Saturday, April 22, 2006

Blaming Bush

Here's how radicalized I've become. I blame Bush for this. Don't ask me how I can attribute it to Bush--I can. Just like the Christian Right can blame hippies for all that they see as evil, I find myself able to lay all misfortunes on my hated enemy. I've lost all objectivity. I despise Bush/Cheney/Rummie/Condi/Wolfie/Pearlie--pick a name--so deeply that it doesn't matter what goes wrong, what evil happens in the world. It's their fucking fault.

Now, ain't that grand!

The kids at my college alma mater, Stanford U, turned out in force to protest Bush's presence on the campus, so powerfully that Bush and his entourage were forced to change the location of his visit. The campus paper's report is detailed, supportive. I particularly like its recital of some of the chants and signs and slogans, of which my favorite (scroll down) is one from a Guatemalan student: "For every pig there will be a Saturday." I think it refers to a dish, like posole, made from pork, which is a weekend treat.

I was too prescient

Back before the 2004 election, I predicted that Bush would ensure his victory over Kerry (it was a close race, recall), by naming a new Vice Presidential running mate, Cheney having begged off due to "ill health." I was wrong. But maybe just premature, because in this article by John Dean, at the conclusion of his analysis of Bush's character, he virtually guarantees that Bush will pull off an October Surprise to avoid election of a confrontive Congress, and Dean's first suggestion is that Bush will receive Cheney's resignation and will appoint a more moderate VP.

(Dean also suggests an attack on Iran, of course, and given the present course of events, I agree with Dean that this is a likely, scary prospect.)

Ya gotta love it

For years, the US has backed its lackey institution, The International Monetary Fund, when it chides debtor nations for imbalances in spending, and issues calls for fiscal soundness (which means proof of an ability to pay back IMF loans) usually at the expense of social programs in the debtor nation. But now, the IMF has criticized the US for its lack of budgetary restraint and its failure to provide universal health care to its citizens, and the Bush administration doesn't like it, not one bit.

Deck chairs on the Luisitania

I'm back on the blog after a few days without a cyberconnection in Tucson--didn't even take my laptop with me!--only to find that you've done nothing in my absence but move deck chairs. Lots of them, however. We won't have Scott McClellan to kick around anymore, Rove's dodging indictment and in Iraq there's a new Prime Minister, maybe.

I'm not sure what effect this last move will have on the ongoing violence, because al-Maliki is a clone of al-Jaafari, but maybe Iraq will settle down somewhat, enough for us to begin pulling out some troops. You know--you just know--that Bush will praise the new PM to the skies and will use the event to talk about troop reductions, and will surely withdraw some thousands in time for our November midterm elections. But I wouldn't bet on any significant change in the situation in Iraq "on the ground," as opposed to the White House press releases.

BTW--The Dawa Party, which both al-Jaafari and Maliki are affiliated with, are no slouches when it comes to the use of terror and violence. I Googled Dawa to learn of its past and among other items came up with Juan Cole's recent analysis.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

The end of times

This fine essay spells it out. I feel it too. We're approaching the edge of something very big in the course of humankind. The courses we now take are utterly divergent: One to peace and goodness and the shepharding of the planet and each others' liberties; the other to intolerance and war.

Am I crazy? Do you feel it too?

Who wants war with Iran?

Ya know, it's not just the NeoCons who are beating the drums for an armed intervention in Iran. Sure, they'd love it. It would fulfill, for the time being, their dream of an Americanized (and Israelized) Middle East. For the time being, because when the place catches fire, it's going to be nobody's nowhere. But I digress.

No, not just the NeoCons, not at all. Like this author, who, like me, proposes a dramatic diplomatic intervention by the US and other nations, I missed the major player. It's the media, stupid. The American networks want war, dammit. They relish the speculation about it, they nurture the prospect of it, and they adore the drama of it all, from buildup to attack to ruin.

The media won't get viewership from the comings and goings of diplomats, the announcements of protocols and dialogs. No, like they did in the buildup and "shock and awe" of the Iraq invasion, they'll benefit only from coverage of conflict, bombs and blood and guts.

It's not pleasant to admit, but we as a nation haven't progressed one little inch from 100 years ago when the Hearst papers spurred us to war with Spain. Then it was to sell papers, now it's to sell air-time.

A new low

Rassmussen Reports, which I follow daily, shows a three-point drop in Bush's approval ratings, to thirty-nine percent, with sixty percent disapproving (43% "strongly"). These are all new lows (or highs, depending on your point of view), in this poll that invariably shows figures more favorable to Bush than the other pollsters.

A tipping point?

Update: When US News & World Report--hardly a leftist rag--says that Bush's down-home, aw-shucks, manner is "wearing thin" you gotta believe it is. Indeed, it's not wearing thin, it's worn out.

Don't execute Moussaoui

For the reasons stated here.

Indeed, I was going to add this reason: That by not executing him we'd avoid handing the other side a martyr, we'd be showing them we're better than they are, and so forth. But no. The reason we shouldn't execute him is simple: It's immoral to kill a human being.

Another story to track

is this one, about the hundreds of millions of dollars that corrupt American contractors have stolen from Iraqi funds. Seems that they've also stolen huge sums of American money, and that legal proceedings are underway to recoup some of it. But the Iraqis can't recoup their money from American companies because under the "Transitional Law" that Bremer imposed on Iraq, American companies are immune from suit by Iraqis.

This story highlights (almost) everything that's wrong with the Bush administration: The evils of greed, conquest and occupation, of capitalism unchecked, of imperial hubris, of unaccountability.

Will we see/hear about it on the MSM? Let's check.