Saturday, August 25, 2007

The Problem Isn't Mr. Maliki

NYTimes editorial:

Washington's failure to face these unpleasant realities opens the door to strange and dangerous fantasies, like Mr. Bush's surreal take on the Vietnam war.

The real lesson of Vietnam for Iraq is clear enough. America lost that war because a succession of changes in South Vietnamese leadership, many of them inspired by Washington, never produced an effective government in Saigon. None of those changes, beginning with the American-sponsored coup that led to the murder of South Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem in 1963, changed the underlying reality of a South Vietnamese government and army that never won the loyalty and support of large sections of the Vietnamese population.

The short-term sequels of American withdrawal from Indochina were brutal, as the immediate sequels of America's withdrawal from Iraq will surely be. But the American people rightly concluded that with no way to win a military victory, there could be no justification for allowing thousands more United States troops to die in Vietnam. Those deaths would not have changed the sequels to the war, just as more American deaths will not change the sequel to the war in Iraq. Once the war in Southeast Asia was over, America's domestic divisions healed, its battered armed forces were rebuilt and the nation was much better positioned to deal with the relentless challenges of global leadership.

If Mr. Bush, whose decision to inject Vietnam into the debate over Iraq was bizarre, took the time to study the real lessons of Vietnam, he would not be so eager to lead America still deeper into the 21st century quagmire he has created in Iraq. Following his path will not rectify the mistakes of Vietnam, it will simply repeat them.

It'll be different this time - there are no mistakes, or admissions of them anyway, in Bush's reality-free zone. Many people are still to die for his ego.

Whorage ...

The next chapter of my novel The Fourth Estate is up at The Practical Press.

I got a million things to do today. Do your own blogwhoring in comments.

How the White House Drowned New Orleans

So, ya pissed off yet this morning? No? We'll fix that. Read Greg Palast.

The charge is devastating: That, on August 29, 2005, the White House withheld from the state police the information that New Orleans was about to flood. From almost any other source, I would not have believed it. But this was not just any source. The whistleblower is Dr. Ivor van Heerden, deputy director of the Louisiana State University Hurricane Center, the chief technician advising the state on saving lives during Katrina.

But unknown to the state, in those crucial hours on Monday, the federal government's helicopters had filmed the cracks that would become walls of death by Tuesday.

Van Heerden revealed: "FEMA knew at 11 o'clock on Monday that the levees had breeched. At 2 p.m., they flew over the 17th Street Canal and took video of the breech."

Question: "So the White House wouldn't tell you the levees had breeched?"

Dr. Van Heerden: "They didn't tell anybody."

Question: "And you're at the Emergency Center.'

Dr. Van Heerden: "I mean nobody knew. The Corps of Engineers knew. FEMA knew. None of us knew."

I could not get the White House gang to respond to the charges.

That leaves the big, big question: WHY? Why on earth would the White House not tell the state to get the remaining folks out of there?

The answer: cost. Political and financial cost. A hurricane is an act of God -- but a catastrophic failure of the levees is an act of Bush. Under law dating back to 1935, a breech of the federal levee system makes the damage -- and the deaths -- a federal responsibility. That means, as van Heeden points out, "these people must be compensated."

There's a coupla paragraphs on how the gummint 'compensated' rich folks after a similar federal failure.

And what was the effect of the White House's self-serving delay?

I spoke with van Heerden in his university office. The computer model of the hurricane flashed quietly as I waited for him to answer. Then he said, "Fifteen hundred people drowned. That's the bottom line."

I hate this bunch more every day.

Friday, August 24, 2007


Stolen unabashedly from our pal Skippy.

The Weimar President

I love historical references - well, accurate ones. Scott Horton on Bush's "It's all your fault we lost in Vietnam" speech:

[...] Those who are ignorant of history make bad, indeed dangerous leaders. And it’s increasingly apparent that Bush is a man without history; or worse still, a man with a malicious understanding of history.

Bush’s speechwriters clearly understand the emotive power of history. In this address, they use it, as Pericles used his funeral oration, to draw political strength from soldiers who fell in battle and who cannot speak for themselves. But deep in this speech, indeed at its very point of catharsis, lies another historical element which should not go unrecognized: it is the stabbed-in-the-back rhetoric of Weimar politics. If you don’t unquestioningly follow my commands, says Bush, you will be betraying our soldiers in the field. Their death will be on your hands. The audacity and hypocrisy of these words is thundering.

Very few commentators today have recognized the moral bankruptcy of Bush’s speech. One did, and he recognized in its core the manipulation of the time-worn theme that was used to murder democracy in Weimar Germany. Interestingly, it’s not a liberal, but a conservative who makes the point: Andrew Sullivan. From his analysis today at The Atlantic (go read it - G):

To place all the troops into the position of favoring one strategy ahead of us rather than another, and to accuse political opponents of trying to “pull the rug out from under them,” is a, yes, fascistic tactic designed to corral political debate into only one possible patriotic course. It’s beneath a president to adopt this role, beneath him to coopt the armed services for partisan purposes. It should be possible for a president to make an impassioned case for continuing his own policy in Iraq, without accusing his critics of wanting to attack and betray the troops. But that would require class and confidence. The president has neither.

Last year, Donald Rumsfeld appeared about this same time before two veterans organizations and gave speeches talking about “appeasement,” “Munich,” and “1938.” The malicious and historically uninformed nature of his remarks could not, I thought, be topped. I was wrong. The resort to the “stabbed in the back” argument reflects the worst sort of political bottom fishing. It is the sort of thing a democratic leader should never do. We should all keep in mind the peculiar provenance of the argument that Bush brandished yesterday and promises to make into a theme: it was used to demolish a democracy and to introduce a totalitarian dictatorship. Weimar fell because it was a democracy without enough democrats committed to its institutional survival. Too few of her citizens mustered the courage to stand for the basic values of a democratic state. And that is the lesson of Weimar Germany which we dare not forget.

We're not going to go the way of the Weimar Republic. Our situation is completely different. Unlike them, the U.S. installed its fascists first, before losing a war and economic meltdown. Fast-forwarding is the modern way.

NIE helps enemies?

The Horse's Mouth reports on what the other end of the horse is spewing:

Lieberman Attacks Democrats For Criticizing Maliki -- On Same Day That Report From U.S. Intelligence Services Criticizes Maliki

Okay, it's admittedly not hard to have fun at Joe Lieberman's expense, but this one's too good to pass up.

This morning Lieberman and his chief flack Marshall Wittmann put out a press release containing Lieberman's usual attacks on Democrats over Iraq. The duo faulted "Congressional critics" of Iraq's Maliki government and slammed Dems who have criticized Maliki as basically helping our "enemies."

But in a case of comically awful timing, Lieberman and Wittmann's latest attack on Dems came just hours before the release of excerpts of a new National Intelligence Estimate from our intelligence services that...criticized the performance of the Maliki government in terms that are awfully similar to the things Democrats have been saying.

Needless to say, Lieberman and Wittmann have yet to put out a subsequent press release attacking the U.S. intelligence services that authored the NIE.

And in a final irony, the NIE assessment is actually closer in key ways to what Dems have been saying than Lieberman's claims are. Lieberman's release says we have made "enormous progress" in Iraq. But the NIE says that we have only had "measurable but uneven improvements" on the security front, and adds that "the level of overall violence remains high" and that Iraqi leaders are "unable to govern effectively" -- an overall view of things echoed by Dems in recent days.

When Lieberman and Wittmann send out their next release attacking our intelligence services for painting this dire picture of the state of play in Iraq, this blog will be the first to post it. Guaranteed.

Don't hold yer breath, Horse.

You can't make up stuff like this!

Okaaaay ...

One more before I run.

The area where I live on Long Island is a crazy sort of place. We're very diverse, you can hear thirty languages walking down my street, and we have our share (maybe more than our share, and we talk about Californians) of nuts. To wit:

A man wearing a dress, make-up and a blonde wig robbed a Citibank in Central Islip Thursday -- one of two separate bank heists within three hours in Suffolk County, the police said.

Walking calmly into the store, the heavyset man wearing the disguise waited in line and then handed the teller a note demanding cash. He didn't threaten to use a gun and only spoke once, telling her to hurry up, the detectives said. With the cash in hand, the man, who weighs about 220 pounds and stands roughly 5 feet, 8 inches tall fled on foot at about 9:39 a.m.


Bank robbing has become a sport here, and the robbers are getting more creative when trying to outwit the surveillance cameras. They'll get him eventually, but how much you want to bet the local news will name him the 'Drag Queen Bandit' before his 'career' is over?

Just sayin' ...

If I got busted driving drunk with a quantity of cocaine in my pocket, my ass would be doing 1-1/2 to 5 in Riverhead. Must be good to be one of the 'elites'.

Just sayin'. Off to work, TGIF!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Why I'm so pissed ...

About Bush invoking Vietnam yesterday. The Rude One:


Unzipping his pants, President Bush took out his half-tumescent cock and rubbed it on the [Vietnam Memorial] wall. "Yeah," he said as he became fully rigid. To him, the wall at that moment was just a pair of spread-eagled legs, like the legs of a slave girl, the haunches of a rotting corpse in the jungle, held open, just calling for a fucking. Propping himself awkwardly in the cleft, hands pressed against the sides, he began thrusting away, fucking right into the heart of the names of those who, to him, lost the war and disgraced America, yeah, they just had to lay there and take it, 'cause this goddamn wall should be twice as fuckin' large so that we could have taken down Pol Pot, Pol Pot, Pol...


After all he's put us through with Iraq, now he has the balls to spit on graves of those who had their lives squandered in another misbegotten war. A war that he and his henchmen did their goddamnedest to avoid. Motherfuckers. Every last one of them.

A soulless mercenary ...

Pays a price ...


I have been living and working in Baghdad for the past 16 months and will be leaving next week for good. I am one of those overpaid Department of Defense contractors, or, as some would call me, a “war profiteer.” Yes, I have profited. I am out of debt and have money saved. But it has cost me. I am a changed man. I have become hardened. I almost feel like a zombie.


Hope you never sleep again, pal. Go read his story and realize it's closer to the truth than anything you'll hear about Iraq on TV.

The Big Connection

Fixer and Lurch have both posted on Ari Flyshit's Freedom Watch group. We've all heard the Chimp's "Back to Bataan Vietnam" speech, and we're all aware that the talk is of replacing al Maliki, possibly with Allawi. Cursor ties it all together:

The head of Freedom's Watch is Brad Blakeman, a former White House staffer who was also a vice president at the lobbying firm of Barbour, Griffith and Rogers. IraqSlogger reports that the firm has been retained by Ayad Allawi, the former Iraqi interim prime minister, who is calling for the ouster of Prime Minister al-Maliki.

Hit the links.

There you have it - the TV ads, the stirring up of Veterans, the rumor* of a new Iraqi puppet government - all carefully orchestrated to try to get enough uptick in support for the occupation to get them probably two more Friedman Units out of the Iraq clusterfuck, no matter what Petraeus and Crocker say next month. Enough time for Bush to serve out his term and blame the loss on his successor.

Let's not let him get away with it this time.

*Rumor, shit. Maliki is talking to the next door neighbors and he hasn't gotten his countrymen to cough up the oil yet. He's not doing what Bush wants. He's toast.

Gotta know when to fold 'em...yeah, like that'll happen

There is such a wealth, a plethora even, of stuff on Bush's "Return to Vietnam" speech. This one at Time hits the V-ring:

Politically, President Bush has reached the point all gamblers fear: being so far down that higher stakes start to look worth the risk.

In the end, it is the familiarity — critics would say the lack of credibility — of those themes that provide the answer to Bush's risky invocation of Vietnam. He has so often emphasized the disastrous ramifications of failure and the potential glories of victory, they no longer hold the same currency with a war-tired public. So, given how low support for the war is, why not add the specter of Vietnam to the costs of defeat? And why not suggest that victory in Iraq could help expunge the indignity of America's loss in Vietnam? Petraeus and Crocker will say what they will regardless of Bush's assertions, so raising the rhetorical stakes in the hopes of bolstering political support ahead of their report is the only card Bush has left to play.

Give the fucker a deck of cards and some chips and let him lose at Solitaire in the privacy of his own cell instead of killing more and more people for his misguided and failed delusions.

Just don't let 'em breed - oops, might be too late...

From AgWeb, Letterman's Top Ten Top Good Things About Marrying Into The Bush Family:

10. Great deals on Fallujah honeymoon.
9. You’ll inherit President Bush’s extensive collection of Chuck Norris memorabilia.
8. It’s a good bet the wedding reception will have an open bar.
7. Might see Cheney shoot an old guy – still a reference, ladies and gentlemen.
6. Learning from Grandma Barbara how to spit chaw.
5. Every Wednesday is Taco Night.
4. What could be more fascinating than learning what makes Jeb tick?
3. If half the family hates you, you still have a better approval rating than George.
2. W can lend you the ‘Mission Accomplished’ banner to put up in the bedroom.
1. Little chance you’ll be the dumbest guy in the family.”

"I'm not really a president, but I play one on TV..."

Click to make an even bigger pile of shit out of him

Desperate Despots Do Desperate Deeds to Dodge the Dildo of Doom

p m carpenter smells a rat:

In 2004, as Iraq was mutating from desert to quicksand, George W. Bush flatly rejected the Vietnam analogy. Yesterday he went over the top to seize it, to claim it as his own.

The pundits are stumped. What could Bush be thinking? Why this Vietnam-analogy argument, now? Why the 180? What's the sense of it all?

Well, as one is so justifiably inclined to do with this endlessly scheming White House, I smell a rat. A big, ugly one.

It's probably more like a chimp shittin' its britches out of fear and desperation, but do go on:

But, of course, nothing went according to plan. So now, the Bush administration has made the conscious and calculated decision to refight Vietnam at home as well -- partially as an arm-twisting tactic against a disgruntled Congress, but principally as a political strategy that goes far beyond that.

Which is to say, the administration may be hoping to violently divide this nation at large -- much as Vietnam violently divided us -- and, above all, put that violence and divide on the streets. It seeks to reawaken Nixon's hardhats-and-veterans crowd as its visible cadre. It longs for a reissuance of right-wing "America: Love it or leave it" sloganeering in action.

The nation is not nearly as divided over the iraq clusterfuck as it was, or as much as Bush would like it to be. He's pissin' up the wrong rope if he thinks we're going to refight Vietnam in Iraq and have it come out any different. We sorta already are, and the outcome is going to be the same.

If he wants to refight Vietnam and have us win, it gets done every night in VFW and American Legion halls all over the country. We kick ass over there particularly well on 'cheap beer nite'.

Just as an aside, back in the late '60s, I drove a pickup because I a) had to haul my motorcycle to the desert every weekend, and b) I like pickups. I was a Veteran, and worked in an oil refinery, so I had (still have) a hard-hat. I also smoked a lot of weed in those days, which was a felony back then. I kept my hair pretty short, and had a rifle rack and an "America: Love it or leave it" sticker in the rear window as protective coloration. I never got stopped. I was as anti-war as anybody, but I wasn't a hippie. A clean-cut all-American boy is what I was then and am now, albeit a might superannuated. OK, a clean-cut all-American hard-hat gun-totin' Veteran and pissed-off Olde Farte (lctp).

In short, the administration's seemingly bizarre reversal on the Vietnam analogy might very well come down to nothing more than a sociopolitical do-over at home. In seeking that bloody division of old -- which the political right then cynically cast as the dividing line between the patriotic and unpatriotic, the American and unAmerican -- it can at least buy some time, if not remake America, at long last, in its right-wing image.

That might be what Bush is trying to do, but his last-ditch attempts are going to fail miserably, like everything else he's ever done.

I liked some of carpenter's 'comments' as well:

This is like Germany claiming they would have won WWII, if only Hitler hadn't given up.

George Bush Meets Graham Greene

Greg Mitchell of E&P has some interesting comments on Bush's addled 'Vietnam' speech.

Now that’s going too far. George W. Bush cited my favorite 20th century novel and its author – Graham Greene’s prescient "The Quiet American" (also a fine movie starring Michael Caine) – in his speech on Wednesday that drew several dubious links between the catastrophic Vietnam and Iraq conflicts. Perhaps because it’s unlikely he’s ever read the book it was difficult to figure out exactly what the president meant.

“But Greene wrote his book about the way American bumbled into Vietnam, not how it left it. By reminding people of Greene's book, Bush was inviting listeners to recall the mistakes his administration made in entering and prosecuting the Iraq War. Did he really want to do that?”

Fowler, the typical newspaperman, has no use for “isms" and "ocracies,” and just wants the “facts.” He tells Pyle “you and your like are trying to make a war with the help of people who just aren’t interested.” What do they want? “They want enough rice. They don’t want to be shot at. They want one day to be much the same as another. They don’t want our white skins around telling them what they want.”

Pyle ultimately assists an urban bombing to be blamed on Viet Minh insurgents, and many civilians die. Greene observes that "a woman sat on the ground with what was left of her baby in her lap; with a kind of modesty she had covered it with her straw peasant hat." Fowler asks Pyle how many such deaths he would accept in “building a national democratic front.” Pyle responds: “Anyway, they died in the right cause. … They died for democracy."

Or as Greene himself wrote of a character in "The Heart of the Matter," another novel: "He entered the territory of lies without a passport for return."

An interesting read.

I think the Chimp may have shot himself in the foot big time with that speech. I hope so, but it doesn't really matter. This bullshit will go on as long as he's in office.

If Democrats Want to Lose...

Robert Parry follows up on our previous two posts:

Today, the U.S. capital is in the midst of a bizarre replay of 2002 when Democrats tried to assuage Bush by acceding to his demands and major mainstream news outlets joined with the powerful right-wing media in a lock-step march toward war.

So, if Bush arranges for Maliki’s removal – either with a violent Diem-like coup as happened in Vietnam or by arranging a comfy exile for Maliki – Levin effectively has bought into another year or so of war funding to give a new Iraqi government a chance to succeed.

In 1967, Michigan’s Republican Gov. George Romney (yes, Mitt Romney’s father) famously described how he had returned from a military-arranged tour from Vietnam in 1965 having undergone “the greatest brainwashing that anybody can get.”

Now, the Democrats are getting the same treatment, focusing on Anbar and other silver linings in the very dark cloud of Iraq.

To me, that's just like "Ooh, look! There's corn in that turd! Things are really lookin' up! Let's eat!"

If national Democrats think that their feckless behavior on war in the Middle East and their timidity in defending the Constitution represent the pathway to victory in 2008, they may find themselves in for a very rude awakening.

We're not going to vote for any Repuglicants, perish the thought, but we may vote for some different Democrats. A lot of folks might vote for Greens or Whigs or Martians or whatever, and hand this country right back to the fascist warmongers, too.

"Bush's Brain" may be gone, but his "Soul" lives on

Scott Ritter with today's 'must read':

[...] Bush's singular appeal has been the impression of steadfastness in the eye of the storm, even if the storm is for the most part self-created. For this we must look not to "Bush's Brain," but instead peer deep into the dark recesses of the White House, where we can glimpse the awful "soul" of the president-Dick Cheney.

The vice president is the single greatest threat to American and international security in the world today (my em). Not Osama Bin Laden. Not the ghost of Saddam Hussein. Not Ahmadinejad or Kim Jung Il. Not al-Qaida, the Taliban, or Jose Padilla himself. Not even George W. Bush can lay claim to this title. It is Dick Cheney's alone. Operating in a never-never land of constitutional ambiguity which exists between the office of the president and the Congress of the United States, Cheney's office has made its impact felt on the policies of the United States of America as had no vice president's office before him. Granted unprecedented oversight over national security and foreign policy by executive order in early 2001, many months prior to the terror attacks of 9/11, Cheney has single-handedly steered America away from being a nation among nations (albeit superior), operating (roughly) in accordance with the rule of law, and toward its present manifestation as the new Rome, a decadent imperial power bent on global domination whatever the cost.

In many ways, the leading Democrats, both those running for office and those currently holding office, are a far greater insult to American values than the conservative standard-bearers for the policies of Cheney. No one of substance takes seriously the manic ranting of the Hannity/Limbaugh/Coulter triad. These Democrats, on the other hand, have mastered the art of compromise to the point that they stand for nothing at all-this at a time in American history when the policies of the administration, derived from the dark abyss of Bush's soul, Cheney, provide the most concrete example of what we as Americans should be standing against.

The Democrats need to stand for something. Cheney has provided the sort of political ammunition that would enable them to fight, and win, a constitutional battle over the heart of America, the kind of defining struggle which I believe the vast majority of Americans would rally around. Unless the Democrats start separating themselves from the policies of the Bush administration, and take an active role in outing and suppressing the true evil that is Dick Cheney, all they will achieve in the coming years is a change in the titular political orientation of America, without the kind of deep-seated break from the failures and crimes of the past six-plus years that have taken our nation, and the world, right up to the edge of chaos.

"Bush's Brain" may be gone, but his "Soul" lives on. It is high time all of America put Dick Cheney fully in the spotlight of collective accountability, purging our nation of this scourge which has harmed us in so many ways. If there is any case for impeachment to be made against any member of the Bush administration today, it can be made against a vice president who has shamed our nation, destroyed our moral standing and broken our laws.

There's a line in a country song that goes "you've got to stand for something or you'll fall for anything". Between Cheney and Rove, they got a bunch of gullible people to fall for something that's terribly wrong and then stand for it.

To put it another way, if you want a dog to eat shit, put bacon grease on it. This administration has flavored-up evil and made people eat shit and like it.

Following up on Fixer's post just below, a note to Congressional Dems: What the Hell are you people afraid of? Losing your jobs? Jesus Fucking Christ, we're losing our country! You can stop it. Why aren't you showing some balls and doing it? You've got the goods on these bastards, why aren't you following up?

All it will take to wrest the power back from them is a pair of handcuffs. They're cowards, so just dangling the cuffs in front of them might do it. Be sure to grin while you're doing that, it'll scare the shit out of 'em. When you put the cuffs on 'em, and I hope you do, put 'em on tight.

It's not the investigations ...

It's that nothing comes from them.

The paid punditry of the TV and dead trees wankosphere have decided that Dem voters are pissed at Congress because they've done so much investigating of the Bush administration since January. Wrong-o, butt breath.

We're pissed because, after 8 months of investigation, the Chimp and his people still refuse to recognize subpoenas and are still thumbing their noses as Congress. We're pissed because, after all the investigation (they must realize something stinks at 1600), they cave so readily on one of the Chimp's pet projects:


I realize David Broder and his pals like to reframe Congress' low popularity as a response to all those investigations that allegedly prevent Congress from "getting anything done", but the fact is that polls have been clear for well over a year that the public wants Democrats to counteract the administration, to rein-in the excesses and uproot the corruption the Republicans allowed to run riot. Exit polls in November suggested that this was as important to Americans as getting us out of Iraq. In fact, Americans - particularly Democrats and Independents (but more than a few Republicans) - are furious at Congress for getting too many things done: the wrong things. Things like expanding FISA. So why do they keep doing it some more?


We sent them there to put an end to this war and to stop the Chimp and his henchmen from using the Constitution as a roll of asswipes. So far, neither has come to pass.

That's why we're pissed off, you idiots.




How is it, after all these years with this colon wrangler in office, that not one—not one!—reporter didn’t jump up in his chair and shout "Shut the fuck up, you sack of beaver shit! Shut the fuck up before our country kills itself just to get away from your inane, pathetic blatherings. Shut. the. fuck. up!" Who cares what happens next? That moment would shine like ten thousand stars doing the Hustle.


But our media is as pathetic as our Congress.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007


Dear Mr. President (and I use the term loosely),

A question.

Are you out of your fucking mind?

Another question.

Are you comparing the mess you've got us into to Vietnam?

More questions.

Are you expecting to not go to 58,000 funerals before you end this thing?

Are you planning to leave Iraq with nothing gained but misery for the indigenous people whose lives we've destroyed?

Are you planning to leave Iraq at all?

Just asking because Vietnam left a permanent, indelible scar on a lot of people I call my friends. I've seen the misery of people living (and ultimately dying) from the symptoms of Agent Orange. I've seen the misery of drug abuse and alcoholism brought on by the experience of that war. I'm just wondering if you're going to condemn another generation to go through (and deal) with the aftereffects of a years-long conflict that divides the nation and ruins our military.

One more question.

Why haven't you been impeached yet?


Cornholed again...

An Op-Ed in the LATimes on the Great Ethanol Scam:

Henry Ford, whose Model T ran on ethanol, made the mistake of thinking alcohol for motor fuel could be made in limitless supply. He didn't count on how widespread his invention would become, nor the fact that the world's population would grow so large that there wouldn't be enough agricultural land or fresh water on Earth to feed us all. We may have already passed that point, and the human population is expected to rise an additional 50% or so by 2050. This means that turning vast quantities of food into fuel is a recipe for global starvation. Ethanol will definitely play a role in our future energy mix, but not the starring role its advocates predict.

If we have to choose between eating and driving, little brown people will die of starvation while our newly-skinny chubbos ride around in SUVs oblivious to it all.

"Who's Gonna Build Your Wall?"

I like to think I know a little about Alt Country music. I'm right! Very little. I never heard of singer-songwriter Tom Russell until I saw him last night on Letterman. Now I'm a fan. He came on right after Christiane Amanpour, whom I lust adore, and sang this song (video), lyrics courtesy of the Houston Chron:

I've got 800 miles of open border - right outside my door. There's minute men in little pick up trucks who've declared their own damn war. Now the government wants to build a barrier like old Berlin 8 feet tall - But if Uncle Sam sends the illegals home who's gonna build the wall?

Who's gonna build your wall boys? Who's gonna mow your lawn? Who's gonna cook your mexican food when your mexican maid is gone? Who's gonna wax the floors tonight down at the local mall?
Who's gonna wash your baby's face? Who's gonna build your wall?

I did a little research on Russell's latest CD. It helped that Letterman held it up so I could see what the cover looks like. I checked the playlist on "Wounded Heart Of America" and ordered it. For a guy I never heard of before, an awful lot of people whom I have heard of have sung his songs.

Check it out.

My Life With Jenna Bush

Mark Morford sorta, er, morfs into 'Rude Pundit gets a day job' with this one:

What's it like to be married to the booze-friendly, party-ready Bush twin? A vision

I got her trained just right. She brings me a steady supply of cold Bud Lights while I chill on the La-Z-Boy watching the Nationals game on the plasma. Here's a funny: After any home run, I'll down whatever's left of my beer and suck in a big mouthful of air and then belch her name really, really slowly and blow it right in her face. "Oh my God that is so gross!" she squeals, and then totally cracks up and makes that funny snorting noise and goes to get us both another beer. Man, I love being married.

Her hair smells like kitty litter and nachos and bad domestic wiretapping law. I take deep whiffs just before bed and later dream that I'm back in law school and it's finals and I'm totally not prepared because I've been burning pages of the U.S. Constitution in my bathtub and blasting gay people and women and pretty much all of humanity with my giant death-ray laser. Wait a sec, this is Karl Rove's dream! How the hell did he get in here? He's so sneaky. But I love him. No, I mean I really love him. But he won't return my text messages anymore. Bitch.

"Poor sick people are so amazing!" Jen says that a lot these days, ever since the Panama thing, ever since the party made her get the hell out of the country so as to deflect all the bad PR about the beer bongs and the partying and the dumb-blonde-Texas stories. But Jen says she learned "a ton" interning for UNICEF, now thinks people with HIV are "so sad and nice and not, like, nearly as skanky as I thought." Once she even wondered, out loud, why we all don't have more and better access to condoms and real birth control info and true sexual education. I shot her a look. Then she remembers: "Oh, right."

So anyway, Mary Cheney's been advising J on how to handle the book publicity. In fact, they've been spending a lot of time together lately, sharing smokes, going to movies, having late-night gabfests. Sometimes J doesn't stumble home until 4 or 5 a.m., always sort of flushed and giggly. And get this: More than once her lipstick was totally smeared all over her mouth. She said Mary was just "showing her something." Yeah right. More nights like that and I'm telling Laura about Jen's new Brazilian wax job that spells out "Obama '08." Except she misspelled it as "Osama." Whoops.

Please enjoy the rest. Oh, right, their sex life? It's in there, right between the pineapple pizza and the throwing up...

Reincarnation ...

Ari Flyshit surfaces:

Wow. The Bush administration is clearly going off the deep end. They are now using their passion for negative ads against their fellow Republicans (like Mitch McConnell who said that come September we'd better be changing course in Iraq). And, of course, it's all about Iraq. They are doing it through some phantom organization called "Freedom's Watch." The spokesperson for the group is none other than Bush spinmeister Ari Fleischer:


Late for work ... kthxbai. Heh ...

Stranger than not

More than half strange. That's me.

You Are 54% Strange!

Based on your score, it seems you do have a healthy dose of strangeness. You aren't THAT far out, but you are somewhat bizarre. Congratulations on being different and having some quirks. It makes you an interesting person!

How Strange Are You?
Quizzes for MySpace

And that gets you ...

The Medal of Freedom:

Former CIA director George Tenet "bears ultimate responsibility" for failing to create a strategic plan to stop al Qaeda prior to 9/ll, according to a review by the CIA's inspector general that was made public today, more than two years after it was written.


Not that the White House would have approved a plan, regardless of what Tenet pulled out of his ass. Without 9/11, we would be talking about President Kerry right now. Leave us look at what the Chimp learned on 6 Aug 2001:


We have not been able to corroborate some of the more sensational threat reporting, such as that from a . . . service in 1998 saying that bin Laden wanted to hijack a U.S. aircraft to gain the release of "Blind Sheik" Omar Abdel Rahman and other U.S.-held extremists.

Nevertheless, F.B.I. information since that time indicates patterns of suspicious activity in this country consistent with preparations for hijackings or other types of attacks, including recent surveillance of federal buildings in New York. [my em]


Yes, Tenet bears some responsibility, but the ultimate failure belongs solely to the White House and the occupant of the Oval Office.

Great thanks to Holden for the ABC News link.

More wasted lives . . .

Iraq helicopter crash kills 14 US troops

y'know something, it doesn't matter if it was shot down or it was an accident, one clear, cold fact remains, they would not have been in harm's way if BushCo hadn't lied. Bush and Cheney are no better than murderers. It is time that they were not only impeached and convicted. It is time that they were arrested. We have to show future generations that being "elected" President does not put you above the war. I am so frustrated by the actions of this Congress that I am feeling tied in nots. We have to get them out of there, that is the ONLY thing on the table. All else, including the election, is subservient to that. How do we make it happen?


Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Now that's strange

More than half un-strange. Certainly not in Fixer's or Lurch's class. Where have I failed? I bet it had something to do with the french fries...

You Are 46% Strange!

You are a bit strange, though still more normal than strange. You definitely have some quirks, don't get me wrong. But you aren't exactly freaking out old ladies on the street. It's okay though, you've got a healthy mixture of strangeness and normality.

How Strange Are You?
Quizzes for MySpace

I'm almost as strange ...

As Lurch. And, having met the man, I think that's a pretty good thing. Heh ...

You Are 62% Strange!

Based on your score, it seems you do have a healthy dose of strangeness. You aren't THAT far out, but you are somewhat bizarre. Congratulations on being different and having some quirks. It makes you an interesting person!

How Strange Are You?
Quizzes for MySpace

Beelzebub Meets the Sunday Press

The Rude Pundit on Turdblossom's dead-dog-and-rotting-pony show on the Sunday TV gasfests:

The Testament of Solomon is a fascinating early Jewish text from, possibly, the first or fourth century. In it, King Solomon uses a magical ring to meet and talk to a bunch of demons, thus giving Goth kids and oh-so-spooky devil worshipers a template for their masturbatory maunderings. One of the demons Solomon interviews is Beelzebub, who describes his activities in an amazingly honest fashion for an angel who fell with Lucifer: "I said to him, 'What are your activities?' He replied, 'I bring destruction by means of tyrants; I cause the demons to be worshiped alongside men; and I arouse desire in holy men and select priests. I bring about jealousies and murders in a country, and I instigate wars.'" Oh, for the days of such forthright evil beings.

[...] Got that? Chris Wallace of Fox "news" is just a tool of those fuckers in Congress who would dare question the White House.

Wallace, in a line that would be laughable in most other contexts replied, "I like to think I'm an agent of the public, not the Congress." Rove would not back down, saying to Wallace, "Well, in this instance, you're an agent of Senator Leahy and Congressman Waxman." So to even question the notion of executive privilege is to be named an enemy of the administration. And you see that language - "an agent," doing their "bidding." Man, nobody can demonize like a demon. See, Rove's argument is that he's protecting the Constitution by giving advice to the President. Rasputin doesn't have to fuckin' tell you what he advised the Czar to do.

...he needs the head of a Clinton on his wall.

Beelzebub will not be denied

I think the reference to Grigori Efimovich Rasputin is most apt. The Mad Monk was hard to kill, too.

Keep in mind that all his advice to the Czar was swept away in the Russian Revolution of 1917...

Karl Rove and American Fascism

Dr. J's Commentary. Memorize this first part. Zere vill be a qviz.

Fascism can be briefly defined as a politico-economic system in which there is: total executive branch control of both the legislative and administrative powers of government; no independent judiciary; no Constitution that embodies the Rule of Law standing above the people who run the government; no inherent personal rights or liberties; a single national ideology that first demonizes and then criminalizes all political, religious, and ideological opposition to it; and total corporate determination of economic, fiscal, and regulatory policy.

[...] 'You're not such a scary guy,' joked his guide. 'Yes, I am,' Rove replied. Walking away, he muttered deliberately and loudly: 'I change constitutions, I put churches in schools ...' "

He's probably the guy who shit in the punch bowl at the rare party he got invited to, too, out of spite for being rejected by his peers.

One does not have to look at Cheney and Addington and Yoo and Gonzales for the source of the Bush approach to amending the Constitution (although they have certainly been at the center of it as well): who needs Congress and the States; do it on your own. Either simply ignoring the Constitution, as the Bushies have done, or legally in the first instance changing it beyond recognition, as Hitler did to the German Weimar Constitution, is at the center of establishing fascism in an existing Constitutional Democracy. And here is Karl Rove, at the center of the Georgite Revolution, not only on the tactical side, but on the strategic side as well. Look out for him, folks. He is hardly done yet.

A snake can still bite you after his head is cut off. Watch out for this sonofabitch. He'll be dangerous 'til he's dead.


Pauly Jim (I still can't get used to that) informs us about the Catch-22 that's keeping us from "winning" in Iraq:

... But if they want to be able to walk away from Iraq with a win, even a worthless one, then bringing back the draft really is the only option left ...

Indeed, my friend. Pauly riffs off the same article I did last night, noting that if the Army is Dixie-fried (where I made the point we couldn't possibly invade Iran) we can't possibly achieve anything close to "winning" in Iraq.

A draft would be the only way we could raise the manpower needed to accomplish a complete occupation (pacification) of Iraq to the point where insurgent attacks (never be able to stop them completely) are reduced to a minor nuisance (realistically, we need 250,000 to 500,000 troops on the ground).

Thing is, the minute Congress passes the legislation, there will be a social upheaval equivalent to the peace movement of the '60s. That's what got people into the streets then and will certainly do it now; now that the majority of folks realize this war is a sham and a waste.

There will be no draft (and they say Social Security is the 'third rail of politics') and we will lose the war in Iraq. Faster if we manage to open a third front in "The War on Terra".

Since we're done in Iraq anyway (it's just a matter of time), it's also time we consider the way we're gonna leave. The Political Cat takes a look at this and the post got me thinking about it.


Then it's down through Basra province and into Kuwait and home free, right? Not quite, apparently. You see, the British are urging an immediate withdrawal from Basrah. And with good reason, apparently.


The Brits are watching our backs and they'll be gone soon. Most of our supplies come over land from Kuwait (through British-controlled territory). Were I an insurgent, those supply convoys would be my prime target. An army can have all the guns it wants, if it can't resupply, it can't fight.

Why do you think I always say, 'amateurs talk strategy and tactics, experts talk logistics'? My feeling is, our departure from Iraq will resemble this ...

Pic courtesy of IraqScam.

... more than anything else.

Do yourselves a favor and read Brother Lurch's post on the situation in southern Iraq. The Brits pulling out affects a lot more than our supply lines:


If the CIA is abandoning a prime listening post, we’re about to see some momentous changes. Having to spread our already over-stretched forces even farther will be a terrific problem. For one thing it could spell death to the 15 month tours as I speculated here.


As I said above, Iraq is done. The only question remaining is how we put it to bed. Anybody who talks about "winning" should be ridiculed, mocked, and spanked publicly. The only thought we should have is how we're getting out with the least carnage possible.

Monday, August 20, 2007


Since we've been on this Iran thing lately, this report should make you feel better about us going ... not:

WASHINGTON - Sapped by nearly six years of war, the Army has nearly exhausted its fighting force and its options if the Bush administration decides to extend the Iraq buildup beyond next spring.

The Army's 38 available combat units are deployed, just returning home or already tapped to go to Iraq, Afghanistan or elsewhere, leaving no fresh troops to replace five extra brigades that President Bush sent to Baghdad this year, according to interviews and military documents reviewed by The Associated Press.


What the Chimp has done to our Army and Marine Corps is unconscionable. The most we could do to Iran is a combination of naval blockade and bombing. By the time Bush is out of office, our military will be worse off than it was after Vietnam.


And as the Chimp et al are looking toward Iran as an enemy, our puppets are courting a new friend. Ted at Creature's:


If Iran is the enemy, why is our puppet in Kabul, Hamid Karzai, referring to Iran as "helpful?" Why is our puppet in Bagdhad, Nouri al-Maliki, buddying up with not just with the Iranian president but also Iran's top religious leader?


It looks like the Afghanis and Iraqis are getting ready to deal us out. As I've said many times, the Chimp was way out of his league when he decided to fuck around in the region. These folks have been double-dealing for 5000 years and they're all playing us for fools.

Winning hearts and minds ...

How it's done:

Pristina. Hundreds of Kosovo Albanians attended a folk concert to celebrate the 61th birthday of former US president Bill Clinton on Sunday, remembering his support for their separatist struggle.

Dancing to Albanian folk music before a huge birthday cake outside the national theatre, they expressed gratitude for Clinton's approval of a NATO bombing campaign to end a Serbian crackdown during the 1998-99 Kosovo conflict.

"I hope president Clinton lives to be 101. I hope his wife Hillary is elected president and rules America as her husband did," said Lutfi Salihu, a 66-year-old pensioner who attended the concert.

"If it wasn't for him you wouldn't have one single Albanian in Kosovo nowadays."


Think the Iraqis are gonna be celebrating the Chimp's birthday anytime soon? Me neither.

Big tip o' the Brain to Maru.

How to be a conservative pundit

Chris Kelly in a HuffPost about Peggy Noonan:

And then it struck me, suddenly, like a slow-moving vehicle: That's how you get a job as a conservative pundit. Figure out what makes you different from a white, male, protestant businessman, and hate your own guts for it.

If you're black, hate civil rights. If you're a woman, hate feminism. If you grew up poor, despise the poor. If you're a visible minority, demand more profiling. If you're gay, say you're cured. If you're Jewish, praise anti-Semites, if you're Christian, praise war. If you're Michelle Malkin... I don't know where you start with your problems if you're Michelle Malkin.

Just take a good, long look in the mirror, and ask yourself: Who am I? And how am I failing to be Neil Bush?

I think that goes a long way toward explaining why there are gay and minority Repuglicans - beat me, whip me, exploit me, lie to me and steal from me and trample on my rights, but let me be one of you because I hate myself. Or just make me rich and give me power over others like myself and fuck everybody else.

Oh, the irony...

You can't make this shit up. From Raw Story

A plan to drop Guantanamo detainees smack in the middle of Kansas is drawing broad support from Democrats and civil rights groups.

But not everyone is happy.

Least of all, the detainees!

On the one hand, what better place to put religious fanatics?

On the other hand, it's a good thing they have no Constitutional rights. This would be a clear violation of the 8th Amendment.

No word yet if Fred Phelps is to be named their chaplain...

Bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha! Chuckle. Snort. Clean keyboard...

It's growing ...


Tearful reunion in the USA
Day by day, those memories fade away
Some babies grow in a peculiar way
It changed, it grew, and everybody knew
Whos this kinky so-and-so?


~ Haitian Divorce - Steely Dan

More saber-rattling on the Iranian front:

BAGHDAD - For the first time, the U.S. military said on Sunday that Iranian soldiers are in Iraq training insurgents to attack American forces.

Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch, a top U.S. commander who is in charge of a large swath of Iraq south of Baghdad, believes there are about 50 members of Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps in his battlefield area, military spokeswoman Maj. Alayne Conway said.


Oh wow! Iranians in Iraq! Of course, being the U.S. military, they must have found proof, right?


Conway said that U.S.-led forces have not caught any of the Iranians, but she said military intelligence and recently discovered caches of weapons with Iranian markings on them indicate that the Iranians are there. [my em]


Just like, "we haven't found any WMDs in Iraq, but we know they're there".

Listen to me. There has been, to date, no (zero, nix, nyet, nada) evidence of Iranian military involvement in Iraq. The 'evidence' they've presented us with so far is weaker than the line of crap they fed us about Iraq. All this bleating and babbling about Iran is just that, bullshit.

As for weapons with Iranian markings, kill a couple insurgents and take a look at their AK-47s. You'll see Chinese pictograms on them (under the Soviets' license to manufacture them). Are we gonna bomb the Chinese? The Middle East is a weapons supermarket.

Are there Iranian operatives working in Iraq? I'd be surprised if there weren't, but that in no way justifies attacking a sovereign nation. If another nation, Russia say, occupied Mexico, you can bet we'd be keeping an eye on them too, sending people over the border to fuck with 'em in little ways. Look at what we did in Afghanistan in the early '80s and that's half a world away.

It's time to worry about getting out of Iraq, not thinking up more bullshit to get us involved in Iran. Unfortunately, the war drums will beat louder and the bullshit will get deeper as autumn arrives and Congress returns to their spawning grounds Washington. Hopefully, the Dems won't fall for it the same way they did before Iraq.

Tip o' the Brain to Dr. Attaturk.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Heroism and the language of fascism

Rosa Brooks takes a look at and expands on something I've thought was bullshit for a while too:

Civil service is commendable, but worshiping soldiers and police for doing their duty has gotten out of control.

Once upon a time, you had to do something truly exceptional to qualify as a full-fledged hero: single-handedly hold off a battalion of enemy soldiers to allow your platoon to escape, or rescue 100 children from a Nazi concentration camp. But today, just showing up at your Army recruiting station makes you an instant hero -- and getting yourself hurt or killed doubles your heroism, even if you were sound asleep when your supply convoy went over an IED.

The empty rhetoric of heroism is everywhere these days. You know what I mean. Pat Tillman -- the former NFL star -- is "an American hero," apparently because he volunteered for duty along with several hundred thousand other people, then had the misfortune to be accidentally(?-G) shot by his own side. Every wounded service member is a "hero" too: Sen. Hillary Clinton proudly sponsored the "Heroes at Home Act of 2007," intended to improve medical care for wounded military personnel, and the Defense Department recently sponsored the "Hiring Heroes Career Fair" to encourage companies to hire wounded veterans. No soldier left behind!

Bah, humbug.

But it's a big mistake to mix up the idea of service -- or the idea of sacrifice and suffering -- with the idea of heroism.

Distinguishing heroism from service and suffering is important for two reasons. First, it's always worth fighting the Lake Wobegon effect because, in a world where "all the children are above average," the truly special child gets no recognition, and genuine acts of exceptional courage are trivialized.

But there's a deeper reason to be wary of the "everyone's a hero" rhetoric. Simply put, it fits neatly alongside other terms beloved of the powers that be, such as "warrior" and "the Homeland": It's part of the language of fascism.

For a chilling account of another society in which "the devaluation of the concept of heroism" was "proportional to the frequency of its use and abuse," check out Ilya Zemtsov's "The Encyclopedia of Soviet Life." In 1938, Zemtsov notes, the Soviet Union instituted "the title 'Hero of Socialist Labor'. . . . Thousands of those heroes emerged. . . . The hero was supposed to die in the name of Stalin during wartime [and] give his or her all in labor on communist constructions. . . . [But] a person upon whom the title 'hero' is bestowed has often performed no heroic deed whatsoever, but may receive the title . . . merely in return for displaying loyalty and/or diligence. . . . With time, the awarding of the title came to be used as a token to be disbursed or withheld according to political considerations. . . . "

In other words, comrades, whenever it seems as if they're handing out "hero" medals for free, look out: There's usually a hidden price.

For each loyal bastard to whom Bush awards the Eisernes Kreuz Medal of Freedom, there are thousands, perhaps millions who will pay the price.

La Boricua

So I was reading this piece about how Puerto Ricans are keeping their high school kids' info from military recruiters when came unbidden into my old-but-still-male little pea brain an image of Puerto Rico's secret weapon...

There's a draft coming from under my keyboard...

The War As We Saw It

[Welcome to Memeorandum readers. ~ F.]

A 'must read' OpEd in the NYT by some Iraq Vets, a Specialist and a buncha Sergeants. When my Sergeants spoke, I listened. We should all do that now as well.

A few nights ago, for example, we witnessed the death of one American soldier and the critical wounding of two others when a lethal armor-piercing explosive was detonated between an Iraqi Army checkpoint and a police one. Local Iraqis readily testified to American investigators that Iraqi police and Army officers escorted the triggermen and helped plant the bomb. These civilians highlighted their own predicament: had they informed the Americans of the bomb before the incident, the Iraqi Army, the police or the local Shiite militia would have killed their families.

As many grunts will tell you, this is a near-routine event. Reports that a majority of Iraqi Army commanders are now reliable partners can be considered only misleading rhetoric. The truth is that battalion commanders, even if well meaning, have little to no influence over the thousands of obstinate men under them, in an incoherent chain of command, who are really loyal only to their militias.

A battalion commander with no influence over his troops? Holy shit. In my day (yeah, yeah, button it...) we heaved the rocks and spears at whomsoever our C.O. said to.

And we've "trained" 129 battalions of Iraqis this way? That's fucked up.

Political reconciliation in Iraq will occur, but not at our insistence or in ways that meet our benchmarks. It will happen on Iraqi terms when the reality on the battlefield is congruent with that in the political sphere. There will be no magnanimous solutions that please every party the way we expect, and there will be winners and losers. The choice we have left is to decide which side we will take. Trying to please every party in the conflict — as we do now — will only ensure we are hated by all in the long run.

In the end, we need to recognize that our presence may have released Iraqis from the grip of a tyrant, but that it has also robbed them of their self-respect. They will soon realize that the best way to regain dignity is to call us what we are — an army of occupation — and force our withdrawal.

One wonders what the Chimp's reaction will be when - not 'if' - the Iraqis say they desire us to leave. At once. I think it will be that the poor beknighted fuzzie-wuzzies don't know what's good for themselves, and need their white saviors to show them the way to enlightenment, which we will gladly trade for their oil and we will be there until we get it and that's that.

Much more. Please go read.

Der Volkssturm ... revisited

[Welcome to RCP readers.]

I wrote last week about the breaking of the U.S. Army, comparing it to the Volkssturm (disclaimer: the U.S. Army has a long way to fall before it becomes the Volkssturm, but the road there is certainly being paved now) of the desperate days of the German Army at the end of WW2. More indication of that:

FORT MONROE, Va. -- The US Army, struggling to cope with stepped-up operations and extended deployments of its soldiers to Iraq, has shortened the duration of several of its bedrock training courses so that troops can return to fighting units on the front lines more quickly, according to senior training officials.

One training course that is considered the "first step" in educating newly minted sergeants -- the noncommissioned officers considered the backbone of Army units -- has been cut in half to 15 days. Meanwhile, an intensive program designed to prepare young officers for advanced leadership has been compressed from eight months to less than five months so that the Army can fill positions in constant demand from commanders in the Middle East.


Smell that? It's desperation.

By the way, I been through NCO Leadership School and what I learned there was helpful not only in the military but throughout my life since.

I lifted this from Wiki last week:

... Typically, members of the Volkssturm received only the most basic of military training. This included brief indoctrination training, and then training on the use of basic weapons such as the Karabiner 98k rifle and Panzerfaust ...

Great thanks to Susie Madrak for the link.

Quote of the Day

Our pal Mimus Pauly Jim Yeager:


Boy, that Karl Rove is amazing. He had everything. The imprimatur of Bush the Lesser? The acquiesance of congressional Republicans? The testicles of the mainstream media? He held it all. Right there in the palm of his pasty little hoof. And that one-trick piggy still found a way to blast all of his well-laid plans to hell and beyond! It's not every day you meet your match and it turns out to be you!