Thursday, March 29, 2007

It this what New York Mayor Bloomberg’s cops are planning to do to peaceful protestors and people who expose cops violating the law?

According to a blog called The Real Estate Observer, connected to The New York Observer, a weekly newspaper, New York’s “finest” may be planning to beat the crap out of some people the cops don’t like.

The story is entitled, "Cop-Blog Ranters Vow Vengeance Against 'Radical' Bicyclists." You'll find it at this address:

How all this came about is a bit involved, so please bear with me. It starts with another website, Uncivil Uncivil servants is related to a group called Transportation Alternatives. The Uncivil Servants website is dedicated to exposing illegal and dangerous parking by all kinds of city employees – not just cops – on the sidewalks, in front of fire hydrants, in bus stops and other locations.

The site posts photographs and videos of illegally parked cars and forged parking permits, and highlights a general "to-hell-with-the-law-or-public-safety" attitude of some of the city’s employees who use their cars for personal commuting and then park wherever they feel like parking.

This exposure has led to considerable rage among New York Police Department officers. They've expressed their feelings on their own blog, NYPD Rant. You’ll find it at:

It’s not easy to access everything on that’s posted on NYPD Rant. Full use requires registration. Quite frankly, The New York Crank didn’t bother trying. But I saw enough to confirm the Real Estate Observer’s story. Specifically:

“Commenters have posted pictures of Paul White and Matthew Roth, two honchos at Transportation Alternatives, who are supposedly going to be riding in… [another group’s protest ride].

"’These lawbreaking cycle pirates must be stopped!!" writes Blue Trumpet on NYPD Rant.

“Gimmelosttime adds: 'Someone please hammer these 2 turds this weekend.’"

The site is difficult to navigate, but also refers to quotas – presumably arrest or ticket quotas – which the NYPD officially insist do not exist. Surf around the website for a while and you'll also find a picture a police badge with the number covered by masking tape - what cops have been known to do to avoid identification when they engage in illegal behavior in uniform.

And there are other encitements to bad cop behavior, including what I sincerely hope is an out-of-context quote from Mayor Bloomberg that "you can't fire someone for things they do outside the office." It's not hard to translate what that one means in its cop rant context: "If you're not on duty and you find one of those Transportation Alternatives people, give him a thorough tuneup."

So what is Mayor Bloomberg doing about physical threats of violence against civilians who have committed no crime? Or about investigating “nonexistent” police quotas that encourage cops to improperly ticket other peoples' cars and make improper arrests?

Why, exactly what he appears to have done about documented (sometimes with license plates photographs) illegal parking by city employees.


P.S. I haven’t been to the news stands yet, but someone called to say that this week’s issue of New York Magazine evidently diss-es one of the two New York Mayors Who Would Be President (the other is Rudy You-Know-Who) by calling attention to Bloomberg inadequacy in managing his job.

More on this topic after the article makes it to the web next week, so you can refer to it yourself. Also to come one of these weeks: What most of America doesn’t know about Giuliani.

Monday, March 26, 2007

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s lawyers move to stop a “fixated press” from reporting on Bloomberg police state shenanigans. Oh, the poor baby!

Astoundingly, I keep hearing via the rumor mill that New York’s mayor Michael Bloomberg still harbors presidential ambitions.

Mike, Mike, in today's political atmosphere you can’t run your town like a police state and still expect people to turn out for you.

This cranky corner of the Internet has reported on Bloomberg’s neo-Hitlerian behavior before. (See “Heil Bloomberg” here):
(You'll have to scroll down to the story.)

But now that Bloomberg’s chickens are coming home to roost, the city’s lawyers are pleading with the courts to stop the chickens.

Okay, okay, that metaphor is a trifle overcooked. So let’s get down to hobnail boots. This morning’s New York Times reports:

“Lawyers for the city, responding to a request to unseal records of police surveillance leading up to the 2004 Republican convention in New York, say that the documents should remain secret because the news media will ‘fixate upon and sensationalize them,’ hurting the city’s ability to defend itself in lawsuits over mass arrests.

“In papers filed in federal court last week, the city’s lawyers also say that the documents could be ‘misinterpreted’ because they were not intended for the public.”

Translation from Mike’s Lawyerese into plain New Yorkese:

“Hey, in da foist place, if da press sees what’s in the records, it’ll show dat we’ve been spying on just about any organization dat don't love Mike Bloomberg or George Bush.

"It'll also show we've inserting cops into their meetings, reading their mail, surreptitiously taking their photographs, finding ways to disrupt them and stifle their freedom of speech, illegally confiscating their property and stuff like dat. Da press is gonna report all dis here stuff, which will make us look bad. No fair! Whaa whaa whaa!

“Oh, and second of all, da public is too dumb to understand police reports written by our brilliant detectives.”

Are these the same kind of brilliant detectives who fired 50 shots into a van filled with unarmed and innocent partygoers – one of the brilliant dicks stopping to reload before plugging them again, and again, and again?

Also in the news: Bloomberg's rocket scientist cops have discovered that one of the greatest threats to the security of our nation is a group of satirists called Billionaires for Bush (link in our links column) who poke fun of Republicans. Oh, the horror of it all!

A police report that did get uncovered revealed the shocking news that, “Billionaires for Bush is an activist group forged as a mockery of the current president and political policies. Preliminary intelligence indicates that this group is raising funds for expansion and support of anti-R.N.C. activist organizations.”

In other words, “Dem guys is poiposely making fun of da President and his policies and they’re raising dis here money to promote a point of view dat Mayor Mike don’t like.”

Horrors! No wonder Bloomberg doesn’t want more details of his Keystone Kops police state behavior revealed.

God knows whether the cops are also spying on The New York Crank. We recently received a request for our mailing address from someone who said he wanted to send us a book of poetry. That could be a new variation an old cop technique. The cops write to skells, telling them they’ve won a lot of money. The letter says they can claim the cash by coming to a party, at a certain time, at a certain address. When they show up, they all get busted.

On the other hand, it could be a legitimate request from a guy who simply wants The New York Crank to look at his poetry, perhaps in the hope the Crank will say something nice about it and lead others to buy the book.

At any rate, despite the chilling pall that Bloomberg, his lawyers and his cops are trying to throw over free speech, we sent the poet – or perhaps the cop posing as a poet – our address.

Hey! Yo, cops! If youse guys want to spy on The Crank, youse is welcome. There's nothing youse guys will discover that you can't find out right here – except maybe about my cranky fondness for French cuisine and pricey steak restaurants. And now youse have loined that here, too.

As the comedian used to say: But seriously, folks – it’s time for Michael Bloomberg, and his police Commissioner, Michael Kelly, to finish their terms and retire.

Or maybe it's also time for them to get busted for violating the civil rights of New Yorkers and do a little bit of prison time. Civil rights violations were a Federal crime, last time I looked.

P.S. Don’t go away without checking out the Billionaires for Bush website. Their members now have the temerity to make fun not only of the Bush administration, but also of the Bloomberg administration and the cops who work for it. Sample comment on the discovery that New York detectives were spying on Billionaires for Bush:

"We suspect they were looking for stock tips."

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Peking Thought Police fail to intimidate The New York Crank

Hey, Wen Jiabao, Premier of the People’s Republic of China: You cannot scare The New York Crank. Nor can the Crank be intimated. I know what you are. You are a crypto-capitalist-neo-communist-totalitarian. Or something like that. And nya nya nya to you!

Anyway, the Crank paid a visit to the far right expats at the No-Pasaran blog the other day (link in the links column at right) to see what they were up to.

They were up to celebrating (more or less) the fact that they had been banned in China. (You’ll have to scroll down a lot. They put up multiple posts almost every day.)

Seems there’s a website called The Great Firewall of China.
You type in any website and watch a map of the world as your URL bounces around between servers in Europe and Asia until it comes up with an answer. Banned. Or not banned. If you’re banned, nobody in China can read your stuff.

Yeah, so big deal. How could this apply to The New York Crank? I don’t even remember mentioning China here in this Crankyspace, much less saying something hostile about them, although maybe I forget some passing mention.

Then, today, the rebellious high school kids at the Tattoo Blog (link also at right) headlined the fact that THEY have been banned by Peking, too.

This got me curious. So I crankily tested my URL several times and whaddya know? Yup. The New York Crank is banned in China as well.

I began playing around some. I typed in the URL of Antioch College in Ohio, a small liberal arts college known for its leftsy rebelliousness. You'd think that'd be just the kind of place Peking might like. No such luck. Banned.

Then I typed in the URL of Earlham College, a small liberal arts college in Indiana, not known at all for being left wing. Not banned.

Wikipedia? Banned. My pal Buce at Underbelly (URL at right) the poetry-reading, literature-quoting bankruptcy lawyer? Not banned.

C’mon, Buce, get with it man. Get off that literature kick and say something political, so you can join the Legion of the Banned. It’s getting to the point where if you’re not banned in China, people may think you’re not all that interesting.

In the course of trying to figure out why The New York Crank is persona non grata in Peking, several thoughts occurred to me:

1. Capitalism is not a cure for totalitarianism. In fact, as we’re seeing in China and other Marxist nations that have changed to semi-capitalist entrepreneurship (viz. Russia) capitalism can be a concomitant to totalitarian rule. Oh my gosh, that may be true of the current occupants of the White House, too!

2. Democracy does not necessarily bring on Conservative-style, laissez faire capitalism, although that currently seems to be the case in this country. But the Scandinavian nations, to pick an example or three, seem to accommodate the popular will and many aspects of welfare state-ism.

3. The surest measure of whether a nation will go totalitarian long-term is the national character. Russia had secret police carrying out assassinations when the Czars were in power. They’re still doing it today. China was totalitarian, chaotic, often brutal and more-or-less capitalistic under the pre-Mao emperors and maybe even the late Chiang Kai-Shek. It still is today. Cuba is always a strongman-ruled basket case no matter who was in power. I think you get the idea.

4. Finally, I still wonder: How did I put a bug up Wen Jiabao’s ass? I mean, how did I put it there prior to this particular post? Well, I’ve got a conspiracy theory for you. I keep knocking W and the Bush Administration on this blog. I point out their flaws. I poke fun at them. I get irate at them. So I ask you – if China is getting upset with me, might not that mean that somebody in the Bush Administration is a secret Chinese Communist agent, and China doesn’t want us anti-Bushniks calling attention to what they’re up to?

Nah! Of course not.

On the other hand…

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Bears, chopsticks and baseball. Alas, the nut cases with these concerns are mostly MY side's lunatics. Quick, somebody call a psychiatrist!

So they call me left-leaning. I sometimes call myself left-leaning. But the truth is, I’m a 1959 Centrist, leaning the way I’ve always leaned. It’s just that a lot of American sentiment has shifted, mostly to the right, and in my opinion mostly to the detriment of the nation.

I'm going to get to the bears and the chopsticks shortly, but first stay with me while I make my politics clear.

I define my political tilt with opinions like these:
• We don’t belong in Iraq at this time and no Americans should be dying there
• Social Security and Medicare ought to be preserved, and universal healthcare should be a government priority
• For the general good, America ought to have a more steeply graduated income tax with much higher max tax rates for the formidably rich
• Every American citizen ought to give a year or two of universal national service, whether in the military, the Peace Corps or some other useful service
• America’s citizens need the power of government to control the greedy excesses of big business and agribusiness.
• But small businesses and small farmers deserve government help
• America should be moving faster to rein in major sources of atmospheric pollution.

But sheesh!

Now, because the right wing politicians have gobbled up so much of the center and excreted it off to the right, I find myself allied with lunatics of the left. Look who I find I have to side with in order to call myself a liberal.


Polar bears are an endangered species. They’re losing habitat. I suspect they’re rapidly losing their gene pool. So over in Germany, what happens?

“BERLIN - Berlin Zoo's abandoned polar bear cub Knut looks cute, cuddly and has become a front-page media darling, but an animal rights activist insisted Monday he would have been better off dead than raised by humans…

“’Feeding by hand is not species-appropriate but a gross violation of animal protection laws,’ animal rights activist Frank Albrecht was quoted as saying by the mass-circulation Bild daily, which has featured regular photo spreads tracking fuzzy Knut's frolicking.

"’The zoo must kill the bear.’";

Yeah, thanks a lot Frank. With friends like you, animals don’t need rights. They need bigger teeth and sharper claws. And maybe a good lawyer and a battery of howitzers.


“WASHINGTON - The typical Chinese restaurant menu is a sea of nutritional no-nos, a consumer group has found…

"’I don't want to put all the blame on Chinese food,’ said Bonnie Liebman, nutrition director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, which did a report released Tuesday.

"’Across the board, American restaurants need to cut back on calories and salt, and in the meantime, people should think of each meal as not one, but two, and bring home half for tomorrow,’ Liebman said.”;

Listen Bonnie, you might want to watch your use of that word “need.” Restaurants don’t “need” to do anything except serve sanitary food that people like to eat so that the restaurant can make a profit and stay in business.

Chinese food has been around for – I’m going to take a wild guess here – 4,000 years. It does well in this country because it tastes delicious, people enjoy eating it, and it’s usually inexpensive.

Suddenly there are too many calories in it? Well maybe. But then SUGGEST that I eat less of it. Don’t tell me “people should think of each meal…etc.” Say, “I believe people ought to CONSIDER thinking of each meal…etc.”

I mean, who appointed you chief food Nazi of the United States? Give you an inch and the next thing I know you’ll be hiding under my kitchen table to bust me for that second helping of Chunky Monkey or Rocky Road. Maybe even for the first helping.

Or you’ll be lurking under my bed with a video camera, the better to determine if my sex life is up to your high sanitary standards.

Here, Bonnie, let me give you a taste of your own imperial attitude: What you need to do is shut up and let people lead their own lives.


Look, I’m as much for safety as the next guy. I don’t want to see kids hurt playing what ought to be a joyful game.

But New York City has just gotten slightly batty over the subject. The City Council here has outlawed aluminum bats from school games, in the face of often-contradictory and always-anecdotal evidence that baseballs fly off aluminum bats faster than balls hit by wooden bats. There is no hard evidence one way or the other.

(Out of fairness to my liberal friends, I have to point out that the Council bill was introduced by a Republican. Or, to be true to my political sentiments, another damned idiot Republican.)

The New York Times reports:

“But while supporters use …anecdotal examples, industry officials say there have been no reliable studies showing that metal bats provide greater risk of injury than wooden bats.

“A number of coaches, leagues and athletic organizations, including Little League International and the New York High Schools Athletic Association, opposed the bill.

“Part of the opposition rests on the cost of replacing wooden bats, which frequently break. According to the City Council, it would cost the city’s public high schools $253,500 to replace 5,070 metal or metal-composite bats used by 169 baseball teams with wood bats, and $67,600 a year thereafter to replace broken wood bats.”

Listen, dudes. If aluminum bats really hurt and kill kids, they ought to be banned from the game and used only by underworld enforcers who collect debts by breaking legs. But banning aluminum alone is nuts. A wooden bat could hit a baseball hard enough to kill a kid, too. For that matter, so could a carelessly-pitched bean ball.

If the City Council really wants to stop deaths on the baseball diamond, it could switch from baseballs to a bigger and slower-moving softballs. Or the Council could outlaw baseball, period. While they're at it, they might want to outlaw football, another high school sport that sometimes baldy injures kids. That would cut sports injuries to near zero.

Fat chance of it happening?

Yeah, my point exactly.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Recalling the Big Muddy syndrome: Did these two guys share a Vulcan Brain Meld? Don’t answer until you read this.

In the earliest incarnation of the Star Trek TV series, Spock and his Vulcan friends could download the complete contents of other Vulcans' brains into their own brains. It was called the Vulcan Brain Meld. Hold that ridiculous thought for a minute.

As I write this, George Bush has just finished addressing the nation about Iraq, loading us up with essentially the same bull we heard during Viet Nam – that we're on our way to winning this thing and all we need is the right number of troops and – after four years – some more time.

I wish somebody would revive the Viet Nam war song about the – Was it a sergeant? A captain? – who led his troops into a swamp on a training exercise at a southern military base, going deeper, deeper, deeper into the swamp, until most of them drowned. The song was based on an actual event that became the perfect pop metaphor for what was going on in Washington then. And now.

This is all from memory, mind you, but here’s the way I remember it. Lyndon Johnson – yes, a Democrat, but not one of My Democrats – was President at the time. He suffered from the same vision problems that the current occupant of the White House has inflicted on himself vis-à-vis a war going from bad, to worse, to still worse, ad infinitum. He refused to acknowledge, or see, what was happening. All we needed were more troops and more time and all our problems would be solved. The word escalation seemed to have been made for Viet Nam, as it now does for Iraq.

So as long as it's "deja vu all over again," maybe it's time to revive the Big Muddy song.

One refrain to the song warned, “Now we’re knee deep in Big Muddy, and the big fool says move on.”

And then it was waist deep. And then later, “Now we’re neck deep in Big Muddy, and the big fool says move on.”

Got the idea?

Which brings me back to the first thought: I wonder whether Lyndon Johnson and George W. Bush somehow, years ago, did a Vulcan Brain Meld.

Of course, I’m only kidding.

But also, I’m not kidding.


With a bit of extra time on my hands today, I was able to locate complete text of the original song and a bit about the attempt to keep it off the air.

But memory plays funny tricks. The song was about a WWII captain and now I have no way of telling whether the songwriter, folks guitarist and lyricist Pete Seeger, invented the incident or based his ballad on something that actually happened.

At any rate, you'll find the whole shebang at the URL below. As you'll see, the song relevantly stands up, even today. Read the words and think George Bush.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Annoyed, irked, furious that some stockbroker, brokerage “financial planner,” or shill led you down the garden path? Here’s what they think of you.

Years ago, in the course of interviewing some commodity salesmen at a major brokerage house, Yours Crankily discovered the word that financial salespeople use for customers who complain that they’ve taken their advisors' advice and lost money.


Yeah, they can afford to put you down. After all, it wasn’t their money that got lost. It was yours.

Not to say that the buyer shouldn’t always beware just on general principals. Anybody who says he knows where a stock is going a week down the road ought either to have his head examined or get arrested for fraud or insider trading. A childhood friend of mine, who was a Senior Vice President at a couple of well-known banks once told me, “I made my entire career and a lot of money pretending I knew what the market would do. The truth is, I didn’t know s**t.”

All the same, people come to brokers, bankers, advisors and publications because they know they need to invest and they’re not sure what to do. They figure the “expert” knows more than they do. And these experts are more than happy to sell advice to them, and sometimes securities and wealth management plans as well.

So people who sell their expertise want you to believe that indeed, they are God.

Visit the web testimonials page of The Oxford Club, an organization that sells subscriptions to newsletters containing investment advice. The first testimonial you encounter says this, “"Alex Green is the one of the most creative investment advisors I have ever encountered. I've known him for over 25 years, and have been continually impressed by his thorough diligence and skillful timing on investments. Alex has a broad view of investment opportunities, from domestic to foreign."

Oxford mail and e-mail promotion pieces talk not only about beating the Dow or the S&P 500, but also about doubling and tripling your money in short amounts of time. No wonder some naïve investors look on these people as God. And no wonder they cry like Job when the market drowns their hopes, and sucks away their savings. But at least God restored Job to his former state when Job cut out his praise-the-Lord stuff and turned crybaby. Don't expect that from the Oxford Club, or anyone having anything to do with Wall Street.

Listen, I happen to like the Oxford Club. Green has made recommendations that have made money for me in recent times. All the more reason why I get nervous when Green sends me an e-mail praising, of all people, the author Ayn Rand, and carrying on about John Gault, a fictional Rand character. Worse, he uses Rand's colossally ridiculous fiction as the basis for his latest round of investment advice.

Do I mean the same fiction that praises ruthlessly predatory capitalists? Yup. And that scares me. Green writes:

“First, take responsibility for your own trades. Whether you make money or lose money, you should relish the fruits of your labors when your stocks go up, and not blame others when your investments decline.

“Granted, you may have learned of an investment idea from a stockbroker, newsletter writer or TV personality, but only you can be blamed if the stock goes south. Ultimately, it was YOU who decided to use that broker, subscribe to that newsletter writer, or watch that favorite financial program. Wise investors use several sources and then make their own investment decisions.”

Wait a second, Alex! Wait just one damn second! Why didn’t you tell me this when The Oxford Club was selling your skills as a stock guru?

In fact, why is Oxford telling me, in a box full of lusciously purple prose about blue water, inserted right into the text of Green's e-mail about John Gault, “The 2007 Breakout Commodity Report: Make Up to 689% in the Next Few Months from ‘The BLUE Revolution’

“A torrent of water is about to let loose on thirsty Nevada, from rivers of water that lay 200 feet to 2,000 feet below the surface of some of the most barren-looking land in the world. And a single company owns the right to that water - more than a million acres of proven reserves - that will generate approximately 11.4 billion gallons per year!

“Investors who know about this secret network of underground rivers stand to almost quadruple their money (on this investment alone) when the water begins flowing in just months.

“And that’s just one of four water-related opportunities you’ll learn about in The Oxford Club’s new report: Profit From The Blue Revolution: Pocket 689% Gains Or More From The One Commodity More Precious Than Oil, Uranium And Natural Gas.”

Got that, folks? Six hundred and eighty-nine percent, Green's "club" says. “In the next few months” at that.

Holy cow! That’s what I call a bold attempt to grab me through my computer screen and massage my greed gland to financial orgasm.

Just remember that on the same page, Green is excusing himself from any liability if the Oxford prediction of almost septupling your money in a few months turns out to be as phony as a $3 bill.

What scares me even more is that people who sell advice – even the generally good advice the Oxford Club has been selling me – are beginning to get off specifics and into John Gault and Ayn Rand morality. Consider that a giant “uh oh.” What do they know about the state of the market that they don’t want me to know until I part with my subscription dollars?

Or do they really know anything at all?

Monday, March 12, 2007

FLASH! This just in from the Better-Late-Than-Never Department

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. military planners have begun work on a fallback strategy in case the U.S. troop buildup in Iraq fails, including a gradual pullout of U.S. forces and more emphasis on training and advising Iraqi forces, the Los Angeles Times reported in Monday's editions.

Friday, March 09, 2007

George, George, yo George, listen up, willyuh George? Could we please have just one damn incompetence-instigated catastrophe at a time?

I mean…

•Iraq invasion

•People who once loved us now despise the USA

•Returning power of the Taliban in Afghanistan

•The unresolved Katrina mess

•Truckloads of paper money “vanished” in Iraq

•“Recycled” soldiers on their third tour of duty

•Wounded America vets at Walter Reed, treated like garbage

•Private contractors do shoddy work and make out like bandits – leading one to think they really are bandits

•Staggering national debt

•A handful of multi-millionaires becoming billionaires while the middle class grows poorer

•Americans without health insurance

•Banks are legally permitted to charge credit card interest on money we’ve already paid them

•Dick Cheney with a hunting rifle

•Exposing our own CIA operatives for partisan political advantage

•Libby Libby Libby in a prison prison prison

•Good U.S. Attorneys fired, evidently for not kowtowing to the party line

•Hack U.S. Attorneys retained

•The current composition of the U.S. Supreme Court

• Mission Accomplished – we’ve won the war in Iraq. Well, actually we didn’t win, but the fact that our guys are getting killed wholesale proves the enemy is desperate. Well, maybe they’re not desperate, but we’re winning anyway. Well, maybe we weren’t winning anyway, but now we’ve got a plan to win. Well, the plan isn’t working yet but it’ll work if we surge the troops for a few months. Well, maybe not for just a few months, maybe until 2008, Well…

•Iraq has WMD. No, actually Iraq doesn’t have WMD but North Korea has the bomb. No, maybe North Korea doesn’t have the bomb. Iran has the…oh, nevermind!

•Plus many, many more. But I have a headache.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Attention all PR flacks: Are you having trouble attracting press attention? Try taking off your clothes.

"HETEREN, Netherlands -- A dozen middle-age and elderly men were game enough for a Dutch gym's invitation to work out nude. But they were vastly outnumbered by the dozens of journalists watching them lift, row and cycle in the buff...."

You'll find alll the sweaty, flabby, swinging and droopy details here:

Quick, what’s the difference between these two things?

The baseball mitt is smarter than Mitt Romney.

Case in point: Romney gets up the other day and introduces Ann Coulter. He says, "I am happy to hear that after you hear from me, you will hear from Ann Coulter. That is a good thing. Oh yeah!"

Then Ann Coulter gets up and does some nasty gay bashing. She says, "I was going to have a few comments on the other Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards, but it turns out you have to go into rehab if you use the word ‘faggot,’ so I — so kind of an impasse, can’t really talk about Edwards."

Defenders of the Clueless Mitthead insist, “he didn’t know what she was going to say.” Read it in this National Journal article that recounts the event:

Oh, that poor baby! And on what was Mitt (the candidate, not the baseball glove) basing his happiness that the audience would hear from Ann after hearing from him?

Perhaps it was her kindly, thoughtful and oh-so-incisive comment about the widows of 9-11 victims, “I've never seen people enjoying their husbands' deaths so much." She called the grieving widows “harpies.”

Did I mention that she has also favored poisoning a United States Supreme Court justice? And bombing the New York Times?

A real sweetheart, this gal!

The National Journal, usually a fortress of reasonably thoughtful conservatism, was excoriated to shreds by its own readers when it tried to defend Romney for introducing her. Go to the URL above and scroll down to the reader postings to see what I mean.

Despite the outrage of Conservatives as well as anti-Conservatives to her unapologetic and in-character utterances, I’m glad she makes them. That’s because her behavior allows a tit-for-tat response, without any apologies required of this cranky commentator.

I mean, if the Mitthead has any kind brain at all, even a vestigial one, he must have figured that he’d get something in return for saying nice things about this five-star witch. Maybe he thought he’d get into her pants.

Mitt, pal, don’t ever go there. I have an uncomfortable premonition that if Ann Coulter ever spreads her legs for you, a huge swarm of flies, worms, gnats, millipedes and bedbugs will come streaming out.

No no, don’t blame me for that last statement. I really didn’t know what I was going to write.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Blame for the mess at Walter Reed? Lay it directly at the door of the Privatizer In Chief, who doesn’t seem to care how much shattered vets suffer.

The scandal of outpatient “care” at Walter Reed Army Hospital (and perhaps at others, yet to be discovered) is a national disgrace directly created by George W. Bush’s drive to privatize virtually anything the government does.

Sure, President Bush talks a good game about “supporting the troops” when it comes to putting them in harm’s way and getting them killed and maimed. But when it comes to actually supporting those who survived – minus one or both legs, minus one or both arms, minus their eyesight or hearing, minus their sanity or full mental functioning – forget it.

There ought to be a lot more play given to a story in the Army Times that begins with the revelation that the Army for some reason initially refused to allow Major General George W. Weightman to testify before a legislative committee looking into the appalling mess at Walter Reed.


The Army Times story went on to reveal that the downward slide began after “Walter Reed… awarded a five-year, $120-million contract to IAP Worldwide Services, which is run by Al Neffgen, a former senior Halliburton official.” Essentially, it was a contract to take outpatient care out of the hands of the military and put it in the hands of businessmen friends of the Bush Administration.

Once again the White House got its priorities twisted. In the insanely doctrinaire rush to privatize every government function it can think of, George Bush & Company handed over management of this facility to a company where the first priority was to make a buck.

Right. Make a buck. Off the backs of our wounded soldiers whom the President tells us we’re not supporting if we urge him to end the war that got them maimed in the first place.

According to the Army Times, another discovery is that “more than 300 federal employees providing facilities management services at Walter Reed had drooped to fewer than 60 by Feb. 3, 2007, the day before IAP took over facilities management. IAP replaced the remaining 60 employees with only 50 private workers.”


You’d think that if George Bush really wants to support the troops, he might make it easy for destitute and near-destitute families of wounded soldiers and marines to quickly get their benefits. Fat chance!

Actually, “the Army fights them on benefits. As one soldier, who was ripped apart by an IED that ruptured his spleen, ripped out his colon, broke his leg and tore ligaments from his knee put it: ‘The Army is trying to give you the lowest amount of money possible.’”


Moreover, George Bush knew of the atrocious conditions well before the scandal in the press – and chose to do nothing.

You can see “What me worry?” George’s press secretary Tony Snow admit the truth . Just go here:

So what are we to make of Defense Secretary Gates’ statement, ““I am concerned that some do not properly understand the need to communicate to the wounded and their families that we have no higher priority than their care and that addressing their concerns about the quality of their outpatient experience is critically important. Our wounded soldiers and their families have sacrificed much and they deserve the best we can offer."

Take it for what it is – sheer coverup hypocrisy – the very same hypocrisy that gets people who want to stop the war accused of “not supporting the troops.” The best support we can give them is to bring them home safely, now.

As for those pious statements of concern from the Bush Administration, which would rather screw up veteran care by privatizing it than actually give our shattered veterans any reasonable amount of care and assistance, the bitter truth is reflected in a song parody dating from about 1959. Here's what the Bush administration is really doing. Sing it to the tune of “When Johnny Comes Marching Home.”

When Johnny comes hobbling home again
Hurrah, Hurrah!
When Johnny comes hobbling home again
Hurrah, Hurrah!
Stumbling and tripping on his wooden leg
Give him a cup and let him beg
And we’ll all wave a big flag
When Johnny comes hobbling home.