Counterculture Con HQ

July 4, 2010

“The Surge: The Untold Story” (bumped)

This is the Iraq War movie Hollywood will never make.  Simply EPIC.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

July 1, 2010

Obama’s “My Pet Goat” Moment

Pick your poison– corporate greed, or government incompetence.  President Obama took to his teleprompters a couple of weeks ago to address the unfolding catastrophe in the Gulf and head the Republicans off at the pass.  The oil spill isn’t “Obama’s Katrina”, as was being insinuated by many, but his 9/11.  That’s a fine choice of imagery on his part.  Politics is the art of defining your enemy, or keeping him from defining you.  If 9/11 is the imagery Obama wants to use, that’s because it’s the imagery of a winner– it’s George W. Bush imagery, if I may be so bold.  And we are thus in agreement with the President.  This imagery, it can be argued, is fair because Obama can claim to be the victim of the previous eight years of oil policy, just as Bush supporters claim 9/11 was the culmination of Clintonian anti-terror policies– an argument with which Obama appears to be in tacit agreement.  The fact is, every president is saddled with the mistakes and omissions of the prior administration.  Every president is therefore judged by how he plays the cards dealt him.  The two catastrophes also share something else in common– a “My Pet Goat” moment, which for Bush lasted a full 7 minutes.  Obama’s paralysis has persisted for going on two full months now.  During the initial stages of this unfolding disaster I didn’t believe there was much Obama could do about it.  His hand was weak.  Could I have been wrong?

Avertible catastrophe

Three days after the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico began on April 20, the Netherlands offered the U.S. government ships equipped to handle a major spill, one much larger than the BP spill that then appeared to be underway. “Our system can handle 400 cubic metres per hour,” Weird Koops, the chairman of Spill Response Group Holland, told Radio Netherlands Worldwide, giving each Dutch ship more cleanup capacity than all the ships that the U.S. was then employing in the Gulf to combat the spill.To protect against the possibility that its equipment wouldn’t capture all the oil gushing from the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico, the Dutch also offered to prepare for the U.S. a contingency plan to protect Louisiana’s marshlands with sand barriers. One Dutch research institute specializing in deltas, coastal areas and rivers, in fact, developed a strategy to begin building 60-mile-long sand dikes within three weeks.The Dutch know how to handle maritime emergencies. In the event of an oil spill, The Netherlands government, which owns its own ships and high-tech skimmers, gives an oil company 12 hours to demonstrate it has the spill in hand. If the company shows signs of unpreparedness, the government dispatches its own ships at the oil company’s expense. “If there’s a country that’s experienced with building dikes and managing water, it’s the Netherlands,” says Geert Visser, the Dutch consul general in Houston.

In sharp contrast to Dutch preparedness before the fact and the Dutch instinct to dive into action once an emergency becomes apparent, witness the American reaction to the Dutch offer of help. The U.S. government responded with “Thanks but no thanks,” remarked Visser, despite BP’s desire to bring in the Dutch equipment and despite the no-lose nature of the Dutch offer –the Dutch government offered the use of its equipment at no charge. Even after the U.S. refused, the Dutch kept their vessels on standby, hoping the Americans would come round. By May 5, the U.S. had not come round. To the contrary, the U.S. had also turned down offers of help from 12 other governments, most of them with superior expertise and equipment –unlike the U.S., Europe has robust fleets of Oil Spill Response Vessels that sail circles around their make-shift U.S. counterparts.

"A Whale" of an oil skimmer

Why does neither the U.S. government nor U.S. energy companies have on hand the cleanup technology available in Europe? Ironically, the superior European technology runs afoul of U.S. environmental rules. The voracious Dutch vessels, for example, continuously suck up vast quantities of oily water, extract most of the oil and then spit overboard vast quantities of nearly oil-free water. Nearly oil-free isn’t good enough for the U.S. regulators, who have a standard of 15 parts per million — if water isn’t at least 99.9985% pure, it may not be returned to the Gulf of Mexico.

When ships in U.S. waters take in oil-contaminated water, they are forced to store it. As U.S. Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen, the official in charge of the clean-up operation, explained in a press briefing on June 11, “We have skimmed, to date, about 18 million gallons of oily water–the oil has to be decanted from that [and] our yield is usually somewhere around 10% or 15% on that.” In other words, U.S. ships have mostly been removing water from the Gulf, requiring them to make up to 10 times as many trips to storage facilities where they off-load their oil-water mixture, an approach Koops calls “crazy.”

The Americans, overwhelmed by the catastrophic consequences of the BP spill, finally relented and took the Dutch up on their offer — but only partly. Because the U.S. didn’t want Dutch ships working the Gulf, the U.S. airlifted the Dutch equipment to the Gulf and then retrofitted it to U.S. vessels. And rather than have experienced Dutch crews immediately operate the oil-skimming equipment, to appease labour unions the U.S. postponed the clean-up operation to allow U.S. crews to be trained.

A catastrophe that could have been averted is now playing out. With oil increasingly reaching the Gulf coast, the emergency construction of sand berns to minimize the damage is imperative. Again, the U.S. government priority is on U.S. jobs, with the Dutch asked to train American workers rather than to build the berns. According to Floris Van Hovell, a spokesman for the Dutch embassy in Washington, Dutch dredging ships could complete the berms in Louisiana twice as fast as the U.S. companies awarded the work. “Given the fact that there is so much oil on a daily basis coming in, you do not have that much time to protect the marshlands,” he says, perplexed that the U.S. government could be so focused on side issues with the entire Gulf Coast hanging in the balance.

Then again, perhaps he should not be all that perplexed at the American tolerance for turning an accident into a catastrophe. When the Exxon Valdez oil tanker accident occurred off the coast of Alaska in 1989, a Dutch team with clean-up equipment flew in to Anchorage airport to offer their help. To their amazement, they were rebuffed and told to go home with their equipment. The Exxon Valdez became the biggest oil spill disaster in U.S. history–until the BP Gulf spill.

April 13, 2010

The Last War Protester

Peace out!

The last living anti-war protester in America, Cindy Sheehan, wants our boys to die.  I say this because she’s protesting Obama’s drone war, which keeps our boys alive.

Sacramento, Calif. – The anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan who famously camped outside President Bush’s Crawford, Texas ranch is leading a protest against a small manufacturing company in Oregon that makes unarmed, unmanned drone surveillance aircraft for the U.S. military. The pro-troop group Move America Forward is working with local military and community groups to support the company and the troops fighting the war on terror, especially those who are helped by technology.

“They’re attacking the use of drones and the people that make them because they say it ‘hides the human cost of war’” said Move America Forward’s spokesperson Debbie Lee, who lost her son in the war in Iraq. “But these anti-war people tend to forget, or they just don’t care, that these drones are saving the lives of our troops, taking on dangerous missions that would otherwise risk the lives of America’s bravest most precious resource, our young men and women. “

“We want to show our troops that despite what these anti-military groups say, and despite what Cindy Sheehan has to say, we support our troops, and we support using drones to minimize casualties. There are hundreds of military families out there who have lost family members in the wars and some of them might still be alive today and this conference is an insult to them.” concluded Lee, whose own son Marc was the first Navy SEAL to be lost in the War in Iraq.

“The most disgusting thing about these protests is that these anti-war folks act like we need to give the terrorists a fair fight.” concluded Lee.

[…]

She’s a kook, but an honest one.  When Bush left office, the anti-war movement evaporated into thin air.  But not Cindy!  Which means she wasn’t anti-Bush, she was genuinely anti-war.  Unfortunately for her, the Lib Media no longer cares about her.  It’s not like they’re going to use her against their Obamessiah the way they did with Bush.  When Bush left, they dropped her faster than Wiley E. Coyote could find a cliff.  Huge surprise there, right?

March 26, 2010

Same Victimhood, Different Day

Someone said “nigger”?  Someone was downright mean to you?  Left a death threat on your voice mail?  Boo hoo hoo.

More Bottled Piety

This week’s talking point is the sudden danger of new right-wing violence, and the inflammatory push-back against health care. I’m sorry, but all this concern is a day late and a dollar short. The subtext is really one of class — right-wing radio talk-show hosts, Glenn Beck idiots, and crass tea-party yokels are foaming at the mouth and dangerous to progressives. In contrast, write a book in which you muse about killing George Bush, and its Knopf imprint proves it is merely sophisticated literary speculation; do a docudrama about killing George Bush, and it will win a Toronto film prize for its artistic value rather than shock from the liberal community about over-the-top discourse.

Socialism and totalitarianism are tough charges from the hard right, but they seem to me about as (or as not) over-the-top as Al Gore screaming “digital brown-shirts” or John Glenn comparing the opposition to Nazis. When 3,000 were murdered in Manhattan, and Michael Moore suggested Bin Laden had wrongly targeted a blue state, I don’t think that repulsive remark prevented liberal politicians from attending his anti-Bush film premiere. Yes, let us have a tough debate over the role of government and the individual, but spare us the melodrama, the bottled piety, and the wounded-fawn hurt.

Like it or not, between 2001 and 2008, the “progressive” community redefined what is acceptable and not acceptable in political and public discourse about their elected officials. Slurs like “Nazi” and “fascist” and “I hate” were no longer the old street-theater derangement of the 1960s, but were elevated to high-society novels, films, political journalism, and vein-bulging outbursts of our elites. If one were to take the word “Bush” and replace it with “Obama” in the work of a Nicholson Baker, or director Gabriel Range, or Garrison Keillor or Jonathan Chait, or in the rhetoic of a Gore or Moore, we would be presently in a national crisis, witnessing summits on the epidemic of “hate speech.”

So here we are with the age-old problem that once one destroys decorum for the sake of short-term expediency, it is very hard to restore it in any credible fashion on grounds of principle when the proverbial shoe is on the other foot. A modest suggestion: If the liberal community wishes to be more credible in its concern about contemporary extremist anti-administration rhetoric, then they might try the following: “Please, let us avoid extremism and do not fall into the same trap as Baker, Chait, Keillor, Gore, Moore, or Range when they either expressed open hatred toward their president, or speculated about the assassination of their president, or compared their president to a fascist. We must disown such extremism, past and present.”

[…]

Bush Derangement Syndrome right back at ya, Leftards.  It’s a genie you let out of the bottle, you anarchy-loving, culture-destroying filth.  Every downturn in the culture the last 30-40 years– including in the level of our current political discourse– can be traced right back to your doorstep.  Harsh language hurts your feelings?  Not that CCHQ endorses threats of violence, but well, that’s one of the upsides to being out of power!  We get to watch you choke on your own medicine.

February 4, 2010

CIA: Al Qaeda Attack Imminent

Remember the good ol’ days of when every terror alert was further evidence of a Bushian conspiracy to abolish the Constitution and impose fascism and martial law on us?  What a difference an election makes!

CIA CHIEF, LEON PANETTA: AL QAEDA POISED TO ATTACK U.S.

Al Qaeda can be expected to attempt an attack on the United States in the next three to six months, senior U.S. intelligence officials told Congress on Tuesday.

The terrorist organization is deploying operatives to the United States to carry out new attacks from inside the country, including “clean” recruits with a negligible trail of terror contacts, CIA Director Leon Panetta said. Al Qaeda is also inspiring homegrown extremists to trigger violence on their own, Panetta added.

“There is the opportunity and chance that al qaeda will be sending networked individuals, trained individuals in particular from the regional affiliates but there’s also the potential of radicalized inspired lone wolves trying to attack using simple methods,” said CBS News security analyst Juan Zarate.

Read the rest, here.

As you can see, Obama’s victory in ’08 comes with a silver lining.  Just as it took a Nixon to visit China, for Libs at least, it takes a Dem president to fight terror.  Ah, the power of those mind-altering paradigms!

January 29, 2010

Obama and the Nobel Peace Paradigm

Light and dark: the power of paradigms

Barack Obama is under tremendous pressure to be the “peace president.”  He has, in my view, transcended those expectations for the most part.  Now he’s doing it again.  This won’t sit well with his adoring base.  Not with the honest ones at least.

OBAMA TO SPEND MORE ON NUKES THAN BUSH

Barack Obama has allocated £4.3billion to spend on maintaining the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile – £370million more than what was budgeted by George Bush.  The budget will also be increased by more than £3.1billion over the next five years.

The announcement comes despite the American President declaring nuclear weapons were the ‘greatest danger’ to U.S. people during in his State of the Union address on Wednesday.  And it flies in the face of Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize, awarded to him in October for ‘his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples’.

Yup.  Barry’s a warmonger!

Obama, it appears, can spend money on our nuclear arsenal, even upping the amount spent by Bush because it’s for all the right reasons.  Of course!  That goes without saying.  Meanwhile, the Right spends money on our military arsenal because they are partners in crime with some vast military industrial complex. It’s a big money-making con job on the American people.  Their motives are evil.  That is an inviolable truth and premise.  Ah, the power of paradigms!  And paradigms must never be questioned.

January 25, 2010

Jihad recruiting in Sweden Too

Sweden, universal bastion of all that is good, decent, Liberal, and not Gitmo or George W. Bush, is apparently a recruiting center for Islamic jihad.

SWEDEN RATTLED BY SOMALI MILITANCY IN ITS MIDST

STOCKHOLM – Ten subway stops from downtown Stockholm is “little Mogadishu,” a drab suburb of the Swedish capital where radical Islamists are said to be recruiting the sons of Somali immigrants for jihad in the Horn of Africa.

Police and residents say about 20 have joined al-Shabab, an al-Qaida-linked group waging a bloody insurgency against Somalia’s government, and many of them came from the suburb of Rinkeby — the heart of Sweden’s Somali community. According to SAPO, the Swedish state security police, five of them have been killed and 10 are still at large in Somalia.

The issue has gained notice at a time of worsening fears of Islamic radicalism in the Scandinavian countries, home to more than 40,000 Somalis who have fled their war-ravaged homeland. These fears sharpened with the Jan. 1 attack by a Somali immigrant in Denmark on a cartoonist who caricatured the Prophet Muhammad.

“It’s a small group but they have power,” said Abadirh Abdi Hussein, a 25-year-old hip-hop artist and “110-percent Muslim” who has become the best known Somali in Rinkeby because of his campaign to counter al-Shabab’s influence. “People don’t speak up against them. They don’t dare.”

Sweden’s center-right government announced last week that it will study how local authorities here and elsewhere in Europe are tackling extremism.

Above, Libs in Sweden victims of a slow-motion mugging by reality.  And nothing warms my cockles more, because a Lib mugged by reality is on the fastrack to the Dark Side where we wait for them with welcoming arms.  Of course, recall it was George W. Bush who was the cause of Islamic militancy, and we were promised that all that was supposed to vanish into thin air with the election of Barack Obama and the closing of Gitmo.  It’s only gotten worse.  Not to mention Sweden doesn’t have a Gitmo.

January 12, 2010

Why the Patriot Act

I shall force someone to take the body away from him and Johnny will really hit those microphones and those cameras with blood all over him, fighting off anyone who tries to help him, defending America even if it means his own death, rallying a nation of television viewers to hysteria, to sweep us up into the White House with powers that will make martial law seem like anarchy!

From John Frankenheimer’s The Manchurian Candidate

I love this quote, even if the movie is anti-rightwing brainwashing.  For some reason I always think of that quote whenever I imagine the day after we lose one of our cities to a WMD attack.  It’s why I never gave much consideration to the howls of protest about President Bush’s Patriot Act, now continued under Obama.  If you hate the Patriot Act because you think it robs you of your civil liberties, try to imagine a world in which we’ve lost a city to a nuclear attack.  Even a gas attack, or a dirty bomb.  What would America look like then?  It will be a world in which our government will have powers that will make the Patriot Act seem like anarchy by comparison.

NEWT GINGRICH:  I’M DEEPLY WORRIED

Here Newt Gingrich looks genuinely afraid that our political system isn’t serious about the war on terror and that we will “lose a city.”  He wonders what will happen to our civil liberties the morning after that calamity and how rapidly we will impose ruthlessness on ourselves in that kind of a world.  Those of us who care about civil liberties better be thinking through how we win this war before the casualties become so great that the American people will voluntarily give up whatever it takes in order to keep them safe.  Because the day a WMD goes off in one of our cities is the day the Constitution died.

Thanks: Vlad Tepes

January 2, 2010

DARK KNIGHT: Top Rightwing Movie of the Decade™

CCHQ’s coveted Top Rightwing Movie of the Decade™ award goes to…roll drums…

BATMAN: The Dark Knight.

Playboys: Bush and Wayne

George W. Bush, for good or ill, has become emblematic of all things “rightwing” this last decade.  Thus our choice.

Feared and despised.

These eight reasons make Dark Knight a shoe-in for this coveted award:

1. Batman was unwilling to appease the terrorists– just like Bush.

2. Batman was accused of wiretapping– just like Bush.

3. Batman tortures the joker for information in the interrogation room– just like Bush is accused of doing.

4. Batman invaded another country illegally– just like Bush is accused of doing.

5. Batman was accused of causing more violence by waging war on the terrorists– just like Bush.

6. The citizens of Gotham turned on their protector– just like Americans did to Bush.

7. Batman was willing to endure hatred of Gotham’s citizens to do what he believed is right– just like Bush.

8. Batman is now hunted for his “crimes”– just like Dems wanted to impeach Bush for his “crimes.”

—————————————————————————————–

Honorable mentions to Return of the King, The Incredibles, and Gran Torino.

December 27, 2009

Big Oil Not So Big

Remember all that Iraqi oil Bush was accused of destroying the Twin Towers over?  Remember how we invaded Iraq to steal all the oil and make slaves of the Iraqi people?  Apparently those wrecked towers, and all that American blood and treasure got the “Big Oil” puppetmasters nothing.

U.S. Companies Shut Out as Iraq Auctions Its Oil Fields

Those who claim that the U.S. invaded Iraq in 2003 to get control of the country’s giant oil reserves will be left scratching their heads by the results of last weekend’s auction of Iraqi oil contracts: Not a single U.S. company secured a deal in the auction of contracts that will shape the Iraqi oil industry for the next couple of decades. Two of the most lucrative of the multi-billion-dollar oil contracts went to two countries which bitterly opposed the U.S. invasion – Russia and China – while even Total Oil of France, which led the charge to deny international approval for the war at the U.N. Security Council in 2003, won a bigger stake than the Americans in the most recent auction. “[The distribution of oil contracts] certainly answers the theory that the war was for the benefit of big U.S. oil interests,” says Alex Munton, Middle East oil analyst for the energy consultancy Wood Mackenzie, whose clients include major U.S. companies. “That has not been demonstrated by what has happened this week.”

In one of the biggest auctions held anywhere in the 150-year history of the oil industry, executives from across the world flew into Baghdad on Dec. 11 for a two-day, red-carpet ceremony at the Oil Ministry, broadcast live in Iraq. With U.S. military helicopters hovering overhead to help ward off a possible insurgent attack, Oil Minister Hussein Al-Shahrastani unsealed envelopes from each company, stating how much oil it would produce, and what it was willing to accept in payment from Iraq’s government. Rather than giving foreign oil companies control over Iraqi reserves, as the U.S. had hoped to do with the Oil Law it failed to get the Iraqi parliament to pass, the oil companies were awarded service contracts lasting 20 years for seven of the 10 oil fields on offer – the oil will remain the property of the Iraqi state, and the foreign companies will pump it for a fixed price per barrel.

Far from behaving like the war-ravaged, bankrupt country that it is, Iraq heavily weighted the contracts in its own favor, demanding a low per-barrel price and signing bonuses of up to $150 million. Only one U.S. company, Occidental Petroleum Corp., joined the bidding last weekend, and lost. (ExxonMobil had hoped to land the lucrative Rumaila field, but lost out to an alliance between the Chinese National Petroleum Company and BP because it declined the Iraqi government’s $2-a-barrel fee.)

That might have been the thinking of U.S. oil giants, which largely stayed away from last week’s bidding, and which have failed to negotiate oil deals with Iraq’s government outside of the public auction process. Iraqi officials say they are not awarding contracts based on political considerations, but simply a straight comparison of prices and production targets. “The bidding was extremely tough,” said one official in Baghdad, in an email. “My guess is that [the U.S. companies] could not match the offers from others.” In Iraq, at least, the victor has no special claim on the spoils of war.

So “big oil” isn’t so big after all. Not that I care which oil companies secure the contracts, as the oil ends up on the same global market anyway.  This is only noteworthy because it puts to rest the college dormroom level attacks on Bush and the Iraq war we’ve all had to endure for the last 8 years.  Because this proves Iraq is a sovereign country.  It’s as free as any country the Middle East has ever been.  And it’s free and sovereign, not because of the likes of Code Pink, Cindy Sheehan, Harry Reid, et al.  Far from it.  Everything they wished for Iraq would have guaranteed chaos and neverending civil war.  All because of their hatred of Bush.  That cowboy.  That moron.  The guy who liberated more Iraqis than a thousand Amnesty Internationals writing a thousand letters a day for a thousand years could ever hope to liberate.  That’s why Iraq is free today.  The guy who stuck to his guns, while the war’s detractors vanished into thin air the minute Barack Obama was elected to office; their position on Iraq not so principled as we’d been led to believe.  And had they succeeded in driving Bush out of Iraq, they would have made themselves equally as scarce as that country descended into genocidal anarchy.  But where did all those war protesters go anyway?  I see them pop up occassionally in the comments sections across the internet, but the streets are clean of them.  Were they against the war, or were they against Bush?  Methinks CCHQ will have to devote some time in the future to that question.  In the 70s, anti Vietnam war protests also mysteriously vanished when the draft was abolished.  Apparently it was the draft they were against, not the war.  And if the Left thinks Iraq exercising its sovereignty is Obama’s doing, they simply aren’t aware that Iraq was giving away oil contracts to non-U.S. companies long before Obama was even a twinkle in their eye.  Not a single U.S. oil company won a contract to extract Iraqi oil.  I am all for America acting in its own enlightened self-interest and reaping the benefits.  But this is also something to be proud of.  We aren’t stealing their oil, or telling them how to run their business.  Iraq is a free and sovereign country.  That is all the vindication you need, gentle readers.  You were right, they were wrong.

H/T: Worth Reading

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