Saturday, July 19, 2008

U.S. lags behind the world

Instead of using our country's resources to strengthen our people and renew our infrastructure, da Bush and his neocons decided to burn our resources in a unnecessary war against a nondescript Middle Eastern country that posed us no threat whatsoever.

Their legacy will be death and dishonor.


In 2003, the Iraqi misadventure was costing us $1 billion per week! In 2008, it is costing us $3 billion per week!


We are not paying for it, however. Bush is, in effect, using your credit cards and my credit cards to borrow money from countries like China and Japan. Your grandchildren and my grandchildren and their children will be required to pay for this monumental stupidity -- if Bush doesn't blow up the world first, or we're not washed out to sea beforehand!

The money, of course, is not the worst part of it. The worst part is defined by all those American soldiers and soldiers from other countries that have been killed or maimed for life, as well as all those innocent men, women and children who lie in unmarked graves under the sandy Iraqi soil.


When I was young, I was proud of my country. I thought my country was better than any other country in the world in every category. Then I learned the truth. I learned, for example, that our life expectancy rate is far below other industrialized nations. I learned our infant mortality rate was considerably higher than other industrialized nations. I learned our health care system is rated significantly less effective than the health systems of other countries. I learned that our foreign aid does not measure up to many other countries who have less resources than we do.

What follows also comes from the July 28 issue of Time magazine. It is a brief report, which by way of introduction, tells us that the U.N., in 1990, began publishing "an annual human development report sizing up nations' progress in ensuring their citizen's health, education and standard of living."

In 2008, a report called The Measure of America was put together by social-science researchers who "used the same standards [as the U.N.] to put the U.S. under the microscope and came up with some striking results."

In terms of human development, the United States is not number one. It is number 12!

Here's why: One of six Americans does not have health insurance. One if four Americans does not graduate from high school on time. One in five Americans lives in poverty.


Those stats are shameful and we have no excuse. The American people may have voted in the bums running our country, but we must now throw them out, for they have co-opted the government for their own benefit; they have failed miserably to serve the people who elected them; they continue to run the government for their own nefarious purposes as if it is their own fiefdom, and they simply don't give a damn about the rest of us!

Malfunction and dysfunction in da Bush administration


The July 28 issue of Time magazine reports the the Government Accountability Office (GAO) has put out two reports critical of the U.S. Department of Labor.

The Labor Department's Wage and House division "regularly mishandled complaints of improper payments by employers and delayed its investigations--leaving thousands of workers unable to recoup lost wages."

That statement by the GAO contains two words that describe not only the Department of Labor but almost every other governmental agency in the Bush administration: "mishandled," and "delayed."


One and one half years ago the Guardian reported that "The Bush administration was ... accused of systemic tampering with the work of government climate scientists to eliminate politically inconvenient material about global warming."

Various scientists and advocacy groups told Congress that the White House engaged in a campaign "to remove references to global warming from scientific reports and limit public mention of the topic to avoid pressure on an administration opposed to mandatory controls on greenhouse gas emissions."

On July 12, 2008, the Washington Post reported that "Members of Vice President's Dick Cheney's staff censored congressional testimony by a top federal official on the health threats posed by global warming."

Jason K. Burnett, former EPA deputy associate administrator stated that last October, an "official" in Cheney's office removed six pages from the testimony given by Julie Gerberding, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Gerberding intended to make no bones about the fact that the CDC believes climate change to be "a very serious public health concern."


This egregious activity on the part of the Bush administration is nothing new, of course. eFlux Media reported today that "A new congressional report reveals that the Bush administration changed their initial standing on issues related to global warming and pollution to please their acolytes in the oil industry, under pressure from Vice President Dick Cheney's office.

The report came from the U.S. House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, headed by Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass.

White House spokesman Tony Fratto called it "laughable," not denying it, notice, but also showing the American people the depth of vacuousness to which the Bush administration has fallen.

The Bushite depravity comes clear in another new report by the EPA which climate change is going to have a fearsome effect on the health of Americans -- a conclusion backed by numerous scientific studies. "The 149-page document presents the grave health problems that global warming poses to people, affecting also the food and water that are indispensable to human life."


Unfortunately, we are stuck with George W. Bush for a few more months. Even more unfortunate is the fact that he has those months to further destroy the United States and the world.

George W. Bush is a buffoon. As the recent G-8 meeting in Japan ended, Bush grinned his simpy grin and pumped his fist in the air as he said to the assembled dignitaries:

"Goodbye from the world's greatest polluter."

Everybody's going "crackers"

(Photo of PZ Myers)

Recently, we wrote a post about a young man who attended mass at the University of Central Florida. He tried to take a consecrated wafer back to his seat to show his friend who had expressed an interest in Roman Catholicism, but was accosted by self-appointed "vigilantes" who attempted to grab the wafer from his hand.

People from around the world who actually believe that a consecrated wafer is no longer a wafer but the real physical body of the legendary Jesus Christ have weighed in on this matter, disparaging the young man and in some cases, threatening him with physical harm! Somehow they missed what Jesus said about turning the other cheek.

But that's not surprising as most Christians, I have found, do not make even the slightest attempt to do what Jesus said they should do. Why bother when you can sin like hell all week, go to church on Sunday, say you believe in Jesus as your savior, get absolved of your sin, and start all over on Monday?

The other problem is that most Christians don't have a clue as to the teachings of their Jesus. Thus, they don't follow Jesus, they follow the particular rant of their religious group.


PZ Myers is a scientist and a member of the faculty at the University of Minnesota. He's also an atheist, and decided, as I did, to jab these self-righteous Christians about the so-called "desecrated" consecrated wafer.

Myers, being a well-known scientist, atheist and blogger, has received numerous emails calling him every name in the proverbial book and also threatening him with physical harm! In a recent post on his blog, Pharyngula, Myers tells how his "words" disparaging the "body of Christ" have made him a threat to the Republican Convention to be held in the Twin Cities later this summer.

Thomas Foley, a delegate to the Republican National Convention from Virginia, has called for "increased security" at the convention because he's afraid of what Myers might do.

"On Friday the Catholic League reported that Thomas E. Foley ... has asked that increased security be considered for the event in light of Myers' threat to acquire and desecrate the Eucharist.

"'I just felt security at the Republican National Convention ought to look at him and his followers,'" said Foley.

He continued on saying that "What I think he has done, he's loaded a cyberpistol and he's cocked it and he's left it on the table. He may have set something in motion that no one can stop. It was irresponsible, a hell of a thing to do."

One specific thing that had Foley upset was "Myers' recent description of Catholic League President Bill Donohue as 'braying,' which Foley, a self-described Irish Catholic, claimed was 'a great insult for the Irish.'

"Foley said he believes Myers was telling his readers to acquire a consecrated Host at Mass, which Foley though would result in disruptions."


In my blog post, I said essentially the same thing that Myers did about the so-called consecrated Host. Unless you're Roman Catholic, it's just a damn cracker and it is literally insane to get one's shorts in a knot about it!

I'll also agree with Myers that Bill Donohue is "braying." I'd even say he's an ass and brays like an ass. Donohue is further right than the Pope! He makes Catholics and their church look like a bunch of medieval inquisitors!

What's really scary, however, is that people like Thomas E. Foley are making political decisions that impact all the people in this country!


Read more about "Cracker-Gate" and PZ Myers here.

McCain's dilemma

John McCain has been criticizing Obama for not visiting Iraq and Afghanistan. He has wondered publicly how Obama thinks he can know what's actually happening there if he hasn't been there in person.

While McCain has visited Iraq, it didn't seem to do him much good as he didn't learn the difference between Sunni and Shiite Muslims. And his characterization of Baghdad as being a "safe" place to visit was pretty well negated by the small army that accompanied him on his trek through part of the city.


Two things have happened since. McCain presumptively commented on when Obama was going to the Middle East, actually telling the terrorists when to expect him. That was not a nice thing to do; in fact it was quite stupid. The Obama camp had been deliberately secretive about the timing of the trip so as to avoid setting their candidate up for an assassination attempt.

McCain's big mouth undid their careful planning, and actually put Obama at risk!


The second thing is that McCain's tactics backfired. Not only is Obama tripping about the world, but he's reveling in tons of free publicity, and is expected to be heartily welcomed wherever he goes - the Middle East or Europe -- much to McCain's dismay!

And that's why McCain's camp is attacking Obama for doing what McCain said he ought to do. Jill Hazelbaker, McCain's communications director disparaged Obama, called Obama's trip a "campaign rally overseas."

In an email to reporters, she highlighted these words: "Let's drop the pretense that this is a fact-finding trip and call it what it is: the first-of-its-kind campaign rally overseas."

As one more example that McCain's left hand does not know what his right hand is doing, McCain contradicted his communications director. When asked about her comments, he said, "The fact is that I'm glad he is going to Iraq. I am glad he is going to Afghanistan. It's long, long overdue if you want to lead this nation."

Later, he "clarified" his remarks, saying that if Obama held political rallies in other places, "obviously then it's a political trip."

(I think McCain's a bit worried about Obama's planned appearance at Berlin's Brandenburg Gate, which will likely be accompanied by thousands of screaming fans!)


McCain's hypocrisy is overwhelming! He points his finger at Obama via his communications director who accuses Obama of using his trip as a campaign rally, when McCain is the one who actually held a campaign fund-raiser in London on March 20!

The Washington Post revealed it took place in a "stately, 18th century stone palace that once served as the home to the Spencers , of Diana fame."

In fact, the event was held "by kind permission of Lord Rothschild..." Tickets cost between $1,000 and $2,300. Attire was to be "lounge suits."

While McCain did not stick around to talk to reporters at its conclusion, attendees said he spoke about the bad U.S. economy, and dealt with U.S. foreign policy, specifically as related to the Middle East as well as global warming.

McCain insisted that "his trip abroad ... is not a campaign event. Rather, he insists, it is a fact-finding mission..." It was paid for by the U.S. government.

No politics here!

It seems that McCain has taken a page from the Bush book. Say one thing, do the opposite and then claim you did not do what you obviously did!

As Americablog put it: "Just for one second imagine the outcry on Fox News and right wing talk radio if a Democrat had a fundraiser in London hosted by a British Lord or any foreigner."

Extremist Christians alive and well in Iowa

Chuck Grassley is a five-term U.S. senator and "Iowa's senior Republican official."

Mr. Grassley has been conducting an inquiry, through the Senate Finance Committe, into the financial dealings of six "big" Christian right TV evangelists, including Kenneth Copeland of the Dallas area. You may have read all the howling coming from these fat cats as they fly their personal jets around the world bringing people to Jesus and collecting gobs of money.

You must also realize these creeps all run "religious" organizations so they don't have to pay taxes.

Grassley realized something was amiss. How could anyone miss that? These guys live in multi-million dollar mansions, have fleets of cars, fly, as we've said, in the own corporate (non-profit, naturally) jets, wear pinky diamonds bigger than the Louvre - all the while claiming to do the work of God.

None of them want Grassley snooping around in their affairs. In fact, Mr. Copeland of Dallas/Ft. Worth fame, refused to open his books and said that only God can see his financial records for they belong to God!

Not only so, but two leading lights of the extremist Christian Right -- Paul Weyrich and Ken Blackwell -- have, along with others of the same ilk, "charged Grassley with violating the First Amendment's religious freedom guarantee."


Fascinating, isn't it? These idiots want to take over our government and make the U.S. of A. a Christian nation and institute God's laws (as they define them) and then complain about a proper investigation into the crooked dealings of these television evangelists!

Well, Grassley got his comeuppance - in spades.

"Evangelicals and their allies, dominating last weekend's Iowa Republican state convention, dumped their critic, Sen. Chuck Grassley, from the state's delegation to the national convention in St. Paul, Minnesota."

I guess it's payback time for Jesus!

"Whiner" Gramm resigns while whining

Phil Gramm, the goofball primarily responsible for our current mortgage and banking meltdown, has resigned as McCain's economic adviser.

Phil Gramm, you will recall is the elitist Repugnican (silver spoon fed from birth) who had the unmitigated gall (god, I love that phrase!) to call the rest of us stuck in an economic sinkhole a bunch of whiners. We should, said Gramm in so many words, get off our fat asses and get to work! The only recession going on is "mental."

Don't you just love how these Repugnicans play to their base. That must have been music to the ears of all the corporate fat cats that rule Washington and the world. I'm sure it sounded quite different to the single mother with two kids working two minimum wage jobs just to pay the goddamn rent!


McCain, hearing of Gramm's "whiner" comment, determined rather quickly (for McCain) that he better take action for even McCain realized a lot of people might get a bit riled over the obtuse stupidness of his economic adviser. They might even think that if McCain should by crook get elected they'd get screwed one more time in the good old-fashioned Repugnican way!

So McCain "distanced" himself from Gramm. Gramm then apologized to McCain. McCain then told Gramm not to worry about it, he'd always have a job with John. So Gramm continued to be McCain's economic adviser. As someone said, "the two old comrades patched up their relationship."


Alas, it was not to be. Everyone involved must have sat down and had a heart-to-heart. It would have been fun to have been listening in. The end result is that yesterday, July 18, Mr. Gramm resigned from the McCain campaign.

He "whined" a bit while doing so, though. He said he was stepping down to "end this distraction."

Distraction? You mean that calling most of the good people of this country "whiners" and suggesting their economic problems are all in their head is a mere distraction?

Then Gramm said, "I hereby ... join the growing numbers of rank-and-file McCain supporters."

It's pretty obvious that Gramm is full of the old crapola - "growing numbers" indeed! Hey, by the time he's through, nobody will be voting for McCain.

Thanks, Phil!

Schadenfreude - courtesy of Basket of Puppies

(Photo of Judge Robert Somma)

"Schadenfreude is a German word meaning 'pleasure taken from someone else's mistortune.' The American equivalent is the sarcastic, 'Aw, it couldn't have happened to a nicer guy.'"

There is a "humorous" and very important article at the blog, Basket of Puppies, titled "American Schadenfreude, The real #1 pasttime."

It is humorous in the sense it portrays a pocketful of mostly Repugnican poohbahs stupidly revealing their hypocrisy. It is also important (if a bit sad) to realize that these poor fools are, or have been holding down important public positions, making decisions that directly affect a number of people.

"Obviously," the article begins, "the most delicious schadenfreude is homegrown from the finest in superior ultra-conservative piety and self-righteousness, but not all the best schadenfreud comes from the front page and not all stories are buried in the past."

Here are the first two examples:

"Fifty years ago a judge wearing a dress was a hangin' offense. Today, it's just another new cycle. On Feb. 6th, when 63 year-old Judge Robert Somma was arrested for DWI after he hit a pickup truck ... Highway patrol found him wearing a black women's cocktail dress, fishnet stockings and high heels. ...

"On April 3rd, Cumberland County Commissioner, Bruce Barclay was arrested for the male rape of a prostitute he found on Harisburg Frat Boys dot.com. And then came the revelation that Bruce was innocent. How do we know? Conservative Republican Barclay secretly videotaped all of his sexual encounters with male prostitutes. Hundreds of them. For some reason, gourmet schadenfreude always tastes better with secret videos."

There's much more and I'd guess many of these stories never did make the front page of your local paper.

Read the entire article here.

Iran - negotiating the truth

For G. W. Bush and his neocons, negotiating the truth is standard operating procedure. Truth, in the Bush administration, depends upon which way the political winds are blowing at the moment.

You may recall how not so long ago, our esteemed leader implied (rather directly) that Obama and others calling for negotiations with Iran were "traitors" to America, and da Bush, in a Jerusalem speech, suggested that to conduct diplomatic discussions with Iran was the same as trying to appease the Nazis back ever so long ago.

For years the Bushites have been ratcheting up the reasons to bomb Iran. Cheney and his neocon friends have had an attack on Iran first on their agenda since the late 1990s. We've been told that "intelligence" proves that the Iranians are up to no good and nothing they say about their nuclear program can be believed.

Furthermore, the Bush administration has refused to hold diplomatic talks with Iran under any circumstances.


What has changed? What is difference between Iran today and Iran a week ago? Something must be, but we haven't been informed as to that difference.

Nevertheless, the Bushites have announced they are sending a "high-level State Department official to attend talks with nuclear negotiators in Switzerland over the weekend."

"...observers suggest that the shift in the US's longstanding tactic of isolating Tehran maybe motivated by a desire to ensure that other countries such as China and Russia do not make too many concession to Iran during the negotiation."

If that's the case, of course, then, once again, the United States is acting hypocritically, seeking only to maintain the peculiar interests of the neocons in the Bush administration without giving a damn about the rest of the world.

Which is par for the course!

Some of the above was taken from an article by John Amato at Crooks and Liars. You can read that article and watch a pertinent video here.

Friday, July 18, 2008

On winning a war

(AP photo)

The other day we referred to John McCain's claim that he knows how to win wars. We ridiculed the Senator for making such a stupid comment. There is nothing in his resume that would indicate he has a clue about "winning" a war.

But we neglected to point out something we have long believed: In a war there are no winners!

Howard Zinn of the Boston Globe reinforces that belief in an article titled "Memo to Obama, McCain: No One Wins in a War."

Here's part of what he has to say: "For someone like myself, who fought in World War II, and since then has protested against war, I must ask: Have our political leaders gone mad? Have they learned nothing from recent history? Have they not learned that no one 'wins' in a war, but that hundreds of thousands of humans die, most of them civilians, many of them children?"


Our response to that is, "Yes, our political leaders have gone mad."

President George W. Bush, who dodged his military commitment in a time of war (deserted?), may very well have been mad before he was selected to be president by the Supreme Court. Mr. Bush not only believes in war, he promotes war, and he goes out of his way to start wars.

He might feel differently if he actually had to fight in a war, but so long as he can order others to do his dirty work and die in the process, he'll continue to utilize war as a foreign policy weapon.

If Barack Obama really believes a war is "winnable," which I find hard to accept, then he, too, has the reek of insanity.

There is no question of McCain's madness, for he proclaims to the world he can "win" a war!


The lunatics, as they say, are running the asylum!

You can read Mr. Zinn's entire article here.

Fourth Circuit Court backs Bush as dictator

One would hope that a United States Circuit Court would uphold the United States Constitution. The Fourth Circuit Court has instead abrogated its responsibility by authorizing da Bush's dictatorial powers, overruling a three-judge panel of its own members who last year said that the government could not hold civilians legally in the United States as enemy combatants.

Here's how Steven D. at the Booman Tribune put it:

"The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals (one level below the Supreme Court) has just ruled that Bush was granted the unlimited power by Congress to detain indefinitely anyone in the United States (you, me, your teenage son or daughter, anyone at all) merely by declaring them an enemy combatant."

Glenn Greenwald offfers a comprehensive and detailed look at what all this means in his article, "Al-Marri and the power to imprison U.S. citizens without charges," at salon.com, here. Greenwald says,

"Of all the constitutionally threatening and extremist powers the Bush administration has asserted over the last seven years, the most radical -- and the most dangerous -- has been its claim that the President has the power to arrest U.S. citizens and legal residents inside the U.S., and imprison them indefinitely in a military prison, without charging them with any crime, based on his assertion that the imprisoned individual is an 'enemy combatant.'"

The Fourth Circuit Court blessed Bush's position on July 15 in a ruling related to the case of al-Marri. Greenwald says that al-Marri, a citizen of Qatar, was in the U.S. legally on a student visa, a graduate student in computer science at Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois. He lived in Peoria with his wife and five children.

"Shortly after the 9/11 attack, al-Marri was detained as a material witness and subsequently charged in a civilian court with a variety of crimes relating to credit card fraud and making false statements as part of the 9/11 investigation. He vehemently denied those accusations, and -- in June 2003 -- he was preparing for his criminal trial ... [when] Suddenly -- a month before his trial was to begin -- George Bush declared him to be an 'enemy combatant.' and ordered the U.S. military to seize him from civilian officials and transfer him to military custody."

Al-Marri has been confined in a military brig in South Carolina for five years. No criminal charges have been placed against him. "He has been kept in solitary confinement and denied any contact with the outside world other than his lawyers."

In fact, the government has not claimed al-Marri has done anything wrong or that he has enaged in anything of a terrorist nature. Nevertheless, according to this court ruling, he can be held "for the duration of the relevant hostilities."


As Greenwald so succinctly points out, "...the President can order anyone in the U.S. imprisoned in a military brig as an 'enemy combatant' -- even if they have never fought on a battlefield or with a foreign power against the U.S. Rather, mere accusations by the President of 'terrorism' are sufficient to justify the indefinite incarceration of such an individual as an 'enemy combatant,' who is then denied basic Constitutional guarantees."


This is the same president who speaks to the world of "freedom," and "democracy," and the "rule of law." But the world knows those are just words, and that he neither understands what they mean, nor does he give a damn. With every twist of the wind, Mr. Bush shreds further our Constitution, if not by himself than with the help of right-wing courts packed with extremist judges appointed by Republican presidents, or god help us, a Democratic president.

Actually, of the ten members of the court, five are Democrats and five are Republicans. Unfortunately, the court has again and again showed its ultra-conservative colors, which means it generally sides with big business or the government.

The al-Marri decision was 5-4, and the judge who was the swing vote was Judge Traxler, a Democrat, appointed by Bill Clinton. Traxler's "opinion became the court's binding decision," who claimed that, in spite of the Constitution's guarantees, "The detention of enemy combatants during military activities is ... an exception."

Talk about "activist" judges!

The case is expected to go to the U.S. Supremes, but that isn't necessarily a good thing for Mr. al-Marri. Steven D. says that would leave al-Marri (and the rest of us) "at the mercy of Justice Kennedy, the one conservative member of the Supreme Court who has shown himself willing to vote with the more liberal justices on issues involving the rights of individuals detained by the Bush administration as enemy combatants."

That's pretty amazing when you think about it. The continuing validation of our Constitution -- and our basic freedoms, and our freedom from a runaway dictatorship -- depends upon one man's vote.

Steven D. sums up:

"Until that happens, be very careful what you say and to whom. For who knows what constitutes evidence of terrorist allegiance in the minds of our national security professionals. Mr. al-Marri still doesn't know what precise information landed him in prison as a suspected Al Qaeda sleeper agent. All he knows is that someone at the CIA signed an affidavit claiming that he was a terrorist. Because that is all it takes, my friends, to put you in prison and deprive you of your liberty. The opinion of one man. And until Congress or the Supreme Court holds otherwise you live in a police state, different from that of the former Soviet Union or Argentina under the rule of the Generals only by the degree to which that authority has been exercised -- so far."

Jo Stafford - a tribute

I grew up listening to Jo Stafford. What a voice! What a woman! For many years, every time we turned the radio on -- at home or in the car -- we were likely to be pleasured by Jo Stafford's smooth, silky voice. We danced to her music at school proms and in basement rec rooms. We skated to her music at roller rinks. Jo Stafford was our kind of girl!

Rising from a relatively poor background, Jo Stafford ended up singing with some of America's great bands and greatest singers. She got her start as one of Pied Pipers who sang backup with Frank Sinatra and the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra in the 1930's. In fact, the very first song the Pipers sang with Tommy Dorsey, "I'll Never Smile Again," became a number one hit!

In the 1940's, Jo Stafford had 38 songs in the Top Twenty, including "The Trolley Song" and "My Darling, My Darling. " She quickly became a favorite of American servicemen around the globe.

In the early 1950's, she married Paul Weston and put together several theme LPs. One of her biggest hits, and perhaps my favorite song of all-time, was "You Belong To Me." She also recorded hits like "Make Love To Me!," "Shrimps Boats," "Jambalaya," and "All The Things You Are."

She pretty much retired in the 1960's, at least from nightclub appearances. But she did do amazing work with Helen Reddy ("I Am Woman"), and the Bee Gees ("Staying Alive".) Her last appearance was with Frank Sinatra in 1982.

Jo Stafford died on Wednesday, July 16, at the age of 90. I've missed her for many years. Thank you, Ms. Stafford, for every song! RIP.

So who needs the Geneva Conventions?

(Photo of Ingrid Betancourt, French-Colombian held hostage by FARC in Colombia)

Prezident George W. Bush has thumbed his nose publicly at the rules laid down by the Geneva Conventions. Torture? Against the Geneva Conventions? To hell with the Geneva Conventions; we'll torture if we wish!

George W. Bush is supposed to be the leader of the largest democracy in the world. George W. Bush is expected to set an example for other leaders around the world. George W. Bush fails on all counts. George W. Bush has made a mockery of leadership, of democracy, and of the Geneva Conventions!

So, it isn't surprising that those folks down in Colombia, who freed 15 captives from Marxist Guerillas, decided to ignore the Geneva Conventions? President Alvaro Uribe claims it was a mistake and he "regrets that this occurred."

Sure he does.

Not that we're not happy with the rescue of these folks who have been held for six years by the Leaders of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). And the story of the rescue is exciting as FARC was tricked into setting the hostages free.

Hey, anything's fair in love and war, right? About almost anything? How about having one of the rescuers dress up as a Red Cross worker?

Well, that's the problem. For military personnel to pretend they are members of the Red Cross is a huge no-no because "it could put humanitarian workers at risk when they are in war zones."

Or as Yves Heller, a spokesman for the International Committee of the Red Cross in Colombia, said, "Parties to the conflict must respect the Red Cross emblem at all times and under all circumstances."

Back to da Bush. Bush is not going to be circumscribed by no lousy Geneva Conventions! He's the prezident! He can do whatever the hell he feels like doing! And he did. So now we have a situation where if our soldiers are captured by al-Qaeda or if our contractors are captured by insurgents in Iraq, or if NATO soldiers are captured by the Taliban in Afghanistan, they are very likely to be tortured -- perhaps even waterboarded -- because our moron of a prezident did not think he needed to follow international law!

Have you noticed how quiet the Bushites are about Colombia's breach of the Geneva Conventions?

Contraception as abortion - Science by da Bush

The extremist Christian Right doesn't give up. They do get more evil, however. What follows provides a disturbing example of how the Bush administration rejects real science in favor of pseudo-science to placate the religious beliefs of the Christian Right, or the Roman Catholic Right.

Everything is political in da Bush's administration.

The American Medical Association as well as the British Medical Association defines pregnancy as beginning "when the embryo implants in the lining of the uterus."

Cristina Page writes that the Department of Health and Human Services "released a proposal that allows any federal grant recipient to obstruct a woman's access to contraception. In order to do this, the Department is attempting to redefine many forms of contraception, the birth control 40 percent of Americans use, as abortion."


This convoluted attempt to restrict the use of contraceptives depends upon the definition of pregnancy. The HHS, in contrast to the majority of medical opinion, intends to define pregnancy as beginning at conception! As Ms. Page points out, this is a "biologically unknowable moment (there's no test to determine if a women's egg has been fertilized). Under these new standards there would be no way for a woman to prove she's not pregnant. Thus, any woman could be denied contraception under HHS's new science."

The idiocy of this proposal becomes clear when one realizes there is no evidence whatsoever that hormonal contraception prevents "a fertilized egg from implanting in the womb." Hormonal contraceptives do not abort a "fertilized egg."

Ms. Page describes what this means for women. "Anyone working for a federal clinic, or a health center that receives federal funding -- even in the form of Medicaid -- and would like to prevent a woman from accessing most prescription birth control methods has federal protection to do so."


The extremist Christian Right and their cohorts in the Roman Church must be in hog heaven! This is a new opportunity for them to impose the will of their god upon the rest of the population: Redefine pregnancy as beginning with fertilization of an egg; accept the pseudo-science that contraceptives inhibit the implantation of the egg into the lining of the uterus, and bingo, you can prohibit women from obtaining contraceptives, because contraceptives cause "abortions"!


Just think how happy god will be!

It might be appropriate to point out that the head honcho of the Department of Health and Human Services in none other than Mike Leavitt, a Bush crony of the Mormon, ultra-right variety, who was also responsible for the medical response to Hurricane Katrina!

It's way past time to throw da Bush and his prehistoric, demented religious freaks the hell out of our government!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Elizabeth Dole and Jesse Helms - Irony, satire, idiocy?

Sometimes you pick up the paper and read a story that knocks you over - literally. You think, no one could be that stupid! No one could be that far removed from reality! No one would even think of doing something like that!

Elizabeth Dole, late of the Red Cross, and wife of failed Republican presidential aspirant, Bob Dole, is a Repugnican Senator herself (North Carolina). The Red Cross is quite fortunate. The United States Congress is not.

Senator Dole, for some reason which is fathomable only to the gods, "introduced an amendment to name an HIV/AIDS relief bill after the recently deceased Jesse Helms." (Or maybe she had another reason - see below.)

Rachel Weiner at the Huffington Post helps us understand the magnitude of this faux pas. While we might know, generally, that Jesse Helms was a homophobic, racist bigot, as well as a mean-spirited, cruel and nasty man, it is important to know the specifics.

Jesse Helms "was a strident foe of HIV/AIDS prevention, research and treatment." The blog, Joe.My.God details further Helms' efforts with regard to HIV/AIDS relief:

"Jesse Helms, the man who in 1987 described AIDS prevention literature as 'so obscene, so revolting, I may throw up.'

"Jesse Helms, the man who in 1988 vigorously opposed the Kennedy-Hatch AIDS research bill, saying, 'There is not one single case of AIDS in this country that cannot be traced in origin to sodomy.'

"Jesse Helms, the man who in 1995 said (in opposition to refunded the Ryan White Act) that the government should spend less on people with AIDS because they got sick due to their 'deliberate, disgusting, revolting conduct.'

"Jesse Helms, the man who in 2002 announced that he'd changed his mind about AIDS funding for Africa, but not for American gays, because homosexuality 'is the primary cause of the doubling and redoubling of AIDS cases in the United States.'

"In fact, in 1991 seven activists from the group ACT UP put a giant condom on Helm's Arlington home that said 'Helms Is Deadlier Than A Virus.'"


Hmmm. Could it be that Senator Dole was telling us something "subliminally?" I mean putting Helms' name on an AIDS bill is just about the last thing he would want. What the hell, he's dead; what can he do about it?

It's really rather funny when you think about it! The old boy is probably spinning in impotent agony in his grave.

The Jesse Helms HIV/AIDS bill. Now that's irony! We might even say that Helms gets screwed
- in the end!

Why the Iraqis hate us

(Photo of Baghdad by Ali Mohamed)

Alternet published an article by Mohammed Ibn Laith of Gorilla's Guides, which you can read here.

It consists mostly of three photographs. It is very disturbing.

A note from the Alternet editor reminds us that one way to obtain information about what is really happening in Iraq is to read Iraqi blogs every day. Bush, as you know, bypasses the media's "filter."

Although it is true, as the editor says, that the bloggers' writings are "only the opinions of the Iraqi bloggers who contribute," they will certainly give us a different picture than the one painted by the Bush administration and the Pentagon through the American media.

More information is always better.

What Jews really think

Spencer Ackerman writes of a "monster poll" just released by "J Street, The pro-peace/pro-Israel/pro-Palestine Jewish lobby."

According to this particular poll: "we're liberal as hell; we hate Bush; we know Bush has been a disaster for Israel; we'll support any peace deal the Israeli's make; and the only thing we're uncomfortable with to that end is giving back East Jerusalem to the Palestinians."

Ackerman breaks it down this way:

74 percent view Bush unfavorably. 83 percent disapprove of his job performance. 90 percent think the U.S. in on the wrong track. 21 percent approve of the Iraq war. Only 29 percent agree that Bush is good for Israel "and those are clearly the shmucks that kissed ass in Hebrew school and snitched when the rest of us used the synagogue phone booth and cloakroom to make out or get high."

55 percent think the U.S. should be actively engaged in Mideast peace, and 30 percent were opposed.

59 percent "agree that Israel will need to 'withdraw from most of the West Bank and dismantle many of the Israeli settlements.'" 58 percent think Israel should get out of the Golan if peace could be had with Syria (and Syria abandoned its support of Hamas and Hezbolah.) Only 44 percent, however, thought East Jerusalem should be part of Palestine.

Ackerman sums up: "J Street's poll supports its contention that the attitudes of most of us are far, far out of whack with what this country's self-appointed Jewish leaders -- the Joe Liebermans, the AIPACs, the Sheldon Adelsons, the Commentary magazines -- say we're about and what we're actually about."

You can read Ackerman's entire article here.

McCain - putz or puzzle

For many people, John McCain is a putz. A few, however, remain unsure.

What is clear, however, is that John McCain is a puzzle. A puzzle is perplexing. A puzzle is defined by uncertainty and indecision.

John McCain is perplexing. John McCain is exemplified by uncertainty and indecision.


1. Joshua Holland described a recent CNN Situation Room discussion between Wolf Blitzer and Foreign Policy Analyst, Fareed Zakaria.

"One of the policies they touched on was McCain's proposal to kick Russia out of the G8." Obama thinks it best to keep Russia involved and McCain wants to give Russia the boot.

Again, McCain just doesn't get it. "The G8 is an organization that functions on a consensus basis. Therefore Russia itself would have to vote 'yea' to any plan to boot Russia out of the group. Therefore, McCain's proposal is batshit insane, and Obama's feelings about the matter are irrelevant."


2. Way back in 2000, George W. Bush said he thought Czechoslovakia should be a campaign issue because he realized his opponent, John McCain didn't know there was no Czechoslovakia.
"A guy gets up and quizzed me [on world leaders] ... but John McCain says something about the 'ambassador to Czechoslovakia [there's a Czech Republic and a Slovakia], but yet it didn't make the nightly national news."

During a Republican debate last fall, McCain said: "The first thing I would do is make sure that we have a missile defense system in place in Czechoslovakia and Poland, and I don't care what his objections are to it."

About three months ago, say May 2008 or so, McCain swore he would "work closely with Czechoslovakia" on missile defense.

July 2008. At a press conference. McCain said: "I was concerned about a couple of steps that the Russian government took in the last several days. One was reducing energy supplies to Czechoslovakia. ..."

That couldn't happen, of course, because Czechoslovakia doesn't exist!


3. Steven Benen at The Carpetbagger Report tells how on July 15, 2008, McCain gave a speech to the National Council of La Raza. Following his comments, a young woman asked whether he would support the so-called "Dream Act (Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act), which gives undocumented young people a chance to earn U.S. citizenship by going to college or enlisting in the military.

"McCain didn't hesitate to endorse the legislation."

Benen says that's the right thing to to: "The Dream Act should be a no-brainer: 'Roughly 65,000 children graduate each year from high school into a constrained future because they cannot work legally or qualify for most college aid. These are the overlooked bystanders to the ferocious bickering over immigration. They did not ask to be brought here, have worked hard in school and could, given the chance, hone their talents and become members of the homegrown, high-skilled American work force. The bill is one of the least controversial immigration proposals that have been offered in the last five years.'"

Unfortunately, says Benen, McCain "neglected to mention that he already promised conservative activists that he opposes the Dream Act, and would have voted against it had he shown up for work last fall."

The ironic part of all this is that when he addressed the Latino National Council of La Raza, he ended his message with, "I do ask for your trust."

As Benen says: "The man is just shamefully dishonest. McCain co-sponsored the Dream Act, then refused to vote for it, then promised to oppose it, then promised to support it."

Trust?


4. Vincent Rossmeier at Salon.com reminds us that McCain isn't sure about what he thinks about gay adoption. He told The New York Times, "I don't believe in gay adoption." Last Tuesday his campaign said that wasn't quite right, he really does believe in gay adoption or at least he believes that whatever the individual states say about gay adoption is what he really believes.

Jill Hazelbaker, McCain's director of communications, sent a statement to Andrew Sullivan at the Atlantic in which she said old John might have been "clearer in the interview in stating that his position on gay adoption is that it is a state issue."

You'll notice, however, that "I don't believe in gay adoption" is not hedged by any states' rights nonsense.


5. This from Alex Koppelman at Salon.com. John McCain spoke at a town hall in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He said this:

"I won't bluster, and I won't make idle threats, but understand this -- when I cam commander in chief, there will be nowhere the terrorists can run and nowhere they can hide."

As Koppelman noted, "...that sounds, actually, exactly like bluster."

It also sounds, exactly, like da Bush. My god, can we possibly stand another dingbat saying the same kinds of things, blustering in the same inane way, in the White House?

Furthermore, as Koppelman points out, there are terrorists all over the Middle East and Africa -- in numerous countries. Is he going to attack Saudi Arabia? Pakistan? Lebanon? Is he going to send troops to Sudan, or how about Algeria where "Islamic militants are experiencing a resurgence?"

So much for not "blustering."


6. Joe Sudbay at Americablog.com reports:

"After months of saying additional troops were not needed in Afghanistan, McCain changed position Tuesday and called for an additional three brigades -- or roughly 15,000 troops -- to be sent to the country. It was unclear if those troops would be redeployed from Iraq or come from NATO forces."

Flip-flop!

The Jews and militant Islam - a comparison

(Photo of Hassan Nasrallah, Hezbollah leader)

In a lopsided deal on Wednesday, Israel freed five Lebanese militants in exchange for the bodies of two Israeli soldiers.

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah harrumphed that Hezbollah had won a great triumph, saying that the "age of victories has come." Speaking to a crowd in Beruit, Nasrallah said that this exchange embodied Hezbollah's power over Israel.

One of the released prisoners, Samir Kantar, swore he would continue to fight Israel: "I promise my people and dear ones in Palestine that I and my dear comrades in the valiant Islamic resistance are returning." The crowd cheered its approval.

According to the Associated Press, Lebanon's President Michel Suleiman, wearing combat fatigues given to him by Hezbollah symbolizing Hezbollah's unending fight against Israel, told the freed men, "Your return is a new victory."

Hezbollah is just one group that has sworn death to the state of Israel and to all Israelis. Like all the other militant Islamic groups, Hezbollah has vowed it will never recognize Israel's right to exist, and will use all of its powers to drive Israel into the sea.

For 60 plus years, the Islamic militants have lived for murder, extortion, and death. Because they have put all their resources into this holy war against the Jews, the countries and people they claim to love and protect remain backward, poor, and desperate and are unable to contribute anything of value to the world. Their legacy is the detritus of unending war.


What follows was sent to me by a friend. I submit it as a proper and true response to those who would live by the sword and die by the sword.

The Jews don't hijack planes, nor kill athletes at the Olympics, or blow themselves up in German restaurants. There is NOT one single Jew that has destroyed a church. There is NOT a single Jew that protests by killing people.

The Jews don't traffic slaves, nor have leaders calling for Jihad and death to all the Infidels. Jews don't murder their daughters and sisters in honor killings. Jews don't behead members of the press.

Perhaps the world's Muslims would consider investing more in standard education and less in blaming the Jews for all their problems.

Regardless of your feelings about the crisis between Israel and the Palestinians and [their] Arab neighbors--even if you believe there is more culpability on Israel's part--the following two sentences really say it all:

'If the Arabs put down their weapons today, there would be no more violence. If the Jews put down their weapons today, there would be no more Israel.' -- Benjamin Netanyahu

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Nuclear waste dump site wanted

The Yucca Mountain nuclear waste dump site, 90 miles to the northwest of Las Vegas, Nevada, was supposed to have opened in 1998.

It ain't open yet; partly because of political infighting, scientific opposition, and lawsuits.

The US government has already spent $9 billion on this project. In 2001, the Bush administration estimated its final cost at $58 billion. Now the Bushites are saying, "Oops, we made a mistook. It looks to cost more than $90 billion" (that is an estimate).

There's more good news. Originally, the site was to contain 77,000 tons of radioactive waste. According to the honchos at the Energy Department, that figure is low. How low? Who knows.


Would you be surprised to learn that people in Nevada don't want this radioactive waste in their neighborhood? That includes Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., who has successfully blocked financing for the dump.

The plan is for some 64,000 tons of radioactive spent fuel rods stored in 33 other states to be sent to the Yucca Mountain repository. And Nevada folks want those 64,000 tons to stay right where they are.


Not to worry. For awhile. In June, the Energy Department submitted a construction license application (which is a must) to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Get this: the Commission can take up to four years to approve it, but even that doesn't mean much if Congress doesn't fund the project.

So, we've spent $9 billion on what? Ward Sproat, the Energy Department guy who's in charge of Yucca Mountain, says he hopes to be open for business by 2020.

He was serious!

This is nuclear stuff we're talking about. Is anybody minding the store? Does anybody know what's going on? Sproat's $90 billion figure was a guess. He plans to provide Congress with some actual cost breakdowns in a few weeks!

The New Yorker vs. the National Review


I don't consider myself a "irony-challenged literalist." I love irony, and definitely am not a literalist except under certain conditions and in certain situations.

Thus, I feel free to dislike intensely the cartoon that graced the cover of The New Yorker magazine. In another time and another place, it could have been humorous. In the United States, which remains, unfortunately, a hotbed of racism and hatred, it was out of place.

Ironic it was not. Satire? Maybe. Inappropriate? For sure.

Some people, you see, including TV pundits and hosts of talk radio hate shows, thought maybe the cover was a glance at reality. Really. It also fit right into the demented theories of the mentally challenged who send emails about a conspiracy where there isn't one, while voting into office those who have conspired to destroy our democracy.

Was it helpful to the state of the Union? Definitely not. Ironic or not. Satiric or not.

So, above you find Mr. Horsey's well-executed response to people like me. For more of Horsey's cartoons, go to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer here.

Vote Republican or the terrorists will get ya!

Florida, a state baked by the sun and soon to be under water from global warming, still contains a plethora of screwballs and fruitcakes. Many of these weirdos end up in the Orlando area, which may have something to do with its proximity to Disney World and Mickey Mouse.

One such screwball, fruitcake, weirdo is Mike Meehan, "a St. Cloud businessman and musician." Well, "musician" may be pushing it but that's what he claims to be and he's put out a "patriotic" CD called "The Republican Song," the chorus of which says, "Don't vote for a Democrat."

That wouldn't be too bad. We have a lot of Repugnicans in Florida. Not enough to give George Bush the presidency, though. His minions were forced to invalidate boxes full of Democratic votes and then go to the "activist" Supreme Court to allow him to steal the White House.

Meehan, however, is one of the worst type of Repugnicans - he's one of those like G. W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Don Rumsfeld, Tom DeLay, Trent Lott, Newt Gingrich, et. al., who believe and act upon the notion that the ends justify the means.

Meehan is a "believer" in the god-given efficacy of the Repugnican Party. Why that is so, we don't know.

Because he believes the end justifies the means, he paid for a billboard to be erected in Orange County which contains a photo of the burning World Trade Center and the words, "Please Don't Vote for a Democrat."

We affirm that Meehan is covered under the First Amendment. Freedom of speech is freedom of speech. He could erect as many of these as he could pay for. That's his right.

That doesn't mean he's not a debased and ignorant asshole who is willing to exploit the 9/11 attacks in a blatant attempt to demean the Democratic Party and Democratic candidates. That also doesn't mean that his attack billboard isn't divise, horrible, hateful and stupid.

It also confirms what we've learned in spades about Repugnicans over the past seven and one half years, and should put the fear of god into us with regard to the upcoming election.

Don't vote Democratic if you want to continue the Bush regime of unending war, a failed economy, abysmal health care, and a wholesale shredding of your constitutional rights!

Sex education a failure in Texas

(Photo of Texas governor, Rick Perry)

Much of what's wrong with Texas began when George W. Bush was governor. Some people are afraid Texas will never recover. Much of what's wrong with Texas has continued under Rick Perry. That's another reason why Texas may never recover!

As prez, da Bush has touted "abstinence only" sex education. He continues to tout abstinence only sex education even though several studies have shown that it is simply not effective.

Rather than lower the rate of sexual activity among teenagers, it leads to more sexual activity!

The State of Texas led the nation in abstinence only spending last year - $17 million. Generally, it is the extremist Christian right and those politicians in their sway that push abstinence only - mostly for religious reasons. The fact that it has proved ineffective fails to dampen their fervor, as they know God wants young people to refrain from sex until marriage.


According to the Dallas Morning News, "Federal statistics in June showed that 52.9 percent of Texas students in ninth through 12th grades had sexual intercourse, compared with 47.8 nationally. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also reported that Texas youths are less likely to use condoms."

This is not surprising to anyone who has bothered to look at the data. The worst of it is that not only does abstinence only sex education not further abstinence, it fails to provide young people with the proper information to make informed decisions about their sexual activities.


The governor of Texas, Rick Perry, is a George Bush clone. Information, data, results, evidence -- these are just words to him and have no impact of what he "believes." Allison Castle, a spokeswoman for Perry said, "The governor is comfortable with the current law and supports abstinence programs."

Of course he is and of course does.

Another abstinence only supporter, state Representative Rob Eissler, chairman of the House Public Education Commmittee, asks, "Can you imagine being a parent and having your child come home and tell you all the ways they learned in school that you can (have sex)?"

With a moron like Eissler heading up the state's House Public Education Committee, it's no wonder that Texas teens are screwing like rabbits. For one thing, comprehensive sex education isn't about "all the ways ... that you can (have sex)." Comprehensive sex education is about providing the information and tools that will allow teens (who will have sex no matter what) are able to make wise decisions regarding their sexual choices.

Texas doesn't want to give them that information and those tools. So Texas teens learn about sex from the parents? Maybe, sometimes. Most often they learn from other teens, whose knowledge is steeped in ignorance and circumscribed by their hormones. Or they learn by the simple method of experimentation - which leads to sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancies, among other things.

Texas must not like their teenagers very much.

McCain knows how to win wars...

This is a post from Walter Street at Blue Girl, Red State.

The Whopper of the Week: John McCain, Albuquerque, NM 7/15/08:

"I know how to win wars. And if I'm elected president, I will turn around the war in Afghanistan, just as we have turned around the war in Iraq, with a comprehensive strategy for victory."


McCain knows how to "win wars?"

A cadet who graduated near the bottom of his class, a pilot who damned near burned up an entire American aircraft carrier while losing five planes, and an officer who couldn't make Admiral is suddenly an expert on how to "win wars?"

Which war did McCain help win?

We are living through the worst days in American history, bar none.

Bush's not so open administration

From the very beginning da Bush and company have tried to do their dirty work in secret and hide their machinations from the public who elected them. It's worked pretty well, too.

The problem is that democracy gets lost in the dark. Democracy works much better in the sunshine.

Maybe things are changing. (Or not!) Back in 2006, CREW (Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington - a government watchdog group) sued the Department of Homeland Security after being denied access to White House visitor logs and visitor logs for Dick Cheney's home.

CREW wanted to know which "evangelical Christian leaders" visited the White House and Cheney. CREW had already identified some of the visitors, including James Dobson, Tony Perkins, Gary Bauer and Jerry Falwell -- all right wing extremists.

Under the Freedom of Information Act, such logs should be open and accessible. When the White House learned someone wanted them, they hid them, arguing that "Secret Service visitor logs are the property of President George W. Bush and are not subject to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests."

We know from past experience that da Bush and Cheney don't want the world to know what they do or who they talk to -- acting more like royal regents than elected representatives of the people. Thus Cheney stonewalled successfully for years all requests for records of his meetings with energy executives who set our energy policy; with good reason, too, for it turned out that the energy industry set the agenda, laid out the plan, and here we are - $5.00 per gallon gasoline, and a policy that lays waste the American people.

This time, the White House lost. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, rejected the Bush administration's claims, upholding a decision made last December by a U.S. District Court Judge. The case went back to the judge for his "consideration."

Unfortunately, this ruling means only that the Secret Service "most process CREW's FOIA request..."

What's expected is that the Bushites will offer additional arguments as to why they shouldn't have to open their visitor logs if for no other reason than to delay the process until Bush finally gets the hell out of Dodge.

In fact, the appeals court judges added: "it is entirely possible that the government will never have to turn over a single document."

Now, ask yourself: Has Bush and company so destroyed our form of government, our system of checks and balances that there is not way to stop him from doing whatever the hell he wants?


And you also have to ask why the White House or Cheney would care about this matter if something underhanded wasn't going on. Or maybe they are just embarrassed about giving access to the many wacko religious fruitcakes that clutter our landscape. Perhaps they think we might think they have been too influenced by creeepos such as John Hagee who demand we bomb Iran so we can start World War III and "force" Jesus to come back to save all those who are "born again."

Maybe we might get the idea that there really isn't a lot of difference between the religious wackos and the wackos in the White House!

Miley and God

Miley Cyrus, the teen queen who plays Hannah Montana, makes boodles of money singing teenage ditties, and likes to have "racy" pictures taken of herself, wears a "purity" ring, which means that she plans to refrain from sex until married.

Now there's nothing wrong with any of those things.

Miley also says that she loves her Bible and won't go anywhere without it, and that God blesses her and that's why she's able to do all the things she does.

Why blame God?

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Bush believes and you're in deep caca

Bush believes! He always says that. When he does, turn and run like hell 'cause you're gonna get
screwed.

I'm a "senior." The doctors I see rely on Medicare payments. If Medicare payments are cut, these doctors are very likely to quit taking Medicare patients. People like me are then caught between that proverbial rock and a hard place.

As of July 1, doctors found that their Medicare payments were cut by 10.6 percent. Why? Not for any rational reason. "The cut was based on a formula that establishes lower reimbursement rates when Medicare spending levels exceed established targets." That is gobbledegook which says that the government decides "targets," and then cuts payments to doctors. It's all part of the Bushite plan to dismantle Medicare and other entitlement programs.

Congress passed a bill which would void those cuts for this year and increase doctor's payments 1.1 percent next year.

Yeah!

Bush vetoed the damn thing! He "believes" this bill would take "choices away from seniors to pay physicians." More gobbledegook!


Our prezident lives in fantasyland. Of course, he doesn't read newspapers or books and what he knows he learns from three or four "briefings" per week (Clinton used to do three or four briefings a day!) which last all of 30-45 minutes. So he doesn't "know" very much.

But he "believes." My God, does he "believe."

He believes our economy is "basically sound." That's what he said today, Tuesday, July 14, 2008, as we head downward past recession into DEPRESSION!

And, of course, he said he wants to drill for oil! But now he's not lying about how it will reduce the price of gasoline. He actually said, "I readily concede it won't produce a barrel of oil tomorrow, but it will reverse the psychology."

I wonder if he knows what "psychology" means or his speech writer just threw that in?

The funniest thing he said was, "I don't think the government ought to be involved in bailing out companies." I believe he really believes that, even as he urges Congress to pass legislation to cover the collective asses of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. My God, the only thing Bush believes the government is good for is to bail out all of his friends who have taken the taxpayers for a ride!

Listen to this from da Bush: "I'm not an economist, but I do believe we're growing." Sheesh. If he "believes" it must be true! Facts are stubborn things said "Asleep at the Wheel" Ronald Reagan, and Bush believes that, too. So, he simply ignores facts!

Finally, a word to Americans from da Bush on what "they" can do to help alleviate the energy crisis: "If they're not in their homes, they ought not to keep the air conditioning running. There's a lot they can do."

Oh, he wasn't done. He believes the economy is continuing to grow.

Bush, Cheney, neocons, Israel, Iran, missiles, death




Bush and the neocons have been screeching about Iran for years. The noise has gotten louder lately. It seems that we are currently deploying a number of covert operatives in Iran, while at the same time threatening military action against that country.

We don't like their nuclear program. Pakistan's nuclear program - no problem. India's nuclear program - no problem. China's nuclear program - no problem. Russia's nuclear program - no problem.

And Pakistan, by the way, has basically told the United States that in spite of the fact we've given them billions of dollars, we can't hunt bin Laden in their country. The Bushites lied about that a couple of weeks ago, claiming U.S. and British special forces were in the Pakistan mountains searching for the elusive al-Qaeda leader.

Iran's nuclear program, which they insist is for peaceful purposes, and there's no evidence to the contrary in spite of what the Bushites pretend, is, so far as the prez and his neocons are concerned, cause to instigate World War III. And the John Hagee's of the world - those crazed end-times crackpots - are giggling through their triple chins, thinking finally, the end of the world, and Jesus will come back!

On February 25, 2007, Timesonline reported that several senior U.S. military leaders are prepared to resign if da Bush (you remember, Bush is the guy that ducked out on his military service!) ordered an attack on Iran.

Noise from the Bush neocons reached new intensity this past week what with Iran's supposed missile tests. But questions have arisen about these tests. While the Bushites claim Iran shot off seven missiles, it would appear that may not be the case. A senior military officer told CNN that the report of a new round of missile tests in Iran was bogus.

That's not all that was bogus. At least one photo of the missiles shooting into the sky was digitally altered. The photos are above. In the original photo, (top) there are only three missiles. In the second (bottom) there are four, and evidence of "photoshopping" in one missile is clear. It also appears that the photos of the two smaller missiles may have been changed. It's very likely that the whole missile test was faked!

One thing is for sure, the photographs prove absolutely nothing! But our easily-fooled media took Iran's claims and Bush's denouncements at face value.


The president of Iran has indicated today that he'd be willing to sit down and talk with American officials.

The Bush/Cheney team, not satisfied that they damn near destroyed the United States and the Middle East and most of the rest of the World, don't want to do that. They want to bomb, bomb, bomb! Well, actually, they want others to do their bombing, fighting and killing for them! Could this all be about Iran's oil fields?

In fact, Bush has indicated that if Israel decides to strike Iran, Bush will give his approval. Timesonline quotes a "senior Pentagon official" as saying, in essence, that "the president has given an 'amber light' to an Israeli plan to attack Iran's main nuclear sites with long-range bombing sorties..."

The problem with that, so far as Israel is concerned, is that Bush also said Israel can't expect help from U.S. forces and can't use U.S. bases in Iraq for support. What a friend!

This "senior Pentagon official" also said, ominously, "...the president is really preoccupied with the nuclear threat against Israel and I know he doesn't believe that anything but force will deter Iran."

My question is so what? Why in hell should anyone care what Bush "believes"? He lies constantly and justifies all kinds of insanity by saying he "believes." And he's been wrong about everything every time: he's was wrong about the war in Iraq, the war in Afghanistan, the environment, the economy, health care, education...you name it and Bush has screwed it up.

Any country, Israel included, that gives the least bit of credence to this moron gets exactly what they deserve!

The problem is that all these morons are playing a game of "chicken" with nuclear weapons!

Religion as nightmare - You've been left behind!

Jesus, that legendary Jewish rabbi from first century Palestine, is said to have departed this earth at least 2,000 years ago. How he departed is disputed, but some think he was whooshed up to heaven (which is a bit disconcerting as "universally" speaking, there is no "up.)

Many of his followers, including the redoubtable apostle called Paul, expected him to come back momentarily. That didn't happen, so Paul changed his message accordingly. Other, later believers, insisted that his return had merely been delayed, but he'd come back soon. You could bet your Eucharistic wafer on it!

It was not to be. By the Fourth Century, while many Christians still clung to the hope he would come back someday, had put the Second Coming on the back burner.

That did not, however, discourage those "true believers," who down through the centuries continued to prophesy Jesus was coming back SOON "in all his glory." Often they offered the "second coming" as a kind of threat - become a Christian as we define Christian or you're gonna be left behind and spend a miserable eternity consigned to the flames of hell.

Today, all sorts of moronic prophetic types continue to beat the same drum. Jesus is coming, Jesus in coming! Be prepared! Repent of your sins! Go to church! Read the Bible! Tell the world about Jesus!


A website called You've Been Left Behind takes all this from the mere silly to the inane! The folks behind this "ministry" offer some very valuable services (providing your mind is incapable of common sense and/or religious realism.)

First of all, they set the stage, circumscribing the problem:

"WHY?

"We all have family and friends who have failed to receive the Good News of the Gospel. The unsaved will be 'left behind' on earth to go through the 'tribulation period' after the 'Rapture". You remember how, for a short time, after (9/11/01) people were open to spiritual things and answers. (We are still singing 'God Bless America' at baseballs' seventh inning stretch.) Imagine how taken back they will be by the millions of missing Christians and devastation at the rapture. They will know it was true and that they have blown it. There will be a small window of time where they might be reached for the Kingdom of God. We have made it possible for you to send them a letter of love and a plea to receive Christ on last time. You can also send information based on scripture as to what will happen next. Each fulfilled prophecy will cause your letter and plea to be remembered and a decision to be made.

"'WHY' is one last chance to bring them to Christ and snatch them from the flames!"

How, you wonder, can people believe this crap? Let me remind you that George W. Bush able to steal the presidency on two occasions because enough Americans checked his name in the ballot box! If they believed that con artist/liar, they'll believe anything!


We're not through, though. You've Been Left Behind offers several services to make your job at "snatching" your loved ones from the flames a bit easier.

"We have set up a system to send documents by the email, to the addresses you provide, 6 days after the 'Rapture' of the Church. [Okay, you can stop laughing now and read the rest!] This occurs when 3 of our 5 team members scattered around the U.S. fail to log in over a 3 day period. Another 3 days are given to fail safe any false triggering of the system.

"We give you 150mb of encrypted storage that can be sent to 12 possible email addresses, in Box #1. You can load any documents and choose which documents go to who. You can edit these documents at any time and change the addresses they will be sent to as needed. Box #1 is for your personal private letters to your closest lost friends and relatives."

YBLB also will give you 100mb of unencrypted storage from which you send send email to 50 addresses. These must be people you really don't care much about, but would feel guilty if you didn't try to "snatch" them at the last minute.

All of this wondrous stuff will cost you only $40 per year!

They don't say, but I suppose if the Rapture comes, you lose your $40 bucks.


All I can say about this website and it's services is "Holy Crap!"

Monday, July 14, 2008

"Hey, let's privatize Social Security!" - G. W. Bush

The stock market is on a dive. If you have money in the stock market,
you're losses are accumulating every minute. Your money is going bye-bye.

Today, as of this writing, the Dow Jones is down almost 50 points.


Here are some other recent headlines:

Chicago Tribune: "Boomers find losses in market hard to bear." - July 12, 2008

MSNBC.com reported today, July 14, 2008 - "Stocks end down after mortgage-aid plan."


On January 18, 2008, Axinar.blogspot.com reported that Jim Cramer predicted a 2000 point stock market drop.

Financemedia.wordpress.com reported on February 28, 2008, "Stock market drop on Jobs statistics, Bank worries!"


The crashing you hear did not start today, or yesterday, or last week. It started a long time ago. But the sounds of despair began growing last year.

On February 27, 2007, the stock market dropped 400 points.


Ghostlandseller at abovetopsecret.com represents how many of us feel:

"So after the recent failure of Bear Stearns and Indy/Mac I decided to look at all the other major stock charts for other large banks. Wachovia, Wells Fargo ... JP Morgan/Chase, Bank of America, etc."

And Ghostlandseller thinks they are all going to crash. They're bleeding money and their stock is in the cellar: a huge loss of capital, about 70% in a month or so.

"This just seems all too similar to the original Great depression (sic). All we are missing is a [m]ajor stock market collapse to really spark the flame..."

Ghostlandseller has been honing his outdoor living skills and when the shit hits the fan, he's heading for the mountains to live off the land.

Hopefully, it won't come to that.


But...

Do you remember when the dumbest prezident ever wanted you to toss your Social Security lifeline and gamble that lifeline in the stock market? Which was nothing more than a transparent effort to put more money into the pockets of his Wall Street buddies!) At the same time, Bush and his buddies were busy raiding the Social Security Trust Fund!

Do you know that John McCain still thinks that's a good idea and he'd go along with it...uh...you know, the Bush plan...?

Aargh!

It's not the Democrat's fault oil is so expensive!

This is an update to our post of July 13 titled "Blame the Dems says faux prezident Bush."

The info below comes from an article by Geoffrey Lean, writing for The Independent. Lean's article is titled "Iraq War May Have Increased Energy Costs Worldwide by a Staggering $6 Trillion."

Hmmm. Doesn't sound like it's the Dems' fault, after all!

You'll recall that Bush said it was those damn Democrats in Congress that were to blame, because they failed to fall in line with his order to drill, drill, drill for more oil. Drill in the ocean, drill in the mountains, drill in the pristine Alaskan wilderness!

Wrong again, Mr. Faux Prezident!

"The invasion of Iraq by Britain and the US has trebled the price of oil..." So says the "oil economist Dr. Mamdouh Salameh, who advises both the World Bank and the UN Industrial Development Organisation (Unido.) Salameh "told The Independent on Sunday that the price of oil would now be no more than $40 a barrel, less than a third of the record $135 a barrel reached last week, if it had not been for the Iraq war."

(Note that this article was written back on May 27. Obviously, prices have escalated since then!)

Dr. Salameh indicated that three years before Bush invaded, Iraq "offered the United States a deal .... that would have opened up 10 new giant oil fields on 'generous' terms in return for lifting of sanctions."

"This would have certainly have prevented the steep rise of the oil price," said Salameh, "[b]ut the US had a different idea. It planned to occupy Iraq and annex its oil."


Many of us claimed that to be the case from the beginning. It wasn't that we were prescient, it was obvious. And, that's exactly why Bush invaded Iraq. The preemptive war this miserable excuse for a president led us into had nothing to do with WMD's or democracy - it had to do with regime change so we could grab the bountiful supply of Iraqi oil!

Although things didn't work out quite the way Bush/Cheney and the rest of the energy industry had hoped they would, the global oil monopolies are currently engaged in landing no-bid contracts with the Iraqi government to corner the Iraqi oil fields.

There is much more to this story, and you can read the entire article here.

Forget Stanton's Minneapolis revival - give to RAM instead

Most really good revivals take place in the South. Southerners, as everyone knows, are more emotional and like a lot of hootin' and hollerin' and jumpin' up and down - especially in church.

So, I was surprised to read about a revival in Minneapolis. Minneapolitans, being from Minnesota, are notoriously reserved. Unlike James Bond's martinis, they don't mind being stirred a little bit, but they don't like being shaken. Church is a place where you sit quietly and listen and try not to snore.

Most religious people in Minneapolis are Lutheran or Catholic or some other normal religion. They favor bake sales and smorgasboards and potlucks. Religious services have lots of candles and robes and quiet.


Well, it turns out that the guy doing the revival stuff is an evangelist from Australia. A year ago, that wouldn't have made sense to me, either, 'cause I thought Australians were pretty stuffy, too. Then I met some Australians in Paris. They aren't stuffy. They were full of fun and liked to party!

Doug Stanton is the revivalist from Australia. He heads up Doug Stanton Ministries International. He's been in Minneapolis for six months. That means he was there when things were really bleak and cold. Maybe he came to heat things up? Stanton has been holding his services at an old theater in Brooklyn Center in north Minneapolis.

Supposedly about 400 people show up most nights and Stanton claims over 10,000 have attended the revival since he started back in the "dead of winter." But he's bringing life to the staid Minneapolitans!

In fact, says Stanton, "There's a real sense of revival, and lives are changing. Our heart is to see the church revived. If the church can be revived, then the world can be [reached]."

I wonder what it means for "the church" to be revived? Is he talking about fundamentalist churches or does he have hope for the Lutherans and Catholics, too? What do revived churches do besides trying to "revive" other churches? Are revived churches of any use to a needy world? Or do revived churches just work to get people to believe a particular religious dogma?

I've got lots of problems with Stanton. According to Charisma magazine, he is proclaiming to the world that "the terminally ill are healed, tumors disappear and hundreds of Christians have been spiritually revitalized."

Methinks that is a crock!

I don't know about the "spiritually revitalized" business, but if the terminally ill are being healed and tumors are disappearing, there ought to be solid medical evidence proving this. How much you wanta bet he can't provide any such thing?

In other words, he just another con artist, another Elmer Gantry, who's raking in money from the stupid and the gullible!

If, in fact, people were healed of illnesses that had been diagnosed as "terminal," or if, in fact, people had their tumors disappear, the word would spread, there would be standing room only every night and doctors and medical personnel from around the world would be flocking to his meetings!

Unfortunately, it's all bullshit.


Compare this to the organization, Remote Area Medical, featured on CBS "60 Minutes" last night. Remote Area Medical, led by Stan Brock, sets up medical clinics in areas where the need is greatest. Today, that means the United States!

Remote Area Medical brings hundreds of volunteer doctors, dentists and optometrists to a community for a weekend to serve the hundreds of people who show up in the middle of the night to wait in line with a number, hoping desperately they will be called. Usually, 2,500 people are seen in a weekend.

It is said that there are 50 million people in this country either without medical insurance or who are under insured and thus cannot obtain the care that they need. Tumors go untreated. The terminally ill die. The unseeing continue to be blind. Those who can't eat because of rotten teeth, continue in their misery.

The people of Minneapolis would do better to send Stanton back where he came from, and give their money and support to programs such as this and to work for providing proper health care in this country.

Donations, by the way, can be sent to Remote Area Medical. Click here for more information.