Saturday, February 18, 2006

If you don't believe me...

Believe this study of the political leanings of guests on the Sunday morning talk shows on MSM television showing that the guests, as well as the commentators on the CBS, NBC and ABC shows tilt distinctly to the right. No, tilt isn't the word. Nor is lean. It's wallow. It was so even during Clinton's terms, but since Bush took office it's now even more obvious--and now documented.
And, note, please, that this study doesn't include the most-wallowing, and most-watched network, Faux, which is so right-wing that you can almost hear the Sieg Heil's in the background, so safe for the Bush administration that Cheney was willing to appear on it to "explain" shooting his buddy in the face.
Bush and Cheney lie--but the numbers in this study don't. Just watch tomorrow and make the count yourself.

It makes you want to weep

Is it a case of "unintended consequences"? Is it "the price of liberation"? Whatever it is, the widening of the divide between Sunni and Shia arabs in Iraq is a sad product of our invasion. Sad, sad, sad.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Okay, they've finally got my interest

I've so far stayed away (to the extent it's possible) from the "Cheney-shot-an-old-man-in-the-face" story, including the odd sequence by which it was reported, but these latest two observations have me wondering.
First, why didn't they have Whittington airlifted from the accident site to a hospital? As this post points out, choppers are on standby whenever Cheney's at large, and surely if Whittington's wounds were so serious that they in fact did airlift him to a large hospital within minutes of his arriving--an hour after the accident, by ambulance--at a local hospital, why didn't they airlift him in the first place?
Second--and the possible explanation for everything: the shooting and the various delays afterward--is that Cheney was intoxicated by the mixture of drugs and alcohol. He admitted to having "one beer" at lunch (Who in the world has one beer? How many times have cops heard, "I just had one beer, officer"?) Cheney has to pop so many pills that his "one beer" could well have affected his shooting and/or his judgment. To race to the microphones immediately after the shooting would have been impossible.
I have one more observation. There've been raised numerous questions about the "30 yards" between Cheney and Whittington when the shot was fired, focusing on the severity of the wounds and the scattering of the buckshot at that distance, opining that at thirty yards the shot would have been more widely scattered and would not have penetrated as deeply, through clothing, as it apparently did. Interesting, to me, but not conclusive. To me, what's noteworthy is that if Cheney hit a man in the face at thirty yards, he had to be aiming at ground level, not at all skyward. To be sure, quail, when flushed, do fly low, but that low? I think Cheney was shooting at the birds on the ground, that's what. Sounds just like him, just like bombing WMD-less Baghdad.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

The Clinton effect

This essay is right on about the stifling effect on Democratic politics of the McGovern effect ("weakness of national security spells disaster at the polls), and the Nader effect (not supporting a centrist Democrat elects Republicans). To which I add the Bill Clinton effect, viz:

Because Clinton managed to win two presidential elections by sliding toward the center on most issues, Democrats believe that's the recipe for victory. What they forget is that in neither election did he win a majority of the total votes cast (Perot's presence on the ballot accounted for this); and they fail to recognize the effect of his enormous charisma, overwhelming both of his adversaries, Bush I and Dole. Gore and Kerry were no Bill Clintons when it came to charisma, that's for sure, but had they truly taken command of the left and those with lower incomes--had they made the elections a class war--the would have won handily.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Abu Ghraib revisited

Finally, some of the additional photos of the prisoner abuse are emerging. (Viewer discretion advised.) I understand there are others, including video, that are even more ghastly. Just in time, too, because the Muslims' outrage over the Muhammed cartoon mess was dying down.

What's in a name?

Like "permanent bases in Iraq." This article by Tom Engelhardt details not just the obvious fact of Bush/Cheney's plan for a permanent presence in Iraq, but the MSM's utter silence on the issue. Like the air war--the escalation of bombing and missle strikes by drones--the "enduring bases" go unmentioned, ignored, while billions of our tax dollars support them.

I can't believe it

After all that sturm and drang last month over Bush/Cheney's illegal wiretapping, and various lawmakers' calls for Congressional hearings, now it looks like there won't be any hearings after all. The dog and pony show the administration put on has cooled the Republicans on the idea, so we'll never learn details of the program, and, for all we know, it will continue unabated, uninvestigated, unknown.

Come to think of it, I do believe it.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Well, whaddya know!

The American Bar Association, my former colleagues (although I was never a member of that particular body) have told the administration that its warrantless eavesdropping on US citizens is illegal. Not maybe, not kinda. But illegal. Good job.

The way it is

I often cite to Juan Cole's blog, Informed Comment, to learn the status of political developments in Iraq, and it's no doubt a prime authority. Today, however, I found this essay, which presents a wide perspective on the results of the recent choice of Prime Minister Jaafari, and on the prospects for Iraq in the months and years ahead. It's not pretty, not pretty at all, which, as the writer points out is just fine for Bush/Cheney and the NeoCons. Here's the money quote:

"Baghdad - which accounts for 25% of the country's population - has virtually no water or electricity. The Americans for their part may have become more "invisible", retreating from main urban centers, but their air war is even more devastating. The White House/Pentagon policy is now a "back to the future" of turning Iraq into Afghanistan, where warlords, religious or secular, and tribal sheikhs defend their mini-states armed to their teeth, and criminal gangs run parallel to death squads. There isn't a remote possibility of forging a government of national unity under these circumstances. Which suits Washington fine. The only way for the United States to prolong its Iraqi adventure is to perpetuate chaos; Iraq as the new Afghanistan. Few dispute that the US invaded Iraq for its oil resources, mostly untapped, and that it's located in the heart of the world's energy system. Thus, if the US controls Iraq, it extends its strategic power."

This observation comports with my view of the post-9/11 world, as governed by Bush/Cheney. The continuance of a campaign against terr'r, or against anything that they can make Americans fear, perpetuates their power; and so the prospect of another "failed state" in Iraq, a "breeding ground for terrorists" allows them to keep our troops there to control the area and to persuade Americans the administration is protecting us from harm. Brilliant. Big Brother twenty years later.

Searching for a title to this post

"America the beautiful"? "A few good men"? "Support our troops--put them behind bars!"? "Impeachment of Bush/Cheney is too good for them"? "Chain Rumsfeld to the wall!"?
After reading about the Army's criminal prosecutions of those who killed Afghanis by torture, you suggest a title.

A Great White Hope--gone

So--The Democrats are going to hand the next two years, no, make that the next eleven years, to the Republicans, because with actions like this there's no way the Left will get behind any candidate who's favored by the Democratic establishment. Hackett was a perfect candidate for the Senate seat in Ohio: A hard-nosed veteran who opposed the Iraq war absolutely, had already proven his attractiveness in last year's near-win for a Congressional seat, and had previously been urged to run for Senate by the party machinery.

Rove must be loving this, watching the opposition self-destruct.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

For any doubters

that the Bush administration's "war on terr'r" is beyond the pale, is internationally illegal (forget about our own constitution, given the recent appointees), check out this UN report about Gitmo. There was never any doubt in the mind of any world citizen that Bush's "enemy combatant" regime, without adjudication, without recourse, was patently illegal. But now that we've been told so by the UN, we're told so by the UN, what will we do? Close it down? Naah. "We're the king of the world!"

History, schmistory

Thirty years after the war in Vietnam was over, we knew--definitively, although most of us suspected it at the time--that LBJ's minions fabricated the "attack" by North Vietnamese gunboats on a US destroyer in order to support the "Gulf of Tonkin resolution" under which our government bombed Hanoi and escalated that awful war that lasted ten years and killed 56,000 American soldiers and hundreds of thousands of people in Vietnam and Cambodia. We've also learned that the intelligence that Ike, and later John Kennedy, relied on to justify the CIA's support of the Bay of Pigs invasion was fabricated by anti-Castro expatriates. We've since treated Cuba like a hemispheric pariah, boycotting it economically and dooming its poor to poverty, unending poverty. We've also learned that our CIA, at Nixon's instance, intervened in the coup in Chile to place the dictator Pinochet in place of the elected president Allende, with the result that for decades that nation was ruled by the iron hand of military domination, only lately to have recovered, somewhat.

What good has all this history done? Have we learned anything? Apparently not, because it's clear--it could not be clearer--that Bush/Cheney had already determined to invade Iraq well before the charade they orchestrated before the UN and the American public, that they lined up any intelligence they could find to support that invasion--lying, cherrypicking, prevaricating, propagandizing--and yet those monsters still rule over our military and our nation. What good will it do when we finally write history, twenty years from now, that establishes their perfidy?

We may never recover from our loss of lives, treasure and historic posture from this demonic act. Indeed, we've signaled our decline as a civilization. And Bush/Cheney will never know it. They'll be too busy on the lecture circuit and on fishing trips and quail shoots.

A benefit from Bush's warmongering

is that we Americans are having to learn geography.