Sunday, August 31, 2008


(This is a guest post by The Engineer Of Knowlege)

In the depression era of the 1930’s, economically depressed women would work at night in local music dance halls. For “ten cents a dance,” a man could dance with a woman of his choice for as long as the song lasted occasionally copping a feel during the dance. The more women allowed these men liberties with their roaming hands, the more men danced with them and the women made more money they desperately needed to survive. Women would tolerate this degradation because they needed the money to survive during these hard life years.

Well John McCain has found an oil industry “Taxi Dancer” to pimp off; someone willing to let the oil industry cop a feel for as long as the song lasts because she needs their money for her continued financial political employment. Yes Sarah Palin is pro-actively willing to allow the oil industry their liberties in Alaska for not much more than “ten cents a dance.” John McCain has chosen someone to mouth off the extreme right’s message of giving the oil industry every off-shore drilling site rites, global warming is not happening, and women don’t have the right to be responsible for their own bodies, etc. Sarah now is voicing the exact same message to be applied to the whole nation.

These are issues that John McCain did not even believe in himself through out his whole political carrier! John McCain cannot tout this message because there is too much documentation proof showing how much he would be willing to lie now to win this election. So put the experienced “Taxi Dancer” Sarah Palin out in the middle of the dance floor under the shinny, mirrored ball fragmenting light of truth so no one will really look very deeply at the oil industry cartel’s message being passed off as Republican values.

Even though both Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin are women, Sarah’s oil industries’ “cop a feel” message is everything that Hillary Clinton fought against during her election. Yes Sarah Palin was chosen to play to what they think of as the disgruntled Hillary Clinton supporters and to the extreme conservative religious right who likes to rewrite our own U.S. history. Those who like to make the claim that all of our founding fathers thought as they do today. Nothing could be more inaccurate as to the truth. Our founding fathers were part of the “Age of Enlightenment” and followers of visionaries like Voltaire.

One of my favorite quotes of Thomas Jefferson is, “Merchants have no country. The mere spot they stand on does not constitute so strong an attachment as that from which they draw their gains.”

Even T. Boone Pickens, someone who made his $44 billion in personal wealth in the oil industry, is now using his own money to buy ads getting the important message out that this is the wrong continued direction and will surely drive the U. S. into a economically third world country.

Today, the oil industry is really just interested in processing the paperwork giving them the all oil rites to off-shore sites. Without investing another dime to develop these sites, the oil industry can then sell these rites to foreign interests at a large profit. Of course Sarah Palin’s oil industries script will be, “That we need these oil rite sites awarded to the oil industry to make the U.S. energy independent.”

So in closing, if you like what you see in Sarah Palin, pay your “ten cents a dance,” and “cop a feel for as long as the song lasts,” because the poor soul really needs the money to just get by!

illustration by microdot

Meanwhile Back At Reality Ranch....

As the nation focuses on Sen. John McCain's choice of running mate, President Bush has quietly moved to expand the reach of presidential power by ensuring that America remains in a state of permanent war.

Buried in a recent proposal by the Administration is a sentence that has received scant attention -- and was buried itself in the very newspaper that exposed it Saturday. It is an affirmation that the United States remains at war with al Qaeda, the Taliban and "associated organizations."

Part of a proposal for Guantanamo Bay legal detainees, the provision before Congress seeks to “acknowledge again and explicitly that this nation remains engaged in an armed conflict with Al Qaeda, the Taliban, and associated organizations, who have already proclaimed themselves at war with us and who are dedicated to the slaughter of Americans.”

The New York Times' page 8 placement of the article in its Saturday edition seems to downplay its importance. Such a re-affirmation of war carries broad legal implications that could imperil Americans' civil liberties and the rights of foreign nationals for decades to come.

It was under the guise of war that President Bush claimed a legal mandate for his warrantless wiretapping program, giving the National Security Agency power to intercept calls Americans made abroad. More of this program has emerged in recent years, and it includes the surveillance of Americans' information and exchanges online.

"War powers" have also given President Bush cover to hold Americans without habeas corpus -- detainment without explanation or charge. Jose Padilla, a Chicago resident arrested in 2002, was held without trial for five years before being convicted of conspiring to kill individuals abroad and provide support for terrorism.

But his arrest was made with proclamations that Padilla had plans to build a "dirty bomb." He was never convicted of this charge. Padilla's legal team also claimed that during his time in military custody -- the four years he was held without charge -- he was tortured with sensory deprivation, sleep deprivation, forced stress positions and injected with drugs.

Times reporter Eric Lichtblau notes that the measure is the latest step that the Administration has taken to "make permanent" key aspects of its "long war" against terrorism. Congress recently passed a much-maligned bill giving telecommunications companies retroactive immunity for their participation in what constitutional experts see as an illegal or borderline-illegal surveillance program, and is considering efforts to give the FBI more power in their investigative techniques.

"It is uncertain whether Congress will take the administration up on its request," Lichtblau writes. "Some Republicans have already embraced the idea, with Representative Lamar Smith of Texas, the ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee, introducing a measure almost identical to the administration’s proposal. 'Since 9/11,' Mr. Smith said, 'we have been at war with an unconventional enemy whose primary goal is to kill innocent Americans.'"

If enough Republicans come aboard, Democrats may struggle to defeat the provision. Despite holding majorities in the House and Senate, they have failed to beat back some of President Bush's purported "security" measures, such as the telecom immunity bill.

Bush's open-ended permanent war language worries his critics. They say it could provide indefinite, if hazy, legal justification for any number of activities -- including detention of terrorists suspects at bases like Guantanamo Bay (where for years the Administration would not even release the names of those being held), and the NSA's warantless wiretapping program.

Lichtblau co-wrote the Times article revealing the Administration's eavesdropping program along with fellow reporter James Risen.

He notes that Bush's language "recalls a resolution, known as the Authorization for Use of Military Force, passed by Congress on Sept. 14, 2001... [which] authorized the president to 'use all necessary and appropriate force' against those responsible for the Sept. 11 attacks to prevent future strikes. That authorization, still in effect, was initially viewed by many members of Congress who voted for it as the go-ahead for the administration to invade Afghanistan and overthrow the Taliban, which had given sanctuary to Mr. bin Laden."

"But the military authorization became the secret legal basis for some of the administration’s most controversial legal tactics, including the wiretapping program, and that still gnaws at some members of Congress," he adds.

(This article is reprinted from THE RAW STORY)

Help Wanted....

Security and intelligence expert Dr. R.J. Hillhouse reports at her “Spy Who Billed Me” blog that Blackwater has issued a shout-out for armed security officers for possible deployment under their DHS contract in the wake of Hurricane Gustav. Officers must have a firearms license - and those with revolver- only status need not apply. She reproduces this call for personell from Blackwater themselves, issued late Friday:

Blackwater is compiling a list of qualified security personnel for possible deployment into areas affected by Hurricane Gustav. Applicants must meet all items listed under the respective Officer posting and be US citizens. Contract length is TBD.

Law Enforcement Officers (all criteria must apply)

1. Current sworn [may be full time, part time or reserve]

2. With arrest powers

3. Armed status (must indicate Armed and/or Semi Auto. Revolver only not accepted) expiration must be greater than 60 days out

4. Departmental credentials (not just a badge)

Armed Security Officers (all criteria must apply)Only from the following states: OR, WA, CA, NV, NM, AZ, TX, FL, GA, SC, NC, VA, MD, IL, OK.

1. Current/active/licensed/registered armed security officer

2. All training verification [unarmed and armed certificates of completion]

3. Current state issued face card indicting armed status [expiration must be greater than 60 days out]

Last time out, during Katrina, Blackwater mercenaries were patrolling New Orleans in full battle dress and with assault weapons in what some called an end-run around Posse Comitatus. It looks like they’re ready to do it again. If so, let’s hope there’s none of the kind of “accidents” they’ve had in Iraq

Saturday, August 30, 2008

To Tell The Truth

We have just been introduced to Sarah Palin. The gushing attempts by the Republican Pundits to sell her to the American people extol her honesty and christian morality.
This tale which I am going to unfold here may seem to be pure muckraking, but it is a tale of twisted morality and the attempt to deny reality. It is the story of a big lie.

On March 6th of this year, Governor Sarah Palin announced to an amazed public that she was pregnant with her 5th child. What was amazing to her collegues was that she said she was 7 months along and no one around the petite ex beauty queen had any idea. There was no outward sign.

She went about her daily routine without a change. She even continued jogging.
On April 18th, she was in Texas for a Republican Governors Convention and was to deliver a keynote speech on energy policy. At 4 am, Sarahh reported that she was beginning to go into labor. Instead of checking into a hospital, she called her doctor in Alaska and went on to make her keynote speech later that day.

After the speech, she boarded a 8 hour flight from Dallas to Alaska with a stop over in Seattle. She informed no one on the Airline that she was in labor. Usually a woman whose pregnancy is as far along as Sarah claimed to be is not allowed to fly without a doctors letter. The airline employees all said that the governor was very pleasant and didn't show any signs of distress.

When the plain landed, Sarah did not check into a modern medical facility in Anchorage, but instead went to the small Mat-su Regional Medical Center, right outside of the small town of Wasilla, which she was once mayor of.
There she allegedly gave birth to Trig Palin, one month prematurely. Trig was diagnosed with Downs Syndrome.
She returned to a full work schedule 2 days later.

Why did she choose to deliver in a small poorly equipped clinic where she had numerous contacts? Why did she wait almost 20 hours after she reported her water broke to go into a hospital?

The answer is, Sarah Palin was not pregnant!
Her 16 year old daughter was!

Allegedly, Bristol Palin was out of High School for 8 months with "mono".
The State of Alaska has removed photos of Bristol during this period. The picture here is one of the family from this period and it's very obvious that Bristol is not just trying to hide baby fat.

People like to think the vetting process is secure, and completed months ahead of time, but ABC News has reported otherwise, painting a picture of a quick vetting process for Sarah by a small, but secretive group of McCain's legal staff. A proper vetting process under those circumstances would only go so far, and the true media vetting process has just begun.

It doesn't come as a surprise that this story was never properly researched. Palin was never on the National scene for more than a few minutes at a time, and local reporting only goes so far on a governor with an 80% approval rating. However, the motivation to cover daughter's pregnancy aligns with her political standings. She valiantly did not perform an abortion, but fell into the fundamentalist way of thinking, and covered up for the elicit (but natural) action's of her daughter.

There could be calls below to delete this information. Calls that this type of information is muckraking and 'below us'. The truth is not below any progressive, nor any citizen of the world that is one heartbeat away from having Palin as leader of the free world. We simply ask that she be forthright, honest, and not waste our time with such juvenile games that anyone with eyes can see as fabrication.

Bristol Palin rightfully should be able to embrace her child in public as her own, with no shame, and no quarter. And a mother should be just as accepting.

Friday, August 29, 2008


Duhhh, Brain, what are we going to do tonight?
The same thing we try to do every night,Pinky!
Duhhh, and what is that, Brain?

Note to Ms. Paulin, here is what a vice president does, please take notes as there will be a test:

1. Leaves undisclosed location for the White House.

2. Tells the President what to do.

3. Orders Chief of Staff to obstruct a series of investigations.

4. Snarls a few times.

5. Returns to undisclosed location.

John McCain turned 72 today and look what he gave us for his birthday....
The State of Alaska Legislature just voted $100,000 to fund an independant special investigator regarding an ongoing possible ethical violation involving Sarah.
It seems she is accused of firing the State Public Safety Commisioner because he is involved in a messy divorce with her sister. She denied it, but the order did come from her office.
And she is a freakin' global warming denier...She is an expert on foreign affairs according to FOX News....ooops, I meant FOX OPINION! After all, Alaska is right across the Bering Strait from RUSSIA! O MY GAWD! A HEART BEAT AWAY FROM THE PRESIDENCY!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Fungi Timelapse

So Cool! Time lapse videos of fungus. The slime molds are fascinating and the stinkhorns are almost obscene, but if you are interested in this phenomena, this is a very well done little video with a great sound track.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Ah Cain't Quit 'Choo....

Coming Attraction,The Republican National Convention!
Riveting, Heartbreakingly Sordid and Just A Little Too Uncomfortable Too Be Real!

Ain't That Peculiar...

Marvin Gaye, 1965, one of the great songs from the Golden Age of Motown by one of the greatest soul singers of all time. This is a lyp synched TV appearance and the bouffant finger snappin' blonds reach for immortality here!
I found myself singing this at the top of my lungs going full tilt down hill on my bike today, so I just had to find it on YouTube!It's the perfect song for this week....

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


All cheese seems to have it's season and now is the time to enjoy Morbier. That's right, Morbier is the cheese of the month! I have seen it in the United States, but it isn't wasy to find and it's not always available.
It is a rich soft elastic whole cows milk cheese produced in the Jura Region and originated in the village of the same name around 1795. The color of the cheese is very pale ivory/yellow and has very little odor. It should have many very small holes through out.
It is most noted for the black stripe of charcoal that runs through the center of the cheese. The charcoal is tasteless and today serves no real purpose except to pay homage to the history of this cheese.
The cheeses were produced on small remote farms. The forms were rather large and in the same region as Comte, which is a much harder cheese.
The Morbier moulds required quite a bit of milk and the farmers would only be able to make enough curd to partially fill the mould in the evening. To keep the layer clean, they would sprinkle fine ash from the cauldron fire that the milk was curdles in. The mould was then finished with the milk from the next morning. the black ash line became the signature of the cheese, much as the five reed leaf wrappers identify a Livarot.
Morbier has the flavor of cream, it also has the aroma of hay. There is no sweetness, but a hint of hazelnut with a bite. It melts well and in the Doub and the Jura, the cheese is used in potato dishes.
It is also served in small ramekins covered with bread crumbs and broiled as an appetizer.
I find it a well flavored, but not strong cheese that marries well with simple red wines.
I have been told that it is good with dry whites as well.......
I have a very nice piece from our local cheese dealer in Objat that seems to be at its peak.........

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Remote Control Death

The most under reported story of the last few days seems to be the disputed casualty figures from a NATO Coalition airstrike in Azizabad village in the Herat region of Afghanistan on August 22. The Americans reported that they had killed 30 Taleban militants, the figure was said to include 5 women and children.
The Afghan Government and Nato is now admitting that 89 civilians, perhaps more were killed in an aerial bombardment. Most of the victims were children.

The Americans were said to be acting in the belief that they were bombing a meeting of the Taleban Commander, Mullah Siddiq. The gathering was actually a funeral.
Of course this has caused a lot of turmoil in the Karzai government, who have to deal with the fall out from the never ending massacres of Afghani civilians who are so often the targets of these raids.
Many sources admit that these incidents are part of the reason that the Taleban seems to be actually gaining in strength and recruitment.

A little discussed fact is the nature of the bombing operations by the United States Air Force in Afghanistan. Afghanistan has become the testing grounds for a new kind of warfare. The bombing is done by pilotless drones, the MQ-9 Reapers, which can stay airborn for up to 14 hours. The high tech Air Force operation is run by the 174th Fighter Wing. The drones are flown from bases in Afghanistan and Pakistan, but the controlling is from operators at Creech Airforce base in Nevada!

The operators are running the bombing operations as if they were very advanced video gaming. It is a surreal experience to be so disassociated from the action. The operator is over half a world away in an air conditioned facility. There is no reason to feel the least bit of connection with the destruction and death in this situation. This surreal situation creates a sythentic psychotic personality. It trivializes the idea of war.
Death is dealt out impersonally, on order, a set of coordinates.
One good thing about the Cold War. We lived with the reality of nuclear anniliation and it worked as a deterrent. It was very easy to accept the idea that war was not a very good way for intelligent humans to settle their problems, but with all these smart, impersonal fun game type weapons, war seems to be a very good carreer move for a young man who has spent a lifetime sitting at a video consol playing games......

Saturday, August 23, 2008


Ronald Fournier is the acting Washington bureau chief for Associated Press (AP). He formerly served as the AP's chief political writer and subsequently as "online political editor".
Mr. Fournier is a huge fan of Karl Rove and the Bush administration and considered taking a job with the McCain campaign so when he stepped up to the plate for the GOP candidate this morning, it came as little surprise. The headline of his article says it all:

Analysis: Biden pick shows lack of confidence

DENVER - The candidate of change went with the status quo.

In picking Sen. Joe Biden to be his running mate, Barack Obama sought to shore up his weakness - inexperience in office and on foreign policy - rather than underscore his strength as a new-generation candidate defying political conventions.

He picked a 35-year veteran of the Senate - the ultimate insider - rather than a candidate from outside Washington, such as Govs. Tim Kaine of Virginia or Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas; or from outside his party, such as Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska; or from outside the mostly white male club of vice presidential candidates. Hillary Rodham Clinton didn’t even make his short list. Read on…

As if it were written by Rove himself and it begs the question - with the cloud of suspicion over Fournier’s head, why did AP run with him? The Associated Press has a real problem on their hands. They can no longer be seen as an objective news outlet and Fournier is slipping easily into the role of poster child for media corruption and failure. He may not have taken an official job with the McCain campaign, but he sure doesn’t mind donating his time and international platform to him.

Maybe you should contact the Associated Press … Kathleen Carroll (Fournier’s boss) at or (212) 621-1500. Be POLITE, but be FIRM. Let them know that you don’t want to see them serve as stenographers and amplifiers for pure spin by the McCain campaign.

Today, Aug. 24, has announced a campaign to have AP address this problem.
Tell AP That either they are a News Organization or an Opinion Organition. This seriously damages their credibility on any political subject they report on.

And Now For The Next Question....

Yes, ahem, the next question...
So Senator McCain, how many times have you cheated on your wives?
You...gasp...can't remember?

Again, congratulations to the Jed Report for the great video!

Friday, August 22, 2008


The small planes engine sputtered fitfully as it arced lazily through the dull
grey chilly mist that had settled over Lower Manhattan all morning.
People scuttled along 14th Street looking up at the small object in the kind of annoyed fear you would feel with the buzzing of a wasp in a room.
The local news had interrupted the morning programming with yet another special breaking news announcement of a yet another "unidentified terrorist" threat. This was the fourth such incident in the last week. The rumors were going around that this particular new series of incidents were just another bit of theater staged by the Homeland Security Public Relations Strategy Committee to keep the level of terrorism alertness up in a bored public. The rumor was that the planes, which were invariably shot down over the harbour or over the razed uninhabited acres of The Bronx, were being flown by desparate young people who had been rounded up in the latest Surge On Poverty. They had been told that their families would have a sure fire ticket out of the detention camps if they sacrificed themselves for a good show to keep the citizens on their toes.
The Surge on Poverty, the very idea gave Marvin a headache as he walked on down the Street, through crowds of pedestrians all, like him, trying to look anonymous and not too conspicuously poor. No one knew what the guidelines were anymore.
It had started with the Surge on Inner City Crime...
Three years into the first term of President McCain and hundreds of square miles of America's blighted inner cities had been leveled. The initial Surge on Crime had sparked an Urban Guerilla movement and using the techniques which had prolonged the War in Iraq, a door to door campaign of searches in the designated areas had provoked organized and violent resistance. This had all been made legal and approved by the new improved "Classic" Patriot Act '09.
It was with a heavy heart that President McCain declared another State of Emergency and ordered the areas cleared and razed. They were "depressing" he had said.
America didn't need to have its morale destroyed by the cycle of poverty.
There would be camps, happy places where people could learn how to live productive happy lives and almost daily, there were "feel good" features on the news broadcasts of people in the camps putting on talent shows and making interesting things out of recycled tires.
Marvin saw the plane circle around again, sputter and then start to slowly, gracefully with increasing speed head out over the East River. There was a small explosion as it was hit by a missle operated by the River Defense Unit. A cloud of smoke and the pieces all fell into the East River.
He felt a litttle reassured, but still, the thing that really was worrying him was the reports of young people becoming suicide bombs. The government reports tried to play up the terrorist connections and use it to fuel the fear that there were many terrorist training cells in our midsts.
A fifteen year old girl was stopped as she was about to detonate herself in a Mall in Pennsylvania. She had escaped from a Cindy McCain Drug Treatment Facility.
The only statement she made that was released by the press was an incoherent rant about "If you had to eat lime green jello with cottage cheese everyday and listen to that fucking non stop ABBA music...WHAT WOULD YOU DO?"

Monday, August 18, 2008

Stop Me, If You've Heard This One Before...

Along with other prisoners, he worked in the fields day after day, in rain and sun, during summer and winter. His life appeared to be nothing more than backbreaking labor and slow starvation. The intense suffering reduced him to a state of despair.

On one particular day, the hopelessness of his situation became too much for him. He saw no reason to continue his struggle, no reason to keep on living. His life made no difference in the world. So he gave up.

Leaving his shovel on the ground, he slowly walked to a crude bench and sat down. He knew that at any moment a guard would order him to stand up, and when he failed to respond, the guard would beat him to death, probably with his own shovel. He had seen it happen to other prisoners.

As he waited, head down, he felt a presence. Slowly he looked up and saw a skinny old prisoner squat down beside him. The man said nothing. Instead, he used a stick to trace in the dirt the sign of the Cross. The man then got back up and returned to his work.

As Solzhenitsyn stared at the Cross drawn in the dirt his entire perspective changed. He knew he was only one man against the all-powerful Soviet empire. Yet he knew there was something greater than the evil he saw in the prison camp, something greater than the Soviet Union. He knew that hope for all people was represented by that simple Cross. Through the power of the Cross, anything was possible.

Solzhenitsyn slowly rose to his feet, picked up his shovel, and went back to work. Outwardly, nothing had changed. Inside, he had received hope.

This is a 1993 translation of a passage from The Gulalg Archipelago by Alexander Solzhenitsyn.

It bears more than a passing resemblance to the teary eyed tale John McCain told at Rick Warrens Evangelical Conference on Saturday. CNN reported it like this:

"McCain got teary-eyed while discussing an experience with a guard during his experience as a prisoner of war in Vietnam. The guard, McCain said, drew a cross in the sand while he was praying on Christmas Day. "For a minute there, we were just two Christians worshipping together."

In fact,McCain even told it in the Christmas ad in the video, last year.

But McCain's ad doesn't even jibe with the story he told Saturday night - notice the stick drawing the cross. Here's how McCain told the tale last night.

"Iw was Christmas Day, we were allowed to stand outside of our cell for a few minutes, and those days we were not allowed to see or communicate with each other although we certainly did. I was standing outside for my few minutes, outside my cell. He came walking up. He stood there for a minute and with his sandal on the dirt in the courtyard he drew a cross and he stood there, and a minute later, he rubbed it out and walked away. For a minute there, there was just two christians worshipping together."

Stick or sandal, Senator? This is the Packers-Steelers story all over again, with the added twist of stealing a story from a dead Russian.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Hallelulah, We're Saved, Just Destroy Everything!

Remember this face, you are staring into the gaping maw of true aggressively arrogant ignorance.
This is Rep. Bill Sali (R-ID), who is participating in the GOP’s ongoing “Drill Now” energy stunt, has a unique idea about how to bring down gas prices: extracting oil from trees. In a meeting in his Capitol Hill office, Sali reportedly told a candidate for Idaho’s House of Representatives, Byron Yankey, that there “‘could be up to 40 barrels of oil‘ in a single tree.” Yankey wrote on his campaign blog:

Congressman Sali informed us that a solution to the high price of gasoline was to make petroleum from “all those trees in our forests.” … He continued by saying there “could be up to 40 barrels of oil” in a single tree.

Sali made a similar comment in 2006:

“Forty percent of the mass of every tree in the forest is crude oil,” he said. Going after that, he said, “could put Idaho in the oil business for the first time.”

Sali is apparently confusing cellulosic ethanol with oil, so let’s review the differences for the representative:

– Cellulosic ethanol is a renewable fuel “derived from the stalks and stems of plants.” Sali voted against cellulosic ethanol tax credits.

– Oil is a nonrenewable fuel found in the ground. Sali received $35,000 in campaign contributions from oil and gas companies since January 2007.

Sali is prone to making outlandish statements. Last summer, he claimed that religious diversity in Congress was not “envisioned by the Founding Fathers.”

Friday, August 15, 2008

More George

On Tuesday night, I saw the entire Consert For Bengladesh Movie on the ARTE Network here in France. I hadn't seen it since it was released in 1970 and I forgot what a great performance it was. One thing I always remembered though, was George Harrisons passionate performance of the song, Bengladesh. He wrote great complex pop music.
Another highlight of the movie tthat I had completely forgotten was Bob Dylans solo set. You saw the power of his personality and the passion that marked his work. It was remarkable as well for the fact that he performed songs in a solo accousttic setting that he had not performed for a few years and would never perform again.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Blogiversity Countdown Celebration

That's what this is! Thebrainpolice Blogiversity Party Couuntdown Celebration and you are invited! In just a few short hours, thebrainpolice blog will be 2 years old! I've made some great friends and lost a few. I've gotten some nice words and intelligent comments and stupid threats and trolls from the bowels of dumbfuckistan, a strange, phlegm colored obese and flabby land that seems to exist in various forms all over the planet...
It's been a real learning experience. I have decided that the internet is an external lobe of my brain, if only it could help me remember where I put my keys....
I am indulging myself and I hope someone will watch all 10 minutes of theis video.
It is the Mahavishnu Orchestra playing live in 1972. Truly great music by great musicians. I don't think it ever got more pure than this.
John McGlaughlin on guitar, Billy Cobham on drums, Rick Laird on Bass, Jerry Goodwin on violin and Jan Hammer on assorted keyboards...........

Music and Diplomacy

Condoleeza Rice flies to Paris and Tblisi today to try to pick up the pieces
of the shattered influence of America after the Russian Invasion of Georgia.
Help me, please, I'm trying to recall one real diplomatic success Miss Rice
has had in her carreer. She supposedly is a specialist on Russia and the Soviet Union.
The manipulation of the American foreign policy in Georgia triggered the debacle which is still unfolding.
If her much touted talents as a concert pianist were on the same level as
her much touted talents as a diplomat, a Condi Rice Concert would
certainly include the piano catching on fire, blowing up and taking out at least half the audience!

The Nasty Vile Truth Goes Viral!

This is the ad the Obama campaign would never run, but it is on the level of the nasty crap the McCain Campaign spews every day. The difference between the McCain nasty anti Obama Crap and this nasty anti McCain Crap? This stuff is all based on facts and is true!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The Real Villians

On April 17, 2008, John McCain had a conversation via telephone with the President of Georgia, Mikail Shaakashvili at the request of The McCain Campaign foreign policy advisor, Randy Scheunemann. That was the very day that Scheunemanns lobbying group, Orion Stategies had inked a 200,000 dollar deal with the Georgians to continue promoting their interests regarding United States policy.
I have already questioned the ethical propriety of this relationship. I have already questioned the ability of the McCain Campaign to make decisions in America's best interests when enmeshed in lobbying money and interests that influence those guiding his policies. I believe this alone raises grave issues regarding his judgement in general.

We know the timeline of the development of this conflict and some sort of event was inevitable given the personal animosity that exists between Shaakashvili and Vladimir Putin. The biggesst question here is, What on Earth gave Shaakashvili the idea he could attack South Ossetia without setting in motion the events which would bring disaster on himself and his country?

For me, the red flag went up the day of the invasion, May 8th when a Georgian Official speaking on CNN made the emotional plea for help and personally mentioned John McCain. On Monday, on the French Political News Discussion Program, C'est Dans L'Air, the leader of the Georgian opposition was a guest and mentioned that 2 weeks ago, Condoleeza Rice was in Georgia and had told the Georgians that any provocation to the Russians could be a big card in disfavor of their NATO candidacy.

What made the Georgian Military think they were invincible enough to go ahead and attack the Russian enclaves in South Ossetia? Who knows what their original plan was.
A quick operation, seizing cities? What ever their plan was, it got out of hand and we know now that the soldiers went on a rampage of destruction and violence against a civilian population. The fleeing civilians were shelled on the high way.

A “surprise.” My, oh, my.Except I don’t believe it. As easy as it is to believe that the CIA, etc., blew another huge event, I find it impossible to accept that not one of the 127 Pentagon advisors in Georgia, including Special Forces and intelligence contractors, were clueless about Tblisi’s intent — and preparations — to move into South Ossetia.That just doesn’t pass the laugh test.On July 15, for starters, amid rising tension between Moscow and Tblisi over South Ossetia, some 1,200 U.S. troops launched a three-week long joint military exercise with Georgian troops. Three weeks later, on the night of Aug. 7, “coinciding with the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics, Georgian President Saakashvili ordered an all-out military attack on Tskhinvali, the capital of South Ossetia.”It is simply inconceivable that the Pentagon wasn’t wired to the helmets of Georgian troops, despite the denials of U.S. military officials.

The Americans did help, all right, they helped prolong the false hopes of the Georgian Military by assisting in the airlift of the 2000 Georgian soldiers fighting in Iraq back to Georgia, but that was the end of involvement and George Bush sat, bored, toying with an American flag in the stands at the Peking Olympics.

Scheunemann's 'policy' was to get the Georgians ginned up on the idea that we were their close military allies and that we'd come to their rescue if their brinksmanship with the Russians went bad. Well, that didn't work out very well. Any situation where you start the shooting and then find yourself begging for a ceasefire within 48 hours is a major blunder. He's not an 'expert' on Georgia; he's the lead guy on the policy that got us into this situation. And the fact that John McCain would make him his chief policy advisor after he's been the conductor on so many trainwrecks should tell us all we need to know about Sen. McCain's foreign policy judgment.

If the Georgians want to punish the real villians in this debacle, they should look no further than their deluded President and his cabal of American Neo Con advisors who made the mistake of thinking John McCain made American foreign policy. The Georgian People were used and abandoned in a game of brinkmanship that only exposed the impotence of America in Eastern Europe. Now, Russia has made its powerplay and shown its hand. Georgia will probably lose some territory because of this and it will never be a member of NATO. I think they should ask Mr. Scheunemann for their $200,000 back.

One Picture..... worth a thousand words.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


I think that today or tomorrow is the actual 2 year blogiversary of this blog, thebrainpolice. I always wish I could do better, but it is a constant learning process.
To calm down, I am posting an instrumental track from one of my all time favorite records. It is the instrumental soundtrack to a movie released in 1968 called Wonderwall. The music was composed by George Harrison and is probably one of the most creative things he ever did, and that really is saying a lot. There is some more stuff on YouTube as well as a few sequences from the movie, which was quite "psychedelic" and starred Jane Birkin.
This is a calm peaceful interlude and you probably have never heard it before.
...uhhh, I just checked blogger and the blogiversary is actually August 14....
Maybe I find some party favors!

Monday, August 11, 2008

On The Ground In South Ossetia

I have been watching the confused and wildly varying attrempts at information control on American Media about the situation in South Ossetia and Georgia.
The American media has gone to great legnths to portray the Georgians as the unwitting vvictims of Russian aggression. They have also down played the actual death toll in the initial attack by the Georgians which triggered the Russian response.
The fact that the Georgian military was conducting "war games" at the time in South Ossetia with 128 American Military advisors has not been commented on.

I published a piece on John McCains top Foreign policy advisor, Randy Scheunemann who has been the top lobbyist for the Georgian government promoting their interests and candidacy for NATO. He also represents a consortium of Western Energy concerns working to secure access to the Black Sea oil.
I published a time line which attempted to give a history of Russia/Georgian relations in a historical perspective starting in the 19th century.
I recieved a number of posts and video links from people on the ground in South Ossetia who provided actual accounts of the action as it occurred. The stories are horrendous.
The video is an interview with an American tourist who was there as the violence unfolded.
Two posts which I recieved are printed below:

People of the world. You deceive! World mass media conduct propagation of a false information. Russia DID NOT ATTACK Georgia! 07.08.2008 at 22:00 Georgia has attacked South Ossetia. At 3:30 08.08.2008 tanks of the Georgian armies have entered into city Tskhinvali. Artillery bombardment all the day long proceeded, fights with use of tanks and heavy combat material, both against ossetic armies, and against peace inhabitants were conducted. 2000 civil people already were lost. The Russian peacemakers have arrived to South Ossetia in the evening 08.08.2008 for settlement of the conflict and prompting of the world in republic and protection of the Russian citizens living on territory of South Ossetia. Georgia has attacked South Ossetia on eve of Olympiad, it is top of cruelty and cynicism. Proofs and video-materials look on:

Hello I am in Russia, where I'm now with my friends. Thanks God, all mine are alive and none wounded. Russian bombers were over Gori yesterday and day before yesterday, but they didn't target civilian objects. The pictures you see on TV from there are showing only two damaged houses, which were hit by the gunshells exploded on the Georgian military base, which was attacked by Russians in fact. There are several people injured and 2 killed in these houses, but that was not by bombs directly. What Saakashvilly says about hundreds of civilians dead or injured is not correct. Maybe he is reported so, but in fact most of the injured and killed were at military base in that moment. Some of them were not military, but servicing that base, which is supporting Georgian troops in Tskhinvally.
How did this really happen(from the witnesses in Gori and Tskhinvally):

August 7, late night:
Two brigades about 6,500 soldiers (infantry and tanks) with American trainers, and with support of ground missles and artillery started the attack of Tskhinvally. Later in the morning, the air strikes added to this. All of them had an order to "clean out the separatists from the region by the evening of 08/08 Friday latest". What I think, it was a plan to finish it during the Olympics openening, so that in the next morning they could report a "victory over separatist in one day", and none of the media would be interested in how it was done, as most of the world was watching Olympics show in Bejing. I think that was arranged and planned with help of Mrs.Rice, who visited Georgia just some weeks ago.
August 8, morning: Half of Tskhinvally ruined, most of buildings are under fire. Nobody evacuated. Bodies of men, women and children are on the streets (I have seen the videos, which no Western channels show) Southern part of the city is under Georgian troops control. 500 russian peacekeepers and not shooting as they possibly have no order from Moscow. Georgians are shooting everyone they see, including peacekeepers and children on the streets. I tried calling my cousine there, but she declined my calls several times, later sent a text: "We can't speak in the basements, as they through granades to the houses and basements once they hear a phone call or talk". Later, when she came to Vladikavlaz,Russia, she described awful and freightening scenes of Georgian shooting children and women, firing them, raping little girls after killing their mothers etc. It was a true nightmare in real!!! They were also attacked on the way to the Russian border. No wounded could be evacuated that day. I can't believe that this can happen in the country of Democracy and Freedom which Georgia reports to be... Are such things a part of Western Democracy values??? If so, we don't need it at all... Take it back with this sick president of Georgia. He studied in American university well, now we have no doubts in it. I saw a video one the one site taken by American soldier in the battle with his comments, so pls don't say that americans are not involved(I can send URl if you need)

August 8, about 14:00:
After reporting of nearly 1500 people killed and some of them are Russian citizens and peacekeepers, Russian troops enter the South Osetia through the Roki tunnel. Meanwhile in Tskhinvally two Georgian brigades are separated by Osetian defence troops(small, poorly equiped, but well organized) and Georgia with all their missles and numerous tanks can not take the small city, only 6 km(4 miles) long.

August, 9
After another night of fighting, Georgians still killing all the people which they can find in the ruined city, no matter military or civilians. They destroyed the only hospital, university and bakery. No food, no water, no help to the people there. Snipers are killing old people on the streets, who are slow and easy targeted. Russians take the nothern part of city, but still heavy fights and many Russian tanks are burning. Several aircrafts are shot down, seems that Georgian, but in Georgia reported to be Russian. Georgian TV says to the whole country that Tshinvally is under controlf of Georgian troops and the operation will soon be over. Russian TV shows the real picture from the battle field. It seems that many soldiers killed, but there are still many heavy fights.
Later Saakashvilly starts to blame "Russian Invaders, who attacked small Georgia".
Then I see him on many western channes, they also show ruined Tskhinvally streets, BUT SAYING THAT THESE ARE STREETS OF GEORGIAN TOWNS, AFTER RUSSIAN BOMBINGS, but these are OSETIAN streets, after GEORGIAN BOMBINGS and attacks. There are cars with russian numbers, russian signs and what is more important: russian soldiers, walking peacefully in"Georgian bombed towns". Do you think this is possible???

August 10: Tskhinvally is cleaned from Georgian troops (they always retreat when meet some resistance, this happened same 16 years ago and before). Saakashvilly says that he wants peace.
He difinitely wants now, after no forces left to attack. The mission complete! He is a victim of Russian bear(Medvedev is coming from word "bear" in russian... Everybody in the world is indignant by Russia bombing "poor little Georgia" with military budget of US$ 1 billion of American money during last year... But nobody remembers that they started killing women and children on last Thursday night, when everybody were asleep peacefully in their beds. Nobody knows that they has opened water pipe system to drown the rest of the poor people still hiding in the basements of Tskhinvally from the continuing missle and artillery attacks. This is how he want's peace. New wonderful and touchy show arranged by America.

To tell the truth, I blame all the journalists and media shareholders for this campaign. I understand that some of you must pay mortgage and loans and have to do everything to keep your job, but what you show to the world makes you an accomplice of all these numerous brutal murders, and all these raped and killed children and women will be your jury in Holy Court. If you believe in God, I beg you to stop lying about this tragedy... This is a big sin for your soul!! You are people, but not the beasts as those soldiers!!! So please stop helping all these bastards by supporting them in mass media, when you don't have even a common understanding of what really happend!!!

Is Cokie Roberts "On Something"?

How else could you explain this?
I just saw this and couldn't resist posting it.
Is this brain damage posing as discussion? Are Americans really this stupid?
Well? Don't just sit there drooling! Are they?

Poor little John McCain, he'll just have to wake up tomorrow and try to remember which of his fucking eight luxury homes he's in. The Horror, the horror.................

Warning Sign

Here's a video from 1977 or 78 of the coolest uncool band ever. The Talking Heads live in Berkely performing the uncomfortably snappy song, Warning Sign!
Somehow entirely fitting and appropriate.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Georgia/Russia Timeline

I thought this might be helpful in an attempt to understand the conflict in Georgia.

The United States can only stand by powerless to intervene, except by their "harsh criricism". Bush was treated like a genial fool by Putin at the Olympics and when French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who is also the present President of the European Union, tried to rebuke Putin at the games, Putin publicly bitch slapped the pompous little punk hyper president, who again, through his own personal vanity and inflated sense of self importance, squandered and further weakened the illusion of Frances influence.

This is a conflict which need not to have occurred and was only fueled by the meddling of the west:

1801: Russian empire swallows up a large area of modern-day Georgia

1864: Abkhazia annexed by Russian empire

1918: Georgia declares independence

1921: Red Army invades and Georgia becomes a Soviet socialist republic. Abkhazia is named an autonomous Soviet socialist republic

1931: Stalin orders Abkhazia incorporated into the Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic

1989: About 20 Georgian pro-independence activists killed by Soviet troops in Tbilisi. Georgians and Ossetians clash over demands for greater autonomy for South Ossetia

1990: Zviad Gamsakhurdia, a nationalist politician, takes power in Georgia

1991: Georgian people vote overwhelmingly for independence in a referendum. Georgia leaves Soviet Union

1991: Gamsakhurdia elected president of Georgia

1992: Fighting breaks out in Tbilisi between government and opposition troops. Gamsakhurdia deposed and Eduard Shevardnadze takes power. Separatist troops in Abkhazia engage Georgian forces

1993: Georgian troops driven out of Abkhazia after fierce fighting

1994: Ceasefire signed between Tbilisi and Abkhaz separatists. Russian peacekeepers begin to patrol the disputed region

2001: Georgia and Abkhazia sign an agreement against the use of force in their dispute, but series of skirmishes later in the year

2003: Peaceful "Rose Revolution" leads to Shevardnadze's removal


January: Mikheail Saakashvili wins presidential elections. Result not recognised by the autonomous southwestern area of Ajaria, whose leader Aslan Abashidze reacts by destroying a series of bridges connecting the area to the rest of Georgia. Saakashvili orders Abashidze to disarm his forces or face removal. Abashidze resigns

May: Tbilisi refuses to recognise parliamentary elections held by South Ossetia. Tensions rise after Georgian troops take part in anti-smuggling manoeuvres in the disputed area

August: Series of clashes between Georgian and South Ossetian soldiers. Abkhazia also holds elections, which are again unrecognised by Tbilisi

2005: South Ossetia rejects a Georgian offer of autonomy within Georgia. Saakashvili tells Abkhazia that no similar offer will be considered unless Georgian refugees are allowed to resettle in their former homes


January: Main pipeline delivering Russian gas to Georgia damaged by an explosion on the Russian side of the border. Saakashvili blames Moscow and later accepts gas from Iran

February: Georgian parliament votes unanimously for international peacekeepers to replace Russian forces in South Ossetia

March: Georgia announces compensation package for displaced people who lost their property during the South Ossetia crisis

May: Georgian and Abkhaz officials hold the first meeting of the UN-chaired joint co-ordinating council in Tbilisi since 2001. During the meeting, the Abkhaz side hands a new peace plan to Georgian side. Georgians submit their own Abkhaz peace plan to parliament

June: International donor conference in Brussels pledges $12.6m towards rebuilding infrastructure in the Georgian-Ossetian conflict zone and adjacent areas

November: South Ossetia holds referendum intended to reaffirm independence from Georgia. The West calls the vote illegal, but Russia says it should be respected


March: Abkhazia holds parliamentary election, again condemned by Tbilisi as illegal. The results of the poll are inconclusive, electing only 18 members of the 35-seat parliament


April: Abkhazian and Georgian troops come close to war

July: Heightened tension between Georgia and Russia, with several explosions in Abkhazia. US warns Russia against stoking tensions in breakaway regions

August 1: Heavy fighting breaks out in South Ossetia, killing six people and injuring seven.

August 3: Hundreds of women and children are evacuated across the border to Russia

August 8: Georgian tanks launch an attack on Tskhinvali, the capital of South Ossetia, killing at least 15 people.


Everything you need to know about off shore drilling in just a few seconds.....

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Excuse Me, Sir, But Are You Wagging My Dog?

Yesterday, Russia sent troops into the breakaway region of Georgia, South Ossetia, after Georgian troops tried to enter a "pro Russian" enclave. This triggered the response on which Georgian troops shot down Russian planes and triggered the Russians to invade as a "peace keeping force". The Russians claim the Georgians were engaging in ethnic cleansing and had killed up to 2000 Russian supporting Ossetians.
In the ensuing hours, the Georgian government delcared a state of war...tantamount to martial law as the Russians struck the suburbs of the capitol. The Russians claim that they are going to enforce peace. Georgia, an ally of the United States, has called back all of its 2000 troops from Iraq.
One strange event was the voice of a Georgian goverment minister being interviewed on CNN claiming that the Georgian Governments actions had the support of John McCain.

Strange, at first, until you look at McCains chief foreign policy advisor. A fellow by the name of Randy Scheunemann. A high profile advisor of a presidential candidate on the most important issues of world political relations and a high profile lobbyist, one of the heads of an influential firm, Orion Strategies.

This is the same firm, which recently made headlines in the influence for bucks scandal, selling contact with the Bush Administration, The President, in exchange for donations to the Bush Library. Mr. Scheunemann himself was connected with this but the charges have not gone beyond the appearance of impropriety.

Mr. Scheunemann, however, has been a paid lobbyist working for the Georgian Government and has taken strong pro-Georgian and anti-Russian positions.
He is a paid lobbyist for the Republic of Georgia, working to lobby John McCain and a paid advisor of John McCain, working as his foreign policy advisor, at the same time!

Also, freelance journalist Lindsay Beyerstein reported last month that Scheunemann serves as Worldwide Strategic Energy’s (WSE) point man on Georgia, helping the energy firm score deals with the Georgian government to assist in the development of its “hydrocarbon industry.” From a WSE internal document obtained by Beyerstein:

Randy Scheunemann is a registered representative of the Government of Georgia in the United States. Accordingly, Mr. Scheunemann has developed a very close relationship with President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili and many senior Georgian officials. The WSE team has also begun negotiating possible deals with the Georgian state-run oil company, National Oil Company of Georgia, to assist in the development of Georgia’s hydrocarbon industry.

So what then does Scheunemann do on Georgia’s behalf? He tries to get U.S. politicians on-board with Georgia’s full membership into NATO. In fact, he has had success with at least one Member of Congress, Sen. John McCain:

In 2005, Mr. Scheunemann asked Sen. McCain to introduce a Senate resolution expressing support for peace in the Russia-influenced region of South Ossetia that wants to break away from Georgia, the records show. […] The Senate approved Sen. McCain’s resolution in December 2005.

Sen. McCain has endorsed Georgia’s goal of entering NATO, a matter for which the country hired Mr. Scheunemann to lobby. In 2006, Sen. McCain gave a speech at the Munich Conference on Security in Germany in which he said Georgia should enter NATO.

According to Beyerstein, WSE’s internal document “was circulated to prospective investors in 2007,” and as USA Today noted, Scheunemann did not stop lobbying on behalf of Georgia until March 2008, but “he remains a principal at his lobbying firm, which still has Georgia as a client.” In fact, Scheunemann “had a phone conversation in November [2007] about Georgia with Richard Fontaine, an aide in McCain’s Senate office.”

Helping a U.S. energy firm secure lucrative contracts with the Georgian government while lobbying American politicians for the former Soviet Republic’s NATO membership?

This information makes it pretty easy to conclude that Georgia embarked on its tragically mistaken course with the fantasy that they were "connected" and NATO would magically come to their rescue and pull their buns out of the fire.

It will pretty interesting to see how John McCain reacts to this, after the dust settles and the pieces are rearranged. The Georgian Republic has been in disarray since the break up of the Soviet Union. The South Ossitian Region has been autonomous for 10 years, but they are oil rich. The Georgians are being armed by the American ally, their neighbor, The Ukraine. There is much more to the involvement of World Strategic Energy which we will go into in later posts. Dick Cheney is a major player here and this is all part of their strategy of influence in the former Soviet Republics bordering the Oil Rich Black Sea.

One thing is certain, The Georgians sorely miscalculated when they thought that their actions would trigger a face to face intervention by the Americans, NATO and Russia. The most they can hope for is a return to the status quo after the tragic loss of a few thousand civilian lives. How will John McCain try to wag our dog with this one?

Friday, August 08, 2008


I have been in love with Carla Bley since the early 1970's. I actually met her once and my facile glibness totally vanished and I was a stuttering fool. She came to New york in the 60's and worked as a cigarette girl at the Blue Note in the Village where she married the pianist Paul Bley. She was already composing and after her divorce from Paul, she formed the Jazz Composers Orchestra with Michael Mantler which also became an outlet for the distribution of independant Jazz records, The New Music Distribution Service.
The Jazz Composers Orchestra became a grand project which allowed composers to realize grand orchestral projects. Carla's master opus from the period was the indescribable piece, Escalator Over The Hill, released as a three record set with great performances by John McGlaughlin, Jack Bruce and Linda Rondstadt and a host of great Jazz players.
I mention Jack Bruce and Linda Ronstadt because they have a few vocal duets that are chillingly beautiful. Jack also plays bass, of course.
Later, Carla went on to form the Carla Bley Big Band which still exists today as this video is evidence! She has composed many jazz standards and is still on the forefront of puushing the boundaries of the music. She now livces in upstate New York with her present husband of quite a few years, the great bassist, Steve Swallow.
The piece is BLUNT OBJECT
the musicians are:
Carla Bley : Claviers
Mike Mantler : Claviers
Tony Dagradi : Sax Tenor
Steve Slagle : Sax Alto
Earl Mc Intyre : Trombone/Tuba
Ray Anderson : Trombone
John Clarke : Cor
Steve Swallow : Electric Bass
Victor Lewis : Drums

Thursday, August 07, 2008


Over the week end, John McCain gave a speech calling for a SURGE on
inner city crime. Yesterday in Ohio, he gave a speech calling for an Economic SURGE!
He has based most of his campaign on the concept of the SURGE!
After Paris Hilton called him "A Wrinkly Old Dude With White Hair"
He realized that he just wasn't getting his message across to the youth of America.
In an attempt to repackage his SURGE message in the hipster lingo of todays ville,
Johnny & Cindy are beginning their cross country tour to win over the minds and hearts of the youngsters.
This is their first CD, a ground breaking collection of politically relevant "message"
songs tailored for a generation hungry for new ideas!
The groovy duo's hits include the snappy numbers, The SURGE Goes On,
Bang, Bang, I Bombed Iran, the golden oldie, Bomb, Bomb, Bomb Iran
as well as their memorable whacky smash #1 hit,
I Got SURGE, Babe.
C'mon kids! Everybody doin' THE SURGE with
Johnny & Cindy, making musical history at a record store near you.

Lookin' For A Kiss

New York Dolls, 1973 on The Old Grey Whistle Test. This is from a recent compilation program so forgive the chatty text strips. 1973, I was sick of rock music, everything on the radio sucked. All I wanted to do was listen to Jazz, Blues and Reggae...then I saw this very strange record in the bins and put it on my turntable and immediately had a PERSONALITY CRISIS!
The New York Dolls, in so many ways, one of the most influential groups ever. Sloppy as shit never sounded so good!

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

In Search Of: The Real John McCain Episode #2

In the first part of this investigation, In Search Of: The Real John McCain, I touched on his early days in the senate and his admission of guilt in the Keating 5 Scandal and how he used it to propel himself into the nations conciousness as a "Straight Shooter".
I have chosen not to talk about his real record in the Armed Services or his personal life, though a brief recount of his divorce would be in order. While he was a prisoner of war in North Vietnam, his first wife, Carol was the victim of a tragic auto accident which left her inches shorter and in desparate need of rehabilitation.
The once statuesque blond was a short physically disfigured and disabled woman when John McCain returned home. While he wass in North Vietnam, Texas Oil Billionaire, H. Ross Perot personally undertook the expenses for Carols medical care and built the McCain family a new house designed for the disabled Carol.

John soon felt disatisfaction with his life with a crippled wife. He began to have affairs and met Cindy Lou Hensley, the heir to the Hensley & Co., the biggest beer distributor in America. She was and is worth millions.
His first wife, Carol described the utter surprise and shock she felt when she was informed that John wanted a divorce. She did not contest the divorce and took a settlement of $1625 a month.

I cannot comment on "affairs of the heart" and remain even handed in an editorial sense. I will only quote H. Ross Perot who said that John McCain was one of the vainest and cruelly selfish men he had ever met.

McCain pretty much disappeared from view in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s – the Dems controlled the Senate, the Cold War (his signature issue) was winding down and the Defense budget (his primary source of legislative goodies to dispense) was being cut. The big issues back then were the budget deficit and the economy, and McCain’s never been able to conceal the fact that he doesn’t give a rat’s ass about either of them.

The only real publicity I recall McCain getting during that time was over the "issue" (if that’s the right word) of missing POWs in Vietnam. McCain, the POW movement’s former poster boy, suddenly became McCain, Hanoi’s best good buddy on Capitol Hill. The media, which thought the POW activists were a bunch of kooks, gladly gave him an free pass on that particular flip and flop. The activists, who remembered that McCain had been sympathetic, or even a full-fledged supporter, up until about his first Senate race, were much less charitable – the diehards still hate his guts. (That the Obama campaign hasn’t reached out to them the way Rove reached out to the anti-Kerry Swiftboat cranks in 2004 tells you all you need to know about the Democrats’ nice-guys-finish-last syndrome.)

In any case, McCain didn’t register in my political consciousness again until 1999, when he, somewhat improbably, decided to run for president. Everyone in Washington knew the GOP skids had already been greased for Bush (first for Jeb, who flamed out in his first run for governor, and then for Shrub.)McCain’s media bandwagon wasn’t nearly as big and noisy as it later became. In a crowded field -- which also included Dan Quayle, Orrin Hatch, Lamar Alexander, Liddy Dole, John Kasich, Gary Bauer and Alan Keynes (the salt and pepper of American religious nutjobbery)-- McCain didn't exactly stand head and shoulders above the pack.

The rest of the story is more familiar: As the outsider, one of a number of outsiders, running against the GOP establishment favorite, McCain desperately needed – and knew he needed – independents and Democrats to turn out for him in the primaries where they were allowed to do so. But his record and his positions on most issues defined him as a fairly conventional GOP conservative – what’s more, one whose primary passion, national security hawkishness, was way out of fashion. So, McCain and his political advisors used his personal biography (not least his post-Keaton Five contrition) to fashion a new political persona that would appeal to independents and/or moderates: McCain 2.0. To demonstrate his bona fides, he even took a totally gratuitous (if entirely accurate) public shot at the religious right, defining them as "the agents of intolerance."

It worked well initially -- well enough to put the fear into Karl Rove and George W. Bush, not to mention the entire GOP establishment. But conservative, hardcore Republican South Carolina turned into the make-or-break primary state, and McCain’s supposed appeal to veterans turned out to be much less tangible than the Bush machine’s tight connections to the fundamentalist Taliban. So suddenly John McCain, the supposed straight talker, was ducking and weaving around the perennially important issue of whether the Confederate flag should continue to wave over the cradle of the Civil War.

He lost anyway, of course -- but here again, as during the Keating Five scandal, McCain managed to make political vice look like virtue, at least in the media’s eyes. In late April, he gave a speech announcing he’d been wrong not to denounce the Stars and Bars. "I chose to compromise my principles," he confessed, and "broke my promise to always tell the truth" in order to win in South Carolina.

"I do not intend for this apology to help me evade criticism for my failure," the noble McCain nobly added. "I will be criticized by all sides for my late act of contrition. I accept all of it, I deserve it."

Once again, the hearts of supposedly hard-hearted reporters melted like butter – not withstanding the obvious fact that McCain had saved his road-to-Damascus moment until after the votes were cast in South Carolina and after Bush had effectively nailed down the nomination. (McCain’s flips and flops on racial issues, such as his forth and back and forth on making MLK’s birthday a federal holiday, are worth a post just in themselves.)

Like Achilles, McCain largely withdrew to his tent for the 2000 general election campaign – sulking after his defeat, it was said; although, in hindsight, hedging his bets might be a more accurate description. But after the Florida debacle, with the Cheney Administration off to a rocky start and Shrub looking like a possible one-term failed nominal president, McCain re-emerged to re-define himself legislatively as a "maverick" Republican -- opposing tax cuts, slamming the tobacco lobby, embracing campaign finance reform, etc.

But then 9/11 reshuffled the political cards once again. With Bush transformed into the GOP's Maximum Leader, McCain reinvented himself AGAIN as a loyal foot soldier in the war on terrorism -- but managed to keep just enough daylight between himself and the Cheney Administration (on the conduct of the war in Iraq, the use of torture, etc.) to give himself an out if thing went South.

In the summer of 2004, when it looked like Bush might actually lose, McCain played footsie under the table with John Kerry, briefly considering a spot on the Democratic ticket. But when he saw what a lousy candidate Kerry was (and how effective the Rovian Swiftboat machine could be) he quickly switched gears and hit the campaign trail with Bush.

In 2005 and early 2006, as things DID go south in a big way for Shrub, McCain stepped up his public criticisms -- but at the same time moved behind the scenes to reassure the GOP party establishment (particularly the religious fundamentalist wing) that he could be team player. He even went down to Lynchburg and kissed the ring of Jerry Falwell (a.k.a. the "agent of intolerance.)

In public and his private media love sessions, McCain spoke out against torture (with the inevitable reference to those POW horrors he doesn’t like to talk about even while he’s talking about them.) Privately, he worked with the Cheney Administration on a compromise that would shift all torture-related program activities to the CIA and absolve everybody involved of any legal culpability. Publicly, he moved to distance himself from his GOP colleagues and their pork barrel ways (grandstanding all the way). But that didn’t stop him from campaigning for some of the worst offenders in the fall, collecting political chits he knew he would need for his second presidential run.

After the congressional elections resulted in a Democratic House and Senate, McCain must have realized that if the Democrats and the Jim Baker wing of the GOP succeeded in liquidating the Iraq fiasco forthwith, his political and foreign policy reputation would be left in shreds. So he backed the "surge" – but again, left himself a later out, if necessary, by publicly questioning whether a gang as incompetent as the Cheney Administration would be able to see it through.

Now, finally, all that hard work and twisting and turning have paid off, and McCain IS the GOP establishment candidate. In April, as Clinton and Obama were tearing into each other (or rather, as she was tearing into him) the McCain campaign clearly saw an advantage in positioning their guy above the fray, as the "kinder, gentler" candidate – the better to pick off supporters of the loser in the Democratic primary race. Thus McCain’s promise to run a "respectful campaign." (He didn’t explain that what he meant was respect for HIM.)

But McCain and his new team of Rovian handlers now realize they won't have a prayer in November unless they can motivate the conservative base and (to use Lee Atwater's charming phrase) "strip the bark" off Obama. And they have to do it NOW, so McCain can pivot back to a softer, more upbeat message in September.

So that's exactly what McCain is doing – instantly, unapologetically, without shame or embarrassment. His enormous cynicism about the political process and his contempt for the voters – not to mention his vast sense of self-entitlement - have led McCain to take exactly the same low road as the Bush family and its various henchmen (Atwater, Rove): Whatever works; whatever it takes.

And so it’s finally dawning, even on some members of his media "base" (ever the hapless clowns in our political theater of the absurd ) that McCain isn’t quite the straight-talking, straight-shooting military man of honor they thought he was. The White Knight has morphed into the Great White Hope – the GOP machine’s last, desperate chance to avoid the mortal humiliation of being defeated not just by a Democrat, not just by a liberal, but by a liberal Democratic black man.

Some of the suckers are even starting to suspect McCain’s been lying about them, too. Despite the cozy chats on the Straight Talk Express, the Arizona barbeque weekends, the cheerfully misogynist jokes and the teary-eyed moments when John tells one of his patented POW stories – despite, even, the donuts with sprinkles – he isn’t actually their friend at all. In fact it’s pretty obvious he despises them almost as much as he despises a system that forces him to pander both to them and to the voters.

Fear: It's All They've Got!

A hilarious and very scary video from patriotboy who has the brilliant, manly, it's actually an 11 on the gender scale, blog, Jesus General.
He filters the entire McCain Ad Campaign through the media of Ghostbusters and pretty much sums up the entire Republican platform. Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid!

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

The Farm Report

Here's a nice picture of a part of the vegetable garden today. It was a slow year because of the incessant spring rain and cool temperatures. We really didn't get things in the ground until June. We have a tractor plow the garden and this year, the first time we tried it, the tractor began to sink into the mud.
Now we have alternating heat and cool spells and very little rain but due to the all the rain this spring, there is still a lot of water below the dusty surface in the red clay earth here at la Sechere.
We have lots of lettuce, a type of romaine and another green heading variety called Souix. We have had lettuce everyday since the beginning of June and it looks like it will continue into the cold weather. I have well over 100 potato plants of the variety Spunta, which are a good all around potato and seem to store well. Potatoes are relatively cheap, but we miss having our own when the supply from the previous season runs out.
I wrote about the raspberries, because of the rain, we had a bumper crop, perhaps 20 kilos all told. I mentioned this to one of my favorite bloggers, History Mike, to give him garden envy. Check out History Mikes blog, he's on vacation in Spain and remote blogging his experience! Now the plants have all been trimmed back and the new canes are getting ready for next year. The raspberries made many pots of jam and there are many kilos frozen in the freezer.
The tomatoes are just beginning to ripen. There are 25 plants. They were late, but now I think we will see them make up for lost time.
The first planting of greenbeans are just setting flowers, perhaps I will be picking them next week. I have a line of 20 or so sweet corn plants and they also were late getting in and slow to start, but I should see corn in 2 weeks. Sweetcorn freezes well.
Then the green peppers and eggplants. They are producing and beginning to really kick in. there are leeks, artichokes, basil, oregano, celery, rhubarb from seed, parsley and some strawberries...I am going to replant my strawberry bed next season.
There are many pumpkins and potimarrons.
Then there is the zuchinni...courgettes...I think somehow we ended up with 8 plants.
A few we bought early in the season and then a few came from seed. After taking their sweet time to kick in, they are producing with a vengeance. What do you do with maybe 10 zuchinnis a day for months on end? Did you know that dogs like zuchinni?
I happen to love zuchinni.
I have many zuchinni recipes and here is one of my very favorites:
Tart au Courgettes (Zuchinni Pizza?)

First, you need a pie crust...and a shallow tart pan, perhaps 28cm in diameter. I always recommend the French variety with the removable bottom.
For dinner tarts, which basically are a form of fast food, it's a drag to have to make a pie crust. Here in France, puff pastry crusts are sold rather cheaply. You simply unroll them in the tart pan. They are wrapped in a piece of cooking paper which you can use to line the pan. Very simple, nothing sticks! You can also use another type of crust, such as Brise.
I unwrap the crust in the pan and prick it with a fork and precook it for 15 minutes at 325...It cooks the crust and it shouldn't get beyond lightly colored.
Meanwhile, I take aboout 200 grams of smoked lardons...You can use slab bacon cut into strips...maybe a quarter inch. I always boil the lardons for a few minutes to get rid of chemicals and impurities from the curing process.
Then in a heavy pan, I coat my zuchinni slices with olive oil lightly and begin to saute them. When they are lightly cooked, I add the lardons. They should cook together for a few minutes, nothing should get too done. This is best done earlier as I always have better results if I let the sauted ingredients cool before putting them on the crust.
So place the lardons and zuchinni on the crust and break one egg and one egg yolk into a bowl. Mix with say 4 table spoons of cream. Add salt and pepper. You could use yoghurt.
Pour this mixture over the zuchinni and then grate a little swiss cheese (ementhal or gruyere) on the top. Bake at 325 for half hour or so until the topping looks nice and browned...
This is one of my favorite things.

Monday, August 04, 2008

The Great Wall of Wal-Mart

Yesterday, I read that Wal-Mart Store Management was being told that voting for John McCain was in their best interests if they wanted to keep their jobs. They are being informed through a series of executive memos that a Democratic victory in November would insure that the emplyees would be allowed legally to unionize. The logic is that if the employees were allowed to unionize, it would force the stores to spend more on wages and benefits and force Wal-Mart out of business. The Store management is being told to pass this information on to the store employees. There is a law against this, isn't there? Does anyone care? Did you know that Wal-Mart was forced to allow employees in their stores in China to unionize as a condition to doing business there?

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Crack In The Universe

In 1965, Wayne Kramer formed a band in Detroit with a few of his friends called The MC5. In a few tulmultous years they became the house band of revolutionary dreams in America and bridged rock and jazz, soul and psychedelia and inspired countless of young musicians to go beyond. What they did is still referred to as an inspiration for todays music around the world. For a few short months, they were the best band on the planet.
They released a few records and recorded live performances are still turning up and being issued in cd form. They broke up in the early 70's, victims of excess and the outlaw image they created for themselves.
The lead singer, bass player and drummer played around Detroit for years, had families and lived pretty average joe lives. Their were 2 guitarists, Fred Sonic Smith and Wayne Kramer. Fred kept active in Detroit with a great banc called The Sonic Rendevouz which featured the great Scott Morgan on vocals. Fred met and married the singer, poet, artist, Patti Smith. Patti retired from performing for 10 years to become a house wife in East Detroit and had 2 children with Fred. They made one record together before he died in the mid 90's. Patti, after Freds death, came out of retirement and had a glorious artistic renaissance whiich is still unfolding.
Wayne, the lead guitarist, was at loose ends. A truly creative musician, he was rated as one of the 100 most influential guitarists by MOJO magazine. He was the last beatnick. He was a performance artist, performing his poetry with his guitar feedback.
He was involved in a drug bust in the 70's and went to prison for a few years. When he got out, formed a potentially very dangerous band called Kramers Gang War with Johnny Thunders. Soon, the combination of the two was counterproductive...The band dissolved in a junkie mess after blowing a record contract.
Kramer went into a period of self rehabilitation and played with the Detroit experimantal band Was/Not Was. In the early 90's he was back. He released a series of powerful, unique and exciting sets of music. Clean and sober, he was making some of the greatest music of his life and proving once again that he could walk the line between Chuck Berry and Sun Ra...he kept walking that line, reunited the surviving members of the MC5 for a 2 year star studded tour in 2005. He even had the aging Sun Ra Arkestra as his opening act and relived the days in the mid 60's when Sun Ra was playing at the Greystone Ballroom in Detroit and The MC5 was jamming with them.
This is a piece from his solo album The Hard Stuff released in 1992.
Wayne is probably 60 now and is still performing with the intesity of a 20 year old and doing live shows continuously with his and other bands. He stil performs his poetry to his live freeform guitar noise and we all are still listening!
The 1996 cd, the David Was produced Citizen Wayne is a brilliant musical autobiographical document...great stuff!

The Never Ending War On America

On Friday, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) spoke to the National Urban League, a group “devoted to empowering African Americans to enter the economic and social mainstream.” When an audience member asked him how he planned to reduce urban crime, McCain praised Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s efforts in New York Cirty before invoking the military’s tactics in Iraq as the model for crime-fighting:

MCCAIN: And some of those tactics - you mention the war in Iraq - are like that we use in the military. You go into neighborhoods, you clamp down, you provide a secure environment for the people that live there, and you make sure that the known criminals are kept under control. And you provide them with a stable environment and then they cooperate with law enforcement, etc, et

These statements by the candidate who claims he knows how to "Win Wars" make the point that he is willing to claim that he would use the same SURGE Techniques to deal with "Urban Problems". To do this, one would have to proclaim military law.
This is so blatantly idiotic that it is nigh on unthinkable. The list of realistically negative outcomes of such an action boggles the mind.

This is fascistic pandering at its very worst.