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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Lebanon was a day in the park compared to all-out civil war in Syria


The Houla massacre shows how killing can become normal

We are so shocked when confronted by atrocities that we invest them with a sense of moral purpose often absent from the act
A handout picture released by the Syrian
A handout picture released by the Syrian opposition's Shaam News Network shows the mass burial of those killed in Houla. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images
In his account of his time covering the war in Vietnam for Esquire, Dispatches author Michael Herr explains how he once asked a US helicopter door-gunner how he could shoot women and children. The man answered: "It's easy. You just don't lead them so much." It was a flippant and chilling answer to a question that occurs in every conflict – how, and why, do fighters commit those atrocities?
In the aftermath of the massacre in the Syrian village of Taldou, near Houla, in Syria – where it seems in all likelihood that Shia Alawiteshabiha gunmen loyal to the regime of President Bashar al-Assadmurdered scores of Sunni civilians – it is a question that is inevitably being asked again. Having covered more than a dozen wars in which I have tried to understand the mechanisms of violence, I have come to realise a terrible reality: Herr's door-gunner, in his callous reply, was right.
Because we are so shocked when confronted by atrocity and war crimes, especially involving women and children, we tend to invest them with a sense of moral – or immoral – drama and purpose often absent from the act.
That is not to say that we should not find these killings abhorrent, or demand that those responsible be brought to justice. But in these circumstances people kill because they can; because they believe they can act with impunity; because they have been asked to and rationalised the utility of the act; and because they have persuaded themselves that their victims' humanity is of lesser value than their own.
What I am talking about is something more commonplace than Hannah Arendt's notion of the "banality of evil"; something summed up for me in a remarkable picture taken by my friend Ron Haviv when he photographed the Serb militia of "Arkan" Ražnatovic and his men-murdering civilians. In that picture, one of Arkan's "Tigers" is seen "dead checking" a Bosnian Muslim woman they have shot by kicking her, a cigarette held insouciantly aloft. Not banal, but casual.
That is the real question: how is it that killing civilians can come to be normal for those who are doing it.
In Rwanda during the Hutu interahamwe killing, as Philip Gourevitch, author of We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families, documented, gangs had been primed by hate radio with the notion that their victims were "cockroaches". It is a mistake, however, to believe that people can be persuaded to commit crimes against humanity by a short-term exposure to the rhetoric of hate. In massacres with a sectarian component, – which appear, at first sight at least, to have been a component in what occurred in Taldou, regardless of what orders were given by officials of the regime – the process of dehumanisation is likely to have been the slow work of a lifetime.
Paul Connolly, a Northern Irish academic, established in a piece of seminal research on sectarian attitudes conducted at the end of the Troubles that such a process begins very young indeed, formed by family, community and culture. He discovered that by the age of three, children from Catholic communities were already twice as likely to be hostile to a police force regarded as pro-British as Protestant children; by six, a third of children strongly identified with their community, while a significant minority were already making sectarian statements.
Similar research, conducted by Daniel Bar-Tal at Tel Aviv University, asked Israeli children to explain what "Arab" meant to them, identifying similar negative connotations becoming established in early years by the same social mechanisms. In peacetime, these tensions between groups are manageable, to a degree. But when conflict comes, it imposes its own explicit values – a "conflict culture" that values in-group cohesion and out-group hostility, which not only plays on these existing tensions, (from negative stereotyping to the dehumanisation of the other), but actually ascribes to them a positive value.
In these kind of conflicts, those who display the fiercest loyalty to their own group and fiercest hatred of the "other" have a special usefulness – providing not only the most ruthless killers because they are challenged the least by the morality of what they are doing, but often also acting as examples of what the new culture of conflict "requires" of all members of the group.
For in the end, this is what war does – and not only in authoritarian regimes like that of Assad. The same processes occur whenever men are asked to kill others. It is why each generation throws up its horrors, and why we should not be surprised even as we are horrified by each new My Lai, each new Sabra and Shatila, or each new Srebrenica.

121 comments:

  1. There is some very foolish and reckless discussion coming from the Romney camp that not enough is being done in Syria. Enough of what?

    Romney called for the United States and partner nations to “arm the opposition so they can defend themselves” against the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad, but White House press secretary Jay Carney warned that would lead to more “chaos and carnage” and was “not the right course.”

    Romney is wrong and Obama has it right. You want a glimpse of the future, look to the past. You need go no further than Sabra and Shatila to understand what civil war in Syria would be like.

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  2. Over 150,000 were killed in the Lebanese Civil War. We need no part in this problem in Syria. It is not our fight and whichever side we choose, it will be the wrong side.

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  3. Of all the massacres in all the wars civil or otherwise in all the dingy and not so dingy countries in the world in all the passing centuries and you underline Sabra and Shatila.


    But I'm sure the research is onto something. War tends to usually bring out the worst in everyone. But this is hardly anything new. Achilles was a sea roaming thug while Hector retained humanity while fighting for his invaded city.

    Among the Jews, Christians and Muslims it seems to me the process of dehumanizing the other is the worst among the Muslims, starting earliest, pounded in all life long, given a 'theological' rationale and encouragement.

    My money bets that Assad is on his way out.

    b

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    1. it is not a coincidence. Lebanon and Syria and Israel are all woven together by history. This is not myth or your sensitive feelings. This video gives the greatest benefit of the doubt to Israel over Sabra and Shatila. There are many far more damning. This video is specific to the area and the massacres at Sabra and Shatila, which are analogous to what has happened at Huala and to my prediction as to what will happen if we take sides and exacerbate the situation.

      If you had bothered to think about what you watched, you would have noticed that Israel made the claim that they had no idea about the consequences of what the Falange would do. Had they known, they would have acted otherwise. Are you starting to get the connection and seeing the similarity or do your sensitivities require a more neutral example of murder and hate and war in the real Middle East?

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    2. For some reason the video is not working for me.

      b

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    3. It took a long time for Israel to learn how demented the arabs/islamists can be to one another.

      The real lesson to learn from Sabra and Shatila, Hama and Iraq (and Iran) is that they are savages.

      They will murder each other, so remember just what do think they would do to Jews if given half a chance?

      America needs to learn that islamists and arabs are as a people, not capable at this time to respect the concept of human life.

      From the beginning of the "arab" people's creation they have murdered, enslaved and used rape as a weapon of war and conquest.

      Again the lesson learned?

      They will do amazingly violent things to each other....

      Take a step back and laern the lesson.

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  4. InTrade's got Assad at a 45% chance to be gone by the end of the year.

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  5. Obama at 58% to be re-elected.

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    1. And last I read Romney was in the high 30's whereas he had been a little over 40, IIRC, with Obama in the very low 60's.

      How can both go down?

      b

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    2. Don't forget the "vig." (about 5%)

      Obama got down to about 56 a few days ago.

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  6. Damour massacre -




    Background

    The Phalangist militia based in Damour and Dayr al Nama had been blocking the coastal road.[3] The Damour massacre was a response to the Karantina massacre of January 18, 1976, in which Phalangists killed from 300 up to 1,500 people.[4][5][6]

    It occurred as part of a series of events during the Lebanese Civil War, in which Palestinians joined the Muslim forces,[7] in the context of the Christian-Muslim divide,[8] and soon Beirut was divided along the Green Line, with Christian enclaves to the east and Muslims to the west. [9]
    Events

    The attackers systematically destroyed the buildings in the seaside village and then took revenge on the remaining Christian inhabitants.[citation needed] The Christian cemetery was destroyed, coffins dug up, the dead robbed, vaults opened, and bodies and skeletons thrown across the graveyard.[citation needed] The church was burnt and an outside wall was covered with a mural of Fatah guerrillas holding AK47 rifles.[citation needed] A portrait of Yasser Arafat was placed at one end.[citation needed] Other sources claim that the church was used as a repair garage for PLO vehicles, and also as a range for shooting-practice with targets painted on the eastern wall of the nave.[citation needed]

    Twenty Phalangist militiamen were executed, and then civilians were lined up against a wall and sprayed with machine-gun fire. None of the remaining inhabitants survived.[10] An estimated 584 civilians died.[1] Among the killed were family members of Elie Hobeika and his fiancé.[11] Following the Battle of Tel al-Zaatar later the same year, the PLO resettled Palestinian refugees in Damour. After the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982, the Zaatar refugees were expelled from Damour, and the original inhabitants brought back.[12]

    According to Thomas L. Friedman, the Phalangist Damouri Brigade, which carried out the Sabra and Shatila massacre during the 1982 Lebanon War sought revenge not only for the assassination of Bashir Gemayel, but also for what he describes as past tribal killings of their own people by Palestinians, including those at Damour.[13][14]
    wiki

    The trouble with this kind of venge and revenge is one doesn't really know where to start, how far back to go.

    b

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    1. lol....

      christians were the majority in lebanon long before Islam ever crawled out of arabia...

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  7. Rufus may have it right, Obama could win the popular vote, and Romney the electoral vote.

    Then we will hear Ash pissing and moaning about the Constitution, even though he has left the country for the more civilized climes of Canada, turning his back with relief at our stupid ways.

    b

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  8. Without beginning and without end -

    3.2 Khilafah Massacres from 1840-1860

    In fact, it was the constant incidence of genocide that obliged Western intervention in Ottoman affairs, leading to the eventual collapse of the State. In 1842, Muslims engaged in the following massacre:

    Badr Khan Bey, A Hakkari Kurdish Amir, combined with other Kurdish forces led by Nurallah, attacked the Assyrians, intending to burn, kill, destroy, and, if possible, exterminate the Assyrians race from the mountains. The fierce Kurds destroyed and burned whatever came within their reach. An indiscriminate massacre took place. The women were brought before the Amir and murdered in cold blood. The following incident illustrates the revolting barbarity: the aged mother of Mar Shimun, the Patriarch of the Church of the East, was seized by them, and after having practiced on her the most abominable atrocities, they cut her body into two parts and threw it into the river Zab, exclaiming, "go and carry to your accursed son the intelligence that the same fate awaits him." Nearly ten thousand Assyrians were massacred, and as large a number of woman and children were taken captive, most of whom were sent to Jezirah to be sold as slaves, to be bestowed as presents upon the influential Muslims. (Death of a Nation, pp. 111-112). [23]

    Similar events occurred in 1846. [24] In neither case did the Ottoman Government or its security forces intervene to prevent the massacres or punish the wrong-doers, indicating that they were happy with the outcome, and thus making the Khilafah accomplices to the massacres. In 1847, Muslim forces massacred 30,000 members of the Assyrian Christian community. A good example of State complicity by the Khilafah in massacres of Christians begun by individual Muslims occurred in Lebanon and Syria in 1860, and which were only finally ended by the intervention of French forces:

    In Lebanon, from April to July, more than sixty villages of Al-Matn and Al-Shuf were burned to ashes by the Druze and Kurdish forces. The big towns then followed. The Ottoman garrison commander again offered the Maronite population asylum, as he had offered to the small villages, asking for the surrender of their arms and then slaughtering them in the local serai. Such was the fate of Dayr al-Qamar, which lost 2600 men; Jazzin and environs, where 1500 were slaughtered; Hasbayya, where 1000 of 6000 were cold bloodedly killed; Rashayya, where 800 perished. The orders for Hasbayya were that no male between seven and seventy years of age should be spared. Malicious eyes feasted on mangled, intermingled bodies of old and young in the courtyard of the Shihabi palace. Zahla, largest among the towns with 12000 inhabitants, held out for a short time and then succumbed under an attack by a host including fighters from Harwan and Bedouins from the desert. The town lay snugly in a deep ravine carved by the Bardawni flowing from the Mount Sannin. Hardly a house escaped the flames. The total loss of life within the span of three months and a space of a few miles was estimated at 12000. From Lebanon the spark of hate flew to Damascus and ignited a reservoir of Muslim ill-feeling generated by the policy of Ibrahim Pasha and the egalitarian provisions of Khatti Humayun. The Assyrian quarter was sent on fire and some 11000 of its inhabitants were put to the sword. [25]


    http://debate.org.uk/topics/history/xstnc-6.html

    b

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  9. I'm glad to live in a town, state and country where I can get some sleep at night.

    Good night.

    b

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  10. By John Yemma, Staff correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor / April 30, 1981

    Nicosia, Cyprus


    Israel and its new Lebanese ally, the Falange, are trying hard to establish that the complex Lebanese crisis is simply a matter of Muslim vs. Christian, with Jew on the side of Christian.

    Others, however, see it as really a mixture of nationalism, ethnocentrism, class warfare, ideological clash, andm religious rivalry.

    The danger in the Israeli-Falange simplification is that when church, mosque, and synagogue become brick and mortar symbols to rally around, important distinctions are lost -- both in the Middle East and to the outside world -- and a dangerous polarity occurs.

    The pattern emerging during the month-old flare-up in Lebanon shows that when the pro-Israeli, Maronite-Christian Falange engages Syrian forces in the north of Lebanon, the Israelis respond either themselves or through their surrogate, Lebanese militia leader Maj. Saad Haddad, in the south.

    On April 28, however, in a change of tactics, Israeli jets responded directly against Syrians in the north, with Prime Minister Menachem Begin saying, "The Christian communities will be wiped out and Israel will not permit this."

    On April 29, for the fourth consecutive day, Israeli planes again raided several areas of southern Lebanon, according to Palestinian reports. The latest Israeli air raids came as Syrian and Lebanese leaders were holding talks aimed at bringing peace to Lebanon.

    The effect, if viewed simplistically, can seem to be: Muslims (Syrians) attack Christians (Falangists); therefore Jews (Israelis) retaliate against Muslims (Lebanese and Palestinians). As happened during the 1975-76 Lebanese civil war, news commentators are already resorting to the Christian-Muslim labels in trying to explain the situation.

    Many responsible Lebanese have been the first to defend the right of Muslim, Christian, and Jew to coexist in the Middle East. Last summer, Arab commentators in Beirut raised an outcry when Libya's Col. Muammar Qaddafi said only Muslims had the right to call themselves Arabs. He was forgetting that the founder of Arab socialism (Baathism) and many of the great thinkers of the turn-of-the-century "Arab awakening" were Christian.

    The periodic calls for "jihad" or holy war in the Arab world are greeted with a cringe in places like Beirut because of the way in which such rhetoric can reinforce Israeli arguments about a solid Muslim menace out to annihilate the Jewish state.

    {…}

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  11. {…}

    Actually, many Syrians, Palestinians, and anti-Falange, anti-Israeli Lebanese are at least as nominally Christian as the Falangists. There are 11 Christian sects in Lebanon: Maronite, Greek Orthodox, Greek Catholic, Armenian Orthodox, Armenian Catholic, Protestant, Syrian Orthodox, Syrian Catholic, Roman Catholic, Chaldean, and Nestorian.

    Many leaders of these Christian communities April 28 condemned Israeli intervention in Lebanon.

    Among Muslims, there are five sects -- Shiite, Sunni, Druze, Alawite, and Ismailian -- which are more often antagonistic toward one another than toward Christians. They may be joined by relatively nonreligious Arab Baathists, Marxists, and just plain trigger-happy thugs.

    In Saad Haddad's southern Lebanese "Christian enclave," more than half the population is believed to be Shiite Muslim, and Haddad's main financial support comes from American Protestant fundamentalists. And in pluralistic Israel, there are significant movements dissident to current military and political policy: communists, "Peace now" advocates, and many in the loyal opposition to the Begin government.

    Important, often overlooked, factors at play in the Lebanese conflict are:

    1. The Maronites long have been economically and politically dominant in Lebanon, yet they have become a minority. They are fighting to maintain their social position.

    2. The Lebanese and Palestinians living in Lebanon are both nationalistic in the sense that they are seeking their own nations.

    3. The Falange, founded in 1936 and modeled on German National Socialism (Nazism), is in ideological conflict with the left-leaning Palestinians and Syrians.

    The benefit to Israel in calling the conflict Muslim vs. Christian-Jew is that many Westerners will automatically side with the latter. At least one well-informed Mideast analyst predicts that the Falange more and more will adopt the badge of Christianity in an attempt to enlist worldwide support, just as the Jews of the Hagganah won worldwide Jewish support in their postwar fight to create the state of Israel.

    Last year, Maronite Lebanese conducted an international fund-raising conference in Mexico City, and since then they have been actively promoting the "free Lebanon" cause. In a conversation with this correspondent last fall following a Falange military rally, leader Bashir Gemayel repeatedly called attention to the "plight of us Christians in this part of the world."

    It can be a stunning experience to hear a Maronite talk as reverently about Mt. Lebanon as a Jew does about Mt. Zion. Many Maronites wear fashionable gold crosses around their necks, just as many Israelis wear gold Stars of David. Some Falangists even go as far as wearing the Star of David themselves.

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    1. Among Muslims, there are five sects -- Shiite, Sunni, Druze, Alawite, and Ismailian...

      He forgot the Wahhabists.

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  12. It boils down to the same lies, the same bullshit and the same consequences of little girls with their brains hanging out and throats slit in front of their parent’s dying eyes.

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  13. Syria will be a replay of Lebanon , only worse and scumbag politicians are seeing how they can make political capital.

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    1. one can only hope...

      the syria people have supported suicide bombers, terror and attacks against the Jews for decades.

      now that their weapons are turned on each other?

      I will not weep, I will not celebrate, but I will not weep...

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  14. It should not be controversial to state that Saddam Husseins regime was far more violent than Assad's (though I suspect it will be, sigh).

    We saw in Iraq that 30,000 mainly army, security and people in govt buildings were killed by coalition forces up to the point when Saddam Husseins regime was removed from power.

    After that the insurgency (or civil war if you prefer) saw maybe another 100,000 killed, mainly Iraqis killing Iraqis.

    In Syria so far we have seen over 10,000 civilians killed and there is no immediate prospect of Assads regime being removed from power.

    If and when the Assad regime is removed from power we will see how many die in the following civil war because, like Iraq, there is no unified political force to replace it.

    We will see whether it is better to act, and kill, or to turn away and, I expect, see far more death and suffering and no real democracy at the end of it anyway. real being the ability of the people to vote out their representatives.

    In 2010 Iraqis voted out 30% of their sitting MP's.

    In 2012 Iraqi oil production hit the 3 mb/d all time record and Iraqi GDP hit another all time record. It is set to quadruple within a decade with Iraqis paying mainly Asian oil companies fixed fees of $2 a bbl, some of the lowest fees ever seen anywhere ever. There are no US bases in Iraq and the constitutionally elected Iraqi govt is self evidently sovereign (see it support Syria for example).

    We will see if it is wrong to intervene. We will see it is wrong not to. We will see who told lies about what would happen as more dominoes fall. The Arab Spring "began" (nope) in a Tunisian market when a man set himself alight as had happened on a monthly basis for years. Coincidentally in the very same week Iraq formed its govt.

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    1. .

      This post is the best justification I have seen in a long time for the Iraq war. It is much better than the pap coming out of guys like McCain, Graham, and Lieberman; better than Ash and his elitist R2P, better than Obama’s “humanitarian” reasons, an oxymoron when applied as it was to Libya.

      If it is true. [That is not a knock at the post or an argument it’s just that I just got up for a moment and checked out this latest stream on the blog; and (1) I am too tired to start googling and (2) the only reports I recall seeing coming out of Iraq lately involve the conflict between the central government and the Kurds over oil, the arrest of the VP, al-Hashemi, by al-Malawi , and continued problems with infrastructure, water, and intermittent power outages.] But, be that as it may,

      If facts stated in the post are true, it points out one of the issues Deuce has been making on the last two streams, how does a person or a nation justify the murder of a single innocent in a conflict that was never a ‘necessary’ war or a response to aggression but merely a war of choice?

      With regard to Iraq, depending on your source, 150,000 to 800,000 Iraqis died, 2-4 million were turned into refugees, whole populations of minorities (Christians, etc.) were driven out and their homes and property taken, 10 years of the population living under primitive conditions where basic necessities like water and electricity were intermittent at best, where bands of sectarian thugs roamed the country killing at will, not to mention, the American lives lost or changed forever or the treasure wasted.

      How do you justify the loss of the one innocent to a mother or brother or a spouse? Well, in this case you say, “Well, things are better now.”

      And I am not picking on this particular post, there are many more rationalizations and justifications that are used every day; ‘humanitarian’ reasons, R2P, spreading democracy, preemptive war, collateral damage, just melding that one ‘insignificant’ life into the thousands who are being killed and blaming it on one side or the other, etc., etc., etc. We have had many millennia to expand the list of excuses and rationalizations.

      We cannot stop the killing that has been going on throughout the world for millennia, we cannot avoid killing when attacked or treaty obligations demand it, but we can avoid being the individual or country that kills that one innocent in a war of choice.
      .

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    2. Iraq, more than Syria, could have come out with a functional govt had we not completely abandoned the original plan of paying the Iraqi Army to preserve order.

      Instead, Bremmer blew up the plan, cut off the Iraqi Army, effectively turning hundreds of thousands of Armed, unemployed former Iraqi Soldiers into instant Insurgents.

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    3. .

      That might explain a ten year clusterfuck on our part.

      But, if you think anything would have prevented all sides going at each other the moment we left in the absence of...oh, I don't know...someone like a king or dictator, you know, kind of like Saddam Hussein, your nutz.

      It's the nature of the beast in the Middle East (kinda rhymes).

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    4. Interesting post Jenny.

      A few things:

      We have seen some progress in Iraq and, yes, the current government is far better that what Saddam provided. The cost was high though, very high.

      Quirk has a knee jerk negative reaction to International Institutions doing the 'killing' as being "elitist" yet he seems to have no problem if the US does it. Puzzling. One of the costs of the Iraq invasion, in addition to the blood and treasure, was perceptions of Americas standing in the world diminished considerably. The coalition of the willing was a joke and the resultant egg in the face over the 10 year clusterfuck and perceptions of going for the oil did not help America out. Having some sort of diplomatic cover, some sense of international consensus, some due process could: 1. induce more coalition partners to belly up to the fight, 2. remove the necessary conflicts of interest created by unilateral action.

      Jenny, your metric of 30% of MPs replaced through elections in Iraq might not be such a good indicator of success at democracy. Simply voting does not make a good democracy. Iran has votes, China has votes, Afghanistan has votes (what ever happened to that guy the beat Karzai?) but, as what seems the norm in the ME, the candidates allowed to run are controlled by the government. I would be more impressed if Malaki were voted out and a whole new regime came in. Peaceful transfer of government would be a good thing. It may happen and what they have certainly appears better than what Saddam offered for sure.

      Did the Bush cracking of the Iraqi egg start the Arab spring? Maybe. Hard to tell with history as history just marches on and we can never know what forms the frustrated Arab populace would have done if the US had not invaded Iraq. The Arab street do not appear very content.

      Niall Ferguson believes British Empire was, on balance, more good than bad as evidenced by the numerous nations that adopted British Parliamentary forms of government in its wake. Similarly he believes American Empire to be, on balance, more good than bad. I think the world could progess more fruitfully if the power of 'Empire' had a more egalitarian institutional base (i.e. multi-lateral institutions) that operated with 'due-process' as oppesed to the unilateral execution of self-interested power of those posessing the most of it.

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    5. .

      Quirk has a knee jerk negative reaction to International Institutions doing the 'killing' as being "elitist" yet he seems to have no problem if the US does it.


      Anybody that has read what I have been writing since I came to this blog would know that the person who wrote the highlighted sentence above is a nitwit.

      Grow a brain, Ash.

      Got things to do this afternoon. When I get back I'll address the percieved panacea of 'international consensus' and those who see it as nirvana.

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    7. Quirk wrote:

      "This post is the best justification I have seen in a long time for the Iraq war. It is much better than the pap coming out of guys like McCain, Graham, and Lieberman; better than Ash and his elitist R2P, better than Obama’s “humanitarian” reasons, an oxymoron when applied as it was to Libya."

      How is Jenny's justification any better? It is simply results oriented. If the same results were obtained using some other initial justification how would that change anything? This suggests that the only difference, in your view, is that 'America did it' and not some panacea of 'international consensus'.

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    8. .

      Lord, you're...what was that word you used...oh yea, dense.

      First, I said Jenny's post was better. I didn't say it convinced me or that I bought it, as the rest of my post makes clear. I believe there was absolutely no, nada, zero, zilch justification for the Iraq war. I don't know how I can say it any clearer. I've stated that position a dozen times that you have been on the stream and you still do not seem to understand my position on Iraq, or you ignore it.

      Second, Jenny's post is better just because it 'is' results oriented. It talks about tangible results coming out of the war rather than offering us lofty rhetoric spouted by bureaucrats whose job it is to spout lofty rhetoric. If the results Jenny posits are true (something I am not convinced of) it is a much better argument for the war (still not compelling but better) than the pompous musings, rationaizations, and downright lies we were and are offered by those dicks in D.C. or those vainglorious bureaucrats at organizations like the UN who offer up their pious musing on every evil in the world in between tea at conferences in Kyoto and wine at Bono fundraising concerts in Munich. The only thing worse are their acolytes, the oblates of the PC, who buy their shit and drink it down like Kool-aid.

      This suggests that the only difference, in your view, is that 'America did it' and not some panacea of 'international consensus'.

      It suggests it 'to you', Ash. I have no idea what convoluted logic you used to reach that conclusion but it brings me back to that word I used in in the first sentence.

      I have dogs to walk and baseball and the NBA lottery to watch tonight. In between, I'll try to pull something together that offers you my true feelings on those international organizations you seem to espouse.

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      .

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  15. Syria, Yemen, Egypt

    One thing in common - All are former Oil Exporters that no longer have the cash to Import Food.

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  16. Oil money has made possible the Food Imports that allowed the exponentially expanding populations in the Middleeast/N. Africa.

    As that Oil Money goes away in the lesser oil exporters the shit hits the fan.

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  17. It matters not a whit which tribe controls the government of Syria. The bloodbath will continue until they have pared the population to a sustainable level.

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    1. In a backward, non-industrial society that "sustainable" level is "one that can be supported by domestic food production." (the exception being, of course, a scenic area with "tourism."

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    2. That would be...
      Parodice.
      Maui not only scenic, but warm as a womb.

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  18. Obama is certainly one of the dumber and ill-informed of recent presidents. He is a moron.

    Poland's prime minister said Wednesday that remarks by President Barack Obama erroneously identifying a Nazi death camp as Polish had hurt all Poles and he expected more from the US than "regret".
    "I am convinced that our American friends can today allow themselves a stronger reaction than a simple expression of regret from the White House spokesman -- a reaction more inclined to eliminate once and for all these kinds of errors," Donald Tusk told reporters in Warsaw.
    Obama on Tuesday mistakenly called a Nazi facility used to process Jews for execution as a "Polish death camp." The White House later said the president "misspoke" and expressed "regret".
    The linguistic faux pas overshadowed his posthumous award of America's highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, to Jan Karski, a former Polish anti-Nazi underground officer who provided the Allied powers with early eyewitness accounts of the Germany's Holocaust against Jews.
    Obama's words had "hurt all Poles," Tusk said Wednesday.

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  19. I would love to watch him try to identify countries on a blank map or better yet see him on Jeopardy vs. W.

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  20. Foreign Minister Sikorski must have met Obama. Where is Hillary? Certainly not at the beauty salon.

    “The White House will apologize for this outrageous mistake,” Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski wrote on his Twitter Inc. account. “It’s a shame that such a momentous ceremony has been overshadowed by ignorance and incompetence.”

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  21. A dedicated Corpse Man he is not.

    More like a Zombie with a Hoops jag.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Obama should take bath salts.

    That way this vampire could just eat and drink the blood of one person at a time, distracting him from continuing to do it to all of us as POTUS.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Proof for those with unbelieving eyes: Birth Certificate a fraud: whac-a-mole -

    http://www.americanthinker.com/2012/05/birth_certificate_whac-a-mole.html

    I post, you decide.

    There do seem to be some, er, issues, er, incongruities.

    b

    ReplyDelete
  24. Calm down, Obama just misspoke about the Poles. After all his uncle liberated Auschwitz, so he knows! (the Russians liberated Auschwitz, our guys got to Buchenwald) He just misspeaks all the time. Haven't you ever called a Marine a Corpsman? Well, I haven't, nor have you, at least since we were 8 years old, but....

    Doesn't mean he is dumber than a stump.

    b

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No coffee yet here.

      Corpseman

      We all misspeak, mistype.

      b

      Delete
  25. My wild squirrel is becoming tame. I am enticing him with salted sunflower seeds. Each day he comes a little nearer to the porch. This morning he hardly even looked up when I went out and sat down. He is becoming fat, lazy, unconcerned by humans.

    Feeding time.....

    b

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Have him watch Michelle.
      Let's move that squirrel.
      ...and start feeding him arugala.

      Delete
  26. Spain scuttles clean-energy subsidies; promptly watches the industry go down like a sinking ship

    http://hotair.com/archives/2012/05/30/spain-scuttles-clean-energy-subsidies-promptly-watches-the-industry-go-down-like-a-sinking-ship/

    Calling Rufus.....

    b

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Spain retreats; Germany, California, Iowa, and China charge forward. I wonder who's right? (Not really.)

      Delete
    2. I predict CA will be bankrupt.
      (they already are)

      Delete
  27. Pope suffers 'pain' over Vatileaks Scandal, meanwhile Paolito suffers 4th day in isolation chamber.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/05/30/vatican-butler-idUSL5E8GUBPZ20120530

    b

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. .

      It's time to bring out the cushy pillows.

      The Butler Did It [LINK]

      .

      Delete
    2. :):):):)hardeharhar!

      "without let or hindrance" -- Sweet Jesu, that is bad.

      b

      Delete
  28. ..>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>...

    Obama: Before one trip across enemy lines, resistance fighters told him that Jews were being murdered on a massive scale, and smuggled him into the Warsaw Ghetto and a Polish death camp to see for himself.

    ..>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>...

    Many of the Nazi death camps were located inside the territory that is now Poland, yes. But it was not Poland in 1942. Poland then was a conquered and enslaved territory. If we are to identify the killers by nationality—rather than by their Nazi ideology as would be most appropriate—then the camps were German, German, German: ordered into being by Germans, designed by Germans, fulfilling a German plan of murder. When they found local thugs to guard the victims and run the killing machinery, even those low-level wretches were very rarely Polish by language or self-conception: they were more typically Ukrainian, because many Ukrainians—with their own sufferings at the hands of Josef Stalin's Soviet regime fresh in mind—were willing to act as German allies in a war that was advertised as a war against the Bolshevism that had starved their fathers, mothers, and children to death in the early 1930s. But Poles? As a Polish friend of mine once bitterly put it, "The Germans despised us so much, they did not even want us as collaborators."

    .....

    You may say the Poles are over-sensitive. One might as well say that Americans are under-sensitive. The U.S. has had such a comparatively happy history that it's hard to think of a domestic analogy that would capture what Poles feel when the worst crimes of their worst oppressors are attributed—not to the authors—but to them. "The Hawaiian sneak attack on the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor" is a pathetically inadequate approximation, but at least it gets the grammar of the insult.

    David Frum suggests that Obama's speechwriter (probably looking for work about now) may have been referring to Polish anti-semitism:

    When one writes this way, one hears much about the Polish history of anti-semitism. Polish anti-semitism is of course a very real thing. But boycotts, insults, and street-fights are not genocide. And alongside Polish anti-semitism has to be set the other history, the history that explains why Jews migrated to Poland in such huge numbers during the Middle Ages, and stayed there for so long.

    LINK

    Nasty mistake.

    Why this country can't get "better people" into the political arena?

    Money, privacy, and public vilification.

    Thick skin is one thing. Full body armor is something else.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Ah, but didn't the Poles take a little bite out of...Czechoslovakia (?).....when they had the chance, when the biting was easy, when the Germans went in, only to be invaded themselves the next thing?

    I remember Churchill mentioning this, and how craven it seemed to him.

    Nothing against Poles here. Sweden sold iron ore to Germany.

    Human nature is a complex thing. May be best to live in the woods by oneself, feeding the squirrels. But then, of course, one is looking the other way.

    I'd never thought about why there were so many Jews in Poland in the first place. Does seem reasonable that it must have been a tolerable situation for them at one time.

    b

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Of course, Churchill's folks had taken huge bites out of the whole earth, but this was to him of course a good thing, and, in some ways, it was.

      b

      Delete
    2. Ah, but they did, did they not? Took a bite of the pie themselves, when it was on the table, even though they themselves were the next course on the menu.

      Look it up.

      b

      Delete
  30. In short, Obama is an asshole.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So. What's your point? If true, he's not the first asshole to sit in the White House.

      Delete
  31. I don’t have to look it up. It did not exist until after WWI. One of your presidential empire builders and icon, Woodrow Wilson had a hand in it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. When have I ever praised Wilson?

      b

      Delete
  32. It had nothing to do with German death camps.

    ReplyDelete
  33. It would be like blaming the Cubans for the US military prison in Guantanamo.

    ReplyDelete
  34. Nice little day for Renewables, yesterday, in Kaliforneeyay.

    CAISO

    ReplyDelete
  35. Ah, click, I'm beginning to think Deuce is Polish, or maybe English/Polish, with ancestry in Virginia of the landowning sort. This would explain the continual undertone of anti-semitism, the naming of Lincoln as the worst President in US history, the racism ("Keep the racism down, Deuce" -Trish), and the concern for appearances, the limo, the driver, the estate.

    b

    ReplyDelete
  36. In fact, thinking about Wilson, I remember posting something written by an Israeli women whose idea was that it might have been best, or better, or at least not worse, if the Germans had been allowed to win World War I. Her idea was there would have been no Hitler, no World War II, at least in Europe, no Holocaust. I remember being impressed by this alternative history speculation, so I posted it.

    b

    ReplyDelete
  37. Arab nationalism never really existed, only sects. In 1976, Arab Christians were slaughtered by the PLO. In 1982 the Christians took revenge at the Palestinians in Sabra and Shatila.

    Are you the same Bob who was reprimanded by Deuce for a rant about “niggers”?

    ReplyDelete
  38. You say tomato, I say tomato.

    Deuce ain't racist. People need to grow some skin.

    Do you really want to know how Germanly defeated Poland? Huh? Do ya? Well, the marched in backwards and the Poles thought they were leaving. Simple as that. har har har

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You know how you catch a pollock when he's drinking water?

      Ya slam the toilet seat on his head.

      Hohohohardeharharhar

      Now I can be called anti-pollock too! In addition to anti black, anti Cherokee, anti women, anti poor, and whatever else comes to mind. Anti city slicker, anti muzzies, the list is endless.
      b

      Delete
    2. .

      To my mind, a sense of humor is an indication of maturity.

      Poles, like many nationalities, can laugh off jokes at their expense while many others (nationalities, religions, criminal organizations, etc.) merely call it bigotry.

      Those who fall into both categories are easy to recognize.

      Or, you can check with Ash. He keeps an updated PC list of the latest victims.

      .

      Delete
    3. I'm with the Poles. I've heard a lot of Ollie jokes in my life, never bothered me.

      Just don't get down on the farmers.

      b

      Delete
  39. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  40. "...

    Feeling a little jittery, I called David Morrison, the senior scientist at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California, who answers questions online sent from the public to the Web site Ask an Astrobiologist.


    Even before archaeologists discovered an extended Mayan calendar in Guatemala earlier this month that debunked the idea that the world is ending in December, Morrison thought the Mayan prophecy was bunk.

    People trying to make money are ginning up the hoax, he said. “The worst thing is they really do frighten children, and it’s evil to make up lies to scare children,” he said. “I have at least one e-mail a day from a kid who says he can’t sleep. Some are threatening suicide. I heard about two sets of parents who talked about killing their children and themselves before the date, and a girl hanged herself in England in the fall, worrying over 2012.”

    He reassured me that the premises in Walker’s novel and “The Twilight Zone” could not happen. “We can do horrible things to the planet with global warming or nuclear war,” he said. “But we can’t shift the distance to the Sun or slow the rotation.”

    Noting the growing cases of cosmophobia, Morrison asked impatiently, “Why is our society so focused on potential disasters?”

    Just as I was starting to calm down, he mentioned that the Andromeda galaxy is going to crash into the Milky Way in two billion years. Hearing me keening over the strain of Andromeda, he explained that it would just be two great big fuzzy balls of stars and mostly empty space passing through each other harmlessly over the course of millions of years.


    “We’ll just have twice as many stars,” he said. “The end of the world is a really silly concept. It’s been here for four billion years. I can imagine us blowing ourselves up as a civilization, but the planet wouldn’t care.”


    How can he be sure?


    “I have a doctorate in astronomy from Harvard,” he replied.


    O.K. then."

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/30/opinion/dowd-andromeda-is-coming.html?hp#h[]

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "I can imagine us blowing ourselves up as a civilization"

      Well then, if the planet don't care, why on what's left of earth should we?

      Who cares if the perhaps only sentient beings in the cosmos are no more? My squirrel? Probably yes, the way he is feeling about me these latter days, but even he will forget soon enough.

      Ash, you always make me feel better.

      b

      Delete
  41. Romney's slamming Obammie for "lack of leadership" on Syria. I wonder what "leadership on Syria" would look like.

    ReplyDelete
  42. While ridicule and mockery are the kiss of death on both cheeks that deauthenticate personal authority faster than you can say Jimmy Carter's rabbit. Little more than high school role playing, ratcheted up an ego notch or four.

    Which is why I am suspicious of the attempt to "unzip" Romney and improve his "accessibility" to us "common" folk. Does that mean we get to hold a Romney Roast?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I had a chance to meet Romney. I had to buy a raffle ticket though, and only if I won.

      Or was that Obama. I forget.

      To be honest about it I'd rather meet Rufus, or Quirk, or WiO, or Doug, or Maxine, Sam, Deuce, Gag,etc etc. even, yes say it, even Ash. Anything but an aspiring politician. I'd rather spend time with Risky.

      By the way I'll be announcing the trifecta pick for the Belmont midweek next week!

      b

      Delete
    2. I'd walk past a parade of the greatest humans on earth to spend the day with the worst horse.

      Delete
    3. Or, the mangiest dog.


      If I got my choice though, I'd have to opt for Maxine (the admittance that she liked to dress trashy, and drink Jack has nothin' to do with it.) :)

      Delete
  43. body slamming I hope, Hulk Hogan style.

    ReplyDelete
  44. On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society by
    Dave Grossman

    ReplyDelete
  45. Russia has made clear that it will block UN support for foreign military intervention in Syria, scotching slim hopes that the massacre of more than 100 people at Houla would break the impasse in the international response to the continuing violence.

    Moscow's crucial support for Syria's president, Bashar al-Assad, has not changed after confirmation from a UN human rights body that 108 people, including 49 children under the age of 10, were killed in the weekend incident near Homs, mostly in summary killings by the feared shabiha militia, linked to the Assad regime.

    "We have always said that we are categorically against any intervention in the Syrian conflict from the outside, as this would only worsen the situation and would lead to unpredictable consequences both for Syria itself and the region on the whole," said Gennady Gatilov, Russia's deputy foreign minister.

    UN security council pressure on Syria was "premature," Gatilov said, adding that Russia would use its veto to block any initiatives on foreign military interference.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Russia calls it "thinning the herd." A natural process.

      Delete
  46. Scum of the worse case -




    THIS IS OUR GREAT COWARD AND CHIEF WHO DARES TO BE-LITTLE THOSE SOLDIERS THAT GAVE IT ALL.


    THAT ROTTEN SOB IS IN THE SAME CLASS AS THOSE SKID ROW BUMS JESSE THE HEMORRHOID JACKSON AND THAT EVER SHARPIE SHARPTON WHOSE ONLY BIBLE THAT THOSE SELF PITY FREAKS EVER READ IS THE COMMUNIST MANIFESTO

    I HOPE THAT YOU WILL OVER LOOK THE FEW WORDS OF CHOICE THAT IS COPIED HERE AS I FEEL THAT I GROUND TELL THEM THAT AND MORE TO THEIR FACE THEY ARE SCUM OF THE WORSE CASE

    BLESSINGS DALE

    THAT KENYA BORN FREAK IS STANDING ON HOLLOWED GROUND AND HE DARES TO ACT LIKE HE IS A god WHO CAN HATE THOSE GREAT SOLDIERS OF YESTERDAY.


    Pictures of O and Memorial Day included in communication that I can't replicate.

    Sometimes I get the feeling he don't like Obama much.

    b

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. .

      Scum of the worse case -


      Would that be Obama or Dale?


      .

      Delete
  47. Meanwhile, Facebook continues to do a Face Plant.

    ReplyDelete
  48. The U.S. obtained 4.4% of its electricity from "Wind" in March.

    ReplyDelete
  49. U.S. President Barack Obama urged Congress to extend the tax benefits key to the nation's wind power sector.

    Speaking Thursday in Newton, Iowa, from a manufacturing facility for TPI Composites, a global provider of wind turbine blades, Obama said: "If Congress doesn't act, companies like this one will take a hit. Jobs will be lost. That's not a guess. That's a fact."

    The production tax credit, scheduled to expire at the end of the year unless Congress extends it, gives an income tax credit of 2.2 cents per kilowatt-hour for the first 10 years of electricity production from utility-scale turbines.

    The credits have not lapsed since 2004.

    "We've got too many of my dear Republican friends in Congress that have been standing in the way of steps that we can take that would make a difference at the moment," Obama said.

    Since he became president, Obama said, the nation has nearly doubled the use of renewable energy, including solar and wind power.

    "This country's on the path to more energy independence, and that's good for everybody. It's good for people's pocketbooks, it's good for the environment, it's good for our national security," the president said.

    "And the best thing is, in the process, we're also putting thousands of Americans back to work, because the more we rely on American energy, the less oil we buy from other countries, the more jobs we create here at home."

    Obama's speech follows a meeting earlier this week with industry representatives from the American Wind Energy Association and White House energy adviser Heather Zichal, Energy Secretary Steven Chu and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.

    Nearly 500 new U.S. manufacturing facilities with 30,000 workers in the wind energy supply chain and orders for 2013 "now hang on the tax credit's extension," the AWEA said.


    Obammie Pushes for Wind Power

    ReplyDelete
  50. One of Ruf's favorite kind of preacher goes to the other world -

    Mishandled rattler in snake handing demo -

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/serpent-handling-pastor-profiled-earlier-in-washington-post-dies-from-rattlesnake-bite/2012/05/29/gJQAJef5zU_print.html

    The Lord warn't with 'im.

    Nor the snake bite anti-venom.

    What non-sense.


    b

    ReplyDelete
  51. See photo of Pope and the butler in Popemobile in photo in article towards the bottom. Indeed a good looking butler.

    Vatican claims butler acted not just against Pappa but against "GOD". This is serious business.

    Italian papers are describing scene in Vatican inner circles as likened to a "nest of vipers".

    Snake handlers needed.

    " One Italian paper even suggested that an unnamed laywoman had secretly ordered the butler to do it."

    The love interest. And no bull, that butler is eye candy, the women all say, worthy of a role in Upstairs/Downstairs.

    Archbishop Bucciu: "“The pope was not merely robbed of letters. Violence has been done to the consciences of those who turn to him as Vicar of Christ, an assault has been made on the ministry of the Successor of the Apostle Peter."

    Shit!

    Read all the latest breaking news on the scandal at the link below -

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/05/30/the-pope-s-butler-silenced-in-vatileaks-investigation.html

    b

    ReplyDelete
  52. We use, in the U.S.A., about 100 Exajoules of energy (electricity, transportation, farming, etc.)

    Geothermal could provide us with about 14,000,000 Exajoules. Interested, yet? :)

    Video

    ReplyDelete
  53. That unnamed lay lady -

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VlWKYVZQRAs

    you just know she givin' it to Paolito big time.

    "Pa-o, O, Pa-o, Paoleeeto, a little more later, d a r l i n g, after I peeky in Pappa's mail bag."

    A Protestant or Jewish plant. Too much initiative for a muslim.

    b

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. One great expectation
      One paternal erection
      From the ring of power
      An enticing call
      The Fleurs du Mal

      b

      Delete
  54. The World Bank is urging advanced and developing nations to consider longer-run measures, beyond traditional budget and central bank programs aimed at spurring growth, to support their economies amid an increasingly cloudy outlook.

    ...

    With the threat of a Greek exit from the 17-nation euro zone looming, European officials are under increasing international pressure to take larger steps toward integration to calm the crisis. Germany has resisted many of the moves, fearing they could relieve troubled nations of the pressure to push through difficult overhauls of their economies and budgets.

    ...

    The European crisis, already weighing on broader global growth prospects, is adding new stress across Eastern Europe, the Middle East and parts of Africa through trade and banking linkages.

    ReplyDelete
  55. From Haaretz:

    Earlier Tuesday afternoon, Obama and White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew met about 20 Conservative Jewish community leaders.

    ...

    Obama also stressed he probably knows about Judaism more than any other president, because he read about it - and wondered how come no one asks Speaker of the House of Representatives John Boehner or Senate minority leader Mitch McConnel [sic] about their support to Israel."

    Amazing.

    Three comments:

    1. The reason no one asks John Boehner or Mitch McConnell about their support for Israel is ... because they really do support Israel. The reason people ask Barack Obama about his support for Israel is because his support for Israel has been equivocal.


    Scholar of Judaism

    ReplyDelete
  56. Elsewhere attention turned to a possible German plan to relieve the European debt crisis by splitting the debt of struggling states. Drafted by the German Council of Economic Experts, the scheme would hive off the excess debt burdening countries on continent's periphery into a special fund.

    This fund would be covered by collective bonds – offering a twist on the so-called "Eurobonds" thus far opposed by the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel.

    Countries would, however, have to pledge their gold reserves as collateral, according to reports. Once in place, the excess debt would be retired gradually, as troubled nations focus on getting their economies back on track.

    ReplyDelete

  57. 'The October Surprise will be war with Iran'

    Welcome to The Michael Savage Newsletter, your weekly insider report on all things "Savage."

    In this issue: In a major newspaper, a powerful lifetime Democratic supporter – who also happens to be African-American – expressed his disappointment with President Obama over the weekend.

    Savage talks about this shocking and controversial editorial. He also makes a stunning prediction: that the U.S. will be at war on a new front this September.

    Willie Brown was the first black mayor of San Francisco. He's a lifetime, radical, leftwing Democrat, but believe me, he's an intelligent one.

    He's also a businessman who knew being a Democrat would let him get where he wanted to go in life, and he was right.

    Willie Brown wrote an article over the weekend that everyone's talking about. It's about Obama's reelection campaign, and it's called "The Thrill Is Gone."

    Brown is talking about Obama's fundraising trip through the Bay Area recently. He wasn't impressed.

    Willie Brown compared Obama's campaign this time around to "the summer rerun of a show that wasn't very interesting in the first place."

    So why would Willie Brown, a Democratic Party insider, write something like that in a major newspaper?

    Because the man is also a survivor. He knows which way the wind blows, and he recognizes that Obama is probably going to lose.

    Willie Brown knows this from the inside because he's an insider himself.

    I've heard the same thing from top Democrats: They are saying Obama's destroyed the party. That Obama has steered the Democrats so far away from the average voter, that there will be a landslide in November unless Romney screws up in some way.

    Or Obama rigs the election.

    Or -- and this is my prediction -- the "October Surprise" will happen in September, and it will be a war with Iran.

    That will swing public opinion back around to Obama. He'll get to strut around like a war hero. He'll win back the liberal Jews who were afraid of him because he looked like he was abandoning Israel.

    You're saying, "Are you kidding, Michael? A president would do that?"

    You have no idea what power-madness is. All politicians are power-mad and the higher up they are, the more crazy they are.


    b

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Rove called it a long time ago. Nothing else guarantees reelection like a good war.

      Delete
  58. Rep. Justin Amash (R-Michigan), who rode to Congress in 2010 on the national wave of outrage over Obamacare and government spending, could face a tough challenge to his seat this November.

    ...

    The National Republican Congressional Committee said that they were watching the race but were not overly concerned. The bulk of their resources in Michigan are currently being deployed in the Upper Peninsula, helping reelect freshman Congressman Dan Benishek in the First Congressional District.

    “It’s definitely on the watch list,” said NRCC deputy communications director Andrea Bozek.

    ReplyDelete
  59. "The great economic story of the 1990s is the near-total separation of the U. S. economy from politics. Since 1990, America has made one bad political choice after another. Federal personal income taxes were hiked in 1990. Three huge new regulatory statutes were imposed in 1990-91 (the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Clean Air Act of 1990, and the 1991 Civil Rights Act). Under President Clinton, antitrust scrutiny has revived, personal income taxes were raised again, and the federal regulatory apparatus has turned hostile."

    ReplyDelete
  60. On this day in 1982, Hall-of-Fame shortstop Cal Ripken Jr. played in the first of his historic 2,632 consecutive professional baseball games with the Baltimore Orioles.

    ReplyDelete
  61. One particular four-year-old prayed,
    'And forgive us our trash baskets
    as we forgive those who put trash in our baskets.'

    ReplyDelete
  62. Video of Paolo 'Paolito" Gabriele --

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BNImTYkTNUM

    ....

    Breaking News: Vatican Cardinal Linked To Scandal

    The ripple widens round the waters of Wopland -

    http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-501714_162-57442404/reports-italian-cardinal-linked-to-scandal/

    Later, I'm beat, going down to the corner of Coliseum Avenue and Legio VI Ferrata Blvd. for a pizza and a drink with Dale, who doesn't drink, so I'll have his too.

    from Rome

    b

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legio_VI_Ferrata

    ReplyDelete
  63. Friday, June 1 is D-Day for Obamacare.

    ...

    If you build and egalitarian institutional base, will they come?

    ReplyDelete
  64. They got good pizzas here. Dale was able to run down this -

    The documents show how contracts were awarded to favoured companies and individuals and also highlight allegations of internal power struggles with the Vatican's bank known as the Institute for Religious Works.

    One theory is that Mr Gabriele, who has been the Pope's butler since 2006, has been made a scapegoat for the real masterminds – senior figures in the Catholic Church out to undermine Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican secretary of state.


    The Institute for Religious Works, we are convinced, has been milking the poor sinners and diverting the money to private bank accounts. D. was able to interview a Sicilian financier who requested anonymity whose accounts, financial and narrative, froze our bones and he and I are immune to cold.

    "Communication between people is becoming more superficial and difficult. We see daily events in which it appears men have become more aggressive, confrontational, they seem to be concerned only with themselves, their own interests," the Pope said.

    We have noticed this. It is hard to get behind the frozen smile. Even a rich ricompensa is not working.

    b

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My God though, this place is awful, and the air stinks. Cats everywhere. The garbage in the streets stinks. Coming through the Piazza del Popolo down towards the Coliseum along the Via Flaminia D. was accosted by a one-legged whore, and there are beggars.

      b

      Delete
    2. One last thing - it's late here - after dinner we strolled over to the Coliseum. You won't believe this, but a porn movie was being filmed inside, right out there on the sand. Maybe forty people screwing. We heard the star was some American dude named Mr. Marcus.

      None of this is sitting well with D., or myself either, for that matter.

      b

      Delete
  65. The United Nations, Amnesty International, the Red Cross and other organizations have pressed Pyongyang for information and access to the prisons, without success.

    ...

    South Koreans in recent months have grown more vocal in protesting China's practice of forcibly returning North Korean refugees. President Lee Myung-bak raised the issue with Chinese President Hu Jintao during a March meeting.

    In a speech last month, Mr. Lee told South Korean government officials and private groups that North Korean human-rights matters are just as important as the nuclear-weapons issue and economic cooperation. He repeated that view last week to a visiting U.S. congressional delegation.

    ReplyDelete
  66. It’s been two decades since I graduated from college, and I’m glad to be back, walking the halls of MIT. Not that I went to MIT—I couldn’t have been admitted on a bribe.

    ...

    But it’s not all filthy commerce. If there’s one meme who seems to be on a spiritual journey, it is, unsurprisingly, Double Rainbow Guy, aka Bear Vasquez.

    ...

    And with his newfound celebrity, he has a message to relay, which he covers in three bullet points:

    • Love your fellow man.

    • Walk gently on Mother Earth.

    • Connect to spirit.

    Not bad talking points for a meme, I admit. “I’m only a vessel,” he says modestly.


    Meme Generation

    ReplyDelete
  67. “These figures are a salutary lesson,” said Lisa Power, policy director of the Terrence Higgins Trust, the UK’s leading sexual health charity. “Sexual health services have had a much lower profile in recent years and it’s demonstrable what happens when you let up on informing the public about the risks.

    We’ve been working hard with local authorities and our experience is that the services on offer will incredibly variable. There will be a postcode lottery for sexual health unless services are improved across the board.”

    Sexual health services and advice are currently available from a variety of NHS providers. Next year local authorities will take over responsibility for public health, including sexual health.

    ReplyDelete
  68. What the hell is this democratic meme about a GOP 'war on women?'.

    I read Planned Parenthood, child of the Democratic Party mostly, is advising as to the sex of the fetus. So the girls can be aborted, just like in China.

    Does this not qualify as a Democratic Party 'war on women', or at least 'war on unborn women'?

    b

    ReplyDelete