Another Book Recommendation: "Steal This Vote"

Paul Krugman has me very interested in the book, "Steal this Vote" that shows exactly how the 2000 vote was stolen when Gore was the winner.

Anyone read it yet?

So What's on Your Mind This Weekend?

I'm taking a slight - very slight - breather from a work schedule from hell - and very interested to hear what's bothering or delighting some of you.

For August, supposedly the "lightest" news month, a hell of a lot is going on, although not much of it is making it to the surface. For example, until Nightline did a story on it the other night, I had no idea of the massive "cheat" that the NRA pushed through the legislature that not only protects gun manufacturers from lawsuits, but retroactively ends any cases that are already winding their way through the court system. America, bought and sold while we just pay the taxes and struggle to survive.

Goodbye, Hunter S. Thompson

Yes, he died - some say suicide, some question - several months ago, but his ashes are being sent into space today.

"Confessions of an Economic Hit Man"

Excellent book. Get a copy. Read it. Encourage others to do so. It puts our military industrial complex, diplomacy, and other outlets in a whole new perspective.

Our Military: Mercenaries Or?

A few folks - one notably - have posted about our military being a mercenary entity. And that person in particular has some perspective on the matter, I feel, because he's done something I have not: he's fought in a bloody war that we invented (that notable one before Iraq).

While I agree that our leaders use our forces as mercenaries, I don't think the young men and women who sign up understand it as such. Hell, it's taken me til nearly mid-life to understand that terrible fact myself. We're force-fed on noble stories of WWI and WWII, we glorify heroes of the war - and I'm not even saying we should not.

But it's way past time for an open discussion - not on TV but in every American kitchen, every diner and barbershop and standing in the aisles at Costco - about how we use and abuse our military for our leaders' nefarious purposes. Not just gripe either - we need to decide what WE can do about it, change it, demand that our military gets used for real purposes of protection and not for cooked wars and not to protect the overseas holdings of American companies who increasingly pay NO taxes here.

The Attacks Against Cindy Sheehan Continue

Even though Cindy has had to leave her vigil to attend to her stroke-ridden mother, the right attacks her viciously.

As Rush Limbaugh said the other day, "Everybody loses something.. like a wallet."

Then, of course, Rush denied his comments about her loss of her son in Iraq being nothing, even pulling the transcript of his show where he stated it. But Keith Olbermann snagged a copy before they pulled it, and expects to post it at Bloggerman this weekend.


Blogger is Eating Posts Again

Apparently it likes posts served with healthy portions of sarcasm and horrified disbelief.


The President: "I Gotta Get On with My Life'

This is why he can't meet with Cindy Sheehan. On Saturday, he couldn't meet with her because he had a 2-hour bike trip planned and - after all - the American people, he said, want their president physically fit.

Actually, I think they'd be happy if he weighed 400 lbs if only he stopped lying into wars, our of civil liberties, and giving constant tax breaks to the wealthy - individuals and corps like Halliburton.

Now the John Roberts' Paper Trail from the Reagan Library are Reported Lost

Anyone check Karl Rove's rat hole?


Really Strange Plane Crash

This Greek airliner crash is definitely one for the books.

Looking Stupid and Vain?

CNN asks: Should Mr. Bush take less time off?

Crooks and Liars has the unintentionally hysterical video.

Lots of Christian Americans and Others See No Justice - Nor God - in Justice Sunday

The Tennessean writes up the many events held yesterday to counter this right-wing hate fest.

Thank You, Frank

Frank Rich has done it again in yesterday's Times column.

A little appetizer, if you will (sorry, I'm all out of Pinot Noir):

A president can't stay the course when his own citizens (let alone his own allies) won't stay with him. The approval rate for Mr. Bush's handling of Iraq plunged to 34 percent in last weekend's Newsweek poll - a match for the 32 percent that approved L.B.J.'s handling of Vietnam in early March 1968. (The two presidents' overall approval ratings have also converged: 41 percent for Johnson then, 42 percent for Bush now.) On March 31, 1968, as L.B.J.'s ratings plummeted further, he announced he wouldn't seek re-election, commencing our long extrication from that quagmire.

But our current Texas president has even outdone his predecessor; Mr. Bush has lost not only the country but also his army. Neither bonuses nor fudged standards nor the faking of high school diplomas has solved the recruitment shortfall. Now Jake Tapper of ABC News reports that the armed forces are so eager for bodies they will flout "don't ask, don't tell" and hang on to gay soldiers who tell, even if they tell the press.

The president's cable cadre is in disarray as well. At Fox News Bill O'Reilly is trashing Donald Rumsfeld for his incompetence, and Ann Coulter is chiding Mr. O'Reilly for being a defeatist. In an emblematic gesture akin to waving a white flag, Robert Novak walked off a CNN set and possibly out of a job rather than answer questions about his role in smearing the man who helped expose the administration's prewar inflation of Saddam W.M.D.'s. (On this sinking ship, it's hard to know which rat to root for.)

As if the right-wing pundit crackup isn't unsettling enough, Mr. Bush's top war strategists, starting with Mr. Rumsfeld and Gen. Richard Myers, have of late tried to rebrand the war in Iraq as what the defense secretary calls "a global struggle against violent extremism." A struggle is what you have with your landlord. When the war's über-managers start using euphemisms for a conflict this lethal, it's a clear sign that the battle to keep the Iraq war afloat with the American public is lost.

Well, He Can Ride a Bike (Sometimes)

Now if he could only chew bubblegum and stop destroying the world.

Of course, his comment about fitness needed for clear thinking seems oh... just a tad hysterical considering the man's logic. I'd hate to think how badly he'd be running things if the bike riding didn't provide him with much needed ::cough:: clarity.

Somebody Apparently Forgot to Feed the Server Rats Today

Blogger has disappeared several of my posts today.

Just assume that it was my most brilliant ones, OK?

Tiananmen Ranch, Bush Style

James Moore has a powerful entry up on Huffington Post which starts like this:

A close friend of mine went cycling with President Bush on Crawford Ranch last year and described a focused, relentlessly aggressive man on a mountain bike. Bush hammered out a hilly 18 mile course and left behind the guests and secret service agents trying to keep pace with his frenetic pedaling. There was nothing but him and the bike and the road and the pound of his heart. Good athletes are like this. Decent presidents are not.

Most endurance athletes discover that their minds, stimulated by endorphins released through exercise, tend to wander across a landscape of subjects. And when you find one that is engaging or significant, solutions and sensitivities unknown are suddenly discovered. That's why I wonder how the president can hit the trails of Prairie Chapel or even linger over his morning coffee and not be fixed on the unrelenting grief and resolve of Cindy Sheehan. She is becoming the symbol of our American Tiananmen.

The Gaza Pullout: A Single Step is Not a Solution

Today, the forced pullout of settlers from some far-flung illegal settlements has begun, but as the Democracy Now program ably pointed out today, this is hardly the great step toward peace that people make it out to be.

Most Israelis are said to believe that the end of the most far-flung of these settlements is not a step towards peace and may be nothing more than a consolidation of settlers into other, better areas. They understand that this does not end the occupation, and its the Israeli occupation of the Palestinians that is at the heart of all of this. But most Israelis never approved of these settlements, which were mostly populated by religious zealots who came from other countries (many have big homes here in the US), funded in part by our tax dollars, and paid these folks huge stipends to stay there even though it worked against any effort at peace.

Bush's Crazy Neighbor Fires Shots Around Camp Sheehan

From Editor and Publisher:

Showing the value of its nearly round-the-clock coverage, the Lone Star Iconoclast, a weekly in Crawford, Texas, reported this morning from the scene that shots had been fired near the Cindy Sheehan antiwar encampment near the Bush ranch, which has drawn national attention.Apparently they were fired by a local landowner none too pleased with the protest in his neighborhood.

Earlier this week, the Houston Chronicle talked to the neghbor, Larry Mattlage. Sitting on a tractor across the road, Mattlage said he supported the right to protest but that the demonstrators should not be allowed to stay for prolonged periods. "In the morning I usually wake up and see the morning sun," he said. "Now I wake up to stuff hanging in trees." Here is today's Iconoclast report, as phoned in by its staffer, Deborah Mathews, on the scene:***Let me read you the schedule posted on a tree: "9:15 camp meeting; 10 a.m. inter-faith service, 10:30 a.m., "Food-Not-Bombs Breakfast at Peace House," and....Wait! Someone is firing a gun. (pause).

He fired it into the air about five times. He appears to be a local inside the fence line on private property. Now he has thrown what looks like a shotgun into the front seat of a pickup, and he's stomping off out of sight. I wonder where he went.Now he's coming back out. I'm out here standing on the road. He's got a no parking sign in his hand, walking toward his fence. I'm going to go try to talk to him. I've got to hang up.

(three minutes later)I went over and talked to the man. He is Larry Mattlage, who says he is on his property and just posted a no-parking sign. "We're going to start doing our war and it's going to be underneath the law," he told me. "Whatever it takes. So y'all go find another place to do whatever you do. 'Cause this is our front yard and back yard."

Brits: Thanks But No Thanks to US' Invitation to Join Them in Fucking Up Iran Next

Well, at least the Brits don't suffer from Mad Cow(boy) Disease.

Another (In)Justice Sunday

And they get wilder each time.

Marine of the Year Arrested for Attempted Murder

A lot of the men and women coming home are facing substantial problems, perhaps even relatively moreso than other actions like Vietnam.


It's Not Nice to Lie to the FBI

But that's what the Village Voice says Karl Rove did.


Bush: Can't Meet with Gold Star Mother so He "Can Go On With (His) Life"

You mean it interrupts with nap time?

And did you catch the announcement of the new White House executive chef, who had to be very good at both Mexican food and cheeseburgers? I can't understand why Americans think Mr. Bush is out of touch with the issues of normal Americans.

And the GOP is running to defend Mr. Bush and castigate Mrs. Sheehan. Mr. Bush, who has not attended the funeral of a single serviceman.

Those Who Sacrifice Most Attacked the Hardest?

Notice a theme here?

Cindy Sheehan loses her son in Iraq, questions the war and this president, and the right jumps on her faster than a new payload of crude oil.

The Ohio ex-marine who fought in Iraq runs in a GOP jurisdiction for state position and the right goes after him like he's some vile nutcase.

We see this again and again. And we let the right get away with - again and again - trying to rip the heart out of those who have suffered and lost because of Iraq and feel they have the same right of free speech as the Limbaughs.

Damn sickening.

Conspiracy, She Wrote

I enjoyed reading everyone's comments in the Conspiracy thread, including Xavier's which I thought was very well-reasoned.

There's one (conspiracy concept) making the rounds lately that's troubling just because you could just about imagine it going down. It also seems to be at least in part based on a piece in American Conservative magazine (yeah, I read it sometimes - it makes more sense than a Tucker Carlson or a Bob Novak) re: Dick Cheney's new obsession with going after Iran.

Anyone heard this one?

Next month, quite possibly very close to the 9/11 anniversary, there will be a major assault on some US property (not necessarily homeland but definitely something we feel strongly about). Immediately, this administration will announce it is the work of Iran, and suggesting that perhaps Iran was in with Saddam on 9/11/01. We'll go to war with Iran at this time.

A programmer at my local radio station has been telling this one, trying to distribute it to as many as possible so that a) if something does happen, perhaps 3 people will remember the prediction, and b) to perhaps deter the Bushies from going forth.

Yet I've been hearing variations on this same possibility for a couple of months now, and from some of the mighty-righty discussion areas.

Personally, I really hope this is all nutso conspiracy because the ramification of it, should these events come to pass, is just too horrific to consider.

The Arnold

So now it's coming out - as it did BEFORE Schwarzenegger was elected in "Cally-foh-knee-ah" - that he has been having a longstanding affair with an actress-not-quite. However, the scandal here seems to be less about the extramarital squeeze and more about the fact that the Arnold appears to have made an extremely lucrative deal with a tabloid - the same tabloid owned by the folks who ran those "muscle men" mags Arnold was making a huge monetary sum from - to hide the info about the mistress.

The thing is, this is just sleaze. Far worse is the fact that Arnold came into office promising reform from special interests only to cater to the special interests even more than his predecessor. He's been doing a pretty bad job of a position (governor) he may not be able to spell.

So forgive me if I yawn at another sanctimonious, lying, two-timing "family values" Republican porking someone other than his wife. How about getting rid of him for all the legitimate reasons?


Sunday was not only the anniversary of the signing of the Social Security Act, but also of VJ day. For Mr. Bush, however, it was just another day on vacation.