Thursday, January 31, 2008


(h/t alicublog)

Enormous and undiminished

Paul Rogers looks at what's in store for Iraq, an enormous and undiminished US presence for the foreseeable future.

In sum, the United States plan for Iraq is to establish a series of tight political mechanisms of control deriving from the original CPA-era agreements; a huge embassy-based structure in Baghdad to oversee and maintain these; immunity for over 300,000 foreign personnel; and continuing, direct authority over and access to Iraqi detainees. The entire operation is to be secured by the US military and its private contractors, increasingly protected by the use of air power.

This ambitious project is hardly consistent with the idea - still the official line propagated by Washington, and uncritically recycled by much of the establishment media - that the US's political objective is to bolster the independent governance of Iraq by the Iraqis themselves. Indeed, it goes further than the considerable power exerted by the United States in several central American countries in the early 20th century; its sheer grandeur might better be compared to some of the French or British colonial-era protectorates. In contemporary terms, it comes close to the establishment of a fully-fledged American colony in the heart of the Arab and Islamic world. Whether or not the George W Bush administration and its supporters realise it, the implications of that - for Iraq itself and for the whole region - are set to match even what has happened over the last five years.

What he doesn't answer: how all this is going to be paid for? How long is the world going to continue to accept our funny money?

Mukasey's point

Glenn Greenwald (behind an ad wall) and Scott Horton both give a good summary of AG Mukasey's courtesy call yesterday to the US Senate.

As Glenn says, the spectacle of the AG telling the Senate to go fuck themselves and that the President makes the laws is no longer a spectacle at all, just normalcy in our new reality. After being told that, the good Senators all lined up to say what a good guy and fine AG Mukasey is. How civilized!

And Mukasey has a point, when the President defies Congress, there is a Constitutional remedy. It is called impeachment. If Congress doesn't want to avail itself of that, it really doesn't have many options, and that it is evidently too much to impeach a Leader that knows how to keep his dick in his pants.

So the only way back is the upcoming elections. Right. Those that have seized supreme power are just going to walk away and leave everything to Clinton or Obama and everything will be like before. As Claudius found out, even if the Emperor wants to give power back to the Republic, it just cannot be done. All you can do is hope for a better Emperor. At least that shouldn't be too difficult.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008


It's coming out now that Philip Zelikow, the head of the 9/11 commission, was being run by Karl Rove. It's coming out in a book by Philip Shenon, who was the lead reporter from the NYT about the commission. He's writing a book about the commission that will include that news, that evidently wasn't fit to print in the Times.
(h/t emptywheel)

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Erring on the side of caution?

Or does Michael Abramowitz of the WaPo know something we don't?
That is the problem Bush faces as he prepares to deliver his seventh and probably final State of the Union address tonight.
(h/t Scott Horton of Harper's)

Monday, January 28, 2008


I've never thought of myself as a particularly paranoid person, but perhaps I need to change that opinion, as reported facts in seemingly unrelated articles are starting to interact in my mind for no good reason. Take these three:
  1. Ex-FBI translator Sibel Edmonds finally gets to tell her story to the media (in Great Britain, at least) with three articles in the Times. (one, two, and three). The story has a lot about nuclear proliferation, and gives a central role to Turkey. Do read the articles.
  2. Then Bush proposes sharing nuclear technology with Turkey.
  3. Then an airplane goes down with several Turkish nuclear scientists on board.
Or is it as Auric Goldfinger (a paranoid fictional character) once said, more or less: once - happenstance, twice - coincidence, three times - enemy action?

Friday, January 25, 2008

Watch it and weep

Shorter Chalmers Johnson: "Shit, meet fan."

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Say it ain't so, Freddie

The bombshell news that Fred Thompson is dropping out of the presidential race has hit Blog Simple like a Boston cream pie hurled by a steroid juiced up pitcher from the good old days of baseball. Faithful and attentive readers will recall that BS boldly went out on a very high, slender limb to predict that Fred (later found out to be really Freddie) would be the next elected President of the USA.

So we were wrong, so sue us you pedantic, uptight bastards! Let's face it, instead of the folksy, good ol' boy in a pickup with a knockout wife, we got someone who was receiving excited bids from undertakers to get a piece of the only action left for Fred. Even the American public, even the Republican American public, is not ready for a man, not with one foot in the grave, but rather with just his dewlaps hanging out of the coffin and allowing us to believe there might still be a living being attached.

So with one dead candidate, and Giuliani looking, if not dead, at least undead, the plot has thickened. Our research assistants, all young, good looking, intelligent and ambitious are scouring the news, interviewing sources, and marshaling the facts so that Blog Simple can bring you the future before it actually happens. Stay tuned!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Preznit giv Money!

Feckless Leader wants $145B to be put in the hot little hands of the US spending public, so to get them back on the consumer gravy train to hell.

How this will do anything but possibly postpone the day of reckoning is beyond the power of my feeble imagination. The bond insurers are going belly up, and when the bond insurers tank can the bonds be far behind?

Local governments and pensions are going to have enough worthless paper to start a nice fire to stay warm with, but in the meantime don't you really want a nice HDTV?

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Recycling is good!

Once again leading by example, the administration is showing that Americans can right their tottering economy by using common sense frugality. Recycling backup tapes of White House emails seems almost too simple for the federal government, but the implementation of such cost saving measures provides a 'win-win' paradigm that should please everyone.

Congress should especially take note. Why spend a lot of time and money investigating stuff, rather than looking for other recycling opportunities? Take note, Congress, the ball is in your court.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Feckless Leader does Arabia


Uri Avnery sums up what was said and left unsaid in Israel, as well as the strange look of a Bush/Olmert presser.

It's hard to believe that any of Bush's keepers, including Cheney, can really think that the trumped up Hormuz incident will convince any of our Arab buddies to support US policy towards Iran, whatever it might be this week. But if not, what was the point? Isn't a $20B arms sale enough to make everyone happy?

Friday, January 11, 2008

Waiting for the end of the world

We've reassembled once again at Blog Simple after a trip to the old country.

Italy continues to do what it does so well, muddle from one disaster to the next. Naples and its garbage was the crisis du jour, emergency powers have finally been given and the army called on to give the impression that action is being taken. It's a given that the problem will return in months or years, the underlying problems (camorra, politicians) remain.

Still, the Italians will endure, what else can they do? Here in the good ol' USA the situation continues to shows signs that no one is yet willing to face, a camorra style of government has become the new standard. Governors are imprisoned on political grounds, whistle blowers are ignored by the press and Congress (note that not one US media outlet has picked up on the Times story to date), the Fed is printing money in a desperate attempt to paper over a howling void of bad debt, and Feckless Leader is touring the Middle East while Pakistan and Afghanistan evidence the unraveling of seven years of foreign policy.

No one in the political establishment shows any realization that major changes are going to be needed, and soon, to prevent drastic institutional breakdowns. The continuous moronic chatter about the upcoming elections keeps everyone with their eyes on the prize, but the prize is falling into pieces and no one notices. Unlike the Italians, the Americans may not endure, their roots are shallow, and strong winds are coming.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Days of the Jackels

Now that we're officially in an election year, the outline presented by the press will take shape sooner rather than later, barring unforeseen occurrences in the world at large. With John Edwards making a move toward the front of the pack of Dems, it's become clear that he is the candidate that most upsets the mandarins in Washington and New York.

The NYT, seeing that stories about $400 haircuts is not getting the job done of moving Edwards back to where he belongs at the rear of the pack, draws a bead on him in this article by the Pentagon's best boy, Michael R. Gordon.

The accompanying photograph alone is worth the price of admission, so go take a look. Just because the cross hair is missing doesn't make it any less obvious that Gordon/Keller/Sulzberger have made a statement that Edwards is a target.
(h/t to the Master of image analysis at BAGnewsNotes)

Happy New Year!

Basilica di San Nicola, Bari, Italy