Friday, August 31, 2007

Friday Lion Blogging

(h/t Uncle $cam)

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Cunning Saddam!

Rather than hide his WMDs in Syria, he hid them at the UN in New York!

Break out the Old Spice!

We've got work to do.

Blog Simple's prediction that Fred Thompson will be the next elected President came that much closer to reality as he will announce his candidacy today.

Despite glowing accolades from the creme of Washington punditry for his masculinity and voice tones, Fred has taken some lumps lately as small minded bigots have noted that he's got a reputation for being lazy, and his public appearances of late have shown him to be distracted while he has failed to grip his audience.

But that stuff is petty and pointless, Fred's acumen is shown once again as he will be appearing on Jay Leno just as his pitiful rivals (Mitt Rummy, John McCrazy, and Rudy Groundzero) tear each other to shreds trying to prove that they can be as gruff and tough as we know Fred to be. Lots of luck, losers!

PS The WaPo article linked to above shows that not all the media loves Fred. The photo, showing Fred's supporters in front of a veggie corndog stand, is an insult to Fred, his supporters and a great American snack. I bet Fred would never eat a veggie corndog, nor would I.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

War Drums

Business, or bluff?

That is the question. Feckless Leader seemingly declared war on Iran in a speech the other day and it ruffled a lot of folks feathers. Collectively, the big media gave it coverage, but with a yawn in the background. Then there was the 'arrest' of some Iranian diplomats yesterday in Baghdad, but then they were freed.

Certainly, the modus operandi that FL and the war party are following is almost the same as that prior to the Iraq invasion. However the reaction to it is not at all the same. It should also be noted that the administration has hyped the war talk each time the Security Council has been negotiating another round of sanctions against Iran. While the language this time has become more strident and unbalanced (due to more resistance from Russia and China?), the rhetoric has not changed in its substance.

If the US does attack Iran, I would make the following predictions:
1. It would be a 'full spectrum' attack against nuclear, military and civilian infrastructure.
2. It would happen this fall, or in very early winter.
3. It will enjoy bipartisan support, at least at the beginning.
4. News media will have a public orgasm, and declare Bush bold.
5. Preliminary to the attack, Maliki will be replaced.

If not, it would indicate that some sanity has returned to Washington, even if Feckless Leader remains outside the loop. Not having any inside info, I put the odds at about 50-50. It really comes down to the question, "Who is in charge?".

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

All roads lead to Westhusing

Blog Simple has reported before on the strange case of Col. Ted Westhusing, who allegedly committed suicide while serving in Iraq.

Now that there are investigations into the disappearance of weapons in Iraq, his name has come up again:

He was supervising the private contractor that the U.S. government hired to train Iraqi security forces. And based on e-mails he got from his brother, Tim Westhusing believes Ted Westhusing had gotten in the middle of the missing weapons scandal that's now coming to light, in which the U.S. government's accountability office says 190,000 AK-47s and pistols are unaccounted for.

"He talked more about the corruption. He talked about it in general terms, the corruption, the killings, the missing equipment, those sorts of things,” Westhusing said.

Newsweek has more:
But there were also signs of problems more serious than bad record-keeping. One of Petraeus's subordinates, Col. Theodore Westhusing, had taken leave from his position as a professor of ethics at West Point to serve a six-month tour as commander of the unit training counterterrorism and Special Operations Forces. By the spring of 2005, Westhusing had grown increasingly concerned about the corruption he thought he saw in the program. He was especially upset after receiving an anonymous letter on May 19, 2005, which claimed there was outright fraud by government contractors. Among the alleged problems: failure to account for almost 200 guns.
Westhusing passed the letter up the chain of command. A few days later he wrote a formal memo saying he thought the charges were off-base. But at the same time his conversations and e-mails with his family members became cryptic and he seemed concerned for his safety. Colleagues said he looked exhausted and preoccupied. On June 5, 2005, Westhusing was found dead in his temporary quarters at Camp Dublin near Baghdad airport, apparently having shot himself with his own pistol. "I cannot support a [mission] that leads to corruption, human rights abuses and liars," he wrote in a note found near his body. "Death before being dishonored any more. Trust is essential—I don't know who to trust anymore."
I suggest reading my earlier post, and especially follow the link to this article (which I just helpfully included). The upshot is that Westhusing believed that Petraeus and Fil, his direct superiors, knew about the rampant corruption, and chose to do nothing.

Friday, August 24, 2007

SCO muscles up

The Asia Time's M K Bhadrakumar takes a long and detailed look at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in the wake of Sino-Russian joint military maneuvers.

While the catastrophic policies of Feckless Leader & Co. have not yet matured in their inevitable weakening of the US posture in Central Asia, SCO seems to be taking preliminary steps to fill the coming void.

The last part of the article is especially interesting, and it points out some of the background of SCO's moves to have a say in Afghanistan. The political thread that US/NATO policies hang on is getting weaker, and is almost wholly dependent upon Musharraf maintaining his ever more tenuous hold on power. The return of Nawaz Sharif, with Bhutto waiting in the wings, opens up a new chapter in Pakistan with elections looming.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

President Petraeus

One of the enduring features of American political life is their love of Generals. A substantial part of the electorate has always been willing to cast their vote for those who triumphed over America's foes, and looks good in a uniform.

So far, the Iraq war has not produced any triumphs, so using it as a platform might still be dubious, but let's face it, a few months of press work could convince a substantial majority that we have triumphed even during a retreat.

So I am going to look beyond the obvious when Gen. Petraeus presents his Iraq report, ominously enough, on 9/11. I'll be looking for displays of Presidential timber. So far this guy, lacking in any achievements beyond writing a book, has been widely declared the Greatest General EVAR, so it shouldn't take much to make him look like the second coming of U. S. Grant, hero of Vicksburg.

2008 is probably too soon, but Petraeus is clearly being groomed for high office. He's got great qualifications: a striking jawline, terse military style of speech, and is a political sycophant who knows just whose ass to kiss. What more can you ask?
UPDATED FOR TYPO: Who's kissing whose ass?

Once again...

Better poster, I think.
Be there or be screwed!
If you don't do it, nobody else will.

Bizzaro World Part 33452

Question: "Who is John Galt?"
Answer: An 'obscure company' behind 9/11 demolition work.
Believe me, the only reason this story came out is that two firefighters died. Otherwise John Galt would have lived in the obscurity it so obviously wanted. But now that the NYT has done their civic duty, they'll forget about it ASAP.

Another accident at the Deutsche Bank Building injures two firefighters. The article leaves unmentioned the company doing the demolition. That's John Galt, NYT.

UPDATE 2 (4:35PM PDT): Galt has been fired. Ayn Rand rolls in grave.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007


Sen. Clinton today:
"Iraqi leaders have not met their own political benchmarks to share power, modify the de-Baathification laws, pass an oil law, schedule provincial elections, and amend their constitution," Clinton, a senator from New York, said in a statement.
I've run out of insults and invective.

How long?

Back at the beginning of this year, there was the general impression that the worm had turned. Bush's ratings were in the toilet, the Democratic Congress seemed to want to move methodically to pull back from the war, to investigate the obviously incredible levels of corruption in the administration, and to roll back some of the dictatorial powers that Bush had claimed.

It's now six months later, and it is crystal clear that the impression of six month ago was totally mistaken. It's true that Bush's ratings have not improved, but the relentless campaign of lies and hype that started with the surge have proven to be almost totally effective politically. The administration still controls the message, and the Democrats can do nothing but respond to it, usually by tagging along. They have no message, neither Congress, nor the candidates.

The key element of this propaganda surge is the iron control of the media. There is a solid cadre of 'Bushies' in all the key media organizations. I believe this is the main accomplishment of the 'Republican/conservative' movement since Reagan, they broke down the old way of controlling the media through ownership, and moved to a group of insiders that penetrates media in a variety of ways, tailored for each media type and audience. I imagine it is Rove who has orchestrated things for the last six years, and despite the glitches on the reality side of the ledger, the 'unreality' side is still very much in charge in the USA.

How long can it last?

Democratic spine in a strange place

After months of kowtowing (and that's a nice way to put it) to the Bush administration, Democratic congresscritters are muscling up on other turf. Case in point, Sen. Carl Levin who:
said that the government of Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki should be voted from office because it had proved incapable of reaching the political compromises required to end violence there.

"I've concluded that this is a government which cannot, is unable to, achieve a political settlement," Levin said. "It is too bound to its own sectarian roots, and it is too tied to forces in Iraq, which do not yield themselves to compromise."

In a conference call with reporters from Tel Aviv, Levin called on the Iraqi Parliament to vote the Maliki government from power because it had "totally and utterly failed" to reach a political settlement, and to replace it with a team better able to forge national unity.

The Maliki government was the result of compromises in the Iraqi parliament, so unless they start hauling out their AKs and reducing the differing sectors to more manageable corpses, it hard to see what they can do.

And that fails to touch on the main distinction that Sen. Levin evidently missed while he was visiting with the Greatest General EVAR, Maliki, the government, and the parliment of Iraq have zero power. Their lives are protected because they huddle in the green zone behind American guns. But now Sen. Levin is too macho, and brave to mention facts like that.

On the Iraq front, we must conclude that there has been a grand concord of the tough guys. Guys like Petraeus, Levin, and Bush who know how to stay the course, and demand results from... Maliki, are now on the same page.

Here in the US, the political upshot is that Democratic congresscritters haven't grown a new spine at all, they've had one shoved up their ass.

Dems, on the march!

Leahy: Cheney Told GOP-Led Congress It Was ‘Not Allowed To Issue Subpoenas’

Breaking News:
Durata: Cheney Told Dem-Led Congress It Could Issue Subpoenas But Then 'Go Fuck Themselves'

Dems call for Maliki impeachment. Stamp feet, say they won't take it any more. Panic in Baghdad.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Shrill or smart?

Laura Rozen writes the blog War and Piece. She rarely offers an opinion, it's mostly just short introductory phrases to the many interesting links she finds.
Today though, commenting on Mueller's notes on the visit to Ashcroft's hospital bed, she comes up with a suggestion:
There's a solution no one has thought of here. Congress needs to come back and pass legislation to make perjury no longer a crime. If Gonzales is the example of how you are allowed to lie to Congress, just take it off the books as a crime. Did anyone ever think of that? The Judge Alberto Gonzales Lying is a Sometimes Necessary Form of Protected Free Speech Act of 2007.
You decide, dear reader, shrill, or smart?

Ready for tomorrow?

Nikei is down 5.42% at close. Europe is down early.
Big money was shoved in at the last moment yesterday in New York, is there enough for tomorrow?
UPDATE (10:40AM, Friday): Yes, more money and cheaper. Helicopter Ben to the rescue.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

RIP Max Roach


It's no surprise that Padilla was found guilty. But it doesn't take a surprise to trigger a reaction of disgust and anger in me, by now it's just a level of consciousness that retreats and then returns with each new outrage, the surge vote, the FISA vote, the Padilla torture and then show trial. We really did learn a lot from the Soviet Union.

It's clear that the system of rights that are embodied in the Constitution, as much as they ever existed, no longer do once the National Security State has been invoked. Neither the elected officials nor the bureaucracy nor the citizens believe in them, and we poor fools trying to make sense of the series of events that continue to come into view would do well to realize that.

Once again, I urge everyone who reads this blog to think very carefully about the call for a general strike on 9/11/07. It remains way below the radar screen of the media and the A, B, and C list bloggers (there was a DKos diary that mentioned it), but it is a call to action that is both doable, and if done in any significant numbers could be a wakeup call. If there too few, we'll have a day off from the rat race at least.

Free Padilla!

This certainly seems unpleasent...

Current Market Turmoil: Non-Priceable Knightian “Uncertainty” Rather Than Priceable Market “Risk”

If that makes any sense to you, and you aren't invested in golden mattress funds, time to be scared. Listen to what it said:
This distinction between risk and uncertainty helps to explain the recent market panic and turmoil. Today, the FT cites a market economist at Lehman who said: “We are in a minefield. No one knows where the mines are planted and we are just trying to stumble through it”. A few days ago another market participant put it this way: “It is not the corpses at the surface that are scary; it is the unknown corpses below the surface that may pop up unexpectedly”.
How many, and how big?

A big squeeze is going on. Who's the squeezer, and who the sqeezee goes way deep. Who will pop up next?

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Not just another bombing

In the course of the daily mayhem that we learn about in Iraq, it's easy to overlook occurrences that seem routine, but are not. One of those seems to be a bombing described in an article in Conflicts Forum, Behind the Mansour Hotel bombing.
The noontime bombing that killed a dozen Iraqis at Baghdad’s Mansour Melia Hotel on June 25 continues to reverberate through Iraq — and through the American military high command. This was not a “typical” bombing (if there is such a thing in Iraq): it was well-planned and executed and the bomber was required to penetrate three levels of security, which included armed guards deployed by Iraq’s Defense Ministry. The bomb’s detonation was so powerful that it blew the doors off the Mansour’s heavily enforced dining room and caved in the dining room ceiling, according to a hotel employee.
The tribal leaders were coming to the hotel to meet with a delegation of government representatives including Ahmad Chalabi, none of whom had yet arrived, according to Iraqi government officials. “The bombing was a devastating loss for our efforts in Anbar,” an American official in Iraq says. “We are still trying to piece together what happened.” The official confirms that the tribal sheiks had been brought together at the Mansour Hotel at the suggestion of General David Patraeus who, along with a number of civilian Defense Department officials, had been working to forge an alliance of anti-al Qaeda tribal leaders in the western province. This was not the first time the group had met, but it was to be an important meeting — the last in a series that included serious negotiations about what steps the tribal leaders would take in ending the al-Anbar insurgency. “The meeting at the Mansour was to be a culmination of years of work,” an Iraqi official confirms.
So the 'progress' that had been made in Anbar, basically by bribing tribal sheiks to turn against the more extreme members of the insurgency, and peal off the less extreme, got blown up in a meeting engineered by the Best General EVAR Petraeus. What a mastermind!

Also to note is the almost presence of Ahmad Chalabi, who's charmed life continues. The conclusion:
The anti-al Qaeda front of al-Anbar lives on, but its leaders remain unwilling to tie their future to a continued American presence. In this, they have much in common with their Shia antagonists both in the Iraqi government, and in the tribal areas of the South. As one al-Anbar official scathingly notes: “The lesson of the Mansour bombing is simple for all to see. No one likes al-Qaeda, but no one should make the mistake of being friends with the Americans.”
I suggest you read the whole article.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Why strike?

Reasons to strike, not in order of importance, decide yourself:
1. A War of Lies. A million or so dead, 4 million displaced, ho hum motherfuckers.
2. A Criminal Administration, subverting even the pretense of justice.
3. A National Security State accepted by both parties means no politics at the national level. What you don't know means your ass.


Be there or be square! The time has come!
(h/t Winter Patriot)

They don't make czars like they used to

War czar Gen. Douglas Lute said in an interview that the US should consider reinstituting the draft.

Today the Pentagon 'sharply rejected' that and said that 'no consideration' was being given.

I'm confused, what is a czar for, to be bitch-slapped by some Pentagon spokesman, or to run things? Maybe it's a tsar that runs things like good old Ivan the Terrible, while a czar is some bullshit position that everyone laughs at. Come to think of it, kind of like Barry McCaffrey was a 'drug czar'.

Blow out the candle!

As you can see from the profile photo, I'm a big boy, and now Blog Simple is a big blog, one year old today and counting, with 342 posts in the can. Woo woo!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Pure, uninformed speculation

Could it be that China is unloading treasury bonds in Europe?
The WaPo says:
The European Central Bank lent $84 billion Friday to financial institutions, a day after providing $130 billion.
That's a lot of cash, and I would think it was denominated in euros. It's a lot more than the Fed, or the Bank of Japan.

Could be the Saudis too, or both.

I've little to guide me but my suspicious mind, but could all this mortgage/hedge fund thing also be used to hide other facts, or just be the weak point in the edifice?


A tremendous influx in liquidity was able to keep the NY markets from diving, but it wasn't enough to push them up, nor to dispel the jitters that will make for an uncomfortable weekend for many. The Europeans put in at least $130B, the Fed $70B, but the reporting sucks in the MSM on this stuff, it could be a lot more. $200B sounds like a lot, but we are talking about the credit market:
The most pressing issue for the markets is the deteriorating condition of the credit markets, a $28 trillion segment of Wall Street that provides virtually all loans for corporate enterprises and the real estate industry. After years of lending at generous rates and terms, these markets have tightened up, as fewer lenders want to take on risky loans.
My emphasis above.

What I don't expect is a shift to a traditional bear market. Either the market calms and goes back to rising, or there will be a readjustment that will be historic. Please note that I look at this more from a political point of view than an economic one, and my political predictions are not notable for their accuracy. So, caveat emptor, or if you prefer, caveat venditor.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

I'm not a betting man...

... but if I were, I'd bet on big movement tomorrow in NY on the exchanges. My guess is up, a bad Friday would leave a big cloud over the weekend, with too much time to think.

Traditionally, the real action is in September, that's why I say up, got to keep the roller coaster going. For stability, a better result would be a mixed market, but people are nervous.

Iraq and the surge to hell

An unremitting and relentless propaganda campaign has worked well enough to take some of the pressure off the administration, and thus the props that hold it up. These guys are good, at least at manipulating public opinion, if not at changing any of the facts that loom, wordlessly for now.

But for the life of me I cannot see anything that can change the situation, nor any actions that might be contemplated by Cheney that can do anything more than delay the descent into disaster. The surge cannot last, even the pre-surge forces were running out of time, so the surge has traded a short term propaganda gain for a long term disaster brought that much closer.

Politically, in Iraq, the US continues to try to play both sides against the middle, but there is no middle. The seeming shift to the Sunnis just pisses of the Shiites, while the insurgency continues to be mostly a Sunni phenomenon, for now. The Brits are on their way out, and have basically withdrawn to their bunker anyway, how does the US propose to surge into the south? Maliki has been talking to the Iranians, some of the talk concerned building a pipeline to pump Iraqi crude to Iranian refineries. I'm sure Maliki and the Iranians would be happy with a Shiite southern Iraqi state, but how can the US allow that? How can they stop it?

Petraeus's September song will give another boost, and probably buy at least six months more on the home front. The Democrats are now thoroughly cowed (please, tell me why), and will evidently pass anything they're told to, including throwing another $150B down the sewer. They are hopeless and can do nothing to stop the surge to hell.

Heart to heart

Maliki's been in Tehran, meeting with the Iranian leaders, so Bush sets him straight:
In a muted warning to his Iraqi counterpart, President Bush said today that Iran was a destabilizing factor in the Middle East, and he promised that if Prime Minister Nouri Maliki did not share that view he would have a "heart to heart" talk with him.
I wonder a non-muted warning would have sounded like. The schizophrenic US policy in Iraq is enough to drive Maliki to madness, I would imaging. It must be comforting to talk to sane, sensible people like the Iranians.

If I could make a simple request, it's this: Please George, Feckless Leader of us all, go on vacation for a while, ride your bike, cut brush, but please just shut the fuck up. You make my head hurt.

Dog Days

All the people who are anybody have left for their well earned vacation, leaving the common American peon, baseball players, and stock traders to keep the country going as best they can.
A big hit on the market today, but still in the range of the roller coaster type movement we've been having over the past month or so.

If there is one thing that would put the Bush administration in panic mode it would be a financial meltdown, despite all the crazy talk of the wingnuts about Islamofascism, it's been the huge bonanza that the wealthy have reaped over the past years that is the main source of his support from the media, the press, and all the 'very serious people' that are permitted to talk about policy in our national discourse. Reduce the money river to a trickle and these folks will turn on the administration and each other like a pack of rabid dogs. We'll see who is 'very serious' then.

So, it cannot be allowed to happen. The powers behind the powers that be have huge amounts of liquidity around to prop up the rotten edifice, and they will do their damnedest to delay meltdown until doomday or later, if possible. Congress will be told to shut up about China, and Congress does what they are told to do.

The global markets can be controlled only up to a certain point. No matter how much cash is on hand, the highly leveraged world of hedge funds (created to escape oversight) can swallow up more. We'll see how doggish these August days get.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007


Now he is for the ages, my bitches, and more of a target than ever.
Even Bill Clinton needs to stand back in awe of the vilification that has accompanied Bonds' career. To withstand mindless hatred in an environment where the highest concentration is required shows, ...something great.
It's been a great ride, but I'm afraid that the powers out to make an example are still be heard from. But despite the vile SF Chronicle, the people of SF still have Barry's back, I hope!

Monday, August 06, 2007

The Fix

I'm still chewing on this FISA thing, the orchestration and direction was very subtle; all the actors have come and gone upon the stage like pros, not the usual case in Washington D.C.

What can't be hidden, even if unsaid, is that this Democratic Congress is more of a lame duck than George W. (Feckless Leader) Bush.

The Democratic leadership caved. They ran and hid, and let the 10 Southern/BlueDog Senators take the walk.

Why did they cave? Threats and blackmail is what I suspect. The goal of empire is internal power, foreign policy becomes only a means to the prize. As the forms of law and tradition blur, power passes to individuals who grasp the prize and use all means to secure it.

Saturday, August 04, 2007


Barry hits 755! Yea, Barry Bonds!
Nice hand for Barry in San Diego! Yea, San Diego!
Surprise! House OKs FISA law. Screw you, Democrats!

Whoa, Blu!

By Italian artist Blu, on a wall in Berlin.
(h/t The Wooster Collective)

Friday, August 03, 2007

Fear and Loathing

I try, I try hard to maintain a certain sang-froid when observing the political goings on in our nation's capital. But I can still be shocked, I am forced to recognize, by the utter cowardice and mendacity of our congresscritters, especially those of the Democratic stripe.

This new FISA law came out of nowhere by design, no one who knew about it wanted it to be discussed in the public sphere before it was a fait accompli, and now it's just that, on the way to the White House so Feckless Leader can mark his X and go back to sleep.

I suggest, if you are waiting for the elections in 2008 to make some kind of change in this country, give it up. If you're waiting for impeachment, I've got several bridges, including one in Minnesota, to sell you. Better to expect one of the bugs crawling up your wall will stand up and sing the Star Spangled Banner, better to anticipate that you'll win the lottery and so start making vacation plans, better to hope that peace on earth and goodwill towards men will animate the soul of Dick Cheney, it ain't gonna happen. The die is cast, snake-eyes!

There is no lie, no act of contempt, no spit in your face and laugh about it that Bush can do to Congress that will make them take action, except to crawl into their holes. Fear of their losing their miserable position at the trough is paramount, their only ambition is to get more slop.

There is no hope in politics in this country, there is no alternative, there is only the slurping of the hogs in power. It's a spectacle so gross that it's hard to believe it could continue for much more time without some kind of systems breakdown, but I remain without much hope, even in the powers of entropy. This swirling round and round in the toilet could continue for a hundred, two hundred years more, why not?

So please, don't talk to me about freedom, or democracy, any of that shit. Don't talk to me about supporting the Democrats, or voting, or participating in the process. I ain't buying. Fuck 'em all.

UPDATE: A reader points out that the bill still has to pass the House. It will.

UPDATE II: It did. X marks the spot.

Thursday, August 02, 2007


The fact that Rice signed a joint statement on Tuesday that endorsed the 2002 Arab League peace proposal with Israel has made less noise than an exhale in a sports arena. No major US media reported it, as far as I can tell by using my mad google skilz.

My guess at this point is that the statement was made for Arab ears only, and was part of a deal that included Saudi Arabia saying they were 'keen' (their word, not mine) to attend a peace conference with Israel. So I'm going back on my compliments in my last post, it was neither bold, nor courageous, just calculated diplomacy, to give it a nice word.

It's also another good example of the US (and British) press rigorously censoring the news. With no coverage, there is no comment, and life goes on in the dark.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

What's a quid without a quo

Rice on Tuesday did something that I cannot find reported in the US press, except for the Christian Broadcasting Network.
In another move that could please Washington's Arab friends, the US signed a statement endorsing an Arab initiative for peace between Israel and the Palestinians.
The initiative offers Israel normal relations with all Arab countries in return for full withdrawal from the land which Israel captured in 1967. Israel at first rejected the plan, but has said recently it could be a basis for negotiation.
My emphasis above. On the other hand, the US press is filled with the news that the Saudis will attend a peace conference if invited.

Without the first part of the equation, it looks like the Saudis signed up for nothing but $20B in US arms. Rice signed a statement that endorsed the complete withdrawal of Israel from the occupied territories, and that is not reported in the US, though it was in Israel.

If this is true, I must apologize to Secretary Rice for past doubts about this trip. That is indeed a bold step, and a courageous one. It would be nice to be informed by our domestic media that it occurred, but I guess they're still deciding how to spin it.

Surging to defeat

It is clear that the chief target of the 'surge' was always Congress and the American public. While its military component was also necessary, it was completely misstated, militarily it was necessary to prevent disaster in Baghdad. The 'benchmarks' that it would allow the Iraqis to achieve were always farcical, if anything the political situation of the puppets in the Green Zone has worsened, and I think it possible that many of these will not return in September after their summer break.

On the domestic front it has had some limited success, at least in Congress. Building on that success, the Greatest General EVAR Petraeus is now call for longer time periods before any evaluation can happen. The NYT and WaPo continue to haul water for the General and for Feckless Leader, printing such Pollyanna-ish Op-Eds as O'Hanlon and Pollack's while distorting their past pro-war, pro-surge cheer leading into being 'critics' of the war.

Michael Schwartz at TomDispatch takes a hard look at the ongoing disaster. It effectively cuts through the bullshit, and also points out the horrible situation of the Iraqi people that all our current and prospective leaders seem determined to continue.

The only hope, perhaps a vain one, that I can see is that the US at some point will be unable to continue, the military breaks or the economy breaks so the war effectively is stopped by outside forces. Clinton, Obama, Edwards, not to mention the Republican clown posse or the corrupt congresscritters of all persuations are not going to due it, barring a miracle. I may be naive enough to hope for miracles, but not enough to believe in them.