Thursday, May 21, 2015

In Which I Stand Up For The Right Of All To Debate

There apparently is going to be some winnowing before the GOP debates. How sad!

Those on the outside looking in were Ohio Governor John Kasich, former Hewlett-Packard Chief Executive Officer Carly Fiorina, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal and South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham.

What would the blessed, sacred Constitution say about this travesty?

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Good News From Ramadi?

Probably not, but this is better than posting about Bill O'Reilly. And I'm giving Funiciello posts a break til closer to the election (maybe tomorrow).

So, we continue to fight shoulder to shoulder with the Iranians to defeat the terrorists that the Bush Administration created, IS or ISIS if you're not into that whole brevity thing.

On Monday, thousands of Shiite militiamen were assembling at an Iraqi army base east of Ramadi preparing a battle to retake the city, after Iraqi forces, backed by US airstrikes, failed Sunday to hold onto it. The entry into the fight of the Iran-backed militias was approved by Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, who initially resisted their involvement in hopes that Iraqi Army forces could hold Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province.

I want to thank Trudy Rubin because Paul Bremer has been on my mind lately and this was also my thoughts when that college student confronted the smarter Bush brother. 

On that May 23, Mr. Bremer fired tens of thousands of military officers without pensions or severance. His order propelled the birth of an armed Sunni resistance among ex-Iraqi officers, which morphed into al-Qaida in Iraq and ultimately the Islamic State.

Mr. Bremer’s decision reflected the lack of coherent planning in the Bush administration about what to do after the U.S. invasion. Before the war, the U.S. military had recognized the danger of disbanding Iraq’s armed forces at a time of high unemployment and great social upheaval; it had planned to dissolve the units closest to Saddam Hussein, while vetting the rest and creating a smaller force that could help rebuilded the country.

But George W. Bush’s emissary, Mr. Bremer, changed the plan, apparently without consulting top U.S. military or State Department officials. After Mr. Bremer’s announcement, I knocked on doors in a Baghdad neighborhood populated by senior Sunni army brass and heard the same message over and over: “We laid down our arms, as you asked in leaflets dropped from your planes, and this is how you reward us. We will fight you.”

As Al Franken used to say, "We fired the police and military and told them to take their guns and go home." Unemployed and pissed off. And for good measure we fired all of the government administrators just because they were Baathists. As if they had any choice about joining the Baath Party, if they wanted to work. 

In fairness, Ms. Rubin does criticize our current president. 

None of this absolves Mr. Obama from responsibility for his role in the Islamic States’s emergence. Most glaring was the strong U.S. support for Mr. Maliki after he lost a close election in 2010. U.S. officials should have tried harder to help the winner, Iyad Allawi, form a government. As a secular Shiite, Allawi was far more skeptical of Iran and might have allayed the Sunni resentments that helped fuel the Islamic States. Mr. Obama also should have pushed much harder to keep a small U.S. troop presence in Iraq.

That is likely true, the overall effect of our invasion was to remove a counterbalance to Iran in the region and install Shiite Muslims in charge of Iraq, though. Not that we can do anything about that now, except go to war against Iran if you're a crazy-ass neocon. Well that would be, send someone else to war if you're a crazy-ass neocon.

Back to CSM and the possible good news. 

The militias are also moving in with the blessing of Anbar’s majority-Sunni provincial council and Sunni tribal leaders – raising the prospect that a combination of Shiite militiamen, Sunni tribesmen, and government forces could retake the city.

Such a possibility is fraught with all kinds of potential dangers, from sectarian fighting among groups presumably working toward the same goal to the threat of cleansing operations by Shiite forces in the Sunni city once the fighting was over.

But a victory against IS by the three fighting groups – Shiite, Sunni, government – could also help pull Iraq back from the brink of a sectarian civil conflict like the one entering its fifth year in neighboring Syria, some regional experts say.

Maybe we can make lemonade yet. 

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

A Reminder From Paul Krugman

That going to war in Iraq had nothing to do with intelligence (in any sense of the word).

The Iraq war wasn't an innocent mistake, a venture undertaken on the basis of intelligence that turned out to be wrong. America invaded Iraq because the Bush administration wanted a war. The public justifications for the invasion were nothing but pretexts, and falsified pretexts at that. We were, in a fundamental sense, lied into war.

You really can't say it much plainer than that. Despite the Nobel Prize, he speaks in a way that even I can understand. 

the talk about W.M.D that conflated chemical weapons (which many people did think Saddam had) with nukes, the constant insinuations that Iraq was somehow behind 9/11. 

Oh where have you gone, smoking gun that could come in the form of a mushroom cloud?

Did the intelligence agencies wrongly conclude that Iraq had chemical weapons and a nuclear program? That’s because they were under intense pressure to justify the war. Did prewar assessments vastly understate the difficulty and cost of occupation? That’s because the war party didn’t want to hear anything that might raise doubts about the rush to invade. Indeed, the Army’s chief of staff was effectively fired for questioning claims that the occupation phase would be cheap and easy.

Why did they want a war?

Can't say for sure why they wanted it, but I have no doubt that Iran was next on their hit list, if Iraq hadn't turned into the giant debacle that anyone with any sense could have predicted. Oh yes, real men go to Tehran.

Just gotta add this Marco Rubio quote:

"The world is a better place because Saddam Hussein doesn't run Iraq," he said then. 

The world? Iraq is not even a better place because Saddam Hussein doesn't run it.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

The Reason I Get My News From The Daily Show

The shocker is that 39% of what's reported as factual on Fox News has any degree of truth in it at all.

At Fox and Fox News, 10 percent of the claims we’ve rated have been True, 11 percent Mostly True, 18 percent Half True, 21 percent Mostly False, 31 percent False and nine percent Pants on Fire.

That means about 60 percent of the claims we’ve checked have been rated Mostly False or worse. Here’s how it breaks down (as of Jan. 27, 2015)

I don't watch TV, news or otherwise, so it doesn't bother me too much that CNN and MSNBC also reported a lot that is incorrect. The Christian Science Monitor, Salon and Daily Show will lead you to the truth brothers and sisters.

Since this is a short and insubstantial post, have some San Cisco.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Dems Equal Reps Except When They Don't

I can see why Teddy Kennedy was so fond of Elizabeth Warren. And why the 1% is not.

At its most basic, this was a demand by what Howard Dean used to call "the Democratic wing of the Democratic party" to be taken seriously, to have its issue taken seriously, and to exact a political price from anyone who declines to do so. 

I'd really like to believe the president is being sincere in his belief that this is a good thing. It's difficult to impossible, though. 

Monday, May 11, 2015

Elise Stefanik: This Is Your Base!

Well first, I didn't realize we were considering an East Coast Missile Shield Defense System. Really? Defense system? Shield is definitely cooler and, at the same time, more macho. Ken Tingley and I seem to share the question: why the fuck do we need a ECMDS?

But, what this post is really about is the continuing devolving of the Republican Party. Here is ADKer Don:

A missile defense is necessary as long as we have a coward in the white house! Until we have a president with intelligence and a strong foreign policy that protects America, including bombing Iran, North Korea,and others back into the stone age, we must have a strong defense of our country. All nuclear facilities of Iran, North Korea, and others must be totally destroyed for American to be safe. Obama's cowardliness and incompetence has left America open to being destroyed. Congratulations to Elise and the others who recognize and stand up to this and other treats to America.

Now first, I grew up in the heart of the Adirondacks in  bucolic and totally lacking in employment Crown Point. I was surrounded by hearty mountain folk and carry their same blood in genes despite now living amongst  flat-landers. I don't feel the need to go around advertising myself as an ADKer, though. So, I'm thinking this guy came from Jersey or New Yawk city or some such. 

Secondly, and more to the point of the post, this is the beating heart of the Republican Party. This guy needs to have a president who will commit genocide Iran, North Korea and other countries (plural) to be named later. Yes, turn half the world into a parking lot just so ADKer Don will feel safe. 

Elise Stefanik, does it make you feel good that your base is made up of such brave souls. As I pointed out at the comment section, these are the same people who six months ago were hollering that we needed to cancel all flights from Africa or we were all gonna die from Ebola. And the fuckin' Right -wing in this country see themselves as being descended from our founding fathers? I've said before and will continue to: if these guys were around back then, they would have all been on the side of King George.

UPDATE: This article on the Ebola Chicken Littles of the Right just appeared at Salon and I would be remiss not to include a link to it.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Today In Guns

Courtesy of Charles Pierce I learn how frigging nuts they are in Georgia for the NRA's objets d'amour.

We know down to the street address the gun shops at which the weapons used to kill cops begin. We even know which store is the fifth-largest source of guns used in gun crimes around the country. Not that we are capable of doing fk-all with this detailed information.

It boils down to: if you live in Georgia you can sell a gun to anyone no matter how crazy they are, oh hell regardless of anything. They can take that gun anywhere and kill anyone and you are not in trouble with the law. Also, if you can take your gun with you anywhere in Georgia. Do not visit Georgia. 

Go see the rest of Pierce's post. All good stuff as always.

Further proof of the insanity that runs rampant south of the Mason-Dixon Line comes from Salon. Don't go to Texas either. The snow is gone and Spring is beautiful here in northern NY.  

Former Texas Governor Rick Perry tried to split hairs, saying that he understands why Abbott, Cruz and Gohmert are concerned — they don’t trust the Obama administration — but that “the military is something else” and deserves the benefit of the doubt. Former Texas Ranger — at least on television — Chuck Norris would brook no call to reason, however, as he compared himself and fellow conspiracy theorists to Benjamin Franklin in his most recent World Net Daily column.

That's right. They still think the US military is preparing to invade Texas, apparently to make it part of the United States. Though, I think that was already done some time ago. BTW Scott, I'll have you know that Rick Perry made Norris an honorary Texas Ranger so it's more than just on TV.