Devil's Game: How the United States Helped Unleash Fundamentalist Islam
by Robert Dreyfuss

The first complete account of America’s most dangerous foreign policy miscalculation: sixty years of support for Islamic fundamentalism.

(Sound like something we all need to know about? Here are some excerpts from the article and interview):

The book is a chronicle of mistakes made, opportunities lost, and lessons most vividly not learned....

For instance: In a chapter on the U.S. proxy war in Afghanistan, Dreyfuss describes how the United States deliberately channeled money to the "nastier, more fanatic types of mujahideen" in Afghanistan (to quote Stephen P. Cohen, a former top State Department official) in order to do the most damage to Soviet occupiers. Among the nastiest: Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, who won the confidence of his Pakistani and CIA backers in part by skinning prisoners alive and approving the practice of throwing acid in the faces of women who failed to cover themselves properly. After 9/11, Hekmatyar would resurface as an ally of the Taliban and a bitter opponent of U.S. occupiers.

Dreyfuss also reveals how Israel helped to create and empower the forerunners of Hamas as a bulwark against Palestinian nationalism (as embodied by Yasser Arafat and the PLO). The Likud-Hamas link -- with both organizations thriving in unstable, warlike environments -- is sure to be one of the book's most controversial points, and it is a disturbing parallel to the "blowback" the United States suffered by backing bin Laden and his fellow "freedom fighters" in Afghanistan... When asked about the rise of the Taliban in 1996,President Carter's national security advisor, Zbigniew Brzezinski, offers this thoughtful rejoinder:

"What is more important to the history of the world? The Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire? Some stirred-up Muslims or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the cold war?"


Brzezinski used to brag about how he "suckered" the Soviet Union into invading Afghanistan. I always thought, about Brzezinski, from day one, that he didn't understand how to do what he wanted, i.e., follow in Kissinger's footsteps. he never understood -- still doesn't -- it wasn't enough to merely be an evil, ruthless, soulless, unconscienable, totally self serving excretion.

You have to be all those things and also brilliant, maybe even a genius. Brzezinski was not -- just, sad to say, one more stupid, unpleasant Polish joke.


Last night I watched Meet the Fockers on cable.

I tend to divide movies into certain categories:

Movies worth going to the theater to see (not very many).

Movies worth renting or watching on pay per view (mostly the ones I didn't get around to seeing in the theater for one reason or another).

Movies worth putting a Post-it note on the TV or setting the little reminder thingie on the on-screen cable guide.

Movies worth watching if you're in the living room, the TV's on, you don't have anything else to do, and there's nothing else on that's of interest.

Meet the Fockers is none of the above.

Ben Stiller is 10 years past being able to make his "I'm a schmuck and I'm indistinguishable from David Schwimmer" role funny anymore. He's just painfully stupid on screen.

Robert De Niro ISN'T FUNNY at all, never has been, not even in the first "Mafia Don Goes to the Psychiatrist Just Like Tony Soprano Did, But Funny." (Jeezus, you can even hear the bullshit artist in the producer's office coming up with that one. Doesn't matter -- He's NOT funny.)

Barbra Streisand is a persona best forgotten, but when seen, is a reminder -- as is Rob Reiner -- that Liberals have reason to be as embarrassed by those painful assholes as Conservatives are by Bush.

(ROB REINER WANTS TO RUN FOR GOVERNOR! AGAINST ARNOLD! GOD HAVE MERCY! There are 37 million people in the state of California, and I know political aspirations generally belong to self-serving schmucks, but REALLY! This would not be the lesser of two evils -- this would be the lesser of two inadequates. We can't do better?)

And Dustin Hoffman! Didn't he save any of his money? (Altho, he CAN be funny, as when he played with someone who actually knows how to be funny -- LilyTomlin -- in I Heart Huckabees.

Aside from Blythe Danner and Teri Polo who actually seemed to represent living and breathing, -- if subdued -- humans, the BIG FOUR mentioned above all played Meta-Lucy's (as in I Love Lucy) mining laughs from being self-aggrandizing, obnoxious people who are too stupid to dig themselves and too insensitive to give a flying fuck about anyone else's sensibilities, making us laugh when they get kicked in the ass or hit in the face with a rubber chicken.

Which would be ok if they managed to make it funny.

But here's the nub: Dustin Hoffman -- not funny this time around.

Ben Stiller, Barbra Streisand, Robert DeNiro:






Piece Falls From Supreme Court Facade

I thought the facade was broken when Scalia et al appointed GW Bush as president and then -- ever so coincidentally -- their family members got plum jobs in the administration.



Aesop's Fable of Terrell Owens and the Philadelphia Eagles

Once a kindly man -- but an ambitious one, too -- found a snake all alone in the forest and without a hole to call home.

"Come on down to Philly, my man, and we'll treat you right," he said, thinking about how he could make a lot of loot showing off this really flashy-looking snake.

Oh it was a bee-you-tee-full snake, all multi-colored and able to twist and turn and do all sorts of flexible tricks. It had fantastic markings and a quick strike, and a very powerful neurotoxic venom.

So the man gave the snake a home in the City of Brotherly Love and gave him lots and lots of food and furs and finery, and as soon as the snake breathed a sigh of relief and felt safe and comfy, he turned and bit the man and as many of his friends as he could find.

As the man lay there dying from the venom, he turned to the snake and said, "Why? How could you do that?"

And the snake said, "Don't act like a fool, fool -- you knew I was a snake when you took me in."

-- Well, that, of course, was a fantasy, a fable, but it suggests there's a very good reason why people -- including free-pass athletes -- should read the classics, if only the easier ones, when in school.

In real life, Terrell Owens didn't have the enough backbone to stand up and and say the same about himself:

"Hey man -- I'm a selfish inconsiderate prick who'll destroy you all if you don't kiss my ass."

Instead he did a song-and-grovel that no one believed, having heard it/seen it all before.

Some people of extraordinary talent destroy themselves with alcohol, some with drugs.

And then there are always some who do it by never figuring out that by the time they turn 30, people won't keep on overlooking their spitting and kicking and biting and throwing mean little baby tantrums the way mommy and her friends did, just because they're cute and turn tricks.



You got kitties? Where?


Nice kitty -- go get 'em.


Fridays -- cat day -- Saturdays:

Remembering-you-forgot-the kitties-on-Friday-Day



Today is Thanksgiving Day in honor of the Wampanoag tribe having kept the pilgrims alive in order to wield them as an ally against other, marauding tribes since their population had been so depleted by mortality from European diseases brought by previous settlers they were vulnerable to being overrun.

Even though they (the natives) quickly realized their bows and arrows were much more accurate than the pilgrims' guns, the other tribes backed off for fear of losing the trading rights with the Pilgrims.

Squanto (Tisquantum), long hailed as the benevolent angel of that tribe, actually cultivated the pilgrims in hope they would help him, shortly after that Thanksgiving dinner, to overthrow Massasoit and make him tribal chief.

Why would it work any differently here than it had for many hundreds of years in Europe?

Squanto was referred to by John Tierney, in a NY Times column "Tisquantum was to the Pilgrims what Ahmad Chalabi was to the Americans in Iraq," Mann said. "At a time when the Pilgrims were really clueless, he introduced them to his society and provided valuable information, but he definitely had his own agenda."

--this column was prompted by reading the John Tierney column referred to above, but it's much more complete and extensive than the small portion I've excerpted here.


George Bush's Third Term

Published: November 23, 2005

President George W. Bush has just entered his third term... His first term was from 2001 to 2004, and it was dominated by 9/11, which Mr. Bush skillfully used to take a hard-right Republican agenda on taxes and war with Iraq, which was going nowhere on 9/10, and drive it into a 9/12 world.

His second term was very brief. It lasted from his re-election in November 2004 until Election Day 2005. This was an utterly wasted term. It was dominated by an attempt to privatize Social Security, which the country rejected, political scandals involving I. Lewis Libby Jr., Tom DeLay and Bill Frist, a ham-fisted response to Katrina and a mishandling of the Iraq war to such a degree that many Democrats and Republicans have begun to vote "no confidence" in the Bush-Cheney war performance. If ours were a parliamentary system, Mr. Bush would have had to resign by now.

When I watch Mr. Bush these days, though, he looks to me like a man who wishes that we had a 28th amendment to the Constitution - called "Can I Go Now?" He looks like someone who would prefer to pack up and go back to his Texas ranch...

Since there is no such clause, Mr. Bush has two choices. One is to continue governing as though he's still running against John McCain in South Carolina. That means pushing a hard-right strategy based on dividing the country to get the 50.1 percent he needs to push through more tax cuts, while ignoring our real problems: the deficit, health care, energy, climate change and Iraq. More slash-and-burn politics like that will be a disaster... it was appalling to watch Mr. Bush and Dick Cheney using their bully pulpits to act like two Rove attack dogs, accusing Democrats of being less than patriotic on Iraq.

For two men who have fought this war without deploying enough troops, always putting politics before policy, without any plans for the morning after and never punishing any member of their team for rank incompetence to then accuse others of lacking seriousness on Iraq is disgusting. ..

Where are the adults?

My only disagreement with Thomas Friedman on THIS issue is that he seems to believe Bush & Company haven't ALREADY blown it beyond repair.I always thought Economist and Optimist were antithetical categories.



Senior Iraq Sunni Leader Slain in Home

By BASSEM MROUE Associated Press Writer

November 23,2005 | BAGHDAD, Iraq -- Gunmen wearing Iraqi army uniforms burst into the home of a Sunni Arab sheik Wednesday, killing him, three of his sons and a son-in-law in what police believe may have been aimed at discouraging Sunnis from participating in next month's election.

Khadim Sarhid al-Hemaiyem, who lived on the outskirts of Baghdad, was the leader of a branch of the Dulaimi tribe, one of the biggest in Iraq. His brother is a candidate in the Dec. 15 parliamentary election, three of his sons had been policemen and another son was slain last month north of the capital, police and family members said.

---And why would anyone think, after 35 years of The Sunni Hammer -- Saddam Hussein -- there might not be one or two hard feelings left behind, eh?


It's official -- The White House Press Office tells us -- Bush is back on the sauce again

ULAANBAATAR, Mongolia (AP) -- The scene was straight out of a Genghis Khan movie.

There were Mongol warriors clad in armor and helmets, armed with swords and mounted on the short, stout horses unique to Mongolia. The warriors hoisted colorful battle flags on spears...

He drank fermented mare's milk -- sometimes likened to a mix of warm beer and buttermilk -- sipped tea and nibbled cheese curd, a White House official said. Reporters were kept outside and could not watch.

Well, kummis or arike -- call it what you will -- Mongolian fermented mare's milk (3% - 18% alcohol) is booze, so no wonder the reporters were kept outside and could not watch.

Monkey Boy is definitely on the sauce again

And apparently, proud of it.

That explains the even-more-goofy-than-usual smiles, the stumbling, the walking into locked doors... (NO, he said, it's Jet lag. Sure it is, Monkey Boy, and you're a Rhodes scholar.)



Jeezus -- I have to go 12,000 miles to find someone who's willing to shake my hand in public? And the guy dresses like my old dealer did back in the 70's.

(Does this man -- hold it -- actually, do EITHER of these men look even vaguely sober?)


I'd better be cool -- if the Flying Purple Monkeys are all lined up, then the Wicked Witch of the East can't be far behind. Or is that Mommy I'm thinking of? Damn, that fermented mare's milk sure packs a punch.


Uhh, Mr. Bosh .. we don't do "Sig Heil" over here.


Bush meets fellow skull-collector in Mongolia

Wow! I have a nifty collection of skulls, too.
Sorry I didn't bring MINE to show you.


Iraqi Factions Seek Timetable for U.S. Pullout

Published: November 22, 2005

CAIRO, Nov. 21 - For the first time, Iraq's political factions on Monday collectively called for a timetable for withdrawal of foreign forces, in a moment of consensus that comes as the Bush administration battles pressure at home to commit itself to a pullout schedule.

The announcement, made at the conclusion of a reconciliation conference here backed by the Arab League, was a public reaching out by Shiites, who now dominate Iraq's government, to Sunni Arabs on the eve of parliamentary elections that have been put on shaky ground by weeks of sectarian violence.

About 100 Sunni, Shiite and Kurdish leaders, many of whom will run in the election on Dec. 15, signed a closing memorandum on Monday that "demands a withdrawal of foreign troops on a specified timetable, dependent on an immediate national program for rebuilding the security forces," the statement said.

"The Iraqi people are looking forward to the day when foreign forces will leave Iraq, when its armed and security forces will be rebuilt and when they can enjoy peace and stability and an end to terrorism," it continued.

The meeting was intended as preparation for a much larger conference in Iraq in late February. The recommendations made here are to be the starting ground for that meeting.

(--WHAT? They must be a bunch of cut-and-run Democrat Liberal Cowardly Communist Terrorists. HOW DARE THEY act as if it's THEIR country?)

In Washington, Justin Higgins, a State Department spokesman, said, "The United States supports the basic foundation of the conference and we certainly support ongoing discussion among Iraq's various political and religious communities."

But regarding troop withdrawal, he said: "Multinational forces are present in Iraq under a mandate from the U.N. Security Council. As President Bush has said, the coalition remains committed to helping the Iraqi people achieve security and stability as they rebuild their country. We will stay as long as it takes to achieve those goals and no longer.""

(--In other words -- shut the fuck up and stop acting like it's a REAL democracy over there. We're going to HELP YOU until WE DECIDE you're good enough to run the region you've been handling for better or worse for the last 4000+ years.)




I guess Craigslist will post ads for ANYTHING --
The Wonkette pointed us to this one.

"Grad student will trade Handjob, possible BJ, for Panda Tix"

Reply to:

Date: 2005-11-21, 4:34PM EST

I am almost embarrassed to be posting this, but I am desperate.

I am a graduate student at a major zoological research facility in the United States. I ... have spent almost seven months studying and researching giant pandas in the Min mountains in Gansu and Sichuan and the Xiou Xiang mountains in southern Sichuan...

I am originally from Wales... I am returning to Wales at the end of the year, but all the tickets for showings between November 21 and January 2 are sold out! I DON'T WANT TO MISS THIS PANDA!


I am almost in tears at not being able to see this panda! I'm a totally normal, 5'4' blonde woman (with hints of red!) with a great body (so I've been told!), and I am not a 'psycho'. I just love pandas! I really, really, really want to see Tai Shan.

If you can get me a ticket to see Tai Shan between now and December 30, I will (I can't believe I am saying this) give you a handjob, with my hands. Maybe, if you are cute, a BJ. I am serious about this. I really want to see this panda.

PLEASE HELP ME OUT. I promise it will be a quick transaction, and then you can be on your way.



And sometimes the good guys win-- a reminder -- don't count the Faerie Folk out, they still have property rights

Fairies stop developers' bulldozers in their tracks

By Will Pavia and Chris Windle

VILLAGERS who protested that a new housing estate would “harm the fairies” living in their midst have forced a property company to scrap its building plans and start again.

Marcus Salter, head of Genesis Properties, estimates that the small colony of fairies believed to live beneath a rock in St Fillans, Perthshire, has cost him £15,000. His first notice of the residential sensibilities of the netherworld came as his diggers moved on to a site on the outskirts of the village, which crowns the easterly shore of Loch Earn.

He said: “A neighbour came over shouting, ‘Don’t move that rock. You’ll kill the fairies’.” The rock protruded from the centre of a gently shelving field, edged by the steep slopes of Dundurn mountain, where in the sixth century the Celtic missionary St Fillan set up camp and attempted to convert the Picts from the pagan darkness of superstition.

“Then we got a series of phone calls, saying we were disturbing the fairies. I thought they were joking. It didn’t go down very well,” Mr Salter said.

In fact, even as his firm attempted to work around the rock, they received complaints that the fairies would be “upset”. Mr Salter still believed he was dealing with a vocal minority, but the gears of Perthshire’s planning process were about to be clogged by something that looked suspiciously like fairy dust...

“A lot of people think the rock had some Pictish meaning,” Mrs Fox said. “It would be extremely unlucky to move it.”

Mr Salter did not just want to move the rock. He wanted to dig it up, cart it to the roadside and brand it with the name of his new neighbourhood.

The Planning Inspectorate has no specific guidelines on fairies but a spokesman said: “Planning guidance states that local customs and beliefs must be taken into account when a developer applies for planning permission.” Mr Salter said: “We had to redesign the entire thing from scratch.”

The new estate will now centre on a small park, in the middle of which stands a curious rock. Work begins next month, if the fairies allow.


Natural Selection in The Church

I used to take animals to schools and teach various lessons about the as a volunteer for a local zoo.

One such lesson was at a Catholic School, on animal adaptations, and when I went in, I was met by a nun. I alerted her:

"Sister, there's a lot of information about evolution in this lesson you requested. I hope that's ok."

She said: "No problem. We're a mystery religion. We don't presume to know HOW he did it."

It is because of what this nun said to me that I look at Creationists and Intelligent Design advocates as .. well, as presumptuous ... and, in a way as would be described by THEIR religious premises, sinful and even blasphemous.

Presumptuous because they act as if they must be able to understand how an all-knowing being did its tricks.

Sinful because they refuse to be content to be in awe of the magnificent complexity of all the creatures and to observe, learn, study, the way all these things work in and of themselves and together.

That attitude always seems to be what they might call "a sin against the Holy Spirit."

And blasphemous because their very action in insisting that their God needs social assertion and laws to be present in schools and society denies the idea of omnipotence. ("I am the Lord thy God, King of the Universe -- all-knowing, everywhere-present, and all-powerful, but if you don't give money to Jerry Fallwell, I'm as weak as a popcorn fart.") Nahhh -- I don't think so.


From Rolling Stone The Man Who Sold the War

You need to read the entire article in Rolling Stone Here's the first part:

Meet John Rendon, Bush's general in the propaganda war


The road to war in Iraq led through many unlikely places. One of them was a chic hotel nestled among the strip bars and brothels that cater to foreigners in the town of Pattaya, on the Gulf of Thailand.

On December 17th, 2001, in a small room within the sound of the crashing tide, a CIA officer attached metal electrodes to the ring and index fingers of a man sitting pensively in a padded chair. The officer then stretched a black rubber tube, pleated like an accordion, around the man's chest and another across his abdomen. Finally, he slipped a thick cuff over the man's brachial artery, on the inside of his upper arm.

Strapped to the polygraph machine was Adnan Ihsan Saeed al-Haideri, a forty-three-year-old Iraqi who had fled his homeland in Kurdistan and was now determined to bring down Saddam Hussein. For hours, as thin mechanical styluses traced black lines on rolling graph paper, al-Haideri laid out an explosive tale. Answering yes and no to a series of questions, he insisted repeatedly that he was a civil engineer who had helped Saddam's men to secretly bury tons of biological, chemical and nuclear weapons. The illegal arms, according to al-Haideri, were buried in subterranean wells, hidden in private villas, even stashed beneath the Saddam Hussein Hospital, the largest medical facility in Baghdad.

It was damning stuff -- just the kind of evidence the Bush administration was looking for. If the charges were true, they would offer the White House a compelling reason to invade Iraq and depose Saddam. That's why the Pentagon had flown a CIA polygraph expert to Pattaya: to question al-Haideri and confirm, once and for all, that Saddam was secretly stockpiling weapons of mass destruction.

There was only one problem: It was all a lie. After a review of the sharp peaks and deep valleys on the polygraph chart, the intelligence officer concluded that al-Haideri had made up the entire story, apparently in the hopes of securing a visa.

The fabrication might have ended there, the tale of another political refugee trying to scheme his way to a better life. But just because the story wasn't true didn't mean it couldn't be put to good use....

Read the rest here:


Three Civilians Mistakenly Killed in Iraq

November 21,2005 | BAGHDAD, Iraq -- U.S. forces mistakenly fired on a civilian vehicle outside an American base in a city north of Baghdad on Monday, killing three people, including a child, the military said.

Is this headline a bit disingenuous?

As if to suggest there have NOT been other civilians killed whether intentionally or accidentally in the past three years.



No, Really ...

Ok, I was kidding down below about the Lancet article on fear of endemic being a good thing in terms of mobilizing various dissimilar countries to work together ... and how it could be a bad thing about creating panic...

But I was serious -- get some surgical masks and as the flu shows up, (or when you have something like flu) use them, wear them when in crowds or on public transportation. Protect yourselves and others.

Washable cloth is good if you can find them, but disposable paper ones are fine.

Of course, the incidence of bank robbery might go up if it becomes commonplace, but when it's down to "your money or your life, " I think the choice might be easy.


Maybe Benedict Arnold saw it coming


The Wisdom of the Aboriginals

1768 -- Captain Cook's observations of the Aboriginals were numerous and detailed -- affectionate, supercilious, romanticized and condescending:

"...these people may truly be said to be in the pure state of nature, and may appear to some to be the most wretched upon the earth; but in reality they are far happier than ... we Europeans."

More perceptive, too.

When he arrived he met, on the beach, a group of naked dark-skinned people who said to him:


Later, he found out those words meant: "GO AWAY."


Once again, it's time for us to look ahead 40 years or so and see Harry Potter at age 52.

Whatever Happened to Harry Potter?


I called home to let Jane know I was on the way, but she said,
"Not yet. It came through."

I knew what she meant -- I'd been trying to get an interview with the elusive Harry Potter for seven months.

"They say tonight or never."

Sightings of Potter in the 10 years since he'd been released from prison were more numerous and less verifiable than sightings of Elvis.

Potter had served 25 years in Wormwood Scrubs on charges stemming from carnage done during the final battle with Voldemort. He'd won, but in the process, eleven muggles had been killed by random hop-skip ricochets of force beams, some of them sitting at home in their comfy chairs several kilometers away.

The jury had seemed skeptical as Harry stood in the dock and told his tale of this dark evil creature that had hounded him since birth -- a dire dread thing that had killed his parents, scarred him, and over the years made repeated attempts on his life. He explained that he had acted in pure self-defense.

The judge, Lord Justice Melford Buttonhole, had instructed the jury to determine the applicability of the charges based on whether Potter's battle with Voldemort was a criminal endeavor.

"If the prisoner was acting in self defense," he said, leaning over the bench and rolling his eyes, knowing that all appeals would be made from written transcripts which do not indicate facial grimaces or sarcastic tones of voice, "if it was self-defense, the deaths constitute a lesser offense than if the battle itself was a crime."

The jury had come back with a verdict of guilty on eleven counts of what we, in this country, call "involuntary manslaughter" and one count of "cruelty to something" which was not actually a law.

Potter's cellmate for most of those 25 years was a rather notorious felon known to the London Press as "BSE Brian the Meat Monster." His crime? Selling Mad Cow-infected beef.

Brian would bid low for contracts to haul slaughtered diseased cattle to designated disposal sites - whether incinerators or landfill. Then he would sidetrack considerable amounts of meat, smuggle it into the EU and sell it to the French. Even after his crimes were known, there were many in England who argued that no charges were justified since it was only the French who were eating the contaminated beef.

But the Director of Food Service at the British Embassy in Paris had been embezzling funds and buying cheap meat on the black market, in this case, the tainted beef being purveyed by none other than BSE Brian himself. When several embassy officers fell ill with the hideous Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease from the BSE prion in the meat, a snowstorm of indictments were issued.

Once Englishmen were being affected, Brian found himself in the dock in a flash.
He was, of course, convicted.

Some of the papers tried to rhyme him as “Prion Brian” but when telly news readers made the point that it would have to be “Prion Breeyon” they settled for “The Meat Monster.”

Of course once Harry Potter was convicted and became his cellmate, the London press changed Brian’s nickname, using the new word they'd learned during the Potter trial -- calling him "the Muggles Monster."

Years later, on release, Potter had emigrated to the USA.
No one knew where he'd been staying since.

He was sitting in a booth at the far wall in a bar named Marfreless.
He motioned for me to sit down and began talking.

"It was that damned child star business, but worse.
Oh I wasn't the first -- there are plenty of examples: Brandon de Wilde, everyone on the street pulling a face as he passed, mimicking him, 'Come back, Shane, come back.'

Or Bobby Driscoll after Treasure Island getting that Robert Newton 'Arrrgh' everywhere he went.

No wonder they went out on drugs.

From that first damned day at Hogwarts, every one of them: 'We expect great things of you,' they would tell me, even that bloody Sorting Hat -- 'You could be great, you know.' The fame was odious. Why couldn't I have been written like Bentley Ellicott?"

"Who?" (*)

"Exactly. His author let him finish the battle with Prince Ombra and walk away from it, forget the heroism and let the world leave him be. But - that damned Rowling woman just had to do all the sequels, didn't she?

And the pressure wasn't the worst of it. If that was all ... well ... I wish that had been all, but the worst was the isolation. There I was, irrevocably marked from day one as the most super special wonderful amazing boy in the world. Every other boy or girl my age knew they could never even hope to be nearly as supercool hot stuff. Of course they hated me for it. Talk about Ecce Homo. I didn’t even know what they were talking about.

Who would want to hang out with a boy like that? Oh, that snide little dominatrix, Hermione, of course. And Ron Weasely, a boy born to be the consummate Igor to Dr. Frankenstein, scuttering around on his master's business.

Here's a scoop for you -- not many people know that Hermione and I were married for a while. A short while. Ill-fated.

When we were kids fooling about, we used to do things to each other late at night at Hogwarts, you know, oral things and finger things and, you know, but then one night we did a spell, each of us becoming the other for a session to learn how it felt, the difference between innies and outies. It got all mixed up. Next thing I knew, we were secretly married.

How could I have known about fucked-up Scorpio girls? We didn't study astrology at school. It was considered a muggles thing.

It was rocky from day one, but then…

I came home late one evening and there she was -- there THEY were -- En flagrante! And believe me, there was nothing delecto about it.

She was in bed with Ron Weasely.
And Doby.

Sounds like a joke, doesn't it?
'My wife! My best friend! My house elf!'
A bad joke, and the pain was overwhelming.

I was not yet 21. I had already defeated the dark power of the age, and of course, after the victory, I foundered. My raison d'être was gone and I hadn't yet regained my balance, not yet found a subsequent path. That damned shadow had been in every aspect of my life, so -- ahh, what's the old Yank saying? 'Show me a hero and I'll write you a tragedy.'

And there she was, the only thread still connecting me to my life -- Magical Mistress Hermione with her discipline suits and silk whips and ropes and handcuffs and gags and leather masks -- all the items of her love --- and she was using them on Ron Weasely.

Even our special Bifurcated Butt Plug!

We used to joke that if love didn't keep us together, that double-ended device would."

He paused and we sat in silence for a while.

"We used to really like the Captain and Tennille.

It broke my heart. It just destroyed my will. It was like being spun into the outer darkness.

I started drinking potions, conjuring up succubae, creating apertures and protuberances and having the kind of sex that makes what most people call sex about as interesting as lunch meat. To no avail - I found no joy in it, no happiness.

And it cost me my powers as I fell farther and farther away from my source.

Am I bitter? Yes, of course. Sometimes bitterness is all one has left.

And then those years in a cage with Brian."

There was another long silence here.

"Very well. Yes, I was his bitch. Remember -- I was a slender young lad. Even as dissipated as I'd become, I still was considered attractive. And he was the most powerful and feared inmate in the place. I sought his protection.

He wasn't all that bad, rather gentle for a man his size. He had a joke - he'd bend me over and tell me 'Well, laddie, of course I'm only a Muggle, but I have it on good authority that this is the way Aleister Crowley taught magick to his lot.'

Of course by the time I was released, I had regained enough of my powers that I had become the most powerful and feared one there. Not soon enough to prevent this, though."

He pushed back his hair to show me the famous lightning bolt scar on his forehead, but now there were two, side by side.

"Damned skinheads. Damned Oswald Mosley Neo-Nazi youth thugs. He'd been dead for 40 years and they still ran around with their psychotic dreams of race perfection.

I was still weakened by my debauchery. They cornered me one day in the shower -- Brian was nowhere to be found -- and they held me down. I thought it going to be -- you know -- the typical business, but no. They decided my childhood scar would look better as an SS sigil. There was nothing I could do. Not then. But later, when I was stronger..."

Another silence as he mused about it.
The look on his face was chilling.
I didn't want to know what he'd done later, when he was stronger.

"What else do you want to know? I don't have much in the way of powers any more, pissed them away. Oh I still have a few. Oh, you might enjoy this. I find I'm extremely adept at the same trick Saint Hilarius had as one of his powers -- making someone defecate on the spot. Good for a few laughs. Would make a good party trick if I ever went to a party. I sometimes wonder if that was part of the reason they made him the Pope, for the laughs.

As for Hermione and Ron -- oh, I should have known better. She and I should have never done more than the 'boys and girls together' fooling about. He was always the right one for her, the little sniveling crawl-around. They were a perfect match. That was what she needed, someone to lord it all over. And she was what he always needed - someone to tell him what to do and whom to be.

They fit.

I just want people to understand. So let this interview be a cautionary tale.
All that power, all that gold. It can be a curse.

All that celebrity. All those fans.

We think we're so damned clever. But we learn the hard way that what we need is some wisdom. It still all comes back to Voltaire -- sit down, be without expectations and make your garden grow. Well, Voltaire and the Dalai Lama.

So go now, tell them. They won't believe it. They think magic and power is a blessing.
I may have decayed, but I'm still not cruel enough to laugh at what happens to the people who believe that.


This is for Jack Rems of Dark Carnival who suggested it.
Great idea but I'm not taking the blame alone.

Portions of this parody appeared in Crapshoot in a somewhat different form.

(*) Bentley Ellicott is the main character in Roderick McLeish's wonderful (and now back in print) novel Prince Ombra;



Have you heard people say this?

"The proof (that the Bush program of war in Iraq is successful, the right thing, working, etc.) is that since 9-11, there hasn't been another attack in the United States."

(The "So there!" is implied.)

"It is incident to physicians, I am afraid, beyond all other men,
to mistake subsequence for consequence."
Dr. Samuel Johnson as quoted by Boswell

But definitely not limited to them.


"Fear of avian influenza is a double-edged sword"

from The Lancet 2005; 366:1751

“To fear the worst oft cures the worst.” So wrote William Shakespeare in his Homeric love story Troilus and Cressida. This sentiment must have been uppermost in the minds of the hundreds of officials who gathered in Geneva on Nov 7–9 as they acknowledged the risk to human health of pandemic influenza, and broached an unprecedented consensus on how best to prepare.

Urgency marked the proceedings. A gloomy assurance by WHO Director-General Lee Jong-wook that no society would be left unscathed by pandemic influenza confirmed H5N1's status as a global priority. International organisations spelled out a grim forecast of the “incalculable human misery” that could result from a pandemic, and warned of the ineffectiveness of current preparations. On controlling the disease in birds, delegates from countries struggling with outbreaks pleaded for help to finance urgent control efforts. And unaffected nations in the path of migrating birds described with resignation their ill-preparedness to fend off the approaching threat.

In a demonstration of the singular spirit of cooperation nurtured by such fears, the conference ended with promises of action...

But whereas fear has certainly helped focus international preparations for a worst-case scenario, Shakespeare's axiom is not so fitting when applied to the anxieties of individuals. So with international cooperation now bolstering preparedness plans, it is time for governments to tackle the prospect of inevitable civil unrest.

Even before a pandemic emerges, panic is a danger. .. worryingly, experience shows that widespread fear can lead to social and economic consequences as serious as the disease itself.

In Thailand and China, for example, avian influenza has already damaged poultry sales and put these countries' residents off their food. Cambodia, one of the four countries to have confirmed human infections with H5N1, says a “psychosis” has gripped its population. And there have been numerous reports of individuals in rich countries—including doctors—stocking up on the antiviral drug oseltamivir (Tamiflu) in an effort to protect themselves against future disease.

Previous experience of outbreaks suggests that these examples are minor compared with what is likely to come. Intensified anxiety at the start of a pandemic could mean that people avoid travel, fear going to hospitals, or start riots in the streets. Patients will be stigmatised, and confidence in governments will be damaged or lost. But just as there is time to complete preparedness plans, there is still time to stem public anxiety. However, this can only be done by winning the public's trust—and for many governments, trust comes in short supply...

It's not my experience that The Lancet engages in loose speculation or hyperbole... So let's all take a deep breath and go calmly and quietly to the nearest drugstore or medical supply shop and get ourselves a supply of disposable surgical masks for ...









Talk about the mudpuppy calling the gerbils dirty ...

One of the prongs of the White House attack on anyone who would dare suggest the Emperor is naked was to slam the New York Times in a White House press release castigating an editorial they didn't like ... characterizing the editorial as being from "the newspaper that gave us Jayson Blair. "

A very interesting comment coming from the party that gave us Richard Nixon, John Erlichmann, John Mitchell, Dirty Tricks, and Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld ... and .. oh, yeah ... Saddam Hussein.


What do you call an asshole with a PhD? "DOCTOR."

Positive thinking, negative reaction

By David Charter

Brain specialists object to Dalai Lama's lecture on fostering compassion by means of meditation.

HE has devoted his life to promoting happiness and harmony.

---but apparently that's not good enough for the lab rats.

More than 900 researchers have signed a petition calling for the Tibetan spiritual leader’s talk to be scrapped because it will “highlight a subject with largely unsubstantiated claims and compromised scientific rigour and objectivity”.

The Dalai Lama, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, is due to share his views on the power of meditation to alter the brain and generate positive thoughts at the annual Society for Neuroscience meeting in Washington next month.

--share HIS views, get it? HIS views.

Some of his supporters believe his critics may be motivated more by political objections than scientific doubts, pointing to a number of petition signatories of Chinese origin. The Dalai Lama has been in exile since 1959, after China annexed his homeland.

Yi Rao, a neurology professor at Northwestern University, and one of the first to sign the petition, said that the Tibetan monk’s beliefs contradicted the fundamental basis of neuroscience.

“This merger of serious neuroscience with a particular religion is a practical joke because the very recognition of the Dalai Lama relies on the belief in reincarnation,” he said. “That means that the mind and the body have to be separate for the mind to pass from one generation to another.”

Oh come on Doctor Yi -- get the test tube out of your ass. I think someone's a little bit nervous about being called back to Beijing, eh? Or maybe he's just an uptight fool.

The petition says: “The presentation of a religious symbol with a controversial political agenda may cause unnecessary controversies, unwanted press, and significant divisions among SfN members . . . with conflicting religious beliefs and political leanings.

“Inviting the Dalai Lama to lecture on the neuroscience of meditation is of poor scientific taste because it will highlight a subject with largely unsubstantiated claims at a prestigious meeting attended by more than 20,000 neuroscientists.”

--20,000 neuroscientists? What better an audience to hear the Dalai Lama's opinions and consider them? Remember, this is a man who said "if science and Buddhism don't agree, Buddhism must change." What about science? Any space for new ideas? But then new ideas are pretty scary, hey kids, especially when there are government grants to consider.

Supporters of the Dalai Lama, who will mark his 70th birthday in Washington on a ten-day visit, say that he has collaborated with scientists for 15 years. He has worked with Richard Davidson, of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, whose researchers reported that biotechnology workers showed increased levels of neural activity after taking a course in meditation.

But Dr Nancy Hayes, a neurobiologist at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Jersey, said: “As the public face of neuroscience, we have a responsibility to see that research is replicated before it is promoted and highlighted. If we do not do that we may as well be the Flat Earth Society."

-- Dr. Hayes -- you're ALREADY acting as if you WERE the Flat Earth Society.

The society yesterday defended the lecture. It said: that the Dalai Lama’s talk “is expected to bridge the cultural gap between neuroscientists and Buddhist practitioners by pointing to the methods of observation and verification that lie at the heart of both science and Buddhism”.

--- in other words, you neuroscientists who are frothing at the mouth -- grow up.

OK, my wife, who is more intelligent and fair-minded than I am, said (I paraphrase):

"I love the Dalai Lama, perhaps more than any other public figure -- definitely more than any religious leader I know of, BUT what if they were doing the study with monks and the Pope was going to come over and address the symposium? How would you feel about it then?"

After I fumfa'd a bit to point out differences, I had to concede. At which point she said:

"I only mentioned it because if it were the Pope, I know I would feel differently about it. Science has been under attack from religion for too long for it not to be controversial. And controversial means some people think it's a great wonderful idea and other people think it will bring on the end of the world."

So OK, perhaps the people who invited him should have accounted for all that friction, but I still say, the WAY those scientists are going about their objections is stupid.


Sometimes there's good news

Deer appear through the mists of time to reclaim the Yangtze

By Jane Macartney in Tian’e Zhou

AN ENGLISH aristocrat and a Chinese zoologist have realised their dream by introducing a breed of deer that was once extinct in China to a Yangtze River swamp.

Lord Russell, a son of the late 14th Duke of Bedford, became the first member of his family to see the Père David deer running wild in the Tian’e Zhou nature reserve yesterday — something that his father made possible.

Hundreds of the animals grazed among reed beds; a stag, its towering antlers festooned with weeds and twigs, watched over his harem although his ancestors were hunted to extirpation one thousand years ago.



Lawmakers Acted on Heels of Abramoff Gifts

By JOHN SOLOMON and SHARON THEIMER Associated Press Writers

November 17,2005 | WASHINGTON -- While Congress investigated Jack Abramoff's efforts to win influence inside government, its members held a secret: Nearly three dozen lawmakers pressed to block a Louisiana Indian casino while collecting large donations from the lobbyist and his tribal clients.

Many lawmakers, including leaders in both parties, intervened with letters to Interior Secretary Gale Norton within days of receiving money from tribes represented by Abramoff or using the lobbyist's restaurant for fundraising, an Associated Press review of campaign reports, IRS records and congressional correspondence found.

Lawmakers said their intervention had nothing to do with Abramoff and that the timing of donations was a coincidence.

Right -- it's a coincidence -- and that's a thermometer up your ass, and we're only taking your temperature.

Can't even ask "How dumb do they think we are?" anymore. We can SEE how dumb they think we are. And obviously, since we don't do anything about it -- WE ARE.



Howinhell did we get HERE?

In the last year for which statistics are readily available (2000), there were 88,000 - 89,000 SUBSTANTIATED cases of sexual abuse of a child. That's about 240 a day or 10 every hour or one every six minutes.

So how sick is it to ask the woman you're fucking, "Who's your daddy?"



Oooops, missed kittycat day again! Posted by Picasa


The Axis of Diesel

OK, Kids -- today's geography lesson:

Drawn a line from Baku, Azerbaijan (terminus for the Caspian Sea Oil and, coincidentally, the country where they just held an election everyone says is rigged -- oh boy, glad that can't happen here, but I digress)...

... draw a line -- say, a pipeline -- from Baku to the Mediterranean, to someplace where you could have a deep water port capable of loading oil tankers so ships don't have to spend MONTHS in line to get through the Bosporus and the Dardanelles (in and out of the Black Sea)...
Let's see ... there's Beirut and Tel Aviv ... ok, good for a start. Well that pipeline would have to go right through ... hmm ... Iran, Iraq, and Syria ... well goodness gracious!

I wonder if Bush and his people have noticed this fortuitous coincidence.


Mary Magdalene by Leonardo da Vinci ...

O baby O baby O baby O...


Rosa Parks -- terrorist?
Well, she sure scared a lot of people.


This -- and too many other fine things to do anything but send you over there and tell you to check in regularly -- from Princess Sparkle Pony

("I keep track of Condoleeza's hairdo so you don't have to."


Bush calls war critics 'irresponsible'

Tobyhanna, Pa. -- President Bush lashed out on Friday at Democrats who have accused him of misleading the nation about the threat from Iraq's weapons programs, calling their criticism "deeply irresponsible" and suggesting that they are undermining the war effort.



Well, IF O'Reilly has a point...

So, first of all, he IMAGINED San Francisco wanted to secede...

O'Reilly riffed on a vision of a San Francisco nation-state...

And then he imagined DIRE things happening to San Francisco, but that America, which is left behind (in his loofah-cluttered mind) wouldn't care any more.

"Fine. You want to be your own country? Go right ahead. And if al Qaeda comes in here and blows you up, we're not going to do anything about it. We're going to say, look, every other place in America is off limits to you except San Francisco. You want to blow up the *Coit Tower? Go ahead."

Well, then would it be improper to say to all sociopaths and thrill-killers out there, "You want to kidnap Bill O'Reilly and torture him for days and days, cutting that swagger out of his attitude and then finally kill him, or else leave him alive and even more pitiful than he is right now? OK. He's on his own. Let Fox News (and Pat Robertson) save him."

He's a public figure -- should be easy to hunt him down and find him. Why should any of us in the San Fracisco Bay area care?

And I live in Oakland.

He said something to Bill Maher about maybe retiring soon.
I think perhaps now would be a good time.

*Coit Tower -- honoring San Francsico firemen


"Well, that's a very good question -- does the fact that I never actually served honorably in the Air National Guard once my family cut me in line ahead of hundreds of other guys have any bearing on my complete inability to understand what I'm doing in Iraq or care about taking care of veterans once they limp home? And it deserves an answer, one completely honest and from my heart."


OH -- and here's an answer to HIM the Hubbell Telescope caught from space -- seems to be from that God fellow Bush talks about so much.



Pat Robertson Warns Pa. Town of Disaster

Is there ANY REASON ANYONE still pays ANY attention to this vicious, mean-spirited, petty, power-hungry insane asshole?

His career seems to consist of threatening people and demanding money.

(Hmm, like Al Capone, maybe?)

November 11,2005 | VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. -- Religious broadcaster Pat Robertson warned residents of a rural Pennsylvania town Thursday that disaster may strike there because they "voted God out of your city" by ousting school board members who favored teaching intelligent design...

"I'd like to say to the good citizens of Dover: If there is a disaster in your area, don't turn to God. You just rejected him from your city," Robertson said on the Christian Broadcasting Network's "700 Club."

Who the fuck does he think he is?
God's social secretary?
God's Haldemann?
HE speaks for God amd says stuff like: "Too bad -- the all-powerfuil, all-knowing, all-forgiving ruler of the universe just told me to tell you to eat shit and die. He's not interested in anything you have to say because you didn't agree with ME."

"God is tolerant and loving, but we can't keep sticking our finger in his eye forever," Robertson said. "If they have future problems in Dover, I recommend they call on Charles Darwin. Maybe he can help them."

A nasty little twit, isn't he? Vicious and hateful. Sneering and vengeful.
While he seems to have heard of Jesus' name, he doesn't seem to have read the book or seen the movie.
Or else, he -- like Paul -- decided to rewrite it, that his version, full of bitter revenges and compensation for creepiness, would be a better story.

It's not.


Governor takes blame for defeat of measures


Gotta hand it to you -- I don't like you and I don't like your style.

You call it "forceful and impatient." I call it bullying and thuggish.

I don't particularly like your programs, either.

Doesn't matter. You did something NO ONE has done -- Republican or Democrat -- since JFK.

(And yes, I'm including that Vietnam fantasy shovelled out by Robert MacNamara, about how "no one told him -- he didn't know" when the fact was people who were in those meetings made it clear that anyone who tried to tell you was thrown out. You can ask a certain officer who teaches military history at West Point -- he was in those meetings and told it cold when he reviewed that self-serving pile of crap you called a memoir.)

Anyway, Arnold -- you showed us the difference between you and the creepy little rich kid in the White House and/or all of his hench-creeps:

You stood up and said "MY FAULT. MY MISTAKE."

I don't even care how you then mitigated and wiggled it around.

You stood up.
You even made it public how many people told you (about holding a special election) "Don't do it."

So I salute you, sir.

(You MUST know that's not going to be enough to satisfy the blood hunger of all the other office-grabbers. But even though you're public career may be over, you took the first step towards restoring an actual representative democracy, i.e., acknowledging that one thing was wrong -- a thing YOU did -- and I thank you.)



McCain defies White House in torture showdown

From Japan Today

Friday, November 11, 2005 at 07:39 JST

WASHINGTON — U.S. Senator John McCain on Thursday refused to back down in his showdown with the White House over U.S. interrogation techniques for terror suspects which critics claim amount to torture.

McCain, sponsoring legislation on the issue, said torture did not work, was morally wrong, and would expose U.S. troops to reprisals in future wars...

Vice President Dick Cheney and other top officials in President George W Bush's administration have argued that U.S. interrogators must be granted flexibility when questioning terrorist suspects.

Bush has pledged to veto an entire defense spending bill if it contains McCain's amendment that outlaws torture and cruel, inhumane treatment of detainees.

He rejected the idea that terrorists should not be subject to normal treatment as they do not obey normal conventions of warfare.

"I agree they are the most evil people in the world — it is not about them, it is about us," he said.

McCain warned that exempting the CIA from a torture ban would expose U.S. forces to danger in future conflicts.

"The next time we are in a war my friends, and that country we are in a war with captures an American pilot, and they believe an American pilot knows when the next bombing raid is coming, they will turn him over to the secret police."


Hmmm -- Secret Police?

Well the head of OUR Secret Police (aka Director of National Intelligence) is John Negroponte, Yale/Skull & Bones frat bro of Georgie and former Ambassador to Honduras (1981 - 1985) from which position he oversaw the immense coke deal of the 80's that allowed the Contras to buy weapons and the Republican appointees to buy Rolexes.

He was once described as being, during his tenure as Ambassador, "the only man in Latin America who didn't know there were death squads and torturers being trained by the USA." It was a sarcastic comment, since most people who were familiar with the anti-Sandinista efforts considered him -- at the least -- studiously ignoring the Death Squads, and more probably, quietly financing and sharing information with them.

Before he took over the newly created cabinet-level position of head of Secret Police, he was Ambassador to Iraq (2004 - 2005). What a fucking surprise, eh?

So why would his pals allow some insignificant bunch of upstarts like the Congress of the United States to make it tougher for these people to act our their terrified fears by inflicting monstrous criminal acts on the people they have captured?

I think perhaps, to be charitable, perhaps Cheney and Bush don't really understand what is meant by that word -- "torture."

Maybe they can get Negroponte to call up some of his old pals from Honduras and fly 'em in to Washington to show them -- close up and personal -- what it feels like.

(And of course Negroponte is one more proof of the law "Presidential appointments made to such posts always involve the people who covered-up the horror stories of their party's previous administration." Whether it's Clinton or Bush I or Bush II, LBJ or Nixon or Carter or Reagan, a quick Google of the background of the new major players will show an amazingly coincidental presence around one Crime Against Humanity or another. Check it out.)


At last -- Monkey Boy defined by his own photo op.

Courtesy of Tuckmac Posted by Picasa


UNCOVERED: The War on Iraq

Despite not actually knowing when and where to use an apostrophe or that syntax demands that it's either "Defending soldiers' choice ...their consciences" OR "A soldier's choice -- his or her own conscience," they know some other things.

What's most interesting to me is that this was posted in March and that figure of 5,500 military who refused combat for reasons of conscience is one I hadn't seen.

Defending a soldiers choice to follow their consciences

March 04, 2005

As American opponents of the war and occupation in Iraq, we are cognizant that some 5,500 US soldiers, according to Pentagon figures, have decided to refuse combat for reasons of conscience, and are in grave danger of persecution by the Bush Administration for their bravery.

Although they are part of the U.S. "voluntary army", their choices were determined in large part by economic forces and the aggressive and misleading recruiting drives of the Pentagon which even penetrate our high schools. Since signing up, however, they have realized the true nature of the war, and refuse to kill or die for a mistake. We are committed to defending of their choice to follow their consciences instead of the dictates of the State.

These young men and women will live in peril unless a sanctuary is established in Canada or other countries known for their anti-war sentiment and independence. We respectfully appeal to the people of Canada and their elected officials to fashion a policy of refugee sanctuary for these Americans facing threats and prosecution. We hope that the Canadian Immigration and Refugee Board grants protection to Jeremy Hinzman in the case currently before its panel, but also hope to engage our Canadian friends in a collaboration that leads to sanctuary.

We are aware of the public and private economic and diplomatic pressures which may be brought to bear on the sovereign Canadian people and their government by the Bush Administration in its effort to prevent the spread of international opposition and sanctuary. We are deeply thankful for the cross-border solidarity that existed in the Vietnam era, and hope that a similar solidarity once again overcomes the current Administration's arrogance of power.

Signators (affiliation for identification only)

Tom Hayden, Iraq Project; Ira Arlook; Anthony Arnove, editor; Rev. Ed Bacon, All Saints Church, Pasaddena; Gioconda Belli, poet and author; Medea Benjamin, Global Exchange; Larry Bensky, Pacifica Radio; Norman Birnbaum, author; Rev. Richard Bunce; Leslie Cagan, United for Peace and Justice; Tim Carpenter, Progressive Democrats of America; Jeff Cohen, media critic; Rev. James Conn, United Methodist Urban Ministry; Harvey Cox, professor, Harvard Divinity School; Bernadine Dohrn; Peter Dreier, professor, Occidental College; Daniel Ellsberg; Jodie Evans, Code Pink; Mike Farrell; Chellis Glendenning, author; Robert Gottlieb, professor, Occidental College; Robert Greenwald, filmmaker; Richard Falk, professor, author; Rabbi Steven Jacobs; Mimi Kennedy, actress; Rev. Peter Laarman, Progressive Christians Uniting; Saul Landau, professor, filmmaker; Robert Lifton, Harvard Seminar on Mass Violence; Staughton Lynd, historian, author; Michael McAvoy, dean, New College; Pilar Perez, editor; Sarah Pillsbury, producer; Joan Sekler, filmmaker; Rabbi Arthur Waskow, Shalom Center; Leonard Weinglass, attorney; Gail Zappa; Maurice Zeitlin, professor, UCLA; Howard Zinn, historian, author.


Governor's camp says his ideas didn't lose / Special election blamed

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's aides argued Wednesday that the crushing defeat of the governor's measures at the polls meant California voters had rejected the need for the special election -- not his calls for reform.

But the governor's gleeful opponents said the blowout loss of the governor's four measures Tuesday highlight just how weak and unpopular Schwarzenegger is heading into his 2006 re-election campaign -- and they're in no mood to compromise.

"When a guy tries to chop your arm off and then offers to shake your hand, it's hard to be forgiving,'' said Ben Tulchin, a Democratic pollster.

Despite Tuesday's results, the governor will continue to plot a course forward based on his vision of California's future, said Rob Stutzman, a spokesman for Schwarzenegger.

"The governor very much sees the results as an indication that voters want the problems of the state to be resolved here in Sacramento by elected officials,'' Stutzman said at a news conference late Wednesday afternoon. "We lost because the voters did not want a special election.''

Gawd -- I never thought I'd do anything to help this bully, but here it is -- some good advice:

Dear Arnold -- don't you know when to shut the fuck up? Are you so addicted to people preening and prancing and pumping up your ego you can't figure it out?

Your people have just said that not only are your ideas about reform crap, but your judgment is ALSO a load of crap.

We already knew -- when you tried to demonize teachers and nurses and firemen -- that your political technique stunk. Once you finished passing out the goodie bags -- cigars and movie tickets and backstage tours and, no doubt, nubile starlets -- you didn't have a second act.

YOU were the one who wanted a SPECIAL election because you knew from history that such off-year elections almost always bring out the conservatives in droves and the liberals not much.

Now they say "Oh, it was the fault of the SPECIAL ELECTION."

Tell YOUR OWN PEOPLE to shut the fuck up.

A real change from telling that to those who disagree with you, eh?

The thing you never understood was that Last Action Hero may not have been your BEST movie, but it was by God the one movie you needed to actually understand, that special effects only go so far, and the rest of the distance -- in real life -- takes some character. And just fanatically thrashing about and refusing to accept defeat isn't character or even determination -- it's just insanity.

So shut the fuck up, for your own good, go home, sign the bills the legislature gives to you and try to understand how grateful you should be for the ride you already had. Now grow old with Maria and become a "whatever happened to..."

OH, PS -- that mealy mouth "I want to give back to the people"
that you and all the rest say -- that means building houses, working with disadvantaged kids (which you have done), cleaning out the Augean stables, draining swamps, etc. It does not mean bullying your way into a power grab.

It's hard to take but dig it -- this may be the best advice you'll ever get: WE DON'T NEED YOU. If you want us to care whether you live or die, do something FOR US, and stop trying to do something TO US.

(A hint -- we elected those people you despise and insult because WE WANTED THEM TO DO WHAT THEY'RE DOING. And you know what? They're just as much bitter vindictive petty aggressive power hungry greedy assholes as you are, so I wouldn't expect them to accept your peace offering. Not to wear out the Hitler analogy, but your public desire to work together is kind of like the High Command telling the Allies "We really just want to be friends" when the Russians were within sight of Berlin. Somehow we're just not quite able to buy that it's sincere.



From Susie Bright's Journal: Hell Hath No Fury Like a Lesbian Cheerleader

I can't comment on this any better than ... hell, even nearly as well as Ms Bright:

In all the legends, all the mythology, no one has recorded their existence before. More elusive than the beast of Loch Ness, more prized than the Sphinx.

Finally, caught on camera, we see them— the Lesbian Cheerleaders. The angry sirens finally showed their faces, albeit in a pitiable meltdown. They did not go gently. The bruise the blond butch gave that straight woman who crossed her is a shiner for the ages. They fought the sheriff; they went down slammin'. Those TopCats sure are tough.

Do you have any idea how many "lesbian cheerleader porn sites" there are? I gave up flipping the Google pages. Not one of those women is a real cheerleader; none of them are out-of-the-closet lesbians making a serious declaration. There are no "Goddammit, I'm a real dyke and a genuine cheerleader" forums. No esoteric little support groups. Nada.

And yet.... from the field, we see it differently. Professional cheerleaders are serious athletes and dancers. Their reputation has withered to their sex appeal, but the physical demands they make upon themselves have never been more rigorous.

They're required to look like angels, but work out like Decathlon contenders. They are the incarnation of the All-American Girl, albeit in Vegas showgirl bikinis. They must inspire hysterical sexual fantasy, yet remain entirely chaste. It's a great place to work if you're adept at keeping secrets and abuse to yourself.

And now we have Reneé, and Angela, NFL pros, caught in the glare of their mug photos. They committed the unpardonable female sin of tying up the women's john in an overcrowded Tampa bar. The impatient ladies in line revolted: "Goddammit, we've got to tinkle and those dykes are GETTING IT ON in the stall."

The article continues ...


Kansas Education Board First to Back 'Intelligent Design'

"Schools to Teach Doubts About Evolutionary Theory"

TOPEKA, Kan., Nov. 8 -- The Kansas Board of Education voted Tuesday that students will be expected to study doubts about modern Darwinian theory, a move that defied the nation's scientific establishment even as it gave voice to religious conservatives and others who question the theory of evolution.

By a 6 to 4 vote that supporters cheered as a victory for free speech and opponents denounced as shabby politics and worse science, the board said high school students should be told that aspects of widely accepted evolutionary theory are controversial. Among other points, the standards allege a "lack of adequate natural explanations for the genetic code."

I love it -- these people are actually trying to tell us they are so intimately familiar with genetic codes and the process of natural selection they can reject the scientific explanation? As if they'd know "intelligent" if it bit them on the ass.

I think it's more likely because none of them have enough fingers to count all 23 chromosomes ... most of them, not even if they take off their shoes. Altho I wouldn't doubt some of them are sextile on all their extremities, because perhaps successive generations of inbreeding would be an explanation for this.

| - Wal-Mart's Tax On Us

"Wal-Mart, the Alpha Dog of discount stores, has also become the Alpha Hog at the public trough.

The phenomenal growth of the world's largest corporation has been supported by taxpayers in many states through economic development subsidies. A Wal-Mart official once stated that the company seeks subsidies in about a third of its stores, suggesting that more than 1,100 of its U.S. stores are subsidized. A national survey by Good Jobs First in 2004 looked at 160 stores and all of the company's distribution centers—and found that more than 90 percent of them have been subsidized. Altogether, 244 subsidized facilities in 35 states received taxpayer deals of more than $1 billion..."

Well, isn't that special. The Waltons are individually listed every year as at least 5 of the 10 richest people in the world on Forbes' list, but we also pay them about what it would cost to build 1000 schools.

| | Cheney on trial

From Sidney Blumenthal's article "Cheney on Trial."

"From the beginning, the White House has acted as though the Plame affair were a minor irritation that could be contained. Libby's elaborate stories to the grand jury of how he was told Valerie Plame Wilson's identity as a covert CIA operative by journalists suggested supreme confidence that the journalists would not disclose their conversations with him. But only Judith Miller acted to shield him as a 'source'; she was sentenced to prison for 85 days before she agreed to testify. The others cited in the indictment, Matthew Cooper of Time magazine and Tim Russert of NBC News, had earlier undercut Libby's various accounts."

Why, that must mean it was just no more than a third-rate burglary.

My old friend Bob was so right when he said "They always make the same mistakes."

Something about arrogance and hubris.

In this case, it's also some of the same old Watergate players, back again, the ones that got away the first time around.


The Return of Willy Peter

or The State Department doesn't know what its Defense Department is doing (see posting below denying any use of chemical weapons titled What was the talking point on Saddam Hussein..."

From Daily Kos -- quoting from the March edition of Field Artillery Magazine in an article entitled "The Fight for Fallujah":

"'WP [i.e., white phosphorus* rounds] proved to be an effective and versatile munition. We used it for screening missions at two breeches and, later in the fight, as a potent psychological weapon against the insurgents in trench lines and spider holes when we could not get effects on them with HE. We fired 'shake and bake' missions at the insurgents, using WP to flush them out..."

* White phosphorus -- ignites on contact with air, attaches stickily to skin and quickly burns its way in, ultimately to the bone, prevents wound healing...

From EPA's Air Toxics Network:

White phosphorus is extremely toxic to humans, while other forms of phosphorus are much less toxic. Acute (short-term) oral exposure to high levels of white phosphorus in humans is characterized by three stages: the first stage consists of gastrointestinal effects; the second stage is symptom-free and lasts about two days; the third stage consists of a rapid decline in condition with gastrointestinal effects, plus severe effects on the kidneys, liver, cardiovascular system, and central nervous system (CNS). Inhalation exposure has resulted in respiratory tract irritation and coughing in humans. Chronic (long-term) exposure to white phosphorus in humans results in necrosis of the jaw, termed "phossy jaw." EPA has classified white phosphorus as a Group D, not classifiable as to human carcinogenicity.

Nasty stuff, definitely not nice at all.



Los Angeles -- Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger found his box office appeal and rhetoric as a reformer couldn't convince California voters that his special election initiatives were critical to the state's future...

The resounding defeat of the governor's self-styled reform effort leaves him weakened as he heads into his 2006 re-election campaign and forced to deal with a Democratic majority in the Legislature pumped up by Tuesday's victories.

"He's now carried out his thermonuclear threat to go to the ballot box,'' said Garry South, a veteran Democratic strategist. "Guess who's going to get nuked -- and it's not the Democratic Legislature...''

"That could be his huge loss -- his ability to work with the Legislature,'' said Bruce Cain, a political science professor at UC Berkeley.

Even before Tuesday night, Schwarzenegger had hinted that his new strategy would be a back-to-the-future flick, reaching out to the Democrats and independent voters who deserted him in droves Tuesday night.

"If you want to fix the broken system, let us do it together, Democrats and Republicans,'' Schwarzenegger told reporters aboard his "Rebuild to Reform Express'' bus this past weekend. "I'm looking much more at the next step, bringing both parties together.''

But "bipartisanship is like virginity,'' warned Cain. "Once lost, it's never recovered.''

Many of the problems were of Schwarzenegger's own making, from talking about "kicking the butts" of California nurses to letting his opponents make the election a referendum on the governor, rather than on the ideas embodied in his ballot initiatives.

---RIGHT, NOW he wants to work together with the OTHER people we elected to take care of the state's business. Am I a little cynical about why he NOW wants to be a Uniter and not a Divider?


I watched him on TV late night, saw that rictus of an attempt to smile while Maria, all angles and glare was watching him like a female Praying Mantis, looking him over, thinking, "You promised me you were a winner ... and I told my family they could count on him ... oh well, a lot of good eating on a loser that big."

Funny, in his conservatism, he's actually much closer to Adlai Stevenson, historical hero of the left, than George Bush.

Of course in style and rhetoric, even aside from the Austrian accent, he's much closer to Hitler and Goerring. Bullying, shouting down opponents and threatening them, trying to deny them any input, trying to make disagreement and discourse a thing of woosy pussycat girlie men.

(He could be more like Milosevicz or Ceausescu, but I never saw them in action enough to know their style. And Arnie DOES have that Teutonic thuggishness in his delivery.)

To his credit -- he may be a bully, but unlike his sometimes pal, George W Bush, at least Arnie gets out there and picks on the weaker smaller kids by himself, instead of hiding out like a craven little rich kid and having other people -- like the Swift Kick Mercenaries -- having other people do it for him.

Still, he spent millions of dollars to hold a SPECIAL election, i.e., one with a normally small, i.e., Republican, turnout... and even that didn't work.

So what does that mean? Lots of analysis going on:

1) The people do NOT like the kind of programs he sponsored.

2) The people MAY like some of the programs but don't believe they should be imposed by Initiative.

3) The people don't like Arnie because of all the above nastiness and bullying he perpetrated.

4) The people like Arnie but they think he cheated on his citizenship test, and never actually read The Constitution.

5)It doesn't matter whether people like Arnie or not because they they think he's just full of shit.

6) None of the above.

Doesn't matter -- he said it right out loud:

"I still want to do what's best for the people of California"



Ambidextrous posts this from KOS

Quite simply, the White House has tampered with the transcript of the Oct. 31 press briefing conducted by l'il Scott McClellan. David Gregory of MSNBC argued to McClellan that notwithstanding McClellan's assurances two years ago that Rove and Libby had not been involved in the leak, both Rove and Libby have admitted to taking part in conversations with journalists regarding Valerie Plame. In response, Scottie said "That's accurate." But the official White House transcript of the briefing available at has Scottie saying "I don't think that's accurate."


Well Nixon found out that the Unblinking Eye of God looked a lot like a Xerox machine and a tape recorder.

Times have changed.

Google and blogs are keeping their eye on the sparrow --

Google has the almost total recall, and bloggers are obsessive enough to look for the "AHA!" inconsistencies. (The Bushwahs say, disaparagingly, that we're looking for the 'Gotcha' stuff, as if, when there has been a coup of process, all rights to be involved in the political dialogue stifled and threatened, this isn't a proper avenue to pursue.

Much better than the same frustration -- being frozen out of having input to your country's decision-making processes -- the same frustration that motivates a suicide bomber.

The internet (1) allows people to pursue outrage and opposition in a civilized manner, have a voice rather than apoplexy -- hell, a much more civilized manner than is generally used by those who have taken the seats of power, and (2) makes it increasingly more difficult for politicians to lie and get away with it.

No wonder it scares the crap out of them, makes them dream up threats to the kiddies and national security as a wedge to try to control the world-wide free speech going on.

("The last refuge of scoundrels is "We're protecting the children." Ente Grillenhaft)

The other thing that terrifies the politicians -- there is so much crap on the internet it forces people to think for themselves, to try to analyze what they've read and determine if it makes sense or not (or so we can hope, the whole advantage of allowing comments on our own postings).

THAT -- a population actually thinking about what is being said -- THAT is poiticians' worst fear, late at night, under the covers, trembling, wondering "Omigod, what if they actually try to figure out if what I'm saying makes sense?"

It's one reason 'talking points' are so obviously lame -- we can see them repeated verbatim 1000 times -- beyond any probability of coincidence.

Charles Olson, the poet, once pointed out that history is driven by mythology, and the true original meaning of that word is "that which is said about that which is said."

Doesn't matter what actually happened. Doesn't matter what the spinners say. What moves the forces is what WE say about what THEY say, i.e, whatever the underlying 'horror stories' that led to the Watergate fiasco were, we had Nixon saying "I am not a crook." What took him down was what people said about that "I am not a crook" statement. I remember a young mother and her daughter I overheard on a city bus (when the headlines talked about Nixon being sick with phlebitus), and the daughter asked mom "What's flea-bite-us?"And mom said, immediately, "It's what you get when you lie."

'Internet Gotcha' -- the most civilized way there is to deal with the Scum that Rose to the Top.


Regarding the vote in Texas

All those tight ass cowboys slapping leather, drinking in the Ice Houses and going out back together and pissing against the wall.

Whipping ‘em out and showing each other their dicks and saying things like "Meet Jumbo" (LBJ's line).

Hell -- This wasn't a referendum on THEM, those gay fella’s getting married.

This was a referendum on whether or not to allow THEMSELVES a gigantic moment of self-awareness.



And all across America, NFL fans are chewing the rug in frustration at not having been there to see it

This from Bitch Has Word

From Fantasy to Reality

I swear, this has to be a setup. It's just too cliche to be true, isn't it? Because what could make straight guys happier than reading this story:

"Two Carolina Panthers cheerleaders were charged after their arrest at a bar where witnesses told police the women had sex in a restroom. ...

Witnesses said the women were having sex in a stall with each other, angering patrons waiting in line to get into the restroom at the club in the Channelside district."

Live sex between lesbian cheerleaders: a plot line straight out of a porn flick.

Obviously, only the female patrons were perturbed. The male patrons, had they known what was going on in the stall, would have been perturbed by the long line of full-bladdered women blocking their view.


What was the talking point on Saddam Hussein? "He used chemical weapons on his own people."

So who has actual facts? Up to each of us to use our brains -- which is what a lot of people despise about the Blogosphere (see next posting below this one.)

From Tuesday, Dec 21, 2004 edition of The Hindu -- India's National Online Newspaper

U.S. using chemical weapons against civilians: Iraqi leader

HYDERABAD, DEC. 20. "The Americans are losing the war in Iraq and in their frustration have started using chemical weapons and napalm bombs on civilian populations," alleges Khudur al-Azawi of the Iraq National Democratic Party.

Speaking to The Hindu on the sidelines of the recently-held Anti-War Assembly in Hyderabad, Mr. Azawi dismissed media accounts of the war in Iraq as "U.S. propaganda"...

"Everyone recognises one enemy — U.S. occupation," he said. It is not just the violence and killings, it is the humiliation of a proud people, he added. "They even used the stones from the ruins of Babylon to make the gate of their army camp."


WOW! I didn't even think the Hindi had any dogs in this fight.
But let's see what OUR own Agitprop people have to say in response, now that we've heard from someone else's, whoever else's that may be.

This is from USinfo -- The US State Department's online Information Outlet


Did the U.S. Use "Illegal" Weapons in Fallujah?
Media allegations claim the U.S. used outlawed weapons during combat in Iraq

The fighting in Fallujah, Iraq has led to a number of widespread myths including false charges that the United States is using chemical weapons such napalm and poison gas. None of these allegations are true.


---So ok, no help there.

If we WEREN'T doing it, we would say it's not true.
But we know, if they WERE doing it, they'd say the same thing.

Here's one more article -- and yes -- for all of us who laugh at the Bush-wahs' clumsy attempts at mind manipulation, they've been successful enough that I see the word "Islam" in the title and immediately wonder about -- if not doubt -- the veracity of what I'm about to read.

Add to that a whole pile of hyperbolic purple prose about "praiseworthy resistance" and how the US has gone to chemical weapons "from despair and helplessness," etc etc, most of which I've edited out for silliness, my confidence isn't increased.

However, since I know the Hindi and the Muslims despise each other as much as Saddam Hussein and Osama ben Laden did, I will still consider this TWO separate sources.



US Troops Reportedly Gassing Fallujah

FALLUJAH, November 10 ( & News Agencies) - US troops are reportedly using chemical weapons and poisonous gas in its large-scale offensive on the Iraqi resistance bastion of Fallujah, a grim reminder of Saddam Hussein’s alleged gassing of the Kurds in 1988.

“The US occupation troops are gassing resistance fighters and confronting them with internationally-banned chemical weapons,” resistance sources told Al-Quds Press Wednesday, November 10...

In August last year, the United States admitted dropping the internationally-banned incendiary weapon of napalm on Iraq, despite earlier denials by the Pentagon that the “horrible” weapon had not been used in the three-week invasion of Iraq...

The sources said that the media blackout, the banning of Al-Jazeera satellite channel and subjective embedded journalists played well into the hands of the US military...

The reported gassing stands as a grim reminder of Saddam Hussein's alleged gassing of the Kurdish community in the northern city of Halbja in 1988.

While the West insisted that Saddam was the one behind the heinous attack, the ousted president pointed fingers at the then Iranian regime.


This last pair of paragraphs is interesting since a World Health Organization Inspector reported having gone to Haljba in 1988 and seen the corpses.

He said that they all were blue (and that didn't mean they were Lord Krishna) and the blue tingeon every body's skin showed they were all murdered with a cyanide-based gas, indicating that the Iranians did it, since the poison-gas makin's we gave to Saddam Hussein was NOT cyanide-based. None of the millions of Iranians he killed turned blue.

And, oh, by the way -- as to the talking point mentioned in the headline -- no way in Hell Saddam EVER considered the Kurds HIS OWN people, nor any way the Kurds ever considered themselves as Saddam's own.


eXTReMe Tracker