Thursday, June 28, 2007

Wavering Elephants

John Warner

Chuck Grassley

Dick Lugar

Chuck Hagel

Gordon Smith

George Voinovich

Richard Burr

Susan Collins

Norm Coleman

Olympia Snowe

Arlen Spector

This is from a comment at Buzzflash

If the Iraqis are forced to sign The Oil Bill and my best quess is that will be the ONLY way to get Bush/Cheney to consider an "end" to the "war", it should be a piece of cake to tear up the contracts in international courts once we have pulled out.
But that's the rub. Cheney's interpretation of withdrawal (and too many in Congress agree with him) will still leave a strongarm force of upwards of 50,000 US troops on 14 bases in Iraq.

So, try this out for a semi-baseless (sorry 'bout the pun. unavoidable) conspiracy theory: Those bases we built, at a staggering cost, in the billion$ per base, are not going to be handed over, even if Bush and Cheney are impeached and ALL of the United States Armed Forces personel are withdrawn. How is that possible? you ask.
A Corporate occupation force, 125,000 strong, working for Oil industry support services companies, Blackwater, KBR, et cetera, funded, at least initially, by the 8 billion$ pallets of $100 bills that went "Missing". Just like the other 40 billion$ unaccounted for in Iraq.
Hellisburnin's HQ is safely out of reach of US justice, Bush and family have a mountain fortress ranch of 98,000 acres in Paraguay and Cheney will probably be very comfortable in Dubai. The US will no longer be officially involved in Iraq (aside from reconstruction, we hope) but the junta will continue to plunder Iraq for years to come acting in the private sector.
I hope I'm wrong.

Friday, June 15, 2007

It seems very simple to me

Theres a big statue in New York Harbor with a poem on it.
It doesn't say anything about quotas or qualifications or skills. Waves of immigrants have "overrun" this country over the past two centuries and every one of them has made this nation stronger and better, whether they were doctors or ditch diggers.
Currently our corporations rely on an underclass of illegals to provide labor at the lowest possible rate. They can do that because these people are kept illegal. If they were legal residents, they would have to be paid legal wages. That would raise the floor of labor compensation across the board. Big money don't want that.
So, as they always have in the past, they stir up the racial divide, they talk about Our White Christian Heritage Bullsh!t, our racial purity. And it works! And people who won't even admit it to themselves fall for it. In a stratified hierarchy, somebody's got to be the bottom. The more stratified, the more wretched the bottom is.
Ever stop to think why 12 million people would leave their homes and families, brave harsh conditions and dangerous people to sneak into America and take backbreaking jobs for pittance? Think it has anything to do with NAFTA? or the Maquiadoras that pay 1/10 what they pay up north? For a century, we've exploited Central America ruthlessly, meddling in their governments, leaving their economies in shambles, NAFTA was just the icing on the cake. Not that our corporations are sweetness and light to US, but they don't give a crap about the brown people they squish in those "backward" countries.
And neither do many Americans.
Our borders don't contain the flows of money and power in the world. They hardly guage the flow of goods. The only thing they stop is people and they don't do a very good job of that. And we need those people. With 12 million undocumented workers and low unemployment, it would seem that their absence would put a crimp in the businesses that they work for.
The only honest immigration reform is to open the borders to all comers, it's an American tradition. Or did y'all forget about:
"Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
We're all immigrants on this continent.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

First, Kill your Television.

Stop being a passive consumer of entertainment.
Stop being a passive consumer.
Stop allowing lies to wash over you.
Stop expecting everything you hear to be true.
Stop accepting it when what you were told (sold) turns out to be lies.
Keep your eye on the ball.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Dear Congress

This coming weekend, stick around DC and meet the voters. We will be there to chat with you. And to any of you that are planning on running for office in 2008? I'm sure that we can work you in, there will be a big podium with lots of mics. In fact, a million of US would be so interested in hearing how you will bring our troops home, that we are traveling from every district in America to the Capitol, Washington, DC. to meet with you, 1-on-1, on Monday Morning.
It would be a shame if you were back home on Saturday and missed an historic moment on the National Mall. Not to mention the opportunity to address important, life & death important, issues with people that are paying attention.
Every member of both houses will have at least one constituent in that crowd. They will be Republican and Democrat, young and old, rich and poor, all colors, styles and sizes, Veterans of Wars going back to WWll and Veterans of the Anti-Wars. We are three quarters of America and we have all come to the same point of view on one thing:
This war must stop, the Troops must come home, Congress MUST act to make that happen.
Take this opportunity to let US know how you will make that happen.
Otherwise, why should I care if you ever run again?

Friday, January 19, 2007

An open letter to Keith Olberman

Dear Mr. Olberman
Let me salute your courage, congratulate you on your ratings and raise a toast to your continued health.
No one else in the kind of position you are in, an anchor on a popular Main Stream Media news program, has had the integrity to speak the truth as you do. Or the courage to take the risk.
Out here, we half-joke that our most honest News analysis is delivered by two comedians and a sportscaster. And it's probably no surprise that a sportscaster would call 'em like he sees 'em. Mark Twain said that the only hard facts in the newspaper are the box scores in the Sports section. You can't spin a horserace, it's win, place or show.
I would like to invite you to an event that you would be welcome to speak at and where you would find a very appreciative audience, but it is your Journalistic Trade that would do the most good for the most people. Please come to Washington DC on the 27th of January and cover the Anti-War event that will happen there. It will be a sensational scoop, since the rest of the MSM will be somewhere else trying for another Britney Spears crotch-shot or some other titillation. One Million People, angry enough, well informed enough, fed up enough to get off the couch, get out of their comfort zone, spend money out of pocket and travel to (for many) a distant city to exercise their Freedom! It's a Hell of a sight!
And not one of the Major Networks or Cable News organizations will be there.
How do I know? Because we have had well over half a million people on the mall several times since before Shock&Awe and no one from the Big Media covered the events! NO ONE!
The January 27th March is one of several days that will be quite newsworthy and maybe even entertaining. Monday the 29th, Code Pink and several other organizations are setting up lobbying meetings with every member of congress, constituents from every Reps' district. (Sunday will be devoted to training the lobbyists in protocol, et cetera)
Throughout all of this, there will be Raging Grannies, Veterans for Peace, Cindy Sheehan and her whole orbit. Probably Eton Thomas and Jello Biafra. There's easily 55 minutes of interest here. You could do several segments just on Medea Benjamin, Anne Wright and Cindy and her Gold Star Moms, the Iraq Vets and Military Families Speak Out, Ray McGovern and Scott Ritter. These are people that the American Public should know, not just as some iconic wacko characters in the ditch in Crawford but as the deep powerful articulate thoughtfull knowledgeable people they are. And if some of the more colorful hecklers attend, you may get to see a Worst Person in the World in action, Fred Phelps and his warped gang curse us AND the Army!?! go figure.
Did you know that there had been several large anti-war demonstrations In DC and New York? Most people don't. And many of the people that have come out, have gone home to find out that their act of courage and civic duty was completely ignored, first by the Media and therefore, by the general public and of course, by the misAdminstration that we are trying to reach. Having stood in the freezing cold, in a crowd of well over three quarters of a million people, packing 30 or 40 blocks of Washington's streets then hearing on the radio going home that "a few thousand protestors had been on the Mall" has made me and many of my fellow Americans rather contemptuous of the MSM as they've fallen all over themselves to outFox FOX.
You have surprised America with your candor, you give those of us in the Peace Movement hope that there might be a crack in the wall.
Wait a minute, you say, What Peace Movement?
We're here and we have been right from the start. Jack Murtha? Johnny-come-lately. Hillary, Kerry, Reid and Pelosi, way (too) late to the party. Iraq Vets Against the War, obviously post Shock&Awe. Even Cindy Sheehan wasn't active 'til her son was taken, that was long AFTER the January 18th 03 march. (That was a world-wide day of protest, BTW, millions of people around the world joined US to try to prevent the fiasco we're in).
We exist, we organize, we gather, march and demonstrate and still, we hear pundits belaboring the meme that there is "no anti-war movement". How could that be?
Because there are no news crews, no trucks, no Times or Post or Tribune reporters, our events, our very existence, are not covered. And if it doesn't happen on MainStream Tv, it didn't happen!
Hello, we now represent the mainstream, that is, the bulk of the American population has come around to our view that this war is wrong and must stop Now. That we want our Troops Home Now.
But even though we have the agreement of more than two thirds of our fellow citizens, including our troops, we are somehow not newsworthy?!?
So I offer you an Invitation to a Scoop. Please come to DC. If ever there was a time that a media news personality was needed, this is it. If ever there is a time that your megaphone could really have an impact for the good of all, this is that time. Just showing the American People that there are a million Citizens that are willing to risk standing up in Bush's America would burst the Rovian Blackout on News-Cheney-doesn't-want-to-hear. This is the Ultimate "at long last, have you no decency, sir?" Moment.
It would be a courageous act. One that resonates with 200 million people and will long be remembered.
And that should put your ratings through the roof. Permanently.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

The Job

Job 1 get the oil
Job 2 Put our Enduring Footprint on top of the oil

Job 1 is approaching the landing strip. The Al Maliki "Government" is getting close to inking the thirty year production contracts with Exxon, Shell and BP, et cetera. These will take, not only the oil out of Iraq but also most of the money from the oil. By the time those contracts are up, the infrastructure investments of the Western companies will be just about completely amortized, leaving Iraq with a continuing need for outside investment and a bad case of domestic poverty.
(in reality, I doubt that any contract with the current regime will last even a couple of years.)

Job 2 is also nearly complete. Four gigantic military bases and the largest Embassy in the world.
The line about.."we'll only be there as long as we have to be and not a minute longer".. wasn't an outright lie, depending on how you define: "have to":
If we want the Oil, our troops "have to" stay.
The Plan has always been to stay there 'til the oil runs out.

This Plan, by the way, is set out in a series of papers from the American Enterprise Institute. At the beginning of the war there were rumors of "Fourteen Enduring Bases" being built as permanent outpost of American power in the heart of western Asia. But, like the rest of their NeoCon fantasies, aint working out quite like they figured.
They have built four bases around Iraq, one in Anbar, one in Kurdistan, one north of Baghdad and one south of Baghdad. The bases are the size of a suburban town with their own stripmall, housing, bus routes and airstrip, hardened command structures and defensive perimeters. Standing force structure between 5 and 10 thousand personnel with facility to accept 50 000 and process them through (they call them lily pads, isn't that cute?). Permanent forces will only leave the base to protect oil production facilities and only in heavily armed convoys, most of the time the posture is hunkered down, Fort Apache style.
Meanwhile in Baghdad, The Embassy is quite the accomplishment. 27 acres of prime riverside real estate (who knows what historic neighborhoods they bulldozed) with hundreds of buildings to house thousands of people in a fortified enclave. Self contained, it will have water, sewer and electricity no matter what chaos befalls the city around it. Iraqis joke that Bush has made an even more grandiose palace than Saddam.
These facilities haven't come cheap, I'll guarantee. Halliburton didn't give Dick the ex-employee discount. There is no way to know how much they actually cost since all to do with them has been kept secret and Congress hasn't pressed for a breakdown of the tabs they have been signing for the past four years. But, Oh Well! It's just Billion$. (and since the big tax breaks for Bush's base, it's not even his friends' money, It's borrowed from China on your kid's creditcard)
Meanwhile, back in reality, It's hard to imagine the American People standing still for this part of the plan, the permanent occupation-under-siege, supported by continuous airwar for the next three decades. No.
We are already demanding troop withdrawal, that was a loud and clear message of the November Election, a build-down to a permanent force is not acceptable to US or to the Iraqis nor to any of the rest of the world. We want the war to end. Hostilities to cease. Troops come home. Can we make it any clearer?
And it's hard to imagine the Iraqi People standing still for this, either. There already is a civil war going on, fractured on religious and tribal lines. This is not Blue vs Grey, there are dozens of factions settling scores and "Purifying" neighborhoods. As it is, who can tell who we are supporting and who is the enemy. Maliki's Shi'ite cleric sponsor kidnapped an American soldier and his militias use US supplied weapons and hardware on their deathsquad raids, the Sunni's insurgency is receiving financial support from our ally Saudi Arabia. The only thing that most of the factions agree on is fighting off the occupation forces, that's US.
Once we pull back and let the civil war rage outside our fortress walls, we will be totally ineffective in stabilizing Iraq. Quite the contrary, our armored presence will continue to destabilize society and any complicite regime, the attacks on our forces will escalate in sophistication and scale until we are driven out.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Letter to Bill Gates Senior

Sunday's LATimes brought this article:,0,6827615.story?coll=la-home-headlines

Dear Mr Gates,
Since this article was in the LATimes, you have, by now, probably been deluged with letters scolding you for the hypocrisy of helping with one hand while hurting with another.
May I make a suggestion?
Your wealth and high profile combined with your percentage of ownership in companies like ENI give you an inordinate amount of clout and while the vaccination program and the other vital health initiatives you support or have originated are wonderful, with direct benefit to the poorest people on earth, you could help them far more by policing your assets.
ENI flares off it's gas because doing otherwise would negatively impact shareholders profits. They don't factor the effects on people and the environment onto the balance sheet, they "externalize" them. Soon there will be a law outlawing flaring, but no one expects the giant oil companies to comply. As a high profile share holder, you can rally the support of other shareholders to force the company y'all own to clean up it's operations.
I know that it runs counter to everything that Biz Majors are taught, but externalizing the liabilities to maximum profits at the cost of our families and our habitat are truly penny-wise-pound-foolish.
I have never poked into where you keep your fortune, it's none of my business, but I would guess that your holdings are relatively diversified. If you went through your portfolio, dug out the dirty and dangerous aspects of those companies' operations and brought shareholder pressure on their executives, right there, you could be doing great good for the greatest number of our race and our world. By organizing your fellow investors and motivating them to do the same, you could achieve what governments and millions of people who are not investors, cannot.
There probably is an algorithm that could determine a value on environmental degradation or human misery for accounting purposes, whether it registers a high enough value remains to be seen. It's not in use because there is no column for it in most ledgers.
By inserting that column into the books of the companies you hold stock in, you might just save the whole planet.