November 2008


The Dastardly IOZ on the underlying tension between the Free Market apostle wing of the GOP and its band of useful religidiots religuloids*.  In particular, IOZ discusses the recent attempt by conservatives to scapegoat the financial crisis on the fact that Happy Holidays has replaced Merry Christmas by mandate of the atheists and mult-culti kids:

It takes no particular perspicacity to note that our holidays-without-the-holy came about not through the secularizing efforts of “Northerners and atheists,” the gangs of post-doctoral post-modernists slavering to gnaw on the soft edges of Christendom, but through the commercializing efforts of the various and sundry pillars, columns, flutes, and scrolls of American state capitalism. The gradual erosion of “Merry Christmas” in favor of “Happy Holidays” doesn’t mark a moral retreat in the face of religious multiculturalism or anti-Christian laïcité. It marks the commerce-driven extension of a shopping season, one that now extends from before Halloween to the post-New Year sales. “Happy Holidays” isn’t culturally inclusive; it’s commercially inclusive.

Kind of reminds me of the high moral dudgeon masters railing about the decay of good old fashioned values on Fox News (and in other Rupert outlets) while Fox Broadcasting (and other Rupert outlets) pushes the envelope in terms of trashy, salacious and debauched programming.  Because, you know, sex sells and the infallible prerogative of the free market is sacrosanct.  Bigger than Jesus.

But that doesn’t mean that the same purveyors of sex and violence in the name of the almight dollar can’t blame the sex and violence they use on the libertine liberals.  Hell, if Fox News’ ratings are any indicator**, the blame game itself is a marketable commodity. 

Nice racket if you can keep the natives in the dark in perpetuity: Sell your wares with scantily clad women, then sell your news product by blaming your marketing techniques on the socialst enemies of the Free Market.   Who want to make the Baby Jesus cry by giving poor American health insurance.

Round and round it goes.

(**though there are chinks in the armor of late)

An amazing piece of video:

I never thought I’d see the day that an American President would be treated like this, without even perfunctory diplomatic courtesy.  It’s a hopeful sign, in a way, that the blame for the ludicrous behavior of the past 8 years appears to be sticking to Bush personally, and the Republican party, rather than the US generally.  But it’s still astonishing, that in 8 years we could reach a point where close allies of a half-century or more would publically refuse to acknowledge the President of the United States.

… Ack.  Foiled again.  still, I believe this only serves to confirm my original point.

Iraq ProtestOK, not exactly, but I’m hoping Andy McCarthy won’t read past the post title because The Ingrates are acting up again:

Followers of a Shiite cleric on Friday stomped on and burned an effigy of President George W. Bush in the same central Baghdad square where Iraqis beat a toppled statue of Saddam Hussein with their sandals five years earlier.

Chanting and waving flags, thousands of Muqtada al-Sadr‘s followers filled Firdous Square to protest a proposed U.S.-Iraqi security pact that would allow American troops to stay for three more years. The Bush effigy was placed on the same pedestal where U.S. Marines toppled the ousted dictator’s statue in one of the iconic images of the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.

After a mass prayer, demonstrators pelted the effigy with plastic water bottles and sandals. One man hit it in the face with his sandal. The effigy fell head first into the crowd and protesters jumped on it before setting it ablaze.

Before it fell, the effigy held a sign that said: “The security agreement … shame and humiliation.”

The nerve of some people.

Matt Yglesias suggests that past military service hasn’t seemed to help the prospects of Congressional candidates when compared to non-veteran hopefuls, and a perusal of recent presidential elections doesn’t belie the inference that past service is no big boost.  Nevertheless, Ralp Peters gnashes his teeth at the American people’s failure to recognize how important it is to have a veteran in the White House, especially when it comes to saying stuff in campaigns.

[T]he fact is that, security-wise, we’re paying a price for decades of electing presidents with no military experience and no previous interest in things military. Democrat or Republican, they make unrealistic promises that play into our enemies’ hands. They don’t know what they’re talking about – but they sure do talk.

And that’s how we have to view Obama’s repeated insistence that he’ll be the one to “kill or capture Osama bin Laden.”

Osama may be found and killed tomorrow or on the day after the inauguration – or never. But if we do nail him, it won’t be because of presidential posturing.

Ah, poor naive inveterate and unveteran Obama.  He should have done like his opponent, infinitely decorated war hero John McCain, whose warrior experience and uniform-inured hide gave him the fortitude to abstain from claiming that he would capture or kill Osama, or follow him to the Gates of Hell should the task require it (which really isn’t such a big deal as said Gates reside somewhere in New Jersey).

Bush has done all he could to finish off the al Qaeda leader (for Bush, it was personal; for Obama, it’s just political). There’s no new magic formula waiting to be applied: This effort is still about skill, persistence and luck.

Exactly!  And despite this, Obama’s naivete and lack of boot camp led him to claim, repeatedly, that he had a super secret but totally fail-safe plan to get bin Laden!

A fateful error amateurs make about intelligence is to assume that any problem can be solved if we hurl more resources at it. But top-of-the-game intelligence work is about quality, not quantity. It doesn’t help to have a dozen seasonal-hire carpenters all whacking at the same nail – better to have one skilled carpenter on the job.

Which is why professionals like Ralph Peters support a massive warrantless surveillance program that culls a deluge of mostly useless information too cumbersome to parse with any level of care. 

We’d all love to see Osama lying dead in the dust. But, please, Mr. President-elect: Don’t make claims that, if unfulfilled, allow our enemies to declare victory.

That’s doubly applicable as regards Obama’s promise to “stamp out al Qaeda once and for all.” He might as well claim he’ll eliminate crime or drug abuse.

The Middle East is so utterly broken it’s going to continue producing fanatics for decades. Our desired end state should recall our bygone campaigns against the Mafia: Reduce the power and reach of the enemy, pushing him to the margins where, instead of posing a strategic threat, he’s just a nuisance.

That’s the best that we can hope to achieve.

The same applies to the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Both the Taliban and al Qaeda have deep, if narrow, constituencies. This is a very long-term struggle, transcending any single administration. Winning doesn’t mean achieving a terror-free world – an impossible goal – but minimizing, localizing and demythologizing the damage terrorists do.

Al-Qaeda is akin to crime and drug abuse?  Our desired end-state should recall our campaigns against the Mafia?  Reduce terrorism to a mere “nuisance”?  Why…that sounds an awful lot like treating terrorism as a law enforcement issue ala John Kerry (and the RAND Corporation) doesn’t it?  Kerry even used the word “nuisance” to describe his hoped for end-game.  Maybe Ralph Peters of Today should take some advice from Ralph Peters of Five Months Ago:

[Obama] also claimed that fighting terrorism is a law-enforcement problem, not a military one (should we send the NYPD to Mosul and Kandahar?), and that the answer to terrorism is the approach taken after the 1993 World Trade Center attack, featuring conventional trials and prison terms.

That flaccid post-’93 response only encouraged terrorists – who are unfazed by the prospect of a US prison, where the quality of life’s better than it was at home.

Amatuer.

Bonus Petersonian Fucktardity – What the hell was this supposed to mean?:

…for Bush, [capturing or killing bin Laden] was personal; for Obama, it’s just political…

Just political?  No other, you know, ancillary benefit other than the boost to his political prospects?  This bit of partisan malignancy comes just a few paragraphs after Peters puts on a show of non-partisan, country firstism:

Let’s be clear: No matter whom we supported up until Nov. 4, the American people have spoken. Obama will be our next president. To wish him ill is to wish harm to America for partisan purposes. Let’s hope he delivers great accomplishments.

Yeah, wouldn’t want to do that would we.

Who said Bush couldn’t remake Iraq in his image:

The government of Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki is systematically dismissing Iraqi oversight officials, who were installed to fight corruption in Iraqi ministries by order of the American occupation administration, which had hoped to bring Western standards of accountability to the notoriously opaque and graft-ridden bureaucracy here.

The dismissals, which were confirmed by senior Iraqi and American government officials on Sunday and Monday, have come as estimates of official Iraqi corruption have soared. One Iraqi former chief investigator recently testified before Congress that $13 billion in reconstruction funds from the United States had been lost to fraud, embezzlement, theft and waste by Iraqi government officials. [...]

While some Iraqi officials defended the dismissals, saying there had been no political motivation, others pointed to the secrecy involved as supporting their view that those removed had lost their posts without good cause.

Maliki even has his own PerinoBot:

Three senior advisers to Mr. Maliki declined to comment substantively when contacted about the dismissals. “Definitely I know about it, all the details,” said Yasseen Majid, a press adviser to the prime minister. “But you know all the story, so why are you asking me? It’s not my specialty; it’s an administrative issue.”

Sweet.

It’s hard to say which quarry contains the better vein of irony: that the Bush administration actually set up a system of government oversight to fight corruption (chortle!), or that the Bush administration is complaining at its usurpation by the purple paragon of the plebiscite.

In related news, because the clusterfuckometer was getting too low:

The U.S. military has barred Iraqi interpreters working with American troops in Baghdad from wearing ski masks to disguise themselves, prompting some to resign and others to bare their faces even though they fear it could get them killed.

Many Iraqis, however, fear the relative calm won’t last long. To them, ordering interpreters to work without masks suggests that some top U.S. officials are taking an unrealistically rosy view of the security situation in Baghdad, which remains a dangerous city.

U.S. military officials said they began to enforce the mask ban in September because security in Baghdad has improved dramatically.

“We are a professional Army and professional units don’t conceal their identity by wearing masks,” Lt. Col. Steve Stover, a spokesman for the U.S. military, wrote in an e-mail. He expressed appreciation for the service and sacrifice of the interpreters but said those dissatisfied with the new policy “can seek alternative employment.”

Craven Iraqis just don’t get it: There’s nothing to worry about!  You can come out now, we won!

I see that Glenn Reynolds and assorted hangers-on are all atwitter because Michael Yon said something or other.  The headline that launched a thousand premature ejaculations of triumphalism:

“THE WAR IS OVER AND WE WON”

The follow up is at least somewhat more caveated:

Michael Yon just phoned from Baghdad, and reports that things are much better than he had expected, and he had expected things to be good…There’s a little bit of violence here and there, but nothing that’s a threat to the general situation.

Those insolent pockets of violence still have the nettlesome habit of raining 300-400 Iraqi corpses, and 10-30 flag draped coffins, per month, on the eternally recurring victory parades marching through wingnuttia.  Nevertheless, we are assured now of a victory that already resides in the past – as in, has been achieved.

Reynolds’ lucky linkees chime in:

Surprised?  I’m not…I’ve been saying “we won” for some time now, so no argument on that point from me.

And:

No thanks to the Democrats, including Barack Obama and Joe Biden, who tried to keep it from happening. I see that they still can’t bring themselves to utter the word ‘win’ with respect to the war. They continue to talk about ‘ending’ it. Well, it looks like George Bush did that for them, and he won it as well.”

Well, I’d feel more inclined (were it not for the aforementioned dampener of Iraqi and US corpses continuing to turn up all dead-like) to utter the word “win” if someone would define what exactly winning entails, as opposed to, say, losing

What did we win?  What were the goals achieved?  Ridding Saddam of the WMD he didn’t have?  Kicking al-Qaeda out of a country where they weren’t in until after we invaded?  Weakening Iran?  Inducing a chain reaction of democratic dominos that would spread throughout the region smothering terrorism under the weight of each block’s collapse?  Facilitating the peace process?  Lowering oil prices? 

The one and undeniable accomplishment would be that Saddam and his sons are out of power.  Good.  He will not be missed or mourned.

Yet, it takes a special kind of skill in the art of goalpost maneuvering to declare victory based on this one achievement after hundreds of thousands of Iraqis lost their lives (and millions more psychologically and physically scarred), 4-5 million Iraqis are displaced internally and abroad, roughly 5,000 coalition soldiers and contractors dead, trillions of dollars sapped from the US economy, countless opportunity and diplomatic costs, degradation of our military’s fighting capacity, etc. 

And even now, victory has been declared based on the fact that fighting has died down (but not completely by any stretch), and an increasingly authoritarian and Iranian leaning Iraqi government is exerting its prerogatives in terms of consolidating control and expediting our exit from the country.

Regardless, the cheerleaders clutching to threadbare and bloodspattered pom poms, scream into their megaphones “Bush won”! 

Perhaps. 

But if Bush won, he was not alone.  Iran is also entitled to an end-zone celebration of their choosing (Najaf Leap?).  On the other side of the ledger, the Iraqis and American citizens mostly lost. 

So it depends on how you define “we” and “won.”  But other than that, yeah.

(via Glenn’s better)

Frustrated by the fact that Gay Hate, nativism, endless war, anti-Muslim bigotry, greed and other assorted planks comprising the rotting Republican platform are making younger voters turn away in disgust (which foretells of an ever-diminishing constituency as death takes its yearly tithes), the Grand Assisted Living Kind of “Old” Party is turning to a new strategy to neutralize the Dem advantage with anyone younger than Oldy McCain: name calling.  Yup, they’re banking on some sassy put downs to deflate the youth vote.  And who better to grab the mic in this demographic/electoral diss battle than MC Low-D-Pantz:

[T]he national obsession with the “youth vote” is one of the great embarrassments of deliberative democracy [curv: those in glass houses]. Why is the participation of youth so vital? The “youth activists” say it’s because they bring so much “passion” to politics. Passion, again, isn’t necessarily a good thing. Mobs and small children are passionate.

There was a time when voting was supposed to be a matter for sober, mature reflection. Now it’s more like a fashion statement. “In America,” remarked Oscar Wilde long ago, “the young are always ready to give those who are older than themselves the full benefits of their inexperience.” The only difference now is they get to vote.

Having killed it, Low-D hands the mic off to Boxy Brown, who for my mo money, wins this shizzle hands down.  Boxy starts off by claiming that the supposed youth turnout for Obama is much ado about nothing:

In fact, young voters barely surpassed their 2004 turnout percentage — voters aged 18-29 comprised just 18 percent of the electorate, as opposed to 17 percent in 2004.

See suckas, teh yutes ain’t even so much for Obama anyway.  Nevertheless, Boxy Brown warns us that Obama is going to exploit that non-existent base of support that isn’t even there to create minions, henchmen and, perhaps, a rapscallion or two:

And Obama is looking to capitalize on that youth support. Obamas sophisticated online network is geared toward mobilizing teenage minions. Obamas proposed civilian national security force is directed toward calcifying support for him into support for his political program. And Obamas national service requirement is an attempt to turn young people into government employees.

The Dark Youthful Menace to Society builds:

There is no question that the Barack Obama Movement was led not by elder statesman, but by college students and twentysomethings. This election cycle provided Generation Y a chance to assume unearned moral superiority over their elders by promoting a black president. It also provided Generation Y a chance to live out the precepts of their public school educations, which focused on changing the world, as well as diversity and tolerance.

“Unearned” indeed.  These youngins come in and swoop up all the credit for rolling back decades of discrimination without putting in some hard work spreading the discrimination in the first place! Kids these days: always wanting to skip over the lynchings and just get right to the kumbaya. 

Moving on, 24 year-old Boxy Brown explains how he lacks the experience and learning to be taken seriously:

Young people have the enthusiasm for politics, but not practical experience or breadth of learning.

Er, Boxy, hold that thought because…its time a blow up tha spot!!!:

Heres the big question: Why in the world should we be excited about young Americans defining our politics?

No political mass movement led by young people has ever resulted in good. In fact, the most murderous mass movements in history have been led by young people [curv: jonas bros anyone?]. Nazism became popular among the youth before it became the German national theology; Hitler, of course, cultivated young people by targeting them for service in his SA, or Sturm Abteilung, and later, his Hitler Youth. [...]

True idealism is nothing but the subordination of the interests and life of the individual to the community. The purest idealism is unconsciously equivalent to the deepest knowledge. Such idealism is the most basic building block for dangerous movements. But young people are not trained to see the danger in such idealism. It is only when young people grow up that they see Hitler in those lines rather than Barack Obama.

Indeed.  I mean, have you ever considered that Hitler, himself, was at one point…young!  I shit you not. 

Bonus Goldberg Fucktardity:

In fact, the country is experimenting with ever-more-novel ways to make it easier for people to join “the process,” which makes democracy sound like a digestive phenomenon. Gone entirely is the tradition of Election Day. Now it’s Election Week or even Election Month in some states.

Voting by mail, online voting, even voting by phone are increasingly in vogue, because it’s assumed that we desperately need input from voters who couldn’t be bothered to get off the couch for a normal Election Day but can be coaxed to vote if it doesn’t interfere with their video-game schedule.

What a travesty.  I say bring back the poll tax.

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