July 29, 2007

Joseph Galloway: There’s No Vacation for Our Troops in Iraq

Filed under: Opinion — Volt @ 1:44 pm

Joseph L. Galloway, McClatchy Newspapers, July 26, 2007

We’re hard upon the dog days of August. Members of the U.S. Congress and the Iraqi parliament will soon slither away to the shade of cooler rocks, and President Bush will no doubt head off to Crawford to take his frustrations out on some brush with a chainsaw.

Meanwhile, in Iraq, the 60,000 American combat troops who daily patrol the most dangerous streets and roads in the world will carry on fighting, dying and bleeding in the broiling sun where temperatures nudge the 130-degree mark and 40 pounds of body armor and Kevlar helmet plus weapon and ammunition weigh more with every step an Infantryman takes.

The politicians in Washington and Baghdad will take their summer breaks, happy to postpone any further thought of Iraq at least until September, when the U.S. commander Gen. David Petraeus makes his progress report on the American troop surge to Congress, as though that may make some difference in how much longer this agony is going to continue.

Has anyone noticed that virtually every one of the players, political and military, have already begun chipping away at the September milestone? That, shock and horror, they begin to talk of the urgent need for American troops to remain in Iraq at the present level of 160,000 or maybe even more until 2009?

The Democrats in Congress — most of whom seem to be running for president — seem content to await further developments. The Republicans, especially those up for re-election in 2008, are wearing out the knees of their $4,000 suits praying for some miracle to remove Iraq and assorted other administration disasters from the voters’ minds. The President has gone back to talking about his impossible dream of “victory” in a war that can’t be won with the tools he’s applying in the place where he’s applying them.

The Iraqis bide their time and dream, as ever, sweet dreams of bloody revenge and communal slaughter and laugh at the to-do list of impossible American benchmarks. We talk of Iraqi “national” goals while the Iraqis talk of old, dark tribal and sectarian goals and we pass in the night like so many camel caravans.

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I improved this article tremendously. Grimgold

Filed under: Uncategorized — grimgold @ 12:03 pm

My additions in parenthesis:

A new study shows pot smokers have a 40-percent greater risk of becoming psychotic (and active members of the Democrat Party in the United States. Most of these nut-bars live in cities where accessibility to the substance and liberal support for their stupidity are greatest.)
In most cases, the psychotic condition shows up as schizophrenia, (especially in areas with heavy Democrat populations and marijuana use such as San Francisco. Late at night, supporters of Cindy Sheehan can be seen in the Haight-Ashbury district running around yelling “Jihad!” at the top of their THC-soaked lungs.)
The study was funded by the British Health Department and analyzed past research on marijuana. (It is now suspected that George W. Bush has taken up the use of this substance as evidenced by his latest lapses in judgment concerning border security and his apparent love for Ted Kennedy.)

You Libbies Will Like This! -Grin gold

Filed under: Uncategorized — grimgold @ 11:17 am


One night, George W. Bush is tossing restlessly in his White House
bed. He awakens to see George Washington standing by him. Bush asks
him, “Hey Georgie, what’s the best thing I can do to help the country?”
“Set an honest and honorable example, just as I did,” Washington
advises, and then fades away


July 28, 2007

Frank Rich: Who Really Took Over During That Colonoscopy?

Filed under: Opinion — Volt @ 10:21 pm

Frank Rich, The New York Times, July 29, 2007

There was, of course, gallows humor galore when Dick Cheney briefly grabbed the wheel of our listing ship of state during the presidential colonoscopy last weekend. Enjoy it while it lasts. A once-durable staple of 21st-century American humor is in its last throes. We have a new surrogate president now. Sic transit Cheney. Long live David Petraeus!

It was The Washington Post that first quantified General Petraeus’s remarkable ascension. President Bush, who mentioned his new Iraq commander’s name only six times as the surge rolled out in January, has cited him more than 150 times in public utterances since, including 53 in May alone.

As always with this White House’s propaganda offensives, the message in Mr. Bush’s relentless repetitions never varies. General Petraeus is the “main man.” He is the man who gives “candid advice.” Come September, he will be the man who will give the president and the country their orders about the war.

And so another constitutional principle can be added to the long list of those junked by this administration: the quaint notion that our uniformed officers are supposed to report to civilian leadership. In a de facto military coup, the commander in chief is now reporting to the commander in Iraq. We must “wait to see what David has to say,” Mr. Bush says.

Actually, we don’t have to wait. We already know what David will say. He gave it away to The Times of London last month, when he said that September “is a deadline for a report, not a deadline for a change in policy.” In other words: Damn the report (and that irrelevant Congress that will read it) — full speed ahead. There will be no change in policy. As Michael Gordon reported in The New York Times last week, General Petraeus has collaborated on a classified strategy document that will keep American troops in Iraq well into 2009 as we wait for the miracles that will somehow bring that country security and a functioning government.

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Fred Thompson’s Campaign Organization Already in Turmoil

Filed under: Opinion — Volt @ 10:11 pm

Susan Saulny, The New York Times, July 28, 2007

Former Senator Fred D. Thompson has yet to make a formal declaration that he is running for president, but already his noncampaign campaign has gone through its first shake-up.

A week of personnel turnover that extended from his campaign-manager-in-waiting down to volunteers raised questions about whether the Thompson camp is prepared to jump fully into the race for the Republican presidential nomination, a race in which his rivals have had months to establish their campaign organizations, raise money and hone strategy.

It also ignited speculation in Republican circles about who is really in charge, and in particular about the extent of the role being played by Mr. Thompson’s wife, Jeri Kehn Thompson, a former political operative.

On Tuesday, Tom Collamore, a top adviser to Mr. Thompson, stepped aside. At the same time, Mr. Thompson’s political operation announced that it was bringing in Randy Enwright, a veteran Republican strategist with ties to the Bush family, and former Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham, to take over the prospective campaign. The next day, the organization’s research director quit, and other staff members walked out.

Mr. Thompson, an actor and former senator from Tennessee, has been publicly considering a run for the presidency since March.

“They are dancing on the edge, and it’s a pretty sharp edge,” said Robert Haus, a Republican political consultant in Des Moines. “In all fairness, you have to assume that the Thompson campaign is trying to quickly put bricks and mortar under some very high expectations.”

Steve Gill, a Nashville-based conservative talk radio host who has written a biography of Mr. Thompson, said: “This is a challenging time for the nascent campaign. They’re not where they need to be in terms of staff and because of his seeming front-runner status.”

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DubYa Fulfills His Grandfather’s Dream of Installing a Fascist Dictatorship in America

Filed under: Opinion — Volt @ 5:55 pm

David Swanson, The Smirking Chimp, Jul 28 2007

It’s remarkably common for a grandson to take up his grandfather’s major project. This occurred to me when I read recently of Thor Heyerdahl’s grandson taking up his mission to cross the Pacific on a raft. But what really struck me was the BBC story aired on July 23rd documenting President George W. Bush’s grandfather’s involvement in a 1933 plot to overthrow the U.S. government and install a fascist dictatorship. I knew the story, but had not considered the possibility that the grandson was trying to accomplish what his grandfather had failed to achieve.

Prescott Sheldon Bush (1895 to 1972) attended Yale University and joined the secret society known as Skull and Bones. Prescott is widely reported to have stolen the skull of Native American leader Geronimo. As far as I know, this has not actually been confirmed. In fact, Prescott seems to have had a habit of making things up. He sent letters home from World War I claiming he’d received medals for heroism. After the letters were printed in newspapers, he had to retract his claims.

If this does not yet sound like the life of a George W. Bush ancestor, try this on for size: Prescott Bush’s early business efforts tended to fail. He married the daughter of a very rich man named George Herbert Walker (the guy with the compound at Kennebunkport, Maine, that now belongs to the Bush family, and the origin of Dubya’s middle initial). Walker installed Prescott Bush as an executive in Thyssen and Flick. From then on, Prescott’s business dealings went better, and he entered politics.

Now, the name Thyssen comes from a German named Fritz Thyssen, major financial backer of the rise of Adolph Hitler. Thyssen was referred to in the New York Herald-Tribune as “Hitler’s Angel.” During the 1930s and early 1940s, and even as late as 1951, Prescott Bush was involved in business dealings with Thyssen, and was inevitably aware of both Thyssen’s political activities and the fact that the companies involved were financially benefiting the nation of Germany. In addition, the companies Prescott Bush profited from included one engaged in mining operations in Poland using slave labor from Auschwitz. Two former slave laborers have sued the U.S. government and the heirs of Prescott Bush for $40 billion.

Until the United States entered World War II it was legal for Americans to do business with Germany, but in late 1942 Prescott Bush’s businesses interests were seized under the Trading with the Enemy Act. Among those businesses involved was the Hamburg America Lines, for which Prescott Bush served as a manager. A Congressional committee, in a report called the McCormack-Dickstein Report, found that Hamburg America Lines had offered free passage to Germany for journalists willing to write favorably about the Nazis, and had brought Nazi sympathizers to America. (Is this starting to remind anyone of our current president’s relationship to the freedom of the press?)

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Why Are Republicans Afraid to Answer Questions From Average Americans?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Volt @ 5:43 pm

Jose Antonio Vargas, The Washington Post, July 26, 2007

Four days after the Democratic debate in Charleston, S.C., more than 400 questions directed to the GOP presidential field have been uploaded on YouTube, as Republicans are scheduled to take their turn at video-populism on Sept. 17.

But only Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) and Rep. Ron Paul (Tex.) have agreed to participate in the debate, co-hosted by the Republican Party of Florida in St. Petersburg.

“Aside from those two candidates, we haven’t heard from anyone else,” said Sam Feist of CNN, which is co-sponsoring the debate with the popular video-sharing site.

Rudolph W. Giuliani and Mitt Romney, both with dozens of videos on their YouTube channels, have not signed up. Neither have the rest of the Republican candidates, including Rep. Tom Tancredo (Colo.), whose “Tancredo Takes” on his YouTube channel draw hundreds of views. Sources familiar with the Giuliani campaign said the former New York mayor is unlikely to participate. Kevin Madden, Romney’s spokesman, said the former Massachusetts governor has seven debate invitations over a span of 11 days in September.

“We haven’t committed to any of them yet,” Madden said.

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Scary-ass Rumor heard on Air America

Filed under: Uncategorized — Bart @ 7:58 am

This lady calls in, says this.

“I’m looking at a copy of the official orders. Starting in September, Bush is assigning NAVY personel to two weeks of combat training so they can be sent to Iraq. They’re starting with the officers first, and the rest will follow. But how can two week’s training be enough for NAVY men who never anticipated hand-to-hand combat?”  

July 27, 2007

Role Models

Filed under: Toon — Volt @ 9:39 pm

Iraqi Parliament on Vacation While Carnage Continues

Filed under: Uncategorized — N @ 8:28 pm

Your country is in chaos. There are daily suicide bombers killing hundreds of innocent civilians every day. Two of the largest factions in your country are in the midst of a sick and bloody civil war. Outside influences are trying to take over your country for their own evil deeds. You are supposed to be a person of responsibility.  You are a part of the new national government. What do you do to stop the violence and chaos that threatens to destroy your country? You go on vacation for a month.

I tried to find a visual from one of our great cartoonist but then realized that this isn’t fucking funny at all.

Paul Krugman: The Sum of Some Fears

Filed under: Opinion — Volt @ 7:32 pm

Paul Krugman, The New York Times, July 27, 2007

Yesterday’s scary ride in the markets wasn’t a full-fledged panic. The interest rate on 10-year U.S. government bonds — a much better indicator than stock prices of what investors think will happen to the economy — fell sharply, but even so, it ended the day higher than its level as recently as mid-May, and well above its levels earlier in the year. This tells us that investors still consider a recession, which would cause the Fed to cut interest rates, fairly unlikely.

So it wasn’t the sum of all fears. But it was the sum of some fears — three, in particular.

The first is fear of bad credit. Back in March, after another market plunge, I spun a fantasy about how a global financial meltdown could take place: people would suddenly remember that bad stuff sometimes happens, risk premiums — the extra return people demand for holding bonds that aren’t government guaranteed — would soar, and credit would dry up.

Well, some of that happened yesterday. “The risk premium on corporate bonds soared the most in five years,” reported Bloomberg News. “And debt sales faltered as investors shunned all but the safest debt.” Mark Zandi of Moody’s said that if another major hedge fund stumbles, “That could elicit a crisis of confidence and a global shock.”

I saw that one coming. But what’s really striking is how much of the current angst in the market is over two things that I thought had been obvious for a long time: the magnitude of the housing slump and the persistence of high oil prices.

I’ve written a lot about housing over the past couple of years, so let me just repeat the basics. Back in 2002 and 2003, low interest rates made buying a house look like a very good deal. As people piled into housing, however, prices rose — and people began assuming that they would keep on rising. So the boom fed on itself: borrowers began taking out loans they couldn’t really afford and lenders began relaxing their standards.

Read More Here

July 26, 2007

Ye Olde Scribe Presents: Jake the Rescue Dog Goes to Heaven and How to Destabilize the Iraqi Economy

Filed under: Uncategorized — Ye Olde Scribe @ 5:26 pm

Maybe you remember Jake the Rescue dog, canine hero of 9/11? If you haven’t already heard, Jake just died of cancer. Here is Scribe’s report on what happened AFTER he died…

Jake the Rescue Dog Goes to Heaven



Filed under: Uncategorized — Volt @ 11:20 am

July 25, 2007

You’ll like this. Grin gold

Filed under: Uncategorized — grimgold @ 9:31 pm

This is interesting…

A Kansas farm wife called the local phone company to report
her telephone failed to ring when her friends called and that on the few
occasions, when it did ring, her dog always moaned right before the
phone rang.

The telephone repairman proceeded to the scene, curious to see
this psychic dog or senile lady.
He climbed a telephone pole, hooked in his test set, and dialed
the subscriber’s house. The phone didn’t ring right away, but then the
dog moaned and the telephone began to ring. Climbing down from the pole,
the telephone repairman found:

1. The dog was tied to the telephone system’s ground wire with a
steel chain and collar.

2. The wire connection to the ground rod was loose.

3. The dog was receiving 90 volts of signaling current when the
number was called.

4. After a couple of jolts, the dog would start moaning and then urinate.

5. The wet ground would complete the circuit, thus causing the phone to

Which demonstrates that some problems CAN be fixed by pissing and moaning.

Just thought you’d like to know.

Political Genetics

Filed under: Toon — Volt @ 5:05 pm

Too-Polite Democrats Need to Dust Off That Left Hook

Filed under: Opinion — Volt @ 4:29 pm

Robyn Blumner, Tribune Media Services, July 25, 2007

Democrats finally have a prophet who can lead them to the promised land of winning national elections, and his prescription is simple: Fight back, dadgummit.

OK, it’s not quite that simple, but nearly so. In one exceptionally clear 400-page volume, Drew Westen, a professor of psychology at Emory University, lays out everything that Democrats have been doing wrong. He explains it all in neuroscientific terms according to what regions of the brain control political decision-making, but it comes down to this: In election after election, Democrats have been appealing to the dispassionate, rational, fact-sensitive voter, a being, apparently, who doesn’t exist.

According to Westen’s The Political Brain: The Role of Emotions in Deciding the Fate of the Nation, winning elections is all about influencing feelings and emotions. Westen says bringing more passion into politics requires the use of storytelling narratives and other emotional cues that powerfully engage those circuits of the brain that recruit and reinforce beliefs.

Democrats keep losing presidential campaigns, not because the issues they stand for are unappealing, but because they tend to structure their campaigns to engage the brain’s reasoning centers. And that just doesn’t cut the synaptic mustard.

The results speak for themselves. In most polls, Americans are demonstrably more supportive of the Democratic agenda, yet somehow Republicans keep winning.

The most blatant example of an emotionally dead campaign was that moment during the 1988 presidential debates when moderator Bernard Shaw asked Michael Dukakis whether he would favor the death penalty for someone who raped and murdered his wife.

“No, I don’t, Bernard,” Dukakis responded. “I don’t see any evidence that it’s a deterrent, and I think there are better and more effective ways to deal with violent crime.”

As Westen writes, Dukakis answered in the language of “rational utility,” describing his concerns for the death penalty’s deterrent value. But the average listener heard a different question. They heard Shaw ask Dukakis, “Are you a man?” The answer was a resounding “No.”

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