Thursday, September 30, 2004

The Blessings Of Freedom

Dozens more children needlessly died today in Iraq. See story [HERE] Operation Iraqi Freedom seems to have loosed a flock of murderous scum to pray upon innocents. I’m not sure what the political statement the bombers were attempting to make, but the military point is that the United States is clearly not living up to its responsibility to pacify the zealots.

It is time, and past, to put an end to this senseless slaughter. The ball is in your court, Mr. Rumsfeld.

Monday, September 27, 2004

Big Indictment

I have a friend who is normally politically conservative to the point that she would delete the following in a heartbeat. That’s not what happened; she forwarded it to me and several others.

Okay, here’s a challenge for the bloggers; how much of this is rose fertilizer and how much is on the beam. Send your comments [HERE]

"A society is what it honors."

My Fellow Americans--

*I attacked and took over 2 countries.

*I spent the U.S. surplus and bankrupted the US Treasury.

*I shattered the record for the biggest annual deficit in history
(not easy!).

*I set an economic record for the most personal bankruptcies filed in any 12 month period.

*I set all-time record for the biggest drop in the history of the stock market.

*I am the first president in decades to execute a federal prisoner.

*In my first year in office I set the all-time record for most days on vacation by any president in US history
(tough to beat my dad's, but I did).

*After taking the entire month of August off for vacation, I presided over the worst security failure in US history.

*I set the record for most campaign fund raising trips by any president in US history.

*In my first two years in office over 2 million Americans lost their jobs.

*I cut unemployment benefits for more out-of-work Americans than any other president in US history.

*I set the all-time record for most real estate foreclosures in a 12-month period.

*I appointed more convicted criminals to administration positions than any president in US history.

*I set the record for the fewest press conferences of any president, since the advent of TV.

*I signed more laws and executive orders amending the Constitution than any other US president in history.

*I presided over the biggest energy crises in US history and refused to intervene when corruption was revealed

*I cut health care benefits for war veterans.

*I set the all-time record for most people worldwide to simultaneously take to the streets to protest me (15 million people), shattering the record for protest against any person in the history of mankind.

*I dissolved more international treaties than any president in US history.

*I've made my presidency the most secretive and unaccountable of any in US history.

*Members of my cabinet are the richest of any administration in US history. (The poorest multimillionaire, Condoleeza Rice, has a Chevron oil tanker named after her.)

*I am the first president in US history to have all 50 states of the Union simultaneously struggle against bankruptcy.

*I presided over the biggest corporate stock market fraud in any market in any country in the history of the world.

*I am the first president in US history to order a US attack AND military occupation of a sovereign nation, and I did so against the will of the United Nations and the vast majority of the international community.

*I have created the largest government department bureaucracy in the history of the United States, called the "Bureau of Homeland Security"
(only one letter away from BS).

*I set the all-time record for biggest annual budget spending increases, more than any other president in US history
(Ronnie was tough to beat, but I did it!!).

*I am the first president in US history to compel the United Nations remove the US from the Human Rights Commission.

*I am the first president in US history to have the United Nations remove the US from the Elections Monitoring Board.

*I removed more checks and balances, and have the least amount of congressional oversight than any presidential administration in US history.

*I rendered the entire United Nations irrelevant. I withdrew from the World Court of Law.

*I refused to allow inspectors access to US prisoners of war and by default no longer abide by the Geneva Conventions.

*I am the first president in US history to refuse United Nations
election inspectors access during the 2002 US elections.

*I am the all-time US (and world) record holder for most
corporate campaign donations.

*The biggest lifetime contributor to my campaign, who is also
of my best friends, presided over one of the largest corporate
bankruptcy frauds in world history (Kenneth Lay, former CEO of Enron

*I spent more money on polls and focus groups than any president in

*I am the first president to run and hide when the US came under
attack (and then lied, saying the enemy had the code to Air Force 1)

*I am the first US president to establish a secret shadow

*I took the world's sympathy for the US after 9/11, and in less than a year made the US the most resented country in the world
(possibly the biggest diplomatic failure in US and world history).

*I am the first US president in history to have a majority of the people of Europe (71%) view my presidency as the biggest threat to world peace and stability.

*I changed US policy to allow convicted criminals to be awarded government contracts.

*I set the all-time record for the number of administration appointees who violated US law by not selling their huge investments in corporations bidding for gov't contracts.

*I have removed more freedoms and civil liberties for Americans than any other president in US history.

*I entered office with the strongest economy in US history and in less than two years turned every single economic category heading straight down.


*I have at least one conviction for drunk driving in Maine (Texas driving record has been erased and is not available).

*I was AWOL from the National Guard and deserted the military during time of war.

*I refuse to take a drug test or even answer any questions about drug use. (wink,wink)

*All records of my tenure as governor of Texas have been spirited away to my fathers library, sealed in secrecy and unavailable for public view.

*All records of any SEC investigations into my insider trading or bankrupt companies are sealed in secrecy and unavailable for public view.

*All minutes of meetings of any public corporation for which I served on the board are sealed in secrecy and unavailable for public view.

*Any records or minutes from meetings I (or my VP) attended regarding public energy policy are sealed in secrecy and unavailable for public review.

With Love,
The White House, Washington, DC

End quote

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Makes Sense To Me . . . I Think

An American civilian is murdered in Iraq [see story HERE] and the best the Fed can do is deport a man who seems to have no connection with the Jihad, denounced in fact. [that story is HERE]

The Department of Homeland security should be proud of itself. As a matter of fact the whole Bush Administration should take a bow. . . on their way out.

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Surprise, Surprise!

Fire On The Mountain, a California Sierra-Nevada based production company put on a one-day Blues Festival at the Tuolumne River Lodge in Modesto yesterday.

The line up included a couple of bands that made the 90+ mile drive and $30 ticket worth the trip. I got there late, missing the first two shows on the bill, the MOFO Party Band from Fresno and Lara Price of San Jose. That is the penalty for sleeping late on concert days.

The next act up was Ralph Woodson, someone I had never heard of and was prepared to dismiss out of hand as I wanted to spend some time talking to John Moffatt and his lady friend Irene. He is the producer of the Central Valley Blues Festival which is held in Merced in October. (Boy, does it have a line up!)

It didn’t turn out that way. Ralph was doing a tribute to Jimi Hendrix on the 34th anniversary of his passing. He’s obviously studied Jimi’s stage antics, picking the guitar from behind his head once and with his teeth several times.

I finally begin to watch him and was astonished at his fret work. His left hand was a blur during his hot riffs. During one solo run, he convincingly played the styles of Jerry Garcia, Carlos Santana, and Duane Allman.

The climax was a repeat of Jimi’s ne’r-to-be forgotten Star Spangled Banner at Woodstock.

I’d like to tell you that I was impressed, but that wouldn’t do my feeling justice. The nice thing about musicales in small towns is the ease with which the audience is able to meet the musicians. I told him I enjoyed his music and he gave me a schedule of upcoming performances. He also autographed one of his CDs for me.

He will be playing in Sunnyvale at Murphy’s Law, this coming Saturday, September 25. I’m going. Hope to see you there.

The next two acts had to step it up to meet the standard set by Ralph. Shane Dwight and J.C. Smith did exactly that, plus the Smith band stayed on stage to back Ella Pennywell first and then Gary Smith next. J.C.’s very excellent keyboard player exited the stage to make room for Pine Top Perkins and his guitarist, Little George.

In the four hours I spent there, I came to admire the venue set on the river’s oak covered, Italian cypress bordered flood plain. Great ambience. I think I’ll keep my eye open for more events there.

All in all is was a great day to be alive and listenin’ to the blues.

Friday, September 17, 2004

I Hate To Say I Told You So . . . . But

Back in March I made Dire Predictions on the fate of Iraq. It is hard to envision it as a land of peace and tranquility, no matter what the coalition does.

A classified National Intelligence Estimate (the consensus of everybody’s best guess) has been leaked. The analysts hedged their bets ranging from bad to worse to drastic. See story [here] My best guess, and a proposition upon which I will offer odds is drastic and I’ve said so before. Once foreign armies pull out, it will be less than two years before civil war breaks out. Shias and Sunnis will have at each other or the Kurds. As my younger friends would say, “It is on.”

Some jerk like Saddam was the only way the region could be held together as a supposed nation. Leaving him in power with diminished capacity was the only viable option at the end of the first Gulf war.

Now that he has been removed the Coalition is clamoring for establishment of democracy. We can let the place fall into the chaos of a very ugly civil war (witness the brutality of the Chechen conflict) or we will need to maintain an occupation force there for a minimum of two generations ala Germany and Japan. Maybe that’s a good idea. We need a bigger army and what better place to have live fire exercises? I mean, the Marines have Haiti, after all.

Better Them Than Us

I just read about Putin slamming the west for mollycoddling exile Chechen separatists. [here] Now that’s a bigger mess than we are in.

Chechnya won a measure of independence a decade or so ago, but the new government failed to suppress the local warlords. The warlords got their gangs together and went a-raiding. . . into Russian territory.

Russia retaliated, of course; in a non too subtle manner and with a marked indifference to collateral damage. That led to polarization and escalation, along with a growing brutalization of the populace throughout the Trans-Caucasus.

Recently 2 airliners were blown from the sky and several hundred people, a lot of them school children, were murdered by Chechens.

Another one of those nasty little wars of independence where the hopes and dreams of the people of an entire region are put away in favor of the outrageous slaughter of innocents. After Beslan, Russia deserves all the help we can give them to run the vermin to earth and put an end to the killing of children.

The same thing seems to be happening in several places in Africa, but there is not a photogenic African leader who can whistle up the press to help shape world opinion for the plight of his people.

What a sad note.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Much Ado About Something Or Another: I Forget

Some people have their BVDs in a kink over Dan Rather’s somewhat disingenuous revelation of documents purported to show Dubya in a bad light. Something about his service in the Air National Guard. The documents are, as been pointed out by some bloggers, phonus-balonus.

Big Deal, maybe.

Me, personally, I liked the picture of Rockjaw standing next to Hanoi Jane. That was back when she was pretty cute, or thought she was. This evidence was also the product of a computer nerd with too much time on his hands.

Let’s get it straight. Kerry served in Vietnam winning a Silver Star, a Bronze Star, and three Purple Hearts. The third Purple Heart made him eligible for immediate reassignment to the states. Only an idiot wouldn’t have taken that ticket to the land of the Big BX—or the Land of the All-night Generator, as my friend OWW would say.

Dubya on the other hand spent the war playing fighter pilot, many, many miles from the effort to win the hearts and minds of our little yellow brothers and sisters.

Now what does Vietnam service or lack thereof prove in the here and now? In the 21st Century? Not a lot really. Kerry demonstrated character, and Dubya got a free ride because his daddy was a congressman. Dubya would have gotten that same free ride had he been drafted. No career military officer would have wanted to be the one to send a congressman's son to ‘Nam. Bad career move, that. LBJ’s son-in-law, a Marine Captain, didn’t go, either, you might remember.

What’s all this got to do with the price of beans? That’s easy: NOTHING. Kerry is a left wing liberal from an extremely liberal state. A bit far left for the American mainstream. Bush is a warmonger who hasn’t figured out who we’re going to invade next.

I wonder, really wonder, what did we do to deserve this.

Monday, September 13, 2004

The Assault Weapon Ban Law Expires: Idiots With Keyboards

I was just now reading Laura Parker’s article in USATODAY-online. [here] and I quote: Gun-control groups have taken out full-page newspaper ads that offer dire predictions of increases in violent crime once weapons that can fire several bullets a second are available for sale again.

Sweet Thing, I hate to break it to you, but the change in the law will have absolutely no effect on rates of fire; there have been ample semiautomatic rifles, pistols, and shotguns available this last whole ten years. The expiration will have absolutely no effect on the availability of lethal weaponry. If someone is bent upon committing crime with a legally purchased firearm, it will be no easier to obtain one in the future than in the past.

This was a bad law to begin with. The people who wrote it lacked the technical expertise to effectively limit the targeted weapons, leaving it a meaningless exercise. The only real impediment in the whole thing was the prohibition of sale of high capacity magazines. Big deal. I just bought more magazines. Cost me a whole $36 including tax to have the firepower I deem appropriate for my needs.

The botheration here, is why is the Eastern Press so intent on gun control? Gun ownership is an integral part of the constitution. If that marvelous document is somehow subverted in regards to any given issue, how soon will it be before other rights are trampled upon. Do you want a gagged press? How about reinstitution of slavery? Do women really need to vote? I could go on, but you get the point.

What needs to be kept in mind is the sitting Supreme Court is a bunch pretty much devoted to “strict constructionism.” Any challenge to gun laws reaching them might well see the whole mishmash thrown out. If that happens, we’ll be much worse off than now.

In another vein, Kerry just put his foot in it with gun owners. He’s blaming Dubya for not plumping hard enough to keep this law on the books. Come on, Rockjaw! You’re in congress and the ball is in your court, not Dubya’s.

Saturday, September 11, 2004


Three years gone. We’ve destroyed the military forces of two countries—snuffing a lot of civilians in the doing. Collateral damage it’s called—and are now obliged to occupy those countries. There was good reason for invading the first and no reason that makes any sense to invade the second.

It would really make no neverminds, however, had we caught the bad guys. We didn’t do that. When we had them in our grasp, Americans were told to stand down and Afghans would handle it. Big mistake, that. In another instance, someone in Central Command held up the firing of missiles at a road convoy carrying another of our arch enemies.

I don’t think it’s too much to ask that the Fed get their finger out and bring to justice the murderers of 3,000 of our citizens. I mean, you’ve had ample time, guys.

Friday, September 10, 2004

Gun Liability Lawsuits

My friend, OWW,
is somewhat dismayed that a Texas jury awarded a woman $6 million when she sued a movie theater for wrongful death of her husband who was fatally wounded in the theater parking lot. The sad thing about this is the award will more than likely be upheld upon appeal. That’s because Texas elects its Supreme Court Justices and the various trial lawyer associations have outdone themselves in an effort to make lavish campaign contributions.

Every lawyer knows not to bother with people who have no money, so the shooters in this instance—a burglary gang—were bypassed for a much riper target. Seating a sympathetic jury is never a problem in Texas, particularly if the lady complainant shows lots of leg getting on the witness stand and tearfully bewails the loss of her beloved—no matter that the marriage took place after the poor gerbil had gone on to his heavenly reward. The judge gets his campaign contributions the same place the rest of the judges do and is not about to dial back a jury award. The best legal system money can buy, in other words.

The moral is don’t get sued in Texas if you have assets in U.S jurisdiction.

In another vein, I just read [here] that Bushmaster Firearms, Inc. of Windham, ME and Bull’s Eye Gun Shop, Tacoma, WA have settled their suit with the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence which brought suit on behalf of the relatives of the victims of the sniper killings in the D.C. area.

The dealer managed to “lose” the gun and was surprised more than somewhat when BATF storm troopers invaded his store wanting to see sales records. More than likely an employee embezzled the weapon or sold it, pocketing the proceeds and destroying sale record.

Bushmaster had no control of the rifle in question once it was delivered to a Federally licensed gun dealer. The company statement said they’d rather see the money go to the families of the victims than to continue the litigation. They admitted no liability in the matter. Denied it in fact, leaving the Brady Center a hollow victory.

There is a big precedent in the making here. Lawyers would very much like to see gun manufacturers held liable for damage done by people who use guns improperly. What must be kept in mind is all of the gun makers in U.S. jurisdiction lumped together don’t have nearly the resources of the least of the auto makers. Furthermore, all the gun violence in the country wouldn’t equal the highway carnage of the year-end holidays starting with Thanksgiving.

If they can pin gun makers with a clear-cut wrongful injury decision, the automobile industry will be nailed on precedent. Lawyers will be suing GM, Ford, Daimler Benz, etal, on “behalf” of victims families every time a drunk cleans out a school crosswalk. I can’t imagine why Detroit didn’t take up a little collection to back Bushmaster.

And on to the greatest misuse of firearms this year:

The Beslan Masacre.

A long time ago, the Red Army set a precedent of victory at any cost, collateral damage be damned. Their long time coming defeat of the Wehrmacht at Stalingrad put them on the wrong end of a 5:1 kill ratio, but triumph they did. (Those are published figures, but everyone knows how the Commies lied, so it was probably much worse.)

That set the pattern for the rest of the war. Untrained or uncoordinated troops (or both) attacked the hated Nazis paying a huge price in human life to defeat the invader. There are even nearly incredible stories of commanders sending the residents of orphanages ahead of armies to clear mine fields.

When the Soviets left the stage, the Red Army with a new name hung on to familiar doctrine.

The school hijacking is reminiscent of the hospital takeover several years ago where upwards of a hundred poorly trained Russian soldiers were killed and the killers were allowed to walk away scot-free.

A couple of years back, the Chechens grabbed a Moscow theater just as the audience arrived to see the musical, “Nord-Ost.” Russian special force commandos killed all the kidnappers, forty or so men and women, and in the process also managed to kill 116 theater-goers with a gas they refused to identify even to physicians who attended the stricken. State secret and all that.

The point is institutional Russia has not yet learned to value the life of its citizens as we do here in the west and has not raised, equipped, and trained hostage retrieval forces found in nearly all the NATO countries. Probably for good cause; a force such as Britain’s SAS or Germany’s GSG9 would be able to take matters into their own hands in selecting replacement governments. I would not anticipate an elite Delta Force or SEAL look-alike until the institutions of democracy are well established sometime in the far distant future.

The Monday morning quarterbacks have had their say as to what should have been done by the Russians at Beslan, so I guess my 2¢ worth is not out of place.

Since there is no way to raise an elite hostage retrieval force on demand, one must take into consideration that many of the kids will be killed in any effort to get them back.

First. The Russians should have surrounded the place, keeping journalists out of sight of the building, thereby denying terrorists publicity. The cell phone system should have been disabled adding to the news black out, and in case the cheesedicks had radios, those frequencies should have been jammed.

Second. Total isolation of the facility. Nothing in and only hostages allowed out.

Third. The kidnappers should have been offered the choice of suicide or surrender. They should never have been allowed to die at the hands of gendarmes in a stand up gun battle. If they chose to murder children while committing suicide, their religion would not have allowed entry into paradise. Only death at the hands of warriors while defending the faith qualifies a True Believer for the good after life.

My solution, I know, would be pretty rough on the kids, but likely not as rough as what actually happened. Plus the murdering MFs would be denied the event as a recruiting point for more idiots to join some so-called “Martyr’s Brigade.”

Russia is under attack, as Israel is under attack. While I applaud neither of their national agendas, I must admire that they are able to put away their long held mutual animosity to meet the needs of the moment. They have joined forces, thereby bringing two of the world’s outstanding intelligence agencies into communication and data sharing.

By contrast, we, too who are under attack (or so we're told) are stuck with a bureaucratically hamstrung foreign intelligence service of suspect veracity and a growing domestic police state. Today I’m glad I’m as old as I am and won’t live to see how this plays out.

The demise of Assault Weapons Ban

One of the things one must keep in mind is the Assault Weapons Ban didn’t take one single gun out of circulation, and its intent was so easily circumvented that for the most part, gun dealers continued business as usual after some cosmetic changes were made and a few names changed.
The charade is over this coming Monday because of the sunset provision in the law, and congress has wisely withheld action to continue the farce. Rockjaw's left wing BS notwithstanding.

Friday, September 03, 2004

Labor Day

Our late summer three day weekend holiday originated 1882. At the time the name signified its intent. A day for working men to take their families to park picnics for feasting, band music, and speeches.

Nowadays it signals the end of summer, the start of the school year, the last hurrah on ski boats, the last NFL pre-season games, and quadrennially the beginning of the presidential election campaign.

This looks like one I’d just as soon miss. The sitting president has bungled the war on terror beyond belief at the great cost of lives and treasure, has alienated decades old allies, stymied basic research thereby sending emerging technologies off shore, and polarized the electorate.

His opponent is a lackluster war hero, JFK protégé left-winger who gets a high rating from Teddy Kennedy.

So far, I have been able to avoid the whole issue by leaving the TV set off. That’s not going to work anymore as the NFL season starts the next week, so I’ll bite the bullet and allow myself to be tainted by the worst two candidates since Harding was pushed into office by the KKK in 1920.

The single greatest issue to me is American withdrawal from Iraq. We know that’s not to be with the present administration as the Veep is getting rich from Halliburton’s exclusive contracts. That leaves Kerry.

What a crock.

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