Saturday, March 1, 2008

L' homme A La Moto

A little French culture fer all y'all:




Original version in English here, and an updated version with a slide show here.

If DOJ won't do it ...

Call the DC District Attorney and the DCPD. Via BuzzFlash seems the Department of Justice ain't gonna enforce Nancy Pelosi's contempt citations:

WASHINGTON - Attorney General Michael Mukasey refused Friday to refer the House's contempt citations against two of President Bush's top aides to a federal grand jury. Mukasey said White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten and former presidential counsel Harriet Miers committed no crime.

As promised, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that she has given the Judiciary Committee authority to file a lawsuit against Bolten and Miers in federal court.

...


I'd love to see 'em both frogmarched into federal court.

Apropos ...

Of America today.



Pink Floyd - Sheep

World War 1 anyone?

The Misfit:

They have approved the use of riot-control chemical agents in combat. Which is a violation of the Chemical Warfare Convention.

If the officials of the Bush Administration ever make it into the dock at The Hague, look for this to be one of the specifications listed in the charging documents.

...


Big if, but I'd love to see them hang ... together ... separately ... doesn't matter.

Saturday whorage

We were seeing red yesterday at the shop.

As usual for a Saturday morning, the next chapter of Thirty Days at Zeta is up at The Practical Press.

What going on by you? Leave a link in comments.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Economy not Bush's fault. No Siree! Everybody - anybody - else is to blame

Closely related to the post just below this one, AlterNet's headline cuts through the crap:

Hey Homeowners, Bush Blames You -- Not Iraq -- for Our Tanking Economy

From Bloomberg: Money & Politics:

U.S. Home Foreclosures Jump 90% as Mortgages Reset

Yeah, the economy's in the shitter because people couldn't keep up the usurious payments on the pie-in-the-sky fraudulent loans that Bush wouldn't let the states regulate.

Yeah, it's all their fault. Borrowing trillions to finance a criminal war that increased the national debt to where the big light-up signs don't have enough numbers to display it, all the while cutting domestic expenditure so the rich won't have to be inconvenienced by paying taxes like the Great Unwashed of the rest of us do, had nothing to do with it. It's all the lazy bastard Americans who can no longer support the banks and swindler lenders in the manner to which they've become accustomed.

Yeah, right.

Note to Bush: You. Fucking. Asshole.

I'll give the bastard this: He can lie with a straight face like nobody I've ever seen. Probably sleeps like a baby, too. Why not? He's never had much of a conscience, and he doesn't have to worry about his soul - it's long gone to the devil in exchange for the office he holds.

Recipes for Disaster in Iraq

Tomgram

In the week that oil prices once again crested above $100 a barrel and more Americans than at any time since the Great Depression owed more on their homes than the homes were worth; in the year that the subprime market crashed, global markets shuddered, the previously unnoticed credit-default swap market threatened to go into the tank, stagflation returned, unemployment rose, the "R" word (for recession) hit the headlines (while the "D" word lurked), within weeks of the fifth anniversary of his invasion of Iraq, the President of the United States officially discovered the war economy.

"Bush: I don't think so. I think actually, the spending on the war might help with jobs.

"Curry: Oh, yeah?

"Bush: Yeah, because we're buying equipment, and people are working. I think this economy is down because we built too many houses."

In other words, in honor of the soon-to-arrive fifth anniversary of his war without end, the President has offered a formula for economic success in bad times that might be summed up this way: less houses, more bases, more weaponry, more war. This, of course, comes from the man who, between 2001 and today, presided over an official Pentagon budget that leapt by more than 60% from $316 billion to $507 billion, and by more than 30% since Iraq was invaded. Looked at another way, between 2001 and the latest emergency supplemental request to pay for his wars (first in Afghanistan and then in Iraq), supplemental funding for war-fighting has jumped from $17 billion to $189 billion, an increase of 1,011%. At the same time, almost miraculously, the U.S. armed forces have been driven to the edge of the military equivalent of default.

What follows is a monster list of ingredients for two recipes for the disaster that is currently well under preparation, and also who the main feasters are. All the usual suspects and then some.

The American public and their children and grandchildren are being made to pay for this sumptuous repast, but are specifically uninvited to partake.

To prepare:

Heat whatever crude oil is available in the largest kettle you can find until smoking. Dump in all ingredients in whatever quantities in any order you choose. (Warning: popping oil, shield eyes.) Add polluted water. Bring to a roiling boil at highest heat. Cook for as much - or as little - time as you want. Pour the soup, boiling hot, across the table (no need for bowls) and dig in.

Bon app├ętit! Happy anniversary!

The writers left out one part of these recipes, without which none of this could have happened:

Find someone who can't cook and should never be allowed in the kitchen. Marinate him for many years in heavy alcohol until his brain is thoroughly stewed, baked, fried and boiled. Then prop him up where people can see him and let others do the actual cooking. Tell him he must stick to the recipe no matter what anyone tells him.

Sear the ingredients on both sides to seal in the disaster, and cook slowly until our military and treasury are completely drained away and done. Cooking times may vary up to 100 years or more.

Us peasants will be allowed to gnaw the bones of this dish for many years to come.

No shit ...

I'll happily admit I'm certifiable. Don't need some conservohack doctor to tell me that.

Off to the shop ...

Dear Congress ...

Can we please forget about steroid-doing baseball players? Good Christ. With the list of 'Fuckups That Have Returned To Bite Us In The Ass' by the Bush administration growing ever larger daily, do you really have the time to worry about what Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds inject themselves with? There are life and death issues, economic issues, and social issues to deal with and Congress wastes their time, let alone the resources of the FBI, to investigate a couple spoiled, overpaid prima donnas?

Wake the fuck up, for crying out loud, before this country becomes broken beyond repair. Athletes taking steroids should be dealt with by the various sanctioning bodies. The business of Congress is to deal with issues affecting the welfare of the American public. Put as much time into investigating the Chimp's illegal misdeeds as you do crawling up the Rocket's ass and we'll be fine. Idiots.

Regards,

Fixer

Perspective ...

When it comes to conservatard legislation, the 'good of the people' never enters into the equation. It's all about the Benjamins:

With the House Democrats’ refusal to grant retroactive immunity to phone companies — stalling the rewrite of the warrantless wiretapping program — GOP leadership aides are grumbling that their party isn’t getting more political money from the telecommunications industry.

Bi-partisanship ...

I'm all for it ... if it's something other than this:

...

Apparently, being a "standard liberal" is automatically exclusionary, so any question as to whether the Democratic agenda might be transformative by persuasion is not on the Washington Post editorial board's menu. They obviously believe that bipartisanship is the only way to bridge the red-blue divide, and judging from the examples they cited, when they say bipartisanship they mean capitulation to the conservatives.

...


Basically, as Digby says, the only bi-partisanship any are interested in is progressives not being so 'uppity' when it comes to embracing conservative 'ideals':

...

As I have written before, it's telling that establishment calls for bipartisanship during the reign of George W. Bush and the Republican majority were nil. It is only now, with the possibility of a liberal majority and Democratic president, that cooperation and inclusiveness are held forth as the only way to "get things done." I will have to be pardoned for being a little bit skeptical of the sincerity of that position. It's quite obvious that they are most concerned with keeping the status quo, which for many years now has been a conservative status-quo. Recent history shows that when Republicans are in power, regardless of how close --- or even legitimate -- their victory, they are there because they have received "political capital" from the people to "spend" on the conservative agenda for which they received a "mandate." When Democrats are in power, it's important that they reach across the aisle and be "centrist" and "inclusive" or risk being seen as "orthodox" and "leftist." [my em]

...


It's time to relegate conservatives and Republicans to the 'back bench'. If (big if) the results in November turn in our favor (something far from guaranteed), the Dems should push through every piece of progressive legislation tabled by the Republican majority. Once that is done, maybe (and I stress maybe) it will be time to 'reach across the aisle'. Not until then, however. Not until the Republican disaster this nation has become is straightened out, period.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Accounting ...

The Earth-Bound Misfit:

... I gather that Bush has to sodomize a small child in the Rose Garden and on national television before he will be held to account for any of his crimes ...

Bullshit ...

If you're having trouble following the FISA (telecom immunity) bill, our blog partner from F & G, Bustednuckles, makes it simple for ya:

...

Under FISA, it is perfectly legal for the government to wiretap a phone, with reasonable suspicion, if it is part of a criminal investigation without a warrant. Perfectly legal under existing FISA law.

Here is the part they absofuckinglutely refuse to acknowledge, They MUST apply for a warrant to CONTINUE that wiretap after 72 hours within starting it.Otherwise, they must discontinue that wiretap and destroy any record of the conversations.
This has been the law for over twenty five years.

...


Indeed. The only thing this bill does is exempt the telecoms from culpability in the abrogation of our right to privacy. Simply:

...

No, now they could tap directly into the cables that contained every Email, Instant Message, BLOG POST, Google search, telephone calls to yer Aunt Minnie listening to her bitch about her hot flashes, everything.
Without a warrant, without any oversight, just because they could.
Just because THEY SAID it was legal.
I call Bullshit. [all ems in orig]

...


See, simple. Now call your reps.

Snicker

I just had to share from Shakesperes Sister:

f you haven't tasted Caffeine-Free Diet Pepsi, but would like an idea of what it tastes like, do this - keep a straw in your pocket and wander around outside until you find a pigeon or squirrel that's been dead for, oh, say three months. Stick the straw into the dead animal and suck. Caffeine-Free Diet Pepsi tastes like that, except worse. Plus, the taste lingers in your mouth for months. And gradually gets worse until it's like your mouth was invaded by the notoriously rare and deadly Asian Shit Ant.

What gets me is that they had high-paid executives sitting around a table, drinking this dreck and all nodding approvingly, "Oh yes, this is what America wants, a 'light, crisp, refreshing' beverage that tastes like Cheney sputum."

You want to defeat terrorists? Force them to drink Caffeine-Free Diet Pepsi. I'm sure it would violate the Geneva Conventions, but they'd immediately tell you anything they knew, then hang themselves. Caffeine-Free Diet Pepsi is torture in a 12-oz can.


Read the entire beautiful rant from Wolfrum here.

Buckley

For what it's worth, from Cursor:

Noting that "Buckley bears little resemblance to the modern-day, Bush-era 'conservative' movement," Glenn Greenwald cites an account of an argument between Buckley and Norman Podhoretz, and, "sorry as we may be to mark Buckley's passing," writes Timothy Noah, "we should be very glad that the country ignored much of what he had to say."

The country didn't ignore enough of it. Even if conservatism didn't work out exactly as Buckley would have liked, it's still a flawed and failed movement made worse by the morons who hijacked it, and he still started it. And we're still suffering from it.

The Sheik's Request

Babylon & Beyond (LATimes blog)

The relationship between the Marines and the Sunni tribal leaders in Anbar province is delicate. Each side wants something from the other.

The Marines want the sheiks to continue their fight against insurgents and to follow the rule of law rather than tribal vengeance. When a sheik hosts the Marines for lunch or dinner, he usually has a list of wants: a gun permit, a government job for a relative, a passport, help getting a construction contract, etc.

One sheik had something more personal in mind. After a sumptuous feast, he asked the Marines if they could help him get Viagra.

Sorry, sheik. U.S. foreign aid is not quite that generous.

Aw shit, give the old fart some hard-on pills. Congress is keeping all the Viagra for itself, and there's too many stiffs there already...

Pakistan: State of Emergency

I watched this show the other night on Frontline: World on PBS. I highly recommend it. Watch or read or both.

“We should remember the Taliban were never defeated by the Americans,” notes Ahmed Rashid, author of Taliban and one of Pakistan’s leading journalists. “They were routed, and they fled Afghanistan and came to Pakistan. The Afghan Taliban and al Qaeda, who are living in Pakistan, have nurtured a whole new generation of Pakistani extremists. So, this is a very, very dangerous phenomenon.”

When Fazlullah’s men started capturing local police stations and seizing weapon arsenals, the people of Swat began to plead with the government to take action. But Musharraf’s regime responded slowly and half-heartedly, sending in the Pakistani Frontier Corps, a poorly trained civilian militia, low-paid and outnumbered. The Taliban decimated the fighters, leaving their bodies to rot in fields and later taking a local TV camera crew to photograph the horrific scene. The Taliban also murdered a policeman and others who stood in their way, frequently beheading them and leaving notes that read, “Those people who serve America, the same thing will happen to them.”

"Those people who serve America", of course, means anybody who doesn't go along with them, including anyone who wishes Pakistan to be governed by its Constitution and rule of law other than a twisted Sharia.

Also see Firedoglake.

The roots of this conflict are not new. It is almost as old as the mountains and valleys out of which the tribal rivalries and fiery fundamentalist clerics preach power and a return to the past. We fail to learn the lessons of history, and with that failure, we continue to endanger ourselves and others across the globe.

Prince Harry serving on front line in Afghanistan

LATimes

Prince Harry has been serving on the front line in Afghanistan with the British Army, the Ministry of Defense said today.

Officials said the prince, a lieutenant in the Blues and Royals regiment, was still deployed in the country.

"His conduct on operations in Afghanistan has been exemplary," said the head of the army. Gen. Richard Dannatt. "He has been fully involved in operations and has run the same risks as everyone else in his battle group."

When asked for comment, Prince Harry replied, "Things are getting dashed hot here! We're out of pink gin!"

I mighta made part of that up...

Even though the above photo was staged - Leftenants are gentlemen after all, and therefore do not operate machine guns except in extremis - I salute him for putting service ahead of family connections. It's no grandstand play, either. It was a secret of sorts:

Harry, who is third in line to the throne, has been in Afghanistan since December. The story was leaked by an Australian magazine and a German newspaper.

Dannatt said he was "very disappointed" that the story had leaked.

In some societies, apparently, leadership is still built from the bottom up even in the ruling class. Should Harry ever become King and have to send his people to war, possibly to die, they will know he's been there and understands the responsibility that entails.

Gee, somewhere I musta missed the story about all the Bush kids on the line in Afghanistan, or in their crazy Uncle George's clusterfuck in Iraq. Oh, that's right - they have people - AKA 'the help' - AKA 'the peasants' kids' - to do that kind of thing for them. The Bushes are too important to risk, legends in their own minds and above it all. They've built up power over the last eighty years and just hand it down like the family business it is, no matter the lack of qualifications of the handee. Or the results.

A sad comment on the state of affairs in the United States, Another one of many.

Dude, I Think We Picked the Wrong Bar

I'm putting this in because I'm a lifelong motorcyclist, and I think it's just plain funnier'n shit!

AFP

A pair of hapless bandits in Australia received a shock when they burst into a Sydney sports club brandishing machetes only to find it occupied by about 50 bikers.

Oops...

EssEffChron

About 50 members of the Southern Cross Cruiser Club* had just started a club meeting in another room, and the bikers jumped up to intervene.

Jester said the robbers had walked past the bikers as they entered the bar but apparently failed to notice them, perhaps because the ski masks obscured their vision.

"I don't think he did his homework very well," Jester said of the ringleader. "He picked the wrong night."

Indeed! Heh.

*Go see the group photo of these bozos. Check out their guestbook too. These guys are in tall cotton over this deal! Good on 'em, I say!

It took a stupefying lack of situational awareness on the part of the crooks to miss this lot!

They must have been Republicans.

Wikileaks

A useful website to bookmark: "Wikileaks is a website running on modified MediaWiki software which allows whistleblowers to anonymously release government and corporate documents, allegedly without possible retribution."

Cuurently, a federal district judge has ordered that the site be shut down which the ACLU is fighting. I always say that if they don't want you to read something - the reading is exactly what you should be doing.

Further reading:

http://www.boingboing.net/2008/02/27/aclu-and-eff-interve.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikileaks

New Disturbing Abu Ghraib Photos

Wired has obtained new Abu Ghraib photos from an expert witness in the defense of one of the guards.

TED 2008: How Good People Turn Evil, From Stanford to Abu Ghraib

... Zimbardo conducted a now-famous experiment at Stanford University in 1971, involving students who posed as prisoners and guards. Five days into the experiment, Zimbardo halted the study when the student guards began abusing the prisoners, forcing them to strip naked and simulate sex acts.

His book, The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil, explores how a "perfect storm" of conditions can make ordinary people commit horrendous acts.

....
Wired: How did what happened at Abu Ghraib compare to your Stanford prison study?

Zimbardo: The military intelligence, the CIA and the civilian interrogator corporation, Titan, told the MPs [at Abu Ghraib], "It is your job to soften the prisoners up. We give you permission to do something you ordinarily are not allowed to do as a military policeman -- to break the prisoners, to soften them up, to prepare them for interrogation." That's permission to step across the line from what is typically restricted behavior to now unrestricted behavior.

In the same way in the Stanford prison study, I was saying [to the student guards], "You have to be powerful to prevent further rebellion." I tell them, "You're not allowed, however, to use physical force." By default, I allow them to use psychological force. In five days, five prisoners are having emotional breakdowns.


Read the full article here.

No emails for you ...

WaPo:

After promising last year to search its computers for tens of thousands of e-mails sent by White House officials, the Republican National Committee has informed a House committee that it no longer plans to retrieve the communications by restoring computer backup tapes, the panel's chairman said yesterday.

The move increases the likelihood that an untold number of RNC e-mails dealing with official White House business during the first term of the Bush administration -- including many sent or received by former presidential adviser Karl Rove -- will never be recovered, said House Democrats and public records advocates.

...


Once again, a big 'fuck you' to Congress from the Bush administration. Will the 'Spineless Caucus' stand up to them? Will they fold? When will Nancy Pelosi have enough of the continual law-breaking and obfuscation to put impeachment back on the table? Even the most obtuse among us realize it's time to put an end to this before 20 Jan 2009.

No blogs for you ...

[A big Brain welcome to DBK's readers.]

At least not if you're in the Air Force:

The Air Force is tightening restrictions on which blogs its troops can read, cutting off access to just about any independent site with the word "blog" in its web address. It's the latest move in a larger struggle within the military over the value -- and hazards -- of the sites. At least one senior Air Force official calls the squeeze so "utterly stupid, it makes me want to scream."

...


That would be us, a blog run by former service members, one (me) ex-Air Force. Too bad the young guys can't read stuff from people who've been there and done that.

...

"A couple of years back, I fought this issue concerning the Counterterrorism Blog," one Air Force officer tells Danger Room. "An AF [Air Force] professional education course website recommended it as a great source for daily worldwide CT [counterterrorism] news. However it had been banned, because it called itself a blog. And as we all know, all blogs are bad!"

...

Within the Air Force, there's also a strong contingent that wants to see open access to the sites -- and is mortified by the AFNOC's restrictions. "When I hear stuff this utterly stupid, it makes me want to scream.... Piles of torn out hair are accumulating around my desk as we speak," one senior Air Force official writes in an e-mail. "I'm certain that by blocking blogs for official use, our airmen will never, ever be able to read them on their own home computers, so we have indeed saved them from a contaminating influence. Sorry, didn't mean to drip sarcasm on your rug."

...


Believe me, I'm not discounting operational security but this is ridiculous. This is in the same vein as the recording industry trying to marginalize the interwebs. It's stupid and the equivalent of trying to demolish a brick wall by banging your head against it. Instead of embracing the technology and learning how to work within it, they think the answer is to block it out. What they don't get is the Internet has become an entrenched part of everyone's daily lives, our instant link to the world and folks are comfortable using it. It's become a habit. Shit, they always told us the Air Force were the smart ones. Lotta stupid running around there now.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Bill Buckley's dead ...

Good.

Quote of the Day

Lisa:

... Forget that Camelot never was really Camelot; that is its beauty ...

Finally found that guy I've been talking to at Microsoft!

Click to please embiggengee


Thanks and a tip o' the Brain to Larry.

Stay Klassy, Florida

Princess Sparkle Pony

Ooh, neat! Florida, I think it's super that you're thinking of having festive "Confederate Heritage" plates:


Click to embigot


How chic! But why not add a few other designs? Here, I've made some for you:






Didn't those fuckers lose the war over slavery? Why do they want a symbol that says 'We Being Ignorant Racist Losers' on their cars? What is wrong with those people?

What's wrong with the rest of us? Why do we even allow them to display symbols of racism and intimidation? They don't let 'em fly swastika flags in Germany.

Note to the Confederacy: Try that 'secession' thing again. This time we'll let you and you'll all starve to death without our tax money.

Update:

There's an upside to this ignorant outlook, a silver lining if you will:



Whatever it takes...

Court

I have to be in court this morning. No, nothing criminal, just the final inquest determining ownership of my house. Thanks to paperwork fuckups when my parents got divorced, ownership of the house was cloudy. Being both of them have been dead more than a decade, this had to go before a judge. Through no fault of mine, this has taken up over a year of my time and thousands of dollars to straighten out. (Thanks pop, just another item on a long list of shit you left for me to straighten out. Hopefully, a day might come when your dead hand stops reaching up and throwing me a curve every couple years. Prick.)

Anyway I gotta see the judge this morning. Good thing is, if it doesn't go my way, they won't be dragging me out in handcuffs. Still, I hate going to court. Comes from my days of bad behavior when there was a really good possibility I could have been shipped off to jail. (When I was dealing with my PTSD, I spent 3 years with a spoon up my nose, swimming inside a bottle of Jack Daniels', and did some really dumbass shit.)

So, in a couple hours I'm gonna suck it up, put on my best English suit, and go see the judge. Hopefully, my mouthpiece did everything right and I'll walk out with a valid deed to my property. If you don't see me here later today, you'll know it didn't go my way and they had to pry my hands from hizzoner's throat. Heh ... (Don't worry, Mrs. F will be there for adult supervision.)

Addendum: If you own a home there are two words you should become familiar with. 'Title Insurance'. Take it from me, it's worth it.

Update

Well, we sat in the courtroom for 3 hours. Good lord what a collection of lawyers. The Mrs. and I both said we feel like we need a shower after we got out of there. The judge finally called my mouthpiece into chambers and he came out 5 minutes later with a judgment in our favor. Yay!!!! Why the fuck did I have to be there in the first place? Just came back from celebrating at our friend Guy's place on the way home.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

"Iraq is Yugoslavia before the storm"

Chris Hedges

The United States is funding and in many cases arming the three ethnic factions in Iraq—the Kurds, the Shiites and the Sunni Arabs. These factions rule over partitioned patches of Iraqi territory and brutally purge rival ethnic groups from their midst. Iraq no longer exists as a unified state. It is a series of heavily armed fiefdoms run by thugs, gangs, militias, radical Islamists and warlords who are often paid wages of $300 a month by the U.S. military. Iraq is Yugoslavia before the storm. It is a caldron of weapons, lawlessness, hate and criminality that is destined to implode. And the current U.S. policy, born of desperation and defeat, means that when Iraq goes up, the U.S. military will have to scurry like rats for cover.

The U.S. is currently spending hundreds of millions of dollars to pay the monthly salaries of some 600,000 armed fighters in the three rival ethnic camps in Iraq. These fighters—Shiite, Kurd and Sunni Arab—are not only antagonistic but deeply unreliable allies. The Sunni Arab militias have replaced central government officials, including police, and taken over local administration and security in the pockets of Iraq under their control. They have no loyalty outside of their own ethnic community. Once the money runs out, or once they feel strong enough to make a thrust for power, the civil war in Iraq will accelerate with deadly speed. The tactic of money-for-peace failed in Afghanistan. The U.S. doled out funds and weapons to tribal groups in Afghanistan to buy their loyalty, but when the payments and weapons shipments ceased, the tribal groups headed back into the embrace of the Taliban.

The Sunni Arab militias, though they have ended attacks on U.S. forces, detest the Shiite-Kurdish government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and abhor the presence of U.S. troops on Iraqi soil. They take the money and the support with clenched teeth because with it they are able to build a renegade Sunni army, a third force inside Iraq, which they believe will make it possible to overthrow the central government. The Sunni Arabs, who make up about 40 percent of Iraq’s population, held most positions of power under Saddam Hussein. They dominated Iraq’s old officer corps. They made up its elite units, including the Republic Guard divisions and the Special Forces regiments. They controlled the intelligence agencies. There are several hundred thousand well-trained Sunni Arabs who lack only an organizational structure. We have now made the formation of this structure possible. These militias are the foundation for a deadlier insurgent force, one that will dwarf anything the United States faced in the past. The U.S. is arming, funding and equipping its own assassins(my em).

If the U.S. begins, as promised, to withdraw troops, it will be harder to keep these antagonistic factions apart. The cease-fire by the radical Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, extended a few days ago, could collapse. And if that happens, a civil war, unlike anything U.S. forces have experienced in Iraq, will begin. Such a conflagration, with the potential to draw in neighboring states and lead to the dismemberment of Iraq, would be the final chapter of the worst foreign policy blunder in American history.

It's going to happen. Period. The Iraq invasion and occupation was and is an ongoing war crime. It can have no good outcome. Let's get it over with and stop lying about it.

McCain is Right

In a rare, unguarded moment of clarity and honesty,

John McCain said Monday that to win the White House he must convince a war-weary country that U.S. policy in Iraq is succeeding. If he can't, "then I lose. I lose," the Republican said.

That's right old man*. You lose.

*That's what Fixer calls me. Not many people I can call that! It's fun!

Diebold Accidentally Leaks Results Of 2008 Election

ØNN

Embarrassed Diebold officials apologized after one of their electronic voting machines prematurely revealed the winner of our upcoming 2008 sham election.


Wanna go to war?

I've written a couple times about war but I think people forget what it's all about. First off, I think you should read the article Gord posted on yesterday. I left a comment there:

We're learning the same way the Russians and the British did. We shoulda just gone in and killed 'em all.


And thinking about it, I think I should explain.

According to the narrative we've heard since 11 September 2001, the nation of Afghanistan harbored Osama bin Laden and facilitated the attacks on the US. Fine. Why did we go in there saying 'we'll take out the Taliban, but we're gonna go over there and win hearts and minds'?

Let me explain something. You don't go to war worrying about winning hearts and minds. You go to war to break the enemy, pound him far enough so he surrenders. War is ugly, dirty, and a last resort but if you're gonna go, you have to go ugly and dirty. Why in Hell do you think they call it 'war'?

We should have blown Afghanistan to shit, period. Fuck the innocents, fuck everything and kill 'em all. Worry about building hearts and minds later. There should have been a horrible price exacted from them for attacking America. Instead, we have the mess we do now. We have guys in Hindu Kush getting killed using the same tactics the Mujaheddin used against the Russians. You don't go in to a war worrying about offending sensibilities. It's war for crying out loud.

That said, there had better be a good reason for going to war. There was no good reason for us to be in Iraq. After what we've done, there is no way we can come out of there with anything resembling 'winning hearts and minds'. There is no reason for those poor people to be subjected to our 'half-assed war'. We've destroyed these people's nation, their hope for the future, and any life they had the potential of living, just because those in charge thought easy profit and rose petals would come rolling in.

Fortunately, most Americans will not have to experience combat, but that doesn't mean they shouldn't know exactly what war is about. Were it not for the warmongers among us, most of whom never have had to look into the business end of an enemy rifle, whipping up public sentiment for an imperialistic conquest, Iraq would have been at peace. Were it not for the sheep among us, who went along because they were swayed by the chest-thumping, 4000 US service people and countless Iraqis would still be alive.

Saddam would have died eventually and the Iraqis would have moved on. There was no need for us to meddle in the affairs (aside from cheap oil, right?), no need to destroy their society, no need to destroy the lives of a generation and those succeeding them. We had no right to do what we've done that country.

To all of you developmentally challeneged assholes whose only experience with combat, whose only awareness of the concept of war, is sitting in front of the TV jerking off to the Military Channel and seeing Apocalypse Now for the millionth time, it's time for you to shut the fuck up. It's time for you people to let America do what's right, and that's bringing our troops home. From both places. Attacking Iraq was criminal and the Afghan mission was flawed from the time the balloon went up. Time to come home and let those people put their lives back together.

War is not the purview of chickenshits.

The GOP wants you ...


Pic stolen from UL @ Maru's.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Goodbye, Lurch

I reposted everything at Main and Central.

New posts start below.

Exactly!

We've touched upon this here, assuming a Dem gets their ass elected this fall, and dday echoes that today:

...

All of this says to me that the next President needs to open up the books on the Bush Administration, and that we cannot as a nation be truly healed until that happens ...


Fat chance that'll happen.

Jokes?

Tony Peyser

Ralph Nader said Sunday he will run for president as a third-party candidate. On "Meet The Press," Nader admitted, "I have no real desire to lead this nation. I'm just a lonely, sad, bitter old man who desperately needs attention more than Paris and Britney combined. I'm Lyndon LaRouche for Tim Robbins fans."

Defending her husband on charges of an improper relationship with a lobbyist, Cindy McCain said he would never done anything to "disappoint the people of America." Lincoln Savings went bankrupt in 1989 and more than 21,000 mostly elderly investors lost their life savings. John McCain was in Charles Keating's pocket and had plenty to do with those senior citizens' financial ruin. Cindy, jump in here anytime you feel like it.

Lobbyist-hating John McCain is surrounded by lobbyists -- from his campaign manager to his Senate Chief of Staff. McCain forced to admit they're lobbyists but swears they're all "honorable." Yeah, and every person President Bush said was "a good man" was a good man.

I don't think all lobbyists have sex with politicians but there is something hooker-esque in their job description. To let all of us know exactly how many there are, let's have Lobbyists Day in Washington where all of them -- even the men --- have to go to work in high heels, short black skirts, and fishnet stockings.

Must bleach brain now...

Battle Company Is Out There

Absolutely chilling article about one U.S. Army outfit in Afghanistan by Elizabeth Rubin in the NYTimes via Truthout:

The Korengal Valley is a lonely outpost of regress: most of the valley's people practice Wahhabism, a more rigid variety of Islam than that followed by most Afghans, and about half of the fighters confronting the U.S. there are homegrown. The rest are Arabs, Pakistanis, Chechens, Uzbeks; the area is close to Pakistan's frontier regions where Osama bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri and other Al Qaeda figures are often said to be hiding out. The Korengal fighters are fierce, know the terrain and watch the Americans' every move. On their hand-held radios, the old jihadis call the Americans "monkeys," "infidels," ''bastards" and "the kids." It's psychological warfare; they know the Americans monitor their radio chatter.

By now, seven years of air strikes and civilian casualties, humiliating house searches and arbitrary detentions have pushed many families and tribes to revenge. The Americans then see every Afghan in those pockets of recalcitrance as an enemy. If you peel back the layers, however, there's always a local political story at the root of the killing and dying. That original misunderstanding and grievance fertilizes the land for the Islamists. Whom do you want to side with: your brothers in God's world or the infidel thieves?

Last autumn, after five months of grueling foot patrols up and down the mountains, after fruitless encounters with elders who smiled in the morning and were host to insurgents in the evening and after losing friends to enemy fire, Captain Kearney's men could relate to the sullen, jittery rage of their predecessors in the 10th Mountain Division. Many wondered what they were doing out there at all.

Kearney refused to entertain that thought. He would tell his visitors, whether generals or reconstruction teams, that his campaign plan was clear, if modest: "It's World War II Pacific-island hopping, turning one village at a time." Over five months, he had gained about 400 yards of terrain. When some generals and colonels had flown in for a quick tour, and Kearney was showing them the lay of the land, one officer said to another, as Kearney later recalled it, "I don't know why we're even out here." Another officer jumped in to talk up the logic of the operation. Kearney told me he thought: Sort your stuff out before you come out here. My boys are sucking it up and dying. . . . For besides being lord of the valley, he had another role to play - motivator, disciplinarian and confidant to his soldiers. "It's like being in charge of a soap opera," he told me. "I feel like Dr. Phil with guns."

One full-moon night I was sitting outside a sandbag-reinforced hut with Kearney when a young sergeant stepped out hauling the garbage. He looked around at the illuminated mountains, the dust, the rocks, the garbage bin. The monkeys were screeching. "I hate this country!" he shouted. Then he smiled and walked back into the hut. "He's on medication," Kearney said quietly to me.

Then another soldier walked by and shouted, "Hey, I'm with you, sir!" and Kearney said to me, "Prozac. Serious P.T.S.D. from last tour." Another one popped out of the HQ cursing and muttering. "Medicated," Kearney said. "Last tour, if you didn't give him information, he'd burn down your house. He killed so many people. He's checked out."

Next comes the chilling part. Go read.

On Oct. 19, Kearney and Battle Company were air assaulted into the insurgents' backyard for a mission that many thought insane. It was called Rock Avalanche and would last about six days. One of its main targets was the village of Yaka China.

It was a lot to ask of young soldiers: play killer, cultural anthropologist, hearts-and-minds winner and then killer again. Which is why, just hours before the mission was to begin, some soldiers were smearing black-and-green war paint on their faces when their sergeant shouted: "Take it off. Now!" Why? They'd frighten the villagers.

The day after the meeting with the elders of Yaka China, Yarnell and John could hear insurgents trying to pinpoint where Kearney and his men were. The helicopters had moved us to a ridge line, about 8,400 feet high, straddling the Korengal and Shuriak Valleys. The insurgents used the deep caves, boulders and forests as hideouts and transit routes between Pakistan and Afghanistan. We could hear someone who called himself Obeid saying he'd do whatever the Yaka China elders decided - whether to cooperate with the Americans or take revenge. By evening the elders had apparently reached their verdict. It was fight time.

I'm leaving a big gap here on purpose.

Kearney was watching a crow flying above us. "Taliban are right," he said. "Like they said yesterday, follow the birds, they follow the Americans. I wish I was made as strong as haj" - their nickname for insurgents. "They were balls to do what they did. And guess what? I'm not gonna lie. They won."

As Giunta said, "The richest, most-trained army got beat by dudes in manjammies and A.K.'s." His voice cracked. He was not just hurting, he was in a rage. And there was nothing for him to do with it but hold back his tears, and bark - at the Afghans for betraying them, at the Army for betraying them. He didn't run to the front because he was a hero. He ran up to get to Brennan, his friend. "But they" - he meant the military - "just keep asking for more from us." His contract would be up in 18 days but he had been stop-lossed and couldn't go home. Brennan himself was supposed to have gotten out in September. He'd been planning to go back to Wisconsin where his dad lived, play his guitar and become a cop.

Sandifer was questioning why they were sticking it out in the Korengal when the people so clearly hated them. He was haunted by Mendoza's voice calling to him: "I'm bleeding out. I'm dying." He worried that the Korengal was going to push them off the deep end. In his imagination it had already happened. One day an Afghan visited their fire base, Sandifer told me. "I was staring at him, on the verge of picking up my weapon to shoot him," he said. "I know right from wrong, but even if I did shoot him everyone at the fire base would have been O.K. We're all to the point of 'Lord of the Flies.'" And they still had 10 months to go in the Korengal.

Colonel Ostlund and his officers, and the governor of Kunar and his officials, held an all-day meeting with the Korengali elders. The elders wanted to talk about Rock Avalanche and the devastation that had rained down on them. Colonel Ostlund told them, "If anything should happen to Captain Kearney, pain and misery will knock on many doors in the Korengal." He gave them 10 days to pick sides - the insurgents or the government. Only then would he consider going ahead with the road project. Their answer came back. They would leave the valley altogether. But they didn't, and 10 days later insurgents pulled off another ambush of a platoon from the 173rd. The entire patrol went down, either wounded or killed. Kearney told me recently that they had wounded Abu Ikhlas and killed some other bad guys. He said he was pretty sure that Haji Matin, the embittered timber lord, had been killed, too. But the dialogue with the Korengalis was pretty much the same as it had been. Only the winter snows have brought some minor respite to the valley.

The only comment I have to make is that our guys in Afghanistan are out on the tip of a very sharp spear with no handle. They've been shortchanged and hung out to dry with not enough resources because of the criminal invasion and occupation of Iraq.

Thanks again, George.

Good advice ...

From Montag:

And as part of their efforts to become US citizens, they joined the military and put their lives on the line in Our Dear Embattled Leader's Glorious Little War. According to ODEL, this was their boost to the head of the line.

...


Now, I'm down with that. If you serve our country honorably, you should be given citizenship. I believe military service during wartime on the part of a non-citizen proves their commitment to the nation, don't you? Now for that piece of advice:

... never believe a Republican.

Like this is a surprise?

Seems some folks in Alabama weren't allowed to watch 60 Minutes last night. Technical difficulties? Not so much ...

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Mansion On The Hill

Hank Williams had a huge hit with this song in 1948. Compare with what happens when you add 50 years, the Atlantic Ocean, and some Irish and Scottish musicians in support of a fine female country voice. And Jerry Douglas, of course.


Oreck? Dyson? No no no...

SPR

McCain/Iseman Story Spurs Bi-Partisan Call For Ultimate Lobbying ‘Disclosure’

"Under this proposal, sex or bribes from lobbyists have to be given right out in the lobby."

When the attractive woman hired by the lobbyist has the congressman or senator in a private setting, she has plenty of time to, er, fluff the old fart. If they're gonna be doing it on C-Span, I recommend this time-saving device.

Film at 11, O please God!

"Everybody thinks that America is allied with the Taliban"

[A big welcome to Sideshow readers - F.]

If you want to see and hear exactly how bad the U.S. is fucking up in Afghanistan, go read this at Bill Moyers Journal:

Conversing with Bill Moyers on this week’s JOURNAL, former NPR journalist Sarah Chayes discussed many of the complex challenges on the ground in Afghanistan, including what she suggests is a fundamental contradiction in American strategy:

“We’re paying a billion dollars a year to Pakistan, which is orchestrating the Taliban insurgency. So it’s actually U.S. taxpayer money that is paying for the insurgents, who are then killing – at the moment – Canadian troops... It’s been very clear to me, watching since 2002, that Pakistan has been buying us off by a well-timed delivery of an al-Qaeda operative, which has then caused us to look the other way about the Taliban... so this is why 99 % of the people in Kandahar believe that we are allied with the Taliban. Everybody thinks that America is allied with the Taliban.

Here's the actual segment.

Quote of the Day

The Earth-Bound Misfit:

... Anybody who votes for Nader because they want change in Washington is a complete and utter imbecile, who should be watered twice a week.


Update:

Maru too:

Pasty grub crawls out from under rock ...

... Like a deranged Punxsutawney Phil popping out to show the nation his rectum every election year...

Been there ...

Done that ...


Click to make the lies bigger.


Thanks to AMERICAblog