Saturday, July 31, 2010

Saturday Reggae Redneck Music Blogging

Looks like we ain't done with Reggae just yet. Heh.

Johnny Roquemore and the Apostles of Bluegrass include David Ross on Bass and John Nipper on Mandolin on this song. It's a great story of Little Davey and his Broomstick Pony told to a Reggae beat in a charming island kind of way mon...

Thanks to bluegrassrootstv.

Eliminate the middle man?

Priorities ...

We haz dem! D-cap:


9. Congress (who apparently really live in a Video Game) took weeks to find $33 billion to help 2.5 million Americans fighting to keep food on their tables, but took about an hour to to find $60 billion to help Americans fight 50 Al-Qaeda members in Afghanistan.


Headlong into obscurity ...

We're on our way. Greenwald via Mimus:


Second, as was painfully predictable and predicted, the bulk of political discussion in the wake of the WikiLeaks disclosures focuses not on our failing, sagging, pointless, civilian-massacring, soon-to-be-decade-old war, but rather on the Treasonous Evil of WikiLeaks for informing the American people about what their war entails. While it's true that WikiLeaks should have been much more careful in redacting the names of Afghan sources, watching Endless War Supporters prance around with righteous concern for Afghan lives being endangered by the leak is really too absurd to bear. You know what endangers innocent Afghan lives? Ten years of bombings, checkpoint shootings, due-process-free hit squads, air attacks, drones, night raids on homes, etc. etc.


As we, and many of our commenters, have said here on many occasions, we are heading the way of the Roman Empire.

Saturday Emmylou Blogging

From Letterman 1990

Emmylou Harris ~ Rollin' And Ramblin'

Thanks to 1000Magicians, UK.

Friday, July 30, 2010

I know everybody's got it ...

But ... fuck yeah!

Afghanistan Is Our Welfare State

El Rude-o

One of the less glamorous aspects of the release by Wikileaks of oodles of secret documents related to the sad circle jerk that is the Afghanistan war is the clear demonstration that the actual day-to-day existence of Afghans is dependent on the occupiers (or, you know, mostly us). Sure, it's important to talk about the other revelations (or confirmations): the collusion between Pakistani intelligence and the Taliban, the ill-equipped troops in battle, and the bullshit Afghan forces that have the discipline of a pack of brain-damaged cats. But, as Evan Hill writes for Al-Jazeera, the mundane and quotidian aspects of Afghan existence demonstrate a level of dependency on NATO and the United States that'd make an opium dealer jealous.

The NATO provincial reconstruction teams (PRT) essentially decide who has power and who does not, who gets paid with reconstruction cash and who goes home empty-handed, and you can bet that every one of those decisions simply leads to the inevitable creation of more enemies that need to be fought.

Cut to the chase:

What you get from these less sexy documents is a portrait of soldiers and officials attempting to transform a country into something it is not. It's impossible. And what Wikileaks has forced us to see is that it's madness to continue.

I have nothing to add to that. Well, one thing:

As we're leaving we should simply make it abundantly clear to the Afghans, Pakistanis, Taliban, to the most disinterested casual observer in the whole fucking world, that if ever another attack like 9/11 comes from there, we will turn that whole diseased region into perfectly-arced-to-the-curvature-of-the-earth self-lighting glass.

92,000 pages of misery

Mark Morford has (cough) analyzed the 92,000 page Wikileak.

I have scoured all the data, factored in the countless bombings and roadside detonations (and there are, seemingly, millions); I have made pie charts and bar graphs, plotted points of interest on special war paper, geo-located all the various deadly flashpoints using Google Earth, all while making 10,000 little explosion sounds with my mouth, just like George Bush used to do in the bathtub when Uncle Dick talked about "liberating" the Middle East.

I have come to some important conclusions. First off, as mentioned just about everywhere -- including by the president himself -- talk of these documents "putting lives at risk," is complete and utter BS, and is merely meant to discourage and intimidate anyone from doing anything like this ever again, because it's all been just hugely embarrassing and humiliating to U.S. intelligence, sort of like Tiger Woods' pervy text messages appearing on the front page of USA Today. They hate that.

War is hell. Have you heard that before? Of course you have. Do you know what it means? From what I can tell from the WikiLeaks scandal, here is what it does not mean: It does not mean war is some sort of rugged Herculean manly uberpatriotic exercise in glorious freedom, justice, truth, that just might also, whoops, get a little bloody. It does not quite mean a noble force for good and democracy. It might have meant that once, long ago, for a shining moment, maybe, on the back of a coin somewhere. It hasn't meant anything near that for 1,000 years. Capitalism saw to that.

It's sort of like evil. We love to imagine evil to be this towering, fanged menace, this spectacular fiend, a creepy and gruesome beast borne of a thousand horror movies. The truth is at once far less interesting, and yet far more terrifying. Because evil is more like Dick Cheney's tiny sneer, the religious nutball's weakest synapse, the wheezing death of the soul.

[...] The truth is, we will all be dead before we know the full costs of these wars. A generation or two will have to pass before we can get them in scale and perspective, and even then, like so many before them, they still won't make any goddamn sense.

They don't have to make sense as long as they make money.

"Not just Cheech and Chong"

Quite a long piece at AlterNet on Prop 19, the California initiative to legalize mota.

Prop. 19's newly hired field director, James Rigdon, thinks marijuana legalization has a lot more going for it than other issues. "There's something appealing about this for everyone -- helping the economy, incarceration issues, personal freedom ideas, public safety concerns. People from all walks are willing to come out and support us," Rigdon tells me. "Our supporters aren't just Cheech and Chong. They're everyday people who support this because it's good for everybody."

This is tied to another worry Gutwillig observes. "The research and focus groups I've seen see the whole revenue thing as gravy -- it matters to people who've already made up their minds about supporting Prop. 19. But it's not the reason someone is going to come off the fence. [Talking about revenue] doesn't resonate with voters, nor should it," he says. "But what does resonate is the other side of the fiscal coin, which is the opportunity to save and redirect scarce law enforcement resources. That message makes a big difference. People's instincts tell them there is something fundamentally hypocritical about marijuana prohibition."

Prop. 19 hopes to appeal to the instincts of Californians who believe the drug war has failed.

Prop. 19's most vocal opposition comes from the top. Gubernatorial candidates Meg Whitman and Jerry Brown don't see eye to eye on much, but they both seem to have decided it's politically expedient to oppose the measure. Senator Dianne Feinstein also recently came out against it.

"I was at a party with doctors who said they used to light up with Jerry Brown," says Garzon. "But you know, the reality is that we know that politicians aren't going to lead on this issue."

Much, much more and quite a few comments, some good, some inane.

I guess if we're going to have to vote for Democrats, it makes sense to vote for legalization of a substance that can numb us a little to the way Dems do things.

That's better than having the Repugs in power. The only thing to numb us to their way would be legalized suicide and euthanasia.

The Enthusiasm Gap

First and last ¶ of a piece by Paul Krugman:

Why does the Obama administration keep looking for love in all the wrong places? Why does it go out of its way to alienate its friends, while wooing people who will never waver in their hatred?

Just to be clear, progressives would be foolish to sit out this election: Mr. Obama may not be the politician of their dreams, but his enemies are definitely the stuff of their nightmares. But Mr. Obama has a responsibility, too. He can’t expect strong support from people his administration keeps ignoring and insulting.

His point is hold your nose and go vote for Democrats.

Who knew ...

Phyllis Schlafly was still alive?

Modern Feudalism ...

To hear the other side tell it, we'd be better off if we were all serfs, under the 'protection' of our local billionaire lord. 'We must keep rich people rich so the rest of us can scratch out a living serving them.'

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Blame Gordon, once again ...

See, he put up the wandering Jew music and I immediately thought of this.

Bond - Korobushka

Looks like the Reggae thing has been put to bed. Heh ...

Well maybe ...

One more. The King, Bob Marley ... heh ... at ... heh ... Harvard. Heh ...

Bob Marley - No Woman, No Cry

National disgrace ...

Our girl Martha Raddatz (honey's seen more time in war zones than I have) has a look at the PTSD epidemic in the US Army:


The figures in recent years are staggering.

The number of soldiers committing suicide has increased since 2004, surpassing civilian rates in 2008. Use of prescription drugs has tripled in the past five years; prescription amphetamines use has doubled between 2006 and 2009. One third of soldiers take at least one prescription drug and 14 percent of soldiers are on some form of powerful painkiller.

Crime is rising every year as well. Each year has seen an increase of 5,000 misdemeanors over the previous year, meaning soldiers are expected to commit around 55,000 such crimes in 2010. Sexual offenses have tripled since 2003. Domestic abuse is up 177 percent in the past six years.

Non-combat deaths among the force have increased steadily since 2001 to the point where the report says that in 2009 more soldiers died as a result of accidents and "high risk behavior" than at war.


They're strung out, drugged out, and suicidal (been there) and they'll make the scale of Vietnam vets with PTSD seem like a drop in the bucket.

Another note: Like I said about Michael Ware, it's time for Martha to get on a different beat. She's starting to show the stress herself.

Quote of the Day

Mr. Supertrain:

There's definitely a strong strain of thinking among elites in this country that the biggest problem this country faces is that our poor people have it just a bit too good ...

That's it. Unless the poor live in conditions resembling the Mumbai slums, they ain't gettin' any of our largess.

Totally Bored Thursday Mountain Music Blogging

I was sorta lookin' fer something to help Fixer come down from his ganja music kick. I like old-time mountain music and stumbled across this. This oughta do it.

Thanks to MsShai1990, Israel.

Totally awful afterthought that I will live to regret:

Would a dispute between Mountain Jew families be known as the Hatfeld-Mc Oy feud?

Sorry. It clawed its way outta my brain.

Headline of the Day

Are the American people obsolete?

Okay ...

Last one and I'll get off the Reggae kick. My man Jimmy Cliff:

Jimmy Cliff - The Harder They Come

Off to work.

Later ...

And then baste with red wine ...

Against the backdrop of a Senate that can't seem to grasp the reality of climate change, NOAA has issued "The 2009 State of the Climate report." It's just a scientific study "based on comprehensive data from multiple sources," so there's no reason for anyone in the GOP to take it seriously. They eschew science anyway. But, it's really happening:


And, like everything else, the Republicans will delay and obfuscate (solely to protect their corporate paymasters' bottom line) until the problem is intractable. Climate change is the greatest danger facing humanity as a whole and the Republicans treat it as a political toy instead of doing the responsible thing. By the time everyone wakes up it will be far too late.

Christ ...

David "Bobo" Brooks dresses up as a Dem.

Hey, let’s join David Brooks on a fantastical tour where every Applebee’s has a salad bar, every tax cut creates three beeeellion jobs, and everybody, including Democrats, takes David’s advice. All you have to do is put on a magic green jacket. No, seriously.


It's like Bobo won the Masters, but different.


Why Democrats can only save themselves BY ACTING LIKE REPUBLICANS AND NOT LIKE DEMOCRATS! (Who could have seen that coming from Bobo, huh?)


It's the old saw: Democrats can only be bipartisan if they do everything the Republicans want.

We'll get by ...

Poor BP:

In case you were wondering how BP will find the cash to put into its oil gusher escrow fund (assuming BP ever does actually put cash into it), you need not worry. Marketwatch explains that BP will take a $32 billion charge against earnings, due in part to the oil spill--which means it will get a $9.9 billion tax credit.



How does any corporation, in the most lucrative business in the world, qualify for any sort of tax credit?

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Blame Fixer...

I like Harry Belafonte's Jamaica Farewell (wiki*), I really do, and I remember it from my younger days when it was a big hit for him, but it's awfully white bread, even for Calypso which is a heckuva lot older and more laid-back genre than Reggae.

In his album "My Son the Folk Singer," Allan Sherman included a parody of the song: "I'm upside down, my head is turning around, because I gotta sell the house in Levittown!"

Well, OK, not that white bread! Anyway, here's a livelier instrumental version played on de steelpans, mon:

Thanks to SteelDrumMusic.

Yo, justify ese, feds

Hanna Liebman Dershowitz in the LATimes. A 'must read' if you're interested in legalization of mota:

The law is the law. If we unquestioningly accepted that maxim, imagine where we would be today. Jim Crow would be alive and well, rivers and skies would be polluted, and women wouldn't be allowed to vote.

But the law is neither absolute nor infallible, and that's why Californians can — and should — legalize, regulate and tax marijuana-related commerce.

Let's think this through. If Proposition 19 passes, two important balls roll into the feds' court. The first is that the sole responsibility and expense of enforcing marijuana prohibition will be shifted to them. After Nov. 2, marijuana "offenders" could be arrested only by federal agents, prosecuted only under federal law, and sentenced only to federal detention.

This is good on its face - federal prisons are soooo much nicer than state ones.

The second ball is even more significant. Voter approval of Proposition 19 would shift to the feds the responsibility and burden of justifying marijuana prohibition in the first place. Now, the Washingtonians who have never questioned decades of anti-pot propaganda can explain to the people of California why we cannot be trusted to determine our state's marijuana policies. Let them endorse the prohibition laws' usefulness as a tool of oppressing minorities. Let them celebrate how minor marijuana violations cost people their jobs, their housing, custody of their kids, and entrap them permanently in vast criminal justice databases. Let them justify the utter hypocrisy of the legal treatment of alcohol and tobacco, as compared with the illegal treatment of marijuana. Let them tell us how many more people will have to be prosecuted and punished before marijuana is eradicated, how much that will cost, and where the money will come from.

Much more.

Yes on 19.

Parts of AZ law on hold


PHOENIX — A federal judge on Wednesday blocked the most controversial parts of Arizona's immigration law from taking effect, delivering a last-minute victory to opponents of the crackdown.

The overall law will still take effect Thursday, but without the provisions that angered opponents -- including sections that required officers to check a person's immigration status while enforcing other laws.

The judge also put on hold parts of the law that required immigrants to carry their papers at all times, and made it illegal for undocumented workers to solicit employment in public places.

U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton ruled that the controversial sections should be put on hold until the courts resolve the issues.

This was put in the paper about 15 minutes ago. More details as they become available.

Note to Mamacita: You can set the samovar down for a minute. Heh.

Nostalgia ...

This whole Reggae thing I'm on has got me waxing nostalgic about my youth. My dad had a great voice and used to sing me to sleep when I was a child. Harry Belafonte was a staple. This was one of dad's regulars.

Harry Belafonte - Jamaica Farewell

Late for work ...

Anatevka ...

Looking at the news, we see Hispanic immigrants (documented and not) packing up to leave Arizona ahead of the horrible "immigration" law going into effect. Legal or not, they all fear persecution and harassment; being stopped by police and harassed by those civilians who would do the government's work (usually after a stop at the bar), whether they are American citizens or not. It will get ugly.


Latino activists are encouraging their community to check their tail lights, not to travel in large groups and even to remove the Catholic rosaries from their rear-view mirrors.

Erika, a 23-year-old undocumented student, came to Mesa, Arizona in 1998 at the age of 11. She says her family was escaping from her abusive father. Erika dreams of being a counselor one day but is bracing to be separated from her family.

"I've been looking forward to being able to do what I studied for, what I worked so hard for and show this country that immigrants can also be good people," she said. "We're not here to take over."


When I heard this, I immediately thought of Mrs. F's grandparents. A century ago, my wife's people came from Russia, Jews who had to leave their homes, families, and lives for an uncertain future in the US or other places who would have them. Her grandmother's samovar sits in an exalted place (she carried it all the way) in our house to remember their suffering to give their children a better life.

Click to see my dining room in actual size.

It wasn't all sweetness and light in the shtetl, but it was their home for generations and were forced from it. Granted, situations are different than they were in Russia at the turn of the last century but persecution because of race or religion is the same all over, at any point in history.

You will have children, born in America, American citizens, taken to places that are as foreign to them as the shores of America were to Mrs. F's Russian ancestors when they landed at Ellis Island. Innocent children who have no responsibility for their predicament, for the choices their parents made years, even decades, before, will either end up in the nightmarish foster system or leave the country along with their parents.

It is about fear and an "ethnic cleansing" of sorts and we've found over the years that fear is a great motivator. It is somewhat understandable in the Tsarist Russia of a century ago. It is unconscionable this will take place in 21st Century America.

Fiddler on the Roof - Anatevka

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

No, Joe ...

They don't want to kill you for getting married to someone of the same sex, they want to kill you because you're gay to begin with. The conservatives and Jesus freaks just can't come out and say it that way.

Blame Gordon ...

Which I do every time he gets my brain going on a tangent. As most regulars know, my dad was a British subject born in Jamaica. Reggae is my soul music. Since the old man brought up the subject of Peter Tosh (my favorite Reggae artist next to Jimmy Cliff), I had this tune going through my head. Here he is with one of his more mainstream hits, along with one of the whitest white boys with rhythm.

Peter Tosh and Mick Jagger - Don't Look Back.

Thanks, Gord! I been dancin' around the house (puffin' up a fattie) all evening.

Rock Concert Pooped Out


ST. LOUIS -- Pooping pigeons forced the Kings of Leon to abandon their St. Louis, Missouri, concert after just three songs Friday night, the rock band's management said Saturday.

Yeesh. Everybody's a critic...

Blood Raids In Iraq


MOSUL, Iraq — Members of Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia have been holding up blood banks and hospitals at gunpoint, stealing blood for their wounded fighters rather than risk having them arrested at medical facilities, according to Iraqi doctors, employees at health centers and the Sunni insurgents themselves.

The Iraqi security force members that guard medical facilities have often stood idly by as the armed robberies take place, according to workers. This has reinforced doubts about Iraq’s ability to take on even a diminished insurgency as the United States continues to reduce its troops in the country.

Yeah, we "won" in Iraq. Wrong again, McLame. I'm sure glad The Ghost & Mrs. Moron aren't President.

What is not clear, however, is whether the stolen blood would do an injured person any good. Imperfectly matched blood can prove fatal. “Even if you had the same blood type, you’d have to make a perfect match,” said Dr. Yaseen Ahmed Abbass, director of the Red Crescent Society in Iraq. “It is not an easy procedure.”

But some Iraqi doctors working in Sunni areas believe that Al Qaeda has its own specialists who perform blood transfusions and treat shrapnel and bullet wounds — and carry out more gruesome procedures as well.

Hey, I've got an idea - get a buncha diseased blood, mislabel it so it's even more of a game of roulette, and keep it right on top like keepin' "mugger money" in yer jockstrap, and let 'em have all they want.

Go read the rest. The minute we're outta that shithole it's going to be worse than it's ever been since Saddam. We coulda saved ourselves a lot of trouble but for the neocon wet dream.

Two US polls show marijuana legalization support growing higher and higher

A tongue in cheek (spliff in jibs?) play on the word "higher". Heh.

In the garden with Fixer

Raw Story

"Every man got to legalize it, and don't criticize it," Reggae legend Peter Tosh sang in 1976.

While US support for marijuana legalization may never hit the "every man" level -- at least not publicly, that is -- two recent national polls definitely show that it is growing higher and higher.

Please read the rest. It bodes well, mon.

Why I Don't Give a Damn About What Charlie Rangel Did

Good rant from Words of Power:

Lessons in Accountability for Senate, White House & Board Room: Why I Don't Give a Damn About What Charlie Rangel Did, & Why I Hope He Beats the Rap

To put the US body politic in touch with the truth and consequences of the foolish military adventures in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the excesses of the military-industrial complex in general, Charlie (who actually served in the U.S. military) proposed reinstating the draft:

I absolutely agree with the way he proposed to do that. No-deferment National Service would be an excellent class leveller, which is why it won't happen. The elite do not want their kids levelled with those of the Great Unwashed.

To pay for meaningful health care reform for the poor and the middle class, Charlie proposed slapping a surtax on the wealthiest:

His biggest sin in the eyes of many, no doubt.

Is Charlie Rangel guilty of the charges of corruption on which he faces accountability?

I don't know, and I don't give a damn.

There are plenty of lessons in accountability that are past due in Beltwayistan, Banksterstan, Infotainmentstan and the Oiligarchy, and only once the backlog is cleared up, will I entertain the issues related to Rangel, or acknowledge any validity in the calls for his resignation.

When Donald Rumsfeld has to follow in the footsteps of Idi Amin and seek refuge in Saudia Arabia; when C-level executives at BP; Goldman Sachs and Massey Energy are indicted; when Scooter Libby does prison time for the crimes he was convicted of; when those who wrongly imprisoned Don Siegelman are tried for what they did; when those responsible for Bin Laden's escape for Tora Bora (HINT: they were suits, not uniforms, and they were politicians not intelligence officers) are held accountable; when the full documentation on Cheney's secret energy meetings is released; when Bush stops raising money for his library, and has to raise money for defense lawyers instead; when mainstream media exposes the Chamber of Commerce's role in the propagation of denialist lies about the Climate Crisis; when John Yoo is forced from UC Berkeley, and has to lawyer up and turn on the "Commander Guy" he served; when someone can explain to me what happened to the federal investigation of Tom DeLay, and why his trial in Texas has been delayed eight years, then I will give a damn what Charlie Rangel did or didn't do to deserve this investigation.

Fuckin' A.

Enough right-wing propaganda

E.J. Dionne with nothing we don't know, but at least he's saying it out in the open. We need more of that.

The mainstream media and the Obama administration must stop cowering before a right wing that has persistently forced its propaganda to be accepted as news by convincing traditional journalists that "fairness" requires treating extremist rants as "one side of the story." And there can be no more shilly-shallying about the fact that racial backlash politics is becoming an important component of the campaign against President Obama and against progressives in this year's election.

The administration's response to the doctored video pushed by right-wing hit man Andrew Breitbart was shameful. [...]

The traditional media are so petrified of being called "liberal" that they are prepared to allow the Breitbarts of the world to become their assignment editors. Mainstream journalists regularly criticize themselves for not jumping fast enough or high enough when the Fox crowd demands coverage of one of their attack lines.

On the terrible threat of the New Black Panthers (both of them?):

And never mind that, to her great credit, Abigail Thernstrom, a conservative George W. Bush appointee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, dismissed the case and those pushing it. "This doesn't have to do with the Black Panthers," she told Politico's Ben Smith. "This has to do with their fantasies about how they could use this issue to topple the [Obama] administration." [...]

Now, Adams is accusing the Obama Justice Department of being "motivated by a lawless hostility toward equal enforcement of the law." This is racially inflammatory, politically motivated nonsense -- and it's nonsense even if Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh talk about it a thousand times a day. When an outlandish charge for which there is no evidence is treated as an on-the-one-hand-and-on-the-other-hand issue, the liars win (my em).

When out-and-out lies by a few Project Obama Fail agenda-driven whackjobs and lyin' sacks of shit are given the moral equivalence of the larger truth, or even plain old facts, we all lose. The spinelessness of the MSM added to that of the Dems guarantees it.

Headline and Quote of the Day

If We Learned Anything Last Week it Was that Right Wing Propaganda Works If There's No Pushback

It works so well they're getting sloppy at it, and it still works on the DEQ and the Dems. Yeesh.

Why should ...

My Facebook pals have all the fun? I posted this on my page today:

Circa 1977. I'm the one on the left. Dig the hair*?

I got nothin' this morning so have a good laugh at my expense. Heh ...

*Quite Phil Lynott-ish, don't you think?

Monday, July 26, 2010

The "good" war ...

Stays on top today - G

Ain't going so good:

A six-year archive of classified military documents made public on Sunday offers an unvarnished, ground-level picture of the war in Afghanistan that is in many respects more grim than the official portrayal.

The secret documents, released on the Internet by an organization called WikiLeaks, are a daily diary of an American-led force often starved for resources and attention as it struggled against an insurgency that grew larger, better coordinated and more deadly each year.


The documents — some 92,000 reports spanning parts of two administrations from January 2004 through December 2009 — illustrate in mosaic detail why, after the United States has spent almost $300 billion on the war in Afghanistan, the Taliban are stronger than at any time since 2001.

As the new American commander in Afghanistan, Gen. David H. Petraeus, tries to reverse the lagging war effort, the documents sketch a war hamstrung by an Afghan government, police force and army of questionable loyalty and competence, and by a Pakistani military that appears at best uncooperative and at worst to work from the shadows as an unspoken ally of the very insurgent forces the American-led coalition is trying to defeat.


Long, with a ton of documentation.

What this article tells me is we have no coherent strategy in the Afghan theater. If we're out to "win hearts and minds", you can't have SOF teams roaming the countryside with a "license to kill". If we want the locals on our side, we can't go killing them wholesale with unmanned drones these people see, in their 10th Century way, as the closest thing to Aliens. But (9 years on) it's too late to "unring" that bell.

Had we done any research on the culture over there (and the arbitrary political divisions the British drew up before they were chased out left), and began to understand it, before we went in, we wouldn't have enlisted the Pakistanis in our cause. We would have known that ethnic boundaries overlapped borders and many in the Pak government had allegiance to those across the border. We would have known we could only buy their loyalty for so long and that money, like water, does not run thicker than blood. At this point, they're just extorting as much as they can from us before we finally pack up and leave.

Had they asked any of us who'd played a part in "Charlie Wilson's War" 30 years ago, they would have learned that the only reason we saw some success then (we paid through the nose at the time too) is because the US, the group that would become Al Qaeda, and the Pakistanis had a common enemy in the Soviets. They didn't detest us any less than the Soviets but we served their purposes (Stinger missiles, unlimited small arms, ammo, explosives, and, of course, money) until the Communists were gone.

I'm sure there were some in our government, at the time, who knew this Afghan adventure would only end up with the result we have now and counseled against it. But, if you'll remember, we were out for vengeance; "Dead or Alive" and all that good shit and nobody listened to the levelheaded folks. If you weren't gung-ho, you were a traitor.

Personally, I thought it would be quick, Osama's dead ass hung from the fence in front of the White House, and that would have been it. Then they blew it at Tora Bora as all eyes were on the prize (oil) in Iraq. And the "war" drags on.

My dear friend Gordon believes our mission might have been right-minded at one time and might have met with some success had it been run better from the beginning. I'd like to think so too but with the Bush administration (Cheney, Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld) holding the reins, Afghanistan, like Iraq, was doomed to failure. To them, Afghanistan was merely an entry point, taking advantage of a national tragedy to put us on a war footing, to allow them to realize their primary goal, taking the oil fields of Iraq. There was no commitment to do anything related to "winning".

Afghanistan is lost. There is nothing we can do now to "win hearts and minds" and "bring democracy" to that place. There is nothing we can do but pack up and leave. Hopefully, this article will cause enough people to wake up and smell the coffee and realize we're throwing hundreds of billions of dollars down a dry hole.

Putin Rides American Iron!

Everything today is about the Clusterfuckistan war's "Pentagon Papers" moment and Fixer covered that, so until the brouhaha sorts itself out a little (and there's more to come) there's not much use in my adding to the din.

Here's something a little more fun. Prime Minister Putin could no doubt have ridden anything he chose to this Ukrainian biker rally, but he chose a Harley-Davidson Lehman trike. Hey, why ride something practical (or Russian!) when you can go hideously expensive and flashy?

Note how he leads his motorcade, followed by what appears to be a Honda Gold Wing trike, possibly an older model Lehman, pursued closely by (I think) a Dodge van which is no doubt full of his security detail and parts that fell off the trikes.

Let's see - The Harley-Davidson is from Milwaukee WI and York PA, the Gold Wing was probably assembled in Marysville OH, the Lehman is from Spearfish SD, and the Dodge...well, perhaps the less said about that the better, probably Hecho en Mexico. Heh. A pretty good representation of American products for a bike rally in Sevastopol, I'd say.

The rally is like bike rallies anywhere. Badass lookin' guys young and old, pretty girls, a vast assortment of 'sickles smokin' an' roarin', probably food, music, booze, vendors and tattoos.

Note to Tony Hayward of BP: Shave yer head and let yer beard grow. You'll fit right in at next year's rally.

From motorcycles.about:

According to the Associated Press, the leader-- wearing sunglasses, black jeans, fingerless gloves, and no helmet-- proclaimed motorcycles as "the most democratic form of transport," and praised the free spirits of bikers.

Tell us something we don't know, Mr. Prime Minister.

Thanks to nocommenttv and euronews.

Oh, the irony...

Ironic Times

Paper: Intelligence Community Has Grown Out of Control
One in four Americans now operates clandestinely.

Pakistan: Elite Pay Few Taxes, Causing Huge Gap Between Rich and Poor
Unlike U.S., where rich pay no taxes.

Jobless Reap Windfall as Congress Extends Unemployment Benefits
They laugh condescendingly at working stiffs with regular good-paying jobs with health plans and pensions and a chance for advancement and lifetime security who aren't eligible to receive such government largess.

The last time I got unemployment bennies, it was $55 a week. I really lived it up!

Marijuana Use by Old People Rises
Widespread reports of grandparents eating cookies meant for grandchildren.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Quote of the Day


Did you know that you can attend Glenn Beck University for the amazing deal of only $9.95 per month? The thing is that most of [us] would probably agree that $9.95 a month is $9.90 more than we would be willing to spend.


Digby, honey, I wouldn't part with the nickel.

Sunday Hot Rod Rock 'N Roll Music Blogging

Thanks to bulletroll, Estonia.

RedState’s Erickson to GOP: ‘Stop lying’

Yeah, like that'll happen...

Think Progress, with video:

Yesterday, ThinkProgress caught up with RedState founder Erick Erickson and asked his thoughts on the “Party of No” moniker. Erickson took the GOP to task for clouding the issue. He advised them to “stop lying” about being the “Party of No” because “everyone knows you are”:

TP: They are saying, if you accuse them of being the party of no or not having ideas, they will say “oh no!”

Erickson: That’s such crap. Say you’re the “Party of No.” Of course you are. Everyone knows you are. Stop lying.

Bozo The Neoclown sums it up in 'comments':

pretty bad when red state starts attacking you…

Heh. Even the wingnuts don't like the Repugs. For all the wrong reasons, of course, but at least it divides them and that's good.

Quote of the Day

From a column in Time by Joke Line entitled "Apocalypse Not: Are the Dems Really Facing Doom?":

[...] Charles Krauthammer, the neoconservative columnist, argued that the worst part of Obama's failure was that he was succeeding — he was reversing Reaganism [...]


There’s a Battle Outside and It Is Still Ragin’

Daddy Frank on the GOP/Teabagger racism of the past week:

This country was rightly elated when it elected its first African-American president more than 20 months ago. That high was destined to abate, but we reached a new low last week. What does it say about America now, and where it is heading, that a racial provocateur, wielding a deceptively edited video, could not only smear an innocent woman but make every national institution that touched the story look bad? The White House, the N.A.A.C.P. and the news media were all soiled by this episode. Meanwhile, the majority of Americans, who believe in fundamental fairness for all, grapple with the poisonous residue left behind by the many powerful people of all stripes who served as accessories to a high-tech lynching.

[...] But an executive so easily bullied by Fox News has no more business running a government department than Ken Salazar, the secretary of interior who let oil companies run wild on deepwater drilling until disaster struck. That the White House sat back while Vilsack capitulated to a mob is a disgraceful commentary on both its guts and competence. This wasn’t a failure of due diligence — there was no diligence.

[...] But one thing was certain: the N.A.A.C.P. was wrong to demand that the Tea Party disown its racist fringe. It should have made that demand of the G.O.P. instead.

“You think we have come a long way in terms of race relations in this country, but we keep going backwards,” Sherrod told Joe Strupp of Media Matters last week. She speaks with hard-won authority. While America’s progress on race has been epic since the days when Sherrod’s father could be murdered with impunity, we have been going backward since Election Day 2008.

Backwards is as backwards does. Its poster boy is the GOP/Teabaggers.

America: The New Pakistan



By Saint Reagan’s ghost, is there any doubt that Pakistan’s productive class, unfettered by taxes, is free to strike their globe-straddling poses in full libertarian regalia, molding wonderment with their copious amounts of untaxed money – selflessly allowing second-hand benefits to trickle down the benighted masses who would be lost without their stewardship…what?…oh, wait:


Gotta love the trickle-down ...

"Activist Judges"

As with everything Republicans do, if they're bitching about the Dems doing it, they're probably doing it already:

WASHINGTON — When Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and his colleagues on the Supreme Court left for their summer break at the end of June, they marked a milestone: the Roberts court had just completed its fifth term.

In those five years, the court not only moved to the right but also became the most conservative one in living memory, based on an analysis of four sets of political science data.


If the Roberts court continues on the course suggested by its first five years, it is likely to allow a greater role for religion in public life, to permit more participation by unions and corporations in elections and to elaborate further on the scope of the Second Amendment’s right to bear arms. Abortion rights are likely to be curtailed, as are affirmative action and protections for people accused of crimes.


The End is nigh ...

Thanks to our pal Montag for the link.