Category Archives: Same As It Ever Was

Now This Happened In A Corner

How to Do Business With a Blacklisted Russian Weapons Company

We now know that the U.S. Army handed out a sole-sourced deal to sell nearly two dozen Russian Mi-17 helicopters to Iraq. But the lingering question is, how?

Rosoboronexport, the Russian state agency in charge of military exports, is blacklisted from working on U.S. government deals. So how did the U.S. Army and the Carlyle Group-owned company ARINC manage to pull off the $325 million deal? Or more to the point, did they knowingly violate this ban?

Read it, and you tell me.

The Surge Has Ended, Long Live The Surge!

Did the Surge Work?

Using logic, if the U.S. troop surge had been the cause of the diminished violence, then why did the mayhem go up in 2005 when the United States undertook a troop surge of similar magnitude? Moreover, because little true political reconciliation has occurred in Iraq since the surge began, if the additional troops were the cause of the new tranquility, that calm should be evaporating now that U.S. forces are being reduced to pre-surge levels. Yet so far, no spike in violence is occurring. Thus, the logical conclusion is that other factors are likely to have been more important in improving conditions than the addition of more troops.

Questions! Always with the questions,

Full Iraq deployment to stay through 2005

Originally published 11:09 p.m., May 4, 2004, updated 12:00 a.m., May 5, 2004

The Pentagon announced yesterday it will maintain its expanded force of 138,000 troops in Iraq at least through 2005, based on a request from Gen. John Abizaid, commander of forces in the region.

That level was attained by extending the tours of 20,000 troops already in Iraq and who now must be relieved from a larger replacement force.

But, but..

“General Abizaid has now indicated his desire to retain the current level of forces in Iraq, roughly 135,000 to 138,000 forces, for longer than the 90 days that we recently extended about 20,000 forces to get up to that higher figure,” Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld told reporters at the Pentagon.

Seems we have a memory leak in the system. Now about those mercs… Basically the public discourse on the surge is 100% per Bush league bullshit.

What Digby Said

Style Sheet

Via Nathanrudy at DKos, I see that the NY Times has done another story on female bloggers — and published it in the appropriate place — the Style section. Because if there’s one thing bloggers are all about it’s style.

When it comes to political blogging, if you don’t know Digby you don’t don’t know diddly.

I Want To Be A Rock Star

Who’s that man?: Obama asked for ID at gym

I wished I had found this before I posted “God, I Love America.”

FISA In A Nutshell

THE FISA FARCE. Had to follow the light blue overlord on this one,

A bunch of you have e-mailed to ask what I think of the FISA “compromise.” Well, I don’t think it’s a compromise at all, but rather an example of Democrats getting totally rolled. But since I don’t know that much about FISA, I’ve been loathe to get in the weeds. Julian Sanchez, however, suffers from no such deficits:

Boy could I have fun with that,

Correction: This article originally stated inaccurately that House Democrats who changed their votes to support the new FISA bill received almost twice as much money over the past three years as those who remained opposed. In fact House Democrats who changed their votes to support the new FISA bill received almost twice as much money from the telecom industry over the past three years as those who remained opposed

Noting that change is good, I am inclined to keep mine in a jar buried in the back yard, because the savvy investor in me knows that numismatically it will be worth a real fortune RSN, and teleco Democrats not so much…

I suppose I’ll save a title:

Today’s Wall St. Journal has an article on the new Strange Bedfellows coalition and the campaign to punish and remove from office selected members of Congress who support civil-liberties-destroying measures such as the current FISA bill (a campaign I first announced here). The abstract of the WSJ article is here, and the full text can be read by clicking on the link on this page [link fixed]. The details for the “money bomb” the article describes will be disclosed very shortly. Yesterday, Jane Hamsher recorded a Bloggingheads session with former Rep. and current third-party presidential candidate Bob Barr (who Republicans are petrified will destroy McCain’s chances) and discussed with him the ideologically diverse efforts to battle against the political establishment’s assault on core constitutional liberties. For now, contributions to the campaign — which now has more than $320,000 — can be made here.

Now what will I do with the hole in the backyard?

What’s That Snap In Yonder Blog?

Snap Back To Reality

Counterinsurgency skeptic Gian Gentile — one of the most interesting defense thinker/practitioners in the U.S. Army — has a tremendously valuable essay on the myths and the reality of the surge in the new issue of World Affairs.

I dug out something different, because I did,

But there is a disconnect between claims and reality that runs through the surge narrative. The two factors overwhelmingly and demonstrably accountable for the diminished violence haven’t depended on the surge at all. The first was the 2006 decision by senior American officers to pay large sums of money to our former enemies to ally themselves with us in the fight against al-Qaeda—a decision that, according to a January 2008 report from U.S. Army headquarters in Iraq, made “significant contributions” to the lowering of violence. The practice began in 2006 in Ramadi, where, tellingly, the resulting decline in attacks predated the surge. The second factor was Muqtada al-Sadr’s decision to stand down, flee to an exile in Iran, and order his forces to suspend attacks against Americans—a decision that top U.S. officers in Iraq praise nearly every day for the ensuing reduction in violence. Absent these twin developments, Americans would still be dying in large numbers.

These two developements are what the surge proponents are declaring as vindication for having been wrong all along about the war anyway. This too is a feature not bug.

Spencer, who moves around the tubes like a man on roller blades has more.

60% Of Oil Price Is Greaseballs

‘Perhaps 60% of today’s oil price is pure speculation’

A June 2006 US Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations report on “The Role of Market Speculation in rising oil and gas prices,” noted, “…there is substantial evidence supporting the conclusion that the large amount of speculation in the current market has significantly increased prices.”

What the Senate committee staff documented in the report was a gaping loophole in US Government regulation of oil derivatives trading so huge a herd of elephants could walk through it. That seems precisely what they have been doing in ramping oil prices through the roof in recent months.

The Senate report was ignored in the media and in the Congress.

See how I change the whole tone? What an asshole.

At any rate exploitation isn’t exactly a new phenomenem or exclusive to capitalism. I pinched this from the Col. too.

On The Bright Side

Larry Kudlow has agreed that instead of using Yucca Mountain to store nuclear wastes we can use his back yard.

John’s Nuclear Problem

Nuclear Waste Disposal and Issues of Health and Safety November 22, 1996

Eventually, all high-level waste was marked for delivery to a national permanent waste dump in Yucca Flats, Nevada. But that project is a decade behind schedule and political battles have postponed further congressional action until 1997. Nevadans argue that Yucca Flats is geologically and hydrologically active and complex. They say the project would not only harm the economy of Nevada, but it would be dangerous, as large-scale radioactive releases could occur from the volcanos, earthquakes or hydrothermal activity at the site itself.

Maybe Karl Rove’s carribou will smell money here as well as in ANWR, but my money is on it will keep them warm.

What will we do with the garbage John?