Archive for the 'War on Terra' Category

Our post-Constitutional era.

Nov 30, 2011 in Abortion, Christian Right, Clueless Conservatives, Constitution, Disappointing Dems, Politics, Religion, Sophistry, Straight-up madness, teh gay, Torture, War on Terra, Where's the outrage?!?!

This is becoming inevitable, as the Republican Party, while ever ready to say the word, “Constitution,” is a complete and udder fraud on the subject, and has categorically dismissed most of the Amendments and the underlying philosophy behind the Constitution’s writing.

Now, I know it is required that I disclose the presence of a certain contingent of chickenshit Democrats who regularly cave whenever Republicans get hot and bothered, but they’re never the driving force, and they’re a minority within the Democrat Party, so there. It’s the wholly unbridled unified army of the Republican Order that drives an agenda that has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the Constitution or the Bill of Rights, except as their protections pertain to white Christian heterosexual males.

1. They’re actively pro-torture, even though they square that by declaring any form of torture they like to not be torture. Simple, right? Not only is the Constitution unambiguously against cruel or unusual punishment, i.e. torture, but the entire history of the country at war has hewn to the same principles. Ronald Reagan was explicit in his condemnation of torture. The Republican Party today is best represented by Rick Santorum telling John McCain that he doesn’t understand torture.

2. They’re consistently against or dismissive of the religious freedom of gays, gay-supporting straights, Wiccans, atheists, Muslims. That the First Amendment ever be read in context with a world of varying beliefs is verboten. It’s about the Christian right to inject Christianity into anything they do, even and especially as a public employee. But when it comes to gays, the Christian right directly posits its beliefs as important enough to cancel out those of gays and to directly affect how gays live their lives by forbidding them marriage. The thought that Jesus might look kindly upon a loving gay couple cannot be entertained.

3. Search and seizure, forget it! Everything is open, up for grabs, ready to be peeped upon by Uncle Sam whenever he wants. The Drug War paved the way, the War on Terror planted the settlement and opened shop. Merely being suspected of having drugs can result in asset forfeiture, meaning your property rights are violated without due process, the police department acting as judge and jury. The burden of proof is often reversed onto suspects in such cases, and property is rarely returned regardless of charges.

Every phone and internet conversation has been opened up, and siphons through the NSA’s data miners.

Binney, for his part, believes that the agency now stores copies of all e-mails transmitted in America, in case the government wants to retrieve the details later. In the past few years, the N.S.A. has built enormous electronic-storage facilities in Texas and Utah. Binney says that an N.S.A. e-mail database can be searched with “dictionary selection,” in the manner of Google. After 9/11, he says, “General Hayden reassured everyone that the N.S.A. didn’t put out dragnets, and that was true. It had no need—it was getting every fish in the sea.”
Binney considers himself a conservative, and, as an opponent of big government, he worries that the N.S.A.’s data-mining program is so extensive that it could help “create an Orwellian state.” Whereas wiretap surveillance requires trained human operators, data mining is automated, meaning that the entire country can be watched. Conceivably, U.S. officials could “monitor the Tea Party, or reporters, whatever group or organization you want to target,” he says. “It’s exactly what the Founding Fathers never wanted.”

Power creeps, as the Founders realized, and always, always had to be balanced.

4. While ever ready to claim that rights not spelled out in the Constitution aren’t really rights, directly contradicting the Ninth Amendment, the Republican Party has declared that money equals speech. Why then should I be punished for bribing a police officer or judge? I’m merely talking to the them.

No, anybody knows exactly what money in politics means, it means buying politicians, period. Money buys politicians, it buys media outlets, it pays people to spout theories that testify to the greatness of the wealthy, and it’s all done for the sake of ever more money. As Danny DeVito said in The Heist, “That’s why they call it money.” It’s not the same as speaking your mind, it’s engaging in a transaction. There’s a reason “money talks” is a cliche. With money, speech isn’t so important anymore. It becomes the pretty envelope on a fat wad of cash.

5. Nor does it say anywhere in the Constitution that corporations constitute distinct immortal citizens with full rights. The very construction of a corporation is a legal designation, a product of government legislation. Who ever talks about it in those terms? Certainly not Republicans. Apparently God made corporations?

Ruling in Citizens United that not only could these corporations donate unlimited funds to candidates, but do so anonymously? Does anybody on this planet think the politicians don’t know exactly who donated? It merely creates a gigantic firewall against the public, keeping them out of the process, refusing to tell them who’s bought their supposed representative.

Jesus declared that the rich would not easily find their way into Heaven. He said no such thing about those with lots of opinions. Yet a party built on Judeo-Christian superiority delivers the sentiment, “money equals speech,” to us with deeply sincere faces, even strident faces. Add to that, “a corporation is a person,” whereas one soulless legal entity is equated to a human being, and the conundrum deepens. How do these people maintain such cognitive dissonance? With great strain.

6. Indefinite detention. Like torture, it is the complete and utter opposite of each and every plank, nail, and window in the Constitution’s house. It is the Gulag. It is the dungeon. It is the concentration camp. And now one of the two major parties has not merely let it fly under their radar, but made it their agenda. Take a few Dem politican scalps if you will, but only lefties and a few libertarians (where are you guys when we need you?) are going to bring this fight at all. Lesson from 2010: Letting more Republicans get into office is not a solution.

7. General Welfare: Abolishing the EPA? YHGTBFKM (You have got to be fucking kidding me). The Koch brothers need to dump more poison in our groundwater, Michele, won’t you help them?

The entire concept of the general welfare of the country has completely evacuated the Republican Party. In their eyes, fuck the general welfare. People get what they deserve, and if your life sucks, blame yourself. Of course, if everybody did a lot more looking in the mirror at themselves, we wouldn’t have many Republicans left. Instead, they survey only the oily shell of the individual, and perceive nothing of the complex lattice-work of society that supports their existence.

If you don’t fund schools, you end up living in a world of noisy uneducated people giving you rotten service, and you can only keep moving to new suburbs so long. If you don’t fund police departments, you end up with high crime rates and decreased property values. If you fund prisons while not funding rehab clinics, your Drug War will result in financial incentives that outweigh regular crime prevention. A Drug War waged primarily on minorities will turn jail into a martyrdom ritual, and your children will revere felons as heroes.

President Obama turned the health care system into a universal program, for which he is reviled by the right (not to ignore the political convenience…had there perhaps been a President Romney in 2008, his Massachusetts plan would be considered to be a rightful and just conservative blueprint to accomplish the goals of liberals through free-market means). The rather explicit permission of the Commerce Clause gives the government more than fair leeway to point out that uninsured people merely transfer the cost of their care to others. A mandate is really little more than a distribution of that cost among all citizens. You might not like it, but who’s going to be there for you if you have a stroke in twenty minutes and spend your remaining decades fully paralyzed?

8. Abortion. The government should enter the womb and put up a sign telling the mother to keep providing the nutrients but she’s not in charge anymore? That assertion of domain over the entirety of her body and its natural processes isn’t listed in the Constitution as a specific right, thus it does not exist?

As I mentioned, this is in direct violation of the Ninth Amendment, which explicitly states that the enumeration of certain rights is not meant to disparage the others. The Constitution is not a finite list of rights, and it says so clearly! And it certainly grants the government no power over a woman’s reproductive process. Anti-abortion sentiments were rare at the time of the writing of the Constitution, unfit for a special extension of government powers. And yet as the subject has become a crusade for religious fundamentalists, attempts to justify its Constitutionality have naturally occurred. Their crowing is as predictable as a rooster.

______

Republicans have in many cases not merely gone passive about certain rights, they’ve turned outright aggressive against them. Such a republic facing this prospect would rightly be deemed to be in or near its death throes, about to face a civil war. No matter how casually Republicans treat the Constitution, they’re emphatic about it, often moreso than Democrats. And that should just never be the case, because the only people I see left standing up for the Constitution anymore are left. And if libertarians were to be believed for half the things they say about liberty, there wouldn’t be Republican majorities anywhere.

-hw

Killing America to save America.

Nov 30, 2011 in Clueless Conservatives, Constitution, Disappointing Dems, National Security, War on Terra, Where's the outrage?!?!

Fortunately, the White House is issuing a pretty stiff veto threat to a law invalidating the US Constitution and pretty much Western Civilization for those accused of terrorism (or supporting terrorists, of course, or possibly knowing something about terrorists…) and locking people up indefinitely, US citizen or otherwise.

Yet, as usual, we have a Republican Party that long ago stopped caring about due process for non-Republicans and enough chickenshit Democrats peeling off at the slightest whiff of being “weak” to get it passed in the Senate. Where’s Newt Gingrich with a history lesson when you need him?

-hw

Who will question our drone policy besides Glenn Greenwald?

Nov 14, 2011 in Barack Obama, War on Terra

A reminder that our drone strikes, generally good at nailing people we think are terrorists, also rack up huge numbers of dead people we know next to nothing about. My position is that a few thousand dead by drone is at least an improvement on a hundred thousand dead by botched invasion ala Iraq, but that both are tragic, and we must soon use the numbers of al Queda we’ve killed as an opportunity to clear out of the Middle East as much as is physically possible.

Glenn Greenwald will say so, I’ll say so, but who else? Obama’s drone strike policies have completely enamored the Beltway and have even managed to wrest praise from Michele “Batshit” Bachman, who surprisingly couldn’t come up with an argument that drone strikes prove how pro-terrorist Obama is. Democrats are understandably proud that President Obama has notched some huge victories against Islamic terrorists and Middle East dictators, notably bin Laden and Gaddhafi, agreed to remove troops from Iraq (hey, Glenn, let’s just remember that Bush signed that deal after Obama won the election promising to end the war…Bush was only reading the writing on the wall, and it’s ridiculous to pretend it would have happened had McCain won or that McCain would have felt bound by any such agreement), and gently handled the Arab Spring revolutions. But it’s important to remember there is no such thing as a clean war that spares the lives of innocents, and that power unchecked will naturally grow deeper and wider in its reach. It seems we’re subject to President Obama’s conscience to choose a better path, but there’s little cause to expect the Nobel Peace Prize winner to do anything significant before his second term. But perhaps he will hear the discontent out there with these drone strikes, note their growing counter-productiveness, and lessen their frequency.

-hw

What if it had gone wrong?

May 05, 2011 in Barack Obama, War on Terra

Two alternative scenarios here and here.

Both imagine the SEALS getting in a disastrous firefight with no bin Laden to show for it and lots of dead troops. And oh, how the usual suspects would have sang:

UPDATE: Roundup of the latest Republican responses to Operation Geronimo.

Sarah Palin on Fox and Friends: “What is truly upsetting to me is that while our brave men in uniform were being sent on this errand, the president was laughing it up at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner with his pals from the mainstream media and Hollywood. Maybe if he was actually at his desk instead of golfing and rubbing elbows with elites — and spending so much time resurrecting the birth-certificate issue — this would have turned out differently.” [FOX]

Mitt Romney: “I’ve said before that we can’t afford to have a president who is learning on the job. Before I was referring to the damage he has done to the American economy, but now it’s clear that that extends to national defense as well. Never before has there been more glaring evidence that this president is unequal to the task of leading the free world. We need a president who can handle the economy and the war. Right now, that’s something we do not have.” [WSJ]

John Huntsman: “This single ill-conceived operation has done more damage to our delicate diplomatic relationship with Pakistan — a needed ally — than anything we have seen thus far. I hate to say it, but it’s a rookie mistake by a man afraid to reach outside of his closed circle of advisers, and a costly one.” [NYT]

Michele Bachmann: “You know what, running the military is not the same as reading a TelePrompTer, not the same as giving a pretty speech. What we had last night was a president sacrificing the lives of fighting men and women in a political ploy to distract us from real problems. It’s Jimmy Carter in Somalia all over again.” [CNN]

Donald Trump: “If he was willing to be as tough with bin Laden as he was with his buddy Matt Damon at the Correspondents’ Dinner, we would have all been better off. [The timing of the mission] is pretty transparent. His approval rating is lousy. His radical agenda has failed miserably at home, so he needed a distraction. Simple. Sadly, many of our brave soldiers paid for this with their lives.” [FOX]

Newt Gingrich: “Anyone who knows anything about the War on Terror knows that bin Laden had been marginalized, that he no longer posed any real threat. He was done, isolated, living in a concrete bunker with no phone or Internet, for God’s sake. What was he going to do? We already beat him. Well, if bin Laden can’t kill American soldiers, our president sure can. [FOX]

The more I think about what could be on the news and internets, the more unbelievable Obama’s dice roll was. I know he almost had no choice but to do it, but the risk could have been seen as prohibitive in the hands of someone less courageous. Obama put his presidency on the table, and deserves the payoff.

-hw

Obama’s actual Constitutional power grab.

Oct 03, 2010 in Constitution, Disappointing Dems, Politics, War on Terra, Where's the outrage?!?!

Riddle thee this:

Would Andrew be comfortable with a future Republican President — let’s say, just to pick a random example . . . . President Sarah Palin — having the power to order American citizens killed based solely on her unchecked accusation that they are somehow involved with or helping Al Qaeda Terrorists, while the targeted citizens have no recourse to any courts and she has no obligation to offer any evidence to justify the targeting?

I’m not immune to the fact that we’re talking about a likely active jihadi in another country waging war against us, but in the end it’s never really about whether or not we go after the guy. It’s always about the secrecy and lack of accountability that we imbue the President with, and the fact that power creeps. Always. It’s just a law of human nature we’ll never get around, and that knowledge is what informed the formation of this country as it fled the overreach of British power.

-hw

UPDATE: Sullivan provides a pretty compelling case that al-Awlaki’s targeting is a pretty routine and Constitutionally backed act of war, but like I said, that’s not really the point, and Sullivan seems to respect the fact that the way the Obama administration has dealt with the public on this issue isn’t acceptable. And I think Greenwald’s energy is partially derided from his practically solitary nature in staying vigilant on executive powers, whether the president be Republican or Democrat. The fact is that Republicans damn near transcend party when it comes to executive war powers, and will gladly leave Obama alone for his incredibly dangerous and aggressive war against Al Queda in Pakistan. They’ll mostly stay quiet on it, and babble about “making apologies” for U.S. GREATNESS!!! More Democrats care about civil liberties, but when a Democrat’s in office most focus on domestic policies and forgive whatever Democrat leaders do in making war.

I say put everything we’ve got into Afghanistan.

Aug 31, 2010 in Culture, War on Terra

We’ve got trillions of dollars just sitting around for changing faraway cultures like this:

For centuries, Afghan men have taken boys, roughly 9 to 15 years old, as lovers. Some research suggests that half the Pashtun tribal members in Kandahar and other southern towns are bacha baz, the term for an older man with a boy lover. Literally it means “boy player.” The men like to boast about it.

“Having a boy has become a custom for us,” Enayatullah, a 42-year-old in Baghlan province, told a Reuters reporter. “Whoever wants to show off should have a boy.”

Baghlan province is in the northeast, but Afghans say pedophilia is most prevalent among Pashtun men in the south. The Pashtun are Afghanistan’s most important tribe. For centuries, the nation’s leaders have been Pashtun.

Some American soldiers should do the trick. I’m fiscally responsible, but this is just so nasty and it’s our job to stop it and we can.

Daddy I want this pony!

-hw

Double dang.

Dec 30, 2009 in War on Terra

You have to wonder what frustrates them more; the fact that Farouk was unsuccessful or the president’s staid response to the attempt. Either way they’re obviously a bit chuffed over their collective delayed ejaculation since the hysteria doesn’t seem to be spreading beyond the usual gang of perpetually outraged/terrified. For all of the complaining they do about Obama being low on substance these Republican he-men sure are getting worked up over the lack of symbolism on display. I’m guessing they think a presidential news conference featuring the commander in chief shrieking in fear is what we need to prevent more terrorism. That or some empty “smoke ’em out of their holes” bluster followed by a round of symbolic firings. For some it’s as if Richard Reid never existed but for those with not-so-short memories the preemptive excuse for their glaring hypocrisy is the hollow BUT OBAMA IS PRESIDENT NOW SO IT DOESN’T MATTER!!! refrain. Um…guys…when the criticism is coming out of your mouths it most certainly does matter. Especially when you just spent the last nine years trying to explain why Bush wasn’t responsible for anything that happened during his tenure. Including, but not limited to, the WTC bombings.

-mg

Now for some criticism of President Obama that actually makes sense.

Oct 26, 2009 in Clueless Conservatives, Disappointing Dems, National Security, Politics, Torture, War Crimes, War on Terra

NYT editorial:

In the United States, the Obama administration is in the process of appealing a sound federal appellate court ruling last April in a civil lawsuit by Mr. Mohamed and four others. All were victims of the government’s extraordinary rendition program, under which foreigners were kidnapped and flown to other countries for interrogation and torture.

In that case, the Obama administration has repeated a disreputable Bush-era argument that the executive branch is entitled to have lawsuits shut down whenever it makes a blanket claim of national security. The ruling rejected that argument and noted that the government’s theory would “effectively cordon off all secret actions from judicial scrutiny, immunizing the C.I.A. and its partners from the demands and limits of the law.”

This is a huge topic on the internet, one liberals and centrists are having with each other over the disappointment with Obama for picking up too many Bush-era habits of mind and practice. Even if it’s more rope-a-dope with some eventual plan to make the courts hem Obama in with rulings that become political armor. “We no longer violate human rights simply by uttering the words ‘national security.'” (because the courts told me I couldn’t anymore…) It’s still playing with innocent people’s lives. Much less worthy things have been given 24/7 coverage.

Yet it’s just not sexy enough for reporters, who would also have to look back at how they stood by while Bush re-wrote the rules or threw them out altogether. Wingers make a hot stink over getting an ACORN scoop and get bowed down to, while everybody ignores Obama playing it Beltway centrist on human rights.

Is this what teabaggers are talking about when they scream about feeling like Jews in 1939? Of course not. They think tyranny is social health care. As long as rightwing terrorists get due process, they’re happy.

-jb

Bring the troops home.

Oct 18, 2009 in Clueless Conservatives, Middle East, National Security, War on Terra, Where's the outrage?!?!

Just imagine if we had a counter-insurgency strategy against gangs, one conceived with as much brainpower and lateral thinking as the military could generate. What if we actually had enough armed forces on watch in our troubled areas to stamp out crime? Not as killers, as peacekeepers. Coupled with the end of the Drug War and reliance on fully staffed rehabilitation services…the possibilities are endless. If nothing else, outposts keeping an eye out, enabled to do nothing more than alert police (and defend themselves). Or if you’re about to say “I knew you were a fascist!” just use them to patrol ports and borders. And we get the manpower by bringing back troops collecting dust in Germany, South Korea, et al. Keep a small gang abroad for specific hot spots and missions in Afghanistan/Pakistan. Collect scalps, stand back. And the defense budget is slashed.

The bottom line: nobody is a fiscal conservative today if they aren’t willing to take a big bite out of defense spending. The teabaggers have nothing to say about the military industrial complex, so they have nothing to say.

-jb

Cheney not feeling so cocky lately?

Oct 09, 2009 in Barack Obama, Torture, War on Terra

Obama has been collecting scalps in Pakistan, even avenging the death of Benazir Bhutto.

How can this be? We aren’t torturing anybody!

-jb

Ass-backwards on Mancow.

May 30, 2009 in Journamalism, War on Terra

Rightwing radio host Mancow Muller made news last week when he said he’d engage in waterboarding to prove it wasn’t torture. Six seconds later, he was singing a different tune.

Now the website Gawker reports that an initial e-mail exchange with Mancow’s publicist indicated the waterboarding was meant to be a stunt.

Redstate.com, an admittedly easy target, took the bait. Their evidence that it wasn’t “real” waterboarding? It was different than Hitchens’ waterboarding!

Ah, but guys? Hey, you do remember that Hitchens also declared waterboarding to be “absolutely torture” afterward, right? Not exactly a counterexample, is it? Anyway, the history of waterboarding and the different ways it is employed is here. Guess what? It’s pretty much all the same, whether you have a cloth over the mouth and nose or not, or you’re dunking their head, the purpose is to create the sensation of drowning.

Mancow responds on Olbermann, in a manner that leaves refutation in short supply.

Visit msnbc.com for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy

I am happy to report that intellectual honesty has been sighted on Hotair.com. Allahpundit:

Question: If Mancow — who scoffed at waterboarding for years and even now in his Big Hollywood post insists he’d authorize it against terrorists to try to stop an attack — was going to fake his waterboarding, why wouldn’t he have popped up at the end and declared that it’s not torture?

Exactly. Mancow waltzed in thinking he was gonna show them lefties and that punk bitch Hitchens. He walked out with his tail between his legs. And if anybody at Redstate has a problem with that, I’d suggest they try being waterboarded. To make the stakes higher, if they don’t think it’s torture after being waterboarded, let’s waterboard them again, until they confess!

As a final note, let’s remember that waterboarding is merely the most controversial (*cough*CheneyLimbaughbullshit*cough*) method of torture, and that a variety of forms of torture were used, all falling under the definition of torture, all used widely and repeatedly.

-jb

Cheney tortured to create a link between Iraq and Al Queda.

May 16, 2009 in Politics, War on Terra

While not exactly an earth-shattering surprise, it should be mentioned in every conversation on torture. Authoritarian states torture in order to create reality. “Of course you did it. You confessed.”

Jesse Ventura can acknowledge, accurately, that given the chance to waterboard Dick Cheney and he would have him confessing to murder, but Dick Cheney merely harumphs and grunts, “I dare you to try it.” Such is the way of the thug: he deliberately tries to rig the system in favor of his modus operandi, raw brute force. Yeah, such men risk getting their heads blown off or hung in history books, but until somebody comes along with the balls to crush you, you’re on top of the world. Via Castro, the USA taught the world that dictatorship can be a lifelong profitable venture. We are too timid to physically crush, and too worshipful of power to exercise the law against him, so he scurries away and taunts with the dexterity of a snot-nosed brat.

There was no coincidence when that immoral and depraved individual immediately moved to institute and abuse the use of torture in order to make suspects say whatever he needed them to say. That’s not even “abusing the use” of torture, that’s part of the integral feature set of torture. You can’t have it without the corruption. You can dream, you can wish, you can try, all in the hope that justice will be done, but it always corrupts. Torture is corruption. To grant such a power to our government grants it, essentially, all power. Governments torture for the same reasons people do heroin: the feverdream of being able to escape reality with a quick and easy fix.

-jb

Providing the rope.

May 13, 2009 in Clueless Conservatives, Politics, War on Terra

“The United States is a country that takes human rights seriously. We do not torture. It’s against our laws and against our values. And we expect all those who serve America to conduct themselves accordingly, and we enforce those rules…America is a fair and a decent country. President Bush has made it clear, both publicly and privately, that our duty to uphold the laws and standards of this nation make no exceptions for wartime. As he put it, we are in a fight for our principles and our first responsibility is to live by them. The war on terror, after all, is more than a contest of arms and more than a test of will. It’s also a war of ideas.”

-Dick Cheney.

Obsidian Wings has eight more goodies just like that.

-jb

Unambiguous.

Apr 07, 2009 in Middle East, Politics, Sophistry, War Crimes, War on Terra

In one of my recent clashes with the iconic representative of the classic dimwit modern Republican, Brian Pickrell, Iowa’s village idiot, I noted with some awe how bubble-enclosed members of the right-o-sphere are still able to tell themselves and others that we didnt torture.

There’s a simple rejoinder: Every single fact says otherwise.

There’s no debate. Of course, we tortured. Of course, George W. Bush and Dick Cheney made sure we tortured. They seeked legal cover for it, and stooge Republican lawyers like John Yoo and David Addington leapt at the opportunity (fortunately, they were so addled by partisanship that their flimsy legal toilet paper won’t protect them in court).

Now let’s be clear here: Rightwingers and other torture supporters feel little concern about methods like waterboarding. We know their rationale: It’s not cutting off limbs! Yet waterboarding is torture, and always has been. It was for them too, until they realized they didn’t like the implications of admitting George W. Bush authorized torture while telling the public, “We don’t torture.” Legally and politically, it’s bad news.

So, they will keep saying waterboarding isn’t torture. It is, and they know it, but they won’t say it. I expect some to have more balls and at least say, “Well, I support milder forms of torture, the psychological stuff, etc.”

However, as you will see in the Red Cross report, there was far more than that. We tortured. George W. Bush and Dick Cheney authorized it. They are war criminals, as are John Yoo and other enablers who knew very well what they were doing but thought they could get away with it.

May there be a methodical, precise, and accurate reckoning.

-jb

If you remember, bin Laden did this to the Soviets too…

Oct 05, 2008 in Clueless Conservatives, War on Terra

Economic destabilization was always part of bin Laden’s plan, you’ll remember.

Last night on Bill Maher, the comedian Gary Shandling, of all people, synthesized the connection between our current economic crisis and 9/11 and the Iraq War in a way I have not heard:

On 9/11, Al Qaeda had no expectation of a traditional military victory against the United States. The point of the attack was economic — to draw the U.S. into expensive and protracted foreign wars that would deplete our resources and destabilize our government. By invading Iraq, George Bush became the happy idiot to assist Al Qaeda in this goal. Now, Sarah Palin and John McCain take the leaders of Al Qaeda at their word when they say Iraq is the major front in the war on terror.

Neither consider the possibility that Al Qaeda wants Iraq to be the major front because it furthers their goal of weakening the U.S. while inflicting minimal damage on their operations.

Seven years after 9/11, we are seeing Al Qaeda’s long-term goal being realized: the destabilization and economic collapse of the United States. Even as it’s happening, the people who supported it all along want to continue facilitating our own long-term disintegration by clinging to simplistic concepts of traditional military victory and defeat. In this sense, they are possibly the most myopic, least strategic thinkers in the history of this nation.

As Gary Shandling said, with this approach, our only hope of killing Osama Bin Laden is that he’ll laugh himself to death.

The happy idiot George W. Bush, talking of honor and victory…but what the excuses of those surrounding him, steeped in learning and history, the neocon dreamers?

-jb

Democrats have to be perfect on foreign policy.

Sep 07, 2008 in Barack Obama, Foreign Policy, Iraq, Journamalism, Politics, War on Terra

Bill O’Reilly desperately tries to trip up Barack Obama. Bill accepts that Obama knows his facts better than either McCain or Palin like a child drinking castor oil.

[youtube luA0AMP51Gc]

The point is that when a Republican talks foreign policy, they are allowed to be wrong. They’re allowed to mix up Shia and Sunni, tie Al Queda to Saddam Hussein, shift rationales for war, shift metrics for success…even co-opt Democratic Party ideas that were “surrender” just months or weeks before. They can do that because they’re Republicans, and everybody knows Republicans Are Strong Against Our Enemies.â„¢

Barack Obama is not only thoroughly knowledgeable about foreign policy, he is also ahead of the curve. Compared to the hilariously wrong record of every pro-Iraq Republican, he could be accused of possessing a crystal ball. Yet all the Republicans can think to do is keep harping on, “But you were wrong about the surge, weren’t ya weren’t ya!?!?” Barack has to point out that the surge wasn’t just about the violence, but about the political settlement, and it’s too soon to count the chickens yet. Are the Republicans really prepared to explain themselves if violence breaks out again and/or the government crumbles? Probably not, because they’ll be held no more accountable for their words than they’ve ever been.

But the Democrat has to be right 100% of the time, because we know Democrats Are Weak On Terror.â„¢

To their credit, the public has begun to see through this facade. When will our media?

-jb

Another friendly reminder…

Jul 16, 2008 in Barack Obama, Clueless Conservatives, Iraq, Middle East, Politics, The senility of John McCain, War on Terra

If you’re into politicians with military service, John McCain might earn some points for being a good soldier, if not much of a leader. Unfortunately, he’s a bit of an outlier party-wise, as the policies he pursues are the property of chickenhawks whose party happens to be the only one he had a shot at getting the Presidential nomination from. Barack Obama, of course, didn’t enlist in the military to no national detriment as there were no wars to fight in, like John McCain, or dodge while endorsing like George W. Bush and the brains behind the Chickenhawk party. Thankfully he managed to avoid trying to compensate for his insecurities by advocating for the Iraq War, and has listened to wiser men than John McCain also experienced in war by insisting on an exit strategy and understanding that permanent bases in Iraq will not bring peace.

On that note, I love this (somewhat old) list:

* Dick Cheney: did not serve. Several deferments, the last by marriage, “other priorities.”
* Dennis Hastert: did not serve.
* Tom Delay: did not serve.
* Roy Blunt: did not serve.
* Bill Frist: did not serve.
* Mitch McConnell: did not serve.
* Rick Santorum: did not serve.
* Trent Lott: did not serve.
* John Ashcroft: did not serve. Seven deferments to teach business.
* Jeb Bush: did not serve.
* Karl Rove: did not serve.
* Saxby Chambliss: did not serve. “Bad knee.” The man who attacked Max
Cleland’s patriotism.
* Paul Wolfowitz: did not serve.
* Vin Weber: did not serve.
* Richard Perle: did not serve.
* Douglas Feith: did not serve.
* Eliot Abrams: did not serve.
* Richard Shelby: did not serve.
* Jon Kyl: did not serve.
* Tim Hutchison: did not serve.
* Christopher Cox: did not serve.
* Newt Gingrich: did not serve.
* Don Rumsfeld: served in Navy (1954-57) as flight instructor.
* George W. Bush: failed to complete his six-year National Guard; got assigned
to Alabama so he could campaign for family friend running for U.S. Senate;
failed to show up for required medical exam, disappeared from duty.
* Phil Gramm: did not serve.
* John McCain: Silver Star, Bronze Star, Legion of Merit, Purple Heart and
Distinguished Flying Cross.
* Dana Rohrabacher: did not serve.
* John M.. McHugh: did not serve.
* JC Watts: did not serve.
* Jack Kemp: did not serve. “Knee problem,” but continued in NFL for 8 years.
* Dan Quayle: Journalism unit of the Indiana National Guard.
* Rudy Giuliani: did not serve.
* George Pataki: did not serve.
* Spencer Abraham: did not serve.
* John Engler: did not serve.
* Lindsey Graham: National Guard lawyer.
* Arnold Schwarzenegger: Served in Austrian Army, jailed once for AWOL.
* Ronald Reagan: due to poor eyesight, served in a non-combat role making
movies.

——————-
Pundits & Preachers, etc.
——————-

* Sean Hannity: did not serve.
* Rush Limbaugh: did not serve (4-F with a ‘pilonidal cyst.’)
* Bill O’Reilly: did not serve.
* Michael Savage: did not serve.
* George Will: did not serve.
* Chris Matthews: did not serve.
* Paul Gigot: did not serve.
* Bill Bennett: did not serve.
* Pat Buchanan: did not serve.
* Bill Kristol: did not serve.
* Kenneth Starr: did not serve.
* Antonin Scalia: did not serve.
* Clarence Thomas: did not serve.
* Ralph Reed: did not serve.
* Michael Medved: did not serve.
* Charlie Daniels: did not serve.
* Ted Nugent: did not serve. (He only shoots at things that don’t shoot back.)

Click on the link to see some notable Democrats who served, but that’s not so much the point. Military experience may teach you nothing, and those who don’t have it may be very wise indeed. But clearly the nation has a lesson to learn about those with no military experience who fantasize and romanticize war, and the soldiers who get sucked into their pomp and circumstance, especially those who emerge from losing wars declaring they “know how to win wars.”

-jb

p.s. Some minute additional editing of list done to no great effect.

Just another friendly reminder.

Jul 16, 2008 in Clintonitis, Clueless Conservatives, Politics, Stupidity, War on Terra

Atrios reviews the facts:

Jan 20, 2001 Bush Inaugurated
Jan 25, 2001 Richard Clarke sends Condi Rice memo, warning about al Qaeda. Rice does nothing.
August 6, 2001 Bush gets memo titled “Bin Laden Determined to strike in US.” Bush responds by telling the briefer, “All right. You’ve covered your ass, now.” Then does nothing.
September 11, 2001 Bin Laden strikes in US.

I’m going to sit here now and wait for the next winger to tell us how it was Clinton’s fault. I wonder if they’ll agree that Obama gets his first year off without having to bother defending the country…

-jb

Were promoting liberal democracies only the goal…

Feb 01, 2008 in War on Terra

We’d have a bit more synergy in our approach…

In an introductory essay titled “Despots Masquerading as Democrats,” Kenneth Roth, the organization’s executive director, blasts such leaders as Islam Karimov of Uzbekistan, Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan, Hosni Mubarak of Egypt, Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia and Vladimir Putin of Russia. Roth accuses them of finding “utility in holding electoral charades to legitimize” their reigns.

“Such divorcing of democracy from the international standards that give it meaning helps to convince autocrats that mere elections, regardless of the circumstances, are sufficient to warrant the democrat label,” the essay notes. “Rarely has democracy been so acclaimed yet so breached, so promoted yet so disrespected, so important yet so disappointing.”

Roth also writes that the Bush administration’s ability to speak out effectively for human rights has suffered since disclosures about its clandestine network of CIA-run jails, the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and the use of secret military tribunals, harsh interrogation methods and “rendition,” or the covert transfer of terrorism suspects. The report describes those practices as “a troubling parallel to abusive governments around the world.”

Yeah, but these fags from the Human Rights Council forget we’re AMERICA!!!

-jb

Bush’s disastrous terror policy.

Jan 14, 2008 in War on Terra

That’s simply what it is. The man has never known what he was involved in, has bungled up as much as humanly possible, and in most cases produced the opposite of the desired effect, making necessary continuous re-writes of why we went into Iraq and why we really aren’t that concerned about Osama bin Laden anymore (his regular videotapes are better than any Republican PR campaign could dream of). A Democrat with Bush’s record would stain the Democratic party for 30 more years (though to be honest, I think the hissyfits over Jimmy Carter’s foreign policy are more hype than substance).

With Bush, we have a bunch of strutting preening macho blather, followed by utterly deranged actions such as this:

(Bush) came bearing gifts. His adminstration informed Congress on Monday that it intended to sell Saudi Arabia $20 billion worth of arms. His message, though, has focused consistently on the need for piece between Israelis and Palestinians and on the dangers posed to the region by Iran.

Bush wants to sell Saudi Arabia $20 billion of arms, while warning of the “danger” of Iran.

Saudi Arabia, which said it would back the Sunni insurgency if the U.S. left Iraq.

Saudi Arabia, the home of state-sponsored Wahhabism, the physical and ideological birthplace of Osama bin Laden and fifteen of the 9/11 hijackers.

Saudi Arabia, who bizarrely pulls some serious weight in America.

“It seems there has been a debate inside the government over what’s the biggest danger—Iran or Sunni radicals,” Vali Nasr, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, who has written widely on Shiites, Iran, and Iraq, told me. “The Saudis and some in the Administration have been arguing that the biggest threat is Iran and the Sunni radicals are the lesser enemies. This is a victory for the Saudi line.”

As one, I guess, must always expect. The Bush administration and modern GOP is constitutionally incapable of dealing with terrorism as a threat.

-jb

Corporations and Government unite against the people.

Dec 19, 2007 in Clueless Conservatives, Corporate shenanigans, Drugs, Legal, Politics, War on Terra, Where's the outrage?!?!

One of the virtues of fascism is that corporations are easily integrated into the system. Corporations have the power to streamline and lubricate the mechanics of tyranny, privatizing what the government cannot get away with itself. If the government itself goes awry, watch out. One way the government always goes awry is through gradual mission creep and erosion of civilian protections. Crooks and Liars looks at an NYT article about how Bush’s surveillance state will inevitably spread beyond terrorism-related cases and become standard police procedure against U.S. citizens. The most obvious point-of-entry? The failed War on Drugs.

This article has exposed even more Bush administration lies and confirmed what many of us have suspected for some time. It’s not all about international terrorism. It appears the programs are being used for domestic crime fighting and there are more companies involved with the programs than previously revealed — and the programs include capturing data that is strictly domestic. In other words, the very core of our judicial system appears to have been thrown out the window and we still have no idea how bad things really are.

“What, me worry?” being the refrain of the right, I find it impossible to secure them any sympathy.

-jb

Neoconservatism: A philosophy based upon science fiction.

Nov 17, 2007 in Barack Obama, Clueless Conservatives, Politics, War on Terra

I’m not sure if there’s a shred of rational thought in this paragraph from a reader’s letter to Andrew Sullivan:

I fear Obama/Paul, not because they too would suspend liberties, but because their inherent lack of aggression, their disinclination to use force pre-emptively, is more likely to create a situation that permits the horrendous attack, which then ushers in the new leaders who ‘will keep us safe.’ We don’t need nice people who will do the ‘right thing’. We need a man like McCain who will fight hard, cleanly but hard, and who won’t flinch. The best defense against an attack is to attack the terrorists everyday, to kill them and to make their lives so miserable and so difficult that they are perpetually on the defensive.

I think 2008 is a little too late for this comic book vision of foreign policy. How can this reader really believe George W. Bush has been tough on terrorists? President Bush II has been Osama bin Laden’s wet dream idiot president come true. I mean, that’s from a fact-based realistic foreign policy perspective, one employing clean reason as opposed to jingoistic sludge.

To this guy, I must say: Man, I understand you got the fear. Fear is a son of a bitch. We’ve all got our fears, but Bushism has given you nothing but PR slogans, torture, dead soldiers and many more dead innocents. Dead terrorists? Eh, you know. They seem to enjoy committing suicide for the cause and have great recruitment ratios (George W.’s face on a poster is all you need). So you gotta ask yourself what it means to kill a terrorist if it gains the terrorist boss two new recruits. Oh, and by the way, they’ve all received excellent training in Afghanistan and Iraq whacking our soldiers who get sent out to patrol until somebody gets blown up.

Is he really sure Obama is going to do worse? By what, not invading countries? By what, stepping down international efforts to bring in terrorists? I mean, what policy? What plan? Or is this simply manipulated fear? Is this a narrative sold to this fella by used car salesmen? I have to ask if this guy buys into the unspoken Republican belief that Al Gore would not have responded to 9/11 with force (this translates, of course, into not invading Iraq…it’s all the same to them).

In other words, this whole narrative about Republicans being tough and Democrats being soft has always been about Iraq. It clearly had nothing to do with the Cold War. It obviously has nothing to do with Clinton’s pursuit of Al Queda during the 90’s which nobody really cared about back then, since George W. Bush entered office and did radically less than Clinton (his eyes were set on Iraq and Missile Defense). What did George W. Bush do about the USS Cole? Excuses about Bush’s first months are the usual remedial treatment this stunted man receives. When exactly was Bush going to begin defending the country, eh? Is that not an obligation the first year?

Bush fans really hate answering those questions, btw. They tend to get really angry to make up for their purely irrational dismissal of George W. Bush’s colossal failure to protect our nation from Al Queda before 9/11.

If this person really concerned about doing something about Al Queda, the rational, sensible, wise choice is Obama. We’ve got to return to foreign policy realism. Drop the slogans and start doing some damn thinking.

-jb

Dark Secrets

Nov 07, 2007 in Foreign Policy, Legal, National Security, Racism, Straight-up madness, War Crimes, War on Terra, Where's the outrage?!?!, WTF?

If a person gets tortured, but no one sees or hears him, did he really get tortured?

Stephen Gray, and independent British journalist has a very intriguing documentary,that will be aired on PBS.   The documentary is called “Extraordinary Rendition”.  He interviews some of the victims of rendition, all carried out by the CIA.

Up until now we have heard that our gov’t has been outsourcing torture. That it’s not really Americans who are doing it, that they hand the victims over to authorities in countries where torture is common. However:

The dark prison was run by the Americans,” a former inmate, Bisher al-Rawi, tells Grey. “It wasn’t Afghani people flying the aircraft, it wasn’t Afghani people who sort of shackled me and did whatever they did to me. It was Americans.”

Although some of the victims of Rendition are genuine suspects of terrorism, there are countless who are not.  The most famous being Maher Arar, the Syrian Canadian programmer, who was deported to Syria and tortured and then released without explanation or any charges against him.
Amy Goodman interviewed him yesterday about this documentary.

This is what he told her after he had interviewed a victim of rendition in Egypt who was also released without explanation or any charges:

And he also leaves behind dozens of people that he says are still in Egyptian jail, and they all wear a white uniform. The uniform says “interrogation” on it. And that means they haven’t been charged with anything. They are still there, held in secret, without access to any lawyers, and they’re held indefinitely. And they’re all people who have been sent there by the CIA in the rendition program.

If you live in an area where PBS does not air, or if they aren’t airing this program it will be available on their website later this week.

I am really interested in seeing how NeoCons defend this. I guess the same way they defend the Patriot Act and other erosion of our civil liberties…

If anyone saw it when it aired, please leave your comments, I’d love to hear about it.  I missed it.

-aa

I’m sorry for this, Juan Cole.

Oct 24, 2007 in Foreign Policy, Islam, Middle East, War on Terra

Few have more important commentary on the Middle East, but I must insert this little knife into your back.

Crooks and Liars quotes Juan Cole refuting the description of Islamic fundamentalists as fascists:

Fascism involves extreme nationalism and most often racism. Muslim fundamentalist movements reject the nation-state as their primary loyalty and reject race as a basis for political action or social discrimination.

Mmmm, no. I’m sorry, but Muslim fundamentalist movements (cousins to our Christian fundamentalists) are stunningly racist. I mean, they’re just plain tribalistic to the core, and they’re entirely undiscriminatory about what factors delineate those tribes. They hate rather evenly all outside themselves. If you’re the wrong race, the wrong religion, the wrong orientation, the wrong sex, or from the wrong side of town you’re an “other” to them. They’ll make adjustments and band together occasionally for things like, for example, fighting occupying powers, but the contempt never dies.

I think it’s enough to understand that Muslim fundamentalists are about authoritarian structures, ones that are inherently anti-freedom and anti-democratic. It’s a no-brainer to conclude that America must never choose to become one, and as long as such a question is beyond the pale, America, The Idea, is completely safe.

Rightwingers started “Islamo-fascism awareness week” as a PR maneuver to try creating the idea that only raving racist goons like David Horowitz were really “serious” about the threat from the Middle East. “Liberals are sipping their lattes unaware that Sahid is coming to cut their throats!”

Yes, these are the people who have been wrong about everything in the Middle East for the past decade. Yes, you’re supposed to swallow that sausage whole on camera and post the video on the Internet.

I can argue nomenclature with Juan Cole, but we’d agree largely on the qualities of the beast and how to react to it. Listening to rightwingers, you’d think they were some war-porn fanzine club rather than human beings capably reacting to a threat.

-jb

Baby, you’re on your own with this one.

Sep 22, 2007 in War on Terra

Today:

BOSTON – Troopers arrested an MIT student at gunpoint Friday after she walked into Logan International Airport wearing a computer circuit board and wiring on her sweatshirt. Authorities call it a fake bomb; she called it art.

I’ve not seen a picture, but there was this:

She wore the white circuit board on her chest over a black hooded sweatshirt, Pare said at a news conference. The battery-powered rectangular device had nine flashing lights, and Simpson had Play-Doh in her hands, he said.

Comparisons are made to the Aqua Teen Hunger Force debacle, but that was some serious stupidity on the part of police officers, scared by a frickin’ glowing picture of a Mooninite (I guess their primitive Earth brains couldn’t understand the awesomeness of moon technology). This chick walked into an airport strapped up with circuitry holding Play-doh. She simply had to have known the Play-doh was intended to mimic C4 explosive, there’s no other conceivable reason to have it.

Sugar, you’re a dumbass. You did it to yourself. Just you. You and no one else.

[youtube R5X7HKxpiQA]

-jb

Did Bush run out of smoke, holes or both?

Aug 01, 2007 in Middle East, War on Terra

Obama:

“Let me make this clear,” Obama said. “There are terrorists holed up in those mountains who murdered 3,000 Americans. They are plotting to strike again . . . If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and President Musharraf won’t act, we will.”

I’m hoping this meme will gain enough traction so that the fact that this administration has routinely ignored the role Pakistan plays in the spread of al-Qaeda based terrorism must be acknowledged.

-mg

The nail in the casket.

Jul 30, 2007 in Iraq, Middle East, Politics, Uncategorized, War on Terra

In the ideal world, the last US citizen to believe in Bush’s foreign policy “strength” just turned their back and vomited:

Saudis’ Role in Iraq Frustrates U.S. Officials — NYT, July 28

Bush administration officials are voicing increasing anger at what they say has been Saudi Arabia’s counterproductive role in the Iraq war. They say that beyond regarding Mr. Maliki as an Iranian agent, the Saudis have offered financial support to Sunni groups in Iraq. Of an estimated 60 to 80 foreign fighters who enter Iraq each month, American military and intelligence officials say that nearly half are coming from Saudi Arabia and that the Saudis have not done enough to stem the flow.

U.S. Set to Offer Huge Arms Deal to Saudi Arabia — NYT, July 29

In talks about the package, the administration has not sought specific assurances from Saudi Arabia that it would be more supportive of the American effort in Iraq as a condition of receiving the arms package, the officials said.

Bush’s foreign policy has been a perfect blend of the excited testosterone of a teenager fantasizing about war and the cynical bile of a corporate mummy entombed in the military industrial complex. Bogged down in Iraq, Bush still sells those fighting him weapons. If he’s learned the difference between Sunni and Shiite yet, it doesn’t show.

-jb

Some good news.

Jul 25, 2007 in Iran, Middle East, National Security, War on Terra

Two party talks with Iran are proceeding:

Despite the tensions, the two countries appear to have common concerns – both support the Shia-led government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, and neither wants the Iraqi state to collapse completely.

Deep-seated opposition in Iran to any talks with the US has been largely overcome since Ayatollah Khamenei, the supreme leader, last year backed the idea.

Iran has become increasingly concerned at the growing strength of militant Sunni groups, including al-Qaeda, in Iraq since the 2003 US-led invasion and at insurgents’ links with Saudi clerics and officials. Such groups regard Shia Muslims as infidels and have attacked both Shia civilians and shrines in Iraq.

Iran and Saudi Arabia are fighting a war by proxy within the borders of Iraq and it’s a good sign that we’re sitting down with at least one side to address their issues.  The question remains, however, over when this administration plans on confronting the greater threats of Saudi sponsored militant Wahabism (you know, the group responsible for 9/11?) and al-Qaeda sponsorship by our good buddy Pakistan.

-mg

Live Earth, etc, etc

Jul 10, 2007 in Uncategorized, War on Terra

Kunstler:

Looming behind the spectacle like some Macy’s Thanksgiving Day balloon, is the puffy figure of Al Gore, who has managed to turn his journalistic accomplishment into something uncomfortably like a Nuremberg rally. I say this perhaps incautiously, not because I believe that Al Gore is a bad person, but because it could get to the point here in America, not far down the line, when a desperate public will beg some political leader to push them around, to tell them what to do, to direct their behavior in some purposeful way to save their asses. And these prancing, preening rock and roll celebrities may be paving the way, so to speak, for some corn pone American fascist to strut his stuff for an American audience worried about the growing darkness, and the falling needle on their car’s gas gauge.

The last thing we need now is the carefully packaged postures of concern from “stars.” Al Gore could do a lot more good militating to get regular hourly passenger train service running between Nashville and Atlanta, or stomping his state, from Memphis to Chattanooga for swapping sales tax on regular merchandise for a higher tax on gasoline. Or, he could just put aside his pretensions for being a kind of global Wizard of Oz and just cut the shit and run for president of the US, where he might actually make a difference.

Like most sane people I remain unconvinced that gigantic pop concerts can provide enough impetus to mitigate Armageddon. My main issue is that profligate fossil fuel consumption, the main producer of greenhouse gases, seems to be the least addressed issue. What I do notice is a great deal of enthusiasm for trendy products and services, promoted by Serious People, that supposedly help the cause. As if purchasing more of the appropriate thing is going to make some sort of difference. Morrissey once quipped about Band Aid; “One can have great concern for the people of Ethiopia, but it’s another thing to inflict daily torture on the people of England.” Is it too much to ask that American Express, out of sheer good will to the American people, remove that idiotic advertisement featuring Sheryl Crow and Ellen DeGeneres? Perhaps the owners of the million dollar bungalows that line Lake Winnipesaukee are amused by it but I certainly am not.

-mg

The terrorists have won.

Jun 21, 2007 in Constitution, War on Terra

Start practicing your Arab lessons:

A federal appeals court has upheld a lower court’s ruling against warrantless seizures of email. Law enforcement agents need to obtain a warrant before looking at a user’s email even if it is stored online, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeal ruled on Wednesday.

For 20 years, long before the introduction of knee-jerk law enforcement powers ushered in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, the Stored Communications Act (SCA) has been used by government agents to carry out secret searches and seizures of stored email, without requiring a warrant. A case brought by Steven Warshak challenged this practice.

In an important ruling, a district court said in July 2006 that the SCA violates the Fourth Amendment by allowing secret, warrantless searches of email stored with a third party. The government appealed arguing, in part, that the Fourth Amendment doesn’t protect emails at all when they are stored with an ISP or a webmail provider such as Hotmail or Gmail.

The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals disagreed, upholding the lower court’s decision and affirming that users have a “reasonable expectation of privacy” about content in emails stored on a remote host.

Of course, George Bush doesn’t care where you store your e-mail, but for those actually concerned about the Constitution and warrantless searches, third party storage is hardly a worthy excuse.

-jb

Andrew Sullivan on a good day.

May 31, 2007 in Clueless Conservatives, Foreign Policy, Iraq, Middle East, National Security, Politics, War on Terra

Are Americans starting to catch onto the fact that Bush and the Republican Party have been pathologically unserious about terrorism, and that 9/11 was nothing but an excuse for wars and executive power they already wanted? Andrew certainly has.

The president’s trope has been that we’re fighting them over there so we don’t have to fight them over here. It’s a notion dependent on the absurd idea that a disparate, lateral organization of religious fanatics is somehow unable to to both. The truth appears to be: we are training them over there so they can come and murder us over here. We are honing their guerrilla skills by night, have provided them training by day, have either given them arms ourselves, or allowed Iran and Syria to send munitions. The icing on the cake is that the chaotic occupation has allowed some terrorists to skim the oil export industry for the money to keep the killing going indefinitely, and that the maintenance of an occupation of the Muslim country provides an over-arching motive for a new wave of terror. And so all we’re doing is waiting to see when this wave of Bush-created terror comes ashore.

I really don’t think the Republicans get the terror threat, do you? They just don’t take national security seriously as a party.

To be fair, it was Andrew’s trope at the beginning of the war too, but he’s paid his dues (a little more respect for those of us who were telling him why he was wrong then wouldn’t hurt, though). It seems elementary, but in practice it’s a lot to ask of someone to change their mind. Politicians have grown wary of “flip-flopping” in recent years, but there is a middle ground. The opposite end of the spectrum is George W. Bush, pathologically incapable of keeping up with the facts, rigidly stuck in an ideological fugue.

Even worse, to run as a GOP candidate you have to essentially affirm everything Bush has done and said, even if you gussy it up with some talk of “incompetence.” You have to be as completely swallowed up in a simplistic manipulative vision of foreign policy, full of platitudes to keep people settled while outrageous blundering takes place.

George W. Bush has not simply failed to fight Al Queda and Islamic radicalism, he has helped them flourish. Has this country ever been failed so greatly by a president?

-jb

Being a conservative blogger would be like taking a vacation.

May 03, 2007 in Clueless Conservatives, War on Terra

Right wing bloggers are really keen on finding obscure incidences of wrong-doing and then making a point out of the fact that their librul enemies aren’t falling all over themselves to apologize for the actions of people/groups they’re neither affiliated with or have heard of.  It’s the classic “the silence is deafening” approach and it’s a cheap and easy excuse for the mouth-breathers to felate each other and pretend like they’re victims.

Now, if I had the same operating principles as a conservative blogger a story like this would be like mana from heaven:

AUSTIN — A 27-year-old man has been arrested and taken into federal custody in connection with a makeshift bomb found this week at an Austin women’s clinic that performs abortions, authorities said Friday.

So where’s the outrage from the wingnuts?!  Hmmmmm??

Replace the above crazy with an Arab and that winger masturbation fantasy Michelle Malkin would be screeching for internment camps and the horse-faced, cokehead Ann Coulter would be on FOX bellowing for nuclear revenge. 

-mg 

Grow weed. (for fuel)

Mar 28, 2007 in Energy, Ethanol, War on Terra

Corn-based ethanol, America’s current favorite palliative, continues to be regarded by most in the scientific community as a means by which we can burn up the last five inches of our topsoil in our gas-tanks.  Whatever pain at the pump ethanol may eleviate we would most certainly experience the related deleterious effects of increasing food prices and environmental degredation. The authors of this study suggests that there are ways to avoid a trade-off scenario since apparently a weed patch produces more and better quality ethanol products than soy, corn, or switch grass.  Except here they call it “high diversity prairie hay”:

There are biofuel crops that can be grown with much less energy and chemicals than the food crops we currently use for biofuels. And they can be grown on our less fertile land, especially land that has been degraded by farming. This would decrease competition between food and biofuel. The United States has about 60 million acres of such land — in the Conservation Reserve Program, road edge rights-of-way and abandoned farmlands.

In a 10-year experiment reported in Science magazine in December, we explored how much bioenergy could be produced by 18 different native prairie plant species grown on highly degraded and infertile soil. We planted 172 plots in central Minnesota with various combinations of these species, randomly chosen. We found, on this highly degraded land, that the plots planted with mixtures of many native prairie perennial species yielded 238 percent more bioenergy than those planted with single species. High plant diversity led to high productivity, and little fertilizer or chemical weed or pest killers was required.

The prairie “hay” harvested from these plots can be used to create high-value energy sources. For instance, it can be mixed with coal and burned for electricity generation. It can be “gasified,” then chemically combined to make ethanol or synthetic gasoline. Or it can be burned in a turbine engine to make electricity. A technique that is undergoing rapid development involves bioengineering enzymes that digest parts of plants (the cellulose) into sugars that are then fermented into ethanol.

Whether converted into electricity, ethanol or synthetic gasoline, the high-diversity hay from infertile land produced as much or more new usable energy per acre as corn for ethanol on fertile land. And it could be harvested year after year.

Even more surprising were the greenhouse gas benefits. When high-diversity mixtures of native plants are grown on degraded soils, they remove carbon dioxide from the air. Much of this carbon ends up stored in the soil. In essence, mixtures of native plants gradually restore the carbon levels that degraded soils had before being cleared and farmed. This benefit lasts for about a century.

Across the full process of growing high-diversity prairie hay, converting it into an energy source and using that energy, we found a net removal and storage of about a ton and a half of atmospheric carbon dioxide per acre. The net effect is that ethanol or synthetic gasoline produced from this grass on degraded land can provide energy that actually reduces atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide.

When one of these carbon-negative biofuels is mixed with gasoline, the resulting blend releases less carbon dioxide than traditional gasoline.

Biofuels, if used properly, can help us balance our need for food, energy and a habitable and sustainable environment. To help this happen, though, we need a national biofuels policy that favors our best options. We must determine the carbon impacts of each method of making these fuels, then mandate fuel blending that achieves a prescribed greenhouse gas reduction. We have the knowledge and technology to start solving these problems.

Sure…but can we keep spineless politicians from substituting Cargill for Exxon?

-mg

Global Warming Update, the debate is STILL over. Part 2.

Mar 17, 2007 in Clueless Conservatives, Environment, Global warming, Uncategorized, War on Terra

A great many of those that label themselves conservative these days don’t let truth stand in the way when it comes to scoring some cheap points any which way they can. Take art for example. Your average hair-brained idealogue cannot imagine that anyone would independently create a work of expression merely for the joy of doing so. The closest that they can come to understanding art is by indentifying and labeling it as propaganda thereby justifying their cynicism and also their feelings of being constantly under attack by would-be tryants. The same mentality comes into play in regards to global warming and the work being done by those that research it. It is unfathomable to some that scientists don’t have cynical motives and aren’t reflexively rebelling against SUVs, capitalism, Uncle Sam, etc., in order to justify their own selfish ideological concerns or their scheming desires to establish a One-World Government run by Kofi Annan and Jane Fonda.

So here we have a “documentary”, lauded by many on the “9 out of 10 doctors prefer Chesterfields!!” side of the debate, proving once and for all that global warming is a hoax perpetrated by opportunistic scientists. Never mind that it’s complete rubbish from a scientific stand-point* and forget that participants in the program were misquoted, misrepresented or are just plain old cranks. The only thing that matters is that we’ve got some hacks parroting what we believe. Facts be damned.

-mg

*see also here.

Scintillating damnation.

Mar 16, 2007 in Foreign Policy, Iraq, Middle East, National Security, Outstanding Democrats, Politics, War on Terra

Zbigniew Brzezinski lacerates the hell out of the neocons and sizes up the bleeding wound to the country’s heart that this administration has been.

Frankly, the scope with which Bush is turning America into scorched ground has become too great and horrific to describe.

The investigation and movement for Alberto Gonzalez to resign is our nation’s chance to look at the Bush machine.  The fact is that the prosecutor purge is just plain common ordinary mundane trivial business as usual for the Bush administration.  That’s how they roll.  That’s who they are.  It’s their modus operandi.  For six years the Republican Congress gave Bush a blank check as long as he could cast every move he made as “Strong on terror (nevermind the facts).”

The administration of George W. Bush has had the misfortune of being both misguided and completely unethical in the pursuance of their madness.  His successors want to keep the course steady.  It’s time to reject those who looked to Bush as a source of vision and wisdom for the past six years, those who enabled him every step of the way.  Their judgment has proven to be in consistent errancy.

2008 marks a fork in the road for the direction of America.  Even those of us who liked the idea of taking down Saddam have realized that it is time for America to show the world a different face, one that represents us far, far better than the thundering failure that is the Bush administration and their disciples.

-jb

The Papal Condemnation of Ranger Rick

Mar 12, 2007 in Environment, Global warming, War on Terra

Are you an employee of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that wants to discuss global warming or polar bear extinction?  You gotta clear it with the Commissary of the Holy Office first.

-mg           

 

Once again, conservatives appluad (while ignoring) the free market.

Mar 07, 2007 in Environment, Global warming, Local, Local Politics, Uncategorized, War on Terra

yeah...it's real

For all of the blustering about “free markets” conservatives (as usual) don’t pay much attention to the genuine article when it conflicts with their ideological devotions. They’re more interested in their own egos than they are with immediate realities. So it goes with global warming; a phenomenon even the Pentagon and a majority of the business community considers real. Why? Because the invisible hand indicates to them that they will not function well within an environment that is not hospitable to their presence.

Gander Mountain understands this simple equation. I divy up my local outdoorzy retail purchases between two places; Fin and Feather (located on Highway 6 in Iowa City) and Gander Mountain (closest one being Cedar Rapids). Gander Mountain has more of a selection but the down-side is that they’re twenty miles away.  Fin and Feather, though being within a convenient two miles of my house, have the disadvantage of inflated prices and condescending sales staff. It’s always a toss-up between driving half-an-hour and paying less or listening to some geezer tell me how if I’m fishing with anything less than a Shimano Stella I might as well give up walleye fishing (even though I’ve been fishing for twenty five years) rather than share some useful information with me. Considering the circumstances I choose driving to Cedar Rapids nine times out of ten.

Gander Mountain also understands that if there are no areas to fish or hunt they will soon be out of customers who enjoy fishing and hunting.

That is why, as a consumer and sportsman, I’m going to stop shopping at Fin & Feather in Iowa City. Gander Mountain is the type of business that understands that renewable energy goes hand in hand with the true concept of conservativism and, to a greater extent, liberty.

You meet some of these old-school types down on the water. They’re usually sitting on a five-gallon bucket with a few dinks complaining about how they used to be able to fill that bucket full of crappies or walleye or how the river used to be clear and the fish were plentiful. These are the same type of guys that took it for granted, then and now, that the past will mirror the future and they’re the same types of people, that with filthy rivers and empty creels, will lament the encroachment of insidious liberals. These are the same types who keep everything they catch, edible or not, younger generations be damned. What they don’t realize is that the markets they adore extend beyond their own opportunities to consume. That the world isn’t an infinite resource nor an infinite garbage can.

-mg

Urgent bulletin from George Bush’s base!

Feb 11, 2007 in Christian Right, Clueless Conservatives, War on Terra

See what you learn at a rightwing blog?  We should re-name our defense budget the anti-Satan budget!

But after the rapture the anti-christ will arise. He will be islamic(he will come from babylon/Iraq) and he will use terrorism/peace to destroy many.He will sign a peace treaty with Israel and he will establish real,true peace between the jews and palestinians to win over the world’s support. they will be deciebed because he will evetually brak the treaty after having decieved the world. There will be a false prophet(possibly a corrupt future Pope) who helps the anti-christ unite the world’s two largest religions(the Lamb with two horns) He will use signs and wonders to unite Islam and false christianity and the Anti-christ will take over the one-world government(led by the the EU the revised roman empire the bible prophecied would come back)bring about the Mark of the beast system, a one-world government,economy and religion. and unless you take his mark you will not be able to buy or sell. And if you reject it, you will be beheaded just like islamic terrorists do.And he will divide the earth up into ten sections and appoint ten kings who are under his command to rule them.

This is just the short version.

Don’t kid yourself. It is coming. And you can already see the beginnings of it with your own eyes.

The basis for our foreign policy?  Yes.

-jb

Total Information Awareness zombies…

Jan 13, 2007 in National Security, War on Terra

Just when you thought you were free, you open a door and the undead come through.

The Pentagon has been using a little-known power to obtain banking and credit records of hundreds of Americans and others suspected of terrorism or espionage inside the United States, part of an aggressive expansion by the military into domestic intelligence gathering.

Coming right after Bush’s signing statement, the pattern is evident.  Bush still thinks he can do whatever he wants, and is, with the hiring of a new lawyer, gearing up to spend the next two years trying to prove it.

I shall expect our shiny new Democratic Congress to start leaning hard on privacy issues, and knocking Republicans into being in the right place at the right time:  supporting them.  Do we really have to put a Democratic President in office to enlist GOP support?

It’s worth a shot, I reckon.

-jb

100% clusterfuck.

Oct 18, 2006 in Clueless Conservatives, Iraq, War on Terra

That’s all you have to realize about Iraq. It’s not that if we’d had enough troops it would have worked. It might have been not quite as bad, that’s certainly possible, but then again it probably have just meant more US troops to attack.

Many people have spent copious amounts of time debating and pontificating on paths to a peaceful Iraq, most of that wasted. We have done what we could in capturing Saddam Hussein. That was it. That was our big fat shining moment of glory. Our greatest achievement. Everything else?

Hoo-ha. Ranch dressing on a turd.

We need to pull out troops. It will, to some extent, create room for others to move in, take over, etc. The current government will react, the Sunnis will react, the Kurds will sit back smoking in cafes, but we must not delude ourselves that this is pulling out the troops to give the government a kick in the pants. The Iraqi government doesn’t need to pull itself up by its bootstraps here.
Why? In case you hadn’t noticed, there’s already a vacuum in Iraq. It’s called a civil war. At that, the government, essentially the Shiites, is doing quite well via militias. This is not a problem for them.

We have to accept that a troop pullout is necessary, and that it will very likely mean a step-up in the civil war.  There is no military solution to changing that reality.  Only a political solution.

Unfortunately, there seem to be people in the world like David Brooks who insist on being wrong every single day.  He serves a classical purpose in human history, dismissing the most necessary action out of hand.  Apparently the lazier your quip, the less value you assign to the proposition, thus fooling others into moving on.  I guess it works?

Brooks casually says Iraq simply cannot go federalist (get carved up) because the people are staunchly nationalistic.  Where’d he get this?  Who the fuck cares?  He made it up, or he might as well have.  It doesn’t matter.  It’s just plain wrong in a very simply understandable manner.

Iraq isn’t nationalistic.  Iraq is the Kurds, who are fine by themselves, the Shiites who would be fine by themselves, and the Sunnis, who want to still earn money off Shiite oil.  Currently the Sunnis and Shiites are killing each other with no small degree of enthusiasm.  Certainly one that dwarfs Mr. Brooks’ imaginary Iraqi nationalism that just makes federalism plain impossible (apparently it’s impossible here too, then).

Why?  That’s just what I wonder anymore.  Why is there so much obfuscation and mucking up over matters over which there is little serious debate?  What interest does David Brooks have in futilely attempting to keep Iraq whole?  Is it the basest form of instinctively supporting Bush?  Chomsky would say that people like Brooks are still waiting for another Saddam Hussein to come along and reign in all of Iraq, echoing Bush I’s choice in 1991 to keep Saddam in power.  He would be very close to the truth in saying so.

Of course, Brooks gets to peddle his shit in the NY Times and on cable news precisely because he offers services to those in power.  Chomsky, not so much.

Reality…it’s a hard sell.

-jb

New ways to blow shit up.

Oct 10, 2006 in National Security, Politics, War on Terra

Contrary to signed treaties the United States has long endeavoured to weaponize space in it’s efforts to realize what is commonly refered to as “full spectrum dominance”. There are a few obvious benefits. Firstly, weapons in space would be a necessary defense against threats that have the ability to compromise space based systems of communication, commerce, etc. Secondly, given the substantial technological lead the US enjoys in space technology research and development, such systems would be useful as a new and effective lever of power both psychologically and realistically (or “realpolitik” if you’re an asshole). In a very enlightening statement published by the United States Space Command, the great interest in space as a serious theater of combat is made quite clear. The pdf file can be found here and it’s an interesting read. It’s a refreshingly sober assessment and lacks the vain histrionics most conservatives employ when talking about matters of national security.

Here are a couple of examples:

Although unlikely to be challenged by a global peer competitor, the United States will continue to be challenged regionally. The globalization of the world economy will also continue, with a wwidening of “haves” and “have-nots.” Accelerating rates of technological development will be increasingly driven by the commerical sector – not the military.

The medium of space is the fourth medium of warfare – along with land, sea, and air. Space power (systems, capabilities, and forces) will be increasingly leveraged to close the ever-widening gap between diminishing resources and increasing military commitments.

New Scientist is now reporting that US leadership is making moves consistent with their openly stated desires.

-mg

So much to deny in a day!

Oct 03, 2006 in Clueless Conservatives, Politics, War on Terra

More from the NYT on meeting that Brian at Iowa Voice doesn’t want to believe happened (I don’t like linking to the feeb, but if you go read his site you’ll see I’m being 100% literal).  White House records now confirm it.

A review of White House records has determined that George J. Tenet, then the director of central intelligence, did brief Condoleezza Rice and other top officials on July 10, 2001, about the looming threat from Al Qaeda, a State Department spokesman said Monday.

I admit, it’s amazing to believe that the White House hasn’t classified all such records and kept them from the public.  It would hardly be out of character for them to do so.  It makes me happy to see something in the Executive Branch still work like it’s supposed to.

-jb

You can get away with one new fact if it’s a doozy.

Oct 02, 2006 in Clueless Conservatives, War on Terra

Woodward’s book is generally the sound of a man waking from a long, long slumber, accompanied by a slight turning of the back to those who might pat him on it. Clueless conservatives will deny everything and say “It’s old news!” at the same time, as they’re so good at doing.

Except Woodward came up with one new little tidbit that is just endlessly fascinating. After all this Path to 9/11 science fiction, it turns out that George W. was offered bin Laden’s head if he’d pony up $500 million (note: That’s about 2000 times cheaper than Iraq is going to cost before we ever get out.) The New York Times has some more detail today.

But Condi Rice blocked the pass. The White House has wasted no time lying about it, claiming that’s not how she recalls it, but who fucking cares what they say at this point? Has there been a less credible administration in our history? Anybody with a lick of sense (not Brian Pickrell, Iowa’s village idiot) knows they have no compunctions about denying plain facts.

Woodward has been a sad case of a fallen journalist in recent times, fellating this administration for far too long. His fudging on the Plame matter happened far too recently to indicate a complete change of heart, but perhaps this book represents the boundary of credit that a semi-reasonable person can afford this administration. They were finally too much of a gang of screw-ups, to the point where Woodward would have had to join in on plain making shit up.

So faint praise for him, but bravo on the one new fact.  The righties will attack the messenger, but it won’t work on Woodward.  The meeting happened.  The offer was there.  Further reporting will only clarify this.  All sad sack Bush-o-philes will have is “But Condi said…” and nobody will care.

The narrative is dead.  Bush was offered bin Laden.  He was so tuned out that it didn’t even get to him.  Condi didn’t make a mistake…she was honoring her boss’s wishes perfectly.  Al Queda pre 9/11:  zero priority.

Post 9/11 ain’t been so hot either.

-jb

White people: You have nothing to fear.

Sep 30, 2006 in National Security, Politics, War on Terra

It’s okay.  Don’t worry.

He was a Canadian citizen, and they are mostly white, but there’s no need to get out of your seat.  He’s not white.  Calm down.

They tortured him for three days, but when you see him, you’ll understand.  He looks like a sand nigger, and truth be told, he doesn’t look like he had any major organ failure, so just relax.

Do not express concern.

Skip past the treasonous words of liberal faggot Andrew Sullivan, in fact just hit mute so you don’t have to hear this camelfucker’s lies.  Just look at him.

Does he look like you?

Probably not.  It’s safe.  You’ll be just fine.  You’re in danger, of course, but from him.  Don’t be afraid of the Bush administration and two more years of rubber-stamping Republicans.  They will save you.  They will protect you.  Vote for them, and they will make the dark scary people go away.

-jb

Happy Torture and War Crimes Day!

Sep 29, 2006 in Christian Right, Clueless Conservatives, Politics, War on Terra

How will you celebrate the end of Habeus Corpus and the U.S. Constitution?

I’m not doing anything tonight, but tomorrow night I’m going to get a couple of 40 oz. bottles of St. Ides and toast the memories I had of having Constitutional rights.

A dozen Democrats supported the Torture/War Crimes bill. Andrew Sullivan says both parties are a disgrace. Ah, but Andrew, the majority of Dems still stood up. At least we’ve got a fucking chance of hope for the future. One Republican abstained. They have gone completely over the cliff, every last one of them.

-jb

p.s. The names of the twelve. Don’t forget them.

Tom Carper (Del.)
Tim Johnson (S.D.)
Mary Landrieu (La.)
Frank Lautenberg (N.J.)
Bob Menendez (N.J)
Bill Nelson (Fla.)
Ben Nelson (Neb.)
Pryor (Ark.)
Jay Rockefeller (W. Va.)
Ken Salazar (Co.)
Debbie Stabenow (Mich.)
Joe Lieberman (Conn.) (…no shit!)

UPDATE:  Nope, didn’t get drunk Friday night.  I was afraid of bursting into tears around company.  And of pissing in my closet.

Foreign policy realism vs. “Al Queda supports Ned Lamont!”

Aug 18, 2006 in Clueless Conservatives, Foreign Policy, Iraq, Middle East, National Security, Politics, War on Terra

The scorecard.  Hopefully you’ve found it elsewhere, but just in case…

And to combat bleakness, a way forward, if we can gain control.

-jb

Bored by Hezbollah, bored by Israel.

Aug 01, 2006 in Middle East, War on Terra

The usual suspects (i.e. everybody who got us into Iraq) have been utterly unhesitant to whoop and holler over Israel vs. Hezbollah Round 28921. I thought it quite remarkable to hear so quickly and loudly that this was WWIII. Over a couple kidnapped soldiers?

Just as quick, the chickenhawks have started it again, including my poor beloved yet-still-addled Andrew Sullivan (who has been doing a brilliant job of shredding Mel Gibson and Passion of the Christkillers).

I missed Markos Moulitsas’ explanation for avoiding any substantive
discussion of the Israel-Hezbollah widening war. (Shouldn’t we call it
what it is, by the way? This is a war between Iran and Israel, started
by Iran.) For fairness’ sake, here it is, penned over ten days ago. It’s beneath pathetic. But judge for yourself.

Ah, there is is, folks. It may be yet another iteration of “Arabs strike at Israel, Israel responds with overwhelming force,” but Andrew feels he can crow about obsessing over it. That’s classic chickenhawk mentality for you, stick it in a jar of formaldehyde. Even though other users on DKos have pontificated at length, Markos is supposed to pipe up himself, and if he doesn’t feel like it, it’s pathetic. Cue applause for Andrew’s courage in…writing about it.

So, alas, Israel. Hezbollah. Syria. Iran. The USA. Is there really something new and exciting here? Is there more than desperate grabbing at straws in order to get some inertia behind the neocons continuing desire for all-out war in the Middle East?

It seems all the usual elements are not only back in place, but far less subtle. Did you think Iraq was really all about Israel? Iran is. Did you think they wanted World War III? They just blurted out that they needed an ace of diamonds to make a flush. Like children, they saw snow and yelled, “It’s Christmas!”

And, of course, if you aren’t into hysterics, you’re not one of the kool (aid) kidz.

-jb

p.s. Written with the Performancing plugin for Firefox.

Poisoning the well.

Jul 31, 2006 in Christian Right, Clueless Conservatives, Environment, Global warming, Uncategorized, War on Terra

The LA Times has the second of a two part series up concerning the damage already done to the environment. Since there seems to still be those that think that there is a “debate” regarding global environmental destruction and climate change it’s a jaw-dropping look at what has already happened as a result of human encroachment upon specific biological systems.

I’ve always thought that one of the most dangerous components of the far-right ideology is their insistence that they hold dominion over the earth and its inhabitants and that they can therefore shirk their duties as good stewards. By their logic they live on a disposable planet. They are the chosen ones and since God has limitless power it follows that God also has provided them with limitless resources. Add in the conviction that we are in the End Times and all true believers are going to ascend to a better place (so why worry about this earthly realm?) and you have a recipe for disaster.

-mg

Because they’re not extremists.

Jul 14, 2006 in Clueless Conservatives, War on Terra

After all, Al Queda could be sending secret messages to each other by yelling them at sports events.

In its continuing crackdown on on-air profanity, the FCC has requested numerous tapes from broadcasters that might include vulgar remarks from unruly spectators, coaches and athletes at live sporting events, industry sources said.

Tapes requested by the commission include live broadcasts of football games and NASCAR races where the participants or the crowds let loose with an expletive. While commission officials refused to talk about its requests, one broadcast company executive said the commission had asked for 30 tapes of live sports and news programs.

“It looks like they want to end live broadcast TV,” said one executive, who spoke only on the condition of anonymity. “We already know that they aren’t afraid to go after news.”

Seeing that it always takes people being directly targeted themselves to get their attentions aroused, let’s hope that the administration’s decision to go after live football finally sparks the mountain of kindling awaiting the public’s attention.

Given the non-event that was a couple seconds of Janet Jackson’s boob (OHMYGODITSABLACKTITTY!!!), the reaction is all the more eye-bleedingly aphid-scratchingly insane…

-jb

I need some volunteers.

Jul 11, 2006 in Agriculture, Energy, Environment, Uncategorized, War on Terra

I’m looking for some volunteers.   In order for biofuels to reach their full potential ninety five out of one hundred of you are going to have to stop driving:

But all this is barely a splash in the tank of energy demand. Even if the US devoted all its corn to ethanol and all its soybeans to biodiesel production,“ which would cause widespread food shortages,“ the resulting biofuels would cover less than 5% of US gasoline and diesel fuel needs, they calculate.

“Those two sources are always going to be minor supplies of those fuels,” says Tilman. “Turning what is already a globally limited quantity of food into energy is not a very good option in the long term.”

Goddammit!   I was really enjoying all of those GM and Ford commercials that feature pretty people in pretty cars promising a pretty planet.   The bottom line is that all the switch-grass on the globe isn’t going to keep the airline industry, Disneyland, Wal-mart and a million TiVos running indefinitely let alone keep the fat kids parked in front of the tube full of Doritos and Pepsi.   What’s more problematic is that a rather sizable portion of the population refuses to accept the possibility that they may have to do without.

-mg