Saturday, February 25, 2006


Fitzgerald's grand jury may get a look at some interesting papers, 250 pages of them, in fact. It could be that a second shoe is about to drop in the Plame case.

If you're a Jackson Browne fan

or even if you're not, check out this song and video.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Really scary

To me the most chilling part of this awful report of the killings in Iraq yesterday is the story about the 47 dead bodies found beside a highway. Apparently, some group (who knows of what, if any, affiliation or identity or purpose) set up a fake roadblock and then mowed down the drivers who stopped. Imagine the terror when, driving along with your family, you spot a roadblock ahead. You can't turn around, and you can't accellerate, for fear of it being a "legitimate" roadblock set up by the US, who routinely shoot at any cars that do that; and if you proceed and it turns out to be a fake roadblock, you're dead.
I suppose all you can do is slowly approach, invoking Allah, bigtime.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

The state of the nation

There are many ways to measure how the US is faring, among them its position in the world, its freedoms and security, and the truthfulness, fairness and good will of its representatives. Okay--we're in terrible shape on those counts. But what about our economy, specifically, the condition of our wage-earners, the middle class that for decades has made the US so vital and strong?

Well, I gotta tell ya, it sucks. Check out this report which, from top to bottom, lists scary data about our citizenry. The median income of the middle class is stagnant, its net worth is stagnant, its savings is nonexistent, its debt is at sky-high levels, and the gap between rich and poor is higher than ever--by far. And this is no crazy-liberal report, this is the Federal Reserve's annual fiscal report, as digested by an Associated Press economic reporter.

As it suggests, when the real estate bubble bursts, and as interest rates and inflation rise--as is already happening--the middle class is in big, big trouble. Let's hope they have enough gasoline money to get to the polls.

If it walks like a duck...

Let's see. One hundred twenty-seven dead Iraqis today, slain in various sectarian bombings and shootings throughout the country, but it's not a civil war. What is it, then. A platypus?

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

On the ground when the bombs went off

Here's an authoritative report from someone who was there (albeit in the Green Zone) when the bombs went off in Baghdad, wrecking the Shiites' major mosque. Read the entire post, please, including the ominous language of Shiite Cleric al-Sistani at the end. If that doesn't mean civil war, I don't know what.

For another on-site report, this from a resident of Baghdad, read this. Does it sound ominous? Kinda like a quote from Anne Frank's diary, maybe?

Call me crazy, call me stupid

In fact, you can call me sick and cynical and things like that, but get this:

You know how I've been saying (posting) repeatedly for years that the continued strife in Iraq is just what Bush wants, because it perpetuates his power and allows the US to remain there, build bases, exercise its dominion over the area. (A corollary being that Osama bin Laden wants it too, because it serves his purpose of fomenting and training his functionaries.) Well, I still believe that's what Bush/Cheney/Rummie and the NeoCon bureaucrats had in mind to begin with, for the first couple of years after the invasion.

But now I think they've had enough, and now earnestly want the battling and bickering between the Iraqis to end because it's becoming an albatross for Republican candidates in the upcoming Congressional elections.

Well, too bad, gang. You've gotten on a horse you can't get off. At this rate, with mosques being bombed, with Sunnis and Shias attacking each other daily, with the Iraq government unable to come up with a cohesive administration, there ain't no end in sight to that nation's unsettled state, and all the reconstruction and investment in the world ain't gonna change that, certainly not in time for the midterm elections in the US, and not even for the presidential elections in 2008.

Well, the cynical part is this. I want the strife to continue now. I want the Iraqis to go through the same turmoil that other democracies have had to endure in order to prevail. France? Ten years of hell, followed by empire and finally relative peace and freedom. The US? Fifteen years between the earliest stirrings and adoption of the constitution, with the War of 1812 as a capper and a bloody civil war to follow. Mexico, Latin America, South America, Africa, Asia--name a nation (besides, maybe, Canada) where the transition to cohesion and democracy was other than turbulent and protracted.

Why do I want this? In large part so that we can get Bush and his gang of warmongers out of office, but also because the situation in the Middle East can no longer be papered over by our Western ways. When the Brits drews the lines in the sand and created various "nations" after World War I, it gave no regard to the aspirations or allegiances of the indigenous people. In Iraq, for example, it lumped together Arabs, Turkmen, Kurds and Assyrians, and told them they were a nation. Well, now we know better. The Arabs have no historical connection to the Kurds, indeed, have strong antipathy; the Sunni Muslims have strong objection to core beliefs of the Shia Muslims, which have been exacerbated by the U.S. occupation; the Assyrians and Turkmen have their own allegiances in the north and northwest of Iraq, and on and on.

Yeah, if there's to be a semblance of cohesion and cooperation in Iraq, it's going to have to come from the Iraqis, not from extortionate pronouncements by the occupiers, and not in a matter of months. Unfortunately, for Bush and the NeoCons, not in a matter of years, either.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006


Condi and our ambassador to Iraq are telling the Iraqis that they'd better get their act together or we'll pull out our resources, financially and otherwise.
We'll leave a failed state, to be taken over by terrorists, leaving a hotbed for anti-US militants.

I love this. Love it even more than the Cheney/quail shooting

Bush's latest blunder, letting Dubai take over our ports. What an idiot lives in the White House!

Shell game

Bush's previous budget cut so much money from research for alternative fuels that the Department of Energy had to lay off 5,000 employees from one of its facilities. But today, Bush is visiting the facility to give a speech to tout his new-found love for non-fossil-fuel sources, and so that facility, really quick, dredged up some money from other projects and hired back the 5,000 researchers in time for Bush's visit. Now that, ladies and gents, is straight out of Goebbels' handbook.

No surprise at all

Jack Straw, British Foreign Minister, makes another "surprise visit" to Iraq, this time to try to iron out wrinkles in the post-election governance. And you think your job stinks? Imagine waking up in the morning to head off to Baghdad, wearing your three-piece suit, to try to make nice with the same folks whom your soldiers have just beaten up on tele. I think I'd rather stay in bed.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Coverage of coverage?

I'm listening to (can't bear to watch) a television show on CNN the subject of which is "was too much coverage given to the Cheney shooting incident?" I suppose next week the networks will air programs asking, "was too much coverage given to the question of whether too much coverage was given to the Cheney shooting incident"? And the following week the question will be...