Thursday, June 30, 2011

An Independent Scotland?

Alex Salmond has always liked a gamble. By age 10, the future leader of the Scottish National Party had backed his first winning horse. Later, after becoming a prominent politician, he wrote a racing column. But his biggest wager came as a student in the ’70s, when he signed up with the Nationalists, long-odds outsiders committed to the unlikely goal of independence.
It’s a gamble that’s paid off handsomely. In May, Salmond’s party scored an overwhelming victory in elections to the Scottish Parliament. These days, Salmond finds himself the U.K.’s most popular party leader and an idol for peaceable separatists from Catalonia to Quebec.

An independent Scotland looks like more than just the fantasy of Braveheart-fed romantics. For the first time since Scotland’s Parliament was reestablished in 1999, a single party holds a majority, allowing Salmond to promise a vote on ending the country’s 304-year union with England. In Salmond’s words, Scotland’s years of “self-doubt and negativity” are over. “A change is coming and the people are ready.”

Replace 'homosexuals' with 'Christians', and rate Michelle Bachmann's chances of winning anything.....

We have to understand: barbarians need to be educated. They need to be disciplined. Just because someone feels it or thinks it doesn’t mean that we are supposed to go down that road. That’s what is called the sinful nature. We have a responsibility as parents and as authority figures not to encourage such thoughts and feelings from moving into the action steps…
Dr. Marcus Bachmann

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

In honor of my lovely wife

As if we needed more reasons of why the UN is a joke......


In case you're not up on your totalitarian politi-speak...the DPRK is North Korea.

Prepping for the future

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

"We’re magnificent, we’re going to continue to be"

The top devil dog in the USMC speaks on DADT. Now fall in and listen up!
“Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution is pretty simple,” he told a group of Marines at a base in South Korea. “It says, ‘Raise an army.’ It says absolutely nothing about race, color, creed, sexual orientation.

“You all joined for a reason: to serve,” he continued. “To protect our nation, right?”

“Yes, sergeant major,” Marines replied.

“How dare we, then, exclude a group of people who want to do the same thing you do right now, something that is honorable and noble?” Sgt. Maj. Barrett continued, raising his voice just a notch. “Right?”

Sgt. Maj. Barrett then described conversations with U.K. troops, who saw a similar ban lifted a decade ago, with little disruption. And to drive the point home, he produced a pocket copy of the Constitution.

“Get over it,” he said. “We’re magnificent, we’re going to continue to be. … Let’s just move on, treat everybody with firmness, fairness, dignity, compassion and respect. Let’s be Marines.”

Saturday, June 18, 2011

This is exactly what we've come to expect from government......part III

Telecom executive Donald H. Gips raised a big bundle of cash to help finance his friend Barack Obama’s run for the presidency. 

Gips, a vice president of Colorado-based Level 3 Communications LLC, delivered more than $500,000 in contributions for the Obama war chest, while two fellow senior company executives collected at least $150,000 more. 

After the election, Gips was put in charge of hiring in the Obama White House, helping to place loyalists and fundraisers in many key positions. Then in mid-2009, the new president named him ambassador to South Africa. Level 3 Communications, in which Gips retained stock, meanwhile received millions of dollars of government stimulus contracts for broadband projects in six states—though Gips said he was "completely unaware" of the stimulus money. 

More than two years after President Obama took office vowing to banish “special interests” from his administration, nearly 200 of his biggest donors have landed plum government jobs and advisory posts, won federal contracts worth millions of dollars for their business interests or attended numerous elite White House meetings and social events, an investigation by iWatch News has found.

This is exactly what we've come to expect from government......part II

Dan Gillmor observes that the two top New York Times headlines this morning "sum up the Obama administration":
The first article, by Charlie Savage, details numerous new powers the FBI has granted to its agents to spy on and surveill American citizens in the absence of any evidence of wrongdoing: "to search databases, go through household trash or use surveillance teams to scrutinize the lives of people who have attracted their attention." That policy expands upon a Bush era decision to allow FBI agents to conduct national security investigations aimed at citizens even in the absence of suspicion of wrongdoing and by using racial and religious considerations in determining targets.  As Savage details with his typical thoroughness, the new Obama policy expands the surveillance activities the FBI is authorized to exploit for investigations opened under the "low threshold" created by Bush. 

Like last month's White-House-backed, reform-free Patriot Act extension, this is yet another step the Surveillance State inexorably takes: constantly gathering more and more data on citizens who have been accused of and are suspected of having done nothing wrong, without any oversight or accountability.  This is par for Obama's course.  As Yale Professor Jack Balkin recently put it to Jane Mayer about the Obama presidency: "We are witnessing the bipartisan normalization and legitimization of a national-surveillance state."  This state, as much as anything, is devoted to gathering as much intrusive data as possible about as many citizens as possible without a shred of oversight or suspicion of wrongdoing: exactly that which has proven to create inevitable abuse and exactly that which the Fourth Amendment sought to bar.

Friday, June 17, 2011

This is exactly what we've come to expect from government......

A former senior C.I.A. official says that officials in the Bush White House sought damaging personal information on a prominent American critic of the Iraq war in order to discredit him. 

Glenn L. Carle, a former Central Intelligence Agency officer who was a top counterterrorism official during the administration of President George W. Bush, said the White House at least twice asked intelligence officials to gather sensitive information on Juan Cole, a University of Michigan professor who writes an influential blog that criticized the war. 

In an interview, Mr. Carle said his supervisor at the National Intelligence Council told him in 2005 that White House officials wanted “to get” Professor Cole, and made clear that he wanted Mr. Carle to collect information about him, an effort Mr. Carle rebuffed. Months later, Mr. Carle said, he confronted a C.I.A. official after learning of another attempt to collect information about Professor Cole. Mr. Carle said he contended at the time that such actions would have been unlawful.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

A Founding Father speaks

But quotes like these are not touted by the pretend patriots.
"If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy."
James Madison

Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Wall.......on FOB Warrior, Kirkuk, Iraq

Dedicated in 2010 to the fallen of OIF.

Why Obama will likely win a second term

Why......why can't the GOP run a viable, sane, non-fundamentalist-nutcase, candidate? We already know that Gary Johnson won't get the nod....and Ron Paul has some issues, notably his fundamentalist nutcase-itis...but looking over the rest of the dismal cast, there's nothing for anyone who wants reason, ration and above all....liberty, to choose from.

My unrequested, layman's prediction is that an unelectable candidate will receive the nomination, and we'll be saddled with four more years of Obama. Why am I so pessimistic? Because the far-right seems unalterably adulated towards faux-populist, divisive mental lightweights such as Palin, Bachmann and Gingrich. [Yes, I concede that Gingrich is incredibly intelligent, but he uses his academic powers for evil instead of good]

I'm pretty torn on other almost-maybe-not-anymore candidates; Huckabee seems to me to be one of the most honest, candid and likable politicians of our current era. I simply cannot however, support someone who does not espouse liberty for all American citizens, and one who puts so much faith and respect into a pied piper of perfidy like David Barton. So I remain ever the pessimist and cynic....but true to my conscience.

I have to relay a nifty compilation of Michelle Bachmann's greatest hits, just to add some context for my perplexed outlook.
Sometime this month, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) is expected to travel to Waterloo, Iowa to officially announce her presidential candidacy. Her odds, while firmly in Hail Mary territory, are still better than you might think: With Republicans less than thrilled with the primary field, Bachmann stands at least a fighter's chance in socially conservative states like Iowa and South Carolina.

Now in just her third term in Congress, Bachmann, the leader of the House tea party caucus, has earned a reputation as one of the lower chamber's leading bomb-throwers, lobbing overheated rhetoric at Democrats and needling establishment Republicans. Her Minnesota colleague, Democratic Rep. Keith Ellison once accused her of "psycho talk"; in an interview with Politico, a Pawlenty aide was just as blunt: "She's a real pain in the ass." Former state senator Dean Johnson, who was the Republican minority leader during Bachmann's stint in St. Paul, has said, "I don't think I ever served with anybody who I mistrusted more, from either side of the aisle."

Ouch. Bachmann also has a tendency to stretch the truth, or simply sidestep it altogether. Bill Adair, editor of PolitiFact, recently told Minnesota Public Radio that he has never researched a Bachmann quote and found it to be true (the only major politician for which that's the case).

Here's an incomplete guide to Bachmann's greatest hits:
The timeline of her wild-ass history of public statements is a must read. 

If you find yourself taken in by the latest wave of jingoist fearmongering.....

Such as the intellectually devoid screeds of Frank Gaffney and Pamela Gellar, check out Ed Brayton's dissection of Gaffney's comedic study titled "Shari'a in American Courts" know...the impetus behind  these ridiculous and self defeating 'anti-Sharia laws'.
Recently the Center for Security Policy, led by the absolutely deranged Frank Gaffney, put out a "study" called Shariah in American Courts that pinpoints 50 rulings from the courts in 23 states that supposedly prove Gaffney's moronic "creeping Sharia" position. I've finally gotten around to reading that report.

Let me make this as clear as I possibly can: This report is not merely badly researched and badly prepared, it is an outright fraud. No one who actually reads the rulings could reach anything but the opposite conclusion from the one they intend to foster. Nearly every single case they offer argues against their conclusion. Now let me prove that assertion.

[read the individual examinations here]
The punchline to all of this is that each and every one of those first four examples was rated as "highly relevant" to the conclusion of the report. In fact, I think all of them are rated that way. And as you go down the list, you find the same exact thing again and again. The 5th case, and 2nd case from California, involves a woman demanding child support and alimony based on an alleged Islamic "Muta" marriage that was performed only by she and a man in their own apartment with no one else present and no marriage license. The court ruled that this was not a legal marriage at all -- again, the exact opposite of what is implied. And it just goes on and on like this, each ruling not only not involving the imposition of Sharia law, but most of them involving the explicit rejection of Sharia law.

Here's how the CSP sells this report before you read it:
These cases are the stories of Muslim American families, mostly Muslim women and children, who were asking American courts to preserve their rights to equal protection and due process. These families came to America for freedom from the discriminatory and cruel laws of Shariah. When our courts then apply Shariah law in the lives of these families, and deny them equal protection, they are betraying the principles on which America was founded.
The study's findings suggest that Shariah law has entered into state court decisions, in conflict with the Constitution and state public policy. Some commentators have said there are no more than one or two cases of Shariah law in U.S. state court cases; yet we found 50 significant cases just from the small sample of appellate published cases.
Which might be relevant if most of those cases didn't show the exact opposite of what you're claiming here. This report is not just bad. It's not just inaccurate. It's an outright fraud.

Apparently the Founding Fathers decided the Evolution debate.....long before the theory was introduced....

If you believe anything that David Barton spews out of his piehole anyway......
Pseudo-historian and Christian reconstructionist David Barton must believe America’s Founding Fathers had time-traveling capabilities, flitting merrily back and forth between the centuries, spying on us and our modern ways. How else does one reconcile this recent interview that caught the eye of Right Wing Watch? Barton says that the writers of the Constitution settled the whole debate over teaching evolution – at least 70 years before Charles Darwin wrote On the Origin of Species. Heck, they settled it even 20 years before Darwin was born.

As head-shakingly frustrating it is to think that someone could make such a claim when the historical facts refuting it are so obvious, it’s actually standard Barton fare. Little different than his statement that Jesus opposed the minimum wage or that the bible takes a stand against net neutrality.
Religion Dispatches

This type of redefinition and reconstruction as-matter-of-fact, along with dismissive elitism such as Andrew Wilkow's "we are right, they are wrong....that's the end of the story" tripe, makes me all the more confidant that Republicans are really no different than Democrats in their tautology and channeled ideologies.

This is why State and Local bureaucracy is more oppressive than Federal

The number of craft brewers is growing across the state, with beer-brand names like New Glarus, Capital Brewery and Sprecher as recognizable to many Wisconsin beer drinkers as Bud and Miller Lite.

In all, the state’s 60 craft brewers now account for 5 percent — a rising but still slim percentage — of the state’s annual beer sales, according to the Colorado-based Brewers Association, a nonprofit trade group dedicated to promoting the country’s small brewers.

Yet even though sales from the state’s largest craft brewer, New Glarus Brewing Co., trail one of the state’s largest brewers, MillerCoors, by millions of barrels of beer annually — 92,000 compared to more than 5 million — a motion slipped into Gov. Scott Walker’s budget would treat brewers of all sizes equally by preventing them from owning or operating a wholesale distributor. 

“Everything in this bill is designed to make it harder for small craft brewers to grow,” says Deb Carey, a co-owner of New Glarus Brewing and a member of the Wisconsin Brewers Guild. “It is a slimy piece of legislation.”

Carey’s anger is fueled by the fact small brewers were never consulted about the change, even though they will be affected along with every other brewer in the state.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


I'm a bout a day late...but check out these amazing color photos at TIME, taken of before and after the invasion code named Operation Overlord.

Friday, June 3, 2011

How is freedom and liberty compatible with denying homosexuals the right to marry?

Allen West at the "Faith and Freedom" Conference:
The term ‘gay marriage’ is an oxymoron. Because marriage is a union and a bond between a man and a woman to do one thing: the furtherance of society by procreation, through creating new life. Have you ever read the book America Alone by Mark Steyn? It’s about demographics. And if we continue with a cycle of debt and punishing our unborn then it just becomes a matter of time before you don’t have society.

There's that good 'ol American Exceptionalism again.....don't ya know.....

An Op-Ed in full, by WaPo's Greg Sargent:

Truly the dumbest `American exceptionalism’ attack yet

I didn’t think the right’s “American exceptionalism” attack on Obama could get any dumber, but Sarah Palin has now outdone them all. She’s now faulting Obama for insufficient praise for our armed forces:
She also made a slight dig at President Obama for saying Monday at Arlington National Cemetery that his “most solemn responsibility as president [is] to serve as commander in chief of one of the finest fighting forces in the world.” Answering a question about Memorial Day, Palin said, “This is the greatest fighting force in the world, the U.S. military. It’s not just one of the greatest fighting forces. And I sure hope our president recognizes that. We’re not just one of many. We are the best.”
As it happens, the reporter got Obama’s quote a bit wrong. This is what Obama actually said: “It is my most solemn responsibility as President, to serve as Commander-in-Chief of one of the finest fighting forces the world has ever known.” But this isn’t good enough for Palin: If Obama doesn’t say that our armed forces are the bestest, baddest, most ass-kicking-ist fighting forces in all of human history, he’s subtly denigrating the troops.

This is a reminder, if you needed one, that the charge that Obama doesn’t believe in American exceptionalism — which has taken literally dozens of forms now — will be central to the 2012 campaign. It’s also a reminder, though, of what this attack line is really about. It’s impossible to imagine that a significant number of voters could hear Palin’s latest attack and come away thinking there’s something to it; her claim is just too dumb for people to take seriously. But these sorts of attacks aren’t about the actual claims themselves.
Rather, they are part of a much broader effort to insinuate that you should find Obama’s character, story, motives, identity, cultural instincts and intentions towards our country to be alien and fundamentally suspect. The idea is to keep piling various versions of this charge — no matter how ludicrous — on top of one another, like snow piling up on a roof.

Mitt Romney has already made it completely plain that various versions of this insinuation will be a major feature of the 2012 GOP nominee’s argument against Obama. Donald Trump’s experiment in birther hucksterism — even though it crashed and burned -- confirmed this beyond any doubt. Now Palin is at it, too.

Hearing this kind of thing from Palin actually makes me want her to run. Who better than her to reveal how vacuous, childish, jingoistic and unbecoming of the presidency this sort of nonsense really is?

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Dumbass Quote of the Day

"If children start to believe it is okay to be gay, they will think it's okay to be a pedophile or have sex with animals. It's a slippery slope. This gay pride nonsense is an abomination. God does not want to see homosexuals in our parks." - Pastor Ronald Ferguson, objecting to a planned gay pride picnic in a Harlem park.
h/t to Joe.My.God

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

I have much love for the Brothers in Blue.....but this is unacceptable

Drug Raid Turns Ugly as SWAT Guns Down Marine Vet
What began as a carefully orchestrated drug raid by Arizona police ended in chaos, bloodshed and outrage. Now, a young Marine veteran is dead, leaving his wife and two young boys to mourn for him on this Memorial Day, after he made it through two tours in Iraq.
The tragic assault also opened a rare window into the military-style tactics and equipment of police Special Weapons Assault Teams locked in a bloody war with Mexican drug cartels — including military-style armored vehicles and two types of robots also found on the battlefields of Afghanistan.
The May 5 assault by a Pima County SWAT team on an address on Red Water Street, outside Tucson, was meant to apprehend a suspected member of a “rip crew” — a team of heavily-armed thugs, working for one of the cartels, that steals drugs from rival cartels. The special-weapons team, made up of at least seven men and seen in the leaked helmet-camera footage above, would pull up in a “Bearcat” vehicle — a sort of law-enforcement-optimized Humvee. Then they’d bust into the single-story house, hold the occupants at gunpoint and serve a search warrant, looking for drugs, illegal weapons and other evidence of cartel involvement. Just another day for a team accustomed to risky missions.
But something went very wrong. And within seconds of ramming in the door, the SWAT team opened fire, killing Jose Guerena, the owner of the house. Guerena, a 26-year-old Marine veteran, reportedly confronted the police with an AR-15 semi-automatic assault rifle, possibly to protect his wife and kids, who were huddled in rooms behind him.
The SWAT team initially said Guerena shot first; later reports claimed Guerena never fired — indeed, he never took his AR-15 off “safe.” The Medical Examiner counted 22 bullet wounds in Guerena’s body after the raid, CNN reported. Other chilling details can be found in SWAT commander Bob Krygier’s post-operation interview with a Pima County detective.
Danger Room

Marriage rights compared