Friday, March 09, 2007

We interrupt this dead blog

Newt had an affair. While leading the effort to impeach Bill Clinton. Really, even for a Republican, even for Newt, this represents the Olympian heights of hypocrisy. Is there even a doubt that, had the shoe been on the other foot and had Gingrich been asked under oath about his affair, HE WOULD HAVE LIED HIS ASS OFF?

But now the fun really starts. Now we can watch the entire Conservative community try to rationalize this.

Newt himself does a little two-step: I was bad, yes, but I was doing Good Work. Step one:

"There are times that I have fallen short of my own standards. There's certainly times when I've fallen short of God's standards."
Okay, so you've fallen short, gotcha. We've all done that. Now then, step two:

"I drew a line in my mind that said, 'Even though I run the risk of being deeply embarrassed, and even though at a purely personal level I am not rendering judgment on another human being, as a leader of the government trying to uphold the rule of law, I have no choice except to move forward and say that you cannot accept ... perjury in your highest officials."

Ah, there we go! The Newt Gingrich Sanctimony Two-Step. Yes, I had shortcomings. But hey, I had to do it! In fact, it was a courageous decision to expose myself to personal embarrassment! I had no choice! I had to uphold the rule of law!

How will Conservatives react?

I expect James Dobson and his ilk will probably pronounce Newt's affair to be a "lapse for which he is deeply remorseful," and maybe add that "it's something Newt will have to make right with God, but that's between Newt and God." Something like that. It’s between Newt and God. Move along now, there’s nothing to see here!

Other observers will probably admire in breathless tones Newt's courage in making this forthright admission, in exposing himself to the slings and arrows of the liberal media. My, how brave you are!

Maybe Giuliani will announce that, although he was previously in favor of affairs, he is now opposed to them. My, how electable you are!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

This is no way to run a railroad.

Support the surge! Don't criticize it until it's had a chance to work! A resolution opposing the surge would damage troop morale and embolden The Enemy!

Oh, by the way? You know the really good Humvee armor? The Frag Kit 5 that has been extremely effective against IEDs (even those Iran-provided EFPs)?

Yeah, we don't have enough for everyone. But we should have it to you by summer!
The Army is working to fill a shortfall in Iraq of thousands of advanced Humvee armor kits designed to reduce U.S. troop deaths from roadside bombs -- including a rising threat from particularly lethal weapons linked to Iran and known as "explosively formed penetrators" (EFP) -- that are now inflicting 70 percent of the American casualties in the country, according to U.S. military and civilian officials.
U.S. Army units in Iraq and Afghanistan lack more than 4,000 of the latest Humvee armor kit, known as FRAG Kit 5, according to U.S. officials. The Army has ramped up production of the armor, giving priority to troops in Baghdad, but the upgrade is not scheduled to be completed until this summer, Army officials said.

Monday, February 12, 2007

More on Iran

I started to comment on Cuznate's post below, but it was getting long-winded (surprise!) so I just decided to post.

Not only is Iran allegedly supplying arms to the Mahdi Army, but also to the rival group SCIRI, which is (nominally) an ally of the Iraqi government and the US.

And not only is there evidence of Iran supplying arms to the Shiites, there is evidence to suggest that the Saudis are doing likewise for the Sunnis. So yay! A good old-fashioned proxy war.

In re the specific allegations about Iran supplying EFPs to the Shiites, I think Josh Marshall had a good take on it. He asks three questions:
1) Would it tell us anything we don't already know about the clerical regime in Iran? 2) Is the volume of arms sales a necessary or sufficient cause of our predicament in Iraq? and 3) Would successful aggressive action against Iran materially improve our current situation in Iraq?
And his answers are (I'm paraphrasing): 1) No, we already know they're hostile to us, they have a vested interest in what happens in Iraq, so it should come as no surprise at all. 2) No. These munitions, while deadly and a grave threat, comprise only a small portion of the threat, and they are hardly the *cause* of the problem, but more of a symptom. And 3) (again I paraphrase, while channelling Don Rumsfeld) good grief, no. Even if we were able to take successful action to interdict the flow of arms from Iran to the Shiites, it would not even make a dent in the source of the matter.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

I love America, but apparently I wasn't sent the blinders

Let me start by saying that I really, truly love my country. I actually do tear up at patriotic events and have (thanks to Ish) sent care packages to the troops in Iraq. I'm not joking about this, in the core of my soul I love my country. It is a really important part of my self-identity. Like many, I lost two aquaintances on 9/11 (I won't be presumptious to call them friends, although one was a sports teammate of mine in college), and if I was put in a situation where it was needed, I do honestly believe that I would lay down my life for my fellow citizens, and I'm in no way being tounge in cheek about that. And I do not expect that very many people who read this feel differently.

The reason I say all this is because I think alot of people (ok, not the three people who read this blog, but others may) would really not like what I'm about to say.

Holy motherfucking shit, the United States foreign policy is traipsing into hypocricy grounds that is so unbelievably mind-numbing that it makes me cry, literally (I literally cried listening to the news in my car this evening).

So the U.S. has found that Iranian arms may well be part of insurgent attacks on U.S. troops. Assuming this is true, not because I trust U.S. intelligence, but because it meets the logic test, I am shocked and dismayed. I am NOT shocked and dismayed at Iran, even though I am a critic of Iran and their foriegn policy. I am shocked and dismayed at the American government (all branches), the American media and the American ethos in general (painting with a unwarranted broad brush here).

Here's the deal. We, a country from thousands of miles away, invaded a soveriegn nation that borders Iran four years ago. We wrecked shop and did a terrible job trying to create stability. The country is in danger of falling into complete sectarian catastrophe, perhaps it already is. And Iran, a nation that borders that country and for whom Iraq presents the most critical security risk in the world (see: Iran-Iraq war) has not been asked to the table or even saliently spoken to about Iraq by the power that be (U.S.). Furthermore, amid nuclear sabre rattling the U.S. has, all while not extending any diplomatic hands, has moved military assetts to within striking distance.

And so several years later we start to find evidence that perhaps Iran is using some of it's secret paramilitary forces and itelligence apparatus to arm and/or fund some element in Iraq to its advantage. I'm not in favor of this, because I'm on our side, not Iran's. But holy motherfucking crap, how in the world can we look at this, like the media reports seem to to date, as a development that is about Iran "meddling" or "interfering" in Iraq. I don't want them to do it, make no mistake, I want them to stay out of our way and let us do whatever it is we're trying to do in Iraq (which is a whole other debate). But I heard a quote today from Lieberman (and this isn't to bag on him, I still like him sort of) which said something like "if this it true, Iran is being very aggressive in Iraq." Hmmmmm....aggressive, would that be like invading them?

What bothers me about this isn't the negative feeling toward Iran, I get that. It's the bizarre moralistic theme that somehow if Iran is arming or funding elements of the civil war in Iraq that it's a massive breach of global protocol. That they're evil for doing so. That it proves they are the real enemy.

That line of logic is tantamount to blaming the victim of a crime. And I'm not happy that Iran can be seen as a victim. But I'm sorry, it's true. We invaded their neighbor and the most important element of their context in the global political scene. And for four years, as things went to shit, we refused to even try to engage them in being part of the solution. If someone invaded Mexico, you bet damn well we'd be doing something, if not overt than damn well covertly supporting whatever elements we could to support our interests. Sort of like we supported Sadaam Hussein against Iran in the 80s, but apparently, that's an element of it that's beside the point.

Because the point is this - every country, not just ours, can be expected to aggressively pursue it's national security. While sometimes we might not like the outcome of that pursuit, to characterize it as evil or even surprising shows a depressing lack of understanding of the world. This is the classic argument of why you engage with countries instead of isolate them.

So we're left with Iran being an overt military rival. Which didn't have to happen, but it did because of our military and political policy, as "bad" as they might be. That's what its come to, we're facing a military confrontation with Iran that came about because of policies we started, but which will be characterized as them being at fault by just about everyone.

Seriously, I hope that people think about this. The implication is that we're allowed to invade a country and all of their neighbors are obligated to sit on the sidelines, no matter how dire the outcome is to their national secuirty, because it's us. And we're better than them.

As much as I love my country, it makes me weep that we have become so callous, myopic and just plain self-denialist when it comes to our foreign policy. Because strength doesn't come from stupidity or self denial, it comes from having a clear understanding of what's going on, making wise decision, and then backing them up with unwavering force. But if you don't start with the clear understanding, the unwavering force just don't work so well.

Rant over.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007


Remember Reverend Ted Haggard? Well, good news! He's been cured of his homosexuality.

''He is completely heterosexual," said Tim Ralph, one of the ministers who oversaw his stoning rehab. "That is something he discovered. It was the acting-out situations where things took place. It wasn't a constant thing.''

Ah, I get it! He had a case of situational homosexuality. He only "acted out" in certain situations.

"It's like an open wound," according to Mike Ware, another of Haggard's exorcists counselors. "He needs to get somewhere he can get the wound healed.''

I wonder if that's covered by his healthcare plan...

(h/t Josh Marshall)

Thursday, February 01, 2007


(Not affiliated with Blogher.)

I've recently posted a couple new things on my fake news blog, Not Real News. If you like that kind of thing, have a look. If not, no bigs.

Casey Thinks Nomination Hearings Going "Extremely Well"

Iran Provokes Confrontation with US in Gulf of Tonkin


Nope, nothing wrong with *this* economy!

Two newsy tidbits this morning:

1) Exxon announced annual profits of $39.5 billion, the largest ever by an American corporation. Ever.

2) According to a Department of Commerce report, the personal savings rate in the US last year was negative 1%, the lowest rate since 1933. The US savings rate has been negative for an entire year only four times – in 2006 and 2005, and in 1932 and 1933.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Apparently the White House has hired a new pastry chef, William Yosses. Yosses has a distinguished pedigree, having worked with some of the hottest chefs around, such as Daniel Boulud and Thomas Keller.

But Yosses has another claim to fame: he is also the co-author of Dessert for Dummies. (h/t Chris Weigant at HuffPo)

I think it sounds like a wonderful hire. Now then: can we see about hiring the authors of "Desert for Dummies?" Oh. I guess we tried that.