Thursday, May 31, 2007

Fantasy Land

Joe Klein wants people to be nice to David Broder and discuss Broders editorial on it's merit, so says bigger bloggers than I.

The problem being that his eds have no merit, except as a window on the delusions of the DC Beltway crowd, people like Klein and Broder and what not other rag tag riff raff Dowds and Sally whats her name that make up our Conventional Wisdom.

So I sent him a note, I tried, as always in respect of his old age, to keep the vitriol at a minimum.

"Iraq War at an end?"

The widely trusted Gen. Petraeus? That's the tip off that you're talking out of your imagination again David. We don't know the good General from David, do we? Of course you Beltway folks know him oh so well, right, but David, you know that DC is just a speck of the population of this country, so widely is a relative term, don't you think?

But on to the meat of my missive. Dude, you just live in a total fantasy land don't you. Haven't you heard Bush repeat ad very nauseum that we aren't leaving Iraq while he's President? Don't you understand the Korea metaphor? What part of "leaving it for the next President" don't you get?

Centrists exert leverage? All 8-12 of them? And John Warner, has he yet done any more than sputter some protest than fall directly into the Bush line on vote after vote after vote after vote? Ken Salazar, the rookie turncoat from Colorado, you think he has any heft with the Democratic Party?

Bush wasn't cool to the Baker-Hamilton recommendations, he said they were a good start, then proceeded to ignore and reject every aspect of them out of hand. That isn't being cool to something, that's spitting all over the plan and its progenitor's.

But I guess in the Purple Fantasy Land you live in, that calculated disrespect means something else. I suppose that's how you can sleep at night, by living in a world so far removed from the reality that everybody else, mostly, lives in.

Give it up Broder, you're not unlike the pathetic and delusional people like your brilliant friend Paul Wolfowitz, except that you have no power and no impact whatsoever on the events of this day and on this miserable and misbegotten administration you find so comforting and competent.

Centrists and leverage, there's a breakfast combination you don't see every day!

I'm sorry, but Bush isn't leaving Iraq unless we somehow force him to, maybe a revolt of the military, maybe a sign from the Great Flying Spaghetti Monster, and the United States Senate, for the greatest part, is fully infected with the disease that Al Gore is talking about, what Jimmy Carter called a malaise, what explains the desperate grasping at things that give so called meaning to our lives, like god, or money or i-pods or more and more material crap, this endless and frantic soccer mom mentality of running your kids from one event to another and having no time to spend together as a comminity, be it a family or a neighborhood or social gathering to exchange ideas of import and substance with our fellow human beings.

What did Bob Simon say to Bill Moyers, he was too afraid to speak out on the shoddy intelligence, the gaping logic holes, the false premises of Iraq as terror master that led us to this pass today, too afraid to lose his precious job of news reader because, I don't know, he would've died or suddenly had no value as a human being if he didn't have that wonderful particular job?

And I wonder how it is that these raging idiots and fools and woefully uneducated people like Bush and Goodling and Doan and Cheney and DeLay and Wolfowitz can beat the tar out of the Democrats for the past 7 or 27 years?

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Missing from the Health Care Debate

One thing I've noticed that seems to be absent from all the grand and wonderful solutions to our "broken" healthcare system and the "debate" it is generating (yeah, go ahead and laugh, I saw some debate on the NewsHour, so there).

Can anybody guess?

Give up?

How about, the knife in the back Insurance Companies?

Employers pay into a pool, or provide their employees coverage. Employees pay, the Government pays, employers pay, everybody pays. And who do they pay to?

Why, yes, the knife in the back Insurance Companies.

Employers pretty much hate paying for health insurance, why should they pay for their employees or their sick kids, after all, they aren't their kids, are they? They never call out sick, why should their employees? Never mind that healthy people work harder and longer and more productively, the same if their kids are getting cared for when they're sick or injured. No. it seems like it's always better to try to weasel out of paying for anything if you can, even if it does benefit your company in the long and short run.

And what has always puzzled me, is why business votes for the Republicks on this issue. Do they enjoy paying those premiums? Do they enjoy all of the paper work, researching better or cheaper plans every year, all of the time and money that goes into the whole insurance process? You wouldn't think so, but somehow, that's what they do.

And all this while, the insurance industry just rakes the profits. And does everything in their power to stop the notion of universal health care, of Medicare for everybody. Because, of course, if that were to happen, profits would dry up to bare levels, their investment monies would go away and they would become weak and no longer the feared decider of our fates.

Got a pre-existing condition? Fear your insuror. Wrong disease, or taking the wrong drugs? Bow down to the insuror. Have a favorite care giver who really knows his/her stuff, who knows you as a patient and a person, your history and your prognosis, who's seen up your ass and saved your life because of it? Better hope your employer doesn't change plans, or you can always pay the higher premium and still see your favorite doctor.

So far, what little I've heard of Obama's plan, and all the others, employers and patients make all the sacrifices, and nothing is required of the insurance industry, except to take your premium dollars.

And that is what is wrong with all of the proposed solutions. One party gets all of the benefits and gives up nothing in return.

It's like the time when these 7 Democrats went into this bar after a long day herding cats. Tired and thirsty, they bellowed for beers and whiskey. The bartender said, "sorry boys, all I've got is this here sarsaparilla and this Shirley Temple drink."

"Shirley Temple and Root Beer?!!?!" cried the catpokes, "are you out of your developmentally disabled disease vectored head? Scotch and Guinness or we'll take our business elsewhere."

Such unanimity couldn't be abided by the barkeep, he laughed and said, "go ahead, take your business somewhere else. Where you going to go, to the local gin mill and micro brewer? And risk getting their filthy common germs on ya? No, go ahead, leave if you must, but it's naught but Pink Drinks for you, not even the sarsaparilla is on the bar now."

The angry Dems got up and left, reluctant to pass on the glistening pink glasses lined up at the bar, but soon enough they all left. 2 minutes later they were back.

"The moonshiner was making a run, we couldn't wait for him to come back, so we'll take your Shirley Temples, but the next time, we really mean it when we say we're going to the competition. Really."

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Fire Fighting in the US

Somebody is finally going to look at the consequences of building in wilderness areas, and the expectation that maybe the fire departments shouldn't be killing themselves to protect somebody's house that probably shouldn't be there in the first place.

A blaze that killed five federal firefighters last year has emboldened those who question the cost of saving the ever expanding number of homes on the fringe of wilderness.

From the report on the firefighter deaths: The Twin Pines community is identified in the Mountain Area Safety Taskforce (MAST) Report as a very high to extreme threat area for potential destructive impacts from wildland fire due to physical orientation, surrounding dense chaparral/Manzanita, exposure to upslope winds, and alignment with potential Santa Ana winds. We're building in places just asking for trouble, with no regard for the consequences to those expected to safeguard that dream home mountain retreat. And people die, good people, for someone else's property. Sounds familiar, doesn't it?

Let me add this. Mixed in with the bravado and Smokey the Bear and the Machismo and what all else, every time the reporters talk about fires, they use the same, wrong, language.

A fire engulfed Griffith Park on Tuesday, destroying about a quarter of the hilly urban refuge before being brought under control Wednesday night.

Somehow or other, a fire laid seige to a town. It's like when you declare war against a tactic or emotion. It doesn't help or clarify or explain, it just sensationalizes without informing. And that is what is wrong with the news media. Fires don't destroy land, they're a natural part of the cycle of things. Houses and buildings get destroyed, but time after time after time the teevee especially, talks about the acres destroyed, when fire is a needed part of a healthy ecosystem.

And it's this ignorance and sensationalism that cheapens and weakens our discourse in this country, that keeps us from doing the right thing in so many cases, like in Iraq.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Immigration, Some Deal

Just pretend that you, dear readers, are told that you can keep your job, that doesn't pay all that great and has no real advancement opportunity, but you'll have to pay "the man" 8 grand in fees and fines, and you have to leave the job after 2 years and sit out for a year before you can go back to work.

But the incentive is that you'll get to vote against the GOP 5, 10, or more, years down the line, get to pay income tax, and so on.

Never mind any of the other provisions in the bill, tell me how that part of it is going to work?

Because immigrants and illegals aren't here to get citizenship, they're here to work, because their own countries are so fucked up they can't get decent jobs there.

Whatever your feelings about illegal immigration, and the Democrats misread the anger a lot of people have towards illegal immigrants, its real and very palpable, I know, I'm living and working in the middle of it, until the problems that drive these people to look for work here are addressed, no ridiculously convoluted immigration bill is going to work. Enforcing laws on the employers isn't going to fix it, building bigger fences isn't going to fix it. Getting Mexico to get their shit together and create decent jobs and opportunities there, will fix it to a large part.

Until then, I expect to see Democrats get beat up over championing decency and fair treatment for illegal workers in this country ad nauseum.

Sunday, May 13, 2007


Why are we buying basic food products from China? Food products we produce in this country in large quantities, like wheat gluten?

Citing advice from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Nelson said any melamine the fish consume is likely to pass out of their systems in a matter of days, won't accumulate in their bodies, and poses no danger to people who might eat the salmon, which wouldn't be consumed until after returning from the sea years from now.

I trust the FDA, don't you? They would never put politics ahead of food or drug safety, would they? No, not George Bush's FDA. A quote from the first one, read the second link about silicone breast implants, VIOXX and Kessler.

Despite recommendations from FDA and independent scientists that the drug was appropriate for [s]ale OTC, the FDA declined to approve it. Virtually everyone involved knew this was a political pay-off to Bush's right wing conservative base. So the FDA is being sued by the Center for Reproductive Rights. As part of this suit, the CRR's lawyers have been taking depositions of FDA officials. On Thursday it was to be Crawford's turn.

[But on] Wednesday Ms. [Barbara] Van Gelder, who is his personal lawyer, asked for a delay, saying she would instruct him to invoke his Fifth Amendment rights.

Cause he was being investigated for criminal charges of selling stock of companies he regulated.

Why is the Bush Administration still in office? When every branch they run is corrupt and just a tool for the corporations, run from the top as long and as hard as they can get away with it? Thats what's happening at Justice, that's what's happening at FEMAS or HSD, at the FDA, Interior, Defense, well, I guess Frank Rich wrote about it today too, hopefully somebody has broken the barrier to share.


If 10,000 Americans went missing, say since 9/11/01, do you think anybody would care? Do you think the press might launch a real investigation? Do you think that if it was suspected that it had something to do with the Bush Administration and/or one of their allied groups, like their religious believers, like Dobson and Robertson, and/or Blackwater type groups, the American People might wish for a different Administration, an end to the influence of their proxies like the Shia, er, Pat Robertson or the Sunni, oops, Blackwater, and the departure of these forces from our midst?

Probably how the Iraqi's feel.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Here's an idea

Ms. Duckman left me this note yesterday, it sounds far too sensible, but hey, it could happen, right?

I have an idea. Why don’t we get the GOP (the rich ones that benefited so much from the tax cuts) to show some of that “compassion” they’re so proud of bragging about and help Kansas and New Orleans by actually giving their money to the victims of those disasters.

Just think of it, they could also send their company employees and equipment and use their own “expertise” (CEO knowledge) to do the work.

Just think of it! They could increase their sinking poll numbers overnight, if not in 18 months for the elections. They could actually keep those areas safe and secure from the Global Terrorists!

The National Guard in those states really could use some more resources, not to mention local hospital, fire, police, schools, justice, etc.

Do you think it could work? Hell yes!

Do you think they’ll do it?

Or better yet-what about all those rich Dems that benefited from those tax cuts? They may even be worse.

Leaving the Dems out of it for a moment, I just don't think that the people who are looting this country blind and broke are overly interested in helping anybody out. That's what you get for living in Kansas, they'll tell you.

Or you could take Colbert's attitude. I think he can explain it better than anyone. And he's so very clean and everything. Humble and modest too.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

An Inappropriate President

Even when its not politics or policy, but fulfilling his ceremonial functions as Head of State, George Bush is an embarrassment and unsuited for the job.

Not having enough sense, after all his years around Presidents and heads of State and as President (gulp), the fool still has to be forced to do the right thing.

What does that tell you about his sense, and his understanding of his job?

Worst. President. Ever.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

The Bush Federal Government at Work

And yes, I know, it probably wouldn't be much different if Kerry were President, but he isn't, and that miserable failure is, so, I love the logic that permeates the Bush Administration Executive Branch.

Via Raw Story writer Miriam Raftery, we get this story from the WaPo on Bush keeping us safe.

Hey look, they're only chickens, you don't eat chicken every day do you, it's only 5 percent of their food that was contaminated and chances are you won't be eating those particular lucky chickens anyway.

Sure, we're going to destroy, that's kill in non Bush speak, 100k chickens still alive, but, hey, nothing to worry about. As for the 2.4 million already on the market, well, best of luck to you.

That small fraction, and the fact that people, unlike pets, do not eat the same thing day after day, suggests that consumers who ate contaminated pork or chicken would probably have ingested extremely small doses of melamine, well below the threshold for causing health effects, officials said. Experts conceded, however, that they know little about how the toxin interacts with other compounds in food.

Do you feel the confidence growing? Nothing to see here, move along people.

And isn't this just another argument for the grandness of globalization? And could somebody please explain to me why it is that the United States of America, the greatest producer of wheat and corn and soy, is importing this crap from China?

Could our oil addiction be spilling over to the food supply, causing our farmers to sell our food to ADM for them to make ethanol instead of feed products? Could that be why we import food products from China, melamine poisoning central, bird flu central, SARS central, lord knows what other diseases central?

And while you're explaining that one, explain to me again how George Bush is keeping us safe from the imaginary monsters in the closet as opposed to the very real monsters running loose on Wall Street.

Blackwater Opposition Grows

Jeremy Scahill is in San Diego talking up his book about Blackwater, and he'll be in La Mesa tonight at the joint La Mesa Foothills/East County Democratic Club meeting talking some more.

Even though the State Convention failed to pass a resolution opposing Blackwater and any other private armies from building in California, the subject is on the floor, and will be discussed at the LA County Democratic Central Committee meeting coming up in a few weeks.

From Scahill's Tuesday talk, consider this report from the UT, my bolds throughout.

Scahill told the audience that Blackwater is one of 180 private corporations working in Iraq, making this conflict the most privatized war in the nation's history.

“When the Bush administration failed to build a coalition of willing nations, they built a coalition of billing corporations,” he said.

Despite the increasing opposition to Blackwater's plans, Gordon Hammers, chairman of the Potrero planning group, said he is even more convinced that the training center will be good for the community of about 850 people.

In December, the Potrero planning group voted 7-0 for preliminary approval of Blackwater's plans. Since then, opposition to the project has intensified. More than 360 residents have signed a petition opposing the training center.

Nearly half the town oppose the mercenary camp, yet one guy with money thinks it'll be great for the town. Most likely because what's good for Gordon is good for Potrero. That's how conservatives think. Hopefully Hammers will walk the walk, and move to as close to the camp as possible so he can experience firsthand all the goodness a bunch of mercenaries shooting guns and driving defensive training courses and helicopter assaults and night operations can provide.