Monday, July 31, 2006

Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani calls for a cease-fire, points in direction of U.S.

Oh shit. Sistani is the only reason Iraq is going as well as it is. I know that sounds retarded, but he's the only person keeping it from full-blown chaos! Okay, it's that bad already, but if al-Sistani withdraws his support of the U.S. invasion everything will crumble.

Sistani is the number one cleric of Iraq (at least for the Shiite majority), sort of like the pope of Iraq or something. If he says "attack Americans" we're going to see U.S. casualties skyrocket. We need him on our side, for our troops' sake.
Iraq's top Shiite cleric demanded an immediate cease-fire in Lebanon, warning Sunday that the Muslim world will "not forgive'' nations that stand in the way of stopping the fighting.

Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani issued the call following the Israeli airstrike that killed at least 56 Lebanese, mostly women and children, in the village of Qana. It was the deadliest attack in nearly three weeks of fighting.

"Islamic nations will not forgive the entities that hinder a cease-fire,'' al-Sistani said in a clear reference to the United States.
Oooohhh, he's talking shit about our pathetic excuse for a diplomatic effort over in the Middle-east. Was Condi Rice even trying to make peace or was she just over there stalling for time?
To be sure, Condoleezza Rice, the US secretary of state, started her tour of the region in Beirut, giving that warred-over capital a brief respite. But no sooner had she moved to Jerusalem than Israel resumed massive air strikes on Beirut's teeming southern suburbs, the heartland of Hizbollah, the heavily armed Shia Islamist group.

The message she brought to both parties was that there would be no return to the status quo ante. Hizbollah had to pull back from the border, disarm and hand back the two Israeli soldiers it seized two weeks ago, precipitating the crisis.

The chances of this happening are virtually nil, as Israel should know. Hizbollah was spawned by the Israeli invasion of 1982, and its shrewd but implacable guerrilla warfare forced Israel finally to abandon its occupation in 2000. Ignoring the hard reality of the region, Washington appears to believe diplomacy is about achieving Israel's unrealisable war aims by other means.
The U.S. effort so far has not been a genuine attempt to achieve a cease-fire or a lasting peace. It's been a charade, a phony, a fake pageant of pretending to want peace. The neocons want war. War is the only thing that will save them.

It's not even a fair negotiation strategy to allow the U.S. to intervene when it's clear that Israel is our dog in this race. We stand to gain from their actions and we give then diplomatic and international cover, which enhances their stand against Hezbollah. The Europeans would perhaps be a better group to try and negotiate peace, but everyone looks to America. It's a shame our government is so cruel and contemptable.

But we risk alienating a powerful "ally" in al-Sistani. Now the choice is clear: continue our shameful pseudo-attempts to bring peace and we will face increasing pressure in Iraq from the Shia majority.
But the point is that fighting could now easily spread, and not just by sucking in Hizbollah's patrons in Syria and Iran. Israel's assault on Shia Lebanon has inflamed the Shia majority in Iraq - the community preventing the total meltdown of the US occupation. Moqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi army, modelled on Hizbollah, which fought alongside it in the 2004 siege of Najaf, is itching to launch a new uprising. Even Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the spiritual leader of the Shia who has held the Iraqi ring, is reportedly on the verge of withdrawing his tacit but vital support for the American project.
If he withdrawls his already-unenthusiastic support for America's war then this whole thing falls apart into a regional war that will probably escalate into World War IV.

That's horrible!

That's tragic!

That's.... exactly what the neocons want.

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Ledeen lies about his record on Iran invasion

But Think Progress has the real scoop:
Ledeen makes a similar argument is his own response to Bramford, claiming “I’ve openly and consistently opposed military invasion.”

Actually, writing for the National Review on July 11, Ledeen said the United States should attack Iran:

"But one thing I do know: I would insist that my soldiers have the right of 'hot pursuit' into Iran and Syria, and I would order my armed forces to attack the terrorist training camps in those countries."
Oops. Looks like Ledeen has been blabbing everywhere about his desire to invade Iran.

Should it really surprise us that a warmonger is also a dirty liar? He's not even a very good liar, but we can give him points for boldness. He, like Hitler, understands the importance of The Big Lie. Getting us into Iran? That would be a really big lie.

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Sen. Pat Roberts still stalling on Iraq Pre-War Intelligence Report

Pat Roberts has a difficult job; he has to do exactly nothing while making it look like he's working hard. Right now it looks like he's got the "do nothing" part down, but he's not very adept at making it look like he's working:
When angry Democrats briefly shut down the Senate last year to protest the slow pace of a congressional investigation into prewar intelligence on Iraq, Senate Minority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) claimed a rare victory.

Republicans called it a stunt but promised to quickly wrap up the inquiry. Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, which is overseeing the investigation, said his report was near completion and there was no need for the fuss.

That was nine months ago.

The Republican-led committee, which agreed in February 2004 to write the report, has yet to complete its work. Just two of five planned sections of the committee's findings are fully drafted and ready to be voted on by members, according to Democratic and Republican staffers. Committee sources involved with the report, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said they are working hard to complete it. But disputing Roberts, they said they had started almost from scratch in November after Democrats staged their protest.
That's funny. Before the Democrats protested he hadn't done jack shit! Now 2 sections are done, but I'm betting that the 2 sections completed are the most harmless. Any sort of competent or thorough investigation would reveal far more than Roberts is prepared to show us. He's a cover-up guy. This is a cover-up. At most he will put a few mildly damaging bits in there to make it seem like he has teeth. He's a naked partisan, sucking at Cheney's wrinkled, wart-filled little cock with his toothless mouth.

The Republicans cannot be trusted to investigate themselves.
Part of the investigation that focuses on the Pentagon's Office of Special Plans, which was run by former undersecretary of defense Douglas J. Feith, is on hold, staff members said, pending a separate inquiry by the Defense Department's inspector general.
Feith is the guy charged with justifying the invasion of Iraq by the neocons. He did his job and he did it well. Now they will go to great lengths to provide cover for him. They will lie, obstruct, assassinate, and stall to make sure the public doesn't learn what really went on in Feith's dungeon.

This is all part of a complex political dance, most of it designed to lull the public to sleep and assure us that we have a responsive and non-criminal government when the reverse is actually true.

Everybody knows that our excuses for the Iraq War were manufactured in the Office of Special Plans. Everybody knows those excuses were bullshit, there were no WMDs (except the ones we gave Saddam) and Iraq was not a threat to us (just as Iran is not a real threat). That doesn't matter. Nobody has the political will or power to take on the Bush administration and start throwing people in jail. Until the likely-to-be-fraudulent elections in November we don't have a prayer of seeing real action on this investigation. Only if the neocons don't manage to successfully rig the election will we see action. Let's hope they fuck up and don't stuff enough ballot boxes.

At this rate it looks like they will have to stuff a lot of ballot boxes.

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Sunday, July 30, 2006

Legalize Drugs to Quell the Violence? Won't somebody think of the CIA's feelings?!

AlterNet's Norm Stamper calls for legalization to end the growing violence in Mexico and in America caused by drug prohibition:

In the mid-'90s, the Arellano brothers' drug cartel ruled Tijuana, perched atop the hierarchy of Mexico's multibillion dollar illegal drug trafficking industry. Using cars, planes and trucks -- and an intimate knowledge of NAFTA -- the Arellanos transported hundreds of tons of cocaine, heroin, marijuana and methamphetamine into American cities.

They enlisted U.S. drug gangs. In 1993, in my last days as San Diego's assistant police chief, the local gang Calle Treinte was implicated in the Arellano-inspired killing of Cardinal Juan Jesus Posadas Ocampo. The Arellanos bribed officials on both sides of the border, spending over $75 million annually on the Mexican side alone, to grease their illicit trafficking.

And they enforced their rule not just with murder but with torture. If Steven Soderbergh's gritty 2000 film "Traffic" caused you to squirm in your seat, the real-life story of Mexican drug dealing is even more disquieting. The brothers once kidnapped a rival's wife and children. With videotape running, they tossed two of the kids off a bridge, then sent their competitor a copy of the tape, along with the severed head of his wife. Another double-crosser had his skull crushed in a compression vice. And who can forget the carne asada BBQs, where the Arellanos would roast entire families over flaming tires?

Whenever you hear horrible stories like this one, remember who is at least partly to blame for this situation: Politicians who support drug prohibition because they think it makes them look "tough on crime" when the policies they support are actually just tough on liberty. Prohibition simply creates attractive (black) markets for criminals and sociopaths. If drugs were legal, they would be under the control of Walgreens, not the Arellano brothers.

Illegal drugs are expensive precisely because they are illegal. The products themselves are worthless weeds -- cannabis (marijuana), poppies (heroin), coca (cocaine) -- or dirt-cheap pharmaceuticals and "precursors" used, for example, in the manufacture of methamphetamine. Yet today, marijuana is worth as much as gold, heroin more than uranium, cocaine somewhere in between. It is the U.S.'s prohibition of these drugs that has spawned an ever-expanding international industry of torture, murder and corruption. In other words, we are the source of Mexico's "drug problem."

The remedy is as obvious as it is urgent: legalization.

Regulated legalization of all drugs -- with stiffened penalties for driving impaired or furnishing to kids -- would bring an immediate halt to the violence. How? By (1) dramatically reducing the cost of these drugs, (2) shifting massive enforcement resources to prevention and treatment and (3) driving drug dealers out of business: no product, no profit, no incentive. In an ideal world, Mexico and the United States would move to repeal prohibition simultaneously (along with Canada). But even if we moved unilaterally, sweeping and lasting improvements to public safety (and public health) would be felt on both sides of the border. (Tragically and predictably, just as Mexico's parliament was about to reform its U.S.-modeled drug laws, the Bush administration stepped in, pressuring President Vicente Fox to abandon the enlightened position he'd championed for two years.)

Stamper makes an excellent and well-thought-out call for legalization, but he's missing part of the puzzle. The missing piece helps to explain why legalization won't happen any time soon: The government is well aware of the problems caused by drug prohibition and that's exactly the way they want it. They don't want crime free cities (how could they strip us of our rights and frighten us if our cities are peaceful?), they don't want cheap recreational drugs (how else could they make so much money without informing Congress of where it came from?) and they certainly don't want to get rid of drug dealers (how else could they arrest any black person at any time?).

The elephant in the room has a kilo of coke jammed up his trunk and none of us are supposed to mention that fact. The Bush Crime Family has depended on the income delivered by drugs for years. This shouldn't come as a surprise if you know that George Bush Senior ("Poppy Bush" as he is called) used to be the Director the CIA, an organization that is notorious for smuggling drugs, protecting drug kingpins, selling drugs to fund black ops and generally behaving like a bunch of state-sponsored terrorists... cause that's what they are.

The CIA needs drugs to be illegal. They have to fund their illegal, terroristic black ops somehow: How are we supposed to assassinate foreign leaders, execute coup d'États, prop up right-wing dictators and generally spread fear around the globe if some goddamn hippies are goin' around talking about drug legalization?! What the fuck?! Don't you know how hard it is to spread fascism and evil without a slushfund?

Good point. America, the choice is soooo much harder than it seems: If we legalize drugs we might inadvertantly make the CIA less evil and impede its ability to launch terrorist attacks against its enemies, foreign and domestic! Oh noooo!!!!!

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Saturday, July 29, 2006

Holy fuck, it's hotter than Jessica Alba today

Jessica Alba in a hot outfitDamn! Smokin' hot!

Er, the weather that is. It's 97 degrees here in Minnesota. It's supposed to hit 101 tomorrow and 103 on Monday. There's a dude outside fryin' up a pan of bacon on my car's hood.

Anyway, I just slept 13 hours and I don't feel like doing much... except Jessica Alba!

California's sending us all their heat when what we really wish they'd send us is Jessica Alba!

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Friday, July 28, 2006

Wake up, America!

Wake up America! Stop the New World Order. What a great fuckin' picture, eh? Click on it for a larger view. So what's funnier? Condi Rice in "blackface" or Rumsfeld looking like he's dead, but reanimated somehow? I love this artwork, man. Great stuff. The generals in the rear, to the right, look particularly psychotic. This guy has some mad skillz! Head over to Mark Bryan's site for more fucking sweet pics. Here's another one in the same vein:

It's called General Monkey Brains. Appropriate for this blog, yes? Monkeys are always funny -- I keep telling you.

Okay, one more. I can't resist:

It's called, El Fin de Bozo and it's fucking hilarious for reasons I can't fully explain. But c'mon, a clown drive-by shooting is just funny as is. LOL!

Ahh... now that's what I call art!

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Workin' like a muthafucka

Been really busy lately. I worked an 11-hour day yesterday so I didn't have time to post. Sorry about that. Mostly, I'd like to apologize to myself for that shift. Anyway, I took the day off! Yay! In fact, I took Monday off, too. This way I can relax a little bit and get a 4-day weekend. I will also be concentrating on my house hunting endeavor. Wish me luck!

I'll be back in a second with another post. Great picture I found, you've gotta check it out.

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Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Michael Ledeen's Echoes of Iran-Contra, and the Plan for the War on Iran

One of my favorite investigative reporters, James Bamford, has a new piece in Rolling Stone detailing the build up to the near-inevitable War on Iran. There are many choice bits, but let me show you this one first:
In November 2003, Rumsfeld approved a plan known as CONPLAN 8022-02, which for the first time established a pre-emptive-strike capability against Iran. That was followed in 2004 by a top-secret "Interim Global Strike Alert Order" that put the military on a state of readiness to launch an airborne and missile attack against Iran, should Bush issue the command. "We're now at the point where we are essentially on alert," said Lt. Gen. Bruce Carlson, commander of the 8th Air Force. "We have the capacity to plan and execute global strikes in half a day or less."
The War on Iran has been planned for years. As the article makes clear, the planning began before 9/11, hell, even before Bush even became president. This is deliberate, methodical warmongering on the part of the neoconservatives.

They're building an empire.

I guess some Americans may be okay with that. I'm not. There's a little "problem" with empires: They are ruled by an emperor. In other words, they are not democratic in nature. They are not "republics" like ours. They are antithetical to the American Way and everything we stand for.

And it's not like this some big fucking secret, although many people I know are shocked -- SHOCKED! -- when I tell them we're going into Iran. I guess that's what happens when you rely on mainstream news sources for information. Everybody who's anybody knows we're going into Iran. The neocons don't even bother to hide the fact that they're going to get us into Iran one way or another:
Stout and balding, with a scruffy white beard, [Michael] Ledeen is sitting in the living room of his white-brick home in Chevy Chase, Maryland, smoking a Dominican cigar. His Airedale terrier, Thurber, roams the room protectively. In his first extensive interview about the covert Pentagon operation, Ledeen makes no secret of his desire to topple the government in Tehran. "I want to bring down the regime," he says. "I want the regime gone. It's a country that is fanatically devoted to our destruction."
Michael Ledeen, for those of you who don't know, is a complete fuckwit who also happens to be one of the preeminent neoconservative "intellectuals" (their word, not mine) who guides neoconservative policy, rather like Irving Kristol. Ledeen is a fucking idiot, but that's what makes him perfect as a neocon guru. He doesn't let facts get in the way; he's mentally agile enough to route around or rationalize anything under the sun in order to justify the dictates of the leaders of the group.

Ledeen, as the article makes clear, was one of the major players in the Iran-Contra scandal. So, he certainly has experience with Iran, law-breaking and war, which is really all you need to become a shining star in the neocon constellation (apparently).

Interestingly, the Iran-Contra affair also involved hostages (Americans this time) held by Hezbollah. The Reagan administration arranged to sell weapons to Iran in exchange for Iran pressuring Hezbollah into releasing the hostages. The money from the arms sales would go to fund the Nicaraguan counter-revolutionaries ("Contras") fighting to overthrow a democratically-elected leftist government (the Sandinistas). The Contras were also funded by other means, including massive cocaine smuggling coordinated by the U.S. government. Not just into other countries -- into ours! So yes, the U.S. government has engaged in drug smuggling, arms dealing, and funding "terrorist" groups (the Contras were not gentlemen), all in the name of overthrowing democratically-elected governments in South America. Boy, don't you just wanna start singing America the Beautiful?!

They say history repeats itself, first as tragedy, then as farce. I can only hope that this will be the farce time, but I think we've gotta get through the tragedy bit first. Shit. Well, here we are again, dealing with the dark side in order to accomplish some dark and hideous task in the name of freedom (ostensibly), but really in the name of more power for our ruling elite. Ain't politics great!?!?!

If you think our illustrious leaders have changed their stripes and will pull back from the brink, you're fucking dreaming. They will do no such thing unless we grab them by the neck. That's why it is so important, So, SO important that when the time comes we protest -- huge rallies, massive rallies -- until the Bush regime has no choice but to surrender.

Unfortunately, the situation in Lebanon makes that more difficult. The Israelis and the neocons are trying to drag us into World War IV gradually so we won't even know for sure that we're in it until it's too late. A good plan. But we've got to stop it. We can't make the same mistakes we've made in Iraq (such as, ya know, invading). Our troops are already stretched thin; we can't afford to have another war, another country to pacify. Things are spiraling out of control already.

We have to stop this war before it's too late.

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Bush's Plan for "Serial War" revealed by General Wesley Clark

"[The] Five-year campaign plan [includes]... a total of seven countries, beginning with Iraq, then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Iran, Somalia and Sudan" (Pentagon official quoted by General Wesley Clark)

read more | digg story


This should come as a surprise to no one who reads this blog regularly. For the rest of the world, it might be a bit of a shock. Alas, it's hard to prove that we are in "Imperial" mode. Neocons on Digg have simply attacked Clark's character rather than dealing with the revelation.

You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink
You can lead a person to truth, but you can't make him think.

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Monday, July 24, 2006

Congress to sue the President

I am not making this up. Arlen Specter is planning on introducing a bill that will allow Congress to sue President Bush for his abuse of "signing statements" that increasingly look like an end run around Congress:
"We will submit legislation to the United States Senate which will...authorize the Congress to undertake judicial review of those signing statements with the view to having the president's acts declared unconstitutional," Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter, R-Pa., said on the Senate floor.

Specter's announcement came the same day that an American Bar Association task force concluded that by attaching conditions to legislation, the president has sidestepped his constitutional duty to either sign a bill, veto it, or take no action.

Bush has issued at least 750 signing statements during his presidency, reserving the right to revise, interpret or disregard laws on national security and constitutional grounds.

"That non-veto hamstrings Congress because Congress cannot respond to a signing statement," said ABA president Michael Greco. The practice, he added "is harming the separation of powers."

Bush has challenged about 750 statutes passed by Congress, according to numbers compiled by Specter's committee. The ABA estimated Bush has issued signing statements on more than 800 statutes, more than all other presidents combined.

Signing statements have been used by presidents, typically for such purposes as instructing agencies how to execute new laws.

But many of Bush's signing statements serve notice that he believes parts of bills he is signing are unconstitutional or might violate national security.
A line-item veto has already been declared unconstitutional. Why does Bush think he can get away with this? Probably because the Republican-led Congress has let him get away with everything else so far.

This is great news, but Specter cannot be trusted. He's already trying to let the President weasel out of punishment (and court) for his unchecked wiretapping and his end run around of the FISA court (notice a pattern here?). But hopefully Specter will show spine for once.

But I wouldn't count on it. Change is gonna come, but it's gonna have to come from us, the common people. We need to take to the streets.


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New business model for selling/discovering music launched with Amie Street alpha

Amie St. is a new online store for selling tunes by independent artists. The best part: it takes a new approach in letting users decide how much a song costs based on how many recommendations they give it. Even better: The music is all in MP3 format and it is NOT encumbered by shitty DRM (digital restrictions management).

Tech Crunch has more on the new store and its founders:

Artists can upload their music to Amie Street for promotion and sale. Users form social networks with friends, listen to, and purchase music. All songs are DRM-free in MP3. Songs appear to be at 192kpbs quality level, although it may just be whatever the artist uploads.

All songs are free to start. Prices fluctuate over time based on demand for the song - currently the highest priced song, “Against the Wall” by Danny Ross, is $0.36. 273 songs have been uploaded so far. This demand based pricing model seems like a good way to sell music.

I hope this business model takes off! I will be adding my music to the store once we've got an album to sell, if not before. I've got a couple tracks layin' around. We'll see. For now, it's pretty exciting and all-in-all, a great thing for independent artists.


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Sunday, July 23, 2006

12th Day of the War in Lebanon

We are entering the 12th day of the war. A few questions have been bouncing around in my mind:

1. Is President Bush doing everything he can to resolve the crisis?

2. What is Israel's plan?

3. When will this war wind down?

4. What will we do if it doesn't?

It's hard to know what's going to happen. Israel seems to be the one keeping it going, although Hezbollah militants are fighting back and launching rockets at Israel. But at this point in the conflict, it's starting to get blurry about who started what and where the lines are. The best time to stop a war like this is in its infancy. We must end the hostilities now. Bush is sending Condi Rice to the region to press for.... not a ceasefire. That's right folks: a ceasefire is not on the agenda. Some are saying the war has been "approved" by the U.S. for another week.

It doesn't seem to be on Israel's agenda either. They have apparently been calling (automatically, using a recording) Lebanese citizens and telling them to vacate the region south of the Litani River.

This war will continue because it is beneficial to certain parties. Not the Lebanese civilians under fire. But "certain parties" in the U.S. and in Israel. Will they end what they have begun?


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Friday, July 21, 2006

Working too hard

Got this at work today from a friend:

Luckily I didn't have one of those smashing-my-face-against-the-keyboard days. Pretty gruesome, ehh?

Don't work too hard. Happy weekend!

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Iron Maiden singer Bruce Dickinson rescues British citizens from Beirut

Bruce is an all-around cool guy in my book. He's got a big mouth, but that's a lead singer thing. Anyway, it's great to hear he's helping out:
Iron Maiden frontman Bruce Dickinson reportedly came to the rescue of hundreds of British citizens stranded in war-ravaged Beirut. Dickinson who is also a jet pilot, flew a Boeing 757 to Cyprus where he scooped up the evacuees and flew them back to Gatwick. No word on whether Dickinson cranked “Run to the Hills” on the PA.
"Run to the Hills"? Wouldn't it be "Aces High"?! Or hell, even "Tailgunner"! But "Aces High" has that great line, "Got to get airborne before it's too late!" Hell, let me post the video in honor of Bruce's heroics.

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U.S. & U.K. squash calls for a cease-fire in Lebanon, support Israeli strikes

Proving once again that they are not interested in attaining peace in the Middle East, the neocons and their UK allies have rejected UN calls for a cease-fire and expressed support for Israel's actions:

Criticism has mounted that the two countries are blocking the 15-nation Security Council from endorsing the UN secretary-general’s call for an immediate suspension of fighting.

More than 300 Lebanese civilians and nearly 30 Israelis have died since the fighting started, and half a million Lebanese civilians have been displaced. Israel has warned that it is now preparing a ground invasion to eradicate Hezbollah strongholds in the south of Lebanon, a move that can only add to the misery of the civilian population.

The British and American proposal called for the Security Council to express its intention "to create the conditions for a permanent solution and to bring about an immediate end to hostilities." It also called on all sides to exercise restraint and to allow humanitarian access.

The neocon position is merely a stalling tactic. "Create the conditions for a permanent solution?" How are they supposed to do that in the midst of open war? The ceasefire is necessary first step. You can't replace the brakes on a car while you're driving it.

It's clear that peace is not the goal of the Bush administration. Let's hear it straight from the mouthpiece of the neoconservative movement:

William Kristol, writing in the neo-conservative US magazine Weekly Standard, does not see the crisis in Lebanon as a local war requiring a local solution. Rather, he depicts the conflict as part of a global struggle between Islam and “liberal democratic civilization.”

“What’s happening in the Middle East, then, isn’t just another chapter in the Arab-Israeli conflict. What’s happening is an Islamist-Israeli war. You might even say this is part of the Islamist war on the West.”

Kristol called upon the US government to focus less on Hamas and Hizbollah and more “on their paymasters and real commanders - Syria and Iran." The United States needs to forcefully reassert its power in the region and “pursue […] regime change in Syria and Iran,” even considering “a military strike against Iranian nuclear facilities.”

The US has stood aside for too long, making itself appear weak in the eyes of its Islamist enemies, Kristol said.

Weakness, to Kristol, is the failure of the U.S. to rule the world with an iron fist. This man is a fascist.

Kristol is trying to start a war between the West and Islam. That seems to be the plan, anyway. He accuses the Islamists of waging a war on the West. Is he fucking serious? The Islamic nations would never try that -- they would get crushed. Kristol is, as usual, lying out his ass. He's got it exactly backwards. Fascist Westerners like him are trying to wage war against Islamists because they know the West will win, thus gaining more power for him. He knows he's full of shit. These guys are some really cynical assholes.

So, I hope you like war. 'Cause there's a lot more of it on the way as long as the neocons are in charge.

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Thursday, July 20, 2006

Israel is hinting at a "full scale invasion" of Lebanon to track down Hezbollah militants

Things are heating up in Lebanon:

Israeli troops met fierce resistance from Hezbollah guerrillas Thursday as they crossed into Lebanon to seek tunnels and weapons for a second straight day, and Israel hinted at a full-scale invasion.

Israel warned residents to "immediately" flee a nearly 20-mile swath of south Lebanon along the border. Its warplanes also launched new airstrikes on Beirut's southern suburbs, a Hezbollah stronghold, shortly after daybreak, followed by strikes in the guerrillas' heartland in the south and eastern Bekaa Valley.

This is getting pretty bad. Hezbollah seems to be launching rockets at Israeli towns, which certainly isn't helping the Lebanese government arrange a ceasefire. The Lebanese government is in tatters anyway, so if we want to see an end to the crisis it will need to come from the international community.

The United States House of Representatives' response was swift: They passed a non-binding resolution supporting Israel's right to blow the living shit out of everything in Lebanon, Syria, Iran, and anybody else who we don't like. Whoopee.

I would've thought that a solemn declaration of solidarity with the victims on both sides would've been more appropriate. But I guess war is big business. And business is good.

Meanwhile, religious nuts are eagerly awaiting the rapture. Boy Jesus is gonna be impressed... with their selfishness and stupidity. Did he say anything in Revelation about killing people and supporting war so that he can come back quicker? I don't remember reading that part...


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Super Mario Bros. 2 and Doki Doki Panic

If you're an old-school gamer geek like me you probably played and loved Super Mario Brothers 2. But the version that was released in the States is completely different from the Japanese version. Nintendo actually rebranded a game called Doki Doki Panic as a Mario game and released it in the U.S. In my opinion, it's a much better game than the Japanese SMB2.

But don't take my word for it. Check out both Doki Doki and Super Mario 2 (Japanese) at this location.

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Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Daniel Ellsberg, leaker of the Pentagon Papers points to government involvement in 9/11 conspiracy

InfoWars has an interview with Daniel Ellsberg on the coming war with Iran, the government's involement in false flag terror attacks and more.

This may seem like some heavy shit, but Ellsberg knows a thing or two about the government. Daniel Ellsberg is the guy who leaked the Pentagon Papers back in 1971. The Nixon Administration made his life a living hell and tried to track him down and put him on trial, or kill him. The New York Times was ordered by President Nixon to cease publication of anything related to the Pentagon Papers immediately, which sparked a case that went to the Supreme Court. The Court decided in favor the Times allowing further publishing.

Ellsberg knows what the government's capable of; he used to help them come up with their crazy schemes as a military analyst for the RAND Corporation. He eventually used his access to leak documents providing an important insight into the government's inner workings which revealed a contempt for "the public" and a sinister resistance to accountability or oversight. Also revealed were attempts to goad enemies into firing on us, including the Gulf of Tonkin incident.

In recent years Ellsberg has been arrested many times as he's protested various government lies and atrocities. Now he's joining a growing group of people including scholars, engineers, pilots and military officers who are questioning the events of 9/11. Of the upcoming war with Iran Ellsberg says:
If there’s another 9/11 or a major war in the Middle-East involving a U.S. attack on Iran, I have no doubt that there will be, the day after or within days an equivalent of a Reichstag fire decree that will involve massive detentions in this country.
I urge you to do some research and consider the possibility that our government may have had forehand knowledge of the attacks -- and the even more horrible possibility that the government was complicit and an active partner in the attacks.

We have to think about this before the War on Iran. We can't let the Bush Administration and its neo-conservative masters take our rights -- our lives -- away from us so easily. If these allegations are true then we are dealing with a government far more ruthless and psychotic than most Americans realize.

Quite frankly, I'm nervous even publishing this post. But people are starting to speak out, including celebrities Charlie Sheen, Richard Linklater (who claims to have convinced Bruce Willis), Tom DeLonge (from Blink 182) and scholars/researchers like James Fetzer, Dr. Steven E. Jones, Michael Ruppert and many more. It seems that Hunter S. Thompson was researching 9/11 when he died. Strange that he would kill himself before finishing his inquiry, isn't it?

We shouldn't have to feel afraid of our government. We shouldn't have to deal with government censorship and lies and terrorism carried out against its own people. I hope that the government didn't really have any involvement.... but I know how these fascists work. 9/11 is a perfect 21st century Reichstag Fire. Cui Bono?

And if Iran somehow manages to "attack us" will the government declare martial law like Ellsberg says? How important is freedom to the Bush cabal? Do you really think that they will go to bat for regular people or do you think they will use the crisis to expand the government's power? What's to stop them from increasing the government's powers to overtly totalitarian levels after our system of checks and balances has been stripped away in order to fight "The War on Terror"?

In a way, it doesn't matter whether the government is behind the attacks or not. They're so busy getting rid of our rights that it's a moot point.

I guess the terrorists -- whoever they are -- have won.

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Grudge Match: Kevin Smith versus Joel Siegel

Film critic and all around smarmy punster Joel Siegel has managed to piss off Silent Bob, er... Kevin Smith, filmmaker and fart joke master. From Smith's website:

So last night, at a press screening of “Clerks II” in New York City, “Good Morning America” movie critic Joel Siegel decided he’d had enough of my shenanigans, and walked out of the flick at the forty minute mark. You’d imagine this would bother me, and yet, I’m as delighted by this news as I was with the eight minute standing ovation “Clerks II” received in Cannes.

I mean, it’s Joel Siegel, for Christ’s sake. As Paul Thomas Anderson once said of the man, getting a bad review from Siegel is like a badge of honor. This is the guy who stole his mustachioed critic shtick from Gene Shalit years ago, and still refuses to give it back. This is a guy who seemingly prides himself on being “punny” - that is, he likes to add his own nyuk-nyuk wordplay into the reviews he writes/gives.

For “Pirates 2″, he made us all titter with “Yo, Ho, Ho and a Bottle of Fun”.

Oh man, I'm rollin'. That was so funny. How long did it take Siegel to think up that one? Days? Weeks? Months? Fucking tool. Sorry, I'm not very objective in this fight. Siegel is a kiss-ass dumbshit and I really like Smith's films, so I am very biased. But check this part out:

Apparently, rather than quietly exit, both Joel and his Cum-Catcher (my slang for the fancy kind of mustache he sports) made a big stink about walking out, calling as much attention to himself as possible, and being generally pretty disruptive.

Check this shit out: roughly forty minutes into the flick, when Randal orders up the third act donkey show, Siegel bellowed to his fellow critics “Time to go!'’ and “This is the first movie I’ve walked out of in 30 fucking years!'’

Read Kevin's site for more evisceration.

...Wait, "third act donkey show?" Well, maybe I should withhold judgment. Oh hell, donkeys aren't as funny as monkeys, but they're close. Pretty damn close.

Anyway, Clerks II sounds pretty good. I'll check it out one of these days. Maybe not on the big screen, but I'll see it.

Man, for $8.50 that better be the best damn donkey show ever. I somehow managed to pay only $4.50 for Pirates II and I still felt like I got ripped off since there was only $1.25 worth of plot. I suppose Keira Knightly makes up for the rest...

I look forward to the next round of this fight in which Joel Siegel threatens to "pun-ish" Kevin Smith physically.


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Stop World War IV


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Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Ex-CIA Director Woosley calls for strikes on Syrian and Iran

Think Progress has this escalation of the insanity of war and profiteering:
WOOLSEY: Without talking to Lebanon about it, frankly, John, I think we ought to execute some air strikes against Syria, against the instruments of power of that state, against the airport, which is the place where the weapons shuttle through from Iran to Hezbollah and Hamas. I think both Syria and Iran think that we’re cowards. They saw us leave Lebanon after the ‘83 Marine Corps bombing. They saw us leave Mogadishu in 1993. They saw us back off in 1991 when we had Saddam on the ropes and there were revolts in 14 of Iraq’s 18 provinces, and we stood there. I think they think Israel, similarly, by backing out of Lebanon a few years ago, and by backing out of Gaza, they’re fielding their oats. In that part of the world, the most dangerous thing to do is look like cowards in the face of these totalitarian groups.

QUESTION: Mr. Woolsey, are you saying that we should be hitting Syria? We should be hitting the airport? We should be hitting Bashar Assad’s office?

WOOLSEY: Yes. The last thing we ought to do now —

QUESTION: You mean we the United States, not Israel?

WOOLSEY: Yes, yes. The last thing we ought to do now is to start talking about cease-fires and the rest.
My Thug Side: My God, the man is talking about cease-fires?!!!! hang him!! Kill the fucking hippy who dares to argue for restraint!! Ain't that right, Mr. Woosley? [/thug]

Man, these fucking neocons are serious about this World War IV shit.

You might be surprised at this shit, but I am not. There is a dirty secret out there in the defense industry and the media and Washington: War is Big Business. These people are heavily invested in the military-industrial complex. They want war because they will benefit from it. No other reasons are as compelling as that one. And they know they can get away with it, too.

"The last thing we ought to do now is to start talking about cease-fires..." That's what he said. That's what he fucking said.

War is Big Business.

The military-industrial complex feeds on the strife, the money, the blood. It needs it. This beast is some amoral demon that we created to win the last great war. It didn't leave after the war ended. It stayed. It fed. It grew stronger and bigger, it hooked into everything, every aspect of society. The military needs it. The government needs it. The business interests need it.

We will go to war to feed the beast. Let there be no confusion. If we enter Iran and Syria, there is no turning back from that. It's all-out war with the Islamic nations and anybody else who doesn't like us. World War IV.

Does Woosley really know what that means? He must know there will be sacrifices. And these wars the elite start, they tend to get out of control. Who knows where the cards will lay when the time comes. Does he really want to bet it all on this horse?

The neocons -- Cheney, Wolfowitz, Perle, Rumsfeld, Woosley -- they all want war. That is all there is to say about them, about their character. If you've ever wondered why I give them so much shit -- this is why! They want to bring about this horrible and dangerous war in a last stakes gamble to get more control. They are evil.

I can't believe it's already coming to this. We have to get ready. We have to mobilize, we have to rally and strike and disobey! We have to stop this war like we should've stopped Iraq! This will be Iraq but 10 times worse.

Does anybody receive my signal? Is America still asleep? Distress code: 9.11.1984. Send word if you are still there, over! Are we going to stop this war, or are we gonna let it happen?

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James Dobson is a fanatic psycho because of his fucked up childhood

So says this blog:
Even more alarming, Dobson admits in one of his books that as a child he arranged a fight between two mismatched dogs. The battle involved a tenacious bulldog and a "sweet, passive Scottie named Baby," and Dobson provoked it by throwing a tennis ball toward Baby. He writes what happened next: "The bulldog went straight for Baby's throat and hung on. It was an awful scene. Neighbors came running from everywhere as the Scottie screamed in terror. It took ten minutes and a garden hose for the adults to pry loose the bulldog's grip. By then Baby was almost dead. He spent two weeks in the animal hospital, and I spent two weeks in the doghouse. I was hated by the entire town."

As any child psychologist will tell you, this type of cruelty toward animals is a sign of a serious psychological disturbance.
There's a lot more. Check it out for the full tale of woe. Basically, his parents were complete hardasses and they treated him like shit, and he was a pathetic child who acted out and was violent towards others.

So now he's some big shot minister, huh? Great. Can you imagine for a second, James, that maybe other people had fucked up childhoods too? And that maybe they reacted differently than you? Or even weirder -- that some people didn't have messed up childhoods? Maybe some of us don't need your strict rules to behave kindly.

I have no problem with Dobson having weird beliefs and a strict interpretation of the Bible. That's fine. But when he tries to push his beliefs onto others and tries to turn our great nation into a fucking theocracy, then we got beef.

So, sucks to be you with your crappy childhood, James. But leave the rest of us out of it.

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More on telepathy, psychic abilities and skeptics of paranormal activity

I was reading about the study on telepathy over at the usually extremely skeptical slashdot and there were actually some good links and ideas from people open to the idea of "paranormal" abilities, which are really just abilities that modern science has not yet been able to fully explain.

One poster pointed to this article as evidence that serious scientists are studying psychic abilities and having some success in proving that certain people have these abilities:
But what few may realize is Dubois' prime power - making contact with people after death - has been subjected to three years of UA research scientifically designed to determine if she is an authentic "medium" or a fraud.

Although the studies have stirred controversy nationwide and have been slammed by several skeptics, the Harvard-trained UA professor who ran them strongly defends their legitimacy, as does Dubois.

"There is no question this is not a fraud - some people really can do this, and Allison is one of them," said psychology professor Gary E. Schwartz, who directs the UA's Human Energy Systems Laboratory where the experiments with Dubois and other well-known mediums - including John Edward of TV's "Crossing Over" fame - have been conducted.

"Many people claim to do this, and there are clearly frauds out there. Allison was repeatedly tested and passed every test.

"As a scientist, I approach all this as an agnostic - I don't believe it; I don't disbelieve it. After testing her under conditions that ruled out the possibility of fraud, I came to the conclusion she's the real deal."
That's exactly the attitude you need to have to investigate something like the paranormal. You can't assume it exists and you can't be a raving nut like James Randi who refuses to even entertain the possibility of paranormal activity. You need to keep an open mind, unclouded by bias.

As I said, paranormal is just something observed that hasn't been proved or thoroughly debunked yet. Randi thinks of himself as a debunker, but he's not objective. Later on in the article Schwartz deals with Randi:
Perhaps more entertaining is the ongoing public feud Schwartz has with the flamboyant magician and professional skeptic James Randi, who has offered $1 million to "anyone who can show, under proper observing conditions, evidence of any paranormal, supernatural, or occult power or event."

Randi even wrote a letter to the University of Arizona Foundation in 2001, asking the university to submit Schwartz's research data to an independent panel for evaluation, to see if the UA might win the $1 million.

In one critique, Randi called Schwartz "an academic who has abandoned reason to accept everything and anything offered him by scammers from John Edward to the gypsy down the street."

Schwartz rejected Randi's million-dollar bait.

"I refused for the same reason all serious scientists in America and Europe have refused. The process of this prize lacks scientific credibility and integrity," he said. "This guy is not a scientist - he is a mediocre magician who loves the public eye."
Booyah! It's true: Randi is fucking clownshoes. He's a sideshow, and he has too much vested interest in keeping his money. How can he claim to be a scientist if he's offering huge cash prizes? That's not science. The reward is the discovery itself, not a million bucks.

Besides, James Randi asks you to take a great many things on "faith." He assumes that psychics and mediums are frauds and hucksters before he even hears their claims. This is not science. This is not even rational. It's faith. Randi has "faith" that there are no paranormal abilities. It's an article of faith for him that every claimant is a fraud.

Personally, I prefer to keep an open mind.

Apparently, so does the CIA. The Central Intelligence Agency has been experimenting with "remote viewing" for decades. Here's the abstract:
In July 1995 the CIA declassified, and approved for release, documents revealing its sponsorship in the 1970s of a program at Stanford Research Institute in Menlo Park, CA, to determine whether such phenomena as remote viewing "might have any utility for intelligence collection" [1]. Thus began disclosure to the public of a two-decade-plus involvement of the intelligence community in the investigation of so-called parapsychological or psi phenomena. Presented here by the program's Founder and first Director (1972 - 1985) is the early history of the program, including discussion of some of the first, now declassified, results that drove early interest.
It's probably been reclassified by now, but at least some data got out and onto the net.

My main problem with "skeptics" is their irrational behavior and scientifically unsupported claims -- all of which are ostensibly meant to prove the superiority of sound science. Talk about ruining your own case. Take a look at this example of "logic" by some leading skeptics:
Hyman's research has included examination of alleged psychic readings and critiques of parapsychological experiments. He acknowledges that Schwartz has excellent academic credentials but blasts his medium research.

"Probably no other extended program in psychical research deviates so much from the accepted norms of scientific methodology as this one."

After reviewing Schwartz's book, "The Afterlife Experiments," he said readings by Schwartz's "star mediums," like Dubois, "strike me as no different in kind from those of any run-of-the-mill psychic readers and as completely consistent with cold (fake) readings."

He criticized Schwartz for other research errors, such as using only subjects "predisposed" to believe in this phenomenon and for "inappropriate statistical tests."

In response, Schwartz said Hyman ignored and omitted facts that do not support his biases. "This is like a skeptical sports reviewer focusing on Michael Jordan's few air balls and fouls, and drawing the conclusion that Jordan can't play basketball," he said.
Excellent response by Schwartz. Hyman is blantantly ignoring everything that doesn't fit into his worldview, then Hyman turns around and blasts Schwartz for the failures in his model.

Basically, Hyman's logic seems to be that if the psychics (and the researchers) fall short of infallibility in any way, then that means they are total frauds in every way. That's not logic. From perusing A List of Fallacious Arguments, it would seem to point to "Moving The Goalposts (Raising The Bar, Argument By Demanding Impossible Perfection)" or maybe "Argument By Selective Reading". Either way it's a crutch for someone who can't make a decent argument without resorting to fallacy. I thought Hyman was supposed to be defending rational thought. Instead he is abusing it to defend his preconceived notions. I should also note that the list above comes from a skeptic -- one who appears more reasonable than Hyman or James Randi.

Anyway, I don't expect that we'll "prove" psychic powers are real anytime soon, but I think it's worth exploring whether certain people have the gift. Actually, I had an interesting idea about how to prove the old cliche "mind over matter" isn't just a cute saying: Study a bunch of psychics like Dubois in a controlled environment. Then, for some psychics, bring in some flaming skeptics like Randi and see if Randi's uncontrollable hatred and bias actually affects the accuracy of the psychic, just by being in the same room.

Could it be that skepticism is a psychic power?! :-)

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Researchers test for telepathy using virtual reality system

In order to accurately test for the existance of telepathy (and not be made fun of by other scientists) the researchers at The University of Manchester have created a virtual computer world to control for variables normally outside of their control:

The system, which immerses an individual in what looks like a life-size computer game, has been created as part of a joint project between The University's School of Computer Science and School of Psychological Sciences.

Approximately 100 participants will take part in the experiment which aims to test whether telepathy exists between individuals using the system. The project will also look at how telepathic abilities may vary depending on the relationships which exist between participants.

The test is carried out using two volunteers who could be friends, work colleagues or family. They are placed in separate rooms on different floors of the same building to eliminate any possibility of communication.

Participants enter the virtual environment by donning a head-mounted 3D display and an electronic glove which they use to navigate their way through the computer generated world.

Once inside participants view a random selection of computer-generated objects. These include a telephone, a football and an umbrella. The person in the first room sees one object at a time, which they are asked to concentrate on and interact with.

The person in the other room is simultaneously presented with the same object plus three decoy objects. They are then asked to select the object they believe the other participant is trying to transmit to them.

Sounds like a good plan. There's always a lot of hucksterism in paranormal circles so using normal people and placing them in a virtual world is a good control system. There really isn't another way to make scientists pay attention to the possibility of ESP and other abilities.

Personally, I think it's pretty obvious that humans have psychic abilities. Whenever I'm staring at a beautiful girl from across the room she almost always feels my gaze and looks at me. As long as people aren't really distracted (i.e. talking to someone else, reading, working) you can usually get them to look at you after staring at them for only a dozen seconds or so, even if they didn't know you were there and there was no line-of-sight. Try it next time you're at the mall.

Whether this experiment will be able to "prove" telepathic abilities exist is an open question. From the sound of it, they were more concerned with not being made fun of by other scientists. It's good that they're trying, but you have to wonder if they're taking the right approach. Scientists really hate the idea that there's something out there that they can't explain, can't be accurately measured or predicted and behaves in a way that can only be described as irrational. My question is: Why do you expect the universe to be easily explainable, rational and predictable? What evidence do you have that states that reality (all of it) should play by your rules?
until the 20th century, reality was everything humans could touch, smell, see and hear. since the inital publication of the charged electromagnetic spectrum, humans learned that what they can touch, smell, see, and hear... is less than one millionth of reality. -- Incubus, "New Skin"
What if "reality" doesn't play by your rules?


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Monday, July 17, 2006

Massive crowds in Mexico protest stolen election

Close to a million people spilled out into the streets on Sunday to protest possible fraud in the recent presidential election:
Hundreds of thousands of protesters marched through the Mexican capital on Sunday to demand a manual recount in the disputed presidential election, led by a leftist candidate who says fraud cost him the presidency.

As a precaution, the Roman Catholic Church canceled Mass at the city’s downtown cathedral as supporters of Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador began to overwhelm the central plaza to the sound of firecrackers and bands. Police officials in the pro-Lopez Obrador city government estimated the crowd at 900,000.

900,000 is a lot of people! Visit the linked article to see just how many people showed up. Why can't Americans get off their asses and protest when our elections are stolen. Good for Mexico!

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Sunday, July 16, 2006

Music video for Iron Maiden's new single The Reincarnation of Benjamin Breeg

What a weird song title - just who is Benjamin Breeg?

Here's the video, which will hopefully not get yanked offline:

Is it fuckin' cool?! I hope so; I haven't even watched it myself yet! That's how fast you're getting this.

Up the Irons!

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Hot... so hot

Man, it was hot this weekend. We either hit 100 or got damn close to it here in MN. I'm lovin' it -- I much prefer hot weather to cold weather. I wish I could box and store this heat for the winter.

I love a good heatwave; makes you realize it's summer out. Mmm.. hmmm... Of course, today it was hot as hell out but I never even saw the sun. It was a weird day; thick clouds all around and rain in the morning, but the heat stuck around -- stick being the operative word as it was beyond humid out today. I played a couple hours of disc golf and when I was done my T-shirt felt like I had been swimming in it.

Global warming is fuckin' great!

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Saturday, July 15, 2006

Israel versus Lebanon and Hezbollah: a prelude to attacking Syria and Iran?

Perhaps you've seen news reports of Israel blowing the ever-loving shit out of Lebanon in a Middle East already drowning in tension. What's this all about? Is it really just about one captured Israeli soldier?

Jeff over at Rigorous Intution implies that Israel is working behind the scenes with American neocons to spark a war with Iran:
Israel's war upon Lebanon would be a disproportionate response if Israel were actually responding to the kidnapping of two of its soldiers. It isn't, of course. (If it were, we may have seen a limited cross-border incursion that resembled a rescue mission, rather than these blunt-force deep attacks on Lebanese infrastructure.) Rather the war, like most wars of aggression, is a response to the pathological necessities of the aggressor's ideology.

America's Countdown: Tehran has been stuck at 20 minutes and holding for a couple of months now, derailed by Iran's rational posture regarding its nuclear ambitions and the ongoing thwarting of anything approaching even the Bush administration's benchmark for a casus belli. Israel's hawks, by smashing in the back door, are baiting Iran to action, which would goad the US to crash through the front. Israeli military claims, trumpeted by FoxNews, that the Haifa rockets were fired by Iranian Guard units, and the absurd suggestion that Hezbollah intends to transport their captured soldiers to Iran, say forcefully that this isn't about Lebanon, though for now it will be mostly the Lebanese who perish.
Could it be that this war is just a provocation for Iran? Iran has already taken the bait by saying they will defend Syria if Israel attacks Syria. Israel has reportedly given Syria a 72-hour ultimatum to stop Hezbollah activity within its borders or face attack. Interestingly, this warning was revealed by a Pentagon official. Other neocons are insisting that Syria and Iran are behind the kidnapping of the Israeli soldier(s) that is the ostensible impetus behind the attacks.

Meanwhile, the right-wing talk show hosts are already saying that we're witnessing the beginning of World War III or World War IV, depending on how you count (I prefer WWIV). Since they are the mouthpieces of the ones planning and instigating these wars, I tend to believe them.

This is a dangerous game the neocons are playing. First, they accuse Hezbollah, Syria and Iran of making a dangerous bid for more influence (how does supposedly masterminding the kidnapping of one or two soldiers in Gaza gain you more influence? The neocons never seem to explain that line of reasoning), then they let Israel go nuts and bomb the hell out of whoever they want -- so of course they go after Hezbollah in Lebanon since Lebanon can't really fight back.

What's next according to the neocon plan? I'm guessing that Israel will try it's best to lure Syria into the fight. Syria would be stupid to fall for this, but if they are attacked I'm sure they will respond. Israel doesn't want to be seen as being the aggressor so I doubt they will simply invade. They need a pretext. Hezbollah provides that as a terrorist organization that is supposedly hiding in Lebanon and Syria. Israel can claim to be chasing fleeing Hezbollah fighters right into Syria.

That still doesn't absolve Israel's actions in the international community, however. They need something more. No doubt the neocons will try to manufacture some sort of excuse for Israel -- just as every other part of this exercise in preemptive warfare has been manufactured. If the neocons can't deke Syria and Iran into open warfare they'll have to go through the tiresome process of starting a Coalition of the Willing (part 2) and convincing the U.N. Security Council that we need to invade and conquer Iran before they attack us with their mighty turbans.

We just have to hope that Iran and Syria keep their cool while the pressure all around them mounts. They last thing they should do is make any threatening moves. That will only spell destruction for them and their people.

They need to stall for time before the neofascists manage to draw them into a fight. What they really need is, well.... us! We, the people of the United States of America, need to take back our government from the tyrant Bush and end his reign of terror across the globe. Only then will the situation return to some level of calmness. As long as Bush is in power the King of Terror rules.

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Cats: cute and deadly

I found this video yesterday. It's a bunch of clips of cats doing funny, cute and stupid shit. A lot of it seems to revolve around attacking children (but not very ferociously) and getting stuck in unusual situations. Pretty funny stuff!

Ah, I love cats. So cute. Hope you enjoy!

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Thursday, July 13, 2006

Reverend compares Ken Lay to MLK and Jesus Christ at the Enron swindler's funeral

[from digg]
The Reverend Dr. Bill Lawson compared Lay with civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. and Jesus Christ, and said his name would eventually be cleared. "He was taken out of the world right at the right time," he said. "History has a way of vindicating people who have been wronged."

read more | digg story

This is something that I saw and thought nothing of. .At first. ... But then I began to realize what a twisted world we live in if some "reverend" in a church of followers of Jesus Christ, has compared his saviour, his hallowed friend Jesus -- to Ken Lay, a man who duped and betrayed thousands, if not millions of people. What the fuck is this guy on?

Somebody get the reverend a fuckin' bible. If you can get that shit out of the bible, then you can truly get anything out of it. Did he not learn anything in seminary school? How can he compare a man like Lay to Jesus? The man was a crook! He screwed over his entire company and all the shareholders, and made millions in the process. What a fuckin' dick. 'nuff said.

I'm sure all his Republican buddies still love Kenny Boy. Hey, they profited from his schemes too, and they knew when to get out -- when he was.

But what I find most interesting about this article, is actually the first section with the interview of Lay's stepson:

Lay's stepson David Herrold told the nearly full First United Methodist Church that Lay was wrongly convicted, and he was angry about the portrayals of his stepfather in the media.

"He did have a strong faith in God and I know he's in heaven, and I'm glad he's not in a position anymore to be whipped by his enemy," Herrold said.

"His enemy"? Who would his enemy be? The American people? The criminal justice system? His former cow-0rkers and shareholders? .... God?

Think about how messed up this guy and his rationalizations are. I don't know how he can justify Lay's actions and still continue to call himself a rational and intellectually honest person. Maybe he doesn't call himself that, I dunno. But what really intrigues me (and scares me) is the idea that people like Ken Lay and his stepson and the Reverend have a logical and moral system that is utterly divorced from my own, and from most of the rest of the country's. They exist in a moral plane of evil and amoral action.

Are there people who are... just, plain... evil?

A disturbing thought. One that needs closer examination.

But not too close.

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Valerie Plame Wilson (ex-CIA) sues Dick Cheney for leaking her identity

Oh man, this is good stuff:
The CIA officer whose identity was leaked to reporters sued Vice President Dick Cheney, his former top aide and presidential adviser Karl Rove on Thursday, accusing them and other White House officials of conspiring to destroy her career.

In a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court, Valerie Plame and her husband, Joseph Wilson, a former U.S. ambassador, accused Cheney, Rove and I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby of revealing Plame's CIA identity in seeking revenge against Wilson for criticizing the Bush administration's motives in Iraq.

This is great news. I think it's clear that Dick started this whole fiasco, so it's fitting that he would be sued for it. Will this be a civil suit? I would imagine so, but I'm not sure. If so that would mean she could really only nail him for cash, but it certainly would provide some negative PR for the Bush administration.

Nail the hypocritical fuckers. They're always complaining about leaks -- except when they're the ones doing the leaking.

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Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Bush Attacked by Rabid Turkey!

What a fearsome attack by the turkey!! Bush is surely finished now. Whole swarms of turkeys will track him wherever he goes. He messed up big. They first thing they tell you is "don't piss off turkeys" in politics.

Okay, so I just found a picture and made that up. But Fox News makes up news all the time, so why can't I? And really, don't we all secretly wish that GW would be eaten alive by vicious swarms of malignantly insane turkeys prowling the earth searching for prey among the weak and stupid? I mean c'mon; everybody wishes that.

I think we've really learned a lot here today, children. Let's all prey for the president's immediate emasculation by turkeys in the hope that it will improve the sociopolitical milieu of our times. No doubt the current political paradigm is trending towards a cancerous expansion of power reminiscient of the archetypal slide into oligarchical totalitarianism so familiar in history that it calls for the only remedy that could be carried out forthwith, which is the president being fed to a ravenous squadron of rabid turkeys. Duh.

That's a great picture, though. Bush would be a funny guy if he weren't so sociopathic.


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President Bush is infallible! He can do no wrong!

So says a Justice Department Lawyer To Congress: ‘The President Is Always Right’:
LEAHY: I don’t think the President was talking about the nuances of the law of war paradigm, he was saying this was going to tell him that he could keep Guantanamo open or not, after it said he could.

BRADBURY: Well, it’s not —

LEAHY: Was the President right or was he wrong?

BRABURY: It’s under the law of war –

LEAHY: Was the President right or was he wrong?

BRADBURY: The President is always right.
This is what I'm talking about when I bitch about fascism. This whole idea that our leaders are somehow infallible in completely antithetical to the American Way. We were raised with the notion that it's okay to question authority and then this dumbass comes around says that President Bush is "always right" by virtue of... what? His power? His name? I have no idea how Foolio plans on justifying that statement. It was probably just an idiotic one-off, but it points to an underlying authoritarianism in government. Remember, these are the people Bush surrounds himself with -- so of course they will kiss his ass. But saying he's infallible to Congress? That's just fucking nuts.

Besides, George Bush is, if anything, always wrong.


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John Dean on Authoritarians and their Followers in the Neoconservative Movement

Great interview of John Dean. Scary stuff:

Olbermann and Dean go over the dramatic shift in neoconservativism towards authoritarianism. Dean says that approximately 23 percent of the population is ready to follow any strong, authoritarian leader right over the cliff. Logic, reality and American values don't enter into it; certain people are followers. According to Dean, the vast majority of those people are of a conservative mindset, and their loyalty is absolute, even to the point of betraying everything they stand for if Dear Leader demands it.

Also hinted at is the vested interest of the current government in ratcheting up the fear level by playing up nonexistant terrorism threats. There's a definite political advantage to keeping people afraid and it seems clear that the Bush/Cheney cabal have exploited this fact to strengthen their hold on power.

Watch the whole video for more. It's about 10 minutes and touches on a lot of interesting subjects.

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Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Positive story about Psilocybin produces profound confusion by being fair and factual

Is today April Fools or something? I just read, on the AP wire, a completely positive story about 'shrooms (psilocybin) that didn't have any "drugs are bad! Just say no! Boo!!" bullshit. Okay, there was one line in there about not doing it, but the rest of the story was extremely reasonable, fair and accurate. What the hell is going on here? Did drug paranoia suddenly wear off when I wasn't looking? This is amazing. Check out the article for an informative look at the drug psilocybin, which is found in so-called "magic mushrooms":

Psilocybin's effects lasted for up to six hours, Griffiths said. Twenty-two of the 36 volunteers reported having a "complete" mystical experience, compared to four of those getting methylphenidate.

That experience included such things as a sense of pure awareness and a merging with ultimate reality, a transcendence of time and space, a feeling of sacredness or awe, and deeply felt positive mood like joy, peace and love. People say "they can't possibly put it into words," Griffiths said.

Two months later, 24 of the participants filled out a questionnaire. Two-thirds called their reaction to psilocybin one of the five top most meaningful experiences of their lives. On another measure, one-third called it the most spiritually significant experience of their lives, with another 40% ranking it in the top five.

About 80% said that because of the psilocybin experience, they still had a sense of well-being or life satisfaction that was raised either "moderately" or "very much."

Read the whole article for more.

I... I'm in shock. The mainstream media has produced an article that touts the spiritual awareness gained from ingesting a controlled substance?!

Seriously?!! Am I high?! Is this a prank? I'm flabbergasted! Where's the customary scare-tactics, fear-mongering, lies, distortions, half-truths, Republican-rhetoric, hate and demagoguery that I'm so used to? My whole worldview is shattered. Must've been a mistake over at the AP. The editor must be new. He didn't get the memo: You're only supposed to mock or lie about drugs in the mainstream media. If there's a positive scientific finding you're supposed to ignore it, not write up a glowing story on it! Jeez, somebody give this guy a copy of The Complete Works of Nancy Reagan.

I think I need to go lay down.

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Sad news: Pink Floyd's Syd Barrett has died

Syd Barrett, RIP
I'm a huge Pink Floyd fan, so this one hits close to home. Syd's era isn't my favorite part of Pink Floyd's catalog, but he was really the cornerstone of the band. Everything they did after that point was influenced by Syd in some way or another. Pink Floyd's second masterwork, Wish You Were Here, is considered a concept album directed at Syd Barrett. It's one of my favorite albums and a fitting tribute to the genius that was Syd.

Looks like Syd may have died from complications related to his diabetes:
Syd Barrett, the troubled genius who co-founded Pink Floyd but spent his last years in reclusive anonymity, has died, a spokeswoman for the band said Tuesday. He was 60.

The spokeswoman - who declined to give her name until the band made an official announcement - confirmed media reports that he had died. She said Barrett died several days ago, but she did not disclose the cause of death. Barrett had suffered from diabetes for many years.

Barrett co-founded Pink Floyd in 1965 with David Gilmour, Nick Mason and Rick Wright, and wrote many of the band's early songs. The group's jazz-infused rock made them darlings of the London psychedelic scene, and the 1967 album "The Piper at the Gates of Dawn" - largely written by Barrett, who also played guitar - was a commercial and critical hit.

However, Barrett suffered from mental instability, exacerbated by his use of LSD. His behavior grew increasingly erratic, and he left the group in 1968 - five years before the release of Pink Floyd's most popular album, "Dark Side of the Moon." He was replaced by David Gilmour.

I'm actually kind of surprised that Syd lived this long. He had long since fried his brain on LSD. Actually, that might not have been the case. Gilmour has speculated that his mental problems were deep-seated and that he would've flipped out either way. In Gilmour's eyes, the drugs just acted as a trigger, although Pink Floyd's sudden fame might have been even more disorienting for Barrett.

Either way, it's sad to see Syd go. I'm not sure that his life was all that great these days, though, so it may be a blessing for him to go peacefully. His stature in the music industry will only continue to rise with his passing. He founded one of the greatest rock and roll bands ever, and his creativity sparked their genius long after he was out of the group.

Let me be the first imagination-deprived blogger to say: Shine on, you crazy diamond.

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Monday, July 10, 2006

The Fight for Mexico isn't over: Allegations of fraud and vote-rigging

The Mexican election battle is still going strong, despite claims of victory by the rightist candidate Calderon:
Despite what both Calderon and Lopez Obrador tell their supporters and what you read in press reports, the next President has yet to be officially declared. IFE is not the body responsible for officially announcing the next President. Rather, it is TRIFE (Electoral Tribunal) that will make an official announcement by early September, after addressing complaints filed by each party. The parties have four days to file their objections following the results of the tally sheet count — which was concluded last Thursday.

Last night, the PRD, Lopez Obrador’s party, delivered their official complaint to the tribunal.

TRIFE, a supposedly non-partisan, independent body, has the responsibility to examine irregularities brought forth to them. TRIFE, will therefore, have to consider facts such as:
  • Why hundreds of thousands of ballots have yet to be included in any count;
  • Why ballots have been found, literally, in the trash;
  • Why there was a massive amount of “drop-off”, i.e. where people showed up to vote but did not cast a vote for president;
  • Why, on Election Day, Casilla workers in places like Queretaro and Salamanca were caught on video, stuffing ballot boxes and changing tally sheets.
  • The use and role of public expenditures on Calderon’s campaign;
  • The intervention of the current President, Vicente Fox (a member of PAN), which benefitted Calderon, during the campaign, and which is illegal according to the Electoral Commission’s rules.
That's quite a list of accusations. It seems that there were serious irregularities, despite claims that the election was fair. It's not clear which party was behind the crimes, but it could well be all of them.

Still, many crimes like stuffing ballot boxes and refusing to count all of the votes cast point to a high degree of "access" to the ballots themselves. It is not beyond belief that PAN, the present ruling party, was behind much of the electioneering.

Whatever the case, I'm hoping for a quick and correct resolution to the crisis in Mexico. I hope people keep spilling out in the street. I heard that far more than the reported crowd of 100,000 came out to assemble in Mexico City. That's a good start, but they've got to keep up the pressure. Remember Ukraine and what their people did to preserve democracy. In November 2004 the Ukrainian people rose up. The American people did not.

Let's hope Mexico grabs the flame of liberty.

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Sunday, July 09, 2006

"We're in the business of rigging elections." Does that include Mexico?

The title references a quote from a North Carolina state senator:

But the court, in six opinions spanning 123 pages, rejected the broader challenge to the Texas plan, holding that there is nothing inherently unconstitutional about redrawing congressional maps in the middle of the decade in order to give one party a political advantage. The ruling opens the door for state lawmakers to redraw congressional maps whenever there is a shift in political power, instead of after the federal census at the start of each decade, as has been customary.

The ruling was a disappointment for reformers who hoped the court would rein in partisan gerrymandering, which has been blamed for a host of ills, from noncompetitive elections to increased animosity in Congress. Armed with sophisticated computer programs, legislators have drawn maps to create safe congressional districts with clear partisan majorities. And it has worked — two years ago, nearly 98 percent of House incumbents won re-election.

As one North Carolina state senator put it, "We're in the business of rigging elections."

Yep, and that's why we can't get rid of these clowns. They've used every trick in the book to make sure they are re-elected, as might be expected. Congress Critters are only human after all (okay, that might be open to debate in James Sensebrenner's case), but a 98 percent re-election rate for incumbents is unacceptable.

As another US News article makes clear, we may be living in "A Fake Democracy":
But redistricting isn't the only culprit. The skyrocketing cost of running for Congress is also stifling competition. In 1990, successful House challengers spent an average $282,000 on their campaigns, as measured in current dollars. In 2004, winning challengers shelled out an average $1.6 million each. At the same time, the chances of winning plummeted. In 1990, 16 challengers won. In 2004, just five did. "In the last election," says Sheila Krumholz, acting executive director of the Center for Responsive Politics, "a challenger who spent less than a million dollars technically had zero chance of winning."
What kind of democracy is this if only rich people can get elected? At least we know the upper class is well (very well) represented; but what about the underclass? How can we call this a democracy when 90% of the people aren't represented in Congress at all?

What would explain why only five challengers managed to take office in the 2004 elections? I'll tell you: This government sounds more like an oligarchy than a democracy. From the article:
Two years ago, nearly 98 percent of House incumbents seeking re-election won, capping a decade of partisan stasis unmatched in U.S. history. "House elections ... are starting to take on all the suspense of contests for the old Soviet Union's central committee," writes Juliet Eilperin, author of the new book Fight Club Politics: How Partisanship Is Poisoning the House of Representatives. What happened to the institution the Founders designed to be more responsive to voters than any other? The answer has to do with redistricting, money, and an increasingly polarized "red"/"blue" America. At a moment when the Bush administration is aggressively pushing democracy abroad, there are serious questions about the health of the American democratic experiment at home.
Bush's focus on democracy in other places is a useful distraction while he steadily chisels it away back home. His actions have been opposed to democratic principles in almost every decision he made.

Dubya's "democracy"-export plan continues in Mexico, where there have been discoveries of uncommonly large amounts of blank ballots:
...That’s noteworthy in light of the surprise showing of candidate Senor Blank-o (the 827,000 ballots supposedly left “blank”).

We’ve seen Mr Blank-o do well before - in Florida in 2000 when Florida’s secretary of state (who was also co-chair of the Bush campaign) announced that 179,000 ballots showed no vote for the president. The machines couldn’t read these ballots with “hanging chads” and other technical problems. Humans can read these ballots with ease, but the hand-count was blocked by Bush’s conflicted official.

And so it is in Mexico. The Calderon “victory” is based on a gross addition of tabulation sheets. His party, the PAN, and its election officials are refusing Lopez Obrador’s call for a hand recount of each ballot which would be sure to fill in those blanks.

Blank ballots are rarely random. In Florida in 2000, 88% of the supposedly blank ballots came from African-American voting districts - that is, they were cast by Democratic voters. In Mexico, the supposed empty or unreadable ballots come from the poorer districts where the challenger’s Party of the Democratic Revolution (PDR) is strongest.
I wonder if they'll trot out the "they're too stupid to vote properly" excuse again? That's usually a winner. Speaking of winners, they're saying that Calderon is the winner, but I'm with Palast on this on; it's just not clear who the winner is yet. Count those "blank" ballots and maybe we'll have a clearer picture.

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The Occupation of the Media

The American military occupies Iraq and, by extension, the Iraqi people. But it also occupies the American media, especially the embedded reporters. The military will go to great lengths to get a positive story, but if the story looks negative the military will do nothing to help the reporters. It's only logical, after all. Iraq is a dangerous place. So should we be embedding reporters at all since it's such a one-sided story?

The producer said that it was impossible to pursue stories frowned upon by the military—for example, on how the local population viewed the occupation and American troops—because she was not permitted to leave the base on her own. The height of absurdity came when the Tikrit compound came under serious attack one evening and the producer was asked by the Reuters bureau in Baghdad to phone in a report on the situation. “We couldn't find out anything [from the U.S. military],” she said, so Reuters had to cover the fighting from Baghdad, despite having a TV producer and reporter on the ground at the compound in Tikrit.

The producer frequently filmed foot patrols and nighttime raids. She said that for the latter, the military and the embedded journalists would drive for long stretches in pitch darkness. The raids themselves, she said, were blurry and confusing, and afterwards soldiers would round up suspected insurgents and sympathizers for interrogation. It was routine for the producer to wait in one room of a house while detainees were questioned in another. “Not always, but there were times when I would hear detainees screaming during the questioning,” she said. “I'm not sure what was happening but they were screaming loudly—they weren't just being slapped around.” Because she obviously was not permitted to film the interrogations, none of that material could be included in her pool feeds.

The war is corrosive not just to American ideals but to the spirits of our troops over there fighting. If they don't need to be placed in such an amoral situation then they should be thrust into that kind of world. Iraq was a war of choice. Dick Cheney's choice.

The military's occuption of the media as long as the media cowers at the idea of biting the hand that feeds it. We need more independent reporting in Iraq, although I sure as hell wouldn't want to be over there without support. Where can we find the real story of Iraq? From the sound of things, it's worse than we know.

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More spying programs? Bush lied about informing Congress

It seems that Bush isn't really telling Congress everything. One of his major supporters wrote him a letter to complain about his committee being left out of the loop on several new spying programs which presumably have not been made public yet:

In a sharply worded letter, the Republican chairman of the House intelligence committee has told President Bush that the administration is angering lawmakers, and possibly violating the law, by giving Congress too little information about domestic surveillance programs.

Rep. Peter Hoekstra (Mich.) has been a staunch defender of the administration's anti-terrorism tactics. But seven weeks ago, he wrote to Bush to report that he had heard of "alleged Intelligence Community activities" not outlined to committee members in classified briefings.

"If these allegations are true," he wrote, "they may represent a breach of responsibility by the Administration, a violation of law and . . . a direct affront to me and the Members of this committee."

Hoekstra's four-page letter of May 18 was posted yesterday on the New York Times' Web site. His staff confirmed the letter's authenticity but said it was meant to remain private. Spokesman Jamal D. Ware said Hoekstra "has raised these concerns, and they are being addressed. He will continue to push for full disclosure so the committee can conduct vigorous oversight."

The letter is significant because few congressional Republicans have complained publicly about Bush's surveillance programs, which include warrantless wiretaps of some Americans' international phone calls and e-mails as well as the massive collection of telephone records involving U.S. homes and businesses.

Well, nice of them to finally speak up. Or one of them, I guess. He seems pretty steamed about being left out of the loop:
In his letter, Hoekstra complained of unspecified alleged surveillance operations that had not become public at the time and that, perhaps, remain undisclosed. It was written five weeks before newspapers divulged that the administration has been secretly tapping into a vast global database of confidential financial transactions for nearly five years. It was unclear yesterday whether Hoekstra and other top-ranking lawmakers had been briefed on that program by the date of the letter.
So I guess the Bush administration was lying when it said that it keeps Congress well-informed of it various spying programs. One more lie to add to the growing pile.

I wonder what those undisclosed spying programs entail? Maybe it's only the SWIFT financial records spying program, but it could be a whole new one, or a bunch of new ones. Either way, Bush lied. Let me say it again: Bush Lied.

But when he says, "trust me" some people still believe him. How stupid can you get? The man is a habitual liar and a politician. He cannot be trusted. Let's not keeping making that mistake, okay?

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Fear Mongering? Our government? No way!

Yes way.

They will do whatever it takes to maintain control. Using fear to keep Americans from waking up is a dastardly move, but not surprising.


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Terrorists Outsource Terror to the Government. Or is it the other way around?

In the government's continuing effort to show that it is more terrifying than al-Qaeda or Hamas, the FBI is planning a new push to give itself more Internet-tapping powers than it already has:

The FBI has drafted sweeping legislation that would require Internet service providers to create wiretapping hubs for police surveillance and force makers of networking gear to build in backdoors for eavesdropping, CNET has learned.

FBI Agent Barry Smith distributed the proposal at a private meeting last Friday with industry representatives and indicated it would be introduced by Sen. Mike DeWine, an Ohio Republican, according to two sources familiar with the meeting.

The draft bill would place the FBI's Net-surveillance push on solid legal footing. At the moment, it's ensnared in a legal challenge from universities and some technology companies that claim the Federal Communications Commission's broadband surveillance directives exceed what Congress has authorized.

The FBI claims that expanding the 1994 Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act is necessary to thwart criminals and terrorists who have turned to technologies like voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP.

Okay, first: Why the fuck is the FBI drafting legislation?! I didn't know that the FBI was a legislative body, blessed with the power to write laws for our society. I always figured that the FBI was a law-enforcement agency and arm of the Justice Department! What the fuck is the FBI doing?!

I suppose that this law was actually written in a Republican-controlled think tank, farmed out to the FBI for approval, and then routed up to Congress through the office of Mike DeWine. But still, I consider the way laws are written these days to be nothing short of treasonous. Laws should be written and voted upon in the Senate or the House. The "think tank" system is full of shit. It's a way of routing around constitutional protections and letting Big Industry, Big Media and Big Defense to write their dream legislation with the help of the think tanks who then send it up to the Congress Critters and watch them scurry around and make cosmetic changes to secure alliances and votes. What a crazy system we've developed. It needs to be examined, but obviously any congressional oversight will consist of looking the other way.

Anyway, I'm so pissed at how this legislation was written that I haven't even gotten around to what they wrote yet:

The 27-page proposed CALEA amendments seen by CNET would:
  • Require any manufacturer of "routing" and "addressing" hardware to offer upgrades or other "modifications" that are needed to support Internet wiretapping. Current law does require that of telephone switch manufacturers--but not makers of routers and network address translation hardware like Cisco Systems and 2Wire.
  • Authorize the expansion of wiretapping requirements to "commercial" Internet services including instant messaging if the FCC deems it to be in the "public interest." That would likely sweep in services such as in-game chats offered by Microsoft's Xbox 360 gaming system as well.
  • Force Internet service providers to sift through their customers' communications to identify, for instance, only VoIP calls. (The language requires companies to adhere to "processing or filtering methods or procedures applied by a law enforcement agency.") That means police could simply ask broadband providers like AT&T, Comcast or Verizon for wiretap info--instead of having to figure out what VoIP service was being used
  • Eliminate the current legal requirement saying the Justice Department must publish a public "notice of the actual number of communications interceptions" every year. That notice currently also must disclose the "maximum capacity" required to accommodate all of the legally authorized taps that government agencies will "conduct and use simultaneously."

So basically, they want to tap our routers, tap our chatrooms, tap our VoIP calls and they want to not have to tell anybody about it. Great. How 'bout we just give you the keys to our house, too? Maybe we could install a camera in our bathroom for ya? Would that make it all better, FBI?

Jesus fucking Christ on a pogo-stick. They are shooting for the moon with this legislation, which would make the FBI much more powerful than it was back during the abuses of the 60s and 70s.

Hopefully this bill won't make it out of committee, but we can't count on that with all of the neo-fascists in the Senate. Apparently our constitutional rights don't count for much these days. We'll see. In the meantime, we get to contemplate a future in which the FBI has a copy of all our internet surfing (the NSA already has a copy).

Wait a minute, didn't the FBI just get hacked by some two-bit script kiddie who brought their system to its knees?

A federal judge yesterday postponed the sentencing of a former government computer contractor who hacked the e-mail passwords of all FBI employees, including the director, several times in 2004.

The security breaches temporarily shut down an FBI classified records system containing data about witness protection and counterespionage, according to records in U.S. District Court in Washington.
Some hacker has the FBI Director's password and you want me to trust the Director with my private conversations? ...Fuck that!

Besides, I don't see why we should give the FBI access to our internet usage when the NSA is already doing their own internet-tapping. We don't need any more redudancy in government. We're paying a lot in taxes to have our rights continually infringed as is, and you think we should be paying higher taxes so our rights can be violated more efficiently? ...Fuck that!

And people wonder why I'm cynical about government. Are you telling me I should trust these fuckers? ...Fuck that!

Honestly, I don't worry about those cave-dwelling terrorists at all anymore. Worrying about my own government's increasing fascism is enough.

Kinda makes you wonder who's really behind terrorism...

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Saturday, July 08, 2006

Album cover for Iron Maiden's A Matter of Life and Death

I just found the cover artwork for Iron Maiden's upcoming concept album, "A Matter of Life and Death", which is rumored to be based on a British film of the same name. This is a very "Maiden" thing to do. They're all about putting cool stories to music and taking themes into their world.

Here's the cover art:

Fucking sweet, I love it! Can you spot Eddie? Looks don't mean shit in music, but from what I've seen so far it looks like a classic Maiden album. I don't wanna get my hopes up too high, but damn... can't wait.

The album's coming out in the U.S. on September 5th, 2006. If you missed the tracklist you can find it here.

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Friday, July 07, 2006

Monkeys and money

Okay, I'm not trying to position this blog as a resource for monkey news or anything, but this article is hilarious. It's about teaching capuchin monkeys to use currency. This is the best line from the article:
The data generated by the capuchin monkeys, Chen says, ''make them statistically indistinguishable from most stock-market investors.''
Ouch. Haha! Okay, that was taken out of context, but it's still funny. Here's some more info on the experiment:
It is sometimes unclear, even to Chen himself, exactly what he is working on. When he and Santos, his psychologist collaborator, began to teach the Yale capuchins to use money, he had no pressing research theme. The essential idea was to give a monkey a dollar and see what it did with it. The currency Chen settled on was a silver disc, one inch in diameter, with a hole in the middle -- ''kind of like Chinese money,'' he says. It took several months of rudimentary repetition to teach the monkeys that these tokens were valuable as a means of exchange for a treat and would be similarly valuable the next day. Having gained that understanding, a capuchin would then be presented with 12 tokens on a tray and have to decide how many to surrender for, say, Jell-O cubes versus grapes. This first step allowed each capuchin to reveal its preferences and to grasp the concept of budgeting.
Isn't this basically what happened to humans? Certain humans invented money and then they had to convince all the other humans that money was valuable. Of course, if you've been reading my screeds on the Federal Reserve you'll know that the "evolved" humans pulled a fast one. After having convinced us that money is valuable they removed the U.S. from the gold standard and put us on fiat currency. So essential, our money is worthless; it has no inherant value and it's not backed by gold, silver or even copper. It's paper. What kind of monkey games are we playing here?

Back to the article. It amused me to no end when the monkeys started going a little crazy in a very human manner. They start stealing money and the humans bribe them to get it back. Who's testing who?
Once, a capuchin in the testing chamber picked up an entire tray of tokens, flung them into the main chamber and then scurried in after them -- a combination jailbreak and bank heist -- which led to a chaotic scene in which the human researchers had to rush into the main chamber and offer food bribes for the tokens, a reinforcement that in effect encouraged more stealing.

Something else happened during that chaotic scene, something that convinced Chen of the monkeys' true grasp of money. Perhaps the most distinguishing characteristic of money, after all, is its fungibility, the fact that it can be used to buy not just food but anything. During the chaos in the monkey cage, Chen saw something out of the corner of his eye that he would later try to play down but in his heart of hearts he knew to be true. What he witnessed was probably the first observed exchange of money for sex in the history of monkeykind. (Further proof that the monkeys truly understood money: the monkey who was paid for sex immediately traded the token in for a grape.)
He taught monkeys prostitituion! Boy, I bet he's proud... er, well, maybe "proud" isn't the word for it. Anyway, it's a good article; check it out.

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Blog of the Day

Somehow this blog was chosen as the Minnesota Blog of the Day over at City Pages' The Blotter. I can only imagine this was some sort of horrible mistake, and they were actually trying to link to the Happy, Fluffy Bunnies Blog. Alas, they linked to me and now you're here. So better make the best of it. I should mention that there are a few offensive sections on this blog. They would be... let's see... everything below this post. :-)

Thanks, City Pages.


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Two-thirds of American want us to withdraw from Iraq

That is according to a new poll by Gallup:
A new Gallup poll finds that roughly 2 in 3 Americans urge a U.S. withdrawal from Iraq, with 31% wanting this to start immediately.

Gallup's director, Frank Newport, sums up the results today: "Taken together, it is perhaps fair to say that a significant majority of Americans would like the United States to either withdraw troops from Iraq or make specific plans to do so, although there is no majority demand that troops be withdrawn immediately."

The poll was unusual in that rather than give respondents a list of options, it allowed them to respond in their own words. Gallup then grouped the varied responses and labelled them with a common theme.
I'm glad that they let you state your opinion in your own words. I hate it when they have a bunch of preselected choices for you to pick from -- what if your option isn't on there? Anyway, I bet you're all just itching to know what my response would be. It is this:

I believe we should immediately and without delay impeach President Bush and Vice President Cheney. That completed we should apologize to the Iraqi people, and the world community as a whole for the murderous and vile actions of our former leaders. Then we should begin a phased withdrawal, hewing to a timetable set by the Iraqi government and approved by the UN and Congress. During this time (which will probably be pretty damn quick -- they want us out of there) we should repay the Iraqis for their suffering in cash, but we should not expect mere money to heal their wounds. Money cannot resurrect the dead, after all. Lastly, we should turn Bush and Cheney over to the Iraqi court system so that they can be tried by the same tribunal currently trying Saddam Hussein. Hell, they could all be co-defendents.

That should put a band-aid on the situation at least. I think the insurgents would be genuinely shocked if we held our leaders to the same high ethical standards they preach. The incarceration of Bush & Cheney along with the withdrawal of American troops (and Coalition troops... both of them) would go along way to ending the daily massacres. They would still have to contend with the possibility of civil war (but then again, so would America), but I think they would at least feel more like talking about their differences, rather than just killing indiscriminately. I think splitting Iraq into 3 countries is a possibility. A Kurdish state, a Sunni state and Shiite state could be formed from the ashes of Iraq, which was arbitrarily formed by the British Empire anyway. Limit them to small, defense-oriented armies and you shouldn't have to worry about them fighting amongst each other. Hopefully Iraq can be saved, but Bush/Cheney really did a number on that nation. They fucked it up bad.

Oh one more quote from the article above should prove that my suggestion, rational as it may be, will never happen:
The poll also found that while 64% feel they "understand" the Bush administraton's argument for staying in Iraq, only 54% understand the Democrats' view--whatever that is.
The Democrats are so fucking useless. They have no unity, no strategy and no backbone. Isn't being united the whole point of a political party? I think we could make an argument that the Democratic Party isn't a party at all. It's just a distraction for Bush and for America. What a bunch of fucking useless losers. The two party system has conspired to fuck us once again.

Congress as a whole looks totally out of touch since 2/3 of Americans support withdrawal but The House of Representatives opposes withdrawal by an almost-2/3 margin. They say that withdrawal isn't politically feasible... what the fuck does that mean? You've got well over 50% of the population calling for withdrawal and Republicans and Vichy Democrats are saying it's not feasible?!! Kinda makes you wonder who they're really serving, doesn't it? It's certainly not us.


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Thursday, July 06, 2006

FBI says: "No Hard Evidence connecting Bin Laden to 9/11"

I saw this earlier, but I forgot to post it:
The Muckraker Report spoke with Rex Tomb, Chief of Investigative Publicity for the FBI. When asked why there is no mention of 9/11 on Bin Laden’s Most Wanted web page, Tomb said, “The reason why 9/11 is not mentioned on Usama Bin Laden’s Most Wanted page is because the FBI has no hard evidence connecting Bin Laden to 9/11.”

Surprised by the ease in which this FBI spokesman made such an astonishing statement, I asked, “How this was possible?” Tomb continued, “Bin Laden has not been formally charged in connection to 9/11.” I asked, “How does that work?” Tomb continued, “The FBI gathers evidence. Once evidence is gathered, it is turned over to the Department of Justice. The Department of Justice than decides whether it has enough evidence to present to a federal grand jury. In the case of the 1998 United States Embassies being bombed, Bin Laden has been formally indicted and charged by a grand jury. He has not been formally indicted and charged in connection with 9/11 because the FBI has no hard evidence connected Bin Laden to 9/11.”
Ummm... yeah. So, why isn't anybody talking about this revelation?

Could it be that we're in shock? The media has assured us since day one that Osama Bin Laden carried out the attackes on 9/11. The government (well, many other parts of it) has insisted he is responsible. But we dont' have any freakin' evidence?!

I guess that wouldn't be a big deal except for the fact that we went to war on that assumption! What the hell is going on here?

So, since nobody has been charged in a federal grand jury for the crimes in New York, Washington D.C. and Pennsylvania on September 11th, 2001, that means that there's still an open investigation, right?


Let's check the FBI's Top 10 Most Wanted Fugitives for their page on Bin Laden:

Aliases: Usama Bin Muhammad Bin Ladin, Shaykh Usama Bin Ladin, the Prince, the Emir, Abu Abdallah, Mujahid Shaykh, Hajj, the Director

Date of Birth: 1957 Hair: Brown
Place of Birth: Saudi Arabia Eyes: Brown
Height: 6' 4" to 6' 6" Complexion: Olive
Weight: Approximately 160 pounds Sex: Male
Build: Thin Nationality: Saudi Arabian
Occupation: Unknown

Remarks: Bin Laden is the leader of a terrorist organization known as Al-Qaeda, "The Base". He is left-handed and walks with a cane.
Scars and Marks: None



Hmm.... nothing about 9/11 on there. It's July of 2006. What the hell have they been doing the last 5 years? Almost 5 full years and no evidence yet?

Does that mean the evidence isn't there, or that they haven't found it?

....Well, I guess we should consider it an open question as to who was really responsible for those attacks. Too bad the FBI doesn't seem more concerned about cracking the case.

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Idiots and fireworks: The love affair continues

Sooo funny. What the fuck did he think would happen?


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Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Monkeys on acid

You know you wanna see it, man. Monkeys on fucking acid.

Hollywood, here I come!


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Update on Mexico recount

It looks like the leftist challenger has taken the lead in the recount. That's quite a surprise. They should've sent Karl Rove to rig those voting machines himself. If you want something done right...
Oh, what a difference a day -- and a recount -- makes. Mexican and international press is reporting that the official recount has put PRD candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador in the lead over opponent Felipe Calderón, who had just a day ago seemed to be the victor in this race, full of all the twists and turns of a telenovela.
Whoever wins, let's hope this is a fair election. That's the main concern. I couldn't help but notice this little comment, though:

President Vicente Fox put the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, out of power in 2000 in elections that ended 71 years of single-party rule.

The PRI would often rig elections to make sure its candidate, handpicked by the president, was chosen.

The recent drama surprised many Mexicans.

"We've never seen this before. The president used to always announce it on the first day," said Joel Montoya, a gas station attendant.

The Mexicans are so used to corruption at every level that this drama is starting to look like... well... real democracy to them! How bitterly ironic (for Americans) that this is playing out this way. Mexico is rising up in the democracy standings just as America is steadily tumbling down the standings with our successfully rigged elections and rampant corruption and creeping fascism and god-knows-what-else.

If we weren't so stubborn and arrogant we could ask them for help.

Thanks, neocons. You've made America look like a despotic dictatorship compared to fucking Mexico! Oh, I'm so fucking proud.

On the other hand, good for Mexico!

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CIA group hunting for Bin Laden shut down

Oh, well that's a relief.
A CIA unit that had hunted for Osama bin Laden and his top deputies for a decade has been disbanded, according to a published report.

Citing unnamed intelligence officials, The New York Times reported Tuesday that the unit, known as "Alec Station," was shut down late last year.

The decision to close the unit, which was created before the September 11, 2001, attacks, was first reported Monday by National Public Radio.

Whew! That was a close one. I thought there might be some dangerous activities than Bin Laden was involved in, but the government knows best, right?

Haha, just kidding. I'm not really worried about this. It just means that the government knows what I've been suspecting: Osama Bin Laden is already dead. His kidney problems must've done him in. A man with a portable dialysis machine does not go running willy-nilly through the mountains of Afghanistan. He's fuckin' dead. Stick a fork in him. Toast.

I'd celebrate if this could be confirmed. Bin Laden and Ken Lay? What a great two-fer! Except Bin Laden has probably been dead for years. Well, that's no reason not to celebrate!... but wait? Why isn't the government telling us? Could it be they are, like me, simply waiting for confirmation? Or could it be that they don't want to know for sure since they like to use Bin Laden as an all-purpose boogie man, especially to win elections?

Well, as long as Bush isn't concerned about Bin Laden, neither am I. The president could never be wrong, of course. None of this stinks to high-heaven. No weirdness going on at all. Why don't we all stop thinking critically and remember that asking Bush tough questions makes baby Jesus cry.


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Ding dong, Ken Lay is dead

But Skilling lives on. Well, it seems that Kenneth Lay, ex-CEO and Chairman of Enron, has kicked the bucket, just in time to avoid jail. What a slippery fucker:
Enron Corp. founder Kenneth Lay, who was convicted of helping perpetuate one of the most sprawling business frauds in U.S. history, died Wednesday of a heart attack in Colorado. He was 64.
I don't normally piss on the graves of dead people, but for Lay I'll make an exception. He represented everything that is wrong with America today:
When Lay and Skilling went on trial in U.S. District Court Jan. 30, it had been expected that Lay, who enjoyed great popularity throughout Houston as chairman of the energy company, might be able to charm the jury. But during his testimony, Lay ended up coming across as irritable and combative.

He also sounded arrogant, defending his extravagant lifestyle, including a $200,000 yacht for wife Linda’s birthday party, despite $100 million in personal debt and saying “it was difficult to turn off that lifestyle like a spigot.”

...Riiiiiight. Yeah, I'm sure that the good life is hard indeed to give up. But doesn't that make it all the more likely that you lied and swindled in order to maintain your fortune?
His defense didn’t help his case with jurors.

“I wanted very badly to believe what they were saying,” juror Wendy Vaughan said after the verdicts were announced. “There were places in the testimony I felt their character was questionable.”

Hmmm.... I wonder if black people living in the inner city get juries who desperately want to believe what they are saying. Probably not many. So you can see how much of advantage Lay and Skilling had, but the jury still found them guilty.

Ding dong, the wicked witch is dead. I hope his creditors take everything; his family doesn't deserve his ill-gotten gains, especially when there are so many ex-Enron employees with empty 401Ks and imaginary pensions.

100 million in personal debt? Man, his ruby-red slippers are soooo getting repossessed.

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Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Discovery launched successfully

They got'er up safely. Glad to hear it; this was a bit of a nail-biter. They're really gotta do something about those external tanks. They are just not realiable. Here's hoping Discovery completes her mission and makes it back home in one piece.

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Liebermen (sic) Sets 1pm Press Event, Preparing to Run as Independant (sic).

(from Digg) U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman, facing a stronger-than-expected Democratic primary challenge and sagging poll numbers because of his support of the Iraq war, said Monday he'll collect signatures to run as an unaffiliated candidate if he loses next month's primary.(/Digg)
Ah, Lieberman -- always the turncoat. I would like to see him as an indepedent candidate. Who could he possibly betray then? His campaign manager? His wife?

The Democrats suck on many levels, but one of the areas they suck most is Joe Lieberman. He's nothing more than a Bush-toady, a toady who enjoys the full support of the Democratic Leadership Council. The DLC is under control of the same people who control the Republican Party -- banks, corporations and Big Money.

read more | digg story

Sorry for the digg-post. It amuses me with it's crappy messiness. Ahh... democracy....


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4th of July - The Illusion of Freedom

Happy 4th of July; a time to celebrate the hard-won freedom that we no longer have by blowing up a shitload of fireworks.
I guess you could say that July 4th is a bittersweet day for me because I see our situation as being increasingly dire. We are under the thumb of a corrupt, tyrannical regime bent on world domination. Doesn't exactly make me feel like celebrating. At least we still have the illusion of freedom, which is almost as good as the real thing. They let us continue to pretend to be free, but those days are numbered. In reality, our rights are increasingly being stripped away in favor of corporate interests and government power.

In these troubled times, it's usually a good idea to try and get some perspective. In this case, let's look to Britain and find out how they see us Americans:
Most Britons see America as a cruel, vulgar, arrogant society, riven by class and racism, crime-ridden, obsessed with money and led by an incompetent hypocrite.
Hmmm.... harshly worded, but I can't really find fault with their point of view. But c'mon, it can't really be that bad, can it?
More than two-thirds who offered an opinion said America is essentially an imperial power seeking world domination. And 81 per cent of those who took a view said President George W Bush hypocritically championed democracy as a cover for the pursuit of American self-interests.
...And these are our allies, folks. Can you imagine what more fair-minded people think?

The worst part is that they're absolutely right. Bush is a fucking imperialist. Let's not dance around the issue, here, okay? We'll be invading Iran soon, so I don't wanna hear any bullshit about "spreading democracy around the globe." What a bunch of crap. The only thing we're spreading is bullshit.

As a supposed democracy, we're ultimately responsible for this mess because we (officially speaking) elected George Bush. In reality, that's probably not the case, but it's still bad news that he got any votes at all. It's not very ironic that a man who wasn't really elected is trying start an empire by pretending to spread democracy around the globe at gunpoint. It's insanity; it's ludicrous. It's hypocrisy and outright deception.

Enjoy your 4th of July holiday. Enjoy your pretend-freedom -- ya know, the kind that Bush and Cheney will soon take away in order to fight the terr'rists. Remember not to ask too many questions and be a good little sheep. Let's all just pretend that the man with a 30% approval rating has a mandate and that he's a not a lying piece of shit. The important thing is that we have the illusion of freedom, right? That way when Bush claims to spread that American freed0m-juice around the globe we actually believe that might be a good thing. But don't question it, just watch the pretty fireworks.

Yayy... fireworks!...


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Monday, July 03, 2006

Listening to Bill Hicks

This guy is fuckin' great:
"Speaking of Satan, I was watching Rush Limbaugh the other day... Doesn't Rush Limbaugh remind you of one of those gay guys who likes to lay in a tub while other men pee on him? Can't you see his fat body in a tub while Reagan, Quayle and Bush just ... [pee noise] Just standing around pissing on him, and his little piggly-wiggly dick can't get hard. 'Ooh, I can't get hard. Ronnie, pee in my mouth'. 'Well, how's that, Rush?' He still can't get hard, so they call in Barbara Bush. She takes her pearls off, shoves them up his ass, squats over him, undoes her girdle. Her wrinkled, flaccid labia unfurls half way to her knees, like some ball-less scrotum. 'Uhh.... uhh.....' She squeezes out a link into his mouth. Finally, his tiny dick gets half-way hard. 'uhh-Oooh!' A little bubble forms on the end of his dick, with a little maggot inside. The maggot pops the bubble, and goes off to join a pro-life group somewhere. Am I the only one that sees that? Thank god I had the insight to notice Rush Limbaugh is a scat muncher; he munches scat." -- Bill Hicks
Fucking right, man. I love this guy's point of view. He continually bashes the fucking evil, demonic fucktards who rule this planet.
"I'm sorry if anyone here is Catholic. I'm not sorry if you are offended, I'm actually sorry – just the fact that you're Catholic. Gotta be one of the most ludicrous fucking beliefs ever. Like these vampire priests sink their twin fangs of guilt and sin into you as a child and suck your joy of life out of you the rest of your fucking existence."

. . .

"The whole image is that eternal suffering awaits anyone who questions God's infinite love. That's the message we're brought up with, isn't it? Believe or die! 'Thank you, forgiving Lord, for all those options.'"

. . .

No matter what promises you make on the campaign trail - blah, blah, blah - when you win, you go into this smoky room with the twelve industrialist, capitalist scumfucks that got you in there, and this little screen comes down... and it's a shot of the Kennedy assassination from an angle you've never seen before, which looks suspiciously off the grassy knoll.... And then the screen comes up, the lights come on, and they say to the new president, 'Any questions?'

"Just what my agenda is."
Ah. Good stuff.
"Take mushrooms, folks, and squeegee your 3rd fuckin' eye. MTV's cloudin' it over, okay? TV is like taking black paint to your eye. Take mushrooms. What do you think, mushrooms are here by accident? You think that's an accident?" -- Bill Hicks
How come I didn't know about this guy back in the 90's? This is totally the thought-train that my brain was on (and still is). He really did die too young.

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Mexican presidential election stolen?

Greg Palast is hinting that the presidential election of the successor to Vicente Fox is being stolen as we speak:

We've said again and again: exit polls tell us how voters say they voted, but the voters can't tell pollsters whether their vote will be counted. In Mexico, counting the vote is an art, not a science - and Calderón's ruling crew is very artful indeed. The PAN-controlled official electoral commission, not surprisingly, has announced that the presidential tally is too close to call.

Calderón's election is openly supported by the Bush administration.

On the ground in Mexico city, our news team reports accusations from inside the Obrador campaign that operatives of the PAN had access to voter files that are supposed to be the sole property of the nation's electoral commission. We are not surprised.

This past Friday, we reported that the US Federal Bureau of Investigation had obtained Mexico's voter files under a secret "counter-terrorism" contract with the database company ChoicePoint of Alpharetta, Georgia.

Mexico has a long history of corrupt elections. The PRI has stolen more elections than George Bush could dream of stealing. Let's hope things turn out to be fair... but I doubt that will be the case. Greg Palast has more on his blog.

Personally, the ChoicePoint involvement sounds suspicious to me, but it's notoriously hard to determine if elections are fair or not. I'd be interested to hear what the international observers (if they were let in) say about the election.

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Sunday, July 02, 2006

"All right, you've covered your ass now" - George W. Bush

"All right, you've covered your ass now" is what George Bush said to the CIA agent who flew out to his ranch specifically to warn him about intelligence concerning the presidential daily brief entitled, "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in US."
On Aug. 6, a CIA official brought the infamous "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in US" memo to Crawford, to read it out personally to the President and make sure he got the warning. Bush sat in silence as the briefer delivered his fell message. Duty done, the agent awaited the president's orders, or the president's guidance, or the president's questions. He got nothing but a curt, snide dismissal: "All right, you've covered your ass now."

That was it. Bush had nothing else to say about this stark threat of impending slaughter. He had no questions, no advice; the "Commander-in-Chief" had no commands. Just smirking contempt. "You've covered your ass." You've gone through the motions, you've played your part in the charade, just like me – now get lost.

Even if you give Bush every benefit of the doubt here, even if you put the most charitable construction possible on his behavior – although his proven record of duplicity and malevolence deserves no such charity – even with all this, the very best you could say of his reaction is that it represents a blood-curdling degree of depraved indifference and criminal negligence, worthy of Nero."
Bush is a real card isn't he? Funny guy. What kind of games are they playing over there in Washington, D.C.? "You've covered your ass" is not an appropriate response to a grave terrorist threat from one of America's supposed top enemies. What's going on here? Are we to assume that our president is so surly and callous that he just doesn't care? Or does it run deeper than that, perhaps into the murky land of "fore-knowledge"?

It's hard to tell. But one thing is for sure: Bush simply is not competent to run this country. He should be impeached immediately, without delay.

But those Republicans sure do stick together, don't they? Jeeze, sometimes you've got to wonder about their fabled ability to fall in line. Does Karl Rove have incriminating pictures of every single one of them or what? C'mon! Grow some balls, guys (and gals). GW is a menace and we need to impeach him forthwith. Perhaps during the hearings we will find out what really happened in the run-up to September 11th.

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Ah, lazy sundays

Is there anything better? It's past 7 but the sun is still up. Best of all, I don't have to work tomorrow. I'ma head out to da beach. See ya later.

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Saturday, July 01, 2006

Koizumi rocks out at Graceland

Koizumi loves Elvis a lot! This story is pretty damn hilarious:
It was Bush's first visit to Presley's white brick mansion.

"My first visit too," Koizumi said, standing in a gaudy, wood-paneled den known as the Jungle Room where Presley hung out with his buddies. "It's like a dream - with President Bush and Presley's daughter."

Bush, first lady Laura Bush and Koizumi drove through the gates of Graceland in a shiny, black limousine adorned with the flags of both nations. It was as if they were making a formal diplomatic visit.

After they got out, the scene turned surreal.

Here was Bush, who didn't stop off at the Taj Mahal while in India, touring the home of a music star who died in his bathroom of heart disease and drug abuse in 1977.

Instead of walking down red carpets to review troops, Bush and Koizumi strode over green shag that lined the floors and ceiling of the den. Instead of elegant furniture and chandeliers, Bush and Koizumi posed for photos in a room decorated with white ceramic monkeys and wooden chairs with armrests carved in the shape of animal heads.

Aw, c'mon! What's wrong with ceramic monkeys! I'm tellin' ya - monkeys are fuckin' great. Everybody loves monkeys. You can't go wrong with monkeys. Hell, that's why I named this blog Electric Monkey Pants. If it's got monkeys in it, it's gotta be good, right?

I find this scenario improbably hilarious. I don't even have any of my customary Bush-bashing as I think it's decent of him to do a favor for Koizumi like this. Koizumi's involvement with the Iraq War not withstanding, I think it's he a pretty cool guy for a politician.

The whole thing sounds totally bizarre. I wish politics were always this weird and interesting. Mostly it's depressing and hopeless. But Koizumi has brightened my day with his appreciation of Elvis. Rock on!

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Blood of Abraham: We are all Related

So says this article about the Brotherhood of Man:

With the help of a statistician, a computer scientist and a supercomputer, Olson has calculated just how interconnected the human family tree is. You would have to go back in time only 2,000 to 5,000 years - and probably on the low side of that range - to find somebody who could count every person alive today as a descendant.

Unless that person didn't reproduce. But it is a fascinating facet of human reproduction that it takes 2 people to make a new human. It's kinda funny to think about - it's a magical process, creating a human from nothing, springing forth new life in the womb of a woman.

Turn that idea around and you realize that we have a lot of relatives if you go back far enough:

It also means that all of us have ancestors of every color and creed. Every Palestinian suicide bomber has Jews in his past. Every Sunni Muslim in Iraq is descended from at least one Shiite. And every Klansman's family has African roots.

How can this be?

It's simple math. Every person has two parents, four grandparents and eight great-grandparents. Keep doubling back through the generations - 16, 32, 64, 128 - and within a few hundred years you have thousands of ancestors.

It's nothing more than exponential growth combined with the facts of life. By the 15th century you've got a million ancestors. By the 13th you've got a billion. Sometime around the 9th century - just 40 generations ago - the number tops a trillion.

Of course, that 1 trillion figure include a lot of "overlap." We're all interrelated, which is a beautiful and scary thing.

I don't think the math is 100% accurate simply because human history is more complicated than that. And there were efforts by many different peoples to ensure racial (or religious) purity by rigidly controlling who their sons and daughters could marry.

In fact, some of those pure lines could still be largely untainted even today. Who knows if that's the case, but I'm not sure we have a common human ancestor unless you go all the way back to Abraham.

It means when Muslims, Jews or Christians claim to be children of Abraham, they are all bound to be right.

"No matter the languages we speak or the color of our skin, we share ancestors who planted rice on the banks of the Yangtze, who first domesticated horses on the steppes of the Ukraine, who hunted giant sloths in the forests of North and South America, and who labored to build the Great Pyramid of Khufu," Olson and his colleagues wrote in the journal Nature.

Ideas like this tend to give the stories of Abraham a little more credence. Who knows, maybe we are all related to one guy. What a stud.


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The Shadow Government

It now sounds like the NSA approached AT&T about setting up a domestic spying ring well before 9/11. Bush previously claimed that 9/11 was the impetus behind the decision, but it sounds like he's just a fascist by nature:
The U.S. National Security Agency asked AT&T Inc. to help it set up a domestic call monitoring site seven months before the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, lawyers claimed June 23 in court papers filed in New York federal court.

The allegation is part of a court filing adding AT&T, the nation's largest telephone company, as a defendant in a breach of privacy case filed earlier this month on behalf of Verizon Communications Inc. and BellSouth Corp. customers. The suit alleges that the three carriers, the NSA and President George W. Bush violated the Telecommunications Act of 1934 and the U.S. Constitution, and seeks money damages.

"The Bush Administration asserted this became necessary after 9/11," plaintiff's lawyer Carl Mayer said in a telephone interview. "This undermines that assertion."

The lawsuit is related to an alleged NSA program to record and store data on calls placed by subscribers. More than 30 suits have been filed over claims that the carriers, the three biggest U.S. telephone companies, violated the privacy rights of their customers by cooperating with the NSA in an effort to track alleged terrorists.
Well, this probably comes as a surprise to anyone who thinks Bush is a real conservative. The neocons are called neo-conservatives because they're not really conservative. They're actually quite a radical bunch and they came into office with a very forward-looking plan to reshape the world and America's place in it. While you certainly can't call them liberals, the conservative label doesn't fit either. That's why I like to call them neo-fascists. It describes their intent and their methods so much better than the other, more conventional terms.

So let there be no doubt: Spying on us and taking away our liberties was the plan from day one. They didn't suddenly become radicalized by 9/11 -- they claim that continually and that's bullshit. They hope that we were changed by 9/11, but it didn't affect them in the same way. Shit, the neocons probably threw a party after 9/11 because suddenly everything they've ever wanted was within reach. They can continue building their American Empire without a lot of whiny opposition (or so they thought! Bloggers can whine better than anyone!) and they no longer had to pretend to care about the Constitution. When you look at who benefited most from 9/11 the neocons are on the top of the list. They certainly faired better than the mythical Al Qaeda (which is CIA anyway).

We live in dark times. Can't trust our own government. Our government has been stolen out from under our noses and most people have no idea why or how. I can answer that quite easily. Why? Power. How? The Federal Reserve System. That's a gross oversimplification, but the fact remains that the Fed enabled the private banking class to control our government from afar. Just think about it: A private institution, in the middle of our government (inaccurately named "Federal") that controls our money supply. The government depends on the Fed for it's power because in the capitalist system the bankers are king. Shit, you'd be king too if you could take a dollar and turn it into ten dollars just by loaning it out ten times. That's the way banks work; fractional reserve banking is a huge scam:
Banks make money by literally creating money out of thin air, nowadays exclusively deposits rather than bank notes. This sort of swindling or counterfeiting is dignified by the term "fractional-reserve banking," which means that bank deposits are backed by only a small fraction of the cash they promise to have at hand and redeem. (Right now, in the United States, this minimum fraction is fixed by the Federal Reserve System at 10 percent.)

Fractional Reserve Banking

Let's see how the fractional reserve process works, in the absence of a central bank. I set up a Rothbard Bank, and invest $1,000 of cash (whether gold or government paper does not matter here). Then I "lend out" $10,000 to someone, either for consumer spending or to invest in his business. How can I "lend out" far more than I have? Ahh, that's the magic of the "fraction" in the fractional reserve. I simply open up a checking account of $10,000 which I am happy to lend to Mr. Jones. Why does Jones borrow from me? Well, for one thing, I can charge a lower rate of interest than savers would. I don't have to save up the money myself, but simply can counterfeit it out of thin air. (In the nineteenth century, I would have been able to issue bank notes, but the Federal Reserve now monopolizes note issues.) Since demand deposits at the Rothbard Bank function as equivalent to cash, the nation's money supply has just, by magic, increased by $10,000. The inflationary, counterfeiting process is under way.

The nineteenth-century English economist Thomas Tooke correctly stated that "free trade in banking is tantamount to free trade in swindling."
Read the whole article. It's a great primer on how inflated and fake our whole economy is. Anytime there's inflation your money is suddenly worth less. But whoever created that new money just got a sweet deal. He just swindled you and it's all completely legal. He can swindle you again and again and you'll never know his name or look him in the eye. You'll never get a chance to get your money back either. Our entire economy is one big scam.

So, who benefits from all of this? Bankers and criminals, of course (is there a difference?). Over the years they have grown powerful and they are getting extremely tired of the constitutional roadblocks in place and they would very much like to be rid of our pesky civil liberties. So it should come as no surprise that Bush has been a tyrannical, fascist, wanna-be dictator from day one -- he is very much a scion of the criminal banking class (he was born in Connecticut, not Texas) and his goal has always been to increase the power of the Shadow Government that sprung up after the creation of the Fed. The Shadow Government includes the military-industrial-complex (which itself includes the NSA, CIA, the Pentagon as a whole and Congress) along with the Fed, the FBI, the ATF and various other tentacles of control (like the media). Not everyone who works at the NSA is part of this Shadow Government, but the problem is that most people don't even know it exists -- so how can they fight against it?

Spread the word. The Shadow Government is basically a takeover attempt by the banking cartel and their criminal buddies. Events like 9/11 will continue to happen until they are removed from power.

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