We’re Bringing the War Back Home

Exit, Pursued by a Bear Market.

How bad are the Bush Wars? This bad: No good songs. No good movies. No good cartoons. Even the Korean War got a good television series, if you didn’t mind waiting a generation.

But all we have tonight is this Open Thread/Bond Drive for Barack Obama’s Afghanistan speech. Make your participation count — you’ll need an answer handy when your grandkids ask what you did during the liveblog.


Drinking prompts:

“Civilian surge”: vodka shot
“hearts and minds”: whiskey and a Vietnames “tra nang”
“Civilian response corps”: finish off everything in the pantry, cuz Nabisco is shipping out.


It’s just this little Chromium Tweety here…

Don’t Crush That Tweety, Hand Me the Remote.

@nojo: ABC affiliate through over the air digital here.

I don’t know that I can watch this.

@Just Nabisco: Kisses, love.

TJAlready/ Xanax withdrawal is the worst thing I’ve ever experienced without a doubt. You’ve gotta be committed to that drug.

Afghan time is here
Dreadfulness and beer…

(In case you’re pissed about the Peanuts preemption.)

White House stream fail. Will have to catch the first couple of minutes later.

@nojo: Their phasers are set to stun.

Sophmore cadets thinking ‘I can haz timetable pleez?’

Say, how’s that Ground Zero reconstruction going?

“A lasting peace to a war-torn country.” Lasting? Afghanistan?

Here we go — Pakistan mention…

Two Pakistan mentions. (I’m gonna try to keep count.)

Hey, Mister Taliban, Taliban bananas…

Oh, fuck! Three mentions nine minutes in? Four!

@JNOV: The Official History leaves a bit to be desired. Like, uh, truth.

The way he pronounces Taliban, I keep expecting him to ask mr. taliban to tally some bananas.

@nojo: Jinx!

OMG, does this make us racist?

A giant planet-destroying machine is attacking Vulcan, and we’re sending a flotilla of Federation ships…

@Jamie Sommers: You can’t be racist quoting Belafonte. (Who, by the way, still puts on a great show.)

Soon we’ll be a Battlestar colony…

Oh, you sent fucking letters and saw some caskets? Did you see the bodies?

Setting the stage for kicking ass in Pakistan: 5

@JNOV: Actually, I wish he would base his argument on Pakistan.

Shit, now I can’t get that song outta my head.

@JNOV: “If we leave, Pakistan nukes go boom.”

(Oh, fuck — credibility.)

Trivia break: The single nay vote on the initial authorization for use of military force was not, as I’d suspected, Ron Paul, but rather Barbara Lee (D-Ess Eff). SFL probably already knew that.

Did he lift a Bush Iraq speech from five years ago?

Where have all the poppies gone?

Just before we went in, they were responsible for their country and it was a chaotic shithole. So now we have to continue to build a country from scratch and make sure it will stick after we leave … in less than 3 years. Dude, wtf?

Just cuz you say it’s not an occupation doesn’t make it so.

@Just Nabisco: He’s there, but not really — this calls for realpolitik, not nation-building bullshit.

Coalition of the Willing! Drink!

Wait, are we invading Pakistan? Cause all I hear is “blah blah blah Pakistan blah blah blah Pakistan blah blah blah Pakistan blah blah blah Pakistan blah blah blah Pakistan…”

Here’s the part where he rips off his mask and reveals Dubya never left.

Hilz new uber serious look? Likee…

@Just Nabisco: Heeee!

@nojo: He can string together a sentence. I think he’s a space alien, and you can only see it with special sunglasses.

“Nimble and precise in our use of military power”: Dude, that’s the Rumsfeld Doctrine.

And he can pronounce “nuclear.”

Oh noes. Hillz has those turrible chunky tri-color highlights.

CLOSE BAGRAM, ASSHOLE. Then we’ll believe you.

“We have spilled American blood…” that’s odd.

@Mistress Cynica: Correction:

“bullshit bullshit bullshit Pakistan bullshit bullshit bullshit Pakistan bullshit bullshit bullshit Pakistan bullshit bullshit bullshit Pakistan bullshit bullshit bullshit Pakistan…”

@JNOV: Thank FSM we didn’t choose that for the drinking game. I’d be passed out by now.

@Mistress Cynica: Indeed.

Tepid scared-as-shit applause.

I take back my morning post. This is not a good speech.

@Jamie Sommers: Is it racist to notice that the audience at West Point is mostly white, while the poor bastards NBC is showing watching in Kabul are mostly minorities?

Fuck it. I’m making a sandwich.

Barack Obama joins the 9/12 Project.

@nojo: So you’d prefer President McCain? He’d finish destroying the military.

@blogenfreude: I don’t buy “but think about the alternative” arguments. Just because he’s our sumbitch doesn’t mean I have to like it.

@Mistress Cynica: I noticed the same thing so if it is, I am well and truly fucked.

@blogenfreude: More to the point: I would have allowed something like “If we leave, India becomes a giant hole.” The only reason for staying has nothing to do with why we went there.

@nojo: Does this mean that all this time, y’all’ve been using the name Unicorn unironically?

Upside? Fresh drinks and a smoke before Scrubs.

Oh, the awkward looking girlcadet he just took a picture with is the #1 overall senior.

Does “diddling” mean what I think it means? We’ve got Chris Matthews asking guests if they’re going to bang Obama, and now we have diddling on PBS.

@nojo: True, but he’s playing to the larger crowd here, and I don’t blame him. Every choice he had sucked, and I think this is designed to leave Afghanistan in the best shape it can be – but the key words there are “leave Afghanistan”. If that doesn’t happen, I take it all back.

The key word is “escalation.”

God, PBS pledge drive in full swing — they’re showing that dude in Alaska who built his own cabin and made home movies. Not Timothy Treadwell.

@Jamie Sommers: Except for special historical occasions, I dropped Unicorn after August 2008. Left a bad taste in my mouth.

@blogenfreude: Oh, definitely all the choices sucked. But how is he justifying the unavoidably bad choice he made? Finishing the job we started? Fuck me.

@JNOV: Here there playing “Ed Sullivan Rock & Roll Classics” …. was Beatles, now Beach Boys.

I wish one of those cadets had slugged him.

@blogenfreude: I think the old and infirm in this area cream their pants over this dude living off the land. It was interesting the first two times I saw it. “Fish with my beans tonight!”

@nojo: I don’t think he means it … we do what we can, and we’re out. Can’t hang around in the graveyard of empires ….

“the bad guys know us, and they leave us alone” -hmmmmmm. wah-wah-oooh.

@JNOV: Ed Sullivan here, and both the Beatles and the Beach Boys totally rocked their hits!

@Jamie Sommers: such a travel nerd … he was one of my inspirations to finally get my ass over to london.

@blogenfreude: I’m tired of making excuses for this guy or trying to manipulate what he’s saying into what I want to hear.

God, I really love invading a country, destroying its infrastructure, and then blaming its government for not picking up the slack.

Damn but Michelle Phillips was hawt…

@Just Nabisco: Now Mamas and Papas … easy to forget how good this stuff was/is.

@blogenfreude: I don’t think he means it

That’s the problem: Power corrupts, and the Oval Office corrupts absolutely.

Obama if anyone could have laid out a legitimate case. He chose not to.

@nojo: Yet it’s what we did … so we have to clean up best we can, but if we bankrupt ourselves, we take everyone down with us. Stark choices.

@nojo: I know, and it’s frustrating, but I think if he does the right thing he loses effective command of the military. Sad, but true – if he falls into the traps the GOP has laid for him, any chance of even minimal reform is lost. I don’t condone this, but I acknowledge reality. Maybe I lived in DC too fucking long …

I want my NOVA! Fuck this “Alone in the Wilderness” shit. I’d like to live off the grid, too, but c’mon!

@blogenfreude: My deep problem is that this doesn’t remind me of Bush, but Nixon. I don’t think he’s all that bothered by wingnut politics — they self-destruct without his help. But he’s decided that Americans can’t handle the truth. And maybe that’s the case. It’s not what he campaigned on, however.

Watching the recap on Left Coast News Hour. Can’t really listen because I’m distracted by being reminded of how the service academies’ dress uniforms are hawt. Memories of road trips to Annapolis to party with the USNA boys….

@mellbell: Barbara Lee represents Be-zerk-ley/Oakland. But yes I did know that. She got reamed by a lot of people here for that. And then was reelected by an overwhelming margin in 2002.

Thank FSM for TiVo and NatGeo shows about DB Cooper.

@blogenfreude: I’m not a fan of his guidebooks (especially the cartoon maps) but I like the show and his free podcast tours of the major Rome sites came in handy when I was there this summer.

Meh, enough of the replay of the speech. I’m switching to Simpsons reruns.

@Jamie Sommers: PBS isn’t showing a shot of Hillbot’s hair. Will go look for a photo on the Tubez.

@nojo: Don’t get me wrong – I bang my head against the wall every day because he doesn’t do the right thing. I ask – how far can he go without being a one-termer? I think whatever the GOP throws up will be infinitely worse, so I want him to win in 2012. Problem is, we are saddled with “independents” – smart enough to change their minds, but too stupid to understand the deeper implications. Wev – my head hurts.

What they always leave out of these speeches is that the terrahists have already accomplished all of their objectives so there’s no need for them to attack us:

1) US troops/infidels out of Saudi Arabia? Check.

2) US drawn into unwinnable land wars in Asia? Check.

3) US headed towards fiscal ruin and discredited in the eyes of the world? Check and mate.

We’re doing a fine job of demolishing our country all on our own.

@SanFranLefty: Go Navy! Beat Army! ARGH. Reflex. Those kids are going to die.

@Original Andrew: Yes. That’s what he meant when he said, “We’ve spilled our own blood.”

@blogenfreude: Well, Obama’s already accepted being a one-termer, if his decisions come to that. And I’ll accept that he’s not playing everything for 2012. (Besides, he has Rahm to do that for him.)

And here, as everyone knows, there is no “right thing”: evacuating has consequences as much as staying. The problem isn’t his decision, but his surprisingly weak justification for it. Yes, it’s complicated — but he’s proven himself quite capable of explaining complicated, subtle things. Or, if you prefer, treating the public like adults.

But his decision now doesn’t have shit to do with 9/11 and the months following. He can do better than try to couch it in those terms.

Am I alone? I saw a dude giving an important speach, necessary to establish some cred to the effect that he pays attention to national security, as well as the economy and everything else, and he mentioned that, all thats on his plate.

He answered, subtly, Cheney and the rest of the retards.

I heard some dog whistles to us liberals, correct me if I am wrong, but, he quoted an Eisenhower speech, am I wrong, but is that not a part of the speech, the part just before it, where Eisenhower starts comparing the cost of a bomber to how many high schools, a ship, to how many hospitals? I was waiting for him to go on and quote that part, am I wrong?

He was tough, but encouraging, towards Pakistan.

And like it or not, Pakistan is the only Muslim nuclear power, and has a lot of sympathy towards al queada and the Taliban, and like it or not, if there is ever a nuclear war in my lifetime, I am sure it will start with Pakistans bombs, being used, somewhere.

The threat posed by al queada and the taliban is in the fact that they are destabilizing pakistan, a nuclear state, and I am certain that is why he is doing this.

@Promnight: Then he just needs to come out and say it’s to keep Pakistan’s nukes safe (a goal which I support wholeheartedly). But don’t insult our intelligence with 9/11 blather.

On a much happier note, today I bought a 1948 Singer Model 66 sewing machine, a model they made from 1905 to 1960.

I bought it because I was working on my boat canvas last weekend, with a cheap new $100 sewing machine, I burned it out after sewing about 5 feet of seems.

This thing I just bought for $40 is solid steel, there isn’t a peice of plastic on it. It still works. I bought it because this model, the cheapest and simplest machine Singer made for those 55 years, is bombproof, and is still sought out and used by sailmakers and canvas workers.

Its a work of art, made in Elizabeth, New Jersey in 1948, and its amazing, its a piece of precision, crafted machinery. What shit all this plastic stuff is.

@SanFranLefty: I think he did say it, just subtly, this speech was a message to the DC power elite, not the public, I think, it was a message to the pentagon and the cheney asshole crowd, just saying, fuck you, I am the CIC.

@Promnight: Treadle or motor? Nota bene: I always took my sails to be sewn when they needed repairs. I can’t even sew on a button.

@SanFranLefty: In international affairs, and I don’t want to come off all arrogant, but the rules of decorum and diplomacy, they restrict a head of state from publicly expressing doubt as to the stability of a nation which is putatively our ally, no? He does have to deal with the political facts on the ground in Pakistan, he is capable, if he were to speak too openly, of inciting revolt among pakistan’s al queada sympathizers, he is capable, were he to be too open about the situation, of further destablizing the current pakistani government. Wars have started over words interpreted as insulting or demeaning, in situations as fucked as the situation in Pakistan is.

The Pakistan situation is the one area of foreign policy were I actually felt sympathy towards the Bush admin. Crazy as they were, they had to be careful with that situation. If the pakistani muslim population perceives their leaders as kow-towing excessively to the US, or of joining with us in an unjust war, it could be the downfall of the pakistani government. Perhaps that was the reason for the reminder of 9-11, a message to muslims in the pakistan-afghanistan area, that this is different, this is not the Iraq, that we are in afghanistan because we are fighting the people who did attack us, and its not just a power game, a war for oil.

@Promnight: The threat posed by al queada and the taliban is in the fact that they are destabilizing pakistan, a nuclear state, and I am certain that is why he is doing this.

Then why didn’t he say as much, and solely? He’s proven himself, on many occasions, of going deep and showing the results. Instead he reaches for 9/11, as if that has fuck all to do with circumstances today. Near-unanimous votes eight years ago? Gimme a fucking break.

@Promnight: I think we allow for the diplomatic constraints in our criticism — that the President of the United States doesn’t have the casual freedoms of a blogger. We know Obama can’t really say things in so many words. But we think he can come a lot closer.

aw fuck it, new Scrubs is pretty lame anyway, but it gave me time to think.

It wasn’t about the speech. On that I agree with Prommie; he dog whistled the Cheneys and the Feingolds, but the real message is “if this is going to be Hopey’s War” then we end it right now, and all you fuckers know that “right now” for 60,000 troops isn’t in months but year+. It takes a surge just to bring them all home.”

He draped the strategery along the Hindu Kush and didn’t overdo the “civilian surge”, and the troops will come home without having to lift off from the roof of the embassy. Will he be a one termer like LBJ? Maybe, but he’s got a coupla car companies and banks to run before that rolls around.

The first comment on News Hour analysis was “resolute”; the NYT is running with the “cancer” tag. We’re in it to win it end it.

Prom, you should go back and watch John and Paul and the boys ripping it up on the Ed Sullivan show. There are some sublime shifts they made to “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” that made that so much more than a pop ditty, I’d forgotten.

ADD: Here, and remember: they wrote it “eyeball to eyeball”.

@blogenfreude: It has a motor, but I was fascinated when searching for parts on the interwebs, that other than the motor, it is identical to the treadle models dating from 1905. I was also astonished that parts are readily available, that Singer still makes the parts, and will still sell the manual, and has online pdfs of the schematics, essentially, I am astonished that an American company is still providing product support for a line discontinued before 1960. Singer is still supporting the machines it made from 1871 onward. Wow.

@Just Nabisco: Thank you, Nabisco, I am not alone, this is being judged as if it is a campaign speech or a State of the Union, but its a war speech, and his biggest foreign policy speech to date, and the rules are very different. And I have to say, what he is doing and what he said, is what I think I would have to do, and say, if I were in his shoes, assuming that the information he has that I don’t is what I think it is.

Those little shifts in I Want to Hold Your Hand, I hear them just as clearly in Ever Fallen in Love by the Buzzcocks. Have you heard this new band out of New York, on Little Steven’s label, that is clearly and intentionally channeling the Beatles? More so than Oasis ever did, but the thing is, they are doing 1963 and 1964 Beatles, and I have to say, I prefer the 1963 and 1964 and even 1965 (though they should not have gone so Dylan-crazy) Beatles to the later Beatles.

I love punk precisely because all the best punk is, essentially, 1963 Beatles. Train in Vain?

I have to sing a song of praise to my sewing machine. Its body is one single piece of cast and machined iron, its gears and mechanisms work with a smooth, clicking precision, everything, every last piece of it, is machined metal, no stamping anywhere. It is painted with crinkle-finish in dark grey, and there is not a single place where the paint is worn off or flaking, nothing rusting, nothing marred, though all visibly old. There is a brass monogram screwed to its front, with a highly decorative bold relief design of a Singer logo, with sheafs of wheat and who knows what all little elements, its very busy, and a needle and a thread weaving around it looking like that medical symbol of aesculapius, is that it? Its interior complicated workings are shiny smooth steel, fitted with a satisfying precision, everything clicks together.

And its 61 years old, and I think to get something made this way today would cost thousands.

Brilliant speech. I thought he did wonderfully well with a very cool house. The OH insisted we turn to Fox right after and O’Reilly almost led his denunciation with “This was no Gettysburg address”. So I guess they thought he did well too.

I thought he was particularly good replying to the Vietnam complaint. Now let’s see our brave congress enact a tax to pay for the war.

@Promnight: Do they still make Singers in US ‘Merikah? Somehow I understand why your mention of this machine is not a threadjack at all.

Personal TJ: Does anyone have suggestions on legal ways to make money off-the-books? I am facing a major financial crisis in 2010 for a variety of reasons, and I’m trying to get a second job tutoring, babysitting, cleaning houses, and/or waiting tables, but the job market is so horrific here that there are not many openings and too many applicants. My other option is to pull a Carrie Bradshaw and make a registry for my marrying-and-breeding friends whose life choices I’ve subsidized for 15 years to pay me back. But that’s really tacky. Though I am getting desperate. Thoughts?

@nojo: You know what the Doobie Brothers said, what a fool believes, he sees, I am probably reading into it what I wish it said, I am as capable as self-deception as anyone. But I heard a lot of dog whistles, I heard dog whistles sent out to liberals, real liberals, like I think I am, I heard dog whistle messages to Pakistan, I heard dog whistle retorts and blame being laid on Bush.

And with all those quiet messages in their, I heard a speach that said “I inherited a mess in afghanistan because my predecessor diverted resources from our real enemies to fight an illegal war in Iraq. The Pakistanis allowed our real enemies to establish a safe haven on their territory (he did say that). I don’t intend to engage in nation-building in Pakistan, but I do intend to deny al queada and the taliban this safe haven they have up in the afghan-pakistan border area. I am reminding you muslims in pakistan that I am doing this not because I hate muslims, but because these are the people who attacked us. We have caught their agents entering this country even recently (he did say this) so their threat to us is real. But I am not going to have our troops their forever, and we are going to do this, then leave, so don’t fuck with us.”

Thats what I heard, along with a little “you fuckers who think I am not about defending this country, you have no idea how on top of it I am, and I am not going off all half-cocked like my insane predecssor.”

Yes, I heard all that.

Come on now, are you saying, yes, you heard it all too, but you just wanted it said more like the way FlyingChainsaw would have said it?

@SanFranLefty: They don’t make them here no more, of course, and thats my unspoken lament, as I praise the amazing quality of what we once produced here in this country, and silently contrasted it with the shit we no longer produce, but gladly consume here.

@SanFranLefty: I wish I knew, my friend, about how to make money, I wish I knew a way.

@Promnight: Quite honestly, I heard Cynica’s take, word-for-blah. For better or worse, I listen like the journalist-cum-philosopher I am: dismiss everything but the strictly relevant.

All those dog whistles? Irrelevant debating points, given the gravity of what’s being argued. Even the umpteen references to Pakistan struck me as needlessly unclear.

There’s only one legitimate argument for staying: après nous, le déluge. If Obama made it in that checklist of a speech, it was muddled in the delivery.

Is it okay if I really don’t know what to think about all of this? If I still has teh Hope will I be booed offstage?

@SanFranLefty: Surely prostitution isn’t illegal in Ess Eff. I will come out there and let you pimp me out to hot gay boys. Since I am a slut and not a whore, I will let you keep the money.

@homofascist: Confusion is the only legitimate response.

I need to stop following the news for my own mental health.

Burglars ransack home of family of 4 killed over Thanksgiving by a drunk driver going 100 mph. Truly. Hell is readying a room for the burglars right next to the Salvation Army of Houston turning away the children of Brown people who can’t prove US ‘Merikah citizenship.

@Promnight: Let me know. I’m not artsy/crafty like JNOV.

@homofascist: In Ess Eff, it’s not illegal to be a whore, but it’s illegal to be a pimp. Maybe I can call myself the Yenta of the Castro and thread the needle?

I am so late to this party it’s not even funny. I can’t bring myself to watch the pretty speeches live anymore, I just erupt in rage at words vs. action. So please forgive if I only skim the latest comments.

@Benedick: Our taxes already pay for the war. That is the one thing I find fault with in this “war tax” movement. If it would actually discourage US America from keeping up the wars, I’d be for it. But I seriously doubt even the Republicans would be able to milk much from a war tax. US American peeples seem to have endless forgiveness for spending on credit when it comes to wars, not so much to provide basic services to their fellow citizens.

@SanFranLefty: Go tacky. I, for one, would love to read it. Just do something to make yourself as famous, or nearly so, as Sarah Palin, and you’ll be guaranteed a massive first-edition print and good $$$ for the film option. Not sure what you’d have to do to make yourself as famous as Sarah, though — that’s the fatal flaw in the plan.

@Promnight: Since I didn’t listen to the speech and haven’t bothered to google a transcript, I accept your unbiased reportage of the facts of the speech. But I question the premises of what this President (not that he’s unlike any other President) is feeding us. WE DO NOT HAVE TO BE IN AFGHANISTAN. There is absolutely no point in it. It only hurts our prospects for some wistful, future “security”. GET OUT NOW.


Why would they rent the cow? They can have the whole dairy for free.


The sale of soft drugs, by which I mean everything south of Meth and Heroin, while technically illegal, is still quite profitable. I suggest XTC, for the trade is both honorable and predictable; noble, in point of fact. Soon there will be no law enforcement in California anyway.

I am saddened to hear you are having trouble, Lefty.


I wish I had seen this speech. Reading the summaries, however, I can only say this: Meh. We’re there now, soon there will be more of us there, and I already knew we would still be there in 2011.

@Pedonator: Honey, I would never go to Palin levels of tackiness. I’m just thinking of registering my student loans on one of those str8 breeder registry sites and telling people that for the $50 I spent on their wine glasses, they could pay 5 3.7% of my February student loan payment.

@Tommmcatt is hunkered down in the trenches: Darling, I’m a member of the State Bar. Unlike Orly Taitz (who’s been freakishly quiet lately), I don’t want to do anything that could hurt my status. I’m nervous about being paid in cash for scrubbing toilets and having the IRS come after me. I think I shared with you when I was in El Ay the source of my troubles. Things have gotten worse since then. If only I were under 30, had no family history of psychosis, cancer, or heart disease; then I’d be donating my eggs to every fertility clinic in a 1000 mile radius.

@nojo: I am glad then. Over the holiday weekend my dad, who grew up a military brat and is usually Republican in the old-school Republican way and not the ‘tell you who and when to fuck’ kind of way really broke it down in terms that made sense and I respect. Which was basically that Bush fucked up diverting all of these resources to Iraq and ignoring Afghanistan (and thus Pakistan) which is really the region that needed the attention. I guess I don’t like war is pretty much any shape or form, and I am glad I don’t to make any of these decisions. Cuz I is conflicted.

@nojo: Pakistan? Do we want to talk about Pakistan?

OK, then why aren’t we talking about Pakistan? Or, not so much, anyway.

Not that I think we should go in there, jeebus, what a recipe for disaster. The Predator Drone Strikes are bad enough.

How many people really believe that the peasants in the mountains of Pakistan give a fuck about how we flout our freedoms, exposed female breasts, and rampant homosexuality, when we are dropping bombs on them and killing their families?

It has to stop. If it stops right now, we can only hope that the tribal vendettas directed against us will dissipate after a few generations.

Because we really have NO legitimate security concerns there, other than those which can be monitored by the well-funded clandestine services that have served us so well in the past.

Yes, it’s bad that the Pakis have nukes, but really I don’t think they are any more insane than US Americans, and they have tons of nukes!

Just let it play out, don’t do “pre-emption”, if something bad happens, play nice with the international community to try to make it better, or whatever.

Occupying foreign countries indefinitely is not a good idea.

@Promnight: But he said relevant things; he said “I was against diverting resources from Afghanistan to Iraq, he said he was against that war. He did say people have been intercepted and apprehended who were sent from the Afghan-Pak safe haven area, and he as much as blamed Pakistan for harboring Bin Laden when he said, he escaped to Pakistan. These things are not relevant? Sending a message to those who might be mistaken about our motives, in light of his predecessor’s bad faith war, this is not relevant?

let us at least assume that he speaks the truth when he says our covert ops have indeed intercepted al queada members attempting to get into the US to do harm, he said it outright, these would be things that never made the news, this is, on its face, a major revelation, the last official statement of similar import was the arrest of whatsisname, in when, 2003?

If thats true, that does in fact mean that al queada is still operating in where, Waziristan, and attempting real terrorism plots. I am willing to bet that tomorrow we will hear someone in the Cheney camp criticize this revelation, on their favorite grounds, that all we do must always be secret, and you must just trust is that we are doing stuff, because to admit we do stuff, will tell the enemy we do stuff, as if they don’t know that whatsisname has disappeared suddenly.

Its all true facts, we should never have let al queada get away into pakistan, we know they got away into pakistan, bush diverted attention to a false war, as it is now, al queada has a little lawless area, apparently tolerated by a pakistani government that cannot, politically, do anything about it even if they want to, because of internal politics.

Fighting in Iraq, a war which the muslim street rightly percieves as simple imperialism, if not a war against their religion itself, was making more enemies than it was destroying, probably by about 10,000 to 1.

I think Obama just announced that we are not going to be fighting any unjust war for oil, that we are going to end this situation in which al queada has this safe haven, and that this is limited to that purpose.

I just have to say, this all just sounds like the least unacceptable of unacceptable courses of action, and he is doing what he must, and he announced it in a way that sends appropriate messages to all concerned, the military, the war hawks, the muslim street, the pakistani government.

Just what would you have him do, Nojo?

@SanFranLefty: Ah, ok. I saw “Bay Area” and didn’t read any further.

@Promnight: I heard where there’s a Singer Island off the coast of Florida that was owned by the family. Nice to know that there’s something of quality we made that we still make ….

@Promnight: OK, if we accept the fact that evil nefarious Al Qaeda terrorists have been intercepted from the wilds of Pakistan and Afhanistan, or Baluchistan, or whatever…

Is that not a job for law enforcement? Almost nothing has been done by the military to keep us safe from terrorists, compared to the tried-and-true machinations of criminal justice, which have brought terrorists to trial again and again.

Terrorists do not constitute a state-sponsored armed force. Even when the Taliban provided “safe haven” for Osama, the War on Terror and the war against the admittedly vile Taliban “government” of Afghanistan were really two very different endeavors conflated by propaganda into one and the same.

Remember that a few months before the invasion, the US Government administration seemed perfectly willing to negotiate with the Taliban government regarding pipeline rights, etc.

Enemies of Oceania may have been Friends of Oceania, just a year before.

@Promnight: Just what would you have him do, Nojo?

Whatever his decision, make a better case for it than he did tonight.

@Pedonator: OK, then why aren’t we talking about Pakistan?

Beats me. I don’t even know whether I would agree with him. But this isn’t 2001, and you can’t explain our continued presence in the region based on circumstances that no longer exist, and have not existed for years — there’s no job left to finish.

In any event, I wasn’t expecting to agree with the decision going in. I just wanted to hear a good argument for it. If we weren’t fretting about the nukes, nobody would give a shit.

Does this involve student loans?

Have you considered renegotiating or even telling the bank to fuck off? Just a thought (I’m sure you already thought of it.) If you raise a big enough and public stink then they might back off.

@nojo: And if we weren’t fretting about the nukes so much in 2000, why now? Oh, perhaps because we don’t have a Pakistani dictator in our pocket like we did with Musharraf(?).

Anyway, what about India? China? Israel? …France or Britain, for fuck sake?

Lots of countries have nuclear bombs nowadays. It seems our efforts, such as, have been pointless on that front. Perhaps other nations might be more deterred from pursuing the biggest bombs if we could find it in our hearts to get rid of them ourselves. Fuck, we are just fucked, fucked, fucked.

@Promnight: Just what I would have him do:

“America, we have spent years wasting precious lives, those of our brave military women and men, and those of poverty-stricken, defenseless Afghani people, in pursuit of a goal that has been ill-defined and frankly, unattainable.

Afghanistan deserves our support, but that support cannot be sustained by lending arms, dollars and blood to a corrupt and oppressive regime that only serves to continue the oppression of those in Afghanistan who would see their people free. ”

…and on from there, something like that…

(of course, it is never acceptable to acknowledge the innocent native civilian victims of our incessant savage blood-thirsty invasions, but one can still have Hope, yes?)


Yes it does involve student loans, but it doesn’t involve the original lender or bank, but perversely enough it instead is an entity that guaranteed back in the good old days to subsidize most of the student loan repayments based upon my choice of employment to serve the poors. Doubly perversely enough, an entity that recently honored me for being the outstanding attorney of the year for the poors. Oh the irony. Five days after getting a fucking glass plaque from them at an event where the catering company forgot to bring meals of rubber chicken to my table of “honor”, I learn they are fucking me over and I’m on the hook to repay 800% more than I did in 2009.

Things change. Like university endowments, reimbursement rules, and contracts of adhesion. If I were a good attorney I would have noticed loopholes in that contract of adhesion.

And I’d actually rather whore myself than shame them for fucking me over and causing massive insomnia and depression. I’m not sure why, but there you go.

If any of you know kids ages 5-30 who need tutoring help, college app-writing help, SAT/LSAT help, law school app-writing help, let me know. I offer those services freely to the children and relatives of my friends but from this point forward I’m only doing it for $40 an hour. I used to tutor for a company that charged $50/hr for my time and paid me $20/hr (higher than my current hourly income – my hourly rate to my employer is another matter). I’ll cut out the middleman.

@SanFranLefty: I think the banks they are a’ courtin’ you.

I don’t know what a “contract of adhesion” means, but it sounds like porn without the fun.

You should be able to charge more than $40/hr, jeebus, I paid some unseen tax law people much more than that for just a few emails between us when I had my unfortunate encounter with the tax court this year (not because I didn’t want to pay my taxes, but because my tax guy fucked it up royally a couple of years ago).

Time to get 0n the capitalist pony and ride, dearest, ride that pony until you are solvent again.

(And if I can shoot any prospective lawyers your way I will, but just sayin’, I don’t know many of them and meanwhile I think you should cash in by any means necessary — or almost. Don’t go taking a gig on Cheney’s inevitable war crimes defense team.)

@Pedonator: Alas, a contract of adhesion is not exciting or sticky enough to be associated with pron. It’s the “take it or leave it” contracts you sign when you rent or buy a car, buy a plane ticket, or click on the “I Accept” button when you download a song on iTunes.

Oh, and that $40 an hour is for my tutoring/toilet cleaning services. My attorney rate is ten times that, but my employer forbids me from doing legal work outside of the realm of my job unless it’s pro bono.

@homofascist: I’m going out for a pack of smokes myself. You all can thank me later…if I return.

(Just make sure someone takes care of Bo, ‘kay?)

@Pedonator: Don’t leave us Pedo…you only show up on holidays and Susie’s birthday!!

@SanFranLefty: It’s not pro bono if I just happen to contribute $5K to your “PAC” for each night we spend in rapturous discussion of “the issues”.

I have a moral dilemma. My cousin’s son, 17 yrs. old, told me at T-Day dinner that he is going to enlist in the Army after graduating from high school.

I’m not that close to him or anything, but in the context of the fambly gathering I couldn’t bring myself to tell him, and his grandparents, what I thought about that. He has other options. Besides which, I can’t stand to see anyone I know and care for decide to take that path, volunteering to be cannon fodder for what is now, let’s face it, Obama’s War.

I feel like writing my aunt (his grandma, who has raised him since he was a little teeny boy) that she needs to do anything she can to point him in another direction. This guy has had a hard enough life as it is, full of trauma, raised by his grandparents while watching his mother spawn more and continue on a downward spiral.

–Not that I can claim any moral high ground here! — just that my heart breaks to see this fine young specimen sign up for something he can’t know anything about. I don’t want him to go to Afghanistan or Iraq. I don’t want him to be one of the too many who have given their lives for nothing, nothing, nothing except perhaps the profits of the likes of Halliburton and Blackwater.

Should I email my aunt, describing my objections? What say you, Stinquers?

@Pedonator: Please, please, please, please do it Pedo. Does he have any alternative? Is your aunt going to kick him out of her home on the day he graduates from high school?

I have several former clients, who by dint of being wards of the state, were kicked to the curb on their 18th birthday and/or their high school graduation day because the foster care agency would no longer pay for their beds. They went in the military because they had no other option to being homeless.

If your aunt is willing to allow him to go through the completely age-appropriate angst of being a 19 year old male working part-time at the pizza parlor and failing out of two classes at the community college, then she should absolutely not let him sign up. There is nothing poetic or beautiful about going to war, it is desperation.

If he is not sure what he wants to do and doesn’t want to waste his time and money on college right now, but he wants to make a difference, I strongly recommend the Job Corps or AmeriCorps. The alumni in the room can give more info, but I think you can go in Peace Corps with a high school diploma. If nothing else, there are orphanages in Thailand and Tanzania and Laos and schools in Nicaragua that need manual labor and/or people who speak English.

And if, despite all this, he still insists on going in the military, beg, beg, beg, your aunt and him that he enlist in the Air Force. Most practical post-service skills and lowest probability of being cannon fodder killing brown people in the Middle East.


Random thought: Set up a coffee/tea cart near the BART stations. You can get 200 tea bags at the grocery store for, what, $4? Starbucks charges $2 a pop for each one. It’ll be on the DL, so you’d need to keep moving around town on random days and times.


It doesn’t matter how pretty Barry’s speech was, we’re going to fail there in the most horrifying manner. The likelihood of success is 0%, and I can say that with 100% certainty because AmeriKKKans simply can’t comprehend the fact that problems can be solved without guns and bombs.


If he has adults telling him “no,” then he may want to sign up even more.

I tried everything I could think of with my brother. When someone really wants to join, or they simply can’t accept that it’s the military (as if killing people were just a career option) and not dental school, then there’s really not anything you can do. Sorry.

@Original Andrew: I agree that it’s probably futile for Pedonator to try, but wouldn’t you agree that he has to at least try and not double guess himself a year from now for not attempting to talk the kid out of it?

@SanFranLefty: Oh shit, no, my aunt and her partner would never kick him out, I don’t think. I’ve just spent so much time trying to write her a letter that doesn’t sound condescending, or judgmental, or etc. and I can’t seem to get the right tone.

This is my favorite aunt, she’s been so forgiving and jovial about my fuck-ups while growing up, and I don’t know, it seems like since I’ve been an adult they’ve all got so conservative, even getting religion and such, and I don’t feel I really know them anymore.

I want to tell her to do anything she can to discourage my nephew’s choice, but he seemed so casual about the decision, and I just don’t know what the fuck to say to them.

The cousin/nephew himself wouldn’t give me any credence, even though when he was little I got him the very fucking bestest toys for Christmas! (That was before he completely realized I was ghey and moved out to bumfuckistan and started doing high-sch00l rodeo competitions).

@Original Andrew: I know, shit, that’s why I can’t bring myself to send that heartfelt letter I just wrote my aunt!

Damn young people! Why do they think we haven’t already thought through all their problems?



There’s a certain mindset at that age, maybe delusions of invincibility? Kids think that dying or getting physically or psychologically maimed in a war is something that happens to someone else. They’ll buy all that shit about “precision strikes” and “armies of one,” etc. They’re not ready for the reality of being shot at every day for months at a time.

Still, I would say that the most effective approach would be to talk to the cousin directly. Treat him like an adult and make sure he’s thought about living with the consequences, ’cause he’s making a big-time adult decision.

@Original Andrew: You’re right, of course. But how do you confront a 17-year-old? This is exactly why I finally opted out of having a child with my bestest childhood lesbian friend.

@Original Andrew: I agree, I was pounding my head against the wall while trying to rationalize with one kiddo who is now in Afghanistan but had been told by Army recruiters he’d be in Hawaii.

@Pedonator: I defer to the child/adolsecent psychologists. I certainly have no tips of success on how to do this. I agree with OA, talk to him like an adult. And have all of the permutations and eventualities planned out. If I had my druthers to do it again, I’d organize it like a deposition where you have pre-thought out all the possible deviations from the path and subquestions.

Try to not make it confrontational or accusatory. Maybe if you can get to what is underlying this need to do this – for example, one kid I know felt that he and his family had spent their lives sucking from the system via welfare/food stamps/foster care/Medi-Caid, that he thought he owed something back to the government. If I had been more prepared for that argument, maybe I could have done a better job presenting the AmeriCorps/Peace Corps/Job Corps alternatives. He also was worrried about not having housing or health care (after getting kicked out of his college dorm for 3 weeks during Xmas break, and not having anywhere to go).

So go prepared, but with an open and non-judgmental attitude, towards him and/or your aunt.

And don’t beat yourself up if he still does it. You tried.

And OTOH, I think yet again the draft needs to be reinstated without exception, so that this conversation isn’t limited to small segments of our society.


I’ve been dealing off and on with Mr. OA’s 15 year-old brother (Mr. OA’s dad married and much younger woman), and little bro lives in an all Faux Nooz household. Like this summer he started whining about sosheelized mediseen, and big gummit blah blah, then I pointed out that he’s on Medicaid and qualifies for the school lunch program (which, I’m proud to say, I managed to do politely without sighing, rolling my eyes or exclaiming what a stupid little fuck he was acting like).

I’m not the right person to ask for advice on relating to teenagers, especially since I turned 32 when I was 17.


As much as I’d love to see the draft reinstated, it won’t work. The ee-leets will just figure out some other way to get out of it. What was it they called them, the champagne units(?) that stayed stateside and never did much.

@SanFranLefty: And have all of the permutations and eventualities planned out. If I had my druthers to do it again, I’d organize it like a deposition where you have pre-thought out all the possible deviations from the path and subquestions.

You can do that? The pre-thought all deviations and shit? Damn, I wanna be a lawyer now!

But seriously, I’m giving it some thought. Since I have almost no interaction with the boy himself, I’m just having a hard time figuring out how to approach my aunt, and her mucho macho partner-of-30-odd years.

@Original Andrew: I turned 32 when I was 17

That was me, except for the maturity part!

Yeah, there’s no good way to deal with it. And I’m going to Inhofelandia for a few days to visit Dad and Stepmom during the holidays. I would say “Pray for me”, except I don’t believe in that sort of thing, and if I did, you’d probly have to pray to the wrong kind of superhero.


I’m sad to hear about the money troubles. OK, you may hate me for suggesting this, but have you ever looked into being a manager at a large firm? Some firms have their own practice managers who handle the support staff, HR, marketing, document imaging, etc, and they can easily make well over $100K.

Downside: Oh shit, having to deal with the pushy, stressed-out, raging assholes that work at the firm, who may be the same people that can hire and fire you. Downside, big-time.

Sorry I missed the speech, missed this great thread. I was out feeling the hate at a city council meeting of a local city that has gone in the tank for the trucking industry. Could one of y’all give me the 2 minute version of why, according to Obama, this isn’t like VietNam?


First, there are those who suggest that Afghanistan is another Vietnam. They argue that it cannot be stabilized, and we’re better off cutting our losses and rapidly withdrawing. I believe this argument depends on a false reading of history. Unlike Vietnam, we are joined by a broad coalition of 43 nations that recognizes the legitimacy of our action. Unlike Vietnam, we are not facing a broad-based popular insurgency. And most importantly, unlike Vietnam, the American people were viciously attacked from Afghanistan, and remain a target for those same extremists who are plotting along its border. To abandon this area now — and to rely only on efforts against al Qaeda from a distance — would significantly hamper our ability to keep the pressure on al Qaeda, and create an unacceptable risk of additional attacks on our homeland and our allies.

Love the “coalition” part.

And yes, I’m up late sorting it all out for the Morning Blather, so we get to have this marvelous conversation all over again.

I had to sleep on it, but is the organization you work for publicity adverse?

I’d think about telling my tale of woe to the press or threaten to anyway. I know it’s not the nicest approach, but it might be the only way to keep them from fucking you over. If not tell the press, talk with the sponsors. You can play hardball, too.

Unfortunately, I don’t know enough of the situation to give you any solid advice.

@Original Andrew:
Speaking from experience, recruiters lie and often.

The Air Farce might not be the safest place either. Unless one has got a serious technical skill, they will probably shuffle him off to Base Security. Plus they’ve got a number of base security units training for infantry (!) due to the Army/Marine manpower shortages because it took the Pentagon 40 years to realize that in a guerrilla war there is no front line.

What about the Navy or Coast Guard?

@Pedonator: Write/send the letter. Do it as well as you can. If you don’t, you’ll reproach yourself for it later.

@SanFranLefty: I’m very sorry to hear about this. Couple of ideas: can you walk away from the loan? Plan it out so you get rid of anything they could attach, use whatever credit you have now and then walk out. Is that possible as it is with a mortgage? Or would they go after your license?

And I have found that reading a contract carefully does not always show you what’s in it when the contract is written using a frame of reference that is so subtly foreign you can’t see it’s there. Can it be broken? Doesn’t a contract have to presuppose some kind of balance to be legal?

You have all kinds of experience and clearly a terrific resume: surely you can make use of that in your own field? Are there agents? Headhunters? What about career coaches? I don’t mean those believe and you will achieve people but real people who can suggest options? Forgive me, but it sounds like you deserve better than tutoring. If things weren’t so bad I’d suggest real estate. With a law degree you’d be ahead of the game. And it’s a business in which you can make your own rules. If you don’t want to behave like an asshole you don’t have to. If you lived in LA I’d suggest trying talent agencies. They love people with a law background.

@Pedonator: Tell him that if he has any doubts whatsoever about enlisting (as a teenager he should have plenty of doubts about everything) that he should act on them before it’s too late, and that no one in your family will love him any less for choosing a different path (this, quite frankly, will be easier for him to accept if there are few to no military role models in his life). If he seems adamant, particularly if he speaks of it as a possible career path, do your utter best to convince him that college + OCS is the better way forward.

@All: Thanks kiddos for the suggestions and ideas. I am a resourceful person and will work something out, I needed to vent.

@nojo: Thanks. I don’t see any reference there to propping up a corrupt, phony, illegitimate government that was put into power by the US and that commands no allegiance from the locals, including the local armed forces. Nor am I sold that the Taliban is unpopular among the locals — the local men, at least.

@SanFranLefty: Free lance writing can turn a few hundred bucks a pop for stories, but you need clips and an in.

@ManchuCandidate: A partner’s daughter is at the Coast Guard Academy and gets to sail some groovy old boat they have. The USCG mission is transforming to a include acting as a worldwide brown water navy and have been dispatched for anti-pirate duty on the east coast of Africa in addition to anti-drug work. My best friend did it and had fun as a CPO, doing law enforcement and vomiting in bars throughout the PacNW.

@SanFranLefty: As for other services, my National Guard buddy was a senior enlisted man who trained Air Force and Coast Guard troops to do infantry duty in Eye-Rak. BTW, he was looking forward to peacekeeping in Africa two years ago.

Sorry I missed the thread. I was live blogging in my head as I drove back from the mall with my new corduroys and while having dinner at Mrs RML’s mother’s house (awesome red chili enchiladas). In the ICU waiting room now since last night supporting my mom while her great aunt is in a bad way. The situation has not been fully explained to me, but apparently her lungs are not absorbing O2 now.

@redmanlaw: ICUs are never fun. Thinking of you and Mrs. RML.

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