Politics. People. Decline. History. Music. Redemption. Thoughtcrime. Humor. Revenge. Mistakes. Fear. Media. Antiauthoritarianism. Truth. Longing. Insecurity. Schadenfreude. Complaint. Peace. Love. Nothingness. Nature. Something new all the time.

15 July 2007

Go to dKos!

Lately I've been posting only on Daily Kos. Try http://redglare.dailykos.com

03 December 2006

What's YOUR Terror Score?!?

We all have credit ratings that follow us around like digital shadows. Now, starting this Monday, Dec. 4, every time you leave or enter the United States by air, land, or sea, your own government’s computers will officially judge the probability that you are a terrorist, make that judgement widely available, and keep your terror score on file for 40 years. By assigning you a computer-generated risk assessment based upon your travel pattern, your companions, your method of payment and even the kind of food you eat -- among other, as yet unknown tidbits of data -- the U.S. Department of Homeland security thinks it can make you safer.
“When some unknown government computer, using unknown sources of information, tags you as a ‘security risk’ and begins circulating that label around the government, you will have no meaningful way of finding out why you were given that label, let alone challenging its validity,” says Barry Steinhardt, Director of the ACLU’s Technology and Liberty Project. ”
Feel safer?

Never heard of the Automated Tracking System? That is by design. The information was just published in the Federal Register last week. Care to comment to the government about this new system? It’s too late! The system officially goes into effect Monday, although they’ve unofficially been doing it since 2002. By the way, they’ve attempted this Big Brother tracking sh*t before...

“The government tried to institute the CAPPS II program of ‘risk assessments’ on passengers several years ago, and a huge uproar rightly followed, and the Congress was forced to intervene,” says Steinhardt. “We are stunned to learn that DHS is now implementing an even more far-reaching program with virtually no opportunity for the public to evaluate or comment on it.”

Or, remember Total Information Awareness? It’s baaaack -- and it goes into effect tomorrow!
To some privacy advocates, the ATS project seemed a resurrection of the Defense Department program known as Total Information Awareness. In that program, federal officials sought to data mine the consumer and banking records of millions of Americans to discern patterns that might point to certain individuals as possible terrorists.

This freshly uncovered travesty has barely been mentioned in the press or blogosphere. It is because this is a Pearl Harbor style sneak attack on our civil liberties by the Orwellian Bu$hCo cabal. Now, aren’t you glad we have those Democrats in charge of Congress? What are they doing about it? So far, nothing! It’s time to hit the phones, friends...

30 November 2006

Did Russia Commit Act of War on UK?

When the secret intelligence service of a foreign nation contaminates several aircraft of your national, flag-carrying airline with a radioactive particle, it could be construed as an act of war. Further, it looks like agents of Russia, acting on Vlad “The Poisoner” Putin’s behalf, put the lives of thousands of British nationals at risk, all in the effort to assassinate Alexander Litvinenko, a naturalized British citizen and ex-KGB agent. Furthermore, there are 12 locations where polonium is being detected around London. It is a lot like a low-level dirty bomb attack.
Now, we in the USA can’t say a LOT here. We can’t moralize too much, since we routinely kidnap foreign nationals abroad, transport them to secret prisons, torture them, and hold them indefinitely with no access to lawyers. But at least we don’t contaminate and dent the economics of those countries in the process. We’re in, we’re out.

But the Russians caused “collateral damage” on this one...

The British Airways planes involved made an estimated 221 flights to 10 locations from Oct. 25 to Nov. 29, carrying some 33,000 passengers.

Here, it looks like you have some numbskull KGB agent pulling a James Bond-like whack on Litvenenko. You know, the overly elaborate kind of killing that ultimately allows the victim to escape (e.g., the death laser that takes a half hour to actually reach your crotch).

What ever happened to just popping a cap in somebody’s ass?

In this case, Litvenenko had time level a deathbed “J’Accuse!” at Putin. And increasingly it looks like the polonium trail leads back to Moscow. If I were Scotland Yard, I’d be interested in testing the Russian embassy in London, since radioactive polonium there would be a smoking (glow-in-the-dark?) gun.

Now it looks as though perhaps the Ruskies poisoned Former Russian prime minister Yegor Gaidar in Ireland as well.

I know our dear leader Dubya looked into Pootie Poot’s soul and all and saw he was a man of Jesus, or whatever, and I think it’s true that they are birds of a feather. But Vlad the Poisoner better be much more careful about what he does. I mean, this really could be read as an act of war. What if the anthrax attacks here had been traced to a foreign country?

Remember, Mother Russia, the British have nuclear materials as well.

26 November 2006

Rummy on Torture: "Get-R-Done!"

It's no surprise that Bush’s Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, approved the inhuman torture techniques employed by U.S. Intelligence operatives at Baghdad’s Abu Ghraib prison. For any American who loves this country and the human rights it has represented for more than two hundred years, our dark hours under the Bush regime have brought a litany of such disheartening shocks to the conscience – torture, spying without warrant, the end of habeas corpus, etc. What is a surprise is that Rumsfeld was willing to put pen to paper to approve methods that prima facie violate the Geneva Convention. Today, Reuters reports Rummy OK'd prisoner treatment which broke the law and ignored most basic human morality.

Former U.S. Army Brigadier General Janis Karpinski told Spain's El Pais newspaper she had seen a letter apparently signed by Rumsfeld which allowed civilian contractors to use techniques such as sleep deprivation during interrogation.

Karpinski, who ran the prison until early 2004, said she saw a memorandum signed by Rumsfeld detailing the use of harsh interrogation methods.

"The handwritten signature was above his printed name and in the same handwriting in the margin was written: "Make sure this is accomplished"," she told Saturday's El Pais.

It's really saddening that we must turn to Germany to prosecute Rumsfeld for war crimes. Is there no forum in the United States where Rummy can be charged with breaking the laws of the land? In Gen. Karpinski, we have a witness, in the Abu Ghraib photos, we have documentary evidence of war crimes. Now, it appears there is also a smoking gun memo, complete with Rummy’s John Hancock and “Get-R-Done” notation, which should convince any jury or deliberative body (Yo Democrats!) that Bush’s SecDef should rot in the brig.

According to Karpinski, who ran Abu Ghraib...

"The methods consisted of making prisoners stand for long periods, sleep deprivation ... playing music at full volume, having to sit in uncomfortably ... Rumsfeld authorized these specific techniques."

The Geneva Convention says prisoners of war should suffer "no physical or mental torture, nor any other form of coercion" to secure information.

"Prisoners of war who refuse to answer may not be threatened, insulted, or exposed to any unpleasant or disadvantageous treatment of any kind," the document states.

If we Americans cannot deal with our own war criminal, but must look to Germany for justice, then all is lost. What jurisdiction in the United States, what court, what laws, are most appropriate to bring war criminal Rumsfeld to justice? This is an American problem and it requires an American solution.

20 November 2006

I'm With Feingold: U.S. Out by July 1!

I’m still in mourning over Senator Russ Feingold’s decision not to run for the White House in 2008. The Unites States sorely needs a person of Feingold’s integrity and sense of principle in the Oval Office to make amends to the world and begin the cleanup of the disastrous mess left behind by the Toxic Texan, whom I expect to promptly flee to exile in Paraguay when his term ends.

Nonetheless, Senator Feingold remains a beacon of reason and hope for progressives everywhere, and I don’t think enough has been made of his simple, intelligent proposal to extract our country from the morass that is the Iraq War. The plan can be summed up in two words: let’s leave.

U.S. Senator Russ Feingold today introduced legislation requiring U.S. forces to redeploy from Iraq by July 1, 2007.

Is Feingold’s plan tantamount to “Cut ‘n’ Run?” Nope. It’s the only way to get the Iraqi government to stand on its own two feet. And we’ll continue to train Iraqi forces.
The legislation, which builds on an amendment Feingold authored earlier this year, would allow for a minimal number of U.S. forces to remain in Iraq for targeted counter-terrorism activities, training of Iraqi security forces, and the protection of U.S. infrastructure and personnel.

"Redeploying our troops will pressure the Iraqi government to get its political house in order while allowing us to re-focus on global terrorist organizations and trouble spots that threaten our national security,” Feingold said. “It simply doesn't make sense to continue devoting so much of our resources to one country while ignoring the growing threats we face around the world.”

Meantime, the United States can focus on what should have been job #1 all along: capturing or killing Usama bin Laden, the guy who attacked us on 9/11/01.
In September, Feingold also introduced a resolution addressing the need to strengthen our efforts in Afghanistan so as to prevent that country from again becoming a key staging ground for terrorists.

Presidential candidate or not, Senator Feingold’s plan deserves our attention, consideration and support. The troops deserve to be released from the impossible mission they’ve been asked to carry out, and directed to a more important one: fighting the Taliban and al Qaeda in Afghanistan. And the Iraqis deserve the reduction in violence and increase in self-sufficiency and independence a US withdrawal would bring about. The only losers would be the neocon GOP war agenda and the military industrial complex...and for them we’ll shed no tears.

The bill is S.4049
Title: A bill to provide for the redeployment of United States forces from Iraq by July 1, 2007.
Sponsor: Sen Feingold, Russell D. [WI] (introduced 11/14/2006) Cosponsors (1) Sen. Barbara Boxer [Calif.]
Latest Major Action: 11/14/2006 Referred to Senate committee. Status: Read twice and referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations.

08 November 2006

Thanks S.R. Sidarth!

You are a great American, S.R. Sidarth! I believe it may be your deed in videotaping the "macaca moment" of that vile clown, George Allen, that won the Senate for the Democratic Party in 2006. Thanks for your volunteerism, political involvement and willingness to subject yourself to the hateful abuse of a has-been racist politician. Your deeds tipped the scale, your little video had the political impact of a sledgehammer. I hope you remain active in politics and consider running for office yourself one day -- judging by your patience and tolerant demeanor you would make an excellent politician, perhaps a Virginia Senator one day. (Maybe loose the faux hawk haircut prior to campaigning!)

Your country will be better off for years to come due to your work in bringing down Allen and winning the Senate. You may have even helped to shorten a war! Sincerely, thank you!

Sidarth is a senior at the University of Virginia. Send e-mail to sr.sidarth@ gmail.com.

06 November 2006

The Piscopo Push Call

Well Kean, Jr. has finally brought out the BIG guns (i.e., a guy with arms 62-inches around)! According to Northern NJ-based web site Baristanet robocalls are now featuring lame-brained comic/bodybuilder Joe Piscopo in New Jersey...

Hi, It's Joe Piscopo. Yes, it's really me Joe Piscopo...[as if there are people who want to impersonate him...]
I'm reaching out to all my Italian-American friends to ask them to vote for a good friend of the Italian-American comunity, Tom Kean.

At the end of the call...

Paid for by the Filangieri Society for Justice and Good Government.

Additionally, the site says that mailers are being sent out accusing Menendez of "betraying" Garden State right-wing justice Sam Alito.
Here's what it said (feel free to read in your best Tony Soprano)...

New Jerseyans Are Supposed To Take Care of Their Own
Bob Menendez Betrayed Sam Alito

The mailer, from a Monmouth Beach-organization called the Filangieri Society for Justice and Good Government, states that 20% of New Jerseyans are Italian-American and that Menendez opposed every major Italian-American organization in New Jersey.

All this Italian-American rah-rah stuff from a campaign that insulted the entire Italian American community here recently by exploiting an Italian American stereotype in a TV adM, portraying a mafioso somehow connected to Menedez. What a joke.

Kean, Jr.? Fuggedaboutit.

02 November 2006

Screwing the Troops

That's what the Bush Administration is doing on a daily basis - screwing our servicemen and servicewomen by marooning them in Iraq, saddling them with an impossible mission, and under-equipping them at the same time. It's a total f*cking outrage! Below, see the email that proves it.

While evil neocons and their MSM minions make a big stink over John Kerry and his verbal slip -- cynically hoping to get the troops and the wingnuts riled at Democrats over nothing in the week before an election -- the real insult to our troops is this: parents and coworkers of soldiers must donate clothes, food and items as basic as soap and Advil so that our forces will be adequately equipped. Recently, at my workplace, the following e-mail was circulated...

As some of you may be aware, [redacted]'s son, Pvt. [redacted], has just been deployed to Kuwait and is due to leave for Iraq within the next couple of weeks. At a recent meeting, second tour soldiers in [redacted]'s unit discussed how certain items are greatly needed for our troops in Iraq. [redacted] is proud to assist in coordinating this Holiday collection drive. If you would like to donate a much needed item, please see the attached spreadsheet.

Let's put a smile on those faces that are bravely serving our country. Please bring your donations to [redacted] in Human Resources by Thursday, November 30th. The care package will be sent to our soldiers on Friday, December 1st. Thanks for your help.
Here are the contents of the spreadsheet of items needed by our troops...

Support for the Global War on Terrorism

List of Items Needed in Iraq

Ciprocol Lozenges
Flannel Pajamas (Bottoms Only-various sizes)
Car Fresheners
Hard Candy (Any kind)
Cough Drops
Flannel Sheets
Scented Candles
Food: Anything (no Pork)
Shower Curtains
Hand Warmers
Koolade (Powder)
T-shirts (plain)
Newspapers (artilces from the states)
Gatorade (Powder)
Hand Sanitizer
Any type of Civilian Clothes
Ice Tea (Powder)
Sun Block (Highest SPF)
Coffee (instant)
Phone Cards
Hand Cream
Any kind of Snack
Eye Wash
Chap stick
Wet Wipes (anything w/100% Aloe)
Febreze (Any style)
100% Aloe (Anything)

It's a straight up crime that our tax money is not providing these basics to those serving our country. It's also an argument against those huge tax cuts for millionaries. Meantime, we're supposed to get hot and bothered over John Kerry insulting our troops? Yeah, right. The real insult is here, friends, in this list.

Those wishing to donate stuff may check out a web site like this.

01 November 2006

Botched Kerry

John Kerry's apology today was the right thing to do politically, since the right wing noise machine had successfully goosed the MSM into making a stupid gaffe the story of the century, just a week prior to a national election. Like it was the goddamned October Surprise or something.

But this whole thing about Kerry has got me pissed. I was protesting in the streets in the lead up to the Iraq War, before the invasion. I remember watching Colin Powell at the UN and laughing out loud at the trumped up charges. Especially those cartoon-y renderings of mobile chemical weapon labs. So were you, probably. How is it that you and I KNEW IT WAS ALL B*LLSHIT, and yet Senators like John Kerry say they were duped. Did they not have access to the Internet, to newspapers, to the TV news? As mawkishly patriotic as all of our national media was, we could see through the BS to perceive a war of naked aggression. And our Senators could NOT?

Sure Kerry now says he made a mistake in voting to Bushwhack Iraq. I believe the truth is that Kerry's mistakes were political in nature ... in that he thought Bush's war on Iraq would go well. Not poorly. It was not a matter of being duped by faulty intelligence. It was a matter of having too much faith in BushCo's capacity to run a competent invasion.

So I accept John Kerry's apology. He's being unfairly pilloried, like Howard Dean was, for nothing really. An awkward moment, a little mistake. It's not like it cost 3,000 troops their lives and sullied our national reputation, like Bush's mistake. It's not like he lost New Orleans, like Bush did.

It's not even like he shot a man in the face, like Cheney did. But you'd think Kerry's gaffe was far worse than these examples from the coverage it's getting.

I liked Kerry's fire-breathing response to the chickenhawks who have been lambasting him. Doughy Limbaugh. That's good.

Yet, I think if we're going to revive a failed presidential candidate and ask him to speak for the party, to act as a standard bearer, and possibly to run for the Oval Office again, let's make it Al Gore.

Or let's look for new blood...like Obama.

Or let's get behind a real progressive with a conscience and honest compassion...like my favorite Senator...Russ Feingold.

Kerry is a decent man who served his country. But he didn't fight back against the Swift Boaters, didn't challenge the Ohio vote. I think he is among the richest men in government. And he makes ...gaffes. Kerry is not worthy of a second chance. Let's move on.

25 October 2006

Screw the Cardinals!

One of the things I enjoy most deeply about popular American culture is baseball. Now, I hate it when politics gets injected needlessly into the national pastime, like when the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown banned Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon from speaking because they opposed the ruinous invasion of Iraq. (By the way, baseball was NOT invented in Cooperstown so screw the hall of fame too, which is pretty lame anyway if you've ever been there). Or, like when the Red Sox' idiot pitcher Curt Schilling was a shill for Bush after the Sox won it all in 2004 in the lead up to the presidential election. By the way, the Red Sox were redeemed because the team owners and GM came out for Kerry in that same election, which wouldn't have been necessary were it not for the right wing Sox pitcher.

Now, the Cardinals' millionaire starting pitcher for game four of the World Series, a fool with a fastball named Jeff Suppan, is in a new advertisement against stem cell research in Missouri.

The ad also features the football Cardinals' dumbass quarterback Kurt Warner.  The ad is intended to counter the great ad by Parkinson's Disease-afflicted actor Michael J. Fox in support of Missouri Democratic Senate candidate Claire McCaskill. So basically, the Card's ace Suppon is siding with the Repug Senator Talent, George Bush, Rush Limbaugh and the other assorted characters of death and blight whose ideology opposes curing disease.

So, I say: Screw the Cardinals! I hope that they lose big time, tonight and in the series. I hope Suppan gets shelled. My beloved Royals whipped the Cards in 1985, and it was great. Another team I root for, the Red Sox, made them look bad in 2004, and I enjoyed that a lot too.

Now it is time for the Detroit Tigers to get their asses in gear and send this right-wing baseball team home with no trophy. All in their right minds, with the exception of those near St. Louis and voting for McCaskill, should be rooting against cure-hater Suppan and the Cardinals. Through bad Karma shall they lose.

A note: the Cardinals were the vehicle by which steroids-addled cheater Mark McGwire hit 70 homers in 1998, and then had the temerity to embrace the family of Roger Maris, who'd set the record fair and square in 1961. As I said: screw the Cardinals!