Saturday, April 18, 2009

Saturday Emmylou Blogging

The truth is out! Fixer really goes on those cruises to listen to country music where none of his friends can see him...

Here's the next one.

Buddy Miller and Emmylou Harris perform on the Lido Deck of the Carnival Victory as we sail away from Ocho Rios, Jamaica

Thanks to willalda.

Payback's a m*****f*****!


AUSTIN — If they liked him any more, maybe they’d take away his parking space, too.

The Texas House Friday voted to drain most of GOP Gov. Rick Perry’s office budget and instead spend the money on community mental health crisis services and veterans’ services.

The move, which came during House debate on a $178.4 billion proposal for the two-year period starting Sept. 1, immediately drew a reference to Perry’s recent comments about Texas’ ability to secede from the union. The comments have drawn national attention and some lawmakers’ ire.

Bwahahahahahahahahaha....oh my sides hurt!

Saturday Crazy Redneck Music Blogging

This'un goes out to all y'all WATB wingtard losers. And the horse ya rode in on...

Travis Tritt ~ Here's A Quarter Call Someone Who Cares

Thanks to SoundOnVision.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Now ya tell him! Heh.


McCain Campaign Manager: Religion Could Kill The GOP

"If you put public policy issues to a religious test, you risk becoming a religious party," Schmidt declared. "And in a free country, a political party cannot be viable in the long term if it is seen as a sectarian party."

Go tell the Iraqis that, Sparky.

The remarks came in a passionate, roughly 20-minute speech before the Log Cabin Republican's national convention, in which Schmidt laid out the case for a far more open party -- one which did not consider gay marriage to be a "litmus test" issue. And while he made it a purpose not to offend social conservatives -- they "remain an indispensable part of the Republican coalition," he said -- Schmidt did not hide his concerns that religion had become the predominant thread of the GOP.

I know a right-winger gay Marine knife and gun enthusiast who says the Log Cabin Republicans are a buncha faggots. Heh.

Looking beyond the issue of marriage, Schmidt's diagnosis of the GOP's ills was fairly ominous. "Our coalition," he declared, "is shrinking and losing ground to segments of the population that is growing, whether it is with suburban voters, working class, college educated voters, Hispanics, or left handed Albanian psychics, the percentage voting republican has declined precipitously."

Wow. You lose the left handed Albanian psychic vote, you lose! Oh, that's right, you lost!

Y'all have fun there, secesh...

Gleeped from YubaNet.

Auto Company Repair for Dummies

Swiped from Slate.

The cartoon isn't all that great, but I spotted something that maybe even the cartoonist didn't unless he's really subversive.

The car has been raised on a motorcycle lift*. I think trying to balance a car, or metaphorically a car company, like that is a sure-fire recipe for disaster.

*I refer specifically to the Martin Motorcycle Lift. I googled it up, and the first reference I came to was at Fixer & Gordon in a post I wrote. Sometimes I think the world has done gone on without me...

Sluts & Salvation

That got yer attention, huh? Mark Morford tries to fit oddball news articles into the scheme of things.

Skimming the ocean of news effluvia, trying to make sense of the beauty and the pain, the sacred and the profane, whipsawing between the agony and the ecstasy like a bipolar ferret in God's own meth lab of love.

Trying to work out where the following stories fit in the Grand Continuum. Can you help?

SWF Seeks Love, Redemption, Jell-O Shots

In our perverse, celeb-crazed culture, there's really only one surefire way to redeem your reputation as a young, alcoholic, borderline insane, wannabe Jew/lesbian tabloid queen who trashed her once-promising film career in favor of hopping in and out of rehab until about 2017, at which point she will marry Stephen Baldwin and devote her life to a very creepy version of Jesus that you should never, ever pray to.

In related news, Pope Benedict XIV recently celebrated his 82nd birthday by releasing a new children's book. Contrary to rumors, "Gary, the Scary Gay Pagan Condom" will not be a pop-up book.

Search: Erotic Lesbian Fine Art Jesus Butt Photography

Morford's in Frisco. Oughta be easy...

On Obama:

Upshot: Total frothing extremist gibberish. Secession! Guns! Teabagging! Tears! Fascism! Limbaugh! The right-wing punditry frying itself to a panicky crisp like a giant KFC Family Bucket of frustration! Absolute genius, Mr. President.

In related news: porn, masturbation, iPods, beer, TV,, US Weekly, comic books and general overall slacking report being "totally relieved" to be off the hook for a change. "Hell yeah, it's all Facebook's fault!" exclaimed Ohio State sophomore Dave "The Rave" Filbert's giant skull-shaped bong.

Much more. Enjoy.

Quote of the Day dos

From Think Progress, with video:

Maersk crew member on how they gained control over the pirates: ‘We’re union members.’

A truly wonderful statement on many levels! It's exactly why our domestic pirates are against EFCA.

Quote of the Day


If you needed any further proof that southern conservatives have been waiting 140 years to refight the Civil War, the sudden resurgence of secession talk ever since a black man was elected president ought to seal the deal.


Please, Mr. Obama ...

"I was just following orders" did not save the Nazis from the gallows and it shouldn't save these clowns. Not prosecuting is a mistake. Listen to Keith, please:


Indeed we must, Mr. President. And the forces of which you speak are the ones lingering — with pervasive stench — from the previous administration. Far more than a criminal stench, Sir. An immoral one. One we cannot let be re-created.


Transcript below the fold.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Nerd Test

Grandpa Eddie's ruinin' me! says I'm a Cool History / Lit Geek.  Click here to take the Nerd Test, get nerdy images and jokes, and talk to others on the nerd forum!

The Tea Parties: So That Happened:

The Rude Pundit on the tea parties. Strangely bereft of sexual content, there's a little, but still not much for him. I wonder if he's sick, or maybe the thought of gettin' teabagged by Repugs has just put him off his feed...

Yesterday, thousands of poor and middle-class people were manipulated into helping rich people keep more of their money. It's sort of like going to a Yankees game, but without the souvenirs.

What is stunning is that yesterday's Tea Party protests were based on a demonstrable, factual lie. It wasn't about interpreting something or opinions. No, what people were protesting was actually a falsehood. They were played for suckers while they thought they were saving democracy. It was a bait and switch, man, a con game that was more dishonest than sidewalk three-card monte.

The whole day was filled with Fox-fanned falsehoods, starting with the whole acronym the protests adopted after "teabag" became the subject of mucho deserved mocking. "Taxed Enough Already" presupposes that taxes will be raised. And it seems that the tea partyers simply think that Barack Obama is lying to them when he says that the taxes for the vast, vast majority of Americans are lower under his plan. (On his radio show, Alan Colmes was screaming at callers who kept insisting that Obama was raising taxes for everyone.) The protests were against some fantasy administration, a sandwich of fascism on a socialism bun covered in a secret sauce of tyranny. It's like prayer: you can't really prove that it matters, but, hey, someone told you it was a good idea to do it, so down on your knees you go.

But it's not just the concept of being "taxed enough" that was a chimera. The Fox "news" hosts built the day around a fantasy America, as if we were all in a 1950s elementary school history class being force-fed the long-disproved myths of the nation.

How goddamned simple-minded this whole tea party thing was. How divorced from reality. What a waste of time, of energy, of paper and ink. All it succeeded in doing was propping up some egos, giving understandably frustrated people a place to misdirect their anger, and allowing there to be an hour of TV that featured Ted Nugent, Penn Jillette, and Janine Turner, like Hell's Tonight Show.

There's more.

Bounce, Honey, Bounce!

Well, our snow is meltin' off pretty good, but it's mud season. Some rare footage of me'n Mrs. G on our way to town. Hey, Fixer, ya think Nunzio's got axles fer these?

Thanks to johnnytenjobs.

How Not To Lose In Afghanistan

Today's 'must read' in Time:

Blindfolded and handcuffed, the man crouched on the ground, surrounded by Afghan soldiers and their U.S. Marine mentors. He had been found with insurgent propaganda and a Taliban flag and had a bruise on his shoulder — the kind the Afghan soldiers recognized from their days of carrying AK-47s while fighting Soviet forces more than 20 years ago. He said he was an illiterate shepherd, but he had a notebook full of writing. He claimed never to have visited Pakistan, but his mobile phone was filled with Pakistani numbers. Most likely, he was an insurgent. But the U.S. service members let him go. "You can't prosecute a guy for having a bruise," explains Howell. "We have to abide by rule of law." The village elders like to joke that the Americans may be infidels, but at least they are honest infidels. If a cow gets caught in a mortar attack, the soldiers pay for it. The hope, says Howell, is that such examples of transparency will eventually be emulated by local leaders. "The locals are justifiably frustrated with the corruption in their government. That has got to change."

Long before the U.S. arrived in Afghanistan, the Korengal was relatively rich. It wasn't farming that sustained the area's residents; the rocky hillsides grow few crops. But a lucrative trade in the region's cedar forests funded satellite-TV dishes and fancy four-wheel-drive trucks. Local lore holds that the fight with the Americans began in earnest when the U.S., acting on a tip from a rival tribe, dropped a bomb on the lumber mill of a local chief, killing some of his relatives and leading to a campaign of vengeance.

That's one reason failure in Afghanistan is not an option. An Afghan businessman adds another. He lived through the resistance to the Soviets in the 1980s, only to see the U.S. abandon Afghanistan when they left. Another betrayal, he thinks, could produce the same blowback that helped lead to 9/11. "If Afghanistan is sold out again," he says, "you would be basically giving 60% of the nation into the hands of the people who want to destroy the West. And I can tell you that these young Afghans are ingenious, they are creative and they know how to use computers. I can guarantee you that they will find infiltration routes into the U.S. and Europe within four years. There won't be another chance for the West to get it right."

Also an excellent photo gallery of our troopers in the Korengal Valley.

We could have done a lot better in Afghanistan if Bush had wanted to, but he needed al Qaeda and the Taliban to further his agenda and left our guys and diplomacy to wither on the vine for eight years in favor of his criminal war in Iraq. I still want us to. We have a lot of catching up to do, and of course Pakistan is now fully involved and complicates the whole deal no end.

Damn Bush's eyes for this.

Adios Texas: don’t let the door hit you on the way out

Steve at The Last Chance Democracy Cafe, obviously a regular reader of the Brain, follows up on Fixer's post:

Texas Governor Rick Perry (nicknamed Governor Goodhair by the late, great and much missed Molly Ivins) has apparently suggested that Texas might just decide to secede from the union. It seems that Perry, who faces a strong primary challenge from Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison and is thus trying to snuggle up to the extreme right wing nutcase caucus (a/k/a the Republican base), is fed up — FED UP, I SAY! — with Washington placing conditions on the money it sends to the states, and he’s not going to take it anymore!

Just as an aside, I think Ms. Hutchison would be a big improvement for Texas if she beats Kinky Friedman fer guv, but of course I wonder what they'll send to replace her in the Senate.

The response to this suggestion from the left, so far, has actually been somewhat favorable. Both Michael Tomasky and Matt Yglesias seem inclined to let Texas go if it wants. As both note, the departure of the Lone Star State from the union would move the political balance in the United States decidedly to the left.

Besides, one can hardly help but be intrigued by any suggestion that would result in both Karl Rove and George W. Bush having to get a visa in order to enter the country. If Homeland Security does even a half-assed job, we should never have to see either one of them here again.

On a serious note: one has to wonder just how low the Republican Party will have to fall before some semblance of sanity returns. Because the really sad thing here, of course, isn’t that the governor of one of America’s truly great states (its contemporary politics notwithstanding) is willing to engage in this sort of insanity, but the fact that doing so, for a Republican, is now good politics.

Sad, indeed.

Not sad to me! Invigorating! The desperation of Repugs everywhere has filled my soul with delight! After eight years of rule by junta Tejano muy malo I got it comin'!

On the flip side, I am a little concerned that there may be bad results as they flip out of their little pea brains in ones and twos and bunches. They don't seem to understand that 'you lost' means 'you lost' and like the spoiled, rotten little brats they are, they may, in fact are, acting out in unacceptable ways. Tantrums are one thing, shootin' the joint up's another.

Texass secedes? In our dreams.

Tea Part-ay Recap

This is for those folks who go to bed early.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartM - Th 11p / 10c
Tempest in a Tea Party
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Economic CrisisPolitical Humor


From "the two most dangerous women on our side". I'm proud to say these gals beat the livin' shit outta them wingtard skanks!

Update zwei:

Jason Linkins at Huffpo on the wingtards whinin' about the double entendre of "teabagging". Many more links:

One of the things that emerged in the run-up to the Tax Day Teabaggings is that the Tea Party participants helpfully opened the door to allowing everyone to think about their movement in terms of a sex act, common to prisons, which in turn gave rise to some wonderfully detailed bawdy talk and punny double entendres on the teevees. And this was a great, good thing, indeed! And yet, surprisingly, not everyone has managed to find the joy in this! Take the Washington Times' Amanda Carpenter, who has a big old sad about it:

"I'm not offended by it. I expect it. They have responded to popular sentiment across the country by acting like kids on a playground," said RedState's Erik Erikson, who just days ago was earnestly speculating that Levi Johnston and his sister were in an incestuous relationship. As in, STRAIGHT UP BONIN' AND TATTOOIN' ONE ANOTHER, WITH SEX.

Anyway, my great big heart is moved with pity for all of you who cannot enjoy these racy jokings, which, unless you actually enjoy parsing the prion-addled political mind of this movement -- is the only pleasurable product these tea parties have offered anyone.

Also, if you aren't a fan of things like the Maddow/Cox back-and-forth, be warned: you REALLY won't appreciate this article in Detour Magazine, entitled, "Protest Taxes By Stuffing Your Balls Into Sam Wurzelbacher's Mouth."


Just as an aside, on the same page as the above was this link. For us dirty old men only. Yum.

I don't know ...

But I figure that if I'd have stood outside the White House (and the Chimp still lived there) yelling "Death to the President" yesterday, I'd already be on my way to Gitmo in an orange jumpsuit with a Koran shoved up my ass.

Blogger was dicked this morning, more when I get home from work.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Happiness is ...

Seeing Texas in your rear view mirror.

[Sorry, I plugged in the wrong link last night. Fixed now.]

R.I.M. Job

Shoot The Messenger is a really cool site. Here they are on "Don't ask, don't tell". Liquid alert! More where this came from.

Tea Party

Gleefully gleeped from YubaNet.

The really cool part will be when the water boils off and the teapots the wingtard gasbags have for heads burn out. I think some of them are awfully close. I hope they do it on-air, like Beck is doing. Heh.

Children of the Taliban

I watched this last night on Frontline World on PBS. Pleae take the time to go see this 37-minute video report and read the synopsis if you want to see true right-wing extremism in action.

In a village 6 hours from Peshawar, it is the first time that the new deputy leader of the Pakistani Taliban, Hakimullah Mehsud, has been filmed.

Arriving in an American Humvee his men have just captured in an attack on a NATO convoy, he tells the cameraman, “If America continues bombing the tribal areas… and martyrs innocent people…then we are compelled to attack them.” He also sends a message to Islamabad: “If the Pakistani leaders and army maintain their stance… then we will take control of Peshawar and other cities.”

This is no empty threat. The war has already arrived in the capital and Pakistan’s largest city, Karachi.

The state education system in Pakistan has virtually collapsed, leaving more than 1.5 million children studying at schools like this one. Sitting down to be interviewed, Shaheed explains what Sharia Law has taught him about women.

“The government should forbid women and girls from wandering around outside,” he says calmly. “Just like the government banned plastic bags -- no one uses them any more -- we should do the same with women.”

Leaving Karachi, the reporter tries to make contact with the Taliban leadership in the tribal areas. She wants to talk to the men who are recruiting children from these religious schools for suicide operations.

After lengthy negotiations, she meets with Qari Abdullah, who makes no attempt to hide his face.

“We never used to fight against Pakistan, because we thought the Army were Muslims,” he tells her. “But when they started bombing us, we had to do jihad against them.”

When she asks him about using young children to carry out such attacks, he replies:

“Children are tools to achieve God’s will. And whatever comes your way, you sacrifice it.” He then reveals that he recruits children as young as 5, 6, and 7 years old.

Coming to the end of her bleak journey, Obaid-Chinoy reminds us that there are 80 million children in Pakistan, many of them living in poverty. If the militants continue to expand their war and to recruit children freely, as they do now, then Pakistan may soon belong to them.

It's getting more serious by the day, and Bush gave the Taliban a seven year head start in Pakistan.

We're on the verge of defeating the American Taliban who would make us as ignorant as the AfPak Taliban are doing over there. I hope we can help the Pakis defeat their Taliban before that country is lost to them.

The peasant mentality lives on in America

Matt Taibbi

On teabagging parties:

What’s next? The Great Dirty Sanchez-In of 2010? A Million Man Felch? (Insert Rusty Trombone joke here).

More stuff I gotta go look up...

When the wingtards find out they've been conned into advocating doing something named after basically just a normal Saturday night in Frisco, they're gonna be pissed! Heh.

Or maybe not:

[...] Beck has an audience that’s been trained that the rich are not appropriate targets for anger, unless of course they’re Hollywood liberals, or George Soros, or in some other way linked to some acceptable class of villain, to liberals, immigrants, atheists, etc. — Ted Turner, say, married to Jane Fonda.

But actual rich people can’t ever be the target. It’s a classic peasant mentality: going into fits of groveling and bowing whenever the master’s carriage rides by, then fuming against the Turks in Crimea or the Jews in the Pale or whoever after spending fifteen hard hours in the fields. You know you’re a peasant when you worship the very people who are right now, this minute, conning you and taking your shit. Whatever the master does, you’re on board. When you get frisky, he sticks a big cross in the middle of your village, and you spend the rest of your life praying to it with big googly eyes. Or he puts out newspapers full of innuendo about this or that faraway group and you immediately salute and rush off to join the hate squad. A good peasant is loyal, simpleminded, and full of misdirected anger. And that’s what we’ve got now, a lot of misdirected anger searching around for a non-target to mis-punish… can’t be mad at AIG, can’t be mad at Citi or Goldman Sachs. The real villains have to be the anti-AIG protesters! After all, those people earned those bonuses! If ever there was a textbook case of peasant thinking, it’s struggling middle-class Americans burned up in defense of taxpayer-funded bonuses to millionaires. It’s really weird stuff. And bound to get weirder, I imagine, as this crisis gets worse and more complicated.

It's OK to be a peasant. It's not OK to be stupid and let the Masters con you into thinking wrong is right.

It is Jihad!

Heh ... The Republican Civil War has begun. Our pal Montag feels a bit of sadness for the Doughy Pantload though:


I know I should be happy that they are trying to eat their own, but Boss Limbaugh really does make Jabba the Hut seem like a decent soul.

Heh ... again.

Don't forget!

It's tax day. Teabag a Republican for good measure.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Dead End Quarter ...

No, not a low rent neighborhood in Paris or London; the 25 (thereabouts) percent of Americans who are fucking morons:


This same 26-30% keeps cropping up in poll after poll, and they really believe some of the dumbest things in the world.


Headline of the Day

Homeland Security Warns of Rise in Right-Wing Extremism

Not exactly rocket science, huh? Pretty amazing, actually, given the source, for which I apologize. Pretty good day for F** Noise - overstate the obvious like it's news, which it probably is to them even though they started a lot of it, and see the next post down. Heh.

"Bullshit Becky" poisons the very air around him!

Please forgive me for posting video of this asshole, but it's worth it!

Slow day

Light to none blogging today. Mrs. G has taken control of the big set to do our taxes, and mini-Hal's air card is dealing with a one-bar tower here in town. Slower'n molasses/50-weight in January. I actually called AT&T about it, and the tech brought up our tower and said it was possibly the weakest one in their whole system. Figures.

Anyway, I got a short window while Days Of Our Lives is on.

It's funny, but when me'n Mrs. G got hitched, we lived in an older house that had a bathroom so small that it wouldn't be acceptable in a travel trailer today. I used to think marital happiness was having two bathrooms. Now it's two TVs and two computers. Heh.

It's always been two motorcycles.

Just as a closer, I figured out how to deal with Somalia.

First, since Somalia has the longest coastline of any nation in Africa, find every landing craft and catering truck on the planet. Assemble catering trucks to landing craft and position them just offshore of Somalia up around the tip of the HOA under the protection of the warships of all the nations affected by piracy and tell the Ethiopian and Kenyan armies that there'll be a shore lunch as soon as they can get there. Invite Eritrea and Djibouti too. And bring yer families!

Alternatively, I have a 'two birds with one stone' approach: offer the food to the Somalians and serve it on the landing craft. As soon as they're all chowin' down, back all the boats off the beach and keep going. Let 'em all disembark in Iran. That oughta get 'em to the negotiating table! Heh.

Privatize it!

Pic stolen from our pal UL, who has a post up about the Rethugs' next 'great idea' to stop the pirates.

And for a good idea or two on the subject, drop over to Comrade Misfit's place and see what a well thought out policy looks like.

Quote of the Day



Leave aside the obvious qualifier that former employees of the Bush administration -- which projected, among other things, Madovian annual returns on the Iraq War while arguing that we could improve Social Security by anchoring its benefits to the stock market -- are uniquely unsuited to the task of identifying and offering solutions to policy problems.


Monday, April 13, 2009

Oh, I'm ever so Elite!

I haven't done one of these in a while and I saw this one over at Grandpa Eddie's. Try it.

How to Win a Fight With a Conservative is the ultimate survival guide for political arguments

My Liberal Identity:

You are a Reality-Based Intellectualist, also known as the liberal elite. You are a proud member of what’s known as the reality-based community, where science, reason, and non-Jesus-based thought reign supreme.


Gleefully gleeped from YubaNet.

Area 51

Everbody get their tinfoil hats on and go read!

LATimes Magazine

After decades of denying the facility's existence, five former insiders speak out

"We couldn't have told you any of this a year ago," Slater says. "Now we can't tell it to you fast enough." That is because in 2007, the CIA began declassifying the 50-year-old OXCART program. Today, there's a scramble for eyewitnesses to fill in the information gaps. Only a few of the original players are left. Two more of them join me and the Slaters for lunch: Barnes, formerly an Area 51 special-projects engineer, with his wife, Doris; and Martin, one of those overseeing the OXCART's specially mixed jet fuel (regular fuel explodes at extreme height, temperature and speed), with his wife, Mary. Because the men were sworn to secrecy for so many decades, their wives still get a kick out of hearing the secret tales.

These guys for sure still ain't tellin' 'em about the real 'secret base'. Heh.


Oh, the irony...

Ironic Times

Pirates Pose Threat to International Trade, Commerce
Organized, highly trained, equipped with the latest weaponry, the West's aging armed forces are no match for these sophisticated swashbucklers.

Okay ...

Now that Captain Phillips is safe aboard USS Boxer, soon to make his way home, it's time to talk about our policy in dealing with the pirates. The captain and crew of Maersk Alabama, wittingly or not, have changed the paradigm and we can no longer have a "wait and see" attitude once a ship is taken.

No longer will the pirates operate as they have previously. Freighter crews will be in more danger as the pirates will now assume active resistance on the crews' part. They know they will have to work faster, bring more manpower, and be more heavily armed with weapons made to fight in the confined spaces between the bulkheads (an AK is a bit big, lengthwise; too easy to get hung up on gangways and bulkhead fittings). They will be more inclined to shoot first, more inclined to kill hostages before warships arrive on the scene. Rightly or wrongly, post-Maersk, these holdups will become more violent.

So now I ask, in light of the events of the past week; do we have a policy to deal with the situation now that things have obviously escalated? Will the Rules of Engagement for CTF-151 change now that the rules of the game have changed? Or will we just go along as we have until a crew is murdered?

As you all know, the news was entirely devoted to Captain Phillips' rescue yesterday, even the European networks. I heard a lot of people in merchantman circles give their two cents and almost all said there has to be a more aggressive policy when dealing with the pirate problem. General Mark Kimmitt, yesterday on CNN, echoed my sentiments yesterday saying (paraphrasing) that Somalia's problems would require 10 to 15 years fix and we don't have that long. I would agree, adding the next incident with the pirates will not be as peaceful.

The point is, President Obama and his defense people have a decision to make, and quite soon. Will we let the Navy play it by the seat of their pants (as they did this time), hoping for a break (not every hostage is prepared to take his own fate in his hands like Captain Phillips), or will we aggressively hunt these creeps down and kill them? There is no middle ground anymore.

The pirates will not give up their raids because three of them have been killed, the payoff is too lucrative. While the safety of the merchant crews is the priority, allowing the shippers, and their insurance companies, to pay ransom hurts us all. We, all of us, pay for it in the cost of goods shipped via the Seven Seas. It is also an incentive to others who see it as a way to supplement their income. The problem has to be nipped in the bud, before it spreads farther.

President Obama must act now to put a comprehensive policy in place and move enough assets to the region to deal with it effectively, whether or not our partners in the operation follow suit or not. Without action, the international waters off Somalia will never be safe and will only become more dangerous.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Sunday Crazy Redneck Music Blogging

This goes out lovingly to crazy women everywhere. Texas has more than its share I am sure, but no monopoly!

Jonathan Edwards ~ Crazy Texas Woman
Thanks to MiNDTV35, Philly.

Africa Command

Fixer's post just below this one got me to thinking about the larger picture in the Horn Of Africa. It's not something we think about a lot, but maybe we should. The Somalian pirates finally fucked up bad enough to try and capture an American-flagged ship, at which they failed, but they did succeed in bagging the skipper, more or less at his own request, and the drama is such that the Sunday talking head shows are all atwitter about it today.

The Somalian pirates have made it to American TV big time. Their 15 minutes begins.

Breaking News: Captain Phillips is free and safe. Three of his captors are dead and the fourth is in custody. Shoulda stuck ta stealin' goats from the Ethiopians, assholes. But I digress...

I found this excellent, reasonably short article by Thomas P.M. Barnett in Esquire, dated 27 June '07.

A few years ago, with little fanfare, the United States opened a base in the horn of Africa to kill or capture Al Qaeda fighters. By 2012, the Pentagon will have two dozen such forts. The story of Africa Command, the American military's new frontier outpost.

Ethiopia's Meles regime, which American Central Command officers describe as "xenophobic to the core," was going into Somalia last December whether the Americans approved or not. The recently installed Somali Council of Islamic Courts, with its loose talk of getting back another star point in its flag (otherwise known as Ethiopia's Ogaden region), simply had to go. As it happened, the Americans, who had been quietly training the Ethiopian troops for years, did approve.

In fact, Centcom was very eager for the operation. Most press leaks made it sound like our main targets were a trio of Al Qaeda senior operatives responsible for bombing American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania a decade ago. But the real story is one of pure opportunism, according to a knowledgeable source within the headquarters: "There were three thousand foreign fighters in there. Honestly, nobody had any idea just how many there really were. But we wanted to get them all."

When the invading Ethiopians quickly enjoyed unexpected success, Centcom's plan became elegantly simple: Let the blitzkrieging Ethiopian army drive the CIC, along with its foreign fighters and Al Qaeda operatives, south out of Mogadishu and toward the Kenyan border, where Kenyan troops would help trap them on the coast. "We begged the Kenyans to get to the border as fast as possible," the Centcom source says, "because the targets were so confused, they were running around like chickens with their heads cut off."

"We could have solved all of East Africa in less than eight weeks," says the Centcom source, who was involved in the planning. Central Command was extremely wary of being portrayed in the media as Ethiopia's puppet master. In fact, its senior leaders wanted to keep America's participation entirely secret. The goal was for Ethiopia to get all the credit, further bolstering America's controversial but burgeoning military ties with Meles Zenawi's increasingly authoritarian regime. Proud Kenya, still visibly nervous from the 1998 embassy bombing, would have been happy with a very quiet thank-you.

It was a good plan. And it was leaked to the press almost as soon as it started.

Those involved in the Central Command operation suspected two sources: 1) somebody in the Office of the Secretary of Defense who couldn't wait to trumpet their success to bitter personal rivals in the State Department, or 2) a dime dropper from our embassy in Kenya who simply couldn't stand the notion that the Pentagon had once again suckered State into a secret war.

The quotes are all from page 1 of a 6 page article. A 'must read' primer if you're interested in what is going on in the last great untapped global battlefield.

One final quote. This is the sort of thing we're up against culturally:

He tells the story of a primary school deep in the Muslim village of Bargoni where all the girls would drop out once they hit puberty. In Africa, the impulse would be to think: AIDS, birth control, clerics bearing down. But it was something far more prosaic. When I had first arrived inside the wire at Camp Lemonier, I'd seen a portable toilet labeled "Muslim female." The girls at the school were forced to quit at puberty because strict Islamic practice says that males and females can't share the same bathroom once girls come of age. McKnight and his crew offered a simple fix: HOA would build the school a bathroom just for girls.

The impact was immediate. For the first time, girls stayed in school, parents were happy, mullahs were satisfied, local leaders immensely gratified. Word got around: "The Americans did this!" McKnight's eyes well up as he remembers.

Kinetics is what the military does. Iraq is a quagmire because kinetics is all we planned for. But in this new time, on this continent, the military also builds latrines for girls. That simple act might someday keep trigger pullers out of this village.

"I don't need to go back to Florida and my inner-city school," McKnight says. "I've got it all here. It feels just like home."

Please read it.

And you wonder ...

Why progressives are characterized as pussies?

As you all know, Gord and I been on this pirate thing for the last 6 months, since the escalation in their frequency of attacks. In the last week, since Maersk Alabama was attacked, we've been posting more regularly. So has the rest of the blogosphere. And, as you all know, we've been somewhat disappointed with the response of the U.S. government. Most on this side of the dial aren't.

The reason I bring up other progressive bloggers is, aside from a few, most have adopted the line that you can't blame the pirates because of the poor situation found in their homeland. Oh, the poor dears can't find work. Oh, the unfortunates have no functioning government. Oh, they're trying to feed their families and we have to fix the systemic problems in their country instead of blasting the pirates and their 'headquarters' into subatomic particles.

Fuck them.

Firstly, the window for helping the Somalis opened and closed in 1993. Remember Black Hawk Down? One of Bill Clinton's rare fuckups. You think we have a clusterfuck in Iraq and an unwinnable war in Afghanistan? Try bringing about "regime change" in Somalia. Ain't happening. The American people won't have it. Maybe, had we not our other military obligations, it would have been a "good fight", but not when we're stretched so thinly, not when our economy is on the balls of its ass.

Nextly, there are several million other folks who are trying to feed their families in Somalia who aren't pirates, starving their asses off in refugee camps. Do the pirates, who netted $80mln in ransom last year, use that money to buy food for their fellow countrymen? Um, no. They cruise around in American SUVs, have satellite dishes, and buy dope for themselves. And let's not forget the weaponry (making their job of capturing ships that much easier), getting more sophisticated all the time. Were they attempting to be modern-day Robin Hoods, I might be a little more understanding. Were they trying to finance an army to break the grip of a corrupt, tyrannical government in their country, I might be inclined to help them. They are doing nothing but looking out for Number One.

Lastly, taking the above into account, they are merely criminals. Just as their forebears centuries ago, they are nothing but thieves and murderers. Gordon will correct me, but I'm pretty sure one of the missions of the Marines back then was to hunt down and kill these bastards. It's what they should be doing now.

Someone mentioned, either in comments here or on another blog that it shouldn't be that difficult to follow these guys clandestinely (the Navy's watching that fucking lifeboat holding Maersk's captain inside with their little toy planes) and find out where they live. The Air Force and CIA have more toy planes that can make some craters where the pirate hideouts (and pirates) used to be. Most certainly. It is unconscionable that these clowns can sit within a few yards of a United States Navy warship and basically give them the finger without consequences. We look like a fucking joke.

Listen to me. While Somalia is in a bad way, we can't afford to worry about them right now, on many levels. There is a tangible threat to the civilian shipping lanes in international waters and that should be dealt with aside from all of the other Somali problems. The pirates have to be shown there are consequences for interfering with international trade. Paying them millions of dollars, euro, or drachmas isn't a fucking deterrent, you boneheads. Helping the refugees and 'negotiating' with either the pirates or the government in Mogadishu will do nothing to discourage the pirates. Making these criminals look over their shoulder all the time, wondering if a little model airplane, unseen thousands of feet above, will decide to shittify their day most certainly will.

Fuck the pirates, this is no time to be touchy-feely. Bring it to an end the same way we did with Blackbeard and his ilk. Kill them brutally and hold them up as an example to those others who would attempt to burglarize the high seas. The Seven Seas belong to all of us, for shipping, for defense, for recreation, and in my case for travel. We pay, in so many ways, for the actions of these renegades and it's time to start recouping our losses.