Sunday, March 31, 2013

The "New" GOP

Gotta love it.  There actually are some Repubs who're aware that the core of their party has degenerated into a fetid blob of Dixie-whistling left-over Confederate dead-enders;  people who have to be told straight out not to use terms like "wetback" (Rep Don Young, R-Alaska); and so apparently, they're being tutored in the finer arts of - uhm - whatcha call it?  Political Correctness?  Yeah, I think that's it.

Let us all take a brief moment to revel in the pure snicker-fucking of lots of wrong-side-of-every-damned-issue politicians.

Ok, good. Let's move on and let Dr Maddow guide us thru this latest GOP Cluster Fuck.



Mm-mm good.

And here's the full list from the piece at The Hill:

"When engaging in conversation or doing an interview on immigration reform:
Do acknowledge that 'Our current immigration system is broken and we need to fix it'
Don’t begin with 'We are against amnesty'
Note: Most everyone is against amnesty and this is interpreted as being against any reform.
"When talking about a solution for the millions here without documentation who could qualify to get in line first with a temporary visa, then legal residence and finally citizenship:
Do use the phrase 'earned legal status'
Don't use the phrase 'pathway to citizenship'
Note: This has a different meaning and can denote getting in front of the line to get citizenship – this is not true. Most Republicans and Democrats, along with 70% of Americans, support a fair system by which those who are undocumented can come forward, register with the government, pass a background check, pay a fine, learn English and get legal status first – that is earned legal status, not automatic citizenship.
"When addressing securing our borders:Do use the wording 'enforcement of our borders includes more border patrol, technology, and building a fence where it makes sense'Don't use phrases like 'send them all back,' electric fence,' 'build a wall along the entire border'
"When talking about immigrants:
Do use 'undocumented immigrant' when referring to those here without documentation
Don't use the word 'illegals' or 'aliens'
Don't use the term 'anchor baby'
"When addressing amnesty and earned legal status:
Do acknowledge that the true meaning of amnesty is to pardon without any penalty
Don't label earned legal status as amnesty
Don't characterize all Hispanics as undocumented and all undocumented as Hispanics
"When broadly addressing reforms:
Do acknowledge that President Obama broke his promise and failed to propose any immigration reform for five years, while using this issue as a political wedge
Do talk about the issues you support like overhauling the bureaucratic visa system, creating a viable temporary worker program, a workable e-verify system, and border security
Don’t focus on amnesty as a tenet of immigration reform
Don't use President Reagan's immigration reform as an example applicable today
Note: That legislation was true amnesty; in addition, border security, fixing our visa system, and a temporary worker program were parts of the reform which were never implemented."
And finally - "Hey, all you culturally hot romantic and totes cool wetbacks - Thanks for sneaking into America to pick our food and clean our toilets for us!  Luv ya'll - vote Republican!"

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Defending Amina

Proof once again that ya gotta be careful with the whole Rights Thing - if some folks get the rights they're entitled to, before ya know it they're all gonna want 'em.

So anyway, in the last several months, we've seen the story about a kid in Afghanistan speaking up in favor of education for women and being nearly shot to pieces for her trouble; then we got the one a few weeks ago about the Islamo-Fundies coming down on a young woman who dared go against her father's choice of a suitable husband or some such nonsense; and now there's this about a young woman somewhere in Tunisia who really just wants the Theocrats to leave her the fuck alone already.


19 year old Tunisian Amina who posted a topless photo of herself bearing the slogan “my body belongs to me, and is not the source of anyone’s honour” has been threatened with death.
Islamist cleric Adel Almi, president of Al-Jamia Al-Li-Wassatia Tawia Wal-Islah, has called for Amina’s flogging and stoning to death saying Amina’s actions will bring misfortune by causing “epidemics and disasters” and “could be contagious and give ideas to other women…”
We, the undersigned, unequivocally defend Amina, and demand that her life and liberty be protected and that those who have threatened her be immediately prosecuted.
On 4 April 2013, we call for an International Day to Defend Amina.
As a well-conditioned American consumer, I readily admit to hearing a bell whenever  somebody runs a little T & A at me; and to being kinda transfixed by the the visual prospects of an actually-naked real-life non-PhotoShopped female human.  So on that one (very important) level I'm like 'Yeah - OK - throw me some jiggle, and I'll follow you anywhere'.

But this isn't about the usual crapola of small-head-thinking or forbidden fruit or any of the standard moralistic bullshit.  It's also not about American First World Feminism bitching about self-loathing and self-objectification; and it's not about showering pity on some poor soul - "oh look at how she has to degrade herself just to make a point; isn't that awful?"  It's not about anything but having the guts to stand up for yourself.

It's about "by any means necessary".

People will be free; they'll do it for themselves when they're ready; and it's best for all of us if we try a little harder just to stay the fuck outa their way.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Today's Movie

A morality tale, and a peek at the need for bread and circus as an empire begins to collapse.



If you watch this movie, you'll need something sunny and happy and cuddly afterwards - you've been warned.

The Esteemed Mr Pierce

From Charlie Pierce at Esquire:
The problem, of course, remains that the president is dealing with a Republican party in which Johnny Isakson is now a "moderate." That is his problem. Our problem is that the conversation over dinner is almost guaranteed to center completely on the proposition, "How much pain ahould we inflict on people who are not us?" The fact that the American economy has almost completely surrendered to corporate oligarchy is not likely to come up.
Every time I think about what's happening - especially what's going on in this "new economy" - I can't help but remember the observational acuity of Yakov Smirnoff: "We pretend to work and they pretend to pay us."


Thursday, March 28, 2013

Music

















And though you try to justify the meaning
Of the note you sent this evening
To my door you're not deceiving me

Well, I'd have thought that you'd have known much better
Sending 'round an unsigned letter
Facing me would be much better now

Is it just that you can't face the future with me
Can't you tell me to my face?
You just took the coward's way to say goodbye
How would you feel here in my place?

And now I know my love is lost on you
And nothing you can say or do
Will turn my head around the other way

I'd have thought you'd have the decency
To come and tell the truth to me
Instead of telling lies your eyes betray

Is it just that you can't face the future with me
Can't you tell me to my face?
You just took the coward's way to say goodbye
How would you feel here in my place?

Tell me to my face you're leaving now
Tell me to my face that you're leaving now

And though you try to justify the meaning
Of the note you sent this evening
To my door
you're not deceiving me

Well, I'd have thought that you'd have known much better
Sending 'round an unsigned letter
Facing me would be much better now

Is it just that you can't face the future with me
Can't you tell me to my face?
You just took the coward's way to say goodbye
How would you feel here in my place?

Tell me to my face you're leaving now
Tell me to my face that you're leaving now


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Connections

Like the man said - follow the money.  Wall Street, Capitol Street, K Street, Main Street - they're all connected by rivers of money.  If you have enough money, you can buy your way into or out of just about anything.

Fact is, the food industry is only as safe as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) lets it be. It was not that long ago that food companies were found to be doing such things as adding sawdust to bread. Food fraud is rampant, with companies willing to do anything to make a buck. And with the continuing effort to eliminate the powers of the FDA in the name of profits, it is clear that the “free market,” as coined by Milton Friedman, does not work, period.


I'll quibble just a bit with "free market...doesn't work, period".  If the free market is hollowing out the middle class and making it more and more difficult for more and more people to make the end of the month match up with the end of the money, then The Free Market is actually working pretty much as designed.


Making just a slight turn in the road - from Business Insider:

In its early days, the National Rifle Association was a grassroots social club that prided itself on independence from corporate influence.
While that is still part of the organization's core function, today less than half of the NRA's revenues come from program fees and membership dues.
The bulk of the group's money now comes in the form of contributions, grants, royalty income, and advertising, much of it originating from gun industry sources.
Since 2005, the gun industry and its corporate allies have given between $20 million and $52.6 million to it through the NRA Ring of Freedom sponsor program. Donors include firearm companies like Midway USA, Springfield Armory Inc, Pierce Bullet Seal Target Systems, and Beretta USA Corporation. Other supporters from the gun industry include Cabala's, Sturm Rugar & Co, and Smith & Wesson.
The NRA also made $20.9 million — about 10 percent of its revenue — from selling advertising to industry companies marketing products in its many publications in 2010, according to the IRS Form 990.

Additionally, some companies donate portions of sales directly to the NRA. Crimson Trace, which makes laser sights, donates 10 percent of each sale to the NRA. Taurus buys an NRA membership for everyone who buys one of their guns. Sturm Rugar gives $1 to the NRA for each gun sold, which amounts to millions. The NRA's revenues are intrinsically linked to the success of the gun business.
Guns, Oil, Finance, Ag, Defense - even the apparatus of the 2 major parties.  Taking just a quick stroll around Google, you can stumble across an amazing array of organizations and companies that are very very busily making your government their bitch.





And those vids are kinda old now, but y'know what?  $14 Billion to fund all the campaigns of all the congress critters sounds like a fuckin' bargain to me.

Somethin's gotta give.

We Win One

This caught my eye as I was meandering on the YouTube:



I don't recognize any of the various DumFux Doofae Residentium from the clip, so I don't know where to begin looking for followup (which is a convenient if lame excuse for not really caring to spend waste my time looking for more shit to squint at on DumFux News).

Anyway, I did manage to find a nice writeup at The Sensuous Curmudgeon, providing some details about how the teacher appealed to the 9th Circuit; won there, and then was further vindicated when SCOTUS declined to take the case in late 2011?):
When we wrote about Dr. Corbett’s appellate victory, we repeated something we said before, and we still think it’s true so we’ll repeat it again:

[T]he key to this case isn’t whether Chad can go through life with a silly smirk on his face; what matters here is whether there’s any money to be made in creationist litigation. If this case provides a good fee for Chad’s legal team, there will be an incentive for more of the same.
Children and their parents will be used as tools for rapacious “family values” lawyers. Creationist kids will be listening intently in class — not to learn any history or science, but to detect any “ungodly” expressions their teachers may make. Good teachers — who are already on the endangered species list — will become extinct.
I don't much like myself when I do this, but I think I'll just assume Fox followed their usual pattern by never saying another thing about it after the initial airing.

Like I said, I don't much like myself when I make those assumptions, but I have yet to find evidence of my being wrong to make 'em.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Today's Gun Nuttery

via Democratic Underground:
A teenager shot and killed his 12-year-old brother because he mistook him for an intruder in their Florida home, police said today.
According to police the 16-year-old was home alone on Friday when his younger brother came home.
"He heard some noises and he called out for his brother and he didn't answer and then his brother startled him," Orlando Police Department Detective Mike Moreschi told ABCNews.com affiliate WFTV.
Scared that there was an intruder in the home, the older boy grabbed a gun and shot his brother, according to police. Once the teen realized what had happened, he immediately called 911.
So another kid is dead and another entire family is forever fucked up because we can't seem to figure how to live our lives without a fuckin' gun.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

John Lennon's Glasses


God's To-Do List

C'Mon, Michelle

Please just sit down and shut the fuck up, before you do any more real harm.

About That Autopsy

In the frenzy of the last coupla days over the Repubs trying to look in on itself, here's an interesting wrinkle caught by Charles Johnson at Little Green Footballs:
Some leaders of the religious right are openly worried this week after a sprawling 98-page report released by the Republican National Committee on how the party can rebuild after its 2012 implosion made no mention of the GOP’s historic alliance with grassroots Christian “value voters.”
Specifically, the word “Christian” does not appear once in the party’s 50,000-word blueprint for renewed electoral success. Nor does the word “church.” Abortion and marriage, the two issues that most animate social conservatives, are nowhere to be found. There is nothing about the need to protect religious liberty, or promote Judeo-Christian values in society. And the few fleeting suggestions that the party coordinate with “faith-based communities” — mostly in the context of minority outreach — receive roughly as much space as the need to become more “inclusive” of gays.
To many religious conservatives, the report was interpreted as a slight against their agenda and the hard work they have done for the party.
“The report didn’t mention religion much, if at all,” said Tim Wildmon, president of the American Family Association. “You cannot grow your party by distancing yourself from your base, and this report doesn’t reinforce the values that attracted me and many other people into the Republican Party in the first place. It just talks about reaching out to other groups.”
So the trick is to figure out if the Repubs are really really trying to change, or if they're just posturing and making noise.  Fun to watch so far - and I guess I don't expect that to change any time soon.

Know Your Mortgage Shit

A Lotta Damn Gall


At first glance, this has to be taken as the self-congratualting chest-thumping crap that guys like Rumsfeld learn to do thru long careers in public service fucking people over "in the name of the king and for the good of the state" (with apologies to Msr Dumas for inviting the inference that Cardinal Richelieu might run a poor second in the Manipulative Assholes Sweepstakes).

If I look at it from only a slightly different angle, I can see a guy who feels alone and loathed and reviled - which is exactly how he should feel if he had any soul or any honor or any sense of humanity at all.  But Rummy gave up on all the civilizing niceties a long time ago.

So fuck him.

Let him continue his little imposture and let the rest of the world point and laugh for  what I hope is a very long dotage indeed.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

A System We Live in



(hat tip = Democratic Underground)

"Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction."
- Dick Cheney, Vice President
Speech to VFW National Convention
8/26/2002

"There is already a mountain of evidence that Saddam Hussein is gathering weapons for the purpose of using them. And adding additional information is like adding a foot to Mount Everest."
- Ari Fleischer, Press Secretary
Response to Question From the Press
9/6/2002

"We don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud."
- Condoleezza Rice, US National Security Adviser
CNN Late Edition
9/8/2002

"Right now, Iraq is expanding and improving facilities that were used for the production of biological weapons."
- George W. Bush, President
Speech to the UN General Assembly
9/12/2002

"Iraq has stockpiled biological and chemical weapons, and is rebuilding the facilities used to make more of those weapons. We have sources that tell us that Saddam Hussein recently authorized Iraqi field commanders to use chemical weapons - the very weapons the dictator tells us he does not have."
- George W. Bush, President
Radio Address
10/5/2002

"The Iraqi regime ... possesses and produces chemical and biological weapons. It is seeking nuclear weapons. We know that the regime has produced thousands of tons of chemical agents, including mustard gas, sarin nerve gas, VX nerve gas."
- George W. Bush, President
Cincinnati, Ohio, Speech
10/7/2002

"And surveillance photos reveal that the regime is rebuilding facilities that it had used to produce chemical and biological weapons."
- George W. Bush, President
Cincinnati, Ohio, Speech
10/7/2002

"After 11 years during which we have tried containment, sanctions, inspections, even selected military action, the end result is that Saddam Hussein still has chemical and biological weapons and is increasing his capabilities to make more. And he is moving ever closer to developing a nuclear weapon."
- George W. Bush, President
Cincinnati, Ohio, Speech
10/7/2002

"We've also discovered through intelligence that Iraq has a growing fleet of manned and unmanned aerial vehicles that could be used to disperse chemical or biological weapons across broad areas."
- George W. Bush, President
Cincinnati, Ohio, Speech
10/7/2002

"Iraq, despite UN sanctions, maintains an aggressive program to rebuild the infrastructure for its nuclear, chemical, biological, and missile programs. In each instance, Iraq's procurement agents are actively working to obtain both weapons-specific and dual-use materials and technologies critical to their rebuilding and expansion efforts, using front companies and whatever illicit means are at hand."
- John Bolton, Undersecretary of State for Arms Control
Speech to the Hudson Institute
11/1/2002

"Iraq could decide on any given day to provide biological or chemical weapons to a terrorist group or to individual terrorists ... The war on terror will not be won until Iraq is completely and verifiably deprived of weapons of mass destruction."
- Dick Cheney, Vice President
Denver, Address to the Air National Guard
12/1/2002

"If he declares he has none, then we will know that Saddam Hussein is once again misleading the world."
- Ari Fleischer, Press Secretary
Press Briefing
12/2/2002

"The president of the United States and the secretary of defense would not assert as plainly and bluntly as they have that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction if it was not true, and if they did not have a solid basis for saying it."
- Ari Fleischer, Press Secretary
Response to Question From the Press
12/4/2002

"We know for a fact that there are weapons there."
- Ari Fleischer, Press Secretary
Press Briefing
1/9/2003

"The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa. Our intelligence sources tell us that he has attempted to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes suitable for nuclear weapons production."
- George W. Bush, President
State of the Union Address
1/28/2003

"Our intelligence officials estimate that Saddam Hussein had the materials to produce as much as 500 tons of sarin, mustard and VX nerve agent."
- George W. Bush, President
State of the Union Address
1/28/2003

"We know that Saddam Hussein is determined to keep his weapons of mass destruction, is determined to make more."
- Colin Powell, Secretary of State
Remarks to the UN Security Council
2/5/2003

"There can be no doubt that Saddam Hussein has biological weapons and the capability to rapidly produce more, many more. And he has the ability to dispense these lethal poisons and diseases in ways that can cause massive death and destruction. If biological weapons seem too terrible to contemplate, chemical weapons are equally chilling."
- Colin Powell, Secretary of State
Address to the UN Security Council
2/5/2003

"In Iraq, a dictator is building and hiding weapons that could enable him to dominate the Middle East and intimidate the civilized world - and we will not allow it."
- George W. Bush, President
Speech to the American Enterprise Institute
2/26/2003

"So has the strategic decision been made to disarm Iraq of its weapons of mass destruction by the leadership in Baghdad? I think our judgment has to be clearly not."
- Colin Powell, Secretary of State
Remarks to the UN Security Council
3/7/2003

"Let's talk about the nuclear proposition for a minute. We know that, based on intelligence, that has been very, very good at hiding these kinds of efforts. He's had years to get good at it and we know he has been absolutely devoted to trying to acquire nuclear weapons. And we believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons."
- Dick Cheney, Vice President
"Meet the Press"
3/16/2003

"Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised."
- George W. Bush, President
Address to the Nation
3/17/2003

"Well, there is no question that we have evidence and information that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction, biological and chemical particularly ... all this will be made clear in the course of the operation, for whatever duration it takes."
- Ari Fleischer, Press Secretary
Press Briefing
3/21/2003

"One of our top objectives is to find and destroy the WMD. There are a number of sites."
- Victoria Clark, Pentagon Spokeswoman
Press Briefing
3/22/2003

"I have no doubt we're going to find big stores of weapons of mass destruction."
- Kenneth Adelman, Defense Policy Board Member
Washington Post, p. A27
3/23/2003

"We know where they are. They're in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south and north somewhat."
- Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense
ABC Interview
3/30/2003

"We still need to find and secure Iraq's weapons of mass destruction facilities and secure Iraq's borders so we can prevent the flow of weapons of mass destruction materials and senior regime officials out of the country."
- Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense
Press Conference
4/9/2003

"You bet we're concerned about it. And one of the reasons it's important is because the nexus between terrorist states with weapons of mass destruction ... and terrorist groups - networks - is a critical link. And the thought that ... some of those materials could leave the country and in the hands of terrorist networks would be a very unhappy prospect. So it is important to us to see that that doesn't happen."
- Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense
Press Conference
4/9/2003

"But make no mistake - as I said earlier - we have high confidence that they have weapons of mass destruction. That is what this war was about and it is about. And we have high confidence it will be found."
- Ari Fleischer, Press Secretary
Press Briefing
4/10/2003

"Were not going to find anything until we find people who tell us where the things are. And we have that very high on our priority list, to find the people who know. And when we do, then well learn precisely where things were and what was done."
- Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense
"Meet the Press"
4/13/2003

"We are learning more as we interrogate or have discussions with Iraqi scientists and people within the Iraqi structure, that perhaps he destroyed some, perhaps he dispersed some. And so we will find them."
- George W. Bush, President
NBC Interview
4/24/2003

"We'll find them. It'll be a matter of time to do so."
- George W. Bush, President
Remarks to Reporters
5/3/2003

"I'm absolutely sure that there are weapons of mass destruction there and the evidence will be forthcoming. We're just getting it just now."
- Colin Powell, Secretary of State
Remarks to Reporters
5/4/2003

"We never believed that we'd just tumble over weapons of mass destruction in that country."
- Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense
Fox News Interview
5/4/2003

"I'm not surprised if we begin to uncover the weapons program of Saddam Hussein - because he had a weapons program."
- George W. Bush, President
Remarks to Reporters
5/6/2003

"U.S. officials never expected that 'we were going to open garages and find' weapons of mass destruction."
- Condoleezza Rice, US National Security Adviser
Reuters Interview
5/12/2003

"We said all along that we will never get to the bottom of the Iraqi WMD program simply by going and searching specific sites, that you'd have to be able to get people who know about the programs to talk to you."
- Paul Wolfowitz, Deputy Secretary of Defense
Interview with Australian Broadcasting
5/13/2003

"It's going to take time to find them, but we know he had them. And whether he destroyed them, moved them or hid them, we're going to find out the truth. One thing is for certain: Saddam Hussein no longer threatens America with weapons of mass destruction."
- George W. Bush, President
Speech at a Weapons Factory in Ohio
5/25/2003

"They may have had time to destroy them, and I don't know the answer."
- Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense
Remarks to the Council on Foreign Relations
5/27/2003

"For bureaucratic reasons, we settled on one issue, weapons of mass destruction (as justification for invading Iraq) because it was the one reason everyone could agree on."
- Paul Wolfowitz, Deputy Secretary of Defense
Vanity Fair Interview
5/28/2003

"The President is indeed satisfied with the intelligence that he received. And I think that's borne out by the fact that, just as Secretary Powell described at the United Nations, we have found the bio trucks that can be used only for the purpose of producing biological weapons. That's proof-perfect that the intelligence in that regard was right on target."
- Ari Fleischer, Press Secretary
Press Briefing
5/29/2003

"We have teams of people that are out looking. They've investigated a number of sites. And within the last week or two, they have in fact captured and have in custody two of the mobile trailers that Secretary Powell talked about at the United Nations as being biological weapons laboratories."
- Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense
Infinity Radio Interview
5/30/2003

"But for those who say we haven't found the banned manufacturing devices or banned weapons, they're wrong, we found them."
- George W. Bush, President
Interview With TVP Poland
5/30/2003

"You remember when Colin Powell stood up in front of the world, and he said Iraq has got laboratories, mobile labs to build biological weapons ... They're illegal. They're against the United Nations resolutions, and we've so far discovered two ... And we'll find more weapons as time goes on."
- George W. Bush, President
Press Briefing
5/30/2003

"This wasn't material I was making up, it came from the intelligence community."
- Colin Powell, Secretary of State
Press Briefing
6/2/2003

"We recently found two mobile biological weapons facilities which were capable of producing biological agents. This is the man who spent decades hiding tools of mass murder. He knew the inspectors were looking for them. You know better than me he's got a big country in which to hide them. We're on the look. We'll reveal the truth."
- George W. Bush, President
Camp Sayliya, Qatar
6/5/2003

"I would put before you Exhibit A, the mobile biological labs that we have found. People are saying, 'Well, are they truly mobile biological labs?' Yes, they are. And the DCI, George Tenet, Director of Central Intelligence, stands behind that assessment."
- Colin Powell, Secretary of State
Fox News Interview
6/8/2003

"No one ever said that we knew precisely where all of these agents were, where they were stored."
- Condoleezza Rice, US National Security Adviser
"Meet the Press"
6/8/2003

"What the president has said is because it's been the long-standing view of numerous people, not only in this country, not only in this administration, but around the world, including at the United Nations, who came to those conclusions ... And the president is not going to engage in the rewriting of history that others may be trying to engage in."
- Ari Fleischer, Press Secretary
Response to Question From the Press

"Iraq had a weapons program ... Intelligence throughout the decade showed they had a weapons program. I am absolutely convinced with time we'll find out they did have a weapons program."
- George W. Bush, President
Comment to Reporters
6/9/2003

"The biological weapons labs that we believe strongly are biological weapons labs, we didn't find any biological weapons with those labs. But should that give us any comfort? Not at all. Those were labs that could produce biological weapons whenever Saddam Hussein might have wanted to have a biological weapons inventory."
- Colin Powell, Secretary of State
Associated Press Interview
6/12/2003

"My personal view is that their intelligence has been, I'm sure, imperfect, but good. In other words, I think the intelligence was correct in general, and that you always will find out precisely what it was once you get on the ground and have a chance to talk to people and explore it, and I think that will happen."
- Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense
Press Briefing
6/18/2003

"I have reason, every reason, to believe that the intelligence that we were operating off was correct and that we will, in fact, find weapons or evidence of weapons, programs, that are conclusive. But that's just a matter of time ... It's now less than eight weeks since the end of major combat in Iraq and I believe that patience will prove to be a virtue."
- Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense
Pentagon Media Briefing
6/24/2003

"I think the burden is on those people who think he didn't have weapons of mass destruction to tell the world where they are."
- Ari Fleischer, Press Secretary
Press Briefing
7/9/2003

Fugelsang's Wrapup

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Counting The Costs

We've been hearing a lot lately about the costs of our Stupid Little War in Iraq:
$2.2 trillion - which is the low end of the estimates.
4,500 dead American Uniforms
32,000 wounded - 1,000 Amputees
3,400 dead American civilian contractors
190,000 dead Iraqis of all despcriptions (minimum BTW - could be way more)

That first number - the 2+ TRILLION dollars - that's just for starters.  That's what some folks think we'll end up spending over the next decade or two.  But y'know what?  We can anticipate spending a fuck-load more than that; and for a fuck-load longer time, because we still haven't stopped paying certain survivor benefits dating back to the CIVIL-FUCKING-WAR.

Per NY Daily News (so take it with a good dose of NaCl):
An Associated Press analysis of federal payment records found that the government is still making monthly payments to relatives of Civil War veterans — 148 years after the conflict ended.
This bit could definitely be an example of Rupert's Typical Puffery (2 people are getting about $900/year total), designed to make "the gubmint" look bad, but I think the real point here is that once we start this shit, it practically never ends.  We're still paying 50 Large for shit that happened in the Spanish American war, and that one ended 114 years ago.

Current yearly costs:
World War I = $20 Million
World War II = $5 Billion
Korean War = $2.8 Billion
Vietnam War = $22 Billion

In the end, we'll also get to deal with whatever we left behind (and we'll get to deal with it long after the assholes most responsible for it are dead and buried with full honors) - from Amer-Iraqi babies to a totally fucked up environment because of Depleted Uranium and whatever else we haven't been told about, but will likely be denied by the Pentagon for decades.

Somewhere along the line, we have to figure out how to settle our differences without bashing each other over the head with sticks and rocks.  This shit just ain't worth it.

God Love The Onion

I'm really hoping Candy Crowley et al at CNN were just trying to give us some small added  perspective about how perpetrators fuck up more than just their victims' lives - and to warn other young dudes about impulse control - but in our current style of political debate, where only Binary Reasoning is allowed, this is what it ends up sounding like:


College Basketball Star Heroically Overcomes Tragic Rape He Committed

Today's Vocab Term

Rent Seeking (per Wikipedia)
A simple definition of rent seeking is spending resources in order to gain by increasing one's share of existing wealth, instead of trying to create wealth. The net effect of rent-seeking is to reduce total social wealth, because resources are spent and no new wealth is created. In a theoretical context, it is important to distinguish rent-seeking from profit-seeking. Profit-seeking in this sense is the creation of wealth, while rent-seeking is the use of social institutions such as the power of government to redistribute wealth among different groups without creating new wealth.[1] In a practical context, income obtained through rent-seeking may of course contribute to profits in the standard, accounting sense of the word.
Since Rent Seekers add nothing to the actual effort required to create wealth, it's not a matter of doing the work, and deriving the great satisfaction of having done something worthwhile - it's all about having the power to buy somebody else's effort and claim it as your own.

And as long as we accept the bullshit view that the world has to be all about purely Darwinian Economics, we perpetuate a climate in which these destructive predatory schemes are not just tolerated, but encouraged and admired.

There is something immoral about the kind of system Rent Seeking engenders - something we feel deep down in our bones.  Which is why every society (eventually) revolts against it.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Today's Definition

Religion: A daughter of Hope and Fear, explaining to the Ignorant the nature of the Unknowable. --Ambrose Bierce

About Those Women


Popular Myth holds that sometime back in the 6th century, 43 Catholic Bishops and 20 Bishops' Reps got together (in France - for a long weekend at the spa I guess?) in order to debate and then to decide on one of the truly pressing questions of their era - "Is woman human?"

The vote was 32 For and 31 Against.  Whew - that was close.  Hard to imagine what kind of (even more) unnecessarily lousy things might've happened if just 1 of those Shit-For-Brains-In-A-Satin-Hat had voted the other way.

This story is denied by the Church, but y'know what?  I don't care.  Is it any less believable than the crap they spin out every fuckin' day?

Today's Important Thought: Religion can't sell me their bullshit cure if I don't accept having their bullshit disease.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

New Music

Making a joyful noise.

There's a lot goin' on here, and it's almost unbelievable how hard it is to make this happen live.  Coupla glitches here and there, but fuck.

Lucius:




Music

A coupla tunes from 2 slightly opposite perspectives:










Today's Smartest Thing

(My 2¢ - politicians take positions; abandon positions; and/or change positions when they recognize either political opportunity or political threat)

From a Balloon Juice post:
But there’s at least one difference between Portman and Obama on this specific issue: Portman did it because changing his position will lead to a clear and direct personal gain–his actual gay son might get an real benefit from the state based on his father’s position. As far as we know, Obama’s change in position gives him no such benefit. For you freshman logic fans, that’s the fallacy of equivocation. Glenn’s trying to say that one of Obama’s stated reasons (his empathy for friends and staff who are gay) is the same thing as Portman’s (a real parental interest in the outcome of the debate).



The Donald Speaks

The scene from the Maryland suburbs yesterday wasn't exactly all a-buzz.  CPAC is known for its rosters of All-Star Nutball speakers, and so far this year, they've not disappointed.

Best moment so far - this "crowd" shot of the room when it was Lil Donny Trump's turn to deliver the words of awesomeness.

hat tip = Addicting Info

Friday, March 15, 2013

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Today's Nonsense

So the DumFux News affiliate in Hartford CT ran a story about Women's Day at the Capitol, and the 'b-roll' (the video they run so you have a visual to go with the copy being read) - yeah you prob'ly already guessed - it was nuthin' but tits.

Don't get me wrong here: I like boobies; bazongas; headlights; cans; melons; honkers; breasts; mammaries etc ad infinitum.  I like female, and I like all that 'female' implies which happens to include the tasty sensual and sexy bits.

I am also not stupid, and so I know about a little thing we grownups like to call "appropriate to time and place".  We also call it "respect for the wholeness of a human being", and sometimes we call it "trying not to think with your dick once in a while".

But I digress.  Take a look:



First, this kinda crap doesn't happen by accident. Some producer sat in a meeting and made a decision about what b-roll to put on the air; and even if that producer delegated the actual decision to an underling, that underling chose clips from the file footage that he/she knew to be in keeping with whatever is Standard Operating Procedure according to the station's and/or the network's style book. Those jiggle shots didn't happen by accident. Of course, the affiliate's PR folks tried to claim otherwise:


Second, this shit happens a lot at DumFux News, but somehow the "apology" never includes a mention of any disciplinary action being taken against the Producers, Associate Producers, Reporters, Editors, Interns, et al.

The kicker though is that a majority of viewers who called the station about the story were pissed off and that's what prompted the apology.

When 51% of DumFux viewers find something on Dumfux News objectionable, I have to take it as a good sign.

(more than a) hat tip = Crooks & Liars

The People's Music

Another one from (by, actually) Billy Joel - as performed by a guy outa left field who knows what he's doin' and sings the crap out of it.




And here's the album cut:





Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Today's Numbers

Black people make up 22% of the poor, and they get 14% of government benefits.

White people make up 42% of the poor, and they get 69% of government benefits.

I 'spect you've heard all that before, but I think it's one of those things that bears repeating. 

And y'know, when "conservatives" can get us to swallow their bullshit just by saying it over and over and over again, how is it that things which are actually true and verifiable are so easily dismissed and forgotten?

hat tip = Crooks & Liars

Music

Put on the headphones and crank it up.






Today In Faithiness

If Jesus was a live today, he'd probably have a lawyer and an agent and a publicist who'd all be working hard to keep hucksters like Sarah Palin from moochin' off his fame and his public image.

My hero, Charlie Pierce:
Will o'god, it's the week of St. Patrick's Day, is there no respite, no brief truce, no fragile ceasefire, in the War On Christmas?
Apparently not. 

Today's Gun Nut

From Addicting Info:
One of the few absolutes from the pro-gun advocate side of the gun violence conversation is that they demand that we believe that gun owners are responsible people. That it is just “them”, the nebulous of bad people, or crazy people who kill with guns. They further say “Law-abiding gun owners will not accept blame for the acts of violent or deranged criminals.”…Wayne LaPierre at the January 30st Senate hearing on gun violence.
But reality and history prove them wrong. Over 230,000 guns [reported] of “law-abiding gun owners” end up in criminal hands each year because gun owners don’t properly store their weapons. And hundreds of kids die and thousands are wounded each year with unattended firearms. These are not responsible “law-abiding gun owners” and they are a big part of the gun violence problem and the pro-gun community acts in their words and deeds as enablers to them.

Beltway Bubble-Think

Wonkette has a good takedown on Paul Ryan and the Very Serious People - and the Press Poodles who just can't give up on the extremely minuscule probability that somebody in the GOP might come up with some proposal that doesn't closely resemble something you stepped in as you were walking through the park.
It is budget season again in Washington, D.C., which means it is time for the villagers in our nation’s capital to pretend that a plan written by Congressman Paul Ryan, who was last seen on election night icing down his tuchus after being spanked hard by Barry Bamz and Old Handsome Joe Biden, is not the legislative equivalent of a rotting whale carcass washed up on a beach.
And, as suggested, here's our new National Anthem:







Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The Seven Godly Sins

Wrath: God condemns those who don't believe in him to eternal damnation and torture.
Envy: God punishes those who believe in other gods.
Sloth: God allows tragedies and disasters to occur which he could easily prevent.
Gluttony: God has plenty while millions go hungry.
Pride: God demands his followers' complete devotion.
Greed: God's followers must pay tithes and make offerings in exchange for his blessings.
Lust: God insists on being party to every marriage.

Sounds like a great gig - where do I get an application?

Today's Silly


The Rising Fuss

Part of what's coming back around is racism, which is really just another manifestation of the kind of class-bashing that's gone on in this country from the beginning.  (the whole concept of Racial Difference was invented in the Antebellum South as a handy mechanism for keeping poor white trash separate from the blackfolk, which helped keep everybody focused on something other than how they were all slaves to the interests of the landowners in one way or another)

And we're seeing it blossom all over again with this continuing beat-down of working stiffs who put in longer hours (and soon maybe, longer than the usual 50 years on the job), who are being made to feel they're just not worthy of anything but the meagering crumbs left over when the Executive Committee's done with their latest circle jerk - oops, I mean spreadsheet reviews that indicate there's another 3/10ths of a penny per share in dividends to squeeze out of the labor force.

Melissa Harris-Perry:

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Something else that keeps popping into my head:  Take a good look at a few movies from the 1970s sometime, and pay a little attention to the background they were filmed against. Try The Taking Of Pelham 123 or Harry And Tonto - movies that weren't just trying to show the blight, but were supposedly showing "The Real America" at the time.  Any of it look familiar?

The underlying point is to keep us thinking, "Things are kinda shitty, and it seems like I'm gettin' fucked over pretty bad, but maybe it's partly my own fault because I'm not working hard enough or I'm not smart enough, or I wasn't prescient enough to see what was coming; but hey - at least I ain't black".

I dunno - maybe I see threads and connections that aren't really there.  Maybe I'm just being paranoid.  But I don't think it's unreasonable to expect people who play politics at any level of any real consequence to know enough to look for ways to consolidate their own positions and to try to keep their opposition from uniting against them.

Besides, I may be a little paranoid but that doesn't mean nobody's out to get me.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Today's Smartest Thing

They're talking about the sausage-making in DC, and at around the 4:45 mark, Alexis Goldstein (OWS) makes an observational analogy that just knocked me my off my chair.

Paraphrasing - lobbyists get in to see the Congress Critters so regularly and so often - effectively pushing constituents and consumers and "regular people" off to the side - that it starts to look like a Denial of Service Attack.

Watch, and gape - and then try to explain to me how you think your Reps in congress are there to serve you.


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About That Dead Elephant

It's generally not a good idea to predict the actual demise of a whole political party.  I wanna say I recall a time not that long ago when lotsa people were saying the Dems wouldn't survive, and gosh, just look at 'em now.

However, there's plenty to be gained politically by making the Cool Kid appeal - ie: "nobody votes for those guys anymore because they're terminally lame and def un-cool", or "they're so 2006", or "I'll bet they're all Nickelback fans", or whatever.

An awful lot of us just run with the pack.  We pay little or no attention until some encounter when we might say something previously considered hip or evenhanded or otherwise stylish and end up getting the feeling we've made some kind of social error by not being in step with a change in political fashion.  That's why yard signs and bumper stickers work - they give people permission to vote a certain way without having to invest much time or effort in making a committed decision. When we see enough evidence of a sufficient number of other people doing the thinking and taking action, and formulating the rhetoric, we start to feel safe enough to go along with the crowd.

I know a woman who told me straight out last summer that she wouldn't be making up her mind on voting for Obama or Romney until she was sure about "who the nation was backing".

So anyway, from an old(ish) post at Addicting Info, here's some speculation about what's eating the GOP from the inside out:
What Reed, and other party bosses, are ignoring is that in their grab for political power, they attempted to blend together three opposing factors, and the pressure between these groups is about to blow the lid wide open.
These groups are:
Libertarians vs. social conservatives – Social Conservatives want more government intrusion in to people’s lives, the opposite of the Libertarian government-out mentality.
Right-wing populists vs. the pro-business crowd – Populists are against the subsidies which the pro-business groups live on, and they are at each others throats.
Deficit reduction hawks vs. small government activists – Deficit hawks want to reduce the deficit, but a small government cannot manage its deficit due to the lack of revenue. With such opposing demands, it is only a matter of time before they come to blows.
In the recruitment of the radical fringe, what, in ages past, would be the Know-Nothings or the Dixiecrats, the GOP has sown the seeds of its own destruction. Now the party has come to accept it.