Thursday, March 26, 2015
John Bolton is Still a Blood-thirsty Loon, I See
It doesn’t really surprise me that Sen. Ted Cruz thinks that former UN Ambassador (R-Ironic) John Bolton is the apian patellas—that particular candidate is happy as an arsonist in a match factory when he’s signifying for the dropped-knuckle set. But a moment’s reflection on how this dumbass thinks should reflect back on Cruz.
After all, the call to bomb Iran in this recent op-ed is blatantly stupid, or, to put it in context, shamefully consistent with the rest of his mental work-product. But to put it mildly, if someone has been paying a bit of attention to nuclear proliferation, his mention of Israel’s 1981 attack on Osirak as being particularly successful is just babbling. Because the attack on Osirak didn’t end Saddam Hussein’s nuclear weapons program. After the 1991 US invasion of Iraq, inspectors discovered a pretty active underground nuclear program which was, depending upon who you asked, months or scant years from having bombs. The military strike damaged material capacity, but as I’ve been banging on about—it doesn’t destroy know-how, and likely increases the desirability of having such a weapon.
For that matter, in the run-up to the 2003 Iraq invasion, Bolton was one of the very wrong people who insisted that Iraq had an ongoing nuclear program. When, no. Hussein isn’t alive now for us to ask him about it, but it looks kind of like having sanctions on and inspectors in was keeping him largely in check. So is there any earthly reason why anyone should listen to this yutz?
(X-Posted at Strangely Blogged.)
Posted by Vixen Strangely on 03/26/15 at 11:18 PM
Monday, March 16, 2015
Warmongo Only Pawn in Game of Life
I think it was when Sen. Cotton actually said that Vice-President Joe Biden had never been right in 40 years (more years than this punk has been alive) that I basically had it—when in the two months this arse has been a senator has he risen to the opportunity to be right?
There’s a real question regarding where this stupor mundi came from, what with his senate run being well-funded by the usual neo-con suspects, and the hard-right economic Spartans—Club for Growth besides; to launching this letter with 46 GOP confederates and then having a nice little handshake to-do with defense contractors. (His confederates have varyingly dumb ideas of why they went along with this.)
Neidermeyer Cotton is apparently a very driven sort of person. Made his way to Harvard as nothing less would do, and turned like Cincinnatus from the plow of his studies to war at the time of our nation’s need. Quotes the Founders and philosophers. Comes off a little bit like Otto from A Fish Called Wanda, that last bit.
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Posted by Vixen Strangely on 03/16/15 at 12:00 AM
Wednesday, March 11, 2015
Senator Rubio and The Foreign Policy Gap
Via ThinkProgress, an important moment in the discussion regarding US foreign policy with respects to Iran occurred between Senator Marco Rubio and Secretary of State John Kerry:
During a tense exchange with Kerry at a Senate Foreign Relations committee on Wednesday, Rubio confronted the former Massachusetts senator. “I believe that much of our strategy with regards to ISIS is being driven by a desire not to upset Iran so they don’t walk away from the negotiating table on the deal that you’re working on,” the potential GOP presidential candidate declared. “Tell me why I’m wrong.”
Kerry responded forcefully. “Because the facts completely contradict that,” he said, before offering to discuss more details in classified session with Rubio. But the likely GOP presidential contender didn’t take up the offer and pressed on with the line of questioning, claiming that the United States is going easy on terrorism because Iran does not support America’s campaign against ISIS.
But of course, the two assumptions that he has are false—of course, the US is involved in fighting ISIL, whether Sen. Rubio thinks the response is adequate or not, and of course, Iran is also opposed to ISIL, because why in the world would a Shiite government want a radical Sunni Wahhabist caliphate in their backyard? To think, nay, insist, that the Obama Administration is soft-pedaling the fight with ISIL to please Iran would be weapons-grade ignorance. And that is precisely where Rubio is coming from.
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Posted by Vixen Strangely on 03/11/15 at 09:19 PM
Monday, March 09, 2015
47 Dumbass Ronin
I read about the open letter to the leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran last night and was just appalled. I couldn’t put my finger on why, at first. They weren’t offering aid and comfort to an enemy, per se, so you couldn’t call it treason. They weren’t in direct, private communications, solicited or otherwise, with the foreign government, so I don’t know if you could consider it a violation of the Logan Act. But is very unusual, and the tone was, I thought, disrespectful to the President, to other negotiators at the table, and disrespectful of their offices as US Senators. Because while this letter isn’t necessarily treason or sedition—it’s a political stunt over foreign policy made wide-open, which does not strengthen the President’s hand in making a good executive deal, but rather aims at diluting the nation’s effectiveness to carry out successful diplomacy.
I know this was the aim of the letter, because the freshman Senator who spear-headed the effort, Tom Cotton, has previously admitted he wanted to sabotage the negotiations. What astonished me is that he managed to get 46 other senators to go along with him. Not a one of them read the thing and thought it might be a bad idea?
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Posted by Vixen Strangely on 03/09/15 at 09:07 PM
Wednesday, March 04, 2015
Clap Harder for Tinkerbell, Damn You!
A person could well ask why there were so many standing ovations for Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu at his pretty basic speech yesterday, but gosh—who doesn’t know? It’s because if you are not clapping briskly, comrade, what are you thinking?
Because this is where the politicization of foreign policy has taken us. I’ve offered my immediate impressions of why being impressed with the speech is kind of wrong, because it’s wrongly-premised and offers no legitimately not-awful strategy on my “boutique blog”, but my longer term concern is that Netanyahu thinks we’re easy. When it came to entering the Iraq War, you bet a lot of us were. But we can learn from history. And history did not really support the action of invading Iraq, and that the WMD claims weren’t solid absolutely did matter.
The other concern I have is that we’ve dumbed down the discourse so far that the knee-jerk “Hitler/Chamberlain” thing is supposed to work on us like we’re Pavlov’s trained dogs. Netanyahu hinted at it in his speech, but smart-person-talking-down-to-dumb-people-and-overshooting-the-mark Ted Cruz just brings it out like that (like the demagogue he is). As lazy and inaccurate analogies go, it’s way up there, for me. Negotiation is in essence a give and take—something has to give. That’s not appeasement. (Also not appeasement are détente, economic sanctions, and bombing the shit out of people without “boots on the ground”.) And I am at a loss to see how the influence of Iran in any other nation is exactly like, say, invading Poland. For that matter, what would we call the regular negotiations Reagan and Gorbachev made together? Appeasing the Soviet Union?
In any event, I never really clapped for Tinkerbell, myself. Sometimes one might, politely, clap so as not to be a fink, when everyone is pulling for a hero. . But the whole Lost Boys and Peter Pan dynamic was f’d up IMHO and Tink should have gone out like a G to inject a little adulthood in Neverland.
Posted by Vixen Strangely on 03/04/15 at 09:09 PM
Sunday, March 01, 2015
The CPAC 2015 Poll Is In
I’ve really not made a big point of following CPAC this year because I finally get that I am not the audience this whole shindig is for. Of course, part of the deal is that the prominent voices of today’s conservatism are supposed to be showcased. Yes, some of these people are running for POTUS. But that doesn’t mean I have to take it totally seriously, because the likelihood that, for example, the CPAC straw poll actually ever meant anything would probably mean that we were experiencing Ron Paul’s second term. And we are not. So, if Sen. Rand Paul has enjoyed his third CPAC poll win, this has more to do with inheriting his father’s libertarian apparatus, and less to do with anything like being able to win in 2016. (I think.)
WI Gov, Scott Walker has come in a respectable second, despite or probably because he compared union workers to ISIS, which would no doubt haunt him if he made it to a general election. His claims that facing protesting union folks prepares him for foreign policy is kind of strained, I think. And making the “Reagan” connection is so obvi. Try harder, you try-hard!
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Posted by Vixen Strangely on 03/01/15 at 01:13 AM
Friday, February 27, 2015
Senator Jim Inhofe Plays With Snow and Reality
I can’t help but feeling like being Senator Jim Inhofe is good work if you could get it. He brought a snowball to a science-fight. He is impervious to how dumb that is. I can’t imagine having a job anywhere on this planet where handling a snowball is supposed to invalidate all the points regarding global warming. Only in the legislative branch of these United States, I guess. Yay (um, no) us (no, we are not worthy)!
So for a quick and meaningful primer—yes, seasons still exist with global warming, and winters will still be the coldest of the seasons. It is possible that global warming has fuxxored the gulf stream in such a way that cold and stormy is the new normal for the East Coast, which includes Washington DC and Philadelphia, so fuck you, global warming!
The following questions I’d like to posit for Senator Inhofe are:
Do you think anyone ever implied that global warming meant there wouldn’t be winter anymore?
Is the freezing point of water supposed to change in any way? (Show your work.)
Do you realize that the 10 hottest years have occurred since 2000?
What do you think of heat waves, like the ones Australia generally has while we US East Coast folks are wrapped up in snow?
Might I suggest that Senator Inhofe should go and investigate the Australian heat, perhaps locate a forest fire, and figure out whether he’d survive longer than a snowball therein? Or is my general disdain for his lack of knowledge transparent enough?
Posted by Vixen Strangely on 02/27/15 at 12:26 AM
Thursday, February 26, 2015
ISIS Burns Mosul Library
Of course, the sort of people who burn people would also burn books. A group like ISIS that depends on the most narrow interpretation of religion is threatened by learning and the mere existence of anything that counters their cramped worldview. But no matter how many books are burned, more are always being written. It still angers me to see people try to blot out history and culture in this way, though.
Posted by Vixen Strangely on 02/26/15 at 07:18 AM
Monday, February 23, 2015
Rep. Lamar Smith is the Problem
Vixen, you may be thinking, the problem? Texas Congressman Lamar Smith is certainly “a” problem, but he can’t actually be “the” problem all by himself?
And you would be right, Dear Reader, because no one person is, all by themselves, the whole entire problem. He is just a profound example of the problem. One of the best examples. And no, not just because he’s one of those science-denying, fossil-fuel industry paid-for seat warmers. Although that’s totally true. It’s because he doesn’t believe anything he doesn’t want to—and here’s some proof, via Right Wing Watch, do be a love and click the link. Here’s some of what he said, though:
“One might hope that he would be a little bit more responsive and a little bit more assertive and, frankly, trying to assert American power and provide weapons to individuals who are our allies, for example, or take actions to stop the atrocities that are occurring, or support other nations that are doing more than we are. But the president is doing none of these things,” Smith continued.
The attempted genocide of the Yazidis was prevented by US airstrikes. Arms were air-dropped to Kurds fighting ISIL in October. The US has led the airstrikes against ISIL and done the lion’s share. Somewhere around 1600 ISIL fighters have been killed. How does he not know this?
Or let me reframe that a bit—how does some idiot get elected to the US Congress who claims they care about this country, and yet has no idea what our military is doing abroad?
That is the problem. And I’m pretty sure this damnfool has a safe seat, too.
(X-Posted at Strangely Blogged.)
Posted by Vixen Strangely on 02/23/15 at 10:47 PM
Scott Walker and The Litmus Test
Technically, there really ought not be a religious “litmus test” when it comes to achieving any elected office. It honestly should not matter whether our current president, Barack Hussein Obama, is a Christian, as he actually professed publically many times over and witnessed to as a member of Trinity United Church for 20 years, is a practitioner of Islam, having some incidental relationship with that faith having a father and stepfather who were in some respects Muslim, or even as I am, an intellectually inquisitive militant agnostic. The First Amendment technically means that everyone is free to worship as they will, and does not deny anyone their rights because of some heterodoxy. This needs to be understood as part of a long tradition within US history, where Islam was considered among many religions as part of the experiment in allowing such a freedom of thought.
(Contra David Barton, who is an idiot, and is about as much an historian as I am an Olympic Decathlete. Even setting aside Thomas Jefferson’s Koran, or his Iftar Dinner with representatives from Tunis, the reality is that the Islamic nation of Morocco first recognized the US as an independent nation and that the Treaty of Tripoli declared us as “by no means a Christian nation”. Islam was definitely a part of the Founders’ consideration of what religious freedom might mean. For that matter, the willingness to cast the US as having no part in Islam because the Islamists were the people who sold slaves to “us”—quite elides the actual fact that many of those slaves were also of the Muslim faith, and that supposedly “good” Christians willingly bought and held those human beings for generations. In other words, there were many Muslims here denied the right to practice their faith, as they were in every respects also denied their other freedoms, and it was because Christians did not mind any bit of that for a very long time, as their book never gave them a solid reason to. A very bad word I might say to David Barton for trying to erase that very real history. You can not remedy the enormity of slavery by disappearing the history of the people who were actually held in bondage, and you can not defend our founders by denying the shit they actually did. I’m sorry real history is inconvenient to paste-eaters like Barton, but whoop, there it is.)
The reason “liberal” or “mainstream media” ask a drowsy-eyed Koch-whore like Scott Walker a truly philosophical question like whether evolution is real or whether Obama is a Christian, is sort of a litmus test in whether he tracks to reality. Is he so completely a puppet that he can’t answer simple questions without being backstopped by a PR team?
Well, regarding evolution, he punted. When faced with the question regarding the current president’s allegiance, he also sort of punted. He “does not know” because he never read anything regarding the controversy—how Palinesque! I have exactly zero faith in anyone who can claim they do not know why they are being asked either question, and have no response. He doesn’t know if he is required to pander to the tea party assholes or has to be at least somewhat real. He hesitated because of alliances. That is so chickenshit. I neither know nor care what Walker believes, because he doesn’t hisownself. I just don’t think he ever should be president.
(X-Posted at Strangely Blogged.)
Posted by Vixen Strangely on 02/23/15 at 12:14 AM
Monday, January 26, 2015
That Political Thing In Iowa
You know what the Democratic Party seems to be missing? Shindigs. We do not seem to have neat gatherings like CPAC and traditions like the Ames straw poll, and hosting religious groups like The Response, or doing that very interesting “Freedom Summit” in Iowa—you know, shindigs. I watch them as a political observer, but have to admit—not my team, looks like fun. I mean, there’s Netroots Nation. It’s blogger-oriented so I should be able to really get behind that. But that’s a wonkfest. Where’s our uncovered nekkid id triumphialization? Where’s our scattering of red meat for reubens? (Why is Blogger’s spellcheck so madly unaware of the correct spelling of the perfectly jake 1930’s slang for gape-jawed hayseed? Or even the perfectly cromulent term “jake”?)
Anyway, I digress. Dave Weigel over at Bloomberg notes what “serious” 2016 candidates Mitt, Jeb, Bobby, Marco and Rand have missed. What I believe they missed was associating too broadly with Rep. Steve King, whose blue eyes always seem to carry the faraway milkseed pollen drift of a person whose thoughts take him back again and again to the border and the constant battle against the cantaloupe-calved drug-runners whose backpacks full of Acapulco’s finest hops have once again consigned a generation to jazz music, sloth, and backtalk. There are people who think he might be a little bit too racialist to actually be an appropriate association.
And yet there are so many who do not!
Left bloggers have noted that Sarah Palin’s speech seems to have defaulted to Whargarble after her Teleprompter fail—but I listened and frankly think that although her sentence structure resembles nothing so much as an attempt at cut-up poetry using all the Republican memes, I tend to think that a sympathetic audience could have tracked what she was saying very well.
All in all—not really any surprises or over the top signifying that got my leftist goat—oh except Carly Fiorina. She actually got my Irish up. She said:
“Like Hillary Clinton, I too have traveled hundreds of thousands of miles around the globe,” she said. “But unlike her, I have actually accomplished something. Mrs. Clinton, flying is an activity not an accomplishment.”
Oh huh? You know, I could go back to Hillary Rodham being the first student to give a commencement speech at Wellesley in 1969, or being chosen to help draft the articles of impeachment against Nixon, and point out that she was instrumental in creating SCHIP, which has insured thousands of children who might not have otherwise had access to good health care. I think it’s more apropos, though, to point out that Hillary Clinton won two elections to the US Senate which is two more than Carly Fiorina ever did, and that while Hillary blazed a trail as the first woman partner at Rose law firm and sat on the board of many successful corporations, it is true that she never was the CEO of a nearly bankrupted tech firm whose stock prices shot up like WOW after she resigned—which is the kind of “accomplishment” she is probably glad not to have on her CV.
Flying to many nations as a respected diplomat and Secretary of State is probably not an “accomplishment” in Carly Fiorina’s mind because she can raise questions about things that are negative, like Benghazi or whatever Putin is doing, but let’s ask her what to do about it. Hard Choices, Tough Choices, meh? But still and all, a nice audition for being selected Vice Presidential candidate, maybe?
I’m sure no one will hold her being a regular Bill Maher Real Time guest against her.
(X-posted at Strangely Blogged.)
Posted by Vixen Strangely on 01/26/15 at 12:33 AM
Wednesday, January 21, 2015
Bedbugs and Bread Bags
Sometimes I think us East Coasters are a little sort-changed when it comes to the SOTU speech and the rebuttals—it’s late by the time all the coverage is done. I have to get up for my paying gig the next day, and I usually have to get to bed before I’ve been able to properly ruminate on the President’s speech, let alone the rebuttal. Especially not if there are five rebuttals.
What is a blogger to make of five rebuttals from the opposition party? Given that there’s an “official” GOP response, I have to guess that the “takes” from different “rebuttals” have to be taken individually, on their own merits, and not view them cumulatively. I mean—would that be fair—five against one? (Well, yeah. I did think Obama did a heckuva job. Easily worth about five of those other speeches.)
See, I’m not what you’d call a pro, like Ron “No ‘I’ in Leadership, well, except that one” Fournier. And the benefit of blogging for seven years is that my regulars pretty much know where I stand on the major points President Obama brought up (raising the minimum wage—for it, equal pay for women—for it, addressing climate change—for it, land wars in the middle east—against’em), so I just feel like a point by point of the SOTU itself is pointless. In general, he looked more at home giving the speech this year and his zinger about winning two elections himself took some of that expectation that Dems losing the midterms overall would leave him “checked out” and lame-ducking it until January 2017 away. He’s still “all in” as far as I can tell. But that’s just my opinion.
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Posted by Vixen Strangely on 01/21/15 at 09:23 PM
Wednesday, January 14, 2015
FOX Mushroom Farm Terrorism Expert Might Be Sorry
There’s something entirely too easy to slam about a “terrorism expert” appearing on Jeanine Pirro’s FOX News program absolutely fudging up a demographic fact like the proportion of Muslim people in Birmingham, UK. The funny old thing is, his particular overestimation of the number of Muslims or immigrants is sort of a weird example of a study done recently regarding the tendency of people to wildly overstate the number of immigrants or Muslims, and understate the number of Christians, in their home nation.
Jeanine Pirro, whose presence on the FOX network utterly obviates the entire concept of “sober as a judge”, devolved into a rant upon the killing of Muslims because they apparently freak her out by existing. To hear old Jeanine blow it, the 1% of Muslims in the United States have led to the likelihood that the First Amendment will be altered (without congressional ratification?) to somehow not be mean to Muslims, and praying with them is weird and she doesn’t like it. And also—“We need to kill them”. Nope—listen to it in all its sick glory. She really is hot about genocide.
Now, Steve Emerson is sorry about his comments, and realizes his credibility is in a bit of jeopardy. Would Jeanine Pirro feel anything like the same thing over her genocidal and ill-informed rant, I wonder? Or even feel that her utter journalistic failure and immoral bigotry against an entire religion sort of disqualifies her from being a judge or you know—a reliable journalist?
Forget it, Jake, it’s FOX Mushroom Farm. She’s doing her real job, don’t you know?
(X-posted at Strangely Blogged.)
Posted by Vixen Strangely on 01/14/15 at 12:32 AM
Monday, December 15, 2014
Dick Cheney is Living Like It’s 2003
That former VP Dick Cheney goes on the slowly sinking media vessel called Meet the Press to try and air out his recently exposed dirty laundry seems less surprising when one just gives in and accepts that in Cheney’s mind, it is always February 2003, and we are in the business of selling the Iraq War. In the Cheneyverse, 9/11 has happened so recently that no one really questions whether the government is meaningfully pursuing the people responsible, and leeway has been ever-so-fraughtfully-given. Because a lot of people trusted the intelligence given out by the Bush/Cheney administration at the time as being meaningful in a post 9/11 context.
Does former VP Cheney wonder where Tim Russert has gone (RIP)? Does he wonder why he himself isn’t trolling down to the West Wing anymore, and why his access to intelligence has dried up? I can’t imagine, but mentally, he seems to be living in the first handful of months prior to the invasion of Iraq, because he’s still selling that piece hard. And all the tactics that bought that sweet lying trash that made that war plausible. Here’s some of that:
In fact, he seemed to suggest that if some innocent people were tortured, it doesn’t matter, because the program still overall has had what he believes to be a successful result. “It worked. It worked now for 15 years,” he explained. “We’ve avoided another mass-casualty attack against the United States. We did capture bin Laden. We did capture an awful lot of the senior guys who were responsible for that attack on 9/11. I’d do it again in a minute.”
Todd pointed out that the intelligence reports that the White House was receiving about the effectiveness of the torture techniques were coming from the same intelligence sources that were wrong about the presence of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) in Iraq. But Cheney defended the entire process: “I know what they were asked to do and I know what they did,” he assured. “And I’m perfectly comfortable that they deserve our praise. They deserve to be decorated. They don’t deserve to be harassed.”
“If” innocent people were tortured, like the 20% of the people who were swept up and had no reason to be interrogated or held, let alone tortured. It worked for 15 years—if the program of torture started after 9/11/2001, then that would be 13 years—unless we started fucking up people before 9/11 (you know, the way warrantless wiretapping started before 9/11). When he says “we” captured Bin Laden, I am saddened to think he might believe he was still in office at the time—what does he mean by “we”? The “guys who were responsible” for 9/11 mostly went down with the planes. The masterminds got picked up haphazardly. But we know now that torture, like waterboarding, which Cheney is so proud of, did not stop any “ticking time bombs”. The interrogators asked about al-Qaeda links with Saddam Hussein. And that wasn’t connected. It was bullshit. And thousands of US servicemembers and contractors died or were maimed, or were so profoundly altered by what they’d seen they suicided because of our war there—and how is Iraq doing today?
It’s been eleven years since this idiot administration tried to sell us on a yellowcake fraud, aluminum tubes and a diorama of doom. We’ve had plenty of time to figure out that so much of this was fake. And here is Cheney, stuck in 2003, telling us it was all real and necessary. Acting as if he believed all of it, then and now. Either he is a brutally stupid incompetent gullible shit for brains, or he is the most brazen fraud that has ever strutted across the Sunday chat-show stage. In either event, I do not see why he pollutes our airwaves. If anyone thinks he’ll say one thing new, they are foolish. He’s hanging with his lie.
He ought to be hanged by it. (Figuratively—I’ll say “figuratively”.)
(X-posted at Strangely Blogged)
Posted by Vixen Strangely on 12/15/14 at 12:29 AM
Wednesday, December 10, 2014
This is Not What “Exceptional” Means
The release of the Senate Select Committee Study of the Central Intelligence Agency’s Detention and Interrogation Program reveals things we basically already knew or should have known about the CIA program—it was worse than reported, it yielded little to no useful information, and it was run by liars who repeatedly tried to project that they were not performing acts of torture when they were in all actuality, textbook acts of torture.
There are people who seem to believe that releasing this information somehow endangers Americans here and abroad. Since this report details things that actually happened, I would say that the actual program of torture run by an agency of the United States government is what was actually harmful. Much of the information had already been reported in news publications; this report is just filing in the blanks. For that matter, this is just what was unclassified after certain details had been scrubbed, leaving the possibility that there are things yet worse that we don’t know—but what is here is pretty starkly disgusting.
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Posted by Vixen Strangely on 12/10/14 at 12:13 AM