4.29.2006

A Cool Head in the Hotbed?

I don't trust John Negroponte. Period. There's alotta blood on this cat's hands, especially Central American blood. He led the militarization of Honduras and helped fund the Contras. He's intimately familiar with rightist death squads, and probably has never met a dictator he didn't like. He relieved Paul "Hot Foot" Bremer as US Ambassador in Baghdad, then was appointed to the position of Director of National Intelligence, or Uber-Spook. He's a cold-blooded and nasty man.

So I really don't know what I make of the position he's taking in the "Let's Nuke Iran" parade. Consortium News reports, in Robert Parry's "Target: Negroponte & Iran":
In a replay of the Iraqi weapons of mass destruction charade, neoconservative supporters of George W. Bush are pushing the U.S. intelligence community to take a more alarmist view about Iran’s nuclear program – only this time, the nation’s top spy John Negroponte is resisting the pressure unlike former CIA chief George Tenet . . .

In effect, the Director of National Intelligence was splashing cold water on the fevered assessment of Iran’s nuclear progress favored by the neoconservatives. Some Bush supporters are now complaining that Negroponte has shown disloyalty to the President by siding with intelligence analysts who reject the direst predictions on Iran . . .

While some observers expected Negroponte to stay a yes-man for Bush as Director of National Intelligence, others who knew Negroponte suspected that he was too smart and too proud to follow the path of Tenet, who is widely disdained inside the intelligence community for letting the analytic product be thoroughly politicized and corrupted.

Having demonstrated a measure of independence on Iran, Negroponte also is under attack for allegedly creating a bloated bureaucracy around his new office, which was established to address shortcomings exposed by the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks as well as the Iraq WMD intelligence failures . . .
Scary. Is there any possibility that John is just, well, you know, trying to do his job?? Stay tuned. And beware Greeks bearing gifts.

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4.28.2006

Friday Tagging: 042806

(Wherein the lazy blogger sneaks around, steals everybody else's posts, then directs you to them . . . It's cuz I don't have any cats these days)

You gotta see NewsHog's post of the Tony Snow publicity flic. Ghastly!! Eeeeeek!

This post at Stop Me . . . gives hope. Who's gonna put money where their mouth is, however?

I was wondering where this little twit has been hiding, but Justin Raimondo turned over a rock in Ohio:
It is "a steppingstone to war," said Rep. Dennis Kucinich, during the debate over the so-called Iran Freedom Support Act, and if this vote is any measure of the degree of congressional opposition to the looming prospect of war with Tehran, then we have a lot to worry about.

At American Leftist, Joe continues to bat 1.000 with " . . .at this point, if Karl Rove didn't exist the Democrats would have to invent him. If the Democrats fail to take the House and Senate this year they have precisely one group of politicians to blame and it isn't the Republicans." By the way, Joe . . . I really wish you'd put a permalink on your posts.

Georgia10 at dKos asks, "Republicans Involved In Lobbyist Sex Scandal At The Watergate Hotel?" Oooooooooo!! Goooooooey! Crunchy. Ho, ho, ho.

FEMA? Shit. The Doubleduh-Cheney Gang's philosophy of government is easily summarized: "If it ain't broke, break it. Once it's broke, fuck it."



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4.25.2006

Killing Us Hardly

The Freedom Rider, Margaret Kimberly, at the Black Commentator, writes, in "America's Last Days":
Does George W. Bush have the numbers 6, 6, and 6 tattooed on his head? In recent years it has become popular for every calamity, natural or man made, to be ascribed to the end times, the last days, Armageddon. If the end is near, the nation most responsible is the United States of America.

Throughout history human beings have competed with Mother Nature in the killing business, and humans win hands down. The Middle Passage, the American Indian holocaust, Stalin’s purges and Hitler’s concentration camps took out many more millions than bad weather, or shifting tectonic plates. If no one speaks up to stop Bush and does so very soon, that awful trend will continue.

The Bush administration has been openly threatening a military attack against Iran. Seymour Hersh recently wrote in the New Yorker that not only is the Bush administration preparing to attack Iran, but is planning to use nuclear weapons to do it. In this latest report, Hersh quotes sources who repeat the Bush messianic vision to “save” the people of Iran. If the Iranians will be liberated like the Iraqis were liberated, they are on their way to a living hell.

Hersh is not the first to report that the president is a megalomaniac hell bent on killing people in order to save them. Bush reportedly told Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas that he is getting his orders straight from God.

"God told me to strike at al Qaida and I struck them, and then he instructed me to strike at Saddam, which I did, and now I am determined to solve the problem in the Middle East.” It isn’t clear if God also recommended permanent bases, theft of resources, no bid contracts and Abu Ghraib.

There are obvious reasons to fear Hersh’s assertions about Bush. Equally frightening is the prospect that he will get whatever he wants from a spineless, bought-off Congress. One Congressional source tells Hersh, “There’s no pressure from Congress. The only political pressure is from the guys who want to do it.”

A psychotic president and a collaborationist Congress aren’t the only reasons to believe that the end is near. The corporate media will play their usual role and repeat GOP talking points instead of doing investigative reporting when we need it the most. They have played and replayed the drum beat for an attack on Iran. The New York Times and CNN were never in the habit of hanging on to every word from speeches given by Iranian presidents. Yet when Mahmoud Ahmadinajed said that Israel should be “wiped off the map” the quote was repeated endlessly. The fact that Israel is a nuclear power in no danger from Iran is seldom if ever mentioned.

We don’t need anonymous sources to have proof that most members of Congress will support a slaughter of the Iranian people. The still pathetic Senator John Kerry is a case in point. He still believes that going along with wars of aggression is a political winner . . .
Then comes Lew Rockwell.org, with "Time's Arrow: The Coming Nuclear Epiphany in Persia" by Chris Floyd.
Twelve hours. One circuit of the sun from horizon to horizon, one course of the moon from dusk to dawn. What was once a natural measurement for the daily round of human life is now a doom-laden interval between the voicing of an autocrat's brutal whim and the infliction of mass annihilation halfway around the world.

Twelve hours is the maximum time necessary for American bombers to gear up and launch an unprovoked sneak attack – a Pearl Harbor in reverse – against Iran, the Washington Post reports. The plan for this "global strike," which includes a very viable "nuclear option," was approved months ago, and is now in operation. The planes are already on continuous alert, making "nuclear delivery" practice runs along the Iranian border, as Sy Hersh reports in the New Yorker, and waiting only for the signal from President George W. Bush to drop their payloads of conventional and nuclear weapons on some 400 targets spread throughout the condemned land.

And when this attack comes – either as a stand-alone "knock-out blow" or else as the precursor to a full-scale, regime-changing invasion, like the earlier aggression in Iraq – there will be no warning, no declaration of war, no hearings, no public debate. The already issued orders governing the operation put the decision solely in the hands of the president: he picks up the phone, he says, "Go" – and in twelve hours' time, up to a million Iranians will be dead.

This potential death toll is not pacifist hyperbole; it comes from a National Academy of Sciences study sponsored by the Pentagon itself, as The Progressive reports. (Although Bush's military brass like to peddle the public lie that "we don't do body counts" of the enemy, in reality, like all good businessmen they keep precise accounts of their production outputs: i.e., corpses.) The Pentagon's NAS study calibrated the kill-rate from "bunker-busting" tactical nukes used to take out underground facilities – such as those which house much of Iran's nuclear power program . . .
The photograph is of the result of our last military foray against Teheran. There will be no pix of this one. To John Kerry and Hillary Clinton, I can say only, "fuck you."

Antidote, in full:
JEFFERSON'S MANUAL
According to Section 603 of Jefferson's Manual, "there are various methods of setting an impeachment in motion": 1) By charges made on the floor by a member of the House; 2) By charges preferred by a memorial filed by a House member; 3) By charges contained in a Resolution introduced by a House member; 4) By a message from the President; 5) By charges transmitted by a State legislature, or a grand jury; 5) By facts developed and reported by an investigating committee of the House.

According to Section 604 of the Manual, "[a] direct proposition to impeach is a question of high privilege in the House and at once supersedes business otherwise in order under the rules governing the order of business." It does not lose its privilege just because "a similar proposition has been made at a previous time during the same session of Congress." On the other hand, "a resolution simply proposing an investigation, even though impeachment may be a possible consequence, is not privileged." Where, however, "a resolution of investigation positively proposes impeachment or suggests that end, it has been admitted as of privilege."

The evidence supporting an impeachment resolution or a memorial suggesting an impeachment investigation may be based upon a variety of sources, including "common fame." (Section 304) "Common fame" includes information contained in newspaper and other media reports, as well as rumors commonly circulated in the community. The evidence upon which a resolution or memorial is based need not, therefore, be of the kind admissible and sufficient to prove a case in a court of law.

Once an impeachment resolution has been introduced or "charges suggesting impeachment have been made by memorial," the House may order an investigation at once or refer the charges to a Committee for examination and, if the Committee deems it appropriate for an investigation. (Section 605) The Committee may be "a select committee" or a "standing" one. In some instances the Committee has made its "inquiry ex parte," but "in the later practice the sentiment of committees has been in favor of permitting the accused to explain, present witnesses, cross-examine and be represented by counsel." (Section 606)

The purpose of the Committee investigation is to determine if there is sufficient evidence to charge an impeachable offense. If there is, then each "accusation" is to be "exhibited" as an "Article of Impeachment" and, if approved by the full House, "carried to the bar of the Senate" for trial with the House assuming the role of prosecutor. (Section 609)
Mr. Speaker??! Mr. Speaker!!!

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4.24.2006

Observation Post: 04242006

More warnings from Germany, France, the U.K., and Egypt concerning the unmitigated insanity of the US-Iran nukelar conflict. Nobody in Washington is listening.

The folks over at Stop Me Before I Vote Again report about a poll showing that John-Boy Kerry would beat Doubleduh 47% to 40% if an election were held today. Thank GOD an election is NOT being held today.

What will it take for active senior military to have the cojones to speak truth to power???

Karl Rove is running the Republican Party again. Diane Feinstein's husband is running the Democratic Party. Still waiting for an election to practice democracy? Consider the possibility that the final election was held in 2004. I smell smoke . . . oh, shit, it's the Reichstag!!!!

How 'bout this chilling little item from Consortium News . . .
Over the past five-plus years, the American people have gotten a taste of what a triumphant George W. Bush is like, as he basked in high approval ratings and asserted virtually unlimited powers as Commander in Chief. Now, the question is: How will Bush and his inner circle behave when cornered?

So far, the answer should send chills through today’s weakened American Republic. Bush and his team – faced with plunging poll numbers and cascading disclosures of wrongdoing – appear determined to punish and criminalize resistance to their regime.

That is the significance of recent threats from the administration and its supporters who bandy about terms like sedition, espionage and treason when referring to investigative journalists, government whistle-blowers and even retired military generals – critics who have exposed Executive Branch illegalities, incompetence and deceptions . . .
Maybe I can room with Sy Hersh.

Sudan? Sudan?? I thought Syria was next! What the fuck happened to Syria?! I'm gettin real damn confused.

Actually, The Doubleduh-Cheney Gang does have a troop withdrawal plan. All US military will soon be redeployed to strategic positions around Wshington, DC.

The quote of the millenium:
The narcissistic leader is the culmination and reification of his period, culture, and civilization. He is likely to rise to prominence in narcissistic societies.

The malignant narcissist invents and then projects a false, fictitious, self for the world to fear, or to admire. He maintains a tenuous grasp on reality to start with and this is further exacerbated by the trappings of power. The narcissist's grandiose self-delusions and fantasies of omnipotence and omniscience are supported by real life authority and the narcissist's predilection to surround himself with obsequious sycophants.

The narcissist's personality is so precariously balanced that he cannot tolerate even a hint of criticism and disagreement. Most narcissists are paranoid and suffer from ideas of reference (the delusion that they are being mocked or discussed when they are not). Thus, narcissists often regard themselves as "victims of persecution".

The narcissistic leader fosters and encourages a personality cult with all the hallmarks of an institutional religion: priesthood, rites, rituals, temples, worship, catechism, mythology. The leader is this religion's ascetic saint. He monastically denies himself earthly pleasures (or so he claims) in order to be able to dedicate himself fully to his calling.

The narcissistic leader is a monstrously inverted Jesus, sacrificing his life and denying himself so that his people - or humanity at large - should benefit. By surpassing and suppressing his humanity, the narcissistic leader became a distorted version of Nietzsche's "superman".


Did you know that Hillary Clinton served for five years on Wal-Mart's BOD?

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4.10.2006

Is the US headed for a military coup?


Sharing some dangerous thoughts . . .

My uncle John was the patriot's patriot. After serving as a Navy Commander near the end of WWII, he subsequently worked as a systems analyst as a civilian DoD employee for over forty years. His brother, my dad, was a lefty, blackballed for his views in the McCarthy area.

I had frequent conversations with John over the years. He was my Godfather, taking his sworn role in my life when my father died when I was thirteen. A Catholic Godfather in those days did his duty.

In the Vietnam years, John totally disowned me for over six years because of my own developing pacifist views and activities. Although he was a lifelong Democrat, born and raised in JFK country, he retired from the Navy in 1945 in San Diego and lived the rest of his life in Orange County.

By the time Dick Nixon was President, John had worked for DoD for about thirty years or so. It was beginning to show. John and I reconciled and began talking to each other again around the time the last choppers were lifting off from the US Embassy roof in Saigon. Soon after, when the military-industrial procurement scandals were breaking, John's patriotism did not waver, but he began to show and voice some pretty sophisticated facets of that patriotism. On several occasions, during our talks, John got a very fair-away look in his eyes, shaking his head almost imperceptibly at thoughts he just couldn't share with me yet. I found out later that what he felt most was betrayal.

John knew a lot about procurement, "consulting", and the well-oiled door that led from military service to private military contracting. Just before he retired he began to describe in graphic detail the abuses and downright thievery that happened right under his nose every day. After he retired, he told me that "the biggest regret I have is that I didn't blow the whistle while I was there". He said he felt like a coward and thought he had betrayed his country with his silence. He said, "we're still the greatest country on earth, but the folks who are running it are mostly crooks."

John died well before 9-11. But I know he would be outraged at The Doubleduh-Cheney Gang. He would damn Rummy to hell, I'm sure, and could muster up a searing rant at executive- and legislative-branch chickenhawks.

I wonder how many Johns there are today in the military and the MI complex. I've got a feeling there are quite a few and their numbers, I wager, are growing.

Time magazine today published a piece by former Marine Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Greg Newbold (former operations director for the joint chief's staff), entitled "Why Iraq Was a Mistake". Some excerpts:
From 2000 until October 2002, I was a Marine Corps lieutenant general and director of operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff. After 9/11, I was a witness and therefore a party to the actions that led us to the invasion of Iraq--an unnecessary war. Inside the military family, I made no secret of my view that the zealots' rationale for war made no sense. And I think I was outspoken enough to make those senior to me uncomfortable. But I now regret that I did not more openly challenge those who were determined to invade a country whose actions were peripheral to the real threat--al-Qaeda. I retired from the military four months before the invasion, in part because of my opposition to those who had used 9/11's tragedy to hijack our security policy. Until now, I have resisted speaking out in public. I've been silent long enough.

I am driven to action now by the missteps and misjudgments of the White House and the Pentagon, and by my many painful visits to our military hospitals. In those places, I have been both inspired and shaken by the broken bodies but unbroken spirits of soldiers, Marines and corpsmen returning from this war. The cost of flawed leadership continues to be paid in blood. The willingness of our forces to shoulder such a load should make it a sacred obligation for civilian and military leaders to get our defense policy right. They must be absolutely sure that the commitment is for a cause as honorable as the sacrifice.

With the encouragement of some still in positions of military leadership, I offer a challenge to those still in uniform: a leader's responsibility is to give voice to those who can't--or don't have the opportunity to--speak. Enlisted members of the armed forces swear their oath to those appointed over them; an officer swears an oath not to a person but to the Constitution. The distinction is important . . .

I will admit my own prejudice: my deep affection and respect are for those who volunteer to serve our nation and therefore shoulder, in those thin ranks, the nation's most sacred obligation of citizenship. To those of you who don't know, our country has never been served by a more competent and professional military. For that reason, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's recent statement that "we" made the "right strategic decisions" but made thousands of "tactical errors" is an outrage. It reflects an effort to obscure gross errors in strategy by shifting the blame for failure to those who have been resolute in fighting. The truth is, our forces are successful in spite of the strategic guidance they receive, not because of it . . .

Flaws in our civilians are one thing; the failure of the Pentagon's military leaders is quite another. Those are men who know the hard consequences of war but, with few exceptions, acted timidly when their voices urgently needed to be heard. When they knew the plan was flawed, saw intelligence distorted to justify a rationale for war, or witnessed arrogant micromanagement that at times crippled the military's effectiveness, many leaders who wore the uniform chose inaction. A few of the most senior officers actually supported the logic for war. Others were simply intimidated, while still others must have believed that the principle of obedience does not allow for respectful dissent. The consequence of the military's quiescence was that a fundamentally flawed plan was executed for an invented war, while pursuing the real enemy, al-Qaeda, became a secondary effort . . .

There have been exceptions, albeit uncommon, to the rule of silence among military leaders. Former Army Chief of Staff General Shinseki, when challenged to offer his professional opinion during prewar congressional testimony, suggested that more troops might be needed for the invasion's aftermath. The Secretary and Deputy Secretary of Defense castigated him in public and marginalized him in his remaining months in his post. Army General John Abizaid, head of Central Command, has been forceful in his views with appointed officials on strategy and micromanagement of the fight in Iraq--often with success. Marine Commandant General Mike Hagee steadfastly challenged plans to underfund, understaff and underequip his service as the Corps has struggled to sustain its fighting capability.

To be sure, the Bush Administration and senior military officials are not alone in their culpability. Members of Congress--from both parties--defaulted in fulfilling their constitutional responsibility for oversight. Many in the media saw the warning signs and heard cautionary tales before the invasion from wise observers like former Central Command chiefs Joe Hoar and Tony Zinni but gave insufficient weight to their views. These are the same news organizations that now downplay both the heroic and the constructive in Iraq . . .
Back in 1935, Marine General Smedley Butler wrote War is a Racket. This is a clip from the Forward:
War is just a racket. I wouldn't go to war again as I have done to protect some lousy investment of the bankers. There are only two things we should fight for. One is the defense of our homes and the other is the Bill of Rights. War for any other reason is simply a racket.

It may seem odd for me, a military man to adopt such a comparison. Truthfulness compels me to. I spent thirty-three years and four months in active military service as a member of this country's most agile military force, the Marine Corps. I served in all commissioned ranks from Second Lieutenant to Major-General. And during that period, I spent most of my time being a high class muscle-man for Big Business, for Wall Street and for the Bankers.

I suspected I was just part of a racket at the time. Now I am sure of it. Like all the members of the military profession, I never had a thought of my own until I left the service. My mental faculties remained in suspended animation while I obeyed the orders of higher-ups. This is typical with everyone in the military service.

I helped make Mexico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefits of Wall Street. I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. In China I helped to see to it that Standard Oil went its way unmolested.


In addition to Lt. Gen. Newbold, retired former high-level military figures who have launched scathing rebukes of the administration's failures include former CentCom commander Gen. Anthony Zinni and Gen. Paul Eaton, who headed-up the effort to retrain the Iraqi military after the invasion. Although he has never spoken publicly, it is reported by insiders that former CentCom commander Tommy Franks retired in 2003 after seeing the writing on the wall in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Most recently, Sy Hersh's upcoming article on the possibility that The Gang is planning to nuke Iran has really stirred the pot. As Think Progress reports:
A new report by Seymour Hersh finds that senior Bush administration officials are developing plans for a massive attack on Iran which could include nuclear weapons. Hersh points out that the Joint Chiefs of Staff — a panel of the highest-ranking military officials from each branch of the U.S. armed services — are strenuously opposed to the plan, so much so that some have threatened to resign if it goes forward:

[A] Pentagon adviser on the war on terror…confirmed that some senior officers and officials were considering resigning over the issue. “There are very strong sentiments within the military against brandishing nuclear weapons against other countries,” the adviser told me. “This goes to high levels.” The matter may soon reach a decisive point, he said, because the Joint Chiefs had agreed to give President Bush a formal recommendation stating that they are strongly opposed to considering the nuclear option for Iran. “The internal debate on this has hardened in recent weeks,” the adviser said. “And, if senior Pentagon officers express their opposition to the use of offensive nuclear weapons, then it will never happen.”
Throughout the history of this country there have been desertions and minor uprisings among the military, but never the threat of a military coup. But we live in interesting times. The military person must balance duty and conscience. It is altogether clear that Congress will not move to stop the neocon madness. How will the military leadership respond when more truth is exposed and it has to choose between loyalty to madmen and a sacred oath to defend the Constitution?

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4.09.2006

Sunday MUST READ: Nuking Ourselves?


From Richard at American Leftist comes one of the most thorough and dynamic analytical pieces of the Iran nuclear threat - not, of course, the threat posed by Iran (which is minimal at best), but the threat posed by The Doubleduh-Cheney Gang's determination to beat global warming in the race to demolish the human race.

I beg you, please read "It's a Tough Decision. But We Made It in Japan". Here are a couple of clips to get your brain engaged (the quotes may have a different primary source):
. . . America will be a pariah state.

The administration hopes that the use of nuclear bombs in this conflict will be viewed as "unavoidable" to save lives, ours and theirs. The world will not buy that interpretation. A cursory search on the Internet today makes it clear that it is already widely believed that the upcoming nuking of Iran is an event planned by the Bush administration (e.g., the Philip Giraldi story). Disclosures that will surely come after the fact will make this premeditation even more evident (like the Downing Street memos in the case of Iraq). The planned use of nuclear weapons against a non-nuclear state in the name of nuclear nonproliferation, based on false accusations and concocted scenarios, will not be condoned by the world.

In the case of Iraq, the realization that the invasion had been planned in advance and Americans had been lied to has led to public disenchantment with the Bush administration, yet it has not led to universal condemnation. Attacking Iran will be different, because the use of nukes will affect every man, woman, and child in the world. The world will regard the Bush administration as criminal. Because Americans elected Bush for a second term and did nothing to impede his actions, all Americans will share responsibility in the eyes of the world. Each of us could have done more to prevent this from happening.

This is likely to result in a worldwide shunning of everything American. A tidal wave of boycott America fervor is likely to result, and no matter how powerful America is today, the rest of the world acting together can bring America to its knees and spell the end of all dreams of a "New American Century." . . .

. . . Nuclear terrorism against America will become more likely.

The incentive for terrorist groups to use a nuclear weapon against America will be enormous after America uses nuclear weapons, even if only "small" ones, against Iran. No matter how much "counterproliferation" America undertakes, eventually a terrorist group will obtain or manufacture a nuclear bomb. And no matter how large a "deterrent" the American nuclear arsenal is, a single nuclear bombing in an American city will have devastating consequences.

Those who argue that nuclear terrorism will happen regardless of whether the U.S. nukes Iran or not should consider the fact that there has never been a chemical terrorist attack against America, despite the fact that chemical weapons have existed for a long time and shouldn't be too hard for terrorist groups to obtain. Could it be related to the fact that America does not use chemical weapons against others?

. . . Nuclear proliferation and global nuclear war may ensue.

The main reason why nuking Iran will affect every human being is that it will spell the end of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and lead to widespread nuclear proliferation. It will not matter how many eloquent speeches Bush gives afterwards explaining why it was "necessary." It will not matter if the next American president is a pacifist who vows never to do it again. It will not matter if think tanks and scientists and politicians and arms-control organizations and NGOs deplore it as a unique aberration of the Bush administration. The fact is, the entire American system will be seen as having conspired to let this happen.

After America has used a nuclear weapon against a non-nuclear country, all the speeches and studies and documents and excuses and promises will not change the facts. All countries will strive to acquire nuclear weapons as quickly as possible. America will prevent some from doing so by military force, but many others will succeed. With no remaining nuclear taboo, and many more countries with nuclear weapons (with a total power of 1 million Hiroshima bombs, hence the potential to destroy humanity many times over), does anybody doubt the outcome?
Thirty years ago (maybe more like forty) I thought the human race was evolving, that feminism was changing men, and all that shit. I thought backlash by cavemen would be only an amusing and short-lived phenomenon. I guess that I was just smoking too much dope. I also guess that if you don't believe in evolution, you don't get included. And still, all we get outta Washington is poor Russ Feingold crying in the wilderness and Cynthia McKinney slapping a rent-a-cop.

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4.07.2006

Friday Tagging: 040706

(Wherein the lazy blogger sneaks around, steals everybody else's posts, then directs you to them . . . It's cuz I don't have any cats these days)

From Booman Tribune, "Madmen are Suppressing the Truth about Global Warming", a small chunk:
Scientists doing climate research for the federal government say the Bush administration has made it hard for them to speak forthrightly to the public about global warming. The result, the researchers say, is a danger that Americans are not getting the full story on how the climate is changing.
Actually, you've been able to get the full truth here for quite awhile, but the more I push the truth here, the lower my hit numbers get. P! , I guess, is actually in the business of breeding American ostriches.

The Black Commentator has run several excellent pieces lately about right-wing African-American politicians and the concurrent instability of the historic left/progressive leadership base, including the Congressional Black Caucus. In the current on-line issue is an excellent piece about one Kasim Reed, Georgia State Senator, "Lawyer for the Rich and Racist". Small slice:
Let's be clear. Kasim Reed is no champion of working people in Georgia or anyplace else. Senator Reed is a corporate attorney, a partner in the transnational firm of Holland & Knight with offices in Palm Beach, Tel Aviv, metro DC, Atlanta, Beijing, and elsewhere. Holland & Knight is heavily involved in union busting, or as legal firms prefer to call it, "union avoidance" - advising employers how best to intimidate, coerce and selectively fire employees, how to bend, skirt and occasionally break the law to prevent formation of labor unions and break existing ones. The firm is a major anti-environmental player on the national stage, representing the chemical industry on Capitol Hill. It maintains deep connections with the Republican party, and its partners advise Republican state legislators on how best to disenfranchise black voters via the redistricting process in Georgia and other states.
While I'm in the vicinity, I just have to mention how disappointed I am in Cynthia McKinney. Although I love her voting record (even though she didn't vote along with Barbara Lee when Congress disappeared 0n 9/13/01), I think the whole thing this week is a combination of poor judgement and immature grandstanding. God, how I miss Ron Dellums! Let's hope John Conyers ends up as Judiciary Chair in '06 - then we'll see some real sparks fly.

Two years old and I just discovered it: I'm a great big fan of Bagdhad Burning, but she only posts once in awhile. Healing Iraq has lately caught my eye as the best "on the ground" blog on the occupation and civil war by an Iraqi.

I've seen a growing number of posts lately which effectively analyze why absolutely none of the neocon "war on terra" is anything but a total failure. One of the best sites for this is Against the War on Terror. Here's just a small example from "'Black Masked Ninjas' and Extraordinary Rendition":
The American creation of a global prison system, with an unknown numbers of individuals "disappeared," is a truly shocking feature of the war on terror. Yet, what's perhaps most disturbing about it is the way in which U.S. practices are premised on a completely inappropriate paradigm. In essence, American officials seem to imagine that the U.S. is facing a coherent guerrilla movement, not unlike those in Latin America and Southeast Asia during the Cold War. On their view, rather than nationally oriented actors, Islamic extremists are guerrillas oriented toward an global battlefield. The U.S. justifies mass detentions across the globe and the use of coercive interrogation at secret sites as necessary means of fighting this global guerrilla movement. The problem of course is obvious. We are simply not confronted by anything that resembles a guerrilla movement -- either in ideological, political, or structural coherence. Islamic extremism, in its many local permutations, is not an internationalized version of the Viet Cong. The tools of counterinsurgency are especially inappropriate -- for starters because there is no real political machinery to smash (not that we should be in the business of smashing guerilla movements anyhow).

As a result, the Administration finds itself detaining mostly innocent individuals, with little material or even ideological tie to the supposed "enemy." And of course, for Bush and company, the harder it is to find the "terrorists" the more devious and cunning they must be. Yet, the clear reason why secret detentions and illegal kidnappings have done little to destroy the fundamentalist threat is because the threat itself is marginal. Even before raising the legality of international prisons or the moral incoherence of promoting democracy through state violence, we can ask a more basic question. Is there an actual crisis that could vaguely justify the massive security apparatus in operation today? Since the answer is no, the U.S. in essence has let loose a wave of violence to fight an enemy that barely exists.
Of course, those of you who know also know that I staunchly believe that (1) the continued existence of "the terra-ist threat" is essential to forwarding the neocon/corporatist cause of globalism and that (2) the goal in Iraq was to destroy the country and grab the oil. The assholes have succeeded only in accomplishing the first.

Iran, of course, is next . . . and apparently sooner than later. Sy Hersh will soon publish a The New Yorker piece predicting The Doubleduh-Cheney Gang's "next big adventure".

Here's a prediction of my own: nothing substantial will come out "Plamegate", but "the Left" (read "DLC") will get very dizzy (and ultimately disappointed) from its attempts to apply Rovespin to the issue.

OK, that's it. Go read somebody who's got some real content, there, will yuh?!

(graffiti image belongs to the Grafitti Gallery at b-boys.com)

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4.05.2006

More About Broken Mirrors

Here are some excerpts from "Why Democrats Are At Least Half of the Problem (Stop Blaming Nader for the Failures of Gore and Kerry)" by Josef Hand-Boniakowsky at CounterPunch:
In a recent give and take email with a liberal, "progressive" Democrat in Vermont, I discovered what Democrats really feel about people who vote for third party candidates, and especially what they feel about Ralph Nader. 2006 is, after all, an election year, and we, the people, must elect Democrats to "take our country back". No? The talk-show hosts say so, especially Air America Radio, so it must be important. The exact line from the email that I received is,

I feel it is because people voted for Nader who not only have I lost all respect for, but I think he has a huge ego and now I honestly hate him as much as I hate Bush.

There you have it. Liberal, "progressive" Democrats hate Ralph Nader as much as they hate George W. Bush. Perhaps, some therapy is in order, as hate is a self-destructive emotion if left unchecked. It also does not win elections. I'm not, however, surprised at this outpouring of Democratic venom, as liberals and so-called progressives prefer to blame the loss of elections on everybody and everything, except that is, on the lackluster, uninspiring, boring, bumbling, stumbling, and problematic campaigns of their own candidates. Democrats prefer to blame their presidential candidates' ineptitude on others, such as Ralph Nader and the people who voted for him and his platform. Liberal, "progressive", Democrats fail to place the responsibility for getting G.W. Bush and Dick Cheney elected where it belongs, that is, onto the people who actually voted for George W. Bush and Dick Cheney at the polls. The elections of 2000 and 2004 were both the Democrats to lose. And, they lost them both. The reality of the Democratic Party's electoral losses are compounded by its inability to accept responsibility for them. Democrats prefer the blindness of hatred over the reality of their own failures. It was not Ralph Nader's fault that 62,040,606 people voted for Bush and Cheney in 2004. But, damn you Ralph, anyway!

I have some advice for liberal, "progressive", Democrats. Stop blaming Ralph Nader for John Kerry's crappy performance at the 2004 polls. Stop blaming third parties. Stop blaming the people who voted in step with their conscience for 3rd parties. Stop blaming people who did not vote, believing that elections are fixed or manipulated by big money. They are. Start working for democracy instead! Imagine! The educated, wealthy, well-healed, Heinz ketchup fortune, two-time Purple Heart recipient, candidate John Kerry, was unable to defeat a candidate who stumbled over his own words, and who could not prove participating in his military service. John Kerry lost to a candidate that had his inept lines supposedly pumped into his ear via a hidden radio device during the "debates". Way to go John! I am sorry, but I have no sympathy for liberal, "progressive", Democrats whose candidates do not enthuse and whose ideas are much like their opponent. Ralph Nader was not the problem in the 2000 election. It was Al Gore who won the election and then rolled over and played dead, and the Democratic Party played dead along with him for seven years. Ralph Nader was not the problem in 2004 either. John Kerry was. And Ralph Nader is not the problem now. The problem was, and is, the Democratic Party, and its candidates, like John Kerry, who try to out-Bush George Bush. John Kerry voted for the Iraq war. That makes him no better than his opponent. John Kerry turned his back on his antiwar veteran comrades. He smote his buddies, the Winter Soldiers, in an attempt to win the election. Shame on you John. Democrats prefer practicality, and it doesn't matter much if it comes in the form of betrayal. How does such betrayal make John Kerry any different than George W. Bush? Brian S. Willson states it clearly in his "Dear John" letter to John Kerry. See: See also a pictorial comparison of Kerry and Bush at my website. And the Democrats will do it again with Hillary Clinton in 2008 . . .

Dear Democrats: How dare liberal, "progressive", Democrats call someone like Ralph Nader a spoiler? What do you have against democracy? Yet when Bernie Sanders ran his early campaigns, the arguments against him being called a "spoiler" were aplenty. Shame on liberals. Shame on "progressives". Shame on you for giving Democrats the credibility they do not deserve. The Democrats are part of the same corrupt, wealthy, corporate cabal, the same gangsters that have taken over the country. They are the ones that empowered the executive branch to launch an illegal war, even though aware of the many lies and pretenses presented to the world. The rich, ruling elite always have their way at the expense of the working class. When was it ever any other way? Howard Zinn reveals the corruption well in his book, "The People's History of the United States." To believe that Democrats offer anything other than more corruption is buying into the lie . . .

The Democrats are projecting themselves as saviors in the elections of 2006 and 2008. Hardly. Watch for more Nader-like bashing. It's one of the few things Democrats do well.

Yes, I will vote for Ralph Nader, or someone else whose views and ideology are like my own, if the Democrats offer me no viable option. I will vote for third parties again if their issues are my issues, and if they speak what needs to be said. That is what democracy is all about. Or are Democrats that in name only?

Once again, an electoral cycle us upon us and the peace and social justice movements are being co-opted by the diversion called elections. And once again, Democrats will dish out and get more of the same. And, should their candidate(s) not win, they will blame everyone and everything except themselves. We are in this sad state of affairs today because election after election we succumb to the fraud of duopoly politics, i.e., a two party system that will always be the same if we keep playing the same game over and over again. And Democrats are one-half of that problem.
A few days ago, I asked the question, "Are All Our Mirrors Broken?" Hand-Boniakowsky's piece is just another way of saying it. Another question rises, though . . . how can we organize and empower the thousands (or more) of us who know we've been disenfranchised by the establishment parties?

I didn't vote for president in '04, because I concluded that there were no candidates (including Nader) I thought were qualified to be president. I'm not particularly interested in an "icon" as president, and that's what Nader was.

In '08, I will not vote for anyone who does not demonstrate support for the values stated here.

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4.04.2006

With No Further DeLay





See how you like it when someone else makes you his bitch, Tommieboy!


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4.03.2006

MUST READ: Notes on The Road Not Taken


Clips from "The Hyperpower Hype and Where It Took Us" by Tom Engelhardt of Tom Dispatch from Antiwar.com:
This [9-11] was – let's be blunt – an extraordinary accomplishment for a tiny band of men with one of the more extreme religious/political ideologies around; and, if the testimony under CIA interrogation of al-Qaeda's Khalid Sheik Mohammed is to be believed – summaries were released at the Moussaoui sentencing hearing – what happened seems to have stunned even him. ("According to the CIA summary, he said he 'had no idea that the damage of the first attack would be as catastrophic as it was.'")

And yet, so many years later, there have been no follow-up attacks here. This was obviously never the equivalent of breaking through military lines in war. There were no al-Qaeda troops poised to pour through that breach, ransack the rubble, and spread across New York; nor, like the Japanese at Pearl Harbor (to which the 9/11 assault was often compared), did al-Qaeda launch a simultaneous set of strikes elsewhere. Of this sort of activity the group was incapable. Such acts were far beyond its means . . .

Despite the limitless look of the destruction on Sept. 11, 2001, the dangers al-Qaeda posed were of a limited nature. After all, it took the group a long time to meticulously plan each of its attacks, whether on the WTC, or the USS Cole in a harbor in Yemen, or two U.S. embassies in Africa. Years could pass between major attacks. When Osama bin Laden, according to Khalid Sheik Mohammed's CIA testimony, pushed for launching the attack on the World Trade Center in May 2001, seven months after the waterborne assault on the USS Cole, Mohammed ignored him because they simply weren't ready.

Their attacks could be devastating locally, killing startling numbers, but that would be the end of matters for months or even years to come. Other than a finely tuned sense of the power of timing, theatrics, and publicity (which indicated just how "modern" a group calling for the return of a medieval Caliphate really was), the only thing al-Qaeda could brandish was an implicit futuristic threat: That someday they, or another group like them, might get their hands on an actual apocalyptic weapon, leaking out of the arsenals or labs of one of the two former Cold War superpowers or from those of proliferating lesser powers. Then they might create an actual Ground Zero, subjecting some city somewhere, possibly here, to a genuinely apocalyptic moment . . .

But of course nothing like this happened. In that terrible moment when a choice might have been made between the vision of apocalypse and the reality of al-Qaeda, between a malign version of the smoke-and-mirrors Wizard of Oz and the pathetic little man behind the curtain, the Bush administration opted for the vision in a major way. Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, and other top officials chose to pump up al-Qaeda into a global enemy worthy of a new Cold War, a generational struggle that might comfortably be filled with smaller, regime-change-oriented, "preventive" hot wars against hopelessly outgunned enemies who – unlike in those Cold War days – would have no other superpower to call on for aid . . .

On their part, Bush and his cohorts were all-too-ready to dance with this minor set of apocalypts, in part because they were themselves into fantasies of world domination – and considered themselves anything but mad. With visions of a "New Rome" – and a one-party democracy at home – dancing in their heads, they took that handy, terrifying image of the apocalypse in downtown New York and translated it into every sort of terror (including mushroom clouds threatening to go off over American cities and unmanned aerial vehicles spraying poisons along the East coast). In this way, they stampeded the American people and Congress into their crusade of choice.

The story of what followed you know well. Miraculously, al-Qaeda grew and the United States shrank. For one thing, it turned out that top American officials and the various neocons who worked for them or simply cheered them on from Washington's think-tanks and editorial pages, had been taken in by their own hype about American military power. They deeply believed in their pumped-up version of our hyper-strength, our ability to do anything we pleased in a world of midgets; and with the Soviet Union gone, if you just checked out military budgets and high-tech weapons programs, it might indeed look that way. Economically, however, the U.S. was far less strong than they imagined and its military power turned out to be far more impressive when held in reserve as a threat than when put to use in Iraq, where our Army would soon be stopped dead in its half-tracks.

In retrospect, the Bush administration badly misread the U.S. position in the world. Its officials, blinded by their own publicity releases on the nature of American power, were little short of self-delusional. And so, with unbearable self-confidence, the administration set out flailingly and, in just a few short years, began to create something like a landscape of ruins . . .

"Imperial overreach" is too fancy a term for what the Bush administration has actually done. While its officials have talked a great game when it came to achieving "victory" in Iraq and exporting democracy to the Middle East, its main exports have turned out to be mayhem and ruins. And those it can continue to export. With every new move, yet more rubble, yet more terror, and undoubtedly yet more terrorists in Iraq and, sooner or later, in the wider region will be created. This is where the most essential choices made by the president, vice president, and their chosen officials in the days after Sept. 11, 2001, have taken us.


Regardless of "terrorists", terror has clearly won.

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4.02.2006

Doubleduh-Cheney Gang Trying to Get Us All Killed

Incompetence? Treachery? Fascism? Death wish? Call it what you will, but we seem to be semi-conscious participants in a race between the next World War (assign whatever number you want, but it'll be the last one) and environmental tip-over. No matter which of the two teams you're on. The finish line is wherever you're standing when the race is over. And everyone gets the same prize . . . eternal fucking rest.

More and more scientists are presenting evidence that environmentally we are (1) already beyond the point of no return; that there is nothing we can do to make the biosphere healthy and (2) within a range of about twenty to fifty years of planetary cataclysm. Pacific beachfront property in Fargo just ain't that far away. What does the gummint suggest? Buy a big goddam boat! Oh, yeah . . . and a few o' dease here left over M-16s, rocket launchers, and Claymores.

Looks to me like The Gang wants to make sure they're the cataclysmic catalysts, however. Condi "Dark Vader" Rice and John "Fuck You" Bolton have clearly been tasked with getting everybody on the other side of the planet totally pissed off at and terrified of us and each other. Arms-makers and -dealers are appearing in droves at emergency wards with what looks like Viagra overdoses.

Since my readership has dwindled from "Large Mammal" to "Adorable Rodent" on the TLB scale over the past three months (so, I've got nuthin to lose), I'm gonna tell you what I really think is going on . . .

First, ah reckon that only about a couple million or so humans will "survive" either the environmental or nuclear apocalypse. About 90% of those will be "the broken rabble led by brutal warlords" that James Lovelock predicts in The Revenge of Gaia.

The Űber-Illuminati probably began figuring this out right around the time we were loading Fat Man and Little Boy into the bombbays. Since then they've been in the process of building "apocalypse-proof" survival centers, cornering cash, making sure they control all usable energy sources/resources on the planet, and keeping the whole of "inevitable reality" a secret.

Think about it, Mathilda . . . what better way to control the future than to blow it up and "start over"?

So, unless you were already convinced of it, you've concluded that I'm just a paranoic wacko. So be it. But, since you're not a paranoic wacko, would you give me the benefit of a chance of rehabilitation by telling me what in the hell can be gained by picking a nuke fight with the Iranian government, pissing off China big-time, and making sure India has enough nukes?

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