Sunday, December 31, 2006

Bush indicates the size of his new plan

which took him hours and hours decidering the words that will explain the strategery of having an overview indicating an understanding that a plan is a good thing to have if you can find one....

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Faces of our soldiers who paid the ultimate sacrifice

to Bush's vanity war.

Update: The name of the 3000th soldier who lost his life at the very end of 2006:
"Spc. Dustin R. Donica, 22, of Spring, Texas, was killed Thursday by small arms fire in Baghdad, the Defense Department said."

The end of 2006

brought us to 3000 soldiers lost to Bush's vanity war.

May 2007 see us bringing our soldiers home.

Update: Juan Cole tells us what we don't see with the 3000.

Rice shows no flair for her job as Secretary of State

"US foreign policy experts said Rice must shoulder much of the blame for the lackluster diplomacy.

"Great secretaries of state have compelling views of the world and/or are effective negotiators -- Secretary Rice has so far demonstrated neither," said Aaron Miller, who advised six secretaries of state before joining the Woodrow Wilson Center think tank in Washington.

Even staunch supporters acknowledge that Rice, weighed down by the failed policy in Iraq, has little that is positive to show for her work so far."

Well...we all know what she shows a flair for:

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keeping the boyking happy...

Right-wingers declare anyone who is not gloating over Saddam's hanging

not an American, not patriotic, and obviously supports terrorism.

Larisa Alexandrovna
at her blog At Largely explains to wingnuts why this logic is faulty:

"Let me help you by explaining that one can oppose executions without supporting the crimes committed of those executed. Wow, hard to digest? I know, inbreeding will shrink your brain, did you know that?

But more importantly, this fringe that is the "enemy within America" just so happens to include the Vatican (hardly left leaning) and a cadre of Conservative voices (also hardly left leaning) who have a myriad of reasons for opposing this execution.

Some people oppose the execution because it was based on a flawed trial. Think about it, Saddam Hussein was a monster, we all know this. So why is it that he was only convicted for 148 deaths dating over 25 years ago? Ask yourself that question. Because if signing a death sentence warns execution, then should President Bush not also stand trial?

Clearly there is a reason why other crimes were not brought up or allowed, at this administrations request, to be introduced.

But you don't want to know facts. You don't even want to know where Osama is (remember him, wanted dead or alive?). What you want is some sort of feeling that you matter and that you are a real American. Unfortunately, real Americans like you, are the reason Saddam came to power to begin with.

Those opposed to the execution are not mourning the death of Saddam. What they are mourning is the loss of our own national conscience. Some are, as I have pointed out, not happy with the farce of a trial in a country to which we are attempting to (so they say) export democracy. Some are not comfortable because of the timing, which just happens to be during a holy time in Muslim religion. Not that you would know this as xenophobes are busy only with flag waving and gay bashing."

Happy New Year!

If you can't remember how to open the bottle, it's time to stop drinking!

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When it is good to have Lone Ranger in your car

Story told by Jay Thomas.

Saturday, December 30, 2006


I don't think so. Looks like the squirrel terrorists are practicing ninja double hidden cobra strike to me!
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Update: Whig sent me a link which will make even the DHS take notice!
"Despite deep-seated mistrust and hostility, the two most powerful groups of tough, inner-city rodents -- squirrels and rats -- have formed an evolutionary alliance to secure their bailiwick of sewers, city parks and other public works, as well as to further encroach upon human territory and food supplies. For the first time in history, squirrels and rats have put aside their differences, deciding to MATE, in order to create a more deadly, hybrid "master" rodent race.

The offspring of the Squirrel / Rat axis, commonly known as "sqrats," have the heavy shag fur of the gray squirrel species, and the huge fangs and slimy long tail of the urban Norway rat. The new creatures have the agility and speed of the squirrel with the brute force of the rat. This gives them the ability to spread pneumonic plagues and other diseases among the human population at an unprecedented rate."

While honoring Ford

Cheney wistfully mentions pardoning:
""It was this man, Gerald R. Ford, who led our republic safely though a crisis that could have turned to catastrophe," said Cheney, speaking in the Capitol Rotunda where Ford's body rested in a flag-draped casket. "Gerald Ford was almost alone in understanding that there can be no healing without pardon."

Strangely, he did not mention resigning in disgrace, breaking the law, or impeachment...

David Limbaugh diced, shredded, and minced.

Sadly No! commences the slaughter with this sentence:
"David “The Other Limbaugh” Limbaugh writes that since Democrats were right about Iraq after all, it means they were actually kind of negative-wrong, which is sort of like being wrong in two directions at once, so therefore the Republicans were right, and we must attack Iran."

It's hard to be a warmonger when all your best efforts end up quagmirish.

Admitting lower scoring applicants to the military

will make for a less effective fighting force:
"The pattern is clear: The higher the score on the aptitude test, the better the performance in the field. This is true for individual soldiers and for units. [...]

Smarter also turns out to be cheaper. One study examined how many Patriot missiles various Army air-defense units had to fire in order to destroy 10 targets. Units with Category I personnel had to fire 20 missiles. Those with Category II had to fire 21 missiles. Category IIIA: 22. Category IIIB: 23. Category IV: 24 missiles. In other words, to perform the same task, Category IV units chewed up 20 percent more hardware than Category I units. For this particular task, since each Patriot missile costs about $2 million, they also chewed up $8 million more of the Army's procurement budget."

But they might not ask so many questions....

Will this webcam beat Cheddarvision for the most boring?

Ghostwatch! Stare at basement door for hours!

Or maybe this one: Loch Ness Monster watch! Remember the time difference because all you get at night is ... dark!

You decide!

Update: Iowa's CornCam (didn't seem to work with Firefox) is also deadly. (via JakSon).

No one is allowed to get ahead of the boy king!

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Via darkblack over at Watertiger's.

A reminder of the outrageousness

we have faced in 2006.

Execution of Saddam

does not stop world from turning. Bush thought execution of Saddam would be an exclamation point rather than a small comma.

Hopeful on Fridays


Crabby the rest of the week like the rest of us, Phila lifts our spirits by listing a few of the wonderful things going on.

Call them what they are: Wahhabis

"First, Wahhabis are known as Wahhabis to most Muslims, including numerous Wahhabis themselves. But because of the Wahhabi history of attacks on non-Wahhabi Muslims, the term "Wahhabi" repels many Muslims. Wahhabis therefore often attempt to recast themselves as "Salafis" for the same reason Communists called themselves "progressives." Americans hated the word "Communist" because of the crimes of the Soviet regime, but associated "progressive" with honorable reformers like Theodore Roosevelt.

"Salafi" is, similarly, a respectable term referring to the original generations of pious Muslim scholars who emerged during and after Muhammad's death--and then to a group of 19th century Islamic reformers who wanted to simplify and modernize their religion. But while the "Salafis" 150 years ago execrated the spiritual Sufis, they did not preach violence.

Although they prefer the "Salafi" cover, Wahhabis throughout the Muslim world refer to themselves by that name when the doctrines of their inspirer are challenged, just as Communists flaunted their affiliations in their own milieu. Still, many Western commentators have adopted the habit of identifying Wahhabis by a palliative name in an effort to be "sensitive."

The Sunni terrorists in Iraq have worked even more linguistic magic on Western media, who have assigned them the title of "insurgents." But too much blood has been shed for Westerners to continue flattering Muslim extremists in this manner.

The Sunni murderers in Iraq are terrorists, not insurgents.

And they are Wahhabis, backed by Saudi Arabia, not pious "Salafis."

As George Orwell knew, the beginning of wisdom is to call things by their real names."

Put down that can of soda and back away slowly!

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"Drinking one soda a day could cause you to gain 15 pounds a year. Other related health risks include type 2 diabetes, heart disease, bowel cancer and nerve damage."

So now, what will be the next story they tell us to keep us over here?

I think they're wising up....

A sister speaks about what her brother is fighting for

"Here is what my brother, a member of the Army National Guard, told me as he prepared to serve in Iraq this year:

The difference between a democracy and a dictatorship is who controls the armed forces. Civilian command of the Army is a cornerstone of our democratic system.

My brother told me that he takes his oath to defend the Constitution seriously and that he will fight and die if necessary to honor his commitment. When I asked him if he would be offended if I participated in activities opposing the war, he replied that it was not only my right but my obligation, and the obligation of all civilians opposing this war, to try to change bad policy. "Give us good wars to fight," he said."
"Victory being out of the question at this point, the only democracy my brother is fighting for in Iraq is our democracy. The only constitution he is in Iraq fighting to defend is our Constitution. If my brother dies, it will not be for a mistake but rather because of his deeply held belief that the time it takes us as a people to figure out through democratic processes that we are wrong is more important than his own life.

This places upon us an obligation. My brother and other service members living and dead have given us the sacred responsibility to use the democratic means we have at hand to bring judgment to bear on whether any given war is worth our soldiers' lives."
"What are you, fellow citizens, willing to do to defend our Constitution? Will you dignify the sacrifices of our soldiers? Will you honor my brother's faith in our system? Will you let my brother or others die to eke out a slightly smaller disaster in Iraq? These are the questions we face in the wake of the Baker-Hamilton report.

My brother is betting his life that you are not going to ask this of him. He has placed his trust in the idea that we will not ask him to die for anything less than the necessary defense of our democracy. Reasonable people may at one time have disagreed about the necessity of the Iraq war, but now that it has become abundantly clear from every quarter that we cannot win, will you be responsible for asking my brother to stay?

My family begs of you: Do not ask this of him. Do not ask this of us. My brother is doing his constitutional duty. Now it is time for us to do ours."

Afghanistan, Iraq, and now Somalia?

(my bold)
"....this brazen US-sponsored bid to topple the popular Islamists who had brought Somalia its first peace and security in 16 years has already begun to backfire. Looting has forced the transitional government to declare a state of emergency. Clan warlords, who had terrorised Somalia until they were driven out by the Islamists this year, have begun carving up the city once again. And the African Union, which helped create the transitional government, has called for the immediate withdrawal of Ethiopian forces from the country, as did Kenya, a close US and Ethiopian ally.

They had little choice: the invasion was a clear violation of international law and a UN security council resolution, which the US itself pushed through earlier this month, that explicitly forbade troops from any neighbouring country from joining even the new peace-keeping force it authorised for Somalia. That still did not prevent the Bush administration from issuing a strong statement of support for the Ethiopian offensive.

As with Iraq in 2003, the US has cast this as a war to curtail terrorism. The real goal of course is to gain a direct foothold in another highly strategic and oil rich region by installing a client regime in Somalia. The US had already been violating the UN arms embargo on Somalia by supporting the warlords who drove out the UN peace-keepers in 1993 by killing 18 US soldiers, in order to push out the Islamists. That effort failed and an Ethiopian invasion remained the only way to oust a group with popular support. All independent experts warned against such a war, saying it would destabilise the region."

Oh, well then. Cheney is really feeling the pressure. Only two more years of utterly corrupt power and so much to do, he's gotta move fast.

Update: Moonbootica has more.

The best and the worst of public policy in 2006

Don't snort, there was actually some good that happened in 2006.... all of it blocking the Bush administration's actions.

And then, of course, some of the worst.

Ted Rall

travels through Central Asia.

December the deadliest month of 2006 in Iraq

For both the US and Iraqis.

Just curious, does the hanging of Hussein go in the Iraqi column or in the apparently uncounted evildoer column? Bush apparently thinks killing Saddam makes the war all worthwhile....

CNN asks the question:
Will Saddam Hussein's hanging help bring stability to Iraq?

A dangerous chess game of power and oil

goes on in the shadows between kings and henchmen, yet it affects us all. (Mangled snips of article follow:)

"M K Bhadrakumar served as a career diplomat in the Indian Foreign Service for more than 29 years, with postings including ambassador to Uzbekistan (1995-98) and to Turkey (1998-2001)."

"The year 2006 has thus made it clear that the US is unlikely to become a single dominant power in Central Asia. Simply put, Russia and China have together put up the SCO dikes delimiting the US influence in the region, which will be difficult for Washington to breach for the foreseeable future. During the year, by and large Washington has vainly exhausted its energies in attempts to create misunderstandings between Russia and China and in pitting one SCO member state against another.

The heart of the matter is that apart from the bleeding wounds in Iraq and Afghanistan, which remain a major distraction for US diplomacy worldwide, US policy in Central Asia is seriously handicapped in two other respects.

First, the United States' complete loss of influence in Tashkent after the Andizhan mishap in May 2005 is cramping overall US diplomacy in the region.


“In a similar fashion, but in an even more fundamental sense, US diplomacy in Central Asia is seriously hobbled by Washington's alienation from Iran.


“But failures may often hold the key to success. In a way, the current failures in regional policy may open a window of opportunity for the US in the period ahead. The point is: Without the glue of a serious US geopolitical challenge to bind them together into undertaking collective countermeasures, can the Sino-Russian condominium hold together in Central Asia for long? It is apparent that divergences have already appeared in the respective Chinese and Russian interests in Central Asia.”


“Without doubt, a palpable sense of urgency is already apparent in US thinking to the effect that the Chinese-Russian strategic partnership poses a serious threat to the United States' geopolitical position in Central Asia, and second, that China is actively remaking Central Asia's order. Last September, the US Congress held a special hearing titled "The Shanghai Cooperation Organization: Is it Undermining US Interests in Central Asia?"


“The struggle over control of oil and gas and their transportation routes is bound to intensify in 2007. It will remain central to the geopolitics of Central Asia. In turn, pipeline politics in the Caspian can be expected to produce strange bedfellows.

Already, geopolitical circumstances in the Caspian Basin have led to a sharp deterioration in Russia-Azerbaijan relations. Again, despite all the wooing of Kazakhstan by Washington, the indefinite postponement of the Odessa-Brody pipeline project last week has stemmed from Kazakhstan having to be mindful of Russian sensitivities.

Least of all, Iran remains the wild card in the pack. Depending on which way the Iran nuclear issue develops in 2007, Iran can impact on the energy map of China, Central Asia, the Caspian, the Caucasus, Russia and Europe - and, conceivably, the United States itself.”


Booman walks us through the process:
"It is my belief that once the GOP agrees that Bush and Cheney are too big of a foreign policy liability to remain in office that evidence can by produced that directly contradicts Bush and Cheney's representations, and calls their truthfulness and law-abidingness into such question that impeachment will not be a political liability for anyone. For one example, the NSA could leak evidence that clearly shows they have been spying without warrants on American phone calls, and that it had nothing to do with, or was not significantly limited to suspected terrorists. I admit that that belief of mine is largely one of faith. But I have a high degree of confidence in my hunch.

Impeachment is a tool for removing executive officers that are not fit to remain in office, for any reason. If Bush refused to show up for work he could be impeached for it. If he became incapacitated, he could be impeached for it. In this case, he has lost the ability to lead, he is showing dangerous psychological tendencies, and the country can't wait for a functioning presidency until his term of office is up. In this situation, the duty of the Congress is to replace him. And since Cheney has all the same problems and is showing all the same tendecies, Congress must take radical and unprecedented steps.

However, having said that, the actual articles of impeachment must have more legal basis than asserting the President has lost his credibility and is pursuing bad policies.

We will see what oversight turns up. The important thing to remember here is that we are not going to convince 18 Republicans to impeach the President AND the Vice-President over upholding the rule of law (barring really damning revelations). We are going to convince them on two wholly practical considerations:

1) Bush and Cheney are incapable of directing our foreign policy and not acting responsibly as commanders-in-chief.
2) Bush and Cheney are destroying the GOP brand and hurting the party's future political prospects.

These two facts, and they are increasingly accepted by Republicans (at least quietly) as facts, form the basis for a consensus.

It is not about revenge or gaining political power or, ultimately, the rule of law. It's about doing what is absolutely critical for the well being of the country."

Holy Crap! Josh Marshall proves the pen is mightier than the sword

leaving no warmongering cheerleader standing:

"The Iraq War has been many things, but for its prime promoters and cheerleaders and now-dwindling body of defenders, the war and all its ideological and literary trappings have always been an exercise in moral-historical dress-up for a crew of folks whose times aren't grand enough to live up to their own self-regard and whose imaginations are great enough to make up the difference. This is just more play-acting.

These jokers are being dragged kicking and screaming to the realization that the whole thing's a mess and that they're going to be remembered for it -- defined by it -- for decades and centuries. But before we go, we can hang Saddam. Quite a bit of this was about the president's issues with his dad and the hang-ups he had about finishing Saddam off -- so before we go, we can hang the guy as some big cosmic 'So There!'

Marx might say that this was not tragedy but farce. But I think we need to get way beyond options one and two even to get close to this one -- claptrap justice meted out to the former dictator in some puffed-up act of self-justification as the country itself collapses in the hands of the occupying army.

Marty Peretz, with some sort of projection, calls any attempt to rain on this parade "prissy and finicky." Myself, I just find it embarrassing. This is what we're reduced to, what the president has reduced us to. This is the best we can do. Hang Saddam Hussein because there's nothing else this president can get right.

What do you figure this farce will look like 10, 30 or 50 years down the road? A signal of American power or weakness?"

Friday, December 29, 2006

The Big Surge leaves soldiers unimpressed.

"Sgt. Justin Thompson, a San Antonio native, said he signed up for delayed enlistment before the Sept. 11 terror attacks, then was forced to go to a war he didn't agree with.

A troop surge is "not going to stop the hatred between Shia and Sunni," said Thompson, who is especially bitter because his 4-year contract was involuntarily extended in June. "This is a civil war, and we're just making things worse. We're losing. I'm not afraid to say it.""

How much loot did the stores make this Christmas?

Apparently we aren't greedy enough, we're shopping online, and we like gift cards too much:

"ShopperTrak RCT Corp., which tracks total sales at more than 45,000 retail outlets, reported that sales for the week ended Saturday increased 5.2 percent over the year-ago period. Foot traffic fell a slight 1.3 percent during that same period, indicating that shoppers were making bigger purchases with fewer trips, according to Bill Martin, co-founder of ShopperTrak.Much of last week’s strength was from Friday and Saturday,though the finale wasn’t as strong as hoped for. As a result, Martin believes that total holiday sales will probably not meet the 5 percent growth forecast, though holiday sales growth will be at least 4.5 percent."

Just a note, the stores make a lot of money off of gift cards that are never redeemed, or partially used. I just used my Barnes and Noble card, leaving only $1.53 left on the card. The clerk could not give me the remainder in cash. The stores count on many people tossing the card, not caring to worry about every penny.

Our last year in Iraq

says Steve Gilliard:
"The US Army is close to collapse. Four tours borders on being assigned to punishment battalions. How many times can you send a man to die and expect him to come home alive? What happens to his family, his life? Not much except a divorce and years of counselling. Recruiters are now telling the most ridiculous lies to teenagers to get them to the Sandbox.

The 109th Congress may be the worst Congress in American history. And that would take some doing. They failed their reposnibilties as a legislative body to find out the truth of our war in Iraq. They chose party over duty at every turn.

The 110th Congress will do no such thing. Just asking basic questions about the conduct of the war will expose it's failure.

While Lieberman thinks our army is made up of automations, the reality is that it is crumbling before our eyes. How many men have gone UA? How many are in Canada now? We don't know and the Army doesn't want to find out. How many men have been chaptered out after a combat tour or two?

The destruction of the Army is slow, but visible. Death penalty murder trials, declining enlistment rates, divorce rates climbing. Reporters are just now asking these questions. What happens next. When is some happy talk colonel embarassed because his grunts have to gun down Iraqi soldiers drawing down on them or refuse one more pointless patrol.

We're coming fast towards 1970 and the Army which stopped fighting. Humans can only take so much. The people who have enlisted have gone above and beyond what is expected of them. But that cannot continue. Bush's war will come to an end. When is no longer the issue. The only question is how."

Warmongering 101

"The only lessons that are valid for Iraq are the ones that we learned in Iraq:

1) We never should have gone there in the first place.

2) There's not much we can do, short of leaving, that will make it better."

Also: The reporting did not cause us to lose in Iraq:
"But bad news doesn't lose wars. Losing wars creates bad news."

Ya mean hanging Saddam didn't fix Iraq?

Whaddya mean I gots more work ta do? I just gave three hours to this shit!

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(Hijacked pic from Watertiger).

If it's not squirrels, it's turtles!

"Unfortunately, there was no one else around to blame. A hungry turtle who munched on Brussels sprouts managed to create big enough bubbles with his flatulence that it actually set off the fire alarm at the Sea Life Center in Weymonth in the UK. The flatulence was strong enough to set off the sensors throughout the aquarium, according to Marine Biologist Sarah Leaney.

When Leany raced to the aquarium, she thought it odd to find the place relatively calm and quiet. According to the Daily Record, she says: "When I got there, all seemed fine. I looked at the tube containing the sensor and saw a turtle beneath it. As I watched, a few large bubbles emerged from beneath him and rose to the surface next to the tube."

"I realized what must have happened. We like to give all our animals a treat at Christmas and sprouts are a really healthy choice for sea turtles. But they do produce similar side-effects to those experienced by humans who eat too many sprouts." "

It's a deep hole and it took a long time to get that way....

"Grand Canyon National Park is not permitted to give an official estimate of the geologic age of its principal feature, due to pressure from Bush administration appointees. Despite promising a prompt review of its approval for a book claiming the Grand Canyon was created by Noah’s flood rather than by geologic forces, more than three years later no review has ever been done and the book remains on sale at the park.” "

Baghdad Burning posts again!

Via NTodd, Riverbend speaks:
"This last year especially has been a turning point. Nearly every Iraqi has lost so much. So much. There's no way to describe the loss we've experienced with this war and occupation. There are no words to relay the feelings that come with the knowledge that daily almost 40 corpses are found in different states of decay and mutilation. There is no compensation for the dense, black cloud of fear that hangs over the head of every Iraqi. Fear of things so out of ones hands, it borders on the ridiculous- like whether your name is 'too Sunni' or 'too Shia'. Fear of the larger things- like the Americans in the tank, the police patrolling your area in black bandanas and green banners, and the Iraqi soldiers wearing black masks at the checkpoint.

Again, I can't help but ask myself why this was all done? What was the point of breaking Iraq so that it was beyond repair? Iran seems to be the only gainer. Their presence in Iraq is so well-established, publicly criticizing a cleric or ayatollah verges on suicide. Has the situation gone so beyond America that it is now irretrievable? Or was this a part of the plan all along? My head aches just posing the questions."

Who is going to tell her our preznit is giving it all he's got and had a hard thought for three hours today to think of a ... you know... actual plan? That nothing that has happened in Iraq was on their Plan A list so they didn't know what to do? That destroying a functioning country's infrastructure was the fun part and somebody else will have the hard job to clean up the mess? That Iran is next? Who is going to tell her that Bush is indifferent to the agony he's caused, the terror he's produced, the horror he's let free?

That there was no real reason?

The most boring webcam ever?

Bryan wins points for this one:
Cheddarvision! Up close! Watch cheese dry! It's really ... really ... boring...

The gauntlet has been thrown, the challenge is clear! I must find a more boring webcam than this!

Holy Joe supports the Big Surge

Lieberman, (who starts his article by invoking 9/11 just like Bush always does, even though 9/11 had nothing to do with the quagmire we voluntarily walked into, Joe):
"In Iraq today we have a responsibility to do what is strategically and morally right for our nation over the long term -- not what appears easier in the short term. The daily scenes of death and destruction are heartbreaking and infuriating. But there is no better strategic and moral alternative for America than standing with the moderate Iraqis until the country is stable and they can take over their security. Rather than engaging in hand-wringing, carping or calls for withdrawal, we must summon the vision, will and courage to take the difficult and decisive steps needed for success and, yes, victory in Iraq. That will greatly advance the cause of moderation and freedom throughout the Middle East and protect our security at home."

Ok, Joe. We send more troops like we did this last summer (which gained absolutely nothing, remember?) Then what? Go on aimless patrols? Stand around? Attack something, anything even if it inflames the factions? Which side? Here are some really simple Cliff Notes of the war: The Saudis who are our 'friends' are Sunni. The Iranians are Shia. We have indicated we don't like Sadr. But we need the Shia to support al-Maliki. So we throw in with Iran and piss off Saudi Arabia who indicates they will support the Sunni. Iran and Saudi Arabia are eyeing each other. You have an solution for this horrific tangle, Joe? What? (/grabs shirt collar and shakes) What is the plan?

And just a reminder....people who start wars usually have a plan BEFORE they start, you know.

Sinfonian says it better.

Three hours work is a long time

when you are vacationing.

People are being ripped apart and dying brutally while you scratch your head, Georgie. Can you think a little FASTER?

Thursday, December 28, 2006

What is the hurry?

Saddam could hang as soon as this week:
"There are reports that the U.S. military will hand over Saddam Hussein to the Iraqi government for execution within 36 hours.

Sources say the former Iraqi dictator's execution by hanging could come as early as this week; which is consistent with what an unnamed Iraqi official told the Associated Foreign Press, "We will not waste time. We will look at the security situation and [Saddam and his convicted co-defendants] will be executed immediately at the very first opportunity we get after the appeals chamber finalizes the verdicts.""

Unless it's to hide something like this.... maybe we never captured Saddam Hussein:

"The outcome of their meeting turned out to be quite scandalous. Sajina claims that the person she encountered was not her husband, but his double. If someone were to say for sure that it was not insinuation, it would have been easy to believe the wife with a 25-year experience. It is also possible to assume that Saddam has simply changed since the day of his sons' deaths, June 24 2003. This however is highly unlikely. In case we believe Hussein’s wife, all DNA testing of the ex-Iraqi leader should be considered a mere fake. Overall, today there remain more questions then there are answers.

On the other hand however, those statements of Hussein's wife can in fact be quite understandable. After all, this is the easiest way to demoralize an enemy."

Maybe he and Kenneth Lay are hanging out in Paraguay....

Canada is attacking

"A giant ice shelf the size of 11,000 football fields has snapped free from Canada's Arctic, scientists said. The mass of ice broke clear 16 months ago from the coast of Ellesmere Island, about 497 miles south of the North Pole, but no one was present to see it in Canada's remote north. Scientists using satellite images later noticed that it became a newly formed ice island in just an hour and left a trail of icy boulders floating in its wake."

China now owns its weather and it is a state secret.

Those are not clouds, you have not seen anything....

A massive waste of time

Shake the snowglobe.

I'd better go clean up my backyard....

"Google and Microsoft are racing to provide computer users with a virtual world tour. Who will be the first to offer its readers a 3-D map of the globe?"
"Keyhole combined satellite photographs to create a radically new view of the planet. Now anyone can enjoy aerial views of any corner of the world from their home computer. The software has so far been downloaded more than 100 million times.

An entire "geoculture" has arisen around the new Keyhole technology. Google Earth fans have created a blog listing the coordinates of the Seven Wonders of the World. Others have created sites where famous expeditions like that of Antarctic pioneer Ernest Shackleton can be followed precisely. And huge archives with city views linked to Google Earth maps are being built on the photo website "Flickr." "When I recently traveled to Berlin for a conference," says Hanke, "I planned my walks on the basis of the images on Flickr."

Hanke, a family man, is proud of what he has initiated. The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) no longer publishes its reports on the hot spots of environmental damage in book form, he points out. UNEP has opted for an electronic format based on cartography provided by Google Earth.

The Internet community will help expand Google Earth to provide three-dimensional images. Anyone interested in participating will be provided with a program known as "Sketch-Up," which makes views of houses and streets look three-dimensional."
"No one knows which system will win in the end. The approach chosen by Microsoft still has weaknesses, for example when it tries to render overlapping buildings as seen from above. Google Earth, of course, has to make sure its users survey their cities as completely as possible, rather than focusing on landmark sites like the Eiffel Tower."

The Big Surge

is really escalation.

U.A.E. to sell dollars for euros

um.... this is not good.
"The Gulf state is among oil producers, including Iran, Venezuela and Indonesia, looking to shift their currency reserves into euros or sell their oil, which is now priced in dollars, for euros. The total value of the reserves held by the U.A.E. is $24.9 billion, Suwaidi said.

The dollar has fallen more than 10 percent this year against the euro.

Part of the reason for the decline is the outlook for slower U.S. growth, which makes the dollar a less attractive investment.

But fears that the dollar's level is unsustainable because of the heavy indebtedness of the United States to other countries is also behind the weakness this year, analysts said.

The shift to euros underscores its growing role as a reserve currency nearly eight years after its establishment. Central banks often keep the details about their currency holdings a secret."

I bet Bush thinks this is the reason:
"Almost all euro bank notes have traces of cocaine, according to a study by German scientists."

How many of us

can look at this photo and think Bush realizes he's the cause of this man's anguish and ultimate death?

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Unforeseen invasion of nude Santas

is flooding over our borders.

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And Bush's mighty manly macho Wall of Insanity along the border cannot stop them! What will we do?

So everybody in California needs two snakes?

"China has come up with an earthquake prediction system which relies on the behavior of snakes, state media said Thursday, two days after two quakes struck off neighboring Taiwan.
Jiang said snakes, a popular restaurant dish in the south in the winter, could sense an earthquake from 120 km (70 miles) away, three to five days before it happens. They respond by behaving strangely.

"When an earthquake is about to occur, snakes will move out of their nests, even in the cold of winter," Jiang was quoted as saying.

"If the earthquake is a big one, the snakes will even smash into walls while trying to escape."

Maybe the snakes just don't want to be EATEN!

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Gates not on the same page as Dear Leader?

Josh Marshall:
"Gates lacking the urge to surge? This is interesting. In yesterday's New York Sun, Eli Lake reports that Sec Def Robert Gates is actually quietly opposing President Bush's plan to escalate the conflict by adding 30,000 to 50,000 more troops to crush the Mahdi Army and other Shi'a militias in and around Baghdad."

Update: Via Atrios and Editor&Publisher, AP says the soldiers aren't too hot on it either.

Sinfonian has more.

I thought the salmon tasted funny...

"Researchers at the University of Washington say all that holiday baking and eating has an environmental impact — Puget Sound is being flavored by cinnamon and vanilla."

How to cure hiccups

Robert Stein tells us:
"In this season of eating too fast and drinking too much, both of which may bring on hiccups, herewith Dr. Travell’s little-known but, in my experience, absolutely effective cure:

There is a small flap at the back of the upper palate called the uvula. Pressing the end of a butter knife or spoon handle firmly against it for three seconds or more will make the spasms stop. The only problem is to keep the hiccupper calm enough to avoid gagging.

In dozens of attempts with friends and family, I found it worked every time. As a magazine editor, I ran a brief item, and scores of readers confirmed that it did.

This hiccup treatment may also stop snoring, if you have the nerve to wake someone and try."

Um.... I think I'll pass on that last suggestion unless I really want to be beaten to death with a spoon....

Boring ol' President Al Gore

I'm positive would have done something very much like this.

It makes my teeth hurt.

I forgot about this manly mighty surge we did last summer

until Firedoglake reminded us:
"It was called "Operation Together Forward". Remember that old wheeze? It was the military operation whose name was so wretched that I assumed it could only have been named by Democrats. And it was an absolute fucking failure.

The plan was announced on 14 June 2006 by the then-recently installed Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, and intended to increase security conditions in Baghdad through instituting major new measures. Operation Together Forward was planned as an operation to be led primarily by Iraqis but with Coalition support and would put about 70,000 security forces on the streets of Baghdad.

70,000 troops didn't get the job done in the summer, so what makes BushCo think that an additional 15,000 to 30,000 now is going to be able to accomplish what they couldn't? This is delusional claptrap. It's bullshit of the first water."

And police say getting involved in domestic disputes is dangerous...

Via Rising Hegemon, The New York Times:
"“I have come to the conclusion that this is no longer America’s war in Iraq, but the Iraqi civil war where America is fighting,” Major Voorhies said."

The vast right-wing conspiracy

is filled with those who have obscene amounts of money to spend.

Feeling queasy?

Thank a Republican. Rep. Doolittle in fact.

"Last year, for instance, California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein secured a $1 million earmark in a Senate funding bill to establish a Western Center for Food Safety and Defense at UC-Davis. It would have been the first FDA-affiliated center of its kind on the West Coast.

"(It) will play an important role in identifying potential threats and finding solutions to ensure the security of our food supply," Feinstein said at the time.

But when congressional negotiators met to craft a final spending bill, according to sources familiar with the sessions, the proposed UC-Davis food safety center lacked the support of Rep. John Doolittle, R-Calif., a conservative member of the House GOP leadership. The money was dropped."

A continuing series on food poisoning and indifferent processing by Republicans.

"FDA believes ''that meat and milk from cattle, swine and goat clones is as safe to eat as the food we eat every day,'' said Stephen F. Sundlof, director of the FDA Center for Veterinary Medicine.

Officials said they don't think special labels are needed, although a decision on labeling is pending.

Because scientists concluded there is no difference between food from clones and food from other animals, ''it would be unlikely that FDA would require labeling in those cases,'' Sundlof said.

Final approval is still months away; the agency will accept comments from the public for the next three months."

Hiding withing a maze of bureaucracy, I found this. But I'm not sure if I can type in: ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME? and have anyone pay attention....

Oh NO! More Squirrels!

Terrorists! Squirrels! OMG!

"Austin, TX (AHN) - The reason behind a large number of power failures in Texas is not storms, thunder or rain. To the surprise of many people, it is the seemingly harmless squirrel. According to a report from the Austin Energy power company in Texas, almost 20 percent of all its power outages are caused by squirrels.

The news, published in the Austin American-Statesman, says that the squirrels apparently come into contact with sensitive electrical equipment on utility poles, which can cause 700 area outages a year.

According to Austin Energy supervisor Karl Hauer, "He's a formidable foe. Ask anyone who has been stuck in traffic or left in the dark because of a squirrel."

Austin Energy is reportedly spending more than $100,000 annually to install deterrents on equipment to keep the animals at bay.

However, many Texans say that the power companies are just making excuses by blaming their faults on squirrels."

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Is anyone paying attention to this nefarious perfidy? ... Or do I mean perfidious nefariousness?

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Big surge right into Iran....

Will Bush's manly macho muscly big surge of mightiness in Iraq accidentally on purpose coincide with an oh-so-convenient attack on one of our oddly positioned warships mooning the Iranian coast? (I am very proud of this sentence.)

"Senior American officers said the increase in naval power should not be viewed as preparations for any offensive strike against Iran. But they acknowledged that the ability to hit Iran would be increased and that Iranian leaders might well call the growing presence provocative. One purpose of the deployment, they said, is to make clear that the focus on ground troops in Iraq has not made it impossible for the United States and its allies to maintain a military watch on Iran. That would also reassure Washington’s allies in the region who are concerned about Iran’s intentions.

The officials said the planned growth in naval power in the gulf and surrounding waters would be useful in enforcing any sanctions that the United Nations might impose as part of Washington’s strategy to punish Iran for what it sees as ambitions to acquire nuclear weapons. And the buildup would address another concern: that Iran could try to block oil shipments from the gulf in retaliation for United Nations sanctions or other American-led pressure.

Steps are already being taken to increase the number of minesweeping vessels and magnetic “sleds” carried by helicopters to improve the ability to counter Iranian mines that could block oil-shipping lanes, Pentagon and military officials said."

Then the grim yet resolute face of our Dear Leader will appear on our tv screens to inform us we are now at war with Iran....which is what his neocons friends have been aiming for all along:

"Yet there is little doubt that these same neoconservatives still exert the greatest influence on the thinking of our current President, and the more decorated among them still command great respect from our nation's media stars. They are as bloodthirsty as they are detached from reality, as amoral as they are radical, and it is long past the time that just a fraction of the scorn that they so plainly merit be heaped upon them.

The immediate proximate cause prompting this observation is this most repellent article in the leading neoconservative magazine, Commentary, by Arthur Herman, a History Professor at George Mason University. The article, entitled Getting Serious About Iran – a Military Option, is an all-out demand that war with Iran commence as soon as possible, and it offers a detailed plan for how the war should be executed."

I got this email from a friend whose neighbor's son's wife had an uncle who knew the guy who sat next to this guy....

This Marine says they are winning in Iraq! Really! Ignore the 2005 postmark!

With all of the Ford remembrances

there is this horror to contemplate.

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Update: But we do have this:
"In a four-hour conversation at his house in Beaver Creek, Colo., Ford "very strongly" disagreed with the current president's justifications for invading Iraq and said he would have pushed alternatives, such as sanctions, much more vigorously. In the tape-recorded interview, Ford was critical not only of Bush but also of Vice President Cheney -- Ford's White House chief of staff -- and then-Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, who served as Ford's chief of staff and then his Pentagon chief.

"Rumsfeld and Cheney and the president made a big mistake in justifying going into the war in Iraq. They put the emphasis on weapons of mass destruction," Ford said. "And now, I've never publicly said I thought they made a mistake, but I felt very strongly it was an error in how they should justify what they were going to do.""

Cloned animals make excellent meat!

And anyone who says different is lying!

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

President Ford is dead.

Preznit Bush eagerly looks forward to speechifying at Ford's funeral. This has to be good for Republicans.... to remind the country what real conservatives believed in to remind people what a Republican in the highest office of the land should act like...uh ... no.... AH!! to show that Dubya didn't fall down as much as Ford did!!

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Saddam must hang in 30 days

the Iraqi courts have spoken! As well as this wise old Iraqi man....

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All you ever need to know about the aptly named Max Boot

is that he's effing insane.

"A few years ago, in the wake of 911 when achieving the American Empire looked like somewhat less actual work than it does today, Max penned the most famous Boot-ism ever: "Afghanistan and other troubled lands today cry out for the sort of enlightened foreign administration once provided by self-confident Englishmen in jodhpurs and pith helmets." Now, though, Boot despairs that the U.S is capable of generating sufficient troops from within our own borders to carry out that mission.

What happened was that instead of enlightened foreign administration, we got Iraq Proconsul Jerry Bremer in a business suit and desert boots, running satchels full of large, unmarked bills from the Oval Office to the Green Zone. It's a far cry from even the tailings of the original. And the administration's astounding series of screwups in that country has led to a situation in which Army recruiters are struggling to meet their quotas in every demographic. Max is now so discouraged by the scuffs on his boots and the dust on his jodhpurs and the stains on his once-pristine pith helmet sweatband that he proposes a wholesale redistribution of particular burdens.

"Some experts are already starting to wonder whether the war on terrorism might break the all-volunteer military. But because reinstating the draft isn't a serious option (the House defeated a symbolic draft bill last year, 402 to 2), some outside-the-box thinking is needed to fill up the ranks. In this regard, I note that there is a pretty big pool of manpower that's not being tapped: everyone on the planet who is not a U.S. citizen or permanent resident."

In other words, pith on it: let's hire out the grunt work. We need another right hefty chunk of troops to spread democracy, and Max knows just where to find them.

What he proposes is the establishment of The Freedom Legion, a force to be recruited from among legal and illegal US resident non-citizens as well as through "recruiting stations from Budapest to Bangkok, Cape Town to Cairo, Montreal to Mexico City."

"The simplest thing to do would be to sign up foreigners for the regular U.S. military, but it would also make sense to create a unit whose enlisted ranks would be composed entirely of non-Americans, led by U.S. officers and NCOs.""

Via Atrios, BTC:

"Recruiting from among our own citizens and legal residents is tres expensive. The Congressional Budget office estimated a few years ago that adding 20,000 troops to the Army would cost $100 billion in the first five years and $10 billion annually after that, which numbers you can mulitply to account for many more troops and the difficulty of training and commanding a corps of soldiers for whom English might be a second, third or unknown language.

While we probably can find any number of willing recruits overseas, we might possibly encounter some resistance from local populations who hold both our government and its various military adventures in less than high regard, and from governments that may balk at the idea of US military training for those among their own citizenry who might eventually return to use that training against those governments. So, to the expense of recruiting, training, maintaining and commanding the Freedom Legion you can add that of protecting the recruiters and recruits in the far-flung lands we attempt to mine, exhaustively screening recruits to forestall the inevitable attempts to obtain the best military training in the world by people who wish us ill, and bribing the host governments into allowing us to do this.

Beyond the practical difficulties, which would be enough to scuttle the plan in any sane country, recruiting abroad would indelibly stamp the United States as an empire in official thought and deed. Boot thinks that’s a fine idea; one of his favorite Kipling quotes is “Ye dare not stoop to less,” from, appropriately, The White Man’s Burden. He once said of the US imperative to take up that burden that “Afghanistan and other troubled lands today cry out for the sort of enlightened foreign administration once provided by self-confident Englishmen in jodhpurs and pith helmets.”

And that, really, is all you need know about Max Boot and his ideas of what’s good for this country."

A soldier with three tours in Iraq

speaks his mind.

How surprising!

"The Iraqi government is considering a new oil law that could give private oil companies greater control over its vast reserves. In light of rampant violence and shaky democratic institutions, many fear the law is being pushed through hastily by special interests behind closed doors."
"Oil, of course, can be politically explosive at the best of times, let alone the worst. So, when the country with the third largest oil reserves in the world debates the future of its endowment during a time of civil war, people sit up and take notice.

The Iraqi government is working on a new hydrocarbons law that will set the course for the country's oil sector and determine where its vast revenues will flow. The consequences for such a law in such a state are huge. Not only could it determine the future shape of the Iraqi federation -- as regional governments battle with Baghdad's central authority over rights to the riches -- but it could put much of Iraqi oil into the hands of foreign oil companies."

(My bold)

Update: Thanks to Tengrain's comment, I did research on the ISG's recommendations for Iraq and its oil. Sure enough:

"In other words, the United States will transform its military occupation into a management occupation.

We would help the Iraqis set up this new oil industry, and in turn--well...this is obvious--the United States would become customer "numero uno" to this new oil industry. We teach the Iraqis how to use corporations to turn oil reserves into billionaires, and a few close friends of the Bush family get to call the new Iraqi oil tycoons "cousin"--just like Saudi Arabia."


"And hence, whereas the Neo-Cons saw themselves as creating an free market garden of eden that would transform Iraq, the Middle East and the world, the ISG has proposed creating an oil nationalism that would transform Iraq, the oil tycoons of Texas and Saudi Arabia, and the oil tycoons of the world (who mostly live in Texas and Saudi Arabia).

Saudi Arabia 2.0 is what we would get: an oil nation run by immoral princes with special relationships to oil conglomerates in the U.S."

And here:
"In other words open it up to Western Big Oil companies. No nationalization, let the companies make the profits."

Why the Big Surge will not be the mighty thrust

that Bush hopes it will be.
that Bush dreams it will be.

"To be brief, the decision to not engage Iran and Syria will likely have much bigger consequences than we may currently know. Not only in the short term, but over the course of years as the potential for rebuilding relationships and trying to work together in stabilizing (sort of) the region is passing us by. And yes, we can say how this is the “grand plan” of Bush and the neocons, but that really isn’t the point here.

With respect to an escalation in Iraq, there is only disaster written all over that. The blowback against our troops in Iraq, troops in the region, and the potential for retaliatory attacks here in the US is enormous (look no further than what is going on in the UK as proof). There could easily be another 50,000 – 100,000 Iraqi civilian casualties in a short period of time if there is a focus on Sadr City and al Sadr’s militia. Attacks would increase against our troops, and our overall military would suffer greatly in the long run as well."

Update: Madison Guy
over at Letter From Here blog compares Baghdad to Stalingrad, quoting from the Miami Herald:
"A major buildup would commit the U.S. Army and Marine Corps to decisive combat in which there would be no more strategic reserves to be sent to the front. As Marine Corps Commandant Gen. James Conway pointed out Monday, "If you commit your reserve for something other than a decisive win, or to stave off defeat, then you have essentially shot your bolt.""

Can you imagine Bush saying anything like this?

"An error doesn't become a mistake until you refuse to correct it." President Kennedy.

Could the Big Surge have anything to do with this?

The White House lawyers up in reaction to the Democrats' November victory.

It was here just a moment ago....

10,000 people used to live on this island that now is underwater.

General Casey flip flops

in support of Bush's manly macho muscly Big Surge.

Shorter Kristol:

Isn't it nice we have a president who doesn't listen?

How convenient......

"The American military is holding at least four Iranians in Iraq, including men the Bush administration called senior military officials, who were seized in a pair of raids late last week aimed at people suspected of conducting attacks on Iraqi security forces, according to senior Iraqi and American officials in Baghdad and Washington."

The dominoes begin to fall ..

Update: Matthew Igleias offers proof with a Glenn Reynolds quote.

We know more about the stuff we buy than the politicians we elect

Anonymous Liberal over at Unclaimed Territory explains why "We live in a country of incredibly well-informed consumers and incredibly misinformed voters. " Also explained is why the loss of a challenging and questioning press corps is a loss for all of us, not just for those who actually read a newspaper...

"To put it another way, our system attributes to people in their capacity as voters the very truth-detection skills that it assumes they do not have in their capacity as consumers."

Bush demanded an exit strategery

from Clinton's involvement with Monic... Kosovo, sorry. Strange how the pretzel attack erased his memory on such things....

Top ten myths about Iraq

Juan Cole.

The past history of Rumsfeld the Fixer

Facts? Who needs facts? Golly gee, so what if people are getting brain tumors from aspartame? (NutraSweet)

Makes me never want to eat or drink again....

Update: More damning videos.

While Rome burns

Bush fiddles.

Eep! Forgive me for that mental image....While Rome burns, Bush hides under his bed sheets? .... Bush tries to run out the clock on his Amazing and Excellent Preznit Adventure? .... Bush waits for the Saudis to save his ass once again? ....Bush dreams about what his manly muscly liberry will show about his macho and better'n Poppy prezidentin'?

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Katrina gave a billion dollars to Bush cronies

Now it is clear how Republicans govern, why on earth would anyone want to vote for these people?

Soy is making us lose the war in Iraq

There is no other explanation.

Keith Ellison's intelligent response to 'OMGawdz Islamonazis Amunguz' hysteria

Where's The Outrage blog has the excellent video.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merrappy Christidays

to Youuuuuuuu!

Bryan says it best!

Think Progress has a naughty and nice list.

has a pic.

Rook shows us how to decorate.

And if you are too tired, these kitties will decorate for you.

Winning our way backwards out of Iraq

New York Times:
"First there was the “mission accomplished” banner. Then, last year, there was a “plan for victory” and, just this past October, the presidential assertion, “Absolutely, we’re winning.” Now that President Bush is seeking “a new way forward” in Iraq, he is embracing a new verbal construction to describe progress there: “We’re not winning. We’re not losing.”"

Saturday, December 23, 2006

They were presidents then, and stood tall.

Lisa English at Ruminate This blog asks us to listen to the "late President John F. Kennedy, speaking before the American Newspaper Publishers Association, warns of the dangerous powers that threaten freedom of speech."

Keep this in mind when you are told there isn't any money for schools

but always enough for Bush's war.


Are trolls more vociferous, spawning rapidly, or are blogs just the newest way for wouldbe obscene phone callers to harass?

Georgia shows what living under the fanatical fundamentalists will be like

condemning a 17 year old to 10 years for a blow job.
"Zuzu of Feministe reports a disgraceful ruling by the Georgia Supreme Court (or a fair ruling according to a disgraceful law, depending on how you look at it). The Court has upheld a 10-year prison term for a 17-year-old boy who received a consensual blow job from a 15-year-old girl."

They must be so proud.

Baby panda sneezes

surprising his mother mid-snack.

Asking politicians to explain themselves

is wrong apparently. "GOP lawmaker blames bloggers for Jesus controversy"

After Rep. Robin Hayes (R-N.C.) said this: "Stability in Iraq ultimately depends on spreading the message of Jesus Christ, the message of peace on earth, good will towards men. Everything depends on everyone learning about the birth of the Savior."

Like that other poor public official who demanded that the Israeli/Palestinian conflict be solved in a Christian-like manner....

I didn't know dioxin was a seasonal flavoring for beef....

(Via Americablog), Dioxin found in beef sent to South Korea. So what are they making us eat?

"South Korea has asked the United States to explain why a shipment of American beef rejected for having banned bone fragments also contained unacceptable levels of the toxic chemical dioxin, an official said Friday.

The discovery was the latest bad news for the U.S. cattle industry in South Korea, already dealing with the rejection of three recent shipments of beef for including banned bone fragments, which South Korea fears could potentially harbor mad cow disease."

You notice what the Department of Agriculture does? They criticize South Korea for rejecting the beef and ask to see their testing methodology. How dare they say no to mad cow flavored with dioxin!

Sounds like Bush is running the department, doesn't it?

Too much eggnog and your real personality shows up

Republicans in their cups expose their true selves.

Friday, December 22, 2006

More about the DHS raid

which left children wandering the streets after their parents were arrested:
"Some of the children potentially face legal separation from their detained parents if relatives, friends and others don't step in soon and formally take over guardianship, Gajardo says. St. Peter and Paul officials and others are scrambling to avoid such a development and Gajardo says they have until January.

"We do not want these kids to be split up. We don't want siblings split up. We want them to be back with their parents," Gajardo said."

Tell me why we had this raid again?

Friday, Hopefully

Bouphonia, observer of nudibranches.

Ever wonder what Bush intended with Merkel's unwanted backrub?

Via Morse, and profmarcus, paul minot at Daily Kos discusses Bush and his obvious problems:

"First and foremost, George W. Bush is a Narcissistic Personality Disorder. What this means, mostly, is that he has rather desperate insecurities about himself, and compensates by constructing a grandiose self-image. Most of his relationships are either mirroring relationships--people who flatter him and reinforce his grandiosity--or idealized self-objects--people that he himself thinks alot of, and hence feels flattered by his association. Some likely perform both functions. Hence his weakness for sycophants like Harriet Miers, and powerful personalities like Dick Cheney.

Even as a narcissist, Bush knows he isn't a great intellect, and compensates by dismissing the value of intellect altogether. Hence his disses of Gore's bookishness, and any other intellectual that isn't kissing his ass. Bush knows that his greatest personal strength is projecting personal affability, and tries to utilize it even in the most inappropriate settings. That's why he gives impromptu backrubs to the German Chancellor in a diploamtic meeting--he's insecure intellectually, and tries to make everyone into a "buddy" so he can feel more secure. (Pathetic, isn't it?)

The most disturbing aspect about narcissists, however, is their pathological inability to empathize with others, with the exception of those who either mirror them, or whom they idealize. Hence Bush's horrifying insensitivity to the Katrina victims, his callous jokes when visiting greivously injured soldiers, and numerous other instances. The guy simply has no capacity to feel for others in that way. When LBJ was losing Vietnam, he developed a haunted expression that anybody could recognize as indicative of underlying anguish. For all his faults, you just knew he was losing sleep over it. By the same token, we know just as well that Bush isn't losing any sleep over dead American soldiers, to say nothing of dead Iraqis. He didn't exhibit any sign of significant concern until his own political popularity was sliding--because THAT'S something he can definitely feel.


"Bush knows that things aren't going his way in Iraq, and he knows that it is damaging him politically. He also sees that it is likely to get worse no matter what he does, and in fact it may be a lost cause. However, he recognizes that if he follows the recommendations of the ISG, that Iraq will almost certainly evolve into a puppet state of Iran, and given his treatment of Iran he will completely lose control of the situation--and he will be politically discredited for this outcome. The ONLY chance that he has to avoid this political disaster, and save his political skin, is to hope against hope for "victory" in Iraq. Advancing the "surge" idea offers Bush two political advantages over following the ISG recommendations. One is that if it is implemented, maybe, just maybe, he can pull out some sort of nominal "victory" out of the situation. The chances are exceedingly slim, granted, but slim is better to him than the alternative (none). Alternately, if the "surge" is politically rejected, he gains some political cover, so when things inevitably go to shit, he can say "I told you so" and blame the "surrender monkeys" for the outcome. Most people probably won't buy it, but some (his core base) will.

Now, I know what many of you are thinking--is George Bush willing to risk the lives of hundreds, maybe thousands more American soldiers, on an outside chance to save his political skin, in a half-baked plan that even he knows probably won't work at all? Damn straight he is. Because George Bush is that narcissistic, that desperate, and yes, that sociopathic as well."

Update: 12/23 fixed quote.

Stole this without shame

from Rook's Rant:

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Now I can hypnotize myself....

The most outrageous comments of 2006

Media Matters has the list.

Is it drafty in here?

"The talking point of the moment, and the one that is sure to be adopted is called the Surge. The Surge, simply put, is bringing in a theoretical 20,000 to 50,000 additional troops. Never mind that the military already is stretched to the breaking point and recruitment has been underwhelming.

And please let no one remind the Brain Trust of Texas that last summer the same Surge plan was tried and the violence escalated. More troops = more targets. And no one will say how long the surge will last. My guess: 2008, when it can be some other president’s problem.

The Surge, we are told with a straight face, will secure Baghdad, kick some Islamb-o-fascist ass, train their troops and police force (Like Calliope weaving by day and unravelling by night, their police and military are thought to be largely composed of the insurgents themselves, but shhhhh, don’t mention that to the Decider), and secure Chimpy’s place in history. I think his rightful place is pretty much guaranteed already."

Morse thinks the draft is imminent:
"I think that Bush had a plan all along to reinstitute the draft. There's no other way he can sustain his failed war in the Middle East, and now with the talk of expanding the military in the wake of that fiasco, a draft is the only recourse.

This is how it begins. A few lower ranking administration officials floating a trial balloon, which the White House immediately backs away from.

President Bush's secretary for Veterans Affairs said Thursday that "society would benefit" if the country brought back the military draft, then clarified that he doesn't support such a move.

Veterans Affairs Secretary Jim Nicholson spoke a day after Bush said he is considering sending more troops to Iraq. The administration has for years forcefully opposed bringing back the draft, and the White House said Thursday that its position had not changed."

Update: Watertiger notes how convenient the 2009 date for the draft is...Georgie will have been long gone and nobody will blame him for the wreckage.

Update: AOL has a poll.

Squirrels, again?!

I tried to warn you, but noOOoooo, you all laughed....

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Information too dangerous for us to see

because we might figure out how far up Shit Creek we are and the fact Bush didn't bring a paddle?

Or maybe it was not a canoe but a tank Bush was steering?

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Bush sure is a lissinen preznt....

as he tries to dodge a question about balky generals.

TPM Muckraker:
"In today's press conference, President Bush dodged a question as to whether he'll overrule top military brass if they oppose his reported plan for a "surge" of troops in Iraq.

"That's a dangerous hypothetical," he said, concluding his answer with "nice try."

The Washington Post reported earlier this week that the White House was promoting the "surge" idea "over the unanimous disagreement of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.""

Oh Shit. Here comes war with Iran....

"By Glenn Greenwald - Over the past several days, there have been reports of increasing U.S. military activity in the Persian Gulf aimed at Iran, and today The New York Times confirms that "the United States and Britain will begin moving additional warships and strike aircraft into the Persian Gulf region in a display of military resolve toward Iran." The buildup includes "a second aircraft carrier and its supporting ships to be stationed within quick sailing distance of Iran by early next year."

There is no doubt that these moves are intended to signal to the Iranians (as well as to what the Times describes as "Washington’s allies in the region who are concerned about Iran’s intentions") that we are capable of an offensive military strike against Iran:

Senior American officers said the increase in naval power should not be viewed as preparations for any offensive strike against Iran. But they acknowledged that the ability to hit Iran would be increased and that Iranian leaders might well call the growing presence provocative.

One purpose of the deployment, they said, is to make clear that the focus on ground troops in Iraq has not made it impossible for the United States and its allies to maintain a military watch on Iran.

Bush officials cite two "justifications" for these maneuvers: (1) to enforce any sanctions imposed by the U.N. Security Council as a result of Iran's refusal to comply with its resolutions (sanctions which have not yet been imposed), and (2) to deter Iran from a military blockade of oil shipments in retaliation for not-yet-imposed sanctions."

And look at the very convenient death of Saparmurat Niyazov, the dictator of Turkmenistan. The logic of a warmonger:
"For the National Review General blogger Mario Loyola, Niyazov’s death means a military strike on Iran is an even better idea:

It is possible that the incoming leadership (whenever it does finally settle down) will prove eagerly pro-American, going so far as to permit a U.S. base in the country. This would close the ring around Iran, and dramatically increase the tactical options (e.g., helicopter missions) for any future U.S. operations in the vicinity of Tehran, which is close to the Turkmeni border, and which includes several major nuclear installations.

According to a bi-partisan group of military experts — it doesn’t matter what direction you come from — there are no good military options in Iran."

Has anyone checked to make sure it was a heart attack and not a polonium salad?

The Big Surge will bring more Hadithas

We can't tell our soldiers to hate the Iraqis, the evil-doers, the Islamofascists, the ragheads, and all the other distancing descriptions to make the 'other' seem less human; then misuse and abuse the soldiers with endless tours of duty, no exit strategy, no noble cause without triggering a 'berserker' mode where frightened soldiers go on a murderous campaign.

Blue Texan at Unclaimed Territory:
"The warbloggers shrieked and screamed at Murtha (Powerline later called him "disgusting" and Michelle Malkin accused him of "hanging the Marines"), and of course propped up the Great Leader. But in their frantic demonizing of Murtha and the media they never bothered to ask this critical question about Haditha: why were the Marines there? Why were Marines getting blown up by IEDs and knocking down civilian doors in Anbar, almost three years after “Mission Accomplished”?

We should remember that the cretins (as Chris Matthews called them earlier this week) who put those guys in that terrible situation are just as responsible for Haditha as the men on the ground. If you put overstressed combat soldiers in an untenable situation, bad things happen. John Murtha, who was a Marine for 37 years, understood that. The warbloggers like Mobius Dick, who'’ve never served, still don'’t."

Krugman to the new Congress

Spend the needed money carefully, fix the Bush deficit later:

"Now the Democrats are back in control of Congress. They’ve pledged not to be as irresponsible as their predecessors: Nancy Pelosi, the incoming House speaker, has promised to restore the “pay-as-you-go” rule that the Republicans tossed aside in the Bush years. This rule would basically prevent Congress from passing budgets that increase the deficit.

I’m for pay-as-you-go. The question, however, is whether to go further. Suppose the Democrats can free up some money by fixing the Medicare drug program, by ending the Iraq war and/or clamping down on war profiteering, or by rolling back some of the Bush tax cuts. Should they use the reclaimed revenue to reduce the deficit, or spend it on other things?

The answer, I now think, is to spend the money — while taking great care to ensure that it is spent well, not squandered — and let the deficit be. By spending money well, Democrats can both improve Americans’ lives and, more broadly, offer a demonstration of the benefits of good government. Deficit reduction, on the other hand, might just end up playing into the hands of the next irresponsible president.

In the long run, something will have to be done about the deficit. But given the state of our politics, now is not the time."

Update: Matthew Yglesias agrees with Krugman's assessment.

Cheney gets a raise

because he really needs the money....

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Bat Boy demands better latex underpants

for his eternal War on Terror!

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

(Pic stolen from David at Supreme Irony)

Just because we were talking about LoTR...

a humorous take on Boromir.

And a 133t trailer.

No Exit (Huis Clos) was Sartre's version of hell

Bush didn't happen to read that over the summer, though, did he?
" The report of James A. Baker's Iraq Study Group has already become a benchmark for Iraq policy, dominating the print and electronic media for several days after its release, and generating excited commentary by all manner of leadership types from Washington to London to Baghdad. Even if most of the commentary continues to be negative, we can nevertheless look forward to highly publicized policy changes in the near future that rely for their justification on this report, or on one of the several others recently released, or on those currently being prepared by the Pentagon, the White House, and the National Security Council.

This is not, however, good news for those of us who want the U.S. to end its war of conquest in Iraq. Quite the contrary: The ISG report is not an "exit strategy;" it is a new plan for achieving the Bush administration's imperial goals in the Middle East."

Soldiers' suicides doubled in 2005

Too many tours of duty? No exit strategy? No noble cause? The eternal War on a Noun?

What was that about bringing the troops home?

Lieberman for the Big Surge.

25 year old governmental papers will be declassified

"At midnight on Dec. 31, hundreds of millions of pages of secret documents will be instantly declassified, including many F.B.I. cold war files on investigations of people suspected of being Communist sympathizers. After years of extensions sought by federal agencies behaving like college students facing a term paper, the end of 2006 means the government’s first automatic declassification of records.

Secret documents 25 years old or older will lose their classified status without so much as the stroke of a pen, unless agencies have sought exemptions on the ground that the material remains secret."