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Friday, January 30, 2009

No, Obama. Nooooo! Not Dennis Ross!

Ok, so I've been so damn busy, but all the while I've been watching little tidbits of news about Obizzy Obama, but I just received an email from Peace Action West telling me that Obama might name Dennis Ross as a potential envoy to Iran. This is a really BAD idea. Please read my post Obama Middle East Adviser Dennis Ross Wants Iran War , which is chock full of research links that will give you a clue about who Dennis Ross is.

Then, if you would, please go to this handy dandy form and send a printed or emailed letter to our pal President Obama and ask him please, please please, don't appoint Ross as the Iran envoy.

Thank you very much. This message has been brought to you by overly busy peace mongers sitting in their pajamas in Paris, still worried about our world.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Moose & Squirrel

A little humor sent my way from Me-Me over at The Screaming Me-Me and Turquoise Moon:


For those of you who aren't as gnarled and ancient as me, these two characters originated in the (mainly) 60's cartoon show Rocky and Bullwinkle. When I looked up the show and their character descriptions, I had to smile:

"The scheming villains in most episodes were the fiendish, but inept, agents of the fictitious nation of Pottsylvania: Boris Badenov, a pun on Boris Godunov, and Natasha Fatale, a pun on femme fatale [Sarah wishes]. Boris and Natasha were commanded by the sinister [but rarely seen] Mr. Big [Cheney] and Fearless Leader [Shrub].
...
She seems to be a bit more intelligent, or at least more thoughtful, [OK, so maybe not, but she DOES have boobs and a tight purple dress that turned red in the last episode - commie!] than Boris, and often points out flaws in his plans or voices slight contempt for his [campaign's] bungling, to which his customary reply was "Shuddup you mouth, Natasha." [We all wish he'd said it more often.] Also, in one episode, Natasha does say "SHUT UP YOUR MOUTH!!!!" to Boris, while their car goes over cliff. [Yes, Sarah will keep trying, all the way to 2012, to have the last word.]
...
Usually, Boris's misdeeds are thwarted by Rocky the Flying Squirrel and Bullwinkle the Moose. Boris's attempts at killing "moose and squirrel" (as he refers to them) also always end in failure, usually by his own scheme backfiring on him. As Boris expresses his plight in one episode: 'I put bomb in squirrel's briefcase and who gets blown up? Me!'" [That's what you get for listening to the neocons, John.]

It's amazing how a 1960's cartoon can predict real life.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Gotta Vote For Juan Cole & Informed Comment TODAY!

Please vote for Juan Cole and Informed Comment in the 2008 Best Middle East or Africa Blog Webby Awards. He's getting his ass kicked by a Neocon wingnut over there. Please go vote now! It's the LAST DAY!


Juan Cole is THE go-to guy for immediate and viable commentary on the Middle East.


Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Gaza Diary

Syria Comment: “The Gaza Diary”:

La Republica (In Italian) in Italy has been publishng the diary entries of an extraordinary young girl from Gaza City under the heading of “The Gaza Diary”. It has rapidly become one of the most popular items in the national press.

Here's another Gaza blog to read: nibl



Saturday, January 10, 2009

Jackin' Off To Torture

Big Bad Cheney n' The Neocons have dreamed lustfully of war and spies and torture since the birth of PNAC. Or maybe even before that. It's like they all had their asses kicked in 5th grade by the football team, - or bikers, cowboys, greasers, nuns, chicks, take your pick - and they've been trying to reassert their manhood ever since. Most grade-school weaklings start lifting weights or take Karate lessons so that nobody will be able to kick their asses again, but these boys didn't have the initiative, commitment or cojones for that. They just turned into little bullying chicken hawks, messing with people indirectly, secretly manipulating others to get what they want, and punishing anybody who gets in their way. All the while, they're snickering, like Jon Stewart imitating Bush Jr. heh heh heh

What a rush to thumb your nose at the United Nations and start your own global war, convinced that God Hisself tol' you to do it. You're a firebrand, the chosen one, the Jesus who won't get crucified. What a rush to push the bomb button, to command the military of a world power, to fire generals who don't agree with you, to put on a flight suit and oversized penis protector and pretend to land a jet on the deck of an aircraft carrier. Woo-freakin'-hoo.

And when you've done all of that? When you own the world? Torture is just icing on the cake. A warm wet dream waiting and grinning like a cheshire cat in the fetid darkness of sick and twisted minds.

But you can't do all of this sexy stuff alone. You have to have fellow pervs. You have to have minions (Scooter Libby) and concubines (Ann Coulter). And you must, above all, control, or at least anesthetize, the media. This is the height of indirect manipulation. Controlling the media means controlling the message. How else do you keep your distance from the hoi polloi? Maintain your unsullied christian-ocity? How else do you keep the ignorant masses...well...ignorant? You have Rupert Murdoch and FOX broadcasting company as your personal media mouthpiece. That's how. You also have Kevin Martin heading up the FCC to make sure that your pal Rupert can buy up as much of American media as he can get his greedy paws upon. You also try and shut down Al Jazeera, and when that fails you kill their reporters or cameramen, and when that doesn't do the job, well you get your other media partners in American cable TV land to ban Al Jazeera.

But, because you're still a fucking idiot, you forget about the InterTubes and the fact that Americans can stream Al Jazeera live , or subscribe to Al Jazeera's channel on YouTube . Nah nah nah nah naaaah naaaah. Or, heh heh heh.

Enter Jackoff Bauer and the perfectly-named TV show, "24." Why is that perfect? Because it's a favorite neocon trope to ask the "ticking time bomb" question, "What if there was a nuclear bomb, set to go off in 24 hours, and you have the only guy who knows where it is, and how to disarm it, in your custody. Don't you HAVE to torture him?" And the odds of that specific scenario happening are....one in a zillion? And it's been proven time and again, even recently during the Iraq war, that torture isn't an effective means for interrogation. In plain English, this means that you don't get valid information from torture. Even Bob Cochran, who created "24" with Joel Surnow, admitted, “Most terrorism experts will tell you that the ‘ticking time bomb’ situation never occurs in real life, or very rarely. But on our show it happens every week.”

It doesn't matter. If you can get the media to ask that question 300 times, then it becomes truth, just by virtue of repetition. The question takes on even more truthiness when Tim Russert asks it of all the Democratic contenders in the 2008 primary debate.

Jack Bauer's brand of torture, in all it's sweaty lustiness, by virtue of 6 seasons of televised repetition, has hardened into an unfortunate truth in the minds of US soldiers, both the military kind, and the soldier-of-fortune Blackwater private paramilitary kind. It's become such a problem, that US military educators tried to stop or change the show's format, to no avail. You see, malleable young boy minds were going off to war and using torture techniques they learned from a freaking TV show, instead of following their training.

Lots of people die in "24." There's enough fear mongering in one episode to make you do a double-take at any bearded brown person you encounter. But of course, that's the whole idea! All of that death aids and abets the Neocons in their promotion of the sexy, never-ending, completely fictitious, War On Terror.

Well, here's some reality for you. HumanRightsFirst.org asked us to post this video , on the eve of the beginning of the 7th season of "24": 

"Human Rights First — helped by donations from hundreds of our supporters — developed a training film that we provided to more than 1,200 military educators. The 15-minute film weaves together scenes from the program with the words of real world interrogators who explain that Bauer's tactics would never work in the field. The film is in use at a variety of facilities ranging from ROTC classrooms to classes at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point."
This video is the first part of two videos (here's a link to part 2), and both are worth watching. Please do so, and then, please pass them on.



Oh, and meanwhile, the producers of "24" have started on a new disinformation campaign. They're going to masquerade as environmentalists so they can talk us into "alternative" fuels. Check out this quote fom the "24" Sean Hillinger (one of the characters?) Wiki page :

Measures will be taken during filming and production of season 7 to save energy and reduce enough carbon emissions throughout the season to make the season finale "carbon neutral". Howard Gordon said that 24 cares about the issue of global warming and takes fighting climate change seriously. A number of ways that the production intends to save energy are listed on the site, some of which are: using a combination of petroleum diesel and biodiesel instead of regular diesel fuel, creating a series of PSAs with Kiefer Sutherland and other main cast members to educate the public on what they can do to help with the issue, and, when appropriate, applying the issue of global warming and reducing carbon emissions to the storylines.

So, now the rock-hard torturers are tree huggers? Give me a break. What the fuck is "petroleum diesel?" How is anything that's made from petroleum considered an alternative...to petroleum? Just lovin' that propaganda. Just lovin' it.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

This Whole "Protect Marriage" Thing

Many years ago, I had a good friend go into politics. I took a little vacation and went to visit them. We sat down for dinner at one of those Benihana teppanyaki tables in a cheezy bling-bling town. While an illegal alien threw raw shrimp up in the air and juggled both the salt and pepper shakers while waiting for the shrimp to fall, and then beheaded and butterflied those see-through crustaceans before they hit the sizzling table, my newly anointed Republican politician friend told me how opposed they were to gay marriage.


This is from a person who married a gay person.

Granted, said gay person had been convinced that they were only gay as a reaction to an over-controlling parent, and wouldn't be gay anymore if they had hetero sex while closing their eyes and thinking about...England...or something. Based on the nature of the porn collection in their house, they were definitely not thinking about England.

I must repeat, that this person was a Republican.

You know, I've meandered through life, bumping into the most diverse and interesting people, and I've been slack-jawed at some of the things people have told me, but for some reason I kind of just took it all in stride, because the more I lived, the more I understood that EVERYbody is odd, and NObody is immune. Including moi.

But what pisses me off is when people who fuck with their eyes closed pretending to be straight, discriminate and legislate against people who fuck with their eyes open, not pretending to be anyone other than who they are.

Just now I was voting for one of my favorite blogs, pandagon, over at the 2008 webby awards (you too can vote, every day until January 13th), and I noticed another favorite, Bitch Ph.D., was also up for the award. So I clicked through and read this article about the structure of today's families, or what taddyporter calls "cookie-cutter lives." There's this big myth out there that the "traditional family" needs to be protected, as if the traditional family was a kitten or something. I always have believed that this whole traditional family thing, the whole protect traditional marriage thing, was a trumped-up Karl Rove, religious right fanatical bullshit trope.

And it is. I'd love to see some statistics about how many "traditional families" there are in America. The kind with a man, wife and one or more kids. Because I think there's a shitload of non-traditionals out there.

Just like taddyporter, I don't have to think long or hard about all the non-traditional family units I have in my life. There's a couple I know in their sixties who fought and won custody of their infant grandchild. There's the lesbian couple I met years ago, one woman was in her 50s with grown children and her partner was in her late twenties, longing for children. So they got together with a guy gay couple and mixed up both guys' sperm in a turkey baster and had two kids that way. Both couples bought houses next door to each other so they could share parenting responsibilities. That must really suck for those two kids, having two moms and two dads who love them to pieces. My own family is divided by petty and not-so-petty quarrels to the point where I had to look outside of this supposed Catholic church-blessed family structure and find some sort of non-traditional family of my own. I know a girl in her 30s whose mother abandoned her and the rest of the kids. My friend ended up turning tricks, then married her pimp. Marriage - it's so traditional, you know? The mother that abandoned her? Republican.

Family is just a concept. Marriage is just a concept. Neither concepts need protection. What we need to protect is the rights of all human beings who wish to partake in those two concepts. Both concepts should be allowed to all human beings, no matter what their politics, religion, gender, sexual preference or migration habits may be.

Here's what's important. Each of us must strive to be responsible and loving adults, and when we come into contact with children and other defenseless beings (which includes feeble elderly, all animals, and emotionally, mentally or physically disabled humans), we must nurture and protect them so that they can grow into responsible, loving adults, who will nurture, protect and grow the children and defenseless beings with whom they come into contact. That means that when I, a childless person by choice, come into contact with other people's children, I must treat them respectfully, must nurture and protect them while they are in my presence, and help grow them into responsible adults. 

It doesn't matter if I'm single or married, gay or straight. I don't have to adhere to some set of morals defined by some religion or listen to some imaginary friend on a throne in the sky or read some book written by a bunch of fallible men a thousand years ago. These are simply my responsibilities as a human being. Period.

Protect marriage. What a bunch of crap.

Marriage Attacked! 

Canton, Ohio - 5:45 pm: At the break of dawn, after a bloody fight, Ohio state officials declared marriage a national disaster. 500 marriages were slaughtered. At least 18,000 marriages were wounded. It is reported that hospitals are running dangerously low of magic marriage juice, wedding rings and bandages. Children, orphaned by this disaster, are running amok. Those holding on to their traditional marriages barricaded themselves into their homes and would not help the starving, frightened children, in case exposure to the tainted children would threaten their marriages too.

Mrs. Eunice Keigle bellowed from her barred window at our reporter late last night during the deluge: "Them gays is what did this! I knows it! Here we were, all happily married - well, I know my husband is fucking that bitch Norleen from the pool hall, but we's still married at least! - and the gays moved in like terrorists! They planted them fancy gardens and fixed up their houses. They don't have inny cars up on blocks in their front yard. None t'all. What the hell was wrong with them! And they had children! Good lawd, we had the devil himself, with his swishy minion, living right next door! It was like a plague. And I, for one, am staying inside until my government, all those good Christians down there at City Hall, come in and kill all them gays."

Meanwhile, state officials held an emergency meeting in the state records office, standing by helplessly as marriage certificates and birth records burst into uncontrollable spontaneous combustion. Chip Howard, Canton's first openly gay mayor, locked himself in his home as crowds of savage Ohioans filled the streets and pushed towards the mayor's manse holding up torches and singing, "Onward Christian soldiers!"

President Jeb Bush and Vice President Cheney, along with Secretary of State Sarah Palin, addressed the American people from their high-rise offices in Dubai. They asked for calm, as the New World Army was on its way in to quell the violence and kill all the terrorists. They asked all True Christians to put on their secret badge, so that the corporate Blackwater troops could differentiate True Believers from infidels.

Eunice Keigle turned to her husband and said, "Badges?"

This Delights Me: Bidder 70

Remember how we all said the Iraq war was not about Democracy, not about freedom, but all about oil, and we were laughed at? Remember that glorious day when Alan Greenspan (he who protecteth us not from financial ruin) said the Iraq war was all about oil and the White House about shit itself? Ahh. Good times, good times.


Wellll, waaaay before all that, I knew the war was about oil, 'cause I'd stumbled upon the ol' PNAC website and read the whole neocon plan for "controlling our interests" (our?) in the Middle East. So, dirty hippie that I yam, I found the RSS feeds for as many "It's about the oil, stupid" websites I could find, and Oil Change International was one of them.

I just got an email from them entitled, Who Is Bidder 70? You're going to just LOVE this.

While the Bizzy Bushies are working day and night like Santa's elves to destroy our country (and the world as we know it) before January 20th, there are certain regular schmoes who are trying to stop them, since Nan-cee Pelosi and the rest of our useless elected politicians have their backs purposely turned, because, well, you know, boys will be boys!

So, a certain Tim DeChristopher of Salt Lake City, Utah, went to the auction of BLM public land, and bought the shit right out from under the Evil Bush Boys:

In a brave act of civil disobedience, Tim DeChristopher disrupted the auctioning off of public land, effectively giving it away for a fraction of its true cost to taxpayers and its true value as a natural resource.

This auction was another of The Bush Administration's parting shots at the American people and another blow to the already under-funded and over-worked career professionals at the BLM.
You see, he outbid them. But he doesn't have any money. Buhahahahahahaha! Man, I love this SO much.

OK...So...here's the deal. We have to help Tim pay for the land before he gets sent to jail for fraud and/or before he's murdered by the Gestapo, whichever comes first. Oh, and before JANUARY 9TH, which is THIS FRIDAY. As of this moment, he's got $28,110, so he doesn't have very far to go. Please donate what you can, and pass this on like wildfire!

Here's Tim DeChristopher's website. Make it so.

UPDATE: To be clear, $45,000 will take care of the land down payment only. Tim also has legal fees to pay, and once he makes the land down payment, he'll need much more money to keep the land out of BushCo's greedy, greasy grasp. So...if you get to his website and see he's close to his $45K goal, don't stop yourself from donating.

Monday, January 5, 2009

This Disgusts Me: US Embassy In Baghdad

I already knew about this. I already complained about this. But it's still there. Obviously, BushCheney Inc. doesn't read my blog. Imagine that. Here's the part that I hate so much: Annual operating expense for this monstrosity: $1.2 BILLION. Our country and all the people in it are sliding down the drain called recession into the bottomless pit called depression and yet our government is shelling out billions to run this fucker.

The next time anybody in my family says, "I'm worried about the Obama stimulus package. I mean, where's the money going to come from?" I'm going to say, "What the fuck did you just say?" and send them this article.

Spit. Hiss. Spit. Hiss.

The new sign of deep friendship is a slap in the face: "by Amanda Marcotte


Update: To make all this even better, the company who built the Death Star is under investigation for gross human rights abuses while building it.' (Hat tip.)



It’s almost not-morning now, so I figure everyone’s stomachs are settled enough to read about our fancy new Death Star imperialist palace embassy in Iraq, which opens today. It cost $700 million, which the AP writer manages to minimize by calling it merely the ‘largest embassy ever’, which is similar in scope and accuracy to calling the blue whale the largest fish ever.' For this blogger at least remembers the plans for the ‘embassy’, which seems less like an embassy and more like a fortress palace.





Construction of the U.S. embassy in Iraq, set to open in September, is projected to cost $592 million, with a staff of 1,000 people and operating costs totaling $1.2 billion a year. It will be a 104-acre complex, which is the size of approximately 80 football fields.




And that was a year ago.' You can only imagine how big it is now.' Here’s another picture from the plans, before they were yanked offline because of ‘security’, which means that the Death Star was an official embarrassment to the Bush administration.






So, we’ve built a fortress palace in the middle of Baghdad, complete with swimming pools and tennis courts and a 16,000 sq. ft. castle for the ambassador, and we can assume that if we’re gacking from the tawdry opulence of it all, your average Baghdad citizen who actually has to look at the thing is fucking thrilled.' That’s what the Bushies think, anyway.


Addressing an inauguration ceremony under tight security, Ambassador Ryan Crocker said the $700 million embassy was testimony to America’s long-term friendship with Iraq, where about 146,000 U.S. troops are deployed.



‘I think we have seen a tremendous amount of progress, even since September. But the development of this new Iraq is going to be a very long time in the making, and we need to be engaged here,’ Crocker told The Associated Press in an interview ahead of Monday’s opening of the new U.S. Embassy in Baghdad......



Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, a longtime Washington ally, praised President George W. Bush’s decision to invade Iraq in 2003 and topple the regime of Saddam Hussein, who was executed two years ago.



‘The building of this site would not be possible without the courageous decision by President Bush to liberate Iraq,’ said Talabani, a Kurd. ‘This building is not only a compound for the embassy but a symbol of the deep friendship between the two peoples of Iraq and America.’



Okay, so this means that they’ve got no intention in relinquishing control of Iraq, that it was intended to be a permanent colony of the United States.' We all knew that, of course, but pretending that it’s a big gesture of friendship to stomp all over a people and take their country is just rubbing salt in the wound.' I’m reminded of the song ‘Polly’ by Nirvana, a touching narrative of a delusional kidnapper/rapist who thinks that the woman he’s got trapped for repeated rape and abuse somehow has settled into a friendly relationship with him, even as she keeps trying to escape.'

"



(Via pandagon.net.)

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Live Blogging Israeli Invasion Of Gaza

Live blogging of Israeli invasion of Gaza at Enduring America. Here is a recent segment (emphasis mine):

11:45 p.m. Text message from Norwegian doctor Mads Gilbert working at Gaza City’s Al-Shifa hospital:

Thanks for your support.. They bombed the central vegetable market in Gaza city two hours ago. 80 injured, 20 killed, it all came here to Shifa. Hades! We wade in death. Blood and amputees. Many children. Pregnant woman. I have never experienced anything so terrible. Now we hear tanks. Tell it, pass it on, shout it. Anything. DO SOMETHING! DO MORE! We’re living in the history books now, all of us! Mads G, 3.1.09 13:50, Gaza, Palestine.

11:35 p.m. Reports that UN officials saying 13,000 Gazans displaced by attacks. At least 20 percent of 507 Gazan deaths are women and children.


10:20 p.m. Israeli Air Force is using new bunker-busting bombs provided by US. According to The Jerusalem Post:

The missile, called GBU-39, was developed in recent years by the US as a small-diameter bomb for low-cost, high-precision and low collateral damage strikes.

Israel received approval from Congress to purchase 1,000 units in September and defense officials said on Sunday that the first shipment had arrived earlier this month and was used successfully in penetrating underground Kassam launchers in the Gaza Strip during the heavy aerial bombardment of Hamas infrastructure on Saturday. It was also used in Sunday’s bombing of tunnels in Rafah.