Intravenous Caffeine

Totally Unfair and Completely Unbalanced

Boehner and the Boehnheads

John Boehner turns blue in the face trying to corral the tea party caucus.

Knock, knock. Who's there? Orange. Orange who? Orange you glad I didn't say: Argo ... yourself?

Once again, we have one situation that we can’t do a cartoon about, or at least one that we can’t get a funny take on. I’m referring, of course, to those idiots down in Florida who “tried and convicted” a Qu’ran and then burned it at the stake. Ahhh, we’ve come a long way since the Middle Ages. Since this didn’t get enough press and outrage from the Muslims around the world, our pal Hamid Karzai made sure everyone knew about it by rending his garments, pouring ashes on his head and demanding justice for the desecrators. Knowing full well that there is no law they can be charged with and that the US of A was certainly not going to extradite anyone to face “justice” someplace else for something that happened within our own sovereign borders. And of course, another bunch of idiots from the peaceful religion of Islam, having heard what happened via our good pal in Afghanistan, in order to put the lie to Terry Jones’ and company’s “indictment” of the book, have run around rioting and murdering people. There’s nothing I could draw that could outdo the collective idiocy occasioned by this idiotic asshole down in Florida, so I’m not even going to try.

I’m going to turn to our other good friend, John Boehner. The Republican party, as you know, has nominal control of the House of Representatives, making our national Boehner Speaker of the House. This means that John has the unenviable task of trying to make sure that bills actually get passed by said august body. The problem for John is that the Republican caucus is actually two caucuses: the official Republican one and the Tea Partiers. This means he has almost as big a problem as the Democrats had getting anything done with the Blue Dog caucus in their party voting against anything that wasn’t conservative enough. And boy. are you going to have a problem making something conservative enough for the Tea Party group.

Seems that most of them are new to this new occupation of politicking and have no idea that it means the art of negotiation and compromise. Now, you could say that about the Republican Party in general–and you’d be right–but most of the real politicians under the tail of the elephant realize that as long as you grandstand about the “big issues”, you can actually get everything else done without a whisper. Not our teabaggers! At least one of them has said that he isn’t gonna vote for any damn budget that doesn’t “defund Obamacare.” And the rest of them have similar demands. And like El-Orans in the desert, they are crying “NO PRISONERS!” as they charge into the august chambers of the august body. And it ain’t even August!

Now John knows that sooner or later, they need a budget. The WORST thing he could possibly do with the economy in its weak condition, excuse me, robust recovery (at least in the financial sector), is shut down the government. There is no consumer, no single employer more important, and to shut it down for even a few days could create such a downturn that even the wealthy could see a dent in their portfolios. He could pass a budget with enough compromises for some Democrats to come on board–but that would be a sin in the Tea Party’s eyes. He could try to explain to the Tea Party that THEY need to make some compromises…but then he’d be seen as a traitor also. As the saying goes (attributed to Mark Twain), “Never try to teach a pig to dance. It just wastes time and annoys the pig.” So somehow, he’s got to figure out how to pass a budget without Democrats and possibly without a whole buncha nominal Republicans. But a lot of Tea Partiers actually think shutting down the government would be a good thing so John might feel that he’s going to be talking himself blue in the face in the next few days.

Or maybe just green.

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Who’d'a Thunk The Belgians Would Be So Creative?

Young Frankenstein homage, exhuming the Belgian archbishop with ties to the child abuse scandal..

The Belgians thought it would be better to hire local labor to exhume the Cardinal...

Well, it has been an eventful week. General MacArthur shot his mouth off again to the press and Harry Truman was forced to sack him. Oooops, I mean General McChrystal shot his mouth off to a reporter from Rolling Stone and Obama, after months of McChrystal’s badmouthing and leaking, was finally forced into firing him. McChrystal’s boss and predecessor, General Petraeus, will take over operations in Afghanistan that, suprise! surprise! we’ve been told will probably take even longer. After all, those 50 al-Qaeda in the mountains need to be kept from rejoining the rest of their crew … in PAKISTAN. Yeah, yeah, I know, we’re trying to keep out the Taliban too so we can keep our friend Karzai in power–who, it has been speculated, has already joined the Taliban. Round and round she goes, where she stops, nobody knows, but the United States will continue to waste money and troops there because we won’t accept defeat in a war that lost its meaning 5 years ago.

Anyway, on to the real story…no, not the one about Fox and Friends wondering what that BP robot was thinking when it accidentally knocked the cap off the Gulf gusher–Jon Stewart already handled that. Hey, guys, The Terminator was just a MOVIE. No, I’m talking about the latest development in the ongoing story of Churchly pederasty. Holy Hercule Poirot! The Belgian fuzz raided church offices to seize evidence about priestly child abuse and its coverup. You gotta hand it to those Belgians. They ain’t sitting on their hands with this one. But the icing on the cake was the opening of two Cardinal’s tombs–what, did they think they were going to catch them in a smoking erection? Evidently, somebody thought that evidence might have been buried with the prelates, instead of being burned like anyone with half a mind would have done. On the other hand, the Church is full of bureaucrats, better photocopy those papers before you burn them, just in case we need them again!

While giving the Belgian police high marks for energy, initiative and creativity, I have to ask what they were smoking. Did someone read/watch The Da Vinci Code one too many times? How about Young Frankenstein? In any case, Our Holy Father is in a state of Righteous Dudgeon–something he forgot about doing while HE was in charge of investigating priestly child abuse–How DARE they act like the Church was full of bankers? I mean, criminals! “Huff! Huff!” he huffed, “Thou Shalt Not Hear the end of this!” And the former Hitlerjugend member from Bavaria (in what was to become WEST Germany) called the Belgian cops worse than Communists!

The Belgian church is now thinking of suing the Belgian police if the Jesuits can torture out a legal basis for the suit.

Finally, as we heard this morning. Robert Byrd, longest serving Senator in US history, passed away last night. Byrd was a living example that you CAN teach an old dog new tricks, having turned from a member of the KKK to one of the most reliably liberal members of the Senate. He will be missed. Our condolences to his family, the Senate and the people of West Virginia.

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Afghanistan: As Obama will say, the Surge is Working … Hmmmmmmm

The last two al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, Bilal and Yussuf, discuss Obama's Afghan strategy and how they'd be happy to leave for $10 billion dollars and we wouldn't even have to send in 30000 troops.

Afghanistan-Pakistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan--it's getting so they're not even unpacking anymore

Well, the root canal is still a bit sore but the stomach virus has, shall we say, eliminated itself, so we are back here a day late. Obama’s speech to West Point–which Mr. Matthews stupidly characterized as “the enemy”–has already passed out of the news to give way to more important rumors about Tiger Woods and his many woods…which appear to be quite a few more than he carries in his sack. President Obama has, as was expected, elected to escalate whatever it is we’re doing in Afghanistan. I mean, what ARE we doing there? Is it a war? I thought that was over eight years ago. Is it a mission? If it is, I’d like to know what the mission is. Or was.Or will be. Because the only way you can end a mission is by accomplishing something and after 8 years of being in charge, we haven’t seemed to have accomplished much. Was it to catch Osama bin Laden? That’s what the advertising was back after 9/11. Well, hell, we let him escape to Pakistan. That’s one mission UNaccomplished. Was it to eliminate the drug trade? Hell, there are only two industries IN Afghanistan, rugmaking and opium poppies, and opium poppies is the one that brings the most cash into the country. Besides, if that was our goal, we should have just left the Taliban in charge–they’d brought opium production down to a minute fraction of what it had been. What’s 18 months gonna do that the last 8 years hasn’t?
To be fair, back during the election, Obama kept saying that Afghanistan was the GOOD war and Iraq was the BAD one and he was going to do something about it. But lots of us must have figured that was just to impress Fox News. And as it turns out, this is one of the few things he wasn’t blowing smoke about. Gays? Wait around. Patriot Act? You know, there are some awfully good things in there. Secrecy in government? Shhhhhhhh, let’s not talk too much about that one. Single Payer? Why, that would destroy our health insurance industry! So I can’t blame progressives for being surprised that he IS keeping his promise about this one. But, if we haven’t accomplished our mission yet, just WTF is it?
FOX NEWS knows what our mission is–since they seem to have become the fourth branch of government since Dick Cheney abdicated–it’s to “WIN”. That’s one word we didn’t hear in Obama’s speech, Fox newsies said with stuck record regularity, WIN! Well, Fox–and its subsidiary, the Republican Party–has always had a football game mentality to both war and politics, which I suspect are the same thing to them. No such thing as a draw, only winners and losers in their books, so if you didn’t win, you’re a loser. But — we won. We did that eight years ago. What we’ve been trying to do for the last eight years is figure out what the hell it was we DID win. True, we got rid of the oppressive Taliban government, but what did the Afghani get in return? Karzai–and his brother, Mr. Opium King? Who managed to hold an election in which hundreds of thousands of votes were cast in non-existent polling stations? I’m no fan of the Taliban but Cheeses and Crackers, couldn’t we have done a little better than Hamid Soprano?
Winning, as far as I can see, consists simply of keeping al-Qaeda and the Taliban out. Well, the Taliban, there’s only about 100 al-Qaeda left in Afghanistan at the most generous estimate, see Bilal and Yussuf in the illustration, but we always have to say “al-Qaeda and the Taliban” so that our “mission” looks like it still has something to do with 9/11. Where did al-Qaeda go? To the hills of our “ally” Pakistan. So why are we in Afghanistan? To keep them from coming back in. WTF would they go back to Afghanistan when they have a safe haven in Pakistan? I mean, it’s not like it’s their ancestral homeland. They have just as miserable conditions in Pakistan as they had in Afghanistan. Well, we have to stay to keep the Taliban out. What for? To keep up the opium trade? To prop up a government that is so corrupt it even makes the Bush administration look beige? We’ve had eight years to Kabul together a government in our own image and likeness and all we did was screw around. We ain’t gonna do it by getting serious for another 18 months.
But I think Fox News has a point, one that they don’t even understand–which isn’t saying a lot, since understanding things is less important to them than having an opinion. We have to have a surge to make it look like we’re taking some kind of action. Then we’ve got 18 months to figure out what we can say we accomplished so we can declare our mission “WON”. Then we can “draw down” before the ’012 election. Mostly. Like Iraq, we’ll be keeping a significant garrison in place because the only way to keep the Taliban out is to stay fighting them. And, like Iraq, where we still have 50,000 troops, we’ll be there for some time to come. At a million dollars a year per man because that’s what it costs to keep troops occupying another country. Just think what we could do HERE with a million bucks! Never mind we, think of what I could do with a million bucks. Hey, doesn’t the USA qualify for “too big to fail?”
Which brings me to my final point. The Soviet Union was only in Afghanistan for 10 years and that little adventure is credited with its downfall. We’ll be hitting OUR tenth anniversary in 2011 and remember, the tenth anniversary is TIN!

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