Friday, May 28, 2004

If I were an Iraqi, I would be mightily pissed off

at the mendacity of Bush and his minions. On the one hand they say that they must keep our troops in Iraq to ensure its security; on the other hand they boast to US citizens that they've succeeded in luring the terrorists to Iraq, so as to fight them there, rather than on our soil. Finally, Bush claims, our mission in Iraq is to bring the Iraqis peace and democracy. How infuriating it must be to try to exist in the meatgrinder we've made of their nation.

When Do Workers Get Their Share?

Check out this study from the Economic Policy Institute, comparing the percentage participations of workers, through increased income, and corporations, through increased profit, during the last three "recoveries." Profits now are higher than in any previous recovery, by multiples, while income increases are pitiful compared to previous times. And these increases are actually decreases when the soaring costs of medical benefits are taken into account.

When are those to whom Bush's "trickle" isn't trickling going to rise up and smell the fraud?

Who's Bush trying to kid?

Bush has been on the telephone telling members of the Security Council, including the Russians, that "full sovereignty" will be transferred to Iraq on June 30. Putting aside the question of the immutability of laws previously imposed on Iraq by Bremer, which I've referred to in previous posts, the Security Council resolution proposed by the US/UK is specific on the point. It reaffirms the structure of the "multinational force" (led by the United States) and then provides that the Security Council

"6. ... decides that the multinational force shall have authority to take all necessary measures to contribute to the maintenance of security and stability in Iraq including by preventing and deterring terrorism..."

No mention whatsoever of the involvement (certainly not of a "veto power") of the Iraqis in taking these "necessary measures." How would we like to have a international force stationed in the US (say, with bases outside of New York, Washington, Los Angeles) with such powers? Would the neo-cons, much less the macho George Bush, call this "full sovereignty"?

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Proof that Bush supporters can't think or write without assistance

Here's a page on the Bush/Cheney website urging visitors to write specific formulations to their newspapers, presumably so Google will pick them up.

Stopping at nothing

This analysis of a paragraph in Attorney General Ashcroft's press conference today shows how far the Bushies will go to gain their man's re-election, even so far as to suggest that Osama bin Laden might attack the US in the pre-election period in order to swing the election to Bush's opponent, citing the outcome of the terrorists' train bombing in Spain. Ashcroft implied, of course, that bin Laden would prefer a Kerry to a Bush presidency, the further implication being that Kerry would be softer on terrorism than Bush.

I don't think Ashcroft's quite evil enough to stage an attack on the US just before the election (although I'm not as certain of this as I'd like to be). I have this hunch, however, namely, that Ashcroft and FBI Muller's list of seven terrorists that was presented at the same press conference contains one or more already-incarcerated people. They'll be dribbled out one by one between now and the election by means of a series of announcements of their capture and immediate incarceration (incommunicado, of course, at Gitmo). This way, Ashcroft can assure Bush's re-election without having to rely on the not-quite-so-reliable Osama bin Laden.

Transition or manipulation?

This is my third post in two days on this subject, but Bush's hypocrisy won't allow me to stay silent. He speaks of "full sovereignty" for Iraq as of July 1, 2004, both in his speech last Monday and in statements thereafter, when trying to assuage the French and German about the extent of the "transfer of power." What a crock! Does he think his audience, like he, doesn't read?

Even CNN/MSNBC have caught on to the tension between Tony Blair's statement that the Iraqis will have a "veto" over military operations in Iraq, including, presumably, US forces, and the insistence by Colin Powell and other US officials that this is not so. Military force is of course a vital question of sovereignty--and will no doubt draw much attention during the debate on the UN resolution that the US is presently seeking.

But the focus on sovereignty should be much wider. Naomi Klein, many months ago--as noted in a few of my posts back then--pointed out actions by Tribune Bremer that locked in US hegemony over Iraqi law, including privatization of commerce and control over resources. These laws, by their terms, extended long past any "turnover of sovereignty" and were immutable by subsequent legislation. Now, she's not alone in her analysis. No less a Bush supporter than the Wall Street Journal has observed that Bremer's actions have, in essence, frozen Iraq into acceptance of a complex of laws for years to come, laws covering a broad span of authority under any definition of sovereignty.
The WSJ article, however, appeared on May 13, 2004, and so far hasn't gotten any play beyond its pages. Is that because the networks and cable stations still don't want to ask the tough questions even after months of discrediting reports about Bush's handling of the occupation of Iraq? Or are they just incompetent? Or both?

Religiosity in the US

This current and historical Gallup poll on the religious beliefs of Americans is, to me, amazing. I had no idea these figures were so elevated--high percentages of believers in heaven, angels, the devil. Astounding percentages believing in the literal truth of bible stories, such as Noah's Ark.

I don't believe in God in any traditional religious sense, but the concept of some form of grand force or design in the formation of our material world makes some sense. But the notion that this force created the great flood, parted the Red Sea and so forth--am I missing something?

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Testing, testing

Okay, this story --that a learned study has found that al-Qaeda has grown remarkably, not diminished, since Bush began his war on terr'r--has made it to the Associated Press. Will it make the cable and network newscasts? Any readers who spot it on these sources, please let us know.

Update: A report about the study appeared on CNN this morning (5/26). It wasn't an incisive interview, however, and didn't make the point that the numbers of terrorists have grown due to the invasion of Iraq, which was a major thrust of the report.

Okay, fair's fair

If (as shown on CNN) George Bush can invite Iraqi businessmen to the White House to shake their "hands" (that is, their prosthetic hands supplied by the US, their real ones having been cut off by Saddam Hussein), thereby by inference claiming that we're better than Saddam because we brutalize our prisoners more subtley; then Michael Moore can say anything he wants to about Bush, because he's right: Bush is capable of anything to gain and keep his power.

I'm not crazy after all

As many of the readers of this blog know, I'm a regular demonstrator (Saturdays and three or four afternoons per week), displaying an antiwar/anti-Bush sign throughout Santa Barbara. Over the last two months, I've noted a marked change in the reaction to my sign, a distinct shift against Bush and the war. I've felt this, and now there's evidence of it.

Leave it to the French

to recognize the hypocrisy in Bush's claim that "full sovereignty" will be transferred to Iraq on July 1. Under the draft UN resolution that the US is proposing to support the transition, the US military will retain authority to take all necessary measures, without Iraqi approval, to handle security measures and will not be subject to Iraq's control, particularly in connection with its departure.

The French intend to insist on such provisions. Good for them.

Monday, May 24, 2004

Same o, same o

The US/British proposed UN resolution for the interim governance of Iraq merely parrots the stand of the "coalition" heretofore announced and effected. The US military force may remain, under the proposal, regardless of any request of the interim government to depart; Iraqi forces must obey US military orders; there is no departure date for US forces; and the commander of any "international peacekeepers" must be from the US.

France and Germany are recalcitrant, as are other Security Council members. For good reason.

Sunday, May 23, 2004

How many deaths?

Yes, 'n' how many deaths will it take till he knows
That too many people have died?

According to, deaths of our troops have now topped 800.

God help us.

Been Wondering?

Have you been wondering how many Iraqis have died in the war? I know I have. Looks like roughly 5500, according to morgue records. That's just Baghdad and three provinces.

When it hits 6000, should we sell?

Chalabi Raid

The Agonist has posted an e-mail -- the author claims to have witnessed events of the Chalabi raid. Judge for your self.