Radically Inept
Friday, February 20, 2004
  Great story at Whiskey Bar: Cry Freedom, found via Atrios:

Well, we pulled yet another play from failed play books of the past, specifically Vietnam. We are hiring South African mercenaries to help in Iraq. I guess the fact that the French had so much success hiring German mercenaries in quelling the resistance in Vietnam, we just have to follow suit. In fact, everyone keeps pointing to Vietnam as a parallel, which I think may be valid, but it appears to me, we look a lot more like the French before the US came in and allowed the French to get out with 'dignity'?

Oh, though I will also grant that the German mercenaries of the '50s and the South African mercenaries today are some of the best trained soldiers ever, it's just that mercenaries tend to get used only when the 'great cause' isn't considered so great by the people of the hiring nation. Hence, they seem most often to be used in lost causes. Most of the entire history of post WWII Africa comes to mind. 
Thursday, February 19, 2004
  Well, this may well turn into a long rant, but it's a topic I have real strong feelings about. If you are an advertising or marketing executive, or a musician, this is largely directed toward you. I think (and, I really do like using lyrics to make a point) that in many ways, the
J. Geils Band - Centerfold - Lyrics in some way expresses my feelings about corporate media:

My blood runs cold
My memory has just been sold
My angel is the centerfold
Angel is the centerfold

Well, none of my high school fantasies have shown up in any porn that I've seen, but the idea of having your memories sold, really goes a long way toward summing up my feelings on similar fronts. The point is, I refuse to allow my memories to be associated with some damn corporation's products. That's how I feel when corporations use songs that I have fond memories of to hawk their products. In fact, ever since Nike [I refuse to link to these guys] used "Revolution" by the Beatles [I'd link to this, but I have no idea if there is a legal web site, or one supported by the former members or their survivors], which I blame on Michael Jackson [who I refuse to link to for this and other reasons], I have not bought a Beatles album, nor any Nike products. This coupled with major media conglomerations playing the same songs over and over again, has led me to not intentionally listen to any Beatles songs for years. And, I really, really liked the Beatles.

And, I really hate it when the song is still getting air play when it goes to commercial. Match Box 20, I almost bought their album, but then the song I really liked got associated with some product (car?). So, I never bought the album, and I gave up on the band. This is not a rant against the musicians, really. It's against corporate media that thinks I will associate my memories with their products. Besides, it's also a job thing. Ever since the media began using old and new hits, they have fired all the jingle writers. And, that's sad.

Growing up, and to this day, I still know all the words to 'Winston's Taste Good', Lucky Strikes' ' Taste Me, Taste Me', Budweiser's 'Here Comes the King', Burger King's 'Have It Your Way', Cooks Pest Control's 'Here Comes Cookie', and Oscar Meyers 'B-O-L-O-G-N-A'. And, I have fond memories of those jingles. They are directly associated with the product, and they didn't 'steal' other memories. So, come on guys, hire some jingle artists and leave the rest alone.
  Anyway, I am beginning to wonder if everyone has missed the boat on why we went to war. It may well not be about oil. It might be about arms sales. Papa Bush and the Carlyle Group are going to make money hand over fist. If you change the lyrics a little, this stanza by the old Country Joe and the Fish, in their "I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-To-Die" Rag, seems to offer what is apparently an un-explored motivation for the whole thing:

Well, come on Wall Street, don't move slow,
Why man, this is war au-go-go.
There's plenty good money to be made
By supplying the Army with the tools of the trade,
Just hope and pray that if they drop the bomb,
They drop it on the Viet Cong.

Well, especially if you change the last line to something like: 'They drop it on el-Saddam' . Or, something like it anyway.

Actually, I'm sort of surprised no one has looked into this angle. Maybe the reason for not having a post - Iraq plan was totally intentional. Full employment for all, or at least the survivors!! 
  Wow, I know this story broke in several places, but Kevin Drum at Calpundit does a great job of summarizing the actual report. On the otherhand, maybe science is overrated. What has science done for me today?

Well, I mean in comparison with witchcraft and religion, what has science done for me?

Okay, what has religion and witchcraft done for me? Ever...Hmmm. Oh, I know. With out JRR Tolkien's religious beliefs, I would never have been entertained by the LOTR trilogy; that has to count for something. 
  As to screwing up over in Iraq/Afghanistan, I figured that going in. Hell, Papa Bush took a lot of flack for not going to Baghdad, but he was right, and I agreed w/ the decision back then. Now it's coming out that Iran's nuke program is looking far more dangerous then Iraq's was (after '98), and we are stretched way to thin to do anything. Even if we instituted the draft tomorrow, we'd never have a couple, three hundred thousand trained troops trained and equipped in time to do much. Besides, based on the incarceration rate and the obesity level, can we even find that many young men qualified? Oh, and let's not forget how dumbed down most of the young kids are nowadays, I don't know if you could train them effectively as anything but cannon fodder, which we don't really need over there, but then, it would be an effective way of dealing with the unemployment problem. Just incarcerate 20% of are nation's youth (how about them steroids?), draft 20% and ship them into the theater, and a suffer high casualty rate. It would certainly allow those remaining home a better chance at employment. And, there will be all those weapon systems to manufacture...hell, it will be like WWII; it'll pull us out of the recession. Maybe it never was about oil, maybe it was always a way to deal with un-employment? 
  This went out as an email to a lobbyist friend, but I thought it worth reprinting here.

Below are some of my thoughts on how to use Baby Bush's history against him. I hope this arrives w/ the format intact. Anyway, for what their worth:

Subject: Baby Bush's potential weaknesses (at least as I see them)

1) I'd attack the daughter's criminal records. You can't control your kid, how can I intrust you w/ my country.
a. Advantage is the incidents in question happened after the election.
b. The GOP violated the family boundary w/ Chelsea (sp?) first, so line has been crossed
c. It shouldn't come form the campaign, it should be planted in the media
1. first choice would be an MTV look at the daughters (why not?)
2. treatment of daughters vs. treatment of lower income violators of the same crime (re-enforces the privileged class meme)
3. the daughters' criminal records would prevent them from being accepted into the military (not that they'd go), so at a time when our country is at war, his children are unfit for military service...This may play well, if the reserves and guard units have continuing trouble w/ recruiting and retention

2) How much money has the Carlyle Group earned from the 'wars'
a. Daddy Bush is a member of the Carlyle Group
b. The Bin Laden family was part of the Carlyle Group until a month after 9/11
1. Distance from the campaign is required (maybe give this to Michael Moore? Al Franken? Jon Stewart?)
2. This feeds on the money made by Grand Pa Bush during the lead up to WWII (this meme is already on the net, should be easily exploited) War Profiteering/congresses slap down '41?
a. This should be fed to the faithful
b. Good time to raise the issue on the Internet (again, do not associate w/ campaign - MoveOn.Org maybe?)

3) Harken Energy deal has been vetted ; ) through the SEC
a. Harken Energy's only asset was pipeline rights thru Kuwait
b. Papa Bush's Ambassador told Saddam we didn't care about inter-state problems in the middle east
c. Baby Bush sells stock, 2-3 months later Kuwait is invaded
d. Stock value rises after Gulf War (did the Carlyle Group make money on this one?)

4) Last I heard the Bush family was heavily invested in the largest private prison contractor in the country. Haven't confirmed this item yet, but then that's' never stopped the GOP. I'd relate the idea of incarceration for profit w/ slavery, if true.

5) What does he know about ranching? Has he ever shoe'd (sp?) a horse? Has he ever branded a cow? Besides having bought a ranch for the election, what does he know about ranching. It's the Michael Dukakis thing. Or, better yet, like his dad not knowing about scanners in grocery stores. This one I'd save to bring out toward the end of the general election. Just how far out of touch w/ the American people is he?

Oh, and getting back to the Bin Laden's and 9/11, this would be something I'd love to see the democratic candidate do to Bush during an early debate.
1) The set-up: Troops in Iraq are capturing and holding the families of suspected insurgents (terrorists, resistance, whatever) to force these individuals to turn themselves in: Is this behavior something you support?
(My guess here, is that he will defend these tactics w/ all the good ol' boy enthusiasm he can muster, and wrap himself in the flag so tight he can't move.)
2) Follow up, and slam dunk: Then why did you authorize the Bin Laden family to leave the country in private jets (I think the number was 26) immediately following 9/11, when all American citizens were grounded? Why didn't we use the Bin Laden family as hostages against Osama?
(I don't think his reply would matter at this point. Americans will wonder why the Bin Laden family was allowed to leave the country - period. I don't think he would be able to muster more than incoherent babbling in response)

[I know I said this just below, but I really think this is what will happen]

Also, I plan to plant a little meme of my own on the internet: If George Bush loses the election in Nov., on Jan 19, 2005, he will pardon Ken Lay. I think this is true, and the GOP will use Clinton's pardon for Marc Rich, not as a defense, but as a precedent.
  Why aren't economists considered a subset of historians since they can always explain why the market/economy did something, but never seem to be able to predict with any accuracy what will happen to the market/economy in the future? 
  Why were Billy Carter and Roger Clinton issues, but no one mentions Neil Bush? 
  If cost savings are the primary purpose of outsourcing jobs, why don't corporations start by outsourcing the corporate executive salaries instead of the least cost workers? 
  Why do democrats think Hillary Clinton is electable to the presidency? 
  Where is Dick Cheney today? 
  Where is Dick Cheney today? 
  Where is Ken Lay? If Baby Bush loses the election in November 2004, will he pardon Ken Lay on January 19th, 2005? 
  How much money is the Carlyle Group making on this war? Was oil a red herring, or was it planned to first make money on weapons sales, and then get the oil? 
  How much money is the Carlyle Group making on this war? Was oil a red herring, or was it planned to first make money on weapons sales, and then get the oil? 
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