Monday, August 11, 2008

Selective Stupidity

Listening to Robert Kagan bloviate on NPR on the way home from work about how Russia was Germany circa 1935 and about to unleash a whole new war upon the Earth, and how it was unfortunate Russia was revealing itself as a "19th century power" using "military force to achieve geopolitical aims" I couldn't help but notice that he had failed to cite a country and its belligerent leader that had gone halfway around the world to do the same thing to another sovereign nation in 2003.

When will it finally dawn upon the world that the US can do absolutely nothing about Russia?

UPDATE: And if Joe Klein of all people turns out to be a shining beacon of reason and thinks Bob Kagan is full of shit, then your argument is dead on arrival to the Village.
But it is important, yet again, to call out the endless neoconservative search for new enemies, mini-Hitlers. It is the product of an abstract over-intellectualizing of the world, the classic defect of ideologues. It is, as we have seen the last eight years, a dangerous way to behave internationally. And it has severely damaged our moral authority in the world...I mean, after the U.S. invasion of Iraq, after Abu Ghraib, after our blithe rubbishing of the Geneva Accords, why should anyone listen to us when we criticize the Russians for their aggression in the Caucasus?

Obama is Too...

You name it, it's in Steve Warshawsky's column at American Thinker[sic] about why Obama will lose big in November. Obama's too young, too ethnic, too elitist, too inexperienced, too liberal, too arrogant, too unknown, too presumptuous. But here's the money:
Overall, I predict Obama will receive even less of the popular vote than John Kerry in 2004 (48.3%), and perhaps as little as Michael Dukakis in 1988 (45.7%).

As I wrote last December, "[t]he pundits can talk until they are blue in the face about Obama's charisma and eloquence and cross-racial appeal. The fact of the matter is that Obama has no chance of being elected president in 2008." I am more convinced of this conclusion than ever.
The McSame camp has been reduced to throwing shit at the wall to see what sticks.

This time, it won't work.

Wait a Minute here...

Here's a question I haven't see anybody ask about Georgia.

What possessed the Georgians to invade South Ossetia in the first place? Having lived in the shadow of Russia for almost 20 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall, after Chechnya and Kosovo, what possible reason would convince Mikhail Saakashvili that this would not be the most idiotic idea in the history of idiotic ideas, and that Russia would be perfectly okay with this when it was painfully clear that Russia was going to take military action, warning of Georgian military buildup on the border with South Ossetia?

Why does the rabbit kick the bear? The rabbit has bigger, meaner friends. Or thinks he does. Did the Georgians think we would ride to their rescue by sending troops from Iraq, through Turkey, and into Georgia against the Red Army? What the hell is this all about? What signal was given that Saakashvilli picked up to invade?

Or maybe this is a setup. Maybe what's going on has been planned for some time now. Maybe this was meant to provoke Russia to do exactly what it is doing right now.

But why? That's still bugging the hell out of me.

The Night The Lights Went Out In Georgia

The Booman is convinced, based on both Bush and Clinton foreign policy, that we'll soon be in a shooting war with Russia over Georgia, that they have called our bluff, realized we're in Iraq and Afghanistan too deep, and now do not have a choice other than to save face by throwing down.

Read the essay, it's a good one. It explains very well why both the left and the right are eager to take a crack at the Russian Bear, and he has a point.

But as Atrios asks, what are we going to do about it? There's not much we can do about it, frankly. The age of American hegemony ended officially ended last week, folks. At this point we either have to prove to the world that we can fight a third war, or we'll prove to the world that we can't. Russia is holding all the cards right now, and unless we want this to go nookular, Russia will continue doing its thing. We're not in control anymore. That era of America was killed by the Bush Doctrine.

UPDATE: The Times of London is reporting that the Russians have taken Gori and are now fortifying Tblisi, cutting Georgia in half. Nothing we can do. Nothing Europe or China will do, because they need Russian oil and gas. Russia is holding all the cards here, folks. Every single one of them. Why should they stop now?

Midpoint Music Festival Rocks Out

Cincinnati's Midpoint Music Festival is next month, and it's surely worth checking out if you'll be in town September 25-27. Lots of acts, many venues and a good time to be had by all. Drop by the Festival's main site for a list of bands, including The Purrs, Why?, Backyard Tire Fire, and Robert Pollard's new project Boston Spaceships making their tour debut.

Advance 3-Day passes are on sale for $29, including shuttle service to the venues. There's a ton of bands and it's a great way to experience the city!


Some of you know I'm the proud owner of an iPhone 3G. It's pretty damn cool. But there are issues with it, and those issues are enough to turn people away from the product and back to other smartphones from other carriers besides AT&T.

Apple is denying anything's wrong of course, and so is AT&T. So is the iPhone 3G right for you? The biggest question is if AT&T has 3G coverage in your hometown or not. If they do (I live in Cincy and I'm here 99% of the time within 3G range) then you're fine.

If you're on the road a lot or live out in an area without 3G coverage, you're going to be in trouble. I've noticed that my iPhone will switch from 3G to standard EDGE network coverage without issue if you're deep inside an office building for example, but you have to reset the network settings to 3G to pick up 3G coverage again once you're in a location that should get 3G coverage. It should do it automatically, and it's not. That can be a REAL pain in the ass if you're in a building where Wi-Fi is not available, or where it's locked down because you're in a work environment.

Apple and AT&T have a fair amount of work ahead of them to make the iPhone 3G live up to the hype. When it works, it works great. When it doesn't work, you have to have an IT degree to get it working again. If it's the iPhone software or AT&T's network, Apple needs to get on the ball. There are too many competitors out there that have better service, and once they catch up on the functionality of the iPhone, Apple's in real trouble, because AT&T's 3G service leaves a lot to be desired so far. That may change, but everyone's gunning to the be the "iPhone better than the iPhone" and the brand power of Apple's product is only going so far.

Microsoft took what Apple did right and fixed what was wrong and the rest is history. Will Samsung, Verizon, RIM, or Sprint do the same 20 years later?

The Public Relations War Georgia is being won hands-down by the Georgians.
"We are in the process of invasion, occupation, and annihilation of an independent, democratic country," Saakashvili said at a news conference Monday.

"The goal of this operation is regime change in Georgia."

Saakashvili then abruptly ended his conference call with reporters, saying, "We have to go to the shelter because there are Russian planes flying over the presidential palace here, sorry."

Video footage showed a chaotic scene outside the palace, with the president being rushed away under heavy security.

Somebody's selling the Big Bad Soviets meme hardcore. Again, cui bono? Who benefits from Russia becoming the next Axis of Evil member? On the surface it appears to be McSame, but why pick a fight with Russia?

Quit Whining About Gas!

...because the Village says it's more affordable now than it was during the Kennedy years, so why are you complaining?
But perception is not reality where gas prices are concerned. By June of this year, disposable income had risen by an average of $1,627 per person over last year's figures, according to the Department of Commerce, while the average person's real expenditures on gasoline increased by about $490. Our incomes are still outpacing gasoline price increases. The problem is that our incomes aren't outpacing the increase in gas prices lumped together with increases in everything else -- air conditioning, food, etc. Our homes, meanwhile, are losing value.

Oh, THAT'S why we're complaining. Well gee. So the problem's not gas prices, it's the fact that gas prices taken along with the other ass-reaming price increases and the housing collapse are screwing the American people over. But GAS isn't the problem. Nope.

Nick Petraeus, Agent of S.T.U.P.I.D.

Jeff Huber weighs in on General Petraeus's promotion to CINC-SUCK.
As top military official in Iraq, General David Petraeus followed the same formula that he used in his previous tours there, first as commander of the Mosul district and later as the officer in charge of training Iraqi security forces. He gained short-term results by passing out crates of weapons and bags of money to anybody who wanted them (which was everybody), then he posted press releases telling everyone how brilliant he was, and then he shrugged when things fell apart for the poor knee knocker who relieved him.

As top dog in Iraq, Petraeus caught an enormous break in Shiite cleric Moqtada al Sadr's decision to declare a cease fire in August 2007, and again when Sadr agreed to a second cease fire in March 2008 after Iraq's Prime Minister Nuri al Maliki launched an offensive against Sadr's Mahdi Army and botched it, and yet again when Sadr recently announced that he'll turn his Mahdi force into a social service organization. For those small blessings, Petraeus can probably thank the influence of Grand Ayatolla Ali al Sistani and Shiite brass in Iran (i.e., the guys he blames for all his blunders.)

So what does this mean?

Come September, King David will move upstairs and take the reins of Central Command, at which point he'll be praetorian governor of Egypt, the Arabias, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the rest of the 'Stans.

Which of course allows him to stab Obama in the back, and make his own run in 2012 as the "I told you so" candidate.


Over at CounterPunch, Paul Craig Roberts unloads on the GOP. Yeah, it's ranty (CounterPunch often is) but it needs to be said, and there's good stuff here on the site. To wit:
Georgia was part of Old Russia and the Soviet Union for two centuries. After Soviet communism collapsed, the US taxpayer funded neoconservative National Endowment for Democracy broke every agreement that President Reagan had made with Gorbachev and began using US taxpayers’ money to rig and purchase elections in former constituent parts of the Russian/Soviet empire.

The Endowment for Democracy purchased Georgia as a US colony. The affront to Russia was extreme, but at the time Russia was weak. Oligarchs with outside money had grabbed control over Russian resources, and Russia was in dire straits and could not resist American imperialism.

Putin corrected the situation for Russia.

Now using American weapons Georgia for reasons yet to be revealed has violated its own agreement with Russia and attacked South Ossetia, killing in the process Russian peacekeepers. Vladimir Vasilyev, chairman of the Russian State Duma Committee for Security told the press: “The things that were happening in Kosovo, the things that were happening in Iraq – we are now following the same path. The further the situation unfolds, the more the world will understand that Georgia would never be able to do all this without America.”

The more you look at it, the more Bush and Nameless One's fingerprints seem to be all over this little spat.

Square In The Nuts

The Obama camp is fighting back on the "Obama is an out of touch celebrity" meme with an ad pointing out McSame went all Hollywood a long time ago himself.

To provide a little context, the McCain campaign decided in recent weeks to embrace the “celebrity” narrative with both arms. It’s the principal anti-Obama attack in every ad, every press release, every surrogate talking point, and every speech. The irony, of course, is that the attack is coming from John McCain, a bona fide political celebrity, as evidenced by his cameo in “Wedding Crashers,” his appearance on “24,” his stints on “Saturday Night Live,” and the fact that he’s been on “The Daily Show” more than any other guest ever.

Really, it's bad form to use PWNXXORED, but I think in this case I'll justify it.

The Aftermath of Johnny Boy's EPIC FAIL

So, the Village has digested John Edwards' les Affaire d'FAIL and has come up with the following conclusion:

  1. The Media covered up the affair, because the Media wouldn't run with this story and it's proof that
  2. The Media is based towards Librul Democrats, therefore
  3. The Edwards story is bad for Obama and good for McSame, because
  4. Edwards cost Clinton the nomination and now the GOP will win due to the fact that
  5. The Dems and by turn Obama are now hopelessly mired in a sex scandal.
Got it? Good. Class dismissed. The rest of you have to write "More than ever, Washington really needs a renewed sense of bipartisanship" 1000 times on the blackboard.


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