresses and fancy jewelry.Or is this the drag queens' revenge for Stonewall (when uptight gay men refused to let TV's march alongside).



Air Force Cadets See Religious Harassment

It's bad enough the Air Force seems to be run by video-game crazies, now we find out they're Cross-wielding crazies, too.

Associated Press Writer

April 19, 2005, 11:33 PM EDT

AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. -- Less than two years after it was plunged into a rape scandal, the Air Force Academy is scrambling to address complaints that evangelical Christians wield so much influence at the school that anti-Semitism and other forms of religious harassment have become pervasive.

There have been 55 complaints of religious discrimination at the academy in the past four years, including cases in which a Jewish cadet was told the Holocaust was revenge for the death of Jesus and another was called a Christ killer by a fellow cadet. "

...Two of the nation's most influential evangelical Christian groups, Focus on the Family and New Life Church, are headquartered in nearby Colorado Springs. Tom Minnery, an official at Focus on the Family, disputed claims that evangelical Christians are pushing an agenda at the academy, and complained that "there is an anti-Christian bigotry developing" at the school.

"Anti-Christian Bigotry" That means, if you object to ANYTHING we do, regardless of how egregious, it's an attack on Jesus and Christianity, you vukking Commie Jew Bastards.


The Lesson of Sativex

I'm getting the idea that our government does not base its policies on the document that says: "We hold these truths to be self-evident..." but rather on the barely-remembered school ditty that has the lines "No laughing, no talking, no showing of the teeth." (Something about a monkey on the bench? How prescient.)

Or as Hans Kung said about Cardinal Ratburger in the 1980's (head of the still-extant Inquisition), that everything he did was based on fear, and "What he fears most is Freedom."

Canada is either following its own light for the benefit of its people or, perhaprs, they seem determined to prove they're a much more democratically-oriented government than we are. Either way, to you folks north of the border, thanks for being the role model we should emulate.

On April 19, the Canadian government delivered what should be the final blow to the U.S. government's irrational prohibition against the medical use of marijuana. It approved prescription sale of a natural marijuana extract -- for all practical purposes, liquid marijuana -- to treat pain and other symptoms caused by multiple sclerosis.

Sativex, produced by GW Pharmaceuticals in Britain, brings the medical marijuana debate full circle. Though the technology has advanced in 70 years, this product is a direct descendent of the marijuana extracts and tinctures that were a standard part of the medical armamentarium until the late 1930s -- universally recognized as being safe and effective for certain conditions. These products were taken away from patients and doctors as a result of the prohibition on marijuana that began in 1937, despite the public opposition of the American Medical Association.

In short, the Canadian government has just certified that virtually everything our own government has been telling us about marijuana is wrong. In defiance of a large and growing pile of scientific studies, our government still claims that marijuana has no medical value. White House Drug Czar John Walters even compared medical marijuana to "medicinal crack."

Such statements were always scientifically ridiculous, as has been noted by a wide range of authorities, including the American Public Health Association, the American Nurses Association, and the state medical societies of New York, California and Rhode Island, to name just a few. Now, GW Pharmaceuticals' research has definitively put such nonsense to rest.

Make no mistake: Sativex is liquid marijuana. It is nothing like Marinol, the synthetic THC pill sold in the U.S. and sometimes falsely touted as an adequate substitute for marijuana.

Sativex is a whole-plant extract, containing the rich variety of naturally occurring compounds called cannabinoids that are unique to marijuana. It also contains trace elements of other compounds contained in the plant, which scientists believe contribute to its therapeutic value.

On its web site, GW Pharmaceuticals explains, "We believe very strongly that many of the advantages of using the whole plant come from the inclusion of other components of cannabis [marijuana]," not just THC. "In the cannabis plant, it appears that some of the components added together give better effect. Some components seem to work to counteract some of the side effects of others, and the whole plant is generally well tolerated by humans."

Sativex is to marijuana as a cup of coffee is to coffee beans. If Sativex is safe and effective, marijuana is safe and effective. And Sativex is safe and effective. Studies have shown significant effect against pain and other symptoms caused by multiple sclerosis and other debilitating conditions. Over 600 patient-years of research have established a remarkable record of safety.

Sativex should certainly be approved in the U.S., but the process may take years -- if it is allowed to happen at all. Sadly, our government's reflexive hostility to the medical use of marijuana shows no sign of abating.

But an even larger issue looms: Now that we know beyond doubt that marijuana is a safe, effective medicine, how long will our government continue to arrest patients who use it?

And even if Sativex is approved here someday, it won't be the answer for every patient now benefiting from medical marijuana. For one thing, it has been clearly shown that different strains of marijuana -- with different blends of cannabinoids -- work better for some conditions and less well for others. Sativex just comes in one formula, and it won't be right for everyone.

And Sativex will be expensive. Will we force patients to buy a pricey pharmaceutical version of a plant they could grow themselves for pennies? At a time when our healthcare system is drowning in rising costs, that's insane. We could end up with a policy every bit as silly as telling coffee drinkers that they can buy a cappuccino, but they'll be arrested on sight if caught in possession of coffee beans.

The lesson of Sativex is simple: Our government was wrong. Marijuana is medicine, and patients and doctors should be able to use it in whatever form works best for their particular situation.

Rob Kampia is executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project in Washington, D.C.


Just so we all know what this new Poppa is about...

New Pope Intervened against Kerry in US 2004 Election Campaign
Agence France-Presse

Tuesday 19 April 2005

Washington - German Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the Vatican theologian who was elected Pope Benedict XVI, intervened in the 2004 US election campaign ordering bishops to deny communion to abortion rights supporters including presidential candidate John Kerry.

In a June 2004 letter to US bishops enunciating principles of worthiness for communion recipients, Ratzinger specified that strong and open supporters of abortion should be denied the Catholic sacrament, for being guilty of a 'grave sin.'

He specifically mentioned 'the case of a Catholic politician consistently campaigning and voting for permissive abortion and euthanasia laws,' a reference widely understood to mean Democratic candidate Kerry, a Catholic who has defended abortion rights.

The letter said a priest confronted with such a person seeking communion 'must refuse to distribute it.'

A footnote to the letter also condemned any Catholic who votes specifically for a candidate because the candidate holds a pro-abortion position. Such a voter 'would be guilty of formal cooperation in evil, and so unworthy to present himself for holy communion,' the letter read.

The letter, which was revealed in the Italian magazine L'Espresso last year, was reportedly only sent to US Catholic bishops, who discussed it in their convocation in Denver, Colorado, in mid-June.

Sharply divided on the issue, the bishops decided to leave the decision on granting or denying communion to the individual priest. Kerry later received communion several times from sympathetic priests.

Nevertheless, in the November election, a majority of Catholic voters, who traditionally supported Democratic Party candidates, shifted their votes to Republican and eventual winner George W. Bush.

So I can only say to "Eggs" Benedict XVI -- "We have a saying here -- it goes 'Don't tread on me.' Or to put it in language you might be able to understand, 'Back the fuck off of trying to crush our rights under your XVI Century mentality, and clean up your own house first.' THIS country and OUR consciences are NOT your house, and we do not take kindly to foreign potentates trying to usurp our rights.


14 Thoughts For The New Pope / Condoms. Female priests. Stop gay bashing. And dammit, do something about Christian rock

Mark Morford, always fun, sometimes outrageously fun -- to take nothing away from him, a new pope whose defenders say, "Well, he wasn't a member of Hitler Youth for very long and he wasn't an enthusiastic member," to explain why he just stood by as he saw Jews being boxcar'd into Hell, isn't exactly as demanding a target as Mother Teresa. Now THERE would have been an interesting Pope.

Face it, Benny the Dick is and was political to the utmost, the Karl Rove of the JPII admin who dug the dirt and vetted the loyalties for the appointment of each and every cardinal in the conclave. A man who played politics with the lives of all of us, as when he issued his directive to American clergy to tell all and sundry that anyone such as John Kerry, a Catholic who, as an American, supports the legal rights of women to choose whether or not to have an abortion, that such a man should be denied communnion, and the same would apply to anyone supporting him. In short, the mudslinging, dirt-digging, back-stabbing, back-alley-mugging Dick Nixon to the smiling, waving Eisenhower. In short, a Dick and a nasty piece of work. We can only hope the sacred meatball of compassion bonked him hard when they promoted him in secret session.

And onto Mr. Morford's commentary:

OK, first things first.

They say you're a hard-line conservative, new pope Joseph Ratzinger (a.k.a. Benedict XVI) of Germany. Very old school and drab, a real lover of repressive, bitter, orthodox doctrine. No fun at parties. Catholic in chains. What glorious times of joy and progress the church is in for, millions now say, dejected sarcasm dripping from their once-hopeful mouths.

See, most spiritually progressive peoples the world over were sort of hoping for a new pope who would recognize this as a historic opportunity, an unprecedented moment for the church to finally get with the times, modernize, shake off the dust and roll some bones and pry open some of those old dungeon doors and bring in some goddamn light.

You know what we wanted? More sex. Love. Good TV. Gender freedom. Better wine. Less sneering doctrine and homophobia and sexism and more fun with condoms and music and spiritual joy. But, instead, we got you.



A secular revelation concerning President Monkey Boy

... as he goes blithely along, chatting with carefully selected small groups to promote this or that, and I thought about the "fencepost turtle" tag another Texan put on him (that he didn't get up there by himself, won't be able to do anything while he there's unless someone else helps him, etc), and how the minions of the undead are acting in his name (Otto Reich vouches for John Bolton? Otto Reich, Iran-Contra Anti-Castro fanatic who pressed hard to get a US visa for Orlando Bosch, anti-Castro fanatic bomber who was convicted of blowing up a civilian Cuban passenger plane and killing 73 civilian passengers allegedly to get to two suspected terrorists. Otto Reich then convinced Poppy Bush to give Bosch a pardon so he could live comfortably in Florida with the other Batista murderers and torturers. Who's the terrorist in that picture? Bush? Bosch?)

And then I saw this quote:

"No bird soars too high

If he soars with his own wings."

William Blake

And it reminded me of what we all have known -- that he's been riding on Daddy's wings, and the Ben Ladn family's wings, and etc...

And what some of us suspected -- and expected (as in that cliche of watching the slo-motion car crash) that poor Junior -- Young Icarus Bush -- he's falling, falling, falling, and he had been raised so high up by others that the ground doesn't YET seem to be getting closer, so he hasn't YET had to try to flap those spoiled-brat wings, the ones he has barely used.

He's NEVER had to flap his own wings to save himself. And now, the wax has melted.

And the diehards say, "Oh but he's so sincere."

Funny, because the word itself -- sincere -- literally means "without wax."

And he's falling falling falling like the pasengers on the Cuban airliner his henchman blew up, falling like the working-stiffs in the WTC were falling falling falling because his daddy's policies (and those of his daddy's pals in the Carlyle Group) had been so egregiously greedy, they finally created and woke up a monster more feral and brutal than any we'd seen before.

(Other than the monsters both of his grand-daddies got rich on financing in Germany in the 30's and 40's, well into 1942 until congress stopped them from buying bullets for the Nazi's to shoot our soldiers.)

For those who are familiar with the character Osvald Alving of Henrik Ibsen's play Ghosts, it would suffice to point to the fellow and say, "vermoulu".

For those who aren't familiar with the play, Ibsen uses the term in its sense of "hereditarily worm-eaten."

Sins of the father and all that.



There's an old saying that applies to the Bolton nomination

(John Bolton, not Michael. And that's John R. Bolton, not John Bolton the British artist/cartoonist who actually contributes to our society in a positive way. Although, the Brit Bolton certainly knows vampires and other unwholesome creatures when he sees them.)

Anyway, that saying has to do with just how stupid someone else thinks you are:

"You really think you could stick your dick in my mouth and convince me it's a thermometer."

I don't care if the man's "Stalin-is-my-hero" mustache is white instead of black -- he is, or seems to be, by all descriptions, a sociopath. His contempt for anything that isn't him is extraordinary and it underscores the point that, contrary to the common-wisdom statement that there's only one political party -- there isn't ANY political party, just a gaggle of geese showing very few differences from each other.

The differences?

Each one has a place in what is so self-generously called "pecking order."

They're butt-obsessed, i.e., "I kick his butt (our California Obersturmfuhrer)" and all the rest of the manly expressions boasted upon by male and female alike concerning feet and other things being being propelled into and onto anal and gluteal similes.

In fact, there are just two differences among those creatures we pay to work for us, to regulate the vicissitudes, one dealing with what one has up his or her ass, the other dealing with what one has up someone else's ---

You either have a nose or a johnson up your own, and similarly, have YOUR nose or johnson (or strap-on) up someone else's.

It's a degenerate, mean-spirited daisy chain, and the only reason a virulently obscene psycho like Bolton is riding so high is because of the size of the wang he's sitting on -- Cheney's dick, from what they say.

Political parties? Get real. It's dogs sniffing and fucking each other out there.

Our government, sad to say, is dominated by a bunch of push-and-shove bureaucrats -- and a bureaucrat ain't nothin' but an idiot savante executive. The people who actually want to do something useful duck, hide, and hope for the best.

Many years ago, on a cold winter day in Philadelphia, PA, I had a realization prompted by my emotional reaction to a parking meter and mentioned it to a lovely young woman name Karen. I said "I just realized I'm an anarchist." And she said, "Then you must LOVE living in America."

The following week, she sent me a copy of a publication called "Good Soup" put out by the Federation of Anarchists in New York. Try though I might, the only image I could generate concerning a "federation of anarchists" was a bunch of people who got together intermittently and argued about Roberts' Rules of Order.

Back to our elected officials and their appointees -- they're brain dead but arrogant and nasty, so I can only recommend that we, their employers, pull their feeding tubes, meaning we specifically make ANY and ALL financial contributions to ANYONE running for office illegal, to be prosecuted as the bribe it is.

Let the airwaves -- which we legally own and only allow corporations to use -- let the networks give over the free time to those people for debates, statements, and Q&A from random public.

It may seem to be a bizarre idea but really, when you think about it, not nearly so perverted and weird as civil servants acting as if they actually OWN America, instead of merely having been HIRED to protect it from people more or less like themselves.



U.S. Seeks Access to Bank Records to Deter Terror

WASHINGTON, April 9 - The Bush administration is developing a plan to give the government access to possibly hundreds of millions of international banking records in an effort to trace and deter terrorist financing, even as many bankers say they already feel besieged by government antiterrorism rules that they consider overly burdensome.

This way, he can see how much of Saddam's money Poppy has stashed away, and plan his inheritance.



JON CARROLL -- Dispatch from the Unitarian Jihad

-- I'm passing this along in its entirety just because it's so damn fine ...

The following is the first communique from a group calling itself Unitarian Jihad. It was sent to me at The Chronicle via an anonymous spam remailer. I have no idea whether other news organizations have received this communique, and, if so, why they have not chosen to print it. Perhaps they fear starting a panic. I feel strongly that the truth, no matter how alarming, trivial or disgusting, must always be told. I am pleased to report that the words below are at least not disgusting:

Greetings to the Imprisoned Citizens of the United States. We are Unitarian Jihad. There is only God, unless there is more than one God. The vote of our God subcommittee is 10-8 in favor of one God, with two abstentions. Brother Flaming Sword of Moderation noted the possibility of there being no God at all, and his objection was noted with love by the secretary.

Greetings to the Imprisoned Citizens of the United States! Too long has your attention been waylaid by the bright baubles of extremist thought. Too long have fundamentalist yahoos of all religions (except Buddhism -- 14-5 vote, no abstentions, fundamentalism subcommittee) made your head hurt. Too long have you been buffeted by angry people who think that God talks to them. You have a right to your moderation! You have the power to be calm! We will use the IED of truth to explode the SUV of dogmatic expression!

People of the United States, why is everyone yelling at you??? Whatever happened to ... you know, everything? Why is the news dominated by nutballs saying that the Ten Commandments have to be tattooed inside the eyelids of every American, or that Allah has told them to kill Americans in order to rid the world of Satan, or that Yahweh has instructed them to go live wherever they feel like, or that Shiva thinks bombing mosques is a great idea? Sister Immaculate Dagger of Peace notes for the record that we mean no disrespect to Jews, Muslims, Christians or Hindus. Referred back to the committee of the whole for further discussion.

We are Unitarian Jihad. We are everywhere. We have not been born again, nor have we sworn a blood oath. We do not think that God cares what we read, what we eat or whom we sleep with. Brother Neutron Bomb of Serenity notes for the record that he does not have a moral code but is nevertheless a good person, and Unexalted Leader Garrote of Forgiveness stipulates that Brother Neutron Bomb of Serenity is a good person, and this is to be reflected in the minutes.

Beware! Unless you people shut up and begin acting like grown-ups with brains enough to understand the difference between political belief and personal faith, the Unitarian Jihad will begin a series of terrorist-like actions. We will take over television studios, kidnap so-called commentators and broadcast calm, well-reasoned discussions of the issues of the day. We will not try for "balance" by hiring fruitcakes; we will try for balance by hiring non-ideologues who have carefully thought through the issues.

We are Unitarian Jihad. We will appear in public places and require people to shake hands with each other. (Sister Hand Grenade of Love suggested that we institute a terror regime of mandatory hugging, but her motion was not formally introduced because of lack of a quorum.) We will require all lobbyists, spokesmen and campaign managers to dress like trout in public. Televangelists will be forced to take jobs as Xerox repair specialists. Demagogues of all stripes will be required to read Proust out loud in prisons.

We are Unitarian Jihad, and our motto is: "Sincerity is not enough." We have heard from enough sincere people to last a lifetime already. Just because you believe it's true doesn't make it true. Just because your motives are pure doesn't mean you are not doing harm. Get a dog, or comfort someone in a nursing home, or just feed the birds in the park. Play basketball. Lighten up. The world is not out to get you, except in the sense that the world is out to get everyone.

Brother Gatling Gun of Patience notes that he's pretty sure the world is out to get him because everyone laughs when he says he is a Unitarian. There were murmurs of assent around the room, and someone suggested that we buy some Congress members and really stick it to the Baptists. But this was deemed against Revolutionary Principles, and Brother Gatling Gun of Patience was remanded to the Sunday Flowers and Banners committee.

People of the United States! We are Unitarian Jihad! We can strike without warning. Pockets of reasonableness and harmony will appear as if from nowhere! Nice people will run the government again! There will be coffee and cookies in the Gandhi Room after the revolution.
Startling new underground group spreads lack of panic! Citizens declare themselves "relatively unafraid" of threats of undeclared rationality. People can still go to France, terrorist leader says.

Michael row the boat ashore, and then get some of the local kids to pull the boat onto the dock, and come visit with



Try though they may, they still can't find the person who outed Valerie Plame

---Damn, this is as disturbing as the fact that despite unceasing and tireless investigating, O. J. still hasn't found the person that killed his wife.



The Hoover Institution?

Didn't he engineer the onset of the Great Depression?

At what point do the newspapers and local TV news shows of the San Francisco Bay Area stop calling on the denizens of the Hoover Institute at Stanford and pretending they're objective political analysts?

Hell, they're even less objective than I am. They're a bunch of poseurs, shameless hacks and whores who compromised their academic credentials to audition for prestigious jobs in Republican administrations (like NSA Advisor or Secretary of Spike-Heeled S&M Games -- or did you think that her "You can ask me anything you want, but I resent you questioning my integrity" wasn't just heavy-leather bullshit.)

Not all are auditioning -- the rest are walking around demanding kudos and applause for the crimes they got away with in the previous Republican administration. (I do not know where the same types from the Democratic administrations go. We rarely see them or hear from them in the "liberal" press. Surely it couldn't be because they have, at long last, some sense of shame.)

Of course, the Hoover people's comments aren't as easy to predict verbatim as those of, say, Tony Blankely, he of the Reverend Moon Times of Washington, who sits porculently at the left-hand of John McLaughlin on McLaughlin's PBS Game Show -- but in degree of smugness, arrogance, and self-satisfied attitude, they're right in there.

Since their non-profit status grants them a tax exemption, we, the public, are picking up their share, i.e., we're paying our taxes to allow them to continue publicly kissing the ass of our Austrian friend in Sacramento and endorsing the first Republican President to have an administration that's more corrupt, more incompetent, and more determinedly disaster-bound that that of Mister Hoover, who, to his credit, before he became President, was a man of character and good works and actual compassion for the poor and suffering of the world. Unlike the present Incumbent who laughs at pleas for mercy and makes fun of those who beg for life.

The so-called reporters who short-cut their way into a story by calling Stanford -- these aren't reporters -- they're transcribers, emanuenses, punks, bitches, slaveys, gophers, yes-men, and the like.

Surely someone can do better.



Regarding John Paul the Second

And what?

Saint Peter rubs his hands and says, "I've been waiting to do this for a long time." Turns to God and gives a long, drawn out (bad) Ed McMahon impression and says,
"Heeeeere's Johnny."

(Of course, being a saint, he then has to admit he'd practiced when Mr. Carson left the earthly plane just a short while back.)

That is, of course, that is if there IS a Heaven. Or a Hell. Or Saint Peter. Or a God. It doesn't have to be literal. When you say, "A man walks into a bar..." as a joke windup, there doesn't have to be a real bar.

As to the blasphemy implied, hey, it's not part of the right wing Christ-mongering industry, but trust me -- God loves Atheists.

Back to the Pope (of Rome -- there are others, or didn't you know).
To be The Pope is to be -- by definition -- the consummate company man.
THE MAN. That's the job. So nitpicking any perceived secular shortcomings of the late great Mr. Second is too easy, too mean-spirited, even for me.

For someone like me, being born Jewish while Pisspot Pius XII was strutting his stuff was to learn to run when mentally-deficient kids with crucifixes clustered around and swung fists and yelled "Faddah sez you killed Jesus!"

So I don't consider it to have been out of line, when Pope Piss died, for my father to sing "Ding-Dong, The Pope is Dead."

Actually, he didn't -- I made that up. What he did say was "Good. That Nazi-kissing sonofabitch can go straight to Hell."

Getting back to eulogizing the Big Noise from Gdansk, it means a lot when a company man stands up and kicks 1000 years of murderous finger-pointing tradition on its ass and says, "Oh, by the way, the Jews didn't kill Christ -- and, you know, a BIG apology is in order."

It took some major balls. (Yeah, yeah, I know, since he wasn't using them...) Real balls.

Consider this: he KNEW that the reason he got to be Mr. Second was because the guys in the Shadows had poisoned Mr. First And they didn't even give him the standard 90 day tryout.

So ok, too bad he didn't do anything about changing some rules around the "No Girls Allowed" Clubhouse. Because he seemed to spot nasty injustice in a lot of other places.

I have nothing bad to say about this man. I would like to remind anyone who reads this, though, that when HE said "Culture of Life," it excluded wars and death penalties, but emphatically included caring for the sick and the old and the poor.

So then how is it that when this man's name passes through George Bush's lips, even in praise, it somehow seems to shit on his memory?

One of them thar mysteries, I guess.



How about pix of your favorite baboon? This one's mine, lives right down the road. Always seems to be thinking, "You call THEM sapiens? I'll show you sapiens ... here's yer sapiens right here..."


Friday is 'Post Pix Of Your Cat Day' in Blogworld? I didn't know. Here's Cosmo. He's a cat.


As if this administration's policy of willful ignorance is anything new

They want what they want when they want it, just like every other 2-year old tantrum-throwing brat needing a helluva lot more slap-down than a time-out.

When Monkey Boy tells us he's open to other plans for 'saving social security,' it flies a bit, at least with the brain-damaged voters who still think he has the merest semblance of knowing the difference between truth and opportunistic bullshit ('Hey Dubya, guess what -- you told the truth!' 'I did?') although it's becoming increasingly obvious the most threatening forces we need to save Social Security from is Dubya and his henchmen. But ok, he's got people looking at other plans.

So then Karl Rove tells us he's got his factota examining every other Social Security plan to find the weak spots that can be used to shoot it down. And so we can see that this brain-wing of the most vicious and selfish and perverted constructs of putatively-human protoplasm ever to stalk the halls of the White House (and I'm including genocidist Andrew Jackson), isn't considering anything but his own preferences.

In other words, if any of those monsters had a thought of serving the public, they'd be looking to see if their non-plan is the best solution.

But instead of trying to find out IF it's the best, he's only looking to prove HOW is it the best, without knowing (or caring) if it is. Kind of like detergent advertising in the 1950's.

It was funny and witty and clever back in the 1970's when the brilliant artist Donald Schule titled one of his museum shows "I Don't Know Art but I Like What I Know."

It's not funny -- it's criminal -- when that perspective drives the use of deadly force and/or the theft of retirement and medical money from poor and old and sick people to give to the smartass Wall Street pals of the Bush-Roverer-BinLadn axis.

When this band of insatiable locusts are gone, they're taking it all with them -- or destroying what's rooted down -- and as Richard and Mimi Farina sang, there'll be nothing but "one or two hard feelings left behind."


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