Tuesday, December 27, 2005

The G.O.P. and the South...

Digby takes a long, hard look at an article by Christopher Caldwell, entitled "The Southern Captivity of the G.O.P.". from the June, 1998, Atlantic Monthly (subscription required). The article discusses how the Southern conservatives, in taking over the party, have driven out conservatives from other regions:

The Republican Party is increasingly a party of the South and the mountains. The southernness of its congressional leaders -- Speaker Newt Gingrich, of Georgia; House Majority Leader Dick Armey and House Majority Whip Tom DeLay, of Texas; Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, of Mississippi; Senate Majority Whip Don Nickles, of Oklahoma -- only heightens the identification. There is a big problem with having a southern, as opposed to a midwestern or a California, base. Southern interests diverge from those of the rest of the country, and the southern presence in the Republican Party has passed a "tipping point," at which it began to alienate voters from other regions.

As southern control over the Republican agenda grows, the party alienates even conservative voters in other regions. The prevalence of right-to-work laws in southern states may be depriving Republicans of the socially conservative Midwestern trade unionists whom they managed to split in the Reagan years, and sending Reagan Democrats back to their ancestral party in the process. Anti-government sentiment makes little sense in New England, where government, as even those who hate it will concede, is neither remote nor unresponsive.

Digby's conclusion (emphasis added):

How can Norquist's "leave us alone" coalition exist in a party that supports the government spying on its citizens and supports intrusion into a family's most difficult medical decisions? How can a "leave us alone" coalition support a president who acts like a king? How can decent people who believe in moral values continue to work hard and support a party that is corrupt to its core?

They can't.

You should read Digby's full analysis.

A Letter From Home

There is a "must read" letter posted at Bring It On, from 14-year-old Jessica Blankenbecler, to her father, written two days after he was killed in Iraq.

Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and every one of those miserable chickenhawks -- draft dodgers all -- who sent Command Sgt. Major James Blankenbecler to his death, should have to read this letter.

Then they should be forced to explain to Jessica why they sent her father to die.

This administration is odious.

Their greed, their arrogance, their depravity, is beyond comprehension.

The Republican Party, in its devotion to a criminal cabal, has forfeited any right to legitimacy.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Impeach -- the Sequel

Earlier, I was discussing the possible impeachment of Preznit Bush.

Personally, I don't want him to get the boot, for several reasons:

  1. Impeaching Bush would leave Cheney as President, and God only knows what that evil prick would do. Probably "privatize" the Treasury and hand it over to Halliburton.
  2. Impeaching Bush would turn him into a martyr for the Fundie wingnuts.
  3. Think of how cool it would be if he were dragged off from his replacement's inauguration, and forced to do the perp walk down Pennsylvania Avenue to a waiting squad car.
  4. Then he could be "extraordinaily renditioned" to, say, Lebanon for... ummm... energetic questioning that doesn't rise to the equivalent of organ failure.
On the other hand, he and his criminal cabal cannot be allowed to walk away as if they were heroes. The Bushies must -- as Preznit says -- "be brought to justice." He should be allowed to serve his full term, so that he can go down in history as the Worst. President. Ever., without being able to claim impeachment as a mitigating factor.

Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, and the rest should be hauled to The Hague, and tried for war crimes before the very international court Bush abhors. Then, and only then, will America begin to regain its standing as a nation of decent, honest people. As long as the fundies, neocons, and other wingnuts support, defend, and shield this loser criminal and his band of thugs, our nation will be -- and should be -- considered an "outlaw regime."

In less than a year, Bush took the huge outpouring of support and love for the United States after the 9-11 attacks, and squandered it, as surely as he squandered Clinton's budget surplus. He took us from being a beacon of hope, to being a death ray. We've gone from "Today, We Are All Americans", to "How Can 59,054,087 People Be So DUMB?"

BushCo has turned the United States into a pariah. Shrub and his cronies claim to "fight terra", yet they are using the same tactics against Americans that Saddam used against Iraqis. And it's strange how, before the election, his color-coded "Terra 'Lert System" was bouncing around like a yoyo, yet after the [s]election, it hasn't moved (except for the aftermath of the London bombings, of course, and even that applied only to the transportation sector).

As several writers have pointed out (but unfortuantely, I can't find the links right now), BushCo is becoming more and more fascist by the day, what with spying on Americans, Shrub playing soldier, and so on (Eisenhower, who really was a soldier, never, ever wore a uniform after being elected. Neither have any of our other veteran Presidents. Only Preznit Make-Believe likes to play dress-up). Bear in mind, he even went aWol from the National Guard.

And, lest we not forget, what was Bush doing while New Orleans drowned?

George W. Bush.

"A uniter, not a divider"

"Restore dignity to the White House"

"A good Christian"

Good grief, Charlie Brown.

Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Clause...

This is just an update, the Beagle has been found.
Seems we have a little escape artist on our hands.
He will be our "guest pet" in this weeks pet blog.


In my last post, I briefly discussed the fact that some people -- not many, but some -- are starting to use the word "impeach" in connection with George W. Bush.

Who are these terrist-sympathizin', Murka-hatin' librul bassards who dare defy Lord God King George-n-Dick?

1. Barron's (a part of the Wall Street Journal empire) (via MyDD):
Willful disregard of a law is potentially an impeachable offense. It is at least as impeachable as having a sexual escapade under the Oval Office desk and lying about it later. The members of the House Judiciary Committee who staged the impeachment of President Clinton ought to be as outraged at this situation. They ought to investigate it, consider it carefully and report either a bill that would change the wiretap laws to suit the president or a bill of impeachment.

2. U.S. Representative John Conyers (D-MI):

There is at least a prima facie case that these actions by the President, Vice-President and other members of the Bush Administration violate a number of federal laws, including (1) Committing a Fraud against the United States; (2) Making False Statements to Congress; (3) The War Powers Resolution; (4) Misuse of Government Funds; (5) federal laws and international treaties prohibiting torture and cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment; (6) federal laws concerning retaliating against witnesses and other individuals; and (7) federal laws and regulations concerning leaking and other misuse of intelligence.

3. U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA):

How can the President of the United States -- the highest elected official in our land, a leader who swore an oath to "preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution" -- so egregiously and repeatedly violate our most basic civil liberties?

4. The New York Observer:
There are politicians in both parties who know that Mr. Bush's trespasses cannot be allowed to stand. Only a bipartisan coalition can restrain and, if necessary, remove him. It is to be hoped that he steps back before such a struggle becomes inevitable.

5. Jonathan Turley, Law Professor, George Washington University:
When the president admits that he violated federal law, that raises serious constitutional questions of high crimes and misdemeanors.

6. Norman Ornstein of the ultra-conservative American Enterprise Institute:
"I think if we're going to be intellectually honest here, this really is the kind of thing that Alexander Hamilton was referring to when impeachment was discussed."

7. Bruce Fein of the even more conservative Federalist Society (they're the ones pushing Alito), writing in the Moonie Times:
President Bush presents a clear and present danger to the rule of law. He cannot be trusted to conduct the war against global terrorism with a decent respect for civil liberties and checks against executive abuses.

87% of the respondents to an MSNBC poll.

Several bloggers (and other writers) have pointed out that what Bush has done is much worse than Clinton's lying about his sexual escapades.

Remember, the right-wingers claimed that Clinton's weaselling on what constituted "sexual activty" -- and the subsequent furor when it became obvious he lied -- rendered Clinton unfit to lead the country. Does it not make sense that Bush's lies -- which, after all, are directly responsible for the deaths of over 2000 Americans and hundreds of thousands of others (coalition forces, Iraqis, and so on) -- should be held to at least the same standard?

Sure, the wingnuts are going to claim that there is no comparing the two situations. And they're right, for once.

What Clinton did was wrong.

What Bush did, and continues to to do, is illegal, evil... and impeachable.

In the Rear-View Mirror...

As 2005 draws to a close, I look back and am disgusted by what our country has become. For over 200 years, the United States was a beacon of hope, a promise of a better life for millions of immigrants. We were the great "melting pot", the one nation where people were free to live their own lives without political, religious, or moral oversight from the gummint (as Walt Kelly called it).

I suppose one could make a valid point that the liberal social policies that molded American society starting with FDR would eventually lead to a pendulum-swing back to the right, but I think the current situation is revolting. Okay, maybe we went overboard with affirmative action and welfare, and some other programs, but that does not justify the current efforts of the far right-wing neocon wingnuts to establish a 13th-Century theocracy.

Of course, nothing but corruption, greed, and a total disdain for the Constitution (that "goddamned piece of paper"), explains the current administration. Spying on Americans, fer Crissake! And having the unmitigated gall to claim that the War Preznit has a God-given right to do so, under the War on Terror. The NY Times reported the other day that the extent of the spying was even greater than had been initially reported last week. Even more shameful, Colin Powell -- who spent much of his professional life defending America -- finally completed his total sell-out by seeing "absolutely nothing wrong" with Shrub's attempts to establish his own dictatorship.

Perhaps the only ray of hope is the fact that the administration has gotten so out of control that even some conservative Republicans are starting to back off. The "usual suspects" -- Hegel, McCain, Snowe, and a couple of others -- have been joined by Senators and Congresscritters who have realized -- albeit belatedly -- that their continued support of these theocratic thugs could result in their defeat at the polls.

In an interesting development, there is a growing number of voices -- not just in the blogosphere (great word, Skippy) -- but in the media and in the general public mentioning the "I" word. Some people are saying that the Republicans themselves will probably have to introduce impeachment proceedings simply to save their won collective ass. Otherwise, they will be painted with the same corruption as Bush and his immediate clique. I find this amusing, as these are the same people that have absolutely no problem with "guilt by association"... as long as it's applied to others.

More later...

Christmas Recovery

Well, despite the Grinch-like predictions of the blotchy-faced, morally-leprous, walking-talking anal wart and terrorist sympathizer -- whose own Christmas card wished everybody "Happy Holidays" -- and his butt-buddies at Faux News -- whose own Christmas card wished everybody "Happy Holidays" (and had shooting stars bouncing off buildings identified as NBC, CBS, ABC, and CNN) -- Christmas made it on December 25, just as scheduled.

My son got a Cranium game and some clothes, as well as tons of other stuff, the seven-year-old forensics genius loved the crime scene set, his little sister loved the "My Little Pony" stuff, and our great nephew (he's okay, but I'm not sure about 'great') had a blast ripping paper off everything.

The lovely-yet-talented Mrs. 618 got the first season of "Touched by an Angel" and the show's soundtrack, and I... well, I got the very best present a guy could hope for: I got to wake up and see the lovely-yet-talented Mrs. 618 next to me.

Oh, and the Great Lakes Pasture Wolf got two cans of tennis balls, a couple of toys, a new toothbrush (only dog I've ever met who likes getting her teeth brushed) and a set of boots.

One sad point: our next door neighbor got a six-month-old Beagle for her two little boys, and the puppy managed to get out. The missus and I spent three hours looking for him, along with the neighbor's adult relatives. Still haven't found him, but we're not giving up hope.

Shrub, unfortunately, was a bad boy all year (or, more correctly, all his life), so he got a lump of coa-- err, a barrel of oil. No brain, no heart, no compassion, and still no clue.

We hope you and yours had a happy holiday (take that, O'Reilly).

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Tis' the Season...

Happy Holidays
The 618 Rants Family
Ok, I'm not sure what is politically correct to say anymore with all the shit being slung around Capitol Hill. All I know is I want everyone to enjoy this season what ever it is you celebrate, just do it and feel a bit of joy.
What you are about to witness may actually may make you smile or giggle a bit,( in a sugary way) and I know that is not something that 618 promotes. The kid's wanted to be a part of wishing you a happy holiday too, and they like the fact
that they are now world famous, especially Jake, he pranced about for an hour after being told he was now officially on the internet. So here they are pretending to be Santa's reindeer.

As you can see, Fang was not too thrilled to be wearing the antlers,
but Emily as usual took it all in stride.

As you can see Jenna was having no part of these reindeer games, although she
does love
hiding under the tree

So from our family to yours have a wonderful holiday weekend !

Thursday, December 22, 2005

NYC Transit Strike

I know there are many more important issues going on in the world today, but as a former New Yorker, I hope the MTU gets what they are looking for. They work hard shuttling the mass' through out our grand Gothem, and most of the time get treated like crap because they aren't a part of the upwardly mobile folks. They do some of the hardest work in that city, they keep the tunnels clear the buses and trains clean and running, ( personally i wouldn't want to be cleaning up some drunks piss or vomit) all the while rarely being thanked or appriciated for all they do.

Gov. Pataki, Mayor Bloomberg get off your collective asses and show these people you appriciate them and all they do, forget the fines,the days of slave labor are over, and I thought the city no longer condoned sweatshops... lets pay these people what they are worth. Does the average MTA worker make at least as much money as your personal drivers do? (Oh wait Mayor Bloomberg, I believe you stated you took the trains, as you weren,t afraid of the bomb threats a few months ago. Or do you really only use them for the press op?) ( I KNOW I WOULD WANT A RAISE AND BETTER BENNIE'S FOR WORKING UNDER THOSE CONDITIONS) If they don't you should be ashamed. Your drivers are responsible for the safety of one human being on a regular basis, these people are ensuring the safe transit of millions of people every day. God bless every one of them, I have driven in that insane traffic ( Boston is much worse) once, after that, for five years I relied on the MTA, as they are the pro's.

I am truly sorry for the Firefighter who as injured while riding his bike to work, I hope you recover quickly. I'm sure in the long run you can understand why the MTU had to strike, like our fine firefighters and boy's in blue you all do difficult jobs with little recongnition, you all keep people safe in one of the largest cities in the world, and you all deserve to be compensated accordingly.
Tony Bennett may have left his heart in San Frascico, but me, I will always be a N.Y.C. girl at heart. I will always praise the fine work of the blue collar folks in that city, as they are the ones who make it all run so smoothly.
If any of you happen to be in Times Square on New Years Eve after all the confetti drops, go back out about 6 a.m. , you won't find a trace of the night before. And if you are there take a moment and thank a city worker, your hotel maid or bellperson, they appriciate it almost as much as the tip I hope you will be kind enough to leave them.

for Thurs pet blog...

Please see "Tis the Season... " still getting use to this stuff, thanks for your patience, hope you enjoy!

Update (by Andrew): added link to original post for the missus.

The Death Penalty

I've been corresponding with a friend about the death penalty in general and Tookie Williams in particular. You probably remember Tookie: he was executed last week for three murders in California back in the 70's. Tookie's other claims to fame are (a) his having been a co-founder of the Crips, the notorious LA gang, and (b) his having found religion while on Death Row.

For the most part, I am against the death penalty. It doesn't serve as a deterrent -- too many studies have made that argument untenable (although it does prevent recidivism); it is statistically much more likely to be applied to minority defendants (regardless of the facts of the case); it does not allow for rectifying mistakes (and I'm not naive enough to think juries are never wrong); for some murderers, it's an easy out (it seems to me that life without parole would be much worse than going to sleep for good); and -- as opponents rightly say -- it's cruel and inhuman (we are, I think, the only "civilized" country that still uses it).

Most executed murderers have been at least arguably mentally ill. John Wayne Gacy, Ted Bundy, Bruno Hauptmann, Sacco and Vanzetti... the list goes on and on. I believe that executing people like that serves no useful purpose. In fact, keeping mentally ill murderers alive might actually benefit society, in that -- assuming their cooperation -- medical science might be able to develop treatments that could either restore these people to health, or maybe treat someone else before that person becomes a killer.

People like Julius and Ethel Rosenberg (for the youngsters in the crowd, they were executed for spying for the USSR back in the 1950's) certainly weren't mentally ill, but it is entirely likely that they were "railroaded" into execution as a result of the "Red Scares" of the 50's. This is the logical next step to what the Bush Administration is doing today... whipping up a political furor to justify their hatred of a particular cause or people. Eventually, calmer heads prevailed in the 50's (as I hope they will prevail in 2006 and 2008), but by then it was too late for the Rosenbergs.

There are some people, though, who are just so inherently inhuman, the death penalty is the only fair treatment: Osama bin Laden*, Hitler (although he committed suicide rather than face the music), Eichmann, and the rest of the Nazi hierarchy**... and Tookie Williams.

In founding the Crips, Williams unleashed an unspeakable horror upon society. The Crips (and their arch-rivals, the Bloods) were -- and still are -- monstrous, murderous thugs. They have waged war upon a decent society for more than thirty years. God only knows how many innocent men, women, and children were butally murdered by these animals. Billions of dollars in losses can be traced directly to the activities of the Crips, and possibly trillions in indirect losses.

Maybe I'm a Neanderthal, but I don't think there is any sort of conversion or redemption that can erase the evil -- the pure, unmitigated evil -- caused by Tookie Williams.

He deserved to die.

* While bin Laden should be executed for masterminding the 9-11 attacks against the United States, Saddam Hussein should not be executed, in that his "crimes" against the US do not (IMO) rise to the level justifying that punishment. What Saddam's countrymen do to him, however, under their own legal system, is none of our business.

** The Nazi leaders richly deserved being put to death. The vast majority of the German people, however, merely followed a charismatic, mesmerizing (although truly evil) leader. The Germany that existed after WW I was defeated, demoralized, and pretty much destroyed; their people wound up following Hitler for, I suspect, many of the same reasons today's neocons and fundamentalists are following George Bush.

Update: I also believe that a few others are deserving of the death penalty: Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, for crimes against humanity, and -- if he can be deemed competent to stand trial (which I seriously doubt) -- George W. Bush. These three, in much the same way Williams and Hitler did, have unleashed numerous horrors upon the world. They should be tried by an international, impartial tribunal, and, if convicted, executed, to show other potential dictators that such behavior is not, cannot, and will not, be condoned by a civilized world. The rest of the Bush cabal -- Gonzales, Rice, Wolfowitz, Feith, that whole damned crew -- should do life at hard labor, without possibility of parole, in some joyous little hell-hole like Devil's Island. They should also be treated to "interrogation" like that visited upon the rest of the "enemy combatants".

Update 2: Please feel free to leave comments below. You don't have to have a Blogger account to comment, but you DO have to do the "word verification" thingie (to keep out body-part-enlargement spam comments). Obscene, rascist, or otherwise unacceptable comments will be deleted immediately.

30-Second Update...

Nuclear Security

The Venezuelan government is searching for a stolen capsule of highly radioactive Iridium-192. Iridium-192 emits gamma radiation (the most dangerous type of radiation). The truck carrying the capsule was stolen Sunday night. This is in addition to two other Iridium-192 capsules that went missing back in March. One was recovered; authorities believe the other was dumped into Lake Maracaibo.

Fortunately, this could never happen in the U.S.


68 inches of used nuclear fuel rods are missing from a plant in Georgia. And it’s been missing for seven months. The material could be used to construct a “dirty bomb,” which is a ‘regular’ bomb with radioactive material added; it is not a nuclear weapon. The radioactive material affixes itself to the blast debris, much the way fallout does, but – because a “dirty bomb” uses conventional explosives – the overall blast effect is much smaller. Any explosion involving nuclear materials, however, would likely start a panic in the affected area.

“That’s SO Wrong… On So MANY Levels”

Guidance Software, which bills itself as the leading provider of software for diagnosing hacker attacks… has itself been hacked. Hackers stole about 3,800 customer records, including credit card numbers. Contrary to good security practices -- which should be especially important to a company in the security biz – Guidance stored the records in an unencrypted database and permanently retained the CVV numbers (that’s the three-digit extra security code on the back of Visa and Master cards. Both Visa and Mastercard require sellers (like Guidance) to encrypt customer credit card databases, and prohibit keeping the CVV codes after a specific transaction has been verified.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Coupla Quickies...

...in no particular order...

Bush Authorizes Spying on U.S. Citizens

Disgusting, truly disgusting. The man has no sense of decency. But then,what else would we expect from a man(?) who calls the Constitution of the United States a "goddamned piece of paper"? More on this later....

Intelligent Design Bitch-Smacked in Pennsylvania

Best news I've heard in weeks, especially since the judge did such a thorough job of pointing out how ID is just creationism in a new wrapper. One of the writers at Kos (I think) pointed out the irony of calling ID non-religious, then screaming religious persecution when it was booted out of the curriculum.

Guest Blogging

Okay, so maybe Kevin Drum and Josh Marshall, and TBogg and Jesus' General get more hits than I do. And maybe Atrios and Kos get more hits in a minute than I've gotten since I started this. But they don't have the lovely-yet-talented Mrs. 618 as a guest blogger... and I do.

So there. Nyah-nyah-nyah.

And a special reminder to all my readers (if any)...

We must all take the time to be thankful for those special folks who make life bearable, especially in these troubled times. The holidays aren't joyous occasions for everyone... it's also the season when suicides peak. For some, the holiday season may be a reminder that they're alone, or broke, or far from home, or in ill health, or any number of any other problems.

Take the time to give your loved ones a hug, and for those far away, there is Dr. Bell's invention. I'm in Michigan, my folks are in Maine, and my surviving brother is in Connecticut (I lost my youngest brother this past summer, but I did get to see his two boys -- 11 and 7 -- this year). Some wonderful friends live in northern California and Memphis, and while I can't be with them, I want them to know they're in our thoughts.

To the ex-cop and the ex-artist, happy holidays and remember... there're a couple of folks in Michigan who care about ya.

And remember our servicemen and -women, far from home, in execrable conditions, in constant danger, probably as the result of brazen lies, but still doingwhat they do best: protecting America.

And on Christmas Day (and the other holidays, of course), say a little silent "thank you" to the cops and firemen and paramedics and bus drivers and newsboys and journalists (except the make-believe journalists at Faux) and telephone operators andall the others who are working to make the day easier for you.

Thanks, and bless you all.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

This Weeks Late Guest Blogger...


Good evening everyone, as usual I'm a day late and a dollar short...story of my life.
I just got pissed because what I had written got lost in the cyber abyss and I wasn't
in the mood to start over.
So tonight you will be getting a Sunday pet blog.
I would like for you to meet "The Great Lakes Pasture Wolf's " smaller but much more
tenacious cousin Fang.
Now 618Rants and Fang are a hoot to watch, as 618 is not Fangs biggest fan,but Fang LOVE's to irritate the hell out of 618. I personaly enjoy this, and think the reason Fang bugs Andrew so much is because the both like to stir the pot of shit, see what kind of reaction they get, then walk away.

Fang often gets told to put his tooth away, when the little queen doesn't feel like listening he likes to fall back on his latino background ( he is part Pug and part Chihuahua) and gives you this look that screams "No Comprende English".
No matter how aggravated you may be with him, it usually makes you laugh.
Fang...a.k.a. Jake has always had Huge personality in a compact body. From the day we brought him home he has kept my mother and I wrapped around his little dew claw. He was the runt of the litter and the shelter sent him home with a stuffed animal that had been in with his brothers and sisters. Now most pups would snuggle up to this toy to feel secure, so we put it in his bed with him , he threw it out twice that evening, the next day he proceeded to chew it to shreds.
He also doesn't like going to the vet as one of the vet techs adopted his brother and makes sure he is there when Jake has an appointment. One paticular visit Jake actually lifted his leg and peed on him. I truly believe if pets had a political affilation Jake would be a democrat, as he being the little guy pissed on his own brother becaused he was treated so badly. ( I wonder if Jebby would piss on the L.S.O.S for screwing him out of a potential promotion, cuz lets face it folkes after the master of lies has ruined any chance of another shrub getting that job. I don't think any Americian wants to see any of our boys roaming that desert for another 40 years.)
Well I guess I should wrap this up, I hope you have enjoyed your introduction to Fang as I'm sure you will get to know him as well as the other "kids" in the weeks to come.( I'll stick to the usual Thurs pet blog from now on)
Oh Andrew...Y.Y.D.!

Guest Blogging Is Coming

I finally managed to convince the lovely-yet-talented Mrs. 618 to become a regular guest blogger here. As soon as she gets off the phone with her mom, she'll be doing her first post.

Should be anytime between now and the Holiday (bite me, blotchy-faced, morally-leprous, walking-talking anal wart....)

A Couple of Quickies...

In this morning's first perusal of the always thought-provoking postings at Daily Kos, I read a piece by one of their new front-pagers, DarkSyde, entitled "Open Letter to Libertarians & Conservatives". It's well worth a read. The comments are good too.

Also at Kos, PlutoniumPage has a good -- but scary -- article on what happens when a college student researching a apaper on fascism and communism requests a book from his college library... if that book happens to be Chairman Mao's "Little Red Book".

Thursday, December 15, 2005

DoD Surveillance?

I'm sure everyone has heard that DoD (Dept of Duh-fense) has hopped into the Way-Back Machine and has resumed conducting surveillance (and building dossiers) on anti-war protestors, including a Quaker study group.

This is another one of those brilliant ideas to come out of the administration that flies in the face of that goddamned piece of paper. You'd think the government -- and especially DoD -- would remember the crap that hit the fan the first time around. I mean, it's not like any of the administration's members were out of the country or anything.

The supreme arrogance of these clowns would be amazing if it weren't so damned sad. The bozos in DC are so paranoid about retaining their grip on power that they are willing to sell the Constitution -- and the rest of what this country stands for -- down the river.

They have no pride. Or honor, for that matter.

Big Time? Not Yet.

I thought I had finally hit the really big time. The lovely-yet-talented Mrs. 618 asked if she could put up a post. That would have been my first guest blogger, which would have put me in the same league as Kevin Drum, Josh Marshall, TBogg and Jesus' General.

Unfortunately, this rassafrassin' Blogger ate her post.


On an Even LIGHTER Note...

From Michigan's very own Representative Dingell (via Demagogue), a good take on the "Christmas-Being-Stolen" meme... and a cheap shot at the wingnuts to boot:

'Twas the week before Christmas and all through the House,
no bills were passed `bout which Fox News could grouse.
Tax cuts for the wealthy were passed with great cheer,
so vacations in St. Barts soon should be near.

Katrina kids were all nestled snug in motel beds,
while visions of school and home danced in their heads.
In Iraq, our soldiers need supplies and a plan,
and nuclear weapons are being built in Iran.

Gas prices shot up, consumer confidence fell.
Americans feared we were in a fast track to ..... well.
Wait, we need a distraction, something divisive and wily,
a fabrication straight from the mouth of O'Reilly.

We will pretend Christmas is under attack,
hold a vote to save it, then pat ourselves on the back.
Silent Night, First Noel, Away in the Manger,
Wake up Congress, they're in no danger.

This time of year, we see Christmas everywhere we go,
From churches to homes to schools and, yes, even Costco.
What we have is an attempt to divide and destroy
when this is the season to unite us with joy.

At Christmastime, we're taught to unite.
We don't need a made-up reason to fight.
So on O'Reilly, on Hannity, on Coulter and those right-wing blogs.
You should sit back and relax, have a few egg nogs.

'Tis the holiday season; enjoy it a pinch.
With all our real problems, do we really need another Grinch?
So to my friends and my colleagues, I say with delight,
a Merry Christmas to all, and to Bill O'Reilly, happy holidays.
Ho, ho, ho. Merry Christmas."
Congressman Dingell, I hope you don't mind me reprinting this.

If you do mind... I live in your district....

I thought you might see it my way.

On a Lighter Note...

...pass me my Zippo, please...

No, actually, I ran across an interesting story on the Ya-pfui news feeds this evening... "Scientists Figure Out Why Mona Lisa Smiles." To make a long story short (if you're too lazy to read the article), the University of Amsterdam used some new "emotion recognition" software to determine the mysterious lady was "83 percent happy, 9 percent disgusted, 6 percent fearful, and 2 percent angry."

Of course, the morons at DHS will probably get their hands on it and find some way to use the software against us...

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

More Religious Intolerance

The far-right wing Talibangelical theocratic fascists are at it again:

A lesbian woman will challenge an appeals court ruling that permitted two doctors to claim a religious defense in their refusal to artificially inseminate her.

"[Brody] believes that participating in the [fertilization procedure], she is acting as the male," Coppo said. "It is an elective, invasive procedure, and to be there for the moment of conception, she religiously can't participate."
With doctors trying this crap, it's just a matter of time till some quack claims that his or her "religious beliefs" "prevent" him or her from treating homosexuals. Of course, their "religious beliefs" don't prevent these same doctors from being like the money-changers in the Temple (even if it involves fraudulently billing Medicare to maximize their income).

It seems simple to me. If your religious beliefs prohibit abortion, artificial insemination, etc., don't work at a women's clinic. And if your religious beliefs prohibit contraceptives, don't become a pharmacist.

These yahoos seem to feel that their religious beliefs supercede everyone else's beliefs... and rights. Yet, if one has the balls to criticize these narrow-minded bigots, they're the first ones to scream discrimination.

At least some companies are taking the right approach. Walgreen's recently suspended four pharmacists for trying to pull the "Target my-beliefs-preclude-me-from-doing-the-job-you hired-me-to-do" defense. Of course, the fact that Illinois has a state law requiring pharmacists to fill legally-issued prescriptions may have something to do with it. One result of Walgreen's action is that they will be getting the money the lovely-yet-talented Mrs 618 and I had previously spent at "Tar-get-your-Plan-B-somewhere-else".

The growing religious intolerance in this country is starting to really scare me.

We're becoming more like the old Soviet Union every day. Or Afghanistan. Or Texas.

These right-wing neoconpoops have GOT to do.

Wally World - Where Tacky Reigns SU-preme

The lovely-yet-talented Mrs 618 and I were at Wally World the other day, doing some holiday shopping (bite my shorts, O'Reilly, you terrorist sympathizer) for the various munchkins in the extended family.

Among other things, we got a "Crime Scene Investigation" set -- complete with white and black fingerprint powders -- for a certain 7-year-old forensics genius (no, he lives somewhere far, far away, so we don't have to clean the shit up). I wanted to get a drum set for the four-year-old nephew, but that idea was shot down (remember when Little Ricky Ricardo [as opposed to Little Ricky Santorum] got his first drum set?).

We also saw something truly tacky, even by Wally World standards. I wouldn't mention it, except Missouri Mule at BlondeSense mentions my mother's all-time favorite holiday gag gift (celebrate this, ya blotchy-faced, morally-leprous, walking-talking anal wart terrorist sympathizer), Big Mouth Billy Bass.*

Big Mouth Billy Bass is passe. Wally World now has... get ready... a moving, talking deer head, complete with karaoke microphone. The ears wiggle, the head moves side to side, and the mouth opens and closes. He evens sings "Friends in Low Places." Didn't get a chance to kill Bambi this year? Don't worry, Wally World will save you from a lifetime of embarrassment. Perfect for putting over the fake mantle in the double-wide, right next to the aluminum tree. And it's less than a hundred bucks (so to speak).

* Did you know the Queen of England has a Big Mouth Billy Bass? On display in the Palace? And that she demonstrates it for all her guests? I can just see Shrub staring at it, mesmerized, with drool running down his weak little, receding chin...

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Bush and the "Goddamned Piece of Paper"

Over at Capitol Hill Blue, Doug Thompson has a piece on Bush, the PATRIOT Act, and the Constitution. In effect, some of the GOoPers tried to tell His Lord God King Heiney-ness that the PATRIOT Act, and some of his other patented fuck-ups were pissing off a mighty percentage of the American public, thereby threatening their continued existence as the party in power. (When discussing the PATRIOT Act, all that needs to be known is that it's so friggin' bad, both the ACLU (for you mouth-breathin' sister-humpers, that's the American Commie Libruls Union) and Phyllis Schlafly are agin' it.)

GOP leaders told Bush that his hardcore push to renew the more onerous provisions of the act could further alienate conservatives still mad at the President from his botched attempt to nominate White House Counsel Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court.

“I don’t give a goddamn,” Bush retorted. “I’m the President and the Commander-in-Chief. Do it my way.”

“Mr. President,” one aide in the meeting said. “There is a valid case that the provisions in this law undermine the Constitution.”

“Stop throwing the Constitution in my face,” Bush screamed back. “It’s just a goddamned piece of paper!”

Thompson has confirmed this, he says, with three of the people present; all three said the quotes were accurate.

Now, this would appear to be the very same Constitution that ole Georgie swore to uphold when the Supreme Court annointed him in 2000, and again when Florida and Ohio joined forces with Diebold to re-annoint him in 2004.

Now, follow me on this, cause it gets complicated, especially for the neoconpoops (who, come to think of it, wouldn't read this blog because of all the big, unfamiliar words like "justice", "Constitution", "freedom", all those things they can't sound out).

  1. George places his hand upon a Holy Bible, not once, but TWICE...
  2. ...before a high government official (as opposed to an official getting high)...
  3. ...who is empowered and REQUIRED to administer a legally-binding oath...
  4. ...REQUIRING Twig to uphold the Constitution of the United States...
  5. ...Shrubbie swears -- both times -- to uphold the Constitution of the United States...
  6. ...and ends the oath -- both times -- by saying, "[so] help me God".

He subsequently says the afore-mentioned Constitution is a "goddamned piece of paper". This makes it obvious he can't and won't support the Constitution.


  1. The lying sack of shit lied to the Chief Justice of the United States;
  2. The lying sack of shit knowingly and willfully made a false statement to a government official acting in performance of his duties;
  3. The lying sack of shit lied to the People of the United States;
  4. The lying sack of shit lied to the Fundies who voted for him, thinking he "wuzwonus";
  5. The lying sack of shit took the Lord's name in vain; and
  6. The lying sack of shit LIED TO GOD.

Now, where I grew up, in the enlightened Northeast, where we breathe through our noses, don't marry (or fornicate with) immediate family members or barnyard animals, and drive vehicles that don't belch 40 pounds of crud into the atmosphere every 5 minutes, what Twigster did would be considered wrong (I know terrorist sympathizer Tub'O'Turd O'Reilly is gonna have a "Christmas-stealing","terrists-have-won" hissy fit over using "Bush" and "wrong" in the same sentence, but screw him with his own smelly felalfel). In fact, what little Georgie did is illegal.

Illegal. As in, "against the law". As in, "go to jail, go directly to jail, do not collect $200.00". As in, "Mah name is Bubba, an' yore name is Georgette, now"

It's not something simple like getting a hummer from some ugly trailer-trash bimbo. This is major-league, big-time illegal, the kind of illegal that warrants prison time... and not in some Club Fed, either, but someplace like Marion.

Not to mention the fact that a born-again Christian lying to God is probably doomed to an eternity of purgaory -- which for these idjits would be Bill Clinton (he of budget surplusses and concern for the common folk) as perpetual President.

Shrub and his accomplices have probably broken countless other laws, for which his own God will ultimately hold him responsible. But, if nothing else, the nine vestal virgins of the Potomac should be so pissed at little Georgie lying to them, they oughta lock his ass up in the worst hell-hole thay can find (hmmm, "hell-hole" for Georgie? Make him Hillary's Tampax!).

As the sign says.....

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Thursday Night Pet Blogging

Well, those large knuckle-draggers from DHS and Blogger showed up again and told me I was once again running behind on the required pet blogging.

In the interest of self-preservation, here's the latest picture of the Great Lakes Pasture Wolf.

In this picture, the vicious animal is circling her prey, and getting ready to attack again. As you can probably see from the crazed look in the beast's eye, this particular spcimen is probably rabid, and is an obvious threat to helpless tennis balls. The creature has a finely-honed instinct for hunting and fetch-- err, killing.

A truly ferocious animal.

You should see the lovely yet talented Mrs. 618 brushing the beast's teeth. What a sight. If we manage to get a picture of that spectacle, we'll post it.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

O'Reilly's Favorite Things

Dedicated to our very own blotchy-faced, self-righteous, sanctimonious, hypocritical, lying tub-o-turd...

To the tune of "My Favorite Things"

Smearing a hooker with hot fresh falafel
Doing things to her that are not quite lawful,
Tying her down on my new innerspring…
These are a few of my favorite things.

Screaming at libruls and egging on bombers,
Pissing off people to build ratings numbers…
Screeching and preaching, (I’m such a witling)
These are a few of my favorite things.

Girls in black leather with seamed fishnet stockings,
Doing things to me that truly are shocking,
Handcuffs and ball gags and little cock rings…
These are a few of my favorite things.

When I’m looking
At the news polls,
I don’t feel too smug.
I simply remember that Bush is still king
And then I give Rush a hug.

Hanging with Malkin, and Matt Drudge and Britt Hume,
Claiming that our farts smell just like perfume,
Watching as Chimpster fucks up everything
These are a few of my favorite things.

Torturing A-rabs and people of color,
Claiming Alito’s a real nice feller
Wishing I’D have an illicit fling,
These are a few of my favorite things

Espousing my bullshit while waving a flag,
Doing Ann Coulter, though she’s such a hag,
Being a neo-con, rude and bo-ring
These are a few of my favorite things.

When I’m looking
In the mirror
I don’t like what I see
I simply remember that I am the one
King of hypocrisy

Mouth-breathing, gun-toting, and hooker-humping,
Sister-molesting, while still Bible-thumping,
Praying the truth doesn’t really have wings,
These are a few of my favorite things

Bitching that Christmas was stolen from us
Hoping that Murtha falls under a bus
Lying and killing and even cheating…
These are a few of my favorite things.

Supporting our soldiers by staying at home,
Paying off Christians by throwing ‘em a bone,
Being so snide and condescending
These are a few of my favorite things.

I’m a douchebag,
I’m a dipshit,
I don’t need to live.
So when the Dems win in twenty-ought-six
I’ll go jump off a bridge

Friday, November 18, 2005

Lambasting O'Reilly

Many people -- including yr obt svt --have been screaming about Tub-O-Turd O'Reilly's comments apparently calling for a terrorist attack on San Francisco. Via Blondesense, I ran across The Dark Wraith, who posted an open letter to O'Reilly. Unlike much of my writing, the point is made without name-calling, oaths, or other degradation (although being mean to neocon wingnuts is one of the high points of my day).

This is a tremendously impressive piece of writing, even for a professor.

Herewith, and by permission, is the Wraith's "Open Letter to Bill O'Reilly":

Special Blog Post:An Open Letter to Bill O'Reilly

Dear Mr. O'Reilly:

You have received a small share of wrath from bloggers who are appalled and revulsed by your invitation to al-Qa'ida to bomb San Francisco without fear of retribution. That you deserve every angry word that has been published about you is not in dispute: you have earned that animus in its full measure, and you should receive more. Much more. Your right to speak your mind does not include the privilege of a wide audience; you should be fired that you may learn the right of speech carries the accountability for its consequences.

Far more diversity than you imagine may be found in the voices arrayed against you. I am hopeful that you will publish my Website in the list of your enemies: those who might have found some reason to continue their support for you need to see that your simplification of the world is not merely dangerous, but wrong, too.

I was born into a Republican family. I grew up during the Cold War.

Contrary to the facile way that era is now treated by many, the times were complicated and perilous, both at home and abroad; great men confronted the issues of those times. I learned to be what is now sometimes derisively called a "Rockefeller Republican." One of my uncles was a member of the Sierra Club; another was gay. My parents left a church, never to return, the Sunday the preacher thundered against John F. Kennedy. Eisenhower was a great man, but his vice president was something of a toad; and Barry Goldwater was just a little bit "out there" somewhere, more of a mild embarrassment than a contribution. Both of those men, though, regardless of how history and the institutional Left might treat their legacies, came to contribute something to the society. Despite their great flaws, I hold no grudge against either. They were Americans, and so am I.

The enemy back then was Communism, and its armies were to be vigilantly kept in check on a global chessboard, where most of the moves–actually, all of the good moves–were incremental. Nameless Air Force pilots patrolled the cold, night skies to keep us safe; young grunts tried to keep their eyes open through the miserable nights at Checkpoint Charlie; gunners stood watch ready, but never really believing, that those hills way out there on the plains of Europe could one day be a sea of Russian tanks to target in furious hails of artillery bombardment.

Men of long experience and extraordinary wisdom met with others of the same kind in places all over the world to maintain, and once in a great while expand, our sphere of influence. Occasionally, we made deals with the Devil, but we usually told ourselves that one day we'd get rid of him once and for all. That was the incremental vision of a world that we should hand off, generation after generation, a little better than we received it.

At home, we did our best to allow the tide of a liberal society to flow forward through the second half of the 20the Century, while trying to keep that inevitable process slow and introspective. That part was harder than keeping the Communists at bay: the American society was just bursting at the seams with new ideas, and everyone wanted everything to happen right then and there. Unrepentant kids wanted to tear it all down, and blustering ignoramuses wanted to hang them all in the streets.

Those who managed our world and our government were educated in the best traditions of Western Civilization. They had learned the lessons of history, philosophy, and science; and they were able to infuse into their policies and decisions a secular, rational mindset. They saw themselves as the caretakers of the Age of Reason, without any doubt at all that this was the age for all future ages.

All of that is gone, now. Men and women of your kind now stand prominent and proud in bitter anger at a world that is not exactly as you want it. An influential religious leader like the Reverend Pat Robertson warns that natural disasters will befall those whose beliefs and practices differ from his; an influential former political man like William Bennet says that crime rates would be lower if only we would remove people of color from our society; and you, sir, literally call down the most violent and destructive of our enemies—enemies who hate our nation, our beliefs, and even our very ways—upon those with whom you disagree on politics and social policies.

My God, Mr. O'Reilly, can you not see—can you not grasp—the utter shamefulness of what you said? What tribal, primitive god, or more precisely, what demon in the mask of a god, brought you to what you are?

Were you my boy, I would take a belt to you; and I would do so every time you opened your mouth to spew such filth. You see, Mr. O'Reilly, I'm Old School; and even though I abide to the extent I can the wise words of men like the rabbi from Nazareth, I haven't an eternity to wait for the world to come to my way of seeing things.

Make no mistake, though, sir: were you to be in the way of harm from our common enemies, I would defend you. That is the call of duty. More importantly, however, I would choose to defend you. That is the call of honor.

But should men, women, and children suffer and die because you have delivered them to the murderous hands those enemies, I would take action. Were the civil society unable, infected as it is by men of minds like yours, to decline the obligation to exact retribution upon you, then I would have no qualm in exacting vengeance upon you.

Should you exhort your followers to seek pro-active harm to me, ensure first that they do not read this open letter. You might find that, when they have seen what I have to say, they will find that I am not as you have characterized all who disagree with you; you might find, instead, that they would affirm that you do, indeed, need that belt taken to you. You might find that they, too, are Old School.

And you might find that, unlike you, sir, most Americans are people of honor.

The Dark Wraith has spoken to you, Mr. O'Reilly.

I had not read the Wraith prior to seeing his letter. Now, however, he has been added to the list of commentators I check daily. He should be added to your daily checks, as well. In addition to the letter lambasting O'Reilly, the Wraith (a professor of economics, math, and finance, among other things) is running a crash course on economics... which might finally let me understand the stuff I couldn't grasp in Econ 101, lo, these 30 years ago.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Update on O'Reilly=Terrorist Symapthizer

Okay, I'm slow, I admit it. I got permission from Skippy to post his comments back on Saturday; his original post was on Friday. Here it is Monday night (check your local calendar for date where you are), and...

It's already done.

Go to Google, enter "terrorist sympathizer", click "I feel lucky" and -- volia! -- there's Bill "Tub-O-Turd" O'Reilly's pitiful excuse for a website.

Thank you Skippy (and all the others, especially at Kos).

Target? No, thanks.

The lovely-yet-talented Mrs 618 and I have enjoyed shopping at Target for years. Now, however, Target has knuckled under to the mouth-breathin', Bible-thumpin, hooker-humpin', sister-marryin', gun-rack-in-the-pickmup, neoconpoop wingnut brigade. As reported on AmericaBlog, Target is now letting their pharmacists force their religious beliefs on their customers, by refusing to fill prescriptions -- prescriptions, mind you, signed by an MD-type -- for the "Plan B" emergency contraceptive, if it goes against their beliefs. In fact, Target says (first) that this is required under the Civil Rights Act, but also says (second) that "Plan B" is the only product to which this particular civil right applies.

I don't know about you, but if Target is gonna let the mouth-breathers tell a woman she can't have "Plan B" after being raped (or even if she got drunk and made a mistake), I don't think I need to spend my hard-earned money supporting them. It's bad enough I have to support the neoconpoops (and I would like to thank whoever coined that term) through payments to the IRS.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Bombing O'Reilly

After O'Reilly's comments the other day (about how al Qaeda should blow up San Francisco), a movement started at Daily Kos (and was picked up by countless others) to Google-bomb O'Reilly, and have his name pop up when Googling "Terrorist sympathizer", much the way Googling "miserable failure" takes you to Twig's White House bio.

I spent a fair amount of time working on a snarky-yet-reasoned approach to this idea.

Then I read Skippy's take, and realized he said it all. Perfectly.

Herewith, Skippy's commentary (reprinted by permission. Really)

da bomb
here's an excellent idea...in light of bill o'reilly's latest comments on how al qaeda should blow up san francisco...why not google bomb him as a terrorist sympathizer?after all, his words make him a terrorist sympathizer. anyone who encourages a terrorist act is a terrorist sympathizer. and we don't condone any terrorist sympathizer making statements like that on american airwaves. no terrorist sympathizer for us!damn that terrorist sympathizer!

Works for me.

Update: Added link to the original Kos diary (with apologies to HollywoodOz).

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Ya GOTTA Check These Out!

The Wizard of Oz, Little Ricky Santorum and Gomer Pyle, and GOP Holy Cards.

All at 2 Political Junkies.

Don't have anything in your mouth, though... unless you want to have to replace your keyboard.

Buh-bye, Georgie...

From Capitol Hill Blue, via American Samizdat:

GOP Leaders to Bush: 'Your Presidency is Effectively Over'
Nov 4, 2005, 08:13

A growing number of Republican leaders, party strategists and political professional now privately tell President George W. Bush that his presidency "is effectively over" unless he fires embattled White House advisor Karl Rove, apologizes to the American people for misleading the country into war and revamps his administration from top to bottom.

"The only show of unity we have now in the Republican Party is the belief that the President has failed the party, the American people and the presidency," says a longtime, and angry, GOP strategist.

With the public face of support for Bush eroding daily from even diehard Republicans, the President faces mounting anger from within his party over the path that may well lead to loss of control of Congress in the 2006 midterm elections and the White House in 2008.

"This presidency is in trouble," says a senior White House aide. "Even worse, I don't know if there is a way out of the trouble."

Congressional leaders journeyed to the White House before Bush left on his South American tour this week to tell the President that his legislative agenda on the Hill is dead, his latest Supreme Court nominee faces a tough confirmation fight in the Senate and he is facing open revolt within party ranks.

"The Speaker is having an increasingly difficult time holding his troops in line," says a source within the office of House Speaker Dennis J. Hastert. "Anger at the President grows exponentially with each passing day."

At a recent White House strategy session, internal party pollsters told the President that his approval rating with Americans continues to slide and may be irreversible, citing his failed Iraq war, the failed Supreme Court nomination of Harriet Miers and his failure to deal decisively on a number of fronts, including Hurricane Katrina, the economy and the Valerie Plame scandal.

In meetings, leaders and strategists have suggested a number of things that Bush must do to try and save his presidency and GOP prospects in upcoming elections, including:

  • Apologize to the American people, Congress and our allies for misleading them on the reasons for invading Iraq;
  • Revamp the White House staff from top to bottom;
  • Fire Rove.

"We keep coming back to Rove," says a GOP pollster. "He has escaped indictment, so far, but the feeling within the party is that another shoe is ready to drop and the longer he waits to jettison Rove the greater the damage. As long as Karl Rove remains at the President's side, the Bush presidency is effectively over and he is just riding out the days until the nation elects a Democrat to replace him. Even with Rove gone the damage may be irreparable."

Bush, however, has dug his heels in on Rove. When a GOP strategist suggested last weekend that the President fire Rove, Bush exploded.

"You go to hell," he screamed at the strategist. "You can leave and you can take the rest of these lily-livered motherfuckers with you!" The President then stormed out of the room and refused to meet further with any other party leaders or strategists.

Bush's escalating temper tantrums and his intransigence on political issues increase Republican worries about the long term effects on both his presidency and the party's prospects in upcoming elections.

"Right now, George W. Bush is the Republican Party's chief liability," says a GOP strategist who has advised Presidential campaigns for 30 years. "The entire political future of the party and perhaps the nation now rests on the shoulders of a President that no one - Democrat or Republican - believes in or trusts."

Just what we need: a petulant, spolied-rotten little whiny preznit who throws hissy-fits when anyone dare imply Lord God King Georgie-poo might possibly, in some small way... be wrong.

Yes, it's good to think it's time to stick a fork in the Chimpster, but when someone is this unstable, that person is liable to do anything. And this particular psychopathic manic-depressive loser has launch codes for "nukuler" weapons.

Are there any adults in the White House these days?


From the fine folks at American Samizdat:

The Christian Right and the Rise of American Fascism
By Chris Hedges for Theocracy Watch

"Dr. James Luther Adams, my ethics professor at Harvard Divinity School , told us that when we were his age, he was then close to 80, we would all be fighting the 'Christian fascists.'

"The warning, given to me 25 years ago, came at the moment Pat Robertson and other radio and televangelists began speaking about a new political religion that would direct its efforts at taking control of all institutions, including mainstream denominations and the government. Its stated goal was to use the United States to create a global, Christian empire. It was hard, at the time, to take such fantastic rhetoric seriously, especially given the buffoonish quality of those who expounded it. But Adams warned us against the blindness caused by intellectual snobbery. The Nazis, he said, were not going to return with swastikas and brown shirts. Their ideological inheritors had found a mask for fascism in the pages of the Bible."

He was not a man to use the word fascist lightly. He was in Germany in 1935 and 1936 and worked with the underground anti-Nazi church, known as The Confessing Church, led by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Adams was eventually detained and interrogated by the Gestapo, who suggested he might want to consider returning to the United States . It was a suggestion he followed. He left on a night train with framed portraits of Adolph Hitler placed over the contents inside his suitcase to hide the rolls of home movie film he took of the so-called German Christian Church, which was pro-Nazi, and the few individuals who defied them, including the theologians Karl Barth and Albert Schweitzer. The ruse worked when the border police lifted the top of the suitcases, saw the portraits of the Fuhrer and closed them up again. I watched hours of the grainy black and white films as he narrated in his apartment in Cambridge ."

He saw in the Christian Right, long before we did, disturbing similarities with the German Christian Church and the Nazi Party, similarities that he said would, in the event of prolonged social instability or a national crisis, see American fascists, under the guise of religion, rise to dismantle the open society. He despaired of liberals, who he said, as in Nazi Germany, mouthed silly platitudes about dialogue and inclusiveness that made them ineffectual and impotent. Liberals, he said, did not understand the power and allure of evil nor the cold reality of how the world worked. The current hand wringing by Democrats in the wake of the election, with many asking how they can reach out to a movement whose leaders brand them 'demonic' and 'satanic,' would not have surprised Adams . Like Bonhoeffer, he did not believe that those who would fight effectively in coming times of turmoil, a fight that for him was an integral part of the Biblical message, would come from the church or the liberal, secular elite.

"His critique of the prominent research universities, along with the media, was no less withering. These institutions, self-absorbed, compromised by their close relationship with government and corporations, given enough of the pie to be complacent, were unwilling to deal with the fundamental moral questions and inequities of the age. They had no stomach for a battle that might cost them their prestige and comfort. He told me that if the Nazis took over America '60 percent of the Harvard faculty would begin their lectures with the Nazi salute.' This too was not an abstraction. He had watched academics at the University of Heidelberg , including the philosopher Martin Heidegger, raise their arms stiffly to students before

"Two decades later, even in the face of the growing reach of the Christian Right, his prediction seems apocalyptic. And yet the powerbrokers in the Christian Right have moved from the fringes of society to the floor of the House of Representatives and the Senate. Christian fundamentalists now hold a majority of seats in 36 percent of all Republican Party state committees, or 18 of 50 states, along with large minorities in 81 percent of the rest of the states. Forty-five Senators and 186 members of the House of Representatives earned between an 80 to100 percent approval ratings from the three most influential Christian Right advocacy groups – The Christian Coalition, Eagle Forum, and Family Resource Council. Tom Coburn, the new senator from Oklahoma , has included in his campaign to end abortion a call to impose the death penalty on doctors that carry out abortions once the ban goes into place. Another new senator, John Thune, believes in Creationism. Jim DeMint, the new senator elected from South Carolina , wants to ban single mothers from teaching in schools. The Election Day exit polls found that 22 percent of voters identified themselves as evangelical Christians and Bush won 77 percent of their vote. The polls found that a plurality of voters said that the most important issue in the campaign had been 'moral values.'

"President Bush must further these important objectives, including the march to turn education and social welfare over to the churches with his faith-based initiative, as well as chip away at the wall between church and state with his judicial appointments, if he does not want to face a revolt within his core constituency."

Jim Dobson, the head of Focus on the Family, who held weekly telephone conversations with Karl Rove during the campaign, has put the President on notice. He told ABC’s 'This Week' that 'this president has two years, or more broadly the Republican Party has two years, to implement these policies, or certainly four, or I believe they’ll pay a price in the next election.'

"Bush may turn out to be a transition figure, our version of Otto von Bismarck. Bismarck used “values” to energize his base at the end of the 19 th century and launched kulturkampt, the word from which we get 'culture wars,' against Catholics and Jews. Bismarck ’s attacks split the country, made the discrediting of whole segments of the society an acceptable part of the civil discourse and paved the way for the more virulent racism of the Nazis. This, I suspect, will be George Bush’s contribution to our democracy."

Chris Hedges, a reporter for The New York Times, is the author of War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning . He holds a Master of Divinity from Harvard Divinity School . His next book , Losing Moses on the Freeway: America 's Broken Covenant With The Ten Commandments is published by The Free Press.

This could be a very scary development. As the next post points out, some Republicans are complaining that Bush's presidency is "effectively over". If that is the case, Bush may cave under the pressure from the Fascist far-right in order to "ensure his place in history" (Nooo problem there, Georgie, your place is guaran-damn-teed: "Worst. President. Ever."). Hopefully, though, Chimp will continue to screw them as he has since day one.

The "Talibangelicals" (or "Texas Taliban", take yer choice) have taken advantage of our complacency to achieve a position of power in this country, a position they want to leverage into their view of a "Christian Nation". Of course, their view of a Christian nation includes an absolute ban on abortion (with one lunatic Senator urging the death penalty for doctors who continue to perform them), the elimination of science from American life, and the complete perversion of the Bible to their own twisted, sick "philosophy".

One of the most high-profile members of this crowd is Little Ricky Santorum (whom one of the Philly papers referred to as 'one of the finest minds of the 13th century'); others include Jeb Bush, Pat Robertson, James Dobson, and the rest of the "usual suspects".

These are the people who want to take us back to the "good old days", when a woman's place was in the kitchen, barefoot and pregnant; when "coloreds", "Nigras", and other even more-insulting terms knew their place was at the back of the bus, if not just being legally considered to be property; when heretics could be burned, drowned or otherwise painfully executed (how much you want to bet that wasn't an unspoken part of "Abu Al" Gonzales' "torture memo"?).

Yet, if one really examines what these mouth-breathin', sister-humpin', Bible-thumpin', southern redneck MO-rons are saying, it is that they want to drag us back to the days of the Old Testament, the days of a vengeful, wrathful God, smiting and destroying, not the forgiving, all-loving God of the New Testament that they claim to follow.

These people must be stopped.

Apologies Due...

... for not having posted anything in such a long time.

My only excuse? Two jobs are a hassle and my kid has the flu.

(Hmm, wonder if I could turn that into a song of some sort?)

Anyway, sharp-edged analysis, biting sarcasm (especially against the Chimpistration) and miscellaneous musings to follow shortly.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Friday Pet Blogging

I was visited this morning by a pair of large, burly bruisers wearing sunglasses and carrying baseball bats. They identified themselves as special agents of Blogger. They reminded me that there is a Federal law mandating pet blogging on either Thurday or Friday, and that I have yet to post any pet pictures... and this blog started months ago. As they so eloquently put it, "If y'all don' put up pitchers of yer pets, the terrists have won."

So to keep myself from an all-expense paid trip to Club Gitmo....
The Dreaded Wild Kitty of Borneo

The Great Lakes Pasture Wolf
guarding her kill from other predators

I wouldn't want anyone to think I don't love America.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Brown is out...

I just heard on NBC News that Michael Brown has resigned as head of FEMA. Too bad is took this kind of disaster to make it obvious that Brown -- and the rest of the Bushies -- are completely incompetent.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

"We Didn't Know..."

The Feds and the White House keep saying "We didn't know it would be this bad." Need more proof that they're lying sacks of shit?

They obviously don't read National Geographic. Like this article from October, 2004:

The storm hit Breton Sound with the fury of a nuclear warhead, pushing a deadly storm surge into Lake Pontchartrain. The water crept to the top of the massive berm that holds back the lake and then spilled over. Nearly 80 percent of New Orleans lies below sea level—more than eight feet below in places—so the water poured in. A liquid brown wall washed over the brick ranch homes of Gentilly, over the clapboard houses of the Ninth Ward, over the white-columned porches of the Garden District, until it raced through the bars and strip joints on Bourbon Street like the pale rider of the Apocalypse. As it reached 25 feet (eight meters) over parts of the city, people climbed onto roofs to escape it.

Thousands drowned in the murky brew that was soon contaminated by sewage and industrial waste. Thousands more who survived the flood later perished from dehydration and disease as they waited to be rescued. It took two months to pump the city dry, and by then the Big Easy was buried under a blanket of putrid sediment, a million people were homeless, and 50,000 were dead. It was the worst natural disaster in the history of the United States.

Link via Crisis Manager, and Jonathan Bernstein, Bernstein Crisis Management.

This Explains a LOT!

From the Department of Homeland Security web site:

“DHS is truly grateful to the airlines for their immediate and generous contribution to help us to bring hurricane victims to safety,” said Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Jackson.

This really would explain it, wouldn't it?

Sunday, September 04, 2005

The World Has ENDED...

Michelle Malkin is making sense!

AND she's making sense here, too!

I don't believe.

I just do not friggin believe it.

Billmon on the Feds

Billmon, in his usual inimitable fashon, has a fascinating piece up on his blog, comparing the Federal response to Katrina with the response to last year's Florida hurricanes. In it, he points out the apparently magical properties of years divisible by two ("and particularly every other year divisible by two").

Another masterful indictment of the current administration.

More on NOLA, Part II

Maureen Dowd's op-ed piece in Saturday's Times is well worth reading, as is Frank Rich's piece today.

There's also an article on how Katrina has affected the NO Police Dept: at least two officers (one an aid to the Superintendent) have committed suicide; others have abandoned their posts and fled. As a former cop, I can't tell you how distressing that piece of information was. To me, it shows that the police in NO have accepted these "facts":
  • They're on their own, and nobody's going to help them
  • The system they have sworn to uphold and defend has abandoned them
  • It was time to put their own safety and the safety of their loved ones ahead of the system that has betrayed them
Now, no one goes into law enforcement for the money... all in all, cops get paid about 10% of their true worth to society (same with firefighters and EMS personnel). Nor do people enter these fields for the snazzy uniforms (generally polyester, which is hot in the summer, cold in the winter and always, but always, looks crappy). No, people go into emergency services because they want to "try to make a difference", they want to make society safer, better, more productive. Try to imagine what these cops must have experienced for them to decide to flee.

The cops in NYC on 9-11 (and also the FDNY and EMS, the Port Authority staff, and hundreds or thousands of others) stood their ground, doing what they had sworn to do. How many died in that effort? 343 firefighters, and hundreds of law enforcement officers (local, state and Federal).

Why didn't they flee?

Easy. They knew help was on the way. Thousands of volunteers -- many trained, most not -- were already heading for New York, even before the towers fell. The next day, there was a measurable Federal presence (aside from Twig with his bullhorn).

In New Orleans, though, it was different.
They were left on their own for five days, days in which Governor Blanco and Mayor Nagin were begging for help. Five days in which people were dying, the city was dying... and no one came.

The disaster in NYC covered a few square blocks; in New Orleans, the entire city was under water. NYC was able to call for assistance from New Jersey, Connecticut, and the rest of the Northeast. New Orleans couldn't: the entire deep South had been clobbered (after all, New Orleans is 'the big story' but there are also Biloxi, Gulfport and countless smaller communities). The Twin Towers tragedy affected the whole world, that's true, but -- for the most part -- the emergency workers knew their loved ones were safe somewhere else. The cops and firefighters and EMS workers in New Orleans knew their loved ones were trapped, or missing... or dead.

And they knew no one cared.

Sure, the locals pitched in and helped the best they could. Even the communities virtually destroyed by Katrina tried to help each other. But where were the Feds?

FEMA was gutted under Bush's insane privatization policies, their training and mitigation mandates transferred to other parts of DHS or to the private sector. Millions of dollars in levee improvements were dropped, in favor of paying for Bush's war of choice in Iraq. A third of the National Guard troops from the affected areas -- troops that would have been available for search and rescue, security, fire fighting -- and half their equipment was halfway around the globe, defending Halliburton's right to make obscene profits.

DHS itself was concentrating exclusively on terrorism, to the exclusion of all other disasters in their purview. As security expert Bruce Schneier put it (several times), they were 'preparing for the last attack'. FEMA's own experts considered a breach of the levees to be one of the three most likely disasters facing the US... and the most costly, in terms of lives and dollars.

The Feds don't care.

Evacuation from New Orleans was tough, granted. How in hell do you move 450,000 people quickly and safely? But for the Feds to say, "we're sending 500 buses"?!? Mayor Nagin was right when he said the Feds should nationalize Greyhound and send their entire fleet. And there's a report that refugees from the Hyatt in New Orleans were moved to the head of the evacuation line at one point; yeah, I can understand the comments that 'rich whites are more important than poor blacks'. And I can understand -- and sympathize with -- rapper Kanye West's statement (on the NBC concert) that Bush "doesn't care about black people".

And where does DHS Secretary Chertoff get off claiming he "didn't know" there were 20,000 evacuees in the Superdome and 25,00 at the Convention Center? For Christ's sake, it's his job to know.

The Feds don't care.

Denny Hastert says we should bulldoze New Orleans instead of rebuilding they city.

Bush turns the worst disaster in American history into a comedy sketch: "I can't wait to sit on Trent Lott's porch".

The Feds don't care.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

More on NOLA

In no particular order:

  • I heard Dear Leader's weekly address today. The Federal response to Katrina is "unacceptable". This from the man who was too busy strumming his git-tar with his buddies... whose Secretary of State was laughing at "Spamalot" and blowing wads at Feragamo... whose former head of FEMA , Joe Allbaugh, is now a lobbyist for Halliburton subsidiary KBR. "Unacceptable". Ya think?!?
  • Halliburton has been tasked to repair Naval facilities damaged by Katrina. Big surprise, right? Who'da thunk BushCo would use this disaster to further enrich their corrupt cronies? (Hallibutron Watch, via First Draft)
  • The NBC concert last night was interesting, but for a strange reason. Rapper Kenye West said -- flat out -- that the preznit "doesn't care about black people". When the concert was repeated, NBC did not cut that part. They also included some fairly explicit commentary from Brian Williams, Mayor Nagin, and others. The only comment supportive of Twig was from Twig himself.
  • Preznit was talking to two black women, trying to get them to a Salvation Army center. They kept telling him, "It's gone". Bush, of course, couldn't comprehend that, and wound up looking an even bigger fool than he already is.
  • Skippy's Red Cross donation challenge is going strong. Donate. Add a penny to show you were convinced by bloggers. Volunteer. Give blood. Pray, too.
  • Stupidest Headline EVER Published: "Jobless Rate in Gulf Coast Likely to Surge". Skippy linked to this LA Times headline; I couldn't find the article, so it appears some editor slapped his forehead (then slapped the writer) and fixed it. As the lovely-yet-talented Mrs. 618 said, "Duh! There's noplace to go to work".

Friday, September 02, 2005

Follow Up to Skippy's Challenge

Well, my wife and I contributed 20.01, the best we could do under Bush's "economic miracle". On the other hand, I've been a first aid/cpr instructor and disaster team member for 15 years. The Red Cross, by the way, is always seeking donations and -- more important -- volunteers.

You don't need special skills to volunteer. You can answer phones, help with the mail, etc. If you do have special skills, that's even better. No matter what your skill level, we can find a place for you.

And it doesn't have to be a major disaster, either. The Red Cross responds to hubdreds of emergencies a day across the country. Take a look at the scene of the next 'real' fire in your home towm. Chances are, the Red Cross will show up with food and drink for victims and firefighters, shelter assistance, clothing vouchers, all the things to help the victims get back on their feet.

Call your local chapter to see how you can help.

Back to Skippy's challenge: I would love it if every person who reads this blog (all 3-4 of you) sent a donation to the Red Cross. Remember to add one penny; this is how the RC will know these donations are coming as a result of all the bloggers working together.

And read Skippy's blog; he hit a million visitors a couple of weks ago, and needs to hit a million bucks in Red Cross donations.

Skippy Does It... Again!

Skippy the Bush Kangaroo has a GREAT idea: donate to the Red Cross and add one penny, as an indication that the donation came as a result of bloggers. In the "weird mix of the day", Skippy (very liberal, of course) has been joined in this effort by Glen Reynolds of "InstaPundit" -- yeah, the arch-conservative. He started with a donation of $100.01 and challenged everyone to match him. The first blogger to take the challenge was able to contribute even more!

And as Skippy says, if you can't afford $100.01, any amount over $5.01 will help.

Just remember to add the penny.

Oh, and pass it on.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

A Note to Readers

I guess I've hit the semi-big time. I've been getting a lot of comment spam recently, so I've had to enable a "verification word" feature in the comment section. All you have to do is enter the displayed word. I apologize for the extra step, but it'll keep all of us from being treated to comments regarding enlargement of body parts... if you get my drift.

"Full Disclosure" Run Amok

Ampersand at "Alas, A Blog" has an interesting post on some recent abortion research. In short, a recent JAMA article concludes that fetuses cannot feel pain until roughly the 28th week. This conflicts with a proposal from the pro-life crowd that patients be told their fetuses will feel pain. Now, some of the pro-lifers are bitching about the fact that one author worked for NARAL, another performed abortions, and the third is a professor at a med school, affiliated with a women's clinic.

As Ampersand points out -- correctly -- "Finally, the pro-life press is full of studies conducted and funded by professional pro-life advocates - and many of those studies are never published in legitimate peer-reviewed journals. It seems unlikely that pro-lifers would be willing to hold their own studies to the standards they're holding this study to."

Read the whole thing.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Bush's Response to Katrina

While the flood waters rise, and people die, Shrub shows the usual concern for everyday (i.e., non-billionaire) Americans:

President Bush plays a guitar presented to him by Country Singer Mark Wills, right, backstage following his visit to Naval Base Coronado, Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2005. Bush visited the base to deliver remarks on V-J Commemoration Day.

His increasing disconnect from reality is scaring the hell out of me.