Washington Fiddles While Drivers Get Burned

March 4, 2011

By Cole

The Middle East gets into a self-inflicted muddle and the news is suddenly full of stories about gas prices spiking to $4 a gallon and counting.

How much you want to bet that, next quarter, our major oil companies will break previous records AGAIN for unconscionable profits?

Today, they’re mumbling excuses that places like China are straining supply with their growing consumption. They know Americans aren’t going to buy the line that their driving habits are driving up prices. Too many people are out of work and too many people are still driving less since Big Oil’s last huge faux crisis after Hurricane Katrina.

I’m no mathematician, but if gas prices rose parallel to the cost of oil, oil company profits should remain flat. Yet they never do.

Oil companies seem to be pouncing on the opportunity to gouge while they can blame the Middle East.

Since nobody can predict when the Middle East will ever calm down (which is probably never), it’s Big Oil’s intention to inflate prices meteorically before anybody can stop them and make it the new “normal” for American families to spend most of their disposable income on gas. A year from now, “cheap” $5 gas will seem like something we dreamed.

As usual, Washington sits on its thumbs, waiting for another recession to hit before it even thinks about taxing Big Oil’s windfall profits. After all, the more money Oil has, the more politicians it can buy. So what if “little people” have to choose between gas and food?

Every price jump at the pump will fuel consumer fury, culminating in the next obscene oil profit announcement, and that fury will head for Washington like a freight train just as the 2012 election campaigns kick off.

Meanwhile Congress is playing on the tracks with oil company lobbyists.


Obama Trapped in Muslim Mudslide

August 18, 2010

By Yul

For a fellow black cat, President Obama sure doesn’t seem to have my surefootedness nor an ability to land on his feet when he gets himself into a jam, as he did on August 13 during a dinner at the White House for Muslim leaders to honor their holy month of Ramadan. In a prepared speech, he brought up the proposed mosque 2 blocks from Ground Zero and said

“As a citizen, and as president, I believe that Muslims have the . . . right to build a place of worship and a community center on private property in Lower Manhattan, in accordance with local laws and ordinances.

“This is America, and our commitment to religious freedom must be unshakable. The principle that people of all faiths are welcome in this country, and will not be treated differently by their government, is essential to who we are. The writ of our Founders must endure.”

It certainly sounded like he has no problem with that mosque. So naturally, it gave the right-wing wackos reason to scream, “See, what did we tell you? He’s a closet MUSLIM! One of THEM!”

So the next day, Obama tried to backtrack by saying…

“I was not commenting and I will not comment on the wisdom of making the decision to put a mosque there. I was commenting very specifically on the right people have that dates back to our founding.”

He’s beginning to remind me of that Woody Allen character, Zelig, who would try to fit in everywhere by morphing into whatever type of person he was with.

I agree with Adele that if Muslims want to build a “community” center, fine. But making it a mosque intentionally excludes everybody but, uh, Muslims.

Obama certainly could have handled it better and sounded like he wasn’t caving to extremism. Michael Graham of the Boston Herald eloquently provided the words Obama could have and should have said.


Obama Talks to Karzai RE: McChrystal

June 24, 2010

By Yul

So Obama accepted Gen. Stanley McChrystal’s resignation (which the media generously calls a “sacking” to boost Obama’s new bad-ass image), and Gen. David Patreaus is going in. They said Obama called Afghanistan president Hamid Karzai to deliver the news, so imagine me as the kitty under his desk, secretly listening in…

Obama: Hi, Hamid? Barack here.

Karzai: Ah, Mr. Obama. A thousand felicitations. How are you?

O: Could be better. I’ve got BP holding on the other line, so let me get right to the point. I’m calling because there’s been a slight change of personnel in our efforts to turn your country into a Western-style Muslim-hating, God-fearing Christian nation.

K: Are you referring to my friend, Stan? The one who talked to that American magazine. What is it? Rock and Roll?

O: Rolling Stone.

K: Yes, that’s the one. I was just reading it. Stan and his men, how do you say it? — they drilled you a new one, ha, ha! — but they really seem to like Hillary.

O: (Tone turns icy) General McChrystal did not live up to the high ideals I expect in a seasoned military professional who carries out, without question, whatever orders I give. It’s the cornerstone of our democracy, so McChrystal had to go.

K: So, you’d rather prove to the whole world that you have thin skin, can’t take a joke, and let some hippie magazine determine your foreign policy? And you call me weak? You should lighten up, my friend. Life’s too short — you’d know that if you lived here.

O: Sorry, levity is out of the question, Hamid. I’ve got a lot of things on my plate and my hair is getting grayer by the minute. I don’t need any trash-talking general bad-mouthing me and Biden, so I’m replacing McChrystal with General David Petraeus.

K: The Butcher of Baghdad?

O: No, that was Saddam. Patraeus is a fine man. He’ll be a big help to you.

K: Can he be bought?

O: Of course not. He has utmost integrity, and I’d trust him with my life.

K: Then he’s no use to us. You might as well let him stay home. Oh, sorry to cut this short, Barack, but I’ve gotta go. I’m meeting the Taliban for lunch.


Will Obama Kick General McChrystal to the Curb?

June 23, 2010

By Yul

UPDATE: OK, so Obama has left me wiping egg off my face, but we still don’t know for sure if he “ousted” McChrystal as some news sources are saying, or if McChrystal resigned. Either way, I think Obama screwed up and stand by my following prediction for the fallout.

I’ve gotta write this fast before Obama makes an announcement and you think I’m Monday morning quarterbacking, but no, I don’t think Obama will fire Stanley McChrystal or ask for his resignation. He’ll settle for some private ass-kicking and public humiliation, and then send McChrystal back to Afghanistan. That’s punishment enough.

What other choice does Obama have? McChrystal’s already his second general in Afghanistan. Going to a third one will just make Obama look like he’s flailing.

And he can’t let Rolling Stone bring down one of his top generals.

This situation reminds me of the infamous soldier-slapping incident that brought down General George S. Patton. One thoughtless misstep and suddenly Washington thinks the whole man is no good.

It’s our national obsession with form over substance rearing its ugly head again.

Besides, McChrystal wasn’t the only one who talked trash. I can’t blame him or his senior officers, who have all spent plenty of time in Afghanistan, to have some disdain for Obama and every other clueless suit in Congress and the Pentagon who has let this fiasco churn for 9 years.

And if Obama fires McChrystal, you can just hear Sarah Palin and her Republican cronies:

“How’s that ‘No Drama’ thing workin’ out for ya? I guess now you know how it feels when the lamestream media gets its claws into ya. If you can’t stand the heat, shut off the toaster!”

And McChrystal’s got Afghan President Hamid Karzai and other Afghan officials watching his back. Karzai called him the “best commander” of the war, which really isn’t saying much, since Karzai’s a tool, but he’s all Obama has to work with.

And since Obama claims we’re on the verge of pulling out anyway, is it really worth breaking in a new general over there?

So, I predict Obama won’t repeat the mistake Truman made with MacArthur, and Ike made with Patton, and waste another perfectly good general.


Top al-Qaida Leaders Killed — Again

April 21, 2010

By Yul

How many times do the “2 top al-Qaida leaders” have to get killed before they stay dead?

When are people going to realize that al-Qaida regenerates like a gecko’s tail? It grows new heads every time you cut one off.

And what happened to that Bush-era deck of cards with pictures of the top 52 bad guys? Did they all ever get captured or killed or, like Osama bin Laden, were the ones who got away quietly swept under the rug in hopes everybody would forget about them?

I must confess that I have such a hard time keeping the names straight, and the equally difficult nicknames they all seem to have, I can’t keep track.

Oh, great. While writing this, I just discovered another leader bit the dust.

Joe Biden called all this a “devastating blow” to al-Qaida. Yeah right, Joe. Until next Tuesday, when they have the new management team in place.

Now that we’ve supposedly got al-Qaida “on the run” and the Iraqi army is getting so adept at killing — after many years of being the only ones over there who weren’t — why should Obama wait until August to withdraw our troops? Let’s bring our soldiers home now and let the Iraqis have at it while they’re on a roll.


Is Karzai Losing It?

April 7, 2010

By Yul

Remember when Bush put Hamid Karzai in charge of Afghanistan? All anyone could talk about was Hamid’s dashing hats and capes. But today, Karzai reminds me of what Carrie Bradshaw of Sex & the City once called a squirrel:

He’s just a rat in a cuter outfit.

To cut Karzai some slack, the White House has been sending him mixed messages, so it’s no wonder he’s pissed and shooting his mouth off.

First, Obama committed 30,000 more troops to become Taliban cannon fodder. Then, on the night of March 28 with only an hour’s notice, Obama personally dropped in on Karzai for a good 25-minute talking-to.

On April 3, Karzai got everyone’s knickers in a knot by reportedly declaring that if the Afghan people perceive American presence as an invasion, he’d join the Taliban insurgency himself.

Now, even in jest, I can’t imagine Obama ever saying, “If the American people think I ran for president to push a black agenda, I’ll join the KKK.”

That’s crazy talk.

Karzai is also said to harbor delusions that we want to dominate the region, and that he could personally work a deal with the Taliban if only we’d go away.

Has he looked out a window lately? Why would anybody but extremist nut jobs want a piece of Afghanistan?

Karzai accused the West of meddling in the shady election he won last year. (I knew Bush would give us that reputation.) AND he’s been getting chummy with Obama’s other pain in the neck, Iran’s Mahmoud Amadinejahd.

Some people think Karzai has been smoking bad ‘nip and it’s affecting his judgment.

I believe he’s just a garden-variety tin-horn dictator who wants more freedom to be inept and corrupt, but Obama isn’t letting him have it.

But enough of allowing this guy to bite the hands that feed him. Obama needs to rethink our presence in Afghanistan. After 8 years, it high time Karzai started putting his own money where his mouth is.


Oslo to Obama: No Pressure!

October 11, 2009

By Yul

Nobody saw it coming — Norwegians putting Obama’s feet to the fire with a tongue-in-cheek Nobel Peace Prize. Don’t get me wrong. I’m happy to see my fellow black cat win a prize, but that one? For what?

It’s still business as usual in Iraq, and if Obama heeds his generals, things are about to take an ugly turn in Afghanistan.

For a change, everyone seems to agree on one thing: Obama was recognized mainly for not being George W. Bush. On the other hand, the day the Nobel was announced, we hauled off and bombed the moon.

Looking for ice. Yeah, whatever.

Obama is increasingly much talk, little action. Just ask gays. Or people waiting for deliverance from the scourge of private health insurers. On that score, Obama hasn’t just taken a backseat to Congress, he’s locked himself in the trunk. It’s become blatantly obvious that health insurance “reform” is all about protecting insurers’ precious profits. Any change that would actually reduce cost and waste — the private option, expanding Medicare, single payer — is DOA.

But will Obama be able to end Bush and Cheney’s wars? Will he de-nuke Ahmadinejad and get the Middle East to accept Israel? Will he ever get Americans to stop screaming and making themselves look foolish to the rest of the world?

I’m guessing not, and Obama will someday be hiding the Prize in a closet, but you have to applaud Norway’s off-beat way of reminding our president that talk is cheap and results would be nice.


What if Cats Wore Burqas?

June 23, 2009

By Adele

Since his wife Carla keeps a closet full of Dior, it’s no surprise French President Nicolas Sarkozy sees nothing chic about burqas and niqabs, those head-to-toe black things some Muslim women wear. Yesterday in a speech to parliament, Sarkozy called those women “prisoners behind a screen” with no identity, subservient and debased, and declared such dress unwelcome in France.

That got me thinking…what if by some bizarre twist of nature, dogs could make cats wear burqas? Forcing us under wraps with nothing but our eyes to contend with is the only way they could ever get the upper paw on us.

Dogs would be free to romp and play and pee everywhere. Cats would become identical-looking nonentities — sweltering in the sun, unable to run, jump, eat, or even wash our faces in public.

The robes would drag through our kitty litter, stifle our natural grace, keep our tails between our legs, and make vermin lose all respect for us. Before long, the planet would be teeming with rats gone wild and the plague would make a comeback.

Cats — useless, faceless, helpless — would have to sit there and watch mankind get wiped out while dogs just stood around barking their heads off.

If God, Allah, or Whoever intended for any of us to be shapeless blobs, we’d have been built that way in the first place. But we’re not. We’ve got parts and we’re supposed to use them.

I hope Sarkozy’s attempt to liberate Muslim women is accepted graciously, without riots or violence. He only wants to see who they are and let them realize their full potential.


In Iraq, Bush is “Man’s Best Friend”

December 16, 2008

By Fred

Those were no lame ducks George W. Bush made when he dodged a pair of shoes hurled at his head in Iraq, during his last visit at American taxpayers’ expense.

The incident got replayed on the news so many times, it looked like the whole room joined in. Our media’s only regret seemed to be that Muntadhar al-Zaidi, the Iraqi journalist who threw his shoes, wasn’t wearing something with a stiletto heel.

I’m still trying to make sense of it all. I don’t get why Arabs revile something they must wear every day to protect their feet. By that logic, they should also loathe their headgear, underwear and, particularly, their handkerchiefs.

And then al-Zaidi yelled at Bush: “This is your farewell kiss, you dog!” like it was the worst possible insult.

Canines should be miffed, but I guess they can’t take to the streets in protest like the humans because the Iraqis have been shooting and poisoning dogs made stray by the invasion and occupation like everything’s their fault.

Bush, a dog-owner himself, took no offense to any of it. Possibly the remark was relayed in translation to him as, “He’s saying you’re his best friend!”

Later, Bush did claim to reporters that he saw al-Zaidi’s “sole.”

Meanwhile, al-Zaidi sits in jail while thousands of protesters who loved his behavior demonstrate, waving shoes and chanting, “Bush, Bush, listen well: Two shoes on your head!”

I hope that sounds better in their language. Here, shoe references will never have the relevance or immortality of, “Bush lied, people died!”


Move Over Lawrence, it’s Laura of Afghanistan

June 10, 2008

By Adele

Laura Bush must think there’s blockbuster potential in braving the wilds of Afghanistan in nothing but a pantsuit and pearls. Over the weekend, she made her third unannounced visit.

“Oh, no. Not again!” you can almost hear President Hamid Karzai wailing.

To keep al Qaeda and the Taliban off-guard, the crafty White House claimed Laura was some lowlier official. That way, it wasn’t too embarrassing that lots of taxpayer money was wasted protecting her when nobody even considered her worth a bomb or a bullet.

When she went to Bamiyan Province about 100 miles west of Kabul, they put her in a flak jacket and flew her in a nondescript Chinook chopper that dutifully bobbed and weaved over “suspicious” areas while machine-gun-toting soldiers lobbed flares out the doors to deflect nonexistent heat-seeking missiles.

That macho show must have thrilled Mrs. Bush, but it was lost on insurgents who were too busy negating her claims that the country’s making fine progress. They killed 3 British soldiers and 11 policemen, and made a kidnapped journalist turn up dead.

But nothing could wipe that glazed look or pasted-on smile from the First Lady’s face, a familiar expression that appeared in virtually every photo taken of her – with our troops, Afghan women, and children.

Speaking of children, she handed out tote bags in an orphanage to kids who’d probably be glad to trade “stuff” for living parents.

Still incognito, Laura flew out in a cargo plane specially fitted with a 60-foot RV for her comfort.

They never heard of seat cushions?

She and George met in Slovenia for a European Union summit, then they’re heading to Germany, Italy, the Vatican, France, England, and Northern Ireland on one last all-expenses-paid summer spree to visit leaders who are most likely counting the minutes until the Bushes leave the White House.


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