Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A Bitch for All Seasons

The mechanics of the latest 'crisis' with North Korea are pretty much established.

South Korea held military exercises on a disputed island, and after warnings from North Korea, proceeded to launch artillery into North Korean waters. North Korea responded by shelling the island.

The provocation by S. Korea, and the excessive (but usual) response by N. Korea, trigger a milquetoast response by the Obama administration, hoping to avoid further escalation but needing to seem forceful by the press.

It's hard to disbelieve that the S. Korean government didn't manufacture this incident for their own political aims, and that once again, Barack Obama has been played for the patsy he is.

Japan's tiff with China over fishing near a disputed island was also a scenario for local political grandstanding, with the US administration following the lead of the Japanese Foreign Minister. 

This all intermingled with the latest episode with Israel that was so nauseatingly predictable that I thought it beneath comment. It seems all client states of the US feel they have a free hand to cuff Obama, and make him dance to their tune.

Where will it end?

Happy Thanksgiving, Turkeys

Seeing is believing.

(h/t News from Underground)

Saturday, November 20, 2010

AIPAC Agonistes

The Rosen-AIPAC kerfuffle has inched further into the MSM. It actually appeared in the WAPO, albeit only in a 'blog', Sullivan at the Atlantic comments, and even Aljazeera has a story. Still nothing in the 'paper of record', but as Grant Smith pointed out, AIPAC feeds stories from the classified materials they somehow get to the NYT and WAPO. So, there's a debt that can be paid by keeping embarrassing stories out of Pravda and Izvestia. Win-win!

Thursday, November 18, 2010


Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Paul Woodward reports from War in Context that on Nov. 8, Steven Rosen, former AIPAC employee once accused of espionage, is suing AIPAC for defamation to the tune of $20 million.

As Woodward points out, though the story was broken by Grant Smith at, and has been covered by Haaretz and in the US blogosphere, no mainstream US news organization has even mentioned the suit in passing. That's over a week and counting.

We've said it before, true power in the press is more usually and convincingly demonstrated by what is not printed, rather than by what is.

Blog Simple will update if a Google news search turns up any coverage. For your safety, breath holding is discouraged.

Afghanistan agony

Along with the news that the new date for beginning a withdrawal from Afghanistan (still contingent on circumstances on the ground) is 2014, comes the news of a new strategy, destroying thousands of houses and farm buildings around Kandahar with the excuse that they are (or might be) booby-trapped.

Needless to say, population displacement is the goal, since clear, hold, build has obviously failed already. That, like in Iraq, is the fallback strategy, and signals the end of COIN. Petraeus was never a COIN guy anyway, though he and his sycophants will undoubtedly continue to pay lip-service to it.

Where the new refugees will go is not yet discussed. Pakistan, the obvious location for Pashtun refugees, would only be further destabilized. Winter is approaching, and another US made humanitarian crisis will have devastating consequences. The US and NATO are now entering a new phase, massive war crimes are back on the table, and victory will be a destroyed and depopulated country.

Will 2014 give enough time? Don't bet on it, real withdrawal, like in Iraq, is not on the table. Only exterior events, bigger wars and domestic collapse can derail this train to hell.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Homeward bound

To go to a G20 meeting in South Korea, expecting to sign a big bilateral deal with the S. Koreans on trade and have that blow up in your face is evidence of either pure incompetence, or political weakness so evident to a client state that it thinks it can bitchslap you with impunity.

I expect it was the latter.

To have that happen in East Asia, where bitchslapping is a art with many subtleties and its meaning clear to all, means that Barack Obama had better stay home from now on, as unappealing as that may be. Loss of face at this level can only be countered with reciprocal actions. He lacks the both the intellegence and courage to take the necessary steps. Besides that, he is hardly in control of his own administration.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The bad and the good news

The Presidential Deficit Commission, a.k.a. The Catfood Commission released some depressing news today for the nation's seniors and seniors to be: there will be less cat food, and you will have to wait longer to get it.

But there was good news too, with the cuts to Medicare, life expectancy should decline, and the quality, if not the quantity of available cat food may increase. "We see a window for Fancy Feast being available at least once a week for our seniors.", said Erskine Bowles, co-chairman of the commission. "And after a six days of Meow Mix, that's a big quality of life improvement.", he added.

Tough love

Netanyahu's announcement of new building in East Jerusalem, timed as Obama is meeting with the largest Muslim nation in the world, was criticized by the Obama administration in its usual mealymouthed fashion.

Netanyahu's rejected the criticism, administering another bitchslapping, so what does the administration do? It has Joe Biden declare that the US will support Israel no matter what it does, forever and ever. Joe has an infinite supply of cheeks to turn.

In the strange world of Barack Obama, that is called 'getting tough'.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

God Bless America

Land that I fucking LOVE.
Morgan Stanley financial adviser escapes felony charges for hit-and-run 'because it could jeopardise his job'
The entire article should be perused, there are so many gems that I'd have to quote the whole thing to do it justice. So read it already.

Summary: Rich guy in Mercedes hit cyclist, drives on leaving liver transplant surgeon cyclist with major injuries. DA doesn't prosecute felony hit and run, because that might impede the motorists ability to pay restitution (to whom?).

District Attorney Mark Hurlbert of Eagle Colorado should definitely think of running for higher office.

The perp, Joel Erzinger, has his priorities straight, he should continue to rake in the big money, once he pays off the 'victim', Dr. Steven Milo, who probably obstructed Mr. Erzinger's God given right to the road.

But I have to quote the final paragraph:
Erzinger fled the scene and was arrested later, police say. He drove until he reached a Pizza Hut parking lot, where he stopped and called Mercedes auto assistance to report the damage to his vehicle.
GBA babies, GBA.
(h/t cryptogon)

UPDATE: CNBC senior editor John Carney makes the obvious deduction that Mr. Erzinger was targeted by the cops because of his wealth. So sad, but justice has seemingly triumphed. USA! USA!

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

The power of the press

No, not that press. This press is the one that can print money, real money, such as it is, and is answerable to no one known to the other press.

The $600bn that Bernanke will use to buy treasury bonds will probably serve, at least for a time, to prop up the stock market and drive down the value of the dollar, helping make iPads and Kinects manufactured in China more affordable for Europeans. Win-win, as they say.

The WaPo headline says the maneuver is to 'boost economic recovery'. That is a lie. It is to desperately maintain the financial system from going down the rat hole, for now.

It will have to be followed by more of the same, $600bn is a drop in the bucket of the derivative black hole, expect another early next year, if not sooner.

Barack Obama has temporized from a position where he had some power to one where he has less. As David Broder so astutely pointed out, his only choice now is to go to war.

Let confusion reign

The midterm elections serve mainly to muddy the waters of US politics at the national level. The defeats of those vanquished in the Presidential are often redeemed, while the past victors are hoisted on their own petards, usually rightfully so.

2010 is no exception. Barack Obama's first two years have been a pendulum swinging between half-hearted and thus failed efforts to rationalize some egregious failings of the US system, the incredibly innefficient and expensive health care industry, and an enthusiastic hearting of the main forces shaping the new century, the financial oligarchy (FO) and the national security state (NSS).

The main struggle in the upcoming years will be between those last two powers, the FO and the NSS. Though they seem united now, the fundamental differences are profound and cannot be reconciled. Obama is the willing tool of the FO, while the NSS has to push him toward their goals (still vague and unformed anyway), but pushing an empty suit such as he is a laughing matter.

The Republicans too are crucified by their different masters. They just don't feel it as much, intellectual consistency is not something demanded of them.

Expect another crazy time where the inconsequential is raised to the highest national level, and the major powers maneuver behind the scenes. The best we can hope for is that this will delay the next war.