Friday, September 07, 2007

You Think They'll Announce It From an Aircraft Carrier?

"Exceedlingly Complex" must be this year's version of "Mission Accomplished."
Transcendent Hucksterism

You know, even before TPM came out with this post, I was telling a friend in an email that Bush and bin Laden are sort of a perverse/lunatic equivalent to the sister-city movement, existing in symbiosis (Shrub, being particular sort of loon he is, likewise bonded with the departed and hopefully rotting in hell because he's sure as hell not missed Saddam "tried-to-kill-my-daddy" Hussein). Snake oil salesmen are snake oil salesmen, and that goes the world over...

I just finished reading the transcript (.pdf)...they really are like two sides of the same counterfeit/wooden nickel (and longtime readers of my blog might even remember a visual effort at making that point). I mean, geez--the two of them, Bush 'n bin Laden--the same elitist arrogance, the same amateur scriptural interpretation masquerading as some sort of bizarre enlightenment-of-the-self-anointed, the same taking credit for the sort of sacrifice that neither would actually engage in (and the same whining about imagined pain that neither have ever actually felt)...and even, on the last page, an appeal for conversion to Islam because of--I shit you not--the low, low taxes.

Yo, bin--maybe emphasize the polygamy, too--we are the "decadent" West, after all (though, no, Senator Vitter, I don't think there's any provision for diapers, regardless of whatever it is that's in John Cooksey's brain). Besides, we've already got pretty low taxes.

About the only thing that surprised me was the lack of a 1-800 number or a website. Guess he's still working on that.
Petreus: "The Dog Ate My Homework Report"

Hell, why not try it for an excuse? It's no lamer than anything else they could think of.

As for the "progress report" itself, well, if only it could BE as easy as lipstick-on-a-pig. Petreus might as well be trying to convince someone to salvage a Katrina fridge.
President Goofus Rides Again

Full frontal embarrassment. What else can you say? It's not just that we've got morons on our team...the morons insist on being owner, coach, manager, captain, and starter.


Thursday, September 06, 2007

He's Ready for His Closeup, Mr. DeMille

Just in time for the new fall season, look what comes slithering out of the woodwork. Geez--what's the line about how if it were fiction, it'd be rejected because no one would believe it?

Makes you wonder if Andy "You-Don't-Introduce-New-Products-In-August" Card is doing a little moonlighting as a consultant over in the Tribal Belt. Nope, you don't bring out new products, and you don't dust off old ones for an end-of-the-season closeout either...instead, you dump the garbage, the excess baggage, and get ready for the new fall lineup featuring the reality-based "Two Minute Hate"...a smash hit since it debuted to a mass audience in '01.

Action figures sold separately. Check your brain in at the door.
Scrubbing Bubble Boy

Lends a whole new meaning to "street sweeping."
There Goes the Money for Cat 5 Protection and Coastal Restoration

Illustration by John Blackford. By Peter van Agtmael/Polaris (desert), Konstantin Inozemtsev/Alamy (money).

I can't take credit for the image, but it's as representative as anything of pure, undiluted, 200 proof wingnut stupid.

I guess anyone stopping by here knows the basics: $9 BILLION dollars that's simply gone missing in Mesopotamia out of a total of...$11,981,531,000 dollars shipped, or 281 million individual bills...or 363 tons..of cash. Click in the link for the details.

As y'all further know, that in itself is just a fraction of the total cost of war, now pushing $500 billion dollars...and what price do you put on the lost lives?

Where are the goddamned guardians of the treasury gates? Where are those who piously claim "fiscal responsibility" when sniffling and snorting about what's a pretty good investment in comparison, namely, protecting the the strategically and economically vital United States Gulf Coast...and, for that matter, also investing in engineering/infrastructure projects throughout the nation? I guess their fiscal responsibility, like their so-called Christian belief system, is opposed to, you know, Christian.

Speaks volumes...

Excuses used to be so...primitive:

"If it's dead, it's V.C."

But, thanks to an aggressive modernization campaign--and Surge®© (registered sign, copyright protected, all rights reserved)--we're no longer thus hindered:

"If a bullet went through the back of the head, it's sectarian," the official said. "If it went through the front, it's criminal."

I'm sure the Iraqis so liberated appreciate the distinction.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Resignation Reconsidered...

Well, after all, why should Diaper Dave be the only one allowed to have a little fun?

Just Sayin'

OK, maybe I'm just in a bad mood today, but after reading Elizabeth Schulte's report on NOLA refugees being warehoused and poisoned in standard issue FEMA trailers, it struck me that every last goddamned nitwit whining about "those people" sure would be whistling a different tune if, say, it was Terry Schiavo who'd been stuck in one. Hell, they might even demand that Shrub cut his vacation short and sign a law or something.

But I dunno: maybe a significant tenet of their "Christian" belief system is the selective charity and memory of Jesus...
Like Claiming Graves are a Cure for Cancer

Dr. Bush Will See You Now

Here's a key paragraph from Krugman's latest (alas, no link, but I'll post the whole column below. Welcome to Pottersville often posts Select columns, too):

Now, there are parts of Baghdad where civilian deaths probably have fallen -- but that’s not necessarily good news. "Some military officers," reports Leila Fadel of McClatchy, "believe that it may be an indication that ethnic cleansing has been completed in many neighborhoods and that there aren’t as many people to kill."

Well, I guess that's a "mini-benchmark" in action.

September 3, 2007
Op-Ed Columnist
Snow Job in the Desert
In February 2003, Secretary of State Colin Powell, addressing the United Nations Security Council, claimed to have proof that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. He did not, in fact, present any actual evidence, just pictures of buildings with big arrows pointing at them saying things like "Chemical Munitions Bunker." But many people in the political and media establishments swooned: they admired Mr. Powell, and because he said it, they believed it.

Mr. Powell’s masters got the war they wanted, and it soon became apparent that none of his assertions had been true.

Until recently I assumed that the failure to find W.M.D., followed by years of false claims of progress in Iraq, would make a repeat of the snow job that sold the war impossible. But I was wrong. The administration, this time relying on Gen. David Petraeus to play the Colin Powell role, has had remarkable success creating the perception that the "surge" is succeeding, even though there’s not a shred of verifiable evidence to suggest that it is.

Thus Kenneth Pollack of the Brookings Institution -- the author of "The Threatening Storm: The Case for Invading Iraq" -- and his colleague Michael O’Hanlon, another longtime war booster, returned from a Pentagon-guided tour of Iraq and declared that the surge was working. They received enormous media coverage; most of that coverage accepted their ludicrous self-description as critics of the war who have been convinced by new evidence.

A third participant in the same tour, Anthony Cordesman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, reported that unlike his traveling companions, he saw little change in the Iraq situation and "did not see success for the strategy that President Bush announced in January." But neither his dissent nor a courageous rebuttal of Mr. O’Hanlon and Mr. Pollack by seven soldiers actually serving in Iraq, published in The New York Times, received much media attention.

Meanwhile, many news organizations have come out with misleading reports suggesting a sharp drop in U.S. casualties. The reality is that this year, as in previous years, there have been month-to-month fluctuations that tell us little: for example, July 2006 was a low-casualty month, with only 43 U.S. military fatalities, but it was also a month in which the Iraqi situation continued to deteriorate. And so far, every month of 2007 has seen more U.S. military fatalities than the same month in 2006.

What about civilian casualties? The Pentagon says they’re down, but it has neither released its numbers nor explained how they’re calculated. According to a draft report from the Government Accountability Office, which was leaked to the press because officials were afraid the office would be pressured into changing the report’s conclusions, U.S. government agencies "differ" on whether sectarian violence has been reduced. And independent attempts by news agencies to estimate civilian deaths from news reports, hospital records and other sources have not found any significant decline.

Now, there are parts of Baghdad where civilian deaths probably have fallen -- but that’s not necessarily good news. "Some military officers," reports Leila Fadel of McClatchy, "believe that it may be an indication that ethnic cleansing has been completed in many neighborhoods and that there aren’t as many people to kill."

Above all, we should remember that the whole point of the surge was to create space for political progress in Iraq. And neither that leaked G.A.O. report nor the recent National Intelligence Estimate found any political progress worth mentioning. There has been no hint of sectarian reconciliation, and the Iraqi government, according to yet another leaked U.S. government report, is completely riddled with corruption.

But, say the usual suspects, General Petraeus is a fine, upstanding officer who wouldn’t participate in a campaign of deception -- apparently forgetting that they said the same thing about Mr. Powell.

First of all, General Petraeus is now identified with the surge; if it fails, he fails. He has every incentive to find a way to keep it going, in the hope that somehow he can pull off something he can call success.

And General Petraeus’s history also suggests that he is much more of a political, and indeed partisan, animal than his press would have you believe. In particular, six weeks before the 2004 presidential election, General Petraeus published an op-ed article in The Washington Post in which he claimed -- wrongly, of course -- that there had been "tangible progress" in Iraq, and that "momentum has gathered in recent months."

Is it normal for serving military officers to publish articles just before an election that clearly help an incumbent’s campaign? I don’t think so.

So here we go again. It appears that many influential people in this country have learned nothing from the last five years. And those who cannot learn from history are, indeed, doomed to repeat it.
King George: "I Like This Vassal...For Now"

Not exactly a resounding endorsement...nor much of a commitment to democracy (not that genuine democracy has ever been the goal of Operation Do Unto Mesopotamia as Diaper Dave Does to His Pampers):

"[Maliki's] learning to be a leader. And one of my jobs as the president and his ally is to help him be that leader without being patronizing. At some point in time, if I come to the conclusion that he can't be the leader—he's unwilling to lead or he's deceptive—then we'll change course..."

Maliki better hope King George remains pleased with the burnt offerings.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Smear Ink

Oh, and in case anyone wonders, I'm actually not that big a fan of Al Gore...hell, I didn't even vote for him in 2000, although had the Gret Stet been in play, I would have (I dialed Nader's number back then--and, to be fair, I find myself more and more impressed by Gore, perhaps because he no longer seems to worry about tailoring his message, but seems to speak his mind).

That said, this Vanity Fair article (the Esquire masthead is only for historical accuracy) goes a long way in explaining the smug fucktardness of the elite press back then, and probably now as well. After all, the usual assclowns--Kit Seelye, Cici Connolly, Brian Williams, MoDo, the Broder curmudgeon himself--did their best to skewer candidate Gore, and therefore can take some credit for the last six years of public-policy-as-Bush-administration-psychopathy. In other words, the failure of Shrub is in no small part a measure of their failure as journalists.

As for myself, no, I don't think an Al Gore administration would be heaven-on-earth. Shoot, I'd probably criticize his DLC ways as much as I did during the two terms of the Clenis...but, in comparison, at least we'd have a government based on rational decision making, as opposed to lunacy.
The Perfect Accompanyment to the "Mini-Benchmark"

The Mini-Friedman stick.
The "Mini-benchmark"

Requires a micrometer caliper to measure

Wounded wingnuttia truly is a vicious, desperate, cornered beast, mixing and matching absurdities like "mini-benchmarks" in what's really a pitiful attempt to claim the ultimate soft bigotry of low expectation "success" in Mesopotamia, while their fellow mouth breathers continue to spew flat-out lies and bullshit when it comes to the Gulf Coast, the only region in the country where insurance claim payments are considered federal government charity.

Linking the twin failures of Team Bush in Mesopotamia and the US Gulf Coast continues to be valid, in my mind--indeed, it provides a means of at least analyzing what wingnuts consider "logic," and what the rational world calls "batshit insanity."

Besides, the very idea that we can somehow "succeed" by ANY standard in Iraq is absolute bonkers if we can't fix the Gulf Coast. That's like claiming you'll ace advanced calculus after failing basic algebra.

Indeed, the only thing wingnuttia demonstrates ANY grasp of is myth...and the myths get ever more bizarre and convoluted. Hence, Iraq isn't utter wingnut boondoggle stupid, it's Dolchsto├člegende. They're "sick and tired" of "giving New Orleans money," even though the "gift" spans a five states, mostly went towards urgent matters of basic sanitation/hygiene--debris removal/waste haul-away--or to the military for rescue and recovery, which, not to get too cynical or ugly, is also a matter of basic sanitation and hygiene...and then you've got insurance claims.

No, it's free money going to "those people," who are only going to waste it the way "they" always do, on drugs, gambling, whores, etc. (not like good family man David Vitter, who'd...never mind).

The myth of the Mississippi renaissance is also just that--a myth--and there's more than a little bit of racism involved, given that wingnut mythology, for the moment, considers Mississippi to be as white as a magnolia flower. If/when this perception changes, you can count on the perception of the Mississippi miracle to likewise do so.

Yet the same folks insisting on abandoning New Orleans can't spend lives and money fast enough in Iraq, to the point where up to our ears in hock to China in order to pay. Indeed, there's a certain perverse pleasure they take in such spending--despite the fact that it's pretty goddamned clear that the Iraqis don't exactly like us, don't mind killing us, and sure as hell aren't going to become an ally when all is said and done. Kind of like cutting off one's nose to spite one's face...but on massive doses of steroids. Wingnut "logic" in action...
"Danger, Will Robinson"

I mean, jeez, pretty much everything he touches ends up turning to shit...

Potemkin Village Showcase

Almost 4,000 lives, a half trillion dollars...and counting

And the grand prize market in Baghdad:

Nearly every week, American generals and politicians visit Combat Outpost Gator, nestled behind a towering blast wall in the Dora market. They arrive in convoys of armored Humvees, sometimes accompanied by helicopter gunships, to see what U.S. commanders display as proof of the effectiveness of a seven-month-long security offensive, fueled by 30,000 U.S. reinforcements. Gen. David H. Petraeus, the top U.S. military leader in Iraq, frequently cites the market as a sign of progress.

"This is General Petraeus's baby," said Staff Sgt. Josh Campbell, 24, of Winfield, Kan., as he set out on a patrol near the market on a hot evening in mid-August...

Even U.S. soldiers assigned to protect Petraeus's showcase remain skeptical. "Personally, I think it's a false representation," Campbell said, referring to the portrayal of the Dora market as an emblem of the surge's success. "But what can I say? I'm just doing my job and don't ask questions."...

Still, the Dora market is a Potemkin village of sorts. The U.S. military hands out $2,500 grants to shop owners to open or improve their businesses. The military has fixed windows and doors and even helped rebuild shops that had burned down, soldiers and others said.

The article also points out what's apparent after four years plus: American soldiers, properly equipped and on the ground in numbers, are able to hold territory--even in Fallujah, as Charles Boustany gushed about this weekend. However, "control" in this context is illusory: we simply lack the number of troops necessary to secure the entirety of Iraq, as General Shinseki knew in 2003. It's also apparent that when American forces DO leave--and we will, sooner or later, at lesser or greater cost in lives and money--Iraq will NOT be by ANY definition a nation, or nations, inclined favorably towards the United States. Your tax dollars and the lives of your soldiers at work.

Alas, judging from Shrub's latest surprise visit to the region, he STILL thinks the whole operation is some sort of that I think he knows has gone horribly awry, but one that he keeps playing because, well, he's a fucking psychopath who doesn't acknowlege the real consequences of his failure. To him, it's all about holding out until 2009, when blame can be shifted elsewhere.

Hard work.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Chore Day

Well, not entirely--it's nice to sleep in on a Monday, but plenty's on my plate the meantime, I'm sure everyone stopping by has seen this Pravda-Upon-Hudson piece (First Draft linked to it) explaining how it's hard out there for a pimp insurance company...on Saturday, Jane Hamsher showed how they practice the same sleazy tactics when it comes to handling health care claims...

So much for good faith. In George Bush America, civil rights and guarantees seem to apply solely to the fat cats, and everyone else can take a hike. Tom Tancreepo has taken this to even greater heights, as I'm sure you've also seen (check YRHT for the definitive summary)--well, if we can take any comfort, Tancreepo's polling numbers bear a direct ratio to his rhetoric, and his personal character: about as close to zero as statistical data analysis can represent.

Which makes me wonder why media outlets would even give him the time of day, much less offer him airtime or print space. Tancredo and his ilk are the REAL dead enders, devoid of anything approaching rational thought, and surprisingly dimwitted, even by mouth-breather/lizard-brain standards. They might make for a targeted sub-demographic in a Coors Light ad campaign, but they sure as hell don't even come close to speaking for ANY significant number of Americans.

Tom Tancreepo 2008: Mouth-Breathing-Lizard-Brained-Ghouls Unite!

Well, back to chores. See you tomorrow.