Wednesday, April 30, 2008

All Of The Sudden...

The US Senate makes a lot more sense to me.

Harry Reid learned to swim in a whorehouse:

As a boy, I learned to swim at a whorehouse. Nobody in town had ever seen such a fancy inground tiled pool in their lives as the pool at the El Rey. Or any pool at all, for that matter. At least nobody that we knew. The El Ray was the main bordello when I was growing up in Searchlight. Every Thursday afternoon, the whoremonger in town, a kindly bear of a man by the name of Willie Martello, would ask the girls who worked the El Rey to clear out, and he'd invite the children in town, usually no more than a dozen of so at a time, to swim in his pool. And we would live the life of Riley for a couple of hours, splashing in the azure blue of that whorehouse pool.

He goes on about how difficult his early life was. But does he not see the irony of this story, given that he's pimping his new book for sale?

And so it goes.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

I Get Unconventional Mail

I kid you not, this showed up in the mail today

I never ever thought about clam crap before. Ever. Until I got this today.

Turns out it's an ad for a lumber yard. Mr. B was one of their better clients when he was doing remodeling. But holy cow, that's a freaky way to sell a person a 2 X 4 don't you think?

How about that dude's beard.....

Monday, April 28, 2008

Pink Floyd University: NEWS!

This weekend there was the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. Prince opened, Jack Johnson covered the middle, and Roger Waters of Pink Floyd closed the festival.

From the AP, via Raw Story:


INDIO, Calif. - Roger Waters brought Coachella to a close with an epic two-set performance that included playing all of "Dark Side of the Moon" and unleashing a giant inflated pig into the night sky.

The 64-year-old Waters, the third headliner of the three-day music festival following Prince and Jack Johnson, performed an elaborate, almost retrospective concert Sunday featuring music from throughout Pink Floyd's catalog.

Old photographs of the band often flashed across the screen behind Waters and his current band, which played songs from "The Wall," "Wish You Were Here" and "Animals," among other Floyd albums. They also played "Dark Side" in its entirety, culminating with the album's iconic triangle prism rising above the stage.

But Waters' biggest prop was an inflatable pig the size of a school bus that emerged while he played a version of "Pigs" from 1977's capitalism critique, "Animals."

The pig, which was led above the crowd from lines held on the ground, displayed the words "Don't be led to the slaughter" and a cartoon of Uncle Sam wielding two bloody cleavers. The other side read "Fear builds walls."

The underside of the pig simply read "Obama" with a checked ballot box alongside.

As Waters drew the song to a close, flame bursts exploded on the sides of the stage and the swine floated into the night sky. Waters said sadly and comically, "That's my pig."

There you go, Obama has Pink Floyd's endorsement. As a long time devotee of Pink Floyd Politics, this pretty much sews up my vote.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Excellent Blogger Awards!

(Cross Posted from The Unruly Mob)

HopeSpringsATurtle recently nominated this Unruly Mob for an Excellent Blog Award, for which we are truly grateful. Unruly, mobbish, pitchfork and torch loaded, yet grateful. The Mob has graciously consented to let me present the following unruly consensus of not only Excellent but Fabulous blogs. So, we continue with the spirit of the award, and following are the blogs we wish to honor.

First, on this cycle, JollyRoger of Reconstitution was noted and awarded, and passed the honor to Hope of Deep Confusion and to Christopher of From the Left as well. You folks are great blogmates and we wanted to make sure and acknowledge all three of you fine bloggers. Kudos to you and keep up the fine work! What we Mobsters are doing is passing the love further down the road. All of you may expect an unruly, rude or snarky comment from me today on your blog. (I know, just what you've been waiting for. )

Without further ado (video version first, text following for dial-up users) The Mob would like to recognize:

Blue Gal: Blue Gal. Smart. Connected. A Zen Blog Mistress for folks just getting into blogging. She's one of the finest humans on the intertubes. We find her panty-thing quite unruly, as we at the Mob are often pant-free. BG, we all hope your move to your new place goes extra smooth for you!

We move from one of the the finer humans on the intertubes, to some fine simians.

Dr. Zaius: Who else could chronicle the solving of the Iraq War by the Partridge Family! Aside from the fact that Dr. Zaius is just flat out cool, (despite the fact that he usuallly has "No time for blogging today!) there's a bizarre feature about his age. He is actually NEGATIVE 1787 years old! I think he doesn't look a day over Negative 1788. I am sure folks will not use age-ism as a reason to not vote for the Zaius/Gregarious '08 ticket, the only Ape/Lesbian ticket I know of this cycle. Besides, Dr. Zaius fights crime!

And by crime I mean Dr. Monkey Von Monkerstein of Monkey Muck, our next Excellent Blog of note. Quite an unruly simian in his own right. I love the "Cooking with Dr. Monkey" posts the most, but I wonder if that's because I am under the influence of the "Monkerstein Mind Control Fez." Could be. But it was more likely that admiration of Dr. Monkerstein zenithed when he kicked Cindy McCain off his blog! Dr. Monkerstein just recently had his First Blogoversary too. Congratulations!

From the Fez, to the Cowboy Hat.

Len Hart: First, Len's pedigree is just excellent. In fact, I think Len was a "proto-blogger" He's interviewed Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter, George Bush Sr., Nelson Rockefeller, Watergate Prosecutor Leon Jaworski, David S. Broder, Sen. Fritz Hollings, Sen. John Tower, Beverly Sills, Gloria Steinem, Sen. Sam Ervin, Bella Abzug, George Plimpton, Milton Friedman, Ehud Olmert, John Wayne, Mel Brooks, and many "movie stars", politicians, and other celebs.

Len's most recent series culminating in Bush's Conspiracy to Create an American Police State: Part VI, The government places itself above the law is both thorough and disturbing. Read the whole series.

And for another recent writer of a series, DistributorcapNY: DCap wrote a series leading up to Passover about acts of bravery during that heinous and dictatorial time of the Nazis, culminating in this post: Poignant, moving and relentless when we consider there is rampant spinelessness today.

When you look at that final "Acts of Bravery" post by DCap, you'll see the first comment is by FranIAm, the next nominee for an Excellent Blog Award from the Mob. Fran is Smart. Funny. Irreverant. I'll do my best to pronounce "masturbatorium." Don't take it personally Fran.

But wait! Yes I Do Take It Personally Profmarcus recently blogged about food issues, near and dear to me as long time Mob readers know, and that's not the only topic. Several of the Mobsters have favorite posts and posters at YIDTIP.

Speaking of food, Eat. Your. Grain. Tengrain of Mock, Paper, Scissors that is. With brevity of wit, simultaneously profane and elegant. Bravo!

More Bravo; driftglass is a legend. His visual work is beyond remarkable.

The Spam Catcher Mark II as a perma-post till the end of this month is a brilliant use of blogger technology and is just the "ut" if you ask me."So Fear Me. And so forth."

We can't go to black without Fade. "Dick Cheney is Mr. Drysdale" is just one recent example Fade's talent.

So thanks again to HopeSpringsATurtle for nominating this unruly crew. We all really appreciate it. Blog On!

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Thursday, April 24, 2008

Merger Between Church and State?

The Florida Legislature is considering a national first: producing license plates with a distinctively religious theme.

Let's cut right to the chase:

The problem with the state manufacturing the plate is that it "sends a
message that Florida is essentially a Christian state" and, second, gives the
"appearance that the state is endorsing a particular religious preference," said
Howard Simon, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of

No kidding.

And this is not the first controversial plate. Florida, like Colorado and other states sadly, already has vanity plates whose proceeds go to quasi-religious, if not outright religious organizations.

More from the Channel 2 article:

Florida's specialty license plates require the payment of additional fees,
some of which go to causes the plates endorse.

One plate approved in 2004, displaying the motto "Family First," funds
Sheridan House, which provides family programs but also sees its purpose as
"sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Bible" and "information about the
Christian faith."

The bill creating the "I Believe" plate would also create an "In God We
Trust" plate to benefit the children of soldiers and law enforcement officers
whose parents have died. It also could face opposition as a violation of the
separation of church and state.

An Indiana plate with the same "In God We Trust" phrase has been
challenged by the ACLU, but the courts so far have deemed it legal, arguing that
it is comparable with other specialty plates.

This isn't the first time a Florida license plate design has created
religious controversy. In 1999, lawmakers approved a bright yellow "Choose Life"
license plate with a picture of a boy and girl. It raises money for agencies
that encourage women to not have abortions.

That generated a court battle, with abortion rights groups saying the plate
had religious overtones. But it was ruled legal, and about a dozen states now
have similar plates.

A "Trust God" license plate was proposed in Florida in 2003. It would have
given money to Christian radio stations and charities, but it was never

Earlier this year, a legislative committee was shown an image of a
"Trinity" plate that showed a Christlike figure with his arms outstretched. It
and two other plates were voted down.

The group asking for the "I Believe" plate, the Orlando-based nonprofit
Faith in Teaching Inc., supports faith-based schools activities. The plate would
cost drivers an extra $25 annual fee.

And you guessed it, my religion is not represented on a state-pressed plate, but IS expressed in what someone chose to put on this Virginia plate.

(I'm a big fan of HP Lovecraft, but technically I am an adherent of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, Marinara Orthodoxy if you please.)

People can put whatever they want on their cars. Yellow ribbons, Pink ribbons, plastic Jesuses, Dashboard Shrines, anything. That's perfectly acceptable self-expression. But the state should in no way ever be involved in producing religious iconography of any kind whatsoever at any time for any purpose. Once it starts, it won't stop.

Sinclair Lewis had it right: "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross. "

Buckle up, it's still gonna be a bumpy ride for the next couple years fighting the battle to keep Church and State seperate.

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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

DEMOCRACY NOW! in Denver Yesterday

Gotta tell ya, I just love Amy Goodman. Yesterday, she was here in Denver, and broadcast her show.

Natural folks to interview in Denver would of course be Mark Cohen from Recreate '68, and the legal director of Colorado ACLU, Mark Silverstein, who has been lecturing/teaching what a person's rights are to protest during the Democratic National Convention this coming August.

You can watch the whole broadcast here, but I am just posting the transcript of the interview with Cohen and Silverstein. (The supplemental links are mine.)

AMY GOODMAN: We’re broadcasting from Denver, Colorado, from the PBS station
KBDI, where Democracy Now! broadcasts here in Denver. Yes, Denver will play host
to the Democratic National Convention this August, and preparations are well
under way for the big event. It remains to be seen whether the Democrats will
ultimately take their fight for a presidential candidate all the way to the
convention. But for many activists tired of the two-party system and the ongoing
war, they will be demonstrating at the convention, regardless of who the final
nominee is.

As Denver readies to sign contracts with dozens of security agencies ahead of
the convention, we look at some of the concerns around the rights of the
and how lawyers and activists are preparing to protect demonstrators.

Mark Silverstein is on the phone with us, legal director of the ACLU in
Colorado. We’re also joined in the studio at KBDI by Mark Cohen. He is an
organizer with Recreate ’68, a group of activists attempting to greet this
year’s Democratic National Convention with the same demands of accountability
and ending the war that animated protesters in Chicago forty years ago.
We welcome you both to Democracy Now! Mark Cohen, what are your plans for this

MARK COHEN: Thank you, Amy. We plan to have a massive presence during the
Democratic National Convention in August. We will be having a number of major
demonstrations, including on the Sunday, the day before the convention begins,
what will probably be the biggest antiwar march and rally that Denver has seen
at least since Vietnam. We’re also working with some of the major immigrant
rights groups to, on the Tuesday, have what we think will be a very large
immigrant rights march and rally.

But we’re not only involved in protest activities. We’re also staging what
we’re calling the Festival of Democracy, which will be a five-day event in
downtown Denver, during which we will have trainings, workshops, teach-ins, and
provide people the opportunity to come together and learn about alternatives to
the two-party system, solutions that communities can provide to their own
problems. We’re also, during that, going to have a 24/7 free health clinic,
legal services, two feedings a day in cooperation with Food Not Bombs and other
services for the community.

AMY GOODMAN: And who is “we”?

MARK COHEN: We are Recreate ’68, which is a group of local Denver activists.
We began planning for the Democratic National Convention actually before we
found out that Denver had been given the convention. It looked like a fairly
certain thing. So we’ve been planning for about a year and a half now. We’ve
been talking with the city to try to ensure that people’s First Amendment rights
would be protected during the convention. We’ve been working with national
organizations, among them United for Peace and Justice, CODEPINK and others, as
well as numerous Colorado organizations, to prepare for this event, to try to
use the attention and the excitement and the energy generated by this major
event to kind of kick organizing in Denver up to another level.

AMY GOODMAN: Mark Silverstein, you’re legal director of the Colorado ACLU.
What are the city’s plans for these protests?

MARK SILVERSTEIN: Well, you’re asking me to tell you the city’s plans, and
unfortunately the city has not responded to some of our requests for information
about those plans. I can tell you that political conventions like this have
historically been marked by struggles over law enforcement’s attempt to balance
interest in security with the First Amendment rights of the public and
protesters. And in the past, that balance has sometimes been subjected to
judicial review, and courts have disagreed with law enforcement about the proper
And since 9/11, I think the issues have even gotten more intense. We
know in Boston in 2004, the city provided what it called a “demonstration zone”
outside of the convention that the district court said was like a concentration
camp and an affront to the First Amendment. But there wasn’t enough time for the
court to fully evaluate it and issue an order that would remedy the

We have been trying to find out what it will look like, what kind of
regulations will apply to First Amendment activity near the site of the
convention. And so far, Denver has been either unwilling or unable to discuss
any of that in detail, pointing to the Secret Service as the ultimate shot
caller for security at the convention. And the Secret Service has said, well, it
won’t have details to reveal to the public until sometime this summer, maybe as
late as August. And, of course, that might be far too late to have any
negotiation over the arrangements for First Amendment activity and certainly too
late for an opportunity for judicial review. So that’s very much a concern for

AMY GOODMAN: I’m looking at a piece just recently in the Denver Post, “No
Cages for DNC Protesters
,” that according to Denver City Councilman Charlie
Brown, protesters will not be confined to cages during the Democratic National
Convention. The city wants to get away from the long lines of
shoulder-to-shoulder, riot gear-clad police that typified security, saying, “We
don’t want to provoke violence.” Mark?

MARK SILVERSTEIN: And that’s a very commendable sentiment. And, you know, at the ACLU, we certainly hope that what Councilman Brown says will indeed be the
reality. But, you know, there’s a question that I always ask when somebody in
government makes an assurance like that. I ask, “Well, how do they know?”
because when we’ve talked with the city officials or when we’ve read what’s
quoted in the newspaper, the answer always is, “Well, we don’t know yet, because
the Secret Service ultimately makes the decision, and the Secret Service isn’t
saying, at least publicly.”

So there’s a rumor that there’s going to be a one-mile radius hard security
perimeter around the convention site. And then you can occasionally read in the
paper, somebody will debunk that as a rumor. It’s not true that there will be
one-mile security zone around the convention, but yet, when you talk to the city
people who ought to know, they say, “Well, we don’t know yet.” And if they don’t
know, then how do they know there won’t be a one-mile security radius? There
must be some plans already formulated.

AMY GOODMAN: Keeping protesters one mile away from the Pepsi Center? That’s
where the Democratic Convention is going to be?

MARK SILVERSTEIN: That’s correct. That’s correct.

AMY GOODMAN: According to Colorado Confidential, a web publication, the
Denver Police Department is using taxpayer money to buy new security equipment
in preparation for the DNC but is refusing to disclose exactly what the
purchases are
, saying that revealing the information would be contrary to the
public interest. Mark Cohen, what do you know about that?

MARK COHEN: We do know that the city council has allocated $5 million for new weapons for the Denver Police Department. We know that in St. Paul, they have issued tasers to every single officer on the force. We’re aware that there are new weapons out there that are being ostensibly used for crowd control in places like Iraq. But we’ve seen a report on 60 Minutes, for example, where they were doing field tests with these weapons, and the people they were testing on were dressed as
protesters and carrying protest-type signs. So we have a feeling that the field
tests for these new weapons are going to be at the Democratic National
Convention and possibly the Republican Convention, as well. So, the weapons that
are being designed primarily for military use are going to be used on peaceful,
nonviolent protesters.

AMY GOODMAN: One of the things that we’ve seen at the conventions past is the
level of infiltration by police and also surveillance. Now, Mark Cohen, you were
a plaintiff in the Denver spy files case.


AMY GOODMAN: Explain what that was.

MARK COHEN: We discovered in—I believe it was 2001, that the—or maybe earlier
than that, but we discovered that the Denver Police Department had been keeping
what they called “criminal intelligence files” on people who had engaged in no
criminal activity but simply exercised their First Amendment rights in protests
and demonstrations. There were labels on these files, such as “criminal
extremist.” And the information in these files was, first of all, not the kind
of information that had any relationship to criminal activity. They had–people
had written letters to the editors of local papers, and they had stuck these in
files. And they also had a good deal of false information.

My wife, who is a middle-aged Jewish woman, was identified as belonging to a
white racist motorcycle gang that dealt in drugs and weapons. So, we’re
obviously very concerned about this, especially because we discovered that these
files were being shared with other law enforcement agencies. And in the
atmosphere after 9/11, this is a very dangerous thing to be identified as a
criminal extremist and as, presumably, a security threat. So we did sue the city
and got out of the suit a change in policy, which prevents the Denver Police
Department from collecting intelligence information on people who are not
actually engaged in criminal activity.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, we are going to leave it there for now but certainly will
continue to follow this. Mark Cohen with us from Recreate ’68 and Mark
Silverstein on the line with us, legal director of the Colorado ACLU, I want to
thank you both for being with us.

MARK COHEN: Thank you.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Know Your Factions

One of the reasons why the American people seem to lack a clear understanding of what's going on in Iraq is the misuse of accurate terminology for the factions fighting in Iraq by the Republicans and by the mainstream media. Any non-American, non-Iraqi Military fighters are labeled al-Qaida in Iraq. Much of the problem is laziness, and the rest of the problem is a more nefarious, intentional shell game meant to divert Americans from the truth.

Two of the main offenders are President Bush and John McCain. These two continually mistake al-Qaida, who are Sunnis, with Shi'ites from Iran and other Shi'ite factions in Iraq, and then expect everyone to believe that these are innocent mistakes.

Steven Benen at The Carpetbagger Report takes a look at the mysterious phenomenon in a post called, "Intellectual laziness and the 'al-Qaeda Shorthand'".

Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Debate That Wasn't

...But So Easily Could Have Been

Pretty much everybody in Greater Left BlogSylvania has given an emphatic thumbs down to ABC News for their execrable performance 'moderating' last night's so-called debate between the remaining Democratic primary candidates. Crooks and Liars quickly declared, "Attention ABC: You're Hurting America!" and in a later post linked a lot of the reaction from their journalistic colleagues;
E&P’s Greg Mitchell called it “perhaps the most embarrassing performance by the media in a major presidential debate in years.” The Washington Post’s Tom Shales called it “step downward for network news,” and noted that the moderators delivered “shoddy, despicable performances.” Will Bunch noted, “Quickly, a word to any and all of my fellow journalists who happen to read this open letter. This. Must . Stop.” Salon’s Walter Shapiro added:
This is the way it ends, not with a bang but a whimper. If Wednesday night’s fizzle in Philly was indeed the last debate of the Democratic primary season between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, it will be remembered for, well, not much of anything.

Broadcast to a prime-time network audience on ABC and devoid of a single policy question during its opening 50 minutes, the debate easily could have convinced the uninitiated that American politics has all the substance of a Beavis and Butt-Head marathon.
These are typical responses, with more Here, Here, and Here from Huffington Post, Here from Talking Points Memo, Here from Truthdig... A lot of the posts use adjectives like 'shameful' and 'embarrassing' or Josh Marshall's 'unmitigated travesty.' Many quote Tom Shale's editorial, but the best link to and/or quote Will Bunch at Attytood:
With your performance tonight -- your focus on issues that were at best trivial wastes of valuable airtime and at worst restatements of right-wing falsehoods (my emphasis), punctuated by inane "issue" questions that in no way resembled the real world concerns of American voters -- you disgraced my profession of journalism, and, by association, me and a lot of hard-working colleagues who do still try to ferret out the truth, rather than worry about who can give us the best deal on our capital gains taxes. But it's even worse than that. By so badly botching arguably the most critical debate of such an important election, in a time of both war and economic misery, you disgraced the American voters, and in fact even disgraced democracy itself. Indeed, if I were a citizen of one of those nations where America is seeking to "export democracy," and I had watched the debate, I probably would have said, "no thank you." Because that was no way to promote democracy.
To say that this is the smoking gun that belies the idea of a left-leaning bias in the media would be a gross understatement of the plain truth. To say that ABC has completely blown their cover as anything other than a shill for the Republican party (and we SO need more of those with FOX, CNN, etc., etc., all acting as Republican megaphones /snark) almost goes without saying.

To belabor the point further would accomplish nothing (he says after belaboring the point into the ground.) So, I admit, it is only now that I begin this post properly, with another point brought up in yet another post at DailyKos. The Great Orange Satan himself brings up a seemingly innocuous point that really needs to be expanded upon:
I honestly don't understand why Democrats haven't learned to ignore the bullshit substance-less questions and simply say, "Okay, that's a dumb question. Let's talk about something people care about, like the housing crisis."

Just bypass the idiotic questioners and talk about the things that the Democratic primary electorate actually want to talk about.

Trust me, they'll get brownie points, and the idiot questioners will look like idiots in the process.

Good point. DAMN good point in fact. Why didn't the Democratic presidential candidates - who are vying for the most powerful job in the world, who represent a party that has earned a reputation of being a collection of spineless wimps, who desperately need to shed that characterization - take an opportunity to EMPOWER themselves in the eyes of the US electorate, TAKE CONTROL of the situation and SHOW SOME LEADERSHIP for a change? The fact that they didn't is almost as shameful as ABC's handling of the debate, when you consider it in context.

First let's consider how it might have gone:
Stephanopolous: (Asks bullshit question about lapel flag pins.)

Obama: I don't think that question is of much concern to the American people, George. (bonus points here if Obama can cite survey showing exactly how few people actually care about this) And I won't, by providing an answer, embarrass you for having asked it.

Audience: Overwhelming and sustained applause. Several voices can be heard yelling 'Shut up George. Just shut the f#$k up.'

Obama: Instead I'd like to talk about the direction this country should be taking in foreign policy. That OK with you Senator?

Clinton: I'm good to go.

(Obama pulls an egg timer out of inside jacket pocket, sets it on the podium.He talks for three minutes until the sand runs out, turns the timer over, nods to Clinton, who then talks for three minutes.)

Clinton: (takes the timer, turns it over) OK, now I'd like to talk about my plan to provide affordable health care for all Americans.
...and so on,
...and so on,
Gibson: OK, I hate to interrupt, but we have to break for commercial now.
During the commercial break the two candidates let the moderator and news director know that if they don't want to completely lose all credibility with their viewers (which they seem to have done regardless, at least as far as Democrats are concerned) they had better play nice after the break.

Considering the fact that the studio audience actually booed, jeered and heckled Charles Gibson as he was going to break, Kos's judgment that they would have gotten brownie points looks pretty sound. So a huge opportunity was lost. And I think that a case can be made that what did happen last night was predictable enough that Obama or Clinton really could have showed up at the studio with an egg timer in their pocket or handbag, prepared for the worst.

But when you consider the negative consequences of NOT having the cojones to stand up to the bully boys of the Lamestream Media, it gets worse. An act like described above could well have completely destroyed a key weapon in the Republican arsenal: media complicity. This would have been such a DEFINING MOMENT in the campaign as to have a resonating effect on every moment that came after. Every news item on every media outlet, TV, radio and print would have instantly been framed with the expectation that bullshit was now going to be called bullshit. Every pundit would be aware that what they said was actually being listened to and evaluated not only for its truth but also for its relevance. The substitution of style over substance would have been utterly forstalled, and with very little effort. And I for one believe that on substance the Democrats can cruise to a win in November.

What a crying shame that only Kos thought of this, and only after the fact. An independent media, free of undue corporate influence, is as essential as independent politicians and parties. And you're not going to get the latter unless you fight for the former.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


I am sick to death of the candidates and supporters doing all this pie fighting. What a perfectly good waste of pies!

I'm making one, just like this one today.


Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Let's have a little look

This past Sunday here in Denver, there was an yearly event. Doors Open Denver is literally that; many doors thrown wide open. Places you don't normally get to enter.

I took the opportunity to go and snag some footage of the Pepsi Center and it's proximity to the 16th Street Mall, and just overall place it in relation to town.

Sorry I am just not the best camera person in the world. But I think you'll be able to understand that The Powers That Be have put the Convention in a very controlled spot. More footage later of Civic Center Park where I think most of the action is going to be, what with the upcoming battle of the Recreate '68 morons.

The problem with all this, is that the happy gasbag traditional media will be conveniently able to ignore whatever they won't want to see. Damn.

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Sunday, April 13, 2008

Statehood for Iraq

One of the primary reasons Iraq should be made a state is to keep us from bombing it again the next time oil-thirsty neo-neocons with light crude dripping from their fangs manage to steal another election. In fact, John McCain may not even need to steal this one if the tenor of the seemingly endless Democratic nomination process continues to distract from the vulgarity of our endless occupation in Iraq.

If McCain succeeds, then we're off to a great start on the 100 years in Iraq plan. His supporters are angry at the way McCain's critics have seized on the 100 years in Iraq comment. Too bad. He said it. He may have meant 100 years like the the comparatively tranquil ones our military spent in post-war Germany. It's not like Germany, Korea or Japan because this is an insurgency.

Even Dick Cheney saw the insurgency coming a decade away. In 1994, Dick Cheney eloquently made the case for not occupying Iraq. Cheney asked way back then, "How many additional dead Americans is Saddam worth?" He answered himself quite correctly, "Our view was not very many, and I think we got it right."

Yet, as it dawned on the American people that we were looking at an occupation in prelude to a bloody, chaotic civil war, President Bush repeatedly pretended like Iraqis wanted us there as an occupying force. Bush claimed that U.S. forces would leave when the Iraqis asked us to, then Bush very cleverly made sure no one ever asked them. The problem for Bush is that some people actually have memories, even in ADD HD America.

Even Saturday Night Live, which may have saved Clinton's campaign when they skewered the media's allegedly unfair treatment of her several weeks ago, now has forcefully lampooned Senator Clinton's claim that she was against the war at the time of the resolution, authorizing George W. Bush to use force in Iraq in October of 2002, three weeks before an important midterm election, of which she voted in the affirmative.

In a sketch that that aired April 12, 2008, SNL parodied the mutually obsequious Congressional hearings that featuring David Petaeus, Ambassador Ryan Clark Crocker and the Presidential candidates. The writers made the case that Barack Obama will be the next president precisely because he was against Iraq from the beginning. The sketch plainly shows what reasonable people now believe--we should have known better and we now need a President that did know better.

Yet there are still plenty of people out there who, to this day, who still do not know better. Columnist William Rivers Pitt wrote a column recently about the liars in the administration. He received this response from a reader, "Your silly column amazed me. Of course none of the people you mention were liars regarding Iraq's WMD. Everyone thought Saddam had WMD, including Saddam's own generals. There were no lies."

Pitt listed dozens of lies in response. "Simply stated," Dick Cheney said in a speech to VFW National Convention in August of 2002, "there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction." "There is already a mountain of evidence that Saddam Hussein is gathering weapons for the purpose of using them," Press Secretary Ari Fleischer said at a briefing in September of 2002. Speaking to the UN General Assembly a few days later the President told them, "Right now, Iraq is expanding and improving facilities that were used for the production of biological weapons." In a radio address in the following month, Bush said, "Iraq has stockpiled biological and chemical weapons, and is rebuilding the facilities used to make more of those weapons. We have sources that tell us that Saddam Hussein recently authorized Iraqi field commanders to use chemical weapons -- the very weapons the dictator tells us he does not have." These are but a few of the seventy-five lies Pitt cites.

Obviously Iraqi statehood is not going to happen, but the moral debt we owe the people of that country means we must act as if their people are our own. But in light of these lies, lies that led to an illegal invasion and a ruthless occupation that cost the lives of uncounted scores of their citizens, we must marry the fate of their democracy to the fate of ours. Colin Powell brought himself much shame for participating in this butchery, many of the administration's lies came out of his mouth, but it is his so-called pottery barn rule must guide the fate of the future integrity of the United States. We broke it; we bought it and we can not disown responsibility for our representatives' actions, especially the actions of rogue representatives, because it is our duty as citizens to make sure those unfit for power never wield it.

We can do as Bush asks and let history be his judge. Maybe he'll be foolish enough to test his self-proclaimed immunity to these war crimes by traveling abroad. The heinous Military Commissions Act works against him in other countries, where it can be cited as proof that there's no chance he will be charged in the United States, therefore must face justice abroad.

But Bush and his fellow war criminals' fate remains beside the point. Until there is peace, burgeoning democracy and prosperity in Iraq that equals our own, we will have a national morality deficit that we must address. While we must not allow future Presidents and Congresses to use that debt as an excuse to sustain the occupation, or even a military presence in Iraq, we must takes measures as drastic as necessary to never allow ourselves to forget what was done and to insure that it never happens again. No matter how much of our future wealth it costs, we must find means outside those of the military-industrial complex to rebuild and strongly fortify this country we allowed our leaders to so horrifically disfigure.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Pink Floyd University: Dogs of War

Crocker and Petraeus came to the Hill and barked at both Houses this week. It's high time that they, and their fellow pack of barking dogs in the mal-Administration, the House, the Senate and the Traditional Media should be muzzled.

Bush and his "War Council" are truly the "Dogs of War."

The use of the phrase "Dogs of War" is generally recognized to come from Shakespeare's play Julius Caesar, from a speech Antony gives:

All pity choked with custom of fell deeds:
And Chimpy's spirit, ranging for revenge,
With Cheney by his side come hot from hell,
Shall in these confines with a monarch's voice
Cry 'Havoc,' and let slip the dogs of war;
That this foul deed shall smell above the earth
With carrion men, groaning for burial.

(Sorry Shakespeare fans; I couldn't resist. Hey, it still scans properly. To atone, here is a vintage offering of the whole 2 minute soliloquy by Marlon Brando.)

Since all the Pink Floyd members were schooled in Britain, I am certain they all were and are aware of the origins of the phrase, and I think a look at some snips of the lyrics justifies this thought:

Hell opened up and put on sale
Hollow laughter in marble halls
Has unleashed the dogs of war

Hell opened up. On Sale. Marble halls. Dogs of War. From Caesar's time, through Shakespeare's and ours, it's remarkable how some things about human society just don't change. When you read the lyric set at the end, after what is to come, I believe you'll come to understand why I say "everything I need to know about politics, I learned from Pink Floyd." Pink Floyd is just damn prescient, yet rooted in what they know of history. It's remarkable.


There are these two-legged dogs of war that I call out at the beginning of this post, and there are also the four-legged variety. There is one lucky dog and one tragic dog in the two videos below. WARNING: Both videos are disturbing to watch.

And This one

This is tragic for our own humanity. Look at how easily, like a video game, four humans are so dispassionately gunned down from high above and far away. And look how easily four humans dispassionately participate in gunning down that poor dog. Why?

This Illegal Occupation/War is eating our collective soul. Why? To win? Win exactly what?

And the barking war dogs Crocker and Petraeus think we're fooled by their testimony? Not a chance. Senator Joe Biden destroyed the arguments handily.

The very worst part of all this is that this mal-Admnistration is really didn't even "cry havoc." It was quickly done with whispers and in secret that they actually invoked the hell to come that would devour our sensible spirits and shock us into this insensate state of "...all pity choked with custom of fell deeds."

To end, here are the complete lyrics to "Dogs of War" and a particularly apt Youtube. Emphases in the lyrics are mine, and reflect what I think are characteristics of the "
Dogs of War Cabinet" players, and chiefly those of Bush/Cheney:

Dogs of war and men of hate
With no cause, we don't discriminate
Discovery is to be disowned
Our currency is flesh and bone
Hell opened up and put on sale
Gather 'round and haggle
For hard cash
, we will lie and deceive
Even our masters don't know the web we weave

One world, it's a battleground
One world, and we will smash it down
One world ... One world

Invisible transfers, long distance calls,
Hollow laughter in marble halls
Steps have been taken, a silent uproar
Has unleashed the dogs of war
You can't stop what has begun
Signed, sealed, they deliver oblivion
We all have a dark side, to say the least
And dealing in death is the nature of the beast

One world, it's a battleground
One world, and we will smash it down
One world ... One world

The dogs of war won't negotiate
The dogs of war don't capitulate,
They will take and you will give,
And you must die so that they may live
You can knock at any door,
But wherever you go, you know they've been there before
Well winners can lose and things can get strained
But whatever you change, you know the dogs remain

One world, it's a battleground
One world, and we will smash it down
One world ... One world

Like I said, time to muzzle those dogs.

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