Dancing With The Zombies

 Posted by at 10:01 AM on November 20, 2011
Nov 202011

Right to Far Right: Pig Newton, Witless Mittless, Insane In The Mem-brain Cain, Ricky Y’all er Crazy Perry, Braindrain Bachmann, and Ron D.O.A. Paul.  If you want to smell their rotting flesh, you must click it.
(Original image)

Never intended to be anything more than a Koch Brothers cut-out for reversing the Tea Party‘s reputation for racism, Herman Cain was as surprised as anyone to find himself suddenly propelled to the top of the Grand Obstructionist Party‘s presidential primary.

Actually, not so surprising given a restive base that includes a large ABM (Anybody But Mittens) contingent, mostly composed of fundamentalist Christians who don’t believe that the Garden of Eden was located in Jackson County, Missouri; and of course the Teabaggers who condemn him for instituting O’Romney Care in Massachusetts, compelling all Bay Staters to become the Zombie slaves of the Medical Industrial Complex.

These discontents have given rise to a succession of straw dog candidates, from Donald Trump, to Michelle Bachmann, to Rick Perry. Each have experienced similar meteoric rises only to come crashing to earth when their utter unsuitability to occupy the highest office in the world was laid bare under the harsh light of media scrutiny.

 Rick Perry and Michelle Bachmann star in a remake of Dance Of The Dead
Original Image

So desperate is the GOPer search for someone who could even stand on the same stage as President Obama that they have now lapped themselves in the process of elevating a candidate who was declared dead a mere five months ago— a man who has more political baggage than all the others put together:  Newt Gingrich. Recall that his whole staff quit en masse when it was obvious to them that he was more interested in pimping his numerous business interests than actually running a campaign.  As his prolific record of influence peddling inside the Beltway becomes better known among low information Teabaggers, it won’t be long before he returns to his political grave.

Meanwhile, Herman was busy this week once again sabatoging his own campaign.  Thursday, he issued a last minute cancellation of his interview with the New Hampshire Union Leader’s editorial board, citing scheduling conflicts. As The Hill reports it:

But Drew Cline, the Union Leader’s editorial page editor, seemed to blame Cain for cancelling.

Cain campaign said we’d do a one-hour interview. Then said no video taping. Then said interview only 20 mins. Then canceled,” Cline said on Twitter. That comment came nearly an hour after the interview was scheduled to take place, and it is apparent from Cline’s tweets that the paper was not immediately aware of the cancellation.

Despite his disastrous video taped interview with the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel the previous week where he proved his ignorance of current foreign policy issues like Libya,  yesterday Herman doubled down on the dumb by warning about Taliban plans to infiltrate the new, post-Qadaffi government.

Given his record so far, it’s not surprising that Herman is trying even harder to limit questions from the media. Like every other presidential candidate, whenever he moves  from place to place, the press presses him for information and comments.  His staff is known to form a protective barrier around him in an attempt to prevent such interaction.  One reading of his request this week for a Secret Service detail— no other GOPer candidate has one— is to insure that the press are kept at bay.

Herman is still topping some of the polls despite evidence that he tried to parlay his considerable power in the hospitality industry for sexual favors. Appearing on the David Letterman show Friday night, he objected to David’s reference to his four accusers.  “How do you get to four?” asked Herman, feigning innocence. Letterman had a quick comeback: “Well, how many were there?  Nine, nine, nine?”

The latter is of course a reference to Cain’s signature and highly regressive “999” tax policy.  (For details, see NEIN NEIN NEIN! ; and Herman Cain: Bizarro World’s Robbin’ Hood (Koch Bros Update). Turns out that the source of that idea comes from the computer game, Sim City4.

Herman has also come up with some memorable lines, like, “I’m a Koch Brother from another mother”;  and most recently, “I’m a leader not a reader.

Had either of these lines been original to him, he would deserve props for having a clever delivery.  But the first came from the movie Rush Hour 4 with Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker.  Tucker, the only black man in a room full of Chinese hoods wearing all white suits, delivers the fateful line as he tries to come to Chan’s rescue.

The second comes from an episode of The Simpsons.

As Paul Constant over at The Slog remarks:

Cain is now using that “leader, not a reader” line at rallies to explain that America wants a businessman and not someone who knows about trivial bookish things like “foreign policy” and “making sense.”  This is pretty amazing:  A Republican presidential candidate is now openly mocking books and intelligence. Even Sarah Palin didn’t go full idiot like this.

To explain his chronic cognitive flatulence, Herman pleads “I got all this stuff twirling around in my head.”  Call it the early onset stage of Zombie-dumb.




The Reagan-Palin Hybrid

 Posted by at 12:55 PM on February 10, 2011
Feb 102011

Updating the ancient Greek myth of the Chimera

The New York Times weighs in on presidential wannabe Sarah Palin‘s commemoration of what would have been the 100th birthday of conservative icon, Ronald Reagan:

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – Sarah Palin opened a weekend centennial celebration to Ronald Reagan by declaring that the United States was lurching toward a “road to ruin,” a nation so beleaguered by debt and out-of-control government spending that an urgent change in direction was needed in Washington….

Except she forgot to mention that if deficits and government spending is a runaway train, then it was her beloved Ronnie Boy who was the engineer that drove the train off the rails through a combination of tax cuts, dramatic increases in defense spending, and foreign policy blunders.

…Ms. Palin entered the room only for her speech and left immediately after.

As Cenk Uygur would say: Of course… The last thing her handlers wanted was for her to engage in an unscripted dialog with people who know that Africa isn’t a country, and who know what newspapers and magazines they read. This wasn’t a Fux News television studio she was performing in.

But back to Saint Ronnie’s vaunted legacy that today’s Teabaggers are so eager to identify themselves with.  Mark Sumner over at The Big Orange asks us to remember the Real Ronald Reagan:

As we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the birth of our 40th president amid glowing plaudits, folksy reminiscence, and an abundance of praise, it’s important to remember one thing: the election of Ronald Reagan is the central and enduring tragedy of our age…

The general acceptance of the ideas behind Reagan, and the movement of those ideas from the radical fringe into the mainstream of American politics, has shaped a world in which fantasies are accepted as givens; a world in which positions that are not only unproved, but disproved, are seen as foundations to build on. These ideas have destabilized our economy, accelerated the destruction of our environment, and set back the advancement of human rights. They, and the man who delivered them into our living rooms, are now so coated in mythology and media adoration that we accept them not just as American, but as America, despite the fact that these ideas – the conservative daydream — represent the single greatest threat to the continued progress of our nation and our world.

The primary message that the “Great Communicator” spread in soothing tones and often high-minded words borrowed from the Puritans, was that the enemy of the middle class was not the wealthy, but the poor….

Like that mythical Cadillac driving Welfare Queen who…

… has eighty names, thirty addresses, twelve Social Security cards and is collecting veteran’s benefits on four non-existing deceased husbands. And she is collecting Social Security on her cards. She’s got Medicaid, getting food stamps, and she is collecting welfare under each of her names. Her tax-free cash income is over $150,000.

Reagan’s welfare queen also featured one more important number: she was 99.9% imaginary. However, Reagan managed to sell this ugly fantasy not as a description of an individual criminal, but as a condemnation of a class of people. The conservative class warfare that Bill Buckley and the boys had nodded about in the steam rooms of exclusive clubs, became the accepted wisdom in the taprooms of Peoria. What was holding back the middle class was not executives and speculators pocketing millions, it was poor mothers getting a few hundred a year in food assistance. Americans became convinced – and still are convinced – that some vast pool of “urban poor” was draining the wealth of the nation.

ThinkProgress.org has compiled a top ten list of the greatest of the Reagan Myths, introducing it as follows:

But Reagan was not the man conservatives claim he was. This image of Reagan as a conservative superhero is myth, created to unite the various factions of the right behind a common leader. In reality, Reagan was no conservative ideologue or flawless commander-in-chief. Reagan regularly strayed from conservative dogma — he raised taxes eleven times as president while tripling the deficit — and he often ended up on the wrong side of history, like when he vetoed an Anti-Apartheid bill.

1. Reagan was a serial tax raiser. As governor of California, Reagan “signed into law the largest tax increase in the history of any state up till then.” Meanwhile, state spending nearly doubled. As president, Reagan “raised taxes in seven of his eight years in office,” including four times in just two years….

2. Reagan nearly tripled the federal budget deficit. During the Reagan years, the debt increased to nearly $3 trillion, “roughly three times as much as the first 80 years of the century had done altogether.”… Reagan enacted a major tax cut his first year in office and government revenue dropped off precipitously. Despite the conservative myth that tax cuts somehow increase revenue, the government went deeper into debt and Reagan had to raise taxes just a year after he enacted his tax cut. Despite ten more tax hikes on everything from gasoline to corporate income, Reagan was never able to get the deficit under control.

3. Unemployment soared after Reagan’s 1981 tax cuts. Unemployment jumped to 10.8 percent after Reagan enacted his much-touted tax cut, and it took years for the rate to get back down to its previous level. Meanwhile, income inequality exploded…

4. Reagan grew the size of the federal government tremendously… He promised to cut government agencies like the Department of Energy and Education but ended up adding one of the largest — the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, which today has a budget of nearly $90 billion and close to 300,000 employees. He also hiked defense spending by over $100 billion a year to a level not seen since the height of the Vietnam war.

5. Reagan did little to fight for a woman’s right to choose

6. Reagan was a “bellicose peacenik.” He wrote in his memoirs that “[m]y dream…became a world free of nuclear weapons.” “This vision stemmed from the president’s belief that the biblical account of Armageddon prophesied nuclear war — and that apocalypse could be averted if everyone, especially the Soviets, eliminated nuclear weapons,” the Washington Monthly noted…

7. Reagan gave amnesty to 3 million undocumented immigrants

8. Reagan illegally funneled weapons to Iran

9. Reagan vetoed a comprehensive anti-Apartheid act. which placed sanctions on South Africa and cut off all American trade with the country. Reagan’s veto was overridden by the Republican-controlled Senate…

10. Reagan helped create the Taliban and Osama Bin Laden

I would include another one: Reagan cut and ran from Lebanon after the greatest act of post-WW2 terrorism ever visited on the American people– the suicide bombing by Hizbollah of the Marine barracks at the Beirut Airport that killed 241 Marines.

Methinks that if Reagan were alive today and wanted to run for president, he wouldn’t make it past the first batch of Republican primaries. The Teabaggers would eat him alive with a record like that, if only they could distinguish myth from reality…

Back to the hypocrisy of Sister Sarah. Palin recently canceled a speech to The Sharon K Pacheco Foundation, a non-profit group from Colorado dedicated to raising money for military families adversely affected by the wars Mama Grizzly so fearlessly supports. As she explained on her Facebook page:

“Due to an onslaught of personal attacks against Governor Palin and others associated with her appearance, it is with deep sadness and disappointment that, in the best interest of all, we cancel the event for safety concerns.”

But as Digby notes:

The announcement also states that no direct threats had been made against anyone, but said that the “increase in negative rhetoric against the former Alaska governor” after the Tucson shooting “raises concern for her safety and the safety of others despite the call for civility in America.”

The Post points out that May 2 is also the date of a NBC/Politico 2012 Republican presidential candidates debate, to be held at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in California.

What better way to obscure her crass opportunism and hypocrisy than by playing the patented Poor Sarah victim card?

Reagan was my governor for eight years, my president for another eight.  He did more than any single person to set this country on its present course of self-destruction.  The two Bushes certainly played their parts, as did Clinton‘s sell-out to Wall Street.  Should Sarah Palin becomes president of the United States, I will interpret that as judgment from The Most Highs that the great US experiment in representational democracy has failed. Miserably.

When Benjamin Franklin was asked what kind of government the Founders had hammered out in Philadelphia in 1787, he replied:

“A republic, if you can keep it.”

I’m not feeling so good about that “if” right now.  The plutocrats are winning, bolstered by the consequences of The Supremes’  Citizens United ruling, a malignant virus that has only just begun to infect our body politic.  Teabaggers continue to mistake the disease for the cure, a triumph of the modern Reich Wing propaganda machine that has brought to fruition the ancient prescription of those who habitually seek unjust power over their fellows:

First they sell you the disease, then they sell you the cure.

Christian Taliban To Burn Qu’rans

 Posted by at 9:43 AM on September 7, 2010
Sep 072010

Christian Taliban leader Terry Jones burned in effigy in Afghanistan

This Saturday on the ninth anniversary of 9/11, members of a small Muslim hating Christian group, ironically called Dove World Outreach Church, plan to burn a pile of Qu’rans to demonstrate their hatred of Islam.

It’s not like we haven’t been down this road before. Five years ago reports of Qu’rans being desecrated in Guantanomo, pissed on, torn up, and flushed down toilets, spread like wildfire across the Muslim world. Dozens died as a result:

On May 10 and continuing the following week, many violent anti-American protests took place, and in some areas these turned into deadly riots. In Afghanistan, demonstrations that began in the eastern provinces and spread to Kabul were reported to have caused at least seventeen deaths. The United Nations, as a precautionary measure, withdrew all its foreign staff from Jalalabad, where two of its guest houses were attacked, government buildings and shops were targeted, and the offices of two international aid groups were destroyed. Demonstrations also took place in Palestine, Egypt, Sudan, Pakistan and Indonesia, leading to the death of at least 15 people…

Shehzad Tanweer, who participated in the 7 July 2005 London bombing, may have had his ideology reinforced by allegations of Qur’an abuse. His cousin Mohammad Saleem noted that “Incidents like desecration of the Koran have always been in his mind.

Bad enough. But the prospect of actual filmed evidence of Americans burning Qu’rans at this critical junction of the war in Afghanistan has the top US and NATO military commander concerned. General David Petraeus has issued a written statement, as reported by CNN:

Planned Quran-burning could endanger troops, Petraeus warns

The U.S. commander in Afghanistan on Monday criticized a Florida church’s plan to burn copies of the Quran on September 11, warning the demonstration “could cause significant problems” for American troops overseas.

“It could endanger troops and it could endanger the overall effort in Afghanistan,” Gen. David Petraeus said in a statement issued Monday.

In a statement on its website, the Dove World Outreach Center said it plans to burn Qurans “to warn about the teaching and ideology of Islam, which we do hate as it is hateful.” Its pastor, Terry Jones, has written a book entitled “Islam is of the Devil,” and the church sells coffee mugs and shirts featuring the phrase. But the church says its animus is not aimed at individual Muslims.

As Prof Juan Cole notes, Jones and his flock of doves are acting just like Al Qaeda:

It isn’t only Petraeus who is petrified by the way this auto-da-fe could spin out of control. The Catholic cardinal in Mumbai, India and an archbishop in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, have condemned the stunt, as well. Likewise, Christian leaders in Indonesia have jointly protested the Gainesville church’s plans. Terry Jones, the Dove pastor, appears to want to prove Muslims are intolerant by provoking them to attack ‘Christians’ over the burning of their scripture. I.e., he thinks just like al-Qaeda, which wanted to provoke Christians to attack Muslims so as to demonstrate Christian imperialism. If what you want to do is spread hate and produce dead bodies, that is easy. Sowing rancor and harvesting corpses is no harder than piling up garbage Producing love and tolerance and unity across ethnic and religious boundaries is what is hard, and it is very, very hard. The most difficult thing in the world, like balancing a pyramid on its nose. Which is why we honor the Gandhis and the Martin Luther Kings, who strive toward it on a large scale. What is worrisome is that technology is magnifying the power of tiny fringe hate groups to shape the world.

Anticipating the reaction of Muslims watching Americans burning Qu’rans,  Usama bin Laden and the Taliban must be busy setting up job fairs all over the Islamic world. Recruiters and operators are standing by.

Afutilestan VIII

 Posted by at 1:36 PM on May 31, 2010
May 312010

Rep. Alan Grayson introducing his War Is Making You Poor Act on the House floor

As we look back to honor the fallen on Memorial Day, the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan grind on. Afghanistan, in its ninth year, is already the longest war in US History and Iraq, at seven years, is not far behind.

On May 21, Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) introduced his War Is Making You Poor Act. Co-sponsored by Reps. Ron Paul (R-TX), Walter Jones (R-NC), Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) Barbara Lee (D-CA), John Conyers (D-MI), and Lynn Woolsey (D-CA),  an attempt to draw attention to the unsustainable (and self-defeating) nature of the US military industrial complex that spends more on “defense” than the rest of the world combined.

Meanwhile, it was a shitty week for the commander of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal:

1. Fatalities by US troops reached the 1000 mark, marking May as the deadliest month for US troops this year, with 33 KIA.

2. A US military investigative report found that a US drone attack had mistakenly identified a group of Afghan civilians as militants, killing 23 of them.

3. The combined cost of the Afghan Iraq wars passed 1 trillion dollars in direct costs, and approximately $3 trillion altogether.

4. Taliban forces have re-infiltrated Marjhah which has been held out as a singular example of McCrystal’s successful counterinsurgency strategy.

5. The commander of the Canadian forces, with the second largest contingent of troops after the US, resigned in a sex scandal.

6. Another NATO fuel convoy was attacked and destroyed.

7. An Afghan police convoy was attacked, killing five.

8. McChrystal claims Iran is aiding the Taliban.

And we ain’t seen nuttin yet. With the melting of the winter snows comes more frequent and deadly Taliban attacks.  And this summer we’ll witness the long planned US attack on Afghanistan’s second largest city, Kandahar, the main object of President Obama‘s shell game escalation involving the movement of combat troops from Iraq to Afghanistan, tripling the amount there from the day that Bush left office.

To be continued…

Afutilestan (VII): The Great Game Revisted

 Posted by at 6:06 AM on December 5, 2009
Dec 052009


President Obama demonstrating the logic of his Afghanistan policy

Geography is destiny, Napoleon is reported to have said.

I began to appreciate that political truism early on, thanks to marathon games of  Risk I  played as a kid.  According to Wikipedia, Risk was originally released in France in 1957, as La Conquête du Monde—The Conquest of the World. It was likely modeled on the period of history that historians call The Great Game, a designation for the 19th century struggle between the Russian and British empires for supremacy over Afghanistan and all of Central Asia.

A second iteration of the Great Game occurred in the early 20th century after the Bolshevik Revolution. Britain and Russia reconciled in the face of German expansionism, an arrangement that continued  up until the Second World War.

We have now entered the third phase, The Age of Petroleum Politics, where the  goal is not the control of large swaths of land, but of lucrative pipeline routes running from the vast oil and gas reserves of  the Caspian Sea region to rapidly industrializing countries like India.

It is against this backdrop that President Obama‘s decision to massively escalate the war in Afghanistan needs to  be evaluated, and not against a recycled version of the immoral preventive war policy propagated by the Bush-Cheney Administration.

As described here and elsewhere, Obama’s rationale is a study in pretzel logic, to wit: increasing the amount of foreign occupiers is supposed to produce less insurgents, not more;  that the utterly corrupt Karzai government will suddenly transform itself into a benign force for good, a key requirement of General McChrystal’s COIN strategy (last summer, Hamid Karzai successfully resisted intensive US pressure to oust his drug dealing brother and other criminals from his government); that after eight years of failed attempts to create a viable Afghan security force, one can be stood up in a mere 18 months; that the country’s 40,000 tribal villages are even amenable to interacting with a central government, let alone such a corrupt one, etc., etc.

As for the details of the escalation itself, a parade of Administration officials were called to The Hill yesterday to explain them. Poor SecDef  Bob Gates ended up speaking out both sides of his mouth, explaining to Carl Levin that the drawdown date of July 2011 was firm while telling John McCain and his BFF Senator Huckleberry it wasn’t.

The logistics are a nightmare, given that the only overland route into Afghanistan is from Pakistan through the Khyber Pass, which is now subject to frequent attacks by the Taliban (one reason why gasoline in Afghanistan costs $400 per gallon). That means that the US is going to have to airlift those 30,000 troops and all their equipment at great cost to the American taxpayer (spun by the Obama Administration as a decisive acceleration that would speed up their eventual exit rather than a matter of battlefield necessity).

Let’s take a closer look at the overarching rationale of the entire Afghanistan occupation— that it will somehow make us safer against almighty Al Qaeda, and subject it to some basic cost-benefit  analysis. In last month’s issue of  Foreign Policy, terrorism expert Peter Bergen (the last Westerner to interview Usama Bin Laden) estimated that any future attack by Al Qaeda on American soil would likely result in a death toll measured in the dozens, not thousands:

Indeed, it is my assessment that the al Qaeda organization today no longer poses a direct national security threat to the United States itself, but rather poses a second-order threat in which the worst case scenario would be an al Qaeda-trained or -inspired terrorist managing to pull off an attack on the scale of something in between the 1993 Trade Center attack, which killed six, and the Oklahoma City bombing of 1995, which killed 168. While this, of course, would be tragic, it would not constitute a mass-casualty attack sufficiently large in scale to reorient U.S. national security policy completely as the 9/11 attacks did.

Now, one can quibble whether Obama’s decision to double down in Afghanistan constitutes a reorientation of US national security policy. But can we really separate the notions of national and economic security? Is not one dependent on the other?

What of the opportunity costs of committing yet more hundreds of billions of dollars to securing and rebuilding Afghanistan when we’re already enduring a Great Recession here at home? What of our economically vital national infrastructure’s advancing state of decay? (Here in L.A. we’ve had numerous water main breaks, and California’s road system is the worst in the nation, save for one other.)  How can we be competitive with world powers like China, whose government is dealing with the collapse of the western world’s financial structure by investing some of its savings in modernizing its economic infrastructure?

What of the price in economic and human terms of enduring additional thousands of additional American casualties? Is it worth creating even more terrorists by pissing off an entire new generation of Muslims? Is it worth watching another 45,000 Americans die next year from a lack of affordable health care; or enduring another million people losing their homes; or standing by helpless as our public school system slides off the educational cliff? What of the 20% of American that are either underemployed or without work altogether? Or the sixty million Americans who don’t have access to basic banking services, most of whom rely on pawn shops and check cashing storefronts to put cash in their pockets? Continue reading »

Afutilestan (VI): Obama’s Decision

 Posted by at 9:24 AM on December 1, 2009
Dec 012009


Back to the future in Afghanistan

Irony often has the most exquisite timing. Today President Obama announces a massive escalation of the war in Afghanistan, doubling the number of troops that Bush left behind. And next week he travels to Oslo to pick up his Nobel War Peace Prize.

So, what did those three months of careful deliberation net us? Apparently Obama has decided to give General Stanley McChrystal nearly everything he put on his Christmas wish list, with NATO expected to make up the difference. No hard dates for withdrawal, such as are operative now in Iraq. Not even benchmarks to measure progress. But hold on to your hats—we get a “timeframe.” And maybe a rhetorical bone or two to keep his progressive base in line, like “triggers.”

Or is that “off-ramps”? It can all be just so confusing when you’re trying to placate your “change you can believe in” political base while allowing the military-industrial-medical-financial complex to continue pursuing business as usual.

Given Obama’s considerable oratorical skills, we’ll likely be served a really impressive helping of pretzel logic tonight to explain a number of contradictions in the whole Af-Pak narrative. Like how driving the Taliban out of Afghanistan and into Pakistan improves the situation there, when everyone agrees that Pakistan with its nukes is by far the more strategic concern. Or how a counterinsurgency policy that depends on a viable, non-corrupt Afghan government can succeed when that government has no incentive to behave as long as the Americans are there to keep the Taliban at bay; who as everybody knows, would eagerly welcome Al Qaeda back despite the fact that last time they hosted them they succeeded in burning the house down.

Then of course there are the cultural contradictions of trying to transform a misogynist tribal society into something resembling a modern 21st century democracy; or getting them to accept the presence of an occupying army when they’ve kicked out every such force, including the Russians and the British,  since the time of  Alexander the Great.

As for how he expects to pay the additional $30-40 billion annual cost of the extra troops, let alone billions more in civil reconstruction funds, Obama isn’t worried—that’s Congress’ job. After all, if they can figure how to pay the continuing costs of the Iraq occupation, which on the surface seems to be winding down with regular troop reductions, only to be replaced, and then some, with even more expensive private contractors, then paying $100 billion per year for the Afghanistan escalation should be a piece of cake.

Yep, war is about the only thing the US has left to export these days. Two-time Congressional medal of honor recipient General Smedley Butler wrote about his role as corporate America’s chief enforcer in the early 20th century. Appropriately enough, he titled his memoirs:  War is a Racket.

Now back to our regularly scheduled program.

Afutilestan (IV)

 Posted by at 10:42 AM on November 1, 2009
Nov 012009

Afghanistan-electiAfghan President Hamid Karzai telling American taxpayers to bend over and spread ’em

Each one of the nine events from this last week that I noted in Afutilestan III are like separate rooms in a haunted house that Obama is navigating with a very dim candle. The war mongers amongst us lie in wait, trying to push him down the stairs and trap him in the basement.

I count among them Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who as a senator supported the disastrous invasion and occupation of Iraq that has cost nearly $700 billion to date and killed over 4350 American troops and maimed tens of thousands more, not to mention killing and maiming hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and turning one in seven of them into refugees.

Given that track record, how might she be expected to respond to this?

Abdullah Withdraws From Afghan Election


President Hamid Karzai‘s rival in the second round of the Afghan presidential election has announced in Kabul that he is withdrawing from the poll.

“I will not participate in the election,” Dr. Abdullah told supporters, saying his demands for ensuring a fraud-free election had not been met….

And the envelope, please.

Afghan Election Runoff Not Affected By Abdullah Abdullah’s Call For Boycott: Hillary Clinton


…Clinton was asked Saturday at a news conference in Jerusalem about the presidential challenger’s decision to not participate in the runoff.

She said that it his decision to make but said the runoff has already been legitimized.

When Afghan President Hamid Karzai accepted the runoff after the first election, she said, “that bestowed legitimacy from that moment forward.”

WTF? Karzai keeps the same people who ran the last rip-off, and instead of getting rid of the ghost polling sites,wants to add even more sites. And Clinton, who supports General McChrystal’s plan to escalate the war, responds:

No problemo. We don’t care that the Karzai government is hopelessly corrupt and illegitimate, that it doesn’t have the trust of either the Afghan or American people.  After all, President Karzai agreed to steal another election and that’s good enough for us.

Madame Secretary, may we remind you that an essential component of McChrystal’s counterinsurgency strategy (COIN) requires a legitimate Afghan government to partner with? That in order to get the Afghan people to support us over the next decade we will have to suffer thousands of additional US causalities protecting them from the Taliban (their fellow villagers)? That we will have to spend hundreds of billions of dollars more bringing them out of the Middle Ages and into the 21st century, and that we will have to depend on a notoriously corrupt Afghan to administer it all?

Surely you jest. Or more likely, aren’t telling us the whole story.

Start making sense, please.