Today at 11 EST: the most important story in the entire world, live

Finally, after all these months, Eldrick Tont “Tiger” Woods is going to apologize. To you, to me, and to all the other people around the world that he cheated on. I know, I know, it’s not really his fault. He has an addiction. To cocktail waitresses (I think this is on page 486 of the Diagnostic & Statistical Manual V, due out in 2013).

Most importantly, his apology will be carried live by CBS. By NBC. By ABC. By CNN, CNBC, HLN, Fox News, Fox Business and MSNBC. That makes it a bigger story than health care. It’s bigger than the guy who crashed a plane into the IRS building in Austin. It’s bigger than Iran’s nuclear ambitions. It’s even bigger than the Winter Olympics, which are offered on tape-delay.

And it’s sure as hell bigger than this assortment of crybaby hippie socialist bullshit. Democracy. Survival of the planet. Will you whiny bitches please shut the fuck up?

As my colleague Dr. Slammy is wont to say, welcome to the Fall of Rome. Will somebody pass me the Dom?


  • This “Pussy-cat” Woods story is the biggest crock of made up christian family values bullshit as anything else they’ve come up with. Maybe soon there WILL be a new Roman Emperor Constantine ruling America. These lying,theiving,murdering christians really deserve it.What comes around,goes around!

  • I missed it because I was still in bed…which is, somehow, appropriate.

  • It can’t be bigger than this story. I just can’t believe they’d treat the Dalai Lama with such disrespect. Shows the world that we are afraid of the Chi-Coms. I’ll bet Obama is having one of those “Oh Shit” moments over that photo. The ones who should really be worried are the people of Taiwan, who despite their recent 6 billion defense deal, won’t be asisted by the USA should the Chi-Coms decide to conquer them.

  • Hey, are you trying to say that we have our priorities out of whack? Because Tiger is a role model for all the inner city black kids who dream of becoming a professional golfer, and what about all the asshats who finally found a “black” guy that they thought was ok? What about their betrayal and their feelings?

    Nope, the US won’t do anything if the Chinese invade Taiwan…what can we do? We don’t have the conventional force available to stop them; moreover, we sold them our souls for shot-term corporate profits a long time ago. Why successive generations of US leadership thought it was a good idea to promote the growth of a nation that would soon enough be in direct competition with the US for resources, etc. is beyond me. Oh yeah, short-term corporate profits and borrowing money.

    I remember when REACH was passed in the EU (#5 PC list), and that just made things official. We are the toxic dumping ground of the world. Ships actually get turned away from European ports and just come here. Same reason that developing nations will actually turn down food aid from the US; the GMO’s will make exporting their own agricultural products to the EU much more difficult if not impossible. But hey, who doesn’t like a little lead in her lipstick? Why worry about endocrine disruptors in your baby’s toys? These things help the short-term corporate profits that have given China so much power and cash…

  • Actually, Lex, I believe the US could stop an invasion of Taiwan if it wanted to. Whether it should or not is a different issue, but the capability is almost certainly there. The US Navy, last time I checked, is more powerful than all other navies in the world, combined. For many years, Taiwan has spent huge sums on its air force, understanding entirely that an invasion force would have to cross the sea under cover of the Chinese air force in order to have a chance of success. Army to army, Taiwan loses on sheer numbers, alone. But all it has to do is control the air near its coast line, and it has a fighting chance to do that.

    The US Navy, with its carriers, subs, Aegis surface craft, and the like could quite easily combine with the Taiwanese air force to deny China any shot at an invasion, I think. Amphibious invasions are specialty operations that require special skills, water craft, etc.

    All of this is probably unnecessary, though. I haven’t checked out specs on the Chinese navy recently, but I believe that their surface fleet is incapable of a large-scale invasion like it would have to mount to take and hold Taiwan against determined resistance. If I’m right about that, US intervention would be completely unnecessary.

  • Oh, and not to mention the problems of logistical support for a modern army when its supply line is a tenuous sea link protected by a navy that could easily be swept aside by the US Navy.

  • I probably shouldn’t have written “we don’t have the conventional force…”. When it comes to naval and air power, we do. We will not, however, put the forces based in the ROK and Japan into the breech against China. We might do something with naval and air power, but while the Chinese don’t have an advantage in these areas, they do have the ability to do some damage to our forces. And what’s a president to do if the Chinese sink a decent sized Navy vessel? We certainly do not have the capability to fight the Chinese on the Asian mainland. We could blow a lot of it up, but we couldn’t defeat a ground army and hold territory. (I realize that the US came to the belief that military conquest is unrelated to actually holding ground sometime between the end of WWII and today, but that doesn’t make it true.)

    But the important bit is that we won’t do anything. Under the present circumstances the Chinese are not going to crash the dollar because it would harm them greatly too. In the event of (near) open hostilities, however, those bets are all off. And as things stand, China really could bring us to our knees pretty quickly. That’s the power of holding the purse strings. They could also cut off all the US business in China.

    The fact remains that China is unlikely to invade Taiwan. They’ve shown great patience and subtle skill in playing the great game of geopolitical power over the last decade. You have to give them props for using the money that they effectively loaned to us to purchase influence in the regions that will be important next and to buy up control of a great many natural resources. All while we were blowing our wad and chasing a handful of terrorists around the planet.

    They don’t need to invade Taiwan, because they can afford to wait. While we’ve been playing checkers, they’ve been playing chess. It isn’t that they’re better or smarter than us, it’s that we’ve left openings big enough to drive a truck through. And chances are it won’t be long before we can’t afford to give away $6B in arms to Taiwan (i haven’t read the details on the deal, but generally the “purchase” of our weapons systems is routed through the US taxpayer). That’s probably why China is really mad about the deal: they’re effectively paying for it because they know full well that the US won’t pay what it owes.

  • That’s the funny thing about people worrying about China Crashing the dollar. If you at the internals on most of the recent treasury auctions(I am curious about such esoterica), the Fed is the biggest single buyer(not China or Japan), and you need to know where to look on the sheet to see where their buying is. Since the fed is unaudited, they can buy whatever they want, as much as they want, since all money is fiat these days.

    Anyways, now all you have to worry about is your 401-K which is an untapped pool of money the government wants to get their hands on……they’ll get it too, very soon. Lex is doing it right….laying low in the boonies…..we could all take a lesson from Lex. Things are going to get very bad the way things look now, and I’m not blaming any political party or system, but I’m in emergency mode…have been for a year, making sure I’m prepared for whatever comes down the pike. Somehow, I think the 1920’s Germany will be a picnic compared to what we’re going to see. Hell, 1945 Berlin might look good after it’s all said and done.

  • Lex, thanks for the clarification. I’m not sure China is being smart about an invasion. It may be that, or it may be that they just don’t have the capability of launching a very, very large-scale amphibious operation. Heck, we don’t even have that capacity these days, though we can launch a fairly effective medium-scale one. If China were to obtain that capacity, it couldn’t do so quietly. It would be very obvious in the types of ships it was building and modifications to a port or ports nearest Taiwan.

    I agree that there’s no way we get into a land war in China. I wonder if wars on that scale will ever happen again. I hope not, certainly. And you’re right that, while the Chinese can’t beat the US Navy or Air Force, or even come close, they could hurt us, and those kilo-class (I think) diesel-electric subs they have are quiet enough to take out a ship or two, and their land-based missiles could take out some more in that narrow bit of water. Their air force, on the other hand, would be ripped to shreds with only minimal losses to the US, assuming enough F22s are on line. That’s how good that aircraft and its detection and weapons systems are.

    A small thing. I’m not sure that US doctrine is to win wars without controlling territory. It’s an ancient maxim that wars can be won in three ways: control all the territory, destroy the enemy’s ability to resist, or both. WWII was about both. I think the way we’ve fought against asymmetrical forces in places like Vietnam and Afghanistan has more to do with the size of the territory, the size of our forces, the characteristics of the terrain, and our inability to exert the necessary force across an entire territory that has no front lines.

  • As Matt Taibbi recently pointed out, when TARP came on line for the ostensible purpose of saving the megabanks so that they might loan money and get the rest of the economy moving again, they didn’t. That forced the government to issue a lot more currency and the Fed to offer all sorts of crazy deals out of the discount window. It appears that the major banks and the Fed were, as Jeff says, buying those treasuries. Which is kind of warped insomuch as the major banks were getting taxpayer money for free and using it to lend back to the government with interest. And we shouldn’t forget that the fed took all sorts of worthless financial products as collateral from the major banks.

    Still, China holds enough that if they initiated a major sell off, i’m not sure how other holders could be convinced to hold on to reserve dollars and treasuries. They won’t under current circumstances because it’s suicidal. Their current divestment plan is much more interesting. It’s those reserves they’re using to fund their apolitical, resource based foreign policy. Apolitical in that when they go to Africa (or elsewhere) they’ll shower the government with aid money that has no strings other than opening up the country for Chinese business. Compare our expenditures in Afghanistan and their returns with the Chinese already operating a massive copper mine there. Not that things are great in China; it has it’s problems and they could be massive. For example:

    There are a lot of reasons why i live here, but one of them is that if i’m to be in the US when the shit hits the fan, this is the only place i’m willing to be. The most important, easily accessible resources; far from the beaten path; low population density; and real community that i’m well-networked in.

  • JS: i wasn’t very careful with my wording, so the clarification was quite necessary. I agree that China is not currently capable of invading Taiwan and that’s probably a big reason why they are being patient about it. On the other hand, they can afford to be patient. They may/can get what they want without resorting to military force. There’s already been a softening of anti-China sentiment at the population level. Have you read the thesis that the Taiwan arms sale was a not-so-subtle jab by the US to get China on board with sanctions on Iran?

    I’m not really sure what the US military is designed to do at this point. Theoretically, to fight and win multiple theater conflicts, but it seems like the thinking is still based on conflict with a major force like the USSR. That would include destroying the enemy’s ability to resist, but we’re clearly structured to fight for and occupy territory in Central and Eastern Europe…otherwise the armored divisions are superfluous.

    I think that more than three decades after Vietnam, the lessons of fighting an asymmetric war have yet to be learned. I’d mostly attribute that to the lack of budgetary glory in the necessary preparations. F-22’s are worth a lot less than investment in human capital for those sorts of conflicts. Applying conventional, US military hardware and tactics to an insurgency is unlikely to attain either criteria for military victory, particularly destroying the enemy’s will to resist. (unless we use the technology only for punitive expeditions to contain enemies rather than attempt to defeat them) There are only two ways to beat an insurgency. One is the very difficult “hearts and minds” strategy and the other is absolute occupation. We appear unprepared and unwilling for the former and we certainly are unprepared and unwilling to do the latter.

  • Hey Lex,

    We agree on most of this. China can wait. Taiwan will come around, eventually, when the benefits of not being a part of the mainland are no longer significant, and as the Chang Kai Shek families continue to see their influence wane. We also agree that the US’s military mission is quite confusing for everyone at this point. We have slight disagreements on some of the details.

    I personally don’t think that the US is acting out of character, militarily. Since the American Civil War, US military doctrine, articulated or not, has been to use its wealth to maximize firepower and minimize casualties. There were and are compelling political reasons for this, of course, but the fact remains that a doctrine like this one will tend to make successfully fighting insurgent warfare difficult, or even impossible. Even if we had the manpower to occupy all territory, we wouldn’t be willing to absorb the casualties that would result.

    It seems to me that the US military is currently structured to completely dominate any regional-class force, and to do so in a matter of days. For that, it needs packages of aircraft, tanks, mechanized infantry, the ability to project air power through its naval carriers, airlift, logistical support units, etc. Those are also the things you need to slug it out with a much more formidable military, but such a conflict seems unlikely in the near future.

    So, I agree that we are uniquely badly structured to fight an insurgent war. Of course, the Soviet Union was much better structured and appeared to have few if any qualms over attacking villages and occupying territory, and they fared even worse than we have in Afghanistan. But this surfaces another point: militaries that are designed like ours and that of the old USSR are very expensive to maintain and operate, and the expense of fighting an insurgent war is WAY out of proportion to the benefits, most of the time. And that, I think, is a key factor in our inability to fight one of these wars well, and in our inability to win.

  • JS: Yep, i think we’re in general agreement, especially on the issue of applying our military to insurgency situations and the cost/benefit analysis.

    Because i agree with the use of our wealth as a force multiplier (and a tool of soft foreign policy) i have to question our current trajectory. I don’t think that it made sense during the Cold War, but that’s immaterial to the situation at hand. Though military spending is a small percentage of GDP, it’s a large percentage of tax revenue. I think we’ve reached the point where we’re now undermining our wealth to maximize firepower and we don’t even have a realistic target for all that firepower. When you’re borrowing from the nation that is most likely to be your long-term, major enemy to finance the maximizing of your firepower i’d say that you’ve gone down the rabbit hole. And when you’re spending as much of the rest of the world combined on military matters but find yourself befuddled by insurgent groups that you chose to fight while the rest of the world puts money to more productive uses, you’re setting yourself up for your own downfall.

    I’m not an idealistic pacifist by any stretch, so i won’t argue for “disband the military” and give peace a chance. But i fear that we’re at the other end of the spectrum with reality sitting squarely in the middle.

  • Yup, Lex, we certainly agree on these things.

  • Terry C. Hargrove

    A lion would never cheat on its spouse, but a tiger would. I know it’s childish, but I never get tired of hearing it. I don’t really know enough about China to comment, but I’m guessing that the time will soon come when my Chinese overlords tell me all I need to know. About everything.

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