Saturday, December 31, 2005

Yes!!

A list of words to be banished from the English language.

You're not going to believe this

Forty-four percent of those polled by Rasmussen responded that 2005 was a "good" year (or better than "good" because many of those rated it "the best ever" or "excellent").

On what planet do those respondents live? Or could it be they lived only during 1929 and 1941?

Good news

I suppose the fact that the Justice Department has opened an investigation into NYT's publication of the existence of the administration's domestic spying operation should be bad news, showing how quickly an investigation can be started if it suits the administration, as opposed to how languidly the administration reacts to other leaks, such as the Plame case. But for me, this DoJ's decision is good news, ensuring that the story of the clandestine, illegal bugging will remain in the MSM spotlight for months, maybe years, to come.

Quagmire defined

This is how our nation will ensure that it gets dragged into Iraq's civil war.

Friday, December 30, 2005

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Letter to the editor

Some weeks ago I wrote a letter to the editor of the Santa Barbara News-Press that wasn't published in the letters section but in the "Voices" section, so I didn't realize it had made the cut. Recently someone told me they read it and a friend downloaded it for me. (This is in addition to the letter I wrote two days ago.) Here's the earlier letter:

New awareness prompts talk of withdrawal
12/4/05
Voice From Santa Barbara: Erik O'Dowd

With increasing frequency, Americans are asking, "Why are we in Iraq, anyway?"
It is to diffuse this growing doubt about the rightness of our mission there that the administration is now making mutterings of withdrawal.
Twenty-nine months after Bush/Cheney's invasion and occupation of Iraq, after untold thousands of deaths and maimings of Iraqis, Americans and others, and the expenditure of hundreds of billions of dollars, we are hearing suggestions from some in the Bush administration that "withdrawal" or "redeployment" of some coalition forces is likely, even imminent.
These utterances are no doubt prompted by the growing rejection by the U.S. public of our continued presence in Iraq, which is in turn based on a new awareness among the majority of our citizenry that the reasons the administration gave for the invasion were false: No weapons of mass destruction, no connection of Saddam Hussein to al-Qaeda, no "imminent threat" by Iraq to the U.S. or its allies.
With increasing frequency, Americans are asking, "Why are we in Iraq, anyway?" It is to diffuse this growing doubt about the rightness of our mission there that the administration is now making mutterings of withdrawal.
Don't be fooled. The Bush administration's invasion of Iraq was always about establishing U.S. hegemony in the Middle East, and so when they speak of withdrawal or redeployment of forces, they don't mean our troops will come home, or even leave the area. They'll be ordered to stay indefinitely in the region to show U.S. power -- and use it if necessary -- to enforce U.S. interests (read access to oil and natural gas by our corporations). Indeed, we are presently building four "enduring" bases in Iraq to ensure our permanent military presence there.
These bases will only ensure continued attacks on U.S. targets in the region and throughout the world, by those who've long demanded that we give up our designs on the territory and resources of the Middle East. We'll continue to spend billions of dollars and risk innocent lives, just in slightly different locales.
We mustn't grow complacent. We must keep up the drumbeat, continue to demand to "support our troops" -- not by moving them a few miles farther into the desert, but by bringing them home. Home to the United States. Now.
The author
lives in Santa Barbara.


To which I would add, as I've noted before, don't be fooled about the recently-increasing US bombing of cities in Iraq, which may lessen our casualties, but will increase Iraqis', and is equally, if not more, outrageous.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Rogue Nation

Check out this list of international treaties that the Bush administration refuses to honor.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Letter to the editor

Herewith a letter I wrote to the SB News-Press. I've had passable luck getting them published, so long as I adhere to the 250-word limit, as--by 2 words--I've done in this piece. A muted statement, I agree, but what the hell.

Many Americans are in despair, having given up on the political system that twice (maybe) elected Bush/Cheney, resulting in a growing chasm between rich and poor, between ideology and humanity, between truth and lies, between war and peace. But now Bush has gone too far, uniting in outrage both liberals and true conservatives (not, however, their evil cousins, the cabal of neo-cons that have Bush’s ear).

The straw that broke Bush's back?: His secret order authorizing warrantless surveillance by the National Security Agency of Americans’ private communications; and, once revealed, his unfounded assertion that the “war on terror” grants him that unprecedented power, followed by his obdurate insistence that he’s entitled to maintain the surveillance, unchecked by courts or Congress.

The Liberals' outrage is predictable, but no less so than that of true conservatives because of their innate distrust of federal power, particularly executive power, power that’s expressly limited by the Constitution’s reservation of lawmaking to Congress and oversight by the federal courts.

To be sure, the Bush/Cheney administration is in for a rough 2006. “Plame-gate” will expand; DeLay and other scandals will ripen; the occupation of Iraq will become even more poisonous; and the economy, now that the real estate bubble has popped and interest rates are rising, will slide into mediocrity.

But Bush’s Achilles heel is his arrogant assertion of executive (read dictatorial) power to intrude, unchecked, into the private communications of Americans. All sensate Americans know where this leads, and they won’t be led there.




Democratic presidential candidates in 2008

Here's a quick analysis of the status of various Democratic candidates for the next presidential election. God, how ugly. Except for Feingold (who's unelectable), the field is awful. Is there no such thing as a charismatic, strong "progressive"?

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Meanwhile, back in Iraq

Check out these numbers of Iraqi casualties from our invasion and occupation.

The birth of Jesus

Okay, all my life I've thought about Christianity--Roman Catholicism, mostly, but the other Jesus-based religions, too--and I now conclude that as fine a message as that young man preached (and I suppose he actually walked on the planet at about the time it's said he did), the idea that he was the son of God is a crock (even assuming there's a God, or a god.) The whole tale is absolute bullshit, just as the notion that Muhammed is divine or any other human being has been placed on Earth for some divine purpose.

Indeed, it's more than that I don't believe it, I find the notion abhorrent to the concept of humanity, mean of purpose (to rob humans of their essential human condition), and ruinous in effect.

And the celebration of Christmas--the idea that for a couple of days we should sing and pray and be of good will--it's worse than the recent idea of "black history month." Why is there a weekend for acting benignly, when Christians, as an historical group, are essentially a murderous group of zealots abetted (now, as much as ever) by wimpy believers who do nothing while Jesus' name is used to justify killing of persons all over the world.

Religion, in my mind--and Christianity is as bad as any--is a curse, an evil force.

Who's counting?

Ya know, with Rummie's recent announcement of a withdrawal of some troops from Iraq, I got to thinking. We'll have about 140,000 soldiers there afterward (if you believe the Pentagon), and I got to thinking. Does that count the sailors on board ships in the Mediterranean and Persian Gulf? What about the soldiers stationed in Kuwait and Qatar and other nearby sites? And what about this: Now that we're using thousands of "private contractors" to perform services that our military used to do--KP, transport, security operations--our soldiers are freed to perform truly military duties, right? Unlike Vietnam, where our 550,000 troops (at the height of the war) were doing all such things.

It's possible, by such reckoning, that our total military commitment to the outrageous, illegal war is comparable to the outrageous illegal war in Vietnam, only, so far, not quite as long.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Class warfare

These numbers are proof that the Republican version of an "economic recovery" is where the corporations (their highly-placed officers, their stockholders) benefit, and the workers don't. Why are the blue-collars silent? Why, for that matter, are the white-collars, who're not gaining income, but are simply spending borrowed money, drawn from their refinanced houses and credit cards? Are these folks so stupid, so unaware of even their own plight? Answer: Yeah.

Soldier bloggers

Here's a fine piece, quoting American soldiers' blogs from Iraq. Some fine images, some fine writers, some fine folks we've sent off to kill.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

While Bush withdraws the troops from Iraq

during the next six months, bear in mind that, unless restrained by the "elected" government of that puppet nation, US military forces, by airstrikes through fighters,missles and drones, as well as by withdrawing to four permanent bases inside Iraq's borders, will very much continue its dominance of the region. Don't be fooled, readers. Bush/Rummie/Condi/Cheney will try to fool us with numbers, but their plan will remain intact. They want to rule the Middle East by military power, and we'll continue to be their dupes unless we "stay the course," namely, continue to demand that we get the hell out of the region.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

President Bush's problem

I finally figured out why Bush invaded Iraq in furtherance of his "war on terror": He's dyslexic, having read Saddam's name as "Osama." Both words contain an s, an m, two a's, the only difference being an o, which looks like a zero. No difference, really.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Prime time slime

I didn't (couldn't) watch Bush on TV last night, but I've read news reports of his speech. My reaction: "Yawn."

Here's the deal: We're told he was "more realistic," "almost apologetic," and "convincing." He asked us to be patient in Iraq, that there were hard times ahead and that these difficulties weren't foreseen. He'd earlier in the week allowed that the intelligence that led to our invasion was flawed and that the responsibility for the decision to invade was his.

And? And? And nothing. Nothing new. Same old cliches about winning the war, progress being made, and so forth. Same speech we heard from LBJ and Nixon for years while our troops, and the Vietnamese, were being decimated in Southeast Asia.

Meanwhile, "on the ground" here's how it's going in Iraq. And meanwhile, Bush's authorization of domestic wiretaps without a warrant, and the Pentagon's surveillance of antiwar groups, give credence to this sage observation (not mine, but I can't recall the source):

"Bush said that Osama bin Laden hates us for our freedoms, and so Bush's solution is to take them away from us."

Sunday, December 18, 2005

I laughed 'til I cried

when I read the quoted sentence below, which was buried in an article recounting Cheney's "surprise visit" to Iraq.

After detailing Cheney's talk to the troops (during which their questions and reactions weren't entirely favorable), Cheney toured a military base where Iraqi and US soldiers were present, during which "U.S. forces guarded Cheney with weapons at the ready while Iraqi soldiers, who had no weapons, held their arms out as if they were carrying imaginary guns."

Yup, we're sure making progress with Iraq's military. One day we may trust them with weapons in our leaders' vicinity.

The most populous Muslim nation

Indonesia, responds to US tsunami aid predictably, given the actions and policies of Bush's neocon friends.

Another surprise visit?

Cheney's "visit" to Iraq today is termed a surprise by the mainstream media, just as are all "visits" by US administration officials. Why not call them what they are: "sneak appearances," made so because there's no way Bush/Cheney/Rummie/Condi could safely appear in that nation if the trips were announced in advance, and if they were more prolonged or significant than quick drop-ins to a military base or the fortified Green Zone.

Okay, I've noted this before, both the fact of it, and the manner of reporting. I understand the facts aren't likely to change, but won't the media ever tell it like it is?

I told you so

You see, I was right. The NYT published the report about Bush's secret order authorizing DIA spying on US residents, after holding it for a year, only because someone else was about to publish the story. (Check out my previous post, "Outrage.")

I wasn't cynical enough, though. Apparently, there's a book coming out--authored by a NYT reporter--and so the publication of the spying story is timed to boost its sales.

Then, profit: we learn that what changed between now and a year ago was that a Times reporter, James Risen, is about to publish a book about the entire affair and thus publishing the story now will mean maximum pre-sale buzz in January when the book is released - a key for any big book sales.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

How is it that

a decade into the "information revolution" brought on by the personal computer and the Internet, there's still so much ignorance in the United States?

Friday, December 16, 2005

Has it come to this?

Are we now a nation, a culture, in which the end justifies the means? I've been watching CNN, Faux News, even the "real networks," (CBS, ABC, NBC), extolling the marvel of the voting in Iraq. Here's their message. Even though we invaded a sovereign nation without justification, murdered thousands of innocents--ours and theirs--all is subsumed, all is forgiven, by an "election" conducted by citizens who're under our occupation. Iraq, we are told, is now exercising democracy and so we of the US can be forgiven for our violations of international law and of decency.

My take on this: If we are forgiven, then so are the worst of the world's transgressions, because even Attila the Hun believed he was bringing a better world to those he conquered.

Outrage

This NYT report on Bush's secret executive order allowing warrantless wiretaps on US citizens inside the country is outrageous enough, in particular the administration's insistence that Bush has inherent power to conduct such surveillance, unchecked by the Congress. This is another example of the "9/11 changed everything" ethic that Bush has used repeatedly to justify his ongoing illegalities.
But equally outrageous is that the Times sat on the story for a year in order, it says, to conduct "additional reporting." Number one: What chickenshits! Number two: What liars! It's clear that the NYT would have sat on the story indefinitely but for the recent lies by the administration, in particular by Cheney's minions, that the federal government had no such program, as quoted in the NYT article itself. I suspect, too, that another publication was about to go public with this information, and NYT didn't want to be shown to be what it is: a craven tool of the Bushites.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Riverbend's take on the election

Baghdad Burning's author prefers the Allawi "list" of candidates, even though they're puppets of the US, because when you're facing death a fever is just fine.

Alarming arrogance

When Bush, back in 2003, reacted to the millions of protesters of his invasion of Iraq with a shrug, and an offhand, "I respectfully disagree," I thought he'd reached the apex of arrogance. I was wrong. For months he's refused to discuss the Plamegate case on the ground that he wouldn't comment on an ongoing criminal investigation; but today, after he was questioned about the propriety of his comment that Tom Delay was innocent of the pending charges, his press secretary simply said it was his presidential prerogative to do so.

We gotta get rid of this guy.

A prediction

It's been four-plus years since the 9/11 attacks. At the time, I viewed the attacks as "the price of empire," and in the succeeding months and years I interiorly entertained my predictions about the outcome of the resultant "war on terror," including the invasion of Iraq, that Bush initiated. I didn't announce these predictions (except for one prediction--so far wrong, it turns out--about the decline of the dollar against foreign currencies), but each of my imaginings has been on target. So now, I'll articulate a prediction, so you can hold me to it.

I predict that by the end of 2006, Iraq (and likely its neighbors Syria and Iran) will have embroiled the US in such a God-awful mess that VietNam will look like a cakewalk. In the wake of today's elections, Iraq will become fragmented, will begin to look like a "failed state," to the alarm of nearby Arab states. The schism between "insurgents" and "terrorists" in Iraq, already emerging, will widen; antagonism between Shia-dominated nations and Sunni/Wahabbi nations will increase, and the US will try to straddle all of these conflicting forces, leaving our troops targets from a hundred directions.

Those of us who opposed the war are often chided for taking pleasure in seeing US failure in Iraq. Well, to be honest, I do. I want the US public--I want the world--to learn that the Bush version of democracy (you know what I'm talking about) cannot be imposed on the world by force, and should not be because of its illegitimacy. I want the Iraq experience to result in debacle so profound that we don't ever get talked into (lied into) repeating it.

I wish thousands of US soldiers didn't have to die to make this point, and I certainly feel awful about the dead and wounded Iraqis who've been made to pay this price. But, to me, if their suffering teaches the US to become a decent nation, a true leader of a fine, loving world, the price is, if not worth it, at least worth something.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

A perfect model of democracy

I've been reading complaints about the Iraqi election: The rapidity of the timetable for voting, plus the danger on the streets has limited campaigning to television advertisement, which are so expensive that only financially-empowered candidates can afford them, and these ads don't address substantive issues but consist merely of clever sloganeering and attacks on the opponents.

So--we've created Iraq in our own image, right?

Monday, December 05, 2005

Vote for what you believe in

Late Senator Paul Wellstone's slogan. So to my thousands of readers in New York, vote for ABC--anybody but Clinton--in the upcoming Senate primary. And if you need more evidence, check out this hypocrisy.

Once again on dialup, and ever more frustrated

I'm away from my broadband connection and so am speechless (as they say), except to howl at my powerlessness. There's so much to comment about: today's 9/11 Commission report, the outrageous bullshit that Condi spouted about "rendition" of "enemy combatants" (What have we become?), the likelihood that the Fitzgerald inquiry may merge with other investigations to reveal, via the Plamegate matter, a vast conspiracy to lead the US to war, implicating Israeli influence on NeoCons, including Rummie, Hadley, Cheney and their ilk. (I can dream, can't I?)

I'll be keeping track, of course, but not blogging with my usual assiduousness. But take heart, I'll be back online bigtime in a couple of weeks.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Maddening, maddening

"Ten soldiers killed in Iraq today," crawls across the TV screen. The pundits, too, announce this as a news coup, a significant development. This drives me crazy. In the first place, it's flat wrong. Eleven died. But that's not what drives me crazy. Several days in the last few months ten or more soldiers have died in a single day, but didn't die in a single incident or whose deaths weren't reported in a single dispatch; and on numerous days the death toll has been seven, eight, nine. A brief survey of the above-linked website will demonstrate this.

Another thing: All this hoopla about the Pentagon planting news in Baghdad dailies. Yup, it's a bad thing. But in the face of all the outrages we've been committing in that country--killing civilians, jailing innocents, torturing, destroying cities--how can such a story even get traction in the US?

Because it's about the media, stupid. We are at the mercy of the media in America, and that's the most maddening of all.

What's in a word?

The Downing Street memo, isn't a "memo," it's minutes of a meeting. And the "Bush-bombing-of-al Jazeera" memo isn't a memo, either. It's a transcript. I know they're off the radar right now, but with some luck they'll come back, during impeachment proceedings of Bush/Cheney, let's hope.

Withdrawal defined

With all this discussion of "withdrawal, "draw-down," and so forth, of our forces in Iraq, let us not be misled. As Tom Engelhardt points out in this lengthy piece, these various phrases disguise the following eventualities, if the NeoCons have their way: (1) Continued support of the Iraqi "forces" by US naval air power, missiles and planes, from ships in the Mediterranean and Persian Gulf, as well as the US Air Force stationed nearby, their targets called in by Iraqi forces on the ground; (2) the presence of US ground troops in at least one--probably more--permanent bases in Iraq and nearby, to rush in as needed to assist in the suppression of any violence in Iraq; (3) the control of oil and other business opportunities in Iraq by Western interests; (4) protection of the "independence" of the northern region of Iraq, "Kurdistan," to the dismay of the remnants of Iraq and of its neighbors of the region.

Make no mistake. Nothing in the current debate addresses these issues, and Bush is keeping quiet about them. But when we crazies chant--as we have for three years--"Out of Iraq!" we don't mean any of these things. We mean that the US should get out of Iraq entirely, get our troops out of harm's way and leave Iraq to the Iraqis. That's withdrawal.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Monsters

These soldiers--happen to be Brits--are more evil than the worst movie villain, as evil as evil can be. Here's the video of them shooting randomly at civilian autos, while an Elvis CD plays in the background. Imagine, for a moment, what it feels like to be subjected to automatic weapon fire, your car and person torn to shreds by huge bullets sprayed from the vehicle ahead! Think of the horror, the rage!

We've got to get our troops--all of them, Brits, Aussies, U.S.--out of Iraq to let them come home and return to humanness because this war is making some of them into monsters.

Colin Powell, the wimp

This article sums up my feelings about Powell, as well as my contemporaneous reaction to his presentation to the Security Council in the runup to our invasion of Iraq. Maybe because of my lawyer background I videotaped Powell's speech and went through portions of it afterward, especially his dog-and-pony show about the mobile labs for producing biological weapons, and it had a familiar smell to it: bullshit. I recalled at the time the U-2 overfilight photos that President Kennedy showed the nationwide TV audience to demonstrate the Soviet Union's actions in Cuba to install long-range missles. Now there was evidence! But the video graphics of Iraqi trucks equipped with laboratories?--c'mon, already.

As to Colin Powell? I've defended him heretofore as a "soldier," honor-bound not to denigrate his commander, the Commander in Chief. But I've changed my mind after these weeks of hearing from his Chief of Staff, Col. Wilkerson. Obviously, Wilkerson's statements are Powell's too, and so now it's clear that Powell is hiding behind Wilkerson's skirts to save his image.

It's time for Powell to step forward in person. Not as a soldier, not as a diplomat, but as a human being. Otherwise, I label him a coward, and so, I hope, will history.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Amen

This type of analysis of America's outrageous disparity of resource and income distribution is long overdue. Our policies, the innate greed of the capitalist system and its child, unbridled consumerism, have brought us to this point. I've lived through times when the existence of well-paid, unionized workers, a respected middle-class, and a fair apportionment of the nation's wealth were fundamental precepts. No more. Now, with a greed government at the helm, with corporate profits the aim and end of our system, we've become an indebted, impoverished nation, consuming on credit, living beyond the insecure, stingy means that we're given by a beaten-down economy, and buying and borrowing more.

Meanwhile, the poor in America have nothing and, under recent Bush legislation, will have even less in the future. Yeah, it's a human rights issue, nothing less.

Throw out the bastards, all of them...

except, maybe, Murtha, Feingold and of course Kucinich. A few others, maybe, maybe.

I've just watched Lehrer's interview of Senators Warner and Reid, a Republican and a Democrat, who hummed the same tune backing today's Presidential "speech" about Iraq, in particular, withdrawal of our troops. In essence, never.

We, the people, have got to take back America, because our representatives aren't doing our will.

We've got to start somewhere

How 'bout sending Rummie to Iraq, without a full military guard?

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

'Splain this to me

A college kid, a golfer on the University of Arizona, a year ago loses his entire family--both parents, his sister--when their private plane crashes on the way home from watching the kid play in a tournament. A young girl, allergic to peanuts, dies an agonizing death, seizures and great pain, after kissing her boyfriend who'd eaten a peanut butter sandwich nine hours before.

Does God have a plan? If He's omnipotent, can't He control such events? Was He too busy? If so, why bother to live a life that accords with His supposed dictates? Or maybe He just doesn't care.

Whazzup?

Uh oh

Some weeks ago we learn of the first female suicide bomber in Iraq, and now we learn of the first female European suicide bomber, a Belgian woman.

Good job, Bush. You finally succeeded at something. Creating a truly global war of terror.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Let me get this straight

We invade Iraq on various pretenses and finally settle on the "we deposed a dictator who tortured and abused his fellow citizens" rationale, only to turn the place over to a regime that tortures and abuses its fellow citizens.
Sounds like a hell of a deal for $300 billion and 17,000 killed or wounded US soldiers, eh?

Come the revolution...

It will start because of this.

How do you spell mutiny?

Check out these letters to the editor of Stars and Stripes, the Army's daily, Middle East edition, especially the first letter, but others as well. Do they sound like the Army's TV commercials to you?

Well, now isn't this interesting...

The EU has got some balls, after all. Threatening to sanction members states that have harbored the CIA's secret jails and demanding that their location and activities be disclosed.

Maybe it's time to move over there--past time.

I never doubted it

This post by Juan Cole, citing Sy Hersh's report in the New Yorker, tells of US plans to withdraw troops on the ground in favor of supplying air power in support of Iraqi forces to put down the insurgency. Not only is this madness--empowering the Shiites and Kurds to call down bombing on Sunnis--but it's hardly the stable democracy, with sovereignty and freedoms, that we're supposed to be establishing. What a God-awful mess, leaving the Middle East in a much worse position than when we invaded.

Cole also has a word of advice for George Bush about his heritage, worth reading.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Ann Coulter

author of this mad monlogue, shouldn't be allowed on the airwaves.

Now you tell me...

Does this sound like a whitewash to you?

Friday, November 25, 2005

Letter to the editor

The following is a copy of a letter I wrote to the editor of the SB NewsPress. It probably won't be published--it's a bit lengthy--but what the hell.

Thirty-nine months after Bush/Cheney's invasion and occupation of Iraq,
after untold thousands of deaths and maimings of Iraqis, Americans and others,
and the expenditure of hundreds of billions of dollars, we are hearing
suggestions from some in the Bush administration that "withdrawal" or
"redeployment" of some coalition forces is likely, even imminent. These utterances are no doubt prompted by the growing rejection by the US public of our continued presence in Iraq, which is in turn based on a new awareness among the majority of our citizenry that the reasons the administration gave for the invasion were false: No weapons of mass destruction, no connection of Saddam Hussein to al Qaeda, no "imminent threat" by Iraq to the US or its allies. With increasing frequency, Americans are asking, "Why are we in Iraq, anyway?" It is to diffuse this growing
doubt about the rightness of our mission there that the administration is now making mutterings of withdrawal.

Don't be fooled. The Bush administration's invasion of Iraq was always about establishing US hegemony in the Middle East, and so when they speak of withdrawal or redeployment of forces, they don't mean our troops will come home, or even leave the area. They'll be ordered to stay indefinitely in the region to show US power--and use it if necessary--to enforce US interests (read access to oil and natural gas by our corporations). Indeed, we are presently building four "enduring" bases in Iraq to ensure our permanent military presence there.

These bases will only ensure continued attacks on US targets in the region and
throughout the world, by those who've long demanded that we give up our designs on the territory and resources of the Middle East. We'll continue to spend billions of dollars and risk innocent lives, just in slightly different locales.

We mustn't grow complacent. We must keep up the drumbeat, continue to demand to "support our troops" not by moving them a few miles farther into the desert, but by bringing them home. Home to the United States. Now.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

You read it here first

That is, here. No surprise, I suppose, that our oil barons are planning to rip off the Iraqis, but it still bears reporting, right?

I regularly check out Al-Jazeera's webpage to see whazzup. I know it's thought to be a shill for the bad guys--even a target of our bombing--but it seems moderately moderate to me, and it certainly publishes news that others don't touch, especially our MSM.

Of course that's why Bush wants it destroyed.

I'd like to attend a press conference

where President Bush is asked about Hugo Chavez's decision to deliver below-market heating oil to various cities on the east coast of the US. I hope the question comes up--maybe as part of the the Thanksgiving festivities--perhaps by means of a question like this: "Mr. President, Are you having turkey, or are you eating crow?"

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Who's on first?

We are told that there's a new strategy for US forces: "go and stay." This involves not simply clearing various hotspots of insurgency, whole towns in many cases, but thereafter leaving a residual force sufficient to keep the town free of a return of the insurgents. However, this involves a significant increase in the number of troops on the ground for a significant period.

On the other hand, there are the hints by Condi Rice, that troop reductions in Iraq are in the offing. Is it possible that Condi's bullshitting us, just saying what the Bush administration thinks will placate the growing resistance to the war? Naa. Couldn't be, not in this administration with its implacable dedication to truth.

Craigslist rocks

Seems like alot of things rock for me today. This one--Craigslist--surely does.

When I was apartment-hunting in SB three months ago, I logged onto Craigslist hourly almost, to find the latest listings and to communicate by email with the owners. Really quick and efficient, an important feature being that when the space was rented, it was removed from Craigslist, unlike in the classifieds of the SB News-Press, where a rental could appear available long after it was rented. Other features, too, making Craigslist far superior to the newpaper for classified advertising. I'm certain that it, along with eBay and uBid (both of which I've used as well) are part of the problem the papers are facing, as shown in their declining revenues.

And now Craigslist is taking on the news component of newspapers. Right on, dog!

Depends on whose ox is being phosphorused

Is "white phosphorus" a "chemical weapon," the use of which in warfare is illegal? It is if you're Saddam Hussein, but not, apparently, if you're the good ol' USA.

The enemy of my enemy

I'm sure on many issues I don't agree with Libertarian Justin Raimondo, whose blog, AntiWar.com, is one of my first sources for essay and news each morning. I trust he's anti-liberal on social issues, probably too on environmental questions. But as to this war in Iraq--and in critiquing those politicians of both parties who support it--he's right on. This post, to me, says it all, especially its castigation of Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton for their weak-kneed, mendacious positions on our occupation. I commend it to you.

BTW--There's a quote in this post, cited by Raimondo, which is attributed to Claire Booth Luce, criticizing FDR's actions in triggering our entry into WWII:

The President "lied us into war because he did not have the political courage to lead us into it."

Seems like history repeats itself each generation. FDR in 1941, LBJ in 1966, GWB in 2003. Like the song says, "When will they ever learn, when will they ever learn?"

Juan Cole rocks

I've mentioned this before, I know, but the blog of this university professor, a Middle East expert, is must reading for those wanting to follow the developments in the region. Professor Cole speaks Arabic and has studied the area for years, as well as traveling there regularly.

Today's posts deal with Bush's conversation with Tony Blair, wherein the latter talked Bush out of bombing the Qatar broadcast station of al Jazeera (and the post describes the network accurately, in my opinion); the attempt by Big Oil to pirate Iraq's oil to their own profit; the disclosure that Bush was personally told by way of a President's Daily Brief (PDB) long before the Iraq invasion that there was no operational connection between Iraq and al Qaeda--and that Bush nevertheless told the US public that there was, and withheld the PDB from Congress in the runup to the war.

Other tidbits, too. All part of a day in the dwindling decade of our empire.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Read it and weep

How can you not? And, for those of you who aren't doing anything to get the US out of Iraq, get off your butts.

Triangle of Death

An Iraqi reporter tells of his observations of the Iraqi army's actions in these villages. I guess you'd say we need to do a bit more training of them--or are they just following our example?

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Loose tongues

I'm getting tired of this. When those people in Iraq who are fighting with small arms and crude IEDs the US occupation troops and the US-sponsored Iraqi military, they are called, variously, "insurgents" (not, of course, "patriots") and "terrorists," and if they shoot our troops the event is called an "ambush."

Does our media ever--I mean, ever--cast what's happening in Iraq as anything other than bad guys vs. good guys? I mean, isn't it at least possible that we're the bad guys? We are, after all, the invading army, invading in violation of international law, in the face of UN opposition, without justification. Can't at least one MSM headline writer at least try to fairly characterize what's really going on in Iraq?

Saturday, November 19, 2005

"The Nation" takes a stand

To which I say, Right on, dog.

A word of caution

I gotta admit, with the marvelous skein of bad news for Bush lately, and his plummeting poll numbers, it's hard not to gloat. For example, check out this graphic, charting the poll numbers of Nixon, Clinton and Bush II, and entitled "Bush--Hot on Nixon's Trail."

But these NeoCon people and their puppet, Bush, still control the media, still control all facets of government, still have three years (let's hope not!) years to rule. Now--more than ever--it's time to exploit this momentary advantage, with care and diligence, and with effective insight into the process.

For example, does the Left challenge the Alito nomination? I mean, do they threaten a filibuster? Would that be a waste of energy? Would it win? Would it alienate the moderates?

Does the Left relent a bit, and lean toward the middle? Does it howl until the middle moves Left? Does it do nothing--that is, allow the Bush administration to implode in the eyes of the middle-of-the-road congressmen (and, more to the point, women) and in the middle-of-the-road voters?

I say no. Give no quarter. Attack, attack, attack!--Just like they do. You see, their issues--drilling in Anwar, continuing the Patriot Act, "staying the course" in Iraq--are so awful, and so unpopular, that the Left has wide-open area for attack.Soo--attack!

I don't get it

Add up these numbers: Environmentalists, peaceniks, liberal/progressives, the poor, blacks, browns, unionists, womens'-rightists, academics, and add in libertarians and true conservatives. How many millions is that? Surely the vast majority of them, opposed to this outrageous war, make up a huge majority of Americans. Indeed, who favors the war? All I can think of is thick-necked white males, ages 27-40 who drive pickups with gunracks, and affluent white retirees who drive golfcarts.

So why are we still at war?

Friday, November 18, 2005

Well, now

Maybe all the marching and chanting we've been doing for the last three years is having an effect. The House of Representatives is beginning to sound like the British House of Commons. As we sometimes shout while marching, when accosted by opponents, "This is what democracy sounds like!"

The other sock

just dropped. As I predicted, Fitz is pissed. He's filed a document telling the court that he's proceeding with the leakgate investigation in front of a new grand jury.

Bush the pariah

He leaves the White House to campaign for the Republican candidate for governor in Virginia, sending the candidate to defeat, then he travels to the far east, stopping in South Korea to this effect:

"South Korea has announced plans to pull a third of its troops out of Iraq
next year.The announcement from the Korean Defense Ministry comes a day after
President Bush met with South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun (noh moo-hyuhn) and praised him as a staunch ally in the Iraq conflict.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Is the bottom falling out?

I've referred to this poll, Pollkatz, in previous posts. It summarizes and charts, with fine graphics, the numerous polls on numerous issues.

The "Bush index" is a definitive polling indicator, because it measures the spread between Bush's approval and disapproval numbers, as determined weekly by averaging the polls concluded during that week.

Well, as you can see, the news ain't good for Bush, not at all. Pollkatz's figures reveal the highest spread ever between those figures--24.2--whereas no previous index had risen above 20. This means, according to the broad sample of polls, 36% of Americans approve of Bush's handling of his presidency, and 60% do not.

A "silent majority" has arisen, to be sure. And it's a big majority, growing bigger by the week.

Damn, I wish I'd come up with that

but I didn't. I found it in the middle of this essay on the state of the nation. A fine piece, to be sure, but this observation is the capper:

Bush's version of battling the war on terror is this: "Since 'they hate us for our freedoms,' we'll just eliminate the freedoms."

Hillary/Biden watch

Ya wanna see something fun? Watch over the next few months how Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden, in their bid to stay in the hunt for the 2008 Democratic Presidential nomination, try to slither from their ongoing "send more troops to Iraq" mantra, to adoption of a pitch for withdrawal. Neither of them has an ounce of principle, and so I'm quite certain the it's just a matter of time, since even the most hawkish of Democrats in Congress are suddenly climbing on the get-out-now bandwagon. Being alone among their peers on this issue ain't going to get them any primaries, that's for sure.

My guess is that at some point in Bush's meaningless "quarterly progress reports" on Iraq, one or both of them will ease into a reversal, citing some figures or some developments in the reports. There'll be no abrupt change of heart, a la John Edwards, that's for sure. The last thing Biden or Clinton wants is a flip-flop moniker. So, keep your eyes and ears open, tune in to nuance when they speak. Let's see how cleverly they do it--and how cleverly we can spot it.

PS--Scroll down the above link, past the news release of Murtha's statement, and read the statement i

An early analysis

The revelation that Bob Woodward of WaPo says he learned from a White House source the identity and CIA position of Ambassador Wilson's wife two weeks before Scooter Libby is said to have leaked this information to Judith Miller of the NYT, does put an odd twist on prosecutor Fitzgerald's indictment of Libby. Recall, Fitzgerald claimed in his news conference that Libby was the first leaker, and hence had reason to lie about having leaked, since to do so would likely jeopardize national security. Now, with Woodward's earlier knowledge, the strength of Fitzgerald's case against Libby is a bit, but just a bit, questionable.

This article assails Woodward, and rightly so. I've always been somewhat guarded in my assessment of his reporting. He seems to me to be so enamored of his role as contemporary chronicler of political history that he sacrifices insight in favor of churning out a middling mush, becoming first to press but only that. In the process, his recounting is more like regurgitating.

But unlike the author of the above-linked piece, I don't see Woodward's claim to be ruinous to the prosecution of Libby. On the contrary, I believe that "junkyard dog" Fitzgerald--who's taken Woodward's depostion now--will not take kindly to Woodward's last-minute disclosure, and will demand of Woodward that he reveal this source, and that he'll seek a contempt citation, a la Judith Miller, if Woodward doesn't fess up. Woodward may go to jail to protect his source, but he might not. After all, such a sacrifice isn't newsworthy anymore (BTDT--"Been there done that") and besides, Woodward's got a book to finish.

So Woodward will doubtless squeal, and since it's likely his source was Cheney himself, Fitzgerald will likely want to depose Cheney too--not simply chat with him, in Bush's presence and not under oath, as before--and if Cheney lies: perjury. If he tells the truth: violation of a substantive statute, possibly. Either way, Fitzgerald's gonna have himself a field day--and we're in for a hell of a ride.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Compromises, or sellouts?

Two Congressional deals in two days: A half-measure that essentially overturns the recent Supreme Court decision on the rights of "enemy combatants" to have access to federal court; and a bullshit 90-day "reporting" duty imposed on Bush, with no timetable for exit, as to the war in Iraq.

The Republicans have won two battles, defusing the Democrats' issues on two important issues, and looking magnanimous in the process.

The Democrats, the gutless party, caved in twice, handing Bush a way out of his own barbarism. He can now comply with these weak-kneed laws and slide through his murderous policies unscathed.

Lies list

http://democrats.reform.house.gov/IraqOnTheRecord/

Monday, November 14, 2005

Liar, liar

I guess maybe it'll finally come to light--the evidence of Bush/Cheney's prevarications that led us to war in Iraq. On this score, in addition to the piles of circumstantial evidence, from the Downing Street Memo to the testimonies of cabinet members and advisors of Bush to the outright clarity that Bush/Cheney plotted this war long before they launched it, add this fact: There was massive bombing of various parts of Iraq in the months before the invasion, while Bush was all the while pretending to be abiding by UN resolutions. This last bit of evidence has been rarely alluded to in this debate, but it must not be forgotten, because it, as an affirmative act, proves more than anything else, that the war was underway long before we were told it was and that fact, as much as any other fact, proves the intent to deceive.

Winston Churchill

is said to said this: "Americans will always do the right thing, as soon as they've run out of alternatives."

Have we?

Iraq hic diem.

Let's see. Mass arrests of civilians by the military of an occupying nation. Regular killings of military forces and mercenaries who are hired by the occupier to provide security. A diffuse, undifferentiated insurgency. Killings of Iraqi civilians by the insurgents. Systematic propaganda by the occupier, seeking support from the populace.

A day in the life of an emerging democracy.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Am I missing something?

Jimmy Carter abjures the administration's insistence on the power to torture prisoners, on its pre-emptive war doctrine, on its actions to invade our privacy in pursuit of its "war on terror," and many other outrages, all as recounted in his newly-published book.

My question: since Carter's a born-again Christian, are there two versions, the ones, like Carter, who follow the teachings of Jesus, and the others--those who vote for Bush repeatedly--who follow Bush?

Maddening

Torture vel non. This will be the question of the upcoming week, no doubt, as the Congress debates various proposals to exempt the CIA or other entities from the Geneva Convention, US military regulations and standard police investigative practices that have been the law of the land for centuries. It is said that we must have information from our captives to protect our troops and our homeland and that departure from our norms may be needed to secure it.

Why are we having this debate? Didn't we need information during the world wars, during Korea and VietNam? Wasn't it likely (wasn't it even more likely?) that captured troops or guerillas could supply it, and wouldn't the same argument apply to them, that harsher methods of interrogation might obtain more information, might save lives? And yet we stuck by the rules in world war--and we stuck by them during the Cold War, when the Soviet Union posed a documented nuclear threat to the U.S.

We're told that "9/11 changed everything." Well, maybe so. Maybe we've allowed the Bush administration to convince us that, but to me all that's changed is the American psyche. "We Have Met the Enemy...and He is Us."

Incompetence or conspiracy?

I seldom watch the Sunday "news" shows, because they've become (were they always?) uninformative shouting matches, without deliberation, without elucidation, just noise. But today I glimpsed Wolf Blitzer's (his real name?) program, interviewing Senators Pat Roberts, R. Kansas, alongside Carl Levin, D. Michigan, on various topics. Among the questions was why various Bush administration officials kept repeating as fact that Iraq had trained al Qaeda operatives before 9/11, when that assertion had been debunked in a Defense Intelligence Agency report long before. It seems that the source, a captured al Qaeda fighter, was said to be unreliable, saying whatever it took to maintain his captors' interest.

Pat Roberts' answer was succinct. "The DIA report didn't reach the policymakers."

And Wolf's next question: "Isn't that a terrible commentary on our intelligence system?" or words to that effect, turning to Levin, an avoidance that Levin bit on.

You don't have to be a trial lawyer to know that the next question that Wolf should have asked Roberts was this: "How do you know that?"

You take it from there.

Friday, November 11, 2005

I know it's early, but

I gotta tell ya, if the race for president is between Clinton and McCain, I'm gonna blow up the 154 bridge over Cold Springs Canyon, the 101 north and south of SB, and lead the movement to secede from the US. Why not? We'll have plenty of offshore oil, plenty of fish and veggies--avocados, lemons, walnuts in massive amounts--and, of course, wonderful weather. Hell, SB even has a desalinization plant, so they can't cut off our water supply.

The only economic source we'll have to go without is tourism, to which I say...oh well.

Ya gotta love it

"Early November is a beautiful time in Wisconsin." So begins a letter to Bush asking him to visit that state on the eve of the election in 2006 to campaign for Republican candidates.

The rub: the letter (pdf) was authored by the head of the Wisconsin Democratic party.

A million monkeys

at a million typewriters may have made these changes between the classified intelligence report and the unclassified version that was given by the President to Congress to justify the invasion of Iraq, but I doubt it. In the first place, it would require that the monkeys come up with the "corrections" in just a few days; in the second place, the monkeys would have to add a clause--actually add words to a complete sentence--to make the case for war more alarming, as is apparent by the second example by which the prospect of delivery of biological agents by air--says the unclassified report--includes, potentially, the United States. Now how would a monkey know to type these words and add such a clause? And how come it appeared in the unclassified version, not in the classified version? Wouldn't you think the classified version would have more detail, more alarming prospects, than the unclassified version?

Recall the "dodgy dossier" in the UK? Well, we've got our own version in the US.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Overwhelm

The wheels are coming off Bush's maniacal reign so fast and so consistently that I find myself unable to keep track. I'm giggling at the trainwreck so hard that I'm not blogging. So--I'll post when I can, when there's a slight break in the debacle.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Telling it like it is

Riverbend has posted again, and I gotta tell ya, it makes for tough reading. And for a description of the reality of "Operation Steel Curtain," read this.

Our little Saturday protest group has begun this chant, which isn't original, but sure feels right--and righteous. "The world can't wait! Impeach George Bush!" He and his cabal have the power to wreck the world, and they're doing it, quickly and surely. With three years left in his second term, we could be back in the Stone Age by inauguration-time, 2009.

They lied

If you need more convincing, read this.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Am I the only one who recalls this?

There are countless recountings of the timeline that shows that Bush lied to the American people in his State of the Union Address in January 2003, and that Colin Powell did just about the same thing in his address to the UN Security Council a month or so later, and that Bush lied in his declaration to Congress before the actual invasion in March, 2003. Here's an example.

But nowhere have I seen reference to a hugely significant piece of evidence that the administration was going to invade Iraq regardless of the state of its possession of WMDs, and that's this: In the winter of 2002-03, the UN inspectors--Blix and al Barradei--were pleading with the US authorities to share with them any information in their possession about WMDs so that they, with unrestricted access to inspection (recall their white SUV's racing around Iraq in response to tips?) could track down WMDs--or not. But the US didn't, for months, lend a hand--not a whisper of information--and then finally, on the eve of Powell's UN speech, the US gave Blix a verbal report of WMD whereabouts ("unprecedented" that such a report wouldn't be in writing, said Blix), which the UN inspectors then chased down and found to be false. Not just once, but several times. "Garbage on garbage," was one UN inspector's evaluation of the US evidence.

I've never seen a single essay that calls these events to mind--the above-linked report makes a brief reference to US intransigence, but doesn't stress it--as telling as they are that the US had faulty information--and had learned it was faulty "on the ground." What more proof could there be that when Bush told the Congress, in his declaration before the invasion, that Iraq had WMD's, he lied, knowingly and intentionally?

In case you're not following this

The Guardian (British paper) is publishing a serial written by Blair's ambassador to the U.S. during the 2000-2004 period, chronicling the tragedy by which the U.K. and the U.S. got into the mess we're in in Iraq. Sad reading, indeed. And, unlike most American accounts (except those of Col. Wilkerson, Scott Ritter and a few others--which I know you're following) this Brit pulls no punches.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Impeach!

For months--exactly a year, actually, since Bush/Cheney's "re-election"--I've been carrying a sign demanding their impeachment for having "lied U.S. to war," and our little band of weekly protesters has been chanting to the same effect. It's satisfying to have history catch up with us a little, I must admit, although 1000 U.S. troops have died in the process; but I'm not certain how penetrating any Congressional report on the subject of the Bush administration's fabrication of evidence will be. The Republicans control that process, so I'm not holding my breath.

I will point out, however, that a new storm cloud is rising on this score. Compare this item, appearing in 2004, but citing evidence dating back to many months before the war, with the NYT article today that cites a report by the Defense Intelligence Agency about the lack of credibility of one of the sources for Bush's claims of a connection between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda.

Result: A main source of Bush/Cheney's claims (as well as Colin Powell's speech to the U.N. Security Council) about Iraq's threat were made up by a stoolie who was out to please his captors--and the DIA reported this fact months before the invasion.

So--We'll keep chanting, and I'll keep on carrying my sign.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

There's nothing new under the sun

Bush's fabrication of evidence to support the invasion of Iraq has been compared to Lyndon Johnson's prevarication about the events in the Bay of Tonkin. But here's an even earlier plot, a CIA justification for invasion of Cuba.

LOL

Ethics lessons?

Piling on, or Kick 'em while they're down, or Don't get mad, get even

Some such adage characterizes the following dream sequence:

1) Fitzgerald makes a deal with Libby, Rove and others, resulting the indictment of Cheney for some subversive crime, followed by the submission of articles of impeachment in the House of Representatives.

2) The ACLU wins the appeal of its FOIA case against Rumsfeld, requiring the release of the four videotapes and 87 photos of abuse at Abu Ghraib, film that is shown on all networks (even Fox, which has by now turned on the administration) and depicts abuse that makes the earlier pictures look like a Winnie the Pooh cartoon.

3) Cheney, Libby, Rove and others plead guilty, counting on pardons from Bush, which Bush, citing their "unswerving governmental service," grants.

4) Within minutes, articles of impeachment against Bush are filed in the House. Condi Rice, fearing for her future as a black female inmate of Leavenworth, makes a deal with the House Counsel, and presents evidence of Bush's deliberate distortion of pre-Iraq-invasion evidence to justify war.

5) Both John Roberts and Samuel Alito, having been confirmed, are videod with Scalia and Thomas in an orgy with a bunch of mixed-gender, mixed-race ten-year-olds, and Fox News plays the videos in prime time.

6) Iraq is taken over by Iran, which demands that the US appoint a new president in order for the US to have any oil from either country.

At which point, I awoke, screaming in delight.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Uh oh.

You need to read this piece about Iran's decision to create an oil "bourse," or market, and to take as currency the euro, as opposed to the dollar. There are numerous reasons why this is a good deal for Iran--which holds a high percentage of proven oil reserves and a higher percentage of natural gas--as well as for its many European trading partners.

And so, as the author points out, we might want to be on the lookout for an attack on Iran by the US, in the guise of disarming its nuclear threat, just as the US attacked Iraq in 2003, using WMD as the excuse, in the wake of Iraq's decision to utilize the euro as its exchange.

Stay tuned.

I told you so

Here's a quote from an article reporting what a National Guard general who recently returned from a trip to Iraq said about the US military presence there.

He said there are signs of how the U.S. presence is likely to change in the
future. He visited a base in southern Iraq that will expand from 6,000 to
16,000
soldiers, drawing them from northern parts of the country. He expects
U.S.
forces will consolidate in two or three major, well-protected bases,
with Iraqi
troops eventually taking over operations in the rest of the
country.

You see, this stuff you'll be hearing from Washington about "withdrawal" of US forces after the upcoming December 15 election (another election in Iraq? God, they've got to be tired of voting!), simply means withdrawing them to fortified perimeter zones inside the country, where the US will be able to control all events throughout the Middle East. This was one of the major reasons Bush invaded Iraq, and it's the major reason Muslim radicals--especially bin Laden--have given for terrorist actions against the US.

So, the US will continue on its road to empire, and the terrorists' attacks will continue. A perfect recipe for ongoing dictatorship in our nation, and war throughout the world.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Tipping point?

Check out these poll numbers. Really horrendous for Bush, and consistent across the various pollsters' results. At what point are these figures irreversible? I wasn't poll-watching during the nadirs of Clinton, Reagan, Bush I, Nixon and Carter. But I'll betcha, they didn't get much worse than this.

And isn't Bush II supposed to have a "base," an insane/ignorant bunch of Christian radicals that constitute 40-plus percent of the electorate? Could they finally be catching on--or bailing out?

Right on

In this essay, the author excoriates "useful idiots," the "hand-wringing liberals" like Joe Biden (and, he failed to mention, Hillary Clinton) who condemn facets of Bush's Iraq policy, such as the failure to plan for post-invasion reconstruction and the Abu Ghraib outrages, but continue to maintain that the war was properly waged and that we must "stay the course" to complete the job there.

I couldn'ta said it better myself.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Jimmy Carter, Christ and other guys

I just watched Larry King's interview of President Carter (Carter's got a new book out). Yeah, the guy's a human being, really close to an enlightened being. But he's stuck in politics, and on Iraq he's way off base. He wants us to withdraw eventually, but he doesn't talk about the thousand-plus kids who'll die in that process. So--for me, he gets a solid B.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Rogue nation

The United States, founder of the United Nations, site of its headquarters, its historical supporter, has, under George Bush, determined to move out of the realm of lawful governments. Another step toward fascism, just like Nazis in 1938.

The source for this report isn't the MSM, of course. Leave it to Islam Online to tell us what America has become.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Speaking of short memory

Already the Libby indictment, three days old, is eclipsed by Bush's latest outrage, nominating a Fascisti to the Supreme Court, so that the Left's talking-points about the indictment are forgotten and relegated to complaints that prosecutor Fitzgerald didn't go far enough, and isn't likely hereafter to dig deep enough, to charge any other crimes, much less to dig out the falsehoods that Bush/Cheney made up to hype the case for invading Iraq.

Fifteen minutes of fame? Not even that, nowadays.

Who will tell the people?

On our weekly peace march, and during my various vigils in SB--a town that's got four colleges and presumably a knowledgeable, even somewhat liberal, citizenry--I routinely encounter people who're unaware that we're still fighting and dying in Iraq, or who believe that we're in the last throes of our operation there. There is certainly no awareness of the level of the continuing death toll, and so when I tell them that we lost more soldiers (227) during the last three months of the occupation (August through October, 2005) than we lost (176) during the first three months (March through May, 2003, which includes the invasion itself!)--they are flabbergasted.

Ya gotta hand it to the MSM, they're right on the spot with the latest hot story, but the moment it cools, fuggetaboutit.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Okay, it's mean spirited, I admit

but watching Bush's fall from grace is sure fun. Help him along with your cursor, if he gets hung up.

Letter to the editor

The following is the text of a letter to the editor of the SB News Press that I sent today. Probably too long to be published, so I thought I'd send it into cyberspace. What the hell, it was fun writing it.

To the editor, Santa Barbara News Press

Re the indictment of
Scooter Libby.

To those who contend—I’m talking about Limbaugh, Hannity and their ilk—that Scooter Libby’s misstatements to the FBI and grand jury about the leak of Valerie Plame’s status with the CIA are inconsequential crimes, reflect on this.

We must first address the Why Bother? question. Why would anyone—Cheney, Libby, Rove, all of whom discussed the matter at length—bother to delve into the employment of the Joe Wilson’s wife? Because, of course, by arguing that as a CIA employee she was instrumental in
arranging Wilson’s trip to Niger, they could cheapen Wilson’s negative report on the Niger-yellowcake deal, devaluing his effort as simply the result of a familial junket, devaluing him as a nobody, merely a beneficiary of a well-positioned bureaucrat.

But why try to devalue Joe Wilson, and so his report? I’ll tell you why.

First, it’s undisputed that the famous “16 words” of Bush’s State of the Union address were critical, in the view of those in his administration—notably Cheney, Wolfowitz, Perle and Libby—to establishing the case for war against Iraq. These words raised the specter of nuclear explosions on American soil, demolishing whole cities, not just toppling towers, not just clogging subways. So important was Bush’s phrase, that Iraq had sought “significant quantities of uranium from Africa,” that it was much massaged by his handlers to be attributed to the
Brits, because the CIA disputed the evidence and indeed had insisted that the reference be stricken in an earlier Bush speech—and Colin Powell didn’t touch it in his watershed speech to the UN Security Council some weeks later. Indeed, as later conceded by CIA Director George Tenet, those words should never have been included in Bush's address—a concession made, however, only after the invasion.

Second, what would be the repercussions of such a revelation, that is, that the executive branch of the US government, to which its foreign policy is entrusted under our Constitution, purposefully misstated the evidence for war in a crucial address to the Congress and the nation to support the invasion? I’ll tell you what.

It’s not just a lie—although it certainly was a lie. It’s not just an impeachable offense—although it’s certainly that, if Clinton’s lies about his sexual encounters were impeachable. No, it’s worse,
much worse: It’s direct evidence of a war crime, no less obvious than the Nazis’ falsification of evidence of Poland’s border incursion to justify Germany’s unprovoked invasion of that nation in 1939. To those who followed the Nuremberg trials, Germany’s invasion of Poland was a principal count of the indictment of the Nazis for war crimes, i.e., “waging a war of aggression.”

So, when the Bush/Cheney cabal drafted those 16 words, and Bush delivered
them—cleverly crafted, dramatically delivered—they knowingly risked everything, including exposure as war criminals, in furtherance of their ambition to take over Iraq and, with it, dominion over the assets and politics of the Middle East.

So—enter Libby. He’s among those who promoted the Iraq invasion, according to his own account, but Wilson’s yellowcake report disputed the basis for it. Libby then confered with Cheney and others, who determined to nip the report in the bud, to dispute its validity by
questioning the veracity, the solidity, of its author. Not a new concept: When you don’t like the news, kill the messenger. A ploy that had been used by the Bush administration to fine effect in the past, too numerous to mention.

And it worked, for a time. Joe Wilson’s negative report about the Niger-yellowcake deal wallowed among the myriad of other stories questioning Bush’s case for war, including the aluminum-tubes debate, the mobile biological-labs chase and the long-range drones silliness. The neo-cons, of which Libby was an avid member, had waged their war and it was underway.

But by the time Joe Wilson’s report was published in the major media, in a New York Times editorial, no less—and no WMD’s had yet been found in Iraq—the neo-cons were worried, worried bigtime, that their pre-war lies would be found out. And so—kill the messenger.

Who was behind Libby’s leaks, and who was he protecting with his lies to the FBI and the grand jury? His boss Cheney, of course; and no doubt he acted with Rove’s approval and
Bush’s concurrence. There’s no way Cheney’s first deputy would take on such a
project on his own.

Will we ever know who, exactly? Maybe not. But we know why, exactly. So that Libby, Cheney, Bush and Rove, as well as the entire cabal in the Pentagon--and without--who caused this nation to invade Iraq based on lies, would escape exposure as war criminals, war criminals under the same legal principles that international law applied in the past to those who lied to provoke invasion of a sovereign nation.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

...and counting

As of this morning's weekly peace march, I'm amending my sign to read 2016 U.S. military deaths in Iraq, up from two thousand just a few days ago. Here's a report about the ongoing violence in Iraq, with figures and analysis. It's not a pretty picture, and it's getting uglier.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Libby/Liddy?

Does it occur to anybody that the first person indicted in PlameGate is named I. Scooter Libby, and among the first men indicted in Watergate was E. Gordon Liddy? I mean, is that eerie, or what?

Chapter One

Okay, my previous post-prediction that Libby, Rove and others would be indicted was premature. Only Libby--for now. But if you read paragraph 21 of the indictment, and you realize that "official A" is Karl Rove (and that Fitzgerald has the option to present more charges to other grand juries), you gotta believe Rove's still a target of the investigation and that somewhere in his four trips to the grand jury he's been nailed. Especially when you watch that bulldog, Fitzgerald, as he explains the charges. I wouldn't want to be on the wrong end of his prosecutorial effort, and as of today, Rove still is.

Libby's toast

Readers of this blog may hear/read various coverages of the indictment of Libby, but as a former lawyer, I'm here to tell ya that the best source of information about the charges is the language of the indictment itself, which may be found here. (Pdf file).

Enjoy.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Ping pong

Ping. Bush stole our Christmas: he took away the prospect of watching Harriet field questions from the Senate Judiciary Committee, questions like "What do think of Marbury vs. Madison? (Her answer, of course, would have been, "You mean Madison Avenue?")

Pong. Tomorrow's indictment day. Rove, Libby, probably three others, plus an extended grand jury term to allow Fitzgerald some leeway to offer deals to those who decide to turn, Watergate -style, on their elders.

Ya gotta say this about the Bush administration. Never a dull moment.

Vigilantes

No, I don't mean the rednecks gathered at our borders to "assist" the US Immigration Service to round up illegal aliens, I mean those thousands of us, at hundreds of gatherings around the US to memorialize the death of the two thousandth soldier in Iraq. We (a rough count: 150) assembled at the Sunken Garden behind the courthouse in downtown SB, held candles, stood in silence, spoke softly and departed into the night. I felt uplifted--and deflated.

Such demonstrations, as good as they are for a temporary lift to the psyche of each participant, won't change the course of American politics. We peaceniks are expected to act in such a way. What would worry the other side is if we didn't gather in parks, but in well-shielded buildings and attics; if we didn't sing softly, but planned and devised and schemed; if we didn't disperse after meeting, but worked on assigned tasks into the night and the next day and the next.

It's not enough to attend a vigil, not enough to watch and hope. We've got to act. We've got to.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Huh?

Here's a quote from an item in an Iraqi Newspaper published in the Kurdish part of the nation and excerpted here, a website that monitors Iraqi news items. A question: This is the democracy we're dying for?

Sulaimaniyah Administration Minister of Culture (to be) dismissed(Aso)

"Sulaimaniyah administration minister of culture Fattah Zakhoyee (will be)
dismissed from his job because he did not vote in the referendum, according to a
source in the Kurdistan Workers' Party. The source told Aso that the regional
government has yet to officially fire Zakhoyee, a member of the party, and the
issue will be settled on October 25 or October 26. The source said the Patriotic
Union of Kurdistan politburo wanted to dismiss Zakhoyee."

Sinking ship of state

According to Rasmussen Reports (a conservative daily pollster) the percentage of those polled who "strongly disapprove" of Bush's presidency has risen to 42% (another 15% "somewhat disapprove"), which is the same percentage as the total of those who "strongly approve" (22%) and who "somewhat approve" (20%).

Two questions: (1) At what point does impeachment become more than a constitutional concept? (2) Who on Earth (or in any event, among those polled) could feel "somewhat" either pro or con about this president? Under what rock or rug have they been living these last five years?

Update: I wrote too soon (that's what comes from creating posts at four a.m.): As of today, 10/26, according to Rasmussen, Bush's total approval number (adding "strongly approve" and "somewhat approve" figures) dropped another point (to 41%, his lowest ever) while his "strongly disapprove" number increased by two (to 44%). Is this a new version of the "silent majority"?

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Johnnies come latelies

Now, with the death of the 2000th soldier in Iraq, we're finally hearing it: The Congressional catcalls and criticisms of Bush/Cheney/Rice/Rummie/Wolfie's cabal that twisted the intelligence to persuade the Congress and the citizens of the US to go to war against a nation that hadn't attacked us, hadn't threatened us, hadn't the capacity to do either.

My question: With some notable exceptions (Byrd, Kucinich and outsiders Snowcroft, Ritter, a few others) where the fuck were you before, and during, the 2000 deaths?

As one who's been marching, writing, protesting this monstrous war since well before it began, I gotta tell ya, you politicians had better not just make a sound-byte out of this. If you want my votes in 2006 or 2008, you better damned well get on the long-ago-departed bandwagon and take the reins, bigtime. Only if you do, will you get my vote (and the votes of millions of my fellow protesters) because unlike the Bud-swilling millions who voted for Bush, we have reason, and long memories.

Which means, Hillary and Kerry, it's time--long overdue--for a flipflop. You too, Feinstein.

I don't know whether to laugh or cry

at stories like this. Actually, neither. I'm too busy pounding the walls.

Monday, October 24, 2005

A confession

A few years ago a good buddy of mine, whose politics and spirit I admired, confessed to me that he was a Nascar fan, watched the races on TV, even drove east to watch a few of them in person. Nascar? When he asked me whether I thought less of him on account of his penchant for the sport I told him, as softly as I could, that indeed I did. Still do, actually.

But here's something I'm not crazy about admitting: I like to watch boxing on TV. Not every bout, but occasionally, and certainly the classics. That's why I'm confessing now. I just watched, on ESPN Classics, the 1952 heavyweight championship bout between Jersey Joe Walcott, the champion, and an undefeated contender, Rocky Marciano. I recall listening to it on radio when I was eleven years old, as a matter of fact.

Those two powerful boxers, toe to toe, fought for three-minutes times twelve (imagine!), until 50 seconds into the thirteenth round when Marciano hit Walcott with a devastating right hand to the chest or chin (no replays in those days), and Walcott hit the deck for the count.

The fight was so fierce that you wanted neither of the boxers to come out for the next round, you felt every heavy blow, and there were hundreds of them, back and forth. I cannot imagine the courage it took for those two men--in fabulous condition, of incredible strength--to come out for round after round.

Anyway--there you have it. My confession. So am I a hypocrite for calling myself a peacenik? Probably.

Treasongate

For those of you who follow the story compulsively, here's the website recently created by Fitzgerald's office. Just the underlying document, so far. But this week, could it set forth an indictment or two, or twenty?

UPI

Some weeks ago, I pointed out that UPI (years ago, United Press International was a head-to-head competitor to AP, but it has since shriveled into a secondary wire service), was owned by the same company that owned the Washington Times, namely a company owned by the Rev. Moon, a right-oriented "Christian." Well, that's still true, I suppose, but from the tenor of this article about Bush's present problems with the Plame-outing scandal, you wouldn't know it.

Could it be, could it really be true, that we might actually get to the bottom of this cabal in D.C. Could it be that Americans will take back America?

Friday, October 21, 2005

If you've got a coupla minutes

you may want to read this fine essay (a review of a recent book, actually) that attempts to answer the question why, if the polls show that the American public hasn't really shifted rightward in the last two decades, their politicians have. Really incisive analysis of the means by which the Republicans have gotten their arch-conservative agenda to become a "majority rule," notwithstanding that the majority of Americans say they want something different.

My take on the issue adds this slightly-mentioned piece: The media, especially the broadcast and cable television news. It's not hard to gain power when the major institution that's supposed to question authority doesn't do so and indeed is part of your power structure.

I'm not making this up

This AP account, found in Yahoo! News, about Bush's buddy Karen Hughes abroad, in Indonesia this time. What the hell?

Dropping like flies

I know y'all regularly check in at this site that keeps tracks of casualties in Iraq, but in case you haven't visited it lately (and you certainly haven't heard about it on the MSM), as of today, this month's (October's) rate of daily deaths of American troops is the highest since November 2004.

They have no WMD's, Saddam's in custody and on trial, they've got a government in place and they've adopted a constitution.

Why--can anybody tell me--why are our troops still dying over there?

Thursday, October 20, 2005

It's official

This survey of American polls tracks graphically various trends, including Bush's approval/dispproval ratios. According to the latest entries, including Fox and Wall Street Journal and other less-than-liberal polls, Bush's disapproval percentages now unanimously exceed 50%. A minority president.

So where, you ask, is the "Silent Majority?" Ask Congress and the mainstream media.

Iraq fatigue

We've been reading lately ab0ut "donation fatigue" or "disaster fatigue," resulting in diminished giving by Americans to charities because of the unending series of catastrophes in the last year or so. The result, no doubt, will be that the 60,000 or so (but who's counting?) dead Pakistanis and Indians who are still buried under earthquake rubble will just have to wait until the US and other nations can get it together again to assist. (But with a new hurricane to watch, there may be no further aid forthcoming, and certainly no more news coverage on the television.)

But that's another story. I'm suffering, instead, from Iraq fatigue and I may be one of the last to catch the disorder. I haven't quite quit counting our dead soldiers (1987 as of this morning, five killed yesterday), and I still read the stories on the various websites, but it's hard to maintain the outrage day after day, outrage after outrage. So, when a post appears on this blog dealing with Iraq, I assure you it's been interiorly vetted by me, the least outrageous developments have been filtered out, leaving only the worst--the very worst--developments for reportage here.

Here's today's outrage: Condi Rice's latest concept, "clear, hold and build." Under this scenario, as far as I can tell, our troops will take over an area by force, guard and assist construction people as they rebuild what we've destroyed. If this isn't VietNam all over again, I don't know what is. Remember the phrase "fortified hamlet"?

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

A word to the wise

So far I've stayed away from (aloof from?) the speculation/hype about Fitzgerald's grand jury. Sure, it could indict everyone from the lowest-ranked malefactor (somebody in Libby's office who manned the fax machine, or something) to Cheney or even Bush, who, unlike Nixon, wouldn't be named just an "unidicted co-conspirator." Criminal charges, amounting to treason, against the highest elected officials in the land, to be followed by impeachment proceedings. Wowzer-dowzer!

Okay, something grand like that could happen but in my experience such matters (with the notable exception of the spectacular Saturday Night Massacre in which Nixon fired Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox, and then two Justice Department bosses, Elliot Richardson, the AG, and his underling, William Ruckelshaus, resigned, only to be supplanted by Robert Bork--later to fail in a bid for the Supreme Court--who fired Cox), simply aren't part of the political scene in Washington. We're much less dramatic than that, most-times.

But I gotta admit, something's afoot and it feels like it's something pretty big. Even so, since I can't do anything about it but stayed glued to my 'puter (and, I suppose, my TV), I elect to sit back and click my mouse and remote and smile, vaguely, knowing that no matter how much less than fulfillment of my wildest fantasies eventuates, Fitzgerald and his secret jurors are giving me--all of us Lefties--a hell of a ride.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

The other newspaper in Washington

We all know that the Washington Times (as opposed to the Post) has heretofore been a rightist rag, owned by a corporation that's owned by the Moonies. But now, it seems, the Rev. Moon may have had a change of heart and the Times may reflect that change, leaving the NeoCons in Washington with nowhere to print their mad ravings.

Of course they still have Faux News, the Wall Street Journal (most times), and a bunch of magazines and think tanks. But it's a start.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Two Days in October

I commend to you, without reservation, a PBS documentary on The American Experience, called “Two Days in October.” Please view it if you can. Tape it too, to show to your friends and kids and anyone whose values you value. And then join me at the barricades to stop another two days in October. Not, this time, about the war in Vietnam in October, 1967. About Bush/Cheney's "war on terror," about two days that started today.

Okay, let's get serious

This is the billionth warning to the Democratic party to get its act together, finally, to cease their chickenshit politics.

It takes time for any movement, any idea, to get seeded, to grow roots and thrive. It took years for the opposition to the VietNam war to get a foothold; and years more for it to lead to our withdrawal. But we don't have that much time anymore. The madmen (and women) who control our government are moving too fast, closing in on Armageddon with deliberate pace.

There's no time, either, to form a third party and have it hold sway. The Democrats are all we have--and it's time to remind them who they are. The party of the people--us--the folks who built this nation. We hate war, we want freedom, we help our fellows, we are good and kind.

Come on Democrats. Take back America.

Numbers don't lie

Okay, I've so far watched Bush's declining poll numbers without comment (difficult not to gloat, I gotta tell ya) but now I must observe this: The oldest, most revered poll is Gallup, now merged with CNN and USA Today, and here's its most recent results, listed along with other recent polls on Bush's approval/disapproval percentages: 39% approve, 58% disapprove.

These numbers are awful for Bush. But even more awful is the fact that in its previous poll two weeks ago (also shown on the same webpage) Gallup/CNN/USAToday was among those most favorable to Bush, with a disapproval/approval spread of only 50% to 45%.

This means that Bush has lost more than 7 Gallup percentage points in just two weeks, all after he made countless trips to New Orleans, all after his incessant speeches and appearances to bolster his image as leader.

It could well be that, as happened to Truman after the war, the public has just quit believing in the guy.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

The first good idea I've heard in a long time

Walter Cronkite's call for a midterm Democratic convention. Let's find out who's gonna run this party: the human beings or the schmoozers.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Speaking out

We are an occupying force in Iraq, licensed by its "government" to roam at will, attack at will, to defeat the "insurgency." Our forces have leveled Fallujah, Tal Afar, Ramadi, many other Sunni-dominated cities. Now, we learn, that as a proximate result of these sieges the residents were starved and, no doubt, suffered from lack of water and medical attention.

Now a national referendum is being held, and the Sunnis are being urged to vote. Really? Will they at least be promised food, water and shelter in their major cities?

What a cruel joke this is, this charade of democracy. I'm ashamed of us for allowing our nation to do this, because we as midlife adults were at the helm when this monstrous regime took over the three branches of our government. It's time, citizens, to take back our nation.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Sickening

I have two reactions to this report by CNN of Bush's teleconference with soldiers in Iraq. First, it sickens me. Frightens me, actually. Reminds me of Hitler chucking the cheeks of Nazi youth before sending them off to war.

Second: Good for CNN, to tell it like it is. Its content, much less its headline of the story, wouldn't have made it onto Goebbel's broadcast of the event.

Worst president ever

Okay, I don't know how bad the U.S. fared under Andrew Johnson or Millard Fillmore or the like, but I gotta tell ya, from my early learning in American history I can't recall any administration that got us into a war and after two and a half years was still urging us to "stay the course" against an insurgency that was killing our troops and wreaking havoc in the country we attacked without threat to our nation, and without apparent end.

Oh yeah. Lyndon Johnson.

But Johnson was also the force behind the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the War on Poverty. Whereas this Texan, this monster, has done us worldwide harm, as Johnson did, and wrecked our interior as well.

We elected him. We're paying for it now. Fuck him. Fuck those who voted for him. And--I don't mind saying it, really--fuck all those American soldiers who are dying in this battle. They signed on, voluntarily, unlike the poor drafted slobs who, unlike me and Clinton and Bush and Cheney and our ilk, found a way to survive Viet Nam.

Our troops and our "independent contractors" in Iraq signed on for this duty and are being paid for it, many with hefty reinlistment bonuses. They're mercenaries, like the Hessians in 1776. I say, you takes your money, you takes your chance.
Fuck 'em, fuck 'em all.

I don't know whether to laugh or cry

over this report that the detainees in Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison have been allowed to vote in the upcoming referendum (just think if the detainees in Florida's prisons had been allowed to vote in our 2000 Presidential election). But as to the second line of the story, I'm sure. I'm ROFLOL. (For you cyberunliterati, that's "Rolling on the floor, laughing out loud.")

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

LOL

I haven't had this much fun since, well, since Bush v. Gore was decided.

I hate when that happens

Imagine enlisting for a military obligation that's served far back from the action, in air-conditioned comfort and then this. Ouch.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Dylan rocks

These lyrics, written before the Christian Right took over American politics, and before radical Islam struck on American soil--decades before each--cut too close. What did he see that we didn't?

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Friday, October 07, 2005

I'm exhausted

reading Juan Cole's line-by-line rebuttal of Bush's rant yesterday about Iraq and terror and stuff. But I'm much edified, too.

Elect a madman, you get madness

These numbers--of the escalating cost of the war in Iraq, of the cost to clean up after two hurricanes, of US borrowing and fiscal imbalances--absolutely insane.

Can't anybody--the Republicans, say--do anything about this?

I love when that happens

When the international community, especially my Scandinavian ancestors, slap the US in the face, especially Bush and Bolton.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

This is a democracy?

The Iraqi Parliament has made terrorism a capital offense, and has made similarly punishable the act of assisting or concealing a terrorist. Harsh, but not too bad a reaction to the nation's present state, I suppose.

But how's this for the definition of terrorism?: any criminal act against people, institutions or property that "aims to hurt security, stability and national unity and introduce terror, fear or horror among the people and cause chaos" or any "activity threatening to spark sectarian differences or civil war." Furthermore, a terrorist is defined as including anyone who provokes or enables a terrorist to do such things.

So flag-burners, strikers, demonstrators--are they now subject to the death penalty in our new democracy? What about the person who holds the flag pole, hoists a supportive sign in an anti-government demonstration or shouts encouragement to the demonstrators?

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Ambivalence

That's my reaction to this report that the UN has taken exception to the Shiites latest move in the Iraq parliament of changing the requirement for defeat of the constitution from 2/3 of those who vote to 2/3 of eligible voters in three provinces, the latter standard making it virtually impossible for the Sunnis to vote it down on October 15. While I certainly agree with the UN position--what an outrage!--I'm coming to the conclusion that approval of the constitution, under either standard, will simply spark a greater civil war.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Link TV

My landlord (landlady, actually) has blessed my rental unit with Direct TV, which is an astoundingly confusing service, but it does provide me with a powerful benefit: access to LinkTV. This is a viewer-supported channel available on Dish TV and Direct TV and I gotta say, it's bitchin'. Right now I'm watching "Bush's Brain" and next up is a documentary on Paul Wellstone. You get the drift.

Gotta go now, wanna watch.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Read it and weep

Riverbend has posted today on her efforts (her latest efforts, because her earlier posts were heroic) to understand the upcoming vote on the constitution--what the document said and meant in real terms. But now, she has revealed, in a desperately sad post, the reality of the political process in Iraq.

Back in the USSA

In Iraq, as in the US, the people in power create the rules, resulting in Bush's election in 2000 and (probably) in 2004. In Iraq, it's the Shiites who rule and they've just changed them to ensure that the Sunnis can't defeat the referendum on the constitution by interpreting the interim constitution to require that it be defeated by 2/3 of the voters in 3 provinces, that is 2/3 of the registered voters, not 2/3 of those who vote. Imagine the difference: In the U.S., for example, it would be impossible for 2/3 of the registered voters to agree on anything because of the low percentage of those who register who actually vote.

The Iraqi constitution, if it should be adopted, will be entirely bogus, just as the Bushies, through their operative, Tribune Bremer (author of the interim constitution) envisioned.

You can't make this stuff up

Isn't this KBR, a subsidiary of Dick Cheney's Halliburton, the same company that just got another huge no-bid contract to repair Katrina's damage to Navy facilities in New Orleans? Where the hell is Congress in all of this?

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Neo-Cons vs. Neo-Salafis

Bush, another fine mess you've got us into. Now, a radical Muslim sect that sounds like Islam's version of the Christian Right in the U.S. has taken to bombing Shiites, focusing on Iraqi civilians, seeking civil war for its own sake. Our invasion has apparently swelled their numbers, giving them a cause and breeding discontent among the arab Sunni population.

The Congress should be so diligent

as the Iraq Parliament, which has refused to vote on an annual budget until it learns the details of the squandering of money and corruption of the previously-spent funds.

Ya know, you've gotta feel for those folks, trying to do the right thing under the gun of our occupying forces. Makes you weep for liberty, doesn't it? Makes you ask, Why the hell don't we get out, just leave them alone and maybe they'll survive as a viable nation. Maybe we will too.