Friday, November 30, 2007

Sounds like dinner conversation at casa Vidiot.

posted by The Vidiot @ 11:32 AM Permalink

Charlie Chaplin's Speech for Humanity.

Except instead of "in the name of democracy", Mr. Vidiot would say something like "in the name of humanity."


Thursday, November 29, 2007

What about all the others?

posted by Bill Arnett @ 11:18 AM Permalink

By now I think everyone in America has heard the tragic tale of the young boy whose head was doused with gasoline and set afire. It is truly tragic, but through a miraculous combination of caring people, doctors, and lots of media hype this is now becoming one of those "Aw!" feel-good stories by focusing everyone's attention on this one child.

If America really gave a damn about the welfare and safety of Iraqi children we wouldn't be killing them in large numbers, dropping 500-1000 pound bombs to kill one or two "terrorists" and three or four times that many women and children.

With over 2 million Iraqis having fled the country and 2.5 million more internally displaced and living in deplorable conditions, I think the only thing of which we can be assured is that America has killed and maimed forever more children and women than any country of recent note.

We're just so darn good at it. Don't it make you proud of our government?

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Quit yer bitchin' and do your jobs.

posted by Bill Arnett @ 10:58 AM Permalink

Headline from the Huffington Post:
"Iraqi Lawmakers Walk Out to Protest 'Humiliating' Green Zone Treatment"
Although I recoil mentally every time I think of the systematic genocide of the Iraqi people being conducted by America so we can steal their oil, there is no group of Iraqis for whom I have less sympathy than the government of al-Maliki and the Iraqi parliament.

Don't like the way you're treated? Easy answer: go to the U.N. and dis-invite us, ask or order that we leave, take over your own security, and stop the genocide your actions allow to continue happening.

Now there, don't you feel better already?

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Ashcroft willing to be waterboarded.

posted by Bill Arnett @ 10:32 AM Permalink

It was reported over the last week or so that John Ashcroft is willing to be waterboarded, presumably to demonstrate that this much despised kind of torture doesn't actually kill anyone and therefore can and should be used to extract information from terrorists.

I don't think we should stop there. The government should have Ashcroft kidnapped off the streets of his home city, head bagged in black, clothes torn from his body, a diaper placed on him, and then loaded into an airplane for a journey to an undisclosed black prison.

There he should be chained to the floor of a cell under extremely bright lights, in freezing temperatures, with ice water regularly thrown on him, and forced to remain in this "stress" position until he defecates upon himself while the Dixie Chicks are played at ear-splitting volumes.

Then he may be qualified to even speak about torture, a subject for which he clearly lacks the knowledge to make good judgments.

Oh! And it should continue for several years just to see if he goes insane as Jose Padilla did. Or is he already insane?

Hard to tell with this bunch.

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If America's economy is strong the whole world is in deep…

posted by Bill Arnett @ 9:29 AM Permalink

One of the most obvious lies told by the bush maladministration is that, "Our economy is strong, the job market is great, and I will still respect you in the morning." (Okay, maybe they don't really say that last one, I don't think the Rethugs honor or respect the intelligence of any American smart enough to realize that our "strong economy" is a myth.

From the NYT:
Credit flowing to American companies is drying up at a pace not seen in decades, threatening the creation of jobs and the expansion of businesses, while intensifying worries that the economy may be headed for recession.

The combined value of two leading sources of credit — outstanding commercial and industrial bank loans, and short-term loans known as commercial paper — peaked at about $3.3 trillion in August, according to data from the Federal Reserve. By mid-November, such credit was down to $3 trillion, a drop of nearly 9 percent.[…]

Not once in the years since the Fed began tracking such numbers in 1973 has this artery of finance constricted so rapidly.[…]

Policy makers at the Federal Reserve are growing increasingly alarmed about the problem, which is an outgrowth of the woes of the housing and mortgage industries.[…]

By themselves, commercial bank loans have actually surged: large companies have tapped prearranged lines of credit to weather the financial chaos that has accompanied the unraveling of the American real estate market.

But this source of finance has been nowhere near enough to compensate for the virtual shutdown of the short-term commercial paper market. Much of this debt had been pledged against the value of mortgages, making them effectively radioactive in markets around the globe.
And all the jobs the Rethugs like to brag that they have created? This is also a myth:
A slowdown among smaller companies could be especially costly to the economy in terms of jobs. More than half of American jobs are at companies with fewer than 100 workers, according to Moody’s

In recent months, smaller companies have been adding jobs even as larger firms have been shedding workers, according to the ADP National Employment Report, which tracks changes at companies with payrolls overseen by ADP. From May to October, 276,000 of the 378,000 jobs added were at companies with fewer than 50 employees, the report found.
May through October is six months, which translates to the creation of a truly anemic average of only 63,000 new jobs a month, nowhere close to the number of jobs that must be created just to keep up with people entering the job market for the first time (the last figure I saw said over 150,000 new jobs must be created each month just to provide work for the new entries into the job market.)

Funny that no one constantly reminds the public that Clinton created 22,000,000 jobs while the stock market increased in value by 180%.

So I perceive a very simple way to explains this:

Democrats - good for economy.
Republicans - a disaster for the economy.

It really is that simple.

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Wednesday, November 28, 2007


posted by The Sailor @ 8:13 PM Permalink

VIA skippy we learned we shouldn't
Celebrate Turnaround in Iraq Just Yet

I just got back from Baghdad last week, and it was clear that violence has decreased. But it hasn't gone away. It is only back down to the 2005 level -- which to my mind is kind of like moving from the eighth circle of hell to the fifth.

I interviewed dozens of officers and none were willing to say we are winning. What they were saying is that at least now, we are not losing.
And we could provide you with all kinds of stats and reasons that the surge didn't work, but as Time Magazine's ass Ace reporter Joe Klein sez "I have neither the time nor legal background to figure out who's right"

OK then, moving on.
Crooks and Liars provides an open thread that contains a Darkblack tapestry:
The Last Bar-B-Que
Personally, I would have gone with "The Last Schtupper", but that's just me.

And last but not leashed, TBogg informs us that
the investigator investigating Karl Rove is being investigated ... for quashing investigations.
Bassets! ... uhh, I meant Bastards!

Cross posted at VidiotSpeak


Somebody needs to explain this to me.

posted by The Vidiot @ 8:12 AM Permalink

If I had really screwed up my money situation and I was about to declare bankruptcy, and then someone rushed in to financially bail me out with a high interest loan that I may or may not be able to pay back, how would THAT instill any confidence in anybody else?

OK. So I know it’s a lame analogy, but this article assumes that yesterday's stock market rally was due to the fact that Abu Dhabi Investment Authority threw nearly $8 BILLION at Citigroup Inc. in the form of a loan with 11% interest no less, and that made people confident??
Citi's ability to secure a capital injection raised hope others might be able to do the same.
How does that work exactly? And why do they say that? I personally think it has to do with the fact that Citigroup is too big to fail and that Abu Dhabi knows that and is just propping it up so the whole thing doesn’t come crashing down. It has nothing to do with being able to “secure a capital injection” and everything to do with fear of the sky falling.

It may also have something to do with the fact that at the end of the day, nothing in the US will be owned by the US and Abu Dhabi knows it and wants a piece of the action. Like the Europeans buying up chunks of Manhattan with their strong Euros.

Of course, what do I know about the market. Nothing, that’s what.


The two talking cats.

posted by The Vidiot @ 7:59 AM Permalink

I love watching stuff like this evolve.

First there was the video of the talking cats.

Then, someone dubbed a conversation over it.

Now someone else taped their cat watching the talking cats.


Wow. I mean wow.

posted by The Vidiot @ 7:47 AM Permalink

Every now and then, that's all I can come up with for a headline.

Though I don’t really have the stomach to watch Charlie Rose’s interview with Karl Rove, according to the, he said the following:
...the Bush Administration did not want Congress to vote on the Iraq War resolution in the fall of 2002, because they thought it should not be done within the context of an election. Rove, you see, did not think the war vote should be "political".

Moreover, according to Rove, that "premature vote" led to many of the problems that cropped up in the Iraq War. Had Congress not pushed, he says, Bush could have spent more time assembling a coalition, and provided more time to the inspectors.
So it was Congress’ fault the US bombed Iraq when it did.

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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Stop the world, I want to get off ...

posted by The Sailor @ 5:56 PM Permalink

... and I managed to get off for 7 days in a warm sunny clime on the beach. My GF (and not checking the news) really helped;-)

But now I'm back (dammit!) and the weather sucks and there ain't no beaches, so you have to suffer along with me.

Here are some of the daily atrocities I, and you might have, missed:
20,000 vets' brain injuries not listed in Pentagon tally

At least 20,000 U.S. troops who were not classified as wounded during combat in Iraq and Afghanistan have been found with signs of brain injuries, according to military and veterans records compiled by USA TODAY.

The data, provided by the Army, Navy and Department of Veterans Affairs, show that about five times as many troops sustained brain trauma as the 4,471 officially listed by the Pentagon through Sept. 30. These cases also are not reflected in the Pentagon's official tally of wounded, which stands at 30,327.
One base released its count of brain injuries at a medical conference. The others provided their records at the request of USA TODAY, in some cases only after a Freedom of Information Act filing was submitted.
Houston Police and Homeland Security using military spy planes on Americans

Houston police started testing unmanned aircraft and the event was shrouded in secrecy, but it was captured on tape by Local 2 Investigates.
Military Probe Focuses on Iraq Contracts

One of the most striking aspects of the fraud investigations has been the number of those caught up in it who have apparently killed themselves _ at least three Army officers so far.


Monday, November 26, 2007

Lott's exit

posted by The Vidiot @ 6:04 PM Permalink

Is it because he wants to rake in the big bucks as a lobbyist or is he yet another gay republican?

I gossip, you decide.

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Yet another reality check.

posted by The Vidiot @ 1:35 PM Permalink

According to today's Op-ed by Krugman:
Today, by contrast, wage gains for most workers are being swallowed by inflation. In fact, the reality for lower- and middle-income workers may be worse than the official statistics say, because the prices of necessities like food, transportation and medical care are rising considerably faster than the Consumer Price Index as a whole. One striking statistic: the cost of a traditional Thanksgiving turkey dinner was 11 percent higher this year than last year.
Totally supports the M3 reconstruction data that says inflation is running over 15%. So, not only is the dollar worth nothing overseas, it's getting worthless over here too.


It's coming

posted by The Vidiot @ 8:34 AM Permalink

War with Iran is coming.
The U.S. military has stepped up chartering of tankers and requests for extra fuel in the U.S. Central Command area, which includes the Gulf, shipping and oil industry sources say. A Gulf oil industry source said the charters suggested there would be high naval activity, possibly including a demonstration to Iran that the U.S. Navy will protect the Strait of Hormuz oil shipping route during tensions over Tehran's nuclear programme.
That crazy idiot is really going to start a war with Iran.

When we were driving around this weekend, we were listening to NPR news and at one point, we heard something about a bombing in Baghdad and some staid and serious general of the army type came on and said "after much forensic study and so forth, we have ascertained that the attack was conducted by an Iranian-backed force" or something to that effect and it just sounded so, well, LIKE A LIE. It's a total frame-up. No specification of whether it was the Iranian GOVERNMENT or some terrorist group from within Iran that worked without the consent of the Iranian government. No. It was just "Iranian-backed" whatever, inferring of course that it COULD be the Iranian government. Mr. Vidiot and I were like "Oh shit. They REALLY do want a war with Iran."





I'm shocked, SHOCKED I tell you.

posted by The Vidiot @ 8:25 AM Permalink

Why am I shocked? Well, because we flew in and out of two of the busiest airports in the country on two of the busiest days of the year and not ONCE were we assaulted, accosted, affronted or otherwise annoyed. Nobody told us to open our bags to see if “that little bottle” was capable of holding more than three ounces. No extra swipes at my under-wire. No long lines to get through security. It was as if the TSA was told by the powers to make sure that the lines kept moving and that the crowds didn’t get backed up.

Hey, wait a minute. If that’s the case, then that means that all those annoying security procedures that usually make us so miserable -- you know, the ones where they tell you to open you luggage, pull out the toiletry bag and dump it all out on the table so they can examine every liquid and then they take your hard salt crystal deodorant as a punitive measure because you made no effort to follow any of the rules and put your liquids in a clear ziploc bag (yes, this actually happened in Buffalo) -- you know, those security procedures that can add an hour to your trip, are really worth nothing but the show they provide.

It’s all for show.

Whoodda’ thunk it.

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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving to all

posted by The Vidiot @ 8:13 AM Permalink

Posting will be light around here I imagine. So, enjoy your holiday and on Monday, I'm sure I will at least have more than a few airport-related rants. (Ugh, O'Hare.)


You have to wonder...

posted by The Vidiot @ 7:58 AM Permalink

...what kind of person can do something like this.
The U.S. Military is demanding that thousands of wounded service personnel give back signing bonuses because they are unable to serve out their commitments.
I mean, it’s easy to understand why the MILITARY would come up with such a thing. But the people who actually have to carry it out? Well, it makes you wonder what kind of people they are. Many people have aspects of their job where they have to tell themselves, “it’s only a job” but at some point, one must draw a line between their job and their humanity.



Why Capitalism doesn't work at the Human level

posted by The Vidiot @ 7:47 AM Permalink

Say there’s a way to cure cancer.

And say that way is cheap and affordable to anyone who has cancer.

Also say that the drug already exists, causes minimal side effects and is easy to find and produce.

Now, taking into consideration our system of capitalism, would you say that drug was a A) “a sure thing” or B) “not in your dreams, buddy”?

If you answered B, then you would be right.

Watch this video and if you can, donate here.

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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

When Sibel Edmonds speaks, you hear crickets.

posted by The Vidiot @ 4:20 PM Permalink

Not that I really expected anything to happen when Sibel Edmonds said she'd defy the gag order and speak to any American media outlet that would have her. But I thought SOMETHING would happen. But nothing did.
"I have been receiving calls from the mainstream media all day," Edmonds recounted the day after we ran the story announcing that she was prepared to violate her gag-order to disclose all of the national security-related criminal allegations she has been kept from disclosing for the past five years.

"The media called from Japan and France and Belgium and Germany and Canada and from all over the world," she told The BRAD BLOG.

"But not from here?" we asked incredulously.

"I'm getting contact from all over the world, but not from here. Isn't that disgusting?" she shot back.
Yes, indeed, it is disgusting. She's willing to do one knock-them-down, drag-them-out interview and nobody in the great US of A is willing to do it. Not even Keith Olberman.

What is everyone so afraid of? There's very little that this administration can manage correctly. If a few people stood up to them, I'm pretty sure there would be few, if any, repercussions. But people have to stand together.

And nobody is willing to start the fight.

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I know how this guy feels.

posted by The Vidiot @ 7:54 AM Permalink

Warning: This video is NSFW on SO many levels.


Monday, November 19, 2007

Best Discussion about Immigration yet.

posted by The Vidiot @ 11:51 AM Permalink

Leave it to Bill Moyers. He interviewed this guy named Manuel Vasquez. He's a professor of Sociology and Religion. Anyway, he was GOOD. I mean, REALLY good. Here are some gems from the interview.
MANUEL VÁSQUEZ: So that is the kind of dual sort of identity. Some people use the term bifocality to talk about that. That is that in the bifocals, you are, you have in the same lens, you have an integrated dual vision that allows you to see near and to see far at the same time and to function in both situations. And perhaps that's one of the things that threatens some of the people who are restrictionist, that they see some of these immigrants maintaining loyalty: maintaining their language, maintaining their culture to some extent. And, for them, this is a threatening situation because they think of sovereignty very much in an exclusivist way.
And here's the best exchange:
BILL MOYERS: But yet the debate about immigration today is framed in terms of illegal immigrants and amnesty.


BILL MOYERS: What does that do to the conversation?

MANUEL VÁSQUEZ: It closes the conversation. And I think the term illegal really forecloses any kind of discussion. And I've asked myself, why is it that the term is being used? And so, my answer is that I think America is going right now through a very tough period. You know, we have all sorts of moral questions, you know, whether this is torture, whether this is not torture. Should we have gone to Iraq? Should we not have gone to Iraq? In a certain sense, we want moral certainty. I mean, these are moral uncertain times for America. We, you know, we're under attack from the outside. We perceive ourselves under attack. Our economy is not doing as well as it was doing ten years ago, right? And so, we have all sorts of pressures. And I think the population, the native population is feeling this.

The average worker in Peoria, Illinois, is, I think, feeling all these pressures and feeling the pressures of globalization. And so, I think when you use the term illegality, you have a certain moral, you have a moral certainty that I think provides a, almost like a sense of satisfaction, right? You know, for once, I can say that this is a black and white situation. So, trading on moral absolutes I think at a time of uncertainty is a, it pays off. And that's why I think a lot of these politicians are having a lot of traction with the term "illegal."
Read the whole thing. It's brilliant. I'll never call anyone an 'illegal' again.


Friday, November 16, 2007

One of the dumbest ideas ever

posted by Bill Arnett @ 11:49 AM Permalink

Headline from the Huffington Post: Lou Dobbs "Seriously Contemplating" Presidential Bid.

Contemplate away, Lou. You'll soon find that being a one-trick anti-immigration pony would maybe keep you in the headlines for a week or so, but I think most Americans are growing ever more weary of, "HATE! HATE! HATE! FEAR! FEAR! FEAR!" as a political mantra and you would soon know how Stephen Colbert or, going way back, Pat Paulsen, feel and felt, respectively, willfully making fools of themselves to entertain and perhaps even enlighten the public about American politics.

Doesn't it crack you up that you think for even an instant that a second-rate, hate-spewing, biased, and clearly prejudiced news reader such as yourself might even be thought of as a serious candidate, much less ever become one?

Besides, Freddie Thompson has the avuncular vote locked down already.

But this is America, so dream on, Lou. Dream on.

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A theory of everything?

posted by The Vidiot @ 10:57 AM Permalink

Taking some time off from my angst, I found an article about a surfer dude who may have beat string theory to the punch. A while ago, I went all agog over this E8 Lie structure. It's got 248 dimensions and somebody graphed it into a purdy drawing that I now have pasted up all over the place. (remember, I'm a geek)

Well, funny thing, this surfer dude guy looked at it, went "eureka!" and then came up with a very simple theory of everything.
He has high hopes that his new theory could provide what he says is a "radical new explanation" for the three decade old Standard Model, which weaves together three of the four fundamental forces of nature: the electromagnetic force; the strong force, which binds quarks together in atomic nuclei; and the weak force, which controls radioactive decay.

The reason for the excitement is that Lisi's model also takes account of gravity, a force that has only successfully been included by a rival and highly fashionable idea called string theory, one that proposes particles are made up of minute strings, which is highly complex and elegant but has lacked predictions by which to do experiments to see if it works.
Here is the link to his paper, if you dare. I have no idea if he's right or wrong, but I can recognize the brilliance. When I looked at the E8, I thought it was pretty important. I just didn't have a clue why.

Oh, I almost forgot, here's a youtube video explaining how the damn theory works.


Thursday, November 15, 2007

Outrage Fatigue

posted by The Sailor @ 8:35 PM Permalink

I know how it is. You've had it up to here. There are only so many stories about blood and death and pain you can take, only so many times you can hear about random shootings and corporate malfeasance and how BushCo's squad of scabrous flying monkeys have, say, supported torture or endorsed wiretapping or gouged the nation for another $200 billion to pay for a failed war. Your nerves are raw and your heart is tired and the media will just not shut the hell up already about the sadness and the war and the mayhem and the Cheney and the doom doom doom.

It is outrage fatigue, and it is epidemic. It's that feeling that we are being hammered unlike any time in recent history with so many appalling and disgusting and violently un-American incidents and scandals and manipulations that our b.s.-detectors are smoking like an old V-8 engine on a hot summer's day and it's all we can do to get up every day without screaming.
Yeah. What he said. Read the rest of it while I take a few days off to contemplate my naval ... or maybe someone else's navel.

Cross posted at SteveAudio

I am just so annoyed by everything.

posted by The Vidiot @ 5:08 PM Permalink

The war coverage is abysmal, the discussion of the economy is laughable, and the political rhetoric is abhorrent. Every time I read something about the elections, things like Hillary will most likely be the nominee, or Obama has no substance, or Dodd has no support, or Ron Paul is insane, or Giuliani is the front runner, or even the Uncle Fred even has a chance, I don't know, I just want to pull my hair out, because...


I mean, MSM won't say anything the owners of MSM doesn't want them to say. So anything that comes out of anyone's mouth on MSM -- and yes, that includes the precious Keith Olberman and Jon Stewart -- is vetted ahead of time, it's rehearsed to maximize its Orwellian effects and then spewed for maximum absorption.

Even the commercials are starting to really get to me. To the point that everywhere I look, I see advertising. There's this constant background noise, this imagery and sound, a mish-mosh, a cacophony, I feel like the Grinch saying "All of the noise, noise, noise" and squinching my face and trying to hide my eyes and plug my ears.

Is anyone else as tired of it as I am? Am I the only one who feels these assaults on such a visceral level?

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Guest Blogpost

posted by The Vidiot @ 4:22 PM Permalink

An interesting viewpoint on the strike and a few other things I didn't feel like editing out. (He prefers to remain anonymous):
Between the strike in NY and the strike on the west coast, main-stream entertainment has come to a crawl. Nature knoweth no wrath like a tourist with orchestra tickets to The Little Mermaid facing a dark theater.

One visiting teacher with 44 kids on her hands looked around for an open show and took them to Die Mommie Die. Either we've got a real progressive chaperone here or one who doesn't know drag from shinola. (Postscript: The 44 kids loved it.)

If she wanted a B'way show, she could've taken them to The Ritz. That's open. In more ways than one.

The real stickler here is that there are a LOT of actors who'd like to picket the picketers, but Equity members aren't allowed to protest or cross the lines. Meanwhile the Equity website says: "We deplore the strike and the harm it does to the City, the industry, and theatre-going public. Indeed ... to all the actors, musicians and other talented people who make Broadway magical."

But Equity expects its members to respect the other unions so that the other unions will respect Equity's picket line next time 'round.

Fun fun fun.

A friend e-mailed me he had tickets for Is He Dead for Saturday night. Earlier in the week he saw Seafarer, Farnsworth, and Rock 'N' Roll. Re: Rock 'N' Roll, he said it took him a while to really get into the play. He wasn't sure if it was the script itself or "if it was because of the Wednesday matinee audience that was so unruly. At intermission, I spoke with an usher who told me, she had worked at that theater for 34 years and 'never saw a poorer behaving audience.' And that is quite a statement."

Is Rock 'N' Roll actually attracting rock 'n' roll audiences? If so, they evidently don't know what a play is.

Any strike in the entertainment field is scary business. Just when one finally gets real money coming in ...

I was watching "Inside Washington" on PBS Friday night and the two snotty conservative pundits went on and on and on about "Why is everybody so scared right now? The economy's in GREAT shape! Unemployment is low, there's no recession ..." and this, I kid you not, is a direct quote: "... sure there's a little war going on, sure 3,000 have been killed, but that's tiny compared to other wars. What's everybody so unhappy about?"

For fiscal conservatives, the idea of spending hundreds of billions on a "little war" doesn't seem to unnerve them. Although they're thrilled Bush vetoed children's health insurance 'cause 30 billion was simply too much.

To quote John Stuart Mill:
"Although it is not true that all conservatives are stupid people, it is true that most stupid people are conservative." "

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bush, destroyer of civilizations strikes again in Pakistan

posted by Bill Arnett @ 11:41 AM Permalink

From this mornings Huffington Post comes word of the latest country to collapse under the weight of the immoral and amoral policies of bush/cheney and their eternal war on terror. It seems that even our allies pay a very steep price indeed for going along with the "war on terra" being waged insanely and eternally. It just happens to be an unfortunate coincidence that this ally, Pakistan, happens to possess both 40-50 nuclear weapons, and has been protecting A.Q. Khan, the father of the "Muslim Nuclear Weapon," who can produce and proliferate many more such weapons:
Almost two weeks into Pakistan’s political crisis, Bush administration officials are losing faith that the Pakistani president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, can survive in office and have begun discussing what might come next, according to senior administration officials.[…]

Several senior administration officials said that with each day that passed, more administration officials were coming around to the belief that General Musharraf’s days in power were numbered and that the United States should begin considering contingency plans, including reaching out to Pakistan’s generals.

More than a dozen officials in Washington and Islamabad from a number of countries spoke on condition of anonymity because of the fragility of Pakistan’s current political situation. The doubts that American officials voiced about whether General Musharraf could survive were more pointed than any public statements by the administration, and signaled declining American patience in advance of [Deputy Secretary of State] Mr. Negroponte’s trip.

Officials involved in the discussions in Washington said the Bush administration remained wary of the perception that the United States was cutting back-room deals to install the next leader of Pakistan. “They don’t want to encourage another military coup, but they are also beginning to understand that Musharraf has become part of the problem,” said one former official with knowledge of the debates inside the Bush administration.

That shift in perception is significant because for six years General Musharraf has sought to portray himself, for his own purposes, as the West’s best alternative to a possible takeover in Pakistan by radical Islamists.
So, has bush now, through ignorance and arrogance, turned over the nuclear keys to the kingdom in Pakistan to Islamist radicals?

The sheer incompetence of this maladministration is staggering, and indicative of a desire to further American hegemony rather than be of any real help to so-called allies. So now the odds of al-Qaida obtaining a nuke has increased exponentially, and apparently America, through the poor policy decision-making and execution of policy of bush/cheney might indeed see the use of nuclear weapons.

Not by bush, as he envisions nuking Iran, but an A.Q. attack in Europe or on American soil or against American interests overseas.

Just fills ya up with confidence, eh?

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You Daily Show fix during the strike

posted by The Vidiot @ 11:25 AM Permalink

I especially love the guy with the signage on the left side of the screen. Brilliant.

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Christian Values

posted by The Vidiot @ 7:39 AM Permalink

Some Christian this guy Bush is, he nixes domestic spending while complaining that Congress doesn’t give him enough money for his war.
Intensifying his battle with Congress over federal spending, President Bush on Tuesday vetoed an appropriations bill for the first time, rejecting $150.7 billion in spending for school aid, healthcare and other domestic programs.

But as he complained about the cost of that bill, which would have increased spending on these programs by 4.3% over last year, Bush signed a $471-billion defense appropriations bill that pushed up military spending by more than 9.5%.
Nice. No matter that we need that money right here in the United States, the richest country in the world.
More than 35.5 million people in this country went hungry in 2006 as they struggled to find jobs that can support them, a figure that was virtually unchanged from the previous year, the Agriculture Department said Wednesday.

Single mothers and their children were among the most likely to suffer, according to the study.


The Entertainment Strike

posted by The Vidiot @ 7:28 AM Permalink

As far as I’m concerned, they can all stay out on strike. I understand it’s a hardship, people are being laid off. I get that. That part of it sucks. On the other hand, we, as a society, have been so narcotized by the entertainment media, that maybe this is just the thing we need to snap out of our lethargy.
If this strike lasts longer than three months, an entire season of television will end this December. No dramas. No comedies. No Daily Show. The strike will also prevent any pilots from being shot in the spring, so even if the strike is settled by then, you won’t see any new shows until the following January. As in 2009. Both the guild and the studios we are negotiating with do agree on one thing: this situation would be brutal.
If it goes on long enough, maybe, just maybe, we can all get our minds back. Maybe we can start talking and thinking again.


Wednesday, November 14, 2007


posted by The Sailor @ 5:41 PM Permalink

Intel Chief Blasts 'Cherry Picked' Intel

WASHINGTON -- National Intelligence Director Mike McConnell said Tuesday he would resign if administration officials mischaracterized or "cherry-picked" intelligence to support their own political agenda.

"If it were cherry-picked in an inappropriate way, then for me, that's a professional obligation to object, and I would submit my resignation," McConnell told reporters.
In the first place I'm not willing to trust a guy who says he doesn't know if water boarding is torture, and his excuse of 'not being briefed on it' is lame considering it's already been classified and prosecuted as torture by the US, but one also has to wonder at his integrity when he implied it was OK to cherry-pick the data resulting in National Intelligence Estimates if it wasn't used "in an inappropriate way."

What appropriate way is there to lie, whether by commission or omission, about data that lead/leads our country to war?

But wait, there's more!
A National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iran has been held up for more than a year in an effort to force the intelligence community to remove dissenting judgments on the Iranian nuclear programme, and thus make the document more supportive of U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney's militarily aggressive policy toward Iran, according to accounts of the process provided by participants to two former Central Intelligence Agency officers.
The draft NIE first completed a year ago, which had included the dissenting views, was not acceptable to the White House, according to the former intelligence officer. "They refused to come out with a version that had dissenting views in it," he says.
More here.

Cross posted at SteveAudio

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posted by The Vidiot @ 3:04 PM Permalink

Did you know squirrels can play dead? Here's one playing dead for the camera and here's one playing dead for another squirrel. Fascinating.

Watch how freaked out this dog gets when he gets too close to lighting. Frankly, I'd freak out too.

What do you want to bet this kid spends a large portion of his life searching for that perfect, yet elusive high.

And, in honor of the upcoming and wonderfully secular holiday of Thanksgiving, here's a recipe for a nap wrapped in a heart attack.


Another Kind of Mafia

posted by The Vidiot @ 2:08 PM Permalink

Funny. I just got done posting on some of the mafia-related history of Brooklyn and no sooner had I hit the "publish post" button than I find an article comparing the US political parties to the Mafia.
Despite this, there remain two political parties. One is prompted to ask "why?" If each party is basically the same, with respect to ideology, why do they not merge into one party? The answer to this question is best found in viewing each political party according to its true nature. American political parties are, for all intents and purposes, organized crime units. American political parties have more in common with the Mafia than they have with their counterparts in more democratic societies. Like Mafia, each political party competes for control of territory in order to maximize the benefit to their business constituency. Like Mafia, the political parties attempt to mold the system to maintain their positions and access to resources. Like Mafia, the political parties force the average citizen to pay "protection" under the threat of violence (taxes). Like Mafia each political party uses the "protection" money collected for its own advantage.

By defining our political system in terms of the "majority" and the "opposition," our Constitution enshrines this two mafia system into law. Each Mafia passes laws to exclude new comers from the game while focusing the rest of its energy in destroying the other Mafia.

Thus, any resistance movement that chooses to become an organization is in competition with these Mafiosi. The deck is stacked and the power of the state, wielded by these organized crime units known as the Democratic and Republican parties, will waste the time and resources of any newcomer. A newcomer can only succeed by rejecting the political system, draining its resources, and undermining the rule of the state.

Synchronicity? I wonder...

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This bloglift is like a new car.

posted by The Vidiot @ 12:22 PM Permalink

You just want to put it on and take it for a spin. Unfortunately, I have nowhere to go at this time.


The only thing I could come up with is to mention this idea by an architect for an open-source apartment building in Brooklyn.
What's going on here? As far as we know, this the world’s first attempt to design an apartment building in open source fashion. The building at issue is 580 Sterling Place, on the edge of Prospect Heights, Brooklyn. It will be a green, modernist, 8-unit, walk-up building.
I guess when it comes to development in Brooklyn, resistance is futile. It might as well be open source. At least that way, you can take part in blighting your neighborhood.

Speaking of blighting and neighborhoods, here is my favorite blog entry to date regarding a land purchase by a shady character.
We're sad to report that Brooklyn is in the process of losing another piece of history, as demolition is set to begin on St. George's Church at 203 York Street in Vinegar Hill. (Workmen on site confirm that the entire structure is coming down.) The 10,000-square-foot church and adjacent 5,000-square-foot parish hall were purchased from the Roman Catholic Diocese on October 24 by the Tocci family, a long-time landowner in the area, for $3,200,000. The Toccis, formerly proprietors of a waste management business, already have an illustrious track record in the neighborhood: they were responsible for tearing down another church, St. Ann's, at 251 Front Street back in 1992, and paving it over after their own business expansion plans failed. The lot is now, charmingly, lined with corrugated metal and rented out as truck parking. They've wasted little time on their latest anti-beautification effort, as a small rear addition on Gold Street has already been reduced to rubble (inset).
What I like about it is the little line that says, "The Toccis, formerly proprietors of a waste management business,..."

The mob has a special place here in Brooklyn's history. I remember watching a horse-drawn hearse carrying one of the recently deceased capos down the street outside my apartment in the late 80s.

In fact, they even used to dedicate medical centers to them.
I also noticed, with a jolt, the sign above the door that reads "The Anthony Anastasio Memorial Wing—Brooklyn Longshoremen's Medical Center." Now, if memory serves, this sign was covered up for some years by a LICH placard. Sorry if I'm slow on this, and the old sign was uncovered some weeks ago, but this is the first I noticed it. Staring at it was a chilling reminder of the nabe's vicious past and how much South Brooklyn was once in thrall of the Mob. Anthony "Tough Tony" Anastasio was a union boss who ruled the Brooklyn docks with an iron hand and the threat of reprisal by his mad brother, Albert Anastasio, head of Murder, Inc. He was no sweetheart and I can just imagine that, back in the day, that sign served as a reminder to locals to stay in line.
Only in Brooklyn.

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Fiscally suicidal GOP just can't handle the truth

posted by Bill Arnett @ 12:12 PM Permalink

Of all the great lies about political parties the greatest and most demonstrably untrue one is that the GOP is the party of fiscal responsibility. No one can look at our $9 trillion deficit, the expenditure of billions and billions of dollars in Iraq and Afghanistan, borrowing those dollars from China and other countries that may one day turn against us, the rapidly declining value of the dollar, the subprime mortgage fiasco, and truthfully state that the GOP is a good steward of our economy.

Now that some members of the Democratic party have calculated the "hidden" costs of the bush Oil Wars, Republicans are going nuts that their abject failure has been documented in a report that was released to the public.

From Raw Story comes the sad truth of the GOPs disgraceful handling of the American economy and estimates of the true cost of the bush Oil War in this story titled "Republicans call for withdrawal of 'hidden cost of wars' report":
[…]Senior Republicans on Congress' Joint Economic Committee, Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KN) and Rep. James Saxon (R-NJ) are calling on Democrats to retract a staff report alleging the hidden costs of the Iraq war could total more than $1.5 trillion.

In a joint statement issued to the Washington Post, the committee's Republicans called the report "another thinly veiled exercise in political hyperbole masquerading as academic research."[…]

The Democratic analysis claimed that President Bush's six-year invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq would end up costing Americans about $1.5 trillion, or nearly twice as much as the White House has actually spent to fight its wars, because of unseen costs like inflation, rising oil prices and expensive care for wounded veterans.

The estimate was revealed in a Democratic staff report from Congress's Joint Economic Committee. The staff report, titled "The Hidden Costs of the Iraq War," estimated that the Iraq and Afghan wars have cost the average family more than $20,000.

The White House apparently vastly underestimated the war's costs, the authors assert. It requested $804 billion -- just more than half the total costs -- to keep up its wars and occupations through 2008.

"The report argues that war funding is diverting billions of dollars away from "productive investment" by American businesses in the United States. It also says that the conflicts are pulling reservists and National Guardsmen away from their jobs, resulting in economic disruptions for U.S. employers that the report estimates at $1 billion to $2 billion," the Post's Josh White wrote Tuesday.

Israel Klein, a spokesman for the committee's majority, replied in the Post.

"Instead of dealing with the substance of this report, the White House is once again trying to deflect attention away from the blistering costs of this war in Iraq," he said.
I don't think any reasonable person could look at these estimates and disagree that the GOP is directly responsible for the deplorable economic state in which we now find America.

This report, among others that have projected even higher costs, approximately $2.4 trillion, should end forever the lie that Republicans are the party of fiscal responsibility, and expose bush's meager and pathetic attempts to reclaim that mantle to be as completely dishonest as he is.

Plenty of money for horrid illegal wars of aggression, for continuing the genocide and displacement of millions of Iraqis, for planning yet another war of aggression against Iran, and for monetary policies that are as bankrupt as Republicans are amoral and immoral liars.

I guess I would probably be upset to have such perfidy documented and released to the public as well. And who knows, while the GOP squeals like a stuck pig these numbers may finally seep into the minds of voters and showcase why the Republican party is becoming ever more irrelevant and just too damned expensive to allow them control of America's budget or access to the U.S. Treasury ever again.

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No licenses for illegal immigrants hurts Americans

posted by Bill Arnett @ 10:30 AM Permalink

After much ballyhooing, pi$$ing and moaning, Governor Spitzer of New York is abandoning his quite sensible plan to grant driver's licenses to illegal immigrants. This is short-sighted and disappointing on many levels, but it will plainly be American citizens that will be paying for this in both the short and long run.

I know of no one who thinks they are paying too little for car insurance, but this refusal to license illegal immigrants will continue to cause insurance rates to climb ever higher.

It's pretty basic: Illegal immigrants, like everyone else, have to be able to go to and from work, shopping, hospitals, and to every place any of us have to go that requires driving a car. Without a license they cannot buy car insurance. Without car insurance a person's own insurance must bear the costs of an accident, if they were wise enough to buy uninsured motorist coverage, which directly increases the cost of doing business for that insurance company.

Those additional costs are, of course, paid by you and me in the form of ever higher premiums for our own coverage.

I don't have the answer to our illegal immigrant problem, but there doesn't seem to me to be sufficient cause to inflict more pain on the public by refusing to allow them driver's licenses and the ability to buy car insurance.

Makes me wonder how many insurance companies opposed granting illegals a driver's license.

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Welcome to the New and Improved VidiotSpeak

posted by The Vidiot @ 10:18 AM Permalink

Due to a momentary flash of design inspiration and The Sailor's enviable agility with code, we've managed to give the blog a bloglift. As far as I can tell, there's one lilla' bug with Internet Explorer, but other than that, it looks great. We hope you think so too. Please let us know what your thoughts.

Meanwhile, we'll still continue to deliver our usual brand of thoughtful snark, it's just now, it's in a much prettier package.

Update: OK, my intro there was dumb as dirt. Bill did it better:
Today we're introducing our new format in a style not seen before on the web. It's eye-catching, innovative (if we do say so ourselves, and we do!), and the new look will add greatly to easy readability. Though the style may have changed we will continue to bring you the very best of our opinions in this new showcase look and rest assured we will continue our reverent and irreverent, insightful, logical and illogical, respectful and not-so-respectful commentary, as always, right or wrong. Visit often, please enjoy, and we look forward to your comments regarding the change - or any other subject!


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Wow. By happenstance comes some quick answers.

posted by Bill Arnett @ 2:10 PM Permalink

Just after posting the questions I would want a candidate to answer I received an e-mail from Senator Chris Dodd regarding a recent speech. Check out these direct quotes:
"On the very first hour, of the very first day on January 20, 2009, as I have fought for over the last number of years in this administration -- I will restore to the American people, the Constitution of the United States."

"You're gonna get your Constitution back! You're gonna get your Constitution back."

"No more Abu Ghraibs!"

"No more Guantanamos!"

"No more torture!"

"No more rendering!"

"No more providing retroactive immunity for companies that turned over their records to the Bush Administration without a court order!"

"No more waterboarding!"

"No more denying people habeas corpus in this country, a right that has existed for 900 years!"

"And there will be no more Attorney Generals of the United States who believe an American President is above the law."

"That's gonna change."
Why can't, or won't, the rest of the candidates speak in such a forthright way?

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What I want to know from prospective Democratic nominees

posted by Bill Arnett @ 1:00 PM Permalink

I rarely watch those insipid presidential debates. It's too much like watching a game show where everyone wants to play "gotcha" and answer stupid questions that rarely hold any significance. Especially the "lightening round" types of questions that reduce the candidates to game show contestant status. Ridiculous.

There are, however, some questions I would like to have asked:
1. If you are elected will you renounce forever the theory of a "unitary executive" with powers not spelled out in the Constitution?

2. Will you commit to open government again and end all attempts to block people from obtaining information?

3. Unlike bush, will you commit to restoring the checks and balances of our Constitution and restoring habeas corpus?

4. If elected will you work with both bodies of congress to outlaw and end forever "signing statements" that simply spell out future intent to abrogate the law and ignore inconvenient portions of legislation signed into law? Will you work to insure that any past or future signing statements are of no legal consequence whatsoever in any American court?

5. Will you commit to not using American military forces except as a last result and not the first? Will you eliminate the proposed "future combat system" based upon dozens of unknown and yet to be invented technologies that will cost untold billions of dollars to "maybe" make it work? And then use that money to the benefit of Americans?

6. Will you once again sign back onto treaties such as the NPT and actually work to eliminate nuclear weapons?

7. Will you renounce the neocon dream of using American military might to invade and conquer countries in order to obtain their natural resources?

8. Will you call for the immediate resignation of each and every person appointed to office or hired by the bush administration and replace them not with cronies, but people actually qualified to do the job?

9. Will you agree to submit America to the jurisdiction of the International Court at the Hague and aid that court in prosecuting any and every current government official shown to have committed war crimes?

10. Will you genuinely stop the practice of kidnapping citizens of other countries for the purpose of torturing them and holding them in confinement forever with no hope of a hearing in court? Will you put an end to Gitmo and the secret "black prisons" of the CIA?

11. Will you stop all the bellicosity of the bush administration and recognize other countries rights to handle their affairs without threat of "regime change" simply because you might disagree with that form of government?

12. Will you stop the insanity of sending every borrowed dollar into the black hole of Iraq and instead use American funds to the benefit of the poor, the young, the elderly, the infirm, and to help the least of those among us?
I could go on all day with the issues and questions I would like the have asked and answered by our candidates for the Democratic nominee for president.

I'm afraid that any equivocation in answering any of these questions would cost that candidate my vote and would indicate to me that we are in line for more of the same old $hit if the equivocator is elected.

But I'll wager none of these questions will ever be asked and I have to wonder why.

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"Things are going great in Iraq." Laura Ingraham

posted by Bill Arnett @ 12:14 PM Permalink

Thank goodness we can all breathe easy about Iraq now that Laura Ingraham, one of televisions keenest military minds, has announced that things are going great over in Iraq. She made this bold announcement on "The View", a program noted for its military acumen.

Y'know, she's of the right age to sign up, actually go to Iraq as a military member, put her money where her mouth is, and, since we lost more troops this year than in any other since the war began the country could use her services.

But, oh, I forgot. Republican compassionate conservative GOP neocon right-to-life commentators would never actually go serve America. Too busy running mouths powered by the vacuum in their heads. Or something.

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Can the White House take the Fifth when it comes to their e-mail?

posted by Bill Arnett @ 11:40 AM Permalink

From the Huffington Post comes this report of a federal judge ordering the preservation of all e-mails and back-up tapes archiving all presidential communications:
A federal judge Monday ordered the White House to preserve copies of all its e-mails, a move that Bush administration lawyers had argued strongly against.

U.S. District Judge Henry Kennedy directed the Executive Office of the President to safeguard the material in response to two lawsuits that seek to determine whether the White House has destroyed e-mails in violation of federal law.

In response, the White House said it has been taking steps to preserve copies of all e-mails and will continue to do so. The administration is seeking dismissal of the lawsuits brought by two private groups, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington and the National Security Archive.[…]

Justice Department lawyers had urged the courts to accept a proposed White House declaration promising to preserve all backup tapes.

"The judge decided that wasn't enough," said Anne Weismann, an attorney for CREW, which has gone to court over secrecy issues involving the Bush administration and has pursued ethical issues involving Republicans on Capitol Hill.[…]

The White House has provided little public information about the matter, saying that some e-mails may not have been automatically archived on a computer server for the Executive Office of the President and that the e-mails may have been preserved on backup tapes.

The White House has said that its Office of Administration is looking into whether there are e-mails that were not automatically archived and that if there is a problem, the necessary steps will be taken to address it.

Kennedy issued the order following recommendations to do so by a federal magistrate who held a hearing on the matter.
Geez, I can't believe that the most lawless administration in American history would not want to preserve all the evidence as to where all the bodies are buried, who committed what crimes, and when.

After all, this is the only legacy bush is going to leave for future scholars to confirm that bush is undoubtedly the worst president ever, and the only way in which what's left of the country when he leaves office can find out the true extent of the damage he has done to America and the Constitution he took an oath to protect and hasn't.

It is so heartening to learn that federal judges aren't buying into the "just trust us" line from the most distrusted maladministration ever, and the orders to preserve these communications may one day, hopefully, play a large part in the prosecution for war crimes of bush/cheney and the neocons who took us to war for oil and made the Middle East an even worse powder keg than it already had been.

A LITTLE SIDE NOTE: How embarrassing must it be for a court to tell "the leader of the free world" that he cannot be trusted, and how humbling, hopefully, to find that Fearful leader may still be reined in by the courts?

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Sunday, November 11, 2007

Veterans Day*

posted by The Sailor @ 10:49 AM Permalink

skippy said it better than I can.

Monkeyfister said it better than I can.

Poets who said it better than I can:
The Last of the Light Brigade
In Flanders Field
Dulce Et Decorum Est
War Is Kind And Other Lines
Song writers who said it better than I can:
Eve of Destruction by Barry McGuire

The Grave by Don McLean

Masters of War by Bob Dylan
My humble offering:
When we send our men and women to die for us, people who volunteered to die in a just cause, we are honor bound to tell them the truth and make sure the cause is truly just.

We are honor bound to equip them as best we can afford.

We are honor bound to take care of their families while they serve, and especially while they are deployed.

We are honor bound to take care of them when they come home.

No matter how they come home, whether it is only as memories, remains, wounded or relatively whole.

We are honor bound to our veterans, and if we sever those bonds we've sacrificed our children and our honor.

* This post is almost the same as last year's. Because nothing has changed since last year except the record number of deaths since then in both Iraq and Afghanistan.


Saturday, November 10, 2007

Saturday Sailboat Blogging

posted by The Sailor @ 11:54 AM Permalink

Last sail of the season edition.


Finally, something to look forward to!

posted by The Vidiot @ 10:08 AM Permalink

On November 12, pilots are going to tell their UFO stories for the first time.
Excerpt: Former Arizona Governor Fife Symington will moderate a distinguished panel of former high-ranking government, aviation, and military officials from seven countries to discuss close encounters with what the US Air Force describes as Unidentified Flying Objects (UFOs). Representatives from France, England, Belgium, Chile, Peru, Iran and the US will call for the US Government to join in an international dialogue and re-open its investigation – which the Air Force shut down over 30 years ago – in cooperation with other governments currently dealing with this unusual and controversial phenomenon. While on active duty, the panelists have either witnessed a UFO incident or have conducted an official investigation into UFO cases relevant to aviation safety and national security.
For more info, go to the Coalition for Freedom of Information website.

Hey, it's better than watching the dollar tank.


Update on the Baghdad police academy

posted by The Sailor @ 12:53 AM Permalink

Last year there was a, pardon the expression, $hitstorm about the
Heralded Iraq Police Academy a 'Disaster'

BAGHDAD, Sept. 27 -- A $75 million project to build the largest police academy in Iraq has been so grossly mismanaged that the campus now poses health risks to recruits and might need to be partially demolished, U.S. investigators have found.

The Baghdad Police College, hailed as crucial to U.S. efforts to prepare Iraqis to take control of the country's security, was so poorly constructed that feces and urine rained from the ceilings in student barracks. Floors heaved inches off the ground and cracked apart. Water dripped so profusely in one room that it was dubbed "the rain forest."

"This is the most essential civil security project in the country -- and it's a failure," said Stuart W. Bowen Jr., the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction, an independent office created by Congress. "The Baghdad police academy is a disaster."
And now, over a year later, after all the promises made by Parsons, nothing has changed:
Iraqi Police Academy Remains Largely Unusable

BAGHDAD, Nov. 5 — More than a year after the Parsons Corporation, the American contracting giant, promised Congress that it would fix the disastrous plumbing and shoddy construction in barracks the company built at the Baghdad police academy, the ceilings are still stained with excrement, parts of the structures are crumbling and sections of the buildings are unusable because the toilets are filthy and nonfunctioning.
They used bad pipes for the sewage system,” said an officer who gave his name as Lt. Selah, a maintenance adviser, as he pointed through a ruptured drop-ceiling that had been ruined by waste leaking from faulty pipes above it.

The concrete used in the construction was substandard and is already collapsing in places because of the constant rain of sewage, Lieutenant Selah said, barely able to contain his anger.
A company spokeswoman, Erin Kuhlman, said that Parsons, which is based in Pasadena, Calif., had strictly abided by the terms of the contract it had received from the United States Army Corps of Engineers to do the work at the academy.
But dire problems with the project were discovered in inspections in August and September 2006 by the Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, an independent agency led by Stuart W. Bowen Jr.
Mr. Bowen’s report also stated that inspectors had found “indications of potential fraud” in the project and had referred the case to its investigative division.

Those indications are apparently still being studied.

On Sept. 28, 2006, as the inspector general’s report was released, Earnest O. Robbins II, a senior vice president at Parsons, testified before the House Government Reform Committee that the company would fix the problems at no extra charge. “We are repairing it at no cost to the government,” Mr. Robbins said in response to questions by Representative Chris Van Hollen, Democrat of Maryland.
Bastards. Lying bastards.

Cross posted at SteveAudio

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Friday, November 09, 2007

1, 2, 3, 4 ... What the hell are we fighting for?

posted by The Sailor @ 5:33 PM Permalink

Anti-war Vets Slam Parade Ban

LONG BEACH - Iraq veteran Jason Lemieux might not be marching in the 11th annual Long Beach Veterans Day Parade on Saturday.1108 08

The Marine, who served three tours of duty in Iraq and is now against the war, was hoping to march as a member of Iraq Veterans Against the War, a national organization that calls for immediate withdrawal of troops in Iraq.

The group’s application, however, was rejected last month because of its political views, parade coordinators said.

“I wanted to march like the rest of the Iraq veterans,” said Lemieux, a 24-year-old Anaheim resident. “I served my country. I’m a veteran of a foreign war. I think I deserve that respect.”

Iraq Veterans, along with the groups Veterans for Peace and Military Families Speak Out, applied to march together in the parade this year under the entry “Military Patriots.”

After reviewing each group’s mission statement, the Veterans Day Parade Committee, a non-profit group that organizes the event, voted unanimously to reject the application, said parade coordinator Martha Thuente.

“They do not fit the spirit of the parade,” she said. “The spirit being one of gratitude for what the veterans have done. We do not want groups of a political nature, advocating the troops’ withdrawal from Iraq.”
Oh, the irony! What better way to show gratitude for what veterans have done than to bring them home from an illegal war!?

But wait, there's more!
City Attorney Bob Shannon on Wednesday said the parade committee is a private, non-profit organization, and therefore reserves the right to choose its participants.
Each year, the parade generates funds through community fundraisers and corporate sponsors, Thuente said. Paramount Petroleum Corporation donated $10,000 this year.
Yet another example of this war being about the oil.

And BTW, the $hitty Attorney is being duplicitous:
The city provides the staffing, flags, banners, utilities and police protection, Shannon said, but does not play any role in the approval of parade participants.

“The fact that the city does provide staff is a disconnect,”
Shannon said.
So taxpayers provide the streets, the staffing, the flags, the banners, the utilities and the police ... but it's a private event. Yeah, Bob, there's a disconnect ... between you and reality.

I'll give the last word to Iraq veteran Jason Lemieux:
“It feels like I’ve been betrayed by the very people I fought to serve,” he said.

Cross posted at SteveAudio

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Thursday, November 08, 2007

Questionable headline

posted by Bill Arnett @ 1:33 PM Permalink

Headline from the Huffington Post: State Dept Blog Hits "Wimps And Weenies".

Does that mean the State Dept can just kick bush's and cheney's a$$es?

Oh, the humanity! Oh!, the joy!

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A new episode of Just Dave!

posted by The Vidiot @ 1:13 PM Permalink

(to catch up, here is part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4 and part 5)


What a deal! Commit crimes then order people not to talk!

posted by Bill Arnett @ 1:12 PM Permalink

This short article describes what is becoming emblematic of what's wrong with America:
The Bush administration blocked a Marine Corps lawyer from testifying before Congress today that severe techniques employed by U.S. interrogators derailed his prosecution of a suspected al Qaeda terrorist.

The move comes as the administration seeks to tamp down concerns about detainee policies that flared up after attorney general-designate Michael Mukasey declined to tell senators whether he believes that waterboarding, or simulated drowning of prisoners, constitutes torture. The debate has focused on whether severe interrogation practices, some of which critics consider to be torture, are legal, moral or effective.
Man, ya just can't beat being able to violate any law you wish, especially one as offensive and morally repugnant as torturing human beings, and then order all the witnesses, under pain of courts martial for disobeying, not to talk about the illegal acts they have witnessed.

Da mob got nuttin' on bush.

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Are the worms turning?

posted by Bill Arnett @ 12:26 PM Permalink

HOORAY! Our gutless, rubberstamping, sycophantic cowards in congress have overridden bush's veto of the water bill just passed!

Wouldn't it be nice if they had the guts to restore the Constitution they SWORE to protect and override the certain vetoes of the worst president ever in American History that would follow?

Also, just for the record, some rethug reported the other day that bush had "finally" spent as much money as LBJ did during his presidency. I can't remember now where I saw that lie.

It is well documented and has been shown on the floor of the Senate (with charts! with letters! and words!) that GWB has spent more money THAN ALL 42 PRECEDING PRESIDENTS COMBINED. More than all the money spent by this country in the 200-230 years before bush.

Just for the record.

Also, isn't it amazing how people all over the world are mobbing up and fighting for democracy while the formerly greatest democracy in the world is now composed of silent sheep?

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I thought you should know what the real inflation rate is.

posted by The Vidiot @ 9:58 AM Permalink

The real inflation rate is a whopping 17% and NOT the 5% the MSM is reporting.

Just FYI.

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Pervez has a perception problem.

posted by The Vidiot @ 7:57 AM Permalink

There's a big protest planned there tomorrow.
Excerpt: The Pakistan People Party of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto says police have arrested hundreds more of its supporters. Party officials say the arrests are aimed at sabotaging a Friday rally called to protest President Pervez Musharraf's declaration of emergency rule, as VOA's Barry Newhouse reports from Islamabad.
So, he’s making a big display and arresting people and squelching free speech and whatnot, which is giving him a HUGE image problem.

What he SHOULD be doing is taking a page out of the US government’s play book. Let them protest. Let them put on a show. Let them feel like they have free speech. Then they’ll tire themselves out and go home to their comfy beds, secure in the knowledge that they’ve exercised their right to free speech. Meanwhile, the government looks good because they allowed the protest to occur, while at the same time, totally ignoring what the protest was about and going ahead with whatever was planned anyway.

The US government has this ignoring protesters thing down to an art form.

See, the trick to free speech is not to speak. It’s to speak AND be heard. So, like the Zen koan “if a tree falls in the forest...,” you must ask yourself, if you practice free speech and nobody listens, is it still free speech?

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This is what despicable looks like.

posted by The Vidiot @ 7:47 AM Permalink

And it looks like Deroy Murdock, a contributing editor at the National Review Online.

I cannot believe that I'm reading something like this.
Excerpt: While the White House must beware not to inform our enemies what to expect if captured, today’s clueless anti-waterboarding rhetoric merits this tactic’s vigorous defense. Waterboarding is something of which every American should be proud.

Waterboarding makes tight-lipped terrorists talk. At least three major al-Qaeda leaders reportedly have been waterboarded, most notably Khalid Sheik Mohammed.
What, what, what??! Proud? Is he crazy?

And it gets better. Then Mr. Murdock goes on to say that Bush shouldn't bother opposing waterboarding since the people who hate him, "the liberals", hate him so much that even if Bush opposed waterboarding, they'd still hate him. So, he might was well use it because it "loosens lips without causing permanent physical injuries" and well, it's only used on those Muslims and not Americans anyway.

While I'm obviously not surprised to find such disgusting rhetoric in the National Review, it still amazes me that such ignorance exists.


I mean, WOW.

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Propaganda and your PC

posted by The Vidiot @ 7:33 AM Permalink

There is a warning that on November 11, al Qaeda will attack via computers.
Excerpt: Al Qaeda cyber-terrorists have announced they will launch an “electronic jihad” against online Western interests later this month, according to an Israeli news website.
(The information comes from DEBKAfile which, if you're paying attention, has a pretty bad reputation on the web.) Anyway, when I read the article, I remembered reading about the Storm Worm virus and how nobody really understood it, and anyone who probed the thing would have their systems attacked. My feeling about that was that the Storm Worm has a sort of benign, annoying exterior, but could be sitting there, waiting to turn into something really nasty. And I don't think FOR AN INSTANT that al Qaeda created it. It's more than likely created right here at home as a sort of internet kill switch for when the government needs to shut down the internet. Now, why would they need to shut down the internet on the 11th?

Well, that's my gut feeling and I'm sticking to it.

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Wednesday, November 07, 2007

A Constitutional Suspension ... or ... Enema of the State

posted by The Sailor @ 9:54 PM Permalink

BUSH: I spoke to President Musharraf right before I came over here to visit with President Sarkozy. And my message was that we believe strongly in elections and that you ought to have elections soon, and you need to take off your uniform. You can't be the president and the head of the military at the same time.

Irony, that rotting, pustular corpse that's steeped,
Spinning in its grave mixing metaphors and slamming shooters,
Could not have created this Commander In Chief,
Whose main accomplishment is falling off his Scooter And then pardoning the creep.

Cross posted at SteveAudio


You know, this Ron Paul thing is interesting.

posted by The Vidiot @ 2:30 PM Permalink

The MSM's knickers are surely bunched up. With Ron Paul's recent record-breaking fundraising success, the media has had to at least mention the guy. But my how they've mentioned him:
Media Infers Ron Paul Is A Terrorist
and my favorite:
Ron Paul, Fruitcake
They must be really freaking out. I mean, here's someone they haven't christened for chrissakes. How dare he?! They're even going to try to keep out of the next debate in Iowa. The republican party in Iowa has announced that a candidate must have:
Garnered at least 5% of the national electorate as determined by an average of the most recent national telephone polls of registered voters conducted by non-partisan public opinion polling organizations leading up to the registration deadline as determined by Fox News Channel and the Republican Party of Iowa or garnered an average of at least 5% in the most recent polls of Iowa voters conducted by the American Research Group and the Des Moines Register.
But, there's a funny thing about that 5% in the polls number. Seems he can't get 5% of the polls if HE'S NOT MENTIONED IN THE DAMN POLLING QUESTIONS.
Excerpt: A cursory glance of national polling data will reveal to anyone, even the most diehard supporter of corporate media’s integrity, that the mainstream polls used as statistical proof of Ron Paul’s low chances more often than not do NOT include Ron Paul in the polls. There have been dozens of major media polls, from the largest corporations to small college campus polls, supported by marketing firms and the like, and a large percentage of these showcase what seems a concerted effort to remove Ron Paul from pollsters lips, minds, and choices. Talking heads on FOX or MSNBC might often refer to Ron Paul as a ‘third tier’ candidate, or even a ‘dark horse’, but the comment is usually always followed with a remark about how he has no chances at winning, and the polls are cited as proof. Well, that might sound well and good. But how many voters or concerned media watchdogs actually then go out and read these national polls? Is it possible that the mainstream media could be united in purpose in suppressing a ‘rogue’ candidate such as Ron Paul? Yes, it is.
Boy, anyone who has the media bending this far backwards has GOT to having something going for him.

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Dollar at all time low so many countries are starting to go - elsewhere

posted by Bill Arnett @ 1:35 PM Permalink

bush loves to talk about what an "excellent and strong" economy America has, but even putting aside completely the subprime mortgage collapse rapidly approaching, our monetary policy has been so bad that ever more countries are abandoning the dollar as their currency of choice.

See this excellent piece about seven countries that may very well abandon the dollar, and I'm not even talking supermodels here:
[…]Countries are growing weary of losing money on the falling dollar. Many of them want to protect their financial interests, and a number of them want to end the US oversight that comes with using the dollar. Although it’s not clear how many of these countries will actually follow through on an abandonment of the dollar, it is clear that its status as a world currency is in trouble.

Obviously, an abandonment of the dollar is bad news for the currency. Simply put, as demand lessens, its value drops. Additionally, the revenue generated from the use of the dollar will be sorely missed if it’s lost. The dollar’s status as a cheaply-produced US export is a vital part of our economy. Losing this status could rock the financial lives of both Americans and the worldwide economy.
The list of countries? Saudi Arabia, South Korea, China, Venezuela, Iran, Sudan, and Russia. By coincidence these are all oil exporting countries or heavy oil importers, so switching to, say, euros instead of dollars, they won't lose 39% of the value of their investments because of the plummeting dollar.

The article give a great breakdown of the consequences of each of these countries abandoning the dollar and changing to other currencies, and in some cases, it is already happening.

The consequences are dire and could easily cause a recession in America and possibly the world.

So the next bush official that tries to tell you how fabulous our economy is, go read reports such as these for a glimmer of the real truth.

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bush has destroyed America's reputation, so I can't wait 'til he's on permanent vacation

posted by Bill Arnett @ 12:54 PM Permalink

From Raw Story:
"America's reputation, standing and influence are at all-time lows, and possibly sinking further," the report by a 20-member think-tank commissioned by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) said, citing half a dozen opinion polls from around the world.

"The terrorist attacks on 9/11 caused America to become a frightened and angry nation," it said.

"We reacted in ways that alarmed people the world over ... we relied excessively on hard military power to fight the war against terrorists and violent extremists.

"Ultimately this is a battle that will be won by ideas, not bullets. Just like the Cold War, we will prevail when the world chooses the opportunities we defend over the despair offered by our enemies."

The report, which was more than a year in the making, said the United States has focused too much on the war on terror and relied too heavily on military might in its foreign policy.[…]

It called on the next US president to chart a new course towards a "smarter" foreign policy that balances hard power -- "wielding carrots and sticks to get what you want" -- and soft power -- "the ability to attract people to our side without coercion."

By shifting its foreign policy focus from the war on terror to championing the global good, the United States will not only defeat terrorism but will also restore its greatness, the report said.
While I agree with every sentiment expressed here, we cannot forget that "the war on terra" was simply a construct used by bush/cheney to justify attacking Iraq for control of its oil fields, so the job of restoring our honor will be much more difficult as bush continues his systematic genocide of the Iraqi people to accomplish that goal.

Can anyone doubt that it is more important to just "stop bush" at all costs instead of suffering ever greater offensives under his so-called "leadership?" How much more will the world tolerate bush's imperial desires to militarily conquer all the oil-rich countries of the world?

The statement, "The terrorist attacks on 9/11 caused America to become a frightened and angry nation," confirms what I have thought for a long time: we are no longer the land of the free and the home of the brave as bush used extraordinary propaganda, egregious illegalities, and relentless fear/war-mongering to bring to us such new lows that it is impossible for the world to see or understand the greatness of this country and our people.

All we hear from Rethugs is "eternal war! eternal war!" and that world view will become the undoing of this wonderful country. Democrats like to offer hope and caring for our citizens and other citizens around the world.

The contrast could not be greater.

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Answer bogus polls with the truth

posted by Bill Arnett @ 11:01 AM Permalink

Because I made a mistake and contributed money to the worthless Dems last year I am, of course, now on their permanent mailing list and last week received one of those "Please answer this survey so the Democratic leadership can get my input," brochures. I'm sure every contributor has received these before, most probably just trashed it, some no doubt took the survey, but I decided from the way the questions were phrased that they were designed very carefully to guide you toward Democratic positions on a variety of measures. I usually trash it since I know they are simply seeking validation of their well-known positions and didn't give a damn about my opinion. And besides their positions were so weak as to be laughable.

This year I did not do that. I took a heavy black pen and wrote over each of their questions that I just want them to "Stop Bush" at any cost. Let the Rethugs filibuster, fill up the tree in the Senate, don't allow any Rethug measures pass, to obstruct and stop bush for the sake of our country.

I just firmly belief that about 70% of Americans just want to see bush stopped, stopped cold and unable to continue ruining this once great country that is now a third-rate banana republic, without the bananas.

JUST STOP BUSH FROM GETTING ANYMORE OF HIS PERNICIOUS PROGRAMS AND PROJECTS APPROVED AT ALL. Just don't bring any Rethug favored legislation to a vote, and let him veto the Democratic legislation that we can get passed. Yes, it will cause a variety of problems, BUT NO PROBLEM MORE SERIOUS THAN AMERICA BEING DESTROYED AT A FASTER AND FASTER PACE.

Of course, we don't currently have Democratic leaders to just stop bush at all costs, they lack the spine and courage, but I firmly believe that it would be better to just "STOP BUSH" than allow him to do more damage domestically, internationally, and constitutionally.

If any of you agree with me, please call your representatives and TELL THEM that it is far more important to temporarily restrain our government until it is replaced with a government that is "NOT BUSH!" Use "continuing resolutions" to continue funding certain parts of the government and if bush vetoes them just explain that it is more important by far to fight all enemies, foreign and domestic, and to actually protect the document everyone of them took an oath to protect, AND AMERICA HAS NEVER FACED A GREATER DOMESTIC THREAT TO OUR CONSTITUTION THAN THE BUSH/CHENEY MALADMINISTRATION POSES. (Yes, I'm yelling at my computer with the all caps, and I just wish everyone would join me in yelling to their representatives to just "STOP BUSH.")

I would at least respect them for that. It's harder and harder to have faith in Democrats anymore, and a bold move such as this may be what they need to finally place some restraints on bush and recover their previous reputations of old as being the "party of the people."

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