Friday, July 27, 2007

Friday Cat Blogging

Oscar the cat edition.

Now, that'd be compassion...
Chickenhawk Hero, First No Class

Meet Rep. Michael Turner, R-OH.
The Attack of the Informed Electorate

Run for your...political...lives!

Looks like the Daddy party has a going problem when it comes to the non-rehearsed internet. Still think it's just a bunch of tubes?
Personal Responsibility

It's ironic and instructive to watch the wingnutosphere go all atwitter re: PFC Scott Thomas Beauchamp (I'm surprised no one--to my knowledge--has made some sort of Francophobe slur about his last name) just as more revelations about Pat Tillman's death--and the Army cover-up--emerge, and on the heels of a lawsuit filed alleging shameful incompetence and venality by the VA when it comes to medical care.

Supporting the troops, as we all know, has never been more than a gnaw-on-the-bone ort casually tossed in the direction of the teeth-grinding mob. Hell, more often than not, it's combined with things like the spitting myth as a means to incite hatred towards "antiwar libruls," much in the same way that slogans like "states rights" were used to incite violence a generation ago.

Soldiers--like "Iraqis"--merely serve as placeholders. They're props, to be trotted out as necessary, then stuffed into the nearest trash can once their temporary purpose--a foil through which hatred is channeled elsewhere--is served. That said, hatred can be channeled on an astonishing scale towards soldiers or Iraqis should either seek to assume a more significant role, or even demand treatment as a human being. Then, the bombshells of rhetoric are truly unleased, although those furiously mastubating typing away on their keyboards never personally follow up their verbal salvos with genuine action. Instead, the Malkins of this world publish personal information with the hope that they can dupe some dimwitted thug into handling the dirty work.

Meanwhile, not just Iraq, but the entire Middle East, not to mention Central Asia, is rapidly turning into hell in a handbag, or worse, into hell in a backpack if not sedan full of plastic explosives, thus proving that hatred is truly a universal. And, I dunno, maybe it's just me, but from a pretty early age, I've always considered it a bad idea to fight fire with gasoline. By the time the fire DOES go out, there really isn't anything worth saving...

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Race to the Bottom

Not that you're really wondering how Chimpy could sink so low, but here are a few headlines by way of example:

Wells Fargo BR Office Closure Hits 170 Jobs

A friend of mine who shares building space with WF mentioned this to me. Not exactly "have a nice day" territory--but I guess they're lucky compared to these poor folks

Eight US Troops Killed in Iraq

But the only thing you KNOW will bring a tear to their wingnut eyes is

Stocks plunge; Dow Down More Than 310

That's almost enough to make Dick Cheney apologize for shooting an old man in the face.
Lind: "How to Win in Iraq"

Short version--read the writing on the wall:

Longer version here.
On the Waterfront

When wingnuts reveal ever more instances of pure lizard brain-based thinking in regards to New Orleans, I'm always amazed at how they seem to believe that the Crescent City is the only place on earth where large-scale engineering has extensively modified the local landscape...that is, if they even bother to consider such things at all. More often, they display signs of utter shut down of even their higher brain-STEM functions. Or they'll try to hide their inability and incompetence when it comes to reconstruction and water management by waving a white flag of surrender to nature (odd, when you think about their normal screw-the-environment-and-develop-at-all-costs mentality).

Humans have been modifying and altering the local landscape for some time. Indeed, one of our most significant landmarks of recent history--Ground Zero--doesn't stretch back that far in history...unless you count the time when it was literally under water. Take a look

The light colored area of the Lower Manhattan shoreline is literally manufactured--fill dumped in over time to expand the available real estate...some of which is among the more valuable property in the country.

But, where is Ground Zero? Well--

You don't have to look all that closely to spot the Twin Towers. Now, if you make both pictures the same size and proportion, you get

And remember--the lighter region identifies an area that was once BELOW water (as are the blue areas)

And this certainly isn't the only example of large scale public works. Other major cities have significantly altered themselves via landfill or other types of reclamation projects. Los Angeles not only built a port, but relies on an enormous engineering project to PROVIDE water to municipal residents (one that's presumably scarily prone to damage, natural or not). Sheez, when you think about it, the in-comparison ho-hum projects like roads, bridges, water and sewer systems, electrical grids, and so on, aren't exactly "the natural order of things" but are prime examples of extensive reworking of the local geology. But I guess to wingnuttia, these things just sort of magically appeared one day.

At least that's how they behave, that is, as long as they aren't personally disrupted. No wonder they consider it disposable.

Just like their brains.
Barking Up a Storm Terror Color Code

The sad thing is that, at least with a freak show, you get something for your money, be it worth the price or not.

Like any terrorist organization, al-Qaeda wants attention. It wants to be perceived as powerful. And it particularly wants Americans to live in fear.

Could al-Qaeda possibly have found a better publicist than President Bush?

At a South Carolina Air Force base yesterday, Bush mentioned al-Qaeda and bin Laden 118 times in 29 minutes, arguing that the violence unleashed by the U.S. invasion in Iraq would somehow come to America's shores if U.S. troops were to withdraw.

But the majority of that violence in Iraq is caused either by Iraqis murdering each other for religious reasons or by Iraqis trying to throw off the American occupation. The group that calls itself al-Qaeda in Iraq is only one of a multitude of factions creating chaos in that country, and the long-term goals of its Iraqi members are almost certainly not in line with those of al-Qaeda HQ (which is safely ensconced in Pakistan).

Furthermore, the administration's own intelligence community has concluded that the war in Iraq has helped rather than hurt al-Qaeda...

There was a long period, starting around 2003, during which Bush avoided even mentioning Osama bin Laden's name, presumably embarrassed by his failure to capture the man "dead or alive" as promised -- and loath to enhance bin Laden's stature with a presidential mention.

Asked directly about bin Laden at a March 2003 press conference, Bush responded: "He's a person who's now been margimalized.... I truly am not that concerned about him."

But by the summer of 2005, Bush had changed course. Ever since a speech in June of that year-- in which he thunderously exclaimed "Hear the words of Osama bin Laden: 'This Third World War is raging' in Iraq" -- Bush has repeatedly invoked Bin Laden in an effort to terrify Americans into supporting his unpopular policies.

Froomkin then cites a USA Today column referring to Shrub as "the salesman in chief." Guess that makes the war in Iraq the ultimate lemon.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Team Bush: Memorialize in Bulk and SAVE!

"So, who are we honoring in bulk today?"

So, we've moved into the consolidated memorial service phase ("conmem?") of Operation Enduring Clusterfuck, which once again underscores how woefully inept Team Bush was and still when it comes to actually waging war, although, as usual, it's the grunts doing the work who end up paying the price...
More "Honest" Mistakes...Honest!

I think I managed to find a few more...

Because, forgive them, but they're just TERRIBLE when it comes to names. It can get so confusing...

Diaper begins with "D" does Democrat. Anyone could make that mistake...

Because, greed is good, and...well, um...nevermind...

Amnesty, Acid, & Abortion...and Hollywood. Um, but not Fred Thompson, who's a man's man, but only in a natural, masculine, heterosexual way...

Damned Dirty Librul Defunse Attorneys...

A one-secular-humanist war on Christmas.

Probably bought the fertilizer at a Farm-Labor Co-op.

Inside every Democrat, there's a dirty commie waiting to be turned loose.

If YOU want to believe you descended from a flying monkey, that's your business...

Because "D-Traitor" sounds like whispered sweet-nothings to a wingnut...

Original tax-and-spend welfare queen...

But, of course, on occasion, Fox takes extra special care

Also believes STRONGLY in the 2nd Amendment and will complete the mission in Iraq...

(note: sorry for the slow start today...very busy over here).

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Bachmann: It's Like a Little Bit of Bloomington in Baghdad!

A head this empty could out vacuum a Dyson:

This month, Bachmann traveled to Iraq, and despite more GOP defections from Bush’s base of support, she returned as firm as ever in her conviction that the war is justified. Al-Qaida, she said, “doesn’t show any signs of letting up.” The congressional delegation met with Gen. David Petraeus, the top commander in Iraq, in one of Saddam Hussein’s palaces.

What was the palace like?

“It’s absolutely huge,” she said. “I turned to my colleagues and said there’s a commonality with the Mall of America, in that it’s on that proportion. There’s marble everywhere. The other thing I remarked about was there is water everywhere. He had man-made lakes all around his personal palace — one for fishing, one for boating.”

Just be sure to keep an eye out for all those IED's near the food know, I never really trusted the Orange Julius logo--always reminded me of the Underwood Deviled Ham guy.
Gonzales: We Don't Need No Stinking Warrants

Abu gives his idiot switch free usual.
It's No FEMA Trailer on the Tigris, That's for Sure

Your real tax dollars at virtual work.

Well, at least we get the neato computer graphic above, although I think this is taking Planned Obsolescence a bit far:

Huge, expensive and dogged by controversy, the new U.S. Embassy compound nearing completion here epitomizes to many Iraqis the worst of the U.S. tenure in Iraq.

"It's all for them, all of Iraq's resources, water, electricity, security," said Raid Kadhim Kareem, who has watched the buildings go up at a floodlighted site bristling with construction cranes from his post guarding an abandoned home on the other side of the Tigris River. "It's as if it's their country, and we are guests staying here."

Despite its brash scale and nearly $600-million cost, the compound designed to accommodate more than 1,000 people is not big enough, and may not be safe enough if a major military pullout leaves the country engulfed in a heightened civil war, U.S. planners now say...

Like much U.S. planning in Iraq, the embassy was conceived nearly three years ago on rosy assumptions that stability was around the corner, and that the military effort would gradually draw down, leaving behind a vast array of civilian experts who would remain intimately engaged in Iraqi state-building. The result is what some analysts are describing as a $592-million anachronism.

"It really is sort of betwixt and between," said Stephen Biddle, a senior fellow at the U.S.-based Council on Foreign Relations who advises the Defense Department. "It's bigger than it should be if you really expect Iraq to stabilize. It's not as big as it needs to be to be the nerve center of an ongoing war effort."

In a stunning security breach, architectural plans for the compound were briefly posted on the Internet in May.

"If the government of Iraq collapses and becomes transparently just one party in a civil war, you've got Ft. Apache in the middle of Indian country, but the Indians have mortars now," Biddle said.

Still, something doesn't look right. Hmmm...oh, wait...let's go for a more reality based look

And, sometimes, like Rush says, you've gotta blow off a little steam

Talk about a unique lawn ornament...
The Political Equivalent of Junk Food

This latest example of Team Bush ineptitude underscores just how Potemkin Village-like our government has become:

A few months ago, [Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice] decided to write an opinion piece about Lebanon. She enlisted John Chambers, chief executive officer of Cisco Systems as a co-author, and they wrote about public/private partnerships and how they might be of use in rebuilding Lebanon after last summer's war. No one would publish it.

Think about that. Every one of the major newspapers approached refused to publish an essay by the secretary of state. Price Floyd, who was the State Department's director of media affairs until recently, recalls that it was sent to the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times and perhaps other papers before the department finally tried a foreign publication, the Financial Times of London, which also turned it down.

As a last-ditch strategy, the State Department briefly considered translating the article into Arabic and trying a Lebanese paper. But finally they just gave up. "I kept hearing the same thing: 'There's no news in this.' " Floyd said. The piece, he said, was littered with glowing references to President Bush's wise leadership. "It read like a campaign document."

Floyd left the State Department on April 1, after 17 years. He said he was fed up with the relentless partisanship and the unwillingness to consider other points of view. His supervisor, a political appointee, kept "telling me to shut up," he said. Nothing like that had occurred under Presidents Bill Clinton or George H.W. Bush. "They just wanted us to be Bush automatons."

Does that sound familiar? Earlier this month, former Surgeon General Richard Carmona told Congress that Bush administration officials had repeatedly tried to weaken or suppress important public health reports because they clashed with administration dogma. He said he was ordered to mention Bush three times on every page of his speeches. Floyd's experience shows that the same close-minded zealotry afflicting many departments of government under Bush has descended on the State Department, too. In effect, as Rice's power and influence has waned along with Bush's, intolerance and monomania have taken its place.

You know, calling this administration "Potemkin Village-like" might be too kind. They'd have to improve to make it to that standard. No, I guess something like "moral equivalent of junk food" is closer to the mark. The Cheetos Administration: pure puffery, powdered with artificial colors and flavors, totally lacking in substance...guaranteed to make you nauseated.

Monday, July 23, 2007


Irony doesn't get any thicker than this--geez, you'd need a diamond tipped chainsaw to get through:

This week's issue of The Weekly Standard features a cover story by Hugh Hewitt blogger Dean Barnett. Entitled "The 9/11 Generation," it argues that America's current youthful generation is courageous and noble because it has answered the call of military service, in contrast to the cowardly Vietnam era baby boomers who chose protest instead. The article is being hailed in all of the predictable right-wing precincts, even though its reasoning highlights (unintentionally) exactly what is so corrupt, ignoble and deceitful about that political movement.

The crux of Barnett's homage to what he calls the "9/11 Generation" is expressed as follows:
In the 1960s, history called the Baby Boomers. They didn't answer the phone.

Confronted with a generation-defining conflict, the cold war, the Boomers -- those, at any rate, who came to be emblematic of their generation -- took the opposite path from their parents during World War II. Sadly, the excesses of Woodstock became the face of the Boomers' response to their moment of challenge. War protests where agitated youths derided American soldiers as baby-killers added no luster to their image.

Few of the leading lights of that generation joined the military. Most calculated how they could avoid military service, and their attitude rippled through the rest of the century. In the 1970s, '80s, and '90s, military service didn't occur to most young people as an option, let alone a duty.

But now, once again, history is calling. Fortunately, the present generation appears more reminiscent of their grandparents than their parents.

How does one even begin counting the myths laid on top of more myths on which these claims are based? To begin with, while Barnett contrasts two significant groups of the Vietnam era -- those who bravely volunteered for combat and/or who were drafted (Jim Webb and John McCain and Chuck Hagel and John Kerry) and those who protested the war -- he revealingly whitewashes from history the other major group, the most ignoble one, the one which happens to include virtually all of the individuals who lead Barnett's political movement: namely, those who claimed to support the war but did everything possible to evade military service, sending their fellow citizens off to die instead in a war they urged.

Oh, and when you're done reading Greenwald, check out this not-too-bad op-ed from Pravda-Upon-Hudson. When we got rid of King George, I don't think anyone considered it a temporary displacement.

Funny, but you never hear anything from the "let's abandon New Orleans" assclowns when there are floods pretty much anywhere else (h/t Ashley Morris for the link, even if it makes me want to drive to Freemont with a Louisville Slugger and practice my swing).
Sell the Sizzle, Not the IED Attacks

Talk about your downward spiral--from "the defining conflict of the 21st century" to "selling the war as a brand identity thing." Good grief:

In the advertising world, brand identity is everything. Volvo means safety. Colgate means clean. IPod means cool. But since the U.S. military invaded Iraq in 2003, its "show of force" brand has proved to have limited appeal to Iraqi consumers, according to a recent study commissioned by the U.S. military.

The key to boosting the image and effectiveness of U.S. military operations around the world involves "shaping" both the product and the marketplace, and then establishing a brand identity that places what you are selling in a positive light, said clinical psychologist Todd C. Helmus, the author of "Enlisting Madison Avenue: The Marketing Approach to Earning Popular Support in Theaters of Operation." The 211-page study, for which the U.S. Joint Forces Command paid the Rand Corp. $400,000, was released this week.

Alas, every marketing campaign has a few concepts that just don't quite make the cut. I was able to get my hands on some.

The iWar®. Sacrificing Peace of Mind has never been so elegently simple.
"This is how you bury your war, oops--you're not supposed to see this."

Come sign up for a test drive of the all New and Improved Ford Pinto.
"My nightmare dream? To make it through a resupply mission without getting rear-ended."

And, of course

It's the Real Thing--death, destruction, and utter pointlessness.
Snap the Whip

Evidently there's some controversy over whether a rather shocking story at TNR is true or not--Hullabaloo has several paragraphs of the subscriber-only report and superb analysis, as usual. She goes on to note something I've touched on before, although more eloquently, of course, namely, the possibility--hell, probability--that some returning soldiers will snap at some point. That's yet another cost of war, one that we all have the tragic potential of having to pay.

As for the TNR report itself...I'm not a subscriber, and so I've only read the three paragraphs or so. But, true or not, it's not like this war hasn't already produced pretty monstrous behavior by all parties involved...well, monstrous in the context of civil society. It's actually par for the course in war, and that's regardless of how "just" any particular conflict might be. War is human existence at its most savage--hell, it makes prison look like model society--which is why you take all steps to avoid it. Even in a "good" or "just" war, the costs end up being paid for a long time.

Which makes Team Bush's war of choice in Iraq all the more galling...and THEN factor in the almost impossible degree of stupidity with which they've waged it.

Oh, and over in Afghanistan, where there actually WAS some justification for hostilities--well, I wonder if there's such a thing as TBADD: Team Bush Attention Deficit Disorder. They didn't just drop the ball there, they gave it a good, swift kick into the caves of Tora Bora...