Jun 30, 2011

Operation Crossroads-65 years ago, another nuke event gone bad.

Baker test portion of Operation Crossroads
It seems quite timely, with all the nasty nuclear accidents/problems/screw-ups in our recent national and international history, to write about this clusterfuck of a nuclear bomb test undertaken by the military minds of the United States. From Wikipedia,a general background on what was supposed to be a series of tests conducted in the waters off Bikini Atoll 65 years ago tomorrow:
Operation Crossroads was a series of nuclear weapon tests conducted by the United States at Bikini Atoll in mid-1946. Its purpose was to investigate the effect of nuclear weapons on naval ships. The series consisted of two detonations, each with a yield of 23 kilotons: Able was detonated at an altitude of 520 feet (158 m) on July 1, 1946; Baker was detonated 90 feet (27 m) underwater on July 25, 1946. A third burst, Charlie, planned for 1947, was canceled primarily because of the Navy’s inability to decontaminate the target ships after the Baker test. Crossroads Charlie was rescheduled as Operation Wigwam, a deep water shot conducted in 1955 off the California coast.

The Crossroads tests were the fourth and fifth nuclear explosions conducted by the United States (following the Trinity test and the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki). They were the first of many nuclear tests held in the Marshall Islands and the first to be publicly announced beforehand and observed by an invited audience, including a large press corps.
The test resulted in the radioactive contamination of all the target ships by the underwater Baker shot. It was the first case of immediate, concentrated local radioactive fallout from a nuclear explosion. (The fallout from an air burst is global, held in the stratosphere for days and widely dispersed.) Chemist Glenn Seaborg, the longest-serving chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission, called Baker “the world’s first nuclear disaster.”
Ah yes, the world’s first nuclear disaster. The other way to look at this disgusting, horrific fuckup is what most consider to be the first and only destruction of an entire Naval flotilla. From a book entitled The Archeology of the Atomic Bomb:
The tests involved assembling a fleet of 242 ships, 42,000 men, 156 airplanes, and tens of thousands of tons of equipment, ordnance, and material at Bikini, as well as relocating the 162 residents of the atoll–beginning an odyssey that has earned for these displaced people the sobriquet of “nuclear nomads” of the Pacific. Observers from Congress, from other nations (including the Soviet Union), and representatives of “U.S. press, radio, pictorial services, magazines, etc.” made these tests the most public and the most reported of any nuclear weapons tests.
I won’t even go into how this fuck-up literally ruined the lives of the 162 residents of Bikini Atoll. Suffice it to say,  We took them from an island that they lived quite well and happily on, and dropped them on a piece of shit island/atoll where they couldn’t even fend for themselves.

Since I don’t fancy Fox News’ approach to journalism, I will give the link to the Official Report here. It’s actually a scan of the original report, in book form, written in 1947 under the watchful eye of the Commander of Joint Task Force One…bfd, if you ask me.

Video of Operation Crossroads Bomb Blast (opens a new window)

The video above is a seven second movie. Seven seconds that changed the lives of thousands of people and cost the US Military millions o’ bucks in that they had to scuttle the entire flotilla of vessels.

One must remember that the US really didn’t know squat about the power of such a blast, being rookies in the nuclear bomb arena. We had no friggin clue as to the damage, both to humans and warships, that would be caused. The event was treated as a huge party, the military invited press from around the nation to actually watch the blast, and then file reports to their respective news agencies, from Bikini Atoll. The original Time Magazine article, written by a journalist that was at the blast, can be read here.

The following video is seven minutes long and one of the old time, movie reel-type of reports filmed before, during and after one of the Operation Crossroads blasts:

One would think..at least I do, that we would of learned a few fucking things since 1946, about the power and destruction that nuclear energy wreaks upon humans, animals and the environment.

Apparently, we haven’t learned a fucking thing..except how to lie and obfuscate when it all goes to hell in the proverbial handbasket.

Jun 29, 2011

Rove has 20 million to swiftboat Dems..already.

Let the swiftboating begin! Oh, and it will..lemme tell ya..it will m’dear reader. The King of Dirty Tricks has begun his campaign against Americans. The head Swiftboater is hitting up his billionaire buddies big time. From ThinkProgress:
Late last Friday, Karl Rove’s attack group, Crossroads GPS, announced a $20 million attack ad campaign going after President Obama.  Crossroads says the ads, initially showing on cable and in 10 states, are meant to “frame the national debate” on jobs and the economy. What they really want to do, of course, is re-frame the national debate away from the GOP’s disastrous and spectacularly unpopular plan to end Medicare in order to give more tax breaks to millionaires, billionaires, and Big Oil (three groups that just so happened to fund a related Rove attack group last year).
Here’s a reminder of what’s in the GOP plan and where the 2012 candidates stand on it. (Hint: they all support it.)
What’s Included in the GOP Plan:
All the 2012 Candidates Support the GOP Plan.
Of course they do. The R’s, unlike the D’s, walk in lockstep on every issue confronting America. Elected Democrats agreeing on any issue, is like herding cats..it ain’t gonna friggin happen.

Since the R’s took possession of the House of Rep’s in January of this year, they have been planning Obama’s demise. Rove will support their agenda with his heavy-hitting PAC’s, by swiftboating the fuck out of any and all Democrats running for office this election cycle..especially Obama.

Rove’s PAC, American Crossroads, and it’s affiliate, Crossroads GPS (Grassroots Policy Strategies) (link goes to FactCheck.org writeup on both groups) has a financial goal of..wait for it… $52 million dollars in donations by November of this year. Crossroads GPS does not have to disclose their donors because they registered as a 501(c)(4) a nonprofit, whereas American Crossroads does.

The Crossroads GPS PAC is for those billionaires that want to keep a low profile, but still want to swiftboat the shit out of Democratic candidates. Billionaires like Harold Simmons,who according to the FactCheck.org article is board chairman of Southwest Louisiana Land. Simmons was a major donor to two controversial groups: Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, which accused Democrat John Kerry of lying about his record in Vietnam during the 2004 presidential campaign, and American Issues Project, which ran attack ads tying Democrat Barack Obama to former 1960s radical William Ayers during the 2008 campaign.

Now, the Kerry campaign worked..but the Obama one did not. I am sure the rich rightwing nutters and Rove have learned a thing or two about swiftboating since their failed Obama campaign.

Salon.com has an excellent writeup about the billionaires funding Rover’s latest dirty tricks campaign’s. The amount of money they have already contributed is friggin mind-boggling. From the Salon writeup:
New FEC filings show that American Crossroads, the Karl Rove-backed group that is pouring money into attack ads targeting Democrats around the country, continues to be funded virtually entirely by billionaires.
In August, American Crossroads raised $2,639,052. Fully $2.4 million of that – or 91 percent –  came in the form of gifts from just three billionaires.(emphasis mine)
We’ve previously reported that the group is getting a staggering amount of support from billionaires, several of whom made their fortune in the energy industry and live in Texas. Last month Trevor Rees-Jones, president of Dallas-based Chief Oil and Gas, contributed another $1 million to American Crossroads, on top of the $1 million he gave earlier this year. Fellow billionaire Robert Rowling, CEO of the company TRT Holdings, also gave Crossroads his second $1 million donation in August.
The article continues on, listing the new billionaire contributors and where their money was made. Now, bear in mind that the information above is what could be gleaned from the FEC filings of American Crossroads, as required by law. We will never know how much these same rightwing billionaires have given to Crossroads GPS because of their non-profit 501c4 status.

My whole point is this: Rover is once again in the game. He is BACK! This is the man that single-handidly got The Shrub elected not once..but twice. We should be worried..oh hell yes we should.
Since the D’s have managed to piss-off the liberal wing of their base, raising funds to combat these fuckwits won’t be easy for them. I hope their dumbasses realize that. People like me won’t be digging deep and contributing to Obama this time around. I live on a very small, fixed income because I am disabled, and yet I managed to give money and shoe leather to Obama in the 08 campaign.

I wonder what exactly I got for my money. I know the Lilly Ledbetter Act made me proud but there are so few other things he has done since becoming President that I am proud of. Sure, he created several watchdog agencies and strengthened existing ones but are they funded? With the R’s controlling the House of Reps..that is the important question for me.

I can tick off more things he has done that pissed me off than made me proud. His AG, Eric Holder, has continued to support most of the BushCo Policies that were under attack in the court systems..like warrantless wiretapping as an example. He promised to close Gitmo on his first day in office, but has evidently changed his mind on that one. He also hasn’t provided one iota of support for the unions currently under attack in numerous states..even though he promised them he would support them on the campaign trail..so much for his promises to the biggest group that funded his election in 2008.

My point being I will vote for Obama, I am just not going to give my blood, sweat, tears and cash to him this time around. Sadly, it’s once again a case of worse and worser for me in the voting booth next year. When I get pissed, I swear I will vote for a third party candidate..but when all is said and done I know in my heart I will vote for Obama. It will leave a very shitty taste in my mouth but I will vote for him.

But that said..I can’t promise all liberals will do as I do. Some are way more pissed off than I and will take it out on the D’s in the voting booth come Sept 2012, and in opening their wallets, which is what happened last year I think. Too many folks said fuck it and stayed home..giving the R’s a huge boost in their elected numbers.

And Karl Rove is counting on the liberals being pissed off. He is betting on it. He is ‘all in’ on that front m’dear reader. Get your helmets on people, as the ‘war’ has begun.

Jun 28, 2011

Firefox refuses constructive critiques of their product.

I have used FF for almost a decade now and had been quite happy with this open source, free browser...had being the operative word here. Up until six months ago, I never had problems with it hanging or crashing on me. It was fast and efficient as hell.

Those days are over and I have been turning to Google's Chrome, or the other alternative Opera, more and more often the last couple of weeks. Both Chrome and Opera are lightening fast and neither has ever hung and/or crashed on me yet.Opera has been a back-up browser for me for over a decade and they are updating it again, which makes it even more desirable.

So when I happened upon this writeup over at Slate..I of course had to read it with a title like this: Shitty Firefox Browser Refuses to Let Itself Be Called "Shitty" . It was funny as hell but also spot-friggin-on. The author is using the current beta version and it's the same as the latest version, according to Mr. Scocca..as in it has the same damn problems. Scocca isn't a rookie in the Browser world, so he knows what he is talking about. From his writeup:
Because this is a beta, it has a feedback feature, which invites you to select a smiley face or a frowny face and to tell the creators of Firefox about what is or isn't working. I had already used the frowny face to send a polite notice about the no-typing problem. But when the cursor stopped responding again, while I was trying to rebuild a blog entry that I had lost in a hang-and-crash... I know they're supposed to be a nice bunch of hippies, making a free product, which is fine, but enough is enough.
And so here is what you get if you use the frowny face to ask Firefox what the fuck is wrong with their shitty fucking browser:
Your comment contains swear words (fucking, fucking, fuck, shitty). In order to help us improve our products, please use words that help us create an action or to-do from your constructive feedback. Thanks!
Here's a constructive to-do for you, FireFox: take your kindergarten-principal attitude, wrap it around your useless browser, and cram them both up your gosh-darned poop-hole. 
When you just lost all your work because your browser took a shit..you are obviously not in a good mood, that should be a given. FireFox needs to fix it's problems and deal w/the reality of pissed off customers, whether it's free or not..or my happy ass will be moving over to Chrome or Opera full time. Chrome and Opera don't have as many bells and whistles as FF, but if the browser I am using crashes and hangs multiple days a day..what good are those little 'extras'?  I do know that moving everything (passwords, bookmarks, etc) to a new browser is a HUGE pain in the friggin ass..but it's looking more and more like it's my only alternative. Heavy Sigh....

Jun 27, 2011

Bachmann's Corporate Welfare problem.

The LA Times has already done two pieces (here and here) on Batshit Bachmann's love of money..federal money to be exact. Money that we call..

Corporate Welfare.

Correct me if I am wrong, but doesn't Batshit Bachmann profess a hatred of said welfare publicly, as in every fucking chance she gets? From one of the LAT writeup's:
The Los Angeles Times reported Sunday that Bachmann, a congresswoman from Minnesota and "tea party" favorite, portrayed herself as a fiscal conservative while also benefiting from government funds and federal farm subsidies. An examination of her record and finances showed that a counseling clinic run by her husband received nearly $30,000 from the state of Minnesota in the last five years, with part of the money coming from the federal government. And a family farm in Wisconsin, where she is listed as a partner, received some $260,000 in federal subsidies.
Batshit Bachmann attempts to deflect this critical bit of information by stating it didn't go to her..it went to her family and employees.
Bachmann and her staff declined to talk to about the government assistance for the L.A. Times article. But asked about the issue on "Fox News Sunday," she insisted that she and her husband had not benefited at the expense of federal and state taxpayers.


As the Los Angeles Times reported on Sunday, however, in financial disclosure forms, Bachmann reported receiving between $32,503 and $105,000 in income from the farm, at minimum, between 2006 and 2009.
Right Ms. Teabagger..you had no hand in applying for it either I bet. Why is my Bullshit Meter pegged at this point in the LAT writeup?? Probably due to the following paragraph:
Bachmann also was asked about the farm subsidies on CBS' "Face the Nation." She suggested the public instead should be more outraged about a sharp increase in government limousines in the two years since President Obama took office.
Deflect and lie. It's her stock in trade. Interestingly enough , the other LAT piece has Bachmann and her staff refusing to answer questions, on numerous occasions, about her receipt of Corporate Welfare:

As Bachmann prepares to formally launch her presidential bid Monday in Waterloo, Iowa, Republican strategists warned that she needs to square her record with her public pronouncements.

"She's kind of built an area in the field of candidates where she's the hawk on those kinds of issues, so any sort of issue that will show her record is not totally consistent will affect some of her support," said Craig Robinson, a former political director of the Iowa GOP. "I don't think it's a deal-breaker, but I think it's something she's going to have to be willing to confront head-on."

For now, Bachmann is declining to answer questions on the topic. Her congressional and campaign staff did not respond to numerous requests for comment.(emphasis mine)
We can only hope the Corporate Media will get onboard with asking her and her staff about these issues.  Asking her every-single-friggin-time they see her or her staff. Inundate her and her staff with questions about it.

Because only then will it become national news that this teabagging cunt is a gigantic liar, bar none.

Jun 26, 2011

Ft Calhoun Nuke Plant berm fails.

Photo courtesy of ABC News
The collapsing of the berm is a big fucking deal folks. This nuke plant was already in trouble and now this shit. From the Omaha World Herald link:
Floodwaters surrounded several buildings at the Fort Calhoun Nuclear Station early Sunday morning after a water-filled wall collapsed.

The plant, about 19 miles north of Omaha, remains safe, Omaha Public Power District officials said Sunday afternoon.

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission is monitoring the Missouri River at the plant, which has been shut down since early April for refueling.

The 2,000-foot berm collapsed about 1:25 a.m. Sunday due to “onsite activities,” OPPD officials said. The Aqua Dam provided supplemental flood protection and was not required under NRC regulations.

“We put up the aqua-berm as additional protection,” said OPPD spokesman Mike Jones. “(The plant) is in the same situation it would have been in if the berm had not been added. We're still within NRC regulations.”

According to the NRC, the berm was eight-feet tall and 16-feet wide at the base. It was designed to provide protection for the plant's "powerblock" for up to six feet of water. Crews will look at whether it can be patched, OPPD officials said.

On Sunday, floodwater surrounded the nuclear plant's main electrical transformers, and power was transferred to emergency diesel generators. 
The local's are buying into the 'storyline' being fed them by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). Hey, I am just glad my happy ass doesn't reside anywhere near that nuke plant, because I would be loading up the auto with animals and belongings.

In a bit of irony, the Ft Calhoun nuke plant waged a year long battle against the NRC, to keep from adding protection measures deemed wholly necessary by the NRC to protect the plant from....wait for it... being swamped by flooding from the Missouri river. From the NYT link:
NRC inspectors concluded that at flooding levels above 1,008 feet, the plant "would experience a loss of offsite power and loss of intake structure" and water pumps providing essential cooling water to the plant. In that case, "the plant would be incapable of reaching cold shutdown" with normal operations -- a fundamental safety requirement imposed by the NRC. The commission's Region IV office in Arlington, Texas, issued a notice of violation against the plant on Oct. 6 last year, finding that the issues were of "substantial importance" to the plant's safety.

OPPD challenged the NRC's inspectors' conclusions in a series of conferences before bowing to the commission staff's demands and agreeing to install the additional defenses this year. The AquaDam water berm was installed beginning June 4. 
The berm failed because of human error: On Sunday afternoon, workers accidentally deflated an auxiliary berm at the plant, said Omaha Public Power District spokesman Jeff Hanson. Nice huh? Oh, and there is that little 'unresolved issue' too:
A still-unresolved issue in the dispute is the NRC's contention that OPPD received, but did not properly act on, a warning by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 2003. It said high-water threats to the plant should be raised by 3 feet based on a new assessment following severe Missouri River floods in the mid-1990s. "The performance deficiency existed for many years," the NRC said in an Oct. 6, 2010, letter to the Omaha utility. 
Jaysus...the failure of the berm forced the shutdown of all electrical power to the plant..where have we heard of a nuke plant losing it's electricity recently?

I remember...Japan..Fukushima to be exact. We know how well their backup measures worked..or more precisely...failed. We can only hope the same shit doesn't happen at Ft. Calhoun. But don't panic folks..cuz they got it ALLLLLLLLL handled.

Sure they do..of course they do..and the Japanese electric company said the same damn thing in the days following the Tsunami hitting Fukushima.

They lied..oh hell yeah they lied..like a fucking rug.

So, if the locals want to believe everything is under control and just-fucking-fine...go for it people. Because electric companies never lie about conditions at nuclear plants..right?

The latest news is that the NRC head cheese will tour the plant Monday.

From Channel7KETV in Omaha, the condition of the other plant being threatened by flood waters, The Cooper Nuclear Station near Brownville, NE:
The plant, run by the Nebraska Public Power District, is protected by a series of earthen berms. A KETV NewsWatch 7 crew said the river is running about 2.5 feet below the top of the river levee. NPPD officials said the additional berms will protect the plant if the water level rises and additional six feet.

The plant buildings are about 25 yards from the river.

Plant officials said the encapsulated spent fuel rods at the plant, which continues to operate, can withstand being submerged in 50 feet of water for an extended period of time.

They also said the reactor core is protected by six inches of steel-reinforced concrete. Plant officials said the reactor is designed to keep the radiation in and the water out of the vital part of the nuclear station.

Operators at the plant said they have three different back-up plans should the plant lose power.

Jaczko talked briefly to the media and said it appears the utility is doing what it can to mitigate the flooding situation, but was non-committal as to whether the plant is in the clear yet.
Jaysus friggin Christ..a situation ripe as hell for disaster, if not one..possibly two disasters.We are talking about spent fuel rods..and all that shit.

Same crap that went down at Fukushima.

Jun 25, 2011

Koch Bros private affair in CO goes public.

I am so fucking sick of the Koch Brothers and their smarmy, corporate asses. They want to bring America, as we currently know it, down to their level..which means only classes..the upper class and the lower class. Those great folks over at CommonCause and ProgressNowColorado have made sure that the national media, like the LATimes as an example, knows about the Koch Bros rightwing nutter-fest this weekend in Vail. This is the second nutterfest the Koch's have held this year, the other was in Palm Springs. From the LAT writeup:
An invitation-only conference of wealthy conservative activists organized by the billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch will convene just outside Vail, Colo., this weekend.

Common Cause -- a group that describes itself as nonpartisan and headed by a former Democratic congressman -- and ProgressNow Colorado have organized a protest outside the Ritz Carlton at Bachelor Gulch, where they believe the conference will be held.
The groups have urged their followers to arrive with signs that read, "UnVail the Kochs," "Corporations are not people," and "Stop the War on the Middle Class."

This is the second Koch-organized conference this year.  The previous event, held in late January in Palm Springs, drew about 800 to 1,000 protesters who rallied against the Kochs' libertarian agenda. About 25 protesters were arrested for trespassing. 

The Kochs have been a target of liberal activists for their funding of research institutions and other groups that push a limited-government agenda. They control Koch Industries, an energy conglomerate that is the nation's second-largest privately held company.  They are credited with helping to organize the "tea party" and allied groups that spent millions to defeat Democrats in last year's midterm elections.
Now, why does the LAT have to verbally paint the folks at CommonCause and ProgressNowCO as liberal activists targeting those fuckwads? Its a bad phrase to some folks. They couldn't say groups dedicated to protecting the rights of individuals over those of the Corporations?

Senator Bernie Sanders and the BraveNewFoundation know what's what. Their website,
KochBrothersExposed, is a good place to send folks. Their video below is worth your time.

As they say on the website..we must create an Echo Chamber of Truth to combat the millions of bucks these corporate welfare whores spend to thwart the rights of individuals, via their lobbying efforts, swiftboat-type campaigns and these types of little get-togethers. Uncloak the Koch's...NOW, before the elections take place next year. That way Joe and Jill Mainstreet know the truth about these rightwing extremists who only hold allegiance to one thing..money. Mutha Fuckas need to be brought down to our level. They want a fight, then we have to give it to them...all of us, not just the liberal activists. The people in the video are elderly American's the most vulnerable among us to the fuckery being foisted upon us by the R's and their friends in The Corporatocracy. They are willing to fight for what is right..why aren't the rest of us??

Jun 24, 2011

Bank screwups continue to screw with homeowners in crisis.

From ProPublica more fuckery from those who are too big to fail..like Bank of America for instance:
Four years into the foreclosure crisis, banks say they've made major improvements in how they handle struggling homeowners. They've promised, for example, not to foreclose on homeowners who are being considered for mortgage modifications. But that's still happening.

Consider the cases of Laurie Pinkerton and Lisa Peterson. The two women, both Californians and Bank of America customers, had been assured by the bank that they wouldn't lose their homes before they'd been evaluated for a possible modification. Both had their homes sold last month.

Such cases are particularly senseless, because simply modifying the mortgage by reducing the monthly payment might be in the interest not only of the homeowner, but also of the investor who owns the mortgage. Both Pinkerton and Peterson said their homes were sold after foreclosure for far less than they're worth.
Regulators have done little to stop the practice, and the "problem appears to be getting worse," said Kevin Stein, associate director of the nonprofit California Reinvestment Coalition.

Last month, the coalition surveyed 55 foreclosure-avoidance counselors throughout the state. Collectively they serve thousands of borrowers every month. Almost all of the counselors, 94 percent, reported having worked with clients who'd lost their homes while under review for a modification. About half of the counselors reported this happened "often." This year's totals, which are due to be publicly released next week, are higher than those in the group's survey last year
The article goes on to point out how little, if anything, the federal regulators are doing about this fucking mess. Wrongful foreclosures make life a living hell for the homeowner trying to keep their head above water and maintain possession of their home..as for the banks..nah..don't really harm those bastards one iota. Again from the Propublica writeup:
This past April, the federal banking regulators released "consent orders" with 14 of the largest banks requiring various improvements in their handling of mortgages and foreclosures. Prior to the orders, the regulators had not had clear rules on how the banks should handle modification applications. Among the new requirements, banks will now be forbidden from actually selling a home before a final decision is made on a modification. Also, if a homeowner is approved for a modification, the foreclosure process is supposed to stop. The new requirements will go into effect later this summer.(emphasis mine)
Why does everything take for-friggin-ever to be implemented, once the federal government figures out wtf is wrong and how the banks are playing the system?

Christ, what morons...

Batshit Bachmann - Dismiss her at your own peril..

At least according to Matt Taibbi, our favorite wingtard should be taken seriously as a Presidential nominee, at least for those yahoo's that reside in rightwing nutterville. From his RS piece entitled Michele Bachmann's Holy War:

Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and, as you consider the career and future presidential prospects of an incredible American phenomenon named Michele Bachmann, do one more thing. Don't laugh.

It may be the hardest thing you ever do, for Michele Bachmann is almost certainly the funniest thing that has ever happened to American presidential politics. Fans of obscure 1970s television may remember a short-lived children's show called Far Out Space Nuts, in which a pair of dimwitted NASA repairmen, one of whom is played by Bob (Gilligan) Denver, accidentally send themselves into space by pressing "launch" instead of "lunch" inside a capsule they were fixing at Cape Canaveral. This plot device roughly approximates the political and cultural mechanism that is sending Michele Bachmann hurtling in the direction of the Oval Office.

Bachmann is a religious zealot whose brain is a raging electrical storm of divine visions and paranoid delusions. She believes that the Chinese are plotting to replace the dollar bill, that light bulbs are killing our dogs and cats, and that God personally chose her to become both an IRS attorney who would spend years hounding taxpayers and a raging anti-tax Tea Party crusader against big government. She kicked off her unofficial presidential campaign in New Hampshire, by mistakenly declaring it the birthplace of the American Revolution. "It's your state that fired the shot that was heard around the world!" she gushed. "You are the state of Lexington and Concord, you started the battle for liberty right here in your backyard."

I said lunch, not launch! But don't laugh. Don't do it. And don't look her in the eyes; don't let her smile at you. Michele Bachmann, when she turns her head toward the cameras and brandishes her pearls and her ageless, unblemished neckline and her perfect suburban orthodontics in an attempt to reassure the unbeliever of her non-threateningness, is one of the scariest sights in the entire American cultural tableau. She's trying to look like June Cleaver, but she actually looks like the T2 skeleton posing for a passport photo. You will want to laugh, but don't, because the secret of Bachmann's success is that every time you laugh at her, she gets stronger.
A holy war is something terrorists wage isn't it? I thought so...

I also believe, like Taibbi, that Batshit Bachmann needs to be taken seriously..give the cunt a lot of press and cable airtime...oh please...let her spew her shit about the lunatic left and our mission to destroy America. That way, all the normal folks get a real taste of this permanent resident of nutterville.

Taibbi gives us the history of our favorite nitwit, telling us how she grew up, where, the schools she went to..its a history lesson we all need to familiarize ourselves with.

Because this woman isn't going away anytime soon. Oh hell no she ain't. So read up m'dear folks..there will be a test later. ;>P

UPDATE: Today we learn Batshit is getting most of her funding in the form of small donations. To me, this says volumes as Obama did the very same thing in his run for the Presidency.

UPDATE#2: VideoCafe has the video of Taibbi's visit to KO's new digs, wherein he discusses our Queen of the Teabaggers:

Jun 23, 2011

Politifact and Jon Stewart- A match made in heaven?

 First off m'dear reader, I consider Jon Stewart to be a comedian first and foremost. His less than stellar history of lobbing softball questions at guests whom he has previously, viciously and deliciously satirized is the reason I consider him a gifted and hysterically funny comedian/satirist, nothing more. Some folks like to consider him more than a comedian, a truth-teller of sorts or even a journalist at times..not moi.

There are three places I look when refuting rightwingers on Faux Noise, specifically Glenn Beck lies and Faux's general and usually completely untrue, bullshit rightwing nutterville, talking points: Politifact, FactCheck.org and MediaMatters.  All three are quite good reference sites that back up what they say with ..well, facts.

So, when Politifact said Stewarts premise that Fox News viewers are the most consistently misinformed was a lie, I had to agree w/them..although it wasn't easy. The night after that article went up at Politifact, Stewart apologized for saying what he did about the idiots...I mean viewers that tune in regularly to Faux. He then went on to use the site to point out 21 separate, but equal lies told repeatedly on Faux and two that actually won Lie-of-the-year awards from Politifact. It's a great segment..watch it below:

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Fox News False Statements
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogThe Daily Show on Facebook

Craig, m'dear friend and daily reader, who has become more moderate with age,(also, I hope, because you read my bitchfests daily) this post is for you. You are not a troll, you are always a gentleman, you provide links to why you believe as you do and even though I do not usually agree w/your pov..I enjoy our back and forth on issues that matter to America. Both of us need some humor in our lives..it can not be all anger, all the time..at least on my end..correct?  ;>)

Jun 22, 2011

Van Jones sends NewsCorp & Beck a cease and desist letter.

He also wants an on-air apology. With all the fuckery foisted upon us by Glenn Beck w/regard to Van Jones..all I can say is..what took you so long Mr. Jones? From HuffPo:
After challenging Glenn Beck to a debate over the weekend at Netroots Nation and in a MoveOn.org-sponsored ad Monday, Van Jones may have taken his beef with Beck a step further.

Jones, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress who resigned from his job as White House “green jobs” czar following the conservative host's repeated claims that he was a subversive and a Communist, is considering legal action against Beck-employer Fox News.

Jones’ attorney sent a cease and desist letter Monday to Dianne Brandi, the network’s executive vice president for legal & business affairs, claiming that “a series of sensational and inflammatory charges” have been made against Jones on Fox News shows. The statements, his attorney Joseph Sandler argues, are “demonstrably, unequivocally and absolutely false.” 
Faux Noise's only comment was that they were reviewing the letter.  Van Jones' response, again from the HuffPo writeup:
"I thought that FOX TV or Beck's producers would take note of the facts and rein him in, without me having to take legal action. They didn't," he said. "Then [Rep.] Gabby Giffords was shot. I talked directly to Beck's producer for about an hour, setting the record straight. We had a friendly conversation. But rather than stopping his smear campaign, Beck chose to double down on the crazy. I was shocked. Then out of nowhere, he attacked the American Dream itself - and the growing movement of people who want to defend and rebuild it. That was the last straw. Even my patience has a limit."
Rip them apart if you are able to Mr. Jones. They deserve it and much, much more. With Glenn Becky's tenure at Fox coming to an end..I am sure that was part of the reason for the letter at this point, as Jones wants an on-air apology from the jerkwad prior to him leaving Faux Noise. 

Below is a recent MoveOn ad that features Van Jones talking about Beck's bullshittery. Accompanying article here.

It's all about painting the left, or anyone that isn't an extreme right wingnut, as liars, communists and jailbirds for Beck and the fuckwads at Fox. I wish more people would take them to task for their lying and obsfucation.

The Grifter from Alaska quits bus tour.

Guess the crowds weren't turning out for her as she expected and unloading all those lousy books weren't going as planned. RealClearPolitcs broke the story, however this version is from RawStory:
Amid diminishing media interest, Sarah Palin has quit her high-profile bus tour halfway through and returned to Alaska with her family, according to RealClearPolitics.

The move puts a damper on widespread speculations that Palin's "One Nation" bus tour, which launched on Memorial Day, was a potential precursor to a potential White House bid for 2012. Palin never made it to her scheduled stops in the key primary states of Iowa and New Hampshire.

RealClearPolitics, which originally broke the story about the bus tour, reported Wednesday on Palin's "extended hiatus." The remaining legs of her trip, according to Scott Conroy, are "in limbo" as "Palin and her family have reverted to the friendly confines of summertime Alaska."
I am so glad the press has abandoned her ass. They took up with the idiot from TX, Rick Perry and then Jon Huntsman announced yesterday.  As the article points out, the Palinator was jerking out the press: But after being ignored and mislead and denied interviews or access, reporters' attention fizzled.

Head on back to your compound you worthless bag of batshit. So you can do your Faux News..cough..commentary about things you don't know and will never know anything about.

Jun 20, 2011

Walmart ruling favors The Corporatocracy.

Once again, SCOTUS has failed the people and in this case, women specifically. From SCOTUSblog's analysis of today's opinion:
For large companies in general, the ruling in Wal-Mart Stores v. Dukes, et al. (10-277) offered a second message: the bigger the company, the more varied and decentralized its job practices, the less likely it will have to face a class-action claim.  Only workers who have a truly common legal claim may sue as a group, the Court majority made clear — and, even that claim will require rigorous proof that every single worker suffered from exactly the same sort of bias.  Sample statistics and anecdotes won’t do, it said.

The Court split 5-4 in shutting down, entirely, a class-action lawsuit against Wal-Mart that could have affected the legal claims of perhaps as many as 1 million women.  The Court’s four most liberal members, including the three women Justices, dissented.  The Court also ruled — unanimously — that the women could not bring a claim for backpay, as a remedy for discrimination, under the legal theory their lawyers had used.  The ruling was based primarily upon how the Court interpreted a federal court rule — Rule 23.  But there were overtones of constitutional protection for companies facing money claims in a class-action case, ensuring that they must be able to mount a full defense in trying to fend off such claims.

The main opinion, controlling both the 5-4 and 9-0 results, was written by Justice Antonin Scalia, the Court’s most dedicated skeptic about the class-action approach to litigation — a method that allows a large group of individuals, whose own claims may not be worth enough to justify a lawsuit, to join forces as “a class” to pursue grievances that all of them share.  Almost certainly the most significant part of the new ruling was the stress it put on the Rule 23 demand that all of those in the class must have a “common” legal claim — in a workplace bias case, each must show, up front, that the bias they claim was targeted at each of them.
Ah yes, Justice Scalia. He got it right about the recent Westboro Baptist ruling..but not this case regarding institutionalized discrimination in the workplace.

The courts four most liberal jurists, three of whom are female, dissented against several of the key parts of the ruling. Again, from SCOTUSblog:
The part of the ruling dealing with the commonality requirement was joined by Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., and Justices Samuel A. Alito, Jr., Anthony M. Kennedy and Clarence Thomas.   Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dissented on that facet of the ruling, joined by Justices Stephen G. Breyer, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor.

The dissenters argued that the evidence the women’s lawyers had offered “suggests that gender bias suffused Wal-Mart’s company culture.”  Their evidence also indicated that the differences in pay and promotions between women and men workers could only be explained by bias, not “neutral variables,” the dissenters added, leaving the clear impression that the dissenters agreed with that assessment.

Repeatedly, the dissenting opinion offered positive reactions to the women’s claims of how the Wal-Mart “corporate culture” actually worked to bolster discretion at the store level, with that discretion exercised predominantly by men influenced by a culture of discrimination.
It's pathetic, to me, that the liberal judges actually found common ground, with the rightwing jurists, that provided them with an out and to rule for the 'corporate culture' of discrimination:
Because of the Court’s ruling on the “commonality” question, closing the class-action claim against Wal-Mart, this second part of the decision had little practical impact other than clarifying when a class-action lawsuit could pursue a money remedy.  The dissenters said they would have left the Wal-Mart women with a further opportunity to try a different section of Rule 23 for their backpay claim, but the majority had scuttled that by ending the class-action case altogether. (emphasis mine)
Letting the rightwing protectors/judges of all things 'corporate' win on this case and at every level, is bullshit.

UPDATE: Nancy Pelosi had some..cough..harsh words for SCOTUS today, with regard to this ruling:
 The Supreme Court's decision to block a class action lawsuit on gender discrimination against Wal-Mart sets back the fight for gender equality, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said.

“Today’s Supreme Court decision sets back the cause of equality for women and for all Americans in the workplace and in our society. And it will make it more difficult for workers to come together to fight claims of gender discrimination," Pelosi (D-Calif.) said in a statement on Monday.
Damn skippy sista woman. It's bullshit and bravado at our expense.  Read her entire statement on The Hill website here.

NYT article shows SCOTUS Justice Thomas has no ethics.

Sunday's NYT had a writeup about the most corrupt of all SCOTUS justices currently sitting on the bench.

Harlan Crow is a name that needs to be remembered as well as his ties to Thomas. He is a major player in all things/causes that are popular w/the rightwing nutter's. From the NYT article:
Clarence Thomas was here promoting his memoir a few years ago when he bumped into Algernon Varn, whose grandfather once ran a seafood cannery that employed Justice Thomas’s mother as a crab picker.

Algernon Varn, whose grandfather once ran a seafood cannery where Justice Clarence Thomas's mother worked, on the site of the old cannery. Mr. Varn said Justice Thomas put him in touch with a buyer to restore the property and build a museum.

Mr. Varn lived at the old cannery site, a collection of crumbling buildings on a salt marsh just down the road from a sign heralding this remote coastal community outside Savannah as Justice Thomas’s birthplace. The justice asked about plans for the property, and Mr. Varn said he hoped it could be preserved.

“And Clarence said, ‘Well, I’ve got a friend I’m going to put you in touch with,’ ” Mr. Varn recalled, adding that he was later told by others not to identify the friend.

The publicity-shy friend turned out to be Harlan Crow, a Dallas real estate magnate and a major contributor to conservative causes. Mr. Crow stepped in to finance the multimillion-dollar purchase and restoration of the cannery, featuring a museum about the culture and history of Pin Point that has become a pet project of Justice Thomas’s.

The project throws a spotlight on an unusual, and ethically sensitive, friendship that appears to be markedly different from those of other justices on the nation’s highest court.
Thomas and his wife are up to their eyeballs in rightwing causes. Favors always get 'paid back' and to that end, Crow's association not only with Justice Thomas, but his wife, the queen of the rightwing nutters, Virginia Thomas should be challenged. Again from the NYT writeup:
The two men met in the mid-1990s, a few years after Justice Thomas joined the court. Since then, Mr. Crow has done many favors for the justice and his wife, Virginia, helping finance a Savannah library project dedicated to Justice Thomas, presenting him with a Bible that belonged to Frederick Douglass and reportedly providing $500,000 for Ms. Thomas to start a Tea Party-related group. They have also spent time together at gatherings of prominent Republicans and businesspeople at Mr. Crow’s Adirondacks estate and his camp in East Texas.(emphasis mine)
There are more instances in the four page article. The light now being shed on the previously unknown cannery site project and Thomas' involvement, just adds more fuel to the fire when it comes to Clarence Thomas' glaring lack of ethics.

Both Justice Thomas and Scalia have close ties to the Koch Brothers. Very close. So close in fact that they both attended a rightwing nutterfest held by the Koch Brothers recently. After that little rightwing love-in, the article states: A month later, more than 100 law professors asked Congress to extend to Supreme Court justices the ethics code that applies to other federal judges, and a bill addressing the issue was introduced.

One glaringly obvious question: Why doesn't the ethics code apply to the highest court in the land? 

It's absolutely fuckwitted that it doesn't. I couldn't believe what I read within the last few months when it comes to SCOTUS and ethics not being connected.

Back to Mr. Crow, one of the big time players in lies and obsfucations against Democratics running for office:
...Among his contributions were $100,000 to Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, the group formed to attack the Vietnam War record of Senator John Kerry, the 2004 Democratic presidential candidate....
That group did a hachet-job on John Kerry. More on Mr. Crow from the NYT writeup:
Mr. Crow has not personally been a party to Supreme Court litigation, but his companies have been involved in federal court cases, including four that went to the appellate level. And he has served on the boards of two conservative organizations involved in filing supporting briefs in cases before the Supreme Court. One of them, the American Enterprise Institute, with Mr. Crow as a trustee, gave Justice Thomas a bust of Lincoln valued at $15,000 and praised his jurisprudence at an awards gala in 2001.

The institute’s Project on Fair Representation later filed briefs in several cases, and in 2006 the project brought a lawsuit challenging federal voting rights laws, a case in which Justice Thomas filed a lone dissent, embracing the project’s arguments. The project director, an institute fellow named Edward Blum, said the institute supported his research but did not finance the brief filings or the Texas suit, which was litigated pro bono by a former clerk of Justice Thomas’s.
How does Justice Thomas keep his feelings in check when ruling on an issue his BFF Crow supports? Since Mr. Crow has given plenty of  'gifts' to Virginia and Clarence Thomas that can in no way be construed as 'cheap' or inexpensive:
There are a number of reasons Justice Thomas might be thankful to Mr. Crow. In addition to giving him the Douglass Bible, valued 10 years ago at $19,000, Mr. Crow has hosted the justice aboard his private jet and his 161-foot yacht, at the exclusive Bohemian Grove retreat in California and at his grand Adirondacks summer estate called Topridge, a 105-acre spread that once belonged to Marjorie Merriweather Post, the cereal heiress.

Christopher Shaw, a folk singer who said he had been invited several times to perform at Topridge, recalled seeing Justice Thomas and his family “on one or two occasions.” They were among about two dozen guests who included other prominent Republicans — last summer, the younger Mr. Bush stopped by.

“There would be guys puffing on cigars,” Mr. Shaw said. “Clarence just kind of melted in with everyone else. We got introduced at dinner. He sat at Harlan’s table.”

Mr. Crow’s $175,000 donation to the library in Savannah in 2001 started out anonymous, but it was eventually made public amid opposition to the project by some local black leaders who did not like Justice Thomas’s politics. Similarly, Mr. Crow sought to keep his role in the museum quiet. 
Kinda makes you go..hmmm..don't it? Well, it makes 100 law professors question his ethics, so why shouldn't the President and the Congress do the same?

Or don't they give a shit about the ethics of the highest court in the land and the rightwing nutters that sit on the bench and rule in favor of The Corporatocracy over the rights of individuals in these United States.

If you wish, please sign the CREDO petition that questions Justice Thomas' ethics here. Already, they have received over 35,000 signatures...just since this morning when they sent out the email.

We know he is a crooked, unethical sumbitch. It's time for him to be publicly outed for his role in favoring rich folks over the other 98% of us.  

Jun 16, 2011

The Seth Walsh Project. Its about friggin time.

The ACLU announced the creation of the Seth Walsh Project today. Seth was an 8th grade gay student in Tehachapi, a small town in the mountains east of Bakersfield, that hung himself when the bullying finally got to him. His family alerted the school administrative staff and the school board many times, prior to Seth's suicide, of the obvious and overt bullying by other students,but to no avail.  I wrote about him here, in a post entitled Bullied to Death-Seth Walsh's last words, and included the video at the end of this post.

The ACLU project's goal is to combat bullying of gay students in California schools. From their website:
All students have a right to attend school in a safe learning environment, and their parents have a right to know their children will come home unharmed. But sadly, that is not the reality in California. Far too often, teachers and administrators discount--or worse, ignore entirely--incidents of violence happening right under their noses.

Today, the ACLU of Southern California announced the launch of the Seth Walsh Students' Rights Project -- a major new initiative aimed at combating bullying and discrimination in California schools, particularly harassment directed at lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning students.

Prompted by the September 2010 suicide of Seth Walsh, a 13-year old student at Tehachapi's Jacobsen Middle School who endured years of anti-gay harassment at school, the Project will investigate incidents of harassment and discrimination; educate administrators and teachers of their responsibilities under both state and federal law to make sure all students have a safe learning environment; and work closely with LGBTQ students and their parents to ensure they have the same educational opportunities as their peers.
It's about fucking time. As the ACLU states, schools have an obligation to protect their students from bullying..of any type. They are obligated to provide a safe learning environment.

They failed Seth. The fuckers in charge failed this child miserably and to that end..my hope is that the ACLU will be a beacon in the fight for a safe learning environment for all children in California's schools.

I just wish it was a nationwide project..because we know it happens all over these United States of America, at all levels of education...and it has to stop. NOW. 

Howard Stern's tool Benjy Bronk

Photo of the moron from the Slate article
Bronk is the asshole that kept yelling and  interrupting Anthony Weiner's resignation speech this morning. His lewd and totally fuckwitted outbursts were rude and uncalled for. The presser was held in a senior citizen center with elderly residents in attendance.

I am not someone that gets uptight w/suggestive, vulgar or lewd language, as witnessed by my heavy use of profanity here on my personal blog. What pisses me off is that Rep. Weiner, once again, tried to own his mistakes that have cost him his career and cost progressives a much-needed voice within the House of Representatives, but he was interrupted and screamed at, multiple times, by a loser, who is not a journalist, and has no business being at a presser if he doesn't know how to act like an adult. 

Rep. Weiner could of mailed it in..as in releasing a statement like most elected officials do when they have been caught doing something considered wrong, immoral or criminal.

But he didn't. He took to the stage for one last mea culpa and several times he was drowned out by the idiot that works for Howard Stern. Stern himself is, in my humble yet vocal opinion, a misogynistic bag of shit..but Benjy..well he is merely a rude, ignorant bag of batshit that should keep his stupid ass in the office, as he has no clue how to act in certain situations that require an IQ above that of a dandelion.  

Jun 15, 2011

House Progressive Caucus launches national listening tour.

 The mission of the CPC (Congressional Progressive Caucus) with this nationwide event is two-fold. To listen to the public and their needs AND to let them know that as far as the CPC is concerned, Jobs is the number one issue in our nation, and they plan to shift the debate in DC and specifically the House of Rep's to that important national problem and find a resolution for it in this recessive economy that affects all of us in one way or another . From TPMuckraker, the leader of the caucus, AZ Rep Raul Grijalva:
Republicans have pulled off a neat trick since taking over the House back in January -- they've repeatedly attacked President Obama on the languishing job market while shifting government focus away from job creation and toward the deficit and debt.

Now, the House Progressive Caucus is planning to turn the government's attention back toward eliminating unemployment. Starting Wednesday, caucus members will fan out across the country on a summer tour that will attempt to push the focus away from spending reduction and toward using government resources to create jobs.

"The media and the right wing and, of course, some Democrats have been talking about intangibles like the debt ceiling or the job picture," Congressional Progressive Caucus co-chair Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) told TPM in an interview previewing the announcement. "We wanted to do a tour that really talks about what matters to people."
This tour will run through the summer and hit 14 cities. The leader of the Caucus doesn't mince words when it comes to taking Obama, the House and Senate to task. Again from the TPM writeup:

To Grijalva and the CPC that means discussing a government that makes "a commitment to the middle class" and pushes for an economic package that focuses on middle and working class people -- "not just the wealthy and not just the CEOs," Grijalva said.

Earlier this year, the CPC put forward their own federal budget proposal that raises taxes on the rich and corporations (as well as ends the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan) and plows the increased revenues into new education, health care and other middle class-focused domestic spending.

That's the kind of government Americans want, Grijalva said. He faulted the White House and other Democrats for veering away from the kind of solutions the CPC intends to highlight on the tour and driving the national agenda headlong into the Republican-friendly territory of tax decreases and spending cuts.

"I think it comes from being timid," he said. "It really does. Part of job creation, historically how we've gotten the economy back on its feet is that the federal government stepped in and supplemented job creation...and here we're sitting around, still talking about the possibility of job creation in some amorphous way."
Timid..he hit the nail squarely on it's head with that one, although my word for their lack of action is harsher: spineless. The Democratic Party and Obama left their balls in their other suit pants when it comes to pushing their agenda the last two plus years. When they had control of both houses, they got nothing that they wanted for the most part..and spent too much time dickering over Health Care Reform..completely eliminating Universal Healthcare as an option from the get-go.
The stops will feature members of the CPC sitting down with workers to hear about the employment situation and how it can be improved. Some events will be town halls, some will be rallies, some will be hearings and all will be open to the public. The caucus has been planning the tour in secret for months, and say that it could help shift the focus back to job creation and away from the federal bottom line.
Get out there and then get back to DC and fix it..it's a goal we all want, party lines be damned. 

To see if they will be in your vicinity the name of the tour is Speak Out for Good Jobs Now. Their website is here with all the info you need.

Below is Rep Keith Ellison talking to Dylan Ratigan yesterday about the national listening tour. I really admire Keith Ellison, the man isn't afraid of speaking truth to power. 

Jun 14, 2011

That was two hours I will never get back....

Watching the R's that want to sit their asses in the Oval Office last night was an exercise in patience and laughing my brown ass off at their ignorance.

If I had to pick a winner...or loser in this case..it would be..drum roll please...

All of them. Cain sounded stupid..Eye of Newt lied his ass off, Batshit Bachmann was her usual screwed-up self but if I had a buck for every time she mentioned her 23 foster kids and the ones she 'gave birth to' I could fly to Paris for a week.

But Ricky Santorum was his usual dumb as a box of hammers. His IQ rivals that of a dandelion..seriously.

Not one of those fuckwits went into how to fix the economy. None. Nada. Zilch. They were all good at bashing Obama, Social Security and of course Medicare. None gave any indication on how they would create jobs..other than the usual GOP talking points about how tax cuts for the rich creates jobs..

Oh holy fuckamoly..I am stressing out just thinking of this fuckery all over again. MotherJones has a decent read up about the debate that wasnt' really a debate here. Down w/Tyranny has a great piece about the whole idiot bullshit they all bought into about Muslims and how dangerous they are..and how we must get rid of them, refuse to let them work in our nation and all kinds of happy horseshit. He says Joe McCarthy would of loved last nights fuckwits..they made him proud.

Sadly..he is so spot on about that.

Jun 13, 2011

40 years ago today. Ellsberg released the Pentagon Papers, today the fed govt did the same.

PBS is allowing us to watch gratis online, for two days, the documentary entitled, The Most Dangerous Man in America. Ellsberg has written an OpEd  for The Guardian on this historical day, which is titled: Why the Pentagon Papers matter now.

Irony Alert: Today the Federal Government formally declassified and released The Pentagon Papers. From Ellsberg's OpEd:
The declassification and online release Monday of the full original version of the Pentagon Papers – the 7,000-page top secret Pentagon study of US decision-making in Vietnam 1945-67 – comes 40 years after I gave it to 19 newspapers and to Senator Mike Gravel (minus volumes on negotiations, which I had given only to the Senate foreign relations committee). Gravel entered what I had given him in the congressional record and later published nearly all of it with Beacon Press. Together with the newspaper coverage and a government printing office (GPO) edition that was heavily redacted but overlapped the Senator Gravel edition, most of the material has been available to the public and scholars since 1971. (The negotiation volumes were declassified some years ago; the Senate, if not the Pentagon, should have released them no later than the end of the war in 1975.)

In other words, today's declassification of the whole study comes 36 to 40 years overdue. Yet, unfortunately, it happens to be peculiarly timely that this study gets attention and goes online just now. That's because we're mired again in wars – especially in Afghanistan – remarkably similar to the 30-year conflict in Vietnam, and we don't have comparable documentation and insider analysis to enlighten us on how we got here and where it's likely to go.

What we need released this month are the Pentagon Papers of Iraq and Afghanistan (and Pakistan, Yemen and Libya). We're not likely to get them; they probably don't yet exist, at least in the useful form of the earlier ones. But the original studies on Vietnam are a surprisingly not-bad substitute, definitely worth learning from. 
The Documentary is an hour and 55 minutes. I suggest watching it if you have the time, it's well worth it, especially if you are too young to remember the Vietnam War and all that went down in what became known as "The Livingroom War". Below is a 20 minute clip of the Documentary, courtesy of PBS. You remember PBS, the R's in Congress want to de-fund that institution.More from Ellsberg's OpEd:

As for Washington, the accounts of recurrent decisions to escalate in the Pentagon Papers read like an extended prequel to Bob Woodward's book last year, Obama's War, on the prolonged internal controversies that preceded the president's decisions to triple the size of our forces in Afghanistan. (Woodward's book, too, is based on top secret leaks. Unfortunately, these came out after the decisions had been made, and without accompanying documentation: which it is still not too late for Woodward or his sources to give to WikiLeaks.)

In accounts of wars 40 years and half a world apart, we read of the same irresponsible, self-serving presidential and congressional objectives in prolonging and escalating an unwinnable conflict: namely, the need not to be charged with weakness by political rivals, or with losing a war that a few feckless or ambitious generals foolishly claim can be won. Putting the policy-making and the field realities together, we see the same prospect of endless, bloody stalemate – unless and until, under public pressure, Congress threatens to cut off the money (as in 1972-73), forcing the executive into a negotiated withdrawal.

To motivate voters and Congress to extricate us from these presidential wars, we need the Pentagon Papers of the Middle East wars right now. Not 40 years in the future. Not after even two or three more years of further commitment to stalemated and unjustifiable wars.

Yet, we're not likely to get these ever within the time frame they're needed. The WikiLeaks' unauthorised disclosures of the last year are the first in 40 years to approach the scale of the Pentagon Papers (and even surpass them in quantity and timeliness). But unfortunately, the courageous source of these secret, field-level reports – Private Bradley Manning is the one accused, though that remains to be proven in court – did not have access to top secret, high-level recommendations, estimates and decisions.  
Watch the 20-min clip at least...Because, for those that do not learn from history they are surely doomed to repeat it.

Watch the full episode. See more POV.

Jun 11, 2011

Todays number: 895

Photo: International Bird Rescue
That is the number, instead of a name, for a Brown Pelican plucked from the oily waters in Louisiana after last years BP Deepwater Horizon Oil disaster. HBO has a short but worthwhile documentary, Saving Pelican 895  airing this weekend.

The workers learned quickly not to name the birds. If the bird didn't live, it made it all that much harder for the individuals working day and night to rescue and rehabilitate the thousands of birds affected by BP's negligence and subsequent offshore disaster. The International Bird Rescue's 88-member team worked 24/7 for months to save all birds captured alive. It's their story as well.

As a Southern California native, I have spent a lot of time, hours on end actually, watching and admiring the Brown Pelican that calls southern california home. I loved to watch them dive from the blue sky, straight down into the water to catch their food. Brown Pelican's are the only one of seven pelican species to do that. Cali's brown pelican is the same species as Louisana's brown pelican. But I digress.

As of April 2011, the government website, fws.gov, which tallies the total number mammals, sea turtles and birds affected by the BP Oil Disaster has some very sobering statistics. The number of  dead birds collected stands at  6,147. The number of collected birds that were alive and rehabilitation attempted is currently at 3,046. Pelican #895, an adolescent bird, unable to fish or even fly at the time of rescue due to it's age, survived, learned to feed itself and was released back into the wild.

In other words, the documentary has a happy ending..at least for Pelican #895. The total number of birds released back into the wild stands at a mere 1295. Do the quick math and it tells you how many did not make it even though they were picked up alive.

It's important to remember that the Brown Pelican had totally disappeared from Louisiana's coastlines by  1963 due to pesticides and their polluting the waters and the fish of Louisiana.

Irony alert: Five months before the BP disaster, the Brown Pelican was removed from the endangered species list in that region.

When I watched the documentary entitled Saving Pelican 895, I knew it would be gut-wrenching for me. It was hard because I have loved these birds since childhood and I saw first hand what happens to the birds, mammals and sea-life when oil rigs explode and/or their safety mechanisms fail. I lived in the Santa Barbara area when that coastline was fouled by the first ever oil spill in 1969.

Below is a short trailer for the HBO Documentary Saving Pelican 895:

The responsible parties (BP, Transocean) will end up paying for the effects the Deepwater Horizon disaster had on the bird, sea-life and mammal population in and around the gulf..at least..they are supposed to, per federal law. But I am not holding my breath as I feel quite certain they will drag it out in court until the amount of financial damage to their bottom line is as small as possible.

We can only hope the damage they did to the re-population efforts of the Brown Pelican in Louisiana will not be insurmountable.

Today's Photo..er..Graphic..ok, Picture.

It's moving day!!!!!!!!!!!!

I have purchased a domain name. I have been meticulously working on a new site,Leftwing Nutjob. Please change your bookmarks people..this puppy will no longer be updated as of July 1st 2011.