We’ll dive into a strongly-worded political riff about surge insanity. But first, a few miscellaneous postings, starting with a question...
...did any of you especially like my brief TV “series” on the History Channel called “The ArchiTechs”?
I mean really like it... perhaps enough to create a fannish web site? I could probably persuade the producers to provide some material/content... if there’s one or two folks who would maintain the site. Would also provide a place for future announcements, in case there is a re-run... or they ever decide to run the first pilot. It’s just a thought.
Here’s a scary on: Today, both the Financial Times and Forbes published the predictions of the Global Risks prediction market. Take an excerpt from the Forbes story: The predictive market contracts … are currently forecasting the outbreak of bird flu in 22 countries in 2007, which Thomson Financial calculates will result in a fall of in the Dow Jones Industrial Index of 0.4% during the year. However should the spread of bird flu reach 60 countries it is anticipated that this would cause a fall in the Dow of over 10%.
Creepy scary. Now imagine something big (or several somethings) happening while all our troops and reserves are away. Where are all those kooky, paranoid “black helicopter” boys, now, when we need their dour, crazed imaginations? Bloody hypocrites.
This ancient conquest map of the middle east is kinda cool and informative... but also neglectful. Nothing of Sargon or the Sumerians. Noting showing the rise and fall of the Hashemites or the rise of the Saud family. And so on. Still, it frames stuff.
Lookit how far they’ve progressed on that Crazy Horse statue in SD.
And then see how three new websites:
can be combined to produce the "seating chart" for most American neighborhoods, at least for those houses that have listed phone numbers. This can be done by anyone, anywhere on the Internet on any American neighborhood. Just take a look at the results for Barron Park.
And take an amazing tour of the Hubble Deep Space Field project.
And now some political ranting, that partly features great riffs by Russ Daggatt on the topic of SURGE... or insane/dismal/incompetent leadership compounding itself, over and over again.
Now that Democrats are in control of Congress, the Republicans are whining like little kids on a long car trip. Listen to Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH):
"What we really expect out of the Democrats is for them to treat us as they would like to have been treated."
Boehner's Golden Rule: We hope that -- no, we expect -- you to treat us the way we should have treated you.
But if you treat us even a little bit the way WE DID TREAT YOU -- then watch us scream bloody murder.
I swear. Every time I thought these monsters could not possibly become more loathesome...
From the Carpetbagger blog:
Under the Republican majority, legislation was written without Dem input; bills were passed without letting Dems read it; Dems’ bills were denied hearings and votes; Dems weren’t allowed to offer amendments to legislation; Dems weren’t even allowed to use hearing rooms. If Dems managed to win a key vote on the floor, Republicans would simply keep the vote open — literally for hours, if necessary — until enough arms could be twisted and/or lawmakers bribed. Being a congressional Democrat in recent years was frequently nothing short of humiliating.
Now, the process is going to be far more pleasant. Or, at least, it’s going to start out that way.Dennis Hastert was poised to get a lousy office-space assignment, so Nancy Pelosi intervened and got him a better one. Pelosi has also reached out to House Minority Leader John Boehner to help create a task force on congressional ethics rules and supervision of the page program. For the first time in 12 years, conference committees will actually have members of the minority party participating.
But back to Russ Daggatt:
This "path forward" is an escalation of our military involvement in one last throw of the dice. But Bush faced some big problems with his approach. For one, of the American people support escalation (by contrast, three times as many -- 34% -- support and ). Not that Bush really cares all that much what the American public thinks -- he doesn't have to run for election again and he is an authoritarian at heart anyway.
Even more problematic for Bush is the fact that the Joint Chiefs of Staff unanimously oppose escalation as does the head of the Central Command (which includes all of the Middle East), Gen. John Abizaid, and the head of all US forces in Iraq, Gen. George Casey. He can ignore the Joint Chiefs, because they aren't in the direct line of command (which goes from Casey to Abizaid to Gates to Bush). But obviously Gen. Abizaid and Gen. Casey presented a problem.
So, not surprisingly, both Gen. Abizaid and Gen. Casey will be moving on. This, of course, brings to mind former Army Chief of Staff Erik Shinseki, who famously said before the war that it would require several hundred thousand troops. For that he was ridiculed by Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz and forced into early retirement. His name has now become a verb: to be "Shinseki'd". That is what is now happening to Gens. Abizaid and Casey.
Bush has been insisting ever since he started the Iraq war that troop levels were determined by the commanders on the group in Iraq. To take just one of many examples, this is what Bush said :
“General Casey will make the decisions as to how many troops we have there. And that's important for the families to know. It's really important. General Casey is a wise and smart man who has spent a lot of time in Baghdad recently, obviously. And it's his judgment that I rely upon. He'll decide how best to achieve victory and the troop levels necessary to do so. “I spent a lot of time talking to him about troop levels, and I told him this,; I said, you decide, General. I want your judgment, your advice. I don't want these decisions being made by the political noise, by the political moment. It's just unfair to our troops and it's unfair to their families.”
But Gen. Casey wasn't going along with Bush's escalation, so now he is out of the chain of command. Meanwhile, Bush is replacing Gen. Abizaid as the head of Central Command with an Admiral. It is hard to figure out why you would put a Navy guy in charge of two land wars, in Iraq and Afghanistan. But I guess he couldn't find any Army guys who wanted to completely destroy their service.
And yet, there is no monopoly on incompetence. Can you see, anywhere, the democratic of liberal polemicist who has an eye - or ear - for the polemical jugular?
. . . Take the NUMBER ONE EXCUSE FOR DEFEAT IN VIETNAM that we have all heard, for decades, from jingoist morons on the far right.
“We lost because of outrageous meddling in military decisions by a bunch of arrogant and clueless politicians.”
Yes, that is verbatim what we all heard, ad nauseum, for 30 years -- ever since Donald Rumsfeld oversaw America’s LAST utter humiliation in a stupid and goalless land war of attrition in Asia.
No commentary is necessary. Just a fierce and unrelenting dedication to confront these assholes with the very words they yammered at us, since 1974. DO IT!
Lay it out there.
Daggatt concludes: “Can you even begin to comprehend what the Republicans would be doing right now if it was Clinton who got us into a disastrous war and then proposed to escalate it for political purposes in opposition to all his top military leaders?“