Saturday, April 30, 2011

President Drone strikes again

Saturday, April 23, 2011

The White Knight is talking backwards

President Drone, wearing his hat as a constitutional scholar, has pronounced that Bradley Manning 'broke the law'. This legitimizes Manning's torture, and obviates the need for a trial. If the President can whack whoever he wants, why shouldn't he be able to dispense with the expensive and complicated business of a trial before pronouncing verdict and sentence.

You may recall what his predecessor, the Red Queen, said:
'No, no!' said the Queen. 'Sentence first - verdict afterwards.'
The updated version:
'No, no!' said the President. 'Verdict first - trial afterwards.'

Thursday, April 21, 2011

President Drone

News of the latest addition to the Libyan war, the use of US Predator drones, should come as no surprise. Obama has made them a cornerstone of his foreign policy, as befitting a Nobel Peace Laureate.

As in Pakistan, where they were first used to take out 'high value targets', and their use has morphed into bombing foot soldiers, tribal elders, and any stray civilian that might look suspicious, in Libya we will doubtlessly be assured how they will just kill 'bad guys'. 'Bad guys' is a euphemism for 'anyone killed by a drone'.

Since drones have not shown themselves to be particularly effective, further escalation is inevitable. With advisers now on the ground, and the war showing no sign of ending, a propaganda push for troops is right around the corner.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Third war in the world

b at Moon of Alabama has a good point, the failure of the NATO bombing intervention in the civil war in Libya now requires 'boots on the ground'.

The necessary press work is well underway, but the Obama administration still seems to lack the balls to defy the unknown. Hillary seems to have disappeared, doubtlessly she's armoring up for a charge to the front. Expect the invisible man (BO) to soon acquiesce to a larger commitment. The British and French like to talk tough, but without Uncle Sam leading the charge they'll just huff and puff.

If Gates is really on his way out, there is no one left to point out the folly.

Shit for brains

The Barry Bonds case confirms the obvious, put twelve Americans in a jury room and they'll put their stupidity, ignorance and fucking cowardice on display for all the mankind that is dumb enough to watch. I guess you have to count me in on the last point.

The governments' case was a classic witch hunt, you use a grand jury to damn someone no matter what they say, and the witchery is what everyone has done, but a purification rite must go on.

To see them succeed is disgusting, but not surprising.

Monday, April 11, 2011

The unmitigated Gall

On April 5th, M K Bhadrakumar wrote an article in the Asia Times that looked at the recent killings of UN workers in Mazar-i-Sharif. Some of the points he made were:
1. The impossibility of a Taliban presence in the city.
Indeed, anyone familiar with the Amu Darya region would know that the walk from the Blue Mosque to the UN compound itself is as eternal a walk as the footsteps that Neil Armstrong, the American astronaut, took on July 20, 1969, under the close monitoring of the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral. Not a bird can fly across that one kilometer without the three lords of the northern Afghan manor noticing it (or permitting it to happen) - Rashid Dostum, Uzbek strongman; Mohammed Mohaqiq, Hazara Shi'ite leader; and Atta Mohammad Noor, currently governor of Balkh province and an erstwhile Northern Alliance leader.

Dostum, Mohaqiq and Atta might have had ups and downs in their mutual often-acrimonious equations, but one thing that unites them for a lifetime is their visceral hatred toward the Taliban and their existential fear of a return of the Taliban to power in Afghanistan. They do not need to be told that the Taliban and them simply cannot co-exist within one Afghan political entity.
2. The city and the whole region are in an uproar over the possible release (from Gitmo) and repatriation of Mullah Khairullah Khairkhwa to Afghanistan. Why?
But then, the ISI didn't let misfortune overtake their favorite Taliban official and Khairkhwa regrouped and returned to first lay siege to Mazar and then bombard it for several months and thereafter storm it in August 1998. This time, Khairkhwa and the ISI took no chances. The Hazara Shi'ites were massacred in their thousands in revenge and for the next six days after entering Mazar, Khairkhwa ordered his men to go from door to door looking for male Hazara Shi'ites and summarily executed them.

Thousands of Uzbek prisoners were packed into transport truck containers to be suffocated or to die of heat stroke so that Khairkhwa could spare ammunition. Among those who managed to flee the city were Dostum, Mohaqiq and Atta. Mohaqiq was evacuated in the nick of time from Khairkhwa's clutches by a helicopter.
On April 9th, Carlotta Gall wrote an article for the NYT that says it was the Taliban that was seen as 'stirring the mob to violence'. Many anonymous sources were used, no historical perspective was given, no mention of Mullah Khairkhwa was made, and the conclusions supplied obviously serve the interests of the US and NATO. Ms. Gall's only interest in reporting, like that of her newspaper, is to support the war and the government, hiding behind a mask of objectivity. Unfortunately for them, the longer wars go on, the harder it is to effectively lie, and the masks slip off so often they become useless. But they seem to never learn.

Friday, April 08, 2011

Pee-eww! We have a budget.

The stench of the Dems waving their buttocks in the air finally overcame the Rethugs, and they seem to have agreed to use a drop of lubricant to help stop up the orifices.

So this drama, played out to the bemusement of the general populace and the delight of the pundits, appears to be over. An orgy of credit taking is coming, so stop your ears and eyes for a few days, until the next clown show is announced.

We can't wait.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Ebbing my tuckus

New horizons in reporter whoredom.

In my last post I linked to an LA Times article with the headline:
Japan nuclear crisis ebbing, U.S. experts say
It starts with the following paragraphs:
Although the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has not yet been stabilized, there is no evidence that overheating during the last month has resulted in any melting of the reactor vessels or their containment structures, Obama administration officials said Thursday.

If that assessment is correct, then significant additional releases of radioactivity into the environment will be limited, and emergency crews should have a far better chance of preventing further damage to the plant's reactors.

The assessment, provided to The Times on background, suggests that the plant is unlikely to suffer a complete meltdown, in which uranium fuel gets so hot that it melts through the bottom of the reactor and containment vessels, spewing high-level radiation into the plant's underlying foundation.

"We are a long way from a point where anybody would say this is stable," a senior administration official said. "But it is not a runaway. For a long time, we will be at a declining level of risk."
My emphasis, obviously.

Why oh why, LA Times reporter

Tower of Babbling

Apart from the greatest threat to mankind in the history of the world, the 'shutdown' of the US government, most of our other news threads have degenerated into a morass of contradiction.

In Libya, the US announced that their airstrikes would end last Friday, and then that they were extended until Saturday upon request from NATO. Now we learn that US airstrikes continue, and that possible US boots on the ground might be necessary to augment the US sneakers on the ground of the CIA.

Mission creepiness.

In Japan, the Times says that the recent aftershock/earthquake has complicated Japanese efforts to avoid nuclear catastrophe, in case it hasn't already happened, while the LA Times assures us that US experts are sure the crisis is ebbing. Right.

It's evident that a lack of direction has allowed the press to muck and cluck about like soon to be headless chickens, ready for a new mandate, or their imminent beheading. President O keeps getting smaller and smaller, or maybe more and more transparent, defying his dusky hue as he merges into the background of the White House.

Outside, we are sure, life goes on all around us. Reality, being real, is bound to rear its ugly head even for the press. They'll get their story straight when they're forced to, or after they move on to the next big thing.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Drumming Libya

The flame of the left at Mother Jones, Kevin Drum, showing his colors:
So what should I think about [the war in Libya]? If it had been my call, I wouldn't have gone into Libya. But the reason I voted for Obama in 2008 is because I trust his judgment. And not in any merely abstract way, either: I mean that if he and I were in a room and disagreed about some issue on which I had any doubt at all, I'd literally trust his judgment over my own. I think he's smarter than me, better informed, better able to understand the consequences of his actions, and more farsighted.
The shorter version:
I am Obama's bitch.

Friday, April 01, 2011

Who's on first?

US ending its air combat role in Libya

Trying to follow the Obama administration's wandering around, into and from intervention in the Libyan civil war is an exercise in futility, and might lead to premature blindness, baldness, or bad vibes.

The episode, from beginning to the present, has shown that when Obama is presented with a new problem, and not just following the old idiotic policies of Bush, cannot even make up consistent policy, idiotic or not. He just blows in the wind like a scarecrow, hoping someone might be startled into calling him Mr. President and thus re-elect him.

I think that its safe to say that there are disagreements between his underlings, but that should be a feature, not a bug in having advisers. But when the person in charge cannot make up their mind, and allows disagreements to run amok, some serious shit can happen.