Will the piper get paid?

Man, I been through some pretty bad shit in my time . . . the '89 earthquake in the Bay Area, the '78 blizzard in Massachusetts, and the '56 Christmas floods near Eureka. But I can't begin to imagine what it's like to be in Biloxi or Gulfport or New Orleans today. And the worst is yet to come.

How do we adequately take care of all those thousands of people who've lost everything? The great majority were impoverished to begin with and now have nothing.

How do we deal with the environmental disaster? I don't mean the natural yin and yang of sea-storm vs. land. I mean the stew of chemicals and petroleum and decomposing bodies of humans and other animals and sewage and rich biology.

The least surprising to me is the screaming absence of coherent government, especially the feds. Last I heard, it's what, 4500 National Guard folks? Can't get the trapped folks out and can't get adequate food, clean water, and medicine in to them. So the fucking idiots in Washington are sending four warships around to help. What the fuck are they gonna do, sit off shore and shell what's left of Bourbon Street? And Doubleduh decided to "cut his vacation short" to return to Washington to "co-ordinate the relief effort." The son of a bitch otta be in Biloxi carrying people on his back.

Friends, we're about to experience quite graphically the catastrophic results of the Doubleduh-Cheney Gang's rape of the government. Resources will not be there; economic disaster will ensue; the risk of cholera, or plague, or whatever will rise; many, many more will die. At least two Gulf cities have ceased to exist and a third will be a fetid, flooded ghost town for months, if not years.

The only good that may come of this, I fear, is that Katrina - not Cindy - may be the force that breaks the back of neo-conservative "government". One way or another, it's time to pay the piper.
Some readings in support of my opinions here:

"Twenty Things We Now Know Four Years After 9/11" by Bernard Weiner, Co-Editor, The Crisis Papers.

"Bush and Katrina: A time for action, not aloofness", an editorial from today's ultraconservative Manchester Union-Leader.

"BLOGGING THE HURRICANE, Day 3: Updates All Day from the Scene as the Disaster Spreads" from Editor & Publisher today.

"New Orleans in Peril", today's NYT (subscription).


Of course . . . NOT!

This is an excerpt from an editorial piece by WaPo's Colbert King, "Stay the course in Iraq? What course?", which I found at the Raleigh News & Observer this morning:
Far from the cheering crowds, this is the word in the Nation's Capital: Forget all that prewar talk about a secular, modern and united Iraq emerging after the toppling of Saddam Hussein. Get ready instead for some form of Islamic republic in Iraq that gives special status to clerics and majority ethnic groups, and less deference to women's rights. A new Iraq free of violence and divisions? Oops, never mind.

Which brings us back to the troops who are doing the suffering and dying. Are their sacrifices worth it?

• • •

Consider the Iraq now unfolding on the ground.

What's the value of Americans giving their lives so that cleric-dominated Shiites and northern Kurds can get their hands on political power and oil revenue?

Why are American women and men sacrificing lives and limbs in a country where women may have to settle for less?

Stay the course. What course? So religious-based militia can divvy up the northern and southern portions of the country? So Islam can be enshrined as a principal source of new Iraqi legislation?

Are any of those things worth dying for? Do any of those likely outcomes represent an American victory? They certainly aren't why Bush said we went over there.

OK, the Bush folks also promised us weapons of mass destruction, and greetings with rice and rose water, and Iraqi oil money to pay for reconstruction, and a model new democracy in the Middle East, none of which has happened.

But this is different.

The president is out selling a vision of victory in Iraq while U.S. officials in Washington and Baghdad are resigned to settling for less. Bush can't make good on his original promise, and they know it. They also know that more Americans are going to die in Iraq for what may end up as a theocracy-tinged spoils system.

When those carrying the burden of this war realize what they have sacrificed and died for, the worst days of George W. Bush will have just begun.
Sorta sound like what I wrote here the other day. Do I get the scoop on that?

In light of the mainstream media finally feeling it's safe to tell the truth about Iraq once in awhile, doesn't it seem reasonable that the anti-war movement would be turning the heat way, way up? So I visited some anti-way sites . . .

MoveOn: this site's about Cindy Sheehan. Think they'll run her for president. Whatever happened to Barbara Boxer? Oh, yeah, I forgot . . . they're not really anti-war.

A.N.S.W.E.R.: nothing worthwhile here until September 24.

Antiwar.com: actually some timely stuff here, especially "The War Party Unhinged" by Justin Raimondo. A slice:
These people really believed that it was possible to integrate Iraq into the American Commonwealth in all but the formal sense, and transform it – by force of arms – into an outpost of Empire no more alien than Puerto Rico or Guam. They are shocked – shocked! – that, after decades of repression by Saddam Hussein, the 60 percent Shi'ite Muslim majority is now asserting itself. How dare the Iraqis take seriously our trumpeting of the Iraqi elections as a "watershed" fated to transform the region: rather than violate their own sense of how Iraq ought to be governed, Freedom House and the fundies would rather nullify that much-vaunted exercise in the export of "democracy" – by force, presumably, since that is what such a radical reversal would require . . .
War Resisters League: Cindy Sheehan and September 24.

United for Peace and Justice: ditto.

I'm not impressed. I guess we're just gonna let the Doubleduh-Cheney Gang destroy themselves, then pick up the pieces. Yeah, right! In case you missed it, read this.


Stop digging!!!

Veteran blogger (and much wiser man than I), Bill C. of thoughts on the eve, points me to an interesting web site, Project on Defense Alternatives (PDA), and an article there entitled "400 days and out: A strategy for resolving the Iraq impasse". Coupla clips:
The key to enabling total US troop withdrawal from Iraq within 400 days is achieving a political accord with Sunni leaders at all levels and with Iraq's neighbors - especially Syria and Iran. The proximal aim would be to immediately lower the level of conflict inside Iraq by constricting both active and passive support for the insurgency, inside and outside the country. This would allow the United States to shift resources to the training mission and to adopt other de-escalatory measures - most importantly: a withdrawal time line. The strategic price of this diplomatic initiative would be a return to self-governance in Sunni areas, a guaranteed level of representation for these areas in the national assembly, an end to broad-brush measures of de-Baathification, an amnesty for most indigenous insurgents and for most former Baathists, and a de-escalation of the US confrontation with Syria and Iran regarding a range of issues . . .

None of the coalition's successes in killing or capturing foreign terrorist leaders or former regime members have dented the insurgency. Those neutralized without apparent effect include Saddam Hussein, his sons, Sabawi Ibrahim al-Hassan (purported to be a key financier of the insurgency), dozens of other former leading Baathists, and several high-ranking associates of terrorist leader Abu Musab Zarqawi. During the past two years, thousands of insurgents have been reported killed and many thousands more Iraqis have been imprisoned and interrogated. And yet the insurgency has not only persisted, but grown. In other words: American success at the tactical level, which is undeniable, has not led to progress at the campaign or strategic levels. Indeed, military operations seem to be having a negative effect, on balance. This tends to disconfirm the Bush administration and Pentagon view that the insurgency is narrowly based . . .
I encourage you to read the piece; it's pretty reasonable and clearly written. I do think "American success at the tactical level, which is undeniable . . ." is a laughable statement, however.

I have some serious problems with what I think are the author's main arguments for staying there for awhile - the notions that (1) the Iraqi security resources are presently insufficient and (2) the occupation forces are capable of and necessary to the rebuilding of those resources. Frankly, I think the Iraqis can take care of themselves just fine. The occupation hasn't shown that it's capable of much of anything except getting blown up by car bombs and feeding the armed resistance.

I'm just fucking weary to death of any attempts to be "intellectually reasonable" in the face of wholesale psychosis. Let me make myself crystal clear:

1. The US-led invasion of Iraq was from its inception several years before "9/11" an evil deed perpetrated by evil people for evil reasons;

2. The evil is geometrically compounded by the lies of those evil people;

3. No righteous people have anything to gain by continued occupation;

4. There is not one iota of evidence that continued occupation will make anything better.

Just think what might happen if the US government and military immediately did the following: (1) started packing; (2) apologized to the Iraqis and the rest of the world (didn't the Japanese do that after WWII?) and promised not to do this kind of thing again; (3) donated enough food, medicine, building supplies and equipment, and whatever else the Iraqis need for the next three years; (4) left the country.

American intellectual hubris and narcissism continues to sicken me.

(Thanks to Reuters/Mohammed Khodor and Muslim Wake Up! for the photo.)


Iraq Exit Plan

1. GET

2. OUT

3. NOW

Giving credit where credit's due . . .

Success!!! It's becoming clear that the Doubleduh-Cheney Gang has succeeded in deposing a brutal dictator; bombing the shit out of a country; killing and maiming thousands of people; destroying its infrastructure, economy, and much of its culture; reducing safety, security, health, and well-being to sub-zero; using a faux-democratic process to install a repressive Shi'ite theocracy with no hope of governing most of the country; creating a multi-factional civil war theatre that'll make Lebanon seem like Disneyland. Democracy will not happen there. Neither will the no-holds-barred, pure, free-market experiment that was the only real reason these monsters went in there in the first place.

Question #1: is it possible that all this was undertaken to cover up the fact that Dick Cheney in fact did not make it through his last heart operation and is actually a robotic clone?

Question #2: if we're now fighting to honor the dead then don't we just get more dead into perpetuity?

Question #3: is it true that the CIA is now absolutely bullshit at Pat Robertson for outing their plot to ice Chavez?

Question #4: when will somebody figure out that Halliburton is raking in the bucks by selling used cars to suicide bombers?

So, la-dee-dah, only seventeen more shopping days 'til September 11.


The most dangerous time . . .

During the past month or so, we have entered what I believe will be the most critical period of the past 60 years. During this next year or so, every living thing on the earth faces the prospect of still-incomprehensible calamity. The snarling dogs of extremism, whatever the color of their mangy fur, will not, I fear, be taken alive. We are about to witness not apocalypse, but some of the fiercest and deadliest violence, deception, corruption, and shear human folly perpetrated against peace and justice we could imagine.

The Doubleduh-Cheney Gang is cornered, but they will never surrender to any logic but their own - a logic not mitigated by compassion or humility or simple reason. They are forced to up the ante, and they surely will. The brave mask over their hubris is ripped and torn, their unabashed and insane attempt to use the tragedy of September, 2001 as an excuse to seize unopposed world hegemony revealed to be a bridge too far.

Listen to Henry Kissinger, on CNN International today, excerpts from "Kissinger finds parallels to Vietnam in Iraq":
"For me, the tragedy of Vietnam was the divisions that occurred in the United States that made it, in the end, impossible to achieve an outcome that was compatible with the sacrifices that had been made . . ."

Kissinger said the United States faces a battle to halt the spread of radical Islam in Iraq, and it would be "a catastrophe for the whole world" if it fails.

Kissinger, who served as national security adviser and secretary of state in the Nixon and Ford administrations, said the United States should remove any troops that are not necessary to the American goal of stabilizing Iraq -- "But we cannot begin with an exit without having first defined what the objective is."

"If a radical government emerges in Baghdad or if any part of Iraq becomes what Afghanistan used to be, a training ground for terrorists, then this will be a catastrophe for the Islamic world and for Europe, much as they may -- reluctant as they may be to admit it -- and eventually for us . . ."

. . . The Washington Post reported Sunday that the Bush administration "is significantly lowering expectations of what can be achieved" in Iraq.

Sen. Joseph Biden, the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and a harsh critic of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, told NBC's "Meet the Press" that he agreed with that report.

"I think that the administration has significantly downgraded their expectations," said Biden, D-Delaware. "They have squandered about every opportunity to get it right."

Rumsfeld, Biden said, "should get his notice on Monday morning" after The New York Times reported that some U.S. troops in Iraq still do not have the body armor they need. If Rumsfeld worked for a corporation instead of the U.S. government, "He'd be fired by now," Biden said.
How stupid these people are! And/or how stupid they must think we are! Let's get it straight: the purpose of the Iraq invasion was to destroy the country, enslave its people, and create a wild-west free-fire "market" zone to use as a launching pad for its own next domino. And listen to Biden! He's only pissed 'cuz they fucked it up!! Like Biden, or the Clintons, or Wowie Howie, or John-Boy Kerry coulda done this "right". The answer to "when will they ever learn?" is obviously "never". None 'a' dese idgets learned any useful lessons from 'Nam. Politicians are absolutely incapable of learning that war and agression and lying are just fucking wrong.

Lissen up, y'all! Americans of every political stripe want it both ways - and the result will be that they will have it no ways. How many so-called lefties are still driving to and from work every day, alone in their cars. How many yell and scream about corporate tyranny, at the same time investing heavily in the stock market? How many are worried about how the impending housing market bubble burst will effect them, but decry the presence of pan-handling homeless on their streets? How many espouse one or two of the hot and sexy lefty issues, like the war or abortion or gay rights, but aren't willing to give up anything to achieve true justice and peace? How many will once again go through the motions in 2008 of finding some liberal hero/heroine to make it right again, knowing full well that the result will be the election of President HillaryJohnBarbaraDennisArnold EdwardsBushHagerLugarBiden, who will continue to exploit and otherwise fuck with the growing mass of powerless and disenfranchised peoples of this poor planet?

To my friends on "the left" I say, "It's bad enough to not really know what you want or where you're going, but even worse not to know that you can't get there from here."


Stupid is as stupid says . . .

I keep having this recurring vision of Pat Robertson with a flaming cross stuck up his ass (and the horizontal beam protruding from his ears).

I think it's about time that thoughtful, moderate christians speak up loud and clear to renounce this kind of mindless extremist grandstanding. It will not be muslims nor islamist "terrorists" who destroy christianity, but the likes of Robertson and Falwell.

Every time they open their mouths, there should be thousands of vocal christians singing, "Blessed are the peacemakers" and "Thou shalt not kill".

The anti-christ is not one . . . but many.

Fuck you, Pat. That's all. Just fuck you.



New York Times:

"Though data show that girls and women are far more vulnerable to infection than men, we have yet to summon the courage and the political will to empower and protect them.

In Nigeria, and across sub-Saharan Africa and the Caribbean, epidemics are already feminized. For example, nearly 58 percent of Nigerians with H.I.V. are female. What's more, in virtually every region of the world, infections among girls and women are rising sharply.

For example, a major partner, the United States government, enthusiastically promotes abstinence until marriage as the main way for young people to avoid H.I.V. infection. Abstinence is one critical prevention strategy, but it cannot be the only one. Focusing on abstinence assumes young people can choose whether to have sex. For adolescent girls in Nigeria and in many other countries, this is an inaccurate assumption. Many girls fall prey to sexual violence and coercion. Many others are married off very young, as young as 13 or 14, long before they are psychologically or physically ready. Abstinence is not an option for these girls, nor is getting their partners to use condoms. It is unacceptable for a woman or girl to ask her partner to use one in our part of the world. In Nigeria, only 23 percent of the men and 8 percent of women use condoms regularly, and, as elsewhere, almost none of them use condoms with a spouse or primary partner."
[emphasis mine]


Focusing on abstinence assumes young people can choose whether to have sex

Focusing on abstinence assumes young people can choose whether to have sex

Focusing on abstinence assumes young people can choose whether to have sex

If you're molested, prostituted, sold, married-off at a young age or raped by a UN "Peace Keeper", abstinence is not an option. Condoms may not be either, but at least put the information out there.

Sex should be one of life's great joys. It wouldn't be fatal if Saint Ronnie had done his job when he had the chance, and George is making it worse. How many people have to die for this Administration's superstition and bigotry?


Cindy, we will never be able thank you enough . . .

While Sid Blumenthal, in today's Guardian, notes . . .
Sandstorms by the banks of the Euphrates swirl to the Waco River, and the presidential vacationer, besieged by marches, has turned querulous. As his crusade is being overtaken by a sense of futility, Bush explained why he would not meet Sheehan: "I think it's also important for me to go on with my life, to keep a balanced life." This week he's planned a bicycle ride with Lance Armstrong.
Anyone who can't tell the hero from the coward in this one is just dumb as a bag o' longhorn bones.


100,000 March to Keep the Vote Alive in Atlanta | Democrats.com

100,000 March to Keep the Vote Alive in Atlanta | Democrats.com

Follow that link and look at that picture. That's THOUSANDS of people marching in Atlanta to "Keep the Vote Alive". Haven't seen shit about this in the media, have you? Spread the word - people are taking to the streets. I hope thousands show up in Crawford, so the local police can't possibly handle them.


On craziness . . .

There are really only two or three matters on which I am an expert. Craziness is one of them.

First, from Cursor today,
Two Iraq vets killed themselves in Texas, another killed his wife and himself in Colorado, and Stars and Stripes reports on "a significant barrier to troops seeking mental-health care."
Here's the link and excerpt from that last reference, from Stars and Stripes
A landmark 2004 study by researchers from the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research — thought to be one of the first to examine battle-related psychological problems of active-duty soldiers — found that there was a significant barrier to troops seeking mental-health care.

The barrier, according to the study of more than 6,100 soldiers and Marines who’d deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, was the belief that seeking counseling would harm military careers and stigmatize armed forces members as weak. Fifty percent of troops in that study showing symptoms of mental-health problems said it would be bad for their career to see a counselor; 65 percent said they’d be perceived as weak; and 63 percent said commanders would treat them differently.
In the mid- and late-70's, I treated (as best I could) hundreds of 'Namvets who re-entered the world addicted to smack. When I saw them, they were nominally no longer heroin addicts. They had been "treated" for that by the VA system, but all too frequently had been told that "a few drinks to take the edge off" was OK. I was treating all these folks for alcoholism. Treating alcoholism's a bitch under any conditions, but the problem here was that smack and alcohol had masked serious emotional and mental problems developed during their tours. I lost many of these folks to suicide and others to complete but non-fatal mental disintegration. We are already seeing an upsurge of violent episodes in military communities as vets return from Afghanistan and Iraq. Living in an area near several large bases, I'm more terrified of these brave, poor folks than of the possibility of a "terrorist" attack.

There is, I'm afraid, under Rummy Rumsfeld, less likelihood than ever that the military will lovingly and effectively help these people. You can see it Rummy's eyes . . . it's all just collateral damage. Because we have become a society more interested in Jessica Simpson than in the health and safety of our military, and because we want to keep taxes low so we can afford to fill our SUV tanks with expensive, stolen oil, we will all pay a heavy price. Sad beyond comprehension.

In her post yesterday, Morgaine (who keeps hitting the nail on the head) asks how we can help each other without supporting neoconservative "ideals" and institutions. I can only say "ditto". I'd appreciate some discussion on this, too.


LiP | Feature | The Revolution Will Not Be Funded

by Andrea del Moral

This is an interesting article about how the limits imposed on Non-Profit organizations actually serve to channel money back into right wing causes. It explains very clearly why movements for liberal social change aren't working. The system siphons off our energy trying to recruit funding that will go to a corporate structure of professional bureaucrats. We lose our radical edge trying to fit into the corporate framework required by the IRS, and we waste energy that would be better spent in direct action.

I'm becoming very suspicious of the big non-profits. My inbox is stuffed with requests for donations every day, but I don't see these organizations taking significant action. Issuing a statement now and then, maybe a conference or a protest every few years is not populist and it's not activism.

I just found out recently that Planned Parenthood doesn't have a sliding scale for low income women any more. That means it's all but useless to poor women, and believe me, it's not like it was a great deal before -- it was just the only deal in town.

Please read this article, and post your thoughts as to how we go about organizing in ways that don't channel money back to the right wing. I'm open to suggestions.


Question of the day . . . and other meanderings

Question: if "Intelligent Design" is the basis of creation, how the hell did Doubleduh get to be preznut??

It's certainly not surprising that the ole Cheney Gang is fixin' tuh nook Iran. I'm not quite sure what's prevented them from doing it so far. Gotta figger eacha them bombs is gonna have a picture a' Doubleduh's raised middle digit on the nose. Please remember that a major characteristic of psychopathy and sociopathy is the normalization of insane behavior. Kinda makes yuh wish the Soviet Union was still around. Think about it. And the more you own, the more you lose when the really hard rain falls. "Come you masters of war . . ."

Wanna publicly and joyously thank Michael Miller of Public Domain Progress for a number of things . . . his continuous support throughout my ups 'n' downs; his insightful comments here and on my old blog, ddjangoWIrE; for the quality and consistency of his work on PDP; and for being much more on top of the corporate personhood issue than I've been. In a recent comment here, he recommends Living Small as another resource in the living simply movement. Thanks, Michael.

Recommended read . . . "Inside Bush's 'World Movement for Democracy'" by Tom Barry for CounterPunch.

The Daily Bird . . .


On choices . . .

In the post just before this one, fellow editor Morgaine poses a central question and finely conveys my own sense of despair. "What choices", indeed?

I've asked the same question innumerable times; and during my recent illness, I had to face the issue head-on again, in a way I've done only once before in my life. Interestingly, I came up with exactly the same answers this time as I had that previous one: (1) I have limitless choices; (2) I cannot win a head-on battle with a superior force; (3) I am personally responsible to some degree for what happens in the universe; (4) each personal choice I make to some degree effects the universe and everything in it. Yeah, yeah, the old "butterfly in the desert" gig. The difference between me and that butterfly is that I have choices.

How does this translate to action on a daily basis? 'Though I'd really love to take Doubleduh's digit and shove it up his ass up to the elbow, that ain't gonna happen. More important, it wouldn't change anything for the better. Anyway, every day I feel more and more sorry for the witless SOB. Talk about arrested development - keerist! At least Reagan waited until late in his presidency to exhibit such mental deficiency. But - and of course I've said this a thousand times - it ain't Doubleduh's fault. George, Dick, Karl, Scooter, Negroponte, O'Reilly, Coulter, Santorum, DeLay . . . none of these folks are my problem. I mean I wouldn't accept a drink from any of'em (or even give'em CPR, either), but I can't waste my time worrying about'em, either.

My point here is that most of'em'll be gone in a coupla years, only to be replaced by Hillary, any number of white guys named John, or [fill in the blank with a blank]. Our only hope is they all freeze their asses off in New Hampshire before the next Iowa caucuses.

You folks who've tried to follow my hapless, broken trip in the blogoswamp the past few years know that I am convinced of two political realities: (1) this country is not now nor ever was intended to be a democracy and, therefore, (2) the solution(s) to our dire predicament are not to be found primarily in the "democratic" political process. In short, the pro-democratic, anti-corporatist, anti-evangelist forces are no match for the great evil that is being perpetrated by the uber-rich and uber-powerful. The only reason we haven't been imprisoned is that we're not really a threat.

Our most immediate needs are to completely face this reality and to make effective personal choices of integrity. My most potent political actions are based in how I live.

Before I mention this possible resource for us, I need to say unequivocably that I am not advocating that you approach it as some approach a religion. Having said that, let me recommend The Simple Living Network. Here's a little clip from their website . . .
We believe that over-consumption stands at the center of the many problems our planet faces. This may sound strange coming from a group of people operating a web site and catalog. Nonetheless, we hope that you choose to purchase less "stuff" after visiting our web site, and that the "stuff" you do purchase is more earth-friendly than what you purchased before. We hope our web site helps you discover what is "enough" in your life (without sacrifice or deprivation). Our goal is to share with you the many paths of simple living. Our goal is to help you find meaning and purpose in all that you do. We are encouraging conscientious consumerism through making informed lifestyle choices.
Whether you use this or other resources, I hope that you will embrace integrity, reject terminal narcissism, place responsibility above "rights", and pick your battles well.

While I'm on it . . . Darfur and Niger . . . how the fuck have we let these happen???

Honestly, do we have any options? I don't see any.



Posted today at The American Conservative (I saw it first at ICH, I swear), in its entirety (so SUE me):
August 1, 2005 Issue
Copyright © 2005 The American Conservative

Deep Background

In Washington it is hardly a secret that the same people in and around the administration who brought you Iraq are preparing to do the same for Iran. The Pentagon, acting under instructions from Vice President Dick Cheney’s office, has tasked the United States Strategic Command (STRATCOM) with drawing up a contingency plan to be employed in response to another 9/11-type terrorist attack on the United States. The plan includes a large-scale air assault on Iran employing both conventional and tactical nuclear weapons. Within Iran there are more than 450 major strategic targets, including numerous suspected nuclear-weapons-program development sites. Many of the targets are hardened or are deep underground and could not be taken out by conventional weapons, hence the nuclear option. As in the case of Iraq, the response is not conditional on Iran actually being involved in the act of terrorism directed against the United States. Several senior Air Force officers involved in the planning are reportedly appalled at the implications of what they are doing—that Iran is being set up for an unprovoked nuclear attack—but no one is prepared to damage his career by posing any objections.

Thank you, Mr President

Then . . .

and then . . .

and then . . .

and now . . .