Stop Hiding The Cost

November 19, 2008

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This Think Progress post tells us that New York Times conservative quota hire Bill Kristol recently had a verbal spat with columnist and author Pete Hamill about whether or not Americans have seen “plenty of coffins” from the Iraq war, with Kristol arguing in a typically nonsensical manner that we have.

Think Progress does a good job of noting that the Bushco ban on the coffin photos was backed by the 108th Republican Congress in June 2004, with John McCain voting against the ban in one of his final moments of genuine maverickyness before he became a bona fide wingnut wannabe.

I’m not going to waste time pointing out the obvious facts that Bill Kristol is a liar and an idiot (and how funny is it that he’s “ambivalent” about staying at the Times, noted here; every day he picks up a paycheck from them, it’s an act of theft). I only wish to request here that the incoming Obama administration rescind the Bushco gag rule on the coffin photos at its earliest opportunity, or if it does not somehow, then the incoming 111th Congress should act to do so themselves.


Stephen, We Hadley Knew Ye

November 18, 2008

hadley1aWhen I go to read online content that represents an almost total avoidance of reality, I try my luck at the Philadelphia Inquirer first, but inevitably I end up at the Murdoch Street Journal.

And today, writer William McGurn tells us the following from here…

I suppose it’s possible that George W. Bush would award Stephen J. Hadley the Medal of Freedom. Certainly the president’s national security adviser has earned it, for work that made possible the success we are now seeing in Iraq. And it would be within the president’s prerogative to see that work acknowledged with this honor before they both leave the White House come Jan. 20.

But how much better it would be all around — for the country, for the recipient, and even for Barack Obama — if Mr. Hadley were to receive this honor from the hands of the 44th president of the United States.

Of course it would be “better,” wouldn’t it? Why, it would be a tacit endorsement by Obama of the lies and deceptions that precipitated and exacerbated the Iraq fiasco which our president-elect, in his wisdom, opposed from the beginning. And it would a great big cream pie, figuratively speaking, splattered right in Obama’s “mush.”

Yep, that’s something McGurn and his playmates at Rupert Murdoch’s propaganda factory would truly enjoy. It would provide attack fodder for weeks on end.

Meanwhile, in the reality-based community, please allow me to point out that Hadley, along with former CIA director George Tenet, allowed references to Saddam Hussein’s supposed efforts to purchase nuclear materials into Dubya’s 2003 State Of The Union address here (a reason at the time for our war of choice in Iraq).

Also, Hadley once endorsed the idea of naming Paul Wolfowitz as head of the Coalition Provisional Authority to replace Jay Garner here (a Jew in charge of an Arab country – how many levels of stupid). And I should also point out here that Hadley dismissed some of the ideas of departing Secretary of Defense Don Rumsfeld a couple of years ago, which would not be a big deal were it not for the fact that Rummy listed troop withdrawals as one such idea.

I’m not going to waste my time belaboring the point once more that the “surge” wouldn’t have been a “success” were it not for the Sunni Awakening and the ethnic cleansing that has resulted from their civil war with the Shiites. I’ll merely conclude by saying that the only “victory” Hadley and his chums offered was a feeble political cover to buy time before the ruling Bushco cabal finally, mercifully, departs the national stage at long last in about two months.

Update: And in true lapdog fashion, Hadley spouted the party line that his boss didn’t believe there were any security concerns regarding the botched Dubai Ports World deal (remember that one?) here (with more than a little bit of an assist from Little Tommy Friedman).


“Byko” And His Crackpot History Lesson

November 17, 2008

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Daily News columnist Stu Bykofsky told us last Friday here that “the road to George W. Bush was paved by 1968 and its aftermath.”

Yes, I’m serious (a less odious observation than his despicable dreck here).

Continuing…

In reaction to bombs’ being set off by domestic terrorists and violent protests by the Far Left, offended (and possibly frightened) Americans lurched rightward. The “silent majority” was repulsed by the foul-mouthed, head-banded, fringe-wearing anarchists, hippies and Yippies whom they blamed for violence and disorder. They also blamed Democrats.

The White House was handed over to Richard Nixon. Republicans held it for most of the next 40 years.

Now I’m not doing to defend Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, or the rest of the so-called “Chicago Seven,” but the other group leading the protests at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago during the year in question (aside from Rubin, Hoffman and the “Youth International Party,” or “Yippies”) was the National Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam (or “MOBE”), which was (according to Wikipedia)…

…“able to organize several successful protests (that year). The first protest was the “Pentagon March”. MOBE organised a rally at the Lincoln Memorial with speeches by many renowned individuals, including Dr. Benjamin Spock, which was followed by a march and rally at the Pentagon. In the spring of 1968, MOBE sponsored the spring marches in New York and San Francisco. MOBE leaders worked with local officials to hold non-violent marches and to create a show of force against the Vietnam War. The April 27 march in Chicago was part of the MOBE spring marches.

For Chicago, MOBE originally planned for two large-scale marches and an end of convention rally at Soldier Field. The goal was originally a massive show of force outside the International Amphitheatre. MOBE also planned to have workshops and movement centers distributed in 10 parks throughout the city, many in predominantly black areas, to allow demonstrators and participating groups to follow their particular focuses. The individual groups participating in the protest would run movement centers. The movement centers would have been coordinating areas where workshops could be held and information and first aid could be obtained. MOBE was working with Medical Committee for Human Rights (MCHR) to provide medical attention at the various movement centers and during the marches and the Legal Defense Committee to help those arrested to understand their rights, post bail, and prevent the City from pulling any legal shenanigans.

Several different areas were prepared (at the Chicago convention) for speech making, and MOBE marshals were instructed to help each different group in organizing their particular type of protest. For groups like Women Strike for Peace, MOBE marshals would instruct the women on how to picket without being arrested, how to avoid a violent confrontation with the police, and generally provide the amateur protesters with experience.

(By the way, the Wikipedia article tells us that the MOBE actions did not take place because the group was denied permits by the city of Chicago and many of them decided not to participate illegally. And the group enlisted the federal government to aid them in obtaining their permits, but the feds were stonewalled by Mayor Daley also.)

You see, “Byko”? The minute I or anyone else takes note of the fact that there were actually individuals at the convention who were trying to organize for nonviolent protest, that automatically explodes your phony argument.

You make it sound as if any issues pertaining to social justice were resolved in 1964 or 1965 (which saw passage of civil rights and voting legislation, I’ll grant you). So, then, what about gender-based issues of equality? Don’t you think an individual such as Harvey Milk, for example, employed ‘60s-era techniques of organization and non-violent protest to ensure that a neglected minority was represented in his district? Or are you going to argue that Milk and LBGT individuals helped “pave the road to George W. Bush” also by not merely shutting up and going away?

And what about the Equal Rights Amendment (“Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.”) More liberal wackiness as far as you’re concerned that originated in 1968?

Don’t you consider passage of the odious Proposition 8 in California as a sign that the battle rages on forty years later? And I guess, to you, liberals who continue to fight it thus further denigrate themselves when they do so?

If you choose not to associate with the “Far Left yakkers and bloggers” (as you put it) “Byko,” then state that that is your chosen preference. Don’t blame partly misunderstood events of 40 years ago as a reason for your own ignorance.


Some Smells That Sell (Maybe)

November 13, 2008

This Murdoch Street Journal story tells us the following…

When he launches a new men’s fragrance next month, Sean “Diddy” Combs, the hip hop impresario turned marketing mogul, hopes his sales pitch will resonate with the same consumers who voted for Barack Obama.

The story also tells us…

“When you see Barack Obama, you see a strong, elegant black man and when people see my ad, it’s almost like that’s the trend,” (Combs) said.

The black-and-white ad, which will appear in magazines and on billboards stating in December, features Mr. Combs clad in a white dinner jacket. The fragrance will be sold at Macy’s, Inc. stores for the holidays.

(OK, I cheated with those two paragraphs; you have to subscribe to the Journal in order to read that and the rest of the story…my bad).

And this got me to thinking about a new way certain political figures could cash in here, and with that in mind, I’d like to propose the following…

“Coot” McCain – Hot and musty like the perspiration in the Arizona heat you work up after visiting your 12 homes, all you need to do is slap a dash or two of this across your face, and you’ll be spewing profanity at a beer heiress in no time. Look for the little lime-green bottle.

Perfectly Palin – The wink invites you to “come on over,” and after a whiff of this alluring, intoxicating fragrance, you’ll buy her a “bridge to nowhere” and $150,000 worth of men’s, women’s, and children’s apparel and accessories faster than Vlad Putin can stick his head into your airspace (warning: keep out of reach of NHL hockey players – here).

Can’t wait for the “proof of concept” on the ad campaign for these two – can you?


The “Hangin’ Judge J.R.” High Court Strikes Again

November 12, 2008

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Simply put, the Navy won and the whales lost (here, and here is a prior post)…

At issue in the 5-4 ruling was whether the Navy’s need to conduct exercises to protect the country from enemy submarines outweighed concerns raised by environmental groups.

The case focused on whether the president had the power to issue executive waivers allowing such tests and whether federal judges can issue preliminary injunctions blocking them. The high court ultimately sided with claims of national security over environmental concerns.

Those environmental interests, said Chief Justice John Roberts for the majority, “are plainly outweighed by the Navy’s need to conduct realistic training exercises to ensure that it is able to neutralize the threat posed by enemy submarines.”

According to this article, here is what sonar does to the whales…

…the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), established to protect marine life, appears to be aligned with the government-funded “experts” promoting low frequency active sonar (LFAS). They also appear to be ignoring required protocol in order to prematurely slip the U.S. Navy a permit to harass and kill whales which will serve as the green light needed to unleash this risky technology into full and unfettered, classified deployment.

Eerily, the NMFS is also the organization assigned to oversee the testing done on the “beached canaries” stranding on our shores. Yet, while they publicly serve as the protector of marine life, behind the scenes they seem to prefer keeping these strandings in the category of an “unsolved mystery” to risking discovery of a possible connection to sonar exposure by checking their ears for rupture or their tissue for signs of explosion and shredding. Instead of conducting these revealing tests, they offer vague explanations that don’t hold up, while focusing their search for answers solely on viruses, red tides, and other toxic algae that were neither in the problem areas nor have caused this kind of cetacean carnage in the past. In view of this seeming bias in favor of LFAS and the dual role it creates for the NMFS, should they ever concede to test the ears or tissue of stranded marine corpses for sonar exposure, the public would be wise to insist that non government-funded and independent researchers bear witness to their exams.

It’s also important to notice that the brain and tissue fissures, lesions, and ruptures as well as mass starvation consistently found in these and other recent marine mammal corpses resemble the symptoms of sonar exposure described by the Marine Mammal Commission when in 1997 they predicted that lung and tissue hemorrhage and trauma in marine mammals (and fish) as well as cavity explosion and hearing loss causing subsequent starvation was likely to occur if LFAS was employed worldwide as proposed.

By the way, the acting head of the NFMS is Dr. James W. Balsiger, and the agency falls under the Commerce Department (headed by Carlos Gutierrez).

I sincerely hope the incoming Obama administration and its new Secretary of the Navy invalidates this typically stupid ruling of The Supremes by deciding to conduct the exercises somewhere else.

As a final thought on this, I should point out that we frequently read and hear in our corporate media that Roberts, Scalito, and Clarence Thomas (who continues to suffer under the apparently unbearable yoke of a Yale law degree), the most conservative members of the bench, are all Roman Catholics.

They obviously need to brush up on the part of the Bible that says we should be “stewards of the earth.”


Try Applying The “Kerry Rules” To McCain, OK?

November 11, 2008

kerry_headshotThere are a bunch of reasons why Deborah Howell, the Washington Post ombudsman (person?) is a joke as far as I’m concerned, but this is just the latest bit of fuel for that fire, if you will (nothing against Greg Mitchell, by the way).

See, Howell and many other of our corporate media types believe that the Repug nominee for president and his running mate received unfair treatment (I got into some of this nonsense here a week ago).

This is all particularly amusing to your humble narrator seeing as how I don’t recall that there was one speck of self-recrimination this time four years ago, when all the networks with initials for names were claiming a “mandate” for Dubya, even though Obama won with more votes cast and a higher margin of victory than Commander Codpiece (here).

I would say the opposite is true, actually – and if I may, I’d like to refresh our memories as follows (this is going to get real deep real fast)…

  • Quite simply, the Swift Boat Liars were never properly held to account (here).
  • Kerry supposedly cried tears of regret when he bowed out of the ’08 presidential contest, which did not happen (here).
  • Kerry was depicted as a “windsurfing flip-flopper” here (the windsurfing part was true, but so what?).
  • Our beloved corporate media cousins jumped all over Kerry’s botched joke but failed to report Dubya’s claim that a Democratic victory means “the terrorists win and America loses” (here – 69 days to go, people…we’re getting there).
  • Brendan Miniter of the Murdoch Street Journal slams both Kerry AND former Georgia senator and decorated Vietnam vet Max Cleland here (falsely, of course).
  • Kerry was depicted as “pos(ing) with guns,” though both Dubya and Cheney’s supposed hunting “bona fides” were trumpeted (and by the way, Kerry has hunted since he was about 12 years old – noted here).
  • Various right-wing bottom feeders, taking their lead from Flush Limbore, Sean Inanity and professional Kerry attacker John O’Neill, claimed the senator called U.S. troops “terrorists” here.
  • Bill Sammon of Fox Noise revived the unfounded claim that a pre-election bin Laden tape was meant to help Kerry here.
  • James Taranto of the Murdoch Street Journal said Kerry based his electoral fraud claims on jokes here (typical – takes one to know one).
  • “The American Enterprise” continued to peddle John O’Neill’s Swift Boat claims against Kerry as fact here.
  • Inanity, Cheney and Gingrich ridiculed Kerry’s call for a “more sensitive” war on terror (as if they would actually know about combat, here).
  • Tweety alleges that a Kerry campaign ad was made by “Hitler’s filmmaker” Leni Riefenstahl (nice, here).
  • Oliver North: “Every terrorist” wants Kerry to win (here).
  • Sean Inanity: “God is no Democrat” – Dennis Miller: “Jesus ‘prefers Bush to Kerry’” (here).
  • I believe that about covers it (I know this was noxious, but I hope it wasn’t too overpowering).

    So if Deborah Howell or anyone else can prove to me that John McCain received anything close to the media abuse in the campaign that just ended that John Kerry received when he ran for the White House four or more years ago, then I’ll be receptive to their argument.

    Otherwise, shut up and go away.


    Watching The “Bucks” In Our County

    November 10, 2008


    The Courier Times in these parts gave us the following editorial yesterday (re: more “us vs. them” stuff against Philadelphia)…

    To address the situation (in Philadelphia), (Mayor Michael) Nutter has laid out a plan of drastic spending cuts. With only about half the budget subject to discretionary outlays (much is tied up in guaranteed pension payments, debt service and federally matched social services), Nutter has proposed closing 20 percent of the city’s branch libraries and dozens of city swimming pools, freezing tax reductions, cutting programs at recreation centers and reducing the number of trucks at some firehouses. Leaf pickup will be cut back, and many side streets will only be plowed in the event of a major snowstorm.

    By the way, I am certainly not trying to criticize Mayor Nutter here. I think he’s doing the best he can in an awful economic environment; I’m not sure how it could be worse (hopefully, we won’t see that). I am only trying to provide background.

    However, as far as the Courier Times is concerned, all is rosy in Bucks County…

    Is the news all bad? Well, no. In fact, here in Bucks County, the majority commissioners this week awarded three contracts worth more than $21 million for construction of a new parking garage in Doylestown to serve the proposed justice center. After years of delays, the courthouse project — of which the parking garage is an integral part — has finally taken a big step forward. The justice center itself has been estimated to cost more than $100 million, although it’s likely that figure will go higher.

    You can continue the ongoing argument about whether the county really needs a new courthouse. Some would say the county owns enough real estate to make shifting various administrative offices a feasible and considerably less expensive undertaking than putting up a new building. There is merit in that argument.

    But looking at another aspect of the project, the reason the county is able to move forward now with the parking garage, when so many other government entities are operating in near panic mode, is because it can borrow the money on favorable terms, and that in turn is because Bucks’ bond rating is just about as good as it could be. Government entities don’t earn such a bond rating without demonstrating fiscal responsibility.

    I think it’s hilarious to read this and then recall how the Courier Times editorial board regularly flays Patrick Murphy over earmark appropriations that are utterly transparent (if not, it is only because the funding requests have not been approved yet and Patrick doesn’t want to endanger them by announcing them publicly – here is a prior post on this subject).

    Besides, as our new PA House Rep for District 31 and former Bucks County Commissioner candidate Steve Santarsiero noted here last year, every time our august Bucks County Commissioners (notably Jim Cawley and Charley “I Have A Semi-Open Mind” Martin, who are really the subject of praise by the Courier Times here) want to designate property for open space, they issue a bond as opposed to drawing up a regional plan in coordination with other Bucks municipalities, which is bound to be cheaper; as Steve noted, “the county doesn’t have enough money to (issue a bond) for every piece of property that needs (an open space) designation.” Also, Martin voted to raise property taxes 46 percent since 2001 according to a Doylestown Intelligencer article dated two years ago; that doesn’t sound like “fiscal responsibility” to me.

    And as long as Cawley and Martin are supposedly such fine money managers, perhaps they can shed more light on some of their dealings with the Paist and Noe Insurance Company and County Solicitor Guy Matthews, as noted here (I’m absolving Diane Marseglia because she had not been elected as a commissioner before this stuff transpired).

    Finally, I know that the Courier Times is talking primarily about the new justice center in Doylestown in their editorial, which is definitely needed though it has turned into a boondoggle in its own right for which (as far as I can determine) a variety of constituencies are to blame. I believe the whole project needs to be revisited to make a better use of the available space, but with Diane as the only voice among the commissioners who could advocate that (and with contracts now awarded for construction), I realize that probably won’t happen.


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