Thursday, May 31, 2007

"We have met the enemy and he is us"

When the late, great Walt Kelly famously and hilariously tweaked Commodore Perry's quote, I'm sure he was thinking about the U.S. gummint. Walt Kelly had a cynical outlook on the gummint (but not so much on the basic goodness of people), but is it really cynical to fail to predict the rise of such malevolent incompetence as the Dubya maladministration?

In the spirit of (the also sadly missed) Billmon, I give you this.

That was then:
The inspectors themselves have concluded that Iraq failed to make a serious effort to respond to this information that the world has required. Inspections that the IAEA conducted, which the IAEA, per their rights under the U.N. resolution, asked to be conducted in private without any Iraqi minders were rejected. The inspections could only take place if Iraqi minders were in the room -- hardly a welcoming environment if anybody has information that they want to share.
This is now:
Robert L. Wilkie , a former Bush administration national security official who left the White House to become assistant secretary of defense for legislative affairs last year, has outlined a half-dozen guidelines that prohibit most officers below the rank of colonel from appearing in hearings, restricting testimony to high-ranking officers and civilians appointed by President Bush.

The guidelines, described in an April 19 memo to the staff director of the House Armed Services Committee, adds that all field-level officers and enlisted personnel must be "deemed appropriate" by the Department of Defense before they can participate in personal briefings for members of Congress or their staffs; in addition, according to the memo, the proceedings must not be recorded.

Wilkie's memo also stipulated that any officers who are allowed to testify must be accompanied by an official from the administration, such as Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and his top-level aides.

How far we've come....

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Victor Davis Hanson, historian

Victor Davis Hanson is revered in conservative circles for his scintillating scholarship and historical knowledge. I really don't know what we'd do without his insights to put current events into perspective. From the NRO (and other syndication sites):
In the past week, Don Imus was fired, all charges against the Duke University lacrosse players were dropped, and almost everyone has offered a sermon about the racial and class issues involved in both cases. But we need look only to the Ancient Greeks for the best insight.

The Greeks believed that insolence naturally leads to bullying, or hubris. This arrogance induces a mad behavior called ate. Finally, that recklessness earns well-earned destruction unleashed by the god Nemesis.

In other words, what goes around comes around — big time.

No one gets a pass, according to the Greeks. Just ask the arrogant Oedipus, who ultimately stabbed his own eyes out.
Thanks for the .... ummm, "explanation"....

Ummm, VD, clue fer ya: Those are myths.

But if you really believe in this "karma" stuff (no, VD, the Greeks didn't take out a patent on it), care to explain why Dubya's mug is not some bloody self-inflicted mess? Perhaps he's just too stoopid to see exactly who he's been f*cking over. Maybe if Jenna and Not-Jenna went to Iraq, and came home as a pulpy mess in body bags....


Sunday, May 13, 2007

Dubya steps in and takes over for Peyton Manning in a desperate fourth quarter and leads the Colts to victory....

From here:
Bush conducts orchestra.
“JoAnn Falletta was doing what a conductor should — concentrating on the orchestra in front of her. No wonder it took her a few seconds on Sunday to realize someone behind her was motioning for a try. President Bush.”

“Smiling at me kind of devilishly,” Falletta said.

She gave him her baton and stepped aside.

Gesturing exuberantly, the president led the orchestra during part of its performance of “Stars and Stripes Forever.”

“We didn’t expect him to know the score so well,” Falletta said afterward. “He was not shy about conducting at all. He conducted with a great deal of panache.” […]

Just before the music ended, Bush turned to Falletta, who stood on a step below him, kissed the top of her head and left without saying a word.
Dear Gawd, the guy's got a screw loose.

“And that’s what we do. We put in a bigger brass section to get to a position where we can be in some other place. The question is, who ought to make that decision? Some woman in a tuxedo or the conducter? And as you know, my position is clear — I’m the conducter guy. And the deciderator. And — uhh, you know, that commander type thingy….”

From here, with apologies for the ‘typos’ in my transcription. ;-)

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Orange Alert!!! Orange Alert!!!

Just in case you're wondering (or flying sometime soon, as I'm doing pretty much weekly recently), today we have an ORANGE ALERT!!!!!

Just check it out here, folks.

Yes, indeed, today, as my sweetie goes winging off into the far blue yonder, we have ... <*SUPRAHHZ* *SUPRAHHZ*> ... an Orange Alert. Yesterday, however, we had ... umm, hmmm... ohm, yeah, an Orange Alert. And Monday, when I went up to Alaska, we had ... oh, right, an Orange Alert.

Just to make sure you know, they make periodic announcements on the airport PA systems ... although they don't bother to tell you what to do differently because there's an Orange Alert, particularly since you're already at the airport, and don't have time to go and get one of those quart ZipLoc bags and some three ounce containers, so kiss that shampoo and your sterile contact lens solution goodbye:
The U.S. threat level is High, or Orange, for all domestic and international flights. Only small amounts of liquids, aerosols and gels are allowed in carry-on baggage.

See the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) website for up-to-date information on items permitted and prohibited on airlines.

Hey, DHS!!! Mr. Chertoff!!! Can we get some variety, please? We've been at Orange Alert pretty much solid for at least a year now. Frankly, it's getting boring. We need some new colour palettes, and a bit of variation from the monotony of "Orange Alert!!! Orange Alert!!!" all the time. Maybe some chartreuse, and a nice mauve or persimmon for a change of pace. Hell, no sensible person would paint their house orange, or buy an orange car. Orange is the colour of those construction signs and traffic cones that everyone ignores or sideswipes.

How about doing the DHS alerts with some musical keys? Say, C minor for when there's some Missing White Girl, and B♭ Major for after that suitcase nuke goes off?

At the very least, vary the tune a bit. This "Orange Alert!!!" Threat Level all the friggin' time is getting old. Keeping a "U.S. threat level [of] High, or Orange" all the time makes people think you big muckety-mucks (hey you, Mr. "Katrinagate" Chertoff!) are actually doing something to deserve a gummint salary, when in fact it seems it's all a dog'n'pony show to keep people afraid and voting Republican. Say, Chertoff, what was you previous job experience? "From 1994 to 1996, he served as Special Counsel for the U.S. Senate Whitewater Committee." Oh yeah, forgot about that hack partisan stint.... Nevermind.

A distinction of note....

A caller on the Randi Rhodes show the other day made the assertion that we need to use the correct language for Iraq. They pointed out that there's a difference between a "war" and an "occupation". We won the "war" against Iraq. Yes, indeed, "Mission Accomplished". Pat ourselves on the back for a well-played football game ... as long as we studiously ignore the Underpants Gnomes' "Step 2" and don't ask what we should do next. That "next" ended up being an occupation. But we're losing the occupation.

There's quite a bit of truth to that.

And in fact, it's basically inevitable that an occupation will be lost (absent genocide of the locals, which has basically been done historically to some effect in some cases you might think of). You can't "win" an occupation. Absent the drastic means above, the best you'll ever do is leave. Why should we even (allow) talk about such, much less insist on the impossible?