Friday, August 24, 2007

"A Justice System in Tatters"

You know, what's truly sad about this story--another reminder that things ARE NOT ok in NOLA--is that it's not like the justice system is really all that stable anywhere else either...and what's not obliterated by a disaster, natural or NOT, might well be razed by Act of Congress, in the "interest of our safety."

Again, New Orleans is serving as the test case/canary in the national coal mine. As it goes, so goes the nation. Let's hope it doesn't, you know, go.'s STILL better to be in NOLA than anywhere else...and I'll be there tomorrow. Wish I could've made it to Buffa's tonight, but I've been dealing with a damn nagging set of cold-like symptoms, that, thankfully, are FINALLY starting to wane. Well, here's one person looking forward to a pleasant Saturday...
Desperately Seeking Enemies

(looks like the new embedded video in Blogger might be causing issues with You Tube--if the video above doesn't display, click here).

August 24, 2007
Op-Ed Columnist
Seeking Willie Horton
So now Mitt Romney is trying to Willie Hortonize Rudy Giuliani. And thereby hangs a tale--the tale, in fact, of American politics past and future, and the ultimate reason Karl Rove’s vision of a permanent Republican majority was a foolish fantasy.

Willie Horton, for those who don’t remember the 1988 election, was a convict from Massachusetts who committed armed robbery and rape after being released from prison on a weekend furlough program. He was made famous by an attack ad, featuring a menacing mugshot, that played into racial fears. Many believe that the ad played an important role in George H.W. Bush’s victory over Michael Dukakis.

Now some Republicans are trying to make similar use of the recent murder of three college students in Newark, a crime in which two of the suspects are Hispanic illegal immigrants. Tom Tancredo flew into Newark to accuse the city’s leaders of inviting the crime by failing to enforce immigration laws, while Newt Gingrich declared that the "war here at home" against illegal immigrants is "even more deadly than the war in Iraq and Afghanistan."

And Mr. Romney, who pretends to be whatever he thinks the G.O.P. base wants him to be, is running a radio ad denouncing New York as a "sanctuary city" for illegal immigrants, an implicit attack on Mr. Giuliani.

Strangely, nobody seems to be trying to make a national political issue out of other horrifying crimes, like the Connecticut home invasion in which two paroled convicts, both white, are accused of killing a mother and her two daughters. Oh, and by the way: over all, Hispanic immigrants appear to commit relatively few crimes — in fact, their incarceration rate is actually lower than that of native-born non-Hispanic whites.

To appreciate what’s going on here you need to understand the difference between the goals of the modern Republican Party and the strategy it uses to win elections.

The people who run the G.O.P. are concerned, above all, with making America safe for the rich. Their ultimate goal, as Grover Norquist once put it, is to get America back to the way it was "up until Teddy Roosevelt, when the socialists took over," getting rid of "the income tax, the death tax, regulation, all that."

But right-wing economic ideology has never been a vote-winner. Instead, the party’s electoral strategy has depended largely on exploiting racial fear and animosity.

Ronald Reagan didn’t become governor of California by preaching the wonders of free enterprise; he did it by attacking the state’s fair housing law, denouncing welfare cheats and associating liberals with urban riots. Reagan didn’t begin his 1980 campaign with a speech on supply-side economics, he began it — at the urging of a young Trent Lott — with a speech supporting states’ rights delivered just outside Philadelphia, Miss., where three civil rights workers were murdered in 1964.

And if you look at the political successes of the G.O.P. since it was taken over by movement conservatives, they had very little to do with public opposition to taxes, moral values, perceived strength on national security, or any of the other explanations usually offered. To an almost embarrassing extent, they all come down to just five words: southern whites starting voting Republican.

In fact, I suspect that the underlying importance of race to the Republican base is the reason Rudy Giuliani remains the front-runner for the G.O.P. nomination, despite his serial adultery and his past record as a social liberal. Never mind moral values: what really matters to the base is that Mr. Giuliani comes across as an authoritarian, willing in particular to crack down on you-know-who.

But Republicans have a problem: demographic changes are making their race-based electoral strategy decreasingly effective. Quite simply, America is becoming less white, mainly because of immigration. Hispanic and Asian voters were only 4 percent of the electorate in 1980, but they were 11 percent of voters in 2004 — and that number will keep rising for the foreseeable future.

Those numbers are the reason Karl Rove was so eager to reach out to Hispanic voters. But the whites the G.O.P. has counted on to vote their color, not their economic interests, are having none of it. From their point of view, it’s us versus them — and everyone who looks different is one of them.

So now we have the spectacle of Republicans competing over who can be most convincingly anti-Hispanic. I know, officially they’re not hostile to Hispanics in general, only to illegal immigrants, but that’s a distinction neither the G.O.P. base nor Hispanic voters takes seriously.

Today’s G.O.P., in short, is trapped by its history of cynicism. For decades it has exploited racial animosity to win over white voters — and now, when Republican politicians need to reach out to an increasingly diverse country, the base won’t let them.

And here's another ad that would surely bring a tear to Lee Atwater's shade's eye--if it hadn't been horribly melted away on a regular basis in hell for the last however many years Lee's had residence there...

Click here if the video doesn't display.
"Sure, It's Tragic; However...

...let's not get TOO worked up about these things."

Good old "Fog of War," making it easier for bloodthirsty ghouls to sleep since...well, since they invented the term:

A bomb apparently dropped by an American fighter jet called in for air support killed three British soldiers in southern Afghanistan, officials said Friday. Two soldiers were seriously wounded...

After an inquest into the death of British soldier Lance Cpl. Matty Hull, 25, killed in a friendly fire attack by two American pilots in Iraq in 2003, opposition legislators in Britain called for improvements in joint identification systems.

Britain last year threatened to end cooperation with the U.S. on the new Joint Strike Fighter jet after 10 years of development, until the Pentagon resolved concerns it was not sharing enough information about the aircraft's sensitive software with London.

Earlier this year, Britain's Defense Secretary Des Browne said that since 1990 12 British personnel had died in friendly fire incidents involving U.S. forces in Iraq, but that there had been no such deaths in Afghanistan.

U.S. fire has mistakenly killed five Canadian soldiers — one last September during intense airstrikes on Taliban strongholds near Kandahar, and four in April 2002 when an American pilot dropped a 500-pound bomb near where the troops were apparently conducting a live-fire exercise.

In August 2006, a bomb mistakenly dropped by coalition aircraft killed 10 Afghan police officers on a patrol in the country's southeast.

Meanwhile, Kristol, who probably throws epic hissy fits if the waitstaff doesn't meet his stringent, exacting standards, publicly thinks nothing of tossing more military lives into the meat grinder...and some guy who calls himself Atrios has a few things to say--and show--re: Mr. The-World-is-Flat-and-I-am-the-Moustache-of-Undertanding.

A couple days ago I posted a picture/post titled "Dada as Official Policy," commenting on Dear Leader's bizarre decision to embrace the "Iraq-as-Vietnam" analogy after four years of haughtily eschewing it. Well, desperate people do desperate things, I guess...

However, in my own haste and distraction, I made a mistake in portraying the Boy Chimperor, and I hope you don't mind a small explanation here: finding a photo of Duchamp's, um, installation was easy enough, but my aim and intent was to show Shrub, in equally absurd form, dancing on the head of a pin. OK, so I got that, but then screwed up the critical element: pins are the size of...pins, not knitting needles, and I should have adjusted accordingly, which would then require some adaptive optics--like this:

The Freeance and Peance Promenade

Ah, I feel better now.

Believe it or not, the first picture had been bugging me since about an hour after I posted it--I don't mind making mistakes, but not really glaring ones.

Back in a bit.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Because You've GOTTA Trust David Vitter, Right?

Senator Dandy Dave insists the surge is working, and not just the one in his pants...

And Mr. Family Values would never shit you, right? I mean, figuratively speaking, that is.
The Lame Excuses of the Week

If it's after twelve noon on a partly sunny day, then the Iraq War Vietnam:

Year-by-year, month-by-month, now even day-to-day, we're treated to a different rationale for the Iraq war from a different President George W. Bush.

Meanwhile, Anniston, Ala-FREAKING-bama is the latest red-state location to take notice of the fact that the Chimperor has no clothes, which goes along with the fact that he has no functioning brain. The national media, of course, will ignore this...though if the situation was reversed, and a Democratic president was getting the bum's rush from the base, you can bet Chris Matthews would be hyperventilating with glee.

Finally, rounding out with another Cursor link, here's Seymour Hersh explaining to Adbusters the reality behind the increasingly threadbare Shrub facade in Iraq. Short version: it's all going to crumble into dust. Well, duh: anyone in the reality-based community knows that. Unfortunately, the media thinks batshit insanity somehow qualifies for equal if not greater time.
Depressingly Familiar

...but that's NOT New Orleans. It's Findlay, Ohio, and it, like a fair bit of the Upper and Central Midwest, is experiencing significant flooding. The hot temperatures are adding to the misery.

I wonder when the wingnuts are going to start hollering for the abandonment of the region...after all, parts of the Midwest flood pretty much every year. Will the wingers complain about their tax dollars being "wasted" on infrastructure that's only going to get inundated at some point? Or is that sort of talk reserved for places like New know, where "those people" live.

Just wondering.
Mission Accomplished

Here's what we got in exchange Team Bush's insistence on war with Iraq--a House of Parliament that's more like a House of Cards.

South Vietnam's government could at least pretend to wield some authority, however limited and pathetic it was. Iraq's "government" doesn't even control the Green Zone--we do. When we finally leave, you'll be able to measure the half-life of whatever caretaker regime's left in charge in minutes...then the Islamic theocrats will take over.

Heckuva job.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

More Like GOMER Pyle...

...minus the fact that all things considered, Gomer had some redeeming qualities, his mishaps were more or less harmless...oh, and he didn't go AWOL.
Family Values: Swinging and Soliciting

Well, more evidence that "values voters" were the proverbial suckers born that particular minute...let's see--

Repub operative Tim Droogsma gets picked up in a prostitution sting, claims it's all just a misunderstanding...well, I suppose I'll give him a few points for knowing how to lie with a modicum of discretion, unlike fellow Repug Bob Allen, who's getting more bizarre with every excuse.

Meanwhile, not necessarily related to their swingers lifestyle--and I wonder if the family values types think swinging is a matter of choice or genetics--but certainly indicative of just being a plain old dick, Roger Simon's back in the news, having made some threatening phone calls to New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer's father. TalkingPointsMemo's been covering, no pun intended, the details.

Simon's decided to go with the Bob Allen-style excuse, claiming his house must have been broken into and his voice somehow duplicated.

Any takers on how long it'll be before he blames space aliens?

You know, if they'd just do their thing, sexually speaking, I wouldn't give a half a damn. But I guess claiming Rethuglican status must be their way of trying to elude Johnny Law and keep clear of the pokey.

And again, as I've noted, old Diaper Dave in comparison is a case study in modesty, restraint (no pun intended here either), and decorum when it comes to his own affairs...which is probably one reason why he's not politically dead yet.
All Those Who Are Bugfuck Insane Please Raise Your Hand

John Bolton 'absolutely' hopes the US will attack Iran.

These folks aren't like drunks demanding the car keys--they're like drunks who want the keys to the car, the keys to the gun safe, AND the keys to the liquor cabinet while at the same time lighting match after match in an enclosed room full of greasy rags...
DaDa as Official Policy

I guess it's a "why the hell not, there's nothing left to lose" strategem to wave the wave the Vietnam flag in front of the dwindling remnants of the red-meat/Kool-Aid crowd. That said, it's hard not to think at this point that Shrub could literally be mumbling gibberish...

and while most of us here in the United States realize this, you've still got a smidgen of hard core wingnuttia grinding their teeth in unison...which the media dutifully pretends is a viable political faction...even as (link via First Draft) the campaign rallies themselves take on the air of Potemkin Villages, complete with placarded goon squads to rush away any independent thought. Heil Freedom!

All that's left at this point is for Shrub to start tap-dancing on the head of a giant pin while fastening a Medal of Freedom around Nouri Al-Maliki's neck--the Team Bush kiss of death if there ever was one.

If I was in Iraq right now, I think I'd be looking for secure seating to the airport and a plane ticket to pretty much anywhere else.

By the way, kidding aside, here's yet another example of what the administration's managed to accomplish in Mesopotamia. And that's what the media decides they CAN show...imagine what they're holding back.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The Benny and Bobby Show

Well, it'll be interesting to see how this all plays out.

Now, don't get me wrong--I'm in favor of anything and everything that exposes the underlying fraud and hypocrisy of Jindal, and would prefer just about anyone or anyTHING for governor short of say, David Duke. But, I am wondering if the associated advertising campaign might be a case of, no pun intended, robbing Peter to pay Paul.

South Loosiana is as heavily Catholic as North Gret Stet is Protestant, and while the advertising campaign is certainly NOT playing in New Iberia, there's always the possibility of a backlash. Protestantism is dominant here in the Florida Parishes (Baton Rouge to the State line north of Lakes Maurepas and Ponchartrain), though Jindal is nonetheless quite popular...New Orleans is...well, the great unknown (Gret Unknown?) this election cycle.

Personally, I've been rid of the religion bug for some time now, so I really don't know all that much about any possible resentments between the One Church and the many churches. And again, I'm willing to settle for pretty much ANYTHING that'd put the skids on what's amounted to, thus far, a feeling that Piyush's election is an inevitability. We'll see...

UPDATE: ha--you know, just for fun I almost added a shot of everyone's favorite hot-air-sound-&-fury-signifying-even-less-than-nothing Catlick blowhard Bill Donohue to the picture above--but I thought I'd let sleeping curs lie...turns out I should've done my research:

Bill Donohue, head of the Catholic League, a watchdog group, said it was a "scurrilous smear" job.

Well, if he's opposed, it can't be all bad.

The rest of the article, as well as Adrastos' observant post, suggests that something stuck, and stuck fast. Ineffective ads don't produce vintage whine. Good.

And, in honor of Bill opening his gaping claptrap, I decided to punch his ticket to the balcony.

Not exactly a holy trinity.
From "The Decider" to "The Dissident"

Just when you think Shrub couldn't get more puerile, more churlish...

"You're not the only dissident," Bush told Saad Eddin Ibrahim, a leader in the resistance to Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. "I too am a dissident in Washington..."

Pathetic...yet, you know, I don't doubt for a second he feels oh-so-put-upon. Hell, it wouldn't surprise me one bit if his next move is to "establish his legacy" as a goddamned martyr to the cause...whatever the cause was...oh yeah, right: the cause was the greater glory of Chimperor Maxibushus. A martyr to himself, the poor dear, having to sneak the odd nip from a brown-bagged bottle because, after all, Laura doesn't approve.

Well, boy George, when you're through feeling sorry for yourself, maybe go say hello to some people who've also suffered a bit since you assumed office.
On a Wingnut and a Prayer

The Clownhall columnist Douglas MacKinnon and his juvenile minions are just...plain...sick. Fortunately for all of us, I'm pretty sure they truly ARE the lunatic fringe, fantasizing about the nuclear destruction of an American city without the first thought as to the consequences, minus some genuinely batty questions about electro-magnetic pulse and the possible effects on Big Time's pacemaker.

UNfortunately for all of us, batshit insane wingnuttery is still on the political table, as it were--Team Bush still at the White House, Giuliani and Romney still considered serious candidates for high office, Lamebone and his protege Glenn Beck are still polluting our airwaves, etc. etc.

You know, no wonder they don't have the slightest issue with the mindless death and destruction our tax dollars are paying for in the Middle East. And let's be realistic: 9/11, for them, has never been anything except something to exploit. I mean, c'mon: New York City USED to be, if not the ultimate bete noir for wingnuttia, certainly up on the medal stand, a city to be sneered at with evident contempt. In fact, I doubt seriously that wingnuttia would have done a thing to PREVENT 9/11, if given the chance.

And THAT, by the way, IS a defining difference.

Monday, August 20, 2007


More Karl Rove post-mortem political from Frank Rich, Juan Cole, and Al Cockburn.

Short version: Brand rancid.
Less Renaissance Village, More Last Supper

If you haven't already taken a look, check out the Bag News Notes series featuring photographs by Alan Chin of "Renaissance Village" trailer park located up here in Baker...and then realize that most if not all of us are one not-so-natural disaster from being in more or less the same boat, no pun intended.

In fact, Bag News' main page features a couple of photos that undercut administration claims about the "renaissance" in Fallujah (as reported by Pravda-upon-Hudson) other words, warehousing people is Team Bush's measure of success in both the domestic and international spheres.
Carrying Team Bush Water...Again

Add Kool-Aid, and take a big gulp:

Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) writes today in the Wall Street Journal that the U.S. "road to victory" in Iraq goes through Damascus, and urges Congress to "send a clear and unambiguous message to the Syrian regime":
The United States is at last making significant progress against al Qaeda in Iraq–but the road to victory now requires cutting off al Qaeda’s road to Iraq through Damascus.

This, from a guy who pumps his fist and cheers the movies.
Throwaway Army

Why is anyone really surprised? After all, Shrub's got a personal history and legacy of trashing pretty much everything he gets his grubby little paws on:

Sapped by nearly six years of war, the Army has nearly exhausted its fighting force and its options if the Bush administration decides to extend the Iraq buildup beyond next spring.

Trashed...just like the Constitution. Just like the economy. Just like the Gulf Coast...