Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Here we go again

Scott Ritter, former UN weapons inspector and Time Magazine Man of the Year, writes:

03/30/05 "Aljazeera" - - Late last year, in the aftermath of the 2004 Presidential election, I was contacted by someone close to the Bush administration about the situation in Iraq. There was a growing concern inside the Bush administration, this source said, about the direction the occupation was going.

The Bush administration was keen on achieving some semblance of stability in Iraq before June 2005, I was told. When I asked why that date, the source dropped the bombshell: because that was when the Pentagon was told to be prepared to launch a massive aerial attack against Iran, Iraq's neighbour to the east, in order to destroy the Iranian nuclear programme.

Why June 2005?, I asked. 'The Israelis are concerned that if the Iranians get their nuclear enrichment programme up and running, then there will be no way to stop the Iranians from getting a nuclear weapon. June 2005 is seen as the decisive date.'

To be clear, the source did not say that President Bush had approved plans to bomb Iran in June 2005, as has been widely reported. The President had reviewed plans being prepared by the Pentagon to have the military capability in place by June 2005 for such an attack, if the President ordered. But when Secretary of State Condi Rice told America's European allies in February 2005, in response to press reports about a pending June 2005 American attack against Iran, she said that 'the question [of a military strike] is simply not on the agenda at this point -- we have diplomatic means to do this.'

President Bush himself followed up on Rice's statement by stating that 'This notion that the United States is getting ready to attack Iran is simply ridiculous.' He quickly added, 'Having said that, all options are on the table.'

In short, both the President and the Secretary of State were being honest, and disingenuous, at the same time.

Truth to be told, there is no American military strike on the agenda; that is, until June 2005. It was curious that no one in the American media took it upon themselves to confront the President or his Secretary of State about the June 2005 date, or for that matter the October 2004 review by the President of military plans to attack Iran in June 2005.

The American media today is sleepwalking towards an American war with Iran with all of the incompetence and lack of integrity that it displayed during a similar path trodden during the buildup to our current war with Iraq.

Seymor Hersch is vindicated, methinks, although at what cost, if this shit does go down? And will our death wish Righties be satisfied with more American body bags? Stay tuned.

The Social Security Issue

As recent polls are showing (everyone from Gallup to ABC to Zogby), the American public has pretty much seen through the Shrubbery and disagreed with him/it that SS needs to be scrubbed and rebottled. The "Main Stream Media" is another matter. Why haven't they asked the appropriate questions? Hmm?

Personally, I think they're just stupid, but that's a whole blog in itself. In the meantime, here's a take on the issue from Neiman Watchdog, a CPA-type dude who lays it on the line.

But members of the press, by and large, are still not getting at the real Social Security story, because they're not asking themselves the obvious follow-up question: What's the motive? If indeed the program isn't in trouble, and private accounts won't make things better − then why are Bush and associates so dead-set on transforming it?

Part of the answer is that letting individuals manage their own retirements is a key component of what Bush calls the "ownership society." That’s shorthand for a Republican and libertarian ideal in which taxes are low, government is small, and people supervise their own retirements and choose their own health insurance rather than depend on the government to do so...

Critics argue that Bush's vision of an ownership society would mainly benefit the wealthy and corporations – and would leave the poor, working poor and middle class in even worse shape. They believe there is great value in collective institutions, particularly when it comes to sharing risk and building a safety net for the unfortunate...

The other big motivating factor behind private accounts is that Bush and his associates understand that Social Security is full of liberal social engineering. Private accounts would undo a lot of it...

See all that social engineering at work? Bush and his associates surely see it. They see the government taking away their money and using it in ways beyond individuals' control – often to help other individuals who aren't sufficiently self-reliant. They see a system in which, with some notable exceptions, what you get is what you need. Finding that vaguely socialistic, they want to replace it with a system in which what you get is what you paid...

Bear in mind that the Shrub represents the true dinosaurs, schlumpfing in their leather chairs at the club, cigars aglow, plotting the retaking of the world from the Great Unwashed. They hate and despise us and to them, We Are the Enemy. They still dream of the land and cash they could have had if the Enlightenment hadn't happened.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Here's looking at you, kid ...

When you think about it, this whole Iraq mess is getting spookier and spookier, in the Orwellianess of it.

Just what the hell is going on in Fallouja anyway? Check this out. The rumors that I have heard indicate that Fallouja is a closed city, and this eyeball ID system is one way to insure that only approved people get in, or out.

These signs point to the possibility that Fallouja is a test site for further Gulag/incarceration techniques.

Reality check

OK, let's pay attention here, folks:

I said this before: the US dollar is falling in value against the yen, the euro and the pound. It will continue to fall and accelerate its fall. The reason is the US debt and the trade deficit, which presently stands at about 3 trillion US dollars and will grow to roughly 11 trillion in ten years or so at the current rate of taxation. The wild card, however, is that inflation actually drives that figure above and beyond the present, real, value of the dollar, hence the final figure in ten years will be something else, although much higher due to the "miracle of compound interest." Notice, also, that wages are relative, as are various tangible products, so "value" and "worth" are relative terms. Go here to see what your $2,000 stipend from SSI will be worth in 2042.

Our savings dollars aren't going to be worth spit, no matter what savings/retirement scheme you subscribe to.

Terri Schiavo, dead yet? No. Tom Delay? I wish.

What the Schiavo/Delay mess has shown us clearly (and maybe the rest of thinking America) is the crass and utterly craven deceitfullness that the Repugs operate by. I've said it before and I'll say it again: we cannnot argue with these madmen, they must be destroyed. They do not respond to reason, they are hell bent on an agenda of world domination on the one hand by the ultra-fundamentalists and on the other by the mega-corporations, with the Shrub sitting right smack in the center of the whole mess, grinning like Alfred E. Newman. Liberals have for too long operated on the assumption that conservatives think. Well they don't. Today they only react, and today they are reacting to the scenarios that propagandistes like Rove have laid out. Admittedly, Rove probably didn't have a thing to do with Schiavo; Delay and his buddies picked up on it like dogs after shit. They smell their own vomit and go after it.

Now, I said this before in a previous post, and it bears repeating:
This goes to my argument that this bi-partisan shit has got to stop. We keep hearing from Dems that they want to sit down and parlay with the Repugs. They just don't seem to get it through their thick heads that the Repugs don't want to bi- anything. They want to dismantle government, period, and if that means throwing grandma out of her retirement home, or turning this country into Sao Paulo, so be it.
Wake up! Carthage must be destroyed!

This is related to reports that are emerging that Italian journalist Guiliana Sgrena was targeted by a Special Forces assasination team because she was bringing out proof of American banned-chemical (CBW) use in the assult on Fallouja.

Calipari, the deputy head of SISMI and an experienced Iraqi expert, was accompanying freed hostage Giuliana Sgrena to Baghdad International Airport when their Toyota Corolla was fired on by well-trained U.S. sharpshooter assassins. Calipari was on the phone to the office of Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi in Rome, where his wife also works, when he was shot in the head. Sgrena and the driver, a Carabiniere officer, were injured in the attack.

Pentagon officials claim the car was speeding past a checkpoint and that shots were fired only into the engine block. The Italians claim the interior light in the car was on, the car was traveling at only 30 miles per hour, and prominently displayed the Italian flag. Italian intelligence officials also believe that the Americans identified the Italian vehicle because National Security Agency systems had intercepted Calipari's cell phone signals and triangulated its specific location.
Robert Fisk has reported on the rise of people killed at blockades, and attributes most, if not all, of them to the rise of "nervousness" on the part of the soldiers, being pumped full of tales of wave after wave of incoming "terrorists" by Rumsfeld and his cronies, so another journalist being shot at in Iraq is not that farfetched.
Now, I'm close to the military community, and I have inquired about the possibility that Delta units may be targeting foreign nationals, or others, on specific orders from the powers that be.
On the one hand, such as when reports circulated early in the war that oil pipelines were being blown by Special Forces units, I was pooh-poohed by people who should know. On the other, I have been assured that, on a case-by-case basis, there are Delta and other units that are perfectly capable, ready and willing to take out just about anyone. Period.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Could that be light at the end of this tunnel?

With all the broohaha about Terry Schiavo's final days this past week, the Repugs have truly outdone themselves, and the American public may have been getting their best raw look at the Shrubbery's death march politics.

Poll after poll has discovered what should have been obvious to even the dumbest Shrub dude: the American public, by and large, does not want the government to dictate life and death decisions to them. This isn't even a states' rights position; it's personal and very, very private. Further, it has become obvious that this isn't even a moral crusade, it's a political manuver to save House Majority Leader Tom DeLay's political, immoral, unethical ass and the American public knows it.

There is some hope, just a little bit, but some, that this may mark a the start of a turnaround in public awareness of the sheer oleaginous hypocrisy of the Corporate shills in Congress.

Following up on the elections in Iraq, William Blum has an interesting post on the so-called elections in Iraq recently.

... Imagine if during the Cold War, Hungary had held an "election" under Soviet occupation, in which the voters did not know the names of the candidates or what they stood for, and no candidate or party called for the withdrawal of Soviet troops. The American media would have had a field day poking fun at this farce.

Even more farcical was the presidential election in Afghanistan shortly before -- May I have the envelope, please ... The winner is Hamid Karzai, long-time resident in the United States, Washington's hand-picked, packaged, and groomed candidate, described by the Washington Post as "a known and respected figure at the State Department and National Security Council and on Capitol Hill."

Gore Vidal has some piquant words on the state of the Union in this wonderful and disturbing interview with Steve Perry:

... Well, let us say that the old American republic is well and truly dead. The institutions that we thought were eternal proved not to be. And that goes for the three departments of government, and it also goes for the Bill of Rights. So we're in uncharted territory. We're governed by public relations. Very little information gets to the people, thanks to the corruption and/or ineptitude of the media. Just look at this bankruptcy thing that went through--everybody in debt to credit cards, which is apparently 90 percent of the country, is in deep trouble. So the people are uninformed about what's being done in their name.

... If we don't have class interests officially, then therefore we have no political parties. What is the Republican Party? Well, it used to be the party of the small-town businessman, generally in the Middle West, generally sort of out of the mainstream. Very conservative. It now represents nothing but the gas and oil business. They own it. And the people who go to Congress are simply bought. They are lawyers who are paid to represent Halliburton, big oil, big banking. So the very rich corporate America has a party for itself, the Republican Party. The Democrats don't have much of anything but a kind of wistful style. They just want everyone to be happy, and politically correct at all times. Do not hurt other people's feelings. They spend so much time on political correctness that they haven't thought of what to do politically about anything. Like say "no" to these preemptive wars, which are against not only the whole world's take on war and peace, but against United States history. This is something new under the sun--that a president, just because he feels like it, can declare war on anybody. And Congress will go along with him, and the courts will support him. The founding fathers would be mortified if they saw what had happened to their handiwork, which wasn't very great to begin with but is now done for.

... Well, the Congress has ceded--which it cannot do--but it has ceded its power to declare war. That is written in the Constitution. It's the most important thing in the Constitution, ultimately. And having ceded that to the Executive Branch, he can declare war whenever he finds terrorism. Now, terrorism is a wonderful invention because it doesn't mean anything. It's an abstract noun. You can't have a war against an abstract noun; it's like having a war against dandruff. It's meaningless.

... Clinton just gave up. Also, to his credit, or rather, to explain him, the Republican Party realized that this was the most attractive politician since Franklin Roosevelt, and that he had a great, great hold over people. They also realized that if he got going, we really would have National Health--we would actually become a civilized country, which we are nowhere near. I mean, we're in the Stone Age again. He was working toward it, and they saw he had to be destroyed. Later they got a cock-sucking interlude to impeach him. If I were he, I would have called out the Army and sent Congress home.

CP: Really.

Vidal: Yes, really. They went beyond anything in the laws of impeachment. They have to do with the exercise of your powers as president, abuses of power as president. He wasn't abusing any powers. He was caught telling a little lie about sex, which you're not supposed to ask him about anyway, and he shouldn't have answered. So they use that: oh, perjury! Oh, it's terrible, a president who lies! Oh, God--how can we live any longer in Sodom and Gomorrah? You can play on the dumb-dumbs morning, noon, and night with stuff like that.

To read more about and by Gore Vidal, one of our most important critical thinkers on the American political scene, please visit these places: ,