Monday, June 27, 2011

New GOP Bumperstickers, Fracking Is The Next Ponzi Scheme

Geoffrey Stone
Matthew Continetti
"Sarah Palin has canceled the rest of her bus trip around America. She had to quit before she got to Mount Rushmore and somebody asked her to name the Presidents.” – Jay Leno

"Earlier tonight President Obama gave his speech about Afghanistan. He's starting a new phase in the military campaign called operation reelection." – Jay Leno

“New Republican Presidential candidate Jon Huntsman is fluent in Chinese. In a short period of time the Republicans have come quite a long way. The last Republican president wasn't even fluent in English." – David Letterman
"Most Americans know Jon Huntsman as 'the candidate most Americans don't know.' Gov. Huntsman's announcement puts him somewhere between Ron Paul and Count Chocula as the favorite to win the GOP nomination." –Jimmy Kimmel

Well, that's what they get for not paying Union wages: first, Newt Gingrich's staff quits, and now Herman Cain's man in New Hampshire also has quit, saying that it was lonely being the only representative of the Godfather in the state. If you are an opponent of Mr Cain, feel free to use the slogan I made up over the weekend:
Cain's Not Able...

I spent the weekend watching a marathon on the science channels, so I was distracted from US politics. But I did come up with a few snarky slogans, only one which is favorable towards a candidate. For some reason I like John Huntsman, who is from Idaho, went to Cina as ambassador for Mr Obaba, and now has set up his campaign in Orlando, Florida. A little disconcerting, is the fact that John keeps having his name spelled as both John and Jon in the press, is one a more liberal interpretation than the other?
Join the Huntsman

Kinda nice? I thought of it after making a hard-on joke about John Boehner and the pronounciation of his last name. Poor Boehner, just your average, midwestern alcoholic. Soon the stories of his boorish behavior will make their way from being whispered in Washington, to being published on TMZ:

Joint Boehner

And if we wanted to name the incoming group of freshman tea party Congressmen, we might call them Newtcomers, or if you are in the porn industry, Newtcummers... Michele Bachmann could be considered an honorable one, as much as she's trying to suck up to the tea party folks, whomever they are. She is making speeches in Iowa right now, with the message being, "I'm not really a big flake..." Michele is trying so hard to appear normal to midwestern voters that she is going into:

Bachmann's Religious Overdrive

In the spirit of Anthony Weiner, the closest I could come up with Mit Romney, was that Mitt just lets you know who will be the catcher and who will be the pitcher in this relationship... And poor Sarah Palin, I don't know what compels her now to fail on the national stage, to constantly embarrass herself in front of such a large audience. She needs to stay scripted, like in Sarah Palin's Alaska, which we may never see again. In light of her quitting her tour of America, where she was supposed to give speeches in front of famous landmarks, she turned tail and went home to Alaska after messing up the Boston speech. Unfortunately, she is dragging along her whole family, who probably will be scarred for life. Another trivia fact, I hadn't realized that having lunch with Donald Trump counted as much as Paul Revere's midnight ride in patriotic brownie points:

Sarah Palin: Go Big, Then Go Home...

Who knows, maybe Sarah will go next to Texas, and help governor Rick Perry fight the gossip going around that he's actually GAY...

Ex- Homeland Security head honcho Tom Ridge was on the Colbert Report, pushing his new book. He was responsible for the color-coded threat level, as if you could predict the terrorist threat level like a smog alert. He is another example of the idiots that George Bush hired to run his government... Anyway, his new gig is being a lobbyist for the shale natural gas industry. You might have seen commercials on TV, touting the abundance and accessibility of natural gas trapped in shale deposits, and how it could solve all of our energy problems in the future. If you had some money to invest, you might be tempted to invest in some of these surefire companies like Chesapeake Energy, who have been fracking natural gas for the last ten years...

Welcome to the next ponzi scheme, where a fool and their life savings are soon parted. It turns out that most wells that actually turn up natural gas go bust after a year or two, leaving the company that drilled the well in debt. Less than 10% of proposed wells turn up any natural gas at all, because the gas companies don't have to test drill to determine if there's any gas in the area, they get to make guesses and computer models based on those guesses, and then present those "facts" to investors. Even when fracking used to be used only on water wells to improve the amount and flow of well water, the process of fracking never guaranteed to work. Only after the process was all done could you tell if it had produced any more water. And now they are using this to obtain natural gas...

New rules at the Dept of Energy, made by the director appointed by George W Bush eleven days before he left office, let's the gas industry get away with this pack of lies. They use over a million gallons of water per well, mixed with other toxic chemicals, to form a drill like a water pik to get at the gas in the shale beds. It creates fractures in the shale bed, which, hopefully, then allows the gas to be collected and siphoned off. It's pure hit or miss, because they are guessing that the gas is there, and they are also gambling that they won't contaminate any underground water table in the process. Less than 20% of the wells drilled have found natural gas so far, and less than 10% of those are still pumping after two years. The natural gas from the wells that do produce hasn't affected the pricing of natural gas at all, if anything, it has gone up to recoup the cost of drilling...

So fracking for natural gas will be one of the next scandals you will be reading about, the NY Times has done a couple of articles based on emails they obtained from industry leaders and government employees. Hopefully, we will have investigated more about this myth and mirage of an industry. In industry speak: " One senior Energy Information Administration official describes an “irrational exuberance” around shale gas. An internal Energy Information Administration document says companies have exaggerated “the appearance of shale gas well profitability,” are highlighting the performance of only their best wells and may be using overly optimistic models for projecting the wells’ productivity over the next several decades."

“The potential for natural gas is enormous,” - President Obama
“It is quite likely that many of these companies will go bankrupt,” - a senior adviser to the Energy Information Administration
“Am I just totally crazy, or does it seem like everyone and their mothers are endorsing shale gas without getting a really good understanding of the economics at the business level?” - an energy analyst

Friday, June 24, 2011

Friday Rant On Drawing Down Troops In Afghanistan


What is it good for?

Yesterday President Obama stated that he was reducing the troop level in Afghanistan by 33,000 troops this Summer, leaving the amount to pre-surge level. Immediately he was criticized for not leaving them there, as well as for not bringing them all home at once. Damned if you do, damned if you don't, but his decision makes sense. Now that Osama bin Laden is dead, we have no reason to be fighting the Taliban groups. The reason we gave for attacking Afghanistan at the time, was because the Taliban refused to give up Osama bin Laden to the US. Well, they actually offered him to us, but we ignored their offer and went ahead to the caves of Tora Bora, that had been excavated by the bin Laden Construction company for the CIA and the Pakistani secret service.

When we learned that Osama bin Laden no longer was in his nice, safe cave, we then went after the Taliban that had seized control of the government. The Taliban had been created by the CIA and Zbignew Brezhinski, with help and support from Pakistan and even Iran. An interesting book to read about the Taliban and the mujahadeen at Tora Bora is Idries Shah's book, called Kara Kush...

We then helped to establish an honest, democratically elected government that is dedicated towards helping the citizens of Afghanistan, spent billions of dollars on building schools and education, until now the country is a safe place to walk at night or drive around during the day, with officials who are thankful we were there and wish us the best, and their economy is no longer based on growing opium poppies... We have accomplished a lot in ten years, the loss of lives of our young soldiers was worth the effort, and every Afghan citizen blesses the sacrifices they have made each time they hear the sound of a drone in the sky...

For their efforts, we have taken Leon Panetta, who was head of the CIA while his men were hunting Osama bin Laden, and nominated him as the next Secretary of Defense in a 100 to 0 vote, and just this morning nominated General David Petraeus to replace Panetta as the head of the CIA. Both are excellent choices, but still shows that the good old boy network is alive and well in Washington DC.

And, as soon as we leave both Afghanistan and Iraq completely, their governments will fall apart because they used us as ATM cash machines and didn't take their role of governors seriously. It may take a couple of generations to get some good people involved. In Iraq, it will be after Moqtada al Sadr plays out his hand, and their police decide to actually work for the people and search out the suicide bombers instead of staying indoors and letting things rot in the 120 degree heat... The danger for the US in the near future, is if we ignore these countries after we stop occupying them, throw our hands up in despair, and say there's nothing more we can do to help you! Will we keep and nurture the positive contacts we already have made, support the schools that were built with our money, help rebuild the infrastructure we destroyed with our bombs, help people build a future for themselves... or will we do what we did in Vietnam, slink away and skulk like some prideful eight year old boy, whining and sniveling for another 20 years or so...

Right now, I'm glad that Barack Obama is in charge here. He did all of the right things regarding Osama bin Laden, made good decisions that I fear would not have been made if John McCain were in charge. And I don't see any of the current crop of right wing GOP hopefuls making good decisions in a difficult time like this. The GOP has to stop being the party of nattering nabobs of negativity, and start attending committee meetings all the way through, who cares if Sarah Palin quit her current tour of America because it wasn't generating enough lame stream press... who cares anymore about Anthony's weiner, it's time to stop being the party of NO and start making positive changes and coming up with working ideas, both in foreign policy and in domestic economic policies. If we want to tout our country as the bastion of democracy in the world, we have to show that it works and produces results. Otherwise, we just pass out as many smartphones as we can and let them all join twitter and facebook and figure it out for themselves, the ungrateful sonsabitches...


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Wednesday Rant

My health hasn't been the best since I almost died in the hospital a couple of months ago. Hopefully, my interest in the world will return along with some energy. I have to take my sister to the hospital this afternoon, but I hope to post something this evening. To those of you who visited my blog expecting something funny or insightful, I apologize. But I have been bonding more with my cat, who has been taking long naps in the afternoons on my lap...

grumpy old man

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Weiner Will Quit Hot-Dogging It In Congress, Is Qaddafi Really Custard The Dragon?

Dana Milbank
EJ Dionne Jr
Michelle Goldberg
Nicholas Kristoff
"Arnold Schwarzenegger's housekeeper says Maria Shriver became suspicious after noticing similarities between Arnold and her 13-year-old son. For instance, after serving as class president, he left the sixth grade with a $42 billion deficit." – Conan O'Brien

"Anthony Weiner asked Bill Clinton for advice, and actually followed it for awhile. Of course eventually he was forced to tell the truth." – Jay Leno
"One of bin Laden's wives said he was a sex machine. In fact, he was the only man who could find her jihad spot." – Jay Leno

"When asked about the Congressman Weiner scandal, President Obama said that if it were him, he's resign. When Bill Clinton was asked about the same thing he said, 'If it was me, I wouldn't be surprised.'" – David Letterman

"Donald Trump is 65 today. Had a big party. He likes to play Pin Everything on Obama." – David Letterman

"The first Republican presidential debate was held on Monday night. Seven Republican presidential candidates got together to agree on how much they dislike the government they would like to run. Imagine if you did that in a job interview." – Jimmy Kimmel

New York Representative Anthony Weiner got tired of being the butt of everyone's jokes for the past two weeks, and announced that he will step down from Congress. I guess it proves that you can lead a Democrat to the Appalachian Trail, but you can't get him to sext any porn stars or hookers from Argentina... Or proving once again that nothing can adequately cover up the relationship between an American male and his penis; join the club, for Members Only, and get a cool, new jacket...

As I grow older I find that I'm getting more prudish, I don't really want to hear about grandchildren's sexual exploits, real or imagined, and I also moralize on incidents of political weaknesses far more than I should. I remember debating my father over the Bill Clinton / Monica Lewitsky affair, and acting shocked at how worried and concerned he was over it. My contention was that we should want all of our presidents to receive the oral attentions of staffers, or fluffers, as they are called in the porn industry, so they may be relaxed under stressful situations. My father, of course, felt that Clinton should have resigned. I guess there's a certain linkage in Anthony Weiner seeking the advice of Bill clinton, while his wife, Huma, is taking counsel with Hillary...

Now, I also feel that resigning is the best thing that Weiner can do, we don't want him hot-dogging it through the rest of his term. We might as well import some of Saudi Arabia's moral police to replace the guards at Congress; if our Congressmen can't police their own behavior, then we need to find some zealots who can. Oh, wait, I see Congresswoman Bachmann raising her hand...

Speaking of wrapping those rascals, I found that the GOP debate on Monday was less than enjoyable. I just couldn't take my own advice and enjoy it for the gonzo theater that it was. I kept wanting to dash up on stage and shove that dork Jonathan King aside and start asking some real questions, not the polite softballs that were tossed.

 Not a single candidate had an original thought on how to handle our current economic situation, they all talked in vague terms of budget cutting and repealing health care legislation. does anyone remember that it was the right wing of the Republican Party that got us into this slump we're in now? Even Alan Greenspan admitted it, that his policies were worthless. Newt was expectedly petulant, and Ron Paul is vowing to take over my title as Grumpy Old Man...

 If one of these seven people actually convinced us to elect them, our country would go straight down the toilet, and we'd become the third world country that our allies and enemies seem to be wishing upon us... Ironically, Mit Romney came across as the most liberal and lucid, letiing the other six tie for who can suck up to the tea party line the most, and who is the greatest evangelical Christian among them... I will admit to flirting with evangelical Christianism when I was a younger man, but I found that I also believed in metaphors...

As violence and unrest breaks out in central Africa, the intense protests in Yemen and Syria continue. You'd think that people would become exhausted by now, but the anger fueling the younger generations seem to be as inexhaustable as the oil flowing underneath their feet. Besides it being a free-for-all power grab in Yemen, one reason that there are still daily protests against the government, is because Ali Saleh's son has moved into the royal palace and refuses to leave. Normally, the Vice-President would move in while he is in charge, but he has been forced to live in a hotel and conduct business there... Is anyone else amazed at how brazenly the CIA announces its operations and drone flights in Yemen and Pakistan. It wasn't so long ago that both countries explicitly stated that the US couldn't stage military operations in their countries; now they have to go begging for the drones to stop killing innocent civilians. Thank you, Leon Pannetta...

In Syria, the gossip is that President Assad is being held hostage by the more fascistic members of his family and generals of the army, who have no qualms over killing innocent and unarmed civilians if it means they get to keep their share from skimming off of the top... By now it looks like any reforms proposed by the governments will become as doomed as any proposed Israeli / Palestinian peace talks., now that Israel has decided it can wait until there is another Republican administration in the White House before going forward... And poor old Moammar Qaddafi now just wants to live out the rest of his life in his compound in Tripoli, it's his son that keeps trying to create a family legacy, with himself at the helm... Qaddafi now reminds me of Ogden Nash's Custard the Dragon, who kept crying for a nice, safe, cage... And now China has added its attempts at trying to reconciliation between both sides in Libya...


By Ogden Nash

Copyright Linell Nash Smith and Isabel Nash Eberstadt

Belinda lived in a little white house,
With a little black kitten and a little gray mouse,
And a little yellow dog and a little red wagon,
And a realio, trulio, little pet dragon.

Now the name of the little black kitten was Ink,
And the little gray mouse, she called her Blink,
And the little yellow dog was sharp as Mustard,
But the dragon was a coward, and she called him Custard.
Custard the dragon had big sharp teeth,
And spikes on top of him and scales underneath,
Mouth like a fireplace, chimney for a nose,
And realio, trulio, daggers on his toes.

Belinda was as brave as a barrel full of bears,
And Ink and Blink chased lions down the stairs,
Mustard was as brave as a tiger in a rage,
But Custard cried for a nice safe cage.

Belinda tickled him, she tickled him unmerciful,
Ink, Blink and Mustard, they rudely called him Percival,
They all sat laughing in the little red wagon
At the realio, trulio, cowardly dragon.
Belinda giggled till she shook the house,
And Blink said Week!, which is giggling for a mouse,
Ink and Mustard rudely asked his age,
When Custard cried for a nice safe cage.

Suddenly, suddenly they heard a nasty sound,
And Mustard growled, and they all looked around.
Meowch! cried Ink, and Ooh! cried Belinda,
For there was a pirate, climbing in the winda.
Pistol in his left hand, pistol in his right,
And he held in his teeth a cutlass bright,
His beard was black, one leg was wood;
It was clear that the pirate meant no good.

Belinda paled, and she cried, Help! Help!
But Mustard fled with a terrified yelp,
Ink trickled down to the bottom of the household,
And little mouse Blink strategically mouseholed.
But up jumped Custard, snorting like an engine,
Clashed his tail like irons in a dungeon,
With a clatter and a clank and a jangling squirm
He went at the pirate like a robin at a worm.

The pirate gaped at Belinda's dragon,
And gulped some grog from his pocket flagon,
He fired two bullets but they didn't hit,
And Custard gobbled him, every bit.

Belinda embraced him, Mustard licked him,
No one mourned for his pirate victim
Ink and Blink in glee did gyrate
Around the dragon that ate the pyrate.

Belinda still lives in her little white house,
With her little black kitten and her little gray mouse,
And her little yellow dog and her little red wagon,
And her realio, trulio, little pet dragon.
Belinda is as brave as a barrel full of bears,
And Ink and Blink chase lions down the stairs,
Mustard is as brave as a tiger in a rage,
But Custard keeps crying for a nice safe cage.

Monday, June 13, 2011

GOP Debate Tonite, Stealing The Americans Blind, Chess Diplomacy With Qaddafi

Steve Benen
Paul Krugman
Matt Latimer
"It's not a great day for the King of Sweden. He’s facing pressure to step down over rumors that he frequents strip clubs. Now, I think I speak for every American when I say, 'Oh Sweden, your political sex scandals are so adorable.'" – Craig Ferguson

"There a giant fire burning in Arizona, the biggest fire ever in the history of the state … I'm not saying these two things are connected, but a few weeks ago Sarah Palin moved to Arizona, and then the state burst into flames." –Bill Maher

"I feel bad for Sarah. She heard all the alarms and sirens and she figured the British were coming." –Bill Maher

"People keep asking me if Sarah Palin is running for President. How the f*** do I know? What am I, the idiot whisperer?" –Bill Maher

"We don't even need Sarah Palin for comedy in this presidential election because yesterday Newt Gingrich got fired by his own campaign. Did you see this? His entire staff quite en masse because they had a little disagreement about strategy. You see, Newt entered the race three weeks ago, and then his staff got mad at him because he spent the last two weeks campaigning in the wrong country. The last two weeks he's been on a yacht touring the Greek Island, stopping only at Tiffany's on his mission to warn America that Obama is an elitist." –Bill Maher

For those of you who have read more than one post, I want to assure you that I'm not a gay Syrian blogger or the 40 year-old man who really is her. I am what I say I am: a 58 year old liberal Republican and official grumpy old man. Besides reading the newspapers and looking at news websites, my largest activity is being hooked up to an airhose and breathing deeply before I fall asleep with the cat in my lap...

What is the difference between wikileaks releasing and publishing low-level government reports and the government of Alaska releasing and publishing Sarah Palin's emails while she was in office? Besides, we only want to know secrets if they are going to be embarrassing. Then, give Sarah enough time... Also interesting to note that both wikileak's founder Julian Assange and Dominique Strauss-Kahn were under house arrest in multi-million dollar properties...

Tonite is CNN's turn at hosting the GOP candidate's debates. Sure, there are some left off of the agenda, which might piss you off if you live in New Mexico, but it should be pure entertainment. Don't look for anything substantive in the way of policy, just admire how they dodge giving any serious answers this early on. Can Michelle hang with the guys? Who will suck up the most to the tea party and its dwindling followers? Remember not to take it seriously, that the real contenders will show up for the election in 2016... If all of the others gang up on Newt, will they make him start to cry? Can he pretend to be an emotionally crippled alcoholic like John Boehner as an excuse? A fun time is promised...

I'm always surprised whenever I read stories about entities like the Kabul Bank, who made hundreds of millions in dollars of bad loans, and doesn't have to be responsible for repaying the money. In Iraq, over $6.6 billion dollars in cash was flown over during the first months of occupation, and promptly stolen. It's a story that surfaces every few months, the latest twist comes from Politico: "The government has previously said accounting errors led to its inability to account for the cash, which was flown to Iraq in C-130 Hercules cargo planes. About $2.4 billion in U.S. currency could fit on each cargo plane.

“Congress is not looking forward to having to spend billions of our money to make up for billions of their money that we can’t account for, and can’t seem to find,” said Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), the former chairman of the House Government Reform Committee.

The revelation comes days after Rep. Dana Rohrabacher suggested during a Baghdad visit that Iraq’s fledgling government repay the United States for money it spent on the 2003 invasion and post-war reconstruction.

The comment infuriated Iraqi officials and led the Iraqi government to ask the five-term California Republican and his congressional delegation to leave the country. “We as a government reject such statements, and we have informed the American embassy that these congressmen are not welcome in Iraq,” government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh told The Associated Press Sunday.

During the chaos following the fall of Saddam Hussein’s government, U.S. officials did not keep tight control over cash being sent to Iraq, with millions of dollars transported in bags and on pickup trucks to Iraqi agencies and contractors, officials told Waxman’s committee.

The Pentagon has long said it could determine what happened to the money if given time, but it has yet to do so. Iraq’s government says the U.S., which controlled the country at the time, is responsible for the funds." The thieves of Baghdad have no intention of ever paying the money back, even if you could get someone in the US government to give a damn and track it down.

But those amounts lost pale in comparison to what happened under the tenure of Dov Zakheim, the Pentagon comptroller in charge of finances during the time leading up to 9/11. Somehow, he lost over $3 trillion dollars, and he has never been called to account for it. Instead of being put behind bars, he now has a consulting position at Booz Allen Hamilton and works closely with the DARPA research arm of the Department of Defense Department, until he retired last July. If we could hire Arnold as the Terminator to recover the money and return it to the taxpayer's. It might help the poor guy regain some of his self-esteem, instead of sitting around all day staring at his wedding ring and dreaming of being less of a jerk... Three trillion here, six billion there, and still nobody has bothered to trace it to the individuals who have it now in their bank accounts. Wait, I feel another immigration or personhood amendment getting ready...

So, now that Hillary Clinton is going around the Middle East and North Africa dissing Moammar Qaddafi and trying to get some of his allies to move away from supporting him, how goes the Russian effort to mediate, I hear you asking? Moscow Times relates the latest sojourn into foreign policy: "Moscow’s efforts to mediate in Libya’s civil war took a bizarre turn over the weekend when FIDE president Kirsan Ilyumzhinov showed up in Tripoli to take on Moammar Gadhafi for a chess party.

Ilyumzhinov said Monday that the embattled Libyan leader told him that he would never leave his country after showing him the house where he claims that a son and three grandchildren were killed by NATO bombs a month ago.

“He said, ‘If I lost my children my grandchildren, where should I go? I will stay here,’” Ilyumzhinov told Ekho Moskvy radio.

At Sunday’s meeting, the flamboyant Ilyumzhinov invited his host to a game of chess, which he seemingly won quickly. Libyan state television footage available on YouTube showed Gadhafi making some slow moves that were quickly countered by a smiling Ilyumzhinov, and the two men soon shaking hands.

Asked who won, Ilyumzhinov said Monday that defeating Gadhafi would not have been diplomatic because the Libyan leader was an “amateur.” “I proposed a draw with him,” he said.

Ilyumzhinov, who served as leader of his native Kalmykia republic for 17 years before quitting in October and claims to have befriended extraterrestrials, said he held the talks in his capacity as head of the World Chess Federation, which he has headed since 1995.

Mikhail Margelov, President Dmitry Medvedev’s special envoy for Africa and Moscow’s point man in the simmering conflict, said Ilyumzhinov had informed him about the upcoming visit last Friday.

“He called me, and I advised him to play white and move E2-E4 and make it clear to Gadhafi that his side is close to the endgame,” Margelov told Interfax.

Ilyumzhinov, however, chose to play black." Stay thirsty, my friends...

Friday, June 10, 2011

Newt Implodes, Gate's Farewell Tour, No New Jobs Yet...

Barak Ravid
Jeff Madrick
"Democrats in Congress have been distancing themselves from the Anthony Weiner scandal. Just to be safe, everyone is staying a good 6 to 8 inches away at all times." – Jimmy Fallon

"There has been growing pressure for Anthony Weiner to resign. When asked for a comment, Weiner said, "Look, I'm not leaving ... but I am packing." – Jimmy Fallon

"A new study found that being bored can be good for your brain. Which explains that new campaign slogan, 'Mitt Romney: I'm Good For Your Brain.'" – Jimmy Fallon

Barak Ravid reports in Haaretz on Israel's plans to counter the Palestinian approach to the UN in September, and asking to be recognized as a separate state: "Israel has started mobilizing its embassies for the battle against UN recognition of a Palestinian state in September, ordering its diplomats to convey that this would delegitimize Israel and foil any chance for future peace talks.

Envoys are being asked to lobby the highest possible officials in their countries of service, muster support from local Jewish communities, ply the media with articles arguing against recognition and even ask for a call or quick visit from a top Israeli official if they think it would help." Hey kids, here's a great project, write in and get an Israeli official to come to your school next Fall... I'm not sure how they can effectively make either argument, but as long as they have a right wing majority in charge, their arguments will turn out to be pretty lame, and even a sixth-grader can argue against them. Maybe we can send over our top intellectuals like Newt Gingrich to come up with a winning strategy. Wait, the participants of the peace negotiations already walked out of those meetings? Well, scratch Newt, how about Rick Santorum, all they have to do is google the word santorum...

Robert Gates is on his farewell tour of Europe, and: "said today in Brussels that NATO isn't pulling its weight in Afghanistan and Libya. Without more support from Europe, he said, NATO's future is 'dim if not dismal.'" If NATO would show more leadership, we wouldn't have to pull them by their noses into every new war we create, they'd know enough to lead us into the quagmire, for a change. The practice run is in Libya, and so far all progress has bogged down, leaving unexploded bombs lacing the streets of Tripoli and Benghazi...

Ironically, both NATO and the UN were seen as anachronistic dinosaurs, ready to be put into mothballs, until George W Bush decided to use them to create his coalition of the willing. And if they can gain global prominence once again, we can happily and blindly follow them into the next hellholes that are Syria, Iran, and North Korea... If only the predatory banks would give Egypt a chance to grow its economy and stabilize its government instead of priming it to hand over to the military, then Turkey wouldn't be so alone in the region. Turkey will have a national election this Sunday, and there probably won't be any surprises; the current government and prime minister will extend its mandate... Depends on how many Syrian refugees they can accept... It used to be that Turkey was begging to get into the European Union. Now, with Turkey's economic success outperforming the EU, it looks like the EU may come begging for Turkey to join, which they'd be wise to decline...

Pundits in the media are beginning to wake up and realize that, despite all of the promises from both political parties, jobs have not magically materialized and our economy is still in a recession. A lot of promises were made, yet the need for new jobs somehow got twisted into the need to make budget cuts. Make sure to ask your next campaigning republican how cutting the budget will create jobs, wouldn't we actually have to cut more government jobs instead? The answer is yes, we will, but government jobs don't count because the less government we have the better. Don't think of those people as real, with children to feed houses to pay for, think of them in pure idealistic form, like some badly written character from an Ayn Rand novel...

So far this electoral season we've had twittering penis scandals, the tail end of the Ensign sex scandals, the imploding Newt scandal (instead of the declaration "let them eat cake" its "let them take a cruise to the Greek isles," and "doesn't everyone have a $500,000 revolving credit at Tiffany's?"). I'm looking forward to the upcoming CNN debates. Do you think Mit Romney will be taken to task for his predatory banking habits, of buying companies, then grooming them to sell, so they'd go bankrupt after he made his money off of their sale? Or will they all be too busy sucking up to the tea party elements to come up with an original and thoughtful answer to any question? Perhaps we could provide them with some complimentary weiners before the debate, then it wouldn't sound like the Newt Testament, what with all of the gagging and all...

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Anthony Weiner And David Vitter Hot Pocket Jokes, Long Hot Summer, Dreaming Of Drones Over Damascus

Nicholas Kristoff
Dana Milbank
"The Chinese economy has shown signs of slowing down. Experts say that's what happens when your workforce starts to enter its teens." – Conan O'Brien

"A new poll shows that President Obama is losing the popularity boost he got after Osama bin Laden's death. Or as Gadhafi's putting it, 'Uh oh.'" – Jimmy Fallon
"The list of women who got sexy pics from Anthony Weiner keeps growing. As of now it's a porn star, a single mom from Texas, a blackjack dealer, and a student from Seattle. Is this a sex scandal of the next cast of Survivor? 'Survivor: Weiner Island.'" – Craig Ferguson

Still lots of gyrating among members of Congress over Anthony Weiner's tweeted crotch shots, and fodder for late night jokes. To prove that even negative publicity can be beneficial, the Democratic Party will put out its Tweet of the Week every Friday afternoon. Be the first in your college dorm to collect the whole set... Way too much whining and demanding that AW resign from the Republicans. The comeback argument is why didn't anyone call for David Vitter to resign when his phone number was found in the DC Madam's phone list? I remember reading a blog from Louisiana during that scandal, that purported to have interviewed some of the local prostitutes that Vitter visited. Seems Mr Vitter likes to dress up in baby diapers and have the prostitutes pee on him, I guess while he is spouting family values talking points... Anyway, the good people of Louisiana have re-elected David Vitter to another term, so I guess his unorthodox strategy worked. And since AW id also refusing to resign right now, we can only wonder what the next election cycle will hold for upstate New Yorkers...

Proving once again that this coming election cycle is the Year of the GOP Clowns, we have Newt Gingrich's staff resigning en masse. Newt himself is on a cruise ship, taking a vacation, using some of the money he has collected from his web site. Not only are the staff stuffing Newt, but many of them used to work for Texas governor Rick Perry, making tails wag that he might be next to jump into the presidential pool... It looks like the next drinking game or lottery at work will be on how many more days until Newt has to withdraw from the race... Hey, does anybody know where Sarah Palin will show up this weekend?

My sister and brother-in-law just came back from visiting Austin, Texas, where the temperatures were in the 100 plus marks. It looks like it will be a long, hot global summer this year. Bored teenage kids will once again be trying to hack into fun and dangerous places, only this time they will have been contracted out by the US govt to try and hack into China's infrastructure, and China already has its college students trying to hack the US and Google if they wish to graduate... One third of the troops we plan to leave behind in Iraq this summer will be mercenaries. I think I can safely say that there will be enough alcoholism, drug taking, and general partying on in Bagdad to make Animal House and the ghost of John Belushi proud of the American Way...

Speaking of killing, many of the states have been out of a drug that's used to administer the lethal injection, so terminal prisoners are stockpiling up like cordwood. The chemical has a short lifespan, so it can't be hoarded. Many countries that make the chemical, like Germany, will no longer export the drug to the US because they don't want it used for lethal injections. Recently, the US Trade minister sent a specific request for the drug to his counterpart in Germany. Germany just said no, we won't supply you with the lethal injection drug, but have you tried buying tons of bean sprouts from our farmers? Works just as well...

What with all of the problems hitting the Middle East right now, and they will get worse tomorrow afternoon after prayers, one of the complaints that percolated through it all, is Lebanon's complaint of slow Internet service. Yep, it has the slowest service in the area, and its citizens can't complain that their government has switched things off or made it slower like its neighbors can... Even though Saudi Arabia has been pouring in billions of dollars, hoping to stabilize Egypt and other countries, maybe they should think of cutting their losses and distancing themselves from Syria's House of Assad, now making themselves known as the craziest, blood-thirstiest regime around. When the army is attacked by secret security services and blamed on outside agitators, you know they have been chewing way too much khat...

 I know that Hillary is kicking herself for prematurely trying to oust Qaddafi, as if she had just that one shot for legitimacy in the area... I'll bet she is dreaming of drones over Damascus right now...

Monday, June 6, 2011

Dictator's Weekend Activities, Sarah's Revere Gaffe, Weiner Owns Up To Weiner

Paul Krugman

"With Tea Party conservatives and many Republicans balking at raising the debt ceiling, let me offer them an example of a nation that lives up to their ideals. It has among the lowest tax burdens of any major country: fewer than 2 percent of the people pay any taxes. Government is limited, so that burdensome regulations never kill jobs.

This society embraces traditional religious values and a conservative sensibility. Nobody minds school prayer, same-sex marriage isn’t imaginable, and criminals are never coddled. The budget priority is a strong military, the nation’s most respected institution. When generals decide on a policy for, say, Afghanistan, politicians defer to them. Citizens are deeply patriotic, and nobody burns flags.

So what is this Republican Eden, this Utopia? Why, it’s Pakistan." - Nicholas Kristoff

I include the quote from Nicholas Kristoff, because he makes the same case that I have been posting for two years now; that Right Wing Conservatism is universal, and manifests itself in ugly ways. If we are blind to seeing how certain policies proposed by the wingnuts running the GOP, we merely have to see how they are working in other countries, because almost everything that is proposed by them is in effect somewhere else in the world. Kristoff goes on to say that its the old feudal supporting folks in Pakistan who want to keep education for those who can afford private schools, and its the newly rising Pakistani middle class that's criticizing the military, building the schools, and trying to take care of the homeless.

It used to be that the weekend was the slow cycle for the news, but now its the most active time in the Middle East, after Friday prayers is when most protests are planned. This weekend, Palestinians who live in Syria planned a non-violent dash across the border into the Golan Heights. They were shot at by Israeli forces... It's not clear exactly why these folks are volunteering to martyr themselves without wearing the latest in Iranian suicide vests, but they are succeeding in causing an international incident and showing how hot-headed many Israeli troops are... Speaking of hot-headed troops, the Syrian army claims that over 80 officers were killed, along with 40 civilians, in a war with some "armed gangs" in the north. The Syrian government has been long saying that the agitators against them are all from the outside, and that often the civilian population is begging the army to protect them and interfere with the protests... The NY Times interviewed one protest organizer, who said: “I have seen no evidence of organized violence by protesters against the regime,” said Wissam Tarif, a Syrian human rights activist currently outside the country. “Protesters do not have weapons they could even use against tanks and helicopters, which the regime is using.”
You'll notice that any negotiations with the Assad government is all being done behind closed doors, it's just difficult to remove the hot-headed brothers and sister of Bashar al Assad and their autocratic followers. But, as I said earlier, we really are witnessing the last throes of the dictators, and soon their style of rule will go the way of the dinosaurs, swept into the dustbin of history, or as many other trite phrases that I can think of. It looks like the new Dictator's Row housing compounds will be located in Riyadh or Dubai... Although I don't  know if Qaddafi's family will show or not, the longer they stay in Tripoli, the longer it looks like they may become victims of the Ceacescu Solution. Even if it's really an urban myth, it makes good history, adding to the darkness of Romania, home to Transylvania and the peddling of children to pedophiles worldwide...

They’re selling postcards of the hanging
They’re painting the passports brown
The beauty parlor is filled with sailors
The circus is in town...

And the Good Samaritan, he’s dressing
He’s getting ready for the show
He’s going to the carnival tonight
On Desolation Row - Bob Dylan

So, Sarah Palin makes the news by committing another gaffe, proving that she hasn't picked up a book since her infamous Katy Couric interview, much less read a newspaper. In an interview in Boston, Sarah tried for an impromptu remark, or maybe she couldn't remember the script, when she referred to Paul Revere's historic ride: "He who warned, uh, the British that they weren't going to be taking away our arms uh by ringing those bells and making sure as he's riding his horse through town to send those warning shots and bells that we were going to be secure and we were going to be free and we were going to be armed."

She was then ridiculed for saying that Paul Revere warned the British that the Americans were coming, years before porn dominated the internet. Then, on Fox News Sunday, she said that she really didn't make a mistake, transcript courtesy of TPM: "You know what, I didn't mess up about Paul Revere," Palin said. She went on:

Here's what Paul Revere did. He warned the Americans that the British were coming, the British were coming and they are going to try to take our arms so we have to make sure that we were protecting ourselves and shoring up all of our ammunitions and our firearms, so that they couldn't take them. But remember that the British had already been there, many soldiers, for seven years in that area. And part of Paul Revere's ride, and it wasn't just one ride -- he was a courier, he was a messenger -- part of his ride was to warn the British that were already there that, "hey, you are not going succeed, you are not going to take American arms. You are not going beat our own well-armed persons, individual private militia that we have." He did warn the British, and in a shout-out gotcha type of question that was asked of me I answered candidly. And I know my American history."

She was referring to an obscure letter that Revere wrote, where he said that during his ride he was stopped by some British troops, an officer put a gun to his head and asked what he was doing out at night, and he told them that he was out informing the colonialists that the British troops were advancing. The question is why they let him go... The debate this weekend isn't why Sarah leaves her bus to fly to Fox studios, but the depth of her knowledge of American history, and I feel a quiz coming on, Sarah to be invited on the set on Are You Smarter Than A Sixth-Grader? It's bad enough that some sneaky Sarah supporters tried to literally rewrite history by going on wikipedia and rewriting the section on Paul Revere to reflect Sarah's version of history, while her detractors are saying that telling a cop what you are up to to save your life is different than riding up to houses and informing British citizens that their army was advancing, if you please, while historians are searching all sources trying to find out where being a courier then meant what she said...

And even more piddling is the uncovering of more photos of Anthony Weiner's weiner, with him admitting to sending them to someone other than his wife.. Uh, oh, he may never appear on the Rachel Maddow show again, his rising in the Senate clipped, and the ethics committee will have to discuss if his tumescent penis is worthy of an investigation, or if it's much ado about nothing...

And that French guy pleaded not guilty to accosting the hotel chambermaid. He has hired the best lawyers around to defame the woman making the accusation, and if this only were France, she would have been deported already. At least I understand that Italy Silvio Berlesconi has a job lined up for her...

Friday, June 3, 2011

Sarah Drives For The Border, Dead Zones In The Gulf, Exhuming Neruda

Paul Krugman
David Brooks
Dana Milbank

It turns out that the Osama bin Laden compound in Attobadobad was slated to host the next Bilderberg Group Conference, if they could get the catering figured out... And this summer, Northern California will once again host the Bohemian Grove, a summer camp for wealthy lost boys who have never fully grown up... The favorite pastime there is drinking to excess and then peeing freely all over the woods. You really don't want to be downwind or within a two mile range when the first rains come... Bohemian Grove is where George W Bush and Dick Cheney were when they made the decision that Dick would be Bush's running mate, and flew to Houston to make the announcement. George senior pretended to be surprised, since he was away camping "somewhere" in Northern California at the time. He actually was a Master of Ceremonies at one of the sophomoric skits they put on every year...

click on cartoon to see in full size
I love the fact that Sarah Palin drove her bus all night from New York up to New Hampshire to try and upstage Mit Romney's announcement that yes, he was running for President. She had to drive on through the tornado warnings in Massachusetts. Where most other traffic got off the roads, our intrepid Sarah pushed on through to the other side, so she could pretend to be casual... Oh, this isn't about Sarah, it's a family vacation with her name printed on the side, where mom and dad get to sleep in hotels and maybe the kids can sleep in the bus... Other GOP non-events planned are riding on a helicopter with New Jersey's governor to his son's next baseball game, playing pin-the-tail on the immigrant with Jim DeMint, and bodysurfing in Florida with Rick Scott, as he accepts federal stimulus money for his state budget over 66 times... We were hoping that she'd make out to Colorado for the lipstick-on-a-pig-toss, but it looks like she will bypass us to pray with Rick Perry in Texas instead... You go, girl. Seriously, you go on back to Alaska...

It turns out that last summer's oil problems still haven't been resolved. The Federal government is still issuing deep water drilling permits without requiring any other safety devices than the blowout preventer, which has proven to be ineffective and of poor design, meaning it actually won't do what the plans say it will do. There are already over 33 active deepwater permits in the Gulf, and over 3000 ones for shallower waters... In fact, the GOP has tried to introduce bills that would speed up the permit process, as if nothing ever happened... The group Earthjustice has challenged both the government and the oil permits in court, especially the ones recently given out for Alaska. You know that the proposed Alaskan oil pipeline that Sarah Palin was negotiating when she was governor, only went to Canada. It was never planned to come down to the lower 48.

Anyway, oil is just one of the problems we have in the Gulf of Mexico. Every year, for the last 35 years, we have had a dead spot in the Gulf, thanks to the amount of fertilizer and animal dung that's washed away in the rivers that flow to the Gulf. The nitrogen and phosphorus get deposited around the mouth of the Mississippi River and fuel the growth of plankton. When these short-lived organisms die, they consume oxygen, which kills everything below and make the larger fish swim away.

This year, with the largest rising of the rivers in recent history, it's anticipated that we will have the largest dead spot, too, making the life of a fisherman that much harder... We've known about this for over 35 years and have done nothing to correct or change the way things are done. And with the use of genetically altered corn, we have improved the yield of an acre of land by 80% while reducing nitrogen by 4%..

The current Chilean government is organizing an inquiry into the death of Pablo Neruda, back in 1973. Pablo is one of the world's greatest poets, and he served as the Chilean ambassador to Spain during the Allende regime. Then, the American backed, right-wing military junta of Agusto Pinochet took over and Neruda was recalled to Chile, where he promptly died from colon cancer... The inquiry is to find if he really had cancer or if that was a convenient story to use as a cover-up. Notice that these kinds of stories are used in political assassinations everywhere, from 13 year-old Syrian boys to Iranian teenagers in prison, to Guantanamo...

Speaking of poets, last Friday saw the passing of Gil Scott Heron. A talented man who let that talent be consumed by the fires ravaged from drugs. He wrote one of the few songs that I still can barely listen to without breaking down and crying my eyes out. After 35 years, it still wrecks me...

Gil Scott Heron, RIP

But he didn't know what he was saying
He could hardly understand
That he was only talking to
Pieces of a man