Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Remind me again what we're fighting for?

posted by The Sailor @ 5:09 PM Permalink

A bit of follow up to Bill's excellent post below about the military punishing wounded vets for speaking the truth.

It isn't an isolated occurrence, the military is also telling soldiers who haven't been wounded (yet) to only say what they are told to say:
Soldiers told to stay out of debate

Military press officers are telling U.S. troops to stay out of the fray if reporters ask them about the congressional debate concerning their future in Iraq.

A "public affairs guidance" memo sent to units in Iraq from the Baghdad command offers talking points for soldiers if asked what they think of the nonbinding resolution passed by the Democratic-controlled House on Feb. 16 opposing the Bush administration's troop increase in Iraq.
U.S. troops are instructed to "not make public comment" about the vote beyond a brief set of recommended talking points.
While there are more limitations on free speech when serving in the military than we civilians face, they do not extend to forcing soldiers to serve as sock puppets for the current misAdministration.

Let's go to the money quote:
Army Lt. Col. Scott Bleichwehl, a spokesman for the Multinational Division-Baghdad, said [...] it is not an order and knows of no cases in which soldiers were punished for varying from public affairs guidance.
Yeah right, they weren't 'ordered' just 'instructed.' If the military can remove from the public eye, silence and punish wounded vets in America? Just imagine what they can do to a soldier in a war zone.

Guest Post on 9/11 Truth

posted by The Vidiot @ 4:11 PM Permalink

I asked him to write up something because of the recent hullabaloo with regards to the premature BBC and CNN reports about the WTC7 coming down.

(Must-read: the BBC's "the dog ate my report" excuse. Priceless.)

Guest post:
To My Fellow Citizens in N.Y. and on the 'net:

It is becoming increasingly obvious that the lies of 9/11/01 are putrid and are finally getting the sunshine they so desperately deserve. Folks must immediately acquaint themselves with the breaking news that news reporters were given information that WTC7 had collapsed and reported that info up to one hour before the actual event. The question arises(and it is one hell of a question) who gave that info to the network feeds and based on what verification? I strongly urge all citizens of this planet and New Yorkers in particular to go to, Alex Jones' website, or and follow this dramatic breaking story. I repeat that this is not fluff, this is for real.

New Yorkers in particular are in the unique position of being able to demand accountability for these conspiracies to cover up crime. It is in your city and amongst your friends and love ones that much of this took place. Now is not the time for complacency. You must get a firm grip on what is transpiring by learning as much as you can. Then you must download the footage and present it to anyone in a position to mount an inquiry. The perpetrators of the cover up are running around scott-free now and are completely capable of causing more mayhem. You must act!

It is not easy to fathom the implications of all that we are witnessing but I assure you that justice is far preferable to a festering national wound that will lead to the catastrophic illness and failure of the country at large( feel free to extrapolate inferences to the world at large.)

I have been a foot soldier in 9/11 truth for years now. Believe me when I tell you that I wish the truth, that arrives by the truckload everyday, were not so brutal. I have plenty of other things to do with my time than to spend hour upon hour on the computer. Yet I was born in a country where the founders admonished us to protect democracy and freedom at all costs. They told us to be wary of situations just like this.

Let us all stand shoulder to shoulder and demand the truth...from the BBC, CNN, our so-called leaders, Congress, district and states attorneys and your fellow Americans that have not been awakened yet. The gauntlet has been thrown down.

Global Patriot Worker

How Now Down Dow? - Continued

posted by Bill Arnett @ 1:55 PM Permalink

Another thing I thought of during the panic caused by massive stock sell-offs.

While listening to some idiotic talking head on CNN yesterday (I won't identify the pundit to spare him embarrassment) something he said caught my attention and really made me laugh, though I'm certain that was not his intent.

"You know, the economy has been so strong that we have set like 30 new records on the stock exchange since last October." He really said this with his bare face hanging out before god and everybody and man!, I almost laughed myself sick.

It seems that the punditry class is so desperate to maintain the charade of "a strong economy" that every tiny increase above the previous high is heralded as yet another sign that we should shut-up and be grateful for the wonderful monetary policies of the bush maladministration.

I hate to do this to them (not really), but I thought I'd just remind everyone of this annoying fact the Republic party would like everyone to forget. From Wikipedia:
From 1987 to 1995, the Dow rose each year by about 10%, but from 1995 to 2000, the Dow rose 15% a year.

If I 'member my 'rithmetic correctly that means the value of the stock market increased to 175% of its 1995 value by year 2000.

Now what was it about this that made me laugh? Oh! Yeah!

That happened on Bill Clinton's watch and constituted real growth and a real strong economy. Not an economy of smoke and mirrors and fuzzy math and cooked books and phony budget numbers; the real thing.

Funny how things work out sometimes.

Punish the Wounded – Add Insult to Injury

posted by Bill Arnett @ 12:31 PM Permalink

This has to be the saddest, most maddening, frustrating, going-screaming-crazy, and disgusting story I have read in a long time. I literally wept while reading it and still have tears in my eyes. I lack the words to adequately express my utter contempt for people who would punish and silence troops wounded in service to the nation.

This story illustrates for you how the bush maladministrations "support for the troops" is pure propaganda pap for the consumption of the 30% of the population that remain true believers. There won't be a peep about this in the MSM, for if this story received sufficient attention from television media, even the hardcore bush supporters might find their support of bush wavering, and if not, my contempt would extend to them as well.

From the Army Times:
Soldiers at Walter Reed Army Medical Center’s Medical Hold Unit say they have been told they will wake up at 6 a.m. every morning and have their rooms ready for inspection at 7 a.m.,and that they must not speak to the media.

“Some soldiers believe this is a form of punishment for the trouble soldiers caused by talking to the media,” one Medical Hold Unit soldier said, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

It is unusual for soldiers to have daily inspections after Basic Training.

Soldiers say their sergeant major gathered troops at 6 p.m. Monday to tell them they must follow their chain of command when asking for help with their medical evaluation paperwork, or when they spot mold, mice or other problems in their quarters.

They were also told they would be moving out of Building 18 to Building 14 within the next couple of weeks. Building 14 is a barracks that houses the administrative offices for the Medical Hold Unit and was renovated in 2006. It’s also located on the Walter Reed Campus, where reporters must be escorted by public affairs personnel.…

It is crystal clear that these actions are in retaliation for these soldiers for reporting, quite honestly, the deplorable conditions in which they are living. It's despicable that any soldier would be so punished.

The article continues:
The soldiers said they were also told their first sergeant has been relieved of duty, and that all of their platoon sergeants have been moved to other positions at Walter Reed. And 120 permanent-duty soldiers are expected to arrive by mid-March to take control of the Medical Hold Unit, the soldiers said.

As of Tuesday afternoon, Army public affairs did not respond to a request sent Sunday evening to verify the personnel changes.

The Pentagon also clamped down on media coverage of any and all Defense Department medical facilities, to include suspending planned projects by CNN and the Discovery Channel, saying in an e-mail to spokespeople: “It will be in most cases not appropriate to engage the media while this review takes place,” referring to an investigation of the problems at Walter Reed.

Could there be any more contemptuous way to treat wounded soldiers? Now those who have lost limbs, those now blind, those with devastating head wounds, those who have suffered all but death in service to America are going to be forced to arise by 6 a.m., be ready for inspection by 7a.m., and they have been specifically warned to not speak even the truth to the press. In fact, to not speak to the press at all.

How can our flag officers stand by silently and let heroes wounded in combat to be subjected to this additional stress on top of their conditions? Why does the military seemingly desire to hide problems, punish the wounded, and forbid contact with the press instead of doing the right thing and actually fixing the problems?

How can the MSM sit on their hands, fail to report this abuse of the wounded, and perpetuate the propaganda myth that the bush/cheney maladministration "supports the troops"?

What kind of piece of crap commander-in-chief and "Decider" decides that this is the way to punish those who served most honorably? And does congress know that this is happening?

I am so angry and once again disappointed and heartbroken for what we have become as a country. We can't, or won't, take care of our own, and bush wants to conquer the world for oil.

Damn these people. Damn them all to hell.

This is what Mr. Vidiot is always going on about.

posted by The Vidiot @ 8:26 AM Permalink

The contradictions of capitalism.
Excerpt: The percentage of poor Americans who are living in severe poverty is the highest in thirty years, in which millions of working Americans are falling closer to the poverty line, and the gulf between this country’s ''haves'' and ''have-nots'' gets wider.
Meanwhile, companies like Radio Shack report record profits and extreme amounts of money continues to pour into political coffers.

Wrong headline

posted by The Vidiot @ 8:22 AM Permalink

"U.S. Find Stokes Fears Of Iraqis' Bomb-Making Ability"
Excerpt: An American military raid in southern Iraq uncovered a makeshift factory used to construct advanced roadside bombs that the U.S. had thought were made only in Iran. The find raises fears that Shiite Muslim insurgents across Iraq may be able to manufacture large quantities of such weapons on their own.
What the headline really should say is:

"U.S. Find Blasts Administrations Iran-Link Claims Out of the Water"

David Kelly Update

posted by oscar wilde @ 4:40 AM Permalink

For those wishing to view the BBC's documentary you can do so here.
I would recommend reading the comments first in the "Kelly death not suicide says MP"

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

How Now Down Dow?

posted by Bill Arnett @ 4:00 PM Permalink

I've been sitting here listening with amusement to the panic being caused by a dramatic "Black Friday" type sell-off of stocks around the world and particularly the Dow-Jones.

According to HuffPost via AP comes this:
The Dow Jones industrial average fell more than 500 points today before gaining some of it back. The Dow dropped 546.02, or 4.3 percent, to 12,086.06 before recovering some ground. It was down 360.42, or 2.85 percent, at 12,271.84 with about a half hour of trading left.

The broader Standard & Poor's 500 index was down 42.11, or 2.91 percent, at 1,407.26, and the Nasdaq composite index was off 81.34, or 3.25 percent, at 2,423.18, after being down more than 100.

The U.S. joined a global market plunge sparked by growing concerns that the U.S. and Chinese economies are cooling and that equities prices have become overinflated.

At last the chickens are coming home to roost: "…growing concerns that the U.S. and Chinese economies are cooling and that equities prices have become overinflated.…"

Every sentient creature on Earth knows that America is too broke to even pay attention, and that the Communist Chinese, our bankers, have been fronting us $2-billion a day buying U.S. Treasury notes.

The Chinese market apparently slid down by 9%, housing sales have slowed almost to a halt in the U.S., and economists, as is normal with the bush maladministration, anticipate significantly lowering the estimate of GDP for the fourth quarter.

Obviously someone got ahead of the curve and figured from the beginning that bush's economic numbers would be revised downward and then figured that the revision would be a much lower number.

It's amazing to me that every economic number bush ever releases is later revised to reflect the truth, which somehow is always worse than what was reported by bush.

Looks like the markets have decided that, "They won't be fooled again."

Anatomy of a Headlying

posted by The Sailor @ 10:40 AM Permalink

Army officers say Iran made bomb components
Wow! That's an excuse for Bush to go to war!
But a closer look at the article shows:
Officers said they did not know where the copper plates were manufactured, or by whom. They also said they could not prove who supplied the materials or who was building the EFPs.
"I don't think there's any way for us to know if it's tied to any government," said Maj. Jeremy Siegrist, the executive officer for the unit that recovered the materials. "That's a stretch too far."
Weber said cutting, stamping and milling the copper plates requires technical expertise, as does arming and triggering the EFPs. He said Iran has the necessary expertise.
I'll add to the good Major's comments about who has the 'necessary expertise:'
Saudia Arabia.
And anyone else who has passed shop class and has access to a junkyard.


posted by The Vidiot @ 8:22 AM Permalink

This only tells me one thing.
Excerpt: SOME of America’s most senior military commanders are prepared to resign if the White House orders a military strike against Iran, according to highly placed defence and intelligence sources.
It tells me that nothing short of an horrendous staged terrorist event on the American people will keep the military commanders at their jobs. Anything less than horrifying and they'll quit.


posted by The Vidiot @ 8:03 AM Permalink

There's nothing else that can be said about this.
Excerpt: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice urged the Democratic-controlled Congress not to interfere in the conduct of the Iraq war today and suggested President George W. Bush would defy troop withdrawal legislation.
I mean, wow.

Honestly, if there's anyone anywhere who still thinks we're functioning within some sort sort of democratic governmental framework, I'd have to say they live under a rock.

Resource of the Week

posted by The Vidiot @ 7:49 AM Permalink

There's a new website that tracks Congress using plain language and easy navigation called
Excerpt: OpenCongress brings together official government information with news and blog coverage to give you the real story behind what's happening in Congress. Small groups of political insiders and lobbyists know what's really going on in Congress. Now, everyone can be an insider. OpenCongress is a free, open-source, non-profit, and non-partisan web resource with a mission to help make Congress more transparent and to encourage civic engagement. OpenCongress is a joint project of the Sunlight Foundation and the Participatory Politics Foundation.
I don't know about you, but every time I wanted to find out about a bill and I went to Thomas and damned if I could figure out anything useful. OpenCongress could become my new favorite website.

I"m baaaack.

posted by The Vidiot @ 7:43 AM Permalink

And what to find to read with my morning coffee? This.
Excerpt: The Bush administration has carried out three massive sweeps in the last two years, rolling up more than 30,000 minor crooks and criminals, without as much as a whimper of protest from the public.

Operation Falcon is the clearest indication yet that the Bush administration is fine-tuning its shock-troops so it can roll up tens of thousands of people at a moment’s notice and toss them into the newly-built Halliburton detention centers. This should be a red flag for anyone who cares at all about human rights, civil liberties, or simply saving his own skin.
Here is the Operation Falcon home page. It's a bit scary in its Orwellianness. And here's a MSM report in its Orwellian glory.

What can we do? We HAVE to do something!

Monday, February 26, 2007

Kelly Death. Update

posted by oscar wilde @ 8:00 PM Permalink

Although I started to take notes, to carry on doing so would have meant virtually transcribing the whole show. I am a little off colour So I am going to offer only this and then the primary links that are germane to the show.

Shorter; In my opinion, murder and cover up 90% likely.
Subsequent actions that wavered from set protocols, highly suspicious, and the idea that Iraq was responsible, a non starter,

First link: Web site that featured prominently in the show.

Second: The program and BBC.

Third: Google search.

$50,50,50…ah $55, the Wyoming bid is at $55…

posted by Bill Arnett @ 1:51 PM Permalink

I want to touch upon two unrelated articles that are related in more ways than one.

The first concerns the fact that America is broke; we got zip, zilch, zero, nada, nothing by way of having any money left. bush and his minions have overseen the greatest transfer of money from the poor to the wealthy than the most despotic despots in the history of despots and despotism.

This article shared by Raw Story:
Congress's auditor warned in a monthly update released last Friday that the latest data on America's fiscal outlook shows "a federal debt burden that ultimately spirals out of control."

The January update was based on new data supplied to the Government Accountability Office by the Congressional Budget Office, and identified spiraling national health care costs as the main culprit for the country's budgetary woes. The report also challenged a key assumption about the nation's fiscal future made by President George W. Bush in his release of the 2008 budget. [Of course it has nothing, nothing to do with the hundreds and hundreds of billions spent in Iraq that could have cured all of America's ills (pun intended). Bill]…

…The "bleak" outlook seen by the government's chief auditor results from "primarily spending on the large federal entitlement programs (i.e., Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid)." Growing expenditures on health care are expected to account for the largest share of deficit-raising spending that will present a challenge "not just to the federal budget but to American business and our society as a whole."

While there are other discretionary expenditures, like those on national defense and homeland security, GAO warns that "the growth in Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and interest on debt held by the public dwarfs the growth in all other types of spending."

This article reads like something straight out of the "Armstrong William's School of Journalism" and smacks so badly of pure propaganda it just makes me want to regurgitate. I am not in any way, shape, form, or manner either known or unknown to man saying, hinting, or alleging that the author of this article, Michael Roston, is a government propagandist; he seems to be a fine writer working with the bogus info bush loves to have the CBO [which recently admitted that the gov't bookkeeping is so bad it is impossible to audit the government!. Bill] put out on Friday afternoons, and any mendacities would have arisen from those reports, not Mr. Roston.

Everyone know the Republic mantra of shrinking government to the size where you could drown it in the bathtub. Now their plan seems to be to bankrupt the country so that it can't pay for social programs, only the eternal GWOT, which, while bush has been in office for just six years, he has spent more money than all the previous presidents combined and increased our total debt from $20-trillion to $50-trillion dollars.

Since the "on the books" debt has gone from about $6-trillion to a little under $9-trillion dollars it begs the question: "Where did all the money go?"

Off the books spending, of course, black budgets, top secret, very hush-hush, and possibly even something like this: It would appear that bush, in order to now reduce Iran's influence in the M.E. has been, with the apparent cooperation of the Saudis, financing both sides of the civil war in Iraq and al-Qaede sympathizers.

See the latest article by Sy Hersh in the New Yorker where he reports:
To undermine Iran, which is predominantly Shiite, the Bush Administration has decided, in effect, to reconfigure its priorities in the Middle East. In Lebanon, the Administration has coöperated with Saudi Arabia’s government, which is Sunni, in clandestine operations that are intended to weaken Hezbollah, the Shiite organization that is backed by Iran. The U.S. has also taken part in clandestine operations aimed at Iran and its ally Syria. A by-product of these activities has been the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda.

One contradictory aspect of the new strategy is that, in Iraq, most of the insurgent violence directed at the American military has come from Sunni forces, and not from Shiites. But, from the Administration’s perspective, the most profound—and unintended—strategic consequence of the Iraq war is the empowerment of Iran.…

…The clandestine operations have been kept secret, in some cases, by leaving the execution or the funding to the Saudis, or by finding other ways to work around the normal congressional appropriations process, current and former officials close to the Administration said.

A senior member of the House Appropriations Committee told me that he had heard about the new strategy, but felt that he and his colleagues had not been adequately briefed. “We haven’t got any of this,” he said. “We ask for anything going on, and they say there’s nothing. And when we ask specific questions they say, ‘We’re going to get back to you.’ It’s so frustrating.”

So, here we are. Buried up to the tukus in Iraq, spending, ultimately, several trillion dollars we will have to borrow from the Communist Chinese to fight the GWOT, only to find that bush's unreasoned hatred of Iran has him surreptitiously financing both sides of Iraq's civil war, fronting through the Saudis, and indirectly providing funding to al-Qaeda sympathizers.

Well, I reckon that if our own president is ostensibly going to sell out the country, he might as well just start auctioning it off in pieces to the highest bidders, right? Do I hear $60, 60, 60…I've got $65 for Wyoming, going once, going twice…

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Sunday, February 25, 2007

Oscar Predictions

posted by The Sailor @ 5:12 PM Permalink

I understand that life goes on even when a country is at war. But this obsession with red carpets, hair styles & vainglorious frippery still bothers me.

My prediction for the Oscars, (not to be confused with our oscar), is that a thousand lesbians with assault weapons will storm the building and force the proceedings to be relevant to actual events going on in the world.

Personally? I'm rooting for militia Etheridge!

Been there, done ... exacly what?

posted by The Sailor @ 4:53 PM Permalink

U.N. calls U.S. data on Iran's nuclear aims unreliable
Tips about supposed secret weapons sites and documents with missile designs haven't panned out, diplomats say.
"Since 2002, pretty much all the intelligence that's come to us has proved to be wrong," a senior diplomat at the IAEA said.
Just like Iraq's WMDs, aluminum tubes, mobile bio-weapons labs ... bush is lying again.

And if Bush gives the order to attack iran? As Bill has noted, Prepare for a General revolt.

Why I Love The Internets. (When The Tubes Ain't Blocked)

posted by oscar wilde @ 3:45 PM Permalink

Best analogy; heading out to dine on escargot and finding you have a taste for possum, then before you leave the restaurant you hear a tune that takes you back to all the times you sat in a coffee bar planning your next assault on fourth form knicker elastic, and maybe as a reward for your evil thoughts you'd meet something scary on your way home.

Don't F**k With Grandad

posted by oscar wilde @ 1:53 PM Permalink

Tourist kills Costa Rican mugger.

A General Revolt

posted by Bill Arnett @ 12:46 PM Permalink

I have long felt that everything that has or is being done to America by the bush/cheney maladministration functions to serve one purpose: Solidify and increase presidential power, conquer the Middle East for its oil, expand American hegemony, and the imperial desires of bush and the Republicans to subvert our constitution, eliminate civil rights, and to ultimately declare martial law. The 109th Congress slipped into a defense budget bill provisions making it easier for bush to declare martial law, clearing the way to cancel the '08 elections under the premise of "continuity of command in our existential Global War on Terror", the perfect construct of evil that permits the claim of being "the wartime president." See "Making Martial Law Easier" from the NYT where they write:
A disturbing recent phenomenon in Washington is that laws that strike to the heart of American democracy have been passed in the dead of night. So it was with a provision quietly tucked into the enormous defense budget bill at the Bush administration’s behest that makes it easier for a president to override local control of law enforcement and declare martial law.

I urge every citizen to read this article and contemplate this: bush does nothing by "accident", and that when the Republic party secretly adds provisions like this into law, they intended to give bush the power to do just that, declare martial law. I was in the Philippines when Marcos declared martial law in '72; it is not a pretty sight and makes canceling elections easy.

I do still, however, have faith that not all the military has been corrupted by bush, nor all its leaders cowed by a president that deep-sixes any flag officer who does not agree with him, making it impossible to speak out while on active duty leading to the resignation of many of our finest officers.

My faith in this seems to be ratified by this article in TimesOnline in the United Kingdom. Some excerpts:
SOME of America’s most senior military commanders are prepared to resign if the White House orders a military strike against Iran, according to highly placed defence and intelligence sources.

Tension in the Gulf region has raised fears that an attack on Iran is becoming increasingly likely before President George Bush leaves office. The Sunday Times has learnt that up to five generals and admirals are willing to resign rather than approve what they consider would be a reckless attack.

“There are four or five generals and admirals we know of who would resign if Bush ordered an attack on Iran,” a source with close ties to British intelligence said. “There is simply no stomach for it in the Pentagon, and a lot of people question whether such an attack would be effective or even possible.”

A British defence source confirmed that there were deep misgivings inside the Pentagon about a military strike. “All the generals are perfectly clear that they don’t have the military capacity to take Iran on in any meaningful fashion. Nobody wants to do it and it would be a matter of conscience for them.

"“All the generals are perfectly clear that they don’t have the military capacity to take Iran on in any meaningful fashion.…"

The enormity of what is being said here cuts like a knife: bush has broken our military and reduced it to a tissue-thin, paper tiger of a fighting force and American now lacks the military capacity to rout Iran, the inability to "take Iran on in any meaningful fashion indicates their belief that we could not win such a confrontation, and that such an attack on Iran could prove devastating to American forces and American interests worldwide.

After all, true leaders do not take an army into a fight it cannot win. Four or five flag officers resigning may not seem like much, but that would represent well over 100-150-years of combined experience; men educated, developed, and that worked up through the ranks to the top. Strategic and tactical warfare experts the services can ill-afford to lose.

The article continues:
But General Peter Pace, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, said recently there was “zero chance” of a war with Iran. He played down claims by US intelligence that the Iranian government was responsible for supplying insurgents in Iraq, forcing Bush on the defensive.

Pace’s view was backed up by British intelligence officials who said the extent of the Iranian government’s involvement in activities inside Iraq by a small number of Revolutionary Guards was “far from clear”.

Hillary Mann, the National Security Council’s main Iran expert until 2004, said Pace’s repudiation of the administration’s claims was a sign of grave discontent at the top.

“He is a very serious and a very loyal soldier,” she said. “It is extraordinary for him to have made these comments publicly, and it suggests there are serious problems between the White House, the National Security Council and the Pentagon.”

The thrust of my argument here is that if our generals and admirals are ignored and shoved aside, as when we attacked Iraq without a sufficiency of troops, adequate body armor, and properly armored vehicles, etc, and would go so far as to resign, what chance is there they they would follow an illegal order for the military to effectuate martial law in America, actually take up arms against their fellow citizens, families, and friends, make wholesale arrests and confinements without habeas corpus, and shoot-to-kill protesters on the extra-judicial orders of a rogue president?

I have to believe this, I refuse to not believe in the fidelity of American military men and women, and I pray that should bush give such an order for martial law that he would not only be disobeyed, but arrested, confined, and brought before Congress for impeachment.

The future well-being and freedom of this great nation is at stake, and the stakes could not be any higher.

Well They Would Wouldn't They

posted by oscar wilde @ 8:37 AM Permalink

Many people have asked me why I'm doing this.

There are other concerns to consider as well, however. A real risk is the toothpick fish.

So Why Now?

posted by oscar wilde @ 12:37 AM Permalink

The fear among some is that the US is softening up world opinion for an attack on Iran. Such an attack would be aimed at Iran's nuclear facilities.

Kelly death not suicide, says MP

posted by oscar wilde @ 12:21 AM Permalink

An MP investigating the death of Dr David Kelly says he is convinced the weapons scientist did not kill himself.

This story has never been right since day one, I shall update after tonight's program.

Update. Preview

Israel seeks all clear for Iran air strike

posted by oscar wilde @ 12:00 AM Permalink

Israel is negotiating with the United States for permission to fly over Iraq as part of a plan to attack Iran's nuclear facilities, The Daily Telegraph can reveal.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Saturday Sailboat Blogging

posted by The Sailor @ 5:10 PM Permalink

What makes a sailor? Well like any crime it takes means, motive and opportunity. In my case, my Dad had a bit o' means. My motive was an inexplicable love of sailing ships and their history, even tho I was from a landlocked state. The opportunity was an ad for Kool cigarettes that offered a styrofoam Snark for $100 (with proof of purchase boxtops, just like cereal;-)

For my colleague oscar wilde it was a burning dingy on a beach. He rescued it, fitted it out, and sailed the hell out of it.

With pilots, you can at least say 'we are plane crazy.' With sailors, you can't even add the 'plane.'

Countdown to Spring launch: T minus 35 days and counting (desperately, desperately counting.)

Friday, February 23, 2007

We saw dead people!... sorta.

posted by The Vidiot @ 3:42 PM Permalink

This is a long post with pictures.

So, as I mentioned in an earlier post, Mr. Vidiot and I decided to spend a night at a haunted plantation in a town north of Baton Rouge. The plantation, called The Myrtles, is in St. Francisville. If you go to their website, you'll see that it's a lovely old plantation house that's surround by Spanish moss and old oak trees. Classic really.

We pulled up to the entrance and started to get excited. We checked in and were given keys to the John Leake room which is in the upstairs of the main house. (There are cheaper rooms off to the side of the house, but we wanted the real deal.) We dumped our stuff in the room and ran downstairs to catch the 4pm house tour. They give a tour every hour of the business day and on weekends, they do a spooky tour. Anyway, on the way to the tour, we bumped into some people who had overheard us saying we were in the Leake room and they proceeded to tell us some of their story about staying in that room.

Seems that a confederate soldier had died in that room of gangrene after his leg had been amputated. Some say they can sometimes smell a strong oder of cigars when they're in there. The biggest 'complaint' about the room is that when you're sleeping, you'll feel someone rubbing your leg. They said they had accidentally been locked out of the room next to the Leake room and had to be placed in the Leake room because a locksmith wouldn't be able to open the door until the next day. So, they stayed in the room. The husband was sick and doesn't remember much. (Lots of people get a little ill when they stay there. There's was an accidental death... or two or three... due to arsenic in some birthday cake.) Anyway, the wife said that she had a hard time sleeping because her legs were fondled all night. The next morning, they said they climbed up on the roof to see if they could get into the locked room that way and saw someone sleeping in there. When the locksmith finally got there, not only was the door easy to open, but there was nobody in the room. (Cue the spooky music.)

So, great, dead guy in our room, leg fondler, no biggy.

We took the tour, saw the weird mirror (talked about on their website), found out who killed whom and who died where and that was that.

The biggest story was about Chloe the slave girl. Seems Chloe was the mistress of the master. She got a lot of perks because of that. But at some point, she fell out of favor. So she took to spying on the master in the hopes of gaining some leverage over him. Unfortunately, she was caught, and for punishment, had part of her left ear lopped off and she was banished to the kitchen. While there, she got the bright idea to 'lightly poison' a birthday cake, thinking she would just make a few of the kids sick, nurse them back to health and get back in the good graces of the master. Unfortunately for Chloe, she put in too much poison, killed two of the master's kids and his wife. The other slaves were so freaked out that Chloe's bad behavior would be the death of them all that they took Chloe and hung her themselves. So, obviously, Chloe is one of the BIG ghosts. The kids are too.

There was also another fella who was shot and then died in his wife's arms on the stairway. A few others died of yellow fever and I can't remember the rest of them. (Oh yeah, and don't forget the Confederate soldier.)

So, we wait until night and then we start to take pictures like this.
And this:

Not too unusual. You might notice some round glowy light thingies. We didn't think much of them, but I guess the ghost hunting types call them orbs. Here's a closeup of a few from that picture.

So, we're out back of the house, near what looks like an old slave's quarters or something. Snapping away. And we're seeing orbs everywhere. Now, we've used this camera all over the place, New York, Europe, wherever and we've never seen these sorts of things on our images.

Here's one over my shoulder.
Here's one over Mr. Vidiot's shoulder.

So, snap snap snap (aren't digital cameras great?!) and I snapped this shot and nearly FREAKED out.

I mean, what the hell is THAT thing?!

I did some reading on the web about orbs and things and one of them said something like the orbs are spirits, sometimes individual, sometimes groups, and as long as they're flitting about, they're round. The minute they stop they turn into ectoplasm.
Excerpt: We teach that a spirit is represented in an orb configuration pattern. When the spirit is moving about, its shape is an orb, but when it comes to rest, meaning that it is no longer in motion, the spirit energy that is compressed within the orb is released and this spirit energy expands into what we call Ecto-Vapor or Ectoplasm. Often an orb will contain more than one soul and when its spirit energy is released, multiple orbs flow forth from the single orb. The orb may be observed as a small white sphere shooting through a room and through a wall. When recorded on film, the orb size is often confused because the photo is only 2D and its size is dependent on how far from the lens the orb is when captured by the camera.
So, near as I can tell, maybe some of orbs were just dust. But honestly, I blew a few of them up and a kid you not, they had faces on them. And then there was that ecto-vapor thing.

All too creepy.

So then, after a fabulous meal, we retired to our haunted room.

See? There's an orb in the upper left area. (The square on the right is just a reflection from mirror.) I snapped a shot right after that and the orb was gone.

So we went to sleep. And a fitful sleep it was. Both of us had nightmares. At one point, Mr. Vidiot felt like someone was pressing down on his chest and keeping him from me. He had to break free of it in order to roll over towards me. Later, in his mind, he saw his hand choking me, and then his had started to move up to my neck and it was everything he could muster to pull it away.

For me, I for some reason couldn't stop shaking him. I felt like I was being rocked from behind and I was holding on to him. Neither one of us felt rested the next morning. And I felt a very light pressure on my legs.

Truly odd.

Now, whether or not all the talk of ghosts and the atmosphere of "ooooo, ghosts" had anything to do with anything, I don't know. I do know that if the people who run the Myrtles aren't creating the orbs or contributing to any of the other weird experiences and stories we heard while we were there, then something is definitely going on there.

If you're ever down that way, you should go there. It's very creepy. I guess the ghosts are really active in October. Oh, and keep in mind that some people, many actually, are unable to spend the entire night. More than a few times, the workers have come in for the morning and found the keys to a room near the office door, only to find out the people had fled the night before.

Guerillas in Their Midst

posted by Bill Arnett @ 2:08 PM Permalink

Always looking for the "BBB" (Bigger, Better, Bombs) isn't strictly an American pursuit. Spurred on by what seems to be an endless occupation that bears suspicious resemblances to a civil war, Iraqi insurgents (the new "in" word describing guerilla fighters) are beginning to use ever more creative means to blow sh*t up and maximize casualties.

Since January 28 this year they have detonated at least three bombs made up of chlorine canisters and high explosives. Big bang and the added danger of chemical injuries. Chlorine gas, in small quantities causes eye, skin, and lung irritation that can be quite debilitating. Large doses will kill.

From an article at Huffington Post today:
The U.S. military warned Thursday that insurgents are adopting new tactics in a campaign to spread panic after troops uncovered a car bomb factory with propane tanks and chlorine cylinders _ possible ingredients for more chemical attacks following three explosions involving chlorine.…

Those blasts…have raised fears that insurgents are trying [Trying? More like succeeding. Bill] to develop new ways to confront U.S. and Iraqi forces. Any increase in chemical bombings could complicate the Baghdad security crackdown…

Lt. Gen. Ray Odierno…said he did not think the attacks signaled a more capable insurgency. Instead, he said they were merely an attempt to provoke fear. [Pardon me, that's what terrorists do, provoke fear. They succeeded so it would appear the good general is wrong that this "…(doesn't) signal a more capable insurgency. Bill]

"What they're trying to do is ... adapt in such ways where they can continue to create instability," Odierno said. [Not hard to do where there is no stability. Bill]

The raid on the car bomb factory occurred late Tuesday in the volatile western province of Anbar…U.S. troops discovered a pickup truck and three other vehicles that were being prepared as car bombs, as well as detonation material in five buildings. [My word, how many times must we "pacify" Anbar Province? bill

"We also found ingredients to be used to devise or enhance explosives, such as fertilizer and chlorine cylinders," Odierno told Pentagon reporters by video-link.…

"What is obvious to us is that the terrorists are adopting new tactics to cause panic and as many casualties as they can among civilians," Iraqi military spokesman, Brig. Gen. Qassim Moussawi, told reporters. "But our plans also are always changeable and flexible to face the enemies' new tactics."

All America saw what some ammonium nitrate and diesel fuel in a medium-size truck can do in Oklahoma City.

How much longer can it be before the BBBs are truly devastating and our troops suffer larger numbers of casualties as the insurgents use ever more dangerous chemicals in their bombs?

This concerns me so much that I wrote of it yesterday on the Edgeing website as well,"Cheap Chemical Weapons for $200", Alex. if the reader is interested.

But at least bush can now honestly say, "There chemical weapons in Iraq – thanks to 'Murka."

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Thursday, February 22, 2007

Bush Breaks Promises to Troops – Again

posted by Bill Arnett @ 2:16 PM Permalink

I suppose things like this shouldn't bother me anymore as I think much of what bush does, via propaganda and even his public speeches, is done to inure the public and the troops to his many, if not endless, lies. I know it's not polite to use the "L" word like that, but as a plain-spoken old Southern boy it would be a lie itself to try and qualify bush's disingenuousness with any less descriptive or polite multi-syllabic word. (And I never claimed to be a member of "polite society" though, of course, being from the Fifties south, good manners were beaten into me as a child and I do remember them.)

Promises have been made to the troops over and over again and broken by the bush/cheney maladministration with nary a thought of the value of promises kept or the consequences of breaking them.

During the Vietnam War troops were promised that a combat tour of duty would be for one year, with (if I remember correctly) at least a two-year break between assignments to a war zone. This promise meant a lot to us troops, it was always kept, and it helped morale by giving a soldier a date certain by which he would be gone (I still remember the excited shouting out of, "Short!" by those with only a short time left and the hoots of jealousy and envy from those with lots of time left – camaraderie at its best).

But there is a new calculous for the war in Iraq, tours extended for months at the last minute making all those "Short", un-short, and simultaneously damaging the morale of the troops. So much for for the "one year in combat" promise.

Then there is the breaking of the promises to the National Guard.

The NYT gives some of the details in this article:
The Pentagon is planning to send more than 14,000 National Guard troops back to Iraq next year, shortening their time between deployments to meet the demands of President Bush’s buildup…

National Guard officials told state commanders in Arkansas, Indiana, Oklahoma and Ohio last month that while a final decision had not been made, units from their states that had done previous tours in Iraq and Afghanistan could be designated to return to Iraq next year between January and June, the officials said.…

…It has been clear since Mr. Bush announced his plan last month that additional reservists could be required in Iraq…

…Changing the reservists’ schedules means abandoning previous promises that they would get several years between deployments.

…To draw more heavily on Reserve units, the Bush administration announced in January that it was revising rules that limited call-ups of Guard members. The previous policy limited mobilization of Guard members to 24 months every five years, but prolonged and large deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan led the Pentagon to abandon that rule.…

But instead of worrying about the deleterious effect of repeatedly breaking promises and the effect it has on the troops the bush/cheney maladministration has these concerns at heart:
The accelerated timetable illustrates the cascading effect that the White House plan to increase the number of troops in Iraq by more than 21,000 is putting on the entire Army and in particular on Reserve forces, which officers predicted would face severe challenges in recruiting, training and equipping their forces.

It also highlights the political risks of the White House’s Iraq strategy. Sending large numbers of reservists to Iraq in the middle of next year’s election campaign could drive up casualties among part-time soldiers in communities where support for the administration’s approach in Iraq is already tenuous, according to opinion polls.…

Of particular concern, he said, is the possibility that the prospects of going to Iraq next year could cause some Arkansas reservists not to re-enlist this year. Over the next year roughly one-third of the soldiers in the 39th will have their enlistment contracts expire or be eligible for retirement…

Political considerations above all else. Will this hurt recruiting which in turn will affect force readiness, will the lack of force readiness redound against the Republicans, and, oh Lordy, will the electorate once again savage the Republic party come the '08 elections?

Will bush ever say, and mean: But I have promises to keep… ? [H/T to Robert Frost]

Major Discovery

posted by oscar wilde @ 11:29 AM Permalink

At long last a live specimen of a colossal squid. Exciting!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Is This An Omen?

posted by oscar wilde @ 6:54 PM Permalink

I was searching for an image in order to have a little play in PaintShop and just look what popped up.

What a difference a day makes

posted by The Sailor @ 4:47 PM Permalink

Yesterday (2.20.07):
White House Press Briefing:

Q The administration's mantra for a long time has been "support the troops." What is the reaction, then, when you read this series of stories in The Washington Post about troops coming home from Iraq, Afghanistan and being treated so poorly, apparently, based on this long investigation? What's the President's reaction?

MR. SNOW: There are a couple of things. First, it's not a mantra. [Sailor: I beg to disagree] I would really choose words carefully. It's a commitment to support the troops. And the President, as you know, has visited the wounded many times at Walter Reed and we are concerned about it. And the people who --
Q But is there any evidence that it was even looked at before the paper printed its two stories?

MR. SNOW: Yes.
Q The White House doesn't want to be on record with a more emphatic expression of amazement and upset about this?

Q In December NPR ran a series looking at the quality of mental health care for Iraq veterans who have returned, showing that it's shocking how little care is provided to them. And several congresspeople -- Obama, Boxer and Bond -- sent a letter to the Pentagon, which you're referring us to, asking for an investigation, which they have not agreed to conduct. So you're referring us to the DoD, but they're not acting quickly on this. So does the President want them to act quickly?
MR. SNOW: And at this point I would refer you to the Department of Defense.
Q Do you think the President is going to say something about this later?


Q You responded to me a moment ago that the administration was aware of this before the articles appeared in the paper.

MR. SNOW: That is my understanding.
Q So why isn't the President, why isn't his staff saying, let's get to the bottom of it now?

MR. SNOW: We are trying to get to the bottom of it, and the people who are responsible for getting to the bottom of it work on the other side of the river.

Today (2.21.07):
Bush calls for investigation at Walter Reed
Army hospital under fire for poor conditions

At the White House, spokesman Tony Snow said he spoke with the president yesterday about Walter Reed and the president told him: "Find out what the problem is and fix it."

He said Bush "first learned of the troubling allegations regarding Walter Reed from the stories this weekend in The Washington Post.
The Post series documented tattered conditions at Building 18, including mold, rot, mice and cockroaches, but also a larger bureaucratic indifference that has impeded some soldiers' ability to recover from their wounds.
So yesterday the WH says it already knew about the ongoing problem, but didn't do anything about it because it wasn't their job.

Today, the WH says they only know what they read in the papers and they're shocked I tell you, shocked! And something has to be done! And the president can order people to fix it!

I got news for you mr president, your 'support the troops' bumper magnet won't get you into heaven any more.*

*Normally I'd apologize for adapting a song title, but I've worked with John Prine and before I worked with him I was a fan of his songs. And I think he'd be just fine with this.

Mardi Gras

posted by The Vidiot @ 1:33 AM Permalink

Honestly, I don't know what the big deal is. The parade was interesting. I like the way people just camp out and drink and have beads thrown at them. Meanwhile, the cops are just standing there, joking around, eating, whatever. Totally non-threatening. The night thing. Well, it's just a lot of really drunk people. We walked down Bourbon Street and I was just not liking it at one bit. At one point, there was a bit of a melee behind me because some guys thought it would be fun to start grabbing the breasts of random women. We booked it out of there pretty fast after that and then we just went to Molly's on Decatur Street. MUCH more sane. If you ever go, stay off Bourbon Street. Head on down Decatur, down around Frenchman. There's Checkpoint Charlie's and the Dragon's Lair (I think that's what it's called), that whole area is much better and not as touristy.

I'm looking forward to tomorrow. Not only will everybody by sleeping it off, Mr. Vidiot and I are taking a day (and night) to stay at a haunted plantation hotel called Myrtl's. It's supposed to be one of the most haunted places in the country. SOOooo looking forward to hearing Mr. Vidiot scream like a girly man. He doesn't believe in ghosts, but he also doesn't like them very much.

OH, and the only reason I'm here blogging at this late hour is I was too damned tired to stay out any longer and so, Mr. Vidiot is out with his buddy yukking it up. Really, there's only so much anarchy a person can take.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Supporting Terrorism in Iran ... and A Broad

posted by The Sailor @ 8:30 PM Permalink

Thursday 16 February 2006
Condoleezza Rice, the US secretary of state, said [...] "The United States will actively confront the aggressive policies of the Iranian regime"
A US official said [...] the US would seek to help build new dissident networks.
Tuesday, February 16, 2007
2nd blast in 3 days hits Iranian city

According to FARS [News Agency], the leader of the Jondollah group, Abdolmalek Rigy, claimed responsibility for the bombing on MKO-TV. The group also claimed responsibility for a car bomb in the same area Wednesday.

MKO stands for the Mojahedin Khalq Organization, an Iranian terrorist group stationed in Iraq.
According to FARS, Iranian officials said the explosives used in that attack were manufactured in the United States.
I put about the same credibility rating to unnamed US officials that I do to unnamed Iranian officials.

So I propose a 'what would you do' scenario: A foreign country, run by a self avowed religious leader, calls your country evil. This country has known weapons of mass destruction and has already invaded a neighboring country.

This country has troops on your border and says (without producing evidence) that you sponsor terrorism. This country has publicly called for the overthrow of your government and has allocated public money for building "dissident networks" inside your country.

And then this happens to your country: 2nd blast in 3 days hits Iranian city

So, what would you do?

Two Triggers – Not in a Roy Rogers' Kinda Way

posted by Bill Arnett @ 1:52 PM Permalink

As if there weren't justifiable cause for concern with the bush/cheney maladministrations machinations in pumping up the rhetoric against Iran, now comes this article from BBC News, where sources of BBC have revealed both an attack plan and the two triggers to be used to trigger the attack on Iran.

From the article:
US contingency plans for air strikes on Iran extend beyond nuclear sites and include most of the country's military infrastructure, the BBC has learned.

It is understood that any such attack - if ordered - would target Iranian air bases, naval bases, missile facilities and command-and-control centres.

The US insists it is not planning to attack, and is trying to persuade Tehran to stop uranium enrichment.… [Of course, it is exceedingly difficult to persuade people with whom you stubbornly refuse to talk. Bill]

…But diplomatic sources have told the BBC that as a fallback plan, senior officials at Central Command in Florida have already selected their target sets inside Iran.…


BBC security correspondent Frank Gardner says the trigger for such an attack reportedly includes any confirmation that Iran was developing a nuclear weapon - which it denies. [And for which there is not a single scintilla of evidence to support the accusation. Bill]

Alternatively… a high-casualty attack on US forces in neighbouring Iraq could also trigger a bombing campaign if it were traced directly back to Tehran.… [Hence the recent allegations of attacks by Iranians. Bill]

…The BBC's Tehran correspondent Frances Harrison says the news that there are now two possible triggers for an attack is a concern to Iranians.

Authorities insist there is no cause for alarm but ordinary people are now becoming a little worried, she says. [No kidding. Bill]

…Middle East analysts have recently voiced their fears of catastrophic consequences for any such US attack on Iran.

Britain's previous ambassador to Tehran, Sir Richard Dalton, told the BBC it would backfire badly by probably encouraging the Iranian government to develop a nuclear weapon in the long term.

Catastrophic consequences, backfire badly, words the bush/cheney maladministration seem to live by.

It was bad enough knowing bush was once again "cooking the intelligence" on Iran to manufacture casus belli to attack yet another Muslim country perched atop all that oil. But in this case, by expanding their "justifications" triggers (excuses really) it gives bush/cheney the phony semblance of cover for the decision to attack Iran.

Right now our highly vaunted military, already a tissue-thin paper tiger and extended almost to the breaking point is being beaten in Iraq (no reasonable person can honestly say we're winning).

An attack on Iran, which has real weapons systems [Not imaginary WMDs like Iraq. Bill], a hugh highly trained army, and which now claims that if attacked they can "forever close" the Straits of Hormuz, through which about three-quarters of the world is shipped, would indeed be catastrophic.

bush will already go down in history as the first president to lose two wars simultaneously.

Let's not let him go for the trifecta. He (bush) is a lousy gambler.

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Monday, February 19, 2007

Following the HeadLyings

posted by The Sailor @ 7:01 PM Permalink

Part I: Tim Griffin, a WH advisor to Karl Rove and former head of Republican dirty tricks was appointed as US Attorney after Harriet Miers (another White House 'advisor') told the DoJ to fire the current US Attorney, Bud Cummins. And now poor little Timmy whines that he's a victim of early withdrawal because the Senate won't give him a fair shake:
Ark. Appointee Won't Seek Confirmation

An interim U.S. attorney says a "partisan circus" over his recess appointment makes it impossible for him to receive fair consideration, and he will not seek Senate confirmation to his Arkansas district.
What poor li'l Timmeh forgets to mention is that
[he] can remain at the post without confirmation under a new provision in the Patriot Act that allow recess appointments to last until the end of a president's term

Part II: That 'partisan circus' li'l Timmeh was talking about? Well, gee, that would be such 'partisans' as Arlen Specter (R - I didn't do it), Charles Grassley (R - Iowa) and Orrin Hatch (R - Utah).

But that's just one example of how Bushco has eviscerated the US Attorneys for power consolidation. And here is where the lies really start to come into play:
"With the exception of Cummins, every firing was related to performance issues, Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty told Senate Judiciary Committee members."
How interesting. All those US Attorneys had performance issues. (Now, I know what you're thinking ... and stop that, this is a serious piece!)

Part III: Taking it (out) on the Lam:
All but one of the U.S. attorneys recently fired by the Justice Department had positive job reviews before they were dismissed
. Now why would the DAG lie about the reasons? Perhaps because:
In San Diego, Lam oversaw the probe that resulted in the guilty plea of then-Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham, a Republican. Two others connected to that case, including a former senior CIA official, were indicted two days before Lam left the job on Thursday.

Bogden in Nevada and Charlton in Arizona were also in the midst of investigations targeting current or former Republican members of Congress when they were fired.
Now I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that the whole PATRIOT II Act enabled, White House directed, DoJ implemented, process was a carefully orchestrated plan to consolidate Executive power and eliminate USAs who were doing their jobs and investigating corrupt political cronies of Bush.

What Do You Buy For A Man That Has A Brain?

posted by oscar wilde @ 2:10 PM Permalink

Or yourself or your kids.
This big kid was enthraled with a television treat yesterday, Dino Sunday on UKTV Discovery.

The imagery was stunning as yer man goes "Walking with Dinosaurs" for all intents and purposes a safari as he gets up close and dangerous with the big beasties, the same went for the "Hunt for the giant claw" and "Walking with Monsters" (Monsters starts from the big bang)

I honestly can't recommend them highly enough, it was mind blowing, I will guarantee you won't be disappointed.

If you do order don't forget to stipulate your region.

The Flip-Flop Express or Republic B.S.

posted by Bill Arnett @ 11:56 AM Permalink

This, I guess, should not have come as a surprise, but I still find it fascinating that when principled politicians of the liberal stripe come to modify a past position as new information has become available that enables or sparks a change of heart regarding an issue, they are condemned by the Republic Party as "flip-floppers" of the worst kind and unworthy to breathe oxygen. (And "Republic Party" isn't a typo. As long as those rude @$$h0les keep calling us the "Democrat Party" as a not-so-subtle insult, I will continue to call them the Republic party and I encourage all else to do the same.)

Yet when one of the darlings of the Right, like St. John McCain, the self-annointed "maverick" and "straight talker" does it again and again it is somehow just dandy with 'em.

St. John in 1999 during an interview, reprinted today at ThinkProgress:

In 1999, the “moderate” version of John McCain said that overturning Roe v. Wade would be dangerous for women and he would not support it, even in “the long term.” Here’s McCain in the San Francisco Chronicle:

I’d love to see a point where it is irrelevant, and could be repealed because abortion is no longer necessary. But certainly in the short term, or even the long term, I would not support repeal of Roe v. Wade, which would then force X number of women in America to [undergo] illegal and dangerous operations.

Comes there now a new position, one presumed to appeal to the Religious Right (and, no, I do not mean bent over grasping his ankles) from an article on Yahoo:

Republican presidential candidate John McCain (news, bio, voting record), looking to improve his standing with the party's conservative voters, said Sunday the court decision that legalized abortion should be overturned.

"I do not support Roe versus Wade. It should be overturned," the Arizona senator told about 800 people in South Carolina, one of the early voting states.

McCain also vowed that if elected, he would appoint judges who "strictly interpret the Constitution of the United States and do not legislate from the bench."

So now we need to explain to all the little chirrun' that according to the New Testament version of St McCain it is perfectly fine to "…force X number of women in America to [undergo] illegal and dangerous operations."

Just so everything is clear, dontcha know.

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The Trouble With Predictions

posted by oscar wilde @ 11:31 AM Permalink

Is that they have the unfortunate habit of proving a fellow correct, for the most part at least.
At times, as in all things, there are exceptions, and not always unfortunate.
The primary case on my part being that, given all the shenanigans that have surrounded DieBold and the other electronic vote machine suppliers, when predicting the results for the recent mid-terms, the Dems to retake Congress? not a hope! Nice to be wrong on that one.

Of other predictions; a couple proving to be correct, a few heading that way, and a couple await the future. That is of those that spring to mind, should others resurface then perhaps an update later.

Of this pre-emptive strike, known since Nineteen Forty Five as a War of Aggression, the principle charge I might add that the Nazis were indicted on. Actually a mistake in the writing on my part, for a war of aggression has always been such. But to the victors go the spoils, and the spoils in this case being that a war of aggression was to be now deemed a crime against humanity, an interesting concept don't you think?

So when this war of aggression began, to much beating of drums, unfurling of flags and "Patriotic" jingoism, you remember don't you? I ventured an opinion that just like the Vietnam war, for it is impossible not to compare the two, that once again we would witness another generation of messed up young Americans return from the horrors that are modern warfare.
And that this messed up generation of America's patriotic sons would be treated as that other generation of young "Patriots" were treated.
Not yet social pariahs, that as yet remains to be seen, but treated nonetheless, how shall I put it, somewhat shabbily, as the recent revelations from the Walter Reed are showing us, but equally if not more so messed up.

I asked at the time of writing a question, as sincere then as now, not unsurprisingly I still await an answer, there being fewer and fewer that could give me one as the years pass.
It was of those that fought in that other great conflict, the Second Great War, and the question was. Did your generation come back equally as messed up but we just didn't hear about it, or did knowing that having right and fighting for justice and to free the world of tyranny somehow make the burden of you were asked to commit and to witness somehow more bearable?
If there any of that generation reading this and have a desire to give an answer I am sure I am not alone in wondering what your response would be.

On the legacy of Depleted Uranium, that is something I would like to cover separately.
On lighter subjects then, just the two for the moment.

Scooter, (my best defence,I can't remember) Libby. You are toast. Soon to be proved right or wrong.

Keith Olberman will become the next "Giant" in television journalism, or however it is named.

America will look back with fondness at the four dollar a gallon gasoline prices when the House of Saud falls.

As it will surely fall, hastened undoubtedly as a result of my final prediction, that being.
Bush has lit a fire that will not be extinguished in our our children's lifetime, least of all our own.

Should you doubt my last prediction, perhaps then you should watch this fifty minute documentary from Channel Four UK. It bodes ill for the future.

Mardi Gras Blogging

posted by The Vidiot @ 10:43 AM Permalink

Well. not really Mardi Gras yet, but shortly. So far, we've eaten at Betsy's for breakfast (2 hours) and Mr. Vidiot had a shrimp po-boy for lunch that made him VERY happy. And for dinner, we went to Coops on Decatur which was pretty damn delicious. My biggest culture shock is the smoking in bars thing. I forgot how much I hated that. NYC, for all of its faults, at least you can go to a bar and not come home stinking like and ashtray.

The city is in much better shape than the last time I saw it in December of 2005. But Lakeview, the "new money" part of NOLA, hasn't even started to come back yet. I guess they had enough money for options. Most everyone else, like in Mid-City and Gentilly, had no choice. They had to rebuild. There are still FEMA trailers everywhere, but at least some neighborhoods feel like neighborhoods again.

I will try to post some pictures and links and stuff later. We gotta' boogie if we're going to not tick off the parental units.

Oh, and after a quick perusal of the news, it doesn't seem like we're missing much.... yet.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Moles Demand Immediate Removal of Bush

posted by The Sailor @ 5:31 PM Permalink

Moles Taken From Bush's Face Are Benign
Moles Say Bush Is Not Benign

After outing CIA undercover Iran WMD expert Valerie Plame, CIA moles fear that Bush will also have them removed for political payback!

Ferreting out the truth

posted by The Sailor @ 5:06 PM Permalink

Police Arrest Suspect in Wiesel Attack

And what was their first clue!?

(Yeah, yeah, I know ... but I couldn't resist.)

Vin Rouge Extraordinaire

posted by oscar wilde @ 9:49 AM Permalink

But a touch unpalatable

A Fishy Tail

posted by oscar wilde @ 4:54 AM Permalink

It was a lovely day so we had a couple of ales, then we had another couple of ales, then we had.....
Listen to the rest of it.

Why Is It Always Georgia?

posted by oscar wilde @ 4:17 AM Permalink

I have a severe case of the vapours, I must lie down.
Or am I already lying down and this is a Nightmare?

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Blogtopiates (y, wctt!*)

posted by The Sailor @ 2:51 PM Permalink

cookie jill over at skippy's site points out that when Bush says "money trumps peace, sometimes" it should be the marketing slogan for "blackwater, custer battles, halliburton, et al."

Our pal Edger at Edgeing documents the White House's continuing problem with reality.

WTF! captures another Stirling moment in Republican politics: "Please don't forget to bring the money you promised..."

SteveAudio's blog is Kerrying a great idea: Set a Deadline.

We're a little late in wishing Sisyphus Shrugged a happy blogiversary! (y,wkjmatlctp!**) Wow, 5 years ... that's like a millenium in blogtopia! (y, wksctp***)

* Yes, we coined that term!
** Yes, we know Jeralyn Merrit at TalkLeft coined that phrase!
*** yes, we know skippy coined that phrase!

Saturday Sailboat Blogging

posted by The Sailor @ 1:04 PM Permalink

The view out my porthole last summer.

The view out my window today. (I hate winter.)

Friday, February 16, 2007

Important Alert from the Department of Homeland inSecurity

posted by The Sailor @ 1:33 PM Permalink

Satellite photos of Texas show the large embarrassing radioactive crop circle in Southeast Texas.

Click Here for more alerts!

(Hat tip to M. Thanx!)

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Guest Post by Bill Arnett

posted by The Sailor @ 6:17 PM Permalink

Takin' care of the Troops - except when we don't

A year ago on Thanksgiving morning, in the corrugated metal pole barn that housed his family's electrical business, Timothy Bowman put a handgun to his head and pulled the trigger.
He had been home from the Iraq war for eight months. Once a fun-loving, life-of-the-party type, Bowman had slipped into an abyss, tormented by things he'd been ordered to do in war.
"I'm OK. I can deal with it," he would say whenever his father, Mike, urged him to get counseling.
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is facing a wave of returning veterans such as Bowman who are struggling with memories of a war where it's hard to distinguish innocent civilians from enemy fighters and where the threat of suicide attacks and roadside bombs haunts the most routine mission. Since 2001, about 1.4 million Americans have served in Iraq, Afghanistan or other locations in the war on terror.
The VA counts post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, as the most prevalent mental-health malady to emerge from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
End quote.
So begins a rather excellent article from the Seattle Times, written by Chris Adams of McClatchy newspapers.

The article is extremely well researched and lists a litany of problems awaiting returning veterans of two wars that are being woefully shortchanged when it comes to services provided for care of Post traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD), a particularly insidious form of mental illness suffered, obviously, by those subjected to great stress and horrific images that bombard the senses until all reason is pushed aside and ugly things happen.

The story of Tim Bowman is emblematic of the worst that can happen, I personally can attest to the many other symptoms of this illness: depression so crushing that you find yourself crying morning tears at having to face another day, evening tears that you somehow didn't die that day no matter how miserable you feel and how badly you wanted to, panic attacks that grip and paralyze the mind into "shutting down", anxiety attacks that put you right back out into that space where you know you can never be safe nor protect those that love you so that you cannot feel human and deserving of life, and a stupefying inability to process normal information in a normal way and arrive at daily decisions that are not detrimental to yourself and others; that "I'm okay, I can deal with it ..." lie that you tell yourself and that, despite all evidence that you are not okay and that you can't handle it, in your delusional state you believe the lie and rationalize the "snap decisions made in a fraction of a second" attitude that may have served you well in combat, but that is now so very dangerous to yourself and others. 

Those snap decisions can lead to a life-altering physical confrontation where your desire to feel safe can lead to savage attacks against family, friends, and especially strangers. The shame from such reactions, even in an absence of violence, feeds back into the Mobius Strip of your mind for reliving again and again.

And the thought that maybe you just weren't cutout for handling such violence, stress, and horrific images that don't seem to bother many of your fellow soldiers embarrasses you, so you never seek or you actively decline treatment, so you may stay an American Fighting Man defending the nation.

In his article Mr. Adams details an exhaustive study done by McClatchy newspapers that reveals the inadequacy of the VA Medical system to deal with the hugh numbers of soldiers returning from multiple deployments.

The small number of hospitals and clinics with personnel trained in PTSD recognition, the shortage of funds provided to the VA (just because Jim Nicholson, VA Secretary says they have sufficient funds doesn't make it so. Two years ago after his assurances of sufficient funds the overwhelming load of new patients caused congress to approve almost $2-billion in emergency funds. The new budgets are even worse), the differences and availability of care, the costs of that care, and great differences from area to area in waiting times to be seen.

I encourage everyone to read this fine article and view this problem from just the care perspective and quality of care here in the United States.

Then take the time to learn how our government is pressuring active duty physicians to "change the diagnosis" from PTSD, which would prevent the return of the soldier to combat, to other lesser diagnosis' such as mere depression, combat fatigue, and other mental illnesses not so severe so that they can load the soldier up with antidepressants and return them to combat.

The returning of mentally ill soldiers to combat gives the lie to the bush/cheney maladministration's position that they "support the troops", for I am now and will forevermore be convinced that it is not only dangerous to the troops to pursue such folly, it is extremely dangerous for the indigenous population of Iraq.

Mental health experts keeping track of this report that 14% of army personnel and 28% of marine personnel that have served in Iraq and Afghanistan have, because of the mental stresses imposed by multiple tours, have been involved in the death of an innocent civilian. The numbers are hugh and a national shame.

A logical result of putting those that are ill back into high stress situations requiring split-second decisions. People who in many instances care not whether they live or die or whom they have to kill to try and maintain some psychic cover to provide an illusion of personal safety.

For more reading on this side of the subject of PTSD and returning sick soldiers to combat, there are excellent articles here and here.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Same day, different stories

posted by The Sailor @ 6:57 PM Permalink

February 14, 2007
US officials have maintained there is no evidence
of sophisticated new weapons used in any of the latest attacks, but
flight operations and tactics are being reviewed.

February 14, 2007
A Marine Ch-46 Sea
Knight transport helicopter that crashed in Iraq last week was
brought down by a "sophisticated piece of weaponry," the U.S.
military said on Wednesday.
So which anonymous officials we're correct? We have no way of knowing ... except past is prelude. Bushco lied about an Iraq 9/11 connection, they lied about Saddam's WMDs, they lied about Iran's involvement with Iraq. I'm just guessing that they lied that it takes 'sophisticated' weapons to bring down a chopper that has been in use for 40 years.

More 'Proof' of Iran's Involvement ... or ... Ehh, not so much

posted by The Sailor @ 6:39 PM Permalink

Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, called into question assertions by three senior U.S. military officials in Baghdad on Sunday who said the highest levels of Iranian government were responsible for arming Shiite militants in Iraq with the bombs
On Monday, Pace said he had no firm knowledge that the Iranian government had sanctioned the arming of the insurgents

Navy Adm. William J. Fallon, the top commander in the Middle East, said he didn't know.

"I have no idea who may be actually hands-on in this stuff
a U.S. military spokesman in Baghdad would not confirm recent military statements that Iran's leadership is directing the production of an armor-piercing explosive said to be supplied to extremists in Iraq.

"I think people want to make an inference," Maj. Gen. William Caldwell said at a briefing. "I think people want to hype this up.

At a White House press conference Wednesday, Mr. Bush acknowledged that the United States had no proof that top Iranian leaders such as President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had approved the shipment of the explosively formed penetrators.
"What's worse? That the [Iranian government] knew? Or that it didn't know?" said Bush
Just to recap; An Army general and official spokesman, on the record, says it's hype. The top military commander in the Middle East says he has no idea and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff says he has no proof. And finally, Bush says he has no proof.

What's worse, Bush getting caught lying about it or getting caught lying about it and still trying to justify it?

iTunes for VD

posted by The Sailor @ 6:22 PM Permalink

Sunshine Of Your Love. 4:12 Cream

Whole Lotta Love 5:34 Led Zeppelin

Just Want To Make Love To You 4:19 Foghat

Can't Get Enough of Your Love 4:15 Bad Company

Love Is The Drug 4:04 Roxy Music

Addicted To Love 4:01 Robert Palmer

The Sweetest Taboo 4:24 Sade

Erotic City 7:24 Prince

Pleasure and Pain 3:42 Divinyls

Slow Jam-Sweet Thing 3:15 Rufus (with Chaka Khan)

Melt With You 4:19 Modern English

Hero of the Week

posted by The Vidiot @ 1:13 PM Permalink

Bill Dupuy for sending the following memo to his editors and writers at his public radio station in Santa Fe, New Mexico
Excerpt: Effectively immediately and until further notice, it is the policy of KSFR's news department to ignore and not repeat any wire service or nationally published story about Iran, China, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia or any other foreign power that quotes an "unnamed" U.S. official.

What we have suspected and talked about at length before is now becoming clear. "High administration officials speaking on the condition of anonymity," "Usually reliable Washington sources," and others of the like were behind the publicity that added credibility to the need to go to war against Afghanistan and Iraq.

Our news department covers local news. But, like local newspapers and others, we occasionally are taken in by national stories that we have no way to verify.

This is a small news department with a small reach. We cannot research these stories ourselves. But we can take steps not to compromise our integrity. We should not dutifully parrot whatever comes out of Washington, on the wire or by whatever means, no matter how intriguing and urgent it sounds, when the source is unnamed.

I am also calling on our colleagues in other local news departments -- broadcast and print -- to take the same professional approach.
Frankly, I've had enough of the anonymous sources thing. On PBS last night, they started their 3-part series on the war and media called News War. They put the anonymous source thing into perspective. Basically, the difference between anonymous sources today and anonymous sources of yesterday is that yesterday's sources were reluctant and hesitant. Today's sources are eager and are basically doing nothing more than spinning. Then, the reporter had to ferret out a source who would only give over the info if they remained anonymous. Today, the reporters are fed info by people who insist on being anonymous.
I'm so sick of it. Now, when I read something that has a nameless source, I don't believe it, no matter what the caveat the reporter uses. Too bad. Anonymous sources could be a good thing, but it's been twisted and perverted, just like everything else in our political system.