Thursday, May 8, 2008
I've been following the primary wars on the prog-blogs for a while now. Much of it saddens me--I've been reading sites like Digby, Kos, and TLC since before I joined the Army. I came to these places because I felt like I had a home, a place where other people could come together and be pissed off about the right-wing sodomizing America.
But man, oh man. Seeing how the discourse has collapsed on the blogs of late, I can't help but think we've devolved into the sort of "fever swamp" environment the right accuses us of being. I hate to admit this--I hate conservative philosophy, and find anyone who embraces it to either be generally ignorant or just afflicted by moral dwarfism--so giving those bastards an inch of ground works my nerves. But what are we to expect. Loyal readers are turning on authors, eviscerating them for not being "liberal enough" or for being "Hillarybots," "Obamabots," whatever you want to call them. This is ridiculous.
Especially over at TLC. I've traded some harsh words with eriposte, been called a "right-wing concern troll (blow me)" and called "ill-informed" and "a sham." Man, did you see when Steve Soto got gutted out for stating that Hillary should step down? Or when Jeff Dinelli got both barrels for posting that letter about weight standards in his daughters' school? Christ, it's like the most trivial matters are now being used as weapons against those who speak of them. It's not why I went to TLC in the first place. It's disgusting.
Which is why I was so thrilled when SoS invited me onboard at Low and Left. Again, I'm honored to hold a place among these ranks, and I plan to make the most of it. The site was resurrected as an escape from the pie-fight, and I'm glad for it. But for the oasis that this site provides from the madness, I'm less and less convinced that such a thing is enough to heal us.
TLC and Kos are like India and Pakistan right now. Digby either has lovers or haters. The prog-blogs are turning on themselves. It's a madhouse. What's a sane progressive to do?
Simple: Don't hate. Educate.
Think of it like this: The Low and Left Revolution. I acknowledge myself as but a neophyte, still slick with the placenta of my blogging birth, but seriously, why NOT reach out to the jaded readers on all sides of the primary conflict? Shouldn't we be turning our sights on McCain? Isn't Bush still president? Isn't the Supreme Court still paneled by conservative jackoffs? Why not stand up, in the open forum, and say "No more?" Where's that pissed-off Bolshevik spirit I love so much? I want that back. Hero of Soviet Union, motherfucker. That's what I say.
To anyone outside the staff who reads this: It doesn't have to be this way. You've seen it here. Sure we argue, sure we crack jokes, but the folks who invited me here are some of the finest bloggers in the sphere. And they still remember the old fight.
I say: if you're tired of the Primary Wars, if you're tired of the bullshit and the reader-against-reader, there is an answer--JOIN US. It's time to reclaim the netroots.
Join the Low and Left Revolution.
Clinton Camp Says It Will Use Nuclear Option
This galls me. I'm a Michigan native, a resident of Marquette. I was home for post-deployment leave, and the primary was supposed to be happening while I was in-state. Unfortunately, as I was preparing to vote, I learned that my home state had broken DNC protocol and pushed its primary forward. As a result, most of the candidates followed the party line and removed themselves from the ballot. Out of the major contenders, only Hillary kept her hat in the ring, hoping to score an easy win. As such, I was disappointed to learn that my candidate of choice wouldn't be on the ballot. Thanks a lot, Michigan.
Clinton says that the "votes of 2.5 million people" should be counted, to which I respond: WHY? My vote didn't count, so why the fuck should you get your way just for the sake of political gain? If the tables were turned, you wouldn't give a shit about those 2.5 million votes. You just care because they voted for you.
You know what? Fuck you. Just fuck you.
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
Well, another Pasco County substitute teacher's job is on the line, but this time it's because of a magic trick.
The charge from the school district — Wizardry!
Substitute teacher Jim Piculas does a 30-second magic trick where a toothpick disappears then reappears.
But after performing it in front of a classroom at Rushe Middle School in Land 'O Lakes, Piculas said his job did a disappearing act of its own.
"I get a call the middle of the day from the supervisor of substitute teachers. He says, 'Jim, we have a huge issue. You can't take any more assignments. You need to come in right away,'" he said.
When Piculas went in, he learned his little magic trick cast a spell that went much farther than he'd hoped.
"I said, 'Well Pat, can you explain this to me?' 'You've been accused of wizardry,' [he said]. Wizardry?" he asked.
The stupid burns us all. Found via Echidne
Monday, May 5, 2008
After an interview by Scott Ritter on Democracy Now, action against Iran is again being hauled out. And as the election season is in full-swing, it's being forwarded as a possible October Surprise against likely Democratic gains, and possibly massive gains if the will of the electorate continues its 2006 mood and if it's not tempered by malfeasance or illegality. (Insert laughter as you see fit)
I like Ritter. I really do. He's been a consistent watchdog on this issue and part of the world for years. And he's been speaking against administration aims and goals since 2004 against Iran. I have no doubt that Ritter sees a consistent desire by this administration to stomp on Iran. I just argue with his timetable claims.
Time is running out for the Bushies. If they're serious, they're going to have to shit or get off the pot. Either they're using rhetoric against Iran as saber-rattling in place of actual diplomacy and opportunistically also using same against 'weak-defense' Democrats. Or they're cooking up a longer term strategic goal of severely damaging Iran's threat potential and infrastructure, and the timing of such force will either be designed to shake up the domestic election or will be a lame-duck gesture.
We're fairly certain that force will mean bombing Iran, not invasion. The US military couldn't invade - it simply doesn't have the soldiers or equipment. Not without a draft of manpower and years-long massive buildup of infantry and ground armor that would be a nova-like signal of intention. The Iranians have been propagandized to hate Americans since 1978, and the Iraq invasion hasn't helped our public opinion image there or anywhere in the Middle East whatsoever. Invading, even if we had the power and people, would be a horrendous, bloody event for both sides.
So what's the real sign that the U.S. will bomb, and not just might bomb? Well, this analysis is at least a start. American air power has significant presence already in the area. And then add the two aircraft carrier groups in the region that have been stationed there since 2007 when Washington has been verbally harassing the Iranians.
The Pentagon dislikes losing pilots or aircraft - its expensive in materials and in trained men and women, and the media goes into a feeding frenzy under the certain 'lost pilot' circumstances. It's logical to assume that a U.S. bombing plan will be comfortably similar to prior raids - stealth assets will be used to knock out radar, early warning installations, and command and control information centers. That means cruise missiles & numerous increased sorties from Diego Garcia, other air stations from where the F-22 is based, and maybe from Whiteman air base in Missouri where the majority of the B-2 Spirit bomber fleet is stationed. (the infamous F-117 Nighthawk was retired and placed out of service just 2 weeks ago - theoretically replaced by F-22s in a ground attack role)
Then both land-based and sea-based non-stealth air groups would come in at will and bomb the living fuck out of anything deemed a target. Military press briefings would stress the 'accuracy of the munitions used', showing the all too familiar video footage of JDAM and other guided and semi-guided weapons destroying anything they hit. What won't be mentioned is the use of conventional unguided munitions will be the greater majority of weapons dropped.
So a sign might be increased munitions & materiel shipments to all of the air staging areas, both domestically and in the theater.
With one carrier group in the Persian Gulf, I think it's arguable that we don't necessarily need three in the Gulf to telegraph that bombing Iran is nigh. Here's the public information on all of the battle groups:
* Kitty Hawk is in the process of decommissioning,
* Enterprise is docked for refurbishment in Newport News
* Nimitz is in the Pacfic getting harrassed by the Russians.
* Eisenhower has no current operation listing.
* Vinson is in nuclear overhaul
* T. Roosevelt is in Newport supposedly and ready for action.
* Lincoln is on station in Persian Gulf
* Washingoton was in Brazil for a joint force excercise and will replace Kitty Hawk
* Stennis is in Washington state after maintenance replacements.
* Truman is in the Mediterranean coming up on the end of it's deployment.
* Reagan is in San Diego after exercises
* Bush is on shakedown
Iran has significant anti-aircraft and anti-ship defenses. The entire length of the Gulf is supposed to have ferocious sea missile installations that are well-protected. The implied balance of power is that while the U.S. could bomb at will, the Iranians would certainly commit to attacking the battle group(s) in retribution. Unless the Navy is confident of their defensive anti-missile systems, I can't imagine the military would want to place a larger commitment of forces within shooting range of Iran. The military could use land-based assets with less exposure and with a less noticeable buildup of aircraft and arms. But this would come at a cost of Navy prestige, something which the Navy has been sensitive to in the past.
Lastly, the Bush administration is known for the grace it executes military buildups - or more like its lack thereof. I can't imagine them doing the increases needed to do a sustained bombing campaign without press releases, briefings, copious threats, domestic scare campaigns & attempts to gain international support more serious than what's been presented so far. If the Bushies try anything, their heralds will certainly make us quite sure of what's about to happen.
So there it is - the best I can figure. If it happens, considering the current mood and state of the country, I can't imagine that the electorate would support the administration without a significant event on national soil, and one that couldn't be undeniably traced back to Iran. The administration wanted to do this to Iraq in 2001, but couldn't manage it because of leaks out of it's own intelligence services clearly indicating an Al Queada based in Afghanistan. Instead, it had to build up a cause and coast in on the post-2001 attitudes to get Iraq.
With no motive, an electorate would completely vote every politician endorsing an attack out of office. Chances are that an already weak economy would worsen. The 'October Surprise' would be a blowback of incredible proportions. And in the case of an attack in the lame-duck twilight . . what's the modern equivalent of crowds bearing pitchforks and torches?