A Blog devoted to progressive politics, environmental issues, LGBT issues, social justice, workers' rights, womens' rights, and, most importantly, Cats.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

2008 Elections: What Is So Objectionable About This?

Here is a clip of the Reverend Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright, opening a two-day symposium on the Black Church with a speech at the Press Club. Please listen to it and tell us, if you can, exactly what the good Reverend is saying that is objectionable.

It does not seem as if Reverend Wright went out of his way to seek publicity &mdash at least so far, based on this video clip. It seems as if he was merely opening a symposium previously scheduled. We are researching the issue because the mainstream media has, for the past decade or more, played a very sinister role in this nation's politics.

In an attempt to herd us, like sheep, in one direction or another, they control what we see and hear of the people among whom we must choose a leader for our nation. While that may have been acceptable for a decade, this country is now in a terrible place. We no longer have the luxury of being sheeple.

For the first time in our history, the economy is broken. Our children are fairly well guaranteed a lower standard of living than ourselves. Our healthcare is broken. We have no recourse for the sick, the disabled, the dying. Our nation is at war, on two fronts, and if the monsters that hold the reins have their way, there will be a third front soon.

If you value your country, forget about lapel pins, polarizations, and distractions. It's time to choose carefully. We cannot allow another warmonger near the reins of power. While John McCain offers 100 more years of war in Iraq, and says nothing about Afghanistan or Iran, and refuses to negotiate with other nations, my friends; while Hillary Clinton promises the deaths of 70 million people who have done us no harm &mdash we are faced with only one choice.

Choose wisely, my friends. Unless you want your children and grandchildren stuck in the morass of another endless war, or facing hunger, joblessness, and no prospects.

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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The Reverend Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright

Over at his site, Buzz Daly publishes a lengthy defense of the Reverend Dr. Wright, for those interested in the issue.

As a rank atheist (or perhaps we mean a ranking atheist?), we tend to stay away from god-botherers of any stripe, and we're grateful to Ms. Manitoba for publishing a brief defense of Dr. Wright on this blog.

However, we agree with Buzz that the issue is not whether Dr. Wright is right or wrong about anything. We believe the issue is that the vultures of the rightwingnutjobs and the media are doing their usual distract-attack shenanigans in a test of the strength of Obama and his supporters and the left in general and progressives and Democrats.

Therefore, all of us need to step up and point out that this is just a distraction. America was founded on the Constitutional principle of free speech. Those who threaten to attack and kill Jeremiah Wright for speaking his mind are violating the Constitution. They need to be told firmly, "Not this time!"

Not this time, you don't distract us. Not this time, you don't get us to take our collective eye off the ball. Not this time, you don't smear a decorated veteran who served his nation honourably during a time of war. Not this time, you don't get to smear the people's choice of presidential candidate for the remarks of someone else. Not this time, you don't get to attack our collective right to free speech and expect us all to fold like cheap card stock and baa in agreement like sheeple.

Not this fucking time. We don't give a shit about what you think about Reverend Wright. It's a free country. Think what you like and say what you like. But stop trying to divide us, and get us to take our eyes off the prize.

We recognize your tactics, you vultures. You sat quiet when the swiftboaters attacked another decorated veteran, and then you piled on, or crept away. If you don't have any respect for your own fucking Constitution, you don't deserve its protections. Stand up! Stand up on your hind legs, everyone, and remember the saying of Evelyn Beatrice Hall, Voltaire's biographer: "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."

That, people, is the essence of free speech. That is America's strength. We defend free speech, and we reject any attacks upon it. Our Constitution says we have the right to speak freely. Our Founding Fathers and Mothers built this country on the right of the people to have their say. That is a precious right, bought with blood. It is ours, and we're not giving it up, and every one of us must fight against the attack on free speech and the Constitution, disguised as an attack on a single person who may have said something we don't like or don't agree with or don't want to hear.

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Monday, April 28, 2008

Cats: The Felinquents' Tailsles

La Casa de Los Gatos has long delighted in naming its occupants well. We've had Mephisto (named after that brilliant movie starring Klaus-Maria Brandauer, one of our favourite actors); Faridah Peeples (aka Perdita, Freedie, and Belle); Ramon Rivera, who claimed to be related to Diego, and was quite the artist of shadowdance; George Footlet Mewling, who was one of Fu Ti's tiger-striped kittens; and many many more.

The current felinquents-in-residence came by their names honestly, and in return for other feline tales, we have promised to post their names and origins. Listed by age, our felinquent count is:

Cootest Boy

  • Bandicoot, our big fat fluffy black-and-white mostly Maine Coon boy.

    Bandicoot was born (a few seconds before his brother Zingiber) on Thanksgiving Day to a very very young prima gravida calico. At the age of three months, he was already almost as big as his dear sweet little Mama, who lived with a very nice lady named Melanie. You can see why we disapprove of teenage pregnancy. He's a charming, sweet-natured, easygoing fellow, very gregarious, well-known to the neighbours whom he used to visit fairly regularly. He never fights with other cats, preferring to drop down onto his ample belly and watch the more aggressive among them curiously. He also thinks mice are very entertaining, although some of them have died of fright when he sits down to watch them very earnestly. He's never tried to hurt another living thing.

    Bandicoot got his name in honour of our best friend's mother. Whenever her children were particularly difficult, she would refer to them as "a bunch of bandicoots." Bandicoots are large, rather pestiferous rodents native to Asia. Bandicoot earned his name by attempting art projects on the black toilet floor that involved vast quantities of shredded toilet paper, running water, and much dedicated patting. He also attempted to console us during the worse periods of our life by bringing into our home (and often depositing in our shoes) enormous black eucalyptus borer beetles.

    Sometimes he's just referred to as "Bandicute." Which he is. Pestiferous, but very cute.

    Zingiber, practising for the Sleeping Olympix

  • Zingiber, Bandicoot's younger brother, is an enormous red striper. His Mama's nice human named him Ginger, which is so dreadfully prosaic! We promptly renamed him Zingiber Officinale, in honour of one of our favorite cooking ingredients.

    Zingiber was a twofer deal with his brother. We didn't want him because, cute as he was, the first time he laid eyes on us, he emitted a horrendous shriek, ran howling into the bedroom, dived headfirst behind the bed where he got stuck head-down, with his fat little legs frantically kicking, and proceeded to accompany our entire visit with not-entirely-tuneful random frightening shrieks and yowls. We thought, "Bugger me blind," as we're wont to do, "we're not taking that little psychocath into our life!"

    However, the nice lady made it clear that it was either two of them or none at all, and we really did like Bandicoot. So we took Zingiber. He repaid our kindness by shrieking nonstop in the cat carrier (in which he also peed quite plentifully upon his poor pissed-off &mdash and pissed-on &mdash brother) the entire way home. We nearly ran off the road and into a tree twice because he was making such terrible noises. And, we had a friend with us who was holding his cat carrier and trying to calm him. Fat chance.

    He hasn't changed much. He still hides under the bed, no mean feat for a 20+ pounder, whenever anyone comes to the house. He shrieks nonstop whenever he's placed in the car. He does all he can to lacerate anyone within reach of his cat carrier. He's earned a red tag on his file at the vet's for attacking various vet techs as well as the Good Doctor himself. Fortunately, being a Cat Of Little Brain, he promptly forgets what the carrier is until the next time he gets locked in it, whereupon he shrieks loudly and unceasingly again. We had to buy him a steel-reinforced cat carrier because he tore the cardboard one (which had seen service for three cats of long lives) to shreds and almost strangled himself by getting his head stuck halfway out of it.

    He is, however, the most affectionate cat in the world (if not the brightest bulb in the chandelier). He loves his hoomins, and always wants to sleep with his head on someone's shoulder. He licks noses and faces and pats cheeks with his paw.

    He and his brother came to live at La Casa de Los Gatos on Valentine's Day.

    Gustav (rear) believes Bandicoot is his mother

  • Gustav the PsychoKitty from Hell was named by a relative. We're innocent.

    Gustav has a very very sad story. He was the victim of abuse as a kitten. It pretty much started before his birth, when the woman who took in his mother, but failed to get her spayed, decided she didn't want a pregnant cat and kicked her out to fend for herself. Greta (Gustav's mum) had her kittens in a ditch and some nasty hoomin poured something all over them and when a kind soul found them, ants were attacking the little kittens and their mother. The kind soul (our relative the Patron Saint of Cats) cleaned them off, took them home, and did all that was necessary to get them medical attention and subsequently found them all good homes.

    The home in which Gustav and Greta ended up was, apparently, not so good. The woman who took them had a boyfriend who didn't like cats and especially didn't like Gustav, who, quite honestly, is not very easy to like. We don't know what he did to Gustav but it surely included physical abuse, because even looking at that idiot makes him act like you're about to jump on him and beat him senseless.

    So we're very careful to treat him well even if he is a royal pain. He used to attack all the other cats without provocation, which can be very trying when they're all pretty good-natured kitties. He also pisses all over everything; screams loudly for no reason anyone can figure out; is quarrelsome, terrified, possessive, greedy, suspicious, watchful, pushy, and territorial.

    Living with the results of abuse requires extra kindness to rehabilitate the abused. We get our revenge by mocking him in sarcastic language. Fortunately, language is not one of Gustav's skills. We're pretty sure he knows he's being mocked, but he's not entirely sure how to respond.

    The first two years of his life here, we had him on tranquilizers because it got really tiresome trying to separate him from his intended victim of the moment. To his credit, he's never tried to attack us, although he did once cause some severe bleeding and infection thanks to our attempt to protect the tiny Gojira from his unearned wrath.

    Gustav is a Japanese bobtail, and we are happy to announce that he is doing very well these days, has learned how to play, learned that we mean him no harm and will never ever hit him or even raise our voices to him. Eejit.

    Madu and Gojira as babies

  • Madu is the other red striper, although he's more buff-coloured than red.

    Madu is Indonesian/Malay for honey, and Madu is a real honey. Also a Cat of Little Brain (endemic to red stripers?), Madu was born in a friend's garden to another feral teenage mother, along with four other siblings. His mother was truly feral, and though we tried to keep her, she finally managed to escape. We no longer know where she is, although she hung around for a while, since Bandicoot regularly posts to Alt.Cat.Freefood, advertising La Casa de Los Gatos as a great place for ferals to score a little kibble and katnip.

    Madu has a long pointy face, with a long pointy schnozz, and very elegant long slender paws. He also has a purr you can hear a room away. Hobbies: sleeping, napping, resting, lying down, lazing, dreaming, musing, and killing small things. He's the best hunter (well, maybe Ramon Rivera had more range) ever, wiping out entire families of mice, rats, moles, voles, gophers, moths, flies, butterflies, and other small life.

    Unfortunately, he really likes to fight. He's quite the scrapper, but recently had the holy tar beaten out of him, probably by the neighbour's female cat who is a consummate bitch on wheels. Has anyone ever noticed that female cats are more territorial? Both our immediate neighbours have female cats and both those cats get into it all the time with other cats over territory.

    At any rate, the kid came home so full of holes we were afraid to let him drink water in case he leaked. He's better now, and seems to be less avid to go out looking for quarrels. That said, he's quite adventurous as well as stupid, never a good combination. We have seen him go all the way down the hill, down the road, and around the corner. Trying to keep him in is pretty useless. He has his maman's feral gene.

    Gojira, sometimes called the WahWah Petal

  • Last, and definitely least, because she weighs in at a whole 6.5 lb or less, is the Princess Gojira Helen Wheels.

    So named because, in her misspent yoof, she would make a well in the bedclothes, in which she would hide and whenever her poor brother Madu came by she would rear up onto her hind legs like the mythical Japanese monster Gojira (Godzilla). Of course, her impression was ruined by the fact that, rather than roar, she emitted a tiny meep! or squeak! as she fell upon Madu and bit his arse. She's a gorgeous silver-gray, mostly Russian blue with the feathery-soft fur and "milkmouth." The fur around her mouth is a lighter shade of silver so that she looks as if she just finished a glass of milk.

    Helen Wheels was bestowed later in recognition of her superb attack skills, manoeuvrability, agility, grace, and tendency to bite anyone else (including us) in the arse. For no reason that we can ever figure out. This usually happens late at night just as everyone is getting ready to pass out for the night. Lately we've managed to convince her to restrict her attacks to an old towel and a bedroom slipper. Not before she ripped an enormous hole in the drapes, though. What a pest.

For Christy of MeeraKai and Wicket.

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How many years has Cheney served?

The more I hear Rev. Jeremiah Wright talk, the more I like the man. He just tells it like it is ... and was.

"I served for six years in the military. Is that patriotic? How many years has Cheney served?"

I love him!

Want to see Bill Moyers' interview with Rev. Jeremiah Wright? Here it is. There's also a transcript.


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Misogyny: Prevalent In Most Religions

Sex Offender and FLDS Child Molestor Barlow

We've had enough of hearing about the misogyny of Islam, usually from the rightwing nuts, and especially from the Chimpenfuehrer and his minions. People have had the audacity to hold that invading Iraq and Afghanistan was a good thing to do because we were going to advance the rights of women at gunpoint.
Mr. Bush breezily praised the constitutional process as if it were the antithesis of the military conflict, rather than a political expression of the same Iraqi power struggle. He boasted that Iraq will have a constitution that "honors women's rights" and "the rights of minorities" even though the prevailing draft raises serious questions about both.
Right. We've all seen how well that turned out. It should come as no surprise to anyone, after eight years of watching them, that the halfwitted incompetents of the Bush Misadministration couldn't find their arses in broad daylight with flashlights, flash cards, directional arrows, both hands, and arse-detectors.

It should come as no surprise also to any but the terminally stupid or wilfully delusional that misogyny is well-established in most religions. Perhaps there are a few cults around, like the goddess-worshippers, that are not blatantly, hypocritically, and terminally misogynistic, but they are few, far-between, and rather slim in membership.

As for the rest of them, they do their best to paint women as fatally flawed, inferior, frail, weak, foolish, in need of guidance from their "betters," in need of strict rules that may be enforced violently to regulate their minds, their education, their morality, their intellects, their bodies, their sexuality, every aspect of their lives.

So when the Fundie mormons of Warren Jeffs' sect were recently busted for their heartfelt embrace of polygamy (which makes women's lives very difficult indeed, as it generally entails very young women being married, often against their will, to much older men), we expected the fundie loons to come pouring out of the woodwork. We expected cries of "Invade Utah! Invade Texas!"

We fully expected that the National Guard might be sent to secure those women's rights deemed so precious and sacred that it justified the invasion of two sovereign nations, neither of which had acted to injure the United States, and the killing of a million people, the destruction of their homes, places of worship, schools, hospitals, libraries, museums, bridges, roads, and public buildings.

We even nursed in our misanthropic breast the hope that Hillary Clinton would promise to "obliterate" the entire sect of child-raping schmucks.

Apparently, however, statutory rape and misogyny are perfectly OK as long as white American males are carrying them out. Pity the FLDS failed to convert a few beardy, pigment-rich types to their foul practices. Pictures of the hirsute tan-and-turban brigade with little blonde girls in tow might have resulted in nuclear destruction of these misogynists. And, pacifistic though we are by nature, we have to admit that nuclear destruction would be less than they deserve.

According to an investigator involved with the case, girls as young as 13 were being groomed by the elderly male sexual predators of this foul cult. A pertinent snippet:
"There is a pervasive pattern and practice of indoctrinating and grooming minor female children to accept spiritual marriages to adult male members of the YFZ (Yearn For Zion) Ranch resulting in them being sexually abused," investigator Lynn McFadden told the court.

"Similarly, minor boys residing on the YFZ Ranch, after they become adults, are spiritually married to minor female children and engage in sexual relationships with them, resulting in them being sexual perpetrators," she said.

"This pattern and practice places all of the children located at the YFZ Ranch, both male and female, to risk of emotional, physical and/or sexual abuse."
According to child welfare officials, 31 of the 53 teenage girls between 14 and 17 years old who were taken from the YFZ ranch are either pregnant or mothers. The Dallas Morning News has details, but not an exact figure on the number of children who were under the legal age (16 in Texas) at the time they were impregnated. Texas state law holds that a child under the age of 17 cannot legally consent to sex. However, a child may be married with the parents' permission at age 16. None of the children from the YFZ ranch were apparently in legally sanctioned marriages.

According to investigators:
State investigators say they have discovered a bed inside a polygamist compound temple in Texas that was reserved for husbands -- often middle-aged men -- to have sex for the first time with their underage 'wives.'

Girls as young as 13 were "spiritually married" at the YFZ (Yearn For Zion) Ranch temple in this small Texas town, according to officials who raided the site on April 3.

The "spiritual marriages" have no legal standing.

The state officials said in an affidavit released Wednesday that the building used as a 'temple' on the sprawling 690-hectare (1,700-acre) complex "contains an area where there is a bed where males over the age of seventeen engage in sexual activity with female children under the age of seventeen."
Mind you, some people — commenters, mainly but some journalists, too — are getting their knickers in a great bloody wad over whether the state went too far in removing all the children from the cultists' control. Apparently, our decision to bomb Iraq to smithereens because some Iraqis may have been unreceptive to the rights of women was justifiable, but removing children from the custody of a bunch of cultists who firmly believe that girls old enough to reproduce should be forced to have sex with wrinkly old men, is not acceptable.

To them, we say, quoting The Austin American Statesman:
In Texas, sex with someone younger than 17, when the partner is more than three years older than the victim, is considered sexual abuse.
And furthermore, we say, the Houston Chron is reporting that about half the women who were removed from the compound are opting to stay in the outside world rather than return to their "spiritual husbands," i.e., presumed rapists and sex-offenders.

We don't understand why this case is not generating more outrage. We've previously blogged about the dangers of children having children. We've also (Warning: NSFW!) blogged about the unfortunate situation of boys in the FLDS community. Naturally, if there is to be a plentiful supply of nubile females for the old perverts to "marry," there must not be plentiful competition. Since the natural ratio of male babies to female babies born is roughly equal (more boys), "excess" boys in the community must be removed. Otherwise, those little girls, not being terminally stupid, might decide that a cute young lad with a firm, toned body and fresh face and thick hair is more desirable as a potential bedmate than some saggy, wrinkly old fart with a face that looks like it got beaten by the ugly stick and no hair a'tall, except below the neck.

In other news from the Planet of Misogynia, an engineer in Austria has admitted that he imprisoned his own daughter and sexually abused her for more than two decades. WHAT???

She had seven children in those 24 years. The authorities (and the inhabitants of La Casa de Los Gatos) would really like to know how the fuck nobody noticed? The miserable excuse for a human who did this to his own fucking daughter needs to be &mdash we can't think of a punishment that would suffice for this inhumanity to his own child and her seven children (his children, too). According to the IHT article,
Elisabeth Fritzl, 42, says her father lured her into the cellar in 1984 and drugged and handcuffed her before imprisoning her.

Three of her children, aged 19, 18 and 5, had been locked up in the cellar with her since birth and had never seen sunlight. The younger two were boys, the eldest a girl.
What kind of father locks his own children away from fresh air and sunshine for two decades?

His daughter has apparently told investigating authorities that he has been sexually abusing her since she was a pre-teen. Apparently, when she turned 18, he lured her into the cellar, where he locked her in and continued to sexually abuse her for a further 24 years.

Gott in himmel! He's 73, so jailing him will not inflict upon him anything like the torment he inflicted on his own children. After all, prisoners have rights, and frankly, only a sadist and a monster could bear to treat another person the way he has, and since we don't want sadists and monsters to carry out the will of the State, he will never suffer for his crimes.

Further reports from Planet Misogynia indicate that Reuters' underroos are in a big old wad about the increasing numbers of fat and diabetic women who are placing their children at risk by having them.
More American women are entering pregnancy with diabetes, raising the odds of a problem pregnancy and the potential that their children will become diabetic in the future, U.S. researchers said on Monday.

They found that rates of diabetes before motherhood more than doubled over six years among 175,000 teenage and adult women.

The researchers said the increase was likely tied to rising levels of diabetes and obesity in the United States.
Personally, we would prefer that all humans cease breeding this very instant, but we object to the utterly disingenuous tone of this article and the implication that somehow these dreadful, stupid, cruel, rotten women are to blame for the failed public health system and the abdication of responsibility by government and the food-production, medical, and pharma establishments that are causing a runaway epidemic of obesity and diabetes.

So bugger off, you self-righteous, sanctimonious fuckers, and stop pretending that misogyny is dead, that women have rights when this country allows these pigfucking patriarchalist polygamist sects to torment little girls and sells preteens harlotwear and then calls them sluts for succumbing to societal pressure and dressing like skanks; when people pay more attention to pictures of Britney Spears sans underpants and less to the fact that their government is instituting a fascist state around them; when it's still OK to refer to women lawyers, politicians, doctors, and other professionals, as bitches, or even to your own wife in public as a trollop and a cunt, and still be treated like a saint.

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Saturday, April 26, 2008

World: War Crimes

Image from Court of Impeachment and War Crimes Blog

Well, well, well. We haven't always liked former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammad. In fact, when Anwar Ibrahim was running against him and he brought Anwar down and even had him set up, arrested, and jailed, we thought he was one of the most disgusting politicians and human beings we had ever come across.

But this week, Mister Ten Per Cent has almost completely redeemed himself in our eyes. He just called for Tony Blair, George Dubya, and John Howard to be tried for war crimes based on their actions in Iraq. From The Australian:
In a speech at Imperial College in London overnight, Mr Mahathir called for an international tribunal to try US President George W. Bush, Mr Howard and former British prime minister Tony Blair for their part in the conflict [...].

Spokesman Mohammed Shafiq said Mr Mahathir, who was in office from 1981 to 2003, wanted to see the trio tried "in absence for war crimes committed in Iraq".

"He said that people have to stop killing each other and use arbitration, negotiation and discussion as an alternative to violence, war and killing."

On the war in Iraq, Mr Mahathir spoke about "the thousands dying, the economic war, the power of oil and how we could utilise some of these tools to have a leverage against the people who commit countries to war", Mr Shafiq said.


More than 450 people attended the speech and about 200 more had to be turned away.
Why isn't any other Leader of Teh Free World stepping up and putting their support on the line? Mahathir is saying what millions of ordinary people have been thinking for a long time. Tony Blair is a war criminal. Gee Dubya is a war criminal. John Howard is a war criminal. These three stinking fetid pigballs are responsible for the deaths of one million human beings, maybe more.

We went into a secular nation that was not threatening us in any way based on the 935 lies of Gee Dubya Pigball, and we killed women, children, old people, sick people, the disabled. We destroyed families and homes, and now we can't even leave because the entire country is trembling on the verge of a civil war that threatens to destroy more millions. We took that secular nation where women had jobs and freedom, and we turned it into an Islamic fundamentalist state where honor killings have become the order of the day. From The Guardian:
Last year 133 women were killed in Basra - 47 of them for so-called 'honour killings', according to the Basra Security Committee. Out of those 47 cases there have been only three convictions for murder.

Since January this year, 36 women have been killed.
That's Basra alone. Just one city in Iraq. Who knows how many more women are being murdered in honour killings, or for failing to conform to the fundie codes of dress and behaviour that did not exist in this country when Saddam Hussein was in power.

It's a sad and shameful day indeed when a democratic nation does more harm to the rights of women in another land than its totalitarian dictator.

Meanwhile, somewhere between Pakistan and Afghanistan, Osama bin Laden laughs his ass off watching us drown under the rising tide of debt, the cost of financing two wars, the armless, the legless, the wounded and maimed who come back to a system that can't take care of them. We can't give health care to our own children, but we're creating hundreds of thousands of potential recipients of health care, disability payment, and support services that we haven't bothered to put in place or pay for.

All the people associated with this crime against humanity need to face the gallows for their part in it. While Blair rakes in the millions, Howard has disappeared, afraid to face his countrymen, and Gee Dubya is relegated to dancing in front of reporters and acting like a cheap drunk with foreign dignitaries.

They all need to be in the Hague. Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Feith, Pearle, Rice, Cheney, Addington, Yoo, Dumbya, Gonezales, Tenet, the whole bloody lot. For shaming this once-proud nation. For destroying our system of laws. For thinking up ways to violate human rights. For approving torture. For planning and carrying out the murder of a million people. For causing soldiers who obeyed orders to commit suicide in despair due to homelessness, depression, injuries physical, mental, and spiritual. For failure to care for those they put in danger. For burdening the nation with inflation, debt, suffering, death, poverty, joblessness and misery.

A pox on all their houses! May they suffer every day of the rest of their lives from nameless fears and miseries and sickness, plague and disease.

Where are the European politicians and the other Asian politicians and the African politicians? Why are they not standing behind Mahathir in this moment? If the whole world called for these war criminals to be tried, and made it unsafe for them to travel outside the country, perhaps they would understand how much suffering they have created.

Here's to hoping Paraguay arrests the Chimpenfuehrer when he tries to flee there, and turns him over to an international tribunal.

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Boomer of Oakland wishes everyone ...



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Friday, April 25, 2008

Clyburn Speaks For Me ... well, maybe he's more polite than I am

(Photo: Susan Etheridge for The New York Times)

Just watched Countdown with Keith Olbermann. There was an interesting interview with Majority Whip James E Clyburn from South Carolina. Mr. Clyburn talked about the growing number of African Americans who are becoming very upset about how Hillary Clinton is campaigning and the remarks of former President Bill Clinton. He claimed that he was getting a lot of phone calls and letters about this ... as well as folks coming up to him to talk about it. They are also worried that the super delegates are going to ignore the popular vote. Many people who voiced their concerns with Mr. Clyburn said that they thought the Clintons were “committed to doing everything they possibly can to damage Obama to a point that he could never win.”

Well, I know many pinky whites like me who feel the same way.

And ... okay, THREAT ALERT ... if the Democratic party's super delegates go against the popular wishes of regular folks/voters, I predict that it will cause an irreparable breach between their party and our checkbooks.

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2008 Elections: The Tide is Turning, Alright

Ever since Hillary Clinton won the Pennsylvania primaries by a whole 9.2 points &mdash after being slated to win by over 26 points in that state &mdash La Casa de Los Gatos has been receiving, on average, two or more emails each day from her (her campaign, really) announcing that the tide has turned and would we please give them money.

Our regular readers know she's shit outa luck there, because we have no money. Having been painfully unemployed for close to six months now, with no job offers on the horizon, we don't have a shekel to spare. Not that we'd give her our hard-earned moolah if we had any.

Not because we hate her, or even dislike her, or have animosity of any kind towards her. No, we would not give her a penny because we're fiscal conservatives and we don't like how she's spending her money and how she's accounting for it.

See, we've been following the money information in this campaign fairly closely. The economy is in the crapper, and we want a leader who knows what the economy is about and how to rescue it. Make no mistake, without the money, we don't get no honey. What we mean by that is, the country is at a pivotal point here. The economy is pretty wrecked. We've been losing jobs for eight years. Inflation, rising food prices, peak oil, joblessness, tight credit, a contracting job and housing market, a broken health and welfare system, and a decaying infrastructure must all be dealt with and dealt with immediately.

Failure to deal with these, the nuts and bolts of the nation, will severely restrict our ability to defend ourself, to cope with the threats of an increasingly dangerous world, to negotiate favourable treaties political and economic, to secure our strategic global interests.

Even as we writhe through the throes of finding our next leader, the current gang of thieves, crooks, and liars is planning &mdash and enacting &mdash steps to keep us mired in endless war which drains our resources further while ensuring that whatever we have goes straight into the pockets of profiteers, bypassing broken sewers, bridges, hospitals, and people.

Opening up a new front in an already two-pronged war that we are losing by every imaginable count only guarantees that whoever takes the helm will have to spend more time and resources dealing with the extrication from all three fronts than they can possibly spend on issues domestic, however pressing.

We believe that the Republican Party and the current crooks in power saw the results of the 2006 elections and came to the conclusion that the populace was not going to let them take power again in 2008. In order to guarantee maximum profits for the corporate swine at the top, they worked hard to engineer a situation in which external issues would have a higher priority than domestic issues while simultaneously launching an all-out media blitz on the election process. They selected which candidates they wanted &mdash or tried to, anyway, although the voting public refused to go with Mitt Romney or Rudy Giuliani, their two preferred choices.

Now they're stuck with John McCain, whom they've never really liked, but they think they can control. And there's plenty of baggage there that is being covered up. His foul temper, his public assaults on colleagues, his treatment of his wife, his fondness for the high life, his cooperation with his captors as a PoW, his current psychiatric and medical records, his adulterous behaviour, his shameful treatment of his first wife. And no one's talking about the fact that 25 per cent of Pennsylvania's Republicans voted for two other Republican candidates rather than McCain, the party's nominee.

So, we believe the crooks in charge have made a pact with Hillary Clinton: if she will "bloody up" the candidate who appeared out of nowhere to destroy her shot at the current nomination, they will give her something in return. And they have. To see Richard Mellon Scaife, that hateful, crooked, rotten, nasty man, sit down with a Democratic candidate could only feed our suspicions. He's never, ever had one impartial word for the Democratic party and its candidates. We don't ask for a positive word. Merely an impartial word. His entire life, his fortune, his career have been spent to wreck any hope of social justice, fairness, in short, democracy. If ever a man was dedicated to the concepts of plutocracy and oligarchy, that man would be Richard Mellon Scaife.

For him to be sitting down with Hillary Clinton can only mean that he's buying and she's accepted his offer to buy. She won't win the 2008 elections if she manages to destroy Obama. What she will win, though, is the promise of competing in the 2012 elections, when McCain, already dangerously unstable, will probably have to step down. She might also win sufficient money to pay off her huge campaign debt.

And that's where the fiscal information comes in. Over the past four months, we've seen several reports that Barack Obama is outraising Hillary Clinton by substantial amounts. As recently as April 20th, the NYT carried a piece by Michael Luo outlining the plight of the Clinton campaign as its fabled fundraising juggernaut stumbled in the face of Obama's multitude of small donors. Caveat: Login required.

Now we hear that Hillary Clinton, in the wake of her poor showing in Pennsylvania &mdash winning by 9.x points when you've been predicted to win by 26 for months is a poor showing, and until the day the results were announced every worthless "pundit" who could draw breath was predicting that she would need a double-digit win to have a prayer of viability in the race &mdash has raised $10 million in 24 hours.

We don't care to do the math to verify that claim. We find it suspicious for several reasons, primarily that our visits to her site during that 24-hour period indicated much lower figures. Also, money pledged is not money in hand.

But the main reason we don't find her claims impressive is: according to our calculations, she owes at least $15.3 million in campaign debt. Most of this money is owed to the vendors, usually small businesses, who were kind enough to extend her credit for the staging of her campaign. According to Novakula, Clinton owes unionbuster Mark Penn between $2.5 and $3.1 million. Clinton's total debt includes a personal loan of $5 million that Clinton made to her campaign, that the Boston Globe reports has not been properly declared in her FEC filings.

Clinton claims that the $5 million she loaned to her campaign represents her share of the assets of herself and her husband. However, given that her annual income for the past X years that she has been a Senator is slightly under $170,000, and her book fetched some $9 million, and DC is an expensive place to live (as is New York), we wonder just how she is calculating her share of their combined assets.

What all this boils down to is, Hillary Clinton was the clear front-runner a year ago. How she got our email address was, we wrote to her campaign because we were proud of her and confident that she would emerge the nominee. A campaign that boasts of having ten million but owes $15 million is not, by our standards, a successful campaign.

Admittedly, Senator Clinton does not have to pay off her campaign debt until after the campaign is over. However, many small businesses have extended her credit. According to USA Toady, she plans to spend the funds she has raised not to pay down campaign debt but to continue to campaign. That's all well and good for her campaign. It's not so good for the little people who are struggling to stay afloat in an economy circling the toilet bowl.

The best thing she could do for herself, her party, her country, would be to step down now and pay off her campaign debts. After all, back when she pledged not to campaign in Florida and Michigan, she claimed those two states didn't count. Her top advisor, Harold Ickes, voted to strip Florida and Michigan of their delegates. A significant proportion of the Democratic voters of Michigan preferred "uncommitted" to Hillary Clinton.

What that says to us is that Clinton is a tough candidate, attractive to many in the Democratic party. But she is not trustworthy or competent on fiscal matters. In the final analysis, we need a leader who can get us out of this mess we're in. All the continuing campaign does is make the voting public really tired. And run up huge campaign debts. And prolong the moment when the Democratic nominee, Barack Obama &mdash because Clinton doesn't have a prayer of getting enough delegates to win the nomination &mdash can concentrate on ensuring that we don't have a doddering hawkish ill-tempered unstable and dangerous fool in the White House. That is, other than the current [string of adjectives] fool.

Even the Wall St. Journal has stated that Obama is the Democratic nominee. Senator Clinton, you fought a good fight. It's time to step down now.

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Thursday, April 24, 2008

Jon Stewart Analyzes 2008 Elections

It is to larf.

Raw Story has a video clip if you missed Jon's latest show. He puts together a pastiche of clips of Hillary Clinton talking about her candidacy and the electorate.

Checkidout. Two severed bloody thumbs up.

Oh, and of course, two more severed bloody thumbs up to Stephen Colbert's Word of the day. Iraq the Vote!

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World: Israel and Peace

The only good thing about this story is that The Man With The Reverse Midas Touch basically shit all over his own legacy, and as Steve Gilliard used to say, you can't unshit the bed.

Now that Mr. 28 Per Cent needs a legacy (other, that is, than eight years of the worst misadministration and destruction of the United States of America), he's been sending his hunchmen and women flying around the globe looking for something that's not covered with the foul effluent of his and Cheney's eight years of lies, thievery, thuggery, crookedness, deceit, maladroitness, perversion, immorality, cruelty, mendacity, and exploitativeness ad nauseam.

Try as they might, they've failed to find a single thing that they can leave as the Idiot Boy's legacy. A single positive thing, that is. And now, to find that he's fucked up his own hopes of a Mid-East peace agreement, well, what can we say? Tears of joy, children, tears of joy. And bitterness, too. All our lives since we were sprog we've heard about and hoped for peace in the Middle East. But for an incompetent crook to think he can just snap his fingers and have it be so, well, it's good to see him skewered on his own stupidity. Hoist, as it were, on his own petard. And given that he's Le Petomaniacal in his petardaciousness, it's only too fitting.

Because here's what the Israelis are saying. Chimpy McTurdibus personally delivered a letter to Ariel Sharon giving
[...] the Jewish state permission to expand the West Bank settlements that it hopes to retain in a final peace deal, even though Bush's peace plan officially calls for a freeze of Israeli settlements across Palestinian territories on the West Bank. In an interview this week, Sharon's chief of staff, Dov Weissglas, said Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice reaffirmed this understanding in a secret agreement reached between Israel and the United States in the spring of 2005, just before Israel withdrew from Gaza.

U.S. officials say no such agreement exists, and in recent months Rice has publicly criticized even settlement expansion on the outskirts of Jerusalem, which Israel does not officially count as settlements.
Whom do you believe? The administration, which has told nearly one thousand lies about the Iraq war alone? Or the Israeli government, which may or may not lie but is unlikely to do so if it would embarrass their chief source of financial aid?

The article adds this nice little zinger from the then-ambassador to Israel:
Daniel Kurtzer, then the U.S. ambassador to Israel, said he argued at the time against accepting the Weissglas letter. "I thought it was a really bad idea," he said. "It would legitimize the settlements, and it gave them a blank check." In the end, Kurtzer said the White House never followed up with the plan to define construction lines. "Washington lost interest in it when it became clear it would not be easy to do," he said.
Sounds like the frat schmuck in chief, alright. Got bored with Afghanistan because we would need a detailed plan to take out Osama bin Laden, so here we are seven years later &mdash no Osama, increasing problems in Afghanistan. Got bored with New Orleans, so nearly three years later housing still hasn't been rebuilt, and NOLAians are still scattered all over the fifty states. Got bored with Iraq so five years later diplomats are refusing to serve in Baghdad, the city is an open sewer, concrete walls and ethnic cleansing everywhere, an Iraqi army that sees defection by the thousands, and 4,050 lives (U.S. military), ~1 million lives (Iraqi) and unknown numbers of dead contractors and U.S. civilian personnel and veterans who have committed suicide.

Who let this idiot near the controls? We did. Do we want four more years of this type of disastrous shenanigans? The economy in the toilet, shrinking lifespans for women, no health care for children, joblessness growing, rising crime, increasing poverty, a failing infrastructure, burdensome debt, and a world at war?

see more crazy cat pics

That's your legacy, Chimpenfuhrer. And, make no mistake, John McSame's job is to continue that legacy. And Hillary Clinton's, according to whispers throughout the blogosphere, is to ensure that McSame is elected.

Who you gonna vote for? Because Hillary will never beat McSame, and her only mission appears to be to damage the only candidate who can bring real change. Think carefully before you choose. Remember, the fate of your children, your neighbours, your nation, and your world is in your hands.

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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Crime: Alexander Letkemann Sentenced

Well, his family is probably miserable, and the victim's family, who have demonstrated charity, mercy, and forgiveness hitherto unseen by us, at any rate, is not likely to be much happier.

Alexander James Letkemann has been sentenced to 20-30 years in prison for murder in the second degree, disinterment, and mutilation in the killing of Daniel Sorenson. He will serve a minimum of 20 years.

Mr. Letkemann escaped being convicted of murder by accepting a plea deal in which he testified against his cohort in crime, Jean-Pierre Orlewicz. Orlewicz was 17 years old and Letkemann 18 when they murdered Mr. Sorenson. Orlewicz has testified that Letkemann took no part in the murder but assisted in cleaning up and disposing of the corpse in repayment of a debt owed to Orlewicz.

Repaying that debt will cost him two decades of his life. When he leaves prison, he will be nearly 40 years old, with little significant education or skills or character or career development. He will be released into a world that bears little resemblance to the one he will soon leave behind. He may not be able to cope. There won't be much help. His parents may not survive long enough for him to see them again.

Poor kid, was it worth it in the end?

Orlewicz will be sentenced next month. As the primary instigator, planner, and actor in this murder, he will receive a much harsher sentence.

In other, tangentially related news, the United States, with only five per cent of the world's population, has approximately 25 per cent of the world's prison population. Something is deeply wrong with a society that jails so many of its citizens. In part, turning punishment for crime into a for-profit system encourages the imprisonment of the poor to serve as a source of cheap labour and large profits for prison owners. Privatization also ensures that any human-rights abuses that occur will be more difficult to discover and abolish, as the acts of private individuals are less subject to oversight and regulation than the acts of states.

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Entertainment: Stephen Colbert

nails it!

Say what you will about how much this is entertainment and how much politics. Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert have skewered the electorate and their candidates in a way seldom seen since the '60s and '70s. Satire at its biting best.

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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Please Answer This Question ...

My 11-year old daughter just asked me this question and I'd like someone to answer it for me ... because I sure didn't have an answer.

"Why do police officers and fire fighters make lots more money than teachers?"


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2008 Elections: The Economy Is In GREAT Shape!

If you happen to be married to an heiress with $100 million in her pockets, that is. Oh, yeah, and own 7 vacation homes. And get taxpayer-funded healthcare. And a pension from the Navy. And full disability pay (full disability? When people are coming back from Iraq and getting turned down for disability despite brain injuries? How'd that happen?). And a Congressional salary.

And, best of all, you don't have to report a penny of your wife's income! Even though she pays for a lot of those expensive little perks you've come to enjoy.

Wish my wife had that kinda money.

Video discovered over at The Impolitic.

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2008 Elections: Stupid People Tricks

The racism that is coming from supporters of Hillary Clinton &mdash not Hillary herself, because we refuse to believe she will ever sink so low &mdash is truly scary. Recovering from a cold and wandering around through the blogosphere while feeling subpar, we've managed to horrify ourselves today.

We'll post something nice to take the taste away, but meanwhile, if you're a supporter of Barack Obama and want to mess with the heads of the media vultures, please wander by AOL's straw poll and cast your vote.

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2008 Elections: The Nuclear Threat

Good grief. Just when we were starting back on that old Clinton Love Roller Coaster, beginning to feel sympathetic to Hillary for the misogyny of the media vultures, she finds a way to knock us back on our behind and go WTF??

Raw Story tells us that Senator Clinton went on Good Morning America yesterday to issue this statement:
“I want the Iranians to know, if I am president, we will attack Iran,” if they launch nukes against Israel, Clinton said. “I want them to understand that. … We would be able to totally obliterate them. That’s a terrible thing to say, but those people who run Iran need to understand that.”

Clinton said she hoped her stern warning would serve as a deterrent from Iran doing anything “foolish and tragic.”
Say WHAT??? The Iranians don't have nuclear weapons. Israel does. The Iranians are a decade or more away having functional nuclear weapons. Israel has a goddamned nuclear arsenal.

So how exactly will Iran launch nukes against Israel, Senator? Or is this a different verse of the "Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran" song that Senator John McSenile has been singing lately? Wait, let us rephrase that. Are you fucking insane, Senator? Are you out of your fucking mind? Are you just tossing off this statement because you, like Senator McSenile, share the hope of keeping your nation in a state of perpetual war?

Iran has not threatened Israel with nukes because Iran has no nukes. We hold no brief for the mullahs who run that country. But threatening to obliterate a nation, threatening a nuclear attack &mdash isn't that the reason we helped Israel acquire an arsenal of nukes? Israel is perfectly capable of defending herself. She has more nukes than the rest of the Middle-East combined. Because no one else in the Middle East has, or has plans to acquire, nuclear weapons.

Don't you read the intelligence reports? The NIE reports, the IAEA reports? Oh, that's right. You don't. That's why you gave George Bush your vote to authorize the endless war against and occupation of Iraq. Despite the fact that 42% of the Senate voted against such authorization. Despite the fact that Senator Carl Levin proposed an amendment that would have forced Bush's neocon warmonger cabal to seek further permission to wage war. You preferred to give an idiot a blank check and then acted surprised when he used it.

And now you talk so lightly about obliterating an entire nation. Using nuclear weapons against Iran will affect these countries:

  • Iraq
  • Armenia
  • Azerbaijan
  • Turkmenistan
  • Afghanistan
  • Pakistan
  • Oman
  • Qatar
  • UAE
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Kuwait
  • Bahrain
In addition, fallout would affect:

  • Yemen
  • Egypt
  • Jordan
  • Syria
  • Lebanon
  • Turkey
  • Cyprus
  • Georgia
  • Uzbekistan
  • Kashmir
  • India
Are you insane? You're threatening an imaginary enemy with real consequences that could affect half the world's population?

Back away from the red button, Senator. Do not pass Go. Do not collect delegates or votes. We don't need another lunatic within a mile of the controls of the largest nuclear arsenal in the world.

Holy quacking duckshit. Why do you do this to yourself, and to all the people who once loved and respected you? Why?

People, anyone who cannot distinguish between enemies real and imagined, threats real and imagined, anyone who can talk so casually of obliterating a nation and possibly killing and definitely sickening billions of people has no business being near the reins of power. Do you want that kind of blood on your hands? Vote for Ron Paul, vote for your local dogcatcher, write in your grandson, but do not let this woman near the red button.

Update: To his credit, Barack Obama sounds a welcome note of sanity. His comments, in part:
Obama promised a swift and forceful response to an attack on Israel by Iran, but he said the hypothetical of a nuclear attack “presupposes a failure to begin with.” Iran does not have a nuclear weapon yet and the US should do everything possible to stop that, he said. Obama has said he would open diplomatic channels with Iran, but he has not ruled out the possibility of an attack on the country to prevent its acquisition of nuclear weapons.
We can live with that.

Raw Story has the video clip.

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Politics: Republican Courts Hispanic Vote

See, these people have absolutely no shame in saying what they think of working people, working-class people, poor people, brown people, black people &mdash anybody but the rich and powerful. Those, they plentifully kiss-ass.

Colorado State Rep. Douglas Bruce actually prepared a two-page single-spaced speech to declaim the "illiterate peasants" who pick his tomatoes and clean his house and make his wine. In honour of the immigration bill being debated in the House, Rep. Bruce managed to get on his hind legs to deliver his nasty comment before being told to bag it by acting Democratic speaker of the house Rep. Kathleen Curry. Raw Story tells us that the nasty little brute had the gall to subsequently insist that he was merely telling the truth, which offended his colleagues.

However, the chupacabra previously kicked a photographer during a House prayer, putting the lie to his "truth-telling" pretensions. He had the gall to excuse that incident by claiming the photographer was disrupting the prayer session. So taking your photograph equals disruption, but assaulting someone else does not. He meant to insult and offend both times, and he succeeded.

The issue under discussion was a guest worker program, something we need right quick as produce prices rise and farmers are unable to find workers to labour in their fields and cities decay even further as undocumented immigrants in fear for their lives and safety leave, taking their disposable income with them.

Raw Story has the video clip.

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Monday, April 21, 2008

2008 Elections: Telling It Like It Is

Michael Moore does it. Wow.

He's just a guy, yaknow? He has his faults and flaws, but we here at La Casa de Los Gatos always admired him for having the courage to stand up during the start of the Bush misadministration, with hordes of rightwing attack dogs screaming for his blood, and proudly espouse progressive viewpoints. Back then, we joined with Ms. Manitoba and FoTPC in worrying that some rightwing loony would kill him. Does anyone remember 2003? When those of us who spoke out against the war were flat-out accused of being traitors, cowards, godless liberal scum, threatened? A truck tried to run a friend's car off the road because of a bumper sticker that said "No blood for oil."

We remember those days quite well. We remember being attacked at work for the heinous crime of not being 100% pro-Bush. We remember being terrified to open our mouths and reveal our true political opinions.

So yeah, Michael Moore gets major kudos from us for being unafraid.

And what he's saying today? It's good. He's come out in support of Obama, which &mdash no big deal, really. Everybody's espousing some candidate or the other, and most days we're downright sympathetic towards Hillary Clinton because the press is rejoicing in a misogynistic beating of her that really royally pisses us off.

But what Moore says, we agree with, mostly. Here's some snippets:
[...] the debate last week was the final straw. I've watched Senator Clinton and her husband play this game of appealing to the worst side of white people, but last Wednesday, when she hurled the name "Farrakhan" out of nowhere, well that's when the silly season came to an early end for me. She said the "F" word to scare white people, pure and simple. Of course, Obama has no connection to Farrakhan. But, according to Senator Clinton, Obama's pastor does -- AND the "church bulletin" once included a Los Angeles Times op-ed from some guy with Hamas!


This sleazy attempt to smear Obama was brilliantly explained the following night by Stephen Colbert. He pointed out that if Obama is supported by Ted Kennedy, who is Catholic, and the Catholic Church is led by a Pope who was in the Hitler Youth, that can mean only one thing: OBAMA LOVES HITLER!

Yes, Senator Clinton, that's how you sounded. Like you were nuts. Like you were a bigot stoking the fires of stupidity. How sad that I would ever have to write those words about you. You have devoted your life to good causes and good deeds. And now to throw it all away for an office you can't win unless you smear the black man so much that the superdelegates cry "Uncle (Tom)" and give it all to you.


How sad for a country that wanted to see the first woman elected to the White House. That day will come -- but it won't be you.


There are those who say Obama isn't ready, or he's voted wrong on this or that. But that's looking at the trees and not the forest. What we are witnessing is not just a candidate but a profound, massive public movement for change. My endorsement is more for Obama The Movement than it is for Obama the candidate.


Finally, I want to say a word about the basic decency I have seen in Mr. Obama. Mrs. Clinton continues to throw the Rev. Wright up in his face as part of her mission to keep stoking the fears of White America. Every time she does this I shout at the TV, "Say it, Obama! Say that when she and her husband were having marital difficulties regarding Monica Lewinsky, who did she and Bill bring to the White House for 'spiritual counseling?' THE REVEREND JEREMIAH WRIGHT!"

But no, Obama won't throw that at her. It wouldn't be right. It wouldn't be decent. She's been through enough hurt. And so he remains silent and takes the mud she throws in his face.
We've heard people say that Obama plays dirty, that he's unfair to Hillary Clinton, that he's passive-aggressive, that he plays the race card. That may be true, or it may not. We're really not terribly interested in looking for evidence of who did who wrong. But we will say this: Hillary Clinton has played an aggressive-aggressive game all along. We admire her for her toughness and her tenacity, but we don't like the fact that she keeps playing dirty games constantly and consistently.

And the one thing that really underscored how low she would go &mdash other than slapping the faces of those who lined up with MoveOn to defend her and her husband &mdash has been her ongoing attempt to play the racism card. She keeps trying to paint Obama as a "liberal" &mdash when did that become a bad thing? She keeps pointing out Jeremiah Wright, ooh, scary angry black man; Louis Farrakhan, ooh, scary angry anti-Jewish black man; Obama in Somali garb, ooh, scary angry Muslim black man; Bill Ayers, ooh, scary angry white radical commie pinko.

Throughout it all, Obama has remained silent about her association with fundie Christian elitist power brokers; and her turning to that selfsame Reverend Jeremiah "scary angry black man" Wright during the furor that her husband created when he got a blow job from a zaftig young woman.

Clinton referred to John McCain, the man who made a nasty misogynistic homophobic comment about her and her daughter, as "having passed the CinC test," and Obama as just having "a speech." He did not bring up the nasty comment. He has never brought up the Lewinsky affair. If this is passive-aggressive behaviour, we can live with it.

Go read the whole thing. He's a realist, not an Obamaniac, not a worshipper, not a loon.

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Sunday, April 20, 2008

Animal Stories: What You Can Do To Stop Cruelty

Random cute doggie

We hadn't heard this nasty little story about the miserable fucking asshole who decided to starve a dog to death and call it art. If we ever get our hands on him, we're re-enacting Kafka's Hunger Artist.

Dr. Belisa Vranich offers up some psychological insight into the scumbucket on legs, Guillermo Habacuc Vargas, and points out what you can do to ensure that animal cruelty of such proportions is at least reduced. If we all do our bit we can eliminate this gratuitous suffering on the part of creatures whose only crime is to share a planet with us.

We're not impressed by the recent editions of Burning Man. It was art when it started, now it's derivative mass exhibitionism complete with sprog. But it's still worlds above the torturing of an animal. So do what the good doctor says. Write letters, give up a couple of lattes or a lunch and send the money to your local animal shelter or an organization that works to protect animals. Volunteer to walk the dogs at your local shelter one weekend. Take your kids to the SPCA or the local rescue and teach them that these helpless creatures rely on the kindness of our hearts for their very survival.

And to take that bad taste out of your mouth, here is an inspirational story about Turkish and Greek Cypriot youths joining together to protect the donkeys native to that Mediterranean land.
Only half in jest, Tony Angastiniotis, a Greek documentary film-maker, says an intercommunal effort to preserve an ancient way of life could even help resolve the island's decades-old division.

"Maybe the donkeys will be the way to peace. They are the only true Cypriots anyway," he said.

Ediz Ismail-Eddie, a Turkish Cypriot living in Australia, joins in a lively debate on Facebook.

"This is murder, all Cypriots should do something about this problem, Greek/Turkish, it doesn't matter. We should protect this island together. We are losing our culture, our nature. It's time to wake up!"
Facebook, a tool for the rescue of Cypriot donkeys? Facebook brings peace to Turkish and Greek Cypriots? Wouldn't that be great?

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Saturday, April 19, 2008

B.A.D. Stroll Through The Blogroll

Graphics credit Skippy, concept credit Skippy and Jon Swift

Despite a cold, we just had to go look around at what people are saying. Here's some of what we found:

  • Slim, at No Fish, No Nuts, has an apt comment on the Great Debate.

  • Ted got up on his Soapbox to complain about a few things, and we agree with most of them.

  • Manila Ryce over at The Largest Minority has a list of journalists imprisoned by the U.S. Government. WTF?

  • Michael over at The Reaction posts about equal pay for equal work and gives us a link to do something about it.

  • Batocchio, our Vagabond Scholar, has some interesting observations on the job market, outsourcing work, and immigration status.

  • For your amusement, OneFly over at Out of the Cornfield posts a story about Willy the felonious glove-loving cat.
This has been your stroll through our blogroll. La Casa de Los Gatos thanks you for your attention and snivels off to bed.

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Caturday ... turning into evening ...

Willy Billy Button

He looks bright-eyed and bushy-tailed ... but really, right at this moment, he's snoozing in the laundry basket on top of a bathroom rug on top of clean clothes.


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Happy Caturday, all!

Unfortunately, La Casa de Los Gatos is suffering a second round of colds or maybe the allergies are really ackin' up this season. In any event. There's nothing more heartbreaking than little kitty sneezes. Except, of course, when they get kitty snot all over your glasses.

Big ew.

In other Caturday news, Gojira Helen Wheels has established possession of a pillow and there is a minor war going on with each of the others trying at least once a day to imprint the pillow with their very own fur or special scent, or whatever it is the little fuckers do. Geesh. You'd think it was a haunch of lamb, the way they're fighting over the thing. And Teh Princess Gojira, who feels perfectly free to nap in anyone else's favourite spot, or bat the noses of those who attempt to climb up on HER side of the bed, gets really bent when anyone tries to sleep on HER pillow.

The meowage, the passing-back-and-forthage, the complaining, the inserting of sharp little claws into hoomin legs, arms, and backs, is not to be believed. We did try telling her that pincushioning one's hoomin to protest the behaviour of one's fellow felines was not a good tactic, not that she listens.

We're going to take to our bed and nurse this cold. Enjoy your Caturday!

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Military ANALysts Laughing All the Way to the Bank

There's a really good article in today's NYTimes about how retired military officers are being used by the Bush Administration and military contractors to push their messages. Here's an excerpt and if you want to read the whole thing go here:

April 20, 2008
Message Machine

Behind TV Analysts, Pentagon’s Hidden Hand

In the summer of 2005, the Bush administration confronted a fresh wave of criticism over Guantánamo Bay. The detention center had just been branded “the gulag of our times” by Amnesty International, there were new allegations of abuse from United Nations human rights experts and calls were mounting for its closure.

The administration’s communications experts responded swiftly. Early one Friday morning, they put a group of retired military officers on one of the jets normally used by Vice President Dick Cheney and flew them to Cuba for a carefully orchestrated tour of Guantánamo.

To the public, these men are members of a familiar fraternity, presented tens of thousands of times on television and radio as “military analysts” whose long service has equipped them to give authoritative and unfettered judgments about the most pressing issues of the post-Sept. 11 world.

Hidden behind that appearance of objectivity, though, is a Pentagon information apparatus that has used those analysts in a campaign to generate favorable news coverage of the administration’s wartime performance, an examination by The New York Times has found.

The effort, which began with the buildup to the Iraq war and continues to this day, has sought to exploit ideological and military allegiances, and also a powerful financial dynamic: Most of the analysts have ties to military contractors vested in the very war policies they are asked to assess on air.

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2008 Elections: Eating Your Own

Every time we begin to repent of perhaps taking Senator Hillary Clinton to task too harshly, she does something that (1) makes us go "WTF??" and then (2) take her to task again.

This time, it's her comments about why she does poorly in caucuses. In her own words:
" endorsed [Sen. Barack Obama] -- which is like a gusher of money that never seems to slow down," Clinton said to a meeting of donors. "We have been less successful in caucuses because it brings out the activist base of the Democratic Party. MoveOn didn't even want us to go into Afghanistan. I mean, that's what we're dealing with. And you know they turn out in great numbers. And they are very driven by their view of our positions, and it's primarily national security and foreign policy that drives them. I don't agree with them. They know I don't agree with them. So they flood into these caucuses and dominate them and really intimidate people who actually show up to support me."
What the fuck, Senator? Are you fucking talking about the fucking organization that was fucking created to fucking defend your fucking (this one's not gratuitous) husband against the Republicans' attempt to impeach him for fucking around on you while he was President?

The "activist base" of the Democratic party would be the same people who defended you and your husband when you alleged the existence of a vast right-wing conspiracy funded by Richard Mellon Scaife? The guy you sat down with recently? The same people who fought to ensure your husband a second Presidential term? Who turn out to his book signings and speeches and opened their hearts and wallets for both of you?

You're attacking those people? Without them, your husband would be the impeached ex-President and you would be living in Arkansas with no Senatorial title before your name. You do realize that, don't you?

And what's this about "a gusher of money"? Members of MoveOn are regular working folks, mostly. They give the small amounts that they can afford. This is not like raising over $1 million from lobbyists, or anything.

And to repeat a Karl Rove lie about MoveOn "didn't even want us to go into Afghanistan" &mdash a lie which has been repeatedly debunked??? AFAICT, MoveOn has never opposed the war in Afghanistan, a war which Bush bullied Congress into approving by basically handing off their power to declare war to him.

Hindsight is, of course, twenty-twenty, and for us to say we wish that had never happened is worse than useless. However, to accuse MoveOn of adopting a position that it did not take is disingenuous. Here are the words of the petition to which Senator Clinton refers:
We implore the powers that be to use, wherever possible, international judicial institutions and international human rights law to bring to justice those responsible for the attacks, rather than the instruments of war, violence or destruction. Furthermore, we assert that the government of a nation must be presumed separate and distinct from any terrorist group that may operate within its borders, and therefore cannot be held unduly accountable for the latter's crimes. . .
These words do not unequivocally oppose the invasion of Afghanistan. Rather, they state what all thinking beings must surely agree with: that war is the tool of last resort. If possible, we must always strive to accomplish our aims by peaceful means. Only when all possibilities have been exhausted can we go to war.

Why? Because the carnage of World Wars I and II have shown us that civilians and the innocent are disproportionately affected by war. While the profiteers and generals and governments and ministers often do well in wars, the average yob does not. And also because the weakest are most likely to be injured &mdash children, youth, pregnant women, the disabled and ill are least likely to be able to defend themselves against guns and bombs and other instruments of war.

And because war kills. And before we accept taking the lives of others, before we agree to stain our hands and our honour and our nation with the blood of the fallen, we must be convinced that there is a real and present danger to ourselves, our loved ones, and our nation.

Senator Clinton chose to use these words to categorize the dedicated X million members of MoveOn as &mdash what? Peaceniks? Thinking beings? Antiwar activists? We don't understand what she's trying to say, but we do understand that she is repeating an already debunked lie, and that her aim in repeating that lie is to somehow paint the activist base of the Democratic party as unpatriotic and unAmerican.

And in a fine demonstration of further ineptitude, her communications director explains her statement thus:
Howard Wolfson, communications director for the Clinton campaign, verified the authenticity of the audio, and elaborated on Clinton's charge that these same party activists were engaged in acts of intimidation against her supporters: "There have been well documented instances of intimidation in the Nevada and the Texas caucuses, and it is a fact that while we have won 4 of the 5 largest primaries, where participation is greatest, Senator Obama has done better in caucuses than we have." About Clinton's remarks suggesting dismay over high Democratic activist turnout, Wolfson said, "I'll let my statement stand as is."

In fact, the Nevada caucuses occurred prior to MoveOn's endorsement of Obama, and when Clinton made her remarks, the Texas caucuses had yet to take place.
Also, in fact, over at DailyKos, Texan Democratic party activists reported at the time that Clinton campaign workers were attempting to intimidate Democratic activists. The campaign threatened to sue the Texas Democratic party and provided legal advice to Clinton supporters in challenging Obama delegates.

There's something deeply divisive and divided and self-destructive about Hillary Clinton. This does not excuse the misogynistic bashing that she's getting from the mainstream media. But she works really hard to push people away. We just don't understand it. She started out with so much &mdash the goodwill, the money, the donors, the hardworking activists willing to put it all on the line for her &mdash she had them all. The name recognition. The abiding love and respect of so many voters who remember how good the Clinton years were. Now every day yet another person announces that they can no longer support Clinton. And that's in our tiny circle of friends and acquaintances.

U.C. Berkeley professor and former Clinton Labour Secretary Robert Reich announced today that he supports Obama's candidacy.

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Gut Shabbos

and to those who observe, a good Pesach.

Today is the first day of Pesach, the feast of the Passover. The atheist household of La Casa de Los Gatos does not observe religious holidays, but we sure do enjoy a good feast for any reason whatsoever.

And celebrating being "passed over" by the Angel of Death is about as good a reason for feasting as any. When we break bread on this special evening, we will spare a thought for the suffering people of Palestine who starve in the concentration camp of Gaza even as good Israelis work to end the horror that is daily inflicted on Palestinians. The government of Israel will not permit humanitarian relief into Gaza even as they target hospitals and journalists. And it's difficult to decide who has been more useless in achieving peace in the Middle-East, Condi Rice or Tony Blair.

May your seder be blessed with peace and plenty, and may it bring peace in the Middle East one day closer.

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