Fear of Clowns

"Faith may be defined briefly as an illogical belief in the occurrence of the improbable."
- H. L. Mencken

Friday, July 03, 2009

Howard Zinn: Untold Truths About the American Revolution 


Canada is independent of England, isn't it? I think so.

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Friday, May 01, 2009

Chinese water torture, crown of thorns ... pretty much the same thing 

If God let his own be tortured and murdered for the sake of others, certainly we can slap around a few Muslims who are going to be tortured in hell forever anyway.

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Saturday, March 21, 2009

Obama's message to Iran 

Obama's decision to keep 50,000 troops in Iraq pissed me off: it wasn't my impression of what he meant by "end the war".

Top among the reasons I want us completely out of Iraq is that our military presence in oil producing Islamic nations has been correctly interpreted as a means to keep a stable supply of oil. This message takes a completely different tack: welcome these nations instead of coerce them.

If this attitude toward the region comes off as well in Iraq to Iraqi ears as this message to Iran comes off to my ears, the equation of keeping troops in Iraq to prevent a civil war vs withdrawing from a net negative situation may change.

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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Fair warning in the intro 

Here's a video of the aftermath of a bombing in Gaza. The biggest difference between the US occupation of Iraq and the Israeli occupation of the Gaza Strip is about three decades of years.

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Monday, December 22, 2008

I can't get enough of the shoe thing 

Also from Rami.

From b3ta board.

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Recent cartoons from the Arabic press 

Thanks to Rami for sending and translating!

Translation: Kiss goodbye

Translation, quoting a famous Arabic song: "If I only knew my ending I wouldn't have started"

Translation: Bush entering history carrying a shoe on his back

Translation: The historical day of December 14th

Translation: We stand on solid ground in Iraq (Interpreting: we stand with our feet solid in Iraq)

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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Post election olling 

Just wanted to chime in here about the post-election polls. Given the extraordinarily high post-election numbers for Obama, the desire for change has been proven by numbers but the impatience of the American electorate combined with two unpopular wars and an collapsing economy, Obama is going to have to absolutely charm America to avoid collapsing approval ratings.

I hope he can do it. The best thing we can hoe for is hope.

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Tuesday, November 18, 2008


I took my auratus from eggs out of their viv and built a naked pyramid to photograph.

abu ghraib frog pyramid

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Tuesday, October 07, 2008

"That one" seems racist to me 

It seems the immediate take-away point of the debate was when McCain referred to Obama as "that one." If it doesn't immediately seem racist, turn who said it around.

Karen and I both looked at each other and exclaimed something like "What the ... huh?"

The most substantive instance of the grumpy, ornery McCain, I believe, is when he bizarrely interrupted Obama to "thank" him for saying "McCain suggests that somehow ... he's somber and responsible," only to have Obama continue his response which effectively turn McCain's criticism about Obama "announce[ing] that you're going to launch an attack into another country."

OBAMA: Sen. McCain, this is the guy who sang, "Bomb, bomb, bomb Iran," who called for the annihilation of North Korea. That I don't think is an example of "speaking softly."

This is the person who, after we had -- we hadn't even finished Afghanistan, where he said, "Next up, Baghdad."

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Thursday, September 11, 2008

I can hear you, the rest of the world can hear you and the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon. 

Forget the diversion of the invasion of Iraq for a moment. Forget it ever happened.

The seventh year after 9/11 has been the bloodiest for our troops in Afghanistan.

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Palin is unaware Pakistan is an ally 

That Palin doesn't know what the Bush Doctrine is is readily apparent in her first national interview. But watching the video a third time, it became obvious to me that Palin thinks Pakistan is not an ally, but an enemy,

As for the right to invade, we're going to work with these countries, building new relationships - working with existing allies - but forging new also, in order to, Charlie, get to a point in this world where war is not a first option ... We must not blink, Charlie, in making those tough decisions in where we go and even who we target.

UPDATE: Although a few ridiculous interchanges are mentioned, the Gray Lady publishes a faux obective account of the travesty. The full interview:

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Saturday, August 30, 2008

Iran boming rumor 

A US air attack on Iran is imminent. And a curiously timed Iranian announcement.

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Thursday, July 17, 2008

Republican myth vs reality II 

The goal of the "Iraq surge" was to give breathing room to Iraqi political leaders to find political reconciliation. Republicans are not claiming the surge has succeded.

Although violence is down, the mission has failed.

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Thursday, July 03, 2008

Obama on strategy vs tactics 

One of the flaws in the President's approach is to say that [Bush] is doing what General Petraeus tells him is the best thing to do; that's not the President's job, the President's job is to tell the general's what the mission is because you have to take the entire strategic interests of the United States in mind not just one particular front when it comes to our national interest. And so the mission I will set for our generals is to bring this war to a close.

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Candy ass liberal freaks out during fraternity hazing 

The pussy.

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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Blackwater wants US Courts to apply Islamic law 

Via TPM .... well, just go get the link from Josh's introduction.

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Sunday, May 04, 2008

FYI, McCain's 100 year context 

The questioner asked, "I do not believe that one more soldier being killed every day is success. There were three U.S. soldiers killed today. I want to know, How long are we going to be there?" John McCain replied,

I can look you in the eye and tell you that those casualties tragically continue ... But they are much less, and they are dramatically reduced and we will eventually eliminate them.

To this, the questioner famously responded,

President Bush has talked about our staying in Iraq for fifty years.

McCain: Make it a hundred.

McCain's goal in Iraq is to stay until no Americans are being killed there. Which to anybody who's been paying attention means never and always. Under McCain, we will be in Iraq, ready to be killed forever.

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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Senile or stupid? 

Your guess as good as any.

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Thursday, March 27, 2008

Once and always a bad idea 

Charlie Rose conducted an uncomfortable but enlightening interview with two Iraqis on the 5th anniversary of the invasion. The narrative in the US media has been to "Where did it go wrong?". This interview reminded me that 5 years ago, lots of us saw clearly that the whole adventure was a bad idea from the start.

Also here.

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Tuesday, October 02, 2007

I'm for it 

Who can be against a war tax?

Top House Democrats Tuesday proposed a "war surtax" to pay for the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, a plan quickly condemned by Republicans and opposed by the House leadership.

The surtax would be "a percentage of your tax bill," said House Appropriations Committee Chairman Dave Obey, D-Wisconsin. "And if you don't like the cost, then shut down the war."

Why stop at a war tax? I'd love to see my tax contributions fleshed out.

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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Go get 'em, Bill 

Ruthless, bravo!

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Thursday, September 20, 2007

Here lies an employee of the month 

A good portion of the mercenaries we've hired to do Iraq are veterans. We give them the best training, they do their stint in the military and go to work for lavishly compensated private firms such as Blackwater. Lavish in the sense that the DoD is ostensibly not for profit in and of itself. Would it be fitting that the Department of Veterans Affairs would approve another religious symbol to mark theSE brave souls' broken bodies?

Andy Warhol bloody dollar

Dollar Sign by Andy Warhol, 1981, print available from ALLPosters.com.

Nobody keeps an official tally of dead mercenaries from this war that I know of. Dead mercinaries made the ultimate sacrifice carrying out their missions - same as our enlisted troops. Will they be seen as deserving the same solemn remembrance alongside the names of (actual) service members on future war memorials? I can think of no logical and compelling reason not to - their choice of employer doesn't change the fact that they died while willingly putting themselves at risk at our government's calling - but at the same it seems somehow obscene. Would they be listed under the headings Arkansas, Minnesota, Texas or DynCorp International, Blackwater Security, Halliburton?

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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

GOP House leader on the ultimate sacrifice to one's country: "a small price" 

John Boehner of the Party Who Supports the Troops,

If 3,800 American lives and half a trillion dollars is a "small price", I shudder to think what we would be in for if Boehner was willing to make a modest investment.

Via Greg Sargent

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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Richard Lugar (R - Reality) 

From Lugar's opening statement today during Petreus and Crocker's testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committe, expressing a thought I tried to articulate a few posts down,

One can debate, as many will do this week, whether progress in Iraq has been sufficient to justify continuing American sacrifices. But the greatest risk for U.S. policy is not that we are incapable of making progress, but that this progress may be largely beside the point given the divisions that now afflict Iraqi society. The risk is that our efforts are comparable to a farmer expending his resources and efforts to plant a crop on a flood plain without factoring in the probability that the waters may rise. In my judgment, some type of success in Iraq is possible, but as policy makers, we should acknowledge that we are facing extraordinarily narrow margins for achieving our goals.

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Monday, September 10, 2007

Sixth anniversary 

Given a choice between a world of nations controlled by corporations standing to lose profits from war between their client governments and a world in which nations went to war among one another willy-nilly, I'd in pick the corptocracy.

As far as that scenario provides, I'm in agreement with Bush's foreign policy. And I rather think Bush's War on Terror is driven at least in part by the contrast between those two choices.

However, those aren't the only two choices available and a military struggle between ideologies without territories is futile. By the administration's own admission "the terrorists won't stop with Iraq". Iraq is not an Iwo Jima no matter how much supporters of the war try to make it.

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Sunday, September 09, 2007

No more good news about Iraq, please! 

I can't take any more good news about progress in Iraq, I've had quite a bit enough already.

Early on. I recall the heroic effort to save Pvt. Lynch and the fantastic toppling of the statue of Hussein. Both staged propaganda events. Although the follow up act with Bush's flight suit and codpiece didn't pretend to be anything more than a theatrical production marking the end of major combat, any but the most casual observers had enough information to understand the White House and Pentagon's public relations communications had little to do with anything actually happening in Iraq.

Half a year ago there seemed to be wide agreement that September - this month - would be a time to frankly assess what political progress has made by the Iraqi government, with the benefit of three elections under it's belt.

Yet, all signs indicate the discussion is going to be over the bogus statistics describing violence or lack thereof - not the political progress or lack thereof. The statistics that matter are:

I'm sad to say there isn't enough Iraqi will to take advantage of our presence to work toward those types of goals. They don't want our help - in fact, we're an irritant. It's time to reduce our role to keeping Turkey, Iran and Iraq's other neighbors from injecting themselves into the mess militarily and preventing all-out genocide.

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Wednesday, September 05, 2007


I assume everyone who makes it to this blog is aware of the upcoming Bomb Iran marketing campaign, but there it is nonetheless.

Neither the Iranian or White House regime has much left to lose politically, and I can't think of anything scarier than a psychotic leader of the world's most lethal war machine finally acknowledging his deep unpopularity yet thinks his Big Vision will still be a hit with future historians. Except when he'd thinking about tussling with another unpopular regime that sees an opportunity for a repeat a humiliation of the military giant.

Having recently been dealt a Royal Flush on video poker, I think I can understand the temptation to gamble big when you're already in the hole - it's the irrational euphoria that problem gamblers seek, not the rationally unlikely payoff.

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