Thursday, August 30, 2007

Some People I Just Do Not Understand

In this case it is the series of 'family values', meaning anti-gay or sexual behavior obsessed, Republican who have violated their own declared behavioral standards.

We have seen:

Mark Foley who spent his time chatting up almost and recently legal young men who had served as pages.

Glenn Murphy Jr., One time Chairman of the Young Republicans, who appears to have developed a habit of sexual assaulting other men in their sleep.

David Vitter, who sought 'professional help' for his diaper fetish.

We have a one time Bush administration spiritual advisor, Ted Haggard, who enjoyed the pleasures of male prostitutes and illegal drugs.

Coy C. Privette, one time Republican state legislator in North Carolina, and president of Christian Action League, caught with a pro in a N. Carolina hotel.

Rep. Bob Allen of Florida, who was caught offering to pay other men for the opportunity to preform fellatio on them in a public restroom.

And we add Sen. Larry Craig who, like Bob Allen, seems to have found the allure of public restrooms and other men irresistible.

While I do not understand these men, I do find them objectionable. It is not their sexual activity that I find that objectionable. It is their hypocrisy.

If they want to wear soiled diapers, or date young men (of legal age) or have paid or anonymous sexual liaisons, that is their business. If they are attracted to men, or women, or both, is no matter to me.

What does matter is the gross hypocrisy of trying to enact laws against the very behaviors that they are caught engaging in.

Folly promotes laws to make the Internet 'safe' then uses it to work his way into the lives of young pages. Craig, and Allen, and Haggard work to deny homosexuals civil rights, and then engage in homosexual activity.

If these men had embraced the view that every person's sexual lives is no ones business, I would argue that these are non stories. But each has made their name by insisting that a person should be defined, at least in part, by their sexual behavior or orientation. And if your orientation or desires ran counter to their view of normal, you must also then be denied rights to some civil protections.

In each case, they are now get to reap what they sow, and while I do not understand these fools, I can enjoy the absurd positions they have put themselves into.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Gonzales Quits?

If the rumors are true, I hope this clears the way for aggressive investigation and legal action against him for lying to Congress and other various questionable activity.

There are few things that can destroy a nation quicker than having legal system headed by people who wilfully break the law, and the are not punished for it.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Now He Brings Up Vietnam

For 4 years many on the left raised concerns that the brain dead leadership on the right were leading us into another Vietnam, an untenable quagmire that that will eat up men and machines without any significant overall change.

These statements were dismissed as not relevant and alarmist.

Now it appears that George Bush agrees. He is now admitting that, in his foolishness, he has led this nation into another Vietnam. But, staying true to the idiocy that made him believe that invading Iraq was a good idea, he is trying to sell that wrong idea about why we lost Vietnam.

He claims the lesson from that war is that we didn't stay long enough. He promotes the rather foolish notion that with more men, more weapons, more freedom of activity, we could have won.

He is wrong.

Iraq and Vietnam have this one simple fact in common, the overwhelming majority of the population do not want us in their nation. When this is the case, there is no amount of force, no real change of strategy, short of genocide, that can prevent the eventual defeat of the occupying force.

It is about hearts and minds, and if you can not win them, you have lost. In Vietnam we could not win them, and it is very clear that we have failed at this in Iraq. This is the lesson that we should have learned from Vietnam, and the one we need to remember when we consider out next steps in Iraq.

Yet, this deserter from service during the Vietnam war, is telling us that the failure in Vietnam was a lack of commitment ( a commitment that his desertion from the armed forces indicates the he also lacked ).

Iraq is lost. It was lost the day we decided to invade. The only, very slim, chance to win with the course we are on would be to insert 400,000 or more troops to end the game of Wack-a-mole that we are currently engaged in. Since there is no place to get 400,000 more troops, we have to admit it is over.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

War Profiteering, S.C. Style

It appears that a couple of patriotic South Carolinian have been busy helping with the war effort.

The owners of C&D Distributors in Lexington, South Carolina -- twin sisters -- exploited a flaw in an automated Defense Department purchasing system: bills for shipping to combat areas or U.S. bases that were labeled ``priority'' were usually paid automatically


The scheme unraveled in September after a purchasing agent noticed a bill for shipping two more 19-cent washers: $969,000. That order was rejected and a review turned up the $998,798 payment earlier that month for shipping two 19-cent washers to Fort Bliss, Texas, Stroot said.

The Pentagon's Defense Logistics Agency orders millions of parts a year. ``These shipping claims were processed automatically to streamline the re-supply of items to combat troops in Iraq and Afghanistan,''

Lovely, just lovely

Monday, August 13, 2007

Punching Out

Karl Rove is running for the hills.

There probably was no better sign of how far this White House has fallen than at the Iowa Straw Poll in Ames this weekend, a gathering of probably the most committed Republicans in the country. This was where Mr. Rove displayed his political skills to the country in 1999, steering Mr. Bush to a victory in a nonbinding poll that nonetheless cemented his position as his party’s prohibitive favorite.

Mr. Bush’s name was barely mentioned in Ames on Saturday, much less Mr. Rove’s. The winner of the contest, Mitt Romney of Massachusetts, offered a pretty grim verdict on the last seven years in Washington when he said, “If there has ever been a time that we needed to see change in Washington, it is now.”

Saturday, August 11, 2007

While the US Media Tells Us Happy Tales

from Iraq, the Guardian brings us another view.

When the soldiers talk like this there is resignation. There is a corrosive anger, too, that bubbles out, like the words pouring unbidden from a chaplain's assistant who has come to bless a patrol. 'Why don't you tell the truth? Why don't you journalists write that this army is exhausted?'

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Right-wing Authoritarian

Over at Orcinus, a great piece on the behavior and thinking of many on the right wing.

In fact, that naivete -- deceptively packaged as purity and innocence -- is one of the main things people are seeking when they're drawn into authoritarian systems. They join up because they feel overwhelmed by the complexity and nuance in the world. There's just too much to keep up with, too much responsibility, too much chaos. Often, they've been caught in the gears of the machinery of modernity, and have had large parts of their lives chewed up by the works. It all feels out of control. (Chris Hedges, in his new book American Fascism, describes how Christianist proselytizers are taught to seek out people going through hard times-- they're the hottest conversion prospects.)

This ties in quite nicely with the revelation that the Kansas Republican party is now considering some form of loyalty oath

The state committee's actions struck a sour note for some Republicans, particularly moderates on issues such as abortion. Bob Beatty, a Washburn University political scientist, suggested the loyalty committee could prove a "public relations disaster."

"Ironically, it smacks most of the Communist Party," Beatty said Monday. "That's the kind of public irony that most parties try to avoid -- the party of freedom telling people they have no freedom."

What A Class Act Our Sen. Graham Is

It's at think progress

To Freaking Funny

Yet another closeted gay Republican leader has outed himself, details at Outside the Tent.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Escalation In Iraq

Based upon the tone of discussion that is developing about the surge, I think that either I, or those promoting the surge, must not understand what the goal of this mis-adventure is.

As I understand it, the plan is for the US to apply force to bring stability to a small region of the city of Baghdad, we then turn over the security of this area over to the Iraqi's to maintain, freeing US forces to more into a new region.

I have seen some claiming success because US forces have been able to bring stability to portions of Iraq.

General David Petraeus went out to show off a success story,


Haifa Street is an example of how the general's counter-insurgency plan is supposed to work.

Haifa Street used to be another way of saying utter chaos.

In January this year, it was the scene of the bitterest and bloodiest street fighting that Baghdad has experienced.

These days it's a good place not just for Iraqis but for the general to practice street politics and public relations.

The only trouble I see with this report it, this is only phase one, and phase one is the only phase anyone should expect could work. I think you would find few people who did not expect US forces to be able to impose peace and stability onto small areas of Baghdad.

The test of this escalation is phase two, where the Iraqi's maintain the security. Even this foolishly positive story about 'The Surge' can not ignore this and one additional unpleasant fact about this plan. The first is well stated here:

"As Americans stay here, there is safety,"

A true sign that the surge is failing. This is because it is the Iraqi forces that must provide the security, not the US troops, and the second issue:

The insurgents merely retreated across the Tigris River to infest another neighborhood that the U.S. military must clear and rebuild.

Without being able to form some degree of effective lockdown nationwide, we make no true gains.

So the key to the determining the success of the escalation is not performance of US forces, but the ability of the Iraqi forces to hold the areas the US has secured.

And no evidence has been provided that indicates any improvement in that area. In fact most evidence indicates that there is little likelihood of this working.

Hundreds of thousands of weapons that the US has delivered to the Iraqi forces are missing. They have no doubt been sold off for profit, or routed to some of the various insurgent groups. Reports of wide spread desertions continue to be common, and a good argument can be made that our efforts to train the Iraqi defense force is a total failure.

Now look at the test area for the current surge plan, an area Bush once declaired a success, Tal Afar. They have had another bombing in Tal Afar. We used US forces to clear the city, the turned it over to Iraqi forces to hold, a couple of time now. There is no reason to suspect that Haifa St, Baghdad or any other part of Iraq will be any different form Tal Afar.

The surge in Baghdad, and Iraq as a whole, can only work if there is a viable force in place to hold the territory the US forces have cleared. To declare this current plan a success, without seeing if any of the Iraqi troops have been able to hold any area, either indicates a failure to understand the objective or dishonesty.