Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Bush says Iraqis decided "not to go to civil war"

"We all recognise that there is violence, that there is sectarian violence. But the way I look at the situation is that the Iraqis took a look and decided not to go to civil war." - President of the United States George W. Bush.

Violence?What kind of violence do you want, Goat Boy? How about an average of 80 people a day assasinated. Every day. Shot in the back of the head and their bodies dumped for their families to find, flies buzzing around their corpses.

The Iraqis are already in a civil war.

GoatBoy is definitely certifiable and needs therapy. And while he's in therapy, maybe he could learn to speak proper English.

sectarian: Adhering or confined to the dogmatic limits of a sect or denomination; partisan.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Sail on, oh mighty Ship of state

Civil war in Iraq? Yes

The administration and pundits on both sides of the stay/go argument about Iraq keep repeating the lie that its hard to tell what’s going on in Iraq. Bull. Here’s the deal:

Yes, Virginia, it is a civil war. It’s low scale, but it is a war, and not very civil. It is a power struggle between Shi’a and Sunni, and nothing to do with us, whether we go or stay. The Kurds don’t care either way.

Yes, the winner ultimately is Iran, but Iran was the winner from about the end of the first year of our occupation. Recall that they had fought a real war - with trenches and nerve gas and everything but the kitchen sink – with Iraq for eight years prior to our arrival. Yes, there are Iranian agents in Iraq, and they are bad actors as far as we are concerned, but there is precious little that we can do about it, short of bombing Iran back into the Stone Age, or shipping over about 500,000 troops to occupy either country; not much of an option in any case.

Rather than stabilize the Middle East, we have created a snake’s nest of jihadists, seriously endangered the safety of Israel, and managed to alienate the entire planet in the process.

Bear in mind that we have a Senate majority leader in the person of Bill Frist, who has said, in another context, that the President “has done nothing illegal,” and so we have a Senate leadership blind to reality, an army that we are doing a damn good job of destroying our own selves by not relieving them in any kind of orderly fashion, a national treasury that is being bled dry because of this war, and a pissed-off and demoralized citizenry.

And you say that “staying the course” in Iraq is an option? What kind of nuts are you, exactly?

Not your father’s Republican party

Originally the Republican party was a collection of people concerned with fiscal responsibility, limited government, and dedicated to the advancement of civil rights and protection of the environment. Certainly there are many Republicans in my lifetime that I would count as towering figures - Eisenhower, Barry Goldwater, Pete McCloskey, Tom McClintock, and recently, Lincoln Chaffee - but not many.

As I survey the political scene today, I see a pathetic pack of venal and mendacious power mongers: Frist, Delay, Gingrich, the several Bush’s – it’s a long list. None of whom are what I would call a decent person. And no way in hell would I want to ‘have a beer’ with George Bush, jr., a sociopath of the first water.

Oddly enough, I think Strom Thurmond has become a decent person, morphing from a racist bigot into a world-class statesman, but that’s just my opinion; I know lots of people who would disagree with me on that.

We’re a long way from the decent, ordinary-businessman-turned-politician who was the bedrock representative of the Republican Party of the 1950’s. Instead, what we see now is a gang - dependent on a power base of radical Bible-pounding theocracy fanatics - waging war on the rest of the world, Islam in particular, and spending the people’s money like drunken sailors, driving this country into receivership, not to mention sabotaging the Constitution in the process.

Many of my friends are actual dyed-in-the-wool Republicans. To a man (and woman) they are shocked, dismayed, and confused about what has happened to their party. Where did these deficit monsters come from, they ask me. Not unkindly, I point out that they elected these egomaniacs.

In the other corner ...

Not that the Democrats are all that much better: bickering, rudderless, confused, afraid of being perceived as “weak” - which they certainly are - proving their spinelessness daily. The tough realists in their midst, Murtha, Feingold, Byrd, Conyers and a handful of others, are ignored or sidelined by the “leadership,” or criticized by self-serving political pundits.

It’s been said over and over that in a democracy the people get the government they deserve, but I cannot for the life of me see America as deserving of this entire crew of fanatics, war-mongering religious bigots, and near-sighted and craven politicos.

So, what to do, what to do? Well, there’s always the November elections, if Diebold can be made to behave, and Republican election commissioners can restrain themselves from hacking the ballot boxes. Good luck on that, I say.

There’s a new crop of Democrats (many of them war veterans) who deserve strong support, but no towering figures visible yet.

Third party? No help there: most Americans hate change, and there’s no money available to mount any kind of serious challenge in that direction; Hillary Clinton has vacuumed up all the spare cash, anyway. Which is crazy, because she doesn’t have a hope in hell of winning the presidency in our lifetimes, regardless of her monumental ego.

The only serious hope – and it’s a faint one - that I hold for this country is that corporate leaders put this government on notice that this country is headed straight for economic implosion and is going to take the planet down with it if somebody doesn’t wake up and steer the Ship of State in the right direction.

John Dean said in another context – but for similar reasons – that, “there’s a cancer on the presidency.” I would submit that there’s a gaping hole in the Ship of State, and I see no shipwrights, no navigators, and certainly no captains capable of saving her anytime soon.

Monday, March 20, 2006

European oil firms endorse California emissions initiative

The Bush administration – as well as American oil companies – may be fighting the concept of fossil fuel conservation, as well as the thought of finite petroleum resources, but apparently, the European companies think differently.

Once seen as nearly monolithic as regards oil pricing and the effects of noxious emissions, the oil industries of America and Europe have some major differences in their approach to conservation, alternative energy, and ultimately, their views on the impact of man’s activates on this planet.

Dutch Shell and British Petroleum (BP markets under the name ARCO in California) have both announced their intentions to sign on to California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s fossil fuel auto emissions initiative, part of which is a voluntary registry of greenhouse gas emissions.

While the feds and American oil companies have been fighting tooth and nail to deny responsibility for greenhouse emissions or conform to the basic tenets of the Kyoto Accords, the European petroleum giants have not only endorsed Arnold’s initiative, they have put some serious cash toward the development of alternative energy manufacturing facilities.

California has the lowest permissible emissions quotas in the United States already, and the feds and American companies are deliberately holding back in conforming to the state’s regulations.

More at: “Gov.’s Plan Divides Oil firms,” (LA Times).

Sunday, March 19, 2006

The indecent speed of the collapse

Who would have thought that the American experiment in republican democracy could collapse so quickly?

Two hundred and eighteen years ago, after a long, hot and sweltering Philadelphia summer, fifty five men – delegates from every state in the newly-free colonial possessions of the Crown, gathered in from all the corners of the young country – worked out a new constitution for their country. Not exactly the job they had been sent to this New England city to accomplish, but they felt that the country deserved better than their original commission; that the long years of the Revolution deserved better; that the colonists who had starved, fought, killed and died in that Revolution deserved better; that the nascent American people who had sent them to this meeting hall had expected better. And so these men delivered the best that they had in them. Indeed, these men were themselves the best that the states had to offer, as Jefferson himself, from his ministership in Paris, wrote: “It really is an assembly of demigods.”

They had brought forth the Constitution of the new United States of America - the framework of a republican government for the ages, a New Order of the Ages, as they dubbed it, having adopted that slogan as a motto for their new nation.

The new Constitution was printed up and copies circulated. It was published in every newspaper and tabloid in the country - every single word of it - with signatures attached. There was not a citizen or slave in the entire country who had not heard of it, and everyone who could read - which at that time included some 90% of the free population - read it.

This was no rush job. It was discussed by every citizen. It was the subject of public debate in taverns, city squares, private homes great and small, church meetings, state assemblies and letters to the editor. The debates and discussions lasted twelve months.

In due course, it was ratified by every state in the union as the supreme law of the land, and everyone elected to public office then took - and even today takes - an oath to “preserve and protect the Constitution of the United States of America,” which has as its opening line:

“We the People ... do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

That one phrase summed it up, as far as the people were concerned: it wasn’t “ordained” by Thomas Jefferson, or Tom Paine, or James Madison or Patrick Henry or even George Washington. No, this document had no force unless and until it was ordained by the People. This was the People’s Constitution, and this document was the foundation of the People’s government.

It served the people well for 214 years: immediately through another British war, then a cataclysmic Civil War, the Spanish American War, crippling economic depressions, two World Wars, and the Cold War. Guiding this nation just fine, it preserved and protected the People’s civil liberties just as designed for over two hundred years, and then it hit a snag in the shape of a smirking, truculent, self-aggrandizing little prick of a man who has decided that he calls the shots, and piss on the People.

This inarticulate ex-drunk, this smirking, swaggering president, and – as he is so fond of reminding us, this “Commander in Chief” – has decided that he doesn’t want or need to play by the People’s rules any more, so he has started making up his own rules. And he has defied anyone, especially Congress (which is the elected representative of the People), to make him play by the rules that everybody else agreed to so long ago in writing and by sworn oath and over many a dead body.

When children pull this kind of stunt, there is usually an adult around that someone can appeal to, to make the bully - for surely that is what this president is – to make this bully play by the rules that were originally agreed upon and paid for so dearly.

But these are not kids, this is not a children’s game, and there are, apparently, no adults around to force this bully - this pissant - to cease his illegal power-grabbing as well as his outrageous and immoral crimes against humanity and the rule of law.

In less than five years, this bully has taken us back to the age of the Spanish Inquisition, to the rack and water torture, to the gag and the electric whip. He has, in effect, thrown over the Constitution with his invention of the “unitary” executive; a concept, by the way, that is found nowhere in the language of the Federalist Papers, or any of the writings of the Framers of the Constitution themselves.

But he didn’t do it alone; this president is far too dumb for that singular accomplishment. No, he has been aided and abetted by a coterie of like-minded cronies, assistants, lawyers, and a mendacious vice-president, as well as an active majority of the very Congress itself - the alleged representatives of the People.
He has been helped by the silence of its members for the most part, and by the active participation in his schemes of power for the other part.

And with the notable exception of a mere handful of Senators and Congressmen, this Congress has voted overwhelming in favor of the centralization of power in the hands of a Booby.

Astonishingly, these members of Congress come from both sides of the aisle, and represent every faction and state in the Union. Their motives range from crass greed to venal bigotry to fear for their positions of power. They have no shame and no honor.

Now they have assembled a “Blue Ribbon” panel to decide the future course of the war in Iraq, thus abandoning any pretense of responsibility for decision-making at all.

While I like to think that this Constitution is bigger than this present group of hacks, turncoats and mealy-mouths cowards, I still fear for the future of this Republic; as I survey the American landscape, I see a nation of sheep, bemoaning the stupidity of their leadership, yet loath to throw the bums out.

Perhaps this “unitary” executive is the true will of the People, and the Constitution is dead in all but name.

And it only took five years.

Whatever happened to American journalism?

This administration, this Republican Party, and now I fear, the American press have so damaged the American psyche, that even I am succumbing to a near-mortal ennui.

After nearly four years of lies and cover-ups and despite the certified exposure of the real reasons for our going into Iraq – the American press lies flat on the floor like a doormat for this government.

In scanning a recent story in the Los Angeles Times ("In a Battle of Wits, Iraq's Insurgency Mastermind Stays a Step Ahead of US"), Robert Fisk notes the sources quoted by the paper’s reporters in a front page story:


Here are the sources - on pages one and 10 for the yarn spun by reporters Josh Meyer and Mark Mazzetti: "US officials said", "said one US Justice Department counter-terrorism official", "Officials ... said", "those officials said", "the officials confirmed", "American officials complained", "the US officials stressed", "US authorities believe", "said one senior US intelligence official", "US officials said", "Jordanian officials ... said" - here, at least is some light relief - "several US officials said", "the US officials said", "American officials said", "officials say", "say US officials", "US officials said", "one US counter-terrorism official said".


“Journalism?” I doubt it. And bloggers are the ones being called amateurs.