So, Osama walks into this bar, see?

Greg Palast rants on the state of fear issue:

“So, Osama Walks into This Bar, See? and Bush says, “Whad’l’ya have, pardner?” and Osama says, “Well, George, what are you serving today?” and Bush says, “Fear,” and Osama shouts, “Fear for everybody!” and George pours it on for the crowd. Then the presidential bartender says, “Hey, who’s buying?” and Osama points a thumb at the crowd sucking down their brew. “They are,” he says. And the two of them share a quiet laugh.”

Go read the full article to see how he gets to that punch line.

GWB visits Vienna, Austria

The Aardvark Speaks:

“Sealing off the entire Stephansplatz area for five hours tomorrow just so that Mrs. Bush can go visit St. Stephen’s Cathedral says a lot about the perceived self-importance of the American president and his wife. Since not even the Pope demanded that the inner city be emptied of people during his visit and the Pope supposedly ranks directly below God, this must mean that the American president and his wife rank somewhere in the supernatural sphere above God. Or that that at least they think they do. Or, if we all didn’t know that the president of the United States is a fearless pillar of courage, someone might suggest that they are simply very, very, very afraid.”

Read the full report here.

If this guy was travelling as much as the last pope, global economy would really take a hit ;)

Joel Stein doesn’t support the troops

Joel Stein says he doesn’t support the troops. For an american, that’s a bold statement.

“And I’ve got no problem with other people — the ones who were for the Iraq war — supporting the troops. If you think invading Iraq was a good idea, then by all means, support away. Load up on those patriotic magnets and bracelets and other trinkets the Chinese are making money off of.

But I’m not for the war. And being against the war and saying you support the troops is one of the wussiest positions the pacifists have ever taken — and they’re wussy by definition. It’s as if the one lesson they took away from Vietnam wasn’t to avoid foreign conflicts with no pressing national interest but to remember to throw a parade afterward.

Blindly lending support to our soldiers, I fear, will keep them overseas longer by giving soft acquiescence to the hawks who sent them there — and who might one day want to send them somewhere else. Trust me, a guy who thought 50.7% was a mandate isn’t going to pick up on the subtleties of a parade for just service in an unjust war. He’s going to be looking for funnel cake.”

About time somebody put it this way. I have been puzzled why a country that was once labelled “the land of the free” is ok with calling everybody who doesn’t think going to Iraq was a good idea “not a patriot”.

Oh, and to the commenter who was brave enough to attack me on this but needed to hide behind an anonymous email address: yes, of course I know that everyone is still free to say what he thinks in the US. That’s why the guy with the ‘SuicideBomber’ T-Shirt had so much fun on board of that airplane, and why a politician who’d say that he doesn’t support the troops had a real chance of being elected. Yeah, right.

Al Gore on executive power

(Via, need to watch an ad to read the full article:)

” The founders of our country faced dire threats. If they failed in their endeavors, they would have been hung as traitors. The very existence of our country was at risk.

Yet, in the teeth of those dangers, they insisted on establishing the Bill of Rights.

Is our Congress today in more danger than were their predecessors when the British army was marching on the Capitol? Is the world more dangerous than when we faced an ideological enemy with tens of thousands of missiles poised to be launched against us and annihilate our country at a moment’s notice? Is America in more danger now than when we faced worldwide fascism on the march — when our fathers fought and won two World Wars simultaneously?

It is simply an insult to those who came before us and sacrificed so much on our behalf to imply that we have more to be fearful of than they. Yet they faithfully protected our freedoms and now it is up to us to do the same.

We have a duty as Americans to defend our citizens’ right not only to life but also to liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It is therefore vital in our current circumstances that immediate steps be taken to safeguard our Constitution against the present danger posed by the intrusive overreaching on the part of the Executive Branch and the President’s apparent belief that he need not live under the rule of law. “

A pity that guy wasn’t elected back then…

Germany tries to outlaw stupidity

Susanne Osthoff, the german hostage in Iraq that was freed about a week ago, wants to go back to Iraq. Now the german government wants to ask the Iraqi government not to let her in.

Why bother? Just present her with the bill for getting her free, then she won’t be able to afford the flight ;)

Furthermore, the woman’s mother attacks the german government for cutting down funding for her daughter’s projects in Iraq. Hey, what do you think that money was used for?

US wants to make GPS vehicle tracking mandatory

Another step on the way to a state not even George Orwell would have envisioned:

Details of the tracking systems vary. But the general idea is that a small GPS device, which knows its location by receiving satellite signals, is placed inside the vehicle.
The problem, though, is that no privacy protections exist. No restrictions prevent police from continually monitoring, without a court order, the whereabouts of every vehicle on the road.
No rule prohibits that massive database of GPS trails from being subpoenaed by curious divorce attorneys, or handed to insurance companies that might raise rates for someone who spent too much time at a neighborhood bar. No policy bans police from automatically sending out speeding tickets based on what the GPS data say.
Even more shocking are additional ideas that bureaucrats are hatching. A report prepared by a Transportation Department-funded program in Washington state says the GPS bugs must be made “tamper proof” and the vehicle should be disabled if the bugs are disconnected.

This gets scarier by the day.