Saturday, December 30, 2006

After almost two months,

Riverbend posts on her blog, Baghdad Burning, once again--and she's bitter.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Did I read this right?

"And I encourage you all to go shopping more."

Apparently so. Check out this transcript of Bush's recent news conference about the war in Iraq.

Meanwhile, in Bush's "successful war"

kidnapped girls are traded for dogs.

Tragic farce

This report in the Guardian about the Brits' attack and demolition of the "Serious Crimes Unit" headquarters in Basra is astounding. And these are the folks we're dying for, these are the people we're placing in power?

This entire ugly war has become a sick joke, a gruesome tragedy. We've got to leave that nation to allow its citizens to determine their own fate. And to allow our citizens to heal.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Laughed 'til I couldn't anymore

Here's a healthy dose of Holiday cheer. Video of Borat's visit to the Pima County (Tucson, Arizona) Republican club. Enjoy.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

I wish you a Merry Christmas

but as to the New Year--probably not very merry. The numbers--reported by solid governmental sources--are frightening for the future of our children and grandchildren and, like so many problems Bush and his Republicans have gotten us into in the last six years, present an insoluble problem. What have we wrought?

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Hopeless, hapless

Here we are, awaiting word from the Listener-in-Chief about how many additional combat troops he's going to launch into the cauldron that is Iraq. The ostensible reason for this is to stem the violence that is caused mainly, these days, by retributive warring between the Shiites and the Sunnis in and around Baghdad. To effect this, the US had hoped to cause the Iraqi Parliament to re-align, so as to isolate al-Sadr's block of members and hence to give the Iraqi army and US troops free rein to wipe out the militias that support al-Sadr (although their previous attempts haven't borne fruit).

But no. Today, the Shiites' grand ayatollah, al-Sistani, said he wouldn't approve such a realignment, effectively ending any such program of violence-suppression. And so, the meaningless dying goes on. Our soldiers are obeying orders, presumably, but the orders have no purpose, no aim, no end in sight. Just killing and dying.

What's in a name?

Here's an article from MediaMatters that ticks off the series of White House phrases that's been adopted by the MSM, particularly CNN, in describing various developments in Iraq and elsewhere, from "cut and run" to "Terrorist Surveillance Program" to "Democrat." I've given up on the airwaves, including PBS, as a news source (except of course Link TV, Pacifica Radio and Democracy Now! and such programs). Right now, for example, the networks are cluttered with stories of Denver's airport and The Donald's battle with Rosie, while in Iraq the killing goes on and on.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

I don't get it

Why can't the anti-war faction of the American populace come up with a decent presidential candidate, one who demands immediate withdrawal from Iraq, cessation of obstinate silence on Middle East questions and discourse with other nations (Iran, Syria), and true engagement with the world on issues of fair trade and wealth-sharing? It looks from here like we're going to face a 2008 just like 2004, with no candidate (except Kucinich) speaking out on these issues. And that's after an election in which I thought we'd spoken by ballot that we wanted just such candidates.

Flag etiquette

Talk about form over substance. Talk about absurdity, idiocy, irrelevance...whatever. (Note, at the end of the article, the lady's comment that the flag's mispositioning was "disgraceful." Who are these people?)

What America needs now

is a military coup.

States rights

Here's a listing and brief description of laws that take effect in various states effective January 1, 2007. Quirky, weird in some cases, sensible in others. It surely demonstrates the concept of federalism, anachronistic as it sometimes seems.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

I defy you

to read the first paragraph of this article about hogshit and not read the rest of the five-page piece. It's like watching a train wreck, or film of the allies' first encounter with the prisoners at Dachau. Can't stand the sight, can't turn away.

A testing post

This is a test. I repeat: This is only a test. On the previous two posts of mine, when I've clicked on the "Comment" line, the comment box has shown a statement "Banned by Webmaster. Your comments will not be added" and indeed my comments haven't been added when I typed them into the comment box. This post is being added to my blog to see if that problem persists.

If the same thing happens to you when you click the "Comment" line on my blog for any posts, would you email me to that effect?

Interesting reading, eh?

Sunday, December 17, 2006

War rules

The Sunday morning talk shows are replete with references to the prospect of adding between 20 and 50 thousand additional combat troops to the mess in Iraq. Other interviewees spoke of the need to deploy more Americans to increase the "training" of Iraqi troops--even though their training is not the issue: their loyalty and reliability is. But there was not a single spokesman for the millions of Americans who want immediate withdrawal of our forces. Why not?

One would think the inclusion of such spokespersons would make for lively discourse, would create meaningful dialogue, would make for good theater. Is it possible the major media are willing to forego these for the sake of keeping this war going, since it's a source of high ratings?

Saturday, December 16, 2006

A pause that refreshes

I've been taking a vacation from blogging for a few days, here in Tucson for the holidays. I may do some posting from time to time--there's certainly no shortage of items--but mostly I'm agog about my little granddaughter and her family. Amazing things, granddaughters. Amazing.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Be careful what you ask for

Bush/Cheney/Rove labored long and hard to dupe the American public into equating the war and occupation of Iraq with the "war on terr'r." Well, apparently they succeeded, with the result that now, with the Iraq quagmire ongoing and in fact becoming a losing battle, according to the Iraq Study Group, the public's opinion has changed dramatically: Only 35% believe the US is winning the "war on terr'r," with the same percentage believing the "terrorists" are winning.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Some tough reading

Tell me whether you believe this man's story of his arrest and imprisonment in Iraq. I do. Of course, I'm inclined to believe it, but doesn't it have the ring of truth--or, for that matter. the bracelet and necklace too?

Rays of hope

Contruction of that monster courthouse at Guantanamo that I blogged about some weeks ago has been put on hold. Small miracle.

Another miracle: The end of the "war on terror." Not the war, the phrase.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Pinochet's death

The headline for this story on AOL read, "Infamous Dictator Dies--Thousands Killed Under His Reign," and for an instant I thought Cheney had succumbed.

But seriously folks, considering that Pinochet's death gave rise to "violent clashes" with police in Chile upon the announcement, can you imagine what Iraq will look like during the weeks preceding and after the Iraq government executes Saddam Hussein? For that matter, what about the violence if, fearing such an uprising, the government decides to commute his sentence to life? Talk about quagmire.

Embeds

Among the controversial proposals of the Iraq Study Group's report is that US troops should no longer be lead combat forces, but should embed with the Iraq soldiers in small numbers, as guides and helpers. If you were a US soldier, immersed in a platoon of Iraqis, would you feel safe in light of incidents like this ?

Where's the outrage?

I've been watching the Sunday talk shows about Iraq (I've got to stop doing this, it's both uninformative and frustrating), and I've concluded that the concensus is that Bush will call for a "final surge" of troops, perhaps 20,000 or so, into Baghdad as a last effort to purge the place of violence, after which (after its inevitable failure, that is), he will begin a "gradual withdrawal" of our forces to secure areas in and around Iraq to be available to enfore US interests in the region.

Of course the prediction of our stationing of US troops in strongholds in Iraq has always been a main purpose of the invasion, so that's a no-brainer, as repulsive as it is. But the "surge" of troops? It's being touted not really as a solution, but as political cover for Bush, so that he can say to those who support the McCain militaristic solution that he "did all he could" before quitting.

So--our boys and girls are going to die to provide Bush with political cover? My God, this is the "compassionate conservative"? God help us.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Crunching the numbers

The headline of the latest Zogby poll shows Bush's positives at an all-time low (30%), with the public's sentiment about Congress' performance terrible too. But to me the telling number is found in the last line of the article, where Democratic respondents were asked to rate the Democrats' performance in Congress. Only 24% approved. Doesn't that say something to the newly empowered Democrats in Congress, that business as usual isn't going to cut it?

I guess not.

Believe it or not

Two conflicting stories about an air attack by US forces in Iraq. Question: How would the Americans know what the death toll was, and the identity of those killed, when they flew over the site in helicopters?

What is there about French?

For those of you, who (like me) don't read their language, here's a translation that demonstrates what a fine language it is. (Courtesy, Truthout.org.)

Come Clean By Laurent Joffrin Libération
Thursday 07 December 2006
The strategy of lying is collapsing. Even though he balks at publicly admitting it, even if he wants to maintain a martial front, George W. Bush has backed off. What the commander in chief still suppresses, the men he has charged, designated, promoted have just come clean about: the war in Iraq is a historic failure. A predicted failure, certainly, and a universally condemned war. But the confession of these officials gives this condemnation all its weight, all its power of truth. The American president has vicariously confessed America's mistake.
So the "weapons of mass destruction" really were a decoy; so the military operation really was a strategic folly that led to a quagmire. So the "war against terrorism" has brought about nothing but another war and more terrorism. So the plan for a remodeled Middle East really was just a dangerous pipe-dream born from the over-excited brains of ideologues drunk on military certitudes. So what some of Washington's best friends, admirers of the New World's democracy, had said - well beyond any anti-American circles - is now confirmed by the very mouth of the leaders involved. The proof is in that cynicism - even in international politics - can cost very dearly.
Not that every war is unjust, or every intervention forbidden, or every act of force immoral. Within the framework of international institutions, founded on solid law and realistic political calculations, when requested by an oppressed people that would see the soldiers on that mission as liberators rather than targets, the principle of external intervention remains - or remained - legitimate. By charging head-first into a bloody trap, the American administration also damaged that idea. In their historic dreams, Americans wanted to be the knights errant of freedom. George Bush has defaced that mythology too.

Friday, December 08, 2006

I'm getting pissed off, really pissed off

Look, so far I've treated this Bush-asshole's maladministration as evil, dangerous, demented, but only in a distant and theoretical sense. Bad for the world, bad for the nation, bad for the troops and the budget. But now, with US troops continually creating new enemies of America, Bush's criminal behavior is growing close to home for me. I've got an infant granddaughter, you see, and this asshole is turning her future--the world she'll be living in--into a dangerous, wretched place. And that, boys and girls, makes my blood boil.

What do I do about this? Stay tuned.

Baghdad's burning

So maybe I'm late understanding the meaning of the title of Riverbend's weblog, but now I get it: Like Nero, Bush is fiddling--with study groups and press conferences and congressional machinations and political equivocations--while our soldiers are fighting and dying for some undefined purpose (no decent purpose at all, really) in ghastly numbers.

Lennon, redux, redux

If you're not a John Lennon fan, or if you are a fan--of his music, of his prescience, of his soul--check out this short essay about these inseperable components of the man.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Worse than idiotic

It's cynical, monstrous. The Iraq Study Group recommends that the US reduce its combat role in Iraq, and that it use the leverage of withdrawing its forces and money if the Iraq government doesn't improve security quickly enough to suit us. So, having broken the pottery, we spread the shards around the floor and if the proprietor isn't quick to sweep it up we leave the shop. (The ISG also recommends enlisting the aid of nearby Sunni-majority nations as well as Shiite Iran to help with the process, notwithstanding that Iran doubtless seeks greater influence in Iraq through its dominant Shiite majority, and Sunni nations, including well-armed Saudi Arabia, have threatened to intervene in Iraq if Sunnis are continually murdered by Shiite death squads.)

If I'm Iran, I'm LOL. This report plays directly into Iran's hand. All Iran must do is "play nice" while waiting for the ongoing violence to drive Americans out; and meanwhile, by a thousand cuts, moving into control of Iraq through its empowered Shiite government, all the while watching more of our soldiers die trying to perform "mission impossible." Even al Qaida, not a mirthful bunch, must be giggling.

My plan--immediate and complete withdrawal of all US forces from Iraq, coupled with the bequest of several billions of dollars (say, 20, which is about what we spend there in three months) to Iraq's government to pay for the remaining damage and chaos we've caused--has this saving feature. We demonstrate our bona fides about not wanting empire in the Middle East and we save money and American lives. The Iraqis, and, for that matter, the others in the region can slug it out as they deem appropriate. My bet is that after a while they'll find a way to establish equilibrium--the state that the region was in, right or wrong, before we fucked it up.

FYI

Here's what happened to the "shoe bomber."

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

More about McCain

As support for my observations about the frightening prospect of a John McCain presidency, I submit this essay. Like me, the writer uses the word "dangerous."

Monday, December 04, 2006

Shrinking the international trade deficit.

Finally, some good news from the Pentagon.

Who are these people?

Okay, I can understand the 18% of Americans who, according to the latest Rasmussen Poll, "strongly approve" Bush's handling of the presidency. Namely, I understand that they're lunatics. But the figure I don't get is the 23% percent of those polled who "somewhat approve." How can one have such an opinion--or, rather, lack of opinion--after all that has gone on in our nation in his six years in office? I mean, is there anybody home in there?

The latest parlor game

Now that the "civil war" vel non debate is over (the "civil war"--affirmative side won, as you know), here's the latest--here's another one--and it's really, really fun.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

The Caine Mutiny

I just read a comment to a blog (can't find it now), that likened Bush to Captain Queeg of the Caine, refusing to adjust course in the midst of a typhoon, thereby jeopardizing his ship and its crew. Pelosi was compared to the first mate who finally mutinied, barely averting disaster. I'm not certain about this last, but the Bush-Queeg analogy surely works.

Investigation? We'll see

Here's a report that the Defense Department is investigating the incident that I blogged about a week or so ago, in which (apparently) a couple of US soldiers had videotaped--and posted on YouTube--their taunting of Iraqi children with a waterbottle.

I'll try to maintain followup on this story, but if anyone out there finds anything relevant to either the incident or the investigation, let me know.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The wheels aren't coming off the US government

they're already off, and if you doubt it, check out this story of silliness in our foreign affairs.

Blaming the victim

That's the new parlor game in Washington these days.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

McCain revealed

I've long been a McCain-basher, with some special expertise because he was a Senator from my former state, Arizona, and I've followed his career carefully. I contend he's a closet fascist--certainly a militarist with a bent toward government intrusion in citizens' affairs. The mainstream media, I contend, has given McCain a free ride, focusing on his efforts at campaign reform and some other issues where he's said to be a "maverick" and "independent."

Well, turns out I'm not alone in this view.

Your reaction?

"Mission Accomplished" makes it into the Memory Hole. When I watched the video, I didn't know whether to laugh or cry or toss a bomb somewhere, at someone.

Letter to the editor

Here's a letter to the editor of the News-Press that I wrote today. If someone should see its publication, please let me know. (I seldom read that paper.)

To the editor:

Iraq’s leaders want US forces to remain in country, no doubt largely to protect them from the insurgency. However, segments of the parliamentary coalition, including the Shiite Sadr group, want us out of Iraq, and is backed by a fierce militia that Iraq's leaders are unwilling to quell for fear of losing Shiite political support.

Meanwhile, US forces are deployed throughout Sunni-dominated areas of Iraq--Ramadi, Fallujah, etc.—trying to quell that sect’s insurgency. Ostensibly, Sunni insurgents want the US to leave Iraq so they can engage in unrestrained attacks against what they deem a "puppet government." But according to a report by Tom Hayden on The Huffington Post, a delegation of these insurgents is negotiating with US officials to gain its ends--formation of a new government, rescission of decrees against Baathists, amnesty--and wants our troops to remain in Iraq to police these results. As inducements, it's offering permanent US bases in Iraq and access by private companies to Iraqi oil.

It’s plain to see: We're being played the fool, while our forces are under assault from three sides: Sunni insurgents, al-Qaida fighters and an array of private militias. And now, with the escalation of retributive attacks between Sunnis and Shiites, our troops have come under indiscriminate fire, trying to stop sectarian battles.

How do we extricate ourselves from this mess? An AA slogan says it best: "The way to stop drinking is to stop drinking." The way out of Iraq is to get out of Iraq.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Friday, November 24, 2006

That's gotta smart!

A civil war, my ass. Nothing civil about this.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

A day to remember

Not today, Thanksgiving Thursday, but rather Sunday, the day our war in Iraq becomes a longer war than America's involvement in World War Two.

Not a day to give thanks, not at all.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Malachi Ritscher

Rest in peace.

From the tenor of the comments to this article, he already is.

Comic relief

I've been getting a bit too heavy on my blog lately, so I thought I'd lighten it up by linking to these guys. (I'm probably the last kid on the block to turn onto them, but what the hell.) Enjoy.

Vegas, anyone?

I wonder if somewhere in cyberspace there's a site that's taking bets on Bush's decision about our troop level in Iraq, and what the odds presently are on "going big, going long or going home."

Here's my bet: "Going long," which means an immediate infusion of about 20,000 more troops, coupled with announcements about it being a "final surge" or some much more clever Rovian (remember him?) phrase, followed (maybe, maybe) by a phased drawdown of troops over the next several months. This is nothing but "stay the course" with the awful prospect of more US and Iraqi deaths, with an added taste of "as Iraq's troops stand up, we will stand down" flavoring. But given Bush's personality, and the politics of the times (especially with Senator McCain calling for more troops), it seems to be the most likely option.

Any takers?

Ouch!

Poor Bush (II). By nearly three-to-one, his father leads him in approval, according to a recent CNN poll. That's gotta hurt.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Winning their hearts and minds

After viewing this video, I can only ask, What kind of monsters are we sending to Iraq?

Monday, November 20, 2006

I was just thinking...

however implausible it is that a bill of impeachment would be returned against Bush--and I've more or less given up on the prospect--it's possible that if Bush keeps up his craziness, he could trigger it. Certainly if during one of the several imminent Congressional investigations he and/or Cheney acts too highhandedly or are discovered to have engaged in a coverup of some significance, I could see some Democrats calling for impeachment. And with the list of those condemning his handling of the Iraq war growing ever more weighty, I could imagine that if he called up more troops, the American public would demand some way to stop him, and if the threat of impeachment would do it, then perhaps even that.

(BTW, in view of the state of affairs in Iraq, as well as of the military, consider how cynically nuts McCain is, with his call for more troops. He's clearly posturing for the presidential election in 2008, stirring up the Rightwing nutcases at Bush's expense, knowing that if no more troops are sent and Iraq explodes (as it will, no matter what), he can play "I told you so.")

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Can you imagine

How difficult it would be to take a stroll in downtown Jakarta today?

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Your thoughts?

Two Rasmussen polls of interest:

1. Forty-one percents of Americans believe the nation's best days are yet to come, and about an equal number don't.

2. Sixty-one percent believe American society is generally fair and decent.In each case, note the disparity in outlook between Republicans and Democrats, and between young and old.

Your view?

Friday, November 17, 2006

Somebody, stop the madness!

A huge facility at Gitmo, costing $125 million, to hold the military's "show trials" in? Have we gone nuts?

(I've gotten into a habit of asking rhetorical questions, I realize--see previous post. I'll watch this tendency in the future.)

Struck dumb.

That's not Bush, that's me. I find myself unable to formulate words to react to--unable, even, to get my mind around--Bush's statement about the applicability of the VietNam experience to Iraq. Doesn't he realize the "freedom" he's talking about only took root after we were driven out of the country after a decade of slaughter? Was he too busy snorting to read the papers back then?

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Watch what he does, not what he says

After pledging cooperation and bi-partisanship with the Democratic Congress, Bush's first acts after the election are to try to get twice-denied John Bolton confirmed for the UN ambassadorship (a "nonstarter," it's said), and just today has resubmitted the names of six bigoted assholes for federal judgeships.

In the linked-to article, Senator Schumer says he hopes this last act isn't a precursor to Bush ideological intransigence over the next two years. Chuck, baby, where have you been for the last six?

Didja ever wonder

how you manage to hold 80 hostages? Are we talking cafeteria lines for food, Porta-potties, rows of cots? I mean, how do you keep secret their location, a group bigger than most art show openings?

You read it here first...or maybe second

This piece in the Guardian lays out what we can expect from Bush about Iraq in the upcoming weeks. Recall, in addition to the Iraq Study Group (the Baker bunch), which is a Congressionally-authorized entity, Bush has lately called together his own studiers, Pentagon-types and Cheney acolytes, to come up with his own report, and the Guardian has the scoop. There will be "one last push" to "win" and after that...defeat.

If I'm an "insurgent" or an al Qaeda fighter in Iraq, this is terrific. I just keep on keeping on and in time I will prevail. If I'm a Congressional Democrat, it's terrific too. I rail against this outrageous waste, and, again, simply wait for it to fail. Terrific, too, for McCain-bashers like me, who want him and his militaristic outlook to be shown for the fakey macho bravado that it is.

But if I'm a U.S. soldier, or an Iraqi, or an American taxpayer--or a decent human being--not so terrific.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

"Never mind"

This Time Online piece, about the recent "Ooops" statements by NeoCons Perle and Adelman expresses my sentiments exactly. I'll be even more enraged when one or both of them peddles a book, to huge sales, on the subject of the Iraq war, focusing, of course, on how it was mishandled, not how it was wrong.

Three observations about the 2008 presidential election

1. It's two years away, boys and girls, and already the media's pumping the story since they think it will sell ad revenue to do so. Can you imagine how tired we'll be of the story in two years?

2. Barack Obama's rise from a single speech to the Democratic Convention two years ago (he's done nothing, really, in his two years as junior Senator from Illinois--although of course he was powerless) to becoming the media darling is a commentary on how ordinary is the que of Democratic presidential candidates right now. Somebody's got to emerge and catch fire, but not Obama, please. First, he's black; second, he's young; third, he's completely unknown as a politician, and as a person. Get real, Democrats. Not a pretty face, a fancy name. A real person with sound progressive principles that are tested under fire. George McGovern, anyone?

3. We gotta kneecap John McCain before his bandwagon gets too far along. He's an archconservative, benefiting from the few times he's sponsored "maverick" legislation, but make no mistake, he's bad news. His media popularity is overwhelming, based largely on his personality, which is indeed charming, but behind it are views--from agressive militaristim to nasty capitalism--that almost make Bush look benign. Really, I know. McCain was my Senator for years, and I've paid attention. So--to stop the bandwagon, we've got to call attention to these traits right now and repeat them every time his name comes up. I suggest we start with his most recent warmongering message: that we should increase the troop levels in Iraq, to "get the job done." Not only is this wholly out of step with the vast majority of the public and the pols, it is madness, utter madness. So mad, that even Bush/Cheney haven't suggested it. My notion, then, is to label the Senator something like, "Madman McCain" to isolate him and call attention to his crazy position on the war. Now, repeatedly, forever. Because if we don't stop him now, he's likely to be our next president.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Take a coupla minutes

Read and sign Michael Moore's pledge.

(I really like Moore's wit. My favorite is the pledge to allow Republicans to breathe the cleaner air and drink the purer water we've created.)

Definitions, please

Bush/Cheney/Condi use the terms "achieving victory" and "success" in Iraq before our troops are withdrawn. Anybody have a clue what these terms mean in that setting? Perhaps a daily body count of Iraqis below twenty?

Surely they can't be saying that our troops remain there until the streets of Bagdad and Fallujah are as safe to walk as Coast Village Road in Montecito; the lately-closed TV stations are reopened and blaring truths; the kids are in school; the hospitals are emptied of corpses and clean as a whistle; the parliament has wide-ranging debate (including nationalizing the oil fields); and the ruling group swears eternal fealty to the US and UK. Surely they can't imagine such an Iraq. Can you? Can you imagine anything like that in the near (or distant) future?

Monday, November 13, 2006

Whither Republicans?

Some months ago, I wrote a post that bemoaned the demise of "liberal" Republicans, those folks who, back in the day, were sensitive to social, civil-rights and environmental issues, but who fashioned themselves fiscal conservatives. Folks like John Lindsay, mayor of New York; Lowell Weicker, Connecticut Senator, and others whose names escape me now. In the sixties and seventies they were a voice that was quite in tune with the liberal issues of the day: abortion rights, separation of church and state, environmental protection.

Well, here's whadup with them. Which means, I guess, that from now on (for the foreseeable future, anyway) the Democratic Party will encompass the center, center left and left (plus quite a bit of the right, in my view) leaving it the majority party in national politics for some time to come. The exception, of course, will be in the presidential race, where for some reason the Republicans seem to come up with the candidate who is more appealing to the media and the great unwashed. Candidates like Bush, Reagan and, horror of horrors, John McCain.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

It's lonely at the top

Especially for Tony Blair, who has apparently been hung out to dry by his ally, Bush, in Bush's latest machinations to get his own ass out a crack. You haven't heard a lot of "consult and confer with the 'Coaltion'" talk lately, just about how Bush is trying to salvage his legacy (as if there was any legacy to salvage.)

And now, with four Brits dying in Iraq yesterday, I wouldn't want to be toady Tony when next he faces his peers in Parliament.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

You want some insightful analysis?

Here's an essay that touches bases in the Middle East mess that I've not seen before. Maybe because it's written by someone "on the ground."

Lean to the left

I agree with this analysis that reminds us peaceniks that the Democrats who replaced Republicans on November 7 are no doves. Indeed, they're mostly "Blue Democrats," as likely to hold conservative views on domestic and foreign affairs as not.

So, I agree, this is no time for us lefties to dance with glee. Rather, we must, with as much determination as before November 7, take to the barricades to demand the same changes in policy that we've been demanding for years. The only change, perhaps, is the environment in which we make those demands: an environment that may be a bit more receptive. Which means, of course, that we must make our demands all the louder, all the more strident, now driven by the hope that we may, at long last, be heard.

(Here, however, is a different take on the result of the election in the House: The progressive coalition of representatives will be the largest of the sub-coalitions of the Democratic majority and this, coupled with the presence of many progressives in leadership positions, make the progressives the most powerful component of the House.)

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

The Split

Forget about those silly elections and Rummie's resignation. Here's the important news of the day.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

I will be really pissed off

if those 25,000 Green votes for US Senate in Virginia (a one-issue campaign by a candidate favoring a monorail or something) ends up costing the Democrat (Webb) a victory over the racist swine George Allen, he of "macaca" infamy, and therefore ends up placing tied Senate votes in Cheney's hands.

I mean really pissed off.

I'm disappointed

You mean that after all that hoopla the only October/November surprise Karl Rove could pull off was the Saddam Hussein verdict?

Monday, November 06, 2006

Thanks to BBC

we--those few Americans who dial past Faux News and the other faux news outlets--are exposed to succinct, finely written analysis of historic events like this.

My previous post

It, and the two comments it has received so far, capture the span of fair-minded reaction to the future of the US as presaged by tomorrow's election: Fear of seismic shift vs. fear of not much happening at all.

My wish is that somehow, one way or another (or by some path we can't foresee) we end up in a kind of benign Swedish-ish, or Danish-ish or Swiss-ish socialist democracy that's content to be just another fine peaceloving nation that is willing to participate on an equal basis with other nations of the world, and that long after I'm gone all nations merge into one body of loving humanity.

In case that doesn't sound familiar, check out John Lennon's lyrics.

Okay, I admit it

There's a tiny part of me (not my best part, I concede) that wants the Republicans to carry the day. Hold the Senate, hold the House majority, hold a bunch of governorships. Why? First, so that they maintain responsibility for the messes they've created and can't fault the Democrats for not cleaning it up by 2008. Second, because it might convince me, and the rest of the world, that the US is done. Put-a-fork-in-it done as a decent nation. Finally, because it might lead to a bottoming out, a true revolution, in the US. A takeover, in the next decade or so, by the people who live in that nation.

Worth thinking about, isn't it?

Friday, November 03, 2006

Nuclear bombshell

Sometimes it pays to have insomnia, because occasionally you're allowed to report a scoop like this. (The full NYT story, three pages in length, is much more detailed--and much more damning to the Republicans--but is available only upon registration, so I've linked to a much more sketchy secondary source. For those who are registered, the NYT story is here.)

Now, maybe I'm no political pundit, but I gotta tell ya, this story is to me so (excuse the pun) explosive--posting Iraq's nuclear secrets on the Internet in the hope to gain some political advantage!!--that it could mean the end of any doubt about the outcome of the upcoming election. It plays directly into the "war on terr'r" issue that is supposedly the Republicans' trump card. If this story isn't blown up at least to the dimension of the Kerry flub, I don't know what...

(Update: It's now twelve hours later--two pm PST--and so far this story, despite first appearing on the front page of the NYT, has gotten no traction whatsoever, not even on AirAmerica talkshows. The "sex scandal" du jour, about "Rev." Haggard and his foibles, has bounced this incredible story of security breach off the news. It makes one wonder: Has Rove now devised a way to blast truly significant terrible news away from public attention by covering it with slightly less ugly news?)

(Up-update: End of the Friday news cycle, ten pm. The story did make some TV newscasts as a secondary or tertiary item, without much analysis, however. The implications weren't explored much, and Bush supporters were quick to chime in that the existence of such atomic plans were proof that Saddam Hussein had WMD potential, notwithstanding that these plans were pre-1991 papers that had been turned over to the UN inspectors already. But then finally, KO--that's my new hero, Keith Olberman--led his MSNBC Countdown newscast with the story, with extended commentary, and just now, on the web, the Truthout commentator, William Rivers Pitt, nailed the story. )

I can go to sleep now.

Kim Bush-il?

You've really got to work at it to become more feared as a world leader than the dictator of North Korea.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Fun, fun, fun

Writing a speech for George Bush. Try it.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Meanwhile,

elsewhere in the world, interesting things are happening.

My first reaction to this story (after thinking it was an Onion-style spoof) was of course outrage. But then, I thought this: This world we live in is peopled by bunches of peoples we simply don't comprehend. And this corollary: How grotesquely ignorant and presumptuous it is for us to think we can expect these various peoples to think and act like us, especially in matters as "civilized" as forms of political and social governance. (You knew I'd bring this around to politics, right?)

We're said to be "exporting democracy" to the world, to the Middle East and--if you listen to Bush--to all peoples and that our soldiers' presence in Iraq and Afghanistan is part of that effort. Well, I gotta tell ya, there may be peoples out there who just plain don't want it, don't understand it, don't give a damn. And there are surely people out there who resist having "democracy" imposed on them from outside, by force of arms.

Which brings me to my point. Bring the troops home! Now!

It does make you wonder

who chose the background music in this radio ad. (There's an audio link at the end of the article.)

Rhetoric trumps reality

The airwaves abound with discussion of "timelines" and "benchmarks," "cut and run" and "stay the course," "tipping point" and "last throes." And--this is awful to behold--TV pundits readily acknowledge, without critical comment, any significant change in "boots-on-the-ground reality" in Iraq must await America's election. I wonder what it would feel like to be the mother of a child who was killed or injured in the interim.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

If the Republicans win the upcoming elections

this book becomes an instant bestseller.

WTF?

Our troops must wonder the same thing after a few outings like this.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Rooting for Rooney

Or, "Andy is dandy." Whatever. This clip shows why.

(In case you're wondering, the answer to Andy's question--"Why are we in Iraq?"--is this: Because Bush/Cheney/Rummie/Condi/Rove don't want to lose face.)

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Riverbend is back

after two months away from her blog--and she's not happy, not one bit.

BTW--I note that my first post on this blog, in August 2003 (check my archives, listed on the left side of this blog) linked to Riverbend's "Baghdad Burning" blog--and was dated a week after Riverbend started hers. And if you happen to read our respective initial posts from that long-ago period, you'll see how sadly prophetic they are.

And you wonder why so few good folks enter politics?

Here's why.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Friday, October 20, 2006

Twisting in the wind

That's a phrase that became popular in the Watergate era, referring, as I recall, to the plight of one of Nixon's protectors (Jeb Magruder, I believe) when he was summoned to a grand jury. Someone (Nixon's domestic adviser, John Ehrlichman, I think) decided not to intervene, to leave him "twisting in the wind" as a result of his adverse testimony.

Well now, Bush is twisting in the wind over his Iraq madness, and but for the death and destruction his policy is inflicting on innocents, I would be giggling as he twisted. Indeed, to be honest, I am giggling.

BTW, while Googling "twisting in the wind," I stumbled on this site. I didn't discover the source of the phrase, but I sure had fun.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

A Cheap Shot, I admit it

Look, I'm as disappointed in AirAmerica as are other true political leftists, who view the "alternative" radio network as nothing more than silly, wimpish noise from naysaying talk-radio freaks. I've stopped listening, actually, unless KPFK and our local UCSB channel are doing rap music. And so--it's with a bit of chagrin that I offer this tidbit, which sounds precisely like what Al Franken or his ilk on AirAmerica would come up with: Bush has conceded that our recent Iraq experience appears quite like the Tet offensive in VietNam, which turned the tide of American sentiment againt the war. Except with regard to VietNam, Bush had planned and effected a successful exit stategy.

Amnesty revisited

Some months ago, the amnesty issue raised the spectre of the US placing our soldiers in the gunsights of Iraqis, only to have the Iraqi government extend amnesty to Iraqis who shot American troops. I recall at the time how luxurious it was to watch Bush/Cheney twist in the wind over such a prospect. Now it has surfaced again, and I intend again to enjoy the show, except that this time I hope the question is addressed full-on, and that question is, Does the US really respect the sovereignty of Iraq? And, as a corollary, Does the US really want Iraq to try, with full force, to effect a reconciliation between the warring factions? If the answers to the foregoing two questions is yes, Rummie/Bush/Cheney/Condi, then (1) shut the fuck up about Iraq's amnesty grants, and (2) get our troops the hell out of that country.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

The Polish army at work

Check out the heading on this banner. LOL.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Poring over polls

Spend more than a moment over these poll figures about Bush's approval rating. Check out the level of "disapproval" over time, for example. You'll note, going back a year over the various poll results, that at no time has Bush's disapproval consistently been near the 60% level, until the last month or so. Check out the spread between his approval and disapprovals levels. At an alltime high now, with the disapproval percentage being so much higher than the approval percentage that one wonders how he still manages to have so much influence in our political system.

Wanna change to a parliamentary system? I sure do. At least--as happens on live TV from London--the leader gets grilled by those parliamtentarians who chose him.

I get weary, just plain weary

of reading books and news reports and essays from "frontline" authors telling us stupid Americans what we already know, what we've known for years. Of course the baldest example is Bob Woodward, who makes millions putting into print the truisms that Bush is in denial about the state of everything; that Rumsfeld is a demagogue; that Condi is an idiot. Lately we're informed that it's likely that American oil interests will soon take over Iraq's oil production. Oh, really?!!! Imagine my surprise!!

Here's what I want to know, oh smarty-pants pundits. When are you going to tell us something we don't already know?

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Don't do as I do

I got out of the stock market entirely about three months ago, and since then the Dow has gone up and up, hitting new highs. I knew this would happen--always does.

And yet, just take a gander at this chart and the accompanying comment. China and Japan own us now, and all it will take is one sneeze, one burp, and the American Empire is over.

It feels good to be on the sidelines watching, rather than in the arena, fighting with lions and tigers and bears, oh my.

Goddam right!

Ship this illegal immigrant outa here!

That silence you hear

is the absence of cheering on Main Street (as opposed to Wall Street) from the new high recently hit by the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Here's why.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

"A great day for Iraq."

That's a quote from a US general, commenting on new uniforms for Iraqi military that visually differ from the old ones so insurgents can't conceal themselves as soldiers. You gotta read the entire article, and if you're not teared up (with either laughter or sadness) by the end, you're not a human being.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

I have my limits

For years, I've posted tales of the miseries Iraqis have undergone because of our invasion and occupation of their country. But tonight, at one o'clock a.m., PDT, I found myself unable to keep at it, unable to click at the bottom of page one of this report about the hundreds of bodies found in the Tigris River, unable to bear more ugliness and depravity. If you can, feel free, but don't tell me what appears. I'm going to sleep--like most Amerkcans.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

"Why do they hate us?"

Hmm. I wonder. Could it be because of this?

Friday, October 06, 2006

They're finally getting it

Our troops in Iraq are asking--of themselves now, but, hopefully, of their commanders, including their commander-in-chief--"Why are we here? Who is the enemy?"

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Job has nothing on the Iraqis

Now we learn that the Tigris River is poisonous--dead fish and dead birds floating along, covering the banks of the river north of Baghdad. And of course the river is a main source of drinking water for Iraqis--and flows south.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

WTF?

Some posts ago I wondered "who's on first?" Now, with this latest madness among the Iraqi power structure, I wonder, "who's at bat?"

Pot and kettle

During the first three days of October, seventeen US soldiers have been killed in Iraq. Now that's an horrific average daily death toll--more than twice the average over the three-plus years of the war--but an even more horrific raw figure. Seventeen dead GI's. If a helicopter carrying that many troops went down outside of Atlanta, Georgia (or somewhere), the event would bounce every other story off the front page, at least for one news cycle.

But not over the last few days. The seventeen GI died unnoticed, the news of the carnage swamped by stories of Congressman Foley's folly.

Not that I'm not enjoying watching the Republicans twist and squirm, but in truth the left-wingers, including all AirAmerica radio hosts, have given time to only that one story, mimicking the right commentators during the Clinton scandal. So--Al Franken, Randi Rhodes, all you folks--don't for a moment think you've got the high ground on yellow talk. You're no different from the Limbaugh's and Hannity's. You're all in the entertainment business, pure and simple.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

I missed my calling

I shoulda been a headline writer, so I could come up with lines like this. Wonderful.

Monday, October 02, 2006

If you wrote a novel with these developments

you'd be ridiculed as a sci-fi author. An eleventh-hour scandal about a Republican Congressman, soliciting sex from a teenage intern while heading up House's Internet solicitation committee; a growing unrest about foreign wars; a hard-headed president, with hard-headed advisors, resisting all. And now, we learn that the Senate is up for grabs, headed for a dead heat which, of course, would leave any significant political votes in that chamber tied--and with Cheney, the most hard-headed of all, able to cast the deciding vote.

Condi, you're a lying bitch

This monster has been given a free ride for too long. Now, less than a day after she denied meeting on July 10, 2001, with Tenet and Cofer Black about an imminent al Qaida attack, it turns out, oops, that meeting did indeed happen.

A new movement

Take a minute or two, and make your whole day.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

McCain, as in Abel

This essay nails it. The "maverick" senator from Arizona is no moderate, no maverick. He's dangerous, and he's a media darling. Sound like some sitting president you know?

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Who's on first?

When Iraqi police attempt to assasinate the governor of a province, you gotta ask yourself.

Flipping burgers

That used to be the job reserved for the high school dropout, the lowest rung on the service-industry poll. Well, if you scroll down (or, if you can handle reading) this lengthy analysis of how "free trade" is wrecking the American job market, you'll find this paragraph.

"According to Norm Augustine, former CEO of Lockheed Martin, even McDonald jobs are on the way offshore. Augustine reports that McDonald is experimenting with replacing error-prone order takers with a system that transmits orders via satellite to a central location and from there to the person preparing the order. The technology lets the orders be taken in India or China at costs below the U.S. minimum wage and without the liabilities of U.S. employees."

The prospect of leaving my newly-arrive grandchild a third-world (or lower) economy is truly frightening--as is this article.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

You know you've got construction problems

When a ceiling light fixture fills with fecal matter seeping through the floor above.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

In case you wondered...

Here's what's going on in Iraq lately. The author of this blog, an Iraqi journalist, keeps track of the ongoing carnage throughout the country, not just the latest car bomb in Baghdad. It makes for tough reading, but it's necessary to get a true picture of how ugly it is, day after day, in that sorry nation.

The looming debacle

Here's why I got out of the stock market.

The Congress nobody wanted

Yesterday I suggested that Democrats may not want to take control of Congress, to allow the Republicans to stew in their own juice. Now, it seems, some Republicans don't want to control Congress either.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Who's in charge?

I thought we had a free press in America (not really, lately, but I still enjoy saying it), but now I know different. Newsweek has dropped both its cover and its cover story about the lost war in Afghanistan. Too tough for its American readership, but not too tough for the rest of the world. Could it be that Newsweek as self-editing on the eve of the midterm elections? Oh, no. Say it isn't so.

Should the Democrats lose the mid-term elections on purpose?

I've lately read a couple of essays (can't find them just now to link to) proposing that Democrats ought not take control of Congress in 2006, so that the ongoing misery and madness of the Republicans may continue unabated for two more years. This, the theory goes, would so demolish them that a wholesale revolt in 2008 would sweep in the Democrats to govern for the next decade or more. Further, the Democrats would avoid having to make the tough choices that are necessary to clean up the Republicans' mess of wars, deficits and so on, at least until they had a free hand to do so, while able to blame the Republicans for the mess, without equivocation.

As awful a prospect as it seems right now, it does have at least one redeeming feature. It lets Bush fester in the warmaking of his own making, in particular, to wallow in a decision whether to allow Iran to continue enriching uranium, after North Korea succeeded in getting the bomb. He would thereby have made two ruinous wars (Iraq and Afghanistan) and failed to disarm two of three of the members of the "axis of evil" he declared when he took office.

It's a breathtaking prospect. Two more years of madness, followed by a true takeover of the nation by peaceloving, fairminded souls who would govern in the best interests of all Americans, of all citizens of the planet.

Nevermind. I was crazy to imagine such a thing could happen, in 2008 or ever. So--elect a Democratic Congress six weeks, and impeach Bush/Cheney as soon as possible. It's already too late, but it would sure save the ratings of CNN.

Right on

Tom Tomorrow has got it right, absolutely. If Bush wants to call it a war on terror, the terrorists are surely winning. They're surely inflicting more terror on us than we are on them.

Chavez the publicist

Ya gotta love it.

A bit of history

Nothing new here, but an illuminating insight into "why they hate us."

Monday, September 25, 2006

Faith-based initiatives?

So, Bush, what do you do when your church doesn't agree with you? Follow its teachings, or "stay the course" of your political mentor, Rove? Who would Jesus bomb?

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Chavez rocks

Here's an incomplete, incompetent translation of Hugo Chavez's remarks at the UN General Assembly. Here's a more complete, competent one. Just compare the first few lines and you'll notice significant differences, including the Chomsky references.

The press in the US, and Democrats like Pelosi too, are villifying Chavez for his "sulfur" remark. I for one found it amusing, as did several of the delegates to the UN, who could be heard laughing in the background. And if you read the entire text of the well-presented translation you'll see that the sulphur references, in context, are solidly metaphorical, speaking of the stench of the demon who'd spoken from that podium the day before.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Declaring war

What do you think? Should we declare war? And on what?

Rove's a genius

I've got to admit it, much as it hurts. You see, here's what he's lately attempting--after years of manipulating a majority of us on other matters. He's got his minions, with one voice, conflating our soldiers' ongoing miseries in the Iraq occupation, with honorable sacrifice in support of the "global war on terror." This will, if successful, not only isolate us peaceniks as traitors but concurrently completely reverse the effect of bad news from Iraq. Now, deaths of American soldiers will be no longer be hidden. They'll lose their nature as outrageous waste and be trumpeted as necessary tragedy.

Rove's campaign is already underway, as can be seen in this AP dispatch, in which the Army spokesman, as part of the revelation that deaths of American troops increased lately, appeared to connect that fact with the announcement by al Qaida in Iraq's recent call to arms. In the past, the two wouldn't be connected, for fear of being evidence of al Qaida's effectiveness. But now, the connection serves the administration's purpose of showing Iraq to be part of the "global war on terror," and the soldiers' deaths as heroic losses in that cause.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Goldwater for President

I just watched an HBO special about the life and politics of Barry Goldwater. Although most of my life I've been far left of his position on issues of government involvement in issues of social welfare, and certainly I've opposed his bent toward military might, I always believed in the truthful, principled posture he maintained about limited government in the citizen's personal affairs. Goldwater opposed the intrusion of government in issues of abortion, homosexuality, religion and the like. Once, in 1964 when he was running against Lyndon Johnson for President, he came to Tucson for a fundraiser and I heard a local interview of him on radio. I even recall where I was when I heard the interview, driving down Broadway near Park Avenue, headed west. Here's what I recall hearing:

"Senator Goldwater, what is your position on the question of legalizing marijuana?"

"Well, I'm a conservative, and on that issue my position is clear. I think that unless the government can demonstrate an evil--a tangible, danger--from any behavior, I think government should keep the hell out of it. That goes for marijuana use, or any other thing that hasn't shown to be dangerous."

That's as close as I can get to a direct quote, and my recollection is borne out by the positions Goldwater was shown on the HBO special to have held on similiar issues. Maybe now he'd be called a Libertarian, but back then he was a true conservative. And what the special pointed out at the end was this: Goldwater's views about conservative government didn't change throughout his life. What changed was the Republican Right. It's now a bunch whose beliefs Goldwater abhored. Intrusive, driven by religiosity and small-minded. All of which leads me to say: Goldwater for President.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

A sick society

You want to know what's propping up the US economy? Check out this article. And no wonder so much money's being spent on health care, with the billions of dollars being spent on advertising for drugs, health insurance and treatment of various illness, many of which have been created by advertising. Take ED (erectile dysfunction) for example. Ten years ago we didn't know it was a disease. It may have been for some men a condition, probably mostly situational, but it hardly warranted as much attention as the television audience is exposed to.

I've been spending the last few days in a motel room with a TV that has but a few channels, and so have been subjected to many network shows (although they're not the sole source of such ads) and I'm amazed at how much advertising time is spent on health issues. And it's only going to increase as the baby-boomers age.

It's time to consider nationalizing the medical profession. "Nationalized medicine" was discussed by in the sixties, but of course it didn't stand a chance. But something's got to be done, or our spending and concern about "health" will ruin us.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Democratizing Iraq?

So this is progress--building a trench, with checkpoints around Baghdad. Why not a moat, or for that matter a Berlin (or an Israeli) wall?

Thursday, September 14, 2006

D.O.A.P.

Some thoughts about the movie.

First, it will probably fire up the Bushites, maybe cause Bush to rise in the polls or at least cause a spike in the Republican base. That's probably why it's being presented to the US by the same company that bankrolled Mel Gibson's movie about Christ.

Second, I want to see it, and I think it's partly because I wanna get my rocks off without having to do the deed myself and partly because I want to see how convincingly is portrayed the deperation that leads someone to such an act. Also, I'd like to see how the aftermath is depicted.

Third, I want to see it because it feels subversive to do so. To see it and--and to want to see it.

Very interesting

One person's take on why American movies are so popular abroad. I never thought in these terms before--about literature, too--so I don't yet know whether or how much I agree. Your thoughts?

Monday, September 11, 2006

I'm amazed, actually

Today all the media sources are full of 9/11 remembrances, the politicos--Bush in particular--are in center frame of the ceremonies all day and all night. Much weeping and moaning (some of it genuine, much of it not) is heard around the country.

Given the fact that both the administration that's in charge of our nation's governance and the media that so strongly influence our national psyche are profiting from recounting that tragedy, it's amazing to me that so firmly a majority of Americans isn't swallowing all of it, especially the violence that this administration has precipitated in response to it. Perhaps as a nation we're not the gullible monsters I thought we were. Perhaps.

I'm not alone

The letter to the editor of the NewsPress that I submitted (see my 9/6 post), was published last Saturday. I received an email suggesting that the last line was over the top (that Bush was the number one terrorist), but according to this report of press reaction around the globe, I'm not alone in this thought.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

A true test

of whether, short of running out of each other to kill, the sectarian violence in Iraq will cease. Al-Sistani, the heaviest Shiite cleric, has called for unity among all Iraqis and an end to the killing. If his words aren't heeded, it's going to be a long, hard slog indeed.

Friday, September 08, 2006

On a blustery Sunday afternoon

check out this site to learn (and view) what some thinkers have to say about "the meaning of life."

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Thank God for the Internets

Where else, how else, could one learn in such effectively-presented detail the history of the Bush administration's lies that allowed it to invade Iraq? Ya done good, MoJo.

"Another country heard from"

on the subject of those secret foreign prisons. Ya gotta love those pesky Europeans.

If it walks like a duck

This isn't civil war?

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

What's in a name?

Here's the only essay I've found addressing the question of terminology of the administration's dealing with the attacks on US people and property in the last several years. Rather than adopting the GWOT lingo the writer, supported by numerous authoritative sources, contends the "global war" term is not just inappropriate but counterproductive. It turns out that, as John Kerry contended in the 2004 presidential race, the most effective way to deal with those who would attack the US by "terrorist" means is through law-enforcement and intelligence channels. It's only the Bush cabal that prefers to call it "war," and they do so for a solidly successful purpose: to become warriors and to cow the opposition--not the enemy, but the political opponents at home.

Proof positive

In case you ever doubted it, here's a headline and a lede that says it all:

"Wall Street Lower, Wage Hikes Stir Fears AP -
Stocks fell Wednesday after the Labor Department said productivity decreased and wages increased in the spring, stoking fears that wage inflation will prompt the Federal Reserve to return to a policy of interest rate hikes."

You see, neither the Federal Reserve nor investors in the stock market--large financial and capital institutions, mostly--are fundamentally at war, economically, with the workers who toil in investor-owned corporations. During the "Bush recovery" increased productivity (meaning a decrease in, or stable, number of worker hours needed to produce increasing corporate revenue) resulted in escalating corporate profits while wages didn't move in dollar terms, and actually decreased in terms of the cost per unit of production. This allowed corporations to gain profit without increasing price--without, therefore, causing price-driven inflation--and to do so on the backs of the workers' increased productivity, without, in other words, passing any of the increased profit down to the workers in the form of wage increases.

But now, with signs that wages may actually be increasing (as certainly they must, to keep up with the increasing prices of consumer goods, especially gasoline but also most other products)investors fear that the foregoing situation may no longer be extant, that workers may actually be able to participate in the increased profit of their employers' business. This, "wage inflation" may, they worry, cause the Fed to slow down corporate activity--meaning, to the worker, fewer jobs and no more pay increases--by raising the cost of borrowing.

That prospect--of the Fed's increase of interest rates--will do two things that stock investors fear: (1) It will diminish corporate profit; and (2) it will make bond interest-rates more attractive as an investment. The market's negative reaction to pay increases for workers is therefore classically anti-worker and is built into the system. Even if, in theory, such pay increases should lead to greater consumer spending--and hence a well-founded continuation of economic recovery--it is now the case that such increases will likely only go to lending institutions which, by way of credit-card debt and increased mortgage payments due to the flurry of mortgage refinancing, have been the source, for the last five years, of most of consumers' cash availabilty.

So--it's bad news for Wall Street that the workers are finally getting a pay increase. Except, perhaps, for the brief periods when workers actually gained wages in tune with increasing productivity, it always has been.

Here's something I didn't know

The US is going to turn over to Iraq its "operational control" of Iraq's military force in a day or so. What I didn't know is that the US military has all this time been in control of Iraq's military. I thought we'd turned over to Iraq its "full sovereignty" more than a year ago, didn't you?

Letter to the editor

Herewith is a letter I sent to the SB News-Press this evening. Nothing new in it, just thought I'd shake the readership up a bit. Not easy to do with a 250-word limit. If you stumble across it in the paper, let me know since I rarely read the thing and I'd like to cut it out for my memoirs.

To the editor:

Bush’s "war on terror" has doomed Americans to endless conflict, the continuation of which benefits both the terrorists and the Bush administration. The terrorists of course gain from our ongoing turmoil; but so does Bush, as evidenced by his reliance on repeated chants of fear come midterm-election time, in the hope that Americans will once again vote for his party out of reaction rather than for the opposition through reason.

Indeed, the administration’s chants have lately taken an insidious, demonic twist, with Bush/Cheney/Rummie drawing parallels between this conflict and World War Two and calling those of us who demand our troops’ withdrawal from Iraq "appeasers"; while Condi likens us to those who opposed engaging the South in the Civil War.

Enough.

A handful of crazed men attacked us before 9/11, twenty more on 9/11. A few hundred men trained to do so, perhaps a thousand, five thousand tops. But now, because of Bush’s rampant warmaking, those who aspire to kill Americans number in the hundreds of thousands and are spread around the globe. His policies have ensured that their enmity will last lifetimes: the lifetimes of the children of thousands of the people he’s killed—and the lifetimes of our children, too.

The resultant eternal, world-wide “war on terror” is therefore more the product of Bush’s actions than it is of Osama bin Laden’s; and so it is correct to say, as many Americans—and others—have concluded, George W. Bush is the world’s most dangerous terrorist.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Where Liberals and Libertarians meet

Okay, I know I've linked to Justin Raimondo's Antiwar.com blog before, but his latest essay about fascism is too good. If you're too busy, I present herewith the money quote:

"There is a fascist threat to America, all right, but it isn't coming from overseas. It isn't hiding in the caves of Wahhabistan, but lurking in Washington's corridors of power. The same people who warn us of a "fascist" threat coming from abroad are the main purveyors of authoritarianism on the home front. And that is what life is like in the Bizarro World of America in the year A.D. 2006, where the most militant fascists of all style themselves the leaders of a new "anti-fascist" popular front."

Is state warfare terrorism?

A debate has long raged about the distinction between bombing done by state-owned and directed machines and non-state explosions, and more specifically between bombing that theoretically targets an armed enemy (but incidentally kills innocents) and bombing that targets innocents. Certainly, if the latter is done by a state, it's as much "terrorism" as if done by a nonstate, which is why our bombings of Dresden and Tokyo (not to mention Hiroshima and Nagasaki) were clearly acts of terrorism. The targets were not militarily significant, the purpose of the bombings being to break the political will of the people.

So the question is one of intent, right? If one intends to kill civilians for the purpose of changing a nation's course of action, it's terrorism; whereas if one intends to inflict military damage, but incidentally kills civilians, it's not.

So what about bombing that purports to target a military objective (or, even, an objective that has "military significance" such as a roadway or a radio station or a bank or an oil depot). Or for that matter, what about bombing that targets a neighborhood in which both civilians and enemy activists live?

Here's how Howard Zinn sees it.


The repeated excuse, given by both Pentagon spokespersons and Israeli
officials, for dropping bombs where ordinary people live is that terrorists
hide among civilians. Therefore the killing of innocent people (in Iraq, in
Lebanon) is called accidental, whereas the deaths caused by terrorists (on
9/11, by Hezbollah rockets) are deliberate.
This is a false distinction, quickly refuted with a bit of thought. If a bomb is deliberately dropped on a house or a vehicle on the grounds that a ``suspected terrorist" is inside (note the frequent use of the word suspected as evidence of the uncertainty surrounding targets), the resulting deaths of women and children may not be intentional. But neither are they accidental. The proper description is
``inevitable."

I of course agree, and Zinn's analysis calls to mind a legal principle, under US law, that defines intent as including the notion that one can intend a result--can be held to have intended it--if the result is so likely as to be undeniably predictable. If one shouts fire in a crowded theatre and some is killed in the stampede, one is as guilty of murder as if the victim were shot in the face. You get the drift.

To me, both the Bush/Cheney/Rummie cabal with, inter alia, its "shock and awe" campaign over Baghdad, and , Osama and his buddies with their shock and awe over NYC and DC on 9/11, are terrorists. And so, to me, the "war on terror" includes war on both forces.

Cats in a gunnysack

What's next in this sorry land? If they can't agree on a flag, what can they agree on?

Saturday, September 02, 2006

ROTFLMAO

For the uninitiated, that's "Rolling on the floor laughing my ass off."

Which is what happened to me when I read to the end of this article about the handover of Abu Ghraib prison to the Iraqis. At the beginning, I thought, "What bunch of lackeys the Iraqis are--spewing the US party line about how the American abuses have been brought to light through an investigative media." But then I learned what I already knew. The empty structure represented an empty gesture.

No, really?

The keystone cops at their best.

"A much-anticipated ceremony to transfer operational command from U.S-led forces to
Iraq's new army was postponed on Saturday at the last minute amid confusion, a U.S. military spokesman said, citing poor planning. "

My cup of tea

Not. I don't listen to--can't abide a moment of--this recent style of "music" but I gotta tell ya, when I read lyrics like this next to the compelling video, I become a believer. I just wish I could understand the lyrics as they're sung, but I do recall my father having the same complaint about the music I listened to as a kid.

Getting it right

This NYT essay says what I believe about "centrist" Democrats and explains why I left the party for the Green Party ten years ago. I do indeed feel disempowered as a Green, but so long as Clinton Democrats (both Clintons) are thought of as heroes, I'm staying put.

Rocky for President

Watch the speech by Rocky Anderson, the mayor of Salt Lake City, here, or--because it's quite long (however, it's all good)--read it here.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Returning to the madness

I've been offline for about ten days, touring the State of Maine without access to the Internet. Didn't even watch TV, except to view the endless reporting of the JonBenet matter (won't that case ever die?) and so it was a shock to me to learn that yesterday eight US soldiers were killed in Iraq. Eight in one day!

After I get back to SB, I'd better not leave again for a while because you folks aren't to be trusted with our troops.

Update: Make that eleven soldiers. Eleven!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Now let's see...

We invaded Iraq in March 2003 and have occupied it for three and a half years. And now, maybe, Bush convenes a group (just a group, not an entirely learned group) to tell him whazzup? And when he doesn't hear good stuff about his policies, he gets "frustrated"?

You gotta read the entire story about the meeting to understand what a rock-head is our president. When you do, you'll learn this: It doesn't mean you're smart or learned if you're president; you're just well-heeled, well-born, and lucky.

Enough is enough

Somebody--not me, I'm chicken--wrestle this guy to the ground, or better yet, run him off the road and into the ditch.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

War in space?

The top U.S. Air Force General has predicted future attacks on our satellites in orbit and has called for a program that allows us to guard them by making sure foreign governments' launches aren't threatening. The general's name is Chilton. Where have I heard that name before?

Monday, August 14, 2006

If it's not a civil war, what is it?

Baghdad's population is about half that of Los Angeles. In attacks on a Shiite area of the city yesterday, 62 people were killed and about 140 injured by bombs and rockets launched from somewhere inside the city limits. Can you imagine the headlines in the LA Times, or, for that matter, any US paper if such a thing happened in LA or any major US city? We'd be inundated with reports on CNN and Faux News about the battle, and, believe me, they'd find a phrase for it. If not civil war, it would surely be labeled something catchy. The city wouldn't be called "restive" or "troubled" or "in transition," that's for sure.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

It's absolutely clear to me

Based on this AP story about the questions our troops in Iraq are asking their commanders, questions about the legitimacy and efficacy of the US military mission, that what we need to do is to make it crystal clear to our troops that our continued presence there is counterproductive, is enflaming the very people we're supposed to be helping. We need to grow louder in our message to get out of Iraq now. Now! Not one more death at our hands, not one more death of our troops. Not one more!

We must have been getting to them

Our repeated references to the Bush/Cheney regime as fascist has finally caused Rove to preempt the word fascist, inserting it in in the form of "Islamofascists," in Bush's latest speeches. Damn. The MSM has glommed onto the reference now, and so our years of unheeded uses of the word fascist now sound weak and copy-catty. And so it goes.

Unless perhaps we can come up with our own word. "Capitalist-fascist"? Too cumbersome. "Religiofascist"? Better, but it misses the mark. Any ideas?

Okay, I've decided

The ideal ticket, to me, would be Gore/Spitzer in 2008. As to the latter, check out these ads. Powerful stuff. And, I gotta admit, as a fellow windmill-jouster, I've always liked his style as Attorney General of New York.

You can't make this stuff up

American forces busted into a building and arrested five men for alledgedly plotting to kill Iraqi's Prime Minister. Where did this happen, you ask? At the Ministry of Health. And who are these men, you ask? Why, none other than bodyguards for the Minister of Health.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Now what?

The Iraqi government has decided to shut down a splinter group of Kurds in northern Iraq? Now, does the US get involved in that? Or do we simply supply troops in the southern areas to free up the Iraqi forces to move against these Kurds? Stay tuned.

If you're a fan of James Taylor

You might--you will--enjoy this fella; and if you do--you will--you might check out his website, which you can link to from the YouTube site.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Sometimes I wonder...

Am I so far ahead of the reality curve that when I read observations like this--that bin Laden and Bush have a symbiotic relationship--I react with a "well, duh" and am amazed that it's not apparent to lefty pundits, even if it's not apparent to the great unwashed. I've blogged about this regularly, for months, and only now does it get expression in a major post? Maybe it's just that the author, Parry, pieced together a bunch of incidents whereas my observations arose as the facts did, one obvious episode at a time.

Point is: These two despots need each other, feed each other. Even the Israelis' incursion into Lebanon, our "proxy war," could not have started without sanction from Washington, and (except for the excesses of the Israelis, perhaps) benefits Bush and, of course, bin Laden and terrorists everywhere. But you see?: Even by stirring up the Middle East as Bush has, he benefits. True, his approval numbers are in decline, but he doesn't care. All he wants to do is to help his party carry the midterm elections so he can avoid Congressional investigations/impeachment hearings and serve out his final two years in peace.

Looks like he's gonna get his wish, I might add. Bin Laden will see to it.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Compassionate conservatives?

Have they lost their minds?

"Congress appears ready to slash funding for the research and treatment of brain injuries caused by bomb blasts, an injury that military scientists describe as a signature wound of the Iraq war."

What a crock

Here's our military's response to al-Maliki's expression of outrage over the attack in Sadr city. Disgustly transparent bullshit. (I know, I know. Mixed metaphor or something.)

Monday, August 07, 2006

Whaddya know!

An insightful piece about Iraq's present situation (in particular, the unspoken standoff and conundrum facing al-Sadr and the US) written by an MSM writer, a longtime reporter for AP. I actually learned something about Iraq today, besides body counts and press releases.

Morgue humor or grim reality?

How to tell a Shiite corpse from a Sunni corpse.

"Some of the bodies are impossible to identify," Dr Falih Hassan said at the morgue. "But we can tell the victim's religion: if they have been beheaded they are Shia, if they have been killed by an electric drill or hammer blows to the face they are Sunni."

For the fighters roaming Baghdad, the logic is simple. Hassan Alami, 25, a Shiite from Sadr City, said the holes drilled in the Sunni heads were to "destroy their stupid minds". The Sunnis are said to behead their victims because this was how Muhammad dealt with apostates.

The source of these quotes, and more of the appalling article, are here, but the link that's supplied doesn't work.

Am I alone in this?

I've been following the MSM reports on the Israel/Lebanon horror, and reading the blogs and Internet news sources too, and I've not yet seen this observation: That the US policy, announced by Condi Rice, to turn to the UN for solution (a process that will mean debate and delay), is the height of cynicism; that in view of Bush/Cheney's disdain for that body when it gets in their way, their intention to depend on it now is simply a way to pass the buck and pass the time while allowing Israel to accomplish its (and the U.S.'s) military aims in the region, namely, to kill as many anti-Israeli-occupation Arabs as possible.

I'll let you know if I find some similar expression in the media, but it's possible it's so obvious that it goes unsaid.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Caprice

How else to explain the death at age 51 of leukemia of this amazing physical specimen? Or the survival of Lance Armstrong of testicular cancer, and his winning of multiple Tours de France thereafter. There's no evident meaning or rules for all of this, and if not evident, then the belief that there's meaning or rules is either (a) dependent on faith of some kind, or (b)false.

No wonder religion's so popular. It's hard to live a life that acknowledges that there are no rules or meanings. Damn hard. But to leap to faith?

I guess you gotta be there, but never having had such faith I don't know what that feels like. Is it pleasant? Is it soothing? Doesn't it ever feel silly?

Thursday, August 03, 2006

It's enough to make you sick of politics

Actually, more than enough. A recent letter from "key Democratic Senators" to Bush about the Iraq war and occupation was said to herald a new unity among Democrats on the topic. Well, it's true several Democrats signed the letter (our Boxer, but not our Feinstein, however, and not Hillary and of course not Lieberman), but the letter itself said nothing new. Rhetoric about the past and an amorphous proposal for the future of our occupation. A weak, spineless expession of a weak, spineless party. If I didn't despise the Republicans so much, I wouldn't ever vote for a Democrat.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Class war

This ploy by the House Republicans--tying an increase in the minimum wage to reduction of the federal estate tax--is too much. When are the poor and middle class in America going to rebel against the monsters who're running this country?

This can't be true

Bush is expanding Gitmo, building a new prison there? And the builder is Halliburton? No. Not possible.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Friday, July 28, 2006

You know you've got problems

when a commanding general of your armed forces won't give his full name for fear of reprisal from insurgents. (Scroll down to last paragraph of this AP story.)

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Once again, words fail

to capture the quality and intensity of the outrage I experienced as I read this Marine Corps article about the "second biggest building in Iraq."

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Now here's a good idea

In the midst of Israel's bombing of Lebanon, the US delivers bombs to Israel. Precisely the way to win the hearts and minds of Arab Muslims in the region.

Who's on first?

Wouldn't you love having your kid killed while deployed in this cauldron? Fighting neighborhood militias and death squads, and lions and tigers and bears? I mean, WTF? (To you cybernoncognesisi that's What the Fuck?)

Monday, July 24, 2006

All's well

Sure, the Middle East is ablaze, the Earth is warming alarmingly, the poor are getting poorer while the rich are...you get the drift.

But all is well in the world. Why? Because the last two major golf tournaments, the Womens' US Open and the Mens' British Open, were won by the sound, fine favorites, Annika Sorenstam and Tiger Woods. The pretenders, Mickelson, Wie and their ilk are still back in the pack. Annika and Tiger rule, and so I may sleep tonight.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

It's no surprise to me

that the biggest of the MSM, the Associated Press, is biased in favor of the US government's positions on various reports. Now, as demonstrated in this study, we can see how subtle, but dominant that bias is.

In my next life

I want this gig.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Can you guess who said this?

After criticizing Israel's assault on Lebanon, he told assembled Western officials: "Just get your hands off Iraq and the Iraqi people and Muslim countries, and everything will be all right," and
"What has been done in Iraq is a kind of butchery of the Iraqi people."


Another report of the remarks included these telling statements.

"If a reconciliation project is going to work it has to talk to all the people," he said. "It must go through our Iraqi beliefs and perceptions. What we need is reconciliation between Iraqis only, there can be no third party."

To underscore his distaste for US forces in Iraq, he related an anecdote about how US soldiers keep people waiting in lines at checkpoints for hours because they insist on resting their bomb-sniffing dogs.

"The sleep of American dogs is more important than people being stopped in the street for hours," he said, evoking chuckles among Iraqi delegates.

The author of these statements? Speaker of the Iraqi's parliament, that's who.


Could it be that our puppets are beginning to pull their own strings?

Friday, July 21, 2006

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Drown them in blood

Okay, I've decided: I want all of them--the Iraqi "army" and "police," the Iraqi insurgents and "terrorists," its civilians and innocents, the Sunnis and Shias and Turkomans and Kurds--all of them to die. I want the Israelis and Hamas and Hizbollahs (sp?) and Iranians and Syrians and Lebanese to die. I want the Egyptians and Saudis and Afghanis to die, as well as all Indians and Pakistanis and Chinese and Koreans (North and South) and Indonesians and Phillipinos and--you've got my drift. (Lately, I include in the list the Venezuelans, the Chileans, the Bolivians and Brazilians and Cubans, maybe the Mexicans, too.)

Wouldn't it be wonderful if there were no people on Earth, no nations, that didn't oppose the US version of the world? We'd be free to suck oil from wherever we wanted, to cut down timber, net all the fish, mine all the minerals, exploit all the workers. We could drive our SUVs at whatever speed we wanted, borrow all the money we needed, buy anything we desired.

Yup. That's what I want. Maybe then I can stop blogging. I'll be too busy buying and spending and speeding.

A query

I'd like my (numerous) readers to tell me of one thing--one thing--that's improving (a) in America, and (b) on Earth. Just asking.

My thoughts on Al Gore's candidacy for President

are captured precisely here.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

The sad story of Mr. Wilson

This AP story of a Ramadi man is touching, tragic. "Destroying a village [in this case a city] in order to save it," just like in VietNam.

In the middle of the piece is an illuminating quote. After telling of Mr. Wilson's plight (and, presumably, the thousands of other Iraqis who've abandoned the city), the writer says, "In the vast scale of suffering and displacement the country has experienced, Mr. Wilson's departure is the tiniest of blips. But it's a vivid symbol of the hardships faced by the U.S.-led coalition and the elected Iraqi government in restoring peace and quiet for the countless other Mr. Wilsons of Iraq."

Hardships faced by the coalition?

Monday, July 17, 2006

Condi's free pass

Our Secretary of State was asleep at the switch during pre-9/11 when she was, supposedly, our security chief; she was the mouthpiece for Bush in the Iraq warmup (recall her "mushroom cloud" reference?), and since then has been a main shill for Bush's failed policies, including in this outrageous appearance on TV. Note how she continues to conflate the madness in the Middle East with 9/11, hoping that the sheeplike American media and citizenry will continue to endure Bush's "policies" in Iraq and his blind support of Israel as part of his "war on terror." Indeed, her terming of criticism of those policies as "grotesque" is grotesque.

It's time we called her the militaristic whore she is, an evil force in our international relations, and stop giving her allowances because of her race/gender. If you think I'm off base here, just consider how her recent words would be treated by the media--especially the liberal media--if uttered by Rummie or Cheney. There's be a howl of protest. But when spoken by Condi, they raise barely a ripple.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

This could get interesting, verrry interesting

The prosecution (by us, not them) of the Marines who're charged with rape/murder of that teenager and her family. The Bushies are hoping like crazy that they can fry all of the accuseds to show how just America is. But they can't get DNA from the victim's body because under Islam the exhumation of a dead body isn't permissible. So, the Army prosecution (the only prosecution that our occupancy laws allows) may misfire.

Wouldn't that be the Ritz? The Muslims rise up in outrage when the rape-murdering Marines are given a light sentence (or are acquitted) because of a "technicality," when all Iraqis know--absolutely, they know--that the Marines are guilty and should pay the ultimate price.

We reap what we sow. Madness.

It's a madhouse, a goddam madhouse

During the "clamp down" of Baghdad, a group of militants who, according to a witness, were driving military vehicles, kidnapped the Iraqi Olympic committee, its body guards and various visitors who were filming the meeting.

Yup--you read that correctly. A total of more than fifty people kidnapped in the heart of curfew-closed Baghdad by armed men wearing uniforms. Or something like that. Nobody knows why, nobody knows who. And I sure wanna know--with all of our, and Iraqi, forces closing down the city: How?

Update: Some of the captives were released, but scores are still being held by the gunmen. Still--nobody knows whazzup. The word anarchy applies, so does chaos. And it's still only the middle of the summer.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

I wonder how the US public would react

if this quote from the Army Chief of Staff about the current status of US involvement in Iraq was widely known.

"The challenge … is becoming more complex, and it's going to continue to be. That's why I'll tell you I think we're closer to the beginning than we are to the end of all this."

Yup, there's no light at the end of the tunnel, there's no insurgency in its "last throes," there's only an ongoing "long, hard slog" on which we've just begun to engage.

Have a nice summer.

I grind my teeth

when I read articles like this, showing the agonizing futility of our "mission" in Iraq, and our wretched incompetence in working toward it. For the last two years, at least--since all other fabricated justifications for our waste of lives and treasure in Iraq evaporated--our stated task has been to create a sound local force to secure the nation. And now we learn that all we've done is arm sects of Muslims who, of course, have decades of scores to settle.

Stay the course? What course?