Saturday, February 05, 2005

Marquette's Student Republican

recently adopted an "Adopt a Sniper" campaign, supporting our Army sharpshooters in Iraq and Afghanistan. I kid you not.

Official dispatches, too?

You'd think, when the Army releases official notices of wounded or killed soldiers it wouldn't engage in politicking. But no. Notice how, in this dispatch, it mentions that the wounded were riding in an "uparmored Humvee," whereas in this dispatch , reporting a death, it simply notes that the soldier was killed "in his vehicle."

Friday, February 04, 2005

Why I'm anti-Amercian

Don't be alarmed. Even though Gonzales' drones are likely monitoring this blog, I'll surely be acquitted of whatever crime they create to jail me on account of the title to this post (provided, of course, that I get a trial). You see, it's not the founding documents I detest. Not the marvelous geography of our nation, nor its powerful ideals. Not the finer moments of our history. No, it's things like this: a war between beer advertisers vying for position on the Super Bowl telecast; and worse, an hour-long CBS--a major network--broadcast this evening of a "special" in which Super Bowl ads vie for viewer approval with commercials from other nations. I tried to watch it to get the taste, but I had to tune away. Too base, too demeaning. I'd like to know its Nielsen rating, may check it out tomorrow and report back.

We have become a crass commercial culture. We aren't worthy of the power and place we inhabit in the world. A majority of Americans are ugly, mean people, driven to consume. It's not their fault, but it's surely their condition, spawned and fueled by greedy corporate enterprises that have for decades fueled our consumption, profited from it, and have finally created its product. The dull-witted consumer, whose ethic is theirs.

Republican economics

This article cuts through the figures, analyzes the reality of the state of the union's economy.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Watch what we do, not what we say

Remember back when the Abu Ghraib prisoner-abuse scandal surfaced? The Bush administration mantra was that this would provide the world with a window into our process, that we, as a democracy, would deal with the question of our conduct forthrightly and justly. Rummie said this in his Senate testimony repeatedly.

Well, it's almost a year later and what has happened? A few "bad apples" have been tried and convicted of various maldeeds--with coverage of the trials utterly absent from our media--but none of the higher-ups punished, not even chastised. Including, of course, Gonzales, author of the torture memo that probably formed the basis for our barbarous conduct.

And as to the window on our process? Not opening, not even when a federal judge repeatedly orders it.

In a separate case yesterday that could reveal more details about Abu Ghraib and other detention facilities, a federal judge in New York ordered the CIA to comply with the Freedom of Information Act and turn over to watchdog groups records concerning the treatment of prisoners in Iraq. It was the second time in six months that the judge suggested the government was impeding the American Civil Liberties Union's quest to monitor government actions in the war on terrorism.


The chief of police in Mosul "was able to negotiate" with the coalition forces the release of 84 persons in coalition custody who were found not to be participants "in the terrorist minority." Whazzupwiththat? Who's on first?

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Right on

This essay, as depressing as it is for those of us who want truth and justice to win out, is unfortunately the most accurate assessment of the future of Iraq and its neighbors. Bush/Rove, the author concedes, have successfully manipulated the US media into buying their entire war agenda.

One man, one vote

I demonstrate against the war here in Santa Barbara by marching up and down State Street weekly and otherwise hanging out a protest sign wherever possible. Silly me. In my marches I've encountered opponents, who, like the one who defaced this antiwar poster, has just as many votes as I.

Is it possible democracy is overrated?

The sky is falling

When an analyst from Bloomberg News, hardly a rad, frets about the future of the dollar and its possible decline into valuelessness--with an economic cataclysm to follow--the only answer is, as we learned during the fifties, "Duck and cover!"

Setting the record straight

Look, let's be clear about one thing: The U.S. invasion of Iraq, and subsequent occupation, are an outrage. A violation of international law; an action taken without justification, legal or factual; and done without UN sanction and for discredited, or clandestine, purposes.

The US, to my knowledge, has never declared war on, invaded and occupied another sovereign nation without a direct attack by that nation. The Spanish-American War, as unwarranted and devious as that was, at least didn't result in our invasion of Spain (although we took over many of their colonies, including The Phillipines). The war with Mexico did indeed result in our temporary occupation of two of its major cities, but we withdrew shortly afterward. Neither of these episodes was particularly honorable--certainly not hallmarks of US diplomacy--but they were small potatoes compared to this Iraq madness.

We invaded and occupied Germany and Japan, both of which had attacked us and declared war on us. But Iraq? What the hell did it do to justify our "shock and awe" and our ruination of their cities and citizenry? They had a tyrant as a leader. Big deal. Tyrants abound in the world, and we support most of them. They'd made war on Kuwait, but were beaten back and sanctioned by the community of nations.

So now, having taken over their country, having built barricades and zones of danger, we, through the "leaders" we put in power, "hold elections." The Shiites and the Kurds rejoice, because they get to vote. The Sunnis, however, resist and fight the occupation because they're in the minority and will lose power because of the invasion/occupation/election. I ask you: Wouldn't you do exactly the same thing?

The US was wrong to invade. Morally, legally, factually. The occupation and "election" don't make it right. This awful sequence is a blemish on the history of our nation, and it was the action of two men, Bush and Cheney, who are as tyrannical and maniacal as any leaders on Earth.

Monday, January 31, 2005

Sour grapes--or grapes of wrath?

I'm aware that this sounds like I'm just plain negative about Iraq's election, that because my candidate lost the US election, my antiwar protests have gone unheeded, and my call for Bush's ouster in some lawful way aren't going to happen, I refuse to acknowledge even the titular legitimacy of the polling in Iraq.

Okay, I admit it. My bias is strong to call the election in Iraq a sham, even to deem the courage of the voters who dodged bullets to get to the polls an exercise in infuriated self-interest, not freedom. But hear this: There are elections and there are elections. The Soviet Union had elections for seven decades, Germany had elections three decades, the United States had elections in 2000 and 2004, and each year scores of "democracies" hold elections, including Cuba and Egypt and, for God's sake, Iran, and we--the Bushies--deem them frauds.

Now, I wasn't "on the ground" (Oh, how I hate that phrase!) in Iraq, but here's somebody who was, and his take on this "election" is this: You can't have democracy when foreign troops occupy all roads, all access, to the polling places. What that amounts to is a Vichy government, able to function only at the sufferance of the occupiers.

That may be the Bushies' definition of democracy--it certainly seems to be lately in this country--but it sure as hell ain't mine.

Will there ever be a last straw?

Now it turns out the US has failed to account for $9 billion in Iraq, money that was supposed to go for the reconstruction of the country. If this doesn't cause Congress to demand that Bush's latest request for a "supplemental appropriation" be pared by a like amount, I don't know what.

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Iraq's election

Here's a cogent analysis of today's "election" in Iraq by Professor Juan Cole.

I have this additional take. Let's say the US was invaded by forces (imagine a coalition of Mexico, Canada, Germany, France and Brazil, et al) that opposed our administraton (let's say it's Bushies) and was then occupied by those forces which, by force of arms, isolated and eliminated the Bushies and after years of insurgency by Bush's supporters, reduced them to armed militants and then, by the vote of those who weren't killed or ostracized, elected a panel of Gore/Kerry/Kennedy.

I wonder how Republicans would react to that development.