Saturday, February 04, 2006

Bodily fluids or alcoholic fluids

Juan Cole, in this post, compares Bush to General Ripper (played superbly by Sterling Hayden in Dr. Strangelove), and based on the latest memo of his meeting with Tony Blair, I must agree. The President is mad, or drunk, or both.

A long, hard slog

Yup, Rummie, you were right. Those few Iraqi troops that have taken over patrols from our military are still getting their bullets and gasoline from US Army trucks. Seems their vehicles aren't safe or capable, are unreliable; and the Iraqis don't have sufficient supplies for their own troops. We even have to deliver their food to them in the field, in packets we've specifically designed to meet Muslim dietary requirements.

Exit strategy? My ass. We don't even have a presence strategy.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Here's an exit strategy

Perhaps not too long from now other states, like Maine, will be unable to deploy any more National Guard units to Iraq because they've all spent 24 months in overseas duty, which is the legal limit on such deployments. The Commandant of the Guard said he was concerned that the Army might begin picking off new recruits from different states to create ad-hoc units of soldiers to serve overseas.
That would be like a football team changing players before every game, he said. "That's the way it was in Vietnam. When I got there, I didn't know a single person. There was always somebody coming and going."

From Baghdad

Riverbend, an Iraqi woman, author of the blog Baghdad Burning, gives us her take on the election outcome. Notice how similar her description of the politico-religious result is to the state of politics and leadership in the United States. I've said before that Osama bin Laden and Bush are their own best buddies, in that they thrive on the terror each of them stirs up. Add in the religious fervor of their supporters and we've got the perfect storm of eternal war.

I'd like to hear feedback on where you think all this is headed, and how it will end.

Mark Fiore

A cartoonist with wit...and amazing talent. Check out this one about the Empire of Georgelandia

Air America

Here in Santa Barbara, we receive Air America via 1340 am station, a ClearChannel outlet.
We get three hours of Al Franken in midmorning, three hours of Randi Rhodes in late afternoon, Stephanie Miller (I think it is) in early morning, with three hours of a non-Air America personality, Ed Shultz, in between. (Shultz is a liberal, too.) In the evening the lineup reverts to conservative talk, which is what is carried all day and night on the other local ClearChannel station, 990 am.
Franken and Miller are, IMHO, tolerable, Shultz is barely so, and Rhodes is, frankly, unlistenable. In sum, Air America is a bust as a competent alternative to the incessant conservative talk shows. A wasted opportunity, a failed effort in the main.

Two exceptions: Rachel Maddow (who's on our local station only for an hour, between five and six a.m.), and Laura Flanders (weekends).

I received this quote by email recently, attributed to Air America, and it's cute, I gotta admit.

"This year, the State of the Union address and Groundhog Day happened in the same week. It is an ironic juxtaposition of events: one involves a meaningless ritual in which we look to a creature of little intelligence for prognostication while the other involves a groundhog."

Thursday, February 02, 2006

You say you want a revolution?

It's times like these that drive people to fill wine bottles with gasoline and throw them, or rocks, or sticks of furniture, at tanks. Or line up in scattered rows against redcoat ranks.

All is calm. The war rages on, the scandals and illegalities pile up unaddressed, the press dumbs down--indeed is dumb--and meanwhile we, unrepresented but right, sit at home and type.

Yeah, Molotov cocktails are sounding real fine right now.

Look out, world!

I'm writing this post from a coffee house, The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf in Goleta, CA. I'm using a T-Mobile Wi-Fi connection. Get down, get down. Now, at any time of day, 'most anywhere, I can place my thoughts on this blog as they arise.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006


Talk about a growth industry. A local group shows a different film--from environmentalist harrangues to antiwar polemics--each week, seems like. And I get LinkTV which plays similar fare day, night out. Some of them are fine films, some quite lame, but the latest darling--"Why We Fight"--is analyzed by Justin Raimondo, here, and I gotta tell ya, this sounds to me like a must-see movie.

Raimondo tells of an opening scene in which an American father of a son who works in the Trade Center is on a train toward New York and sees the towers in flames, fears for his son and later learns the worst. His reaction: Blind revenge.

Would that have been mine, in a similar setting, with my daughter in the towers? I don't know, but I do recall distinctly my reaction to the news of the attacks. I learned about them on my computer that morning, early, but I didn't have a TV and so didn't follow along all that day and during the next weeks as I'm told so many Americans did. But my immediate reaction that morning, which has continued to this day: "Well, that's the price of empire." Indeed, I think I even mouthed that phrase when I learned on the Internet about the strike on the second tower. Yup--that's what I felt. Not far from "we had it coming." Closer to "we saw it coming," but still not blind revenge, not at all. That's what the terrorists felt vs. the US, toward our nation's decades of domination and, in their view, corruption.

Anyhoo--I'm going to see "Why We Fight" and will report in due course, of course.

I don't get it

Down the coast from here, ten miles or so, is Oprah's place. A castle on a large acreage overlooking the Pacific. It cost her fifty million or so, five years ago. A friend of mine and I were discussing it, essentially wondering What the fuck? Who needs--who even wants--that kind of property? Not who deserves it, really (because no one does), but who would bother? I just don't get it--and now, check out Tiger's latest purchase.

What the fuck?

State of the Union

Bush's speech, portions of, and an analysis of, I heard over BBC World Service radio, was much ado about nothing, except I did get a kick out of his assertion that the US is "addicted to oil." Oh, really? Where's he been during the last three decades, and especially during the last five years as president? Thanks to his administration and the Republican Congress, no action has been taken to alleviate that dependency: policies favoring alternative fuel development have been scrapped, rules to reduce gasoline consumption by cars and to support mass transit have been repealed, and anti-environmental regulations have been enacted. It's galling indeed to watch Bush make a political point out of the very addiction he's caused.

As to the Democrats' response by that Virginia governor? Awful. Wussy, fuzzy, absolutely ineffective. Like a good Democrat.

Monday, January 30, 2006

I don't want to sound stupid, but

I've gotta ask: Given that virtually all legal experts, including me (and this of course doesn't include Albert Gonzalez and his minions) know that Bush's argument that he holds plenary power to order spying during "wartime" is an complete crock, who's gonna tell him otherwise? If Congress "disagrees," what can they do but pass some resolution or even a limiting statute, which Bush will, according to him, be empowered to ignore? And if the courts disagree? Well, under the "unitary executive" theory, Bush may ignore that branch too.

Bottom line: Whether his program is declared "legal" or not by Congress and/or the federal courts, Bush will continue it if he chooses to. Only if the courts somehow influence the military branch--or maybe the US Marshal Service, which is under the courts' jurisdiction (at least I think they still are)--to enforce any decree they enter, will the spying stop.

Oh boy--a full-scale constitutional crisis. I can't wait.

Dysfunctional economy, anyone?

On the same day we learn that Americans are saving money at the lowest rate since the depression year of 1933, we are told that an oil company, Exxon, has reported the largest quarterly and annual profit ever achieved by any corporation, ever. Ever in the history of corporations, ever in the history of profits, ever.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Larry King, the most overpaid person on the planet

Okay, maybe the CEO's of Tyco and Enron are in the same league, but this King dude is a blight on the TV screen. I just watched his puffball interview of former president Bush, including a couple of soft questions about the status of the US occupation of Iraq. When Bush said "it's going well, better every day," King didn't even pause before moving to the next soft question. Meanwhile, the Iraqi oil minister is quitting his job after years of failure; while 50,000 US troops are being conscripted to stay extra months on the ground; and scores of Iraqis--and US newsmen--are being killed and injured.

"Better every day?" Mr. former president? Larry--get off the air, and get a job selling Hallmark cards.

This isn't Spinal Tap, it's wiretap

Bad joke. But with a point.

Despite the MSM's characterization, in response to Bush's PR blitz to support his NSA spying program, that the legality of the program is debatable, it isn't. Not even for a moment is there a hestitation, a pause for reflection, on the point.

So now, let's see how Congress--in particular the Republicans--react; let's see if they act with a measure of courage and truthfulness in the face of the lawless administration. My guess: No.

State of the Union

Bush's approval numbers in the recent polls have dropped again, flatlining in the lower forties. In two days he addresses the nation--I'll not watch it (can't bear it to see his face, hear his voice) but I'll read about the speech afterward--and I'll report on what, if any, effect it has on the polls. A president usually gets a bit of a bounce after the SOU speech--and this one will be followed by the Democrats' filibuster attempt on the Alito nomination--so no doubt there'll be some good news for Bush momentarily. But with all the shoes that haven't yet dropped, from Fitzgerald's Plame-gate investigation to the Abrahamoff scandals to the NSA spying hearings to the ongoing negative news from Iraq and elsewhere in the far- and middle-East, I'm thinking Bush had better come up with another terror threat (or, possibly, and attack) sometime this spring. My guess is that he'll create a crisis about Iran (recall, there's been talk about some kind of action against Iran in March on account of that country's upcoming monetary moves in the form of the creation of a bourse), just about when his poll numbers tank again.