Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Occupy Wins in the End

A good article from Mike Konczal in the Nation (via Digby) discussing the changing narrative in this country about the economy:

"I come to bury centrism, not to praise it. Discussions of the economy during the 2016 campaign will look very different from those of the past two elections, because centrism as an ideological force has collapsed. 

An optical illusion has shielded centrism from critique. Centrists position themselves as anti-ideology, representing a responsible compromise between liberals and conservatives. The word conjures sobriety and restraint, caution and moderation—all of which sound compelling in uncertain economic times. 

But institutionalized centrism is more than that: It's an elite group of thinkers and writers, popular in Washington, DC, and favorable to business leaders, who told a very specific story about what was happening during the Great Recession."

I bring this up, not just because I think there is a very good chance that it is true, but to point something out.  This change in viewpoint is almost entirely due to the widely ridiculed Occupy movement, which switched the entire economic discussion in this country from budget deficits and the need to cut "entitlements," to the grotesquely unfair distribution of our national wealth.

Here is a left wing movement that could not win any major public victories before it was forcibly put down by violent police repression all around the country; but what it did do was more remarkable.  It induced tens of millions of Americans to focus on what is really wrong with our economy.  In the process, it sent Mitt Romney and his corporate billion-dollar campaign back to the minors, and started to break down the false narrative that the majority of Americans support the Republican ravaging of our way of life.  That whole idea was ludicrous on its face, but until the summer of Occupy protests, there was nothing to counter its absurd claims.  Well, that seems to be crumbling now.

And, along with the rediscovery of some sort of minimal honesty about the disaster the Republicans caused in Iraq, this is a good thing.  Of course, there is every likelihood that all of this will be crushed out of existence by the corporate funded electoral stampede we are about to live through, but things never quite go back to the way they were before.  A minor hope, perhaps, but a little hope, and that is always a good thing.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

But Tell Us, How Do You Really Feel About the Poor?

Here is a very clear statement of the Conservative view of poverty in this country.  As is my habit, I will not link to it; and in this case, I will not even identify the author of this grotesque document.  I hope you will trust me when I tell you that it really exists.  I must warn you that my efforts to comment on it fall far short of the condemnation that it, its author, and the many people that believe such things, deserve.

"US suffering from massive equality of rich and poor 

Propaganda is about telling a good story. So when the media wants to tell a story of how the rich are getting richer, and the poor are getting poorer, they ignore incovenient facts, such as the value of the various federal, state, and local transfer payments, as well as the value of charitable contributions from private groups such as soup kitchens."

Soup kitchens.  Yes, when "the media" want to tell you how badly the poor have it, they ignore the contribution of soup kitchens to their standard of living.  I mean, "are there no workhouses?," if you get where I'm coming from.

"But if you look not at income but material wealth, the story gets worse, but in an opposite way. By examining material possessions we find that the gap between the rich and poor is actually alarmingly small. Let's look at a few categories:"

Let's not look at income, right?  I mean, if a person has a cell phone, it's not a problem for them to live in constant fear of destitution, if they have a medical bill, or get in a car crash and can't get to work.

"Transportation. Rich people have cars. But many poor people have them too..."

A 1987 Oldsmobile is just the same as a Lamborghini.

"Food: For thousands of years, the poor were semi-starved, and for the most part, they were vegetarians, but not by choice. Now everyone, and I mean everyone, gets to eat meat..."

Steroid-filled, uninspected meat, yeah, but it is meat.

"Communications: Even the poorest person can get a phone, and not just a phone, but a cellphone...

"Electronics: Many of the poor have complex entertainment systems that rich people only fifty years ago could not even dream of."

Actually, they couldn't even dream of them, because they didn't exist.  And i wonder how many of those rich people from fifty years ago would have traded in their houses for a slum rooming house and a phone.

"Healthcare: Even before Obamacare, hospitals were obligated to provide emergency care to anyone, regardless of ability to pay"

They were not, of course, required to provide long term care for cancer victims and others who suffer from chronic conditions.  Perhaps the poor can go to the emergency room and beg for chemotherapy.

"Education: It is true that there is a disparity in primary education, because of a lack of school choice. The rich live in districts with much better schools than in inner cities. But college education is heavily subsidized for the poor with a massive federal student loan program..."

Loans are not subsidies, jackass.  They leave many students with lifelong crushing debt.  And note that, according to this jerk, the only thing missing in public education is "school choice," i.e. creating a system that allows the rich to profit hansomely from something that was once a public trust.  That sure is a benefit to the poor who, to paraphrase the old saying, are just as free as the rich to start a charter school scam to enrich themselves at the expense of their neighbors' children.

"Housing: Many of the poor live in unsafe neighborhoods, it is true, but compared to their counterparts they live like kings. They have running water, toilets, stoves, and electricity--just as the rich do."

They have toilets!  They have toilets!!!  They live in unsafe neighborhoods, but they have toilets!  And they are gifted by their betters with running water!  Maybe polluted water, but still...  What the hell are they complaining about?

"This record amount of equality between rich and poor is very troubling. It's troubling because a massive amount of taxation and redistribution is required to accomplish this, which kills job creation and reduces the poor's incentive to work, promoting dependency and listlessness."

I can't even think of anything to say which is sufficiently contemptuous of that self-serving Republican lie, which we hear over and over again, and the vicious spirit which lies behind it.

"I think we need to do something to increase the material gap between the rich and poor to create more jobs and more incentives to work. The massive amount of equality between rich and poor is a moral blot on America's character that we should all be ashamed of."

I swear I didn't make that up.  This is the true spirit of Republicans across this country, unmasked for all to see.  Screw the poor!  Take things away from them, so I can have more!  It is a moral blot that the poor have so much; i.e. it would outrage Jesus, who never would have tolerated such a thing.

This is your "Christian," right wing American patriot today.  This is a value system of utmost evil, and it is the true enemy of decent people everywhere in the world.  And don't forget that, if they can just win back the Presidency, they will be able to bend the largest military on earth to their will, just like the last time we had a Republican President; and look where that left us.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Wingnut Wrapup

Today's Wingnut Wrapup (dis)respectively dedicated to Congressman Louie Gohmert, for coming up with the ultimate Republican answer to the question, "knowing what you know now, would you have invaded Iraq:"

“Everybody else wants to ask that question of, ‘Gee, would you have gone into Iraq if you’d known what you know now?’ And I think if President Bush had known that he would have a total incompetent follow him that would not even be able to negotiate a status of forces agreement with Iraq and start helping our enemies and just totally put the Middle East in chaos, then he would have to think twice about doing anything if he had known he would have such a total incompetent leader take over after him. That should be the question.”

Thanks, Obama.  And let's just serve up a large helping of total contempt for the vicious, disgusting assholes in Texas who put this man in Congress.

And I want to continue out with something that is not at all funny, but you are going to be hearing this lie from now until election day, 2016, so you might as well get ready for it:

Michael Bargo, American Thinker:  "The FTC recently cited several cancer charities for fraudulent practices.  The charities gave false promises and misused funds for personal use.  The managers of the Cancer Fund of America used the proceeds to take vacations, give themselves high salaries, new cars and directed very little to the actual treatment of cancer.
This comes just two weeks after it was revealed that the Clinton Foundation has been doing exactly the same thing, but an FTC case has yet to be opened. This sounds very much like the way Bill and Hillary Clinton use the money from their Clinton Foundation.  Only ten percent of the $252 million raised from 2011 to 2013 went to charitable grants.  Instead they give their employees elaborate salaries, pay for their travel on private jets, expensive hotel rooms and so on."

Well, notice first of all that those guys running the cancer charities were giving themselves the money.  Not even right wingers have the gall (or want to risk the libel suit) to assert that the Clintons are taking the money themselves- no, their problem is that they are treating their employees too well. The horror!

However, now for the really obscene thing about this claim.  Many charities, like say, the Ford Foundation, operate by giving grants to people.  The Clinton Foundation does not do this.  It mainly runs its own programs around the world which have spent tens of millions of dollars on their programs.  Only a very small amount of their expenditures go to grants (the 10% conservatives are blabbing about;) that doesn't mean the Clintons are stealing the rest, but that is what right wingers want you to believe.  The people spreading this sick garbage know perfectly well what the real story is, but since they don't have a single thing to blame Hillary for, they've got to make things up.  Think Benghazi.

Well, that's what we have in store for us.  Notice that their first real shot in the anti-Clinton war, the lying book Clinton Cash disappeared without a trace a couple of weeks after it was released, due to its endless falsehoods.  But don't worry; if there is one thing Conservatives have an endless supply of (other than American soldiers to send overseas to die for nothing) it's lies.

Walter E. Williams, Town Hall:  "Hustlers and people with little understanding want us to believe that today's black problems are the continuing result of a legacy of slavery, poverty and racial discrimination."

Well, imagine that!  Those wacky liberals.  What an absolutely preposterous notion!  No, the plight of black people in the US today is the result of Democrats- of course it is!

Actually, the real question about this article is where they actually found a black man willing to say these things, knowing perfectly well that if it had been up to his new-found right wing friends, he would still be a slave, or if it turned out to be cheaper, to just find some fat redneck to say it, and then pay a good Photoshop guy to make him look black.

Star Parker, Town Hall:  "Does Rubio Have That Reagan Magic?"

Magic.  You mean the ability to lie about anything without the slightest tell?  No, he doesn't.  It takes a lifetime as a B actor to develop that skill.

Katie Pavlich, Town Hall:  "Hillary Clinton's Buddy Subpoened By Trey Gowdy Over Secret Libya Intelligence Emails"

Yes, it is now apparently illegal, according to Justice Katie, for a private citizen to give his advice to Hillary Clinton.  Not a problem on the Republican side.  When private citizens, say the Koch brothers, tell them what to do, it's not "advice," it's "marching orders."

Katie Pavlich, Town Hall:  "As ISIS Marches, Obama To Cite Global Warming As National Security Threat During Coast Guard Commencement"

Conservatives like Katie do not have enough mental capacity to conceive of two threats at the same time.

Katie Pavlich, Town Hall:  "Report: Clinton Foundation Staff Not Fond Of Chelsea Clinton"

A vital issue in determining whether Hillary should be President.  Man, how does one ignorant little blonde wingnut turn out so many lies in one day?

Moe Lane, Red State:  "Los Angeles has decided to pass a minimum wage increase to $15. …The fools. The poor, mad fools."

Caring about the poor makes you a fool.  Well, that's a point of view, I guess.

Bryan Fischer, Renew America:  "Yes, Jesus did talk about homosexuality"

He just did it in a secret code language only comprehensible to right wingers; the same language that tells them that the second amendment is all about fighting government tyranny, or that taxation is Communism.

Alan Keyes, Renew America:  "When people who approach me as fellow "conservatives" ask me who I support or might support for president in the GOP primaries, I immediately feel a mingled sense of irritation and anger. It reminds me of the way I felt in 2008 when media types asked me whether I felt proud to see Obama occupy the Oval Office. Would I feel proud to see a serial killer elected president just because his skin wasn't white?  
Bridle if you like at the effrontery of comparing Obama to a serial killer. The 20th century offers ample proof that government officials who conform themselves to evil ideologies are more than likely to produce death tolls so massive that no word or phrase truly expresses the enormity of their crimes. What I learned about Obama as I prepared to run against him for the U.S. Senate in 2004 convinced me that he was a hardline socialist ideologue, in the ruthless, self-worshiping mold Hitler and Stalin had in common."

"Bridle if you like at the effrontery of comparing Obama to a serial killer."  Would you be upset, Alan, if we just laughed instead?  And about those massive death tolls, how about the million or so the last Republican President killed in Iraq?

Garth Kant, Renew America:  "Conservatives demand GOP keep campaign promises"

They really expected them to keep their promises, I guess.  How quaint.  Actually, though, they are being a little unfair to the Republican party, who did keep their promises.  To the Koch brothers.

Andrew C. McCarthy, National Review:  "The Iraq Question Conservatives Need to Do a Better Job Answering"

Well, try this one:  How did you guys manage to lie the country into the biggest military blunder since Austria invaded Serbia in 1914?  And why did Jeb muff the question so badly?  Well, at least they have an answer for that one:

"So how could someone that bright and able be unprepared for the inevitable question about his brother’s momentous decision to oust Saddam Hussein? But I don’t think that was the problem. I think he was too prepared..."

That's right, he was too prepared!  Andrew suggests that the answer that Republicans should give is to blame it all on Hillary!  That's right, it's all her fault.  I kid you not, that is what Mr. McCarthy said Republican candidates should do when this question comes up in the future.  And I am sure they will take his advice- if they had not figured that strategy out all by themselves.

Joe Kovacs, World Net Daily:  "Are mystery 'trumpet blasts' in sky from God?  In the final book of the New Testament known as the Book of Revelation, angels are shown to be sounding trumpets, accompanied by a variety of supernatural plagues upon Planet Earth. 

And now, mysterious, unexplained sounds in the sky that some are likening to trumpet blasts are puzzling people all over the world, including the United States...Some who have heard the phenomenon have reportedly experienced severe nightmares for days afterward."

World Net Daily- your source for the most vital information on the internet.  Personally, of course, I connect these mysterious sounds in the sky with the recent move of B.B. King to heaven.  There's some heavy jammin' going on up there, but given Republicans' knowledge of black culture, it's all "mysterious sounds" to them.

Rich Galen, Town Hall:  "A poll released this week by the Pew Research Center shows that Republicans are, for the most part, pleased with the GOP field of potential Presidential Candidates."

Boundless stupidity on the march.  I mean, really.

Erick Erickson, Red State:  "Like a Leftwing Blogger...Osama Bin Laden was deeply concerned about money in politics, global warming, and a host of other left-wing issues. It’s like Hitler, who was deeply concerned that his nation needed a minimum wage, universal health care, and needed to go organic, vegetarian as a nation."

Hey, left wingers are Osama and Hitler too.  More sage observation from CNN's right wing spokesman.

Erick Erickson, Red State:  "The Houston Chronicle’s Dylan Baddour Lied About Ted Cruz"

Dylan Baddour?  Who is that?  Really, Erick, who gives a fuck?  Any lie you could think of about Ted Cruz stands a 95% chance of being better than the truth.

Aaron Gardner, Red State:  "Rick Perry Pitches Executive Experience"

Oh, that should be entertaining.

Michael Walsh, PJ Media:  "Just 23% of Americans say congressional Republicans are keeping the promises they made during last fall’s campaign..."

Yeah, but how many of them are angry about that, and how many are relieved?

Ed Driscoll, PJ Media:  "President Obama is ‘The Vehicle Through Which bin Laden Succeeded’

If by “succeeded,” you mean “got shot in the head and dumped in the ocean.”

Stephen Green, PJ Media:  “Want to Fix the Debates? Look to the Gipper”

Just don’t expect that much in the way of an answer- Reagan is dead.

Joseph Farah, World Net Daily:  “How much trouble is Hillary Clinton in over the formation of a nonprofit foundation that took in massive amounts of foreign money while she was serving as secretary of state?”


“Is it possible she could be indicted at the same time she is seeking the presidency of the United States?”

Yes, if the Republicans can find a corrupt judge, which shouldn’t be that hard, considering how many they have planted the Federal bench the last couple of decades.

“Or are the Clintons still the golden couple, untouchable for crimes and misdemeanors ordinary Americans would serve time for?”

Well, I just don’t know.  How much trouble do ordinary Americans get in, for having a charitable foundation while Secretary of State?

Thomas Lifson, American Thinker:  "Thin gruel: Sanitizers did their job deleting Hillary's emails"

That's obvious, because they didn't contain any smoking guns proving that she is a traitor. Or perhaps a witch.  So, the good ones must have been deleted.  Don't worry, if no one finds them, Republicans will just make some up.

Friday, May 22, 2015

And No, I'm Not Ready to Give It Up Yet


Remember Richard Clarke?  He was Clinton's national security coordinator.  After Bush was elected, he begged him to pay more attention to Al Qaida.  Bush told Clarke to fuck off, and we knew what happened.  Once again, there is nothing that gets you eliminated from consideration as a serious voice on national affairs, like being right.

Well, here's Clarke today, on MSNBC:

"...all the stuff we're seeing today -- the rise of ISIS, the disintegration of the state in Iraq, the disintegration of the state in Syria, I think is directly connected to our invasion...We destroyed the state. This is what happens when you destroy a state. You have chaos, you have the rise of factions, regional and ethic factions," he continued. "And I think you can look at that decision and say that's the reason hundreds of thousands -- probably a couple of million if you add it all up -- people have been killed."

Not Obama.  Not weak-on-defense liberals.  No, the mighty Conservatives and their warmongering brought us the chaos and terror in the Middle East today; and in the process destroyed whatever shreds of moral leadership the United States might have had left after Vietnam and fifty years of the idiotic cold war.

And while I am on the subject, I would like to point out Clarke's estimate of a couple of million deaths consequent to the Iraq invasion.  Some people may remember a peer-reviewed study conducted by scientists at Columbia and Johns Hopkins University, and published in the world's premier medical journal, The Lancet, which estimated that up to a million Iraqi civilian deaths had resulted from the U.S. invasion.  This study was shouted down by the warmongers in a sterling example of right wing denial of reality, and disappeared from public consciousness.  The animus directed toward it was so great that even here at Green Eagle, to avoid meaningless arguments about numbers, I took to referring to "hundreds of thousands" of deaths, rather than the real number.  Thank you, Mr. Clarke, for finally being willing to point out the true magnitude of the damage we did in Iraq, because somehow, somewhere, the truth still must count for something.

Not in this country, of course, where Republicans, in their desperation to hide the grotesque, colossal damage they did in the Middle East, will continue to forever deny what they really did.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

$40 Million

And while I am on the subject, can I remind people that Dick Cheney made a personal profit of $40 million dollars from "no-bid," i.e. corrupt, contracts, which he awarded his own company while he was Vice President?  As far as I know, there has never, ever, in the entire history of the United States, been an example of blatant criminality in a Presidential administration that compares in any way to that, either in the massiveness of the amount or in the blatant disregard for any fig-leaf of legality.  And yet, no one seems willing to call this monstrous abuse of power what it is.

Cheney should have been imprisoned for this alone, but it pales to virtual insignificance compared to his other wrongdoing while in office.

Iraq- The Hits Keep Coming

It is now clear that, in the future, no one on earth is going to remember Pandora.  Instead, they will talk about "Jeb's box."  Boy, I bet he's regretting being so confident that the rich guys were going to give him the Republican nomination, that he decided that running for President didn't involve ten minutes' thinking about the issues before opening his fat mouth.

Chris Matthews had George W. Bush's CIA briefer on his show yesterday.  A couple of excerpts, via Crooks and Liars:

First, Matthews asking the guy about the facts that the administration's public statements corresponded to the information that he gave them:

"MATTHEWS: Was that true? 
MORELL: We were saying— 
MATTHEWS: Can you answer that question? Was that true? 
MORELL: That's not true. 
MATTHEWS: Well, why'd you let them get away with it? 
MORELL: Look, my job Chris—"

His job was apparently to just shut up and allow Dick Cheney to lie the country into war.

"MATTHEWS: So you're briefing the president on the reasons for war, they're selling the war, using your stuff, saying you made that case when you didn't. So they're using your credibility to make the case for war dishonestly, as you just admitted. 
MORELL: Look, I'm just telling you— 
MATTHEWS: You just admitted it 
MORELL: I'm just telling you what we said— 
MATTHEWS: They gave a false presentation of what you said to them. 
MORELL: On some aspects. On some aspects."

On some aspects.  They only lied on some aspects.  The ones necessary to talk the country into war.  But they didn't lie about every single thing on the face of the earth, so they should get a pass on the "some aspects"  they did lie about.  Which, in fact, is exactly what has happened so far.

This is no doubt a tremendous comfort to us as we watch the consequences of Bush's miserable foreign tantrum continue.  ISIS, a movement that Bush and Cheney are virtually totally responsible for creating, killed between 21,000 and 47,000 in Iraq alone, last year.  The numbers they killed in Syria are totally unknown, but we can guess they are similar.

Of course, these deaths are still way below the number of civilians Bush and Cheney killed during their aggression, so maybe it's all okay, at least with the sort of right wingers that are gloating at the disaster we have created in the Middle East, and who are positive that the solution to the whole thing is to start another war over there, after which peace will reign on earth and people will discover how terrible a crime they were committing by hating us for our freedom.

I'm sorry to keep harping away on this subject, but if I can be forgiven a personal comment, I don't like being a citizen of a criminal, murderous country.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The Lie to Rule Them All

Let me tell you a brief story.  I remember watching on TV as Colin Powell gave his famous speech to the United Nations detailing the Bush administration's "evidence" that Saddam posed such a threat to the world that we had a right to go halfway around the world and smash his country.  Of course, this was before I was a blogger, so I can't prove a word of this, but I remember listening to what he had to say with total astonishment.  What did he have to back up his case?  Some childish cartoons of the insides of supposed mobile factories to produce nerve gas, a couple of aerial photos of a totally unidentifiable light industrial building that he claimed, without a shred of evidence, was a factory for WMD's and a vial of white powder that, for all we know, was purloined from W's coke stash.  The thing was laughable on its face, and if anything proved beyond a doubt that the Bush administration did not have one shred of evidence to back up its case.

And I was hardly alone.  Millions of people saw the utter bankruptcy of Bush and Cheney's case for war, but they were stampeded into oblivion by warmongers manipulating the fears of the American people, and a compliant mainstream press that didn't care if they spread the most unbelievable lies.

Well, I saw an article today, detailing this unprecedented dishonesty in wonderful fashion.  It is wonderful, not just because of its blunt recall of the facts, but because of where it was published:  in Newsweek magazine, traditionally a willing collaborator with the war party's agenda.  I rarely say this, but it is a must read.  Please take a look at it.

I'll let you read it, which I hope you will, without bothering you further about what it says (you know a lot of it already,) but I do want to add something here.  It is the greatest failure of Obama as President that he did not end this criminal aggression the day he took office, and see to it that the truth was openly discussed, and the perpetrators imprisoned.  His actions have guaranteed exactly what we are seeing now:  As soon as the warmongers believe that enough Americans have forgotten our last miserable adventure in imperial conquest, they start agitating to do it all over again.  Our Iraq invasion has caused such immense tragedy in the Middle East, and with the Bush/Cheney created ISIS still in full force, will continue to do so, while in a mirror image of what happened after 9-11, the Republicans and the Neocons turn their attention next door, this time to Iran, a country far stronger that Iraq was in 2002, which has the potential to deliver the United States a humiliation that will make the world forget all about Iraq, and about the apparently foolish notion that we are somehow better than other, previous would-be world conquerors.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Jeb Opens The Door to Hell, and the Angry Geezer Walks Right In

God in heaven above, John McCain just had to open his mouth again today, surely one of the least needed contributions to our national discourse that anyone could imagine.  What motivated this latest senile maundering?  Well, of course, Jeb Bush, the serious Republican candidate (serious, by virtue of having sold out to the big money guys years ago) made the colossal error of bringing up his brother's grotesquely incompetent invasion of Iraq.  So now, Republicans need to defend the indefensible and try one more time to convince people that the Iraq aggression was anything but a war crime, and one of the most incompetent war crimes in history.  Here's McCain spouting off, in case you care.  The coverage is from Newsmax, a right wing lie factory, but I think you should hear how they are playing this story, so you can get a nice dose of outrage:

"The Islamic State's takeover of the city of Ramadi over the weekend is a "terribly significant" event that will have an impact on the psychology of the people of Iraq, Sen. John McCain said Monday, while continuing to blame the Obama administration for the militant group's rise to power."

Do I need to remind you that the real reason ISIS exists is because George W. Bush dissolved the largely Sunni Iraqi army and let the troops keep their weapons, but not their jobs, and then turned the Iraqi government over to Shiite extremists in return for their promise to knock off the violence for a while, so he could pretend that the "surge" worked?

"I hate to be repetitious, but the fact is that, thanks to the surge we had it under control, and this is another consequence of the failure of this administration and this president to leave a residual force behind," the Republican senator told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" program Monday."

This is, of course one of the great malignant Republican lies about the Iraq war.  Obama did not fail to leave troops behind; all he failed to do was break an international agreement between the Bush administration and the Shiite government of Iraq promising to withdraw all U.S. troops.  Obama kept this country's promise.  That is what he supposedly did wrong.

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Well, that is the next line in the story- I mean what is a Conservative opinion piece without a little grifting?  And they did at least put it in a different color.

"The problem, McCain said, is that when the United States pulled its troops from Iraq, "there was a vacuum," and Nouri al-Maliki, who is now Iraq's vice president after serving as prime minister from 2006-14, "decided to control the armed services. He fired all of his good people and hollowed out the army and then we have this consequence of a collapse."

Maliki of course did not "fire all his good people," L. Paul Bremer, Bush's hand picked ruler in Iraq did that, with Bush's full approval.

"McCain said the United States will need to start over when it comes to training the Iraqi military, and that there needs to be a "change of attitude" in Iraq that "makes them understand the importance of good leadership and good training."

We'll need to start over in Iraq.  Doesn't that sound like a delightful prospect to you?  How can anyone be so oblivious?

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Just a little more grifting there, thank you very much.

"McCain said he agrees that there needs to be more hand-to-hand combat, such as that used on Saturday, when U.S. Army commandos launched a rare ground attack in Syria, killing ISIS head of oil operations Abu Sayyaf and capturing his wife, Umm Sayyaf, who remains in custody. 

"I agree that we need more of it," said McCain, adding that there have been operations going on for "some time," including the raid that took out al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.

HOOAH!  War!  Boots on the ground!  No one Senator McCain knows, of course, but isn't it nice to have the sage opinion of someone whose experience of war comes from crashing four jet fighter planes and then spending five years in a cage.  Except for the fighter plane part, that makes him just about as qualified as my parrot.  And he has just about the same ability to repeat nonsense over and over again, too.

"I don't want to denigrate the incredible job and coordination amongst our military," said McCain. "You have to give them utmost praise. But to somehow assume that that will turn the tide here against ISIS, I  think, is just not realistic."

Of course, he doesn't want to denigrate the troops!  They did an incredible job, even though it was a colossal, epochal failure.  You have to give them the utmost praise for creating a hellhole!  So the obvious answer is to send them all back to do more of their incredible work.  This time maybe they could turn the entire Middle East into an out of control war zone.

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Yeah, they had to throw that one in too- news coverage Republican style.  Well, good work, guys, because if you are waiting for the day that the American people forget what a disaster the Iraq aggression was, you'd better start preparing for the 2116 election, or maybe the 3116 election, not the 2016 one.  And Senator McCain?  Please shut up and go away, already.

Hero Worship

Not a good way to look at history.  Scott Walker:

“I came of age during the Reagan administration. I was I think I believe just turned 13 two days before his election in 1980. And for me, looking at that kind of leadership, he set the tone, not just domestically with that action; he sent a message around the world as – as you just read off, I think not only to our allies, this is – was someone who was serious that that could be trusted. But in combination with our adversaries, they sent a clear message, not to mess with him.”

You see, that's how our adult, serious Republican leaders evaluate history- through the eyes of a preteen boy.  That's how a malignant parody of a leader like the actor Reagan can still be regarded as a great man by so many Republicans, who don't seem to have ever grown up.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Someone Else's View

My horoscope today:

"No matter how high your confidence level is today, it's still wise to remember that your perspective is only one point of view out of many."

So, I thought I would bring you someone else's opinion- Paul Krugman's:

"But back to Iraq: the crucial thing to understand is that the invasion wasn’t a mistake, it was a crime. We were lied into war. And we shouldn’t let that ugly truth be forgotten."

There.  Well, I'm glad I got that over with.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Christian Karma

There have been a lot of stories lately about a recent Pew study showing a surprisingly sharp drop off in the number of people in the US who consider themselves Christians.  Here's just one sample, from the Washington Post:

"Christianity is on the decline in America, not just among younger generations or in certain regions of the country but across race, gender, education and geographic barriers. The percentage of adults who describe themselves as Christians dropped by nearly eight percentage points in just seven years to about 71 percent, according to a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center. 

“It’s remarkably widespread,” said Alan Cooperman, director of religion research for the Pew Research Center. “The country is becoming less religious as a whole, and it’s happening across the board.”

Of course, no one can resist musing about why this might be true, most of the guesses involving blather about millenmials and about people just becoming more secular.  Based on every bit of our experience regarding the mainstream press' treatment of the right, however, it should hardly be surprising that none of them want to cite the obvious cause of this phenomenon.

And here it is:  people did not suddenly decide to get less spiritual or religious in the last ten years, after thousands of years of little change in that regard.  What changed was not the American people, but the Churches themselves.

Those of us who are a little older than the millennials can actually remember when the word "Christian" was not a synonym for an intolerant, ignorant, hate-filled, racist jerk.  We can remember when Christian churches were (as far as we knew- maybe we were wrong) something more than grifting machines.  And we can remember when, if you thought of the Catholic clergy, the first thing that came to mind was not a factory for manufacturing child rapists.

Evangelicals and Catholic Priests have become the face of their religion, and Christians have no one to blame but themselves- not just the execrable specimens of human garbage that actually participate in this hateful conduct, but all of the rest of them, who care too little about their religion to reclaim it for some decent purpose.  The public face of Christianity in the United States today is something that no decent person could really want to flourish.  This sort of Christianity is a malignant thing; that's why people are turning away.  But we are really not supposed to notice that, and instead blame the individuals who just won't associate themselves with something so contemptible.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Jeb Bush Reveals His Own- and His Party's- Hollowness

I guess everyone that would be reading this blog has heard about Jeb Bush's colossal failure this week in dealing with one of his brother's two great legacies as President- the Iraq invasion and the disaster that followed.

This guy has been apparently preparing to run for President for a couple of years now, if courting the backing of the super-rich is any indication, but apparently, his preparation to hold this office doesn't extend to putting in enough time to think about how he feels about the most obvious question he will ever be asked: would he have precipitated the same calamity as his brother did.  Asked the question on Fox News this Monday, he had this appalling answer:

MEGAN KELLY: "On the subject of Iraq... obviously very controversial. Knowing what we know now, would you have authorized the invasion?" 

BUSH: "I would have..."

Well, by Wednesday, he was furiously trying to back out of that, claiming that he somehow misheard the question:

"...given the power of looking back and having that, of course anybody would have made different decisions. There's no denying that."

He also managed that day to engage in one of the most nauseating specimens of hiding behind the troops to shut up the people who realized the insanity of his Monday response:

"(Bush) did not go so far as to say the war was a mistake, arguing that hypothetical questions about what he would have done are a disservice to the soldiers that fought and died in the conflict."

And Finally, on Friday:

"knowing what we know now, ...I would not have engaged.  I would not have gone into Iraq,"

Over the course of the last four days, Bush has actually managed to take four, or perhaps five positions on this question.

I bring this up, not to make the obvious point that this guy is a lying weasel just like his brother, but to make a broader point:  On even the most obvious and relevant questions, Republican Presidential candidates, even the so-called serious ones, don't give a damn about the issues that affect this country. They only care about finding the right words to snake-charm the voters, and they will try anything on until they find the right phrase that works for them.  It is not that the Republicans are not a serious party- they are as serious as a cyanide pill.  It's just that what they are serious about is delivering the country lock stock and barrel to a couple hundred rich psychopaths, so it can be turned into a third world slave state.  And that's really not a winning platform, even to their base.