Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Sadly, Molly Ivins Has Passed

Molly Ivins has died. If there is one thing I'll never forget in my life about Molly Ivins, it is a story she told about a Texas politician facing a tough re-election, though I can't remember his name. Anyway, the story goes as such.

A Texas politician was facing a tough re-election so he came up with the brilliant idea of having his brother-in-law shoo him in the arm with a shotgun. He filed a false police report and with his newly wounded wing held in place with a red, white, and blue sling hit the campaign trial.

While out on the stump he told everyone who asked about his arm that he had been shot by, get this, satanic communists who hated him because he was so pro-family. To be honest, I'm surprised someone hasn't tried this recently substituting terrorists for the aforementioned satanic communists.

His re-election started to look up, but then it all came tumbling down. There was a witness. In fact, that witness happened to be the shooter. After a few too many Lone Stars down at the local roadhouse the brother-in-law let the cat out of the bag. Unfortunately, a supporter of the other candidate found out and called the county sheriff.

A warrant was issued for the politician and acting on a tip, the Texas Rangers executed a search warrant of the politician's mother's house. They found him cuddled up inside the storage section of his mother's television / stereo console set. (This story obviously goes back a few years)

That was that for the politician's career.

Thanks for the many other memories from your years of great writing Molly, you will be missed.

Update: Apparently this guy's name was Mike Martin

Joe Biden Hits The Campaign Trial Hopping

Joe Biden is oft to a hopping start with one foot pogoing down the street and the other firmly wedged in his always moving yap. Here's what Joe had to day about primary opponent Barack Obama. From the NY Observer:

“I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy,” he said. “I mean, that’s a storybook, man.”

A completely different guy from all the other African-American politicians who only speak ebonics, never shower, and are dumb and ugly.

Bye Joe.

Affix Bayonets To Broomsticks, Advance

More on the lack of equipment for US personnel in both Iraq and Afghanistan comes to us from BusinessWeek:

The Inspector General found that the Pentagon hasn't been able to properly equip the soldiers it already has. Many have gone without enough guns, ammunition, and other necessary supplies to "effectively complete their missions" and have had to cancel or postpone some assignments while waiting for the proper gear, according to the report from auditors with the Defense Dept. Inspector General's office. Soldiers have also found themselves short on body armor, armored vehicles, and communications equipment, among other things, auditors found.

"As a result, service members performed missions without the proper equipment, used informal procedures to obtain equipment and sustainment support, and canceled or postponed missions while waiting to receive equipment," reads the executive summary dated Jan. 25. Service members often borrowed or traded with each other to get the needed supplies, according to the summary.

Pentagon officials did not immediately return phone calls seeking comment.

The audit supports news reports and other evidence that U.S. troops have been stretched too thin or have performed tasks for which they were ill-prepared. It is likely to add fuel to the opposition to President George W. Bush's decision to send more troops to Iraq in an effort to quell the violence there.

The report goes on to fault Centcom for lacking standard procedures for handling requests and tracking requirements, but hey, we're getting a new Centcom Commander. Spencer Ackerman isn't impressed. From Too Hot For TNR:

I'm working on a quick piece on this right now, so more later, but I just got back from Admiral Bill Fallon's hearing to head Central Command, and I've never heard a military officer testify for nearly four hours and fail to exhibit an understanding of even one issue he's about to grapple with. Anyway, as they say, more TK.

Even when thrown a softball by Lindsey Graham about the surge, Fallon deferred to answering at a later date after he was up to speed on the region. Fallon claims he has been busy with his job as Pacific Commander so he "tried to stay away from the detail of Central Command until such time as I might be confirmed, then I intend to dive into it." Now might be the time.
So, why are we installing a Navy man as the commander of a region where we are embroiled in two ground wars? Secretary of Defence Robert Gates addresses that issue in today's Washington Post. From the Post:

"The reality is, if you look at the Centcom area of responsibility, there's a lot of water there," Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates told reporters Friday, when asked why he recommended Fallon. "And as you look at the range of options available to the United States, the use of naval and air power, potentially, it made sense to me for all those reasons for Admiral Fallon to have the job."

Pirates? Or Iran and the Straights of Hormuz? You decide.

Portions found via TPM and Kevin Drum

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Up From The Comments

This is pretty interesting. JK writes in he comments:

If the Dems want to take a principled stand against the Admin, they should simply offer legislation stating that all military personnel must have a set amount of equipment, including body armor and armored Humvees. Put some action behind the support the troops but not the war. I would like to see the Reps explain why they just can not wait to properly outfit the troops. [edited]

Of course, you go to war with the Army you have, not the one you should have equipped.

John McCain: In Iraq 4 Evah!

On Anderson Cooper last night, presidential hopeful John McCain said that even if the surge doesn't work, we still have to stay in Iraq until, well, we find something that works. From Think Progress:

COOPER: Is there any scenario in which withdrawing troops would be acceptable to you, or redeploying them?

MCCAIN: Not until we have the situation under control, to the degree that the Iraqi government can exert its influence through most of the country, that you start with the — that you move forward with a political and economic process.

COOPER: So, success is crucial before the U.S. can pull out in any meaningful way?

MCCAIN: That’s my view. And that view, by the way, is held by the majority of experts that I know about the region.

I think McCain need to get to know some new experts. Even still, while his views are extreme when compared to most everyone else, other republicans on The Hill who are supporting the surge are simply doing so just to say they it one last good old college try. From US News and World Report:

US News Political Bulletin hears from GOP strategists with close ties to Capitol Hill that the President and his senior aides are too optimistic about keeping GOP congressional support for the Iraq war over the long term. One senior Republican adviser says Bush has "until April or May" to improve things in Iraq. If he cannot, he could face a GOP rebellion that could result in reductions in spending for the conflict and legislation to start bringing the troops home.

So, they are will to give it a couple of months before they try to save their own skin, huh? This is pandering of the worst sort. They are supporting an accelerated surge so that they can safely say that the surge didn't work and we can finally listen to the voice of the American people.

The time frame is extremely important because they are throwing our soldiers into a meat grinder for political purposes. They are giving the Army only until May to complete the surge they are supporting. The problem? From the Washington Post:

"We don't have the [armor] kits, and we don't have the trucks," [Lt Gen Stephen] Speakes said in an interview. He said it will take the Army months, probably until summer, to supply and outfit the additional trucks. As a result, he said, combat units flowing into Iraq would have to share the trucks assigned to units now there, leading to increased use and maintenance.

No equipment, no problem! Just get back by May and hell, we could save the fuel on sending the equipment over there. Good luck dodging bullets by the way. Any member that is going to support this strategy, and then not even wait for the equipment to show up to call for a redeployment out of the killing zone shouldn't be supporting it in the first place. It is crass, save your ass politics at its worse.

Movement On Darfur?

As always, progress on the African continent consists of unfulfilled promises unless there happens to be oozy black liquid or trinkets under the ground, but at least this sounds encouraging.

The 53 member African Union has rebuffed President Omar Hassan al-Bashir of Sudan in his attempt to ascend to the head of the Union. The post had been promised to him at last year's meeting, but was contingent on him reining in the militias in the Darfur region. Instead, the post will go to President John Kufuor of Ghana.

Hopefully, this will open the door to the insertion of 22,000 UN peacekeepers that al-Bashir has been successful in keeping out of the region.

It also appears that the United States is prepared to put a little more muscle behind the effort to end the violence. From JTA:

A top U.S. envoy warned Sudan that the United States has an “extremely aggressive” backup plan if Sudan contunues stonewalling on Darfur.

Andrew Natsios, top U.S. envoy to the conflict-ridden region of Sudan, briefed leaders of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs on his recent negotiations in the area in a conference call Monday.

Natsios said he stressed U.S. frustration with Sudanese foot-dragging on ending the carnage, which has claimed hundreds of thousands of civilian lives and which the United States describes as a genocide.

Plan A hasn't been working for years, so this appears to say we'd better see movement on Plan A, or else. Still, talking and doing are two completely different things and while we are in no position to insert troops on the ground, we could very easily enforce a no-fly zone, but it remains to be seen.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Bizarre Food Fact

Did you know that Americans on average consume 63 quarts of popcorn a year? Can that really be possible? Alton Brown says it's true.

I think I'm going to start writing about food here, it's a subject dear to me yet for whatever reason I've never touched on that topic here.

Passing The Buck

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has taken a look at requiring nuclear power plants to install defense systems to provide protection from a 9/11 style attack from flying aircraft into the containment domes of reactors and decided to take a pass at defending from such attacks. From The Columbus Dispatch:

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission said Monday that nuclear power plant operators should not be expected to stop terrorists from crashing an airliner into a reactor, saying that responsibility lies elsewhere.

Plant operators instead should focus on limiting radioactive releases and public exposure from any such airborne attack, the agency said in a revised defense plan for America's nuclear plants.

"The active protection against airborne threats is addressed by other federal organizations, including the military," the NRC said in a statement.

This is simply the wrong thing to do. In the event of such an attack, neither the FAA nor the military is going to have a fast enough response time to foil it. If terrorists decide to use such an attack, it will likely differ from the events of 9/11.

The days of taking over a commercial aircraft are over. There are too many operational hurdles in place now such as air marshals and let's face it, you would have to kill everyone on the plane now because nobody is just going to sit back and let you fly the plane into something.

Future aircraft style attacks are much more likely to be carried out by taking over an airfreight jet by hiding in the cargo and taking out the pilots, or even more likely from a small private passenger jet packed with explosives. In these type of attacks, it is very likely that the attackers would be well within reach of the targets before we had any idea what was going on.

It is a huge mistake for the NRC to pass this on to other organizations. What will be their responsibilities? From the Dispatch:

It said that various mitigation strategies required of plant operators - such as radiation protection measures and evacuation plans - "are sufficient to ensure adequate protection of the public health and safety" in case of an airborne attack.

So much for being pro-active. I have to wonder how much lobbying was done to put the cost to operators over the safety of the American people.

And by the way, nothing emboldens a terrorist more than a weak spot in our defenses.

Credit Where It's Due

I am about to make a statement I don't think I've ever made before and doubt I'll have a chance to make very often in the future. David Brook's column in yesterday's NY Times was exactly correct. Since I read the dead tree version of it and do not have access to Times Select I'm not going to excerpt from it, but the gist of it was that in Iraq we should separate, lift, and leave in that order.

Brooks is absolutely right. Our mission in Iraq should be right now to separate the warring parties by aiding anyone that wants to move from an area occupied by opposing forces, give them humanitarian aid and then get the fuck out. Then, if al-Sadr and al-Hakim want to go at it over control of the oil in the south, so be it, and I do think that will be the end game. There just isn't much we can do about that.

Global Dumbing

I swear, the idiocy from the Bush administration when it comes to Global Warming knows no bounds. From the Telegraph:

The US has also tried to steer the report, prepared by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), away from conclusions that would support a new worldwide climate treaty based on binding targets to reduce emissions, the Guardian said.

In response to a draft copy of the report, the US said the idea of interfering with sunlight should be included in the summary for policymakers, the prominent chapter at the front of each IPCC report.

The response, obtained by the Guardian, says: "Modifying solar radiance may be an important strategy if mitigation of emissions fails. Doing the R&D to estimate the consequences of applying such a strategy is important insurance that should be taken out. This is a very important possibility that should be considered."

What they are talking about here is the lame-brained idea that we can shoot billions of tiny mirrors into the atmosphere to reflect sunlight to cool the earth. This would have a catastrophic impact on the earth and it just goes to show how simple minded the administration is when it comes to Global Warming.

You see, we would simply be trading one very bad problem for one that would more likely than not kill most everyone on the planet. The problem with lessening the amount of solar radiant energy that reaches the earth is that this energy is the single greatest catalyst in the evaporation process. Temperature has very little effect on it.

If you don't have evaporation, you don't have rain. And if you don't have rain, well, in a very short order you turn almost all of the planet into desert. Think of the US as a never ending sea to shining sea dust bowl where agriculture is a thing of the past. That means nobody eats. It would truly cause a famine of biblical proportions.

The fact that the executive branch of the most advanced country on the planet would propose such a thing is just mind boggling. We can never again let this branch fall into the control of such idiots.

Found via Talking Points Memo.

Friday, January 26, 2007

George Bush: Idiot

After meeting with David Petraeus today, George Bush had this to say. From CNN:

The president had strong words for lawmakers on both sides of the aisle who are lining up to support resolutions opposing his decision to send 21,500 troops to Iraq. He challenged them to put up their own ideas. "Some are condemning a plan before it's even had a chance to work," he said.

First of all, they have put up their own ideas. There are any number of bills floating around out there that do just that. The Reed / Levin plan comes to mind specifically.

Secondly, they are condemning a plan that isn't likely to work, but as long as we are talking about condemning plans without giving them a chance to work, lets see. Hmm. You might want to take a long hard look in the mirror. I won't ask you to go as far back as 2002 when you poo pooed Eric Shinseki's war plan and showed him the door.

No, I'll simply refer you back to a single month ago when you received the ISG's plan and rapidly file thirteened it. Such a jackass.

Speaking Of Wedges

The Dumbass right wing idosphere is currently working on their own wedge issue. They are attempting to wedge all of their Senators who are up for re-election in 2008 from the American people with something called "The Pledge." By signing "The Pledge", you are declaring that you will not give any money to any republican Senator that votes for any resolution regarding "the surge". This is priceless. From "The Pledge":

If the United States Senate passes a resolution, non-binding or otherwise, that criticizes the commitment of additional troops to Iraq that General Petraeus has asked for and that the president has pledged, and if the Senate does so after the testimony of General Petraeus on January 23 that such a resolution will be an encouragement to the enemy, I will not contribute to any Republican senator who voted for the resolution. Further, if any Republican senator who votes for such a resolution is a candidate for re-election in 2008, I will not contribute to the National Republican Senatorial Committee unless the Chairman of that Committee, Senator Ensign, commits in writing that none of the funds of the NRSC will go to support the re-election of any senator supporting the non-binding resolution.

The republicans have, I believe, twenty-two Senators up for re-election in 2008. (A better blogger would fact check that, I won't) The biggest issue in that upcoming election will be Iraq, (Someone please tell Chuck Schumer that fact) so I think "The Pledge" is a wonderful idea.

The amazing thing about this to me is that they are doing this over a fucking non-binding resolution. Partisans on each side desire their candidates to have some form of ideological purity, but this is just plain totalitarian. Run with it kids! I'd like to see a filibuster-proof Democratic Senate.

I Know It's Arkansas, But

The lawyer of a reputed crack dealer in Little Rock is challenging the appointment of Bush toadie Timothy Griffin as US Attorney. John Hall says that because Griffin was appointed using a little known provision in the Patriot Act that allows for an end run around Senate confirmation, the appointment is unconstitutional.

I'd have to guess that the prosecution's case is a slam dunk for Hall to take this tactic. I did find this interesting from his motion though. From TPM Muckraker:

Conceivably, under the Attorney General’s interpretation of his appointment power in § 546(c), an incompetent or a blatantly politically appointed U.S. Attorney could hold office like this for seven and a half years, or even longer, assuming the President is re-elected, without ever facing Senate confirmation over his or her qualifications.

Um, when did we go to eight year presidential terms?

Thursday, January 25, 2007

He's In It To Lose It

I generally ignore candidates announcing their candidacies for president, but then again, it's not every day that a candidate as amusing as noted food critic Duncan "Lemon Chicken" Hunter enters the race.

As you can see from the graphic, it looks as if Hunter might already have that key WWII flying ace demographic sewn up seeing as he has the crucial Chuck Yeager endorsement. (Mmm, Jager)

By the way, that's a terrible picture to use for this roll out. It seems to convey the message that I'm going to lecture you and if you don't like it, tough shit. I'm sure they thought it showed Hunter's toughness, but it ended up portraying him as a jackass.

Driving A Wedge

I've been meaning to write this up for a month or so, and since the New York Times revisits the story today I guess this is as good a time as any.

In case you haven't heard, there has been a brewing controversy over research being done at Oregon State University where scientists are attempting to learn the reason behind homosexuality in sheep.

Several groups and activists ranging from PETA to Martina Navratilova have denounced the research for various reasons, but the main objection is that this will lead down the slippery slope to breeding homosexuality out of humans. Now, bio-engineering human beings for desired traits is truly reprehensible, and realistically, there is no evidence at this time to suggest that this research on sheep brains or DNA will lead down that slope to discovering the cause of, or a "cure" for homosexuality. Our brains are a tad more complex than those being studied.

That being said, one group, the religious right, has been conspicuously silent on the issue. It seems like an issue they would want to wade in on, you know, the whole playing God thing. Wrong, they can't run away from it fast enough. From the Independent:

This experiment throws up difficulties for all sides of the millennia-long debate about homosexuality. It gives the forces of homophobia plenty to fume against by annihilating their most hoary argument: that gay sex is "unnatural". In reality, we live in - as the scientist Bruce Bagemihl puts it - "a polysexual, polygendered world", where species from beetles to shrews to chimpanzees have a consistent minority who prefer their own sex. It's everywhere: cow elephants often masturbate each other with their trunks (why has Sir David Attenborough never shown it to us?) and in the Bronx Zoo there is a famous pair of gay penguins called Wendell and Cass who sit on a little rock they believe is their egg. Human homosexuality is just another example of a universal phenomenon.

The homophobes know that when people realise this, homophobia becomes unsellable. The latest US poll found that 79 per cent of people who think human beings are born gay support full gay equality, while only 22 percent who believe homosexuality is a choice agree. The Family Research Council, an evangelical lobby group in the US, are in a panic. In their latest publication, they warn that discovering people are born gay "would advance the idea that disapproval of homosexuality should be as socially stigmatised as racism". Uh-huh. So they spend hundreds of pages trying to debunk the new evidence.

The author is correct, but only about half so. The real worry of the religious right is that they will be pinched between the findings of this research and their followers. Sure, they care that others will suddenly think that gays are more acceptable, but their real concern is that it just might work, on sheep that is.

This would put the religious right in a very precarious position. One of the foundations of their organization is hating the gays. If this research bears fruit on ending homosexuality in sheep, how do they tell their flock that it shouldn't be expanded to see if the same can be done in humans.

They will of course have to take the position that they cannot endorse "playing God" because doing so blows many of their other arguments out of the water, but how do you work your followers up into a frenzy over homosexuality for a decade, and then when a possible solution to their perceived problem comes along, yank the rug out from under them? The smaller minded of their followers simply won't understand, and that scares them a hell of a lot more than additional tolerance toward gays.

The religious right has always made their money on losing and then rallying the troops because if they could just win a few more seats in Congress they'd get want they wanted. In reality if they ever got it people like James Dobson would then become irrelevant.

This can only be sustained for so long though before the natives get restless. Even Cubs fans expect a pennant every hundred years or so.

The natives are, in fact, already restless. Much was heard from the religious right about how the republican led 109th Congress only paid them lip service. How do you think they're going to feel if their leaders, like the aforementioned Dobson lead them to the Rubicon on the issue of homosexuality, then refuse to even dip a toe in it?

Kind of ironic isn't it, possibly one of the gravest threats to their flock comes from actual sheep.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

New Video From The Noisettes

Why can't I hear music like this on my local radio station?

Oh, and just so you know, their first full length album drops here in the States on Feb 8th.

Daydream Pretender

Oh, if I could ride, into the West Wing
After W leaves this thing.
For that I’d even kiss James Dobson’s ring.
But even then, I’m surprised,
To find in Iowa, the war is despised.
My star has gone cold and it stings.

Wake up, Sleepy John.
Your time has come and gone.
You’re a daydream pretender
And now you simply make us yawn.

You once thought of me
As a maverick on a steed.
But now you know, just how wrong I can be.
Oh, and by the time I say the war can end
We’ll be left without dollar one to spend.
But how much healthcare do we need?

Wake up, Sleepy John.
Your time has come and gone.
You’re a daydream pretender
And now you simply make us yawn.

Wake up, Sleepy John.
Your time has come and gone.
You’re a daydream pretender
And now you simply make us yawn.

[Interminable Instrumental interlude]

Wake up, Sleepy John.
Your time has come and gone.
You’re a daydream pretender
And now you simply make us yawn.

[Surge and fade]

The Phlunkees - 2007

Surprisingly, still unsigned.

Not Taken So Well

I don't think I've ever seen as many negative comments as Liz Cheney's OP-ED did in the Washington Post. As of this time, there have been 2,326 comments to the piece. Record?

Tuesday, January 23, 2007


In case you didn't follow the Scooter Libby trial today, it appears Libby's defense is going to go at the Bush administration full force to try to get Libby off.

As Josh Marshall notes, do you think these assholes are happy now? To say I'm overjoyed would be an understatement.

They Hate Our Freedom Because They Are Lactose-Intolerant?

I know this is quite serious, but I had to chuckle when I read it. From

Last week a FARC truck bomb carrying 660 lbs of explosives destroyed most of a dairy owned by the Swiss food multi-national Nestle in the southern state of Caqueta [Columbia], one person was injured. Earlier in the week, also in Caqueta, a pair of cold-storage tanks owned by a Nestle supplier were destroyed in a FARC attack.

Damn lacto-terrorist milk haters. Seriously though, if they start bombing cheese factories then I'm all for an open ended deployment with no definition of victory. You gotta take a stand somewhere damnit!

The Package Has Arrived

God damn, 2-1/2 pounds is a lot of beef jerky!

I'm Joe Lieberman And You're Hearing Me Speak

In this video Joe Lieberman exhorts his colleagues not to move forward on any resolutions that criticize the president's new Iraq plan saying there will be plenty of time for that later if it fails.

Or, to paraphrase Little Orphan Lieberman much more succinctly: Tomorrow. Tomorrow. I love you, tomorrow. You're always a death away.

Accentuate The Positive

As President Bush's approval ratings continue on a collision course with his daughter's age, I have some advise for him tonight for the State Of The Nation speech. Hope nobody watches. I mean really, really, hope nobody watches.

There is only one topic the American people want to hear about tonight, Iraq. It's a topic that according to leaked previews Bush will only gloss over, preferring to address domestic issues. If this is true, he is going to go down in flames. I mean, the headline on the Columbus Dispatch, a fairly conservative paper, today is Polls: Union's State Is Grave.

Bush might want to start watching the windows for the torches and pitchforks crowd.

Dizzy Lizzy Cheney

Dickhead Cheney has an approval rating in the mid teens, so today, he puts his daughter out there to write a OP-ED in the Washington Post. Not miss turkey baster mind you, but the other nitwit, Liz. It is one of the most fatuous pieces I've ever read. Let me break down Ms. Cheney's talking points that, to be honest, nobody believes anymore. From the Washington Post:

We are at war. America faces an existential threat.

Yes, this threat is so damn existential that the government has went out of its way to demand that the American people make absolutely no sacrifice, unless you happen to be one of those poor souls getting ready to ship out for their third or fourth deployment. I'm sorry, but the only existential threat here is to the movement you belong to, and the military is for the defense of this country, not to be used as lubrication for your lifestyle.

Quitting helps the terrorists.

You know what really, really helped the terrorists? Starting. Before setting off on this fool's folly, we had the backing of the entire international community in the fight on terrorism, a weapon more powerful than anything a brigade of marines can hump around in the sand. Now, we've lost that. And to make matters worse, we've brought the violence and occupation that breeds such things from the mountains of the middle of nowhere to one of the most strategic places on earth.

As for the redeployment you bemoan as quitting, nope, you're wrong. Your father and his cohorts royally fucked this thing up. Our best shot now is to redeploy and attempt to contain. You see, it's a hell of a lot better to stand outside the circle and shoot in than to stand in the middle and shoot out.

Beware the polls. In November the American people expressed serious concerns about Iraq (and about Republican corruption and scandals). They did not say that they want us to lose this war. They did not say that they want us to allow Iraq to become a base for al-Qaeda to conduct global terrorist operations. They did not say that they would rather we fight the terrorists here at home.

24 is a fucking TV show you stupid twit. Our presence in Iraq has absolutely nothing to do with their capabilities here in this country. What, you think they can't spare a dozen guys to carry out an operation here? No, they fight us there because we are there and it's easy to do. 99.9999% of the actual jihadists in Iraq are doing so because it is convenient for them to do so. They might walk across the street to kill an American, but they don't have any real operational prowess to carry out attacks in the rest of the world.

Retreat from Iraq hurts us in the broader war. We are fighting the war on terrorism with allies across the globe, leaders such as Hamid Karzai in Afghanistan and Pervez Musharraf in Pakistan.

The exact opposite is true, staying there hurts us in the broader war. As for those leaders you note, Karzai is worthless and Musharraf, well, friends like these, who needs enemies?

Our soldiers will win if we let them. Read their blogs. Talk to them. They know that free people must fight to defend their freedom. No force on Earth -- especially not an army of terrorists and insurgents -- can defeat our soldiers militarily.

No shit. This just shows a fundamental lack of understanding of the situation. The terrorism that we see in Iraq is not part of a greater movement, it is simply a tactic used by an inferior fighting force because they cannot fight us militarily. I'm sure the British thought we were terrorists in the American Revolution when we refused to stand in a line and get shot by them. It's the same thing. And like us in the American Revolution, as the home team they have a lot more to fight for than we do. Namely in this case, several trillion dollars worth of oil.

After reading Liz Cheney on Iraq, I'm surprised we haven't done even more poorly than we have.

Monday, January 22, 2007

It's Over

Our long city-wide nightmare is finally over. Yes, friends, Time Warner has settled its dispute with Sinclair Broadcasting and the local ABC and Fox affiliates have shown up on my TV in high definition. Now if there was just anything worth watching on ABC.

Flipping The Race For The White House On Its Ear

There is an very probable upcoming event that is going flip the entire 2008 presidential race on its ear. No, I'm not talking about the "official" official Barack Obama announcement. It is that the California legislature is likely to take up the task of moving the state's primary up from June 3rd to February 5th.

This move would make California's primary the fifth one on the schedule and would dramatically change the nomination process.

The conventional wisdom says that a California primary that early in the schedule would eliminate any second and third tier candidates as it would likely cost $6-8 million dollars according to one strategist interviewed by the LA Times. I myself think it might very well cost twice that much to win. In fact, I might be tempted to sit it out. While there are a lot of eggs in that basket, do you want to bet all of yours to get them? I think it would be better to just make a good showing than win anyway.

It saves you cash to fight another day, plus there is one other thing that could come into play. You might not want to win it. I know that might sound crazy, but follow me for a minute if you will.

I've lived in the Midwest all of my life, and for whatever reason, there is a very palpable bias against any and all thing Californian, and for that reason you just might not want to be labeled the "California Candidate." This bias extends into other regions of the country as well.

It's a very strange phenomenon to see. You might think it's because of "Hollywood liberals," or "San Franciscan values" because those phrases are thrown around oh so much by conservative talking heads, but that's not really it. In fact, depending on who you talk to, it can mean anything from loony to smarmy. Again, I don't know how this started, but I do in fact see it a lot, especially among older people.

Now, it is true that we have had two presidents from California in the last forty years, but both those presidents were republicans and both ran the gauntlet of several other states before securing their party's nomination. Perhaps a California preferred republican is a little more palatable than a California preferred Democrat to the rest of the country as well.

Also, the news cycle, and the smear machines have drastically changed since then. Winning this primary may do as much harm as good on the Democratic side. I guess we'll have to wait and see though.

Found via Kevin Drum

The Patron Saint Of Liars

Did you catch John McCain on Meet The Press yesterday? It was amazing how he just sat there like a robot and spit out lie after lie after lie. I'll just take a moment here to address his lies in the first three questions Tim Russert asked him. From MSNBC:

TIM RUSSERT: Senator, welcome. I want to raise first The Economist magazine, this is The Economist’s intelligence unit. They say this: “Unless their mission is very well-defined, 20,000 troops are probably too few to make a significant difference - and may be too few under any circumstances. ... Adding around 20,000 to the 132,000 currently there will increase U.S. capabilities, but not enough to stabilize the country.” You agree with that?

SEN. McCAIN: I am concerned about it, whether it is sufficient numbers or not. I would have like to have seen more. I looked General Petraeus in the eye and said, “Is that sufficient for you to do the job?” He assured me that he thought it was and that he had been told that if he needed more he would receive them. I have great confidence in General Petraeus. I think he’s one of the finest generals that our military’s ever produced, and he has a proven record on that. He wrote the new Army counterinsurgency manual. But do I believe that if it had been up to me would there have been more? Yes, but one of the keys to this is get them over there quickly rather than feed them in piecemeal as some in the Pentagon would like to do today.

As has been frequently noted, this is the exact number McCain lobbied for most of the last year to be added. That is, until it looked like McCain was going to get what he wanted. Only then did McCain move the goalposts for his own political agenda.

MR. RUSSERT: You are a veteran of Vietnam, and you understand when public opinion slips away from support of a war. Here’s the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll out this morning. And we asked, if Congress passes a resolution against the president’s position on more troops, should President Bush proceed? Yes, 30; no, 65 percent. Two out of three Americans, senator. And look at this breakdown by party. Democrats, 85 percent say no. Independents, voters you know well, 71 percent say no, do not proceed. And now 33 percent, one third of Republicans, say listen to Congress more than the president. Why should the American people, after they voted the midterm elections and have a Congress that says no to the president, why shouldn’t they be listened to?

SEN. McCAIN: Well, I understand their frustration and sometimes anger over the lack of success and lack of progress, particularly coupled with optimistic statements made time after time when things were not going well and deteriorating. At the time of the first Gulf War, only 15 percent of the American people thought we ought to go to Kuwait and get rid of Saddam Hussein there. If it was as clear-cut as someone described, Tim, Joe Lieberman would not have been re-elected in the state of Connecticut.

That's a nice statistic pulled out of magic pixie dust land. In reality, the exact opposite was true. According to The New York Times, only 15% disapproved of American intervention to oust Saddam Hussein from Kuwait.

MR. RUSSERT: One of the things the American people do remember, September 11th, 2001, the Taliban had harbored al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, and then they read this from the Baltimore Sun: “A U.S. Army infantry battalion fighting in a critical area of eastern Afghanistan is due to be withdrawn within weeks in order to deploy to Iraq. According to Army Brigadier General Anthony Tata and other senior U.S. commanders [there], that will happen just as the Taliban is expected to unleash a major campaign to cut the vital road between Kabul and Kandahar.” Should we be moving troops from Afghanistan, at this delicate stage in that war, to Iraq?

SEN. McCAIN: I’m not aware of that, and on its face I would be very concerned. A recent trip that we made to Afghanistan, it’s clear to one and all that the Taliban has been reconstituted, particularly in safe area in Pakistan just across the Afghan border, and there will be increased attacks on U.S. and coalition forces. So, as I say, I’ve—had not seen the report, but I would be concerned about it.

Um, McCain is the ranking member for the GOP on the Armed Services Committee. Certainly this has came across his desk, or perhaps he could have read it in any number of newspapers that ran the story. What the hell does he do all day, sudoku?

Look, either McCain knows this is happening, or he isn't doing his job. He's probably lying.

Sunday, January 21, 2007


David Broder thinks unity can be achieved with regards to the nation's Iraq policy. How do you ask? It's really quite simple, Democrats just have to agree to support President Bush's policy and in return for that, new commander David Petraeus will jump through a couple of hoops for them. Then we can all get down to the serious business of blaming the Iraqis for the administration's failures. From the Washington Post:

The suggestion made here last week that Congress require frequent briefings from Petraeus and the embassy in Baghdad, to ensure that Maliki is keeping his promises to supply troops and avoid political interference, is one that Petraeus is prepared to endorse.


Petraeus's offer, which I am told will be made in explicit terms unless his civilian bosses in the Pentagon and White House intervene, provides the best avenue yet to appear for dealing with the mess in Iraq.

It will not satisfy those in Congress who would like to block or protest the "surge" of additional troops into Iraq ordered by President Bush. But the resolutions and legislation they are discussing will not keep Bush from carrying out his plan.

In effect, Petraeus is offering a way to convert the opposition to the war that is growing in both Republican and Democratic ranks into leverage on Maliki. Together, they can hold the prime minister to his pledge to go after all the combatants -- Shiites as well as Sunnis -- and to provide the troops for the fight.

Ugh. Where to even start? Why in the world would the Democrats in Congress choose to endorse failed policy? Because it would make the DC cocktail party circuit more, comfortable?

Look, 68% of the American people do not support this policy. These same people brought the Democrats to power to fight this policy, not to embrace it. It's not America's war anymore, it's George Bush's war, like it or not.

Furthermore, it's a policy that is unlikely to work. There is something inherently evil in endorsing policy that will do little else than send more Americans home in boxes. But Broder thinks that if everyone will just get behind it and clap harder, it just might work. I guess Broder likes a challenge, as long as the chips used are someone else's loved ones. And oh what a challenge it is! Again from the Washington Post:

The challenge is immense, but for a change, there is a chance to get the full weight of our government pulling in the same direction. Congress ought to seize the opportunity.

David Broder, you ought to seize the opportunity to retire.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Looney About Loonies

I don't know how you're going to spend your weekend, but I guess I'm going to spend mine peeling all the damned aluminum foil off my ceiling and walls. From Kevin Drum:

Reversing itself, the Defense Department says an espionage report it produced that warned about Canadian coins with tiny radio frequency transmitters was not true.

I guess I can take that radio signal detector out of my pocket as well.

Ney Gets A Thirty Month Stay

Bob Ney has been sentenced to thirty month in the federal pen. the judge actually imposed a harsher sentence than prosecutors sought. It's a good thing, and furthermore, it's over.

I have, as have many, skewered Bob Ney here and at other sites. Ney was a crook and on the take. The one thing he wasn't, however, was bad at serving his constituents. I work in Ney's district and to be honest, when it came down to serving the people that elected him, he actually did a pretty good job. That being said, it didn't give him licence to do what he did.

I have no beef at all with the man himself, but it's politics, so when you see a fish in a barrel, you shoot that motherfucker til it's dead. Now that Ney's political career is now dead, I wish him the best in the future.

So Tasty

Follow the link, it's the best beef jerky on the face of the planet. I just ordered 2-1/2 pounds of it. Yes, you read that right, pounds.

Lamest Hit Piece Ever

I guess the Washington Post needed some filler material today, because I can't think of any other reason to run John Soloman's piece today about John Edwards selling his house. Soloman alludes to, but doesn't point to any wrong doing.

The bottom line is that Edwards bought a house in DC in 2002 for $3.8 million, did as Solomon notes "substantial renovations", and then sold it four years later for a half million dollars less than the asking price after the house sat on the market for eighteen months. I'd be surprised if Edwards walked away from the deal with more than a couple of thousand dollars. No big deal, or is it? (Cue ominous music!)

The people Edwards sold the house to are, in fact, under investigation by the SEC. (Cue louder, even more ominous music!!) Even more strange, the buyers, Paul and Terry Klaussen, did as most people do that are buying a house of this size. They formed a limited liability partnership to shield themselves from, well, liability. (Blare the ominous music from every rooftop!!!)

The Klaussens company, dare I say the nefarious Klaussens, is also facing a lawsuit from SEIU. They very same SEIU that Edwards is trying to win support from? Yes, the very same one. Clearly Edwards is spitting the face of all unions with this land for less cash deal. And I love this paragraph from the article. From the Washington Post:

Ellen S. Miller, head of the nonpartisan Sunlight Foundation, which studies public officials' real estate deals, said presidential candidates should go the extra mile by determining who they are doing business with, especially when "a substantial amount of cash is changing hands on the eve of his campaign."

I'm sure that Miller does good work, but this is simply ridiculous. It's not like they offered Edwards $20 million for the house. They bought it below list, after eighteen months on the market. Nobody in their right mind is going to investigate the buyer in that situation, no matter what office they are seeking. The whole article is simply farcical. By the way, it ran on the front page.

Because Victor Borge Is Dead

To be honest, I also thought Rich Little was dead as well. Nope, he's alive and mimicking and has been slated for the entertainment for the White House Correspondents Dinner. That's pretty lame in itself, but get this, the White House press corps has asked Little to take it easy on the boy king. Apparently, he's having a rough year. From Attytood:

Little said organizers of the event made it clear they don't want a repeat of last year's controversial appearance by Stephen Colbert, whose searing satire of President Bush and the White House press corps fell flat and apparently touched too many nerves.

"They got a lot of letters," Little said Tuesday. "I won't even mention the word 'Iraq.'"

Little, who hasn't been to the White House since he was a favorite of the Reagan administration, said he'll stick with his usual schtick -- the impersonations of the past six presidents.

"They don't want anyone knocking the president. He's really over the coals right now, and he's worried about his legacy," added Little, a longtime Las Vegas resident.

They got a lot of letters? Jeez, how much free time does Richard Cohen have on his hands?

The really amazing thing about picking Little is that I can't even begin to imagine how the selection process worked. How do you manage to snatch Rich Little out of whatever Vegas has-been show's bullpen he's sitting in? Do you call David Broder who informs you he saw a young whippersnapper at the Sands last week, and that he was funny and centrist?

Or was he simply second on the list after the Clown Prince of Denmark? Hey, everybody loves a guy playing a piano when the sheet music is upside down. It's a hoot.

What The Hell Is This?

This is the worst piece of drivel I've ever read, and trust me, I know drivel. God knows I write enough of the stuff myself. Seriously though, Newsweek should ask Howard Fineman for the check back.

I don't think I'll be renewing my subscription.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Iraq: al-Maliki Wants More Than Broomsticks

In an interview in today's Washington Post, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki makes the point that the US has been less than forthcoming with the equipment the Iraqi military needs to make itself a viable fighting force. From the Washington Post:

One Maliki aide said the prime minister wants "heavier weapons" and is concerned that Iraqi security forces are outgunned by militias and insurgents.

"Basically the level of weapons in the current army is really a disgrace," said the aide, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak publicly about the matter. In many cases, gunmen are "definitely better armed" than the police and the army, the aide said.

Bush administration officials have long expressed concern in private about delivering military equipment to Iraq because of uncertainty that it would be kept out of the hands of militiamen, common criminals and insurgents.

I wrote of this catch-22 back in November in a piece called Iraq: Why We Can't Win While We Are There. It's truly a circle jerk. We can't leave until they "stand up." They can't "stand up" without weapons. We can't provide them with the weapons while we're there.

Al-Maliki goes on to say that if his military is properly equipped, American forces could withdrawal significant troops within three to six months so you know the Bush administration isn't going to do that.


It is very hard not to lose faith in the intelligence of the American public when you read that, in this day and age of information, a contestant died during a water drinking contest held by a radio station in a major city.

It's understandable that the morning DJs of KDND in Sacramento didn't know any better, morning DJs generally fall just above local TV talking heads when it comes to smarts, but there had to be any number of people at the station that could have pulled the plug on this before this woman died. To make matters worse, they were even warned on the air. From ABC News:

Judy Linder, a registered nurse, was listening to the program and was so alarmed that she asked a colleague to call and warn the station.

"She told them you could die from water intoxication," Linder told ABC affiliate KXTV in Sacramento. "He [the disc jockey] pretty much blew that off and said they signed a release so, so what? Then he said why don't your guys come down here and do it, and we said because we don't want to die."

According to a tape of the show, the disc jockeys appeared to joke about the possible dangers of consuming too much water and alluded to a college student who had died during such a stunt in 2005.

"Yeah, we're aware of that," one of the disc jockeys said.

Another disc jockey said: "Yeah. They signed releases, so we're not responsible. We're OK."
Needless to say, the DJs and others have been fired, and a lawsuit is in the works. I think the station is likely to find out that those waivers were worth the paper they were printed on.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Preventive War

Kevin Drum asks if the Iraq war proves preemptive war is a bad idea. Since the has been recent upheaval of who was right about the war, I thought I'd put up my own views.

While some of my opposition to the war was that I believed at that time the incompetence of the Bush administration as evidenced by decisions made at Tora Bora and the tossing aside of proven military doctrines to experiment, I'm not sure that's germane to the question of preventive war, and it's probably less important.

The greater prewar failure was the inability of the Bush administration to engage the international community and its almost perverse desire to go it alone. The American people are simply more predisposed to accepting such adventurism, which was sold as preemptive but was really preventive, than the rest of the world, especially at that time with 9/11 so fresh.

This forced us to act pretty much unilaterally. Remember the coalition of the willing. That joke of group was virtually bereft of international power, and more importantly, cash to pay for the fiasco. They were just a bunch of toadies willing to put their name on the list.

I just really don't think you can pull off an Iraq sized project anymore without a greater degree of international participation.

Friday, January 12, 2007

No Do-Overs

Jonah Goldberg the other day wrote this about opposition to the surge. From the LA Times:

Here we have a president forthrightly trying to win a war, and the opposition — which not long ago was in favor of increasing troops, when Bush was against that — won't say what it wants. This is flatly immoral. If you believe the war can't be won and there's nothing to be gained by staying, then, to paraphrase Sen. John Kerry, you're asking more men to die for a mistake. You should demand withdrawal. But that might cost votes, so the Dems don't. And, of course, Kerry, Pelosi and other Democrats were in favor of more troops before they were against it.

Yes, its true that some Democrats were in favor of more troops...before the war. Not listening to them is one of the reasons we are currently mired in this fiasco. At this point, however, we are through the looking glass and they have rightly changed their position to being in favor of ending the war.

Let me see if I can simplify this for those like Goldberg that can't seem to grasp that concept.

Let's say you decide to jump off a cliff. You have a few tools to choose from to aid your decent, but you only get to pick one. They include a helmet and knee pads, a beanbag chair to break your fall, some makeshift wings made out of chicken feathers, a Hefty bag made into a parachute, and a hang glider. All of these will get you to the bottom, though with varying degrees of success.

The point is that after you jump, there are no do-overs. You've passed the point of no return. That's where we are in Iraq. We've jumped off the cliff, and we didn't pick the hang glider so no matter what we do the end result is going to be a rather messy splat. The only question now is how many people are we going to land upon killing them also.

Greatest. Post. Ever.

Matt Taibbi has one of the greatest blog posts I've ever read. It starts with a take-down of Tom Friedman and moves on to an indictment of the Bush administration's handling of the war. I'll excerpt liberally, but go read the whole thing. From Alternet:

Tom Friedman is the oracle of this crowd, the tormented fat kid with a wedgie who got smart in his high school years and figured out that all he had to do to be successful was shamelessly and relentlessly flatter his Greatest-Generation parents, stroke their outdated prejudices, sell them on the idea that the entire aim of the modernization process is the spreading of their amazing legacy through the use of space-age technology.

So he goes into America's sleepy suburbs with his seventies porn-star mustache and he titillates the book clubs full of bored fifty- and sixty-something housewives with tales of how the internet is going to turn Afghanistan into Iowa. The suburban guys he ropes in with a half-baked international policy analysis -- whats "going on" on "the Street," as Friedman usually puts it -- that he cleverly makes sound like the world's sexiest collection of stock tips: "So I was playing golf with the Saudi energy minister last week, and he told me..."

This is just a modern take on the same old bullshit rap that traveling salesmen all over America have been laying on wide-eyed yokels at 99 Steak Houses and Howard Johnsons hotel bars for decades: So I was having lunch with Jack Welch at the Four Seasons last week when I heard about this amazing opportunity... And these middle-manager types who live in Midwestern cubicles or in the bowels of some federal bureaucracy in Maryland eat it up; they buy every one of Friedman's books, treat his every word like gospel, and before you know it they're all talking about Israeli politics and "the situation" in Yemen or Turkey or wherever like they're experts.

This is as good a job at nailing Friedman's shtick as I've read. The sad thing is that I usually agree with where Friedman says we need to go as a nation, it's just that I virtually never agree with how he thinks we should get there. Today's column is a fine example. Friedman suggests that we need new alternative energy initiatives, but for those he is willing to trade surging in Iraq. What the fuck does A have to do with B? Especially when you're never going to get B.

Taibbi goes on to make this comparison about the surge. From Alternet:

The whole war has been characterized by this kind of behavior. The Americans continually make ghastly mistake after ghastly mistake, and they keep responding to their mistakes by digging down and seeking the aid of the same homespun American pseudo-folk wisdom that got them into this mess in the first place. Our foreign policy initiatives in the area resemble attempts to mend fences with a neighbor whose lawn has been mussed by bringing him a tuna casserole cooked specially by wifey; only in Iraq, when casserole-presenting Dad ends up with his eyes gouged out and his skull charred black, hanging upside down from a telephone wire and impaled on the shards of the casserole dish, the neighborhood committee convenes and... decides to bake a bigger casserole.

Well said.

One Seat

Please, let us pick up one more seat in the Senate in 2008 so that we can throw that fucking dickhead Joe Lieberman out of the party. From Newsweek:

Sen. Joe Lieberman, the only Democrat to endorse President Bush’s new plan for Iraq, has quietly backed away from his pre-election demands that the White House turn over potentially embarrassing documents relating to its handling of the Hurricane Katrina disaster in New Orleans.


But the decision by Lieberman, the new chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, to back away from the committee's Katrina probe is already dismaying public-interest groups and others who hoped the Democratic victory in November would lead to more aggressive investigations of one of the White House’s most spectacular foul-ups.

This isn't even about my hatred of Bush, it's about the greatest failure of the federal government in the history of natural disasters, but I guess to Lieberman, having the tip of Bush's cock tickling his tonsils is far more important than making sure the same thing doesn't happen again.

Fuck Lieberman, the House Committee for Government Reform should subpoena the records from the Bush administration and those subpoenas should read that they are seeking the materials that Joe Lieberman is too big of a fucking cunt to ask for. Fucking dickwit.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Another Reason Bush's Plan Won't Work

Last year's plan, well, really it was more of a treatment, was glossy and had bullet points and arrows and shit. This one just has shit. It can't work. There are still way too many recurring characters.

Is This Rare?

Researchers at Cal-Irvine have found a woman with an extraordinary memory. From ABC News:

James McGaugh is one of the world's leading experts on how the human memory system works. But these days, he admits he's stumped.

McGaugh's journey through an intellectual purgatory began six years ago when a woman now known only as AJ wrote him a letter detailing her astonishing ability to remember with remarkable clarity even trivial events that happened decades ago.

Give her any date, she said, and she could recall the day of the week, usually what the weather was like on that day, personal details of her life at that time, and major news events that occurred on that date.

Given my past relationships I was under the impression that this was a trait that all women shared. Who knew?

Loading The Powder Keg

If you are reading this and you live in Baghdad, now might be a good time to leave. The plan President Bush laid out last night in his address is nothing more than a loading up of the powder keg that is Baghdad. From the transcript:

Now, let me explain the main elements of this effort. The Iraqi government will appoint a military commander and two deputy commanders for their capital. The Iraqi government will deploy Iraqi army and national police brigades across Baghdad's nine districts. When these forces are fully deployed, there will be 18 Iraqi army and national police brigades committed to this effort, along with local police. These Iraqi forces will operate from local police stations; conducting patrols and setting up checkpoints and going door-to-door to gain the trust of Baghdad residents.

So, we're going to put 18 brigades of Iraqis in Baghdad that are rife with militiamen, then probably turn and attack the militia that most of the infiltrators most closely associate themselves and not expect this to turn into a free-for-all? This is the recipe for disaster. It appears that we are going to keep the neighborhoods separated and only go in to conduct search and destroy missions where we will be subject to ambushes and what not.

I'm not saying the Iraqis shouldn't be involved in the security, it's just that I don't feel they have enough troops that are not compromised to participate at this level. I hope I'm wrong.

Also, the strict dividing of these neighborhoods will effectively kill commerce in the capital, which is scheduled to be jump started by the Iraqis kicking in $10 billion of their own money. It's money that they simply don't have, so look for us to end up giving them the money.

It all comes down to this, George Bush allowed this thing to fester for almost four years to get where we got, and at this point we have to now ask ourselves the three questions Aaron Mannes poses of at Counterterrorismblog:

1. Will the surge of troops allow coalition forces to break the forces fomenting civil war?

2. Has the U.S. military developed a sufficient understanding of Iraqi society and experience at counterinsurgency to maintain some level of order in Iraq?

3. Will the American public tolerate for a decade of U.S. casualties in Iraq?

One and two are unknowns that are probably a little better than fifty percent chance of success, eventually. Three, as we all know, is inoperable.

The only good part of this plan in my mind is something we should have done from the very beginning. Equal sharing of the oil revenue among all Iraqis. It probably would have mollified them somewhat then. I guess those morons at the Heritage Foundation thought is was too close to socialism.

Now, with no banking system, I don't even know how you begin to distribute the money.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

$10 Billion?

Where in the hell is Iraq going to come up with an additional $10 billion? Their entire governmental budget for 2007 is only $41 billion.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Hopes And Dreams And Ponies And Lollypops

Joe Klein of Time magazine has started blogging at their Swampland blog. It only took one day for Klein to attack the Left, of which he purports to belong to, of hoping that America loses the war in Iraq because we are very much against the escalation of the war. From Swampland:

But it's possible to have been against the war and to hope for the best in Iraq. I'd bet that the overwhelming majority of Americans who now oppose the war are praying for a turn for the better in Iraq. Listening to the leftists, though, it's easy to assume that they are rooting for an American failure. And so a challenge to those who slagged me in their comments. Can you honestly say the following:

Even though I disagree with this escalation, I am hoping that General Petraeus succeeds in calming down Baghdad.

Does the thought even cross your mind? As for me, it's easy--I've been rooting for U.S. success ever since the invasion because, after the overpowering arrogance and stupidity that led to this disaster, we owe some peace and stability to the Iraqis and the region. For the record, I'm outraged Bush is ignoring the election results and the reality on the ground in Iraq. I think he is sending more young American lives into an impossible situation. I am fairly certain that Bush will wallow amongst our worst presidents for getting us into this mess. But I hope events prove me wrong. I don't even care if Bush gets credit for the "victory" and smirks all the way back to Texas.

This is a fine example of the standard boilerplate language of liberals who are "serious" about national security. Failure to go along with every American projection of power whether ill-advised or not is seen as proof that you are "unserious."

And so it goes, Klein will wade into the surge, not because he thinks it will work, but because he has hope. Fine, in for a dime, in for a dollar.

But let me tell you about hope. I, too, hope that we manage to bring some sort of peaceful resolution to the current conflict. I also hope that I win the Mega Millions tonight. In fact, I'm hoping harder than I've ever hoped before. I'm hoping so damn hard that I might go out tonight and "surge" by buying 20,000 more tickets. Then again, maybe that's just foolish.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Moving The Goalposts

As we approach a change in troop levels in Iraq, John McCain is now changing his position as well. While he has for the last couple of months been calling for an increase 20,000 troops, now that it appears we will do exactly that, McCain has came out calling for even more. Why? It has nothing to do with the facts on the ground. It's because McCain's Iraq policy can never line up with George Bush's Iraq policy. From the Washington Post:

This is a serious argument, and the two senators [McCain and Lieberman] have been principled and even courageous in making it. But several questions give us pause. One is whether the administration and the Army will have the political and logistical capacity to carry out the sort of surge that the senators, and experts at the conservative American Enterprise Institute who support them, say is necessary: Total U.S. forces in Iraq would grow from fewer than 140,000 to as many as 175,000 and remain at that level indefinitely. Such a deployment would place severe new strains on the Army and probably require the alteration of Pentagon rules limiting the deployments of reservists. Some reports have said the administration is considering a more modest increase, both in numbers and in length of deployment. Mr. McCain says that would doom the strategy to failure.

Choosing a position that isn't feasible isn't courageous at all. McCain is simply playing presidential politics with other peoples lives. Never fear John, we're still going to wrap this mess around your neck.

Update: Think Progress has pulled up some recent McCain quotes and it looks like he is just plain nuts. He has called for troop levels to be increased by 20,000 (10/27/06), 100,000 (12/6/06), and 30,000 (1/4/07). Looks like he is just talking out of his ass.

They Don't Eat Much Either

Now I see where we are going to get the extra troops for Bush's escalation. Maybe we are going to take a cue from the British. From the Telegraph:

British troops are manning watchtowers with dummies at the Army's main garrison in southern Iraq, it was disclosed last night.

They have used mannequins to take the place of real soldiers during darkness in up to eight of the 16 watchtowers at the Shaibah Logistics Base, west of Basra.

The Grenadier Guards came up with the tactic after being sent out for a six-month tour 47 men short, The Sun reported.

Every two-hour shift change the figures, equipped with desert combat fatigues, helmets and rifles, were moved about.

Put mannequins in guard towers? Brilliant! Using this tactic we could easily "surge" up 400,000 troops for relatively cheap, although I'm sure the Pentagon would find a way to manage to pay $8,000 per mannequin. Plus it would help out with those pesky Baghdad car pool lane regulations.

For The Locals

Posting has been pretty light as I have been somewhat under the weather. My cold finally seems to be going away, and for those of you who are locals, MK is having a party for the game tonight. Also, I've heard a rumor that for the game Kroger is selling gator meat. Has anybody seen any?

Friday, January 05, 2007

Thursday, January 04, 2007

The Enemy Of Our Enemy Is?

Oops, I guess he's our enemy too. By now you've surely heard that Saddam Hussein's executioners were yelling Muqtada al-Sadr's name as a taunt to the soon-to-be executed. That may only be half true. Yes, al-Sadr's name can be heard on the video, but it might not have been why it was being yelled.

It is now known that the masked men in the video were members of the Madhi Army, who had pushed aside government official to perform the lynching, but according to the Saudi Arabian newspaper al-Riyad one of those men was, in fact, the Mookie himself. From The Counter Terrorism Blog:

According to the Saudi daily Al Riyad, citing a witness to the execution of Hussein, one of the masked men was indeed Moqtada Al Sadr. Knowing that Saddam Hussein had Moqtada's father killed, this would not be surprising. In fact the son would want to take part in taking revenge. But if this turns out to be true, this would be another major faux pas for Iraqi authorities.

In fact Moqtada's militia has not only targeted coalition troops but also Sunnis, including mostly civilians. This event could further the gap between Sunnis and Shias around the world especially in Iraq, Lebanon and Saudi Arabia.

What does the Mookie get for his trouble, aside from some satisfaction that he killed the man that killed his father? Escalation. It is beyond doubt now that when George Bush escalates this war, it will be to take on al-Sadr.

On that note, what should we expect. Casualties, lots of them. One thing you have to realize is that right now we are fighting a rather small percentage of the population. Sunni insurgents are responsible for an overwhelming percentage of our casualties. They only represent 20% of the population of Iraq.

We are now going to fight against a much larger Shia population as well. Casualty figures could easily double or more once we pick this fight. Even if we dispatch al-Sadr rather quickly, which we will unless he flees to Iran, the prospect of the Shia joining in on daily IED attacks is not going to be pleasant.

The butcher's bill just went up.

Sidenote: I realize that this is rumor, but in that part of the world rumor and fact are two forms of the same currency. Dollar bills vs dollar coins.


Who is that in your mailbox? Why, it's George Bush who with another ridiculous signing statement claimed the authority to open your mail. I'm not joking, apparently the federal government now has the right to snoop though your mail. From the Daily News:

President Bush has quietly claimed sweeping new powers to open Americans' mail without a judge's warrant, the Daily News has learned.

The President asserted his new authority when he signed a postal reform bill into law on Dec. 20. Bush then issued a "signing statement" that declared his right to open people's mail under emergency conditions.

That claim is contrary to existing law and contradicted the bill he had just signed, say experts who have reviewed it.

Those emergency conditions are thought to include being critical of Iraq policy, candidacy for public office not approved by the emperor, and failure to pay tithe to the republican party.

Long live the king.

Hey, I didn't get a hurump out of that guy. Off to the dungeon with him!

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

We Have A Patsy

It looks like the Iraqi government has its patsy in the case of the filming of Saddam Hussein's execution. From MSNBC:

Al-Arabiya television reported that the person under arrest is one of the guards who was a member of the execution team, according to an MSNBC translator. The information could not be immediately verified.

As for earlier allegations that Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s National Security Advisor had been one of the ones taking video, well, that was all a grand misunderstanding. Again, from MSNBC:

On Wednesday, an Iraqi prosecutor who was also present at the execution denied a report that he had accused National Security Adviser Mowaffak al-Rubaie of possible responsibility for the leaked video.

“I am not accusing Mowaffak al-Rubaie, and I did not see him taking pictures,” Munqith al-Faroon, a prosecutor in the case that sent Saddam to the gallows, told The Associated Press.

That got wrapped up as neat as an episode of Scooby Doo. Damn meddling kids.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha

Click to Enlarge. Damn republicans, I pissed my pants laughing when I read this.

Oops, Rudy Lost The Playbook

When you're running for president, it's probably not a good idea to leave the playbook you've written for your success behind in a hotel room, which is exactly what one of Rudy Guliani's aides did. One of Guliani's rivals leaked it to the New York Daily News, probably McCain know the dirty tricksters he has been staffing up with.

I doubt there is anything of any consequence in it, but I was struck by this passage. From The New York Daily News:

At the center of his efforts: a massive fund-raising push to bring in at least $100 million this year, with a scramble for at least $25 million in the next three months alone.

Umm, if you're planning to raise $100 million dollars in a year, you need to raise $25 million every quarter. I not sure why only the first quarter is a scramble.

What Is Winning?

There is a good piece in the New York Times today on the Bush administration's failures in Iraq, but this passage really makes me wonder, what is winning? From The New York Times:

Mr. Bush came to worry that it was not just his critics and Democrats in Congress who were looking for what he dismissed last month as a strategy of “graceful exit.” Visiting the Pentagon a few weeks ago for a classified briefing on Iraq with his generals, Mr. Bush made it clear that he was not interested in any ideas that would simply allow American forces to stabilize the violence. Gen. James T. Conway, the Marine commandant, later told marines about the president’s message.

“What I want to hear from you is how we’re going to win,” he quoted the president as warning his commanders, “not how we’re going to leave.”

Wouldn't stabilizing the violence be the very definition of winning? If it isn't, what the hell is?

The AP: You're A Pussy

If you do not support the Iraq War, you must be a pussy, or so the AP implies in its latest article about support for the war. From the AP:

But are Americans willing to hang in a tough fight anymore?

Some wonder if U.S. society, now populated by baby boomers who recall Vietnam and never knew the hardships of the Great Depression or World War II, has simply lost its stomach for great sacrifices.

It's interesting that the AP wonders if Americans are still will to make sacrifices, especially since the Decider-in-Chief is preparing to give his escalation speech in which the central theme will be, wait for it, sacrifice.

Sacrifice. Expect to hear that word at least a dozen times in Bush's speech where he will announce an escalation of the conflict, but I ask this of you, what sacrifice?

The vast majority of the American people have not been asked to make any sacrifice at all, and have in fact until now, been counseled by the White House not to make any at all. How many times have they told us to shop til we drop, to go about our business as usual? The reality is that a very small percentage of Americans have made any sacrifices and will continue to make any sacrifices for this war.

But Bush is going to ask us to make a sacrifice, for his war. And what pray tell shall we sacrifice? Will there be rationing, scrap metal drives? Will we even be asked to drive a few less miles to ease our nation's dependence on the stuff that got us there in the first place? Of course not!

No, the only sacrifice we will be asked to make is to sacrifice believing what we see with our own lying eyes. We will be asked to see ponies where there is only pig shit. We will be asked to ignore what is right, and to clutch at what is wrong. We will be asked to mistake the hand writing on the wall for simple graffiti.

And for what in the world will we be asked to make this sacrifice? Who knows? Hell, the Bush administration doesn't even know yet. From the BBC:

The speech, the BBC has been told, involves increasing troop numbers.

The exact mission of the extra troops in Iraq is still under discussion, according to officials, but it is likely to focus on providing security rather than training Iraqi forces.

So, we know we need more troops, but we don't know why we need them. We do know however that they most definitely will not be doing the one thing we have been repeatedly told is the only thing that will allow us to extricate ourselves from that hellhole, training Iraqis to stand up so we can stand down.

That, ladies and gentlemen, is a prime example of fixing the strategy around the policy, or in this case, the politics.