Saturday, July 19, 2008

Property Is Theft

And it's almost always worth stealing something from The Divine Mr. M. Today we found the city of the future, here & now, built on the backs of virtual slave laborers (No, we do not mean some digitized avatar, ignorant children of today! We're talking physical labor w/ your hands, etc.) from south Asia, the Philippines, Indonesia & wherever else they can find them. Very Blade Runner. Probably won't be too long before Americans who can use a rivet gun will be there slaving away w/ the rest of them.

It is a nice shot, though, and apparently taken from another bldg., probably the soon-to-be world's tallest, which is doubtless being erected as we type.

You might want to click to Mr. M's site, as he cropped it rather well, & it's bigger; the above version is from the original flickr™ spot.

Just Wondering

Below: A sad collection of aging Caucasian males get together to decide the fate of the Persian Gulf/Middle East area. Good luck, brain-dead, necktie-wearing conformist wretches! Photo: Denis Balibouse/AP.
Will official United Snakes reaction to Nouri al-Maliki's "Yankee Go Home!" pronouncement

Asked when U.S. forces would leave Iraq, he responded, "As soon as possible, as far as we're concerned."
be anything like the U. S. response to Iran?

"We hope the Iranian people understand that their leaders need to make a choice between cooperation, which would bring benefits to all, and confrontation, which can only lead to further isolation," State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said in a statement after talks in Geneva between Iran and the European Union as well as a U.S. envoy.
We can only hope that Americans understand the same about our leaders, especially as we are alleged to have an actual choice in the election of said leaders, unlike Iran, where a council of religious douchebags decide who will be allowed to run for office &...What? Corporate & media interests, yes...Two parties, & not a State Quarter's difference between the two...(Value of party difference inflated since George Wallace's time.)...Generally foolish & ignorant electorate, umm-hmm...You're right, forget we said anything. We're screwed too. Like, totally, man.

Your Tax Dollars At Play

Below: Marine One (left) w/ Dork One aboard, overflies a fire-fighting tanker in Redding, CA 17 July 2008. White House photo by Eric Draper.
Per the AP, the White House helo fleet will need 28 (?!) choppers to ferry around whichever corporate tool is president, an increase of 9 from the current 19.

The leather tuck'n'roll jobs for these birds must not be done on the cheap in TJ.
At $400 million apiece, the helicopters far exceed a prime example McCain uses on the campaign trail to rail against congressional pork-barrel spending, a $230 million "bridge to nowhere" in Alaska. The British have bought the same base model helicopter for $57 million each.
$343 million per for "amenities?" Yikes!! In true defense procurement style, the price of the new fleet has almost doubled, just in the three yrs. since the contract was awarded.
Originally carrying a hefty price tag at $6.1 billion, the fleet of 28 helicopters being built to fly the next president is now projected to cost $11.2 billion.
As The Editor here is of one-quarter wop-a-dago descent, the following ethnic insult is approved by the Just Another Blog™ Ethnic Insult Committee. The helicopters are not even American-made, but come from an Italian firm, via an "American" defense giant. Does the phrase "Fix It Again, Tony (as in 'FIAT')" come to mind?
In 2005, the Pentagon awarded the contract, itself a subject of controversy. Connecticut-based Sikorsky Aircraft, which had always supplied helicopters for the president, was beaten in the bidding process by Lockheed Martin. The Maryland-based firm proposed a variation of a European helicopter built by Agusta-Westland.

[...]

Congress and the Pentagon are already reviewing the program to determine how to cope with the contract growth. In an audit, the Government Accountability Office has also raised concerns about the helicopter's weight and its new rotor system.
This provided another opportunity for Sen. McCain to flip his flop, apparently in mid-sentence.
McCain labeled the contract growth a "scandal" before asking to revise his assessment "in a more polite way." He said the program is part of "an out-of-control procurement system that has to be fixed."
Give you a good idea of the presumed Republican nominee's judgement? Crap on a crutch. Do we need this kind of off-the-cuff foolishness in foreign policy statements?

If anyone gives a flying whatever at a rolling you name it about our most recent encounter w/ Marine One, you may increase your boredom quotient here.

Friday, July 18, 2008

That About Which We Could Not Possibly Care Any Fucking Less

Netroots Nation. The firm & official policy of Just Another Blog (From L. A.)™ is anti-nationalist. Also, these people are like a high school clique (Did they invite us? No.) & are merely liberal Democrats in "progressive" clothing. We'd like to see one of them try to destroy capitalism, or even assassinate a businessman or a right wing figure. Hmpf.

NYT News Wrap-Up

They wrap it up, we take it out to the cans on the street for all to see. (Or recycle.) Annals of Nihilism
Israel will almost surely attack Iran’s nuclear sites in the next four to seven months — and the leaders in Washington and even Tehran should hope that the attack will be successful enough to cause at least a significant delay in the Iranian production schedule, if not complete destruction, of that country’s nuclear program. Because if the attack fails, the Middle East will almost certainly face a nuclear war — either through a subsequent pre-emptive Israeli nuclear strike or a nuclear exchange shortly after Iran gets the bomb.
The author sees only one problem w/ this.
The problem is that Israel’s military capacities are far smaller than America’s and, given the distances involved, the fact that the Iranian sites are widely dispersed and underground, and Israel’s inadequate intelligence, it is unlikely that the Israeli conventional forces, even if allowed the use of Jordanian and Iraqi airspace (and perhaps, pending American approval, even Iraqi air strips) can destroy or perhaps significantly delay the Iranian nuclear project.
We're glad that it only takes American approval for bases in the sovereign democratic nation of Iraq to be used by Israel. We've really shown them about democracy. Mr. Positive concludes:
Thus an Israeli nuclear strike to prevent the Iranians from taking the final steps toward getting the bomb is probable. The alternative is letting Tehran have its bomb. In either case, a Middle Eastern nuclear holocaust would be in the cards.
We think he really wants the United Snakes to do Israel's work for them, since the IDF may not be able to reduce as much of Iran as necessary to rubble, while he's sure the U. S. can handle the job. The Contract on America We're not so sure that can be done, as there may not be any American forces left to attack anyone, what w/ their being electrocuted left & right by shoddy KBR work.
And while the Pentagon has previously reported that 13 Americans have been electrocuted in Iraq, many more have been injured, some seriously, by shocks, according to the documents. A log compiled earlier this year at one building complex in Baghdad disclosed that soldiers complained of receiving electrical shocks in their living quarters on an almost daily basis. Electrical problems were the most urgent noncombat safety hazard for soldiers in Iraq, according to an Army survey issued in February 2007. It noted “a safety threat theaterwide created by the poor-quality electrical fixtures procured and installed, sometimes incorrectly, thus resulting in a significant number of fires.” The Army report said KBR, the Houston-based company that is responsible for providing basic services for American troops in Iraq, including housing, did its own study and found a “systemic problem” with electrical work.
Whatever happened to the Army Corps of Engineers? Or to combat engineers, who could build bridges (that worked) under enemy fire? What happened to the "Greatest Generation," who did the job w/o expecting a no-bid contract based on campaign contributions to the Republican Party? Just when did it become necessary that the defense of This Great Nation Of Ours™ turn a huge profit for everyone except those doing the fighting? (Who will, of course, if they return at all, after a few more tours in Afghanistan, get further screwed by the underfunded VA on return to our shores.)

Not Approved by The FCC

Were this the radio, a personal message of this nature would be against FCC regulations. But it's merely the Internet, so all is well. The woman who posted a comment last evening around 2210 is cordially invited to respond at our e-mail address, as well as read our response to her comment. Now that we see you're local, & why you were looking here in the first place, we can assure you that we're interested in that sort of thing as well. And we do look like our cartoon image on the right there, 'cept a bit older, perhaps. But you probably want a father figure anyway, don't you?

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Credit Where Credit Is Due

We'll just use the tired cliche that a stopped clock is correct twice a day, w/ the caveat that in our digital age a stopped clock is often blinking "12:00" or showing how much time has elapsed since power was restored, to note that one of the many women we constantly revile here (let alone there – it's 'cause we expect better of them, sexist weasel that we are) Megan McArdle, has located an item that pretty well covers/uncovers the truth about terrorism. (Alright, not all of the truth about terrorism, but the truth about how it may actually affect us here in the United Snakes. That is, the terrorism perpetrated by Islamo-fascist & Amero-wackjob terrorists, not U. S. Gov't.-sponsored terrorism.) Click here for a link to the full report, should you not want to increase Megan's alleged readership. Here are the hot parts:
The premises: 1. The number of potential terrorist targets is essentially infinite. 2. The probability that any individual target will be attacked is essentially zero. 3. If one potential target happens to enjoy a degree of protection, the agile terrorist usually can readily move on to another one. 4. Most targets are "vulnerable" in that it is not very difficult to damage them, but invulnerable in that they can be rebuilt in fairly short order and at tolerable expense. 5. It is essentially impossible to make a very wide variety of potential terrorist targets invulnerable except by completely closing them down. The policy implications: 1. Any protective policy should be compared to a "null case": do nothing, and use the money saved to rebuild and to compensate any victims. 2. Abandon any effort to imagine a terrorist target list. 3. Consider negative effects of protection measures: not only direct cost, but inconvenience, enhancement of fear, negative economic impacts, reduction of liberties. 4. Consider the opportunity costs, the tradeoffs, of protection measures.
Remember when Yankee pig-dogs were considered common-sense pragmatists, not scared little babies who want mommy to keep them from dying? Talk about your "nanny-state."

There Will Be More Wars, My Friends

Rosa Brooks' column in the regional (soon to be missed, a little) cage liner is yet another "pick on Bush & McCain" screed, implying that neither one has kept their eyes on the Afghan ball. Really? The most frightening part follows.
At best, we'll withdraw most of our troops from Iraq within two years and redeploy many in Afghanistan, but that would still be a far cry from the 400,000 troops the outgoing commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan thinks are really needed. (Bye-bye, Iraq quagmire, hello, Afghanistan quagmire!) At worst, we'll need to maintain a massive troop presence in two countries at once (All Quagmire, All the Time). And no U.S. military strategy will succeed if it's not accompanied by a regional political and diplomatic strategy: Stabilizing Afghanistan is inextricably linked to diffusing Pakistan's political crises as well. Doing this adequately will take resources and patient, sustained attention.
In other words, the United Snakes is screwed, whether Sen. McCain cheats his way into office or the wishes of the people, as opposed to those of the Electoral College (or Stupreme Court) are honored & Sen. Obama takes office. As mentioned just yesterday, trouble is up in the 'Stan, along w/ the death toll. A re-run of the late '80s & early '90s may be about to occur, w/ a slight difference: The U. S. of A., already in an economic meltdown, gets itself bogged down in Afghanistan. (Note this well: Once America is perceived as losing, the paid-to-fight warlords will be knocking each other over to be first to get back in the good graces of the Taliban.) Russia (formerly the Soviet Union, still a bunch of fascist mystics) enriched by a sudden jump in oil & gas prices, may just decide to "help" the Taliban/AQ forces. And the U. S. may collapse under the weight of 400,000 quagmired troops (Of course, it will take five yrs. or so for all the forces needed to get there, once someone realizes we're underpersoned to begin w/. One thing America doesn't do is learn from history, even last wk.'s.) just as the Soviet Union eventually did. Couldn't happen to a nicer, or more deserving empire.

A Peep Into The Mind of O'Reilly

We don't give a rat's patoot about who said "Nigger, nigger, nigger." But there is something interesting in Bill O'Reilly's statement.
On Wednesday, O'Reilly said he had withheld the N-word remark because "I'm not in the business of creating some kind of controversy that's not relevant to the general subject -- one civil rights leader disparaging another over policy. As for how the N-word comment got out, O'Reilly said "some weasel leaked it to the Internet."
You got it. To Mr. O'Reilly, Sen. Obama is not the presumptive presidential candidate of the majority party. He's "another civil rights leader." Which should make Sen. McCain an ex-POW involved in banking fraud. And wasn't it probably a "Fox," rather than a "weasel," who leaked it? P. S.: Should the Times be capitalizing the "n" in "N-word?" What's the style book say?

Annals of Homelessness (Or "Being Unhoused." It's More "PC")

Someone who claimed to want to "help the homeless" (If it weren't alliterative, would they even care?) suffered & died. Madeline Stoner, "an expert on homelessness [who] advised policymakers on how to prevent it" (Nice job you've done so far, Toots.) among other liberal do-gooder crap, "spent a recent sabbatical as director of social services for SRO Housing Corp., a nonprofit group that develops housing on Los Angeles' skid row." That's right, keep the fucking homeless people down on skid row where they belong. Those not blessed w/ enough money or insurance (we're joking there, we know that insurance never pays enough) to have their mental illness taken care of, who end up self-medicating w/ alcohol & other drugs not approved of by society on skid row should just stay the fuck down there, surrounded by the rest of life's losers. Gawd forbid some limousine liberal who donates guilt money to such organizations should have to look at someone whose hair isn't combed or something. "Black Widows" Get Two Life Sentences Each Also from the world of the unhoused, the two old con artists who moved up to murdering homeless men for insurance money were sentenced late Tues. A bit of justice is done. Not much, really, but some.

Speaking Ill of The Dead

Bill Buckley's sister Patricia, mother of L. Brent Bozell III, among a litany of other offenses against human decency, followed her brother to the hell where he & Francisco Franco, among millions of others, are being tortured at this very moment (if the concept of time applies at all to the theological place of eternal damnation).
Mrs. Bozell was born into a Catholic family whose fortune originated in Central and South American oil fields. [...] With James R. Whelan, she was the co-author of "Catastrophe in the Caribbean: The Failure of America's Human Rights Policy in Central America" (1984).
Oh, you can just bet your sweet ass that someone whose Catholic family fortune came from stealing the natural resources of South & Central America had a sincere interest in "human rights" for the indigenous peoples of the area. One other notable event in the old bat's life was her attempted use of violence against one exercising her right to free speech.
Mrs. Bozell was less public than many in her family, but in March 1971 she attracted press attention with an attempted physical confrontation with radical feminist Ti-Grace Atkinson at a Catholic University forum. Before an audience of 800, Atkinson said the Virgin Mary was more "used" than if she had participated in a sexual conception.

"I can't let her say that," Mrs. Bozell yelled, as she ran toward Atkinson and tried to slap her. Her hand struck a microphone.

Afterward, Mrs. Bozell told The Washington Post: "If it comes down to violence for social protest, I do believe in it if there's adequate provocation. I went in there, heard blasphemy and acted."

There may indeed be a gawd, if Patty couldn't even whack Ti-Grace but hit a mic instead. Hope it hurt. And while we here at Just Another Blog™ do our best to offend anyone w/ religious sensibilities, we're not sure if "blasphemy" can even be committed by someone who's not a member of the offended religious institution. In other words, self-righteous jerks, why not let your gawd punish or slap the "offender" in your hoped-for afterlife, rather than attempting to take your gawd's justice into your own filthy original sin-stained hands?

She married L. Brent Bozell Jr., a National Review editor with whom she launched Triumph in 1966. The magazine lasted nearly a decade and, as the second-in-command editor, Mrs. Bozell helped shape its voice against legalized abortion and in favor of the traditional church in response to Vatican II reforms.

Among her 10 children was L. Brent Bozell III, who began the conservative Media Research Center watchdog group.

Ah yes, the "traditional" church. And we'll note on the way out the originality of name-giving among these clowns. Of course, when you're ruining the planet by over-populating it w/brain-dead drones, you must run out of names pretty quickly.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Meanwhile, in Afghanistan

Below: Afghan & U. S. troops in the province of Nuristan, 4 May 2007. Photo for illustrative purposes only. It's in the same province, at least. Credit: SSgt. Isaac A. Graham, U. S. Army
We mentioned Christopher Hitchens' insistence that there's a "battlefield" on which American victory is possible in Iraq. And mentioned that it's an occupation, not a war, & that there's no "battlefield" on which to declare victory (or "Mission Accomplished") just counterinsurgency, roadside ambushes, & the like.

Afghanistan (not the "central front in the war on terror," though perhaps it should be) is quite another story. Although some Iraqi/Palestinian style tactics have been adopted by Talibanis (suicide bombings not really part of the action there before the subjugation of Iraq, even during the Soviet occupation) there is definitely a battlefield there. Afghanistan is one of the few nations in all of Afrika & Asia that's never been successfully colonized by Euro-imperialists, & they didn't keep the Anglos & Slavs out by guerrilla tactics alone. They fought the old fashioned way, standing up & shooting. Granted, the terrain is ultra rugged, the locals know it like the backs of their hands, supplying invaders is difficult, & there've been plenty of ambushes & trickery.

Today, even w/ logistics not as difficult as in previous centuries thanks to the Wright Bros. & Sikorsky, things still aren't going as well as hoped. Here's the follow-up to the "Nine Americans Killed in Attack on Afghan Base" story you may have heard Monday.

Omar Sami, spokesman for the Nuristan provincial governor, said American and Afghan soldiers left the base Tuesday.

[...]

U.S. troops abandoned a remote outpost in eastern Afghanistan where militants killed nine of their comrades this week, officials said Wednesday, in another sign of the struggle facing foreign and Afghan security forces strung out along the mountainous border.

[...]

The violence is another indication of the growing strength of the Taliban-led insurgency, especially in Afghanistan's east, where the outpost near the village of Wanat was breached by militants on Sunday. Nine Americans were killed in the deadliest incident for U.S. forces in three years.

On Tuesday, the insurgents drove out the handful of police left behind to defend government offices in the village, but 50 more officers were deployed Wednesday and soon regained control, senior provincial police official Ghoolam Farouq said.
Yep, the surge worked (Not! And it took Brainiac Bush about five yrs. to figure out how many troops should have been there originally.) but despite Hitch's statement

I dare say the word of that [his imaginary "battlefield defeat"] would have spread to Afghanistan fast enough and, indeed, to other places where the enemy operates. Bear this in mind next time you hear any easy talk about "the hunt for the real enemy" or any loose babble that suggests that we can only confront our foes in one place at a time

the "insolent" (his word) Afghans have continued to attack, & apparently w/ some effect.

Elsewhere in the frontier region, NATO launched artillery and helicopter strikes in Pakistan after coming under insurgent rocket fire, officials said.

[...]

The retreat from the eastern outpost will be considered a victory by the insurgents, and comes after a spate of security setbacks for President Hamid Karzai's government, including a spectacular Taliban jail break in the southern Kandahar province in June that freed about 900 inmates, and a spike in attacks alongside the border with Pakistan.

In response, Karzai has stepped up his rhetoric against neighboring Pakistan, whose lawless tribal areas adjacent to Afghanistan serve as sanctuaries for al-Qaida and other militants.

Karzai blames the attacks — including suicide bombings and cross-border raids — on Pakistan's intelligence service, alleging they are behind the insurgency in Afghanistan. Pakistan denies the charge saying Karzai is trying to create "an artificial crisis" to deflect attention from his own failings.

The accusations have pitched relations between these key U.S. allies to their lowest point since [the] U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in 2001.

The security experts here at Just Another Blog™ are not worried that United Snakes forces will actually do anything about Pakistani aid & comfort to the "insurgent forces," as they point out that Pakistan has nuclear weapons, & therefore the paper tiger Americans will not dare make any serious moves, but will continue artillery strikes & aerial bombardment from safety, like the cowards they are.

If any one was worried that U. S. forces would be taking on Pakistan as well as Iran before Election or Inauguration Day, relax. However, our security staff does fear that in exchange for Bush taking more mangos off their hands, the Indian gov't. may be persuaded to jump ugly w/ the Pakistani intelligence services.

The White House has now revealed the full extent of the historic agreement reached with India.

In return for American help with its civilian nuclear programme, India will export mangos to the US.

So that is uranium and plutonium for India and exotic fruits for America.

Of course, I am mischievously conflating two separate agreements, but it is not hard to see how the Indians feel they have got the better part of the bargain.
Please excuse the mischievous conflation. We're working on reducing it. Step One: Admit you have a problem.

Faith-Based Economy Not So Faithful

Peter G. Gosselin, who's rec'd. mention in this collection of electrons twice recently, appears in today's L. A. Times noting that 'Murkins may not be buying the Reaganite codswallop of unfettered free markets being the best of all possible ways to ensure that people who work for a living have enough money w/ which to live, & maybe even get ahead, or at least see their offspring do better than they did.
There may be a backlash against markets at the moment," acknowledged Kevin A. Hassett, economic studies director at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington and an advisor to presumed Republican presidential nominee John McCain. "But the backlash doesn't seem to be informed by any alternative view of how the world works."
Doublespeak or triplespeak? "Informed by," is a phrase that always makes us chuckle. And just what "alternative view" of how the "world works" does this AEI clown expect? As far as we know here, the world rotates on an axis tilted 23° from the plane of the ecliptic, while revolving around the sun in an elliptical orbit. Not to mention lunar effects on our little cosmic golfball. Maybe Mr. McCain Advisor is suggesting that there's no way other than the glories of the free market for the house of financial cards to work to the advantage of AEI's funders, but we challenge him to show us any place on the face of this soon to be hotter globe where the unfettered forces of entrepreneurial, "risk-taking" greed have functioned well. Besides the amazing success stories of Russia & China, of course. People in the middle of the road are reminded that their chances of being run over are doubled by standing in the middle of the road.
"Nobody in this country really believes in unfettered free markets, and nobody really believes in socialism," said UC Davis historian Eric Rauchway, but economic crises of the past have produced constituencies favoring the reining in of markets and regulation of the economy -- constituencies that ultimately grew large enough to produce change.
Yes, we mean you, Historian Rauchway. Get to one shoulder or the other.
Americans entered the new century convinced that "we had a new economy built on services and information technology that would let us win globally," said Harvard economist Robert Z. Lawrence." The whole premise of globalization in the year 2000 was that it worked well for us and the other developed countries but that the developing countries would need help," Lawrence said. Today, virtually all those optimistic assumptions have been turned on their heads. "We've seen unprecedented growth in the developing countries, while the developed countries are being led into a slowdown by the United States," Lawrence said. "We've found out that instead of services and information technology, it's all about oil and other commodities" that are not the nation's strong suit.
Services & infotech. Waiting tables (soon to be outsourced to robots controlled by night-shift workers in Bukina Faso) & crummy movies & crappy music for 'tweens, that are free to all once the first peer-to-peer sharer buys one copy & puts it up on the web. Why have we paid any attention to any of the experts?
An investor who put a dollar in a broad market index fund early in this decade not only would have made no money by today but would have lost a little of his initial amount. That's a far cry from the 1990s, when people told pollsters that they expected to make 15% annual gains indefinitely.
Golly, it's just too damn bad we couldn't get all the Social Security money in the markets sooner, isn't it? H. Ross Perot's "giant sucking sound" is more of a swirling sound, as our excessive way of life flushes down the toilet.

One of The Popular Kids, At Last!

Another nice review, though perhaps based on the personal wonderfulness of the Editorial Staff here, & the common plight of staffs here & there. Thanks!!

Further Recession On the Ecomonic Front

Continuing from the item immediately below, we refer to USA Today for a change, so our wonderful readers may look at pictures & graphs instead of hurting their minds w/ cumbersome words.
David J. Lynch, USA TODAY
So this is what a day of reckoning feels like.

Already down 23% from its October high, the Dow Jones industrial average touches a two-year low. The Labor Department says wholesale prices are rising at their fastest pace since Ronald Reagan's first year in the White House. Embattled automaker and American icon General Motors suspends its dividend to stockholders. The last time that happened? 1922.

[...]

If it wasn't clear before Tuesday, it is now: This is no ordinary economic crisis, and it won't be over anytime soon. In fact, problems are multiplying. A year ago, the financial virus seemed confined to subprime mortgages, loans given to those with less-than-perfect credit. Now, much of the banking system appears rickety, and the U.S. economy has slowed to a crawl. But thanks to robust demand from still-growing countries such as China, the prices of commodities from oil to food have soared — hitting Americans from the gas pump to the grocery checkout.

"There's no hope of an early recovery at this point," says economist Kenneth Rogoff of Harvard University. "The best-case scenario is we have a long but mild recession — and that's the best-case scenario."

Worst-case scenario: long, painful death from starvation or from a medical condition that can't be treated w/o money.

The Ninny-in-Chief attempted to, as used to be said, "jawbone" the whole mess. As usual, he appears not to have a clue.

A day after reports of losses by regional banks, causing some depositors to pull their money out, Mr. Bush held an unscheduled news conference at which he felt compelled to remind Americans that their deposits were insured up to $100,000.

“My hope is that people take a deep breath and realize that their deposits are protected by our government,” the president said. He added that economic growth “was not the growth we’d like” but expressed confidence that the country would overcome “a time of uncertainty.” The nation’s troubled financial system is “basically sound,” he added.

[...]

But concerns that consumer banking could succumb to the ills of the credit crisis clearly rattled official Washington, as Mr. Bush’s citation of the federal government’s insurance of bank deposits made clear.

“The bottom line is this: We’re going through a tough time,” Mr. Bush said. “But our economy’s continued growing, consumers are spending, businesses are investing, exports continue increasing and American productivity remains strong.”

[...]

Mr. Bush, at his news conference, also sought to demonstrate that he understood the hardships of Americans. “It’s been a difficult time for many American families who are coping with declining housing values and high gasoline prices.”

When asked about his statement in February that he had not heard forecasts that gasoline prices could reach $4 a gallon, Mr. Bush interrupted and replied, “Aware of it now.”

Mr. GrammBush ended his unscheduled presser by advising Americans not to whine like spoiled little titty babies, but instead to work harder, so their owners would have more money to invest in overseas jobs & facilities in order to "really get this economy rolling again."

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Depression's Got A Hold On Me

Get the apple carts ready, & watch for falling stockbrokers in downtown areas.

An Editorial Cartoon Is Worth 1,000 Words, You Irony-Challenged Literalists

Don't know what's w/ all the fucking horsecrap about this wk.'s New Yorker cover. (Maybe irony isn't dead yet, but it's no wonder satire closes on Sat. night; Americans are too GDF stupid to comprehend it.) In the interest of equal time:(Oddly enough, this one seems true to life, as opposed to the New Yorker cover. Hmmm...)

A tip of the Bouffant chapeau to David Horsey, of the Seattle P-I.

FREE SADIE MAE GLUTZ!! HELTER SKELTER!!

Below: S. M. Glutz & C. Manson face the oppressive nature of AmeriKKKan society, 13 October 1970. AP File Photo.
Purely on a glibertarian basis:
Her doctors and officials at the women's prison in Corona made the request in March because of her deteriorating health. Atkins also has had her left leg amputated and is paralyzed on her right side, her husband and attorney, James Whitehouse, told a parole hearing.

Whitehouse had argued that his wife was so debilitated that she could not even sit up in bed and told the parole board there was no longer a reason to keep her incarcerated.
Doesn't seem too likely she'll be stabbing any more pregnant starlets to death in a vain attempt to start a race war, nonetheless

Corrections Department spokeswoman Terry Thornton said Atkins' medical treatment and paying for prison guards to watch over her has cost state taxpayers more than $1.4 million since March.

The corrections department no longer would pay for Atkins' medical care or be required to guard her around the clock if she is released to her husband.

It's the principle of the thing. 'Oh, the victims' families!! Oh, what kind of message will this send? Oh, we can't spend any more money on schools or fighting wildfires. We have to keep threats to society locked up!! Oh, oh."

Reasoned Discourse

Because, of course, Democrats controlled the executive branch on 11 Sept. 2001.

P. S.: Please don't encourage this sort of thing by visiting the address at the bottom of the billboard.

That About Which We Could Not Possibly Care Any Fucking Less

Spam that offers watches, real Rolexes or fake. We're more likely to buy fake "Vaguruh" or "Xiaxaliz" (i. e., NFW, ever) than a bogus Rolex. Besides, don't people just work their mobile phones out of their holsters, purses, man-purses or pockets (in a pointless return to the days of the pocket watch) to check the time in these modern days?

Stupid or Ignorant? How Can One Decide?

We don't get Christopher Hitchens. He has the common sense to be an atheist, & the intestinal fortitude to present that view to the world, in an effort to speak truth to power, or make someone wise up, or something, yet he seems to think that it's important to defend "Judeo-Xtian" society/civilization from those who would marry their first cousins, as if a mess of camel jockeys present that "existential" threat to our civilization Hitch seems to be quivering about. Most of us are thinking that it's probably a better idea to fight against the obscurantists we have right here in the United Snakes & Canada, rather than throw our resources down a rathole on the other side of the world fighting people who prefer to wear their diapers at the wrong end of their bodies. Yet his latest throwaway in the innertubes' Pennysaver very own magazine, Slate, puts him precisely on the side of Generalissimos Bush & Cheney. Really, Hitch, you can see through six thousand yrs. of Judeo-Xtian myth & legend, but you're not astute enough to make a thirty-second examination of neo-conservative myth & legend as spun to us by the bloody handed warmongers? He offers a minimum of points to indicate why we should have invaded & occupied Iraq. First, that
Many of the al-Qaida forces—most notably the horrific but now deceased Abu Musab al-Zarqawi—made their way to Iraq in the first place only after being forcibly evicted from Afghanistan. Thus, if one did not want to be confronting Bin Laden fans in Mesopotamia, it was surely a mistake to invade Afghanistan rather than Iraq.
Click on the link provided by Slate itself in the above paragraph, & try to decide where al-Zarqawi was before appearing in Iraq. We could add that we heard absolutely zip from the Bush-Cheney myth machine about an infestation of jihadis in Iraq in those 18 mos. between the assault on Afghanistan (Oct. 2001) & the attack on Iraq (Mar. 2003). Wonder where Sahib Hitchens got this idea. Parenthetical aside: Had Bush, after the infamous "OK, you've covered your ass"/"Bin Laden Determined to Attack in U. S." Presidential Daily Briefing of 6 August 2001, had the fucking brains to call the SecDef & JCS & advise them to locate Bin Laden & get a JSOPS group ready to take out or capture Osama the moment anything else suspicious happened, OBL might be dead or imprisoned at this very moment, as well as thousands (if there were that many) of other Mad Muslim Mofos, who would not have gotten to Iraq or anywhere else. If U. S. intelligence & military forces had been warned or ready, 11 Sept. 2001 might never have happened, & at worst the attack on Afghanistan would have taken place on 12 or 13 Sept. 2001 (depending on the Int'l. Date Line & whatnot) instead of the month we gave Bin Laden & his boys during which to hide out really well. Reason 2:
Indeed, the commander of the anti-Taliban forces is usually not even an American. Yet it is in these circumstances that more American casualties—and not just American ones—are being experienced than are being suffered in Iraq. If this is so, the reason cannot simply be that our resources are being deployed elsewhere.
Not really understanding this one either, Mr. Hitchens. Do you have a less simple reason? No? Well, if resources are being deployed elsewhere, there are fewer resources to fight those causing the casualties, so they're on the loose, all over the place, as the NATO forces aren't adequate to bottle them up. Didn't they all run to Iraq anyway? You know, because "we" had to fight "them" "there" so "we" wouldn't have to fight "them" "here." Also: No matter who the commander of the "anti-Taliban forces" is, the majority of the combatants are American service people, & you can bet that little or nothing is done w/o Yankee approval/suggestion. Last & least of Hitchens' points:
Many of the most successful drives against the Taliban have been conducted by American forces redeployed from Iraq, in particular from Anbar province. But these military victories are the result of counterinsurgent tactics and strategies that were learned in Iraq and that have been applied triumphantly in Afghanistan.
So, it was necessary to invade Iraq 18 mos. after invading Afghanistan in order to learn how to be counterinsurgents? Why couldn't the U. S. have waited until it got its counterinsurgent shit together in Afghanistan & then invaded Iraq? By that time someone might have noticed that Iraq had no WMD, & the whole mess might have been avoided. Not to trivialize the deaths of untold Iraqis, the fleeing to Syria &tc. of millions of the educated middle-class Iraqis most needed to get that mythical, mystical "democracy" going, and the loss of 4,000+ American lives, & billions upon billions of dollars, leading to a greater economic slowdown than occurred post 11 Sept. 2001. Seriously, Bush-Cheney have done greater damage to This Great Nation of Ours™ than the attacks of 11 Sept. 2001. Then the pickled prick gets into serious "Let's Have A War" territory.
I happen to disagree, but just for an experiment, let us imagine that some regime did exist or did arise that posed such a combination of threats. (Actually, so feverish is my imagination that I can even think of one whose name also begins with I.)
Tell us, please, Mr. Hitchens, which country is that? And your evidence for this combination of threats comes from...? (We can only hope different sources than the paranoids all over the U. S. & Western Europe who were absolutely sure of Iraq's perfidity in trying to defend itself before all – or any – of the facts were in or the inspections were finished. Even if nothing much can be trumped up against the ayatollahs, there's another good target available, implies Xtopher.
The continued and, indeed, increasing insolence of the Taliban and its al-Qaida allies is the consequence of one thing and one thing only. These theocratic terrorists know that they have a reliable backer in the higher echelons of the Pakistani state and of its military-intelligence complex and that while this relationship persists, they are assured of a hinterland across the border and a regular supply of arms and recruits.
Oooh, they're so insolent!! Oooh, they talk back!! The horror. Thought ol' Hitch was supposed to be a writer of some sort, not a mere Limey understater.
So, the question for Sen. Barack Obama and his glib supporters is this: Would they solve this problem by removing the American forces from Iraq and putting the thereby-enhanced contingent there to patrol a frontier where one of our main "allies" is continually engaged in stabbing them in the back? (At one point last year, Obama himself appeared to accept the illogic of his own position and spoke hotly of the possibility of following the Taliban onto Pakistani soil. We haven't heard much of that lately. Did he mean to say that, come to think of it, we had enough troops to occupy three countries instead of the stipulated and solitary one? Or would he just exchange Iraq for Pakistan? At least we do know for sure that Pakistan has nuclear weapons acquired mainly by piracy and is the host and patron of the Taliban and al-Qaida.)
Glib supporters? Glib? The pot accuses the tea kettle of warmth!! Glib? Try this passage for "glib."
Another consideration obtrudes itself. If it is true, as yesterday's three-decker front-page headline in the New York Times had it, that "U.S. Considering Stepping Up Pace of Iraq Pullout/ Fall in Violence Cited/ More Troops Could Be Freed for Operations in Afghanistan," then this can only be because al-Qaida in Iraq has been subjected to a battlefield defeat at our hands—a military defeat accompanied by a political humiliation in which its fanatics have been angrily repudiated by the very people they falsely claimed to be fighting for. If we had left Iraq according to the timetable of the anti-war movement, the situation would be the precise reverse: The Iraqi people would now be excruciatingly tyrannized by the gloating sadists of al-Qaida, who could further boast of having inflicted a battlefield defeat on the United States.
"Battlefield defeat?" In asymmetical warfare? There is no battlefield, just ambushes & security sweeps. "If we had left Iraq according to the timetable of the anti-war movement," then wouldn't the Iraqis themselves have "angrily repudiated" whomever the fuck AQI is? Or weren't they capable of angry repudiation unless hiding behind Uncle Sam's skirt? (In which a case why should we be propping them up?) What's the real likelihood of the 60% Shia population of Iraq being "excruciatingly tyrannized by gloating sadists" (You can take the boy out of England, but you can't take the English out of the boy.) of the Sunni persuasion after they were so recently relieved of Sunni occupation by our noble & glorious troops? (And a lot of indiscriminate aerial warfare.) Has any one shown Mr. Hitchens the actual U. S. military statistics on what portion of attacks on occupation troops (That's us, Yankee pig-dogs. We're the occupiers. Doesn't sound pretty, does it?) were by AQI & how many by Shias wanting a country free of all oppressors?
I dare say the word of that [his imaginary "battlefield defeat"] would have spread to Afghanistan fast enough and, indeed, to other places where the enemy operates. Bear this in mind next time you hear any easy talk about "the hunt for the real enemy" or any loose babble that suggests that we can only confront our foes in one place at a time.
So, the recent increase in casualties in Afghanistan is not linked to the "battlefield defeat" that would have been suffered had U. S. forces left Iraq, it just, uh, like, happened? And "three" (countries) is italicized in the "glib supporters" paragraph, as if that would just be too many to handle, but the big conclusion is a pseudo-Churchillian plea to fight "them" everywhere. And just what are we to do w/ Pakistan? If we stay bogged down in Iraq long enough, will that convince the "higher echelons of the Pakistani state and of its military-intelligence complex" to stop helping Bin Laden & the Taliban? St. Nick on a Stick, Hitch, please try to apply the same logic or whatever it was that brought you to atheism to other issues. We'll grant you that Islam is the scummiest (partly because it's the youngest) of the three "Abrahamic" religions, but let's not go overboard here. Next thing you'll be taking a shower w/ James Dobson to show him who's boss, & how not to be gay.

Busy, Busy, Busy

We're working on a rebuttal to a recent Slate electron waste by Xtopher Hitchens wherein "Hitch" tells us why he's in favor of any mess we can get ourselves into in the Middle East, but in the meantime the existence of the unhoused is no bed of roses, Megan McArdle's "mini adventure" notwithstanding. (Meetings w/ people who sincerely want to help, w/ people who really don't want to help but need some kind of income, forms to fill out, & on &on.)

Indeed, we'll lift a graphic lifted from elsewhere by FMM Founding Editor brad just to add to the horror (Older Folks: Click to enlarge, for legibility)& provide a little variety to the somber black background here.

Other coming attractions: The Santa Monica-Based Homeless Toothless Four-Eyed Communist Bloggers Smoking Nicotine & Drinking Caffeine Association. (A long-term project.)

Annals of Italiana

Just a few days ago we (& the L. A. Times) noted that our ancestors (well, we've only a quarter wop-a-dago ancestry, & they were Northern Italianos, it not like we're descended from from dirty Sicilianos) were busy readying the Final Solution for the Rom (Gypsies to you ignorant Yankee pig-dogs). In today's Column One, we see that Il Duce's inheritors don't, on the other hand, seem to give a flying fuck at the proverbial rolling doughnut about Muslim women being abused & polygamized.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Too Pooped To Pop

Brain shafted; two Drug #2s last night for insomnia, two more this a.m. for dental appointment. (Didn't want to be anxious.) Now want only to be in the arms of Morpheus.

Why Bother?

Here's our first re-run (yes, we often repeat the same crap w/ which we're obsessed over & over) but this is straight outta last yr.

Le Quatorze Juillet
Vive La France!! Chauvinistic chickenshit Americans (you know the type: most of them) will blather about this & that, but the French were the first nation collectively to overthrow their royalty & nobility, put the heads of their heads of state where they belonged (far from their bodies) and keep the fucking royals out (except for Louis Napoleon XIV, or whoever the head cheese of the Second Empire or whatever the fuck it was called was). (We might mention the English, but Just Another Blog™ was playing hooky or something that day, and we do know they pretty much pussied out & went back to monarchy almost as soon as they could.)

At this point no doubt some of you "patriots" are whining: "Oh, but 'Murka did that first, blah, blah, blah." Wrong, dipshits. The colonials merely threw out the parts they didn't like of an occupying power, much as the Iraqi people are attempting now with, irony of ironies, the occupying power being these United States.

Nope, our frog-eating cousins dealt w/ an entire government right there on their backs, unlike our colonial forebears, who were merely evicting the agents of a government located across the Atlantic, in the days when crossing even the North Atlantic was a big damn deal. Once again the myth of American exceptionalism is debunked.

Therefore, Just Another Blog™ urges all its fellow citizens to get down to the prisons, free all the prisoners, and separate the heads of the upper classes from the bodies of the upper classes! Now! The French did it 219 years ago today, & Just Another Blog™ hears their health system is even better than the Canadians'. What do we have to lose? Go ahead, we'll be right behind you, just gotta get the pitchfork & some more hand grenades.

Allez-Vous Faire Enculer, Espèces des Cons!!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

On The Other Hand, Warts

Below: U. S. Marines patrol in Afghanistan. Photo: Rafiq Maqbool/AP
The Liberal Bible™© has a differing view (or sources) on the "stay the course in Iraq, no matter what the Congrefs or Iraqis say" story from the WaPo that we liberally (Ha ha, get it?) quoted from an item or so ago. (Scroll down.)

One factor in the consideration is the pressing need for additional American troops in Afghanistan, where the Taliban and other fighters have intensified their insurgency and inflicted a growing number of casualties on Afghans and American-led forces there.

More American and allied troops died in Afghanistan than in Iraq in May and June, a trend that has continued this month.
What a surprise. Take your eye off the proverbial ball for just a few yrs., & WHACK!! it's concussion time.

Course, a mighty, manly bunch of compensating pindicks never know where troops may be needed.

The desire to move more quickly reflects the view of many in the Pentagon who want to ease the strain on the military but also to free more troops for Afghanistan and potentially other missions.
Any guesses where those "potentially other missions" may be?

This couldn't possibly be a political move, to influence the upcoming presidential election, could it? After all, should His Imperial Majesty King George approve these plans & troop levels in Iraq go down to about 130,000, it'll be as if the war is over & all the boys & girls have come home, won't it?

And Afghanistan, well, we won't really have to start fighting there until next spring. It's only been almost seven yrs. since we jumped ugly w/ them, so that should be over by, say, 2020. Although it's not clear that we have any interest in imposing democracy there. Indeed, as we don't seem to be looking for Bin Laden any longer, one might wonder just why...Oh, oil & gas pipelines, sorry. We forget sometimes.

Black Flag 1984, White Riot 2008!!

He's no Keith Morris, as evidenced by the fact that Just Another Blog's™ senior executive editor & his one time housemate Mike (now playing Mick Jones) used to live higher in the Swish Alps than Rollins (How the once-mighty have fallen!) but it might be worth a peep, just for nostalgia's sake.

We used to see Henry stomping his way down to the Food House, looking surly in his "look at my tats" wife-beater & Bermuda shorts. At least we never had to see him live in a Speedo.

And while we're wallowing in music & nostalgia, here's where ex-cohabitant Mike/Mick will be rocking it next Fri. Look at the price, it's like 1984 all over again!!

Good News From The Other Side of The World

No, silly, not "The surge is working." That's probably not true, & its implication that the United Snakes will therefore stay another 100 yrs. is certainly not good news for the Iraqi people. (Remember them? Democracy? Right?) The good news is that the Iraqis representing the rest of the Iraqi people aren't taking any more crap than necessary from American imperialists.
The failure of months of negotiations over the more detailed accord -- blamed on both the Iraqi refusal to accept U.S. terms and the complexity of the task -- deals a blow to the Bush administration's plans to leave in place a formal military architecture in Iraq that could last for years.
Whew. That was close.
[A]cknowledged one U.S. official close to the negotiations[,] Iraqi political leaders "are all telling us the same thing. They need something like this in there. . . . Iraqis want to know that foreign troops are not going to be here forever." [...] Maliki, who last week publicly insisted on a withdrawal timeline, wants to frame the agreement as outlining the terms for "Americans leaving Iraq" rather than the conditions under which they will stay, said the U.S. official, who like others spoke on the condition of anonymity because U.S.-Iraqi negotiations are ongoing. The idea, he said, is to "take the heat off [Maliki] a little bit, to rebrand the thing and counter the narrative that he's negotiating for a permanent military presence in Iraq."
Oh, please, you moronic bastards, stop w/ the advertising/PR talk, the "rebranding," the "narratives" & so on. Would it be possible to deal for once in reality? It's already been well proven that none of you can "make your own reality" or whatever the anonymous Bushite said so many yrs. ago. Everyone's on to you now. What Constitution?
[United Snakes] [l]awmakers have also objected to Bush's insistence that a status-of-forces agreement -- and a separate strategic framework outlining broad economic, political and security cooperation -- can be enacted with his signature alone and does not require congressional approval.
We imagine White House mouthpiece Perino saying, "It's not a treaty, it's a 'status-of-forces agreement.' Don't you understand the difference?" in her best "Words are what we mean them to mean" style.

According to U.S. officials, Maliki also hopes that a temporary protocol would circumvent the full parliamentary review and two-thirds vote he has promised for a status-of-forces agreement. "He is trying to figure out, just as we did, how you can set up an agreement between the two and have it be legally binding," one official said, "but not go through the legislative body."

How to bring democracy to the Middle East: Avoid it whenever possible, both there & here.
In May, Iraqi and foreign media published U.S. negotiators' demands that one administration official now describes as "frankly unrealistic," including unilateral control over U.S. combat and detainee operations, immunity for U.S. personnel from Iraqi prosecution, and control over Iraqi airspace. Additional accounts outlined a list of 58 separate military installations that would remain under U.S. control.
That's not five, that's not eight, it's 58!
Bush subsequently instructed U.S. negotiators to "be more flexible and open-minded," one official said.
Ah yes, "stay the course" George advises his flunkies how to do things. Irony or hypocrisy? We report, you decide. Or, you sit there w/ your jaw dropped to your knees & your mind numbed.

Hateful Stupidity, Or Stupid Hatefulness?

Below: Ms. Bruce shooting off her mouth.
Have we reminded you lately of how pathetic an excuse for a human being Tammy Bruce is? Besides being over 30 (or 40, even, who knows?) & still calling herself "Tammy," of course.

We had the misfortune of tuning in to KABC Talk-Radio 790 too early for the Dodger game yesterday (They lost – again– so we doubt we'll be climbing on their bandwagon any time this yr.) & were treated to Ms. B. using the death of Tony Snow to whine about AIDS being cured or something, & how anyone in this modern age could die of cancer, as Mr. Snow did. Of course, to Ms. B., AIDS is a "behavior caused" disease (no mention of smoking, air pollution, having to work in a polluted workplace or anything of the like causing cancer). You know, we were appeasing the homos by "curing" AIDS, which was all their fault in the first place &, apparently, ignoring cancer. Nor does it occur to her that cancer is not an immuno-suppressive disease, it's many different kinds of disease, & blah blah blah...Yes, she went on about unsafe sex & needles & so on, though not actually calling for the execution of sodomites. Christ on a cracker!!

Her other lovely line, before we had to change the channel in mental self-defense: Barack Obama is a "Marxist; Jimmy Carter with a tan." Stop it you fucking RW morons!! Just fucking stop it!! You want to see Marxists, wait'll Just Another Blog's™ editorial staff is running the country!! Marxist. Hmpf. If Obama's a "Marxist," then McCain's two & a half Nazis. Actually, don't stop it. Keep crying wolf, right wingers. We don't care any more. Your party's over, in all senses of the word.

Triskadekaphobia

We observe that Friday the Thirteenth arrives on a Sunday this month.