Saturday, May 31, 2008

Vioxx Bad

The problem with going to doctors is, they get you to take a lot of drugs. For a while several years ago, I was seeing a doctor regularly. He had me on a couple of blood pressure meds, something for my prostate, a statin for cholesterol, an aspirin every day, some dietary supplements. It was pretty amazing.

So, I started to get pains in my wrists and forearms. The Doctor gives me a large dose of Vioxx every day. It helped a little but then I started to get plantar fasciaitis. After a while, my feet are sore I'm hobbling around like Quasimodo. I'm anxious all the time. I'm starting to get tremors. I have some blood work done and my liver enzymes are elevated. I get an EKG and I have a pronounced 1st degree heart block. You know what the fuckin' doctor wants to do, right? Give me more pills. Anxiety pills, sleeping pills, anti-arrythmics. Whatever.

So I quit taking all the pills and quit going to the doctor. Within a few days I felt decidedly better. Within a few months, I felt great. I'm not going to sue anybody because I took Vioxx and felt bad. If you take the drugs your doctor offers you without question, you have only yourself to blame.

Surprisingly, I don't believe in prescription drugs. Anybody should be able to get whatever drugs they want, over the counter. Doctors are all assholes and money grubbers with nothing but contempt for the patients stupid enough to follow their advice.

It's True

Bobby Gates says that the junta in Burma is causing great loss of life by not letting relief workers into the country with emergency supplies. Somebody should let him know that those six hundred Hellfire missiles he shot into Sadr City killed a lot of people as well and the people in those neighborhoods had no access to water, sanitation food or health care, because his people wouldn't let it into the area.

Buy Now, While the Prices are Low!

You're going to get a kick out of this. Every Saturday morning for several months now, the LA Times has a Coldwell Banker, glossy covered, full color, 80 page or so, magazine style, real estate supplement in the coastal Orange County area. It is very classy. Nothing in there for less than $750,000 and damn few of those. Most are between one and three million dollars, with a significant few in the thirty to sixty million range or even more. Believe me, some of these places aren't all that nice. One of them is what's got to be a fifty plus year old double wide mobile home in a park a couple blocks from the Main Beach in downtown Laguna. $750,000 too much, you say. Nonsense, they are asking a million four, the price is firm and you still got to pay the space rent, baby!

Nothing has sold in my area now for several months, despite frequent open houses by agents, with lots of signs, flags and prices cut by 20% or more. People still believe their house are worth something, because there have been few foreclosures in the area, despite a flagging economy and staggering inflation that has to be cutting deeply into the economic health of even the local affluent, many of whom have more cash flow than actual assets.

It's clear the real estate brokers are wasting their money on these supplements and that the real reason they are being published, is to placate the sellers. The question is why? At current pricing, none of these properties will sell and not even significant reductions in price will change that. I'm not sure a savvy buyer should be buying any real estate right now, unless it could be rented for a substantial positive cash flow with a minimum down payment. Even though rents are still high, vacancies in the coastal areas of SoCal are increasing and purchase prices are nowhere near levels that would support real rental income. Some of these places are still appraised so high, for tax purposes, you'd have a hard time paying the property taxes for what you'd get in rent.

War Hero

During the '71-'72 school year, I was a junior at a large suburban State College in Southern California. Across the street from my college, was the new flagship high school of the local district and a little further down the street was an old and well established junior college. Quite the educational center.

Every afternoon, Monday through Friday, I went over to the high school and worked for four or five hours as a night janitor. I made enough to share an apartment and buy food, my parents were paying for books and tuition. I cleaned the classrooms and labs in the math/science building, a huge lecture hall and auditorium, the art studios and a bunch of portable classrooms every day. It was a great job and I was lucky to get it. My father had connections. There were two other college students that worked nights there with me. One was a world class skier with Olympic ambitions. He mostly just took PE classes and the 12 units required to keep a draft deferment. I didn't need a deferment any more. They had the lottery that year and I got a reasonably high number, so I just went 1A and once the year ended, so did my jeopardy. The other guy was older, 22, with a wife and two little girls. He was just starting over at the JC, on the GI Bill. He had been drafted and to Vietnam.

His job in the Army was telephone lineman, stringing and maintaining comm lines. He was stationed at a fortified base and helicopter field, in the Delta. There was a big Ville there, where the local farm families had been pulled in, for protection. They were all peaceful farmers in the daytime and Viet Cong after dark. He told me a lot of war stories. The Vietnam guys always did. They were always about other guys, in other units. He never thought his own story was really worth telling. A lot of the Vietnam guys were like that, too. He maintained that mostly, he was just a hootch rat. He hung around the base, wired up people that got requisitions for phones, drank beer and worked on sound systems for the whorehouses in the neighborhood. Several times a month, he would have an adventure. It was always the same and always different.

The Viet Cong would choose an out of the way telephone line and cut it. Then it was my friend's job to go out with a combat patrol, climb up a pole, completely unarmed and splice the line. Did I mention? He was a huge guy, great target. I asked him once why he went up unarmed. He said he didn't want to be encumbered by a weapon or make anyone mad at him. Sometimes there were booby traps all around the pole. Sometimes they would lob mortar rounds into the area. Sometimes there was an ambush with close combat. Sometimes all of those things. Sometimes nothing happened at all. The only constant, was that at some point, he had to climb the pole and splice the line. It was always him, he was the lineman. He said it wasn't really as dangerous as it sounded. He said he never took unnecessary chances. He said the Viet Cong really weren't interested in shooting him, because once they did that, the rest of the patrol could bug out. Right. Just a six foot two, hundred-ninety pound guy, perched on top of a twenty foot pole, by the side of a road, in the middle of a jungle, full of armed VC, eight-twelve times a month, for a year.

When people talk about war heroes, I always think of my friend and the smoke breaks we spent together and the stories he told me, almost 40 years ago, when we worked as night janitors together at Troy High School in Fullerton. He was no pacifist but as far as I know, the only weapons he wielded, were needle-nosed pliers and wire strippers. I don't think I ever met anyone braver than him.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Deacreased Levels of Violence in Iraq

The Bush administration, you have to include the McCain campaign in there and their lackeys in the high command, tell us that violence in Iraq has retreated to levels not seen in two years. What's that supposed to mean? In the last two months coalition troops have killed over a thousand Iraqis in Basra, at least another thousand in Sadr City and when the residents of Mosul wouldn't come out and fight, they "disappeared" another thousand men, women and children there. In the last two months, the US has fired over 600 hellfire missiles into Sadr City, alone.

They don't even make their lies plausible anymore. Why do they even bother? Even their own partisans only pretend to believe them and then without any real conviction.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

That's not a Gap between her Teeth, It's a Blood Gutter

The yellow dog, Condelezza Rice and her scurvy packmate, Ambassador Crocker, even now conspire with the puppet Nouri al-Maliki to draw up a treaty guiding US and Iraqi relations starting next year. The UN charter on Iraq expires at the end of 2008. The UN Secretary General has stated, as early as 2002, that the UN Charter was never meant to sanction the kind of military intervention that the US has imposed on Iraq. That matters not at all to the cringing coward in the Oval office and his craven minions. The fact is, that after the beginning of the new year, there will be no basis in law for the American occupation of Iraq, whatsoever.

Maliki and the US State Department are working on this treaty in secret. They are not calling it a treaty, because treaties require legislative ratification and they know they haven't the lies left to bring that about.

A majority of the Iraqi people, in the form of the Sunni block and the followers of Moctada al-Sadr, reject this treaty unless it is approved by plebiscite. The American people, as well, must demand that this treaty be ratified in the Senate as required by law.

Not one more life, American or Iraqi, should be sacrificed on Bush's oily alter of conquest and domination.

I Promise

Bush says we must not "lose our nerve", on the unilateral wars of aggression in the Middle East. I won't. I won't be satisfied until every soldier is on his way out of the Middle East and Bush and his minions are under lock and key and facing trial.

The punishment must fit the crime

Revelations of wrongdoing by the Bush administration, in a new book by Scotty McClellan, are hardly earth shaking. Everybody pretty much already knows all the stuff in the book. They don't need any additional confirmation.

The one thing the book does prove, is that Bush and all of his minions have personal insight into the evil that they do. They are not a bunch of true believers who have deceived themselves that they do God's work down here on Earth. The killing, the thievery, the land rape, all are done with eyes wide open and knowledge of the damage done.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Admiral Mike Mullen, Oracle or Sphinx?

How can we respond to the letter Admiral Michael Mullen has written to the members of the Armed Forces, cautioning them to stay above partisan politics, in this hotly contested election year? Over the last 60 years, the military has moved inexorably to align itself with the conservative right wing of American politics and the fundamentalist Christianity which is it's constant companion.

Granted, many military leaders have diligently striven to stay above partisanship, even while continuing to serve their country, in and out of the military but most military leaders who reach the public eye are partisan, often criminally so. Westmoreland, North, Hayden, Pace, Petraeus, the list goes on and on. In an environment where our military is sinking ever deeper under the influence of right wing political thought, what can Mullen be telling us?

Is he cautioning the increasing numbers of veterans who have served in the unilateral wars of aggression in the Middle East and no longer support them, to stifle themselves? Is he cautioning firebrand factions within the armed forces, against a coup, should the Democrats win the Presidency and increase their majorities in Congress?

I do not know. It's pretty creepy, either way. I wish he would state what he means clearly.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The Return of the Baby Killer Phenomenon

Michael Yon and Austin Bay are both trying to stir things up for our young service men and women on Memorial day. Apparently a female soldier, while in uniform, was verbally assaulted on the Metro in DC, while on the way to work at the Pentagon.

Let me ask all of you out there a question. Have any of you, who have spent a significant amount of time riding the public transportation system in a major metropolitan area, not been verbally assaulted by the resident derangoids that more or less live on these conveyances? This can be a threatening and uncomfortable experience but to attribute it to some kind of global conspiracy, stalking you, lying in wait and finally pouncing while you are helplessly immobilized on the subway, is giving in to the same solitary paranoid craziness that most likely afflicts your pathetic assailant.

There isn't a lot of anti-military sentiment or behavior in the public. George Bush and his foreign policy of unilateral armed aggression is not popular. The military high command, whose members aid and abet Bush in his policies are often not positively viewed. The soldiers one is likely to meet on the street, are usually young, enlisted men and women on their first or second enlistments. The American public views these young veterans with solidarity, friendship and admiration. To try and portray the situation as otherwise is inflammatory. To try and pass this mischief off as a warning to young service people, to be careful when venturing out in public and to avoid wearing the uniform of your country while doing so, is a disgrace.

Shame on you, Michael Yon and Austin Bay. You both know better. You shame yourselves.

Bush states,"We don't torture children"

When questioned about the hundreds of children being held prisoner by American forces in Iraq, President Bush took time out from criticizing Cuba over it's human rights abuses to address the issue.

"It's true we hold hundreds of children, without charges or trial and since there are no trials, we see no reason for them to have access to lawyers but I can definitely say that we do not torture children. " the president stated. Continuing, "CIA and military intelligence interrogators have strict orders not to attach the electrodes to their genitals until they grow hair on them and to hold off on pouring water down their throats until their voices change. I am sick and tired of the false accusations made by the members of the media about this. We do not torture children!"

Times Change

I have not always been a fan of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. My youth was filled with stories of Director J. Edgar Hoover's collusion in the Red baiting of the '50s, his persecution of Vietnam War protesters, and his proclivity for building salacious dossiers with which to blackmail influential politicians of all stripes, into letting him do as he pleased.

I am surprised and edified to find that they refused to engage in torture, even when instructed to do so by the President of the United States and after observing that the Military and CIA were both complying with the administration's orders.

I'm not surprised that once they decided not to participate in torture interrogation techniques, that they documented it's use by others, voluminously. The pressure to destroy these records, during the tenure of the traitor Alberto Gonzales, as Attorney General, must have been intense.

Hopefully, these records can be used as evidence, when it comes time to bring the rogue members of the Bush administration to justice.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Kick the Bitch Loose from the Moorings and Light Her Up

Now that Death's cold tide is rising on the Lion of the Senate, the troubadours of the dark force are singing his epic, emphasizing the roles they played, in aiding the great man in his heroic prime. No one is dancing about with their genitals exposed shouting the old dirty limericks about Mary Jo and the slough.

When their own Lion, Strom, lay on his bier, arms crossed on his chest, ax handle in one hand and noose in the other, after a hard fought century of battle, only the voice of Trent Lott rose in praise of the departed. Then they drove Trent down from his place at the high table, in disgrace, afraid for their own prospects after so many defeats in the field.

A lot of bad things are still said about Trent Lott. I'd share his oar. I'd rather go to Hell with an honest monster than spend the eternal Winter in a warm mead hall with men who shirk, no matter how craven and corrupt the monster's company may make me. Sometimes the company you keep on the journey is more important than the horrible truth of where you're going.

What is your favorite condiment?

I have always been a big condiment guy. If I'm at a good hot dog place, I am driven crazy by the choices I have to make. Chili, cheese and onions? Kraut? Mustard? Jalapenos? If I get a burger for lunch, I try to find a Carls Jr that has a Green Burrito menu, so I can sneak my burger over to the salsa bar. At home, it can take me a half hour to get the add ons just right on a regular old ham sandwich.

With such a multi-culti society the condiment situation has become much more complicated. I need an extra fridge just for all the condiments I'd like to keep in the house. I have to satisfy myself by rotating through different condiments at different times but always find I'm craving the tangy goodness of the condiment I don't have right now. There are so many condiments I crave and I am old and fat and now must limit the food to put them on.

Fess up now! What is your favorite? Do you crave the wasabi, preserved ginger and shoyu from the sushi bar. Do you sneak down to Korea town to stock up on kim chi, bonita flakes and fermented bean sauce? Do you take the veil when shopping for pickled turnip strips and sesame paste down at the Arab strip mall? Is there some special sambal or siracha that makes you break out in a sweat and starts your mouth watering? Tell me what it is, because if I haven't heard of it, I want to go buy some.

I am a sucker for almost any mysterious new additive. I have to confess, that my favorite is Noc Mam or as it is more commonly known, fish sauce. Don't even ask how they make it. You don't want to know. One interesting thing about fish sauce, is that it probably originated in Southern Europe and North Africa. It was a staple among the Romans and a popular trade good. For some reason, its popularity faded in the West. Fortunately, it is very popular all over South and South East Asia and it is made there exactly the same way. I buy at least a couple of liters at a time. I add it to many things. It adds a depth of flavor and a characteristic tang that is hard to describe. Once you start using it, you find yourself using more and more.

And He Had A Little Corksrew Tail

Some conservative lawmakers in Britain tried to pass legislation that limits some types of human embryo research and experimentation. They failed. I don't expect to enter an age of "Island of Dr Moreau" type bestiality anytime soon but there could be some revolutionary advances in the life sciences. This will make stem cells for research and therapy easy and cheap to produce and harvest.

I have never met a research scientist who was an atheist. The kind of work they do inspires spirituality. The problem for the devout is, that the kind of spirituality inspired among scientists, is one which is always searching for answers and finding new questions. It is very exciting if you have an open mind. If you seek to preserve the old dogma, it's not so great. If you look at religion, it has evolved through time, to reflect man's increasing understanding of himself and his environment. Change isn't something one needs to fear nor want to hate.

We are here for such a short and wondrous time. It's a shame so many people want to spend so much of that time, with their head up their ass but it is their choice. Trying to force everybody to shove their head up their ass too, cannot be tolerated. Fortunately, people don't fight very well in that position. Just walk away, they won't be keeping up.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Vito should have just kept quiet and taken the DUI

Have you been reading about the troubles of Republican Congressman Vito Fosella, from Staten Island? It is very sad and unfortunate.

First, he gets stopped for drunk driving and he hardly even has a buzz on. His alcohol level is like .11. Man, you can get that drunk sniffing corks. Then he makes a slip of the tongue to the cops that he has to pick up his daughter in the neighborhood, only he doesn't live in the neighborhood. It turns out he has an illegitimate child by a mistress living near by. This turns out to be a perfectly normal, heterosexual relationship with a woman of mature years, who is a retired military officer. Nothing wild and crazy about it and he seemed to be taking full parental responsibility for the child. He did have another wife, in another neighborhood, who was unaware of the mistress and child but nobody seemed to be suffering any particular deprivation.

I'm not sure he will have to resign from Congress but it looks like it and apparently his biggest donors have nixed any plans for further terms in office. This guy's life is pretty much over and all he was doing was having plain, vanilla, family style sex, not that there is anything wrong with that. If I agreed with his politics, I'd have no problem voting for him after this.

Republican politics seems very complicated. I don't really understand all the nuances of what is allowed and what is not. It doesn't seem to me that this guy did anything that McCain didn't do when he divorced his first wife and married his mistress. Ronald Reagan was already divorced when he married a pregnant Nancy Davis but it was a pretty slap dash affair and common knowledge that Nancy was little more than a studio provided "escort" to publicly accompany an aging, second rate star who didn't really like women all that much. Their marriage went on to be enshrined as one of the great love matches in American history and if her heels were a little round, nobody really cared. As far as the DUI goes, a lot of politicians have them. George Bush's early brushes with the law were all made to go away because of his fathers influence but Cheney has a shitload of DUIs and is known to sop up the sauce like a bar mop, even to this day. If he had any functional cardiac muscle left and had the desire, I'm sure he could get elected to any Congressional seat he wanted to, after he leaves office next year.

I wish Vito good luck. I hope he finds some employment out there to help out the women in his life with expenses, after he leaves office. You wouldn't think, in New York City, they would be so parochial about the domestic arrangements of their public servants. I mean, this guy ain't exactly Elliot Spitzer, is he?

The Rape of Mosul

The streets of Mosul have been empty and deathly silent, since Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, a tyrant quickly gaining a reputation for brutality and atrocity as bad or worse than Saddam Hussein, marched into the city at the head of an Iraqi Army, backed up by another army in reserve, of battle hardened, American forces and the armor, snipers and air power, capable of unimaginable mass destruction, that they bring with them. Public spaces, shops and mosques are deserted. People cower in their dwellings, utilities having been cut off, food and water running low.

The Iraqi troopers go from house to house, neighborhood by neighborhood, searching houses seemingly at random. Anyone who questions, even politely, the actions of the troopers is beaten senseless on the spot and arrested as a suspected al-Qaeda. Over a thousand have disappeared into custody already. No one is being released after questioning. Authorities seem eerily unconcerned that they will accumulate unmanageable numbers of detainees, who reportedly include women and youths as young as their early teens. No episodes of armed Resistance have been reported. No casualty numbers have been released. This is a Sunni City. There are rumors of torture and rape rooms. That is the way things are done in the Sunni culture.

The commander of the Iraqi Army invading Mosul and several of his brigade commanders expressed concern at the levels of purely punitive brutality directed against a completely passive populace. He and his brigade commanders were promptly relieved of command and replaced by Abdallah Abdul Sattar, an apparently less sensitive Iraqi general. Formal charges against them are pending.

The rape of Mosul continues. The American forces look on. No one knows what will happen next.

News Flash: Teens Like Sex

New studies show the idea that teens engage in oral sex in order to avoid having vaginal intercourse is incorrect. The vast majority of teens engaging in oral sex also engage in vaginal sex and virtually no teens only engage in oral sex. The idea that teens engaging in oral sex are promiscuous is also wrong. Most teens engaging in sex do so with only one partner and virtually all are serially monogamous.

It turns out, teens just like sex. Imagine that.


I was reading this article about fundamentalist Christians, reprinted from the the New York Times. It had to do with teen age and adolescent girls who attend a formal dance with their fathers. At the climax of this affair the couples go one by one before a huge wooden cross in the middle of the dance floor and the girls swear they will remain chaste until marriage and the fathers swear to enforce the daughters vow. There was a color slide show with a lot of pictures. These girls are in formal gowns, some of them low cut with a lot of cleavage and some slit up the thigh. The fathers are all decked out in tuxedos.

I have to admit that this is nowhere near as bad as polygamous marriages to thirteen year old first cousins when you're 50 or locking your daughter into a basement dungeon and raping her for 25 years, fathering seven children. It is still PRETTY-DAMN-CREEPY!

I don't imagine it works, at all. I wouldn't be surprised if some of these girls didn't have strange dreams about this experience for a long time afterwards.


This morning, in Dublin, representatives from a hundred nations will meet to discuss a ban on cluster bombs. Even the International Red Cross, an American creature, is guardedly supportive of the idea. Countless thousands of people around the World will be hideous cripples for the rest of their lives because of these weapons and hundreds more a week are joining them in Iraq, alone. Bush didn't have Condeleeza send anybody. Surprise!

The American military loves cluster munitions. We drop them as bombs, plant them as mines, fire them as missiles and artillery. It is the primary weapon that we have been using, with such great success, to kill hundreds and maim thousands recently, in Basra and Sadr City. They are the most popular anti personnel munition we presently have. It isn't that they are so effective at killing enemy fighters as much as they shred and horribly mutilate virtually everyone within the target area. There is always huge collateral damage. It is a terrorist weapon, with plausible deniability, who could ask for anything more.

I don't guess Heather will be there.

It Could Have Gone Worse

Bush's trip to the Middle East was pretty much a complete failure. He was unable to do anything to further the cause of Israeli-Palestinian peace. He was unable to garner support among the Sunni bloc for sanctions against Shiite Iran. If anything, they closed ranks in support of Iran, giving Bush the lame duck, cold shoulder. He was unable to gain any concessions from Saudi Arabia about oil production and ended up promising the Saudis important protections by our military, in their defense, with nothing in return. He did manage to stay friends with Israel. How hard is that?

Bush cautioned Middle Eastern leaders that they should start treating their people with the dignity and respect they deserve. He's not treating the Iraqis with too much dignity and respect. I don't even think he's treated me with much dignity or respect. At least he hasn't thrown a bunch of his domestic political opponents in prison. It seems like he's going to let the elections go forward in November. I guess we should be grateful.

Still and all, nothing went terribly wrong. We didn't end up having to bomb or invade anybody. Nobody pointed, laughed or made rude remarks about him. It could have gone worse.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

What Don't We Know and Why Don't We Know It?

Let's have a little lesson in the intuitive interpretation of the information we are not getting out of the armed forces concerning the behavior of the troops currently serving in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Army says it has a zero tolerance policy concerning drugs. Since Iraq and Afghanistan are Islamic and forbid the use of alcohol and since they are war zones, alcohol is forbidden to military personnel during deployment there. Virtually no information has been released to the public concerning levels of drug and alcohol abuse since long before the Gulf War era. We are led to believe that there is no problem with drugs and alcohol in today's all volunteer armed forces. We are led to believe that through the use of frequent drug testing, substance abusers are weeded out but in truth, they really don't say anything.

We know that post traumatic stress disorder is a big problem. We know that depression is a big problem. We know that suicide is a big problem. We know that for recently discharged veterans, joblessness, homelessness, domestic abuse, sexual assault and violent crime are big problems. We know that all of these problems are closely associated with drug and alcohol abuse. An intelligent person would have to posit that drug and alcohol abuse is a significant component of behavior for combat soldiers in the Middle East, especially since it is common knowledge that the production of moonshine liquor is a popular avocation in the region and more opium is produced in Afghanistan than anywhere else in the World, making drugs and alcohol both cheap and easy to obtain throughout the theater of operations.

I think a lot of drug and alcohol abuse is going on in the war zones of the Middle East. If that is true and the military simply isn't reporting it to us taxpayers back home, what else aren't they telling us? What about sexual assaults on Iraqi women? What about the massacre of innocent noncombatants? What about the torture and murder of captured insurgents? What about the wanton destruction of property and resources necessary for the indigenous population to thrive?

American enlisted soldiers, for the most part, are simply trying to do the best that they can. They are far from home, in a foreign place. They weren't raised to fight and kill and they are not sure why they are doing it now. They are used to seeing themselves as the good guys. It's disheartening when they are someplace where they are not seen that way. Training is sometimes inadequate. There are failures of leadership. Things get out of hand.

Who exactly is leading the troops? The officer corps of the United States military are supposed to be composed of intelligent, educated, principled, moral and honorable men. We trust them to make sure we are well represented on the field of battle. They are supposed to be leading their men in combat, seeing that they don't tip over the edge mentally or emotionally and making sure crimes and atrocities are avoided, taking responsibility if things go wrong and minimizing the damage. It is a lot to ask, a heavy responsibility. In return, they are raised to an elite, honored position in society. There are always positions of trust and responsibility available to one who has served well as a military officer. Their employment outlook is always brighter in civilian life, than that of the men who served under them. Much brighter, when you consider what is available to the enlisted men.

I have my own opinion of the character of military officers but I am prejudiced against them, having been an enlisted man.

I wonder whose fault it is, really, when we don't get good information, back home, about what is happening in the Wars? Why is this information being withheld?

Hey boys and girls, anybody want to have a few beers and use the Quran for target practice?

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Jihad is a War God Directs You To Fight.

News agencies around the World are reporting that transcripts have been made available to them documenting that in summit meetings with the Palestinian prime minister, President Bush stated that he had been directed by God in his foreign policy in the Middle East.

First he stated that God directed him to strike at al-Qaeda in Afghanistan. Then he was directed to strike at Saddam in Iraq and "liberate" it's people. Finally he has been directed to bring lasting peace to Palestine and Israel by implementing the formation of an autonomous Palestinian State. He was very clear about this. He talked to God and God talked back, telling him what to do. That's right folks, actual voices in his head. Our society has special facilities for people like this. The White House is not one of them.

This is what happens when politics and hysterical messianic Christianity are combined in the mind of an unstable mental defective, who happens to have been elected to be the leader of the free World.

A million people and more are dead. Millions more are forced from their homes and even from the countries in which they live, as refugees. Untold suffering has been endured. A whole generation of children in the Middle East has grown up knowing nothing but bloodshed and chaos. The entire World economy has been disrupted by the quadrupling of oil prices. Here at home deluded fundamentalist Christians and Islamaphobes rejoice and continue to laud the President, even as this senseless evil builds to an awful crescendo.

I guess Bush thinks he's some kind of fuckin' Ayatollah and a large portion of the population are all right with it.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Secret Weapon

For the next six months, political campaigning will rage across the American scene. There are plenty of issues to campaign about. We are deeply enmeshed in a nest of unpopular, unilateral foreign wars of aggression in the Middle East. Home mortgage foreclosures are skyrocketing and property values are plummeting. Energy and commodity prices are rising at unprecedented rates as our currency is being inflated into utter worthlessness by the Federal Reserve Bank. The economy is contracting. Real incomes for most Americans have been shrinking even more rapidly than before. State and Federal government are experiencing huge shortfalls in tax receipts, just as required expenditures are rapidly increasing, causing record budget deficits. Half of the population has no access to health care, other than to pay cash. It has become clear that at least a third of White Americans remain unregenerate ethnocentric racists, despite decades of attempts to heal the rifts in our society. Religious fundamentalists seek to force their grossly superstitious beliefs about a myriad of moral, scientific, and historical subjects upon the mainstream of society through force of civil law.

Agents for change in America, whether they be Republican, Democrat or anywhere in between, will have a secret weapon when putting forward their agenda. That weapon is President George W. Bush. He is on the wrong side of every issue. He may not be the worst President in history but he has the lowest approval rating ever. He is also absolutely incapable of admitting a mistake and unable to keep his mouth shut in rationalizing his incredibly stupid decisions in leading the executive branch for the last eight years. If that isn't enough, the level of hypocrisy in his personal life, has not been seen in this country since before the demise of Aimee Semple McPherson.

George Bush is the Scion of a wealthy family that clearly tapped out genetically a couple of generations ago. Never an intellectual or even an adequate student, he has the kind of academic degrees given by Ivy League institutions to the barely literate sons and daughters of American Brahmans. He is a physical coward who shirked his duty to defend his nation in a conflict he says he very strongly believed in, during his youth and instead, indulged in a decades long binge of golf, substance abuse, joblessness and furtive homosexuality, only to emerge in late middle age as an American paragon. He pretends to strong traditional moral, religious and political values, even as he has destroyed our country and sent our youth to die by the thousands in foreign hellholes, a boot licking catamite, to the benefit of his Saudi masters. He will not be satisfied until every working American lives in hopeless, third world poverty. He will not be satisfied until the sons and daughters of every working American family can be bought and sold as chattel, for pocket change, by foreign travelers in seaport knockshops. He will not be satisfied until democracy is ground into the dust of our polluted and fallow fields. He will not be satisfied until each one of his fellow countrymen is become as depraved and demeaned as he himself is.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Bungalow in NOHO

The California State Supreme Court, today, found it was unconstitutional to prohibit same sex marriage or deny any of the benefits of marriage to same sex couples. As far as I understand the ramifications of this, it would take an amendment to the State constitution to reverse this decision. Amendments to the constitution are difficult to achieve, lengthy processes and require a super majority to effect. Der Governater says he respects the decision of the court, what else can he say?

I think that it is likely that there will be a lot of movement from the Right to start a referendum proposing an anti-Gay marriage amendment to the California State Constitution. It's possible that such an effort could be successful. Popular support for Gay marriage is over rated. While Californians are a notoriously live and let live group, many are immigrants from cultures nowhere near as liberal as modern America and our home grown fundamental Christian conservative population is large and takes a back seat to no one when it comes to down home, back dirt ignorance. In the end though, I think that same sex marriage is here in California to stay.

I've been thinking. Since California has legalized Gay marriage, wouldn't it be a good thing if President Bush came here to live, after he leaves office next year. He and Prince Bandar could discard their sham lives and live together openly as the lovers they have been for decades. They could live as an example of how people of all nations and all cultures can come together in love and harmony. They could reject the warfare and hatred and genocide that characterize so much of the interaction between differing ethnocentric, religious and national factions. C'mon boys, listen to your hearts desire.

Bush, Totally Out of It

While speaking to Jews on the 60th anniversary of Israeli independence, Bush said that Senator Obama, offering to negotiate with the Iranians about bringing peace to Mesopotamia, is like Chamberlain appeasing the Nazis in the '30s.

Bush is as crazy as a hydrophoby skunk. Wahhabi fundamentalist Sunni boys blew up the WTC. In retaliation, we go to war with their arch enemies, the Shiia of Mesopotamia and Persia, claiming that we are really liberating them and bringing them "the gift of freedom and democracy". What does negotiating with Persians have to do with the global war on terror. The Persians aren't terrorists. They have no ties to al-Qaeda. They haven't started a war in way over a thousand years. They have a democratic government and just had elections. It's true that they don't like Israel. Could someone please point out to me a Middle Eastern nation that does? If we don't talk to the Iranians, the only autonomous Shiite state in the World, how will we ever end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan?

It's clear that President Bush is confused and disoriented. It must be because he spent his first night back in the Middle East getting sodomized by his first and only love, the oily and unctuous, Prince Bandar. Bandar was in Israel to negotiate the purchase of the services of the Israeli army, to fight the Shiite forces of Hezbollah in Lebanon. The Saudis are unable to keep a military force of any significant size in their own country because to do so would invite an immediate overthrow of the corrupt monarchy.

McCain Adopts Tough Stance on Iraq War

Yesterday John McCain said he believes that the Iraq War will be won and most of our troops on the way home, sometime in 2013, after he is elected to his second term as President. Is he serious?

What a fuckin' maroon!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Turning Point

The polls in West Virginia are about to close. Hillary says this will be a turning point in her campaign. She says that her strength with poorly educated, white, working poor will carry her to the Democratic nomination and then on to the Presidency.

It may not be a turning point. It may be a drop off point. The nominee of the Democratic party for President will be a black man, for the first time ever. It may be time for those who find race to be a deciding issue to find another political home than the Democratic party.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Five Years, Three Trillion Bucks, What's the Point

The three largest cities is Iraq are Baghdad, Mosul, and Basra. It turns out that none of them have, ever, in the last five years since Saddam was deposed, been under the control of the Iraqi government or the American occupiers. It turns out that none of the other cities in Iraq are under coalition control, either.

The recent coalition military incursions into Basra, Sadr City and now Mosul, have not changed the situation, although they have produced satisfyingly huge civilian casualty counts.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Well, What about it?

First, the Bush administration and their military high command lackeys asked us to believe that there was some actual evil entity we were fighting called al-Qaeda in Iraq. Now that they are targeting the Shiia, they are bringing out Hezbollah in Iraq for our approval.

Ya know, that stuff is all very well for people who are interested in politics and the global war on terror and that kind of thing. What I want to know is, what about Elvis in Iraq? Is it a true artistic homage or is it just another clapped out, roadside geek show? My wife is a really big fan of Elvis and I mean really big. It just hasn't been the same for her since the Summer of '77. I could use a break later in the Summer. Can I get a redeye in and out over the weekend with a Saturday layover at the Green Zone MGM Grand? Are the rates reasonable? Can I get a spa tub? Are tickets for E in I still available? Do they do the Rockabilly and Movie stuff? 'Cuz I hate that soggy "Caught in a Trap" and "In the Ghetto" shit and those tacky jumpsuits with all that glitter and tinsel hanging off of them. What about rental cars? I here they rent out old Caddy convertibles with 500 cubic inch engines and gas is 28 cents a gallon, all you can burn. I'd like that. I'm thinking about the end of August. I don't mind the heat, as long as the humidity isn't bad.

Why doesn't that fuckin' Petraeus ever talk about the stuff I'm interested in? Why doesn't he ever give details? What an asshole.

What about Abba in Iraq? or Led Zepplin? Don't they have anybody real there like Steve and Edie or Neil Diamond?

Why oil prices keep going up

Currencies are inflating around the World. The dollar seems worse because it is. It's inflating faster than any other major currency. Financial institutions are failing. They are holding hundreds of billions in bad loans. The loans will never be paid back and even if they are, inflation will make the principle and interest equally worthless in the end. Investors with money to put out on the street can't get enough interest to beat inflation. Economies are shrinking, there are no growth stocks to invest in.

Still, people have to put their money to work. It isn't just the rich. There are huge sovereign wealth funds. There are state funded employee retirement funds that hold the fates of hundreds of millions of elderly pensioners, worldwide. The old people expect a check every month.

One of the few things that will feed those old folks on a reliable basis, right now is commodities. Food, fuel, metals, fibers any raw material for which there is always a steady demand. These commodities get bought up and held by speculators. Since most of it is being held, there is less on the market, so the market price goes up. When the price goes up, the speculators take profits, selling to other speculators. It doesn't matter how many times these commodities get bought and sold, they never get to actual consumers. When consumers feel a shortage of the desired commodity, they offer to pay more. Prices go up, speculators make more profit. They use their profits to buy and hold more of the commodity. And Bingo was his name-o.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Why a New GI Bill is a Good Idea

When I was in college a lot of veterans were also attending on the GI Bill. It was a good thing for us and a good thing for them. The veterans had a different take on things than those of us who came directly to college from high school and the sheltered lives of our families. By learning about their lives, the life decisions they made, the war they had fought, we gained perspective with which to make our own decisions and tempered our view of the World around us.

It was good for the veterans too. Surrounded by all of the typical callow collegians, they were able to see not only the innocence they had lost but the knowledge and maturity gained during the years so many of them had considered "lost". I think the college environment was easier for them than trying to go directly into the "real" world and also more therapeutic than going to counselling sessions in a mental health setting, to try and work out whatever psychic wounds they brought back with them.

I don't know how many veterans who used the GI Bill '60s and '70s, actually got degrees or used them to some constructive purpose. I bet there were quite a few. I don't think the GI Bill did many of them harm. It was a lot better than becoming a junkie, criminal, homeless drifter or just putting a bullet through their brain.

Bush thinks a new GI Bill is a bad idea. He thinks it's too expensive. He thinks it cuts down on the number of combat soldiers willing to re enlist. As far as the expense goes, there is no reason a small liberal arts college needs to be any more expensive than running a high school, especially with the resources of the internet available to all for free. The re enlistment thing? I can only respond that George Bush is a cowardly, cock sucking, chicken hawk bastard, who needs to do a couple of tours in Afghanistan as an enlisted dog face before he starts making statements like that.

Blackmailing Scum

It turns out that Hillary Clinton has run up 11 million in debt running for President. She is not likely to get any more donations. She will keep running and running up debt.

Eventually she will force Barack to pay off her debts, just to get rid of her. What a filthy bitch.

City of Vallejo, Bankrupt

I lived across the river from Vallejo for a few years in the '70s. It was a city grown fat from sucking the teat of the Navy for more than a hundred and fifty years. When the Navy abandoned the shipyard at Mare Island, the oldest American military facility on the West coast, the city lost it's way, like a lamprey after the last salmon dies, beneath its toothy grip.

Couldn't happen to a nicer place. You have to hang around a large military establishment to understand what the towns that form outside of them are like. They aren't friendly or glad to see you when you exit the base. They take your money, grudgingly and give back as little as possible. We worked side by side with the shipyard workers from town. We worked harder and longer hours and made a tenth as much, if that. They stole everything that wasn't nailed down. You meet them out in town, most of them wouldn't say hello, much less buy you a beer. No sailors ever dated their daughters. If you drank at the wrong bar or picked up a not local whore on Tennessee Street, you got thrown in jail by the city police. The XO always loved that.

There are old houses downtown that feature foundations and basements built with massive granite ballast blocks, timbered with oaken beams and strait pine spars, all stolen from Mare Island. They'll probably last a thousand years. No materials are too good to use when they are free.

So, anyway. Vallejo can't pay it's bills. Tough luck.

What are they going to do next year?

Food commodities have become items of speculative profit taking in major markets around the World. A lot of people have made a lot of money on them. Just like cheap oil, the age of cheap food is over.

It is the beginning of the growing season in the Western hemisphere, with a late Spring following a cold Winter. Crops won't be in for months. Rice prices have tripled in the last year. They will probably triple again in the next year, maybe even by next fall.

Many of the world's poor spend most of their income on food and the fuel to cook it. They weren't getting enough to eat last year, when both items cost a third of what they do today. They are having to sell everything they own to continue to eat. The governments of their countries are doing the same thing, stockpiling supplies of food grains, even at ruinously inflated prices, so that they will have food to sell their citizens. To do this, they are deferring public works and capital improvements. They are emptying the treasuries. Hungry citizens are not docile citizens.

Everybody agrees that rising food costs are a long term problem but nobody's talking about what they are going to do next year. Getting through this year is going to be hard enough.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

No, it's not. No, you don't.

Hillary said tonight, while leading the Indiana primary by a few points, because the race for the Presidency is so close, she will forge ahead, to win.

She said that it's important to elect her because she understands the needs and hopes of the common people.

What's Wrong With These Guys?

I read the reporting of Bush administration/US military friendly reporters like Michael Yon and Bill Roggio. They seem to believe that by killing large numbers of Iraqis and blowing up their homes, businesses, mosques and hospitals, shutting down commerce and educational facilities in their neighborhoods and ceasing public services and utilities, that we are somehow "teaching them a lesson". They seem to believe that sometime very soon, the majority of Iraqis will respond to this "punishment" and remediate their behavior, becoming the kind of citizens that General Petraeus and the American occupying authority would like them to be. They seem to believe that the reason that the Iraqi people have not already become "good citizens", is because of outside agitation by forces hostile to the benevolent liberation of Iraq by their American allies. They seem to believe that the reason the war is not supported at home is because the occupying forces have not been successful enough. They see no moral issues with unilateral invasion and occupation of a sovereign country at all, nor with the diaspora and genocide of it's citizenry that has ensued. They also believe that the lack of support for the wars of aggression in the Middle East by the American public, is a serious failing, unpatriotic and possibly treason.

There are many journalists covering the American wars in the Middle East. They come from Europe, East Asia, South Asia, Africa, most of the countries of the Western hemisphere, as well as large numbers of the indigenous variety. They represent every imaginable news service, television and radio network, newspaper and magazine, that make up the World's informational media. There are large numbers of American journalists documenting the Middle East wars. Every one of these reporters, from all over the world and vastly different audiences, tell a much different story than Mike Roggio and Micheal Yon, who cater exclusively to those Americans who still support the Bush wars. They tell a story of populations decimated, uprooted from ancestral homes, living under constant fear of violence and death, hunger, civil chaos, despair and rising rage. They tell of a geo-political open wound spewing corruption and a rising insurgency that is gaining support at every unfortunate turn of events. They tell of a World looking on in horror, as a super power, with fifty times more military capability than the rest of the World combined, reels drunkenly, seeming out of control, pummeling the life out of remote nations that posed them no threat, and did them no harm.

I read Mike Roggio and Micheal Yon, in the hope that I might gain some insight as to why the Bush administration is doing these things and why they still have any support, though admittedly small, within our government or among the public.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Secret Priorities

Benny Bernanke tells us today that the biggest cause of foreclosures is declining home prices. When people realize they owe more on the home than it's worth, they walk away. DUH!

What he's not telling you is that the solution to plummeting home prices is a wholesale inflationary policy. It also solves the problem of foreign debt and the national debt, for the same reason, money is no longer worth anything. He's not telling us that this is the policy he is pursuing. He's not telling us it will destroy our financial system and ability to engage in foreign trade using dollars as a medium of exchange. He is a lying, cocksucking, coward.

Buy at Walmart

I have not been a friend to Walmart. It has been my feeling that they disrupt the fabric of the local commercial community. This may be true.

I have never denied that Walmart has the lowest prices, on virtually any merchandise they sell, of any retailer in the American marketplace today. My main objection to them is that besides discouraging the growth of small business, they pay shitty wages and offer no benefits to their employees.

You know what? It is incumbent upon small business to provide goods and services not otherwise offered by large retailers or by offering a price point or level of service that they do not. Walmart may not offer good wages or benefits to its employees but neither does small business and in the end, Walmart is going to be more receptive to unionization and collective bargaining than small business.

I believe now that the benefits of Walmart outweigh its liabilities. I will no longer refrain from making my few purchases at Walmart.

Take just one aspect of Walmart's mercantile policies and how they affect the local community. Walmart will sell you a 90 day supply of almost any generic prescription medication for a flat rate of just a few dollars. If you require several medications, that could cost you hundreds of dollars at your corner drug store. For people who are dependent on family for their care and livelihood, there is a choice to be made between getting the medicines you need and the family having to do without the basics of a good life.

Albert Hoffman---Keep on Truckin'

The Swiss researcher that discovered LSD died last week. He was 102 years old. He took some pretty hefty doses of the stuff. I guess it doesn't cause you to die young.

I used to really like Acid. It allowed you to create weather in your head. Balmy breezes and summer showers or tornados with hail, it was pretty much up to you. By about 1971, you couldn't get good LSD anymore, at least I couldn't. The stuff I could get was full of strychnine, made you sweat out stuff that smelled like witches had brewed it and made your heart pound like a sledge and anvil.

I don't think LSD will ever get popular again. It was only fun if you had the right attitude and worked at it. It was never a party drug. There's not really a lot of money in it.

I don't think I would drop acid again. It makes you think things are happening that aren't, really. That is pretty cool when you're young. For old men, it's pretty much the way everything is, all the time.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Eight Belles Dead, Fuck the Kentucky Derby

Whether they are traditional "blood sports", like cockfighting, dogfighting and bull fighting, gentleman's pursuits like fox hunting or the "Sport of Kings", animal sports all involve pushing dumb beasts past their point of endurance, to see how much punishment and abuse they can take before they break. Watching them die, bloody and broken, is the main attraction of animal sports. The men who sponsor these pursuits have no guts and no balls. You get a kick out of that kind of stuff, fine. Get a job in a slaughterhouse, spend your days on the killing floor.

Human sports are not much better. They've even managed to turn baseball into a gladiatorial spectacle. Many of our most celebrated "Sportsmen", come from third World hell holes or drug and crime infested ghettos. They see sports as a way out of an untenable life and are little better than slaves to the teams that employ them. They take steroids to enhance their abilities, drugs to quiet the pain of the damage they do to themselves and surgery to repair the damage, so they can do yet more. We watch their lives and deaths play out on the field with even more detachment than when we watch the death and suffering of dumb beasts.

At least in the corrida, when the picadors torture, cripple and enrage the bull and the matador plunges the espada into its back, impaling its beating heart, we aren't lying to ourselves about what we are there to see.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Mission Accomplished

As everyone knows, it's the fifth anniversary of President Bush's "Mission Accomplished" speech, that he delivered on the deck of a returning aircraft carrier after having made a tailhook landing and making a grand entrance all dressed up in a Nomex flight suit.

I wonder if he feels at all embarrassed now about that speech. He doesn't seem to. The people that still believe in his war aren't embarrassed either and there are quite a few of them.

It's kind of ironic. His idea was to unite the people behind a global idealogical struggle that would continue for generations to come. It worked real good, only the people he motivated weren't on his side of the world or his side of the conflict.

What a maroon!

May Day

May Day fell out of favor during the Cold War because it was a popular celebration in the Communist Bloc. I remember as a small child in the fifties, we made May baskets, put flowers in them and presented them to the objects of our affection. Tether ball poles in the school yard were converted into maypoles and we danced around on the blacktop to songs played on a scratchy phonograph, through loud but distorted horn speakers.

In recent years, May Day has become the unofficial holiday reserved for publicizing the cause of illegal aliens. Last year there were big riots and the police beat the shit out of the crowds downtown. If I was younger, I'd go downtown and enjoy the atmosphere and adrenaline rush that Civil Disobedience always brings on. There will be good street food, bacon wrapped hot dogs, carne asada, carnitas, icy fresh fruit drinks, yum!

I don't run that good anymore. I would probably get pummeled and tasered. I guess I'll stay home.

Dust Bowl?

One thing I don't understand about global warming predictions. They keep saying there will be wide spread drought and water shortage. How can this be?

If atmospheric temperatures warm, evaporation from the ocean will increase. There will be more clouds. There should be more rain. There should be less drought and more water. I realize weather patterns may change and some areas will be wetter than presently and some drier. In total, though, there should be more rainfall.