31 May 2009

Massive Cultural Empire...Not So Much

That is a picture from the Washington Post of Mark Apram, Baghdad's "most popular tattoo artist", who is proud to say "Anything American, I love it" (h/t Tom Bowler). Well, the Iron Maiden "Killers" shirt is British, but you get the idea. With this bold proclamation that didn't even involve throwing a show, you know he's not winning any friends in the American liberal community. The WaPo has an extensive article of how even though American forces are pulling out of cities, the cultural influence will have a lasting effect:

But the whispers may linger just as long -- the far quieter way in which two cultures that often found it difficult to share the same space intersected to reshape Iraq's language, culture and sensibility. From tattoos of Metallica to bellybutton piercings, from posters for a rap concert in Baghdad to stories parents tell their naughty children in Fallujah of the Americans coming to get them, the occupation has already left its mark.
The big benefit of cultural globalization is that the people have the freedom to choose how they live their life from a variety of trends rather than ones dictated by the state and religion. Reason had a huge article celebrating this phenomenon late last year. They've got metalheads in Iran, you can't go in a club in Southeast Asia right now without hearing "Poker Face", and even communist Laos has it's own Gangsta Rap outfit. Usually when you hear overeducated people talking about how America is "culturally imperialistic", it's because their culture of Segways, organic food, and self-righteous attitudes isn't the one being exported. Besides America is just a cultural stew of the rest of the world after all, who are we to judge what people can't pick and choose.

30 May 2009

It's the Economic Obacalypse, People!

Following up on his post about how Obama is making America more Euro, Professor Hanson talks about how reckless domestic spending by the Obama administration is going to cripple the country. From PJs:

Take the economy: the liberal attack on Bush as a reckless spender who increased the debt by $2 trillion is now replaced by ’stimulus’ groupies, who are silent about a staggering $9 trillion of Obama debt to come. Cannot the country, the media-anyone!-see that the amounts of borrowing are so gargantuan that we are talking about massive changes in the US economy and lifestyle? The size and inefficiency of the government will grow. We will have soon some sort of national sales taxes on top on state, local, and federal higher rates, the point being threefold: more recipients and distributors of entitlements mean larger liberal permanent constituents-an institutionalization of the welfare state. The debts are so large that it will require a redistribution of income through higher taxes. When a Paul Krugman writes seriously that California’s financial meltdown (9% sales, 10% income taxes) is due to too low taxation (as hundreds of thousands of overtaxed skilled professionals flee the state), then one can see how the power of ideology in the present age so easily trumps empiricism. Three, the debts will end American exceptionalism abroad, and severely curtail our options. In other words, we are seeing the much waited for multilateralism-but by financial default! What depresses is the fact that debt is now being used as a political tool-to reconstitute American culture and society, both at home and abroad.
What a pisser! The collapse of America isn't even going to be something cool like a zombie invasion or a superflu, but excessive government spending brought on by the decline of the real-estate market. No one wants to read a book about that.

27 May 2009

DC Elites To Get Reality Show To Further Their Self-Importance

Seeing how the President has embraced the celebrity scene of yuk-yuk jokes on late night TV and commemorating himself in coronation-style ceremonies, it's only fitting that the "look-at-me!" culture trickles down to the parasite class in DC. While they aren't busy figuring out new and improved ways to fuck over and fuck up the rest of America, DC lawmakers are going to be filmed in a new series of reality shows. Politico explains:

To be sure, the nation's capital certainly has some of the key ingredients of a hit realty series. Insiders note that "great personalities and an interesting story" are essential to successful reality show. By that measure, Washington is a perfect fit.

And in a town with as many egos as Washington, finding a cast might not be such an impossible task. After all, participating in a realty show has one big upside: exposure.
Your tax dollars at work.

President Obvious Realizes Diplomacy With a Psychopathic Despot Might Not Work

With North Korea testing nukes and short range missiles, as well as threatening a military strike against South Korea, the President is comprehending that the "Strongly worded UN Resolution" with all bite and no bark might not be the way to go. From Bloomberg:

In Washington, State Department spokesman Ian Kelly said yesterday that the U.S. wants North Korea to “pay a price” for its “reckless behavior.” The U.S. is working within the UN Security Council to toughen sanctions on Kim’s regime. Defense Secretary Robert Gates, due in Singapore later in the week for a regional conference, will confer with his Japanese and South Korean counterparts on the North Korean threat.
SECSTATE Clinton is certainly swinging more to the "stick" approach, and even Japan is talking about drawing up plans for a preemptive strike.

Al-Jazeera talks about what motivates the most oppressive and delusional regime in the modern world:
But that is not all North Korea wants - it also wants to survive.

North Korea's leaders and its most senior military commanders have too much at stake to risk the collapse of the secretive, highly militarised, and deeply paranoid state over which they rule.

North Korea is a country built on illusion, lies, half truths and propaganda - reality comes a long way down the list.

But that does not mean it is not a danger.

The more belligerent it becomes, the more agreements it scraps, the more talks it walks away from, the less likely it is that the process of peaceful disarmament remains an option.
Sort of like the white trash guy at the end of the block who can't feed his own kids but always has the most impressive fireworks on July 4th.

26 May 2009

45.8T Funding Gap in Social Security/Medicare a Phony Crisis?

Social Security Money Well Spent

Robert Samuelson cites some pretty depressing figures on our country's bloated entitlement system that are sending us on the course to serfdom. From WaPo:
That the programs will ultimately go bankrupt is clear from the trustees' reports. On Pages 201 and 202 of the Medicare report, you will find the conclusive arithmetic: Over the next 75 years, Social Security and Medicare will cost an estimated $103.2 trillion, while dedicated taxes and premiums will total only $57.4 trillion. The gap is $45.8 trillion. (All figures are converted to "today's dollars.")
Gulp. The Logan's Run scenario is starting to look less and less like science fiction. But here comes HuffPo with a nasty attack piece about how this looming economic apocalypse, which no politician will touch, is actually something cooked up the Reich-wing!
This so-called crisis is phony, phony, phony. Really, it can't be said enough. America must care for its workers, and not for the private industry that wouldn't even exist without the hard work of retired Americans.
Note that this is the same Huffpo blogger who had a total wiff when she criticized John Bolton for predicting that North Korea was going to bring teh crazy and start testing nukes...which they did a few days later (h/t Legal Insurrection). How long are we going to have people (particularly Baby Boomers) play this Hear No Evil bullshit instead of listening to economic facts because they plan to spend their octogenarian years sucking off the government teet? Even the President knows this monstrosity is going to be trouble ahead, and he's not exactly Mr. Fiscal Conservative.

25 May 2009

Unsurprising Gallup Poll Shows Military/Vets Mostly Republicans

The Pentagon tends to shy away from this type of polling, since keeping the military apolitical in the public's eye has been US policy ever since the days of the George Washington administration. But, up until now the only thing connecting the dots between military members voting Republican was an unscientific Military Times poll and a lot of empirical evidence garnered from gabbing it up with others in uniform. But, Gallup has released the results of an extensive poll involving 138,000 interviews of veterans, who they define as anyone who is serving on active-duty or who has ever been in the service.

Here's the breakdown by age:
Although the GOP has been sucking ass lately, they still have a lock on those in uniform, even with those youngsters who are supposedly all Obamatrons. Gallup provides a very thorough analysis, but even a bonehead could probably understand the logic that 1) The GOP has tried for decades to brand itself as the party of national security, and 2) People in the military probably give a shit about national security.

Not to say that you can't be a non-Republican in the military, but it seems to attract people with a more conservative outlook on life, just as something journalism or teaching tends to attract folks with a liberal outlook on life. Just the way it is.

Happy Memorial Weekend Sale At The Mattress Barn Day!!!

Realizing that I'm out of the country trying to find various combinations of Thai food that don't give me the shits, I figured I had to do something for Memorial Day besides a half-assed blog post. So I headed out towards the Burmese border and visited the infamous Thailand-Burma railway. Here's the most famous span (which has been rebuilt) known as the Bridge on the River Kwai.

During WWII, the Japanese used forced labor of enslaved Asians and Allied POWs in its construction in what were the most brutal methods since the Pyramids were built. From the Wiki:

About 180,000 Asian labourers and 60,000 Allied prisoners of war (POWs) worked on the railway. Of these, around 90,000 Asian labourers and 16,000 Allied POWs died as a direct result of the project. The dead POWs included 6,318 British personnel, 2,815 Australians, 2,490 Dutch, about 356 Americans and a smaller number of Canadians.
Nearby is the Kanchanaburi War Cemetery which is the resting place for many who died, and I was surprised to see that, unlike Arlington, many of the headstones had personal inscriptions. I thought this one was worth sharing.

I wonder if the people working under these miserable conditions could've predicted that the Allies would prevail and Japan would morph from psychopathic imperial power to one of the strongest economies and most stable societies in the modern world. It's strange how history works, but these men didn't have the luxury of seeing it pan out for the better.

Here's some other bloggers with Memorial Day posts:
And since Flopping Aces is going with the Gettysburg theme, here's the Battle of Little Round Top sequence, be sure to check it at 1:25 for a classic line:

24 May 2009

RNC Goes 0-2 With Two No-Good, Terrible Ads

Normally, I profess to having a huge mancrush on RNC Chairman Michael Steele, because he gives a shit about getting the party on the fiscal conservative/socially libertarian bandwagon. But one really has to question the effectiveness of the two latest ads they've been pushing.

The first one implies that Democrat hand-wringing over Gitmo is going to get us all nuked by utilizing the infamous 1964 Daisy Ad. It was run by the LBJ campaign in which Goldwater described as using "every dirty trick in the bag". But the original Daisy Ad was designed to characterize Goldwater as a militant lunatic who was going to lob nukes left and right, so is that what the RNC wants to portray the Dems as? Or, is the RNC making an ironic reference that no under the age of 80 is going to understand...uh, what are we doing.

The next ad shows Pelosi as some campy early 60s Bond babe. Predictably, the left has leveled charges of sexism, which Legal Insurrection points out seems to be a new-found moral outrage among some bloggers. But the real reason the video sucks is because it's a fucking geezerly cultural reference (we're talking the pre-Easy Rider dark ages of cinema here). At least portraying Adam West using the shark repellent on a photoshopped Pelosi would have had some kitsch value. Plus, if they were going with old movies and weren't afraid to piss off the Vagina Monologues set, they should have used the crazy, botoxed mother-figure from Brazil, which is an eerie resemblance.

23 May 2009

Is Obama Turning Us Euro?

(From the Famous Website Gay? or Eurotrash?)

Victor Davis Hanson has an interesting read at PJs about how Obama is turning America into some lame, over-regulated nanny-state like our cousins across the pond, and we don't even have millenia of artsy civilization and a Love Parade to fall back on. From Pajamas Media:
What worries me about Obama is not the specifics of the nationalization of GM and Chrysler, the government rescue of the United Auto Workers, the effort to take over college financing, proposed universal health care, massive deficits and tax increases, although they are worrisome and only the beginning, but the attendant culture of ‘inflate your tires’ and ‘wash your hands’ paternalism. I think we are entering an age in which the federal government will increasingly guide our thoughts into what is deemed correct-the sort of car we must drive, the type of salary we should make, the sort of job we should have, even the type of thoughts we are to express, and all in the name of collective brotherhood.
Some esteemed European commenters say they appreciate the way things are set up over there. But, you only need to look to the failures of our nation's biggest state for an explanation of why big government spending is disastrous in America. Frankly, American society seems to be degenerating from one that had valued innovation and individual achievement into a society of "Dude, where's my unemployment check?" Nothing showed that decline more than the results of the recent election of the Obama administration with its promises of government goodies for the middle class. Sure, we still have our guaranteed personal freedoms, but even those are being encroached upon for the "greater good" on all fronts.

Hell, if Professor Hanson wants to see progress, he only needs to come to Asia. I see all sorts of cranes perched over Bangkok, and Thailand is supposedly the country that can never get its shit together. I would visit the fast-growing and modernizing countries of China and India, but it might be too depressing to have that moment where I realize that my own country is on the outs of history.

Obama Bails Out Overspending Boobs Who Helped Ruin the Economy

It was bad enough Obama threw a $75B lifeline to the numbskulls that decided to buy a second home in the Phoenix suburbs so they could wind down the clock playing golf on their Social Security checks. Now the taxpayers are on the hook for the putzes that racked up massive credit card bills putting pinstripes and spoilers on their Honda Accords. From ABC:

In a late afternoon Rose Garden ceremony, President Obama signed the “Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act,” or credit card bill of rights, and said card holders and card companies need to act responsibly when it comes to taking on and managing debt.

“We're not going to give people a free pass, and we expect consumers to live within their means and pay what they owe, but we also expect financial institutions to act with the same sense of responsibility that the American people aspire to in their own lives,” he said.

The legislation passed Congress this week with overwhelming bipartisan support, a response to the groundswell of frustration nationwide at the confusing and perhaps deceptive rate hikes and fees levied by credit card companies for the slightest late payment or no reason at all.
So Obama has come in on his unicorn to rescue these over-consuming buffoons from fees levied by the credit card companies. People like to say that credit cards are usurious, well no shit. Maybe if people stopped spending like there was no tomorrow they wouldn't be able to get away with these Shylock-like credit rates. And we sit around and wondering why the dollar is going to hell and we're about to lose our AAA rating when no one from the government on down to the average citizen has any sort of financial responsibility.

Proposed Cap and Trade Actually a Big Corporate Welfare Program

I know it's difficult to get upset about the collusion between corporations and the federal government after TARPapalooza, but the ever-reliable Reason directs our attention to a WSJ Op-Ed about massive corruption in the way in which Cap and Trade might be implemented. Despite Waxman not bothering to read the bill named after him, the Waxman-Markley Bill to radically alter policy is out of the Energy and Commerce Committe and up to Congress. The bill will give free CO2 emissions to influential corporations, which a CBO report from 2007 indicates would pass the cost along disproportionately to lower-income families. Too bad Joe Six Pack doesn't have a swanky office on K Street.

Bjorn Lomborg looks at who will benefit and who will not [WSJ]:

Naturally, many CEOs are genuinely concerned about global warming. But many of the most vocal stand to profit from carbon regulations. The term used by economists for their behavior is "rent-seeking."

The world's largest wind-turbine manufacturer, Copenhagen Climate Council member Vestas, urges governments to invest heavily in the wind market. It sponsors CNN's "Climate in Peril" segment, increasing support for policies that would increase Vestas's earnings. A fellow council member, Mr. Gore's green investment firm Generation Investment Management, warns of a significant risk to the U.S. economy unless a price is quickly placed on carbon.

Even companies that are not heavily engaged in green business stand to gain. European energy companies made tens of billions of euros in the first years of the European Trading System when they received free carbon emission allocations.
Great, so the swinging dicks in our society will become energy-trading CEOs with Enron-like ties to Washington, that asshole who invented the Segway, and Al Gore, while the rest of us have to scrounge around like Gypsies looking for heating oil. At this rate, a Lenin-style workers revolution ain't sounding like such a bad idea.

22 May 2009

Obama Names Bill Gates Head of the DoD

Much to the shock of the entire country, Obama has replaced SECDEF Robert Gates with former CEO of Microsoft Bill Gates. Thanks to JammieWearingFool for breaking the video of the speech of this shocking news.

In case you didn't know, William Gates III is the lovable nerd who survived numerous pantsings in high school to drop out of Harvard and start Microsoft. He became one of the most charitable people on the planet as well as one of the richest. Now he will be supervising all the US Armed Forces, the conduct of two counter-insurgency operations, and a controversial budget battle. Of course, Bill Gates would probably do a better job than Robert Gates' predecessor.

Chinese Bureaunerds Shut Down Sex-Themed Park

Since China is coming up on its 20-year anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre, it should heed the true test of a free society, which is allowing a saucy sex-themed park to open to the public. Unfortunately, Chinese officials have decided to nix plans for the deliciously raunchy "Love Land" in Chongqing. From The Guardian (h/t Weird Asia News):

Developers billed the attraction in Chongqing as tasteful and socially beneficial. But senior officials conducted an emergency tour of Love Land last weekend after it attracted worldwide publicity, state media reported today.

"The investigation determined the park's content was vulgar and that it was neither healthy nor educational. It had had an evil influence on society and had to be torn down immediately," a municipal publicity official told the Global Times newspaper.

She added that the owners of the attraction were "interested only in profiting from sensationalism".
The decision to kill Love Land may have not had to do with moral outrage but rather economic growth, because the sex biz in nearby Thailand has been in trouble along with the rest of the tourist industry. Perhaps China will resort to alternate tourist attractions to bring in foreigner money like "Whack a Tibetan Monk Land" or the "Sell Your Kidneys Adventure Park".

17 May 2009

Out-of-Office Reply (Isan Edition)

Heading to Northeastern Thailand for a few days to see the countryside and hopefully be an extra in this music video. Internet is always a bit spotty up there, so don't think I'm a dick for blowing you off


Gov. Palin Continues Her Foray Into Serious Schnoozer Issues


Have you been following the latest controversial outrage about how the Prez is giving a commencement speech at some university?!? Uh, me neither. But, just so you know, it has something to do with fetus-vacuuming and how pro-choice perverts are infesting our Catholic institutions. If you are anxious, Fox News has been covering it with as much frequency as a missing white girl in a tutu.

With loose nukes in Pakistan and a bullshit worldwide economy, it may be prudent to blow off the abortion issue in order of political importance between the color theme on Obama's Blackberry and who will be appointed Assistant Postmaster General. But, Sarah Palin comes out of hiding in Alaska with a zinger at Obama. From Boston Herald:
“My favorite grandpa, Clem James Sheeran, was Catholic. Irish to the core, his favorite place (other than church) was Notre Dame. I can’t imagine what he would think as the university recognizes someone who contradicts the core values of the Catholic faith by promoting an anti-life agenda. As we learned today, our nation is more pro-life than ever before; it is a very important time to strengthen the message that every baby is created for good purpose and has the potential to make this world a better place.”
She's really stressing those "conservative values" that wooed the religious right 30 years ago but have sent young people running for the hills ever since. This is after her knocked-up daughter suddenly became an abstinence advocate and she jumped on the anti-gay marriage bandwagon. Is this narrow-minded mentality of popping up with drive-by commentary on wedge issues capable of propelling the GOP to a win in 2012? The SarahPac website doesn't offer any specifics.

Maybe it's time to resurrect a Goldwater quote on the religious Right:
I'm frankly sick and tired of the political preachers across this country telling me as a citizen that if I want to be a moral person, I must believe in 'A,' 'B,' 'C,' and 'D.' Just who do they think they are? And from where do they presume to claim the right to dictate their moral beliefs to me?

15 May 2009

Sweet: Stimulus Sparks War with Canada

Protectionist tariffs may have been the talk of the town 100 years ago when industrialized nations were intentionally dumping their extra leather Bluchers or whatever, but unless you're Pat Buchanan, you probably comprehend the benefits of free trade in the 21st century. That's why the "Buy American" clause finagled into the stimulus was called a really lousy idea by various economists and our allies, and it was certain to spark a trade war.

But now that the "Obama Bucks" from the stimulus are working their way down to municiplaities, Canadian businesses are pissed that they're getting the cold shoulder. From WaPo:

Outrage spread in Canada, with the Toronto Star last week bemoaning "a plague of protectionist measures in the U.S." and Canadian companies openly fretting about having to shift jobs to the United States to meet made-in-the-USA requirements. This week, the Canadians fired back. A number of Ontario towns, with a collective population of nearly 500,000, retaliated with measures effectively barring U.S. companies from their municipal contracts -- the first shot in a larger campaign that could shut U.S. companies out of billions of dollars worth of Canadian projects.
Great. Legions of people donning hockey masks and Rush shirts are going to give us an ass-whooping, eh. What is most disconcerting is that Obama knew this animosity was coming, but let it pan out anyways. Just as he knew the country would be under crippling debt, but went ahead with most crass spending ever to give the American people all the shiny new unicorns he promised.

Nutty IVAW Guy Actually a Real Crazy Person

Well, this is certainly a slap in the face to the far-left who loves exploiting "dissenting" voices from the veteran community for their own political purposes. Apparently, one of IVAW's big spokesman was actually an former mental patient from Colorado.

This Ain't Hell has the full story

TSO gigs VoteVets, since the guy had a couple of diaries at VetVoice, but I wouldn't say he was deeply enmeshed with the organization.

13 May 2009

Soda Tax On Working Americans Proposed To Fund Health Care

Is there anyone out there that still wants to defend Obama's promise of "no family making less than $250,000 a year will see any form of tax increase". First there was the tax on cigarettes (62 cents/pack) to fund S-Chip, and now a federal tax on pop is in the works under the guise of making America less lardassish and to fund the outlandishly expensive health care reform. From WSJ:

On Tuesday, the Senate Finance Committee is set to hear proposals from about a dozen experts about how to pay for the comprehensive health-care overhaul that President Barack Obama wants to enact this year. Early estimates put the cost of the plan at around $1.2 trillion. The administration has so far only earmarked funds for about half of that amount.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest, a Washington-based watchdog group that pressures food companies to make healthier products, plans to propose a federal excise tax on soda, certain fruit drinks, energy drinks, sports drinks and ready-to-drink teas. It would not include most diet beverages. Excise taxes are levied on goods and manufacturers typically pass them on to consumers.
Too bad Pepsi's new PR campaign to alter their logo to a "Yes, We Can!" motif didn't win any hearts and minds with the political class. Perhaps if Washington spent less time concocting new schemes to tax working Americans and more time figuring out how to not send dead people social security checks, they'd save some money.

Democrats Can't Stand Up To Their Own Polarizing Rhetoric on Torture

Feed Me Abu Ghraib Pics, Seymour

After years of congressional Democrats whipping up "Impeach BushCheneyHalliburton" rhetoric amongst the far-left base, they suddenly don't feel so comfortable discussing their involvement with EITs. Nancy Pelosi has tried to save her own tits and ass by saying she was briefed on EITs, but didn't know they were going to be used. Sensing that the argument was extremely shoddy, the Dems have revised their defensive strategy to just go for "The CIA is out to get us!". From Politico:
Dems, including Sens. Dick Durbin, Dianne Feinstein and Carl Levin, charge that the CIA has released documents about congressional briefings on waterboarding in order to deflect blame away from itself.
Photo: AP

Democrats charged Tuesday that the CIA has released documents about congressional briefings on harsh interrogation techniques in order to deflect attention and blame away from itself.

“I think there is so much embarrassment in some quarters [of the CIA] that people are going to try to shift some of the responsibility to others — that’s what I think,” said Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), who sat on the Senate Intelligence Committee and was briefed on interrogation techniques five times between 2006 and 2007.
These are the same people who for years under Bush tried to convince the beret-wearing wing of the Democrats that waterboarding three terrorists was equivalent to The Holocaust. Now they back down when their own feet are in the fire. You created this mess, you fucking deal with it.

12 May 2009

William Shatner is Pissed Trek Writers Couldn't Think of Way to Get William Shatner in New Movie

If you haven't seen the new Star Trek, go see it. Great fuckin' flick. But one of the big disappointments is that it is sans Shatner. The writers are trying to offer up lame justifications for their crimes against the movie-going public. From MTV:

"The entire ending of the movie, where you're seeing young Kirk being promoted," Orci added, "all that was going to be [played out with Shatner's] voice-over."

Ultimately, the Shatner ending of "Star Trek" was abandoned for a whole variety of reasons. "Whereas our elder Spock had a very organic reason to be there, we didn't have that same benefit with Kirk," Kurtzman explained. "Because Kirk died in the movies — he died in canon — it was very hard to come up with a way to bring him back in the movie that didn't feel contrived."

"Ultimately, we decided internally that we were split," Orci remembered of the decision to abandon the Shatner ending. "The decision was that it wasn't quite enough to justify wasting his time."
With all due respect, how is it possible to waste Shatner's time. The guy has done a movie entirely in Esperanto, the horrendous sequel to Airplane, and has a lounge-singing career. So the "Wasting Shatner's time" excuse is as lame as "You won't get preggers your first time".

Shatner responds on YouTube (yup, he has his own channel) that he never got asked to appear in the movie. How can anyone, anywhere disrespect Shatner?

General McKiernan Gets the Boot

Huh. Didn't really see that one coming. It wasn't like when that jackass Admiral Fallon got shit-canned after a controversial Esquire article proved his douchery. But, the senior commander in Afghanistan has been relieved of his duties by SECDEF Gates. WaPo quotes anonymous senior officers saying he did his best with the bag of dicks known as Operation Enduring Freedom:

Sympathy ran high for McKiernan among Army officers because, they said, the relative shortage of U.S. troops in Afghanistan had tied his hands in combating a deepening insurgency.

McKiernan "was running a very under-resourced theater and doing as well as anyone could expect," said one senior officer. This officer and others would discuss their views only on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak for the record.
Afghanistan vet Old Blue pays his respect as well. At least no one can say that senior officers aren't held accountable when the shit hits the fan.

09 May 2009

If Liberals Are Spock, I Guess Conservatives Are Kirk

Saw the new Trek last night and it was excellent. Despite what the trailers lead you to believe, it's not just some tawdry action porn and it actually has quite a bit of good dialogue. My only complaint is that one of my favorite actors, Jon Cho, didn't have a big enough part and my Dad was upset that none of the fight scenes had the classic music from the series.

Anyways, a full-on nerd war has been sparked by lefty pundits who seem to be closeted Trekkies. Because of his mixed-race, application of logic, and general awesomeness, the new meme is that Obama is Spock. Newsweek, Politico, and Huffington Post have all stated this, and Salon has the most detailed support of this argument:

Obama, like Spock, rewards close listening. His cool logic is a real departure from what we've grown used to. Often presidential speechmaking is an emotive art, where oratory trumps reason. What was being said was often confused with how it was being said. We could watch Ronald Reagan with the sound off, and get a pretty good sense of how we were supposed to feel. Bill Clinton's richly accented arias lulled us, while reactions to the appearances of George W. Bush -- pro or con -- were driven less by analysis than by a limbic, visceral response.
I suppose by default, this would imply that the fightin', drinkin', emotionally-charged Captain Kirk is a cultural representation of modern conservativesm. What a perfect time to re-run some hilarious motivators!

On Diplomacy in the age of Extremism

On Military Acquisitions

And On Self-Confidence (despite recent electoral setbacks)

WH Military Affairs Directors Sacrifices Himself Over NYC Scare

Welp that didn't take long. One minute your planning the most awesomest photo-op evah of The One's flying chariot and the next thing you know you're out on your ass. Check out the final boot-lick the White House Military Affairs Director gives before he gets escorted out by security. From Political Punch:

A senior administration official tells ABC News that as part of the White House report investigating the April 27 Air Force One flyover of Manhattan, White House Military Office director Louis Caldera has submitted his letter of resignation and President Obama has accepted.

In a letter dated May 8, Caldera writes that "I have concluded that the controversy surrounding the Presidential Airlift Group's aerial photo shoot over New York City has made it impossible for me to effectively lead the White House Military Office. Moreover, it has become a distraction to the important work you are doing as President. After much reflection, I believe it is incumbent on me to tender my resignation and step down as Director of the White House Military Office."
Don't expect Obama to take any responsibility for this blunder. Senior Obama officials have a way of chucking their staff under the proverbial bus when it suits them politically.

Scumbag NY Fed Chairman Resigns

Wow! Who would've thought that billions in no-accountability funny money being dished out to Wall Street banks would produce any corruption? The NY Fed Chairman (who also has large ownership in Goldman and was a former senior partner) continued to buy shares in Goldman Sachs even though the NY Fed is supposed to be regulating the company. After being asked a few questions by the media, he abruptly resigned. From CNN:

The chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York resigned Thursday, days after coming under attack for his continuing involvement in a company regulated by the institution.

Stephen Friedman received a waiver to remain on the board of Goldman Sachs (GS, Fortune 500), the Wall Street firm that became a bank holding company amid September's financial frenzy, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal on Monday. He also holds a substantial amount of shares in the company and continued to buy more even after Goldman came under the Fed's supervision.

It should also be noted that Bush's Treasury Secretary (Paulson) was once the CEO of Goldman Sachs, Obama's economic adviser (Summers) received 6-figure speaking engagements from Goldman Sachs, and Obama's Treasury Secretary (Tax Cheat Geithner) helped push the AIG bailout which benefited Goldman Sachs. It's obvious to the most casual observer that there's a good ole boy network going on here, and the cronyism is comical. I'm half expecting Boss Hogg to take over as the new Chief Financial Officer of this plutocratic company.

For those interested in the collusion between the banks and Washington and are in the Ron Paul wing of politics, I highly recommend Alex Jones' The Obama Deception. I know the guy is a bit of a conspiracy nut and once threatened Michelle Malkin for no reason. But, the links in the documentary between DC and the banks are somewhat interesting, just skip over the crazytown shit about the Bilderberg group.

Army Officer Gets Booted For Being Too Gay

Call me crazy, but with Pakistan raging out of control and the Taliban fighting season ramping up in Afghanistan, now is not the time to be kicking out experienced officers like Lt. Choi. If The Sniper and Uncle Jimbo can get onboard with ending DADT, I bet you can too.

And the Award for Freest State in the Union Goes To...

...New Hampshuh!

Their license plate slogan is no joke, because New Hampshire got ranked the #1 state for freedom by a recent George Mason University study. From Newsmax:
The study, which calls itself the “first-ever comprehensive ranking of the American states on their public policies affecting individual freedoms in the economic, social, and personal spheres,” made a host of findings:

-The freest states in the country are New Hampshire, Colorado, and South Dakota, which together achieve a virtual tie for first place. All three states feature low taxes and government spending -- and middling levels of regulation and paternalism.

-New York is the least overall free by a considerable margin, followed by New Jersey, Rhode Island, California, and Maryland.
Full text of the study, which was based on economic, social, educational, and personal freedoms. I was rather surprised that Nevada didn't rank higher, because a similar Reason study last year put Las Vegas as the #1 freest city. The George Mason study also points out that bluer states might be more concerned with Abu Zubaydah's civil liberties, but fall short with their own citizens by over-regulating everything from homeschooling to seat belt laws to taxes on cigarettes. I can attest that it's harder to find a place to buy beer in Maryland (ranking a Stalinesque #47 for freedom) than at a Mormon singles ward.

The small state of New Hampshire has produced everything from true fiscal conservative Senator Judd Gregg to punk rock madman GG Allin. So who else would you expect to be #1?
Straight Outta Lancaster, NH You Scum Fucks

08 May 2009

Pelosi Actually Quite Knowledgeable About Water Boarding


Obama Administration Continues to Brow-beat the Media Into Submission

Baghdad Bob and Bob Gibbs, Separated at Birth? (courtesy Free Republic)

How hard a concept is it to grasp that public officials have a responsibility to answer questions from the media and not manipulate it to their own ends like some Ba'athist mouthpiece? The US Military understands this, most law enforcement institutions understand this, and dare I say congress might even understand this. But the Obama administration, ever in permanent campaign mode, seems obsessed with getting the media to heap praise upon them and not dare criticize The One's decisions. It's not like the White House press corps has been very critical in the first 100 days, but the President is unsatisfied that every front page article doesn't read like a press release.

Fox News recently got shut out of a Q&A session with the White House because they didn't broadcast the damn thing. Robert Gibbs started heckling NBC today when a straight-forward question from Chuck Todd was asked about Obama's sorry attempt at fiscal restraint. And now, Obama is just going straight to the reporters to tell them how to phrase his monstrous budget. From CBS:
In his remarks today, the president sought to change that tenor of that coverage. He mocked the notion that smaller savings are considered "trivial" in Washington and stressed that "these savings, large and small, add up."

And he told journalists directly that they should stress the fact that the cuts are "significant" – a surprisingly direct appeal to reporters concerning which angle they should take in their coverage.

"It is important, though, for all of you, as you're writing up these stories, to recognize that $17 billion taken out of our discretionary, non-defense budget, as well as portions of our defense budget, are significant," he said. "They mean something." (Here's the White House report on the cuts.)
And you thought the term "Banana Republic" was just some right-wing meme, mwahaha.

Meghan McCain Graces Us With A Sex-Ed Lesson

Oh Noes! It's 7th-grade Health Class All Over Again

I understand that Meghan McCain is doing her darnedest to shed the social conservatism from the GOP brand (as a social liberal, I guess I respect that), but her latest at The Daily Beast that Republicans just don't understand humping is odd. Seems like her strategy of introducing silly characterizations of GOP and attempting to debunk it is just lazy writing.

She first talks about the abstinence in schools debate, which hasn't been a big issue for quite some time and was mostly concerning how children are taught sex-ed, then goes on to say that Republican women have a nasty stereotype that they are all prudes. Huh? From The Daily Beast:
Perhaps the worst sexual double standard in politics right now is that too many subconsciously believe Republican women are void of sexual desire altogether, never mind its consequences. A friend of mine, whose father is also a conservative politician, used to joke it would be easier for her be a lesbian because then there would be no risk of getting pregnant and having a resulting scandal.

I have always found this joke incredibly sad—for both of us. Because the GOP continues to struggle with open communication about serious issues most people deal with rationally, and on a regular basis. Unless we learn how to integrate that kind of discussion, our party will continue its descent into irrelevance.
So Ms. McCain wants the GOP to have frank discussions about getting it on lest they be cast as the uncool virgin party. With the exception of safe sex promotion to combat the public health crisis of AIDS, it's hard to understand why anyone, anywhere, would want creepy suits in DC educating the rest of us on Kama Sutra positions.

This represents a disturbing trend of political parties getting involved in everyone's personal life. I guess with Obama in charge, the sky is the limit for new rules and restrictions. If you don't believe in pre-marital sex and don't want to talk about, that your thing, and who are the rest of us to judge. Just do everybody a favor and stay out of bars at closing time, because you're messing up the ratio!

Penny-Pinching Obama Offers Up a 0.5% Savings To Monstrous Federal Budget

The Prez held a press conference today outlining cutting federal spending on wasteful programs to a tune of $17 Billion. Sure that sounds like a lot of cash, but it ain't much when you're dealing with $3.5T budget. As an analogy, it'd be like if you were $150,000 in the hole to angry Chinese mobsters, living on $1000/week, and decided it was time to cut back on your Saturday morning bagel with cream cheese and lox. From Political Punch:

The president laid out a number of examples of the more than 100 programs that will face cuts or termination, saying that many of them were outdated or ineffective.

The $17 billion in cuts add up to roughly one half of one percent of the $3.55 trillion budget. Still, the president said the savings are significant.

"These savings, large and small, add up. The 121 budget cuts we are announcing today will save taxpayers nearly $17 billion next year alone. That’s a lot of money, even by Washington standards," he said.
The real problem with the budget is that entitlement spending (Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid) is out of control, rife with fraud, and will only get worse as the boomers approach geezerdom. In Obama's defense, it's difficult to have the political capital to take on these leviathans, because no politician has the mojo. If Jesus himself came down to become Messiah-in-Chief of America, he probably wouldn't be able to cut back on Social Security without fear of an AARP smear campaign.

When America is reduced to ashes being crushed by its exorbitant debt, remember that Democracy has it's own pitfalls as people tend to vote "What's in it For Me?" instead of any long-term viable strategy for the republic.

TIME Takes Aim and Proclaims Death of the GOP

You just can't read a major publication without hearing about the GOP being in the shits. TIME has a pretty extensive article putting another nail in the coffin and it's filled with ridiculous stereotypes about anyone not agreeing with Obama's fiscal policy being a brain-dead rube. Check out some of this innuendo:

As the party has shrunk to its base, it has catered even more to its base's biases, insisting that the New Deal made the Depression worse, carbon emissions are fine for the environment and tax cuts actually boost revenues — even though the vast majority of historians, scientists and economists disagree. The RNC is about to vote on a kindergartenish resolution to change the name of its opponent to the Democrat Socialist Party. This plays well with hard-core culture warriors and tea-party activists convinced that a dictator-President is plotting to seize their guns, choose their doctors and put ACORN in charge of the Census, but it ultimately produces even more shrinkage, which gives the base even more influence — and the death spiral continues. "We're excluding the young, minorities, environmentalists, pro-choice — the list goes on," says Olympia Snowe of Maine, one of two moderate Republicans left in the Senate after Specter's switch. "Ideological purity is not the ticket to the promised land."
It's obvious that the GOP is in trouble because Bush was an unpopular president and Obama remains high on the cool-kid scale. So, I'm not sure why journalists feel it necessary to perpetuate dumb superstitions about conservatives being secretive Klansmen jerking off to Guns & Ammo. They must be going in for the kill.

Faithfully written from a bunker in my militia compound,

07 May 2009

Congressman Wants To Ban Boner Ads Before 10pm

With the Stimulapalooza getting congressmen all the pork they needed for the fiscal year, it must be a slow season on Capitol Hill. Because, the tedious task of legislation has become fixated on the wang. From CNN:

Last month, Democratic Rep. Jim Moran introduced the "Families for ED Advertising Decency Act," which prevents erectile dysfunction and male enhancement ads from appearing on radio and television between the hours of 6 a.m. and 10 p.m.

"This [the advertisements] is an intrusion into our daily lives that I believe has become inappropriate." Moran said in an interview with CNN. "There is a saturation of the television airwaves with these E.D. ads, and they have gotten more pervasive, more blunt, and less subtle."
Text of the bill is here. No one likes to hear any direct reference to old people fuckin', but that's why the good Lord invented the remote control to mute these commercials requiring a thorough eye-washing upon viewing.

Of course the congressman's name is "Moran", which shows that politics is one ongoing joke designed to ruin America and all we can do is blog about it.

Edwards Speechwriter Wonders Why There Aren't More Poverty Pimps in Politics

Is their anyone who doubts that John Edwards was nothing more than a sleazy, ambulance-chasing, political opportunist (who is now under federal investigation)? Wendy Button, last spotted defecting to the McCain/Palin campaign over her own disillusionment, seems to think that we need more like him, at least in ideas as opposed to morals. From Politico:

Until that detail is clarified, it is difficult for him to speak about poverty with any authority — and that is a very sad thing. Just a couple of weeks ago, in the middle of this book hoopla, John reached out to me to brainstorm about things he wanted to do for the poor. And we did; he truly cares about the issue. But where John was once part of the solution, right now, he and the story his wife is bringing back are a distraction.

Columnist Michael Goodwin writes that Edwards is “the phoniest man in American politics.” "The View’s" Joy Behar calls him “a dog.” And as the other critics hurl their insults, people forget that John was right about shining a bright light on the poor in this country.

Because here’s the real moral shame with this story: It has been nine months since Edwards put down his megaphone, and no one has picked it up.
I actually have a lot of sympathy for Wendy Button, because she seems like an idealist who actually gives a shit in wanting to eradicate poverty. But where do you draw the line in the progressive movement between genuine humanitarianism and low-life politicians fattening their coffers and skeezy lawyers running Mesothelioma ads on Oprah drumming up support for a class-action suit?

Detroit is one formerly-great city that has been led for decades by an entire group of John Edwards types campaigning on eradicating poverty, and the place is still royally fucked (sidenote: Pro-Business and ex-Piston Dave Bing won election as the mayor yesterday and maybe he can change things). That's probably why I strongly support non-profits doing the work of poverty eradication, but not politicians who seem to have a vested interest in keeping voting blocs pathetically dependent on government handouts as a way to stay in power.

New Democrat Sponsored Bill To Kill Blogging

In response to the worst person on the internet (Lori Drew) who used MySpace to get a 13-year old to kill herself, Linda Sanchez (D-CA) is introducing a bill to outlaw provocative internet ramblings with a whole slew of unintended consequences. Law Professor Volokh gives one such example:

I try to coerce a politician into voting a particular way, by repeatedly blogging (using a hostile tone) about what a hypocrite / campaign promise breaker / fool / etc. he would be if he voted the other way. I am transmitting in interstate commerce a communication with the intent to coerce using electronic means (a blog) "to support severe, repeated, and hostile behavior" -- unless, of course, my statements aren't seen as "severe," a term that is entirely undefined and unclear. Result: I am a felon, unless somehow my "behavior" isn't "severe."
The bill calls for a 2-year sentence for anyone classified as "hostile", which I suppose would characterize any commenter who disagrees with a post and doesn't sugar-coat words. Maybe it's part of the big conspiracy to turn the internet into a stupid den of LOLCatz as opposed to any political discussion.

Wired criticizes the bill as setting up "gulags" for malcontent bloggers, and with rhetoric like that, they're setting themselves up for an extended stint in the box like Steve McQueen in The Great Escape if this law goes into effect.

An Armed Society is a Polite Society

Here's some evidence of why Georgia's lax concealed carry laws benefit the general public. The only loser here is the crime scene clean-up crew sifting through brain matter splattered all over the keg. From WSBTV in Georgia:

Bailey said he thought it was the end of his life and the lives of the 10 people inside his apartment for a birthday party after two masked men with guns burst in through a patio door.

“They just came in and separated the men from the women and said, ‘Give me your wallets and cell phones,’” said George Williams of the College Park Police Department.

Bailey said the gunmen started counting bullets. “The other guy asked how many (bullets) he had. He said he had enough,” said Bailey.

That’s when one student grabbed a gun out of a backpack and shot at the invader who was watching the men. The gunman ran out of the apartment.

The student then ran to the room where the second gunman, identified by police as 23-year-old Calvin Lavant, was holding the women.

“Apparently the guy was getting ready to rape his girlfriend. So he told the girls to get down and he started shooting. The guy jumped out of the window,” said Bailey.

Toby Keith is the Shit

Not only does he have decent music in a world of douche-scarf'd pop rock, but he does a lot of USO shows. Usually these are on the mega-fobs due to the logistical challenges and threat levels preventing the entertainers from going to the more spartan outposts. But Toby Keith recently went to Vampire 06's FOB near the Af-Pak border. Read the whole story here.

05 May 2009

China Needs More Smokers

This is one way to deal with an economic crisis. Get a bunch of people hooked on one of the most addictive substances around and tax the bejeezus out of it. From FOX:

Officials in China have reportedly been told to puff their way through four and a half million cigarettes a year.

Staff at local government offices in Hubei province were given the order in a move intended to set an example for the rest of the nation, according to state media.

And if they fail to smoke their way through 230,000 packs of locally-produced cigarettes, the officials could face fines.

Brands such as Huanghelou have been earmarked as part of the official quota.

"The regulation will boost the local economy via the cigarette tax," local official Chen Nianzu told the Global Times.
Smokers tend to kick the bucket earlier as well, thereby costing less to the state-run health industry. The U.S. could probably adopt a similar policy of "smoke 'em if you got 'em" with Obama as the spokesman since a whole array of social programs are funded through smokers and that tax-paying base is dying off. But since we live in a democracy, you have to give the appearance that you "care" about the people or some crap.

Let's Drop the Anti-French Schtick and Turn Our Ire Towards the Dutch

More Amsterdam Weirdness Here

So 6 years after "Freedom Fries" came into the American lexicon as a symbol of our disdain for all things euro-weenie, we're seeing the French Navy defying all stereotypes and really kicking pirate ass . From Fox (by way of TSO):
When the boats were close enough, Lt. Commander Jean-Marc le Quilliec sent his commandos out on outboards, with a helicopter to provide air support.

The helicopter fired two warning shots to stop the three boats from fleeing and within minutes the 11 pirates had surrendered.

Two of the attack boats were small skiffs which the pirates used as attack vessels and the third was a 30-foot mothership, used to transport supplies such as petrol, water and food.
I also recently visited Yorktown, where if the French weren't helping us out, we might still be under the rule of the hated British. So, perhaps we were all a bit hasty in castigating the French earlier this decade, showing our boorish and uncouth nature as Americans.

But, let's not spare any mercy for those commies in the Netherlands! The New York Times Magazine has an extensive article about the pros and cons of a writer living under the social safety net of the Dutch:
Geert Mak, the Dutch author, insisted that happiness is tied directly to the social system. We were sitting at his favorite cafe, a hangout of Dutch journalists since the end of World War II, and the genial, old-wood setting of the place, as well as its location, around the corner from the Dam and the center of the city’s history, added a bit of luster to his words and reminded me, for the thousandth time, why I’m still here, despite the downside. “One problem with the American system,” he said, “is that if you lose your job and are without an income, that’s not just bad for you but for the economy. Our system has more security. And I think it makes our quality of life better. My American friends say they live in the best country in the world, and in a lot of ways they are right. But they always have to worry: ‘What happens to my family if I have a heart attack? What happens when I turn 65 or 70?’ America is the land of the free. But I think we are freer.”
Hmm, I'm curious from any commenters across the pond. It seems that the state ultimately has you "over a barrel" from cradle to grave by getting you wrapped up into various social programs. We have too many as it is in the States and the culture of entitlement has led to some notable decay in otherwise once prosperous cities (e.g. Detroit). Also, the pro side of a large safety net assumes that the purpose of life is "happiness", but then you run into this Eloi-like culture of frolicking and doing it in the streets just waiting for some Morlock to come eat you. But that's just my dumb opinion, what's yours?

Everyone Loves an Underdog

Anyone else put on their fancy weekend hats and watch the Kentucky Derby? Mine That Bird (50-1) broke away on the final stretch showing that you can still succeed as a longshot in our country. Watch the replay, it's pretty cool.

04 May 2009

GOP's Lousy Pizza Party With Suburban America

Not sure what the deal is with conservatives appearing at these "folksy" type settings, but Bush launched the media campaign for TARPalooza at a soda jerk in Texas, Bobby Jindal laid the southern accent really thick in his response to Obama's State of the Union, and now the GOP launched the Grassroots Caucus "National Council for a New America" at a goddamn pizza parlor. Perhaps they're trying to avoid the dreaded "elitist" label from Limbaugh or something.

These dog and pony shows are billed to "empower the American people to develop innovative solutions that meet the serious challenges confronting our country", and that sounds like DC speak for coming up with new bureaucracies with your tax dollars. Washington Times covered the event and the quotes they selected indicate this wingding had as much substance as Joaquin Phoenix on Valium:

Mr. Romney, a failed 2008 Republican presidential candidate, said his party has got to do a better job of listening. "Let's not underestimate the people of America; let's make sure and listen to the people of America ... listen to what they're feeling and get their ideas," he said.
Wow, saying America is awesome, what a controversial political stance! The video for the National Council for a New America on Cantor's YouTube page is a similar montage of patriotic symbols typically reserved for 4th of July parades.

The Obama administration has essentially nationalized the auto-making industry and is putting us all on the path to debtor's prison, and these GOP bulwarks are wilting under criticism from the Dems that they are the "Party of No". Sounds like this GOP project is scheming up Ross Douthat-style programs of targeted tax credits to vote-buy suburban families to show how much they "care". Another group of politicians promising Americans that they will be able to live beyond their means while the economy goes tits up due to easy money, geez.

Update: Ed Morrisey concurs that because of the policies of excessive spending during Bush II: "The surprise isn’t that the GOP began losing elections in 2006. The surprise is that they didn’t start losing them earlier." In further developments on how to perpetually lose, the GOP is looking to Bush aides for advice.