Happier Than a Pig in Shit?

Wouldn’t it be sweet to be not just figuratively but literally happier than a pig in shit? Well, it turns out that, thanks to George W Bush, it looks like we’ll soon have that opportunity:

Bush’s Final F.U. : Rolling Stone

Circumventing the Clean Water Act, the administration has approved last-minute regulations that will allow animal waste from factory farms to seep, unmonitored, into America’s waterways. The regulation leaves it up to the farms themselves to decide whether their pollution is dangerous enough to require them to apply for a permit. “It’s the fox guarding the henhouse — all too literally,” says Pope.

I thought America was pretty well beyond water borne illnesses caused by pollution from things like livestock. Why are we creating third world problems? Don’t we have enough first-world problems to deal with these days?

Self-Inflicted Waterboarding Experiment

Dear Future Generations. In the 2000’s, we had a president from Texas who’s international crime fighting policy was basically this:

1. Offer bounties to people living in poverty who are willing to turn in other 3rd world living humans in exchange for cash.

2. Torture the captives to find out if they actually know anything.

3. Don’t allow the tortured to have trials where they could explain the circumstances that led to their capture, how they’ve been tortured, and that they’d like to get back to herding sheep now.

This president managed to scare enough crap out of the public that they were willing to go along with his pro-torture policies.

In fact, it became patriot to be scared.

Yes, we were the most powerful country in the world, but our president’s power came from keeping citizens living with a sense of fear.

Fear allowed the government to carry out known forms of torture on humans with full knowledge of the public. The government managed to convince the public that torturing fellow humans was justifiable. It got to the point that major national news channels like FOX News actually debated whether a torture technique called waterboarding was really torture.

Is waterboarding torture?

Try it on yourself to find out.

That’s what this guy did. Keep in mind that he was in complete control in this situation. He wasn’t locked up in a razorwire jail thousands of miles from home where he wasn’t allowed to see a lawyer.

This is a guy with a weight bench in his home who attempted to simulate waterboarding on himself to see what he could learn from that:

I waterboard!

So, is it torture?

I’ll put it this way. If I had the choice of being waterboarded by a third party or having my fingers smashed one at a time by a sledgehammer, I’d take the fingers, no question.

It’s horrible, terrible, inhuman torture. I can hardly imagine worse. I’d prefer permanent damage and disability to experiencing it again. I’d give up anything, say anything, do anything.

The Spanish Inquisition knew this. It was one of their favorite methods.

It’s torture. No question. Terrible terrible torture. To experience it and understand it and then do it to another human being is to leave the realm of sanity and humanity forever. No question in my mind.

Your tax dollars at work.

It’s worth clicking through to read his full experiment and reactions to the varying degrees of waterboard torture my 2004 Bush supporting friends endorsed by re-electing our torturer in chief.

Alberto Gonzales, Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, Condoleezza Rice, George W Bush, and everyone who voted for this group in 2004 should run their own self-torture tests to get a feel for the inhumane treatment they’ve authorized.

via Kottke

Minnesota National Guard Troops Screwed by Bush on GI Bill Benefits

The Other Mike sent over this link to a story by NBC on an amazing coincidence in the time served by Minnesota’s National Guard troops in Iraq. Had they served 730 days, they would have been eligible for the GI bill, helping them pay for educational costs and improve their careers after returning from war.

Any guesses how many days their tour ran? 729 Days.

[1st Lt. Jon] Anderson’s orders, and the orders of 1,161 other Minnesota guard members, were written for 729 days.

Had they been written for 730 days, just one day more, the soldiers would receive those benefits to pay for school.

“Which would be allowing the soldiers an extra $500 to $800 a month,” Anderson said.

That money would help him pay for his master’s degree in public administration. It would help Anderson’s fellow platoon leader, John Hobot, pay for a degree in law enforcement.

The Minnesota National Guard’s tour is the longer tour served by any group sent to Iraq to date. And I imagine it will continue to hold onto that record, knowing that anything longer would provide benefits to our soldiers upon return.

More on the CityPages Blotter.

Britney & Gen. Petraeus’ YouTube Defenders

I wasn’t going to post this, but I couldn’t post the 2nd video without the first, right?

I hope I’m not deserving of a teary-eyed sniveling defense from a fan on YouTube anytime soon.

Defending Britney:

“Bush” defending Gen Petraeus:

And if you’re thinking about making fun of the passionate Britney fan in the first video, watch this first:

A Look Back at Bush’s 9/11 Reaction

He calls himself “The Decider” so what did he decide to do on 9/11 after hearing about then watching replays of the first of the attacks by plane? He stuck to his plan to give a speech to a group of elementary school students.

BAGnewsNotes has an excellent analysis:

BAGnewsNotes: More Karl Post-Mortem: Beyond My Pet Goat

According to his original pre-“attack on America” schedule, Bush was slated to give a speech to the Booker Elementary student body at approximately 9:30. So, thirty-nine minutes after the first crash (which Bush was aware of by approximately 8:55); and nineteen minutes after hearing about the second crash; and with the fate of America supposedly hanging in the balance, what do you suppose Bush had in front of him and was working on?

Yep, it’s the speech he ended up writing, then delivering, four minutes later to 200 elementary school students, along with some teachers and a handful of reporters.

If Bush’s actions confirm his incompetent, pre-formulated, performance-by-rote, what, in addition, might the craft and composition of the photo indicate? In this moment of extreme crisis; 13 minutes before Flight 77 would slam into the Pentagon; with the atmosphere rife with speculation that numerous highjacks were in progress, can anybody say there wasn’t still time for posing?

Before you can be a decider, you need to be an analyzer who determines what the real problem you’re facing is. Once you know that, you may be able to make a proper decision.

Bush was a decider on going into Iraq, but the real problem was – and still is YEARS later – Osama bin Laden and terrorists subscribing to his world view.

A real decider may realize that occupying a country fosters terrorism.

Sticking with a mistake is certainly a decision, but not one our president should be proud of.

And who “decided” to call September 11th, “September the 11th?” Try that with your friends sometime. Next time a friend asks you the date, say, “August the 15th” or whatever date it happens to be. I bet they’ll give you a head-tilted squinted look like you have a screw loose.

The Time I Deported A Lost Soldier’s Wife

This one time, I started a war. And in that war, one of the soldier’s who was risking his life for America was captured. As you may imagine, that was pretty rough for his family. To make matter’s worse, his wife (who he married 3 years ago) wasn’t born an American citizen. Sure, she was married to an American and had applied for citizenship, but she wasn’t an American citizen.

So, I decided to give her the boot.

Oh, wait. This isn’t my story. This is the story of our current president, George W. Bush.

You can’t make this stuff up.

Oh, did I mention that she would be barred from applying for a green card for 10 years after being deported. That’s rich.

Support the troops. Treat their spouses like you give a damn.

China’s Role in Darfur, and the Olympics

Freakonomics has an interesting post about how some NBA players – minor players, not NBA starts – have signed onto a letter saying China needs to get their act together in Darfur before the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.

Boycott the Beijing Olympics?

On the other hand, a lot of people around the world harbor feelings of discomfort toward the newly muscular China. An interesting article by Howard Beck in today’s New York Times tells of Cleveland Cavaliers’ reserve Ira Newble, who read an article in USA Today about the violence and death in Darfur and decided to take action:

As I’ve learned more about the situation in Darfur, I’ve tried to figure out why the Bush Administration has been so reluctant to get involved in stopping the genocide they’ve admitted is going on for something like 18 months now. Colin Powell was the first to call it a genocide and he’s been gone for a quite a while now. The genocide has been going on for a LOT longer than that, but even the Bush administration has been willing to admit such atrocities are taking place for that long . . . without doing anything to stop them.

Watching the movie, The Devil Came on Horseback, really helped explain the politics effecting that region of the world and made clear to me why the US is being so passive in the face of well-documented genocidal acts. The motivation behind our pathetic by-standing can be summed up in one simple word that you’re all too familiar with: oil.

Oil is the reason we’re NOT invading Darfur to stop the genocide. Huh? Yes. That’s correct. But doesn’t the US invade countries who have oil (Iraq) or countries who have access to countries with oil so we can build pipelines across them (Afghanistan)? Yes. But this time it’s different.

We, as in, the US government, have decided that Sudan’s oil is China’s oil. China is the largest exporter of oil from Sudan and China supplies the genocidal maniacs in Sudan with their weapons. It’s an ugly ugly situation, but the US seems to have adopted a policy of allowing China to get away with whatever they want in Sudan in exchange for China leaving the US alone in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Nothing beats a little quid pro quo between world superpowers at the expense of hundreds of thousands of civilians lives in oil rich but otherwise devastatingly poor countries.

George Bush’s Army Burns Churches

Last week, I had a chance to spend a few days in Dubrovnik, Croatia. The city is ancient, and was founded around 11th century. It has a pharmacy that’s 400 years older than the United States, and LOTS of churches older than the US of A. The city has been attacked many times, and has – along with Croatia – fallen under rule by various governments over the past 1000 years.

Ed on Dubrovnik's City Wall

Yet, churches have survived the wars.

A Dubrovnik Church

Luckily for them, they’ve never been invaded by George W. Bush, who allows stuff like this to happen under his watch:

Actually, George W Bush’s army doesn’t just burn churches – it blows them up.