Saturday, November 3, 2007

A Quick Note

If I ever get the chance to vote for Diane Feinstein, I won't.


Friday, November 2, 2007

Just A Subway Ride In Paris

H/T Jaded Thea. Thanks!


Thursday, November 1, 2007

A Question

Is it too early to be sick of the 2008 Presidential campaign?


Oil Watch

This really is astounding:

The blue line of 05-06 is the typical yearly pattern. As you can see there's a cycle with prices rising during the "driving season". The red line which is the current year is bucking that trend.

A short term aberration or a sign of a long term change in the oil/gasoline markets? No one knows yet. I suspect there's a whole lot of speculative activity that is responsible for part of the change. But not all of it.


Mukasy Watch

I just wanted to briefly comment on the Mukasey situation with Congress.

In a way, it's kind of chickenshit that Senators are using Mukasey as a proxy for doing their real job. By Mukasey admitting that waterboarding is, indeed, torture and illegal he's really forced to then prosecute government officials up to and including Cheney/Bush. If he says it's illegal but doesn't prosecute then he's lost credibility. He's a loser no matter what he does.

If Congress people were doing their job, they'd do their Constitutional duty of prosecuting those government officials themselves (impeachment and removal from office) rather than using an underlying punching bag to do their bidding.


Rubber, Meet Road

One way you can cut through all the crap and really understand Iraq is to read this one story.

When State Department personnel, with the most knowledge of the situation, balk at being sent to Iraq calling it a "death sentence" then you know that all the government spin about Iraq is nonsense.

I think we should make it a policy that anyone who is a proponent of the war must do a tour of some kind of duty (whatever their personal skills may be) in Iraq .... including Bush. With modern technology, there's no reason anyone couldn't do their job over there and get a real feel for the situation "on the ground" (or under the ground, whichever occurs).


Big Ben

If you ever need proof that the Fed is run by Wall Street, look no further than yesterday's interest rate cut.

Earlier in the morning, the government comes out with a growth number that suggests the economy is humming along ... maybe even too much. Yet, later in the day the Fed cuts interest rates. Either it was a big wet kiss to the stock market, or the Fed knows something about the future that the rest of us don't.

Added: Barry Ritholtz makes a very good point about yesterdays cut. In addition to a big growth number, the Fed statement made a big deal about concerns regarding inflation. It's no secret I think inflation is much much higher than the government will admit. But think about it. Big Ben cuts interest rates in the midst of a slowing economy and rising prices? That's like 1 + 1 = 6.... It's also spelled S T A G F L A T I O N.


Real Waterboarding

If you want to know what waterboarding is really like, go watch this video on Salon. It's very disturbing.

Note, the interview with Alan Dershowitz is very strange. He seems to be saying, yeah go ahead and do it but there needs to be accountability. What?


Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Cheap Tent Time

Huckleberry is already starting to fold on Mukasey.


Heckuva Job Karen

Karen Hughes, the one who has done a marvelous job improving the U.S. image in the Arab world, is resigning today to "spend more time with her family" .... again.

Seeya Karen.


New, Improved Iraq!

I've been thinking a bit about the news that U.S. casualties are at a low point for October. Let's set aside the fact that it's still chaos in Iraq and that civilians are still dying. Let's also set aside that the U.S. is using more airstrikes and that ethnic cleansing has made it easier for everybody to get along.

If I were an insurgent in Iraq, why would you choose to die at this point? Bush is on his way out and all the likely Presidential types are recommending some sort modification of U.S. involvement in Iraq which leads to at a minimum, a smaller footprint. So why die now?

This seems to me to be a period of consolidation. Anyone with a serious interest in winning the civil war in Iraq is likely recruiting, training and arming for the upcoming civil war. Attacks are becoming more strategic, i.e. assassinations, and alliances are being formed. The ultimate outcome will be an anti-American Shiite leaning Islamic state with a close alliance to Iran. And the region will be in turmoil as the Israeli's and Sunni's get more fearful. Then we'll see fireworks again.


More Waterboarding

This is how far we have fallen:

"[W]aterboarding generally involves strapping a prisoner to a board, covering his face or mouth with a cloth, and pouring water over his face to create the sensation of drowning." So, is that torture? The papers often make it seem like it's debatable, but TP recommends an incredibly informative entry in the Small Wars Journal Blog by Malcolm Nance, who has lots of personal experience with the practice and states that "waterboarding is a torture technique. Period." Although all the papers say waterboarding involves "simulated drowning" Nance makes it clear that there's nothing simulated about it since "the lungs are actually filling with water." In short, "waterboarding is slow motion suffocation with enough time to contemplate the inevitability of black out and expiration. … When done right it is controlled death."
Our nominee for Attorney General has trouble answering if this is torture and the American public is (as usual) confused about the issue.



Tuesday, October 30, 2007


Mukasey still won't answer the question about water boarding equaling torture.

Of course, intrepid Senators like Lindsay "Huckleberry" Graham and Pat "fuck off" Leahy are "demanding" a clear answer. Democrats are threatening to not approve Mukasey unless he repudiates waterboarding.

Who do you think will win a standoff? I know where I'd put my money, and it's not on any Senator.


It Was One Year Ago ....

From Dan Froomkin on the governance of Blackwater:

As it happens, President Bush has been aware of the hole for some time -- and deserves some of the blame for not fixing it earlier. Confronted about it in public more than a year ago, Bush literally laughed off the question -- and then, tellingly, described his response as a case study in how he does his job.

The setting was a question-and-answer session after Bush spoke at Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies in April of 2006. (Here's a video clip.)

One student, a first-year in South Asia studies, told the president: "My question is in regards to private military contractors. Uniform Code of Military Justice does not apply to these contractors in Iraq. I asked your Secretary of Defense a couple months ago what law governs their actions.

Bush: "I was going to ask him. Go ahead. (Laughter.) Help. (Laughter.)"

Student: "I was hoping your answer might be a little more specific. (Laughter.) Mr. Rumsfeld answered that Iraq has its own domestic laws which he assumed applied to those private military contractors. However, Iraq is clearly not currently capable of enforcing its laws, much less against -- over our American military contractors. I would submit to you that in this case, this is one case that privatization is not a solution. And, Mr. President, how do you propose to bring private military contractors under a system of law?"

Bush: "I appreciate that very much. I wasn't kidding -- (laughter.) I was going to -- I pick up the phone and say, Mr. Secretary, I've got an interesting question. (Laughter.) This is what delegation -- I don't mean to be dodging the question, although it's kind of convenient in this case, but never -- (laughter.) I really will -- I'm going to call the Secretary and say you brought up a very valid question, and what are we doing about it? That's how I work. I'm -- thanks. (Laughter.)"
As we all know, the guy is a smart-assed, spoiled, stupid, frat boy who is a liar as well.