Wednesday, December 27, 2006
Goodbye Oatmeal Man.
All this week you will hear about this "Healer" of America's soul. How letting Nixon fade into San Clemente was so important to curing the Nation of the Nixon nightmare.
BulIshi+. That move wasn't any more therapeutic than a band-aid on cancer. Nixon was unpardonable, a cancer on the presidency, Ford avoided dealing with it, so, Nixon and his bitter-enders were able to convince themselves and anyone who would listen that they had been unfairly hounded out of office by hippies and libruls.
VietNam had polarized this country for half a dozen years. Liberals that had resisted and protested the war had been so demonized that the National Guard had opened fire on college students. Dozens of agencies from the Army and the CIA to groups that we still can't identify, infiltrated and derailed peace groups and it was common for "hippies" to get beat up by "Patriots" and harassed by police. Mainstream employers still wouldn't hire longhairs up into the eighties.
We got blamed for "losing the war". Nevermind that the warriors hadn't been able to win the war in seven years, right? History proved the Left, right. The VietNam war was a terrible blunder that cost millions of lives and encompassed enough atrocity for a Nuremburg. Nixon and Kissinger also had culpability in Chile, in Central America, the Philippines and several other theaters.
All the Perps got away. In the interest of "Healing", the Bitter-enders were allowed to fester. They became the Conservatives, then the NeoCons, that so dominate the political landscape now. Big Money, Big Religion, Big Media, the think tanks, all came from reaction to the People intervening in the Establishment's game.
Pardoning Nixon and glossing over his crimes and those of his cronies, deprived US of Justice. We needed the revelations that a trial would have featured. We needed an unequivocal statement that a verdict would have provided. We needed to repudiate the greedy, ugly America that we were starting to become, because that national debate was swept under the rug, it gave rise to the culture war that the Right has been waging and winning ever since.
Jerry Ford "kept the lid on", it's said, but really, he just kicked the can down the road.
(I always wore my WIN button upside-down)
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
Our troops didn't lose this one, our "Leaders" did.
Before the war even started, there were many voices, including retired and active duty military, that could see that attacking Iraq would be a disastrous mistake. Now, nearly four years later, the majority of the American people have come to the conclusion that we were right.
Despite the blaring megaphone of propaganda that has been drowning out any realistic discussion of our middle east policy, the truth of the disaster is coming out. Over 1.4 million American service(wo)men have cycled through Iraq, nearly 3000 have died, more than 20 000 have been grievously injured, the military infrastructure, the trucks and tanks and all the other gear, are wearing out without replacement or repair, many of the troops are on second, third, even fourth deployments and a lot of them are National Guard or Reserves. Some who thought they were done and heading home have been held over under stop-loss and others that had retired are being re-activated.
It's said that the Nascar voter knows more people in uniform than in same-sex relationships. That's one reason why the public has changed it's view. Troops in the field and returning Vets talk to their families and friends, their friends talk and so more people learn, from a source they trust, that the Occupation is a debacle, that we aren't helping and that we need to get out.
But there is a problem.
George Walker Bush, the Decider.
This guy is a walking disaster all his own. He's failed at everything he's set his hand to and his dad and Jim Baker swing in and rescue him, it's a pattern. Only this time the little thug is the POTUS and the business that he's driving into the ground is America. Problem is, he's so big now, he shrugs off Baker and Poppy, even as they try to find a way to salvage the "mission" (permanent bases in Iraq keeping control over the Oil in the hands of Bush's buddies).
Denial is a wide river that runs through the WhiteHouse. Even as Bush announced his pick to replace Rummy, he was touting the success of his adventure in Mesopotamia (which Gates promptly contradicted in Congressional hearings). No one seems to be able to get through to the Fool that he has to accept failure and take the responsibility for it.
And you can bet that the propaganda machine is cranking up a campaign to blame "Liberals" for "Losing" another war, "Backstabbing our Troops" and other spiteful lies. Folks, Liberals had no control over this mess, we didn't lose the war and neither did the troops (in fact, the War was won, the Occupation has been the disaster). We will hear a lot about how liberals don't support the troops. Bullshit, all of it!
If you want to support the troops, don't send them off to fight wars for lies. Don't send them into unwinnable situations. Don't send them off ill-equipped and under armored. Don't cut their VA support when they return, physically and mentally wounded. Don't hide the fallen and the wounded from the public. Don't hide from the families of the casualties.
If you support the Troops, bring them home NOW!
Monday, November 27, 2006
Where did the Democratic "Leadership" get the idea that the election was a call for bi-partisanship?
This was a landslide victory for the Ds and would have been much more so if the electronic voting machines hadn't been rigged to shave points. It was a complete repudiation of the Bush/Cheney misAdministration, a real thumpin'.
Exit polls showed the largest majority (80%) of voters were concerned with corruption (specificity the K-Street Project) and the next largest issue (67%) was Iraq. Where were the Democratic candidates that pledged to work with the Thugs?
If anyone was sent a message to work with the other party, it was the Republicans that have methodically stacked the deck for a permanent one-party rule. Dems were elected to roll that back. How do you reach a bi-partisan agreement on that?
We elected Dems to STOP the Republican's ongoing crime spree, bring the thugs to justice and bring our troops home.
The only bi-partisanship we are looking for is Republicans coming to their senses and crossing the aisle to work on OUR agenda.
Politics has always been a team sport. Sometimes the teams are more focused, sometimes less. The Republicans have been very focused since the reformation after Nixon's implosion (and old age) took out a lot of the old guard. That team is cracking up somewhat as the Christian Right realizes how badly they have been used.
The Dems, with their broad base of constituent groups, have a much looser party discipline simply because of the diversity within the Party. In recent years, under the assault from the Right and out of power, Democratic lawmakers have not been able to prevent the Bush/Cheney gang from pushing through whatever it wanted with party line votes. The Rs controlled the committees and that determined what hit the floors of congress, oversight committees had no interest in investigating the misAdministration.
Now the Dems get their inning and if the Republicans want bi-partisanship, THEY have to cross the aisle.
Monday, November 20, 2006
That is: The pResident knows Iraq is a blunder of major proportions, He knows that we are very unhappy with his blunder, but he's going ahead anyway. So much for democracy (this is the same message that we heard from Cheney last week).
But the real stumper is this:"...Our policy in Iraq must be determined by victory..."
What is Bush's definition of Victory? What's Cheney's? We've heard a string of disposable excuses for our invasion and each of them has melted away as soon as it is closely examined, but there has never been a clear statement of what a "victory" would consist of, that is, one that is based in reality (before Shock&Awe, Cheney and the NeoCons described a fantasy of maidens with rose petals and a spontaneous flowering of Jeffersonian democracy in Mesopotamia. That was dead before "Mission Accomplished").
We have piles of metrics describing our failure in Iraq: Violence is up, electricity is down, Unemployment is up, Water and sewer are still down, militia membership is up, women's rights are down and most telling, after almost 4 years, with 144 000 troops in country, we still haven't been able to secure the 10 mile road from Baghdad to the airport!
Most of the Iraqi People, most of our Troops, most of our Military brass and most of our Citizens want US out of Iraq. Most of the rest of the world warned US in advance not to go into Iraq, they have only become more opposed as this drags out.
Our invasion and brutal occupation of an Arab country with it's overtones of Crusade, have done more to radicalize Muslims all over the world than any group of extremists in the caves of Afghanistan and the Tribal Areas of Pakistan could ever dream of.
Our continued presence in Iraq and our escalating rhetoric toward Iran only irritate the wounds we've caused.
Someone (NOT Cheney or Condi) needs to sit down with pResident Bush and try to get him to understand a couple things. F'rinstance, no matter how much you want it, no matter how often you say it, there is no such thing as "Victory" in an occupation. That attacking Iraq was a huge mistake and cleaning up the mess we've made is going to be painful and expensive. That when we, the People, say that we want our troops OUT of Iraq and brought home, we mean it.
And we don't mean 50 000 troops concentrated on army bases and a fortress/embassy while we carpet bomb the rest of the country. We mean Stop the Carnage.
He's got to be made to understand that continuing to beat a dog with a stick isn't going to make the dog healthy again.
Thursday, November 16, 2006
When Democrats take over the House and Senate in January, it's time to roll out the big stuff.
America just dumped the GOP agenda right where it belongs, in history's trashbin. The only bi-partisanship any of US want to see is when people who fell for the Thugs buIIshi+, see the light and come over to our side. We didn't fight all this way to now decide to stick with the Thugs bad plan.
We want change, Big Time.
We want our troops home, NOW
We want Habeas Corpus reaffirmed in Law.
We want Posse Comitatus Reaffirmed in Law.
We want the Geneva Conventions reaffirmed in Law.
We want the Fourth amendment reaffirmed in Law.
We want the people that lied us into an unwinnable disaster to be held accountable.
We want the Crony Corporations that looted our Treasury held accountable.
We want the corrupting influence of Lobbyists and their money eliminated.
We want to trust our Vote.
We want fair treatment and decent pay for workers.
We want ultra-rich people and corporations to pay their share.
We want basic healthcare for everybody.
From these dozen core issues, here are a dozen simple, direct bills that would deliver on the promises of Election '06, that would force Bush to either veto basic American values or sign his own arrest warrant, that would solidify the Democratic Party as the Party of the People.
Start with a simple one-sentence bill: No one may be held for any reason, by any officer, agent or contractor, without access to a court of law and legal representation.
Another simple one: The United States Armed Forces: Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force and the Intelligence Agencies may not be called up to make war on, or spy on Americans in America. The Coast Guard and the National Guard are to protect our nation and our coasts.
Another: Torture is never permissible. Mistreatment of any kind of prisoner for any reason is elevated to a federal crime. All prisoners of war, "Unlawful combatants", or whatever cute name they are using this month must be accounted for and released. Guantanamo and all of the covert detention facilities must be closed.
And: Any infringement of people's rights of privacy in their communications and possessions must be warranted by a court.
Despite the Century old canard, Corporations do not have the rights of People. They don't die, they can't be jailed for crimes, they can't even be put out of business as punishment. Since they can't be held ultimately responsible, they can not enjoy the rights and privileges of Citizenship. Negate Buckley vs Valeo while we're at it.
These five simple pieces will make very clear what we stand for and what we are up against. They undo some of BushCheney's most serious assaults on the Constitution. Forcing W to veto the basic principles of our freedom will isolate him and his gang.
And that will make the rest of this easier.
A congressional demand for a date certain for our complete exit from Iraq coupled with tying any more funds for the (SoCalled)WarOnTerrrrrrr to cuts in lower priority Pentagon spending (Star Wars or the f22, for example). No more emergency supplemental, the war is DOD, goes on the DOD budget, zero sum.
Raising the minimum wage and undoing the Kentucky River decision (redefining "Supervisory position" to cheat workers out of overtime) are the bare minimum that working people can expect, a roll back of the Alternative Minimum Tax and restoration of Corporate, capital gains and estate taxes would rationalize the tax code (and guarantee Working peoples' support for the Democratic party for the next half century). Repeal of the Draconian Bankrutpcy bill will blunt some of the assault on the Middle Class that we've experienced over the past decade or two. It would also be a good idea to stop subsidizing businesses that outsource jobs overseas with tax breaks.
45 million Americans can't afford the greatest healthcare in the world. For those that can, the cost is three times the price for their care compared to any other industrialized nation. American companies are at a disadvantage in international competition, in part, because the cost of healthcare for their employees and retirees is higher than the cost of materials in their products. Expanding Medicare to cover everyone in the country with basic medical care, allowing Medicare to negotiate drug and medical equipment prices and removing the huge corporate profit margins by eliminating the need for private Insurance will bring excellent medicine to all Americans and bring much needed relief to American Businesses.
Meanwhile we investigate.
The lies that led US into Iraq must be brought out and exposed to the sun. Thousands of people have died, thousands more are wounded and none of the reasons we've been given have been true. There are so many people involved in the illegal wars and criminal detentions that there really ought to be a Truth and Reconciliation Commission, we cannot afford to sweep this fiasco under the rug like Watergate or Iran/Contra, we must put a stake through it's heart this time.
Henry Waxman has a running start on the corrupt war profiteering by Halliburton, Bechtel, Custer/Battles and a host of others, you can be sure, the taxpayers are going to enjoy finding out where their $40 billion went missing.
John Conyers has already held hearings on Election Problems, both the technical side and the political dirty tricks aspects, there's lots more where that came from.
Campaign Fundraising, Election spending, Earmarks and Lobbying all meet in a particularly greasy neighborhood of DC, K-Street. And since Tom DeLay and Jack Abramoff fine tuned the money machine to favor the GOP almost exclusively, this would be a great time to dig into that particular cesspool. It will devastate the Republican Party and if there are dirty Dems that go down, so be it, good riddance.
Nearly every committee in congress could find malfeasance to investigate and once the results start to show, Impeachment, not only of Bush but Cheney and a double dozen of the primary players, becomes inevitable, with indictments following close behind.
Monday, November 06, 2006
Where did that money go?
Where did that money come from?
The answer to the first Q is simple; It went to Television ads. (disclaimer: I don't have or watch Tv, so on this I rely on testimony of others who do) The last few weeks have been wall to wall political ads on most every channel. That's a huge influx of cash into corporate coffers.
Where it comes from is also pretty simple: it comes from contributors, usually rich people and corporations. By the wheelbarrow load. Despite contribution limits. And that begs the Q. Why?
Well, that's simple too. Contributors are betting that the candidate will win and will remember them when the contributor is in front of them in their official capacity.
See? Simple. It's got other names, too: Bribery, Graft, Corruption...
Sometimes it works the other way around, that is, the candidate extorts money from potential victims of his committees. Either way, the massive fundraising for running campaigns distorts the process that follows the election, that is governance. As Molly Ivins says, "you gotta dance with the ones that brung ya".
What to do?
Not so simple.
Before anything else can be put into effect, we've got to make one thing clear. Corporations are not humans. They are fictive entities composed of humans, but they do not have the rights of actual, individual humans. Corporations are taxed differently, they can't register to vote, they aren't subject to the same penalties for crimes. A corporation "lives" in many places at once, including across international borders.
It is an instrument designed to shield it's constituent owners and operators from responsibility. A corporation that kills 12,000 people because fixing the valves at a chemical plant would hurt their profitability can not be put to death for those murders. A corporation the steals millions or billions of dollars from our treasury can not be jailed, taken out of circulation to prevent them from committing more crimes.
Due to a clerical summary to a Supreme Court case, Santa Clara vs Southern Pacific Railroad, in the Robber Baron Era (not the decision of the judges, but a spinning of the summary by a biased Court Reporter) corporations have been claiming human rights throughout the Twentieth Century. Coupled with that, the Buckley vs Valeo decision equates money with speech, as in limiting the amount of money one donates to a cause is the same as limiting what you may say in favor of that cause. You see the flaw there, right?
Individuals can't yell loud enough to be heard over the roar of the corporations' megaphones.
We need to make a legal case that makes clear that corporations are NOT persons and do NOT enjoy the rights of people, that corporate money is NOT protected free speech.
Whether that is brought about by Initiatives or State Legislators or through the Courts, that is the necessary first step to straightening out the mess we're in.
Step 2. We, the People, own the airwaves. Tv and Radio rent bandwidth from US (at ridiculously low prices) and they make, literally, fortunes off of them. Cable is a regulated monopoly, licensed by US. They all have in their lease agreements, obligations for Public Service Announcements (PSAs), basically advertising public interest info, unpaid.
If we insisted that all political advertising be in the form of PSAs that the Media were obliged to run, allocated on a proportional basis to all candidates and limited in number, events like Debates would become much more valuable for informing voters. And the cost of campaigning would be reduced to travel expenses and printing signs.
Outside, 527-style "Issue ads" that benefited one candidate or one party, one corporation or industry sector, would be considered as bribes (see below). Groups like the SwiftBoatLiars and NAM that have huge financial resources can not be allowed to drown out the discourse.
The obvious result here is that by eliminating the obscene expense of Media in a campaign, we reduce the amount of fundraising needed and that's good because:
Step 3. Is that the Taxpayer (that's US) must pick up the tab for elections.
ANY money, gift or service offered to a sitting politician is a bribe.
Elected officials must completely divest themselves of ALL ownership shares and/or options, public or private, of any companies they hold. No Blind Trusts or Mutual Funds or Offshore Ownership or any of those tricks. The Representatives of the People can not serve Wall Street and US simultaneously.
Maybe that eliminates a small number of very rich people that can't afford to take a job that "only" pays $250 000/Year, so be it. Millionaires are over-represented, currently, working people are unrepresented.
By the way, Job Offers are bribes of a sort, too. Many of the Bushies came into regulatory agencies from the industries that they would regulate, formulated regulations that profited those corporations mightily then quit government to take lucrative jobs at those companies, lobbying the agencies and committees that they had previously sat on. It may be a delayed bribe, but it is a bribe nonetheless. The revolving door needs to have a two year cooling off period in it.
Under Public funding, Incumbents receive Treasury funds to finance their campaigns. Challengers that are not in public office can raise private funds, but they are matched for the incumbent dollar for dollar. When both candidates are ineligible for private funds (e.g. one is incumbent and the other is an office holder) or if the challenger chooses not to raise outside funds, there is a formula for an equitable public funding of both candidates. If we want representation, we have to be willing to pay for it, otherwise, politicians will represent those who help them get in.
In Modern America, this almost amounts to a vow of poverty on the part of those who would govern US. It ensures that greeedy people move on after a term or two. That the people who stick with it are highly dedicated people who can live modestly.
I've got to say something about Lobbyists here. Lobbying arose from people collaring their congressman in the Lobby and pleading their case. It's now a huge and very slimy business. To a great extent, the Lobbying firms of K-Street are conduits of cash from rich special interests to congressional and bureaucratic staff with various degrees of quid pro quo attached. This didn't appear overnight, it's been growing since the 80s, but the current misAdministration and Congressional "Leadership" have developed a synergy with K Street that has turned the US Treasury into a cash dispensing machine for well connected companies.
If public officials can not accept so much as lunch, K Street will be boarded up.
Then we will have taken the money out of politics and taken our Nation back from the Thugs that have brought US so low.
There are several other election reforms that would make our system a "more perfect union": Instant RunOff Voting is one, Direct Election, that is: not via the Electoral College, verifiable paper trail voting machines with open source, publicly owned software, making Election Day a holiday... but all those are for another article or two.
Friday, October 27, 2006
1. The American people are the best defenders of the United States. Therefore, Federal budget priorities must be changed. Funds should be shifted from the defense and security sectors to programs that strengthen the citizenry, such as healthcare and education. America spends too much on the military and this is weakening our democracy.
30% reduction in Pentagon spending, focused on procurements of useless, big ticket projects, Star wars, f-22, bunker buster nukes, etc. would fund all of the domestic programs that have been looted or slashed and stop the raid on Social Security
2. The United States is not engaged in an international arms race, but rather a competition in the global marketplace that we are losing. Therefore, America requires a new vision in order to regain its competitiveness. Federal leadership is needed to provide this strategy.
Actually, armaments are our strongest export sector and should be curtailed (but that's another article for another day). The new vision we need is to stipulate that goods imported to the US, whether by foreign or domestic companies, must conform to American standards in worker wages and conditions, environmental impact and product safety and labeling. End the race to the bottom.
3. A cornerstone of this new vision for America is recognition that Democracy is best served by placing limits on capitalism. The interests of big business are not always consistent with the common good, such as protection of the environment and the rights of working people. The Federal Government must intervene to insure that Democracy is not subverted by big business.
End corporate personhood. Repudiate Buckley vs Valeo, money is NOT speech. Corporations do not have the right to drown out the People.
4. Fiscal solvency is another, essential component in a new vision. Federal leadership is required to balance the budget and stop America's addiction to debt financing.
Ending our occupation of Iraq, withdrawing our troops from the seventy or so countries where they are stationed and calling off the specious(and totally failed) war on drugs would be a huge start in the right direction. Just eliminating the DEA would reduce the size of government by 11 000 employees and save $3 Billion per year. (that's about $30 billion down the tube so far, but that, again, is another story for another day)
5. Finally, the security and solvency of America requires a nation-wide program for energy independence. While development of non-carbon-based sources of energy should be part of this effort, a vital component will be conservation. Federal leadership must motivate Americans to engage common sacrifice, reduce fossil-fuel consumption for the common good.
A new energy infrastructure based around solar/wind/tidal energy will create business opportunities and plenty of jobs. Conservation retrofits likewise. Governments at all levels can get into the act whether they call it energy security or a jobs program.
Sunday, July 23, 2006
NPR news is my "other" source after the web. There's no Tv in the dojo. So it's anoying when the reasonably centerist, public news source goes Fox.
Mangling an old quote: The only true facts in the Newspaper are the box scores on the Sports page, everything else is opinion.
Scott Simon NPR News
I'm a longtime listener to NPR (member of KCRW, WSHU, WLIU...) and a fan of yours. Some of the wack little things you throw in crack me up and your handling of sensitive, tragic events preserves the victims' dignity and has moved me to tears.
That's why I was so peeved when you had Frederick Kagan on this morning.
Kagen is the frontman (at least in this interview) for the gang of thugs that have hijacked our government and engaged US in not one, not two, but four wars (and counting), Afghanistan, Iraq, Paraguay/Andes and now Lebanon/Syria/Iran. He was identified as a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, which, technically, he is. But he (along with his brother, Robert) is also one of the promulgators of the PNAC and if memory serves me, the Netanyahu paper: A Clean Break.
These two documents and a raft of others, some public and some not available to the public, argue for and outline the disastrous path America and Israel have been put on since Bush/Cheney siezed the WhiteHouse and Sharon took the Knesset.
The Kagens, along with Wolfowitz, Perle, the Wormsers, Gaffney, Feith, Woolsey (and the list goes on, find it at AEI) and most importantly, Cheney, Libby, Addisson, Bolton, Gonzales and Yoo, are responsible for the arrogance, the cooked Intel, the full court press for war that took us totally the wrong direction after 9/11. Following the trajectory they have US on, they have made US a rogue state. And one that is creating more "Failed States" that are the breeding grounds for terrrrrrrsm. Their "Plan", particularly in SouthWest Asia is energizing a massive hatred for US, not for "Our Freedoms" but because of our actions.
They were wrong.
And lots of people have died and are dying as a result.
Their beligerant "philosophy" has created War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity, it has shredded our Constitution and torn up the Geneva Conventions. They lie to Congress, they lie to the People and what they don't lie about, they try to keep secret. In the eyes of many, they should stand trial.
And yet, here is Kagen on NPR, spouting the Party line, cheerleading the illegal invasion of Lebanon, ducking your one tough question (which I noticed you didn't follow up).
This man is a criminal, his gang are raising Hell in the world in our name (all those Jets and Helicopters, Rockets and Bulldozers are Made in America and everyone in SouthWest Asia knows this).
His insinuation that we should back Israel all the way to Tehran is one of the worst possible stands in this situation. (could be worse: Just nuke Iran 'til it's a glass parking lot)
While I don't believe that every story must be "balanced" with an opposing viewpoint, there was no indication in your segment that this thug was not just wrong but criminaly so. All people heard was that he is a "scholar" at a "respectable" think-tank. It gave tacit endorsement to him and his spew that most of America rejects, that ALL of America would reject if it wasn't so slickly packaged and sold to US by people we respect and rely on for the truth.
Granted that NPR has for a long time had a clear pro-Israel bias, Linda Gradstein is infuriating in her slant, but this is worse than just ignoring the human-ness of Arabs, Kagen and his gang are actively engaged in subjugating the Arab world by force and you gave him a platform to shout from.
Please, Scott, you are a man of Peace, don't let bloody warmongers use you.
Tuesday, July 18, 2006
Just say, for the sake of argument, that the GOP controlled all three branches of government and could re-invent America to their specifications, what would that look like?
Women, er, girls, back to the kitchen! The Workplace is just too dangerous and complicated for you. And you can forget that Planned Parenthood ever existed.
Since nearly everyone with a Spanish surname was rounded up and deported (even the ones born here, 'cause their parents were probably illegal and they don't talk English too good) It's been hard to find cheap labor so everything is outsourced, We export Jobs and Dollars and Import everything else.
Medicare and Social Security got too expensive since SDSI, Corporate, Capital Gains & Estate Taxes were eliminated and Income tax was capped at $1 million, but axing them was out so the age of eligibility was raised to 80.
The combination of drastic tax cuts and the Conquest of SouthWest Asia had depleted our Treasury to the point that most of the functions of Government were disassembled. Most folks don't even remember FEMA. Or the EPA or the USDA or the NLRB...
But Homeland Security and the Military are well stocked! In fact, that's where you could get a job. In the NEW National Guard. These aren't your old-school weekend warriors and sandbag fillers, nope. These are crack troops, trained in urban counter-insurgency, that patrol all our major cities and towns. When local police forces balked at implementing provisions of the Patriot lV Act, particularly the forced collection of DNA from everyone in the country and the installation of surveillance gear giving universal coverage in any space, public and "private", they were stripped of their firearms and relegated to foot patrols and traffic direction and the NG stepped in. Now the NG presence is felt everywhere, they are the guys (and they are almost all white guys) on the streetcorner with assault rifles and flak jackets. There are 6 million of them nationwide, almost 2% of the population.
Did I mention the state of constant war that we are engaged in? Even before we had seized half of the Middle East, we had engaged in South America, a campaign to undo Chavez's Bolivarian Revolution. Several little wars got hot and we are in the process of securing that region as well. Keeping out the flood of deportees and the deluge of new refugees required building a "militarized" border, a wall that made the Israeli wall look puny and the Berlin wall look understaffed. All of this takes troops. Since a draft was about as likely as ending Social Security, a backdoor draft ensured that we had enough bodies to stand 10 million men at arms.
By backdoor draft I mean the "War on Drugs".
Judges were given instruction to dispense stiff sentences with a join-the-army option, for even the most minor possession. Some recruiters, pressured to perform, set kids up that they weren't able to convince otherwise. This has kept the Military supplied with new recruits, many of them minorities. Typical "drug enlistment" was six years plus reserves and from time to time, stop-loss orders kept some of these guys in for 15.
That is, if they survived. Occupying a dozen countries from fortified positions, under constant siege, outnumbered 100:1, relying on armor and intimidation to get through, this was tough duty. The actual number of casualties we sustained was classified but it was in the hundreds per month.
Of course, none of that is ever mentioned on the Tv News. At first, after the takeover, Media was just all happy-talk, titillation and fearmongering "Reality" Shows, but soon, the Decency in Media Act made sure everyone's shirt was buttoned right up and everyones' roles were biblically Correct. Between the DiM Act and the privatization of the Internet into subscriber-only commercially censored fiefdoms, the collapse of Print Media and the sell-off of the USPostal Service, it was nearly impossible to find out what was happening in the world, or to find others who believe anything other than the Party Line.
But some things fell so badly apart that they couldn't be swept under the rug, like the MadCow outbreak in the Chicago area or the Jet collision at Dulles that killed several Senators and several hundred others in the Air and on the ground. Each disaster was proof that the Terrrrrrrsts were still active among US and demonstrated the need for increased vigilance.
And patience with the astronomical cost of gas.
If you could get it, Gas was over $10/gallon! If you could get any. For months at a time, Non-essential vehicles could not fuel up. Deciding what was essential was a process of pleading and pulling strings that most people had no leverage to pull.
Advancing militarily from Mesopotamia into Persia had united the world against US. Even England refused to sell US any Oil during the WorldWide Embargo. Our Economy took a huge hit, but so did the rest of the world's, they realized that if the Giant fell down, everyone would be squashed, so the Embargo didn't hold, but Oil was no longer traded in Dollars and traders held out for exorbitant prices for their crude. Supplies became erratic, causing ripples that kept US just off balance, but not a Tidal wave that would take US down.
Not since the great depression has this country had such scenes of poverty and destitution. People were literally starving to death in American Cities, Businesses collapsed and Unemployment went through the roof (though the Military and HSA soaked up some).
(to be continued)
(this is an unfinished piece, I could spend another day on it, but things are happening too fast)
Friday, July 07, 2006
Sen. Barbara Boxer,
First let me thank you for your principled stands on so many issues, I cant even keep track. Several times we've looked up to see the lone voice in the chamber is our Barbara. I lived in LA and worked for your first election to the Senate when you came and joined forces with APLA and you haven't let me down. That's more than I can say about any other politician I've ever voted for.
But I moved. I'm a CT voter now and I ask you, please before you embarrass yourself backing Joe Lie berman, meet Ned Lamont and talk with him, dig in and see if you can trust him, can work with him. I know you will be pleasantly surprised.
Hapless Joe no longer represents CT Democrats, he's become a Beltway animal, completely out of touch with his constituency and his party. He has been the FigLeaf of "Bi-partisanship" that has greased the way for Bush/Cheney's agenda. His votes have benefited the Bush Thugs and their cronys in the Corporate Boardrooms (the ones that pay his way, we guess) and hurt his constituents.
He is one of the reasons that the Democratic Party is considered rudderless, every time anyone tries to steer us back on course, Joe throws the tiller overboard. There is no party without at least some party discipline.
Now, he's decided that his seat is too important (to him) to work within the Party system, that is, he basically quit the Party. Good Riddance.
Please rethink your support for Hapless Joe, meet with Ned Lamont while you are in Connecticut.
Monday, June 26, 2006
Rove reads the polls and sees that everyone wants out troops brought home, magically, in October, We WON! YAY! Half (of the recently increased number) of our troops are coming home! If they get enough polish on the turd and it lasts long enough, they might be able to retain control of the Congress.
Don't be fooled. It's not over, 50-60 000 troops permanently stationed around Iraq backed by an Air War for who knows how long. That's not Peace.
Don't accept anything they try to sell you at face value.
Today, NPR informs me that no less than Gen. George Casey, our top guy in this mess, has suggested exactly the same thing, a timetable for withdrawal of our forces.
And amazingly, he is in agreement with the new Prime Minister of Iraq, Nouri al-Maliki.
Of course, polls taken in Iraq, in our Army and across America show that 80% of our troops think this thing should be ended ASAP, 85% of Iraqis agree and so do 60% of Americans. The Democratic "Leadership" is slowly waking up to find that the rank and file are way out ahead of them and they'll have to run to catch up.
With one notable exception. Joe Lie berman thinks it's OK to sacrifice more young Americans for a non-realistic goal. He uses the words Premature Withdrawal. Does that mean that he has seen the plan?
Joe, I got news for ya, till you show US the planned withdrawal date, we have to assume that there is no such thing (inevitable, yes, planned, no). So stop calling it Premature, in fact, stop talking, in fact, RETIRE.
Sunday, June 25, 2006
Just technically, it would not be possible to evacuate 135 000 troops and sundry civilians (and God knows how many mercenaries) this afternoon.
Politically it is also not gonna happen with the GOPigs in charge of all three branches. The wingnuts have ramped the rhetoric up to the point where they can't climb down. Hell, they think things are going well in Iraq, why leave now? Anyone that questions the misAdministration's "plan" (that no-one will enumerate publicly) is branded a traitor and trashed in the media.
But the reality is that we will eventually leave Iraq. The questions are: When and How?
Scenario 1: We build huge military bases around Iraq including one in Baghdad that we call an embassy. 50 to 60 thousand of our troops are based there permanently and only travel from one base to another in heavy convoy, everywhere else is injun terrrrrrtory. Our bases would be in a constant state of siege, the insurgency growing to eventually include the entire population and foreign fighters recruited worldwide. Our Ambassador dictates to the Iraqi "Government" what it's policy is, making sure to keep tight control on the oil spigots.
This is the scenario most likely to bring on large scale terrorism, particularly here in the US, on the idea of hitting US here so we will stop hitting them over there.
As November draws near and the GOPigs prospects look grim, Rove needs a new war, Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld/Rice decide to take out Iran's nuclear facilities with bunker-buster nukes. The entire world reacts in horror. The US is embargoed even by England. No-one will sell US a drop of Oil. Foreign Investors call their paper and won't or can't buy our debt. Our Navy is denied ports of call and our Airforce denied overflight and landing rights. 135 000 troops in Iraq are suddenly faced with, not just 20 000 insurgents they face today, but better than half the 30 million Iraqi people. Pinned down, outnumbered 1000:1, no fuel, no airlift, no troop ships, we'd be lucky to extract half of our troops alive, nevermind all the equipment we would leave behind. (that equipment, like the stuff we were forced to leave behind in VietNam, would become the basis for whatever militant force organizes out of the effort to expel America from Iraq, and like VietNam then goes on to raise Hell in the region for a decade.)
The economic collapse in this country resulting from embargo would bring about a second revolution in America. Removing the Thugs from office will be the only way that the rest of the world will start to alleviate the pressure. Putting them on trial (if they survive the removal) for their crimes against humanity will be the condition under which we can rejoin the civilized world.
Scenario 3: We set a timetable for withdrawal starting now with all of our forces out of Iraq by January of 2007 or July 2007 at the latest. That puts the political leaders of Iraq on notice as to when they will be responsible for running their country, that is: true sovereignty. It gives them a timetable to plan their transition on. We redeploy our troops, mostly home, some to Kuwait, some to Turkey. What happens next is up to the Iraqi people. It could be an intensification of the threeway (or fiveway or sixway) civil war that is already underway. It could be partitioning, with or without "ethnic cleansing". It could actually work out to a secular federal democracy (highly unlikely) or it could become some form of Theocracy. Whatever happens, it will not be helped by our intervention, we've already intervened far too much.
Saturday, June 24, 2006
The slogans are flying thick and fast: Stay the course, cut and run, finish the job... But they don't clarify things. How about a little de-jargonning, hmmm?
Finish the job. We've heard this meme coming on for a year now. What job? What are we employed at? What are we building? I mean really, not some fantasy about Jeffersonian Christian Democracy flowering across SouthWest Asia. That ain't happening. If the Occupation is the Job, you finish it by bringing your troops home.
An alternate phrasing is Complete the Mission. What's the mission? Every reason that was spouted for invading and occupying Iraq has been specious. The plans that many people suspect: permanent bases, puppet government, US control of Oil and Gas production, have been categorically denied by the misAdministration. But they have never put forward a plan or set a goal that was genuine. And Congress has handed over more than $300 000 000 000, that's three hundred BILLION dollars, no benchmarks, no strings, no timetable. Where is all our money going? Wasn't this going to be the "Accountability Administration"? Of course, Arthur Anderson was still a respectable accounting firm when Bush was appointed.
So if there is no plan, no agreed upon goal, there is no Job to finish.
Stay the course has become the ChickenHawks' rallying cry.
The course of the Occupation has been terrible, 2500 US troops killed, 35-40 000 more injured, untold thousands of Iraqis, most of them civilians, dead and over one million wounded. Life was tough in Iraq before Shock&Awe, now it's worse. Over 1000 people turn up in Bagdhad's morgue every week. No one is safe on the streets, services like water, sewer and electricity are intermittent or not working at all and women have lost any rights they had as Hardline Clerics exert control. This course we are on is unsustainable and the last stretch of it could be right down the same Highway to Hell where Gen. McCaffrey slaughtered retreating Iraqi forces in OilWar1, since that would be our only way out to the troopships. Dunkirk, anyone?
But what of this Cut and Run business? The Thugs and their enablers are spraying that term all over anyone that questions our engagement. To cut and run was a desperate maneuver in Fleet operations where one side is caught at anchor by the other side and set upon with warships. You cut your anchorlines to get underway immediately, the better to position your ships for the onslaught and then take the fight to the raiders. It has nothing to do with retreat or surrender, it actually means quickly Turn and Fight. Maybe they thought they heard Cut Your Losses and couldn't bring themselves to admit that there are losses.
So to anyone that says Finish the Job, ask What Job?
There is no mission to accomplish, it's time to cut our losses.
Thursday, June 22, 2006
"President Bush feels optimistic about Iraqis securing their nation and setting up a functioning government. How do you feel about the war?"
I don't know if they will print this:
The pResident thought Brownie was doing a great job, he reads people's souls by looking in their eyes. Clearly, George W Bush is off his rocker. He thinks God talks to him and he decides with his gut.
But let's pick this apart regardless.
How do you feel about the war?
The War is over. We Won! Two and a half years ago, remember? Mission Accomplished? There are no more WMDs threatening US from Iraq, nope. And that bad man, Saddam, he's out. And we got his sons, too. So that's done. We Won, Yay!
So why didn't our troops come home? Why are our kids still getting killed and maimed? What are we doing over there?
It's called Occupation.
...Iraqis securing their nation
To Occupy is to take hold of; to make use of; to take up room or space.
In otherwords, to seize and hold. We invaded their country, blew it to bits, looted it's treasure and set up a puppet government that pleases no-one. Now we patrol the streets in armed and armored convoys, looking to all the world like conquerors in our new colony.
Add in the religious element; The majority of Iraq is Muslim, like most of SouthWest Asia. Bush has loudly declared his Christianity and so have many of the people around him, including several Generals. We are seen as Crusaders, Bush even used the word. In Arab culture, there are few words more charged. Religious zealots across the Muslim world use our occupation as a rallying cry and some foreign fighters are drawn to the chaos. A whole new generation of Jihadists are being trained in Iraq now. Our occupation has increased world terrorism and introduced it to Iraq where it hadn't been before.
Occupied people fight back. It's asymmetrical warfare, we hid behind stonewalls dressed like farmers, sniping, while the Redcoats came in rows and columns, the US forces have tanks and cruise missiles, the resistance has IEDs and abductions. Anyone that works for the Americans or their puppet government are collaborators, that is, fair game. Anyone that gets too close to our patrols or moves too fast can end up blasted to swiss cheese by our overwhelmed troops.
As long as our troops are there, they will be a destabilizing force and ready targets, close at hand.
From an Iraqi point of view, securing their nation means first expelling our troops.
...and setting up a functioning government
Unfortunately, our invasion and occupation has set off a civil war along three large faultlines, each fractured by divisions within. Peace is not likely to come soon to Mesopotamia. The idea that we could impose democracy, at gunpoint, on people that have lost so much ground in the past two decades was delusional from the start. It will be quite interesting to see what forms of government emerge from the rubble after we've left.
Meanwhile, we are constructing a massively fortified palace in Baghdad and a dozen other huge military bases around the country, most notably in the oil producing regions. Bush and the Chickenhawks refuse to even consider a timetable for withdrawal because they don't plan to leave. They keep mumbling "Complete the Mission" and "Finish the Job" but they have never honestly answered what the mission is.
If their plan is, as they have recently stated, to keep upwards of 50 000 troops incountry for many years, occupying these bases and that would be to manipulate the local government, to control the flow of oil and natural gas from that region, that plan is also delusional. The vast majority of Iraqis want US to be gone yesterday, another three, five, ten, years of grinding occupation and the insurgents won't be hiding among the civilians, the civilians will all be insurgents.
We, the People of the United States must exercise our democracy and rein in our out-of-control executive. We must establish a date for an orderly end of the occupation and stick to it. The People of Iraq will create a real government of their own only after we butt out.
Tuesday, June 06, 2006
Here we go again.
What's the most important issue that America is grappling with? OK, what're the top ten? Gay marriage on the list? I didn't think so.
So why are the pResident and leaders in Congress going on and on about it? Even when they know that they can't gather enough votes to pass a constitutional ban, why tie up Congress and suck up all the media time on this loser of an issue?
Does the word "Haditha" mean anything to you? Or Estate Tax elimination, the Paris Hilton Tax Cuts?
Keeping the media focused on an issue that energizes Bush's Wacko Base serves several purposes, none of them good for US.
There is a mid-term election coming up. If the Democrats retake the Congress, the thugs on Pennsylvania Avenue will lose the bulletproof cover that the GOP Congress has given them. Once the Thugs no longer control the Congressional Agenda, some Democrats might, might find enough courage and decency to prevent further atrocities in our name. There are even Democrats running on ~Gasp~ Impeachment!
So turn up the noise machine, bring out the wingnuts, it's a Karl Rove Extravaganza!
More immediately, there is a move in the Senate to make the temporary reduction in Estate taxes not just permanent, but to eliminate them altogether. Really great for the top half-of-1%, really bad for all of the rest of US. We have a record deficit already, due to reckless tax cuts and even more reckless wars, we've cut Medicare, Medicaid, Pell grants and a pile of other programs that help poor and middle-class people as a result of those deficits, now they want to make sure Paris Hilton receives all of her billions of dollars in inheritance and not a penny less.
But if they weren't screeching about gay marriage, maybe the media would be covering this shameless robbery of the poor by the rich.
Meanwhile, back in Iraq, the massacre of 24 civilians at Haditha by US Marines is only the tip of the Iceburg. American forces have been killing civilians since Shock & Awe. In fact, Poppy Bush's Oil War1 and the sanctions that followed had already killed half a million Iraqis before W and Vice let loose. This entire enterprise has been an atrocity and now it's coming out.
So crank up the distract-o-matic, Karl, gotta hold on 'til the pardons at the end.
Monday, June 05, 2006
We won't even start to talk to Iran about their nuclear program until they prove that they've dismantled it. Why would anyone play along with that? They give away the only chip they have at the start, for what? They have no incentive to negotiate.
Same thing, little different in Israel.
After 38 years of illegal occupation, the Palestinian People elected Hamas to form a government out of the Palestinian Authority. The US and Israel immediately moved to choke Palestine economically and strategically, freezing assets and disrupting aid flows, closing the border crossings and stepping up air assaults. As a precondition to talks, we are insisting that Hamas recognize Israel's right to exist, renounce violence, lay down weapons and turn over Hamas officials that Israel calls terrorists. Unilaterally. Before any negotiation begins.
To comply with those pre-conditions would be political suicide for Hamas and damn bad bargaining. Once they have given Israel everything they want, there is very little else that Hamas could negotiate for and no incentive for Israel to negotiate.
What's needed is some symmetry: If Israel wants Hamas to renounce violence and disarm, then Israel must do the same. If Israel wants a "right of return" for Jews around the world, many of whom have never been near Israel, then it must recognize the right of return for Palestinians driven from their land over the last sixty years. If Israel wants to try Hamas officials as terrorists then they must turn over the Israelis that have terrorized the Palestinians for the past sixty years, that would be most of Likud, including Sharon, Ulmert, Netanyahu, Mofaz and a host of military brass that have ordered and/or stood by and watched while Palestinians have been slaughtered from Sabra and Chatila to Ramalla and Gaza.
Wednesday, May 31, 2006
He's got a new movie out, it's a horror documentary, An Inconvenient Truth. I haven't seen it but it's scaring the hell out of people who have. How high do you live above sea level?
Al says he's not running for '08. We'll see. He'd be preferable to Hillary or a Kerry re-run, he did win in 2000. But for now, he's free to speak his mind and he has one. He's free to be funny, as he was last week on SNL. And he's free to speak out against the "renegade band" that is pillaging our nation and the world.
Thanx Al, keep up the covering fire, we'll work our way around behind 'em.
Monday, May 22, 2006
Tuesday, May 16, 2006
Wire machine operators work in a harsh, industrial environment, the money is better than working at the mini-mart, but it aint real phat. Turnover is relatively low. And Unemployment is officially, relatively low, but many people are under employed and/or undercounted. So why can't you fill the Operator openings on your shop floor?
Monday, May 15, 2006
Recent revelations of telephone snooping and data mining by the NSA are troubling in the extreme. Warrantless searches are so intrusive onto peoples' lives that the Founding Fathers specificly ban the government from doing them under the fourth amendment to the Constitution. As a former member of the intelligence community, you must know how serious and how heinous domestic spying is. There is no legitimate reason for circumventing the FISA court. There is no covering policy that allows the misAdministration to put 200 000 000 Americans under surveillance with the rest to follow when the technology gets worked out.
And yet, it has been going on since 2001 and continues to this day. Despite Congress voting to kill Total Information Awareness (TIA) that program still lives, though no longer at DARPA and no longer run by disgraced ex-admiral John Poindexter.
What is your position on NSA domestic spying?
While NSA developed and implemented the domestic spying operation, Gen. Michael Hayden was in charge. Now he's nominated to replace Porter Goss at CIA. Gen. Hayden is still Active Duty, he is taking a job that is usually held by a civilian, making the Agency subordinate to the Pentagon.
Do you support Hayden's nomination?
Many people in this country and particularly in this state, are very concerned that our most central liberties are being threatened, not by terrorists, but by our own Executive Branch. We have seen enough disturbing facts to want some questions answered. There is an election coming up this year and the people of Eastern Connecticut need to know where you stand on these crucial matters.
I encourage you to represent the people that elected you.
Thursday, May 11, 2006
Just like they taught us in high school civics, I write to my Congressmen. Sometimes they write back, more often than not, it's a form letter. Here's the latest from NoMoJoe:
(Lie berman in black, my comments in blue)
May 10, 2006
Dear Mr. V:
Thank you for contacting me about the escalating situation in Iran concerning its nuclear program. (I contacted you to encourage you to resist the thugs' drive to another stupid, bloody, criminal war. Your response indicates that, once again, you are on the wrong side of an issue)
As you know, the accession of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as President of Iran has increased the concern of the United States, as well as our allies, due to his recent remarks regarding the annihilation of Israel and the United States, as well as his support for Iran's nuclear program. President Ahmadinejad's declaration that Iran had enriched uranium in defiance of a call by the UN to halt its nuclear program further complicates an already troubling situation. (That's one factor)
U.S. sanctions currently in effect ban or strictly limit U.S. trade, aid, and investment in Iran and penalize foreign firms that invest in Iran's energy sector, (although Halliburton is exempt) but unilateral U.S. sanctions do not appear to have materially slowed Iran's weapons of mass destruction programs or shaken the regime's grip on power. (You have no credible evidence or information about the Iranian WMD programs, you have no way to know if they are slowed down, speeded up or if they even exist) Over the past two years, the Bush Administration has been engaged with our allies, (trying to sabotage would be more accurate) particularly European nations and Russia, to curb Iran's nuclear program. Unfortunately, the Government of Iran has responded by reneging on multiple treaty obligations and other pledges, and continuing to push forward with their nuclear program. (one word: Israel)
The International Atomic Energy Agency gave formal notification to the United Nations (UN) Security Council of Iran's nuclear program by saying it lacked confidence in the intentions of Iran's leaders (NO! Really?) and believes Iran
has (may have) violated the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. Earlier, the five permanent members of the Security Council agreed that Iran should appear before the council. This action should lead to further world involvement under UN auspices to induce Tehran to abandon its aspiration for a nuclear arsenal (by threatening them with nuclear annihilation). However, should the efforts at the UN fail, then we in the transatlantic community must be ready to apply a cohesive regime of sanctions against Iran in an economic coalition of the willing. (No, not that again. Sanctions have helped to solidify resistance to the US everywhere that we've applied them)
We cannot, and must not, stand on the sidelines while Iran (or India, Pakistan, Israel, Korea, Taiwan...) continues to develop nuclear capabilities and threaten the security and stability of the world. I strongly believe the United States must work diplomatically with our allies as well as the UN to alleviate this situation. (try opening talks with the Iranians, we've alienated all of our allies) I believe all options for dealing with Iran's quest to develop nuclear weapons should remain on the table. (take OUR nukes off the table, in fact take bombing of any form off the table.)
Additionally, we must engage in more vigorous outreach to the Iranian people, who hear only the official drumbeat of a nuclear program as
a source of national pride. (try National Defense) We must support assistance to pro-democracy dissidents inside of Iran, and the dedication of far more resources for broadcast and electronic outreach to the Iranian people, who by all accounts, remain alienated from the fanatical clique that rules them. (It would also be a good idea to listen to the Iranian [and the American] people. They don't want a war and neither do we. Moreover, our belligerent posture and the proximity of our forces on nearly every border have made Ahmedinejad and the Mullahs more credible and much more powerful.)
As your Senator, please be assured I will continue to monitor the situation closely. (you ceased to be "My Senator" years ago even though I've voted for you every time you've run. You misrepresent me and the rest of the people that put you in office. Your positions on extremely important matters have been diametrically opposite those of the majority of your constituents (and not coincidentally, right in line with the BushCheney gang and the corporate interests that pay your way). You won't get a chance to misrepresent us again, you are retiring this year.)
Sunday, May 07, 2006
Before BushCheney&Co launched Shock&Awe, I wrote to you, urging you to do what you could to stop the atrocity before it started. I was not alone in my conviction that invading and occupying Iraq would be a bloody disaster. I don't know how many of your other constituents wrote to you, but you ignored us, misrepresented us in supporting the use of force as a first response. It made me and most of the Democrats here in Connecticut question whether we'd made the right choice in voting you into office and re-electing you. Could you really be that gullible? Or is it a lack of good information? (How could you possibly have less intel available to you, a Senator, than I, a Farmer, have online?)
Since then, the War has taken 30 Connecticut soldiers lives and wounded an unknown number of others (why is that number secret?). The completely ridiculous way the supplemental has been used to fund the War has allowed the WhiteHouse Thugs to evade the Congressional oversight that the Constitution prescribes, that is your duty. The illegal occupation of Iraq has cost Americans over $15 000 each, every man, woman and child, so far, with more to come.
And you did nothing.
And Joe Lie berman did worse.
You are both in your last terms as Senators.
Bush and his Gang are gearing up for another insane military blunder, this one with MUCH more serious consequences. Bombing Iran, even with conventional bombs, would be a fatal mistake. We have already united much of the world against US, this would make it unanimous.
Iraq was our Sudetenland, a gimme. The world gave us the benefit of the doubt, the British Prime Minister went along with it.
But Iran is a bridge too far.
The rest of the world WILL try to stop US. They have to.
Do not let the madmen start World War 4.
The 60% of our oil that we import? Goodbye. Ditto 65% of our Natural Gas. And all that Debt underwriting? Poof! The oil that we can't get will no longer be sold in dollars either. Basically, kiss our economy goodbye for the rest of your life and mine and probably the lifetimes of your kids. No more visas, no more travel out of our country. Overseas corporate assets seized. Airbus beats Boeing forever.
But that's just money.
Our Military has been led out into the desert, undermanned and unprepared and is struggling to make it as it is, if we bomb Iran, the Shia majority in Iraq will have 150 000 hostages and all their equipment. And that is the core of our military, better than one third of our men and women in uniform. Without them, we don't have a credible defense against the combined forces of the rest of the world.
George Bush retains only 24% support in Connecticut, 33% nationwide. Supporting his wars would not be a good re-election strategy. Resist this atrocity at all costs.
Wednesday, May 03, 2006
Moussaoui is either stupid or crazy or both. Listen to him for a few minutes and it's obvious. Nobody would trust him to hold up his end of a secret plan to attack America. Or even know the plan. He didn't spill the beans before the attack because he didn't have any. He hasn't enlightened US much since the attack. He doesn't know.
He may have actually been recruited by Al Qaida, he may have thought that he had a mission, he may have been deluded or misled with some messianic vision of a divine call to action. But he hadn't been told what it was.
If anything, he was a liability to the plotters, maybe a loose cannon, certainly a loose end. And in such a high stakes exploit, a disgruntled volunteer, turned away at the gate, could bring it all down if he cries on the wrong shoulder. So let him think he's on his training and get him out of the way. Flight school in the US was too exposed, he got grabbed. He's in jail, but he can't hurt them much. Stupid git.
He associated himself with a group that attacked US. He was not part of that plot. How is he guilty of conspiracy? Even if he had intent, he didn't have a plan and that is a pre-requisite for PRE-Meditation.
Now he's had a long time to cast himself, at least in his version of reality, as a Martyr. He's been held in the Great Satan's Dungeon, awaiting execution for four years now. He has nothing to lose and everything to gain by identifying himself with the 9/11 plot. He can romantically die challenging Satan in his lair! He'll go down in history with Saladin!
Only he was sentenced to life in prison. No hero's death. No glory.
This was a wise sentence, considering the smell of blood in the air. It demonstrates the strength of our judicial system, that someone associated with such a heinous crime, but not responsible for it, would be punished as a criminal, not elevated to Martyrdom.
Tuesday, May 02, 2006
Bush may have seen the futility of continuing the Occupation, they've called in James Baker, a sure sign that W is being rescued. No details yet, just a passing mention in M, Dowd's "Uncle Rummy", but when the shit hits the fan in Little George's life, Poppy sends Baker and a suitcase full of money and George skates away from the wreckage, unscathed. Frat boy.
An article in The Age (Australia) trumpets the Headline: US 'allowed Zarqawi to escape'. The Age is the more honest, or at least not the Rupert Murdoch paper in town and the story was picked up on Buzzflash.
Folks, I think this is a plant.
In order to accept that we 'let Zarqawi escape' you have to accept that there were terrrrrrrst bases in Iraq before we got there, that Zarqawi was operating a training base in Iraq.
That is not true. So the other is not true.
Monday, April 24, 2006
This is more of the same, MUCH more:
A retired CIA Chief saying that Tenet had good information that Saddam was disarmed and the WhiteHouse ignored it. This, in conjunction with the Downing Street Memos, pulls the rug out from under the "Bad Intel" claim.
If they don't like what they hear, they stick their fingers in their ears and mumble gibberish ''til the guards come and clear the room. The Bubble around the misAdministration prevents most of the dissent from reaching them, when someone breaks through, even for a second, even after Bush has just made a speech about freedom of speech, we fear for that person's safety.
It's sort of pointless to try to address the WhiteHouse as several letter campaigns et cetera have recently, they aint listening.
(And that always amuses me that the Thugs won't listen to what we have to say when we are out in the streets with bullhorns, but they will slash a path through all of the laws of the land to eavesdrop on our phonecalls and sift through our eMails and online queries!)
Saturday, April 22, 2006
Driving down the cost of gasoline is not really going to help us overall, what would help would be finding alternatives and adjusting lifestyle choices.
"The American Way of Life", the White-Picket-Fence, 2.2 children and a dog in suburbia, "the American Dream", that's just not realistic.
And it's not very good for individuals or society.
And it's really not good for Earth.
In the sixties, when gas and cigarettes were 25cents, Europe was paying $2/gal. All over America, suburbia sprawled out along the lines laid out by Eisenhower's Inter-state Highway System. We built bigger and faster variations of our pre-war cars, without any thought of efficiency. Europe produced new concepts in Automotive design that delivered excellent performance, handling and efficiency, partially in response to the cost pressure of fuel.
During the "Oil Embargo" in '73, Americans were faced with rationing for the first time in a generation. The price of fuel ratcheted up and stuck. The American Automotive industry buried it's head in the sand and set up PR campaigns, rather than build the new efficient machines that we needed, they continued to produce hulking, smoking monsters that sucked down gas and spewed lead laced petrochemical smoke, marketed with slogans like "Buy American".
Industry goaded a segment of the American public up in arms against "A-Rabs" for jacking up the oil (it was actually Arab-American Oil companies, but you know, details) and then, and here it gets weird, against the Japanese for creating a solution: more efficient cars.
The 70s saw the pollution controls and safety issues brought forward, some of the clumsiest regulatory legislation you could imagine. Detroit, once again, stonewalled rather than facing the challenge, the Japanese and European firms stepped up and met the design criteria and the market rewarded them. The 80s saw our once leading car companies produce some of the most lamentable vehicles in history.
Throughout the 80s and 90s, Oil stayed stable for the most part, with the pressure off, Detroit went back to building big hulking monsters that get pathetic, single digit fuel economy ratings.
Along the way, Congress has subsidized Sprawl in a thousand different ways, while finding creative ways of strangling what's left of our rail system. For most people, living in suburbia is not possible without a (car or two).
Oil underlies all of our activities and all of our food, oil will eventually run out, we can adjust incrementally as prices rise, or we can cope with the crash when supplies get scarce. That is if the Sea Level doesn't rise twenty feet in the next twenty years.
For me, I already boycott ExxonMobil and Texaco. These guys are bastards from way back. Citgo gets my dollar every chance I can. Chavez is putting some of that money to good use.
Rather than rallying for lower gas prices, we need to call for windfall profits taxes.
Lee Raymond just announced his retirement from ExxonMobil with a $480Million severance package! After a record breaking $13Billion quarterly profit! While the price of gas climbed 50cents/gallon. (Read Krugman this week for the real reason the Raymond ought to be reviled)
But none of this is going to improve with oil executives in the Whitehouse.
Friday, April 21, 2006
Raging Grannies and Raging Americans
by Cindy Sheehan
I am sitting here watching CSPAN where Congress is holding a special hearing into Chinese human rights violations: Which is of course an important issue that needs to be addressed. An Amnesty International report just came out and of all of the countries in the world the US is the fourth in numbers of executions behind China, Iran, and Saudi Arabia. China by far executes the most people with seeming barbaric abandon.
Everyone who has a brain and a stake in what direction our country is going should be demanding that Congress investigate the administration and itself for human rights violations. This feeble excuse for an Executive Branch and its bobble-headed, rubber stamp, franchise of a useless body down the mall: Congress, are committing crimes against humanity, war crimes, and crimes against our Constitution and rule of law. Instead of holding these investigations against China, they should be investigating themselves and George Bush and his cronies who are violating everything that we hold dear as Americans and are killing and torturing thousands of people just for the icing on the brutality cake.
Every American who has ears to hear the "decider" lie and everyone who has eyes to watch him figuratively defecate on our Bill of Rights should use their voices to scream against the cruelty of BushCo; and use their feet to march in solidarity with other Americans who repudiate the cruelty; and use their butts to sit down in front of places of power to demand that our leaders quit using our names to imprison people indefinitely without trials and torture them as they hypocritically accuse other governments of violating human rights.
We as Americans need to realize that our government falsely accused Saddam of having WMD and our government is using WMD on the people of Iraq and they are not "ruling out" the use of nuclear weapons on Iran. God forbid Iran gets a nuke and if Iran is even thinking about it, we will nuke them and kill tens of thousands of innocent people who don't have nuclear technology, all they want is peaceful lives left alone by the US. The US has used nuclear weapons before, as a matter of fact, we are the only ones who have and are using DU in Iraq as we speak. The US cannot be trusted with this technology! Why do we trade our nuclear secrets to India for some mangoes and prohibit other countries from seeking the same technology? Could the real reason be to also control Iran's oil and natural gas resources? Hmm…maybe the CEO of Exxon wasn't too happy with his $400,000, 000.00 bonus for the past year and Deadeye Dick was not nearly thrilled enough with his over million dollar tax refund. George wants to build 125 more "nucular" bombs a year! I think Georgie has a buddy that is in the nuke business. The discourse should be about disarming the nations that already have nukes and guarantee a better future for our generations. Too late for the people of the Middle East who have had their region contaminated by the cancer of radiation for 4.5 billion years.
This morning I attended the beginning of the trial for the NYC Raging Grannies who tried to enlist in the Army last October and were arrested for blocking the entrance to the recruitment center in Times Square. Their average age has to be somewhere in the high 60's with the oldest one being 90. Eighteen of them came to trial today and they proudly marched slowly (many with canes and walkers) up to the defendant benches to defend their and YOUR rights to peaceably gather to dissent from a government who has gone way out of control and to express their disgust with the Iraq war and to stand up and be counted and say: "You are not committing these crimes in our name!" We need to distance ourselves from leadership who are war criminals to not be accused of this ourselves.
Everyone in this country who has not tried to shut down a recruiting station or has not gone down to sit in at their Congress-coward's office to demand an end to the war or who have not attended a march, written hundreds of letters, come to Crawford; or otherwise stepped out of their comfort zones to repudiate the Bush regime and call for indictment of the same need to be abjectly ashamed of themselves.
If the darling Grannies, who should be able to be home baking brownies if they want to, or running marathons, or reading books, or painting portraits, or shopping, or doing whatever else makes them happy, put their bodies on the line for peace—so your child won't have to go off to a war based on lies to die and kill innocent people--why can't you?
Today, I, and my co-defendants in our arrest at the US Mission to the UN, delivered subpoenas to Peggy Kerry (Sister of John Kerry and NGO rep to the UN, who arranged our appointment for us), the US Mission to the UN, and the management company who owns the very public building that holds coffee shops and restaurants and their security. Our trial is next week on April 26 th and we want to know who refused to take our petition when we had an appointment and we want to know who gave the order to arrest us instead of taking our petition that was signed by tens of thousands of women from all over the world.
The Raging Grannies and we Raging Americans are willing to go to jail to protect you and your rights and your children's lives. Who wants to live free in a society that has total disregard for human rights, humanity and practices cruelty that would be worthy of the Inquisition? Who wants to live free in a society that arrests and tries Grannies and ordinary citizens who are only exercising the rights that we are all born with? The rights that my son and so many others had their lives robbed from them for.
Congress has already allowed this Execution Branch to take away so many of our rights and freedoms. If you are not outraged, you are not paying attention. Rest assured that there are people who are raging with indignation over the suppression of dissent and the wanton abduction of our rights. Rest assured that there are so many people working to take our country back.
Do your part. Democracy requires active participation not active and complicit apathy. Visit Gold Star Families for Peace.
Wednesday, April 19, 2006
North Korea, Iran, The Palestinians, Talks.
We could so easily defuse the tensions with Kim Jung Ill, if we promised not to attack him. That's all he is asking for. He's on the Axis of Evil shit-list and you saw what happened to Iraq, they were on that list before they were Shocked&Awed. He already agreed to stop weapon development, we had a deal until Bush took power and Bolton took over diplomacy. Kim saw the Thugs coming and decided (wisely, it turned out) to arm himself and fend them off. It worked, we beat down Saddam instead.
Kim had less to worry about than he thought, North Korea is not sitting on huge deposits of petrochemical.
On the other hand, Iran IS sitting on a large amount of oil in the southern region, bordering Iraq and in the offshore fields in the Caspian Sea and it has a well developed industrial base to deliver it. Iran is a plum and right now, they are surrounded by US forces. Nearly every country that borders Iran is an ally, or at least cooperating with the US military, or has been invaded and occupied by the US. Our warships cruise their coastline and our Jets are always in the air, we've got a huge base in Qatar and we're staging the Iraq operations out of Kuwait.
Think they feel a little threatened?
Israel has the bomb. Under the table, never admitted, but common knowledge.
India has the bomb and now Bush has agreed to not notice that violation of the Non-Proliferation Treaty.
Speaking of proliferation, our Ally, Pakistan (also now an NPT violating owner of Nukes) has placed under house arrest, the Nuclear scientist, A Q Kahn, that sold technology and techniques for the Bombs to several less than stable Muslim countries including Libya.
Kahdafi had the right idea: buy some stuff, look like you're building a nuke lab then give it all up in return for normalized relations. Might call it blackmail, might call it a shrewd use of bargaining chips.
And of course, the US has the Biggest Bombs and the most of 'em and we have actually used them. We are the only ones that have.
The Pentagon has plans to bomb Iran, Bolton is now our Ambassador to the UN and the BushCheney lie machine is gearing up, Yeah, I'd be worried.
Actually, I am worried.
If I were Rafsanjani, I'd want to talk.
He's reassembling a political team (actually hiring one of his previous team, article may be a bit hyped). That's good news if true.
Al Gore won the 2000 election.
Had Bolton and Baker and their gang of thugs not rioted and Scalia's gang disrupted the count, Florida would have gone Blue. Overall, Gore had a majority of votes across the country. Election 2000 was clearly stolen. If Florida hadn't been in the hands of Katherine Harris and Jeb Bush, we wouldn't be in the clutches of Dick Cheney and George Bush.
But is Al going to run? He says he's gearing up for a full-court press on Global Warming. Great! Someone needs to.
[ How far about sea level do you live/ work/ commute?]
That wouldn't be a bad place to start a Presidential campaign from, actually. It's a serious issue, affecting everyone, he's had a long term focus on it and is one of the few politicians that scientists can rely on to get it right. If he and his organization can bring a higher awareness of Global Warming to the General Populace and can field some positive programs to slow it, he may be able to break through the GOPigs barrage of anti-science.
And anyone who might still consider Al too boring, read what he has to say (if you can read). There is nothing boring about most of the worlds cities flooded out by a twenty foot rise in sea level. There is nothing boring about his statements regarding the Thugs' Lies. You just have to have an attention span of longer than 10 seconds and the ability to process complex ideas, then he's rather exciting, actually.
Tuesday, April 18, 2006
Several months ago, there was a little noticed story about some Haliburton contracts for detention centers that were tied to some "new programs". It passed into the memory hole and we moved on, what's another $400 million in no-bid contracts to Cheney's company anyway?
Then last week, we had huge Immigrant rights marches and demos in reaction to some really viscious anti- immigrant laws being pushed through the House.
Now this: http://www.commondreams.org/views06/0418-27.htm Ruth Coniff in the Progressive
And the penny dropped.
Monday, April 17, 2006
If I'da known, I'da worn me tri-cornered hat!
(I always liked Guy Falkes day, too)
In middle school, when I was learning about the revolution, I lived in Cambridge. I walked the freedom trail and stood on the bridge in Concord. I heard historians talk about the ingenious Patriot fighters that sniped from behind stone walls and didn't line up in the old world way, how the British Uniforms with their red jackets and white webbing forming an X in the middle were perfect targets, the Patriots wore whatever clothes they had, looked just like the rest of the colonists.
My guess is if they'd had IEDs, they would have used 'em.
Sunday, April 16, 2006
You can hear them singing in certain offices around the DC Metro.
As if the illegal disaster in Iraq wasn't bad enough (and don't forget the FUBAR in Afghanistan), Sy Hersh detailed the Thugs' plans for starting World War 4. While that may have been a trial balloon, I wouldn't bet against it.
Folks, Iraq was our Sudetenland. The Brits have kept us from being labeled a rogue state, but attacking Iran would unite the entire world against US.
Even if they used conventional weapons, the Fallout would be catastrophic.
Imagine, for a second, how long we could hold out without imported oil.
Or maybe, imported anything.
Or any foreign investment.
150 000 US troops and a bunch of civilians are in Iraq and they have a huge amount of materiel with them. How many do you think we'd lose? 50%? 25?
And where does that leave the security of our own nation?
Out of gas, food riots, looting, about like Baghdad?
How ironic, I never suspected that the real anarchists would be Republicans.
Last week, at least 5 retired Generals, including Iraq war officers, broke with long tradition to speak out against the arrogant, incompetent reckless policies of Donald Rumsfeld and the BushCheney gang. This is Katrina vanden Heuvel of the Nation: http://www.commondreams.org/views06/0415-23.htm
When we hear people mouth the words "Support our Troops", what does that mean to them? A little yellow magnet on the back of their gas guzzlers? Shouting down anyone who isn't hypnotized?
To me, it means First and Foremost, not sending them to to fight for lies, to die for oil company profits.
It means, if they are deployed to defend US, making damn sure that they get the equipment they need to perform their duties (STILL not enough armor for vehicles and soldiers).
It means demanding that the Pentagon allow the mandatory pre- and post deployment health screenings (including Uranium load) to be done.
It means tracking down and prosecuting war profiteers who's crony contracts are leaving our troops vulnerable.
It means fighting for restoration of the cuts in the Veterans' Administration. It means demanding an end to Torture and restoring the Geneva convention protections.
It means holding those who lied to the troops and US, who sent them to fight and die under false pretenses, accountable.
It means Bring The Troops Home NOW, take care of them when they get back and NEVER send them to fight for lies again.
Since the February march and rally in DC before the War, there have been military people, retired and active duty, that have opposed this war. Along the way, their Families and the families of the Fallen have added to our ranks, most notably Cindy Sheehan. Iraq Veterans Against the War linking up with VietNam era vets are out there, I've even seen WWll vets on the marches.
This has never been about demeaning the troops. The guys in uniform didn't pick this fight, the guys in the suits should stand trial.