Saturday, August 30, 2008

There You Have It

Update Keep your eyes open for this kind of thing.

And this kind of thing.

And this is pretty much the summary that nails it.


McCain-Palin or Obama-Biden.

Or Osama BinLaden as the meme is out now - do you think Obama is trying to tell us something with his choice of last names in VP???

At any rate, I won't be watching the Republican Convention, because frankly, I cannot stand to look at or hear the voices of these crooks. And I admit that I haven't even heard Ms. Palin. The only reason I watched the Democrats was because at least with them there's a tiny shred of hope for this country's future. Not much, but a shred. With the GOP, there is nothing. Zilch. Nada. We just keep going down the drain. We already know what they'll be offering.

So, good luck to you all. And especially you, New Orleans.

I'll probably quit blogging, unless the Democrats take the WH, at which point I might actually start spreading the word on the weasely things they do. But if we get more Republicans, well....I'll just be fiddling, eating, drinking and being merry, because, you know.

....but hey, you do what you will anyway.

Thanks for your support and comments these past few years. May you learn to make magic.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Convention Over

And this final night was quite the spectacle. And I must say, Barack Obama gave a very fine speech. I hope you got to watch - or hear - it.

Another Speaker for the Dems

Dwight Eisenhower's granddaughter Susan gave a fine speech for Obama. (Yes, she's a Republican.) They should send her around for the next couple of months. And maybe give her a post in the Administration.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Quitcher Whinin'

Why do you need insurance? You have emergency rooms.

I Like Al

Despite the fact that he didn't fight the Bush theft of the WH to the bitter end.

His delivery is not great, but the words are good, and he even has some great sound bytes.

The oil companies have a "50-year lease on the Republican Party and they're drilling it for all it's worth." Special interests own the Bush Administration "lock stock and barrel after barrel."

You Just Can't Go Back

I could have lived the rest of my life with my last memories of Stevie Wonder, thank you very much. Sad.

$100,000 Rhetoric Question

Gov. Richardson, who's really getting the crowd going, just asked the conventioners: "Is anybody here gonna miss Dick Cheney?"

Speaking of the Price of Gasoline

I hear the price of oil has gone up due to what may happen in the Gulf of Mexico. Why is it that they can raise the price on the possibility of a future event? Shouldn't the price be raised when it has becomes a reality? Wouldn't that reflect the market supply and demand?

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Choose Your Words Carefully!

PBS has a clip of an interview last night with former Secretary of the Treasury, Bob Rubin, being questioned about whether Barack Obama has the experience to be president, and he said: "I think he's very well equipped."

Race is just under the whole thing, isn't it?

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

New Orleans Repeat?

I've been reading that the new and better levees may be new, but they are not better.

Looks like God is giving George a second chance. Just in time for some photo ops to coincide with the GOP convention. John McCain can spend the first few days in New Orleans and then make his entrance to the convention trailing an adoring media who've been there "in the trenches" with him.

Tin foil hat time!

Kind of a drastic way to push Katrina out of the campaign.

Weather Modification Research and Technology Transfer Authorization Act of 2005

Angels Don't Play This HAARP

Popular Science 1996:
The Secret Agenda of a Military
Project in Alaska

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Timing Is Everything

Security in the western Iraqi province of Anbar, where a brutal insurgency once ruled, has improved so drastically that the United States is about to return it to Iraqi control — opening the door to possible further cuts in U.S. troop levels, officials said Wednesday.


A ceremony marking the Anbar turnover is expected to be held Monday, several U.S. and Iraqi officials said. Each spoke on condition of anonymity because the Iraqi government has not yet announced it.

  AP (Will I be sued?)

Monday – the first day of the GOP convention (Labor Day: another bit of sad irony - or black is whitism - on their part).

But then, Gustav is scheduled to smack down here on the Gulf Coast on Monday, too.

About Last Night

I was thinking about Bill's speech a little more. What struck me as surprising was that he said the words Hillary wouldn't say: Barack Obama is ready to be president. He only said one thing about Hillary - that "his" candidate didn't win - and then he went on to say that Barack Obama is the right man for the job. Interesting. He also said that people the world over were more impressed by the power of our example than the example of our power. David Brooks (PBS commentator) said that was a pretty slogan but he didn't think Putin or Ahmadinejad were impressed by the power of our example.

And then I was thinking about the claim that McCain has it over Obama due to experience. I wonder why the Democrats haven't taken up the Freewheelin' Franklinesque mantra that good judgment can substitute for experience, but experience cannot substitute for good judgment.

(You don't know Freewheelin' Franklin? Then be sure to check the "mantra" link.)

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Soldier Faces

Take a look at these billboards in Minneapolis/St. Paul. One was supposed to be near the airport, but apparently it was considered that it might "send the wrong message" to folks coming to the Republican National Convention.

Yeah, Right

Iraq is calling on companies to submit designs to build a giant Ferris wheel in Baghdad - the latest in a string of lavish proposals painting the capital as a leisure friendly city.

  AP News

It will run for two hours on Mondays and Thursdays - when there is electricity.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

The Race Card

A McCain ad aired on Fox News channel with the words "HANG" in the background along with a photograph of Barack Obama has sparked outrage after being noticed by a reporter at a local Fox television affiliate.

The words "HIGHER TAXES" are transposed on an image of Obama standing in front of a crowd. The background is blurred at the edges so that the words from Obama's signature theme -- change -- has been cut down to the word "HANG." The shot appears for about a second.

  Raw Story

A picture of the shot and the ad here.

Believe me, it's going to get a lot uglier.

The Evil That Men Do

Yes, I'm talking about Halliburton.

Thirteen Nepali men were recruited and held against their will for thirteen months in a human trafficking scheme engineered and perpetrated by Halliburton and its Jordanian contractor, according to a lawsuit filed yesterday in California federal court.

The Nepali men, each between the ages of 18 and 27, were allegedly hired as kitchen staff by the then-Halliburton subsidiary KBR and its Jordanian subcontractor, Daoud & Partners. Once they arrived in Jordan, however, their passports were seized and they were dispatched to Iraq.

  Raw Story

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

DNC Convention coverage: Dude!

Who was that fired-up speaker in the John Kerry suit? Who knew?

And, as only he can, Bill Clinton said all the right things. And he said them about Obama. Joe Biden has a couple of tough acts to follow.

If you're not watching PBS, you missed a conversation with Walter Mondale. Too bad we don't have more politicians like that these days.

Update Apprently the networks didn't show all of Kerry's speech. Too bad. It started out rather Kerry-like, but he got wound up really good and made a very good speech of it. If you didn't see it, check it out from TPM's YouTube clip.

I was thinking about Bill's speech a little more. What struck me as surprising was that he said the words Hillary wouldn't say: Barack Obama is ready to be president. He only said one thing about Hillary - that "his" candidate didn't win - and then he went on to say that Barack Obama is the right man for the job. Interesting. He also said that people the world over were more impressed by the power of our example than the example of our power. David Brooks (PBS commentator) said that was a pretty slogan but he didn't think Putin or Ahmadinejad were impressed by the power of our example.

And then I was thinking about the claim that McCain has it over Obama due to experience. I wonder why the Democrats haven't taken up the Freewheelin' Franklinesque mantra that good judgment can substitute for experience, but experience cannot substitute for good judgment.

(You don't know Freewheelin' Franklin? Then be sure to check the "mantra" link.)

Campaign This

Not that I have any faith in the DNC knowing what they need to do, but here's the guy the DNC should have out there every day of the week until November: Dennis Kucinich at the convention courtesy Crooks & Liars.

(YouTube below - lots of trouble lately with YouTube, so Crooks & Liars for you if you can't play the clip below - note, however, that Crooks & Liars is shortened.)

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Kudos to Hillary

Hillary doesn't do anything for me, but tonight was probably her finest hour. She stepped up, and I don't think anybody could have asked for any more from her.

Now all those fools of her supporters who think John McCain is an acceptable substitute for her should do nothing less than to follow her lead.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Thank You Very Much

You can't say the telecom companies didn't appreciate the Democrats' free pass.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

As I Was Saying....

Among other news sources, NPR is reporting this morning that higher gas prices drove down traffic fatalities. The reason is that fewer people were on the roads. And that was part of the news as analysts reported that gasoline prices are down a good deal since their high in July. St. Louis, they say, has the lowest average: $3.77. The price is down not, they report (oh what a surprise!), because oil prices are down - those have fluctuated and are back up where they were two weeks ago, while gas prices are down from that two-week mark. Why? Because, just like the reason for lower traffic fatalities - people are driving less - because of high gas prices. Just as we have always said, all the squawking aside about higher oil prices and international relations driving the price of gasoline, the price of gasoline is driven by what the traffic will allow, so to speak. Oil prices are a factor, of course, but only over the long haul. Gasoline producers and sellers are going to charge you whatever you are willing to pay. They learned that in Economics 101. The lowest prices we had here in Galveston were $3.44 (.9 of course), and they're already on their way back up again.*

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

*Strike that. Looks like we're down to $3.41.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Get Your War On

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

The Difference

A comment from a TPM reader:

Obama would raise McCain's taxes by roughly $800,000; McCain would cut them by about $200,000. That's a million dollar spread. No wonder McCain is so hostile to Obama's economic agenda.

But here's what's really interesting. Obama's proposals would raise his own taxes by hundreds of thousands of dollars, in order to cut the taxes of people who are less fortunate than he is. McCain would cut his own taxes even further than they've already been reduced. And that's everything a voter needs to know about these two men.

I haven't clarified in my mind the conflicted appearance of the American public's desire for a presidential character. There's a lot of talk about whether someone is "elitist" or "rich" or "one of us". While I think a huge portion of voters may react to those ideas, I think they also tend to have a false sense of their own ability to rise above their station and are still enamored of the King/Queen, Prince/Princess idea, and that they're just as likely to install a "king". Witness George.

At any rate, I think Obama and Biden will have to be very careful about throwing out too many references to McCain's wealth, or risk turning people against them for it. They would do better to let everyone around them do that and hit hard with pictures painting the info above.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

A Bow to Joe Biden

Correction attempt: I posted this one as Beau Biden preparing to go to Iraq this October, then changed it to having gone last year, and now I'm finding a link that looks like I was right the first time. At this point, I really don't know whether he has gone or is going, but I'm going to say this link indicates he's headed out soon:

Lest you think I have nothing good to say about Senator Biden (and there are several things, but this is, after all, a blog about the road to Hell) - his son is being (was?) deployed to Iraq. He's made a personal sacrifice for his vote (made even more poignant by the fact that the boy was nearly killed in an automobile accident in 1972 that claimed the life of Biden's wife and infant daughter). And you can't say that about the rest of Congress or the Bush Administration.

P.S. Maybe Senator Biden is the guy to talk to about Dragon Skin.

How's This Going to Work?

We've seen that Biden has no problem taking money from lobbyists, and in fact has a son who is a lobbyist, while Obama has made noises about distancing himself from the lobbies. But that's not the only contradiction he'll have to defend or roll over for.

Biden is among the top 10 members of Congress to receive money from lawyers and law firms since the 1990 election cycle and among the top 20 to collect contributions from the real estate industry. His largest contributor over time has been credit card giant MBNA Corp. ($214,100), which, despite being acquired by Bank of America a few years ago, remains atop the list of Biden's major contributors. As an industry, finance and credit companies have contributed nearly $300,000 to Biden in his career, making them his 12th most generous industry. Obama has vowed to target credit card companies as president, setting up a five-star rating system so consumers know the risk involved with various credit cards and establishing a bill of rights so consumers aren't exploited by unfair practices.

  Open Secrets

Yes, and he also said he would hold telecom industries accountable for their role in illegal wiretapping. How’d that turn out?

Considering the contributions, it is not surprising that Biden voted in favor of the bankruptcy bill that stiffed so many “regular folks.”

....but hey, do what you will anyway.


So, if I’ve been tinfoil hattish about McCain’s involvement in the Georgian affair, count that crazy conservative Pat Buchanan in my company.

Since Georgia attempted to retake South Ossetia by force, triggering a sharp, violent rebuke by Russian forces, Sen. McCain has been by far the most strident advocate of US support for the former Soviet state. And his top adviser, says [Pat] Buchanan, may well be the next Henry Kissinger or Zbigniew Brzezinski.

"He is a dual loyalist, a foreign agent whose assignment is to get America committed to spilling the blood of her sons for client regimes who have made this moral mercenary a rich man," he wrote.

In his recent history, Scheunemann was a key member of the Project for a New American Century (PNAC), which lobbied President Clinton for war with Iraq for years before the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. He was also a signatory on a letter to President George W. Bush, just days after the terrorist attacks, demanding an invasion of Iraq and threatening political consequences if the president did not comply.

In addition, Scheunemann served as executive director of Ahmad Chalabi's group, "The Committee for Liberation of Iraq," a pro-war organization formed in 2002. Chalabi, once dubbed the "George Washington of Iraq," has since been accused of providing false information to US authorities and is currently under investigation.

  Raw Story

Yes, McCain is the new Neocon project.


Say What?

Biden is, arguably, the most effective voice Democrats have on foreign policy. And here's why: Joe Biden is an incredibly arrogant jerk. And that's exactly what Democrats need.

  Ezra Klein

Because they are short on arrogant jerks???? I don’t think so. Maybe he means to even the tally with Republicans.

I'm thinking the best thing about Biden's selection is that there will be some entertainment value to the next few painful months that we wouldn't have gotten out of anybody else.

The "New" Obama Campaign

Announcing the VP candidate by text messages first was being played up as something special Obama was giving his supporters.

A good thing about sleeplessness and insanity is that you're up at all hours when these things come out. So much for the nifty cell phone Obama-text that I was supposed to get...oh well...better luck next announcement.

  brilliant at Breakfast

Did anybody get their message? Was it the fault of the phone company? Or were they all just suckers again? Signed up on a list for a scoop they didn't get. Not to worry, WaterTiger. The next "announcements" will be donation request text messages. Those will come through, I'm sure.


Sen. Barack Obama's decision to choose Joe Biden as his running mate leaked to the media several hours before his aides planned to send a text message announcing the running mate, negating a promise that people who turned over their phone numbers would be the first to know who Obama had chosen.

  Delaware Online

It’s so hard to find loyal help these days. Somebody pretty high up the ladder must have been the leaker. Surely only the most trusted knew?

You Mean This Joe Biden?

Then in September 1987, the [Joe Biden Presidential] campaign ran into serious trouble when he was accused of plagiarizing a speech by Neil Kinnock, then-leader of the British Labour Party. Though Biden had correctly credited the original author in all speeches but one, the one where he failed to make mention of the originator was caught on video. Within days, it was also discovered that, while a first year law student at Syracuse Law School, Biden had plagiarized a law review article in a class paper he wrote. Though the then-dean of the law school, as well as Biden's former professor, played down the incident of plagiarism, they did find that Biden drew "chunks of heavy legal prose directly from" the article in question. Biden said the act was inadvertent due to his not knowing the proper rules of citation, and Biden was permitted to retake the course after receiving a grade of F, which was subsequently dropped from his record. Biden also released his undergraduate grades, which were unexceptional. Further, when questioned by a New Hampshire resident about his grades in law school Biden had claimed falsely to have graduated in the "top half" of his class, (when he actually graduated 76th in a class of 85) that he had attended on a full scholarship, and had received three degrees. In fact he had received two majors, History and Political Science, and a single B.A., as well as a half scholarship based on financial need.

Faced with these revelations, Biden withdrew from the nomination race on September 23, 1987, saying his candidacy had been overrun by "the exaggerated shadow" of his mistakes.  Wikipedia

Or, more accurately, overrun by the shadow of his exaggeration mistakes.

Biden declared his candidacy for president on January 31, 2007, although he had discussed running for months prior. In January 2006, Delaware newspaper columnist Harry F. Themal wrote that Biden "occupies the sensible center of the Democratic Party." Themal concludes that this is the position Biden desires, and that in a campaign "he plans to stress the dangers to the security of the average American, not just from the terrorist threat, but from the lack of health assistance, crime, and energy dependence on unstable parts of the world." He goes on to quote Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen as saying that Biden's candidacy might be endangered by his "manic-obsessive running of the mouth." This foreshadowed Biden's January 31 remark on fellow Democratic candidate and Senator Barack Obama, frequently transcribed as, "I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy, I mean, that's a storybook, man." However, several linguists and political analysts stated that the correct transcription includes a comma after the word "African-American", which "would significantly change the meaning (and the degree of offensiveness) of Biden's comment". Still, his comments took second place on Time magazine's list of Top 10 Campaign Gaffes for 2007.

Maybe Obama chose Biden to take some of the attack ad heat off himself.

Not to mention, it's going to be a little difficult to criticize anyone else for supporting the invasion of Iraq now, considering Biden voted for it.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

And he has one other weakness that hasn't received much attention to date. One of Biden's sons, Hunter, is a registered Washington lobbyist in a year in which Obama has been excoriating lobbyists and the culture of corruption in Washington. The younger Biden is a name partner at the firm Oldaker, Biden & Belair and seems to have specialized in lobbying for just the kind of earmark spending by Congress that Obama has vowed to slash. Republican insiders say the party is likely to make an issue of Biden's family lobbying tie.


Oh, that.

And if Obama isn't really going to bring change, then....

Thursday, August 21, 2008

A Noun, a Verb, and POW

The new McLame meme tickling leftist blogs comes from Joe Biden's remark about Rudy Giuliani: "There's only three things he mentions in a sentence -- a noun, a verb, and 9/11.".

When the Rev. Kirbyjon Caldwell, a close Bush ally, publicly questioned McCain’s marital infidelities, the McCain campaign responded by highlighting McCain’s background as a prisoner of war.

When Dems attacked McCain’s healthcare plan in May, McCain responded by noting his background as a prisoner of war.

Asked by a local reporter about the first thing that comes to his mind when he thinks of Pittsburgh, McCain responded by talking about his background as a prisoner of war.

Accused of possibly having heard the questions in advance of Rick Warren’s recent candidate forum, the McCain campaign responded by highlighting McCain’s background as a prisoner of war.

There seems to be a pattern here.


Even when he isn't sure how many houses he and Cindy own.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Anthrax Developments

[The] Senate Judiciary Committee, chaired by Pat Leahy […] will now hold hearings to investigate the FBI's case against Bruce Ivins.


....but hey, do what you will anyway.

The Pot Doesn't Get Any Blacker Than This

"Russia is a state that is unfortunately using the one tool that it has always used whenever it wishes to deliver a message and that's its military power," [Condi] Rice told reporters en route to an emergency meeting of NATO foreign ministers set for Tuesday. "That's not the way to deal in the 21st century."


Or maybe she thinks we moved into a new century after invading Iraq?

Dragon Skin: Support Our Troops

I just received an email from a soldier asking me to ask everyone to contact their congress critters to reverse the ban on Dragon Skin armor.

"its more effective than anything any army in the world now fields. its a hundred times more flexible than the current interceptor body armor and it also covers more of the wearer. the army claims to have done trials with the dragon skin, and also claims it failed the trials, but the trials came months after the ban. isnt that strange? whats wierder is that every other independant study as well as the inventor of the current issue body armor (interceptor body armor or iba) say that the dragon skin is far superior. not stange enough you say, well how about this. the level 5 protection dragon skin was also rejected by the army, but the us government has marked the design as classified. why would they do that if it was so bad? stange. either way. write your congressmen and tell everyone you know to do the same, so maybe we can not only get the ban lifted, but maybe get the stuff issued to the troops."

I'm not so sure that it's strange they would ban it before testing, but after testing is the strange part. The army says it failed the tests. But it sure doesn't look that way: check out this ebay purchase - somebody accidentally got his hands on one of the actual vests tested by the army. And check out this article about current MIT research. Then contact your congress critter.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Because He Was a POW

Read why one POW won't be voting for John McCain here.
"Doctor Phillip Butler is a 1961 graduate of the United States Naval Academy and a former light-attack carrier pilot. In 1965 he was shot down over North Vietnam where he spent eight years as a prisoner of war. He is a highly decorated combat veteran who was awarded two Silver Stars, two Legion of Merits, two Bronze Stars and two Purple Heart medals. "

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Define "Rich"

Among the forum's lighter moments was [Pastor Rick] Warren's challenge to "define rich."

Obama poked fun at Warren, whose book "The Purpose-Driven Life" was a bestseller. "Well, if you've got book sales of 25 million, you qualify," Obama joked before saying: "I would argue that if you're making more than $250,000, you're in the top 3% or 4% of the country, and you're doing well."

McCain, whose wife's wealth has been estimated at more than $100 million, tried to dodge the question. But with a chuckle, he finally gave a figure: "I think if you're just talking about income, how about $5 million?"

  Swamp Politics

Moral Failure

I heard on the radio this morning that when asked what they thought America's greatest moral failure is, John McCain and Barack Obama responded at the Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California, during an event where they spoke to the issue of faith.

They should never have been attending such an event as Presidential candidates in the first place. But that's another issue.

Obama said our greatest moral failure is that we fail to follow a passage from the book of Matthew telling us that whatever we do to the least of our fellow men, we do to Jesus. And McCain said that it's that what we do is always a matter of self-interest.

Obama's line sounds like something he threw out to quote scripture - maybe so the God people would get it through their thick skulls that he at least knows some of the Bible, and isn't a Muslim. Or just pandering. Or maybe he really believes that's America's greatest moral failing, which would indicate a moral character of his own not deeply cultivated.

John McCain, I think, hit the nail on the head. Unfortunately, his own greatest moral failing (which he claimed to have something to do with his first marriage - his turn to pander) is that he recognizes what a great moral failure is, but that he lives his own life spectacularly failing by the same standard.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

The Presumptuous Nominee

From King George to King John.

Is John McCain so ignorant of copyright laws that he doesn't realize you need an artist's permission to use his work in your own?

Jackson Browne doesn't want John McCain running on anything fueled by his lyrics.

The singer-songwriter sued McCain and the Ohio and national Republican committees in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles on Thursday, accusing them of using his song "Running on Empty" without his permission.


The suit notes that other musicians, including ABBA and John Cougar Mellencamp, have asked McCain to stop using their work.

Browne's attorney, Lawrence Iser, called the ad's use of the song "reprehensible."

The 59-year-old singer claims his reputation has already been damaged and is seeking more than $75,000 in damages.


ABBA, too?

Friday, August 15, 2008

They Don't Call It a Stimulus Package for Nothing

Apparently the big winner in Bush's stimulus package to Americans was not the general economy, but....the porn industry.

From here on out, I'm going to assume that somewhere there is a group of beings gathered around a screen watching us here on earth for comedy.

Note to John Edwards

And however right and righteous your cause, and however new-penny-bright you may be, in 2008, anyone who plays at high-stakes politics at the Presidential level while wearing flash paper underpants is a Complete. Fucking. Idiot.

Now go away and spend the next decade apologizing to your wife.


Go have a look, there’s a wonderful graphic to go with this post, whose title is “Yearning Man”

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

McCain's Ad for a Running Mate

In part, from Driftglass:

Applicant should be diminutive, fussy and incredibly temperamental.


Military experience a plus. (victories not reqd.)

BYO campaign $$$.

No "computers", loud music, dogs, midgets, yootubes, Professor Farnsworth/Grandpa Simpson jokes, fixed principles, sudden moves, "green" nonsense, shame.

Mormons considered if accompanied by Michigan.

What You Already Knew About Taxes

But had no proof...

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a new report today showing that an average of two-thirds of companies operating in the United States paid no federal corporate income tax from 1998 - 2005. That's right, I said none. Zip. Zero. Nada.

  OMB Watch

According to an April report issued by the liberal Economic Policy Institute (EPI), in the 1950s corporate taxes represented one quarter of all federal revenue. Since 2000, this figure has fallen to about one tenth. The resulting shortfall has largely been made up through payroll taxes on US workers, according to the EPI.


And in case you thought this report was requested to investigate corporate tax evasion, think again.

Democratic Senators Carl Levin of Michigan and Byron Dorgan of North Dakota had made the request for the GAO study. The purported impetus behind the request was the senators’ suspicion that “foreign” corporations were benefiting unequally from the US tax code, paying substantially less than their US-based competitors through the use of transfer pricing.


Responding to the report, Levin and Dorgan condemned corporations for avoiding taxes. Levin claimed that the report “makes clear that too many corporations are using tax trickery to send their profits overseas and avoid paying their fair share in the United States.”

Yeah, like they’re just now finding that out.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Caged in Denver

With Bush fresh back from chastising the Chinese for human rights violations and John McCain berating the Russians, the Democratic Convention planners are injecting themselves onto the civil rights violations screen - with a protest cage.

The 47,000 square foot pen of cha in link fence will be double-fenced, with 8' between fences to prevent "escape." The closest edge of the zone is more than 700 feet from the convention center doors, almost completely blocked by huge media tents, and barely visible from the convention center.


Some Things Never Change

We knew it was stupid of John Edwards to have that affair when he did. But maybe even dumber - money changing hands and lawyers assigned to tell a different tale.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Saakashvili & McCain

Josh Marshall sees big trouble.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Is That Fish I Smell?

I was recently pondering the stupidity of Georgia's Saakashvili in at least the timing of his attack on South Ossetia. (Of course you are still hearing on the news all about Russia attacking Georgia as though it were not in response to Georgia's actions.)

Now I read that John McCain, who is spouting about throwing down on Russia, has been talking to Saakashvili "every day". But that's not all - he may well have been advising Saakashvili to make that ill-advised move, maybe even the one telling him that the US would send in the guns to back him. Because John McCain's foreign policy adviser has been on the payroll as an adviser to none other than Georgia's president Saakashvili.

McCain hasn't even gotten into the oval office yet and he's mucking up foreign affairs.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

US AG: Breaking the Law Is Not a Crime

But I wouldn't advise you put that to the test for yourself. In fact, you may not even have to break the law to commit a crime.

[ Attorney General Michael ] told delegates to the American Bar Association annual meeting, "Not every wrong, or even every violation of the law, is a crime. In this instance, the two joint reports found only violations of the civil service laws.


"No criminal prosecutions are planned for former Justice Department officials accused of allowing politics to influence the hiring of prosecutors, immigration judges and other career government lawyers, […] Mukasey said Tuesday.


Oooh. Giant surprise there. But, really…breaking the law is not a crime? This from our country’s Attorney General.

I hope I wake up soon.

Monday, August 11, 2008

About Russia

The Georgian leadership, and indeed a whole generation of Georgians, tethered their hopes to George W. Bush and the hollow promises of his administration. Now at the moment of truth, Bush will almost certainly let them down. He has overextended America’s military presence around the world, whittling down America’s uniformed professional military just as he has undertaken two simultaneous wars. The Pentagon is telling Bush that he has stretched the nation’s fighting force perilously close to the breaking point. A conflict involving a major military power, like Russia, is beyond the realm of contemplation. Vice President Cheney, whose bellicose rhetoric has done much to provoke the problems now bubbling in the Caucasus, says that the Russian acts of aggression in Georgia “must not go unanswered.” But thanks to the serial strategic misadventures that make up Bush-Cheney foreign policy, there is little prospect of Russia’s actions being answered by a flex of military muscle of the United States or of NATO. Putin’s calculation is that an America bogged down in two conflicts in the Middle East will let him give the Georgians a whipping. Putin is probably right.

The world now enters a new phase. Russia has reasserted itself as a military power which will not tolerate backtalk and independence on the territory of its old imperium. The foreign policy and national security calculus of the United States and of Europe have just gotten much more complicated.


And if all that’s true, as it seems to be, then I’d say it was a damned sight stupid of Georgia’s president to pick now to jump into a military affair with South Ossetia.

And, unfortunately, I don’t think a conflict involving Russia is beyond the realm of contemplation for the likes of Cheney and Bush. Or McCain.

Still, Pooty Poot must be all smiles tonight.

Isn't it interesting, to borrow a Bush favorite, that while Condi and Crew were intent on worrying about Russia when they should have been concerned with al Qaeda at the beginning of the Bush Regime, now at the end of it, they have helped to create the situation they imagined existed then?

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Third World Standing Is Completed with a Blowhard at the Helm

With all the moral authority George has earned in the last eight years, he is now lecturing Russia about its treatment of the situation between Georgia and South Ossetia. Russia attacked a sovereign nation! You don't hear much about the fact that it was in response to Georgia attacking South Ossetia. (A little history of the issue.)

And loudmouth McCain has jumped right in.

Perhaps it is fortunate for us that Putin seems to be taking them as seriously as a buzzing gnat.

For now.

We live in a season of risible "3 AM moments", where the breathless commentariat in this country overhear strange countries names--with tales of military action underway--and rush off towards dim-witted debates about what candidate would better handle that red-phone ringing in the middle of the night.


[I]f the horrors inflicted on varied Abkhazians, Ossetians and Georgians this past week (by both sides) must be seen from these provincial, grossly self-interested shores merely through the lens of the U.S. Presidential election, let me chime in very briefly w/in these contours. Re: the 3 AM sweepstakes, Obama has taken it by a mile [...] Witness this incredibly poor reasoning by McCain, jaw-dropping even by the standards of the incredible policy ineptitude we've become accustomed to during the reign of Bush 43 and his motley crew of national security miscreants. Here is McCain:

Mr. McCain urged NATO to begin discussions on “the deployment of an international peacekeeping force to South Ossetia,’’ called on the United Nations to condemn “Russian aggression,’’ and said that the secretary of state should travel to Europe “to establish a common Euro-Atlantic position aimed at ending the war and supporting the independence of Georgia.’’

And he said the NATO should reconsider its previous decision and set Georgia – which he called “one of the world’s first nations to adopt Christianity as an official religion’’ — on the path to becoming a member. “NATO’s decision to withhold a membership action plan for Georgia might have been viewed as a green light by Russia for its attacks on Georgia, and I urge the NATO allies to revisit the decision,’’ he said. [my emphasis]

First, what does it matter in this context that Georgia was "one of the world's first nations to adopt Christianity as an official religion"? If it had been the first to adopt Islam, or Judaism, or Buddhism, would the situation be different?

  Belgravia Dispatch

YES! It certainly would have been. McCain wouldn’t be able to get any campaign traction out of that.

And of course, like others before them, the Georgians thought, having been led to believe so, that when they got themselves into a situation, they could count on the military backing of the U.S. Too bad Saakashvili wasn't a little more alert to our history.

Meantime, a Georgian soldier tells a U.S. reporter in the same piece: "Write exactly what I say. Over the past few years, I lived in a democratic society. I was happy. And now America and the European Union are spitting on us." They are, aren't they? They had no business making the cheap promises and representations that were made. No business on practical policy grounds. No business on strategic grounds (though I guess it got Rummy another flag, near the Salvodereans, say, for the Mesopotamian "coalition of the willing"). And now our promises are unraveling and nakedly revealed for the cheap little lies and crap policy they are, with the emperor revealed to have no clothes, yet again.

But what about the oil? Better fill up on that "cheap" gasoline tonight.

Obama's Vacation

Apparently there has been some discussion about Obama's vacation in Hawaii as being too "exotic". Hey, it is a state in the union.

I don't think Obama can ever act "white enough" for many, if not most, Americans.

David Kurtz has a question and a suggestion.

What is the most white-bread place for a black presidential candidate to vacation, since that's apparently the new standard? Surely we can do better than Myrtle Beach. The best we've come up with so far is Branson, Missouri -- so long as he avoids the Shoji Tabuchi Theatre, which is way too exotic.

Yep. Branson is a good candidate for a white-bread vacation.

Sister and the kids and I can offer another suggestion. Nearby there's an "exotic animal preserve". Or is that too much like going to Hawaii?

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Just Keeps Gettin' Worse

If upside down means SOS, what does this mean? Other than...your president is dyslexic. An idiot, we already know.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Suskind Releases Tape Transcripts

Author Ron Suskind says he will release transcripts of his interviews with a top CIA official that will confirm his story that in 2003 the White House ordered the agency to fabricate a phony document linking Iraq to the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, D.C.

The letter, written by an Iraqi intelligence official under the control of the CIA, according to Suskind, was concocted to mislead the public into believing that Saddam Hussein conspired with Osama Bin Laden in the attacks, and had gotten uranium from Niger to make nuclear weapons, thus justifying the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.


One of the CIA officials involved, Robert Richer, the agency's then-deputy director of clandestine operations, issued a statement this week denying Suskind's allegations.

"I never received direction from George Tenet (CIA director at the time) or anyone else in my chain of command to fabricate a document ... as outlined in Mr. Suskind's book," Richer said in a statement that was initially released by the White House .

But in a telephone interview this evening, Suskind said he is planning to release transcripts of his on-the-record interviews with Richer to back up his story.


Suskind says that Richer had pledged to him that he would not deny his quotes when the book came out.


"This is a battle between truth and power," Suskind said, "which is what the whole book is about."


Suskind said he will probably post them on his own Web site.

  CQ Politics

You can see a partial transcript at Suskind's website, where he writes:

This posting is contrary to my practice across 25 years as a journalist. But the issues, in this matter, are simply too important to stand as discredited in any way.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Okay, I'll Weigh In

Edwards made a strong run for the presidency knowing full well that he was carrying on an affair, at least in the early stages of the campaign, which could come to light in the midst of the general election and fatally damage all Democrats' hopes for regaining the presidency. Just think how fun this weekend would be if John Edwards had won the nomination. Indeed, it seems clear that the aftermath of the affair was such that the chances of its coming to light were substantial. It's a level of recklessness and selfishness that I probably shouldn't but still do find shocking.


That anyone could be shocked by anything coming from an American politician these days is to underline America's refusal to live in reality.

Reckless and selfish are two of the more favorable adjectives we might attach to John Edwards. How about incredibly, incredibly STUPID? I know a lot of otherwise reasonable people wanted to see Edwards become the Democrat’s nominee. I myself never liked him in the least. Selfishness and arrogance seemed two obvious qualities early on. Insincerity radiated from his public face. And what do you call a man who uses the death of a child and the illness of a wife to promote himself on the political scene? He always seemed shallow and self-serving to me. I can’t be surprised at his selfishness, but his stupidity is mind-blowing. No, this is beyond stupidity.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Waltzing Matilda

Support our troops.

Thursday, August 07, 2008


Explanation here.

Click pic to enlarge.

It's the Economy, Stupid

Seen at Brilliant at Breakfast.

Vote Republican.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Take That, Obama

The one issue where they think they might lose to Obama is now being scurried out of the way. It appears that "the U.S. and Iraq are close to a deal under which all American combat troops would leave by October 2010 with remaining U.S. forces gone about three years later."

That oughta fix Obama's wagon. No wind for those sails.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Our Next President

I would say that this finally ruins John McCain's chances of being president, but then, I believe this, so instead, I'll say "Get ready."

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Edouardo Non-Event for Galveston

I don't think Edouardo did much anywhere, but he landed at less than hurricane force and closer to Port Arthur than Galveston as had been predicted. I saw the half dozen remaining TV vans along the Sea Wall folding down their satellite dishes and packing up this morning at around 11:00*. Being on the "down" side, we didn't even get much wind. We did get rain, which we desperately needed, and I got six hours total off work. So, hey, it was all good by me. We didn't even lose power, although I did lose internet. But that happens if somebody next door sneezes.

Back to work.

*Update: actually, I don't know what they were doing, because they were still there when I went home at 5:00, and some were even still there this morning (Wednesday). Must be slow news week.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Anthrax Mysteries - Further

I had it wrong. Ivins’ psychiatrist wasn’t a psychiatrist. She was a social worker...

[...] who, as recently as last year, was apparently still in college at Hood College in Frederick, Maryland.


Duley herself has a history that, at the very least, raises questions about her credibility. She has a rather lengthy involvement with the courts in Frederick, including two very recent convictions for driving under the influence -- one from 2007 and one from 2006 -- as well as a complaint filed against her for battery by her ex-husband.


Later that same year, she was criminally charged with possession of drug paraphenalia with intent to use, charges which appear to have been ultimately dismissed.


What is certain is that Jean Carol Duley is hardly some upstanding, authoritative source on Bruce Ivins' psychological state or his guilt, nor is she some accomplished and highly credible psychological professional, notwithstanding the fact that most media depictions of Ivins are based on uncritical recitations of her accusations. The fact that her depiction contradicts not only the claims of virtually everyone else who knew Ivins but also numerous facts about how Ivins was treated even by the FBI (see below), suggests that a large amount of skepticism is warranted.

  Glen Greenwald

Moreover, Greenwald notes that Ivins’ arrest was not, as reported, imminent. The Grand Jury was planning on several more weeks of hearings.

While genetic analysis had linked the anthrax letters to a supply of the deadly bacterium in Dr. Ivins’s laboratory at Fort Detrick, Md., at least 10 people had access to the flask containing that anthrax, said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the investigation publicly.

Agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation also have no evidence proving that Dr. Ivins visited New Jersey on the dates in September and October 2001 when investigators believe the letters were sent from a Princeton mailbox, the source said.


....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Edouard Coming

It's not like I have been posting every day anyway. But hurricane tropical storm Edouard is slated to hit us here in Galveston pretty much head on in the middle of the night tonight. It is not expected to be strong enough to do much damage, but we are preparing for power outage. So I am sure to lose my internet access at home, and we are going to be closing work early this afternoon. Won't have any more time between now and then.

See you on the other side.

Update: expected to hit Galveston early morning afternoon tomorrow.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Sweet Honey in the Rock

"I Believe" via ElleJoie/You Tube

Continuing Criminal Cover-Up

The unanswered questions in the anthrax case are literally too numerous to chronicle. It is so vital to emphasize that not a shred of evidence has yet been presented that the now-deceased Bruce Ivins played any role in the anthrax attacks, let alone that he was the sole or even primary culprit. Nonetheless, just as they did with Steven Hatfill, the media (with some notable and important exceptions) are reporting this case as though the matter is resolved.

  Glen Greenwald

And, it appears that the FBI may be going to close the case.

Just in case you’re tempted to think that the case ends with Bruce Ivins’ death, take a look at Greenwald’s article and see if you can answer any of the list of questions he asks.

And how about Ivins' "psychiatrist"’s claims?

Bruce E. Ivins, the late microbiologist suspected in the 2001 anthrax attacks, had attempted to poison people as far back as 2000 and his therapist said she was "scared to death" of him, according to court testimony that emerged Saturday.

Social worker Jean Duley testified at a court hearing in Frederick on July 24 in a successful bid for a protective order from Ivins — who five days later committed suicide — that he "actually attempted to murder several other people."


"As far back as the year 2000, the respondent has actually attempted to murder several other people, either through poisoning. He is a revenge killer. When he feels that he's been slighted or has had — especially toward women — he plots and actually tries to carry out revenge killings," Duley said.

She added that Ivins "has been forensically diagnosed by several top psychiatrists as a sociopathic, homicidal killer. I have that in evidence. And through my working with him, I also believe that to be very true."

And this man was still working at a government biowarfare lab? Do psychiatrists have no duty to report “homicidal killer”s? That, my friends, is a load of hogwash.

And it makes me think once again of the long string of microbiologist mystery deaths in the early days and for several years after 9/11.


Saturday, October 18, 2003 No kidding - You do NOT want to be a microbiologist these days
Monday, October 20, 2003 Dr. Butler in trouble - and where's Dr. Ri?
Friday, October 31, 2003 Mysterious deaths of microbiologists
Sunday, January 11, 2004 Microbiology is bad for your health - revisited
Sunday, January 23, 2005 It's not safe to be a microbiologist - Part whatever
Tuesday, May 24, 2005 It's not safe to be a microbiologist - part whatever

And while we're on the subject, let's take a moment to recall Frank Olson, another Ft. Detrick scientist "suicide" back in 1953, and the CIA's hand in his death.

Here's a list I was making once upon a time (and linked in some of those posts - unfortunately, the link no longer works). My list isn't on the web any more, but somebody stole the whole page and published it on his own website - so it's still available - although not kept up to date.

Oh, all right. Here...

Click pic for instructions.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Impeach Pelosi

Remember when Nancy Pelosi gave some gullible “journalists” cause to think she put impeachment “back on the table?” I know you weren’t fooled by that. And here’s exactly the kind of thing you knew would come of it.

After blocking any serious investigation or impeachment hearings on crimes committed by President Bush, Speaker Nancy Pelosi finally addressed the allegations of presidential crimes on that forum of deep intellectual and legal thought: the television show The View. She agreed to answer a question from Joy Behar, who will have to suffice as a substitute for Peter Rodino. In a perfectly bizarre moment, Pelosi stated that there is simply no evidence of any crime committed by the President despite the findings of the International Red Cross, various international groups, and a legion of constitutional experts. It seems that America has now had its impeachment hearing before the august body of Whoopi Goldberg, Barbara Walters, Joy Bahar, and Elisabeth Hasselbeck.

  Jonathan Turley

Only last week, Pelosi used the august body of the hosts of The View to reveal her view on impeachment: there is simply no evidence of crimes committed by President Bush.

My understanding is that her office was inundated with copies of the various documented crimes alleged against Bush. Now, Pelosi is claiming a different rationale: they could not rely on the White House and GOP supplying the evidence needed to convict.


The latest explanation can in an interview with Time Magazine. It seems that she would not allow an investigation because Bush would never have supplied incriminating evidence against himself. It seems that House investigators rely on the accused to build an impeachment case.

  Jonathan Turley

Where was Nancy when Dennis Kucinich read his 35-count indictment of evidence?

Impeach Pelosi.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Friday, August 01, 2008

About That Anthrax

Let's say Bruce Ivins really did kill himself, and he really did kill himself because he was involved with the post 9/11 anthrax murders. That would still leave problems.

ABC News reports linking Saddam and anthrax penetrated very deeply -- by design -- into our public discourse and into the public consciousness. Those reports were absolutely vital in creating the impression during that very volatile time that Islamic terrorists generally, and Iraq and Saddam Hussein specifically, were grave, existential threats to this country.


And then, when President Bush named Iraq as a member of the "Axis of Evil" in his January, 2002 State of the Union speech -- just two months after ABC's report, when the anthrax attacks were still very vividly on the minds of Americans -- he specifically touted this claim:

The Iraqi regime has plotted to develop anthrax, and nerve gas, and nuclear weapons for over a decade.


[Washington Post's columnist, Richard Cohen,] -- in a March 18, 2008 Slate article in which he explains why he wrongfully supported the attack on Iraq -- disclosed this:


The attacks were not entirely unexpected. I had been told soon after Sept. 11 to secure Cipro, the antidote to anthrax. The tip had come in a roundabout way from a high government official, and I immediately acted on it. I was carrying Cipro way before most people had ever heard of it.


We now know -- we knew even before news of Ivins' suicide last night, and know especially in light of it -- that the anthrax attacks didn't come from Iraq or any foreign government at all. It came from our own Government's scientist, from the top Army bioweapons research laboratory. More significantly, the false reports linking anthrax to Iraq also came from the U.S. Government -- from people with some type of significant links to the same facility responsible for the attacks themselves.


ABC News already knows the answers to these questions. They know who concocted the false bentonite story and who passed it on to them with the specific intent of having them broadcast those false claims to the world, in order to link Saddam to the anthrax attacks and -- as importantly -- to conceal the real culprit(s) (apparently within the U.S. government) who were behind the attacks. And yet, unbelievably, they are keeping the story to themselves, refusing to disclose who did all of this. They're allegedly a news organization, in possession of one of the most significant news stories of the last decade, and they are concealing it from the public, even years later.


There are few news stories more significant, if there are any, than unveiling who the culprits were behind this deliberate propaganda. The fact that the current GOP presidential nominee [John McCain] claimed back then on national television to have some "indication" linking Saddam to the anthrax attacks makes it a bigger story still.

  Glen Greenwald

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Anthrax Murders Solved?

Well, we can likely expect a "Mission Accomplished" statement from the FBI. A month after the government had to admit to erroneously tagging Steven Hatfill (and coincidentally destroying his career), another Ft. Detrick scientist, Bruce Ivins, who worked with anthrax, has committed suicided at the prospect of being arrested.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.