Friday, December 31, 2004

Who writes this stuff?

This AP report, carried on ABC's website, adopts the Bush administration spin entirely as to its reaction to the damage caused by the tsunami in Asia. It leads with Colin Powell's imminent visit to the area, accompanied by Jeb Bush (supposedly because of his familiarity with relief efforts), and touts the administration's "broadening of its effort" at relief, quoting exclusively Republicans' concerns for the needy and displaced. Buried at the end of the story are the tallies of other nations' financial commitments to the effort and the aside that they "far outdistance" the US contribution. Not a mention of the obvious: That Jeb Bush's involvement is an early step in advertising him for a White House bid in 2008; and that five days have passed since the disaster and only now is there any official response by the administration (other than a Bush's earlier reaction that the US is not "stingy" with its foreign assistance).

The AP dispatch isn't a news item, it's a Republican "talking points" memo.

The end of war

There was a time, about fifteen years ago, when I felt as does the author of this fine essay, that humankind possessed the capacity for peace, that the prospect of world peace was at hand. Walls had crumbled, dictatorships had ended, new alliances were being formed in place of decades of hostilities. There was talk among economists of a "peace dividend," the reversion of massive sums of money and effort that could be turned to humanitarian goals now that major enmities had ended.

I wish I shared the author's view--it's more of a hope, really--that humans can know peace, but while I acknowledge her perspective, I find little comfort in it. True, we now embrace wider notions of justice and include more humans within our concept of entitlement to decency. But as we've done so, we've also expanded our capacity to kill and exploit. Our race may indeed be more sensitive to suffering, but it is also more able to inflict it, creating, in my mind, a race much closer to the finish than ever before.

Thursday, December 30, 2004

Molly Ivins has a point

The reason she doesn't write fiction, she tells us, is that truth is so much more interesting and odd and, actually, unbelievable than anything a writer could make up. The examples she gives are amusing, to which I would add a few that are so astounding as to be too far out to make it into even a Tom Clancy novel. (1) The largest ocean liner in history, carrying titans of industry on its maiden voyage, sinks in the Atlantic less than a day from its destination, New York City. (2) An odd-looking, uneducated Austrian, fresh from prison, becomes the leader of a German nationalist party and goes on to cause world devastation. (3) A second-rate Texan, loser in his only solo business ventures, is made president of the US without winning a majority of votes and goes on to wreak havoc and misery on the world's populace.

Yeah, Molly's got a point. You couldn't make any of those stories up.

Stingy?

How can you call the Bush administration stingy when it comes to monetary relief for the victims of the tsunami in the Indian Ocean? Why, with the addition of $20 million, the US has pledged a total of $35 million to the effort--almost as much as the Republicans are going to spend on the inauguration ceremonies for their president!

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Worth reading, activist or not

Rebecca Solnit's essay, Hope at Midnight, found after scrolling down a bit in this TomDispatch post, is worth reading for anybody who's despairing over the course of our nation's politics. It does its best to paint hopeful signs for the planet and almost persuades me to overcome my abiding pessimism. Almost.

Sunday, December 26, 2004

These people are monsters

Bush has already, before his second term begins, cut back on environmental regulations in the national parks, vowed to make his weathy-favoring tax cuts permanent and determined to cut back on "discretionary spending" in the budget because (largely on account of his war in Iraq and the loss of income from his tax reductions) the US is mired in debt. Guess who's the first to lose out on funding for the upcoming year: Save the Children.

Well, now, isn't this interesting?

Venezuela, whose president Chavez is no fan of Bush, has just made a deal with China, granting them access to large quantities of its oil and natural gas. Venezuela recognizes China's increasing need for oil and wants to reduce its dependence on exports to the US; China wants to reduce its dependence on Middle East oil; and together the two nations are telling the US this: go fuck yourself.

Saturday, December 25, 2004

Rummie's umpteenth justification for invading Iraq

The Iraqis are from the "same part of the world" as those who attacked the US on 9/11/01.

Coming soon to a theater near you

film footage showing the actual suicide bombing of the Mosul Army mess hall. It was so well rehearsed that a video of the blast will soon be released, according to this source (scroll to end of article).

Thursday, December 23, 2004

A new high

The dollar hit $1.35 to the euro yesterday, based on tepid financial news from the US and moderating information about the European economy. This figure had previously been said to be a tipping point, the level at which European financial folks would begin to intervene to support the dollar. No such move has been mentioned lately, and as the article in Forex states, the dollar may slide as low as $1.50 next year, a low that may be necessary for the US to begin softening its trade imbalance. (The idea is, apparently, that at some point the dollar may be so cheap to Europeans that they start buying US products--and of course the US consumer and traveler pays the price because they can no longer afford anything European.)

If I were holding dollars, I'd be bailing out. Wait! I'm holding dollars!

A slice of life in Iraq

is captured in this report about the thriving market that has arisen in scavenging out-of-date drugs and magazines and cans of food from the trash left by our soldiers, then reselling them for profit. What are we doing to these people?

Bush lied, People were tortured

According to this blog, and supported by the pdf copy of one of the documents recently obtained by the ACLU, the use of dogs, stress positions and the like was expressly authorized by Bush in an executive order signed by him. Since he has denied issuing any such order, and it was probably drafted by his Attorney General designate, Gonzales, the EO will surely come to light during Gonzales' confirmation hearings in the Senate. No?

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Suicide bombing

It's been said that if you're willing to die to accomplish it, you can kill anybody. We're certainly learning that in Iraq, with this bombing of the US Army mess hall. The effect is, of course, to place all military installations at risk, to foil the US efforts to trust the Iraqis to handle their own security, to be taught skills by US teachers, to participate in their "democratization." There will soon be body searches of every Iraqi (and, for that matter, every not-obvious gringo) who happens by a military installation, and a checkpoint at every location where Americans congregate. Iraq will become, even more than it is now, a concrete-barriered encampment.
The Bush-repeated refrain is that the insurgency is stepping up in advance of the election. The Administration said the same thing in advance of the Interim Election. Of course that's bullshit. The insurgency is stepping up, and will continue to step up, so long as the US military is on Iraqi soil.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Not the Lincoln Memorial, but close.

"If you heat me, do I not melt?" A fitting tribute to Bush, to be carved in wax at Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum. But as one of the three wise men in a Nativity Scene?

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Riverbend's Christmas list

Here's what Riverbend, the Baghdad blogger who tells it (the occupation) like it is, wants for Christmas.

Fallujah, continued

This article details the present status of Fallujah and the US military's plans for its future. It's been said that war is hell. Apparently, liberation is hell, too.

Can they do this?

The US State Department can ban a foreign TV source from satellite transmission into the US by labeling it a "terrorist organization"? News to me. But then, that's the point, isn't it--to keep the news from us.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Blogging away

I'm away from my cable connection, surviving on an iffy dialup connection in Tucson, and so will be unable to post more than occasionally for the next two weeks. But I couldn't, just couldn't let the results of this poll go undisplayed. Seems that forty-plus percent of Americans want to curtail the civil liberties of Muslims in America. And who are these folks, these unAmericans? Why, they're the religious right, of course, in particular those who get most of their news from TV. Let's see, what demographic does that describe? You got it--Bush's base.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Ya know, this just might work

Here's a plan--long-range and iffy, to be sure--that just might work. Antiwar efforts should be channeled toward making military service, in the outrageous context of this Commander-in-Chief, an uncool thing for military-age youth. It would seem possible to convince them that these wars are wars of old whities, for the protection of corporate interests. A decline in recruitment could occur, requiring that the war machine be fed by a draft; and when that happens--look out. A powerful peace movement, fed by the Internet and encouraged by already-prevalent youth entertainment personalities, would not be far behind.

Rewarding failure

This WaPo editorial about Bush's latest public relations idiocy--his awarding of Medals of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor, to Bremer, Franks and Tenet--is spot on.

To make these awards in the face of failure -- the mounting American death toll,
the awful suffering of the Iraqis, the looming possibility of civil war, the
nose-thumbing of the still-at-large Osama bin Laden and the madness of making
war for a nonexistent reason -- has the creepy feel of the old communist states,
where incompetents wore medals and harsh facts were denied.

.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Somebody please watch Bush's inauguration proceedings

because I'm sure not going to, for obvious partisan reasons. But I do need to know how much it looks like a Nazi gathering at Nuremberg in the 1930's.

Blog trolling

Is the US government--that is, the Bush administration--funding "independent" bloggers from Iraq so that they'll be supportive of the US occupation? A couple of Iraqis, two brothers, are apparently being feted in Washington by Wolfowitz and the gang because of their favorable postings on their website; while those Iraqis who are critical are being left to suffer the miserable, dark, freezing Badhdad. So, be warned: Not all of what you read on Iraq's blogosphere is "independent."

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Here are two relatively brief accounts of the present effort by the Bush administration to oust the US nuclear weapons inspector, Mohammed ElBarradei, one from The Nation, the other from the New York Times. Their content is similar, but their cant differs significantly. I'm not certain which form of information I prefer. I believe The Nation piece accurately reflects reality, but the NYT story is more complete. (Of course Fox News would carry the report under this headline: "US seeks replacement of pro-Iran UN functionary".)

Monday, December 13, 2004

Just when you thought it couldn't get any weirder

Halliburton hires twenty-five Columbian gunmen to guard its facilities in Iraq. The pay is $7000 per month, with quarterly vacations in Europe and free life insurance.

Exit strategy

There's a saying in AA: The way to stop drinking is to stop drinking. Same with Iraq. The way to get out of Iraq is to get out of Iraq.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Has it come to this?

Tapping the phone of the UN's nuclear-weapons inspector? Apparently so.

What to do, what to do?

Four years ago I "sat out" the presidential election, voting as a Green for its candidate, Ralph Nader. (Fortunately, California was a "safe" state that went solidly for Gore, so I didn't end up losing sleep over my vote--and in fact, at the time, I regarded the choice of Bush/Gore as a tweedledee-dum situation.)

This time, I voted as if my vote counted, even though Kerry was a lock in California and I wasn't enamored of his candidacy much.

Now, if I were a Sunni Muslim in Iraq, what would I do? One Imam calls for a boycott, others believe participation is imperative. This article spells out their dilemna, and for them the stakes are as high, if not higher, than ours were in 2004.

The Power of Nightmares

This three-part documentary on BBC TV needs to be aired in America. Its premise is that those who are engineering the "war on terror," on all sides, have a stake in its maintenance. On our side, the film points out that the same folks (you know who they are) who neo-conned Reagan (and us) into beefing up our forces with mock armaments in the eighties are once again at it, creating phantoms for us to make war on.

Thom Hartmann synopsizes the film here.

For regular readers of this blog, this may not be news. It certainly isn't to its author. I long ago realized that both bin Laden (and now his formal and informal cohorts) have a stake in the ongoing "war on terror," without which they'd have no function, no purpose. The same is true of the Bush administration, commanded by the same forces that long ago made war (on the Soviets, now on terror) their reason for existence.

We who don't want war--the vast majority of human beings--are at their mercy. They've now gained control over the political and military power and with continued feints toward more attacks and uncertainty and fear will maintain it until they're at last found out. It will take a huge upheaval in the US to dislodge them. The media loves war--check out the rise in ratings of both escapist fare and newscasts during our several wars--and so the mainstream broadcasters can't be counted on to focus on the reality that our warmongering leaders are continuing war to continue in power.

Well then, Who will arise to bring us to our senses? You? Me? Us? I guess so.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Once again, I'm speechless

Not only has Blogger been eating up my posts lately, and delaying those that it doesn't devour, on the rare occasion that I am successful in posting, the item leaves me without words to express my outrage. Like this one, describing our troops' actions in Iraq.

Blowback

This article about the consequences of America's international arrogance and imperial designs places in perspective how instead of a "peace dividend" from the "end of the cold war" our policies have created a more dangerous world where we're viewed as the enemy in most, if not all, regions. The author leaves out Africa and Central and South America; probably only in the interests of space.

There was once a time, not too long ago, when world travel--seeing the pyramids, the Holy Land, Thailand--was a distant dream of mine. Now that I'm older, it's not so distant in time--but it's no longer a dream. It's become a nightmare.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

The Higher Pie

is a clever blog, taking on all facets of the world view of the great unwashed. Check it out.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

It gets sadder and sadder in Iraq

Check out this report on the status of Iraq's economy, in the wake of the 100 illegal orders issued by Tribune Bremer, essentially turning Iraq into a US subsidiary.

Family values in action

One of Bush's posterboys bites the dust. From Atrios, by way of Daily Kos.

Isn't this special?

Clear Channel radio, the already right-wing purveyor of Limbaugh, Hannity, Michaels Reagan and Savage and the like, with a string of 100 stations nationwide, has chosen Fox News to provide its hourly news summary for the next five years. Those who listen to the rightist commentary, therefore, will have no respite from that poison, receiving instead the "fair and balanced" spewings of Rupert Murdock's minions.

Chicken Little, I'm not

This essay, from no less learned a journal than The Economist, frets in similar fashion about the future of the US economy, given Bush's profligate disregard for the status of the dollar in the world markets.

My outrage is unexpressible

but that won't stop me from posting this study about the miserliness of the rich countries in extending development aid to the poor nations. In particular, check out this sentence at the end of the piece:

In fact, [the US] entire development aid spending in 2003 came to only ten percent of what it spent on the Iraq war that year.

If it ain't broke, don't fix it

Bush is apparently relying on this adage in his continuing rosy descriptions of the situation in Iraq. His lies worked to get him elected over Kerry, and so why not keep on lying?

Do you think that authoritative reports about how awful the situation really is, such as this one by the retiring CIA station chief in Badgdad will change Bush's mind, or his rhetoric? Probably not.

And meanwhile, the kids--ours and theirs--keep dying.

Monday, December 06, 2004

I bought a television a year ago

solely for the purpose of following the TV media's account of politics leading up to the election, and I watched (and posted about) the travesty regularly. Since the election, I haven't watched the news (can't handle it), and am once again dependent solely on newspaper and newsmagazine accounts (which are okay, I guess), but I'm wondering, once again, if accounts such as this are picked up in the US in any form that may sway the stupid shitheads who supported this war, to make them appreciate that it's worse than a quagmire.

Here's why it's worse: Like Vietnam, we can't get out with "saving face." But unlike Vietnam, if we "lose" this war, we'll lose a lot more than a barricade against evil Communism; we'll actually lose something of value, and I'm not talking oil. I'm talking about global morality. Indeed, we've lost that whether or not we subjugate the arabs in Iraq. We've lost it, win or lose. The perfect quagmire.

The last straw?

If ever there were a doubt about our status in Iraq--liberators or occupiers--this latest outrage seals it. Now, it turns out, Fallujans will be required to wear identity badges at all times, cars will be banned, and the men--those who are allowed to return to the city after its demolition by our forces--will find that the only work they can carry out is in the supervision of our military. Of course, travel in and out of the city will be banned.

Warsaw, anyone?

Addendum: I didn't mention it above, and should have: The Boston Globe article had this scary sentence about our security procedures in Fallujah:

Back at their headquarters, the [Marines] debated the procedure for allowing civilians to return. Major Wade Weems warned that there should be a set number per day so that a backlog would not form behind the retina-scanning machine, fueling resentment.


A retina-scanning machine? What the fuck????

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Naomi Klein rocks

Since I read her book No Logo a couple of years ago, I've been a fan of hers. Back then, her main beat was anti-commecialism, and she's still at it. But lately she's been reporting on the war in Iraq, to great effect.

Never mind

I guess that wasn't the actor Nolte who died in Iraq. He's here, very much alive.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

It's the media, stupid!

Sure, the media--television, especially--cost Kerry the election. Sure, TV will continue plumping for the incumbent, a supporter of big business, which said businesses own the media. Sure, the media will continue to ignore facts--such as the ever-increasing civilian death toll in Iraq--that are unfavorable to the incumbent president. And so, sure, in two years, or four, six and eight, the same big-business politicians will win election, courtesy of their lackies, the TV stations that provide the great unwashed in America the only source of their information.

So what are we going to do about it?

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Ya gotta watch this

If you've got broadband, and eight minutes, take a look at Orwell's America, thirty years later. So well done, it's frightening.

Thanks, Kyle.

Miserable, miserable failure

Everything Bush touches turns to shit. From the headlines: Iraqi soldiers are turning out to be completely worthless in combat against the insurgents; the International Red Cross has found that our treatment of "enemy combatants" at Gitmo is tantamount to torture; the dollar is sinking due to international unease at America's growing trade and treasury deficits; inflation is on the rise; consumer confidence is down. That's just today. And we have four more years of this?

Sunday, November 28, 2004

A day late and a dollar (many dollars, actually) short

I've written several posts in the distant past (and I also wrote one last week that somehow didn't find its way onto my blog--Thanks, Blogger!) about the sinking dollar. A year ago I predicted it would decline to $1.30 against the euro, and now it's at $1.34. Why do I remind you of this? Because--your heard it here first--tomorrow, Monday, 11/29/04, is going to be a disaster for the dollar. Due to the feints in favor of the euro by the Chinese and others, individual dollar-holders are going to start dumping, and individual dollar-buyers are going to wait for a sizeable drop in the value before buying. I understand the European banks (maybe other governmental entities) will intervene and start buying dollars at $1.35, but that may be too late. There could well be a panic--really--in which even governmental buying won't ward off the selling frenzy.

Okay, maybe I'm being too dramatic. Maybe tomorrow will bring only a further gradual decline in the dollar's value, but that decline will only be gradual for a little while. The arrogance of America's leadership, led by capitalists who believe they govern the world, has shown no desire to stop the decline of the dollar in the hope that a weak dollar will lead to more sales of their products abroad. But guess what: Maybe they don't rule the world anymore. Maybe the dollar will prove to be like any other commodity, susceptible to evaluation based on its inherent worth. If so, I'd be selling like crazy. Wouldn't you?

Speechless

My access to Blogger to create posts has been interrupted lately (don't know whazzup, but it's okay now), but no matter. I've been tongue-tied. So much is amiss in the world that I'm frozen in despair, unable to address any of the outrages.

And besides the usual observations and protests of the Left (and to some extent the Far Right) in the US, and the disbelief of the rest of the world, nothing is being done to stanch the inexorable flow of events to disaster.

Perhaps the events themselves will bring the evil folly of the US administration to an end. The dollar may nosedive so deeply that we lose the ability to control the flow of oil, plunging us into depression. Foreign nations may gather enough gumption to stand up to our global reach. Even our citizens may rise up, once the charade of Bush's legitimacy is seen as the fraud it is.

But none of this seems likely this morning. So I'm going to shut up.

Saturday, November 27, 2004

Amazing, amazing.

This article shows the unbelieveable tolerance of the parents of this US soldier.

The soldier was wounded in the battle for Fallujah, Iraq. He was riding in a Humvee when a sniper’s bullet hit him in the left temple and exited his right temple. He survived a two-hour ride in the Humvee from Fallujah to the Army hospital in Baghdad. He was in surgery for five hours.

Doctors told his parents he was the luckiest and healthiest, but everything is not rosy.
Doctors told them that where he got hit, would change his personality opposite to what it was.
His mother said that is good for he did get mad and was irritated easily.
He is now able to move both sides of his body. He has not walked yet, but doctors predict that he will.
He could possibly always need help and not be independent, but his mother does not believe that.
His mother is turning to her faith for him to have a complete recovery and asking all to pray for the same for her son.


Friday, November 26, 2004

Talk about calling up the infirm for active duty

I just read that Nick Nolte died, having suffered battle injuries in Iraq.

An elucidaton

In yesterday's "Thanksgiving" post, I made a comparison between Cambodia and the direction the US is headed in. I need to explain.

Certainly, the agonies of Cambodia, then and now, are far deeper than ours. Pol Pot's rule, for example, was tryannical compared even to Saddam Hussein's; and the aftermath is still felt in that country, as is that of our massive bombing during the Vietnam war. I intended to use Cambodia as an example of tyranny unchecked, not as a direct factual comparison to the US presently.

Here's why I'm so sad about the US, both historically and now. The geography of the nation is the world's finest. Beautiful, isolated from foreign foes, rich beyond anywhere else in natural resources and farmland and climate. It was for centuries guarded by natives who were neither numerous nor rapacious enough to ruin it, and so when the Europeans "discovered" it they found almost no opposition to their conquest and exploitation.

The most courageous and vital of Europeans settled the nation, just at a time in western history when democratic ideals were flowering; and in response they drew up their liberating documents to reflect those ideals. At that moment in history, the nation had its finest hours (tainted of course by slavery and conquest of the natives.)

It's been all downhill from there. We've engaged in endless wars and conquests. In 1812, in the 1860's, in the 1890's, in 1917, in 1941, in 1950, in 1965, in 1991, in 2003. Some of the wars have been forced upon us, but these last two--and in particular the latest invasion of Iraq--was a straightforward war of agression, in violation of the UN Charter (a document we drafted) and of international law.

We are now an occupying force in Iraq, murdering its civilians, imposing our version of government on its citizens, imprisoning thousands, devastating its cities. We are wrecking the planet with our profligate waste of resources, tearing at the environment, depleting its resources, spreading our ruinous "pop culture" across the globe, leaving the peoples of the poor nations to starve while we carry away their few riches: oil, timber, minerals, to feed our frenzy of consumption. We are led by maniacal liars, cheats and frauds, whose sole purpose is to perpetuate their power, and we re-elect them in elections that are meaningless, based on fluffy ads disseminated by power-seeking corporations.

From a country flush with energy and ideals, blessed with limitless resources, we have become a cynical, power-mad nation, corrupt and dangerous to Earth. We are the evil empire. Maybe not like Cambodia, but certainly more frightening.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Thugs and terrorists

On CNN yesterday, the talking-head newscaster told of the resistance that the US was facing in Fallujah and elsewhere. He called the resisters "thugs and terrorists" even though, in the stories he was reporting there were no killings of civilians, no beheadings, just a pitched battle between US military forces and the armed people who were shooting at them.

CNN has no business spouting the Bush party line, that any Iraqi, or anybody, who fights the US occupation is a thug or terrorist. If a foreign nation invaded the US, I--and most of the Red State citizenry--would fight like crazy, using rocks, shotguns, anything. Would we therefore be thugs and terrorists? Maybe we would be so labeled by the occupiers, but to me we'd be heroes.

Thanksgiving

This morning, a glorious, vibrant sunny morning in Santa Barbara, I was reflecting on giving thanks. It crossed my mind that our nation was in dire straits due to the recent election of Bush/Cheney, and that most, if not all of the complaints I'd blogged about over the last months were unattended and likely to be exacerbated during Bush's next term. What, I wondered, was there to give thanks about given that condition of the nation?

And then, as I was getting ready for a bike ride, a neighbor happened by. He was wearing a black T-shirt with a logo on the back. "Danger--Land Mines!" it said, beneath the image of a skull. I asked him about the shirt and he told me he'd bought it in Cambodia, where that sign was posted on every pathway through the jungle and where every third child he'd seen in the month that he visited Cambodia was missing a limb, usually a leg.

And so I give thanks. Compared to Cambodia, the United States, even with Bush in office, isn't so bad.

But it's close.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Silly me

I thought that Bush's call for January elections in Iraq, and lately his insistence that the date not be moved back on account of the violence, was because of his firm commitment to a democratic rule in the country. But no, he (probably Rove and Wolfowitz or somebody) has a more devious purpose. The sooner the Bushies can claim the election to be a done deal, the sooner they can claim that the US occupation is truly legitimate because it's at the behest of an elected government. And make no mistake, the US will be invited to stay and enforce "peace," because of the genius of the Bush plan. An "election" in January 2005 will just be another rubber-stamp, confirming in power those who favor the US presence because, like the interim government, the assembly will contain largely representatives of the status quo--Shias and Kurds--who've fared relatively well since the invasion.

There's this prospect in the long term, however. The arab nationalism that's for decades been at the root of unrest throughout the Middle East (even we support it, in theory, calling it "self-determination") will eventually call for the ouster of the American presence, at which time, Look out. The region will explode in violence, as factions battle for control of Iraq and, likely, other nations. And the strongest factions, and most highly motivated, will be those who resisted the occupation in the first place.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Two more cents

I've heretofore laid out a sketch of my reasons why Bush won the election, my conclusion being that he won for about fifty coalescing reasons, some inherent in his incumbency and the existing state of the nation and the world, and some manufactured by Rove, by the Democrats, by Kerry himself. But the abiding problem, the 800-pound gorilla, that swayed much of the Red State public to support Bush in spite of his amazing record of bungling and failure, was the media. The network and cable-TV reporters were demonstrably terrible in telling the American public what was really going on in Iraq, in the "war on terror," in the economy--everywhere.

They were cowed and/or corrupt in 2004 and the reason I'm writing this post is this. They're at it again, now falling into line in their reporting of politics in the US and abroad. No analysis, no definitive evaluation of anything. Just headlines, mostly spouting military and administration talking-points, night after night. All media owned by huge corporations who either support Bush or benefit from his positions. And this isn't going to change between now and the next election. We're in for years of this barrage of managed information, and we may never be able to take back the truth except by revolution. I mean, REVOLUTION, in which the monster companies that dominate the sources of information that the American public receives are overtaken and are allowed to disseminate something other than the Republican party line.

Update: I'm not alone in my assessment of the cowed media, especially television reportage of the war in Iraq. Check out this authoritative piece.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Frightening

This long article in the New York Times details the Kerry get-out-the-vote effort in Ohio, and concludes that although it was magnificent, and did indeed result in a higher number of Democratic voters than ever before--and more Kerry votes than they had planned--Ohio was lost because the Republicans launched a powerful operation too and, to the horror of the Democrats, "there are more Republicans in Ohio than Democrats," reversing an ancient political fact.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

The "I" word

Many months ago I predicted inflation in the American economy because of the profligate spending by the Bushies on crazy domestic programs, tax cuts, trade imbalances that are staggering and, of course, the mad spending on the Iraq adventure. Finally, after Greenspan tried to hold onto the low interest rates as long as possible, inflation is finally imminent, and it's going to be vicious, because it will be triggered by foreign investors' finally becoming disenchanted with US federal debt instruments, causing the interest rates on notes to rise, and dragging everything in the economy, from consumer loans and mortgages to retail goods to rise, all in an harmonious surge of prices.

Friday, November 19, 2004

This is as good as it gets

Once again, AntiWar dot com--Justin Raimondo--has said it all.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Just for today

Check out this site--Iraq Coalition Casualties--for the incredible string of violent attacks on troops, civilians, oil facilities throughout Iraq. The list is of just today's attacks. Imagine if the same thing were happening daily in California, which is one-third more populous than Iraq. We'd be in a state of seige! Like Iraq.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

More Gestapo

Now, it seems, officials of political parties that oppose the Iraqi interim government are being arrested.

What next? Are Sunnis going to be required to wear yellow crescents on their robes, or maybe six-pointed stars?

Monday, November 15, 2004

This is an interesting twist

We liberals can't contain Bush over the next two or four years. He's off to the races, naming a Fascist to the Attorney General's post, keeping Rummie aboard at Defense, and now putting Condi Rice's name up for Secretary of State, to replace Colin Powell, the only colorably sane member of the Bush administration.

But maybe Bush won't name Condi, after all. Not because of his scruples or our protest, but because of the impact on the dollar. As Forex puts it,

Considering Rice’s staunch support for the war in Iraq, there is a sense that Rice’s unilateral tendencies [and] rhetoric may be too excessive for the habitually diplomatic State Department. Increased expectations of rising unilateralism in US foreign policy would tend to trigger dollar selling by an increasingly geopolitically sensitive currency market.

More Gestapo

This story about the US flying its prisoners to torture-using countries for "interrogation" isn't just some conspiracy-theorist's rant. It's being reported by the London Times (through an Australian weekly), a newspaper that's owned by conservative media mogul Rupert Murdock.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Kerry's alternate concession speech

Found on this clever blog, through Kyle's blog, Metaphor, the concession speech Kerry should have made. Not a healing address, but true.

The latest Gestapo tactic

Let's see: Invasion, armed occupation, installation of a puppet government, collective punishment, torture, oppressive treatment of civilian population, massive armed suppression of the resistance and now, arresting members of the clergy for opposing the occupation. All to "liberate" the occupied nation.

Sound like the Nazis in France, the Soviets in Hungary, the Italian Fascists in Ethiopia? No, it's America in Iraq, the Good Guys of the world.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

The other Fallujah

"Rebel city captured," "Fallujah under control," trumpet the headlines of US dailies. And the news channels are worse, filled with talking-head ex-generals, who tout the military acumen of our fighting forces in using airpower, tanks, missles, and ten-fold the troops to bring to its knees a tiny brigade of arabs armed with rifles, rocks and grenades. What war-mongering, bullshit! What ghastly lies! Here's what's going on in Fallujah, according to a Red Crescent member who's trying to get medical attention to the thousands of wounded Iraqis in the city. And even if the report is one-sided, why not report it together witht the one-sided reports from our military?

I am disgusted with our media. They never learn. Or is it that they don't want to? Are they part of the problem? Absolutely.

"It's mourning in America"

Ronald Reagan's election phrase (slightly altered) takes on new poignancy when we are subjected to these effects of the society Bush and his followers are creating in America. A standared war film, a rather good one at that, isn't aired by some broadcasters for fear of FFC fines for "indecency." Goodbye First Amendment, Hello Orwell.

Arianna blames Carville

In this post-election essay, Arianna Huffington blames Kerry's campaign team for the loss. They failed, she contends, to keep the message on the Iraq war and national security and terrorism, instead adopting the nineties mantra that "it's the economy, stupid" and therefore forfeiting the advantage Kerry was given with the ongoing negative developments in the Middle East, including the absence of WMD in Iraq, the constant death of troops and waste of money, and so forth.

While I agree with her analysis, I believe the list of reasons for Kerry's loss is much longer. I've laid them out in a previous blog--from media bias to weak-kneed politicking to baseline fear-mongering by Bush/Cheney to Rove genius--and have come to conclude that the Republicans' sway over national politics in America will obtain for a decade at least. I'm not alone in this assessment, but unlike those who don't like this prospect and argue for mere cosmetic or personnel changes in Democratic politics, I welcome this time, because it will take that long for the second party--perhaps the Democrats, perhaps another party--to define and deliver a truly democratic platform, one that embraces the populist principles that Democrats once proudly proclaimed and advanced.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Politically incorrect--maybe. But accurate

Lately, there's been negative reaction among liberals to the use of the "s" word in describing those who--out of ignorance rather than political or economic self-interest, like Ken Lay--voted for Bush. The "s" word being, of course, "Stupid." Well, excuuuse me. Because you've got to be real stupid to believe that in ten weeks the people of Iraq are going to be able to have a meaningful election of a 275-person assembly that will "democratically" elect their president. How, exactly, are Iraqi voters going to be meaningfully informed who's running for these seats? Indeed, who would dare to run? Can you imagine hopping up onto a soapbox or (more likely) the top of a Humvee to announce your candidacy for the position in Tikrit or West Baghdad? Can you imagine going door-to-door to get out the vote? Can you imagine, even, talking about your candidacy among your neighbors?

What a stupid nation we are to continue to believe that democracy can be imposed on a nation by force of arms and still in rebellion against its occupiers. How sad that our young kids are dying for this monstrous lie. How evil are those who posit it for their own aggrandizement and financial gain. And how stupid are those who elect them.

Mission accomplished

Ah, finally, Bush's form of democracy has prevailed in Iraq. As part of the martial law that the US puppet Alawi has imposed throughout the major cities, his commission on media matters has warned the foreign news media of unspecified sanctions if they don't report the news correctly, including positive mentions of the government and proper labeling of the combatants in the ongoing war. Ashcroft would be proud.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

The silence is deafening

The assault on Fallujah, to be followed by assaults on many other towns in Iraq and costing the lives of hundreds of soldiers and civilians, is being reported precisely as was the original invasion by the US media. And this, after all the breast-beating apologies by WaPo and NYT, that they weren't critical enough in their evaluation of the basis for the attack or its impact on Iraqis.

Well, here we go again. We are told about injuries and deaths of our soldiers, percentages of boundaries seized, dates for success. But where's the reporting of the Why and Wherefore, where's the reporting of the impact of the assault on the people and on the overall policy? Where's the reporting on the policy, the evaluation of the right and wrong of it? Where, indeed, is the American press--other than the conduits of military promoters--the press that has already admitted it was misled and mistaken and mismanaged just 18 months ago?

I'll tell you where. Back in their cubicles, safely typing out spoon-fed administration dispatches.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch...

The insurgency spreads:

As U.S. forces battle to suppress insurgents in the rebel city of Falluja, it appears many fighters may have fled to other cities where they are launching new attacks.

In the past three days, there has been a step up in guerrilla activity in Samarra, Baiji, Baquba, Tikrit, Ramadi, areas of Baghdad and in the holy city of Kerbala to the south.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Wounded, captured?

Can anybody explain to me why we receive no reports, from official sources or otherwise, of insurgents being wounded or captured? Are there none? Do we kill them? Do they kill themselves? Are they taken away, never to be heard from again? I recall that in other wars, there were lots of prisoners and many casualties that weren't fatal. What's going on in Iraq?

Cognitive dissonance

Even some of my more sophisticated friends still believe in the myth that the US is presumptively the "good guy" in international relations, including in the war in Iraq--at least as compared to the "terrorists" who blow up innocent civilians, churches, hospitals and so forth just for effect. I know it's hard to believe, but the US is no different in war-making and in "peace" than any other empire. We've ruled the world strictly in accord with our own self-interest, always, and most particularly in our invasion of Iraq. That war is a moral outrage in addition to being in direct violation of international law, as clear a violation as the Nazi invasion of Poland in 1939.

Now we have laid seige to Fallujah, bombing it and shelling it and taking it by force with overwhelming numbers of troops. In that process, we have bombed hospitals and more than sixty mosques, killing civilians and destroying the electrical and water supplies in order to force the inhabitants to surrender.

Oh, I am told, this is different from "terrorism." In terrorism, the perpetrator singles out civilians and innocents for effect, as a weapon of fear and intimidation, as if the dead civilians care whether they die on purpose or as "collateral damage." To which I say, hogwash. We are the invader in Iraq. We have caused all the killing, that which is done on purpose as well as the accidental destruction. Indeed, we are worse than they are, absolutely so. How hypocritical it is to contend that, having invaded Iraq, we are allowed to complain that the insurgents' choice of weapons isn't as gentlemanly as ours, when we're killing more of them than they are of us and when we started the killing in the first place.

It hurts to recognize it, but we are the bad guys in Iraq, and are worse than terrorists. We are warmongering imperialists, the evil force on the planet, whose weapons are more powerful and have killed more innocents than theirs, by multiples. In law, if one knowingly sets in motion a chain of events that leads to a predictable result, one is liable for that result as fully as if he intended it. We are liable for all the deaths in Iraq, by whatever means they have come to pass, as fully as any terrorist, and with the same moral standing.

And if you don't believe me, believe Riverbend.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Now that I've renewed my passport

I find this post most helpful.

Light in the darkness

This essay by Howard Zinn about optimism even in defeat is worth reading, if for no other reason than comfort. Inspiration, too.

Monday, November 08, 2004

Telltale cartography

Here's a fascinating site demonstrating that the red-state/blue-state dichotomy that the pundits are so willing to adopt as an explanation of the results of the election is not only over-simplified but, as a matter of geographic fact, erroneous.

My two cents

If "the Democrats" (a party I was a member of for thirty-five years until switching to Green 8ight years ago) decide to slide rightward, toward the "values" constituency, they'll not only lose me as a voter but the blacks, too. If the Democrats are to challenge for a meaningful role in American politics, they've got to embrace their base: minorities (skin-color-wise and otherwise), the youth, the poor and middle class, peace- and environment-favoring liberals, economic and social progressives. Clinton's move to the right has ruined the party, making it a weak-willed, weakly defined entity, with no articulateable agenda, no movement, no place to go but come in second.

To counter the Republicans' surge to the right while holding the "values" center, the Democrats need to surge to the left, while holding the rational center. Otherwise, the left is in for "a long hard slog."

Poems by Riverbend

The young lady blogger in Baghdad, whose poignant posts describe the effect of the US invasion and occupation of her nation, has written four odes to Americans--those in the red states and in the blue--upon our election of Bush/Cheney. I feel so sorry for those whose lives we have ruined in the name of liberation. I cannot imagine that in their lifetimes we'll be forgiven.

Saturday, November 06, 2004

I have a ghoulish

facet of my personality, and it's being fed by reports such as this from Iraq: An impressive body of Muslim scholars have determined that Iraqi resistance to the American occupation is legitimate, and have issued an edict (fatwa) that prohibits Iraqis from cooperating with the occupying forces, such as by informing on members of the resistance.

Bush has created this nightmare, and now can't count on Kerry to bail him out. If it weren't for the deaths--of Iraqis and coalition forces--I'd really be pleased to see if for once Bush can solve a problem without intervention from his monied buddies. But while I'm hating all the dying, I'm enjoying watching Bush twist in the wind.

Silly me

I thought Iraq's interim government was of a parliamentary nature. I distinctly recall the creation not only of the office of prime minister (read "US puppet") and of president (read "meaningless figurehead"), but of an interim assembly of some kind. Since its creation, we haven't heard a peep from it, either condoning or condemning--not even considering--the US Marines' collective punishment of Fallujah and Samarra. The assembly was supposed to have veto power over the prime minister's decision. Their silence persists despite the apparent rift between PM Allawi and the Iraqi president over the propriety of these outrageous, murderous attacks on these major cities.

I guess the assembly never assembled.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Theocrats--plus autocrats

This post on the DailyKos blog may (or may not) be a bit over the top, particularly at the end where it posits a nationwide conspiracy to alter the vote, but the theocrat takeover it describes is right on, really right on. I agree with the writer that those who minimalize the extent of the nation's turn to the Right are Pollyanish dreamers, or are too afraid of the truth to recognize it.

I add this dimension to the truth. The Right takeover has an additional facet, as frightening as its religiosity: its capitalist/corporate/imperialist/political merger. We are watching the evolution of a fascist state.

Too much, too late

This report about US soldiers witnessing the Iraqis looting the explosives sites after the invasion, and being unable to stop them due to lack of manpower and without orders to do so, comes too late to impact Bush's re-election. So, too, will the results of the "yellow-cake-gate" investigation, even though it will likely result in indictments of high officials of Bush's administration. The outcome of the Senate inquiry into prewar intelligence--delayed until after the election--will probably be watered down, but no matter what it says, it's too late too, as is the result of the inquiry into Cheney's energy task force. Indeed, with the accretion of the Republicans' power in Congress, we may never learn the truth about any of these subjects or the several others that Bush managed to elude or delay or frustrate by his secrecy and his power to maintain it. Quite unlike Clinton's inability to staunch the endless inquiries into his conduct--Travelgate, Whitewater, Monica--by an adversely-held Congress.

Who was it who said that history is written by the victors?

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

There's dark at the end of the tunnel

One benefit of Bush's re-election is that he and his Republican allies inherit the miserable economy and foreign policy they've inflicted on us and--unless Rove is allowed by the media to spin it differently--must be held to the consequences thereof. I won't address here and now the warmongering in Iraq and the war-threatening around the world; but I will point out this scary statistic that's a direct result of Bush's policy of "spending out of recession." Amercans are consuming almost all of their earnings. Not saving a whit, not even being taxed much. Just buying, buying, buying and borrowing, borrowing, borrowing.

It's hard to type

when you're licking your wounds. I must say I felt in my bones that Bush would win, and so I can't say I'm surprised. The major television and print media didn't fairly cover the campaign and didn't critically address the nation's problems under Bush; and if you check out the geographic distribution of the Red States you'll see that it tracks exactly that part of the US that doesn't subscribe to learned journals much, doesn't think critically about government and follows the loudest, most common media message, which is this case was, Vote Bush.

We now face a Congress, an Executive and a Judiciary that has set its face in a nasty, mean-spirited direction, to a frightening purpose. They'll be able to enact their agenda and enforce it through the courts for the foreseeable future. Unless there's a cataclysm of some kind, I don't see the Democratic Party finding a way to win back the Congress or the White House for twelve years (Bush's next term plus two more). I know that sounds pessimistic, but I've been listening to the post-election hand-wringing by progressive bloggers and major media pundits and it sounds like they're predicting that the Democrats will move more to the middle (to the right, that means), which not only will leave liberals wholly on the outs but that the best we can expect is watered-down privatization of virtually every function of government, the true ascendancy of the capitalist nation-state, governed by powers wedded to corporatism, driven by religiosity and greed, and, because of its ownership of the media, immunized from scrutiny.

Back to wound-licking, shortly after which--Revolution!!

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

To do Fallujah or not to do Fallujah

US troops are massing outside of Fallujah for an all-out assault (of course to take place after the US election, to avoid embarrassing US casualties). Problem is, while the US puppet Interim Prime Minister Allawi apparently favors the assault, the Interim Iraqi President opposes it.

Hmmm.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Raimondo on Osama

This Libertarian's evaluation of the bin Laden tape is telling. Against the shrill cries of Bush and Kerry of revenge and war, Osama's reasoned presentation does indeed feel soothing, almost righteous.

I wonder how the dead Lebanese and New Yorkers feel about the latest events? I wonder how Bush or Kerry will ever wind down our empire-building enough to listen to them?

Sunday, October 31, 2004

Voter fraud

Why is it that "voter fraud" has become the watchword of the conservatives/Republicans? Thye're gonna be at the polls next week to make sure the blacks and browns and weirdos aren't voting twice or aren't felons or aren't aliens, and so forth.

And Republicans? Are they incapable of voter fraud? No--we know this from last election. But of course they're so sophisticated and funded that their fraud is on a big scale. Wholesale tossing of ballots and of purging of rolls. They don't need to vote falsely one-by-one, they have the machinery in hand to undo the democracy by a quick, corrupt swipe.

Here's the deal. Part of me wants Kerry/Edwards elected by a landslide so huge that there's no dispute. Part of me wants a close and contested election that will lead to major overhaul of the Electoral College system, leading to the election of Kerry, so that now both parties will feel the pinch and will finally change the system. Part of me wants gridlock, absolute gridlock, so that the revolution--the peoples' revolution--can finally take place.

So--I'm poll-watching, and little else.

It just doesn't matter

That happens to be the title of the novel I'm currently working on, but I use it here in another context: The presidential election.

For months I've been blogging about developments. In Iraq, with the economy, with the Patriot Act, and so forth. All of this was to ascertain the impact of these developments on the election.

No longer. With 48 hours to go, I appreciate that nothing--almost nothing--can change the outcome. And so, I confess that I'm barely interested in the news lately. I confess to having been interested in the news only as it impacted whether Bush would be reelected or not.

So, for the next few days, I'll read the news allright, but with disinterest. Instead, my interest in solely in the news of the polls, which as I've indicated heretofore, are inconclusive.

Oh well.

Too soon to tell

Billmon thinks that the bin Laden video didn't have much effect on the US electorate after all. I, on the other hand, believe it's too early to tell, and that only on 11/3 will we know. It's true, I guess, that in a race with an incumbent, the undecideds usually break for the challenger; but in this race, Osama's tape may sway the undecideds toward Bush out of fear of change.

Of course that's precisely what Osama had in mind.

The Pentagon vs. the British Ministry of Defence

Check out the difference between the US policy of hiding the coffins of our dead troops and the Brits' military announcements of battlefield deaths.

It sure explains why Rummie doesn't want publicity of the returning coffins.

Saturday, October 30, 2004

Fun for the obsessed

This site is really informative/obsessive. Move your cursor around the states to find out how they're presently leaning, and how their electoral votes line up, and you can drive yourself crazy or have a ball. Your choice.

Looks like Kerry has to keep hold of all states (including Florida) in which he's leading (by whatever small margin) plus hold onto New Jersey (which is likely) and win Ohio or Michigan.

This is gonna get ugly.

Amazing, truly amazing

How many falsehoods the Bushies and their fellow-traveling pundits can fashion about those missing explosives. They've blamed the Russians, they've claimed the explosives were disposed of by our troops, they've said Saddam moved them before the war, they've mixed up the dangerous powder with other explosives, they've blamed Kerry, the Army--even the media--for misdeeds. They must be relieved now that bin Laden's tape has taken over the airwaves so that the explosives story is pushed off the headlines. Poor Bushies, they must be exhausted.

Friday, October 29, 2004

What's the problem?

How hard is it to figure out what bin Laden's up to with the election-eve release of a video? Of course he's trying to guide our electorate to the re-election of Bush. He figures (probably rightly) that we dummies will be frightened into voting for Bush, and that's precisely the briarpatch he wants to be thrown into. Is there any doubt about this?

BTW--I'm not alone in my analysis. Billmon shares it.

For the viewpoint of someone who's lived under Bush's tyranny, and pleads with us to end it, check out Riverbend's letter to Americans about this election. It's a bitter, but heartrending plea from Iraq. I'm praying--actually on-my-knees praying-that we heed it.

October surprises

Missing weapons in Iraq, a lower-than-expected economic report on the GDP, a new study showing 100,000 Iraqis killed since our invasion, an emerging scandal over the awarding of the reconstruction contract to Halliburton. If Bush is re-elected in the face of all this news--all in the week before the election--we deserve him.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Back from Nevada

I couldn't take any more Vegas, even in Kerry's cause. I drove a van for early voters a couple of days, did some phoning and was an usher at the Kerry rally on Tuesday afternoon, with Cheryl Crow as Kerry's warmup. It felt good making a contribution, but I'll tell you, that place is crawling with volunteers, some of whom had dropped down from Reno because it was crowded too. On my phonebank were volunteers from the Bay Area, LA, Aberdeen, Washington, Perth, Australia.

Good to be back.

On another note: Back on October 12, I blogged about a Christian Science Monitor piece about missing explosives in Iraq, wondering when it would explode into a campaign issue. Now, almost two weeks later, NYT picked up the story and it has become a monster issue in Kerry's favor, with Bush on the defensive, bigtime.

Here's my question: What name should we apply to those spaces in time, from a day to a month, between when a fact "happens" and when it's first reported (on the Internet, ususally) and when it's reported by the major media. These are important spaces and deserve a catch-phrase.

Suggestions?

Sunday, October 24, 2004

My last post

for awhile, about ten days. I'm off to Nevada to do some GOTV ("Get Out The Vote") work there. Don't know to which town, probably Reno or Carson City.

I had a really powerful, sweet dream last night, or maybe it was a waking fantasy. It was Wednesday morning, November 3, and the polls had authoritatively shown that Bush was voted out of office. I went out to the parking lot of the motel where I was staying, to start the drive back to California from Reno in my trusty Volvo, but before I left I re-painted the protest sign that I've been marching around with for 18 months. I erased the anti-Bush/Cheney slogans and painted on both sides, "Mission Accomplished."

Saturday, October 23, 2004

How many lives have you saved, George?

Well, whatever the truth about Kerry's swiftboat rescues and heroics, here's one man whose life he saved: A Republican Senator, as told by that senator.

Nader voters

may make a difference this year, too. But in a different way: By voting for Kerry.

Rolling polling

In the waning days of pre-election, this site tracks the latest polls in all fifty states. From here--no news, I guess--you can see how Ohio and Florida are the keys. A few surprises: Hawaii, long considered solidly in the Kerry column, maybe shaky; Ohio growing pro-Kerry lately. Bottom line: If Kerry carries Ohio and Florida, he wins. If he loses either, he loses.

Who would Eisenhower vote for?

The answer, by Eisenhower himself, is here.

Friday, October 22, 2004

Is it the "S" word, or the "M" word or the "L" word?

A majority of Bush supporters, according to a recent survey, believes, despite all of the evidence to the contrary, that Saddam Hussein was involved in the al-Qaida plot on 9/11, and that he possessed WMD. Whose fault is that? The Bushies's lies? The media's obeisance to the administration? The sloth and stupidity of Bush's supporters.

I vote for all three.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

The middle class under Bush

This detailed analysis of five different types of middle-class family (from single household, to married couple with children, to retired couple) shows what's happened to their incomes and their outlays during Bush's tenure. All have lost net income after taxes and health-care costs, so that no group has participated in dollars terms in the "recovery" from the recession. The increase in worker productivity, it's apparent, hasn't shown up in their pocketbooks, but only in the ledgers of the employers, that is, the corporations that funded Bush's election.

What did I expect?

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Where are the media?

The story about the UN's concern over lost nuclear equipment in Iraq after our invasion never made the US media. See my previous post--"This little item," October 12. Nor, I'm sure, will this Reuters story about the sorry state of elementary schools in Iraq, despite Bush's continued claims that all is rosy there.
So, we're not rebuilding Iraqi's schools, and we've allowed the place to be looted of both desks and nuclear devices. What else is new?

Monday, October 18, 2004

It's a long list, I know

but when you've got a few minutes, check out this litany of Bush's (mis)deeds during his first term. This blogger has really done his homework.

The Unfairness Doctrine

Sinclair's effort to indoctrinate the citizens against Kerry by its last-minute broadcast of a biased "documentary" is well known, but what I don't understand is how CNN, MSNBC, Fox and other cable news stations can continue to get away with their one-sided coverage of the presidential campaigns. Right now I'm watching (having a tough time doing it, but I'm managing) Bush give a speech in New Jersey with full coverage by all cable channels. Every word, now, including his repeated castigation of his "opponent," which of course includes series of lies, outright lies, ("3/4 of the terrorists have been brought to justice", "Iraq sponsored terror," "terrorists are on the run").

The system, not the people, are running this campaign. If Kerry loses, its not because we didn't want him to be president, but because the corporate giants who control our television sets didn't.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Don't believe me,

believe the Tampa Bay Tribune, a newspaper that has endorsed each Republican presidential candidate since 1964. It cannot endorse Bush, and it lays out in detail why it can't. I couldn't have said it better myself.

Does world opinion matter?

This report, among numerous others, showing the decline of US standing in the eyes of citizens in other nations, is troubling. Certainly, as the report says, a large majority of those polled still distinguish between their antipathy toward the Bush administration and Americans in general, thank God. But if we re-elect Bush, after another four years I'm not sure foreigners will be so discerning. Recall, that for years we were able to distinguish between the Nazis and the German people; but toward the end of World War Two we weren't so subtle, condemning all Krauts, regardless of their political stripe.

To live in a world where Americans are despised? Is that to be Bush's legacy, or can we defeat him now so that our nation is only temporarily tarnished and can once again take its place as the leader, not the enemy, of the world? That's what we get to decide on November 2, and nothing less.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Be afraid, be very afraid

This post about an NYT essay that's due tomorrow, describes the mental state of the Bushies. They mean business, and they're lunatics.

Friday, October 15, 2004

Check out this analysis

of the reason Bush's psyche resonates with so many Americans'. Short, pithy, right on.

Okay, You know I'm a Kerry supporter

But I gotta tell ya, Kerry's statement about Mary Cheney's lesbianism during the third debate was stupid. Stupid, stupid, stupid. Doesn't he know by now that the Bush/Cheney cadre will stoop to any depth to win this thing, and that they'd jump on his reference? Now, instead of building on the momentum he clearly had gained in the last two weeks, Kerry's again fighting a needless, useless back battle. He'd been beating Bush/Cheney's asses on the issues--that's what had given Kerry the edge during the debate--and now the focus has shifted once again to his character and qualities, fodder for the Right machine. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Check out this chart

of the decline of the American empire. The decline in the international trade balance that Clinton handed to Bush is skyrocketing, every month, almost, hitting record highs.

Under Bush, the US has now become dependent on foreign goods in addition to foreign oil.

Now what? Vote suppression

With the debates over, the last unfavorable jobs report before the election behind us, the news from Iraq settled into constant ugliness, the economy still in its constant slide, there's little left to shake the voters' minds significantly. Barring a Karl Rove October surprise, the remaining ads and news bites probably won't do much (although Sinclair Group's outrageous airing of the anti-Kerry tv program, and the DVD release of Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 may have some impact), and so now it's down to door-to-door and other voter-motivation efforts.

Which means, of course, that opponents of freedom and truth (that's the Bushies), must resort to vote suppression, distortion and denial, because they know that a high turnout favors Kerry. Republican groups around the country are busy. Intimidating blacks in Detroit, threatening students in Arizona, destroying Democrats' voter registration forms in Nevada.

There's no doubt these incidents only scratch the surface. In the three weeks until the election, I'm certain in the swing states there will be furious efforts by Republicans to find various means to limit the vote of minorities. Subtle efforts, but furious. It could backfire, however. Those who might not have been motivated to vote could react by turning out in revenge.

Let's hope so.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

I'm not sure how much difference it makes,

but here's an informative, ongoing tally of endorsements of Kerry and Bush by newspapers in the US. So far, Kerry's way ahead in both the number of papers and their circulation. Also, a few of Kerry's endorsements are by papers that endorsed Bush four years ago, while Bush has no endorsements from previous Kerry endorsers.

Most people form their opinions through other media, probably, but given the tightness of the race, these endorsements may matter, to capture those undecided voters who read the papers. (Hard to imagine such a critter, but oh well.)

Stating the obvious,

But with authority.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

This little item

--a literal and figurative bombshell--about the UN weapons inspector's notation of the disappearance from Iraq sites of various types of nuclear-weapons equipment, gear that was in place before the US attacked Iraq but his disappeared since our occupation, is burning up the Internet and has found its way into some big dailies, like the Christian Science Monitor.

It sure as hell is going to appear in Kerry's debate presentation tomorrow night. It sure as hell also be the lead item in tomorrow morning's newscasts. It will place in stark, bold relief how counterproductive was the invasion and occupation of Iraq in terms of furthering the "war on terror." It's Exhibit A to the proof that invading Iraq has made us less safe, not safer; and to the proof, if any more be needed, that Bush is a dangerous, deluded idiot. This item alone should bring him down.

Monday, October 11, 2004

Whazzup with the Bushies?

Here, in a nutshell, is what their "foreign policy" is, post-9/11.

Bush and Cheney are cynically using the trauma of September 11 as a pretext to fight a series of elective wars against weak governments that are inconvenient for hawkish goals and some US corporate interests. Iraq was a poster child of this policy. It had no weapons of mass destruction, was ramshackle, and had no significant ties to terrorism. It was invented as a dire threat to Peoria by Karl Rove and Rupert Murdoch, the latter-day Wizards of Oz.


http://www.juancole.com/

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Miserable failure

These numbers show how God-awful this jobless recovery truly is. Worse than any previous recovery, completely off the charts.

Just another day at the office

Imagine opening up your mail to find this letter.

Saturday, October 09, 2004

Okay, now I'm getting pissed off

After screwing up the bogus paperwork about Bush's National Guard record, CBS decided not to air the program that they bumped back in September in order to allow Rather to air the now-discredited report. A few weeks later, CBS decided it shouldn't air the bumped program--a critical assessment of Bush's use of the "Niger/yellowcake" allegation--because "It's too near the election."

Now, however, Sinclair Broadcasting, the conservative company that already has favored the Bush campaign by ordering its many affiliates not to air Ted Koppel's rollcall of dead GI's some months ago, has ordered those same stations to carry--preempting prime-time programming--a "documentary" of Kerry's antiwar activism, highly critical of Kerry of course, only a week before the election. Sinclair's stations flood the battleground states and include many of the stations that are affiliates of the major networks, so there's no doubt there will be heavy viewing of the program.

Any chance CBS will reconsider its decision? Any chance Sinclair will recant?

Of course, NO on both counts.

Endorsements

The Arizona Daily Star, the major newspaper from my former hometown, Tucson, recently endorsed John Kerry for president. Today, Seattle's major daily did too.

Are the opinions of the editorial boards of newspapers important anymore, with so much of our news coming through other sources? I would think they don't carry the weight they did two decades ago, but that if they're coupled with other endorsements, such as by bigtime newsmagazines like Time, Newsweek and so forth, a few of the undecideds may be swayed. It's possible too that some people vote, on a rote basis, in accordance with their daily's recommendations. Let's hope so.

Just so you know

I'm not entirely mirthless on the subject of the election, check out this site and click on the two videos. Fuuuunny.

Friday, October 08, 2004

What's it going to take?

Not only was today's Labor Department report on September job-creation absolutely terrible (only 96,000 jobs as opposed to the 145,000 that analysts had predicted), the CEO's of major corporations have just projected that future job growth in America is going to remain lackluster through 2005, if not into the foreseeable future.

Oil prices are going through the roof, terrorism is spreading across the globe, the war in Iraq is an ugly mess and has finally been definitively determined to have been baseless. Our national debt is piling up frighteningly, our trade deficit is horrendous, health insurance premiums are soaring while coverage is shrinking--and all the while Bush/Cheney remain favored to win the election next month.

Is it possible that regardless of the reality of the nightmare that Bush/Cheney have created in the US and in the world, they'll be re-elected? In other words, is there no objective development during the next three weeks that can change that prospect? Has the sustained brainwashing and spinning by the administration and the media been so complete that they've created in a majority of the uninformed American public a favorable belief about Bush/Cheney's qualities and accomplishments that can't be erased by facts, no matter what they are?

If that's so, guys and gals, Bush/Cheney will be re-elected unless one or both of them so egregiously screws up before the election that even they can't cover it. I'm thinking getting drunk at a fundraiser and falling off the podium, or admitting to having a black love-child who's living in squalor in Tuscaloosa, or something like that. Nothing less, it looks like, will move the Bush/Cheney devotees out of the darkness.

The other possibility: defections by John McCain and/or Colin Powell.

C'mon you two. This is your chance to change the course of the nation, the world. Please, for the sake of our kids, come forward.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

It's that time of the month again

when the new-jobs figures are due to be released by the Department of Labor. Friday morning is the official release, just in time for the presidential debate that evening. With the huge numbers of layoffs that have been experienced during the past month, compared to the anemic number of new-hires reported by companies, it's expected that the job-increase numbers will once again be low, in the range of 150,000, just about the number needed to absorb the monthly increase in job-seekers who are entering the workforce for the first time, due to population growth in the US.

Somebody explain this to me

US military aircraft are bombing Samarra to kill insurgents so that the town can be taken back from the insurgents prior to the elections in January. The US is in Iraq at the invitation of a sovereign nation, its forces subject to that nation's instruction and command.

So how come the president of this "sovereign" Iraq is condemning the bombing as "collective punishment" of its citizens?

Second question: Why isn't this expression of outrage being carried by the mainstream media?

Polls, polls

For analysis of polls and polling, check out this site. Much discussion of details of present and past surveys, historical and political insight.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Piling on?

Just when Bush/Cheney's poll numbers are plummeting, two of their employees are pressing down on the control rods: Tribune Bremer carps about not having enough troops to stem the violence and looting after the invasion of Baghdad; and Wehrmacht boss Rumsfeld concedes there was no tie between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaida, pulling down a major pillar of the administration's argument for invasion.

Makes you almost feel sorry for the war president, doesn't it?

Sunday, October 03, 2004

A choice, not an echo

I voted Green in 2000, not realizing what stark differences there were between Gore and Bush. This year, I'm voting for Kerry, and although for many months I've been disappointed in Kerry's stance about the Iraq war (and on other issues), the fact is, there's a huge difference between him and Bush during the next four years. The Supreme Court composition, of course; and the course of our energy policy as well as our environment. But more: There's a grand difference in how the US is viewed in the world and how it sees its role in the world. Are we to be the bully, the emperor of the Earth; or are we a wise leader of nations?

Kerry, for all his faults, is worldly and is therefore able to see other nations' views as valuable, as worthy of consideration. That, to me, is necessary to prevent the end of our planet, brought about by haste and ignorance, the hallmarks of the Bush presidency so far, which would be unleashed in a second term.

Samarra Story

This AP article (why am I taking off on AP?--because it's there), dealing with the conquest of the town of Sammara, carries a headline about how the victory encourages the Iraqi forces. But a majority of those killed by US and Iraqi troops are women and children, Iraqis all. So, do you think on balance the assault earned the US more Iraqi support, or less?

Saturday, October 02, 2004

The Associated Press, is it the enemy too?

A huge story, right? Kerry takes back the lead from Bush in the most recent poll by Newsweek Magazine, the only nationwide poll since the debates. The figures are that the poll goes from 49/43 in Bush's favor to 47/45 in Kerry's, a significant shift. And yet the AP story places this item in a flood of information about Bush's attack on Kerry, something about how Kerry's "doctrine" about checking with the international community before invading another nation, is tantamount to handing other nations a veto over our self-defense. You need to read the AP story to appreciate how biased it is, how it misses the real story about Kerry's new lead and without discrimination vomits out Bush's lies.

Thursday, September 30, 2004

The debate, the debacle?

Okay, I confess. I didn't watch them. I taped them, but probably won't watch the tape. I'm relying, entirely, on the spin the media puts on the outcome. Did Kerry carry? Did Bush ambush or was he bushwhacked? These are the questions the American people want to know, these are the questions that will--as determined by the media--decide who won. Forget the messages, the qualities of the candidates, their history or their respective approaches to governance of the world. What matters, and now what I--a political wannabe--wanna know is "who won"?

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Call me stupid,

but I don't understand how Gallup can publish a poll that shows Bush with an 8% lead over Kerry among likely voters, when their polling sample consists, according to them, of 12% more Republicans than Democrats.

Monday, September 27, 2004

Is blogging passe?

A discussion of the commercialization of blogging is found here. Since this blog has no concerns over traffic (not much traffic at all, actually) I'm safe to say whatever I want, and there's no fear of my advertisers becoming annoyed.

Allawi's bio

can be found here. No wonder Riverbend despises him. Not as much as Bush, but pretty much.

Sunday, September 26, 2004

A note about posts and comments

I recently deleted a comment to one of the posts that I believe was inappropriate because it was addressed to the personal qualities of one of the people who post comments on this blog. I encourage comment about the issues, but I don't tolerate posts that call into question the character of fellow-posters.

Saturday, September 25, 2004

It's time to zero in on Allawi

The Interim PM of Iraq needs to be under this microscope, fast. Bush has tied himself to Allawi, and we know he's a monster. It's time to drag out that story of how he executed a bunch of Iraqis--shot them in the head--as a symbolic act to show how tough he was going to be as PM.

Don't let Rove do it

Bush/Cheney/Rummie/Condi and the gang are trying to twist the war in Iraq into the war on terror, calling it the "front line" of such a war, a haven of terrorists and so forth. Why are they doing this? So that they can justify the many deaths and dollars that are being poured into the effort. In fact, when I was out marching today with my sign, calling attention to the waste of human beings and treasure in Iraq, several people replied that it was worth it to "defeat the terrorists." Now, I realize these are dummies, but with Bush's rhetoric, and the media's labeling of the insurgents in Iraq as terrorists because of their tactics (beheadings, suicide bombs and so forth), Rove may actually persuade some people that the war in Iraq is the war on terror, and if he does so, Kerry--along with the rest of us--is toast.

Ah, yes, a model of democracy

in Afghanistan. With elections coming up on October 9, local chieftans are telling their tribal members that they must vote for the incumbent Prime Minister Karzai or their homes will be burned down.

What folly, what tragic folly, these madmen in the White House have begun.

Friday, September 24, 2004

Fox on campus

I note that in my hometown, Tucson, Arizona, FoxTV has been busy intimidating student voters at the University of Arizona. One would think that if Fox/Republicans are so confident in the strength of their message they wouldn't be afraid of the kids' vote. One would think.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

For those of you who are "exhausted,"

check out this graph, showing that the percentage of people who drew unemployment benefits in 2003 and who exhausted them without finding work is 43 %, the highest percentage since before WWII. If anything demonstrates the absence of job creation in the United States, that single stark statistic does.

BTW, if you recall, Bush's tax-cut package in 2002 was dubbed, by Rove and his minions in Congress, the "jobs and recovery" bill.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Monday, September 20, 2004

Bush is crazy

That's it--the only credible conclusion. He's delusional when he talks about Iraq, about terrorism, the economy, the state of the nation--of the world--in general.

Only if, in the six weeks between now and the election, enough fence-sitters can be persuaded that the obvious is true--that Bush is bonkers, March-hare mad--can his poll numbers be dented significantly.

There are too many Bush-devotees out there--ignorant, small-minded churls--to get Bush's numbers below 45%. But those 5%, those who usually don't vote, or haven't made up their minds yet, they're the target, and somehow they've got to come to understand that which is apparent to all astute Bush-watchers: Bush is batty.

It's the Iraq mess, stupid

Not the economy, not the deficit, not the cost of health care. These are compelling issues that support the defeat of Bush, but Bush's bleeding wound is Iraq. And now that it looks like Kerry is going to need an "October surprise" to pull out this election (Bush, BTW, has in mind to appoint Rudy Guliani as the boss of Homeland Security, I've heard, the announcement to be made in October), Kerry needs "a plan" to solve the Iraq issue.

His "internationalization" idea's no good. Too fluffy, too amorphous, too much like Bush's approach and, most of all, impossible-sounding. He needs specifics, and here they are:

1. Announce that as president he would immediately rescind the reconstruction contract with Halliburton and all of its subsidiaries Other corporations, too, that have violated our trust so far, and those whose practices are outrageous, such as overcharging, hiring foreign workers and so forth.

2. Announce that all rebuilding efforts will be done by Iraqis, funded by our reconstruction money, only a small portion of which has yet been spent.

3. Give specific tasks to the military. Guarding, securing, but no more random patrols, no more general police duties. Iraqis can do that, or if they don't want to, they don't have to. If violence happens, it happens, but meanwhile the Iraqis are being well paid to rebuild their own nation and will be the source of manpower to keep the peace, since now they have a stake--a financial stake--in the outcome.

4. Release all prisoners who aren't charged with a specific offense.

In other words, turn Iraq over to the Iraqis now--and pull back our military so that its purpose is simply to preserve Iraq, not build it.

This gives Kerry a chance to take a huge swing at a huge vulnerability: the Cheney/KBR/Halliburton graft, the waste of American goodwill, lives and resources, with a viable alternative: allowing the skilled, unemployed Iraqis build their own nation. It'll be cheaper, more secure for our troops, and certainly couldn't be slower.

So--next time the question comes up--What will you do to get out of the mess in Iraq--Kerry will be able to answer that question with a grin and a "I'm glad you asked that" reply, rather than the weasel-worded response he's so far come up with.

It's no October surprise. It's a late-September one, and I can't wait to hear it.

Oh, goody

The Bush administration's latest justification for the invasion of Iraq is the one that contains the phrase "It's better to fight terrorism over there than on our own shores." How pleasant it must be for the Iraqis to be singled out as the hosts of the battleground for the war on terror; how delightful that the US chose to use their country to fight the global war, which is indeed precisely what's happening.

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Not exactly an attractive job in Iraq

Working for the "coalition" ain't precisely desirable, when the insurgents track you to your home and attack your family, or behead you, or kidnap you and hold you for ransom.

If I were in Iraq, I think right now I'd choose being a purveyor of baked goods in a small town in the farthest corner of the country. Or, come to think of it, an expatriot.

Saturday, September 18, 2004

Riverbend rises

from a monthlong hiatus, her first post on Baghdad Burning since mid-August. When you read it, you'll understand why.

Meanwhile, up in northern Iraq

we're pissing off Turkey with our bombing. Turkey, our one friend in the region. Read this essay to see how volative the area is, and, because of its history how justified Turkey's outrage is.

They're digging mass graves in Iraq again

But now it's to bury Iraqis killed by the bombs dropped on the order of George Bush.

Didja ever wonder why it's called terrorism when the bomb that kills civilians is strapped to a person's chest or stuffed in a car, but it's not called terrorism when it's dropped from an airplane?

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Finally, finally

Kerry's speechwriters are getting the drift, are piercing the core. Kerry's "Bush is living in a fantasy" speech is treading close to my thesis of nine months ago that the effective attack on Bush (or on any powerful incumbent) is on his fitness, his sanity, even. Kerry should continue, should march on firmly and quickly, from fantasy to evil fantasy to delusional madness. Kerry has six weeks to paint Bush/Cheney as madmen--no less dramatic an image will suffice to defeat these media-driven incumbents--and has bushels of ammo. Kofi Annan's announcment that Bush's invasion of Iraq violated international law; the CIA's prediction that Iraq's a losing cause for us, probably headed to civil war; Bush's speckled National Guard record; the terrible numbers in Iraqi deaths and in jobs. Maybe, maybe, Kerry's "fantasy" lingo can assemble these facts and figures and give them traction, driving Bush over the cliff as he cries out, "I'm not crazy!"

"We don't do body counts"

even of our own bodies, apparently.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

You wanna catch a liar in a lie?

Check out these two statements by Colin Powell, the first made a few months after his February 2003 pitch to the UN Security Council to justify the US invasion; the second made yesterday.

Which is it, Colin? Did you check out the sources for the information for "four days and nights" before the UN speech; or did you rely on the information from the CIA without checking it?

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Protests are of no value

according to this essay. They don't sway the few undecideds who are still in play in this heated election, and all they do is expend energy "singing to the choir," or falling on deaf ears of the opponents. Indeed, they may alienate the undecideds or at least turn them off marginally from the cause that's being espoused. And since this year, the cause is opposed to an incumbent president, the protests play into his hands.

So--what's a body to do? Walk the streets, register voters, sign up noncommitteds in a silent, compelling way? Okay.

Except that the incumbent has CNN, Fox and all the networks on his side.

So it's Molotov cocktails, right?

Who is Major Doug Rokke?

And why is he saying all those terrible things about DU (depleted uranium) in Iraq?

Sunday, September 12, 2004

You need to read this

Blog, entitled, "Today in Iraq." Just take a peek at the entries for today, September 12. Twenty-two entries, detailing the swarm of killings, explosions, hospital admittances in Baghdad and throughout the country. "Bloody Sunday," and worse.

If you watched network or cable news, you'd learn it was a bad day in Iraq, but nothing like the detail. Enough to tear your heart out.

And, if it need be asked: To what end? Oh, please, tell me: To what end?

"Hearts and minds" by the back door

I just figured it out: Why a US helicopter gunship would fire upon and kill 13 Iraqis who were gathered around a burning Army vehicle that had been blown up some time before. Surely it couldn't be to kill those responsible for the explosion. They wouldn't be hanging out at the site, or if they were there wouldn't be any means to distinguish them from onlookers. In fact, in this incident a member of a TV crew was killed by the fire from the helicopter.

It's clear, therefore, that such random fire by our soldiers isn't meant to win the Iraqis "hearts and minds" in the traditional sense. No, it's the reverse. Once there's an insurgent attack, the US responds with such force, including killing innocents, so that the populace becomes so fearful of an insurgent uprising that they turn against the insurgents out of fear of reprisal by the US.

Is this so obvious that I'm wasting cyberspace here? Well, it wasn't obvious to me, just as it wasn't initially obvious to me that Bush/Cheney/Rummie love this ongoing violence in Iraq and elsewhere--they adore it, they sponsor it--because it attracts the idiot-faction of US voters to their cause. Just witness the recent polls, showing Bush's numbers increasing as the violence increases.

So, does Bush win the election if there's an increase in violence--and if there's a decrease? Well, if you're Karl Rove, that's precisely what you planned.

Saturday, September 11, 2004

Wallowing, not solving

I'm tired of watching us wallow in the 9/11 thing. The TV is full of tributes, memorials, remembrances of the event.

Yeah, the attack and its aftermath were traumatic, but the answer isn't for us to continue to scratch the wound, but to reflect for just a moment, to try to reach for a balm to salve it.

Isn't there anybody in a position of leadership, in the U.S. or in the world, who sees that the wound is merely a symptom of a worldwide malady, the product of an historical virus that has caused an imbalance between the world of haves and have-nots?

Let me ask this, demanding an answer: Why haven't the whites, those who inhabit the portion of the planet north of bottom tip of Florida and Texas and Italy, chosen to share the benefits of inhabiting the majesty of this planet with those who live to the south? Why, at all events, are humans so little like the gods--and their messengers--whom we say we aspire to; and so much like the animals that we say are "less than human?" Why do we hoard our wealth, our resources and arms, within our national limits--and why do we allow our corporations to exploit the riches of poorer nations, without fair compensation?

This longstanding conduct by America and its supporters is why we're being attacked. It's not about freedom, not about violence. It's about planetary justice, human justice, spiritual fairness.

It's about global goodness--which surely isn't the message of Bush/Cheney.