Thursday, January 28, 2010

Shorter Obama to the poor

Oops, they weren't even mentioned in the SOTU. You can't get much shorter than that.

Longer Obama to the poor: "Screw you and your kids too."

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Silicon daze

The FBI's explanation of the anthrax case back in 2001 was weak to begin with. The only real evidence was the tracing of genetic markers to a flask that had been in the possession of Bruce Ivins, along with many others. Since Ivins supposedly and conveniently committed suicide, he made an excellent fall guy, and the FBI used him just that way, to put a stone over its hapless investigation.

Unfortunately for the FBI, there was still an important problem that wasn't explained, the presence of silicon in the spores used in the attack. The Wall Street Journal has a must read Op-Ed that shows clearly that the FBI's case has been blown out of the water, and they've got a whole lot more 'splainin to do.

We find it interesting that this story comes out when there is a new push to alarm the public over the risk of possible al-Qaida WMD attacks.
(h/t Uncle $cam)

Thursday, January 21, 2010


Today's Supreme Court ruling that corporations (and unions) can contribute to political campaigns to their little heart's desire is probably going to be more a symbolic change than an effective one.

Our plucky democracy, like that of our British cousins, has always been based on the proposition that money buys votes, one way or another. Lobbyists, PACs, media ownership, and a hundred other tools have always been available to legally determine the will of the public, this might even make the running of our plutocracy more transparent, for all the good that will do.

So let us rejoice in the new found freedom of money to operate in its own best interests. It is already working hard to destroy its own presupposition, the rule of law, so that the Caesars of the future will have clear sailing towards the imperial purple. Today was just another small step.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Gitmoed to death

Scott Horton has a must read article on the strange 'suicide' deaths at Gitmo in June of 2006. An NCO has come forward and put the military's improbable story in even greater doubt.

Part of the story is an ongoing effort by the current administration to cover up the truth of the matter, confirming once again the lack of change, not to mention hope, that has become Obama's main feature. As Horton points out, strange deaths keep happening:
Nearly 200 men remain imprisoned at Guantánamo. In June 2009, six months after Barack Obama took office, one of them, a thirty-one-year-old Yemeni named Muhammed Abdallah Salih, was found dead in his cell. The exact circumstances of his death, like those of the deaths of the three men from Alpha Block, remain uncertain. Those charged with accounting for what happened—the prison command, the civilian and military investigative agencies, the Justice Department, and ultimately the attorney general himself—all face a choice between the rule of law and the expedience of political silence. Thus far, their choice has been unanimous.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Not so bright?

IOZ presents the case against Obama's last unquestioned (until now) virtue.

Nicknaming committee take note!

Fettered no more

We worked long and hard to come up with the title Fettered Leader for Barack Obama, but it's becoming clear that the name doesn't fit anymore, if it ever did. Our last post on the emergency war funding demand by Obama shows that he is wholly with the program of the ever expanding wars, the national security state, the reduction of a large majority of Americans to serfdom, and is a lying sack of shit as well. Fettered is obviously not the mot juste.

Our researchers have been called back to nickname assignment, stay tuned!


Days after signing a record DoD budget, Obama is going to ask for another $33bn in 'emergency war funding'. Shades of Feckless Leader! And I had remembered that Obama had made a big point to end this type of off budget trickery, but my memory isn't what it used to be, after all, we have always been at war with Eurasia, right?

Somehow, the following paragraph was reported as being in the last State of the Union speech by Fettered Leader, and my memory recalled the same, but we both must be mistaken in remembering this:
Finally, because we’re also suffering from a deficit of trust, I am committed to restoring a sense of honesty and accountability to our budget.  That is why this budget looks ahead ten years and accounts for spending that was left out under the old rules – and for the first time, that includes the full cost of fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.  For seven years, we have been a nation at war.  No longer will we hide its price.
Sorry about that, and the White House should hurry up and correct the faulty record they have of the speech.


Blog Simple finds itself posting often on articles by the Asia Times' M K Bhadrakumar. The main reason is his dispassionate, acute viewpoints, which are so often at odds with the prevailing wisdom distributed by the MSM. In world affairs, the MSM is almost nothing more than a megaphone for US establishment interests, controversy and discussion only take place when there are diverging interests within that establishment.

His article today presents another look at the Obama's administrations troubles with Karzai in Kabul. Months of negative press have not been enough to remove him from office, the obvious goal of Holbrooke and his ex-UN stooge Galbraith, but efforts are continuing to undermine Karzai's position and power.

The article points out that the removal or marginalization of Karzai will do little to change the fundamental power structure in the country, or the practice of distributing funds from overseas to protect and serve that power structure.

His final point is also a good one. It's one year into Obama's presidency, and he has yet to deign to visit Afghanistan. It's about time.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Why Yemen Part 2

Besides, history has no instances of a declining world power meekly accepting its destiny and walking into the sunset. The US cannot give up on its global dominance without putting up a real fight. And the reality of all such momentous struggles is that they cannot be fought piece-meal. You cannot fight China without occupying Yemen.
 -M K Bhadrakumar in the Asia Times

Blog Simple asked 'Why Yemen?' in an earlier post.

Bhadrakumar's thesis, that the main point of the new US push in Yemen is to counter China, makes good sense. An important part of the strategy will be the establishment of bases in Yemen.

He also talks about Israel establishing a foothold on the Arabian peninsula, as they have in northern Iraq. This, despite the pro-Western tilt of Saudi Arabia, is bound to cause concern there, both for strategic reasons and the incentive it might give the local al-Qaida groups.

In any case, it looks like Yemen will be a new front in the global war. Fettered Leader will continue down the tracks (Bhadradumar's metaphor), there is no turning aside, much less going back.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Energy costs

M K Bhadrakumar's latest in the Asia Times is a must read.

He takes a look at the many changes of late in the energy game in Central Asia, the Turkmenistan/China pipeline, the recent re-rapprochement between Turkmenistan and Russia, and now a Turkmenistan/Iran pipeline that was just inaugurated by a visit of Ahmadinejad to Ashgabat.

So far, our paper of record, the NYT has failed to take note either of the latter pipeline, or the visit, as all their energy seems wrapped up in forecasting the demise of the Iranian regime, and all the tunnels the Iranians are digging.

The US is pursuing a strategy in Central Asia that was devised by Cheney, military occupation leading to capture of the energy resources of the region, and the Middle East as well. That strategy is pretty well defunct, unless another escalation is in the works, but its military component continues, hiding behind the mask of anti-terrorism. Fettered Leader's inability to propose any policy changes in the past year, and seemingly the future, compounds Cheney's errors and the huge costs they've incurred.

Fettered Leader

Faithful readers of Blog Simple will remember that our title for the last US President, G. W. Bush, was Feckless Leader, taking a cue from a favorite program from our youth, the Rocky and Bullwinkle show. Fearless Leader was the dictator of Pottsylvania, and boss of Boris and Natasha, the primary opposition to our furry heroes. The jump from Fearless to Feckless takes only a pronounced booby such as G.W.B.

Month of observation and research have allowed us to dub our current president, Barack Obama, with the title Fettered Leader. True the chains that bind him seem mostly self-installed, with the witting help of Geithner, Raum, Gates, Clinton and his other appointees, but his general aspect is of one fettered to following the dictates of the press and politics, with no thought to anything like the change that is so obviously needed.

So, Fettered Leader it is!

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Why Yemen?

It's hard for us to believe that it is a total coincidence that the crotch bomber was supposedly 'trained' in Yemen, Maj. Hasan communicated with the an imam there, and the other escalations against that benighted country have developed in a vacuum.

Spreading chaos is often a prelude to more robust interventions, and the rhetoric coming from Washington seems to follow that age old pattern:
  1. financial and military aid
  2. 'advisors'
  3. air support (bombing)
  4. limited, 'temporary' troop intervention
  5. expansion of the enemies list, Yemen will probably be tied to drug trafficking, the other global war.
  6. Marines, temporary bases
  7. full scale base building (especially airbases) and intervention

Stage one is already in place, the Yemen government is our 'friend' but the press is quick to point out its failings. Expect stages two and three in the near future.

But back to 'why'. Obama's anti-terrorist strategy in world affairs is an obvious sham, whether he knows it or not. US actions increase the possibility of terrorism, they do not reduce it. The question is, who stands to benefit from a big intervention in Yemen?

Obviously, defense contractors, CENTCOM, and foreign policy institutions (all really the same thing). Israel? Hard to see why, except for their generally pro-war anywhere position. Saudi Arabia, perhaps, but they also might be nervous about having more US troops stationed next door. The Arabian peninsula is sensitive to non-Muslim troops, as we know from past adventures.

This will be the first direct intervention initiated by the Obama administration. It's taken all of a year for him to expand from his two inherited wars to three, with Iran as four waiting in the background.

We await further developments with interest, and some dread.

Monday, January 04, 2010

A kinder, gentler Osama

Both the Christmas crotch bomber and the latest episode in Newark go to show that it isn't necessary to actually blow things up to cause system breakdowns and rampant hysteria in the US. Overreaction is now so ingrained into the national psyche that a wave of pranksters that do nothing more that light little fires and walk the wrong way through security gates could cause more havoc than more traditional terrorist acts.

That might lose a few terror candidates who are interested in martyrdom and the subsequent heavenly virgins, but there might be a larger pool to pick from.

The only thing that could make the plan unworkable would be a new attitude here in the land of the free, but that hardly seems possible, what with our drama queens in the press, and the giant security apparatus of doom. Any excuse is good enough for them to go full Chicken Little on our collective asses.