Friday, July 27, 2007

Just a question...

Are we SURE that this administration is going to actually pack and leave in January 2009? I don't want sound, well, conspiratorial, but these Fnorkfaces are acting like there will never be a day of reckoning. Now, my rational side is arguing that it is very unlikely that any investigation or reprisal will continue beyond the election. But we've never really been confronted with this level of mendacity before in the history of the mondern presidency.

So, are we really convinced these guys are not gaming out how to stay in office beyond 2009?

Friday, July 20, 2007

Sometimes, It's What They Don't Tell You That Matters...

Take, for example, this awful story about tattoo culture in Baghdad, courtesy of IRIN News— because, let's face it, who else would bring you this story:
BAGHDAD, 19 July 2007 (IRIN) - "My age is the same as the olive tree," reads the blue tattoo on Qaisar Tariq al-Essawi's left shoulder.

Al-Eassawi, 36, got the tattoo so his family and close friends could recognise his remains if he ended up in a morgue.

"I selected this wording because only my family and close friends know about our olive tree which was planted by my father when I was born," al-Essawi, a father of two boys, told IRIN in Baghdad.

One response to sudden and violent death which has become commonplace in Iraq's turmoil, is the emergence of a new subculture - the etching of tattoo identities on people who fear becoming an unclaimed body in a packed morgue.

It is more than just another grim footnote in a nation brimming with sad stories. It points to how deeply war and sectarian bloodshed have transformed the way Iraqis live today and confront the constant possibility of death.
One thing the IRIN News story doesn't mention— probably because it would have been an insult to the intelligence of its primarily Arab, Asian and North African audience— is that tattoo is forbidden by the Quran. It's haraam.

Imagine if these people were Jews. Jews getting tattooed so their remains would be identifiable. You'd never hear the end of the caterwauling in the U.S. about this story.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

...Because Nobody Else Is Explaining This To You

It's the day after the U.S. Senate had an overnight session to deliberate over the Levin-Reed amendment to the Defense Authorization Bill that would require U.S. armed forces to withdraw from Iraq by April 2008. The session ended when the vote for cloture failed to achieve the required sixty vote super-majority.

Here are some things you might not understand about what happened if you've been relying on the U.S. television, radio and print news media to explain it to you:

p1. Fifty-one votes are enough to pass the amendment and bring the troops home from Iraq.
p2. There are at least fifty-one Democratic (and some Republican) senators publicly committed to voting for the amendment.
p3. The GOP minority can obstruct the bill in a procedure called a "filibuster."
p4. A filibuster is when the minority refuses to stop debating with the majority over the merits of a question.
p5. Filibusters succeed when the majority gives up and drops the question, i.e. by killing the bill/amendment in question.
p6. Filibusters like this one can only fail under current Senate rules when sixty senators vote for "cloture" on the debate.
p7. Normally, filibusters in the Senate don't result in overnight debating sessions.
p7(a). This time, Democrats insisted that GOP members explain in public why continued debate should be necessary.
p8. When the GOP complains that Democrats are engaging in a publicity stunt, remember that the GOP is the party that insists on continuing the debate.
p9. The Democrats have not dropped the Levin-Reed amendment, therefore the filibuster has not yet succeeded.

Please try to keep these things in mind when your media meatpuppets try to tell you that 1) the Senate voted 52-47 against withdrawing troops from Iraq, 2) the Democrats are mounting a filibuster, and 3) the GOP has succeeded in stopping the filibuster. It's all the worst kind of lying.

p.s. It's Not Too Late To STOP THE WAR AGAINST IRAN.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

They Wuz Just Funnin... Honest!

In other news, the effort to purge the U.S. military of its Jewish chaplains proceeds apace. Jason Leopold writes:
Rabbi Goldman's civil rights "were perniciously raped in a literally mind-boggling, intentional manner," Weinstein said in an interview. "The Army retaliated against him for speaking out. The Army refused to lift a finger to address Rabbi Goldman's complaints despite documentary evidence that supports his claims. And now the Army is going to find itself the defendant in a lawsuit our organization will file on behalf of Rabbi Goldman for grossly violating his civil rights."

According to documents obtained by Truthout, an investigation by the Army Inspector General into Goldman's claims of anti-Semitism shows that in May 2001, Captain Robert Nay, a Christian chaplain at the Fort Stewart Army base, hung Nazi uniforms and swastikas on the wall of the officers' club at Hunter Army Airfield in Savannah, Georgia, during a May 23, 2001 interfaith prayer breakfast Goldman was ordered to attend.

In an interview, Goldman said seeing the Nazi uniforms did not entirely surprise him. A month earlier, Nay had informed Goldman that he thought it would be "funny" if he dressed up soldiers in the Nazi uniforms on Holocaust Memorial Day, a time when the world memorializes the six million Jews who were slaughtered by the Nazis during World War II.
Ah. Now it makes sense... I was wondering why Jay Sekulow has been banging on full-time all this week on his Christian radio program about military chaplains.

Monday, July 16, 2007

The Shameful Cowardice Of Democrats And Progressives

(Via Ken MacLeod) Once again, it's time for me to remind our vast audience to resist the call to war with Iran.

Ken links to Arthur Silber writing about the latest outrage. (Here's Dover Bitch writing at Digby's Hullaballoo on the same topic.) One place you will not find any mention of this story is in the websites operated by those oh-so-chastened liberal Democrats who initially supported the Iraq invasion and only too-late decided that it was a mistake, e.g. The Washington Monthly, etc.

Seriously, people. Unless a very public wave of serious negative attention develops, we are going to be faced with a catastrophe that will make the utter fustercluck in Iraq looks like a minor screw-up. My local Democratic congressman, Tom Lantos, ignored yet another letter pleading for him to be reasonable, but I didn't expect much. He was a leading sponsor of this idiocy in the House of Representatives.

COWARDS! SPINELESS PINHEADS! 97-0 in the Senate. 411-2 in the House.

Let me simplify the message for you: the Congress has, for all practical purposes, now done everything amounting to a Declaration of War against Iran with the sole exception of authorizing the deployment of force— which the President has repeatedly stated for the record he regards as already having been granted. The Bush Administration's protofascist shitfiends are gearing up to launch a major military escalation against Iran, and THE POLICY DEBATE IN CONGRESS IS ALREADY OVER.

Friends, if you want to stop the war and stuff, you gotta sing loud!

Ken's right. If we don't stand up and devote 100% of our attention to shutting down this misbegotten stupidity, we will have no one to blame but ourselves when our lifestyle management strategies completely collapse from the sustainability pressure. You no longer have the luxury of distancing yourselves from the unpleasantry of others on the antiwar side of the ramparts because you find their rhetoric unsavory or you don't like the smell of their box lunches. Save your whining about the disagreements you have with the Marxists and the Libertarians and everybody else until after we STOP THE WAR WITH IRAN. We can return to our erudite intellectual discussions about racism, private capital and, yes, even global warming, when we're done with what really is a higher short-term priority.

Okay? Thanks. Now go spread the word.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

"We're Going To Send Your Fingerprints Off To Washington..."

Whenever I'm feeling particularly washed out and in need of a truly depressing read, I can always count on our friends at Cursor.Org to put me in mind for slitting my own neck with a rusty scalpel. Tonight, I'd like to share my pain with you.

First, consider this delightful news from The Hill:
Ex- convicts and addicts may get DoD clearance

By Elana Schor and Roxana Tiron
July 10, 2007

At the Pentagon’s request, Senate defense authorizers tucked deep within a defense bill a repeal of the department’s restriction on granting security clearances to ex-convicts, drug addicts and the mentally incompetent.


Under the law, members of the military services, employees of the Department of Defense or contractors working for the Pentagon cannot receive a security clearance if they were convicted of a crime in any U.S. court and went to prison for at least one year; if they are unlawful users of illegal substances; if they are considered mentally incompetent or if they were dishonorably discharged or dismissed from the armed forces.

According to the Senate Armed Services Committee report, the Department of Defense requested the provision’s repeal because the mandatory standards “unduly limit the ability of the Department to manage its security clearance program and may create unwarranted hardships for individuals who have rehabilitated themselves as productive and trustworthy citizens.”
Yeeeaaahhhh... suddenly, it's all coming back to me.
...and I put down the pencil, and I turned over the piece of paper, and there, there on the other side, in the middle of the other side, away from everything else on the other side, in parentheses, capital letters, quotated, read the following words:
I'm sure you all know the rest of the words from there.

Oh, but wait. I'm not done with you.

Now that you've had that painful slug lodged into your lower left lung and that awful slurping, wheezing sound of a sucking chest would is telling you that life may not be worth living much longer... go ahead and read this horrible story by Chris Hedges, the author of the excellent War Is A Force That Gives Us Meaning, in The Nation:
Over the past several months The Nation has interviewed fifty combat veterans of the Iraq War from around the United States in an effort to investigate the effects of the four-year-old occupation on average Iraqi civilians. These combat veterans, some of whom bear deep emotional and physical scars, and many of whom have come to oppose the occupation, gave vivid, on-the-record accounts. They described a brutal side of the war rarely seen on television screens or chronicled in newspaper accounts.

Their stories, recorded and typed into thousands of pages of transcripts, reveal disturbing patterns of behavior by American troops in Iraq. Dozens of those interviewed witnessed Iraqi civilians, including children, dying from American firepower. Some participated in such killings; others treated or investigated civilian casualties after the fact. Many also heard such stories, in detail, from members of their unit. The soldiers, sailors and marines emphasized that not all troops took part in indiscriminate killings. Many said that these acts were perpetrated by a minority. But they nevertheless described such acts as common and said they often go unreported--and almost always go unpunished.

Court cases, such as the ones surrounding the massacre in Haditha and the rape and murder of a 14-year-old in Mah mudiya, and news stories in the Washington Post, Time, the London Independent and elsewhere based on Iraqi accounts have begun to hint at the wide extent of the attacks on civilians. Human rights groups have issued reports, such as Human Rights Watch's Hearts and Minds: Post-war Civilian Deaths in Baghdad Caused by U.S. Forces, packed with detailed incidents that suggest that the killing of Iraqi civilians by occupation forces is more common than has been acknowledged by military authorities.

This Nation investigation marks the first time so many on-the-record, named eyewitnesses from within the US military have been assembled in one place to openly corroborate these assertions.
Evidently, we're running out of straight people to coerce into commiting atrocities for us, so now we're rounding up the junkies, crazies, idiots and hardcases. Yay. Please excuse me now, while I go exsanguinate myself into a 5-gallon jerrycan.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Play Ball!

Word comes this morning from disparate sources that there are currently about more than 140,000 Turkish troops massed on the Iraqi border today in an apparent preparation for a cross border incursion to fight the PKK (Kurdish Worker's Party to you and me).

Once again the oracle-like nature of the Mojowire has been exposed. We have been warning against this since day one of our Great American Mercantile Empire experiment, and more recently in the last year as both Turkish and Iranian artillery and special forces units have been engaging the Kurds in Northern Iraq.

It does beg the question of what does the U.S. do when Turkey decides it has had enough of U.S. inaction on Kurdish political agitation and takes matters into its own hands?

I don't know and I'll give odds that no one in D.C. or in CENTCOM's HQ bunker knows, either.

One thing's for sure though... it's gonna be a helluva show!

mojo sends

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Outrage fatigue

Let me get this straight...

Gov. Bush: retarded kid gets convicted of rape and murder on flimsy evidence with equally dysfunctional defense counsel, and who can't understand what's actually happening to him in first place? Yeah... fry 'em, he needed killin'...

Pres. Bush: Public servant in high level sensitive position burns an intelligence network, endangering (possibly costing) lives of operatives and degrading our ability to check the spread of nuclear weapons, all for puerile political hackery? Yeah... 30 months at club fed... the court was too harsh, he needs to walk.

Wish I could say I was surprised. Yeah, I know it was just a "commutation" not a pardon. Which is fine, because Scooter won't be forced to give up a bar card or a $250,000.00 fine until his appeals are done, and he will almost assuredly be pardoned long before those processes have run their course.

You know, when I first read the news yesterday, I could only muster dull shock. I think I am starting to show signs of outrage fatigue. This administration is more corrupt than any in living memory, quite possibly the most mendacious and callow in the history of the United States.

The amount of cognitive dissonance straining the GOP faithful out there in the RedState hinterlands can be measured in Terra Joules, so horrible has this administration been.

It just gets harder and harder to work up the requisite amount of emotional energy to appropriately come over the table at these guys week in and week out, when they show absolutely no sense of reckoning or responsibility themselves.

And while I may feel the need for a breather, I know these guys will not rest until they have completely unmade the Republic and turned it into horrific fun house version of a totalitarian oligarchy masquerading as America.

Living through these years have been like Hunter Thompson trying to come to grips with Circus-Circus on ether. You know you have to suppress your higher brain functions simply just to get by. It makes everything look wrong and sinister, but you know that getting straight in here would somehow make it much worse. Can't find the exit, all you can do is hunker down in the Horse Around bar, sipping a watered down Martini and trying not to draw too much attention.

He was right, it is what the whole hip world would be doing on Saturday nights if the Nazis had won the war. And I can only watch rubes wondering through a crowd of pick pockets, thugs and grifters, plucking them clean and culling out the weak and the young for food, all the while convincing them that it's what they want.

And of course, no one wants to be a sucker, so they shrug and just pretend right along with the rest of the crowd. Of course you have to be on a political equivalent of ether to live through this for any amount of time without resorting to violence.

So Scooter walks? Yeah, that's just item 1,398 on today's glitch list.

Waitress, check please!

mojo sends