Saturday, April 10, 2004

What a bunch of crop!

As I've pointed out in previous posts, essayist Naomi Klein has parsed the documents that the US-dominated Iraqi Governing Council has signed, and has found that the "turnover of sovereignty" is hardly that. Through clever clauses, the US retains control over virtually everything, from military to commercial, long after 6/31. The turnover, it turns out, is a fiction.
Now this fact has been formally acknowledged, by no less an authority than Colin Powell. All that the Iraqis will control is agriculture.

Critical mass, timing, and similar thoughts

I've been watching the television networks, plus CNN, CNBC and MSNBC (I can't bring myself to watch Faux), and I must say the reporters seem to reaching that point where their point of view begins to switch to become critical of Bush's administration. Not all of them, of course, but the more mainstream reporters. It shows in the stories they choose to report, the sequence in which they present them and the language they choose. Words like, "however," and "but" when they're reporting on developments and programs of the US at home and abroad.

Trouble is, they could backslide, like they did in the Viet Nam experience. For almost three years, when Nixon was elected in 1968, they bided their time and finally came fully aligned with the peace movement only when Nixon's (and Kissinger's) plan for "peace with honor" was shown to be hopeless.

These days, things happen more quickly. Let's hope the critical mass is reached around July, during the Democratic Convention and the heat of the summer in Iraq, and that it slides ahead to swamp the Republican Convention in New York which, along with the demonstation of possibly millions, becomes a nightmarish debacle.

The next seven months are going to be more interesting, more critical, than any in US history--within my lifetime.

I'm departing grossly,

for sure, from the beliefs of my co-blogger, Kyle; and certainly from the baseline of this blog, but I gotta say this to conform to its title, All That Arises.

What arises for me with all the attention, during the Easter weekend, to the life and death of Jesus is that the Christian recounting of these events is just a centuries-long historical spin of a dramatic event in Jerusalem long before we had videos and Internet and similar fact-establishing technologies. Maybe there was a guy who was killed after the Jewish Passover. Maybe, even, he was crucified. But whatever happened to him wasn't written by eye-witnesses, wasn't even based on eye-witness accounts. The earliest published accounts weren't written until more than thirty years after the fact. More than a generation, without video, without the Internet or even movie newsreals to perpetuate the events.
But did Jesus arise from the dead? Was he the "son of God"? Is there a God? Did God have a son? Did He send His son to earth to become crucified, to turn water to wine, to hang out with fishermen? Did Jesus hang out with a prostitute; did she wash his feet?
To me, all of this is fable. Fine fable, to be sure, but not more likely to be true than the fable of Islam or of Judaism or, for that matter, of Moonie-ism. I understand the concept of faith, but I don't for a moment believe that faith is fact, and therefore find it to be more malleable, susceptible to disbelief and disobedience.
So why are we presently at war over beliefs? Because we're stupid, base and ugly of spirit.
I have much more to say on this subject--a lifetime of it--but will close now because so did Good Friday. Jesus is dead, some say, and so I'll be silent. Out of respect for the living, not belief in the dead.

Friday, April 09, 2004

We are not alone.

A majority of those polled by BBC News responded by stating the the US and its global aims are the biggest threat to the wellbeing of the world.

It's all in the numbers

Remember the body-counts in VietNam? Recall how the DOD, through its in-country officers, inflated the kills of the enemy?

Well, in this war we have the opposite. The DOD has re-calculated the manner of reporting the number of American wounded, and has delayed the reporting, in the process actually reducing the number of wounded they've already reported.

Another VietNam? At least. Probably worse.

What does it take

to get the mainstream US media to report--not to support, but just to report--any take on the misery in Iraq except our own? Don't they read the onsite weblogs?

Of course they do. So why don't we hear anything, anything at all, of what they report?

And even the unbiased media are failing to pick up on what Riverbend's blog has observed: That the Marines' siege of Fallujah, the massive number of civilian casualties and the latest re-invasion of the city is absolutely forbidden under international law as "collective punishment." Forbidden because it was practiced by the most heinous of armed forces, most recently, the Nazis.

Good Friday

I had this thought last night as I watched on TV a piece about the trial and death of Jesus. I wondered whether, thousands of years later to the day, the United States, as armed occupier of a chunk of land just a bit to the north of Jerusalem, would find and kill Mutaqa al-Sadr and thereby make him a martyr to the muslims, inflaming them against our empire. I realize the parallels aren't parallel in many respects, but one appears so: The use of military force--bombing, killing--by opposing ideologies and policies to enforce their will on each other.

So--two millenia later, we "Christians" have learned nothing from our long-ago teacher and martyr; and neither have the Muslims.

Thursday, April 08, 2004


is the new radio network with liberal commentators and guests. Click here to check it out and to link to the streaming audio.

Wednesday, April 07, 2004

This is so weird

it couldn't be true. The Iraqi Governing Council is willing to drop the murder charges against al-Sadr and quash the arrest warrant that Bremer's trying to serve on him if al-Sadr agrees to call off his insurgent militia?

But if it's true, what does Bremer do?

I've hardly ever read Forbes

and never cited it, but this story about the massive defection of Bush's counter-terrorism staff is an astoundingly damning piece of evidence that Bush has gone nuts. Nuts. Crazy. Bug-eyed wacko.

Probably not the best authority, but

Pakistan's dictator says that the US investment of troops and materiel in the Iraq conflagration is diminishing the campaign against al-Queda.

Even so, it does support Clarke's assertion--and common sense--that one war is easier to fight than two.

Just like a computer game ...

Where is Raed ?:

"Dear US administration,
Welcome to the next level. Please don't act surprised and what sort of timing is that it: planning to go on a huge attack on the west of Iraq and provoking a group you know very well (I pray to god you knew) that they are trouble makers. "

Tuesday, April 06, 2004

Our leaders are idiots

Even I--even before I read this piece from AsiaTimes Online--understood that once the US decided to arrest al-Sadr it was doomed to (1) kill him and create a dead martyr; or (2) arrest him and create a live prisoner.

Every once in a while I wish this blog were read more widely

Such as this observation:

There's a new phenomenon on the airwaves (new to me, anyhoo) called the Video News Release (VNR), which, as I understand it, is a pre-packaged TV piece that's transmitted to broadcasting stations as a news item, and is broadcast to the public as such (it's format and tone appears as such, too), but it's really a really a disguised plug, sometimes for a commercial product, sometimes for something more insidious. For example, a governmental program, supporting (you guessed it) Bush/Cheney.

Now B/C have been caught, however. A woman playing a reporter, "reporting" on the benefits of the prescription drug benefit in the newly-enacted Medicare amendment, wasn't a reporter at all, but rather a part-time actress/publicist of the Bush administration. Using public money to plug the President. Another example of Big Brother Bush, controlling the media, the corporations, the government and the money. It's unlikely this practice will be stopped before the election in November, which is of course B/C's purpose.

If Bush isn't re-elected it will be the biggest triumph of democracy ever. And if he is re-elected, we may not see democracy again in the United States in our (my) lifetime.

an ambitious man

A photomontage of Americans killed in Iraq. This is worth seeing!


Conspiracy theory?

Naomi Klein, whose books on globalism are right-on, reports from Baghdad that the place is a cauldron of craziness. She wonders, even, if Tribune Bremer was acting on political instructions to bring the business with al-Sadr to a head now by seizing his paper and arresting his publicist, and now by chasing down al-Sadr himself. The reason to foment this resistance now, she thinks, might be to give Bush/Cheney a basis for delaying the turnover of sovereignty past June 30, allowing them to continue on in battle.
Maybe. Maybe, however, they've fallen victim to the syndrome of many bullies. When you're beat, keep fighting.
Whatever's behind it all, even if there's nothing behind our current actions, the effects are the same. Bush/Cheney are taking the heat for this latest outrage, as they should be. Iraq was their war, these deaths are their deaths and we can't let anyone forget it.

Bush/Cheney's petard

During the invasion of Iraq a year ago, all cameras were focused on the assaulting troops and the flare of bombs, to the benefit of Bush/Cheney's "war president" image. Both the Bush administration and the television news programs thrived on the drama of the combat.

Now there's a new eruption of violence on at least two fronts and guess what? The Bush/Cheney camp would rather not have the coverage spread all over the airwaves and are downplaying its significance. But the networks, like good capitalists, like money most of all and aren't inclined to pull back its cameras because like good Americans, we viewers love drama and adore watching violence.

Bush/Cheney turned on the war spigot and can't now turn it off.

CNN Reports

Senator Edward Kennedy, in a speech yesterday, apparently called the battle in Iraq "George Bush's Viet Nam." Tribune Bremer promptly called his remark "ridiculous" and "inappropriate."
Wolf Blitzer on CNN was just interviewing a retired Marine Major General (a so-called "military expert") and asked him if Kennedy's comparison was apt.
His reply (paraphrasing): "Well, actually, yes. We're committed to remaining in a situation we can't control, the world is watching and the situation is deteriorating. So, it sure feels like Viet Nam to me--and I served there for seven years."

When you pay your taxes in a few days

Reflect on the fact that over the last years American corporations paid little or none. None.

Bush Says He Lacked Intelligence

Yahoo! News - Bush Says He Lacked Info on Sept. 11:

"Let me just be very clear about this," he said. "Had we had the information that was necessary to stop an attack, I'd have stopped the attack. ... If we'd have known that the enemy was going to fly airplanes into our buildings, we would have done everything in our power to stop it." I had no intelligence before 9/11, no intelligence after 9/11. I just wish folks would stop accusing me of having intelligence. [OK, I added that last part.]

Well friends, it gets weirder and more twisted. Here's an article in my local weekly paper, in which accusations are made that the government was actually complicit in the tragedy on 9/11. Did the Bush administration take a dive? Whoa.

Monday, April 05, 2004

Meanwhile, back in Afghanistan...

Bush has created a warlord-powered, poppy-driven mess. Had enough?

I don't get it...quite

Tribune Bremer keeps on dictating the laws of Iraq, including this latest "private ownership" decree.

So now, we're fashioning not only a democracy but a capitalist democracy. And will these nation-altering laws remain, or are they merely the last gasps of a declining system?

It's Iraq, stupid

Okay, so some of the employment numbers have turned Bush's way. No problem. Shift to any one of the other outrages of Bush's presidency, most of them centered around his arrogant, mad march to war against Iraq. There's still the Valerie Plame thing, the 9/11 commission (with the concomitant question of Bush's fixation on Iraq), the Joint Committee's report about Iraq intelligence and so forth. Plenty of goodies to bring Bush/Cheney down.

With Tribune Bremer's latest edict to arrest al-Sadr we're assured that we'll still be fighting and dying in Iraq in November. So Kerry's task is to exploit this, to make it's so sore a point that Bush can't explain it away, and indeed to worry the Iraq madness with as many related questions as possible: The deficit, the trade imbalance, the loss of world position, the prevalence of fear in the US and throughout the world. In other words, Bush/Cheney must be painted as monsters, no less. No carping about small questions of policy, Kerry. Huge, powerful condemnations with sweeping, articulate phrasing that will stick to Bush/Cheney and become the mantras of the campaign.

That's what they're doing to you, Kerry. And you've got more ammo on them, more paint to apply.

Sixteen dead soldiers

in April and it's only day five. And now, we're going to try to arrest a Shia cleric, Muqtada al-Sadr, whom we contend is behind the violence in the Bagdad suburb of Sadr City. He's "holed up" in a mosque, no doubt surrounded by his followers, so that any attempt to arrest him will lead to a standoff (which will attract TV cameras) and of course more bloodshed--a perfect recruiting tool for anti-coalition Iraqis.

Bush's worst nightmare would be the melding of the Sunni resistance with this Shia resistance. Even if the majority of Iraqis don't join actively, that would be a huge chunk of Iraq's population opposing the US occupation. If the numbers grow big enough by the end of June, or in the months thereafter, it could happen that whoever's in charge of the Iraqi government might order the expulsion of the US military forces.

What a fitting way to bring our soldiers home, driven out by those we "liberated," leaving the country in ruin. How do you spell VietNam?

Class warfare explained

This post in the Bump in the Beltway blog lays out Bush's insidious plan to alter our taxing structure. The cruelest part is that the middle class wage earners are supporting their own demise by blindly backing him.

Sunday, April 04, 2004

Baghdad [still] Burning

Riverbend throws some light on the demonstrations in Iraq, and other matters. I wonder when the cheering crowds are scheduled. Ambassador Bremer, is there a logistics problem? Isn't it about time for them to show universal gratitude for libervention?

Today Bremer also announced the fact that we now have an official 'Ministry of Defense'. The irony of the situation wasn't lost on Iraqis- the head of the occupation announcing a "Ministry of Defense". To defend against what? Occupation? Ha, ha… or maybe it's to secure the borders from unwelcome foreigners carrying guns and riding tanks?

Baghdad Burning

Misrble failure to the max

The Sunnis are killing our troops in the triangle, the Shias are killing our troops in Sadr City, the Kurds are biding their time and Islamic extremists are killing Iraqi police in Baghdad.

The "turnover" is imminent. Is it possible Bush has gotten himself into a quagmire that even Rove can't spin him out of?

Take just a moment

to place this event in perspective. Twenty Iraqis killed, hundreds wounded, in a protest. Can you imagine what would happen in the US if twenty people were killed during a protest? Kent State, a protest that sparked national outrage, involved four deaths.