Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Pre-Election Bush Bash (re: Iraq, Idiots, Etc)

note: mirrored on QP and HMKHO.
As something of an aperitif, I offer this Bjork video, which kottke loved so much.
It's quite the story within a story about a story about a book....and stays accessible through it all.

Before we get to the bashing, I just want to address the complaints of some about "bashing Bush" in general. They seem to think that actually laying out complaints is somehow unpatriotic. They seem to think that Bush is undeserving of bashing. They seem to think the U.S. has improved greatly during the 21st century. If any of them read this...realize something...I only bash Bush because of the things he has don and said. There's no other thing to go after him. It's not about who he is, or where he's from...it's about what he has done in office, and to stay in office, that really needs to be addressed.

I think it's important to start off with something like that, because next we move on slightly more serious matters. In this case, a warning from a previous President.
Ike is a bit behind the times however. While he speaks of the "Military Industrial Complex" in this speech, the name has been updated to go along with the times. Nowadays, folks like me call 'em the "Neocon Imperial Militarists" (NIM for short).

This is some pretty serious stuff, and there's a lot more where that came from. Like this excerpt from a speech by General Smedley Butler in 1933. Yes, people have known this for a while. I'm sure I could wander through the annals of military history and find many more examples of soldiers pointing out the often inane aspects of organizaed warfare. Regardess..here's General Butler's take.
War is just a racket. A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of people. Only a small inside group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few at the expense of the masses.

I believe in adequate defense at the coastline and nothing else. If a nation comes over here to fight, then we'll fight. The trouble with America is that when the dollar only earns 6 percent over here, then it gets restless and goes overseas to get 100 percent. Then the flag follows the dollar and the soldiers follow the flag.

I wouldn't go to war again as I have done to protect some lousy investment of the bankers. There are only two things we should fight for. One is the defense of our homes and the other is the Bill of Rights. War for any other reason is simply a racket.
[full speech]

And since I'm very much into quoting combat veterans in this post, let's take a look at the thoughts of another one. While you haven't heard much from Kevin Tillman before, his brother Pat gained national fame when his death was used as a prop by Bush during the 2004 campaign [1]. Kevin goes on at lengh regarding the situation.
Somehow we were sent to invade a nation because it was a direct threat to the American people, or to the world, or harbored terrorists, or was involved in the September 11 attacks, or received weapons-grade uranium from Niger, or had mobile weapons labs, or WMD, or had a need to be liberated, or we needed to establish a democracy, or stop an insurgency, or stop a civil war we created that can't be called a civil war even though it is. Something like that.

Somehow America has become a country that projects everything that it is not and condemns everything that it is.[2]
Somehow back at home, support for the soldiers meant having a five-year-old kindergartener scribble a picture with crayons and send it overseas, or slapping stickers on cars, or lobbying Congress for an extra pad in a helmet. It's interesting that a soldier on his third or fourth tour should care about a drawing from a five-year-old; or a faded sticker on a car as his friends die around him; or an extra pad in a helmet, as if it will protect him when an IED throws his vehicle 50 feet into the air as his body comes apart and his skin melts to the seat.

Somehow the more soldiers that die, the more legitimate the illegal invasion becomes.[3]
Somehow those afraid to fight an illegal invasion decades ago are allowed to send soldiers to die for an illegal invasion they started.

Somehow faking character, virtue and strength is tolerated.

Somehow profiting from tragedy and horror is tolerated.

Somehow the death of tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of people is tolerated.

Somehow subversion of the Bill of Rights and The Constitution is tolerated.

Somehow suspension of Habeas Corpus is supposed to keep this country safe.

Somehow torture is tolerated.

Somehow lying is tolerated.

Somehow reason is being discarded for faith, dogma, and nonsense. Somehow American leadership managed to create a more dangerous world.

Somehow a narrative is more important than reality.
[read the whole thing, at least one troop would appreciate you taking the time to do so]

We are now, pseudo-officially on a timeline in Iraq.
The top US military commander in Iraq and the powerful American ambassador to the country gave a rare joint briefing in Baghdad today to stress that control of the country was transferring to Iraqis and that the future lay largely in local hands.

The briefing, coming two weeks before the congressional mid-term elections in America, in which the Iraq war has emerged as the defining issue, sought to clarify the US mission in the country and put forward a timeline of political developments that Washington expects Iraqi leaders to achieve within the next 12 months.
Actually, I guess it's more that the Iraqi puppet government is on a timeline. Those who have studied a bit of history regarding the U.S.'s stupid wars know what is happening now is a set up for the next stage of the great game, i.e. passing of the buck on responsibility. It simply couldn't be the people who dreamed up and started this war that were wrong...noo....it was the liberals that didn't support it and the weak-kneed transition goverment that doomed the project to failure.

The sad part is that a whole bunch of people will buy it. How else can this asshat stay stocked wiht oxycontin?
WASHINGTON — Rush Limbaugh has accused actor Michael J. Fox of exaggerating the physical effects of his Parkinson's disease in political ads urging viewers to vote for Democrats in next month's election.

The conservative radio host told listeners Monday that Fox's lurching, palsied movements in a TV ad for Missouri Senate challenger Claire McCaskill were "an act." Limbaugh noted that Fox, a longtime advocate for research on embryonic stem cells, has said he sometimes does not take his medication in order to illustrate Parkinson's severe physical effects. Uncontrolled shaking and stiffness are among the symptoms of the nerve disease.
John Rogers, Fox's spokesman, called Limbaugh's remarks "shameful."

It's an appalling, sad statement," Rogers said. "Anybody who understands Parkinson's disease knows it's because of the medicine that one experiences" body movements like those seen in the ad.

Fox, who has had Parkinson's for 15 years, is supporting candidates who would vote to expand research using stem cells from human embryos.
[full story]

It is sad to see someone who (mind boggles) gets respect from a large portion of our population saying such ridiculous things. Also, I hope the Dems keep hammering away at the anti-science, anti-evolution, anti-intelleigence culture that the Republicans brought to Washington. If Alex P. Keaton wants to join in on the bashing, I'm all for it.

UPDATE: Some days I actually have hope.
I said before is, it's like saying a person with cancer is faking it because they lost their hair," Kirby said. "There's no logic to it."

For the last six years, Kirby has watched her husband, Kevin, suffer from Parkinson's. His tremors and twitches are not as severe as Fox's.

Kirby emailed everyone she knows to boycott advertisers of the Limbaugh show, and she took it a step further.

"We've been Republicans, dyed in the wool, forever, and we didn't vote Republican at all this time," Kirby said.

Limbaugh has since apologized for his remarks. But the Kirbys say the damage is done.
[full story]

That's enough about what level of idiot it takes to continue supporting Bush. If there are still a few who don't get it, this next link stands as even more evidence that we are in bad shape...and will get worse if we don't come up with a sane Iraq policy.
Troops With Stress Disorders Being Redeployed
(CBS News) Army Staff Sgt. Bryce Syverson spent 15 months in Iraq before he was diagnosed by military doctors with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and sent to the psychiatric unit at Walter Reed Medical Center, CBS News correspondent Sharyn Alfonsi reports.

"It ended up they just took his weapon away from him and said he was non-deployable and couldn't have a weapon," says his father, Larry Syverson. "He was on suicide watch in a lockdown."

That was last August. This August, he was deployed to Ramadi, in the heart of the Sunni triangle -- and he had a weapon.

He's still there. Under pressure to maintain troop levels, military doctors tell CBS News it's become a "common practice" to recycle soldiers with mental disorders back into combat.
[full story] Cutting corners like this will only lead to another Haditha.

Things are so bad for Bush now, even fate is conspiring to bash him.
Everything seemed to be going wrong for Bush last week, even the metaphors. On the way to the Allen fund raiser, we stopped for a photo op at a picturesque farm stand outside Richmond. There was a pile of pumpkins sitting on a flatbed truck, and both Allen and Bush tried to hoist an aesthetically pleasing pumpkin by the stem. Both stems snapped. "If you break it, you pay for it, Mr. President," said Richard Keil of Bloomberg News, echoing Colin Powell's famous rule at the outset of the Iraq war. Bush didn't seem to get the joke. "I suppose you're right," he said, and tried to buy the broken pumpkin.
[full story]

What's really sad is that the nightmare continues, and Bush is just now realizing how bad it is. Read this and let me know if you can find the Orwellian doublespeak.
Despite conceding painful losses, Bush said victory was essential in Iraq as part of the broader war on terror.

"We're winning and we will win, unless we leave before the job is done," he said.

Bush said that as those fighting American and Iraqi forces change their strategies, the United States is also adjusting its military tactics.

"Americans have no intention of taking sides in a sectarian struggle or standing in the crossfire between rival factions," he said.
[full story]

For those from the 20th Century visiting the 21st, we have an update for you. "Civil War" is now called "Sectarian Struggle". Yes, the alliteration is nice, but it still means countryman killing countryman....and countrywoman and countrychildren. Geez, maybe Bush can use "the google" to figure out WTF is going on in the world...it's worked wonders for me.

Pre-pre-final link: It looks like others have noticed, as I did, that the RNC is now airing Al Qeada Terror™ Brand commericals.
I'm not at all sure terrorists would consider this footage useful for propaganda purposes, but a reasonable case can be made — indeed, has been made — that the latest commercial from the Republican National Committee is far closer to an "enemy propaganda film" than anything we've seen on CNN.
[full post]

Pre-final link: Keith Olbermann also picked up on this obvious meme...and done run with it. Arianna did the same.

Finally...please...suck it up and vote for the Dems.

Bonus: Forward looking link.
Bush faces political nightmare if Democrats win

WASHINGTON, Oct 22 (Reuters) - If Democrats win control of the U.S. Congress in the Nov. 7 election, it would turn the Capitol upside down and create a political nightmare for the already embattled President George W. Bush.

If his Republicans lose the majority, Bush would hear newly empowered calls to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq and would suddenly face promised Democratic-led congressional investigations with subpoena power into the unpopular war.

Bush, whose public approval ratings are below 40 percent, would also face Democratic demands he offer "mainstream" rather than "right-wing" judicial nominees if he wants them confirmed.
[full story] This is the hope. There have been so many shady deals and strange b.s. in D.C. that hasn't been investigated while Bush has been in control, it will be nice to see some accountability. Also, I think the last few years have illustrated how one-party control of the country (any country) is not a good thing.

Arrogance and stupidity indeed [4].

[1] via fdl via E&P
Mary, the mother, complained to the Post that the government used her son for weeks after his death. She said she was particularly offended when President Bush offered a taped memorial message to Tillman at a Cardinals football game shortly before the presidential election last fall.

[2] This is perhaps the worst part of the situation, and why Bush has been so bad for America, and why...even if Bush recalled the concept of honor and resigned tomorrow...we would still face an uphill climb to get back where from we came.
UNITED NATIONS --Several governments around the world have tried to rebut criticism of how they handle detainees by claiming they are only following the U.S. example in the war on terror, the U.N. anti-torture chief said Monday.

Manfred Nowak, the U.N. special investigator on torture, said that when he criticizes governments for their questionable treatment of detainees, they respond by telling him that if the United States does something, it must be all right. He would not name any countries except for Jordan.

"The United States has been the pioneer, if you wish, of human rights and is a country that has a high reputation in the world," Nowak told a news conference. "Today, many other governments are kind of saying, 'But why are you criticizing us, we are not doing something different than what the United States is doing?'"
[full story]

[3] This phenomenon was noted in a recent post, "Support our Oops". I've got the money quote from Bush here.

BAGHDAD -- A senior US diplomat said the United States had shown "arrogance" and "stupidity" in Iraq but was now ready to talk with any group except Al Qaeda in Iraq to facilitate national reconciliation.

In an interview with Al-Jazeera television aired late yesterday, Alberto Fernandez, director of public diplomacy in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs at the State Department offered an unusually candid assessment of America's war in Iraq.

"We tried to do our best, but I think there is much room for criticism because, undoubtedly, there was arrogance and there was stupidity from the United States in Iraq," he said.
The sad part? He backed off his truth telling after a call from home mentioned how "truth" went of style around 2000 and "truthiness" is all the rage nowadays.

Ed note: Yea, I've been gone for a while. The problems still remain, but I'm trying to work through them with my hosting company.

UPDATE: What's so funny, Mr. President?

UPDATE: Ever seen a grown man fellate a Vice-President (who likes being compared to Darth Vader?)?

Here ya go.

Can I please have 5 minutes on tape with Cheney? He can be exposed as an evil man in 2 minutes or less, with a couple simple questions. The fact that he talks about "the terrorists" taking actions that could kill hundreds of thousands of people somehow overwhelms the fact that HE HAS TAKEN ACTIONS THAT HAVE KILLED HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE.

Neocons believe in the things most of all.
1) Might Makes Right.
2) The Ends Justify the Means.

Once you understand this, you'll know why they are evil. Or, coversely, you can just look at what they've done.

UPDATE: Here's Imus on Limbaugh. Good way to put it.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Fight Hearts Opec Brawls (Iraq Still Sucks)

Might I suggest a quick Fight Club refresher?

Or maybe a horrid way to assure the loss of hearts and minds?

OPEC has done all they can for Republican election efforts (i.e. lowering gas prices) and will now cut production.
One analyst said some OPEC policymakers wanted to make deeper cuts in output but felt hamstrung by mid-term elections in the United States, where fuel prices are a political issue.

"If it weren't for the U.S. election and the high prices we've had there would be a better than 50 percent chance that OPEC would cut more than a million barrels," he said.

OPEC's official ceiling has been at 28 million bpd since July 2005. During that time output has shifted around 500,000 bpd either side of the official limit.
Some memorable sports brawls. Nolan Ryan is still one of my heroes (saw his 7th no-hitter from 5 rows behind home plate).

Duh, duh, and duh.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The World's Oil :: Projection

The exectuive summary speaks for itself.
This article is a first simplistic (but comprehensive) assessment of World Oil Exports, here defined has the total amount of liquid hydrocarbons that are surpluses in producing countries. This assessment is made by projecting in to the future fixed change rates that reflect current trends in liquids production and consumption in countries where presently the difference between the two is positive. The outcome of this assessment is worrisome.
My suggestion...drive less. A lot less.

It should also be noted that I follow my own advice.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Industry Self-Policing Doesn't Work

Industry self-policing doesn't work. I thought Enron taught us that. Here's the latest example, and this is damn near straight out of Fast Food Nation.
While officials praised a Salinas company Monday for voluntarily recalling potentially contaminated lettuce over the weekend, consumer advocates said the case raises more questions about whether the produce industry should be policing itself.

A state Senate committee will hold a hearing in Sacramento on Wednesday to review whether the industry and government are doing enough to prevent and respond to outbreaks of food contamination. The lettuce recall and a recent spate of three deaths and numerous illnesses traced to a separate problem with Salinas Valley spinach also have drawn new calls for regulation in Congress.

``Clearly the company did the right thing,'' said Dr. David Acheson, a top food safety official with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, referring to the decision by the Nunes Co. to recall more than 8,500 cartons of its green leaf lettuce after finding E. coli bacteria in water from a reservoir that was used to irrigate the crop.

So far there is no evidence that the lettuce itself was contaminated, and no illnesses have been reported.
Read the rest of the article for more arguments from both sides. The effectiveness of self-policing is, uh, readily apparent.
114 Sick From Spinach E.Coli; No Tampering Found
(AP) SAN JUAN BAUTISTA Tampering is not suspected in an outbreak of E. coli linked to fresh spinach, federal health officials said Monday as they continue to probe the source of the contamination and warned consumers to continue to avoid eating fresh spinach products.

The Food and Drug Administration has linked a California company's fresh spinach to the outbreak, which as of Monday afternoon had killed one person and sickened at least 114 others. Investigators are working to pinpoint the source of the bacteria. Possible sources include contaminated irrigation water.
[the story that started it all] One could also point to the gutted EPA and FDA under the Neocons as a source for worry, but the simple fact is that self-policing doesn't work (unless by "work" you mean make more money with more risk)

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Nuclear dud in NK?

Some more skeptical analysis for the North Korea nuke test earlier this week. Essentially the point is that this was either a small test (smallest ever...by a large factor), thick bedrock in NK, or something else. More coming later.
There is lots of data floating around: The CTBTO called it 4.0; The South Koreans report 3.58-3.7.

You're thinking, 3.6, 4.2, in that neighborhood. Seismic scales, like the Richter, are logarithmic, so that neighborhood can be pretty big.

But even at 4.2, the test was probablya dud.

Estimating the yield is tricky business, because it depends on the geology of the test site. The South Koreans called the yield half a kiloton (550 tons), which is more or less -- a factor of two -- consistent with the relationship for tests in that yield range at the Soviet Shagan test site:

Mb = 4.262 + .973LogW

Where Mb is the magnitude of the body wave, and W is the yield.

3.58-3.7 gives you a couple hundred tons (not kilotons), which is pretty close in this business unless you're really math positive. The same equation, given the US estimate of 4.2, yields (pun intended) around a kiloton.

Ride the Lightning, Indeed

A WOMAN has suffered severe burning to her anus after being struck by lightning which hit her in the mouth and passed right through her body.

Natasha Timarovic, 27, was cleaning her teeth at home when lightning struck the building.

She said: "I had just put my mouth under the tap to rinse away the toothpaste when the lightning must have struck the building.

I don't remember much after that, but I was later told that the lightning had travelled down the water pipe and struck me on the mouth, passing through my body.

It was incredibly painful, I felt it pass through my torso and then I don't remember much at all." Doctors at the city hospital where she was treated for burns to the mouth and rear said: "The accident is bizarre but not impossible.

She was wearing rubber bathroom shoes at the time and so instead of earthing through her feet it appears the electricity shot out of her backside," a medic told local television news channel, 24 Sata.

This is Good Science

This is sooo much better a better use for liquid fuels than ICBMs.
CNN) -- Spectacular new images of Mars could reveal clues about tens of millions of years of the red planet's history.

NASA has just released photos taken from above the planet by the spacecraft Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, showing the rover Opportunity perched next to the enormous Victoria Crater. Four or five football stadiums could fit inside the crater.

"We've taken approximately 160,000 photographs from Spirit and Opportunity," said Jim Bell, lead scientist for the rover's panoramic camera. "The images that have come down just this week have instantly vaulted to my top 10 list," he said.

The rovers Spirt and Opportunity landed on Mars three weeks apart in January 2004.

The images were taken from about 170 miles above the Martian surface, revealing information about the sedimentary layering of the planet.
And here's why NASA should be getting proper respects from everyone, everywhere.
Few scientists imagined the two robots would still be gathering information. The robots, about the size of motorized golf carts, have continued to function, 10 times longer than expected.

"Today is day 960 of Opportunity's 90-day mission to Mars," said Steve Squyres from Cornell University.
Getting an order of magnitude more performance out of something that has never been done before is certainly worth a Nobel, IMHO. Or at least a few years of solid grant money.

Friday, October 06, 2006


It's certainly something, all right.

pwning the Confederate Yankee

This is as easy as shooting sexual predators in Congress (i.e. fish in a barrel).

Read the thread for the pwnage.

BTW, I've run into these jackholes before...details
on quantumphilosophy.net...which is still frickin' down...grrr...

pwning the Confederate Yankee

This is as easy as shooting sexual predators in Congress (i.e. fish in a barrel).

Read the thread for the pwnage.

BTW, I've run into these jackholes before...details
on quantumphilosophy.net...which is still frickin' down...grrr...

Thursday, October 05, 2006


Do Not Switch to Beta Blogger unless you just want to play around. It will switch ALL of your blogs over, take away your ability to post, break most compatability...and there's no way back.

If they had even warned of ONE of these things when asking, I never would have hit the button. Now all my shit is busted.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

They Want Your Soul

They Want Your Soul - 720x480 High-Res - Google Video
This is a pretty wild sci-fi/conspiracy theory mash-up. It goes from 9/11 through the WoT™, through a bunch of speculative/prototype military/tracking tech, and then takes it home with the "hive mind", "transhumanists", and quotes from Revelation.

Personally I'd say it makes for a pretty good outline of a sci-fi story. The only way it will/could come about in reality is if people get so pessimistic and cynical they stop trying to make a better world.

So, uh, what do you want to do tonight Brain?

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

The Dark Side of the Rainbow

Click the play icon to start the video.
Please be patient while your media loads.

Great example of how Pink Floyd synchronized 'The Dark Side of the Moon' with 'The Wizard of Oz'.

Having watctched this before, and read a bit about Floyd, I'd say it is fairly likely the ablum was designed this way.