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Friday, June 29, 2007

Doesn't This Drive True Conservatives Crazy?

I keep waiting for the disaffection of the fiscal conservatives from the current administration and the Republican party. Fiscal conservatism was what always attracted me to the Republican party. But this administration has not only run roughshod over that theme, they've bulldozed it. So, I keep waiting for some of them, in addition to or other than Andrew Sullivan, to start jumping ship. Maybe it is happening and I am unaware of it. But anyway, the proponents of small government should be disgusted by this:

Costs Skyrocket As DHS Runs Up No-Bid Contracts

$2 Million Security Project Balloons to $124 Million
By Robert O'Harrow Jr.
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, June 28, 2007; Page A01

The project started in 2003 with a $2 million contract to help the new Department of Homeland Security quickly get an intelligence operation up and running.

Over the next year, the cost of the no-bid arrangement with consultant Booz Allen Hamilton soared by millions of dollars per month, as the firm provided analysts, administrators and other contract employees to the department's Information Analysis and Infrastructure Protection offices.

By December 2004, payments to Booz Allen had exceeded $30 million -- 15 times the contract's original value.

Read the rest here.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Mike Gravel: Who Is This Guy?

He was the guy in 1971 who figured out a way to legally "enter all 7,000 pages of the Pentagon Papers, once top-secret, into the public record" by reading them to the obscure Subcommittee on Buildings and Grounds, which he chaired. (Thanks TruthDig)

Oh, and he cried when he read them. He of course was ridiculed for his emotional display. I guess this means that he was weak and that there should be an End of the Weak. (gratuitous yet related plug to another one of my blogs).

He may not make it as a presidential candidate (campaign website) but he sure is a refreshing change from the rest of that gang.

Elizabeth Edwards Kicks Butt

Long ago and far away in a distant land called Arizona, I met some of my family for lunch before my niece's wedding. They were discussing Ann Coulter's new book. Since I had been hiding from politics (and most of my family) for so long, I had no idea who she was. My eyes glazed over, I focused on my patty melt and checked out of the conversation (par for the course) but later I went home and looked her up. Well. Enough said.

Then as I continued to devour political news I read more and more about her and liked her less and less. This would imply that I liked her in the first place, which is not true. It wasn't that I sought her out, she just kept popping into my news sphere like a sad and aging and bitter version of Paris Hilton. Blech.

So then there was the famous John-Edwards-is-a-faggot incident. (I prefer to think of the British definition of faggot which is meatball. But I'm not sure that this would be an accurate description of John Edwards either. Image courtesy of the Shaggy Sheep Tour of Wales website and it is entitled "Eating a Faggot.") For a while, Coulter disappeared from my radar. Didn't miss her for a second.

Then I heard she would be back on TV on the Chris Mathews show and I joined my fellow Liberal bloggers in asking the question, "And...uh...why does anyone giver her the time of day?" It actually is a good question. There's the very obvious answer...because the MSM thinks that her kind of shocking behavior and invective ups their ratings. But I think it's a little deeper than that. She sells books and she is popular, which means she is a voice for some definable demographic out there.

So does this mean she is the voice of my family? Ugh. The only member of my family that reads this blog is my niece in DC who is fascinated by politics and who leans to the right but has a lefty boyfriend. :-) Nice balance there. I haven't asked her what she thinks of Coulter. I'd be interested to know. I don't have to ask my mother - she has Coulter's book as a bookend right behind her couch so I had to look at Coulter every time I visited my parents and leaned down to give my Mom a hug. I don't get it. I just don't. How can anyone subscribe to this woman? How can they buy her books? How does anything that she says or does have any positive impact on or cause any evolution of our world?

It's obvious that I don't like Bush, Cheney and all the other members of the PNAC Neocon Cabal, but I don't wish that any of them were dead. They are human beings with husbands/wives and children and other loved ones attached to them. Their death would start a long chain of sorrow for all those who care about them. And I bet there are a few Democrats in that line of loved ones. Wishing them dead makes their children or grandchildren feel less safe in this world. "Wow, she said that about my Dad? What does she want to do to me?" And Coulter's taunting of John Edwards about the death of their son is pretty damn low too. I just don't get the attraction to somebody like Coulter. Maybe the fact that I worry about inflicting pain on anybody means I'm a wuss or a pussy or a fagot, or maybe even a meatball. My mother used to call me Pollyanna.

For a little laugharooni, I wrote a "psychology of Ann Coulter in 30 seconds or less" on my other blog about French Hip-Hop music today. :-)

Anyway, in case you missed it, Elizabeth Edwards called in to the Chris Mathews show to confront Coulter directly. She had heard Coulter express her desire for John Edwards' death by a terrorist attack on the previous day's interview on some other show. It was a sad day on Chris Mathew's show for Coulter in my opinion, but the right wingers are saying she was amazing. I thought she was blubbering nonsense. I think the ovation for Elizabeth from the live audience tells a different story. In my search for a link to give you so you can hear or read the transcript, I got so sickened by the post-event comments that I lost interest in linking to anything. (Update - I found this link.)

But in my reading I did find out that Coulter is launching a new book so that's why she's doing the press rounds. And the more outrageous and nasty she can be, the more books she sells. So this will continue for a while. The death-by-terrorist statement was also supposedly taken out of context - that she was referring to Bill Maur's statement about if Cheney died in a terrorist attack it wouldn't be a bad thing (or something like that). The left is saying Mathews is a right-wing putz and the right is saying Mathews is a left-wing stooge and blah blah blah blah blah.

This is probably closer to the truth...Mathews is on a TV show. He needs ratings to survive. Nothing more thrilling than a cat fight. He got to go on a bunch of other shows the next day and talk about it all. Coulter will sell more books. Edwards will get more votes. And we, the general public? Duped voyeurs.

Onwards and upwards, I hope.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Ségolène Royal and her Personal Life

Within hours of the final election results for France's parliament, Ségolène Royal announced her separation from her 30-year companion and father of her four children, Francois Hollande. He is also the current head of the French Socialist party, under whose banner Ségolène ran for President.

As little as I speak French I was aware that there were problems between the two during the election so their announcement didn't come as a big surprise. But I was unaware that she was not only breaking up with him but also planned to oust him as Socialist party head (quote from linked article above):

"The Break-up" was the headline of the popular Le Parisien newspaper while the leftist Liberation quipped that election night was "full of surprises."

"After having pushed her former partner out the door of their family home, she now is planning to do the same thing by expelling him from his office as party boss," wrote Liberation.

Here's the question that Bart and I discussed at length: Does the fact that she waited to announce the separation until after the election constitute a betrayal to her voters and party or was waiting the appropriate thing to do?

Bart felt that it was a betrayal. That it was dishonest of her. That in the interest of transparency, their breakup should have been announced earlier. It was obvious there were problems. The voters and party would have been relieved. As a matter of fact, the party members who were interviewed in the article above were just that - relieved. They called the Royal-Hollande relationship during the campaign the "Bermuda Triangle of the Socialists." "We took all the necessary detours to avoid it." Their personal problems caused great communication problems when the election was at its most critical moment.

On first glance I thought it was better that they waited to announce the breakup. Better for the stability of the Socialist party. But I think I based this on the temperament of the US elections process, where we are so freaking religious that a candidate's divorce or separation is big bad news. And in the US, a divorced Presidential candidate, without a partner, would probably be labeled as "unstable." Especially if the candidate was a woman.

I have a friend who ran for office as a Republican candidate and I remember all the photo sessions she scheduled showing her going to church, which she never does in real life. She also had my jeweler boyfriend make her a gold cross that she could wear in public to give the impression that she was a Christian, but on the back of the cross she had him engrave sun, moon and other pagan symbols as a little secret joke. It's all a bullshit game in America where candidates will do what it takes to pander to the religious right in order to get elected.

I don't believe they pander to religion this way in France. Even though this is a Catholic country where everything still shuts completely down on Sunday (we never remember to do our grocery shopping on Saturday), religion and politics don't seem to be mixed. Nobody but the US press made a big deal about the fact that Royal had 4 children but had never married Hollande. Now, the French press did make a big deal out of Sarkozy's wife leaving him for an American CEO, Sarkozy's subsequent affair with a French journalist, and then Sarkozy's wife coming back to him. But what was more important recently was not whether Sarkozy's wife would stay with him or not, but the fact that she didn't bother to vote in the second Presidential election.

So, if the climate here in France would weather a breakup mid-election, why didn't she do it then? Was she dishonest? Evidently, some of her party members think she is:

Royal kicked up a storm this week by disowning key parts of her presidential platform -- the extension of the 35-hour week and a big hike in the minimum wage -- as unrealistic, saying they were imposed on her by the party old guard.

She was savaged for her comments, attacked as "duplicitous", "provocative", "deceitful" and "clumsy," and accused of trying to shift blame for her failed presidential bid onto others.

[Notes on the Images: I took the circular stencil image (above right) on the day after Sarkozy won the election. This stencil was on the sidewalk in a popular outdoor market near our apartment. It says "Sego Tous" - using the S in Sego as the ending S in Tous. Tous means "all." This probably refers to the saying "par Ségo, tous egaux" which means roughly, "For Ségolène, all are equal." I found what may be a website related to this saying, where I lifted the pointallist image (above left).]

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Court's Stinging Rebuke of the President

I was amazed that this is the first time I've heard about this (of course I'm 3000 messages behind in my FeedReader) from the same Salon.com article by Blumenthal (emphasis mine):

On June 11, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit, the most conservative in the country, issued a decision striking at the heart of Bush's conception of the presidency. In al-Marri v. Wright, the court ruled that Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri, a resident of Qatar, arrested as a student at Bradley University in the United States, accused of aiding al-Qaida, could not be held in indefinite detention as an "enemy combatant" and must be remanded to the civilian criminal court system. (Al-Marri, in an affidavit, claimed to have been tortured.) The decision acknowledged that al-Marri might have committed serious crimes. But the government's assertion that the president has "inherent constitutional authority," rooted in his "war-making powers," is a "breathtaking claim" contrary to U.S. constitutional law and history.

"The President," the court said, "claims power that far exceeds that granted him by the Constitution." This extraordinary decision, citing the Framers, declared Bush's actions -- and his imperial presidency -- null and void. It is worth quoting at some length:

Put simply, the Constitution does not allow the President to order the military to seize civilians residing within the United States and detain them indefinitely without criminal process, and this is so even if he calls them "enemy combatants" ... Of course, this does not mean that the President lacks power to protect our national interests and defend our people, only that in doing so he must abide by the Constitution. We understand and do not in any way minimize the grave threat international terrorism poses to our country and our national security ... The Court has specifically cautioned against "break[ing] faith with this Nation's tradition" -- "firmly embodied in the Constitution" -- "of keeping military power subservient to civilian authority." Reid, 354 U.S. at 40. When the Court wrote these words in 1957, it explained that "[t]he country ha[d] remained true to that faith for almost one hundred seventy years." Id. Another half century has passed but the necessity of "remain[ing] true to that faith" remains as important today as it was at our founding.

Then, the court delivered the coup de grâce to Bush's "war paradigm." Having cited the Framers, it now cited the example of Abraham Lincoln.

In an address to Congress at the outset of the Civil War, President Lincoln defended his emergency suspension of the writ of habeas corpus to protect Union troops moving to defend the Capital. Lincoln famously asked: "[A]re all the laws, but one, to go unexecuted, and the government itself to go to pieces, lest that one be violated?" Abraham Lincoln, Message to Congress in Special Session (July 4, 1861), in Abraham Lincoln: Speeches and Writings 1859-1865 at 246, 254 (Don E. Fehrenbacher ed., 1989). The authority the President seeks here turns Lincoln's formulation on its head. For the President does not acknowledge that the extraordinary power he seeks would result in the suspension of even one law and he does not contend that this power should be limited to dire emergencies that threaten the nation. Rather, he maintains that the authority to order the military to seize and detain certain civilians is an inherent power of the Presidency, which he and his successors may exercise as they please. To sanction such presidential authority to order the military to seize and indefinitely detain civilians, even if the President calls them "enemy combatants," would have disastrous consequences for the Constitution -- and the country. For a court to uphold a claim to such extraordinary power would do more than render lifeless the Suspension Clause, the Due Process Clause, and the rights to criminal process in the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and Eighth Amendments; it would effectively undermine all of the freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution. It is that power -- were a court to recognize it -- that could lead all our laws "to go unexecuted, and the government itself to go to pieces." We refuse to recognize a claim to power that would so alter the constitutional foundations of our Republic.

Few, if any, presidents have ever been the subject of such a devastating legal decision. While presidential actions have been ruled illegal or unconstitutional in the past, they were individual acts. But in the case of Bush, the al-Marri decision not only discredits Bush's position but denies his idea of his presidential legitimacy in the American tradition. The decision also declares that Bush's idea is a mortal threat to the Constitution. And this ruling was issued by the most conservative court in the land.

Bush Administration Official: Not Everything We've Done is Illegal

From Digby's Hullabaloo blog I read about an article by Sidney Blumenthal that says the following:

"One of the key framers of the war paradigm (in which the president in his wartime capacity as commander in chief makes and enforces laws as he sees fit, overriding the constitutional system of checks and balances), who a year ago was arguing vehemently for pushing its boundaries, confesses that he has abandoned his belief in the whole doctrine, though he refuses to say so publicly. If he were to speak up, given his seminal role in formulating the policy and his stature among the Federalist Society cadres that run it, his rejection would have a shattering impact, far more than political philosopher Francis Fukuyama's denunciation of the neoconservatism he formerly embraced.

But this figure remains careful to disclose his disillusionment with his own handiwork only in off-the-record conversations. Yet another Bush legal official, even now at the commanding heights of power, admits that the administration's policies are largely discredited. In its defense, he says without a hint of irony or sarcasm, "Not everything we've done has been illegal." He adds, "Not everything has been ultra vires" -- a legal term referring to actions beyond the law."

(Emphasis mine.) Not everything we've done is illegal. Wow.

France Also Has Problems With Press Independence

I had already posted about Sarkozy's post-election rest vacation on his billionaire friend Vincent Bolloré's yacht. Both Sarkozy and Bolloré said there were no ties between Bolloré's businesses and the French government, but later it was revealed that this was not exactly true. Besides having won state contracts worth up to 40 million euros in the past two years, Bolloré's enterprise is also a holding company that controls the digital television channel Direct 8 and owns the free daily Matin Plus jointly with Le Monde.

But it looks like all of the press in France may be suspect.

So an online independent news alternative called Rue89 was created and there's so much traffic that their servers crashed! Their tagline: Your Info Revolution.

Blogging Angry

We have lovely friends here in Paris, Debby and Jack. Debby is a minister and therapist, Jack a financial adviser. Jack leans more to the conservative POV and so we have some lively debates. The most recent was fueled by rum. It was heated and at one point, Debby asked us both, trying to find common ground, "What are your values, what is it that makes you so passionate?" And I surprised myself by crying and saying, "Because so many people are dying for no reason." I guess that sums it up. We can argue for eons about whether or not PNAC is a cabal, but as we sip our rum and argue, one (or 92 but who's counting) more soldier or civilian dies.

Jack made the comment that he noticed how angry my blog posts are. It's true. And I agree with Digby that it may just be time to be angry. Anger can put a fire in your belly and get you off your ass, as it has for me.

However, something else has been going on in the back of my mind...I watch Democrats reacting to the right-wing noise machine constantly and I realize that some or maybe all of us are operating in victim mode.

This last Thursday night Bart and I were out on the streets of Paris celebrating the Fête de la Musique, one night a year when everyone hits the streets and sings and plays music. Not just pros, but everyday people. It can be horrible and wonderful. I'll write more about it in my omyword blog. So we ended up in our favorite Anarchist bar, L'Omadis (checkout two great photos of the outside of the bar when it is closed here and here), and we met this fascinating guy who's parents are Americans but who was raised here in Paris. He has a French political blog (link being verified). I ran my whole angry theory by him...

"For instance," I said, "I can look you up and down right now and with a sneer say, 'Blue Chinese shirts are immoral, should be outlawed or at least taxed and regulated, and you should be fined or imprisoned for wearing one!'" I sneered when I said it too. He couldn't help but look down at his shirt. Then I said, "Now you can have many different reactions to what I just said, but what we tend to do these days is launch into a defense of blue Chinese shirts. We do research, we gather coalitions, we release statements, we ask for donations for the "Save Blue Chinese Shirts" fund, we spend money and time...just to react to some motherfucker (there's that anger again) who decided to make a false issue about blue Chinese shirts...or the horrors of immigration (another false issue).

So what is the alternative? Do we stay angry so we can fight the fight? Do we let the bastards keep us in a constant defensive position? Or do we spend our time, money and energy in creating a new way?

Why I Blog

Digby's speech at the Take Back America Conference this week:


Friday, June 22, 2007

Lawyer Asks RIAA to Sue the Bush Twins for Copyright Infringement

UPDATE: Silverman published a retraction of his letter to the RIAA. Darn.

I really love this little blurb from Boing-Boing. You go, Mitchell:

Mitchell Silverman, an attorney in Florida, noticed in a recent news-story that GW Bush's twin daughters presented him with a mix CD of exercise music for Father's Day. Since the record industry maintains that making and distributing mix CDs is a copyright infringement, Silverman sent their legal offices a letter on letterhead asking them to sue the first twins for "stealing music."

As you will see from the attached article from today’s The Miami Herald, President George W. Bush’s daughters made him a presumably illegal compilation CD, a so-called “mix CD,” as a Father’s Day present.

As the article, at http://www.miamiherald.com/692/story/142726.html states, “[President] Bush's twin daughters, gave him [as a Father’s Day present] a CD they had made for him to listen to while exercising.”

This is a serious violation of copyright. As you know, whichever of your member organizations that are right-holders for the copied musical works may be entitled to statutory damages of $150,000.00 per musical work copied. I hope and expect that you at the RIAA will display the same vigor in prosecuting this matter and protecting the rights of your rights-holders that it has displayed in enforcing those rights against other alleged violators.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

US Protecting its Cluster Bomb Corporate Friends While Pretending to Reverse its Position

I just read an International Herald Tribune article entitled U.S. reverses position and is now willing to negotiate a cluster bomb treaty. Here's a quote:

"U.S. officials said they are willing to start negotiating a treaty on the use of cluster bombs, reversing their previous position that no new agreement on the weapon was necessary."

So I say to myself, "Self? What is the only reason the Bushies reverse themselves on anything? Certainly never for humane reasons. It must be to support their corporate cronies." So I began to wonder who are the world's manufacturers of these horrible mini-bombs-inside-bigger-bombs-with-cute-little-yellow-parachutes. Those ones that kids are so attracted to.

So I found this Campaign Against Arms Trade blog 2006 article about a trade show company trying to hide and lying about the inclusion of cluster bombs in an arms trade show. The article listed the cluster bomb manufacturers who were represented at the show:

"And if components weren't enough, you could always just ask one of the 14 cluster bomb manufacturers at DSEi (Lockheed Martin, EADS, Daimler Chrysler, Giat Industries, MBDA, Rhienmetall, RUAG, SAAB, Denel, General Dynamics, L-3 Communications, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon and Textron) to discreetly flog you the whole thing. A journalist from The Independent did just this at DSEi 2005, and reported that a manager from South African arms company Denel happily discussed supplying 155mm cluster bombs with him at the event."

So you can see several US corporations on the list. Then, just out of curiosity, I went and checked the last page of the neocon PNAC Rebuilding Americas Defenses document where they list "project participants" and I noticed that Barry Watts of Northrop Grumman Corporation was on the list. From the first day I read this PNAC document I wondered at the propriety of a corporate entity participating in the development of a document whose intent it was to convince the US Government to beef up the war machine AND attack both Iraq and Iran. I remember when I was in corporate Amerikuh and our sales guys used to say that if they could "help" a company write their RFP then we would be almost guaranteed of getting the business once the RFP was put out for bid. So this Northrup guy was just helpin'.

And now the Bushies are just helpin' them back. By just coming up with some more of them voluntary regulations, which the US "demanded" from Israel when we sold them all of those cluster bombs. Those same regulations that Israel completely ignored when they dropped as many as 4 million of those puppies on Lebanon recently. I noticed then that the US was just horrified that Israel had disobeyed them thar voluntary regulations. My Ass.

"The United Nations has estimated that Israel dropped as many as four million of the bomblets in southern Lebanon last summer, with perhaps 40 percent of them not exploding on impact."


Sunday, June 17, 2007

Bush on the Loss of His Watch: I Meant to do That

Jack! You were right!

Another thing that Jack said yesterday at our long lunch is that Bush said he purposely put his watch in his pocket in Albania after he realized that so many people were grabbing at his arms that he should probably take his watch off. One of the problems I have encountered from being so busy setting up the social community for the Triomf Movie is that I am WAY behind on reading the news from my FeedReader. So, I missed the fact that new video from another angle surfaced that shows Bush taking his watch off himself:



Does the fact that he removed it mean he doesn't trust those darn Albanians that love him so passionately? Is that the same thing as when I oh-so-casually lock my car door when parked at a stop light where a homeless guy is holding up a sign asking for money? (Yes, I am guilty.)

No, it means that George Bush was being prudent, just like me at those stop lights.

Origin of the Term Neoconservative

Yesterday we had a thoroughly delightful afternoon with our friends Jack and Debby in the garden Brasserie of the historic Closerie des Lilas on Boulevard du Montparnasse here in Paris. I'll go into more detail about our experience of the restaurant in my Omyword blog but in this blog I'd like to focus on some of the political topics we discussed.

Jack, Bart and I differ in our political leanings, so the conversation was lively while Debby the Minister prayed for us all. I jest a bit about Debby's prayers but actually, as things became heated, Debby was quick to remind us of the bottom line at all times:

  • That the four of us love each other very much
  • That we would not be so passionate if we didn't care...about our country, about people, about our beliefs and values
We all, and I mean all of us in this world, could do with a whole bunch of Debby in our lives.

With that said, at one point I think that Debby said she had never heard of the term Neocon or Neoconservative. Jack replied, "It's a term that the Liberals made up." I hadn't heard that before and really couldn't jump to the defense of Those Darn Liberals because I didn't really know the facts.

So today I Googled "Origin of Neoconservatism." Here is the results page if you'd like to follow along.

And following along is a funny thing because if you go to that page and start clicking on links, you'll be busy for many years. If I waited to completely understand all of this, or to read a balanced number of posts from both the right and left, I would never get a blog post written. It is now that I wish I had hundreds of blog subscribers because people could jump in and post comments and we would all learn from the process. So all 7 of my subscribers - please feel free to go nuts on this one, ok?

ANYway, was Jack right? Well kinda and kinda not.

The first article I read was from a post entitled "Irving Kristol reveals the true meaning of neoconservatism" on a blog called " View from the Right - The passing scene and what it's about viewed from the traditionalist politically incorrect Right." In order to figure out the leanings of this blog I went to the main page and got sick reading the Xenophobic blatherings about their outrage at Bush's immigration bill. Anyway again...the article claims that Irving Kristol is the father of Neoconservatism and that it started in the 60s as a bunch of Liberals who were unhappy with Liberalism and became conservatives but since they were a new kind of conservative they were called neoconservatives. Is Irving Kristol the father of William Kristol of PNAC (Project for a New American Century), that group of Neoconservatives that have been begging for an attack on Iraq and Saddam Hussein since 1998 and then gained control of the White House and all government departments so they could implement their plan? Dunno...I need another 5 years of research time. And PNAC was another subject that arose in our garden debate while the winds blew and rained poured down around us, but I'll have to address that with another post.

But if it's true what Irving said, that the first neoconservatives were actually unhappy Liberals then Jack was kinda right, it was Those Darn Liberals (or rather ex-Liberals) that made up the term neoconservative or neocon.

The next link I clicked on was the Wikipedia page on Neoconservatism, which I know is not necessarily reliable but it's a good place to start an investigation. In relation to Jack's claim that the term was invented by Liberals, here's some interesting info:

"The term neoconservative was first used derisively by democratic socialist Michael Harrington to make clear that a group, many of whom called themselves liberal, was actually a group newly conservative ex-liberals. The name eventually stuck, both because it was reasonably accurate, and because neoconservatives came to accept that they were, in fact, conservative.[2] The idea that liberalism "no longer knew what it was talking about" became one of the central themes of neoconservatism,[3] and by the 1980s, being considered a conservative was far from an insult.[2]

The etymology of this type of conservatism is based on the work and thought of Irving Kristol, cofounder of Encounter and its editor from 1953 to 1958,[4] Norman Podhoretz,[5] and others who described themselves as "neoconservatives" during the Cold War.

Prominent neoconservatives are associated with periodicals such as Commentary and The Weekly Standard, and with foreign policy initiatives of think tanks such as the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), the Project for the New American Century (PNAC), and the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA).

Neoconservative journalists, policy analysts, and politicians, are often dubbed "neocons" by supporters and critics alike; however, in general, the movement's critics use the term more often than their supporters.[6][7]"

There's a whole basket o' links for you to follow.

So according to this info, the first derisive use of the word was by a democratic socialist, so I guess you can say he was a Liberal. I also read somewhere but I'm too tired to find it, that actual Neoconservatives aren't always comfortable calling themselves by that name but some are.

I for one, say the word with a sneer. And I'm a Liberal. I will continue to sneer because I think the neocons are ruining/have already ruined our country. My reasons center around PNAC so I will continue with a separate post about them thar varmints.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

And Albania Has His Watch

So...Bush may have had a hug and kiss fest in Albania but he also had his watch stolen.

Watch the video here!

More Pleasure From the Bobblespeak Translations

And I still love this guy, whoever he is. At least I now know that he prefers wine to beer, Dood.

From the Tim Russert interview with Colin Powell:

Tim:
so we should never have invaded another country oops your bad


Powell:
Saddam had a Get Out of Jail Card all he had to do was present his Massive Weapons of Death


Tim:
so it was like Monopoly


Powell:
yeah I was the wheelbarrow and Bush was the little hat


So...on that note, I found an interesting theory about who you are based on the Monopoly game piece you choose:

Powell the Wheelbarrow: Your individuality is important to you--that's why you pick a piece that nobody else would even consider using on account of how stupid it is. In contrast, you are fairly smart; it's too bad you always act like kind of an idiot.

Bush the Top Hat: Your sense of humor is appreciated by your friends, and you have a way of being the life of the party. However, you need to focus more on your long-term future. I mean, what the hell are you going to do with your life? Are you just going to sit on the couch all afternoon? Jesus Christ, go get a job. And vacuum the goddamned living room like I asked.

Ok So While We're At It - Another Depressing Thing

Here in gay Paree, now that we are connected to The Internets through all those Big Tubes, we also have access to amazingly diverse television. So Bart and I have done something that we have not done in many, many years:

We look forward to watching the news every night.

OK, everyone can get up off the floor now.

I'm not talking about French news, although I'm sure it's better than American news (anything is) but I'm not fluent in French yet so I can't really comment on it. And I'm not talking about BBC World News. I'm talking about Al Jazeera. Yes, the BBC has partnered with Al Jazeera and created a news service that outperforms all other news services in the world, in my not-so-fucking-humble opinion.

For at least a year or so I have been checking out Al Jazeera online to try and sift through the incredible fluff or laziness or plain old bullshit lies of the US news or get a different viewpoint or, most of the time, read about major news that was never covered at all in the US. But I had never seen the TV version of Al Jazeera. The online version was not perfect and I observed some bias and some extremism here and there. But the TV news is a whole different story.

Big Surprise: Most US broadcasters have not allowed Al Jazeera in the US. Only a few people in New York (you know, those fucking terrorists) can get the channel.

Well. The TV version is just amazing. I have been wanting to write about it for weeks. But I wanted to really pay attention, really understand what it was, exactly, that made Al Jazeera superior. I couldn't quite put my finger on it. Here are some preliminary observations:

  • They haven't made the arrogant assumption that people are stupid and have the attention span of gnats and therefore don't want any in-depth coverage. Al Jazeera goes deep into the story. They interview everybody. They show footage. They ask tough questions. No more mere sound bytes. In-depth reporting! What a concept!
  • I never realized the incredible DEARTH (love that word) of actual images in the American press of real Middle Eastern people living their lives. I imagine that most Americans think that all people in the Middle East wears long robes and turbans, are bare-footed, live in huts with dirt floors and brandish machine guns on a whim. Au contraire mon ami. These people have homes, electricity, cars (nice ones), cell phones, hip clothes, bars, restaurants, etc. (Oh I'm sorry, that's not exactly accurate. About 4 or 5 million of them had to leave all that behind and are refugees with nothing to their name right now but that's beside the fucking point.)
  • Al Jazeera shows the actual ravages of war. Not like the US news in their staged little bytes with some puffy-assed Republican senators strolling through a marketplace wearing goofy little sun hats (and he's from my own state I am ashamed to say) while a gaggle of 75 soldiers hides in the background, after they had spent the whole morning clearing the place of real Iraqis and then sticking some brown-faced friendlies in there for authenticity. Oh and make sure those brown-faced people look stupid and poor and in desperate need of our amazing Neocon guidance and oil-stealing munificence, ok?
  • Instead of interminable hours of US pundits blah-blahing, Al Jazeera actually interviews real people that are involved locally in the issues. All these people that we've never heard of but who are extremely involved and knowledgeable about the situation on the ground.
I'm sorry I have to stop. There are probably at least 10 more bullet points of positives about Al Jazeera. But I realized I am using the word Fuck quite a bit because the REAL reason I am writing this post is because I read this headline recently which took all of this new lovely happiness away from me:

Is Al Jazeera about to Become Al-Foxeera?

Yes, this is an Alternet article based on a MediaChannel.org article that says that the Neocons are doing exactly what they have done in the US government - put one of their own guys into every government organization who is actually an active hater of that organization and who's chief aim is to destroy the organization from the inside out. So now the board of Al Jazeera is headed up by an American. And there is internal strife. The journalists are pissed. I hope they revolt. I hope they win. But the bottom line is that Al Jazeera's chief funding comes from a big cheese Emir in Qatar and he wants all those big American bucks and so we're fucked.

Back to the fetal position. Meanwhile, if you aren't lucky enough to live in New York, you can join the YouTube Al Jazeera channel here. Then you can at least see some of the content. Not all of it is stellar. David Frost sounds drunk and can't read a teleprompter very well but at least he's a Sir. ?

He’ll Always Have Albania

I burst out laughing at that Truthdig headline. It was the first time I have been compelled to write a blog post in many days. In truth, I have been despondent. The air has been sucked out of my tyres (as they spell in England). The abject failure of the Democrats in standing up to the Bush administration and the Iraq funding bill, or maybe I should say the abject bending over of the Democrats, was a big blow to my hopefulness. I really want the US to be the country it was supposed to be, to actually stand for something, uh, like freedom and human rights and and and The Constitution for Christ's sake.

Now the United States government is simply made up of the world's most arrogant school yard bullies, with real-live bad guys like Cheney and his Neocon cohorts propping up an ignorant little twit of a president. It's disgusting.

So are you depressed now too or am I all alone in this? Is there anyone out there that still has any fight in them? While we (ok I) loll around in the fetal position, those bastards are laughing all the way to the Bank of Halliburton.

ANYway, in honor of Truthdig I'd like you to read the article so you can laugh and cry too. Here are some juicy excerpts:

George W. Bush, Hero of Albania! At least there’s one place in the world where they show the Decider some love. That was a wonderful reverse-Borat moment Sunday, with the joyous townspeople of Fushe Kruje yelling “Bushie! Bushie!” and Albania’s prime minister gushing over the “greatest and most distinguished guest we have ever had in all times.”

The crowd pressed in for autographs, photographs, a presidential peck on the cheek. Years from now, in his dotage, Bushie will feel warm all over when he recalls those magical hours in Albania. How they adored him!

Outside of greater Tirana, however, the president’s stock as an apostle of freedom continues to fall—and rightly so. Even as Albania swooned, the rest of Europe was digesting a blue-ribbon report issued Friday about the abduction, secret detention and abusive interrogation of suspects in Bush’s “war on terror.”
...

Citing “clear and detailed confirmation” from knowledgeable sources, Marty concluded that Poland and Romania, as long suspected, were two countries that hosted secret CIA prisons where “high value” detainees were held and interrogated.


Polish and Romanian officials have said they are shocked—shocked!—that anyone would accuse them of having anything to do with CIA dungeons and/or the “enhanced” questioning techniques that the report describes as torture.

The Polish and Romanian officials are just shocked - shocked!

Yeah, like when they're confronted by their wives with the lipstick on their tighty-whities and they are just shocked - shocked!

A grand show of furious indignation works every time and also gives them time to wipe away any other evidence, like love notes and Swiss bank accounts.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

MADtv - The New iRack (including blooper)

Make sure you hang in there til the end for the blooper.


This Guy is Funnier Than Hell

I'm assuming it's a guy since there's no profile on his blog. Wish I could find out more about him. But I stumbled on his blog when I read one of his comments on an Atrios post which made me laugh so hard I had to click on his name. His blog is called:

The Bobblespeak Translations
What They're Really Saying When They're Saying What They're Saying

I think what he is doing is his version of "live blogging" the political debates and political news talk shows. But he's changed everything that everybody says and overall it sounds like a bunch of California guys sitting and talking on the beach in between waves. Lots of dood this and dood that and totally, dood. I also assume that some of the missing words/misspellings (yes, call me a tight-ass, tight-ass) are because he's typing as fast as he can while holding a beer. (I approve of such behavior.)

Here are some highlights from his post on last Sunday's Democratic debate. (Click link to read the whole thing - it's worth it.) My comments in brackets:

Wolf: Edwards you say the war on terror [is just a] bumper sticker and not a plan - dood aren't we at war!!!

John Edwards:
dood its all a cheap political slogan Bush made up so could use it justify all his crazy wiretapping and torture and shit

Hillary:
i do not agree u know I was covered with the dust of 9/11 and they are a small band of doods who want to foist islam on all us and I'll be damned if i will wear a burka

Wolf:
Dennis, the JFK terror plot is super scary!!!!

Kucinich:
Ben Franklin said those who drive down a cul de sac are doomed to drive around in a circle

Biden:
i voted for the funding bill but look bush is a liar and the truth is that IEDs are really dangerous and i tried to fund V-shaped vehicles to stop that

Here's some more...on immigration...

Q [I assume from the audience?]: Richardson you’re hispanic are all those 12 million illegal aliens your relatives

Wolf:
let['s] repeat the entire question because CNN is like a high school AV club without the technical expertise

Richardson:
well they’re not all my cousins of course i would hire 2 more border guards and punish corporations

Wolf:
is it amnesty?

Bill:
no

Wolf:
yes it is!

Bill:
no it isn’t we have the nifty touch-back program

Wolf:
alright enough from you pedro

OK, I can't resist...just one more from a recent Chris Mathews show. They're talking about the Kennedy assassination:

Chris: we cant accept that a loser could kill a great man JFK, Lincoln or Franz Ferdinand

Fineman: its part of democracy i for have never gotten over the assassination of garfield


Chris: they killed that cute cat those motherfuckers


Fineman: no you idiot


Chris: the unwashed masses need to believe it was moriarty, iago or professor plum with the candlestick


Borger: yes i agree the little people who are inferior to you and me can't accept reality that it was a confederacy of dunces who shot oswald


Matthews: the liberals just cant accept that Oswald a liberal and leftists who killed kennedy


Heard: no its that Oswald said he was a pastry and then he wuz shot by Ruby Tuesday who said he wuz set up by some white dood who was then drowned by Prescott Bush


Sully: i don’t really give a shit


Chris: Oswald acted alone and heres the proof he worked at the suppository before the route wuz made up so hah!


Sully: dood it wuz downtown dallas where else wuz he gonna go


Chris: either u believe me or u think the irish mafia killed he Kennedy because he stole their lucky charms

Monday, June 4, 2007

The Definition of Hypocracy

Rice Assails Chavez on TV Closing

"Freedom of speech, freedom of association and freedom of conscience are not a thorn in the side of government," Rice told the ministers. "Disagreeing with your government is not unpatriotic and most certainly should not be a crime in any country, especially a democracy."

She's joking right?

Gorbachev: All Empires Break Up in the End


In an interview with the BBC via CommonDreams:

...Mr Gorbachev said relations between Russia and the West were in a bad state.

"Well, it's worse than I expected," he said through a translator.


"We lost 15 years after the end of the Cold War, but the West I think and particularly the United States, our American friends, were dizzy with their success, with the success of their game that they were playing, a new empire.
"I don't understand why you, the British, did not tell them, 'Don't think about empire, we know about empires, we know that all empires break up in the end, so why start again to create a new mess.'"

Amen Comrade.

Illegals Jump Border Fence Behind Bush Interview

I really love this video. They jump over the fence, then run along behind the police SUVs. I am amazed that the interviewer didn't see what was going on and somehow signal Bush.



Bush interviewed as a Illegal Jumps the Border - video powered by Metacafe

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Let's Vote for This Guy

Meet The Press: If elected President, what will you do?

Fred Thompson: Lots of things.

Meet The Press: Can you elaborate?

Fred Thompson: No.

Courtesy of Huffington Post.

buh-ha-ha-ha!

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Power Has Made Reality Its Bitch

This succinct statement by Mark Danner is the best description I've found of the Bush Administration/Neocon distortion and molding of reality to suit their nefarious needs.

It is from Mr. Danner's commencement address to the Department of Rhetoric at Zellerbach Hall, University of California, Berkeley, on May 10, 2007. (I read it in a Truthdig article and it was originally posted on TomDispatch.com). It is worth reading in its entirety.

Danner arrived at this conclusion from a quote, purportedly by Karl Rove, in Ron Suskind's New York Times Magazine October 17, 2004 article entitled Faith, Certainty and the Presidency of George W. Bush:

"In the summer of 2002, after I had written an article in Esquire that the White House didn't like about Bush's former communications director, Karen Hughes, I had a meeting with a senior adviser to Bush. He expressed the White House's displeasure, and then he told me something that at the time I didn't fully comprehend -- but which I now believe gets to the very heart of the Bush presidency.

The aide said that guys like me were 'in what we call the reality-based community,' which he defined as people who 'believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.' I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. 'That's not the way the world really works anymore,' he continued. 'We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.'

I think the term arrogant bastard also applies.

Read more about the reality-based community on Wikipedia and also on Mark Kleiman's Reality-Based Community blog.

AND...for a really good chuckle, visit RealityBasedCommunity.net where you can be belatedly entertained with the article about Prince's Super Bowl Devil Penis Behind the Cum-Stained Sheet.