Saturday, March 20, 2004

Better late than never

European leaders beginning to re-think the strategy of a "war" on terror?

Whaddya know.

Good company

We in the US, and elsewhere in the capitals of the world, weren't alone in our protest of the US occupation of Iraq. The citizens of Baghdad were out in force too.

Toldja so

During the peace march in SB today, one of our most popular chants was, "We told you so!" The fact is, everything evil that would result from invasion of Iraq--according to those who objected to it--is coming to pass. A nightmare in Iraq itself, the spread of terror elsewhere, the anger of the Muslim world, the alienation of our traditional allies, a huge expense in American and Iraqi lives, and American dollars.
Now, my own chant, to the same effect: The rising price of oil, due in part to the weak dollar, causing inflationary prices, rising in an economy that's dormant. Deflation.

Something Bovine This Way Comes

Today on Buzzstuff I learned this:

The Sanskrit word for "war" means "desire for more cows."

Another day another trauma

Riverbend reports from Baghdad about brain-drain from Iraq. Arrests, murders, kidnappings of learned professors and doctors, leaving the place filled with contractors, mercenaries, thieves.

Just like the United States.

BTW--I've noticed that during the television shows about the the NCAA playoffs the Marines and the Army are displaying ads for recruitment, bigtime. More evidence of the military state we're in in the US.

Live news coverage of Bush's campaign speech

I'm watching MSNBC, also CNN, giving uninterrupted coverage, as "breaking news," of a campaign rally of Bush in Florida. Jeb Bush's speech, wife Laura's, then Bush's. With the millions of dollars in Bush's war chest for re-election, plus this gratis coverage, he's all over the tube. I've not seen a moment of coverage of any opposition, except a brief mention of the thousands of anti-war rallies around the world.
Twenty-five minutes of TV showing Bush preaching to the choir, two minutes showing those who are shouting outside the church.

Friday, March 19, 2004

meanwhile, back at the front ...

While the media struggle to outdo each other on their insipid anniversary coverage, the kids in uniform are dying at an even faster pace. Happy Anniversary, Mr. President!

The asteroid missed...

damn it. If only it would have landed on a certain Pennsylvania Avenue address.

"Turning over sovereignty"

We keep hearing that phrase. It's supposed to happen at the end of June. What does it mean? To whom is sovereignty handed? What is sovereignty, anyway? Will whoever/whatever takes over sovereignty know what to do, how to do it? Will anybody obey whoever it is that takes over?

What a mess.

Outsourcing to "emerging markets."

This report that 25 percent of US tech jobs will be sent abroad by 2010, merely posits what it calls a "harsh reality." Fact is, the low wages and round-the-clock use of such labor is irresistible to American capitalists.
Interesting sidenote: As the foreigners gain income from the practice, they also gain buying power. What will they buy? Products made abroad, of course, just like Americans do.
Do you sense the end of an empire here?

Demand for oil

Oil prices have hit 11-year highs, highest since just before the Gulf War. And guess what? Among the factors causing this spike is "demand from China."
Recall, the Third World has barely entered the industrial age, has yet to expand its transport and factory output to anywhere near its potential, much less to afford autos for its growing billions of people. But in the next few years, look out! We're going to be paying high prices for oil/gasoline not as much because of our own gluttony, but because of others' hunger.

The first anniversary

of Bush's invasion of Iraq has brought a flood of TV "specials" that are nothing but celebrations of our military might. Even with plenty of opportunity to process photos from Iraqis and others' journalists, the news channels show us no images of the war from the other side, no images of the terror we wrought. This is nothing but a re-hash of the embedded reporters' one-sided reports from a year ago.

Cheaper and easier, I guess.

Islamic Extremists

Imagine my surprise upon reading that Islamic Extremists are thought to be responsible for attacks in Iraq. No! Seriously? We all thought it was Snow White and the Seven Osamas. Especially Grumpy; keep that little bastard away from the C-4!

Yahoo! News

Thursday, March 18, 2004

Struggling for a word here

But I finally came up with one: Ordinary. I watched as much as I could tolerate of the Trump thingee, The Apprentice. Is that who we've become? If so--and I fear so--it looks like we're headed for four more years of leadership by the king of ordinary, Bush.
How do we change this in the next eight months, when it took 200 years to arrive at this cultural sump?

Ya gotta love it

Bush touts small businessmen ("the entrepreneurial class"), to whom he's given the bulk of the tax cuts, as the source of jobs to come. But they can't hire! Why? Because Bush's other buddy, health insurance companies, are making it too expensive for them to hire new employees.

Rogue Nation

Bush isuses a thinly-veiled warning to Spain for pulling its troops out of Iraq and, on the same day that Poland's leadership says it was "misled" into signing on with the "coalition of the willing," talks of an eternal war against terror.

Ya know what? The true terrorist in this world is George W. Bush.

A Career Change Idea

I've spotted a very interesting career change suggestion for Mr. Bush, in this post on The Messopotamian, an Iraqi blog. He seems to think the Kurds would be pleased to elect our soon-to-be-replaced president to high office. He has the polling stats to back it up. Works for me.

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

The "new Iraq"

Now that the US military has withdrawn from the cities of Iraq in order to safeguard its troops (although not to much effect in terms of stopping the killing of US troops), the insurgents are free to attack in Baghdad and other population centers, without interdiction by our troops and without leaving any trace for our intelligence to stop further attacks.

So--the US military is going to be proven unable to give security to the cities and it's not a big step to the argument that they shouldn't be allowed to remain. Let's hope that the Iraqis, shortly after power is turned over to them, take this step and kick us out. At least that way the bleeding will stop.

Ominous, indeed

From Forex News: "An ominous prospect would unravel if the Fed finds itself between having to temper inflationary pressures and reviving the bland recovery."

If the Fed raises interest rates to ward off the dreaded inflation, it would likely dampen the tepid recovery. If it leaves the interest rate alone, while inflation charges on, it could fuel rampant inflation.

Greenspan, this may be your doing. You're so hell-bent on fueling the recovery with money borrowed at low rates that you're going to drive us into deflation, that is, inflation without growth, the worst possible economic scenario.


Don't believe the polls

My new mantra. Especially when I don't like what they say.

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Journey In Iraq Ends

US Marine Corps reservist and blogger Bob Zangas has given the last full measure of devotion in Iraq. He was killed last week. Bob Zangas' Journey In Iraq. Go to that page and look at his picture. Let it burn into your dreams. And when you see the War President on the television, remember the face you saw a moment on your computer.

Condolences can be posted here.

I am sad.

Open Letter to GIs in Iraq

This letter to GIs, called Hold On to Your Humanity, is written by a Vietnam veteran. It's very powerful.

Two economic reports

The first a personal one. I just filled up my Volvo at a cost of $34.00--$2.36 per gallon for the lowest octane gasoline. The tank holds 16 gallons.

The second report is from CNBC this morning. Sales of SUV's are slumping badly. I wonder why, given that their gas tanks hold up to 30 gallons.

"A hundred bin Ladens"

Remember this prediction by an Egyptian leader? This would be the result, he said, of the war in Iraq. Well, check out this story about the terrorist network, which suggests that precisely this has occurred, and that the war on terror could last for decades. A truly frightening--and depressing--prognosis for our world.

Monday, March 15, 2004

Rumsfeld's Words

Donald Rumsfeld denied saying Saddam was an immediate threat to the US. But he did.

He's the Commander!

“I’m the commander - see, I don’t need to explain - I don’t need to explain why I say things. That’s the interesting thing about being the President. Maybe somebody needs to explain to me why they say something, but I don’t feel like I owe anybody an explanation.”

- George W. Bush, Washington Post, 11-19-02

And now for the good news...

About the continuing growth of the job gap.

I knew there was something rotten...

about the turnover of sovereignty. According to this analysis, of the recently touted Iraqi interim law, the regulations enacted by the US Tribune Bremer must remain in effect until a later constitutional entity (only created after country-wide elections, expected in 2005) repeals them. So, whatever Bremer has wrought, including privatization of Iraq, will remain in force until long after the US has departed. So much for democracy.

Taxes and jobs

This WaPo article, not the product of a mad economist, simply correlates the historical impact of income taxation and employment. Conclusion: No relationship, notwithstanding Bush's bullshit that repealing the tax increase on the rich will cause a loss of jobs.

The Bush/Cheney War

The Democrats have got to characterize the invasion of Iraq as a personal, crazed adventure promoted by these two mad executives and their ideological cronies. We've lost more than 550 soldiers, wounded 3,000 more, and now we're losing civilians, well-meaning Americans who want only peace but are met by violent reaction to our policies. We've wasted billions of dollars, wasted our standing in the world and our domestic economy.
This is intolerable and must be highlighted by Kerry's publicists. He can't win unless he is able to paint Bush/Cheney (always connecting the two, so that Bush is dragged down by Cheney) as out-of-the-loop madmen.

Kerry's good, damned good

I just watched John Kerry's speech to the International Association of Firefighters on CSpan. Man, I gotta tell, this guy delivers a hell of a speech. Strong, well-spoken, delivered with force and urgency. He's gonna win this election, not just because we work for him, but because he's working really hard too.

A ticking time bomb...metaphorically...

Is the stifling effect on ocean transport when, on July 1, a UN rule goes into effect. The mandate, sponsored by the US, requires international ports and cargo ships to be certified as safe from terrorism or else be forbidden to handle cargo. So far, only a fraction have been certified--none in many countries--which can cause a monstrous bottleneck in international trade. A product surely to be affected? Oil.

The best laid plans

The Bush administration's policies (increased deficits, increased imbalance of trade) have caused the dollar to weaken against foreign currencies, especially the euro. They not only caused this, they are allowing it to abide, reasoning that if dollars are cheaper, foreigners will import more American products, thereby boosting our economy and increasing the number of jobs in the US.

Of course this hasn't happened, and the trouble is, the cheaper dollar--the currency in which oil is purchased--has now become a justification for OPEC's increase in target price for oil, which will cause higher gas prices and hence inflation in the US.

Upshot, Miserable Failure? We get higher prices, plus a lack of jobs. Wonderful.

Sunday, March 14, 2004

I am speechless (almost)

I've just watched two separate hour-long accounts of the US invasion of Iraq, presented on TV on the first "anniversary." One by CNN, the other by The History Channel. Presumably "trusted" sources.
What a crock! Both consisted entirely of "embedded reporters'" stories and recollections, and/or US analysts' observations. Not a frame was derived from news services that were on the ground (but not on our side), and not a single reference was made to the impact of the war on the other side, except for some exculpatory shots of our troops helping a family that had been wrongly targeted.

Listen up, mutherfuckers: We initiated this war. We declared war on a foreign nation, invaded it, just like Hitler invaded Poland. But even worse. Our supposed justification was that the leadership (Saddam) was an oppressive dictator whose defeat would liberate the Iraqis. The Iraqis weren't our enemies, just their leader.

And so all this footage about how effective we were at blazing through the desert and the cities, and how little collateral damage we caused, is repulsive. We shouldn't have been there, killing Iraqis. And even if we were there, illegally, our entire concept and justification was that the people weren't our enemies, just their dictator. So why, I ask, are we judging this invasion as if it were the conquest of Germany or Japan, whose nations were aligned against us?

I'm running out of vitriol. Except to say this: On yesterday's march, someone drove by in an SUV the size of Rhode Island and shouted at us, "Four more years!"

I couldn't reply. I gagged.