Friday, January 26, 2007

"War with Eurasia...AND East Asia? Hell, Bring 'em On!"
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You know, I've written before to the effect (if not in so many words) that Team Bush's rhetoric is virtually a mirror image of with today's latest provocation of Iran--a foolish turning of the doubling cube if there ever was one--we have the almost comical were it not utterly tragic specter of Shrub himself saying, "It just makes sense that if somebody is...killing innocent citizens in Iraq, that we will stop them.”


What nobody is mentioning, though, is intriguing to me: Team Bush has managed to, in their own perverse, up-is-down, black-is-white way, unify the region in ways I never thought possible. Iran and Iraq were engaged in a bitter, ugly war not twenty years ago. Now, Iranians are, to use the CIA/Defense Department's own verbiage, operating an "embedding program" in Iraq.

Nice work, Shrub.
bin Forgotten
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I'll admit that on occasion it slips my mind for a spell that the colossal twin fuck ups by Team Bush have any number of similar if smaller direct blood relations, no pun intended. Iraq, New Orleans, yes, but there's also the US Gulf Coast (hurricanes Katrina and Rita), the anemic economy, the cynical, fat cat cronyism (e.g., cost-plus, no bid contracts), the Medicare drug benefit give away to Big Pharma...and the other hot Afghanistan:

Billions of dollars are to be pumped into Afghanistan to help build up the army and for reconstruction projects such as roads, water, schools and clinics.

About 3,200 US troops in Afghanistan from the 3rd Brigade, 10th Mountain Division who were due to return home are to remain for a further 120 days to help Nato counter an expected Taliban spring offensive.

The White House is to ask Congress next month for $8bn (£4.1bn) in new funds, which is more than half the $14.2bn Washington has spent on Afghanistan since the US-led invasion in 2001.

If you read the entire article (or similar ones here and here), yet again you'll see the weasely parsing and phraseology that the media sops up like a sponge:

"Substantial progress has been made in many areas, but it's also clear that the policy needed to be reviewed, so that we continue to improve the lives of Afghan citizens."

Um, translated into plain English, that means

"I'm spewing forth bullshit as fast as my tongue can move."

Ten years ago, that sort of parsing, in the context of a consensual sexual affair between two adults, was a harbinger of moral decay. Now it's filler for a news report.

Dick Cheney'd call that progress.
Vice President Dick...Queeg
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Still a Dick, of course, but Hullabaloo has a good post up re: Scooter's trial that makes the point.

(Linking directly sometimes causes issues there, so look for the post titled, appropriately enough, "Strawberries.")
Which Came First?...
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The sewer or the sewer rats?

Yeah, I suppose I'm just as guilty with some of my own rhetorical descriptions...but then again, it's not like the internets hold their collective breath waiting for my latest posts and exercises in (an old version of) Photoshop...

Over the last couple of days I've been recalling at least a couple of times when Billmon (alas, I read him, Horatio) cited the Hunter Thompson line about the US being a nation of used car salesmen "with all the money we need to buy guns and no qualms about killing anybody else in the world who tries to make us uncomfortable." That was written just after the then-biggest electoral landslide in history: Richard Nixon's trouncing of George McGovern in 1972.

Supreme/extreme arrogance isn't exactly a modern phenomenon in the political arena. But over the last generation or so it seems that a little extra flavor--or stench, if you prefer--has been added to the mix. I can remember my freshman political science professor back some time ago offering his own observation (re: the Reagan "revolution"): instead of showing at least token degrees of pity for the poor, it became fashionable to despise them.

The flip side of this behavior is the almost aristocratic behavior of people who are, in the purest sense of the term, "public SERVANTS." Embodied by people like, well, Big Time and Shrub...having not done a thing with their lives, aside from feeding at the public trough, they nonetheless heap scorn on any who expect government to actively SERVE the people, while insisting upon being treated as virtually modern day royalty.

You could say it's the ultimate manifestation of a "fuck you, fuck anyone who looks like you...and fuck anyone even in the general vicinity, on general principles" administration.

And that same pattern of behavior is prevalent amongst their minions.

I think this could, at least in part, explain the sort of appalling behavior some football "fans" exhibited last week (I guess you could say they weren't as bad as English soccer hooligans, but that's setting a pretty low bar, to put it mildly). Moving on, this same trend seems to be reflected in other forms of entertainment, i.e., the sort of ritual humiliation that seems to be a staple of reality tv shows.

Worse still, this pattern of behavior is also becoming part and parcel of something quite a bit more serious: the latest (h/t Rising Hegemon) being less participant and more observer, but this is yet ANOTHER "bad apple" incident...and when you add them all up, it's more than (mixing metaphors here) just a drop in the bucket. (btw--here's another...barely a blip on the radar screen).

Oh, and even MORE amazing: as soon as these professional shit bombers get so much as a taste of their own medicine, well...and if/when this administration is ever seriously investigated, they'll be the first to loudly demand the very constitutional protections they've been so furiously subverting for the last six years. Truly a national psyche of "fuck you."

And, the icing on the cake: many of these people publicly profess to believe in some form of Christianity.

Sort of like Bill Frist telling you how much he loves kittens...

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Another Alternate Universe Thing
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Can you tell me how to get...the hell away from Haifa Street?

This alternate universe features the anti-Big Bird. Like his regular universe counterpart, anti-Big Bird isn't the sharpest tool in the shed...but he's also cynical, shallow, and prone to advocating senseless acts of violence.

Cheney's still just plain evil...because some things don't change, even in the alternate universe.

OK, enough of the silliness. Here's a dose of reality from Haifa Street...about as far removed from Sesame Street as, well, death from life (h/t) Steve Gilliard):

BAGHDAD, 22 Jan 2007 (IRIN) - “My name is Lina Massufi. I’m a 32-year-old laboratory assistant who works 10 hours a day just to make enough money to raise my children.

“My life has been like hell over the past three months. US and Iraqi soldiers have raided my house more than 12 times.

“My husband, Khalil, was killed during the US invasion in 2003 when he drove through a closed road and soldiers shot him dead.

“I live in Haifa Street, one of the most dangerous places to live in Baghdad today. The area is infamous for its huge number of insurgents. This is why Iraqi and US soldiers have increased their activity in the area, constantly raiding homes and arresting men for interrogation.

“Last month, they arrested my 23-year-old brother Fae’ek, who lives with me. He is a pharmacy student but nonetheless they took him and kept him in prison for more than a week - even after knowing he was innocent. He returned with signs of torture on his body and was crying like a baby because of the pain.

Here's the entire article. Cheney calls this "progress."

Cheney's a sadistic creep.
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We've got a little more "piece" of mind to sacrifice today, I guess.
Baghdad Bob Meets American Dick
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From King of Zembla.
The Party Has a Thousand Eyes *
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Big Time's Watching You

Wingnuttia is none too subtle in their creepy love of things authoritarian...provided, of course, they're the lords as opposed to those being lorded over...then, like Scooter, they'll suddenly find a new, if long lost, love of constitutional niceities that they've spent the last decade, if not quarter century, bludgeoning.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

A Quick Note to the Moral Mavens... Tom Friedman.
It wasn't all that long ago when Americans were killing other Americans for reasons that I can't justify...can you?

Note: I'm aware that Attaturk is contrasting the United States with Iraq; however, I find it troubling that this country still hasn't really come to grips with its internal violence...which augurs poorly for coming to grips with our propensity for inciting and/or engaging violence elsewhere...
"They All Look Alike" as Public Policy
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Part of the problem that is Team Bush's idiotic mess in the Middle East is their consistent refusal to demonstrate any understanding of the principal organizations and individuals in the region. Instead, everything is lumped into some easy-to-understand term, mostly for domestic consumption, i.e., "Islamofascism," whatever the hell that actually means.

I'd call it stupidity or ignorance, but there's such an extreme willfulness in application that it's more along the lines of sadistic cynicism...the kind that willingly allows lives to be lost and truckloads of money to be wasted on "this generation's conflict."

More here.
Cheney: Bum Ticker, No Soul
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He probably pulled a fast one on Satan himself, selling something he never had in the first place. Geez, you get the feeling Big Time would describe the Charge of the Light Brigade as an "outstanding decision made by our commanders on the ground."

Vice President Dick Cheney on Wednesday dismissed as "hogwash" the suggestion that blunders may have hurt the administration's credibility on Iraq and led members of Congress on both sides of the aisle to question President Bush's plan to send more troops to Baghdad...

Cheney said the administration is committed to moving ahead with its plan to send more troops to secure Baghdad, even if Congress passes a resolution in opposition.

"It won't stop us," he said...

Dick then launched into his usual fearmongering routine before getting snippy with Wolf Blitzer, who inquired about the his not-yet-born grandchild. And then he shot Wolf in the face.

Ok, so I made that last part up. But if he DID shoot Wolf in the face, it wouldn't be surprising, would it?
It'd Almost Be Funny...
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...if it wasn't so tragic, sad, and pathetic.

It's like watching a bunch of city slickers engage in serious debate about closing the barn door...but the horse hasn't merely escaped, it's not even in the same time zone anymore.

Here's Pravda's take on Shrub's I'm-a-lumberhack, um, I'm-a-lumberjack and the Union's OK, while the Senate's at least considering the prospect of shutting the barn door...and, I don't know, maybe they're hoping for some sort of credit...

Shit. Shrub couldn't resist the perjorative use of "Democrat" in place of "Democratic" last night, and, once more, we had a case of Anglophilia that, upon review, was less threat and more daydream, not that it would ever matter to those who, with sickening glee, manage to turn the genuine threat of global terrorism into a mix and match of batshit insane talking points and blather.

Also, I kept seeing Mary Landrieu--her red dress was distinctive in a sea of black suits. Mary, maybe you should've been in mourning, considering that both your buddy Joe Lieberman and the Decider-in-Chief have now made it clear that New Orleans can drop dead on their watch, and neither will so much as ask for funeral expenses.

Just unfuckingbelievable. Bush might as well have opined about the number of angels that could dance on the head of a pin, then launched a spirited defense of his position, although maybe that'd be a little too much for him and would make his head hurt. Actually WIIIAI had one of the best reactions, noting that Shrub waited until the end of the speech to pronounce the SOTU as "strong," though at least he didn't say it was "interesting."

Oh, and a couple of other things: the GOP continues to insist there "hasn't been a terrorist attack on our shores since 9/11," and the Decider made the same reference again last night, which not only is factually incorrect in a literal sense, but pretty much spits in the face of every region that HAS suffered from the scourge of terrorism, including but not limited especially to the "young democracy" he's so fond of touting (as if he wouldn't willingly and gratefully hand the whole mess over to the first creep/thug NOT named Saddam Hussein, provided they could stabilize ANY means). Second, it may not have been an act of terrorism, but the flooding of New Orleans might as well have been a full dress rehearsal, complete with genuine, almost surreal levels of death and suffering.

And not even a mention last night.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Color Me...Unimpressed

Bush Mark VII isn't any less annoying, isn't any less used car war salesman, isn't any of a smirk chimp than Bush Marks I through VI.

Smirks aside, his beady little dead black eyes betray the emptiness of his equally black soul

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A black, empty soul matched by his empty promises

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(Oh, and did you see when Shrub and puppet master Cheney took a simultaneous sip of water? Pretty much spoke volumes to me).

And, as First Draft pointed out, NOTHING about New Orleans or the Gulf Coast. And the fear know, it's one thing to fear the monsters under the bed, or in the closet. It's quite another thing to project your fear into foolish national policy, that, maybe not by coincidence, translates into obscene monetary profits for cronies, and equally obscene bloodshed among both our troops AND the Iraqis they're supposed to be liberating.

Shit, the denial is so extreme it makes Borat look like the perfect dinner guest in comparison.

Well, back to the Bushmills.
A Tale of Two Cities
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Just a thought: "ONLY" one car bomb today isn't exactly a ringing endorsement of the security situation in Baqouba, nor is it a particularly appropriate (if literal) description of things "looking brighter."

Oh, and from First Draft, I see that neither New Orleans nor the United States Gulf Coast merits a mention in tonight's SOTU. Iraq, it's procrastination by commission, down here, by omission. Shrub's giving up.

Same as it ever was.
Random Musings re: Scooter's Trial

Interesting...already we have the posssibility of Rove getting tossed under a bus
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Or, and wow, if it were only so...a few folks are actually speculating that Deadeye Dick might be forced to walk the plank
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Well, that brightens MY mood, at least for now.
"The Smoking Gun"
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Global warming deniers might as well be smoking crack:

Human-caused global warming is here, visible in the air, water and melting ice, and is destined to get much worse in the future, an authoritative global scientific report will warn next week.

"The smoking gun is definitely lying on the table as we speak," said top U.S. climate scientist Jerry Mahlman, who reviewed all 1,600 pages of the first segment of a giant four-part report. "The evidence ... is compelling."

Andrew Weaver, a Canadian climate scientist and study co-author, went even further: "This isn't a smoking gun; climate is a batallion of intergalactic smoking missiles."

One way of looking at this is...we are ALL New Orleans, except that it's not shoddy floodwall construction and maintenence that will bring about the deluge, but our own willful neglect...that is, if we continue to do nothing.
Big Time. In the Conservatory. With the Lead Pipe.
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Because you just know he'd do something like that...well, actually, he'd probably have Scooter do it for him...anyway, I see that Big Time is knee deep and sinking in deep shit while Scooter's lawyer is lamely playing the sympathy card. Meanwhile daughter Liz penned what TPM accurately called the equivalent of a middle school essay, a textbook example of the term "puerile," and evidently making quite an impression...of the wrong kind...among those reading and commenting (h/t Attaturk).

And tonight we will be treated to the specter of a talking chimp. I can hardly wait, and have a bottle of Bushmills ready. Let the drinking games commence. On a more serious note, I can't imagine trying to listen to Smirk Chimp WITHOUT having a drink...or four.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Dysfunctional...Like Your FAMILY, Mr. President
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There's just something very, very WRONG with this story detailing how Iraqi insurgents were able to "disguise" themselves as "Americans" while "fooling" other Iraqis. And, for the record, one of the genuine American victims of the attack was someone from right around here. Good heavens.

Meanwhile, newly elected Senator James Webb is using the brain God gave him to point out the logical fallacy of throwing money away in the desert over there...while ignoring problems RIGHT HERE. I dunno...maybe Webb grew up being taught you work to resolve your own problems before blabbing about someone elses...
Bonus Dose of Loathsome
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Bobby Jindal slithers forth from the Jefferson Parish burbs to announce.

Add one more to the list.
Deep in the (Diseased) Heart of Texas
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Nothing shouts out "concern for the environment" like...18 lane freeways:

Between 2003 and 2009, $2.7 billion of state and federal money will have been plowed into expanding 23 miles of Interstate-10 in west Houston to as wide as 18 lanes in some stretches of the city's main east-west road...

The sprawling Houston metropolitan area, home to more than 5 million people, caters to drivers. Multi-deck parking garages are affixed to most large apartment complexes and there are drive-through lanes at pharmacies, banks, dry cleaners and coffee shops like Starbucks Corp...

Um, have a problem.
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h/t Rising Hegemon and First Draft.

When I describe Team Bush as "ghoulish," it's not an exaggeration for effect:

Party politics played a role in decisions over whether to take federal control of Louisiana and other areas affected by Hurricane Katrina, former FEMA director Michael Brown said Friday.

Some in the White House suggested only Louisiana should be federalized because it was run by a Democrat, Gov. Kathleen Blanco, Brown told a group of graduate students at a lecture on politics and emergency management at Metropolitan College of New York.

Brown said he had recommended to President Bush that all 90,000 square miles along the Gulf Coast affected by the hurricane be federalized, making the federal government in charge of all agencies responding to the disaster.

"Unbeknownst to me, certain people in the White House were thinking we had to federalize Louisiana because she's a white, female Democratic governor and we have a chance to rub her nose in it," he said.

Brown declined to say who in the White House had argued for only taking control of Louisiana, but said that he'd later learned of the situation through Blanco's office and from other officials on the federal level.

Blanco reacted sharply on hearing what Brown had said.

"This is exactly what we were living but could not bring ourselves to believe. Karl Rove was playing politics while our people were dying," Blanco said through a spokeswoman, referring to President Bush's top political strategist. "The federal effort was delayed, and now the public knows why. It's disgusting."

These same people argue for more killing...and Mesopotamia, while waving the bloody flag of 9/11 as if it were some supreme triumph, as opposed to an appalling failure on their part.

If that's not ghoulish, I don't know what is...