Sunday, June 29, 2008


Just say that Obama wins the presidency, who really thinks that the US will be out of Iraq by the 2012 election?

I think it is possible, but only as a response to far graver events, but even then I think it unlikely. Each FU is being carefully set up to provide a narrative of success that will make withdrawal seem foolhardy. The money that flows to the politicians and big media is being funded largely by the war, and no one wants to get off the gravy train.

Tom Engelhardt, of TomDispatch, does to the situation in Iraq what he does so well, refute the lies and bullshit that are regurgitated by the media, and sum up the real situation in Iraq:

Given the situation of Iraq more than five years after the invasion, to speak of this urge to surge and its results as "success" or as "good news" is essentially obscene. Think of Iraq instead as a cocked gun. It's loaded, it's held to your head, and things are improving only to the extent that, recently, it hasn't gone off.

Iraq itself is wreckage beyond anything that could have been imagined back in March 2003; liberation is, by now, a black joke; the Bush administration's "benchmarks" for Iraqi success remain largely unmet, and still we keep "liberating" that land, still we keep killing Iraqis in prodigious numbers. A Vietnam-style body count, once banished by an administration that wanted no reminders of the last disastrous American counterinsurgency war, is now back with a vengeance, even if violence is down. These days, in its statements, the U.S. military is counting scalps almost everywhere there's fighting in Iraq.

A Great Lie of History

"We have no ambition in Iraq, except to remove a threat and restore control of that country to its own people." This was one of the great lies of history. And all the while, the price of oil -- the one product Iraq has and, in present conditions, can't get at adequately -- continues to soar. There is no "good news" in any of this, unless you happen to be an undertaker, nor is there any end to it in sight.

Read it all, it's a necessary counterpoint to Obama's wholehearted swerve to give unquestioned support to the national security state and all that it implies. America might now be against the war, but it does not matter. Their betters, that is, their leaders have decided that it must continue, the addiction to oil, crooked money, and domestic control mechanisms allows no retreat, and no rethinking.

Thursday, June 26, 2008


Since when does a court ruling 'enshrine' anything? Why doesn't the NYT just quit pretending, and go all tabloid, like CNN?

Just as the gun laws were a joke, the SCOTUS ruling is just more cotton candy for the rubes.

The Supreme Court is just as meaningless as Congress.


Congress passed today an $257.5bn emergency spending bill. Of that, $162bn is for the excellent adventures in Iraq and Afghanistan, Feckless Leader had asked for a mere $106bn.

The bill passed in the Senate by a vote of 92 to 6, in the House by 416 to 12. That is approaching Soviet style unanimity about funding wars that are going down nowhere fast. A great part of that money will go to fund the kleptocracy and the money machine that brings it back to the politicians. Let's face facts here, there is no appreciable difference between the two parties or the presidential candidates about the war, the torture, the thievery, the furtherance of the national agenda to a state of perpetual war both foreign and domestic, or the looting of the country. They're all in on it.

They great thing is, the country cannot afford it anymore, much as they deny this simple fact. General Motors has now $7bn dollars in equity on the stock exchange, half that of Avon. The only manufacturing area in the US that is ahead of everyone else is armaments, and they're mostly bought by the taxpayer, one way or another.

Watch a sporting event, half the advertising is for military recruiting. Look at the web sites of the major newspapers, many of the ads are bought by government funding 'NGOs' like the drug prevention idiots.

It's a gigantic clusterfuck, Repubs and Dems spinning hand in hand down the toilet with the rest of the country. And that's excluding the environmental disasters on the near horizon. Denial of basic facts by the media mean that you don't have think about it, but it's there all the same.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Dylan Dogs

(h/t Suzanne at Firedoglake)

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Feckless Leader!

The mind boggles:
Bush To Filipino President: "I Am Reminded Of The Great Talent Of The -- Of Our Philippine-Americans When I Eat Dinner At The White House"
President Bush made reference to his White House chef, who is, according to the President:
...a great person and a really good cook, by the way, Madam President.

More gloom and doom

It's not me, I swear, it's the smoke in the atmosphere. It seems like earthquake weather, too.
But, hopefully, the earthquake will just be in the financial markets, where the rubes will get their just desserts, the the wise guys will move on, to find new rubes.

Anyway, read this cheery little interview with:
Michael Hudson is a former Wall Street economist specializing in the balance of payments and real estate at the Chase Manhattan Bank (now JPMorgan Chase & Co.), Arthur Anderson, and later at the Hudson Institute (no relation).
Entitled, aptly enough: “The Game Is Over, There Won’t be a Rebound” Mr. Hudson points out in a very concise way just how thoroughly we are screwed.

But, after reading the interview, let me interject this: if there will be no rebound, the solution for the US is to just reject the debt, and move on. Yes, it will throw the world into chaos, and yes, it will mean the end of 'democracy', but maybe that is the only solution. As it has been said:
We have not the freedom to reach to this or to that, but the freedom to do the necessary or to do nothing.
The kleptocratic clowns that are now looting the world had better be moved aside soon. Little time remains. The bubble economy is kaput.
(h/t Uncle $cam)

ICE is not nice

Blog Simple is many simple things, but an economics blog it ain't. Thus, we find ourselves somewhat in a quandary when economists that seem to have some relation to the facts (thus excluding the libertarian types) disagree, especially on a subject like oil prices. Krugman has been fairly adamant that oil prices cannot be rigged by speculators, though lately he shows signs of rethinking his position.

Ed Wallace, who is not an economist, but rather a business journalist, has a very interesting article about oil prices and more:

ICE, ICE, Baby (Part 1)
ICE, ICE, Baby (Part 2)

Read the whole thing, there a lot of things that are not commonly talked about, such as:
This from page 1 of the Executive Summary of that Senate investigation, there is this one troubling line: "Today, U.S. oil inventories are at an eight-year high, and OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) oil inventories are at a 20-year high."
and this:

That’s right, shipments of oil headed west have shown serious declines during the month of April, down 800,000 barrels per day in the week before the publication of the report. Now, let me give you the first line from under the Westbound Oil shipments chart: "In the west, a big share of any [oil] stock building done this year has happened offshore, out of sight."

Could this be true? Oil Movements, the unimpeachable source for finding the real world situation on oil transits, is saying that oil is being hidden offshore, not declared in inventories? Yes, that is exactly what they are saying.

That same week our refineries cut their production runs back to 85 percent, down from 89 percent a year ago, to trim more gasoline out of our stock reserves, to increase their profits per gallon.

When looked at from the perspective of the last seven years, the kleptocrats that run the country seem to be trying to ensure one last, and biggest, score. They're making money from the current situation hand over foot now, and when the time is ripe, and the suckers have all been drawn in, the bubble will burst. The saber-rattling against Iran could certainly be part of this game.

The smoke that is currently making Northern California seem like something out of the last days of Pompeii might be what is accentuating the gloom and doom feeling around here, but I fear it is going to be a long, hot summer.

Monday, June 23, 2008


James Hansen tries once again to sound the alarm about global warming. It been twenty years since he testified to Congress about the science, the risk, and what can be done. His current message is simple, we must act now. Since his twenty year old testimony, the US has done everything conceivable to make things worse.

This is no coincidence, political power has more and more come under the control of the fossil fuel industry (see Kevin Phillips' American Theocracy). Hansen addresses this specifically:

Special interests have blocked transition to our renewable energy future. Instead of moving heavily into renewable energies, fossil companies choose to spread doubt about global warming, as tobacco companies discredited the smoking-cancer link. Methods are sophisticated, including disguised funding to shape school textbook discussions.

CEOs of fossil energy companies know what they are doing and are aware of long-term consequences of continued business as usual. In my opinion, these CEOs should be tried for high crimes against humanity and nature. If their campaigns continue and "succeed" in confusing the public, I anticipate testifying against relevant CEOs in future public trials.

Conviction of ExxonMobil and Peabody Coal CEOs will be no consolation, if we pass on a runaway climate to our children. Humanity would be impoverished by ravages of continually shifting shorelines and intensification of regional climate extremes. Loss of countless species would leave a more desolate planet.

His goal, and ours, if we still have any brains, is to reduce the CO2 count in the atmosphere from the current 385 ppm, to 350 ppm.

Read the article, because there are specific policy actions and goals that are definitely doable.

But it will never be done under the control of the current cabal. Needless to say, the goal is also incompatible with our current 'grab the oil fields' foreign policy, which is failing, but still being pursued. And this foreign policy is still supported by both parties, and both presidential candidates. If they won't wake up, we better.
(h/t Jonathan Schwarz)

Saturday, June 21, 2008

McBush vs O'Bush

Now that the nomination is won, Obama is steering hard right and damn the torpedoes of the bloggies. Unquestioned and fervent support of the National Security State is numero uno on the agenda. Iran, Israel/Palestine, Afghanistan/Pakistan, the gulag, unquestioned federal executive authority without regard to the rule of law, these have all been signed off on. Discreetly, natch. There is no substantive difference between McCain and Obama here. McCain is just scarier to look at.

Domestically, the scolding of black fatherhood took the appropriate Bill Cosby tack. Who is less threatening to white America than Bill Cosby? Who is easier to kick than black fathers? Even talking about Sam Nunn as VP is a slap in the face to progressives (what you call liberals).

Now we can expect a strong campaign from the Dems in the run up to the election to vilify those that oppose 'bipartisanship', i.e. the unquestioning lockstep regarding the war machine. That might be you, bloggies! We're all just Americans after all. Executive crimes are no crimes at all, the excellent corruption of the DoJ was due to the very natural need to protect the homeland, the retirement of the current kleptocracy needs healing, not recrimination.

Would Obama be a better President than McCain? Sure, McCain shows every evidence to be as purblind as Bush, and the current batch of kleptocrats that have stolen the country and the world blind would continue with carte blanche. With Obama, I would expect some clean up at DoJ, and the domestic bureaucracy. A more sane approach to the environment and energy. Well and good. But the big story is elsewhere, the trillions being siphoned off for the wars, the attempt to control world energy resources though direct military control will remain unchallenged. Just look at who his national security advisers are. The same chumps who got us where we are now.

I'm afraid the suffering we'll go through in the upcoming campaign will be all for naught, it's been decided in advance that it doesn't matter. The road ahead is fixed and unavailable for discussion and politics at the national level.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Four months!

Over four months ago, it seemed certain that the Democrats in Congress would cave in to their fear of Republicans, love of money, and general 'who gives a shit anyway' attitude, and approve telecom amnesty, enhanced surveillance powers, and cheating by the New England Patriots.

No wait, scratch the last one.

But did they cave in then? No, sir. They held out, cheered on by the 'progressive' blogosphere and went on to other stuff, like pork laden agriculture bills. But all these four months, they've been afraid, afraid that not caving in was emboldening those guys being tortured at Gitmo. Afraid also that they would be perceived as untough on foreign policy and national defense, afraid that the Republicans were getting really, but really mad this time. Have you ever seen a mad Republican? They look like John McCain!

So, finally, their courage whittled down to the bone, they've caved. They just couldn't take it any more, Reid caved, Pelosi caved, Hoyer caved, Obama didn't cave, he just got distracted by being so cool. Too cool to cave, but also too cool to show some leadership. Oh, well.

So please, 'progressive' blogosphere, next time don't be such chumps. Try to realize that the Democrats don't listen to you, they don't care about civil rights, torture, kleptocrats, or illegal wars of mass slaughter for the rich guys. They're for the rich guys, all the rest is just talk.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


Read this.
Preface to Broken Laws, Broken Lives

By Major General Antonio Taguba, USA (Ret.)

Major General Antonio Taguba (Ret)Maj. General Taguba led the US Army’s official investigation into the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal and testified before Congress on his findings in May, 2004.

This report tells the largely untold human story of what happened to detainees in our custody when the Commander-in-Chief and those under him authorized a systematic regime of torture. This story is not only written in words: It is scrawled for the rest of these individuals’ lives on their bodies and minds. Our national honor is stained by the indignity and inhumane treatment these men received from their captors.

The profiles of these eleven former detainees, none of whom were ever charged with a crime or told why they were detained, are tragic and brutal rebuttals to those who claim that torture is ever justified. Through the experiences of these men in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Guantanamo Bay, we can see the full scope of the damage this illegal and unsound policy has inflicted—both on America’s institutions and our nation’s founding values, which the military, intelligence services, and our justice system are duty-bound to defend.

In order for these individuals to suffer the wanton cruelty to which they were subjected, a government policy was promulgated to the field whereby the Geneva Conventions and the Uniform Code of Military Justice were disregarded. The UN Convention Against Torture was indiscriminately ignored. And the healing professions, including physicians and psychologists, became complicit in the willful infliction of harm against those the Hippocratic Oath demands they protect.

After years of disclosures by government investigations, media accounts, and reports from human rights organizations, there is no longer any doubt as to whether the current administration has committed war crimes. The only question that remains to be answered is whether those who ordered the use of torture will be held to account.

The former detainees in this report, each of whom is fighting a lonely and difficult battle to rebuild his life, require reparations for what they endured, comprehensive psycho-social and medical assistance, and even an official apology from our government.

But most of all, these men deserve justice as required under the tenets of international law and the United States Constitution.

And so do the American people.
Unless, you, America, Congress, media speak up to call for justice, you are all complicit in these crimes.

(h/t The Editors)

Tough and difficult, or hopeless

Just as a reinforcement to the last post North Korean Blues, this Bloomberg article, Australia food bowl areas soon "beyond repair" illustrates what happens when political will is stymied by money powers.

The centre-left Labor government of Prime Minister Kevin Rudd deferred consideration of a scientific report into the crisis facing the basin's lower reaches until a ministerial meeting with state counterparts in November.

But Paton and other ecologists say much of the river system could be virtually dead by then, with vegetation on the lower Murray lost and fish species driven to extinction.

Adding to the mismanagement and greed is the fact that Australia is leading the way in climate change.

Climate scientists have warned the continent is suffering accelerated climate change, with temperatures expected to rise by about 1 degree Celsius by 2030 and rainfall forecast to decrease by up to 20 percent by 2070 in the most populous southeast.

Australia this week cut its wheat output forecast by nearly 9 percent after the return of dry weather during a crucial planting period dashed hopes for a record crop from the world's second-biggest exporter.

So far, estimates of climate change have proven to be low-balled, so those figures could be far worse.

And while Australia now has a government that has accepted that global warming is occurring, they, like all 'democratic' regimes, are beholden to the money powers that put them in office. Thus, even in emergency situations like this, their hands are tied.
Environment Minister Peter Garrett said the government was aware the situation in the region was critical, but negotiations to better manage water flows were "tough and difficult".
(h/t cryptagon)

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

North Korean Blues

TomDispatch has a very interesting article by John Feffer about the current situation the world finds itself in regarding food supplies. As the article explains, that famine that killed about 10% of North Korea's population back in the 90s was not due to the reasons that were promulgated by the press at the time. Then the blame was laid on the primitive state of agriculture there, due to the repressive government. But:
At the time, of course, all the knowing analysts and pundits dismissed what was happening in that country as the inevitable breakdown of an archaic economic system presided over by a crackpot dictator.

They were wrong. The collapse of North Korean agriculture in the 1990s was not the result of backwardness. In fact, North Korea boasted one of the most mechanized agricultures in Asia. Despite claims of self-sufficiency, the North Koreans were actually heavily dependent on cheap fuel imports. (Does that already ring a bell?) In their case, the heavily subsidized energy came from Russia and China, and it helped keep North Korea's battalion of tractors operating. It also meant that North Korea was able to go through fertilizer, a petroleum product, at one of the world's highest rates. When the Soviets and Chinese stopped subsidizing those energy imports in the late 1980s and international energy rates became the norm for them, too, the North Koreans had a rude awakening.

Read the whole thing, if you dare.

Looked at that way, the world is now in the same shape as the North Koreans were back then. Oil is necessary for mechanized agriculture, fertilizer, and the global distribution system. Environmental factors are now coming to the fore as well, shortages of land and water are already occurring, and global warming will only increase the problems.

The chief mechanisms of the world to respond to this situation are very limited, the triumph of global capitalism means that the quest for profits will continue to drive development strategies. The countries with the power to change this path to destruction are those who profit most from it. They use their economic and military supremacy to steer the others towards ruin. Until a political change happens here and in Europe, it will just accelerate. Since political change seems impossible, expect huge upheavals worldwide in the upcoming decades. It is just starting.

Monday, June 16, 2008

It can't be true

DEBKA asserts that Olmert is considering returning the Shebaa farms area to Lebanon. Could that be the reason for Rice's trip to Lebanon? There's also talk about a prisoner swap next week.

However dubious the sources, we may as well savor at least the illusion of good sense and diplomacy. If Israel returns the Shebaa to Lebanon (though it used to be Syrian), it would definitely put pressure on Hezbollah, as that is one of their main justifications for being an armed force.


Happy Bloomsday!
Shorter James Joyce:
STATELY, PLUMP BUCK MULLIGAN CAME FROM THE STAIRHEAD, bearing a bowl of lather on which a mirror and a razor lay crossed. A yellow dressing gown, ungirdled, was sustained gently-behind him by the mild morning air. He held the bowl aloft and intoned:
-- Introibo ad altare Dei.
"and his heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will Yes."
-James Joyce, Ulysses

Friday, June 13, 2008


Tim Russert is still dead.
(12 hours after the man passed away, this is still a 'developing story' for CNN. Talk about optimism!)


I'm currently reading 'The Great Game - The Struggle for Empire in Central Asia' by Peter Hopkirk. I can't recommend it more highly, it's well written and the subject matter, the struggle between Britain and Russia during the 1800s for control of Central Asia, has great characters and a great story.

I've just finished the harrowing account of the British disaster in Afghanistan in 1841, so that was on my mind when I just heard about the attack on and mass escape from the prison in Kandahar. Hundreds of Taliban escaped, and will now rejoin the fight.

Iraq, for the US at least, is worse, but only because the resources applied in Afghanistan are much more limited. Iraq is hopeless in the long run, but Afghanistan is hopeless in the short run, the long run, in any run. The longer NATO stays there, the more likely it is that Pakistan will disintegrate, the other 'stans will be drawn in, and all to no avail. You would think that the Russian experience in the 80s would serve as a warning, but you don't get the title Feckless Leader for nothing. The other idiots in NATO have compromised their way into this situation to placate the US, now they're stuck, but good.

It would be encouraging if Obama and other Dems would realize this, but Afghanistan remains for them 'the good war' compared to Iraq. That way they can oppose Iraq and still look fierce and warlike. On the contrary, it's much more dangerous in many ways, and 'success' is a pipe dream.

Negotiate your way out now, NATO. There is no better choice.


An 'off the record' press conference might be a good example of an oxymoron, but here in the US it's what the US Department of Justice does.

I am unable to see any difference between the DoJ of Mukasey and that of Gonzales. Thanks for voting to confirm him, Dems!

Thursday, June 12, 2008


I'm an atheist of the Yossarian school, that is, I hold a low opinion of the deity I don't believe in. But I don't want to dwell on it, I'd just as soon he follow in own inexistent path as I do mine, and ne'er the twain shall meet.

But that's nigh on impossible in our modern USA, any catastrophe will provoke the press to bring the supreme being into the matter. Take the floods in the Midwest, here's CNN doing some holy reporting:
"We're just kind of at God's mercy right now, so hopefully people that never prayed before this, it might be a good time to start," Linn County Sheriff Don Zeller said. "We're going to need a lot of prayers, and people are going to need a lot of patience and understanding."
Evidently Sheriff Zeller's god adds up the number of prayers, and adjusts the universe accordingly. MSNBC runs with the same quote as well.

And then there's my pet peeve, the playing of 'God Bless America' during the seventh inning stretch. I will not stand, and I will not sing, I don't believe in God and would just as soon he didn't bless America. This take-over of a noble tradition, standing for the home team in the middle of the seventh, and standing for the away team at the beginning of the seventh has now been trashed. The brain dead American public will bounce up and down like run amok jack-in-the-boxes if their masters tell them too. Why just in the seventh, why not stand up in between every inning, you morons? And why don't you pray for something useful, like a tight bomb pattern?

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Bad timing

The eastern end of our excellent adventure seems to have taken some new directions. China Matters analyzes the reporting on the US/Pakistan encounter in Pakistan that left a bunch of dead Pakistanis, and how our faithful nuclear armed ally is dealing with it. Summoning the US Ambassador Patterson to receive an official protest must mean they are disgruntled.

Meanwhile, a ragtag army of lawyers is advancing on Islamabad, demanding the reinstatement of the judges fired by Musharraf, our buddy. Our buddy seems to be hanging on by his fingernails, difficult for one of his physical stature. Might the border conflict be the straw that broke our buddy's back?

Lt. Col. Levonda Selph

Back on Sept. 1, 2007, Blog Simple commented on reports of corruption in Iraq amongst US military officers.

Last night I noticed a hit on that post from a Google search for "levonda" "colonel selph" photo, though alas we have no photo of Lt. Col. Selph (retired).

Today, lo and behold, we learn that Selph was secretly indicted back in October, she is 'cooperating' with the investigation and there already is a plea deal. The CNN article linked to in this paragraph succeeds in avoiding pointing out that Selph worked directly under the new American hero, Gen. David Petraeus. This NYT article does mention she worked with Petraeus, but assures us that:
There is no indication that investigators have uncovered any wrongdoing by him.
Did Petraeus know about the corruption? Did he read the suicide note of Col. Westhusing? Certainly if it went on under his nose and he was unable to see it, it doesn't speak well of his command capabilities.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Gates' pick

Haaretz reveals that the new Chief of Staff of the Air Force, Norton Schwartz, is Jewish. Since the Air Force is known to be a hotbed of fundamentalist Christians who have pressured Jewish and atheist soldiers (and cadets at the Air Force academy), it will be interesting to see if this causes tension in the ranks.

It might be hard to know if that's so, however. Gates is seemingly challenging the Air Force to change, and that is never welcome in the military. One way or the other, Schwartz is bound to be a lightning rod, let's see how long he lasts.

Monday, June 09, 2008

More diplomacy gold

South Korea's entire cabinet and the Prime Minister offered to resign because of the protests against US beef imports.

South Korean PM Han Seung-soo is 'pro-US', standing up for us to the DPRK, and loving us and our foreign policy.

He's told by some kleptocrat in Washington that the POTUS wants to export beef to South Korean children, without safeguards that would befit a civilized country. He said yes, showing some really bad political chops, and the shit hits the fan. You've got to love South Korean protests.

Meanwhile, Feckless Leader and Condi take a romantic trip to Europe, while Laura bucks up the Afghanis and our allies.

McClellan will testify?

AP is reporting that Scott McClellan will testify under oath before the House Judiciary Committee on June 20. It will be interesting to see if the administration tries to block his testimony, and if so, how. Claims of executive privilege might work with someone you doesn't want to testify, but Scott is ready, willing and able to get more book sales. What can they do, arrest him?

Friday, June 06, 2008

Walk of Life

Fox News!

You cannot make this shit up:
During the June 6 edition of Fox News' America's Pulse, host E.D. Hill teased an upcoming discussion by saying, "A fist bump? A pound? A terrorist fist jab? The gesture everyone seems to interpret differently." In the ensuing discussion with Janine Driver -- whom Hill introduced as "a body language expert" -- Hill referred to the "Michelle and Barack Obama fist bump or fist pound," adding that "people call it all sorts of things." Hill went on to ask Driver: "Let's start with the Barack and Michelle Obama, because that's what most people are writing about -- the fist thump. Is that sort of a signal that young people get?" At no point during the discussion did Hill explain her earlier reference to "a terrorist fist jab."
But I guess they did. Silly me. Still, wow!
(h/t Atrios)

Obama goofed

Now it seems that Obama didn't really mean it when he told AIPAC that Jerusalem 'must remain undivided':
Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama did not rule out Palestinian sovereignty over parts of Jerusalem when he called for Israel's capital to remain "undivided," his campaign told The Jerusalem Post Thursday.
"Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided," Obama declared Wednesday, to rousing applause from the 7,000-plus attendees at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee policy conference.

But a campaign adviser clarified Thursday that Obama believes "Jerusalem is a final status issue, which means it has to be negotiated between the two parties" as part of "an agreement that they both can live with."

"Two principles should apply to any outcome," which the adviser gave as: "Jerusalem remains Israel's capital and it's not going to be divided by barbed wire and checkpoints as it was in 1948-1967."

He refused, however, to rule out other configurations, such as the city also serving as the capital of a Palestinian state or Palestinian sovereignty over Arab neighborhoods.

"Beyond those principles, all other aspects are for the two parties to agree at final status negotiations," the Obama adviser said.
It was obviously necessary to do this, the US has little enough credibility as a peacemaker, and starting off with a stated position that none of the Arab states can accept would burn through that remnant. But it was stupid to say it in the first place.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Bad times

Obama's kowtowing to AIPAC is not a surprise, but the way he did it reveals a total lack of leadership, and a disregard for the interests of his country and the world. There was just no reason to sustain complete Israeli control of all of Jerusalem, it's a brutal slap in the face to the 'friendly Arabs', the UN, and a large number of Israelis who truly want peace.

Obama has shown himself to be as unfit for the office as McCain and Clinton.

Gates breaks out the broom

We've tried to follow the 'loose nukes' story as much as can be done with the haphazard reporting available, and the closed mouth tactics of the Air Force. Prior posts, from first to last here, here, here, here and here. The affair has always had a surreal quality that blends in nicely with other events like 9/11 and the anthrax letters.

SecDef Gates, at least, has showed his concern over the whole matter by firing the AF Chief of Staff and the Secretary of the Air Force. I would suspect that this will put a stone atop the affair, and it will drift away down the memory hole.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008


It's always something to behold when the media gets the bit between its teeth. Obama's 'win' seems something more than certain, it seems enshrined by the heavens from now unto eternity. Mustering sympathy for Clinton is hard, but for her, the pressure to surrender must be excruciating in these last moments. If she can withstand this, I will be impressed.
To the mattresses!

Monday, June 02, 2008

Cohen on Clinton

Muhammad Cohen, whose name is much admired here at Blog Simple for its cultural ambivalence, has a new article up at the Asia Times that looks at the Clinton/Obama race and has some interesting insights:
The pressure is not on Clinton to get out of the race, it's on the Democrats to get her out. She has nothing to lose at this point. Unliked and far down on the senatorial pecking pole, she stakes little by pursuing the nomination all the way to the convention. She's already been dissed by the people who never liked the Clintons, and by many she and Bill counted as friends. Yes, she's carrying millions in campaign debt, but the big expenses of the primaries are nearly behind her, and she's rich. Once the campaign is over, she and Bill can go back to raising money full-time from big donors, and they've proven very good at it.

The longer Clinton stays in the race, the bigger the prize package the Democrats must offer for her surrender. She's hoping, not foolishly, that the prize will eventually be the presidential nomination. Her ace in the hole is that it's been 32 years since any Democrat has won the presidency, except for a candidate named Clinton. In a party of losers, desperate for a winner, that could prove decisive.
Blog Simple, except in moments of festive brain short-circuits, has no expectation that either Democratic candidate offers any reversal, except in a cosmetic sense, on the American road to hell. We might be forced to admit, under duress, that Clinton would be more able in ousting the Bush/Cheney mad-dog kleptocrats that have been installed throughout the bureaucracy and the judiciary, but that would only be to bring in her own crew. Obama is still an unknown to a large extent, that's why he still has feathers.

But back to Mr. Cohen. He was the author of an earlier ATimes article that said that a strike on Iran would happen by August, already reviewed here. The particulars of the article were specifically denied by two Senators, and thus effectively buried. We'd just like to point out that such explicit denials are an exception, and thus increases our interest in the issue.