Friday, April 14, 2006

As they say in my country, the only thing that separates us from the animals are mindless superstition and pointless ritual.

What a strange day.

First I got a call from an acquaintance in Turkey I hadn't talked to in a couple of years. He's just written a book and will be in the states later this year. If I wasn't on the NSA watch list for domestic spying I am now.

Then I ran into a good-sized immigration protest downtown over lunch:

This is just the first part of the march which covered about eight blocks altogether. Despite the rain it was a crowd that seemed very upbeat with lots of cheering. I marched along for a while but had to get back to work and as I got a couple of blocks away I heard the crowd chanting something new and stopped dead in my tracks.

They were chanting "USA, USA, USA!"

I can't even begin to describe how touching this was. As much as I bury myself in politics I sometimes forget that America isn't just a geographically fortunate lump of land but it's also an idea. Despite all the crappy stuff that we've done it's still an idea that people are willing to risk their lives for, fight for and take to the streets for.

Would that those of us who were blessed to have born into that idea had the guts to get off our fat asses and do the same.

When danger reared its ugly head, he bravely turned his tail and fled. Yes, brave Sir Robin turned about, and valiantly, he chickened out.

It occurs to me that the fear so prevalent in the wingnut masses is also a demonstrable characteristic of it's leadership as well. Their fear, and it's projection onto our foes, has contributed to their manifestly ineffectual strategies for combating global terrorism.

Take a look at this list of who served. Almost the entirety of the leadership of the Republican party, with the exception of Donald Rumsfeld who served three years as a aviation instructor in the Navy, somehow avoided serving in the Vietnam war. In fact few even meet the low standard set by Rumsfeld and Bush of even wearing the uniform of our armed services at some point in their lives. When it came to taking up arms and facing hostile fire from an enemy determined to kill them, they took a pass.

So it comes as no surprise that their cowardice has manifested itself in an incredibly negative form in their strategy to combating global terrorism. Everything they do begins with the assumption that the enemy is just as cowardly as they themselves. All strategy is precipitated on the idea that those we're fighting will care more about their own hide that their country, their religion or their family and friends. Bush, Cheney and the rest of the chickenhawks in leadership have convinced themselves everybody thinks the same way they do.

This speaks directly to the idea of tactical nukes in Iran. The administration hawks looking across an Iraq insurgency that is nowhere near it's "last throes" have come to the conclusion that the problem isn't the strategy of shock and awe, it's the formula to that shock and awe. They just haven't found a scary enough explosion to send the natives scattering. Dropping a nuclear bomb will show our enemies that we really, really, really mean business this time.

It's because they themselves are incapable of imaging any other reaction of fundamentalist Muslims to an attack on Iran as being anything other than abject fear, they can't begin to realistically imagine the possible consequences and plan accordingly. For example: could any of us say with a straight face that the administration will seriously consider the disposition of the Musharraf government in Pakistan following an attack on Iran? Does George W. Bush understand that the man whose name he couldn't remember in a debate during the Republican primaries would probably be dead within hours of our bombing Iran and their nuclear weapons in the hands of men who, at the very least, are sympathetic to Bin Laden's crusade against the U.S.?

Of course not. They think our enemies would do what they would do: wet their pants and hide under the bed. In doing so they will continue to perpetuate a flawed strategy and to try and pound a square peg into a round hole. Meanwhile the rest of the world, our global prestige and thousands of innocents suffer because we have leaders who are afraid of their own shadows.


Should there be any doubt as to the mental makeup of the typical right-of-center blogger I'd encourage you to run over to firedoglake and read Kevin K's awesome guest post on the subject. The whole thing had me alternating between bits of hysterical laughter and shaking my head at the inanity of the bedwetting little losers. Just a taste:

I didn’t really follow the explosion of bedwetting blogs post-9/11 because I was too busy languishing in my pre-9/11 NYC liberal mindset, but apparently the blogosphere was flush with dorks in crouched-down, defensive positions who pecked away at something they called "warblogs." These, ahem, "warbloggers" (must … stop … tittering) thought they were at war and no amount of fear of Blogger’s registration process and/or HTML interface was going to get in their way to fight the good fight. They were G.I. Jonesin’ for some seriously manly cutting ‘n’ pasting as they bravely stormed the frontlines of HyperText Transfer Protocol. And some of them, primarily "9/11 Republicans" and alleged libertarians, were so addicted to the notion that "everything changed after 9/11" that they discarded large, important chunks of their belief systems because they figured the "everything changed" doctrine applied to their very beings as well. A few of them have circled back to reality and well-earned rounds of raspberries, but a substantial number still cling to what are becoming increasingly razor-thin threads of dignity, and generally when you take it that far, you never come back because, let’s face it, it’s really, really embarrassing to do so. The Roger L. Simons and Charles Johnsons of today are the ex-lefty David Horowitzes and Michael Savages of tomorrow, except, as Pantload Media has proved, we don’t ever have to worry about Rog and Chucky being anywhere near as popular, successful or influential. Or handsome.

It’s been funny watching nutter bloggers cheer on Iraqis for standing up to terrorists when it’s quite evident that guys like John Hinderaker and Hugh Hewitt clearly wouldn’t have the balls to do the same in a similar situation. If you put Hinderaker in a scenario where white supremacists had taken over his perfectly-named hometown of Apple Valley, Minnesota and were setting up IEDs around town and blowing up shit at random, a teary-eyed John would be the first one out of his house waving a white dress shirt and bellowing in desperation, "I’m on your team!" before collapsing on his well-manicured lawn in a puddle of urine. Hewitt, for cripes sake, has to be heavily sedated and diapered before he enters the Empire State Building, which he seems to believe is a bullet-strewn frontline in the war on terror (like Sadr City, but taller!), with its spine-tingling Skyride and elevators stuffed with fanny-packed tourists in ESPN Zone t-shirts. I mean, for all of the chest-thumping-and-puffery these proud patriots do you can’t help but notice through their squeals of store-bought muscular bravado that a majority of them are pinched-up, picked-last-in-dodgeball mega-dweebs. We’re talking central casting material for the remake of Revenge of the Nerds, except in this version they just read Drudge and Instapundit all day and curl into a ball every time they get within 20 yards of an Arab or one of the Satellite Sisters.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Yes, I'm a middle- aged fag. But I know who I am, Val. It took me twenty years to get here, and I'm not gonna let some idiot senator destroy that.

This story is awesome. Gay couples with children plan on turning out at the annual White House Easter egg roll en masse.

Of course not everybody finds it as amusing as I do...

Critics have denounced the parents for politicizing such an iconic, American event.

"I think it's inappropriate to use a children's event to make a political statement," said Mark Tooley, who directs the United Methodist committee at the Institute on Religion and Democracy. He wrote a column earlier this year in the Weekly Standard saying gay civil rights groups were making "covert plans to crash the annual White House Easter egg roll."

Sure. It's about protecting the kids and not religion. Whatever, Tooley. At least somebody on your side has a sense of humor...

Other critics have dubbed this year's Easter mobilization "Brokeback Bunny" in online message boards, a reference to Brokeback Mountain, the Oscar-winning movie about two gay sheepherders.

You are too much for me Mr. delicious giant chocolate bunny, you sonofawhoreson bitch! I wish I knew how to quit you.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006


Everybody seems to linking to Billmon's excellent deconstruction of the possibility of a U.S. nuclear attack on Iran and the results with regards to foreign policy, the economy and international relations, so I might as well do the same:

Mutually Assured Dementia

Maybe it's just me, but I've been at least a little bit surprised by the relatively muted reaction to the news that the Cheney Administration and its Pentagon underlings are racing to put the finishing touches on plans for attacking Iran – plans which may include the first wartime use of nuclear weapons since Nagasaki.

I mean, what exactly does it take to get a rise out of the media industrial complex these days? A nuclear first strike against a major Middle Eastern oil producer doesn't ring the bell? Must every story have a missing white woman in it before the cable news guys will start taking it seriously?

The fact that the corporate media has failed to go bonkers over something as signifigant as nuclear war is an interesting question. But I'm not sure that coverage would change anything. At this point- with five years of living under this administration in the tank- I'd say there's very little that could or would keep them from using nuclear weapons as Syd Hersh reported.

Consider the counter arguments to nuking Iran:

International Treaties- Practically the first act taken by this administration when they slithered into office was to announce that they were pulling out of the Kyoto global warming treaties.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father: prepare to die

I'll say this much for Bush: when he gets his script in the morning with his "word for the day" he sticks to it.

Yesterday the President blasted 'wild speculation' over Iran plans. (pronounced SPECK-U-LAY-SHUN)

Funny, but that seemed to be awfully close to what White House spokesman Scott McClellan said earlier at morning press gaggle.

QUESTION: But are nuclear strikes on the table? You're familiar with the --

SCOTT McCLELLAN: I answered that -- I answered that in my remarks.

QUESTION: Yes or no?

SCOTT McCLELLAN: I answered that in my remarks. I won't -- I'm not going to comment further about it. It's just engaging in kind of wild speculation to get into commenting further about it.

And later...

QUESTION: But don't you also expect the Defense Department to be -- the kind of attacks that would be necessary for an --

SCOTT McCLELLAN: You're trying to get me to jump into all this wild speculation from some of the stories that came over the weekend.

I'd like to channel Jon Stewart and say that if you're the President or the Spokesman for the President of the United States and you're asked if the U.S. will pre-emptively use tactical nukes against a Middle-East country the correct answer isn't some dismissive, politically calculated non-answer. The correct answer is something along the lines of: "Fuck no! What, are you nuts?"

They're trying to be cute. Problem is their prevailing public persona by design is crazy guy and you can't be cute AND crazy. Unless you're Robin Williams, of course. He's hairy, cute and crazy.

But don't try and call them on the "wild speculation" thing or you'll get what this reporter got from McClellan:

QUESTION: It isn't wild.

SCOTT McCLELLAN: Sure it is. It's not based on knowledge of the administration's thinking. That's why it's wild speculation. It's based -- I saw one story that had numerous anonymous former officials and outside advisors being quoted in the story. How they possibly could understand what the administration's thinking is, is beyond me.

See,we can't BEGIN to understand what this bellicose administration that's gotten involved in two wars in two years is thinking. That's just wild speculation. But since we're speculating anyway:

Dick Cheney

Donald Rumsfeld

George W. Bush

Monday, April 10, 2006

Well, I've wrestled with reality for 35 years, Doctor, and I'm happy to state I finally won out over it.

Our President today said:

“I got out a little early on the issue by saying ‘axis of evil,”’ Bush said. “But I meant it. I saw it as a problem. And now many others have come to the conclusion that the Iranians should not have a nuclear weapon.”

Because nobody else could see the threat of Iranian nukes before Mr. Big Thinker came along.

Yeah, that's the ticket...

Because I refuse to register with the New York Times I'm just going to lift this quote directly from a terrific piece trashing Fred Hiatt by Jane at fireddoglake.

But a week earlier, in an interview in his State Department office, Mr. Powell told three other reporters for The Times that intelligence agencies had essentially rejected that contention, and were "no longer carrying it as a credible item" by early 2003, when he was preparing to make the case against Iraq at the United Nations.

Mr. Powell’s queasiness with some of the intelligence has been well known, but the new revelations suggest that long after he had concluded the intelligence was faulty, Mr. Bush, Mr. Cheney and Mr. Libby were still promoting it. (emphasis mine)

This leapt out at me and frankly it pissed me off.

I realize we've been buried under an avalanche of examples of this administration lying over these past few years but for some reason this case, which is not even really new, really sticks in my craw.

I get that the chickenhawks like Bush and Cheney think that winning a late night game of Risk with their buddies when they were twelve equates to them being master strategists but Powell actually served in uniform and saw combat for chrissakes. If he was queasy about the intelligence then why the hell wasn't he yelling about it? He was in a position to do something about this stupid war. Being a grown-up in a room full of children mean you just might have to say "no."