Friday, May 30, 2008

Activist Judges!

I'm sure there will be a great outcry from the "Activist Judges!" Feinting Section over this:

A U.S. military judge at Guantanamo Bay who once acknowledged facing Pentagon criticism over one of his rulings was dismissed Thursday from the case of a Canadian detainee, a defense lawyer said.

Army Col. Peter Brownback had presided over the tribunal's proceedings against Toronto-born Omar Khadr since last year.

The chief judge for the Guantanamo tribunals, Marine Col. Ralph Kohlmann, dismissed Brownback and appointed a new judge for Khadr's case without explanation, defense lawyer Navy Lt. Cmdr. William Kuebler said.

In November, Brownback said in court that Defense Department officials "didn't like" a ruling that dismissed the charges over a lack of jurisdiction. That decision was overturned on appeal.


Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Scott McClellan Had a Black Baby With a Whore

The backstabbing Bushites are in full swing over Scott McClellan's late grab for cash.

May they all win the fight.


Swiss Bank Official Already Detained

I just mentioned this in the last post, but some of the biggest news out there today is that John McCain's favorite Swiss bank, UBS, "is advising members of its private banking team not to step foot in the United States in order to avoid indictment."

Well one of those members has already been arrested detained. A Martin Liechti, the "top UBS private banker for the [McCains?] Americas".

Wo - two more UBS bankers already arrested.

Correction: The title said "arrested" for a few minutes. Corrected to "detained".


John and Cindy McCain's Swiss Bank Problem

This is lightyears over my head, but there are some things even average yokels can grasp in this. (Digby explains it with rage-inducing clarity here.)

MSNBC's Keith Olbermann broke a big story last night regarding John McCain's financial adviser, former senator Phill Gramm. Gramm is another on the growing list of big money lobbyists tied to McCain, his ties going to mega-bank UBS based in Switzerland.

UBS is in huge financial trouble, having been extremely hard hit - $38 billion in losses since last year - in the mortgage crisis/scandal, something Phil Gramm is up to his eyeballs in. And they have other problems.

They've been under investigation for some time - for allegedly helping wealthy Americans evade taxes - and a UBS official was arrested detained in the U.S. just three weeks ago. And they've now advised their officials to avoid coming to the U.S.

I haven't heard it mentioned yet, but I can't help but think about Cindy rather than John McCain:

UBS, which upholds the Swiss tradition of banking secrecy, is the world's largest manager of money for ultra-wealthy investors, with $3.1 trillion in total assets.

Again: Cindy. Cindy McCain. They multi-millionaire wife of John McCain who won't release her tax returns.

A U.S. Senate subcommittee report in 2005 found that UBS had provided billions of dollars in financing for up to 150 abusive tax shelters known as Flip and Opis over 1997 and 1998. The shelters, which involved generating artificial losses that were then used to offset legitimate income, were designed and sold by KPMG.

More digging required...


Monday, May 26, 2008

The Welcome Home Project

There will be what looks to be a powerful ceremony for and by American veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan this evening at the Angus Bowmer Theater in Ashland, Oregon. Doors open at 5:30.

The Voices of Veterans program will be created by veterans at the retreat who express their memories and feelings through poetry, visual art and theater. There will be about 30 people on stage including some family members and a set of parents, Meade said. "We want to give the veterans a voice," McMillan said. Often that voice is expressed through poetry, which the veterans will perform on stage. Meade and Rubin will teach the audience welcome songs from different traditions and lead them in singing. "It's an old tradition from other cultures to welcome back the warriors by singing them into the community," Meade said. Meade will be telling stories from different cultures that relate to battle, and homecoming.


Sunday, May 25, 2008

Soldier Suicides

This unnecessary war keeps digging its hole deeper:

Until the day he died, Sgt. Brian Rand believed he was being haunted by the ghost of the Iraqi man he killed.

The ghost choked Rand while he slept in his bunk, forcing him to wake up gasping for air and clawing at his throat.

He whispered that Rand was a vampire and looked on as the soldier stabbed another member of Fort Campbell's 96th Aviation Support Battalion in the neck with a fork in the mess hall.

Eventually, the ghost told Rand he needed to kill himself.

That unfortunate soul is not alone:

In 2007, nine soldiers from Fort Campbell committed suicide — three during the first few weeks of October, according to a letter to base personnel by the 101st Airborne Division's commander, Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Schloesser.

More here.


Saturday, May 24, 2008

Bruce U. Utah Phillips has Died

Well, crap. Just got an email from Chris Chandler, and the truly special American folk god hero hobo storyteller human Utah Phillips has passed away.

In a matter of a few minutes Anne Feeney phoned me from an airport in Houston. Al Grierson's "Lonely Deadhead Box-Car" was playing on Random on my iPod. After our conversation, I went to check my email. Jim Page was singing "Anna Mae." I had an email from Jim. I have pasted it below. As I read it Utah sang "All Used Up." As I responded to Jim's Email Arlo Guthrie sang "Hobo's Lullaby."

In the night of May 23, 2008, Bruce Duncan Phillips died in great peace, asleep in his bed in Nevada City, California, with his wife Joanna by his side.

Amazingly, at the very same instant that the scholar Bruce Phillips finally discovered his angle of repose, U. Utah Phillips flagged a westbound freight train. Yes, a mighty fast rattler, on a long west-bound track. He needed no ticket, he was welcomed on board.

The immediate family and neighbors of Bruce Phillips, along with any Wobblies who happen to be passing through, are gathering in Nevada City to do all the things that must be done. Please give them the quiet respect they so need right now.

But you can wave "So Long!" to Utah when that train moves west. Hey, hear the whistle? He's passing by right now!

Here's to the tear in my eye and a whisky soon raised to a good kind man with a huge kind heart with a song to sing and a story to tell and a friend to all who wanted and needed a friend. So long. So long.


Friday, May 23, 2008

Grand Mal Seizure on YouTube

Courageous couple, these two.

In 2003 Canadian medical marijuana advocate Christine Lowe, who suffers from epilepsy, wanted to see what happened when she had a tonic-clonic ("grand mal" is actually considered the old name) seizure. Her husband Russell Barth obliged. In 2007 they posted the video on YouTube.

"Why we posted this," via the Guardian.

[The] piece of footage was shot with the assistance of our friend David, in January 2003, at the repeated insistence of my wife Christine. She wanted to know what happened to her body while she was seizing, and we were under standing orders to catch any footage possible... Upon viewing this footage a few days later, she was shocked and astonished, as one could well imagine.


Since posting this footage, we have had over 254,000 views (23 times more hits than the next-most-viewed clip), and have received dozens of emails from people asking for advice in reducing seizures, and hundreds of positive comments about our bravery and compassion.

This footage has been used in medical schools and presentations around the world, and a prison in New Mexico has even used it to help new guards recognize real seizures. Another man in Fort Worth, Texas emailed us to say that our video helped him save another person who had a seizure while at his place of work.


Radical Christians Pissed at McCain

The sweet and kind people who follow pastors like the two John McCain sought the endorsements of and then rejected the endorsements of are pissed. Some sweetness and light from the minds of the scorned:

Yesterday I wrote a blog about how John McCain is completely losing the Christian vote, and apparently doesn't care. After being on the pro-homosexual "Ellen Degeneres Show" yesterday, McCain didn't stop at promoting his Anti-Christian campaign. McCain went on to reject Pro-Israel pastor John Hagee, for comments made considering "end times prophesy". And now McCain has rejected the only other serious endorsement from Christians, Pastor Rod Parsley.

Apparently Parsley dared to call Islam an anti-Christ religion, and he also said that Islam is a religion of violence. How could he be so insensative? I mean Islam didn't destroy the USS Cole, wait... yeah it did. But it wasn't Islam that bombed the World Trade Center in the early 90's, wait... yeah it was. It wasn't Islam that destoryed London in 2005 though, wait... uh yeah it was. But of course 9-11... YEP ISLAM.

That's some pure, unadulterated Christianity right there. Next thing you know they'll be turning the other cheek into swords. Or something.

[Pissed off baby sculpture sold seperately.]


Wednesday, May 21, 2008

John McCain: Hitler Was Doing God's Work

Well, gosh darn it, that is not what he said. It's what the preacher he begged for an endorsement said.

Here's a video containing the audio, and you can Digg It to help get it to more people.


Saturday, May 17, 2008

Saturday Sonata: Eric Bogle

My second "Saturday Sonata" is up at The Peace Tree. This one features the Eric Bogle's legendary anti-war song, "The Band Played Waltzing Matilda," and has a bit history for it. The song:


Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Bush and Sending the Wrong Signal

Our pathetic excuse for a president said yesterday that he quit playing golf in August 2003 after the bombing of the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad, which killed the UN's top official in Iraq, Sergio Vieira de Mello. Bush said the event moved him to give up the game he loved out of respect for the men and women he sent to war. He said it "sends the wrong signal."

He was lying, it turns out, having played golf two months later. A round of golf is not the kind of thing you do without noticing, nor is a catastrophic event like the one that happened on August 19, 2003, which took the life of a man Bush knew, the kind of thing you mix up with some other memorable event. Did it later occur to him, in some twisted idea of sacrifice for our soldiers, to stop playing golf? I don't know. Maybe. But something that happened seven months later tells me the man is incapable of even such a trite idea of honor.

In March, 2004, President Bush spoke at the Radio and Television Correspondents' Association Dinner. March, 2004. This was seven months after his alleged conversion by bombing. You probably remember:

It's standard fare humor. Bush says he is preparing for a tough election fight; then on the large video screens a picture flashes showing him wearing a boxing robe while sitting at his desk. Bush notes he spends "a lot of time on the phone listening to our European allies." Then we see a photo of him on the phone with a finger in his ear. There were funny bits about Skull and Bones, his mother, and Dick Cheney. But at one point, Bush showed a photo of himself looking for something out a window in the Oval Office, and he said, "Those weapons of mass destruction have got to be somewhere."

The audience laughed. I grimaced. But that wasn't the end of it. After a few more slides, there was a shot of Bush looking under furniture in the Oval Office. "Nope," he said. "No weapons over there." More laughter. Then another picture of Bush searching in his office: "Maybe under here." Laughter again.

Somewhere around 550 American troops had been killed in Iraq by this time, and several thousands more had been shot or blown up and damaged forever. They had risked that fate for one reason: because Sadaam Hussein had WMDs. That's what they were told. And our president, out of his deep respect for the sacrifice of these courageous, mostly young, soldiers, a respect that drove him, he tells us, to not play golf because it would "send the wrong signal," deems it "good signal" worthy to make jokes - jokes obviously practiced and even with video accompaniment - about the very thing that those people gave their lives for. I'm supposed to believe, now, that George W. Bush gave much of a shit about the destruction and death he brought to those people?

No fucking way.

George Bush, you're a liar. I honestly can not at the moment think of a worse kind of one. You do more dishonor to the people you sent to unnecessary war with this pathetic attempt to rescue your reputation.

Some video, if you can stomach it.


Bush Cheats at Golf

The guy is just broken.


Drugged Without Reason For Deportation

How much shit like this has to happen before Americans want their country back from these wanna be Baby Docs?

The government's forced use of antipsychotic drugs, in people who have no history of mental illness, includes dozens of cases in which the "pre-flight cocktail," as a document calls it, had such a potent effect that federal guards needed a wheelchair to move the slumped deportee onto an airplane.

We haven't even begun to get to the bottom of the shit these people unleashed in eight years.


Tuesday, May 13, 2008

McCain's Spirtual Advisor: God Guides Terrorists Against U.S.


Expect several snores and grunts and loud DENOUNCE-INATIONS soon from John McHageeCain', I reckon.


Monday, May 12, 2008

Soldiers Cremated at "Pet Cremation Service"

"Small government," anti-regulation Republicans want a world like this:

The U.S. military has, since 2001, cremated some of the remains of American service members killed in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere at a Delaware facility that also cremates pets, a practice that ended yesterday when the Pentagon banned the arrangement.

The facility, located in an industrial park near Dover Air Force Base, has cremated about 200 service members, manager David A. Bose estimated last night. It uses separate crematories a few feet apart to cremate humans and animals, he added, insisting that there had "not been any people gone through the pet crematory."

If that's not bad enough, fallen American troops are not supposed to be DROPPED OFF LIKE LAUNDRY:

The Friends Forever manager said that service members usually dropped off remains and returned the next day to pick them up. The practice is “contrary to the normal procedure,” in which the military is supposed to provide “an escort for all service members killed overseas during transport to the United States, and again after ‘medical processing’ at the Dover mortuary as the deceased returns home for interment.”

Support the troops, my ass.

More at CNN.

And the link to the facility, Forever Friends Pet Cremation Service.


Saturday, May 10, 2008

Saturday Sonata

The hardest-working blogger in the intertubes, The Poetryman, has invited me to do a regular music-related post over at The Peace Tree. (Thanks, TPM!)

First post goes up at noon sharp today (West Coast), featuring the great American activist songwriter, Anne Feeney. Check it out.


Friday, May 09, 2008

LTB's Not John McCain Log: #2

A Long Tough Blog Reason #2 not to vote for John McCain:

He can't even keep his lies straight.

That's like on the presidential "* denotes required field" list, isn't it?


Iraqi Body Count Pressure

Brutal story at Salon about the military putting pressure on sniper teams to "get more bodies," and how in some cases it could be leading to atrocities.


Thursday, May 08, 2008

D, E, F, H, G, H, I, J, L

Oh Lordy, but this sad family-values DWI story is funny:

Mr. Fossella was asked to recite the alphabet between the letters D and T. "The subject immediately started and said ‘A, B,’ " the officer wrote in his report.

After the officer explained the test again, Mr. Fossella started: "D, E, F, H, G, H, I, J, L," and then was able to finish.

That prompted me to start a song about the incident:

D, E, F, H, G, H, I, J, L [dooda looda doo - doo doo DAH!]

That's how the GOP taught me to spell [da da dadala - dah da DOO]

Now I'm going to J - A - I - Y - L

D, E, F, H, G, H, I, J, L...


Thunderstorm v. The Volcano

Via Metafilter, a gallery of stunning pics of the Chaitén volcano in Chile.


Thursday, May 01, 2008

DC Madam Commits Suicide


Deborah Jeane Palfrey was convicted two weeks ago in her prostitution case. Last night she committed suicide.

Senator David Vitter was one of her customers, or, as he put it, he "made some mistakes" that were related to Ms. Palfrey's business.

Vitter didn't have to testify in the case, and, of course, he's still a senator.

If he had had to testify, maybe he would have killed himself, too. Hard to tell, huh?

Condolences to the friends and family of Ms. Palfrey.

Update: Author Dan Moldea says the conspiracy theories about Palfrey's death are misplaced.

Background info here.


YouTube Dolphin Massacre Porn

It's the latest rage, I guess.

People gotta eat, people gotta make money. Understood. But herding dolphins and porpoises into shallow water and slaughtering them? Hacking at them, causing slow death?