Syrian Opposition re: US$ - "Stick It!"

It's been very hard to post this month. As a Virgo, I am always badly affected when Mercury goes into its retrograde dance every February - communication and focus go right down the tubes.

I've also had a bad case of the "why bothers?" In spite of looking around and finding some more radical kindred spirits, my sense is that (1) the best we can hope for is a Democratic Party gain in '06 and a Dem preznit in '08 - likely Rodham-Clinton or Kerry and (2) that just means more of the same. Remember, I said that's "the best" we can hope for. I'm no longer convinced (see previous post) that we're even going to see that.

Anyway, this is kind of scattered, but . . .

  • Anybody who thinks Mardi Gras was a good idea this year is brain dead. Every cent of that money should have been put into the Ninth Ward and other devastated neighborhoods. I didn't see a lot of black faces in the newsreels from Bourbon Street. This is no time to laissez les bons temps roulez, you idiots!

  • I got a real chuckle outta this one:
    Syria opposition says US funding counterproductive

    By Khaled Yacoub Oweis Mon Feb 27, 11:46 AM ET

    DAMASCUS (Reuters) -
    Syria's liberal opposition has said it will not accept money from a U.S. offer to fund democratic groups in the country, saying that its credibility would be damaged if it took the cash.

    A group of a dozen parties, known as the Damascus Declaration, said on Monday they had enough resources on their own to press ahead with a campaign for peaceful change to end a 40-year monopoly by the Baath Party on power.

    "The Damascus Declaration refuses foreign funding, including the $5 million from the U.S. State Department for the Syrian opposition," a statement by the group said.

  • At what point do we call the escalating internecine slaughter in Iraq a civil war?

  • the Democratic Party's "solution" to the "do we stay or do we go" miasma is worse than a joke: take the troops out of Iraq, but redeploy them elsewhere around the middle east. God, these jerks make me sick.

  • anybody know enough about the "Intentional Community" movement to publish something here at P!. Leave a comment if you're interested.

  • I got another chuckle outta this puppy (an Antiwar.com joint:
    US: Iran has one-week 'opportunity' to defuse standoff
    Mon Feb 27, 6:40 PM ET

    WASHINGTON (AFP) - The United States said that Iran had a one-week "opportunity," before the March 6 meeting of the UN nuclear watchdog agency, to ease fears that it seeks atomic weapons.

    The warning from Washington came as a senior Russian official said Moscow and Tehran would on Tuesday resume 11th-hour talks aimed at easing the tense standoff, after early reports of a tentative compromise seemed to fizzle out.
    Kyuh! Ok, one week and then what? Anybody noticing that the only option that the "government" has for "success" is all-out nuclear war. I'm beginning to think that the only reason we have any influence at all is that the rest of the planet thinks The Doubleduh-Cheney Gang just might pull the trigger. Wonder how much George is drinking these days. Did everyone see the side of Whittington's face where Deadeye shot him? Put it together people. Don't forget to duck, or quail, or whatever.

  • Read Nathan Callahan with Seymout Hersh, "A Very Good Reason to Get Worried".

I'll try harder in March - honest, Mom!

Before you leave, please visit the P! Amazon Store and vote in the lastest P!oll


It Is the Worst of Times, It Is the Worst of Times

Lest y'all have any doubts 'bout where we're headed, take note . . . this first set of excerpts is from "Bush's Mysterious 'New Programs'" by Nat Parry in Consortiumnews:
“The administration has not only the right, but the duty, in my opinion, to pursue Fifth Column movements,” Graham, R-S.C., told Gonzales during Senate Judiciary Committee hearings on Feb. 6.

“I stand by this President’s ability, inherent to being Commander in Chief, to find out about Fifth Column movements, and I don’t think you need a warrant to do that,” Graham added, volunteering to work with the administration to draft guidelines for how best to neutralize this alleged threat.

“Senator,” a smiling Gonzales responded, “the President already said we’d be happy to listen to your ideas.”

In less paranoid times, Graham’s comments might be viewed by many Americans as a Republican trying to have it both ways – ingratiating himself to an administration of his own party while seeking some credit from Washington centrists for suggesting Congress should have at least a tiny say in how Bush runs the War on Terror.

But recent developments suggest that the Bush administration may already be contemplating what to do with Americans who are deemed insufficiently loyal or who disseminate information that may be considered helpful to the enemy.

Top U.S. officials have cited the need to challenge news that undercuts Bush’s actions as a key front in defeating the terrorists, who are aided by “news informers” in the words of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld . . .

Plus, there was that curious development in January when the Army Corps of Engineers awarded Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg Brown & Root a $385 million contract to construct detention centers somewhere in the United States, to deal with “an emergency influx of immigrants into the U.S., or to support the rapid development of new programs,” KBR said . . .

Like most news stories on the KBR contract, the Times focused on concerns about Halliburton’s reputation for bilking U.S. taxpayers by overcharging for sub-par services . . .

Less attention centered on the phrase “rapid development of new programs” and what kind of programs would require a major expansion of detention centers, each capable of holding 5,000 people. Jamie Zuieback, a spokeswoman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, declined to elaborate on what these “new programs” might be.

Only a few independent journalists, such as Peter Dale Scott and Maureen Farrell, have pursued what the Bush administration might actually be thinking.

Scott speculated that the “detention centers could be used to detain American citizens if the Bush administration were to declare martial law.” He recalled that during the Reagan administration, National Security Council aide Oliver North organized Rex-84 “readiness exercise,” which contemplated the Federal Emergency Management Agency rounding up and detaining 400,000 “refugees,” in the event of “uncontrolled population movements” over the Mexican border into the United States.

Farrell pointed out that because “another terror attack is all but certain, it seems far more likely that the centers would be used for post-911-type detentions of immigrants rather than a sudden deluge” of immigrants flooding across the border . . .

Despite the Posse Comitatus Act’s prohibitions against U.S. military personnel engaging in domestic law enforcement, the Pentagon has expanded its operations beyond previous boundaries, such as its role in domestic surveillance activities.

The Washington Post has reported that since the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, the Defense Department has been creating new agencies that gather and analyze intelligence within the United States . . .
OK, so I'm sure you get the picture. I know I'm repeating myself, but let me make it crystal clear:
  • the reason we're not getting any opposition to The Doubleduh-Cheney Gang from congressional Democrats is that they want and represent the same things The Gang does. Even the most moderate of left/progressive ideals are not advocated by anyone of any party in Washington.

  • this thingy ain't about terrorism; it's about manufacturing the need to control a restive population. Fear and chaos have been excellent control mechanisms so far, but the men behind the curtain are starting to expose their asses so even the most lockstep right-wing extremists are taking notice.

  • as a mad dog gets more cornered, it gets more fierce. These mad dogs will use a brand-spankin-new war (Iran/Syria) or a new "terrorist" attack as an excuse for a nation-wide lockdown.

  • there is nothing that can/will be done about this in the political arena, even if there are elections in '08 (which I doubt).
Prepare for the gulag.

Before you leave, please visit the P! Amazon Store and vote in the lastest P!oll


What Must They Be Thinking?

Well, first of all, Dick Cheney shot someone today. Why am I not surprised? Prolly thought it was Scooter.

Anyway, apparently a bunch of military/intelligence types have told the administration's own John Negroponte that a war with Iran might be a disaster. Apparently, these cats are well armed, especially with long-range missles and like that there. Also, we haven't been starving them to death for several years as we were doing with Iraq.

So, considering the fact that Rummy can't find enough kids to take care of Iraq and Afghanistan already, I'm pretty convinced that we're about to see the first military use of nukes since Nagasaki.

I'm also convinced that if we do that, we're in World War VI (or whatever number Rummy's up to now). Ready?

Before you leave, please visit the P! Amazon Store and vote in the lastest P!oll


More Stupid White People Tricks

I've been trying to ignore it, but I can't . . .

I am absolutely disgusted by some of my fellow "leftist" bloggers who have said about "the cartoon riots", in effect, "What's the big deal deal? Get over it!" Disgusted.

Listen, folks. This isn't some game we're involved with on this planet. Freedom of speech my ass. All in good fun, my ass. The Danish fuck-heads who published those damned things acted in gross ignorance and complete irresponsibility, especially in the context of the daily-escalating hatred of the West by the Muslim world. The publication was especially egregious considering the deep tradition in the Muslim culture proscribing the creation of images of Mohammed.

Yes, I think religion, whatever the denomination, is the cause of a bunch of pain and conflict. I would expect, frankly, extremist "christians" to enjoy these tasteless depictions of a revered religious figure. But American lefists? Grow the fuck up, aiight??
I just saw somewhere that John "Fuck Off and Die" Bolton has been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. What? What?? What??????? Scandanavians. Sheeeeesh! Whitest of the white.

Before you leave, please visit the P! Amazon Store and vote in the lastest P!oll

Notice Anything?

Iran Oil Map
©1995 by Henry Madison Research, Inc.

Before you leave, please visit the P! Amazon Store and vote in the lastest P!oll

This Says It All

From today's NYT:

"WASHINGTON, Feb. 7 — Democrats are heading into this year's elections in a position weaker than they had hoped for, party leaders say, stirring concern that they are letting pass an opportunity to exploit what they see as widespread Republican vulnerabilities."

Well. No. Fucking. Shit. Duh!

Before you leave, please visit the P! Amazon Store and vote in the lastest P!oll


Drawing the Line (UPDATED 2/7/06)

It's time to get very serious, folks. I humbly submit the following. I encourage you to send it to anyone and everyone you can think of, friend or foe alike. You may distribute it at will. I don't care if you refer to P!. You may turn it into a petition, if you like. You may, if you wish, "sign" it here by leaving a comment. Suggestions for additions or amendments are gratefully accepted.

Be at peace.

I/we, the undersigned, pledge to support in any and all public elections, only candidates who pledge to hold unwaiveringly to the following positions if elected:

  • the United States government shall immediately withdraw all troops from the sovereign State of Iraq and shall transfer its military bases and assets to the Iraqi people;

  • the United States government shall renounce any and all present and future military actions in and/or against all foreign countries, especially including Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba, and Bolivia;

  • the United States government will transfer all prisoners currently held in military or military-affiliated captivity to criminal courts either in their own countries or in the United States, to be tried in fair and open trials with adequate defense;

  • the United States government will renounce forever the use of nuclear weapons and/or other weapons of mass destruction, unilaterally destroying any and all such weapons in its possession and/or under its influence;

  • the United States government and other state and local governments in the United States, will legally protect the rights of all persons to autonomy and self-determination with respect to reproduction and sexual/social partnership;

  • the United States government and state and local governments shall implement immediately and continuously methods and programs to redistribute wealth among its citizens, so that there shall be no more than a 10% gap between its wealthiest and poorest citizens. These methods and programs must include full, free access to quality health care, public education, and social welfare programs;

  • the United States government, foremost the United States Senate and the United States House of Representatives, will prohibit any and all financial contributions by both private and public entities to the campaigns, offices, or persons of any candidates for public office, while providing equal financial support to all candidates for the office of the President, Senate, or House through public taxes. No candidate shall be allowed to use personal funds in a campaign for any elected office. All candidates must be afforded absolutely equal time and resources to present their views on national, regional, and local media;

  • the United States government, specifically the Executive branch, will create a Department of Peace and Reconciliation at the Cabinet level, which shall work to establish effective, non-violent, non-military avenues to world peace;

  • the United States government and state and local governments will make laws to significantly restrict the personal ownership of all firearms; these goverments will also make laws to prohibit the creation and existence of private military/security entities operating either within the domestic borders or in foreign countries;

  • the United States government will significantly open itself to the critical scrutiny of all of its citizens, curtailing the use of its secrecy apparati and submitting all planned domestic and foreign policies and actions to public scrutiny.

UPDATE/MUST READ: "My So-Called 'Epiphany'" by Paul Craig Roberts at CounterPunch. Excerpts:
A number of readers have asked me when did I undergo my epiphany, abandon right-wing Reaganism and become an apostle of truth and justice.

I appreciate the friendly sentiment, but there is a great deal of misconception in the question.

When I saw that the neoconservative response to 9/11 was to turn a war against stateless terrorism into military attacks on Muslim states, I realized that the Bush administration was committing a strategic blunder with open-ended disastrous consequences for the US that, in the end, would destroy Bush, the Republican Party, and the conservative movement . . .

I have always objected to injustice. My writings about prosecutorial abuse have put me at odds with "law and order conservatives." I have written extensively about wrongful convictions, both of the rich and famous and the poor and unknown. My thirty-odd columns on the frame-up of 26 innocent people in the Wenatchee, Washington, child sex abuse witch hunt played a role in the eventual overturning of the wrongful convictions.

My book, with Lawrence Stratton, The Tyranny of Good Intentions, details the erosion of the legal rights that make law a shield of the innocent instead of a weapon in the hands of government. Without the protection of law, rich and poor alike are at the mercy of government. In their hatred of "the rich," the left-wing overlooks that in the 20th century the rich were the class most persecuted by government. The class genocide of the 20th century is the greatest genocide in history.

Americans have forgotten what it takes to remain free. Instead, every ideology, every group is determined to use government to advance its agenda. As the government's power grows, the people are eclipsed

We have reached a point where the Bush administration is determined to totally eclipse the people. Bewitched by neoconservatives and lustful for power, the Bush administration and the Republican Party are aligning themselves firmly against the American people. Their first victims, of course, were the true conservatives. Having eliminated internal opposition, the Bush administration is now using blackmail obtained through illegal spying on American citizens to silence the media and the opposition party.

Before flinching at my assertion of blackmail, ask yourself why President Bush refuses to obey the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. The purpose of the FISA court is to ensure that administrations do not spy for partisan political reasons. The warrant requirement is to ensure that a panel of independent federal judges hears a legitimate reason for the spying, thus protecting a president from the temptation to abuse the powers of government. The only reason for the Bush administration to evade the court is that the Bush administration had no legitimate reasons for its spying. This should be obvious even to a naif.

The United States is undergoing a coup against the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, civil liberties, and democracy itself. The "liberal press" has been co-opted. As everyone must know by now, the New York Times has totally failed its First Amendment obligations, allowing Judith Miller to make war propaganda for the Bush administration, suppressing for an entire year the news that the Bush administration was illegally spying on American citizens, and denying coverage to Al Gore's speech that challenged the criminal deeds of the Bush administration . . .

Many patriotic readers have written to me expressing their frustration that fact and common sense cannot gain a toehold in a debate guided by hysteria and disinformation. Other readers write that 9/11 shields Bush from accountability, They challenge me to explain why three World Trade Center buildings on one day collapsed into their own footprints at free fall speed, an event outside the laws of physics except under conditions of controlled demolition. They insist that there is no stopping war and a police state as long as the government's story on 9/11 remains unchallenged.

They could be right. There are not many editors eager for writers to explore the glaring defects of the 9/11 Commission Report. One would think that if the report could stand analysis, there would not be a taboo against calling attention to the inadequacy of its explanations. We know the government lied about Iraqi WMD, but we believe the government told the truth about 9/11 . . .

Before you leave, please visit the P! Amazon Store and vote in the lastest P!oll


On Second Comings

I cannot call myself a Christian, most of all because I am agnostic and cannot attribute to Jesus of Nazareth the status of "god". The specific parts of the New Testament (and other suppressed/ignored chronicles of his life and times) which seem to quote his own words directly certainly qualify him in my mind as a man of great wisdom, love, and common sense. This was a man of humility, but at the same time a man of confidence. He was, I believe, an essential human being. It is sad that the ugly, vindictive writings of Paul and John, often in direct conflict with the words and spirit of Jesus, have replaced those of Jesus in "christian" dogma. I live in the bladder (definitely not the heart) of the "Bible Belt". Sometimes I wake up very early in the morning and switch on one of the syndicated preachers (they're on most channels at 3:30 or 4:00 am). They read and teach on a bunch of scriptures, but rarely do they touch on the Sermon on the Mount or Jesus' other preaching on love, compassion, or humility.

I believe that there have been other humans of equal "godliness". Ghandi was one. Maybe Bill Moyers is another. Maybe your neighbor is one. I could name a bunch . . . Kathy Kelly, the Berrigans, John Lennon. I know this . . . that to elevate a courageous, humble, wise, and loving human being to "God" is to deny the potential of the human spirit.

There have been many "Second Comings". I hope there will be more. Jesus rose out of a Palestine occupied by the űber-mighty Roman Empire. Others may rise from the miasmic morass that western "civilization" has wrought on the world.

But one has already come. He was executed, as Jesus was, for telling the truth, for being courageous, for trying to inspire the poor, the disenfranchised, the meek to fill their hearts with each other in peace.

That man was Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. I believe that as a man he was equal to Jesus of Nazareth. This is a clip from a speech he gave over forty years ago:
This is the message of the great Buddhist leaders of Vietnam. Recently one of them wrote these words, and I quote:

Each day the war goes on the hatred increases in the heart of the Vietnamese and in the hearts of those of humanitarian instinct. The Americans are forcing even their friends into becoming their enemies. It is curious that the Americans, who calculate so carefully on the possibilities of military victory, do not realize that in the process they are incurring deep psychological and political defeat. The image of America will never again be the image of revolution, freedom, and democracy, but the image of violence and militarism.

If we continue, there will be no doubt in my mind and in the mind of the world that we have no honorable intentions in Vietnam. If we do not stop our war against the people of Vietnam immediately, the world will be left with no other alternative than to see this as some horrible, clumsy, and deadly game we have decided to play. The world now demands a maturity of America that we may not be able to achieve. It demands that we admit that we have been wrong from the beginning of our adventure in Vietnam, that we have been detrimental to the life of the Vietnamese people. The situation is one in which we must be ready to turn sharply from our present ways. In order to atone for our sins and errors in Vietnam, we should take the initiative in bringing a halt to this tragic war.

*I would like to suggest five concrete things that our government should do immediately to begin the long and difficult process of extricating ourselves from this nightmarish conflict:

Number one: End all bombing in North and South Vietnam.

Number two: Declare a unilateral cease-fire in the hope that such action will create the atmosphere for negotiation.

Three: Take immediate steps to prevent other battlegrounds in Southeast Asia by curtailing our military buildup in Thailand and our interference in Laos.

Four: Realistically accept the fact that the National Liberation Front has substantial support in South Vietnam and must thereby play a role in any meaningful negotiations and any future Vietnam government.

Five: *Set a date that we will remove all foreign troops from Vietnam in accordance with the 1954 Geneva Agreement.
The test for men like these is that they are timeless. I have come to believe that "eternal life" is something concrete - that the spirit of such people lights the soul of other humans and expands our spirits immeasurably. You noticed, I hope, that you only need to substitute "Iraq" and "Iraqis" for "Vietnam" and "Vietnamese".

This post in celebrating of all that Martin and Coretta King brought us as gifts. We owe it not only to them, but to the entire human race, to grow their spirit and works immeasurably. Don't wait for Christ to come again. He's already here. Part of him is in you, as is a part of Martin.

Post Script: I was saddened today by the news that my friend Peter Eichenberger was seriously injured in a bicycle accident on January 25th. He is recuperating after brain surgery at Wake Medical Center in Raleigh, NC. Go here to read his latest piece on the grass-roots relief effort in New Orleans' Lower Ninth Ward; here is a box in the "Indy Weekly" that encourages you to send your best wishes and hope for full recovery.

Be well, Peter.

Before you leave, please visit the P! Amazon Store and vote in the lastest P!oll