Thursday, February 01, 2007

Crunching the numbers

It turns out the "surge" will be a "splurge." And this, BTW, doesn't count the extra billions that Bush intends to spend on cleanup and rebuilding of the areas of Baghdad that will be demolished by the forces he's unleashing.

When will the Congress stand up to its Constitutional responsibility to stop this madness?

Why don't you say what you really mean?

This essay, which succinctly captures the current straits our nation is in in the Middle East, minces no words. Gems like:

"The futility of the Iraq War also is contributing to professional cynicism. Some intelligence support personnel are volunteering for Iraq duty not because they think they can help win the war but because the hazard pay is high and life in the protected Green Zone is relatively safe and easy."


"Normally, winning the hearts and minds of a target population requires a commitment to move among the people and work on public action projects, from building roads to improving the judicial system. But all that requires some measure of political goodwill and personal trust.
Given the nearly four years of U.S. occupation and the devastation that Iraq has suffered, not even the most talented American counterinsurgency specialists can expect to overcome the hatred swelling among large segments of Iraqi society."

The writer concludes that, as he did with Iraq, "the decider" has already determined to attack Iran, likely in conjunction with an Israeli strike on its nuclear-development sites. He ticks off the "drumbeats" that sound ominously like those we heard before the Iraq invasion.

Could it be? I still can't bring myself to believe it. Can you?

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Milton Friedman isn't an idiot, he's an evil force

This bigheaded jerkoff is credited, in a PBS special this evening, with everything from Chile's "economic recovery" to the "all-voluteer" army in the US. What bullshit. Less than two decades after his views became Reagan's mantra, we see ruination of watersheds and rain forests, exploitation of labor, violent reactions in third-world nations, growing disparity between rich and poor, war without end because of the lack (by the US populace) of any sense of involvement. And on and on. Friedman's ideas of "market forces" and "absence of governmental involvement in economics"--the University of Chicago school of capitalist exploitation--will be the ruin of our civilization, a fact--a fact, not a theory Mr. Freidman--that is playing out on our planet every day.

What surprises me, really, is how he's still revered now that we've seen what his "theories" have wrought. As just the easiest example, consider California's "energy crisis" of five years ago, brought on by deregulation of the electrical grid, exploited by Enron. "Market forces" unleashed--and ruinous.

Update: I'm not alone in thinking this. Check out this essay just published on CommonDreams.

"Peace Train"

Before we attack Iran, the American public may want to watch this video of photos from its capital, Tehran. It might stay our politicians' hands if they realize that we're aware that it's a real place, with beautiful vistas and real people.

Between the lines

In my soon-to-be published novel, my protagonist at one point voices his creator's (that's me) suspicion of--antipathy toward--executive power. He, like me, doesn't know where that sentiment comes from. An innate disdain for authority or something.

Well, when I read this NYT article about Bush's latest action, placing a political appointee within each executive agency to filter the agency's regulations through a process that can only be called pro-business, I had that immediate rush of distrust. And I think from the tenor of the article, my sense is correct. This is a direct slap in the face of Congress, which doesn't control executive agencies directly. It will make the agencies beholden to the executive's biases, without restraint.

Like my protagonist, I don't care if this new order benefits Bush or subsequent Democratic administrations. The accretion of governmental power in the executive branch--by whomever controlled--is dangerous.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Just you wait...

we're gonna start hearing "body counts" of insurgents and terrorists under Bush's surge. Oh, it will be disguised or guarded, but numbers of dead "enemies" in various encounters will start to enter the official and, accordingly, the MSM, reports.

Too late: Here's one.

The NYT's new game

tracking the words Bush has used in his SOTU speeches. Give it a try, it's fun. (Hint: search for "climate change".)