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

Friday, July 31, 2009

R.I.P. Roger Greenan

Roger Alan Greenan

Roger Greenan died of a heart attack a week ago. He was a helicopter pilot in the Vietnam Conflict (as my friend, a VN vet, reminds me, it was not a war).

I met Roger in Singapore, when he was working in Indonesia, some years after his time in Vietnam. He was a neighbour, an acquaintance, and later, a friend. A very valuable friend. In fact, it would be no exaggeration to say that I would not be here today if not for Roger.

I lost touch with Roger long ago — he was a very dynamic individual, and moved around a great deal, and I — well, I was young and rootless and fairly directionless, as well, moving around a great deal myself.

I'm sorry it's taken me so long to find Roger again. And, ironically, too late. Because the one thing I wanted to do was thank Roger for his kindness to me. He took it upon himself to talk to me about life and the art of living. For reasons unbeknownst to me, he worked to get past my rudeness and hostility towards him, and in so doing, made me understand that I had to make a choice, and spiraling downwards into depression and suicide was not a choice, but a renunciation of choice. It takes a little work to make a choice. Lying back and letting things happen is not making a choice, it's abdicating from one's responsibilities.

Other things Roger taught me: A person's first responsibility is to themselves. You, and you alone, are responsible for figuring out your life and living it. Only after you have discharged that essential responsibility are you in a position to take on any additional responsibilities. Life is a struggle, and a body has to do whatever they need to in order to survive. Survival is more important than dignity.

I'm sorry I never got to say thank you, Roger, but I've thought of you constantly throughout the years. So here's my public acknowledgement: Thank you, Roger Greenan, for all that you did for me. You were a good man, and generous to a fault.

Details of Roger's life and death are available here. As you can see from reading it, my high opinion of Roger was shared by many.

As an atheist, I feel the loss of Roger more keenly than those who might believe in some deity that ensures further contact with the dead. I'm not sure what "R.I.P." means, really, for people like me, except that, as Shakespeare said, so long ago,
Fear no more the heat o' the sun,
Nor the furious winter's rages;
Thou thy worldly task hast done,
Home art gone, and ta'en thy wages;
Golden lads and girls all must,
As chimney-sweepers, come to dust.

Fear no more the frown o' the great;
Thou art past the tyrant's stroke:
Care no more to clothe and eat;
To thee the reed is as the oak:
The sceptre, learning, physic, must
All follow this, and come to dust.

Fear no more the lightning-flash,
Nor the all-dreaded thunder-stone;
Fear not slander, censure rash;
Thou hast finished joy and moan;
All lovers young, all lovers must
Consign to thee, and come to dust.

No exorciser harm thee!
Nor no witchcraft charm thee!
Ghost unlaid forbear thee!
Nothing ill come near thee!
Quiet consummation have;
And renownéd be thy grave!
He was only 67 — rather young to have gone. My mother was 84 when she popped her clogs, and Dad is in his mid-nineties, and still with us. Undoubtedly, being sent to VN and serving in the frontlines of that conflict shortened his life. As it will shorten the lives of all those still among us, who served. Goodbye, Roger. Trouble will trouble you no more. Thanks for all you did, for so many. You were a good and courageous man.

Renownéd be thy grave.

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Saturday, July 25, 2009

Mr. Button says "Happy Caturday"

photo and photoshop image (c) 2009 K. Smokey Cormier

Ms. Cormier provides us with another photo of Ms. Manitoba's cat, Willy Billy Button.

Have a good day out there all you cats and cat lovers!

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Friday, July 24, 2009

Health Care: I Ain't Feelin' Too Good Myself, Now

OK, I wasn't till Stephen Colbert did this:

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Health Care Hell-Scare - Die-agnosis: Mur-DR
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorMark Sanford

People, if you don't know or remember what passed for health care 30 years ago, look it up. A few decades ago, employer-provided health care paid for good-quality medical care at no cost to the employee.

Today, we have co-pays ($5-$50 per doctor visit per family member); co-insurance (calculated percentage of total cost of visit and any procedures approved by insurer); Health Savings Accounts (HSAs - only worthwhile if you're young and very healthy because of the huge deductible, meaning insurance only pays a small portion of your costs and you pay the rest out of tax-free savings that you can't afford, because if you had money to save, you'd get yourself a better goddamned policy, wouldn'tcha?); and critical care, which is a hodge-podge of visits to free clinics (increasingly rare these days, and limited in terms of services), nurse hotlines that give free advice but nothing else, and emergency room visits (also increasingly rare as hospitals shut down emergency rooms which see increasing high-maintenance traffic and very little financial return), where you can wait 12 hours or more to see a doctor or even a nurse, unless you're bleeding to death or cyanotic.

Who are the people telling us we don't need universal health care? Our Congresscritters, for one. Well, they have government-provided health care that WE pay for, so why do THEY get to say that WE can't have the same thing? You know all those Republicans and Blue Dog Democrats who say that we don't need universal health care, and the government is a fuckup that couldn't administer its own left foot without help?

Tell them to drop their universal healthcare NOW. Call them up and ask them if they are covered by the government. If they are, then they need to switch to private insurance NOW, because they can afford to. For us working stiffs, private insurance is just too fucking expensive. For them, with their six-figure salaries, it's a tiny little blip in the bank account. Since they think private industry does this shit better than government ever could, it is their fucking DUTY to select a private option. NOW. No excuses. No more waffling, no more bullshit.

If they're not willing to drop their taxpayer-funded health care, then they should shut the fuck up and give us the same healthcare that they get. After all, we're already paying for it. Widen the pool, lower the cost, lower the risk.

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Animals: Rare Clouded Leopard Found

in Bangladesh. Nomming on a monkey.

Image copyright AFP

The Independent is reporting that this cute little 3-month-old clouded leopard cub was discovered with his mother and sibling having a little nom on a related (to us) species. Clouded leopards have been believed to be extinct in Bangladesh for over 20 years.

Villagers captured the cub in the hope of selling it, but have since been persuaded to release it. Hopefully, its mother will find the poor little thing and successfully raise it to adulthood.

OTOH, La Casa de Los Gatos feels that stupid hoominz deserve to be exterminated in large numbers to give other species with whom we share the planet a chance at reweaving the ecoweb. OTOH, it's somewhat heartening that the villagers gave Baby plenty of chicken (which he nommed enthusiastically) and milk to keep him fed and fit for his journey back to Mom.

Good luck, little one! Grow big and strong, and the rest of us will try to save your habitat so you'll have someplace to live when you grow up.

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Entertainment: Today's Republican Hypocrite


OK, Republicans, are you guys (and all two or whatever of you gals) running a contest to see who can be the biggest weenie-waving fucking hypocrite on the planet? Or are you just trying to make sure that the recession that you told us "wasn't happening" back when we noticed it happening doesn't hurt as much because we're laughing so hard at you?

Cos y'awl are just working this meme too hard, boyz'ngrrlz. I mean, thanks for the laughs, but, fuck me, children, when does this fuckin' stop?

Every day another Republican explodes in a welter of hypocrisy, greed, mind-boggling stupidity, and record-breaking shamelessness. What, Mark Stanford dumping wife and four kids to boink his mistress on Father's Day wasn't enough? John Ensign getting his Momma and Daddy to pay huge sums of money to his ex-best friend whose wife he's porking wasn't enough? Michelle Bachmann's increasingly unhinged pronouncements about how government healthcare would be cheaper than private (which, according to nutty Michelle, makes it a bad thing) isn't enough? And skanky harpy Liz Cheney appearing on every fucking TV screen 20 minutes out of every hour with her defense of Daddygumz' torture isn't enough.

Christ on the fucking cross, people! Maybe the plot is to make us all laugh so hard we'll die and then the rethugs can take back the country.

Today's plotter, in all his shameless glory: Tennessee State Senator Paul Stanley. What, you ask, did Senator Stanley do? Why, Senator Stanley, a married father of two charming Christian sprogs, a "Republican Fambly Valyoos 4evah!" kinda guy, you know, dumped his first wife to marry an attractive intern he was boinking — got caught boinking his latest intern and taking nude photos and videos of the whole thing.

OK, Stanley, I get it. Sump'n in the water out that way makes for teh abysmally stoopid in real life. And you're definitely a champion fucking (uh, literally as well) hypocrite.

But Jesus fucking J.H. Christ and his Black brother Harry, man! Even teh stoopid know by now that you don't videotape the whole fucking episode and you don't compound that level of idiocy by giving the tape to the chickie you were boinking after you already met her boyfriend who doesn't like you.

Christ on a fucking croissant! And then, guess what, Mr. IAmStoopidAndMyPantsKeepFallingOff is amazed, amazed, I tell you, that Boyfriend offers to perform a nutectomy on him unless he coughs up ten grand in small bills. Yo, Stanley, dude, you practically offered the guy a size 20 log to shove up your size 10 ass, be grateful he didn't make you bend over and take it in the tonsils.


Holy quacking duckshit. And that's not the worst of it. This is why this fecking eejit deserves to go down into the Hypocrites' Hall o' Infamy. FTA:
State Sen. Paul Stanley only recently sponsored legislation designed to prohibit gay couples in his home state from ever adopting children. He has also opposed family planning services, explaining that his “faith and church” require him to “promote abstinence.” And Stanley has run as a “pro-family” candidate in his campaigns for the Tennessee State Senate.
Pro-family except for teh ghey. Promoting "abstinence" for everuhboddah else. And full o' faith and church that won't allow a body to plan their family without Stanley's Senatorial nose all up in their crotch.

With any luck, Stanley's current (ex-intern) wife will staple his pants to his crotch and he'll never be able to boink anyone else again. One look at the guy and you know nobody's boinking him for teh handsome.

Just quit, you guys. I mean, literally. Just every one of you Repuglies, quit your jobs, quit your lives, quit the human race. Because we can't take too much more of this.

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Saturday, July 18, 2009



OMG, that belly demands a snorgle! Of course, the jaws above it demand one's head for a crunchy toy, but ... it could be worth it ...

After a devastating bout of illness a week ago, the Head Cat at La Casa de Los Gatos is inclined to venture outdoors, teeter on the slopes of mi casa for a little light weeding, interspersed with iPod listenage and some serious thoughts on love, sex, polyamory, lust, virginity, orgasms, human sexuality, and the nature of inspiration. Teh Pod is charged, the sun is out, it's another perfect fucking day in Paradise, and we here at La Casa de Los Gatos sure hope to gawd and all that's sweaty that you're gettin' your shimmy on with your partner, whether it's the one you love, or the one you're with. Nothin' like rockin' someone all night long in a joyously lubed embrace.

Must be summer. The fuckin' denizens are getting their hot 'n sexy on, goddammit. Ah, carnal lust, one of nature's best gifts to the inhabitants of her worlds. Without it, kiddies, we wouldn't be here today.

For DCNY, always a friend, great fellow-blogger, fount of wisdom, source of inspiration, a small tribute:

Howz dat 4 teh wite catz, huh? Don't say I don't love ya buddy.

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Religion: It Makes You Crazy

Gustave Doré, Paradise Lost

No, rly. Srsly. It does. This is how crazy.

For those who just don't want to clicky the linky (not that I blame you): Somewhere in Texas, the family Pachuca claims that a blob of bird poop on their truck windshield is an appearance by Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe (Our Lady of Guadalupe, for those of you who wouldn't know from Catholic, religion, or Spanish).
"I think we're going to just put it on a shelf outside, probably take off the mirror and keep it there cause its something special to us. I'm not going to wash it off," says Cristal Pachuca.
This craze has gone far enough, kids. Seeing Jeebus in a cheeto is one thing, seeing Dawg in a blob of bird poop — c'mon, lady, wash the fuckin' windshield awreddy, that is just too fuckin' gross, holy shit.

Nice to know we here at La Casa de Los Gatos are not the only ones feeling this way. La Guanabee agrees.


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Thursday, July 16, 2009

World: News Summary

What's going on with the 51st State? Apparently, our tax dollars are, once again, paying for more militarism, aggression, war crimes, and the like. The Israeli papers are a lot more upfront and honest about this than our worthless fishwrap and birdcage liners over here.

From an article about the Israeli actions in Gaza:
"Better hit an innocent than hesitate to target an enemy," is a typical description by one unidentified soldier of his understanding of instructions repeated at pre-invasion briefings and during the 22-day operation, from Dec. 27 to Jan. 18.

"If you're not sure, kill. Fire power was insane. We went in and the booms were just mad," says another. "The minute we got to our starting line, we simply began to fire at suspect places. In urban warfare, anyone is your enemy. No innocents."

The 112-page report by Breaking the Silence includes testimonies of 30 soldiers "who served in all sectors of the operation".
Firing at known noncombatants, or at least suspected noncombatants. Thanks to the tax dollars we need so badly to fix our own broken economy.

And what is this bullshit? Israeli warships and submarines schlepping the Suez Canal? Even as the rest of the world is working to bring Iran back into the fold of nuclear supervision? Why does the State of Israel always have to act like a fucking outlaw? And why do they get away with it?

Here we'd like to stress once again that the State of Israel is a criminal, an aggressor, and a bunch of other really bad shit, but that does not, and should not, reflect on the Israeli people, many of whom speak out bravely and call their government to account for its misdeeds. If we were not paying to support the military hawks, Israel would have a greater chance of allowing the doves to speak the truth, and abiding by international laws. The Israeli people, our brothers and sisters in this struggle, do not benefit from the militaristic attitudes of the State any more than the American people benefited from the war in Iraq.

Meanwhile, Spiegel reports "rioting in France" around Bastille Day, with more than 300 cars turned into nice fiery cindery little mementoes. Of course, you have to read most of the article to find the two pertinent facts underlying this explosion of, um, self-expression. FTA:
Violence on the eve of Bastille Day has become a tradition in France and an outlet for disaffected young men to express their anger at French unemployment rates and a failed integration policy for ethnic minorities.


The Bastille Day riots follow three nights of anarchy on the streets of Firminy near Lyon, as youths protested amid reports of a 21-year-old Algerian man dying in police custody on Wednesday July 8.


More protestors took to the streets of Paris on July 13, claiming police brutality against activist film director Joachim Gatti who lost his right eye on July 8 -- allegedly having been shot by a police flash-ball gun.
Just skimming the article would leave one with the self-righteous impression that the excitable French, especially those of the younger persuasion, were simply as mad as they had long been reputed to be. Rather than, for example, the fact that the State thinks imposing worse penalties on minorities who have long been left to languish in a second, and more insulting, colonialism is a solution to the valid rage and fury that results as they watch their compatriots murdered and injured by the very instruments of that State. Meanwhile, the little Janus, Sarkozy, celebrated with Manmohan Singh complete with Indian soldiers. India, have you anything to say about these riots?

Only a note from Africa today, from the Republic of the Congo, where Raw Story reports that 66-year-old Denis Sassou Nguesso, who has ruled virtually unopposed in the Congo for the past 30 years, has won the "peaceful, fair, and free" elections. That the elections were "peaceful," so far as such things go in Third World nations, there is little doubt. As to "fair, and free," we at this fine establishment would like to reserve judgment, if only temporarily. When half the population barely has enough to eat, one suspects they will vote for whoever promises or offers food, and leave niceties such as long-term stability, civil rights, mass education, public health, and anti-corruption drives out of the picture.

The Non-Aligned Movement is in summit this week, according to a report from Raw Story. The Movement includes 118 member countries from the developing world, including India, whose Jawaharlal Nehru was the primary impetus behind this association of developing nations, and Egypt, whose Gamel Abdel Nasser was one of the first to respond to Nehru's call.

The body will be seeking to establish better protection for its member nations against the type of global economic meltdown that recently occurred. Also under discussion is the perennial issue of the UN Security Council, which has for decades been dominated by certain nations. On a positive note, Indian and Pakistani representatives to the council will be trying to restart the recently stalled peace talks. Go for it, guys.

When and how will Pakistan dig itself out of the hideous situation in which it currently finds itself? It is, at least in embryo, a failed state. And, it has, as my friend, a VN Vet, says, THE BOMB.

From Russia, Raw Story is reporting the abduction and murder of internationally known human rights activist Natalya Estemirova. Ms. Estemirova worked for Memorial, a Russian NGO. She was shot dead in Ingushetia. Reuters has more information about Ms. Estemirova. FTA:
Estemirova has been at the forefront of efforts to investigate human rights violations and (has) work(ed) for accountability in Chechnya for more than 10 years. Her efforts brought criticism from the Chechen authorities, including the republic's president Ramzan Kadyrov. Forces under his command have been accused of multiple and repeated human rights abuses, including killings, torture, and disappearances, yet few perpetrators have been held to account in Russia. In more than 100 judgments to date, the European Court of Human Rights has found Russia responsible for grave human rights violations in Chechnya, highlighting the lack of accountability for such crimes.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev is reported to be outraged at the crime and has ordered a full investigation. This is more likely to yield results than a local government investigation in Chechnya, which is restive, therefore allowing such crimes to be carried out with impunity.

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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Turrrrrrrsm: How Many Lone Wolves

make a pack?

From MSNBC comes today's "lone wolf" story about yet another fucking demented rightard loony who just decided to off him a cop. To no one's great surprise, this fucking demented rightard loony, just like previous fucking demented rightard loonies, had a cache of bombs and other deadly devices, guns, and Nazi symbols. Law enforcement officials are currently investigating whether the fucking demented rightard loony, one Gilbert Ortez, Jr., has any ties to white supremacist groups.

Mr. Ortez' family are claiming that deputies illegally entered the home. Given that this took place in Texas, we at La Casa de Los Gatos will withhold judgment temporarily as to the exact degree of fucking demented rightard looniness involved here. OTOH, the entire fracas started because the water supply company sent a meter reader there to shut off the water for nonpayment of bills, and Mr. Ortez' "common-law wife," one Pamela Leggett, apparently decided to register her disapproval of this act by shooting at the meter reader. Whereupon the cops were called. And one of them tried to enter the trailer and was shot dead for his pains.

What argues most strongly in favour of the currently very late Mr. Ortez being a fucking demented rightard loony, however, is the vast quantity of munitions yielded by his premises. What the fuckin' fuckity-fuck in fuckellation does anybody need with over 100 bombs?

Here, we would like to make the following snarky aside: How come most "leftwing activists" or, if you prefer, "fucking demented leftard loonies," are, like, you know, some sandalista longhaired dudes and dudines with posters and buttons and signs saying things like "Peace Now," and "No More War," and shit like that, and the most grief they give you is, they're, like, stopping or slowing your morning commute or your desperate daily reconnaisance for that urgently needed Starbucks triple decaf soy mocha latte, or whatever that trendoid shit is? And the "lone wolf" rightwing dementards are usually, like, blowing the holy fuck out of the local cops or potentially wiping out the whole fuckin' trailer park, or killing some, like, nice smiley dude who makes a shitty wage opening doors at some local institute dedicated to the prevention of violence, or something?

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Religion: It Makes You Craaaaaazy

Gustav Doré, Paradise Lost

As fuckin' batshit crazy as a mother moose with quintuplets, and in heat. From FB friend Frank Bell (how appropriate is that?) comes this report about a fucking Christian minister who thinks his Imaginary SkyDaddy is some kind of holy hitman. You know, pray to him when you don't like somebody, and, poof! He puts teh Holy Stinkfinger on the unfortunate victim, who cooperatively curls up and dies. Or something like that. FTA:
Former Southern Baptist Convention officer Wiley Drake claimed on Fox News Radio that he is praying “imprecatory prayer” against Obama. In other words, he is praying for God to kill President Obama.

Drake said on “The Alan Colmes Show” that unless Obama repents, he is praying that God will kill the president. He believes that is what happened to slain abortion provider George Tiller. It worked on Tiller, why not the president?
Are you fucking kidding me, you fucking loon? What the fuckity-fucking-fuck in the name of all fuckaciousness is wrong with you, motherfucker? I know lots of Christians and they're all about "our religion is teh religion of peace," and all that, yaknow? I don't think they're gonna be too happy about you, Mr. GodIsMyHitMan, waggling your weenie in public about how you're all gonna lay teh H8 on anybody who doesn't do what your perverted fuckwitted old mind tells you is the right thing to do.

Jesus Fucking J.H. Christ and his Black brother Harry!

Denizens of La Casa de Los Gatos, having been subjected to at least two major religions as tender yoofs, find religion an altogether inadequate filter for the wondrousness of life. Nevertheless, we distinctly remember that religion was supposed to be "teh GOOD," yaknow, white hats, white suits, white wings, whatever. We don't recall hearing as how you were supposed to pray to God to KILL the people you disagree with. Why not just pray to God's purported Other Half, the Devil? Isn't it his, or her, business to be killing?

Fucking mendacious, pitiful loons. Hey, Drake! Go find yourself an adult female or male person who could tolerate or even like you, and rub your nubbins against theirs until you're all juicy and sweaty and deliriously happy. It's better for your nonexistent eternal soul, not to mention your happy bits. Oh, and furthermore, as Mr. Deity shows, God just erases those messages anyway:

I love Mr. Deity. Oh, and that's his son, by the way, with him. Cute kid.

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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Entertainment: Because You Need It

Cattitude from ICHC

Or I do. Online friend and acidly funny fellow-blogger Nunya from Politicky Bitch sums up the inner workings of the office:
What Makes 100%? What does it mean to give MORE than 100%? Ever wonder about those people who say they are giving more than 100%? We have all been to those meetings where someone wants you to give over 100%. How about achieving 103%? What makes up 100% in life?

Here's a little mathematical formula that might help you answer these questions:


is represented as:
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26.


8+1+18+4+23+15+18+11 = 98%


11+14+15+23+12+5+4+7+5 = 96%

But ,

1+20+20+9+20+21+4+5 = 100%


2+21+12+12+19+8+9+20 = 103%

AND, look how far ass kissing will take you.

1+19+19+11+9+19+19+9+14+7 = 118%

So, one can conclude with mathematical certainty, that While Hard work and Knowledge will get you close, and Attitude will get you there, its the Bullshit and Ass-kissing that will put you over the top.
Ain't that the truth.

More ICHC, of course

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Happy Bastille Day!

Prise de la Bastille, Jean Pierre Houel

Bastille Day is a national holiday in La Belle France! A tribute to the right of the people to protect their interests against those powers that choose to rule them in the most arbitrary fashion for the benefit, not of the people, but of said powers.

Here is more information on Bastille Day.

A little over one month after Bastille Day, the Declaration of The Rights of Man and of The Citizen was adopted by the National Constituent Assembly of the French Revolution. This declaration forms the basis of international human rights laws which govern us all (hopefully) till today. Sadly, as our previous post shows, they have not come into that universal acceptance that humanity really must achieve before Vogons show up and blow us up for being such a dreadful species — no, wait, the Vogons are much worse. OK, let's assume that the Universe contains SOME form of intelligent life. Now, imagine them casting a jaundiced, at best, eyeball upon our planet. Whad'ya think? Will they let us live?

My money's on "No." Let's keep working on changing their minds, though!

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World: No Regrets?

No, it's not the Billie Holliday song. It's what's happening in the trials of the Khmer Rouge criminals right now.

Prisoner at Tuol Sleng, Pol Pot's notorious S-21 prison

No, my knowledge of Kampuchean history is not great. I know something about the early history of the Khmer and other peoples of that part of Southeast Asia, the Funanese empire, the Dong Son bronzes, but almost nothing about their modern history, except that my parents greatly respected and admired Prince Norodom Sihanouk.

I am about to begin my historical explorations of that deeply wretched nation.

However, today's report from Reuters does not bode well for my virtual travels thereto. According to Reuters, one Mam Nay, aka Chan, who served for a time as an interrogator under Pol Pot's head jailor, Duch (real name Kaing Guek Eav) testified in court today that he has no regrets for
what happened at the Tuol Sleng prison, where more than 14,000 men, women and children were killed, [...].
Tuol Sleng, also known as S-21, is the infamous prison referred to in "The Killing Fields."

No regrets for this, Mr. Chan? Or Mam Nay, if you prefer?

Tortured Prisoner, one of 6,000 photographs left behind when Khmer Rouge jailors evicted Tuol Sleng prison in advance of invading VietNamese troops

Mam Nay, who is appearing as a witness for the prosecution in the joint Kampuchean-UN war crimes trials, has denied any part in torture or killings of prisoners and blamed the United States and Vietnam for undermining his country.
"My only regret was our country was invaded," he told the joint Cambodian-U.N. tribunal. "Frankly speaking, the Americans invaded us then Vietnam invaded us. That is my regret."


"I did not use torture in my interrogation. I believed I would not get a true confession."

Asked about the deaths of innocent people, Nay, 76, said: "None of them was innocent -- those people committed offences, either minor or serious.

"This was the reason for their arrest. How serious or how minor, I don't know."
Note: This guy was a schoolteacher. Maybe he was a brainwashed cadre turned schoolteacher. But how do you become a schoolteacher if you cannot empathize with frightened children? And some of the 14-20,000 imprisoned at Tuol Sleng were children. Ony six people survived that prison. The remaining 13,994 — or 19,994, no one really knows — died as a result of torture.

There is no denying that the US bombing of Kampuchea and various associated military actions led to the rise of the Khmer Rouge. But who thought they would be so inhumane as to kill between 1 and 3 million of their own people? Between the U.S. bombing and the NVA attempts to escape U.S. military actions by slipping over the border into Kampuchean territory, evicting Kampucheans, and training members of the Khmer Rouge, Kampuchea's attempts at neutrality and Sihanouk's heroic efforts in that direction were virtually worthless. Here is a brief background on these aspects of Kampuchean history.

Mam Nay, or Mr. Chan, or whatever you call yourself, should a "minor" offense warrant waterboarding? Or, as Americans and other Westerners used to refer to it, "Chinese" or "Japanese" water torture?

Picture taken by Jonah Blank in 2005 at the Tuol Sleng Museum. Published on the Web by David Corn.*

Oh, well. I guess now that it's come to light that we waterboarded mentally ill or innocent or possibly innocent people ourselves, repeatedly, I guess we're in no position to quibble about anyone else's crimes.

Ain't torture egalitarian?

*See here for copyright/licensing information on this picture.

Incidentally, the still-adored ex-partner made a trip to those parts some years ago, and opined that "the whole place seemed haunted. It was like going to a ghost town. Even the people's faces look haunted." The ex is a tough businessperson who has had plenty of occasion to mock and deride my own claims of sensitivity and queasiness and unexplained oojie-woojies, so to hear those words from such a person, well. Virtual trips to Kampuchea is all I'm up to for now.

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Monday, July 13, 2009

Science: The Large Hadron Collider

in RAP! Talk about making physics cool:

Science is sexy, science is fun. Rock your science out to Higgs bosons and Higgs fields, matter and antimatter!

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Politics: Right-wing Terrorists

OMG WTF, where do they FIND these guys? Raw Story is reporting that one Wayne Simmons, a "pro-assassination CIA analyst," (fortunately now retired from the CIA) called Dick "Dick" Cheney:
“one of the most honorable men on the planet”
who would never break the law.

Are you fucking kidding me? Dick "Satan-spawn" Cheney, who has repeatedly lied to Congress, the President of the United States (his boss), and probably deity itself at this point? What the fuckin' fuck does this guy mean by honorable? A lying chickenshit chickenhawk who had "other priorities" keeping him out of the Vietnam War (five, count 'em, FIVE fucking deferments), but had no problem sending soldiers to die in a pre-emptive war in Iraq? The son-of-a-syphilitic-turtle dropped out of college as soon as he had spawned the sprog required to keep him from shedding his precious blood in foreign wars, but had no shame — none — about sending other people's sons and daughters to get killed, maimed, and permanently injured.

This is "honorable?" What dicionary is this motherfucker using?

A story in the New York Times this past weekend, corroborated by the Washington Times on Monday, said that Cheney was aware of a secret CIA program that had been kept hidden from Congress for more than six years, and was part of the decision process to keep it from Congress — something that, if true, would be a violation of federal law.

Simmons told Fox News, “For anyone to think that Vice-President Dick Cheney would do anything illegal is nothing more than political grandstanding.”
You know, here Dick is openly and blatantly busted for violating federal law, i.e., committing a crime. And this brain-infected moron actually has the chutzpah to sit in front of a mike and say that the founding member of the Chickenhawk Brigade would never do anything illegal? Bud, is the sky blue on your planet, or is it some other colour?

Oh, wait, look, the scumsucking puke had this to write in a letter to the NYT:
“Suggesting that we intentionally misled the American people for partisan political purposes or some quid pro quo personal gain is an unconscionable attack on our honor and long service to this nation, [...].”
This, of course, was in response to an article in said paper that had exposed the fact that certain elements of the government and its agencies had "intentionally misled the American people for partisan political purposes or some quid pro quo personal gain."

I wonder if Simmons EVER served in the military? Or is he a member of the 82nd Chairborne? It seems one of the biggest problems with the military-industrial complex that Eisenhower warned against is the fact that so many "military analysts" and theoreticians never actually had to serve on the ground.

Perhaps that's why they misunderstand the meaning of common terms such as "honourable" and "illegal." Perhaps that's why they have lied and continue to lie to us about virtually everything.

I'm about to embark on some serious reading about the Vietnam War. The only way to stop war is to understand it — its roots, its beginnings, its place in the history of our individual and collective lives. We must stop people like this from poisoning the well of common discourse. If this country is to be saved intact with its honourable Constitutional roots, we must all work together, Republicans and Democrats, Liberals and Libertarians.

We cannot pretend that a government that is supposed to be "of, by, and for the people" is best served by those who would lie to us and kill our children. There is no honour in lying a trusting people into giving up their children's lives and saddling their grandchildren with debt just so that some very nasty, creepy old men can live with riches beyond what they can ever use.

Image from the Houston Press

While KBR — remember KBR? An "offshoot" of Halliburton, the company that Dick "Dick" Cheney helmed, and ran into the ground fiscally until he rescued it with no-bid contracts after finding himself the best possible candidate for VP? — was electrocuting the military in Iraq with substandard facilities and poisoning them with substandard food and water, it was using our tax dollars to buy — and throw away — people, as well as machinery, in the great swindle that we've been taught to call "Operation Enduring Freedom," or, more accurately, "This fucking hideous unprovoked war in Iraq."

That last link is to a Rolling Stone story about an ex-military man who went to Iraq as a civilian contractor and got seriously fucked up, so if you have a sensitive stomach, you might not care to read it. Alternatively, if you're, like, contemplating eating or anything like that, don't click any of the links about the poisoned food and water. I think I just gave up eating permanently. Jesus, what vomitous little shitbags like Dick Cheney and Wayne Simmons have done, and are doing to the military is enough to make you puke blood.

Those of you who are into that kind of thing might wish to let Faux Noise know that you don't approve of Mr. Simmons' somewhat cavalier interpretations of polysyllabi like "honour" and "illegal," and such. It appears words of one syllable are more his speed. Mr. Simmons also believes in assassinating foreign leaders. Something tells me the Founding Fathers would have happily given him a trial for such undemocratic beliefs, which would have surely led to a justified firsthand experience of execution, since they did not believe in assassination. What a walking enema!!

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Teh Funny!

Alright, alla youse who are always complaining that the denizens of La Casa de Los Gatos swear too much? Swearing is just like analgesics, only more satisfying, sez MSNBC citing an article in NeuroReport. How'dja like them apples?

Fuck it, I say. I always fuckin' knew that. And in my experience, nothing controls the pain like a good long string of expletives, and the more languages you can say "fuck" in, the better you'll feel after, say, getting your knee replaced.

As our good friend sgtg, Associate Terrorist Nun, might say, "Fuckity-fuckin' FUCK FUCK FUCK!" As far as I know, a relatively painfree life is lived in the SGTG household. No doubt thanks to the frequent invocation of these analgesic charms.

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Politics: Goodbye To The Old

Fart leftover from Nixon's times, Pat Buchanan, who is now "joking" about murdering Levi Johnston, according to Raw Story.


And before you complain that Raw Story lacks the supposed gravitas of the Wah!Poo (Washington Post, also known as The Public Whore of DC) or the New York Times, they have the video of UnKKKle Pat actually saying it, so put a sock in it, peeps.

Who'd'a thunk the Internet would've changed the world to the point where lying shills and political whores could get caught everytime they lie? Anyway, UnKKKle Pat is hoping:
“Well, first, with regard to Levi, I think First Dude up there in Alaska, Todd Palin, ought to take Levi down to the creek and hold his head underwater until the thrashing stops,” Buchanan quipped.
Uh, first off, that is NOT a quip. A "quip," as defined by the dictionary, is "A clever, witty remark often prompted by the occasion." Does anyone out there see anything "clever" or "witty" in calling for the murder of a teenaged boy? Especially after we've had repeated incidents over the past months of lunatics who listen to the likes of UnKKKle Pat, and the Faux Noise combine going out there to shoot police officers, museum guards, and doctors? Anybody? Clever? Witty? I thought not.

Hey Pat, I thought you were a big believer in Fambly Valyoos? You do realize, don't you, that killing Levi Johnston would leave Bristol Palin's little son, Blob, or Plop, or whatever its name is, without a father? I may not think much of Levi Johnston, a highschool dropout with little education or, for that matter, intelligence, but at least he shows interest in the fruit of his loins, and even (pew!) changes its diapers. Ask any mother how difficult it is to get childcare for a child still in diapers, and you'll realize right quick that Levi is worth SOMEthing at least to Bristol and Poop, if no one else.

Yaknow, if someone on the liberal side of the spectrum started making jokes about holding SSairy Failin's head underwater till the thrashing stopped, the entire rightwingnutters of America would be screaming like scalded baboons for a month.

But they're too busy calling our President's 11-year-old daughter a "whore" right now to pay attention to anything nasty said by their own goon squads, I guess.

When does "free speech" cross the borderline into "hate speech"?

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Sunday, July 12, 2009

The Opposite of Peace Is — War?

Been reading a lot about World War II lately. My father fought in that war. He lost the hearing on one side thanks to shrapnel that perforated his eardrum. He lost many of his friends. He nearly lost his life.

But my reason for reading is both greater and lesser than a desire to know a little piece of my father's history: I am writing a novel set in that period.

And today, I came across something that encapsulates very nicely the malaise that the reading of the past several weeks has engendered in me. FTA:
WAR is a racket. It always has been.

It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives.

A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of the people. Only a small "inside" group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many. Out of war a few people make huge fortunes.

In the World War [I] a mere handful garnered the profits of the conflict. At least 21,000 new millionaires and billionaires were made in the United States during the World War. That many admitted their huge blood gains in their income tax returns. How many other war millionaires falsified their tax returns no one knows.

How many of these war millionaires shouldered a rifle? How many of them dug a trench? How many of them knew what it meant to go hungry in a rat-infested dug-out? How many of them spent sleepless, frightened nights, ducking shells and shrapnel and machine gun bullets? How many of them parried a bayonet thrust of an enemy? How many of them were wounded or killed in battle?

Out of war nations acquire additional territory, if they are victorious. They just take it. This newly acquired territory promptly is exploited by the few – the selfsame few who wrung dollars out of blood in the war. The general public shoulders the bill.

And what is this bill?

This bill renders a horrible accounting. Newly placed gravestones. Mangled bodies. Shattered minds. Broken hearts and homes. Economic instability. Depression and all its attendant miseries. Back-breaking taxation for generations and generations.

Maj. Gen. Smedley D. Butler, War Is A Racket
While Japanese farmers, office workers, and civilians were restricted to the grayest of lives by the sumptuary laws enforced before and during WW II, while Japanese intellectuals trembled under the heavy hand of the thought police and suffered torture by the Kempeitai, while Chinese peasants starved and their children were forcibly inducted into the military to fight against superior armies and lose their lives for a pittance, the wealthy crooks who engineered these wars became wealthier still. Come rain or shine, they continued to find ways to profit from the vast human suffering.

George W. Bush paid for the war in Iraq by borrowing billions of dollars from the Chinese. Now your grandchildren will have to repay that debt. I hear some people say Obama is creating a huge debt by borrowing additional monies to stimulate the economy. Unfortunately, the hole that Bush left has to be patched before everything else leaks out of it. And the only way to patch that hole is to stimulate the economy into spending.

People forget that the U.S. economy runs on consumer spending. Before George Dumbya left office, the Iraq war had already cost us three TRILLION dollars. We are bringing our troops back now, but that costs money too. Then there's the issue of reintegrating them into the smashed civilian economy. All the while, the war profiteers like Dick "Dick" Cheney sit back on their seats and bwa-ha-haaa themselves into something like an orgasm. I wish it were an organism. Something intestinal and painful and lengthy.

How many kids have lost their parents in this war? Iraqi kids? Somewhere between one and five million? American kids? Somewhere between three and ten thousand? Nobody really knows. In 2004, when the total casualty figures were around 2,000, Scripps stated that 900 American children had lost a parent to the war. However, the casualty toll has doubled since then, and most of the soldiers in this war have been professional military and reservists, which means they tend to be older, married, and have more children.

How many kids are getting back parents who are not the people they used to be? Broken in body or mind or both? How many kids have to grow up really fast, to become caretakers to their parents instead of being children any more? Smedley Butler was right. War IS a racket.

Blackwater mercenaries made two to three times the salaries of military men for the same work. No-bid government contracts made a lot of people very rich. The wholesale plunder of Iraqi oil made other people (or sometimes the same people) very rich. To us, the taxpayers, is left the broken mess, the debris, the tortured, the cripple, the lame, the halt, the blind, the miserable, people who are still fighting the war in their heads, crying themselves to sleep or drinking or drugging to forget. And they are living among us as are their suffering parents and spouses and children.

The dividends of peace are happy human lives. However, these do not represent adequate profits to those whose greed drives them to profit above all else. And to achieve those profits they will willingly sacrifice every last man, woman, and child of us upon an altar of blood.

Crossposted over at The Peace Tree.

La Casa de Los Gatos apologizes for the dearth of recent posts. A bout of illness laid us low, and having had our first meal today in nearly a week, we can safely say we now have energy to start blogging again. To think that a little food can make so much difference ...

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Saturday, July 04, 2009


Yeah, yeah, it's ICHC

And here in the fire zone, the grass and weeds have already turned brown despite a long, wet spring. Fortunately, it's not as hot this year as it was last year. Nevertheless, it's time to put on the shorts and the old sun hat and venture downstairs for another day of weeding. We leave you to determine how much pain this day's adventure will cost. Fuck me blind, when you haven't used your muscles for over a year, they find new and innovative ways to let you know that fact.

A joyous Independence Day to all! The Declaration of Independence belongs to this day, and herewith a brief excerpt to remind us all of why we celebrate this day:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.
"To effect their safety and happiness ... ." Wouldn't those words lend themselves to the interpretation that a government that does not provide health care for its citizens should be rejected in favour of one that can and does?

La Casa de Los Gatos apologizes for the desultory blogging of that issue, and begs its friends and readers to understand that recent health problems make one unable to brain sufficiently to say something intelligent and useful on the topic, wherefore it is better to say nothing at all than to irritate by one's stupidity. We urge our fellow hoominz to continue pushing for Universal Health Care - a public option that will safeguard the health of nearly fifty million of our fellow Americans who are currently without any health care at all, and who, being placed in this position by us all, constitute a greater threat to the public safety of all of us in case of an epidemic than the expenditure of tax monies in providing them with health care possibly could.

Remember, you Republican nutcases and "small-government" yobbos — in the face of a raging epidemic, it's too late to vaccinate. Precautionary measures must be taken before the fact, not in response to it. New and increasingly deadly epidemics are moving swiftly among us, thanks to global warming and increasing urbanization. Better to spend the money now if need be than regret the loss of one's loved ones after the fact.

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Friday, July 03, 2009

Politics: Sarah Palin

Image from ClarkBlog

is stepping down as the Governor of Alaska.

I know what you're thinking, cos that's what I'm thinking: WTF has she done now? Is National Enquirer about to reveal the facts of the sleazy affair she had with her husband's business partner? Or is Mark Sanford about to reveal that she was one of the women that he "crossed the line" with? Or is an indictment coming down?

Who knows? All I can say is, Whoo-hoo! Now, if she'd only resign from teh Hoomin Race, with which she has, really, nothing in common.

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