Thursday, November 30, 2006

Yes, America, You Can Un-Shit The Bed!

It's come to this, now: Jonathan Chait, an Establishment writer who poses as a liberal-leaning smarty-pants, and who wields his mighty pen for hoity-toity publications I've forced myself to read on occasion, has called for the return of Saddam Hussein in an LA Times Op-Ed piece:

Jonathan Chait: Bring back Saddam Hussein

Restoring the dictator to power may give Iraqis the jolt of authority they need. Have a better solution?
It goes on from there, and there is a chance he means it as a comedy piece, but I don't think so:
Restoring the expectation of order in Iraq will take some kind of large-scale psychological shock. The Iraqi elections were expected to offer that shock, but they didn't. The return of Saddam Hussein — a man every Iraqi knows, and whom many of them fear — would do the trick.
A large-scale shock. Huh. Yeah...obviously killing 600,000 thousand or so Iraqis (oh, well, who's counting?) wasn't enough to shock the benighted savages into docility. We need to bring back Saddam, who did such a good job for the CIA until he went off the farm after we attacked him. Silly bugger didn't know his place. That'll teach him to turn down Pizza Hut franchises.

Comedy or not, Chait came out and stated the perfect Companion Meme to the burgeoning "Blame The Iraqis For Their Problems Meme," currently being passed around the think tanks, which made its way through the strenuously Darwinian process of cocktail party discussions devoted to crafting the most artful mask to put on the face of massive failure. Both memes are implicit in the messages Bush and Cheney just delivered to Iraq's elected leaders (gag#bullcrap!#hack) and to interested parties in the region: "Well, old boy, if you can't govern your own people, then you shouldn't really have a government, should you? Best get cracking on the insurgency, wot-wot? Those Swiss bank accounts can be awfully dodgy, you know."

Now I'm certain the US forces are pulling out of the Sunni Triangle. Sunnis will be paid in oil for their blood, to counter the Shiite mullahcracy. The picture above is from the movie Trainspotting, when the character got wasted, slept in his girlfriend's house, and copiously lost control of his bowels during his sleep. He attempted to hide the incontinent evidence by folding up the corners of the sheets and carrying the bundle past the family in the breakfast nook. It didn't end well.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Hello Darkness My Old Friend, Pt. IV: Cheney Vs. The Iraq Study Group

Much as it may amaze, there's a place in the Blogsophere where I'm considered a cock-eyed optimist--retract your dropped jaw please. There are quite a few places, really, but the one I'm referring to is frequented by people who are still apparently quite sane: the highly professional and no-nonsense Sic Semper Tyrannis. It is run by Pat Lang, an expert on the Mid-east who had a long career in service and the business, and he has built probably the largest-caliber community for open-source military intelligence analysis on the net. The level of historical and current knowledge there can even be intimidating. Generally, the dominant opinion is that the Bush Mis-administration can't be dissuaded from staying the course, and that Jim Baker's Iraq Study Group is an exercise in futility. I don't see it that way, and below is an exchange with a sharp regular over in the comments section who goes by the handle of "Got A Watch:"

"It takes a special kind of stupidity to be GWB. You have to go above and beyond the single digit IQ to reach this state. So any who think the situation in Iraq will be resolved by this Administration need a hard reality check. The ISG Report will be worthless before it comes out of the printer."

Got A Watch @10AM:

If you're negotiating for an incompetent, it's your job to use their incompetence to advantage in facilitating a deal which makes them look and feel good. You use the areas they don't care about, or don't see, as leverage to achieve that objective, and the more bone-headed they are, the more they tend to miss. While the missed areas may be extremely important to others (let's say they're oil leases and development rights or domestic political concerns), to Bush they would be mere casualties in the greater cause of his ego fulfillment, of as little importance as lives and limbs lost by young volunteeers and older reservists.

Bush has his Destiny, and he will not deviate from it. For him to approve anything, he must be shown a quicker, preferably easier way to fulfill it, and Baker is keenly aware of that. He's not butting heads with Dubya, nor will he need to. Cheney, for example, has used Bush's divinely confident incompetence to his own advantage--to attempt to directly seize the world's greatest known oil reserves from the inside out.

The ISG plan isn't worthless. It was carefully set up to carry congressional imprimatur and to be bipartisan. The ISG's immediate aim, already half-met with the departure of Rumsfeld, is to neutralize or eliminate Cheney. That's where the head-butting is happening.

If James Baker (whose clients in this matter are the Bush Family, The Carlyle Group, The United States Establishment, and Big Oil), cannot neutralize Cheney, it means he probably cannot convince Bush to facilitate peace in the Mid-East or Christ's reign on earth through more reliance on diplomacy. If Cheney is removed as an obstacle, the true objective is much easier to realize.

So if Baker's first efforts to drive for a diplomatic solution fail, which they will, he has still successfully laid the groundwork for them abroad. Domestically, he can then go back to the impetus for the ISG and recommend a course of action to remove the necessary political roadblocks. Cheney correctly perceives himself as Baker's target; he even predicted that when and if his critics came after him, they would take Rumsfeld out first.

If I were Baker, I would make it look like it came from the Democrats.

Baker is great with the angles, and he's not the Bush Family Fixer for nothing. He is, amongst many other under-appreciated things, the man who negotiated the October Surprise with Iran, and who got the Supreme Court to name Dubya "Preznit." I'm no fan of his morals. I am a fan of his ability as a back-door operator and negotiator because he is extremely good at what he does. When the shit hits the fan for the Bush family, for the Carlyle Group, for governments and for oil companies, he has a long record of fixing it. He's the equivalent of Pulp Fiction's "Wolf," as I posted on a while back. I never thought he would be on my side, but this time he's gunning to knock out Dick Cheney, and he already got Rumsfeld. Stopping the bleeding is probably his most challenging assignment yet, but if anybody can handle Cheney, Bush, Iran, and the Mid-east, he can. He's done it before.

F-16 Crash Follow-Up, Pt. II: DNA Testing??

So, I've got a bug up my butt about this F-16 crash in the Anbar province for a few reasons. First, my gut says it's a tipping point in the Iraq war, second, I've been expecting late-model shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) or mobile truck-mounted weapons to show up C.O.D. Iran for about two years now, and third, I had NOT been expecting them to show up in the Anbar province (because Shia Iran would never give or sell advanced weapons to Sunnis). I believe the US will soon withdraw from the Anbar Province, and that this downed F-16, along with the 3 helicopters downed in the same area on the same day, are the straws which broke the back of occupying the Sunni heartland. Sunnis armed with effective SAMs would be a very, very expensive proposition.

Here's where it gets strange. The Air Force is performing DNA tests on the ejection seat from the F-16CG as part of a crash investigation. Umm... the pilot looked pretty dead on the video taken by an Iraqi journalist at the crash site. Next, other aircraft were said to be circling the site before the crash occurred, reportedly spotting "insurgents" (or civilians) at the scene. So how could they not notice people carrying off a body or a wounded pilot from the middle of a large, open, uninhabited field? This doesn't even start to add up.

The Air Force should not need to get blood and tissue samples from wreckage to confirm who was jocking their F-16. That's pure, triple-distilled BS. Normally they would know it off the top of their head, and if not, they would just look at their duty roster. If someone's mascot ate the duty roster or erased it, then the plane was still under observation in real time from other assets at altitudes above it, and the pilot would've been using his call sign and communicating with his combat air command during close support of ground troops, very tightly controlled to make sure he didn't accidentally waste his own people. Bottom line, I can imagine no plausible reason the Air Force would need a DNA test to figure out who their pilot was. Nor that they would ever admit to one if there actually were a reason. What the hell is going on here?

This happened at the exact same time when neo-cons (will no one rid us of these craptards?) are pushing for a re-Baathification of Iraq, which would mean going around to all the Arabs in the region to support their brother Sunnis and prop them up against the Shiites. Oddly, Cheney and Bush were in Jordan and Saudi Arabia, meeting with two kings, both named Abdullah while denying they're going to negotiate with anyone. Neocons are longing for the days when the US had a puppet dictator in Iran, and trying to line countries up to isolate Iran.

Now, I don't want to think some rogue pilot was set up to get shot down to support a pull-out of Anbar and a re-arming of the Sunnis, but at least I can dream it up as a reason, and the neocons do reside in Dreamland. Or maybe the pilot was taken prisoner and the DNA is a cover story, which...makes no sense. And before anyone trots out the incompetence/fubar angle, no, the Air Force has kept scrupulously accurate records for the past 50 years which pilots are up in the air when flying around in combat zones with nasty ordnance, and hundreds of people at the base and on the op should've known the pilot's identity. Seems like there's a big rotten fish lying here, and if anyone can tell me why the Air Force claims to be doing a DNA test to confirm who was flying their downed fighter, please de-lurk and comment, because I'm all ears.
Downed F-16 Follow-Up

Circumstantial evidence of the presence of sophisticated anti-aircraft missiles in Iraq has mounted to the "very high" level:
Three US Helicopters Crash in Iraq
27 November 2006 | 21:55 | FOCUS News Agency
Baghdad. Three helicopters of the US Air Force crashed in Iraq on Monday, RIA Novosti reports.
According to the information the aircrafts crashed in the same region where an F-16 fighter jet crashed earlier. No further information has been announced so far.
The odds of four aircraft crashing in the same area on the same day, unless from enemy fire, are very low. And about that F-16CG...the Air Force spokesperson at the F-16's base says all its pilots are "safe and accounted for." Obvious question: then who belongs to the dead body in the anti-gravity suit strapped into the ejection seat? The plane was assigned to the 524th Fighter Squadron based at Cannon Air Force Base in New Mexico.

One additional area for speculation is that Iran is testing out new weapons systems which they recently bought from Russia, like the truck-mounted Tor M1 system. One thing's for sure: the US won't be staying in Iraq for long if they lose a heli or a fighter jet every day.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

F-16 Downed By Missile

It slices, it dices. It's the Iraq-o-matic. Military sources refused to divulge the cause of the crash, but witnesses say a missile hit and disabled an F-16CG yesterday, and that the pilot managed to eject after flying losing control of his aircraft, but died. The plane was said to have been flying low, and if it was hit by a SAM, this was a long-feared event which will send shock waves through the close-knit Air Force and change the rules of engagement. In all probability it indicates the presence of the most modern Russian-designed SA-16 missiles, which have the fast enough arming and reaction times to down a low-flying jet. If these missiles appear in any number in Iraq, flying low on combat support missions will pretty much be a thing of the past, especially for helicopters. I have long been wondering when Iran would start sending more in.

The decision to get into Iraq was like watching a blustering, belligerent know-it-all put his hand down a garbage disposal, and hearing him say, "See I'm gonna free up that ham bone trapped down there, and then it'll run like a top. Huh? Is the power off? Well duh, dipshit, of course the power's off, I'm an expert on garbage disposal repair, the power is off if I say it's off, and if you open your mouth on me again I'll kick yer ass."

The power wasn't off. It's still not off. Please, somebody, anybody, for the love of God hit the switch. Ali over at Gorilla's Guides posted this.

Deja View
"Beyond the Euphrates began for us the land of mirage and danger, the sands where one helplessly sank, and the roads which ended in nothing. The slightest reversal would have resulted in a jolt to our prestige giving rise to all kinds of catastrophe; the problem was not only to conquer but to conquer again and again, perpetually; our forces would be drained off in the attempt." Emperor Hadrian AD 117-138
(Quote posted by Meirux on DailyKos; picture above is of Roman doorway sculpture from the Euphrates River area, at the Eastern limit of their Empire.)

35,000 NATO Troops Now In Afghanistan

NATO's increasing and largely unpublicized participation in Afghanistan is a key to understanding its overall role in the Oil Encirclement Plan. The First World's objectives in the region are simple: the two greatest remaining known hydrocarbon reserves in the world, those in Iran/Iraq and in and around the Caspian Sea. Effectively, it means war with Russia in its own backyard, and Afghanistan must be taken and held in order to both wall off Iran and control its pipelines to the East, and also as a fortified base to extend north.

As the Russians and Iranians are well aware, and as the British should be acutely aware from their own history, the various tribes who live in Afghanistan have never been very cooperative in grand imperial schemes. They have a way of pinning forces down, wearing them out, and sending them home as heroin addicts or invalids. As the video above shows, there's very heavy fighting going on in southern Afghanistan, where the resistance is now commonly described as "the Taleban," and "al-Qaeda." The fighters, in many cases the same men, were once known in the Western press as "the mujahedeen," or as the "freedom fighters."

These men made the deathbed of the Soviet Republic, and it's very doubtful whether a mere 50,000 NATO and US troops will ever achieve mastery over the same ground, no matter if they're backed by US A-10 Warthogs flying close support missions. (In the video, the A-10s Gatling gun fires so fast it sounds like a hive of bees, and its pilot drops bombs right outside the compound's gate where the Brit troops are trapped.) The security situation has devolved very rapidly, and the only reason we're seeing this video is that the British troops in it wanted their story to be told. More likely NATO troops will fail to quell the guerillas. Half a million men might not be able to do it. This is a simple calculation for Russia, Iran, and China to make; as an indication of their confidence levels, they haven't even supplied Stinger-style missiles to the Taleban yet, preferring to wear down everyone. Too bad Western leaders can't get the same equation through their heads.

Ecuador Goes Commie!

"And why should I care," you ask? For starters, Ecuador has a city in it named Shell. As in, Shell Oil; output is over 500,000 barrels a day, almost all of it destined for the US.

Former finance minister Rafael Correa, who won the presidential election handily, isn't really a commie; he's a god-fearing Catholic and a centrist who uses populist rhetoric. Because of Ecuador's background as a corporate slave state, however, he will be characterized as a communist, and from the standpoint of a Shell executive, he may as well be. (There was a shooting war between various factions in the pay of oil companies back, as I recall, in the late 1960s. Shell won.) Correa is going to kick the US out of its military base at Manta, he's going to tell WTO reps where to stick their free trade agreements, and he will either renegotiate Ecuador's oil royalty deal (one of the least favorable in the world), or he will simply nationalize the pipelines, wells, and production facilities.

Back in February, Ecuador declared a state of emergency because a few thousand protestors effectively halted production of 200,000 barrels per day of oil from the fields north of Quito. These were the same people who gave Correa 58% of the vote, sick to death of oil companies and willing to face the soldiers sent to shoot them, as happened this February. They're part of Al-Qaeda, as is Correa. His purpose is to free his country from the clutches of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. My guess is he'll go about achieving this objective very gradually, in a measured and legal way, but he spells doom for Western oil interests. China will be showing up with container ships full of cash any day now. The real defeat for the US empire wasn't in Iraq. It happened first in South America.

Monday, November 27, 2006

First Daughters Invade, Occupy Argentina

Jenna and Barbara Bush have been camping around in South America. Clearly, this is where their family's future lies, and it looks like they've been detached to bring US influence back to its rightful, pre-eminent place in America's southern hemisphere. I must say their methods are quite refreshing. Unorthodox, when compared to their family's methods in the Mid-East and elsewhere, true, and all the more refreshing for it.

They've been buying land in Paraguay, celebrating their birthday together (they're twins, after all), dining with Presidents, ducking their Secret Service escorts to teach orphans and run naked down a hotel hallway, uncharacteristically giving their purse and cell phones to the poor, and getting one of their minders savagely beaten. Some would construe these acts as merely confused, hormone-drenched sluttery, but I see them as sheer genius, a means of controlling wayward regimes in a diabolical and possibly novel way: by having so much fun and grabbing so many embarrassing headlines host governments surrendur and beg them to leave. The strategy appears to be working. For example, the President of Argentina and the new US Ambassador there just sued for peace. I for one see a sinister hand in this: "Ok, we'll leave, but you'll have to listen to Mr. Kissinger's demands first. Here, he's on the cell phone."

Despite the Bush twins' soft-power innovations, they share some distinct parallels with more familiar, one might say time-honored, Bush family methods. There's the love of a good party, of course. There's the trademark tenaciousness, which may occasionally manifest itself as staying the course in the face of all warnings and evidence, no matter how dire. And then there's the deliberate vagueness about timelines. But they certainly seem to making progress on our behalf in South America, and for that they should be commended. Who knows? Maybe they'll make time for Venezuela.

Colorado Satan Worshippers Caught, Fined

I've been pondering retirement, or rather the lack thereof, and was kind of day-dreaming for the sort of place I could take my cattle prod collection to. The kind of place which would welcome my wife and me, with our trusty fifty-cal Browning mounted on our kevlar-armored urban assault vehicle's RV's turret ring, and where we wouldn't have to mail away for more ammo. Turns out there may be a place for us. Remember those Christmas wreaths that used to be shaped in the form of a peace sign? Wrong. They weren't peace signs. They weren't even Christmas wreaths. They were hideous insults to the brave soldiers serving our country, not to mention unclean symbols of His Satanic Majesty's dominion over earth, and some good people in a gated community in Pagosa Springs haven't forgotten it. They've had the courage to object to the offensive, devil-worshipping insignia on Lisa Jensen's basement wall in the picture above left:
Some residents who have complained have children serving in Iraq, said Bob Kearns, president of the Loma Linda Homeowners Association in Pagosa Springs. He said some residents have also believed it was a symbol of Satan. Three or four residents complained, he said.
Pagosa Springs, here we come! Although a while back I heard of a town in Nevada that passed an ordnance which prohibits flying any flag except the good old Stars and Stripes. That's pretty darned appealing. It'll make the choice tough, but hey, we've got a few years to decide, and a lot could happen in other places. I mean, we Americans are all about competition.

Smoke And Mirrors

Then from his secret Art the Sage Vizier,
a Magic Mirror made; a Mirror like
the bosom of All-wise Intelligence,
reflecting in its mystic compass all
sevenfold volumes of the World involved
and looking in that Mirror's face

the Shah beheld the face of his Desire.

The term "smoke and mirrors" refers both to an optical trick used to terrify audiences with strange images and to divination employing reflective surfaces. These arts are ancient, I suspect far moreso than we know. Lucas Arts special effects and a pundit class now beamed to us through space have made us forget the connections to old trickery, but the conjuring skein is unbroken, the joy in deception the same; the important things have always been practice, knowledge of human prejudices and blind spots, and to keep the oft-difficult techniques of projection refreshed and secret for as long as possible.

In the relatively recent Roman Empire, the readers of mirrors were called the Specularii. In Greece, St. Augustine reported how the witches of Thessalonika used human blood to write oracles upon mirrors, and that this practice had been passed down to them from the unspeaking eons. In Victorian-era plays smoke and mirrors were commonly used to project ghosts onto the stage, and they're probably still used today to spice up creepy late-night campfire tales, as they were in my youth. Using a small mirror and a torch, you can make faces play in the smoke, and make suggestible, giggly, and over-tired boys believe in things which aren't there. It helps that they want to.

Invading Iraq was a magic act. In political terms, it really was. Smoke and mirror techniques were knowingly applied by political sorcerers who took our present and future wealth, and they're reduced to reaching for rabbits.
For awhile, the audience which is our country was made to see things which weren't there, and I suppose it should be forgiven its initial gullibility. Now the entire world (except Fox News and a disturbingly large number of ignorant, bloodthirsty galoots who actually enjoy this) has noticed the old magic stand-bys have gone horribly wrong, their promise of a glorious grand finale is gone, and we see the lovely assistants really were sawn in half in those wooden boxes because all those entrails onstage are coming from somewhere. It started off as a spectacular show and many of us cheered it on. But we were promised magic, dammit, and sometime, during pathetic diversions from blithely sadistic blunders, we've begun to wonder: "How much trouble are we in, and can I get us out of this theater alive?"

If Specularii give bad advice, and if failed magicians refuse to leave the stage, what do you do? You discredit them, and start throwing things until they get the hell out. I held off on defrauding them, because far better people than me have been trying; everybody, deep down, wanted their tricks to work and no one wanted to admit how bad they were. I'm that part of the crowd which triggers the radical middle, and I know it's time to start throwing rotten tomatoes. No amount of reassurance, curtains, or denial can hide the ugly centerpiece of their act, and a con-man's reliance upon audience decency, always presumptuous, has become real abuse. If you dare to look at what they've been trying to divert our attentions from, it's on the video below. It's fifty minutes long. SwimDeep over at Deep Confusion posted it last week; it's been around for awhile, the kind of thing the large, respectable blogs have shied away from. Studious, analytical, and articulate business owners, government ministers, historians, and teachers will explain why the trick's techniques worked, and why the act has not. If you prefer magic, don't watch it.

Good News: Vaudeville Is Back!

Vice President Dick Cheney sought Saudi Arabia's help in calming Iraq after an especially violent week of sectarian violence.

Imagine your cousins in the next state are fighting for their lives, and the cops show up at your door threatening to impound your cars if you don't make them stop. Now, just how disappointed would you be when it turned out to not be a vaudeville act, or at least a strip-o-gram? One hopes Cheney wore pasties and a g-string, and someone in Riyadh caught it on tape.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Tazer U.

Silly me. I thought the video of campus police repeatedly tasering a student in a UCLA library was a gag, you know, a new kind of performance comedy. Like a post-modern Three Stooges cop routine with a technology twist. Just think how hilariously funny it would've been if the other Marx Brothers had suddenly turned on Groucho, took his cigar, and started beating the shit out of him with Harpo's harp and burning holes in him with the stogie once he was down. How cool would that have been? Sadly, it turns out the whole thing was real and the campus copper is apparently a sadist--amongst other things, he previously shot a homeless man in a library, was given an award by the Tazer corporation, and was recommended for dismissal for choking another student in front of a frat dorm with his night stick. His name is Terrence Duren. Even more sadly, he was simply following UCLA policy, which clearly states passive resistance warrants tazering, as much tazering as an officer wants. The policy and .pdf are up over at Americablog.

Ok, ok, I knew it wasn't a comedy skit all along. But it was so shocking that I would've greatly preferred that it were, and I mean, the student's falsetto screams were so artful! That part where he yelled, "Here's your fucking Patriot Act! Here's your abuse of power!" was very thematic. Too bad it wasn't comedy. Too bad one of the country's most well-known institutes of higher learning chooses to engage in over-the-top sadism. Soooo, I guess UCLA will be happy to pay the $10 million they're going to fork over after the upcoming lawsuit to keep Officer Duren on staff and not change their policies. It's a small price to pay for order, what with students who rebel by not carrying their IDs. Not to mention what a great recruiting video it makes to the entire world (60+% of UCLA students aren't white, many of whom are international). Michael Crowley of Amnesty Int'l gives the low-down on electroshock weapons and the surprising US role in popularizing their application. There's the old saying, "What a country does abroad comes home." Here's a little taste of what may be to come, right on schedule.

Prominent Lebanese Christian Assassinated: Myth-Busting, Pt. III

Exactly when Iraqi Prim Minister Al-Maliki was in Tehran opening up official relations between his country and Iran, which had been cut off for 25 years, the world's attention was drawn to the assassination of Pierre Gemayel, son of a former president of Lebanon, nephew of a former prime minister, a Christian. Sic Semper Tyrannis, as usual, has some of the best open analysis and comments on the subject. Obviously, this is bad for Lebanon and may very well touch off a civil war, like it was clearly intended to. US actors like Undersec of State Nick Burns and Raging Ambassador John Bolton came out to effectively and explicitly blame Hezbollah of the murder, and the Western Mainstream Media (MSM) have mostly lined up behind them like the obedient sheep-shills they are. One small problem: neither Hezbollah or Syria are responsible.

Let's play "Follow the Money." Who benefits? Israel, first off. And Israel has lots of overlap with the people who run the President of the United States (POTUS). There's your motive, enough motive to be straight out of a Godfather movie, with the trademark "Leave the gun, take the cannoli" level of calculation. The means were excellent marksmen--Gemayel's convoy was ambushed by gunfire while driving through a Christian neighborhood. The golden opportunity was Maliki eluding his Agency handlers (you bet he has them) for long enough to visit Tehran and publicly stab the US in the chest. This assassination was a classic false flag operation, and a very well-timed one.

False flag ops are ones in which you make your enemy look bad by attacking something they dislike, and which your side holds dear. They will be seen as the guilty party. Devious things like these rarely happen, except, when, you know...when it's convenient. Like in the Gleiwitz incident in 1939, when German spymaster Reinhard Heydrich fabricated evidence of a Polish attack to enlist public support for a war with Poland. Or the Mukden incident, in 1931, when Japanese officers blew up a section of railway as an excuse to invade Manchukuo (Manchuria). Back in 1962, the most rabid anti-coms (Poppy Bush amongst them) became fairly upset when JFK turned down a plan to execute Operation Northwoods, which featured Cuban exiles "hijacking" a passenger jet and flying it by remote control into a high-value building, as a means to generated public support for invading Cuba. (For more on this, see James Bamford. And of course, turning down the plan had no negative consequences for Kennedy, and all those who suggest they might have are rabid conspiracy theorists.)

I would've been less quick to lay blame in this case had the same crowd not done it within the past couple of months. The attack on the US Embassy in Syria enjoyed similarly nice pre-election timing. At killed at least two birds with one stone, with a low risk of blowback. Except Syrian police disabled the getaway car with return fire, killing three of the four gunmen who had sprayed the embassy with bullets; the fourth, they interrogated, and they learned who hired him.

Chaos can be the cheapest way of maintaining a status quo, especially when everything else you've tried is failing miserably. In this case, the false flag makes Hezbollah and Iran look bad just as they're scoring a monumental victory (resuming relations with Iraq), and stirs up real outrage against Hezbollah and Syria in Lebanon, who were walking with a swagger from kicking Israeli ass. There's a better than 50-50 chance of (yet another) civil war starting in Lebanon; if it starts, it will spill over into Syria, and that in turn will give pretext to Israel and NATO to jointly invade Syria. To establish stability, you see. And of course the first move will be to have the UN investigate the killing and stumble upon the desirable evidence.

There's a twist on the false flag operation: stage an attack on someone you dislike, repel it, and take credit for doing so. Pro-Israeli pundits put this spin onto the US embassy attack. It is true that Syria could've used this method for achieving results, but, having won the last engagement in Lebanon handily, they didn't need to. Over at the Counter Terrorism Blog
they describe the technique (quite inaccurately crediting the KGB for its invention--of course it's far older), and enumerate how Syria supposedly benefitted from it. The dictum goes like this: "If the equation is to your disadvantage, create a new problem, offer to solve it, obtain recognition; and by that you'd change the equation." Nice try, but the equation in question had played very much to the recent disadvantage of Israeli and US interests; it is they who desperately wanted change, and they were perfectly willing to kill an innocent Christian ally in order to get it.

Upcoming Book Titles

No More Mister Nice Blog gives us a peek at other Fox Media Empire books we can look forward to:

I see that Rupert Murdoch has cancelled Judith Regan's O.J. book, If I Did It, Here's How It Happened, and the accompanying Regan-Simpson TV special.

However, there are apparently no plans to force Regan to cancel publication of the following:

* If I Helped Turn Iraq into an Open-Air Abbatoir for Human Beings, Here's How It Happened by Douglas Feith
* If I Invented Ideological Ambulance-Chasing, Here's How It Happened by Larry Klayman
* If I've Become Rich Spewing Bigotry and Enabling Some of the Worst Political Leaders on the Planet, Here's How It Happened by Neal Boortz
* If I'm Responsible for the Rise to Power of the Worst President in American History, I'm Going to Avoid Talking About How It Happened by Ralph Nader
* If My Pomposity Back in the 1980s Helped Make It Acceptable for the United States to Openly Embrace Brutality Overseas, Here's How It Should Happen Again by Jeane Kirkpatrick

All of these books are real; all will be published by Regan and Murdoch next year.

I may not have the titles exactly right.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Comic-Horror Relief: Ask Karen Hughes, Now On Yahoo!

Yahoo has a relatively new series called 'Talk to Power' where you can send a question in to someone who has it, and they're supposed to not ignore you. I've never stopped into it before, but because of the guest tonight I couldn't resist. Karen Hughes is a long-time Boosh political advisor, as responsible as anyone for promoting him and putting this country through hell, and closer to him in some ways than even Karl Rove (reports disagree, but Karl may lack a vagina). A recent high point in her career was being appointed Good Will Ambassador to the Mid-East, which featured her lecturing burkha-wearing housewives in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia on their need to rise up against The Man. Synopsis: this is one fucked-up Texas chick. Now, the series discussions are not live, it's more like a blog format where your question comes up in sequence. Here are the first five questions as they appeared, unedited:
How many more Iraqi children will have to die before President Bush/Vice President Chaney agree that the U.S. has made a terrible mistake invading Iraq?
Posted by this4utoo on Tue, Nov 21, 2006 7:55 PM ET
What has gone wrong with the Bush Administration and their lofty goals? Could it be that "absolute power corrupts absolutely". Please don't give me the old Republican line we've heard for so long and then just repeated a thousand times until people start believing it. It seems Mr. Cheney has used and abused his power in the white house. What do you think?
Posted by on Tue, Nov 21, 2006 8:05 PM ET
P.S. I forgot that you asked me to include some personal items. I'm a 62 white divorced female still working - probably will until I drop. I have 2 children and 2 grand children (the best)
Posted by on Tue, Nov 21, 2006 8:07 PM ET
We love you in Austin! How can we will back the Whitehouse in 2008? Can we simply veto every bill from Democrats for the next two years?
Posted by craigxer on Tue, Nov 21, 2006 8:09 PM ET
How can you sleep at night knowing that you were instrumental in creating this monster of an adminstration that, not content to invade other countries and murder countless thousands, but then spends enormous amounts of time and effort to destroy America from within, by eviscerating the Constitution one right at a time? I think you are despicable. Mother, veteran, patriot, doctor, American
Posted by annsimun on Tue, Nov 21, 2006 8:14 PM ET

Marshall McLuhan said: "The medium is the message." Horror film director David Cronenberg said: "Death to Video-Drome. Long live the New Church."

Eiffel Nouveau

This is a cool idea. Take a cheesy tourist trinket commemorating some landmark, go to the landmark, and hold the cheesy trinket up in front of it so it's super-imposed.

A message was occasionally aimed directly at the middle class in some races this past election, and where it was most directly put by progressive candidates, they won. It is one of the two messages, both of which have strong class components, which will define politics in America for the next generation; each has a light side, and a dark. The light in the first message is connected to job outsourcing, and is expressed as Fair Trade; its dark is connected to racial fears, expressed as Illegal Immigration. For an idea of how it can be used to win elections, let's look at a Republican stronghold, a notorious neo-lib graveyard of the last 6 years and more. Two years ago, a new House representative elected there, and wore a star spangled banner blouse for her first nationally televised address; looking like she had a case of rabies and spasming like an enraged church lady, she called Jack Murtha a coward for his opposition to the Bush Administration. The Representative was "Mean" Jean Schmidt; the Republican stronghold is Ohio.

Make that "former" Republican stronghold. Sherrod Brown's victory there for the Senate race is a signal of how dramatically the American political climate is changing, a model for the Democratic Party to follow at national and local levels, and a hint at how fast the change may occur. Brown beat the Republican incumbent (Mike DeWine) by 12 percentage points. The last time a Republican incumbent was unseated in Ohio was 1976, in Watergate's oily wake, and even then, Harold Metzenbaum only edged incumbent Bob Taft by 3 points. Brown smoked DeWine, and as with many races where the turnout surprised Republicans, his victory was paced by strong labor support. Below is the model, and transcript, of the message that stikes The Nerve of the American People. Merely insert your state and industry to employ as needed (click the title above to get to Brown's ad on YouTube):

Message: Ohio has lost more than 195,000 manufacturing jobs since 2001. Ohio Republican incumbent Senator Mike DeWine supported the North American Free Trade Agreement and voted for the Central American Free Trade Agreement and Permanent Normalized Trade Relations with China.

DeWine has taken more than $1 million from companies that outsourced U.S. jobs and voted for special tax breaks for companies sending those jobs overseas.

Political Ad: "They work hard, they love their country, they play by the rules. But the cars, steel, and appliances they used to make are now being made overseas, where workers are paid three or four dollars a day. My opponent supported the trade agreements that cost us these jobs. He says, "It's just business." I say it's wrong! I'm Sherrod Brown, I approved this message. In the Senate, I'll judge trade agreements by this standard: are they fair to Americans, and do they put Americans first?"
Formula: 1) point to job loss through outsourcing; 2) Point to CEO who gets rewarded for job outsourcing; 3) point out how much incumbent has piggied down slurping in the corporate trough. That will be how it's done, and when people are going to realize who the enemy is, they'll vote against it. The other side will employ ads which depict foreign drug dealers breaking into houses at night, and in some areas of the Homeland, that approach will meet with success. But jobs are a much stronger message.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Progressive Caucus Campaign Committee

I've been thinking lately about how to take on the Clintonistas in control of the purse-strings of the Democratic Party. They're anti-progressive, and wasteful with "their own" money. Exhibit A: Hillary spent $30 million on a campaign against a mayor from Yonkers who she was going to beat by 50 points one way or another. All she needed to spend was about three grand: $2,750 for a facelift, $200 for a makeover, and fifty bucks for a limo to the victory speech.

Contrast the Beltway Feudalist System she and acolyte Rahm Emanuel operate under with what Howard Dean said at the shin-dig all state Democratic party officials from all over the country threw for him:
"We are going to do the 50-state strategy for the next 150 years so we can be the dominant party power in this country again," he said. "You can't be the powerful party in this country who controls the government unless you are willing to let the people control you. And the only way you can do that is ask everybody for their vote, understand everybody is our boss even if they vote for you or not."
We need to start a Progressive Caucus Campaign Committee. Why? Oh, I dunno. Maybe to spend campaign donations wisely and back candidates who represent actual living, breathing people. Rather than immortal, massive legal entities (corporations) and the moguls who control them, like the system does now. To take it on successfully, we'll have to understand how it feeds itself, and then out-compete its food source through better efficiency and attacking its weakness. Researching how the netroots were so effective placing their relatively small amounts of funding, and demonstrating the high bang for the buck quotient they must have achieved, will provide Howard Dean (and us) with the foundation needed to eclipse the inside-the-Beltway DCCC machine. Getting this research done will be an ongoing project, and I'm going to need ideas and help. Where would you start?

Jane Hamsher at Firedoglake put me in touch with Howie Klein of ActBlue. He's on vacation in South America for a month, and I want to have a good plan for putting data together by the time he gets back.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

The Simple Song of Freedom

It turns out Bobby Darin had a couple of hits when I was a few years old. I had no idea who he was at the time, there was just one particular song I always remembered because I heard it playing on my mom's clock radio in the dark mornings, probably a few times before or after "Ghost Riders in the Sky," the most popular wake-up song that year. It would've been 1967. The Doors were first hitting the charts, too, the Beatles were ubiquitous, and all this related to my grandmother's second and third-shift work hours supervising floor production at Decca Records. It was a very nice song to wake up to; nearly 40 years later I just searched for it from a few lyrics. I found the song fine, but the lyrics are a little different than I remembered:
Brother Solzhenitzin,
are you busy?
If not, won't you drop this friend a line?
Tell me if the man
who is clownin' up your land
has got the war machine upon his mind.
After studying war almost all my life, I might finally be starting to get it.

"When They Can Stand Up, We Can Stand Down:" Myth-Busting Pt. II

The Iraqi police and soldiers we train aren't going to bring peace to their country, they'll bring fire and sword. There are no police and there is no army that will do our bidding in Iraq or in Reality, and we've been doing nothing but arming militias and death squads. You know those men the news stories always describe as "dressed in uniforms" of cops or soldiers, the ones who've been attacking, kidnapping, torturing, and executing tens of thousands of civilians? Yeah. Those unknown banditti who come out of No-Where. They're not terrorists in costumes, they ARE the cops and soldiers we've trained and paid. Our tax dollars clothed them. Our bonds armed them. For the record, this is their version of "standing up."

"Stand up so we can stand down" is a pathetic pipe dream, a tale told by jagged-out idiots huffing ethylene. We've been putting out fire with gasoline while washing our bloody hands with sulphuric acid. Here, smoke another doobie by all means, because it hurts like hell and I'm ashamed to be part of it. But remember, when you hear the Preznit or Congress or the talking heads speak as if we're in control, super-impose a clown face on them. Control?? When it comes to Iraq, they're in control of Fuck and All, and All just left.

Today was the best day the US will ever have in Iraq. Tomorrow will be worse. The day after tomorrow will be worse than tomorrow. As I write this, the Sunnis in the Iraqi Parliament are probably deciding to leave the government, and the civil war is about to escalate faster. A lot faster, into full-blown genocide. The only "political solution" is to wall it off and keep letting the refugees stream out of it (2-3 million of whom have left already), and to give them food and shelter. It's time to simply get the hell out before the supply lines are cut. Get ready to Adopt An Iraqi Today.

(Picture of mass grave excavation, one of hundreds in the former Yugoslavia, this one near Banja Luka prison.)

Saturday, November 18, 2006

The Boy In The Plastic Bubble

A few things you remember with perfect recall. I first heard this song on the radio in Provo, Utah while riding in the passenger seat of a Toyota Celica. I was going with my friend Dave W. to the gym. It could've been this morning. The year was 1986, the sun was about to dawn, and the dashboard clock read 5:56 AM. The opening music was unlike anything I'd ever heard, and the first verse of song hadn't passed before the author's gifts of art and prophecy stood revealed, a masterpiece, reminding me of the Old Testament scripture that starts off "Absalom, Absalom." I cut a 10AM class to go to the mall and buy the album. Art anticipates physics, physics anticipate politics. And to this day, I'm convinced a little old lady, a reclusive, 93 year-old poet laureate lives somewhere in Brooklyn, who wrote Paul Simon's lyrics for him.
It was a slow day, and the sun was beating
on the soldiers by the side of the road.
There was a bright light, a shattering of shop windows;
the bomb in the baby carriage was wired to the radio.

These are the days of miracle and wonder!
This is the Long Distance Call:
the way the camera follows us in slow-mo,
the way we look to us All.
The way we look to a distant constellation
that's dying in a corner of the sky...
these are the days of miracle and wonder,
and don't cry baby, don't cry,
don't cry.

It was a dry wind, and it swept across the desert,
and it curled into the circle of the room.
The dead sand was falling on the children,
the mothers, and the fathers, and the automatic earth.

These are the days of miracle and wonder!
This is the Long Distance Call:
the way the camera follows us in slow-mo,
the way we look to us All.
The way we look to a distant constellation
that's dying in a corner of the sky...
these are the days of miracle and wonder,
and don't cry baby, don't cry,
don't cry.

It's a turn-around jump shot, it's "Everybody jump-start,"
it's "Every generation throws a Hero up the pop charts."
Medicine is magical and magical is art, and think of
The Boy in the Bubble, and the baby with the baboon heart.

And I believe these are the days of lasers in the jungle,
lasers in the jungle somewhere;
staccato signals of constant information,

a loose affiliation of millionaires and billionaires, and baby...

These are the days of miracle and wonder
this is the Long Distance Call:
the way the camera follows us in slow-mo,
the way we look to us All.
The way we look to a distant constellation
that's dying in a corner of the sky...
these are the days of miracle and wonder,
and don't cry baby, don't cry,
don't cry, don't cry.

Bush's Brain And Democracy: Myth-Busting, Pt. I

General Charles DeGaulle once accurately remarked of President Franklin Roosevelt, "He cloaks his will to power in idealism." DeGaulle didn't bother doing so, or rather, France was his cloak, and he took it as a matter of course that his will to power and France's were one and the same. No idealism or apology were required, and idealism itself bothered DeGaulle, who considered it a luxury good statecraft couldn't afford. He had a hard time figuring FDR out, so once he perceived that FDR indeed had a very large albeit subtle will to power, it must have relieved him, as I suspect the quote above conveys. Along with senses of cynicism and superiority. What might DeGaulle have said about George W. Bush?

As Bush trots the globe, we expect him at any point to variously make more stupid, arrogant, vapid, repetitive, offensive remarks. His handlers have, quite admirably, kept him in the box of senseless, automatic, democracy-advocating blather he naturally lapses into. Other than a few insensitive blunders about Vietnam, namely feeling the need to compare our war with it which killed 2 or 3 million of its inhabitants to Iraq. Hear the wise one on Iraq: "We will succeed as long as we don't quit." I guess he also meant that if we had just stayed in Vietnam longer and killed more people, we would've brought democracy there, too.

Oddly, if you go back in America's history, Bush's views on missionary democracy have quite a heritage and an eminent pedigree. They're not all that different from what Jefferson, Adams, and Woodrow Wilson espoused, and not all that different from the myths that most regular Americans have believed in: that democracy is the highest form of government, that states naturally want to become democracies, that it's the most superior form of government, and that everyone wants to live like Americans.
To Bush and many others, these myths are gospel, but to most everyone in the world they're conceited piles of crap, and it's not just Bush: the rest of the world has noted how much more pronounced, evangelical, and violent our belief in them has become. The sentiment itself is fine, and understandable, as John Quincy Adams (United States Secretary of State) summed up the restrained version of it in 1821:
“Wherever the standard of freedom and independence has been or shall be unfurled, there will America’s heart, her benedictions and her powers be. But she does not go abroad, in search of monsters to destroy. Rather she is the well wisher to the freedom and independence of all.”
Over time, America increasingly dispensed with the well-wishing and actively sought monsters to destroy abroad. This is not in line with American self-image, the interests of which have always been explicitly defined against expansion of power abroad for its won sake. And no other President, not even Wilson, was actually stupid enough to violently invade a country and franchise democracy at barrels of guns and blasts of bombs. I think DeGaulle would've found Bush to be an irrational, frightening, and dangerous creature indeed. He might've said, "Completely idealistic and fanatical...he cloaks his will to power in delusion."

Whatever we believe about our proud heritage, and it is indeed proud, we would do well to admit that it has limited applicability outside our own borders, and to question why we have some pretty deep problems inside our borders right now. We should resist automatic advocacies of American democracy. We should forbid trying to spread it as McDonald's would its franchises, not just because it would be a drag for everyone else to think and live like us, but because IT CAN'T BE DONE. Look at all the trouble we've caused, the trouble we're in now, for trying. Worse, we've been trying the way fanatical idealists try--by repeatedly using force, yet failing to impose their views onto the world of how it should be, and continuing to try in spite of all contrary feedback of how it is. Bush might as well be deaf and blind, too.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Student, Police Disrupt UCLA Library In "Borat" Copycat Stunt

Here's the absolute, super-coolest thing. You see, I've been keeping my Cattle Master Adjust-a-Prod in the attic (you know, for home defense), and I felt kind of guilty about bringing it out in public. But now that I know it's cool, I dug it out from behind my dusty old riot gear, sprayed on the WD-40 and shined it up to a sparkle. The Adjust-A-Prod will be my trusty companion in light-hearted mayhem, a comfort and a help-mate in spicing up the wet and gray winter we have ahead. Watch out Seattle, 10,000 volts of fun are heading to the nearest Starbucks. Yeeee-haaaah! Kick the tires and light the fires! I'm gonna put my Wackenhut security guard uniform on and "rustle me up" some Latte Slurpers.

I can't wait until they do their next stunt. Something tells me this act is going to be a HUGE international sensation.
And what a title: "Get up, or I will taser you again!!"
How To Become A Jenius On National Security (Or Anything Else)

Kenneth Pollack is one of the more interesting intellectual sluts in the Brookings Institute's line-up of talents, and he has long been blessed by the establishment and Main Stream Media as an "expert" on the Mid-East...presumably for having a high-performance tush, because it was definitely not for his brain. Back in the run-up to the Fiasco, he wrote a forth-right but overwrought little number called The Threatening Storm: The Case for Invading Iraq; I'd previously read Pollack's views in places like Foreign Affairs and had found them as entertaining as new sexually transmitted diseases, so I carefully picked the book up for a clinical examination. I remember thinking, "this thing will probably stay in print as a warning to future generations."

Jon Schwarz has put up a number of crackling-good posts in a row over at A Tiny Revolution (see linkie at left), and this morning he nailed Ken The Pox-Ridden Courtesan and some of his benefactors pretty good:

NY Times headline:

Get Out of Iraq Now? Not So Fast, Experts Say

And who are these experts?

Kenneth M. Pollack, an expert at the Brookings Institution who served on the staff of the National Security Council during the Clinton administration, also argued that a push for troop reductions would backfire by contributing to the disorder in Iraq.

That's a pretty good description of Pollack. But it might have been more informative for NY Times readers if it has said this:

Kenneth M. Pollack, Ted Koppel's son-in-law, husband of CNN's Capitol Hill correspondent, and author of a prominent book that was utterly and completely wrong about invading Iraq, also argued that a push for troop reductions would backfire by contributing to the disorder in Iraq.

What would have been great about this is it both tells us Pollack's views and also how the NY Times determines who is and isn't an expert.

Right on Jon, baby. Troop reductions will "backfire." Chortle. Hoo, that's a good one. See why I read the NYT so much (not)? Oh, and by the way: Pollack was one of the unnamed government officials in the AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) spy case. Israel has paid him money to keep them well supplied with state secrets. (It's a living, right?) When the NYT does a story on THAT, and its owners and writers aren't sharing cocktail napkins with and providing cover for a dirt-bag who sold our country and a couple of others for his own personal vanities, then I would start reading it again. After five or six years of integrity I MIGHT even get a subscription.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Saying What You Mean, Meaning What You Say

Words, damned words. Using the right words to accurately convey ideas is something I have to be very careful about in my work, so my limitations as a writer and speaker annoy me almost every day. I often search for the right expression and draw a big, fat blank. Or worse, my mouth wants to move and say the wrong word, one that's inadequate to what I need to describe, or one that's second-class. My head doesn't want it to, but sometimes my mouth moves and it comes out anyway. I wish I were better with words, and that someone like the tutor Peter O'Toole played in the movie 'The Last Emperor' had said to me, as he did to the young Puyi, "I am here to teach you to say what you mean, and to mean what you say."

You need to fight for the definitions of words every so often, or purveyors of lies and euphemisms will come in and steal meaning from your life. Consider the term the Nazis cooked up to describe the ghettos they herded Jews into: "Autonomous Jewish Territories." Or consider how BushCo uses words. Here's how Still Life Living spelled it out in the comments section a while back:
This is the argument even Bush put forward in discussions of the meaning of "cruel and inhumane treatment." Unfortunately, no one taught him the meaning of consistency. Otherwise he would have understood the problems with the following phases:

* Compassionate Conservatism
* Road Map to Peace
* Axis of Evil
* Connection between Al Qaeda and Iraq
* If anyone from my administration was involved in the leaking of a CIA agent's name to the press, they will be fired.
* Heckofajob!
* Liberators
* ...

The problem stems from education (that period between ages 5 and 25 when young people are supposed to dedicate thier lives to preparing to join society as an active member -- which Bush seems to have been granted a waiver on).

In Skinny Legs and All, Tom Robbins lays out the argument that insanity is caused by people not having command of the definitions of words. I have noticed that there are two sides to words: the ability to listen and the ability to speak/write. You can get by as a listener with only a partial understanding of the words because context can help you figure out the intended meaning. This is not true from the spoken side. If you don't know what the word means, you can't really use it convincingly because you don't really know what you are saying.

My point is that BushCo likes people to be dumbed down. They are more likely to agree with the logic that is presented to them if they don't have the tools to fully process, analyze and then challenge the statement. Put these people in a group and they become easy to manipulate.

The goal then is to provide limited education. Just enough for people to be functional, but not enough to challege authority. Can we all say "No Child Left Behind"?
BushCo's signature style is to order words around as if they were commanding the definitions of words to change, and they apparently think reality will follow suit. Even the Nazis had more respect for language.

Hoyer House Majority Leader

The picture above sums up how I feel about Steny Hoyer as incoming House Majority Leader. Murtha (who I thought was going to get the position) may be corrupt, but he took a brave, bullshit-free stand on Iraq, and he's old-school corrupt. Corrup on a small scale, in which he looks out for his real friends and family. Nepotism would be the legal term.

Hoyer is new-school corrupt. He is a leading shill for K-Street lobbyists, he doesn't have real friends, and the legal term for what he does is bribery. Here's about all you need to know about Hoyer: he let banks write the recent bankruptcy legislation (literally); you know, that's the new law that takes bankruptcy protections away from private individuals. It lets companies seize anything of value, sell it, and apply to outstanding loans. It's known as the Credit Card Law. So, now, when people start to fall behind on their payments, the credit card companies get to raise their interest rates over 30% because...they can!

The choice of Hoyer is a win for old-style Democratic machine politics, and signals a desire to strengthen ties with lobbyists. Dims really suffered for the last 6 years, since Tom Delay's K-Street Project was wildly successful and effectively shut them out of corporate largesse; by some calculations, almost 90% of all corporate donations to Congress were to Republicans in that time frame. The Dims deserve their turn at the trough, I guess, and relieved lobbyists are throwing away their bibles and toning down their fake drawls. The closed-door negotiations over Murtha and Hoyer went on for a long time, so hopefully some good trades went on. Like maybe, for some ass-whupping Oversight. I'd bet that Nancy Pelosi got the ability to go after the Iraq screw-ups in return, and hopefully, starting early next year, a guy named Henry Waxman is going to be holding hearings into Iraq corruption. He'll start with the little players and work his way up. If something like this does not happen, and soon, our country is kaput.

Hoyer is still disappointing, but something good may well come out of it. (Note, the picture above is of a woman who was arrested for having a relationship with a 13-year old boy. So...I guess they're not all Mary K. Le Tourneau.)

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Exploding Whale As Metaphor: Shock And Awe

I'm not really sure what the metaphor is, but I wanted to use the title. Maybe the metaphor is oil (which whales have a lot of. What, you think we hunted these creatures to extinction for fun?) maybe it's Iraq (ditto), maybe it's the environment (whales should die in the oceans, where they belong). I dunno. Really, I just wanted to see this clip again, and my friend TTS suggested it. This very clip first started passing around the 'net about 10 B.Y. (years Before YouTube). It was a long download on a 56.6 kbps modem, but well worth it at the time.

If The Wankers Hate Me, I Might Be Doing Something Right

Dean's 50-state strategy was patient, brave, and paid off big-time. The strategy caused a lot of conflict in the Dimocratic Party, which, since it was triangulated into oblivion by Bubba and many predecessors, could benefit from lots of conflict. A big double boiler of tar is bubbling on the oven right now, and Lord Wife is tearing a feather pillow apart as I write this. Even so, I can see why some would question the wisdom of his plan: "Umm...Howard, what do you really think we'll accomplish in Utah? Rolling dead presidents into any campaign there is a waste, those people are worse than the Fundies. And why are you flying from there to Alaska? Have you considered taking a Greyhound? A bus would be much cheaper, and the difference in cost will print up campaign buttons for every soccer mom in Albany, New York."

Dean's strategy was the political equivalent of Hannibal marching elephants through the snowy Spanish Alps to attack Rome from its back-side. It was a royal flush, in spades. So why is James Carville, Clinton's campaign strategist, and Rahm Emanuel, the Dims' House campaign money-man, slamming him in concerto with Republicans? Well, for starters, Carville is by his own admission mentally unbalanced, and he proudly claims to sleep with the enemy. He is married to Mary Matalin, long-time Pug campaign consultant, and she herself is quite capable of working up a white rabid froth around the mouth on regular occasion. And Rahm used to dance ballet, which is fine, but he refuses to talk about it anymore. There is a war on for the heart and soul of the Democratic Party. On one side are the old-time machine politicians, all about control. On the other are the Net-Rooters, all about direction.

Carville has been completely off the farm since he called up his wife in the White House on November 8th, 2004 and told her Kerry was going to demand a recount in Ohio. His wife Mary dutifully took that information to her team, and Karl Rove promptly got Ohio state election commissioner Ken Blackwell on the phone and told him to stonewall or (presumably) the pictures would be published and his children would disown him.

I'd love to compare Carville's special brand of incompetence to Rumsfeld's, but Carville is too much like Benedict Arnold. Don't get me wrong, Carville is no slouch when it comes to incompetence, but being a turncoat trumps that. Too bad he doesn't even have the self-honesty to admit it. Like Arnold, the fleeing Carville will eventually be apprehended. I see he's prepared to be shot for treason, since he's already wearing his blindfold.

Dean's response to the froth: "Oh, that's just Beltway silliness."

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

A Full Harem, And Baghdad: It's All We Ask

The invasion of the Mid-east isn't about oil. It’s about something else entirely. It’s about becoming princes, about installing kings. It's about dominion, that urge as old as lions, about the treasure required to achieve and hold it, about those human blood sports older than hunting Neanderthals for their cunning colors and trinkets. You can almost remember it, can't you?

I knew we were going to attack Iraq, I mean before the first time, not the second, and I may have known it before our leaders realized it themselves. I knew it was going to happen, I knew why, I knew how, I knew it at the most basic level of my being, and I knew it would mean the end of our good country as We The People considered it then. It was 1988, the Berlin Wall was going to fall, and a statuesque companion I should call Cassandra was staying with me in Switzerland waiting for the curtains to part and the parties to start, who, while charmingly recreating on my bed jarred me jejeunely out of the blue: “So…who’s the Next Enemy?”

Obviously a number of assumptions buttressed Cassandra’s question, but I believe it was an honest one. The political invention called a Cold War was coming to an end, after all. I thought about it, like someone whose greatest Christmas wish at 3 years old was an M4A1 model Sherman Tank could think about it, and I mean nothing less than a real, fully operational Sherman Tank with topped-off fuel and a full load of munitions ready to rock. With pillows stacked high enough, I might have driven it. Santa didn’t try to explain his firm refusals.

I was still young, in Switzerland. All the consumption of battles and wars and their echoes and my first wish for that tank had driven me up to the professors with policy papers, to their terse briefs and nicotine-stained think-"tanks” not far removed from hobbyists, cadets, and generals playing war games, to watching nations dance their strange and intricate steps, right up to the edge of that impregnable, symbolic, tottering Wall. I had not gone to West Point, the Air Force Academy, or Langley, but I had fresh command of a lot of material they would've taught me, with my own mind still intact. So I knew any victory party the Cold War could throw its warriors would prove too anti-climactic for them to handle, and they would feel entitled to more. A whole world more.

I came late to the Cold War game, anyone could see it was winding down by then, and those involved had my sympathy. "Empathy" might be a word more friendly to precision. There would be no cheering parades for all the long quiet efforts, and precious few medals, none for the hidden heroism of those who most deserved it. The public glory would go to the wrong people, as it so often does, and a lot of good officers were about to be out of work. Wall Street couldn’t absorb them all, and the cowboy elements had already completed co-opting the drug trade after Vietnam. Most importantly, the primum mobile was lost: the delicious, all-important sense of danger was gone, the real romances and adventures it fueled were already ending even if their budget strings hadn’t yet been cut. Nothing worse for a warrior to face than the freedom of grey, purposeless boredom. Better to be upturned from your canoe and drowned in the Chesapeake. No more open mistress in the China House for Poppy. Nothing left for him but to become a chaste President, that half-thanked task. The only important question, which Cassandra effectively asked, was "How can we keep the Great Game going?"

Because Cassandra asked it, I really, really thought and reached, drawing on all the toxins of an intellectually misspent childhood and youth: Money…Muslims…Naptha…Crusades…Arabian Nights...Iraq. Yes, yes. Iraq. Perfect! The Jewel of Baghdad. Oil. Who would care about Saddam Hussein? He’s the perfect villain. We’ve only propped him up so we could stalemate and humiliate Persia in the bloodiest battles since World War Two. But Saddam won't play ball. Too Arab. Too socialist. There’s the answer: betray Saddam, and you can rule the Mid-East from the inside out, then rule the whole world with its oil. Rule, America, Rule! Rule the sea, and rule the waves.

I'm not really sure anymore how much Cassandra led me or how much I thought up myself, but the pictures in my mind are still clear. The people whose thoughts I saw didn’t want the Old America. What they really desired was an older, primal, primate thing: to rule as princes and kings. I hardly knew who Dick Cheney was at the time, but in the substratum of his desire and those of so many others lurked the same harem I saw when I was a little, sexually awakening boy day-dreaming of my palace underground, with a secure and hidden hatch which locked from the inside.

As a child, I would take beautiful women of every nation there, dressed in various versions of the costume Barbara Eden wore in ‘I Dream of Jeannie,’ happily showing them wonders in exchange for theirs. Fortunately, that part was all very hazy. You might say the harem itself was built like a Sherman Tank, only much more spacious, luxurious, and well-padded. A harem, and Baghdad. I saw the men who bore these desires in my mind’s eye, and when they finally confessed them and ventured into the bright light of day, I knew them on sight. There wasn’t a damned thing I could do to stop them. Hell. I couldn’t even get anyone to believe what they were going to do. People still can’t believe what they’re doing right now, even though it's what has always been done. And lest you women think this harem dream abhorrent, or as something to be expunged, please remember that almost every little boy dreams of this by the time he is five years old. If it were not useful, we wouldn't have evolved it, and it's gotten us this far somehow.

The bright side? Our leaders are failing. Even more encouraging, they have horrible taste in women (well, Laura Bush looks kinda cute sometimes, but I bet Babs picked her out) and the harem is unhappy. Just like in Arabian Nights, the next prince will be a pauper, and sic semper tyrannis.

Iraq Update, Pt. I

It's soon going to be a necessity for US troops to retreat into the Kurdish area of Iraq (start calling it Kurdistan) and into the sparsely inhabited Western desert. By semi-happy coincidence, it will make economic sense in its own twisted way. The Kurds have the only real army in Iraq, they are itching to fight Sunnis and Shiites, the pipelines going out through Turkey are the ones worth defending, and the US is building a major air base north of Kirkuk. As the cherry on top, Dick Cheney's "Nine Virgins," the areas in the western desert never explored for oil, could be easily defended. So that's what redeployment will look like, and it's what Jack Murtha (soon to be House Majority Leader) will push for.

This is simply the "over the horizon" strategy you've probably heard about through Murtha--it's what the generals want, it would work for oil extraction, and it would allow a significant troop draw-down. It makes so much sense, in fact, that Bush will probably hate it. Once he realizes that the western media will tire of reporting on Sunnis and Shiites burning each other alive so long as they don't do it near US troops, Bush will warm up to the idea and call it "smart security," and start having his staff and the press refer to him as a "statesman" in public.

Lots of smart people with tons of military and Mid-east experience would accuse me of smoking corn silk if they read this. But they don't come here, and I'm probably right. You read it here first.