Why Edward Snowden is Teaching Us the Wrong Lessons

Edward Snowden, TV starEdward Snowden spilled the beans to Brian Williams to great ratings. However, he didn’t say much new and that’s consistent with his new career as IT guy cum spy.  I like Brian, I really do. What’s not to like? He’s a former firefighter and h Allison Williams’ (Marnie from Girls) Dad. However, his interview only revealed two interesting things: Snowden watches a lot of The Wire reruns and he’s allegedly a spy. But c’mon, revelations?

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The Intransigent vs. the Inept

Bull Pucky

PULLIN' IT OUT OF THEIR ASS - The Republican 'Just Say No' strategy requires little effort or thought. The only thing they need is the ability to form single syllable words and pull crap out of their own asses.

Much has been made about the probability that Republicans will take control of Congress in the fall. The conventional wisdom says yes, but there are a number of Dems who say they can defeat the odds. The truth is, the conventional wisdom is probably right. The open question is whether it will be a Republican blowout or a squeaker.

Clearly, the honeymoon is over, although The Messiah™ does have some residual goodwill in some quarters. Unfortunately, it’s mostly amongst the non-voting public. The G(N)OP would have us believe there’s a massive ideological sea change going on. One in which power is shifting right – waaay right – though polls don’t clearly suggest that. Injecting a little reality suggests that ideological movement is more a case of the tea baggers brewing a nice cup of Crazy Earl Grey and the opposition remaining silent to their lunacy. And, it’s that silence that’ll bite the Dems on their quivering, fraidy-cat asses.

Throwin' in the Towel

SPINELESS ASSES - The Democrats have all the intestinal fortitude of the French army in a firefight.

Seeing Isn’t Necesarily Believing
It’s difficult for the public (and impossible for Republicans) to see– that The Big Guy™ has made some modest progress on his agenda. He managed to push a health care bill through, though it was deeply flawed, and one of the most spineless wins on record. Walking into negotiations already conceding ground isn’t a negotiating tactic that works well. You can say much the same for financial reform. We got something, though not much, and what we did get was preapproved by corporate greedheads so they can continue robbing the country blind.

He’s also lost chances on bushels of low hanging fruit. Gays in the military, offshore oil drilling, and rolling back many of the Bush policies on a range of issues from Afghanistan to Gitmo to portions of the Patriot Act would’ve all been easier than health care, kept his base engaged, and shown independents that he has a backbone.

The one-word strategy of the Republicans is an easy position. Repeating “no” like an idiot savant isn’t hard. It requires no real work or talent beyond the ability to form a single syllable. It’s easy for your base to understand – especially if your base is comprised of fellow savants – and gives you an ironclad response to almost anything. It covers over a lot of bumbling too. Can you say Michael Steele?

Yes is a Hard Sell
Yes is a much harder sell. It’s complicated. It’s sometimes scary. And, it requires voters that understand two or more syllable words. It also requires the ability to legislate without pissing your political pants because the Momma Grizzlies and their fellow-traveling blowhards call you a commie. Or worse yet, a liberal.

Republicans are, if nothing else, consistent to a pathological, almost savage, and bloodthirsty degree. Most of the time you couldn’t pry the fatheads off a position with dynamite and a backhoe. Look at them as the party of the Red Curtain. By comparison, Democrats have all the cohesiveness of a herd of cats. Look at them standing naked in their bathtub, hands over their sex-educated privates, with yellow rivulets running down their wrinkly, ancient legs.

Part of this is the nature of the people that populate the two parties. Conservatives want to drive their Franklin Steamers in reverse all the way back to 1909. Democrats have the car in drive, but can’t bring themselves to get off the brake and hit the gas…and they don’t have a map or destination they can all agree on anyway.

But, it’s not as though Republicans are immune from shitting in their own mess kits. Their sucking up to the tea baggers may end up making them as beholden to The Lipton Tea Men as they are to corporatist Czars like Tony Hayward, the new Potentate of Siberian Crude.

There’s no way to tell what the fall will bring, but if both parties don’t shape up, it’ll be a hell of a ride.

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We Have Met the Terrorists and They is Us

YOU CAN'T CATCH 'EM ALL - How come Amazon can track millions of books, but Obama can't track one loon? Because Amazon doesn't have to track millions of books whizzing around the warehouse at random.

YOU CAN'T CATCH 'EM ALL - How come Amazon can track millions of books, but Obama can't track one loon? Because Amazon doesn't have to track millions of books whizzing around the warehouse at random.

Update The Odds of a Terrorist Attack: 1-in-16,553,385 Departures. In other words, it ain’t very damn likely.

I recently read a commenter who accused the Obamoids of ineptitude by asking why Amazon can track millions of books while Obama can’t track a batshite crazy Jihadist who got caught in-flammable delicto. Fair enough question, though the book metaphor sucks.

Amazon rocks inventory control because they record all books in, check all books out, and the books aren’t silently running tither and yon around the warehouse while they do it.

Even the best intelligence can’t ferret out every lunatic Larry and when it does, the sheer volume of intelligence puts Amazon’s task at the sub-nanobyte level of complexity. Ultimately, it still takes humans to evaluate intelligence and make decisions on where it goes on the to-do list. We have finite manpower, but limitless information. This information overload is partly why the Patriot Act makes the problem worse, not better. Rather than collecting even more, we should be collecting less and concentrating on the most meaningful tidbits.

Swiss Cheese Terror Defense
That’s not to say the status quo is OK nor that the administration and Congress have done a sterling job. However, there are legitimate reasons why our terror defense is as holey as Swiss cheese, some of which have little to do with politics.

Our War of Error president got his weenie stuck in the roller immediately after 9/11 when he and The Black Widow of State™ got briefings on a Qaeda plot the month before it took place. It would’ve been great had they acted on it, but given that the briefing wasn’t particularly detailed or as important as other events on the agenda, it’s understandable. Just because you’re an oafish goober doesn’t mean your mistakes aren’t explainable.

It would’ve been nice if he’d taken responsibility for it happening on his watch, but accountability never was one of his strong suits. But that whole “bring it on” thing really was monumentally stupid.

obama-vs-osamaTo their credit, Obama and Janet Napolitano first admitted to a “systemic breakdown”, but then backtracked to “the system worked“. It’s too early to say if their responses are good or bad in hindsight. But, tying air traffic in knots with contradictory procedural changes doesn’t bode well. Furthermore, explaining afterward that the confusion was all part of the plan looks Bushonian at first blush.

Both administrations were saddled with the monstrous Department of Homeland Insecurity. One of the few Bush decisions I ever agreed with was his initial reluctance to shove half the federal government into a single department while assuming it would work better. Remember, the difficulty of any enterprise is exponential to the number of people involved in it and DHS is the perfect example.

Reacting to a Bozo with his Pants on Fire
Bringing up the rear, as always, is Congress. Joe “Party of One” Lieberman was the brain trust behind the DHS debacle then. Now, his reaction to a bozo with his pants on fire is to attack Yemen! Bush Republicans resisted, and still resist, any attempt to investigate their own party’s possible ineptitudes so they can be corrected while Dems put a gazillion hearings on the agenda and then kowtowed to every ignored subpoena and request for information. Word to the wise, if you aren’t going to use your gavel, don’t cock your elbow

Creating a useful terrorist response doesn’t have a chance in hell, see Republican claims that the latest incident was either caused by unions or because there is no permanent TSA honcho while Jim DeWitless holds up the nomination and responds to Democrats fast tracking it by saying they’re in too much of a rush.


The Dems are no better. It’s not like they stood up to the Chump-in-Chief when he was mucking things up and why are they waiting until now to figure out that 5 months is too long to wait for an essential bureaucrat?

Get on the stick you dicks. And speaking of dicks, The Big Dick™ is still, well, dickish.

To paraphrase the politically astute opossum Pogo, “We have met the terrorists, and they is us.”

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