Saturday, December 29, 2007

Gee, and I though "Liberals" didn't have a sense of humor

I've never posted a reader comment before but this one, in reaction to "Humorous" wing nut e-mail" from yesterday, must be read by a wider public.
stevej said...
You said American (sic) has enjoyed "the highest standard of living the world has ever known under 'liberal' presidents FDR, Harry Truman, JFK and Lyndon Johnson."

So what is it about the welfare state and the leftist tax-and-spend philosophy that has been such a boon to the economy? How about a little economics lesson for the unenlightened?

By the way, remember the abysmal years of Jimmy Carter, who was far more liberal than the aforementioned presidents? (Actually, you probably don't. Judging by your juvenile overuse of f-words here, you're probably pushing 17 or so. Am I right?) really, Mr.j. I did resort to the "F-word" twice, once in its past progressive tense form for the act of coitus and once in its simple past tense form to mean a state of extreme inebriation. I mean, fuck, if I'd used "fuck" more than that I think I'd fucking know it.

As for economics, and I admit I left out Dwight D. Eisenhower's administration which did nothing to fundamentally alter the New Deal programs of FDR, though Ike did halt Truman's "creeping socialism."

As the Cold War unfolded in the decade and a half after World War II, the United States experienced phenomenal economic growth. The war brought the return of prosperity, and in the postwar period the United States consolidated its position as the world's richest country. Gross national product, a measure of all goods and services produced in the United States, jumped from about $200 thousand-million in 1940 to $300 thousand-million in 1950 to more than $500 thousand-million in 1960. More and more Americans now considered themselves part of the middle class.

During the 1980's employment grew rapidly in the United States, prompting many analysts to label the U.S. economy the great American job machine. But while aggregate employment increased rapidly during the 1980's, many did not benefit from the expansion. Among less educated prime-age males, unemployment rates rose and labor force participation rates declined sharply. Moreover, although job growth was high, many argued that the quality of American jobs as measured by wages, benefits, and job security deteriorated. The decline of jobs in the high-paying manufacturing sector and the growth of jobs in the low-paying services sector, the growth in part-time and temporary employment, and the general decline in real wages among less-educated, less-skilled workers have been presented as evidence of an erosion in job quality.
Susan N. Houseman

Mr. j lists his occupation as "liver salesman."

Friday, December 28, 2007

Ron Paul picks up an important endorsement

From The Des Moines Register:
Minuteman leaders give support to Paul
Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul Thursday picked up endorsements from several individual leaders of the Iowa Minuteman Civil Defense Corps, an anti-illegal immigration group.

Ron Duncan, the deputy director of the group's Iowa chapter, and Mark Land, Taylor County Minuteman leader, each offered the Texas congressman their personal endorsements.

"As a citizen, I kind of lean towards Ron Paul, but I don't really want to jump out there too strongly because of my position," Halverson said.

Halverson added that the bulk of another Iowa grassroots group, Citizens for Tom Tancredo, has also backed Paul.

"Humorous" wing nut e-mail

The first time I received this particular e-mail I did what any "liberal" would do: I deleted it. It's not funny at all and, on the whole, puerile and rather stupid. Well, yesterday a fellow liberal sent this bit of "conservative humor" to me, so I added my own commentary, in parentheses and like a Catholic Bible in red, and returned it to him.

History lesson:
Humans originally existed as members of small bands of nomadic hunters/gatherers. They lived on deer in the mountains during the summer and would go to the coast and live on fish and lobster in the winter.

The two most important events in all of history were the invention of beer and the invention of the wheel. The wheel was invented to get man to the beer. These were the foundation of modern civilization and together were the catalyst for the splitting of humanity into two distinct subgroups:

1. Liberals; and
2. Conservatives.

Once beer was discovered, it required grain and that was the beginning of griculture. Neither the glass bottle nor aluminum can were invented yet, so while our early umans were sitting around waiting for them to be invented, they just stayed close to the brewery (If this were the case all humanity would yet be living in one village,obviously drunk off our asses, and the rest of the earth would be left to the wildlife. Hmmm...certainly wouldn't have to worry about global warming, would we.) That's how villages were formed (This is bullshit, the archaeological record proves that villages came into existence before agriculture, but you can't tell this to a Neanderthal.)

Some men spent their days tracking and killing animals to B-B-Q at night while they were drinking beer. This was the beginning of what is known as the Conservative movement (That came to a crashing end in 5,000 B.C. when the Conservatives were too hung-over and bloated to protect the village after a night of binge-drinking and eating barbecue.)

Other men who were weaker and less skilled at hunting learned to live off the conservatives by showing up for the nightly B-B-Q's and doing the sewing, fetching, and hair dressing (And fucking their women because the Conservatives drank so much they had chronic limp-dick-itis, aka sexual impotency.) This was the beginning of the Liberal movement.

Some of these liberal men eventually evolved into women. The rest became known as girliemen (Wow! I didn't know Arnold Schwarzenegger was that old!).

Some noteworthy liberal achievements include the domestication of cats (which killed the rat, that ate the malt, to brew the beer yaddy-yaddy-yadda,) the invention of group therapy, group hugs, and the concept of Democratic voting (Like this is a bad thing??? Oh, that's right without a King, Emperor, Fuhrer or god a Conservative doesn't know when it's time to wipe his ass, pick his nose or tell everybody that he's "a big boy now and can make up his own mind.") to decide how to divide the meat and beer that conservatives provided (Well, somebody had to. The Conservatives were too fucked up on all the cheap beer they'd been guzzling to even know which way was up!)

Over the years conservatives came to be symbolized by the largest, most powerful land animal on earth, the elephant (which are on the verge of extinction from habitat loss, due to over population--because even using a rubber is too complex for your average Conservative--and ignorance of simple "conservation" practices. ) Liberals are symbolized by the jackass(Most of whom I see behind the steering wheel of Dodge Ram pick ups, Ford Broncos and Chevy Suburbans.)

Modern liberals like imported beer (with lime added),( How come the guys I see guzzling that Mexican swill-beer Corona usually are self-styled "rednecks?") but most prefer white wine or imported bottled water. They eat raw fish (What?! You badass Conservatives admitting you're pussies when it comes to eating survival food?) but like their beef well done(WTF?). Sushi, tofu, and French food are standard liberal fare.

Another interesting evolutionary side note: most of their women have higher testosterone levels than their men (Hold on, just a few lines up it says "Liberals" evolved into women or girliemen? You mean to tell me there are "Liberal" men?). Most social workers, personal injury attorneys, journalists, dreamers in Hollywood and group therapists are liberals (Does this list include Robert Novak, Charles Krauthammer {he was a psychiatrist before he became a wing nut columnist}, cartoonist Frank Miller of "300" fame, "comedian" Dennis Miller, Bruce Willis, Charlton Heston and John Wayne?). Liberals invented the designated hitter rule because it wasn't fair to make the pitcher also bat (The DH rule was "invented" by the American League, the league of Conservatives' favorite baseball team, The New York Yankees.)

Conservatives drink domestic beer (Which on average are lower alcohol than European or small-batch domestics or home brews, especially the watered "light" domestic beers favored by Conservatives) They eat red meat (If you can call the mystery glop McDonalds and Burger King serve "red" or "meat") and still provide for their women (In other words, as long a Mr. Badass Conservative keeps bringing home the paycheck to wifey, he just might get some sex....once a month...if he's lucky.) Conservatives are big-game hunters, rodeo cowboys, lumberjacks, construction workers (the majority of whom are now "illegal" immigrants from Mexico and Central America. Think I'm lying? Just check out any work site of the biggest highway contractor in you area next summer) , firemen, medical doctors, police officers, corporate executives (I guess some one had to work these drones in. But why?), athletes, Marines, ( Sounds like a list of the characters from the Village People) and generally anyone who works productively (Got to exclude insurance salesmen, used car salesmen, furniture salesmen, real estate salesmen, stock brokers, skip-tracers, right-wing talk show hosts and wealthy heirs then.) Conservatives who own companies hire other conservatives who want to work for a living (at slave-wages because they're too smart to join a labor union. This is called "taking it up the ass without the Vaseline and liking it.")

Liberals produce little or nothing (Except the highest standard of living the world has ever known under "liberal" presidents FDR, Harry Truman, JFK and Lyndon Johnson.) They like to govern the producers and decide what to do with the production (This sounds more like your average American CEO the majority of whom are overwhelmingly Republican.) Liberals believe Europeans are more
enlightened than Americans (At this time in US history, this statement is the only thing I agree with.) That is why most of the liberals remained in
Europe when conservatives were coming to America . They crept in after the
Wild West was tamed (These are all the creeps whose last names end in vowels or ski or vich, who thump their chests about how their great-grandparents came here LEGALLY through Ellis Island and want all "illegal" immigrant deported back to Mexico) and created a business of trying to get more for
nothing (I call these folks Libertarians.)

Here ends today's lesson in world history: It should be noted that a Liberal may have a momentary urge to angrily respond to the above before forwarding
it (Didn't forward it because it's the stupidest, god damned thing I ever read.) A Conservative will simply laugh and be so convinced of the absolute
truth of this history (They all must have flunked history then or played hooky) that it will be forwarded immediately to other true believers (Yes, belief is easier than thinking, after all) and to more liberals just to piss them off.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

What do Europeans know about border security?

What do Europeans know about border security that we "smart" Americans don't? Here's what a report from the German Der says:
On Friday, for the first time ever, Germany and Austria will no longer have passport checks on any of its borders except on the frontier with Switzerland. Nine new countries -- Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia and Malta -- will officially become part of the Schengen Agreement, the European treaty that allows for border-free travel. Switzerland will, in 2008, join Norway and Iceland as non-EU members of Schengen. As of this weekend, travelers can go from the easternmost tip of Estonia all the way to the Atlantic coast in Portugal without encountering a single border official (airport checks are to remain in effect for the first few months of 2008).
Meanwhile we "intelligent," "brave" American must surrender a passport at the Canadian and Mexican boarders after January 31, 2008.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Why "they" hate us...

...And why big oil, big pharma, big retail and Rupert Murdoch are all supporting Hillary Clinton!

Update on passport

Well, no surprise here, I canceled the goddamned thing. Yeah, and I'm out a hundred twelve bucks. But does that mean I'm going to let it rest? Hell, no! I received a privacy release from and sent it and a letter back to Congressman Leonard Boswell's office yesterday after a telephone discussion with "Michael" at the Charleston Passport Center.

This doesn't get any better. Now "Michael" tells me that "a documents expert" at the passport center determined that the bottom portion of my birth certificate is missing. I guess that's the portion where Polk County embedded the microchip in 1950!

What really pisses me off is that some goddamned GS-4 is making the claim that the birth certificate, that laid in my safe deposit box for eleven years, had been deliberately tampered with by parties unknown, including myself. When I get the birth certificate back I'm going to the Polk County Recorder's Office and ask if anything's amiss. If I'm told that it looks like a bona fide Polk County issued copy of a birth certificate, I'm going to ask for an affidavit stating the birth certificate is on good shape and forward that information to Senator Harkin's and Congressman Boswell's offices. If it comes back looking like was mangled in some sort of machinery I'll forward that information to Harkin and Boswell's offices too.

And if my birth certificate comes back all chewed up I'm going to be pissed. But not because it's torn, spindled and mutilated but because these passport jackasses lied. If they'd sent me a letter saying ",Sorry, but the machine ate your birth certificate, can we have another"...yeah, sure, I'd be pissed but I'd understand.

But what "Michael" and his merry band of GS-4s have done is question the very authenticity of my citizenship. That's something no one, especially not the federal government, has the right to do to anyone.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Passport! Schmassport!

You know, I can't say I've been too terribly happy to say I'm an American for some time but now I'm pissed off. This "security" state bullshit has gone way too far. Let me tell you why.

My 83-year-old father wants to winter in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas for perhaps the last time. I'm driving down with him and then I'm flying home. In the spring I'll fly down to the McAllen airport, help him pack up and drive him back home. That's not the problem.

You see we like to cross the Rio Grande into the little Mexican border town of Nuevo Progresso for an authentic Mexican meal. We had Thanksgiving dinner at Garcia's Restaurant above the Canada Store on Ave. Benito Juarez last year and the food and friendly service were wonderful.

So between then and now the Department of Homeland Security says that Americans coming back from Mexico and Canada, starting January 31, 2008, must possess a passport. So, thinking I'm doing the right thing, on October 19 of this year, I go to my credit union, open my safe-deposit box, retrieve my birth certificate where it has lain for the last eleven years and go to the passport office in the main Post Office. I fill out the application form, have my photo taken, surrender my birth certificate, which at the time the lady handling the application found in perfect order, and wrote out two checks, one to the State Department for $67 and another to the Postal Service for $45. This is so simple I don't know why I never did it before. So far so good.

But when I open my mail on November 5 I find a letter from the Charleston (SC) Passport Center tell me that there's a tiny corner cut out of the bottom of my birth certificate (this was how some asshole named "Michael" described it to me over the phone last night.) A fucking tiny corner missing from the bottom of my birth certificate?! What the fuck?! Did Polk County have micro-chips embedded in that missing corner of my birth certificate in 1950 or something?! What the fuck difference does it make?!

Anyway, you can't talk to anybody from the U.S. State Department Passport division over the phone about this, you can't email anybody and get any satisfaction and the fucking Charleston Passport Center is closed to the public! This is MY government we're talking about here. A fucking federal facility not open to the fucking public! The only way one can contact the Charleston Passport Center is via snail-mail, something I don't really mind, but it is childish. Here's the reason given for this petty behavior by my government:

The Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative is a result of the Intelligence Reform and Prevention Act of 2004 (IRTPA), requiring all travelers to present a passport or other document that denotes identity and citizenship when entering the U.S.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced on February 22 its intent to propose, as part of the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI), significant flexibility regarding travel documents required for U.S. and Canadian children as part of WHTI requirements for U.S. land and sea border entry in 2008.

The goal of the initiative is to strengthen U.S. border security while facilitating entry for U.S. citizens and legitimate foreign visitors by providing standardized documentation that enables the Department of Homeland Security to quickly and reliably identify a traveler.
Got it? " quickly and reliably identify a traveler."

But you know what, folks?! This isn't for security's sake. This isn't going to keep terrorists out of the country. This is about harassment and humiliation. This is bullying by the Department of Homeland Security. But that's what this government is now all about; it bullys and harasses its employees, bullys other sovereign nations, humiliates illegal immigrants and harasses, humiliates and bullys it citizens in thousands of little ways on a daily basis.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Veterans' Day 2007: Sentimentality in uniform

Well, here it is Veterans' Day 2007. It used to be called Armistice Day in remembrance of the end of The Great War, which, after the unpleasantness of World War II, got a name change. Not that anyone really cares about World War I these days. That's ancient history, so yesterday and it has nothing to do with what's happening now.

And I suppose it doesn't, for there were reasons the great European powers went to war with one-another 93 years ago. Stupid, petty reasons to be sure but reasons nonetheless. Or so the leaders of France, Germany, Russia and Great Britain thought; for when we delve just a little beneath the surface what we find is a trio of royal cousins wanting an excuse to whack the crap out of each other. A lot of death, destruction and mayhem could have been avoided if the King of Great Britain, the Kaiser of Germany and the Czar of Russia had been locked in a room and beaten one another to a bloody pulp, last man standing the winner.

So how does this relate to the current "war" on terror? Because, at least in the early days of World War I the civilian population cheered declarations of war, the boys enlisted and, with much pomp and ceremony, marched off to die. And, at least according to the "polls" Americans overwhelmingly supported the opening notes of Operation Iraqi Liberation. But like the Vietnam burned babies that we are, we, the American people, have soured on President George W. Bush's little occupation of Iraq.

But we haven't soured on putting on a big sendoff for our boys and girls in uniform. Here's a sample of the latest teary-eyed, heart-tugging ceremony for the Iowa National Guards' 186th Military Police Company, in a story by reporter Melissa Walker in this morning's Sunday Des Moines Register

A soldier took a loved one down a quiet hallway to comfort her and privately say goodbye.

A freckle-faced boy wore his father's Army cap and looked up at him with pride.

A young man held his wife's hand and smiled as he patted her stomach, their baby growing inside.

There were hundreds of moments like these at the send-off on Saturday for the roughly 130 members of the Iowa Army National Guards 186th Military Police Company The company is headed to Fort Dix, N.J., for training before its deployment to Iraq.
Aw, isn't that touching. It makes this company of trained killers seem so human. Oopsie! I called them "trained killers!" I meant professional military police officers be sent to Iraq to "train" the Iraqis to police themselves. Odd, isn't it! I always thought Saddam Hussein's Iraq was something of a police state? Oh, well, silly me.

And to add a little noise and color to the sendoff ceremonies the Patriot Guard Riders, a group of Harley-Davidson ridding, flag waving, middle-aged cases of arrested development are donating their services to protect these brave boys and girls from the Reverend Fred Phelps and his merry band of Westboro Baptist homo haters. Fortunately for Register readers any reference to the Patriot Guard Riders or Fred Phelps was edited out, or both packs of assholes decided not to show.

But if we revel in the wonderful sendoffs for our "heroes" in uniform, equally we revel when they come home in a box or under their own power. We love the spectacle of flags and marching soldiers, their weeping families when they return. It only lasts a few minutes at most on the TV screen but it's so-o-o-o "emotional."

Anyway, like I wrote back on September 27 on this blog: As long as there is an All Volunteer Force. And as long as troop levels remain constantly around a 100,000 to 150,000 the American public will put up with the continued occupation of Iraq and subjugation of its people. This is the cynical and terrible arithmetic of Iraq.

To illustrate my point of September 27 last may I offer some quotations from the Veteran's Day story by George Basler in this morning's the Binghamton, NY Press & Sun-Bulletin
They're a different kind of veteran than previous generations, because they're fighting in an all-volunteer army, military officials said. Most of the country, exempt from a draft, can go about its business without being touched by war, or even thinking about it.

Opposition to the war disturbs Vincent Ruffo, 50, of Port Dickinson, who served in Afghanistan in 2004 and 2005 as a sergeant with the 204th Engineer Battalion. He was in the National Guard for 20 years and also served at the ruins of the World Trade Center in New York City following the events of 9/11. He thinks too many people are forgetting that day, and why the United States is fighting. Maybe it will take another tragedy to wake people up, he said.

"What makes me mad is when people say we're a country at war. We're not a country at war. We're a military at war," [Joseph Merrill] the deputy Binghamton clerk said. He has more respect for people who are vocally against the war, even though he doesn't agree with them, than he has for people who say they support the war, but don't give anything back.
With that I close this Veterans' Day tirade.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

LTE: November 6, 2007

The Des Moines Register editorial, Confirm Mukasey as U.S. attorney general, November 6, 2007, illustrates why the many voters are losing confidence in the Democratic Party, and why the United States is losing respect in the world.

Judge Michael Mukasey may be a fine jurist and personal acquaintance of New York Senator Charles Shumer, and have the credentials required to bring a smidgen of dignity back to the office of U.S. attorney general. Yet his unwillingness to denounce "waterboarding" as torture should out weigh all other considerations when the Senate votes to confirm or deny his appointment.

In 2004, in an effort to form a coherent Justice Department policy on torture, then acting assistant attorney general Daniel Levin subject himself to waterboarding. Following that experience Levin issued a memo declaring "Torture is abhorrent both to American law and values and to international norms." For his efforts Levin was shown the door by, then, in-coming attorney general Alberto Gonzales.

It is alleged President Franklin Roosevelt said of a Central American dictator, "He may be a son of a b____, but he's our son of a b____ ." If this is the kind of reasoning certain leading centrist Democrats, most prominently Shumer and California's Senator Diane Feinstein, have for confirming Mukasey, it is not good enough.

Nor is any pledge of judicial independence made by Mukasey good enough. If we have learned anything
from the history of this administration it is pledges are not worth the paper on which they are written; nor will a Democratically controlled Congress do its Constitutional duty and check the power of the presidency.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Expect "Harry and Louise" to rise from the grave

Oh, Jesus Christ, here we go again!
WASHINGTON - President Bush ratcheted up his confrontation with Democratic leaders Wednesday, laying out what he said is a stark ideological divide between a fiscally prudent, free market-loving GOP president and a Congress that aims to raise taxes and nationalize health care.

In seeking to prove that Democrats really are working toward federalized care as a replacement for the current private medical system, he criticized the comprehensive and famously unsuccessful effort led by then-first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton in the early 1990s to reshape U.S. health care and dramatically expand access.

According to Bush, Democratic baby steps toward nationalized health care include allowing younger people into programs designed for senior citizens, allowing adults into programs aimed at children and allowing the middle class into programs for the poor.
JENNIFER LOVEN, Associated Press Writer
If the American electorate falls for this bullshit again we deserve to die in the gutter when we can't pay for catastrophic illnesses! Isn't that how the "free market" works? If you can afford it you live, if not you die. Anyway, Hillary's bullshit "universal" healthcare is mandatory insurance, not a Canadian-style, single-payer branch of the federal government.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Do we need a coup d'etat to right the Ship of State?

We have truly entered the era of dangerous stupidity. To wit, this essay posted at the progressive/left Web site Online, by contributor John Stanton, titled Uniformed, active US military: Last hope for the US Constitution and the Republic. Writes Mr. Stanton:

"The uniformed, active duty members of the United States military are now the only force potent enough to stop the corporatization of America's public goods: its land, its air, its water, its people, its institutions, its infrastructure, and its rapidly deteriorating social compact.

...The uniformed US military is allowing itself to be transformed into a corporate monster. Even now, some military leaders act just like the callous CEOs in private industry. They throw away lives like a CEO blithely chops away 1,000 livelihoods. As it stands, within a decade the uniformed services will be totally polluted with over-the-horizon leaders who see their service to the country as little more than a CEO training exercise. At that point, the uniformed services will become little more than corporate muscle that is used to eliminate local or regional resistance to the corporate takeovers."
Here I pause and exclaim:"Allowing?!" The uniformed military already is a "corporate monster." It was transformed into a corporate monster on on July 1, 1973 when the law, signed by Richard Nixon in 1971, ending the draft and putting the Selective Service on standby, went into effect.

And I think Mr. Stanton is behind the time in his assessment it will be within a decade when military officer training is little more than training exercises for future CEOs and smooching up to the corporatist world. Take for example this March 16, 2006 posting from
Less than 6 months ago Gen. Richard B. Myers retired as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the highest ranking military officer in the country. He’s quickly found alternative employment. From the Chicago Tribune’s The Swamp:

Northrop Grumman, one of the nation’s largest and best-known defense firms, announced Wednesday that Myers, an Air Force veteran and former fighter pilot, has joined its board of directors.

As one of 11 “non-employee” directors, Myers will earn $200,000 a year, according to a company spokesman. Half of that sum is paid to the company’s 12 directors in stock.
In exchange for his 200K, Myers will have to attend “eight scheduled board meetings this year, two of which are conducted by phone.
This is only one example. Generals and Navy admirals sliding into cushy corporate positions is the norm, not the exception. Yet this doesn't seem to deter Stanton in his call for a military takeover of the government.
How long until the uniformed military carries out its core duty to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States? The uniformed military is the only US government institution that has the tenuous trust and respect of the American people. The US Senate, House, presidency and judicial branches -- advised by their corporate handlers -- have used the uniformed US military to serve their own individual interests, not those embodied in the Constitution of the United States or the Declaration of Independence. The premeditated policies of the current US government are literally killing the American people and creating foreign enemies that future American youngsters will be asked to kill. America can't even run a legitimate presidential election.

Two decades of this madness is enough. The uniformed military needs to be true to its oath of office. It's the domestic enemies that are destroying the country. The US Army oath for officers states, " . . . I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign or domestic, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservations or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office upon which I am about to enter . . ."
What a sad commentary on the state of current affairs when a progressive Web site posts an essay calling for a military putsch against the federal government. I understand Stanton's anguish and frustration with the corporatist reality of our political system but to call for a military dictatorship borders on insanity. Take for example the murder acquittal of Army sniper Jorge G. Sandoval Jr. or the clearing of murder charges for two soldiers at Fort Bragg, as reported by Robert Perry in this morning's edition of, against civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan respectively. What lesson does this convey to our troopers of the All Volunteer Force? That if you're in uniform you can get away with murder? If that is the case why uphold the Constitution?

A 1999 study by Duke University professors Paul Gronke and Peter D. Feaver found: "Military elite officers, far more than elite civilians, are prone to view civilian society as troubled and in need of reform. Elite military officers, far more than elite civilians, are prone to think that civilian society can be repaired if only military values were more widely accepted."

Wishing for a military overthrow of the federal government is neither wise nor desirable, especially considering the widening philosophical gap between the all volunteer professional military and the rest of the population. That this country will fall under a military dictorship within the next ten years I have no doubt. And that the antiwar left will rue the day it ever supported the Milton J. Friedmen inspired All Volunteer Force, of this I also have no doubt.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

LTE: October 21, 2007

I find John Carlson the least professional, least reliable, not to mention least readable, of all the Des Moines Register's in-house columnists. However in a column in The Sunday Des Moines Register, "Biden takes a hit by funding vehicle that saved Iowans," October 21, 2007, Carlson hits a new low in journalistic sloppiness.

At one point in his column, an homage to Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) military vehicles and Delaware Senator Joe Biden, Carlson states as fact, Iowa City antiwar activists confronted the Democratic presidential candidate with placards reading "Impeach Joe Biden." Yet in doing a cursory Google search to prove, or not, Carlson's allegation, the only Web page with the requisite criteria was Carlson's own column!

Carlson implies that only Biden, out of the Senatorial Democrats running for the White House, supports the troops in Iraq. Had Carlson merely cross-checked to Register blogger David Goodner's October 10 entry he would learn that Biden, like the other Democratic presidential candidates, did not vote on the full National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008 to which the Biden MRAP amendment is attached. A further check is found at the Web site which shows that not only did Biden skip the defense funding vote but so did Hillary Clinton, Barak Obama, Christopher Dodds and Iraq war supporter John McCain.

In this age of Internet connectivity and Google searches Carlson has no excuse for playing fast and loose with facts.

Carlson, like all Americans, is guaranteed the right to address his opinions. However, the use of half-truths, implications and innuendoes in the guise of fact, placing editorial opinion on the border of propaganda, has no place in the arsenal of the responsible journalist.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Oh, Christ, Ann Coulter, again

Oh, jeeze, the dumb bitch has gone off and offended America's Jews this time.

Will somebody knock this dumbass up and padlock her to a stove? I mean, isn't that what right wing reactionary women are for, breeding more little right wing bastards and keeping their big mouths shut?

Sunday, October 07, 2007

LTE: October 6, 2007

The tone of Dr. Charles F. Hesse's October 6, 2007 letter to the editor, "Medicare-type insurance penalizes providers," makes the good doctor appear as if he is more concerned about his bottom-line than the health and well-being of his patients.

Yet Dr. Hesse's letter would not seem so whiny and self-serving had he mentioned the reason for his ire, the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003 (MMA) that, then, had the support of the American Medical Association.

Medicare payments to physicians for traditional Medicare Parts A and B have remained stagnant since 2001. This in itself is bad enough. But according to the AMA itself it is Medicare Advantage plans in which benefits and payments are administered by private healthcare insurance companies that are short changing both patients and physicians.

In May of this year the AMA reported that a survey of its members found than half that the patients with Medicare Advantage HMOs and PPOs were denied services typically covered by traditional Medicare. The same survey also reported that 51 percent of its doctors received lower payments from Medicare Advantage plans than from traditional Medicare.

But for the healthcare insurance companies which handle Medicare Advantage plans the federal government picks up the enrollee's monthly premium to the tune of $800 to $2,000 a month.

Dr. Hesse concludes by advising Des Moines Registers readers to visit the American Medical Association's Web site for "an intelligent solution to the health-care dilemma." Among the AMA's proposals are a national cap on medical malpractice law suit awards and shifting the burden of health insurance ownership from employers to individuals. It is little different than the so-called "universal" healthcare plan forwarded by Democratic presidential hopeful Senator Hillary Clinton and keeps the private sector in the mix.

Perhaps Dr. Hesse should be asking why a private healthcare insurance company, answerable only to its major shareholders, is better than a single-payer healthcare system which, if the government is properly functioning, is accountable to the voting public?

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

New Internet fun: Celebrity Look-alikes

Check this out! From My

Wow!! Kim Jong-Il looks only 72% like Kim Jong-Il!!
It must be the hair.

Ann Coulter's breeding always comes through.

Mitt Romney and Drew Barrymore? must be the lip gloss.

A tip o' the spoon to Older Music Greek's Stupid Stuff

Monday, October 01, 2007

O' No She Di'ent

The scary-looking tranny in the photo is the now infamous Debra Cagan, a U.S.
Defense Department Deputy Assistant Secretary for Coalition Affairs to Secretary Robert Gates, who said on September 11 of this year, no less, to a group of visiting United Kingdom Members of Parliament, "I hate all Iranians." I will let the newspaper that broke the story, The Mail On fill in the details:
And she also accused Britain of "dismantling" the Anglo-US-led coalition in Iraq by pulling troops out of Basra too soon.

"She seemed more keen on saying she didn't like Iranians than that the US had no plans to attack Iran," said one MP. "She did say there were no plans for an attack but the tone did not fit the words."

Another MP said: "I formed the impression that some in America are looking for an excuse to attack Iran. It was very alarming."
Of course The Pentagon had an elaborate excuse for Ms. Cagan's behavior, "She doesn't speak that way," said an official.

Now to be "fair" the above photo was not taken at the time of the MPs' visit last month but in October of 2005 on the occasion of Ms. Cagan receiving Hungary's Commander's Cross Order of Merit. At the reception at the Hungarian embassy in Washington, D.C. marking "National Day" Ms. Cagan's remarks are unrecorded. But from the wistful expression on her face she must be recalling better days when a mighty contingent of 300 doughty Magyars fought with the Coalition of the Willing in Iraq before turning tail and running in March of that same year.

Ah, well, here's to you Debra Cagan! Coalition builder, Iranian hater, and promoter of Sepoy armies. Iron Crosses become you.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

The terrible arithmetic of the Iraq war

In March 1864 [Ulysses S.] Grant was appointed General-in-Chief commanding all armies of the U.S. Throughout the War, President Lincoln had bemoaned the fact that although the North outnumbered the South in population, resources and finances, he could find no Union general to take advantage of this disparity. Lincoln had found his general who "knew how to do the arithmetic."
Mason-Dixon Chat Forum

We don't have to go back to the Civil War to find another U.S. general who knew how to do the arithmetic of war, only to February 2003.

In testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee then Army Chief of Staff Eric Shinseki coyly stated, "...something on the order of several hundred thousand soldiers are probably, you know, a figure that would be required." The figures Shinseki would not openly state are estimated to be on the order of 300,000 to 500,000 "boots on the ground" to pacify a country of 25 million people in a territory as large a California. And since the United States military, at that time had, and continues to have, significant force commitments in Afghanistan, Bosnia, South Korea and Germany, as well as the U.S. Marine Corps la la-land of Okinawa and smaller numbers of U.S. troops scattered in the Central Asian "Stans" and Central and South American, there just was not enough volunteers in the All Volunteer Force to go around.

But as we know older but not much wiser heads in the Pentagon poo-pooed Shinseki's alarmist rhetoric and bit him a fond farewell into a well deserved retirement. Heck, "Big Daddy" Don Rumseld and Paul "Wolfie" Wolfowitz figured, America will only need 100,000 troops to secure Iraq, 150,000 tops!

Well, were did Rummy and Wolfie come up with their figures? Did they just pull them out of their asses? Could be? But I don't think so. They had to arrive at that number somewhere, somehow. According to a Global essay titled "Where are the Legions? [SPQR] Global Deployments of U.S. Forces"

As of January 2005, there are some 250,000 soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen deployed in support of combat, peacekeeping, and deterrence operations. This figure does not include those forces normally present in Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom or Japan unless bases at those locations are actively supporting a combat operation. Furthermore, tours of duty in these locations are routine and not considered hardship tours. If one were to include these forces the number of deployed troops worldwide would be around 350,000.

O.K. ask yourself, why do we need forces stationed in Germany? Japan? World War II has been over for 62 years now. Neither Germany or Japan has made any moves threatening world peace. Yet the United States still maintains troops in those two nations, as it does in the Axis Powers' little partner Italy. The rationale, I guess, is that troops in these nations serve as a first line of defense in case the Soviets get any ideas. Well, the Soviet Union went the way of the dodo fifteen years ago, so there you go. But I forget Bosnia. Again, why does the U.S. need military bases in Germany, Italy and Japan, since the U.S. military's established bases in Bosnia? I have read the absurd argument that if the United States shuts its bases in Germany and Japan, those two robust economies will greatly suffer!

So what I figure, and I am no expert, is, if the United States administration of George W. Bush, the Republican-dominated Congress and the Rumsfeld-led Pentagon were ever serious about a long-range occupation of Iraq why did they not do any pre-invasion groundwork, close some bases NATO bases in Europe, bases in Japan and cancel some of the Army's smaller worldwide "training" missions? I mean if Bush, the Republican Congress and the Rumsfeld Defense Department had not intended on a long term occupation why did it fire, first post-invasion administrator, Jay Garner? Why not follow George H.W. "Poppy" Bush's model of "regime change" ? Why did they let L. Paul "Jerry" Bremer carry out the de-Ba'athification of Iraq, thereby demobilizing both the Iraqi army and national and local police forces, the only native agencies of stability until a new civilian government could be constituted? And did Bremer act on his own or on orders from high up?

Stupidity? Hubris? There are two popular explanations for the Bush administration's post-invasion actions in Iraq. However, let us backtrack to the beginning for a second shall we.

In the run-up to invasion was it merely a speech writer's hyperbole that transformed two minor irritants to U.S. global hegemony into an axis-of-evil with Saddam's Iraq in the 2002 State of the Union Address? After all, Iran's leaders at that time wanted to be rid of Saddam as much as our boy king. And North Korea needed only one more famine before the skeletal masses toppled Kim Jong-Il off his elevator shoes.

Yet in that one speech Bush transformed "dear leader's" pompadour into a deadly nuclear mushroom cloud and the Iranian ayatollahs into Saddam's drinking buddies.

With threats such as these the United States could not redeploy out of Korea, Germany or Japan. The long suffering citizens of Okinawa would have to put up with 20,000 swaggering, arrogant U.S. Marines for a little longer. One never knew when the spectral, starving hoards of the diminutive North Korean dictator would stream down to engulf the well-fed, Brobdingnagian forces of our enfeebled, ally South Korea. And the Iranian ayatollahs, in support of their bosom friend Saddam, might try a flanking movement, sweep through the "Stans," gobble up Turkey and slide into Greece!

The architects of the Iraq invasion and occupation, with the exception of the president, had all been in and out of the higher echelons of federal governmental service for the better parts of thirty years, either in a White House staff, the Department of Defense and the CIA. So before the Iraq invasion they had to know the exact location, strength and readiness disposition of every American military unit on land and sea.

It was while watching the testimony of General David Betray-usPetraeus, overall commander of the MultiNational Force-Iraq (MNF-I), before the House Foreign Affairs and Armed Services joint committees, that this political general was laying the groundwork for a protracted U.S. stay in Iraq. After all, he only promised troop "re deployments" "...until we reach the pre-surge level of 15 brigade combat teams by mid-July 2008." Beyond that, "I do not believe it is reasonable to have an adequate appreciation for the pace of further reductions and mission adjustments beyond the summer of 2008 until about mid-March of next year." In other words from a "surge" high of 172,000 soldiers and marines in Iraq to around 140,000 to 150,000 combat troops. A great withdrawal indeed.

That's when I turned to my friend, with whom I was watching this televised dog-and-pony show, and said, "You know how Lincoln said Grant knew the terrible arithmetic of war? I think these guys know that they can keep this thing going without pissing off a significant portion of the American public. I think they know that the America public will put up with 100,000 to 150,000 troops in Iraq for a long time without massive protest."

"Aw, c'mon, Ernie, you don't think they'd be that cynical, do you?"

I arched an eyebrow, "Look that this administration's record."

My buddy turned reflexive, "Remember, I said at the beginning of this thing that the America people would turn against it once America deaths hit twenty a day. This last week 19 killed in Iraq, one of the worst weeks, but still not to a level that'll piss a lot of people off."

"Yeah, just enough boys coming home in boxes, " I said, "so certain segments of society can "honor" our fallen "heroes" on the local news but not enough that it really ramps up an anti-war movement."

"That makes sense, why else do we have all these bourgie funeral processions and sends offs and stuff." He added, "Ya can't go wrong playing on the American public's appetite for sentimentality!"

The terrible arithmetic the Bush administration has calculated is that anything greater than present troop levels in Iraq may tip the majority of the American people into the anti-war column. As it is combat deaths are low enough that the small segment who yet support the war are featured, at least once a month, on local television newscasts performing the rite of "welcoming the fallen hero home." These overtly sentimental funeral services always have a requisite avenue of American flags and, thanks in large part to Westboro Baptist Church leader Fred "God Hates Fags" Phelps, for the fallen hero, motorcycle riding "honor guard" to drive away protesters. I'm sure this includes those who truly want an end to America's occupation of Iraq.

Yet, on the other hand, there are not enough young men and women serving in Iraq to activate those, who while opposed, have no personal investment in seeing the occupation end. All those who serve in Iraq are volunteers and they are there because they want to be there. Perhaps Richard Nixon's biggest mistake in his conduct of the Vietnam War was acquiescing to the anti-war movement's criticism of the Selective Service System, being too selective, and instituting a military draft lottery. When white, suburban college students were pulled out of class to train for combat in Vietnam that's when the shit really hit the fan.

The Bush administration knows this. As do the cowardly anti-warriors who resist any and all calls for a national service draft.

And so do the top three Democratic candidates for president. As witnessed in the recent debate of September 25, John Edwards, Barak Obama and Hillary Clinton,"...refused on Wednesday night to promise that they would withdraw all American troops from Iraq by the end of their first term, saying in a televised debate here that they could not predict the future challenges in Iraq."(New York

As long as there is an All Volunteer Force. And as long as troop levels remain constantly around a 100,000 to 150,000 the American public will put up with the continued occupation of Iraq and subjugation of its people. This is the cynical and terrible arithmetic of Iraq.

Monday, September 24, 2007

We Take the "Mysterious Yellow Book Challange"


You know, I respect Greg Palast as the best investigative reporter in America, if not the world. But I just can't shake the feeling this kid, "The" Andrew Meyer, has taken him, and a goodly portion of the progressive/left blogosphere, in. And Palast and his crew, being Americans in America, has to make a buck. And his business is selling books.

So having a bunch of idiots show up at poltical rallies clutching Palast's "mysterious yellow book" is a very old, simple and effective marketing technique.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Greg Palast is setting himself up for pieing

Jesus, Greg Palast's ego is really clouding his judgement.

Ever since the "Don't Tase me, bro" incident (see below, ets), Palast has been egotripping over the fact that "The" Andrew Meyer clutched a copy of Armed Madhouse.

Well, on Thursday The Brad disclosed,
[Greg] Palast says he is offering the journalism student a job as a paid intern. [Andrew] Meyer had described Palast, in his question to Sen. John Kerry, asking why he conceded the 2004 Presidential Election so early, as "the top investigate journalist in America."

"His attorneys seem to be keeping him on ice," Palast told us, when we asked if he'd been able to officially offer the gig to Meyer.

Indeed, our note to Meyer sent Tuesday, inviting him to Guest Blog his experience here at The BRAD BLOG, has so far similarly gone unanswered.
Now, were I one of the English-speaking world's finest investigative reporters the fact that "His attorneys seem to be keeping him on ice," should raise some cause for suspicion. And, interestingly enough, "An officer, however, said in the police report that Meyer's "demeanor completely changed once the cameras were not in sight" and that he was "laughing" and "lighthearted" on the way to jail[,]" in an AP story by Travis Reed.

But Palast, being an American, can't resist making a few buck off this deal so his Web site is offering the Mysterious Yellow Book Challenge. In shilling this "challenge" Palast producer Zach Roberts writes
So here’s the challenge. EVERYONE SHOULD DO AN ANDREW MEYERS. What we mean is, WAVE YOUR MYSTERIOUS YELLOW BOOK - Armed Madhouse - at the media sheep and the party hacks - and send us a photo or video.

You don’t have to buy the book. Just print out a copy (YELLOW!) of the book cover.
...Imagine a sea of mysterious yellow jackets waving at John Kerry everywhere he goes - and maybe a couple of signs, ‘ANSWER ANDREW’S QUESTION!’
I don't know why Roberts isn't more truthful by adding, buying the book is just the right touch to insure your video or photo is selected for posting.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

More on "The" Andrew Meyer and the paper tigers of the anti-war movement

Oh, jeeze, they just won't let it go. But I suppose anyone who has ever been the victim of a fraud or bought something totally worthless and paid too much for it just does not want to admit he has been played for the fool.

Today's font of rightous indignation over the "The" Andrew Meyer affair is Online editor Bev Conover, one of the oldest and better progressive/leftist commentary sites on the Web. But what has Conover's panties in a bunch is the growing number of journalists questioning "The" Andrew Meyer's motives in Gainesville Monday (see Simply Ernest below).

Writes Conover:

Now it's the victim's motives and not the cops' brutality that is being questioned. Even the Times of London got in on that act. Wrote the Times, "Critics have suggested that the entire incident was a planned attempt to win attention for a student who has already posted dozens of videos of himself on his website

Hey, he's a college student for crissakes! This is utter nonsense and beside the point.
Try clicking the link to It goes to the Web site for a manufacturer of upscale jewelry. What's up with that?

Conover directs part of her rant toward Air America radio host and Countdown with Keith Olbermann contributor Rachel Maddow with:

But free speech rights don't cut it with today's corporate media, in whose class we now have to put Air America's Rachel Maddow. Instead, it's questions about Meyer's background that has become the story.

Rachel Maddow, on Tuesday night's Countdown on MSNBC, also showed her hand by questioning whether Meyer's behavior was a stunt to gain attention, while expressing her support for police and brushing off First Amendment rights.
Sorry, but I heard and saw Maddow's piece Tuesday night and, no, she did not express support for the University of Florida campus police. And sorry, it has not been posted at yet. Or anyplace else for that matter, but it will be.

But ninteen paragraphs in Conover gets to what really chaps her ass:

Unlike the Vietnam War era, the only coverage of today's antiwar protests is negative. Rarely is anything shown of cops brutalizing protestors, who often are herded into "Free Speech Zones," and when it is covered, it's usually disruption caused by those clad in black government infiltrators the media call "anarchists." (Remember Seattle and Miami?) No peacenik in her right mind today would dream of sticking a flower in the barrel of an AK47 carried by a cop dressed as Darth Vader, without risking being shot.
Well, gee, Bev but what day did the latest, greatest anti-Iraq war/peace demonstration take place? September 15, 2007, a Saturday. And what do most Americans do on Saturdays in September? Watch college football! I mean if you peaceniks aren't media savvy enough to know that the vast majority of Americans are glued to the television set watching Ohio State or Oklahoma or USC kick the crap out of Miss Muffet's Finishing School for Girls on Saturday afternoons in the fall, you deserve to be ignored.

And as far as the "free speech zone" thing. Yeah, the whole idea of a "free speech zone" is odious. But I donot recall any mass breaching of "free speech zone" barriers by demonstrators at any time, anywhere. I guess the media didn't cover it.

And I also remember... gosh it must have been shortly after the Iraq invasion in 2003 because it was betterly cold that Sunday afternoon. Anyway, I went to a peace rally with a couple of friends at a "free speech zone" in my hometown. The organizers of the event explained ahead of time that they did not want anybody connected with the anti-war rally wandering outside of Noland Plaza or shouting anything angry or confronting anybody. Now, mind you, there wasn't a cop in sight.

So this thing starts and it's O.K. There were some groups who did some "comedy" skits followed by some local speakers. But nothing really to get the blood up. Except for the speakers it was all rather childish really.

Well, simultaneously in another part of downtown a pro-Iraq war rally was taking place and evidently it finished earlier than our little "peace" rally. Anyway, a car, perhaps coming from the pro-war, pro-Bush rally drives by our little "peace" rally and some one yells: "You people are nuts!"

Well, my buddy sitting next to me shouts back, "Republicans!" And the next thing we know we're surrounded by stern-faced, placard-bearing women and my friend's getting lectured by a guy he knows on keeping quite and respectful. After a few minutes of this, and as it was freezing cold and we heard the speakers we wanted to hear, I said, "This rally must be run by grade school teachers. Let's get out of here and go someplace warm."

Let me sum up by saying that the more I've thought about the actions of "The" Andrew Meyer the more I think he may be doing a reverse of what my friend, who yelled "Republicans" did thirty years ago. Back in the Seventies by buddy had a radio talkshow in Minneapolis-St. Paul and he successfully passed himself off as an arch-conservative until he decided to go back to law school. Then, the last night from his show, he revealed that everything he had done the previous year or so had been a lie and he was actually an anti-Vietnam war liberal. In today's parlance he had "punked" his most loyal radio listeners.

I cannot shake the impression that Mr. "The" Andrew Meyer has done the same.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Fool worship

By now we've all seen ad nauseam the video of one "The" Andrew Meyer being manhandled and tasered by University of Florida police at an appearance by Senator, and erstwhile presidential candidate, John Kerry.

The celebrated vedio was shot by one Kyle Mitchell, a U of F grad student and stringer for the Gainesville-Sun.

In a comment at Google News, which I copied, pasted and e-mailed at approximately 1:57 PM CDT, and now seemingly taken down, Mitchell writes:
As more and more inquiries are being made into who Andrew Meyer really is, the picture of a young man capable and willing to manipulate this weakness of modern media becomes ever more clear.

An avid prankster and politico (emphasis added, ets), Meyer is a regular at local Gainesville political events. In the past, he has stood on a major street corner with a sign proclaiming "Harry dies" in the final book of the Potter series. His personal website lists interests that include "getting wasted."

Moments before publicly berating Senator Kerry - who was gracious enough to allow the question beyond the allotted time available - he gave his own video camera to a complete stranger nearby, simply to ensure that the incident would be recorded. There are also some who have said that he was warned of his impending arrest, though he repeatedly asks "Why are you arresting me?" while it was happening.

Mitchell, however, forgets "The" Andrew Meyer's most unforgettable line, "Don't Tase me, bro!" And to my ears Meyer's plea is as sincere as Bre'r Rabbit's wish to not be thrown in the briar patch.

Yet many commentators in the blogoshpere averred that "The" Andrew Meyer is a First Amendment loving patriot, a new Patrick Henry. Some have even likened "The" Andrew Meyer to Christ. To which I can only say, Key-Rist!

Some bloggers, including esteemed investigative reporter Greg Palast, squarely place the lion's share of the blame for "The" Andrew Meyer's restraint, tasering and arrest on Senator Kerry's shoulders. Patently absurd. Yet to my rhetorical question, "What would you have Kerry do? Leap from the stage and throttle the cops with his barehands?," there has been more than one response to the affirmative. Again, patently absurd.

But finally the truth of this incident may be slipping out. Clarissa Jessup, the complete stranger to whom "The" Andrew Meyer handed his video camera to just before the incident said in a CNN interview:
"John kerry did try to interfere with the police. at one point, police where holding on to meyers. kerry got to a point where he almost lost his composure and said officer guy. you, let him go. i do want to hear his question, i do want to hear to what he has to say. i do want to answer him. that was at the point the officers said will pull you aside to ask your question. but as he was attempting to ask his question. the officers themselves appeared to me to make themselves clear not allowing him to stay and hear the question and yelling into his ear."
And as noted in a news story by Andrew Tran in The South-Central Florida, "The cameras did not catch Meyer cutting off a student five words into a question, said Kathleen Shea, a junior who attended the forum."

Concludes Mitchell, who was there after all:In the opinion of this eyewitness, both were just as wrong as they were right. Yet, in this instance, it is the police that are accountable to the public, and the ire they now face is the result. Meyer must only face jail, a judge, and himself in the mirror the next morning.

So, sorry, if I disappoint and conclude that this incident was never one of thwarting First Amendment rights or of stifling legitimate dissent but of overzealous, undertrained campus cops throwing their weight around.

So in my book, "The" Andrew Meyer is not a hero of the First Amendment but a fool. And he's laughing at us all.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

How much stupider can Americans get?

If this news doesn't illustrate the need for more comprehensive history and civics instruction in our public schools I don't know what does.
Most Americans believe the nation's founders wrote Christianity into the Constitution, and people are less likely to say freedom to worship covers religious groups they consider extreme, a poll out today finds.
The survey measuring attitudes toward freedom of religion, speech and the press found that 55% believe erroneously that the Constitution establishes a Christian nation. In the survey, which is conducted annually by the First Amendment Center, a non-partisan educational group, three out of four people who identify themselves as evangelical or Republican believe that the Constitution establishes a Christian nation. About half of Democrats and independents do.
That's bad enough but the study conducted by the First Amendment Center shows even more disturbing tends
  • 74% of Republicans endorse the notion of a constitutional provision for a Christian nation; 50% of Democrats and 47% of independent voters agree.
  • Just 56% believe that the freedom to worship as one chooses extends to all religious groups, regardless of how extreme — down 16 points from 72% in 2000.
  • 58% of Americans would prevent protests during a funeral procession, even on public streets and sidewalks; and 74% would prevent public school students from wearing a T-shirt with a slogan that might offend others.
  • 34% (lowest since the survey first was done in 1997) think the press “has too much freedom,” but 60% of Americans disagree with the statement that the press tries to report the news without bias, and 62% believe the making up of stories is a widespread problem in the news media — down only slightly from 2006.
  • 25% said “the First Amendment goes too far in the rights it guarantees,” well below the 49% recorded in the 2002 survey that followed the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001, but up from 18% in 2006.
  • So there you have it. Americans are willingly walking into a fascist state with their eyes wide shut. But then why wouldn't they? Funding for public education has been under attack by anti-tax reactionaries for decades and has produced the excepted results. And an a population ignorant of its own history, fed the right propaganda, is easily lead.

    Saturday, September 08, 2007


    Robert Perry: Bush and bin Laden as Sylvester and Tweety Bird

    Robert Perry, the premire commentator on the Web today, writes:
    Just as Sylvester and Tweety Bird achieved lasting Hollywood fame from their comical cartoon chases, the less amusing duo of George W. Bush and Osama bin Laden continue to benefit each other by reviving their long-distance rivalry, one posturing against the other in a way that helps them both.
    One without the other would be mere footnotes in history.

    And it is beyond interesting coincident that when President Clinton decided to "snatch" bin Laden out of Sudan in 1993 (see Richard Clarke, Against All Enemies pp 144-145) the Pentagon put the kibosh on the operation.

    Perry also notes:
    Fox News commentator Sean Hannity offered a taste of how the new bin Laden tape will be used against both Democrats and the American Left.

    “One of the things that also struck me is the language specifically that he [bin Laden] used,” Hannity said. “He seemed to adopt the very same language that is being used by the hard Left in this country, as he describes what’s going on in Iraq as a ‘civil war’; he actually used the word ‘neocons’; he talked about global warming; he denounces capitalism and corporations.”
    Giggling house conservative David Brooks, as if reading from Hannity's script, said of the new bin Laden tape on the September 7, 2007 edition of PBS Newshour with Jim Lehrer:
    But you read this thing, and it's like he's been sitting around reading lefty blogs, and he's one of these childish people posting rants at the bottom the page, you know, Noam Chomsky and all this stuff.

    You can't help read it and not laugh at it, occasionally, because it is just absurd. It's flying this way, and that way, weird conspiracy theories, and mortgages, global warming. He throws it all in there.

    ...I mean, a lot of the worst ideas from the West have permeated in, and he's picked up Noam Chomsky, and he's picked up some of the anti-globalization stuff. And that's what infuses this.

    So now the scourge of the Western World has now become the darling of America's left. Jesus, how can you not begin to wonder if this whole thing hasn't been scripted from the beginning. It always seems a little more than coincidential that just when George W. Bush gets his political ass in a sling, up pops Osama to bail him out. So now it looks like Osama is helping the Bush boy, the Mainstream Media and our centerist political parties, from Hillary to Rudy, paint anyone in the United States who disagrees with the current administration's policy in Iraq, globalization and corporate agenda in general as a conspiracy nut, a leftwing moonbat or Dennis Kucinich and Ron Paul!

    Concludes Perry
    In other words, any similarity in language between bin Laden and what many Americans say in common conversations will be used to discredit them. They will become bin Laden’s fellow travelers.

    All the better to get Bush and bin Laden what they both really want: a prolonged war in Iraq – and possibly a U.S. attack on the Shiite government of Iran.

    So I'm a dirty old man. Sue me!

    Look, I had no interest in Disney Studio's latest starlet until word filtered through the Internet that the young lady above, one Vanessa Hudgens, let a nude photo escape into the ether of the Worldwide Web.

    According to reports from Hollywood, Ms. Hudgens, "apologized Friday for the photos, which show her smiling as she posed naked and in underwear in a bedroom with a red curtain behind her."

    As far as I can see the 18-year-old Ms. Hudgens has no reason to apologize to anyone for anything.

    Wednesday, September 05, 2007

    Chester, Chester, Chester.........

    Just about the time when I'm beginning to think our esteemed governor, Chet Culver, is doing a fine job and is an all around good fellow he goes off and does this:
    Gov. Chet Culver said Tuesday that he supports a state law struck down last week by a Polk County judge, barring same-sex couples from marrying in Iowa.

    "I have said personally that I believe marriage is between a man and a woman, and I've been consistent on that. At the same time, I think it's important we let the judicial process work itself out here," he said.

    Some Republican legislative leaders have renewed their call for protecting the ban on same-sex marriage by making it part of the Iowa Constitution. Culver, while campaigning for governor last year, said a constitutional amendment was unnecessary.
    Des Moines
    Now what, or who in the Hell is Chester pandering to? Closeted Republicans like I--not-da-homo Senator Larry Craig?

    Government on all levels has no legitimate right in dictating who may marry whom. The only ligitimate function of government in the marriage contract is issuing the license. Here in Iowa the base cost of a marriage license is $30, give or take, in cash only. I'm also lead to believe that county treasurers have considerable leeway in the setting the price of a marriage license. So cash strapped rural counties, if the treasurer is smart, should follow Polk Co.'s lead and immediately start issuing marriage licenses to committed pairs of limp-wristed homos and cigarette pack-rolled-up-in-the-T shirt-sleeve dykes!

    Imagine, county treasurers passing up money, cash! fer-krist's sake, because marriage is between a man and a women.

    Meanwhile untold hundreds of little bastards---whoopsie we don't use that term to describe "out of wedlock" children under current Iowa legal usage they are "biological" children-- biological children are living quite lives of desperate poverty with "baby-momma" while "baby-daddy" is out gallivanting around spreading his seed.

    But, you see, we are a society that "loves" children. We "love" children so much we don't teach "baby-momma" and "baby-daddy" how to have sex without producing a biological. We "love" children so much we send out manufacturing jobs to Mexico, China and India. We "love" our children sooooooooo much that if a little biological wants to get out of poverty, the best way to get into a college is by enlisting in one of the military services and going off to fight and die in senseless wars of aggression.

    But if Larry and Steve or Mary and Eve want to legally get married? Holy shit, Western civilization will collapse!

    Friday, August 31, 2007

    Clarification on Smiling Jack's Snake-Oil Show

    I found a Wikipedia entry on the medical home con...cept that I mischaracterized the other day as "psycho-babble bullshit." What I really meant is, it's marketing-twaddle bullshit, which is even worse than psycho-babble. Anyway here's what the Wikipedia entry says:
    Central to the Medical Home approach is the premise that patient-centered care requires a fundamental shift in the relationship between patients and their primary care physicians. There must be a higher degree of personalized care coordination, access beyond the acute care episode, and identification of key medical and community resources to meet the patients’ needs.
    O.K., that sounds reasonable but scroll on down and see how the con...cept gets twisted.
    Some suggest that the blended fee-for-service and partial capitation in this system mimics the “gatekeeper” models historically employed by managed care organizations. There are important distinctions between care coordination in the medical home and the “gatekeeper” model. In the Medical home, the patient has open access to see whatever physician they choose. No referral or permission is required. (Sounds reasonable, doesn't it, ES) The personal physician of choice, who has comprehensive knowledge of the patient’s medical conditions, facilitates and provides information to subspecialists involved in the care of the patient.(Here's where it gets interesting) The gatekeeper model placed more financial risk on the physicians resulting in rewards for less care. The Medical Home puts emphasis on medical management rewarding quality patient-centered care.
    Let me see, as I understand this the "medical home" concept shifts the emphasis for insurance payments away from medical "specialists" to primary care physicians. From the Wikipedia article,
    Primary care physicians, on average, earn about $90,000 less than the average specialist.[10] ...[T]he current health care payment system values medical procedures more highly than health maintenance and disease prevention through patient collaboration. The Medical Home concept moves payment towards a greater emphasis on physicians and their mid-level associates collaborating with patients to ensure health.
    In other words it's a "share the wealth" program for neighborhood family docs and their more highly remunerated specialist friends. At the same time by "sharing the wealth" the unstated purpose of the "medical home" con...cept is to limit and over time reduce the number of medical specialists. Limiting the growth of medical specialists is controversial within America's medical community but as the pie for cardiologists, plastic surgeons, etc., become smaller more medical students will opt for the "general practitioner" degree. This explains former Iowa governor and current Des Moines University president and CEO Terry Branstad's inclusion on Smiling Jack's little snake-oil show.

    So long story short, "medical home" just means the insurance industry and the health care industry works in coordination to shift the fee scale emphasis away from specialists to family docs and their staff. Like I said it's a share the wealth scheme designed to get kids, who'd otherwise enter medical school with thoughts of becoming millioniares by being dick-doctors or pussy-physicians, to think about being a kindly, old neighborhood sawbones, albeit one with a $90,000 per annum boost in income.

    But won't this mean we, the sick public, will pay significantly lower healthcare insurance premiums.


    Wednesday, August 29, 2007

    How to look like doing something by doing nothing

    Jesus Christ, state Senator Smiling Jack Hatch is playing the liberal bleeding-heart race card again. Here's what Iowa's favorite grinning DLC-jackass says about health care in his latest e-mail:
    Hispanics and African Americans are more vulnerable to poor health because they have more families without health insurance than white Americans.

    The Commonwealth Fund reported earlier this summer that among adults ages 18 to 64, nearly half of Hispanics (49 percent) and more than one in four African Americans (28 percent) were uninsured compared to 21 percent of whites and 18 percent Asian Americans. Children are covered under Medicaid and Hawk-I and seniors are covered under Medicare.

    As a result of limited health insurance, Hispanics and African Americans also have differential access to a regular doctor or sources of care, with Hispanics particularly at risk. As many as 43 percent of Hispanics and 21 percent of African Americans report they have no regular doctor or source of care, compared with 15 percent of whites and 16 percent of Asian Americans.

    This year, the Iowa Legislature created the Health Care Reform Commission to address how we can develop a system that provides coverage to the 271,000 Iowans who don’t have health insurance. Last month, the Commission, which I co-chair with State Representative Ro Foege, made a historic recommendation at its meeting in Mason City. It approved a series of guiding principles as the basis for restructuring of Iowa’s health care system.

    Most significant to eliminating the health care disparity between minority and white Iowans is the principle that “everyone should have a medical home(emphasis added).” A medical home is a health care setting that provides patients with timely, well-organized care and enhanced access to providers. It emphasizes preventive care, especially in managing and eliminating chronic diseases and ethnic disparities in medical care. Individuals should be able to select their own health care (again emphasis added).
    Now what in the fuck is this supposed to mean??? Medical home? Sound like some psycho-babble bullshit, doesn't it. Follows the best definition I can find on the Web for the critter: A medical home is not a building, but rather a team approach to providing comprehensive primary health care services in a high-quality and cost-effective manner. And it seems to be the only definition. Still reads like bullshit to me. And notice the emphasis on individuals selecting their own health care, obviously a sop to both free market fundamentalists and the insurance industry.
    The report from the Commonwealth Fund (founded in 1918 by Anna Harkness (wife of one of the original Standard Oil investors, Stephen Harkness, ES) indicates that the concept of a “Medical Home” shows promise for promoting equity in health care and addressing racial and ethnic disparities. According to the report, “When adults have a medical home, their access to care and rates of preventive screenings improve substantially… and when minorities have a medical home, racial and ethnic differences in terms of access to medical care DISAPPEAR.”

    This is good news for political leaders, like State Representatives Wayne Ford and Ako Abdul-Samad who have been working with me to promote greater collaborations within the health care system. We believe equity will not come without restructuring our health care system here in Iowa and nationally. And that is where we are heading with our Iowa Health Care Reform Commission.
    O.K., you may ask, what the Hell's wrong with that? Yeah, it's true what Smiling Jack writes about medical care and private health care insurance ownership rates for African Americans and Hispanics . I don't dispute that fact. And Wayne Ford's my state representative and Ako Abdul-Samad seems like an good guy, from the little I've personally had to deal with him. But why are they swallowing this crap? But let's read on:

    In the months ahead, we will hold three public hearings chaired by former Governors Vilsack and Branstad. For those of you in the Des Moines area who may want to participate, there will be hearing at Simpson College in Indianola on Sept, 26 at 6 p.m. The Commission will also hold meetings in Iowa City, Sioux City, Dubuque and Des Moines in the coming months.
    Tom Vilsuck and Terry Brainsdead!!! Holy shit! There's a pair of jokers to draw to. Branstad's on the board of Iowa Health System-- an ostensibly "nonprofit" chain of hospitals and clinics whose CEO pulls down $1.3 million a year!--and president of Des Moines University the second oldest osteopathic college in the country. Talk about the foxes watching the chickens!

    As co-chair of this commission, eliminating the disparity between minority and white Iowans is one of my top priorities. Time will tell if our political and business leaders are truly committed to the health care of ALL Iowans (weasel words, ES), but I have faith in this Commission and in my colleagues that we will not debate health care reform without addressing this issue.
    Smiling Jack's emphasis on minorities is a surefire method to ensure backlash. I mean this isn't going to set well with the white rednecks who are getting raped by high monthly premiums and co-pays in what passes for health insurance from their employers. I don't think Smiling Jack is this stupid. He so wants to look like he's doing something but...when those evil Republicans in the Iowa Senate shoot this initiative down...well it ain't gonna Smiling Jack's fault.

    Tuesday, August 28, 2007

    Idaho Senator Larry Craig as you've never seen him

    ...until now

    News item:
    Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho) was arrested in June at a Minnesota airport by a plainclothes police officer investigating lewd conduct complaints in a men’s public restroom, according to an arrest report obtained by Roll Call Monday afternoon.
    Craig’s arrest occurred just after noon on June 11 at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. On Aug. 8, he pleaded guilty to misdemeanor disorderly conduct in the Hennepin County District Court. He paid more than $500 in fines and fees, and a 10-day jail sentence was stayed. He also was given one year of probation with the court that began on Aug. 8.

    A spokesman for Craig described the incident as a “he said/he said misunderstanding,” and said the office would release a fuller statement later Monday afternoon.
  • Rated 100% by the Christian Coalition: a pro-family voting record. (Dec 2003)

  • Voted YES on constitutional ban of same-sex marriage. (Jun 2006)

  • Voted NO on adding sexual orientation to definition of hate crimes. (Jun 2002)

  • Voted NO on expanding hate crimes to include sexual orientation. (Jun 2000)

  • Rated 0% by NARAL, indicating a pro-life voting record. (Dec 2003)