Sunday, April 30, 2006

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum ... or ... The SUV Arrival of the Fattest

posted by The Vidiot @ 7:22 PM Permalink

UPDATE: Now with pix!
So in keeping with their platform of 'you can fool all of the people some of the time' the portentous, portly and porco House Speaker Dennis Hastert arrived on foot at a gas station for a photo op about how little much they are doing to hold down gas prices. The Snark? He got out of his gas guzzling SUV around the corner to 'walk' to the event. The Snarkier? He left the op in a hydrogen hybrid. The Snarkiest? A block away he transferred back to his swilling SUV.

One might ask, if they're serious about conservation ... ... ... (sorry for the delay, the milk squirting out of my nose, not to mention the monkeys flying out of my ... ahem, anyway, I was distracted for a moment) ... then you gotta wonder, why didn't they just walk the whole way?

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Now don't get me wrong

posted by The Vidiot @ 6:23 PM Permalink

I love Thom Harmann. I think he's smart and usually right, but this time, he's wrong. With regards to Bush going to war with Iran:
Excerpt: And - unless Democrats in Congress and the American people stand up and speak out - in the process Bush and his Republican enablers may just bring about the end of the great American experiment in democracy.
I hate to tell him, our democracy is already over. Democrats won't do crap. It's time for a revolution people.

Saturday Sailboat Blogging

posted by The Vidiot @ 3:48 PM Permalink

Friday, April 28, 2006

this is a test

posted by Mr. Vidiot @ 7:08 PM Permalink

this is only a test.
had this been a real rant, you would've been deeply challenged on some level.

Eclectricity is in the air ...

posted by The Vidiot @ 5:04 PM Permalink

... doin' the iPod shuffle:

Mr Skin 3:50 Spirit
All You Zombies 6:01 The Hooters
Fascination 3:41 Human League
Redneck Friend 3:59 Jackson Browne
Tainted Love 3:58 Skinny Puppy
Long Cool Woman In A Black Dress 3:20 The Hollies
Come As You Are 3:39 Nirvana
Try A Little Tenderness 3:51 Otis Redding
Take Me Back 0:32 Sonia Dada
Get up offa that thing 4:09 James Brown

One of these things is not like the others

posted by The Vidiot @ 3:38 PM Permalink

U.S. Sees Deadliest Month of Year in Iraq

"Half million" Iraqi refugees fled violence

American Death Toll in Iraq 67 for April

Sister of Iraqi vice president shot dead

Al-Qaida Leaders Losing Control, U.S. Says

A Lube Job from The Decider

posted by The Vidiot @ 1:28 PM Permalink

Bush Rejects Tax on Oil Companies' Profits

President Bush on Friday rejected calls in Congress for a tax on oil company profits, saying the industry should reinvest its recent windfalls in finding and producing more energy.
"These oil prices are a wakeup call," Bush said. "We're dependent on oil. We need to get off oil."
Bush signed a bill 8 months ago that gave the oil companies tax BREAKS for exploration. He suspended environmental regs for them, he's insisting on giving our national treasures to them (see ANWAR). That didn't work even while they were making record profits. And let's not forget this little lovenote from Valentine's Day:
U.S. Royalty Plan to Give Windfall to Oil Companies

WASHINGTON - The federal government is on the verge of one of the biggest giveaways of oil and gas in American history, worth an estimated $7 billion over five years.

It's one of the greatest train robberies in the history of the world. It's the gift that keeps on giving.

US Rep George Miller
New projections, buried in the Interior Department's just-published budget plan, anticipate that the government will let companies pump about $65 billion worth of oil and natural gas from federal territory over the next five years without paying any royalties to the government.

Based on the administration figures, the government will give up more than $7 billion in payments between now and 2011. The companies are expected to get the largess, known as royalty relief, even though the administration assumes that oil prices will remain above $50 a barrel throughout that period.
And what are they currently doing with those profits?
Oil industry prepares $30 million fight back

The oil industry is preparing a new, multimillion-dollar lobbying and educational campaign in response to growing political pressures brought on by rising gas prices, oil lobbyists said.

The American Petroleum Institute (API), the industry’s main trade group, plans a yearlong grassroots lobbying push that could cost in excess of $30 million to explain how the industry works and what has caused pump prices to jump.

What the hell does 'grassroots' even mean in this context? Here's an example of what "has caused pump prices to jump"?
The retirement compensation package given by Exxon Mobil Corp. to outgoing Chairman Lee Raymond is said to total $400 million when all pension payoffs and stock options are included.
And what do the repubs propose?
GOP leaders unveiled a 10-point plan aimed at soothing the growing election-year public anger over high gasoline prices.

It included a $100 fuel-cost rebate for millions of taxpayers and proposals to rescind oil industry tax breaks enacted only eight months ago, and other measures.

But the plan also called for opening an Alaska wildlife refuge to oil drilling - a longtime goal of several large oil companies operating on the Alaska North Slope
A hundred bucks!? That's about 3 refills. And it's comes out of OUR tax money, not the oil companies obscene profits!

And I'm sure the following has nothing to do with it:
the Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress, that five oil-company mergers since 1990 had pushed up gasoline prices an average of one or 2 cents a gallon.

The oil industry is one of the biggest donors to Republican election campaigns. In 2004, the industry gave 80 percent of its $26 million in campaign donations to Republican candidates, including $2.6 million to Bush. That was the Republicans' biggest share in at least a decade, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a Washington-based research group.

In 2005, the industry gave 84 percent of $7 million to the Republicans, and the top 20 congressional recipients of the industry's giving were all Republicans.
And these are the folks in charge of 'ethics reform!?'

Slowly getting back in the swing

posted by The Vidiot @ 10:42 AM Permalink

Got the staples out yesterday and as a reward, went for a 3 block walk!

Well, you know, it's the little things in life.

So, just surfing around a bit, becuase, well, that's about the most I can do with any energy, I saw this little article on how the Fed doesn't seem to be instilling an confidence in our dollar because they've stopped publishing the M3 numbers.
Excerpt: A European think-tank has likened the cessation of M3 publication to Richard Nixon's unilateral decision to suspend the convertibility of the dollar into gold in 1971.

"In 1971, the dollar became a currency solely based on the rest of the world's confidence. But this confidence mostly relied on the general feeling that US economy and its currency were managed transparently. With the end of M3 publication, this transparency disappears completely.

Yeah, like it's ONLY the M3 thing that's causing the dollar to plummet.

Listen, there's so much going on and I'm so behind, but what I've noticed through my pain/drug haze is the following:

China has raised it's benchmark rate which basically challenges the US to raise their rates to make the debt more attractive to investors. So then, Bernacke had to come out and say "hey, rates should stay stable for awhile" so that the markets didn't immediately tank. Meanwhile, Iran's oil bourse is about up and ready. Iraq war costs are skyrocketing, Exxon profits exceed the GDP of the UAE and just as an aside, why they hell isn't anyone screaming about Tony Snow getting Scotty's job? I mean, it's all so overt and and well, I can't find the words.... it hurts... must lie down... must take nap....


Thursday, April 27, 2006

Iraq, Iran, Irony ... apparently these folks can't tell who they want to destroy next.

posted by The Vidiot @ 7:05 PM Permalink

Rice: U.N. Credibility at Stake on Iran

Rice Says U.N. Credibility Is at Stake Over How It Acts Regarding Iran's Nuclear Program
The UN's credibility is at stake!? Sheesh, a proven liar like Ms Condi 'smoking gun', 'aluminum tubes' Rice doubts the UN's credibility!?
[...]"The Security Council is the primary and most important institution for the maintenance of peace and stability and security and it cannot have its will and its word simply ignored by a member state," Rice said.
And yet that is exactly what the US ignored when it attacked Iraq!

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Well THAT sucked.

posted by The Vidiot @ 11:42 AM Permalink

That sucked more than the 2000, 2002, 2004 elections COMBINED, multiplied by a bazillian. I'd rather have 8 more years for Bush/Cheney than go through THAT again. Jeebus. It's what they DON'T tell you that's the worst. I didn't even know I was going to be intubated until the day before. INTUBATED! Tube down the throat, machine pumping gas into your chest INTUBATED. I feel so polluted.

Last thing I remember was some idiot rubbing me with sand paper on some spot on my chest so he could get a good connection to a monitoring machine. After that. Gone.

General anesthesia was interesting. I was in a lovely lovely room, with lovely lovely music, oak paneled walls and floors, pictures on the walls, Mr. Vidiot right next to me, walking and laughing and talking, a beautiful warm light. I was so happy, then.... YANK. Reality. I was so pissed they made me leave. Then, it was the bright lights and the poking and the prodding and the Resident going "huh. That's weird, did you see how tachycardiac she got?" Hmmmmm. Oxygen in the nose. Voices everywhere. Some familiar. Thought I heard my grandmother. Though, she's dead. Pain EVERYWHERE. Dry mouth UNBEARABLE. And the Nausea!!!

I was in Neuro ICU/Recovery for about 16 hours. Those nurses were great. (To the pillow queen: I solute you.) Mr. Vidiot tried to stay as much as they'd let him, but they kicked him out a lot. Though, I don't know why, it's not like anyone could sleep in there. My worse pain? My left arm that had all the leads in it. It was hyperextended for 6 hours and hurt like a mutha'. Not the 25 staples on the back of my head, but my arm for pete's sake.

OK, too much. Break now.

This is the most I've sat up. First I've looked at the internet. Ouch.

Ok, so now I'm transferred up to a room, about 16 hours after surgery. This is the tough part. Here's what they don't tell you: that after 24 hours, all the anti-inflammatory stuff they dose you with during anesthesia wear off and you swell up like a balloon, setting off a whole domino reaction of pain. I already looked like a balloon because the surgery was face down and I was in some sort of head stabilizer thing (which apparently screwed into my head in 3-4 places. Still finding the holes) for 6 hours. My face was totally round and puffy. Not a horrible look for me though. They also don't tell you that the steroids neuro patients have to take to keep their head from exploding will make them diabetic AND hallucinate. THAT was charming. The whole time I was on the stronger dose, I thought I was still in the OR and that I was dying. Not to mention that they took out the catheter (pee tube) and I had to pee every hour on the hour because my blood sugar was double what it was supposed to be.

Mr. Vidiot was wonderful throughout. For those of you who know that my level of potty shame is high, he was very good about escorting me and my IV bag to the bathroom. He was also there every minute to adjust my bed, help me with the pillows, calm me down when I couldn't stand the pain any more. Made sure the nurses knew what was going on and that I needed pain meds. He was perfect. The only complaint my family has is that he didn't give enough info over the phone. But that was what I wanted. I didn't feel like everyone knowing I was in there crying like a baby and in pain. What good would that have done anybody? NO, he did what I needed and wanted, no complaints. He slept less than I did I think.

Then, that night, all hell broke loose. I had just worked myself into a semi-comfortable position and was just beginning to doze off when the night nurse, obviously in the wrong room, tried to wake me up and inject something or read some data from a box on my chest. Well, there was no box on my chest and I yelled at her for being in idiot. Mr. Vidiot tried to explain to her that I was in pain and had just dozed off, but she stormed out and called security on him. They tried to kick him out because it was a coed semi-private. But there was no body in the other bed and we had a note from my doctor that he should stay because his presence was comforting. A nightmare ensued. When he was telling me had to go, in my "roid" haze, I thought he was saying good bye to me in the OR and that I was dying, DEEELightful. I became hysterical. The nurses started calling him names like "Mexican" and "Puerto Rican" and saying that I would "Just turn on the water works if anyone said anything." Those women were AWEFUL. (Full report to filed soon.) He was great though. HE totally challenged them. Precious.

It took several hours to resolve, but we ended up on a single room, me on an uncomfortable bed, but at least the ward was quiet and the nurses were non-threatening. At the end of the day, we lost trust in the nursing staff of that ward. No matter what the resolution had been, we would've not been able to to trust them to take care of me. That's a HUGE deal in a hospital. Trust. I probably shouldn't have been discharged so soon, but I really just wanted out there.

So home we went, exhausted, in pain. A friend picked me up in her SUV and drove like an 80 year old woman bless her soul. She got honked at all the way downtown.

It's been a bumpy few days. I'm weening off the steroids, so I'm swelling up a bit, adjusting, swelling goes down, step down my dose, swell up a bit, and so on. Today is my last day on them. There are 2 double strength Advils calling out to me. The steroids made me crazy. Upset my stomach, caused panic attacks, mood swings, messed up my sleep patterns. Mr. Vidiot has had his hands full.

My face is still numb, as are parts of my body. The Dr. said that was normal. Had a migraine the other night. I feel like I stop breathing sometimes, I don't, I just feel like it. My neck is uncomfortable and REALLY stiff. I have an earache from a strained muscle. I must be clenching my teeth a lot because when I wake up, my jaw is sore. I can turn my head to the left about 3/4 and to the right about 1/2. Can't touch my chin to my chest or the back of my head back too far, but it's getting there. It all hurts so much and I can't believe how much pain and discomfort a human can live through.

Oh, that's another thing. Neurosurgeons are inhuman. The guy is obviously a fantastic surgeon, but he's barely human. Totally disconnects himself from that. In the future, I recommend to anyone, get the number of a good resident. They haven't lost heir humanity yet and they can answer 90% of your questions.

Well, that's it. I'm wiped. My typing sucks, my hands are cold, my head needs to rest and I think I may have to poop again! (well, you know, when you have surgery, pooping becomes VERY important. It's all about the poop.)

I can't imagine ever feeling healthy and normal again. I feel like I'm going to be this invalid forever. I know, logically, this is only day 6 out of the hospital and I shouldn't expect so much of myself. But I'm an overachiever. I expected I'd be doing more for myself.

I thank everyone who sent me flowers and chocolates. Work people: your's especially impressed my mom. Mr. Vidiot's family: LOVELY tulips. The guys, G & L and G's mom: The roses are STILL opening. PV & C: Haven't touched the chocolate yet cause of the high blood sugar thing, but will be cracking into it soon, turning my self into a totally fat bastard. I'll call you all when I can muster it.

I cannot believe how wiped out I am.

Bush is up to something and I haven't the energy to figure it out!!!!!!

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

From the 'Don't they have anything better to do!?' department ...

posted by The Vidiot @ 10:07 PM Permalink

Bill would make sale of sex toys illegal in South Carolina

Associated Press
I'm so happy the AP assigned their crack reporter Adcox to this story, it's exactly what the bill needs;-)
[...] The South Carolina bill, proposed by Republican Rep. Ralph Davenport, [ED: Now why was I so sure that only a republican would advance this bill] would make it a felony to sell devices used primarily for sexual stimulation and allow law enforcement to seize sex toys from raided businesses.
People convicted under obscenity laws face up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
5, count them five years in prison for diddling in/with commercial plastic. Now that's what I call a seminal legislation.
South Carolina law borrows from a 1973 U.S. Supreme Court ruling to define obscene as something "contemporary community standards" determine as "patently offensive" sexual conduct, which "lacks serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value."
And this is where I have to part the folds of this ruling. (Maximum disclosure: I've employed these 'devices.' Just because one might not be up for the occasion doesn't mean your partner should go away sad;-)

Personally, if you're reading this blog you know I'm no judge of what counts as 'literary', but I think certain acts have definitely been ... uhhh ... shall we say performance art! And political!? Sheesh, keeping the gov't out of your bedroom is political. 'Scientific'? Let's just say I was doing a study, a longitudinal study.
Davenport, who is from Spartanburg County, did not return several messages Friday to talk about his bill, which was introduced last month. No other legislator has signed on as a co-sponsor and its passage this year seems unlikely.
So Davenport couched his terms sofar from the mainstream that even repubs didn't find it palletable and couldn't divan why he strayed from their platform!
[...]The sheriff's office there seized movies, sex toys, sexual-enhancement pills and surveillance tapes from two businesses in January.
"We're focused on the hard-core magazines, videos ... the hard-core porn," he said.
Ohh, I just bet they focused* on those items! Those poor cops ... forced to seize toys and watch porn while they handled the evidence. I bet they had an immediate grasp of the situation, and after a few brilliant strokes discharged their duty.

*Focus? No foc you!

Monday, April 24, 2006

Update on the Vidiot:

posted by The Vidiot @ 6:27 PM Permalink

I received the following from Mr. Vidiot. He's understandably a bit more concerned with VidiotCare than arcane blogger tech details, so I posted this for him:

Sunday, April 23, 2006

The vidiot is out of her six hour surgery as of Thursday afternoon and doing well. The surgery was a success as everything went exactly as planned. Obviously, the vidiot is experiencing a bit of discomfort but plans on posting in the next couple of days to provide further detail of the procedure. She is on medication to assist her discomfort and recovery process. She is good hands and being well taken care with the utmost care. Rest assured, all is well and she is doing fine. She looks forward to posting soon as do I, posting occasionally to blow all of you out the water, both so called "conservatives" and "liberals". As soon as the recovery process reaches completion, we will continue the fight of deconstructing the common sense logic of our social order in hopes to contribute to the dismantling of all political, social, cultural and economic power structures. The fight is a good one; the challenge will be met to victory. American hegemony is increasingly becoming fractured exposing the weaknesses of all ideological teams that have penetrated deeply into the subconscious of our human condition. Fret not, resistance is everywhere and will never waver.
She did warn of my rather anarchistic tendencies. I, however, belong to no category opting in its stead to obliterate all categories.

posted by Mr. Vidiot at 9:33 AM 0 comments

Sunday, April 23, 2006

As promised, folks get the main page for a good rant

posted by The Vidiot @ 8:44 PM Permalink

In response to the The day before tomorrow.... post Anonymous said:

Your "rant" is well taken. We do need to clean house. Nothing works the way its supposed to thanks to the cockamamie way everybody manipulates the system, and lies and cheats. There was a time when people were honorable. There was a time when people loved their country and respected their fellow countrymen. Our country is no longer what it was designed to be. Tell me: How does one teach a mass course in ethics to people who don't even know what that word means? It's daunting. Who is out there to make things better? Who is capable of accomplishing this return to order? If you know, don't point him/her out because it's a sure thing that whoever it is would be destroyed by all who are now holding the reins so very tightly.

1:05 AM

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Saturday Sailboat Blogging

posted by The Vidiot @ 10:10 AM Permalink

Friday, April 21, 2006

Bush Chastises China for a Lack of Free Speech As He Tries to Woo Hu ...

posted by The Vidiot @ 10:38 PM Permalink

... but Hu do the voodoo that Hu do so well.*

Just moments after Bush said
"[...]China can grow even more successful by allowing the Chinese people the freedom to assemble, to speak freely, and to worship."
a reporter for a Fallun Gong associated newspaper shouted
"President Bush, stop him from killing," the woman shouted, to the surprise of hundreds of guests spread across the lawn on a sunny, warm day. "President Bush, stop him from persecuting the Falun Gong" — a banned religious movement in China.
So obviously to show how much Americans value free speech and freedom of worship Bush did ........ what!?

A Secret Service officer covers the mouth of Wenyi Wang, 47, as she is escorted from the camera stand after she disrupted the speech of Chinese President Hu Jintao [...]
She was literally gagged and dragged off ... but it was just for show, right!? Hah! Once again you misunderestimate The Decider:
The Secret Service identified the protester as [Dr.] Wenyi Wang, 47. Secret Service spokesman Jim Mackin said she had been charged with disorderly conduct and that a charge of intimidating or disrupting foreign officials also was being considered.
They're considering charging a 47 year old, tiny woman of intimidating the president of the largest nation on earth, while standing next to the most powerful man on earth, while surrounded by SS troops, in the most protected real estate on the planet, after she has undergone a White House security check. WTF! And remember, she was only advocating freedom of speech and religion after Bush himself endorsed it. She just had to shout it out loud, because Bush had a PA system.

Obviously the White House feels terrible about the incident ... just maybe not in the way you'd think:
"It's hugely embarrassing [...] China must know that this Bush administration is good at controlling crowds for themselves, and the fact that they couldn't control this is going to play to their worst fears and suspicions about the United States, into mistrust about American intentions toward China."
Bushco is good at 'controlling crowds'!? Boy, is that an understatement! Face it folks, we lost Kansas a long time ago, we're not even in America anymore.

* Sorry, I just couldn't resist.

So here's the deal ...

posted by The Vidiot @ 2:46 PM Permalink

Bump and Update:
Here are a sample of the many comments The Vidiot has received thru the site:
At 10:04 PM, skippy said...
our thoughts and prayers are with you biker chick! long may you blog!

good luck with the recovery!

At 11:05 PM, TalkLeft said...
I'm sending good thoughts and my prayers your way. You are very brave and from what you've posted, you are doing the right thing.

Take good care, and please have Mr. Vidiot keep us updated, wi-fi or not.

All my best,


At 11:49 PM, Anonymous said...
Good luck and good thoughts for you. Please let us know how you're doing. (I also have a vested interest here. I've got the same malformation but haven't gotten to the surgery stage yet so I am very involved in the process myself.)

Sending very positive thought your way.

At 12:23 AM, therealmrsjamesrubin said...
my dearest Vidiot,

i send you white healing light and good thoughts. now go in there and kick recovery ass!

At 8:03 AM, a rose is a rose said...
not to worry my b-i-l had brain surgery too (years ago). he's FINE. he even drives a truck for a living. my thoughts and prayers are with you!

p.s. IF they ask if you want your whole head shaved or half of your head, GO FOR THE WHOLE HEAD. belive me, you'll end up doing the whole thing anyway. half is worse

At 9:55 AM, Anonymous said...
About the head-shaving: it's true, you'll look like a poodle with a half bald head. When my wife had a brain tumor removed, the surgeon came out and told me that the surgury went well, but she'll be mad about the haircut! That was in 1999; she's doing fine.

We'll hope and pray for the best outcome.

And thank you for sharing the information. It is always hard to consider something wrong with our brains, but it really helps others face their problems when someone clearly and calmly writes about it.

At 3:08, Myra Langerhas said...
Best of luck to you Vidiot. I admire your courage and fortitude. I enjoy your blog even if it is the 'other side.'
Thanks Myra. there is no 'other side' when it come to things like this.

Original post:

I'm sure the millions, well thousands, OK, hundreds ... would you believe 3 ... people who read vidiotspeak know Sara Bellum (AKA The Vidiot), is going in for a bit of 'nip and tuck.' Hopefully this time she'll get a brain surgeon and not a rocket scientist to do the ... uhmm ... honors.

In the mean time, (and time doesn't get any meaner than when you're in recovery), anyone who posts a good comment will be promoted onto the main page. The comments can be off topic, good wishes, rants or diatribes; If they're good, they'll be posted. And spammers will be tracked down and used for Cheney's canned hunts.

Positive messages for The Vidiot will receive extra consideration, but please don't compliment her too much, she tends to get a swelled head.

Great News!

posted by The Vidiot @ 10:51 AM Permalink

Update: Apparently The Vidiot is giving the hospital such a hard time they are making her leave tomorrow. No more lollygagging around the ward for her, eating all them fancy vittles, and flirting with the orderlies, they need the bed for actual sick folks.

So she's over the hill, but not thru the woods, and definitely not yet made it to grandma's house. Recovery's gonna take a long time, but so far, so good (cue sound of wood knocking,)

And a special thanks to skippy and TalkLeft for their support and kind wishes. There's a reason they're on our blogroll, they're not just good, they're good for you!

Original post:

I just received an email from a friend of The Vidiot's.
[Mr. Vidiot] called me around 2:45 yesterday afternoon to say that the doctors had told them that the operation went as well, if not better, than they had hoped. They were going in to see her in a little while.
I'll post more as I soon as I'm done with my happy dance!!!

(animation from eclectech)

Thursday, April 20, 2006

The Right Stuff

posted by The Vidiot @ 5:55 PM Permalink

Scott Crossfield has died at age 84 ... in a plane crash.

In case you don't know, Scott Crossfield was the fastest man alive for many years. He was the first to reach mach 2 and mach 3. He flew some of the fastest and the slowest planes ever invented. He flew the X-15, and a replica of the Wright brothers 1st plane.

My favorite quote:
The brain can process nine billion binary units with instant response, which is beyond any silicon chip. That's what the Wright brothers used to build their airplane. My attitude is that flight is a human endeavor - so if it isn't manned, the hell with it.
Hero is an overused word, but it applies in its unsullied state to this man.

He spent his life slipping the surly bonds of earth, now may he touch the face of god.

Goodbye Scott, may you enjoy your High Flight forever.

Another Capital Idea from the Folks Who Brought You 'Mission Accomplished'

posted by The Vidiot @ 8:11 AM Permalink

US Plots 'New Liberation of Baghdad'

The American military is planning a "second liberation of Baghdad" to be carried out with the Iraqi army when a new government is installed.
IOW, maybe never.
Pacifying the lawless capital is regarded as essential to establishing the authority of the incoming government and preparing for a significant withdrawal of American troops.
So things are so bad in the capital, the city we 'liberated' 3 years ago, where the 'green zone' is, now has to be retaken. That might be a reason that 'good news' from Iraq is so hard to find.
Strategic and tactical plans are being laid by US commanders in Iraq and at the US army base in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, under Lieutenant- General David Petraeus. He is regarded as an innovative officer and was formerly responsible for training Iraqi troops.
And the training of Iraqi troops has gone so well, you're doing a huckuva job Davy. (The obvious way to go was 'We're not in Kansas anymore Toto, but I rose above it. And a rose by any other name ...;-)
Helicopters suitable for urban warfare, such as the manoeuvrable AH-6 "Little Birds" used by the marines and special forces and armed with rocket launchers and machineguns, are likely to complement the ground attack.
With 'complements' like that, who needs enemies? Rocket launchers, machine guns, ground attacks ... can you say 'collateral damage?' I thought you could.
BTW, there is no airborne attack vehicle that is suitable for 'urban warfare!' Sheesh, folks firing their pistols into the air to celebrate New Year's have collateral damage. Imagine what damage a mini-gun firing 33 rounds/sec down into a neighborhood will do.
Sunni insurgent strongholds are almost certain to be the first targets, although the Shi'ite militias such as the Mahdi army of Moqtada al-Sadr, the radical cleric, and the Iranian-backed Badr Brigade would need to be contained.
So they'll only target Sunni's ... and Shi'ites. Well that's 90% of the population. Maybe they just want to let the Kurds have their whey way.
President George W Bush and Donald Rumsfeld, the defence secretary, are under intense pressure to prove to the American public that Iraq is not slipping into anarchy and civil war.
Dude, if you have to 're-take' Baghdad, we're already slipping into darkness*.
Larry Wilkerson [...] "Baghdad is the key to stability in Iraq."
And they're just now figuring that out!? These are the same idiots who think "progress has been good" in Iraq.

* See War

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

The day before tomorrow....

posted by The Vidiot @ 10:23 AM Permalink

Tomorrow is the big day. (Update: Surgery is scheduled for 8:30 am) Today is the last day I'll not have a scar on the back of my head for the rest of my time here on Earth.

I, of course, am FREAKING OUT. And it didn't help that one of my well-meaning girlfriends sent me one of those horrible chain emails that says "forward this to a gazillion people within the next 15 seconds or something HORRIBLE will happen to you."

I know she meant well but I really don't need the gris gris right now. (Of course I sent it out.)

In my absence, of course, as always, The Sailor will be manning the blog. Mr. Vidiot will also post updates, assuming a hospital as impressive as Columbia Presbyterian has wi-fi, which we assume it does.

I have to give Mr. Vidiot credit. He's managed to distract me from my obsessive thoughts about this surgery several times with his arguments regarding our political system. Several lively discussions have ensued and I can safely say, he's turning me into an anarchist. I'm sure I'll have several days to ponder such things, but I'm beginning to see my support of the democratic party as a complete waste of time. I'm beginning to think the "bipartisan effort" really means "in cahoots with." (Really. Mr. Vidiot should be a defense attorney. His arguments are flawless when he believes he's right.)


But what's the solution, I wonder. Complete anarchy? Destroy the system? What would that look like exactly?

Honestly, I was sort of coming to this point on my own anyway. I recently read dKos' Crashing the Gate and though it's a decent read and all, from the outset of it I was annoyed that they so firmly embraced the myth of the elections. I whole-heartedly believe that the 2000, 2002 and 2004 elections are nothing but ginormous myths. Besides the fact that Gore, Kerry and Bush are all part of the same dysfunctional system (e.g. big-monied Politics), I don't believe that the elections are valid AT ALL.

First, let's examine what happened to Howard Dean in Iowa. He was leading the polls, he had a lot of grassroots support, he was against the war and said so. But what happened? The DEMOCRATS banded together because he was a threat to them and aired those ads, the MEDIA banded together and started labeling him as crazy and when it was all over, Kerry, who was way behind in the polls, miraculously pulled one out of his butt.

So what does all of that tell you? It proves that people aren't really in control of the discourse. Consultants control the discourse. Media controls the discourse. (Of course, that's common sense really.) But who are consultants and media? Well, they're not me and you, that's for sure. They don't have one thing in common with 99% of the population, yet they manipulate the discourse and swing elections to favor their own. But the case of Howard Dean in Iowa is interesting IFF you believe the votes are real and counted.

But I don't even believe THAT much.

I mean, look at what happened to Gore in Florida. The recount fiasco, the SCOTUS 5-4 decision. The will of the people was not represented no matter how you look at it. If you ask ANYBODY, ANYWHERE, should all votes be counted, you'd get an unabashed "YES!" Yet, somehow, using the law, they managed to not have all the votes counted. Using the law, they were able to disenfranchise voters, harass voters, place hurdles in front of voters and then even lose track of the votes that did manage to make through all of the difficulties.

And also, for the first time in the history of elections, in Florida, exit polls did not support election results. I believe that Florida 2000 was the grand experiment... and it worked.

Now, let's go forward a few more years to 2002. Now here we have not only conflicting exit polls/election results, but we have weird results on voting machines. I mean, two people in Texas getting the EXACT SAME NUMBER OF VOTES? Hullo?! Yet, at the end of that election, the GOP won control of the whole kit and caboodle.

Finally, in 2004, all hell broke lose. Report after report after report of anomalies and mistakes were percolating into our consciousness. And then came Ohio. That year's Florida. Multiple reports of manipulation and fraud were coming out of there as well. The exit polls? Still messed up in BOTH Florida and Ohio, as well as everywhere else. News of states with machines giving Bush an odd 5% advantage was revealed. I remember seeing the leaked exit polls and then seeing the results of the election. It was bizarre to say the least. My gut told me that this time, the great experiment was kicked up a notch and not only did they make sure their guy won, but that over all, they skimmed enough votes to make it look like he was the popular choice. Dotting their "i"s and crossing their "t"s I suppose.

[As an aside, the recent election in Italy, for the first time, had weird exit polls showing a Prodi win, but the actual election was too close to call. Gee, do you think Berlesconi is afraid that if he leaves office, he'll be indicted? Too bad he hasn't managed to rig his courts as well as the Bush family has.]

Now all of this vote manipulation may have been going on for a very long time. It's just that now, we have the blogs and instant media. The time between something happening, and something getting deconstructed has shrunk considerably. Knowing that all elections are false doesn't make the last 3 elections any less invalid though, does it?

So, in conclusion, if the elections are invalid, if they no longer represent the will of the people, and by logical extension, the government no longer represents the will of the people, I say
...Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
So I, being the governed, do hereby cease giving my consent to this government. They do not merit my consent. We need to abolish this pack of liars, thieves and con men. We need to eradicate the judicial, the legislative and the executive branches as they exist today and reconstruct them sans money, sans overt power. Reinstate the checks and balances. As it is today, none of it works anymore. It's all been corrupted by money, greed, avarice, and perversion. We need to renegotiate all treaties and renege all corporations. The media must be destroyed as well. We need to take our country back from these people. It's not their country dammit. It's OUR country!

Is anyone with me? Tar? Feathers? Anyone? Anyone?

[Cue the crickets] <>


Wish me luck. The next time you hear from me, I'll be a zipper head.

Monday, April 17, 2006

More Good News from the War of Terror

posted by The Vidiot @ 10:30 PM Permalink

I'll try to cover each of these stories in more depth, but for now, the lowlights:
US Plots 'New Liberation of Baghdad'

The American military is planning a “second liberation of Baghdad� to be carried out with the Iraqi army when a new government is installed.

U.S. Marines Repel Coordinated Assault (in Ramadi)

The fighting in Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province, provided fresh evidence that the insurgency is thriving in Sunni Arab-dominated areas despite last month's decline in U.S. deaths.

Karzai Urges Restraint by Coalition Forces

Afghan President Hamid Karzai urged U.S.-led coalition forces on Monday to show restraint when attacking militants in residential areas after more than a dozen civilians and police died in two possible "friendly fire" incidents.
As I said, each of the above subjects deserves more, probably more than I can deliver, but hey, this is the least I can do.

The Question Isn't Whether You Are Paranoid ...

posted by The Vidiot @ 9:48 PM Permalink

Bump and update: I think it's important to acknowledge when your predictions were wrong. In that spirit, I'd like to admit I was too paranoid about the Italian election. It appears now that everyone (except Berlusconi) has accepted defeat:
Berlusconi allies ready to accept election defeat

Political allies of Silvio Berlusconi, Italy’s premier, are backing away from contesting last week’s narrow election victory for the centre-left, in the belief that a government led by Romano Prodi will soon collapse.

“We have been united in government, and we will be even more so in opposition,� Giulio Tremonti, finance minister in the centre-right government, told La Repubblica newspaper on Sunday.

More than a week after Mr Prodi’s narrow win, Mr Berlusconi still has not conceded defeat and appears intent on making the transfer of power to the opposition as complicated as possible
I'm so happy to be proven wrong. Seriously. I work in science, and the axiom is that when better data is available you have to re-evaluate your hypothesis. New data became available, and, as it turns out, I was wrong. And something much more important happened, democracy triumphed. On those terms, I wish I was proven wrong everyday.

Original Post:
... the question is, are you paranoid enough?

Voters in Italy are using electronic electronic voting machines for the first time in a national election.

The polls and the exit polling all have the incumbent, Bush's good friend Silvio Berlusconi, who literally owns the Italian media, losing.

And for the first time in Italian democratic history, suddenly the election is too close to call.

I hope I'm wrong, but I think I've seen this movie before ... in Florida and Ohio. I predict that Berlusconi will win. But only by the grace of machines that have no paper trail.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Let's hear it for the Sailor!

posted by The Vidiot @ 9:43 PM Permalink

For keeping the blog going while I fret about my impending surgery.

Speaking of which, the surgery is scheduled for this Thursday, but the Dr. hopes to get me in early on Tuesday if the OR is available.


Surgery. You know, 200 years from now, they're going to look back on this type of surgery and go "Oh my gawd! How barbaric! Did they really do stuff like that to PEOPLE?!? HUMAN people?!"

It's Easter Sunday, the time of year we genuflect to eggs that were dyed for us ...

posted by The Vidiot @ 11:34 AM Permalink

So I was leading up to this whole rant on how poor, poor evangelical christians are being oppressed by not being able to discriminate against everyone else ... but skippy says it so much better. Ladies and gentlemen, I bring you:
god told me to hate you
god told me to hate you: the theoretical
god told me to hate you: the contextual
god told me to hate you: the legal
god told me to hate you: addendum

I'd just like to add, if you believe in the one true god as I do, then you know that god is a god of love, acceptance and forgiveness.

And if you don't believe as I do then you're doomed to burn in hell.

Happy Easter everyone!

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Saturday Sailboat Blogging

posted by The Vidiot @ 10:45 AM Permalink

30 kt gusts, check; kevlar #3, check; rail in the water, check; yep, it Spring!

Friday, April 14, 2006

Hoppy Easter ... or ... I Love Wabbits ...

posted by The Vidiot @ 5:29 PM Permalink

they're tasty!*

Easter Bunny Stew

I mean to tell you, this is one tasty stew worth rising from the dead for! You can fix this crowd-pleaser in a snap, a snap that starts when you snap the neck of a cute little fuzzy bunny rabbit. Don't waste your time at the grocery store trying to find fresh bunny! With a stack of carrots, you can turn killing rabbits into a fun game for your children. Don't let your kids use buckshot -- or you will be picking pellets out of your gums where you used to have teeth. Instead, give each of your youngins a Louisville Slugger baseball bat and teach them to club them "seal style." Not only will this avoid cracking a crown on buckshot, your children will be tenderizing the bunnies with each deadly blow.
I'll skip the list of ingredients, (hey, it's rabbit stew, the ingredients are rabbit & stew), and go straight to the prep:
Have your children peel off all the cute, fuzzy-wuzzy pelts of the bunnies (reserve them to make holiday-themed, furry napkin rings) and rip the flesh from the dead rabbit's brittle little bones. You Martha Stewarts out there will want to reserve the bloody bunny skeletons to make stock, but if you ask me, instant soup is a whole lot easier! In a General Electric crock-pot, combine the hunks of bunny your children have ripped off the freshly-clubbed animal and all the other ingredients. Bring to a simmer and simmer uncovered for 10 minutes. Cover and cook over low heat for no less than four days.
And I'm told if you wait 3 days after the meal, the rabbits will be risen and you can eat Easter Bunny Stew again!

* Pic from

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

There are so many things wrong with this story it's hard to know where to begin:

posted by The Vidiot @ 7:37 PM Permalink

U.S. Military Looks Into Data Sales in Afghanistan

The U.S. military said Tuesday that it was looking into reports that computer drives containing military data, some marked "secret," were available for as little as $20 in a bazaar outside its biggest base, and soldiers were visible making rounds there. But once they passed, at least two shopkeepers still offered memory drives for sale.
OK, first; why the hell are secret docs not encrypted!? Next:
Nearby, another fence displayed two memory drives that he said an Afghan worker on the base delivered to him after a shift change Tuesday morning. He invited a shopper to return today, when he expected four more drives to arrive.

Lt. Mike Cody, a spokesman for U.S. forces in Afghanistan, said Tuesday that Bagram's commanders "take operational security seriously."
Of course you do, that's why military data were stolen and their secret contents weren't encrypted.
The Times first reported Monday that drives for sale at the bazaar contained documents marked "secret" and that they also listed the names and Social Security numbers of nearly 700 U.S. service members. In addition, they included discussions of U.S. efforts to "remove" or "marginalize" Afghan government officials whom the military considered "problem makers."
Lesser: Can you say identity theft? I would think that a soldier doesn't have access to SS numbers, so these disks must have come from an officer's computer.

Greater: Yet another example of how Bushco spreads democracy like pimps spread their ho's. Overthrowing elected leaders because we don't like them is not how one encourages democracy (see Chavez, et al.)
As a result, less than 200 yards from the main gate, information on operations, staff and other matters is available to any buyer.
Is it just me or do you think that the fact that the military, in a country they overthrew, can't find spies, in an open bazaar, 200 yards from their main gate, is yet another sign of the 'military intelligence' that started this war!?

Emotionally, I find the next section the most disturbing ...
Then there is the sadly personal, such as the resignation letter of a military police officer, whose revelation that she was a rape victim turned up on a drive purchased at the bazaar.
I guess I'm just numb from Bushco constantly trying to institute 'regime change', being incompetent, outsourcing our security, killing thousands of Americans for a lie, and tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians in the same cause, but her resignation to/from her rape just ... Uuhhha hualp arrrrgh ... (words fail me.)

In the local bazaar, a disappointed shopkeeper who couldn't interest a reporter in an assortment of Army binoculars, watches, bowie knives, combat boots and other U.S. military items suggested he come back in a few weeks.

A large group of American soldiers is due to go home, he said, and when soldiers pack to leave, there are always good pickings for thieves, he said.

"There are a lot of things soon to come out of Bagram" he promised.
Truer words were never spoken.

OSP=ISOG=Bovine Excrement

posted by The Vidiot @ 1:30 PM Permalink

Well, well, well. It seems like Cheney is up to his tried and true tricks.

First there was the OSP (the Office of Special Plans) a.k.a. The Lie Factory.
Excerpt:A Mother Jones Special Investigation The inside story of how the Bush administration pushed disinformation and bogus intelligence and led the nation to war.
Now there's the ISOG (the Iran-Syria Operations Group) a.k.a The New Big Lie Factory.
Excerpt: The Iran-Syria Operations Group (ISOG), has been set up by Dick Cheney's daughter with the same objective of regime change in Iran ~ with a direct line to Dick Cheney.
Combine that with Sy Hersh's newest article in the New Yorker, in which there are too many scary quotes to excerpt, then we're definately going to war with Iran.

If the sycophants in the media, and therefore the eminently dupable public, fall for it AGAIN, I suggest we boycott ALL the media and boycott ALL of their advertisers, stop paying our federal taxes, stop following any laws beyond the common sense one's we're supposed to have so we don't hurt each other and seriously look into letting the Bush Believers have their own part of the country that we in the donor states won't need to support anymore. (Let's give them Texas!) The system will be irredeemable, so why adhere to it.

And here's a warning to you all: If there's a terrorist attack here in the US, and the White House tries to pin it on Iran, DON'T BELIEVE THEM.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Normally shooting yourself in the foot prevents inserting same into mouth, but not in this case:

posted by The Vidiot @ 9:08 PM Permalink

A Drug Enforcement Administration agent who stars in a popular online video that shows him shooting himself in the foot during a weapons demonstration for Florida children is suing over the tape's release, claiming that his career has been crippled and he's become a laughingstock due to the embarrassing clip's distribution.
Mr Obvious notes: No, you're crippled because you put a .40 cal round thru your foot! And you're a laughingstock because:
The shooting occurred moments after Paige told the children that he was the only person in the room professional enough to carry the weapon.
Then chuckles the DEA clown sez:
he was "once regarded as one of the best undercover agents, if not the best, in the DEA"
I can believe that, because only the Cirque du DEA would send an undercover agent to teach kids about druuuugs while their parents videotape the class.

Paiging Dr Howard, Dr Fine, Dr Howard:
{Paige} also notes that he is no longer "permitted or able to give educational motivational speeches and presentations."
Well, duh! What a limp excuse!

And on a lighter note, Fark you, (now if I could only find my lighter):

posted by The Vidiot @ 8:26 PM Permalink

More things you don't need, (but I bet The Vid wants at least one;-)

Take Me Out At the Ball Game ...

posted by The Vidiot @ 6:44 PM Permalink

Cheney booed loudly, throws out first pitch

Rumor has it that he was accompanied by Laura Bush. Before taking the field he threw her onto the diamond. The ump went over to tell him, 'No, mister vice president, we asked you here to throw out the first pitch!'

I can't seem to form any solid opinions these days

posted by The Vidiot @ 2:20 PM Permalink

Take the immigration battle.

(Mr. Vidiot and I had QUITE the discussion about this over dinner.
HIM: Challenge the power! Anything that cracks reality and challenges power structures is GOOD!
ME: But they're not talking about the real issue!
HIM: But these people were invisible! Now they're not!
ME: But that's not all of it and it's a distraction to only discuss that!

The neighbors must think we're nuts to be yelling about this stuff.)

On the one hand, I see that these illegal immigrants are working under the table, nearly invisible, being exploited by employers and working for lower than minimum wage. If they were made legal, they would be able to organize and challenge employers to make them pay livable wages. If they were made citizens, they'd HAVE to be paid minimum wages and employers would have to provide at least some benefits (unless of course they're Wal-mart). On top of that, the wages aren't being taxed and therefore the schools their children attend, the hospitals they visit in an emergency, aren't getting the extra tax dollars for the increased workload. (And yes, Mr. Vidiot, challenging the power IS good.) So amnesty or a worker program would be a good thing.

But on the other hand, I see that the sheer volume of these people, along with their "willingness" to work for these low wages (I thoroughly understand that being "willing" has little to do with it, but you get my point I hope.) is limiting the job options available for American workers. It’s not that Americans aren't willing to do the work the immigrants are willing to do (contrary to the oft-heard talking point) it's just that the employers prefer to hire workers that don't require minimum wage, health care or any other benefits for that matter, and as long as there's a pool of cheap labor to fish in, well, employers will always go to that pool. And what about all of those people who dotted their "i"s and crossed their "t"s to get here? What would amnesty mean to them I wonder. So shipping them all back home would be a good thing.

It's quite a conundrum, but there is some sort of an undercurrent that is brushing my fur in the wrong direction and I can't put my finger on it.

First, this issue certainly seemed to spring out of nowhere. Why now? What are we not talking about instead? Plamegate? Iran? Approval numbers?

Second, the media coverage is bothering me. I watched the news last night and the first 15 minutes of a 30 minute broadcast was about these protests. Now, I remember back on February 15, 2003, similar protests were mounted in protest of the impending Iraq war and yet, nary a word was heard on the news. Certainly not 15 minutes worth of coverage anyway. Overall, I could not figure out what the agenda of the coverage was, though it seemed pro-amnesty. (They certainly waxed poetic about how peaceful the marchers were and how organized the action was.) Seeing as the networks are all owned by highly diversified corporate entities, what do they stand to gain from amnesty? I mean, they'd lose their exploitable worker pool. Near as I can guess, (and it is just a guess) they see the writing on the wall (isolationist tendencies combined with progressive states granting illegal workers rights) and realize that if the workers gained amnesty, though they'd end up paying them more, they still wouldn't cost them as much as an American-born citizen would. In addition, they’d now get to claim those workers as an expense, something they can't do with illegals, I'm sure.

Bottom line though, and as usual, the real issues aren't being discussed. The fact of the matter is, most immigrants come here for one thing: to make money, which, theoretically, will lead to a better life for their families. But why can't they make money in their own country? Well, bad trade and bad development, all at the hands of Western neoliberal policies (See NAFTA and IMF) Lopsided trade agreements, compounded by poor development planning and austerity measures thrust upon developing countries by western business and banking interests, both of which lend themselves to gross economic inequalities, have made existence in those countries untenable.

The answer will have to lie somewhere in the middle of full amnesty and shipping them all back. Probably should be state by state, only because each state as its own issues to deal with. No matter what though, overall, the answer will have to include greater corporate accountability, both here and abroad. Here, corporations must be made to treat immigrant workers like human beings or pay hefty hefty penalties. Abroad, free-trade has to be transformed into fair trade. Workers in other countries must be paid livable wages. In addition, environmental standards have to be raised and maintained throughout. The best way to keep them from coming here is to make staying there more attractive.

Until we as a nation deal with the crux of this issue — the profit motive of big business and the exploitation both here and abroad of the workers — whatever solution is created will more than likely keep the power in the hands of business, further exploit labor and maintain the growing economic inequities.

But that would mean the destruction of the corporate power machine. Which of course is exactly what won't happen.


Just trying to distract myself from my impending zipper-headed fate.

And it's not working.

Monday, April 10, 2006

The Incredible Credibility Problem ... or ... The Juxtaposition of Just Suppositions

posted by The Vidiot @ 9:11 PM Permalink

U.S. Spokesman Blames Al-Zarqawi Group

BAGHDAD, Iraq -- More than 90 percent of the suicide attacks in Iraq are carried out by terrorists and foreign fighters recruited, trained and equipped by al-Qaida in Iraq leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a U.S. military spokesman said Monday.
"The terrorists and foreign fighters that he recruits, trains and equips carry out more than 90 percent of the insidious suicide attacks against the men, women and children of Iraq attacks that have killed or injured thousands of Iraqis in the last year alone."
Lynch acknowledged that al-Qaida in Iraq represents a "relatively small portion" of the insurgency but "their impact has been ruthlessly devastating."
So AQ/Zarqawi are responsible for 90%and at the same time a 'small amount.' (I'm wondering, has Lynch had basic math courses and has Zarqawi killed as many civilians as America has?) But just so we have a 'fair and balanced' view, instead of asking the military, let's ask the military:
Military Plays Up Role of Zarqawi

The U.S. military is conducting a propaganda campaign to magnify the role of the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq, according to internal military documents and officers familiar with the program. The effort has raised his profile in a way that some military intelligence officials believe may have overstated his importance and helped the Bush administration tie the war to the organization responsible for the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
For the past two years, U.S. military leaders have been using Iraqi media and other outlets in Baghdad to publicize Zarqawi's role in the insurgency. The documents explicitly list the "U.S. Home Audience" as one of the targets of a broader propaganda campaign.

Some senior intelligence officers believe Zarqawi's role may have been overemphasized by the propaganda campaign, which has included leaflets, radio and television broadcasts, Internet postings and at least one leak to an American journalist. Although Zarqawi and other foreign insurgents in Iraq have conducted deadly bombing attacks, they remain "a very small part of the actual numbers," Col. Derek Harvey, who served as a military intelligence officer in Iraq and then was one of the top officers handling Iraq intelligence issues on the staff of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told an Army meeting at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., last summer.

In a transcript of the meeting, Harvey said, "Our own focus on Zarqawi has enlarged his caricature, if you will -- made him more important than he really is, in some ways."

"The long-term threat is not Zarqawi or religious extremists, but these former regime types and their friends," said Harvey, who did not return phone calls seeking comment on his remarks. {ED: Gee, I wonder why}
The military's propaganda program largely has been aimed at Iraqis, but seems to have spilled over into the U.S. media. One briefing slide about U.S. "strategic communications" in Iraq, prepared for Army Gen. George W. Casey Jr., the top U.S. commander in Iraq, describes the "home audience" as one of six major targets of the American side of the war.
there were direct military efforts to use the U.S. media to affect views of the war.
"There was no attempt to manipulate the press," Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt, the U.S. military's chief spokesman when the propaganda campaign began in 2004, said in an interview Friday.
Another briefing slide states that after U.S. commanders ordered that the atrocities of Saddam Hussein's government be publicized, U.S. psychological operations soldiers produced a video disc that not only was widely disseminated inside Iraq, but also was "seen on Fox News."

So there was no attempt to 'manipulate' Americans, you just showed it on Faux News.
U.S. military policy is not to aim psychological operations at Americans, said Army Col. James A. Treadwell, who commanded the U.S. military psyops unit in Iraq in 2003. "It is ingrained in U.S.: You don't psyop Americans. We just don't do it," said Treadwell.
Liar! Ohh, but let him prevaricate some more:
With satellite television, e-mail and the Internet, it is impossible to prevent some carryover from propaganda campaigns overseas into the U.S. media, said Treadwell, who is now director of a new project at the U.S. Special Operations Command that focuses on "trans-regional" media issues. Such carryover is "not blowback, it's bleed-over," he said.
Lovely, we're not 'blown' just 'bleeding.' I feel so much better ... on second thought, no I don't. Maybe it's just me but I prefer being blown to bleeding.
The Zarqawi campaign is discussed in several of the internal military documents. "Villainize Zarqawi/leverage xenophobia response"
Ahh yes, because Iraqis are much more likely to be xenophobic of Arabs than Americans. No wonder we have such great strategery from our (fearless) leadership. But it gets better/worse:
One internal briefing, produced by the U.S. military headquarters in Iraq, said that Kimmitt had concluded that, "The Zarqawi PSYOP program is the most successful information campaign to date."
So 2400+ American deaths is successful!? And speaking of propaganda:
Kimmitt said, "There was clearly an information campaign to raise the public awareness of who Zarqawi was, primarily for the Iraqi audience but also with the international audience."
It's an old joke that military intelligence is an oxymoron, but that's insulting to morons given the next Perle of wisdom:
"Through aggressive Strategic Communications, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi now represents: Terrorism in Iraq/Foreign Fighters in Iraq/Suffering of Iraqi People (Infrastructure Attacks)/Denial of Iraqi Aspirations"
"What we're finding is indeed the people of al-Anbar -- Fallujah and Ramadi, specifically -- have decided to turn against terrorists and foreign fighters," Maj. Gen Rick Lynch, a U.S. military spokesman in Baghdad, said in February.
There you have it, the Lynching of Iraq.
Money quote:
On April 2, Huthayafa Azzam, believed to have close ties to Iraqi militants, told The Associated Press that al-Zarqawi had been confined to a military role within the coalition, specifically barred from making public statements and from any political or propaganda role.

Azzam said Iraqis in the Shura Council had demanded that al-Zarqawi give up his political role _ particularly in propaganda _ because he had "embarrassed" them with statements about regional politics, al-Qaida's activities and beheading videos.
Wow, not even AQ respects this guy, but he's our bete noire!?

Oh, by the way, where is Osama Bin Laden?

Just Wondering ...

posted by The Vidiot @ 8:01 PM Permalink

After reading The Vidiot's post below, I'm kinda sorta wondering if when Bush said "Bring it on", do you suppose he was talking about the rapture!?

The Question Isn't Whether You Are Paranoid ...

posted by The Vidiot @ 7:02 PM Permalink

... the question is, are you paranoid enough?

Voters in Italy are using electronic electronic voting machines for the first time in a national election.

The polls and the exit polling all have the incumbent, Bush's good friend Silvio Berlusconi, who literally owns the Italian media, losing.

And for the first time in Italian democratic history, suddenly the election is too close to call.

I hope I'm wrong, but I think I've seen this movie before ... in Florida and Ohio. I predict that Berlusconi will win. But only by the grace of machines that have no paper trail.

What I realized this week

posted by The Vidiot @ 11:50 AM Permalink

For his PhD work, Mr. Vidiot is studying a church here in Brooklyn. I go with him so he isn't completely miserable. As we're interviewing members of the congregation, and I hear and understand exactly what "being saved" means (something I now realize I was quite ignorant of) I now also understand that having a born-again Christian as president (not to mention those in Congress) is a constitutional crisis.

Here's the oath they swear on a pile of bibles to uphold:
"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."
Now, to be a born-again, they not only accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, but they also give their will entirely over to God. Their will is no longer their own. They must, under all. circumstances, follow the word of the Lord (the bible) and be led by the will of God. To do otherwise would lead them to damnation.

So, for them, it's ENTIRELY possible that if the constitution says one thing, and the will of God is telling them another, the will of God will trump the constitution EVERY TIME.

Here's my first statement: They cannot both swear to uphold the constitution AND follow the will of god. The two paths are diametrically opposed.

Going deeper into this line of thought, I have another statement: One need no longer wonder if Bush believes he's outside of the law. He is most definitely outside of it -- as far as he's concerned anyway. If God is talking to him and telling him to go to war with those heathens in the Middle East, he's going to do it and and he's going to fulfill God's will no matter what. Period.

Of course, statement one and statement two are predicated upon the belief that Bush is truly a born-again Christian and not just donning the mantle of one to win the support of a sizable swath of voters.

Just a few thoughts.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

The Devil and Daniel Webster ... or ... Jurassic Pork!

posted by The Vidiot @ 8:24 PM Permalink

Bump and Update:
Owners of the {Dinosaur Adventure Land}, which shows how dinosaurs may have roamed the Earth just a few thousand years ago, did not obtain a building permit before constructing the building in 2002. They have argued in and out of court that it violates their "deeply held" religious beliefs, and that the church-run facility does not have to obtain permits.

Church leader Kent Hovind vowed to appeal the case.

"We will continue our legal fight," Hovind said Thursday.

"This is pure religious persecution," said Glen Stoll, who works closely with Hovind on legal issues.
Golly, yet another battlefront in the war on christians. Poor, poor persecuted majority. But I'm certain this is an isolated incident ... well, not exactly:
In 2004, The Internal Revenue Service raided Hovind's home and businesses. Agents said Hovind had failed to pay taxes. That case is pending, and federal attorneys declined to comment about it.

While the building permit case was in court, the ownership of the theme park was transferred to Stoll, who resides in Washington State, according to court papers. Stoll has been investigated at least twice by federal authorities, court records show.
Isn't transferring disputed assets a crime!? But wait, there's more!
Last year, the U.S. attorney in Seattle filed a lawsuit against Stoll, charging him with promoting a scheme encouraging people to avoid paying taxes by claiming to be religious entities, according to news reports.
Glen Stoll, Glen Stoll ... where have I heard that name before? Oh, right, he's a homegrown terrorist involved with the 'Embassy of Heaven, God's Government Here on Earth' militia. Lovely folks.

Original Story:
Biblical parks may get tax deal

TALLAHASSEE - A biblical theme park in Orlando where guests pay $30 admission to munch on "Goliath" burgers and explore reproductions of 2000-year-old tombs and temples could get a property tax exemption written into state law.

A Senate committee easily passed a bill that would grant theme parks "used to exhibit, illustrate, and interpret biblical manuscripts ... " an exemption from local property taxes, like churches, even though the parks charge money.
But the property appraiser argues the nonprofit should pay taxes on the money-producing park, just like Disney World or Universal Orlando, with its pricey tickets and $5 parking fees.
The bill's sponsor, Sen. Daniel Webster, [R-Wackdoodle], says the bill really only applies to Holy Land Experience and said it would be difficult for another park to meet the "stiffly worded" criteria. [ED: Combining discrimination and violation of church and state in one bill, how creationative.]

Yet, when a Pensacola park dedicated to creationism learned of the Webster bill Tuesday it promptly sent an emissary to Webster's office to find out how it could qualify for the same tax break.

Dinosaur Adventure Land, devoted to demonstrating that the Bible proves dinosaurs and humans coexisted, displays pages from ancient Bibles and "biblical accounts of dinosaurs," said Creation Science Evangelism founder Kent Hovind, who also goes by "Dr. Dino."
Calls to theme park competitors Disney World and Busch Gardens befuddled spokesmen who said they hadn't heard of the bill.
That hardly seems fair. Evangelical Christians might argue we're not descended from apes, but even they gotta admit we came out of a bush!

Reminds me of a joke: Mickey Mouse was goin thru his divorce hearing and the judge sez: "Mr. Mouse, let me get this straight. You're divorcing Minnie on grounds of insanity!?"

"No, your honor, I said she was farking Goofy!"

Saturday, April 08, 2006

My 2 cents

posted by The Vidiot @ 7:59 PM Permalink

I thought Micheal Ledeen had something to do with the Niger Forgeries. But, according to the UK's Sunday Times, it was 2 employees at the Niger embassy in Rome.
Excerpt: According to Nato sources, the investigation has evidence that Niger’s consul and its ambassador’s personal assistant faked a contract to show Saddam Hussein had bought uranium ore from the impoverished west African country.
But my question is, who did they forge them for?? Berslesconi has been implicated in the past, as well as Steven Hadley.

The Times article says:
Excerpt: In the autumn of 2002, Martino passed the documents allegedly faked by Zakariaou and Montini to an Italian journalist. She then took them to the American embassy and they were passed on to Washington.
My issue is: where did they get the proper information to insert into the forgery? how did they know what to say? It was just a couple of people in the embassy. Who told them what was needed?

Hadley met with Pollari, head of SISME on 9/9/2002

Excerpt: La Repubblica also quotes a Bush administration official saying, "I can confirm that on September 9, 2002, General Nicolo Pollari met Stephen Hadley."

And according to Josh Marshall the papers surfaced a month later.
Excerpt: It was only much later, in October 2002, that the Niger forgeries themselves surfaced in Rome and made their way into U.S. government hands.
What the article in the Times fails to discuss is where did the forgers get their information? Who did they think they were going to sell it to?

I think Hadley went there, told SISME what he wanted, SISME sent the skankiest to get them done, then funneled them to the journalist, Ms. Burba. (Who, as an aside, worked at the same publication that Micheal Ledeen had done some work for in the past. Sorry, can't find the link.)

So, who did the forgery is kind of a non sequiter. But who they were doing it for, now THAT'S something.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Saturday Sailboat Blogging

posted by The Vidiot @ 5:25 PM Permalink

Talk about a random 10

posted by The Vidiot @ 1:48 PM Permalink

I just looked down at my iTunes playlist:
Ode To A Butterfly 4:10 Nickel Creek
Across The Universe 5:05 Fiona Apple Alternative
Runaway 2:31 Del Shannon
Memphis 2:36 Johnny Rivers
Guess Who I Saw Today 3:25 Nancy Wilson
House Of Pain 3:18 Van Halen
And You and I 9:33 Yes
Put A Little Love In Your Heart 3:48 Annie Lennox & Al Green
i'm Not In Love 7:32 10cc
Paint it Black 3:45 Rolling Stones
Baby Please Don't Go 5:39 Amboy Dukes
I Only Have Eyes For You 3:40 Art Garfunkel
For the Love of Money 3:42 The O'Jays
Lay My Body Down 4:10 Sonia Dada
OK, so it's more than 10, sue me.


posted by The Vidiot @ 1:16 PM Permalink

if Bush manages to weasel his way out of this one, ...
Excerpt: Defendant’s participation in a critical conversation with Judith Miller on July 8 (discussed further below) occurred only after the Vice President advised defendant that the President specifically had authorized defendant to disclose certain information in the NIE.
... then we should just throw in the towel and call it a day because obviously, the man will never go down for anything.

Look, what basically happened is this: Monkey II (Cheney) told Libby that Monkey I (Bush) had told him that the contents of that particular NIE was OK to share with reporters. The Monkey General (Gonzales) is saying that Monkey I can basically to whatever he wants anyway because, well, he's the Alpha Monkey and therefore, he can do whatever he wants. On top of that, some among the Monkey population are saying that since the NIE had nothing to do with Fitz's investigation about who leaked Plame's name to the press, there's no reason to get their semi-opposable thumbs in a crunch. And then on top of that, the Monkey Gallery (Congress), in between bouts of flinging their poo at each other, have said that Monkey I didn't break the law because the Alpha Monkey has the power to declassify whatever he wants because, well, he's the Alpha Monkey and therefore, he can do whatever he wants. But the Executive Order Monkey I signed says that in the event a declassification seems warranted:
Excerpt: they shall be referred to the agency head or the senior agency official. That official will determine, as an exercise of discretion, whether the public interest in disclosure outweighs the damage to the national security that might reasonably be expected from disclosure.
But, according to Libby, he and the dynamic duo were the only ones aware of the declassification.
Excerpt: ...[Libby] understood that no one at those agencies was aware of, or involved in, the declassification made known to him by the Vice President or the disclosures he made to reporters Cooper and Miller.
So, if the Executive Order says that the agency involved in classifying the information has a hand in declassifying it, but they were never told of the declassification, is it really declassified? And if it's not, then aren't the Monkey Duo in trouble? And if not, why not?

These are all questions we'd like answered, no?

I'm sure it's already been said,

posted by The Vidiot @ 1:13 PM Permalink

but wouldn't you agree that this teacher, who was harrassed by DHS because they were parked in front of a school, had a very good reason to make sure that DHS personal stayed away from young children?

Thursday, April 06, 2006

... Good New Break ... Good News Break ... Good News

posted by The Vidiot @ 6:14 PM Permalink

Once-homeless woman spends $1,500 bailing out nearly 2 dozen Broward inmates
Beverly Johnson has been in jail and doesn't like it. On Wednesday, the formerly homeless woman revisited Broward County Jail, this time as a liberator, spending $1,641 to pay the bonds of two-dozen inmates being held on minor charges.

"I did this because I spent time in jail and know what it's like. It's awful in there," the 54-year-old former social worker said.
The people Johnson set free were typically homeless and unable to pay bonds of $25 to $100 on charges like trespassing, loitering or disorderly conduct. Those were the same type of charges for which Johnson was arrested by Fort Lauderdale police some 20 times while on the street from November 2001 to June 2003, she said.
And now back to our regularly scheduled programming ...

The tin-hat zone

posted by The Vidiot @ 5:45 PM Permalink

Does anybody but me thinkg it's weird that this whole Judas thing pops up in time to counter the DaVinci code?

Far be it from me to not put THAT out there.

Things that make me go hmmmm

posted by The Vidiot @ 4:59 PM Permalink

This is a lot harder to dismiss
Excerpt: A few scientists think there's evidence that humans actually descended from Martian microbes, not exactly what the author of Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus had in mind. But it merits further study, said chemist Steven Benner, who has founded a new institute in Gainesville, the Westheimer Institute for Science and Technology, which aims to bridge chemistry and biology, with evolution as its guide.
If you look at some of these pictures.
Excerpt: When this stunning "Martian ruin" (below, right) is compared to similar structures here on Earth -- as in this 1936 aerial photograph of a long-abandoned "~eighteen hundred-year-old Sasanian Palace" in Iran (below, left) -- the eerie geometric similarity is instantly apparent.

Hey, I have to think about something other than GW every now and then or my head REALLY will explode.

A sign of the Apocalypse

posted by The Vidiot @ 2:14 PM Permalink

It's finally happened. I'm utterly speechless. With regards to Bush and/or Cheney approving the leak to Libby
Excerpt: Not all agree, however. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist took a more defensive stance. "Of course it raises some concerns, but we can't let this issue be blown out of proportion. Of course there have to be media guidelines. Hell, if we want to plant I.D. chips in people and torture their loved ones until they break, we will. I know the idea of governmental control over what the media can or cannot say during wartime may be an uncomfortable topic for some to digest, but it is a necessary fact of life when our enemies are trying to kill us."

What's wrong with U.S.?

posted by The Vidiot @ 1:26 PM Permalink

I mean, surely, Bush has assaulted our democracy more than the new labor laws insult the French youths? Surely. Yet THEY protest. THEY wreak havoc. THEY challenge the system. Over THAT (not to minimize their thing, but Bush? War Crimes? Hello?).
Excerpt: Students protesting a new labor law put more pressure on France's embattled government Thursday by blocking roads, trains and a convoy of parts heading to the factory that builds the world's largest airliner.
And what do we do? We sit on our fat, over-fed butts and do nothing, waiting for someone else to start something. All those comic books we grew up with, where a super-hero saved the day? Did that wreck us? Did they make us think someone would always swoop in a save us from the evil ones? Were those comic books some sort of evil CIA plot to make Americans think "someone else will save our butts"?

Sounds crazy, I know. But I don't know how else to explain it.

Yet another great idea

posted by The Vidiot @ 1:06 PM Permalink

from the folks that brought you the Iraq war. Let's make more nukes!
Excerpt: D'Agostino acknowledged in an interview that the administration was walking a fine line by modernizing the U.S. nuclear weapons program while assuring other nations that it was not seeking a new arms race. The credibility of the contention rests on the U.S. intent to sharply reduce its inventory of weapons.
Yes. And our credibility is just so existent at this time.


posted by The Vidiot @ 8:06 AM Permalink

I really should be taking a shower and getting ready for work. But for some reason, I always feel the need to catch up on bad news first.

Let's begin with the fact that more than half of our debt is now owned by foreign interests. And here's something I've known all along but really hate to see confirmed: more than few news stories on MSM are produced by corporate interests.
Excerpt: Three stations "not only aired entire VNRs without disclosure, but had local anchors and reporters read directly from the script prepared by the broadcast PR firm."
Yikes. Let's move on, shall we?

From the Bad Idea Department comes this little gem from last week:
Excerpt: The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has begun a series of experiments to see how likely the bird flu virus could result in a human pandemic. The six-month series of experiments seeks to simulate the mixing and matching of genes from the H5N1 avian flu virus that has plagued Asia and a common human flu virus that public-health experts fear could turn avian flu into a pandemic, the Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.
Yes, let's just see how easy it is to make a form of avian flu that is more easy to transmit from human to huma- OOOPS!.....

Yes, with all this good news, I can't help but venture into conspiracy land. (It's actually a pretty sad statement when things are so bad, that conspiracy land is actually relaxing.)
Excerpt: But I did notice that there was shadow under this white dot and I also noticed that the trees were casting the shadows in the same direction as this shadow of the circle of this aerial phenomena because it was higher than the trees but not too much higher than the trees but it was close to the ground and it was spherical but slightly elongated, not very much but slightly. I then said, is it a UFO? And he said, Well I can't tell you. And then I asked him, what are you going to do with this piece of information? And he said, well we have to airbrush these things out before we sell these photographs to the public. So I realized at that point that there is a procedure setup to take care of this type of information from the public.
Just knock me on the head so I can get my day started already why don't you.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

On a Personal Nose:

posted by The Vidiot @ 5:35 PM Permalink

A funny thing happened on the way to the pharmacist.

Spring is in the air ... literally. I suffer twice a year from allergies. Spring and Fall, (duh!) so when the pollen count went above the Dow I went to my local CVS for some Sudafed.

There were at least a dozen different drugs for allergies in the aisle, but no sudafed. Having lived with this condition twice a year for ... a turtle's age, I asked the pharmacist 'where's my allergy meds?'

He pointed to the shelf behind him and the imposing counter. Then he brought out a ledger, asked for my driver's license, notated the number, had me sign for the OTC meds, and eventually gave me the package of 30 pills.

In comparison, awhile ago I had a wisdom tooth extracted. I took the 'scrip in and the same pharmacist handed me a heroin substitute with no questions.

WTF is going on when you can purchase a Schedule 1 drug easier than OTC allergy relief? [/rant]

This is all well and fine and all

posted by The Vidiot @ 12:42 PM Permalink

and also, I might add, about freakin' time. But this story about some GOPers breaking ranks and signing onto HR 543 is obviously a politically crass move.
Excerpt: At least four Republican members of Congress are calling on the House Republican leadership to hold a floor debate on the Iraq war, and are holding a press conference today, RAW STORY has learned.
As the link indicates, Bush's poll numbers along with the overt failures in Iraq have become a political liability for republicans. Therefore, they're going to make it look like they're challenging Bush to distance themselves from him. These craven assholes deserved to be put in jail for supporting the debacle to begin with and no matter how hard they try to scrub the taint of complicity from their soiled political souls, they will always bear responsibility for the destruction they've caused.


They're mad I tell you, MAD!

posted by The Vidiot @ 11:56 AM Permalink

UPDATE: Check below the Condi picture for the latest caption.

Bush, who lied about WMDs in Iraq, is apparently confusing proliferation with profligation:
Rice defends nuclear deal with India

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice called on Congress Wednesday to approve an unprecedented U.S. plan to share nuclear technology with India, saying the deal will not trigger an arms race in Asia.
I'm sure we can take her word for it, after all, she has such a great track record.
President Bush agreed to last month with India could dramatically increase India's nuclear arsenal and weaken efforts to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons, and Rice maintained that "civil nuclear cooperation with India will not lead to an arms race in South Asia."

India has never signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and is unlikely to ever do so, she said.
The pact, which must be approved by Congress, strengthens U.S. ties with the world's largest democracy but also upends more than three decades of U.S. law and policy.
The new U.S. strategic partnership between Washington and New Delhi reverses restrictions on trade with states, such as India, that did not accept comprehensive international safeguards over all their nuclear facilities. [...] the Congressional Research Service, in a report last week, noted that India would have the sole right to decide which reactors are civilian and which are military, which need not be under international supervision.
India better look out. Bush the First sold drugs to Noriega, and than attacked him. Rumsfeld sold chemical weapons to Saddam, and then attacked him. Now Bush the Inhaler sells nukes to India.
Quite the clever foreign policy we have.

Ya know, this blogger technology is great. But what it doesn't allow, or I'm just too dumb to figure out, is how to credit multiple authors of a post. While this post will have my moniker on it, The Vidiot is equally to blame.

Oh and BTW, The Vidiot sent me this link to a billmon post about how the camera never lies. And on a snarky note, I'd like to add this picture to the collection, via USA Today:

Condi: "Do you know how much blood is on these hands! Well do you! Do YOU!"