28 April 2009

Talking Point Du Jour: The Republicans Caused the Swine Flu or Something

Politics never ceases to amaze me with it's sleaziness. That's probably why I feel so at home blabbering about it from time to time! The swine flu outbreak is, indeed, not good, and the CDC (annual budget $8.8B) is addressing this public health problem. But, never letting a good crisis go to waste, the left is using recent public paranoia about all things pork to take a few whacks at the GOP. Politico has the scoop on a new push by the SEIU:

The union accuses Senate Republicans of delaying the confirmation of nominee Kathleen Sebelius to “curry favor with extremist outside groups” and depriving the department of leadership as the nation confronts a potential flu pandemic.

“This is simply unacceptable,” the union says on its website. “This disease is spreading as we speak, but right now, a Bush-appointed accountant is running the department. We need an HHS secretary NOW. Sign the petition telling the Senate to vote immediately to confirm Gov. Kathleen Sebelius. If we don't act, the swine flu might just turn into another Hurricane Katrina.”
Some other blogs (e.g. Kos, C&L, The Nation) are piling on by saying that flu preparedness was killed in the stimulus bill. If memory serves correct, Obama's first HHS nominee, Daschle, had a bit of a tax problem, and Sebelius is having similar issues with back taxes. So the Dems can blame themselves for that one. As for adequate funding to deal with the swine flu, is there any indication that the CDC is not manned up to manage this threat? So they don't have a bunch of self-promoting, political appointees to answer questions from the media, do photo-ops, and take responsibility for other people's work. Big fucking deal. Personally, I'd much rather see the bureaucracies and organizations of the federal government being managed by experienced professionals rather than a rag-tag bunch of politicians who performed enough sexual favors to get where they're at. I honestly believe that is why law enforcement and the military have a better public image and function more properly than some of the other agencies.

Of course, then we wouldn't be able to inject the right vs. left mouth-frothing into every single news event.

Why Do New Yorkers Hate America?

This may be the low-hanging blog-fruit of the day, but with the exception of putting a bunch of barrels on the subway marked "Swine Flu", can you think of anything that would spook New Yorkers more than low flying planes? The White House is suffering some serious embarrassment today after a botched "Highway to the Danger Zone" photo-op involving one of the Air Force Ones in lower Manhattan. From WSJ:

On Monday morning, one of the 747s used to ferry around the president of the U.S. was dispatched to the Statue of Liberty, escorted by fighter jets. Assignment: Get some fresh glamour shots of the plane.

The Air Force said the flight needed to remain confidential. So while New York police knew about it, as did at least one person in the mayor's office, regular New Yorkers remained in the dark.

As a result, to onlookers Monday all across downtown Manhattan -- where the World Trade Center once stood -- the photo shoot looked like a terrorist attack. People watched in horror as a massive aircraft, trailed closely by F-16 fighters, banked and roared low over the city, in a frightening echo of the events of Sept. 11, 2001.

Fearing the worst, thousands of people streamed out of the skyscrapers and into the streets. Some buildings ordered evacuations.
The notification process seemed to have been completely lost in the black hole of bureaucracy, and the Mayor didn't even know about it (let alone your average New Yorker). Hot Air has some video footage of the chaos that ensued.

The President was forced to issue a hasty apology, and because of this numbskullery, the planned Obama as Jesus artwork set to go up in Union Square would probably be best delayed.

26 April 2009

Porkers in DC Really Have No Shame: Murtha's Ozymandias Airport

I drove by a freeway exit on I-77 today in West Virignia called "Robert Byrd Drive" near the town of Beckley. Jeez, I know the Senator and ex-Klansman is taking forever to kick the bucket, but aren't you supposed to wait until the obituary has been written before you name high schools, roads, and monuments after a person? It reminded of the opulent Norm Dicks Government Center (a congressman from WA) located in the working class city of Bremerton that I shuddered everytime I drove past on my way to the ferry. It also reminded me of Saddam commemorating himself with all sorts of crazy shit in Baghdad, but it's the weekend so I'll be polite and not compare DC politicians to the Ba'ath party in this post.

But, CDR Salamander draws our attention to an ABC report on an airport named after King of the BBQs, John Murtha. Of course the airport is federally subsidized and only has 20 passengers a day.

It's just like a modern version of the definitive poem on mankind's hubris: Ozymandias.

I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
Half sunk, a shatter'd visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamp'd on these lifeless things,
The hand that mock'd them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
"My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"
Nothing beside remains: round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away.

24 April 2009

Detainee Pictures To Needlessly Jeopardize National Security

What are the motivations behind all this interest in so called "enhanced interrogation" techniques? Certainly, the punditry isn't to alter policy, because Obama signed an executive order banning the controversial techniques before he even had the drapes picked out at the White House. Paul Krugman argues that it's to save America's soul, which presumably means to vindicate the far-left base that has been pushing this issue for years. Documents and photos are classified not as part of a conspiracy to keep the public uniformed, but to prevent detrimental effects on national security, and yes, the lives of troops and CIA operatives performing the grim task of protecting the nation.

The America Civil Liberties Union (which ironically has a very dictatorial style in its own internal affairs), has used a FOIA request to acquire photos of detainee abuse on May 28 that will, no doubt, lead to serious repercussions for national security. From the Military Times:

The letter from Justice said the Pentagon was preparing to release 21 photos at issue in the appeal, plus 23 others “previously identified as responsive.” The letter added that the Pentagon also was “processing for release a substantial number of other images contained in Army CID reports that have been closed during the pendency of this case.”

The ACLU and the Defense Department reached an agreement for “all the responsive images” to be released by May 28, the letter said.
The base, clamoring for the heads of Cheney and other Rethuglicans, will make available to the world photos that will accompany Jihadist propaganda around the world. While we pride ourselves on living in a transparent society, I really wish some of these "activists" would stop foaming at the mouth for two seconds and consider the consequences of their actions.

My Banana Republic Tis of Thee...

Lousy Presidential candidate/decent guy, Sen. John McCain, said going on a "witch hunt" for people involved in the notorious legal memos regarding enhanced interrogation would turn us into a screwy Banana Republic. From Politico:

“Look, I didn't agree, as you said, with the techniques — and I'd be glad to continue that debate with people. But to criminalize their legal counsel, unless you can prove that they intentionally violated existing laws or ethics, then this is going to turn into a witch hunt,” he said.

McCain compared the potential prosecutions with the actions of “banana republics” that “prosecute people for actions they didn't agree with under previous administrations.”
I tend to take the Shep Smith position on the torture issue personally, but, like when maintenance gets "magically completed" between the hours of 0000-0200 on a Navy ship, sometimes it's best to not know how the CIA conducts business. What would the public have to gain by demanding the release of classified documentation during a time of war? MoveOn.Org's latest ad provides some insight into that question. Prosecuting Darth Cheney of course!

This along with the Obama's administration half-assed attempt at bank nationalization by not allowing TARP recipients to pay back the money, sending law enforcement after political enemies and veterans, and our skyrocketing debt certainly might put us in the running for Banana Republic status.

But we're not even a cool Banana Republic. There's no marching around the jungle with a machete in a tropical climate as part of Generalissimo's hit squad. There's no kickbacks from shady fat dudes in Hawaiian shirts laundering drug money. And there's no gaudy uniforms with big ass hats and made-up medals. All we get is lousy Oboner tributes from the sycophantic media about Obama's "house of rock" and shitty artwork of the El Presidente. This Banana Republic sucks.

Yglesias and His Strange Musings on WWII

Not sure what prompted Yglesias to write why Americans shouldn't be so "self-congratulatory" about being on the good side of defeating the worst imperialistic powers civilization has ever seen. Maybe he got mad when he saw some tourists gawking at the WWII memorial in DC during his morning bike ride or something. From Think Progress:

The greatest example of that has to be America’s bizarre self-congratulatory narrative about World War II. It’s a narrative that’s all the more bizarre for the fact that the truth would still reflect well on us. But somehow the fact that the Soviet Union did more, objectively, to beat Hitler gets excised. As does the fact that it was Canada, Australia, and New Zealand rather than the United States that really did somewhat selflessly jump to throw in with the Allies at the earliest possible date. Somehow we’re supposed to believe that the United States single-handedly, and in a completely disinterested manner, rode to the rescue and that it was incredibly cowardly of the nation of France to located itself adjacent to Germany rather than having the foresight to be courageously separated from Hitler by the Atlantic Ocean.
Does anyone not know about London getting continuously bombed in 1940 or that the Soviets had the most casualties? His contrived strawman seems to be an horrible dumbass in history. Yglesias also conveniently leaves out that whole Pacific campaign portion of WWII, because of the inconvenient fact that we had more skin in the game there than our European allies. He seems to be channeling the standard conservative stereotype of liberals that courage, sacrifice, and patriotism is something the left is embarrassed by and that America is always in the wrong.

Taliban Advance on Islamabad, Nuclear Facilities

Oh Fuck

Did you think that Pakistan's government negotiating a deal with the Taliban to allow for Sharia law in exchange for "peace" in the Swat Valley was a good idea? Me neither. Despite the government telling the international media that all is well, Al-Jazeera English has footage of Buner being occupied by the Taliban (southeast of Swat and about 100km from Islamabad, map is here):

More troubling news from The Long War Journal is that the Taliban are continuing their march onward to Islamabad and areas which have nuclear facilities:
The Taliban advance on Mansehra and Haripur takes place at the same time they are moving on the districts of Swabi, Mardan, and Malakand. The takeover of these five districts would essentially cement the Taliban's control of the province.

The Taliban takeover of Haripur would put the Taliban on the doorstep of Islamabad and would also put two major nuclear facilities at risk.

Haripur borders the Margala Hills, a region in the Islamabad Capital Territory. Haripur also borders the Punjab districts of Attock and Rawalpindi.

Attock hosts two major nuclear facilities in Pakistan: the Wah Cantonment Ordnance Complex and the Kamra (Minhas) Airbase. The Wah Cantonment Ordnance Complex host three sites where nuclear weapons and components are stored and assembled and aircraft and missiles are modified for use in nuclear attacks. The nearby Kamra Airbase is thought to host attack aircraft capable of delivering nuclear weapons.
Pakistan's military has been dispatched after some justifiable hand-wringing by SECSTATE Hillary Clinton. But, seeing how Pakistan's military advances against the Taliban have a history of being a dog-and-pony show to get more aid from us, it might be time to start shitting your pants.

23 April 2009

FiveThirtyEight Says Best Bet for GOP is to Go Libertarian

Zombie Jefferson Sez "I Was a Libertarian Before It Was Cool, Bitches!!"

Paging Michael Steele and fellow right-wing extremists! Spare us the links on Miss California being "biblically correct" because she's against teh gheys marrying, and no more discussion that Jesus wanted you to be abstinent. I'd rather be watching Manos: The Hands of Fate interspersed with ExTenze commercials than discuss those schnoozer issues. Because the pollmeisters at FiveThirtyEight have stated that the best bet for the GOP is turning into pot-smoking, bailout-hating, and gun-toting libertarians. This assertion seems to come from the popularity of the tea parties. From Nate Silver:
If gay bashing is becoming less in vogue among Republicans, it's unclear which other cultural issues -- areas where Republicans sometimes favor bigger, more statist government -- might take its place. Yes, there's always abortion. But I'm surprised there hasn't been more anti-immigrant sentiment, as often happens when jobs are scarce; perhaps the Republicans' poor performance among Latino voters on November 4th might have scared them away from that issue. Marijuana legalization seems to be gaining some traction (although more among pundits than policymakers), but about half the conservative commentariat (see Glenn Beck, for instance, who calls himself a libertarian) seems to embrace it.

Maybe you see a pattern there and maybe you don't. But of the roughly four different pathways the Republicans could take in the post-Obama universe -- toward Ron Paulesque libertarianism, toward Sarah Palinesque cultural populism, toward Mike Huckabeesque big-government conservatism, or toward Olympia Snowesque moderation/ good-governmentism -- the libertarian side would seem to have had the best go of things in the First 100 Days.
Matt Welch snarks that the GOP "miraculously relocated some of its alleged principles at the precise moment it lost power", and seeing how damaging the Bush years were to the GOP's fiscal conservative image, he's pretty much on the spot. But, hey, when your party is less popular than Hugo Chavez by polling data, you can only improve.

22 April 2009

Some of These Wall Street People Really Don't Get It

I don't really hate the uber-rich or anything. Their stupid golf get-ups and gold-digging girlfriends are more a source of humor than rage. But these people ate the proverbial government cheese in the form of billions in TARP money, and they deserve scrutiny in the public eye. I was a "public servant" once being paid by the taxpayers, and there is actually a code of ethics you're supposed to follow. I recall our JAG lecturing the command on the dangers of "fraud, waste, and abuse" because someone took a vehicle with government plates to the Mikky-Ds out in town. Yet, these bozos on Wall Street run up thousands of dollars for bottle service in SoHo with the company plastic, and no one gives a shit.

Check out this NYMag article "The Wail of the 1%" for an inside look at how the Masters of the Universe don't understand the position they are in. Here's a sample:

“No offense to Middle America, but if someone went to Columbia or Wharton, [even if] their company is a fumbling, mismanaged bank, why should they all of a sudden be paid the same as the guy down the block who delivers restaurant supplies for Sysco out of a huge, shiny truck?” e-mails an irate Citigroup executive to a colleague.
The progressive community has spent most of their time ridiculing the populist-themed tea parties and the GOP (supposedly the party of fiscal responsibility) has been suspiciously mum about the dangerous collusion between the banking and DC elite. It's so difficult to get a pitch-forked mob going these days.

Stuff White People Like #6,782: Getting a Commission

Here's a bit of news from Tom Ricks that sort of floored me. He just got done speaking at Princeton, and a lot of college kids from the Ivies are forgoing job opportunities in DC/NYC to enjoy a not-so-illustrious career as an O-1 in the military. He has posted an email from one motivated young woman:

I don't come from a military family (they are, in fact, fairly appalled at my decision), I don't have college loans to pay off (it's come to my attention that this is a motivator for a lot of people), and I haven't had trouble finding a job in the recent economic turmoil, I reached my decision long before Wall Street went to hell. Usually when I tell people what I am doing I get the usual looks: disbelief, skepticism, puzzlement, sometimes disgust. And I'm always asked "why?".
Considering that as a Naval officer for close to 7 years I never met an Ivy-league grad in uniform, I am quite surprised by this and ecstatic that well-to-do youngsters actually give a shit. Most officers come from the academies or a large state school, and it is predominantly a middle class association. Not that it's right, but it's the way it is. Why else would The Onion parody the very idea of the nation's elite rushing to either enlist or seek a commission? But, nonetheless, it gives some optimism for Generation Y (maybe I should rethink some of my previous posts).

One word of advice to these officer candidates, I understand that you were probably the President of your high school class, never got too mixed up in drugs/alcohol, and have spent the first 22 years of your life forgoing fun and building up an impressive resume. But remember, at OCS, it's like what R. Lee Ermey said: "You're all equally worthless". Best of luck!

Mark Penn's Weird Article About an Alternate Universe Where Bloggers Are Filthy Rich!

Livin' the Blog Life: Big Pimpin', Bling Blingin' And Shit

Hillary Campaign knucklehead Mark Penn has an extremely erroneous article today in his MicroTrends WSJ article about how easy it is for bloggers to make 6 figures. The entire premise for the claim that >100K visitors/month equals $75K/year is based on a pretty shoddy looking Technorati survey taken in 2008 (the website that has a vested financial interest in more people blogging and using it's services). The "median" is actually 22K/year for those over 100K hits/month (which is right about at the poverty line), and most bloggers I've met have made very little if they try to monetize their product. McArdle, Gateway Pundit, and Gawker all called bullshit, and Mark Penn had to issue a correction the same day. From WSJ by way of Wonkette:
As far as the $75,000, the Technorati report says that of those bloggers who had 100,000 or more unique visitors, the average income is $75,000. True, it's not the median, but it is the average. We can quibble about how easy it is to make this kind of money -- but the point is, the huge potential is there.
Yeah, the "huge potential" was there for pets.com too. The fact is that blogs are a hobby for most people, and we shouldn't delude ourselves with promises of benjamins growing off sitemeter and trackbacks. So, sneaking in a post that's been running around your head while your boss' back is turned at your crappy "real job" is still the way to go. It's probably for the best that blogs (at least the political ones) remain an unprofessional rabble, as it gives it that "townhall" feel where you can get pissed off at Washington instead of having to deal with your own personal life.

For the people that think that they got what it takes to make money bloggin', check out Tough Girl 101 who helps put her way through college . Or you can go jump the shark and start posting nastiness about all your old friends like Charles Johnson. That always boosts the traffic!

21 April 2009

Idiotic UN Racism Conference Turns Into an Actual Clown Show

Who Would've Thought This Guy Would Say Something Stupid?

Sometimes you have to feel sorry for the U.N. No one explicitly likes having kids in poverty, genocide, or racism in the modern world. But it's not very hard to predict that Ahmadinejad, whose stranglehold on power in Iran lies largely by feeding the uninformed masses his anti-Zionist nonsense, would level a bunch of a propaganda when he was given a platform to speak. From WaPo:
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad argued before a U.N. anti-racism conference Monday that Israel is a "paragon of racism" founded on "the pretext of Jewish sufferings" during World War II..."Following World War II," he continued, according to an official English-language text of his remarks, "they resorted to military aggression to make an entire nation homeless, on the pretext of Jewish sufferings and the ambiguous and dubious question" of the Holocaust.
It didn't take a crystal ball for President Obama to know we were best to boycott this turd of a conference in the first place. What is pathetic, is that the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, just yesterday, expressed "shock" and was upset that the US withdrew from the Durban conference because the atrocities of the Holocaust was adequately factored into the program. But later today, the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon, had to issue a press release saying he was appalled by madman Ahmadinejad's comments. Once again, the UN looks like a bunch of embarrassing imbeciles at their utter Uncompetence.

However, the saving grace of the racism conference was these protesters dressed as clowns, who by screaming loudly and being escorted from the room, provided the most coherent message of the day (h/t Gateway Pundit for the video):

NY Times Op-Ed Pushing the Wacko Vet Meme

The DHS Fusion Chart on Right-Wing Extremism in Red States (from The Castle)

Yeah, yeah...the DHS report on Right-Wing extremism was so last week. As far as political blogs go, I might as well be talking about the merits of McKinleynomics while dancing the charleston because this news is so old...but sorry, I was on the road for the last couple of days. Anyhoo, there was a NYT Op-Ed over the weekend which justified the report's targeting of veterans and also the FBI crackdown. Here's the reason cited for why crazed vets are going to be running around the woods like Rambo [NYT]:
So, which soldiers are most vulnerable? According to the Homeland Security report, it would probably be those “facing significant challenges reintegrating into their communities.” This could be a large group because far too many soldiers come back from war broken men. According to a RAND study released on Friday, 300,000 veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan reported some sign of post-traumatic stress disorder or major depression. It said that only about half of those will seek help and only half of those seeking it will receive “minimally adequate” treatment. These soldiers could prove fertile ground for men hoping to prey on their fear, loneliness and dispossession.
It's true that Iraq/A-stan veterans have higher unemployment rate than their civilian peers. But, it's absurd to suggest that being a tad disillusioned by the economy and the fact that everyone was watching American Idol while they were doing patrols in Baqubah will lead to future truck bombers. That's a pretty big leap of logic. If that were the case, why doesn't the DHS target emo kids or goths? They don't like anything.

You could be inclined to take the author of the NYT op-ed a little bit more seriously if it wasn't the same guy (from his shining hill of "moral authority" on everybody else) who called for going Robespierre on the Big 3 CEOs. From his NYT blog last month:
I’m not saying that the Despots of Detroit deserve a break (Wagoner should be flogged in the streets for the Hummer alone), but the use of the guillotine could be a tad more egalitarian.
Charles Blow's twitter indicates that he's "answering mail" about his column. I'm sure anyone who doesn't agree with him is a violent extremist and has had their name forwarded on to the authorities. Some folks just don't understand hypocrisy.

Much Obliged

Too kill some time, I've spent the last two months kind of driving around the country in my truck with some clothes in the back. So thanks to everyone who put me up at their place or who made an offer. If I missed seeing ya, don't worry, I plan on being a free-loading derelict for the rest of my life, so I'll hit you up next time. Thanks so much!

Note: Hopefully, my frequent couch-crashings wasn't the reason for this EPA press conference...

19 April 2009

Creepy Craig's List Killer Is Ruining the Internet for Everybody

A Quick Look At his Facebook Profile May Have Revealed More Information

Gather round the campfire, children, for a history lesson. Once upon a time, long long ago, in the dark ages of the internet (circa 1996). When all it consisted of was overweight nerds divulging other geeks with Star Trek fan fiction, macabre pictures of car accident scenes on the now-defunct rotten.com, and AOL chat rooms devoted to kiddie porn and badly photoshopped nude pics of Jennifer Aniston, it would have been unheard of for decent-looking women to seek out men on the internet. But, after years of cheaply available technology and search engines (like google) that don't require Computer Science classes in UNIX to utilize, the promise of the internet has made available to the masses...and by "masses" I mean the most important demographic: single women. It's no longer shameful and taboo for women to meet men on Facebook, eHarmony, or any of the other matchmaking sites. And, even the lovely Jamie is auctioning herself off to the cyber ether for charity.

But women have long had a rational fear against creepy cyber-weirdos soliciting their trust on the internet and then leaving them for dead when they finally meet in person. The brutal murder which resulted from a Craig's List rendezvous only emphasizes these atrocities against the female gender. From The Providence Journal:
McCartney said that there are "strong similiarities" between the attacks, including how the women appeared to have met their attackers and the description of the person who attacked them.

Boston police also say the killer may have been involved in the robbery last week of a Las Vegas woman at the Westin Copley Hotel, according to the Associated Press.

All three women were advertising services on Craigslist that led to liaisons at the hotel rooms, police said. McCartney said the Warwick robbery victim had met her attacker through her Craigslist ad -- which the chief would not discuss in specifics -- and made arrangements with him by phone to meet at that hotel.
This horrific crime will surely set tech-fueled romance back to the stone age. I was talking with TSO of This Ain't Hell recently about how much revenue they were getting from Google Ad Sense (they have over 10 times the traffic of this place), and it was about enough to buy a pack of gum. Since it's not about the benjamins, we then agreed that the internet (particularly blogging) was pretty much for the sole purpose of meeting women. Indeed, it's the sole purpose in life for any heterosexual male. But now, I fear, it is all in jeopardy due to these heinous crimes. I'll have to go buy a douche scarf and spend 12 bucks on appletinis at trendy clubs to impress the ladies in the future. What a pisser!

Micahel Steele Points Out Hypocrisy of DHS Report

I'm having a minor argument with internet-pal Eric Dondero about how good a job Michael Steele, RNC chair, is doing. He's raised a bunch of money this month, but I think he needs to do more media engagement that swindling cash from the geezerly GOP base. Anyways, I stand corrected because here's Steele in a pretty sharp appearance. Although it's on Fox News, when I think he should be on Comedy Central, MSNBC, and whatever else the kids are watching these days to avoid preaching to the choir.

Skip ahead to 6:08 for Steele talking about the recent DHS report on right-wing extremism and the FBI targeting veterans. He points out that the administration is targeting certain right-wingers/vets as "terrorists", but is hesitant on calling Islamic fanatics "terrorists". The new Orwellian-speak for the brutal acts of douchebag car-bombers in the Muslim world is "man-caused disasters". I'm surprised that the DHS report didn't refer to domestic terrorists as "homegrown man-caused disasters", didn't anyone at the DHS get the memo?

Also, I'm sure we'll see the progressive community and the ACLU apply the same rigorous muckraking and pro-bono legal defense for right-wing extremists that they did for violent fanatics detained at Gitmo and interrogated by the CIA...or not.

U.S. Journalist Sentenced to 8 Years in Iranian Prison for "Espionage"

This is messed up, and makes you appreciate the importance of living in a free society and not some dictatorial backwater. From CNN:

"The Iranian government has held a secret trial, will not make public any evidence, and sentenced an American citizen to eight years in prison for a crime she didn't commit," the Democratic senator said.
There is also two "detained" (kidnapped) American journalists in North Korea right now, and bloggers aren't getting a lot of respect in tyrannical countries either. A Burmese blogger was sentenced to 20 years in prison for criticizing the junta, and a Chinese blogger was mysteriously stabbed.

18 April 2009

Chicago Sun Times Weenie Thinks Tea-Parties Are Anti-Veteran

The Tea Party haters comical criticisms of the events on April 15th may have reached a new plane of silliness with this latest blurb from the dead tree media (h/t Mike of Crook's Shadow). And this is after the drug-addicted Garofalo derided the protests as racists with her "teabagging rednecks" flap on Olbermann! Apparently, if you are opposed to the federal government squandering billions of dollars in unprofitable banks and wasting billions more on "make work" type largesse, you hate the military. From the Chicago Sun-Times:

What did you make of the big protest against the U.S. military and our veterans Wednesday?

It took place in hundreds of American cities; people were waving signs, brandishing tea bags.

Of course, they didn't think they were speaking out against our military and our vets -- they hadn't really thought it through at all. They were under the impression they were condemning federal taxes.
I don't see the paradox in wanting more responsible government but still understanding that some level of taxation is necessary. As a matter of fact, there were at least a few vets at the DC protest, and one officer in Baghdad wrote to Gateway Pundit wishing he could've attended one.

The Sun-Times goes on a history revisionist rant by saying that the founding fathers weren't really limited government types at all:
How accurate is it to say that the founding fathers were for "limited government"?

Well, if you mean they didn't envision an Environmental Protection Agency or NASA, then yes, they were for limited government.

But if you look at what they actually did -- create a federal government where none existed before -- then they were for an enormous expansion of central control.
Not that I could put words in the mouth of zombie Thomas Jefferson, but when he famously stated "I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies", I'm pretty sure he wouldn't be hunky-doory with the banking plutocracy taking the taxpayers to the cleaners.

But the kicker is that the same Sun-Times article talks about an art exhibit being co-hosted by Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn, and that they might upset some of those nasty right-wingers. So to be clear, protesting lack of accountability with federal tax dollars makes you a CHUD, but trying to blow up the Fort Dix NCO club makes you a misunderstood philanthropist.

Ross Douthat has a worthwhile piece about how the lack of leadership at the Tea Parties is bringing out too many freaky-freakies, and certainly there will always be your share of crazies at any protest. But, I wish this guy would've shown up to one of the events to point out to the critics that many of them sound like imbeciles:

17 April 2009

FBI's Operation Vigilant Eagle To Target Nutbag Vets

Apparently, the DHS' asinine and worthless intelligence assessment (which required an embarassing apology from Napolitano) about garden-variety "right-wing extremism" was part of a broader law enforcement effort to round up veterans wrapped up in militant/white supremacy organizations. The WSJ has broken a major story on "Operation Vigilant Eagle" which was started late in the Bush organization:

The documents outlining Operation Vigilant Eagle cite a surge in activity by such groups. The memos say the FBI's focus on veterans began as far back as December, during the final weeks of the Bush administration, when the bureau's domestic counterterrorism division formed a special joint working group with the Defense Department.

A Feb. 23 draft memo from FBI domestic counterterrorism leaders, obtained by The Wall Street Journal, cited an "increase in recruitment, threatening communications and weapons procurement by white supremacy extremist and militia/sovereign-citizen extremist groups."
I'm willing to give the FBI the benefit of the doubt for right now, since they have more information than the public is not privy to and I understand that law enforcement is an essential part of society (and am grateful for their service). And, certainly, if there's some shithead looking to commit violence against the President because he's part of the ZOG machine or some nonsense, take 'em down. But if the broadly-worded DHS intelligence assessment that could've been penned by Barney Fife is any indicator of how squared away this operation is being run, then there's reason to believe some veterans are going to get wrapped up in this dragnet. All the more impetuous for me to go be an ex-pat in T-land, but I'm a little concerned about everyone else who has worn the uniform.

It's a weird time to be a veteran, because the all-voluntary military lends itself to a fragmentation between civilian society. Also, the relative small percentage of this generation involved in Iraq or Afghanistan easily leads to misunderstandings. I wouldn't say that veterans are some kind of persecuted minority, because Americans have treated vets great on a personal level (at least in my lifetime). But being a such a small group can mean one jackass's actions tar an entire group of people (see Timothy McVeigh).

Confession of Wingnuttery

I admit that the whole Tea Party concept isn't exactly as cool as meeting Judas Priest at a bar or something. Mostly because the inevitable tea-bag joke gets old after like two seconds, there's no leadership for these things, and Americans who are actually productive members of society are notoriously horrible at mass demonstrations (in general). But, I gotta admit, the more wild the accusations from Obama-sycophants, the more enjoyable it all becomes. Bob Cesca saying that the tea parties are terrorist breeding grounds, mouth-foamer John Amato calling the things treasonous since there was discussions of "succession", and left-wing talk radio chatter that the whole idea was white supremacist in nature. However, the biggest whopper actually comes from a memo by the Democrat House Leaders, which suggests that it was actually a secret Nazi rally. From Weekly Standard:

Other House Democratic leaders took a different tack: One senior aide has been circulating a document to the media that debunks the effort as one driven by corporate lobbyists and attended by neo-Nazis...

In addition, the tea parties are “not really all about average citizens,” the document continues, saying neo-Nazis, militias, secessionists and racists are attending them. The tea parties are also not peaceful, since reporters in Cincinnati had to seek “police protection” during one of the events, it states.
I suppose it parlays nicely into that recent DHS report about holding different political views makes one a crazy.

Anyways, there's a certain psychology developed in the Navy where pushing people's buttons all the times to view their enraged reaction is some excellent entertainment. It's similar the political climate we find ourselves in right now. You tell someone you like Glenn Beck or go stand around in the rain for an hour at a Tea Party protest...and they blow a fucking gasket. It's not something foolish like trolling a blog, but rather this whole bloods-vs-crips partisanship that has developed for a variety of reasons. To be honest with you, I'm loving the comedy! Well, until I get thrown in jail for maintaining this dumb blog. That would be kind of shitty.

CNN Uses Graphic of Heavy-Caliber Machine Gun To Discuss "Assault Weapons Ban"

Cache Find in Mexico That an Assault Weapons Ban Would Have Little Effect On

Obama's trip to Mexico has ignited debate about how to curb drug cartel violence. Along with tanks and nuclear warheads, the above pictured weaponry is not legally allowed to be possessed by your average U.S. citizen. However, it was the featured graphic on an article discussing the pros and cons of Obama reinstituting the Assault Weapons Ban to halt trafficking South of the Border. It goes to show how we're failing to address the root problems of the violence in Mexico. From CNN:
Obama still supports reinstating the ban, as he did during the presidential campaign, but there are no plans to reintroduce it anytime soon, according to an administration official. Obama thinks more can be done to stop the illegal flow of weapons to Mexico within existing laws, the official said, noting that the president has taken steps to deploy more law enforcement to curb the illegal flows of drugs, weapons and cash in both directions across the border.
The Mexican drug cartels are often utilizing heavy weaponry that is only available to the military, and only about 17% of weapons seized in Mexico are being traced back to the states, but President Calderon of Mexico has been on a media blitz on American TV trying to drum up support for an Assault Weapons Ban in America. Certainly, we should take measures to assist Mexico in their war against the cartel thugs, but seeing how an AWB would have an effect on the violence is unclear. Mostly because the cartels could get and have gotten their weapons elsewhere and bringing weapons from the U.S. to Mexico is already illegal. Why not just enforce that law? The fact that the media continues to saturate this debate with little knowledge of already existing restrictions on firearms makes things more frustrating.

Also, another piece of disinformation is the DEA saying that the higher the bodycount in Mexico, the more successful the Drug War is being conducted. From NY Daily News:
The body count shows that Calderon's crackdown is "shrinking" the drug trade, and doesn't mean Mexico is becoming a failed state, another official said.

"It's not the harbinger of imminent failure, it's the signpost of success," said DEA intelligence chief Tony Placido.
Weird. If the purpose of the drug war is to protect people from self-destructive behavior, why is rampant cartel violence from people using corruption and murder to get an edge on the black-market beneficial to society? Obama doesn't strike me as a total numbskull on foreign policy, perhaps he'll finally realize that it's best to throw in the towel on the utopian promise of a drug-free America.

Throwing Caution to the Wind, Caroline Auctions off Jamie on Teh Internet

Jamie of USO Girls fame is being auctioned off for a date in the Dallas-Fort Worth area to benefit with a starting bid of $140. All proceeds go to Defenders of Freedom which sends care packages to deployed troops. I've met Jamie and she is attractive, intelligent, enjoys drinking, and has a car. So what the hell else do you need for motivation? Place a bid before some 50 year-old weirdo with an anime fetish takes her out to the Golden Corral buffet.

More information...right here!

16 April 2009

Havin' Fun Teabagging

Whee! It was a pretty rotten day in DC unless rainy, cold, and nowhere to go to the bathroom is your thing. But good times were had yukkin it up with TSO, Jonn Lilyea, Hooper, and 509th Bob at the DC Protest just outside the White House. There was supposed to be a truck full of tea bags or something but the permit process got all dorked up. No one said that limited government activists would be good at organizing these type of events.

It seemed like most of the people present today harbored similar sentiments regarding the catastrophic debt being incurred, the futility of bailouts, too much power in the Treasury Department, etc. But the problem with the legions of bitters like myself is that there aren't any leaders stepping up to the challenge of turning this grass roots phenomenon into political effect. Maybe I spent too much time in the military to appreciate a bottom-up organizational structure. Here's a couple of the displays I enjoyed plus links to sites with a lot more on the DC Protest:
Related to the burning question of this tax season: Will Geithner not fuck up his taxes this time around?

Wheelbarrow full of Pork

14 April 2009

Ed Morrissey Calls For Napolitano Resignation After DHS Looks To Put Vets' Heads on Pikes

The Perils of Trusting the Government

The blogs are a-buzzin' regarding the leaked DHS document on "Right-Wing Extremism" (#1 item on Memeorandum). A few highlights:
  • Malkin contacted the press office of the DHS and has confirmed the FOUO document is not a hoax.
  • One of my favorite political reporters, David Weigel, has a very dissapointing post where he condones this type of activity by the federal government (even though he once wrote for the libertarian Reason). His time at Washington Independent has mostly been spent criticizing far-right rhetoric as asinine, but it's a pretty big step to go from Stewart-style ridiculing to saying that his fellow countrymen need to be part of a federal dragnet. What a shame.
  • Other progressive blogs like Think Progress, who get up in arms when 9/11 masterminds have their legal rights violated, see no problem with citizens in flyover land being the target of misleading characterizations as "domestic terrorists". I'm sure you all didn't see that hypocrisy coming.
But, Ed Morrissey has the best post on the subject when he cites that the DHS has virtually no data and how this document is huge embarrassment for Napolitano:
This gets repeated over and over again during the report. They have no threat information. In fact, the report can’t even say definitively whether “extremists” are gaining “new recruits”. In order to find that, they’d have to identify the actual groups, note the recruiting patterns, and determine whether in fact they’re gaining recruits or losing members. Bottom line: DHS has no actual data. They’re pulling threats out of their collective arse and publishing them without any supporting research whatsoever.
I have no idea why an intelligence assessment would be written if there was no data. I used to have the pleasure of writing documents like this in Iraq and anyone (military or civilian) would look at you like an asshole if you tried to pass off something that was based on hypothesis and no reliable sources of information/trends. It sounds more like left-wing jabber about Tea Parties being secret white supremacy gatherings than a useful assessment for intelligence officials. What an embarrassment. I feel bad for my Coastie friends who are part of this bungling bureaucracy.

Update: Famous DC Gaddabout TSO has the letter sent to the DHS by the American Legion.

Military Nerds Get To Finally Join Starfleet Academy

When I was in the Navy, I was a nuke and therefore in the company of many other poindexters. Some people don't understand that there is a huge WoW-playing, BCG-wearing, Trek-loving culture to the military, but it's definitely there. That's why I'm sure the pre-screening of the new Star Trek and a visit by the cast was well-received in Kuwait. Story and pics here, thanks Hollywood!

Violent Protesters and Political Instability Tough for Pattaya Working Girls

Things aren't looking so good for Thailand, my second favorite country. The Prime Minister's vehicle got trashed at the ASEAN economic summit in Pattaya Beach while the rest of the world leaders attending had to get evacuated off the roof due to throngs of angry protesters. Bangkok Pundit has up to date news on the state of emergency and Austin Bush has some excellent photographs of the military being dispatched against the protesters and a bus that got burnt to a crisp. Thai New Year festivities (Songkran) got cancelled in Bangkok, which totally blows. Imagine if a bunch of Code Pink types were able to stop the ball from dropping in Times Square on New Year's since they blocked off a bunch of intersections with some "Impeach Bush" puppet show.

Matt Yglesias and the NY Times have a simplified background for us en-edumucated Americans that's helpful if you're not up to speed on the political situation in Thailand. It has to do with supporters of the ousted former Prime Minister Thaksin (supported by the "red-shirts") trying to take down Prime Minister Abhisit (supported by the "yellow-shirts" who shut down the airport last year)...I think. Thaksin's base is primarily in the rural upcountry areas, and everyone I talked to in Bangkok (including working-class folks that his populist stance is supposed to appeal to) thought the guy was a corrupt piece of shit.

But as a farang, you pretty much don't get into any political diatribes unless you want your visa revoked. A simple "Long Live the King" and you should be golden. Also, subtly pulling for whatever side the military is on is the stance you wanna take to avoid trouble if shit gets outta hand, which is good advice for any foreign country.

Supposedly, it's easy for some pasty-skinned, fanny-packed farang like me and Michael Yon to avoid the political calmity in Thailand just because none of the protests have been anti-Western in nature, but, nevertheless, the tourism industry is getting clobbered. This is especially true in Pattaya, which is kind of like Sodom and Gomorrah except with neon and better looking women. From AFP:

"Now in the bars there are only bar girls, no tourists. People are walking around but not spending money. Where before a guy might have drunk six beers, now he will have only two."

Norton, also a regular visitor to Pattaya with 15 visits under his belt, said he was now forced to haggle with the working girls.

"Haven't they heard of the credit crunch? They think they've got problems, you should see the problems I've got. The pound used to be worth 75 baht and now it's only 50 baht," he said.

The working girls say that bar takings are down as much as 50 percent and that while regular sex tourists are still around, newcomers have been scared away.

Kaew Yoowan, who like most of the bar girls is a farmer's daughter from Thailand's impoverished northeast, said the hoped-for surge of customers from the summit -- which drew delegations from 16 nations -- never materialised.

"I know there is a big meeting here but it is not helping business. They are not coming out," the 28-year-old said sadly.
A bartender in Pattaya once told me there was about 25,000-50,000 working ladies in town. That's enough to start a small, mini-skirted army and rid the streets of protesters, but that may be a bit unorthodox. Ironically, many of the working women are from the more rural Isan area and send a lot of their money back home. So while the red shirts may be fighting for more prosperity in the upcountry areas, they're simultaneously killing a huge cash cow by scaring off potential tourists. Whatever, democracy never makes sense no matter which country you go to.

13 April 2009

Dept of Homeland Security Sez To Be on the Lookout For "Disgruntled Military Veterans"

The hits just keep on coming as they say if you fall into the right-wing veteran demographic. After recently getting profiled by the Missouri Highway Patrol and staff being warned about the "crazy vet" during thespian remakes at Penn State, the Department of Homeland Security drops an intelligence assessment that says radicalized veterans compromise the greatest potential for a domestic terrorist threat. Pow, right in the kissah!

The DHS document is classified "For Official Use Only", which means it's not supposed to be available on the internet to likes of me and TSO, but it's a leak that should be discussed because it is disturbing for a lot of reasons. From pg. 7 of the assessment (pdf):

DHS/I&A assesses that rightwing extremists will attempt to recruit and radicalize returning veterans in order to exploit their skills and knowledge derived from military training and combat. These skills and knowledge have the potential to boost the capabilities of extremists—including lone wolves or small terrorist cells—to carry out violence. The willingness of a small percentage of military personnel to join extremist groups during the 1990s because they were disgruntled, disillusioned, or suffering from the psychological effects of war is being replicated today.
First off, I disagree with the DHS assessment that supporting the 2nd Amendment right to bear arms to protect against government tyranny is now "extremist ideology". Second, this assessment suggests that cells of disheveled veterans are somehow plotting to attack government infrastructure. I haven't heard about any in the last decade, but I'm sure curious as to what incidents the DHS is referring to when they say "replicated today".

TSO points out that the information of the great white supremacist/McVeigh-style threat that supposedly underscores returning vets comes from an outfit like the SPLC, who has a history of accusing anyone who doesn't support their progressive agenda as a "hate group" (see the case of the American Legion).

Why is the DHS using this heavily politicized information as basis for an intelligence assessment? Is the DHS going to start using David Neiwert's mouth-breathing post about a Timothy McVeigh finishing school as basis to start arresting anyone with a VFW sticker on their car? Paranoid delusion from the left about everyone in flyover Red states being a deranged gun nut is generally rhetoric to denigrate the conservative opposition. It's about as credible as a right-winger like myself saying we needed to round up liberals because their failure to bathe constituted a public health risk. I can't believe the Department of Homeland Security fell for it as a serious threat to national security.

If their was an OKC-style atrocity on the horizon from disillusioned veterans, I would certainly change my tune. But reality suggests that no threat is imminent.

The U.S.A. is Still Teh Awesome (Somali Pirate Version)

Now with a Special Easter Edition!

While news of late regarding America's declining economy and political corruption has been truly upsetting, it is comforting to know that the U.S.A. can still place three well-aimed shots into Somali brain matter from a Destroyer and still have time for the Easter egg hunt.

11 April 2009

Mr. Gates Meets the Military-Industrial Leviathan

"This Job Blows"

The Secretary of Defense promised to really shake things up with his proposed DoD budget, and like The Dude getting fucked six ways from Sundays for standing up for the right thing, the creeps in Congress are ready to do whatever they can to bring home the bacon for their districts. It doesn't help that components for the expensive F-22 program are made in 44 different states, which Gates only wants 4 more of.

The list of DC weenies with a sudden interest in national security issues include Chris Dodd (D-CT), John McHugh (R-NY), and Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) who is "disappointed". That's an awful lot of support for a platform that has never been used in Iraq or Afghanistan. I suppose I could ask why aren't our leaders in DC advocating for weapons acquisitions that are necessary for national security, but that would put this blog in the naive category.

The Great Tea Party Freak Out

At first the whole Tea Party phenomenon sounded a little dull. I mean, how do you compete in the laughs department with unhinged hippies protesting in trees like a bunch of Ewoks in Phish shirts? But the Media Matters Alinskyites have dispatched their army of flying monkeys to discredit the protests as mobs of Timothy Mcveighs. Huffington Post is gearing up their "investigative journalism" division to find the lone nut comparing Obama to Satan. And the ever on-point Andrew Sullivan had this to say:

These are not tea-parties. They are tea-tantrums. And the adolescent, unserious hysteria is a function not of a movement regrouping and refinding itself. It's a function of a movement's intellectual collapse and a party's fast-accelerating nervous breakdown.
With this much hand-wringing, something interesting is bound to happen. At the very least, I'll get to observe some skinny-jeaned hipsters mounting a counter-protest. Gay Patriot has a simple message as to the point of this whole thing:
In constrast to the Obama campaign, the “tea party” phenomenon is based on an idea, that of small government and personal freedom. As such, it could have greater staying power.
A more detailed explanation of the purpose can be found here. Schedules for your state are up here. Will post pics of wherever one I end up going...which is a function of who lets me crash on their couch that night.

10 April 2009

Inspirational Iraq Video Games

Alex Horton brings the funny with photoshopped Iraq-themed games. Who needs to spend $50 on a new PS3 game (or actually serving in the military) to get the Iraq experience when you have these.

Poll: 33% of Americans Under 30 Prefer Socialism over Capitalism

We Wants Gulags!

A new Rasmussen poll shows that our Republic is turning frighteningly pinko:
The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey found that 20% disagree and say socialism is better. Twenty-seven percent (27%) are not sure which is better.

Adults under 30 are essentially evenly divided: 37% prefer capitalism, 33% socialism, and 30% are undecided.
I blame the early 80s advocacy of communist plots masquerading as cartoon shows such as The Smurfs for warping impressionable minds. There's an interesting analysis at ePinion about Papa Smurf being Karl Marx while Brainy is met to symbolize Trotsky because he's always getting kicked out of the Smurf Village. If that sounds a bit too teh crazy for ya, then the negative view of capitalism probably has to do with the current economic malaise.

But, the federal government billions to failing banks who made poor financial decisions is hardly the "capitalism" that Adam Smith imagined and it certainly isn't the industrial revolution workers paradise that Marx imagined. So I don't know what "ism" to call the current crop of bullshit we are dealing with.

09 April 2009

The Twilight Phenomenon: Do We Need to Sedate Our High School Girls?

Not being a tweenaged girl, I admit to not having an extensive knowledge base about the highly acclaimed Twilight series. It apparently involves a very realistic tale about some handsome, neck-biting vampire who gets the hots for some dullard of a band geek. And most importantly in our purity-ring obsessed society, they don't bone! Needless to say, the book and movie has inspired endless YouTube tributes with horrendous indie-rock in the background, as well as some fan art that was most likely doodled during 3rd period Civics class.

But, it's not all fun and games as some of the kids "too cool" for Twilight have discovered. Ms. K sent me this io9 post involving flare guns:

Not with a gun but with a signaling rocket, today or yesterday actually (time zones) me and 3 friends (1 female 2 males) were talking about how much Twilight sucks ass and were bashing it. We were down by the fishing docks on the north strip of the island watching the fishermen unload their catch when apparently a twi-hard overheard us behind some shipping basins (for stowing fish). She apparently just got off her fathers boat, and had a whole bunch of equipment. Including a red Orion single shot/use hand-held rocket flare (you know those tubes that you are suppose to hit the bottom and the rocket flies out? anyways she overheard us talking and pulled out this flare, from her basket of stuff. The last thing I herd was the cap flying off the front. With a loud psshhh sound my friend yelped and dropped to the ground. The flre bounced off him and flew to the ground. We kicked the flare away, just then the parachute popped out and a bright red light nerly blinded all of us. Four fishermen ran over to help, one saw everything and restrained the twi-hard (who was kicking and screaming). My friends left arm was sizzling where the rocket moter had burned him (thankfully not the para-flare or it would have been much worse). One of the fishermen shoved all of us in his pickup truck and drove us to the local hospital where my friend is still unable to completely use his left arm. The girl is being held on $50,000 bail for attempted murder with a deadly weapon. We plan to go to court in a week with all of us as witnesses.
This type of nastiness is what happens when young people refuse to be accepting in the cold fate of reality and continue to be deluded by such idealizations of romance. Stephanie Meyer's next book should confront what usually happens to teens in such a lusty relationship. The woman ends up pushing around a baby carriage to her shift at the Dairy Queen while the man spends the money for the baby clothes' on a new spoiler for his 91 Accord. Why not further stamp out the so-called innocent teen years?

08 April 2009

Wacko Vets Storm Poli Sci 101 Classes at Penn State!

AllahPundit got tipped off about a strange video as part of the "Worrisome Student Behaviors: Minimizing Risk" web resources available to faculty at Penn State. The montage includes some meth'd out chick who screams at her professors, tips on how to find out who the crazed gunmen sitting in the back of the room is, and this crazy vet (video above) who warns his professor to give him a better grade "or else". It's totally hilarious, and about as fact-based as the 50s educational video on homosexuals touching young boys in the bathing suit area.

The real question is whether or not Penn State will still use this video as part of their faculty training after The Obama was welcomed with cheers by the military recently in Iraq.

Why YouTube was Invented (Kitsch 90s TV Does Metal)

Naw, YouTube's purpose is not to watch Sean Hannity getting chased by Paultards for the 70th time (although that shit is still funny). Here's why (thanks to my buddies in Chasn, SC):

Metal Head A.C. Slater. And don't forget AC Slayer for an extra.

TIME: Why the Hell Would the Commander-in-Chief Want to Visit Iraq?

You really have to wonder about the American media questioning why a Commander-in-Chief would want to visit the country in which we have been involved in a war for over 6 years. Sure, VIP visits to Iraq are a bag of dicks for the logistics folks, but boosting diplomacy, listening to Generals, riling up morale for the troops is pretty par for the course in what we should expect from the President. However, TIME appears to view the Obama presidency as one big permanent campaign and poo-poos this visit:

Surprise stops on presidential journeys became the norm during Bush era, with the U.S. engaged in two foreign wars — where the Commander in Chief could not be guaranteed satisfactory security if his intention to visit the troops was announced ahead of time. Still, Baghdad was the wrong choice for Obama. Iraq is Bush's war — or Bush's folly, depending on your point of view. Obama's main contribution to Iraq has been to criticize the war while on the campaign trail, and then to begin drawing down the U.S. troop presence as soon as he became President.
Uh, okay. No one is disputing that the OIF wasn't started by Bush, but does that mean Obama should just forget about it and not carry out his responsibilities? Fortunately, the President isn't that much of a dumbass.

This highlights the disconnect between American society and the fact that this is a time of war. When a long-running counter-insurgency/nation-building conflict is reduced to a campaign stop in the media, we shouldn't expect much public awareness of what's going on. MezzoSF emailed me that there's a new video game based on Fallujah 2004. Maybe that will raise consciousness...that or Obama bringing Kal Penn along on these overseas meet n' greets. That dude is fucking hilarious.