Wednesday, June 28, 2006


Gotta get some links together for this...but for now...

I'd like to stop the proliferation of nuclear weapons--who wouldn't? They kill indiscriminately at the time of their deployment and for years afterward. I'd like to see nuclear weapons disappear from the face of the earth.

But realistically, that ain't gonna happen. But just as realistically, the conventional wisdom that says only the countries that currently have nuclear weapons will ever be allowed to have them is an insult a perceived threat to nations that don't currently have them. Obviously, it's a complicated problem.

However, the Bush administration's constant invocation of the principle of non-proliferation is, as Rumsfeld would say, decidedly unhelpful. It is hypocritical on so many levels to pretend to be working to stop proliferation given the following:

1. India/Israel
2. Development of new, "tactical" nuclear weapons
3. Always saying that every option, including the nuclear option, is "on the table"
4. Use of depleted uranium
5. Starting, or threatening to start, major wars/occupations/crippling sanctions in order to stop proliferation

The doctrine of American "exceptionalism" blinds a lot of people--in America--to this hypocrisy. America, the trope goes, will only use its military strength (including nuclear weapons) for benevolent purposes. This idea is even tinged with the suggestion that America is inherently unable to do anything in the world that is not for benevolent purposes, so free and democratic and Christianized are we.

To cite but one example, try telling that stuff to the family of the pregnant Iraqi woman who was killed at an American checkpoint, which ultimately wouldn't have been there had we not been supposedly trying to stop the proliferation of nuclear weapons. Surely the targets of American threats are all too aware of the hypocrisy involved when Bush and the neocons say they're concerned about dirty bombs, nuclear terrorism, and so forth and only want to be at peace.

That's what is such a sick joke with what's happening in this current run-up to the coming military confrontation with Iran. We claim that the world can't live with a nuclear Iran, that if Iran gets nukes, then Turkey and Saudi Arabia will feel that they, too, will have to get them, and so on.

And here's my larger point in considering all this: what kind of logical sense does it make to start a war if your stated goal is supposedly to prevent a war? In other words, if you really want peace, you don't start a war now to not have a war in the future--because then you have war either way. And in fact, the future war you fear may never actually materialize.

Besides, wasn't the building of the world's largest, most expensive nuclear arsenal sold to us on the premise that it would actually decrease the threat of war? Because we'd be so powerful that no one would dare mess with us because they'd know we'd have power to utterly destroy anyone who tried?

That's another reason why it is so bizarre to see the media referring to the "Iranian threat." Don't you imagine that on Iranian TV, they have iconography that refers to the "American threat?" And wouldn't you agree that the threat Iran faces from America is multitudes greater than the threat America faces from Iran--who doesn't have even one measly nuclear weapon wherease we have thousands upon thousands?

Not only that, we are the only country in the history of the world that has ever actually used nuclear weapons in a war. I thought the idea of all our military spending over the years was to achieve "peace through superior firepower." Well, we definitely have superior firepower--no one in the world doubts that. So where's the fucking peace?

Some might suggest that access to oil and the propping up of the petrodollar are worth all this expense. But I don't see it that way. If the Middle East cuts off our access to oil, so what? We already know that we can run vehicles on corn oil, so what's the problem? I'd wager the "problem" is this: oil companies are obviously very accustomed to making gigantic, record, historical profits, and oil companies don't grow corn, if you see what I'm saying. And on top of all that, of course, former oilmen are running our country.

Why are we allowing this sick, immoral, unholy, deadly game to go on? Why don't we just say, "Keep your oil, we're going to switch to renewable energy"? Obviously because there's no powerful lobby for renewable energy.

Please, let's use peaceful methods to achieve peace with Iran and every other country in the world. Don't start real wars in the present to put a stop to fictitious possible wars in the future. Let's try to stop the proliferation of nuclear weapons, that's a good thing. But let's do it with the recognition that we have the most nuclear weapons of anyone in the world and have used them in battle, and maybe make concessions of our own regarding the possession and use of such death tools.

Oh David Albright has written an article saying that Iran could have a nuclear weapon by 2009. This march to war with Iran is being stepped up every day, it now seems.

Let's review what's been happening (not strictly chronological):

1. Iran is declared part of the "axis of evil" in 2002 SOTU address
2. Bush refuses Iran's offer of negotiations in 2003
3. Ahmadinejad is elected and is said to have been instrumental in the 1979 embassy takeover (this is later dismissed by the CIA)
4. Iran announces opening of euro-denominated oil bourse (which as of this writing is still not operational)
5. NIE says in August 2005 that Iran is at least 10 years away from an atomic weapon
6. Ahmadinejad supposedly calls for the destruction of Israel and supposedly denies the Holocaust (this is later revealed, by Juan Cole to have been due to mistranslations of what Ahmadinejad said)
7. Iran reveals that it has enriched uranium which will be used for peaceful energy production, which is its right both in nature and under the non-proliferation treaty to which it is a signatory, unlike Israel

8. Ahmadinejad sends a letter to Bush to try to jumpstart a dialogue--Bush turns up his nose
9. Khamenei also sends a letter to Bush, which is mostly ignored by the Western press and also offers dialogue l
10. U.S. and EU offer Iran a secret "package of incentives" supposedly to try to get Iran to stop enriching uranium, but most details are purposely kept secret so as to cast the proposal in the best light in the eyes of the Western media
11. Iran says deal is progress, but notes "ambiguities" in details
12. Bush and neotheocons in press and government say Iran should respond sooner than later and that offer is "reasonable"
13. Iran says they'll respond in a couple months
14. Casey, U.S. commander in Iraq, says Iran is helping insurgency
15. Khamenei, the Iranian who will have the final say on the proposal, says Iran does not need negotiations and that uranium enrichment for peaceful purposes is fully within Iran's rights
16. A day later, David Albright says Iran could have a nuclear weapon within 3 years

Tuesday, June 27, 2006


Khamenei, the head of Iran, said "Negotiating with America does not have any benefit for us and we do not need such negotiations." He hit the nail right on the head--there is no benefit for Iran in this mysterious "offer" that is "backed by six world powers" as this same article dutifully points out.

But John "The Mustache" Bolton got his feelings hurt by this statement of Khamenei's.
Bolton said "We think Iran owes us a response right now, basically." Why does Iran "owe" us anything? Bolton would have us believe that because the U.S. and the EU and whoever else dreamt up some bullshit that they themselves would never accept and are now trying to shove this steaming pile down Iran's throat that now Iran owes us something?

Khamenei Is Being Reasonable

Here's what Khamenei went on to say about talking with the U.S. and EU:

"We will not negotiate with anybody on our certain right to reach and use nuclear technology. However, if they recognize this right for us, we are prepared to talk about international controls, supervision and guarantees, and the grounds for such negotiations have been prepared," Khamenei said.

See, all he's saying is that he wants the world to recognize Iran's right to have nuclear technology. Surely the Western countries would not be so hypocritical as to suggest that Iran should do as they say and not as they do. Surely...not...

The Washington Post article again dutifully points out that while Iranians assert that they have the right to nuclear development, Western nations say that is "unacceptable." Here's the quote:

Iranian officials have said Iran will not back down on what they say is Iran's right to produce nuclear fuel, a demand Western nations have said is unacceptable.

Whatever. Again, I'm just trying to document the steps leading up to Operation Petrodollar Prop-Up. Mostly for my own edification, hopefully it does something for you also, dear reader.

Monday, June 26, 2006


Oh for Pete's sake...this is so aggravating to have to constantly respond to this shit. Bush and Cheney again trot out the old "we're at war" canard (through Tony Snowjob) regarding the press coverage of a CIA-Treasury Dept. program that sifts through bank transactions that supposedly helps catch "terrorists."

Cheney in particular comes off like he thinks he's America's daddy or America's study hall teacher, saying that the New York Times "had been asked not to publish" such information by "senior administration officials." Cheney needs to get a grip--there's a reason we have a First Amendment, battered and bruised though it may be.

And Snow had the best comments of all:

That’s what this is all about. It’s about what we can do in a time of war.
Traditionally in this country in a time of war members of the press have acknowledged that the commander in chief, in the exercise of his powers, sometimes has to do things secretly in order to protect the public. This is a highly unusual departure. It’s interesting; the Times talking about this program having been a departure from previous banking efforts. This is also a departure from the longstanding traditions here in the United States.

Oh yeah, "it's about what we can do in a time of war"--that's Bush's golden ticket, it's where his bread is buttered, and it's the only thing standing between him and certain impeachment. And this "tradition" that he refers to of the press allowing the president to do things in secret "in order to protect the public"--when has that ever been a tradition in America? Was it a tradition when the My Lai massacre was uncovered? Was it a tradition when the Pentagon Papers were published? Was it a tradition when the Clinton/Lewinsky affair was revealed?

Fuck that shit--they aren't interested in "protecting the public." They're only interested in protecting their profits, their power, and their cowardly asses from criminal prosecution. This kind of putrid nonsense that Snow is spewing is the most anti-American bullshit that I can think of.

The Press Couldn't Be Further Up Bush's Ass

I mean, for god's sake, the press couldn't have a more torrid love affair with Herr Bush. One journalist even admitted that she and her colleagues were "suckers" for stunts like Bush's recent 5-hour trip to Baghdad.

I mean, the press says what Bush tells them to say. For crying out loud, going back to what Cheney was whining about above--that his goons asked the NYT not to publish this new banking story--he also made reference to the fact that the NYT was asked not to publish the NSA wiretapping story.

And you know what? They didn't!!! For a whole motherfucking year!! They knew about the program even before the 2004 election and they agreed to not run the story then!! If that isn't a compliant, lapdog press that serves power instead of the people, I don't know what the hell is! I mean, the NYT helped Bush get re-elected and now he wants to dump on them.

And yet the Cheney administration is still not satisfied. And the theocons want to investigate and prosecute journalists. All because "we're at war." Good people, this is too much. It's too much.

We must end the occupation of Iraq and not start a war with Iran if the Constitution is to survive. It's that serious.

Thursday, June 22, 2006


With Gen. Casey accusing Iran of helping violent Shiite groups. Here's a quote:

WASHINGTON Iran has stepped up its support for violent Shiite groups in Iraq and is providing the weapons and training so they can attack American troops, the top American commander in Iraq said Thursday.

"They are using surrogates to conduct terrorist operations in Iraq both against us and against the Iraqi people," the commander, Gen. George W. Casey Jr., told reporters. "It is decidedly unhelpful." He said that the Iranian assistance had increased since January and that this had emerged as an important factor in weighing further reductions in American forces in Iraq.

General Casey's comments were his most forceful and explicit criticism of Iran's involvement in Iraq, and came at a sensitive time in American-Iranian relations. The Bush administration has offered to conduct direct talks with Iran in an effort to persuade it to abandon its suspected nuclear weapons program.

My God, there's so much about that last paragraph that is revealing...I don't even have to time to go into it. But suffice to say it's stenography, not journalism. Casey goes on to say that helping the "insurgents" in Iraq to hurt the U.S. is the official policy of Tehran.

And this, along with Iran's certain eventual refusal of "the offer," will be the talking point: Iran helps the violent terrorists in Iraq, so we have to invade (or bomb, or do regime change, or whatever).

But what evidence is there for this charge except Casey's say-so? Would a Bush military man help convince the public of something that Bush wanted him to even if there was scant, conflicting evidence with many caveats to support that general's claim? Perish the thought.

We're doomed...

Wednesday, June 21, 2006


Bush is at it again, pushing the idea that the proposal to Iran (in which they'd have to suspend uranium enrichment if they agree to certain conditions) is "reasonable.":

VIENNA (Reuters) - President Bush said on Wednesday Iran's plan to reply by late August to a big power offer of incentives to halt nuclear work was "an awful
long time for a reasonable answer".

"It should not take the Iranians that long to analyze what is a reasonable deal," Bush told a news conference after talks with European Union leaders in Vienna.

"It shouldn't take the Iranians that long to analyze what is a reasonable deal. I said weeks, not months. I believe that's what the other partners (say too)," he added, referring to Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China.

So the trap has been set and is in the process of being sprung. Here's how it's working--1) make offer that we know will be refused, 2) while other party is considering offer, repeatedly refer to offer as "reasonable", and 3) when offer is ultimately refused altogether (or with caveats), use refusal of offer you knew to be unreasonable to begin with as a way to show how supposedly "unreasonable" the other party is/was all along.

The Offer

But what do we even know about this "reasonable" offer? Not much, and of course, that's intentional--if the parts of the offer that we know Iran will refuse were public, the trap would never work. We only know the parts that seem "reasonable," as this Reuters article points out:

The proposal, which has not been made public, would provide Iran with a new facility to stockpile nuclear fuel, deletes a reference in an earlier draft to guaranteeing Iran's "territorial integrity" and proposes an unofficial regional security forum, diplomats said.

It also offers Iran a light-water nuclear power reactor for which Europeans or Russians are expected to be the main technology suppliers, while the United States provides legal clearances for American-made components and agrees not to invoke U.S. laws sanctioning foreign firms for doing business in Iran.

Other provisions includes permission for Iran to purchase U.S. and European civilian airplanes and spare parts and to buy U.S. agricultural technology.

European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana delivered the offer to Tehran Tuesday.

McCormack refused to say specifically if Solana laid out penalties as
well as the benefits of the deal in his meetings.

Note that the proposal "has not been made public" and that the guy who told this reporter about the guy who delivered the offer to Iran "refused to say specifically" what the exact details of the offer are.

That's so that when Iran ultimately refuses the offer in whole or in part, the neocons/theocons can hit the airwaves, talking incessantly about how the refusal proves how "unreasonable" Iran is and how we have to stop them from getting a nuclear weapon, even though our own National Intelligence Estimate from last year says that Iran is at least 10 years away from one.

Why I'm Trying To Follow This Closely

And that's why I'm trying to document this--so that when all the aforementioned things happen, you and I will not be caught unawares. The war pundits will say "Iran refused our very reasonable offer" as proof that we have to invade to stop their "mad" schemes. And you and I will be able to call bullshit on that and say "how do you know the offer was reasonable--it was never made public in full, only a few details were carefully and selectively leaked to cast the offer in the best light in the minds of the American public."

And not only that, we now know that Bush refused to enter into talks with Iran in 2003 when the Iranians were making overtures to have that happen. In fact, at that time, Iran was willing to negotiate everything--nuclear power, the works:

Just after the lightning takeover of Baghdad by U.S. forces three years ago, an
unusual two-page document spewed out of a fax machine at the Near East bureau of
the State Department. It was a proposal from Iran for a broad dialogue with the United States, and the fax suggested everything was on the table -- including full cooperation on nuclear programs, acceptance of Israel and the termination of Iranian support for Palestinian militant groups.

But top Bush administration officials, convinced the Iranian government was on the verge of collapse, belittled the initiative. Instead, they formally complained to the
Swiss ambassador who had sent the fax with a cover letter certifying it as a
genuine proposal supported by key power centers in Iran, former administration
officials said.

Note that now that Iran has announced that they've finally enriched uranium, that's when Bush wants to enter talks and make a bad faith offer. And that's why Iran will refuse the current offer--they've already been able to enrich uranium on their own and don't want to sacrifice their sovereignty in order to have another country do it for them, whereas they might have been willing to agree to that before this year.

Sounds Familiar

This all sounds frighteningly familar--remember when Bush had three separate opportunities to get Zarqawi, but refused them all--they knew they'd need a way to suggest a nonexistent connection between al Qaida and Saddam, and they knew they'd need some bad guys to demonize once the war got going. In the same way, all of this that is now happening with Iran could have been avoided if only Bush had gone to the table with Iraq 3 years ago.

But Bush doesn't want negotiations--that doesn't make you a "war president." Bush wants war, war, and more war, because it gives him a chance to drain the U.S. treasury, cut domestic spending, make him and his party look tough, and given he and his party an excuse to crack down on democracy at home.

And one last thing, as far as "reasonable" being used before, check out this golden oldie of Bush's, when he claimed that Saddam wouldn't let inspectors in:

The larger point is, and the fundamental question is, did Saddam Hussein have a weapons program? And the answer is, absolutely. And we gave him a chance to allow the inspectors in, and he wouldn't let them in. And, therefore, after a reasonable request, we decided to remove him from power, along with other nations, so as to make sure he was not a threat to the United States and our friends and allies in the region. I firmly believe the decisions we made will make America more secure and the world more peaceful.

That's the whole trap and Republican "war president" strategy in a nutshell: make a "reasonable" request we know will be refused, then use that refusal (or in Saddam's case, just pretend he refused) as an excuse to start a war. Which is an excuse to roll back the New Deal and everything we hold dear in this country.

Good night.

Monday, June 19, 2006


Mein Gott! I can't believe that Bush is doing exactly what I predicted. I guess this is phase two of the Operation Iran Liberation project. Here's what I said on June 7:

"However, the Iranians are not going to accept the deal and Bush and Rice and everyone involved knows they aren’t going to accept it. The whole point of this–the con job I referred to earlier–is that when the Iranians inevitably do refuse the deal, that will be the next anti-Iran talking point. We’re reasonable and they aren’t. The security council offered them this sweet deal and they refused it. So we have to bomb and/or invade."

Here's what Bush said today:

"I've a message for the Iranian regime: America and our partners are united. We have presented a reasonable offer. Iran's leaders should see our proposal for what it is -- an historic opportunity to set their country on a better course. If Iran's leaders want peace and prosperity and a more hopeful future for their people, they should accept our offer, abandon any ambitions to obtain nuclear weapons, and come into compliance with their international obligations."

We know that Iran's supreme leader has already said that Iran will not "back down" from obtaining nuclear technology:

"Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei vowed Thursday that Iran would never back down on its nuclear program and dismissed the threat of U.N. Security Council sanctions.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran will not succumb to these pressures," state television quoted Khamenei as saying.

Speaking to Iranian nuclear experts in Tehran, Khamenei said the development of nuclear technology was more important than oil extraction _ the source of about 80 percent of Iran's foreign exchange.

"Let me tell you, the importance of achieving and using nuclear energy is higher than oil exploration for our country," Khamenei said."

Of course, Iranian President Ahmadenijad has said that the U.S. offer is encouraging, but that's because he's "good cop" to Khamenei's "bad cop." And Khamenei is the one who will ultimately make the decision about the West's offer.

If I Were Iran

If I were Iran, I would not accept this offer. If you were Iran, you would not accept this offer. So why should anyone expect Iran to take this offer?

As far as I can tell, the details of the offer are still secret, though leaks (surely selective and official to put the offer in the best light in the Western press) have told us that the U.S. is offering "some nuclear technology." That's because this offer is a trap to turn world opinion against Iran so that the U.S. can make a case for invasion.

Don't be surprised when the Iranians refuse the deal and are demonized by both Republicans and Democrats, liberals and conservatives, and support--or lack thereof--for an Iranian invasion becomes an issue in the November midterm elections. Which are already decided in favor of Republicans, by the way, but they've got to demonize the Democrats and the antiwar position even more so that when they do steal the midterms with the electronic machines, they'll have even more cover to deregulate, de-democratize, and privatize the U.S.

I know it sounds crazy, but it's already been happening with the supposed "free and democratic Iraq." That's how the president described that country in his address that I linked to above. If Iraq is "free and democratic" and that's supposedly the whole reason we went there, why haven't we left yet?

Perhaps because they want to use Iraq as a base to topple that country's next-door neighbor? That would be my guess...

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

ROVE, OCCUPATION..."This War Is Real"...

So no Rove least not yet...that's unfortunate because you know, he's bad for America.

So Thom Hartmann was subbing last night on the Majority Report and he pointed out that we should start referring to what's going on in Iraq as an "occupation" rather than a "war." Because by accepting the premise that Iraq is currently a war, what follows in most people's minds is that you have two options: win or lose.

But he pointed out that we won the war--easily and professionally, in a matter of weeks. But the occupation is what's killing the most people--ours and theirs. And there are no emotional code words surrounding an occupation. The options there are: stay or leave. To say "the occupation is over" actually sounds good, as Thom pointed out. So let's work on that--we've already won the war, let's end the occupation.

Some Bullshit from a State Congressperson

A conservative friend of mine forwarded me this article from the Jackson newspaper. It's so incoherent and poorly written that I just had to take it apart and send my analysis to my friend. But now I really don't have the heart to, so I'll put it up here. Here's what I wrote as a summary--before I heard Hartmann's comments (the piece is below):

This diatribe from Rita Martinson is incoherent, muddled drivel. She cites two sources to support her “argument”–Vernon Chong and Mathias Dapfner. Chong’s authorship of “This War Is For Real” is in dispute, and even if he did write it, he is no more of an authority on the subject of the Iraq war than anyone else. Likewise with Dapfner–the fact that he is a German publisher does not automatically confer credibility on him when it comes to war in Iraq. Yet she quotes heavily from these opinion pieces, citing them as though they are experts on American foreign policy.

Imagine if there were a similar letter written against the war in which the writer tried to argue that Iraq is becoming another Vietnam. In this imaginary opinion piece, the writer used an opinion piece by Michael Moore as a jumping off point to explain the writer’s point of view. Then later in the article, the writer cited the work of Garry Trudeau in Doonesbury, using it as an example of what the writer is trying to get across. Imagine that, like Martinson, this writer never once cited a fact from a nonpartisan source. Would conservatives take it seriously? They shouldn’t, and neither should liberals.

When Martinson isn’t citing opinion pieces as fact, she speaks approvingly of dropping nuclear bombs on civilians and of stifling Americans’ freedom of speech and freedom of assembly. She never quite gets around to explaining how the Iraq war is similar in nature to WWII, though she tries mightily to make such a case. I imagine that’s because everyone is aware of the similarities between Iraq and Vietnam, and Vietnam became and remains an unpopular war that we lost, while WWII became and remains a popular war that we won.

Martinson’s argument may have some validity, but she does a very poor job of establishing it. She mixes the motives of “Islamists”–in one paragraph, they want to kill all infidels, then, no, they are really fighting a “war on democracy.” Which is it? Her downfall is her failure to cite one piece of data that doesn’t come from the mouth of one of her obviously biased sources. Her piece is propaganda, nothing more, nothing less.

Here's the piece with my critique in bold

Apply the determination of WWII to win war on terror
By Rita Martinson
Special to The Clarion-Ledger

The world is at a turning point. Freedom is being challenged worldwide as never before. It is essential that we in America realize what is at stake.

Yes, we in America must realize that our “freedom” is being challenged by the neocons and the theocons who are currently in power.

Looking back at the end of World War II, we see the bold strikes made by our leaders, the American-led invasion of Normandy killing some 253,700 Nazis and Allied Forces troops and atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasake killing over 170,000 Japanese instantly, caused those forces to realize they were overpowered and they surrendered.

Oh brother, here we go again, comparing the Iraq war to WWII. This would be laughable were it not so offensive. Is Mrs. Martinson suggesting that we should drop nuclear bombs on Baquoba and Fallujah? Let us not forget that the Japanese were making overtures for a surrender before the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. And let us not forget that the 170,000 killed were mostly civilians.

Lately, we are inundated by urges of worldwide press and the timid to retreat from the Iraqi war.

One article, written by retired U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Vernon Chong, notes the string of 11 major attacks on our country's interests since 1979, when Iran Embassy hostages were taken, throughout the 22 years before Sept. 11, 2001. He numbers some 7,581 terrorist attacks worldwide from 1981 to 2001. And all these attacks were made by terrorist Muslims.

First of all, Vernon Chong did not write the piece Martinson is referring to. Second, the “Chong” article does not acknowledge American intervention in Middle Eastern countries (or anywhere else in the world) both before and after 1979. Third, the number of terrorist attacks is not backed up by any source other than the author’s say-so. Fourth, “Chong” never says these attacks were all perpetrated by Muslims, and rightly so, because many terror attacks have been carried out by non-Muslim groups, including by the United States.

We are now at war with these terrorist Muslims, but Chong asks the important questions: Can we lose this war? And: What does losing mean?

We are not at war with terrorist Muslims. Iraq is not and was not a “terror” state–under Saddam, Iraq was a secular country. Also, none of the hijackers on 9/11 were Iraqi or Afghani.

Reviewing the last question first, losing means that we and other free countries will continue to be attacked, as these radicals want us dead, not quiet. By making the U.S.A. impotent, other nations would be picked off, one by one, and their "appeasement" will be translated into "weakness."

This is incoherent nonsense and avoids the real question–what does “winning” mean? Bush has drawn up a “Strategy for Victory” that is intentionally vague and all but meaningless. He says that when Iraqis “build a free society with inclusive democratic institutions,” the U.S. cleans out “areas controlled by the terrorists and Saddam loyalists,” the U.S. helps build “capable and effective Iraqi security forces,”
and the U.S. helps “rebuild their infrastructure, reform their economy, and build the prosperity that will give all Iraqis a stake in a free and peaceful Iraq,” then we can withdraw.

All of those objectives are very subjective, i.e., how prosperous must Iraq be before we can withdraw? Bush doesn’t say. He doesn’t like timetables for leaving, but timetables for staying are fine with him–he implied that the U.S. will be in Iraq until at least 2009, when his successor is sworn in.

As to the first question, losing the war is simple. All we must do is continue to separate and divide our support. Insisting on political correctness in profiling terrorists, holding anti-war demonstrations, constantly criticizing our president and his Cabinet, and giving prisoners of war privileges of defense all help undermine the effort to bring freedom to Iraq. And we will lose.

Here Martinson fulfills her opening statement and proves that freedom is “being challenged” here in America. Without saying it directly, she is advocating the abrogation of American’s rights to free speech and free assembly and is suggesting that we break internationally accepted norms of behavior. In short, her whole philosophy is anti-liberty, anti-constiutional, and anti-American.

When that happens, the Muslim terrorists will have gained their mission: to kill all infidels - all non-Muslims, not just Americans.

This is an unbelievable conclusion–that if America “loses” the Iraq war by exercising our bedrock civil liberties, we will have signed our own death warrants. This is the worst, most offensive kind of fearmongering–i.e., exercise your right to free speech and you’ll kill us all.

An article written by Mathias Dapfner, CEO of the German Publisher Axel Springer AG, places blame on the timidity of Europe in the face of the Islamic threat. In it, he names many of their cowardly acts, such as standing by during the Nazi war crimes; helping to legitimize Communism in the USSR, East Germany and the rest of Eastern Europe; and watching Kosovo's crimes of genocide.

Dapfner writes disgustedly of Europeans standing by while Saddam Hussein tortured and murdered over half a million of his own countrymen. He commended Ronald Reagan and George Bush, the only two recent presidents he considers courageous, for standing firm against terrorism for Americans and the rest of the world.

Here Martinson really shows her incoherence and complete misreading of history and complete misunderstanding of reality. And actually, her misunderstanding is really someone else’s, this Dapfner person. The idea that Reagan and Bush “stood firm” against terrorists is laughable–was Reagan standing firm against terrorism when he withdrew from Lebanon after the “terrorist” attacks there? Was Bush standing firm against terrorism when he did not remove Saddam from power in the first Gulf War? Was Reagan standing firm against terror when he aided the contras, or when he played both sides in the Iran-Iraq war? Was he standing firm against terror when he sent Donald Rumsfeld in 1983 to assure Saddam that he was still our boy?

Bush has only the Social Democrat Tony Blair by his side in recognizing the danger in the Islamic war on democracy. Dapfner calls out: "Europe, thy name is Cowardice! God Bless America!"

Now Martinson is letting her confusion really show–here she says the Muslims are fighting against democracy. Just a few paragraphs earlier, she was trying to convince us that Muslims are at war against infidels. Which is it?

And by the way, negotiating and using diplomacy are not “cowardice” or “weakness.” Compromise is not weakness, it is fairness.

Some in this country call the president to task for putting us in the war with Muslim terrorists. There are those who infer Saddam has not been proven to be connected to the terrorist movement, who don't recognize he clearly terrorized his own people, invaded Kuwait, hid WMDs from the time Desert Storm ended. Some say the president has "led us into the wrong war, at the wrong time and with the wrong enemy," and some Americans would like to join hands with the timid Europeans to stay out of harm's way.

These I would call cowards to the third degree. This war is for real, and to quote Gen. Chong, "to get out of difficulty, one must go through it." Hopefully we can do so with the unity and boldness of our country's leaders from another wartime, and with their success.

Again, Martinson really has blinders on when it comes to these issues. Many calling for the end of the war in Iraq are “our country’s leaders from another wartime.” Many are conservatives–true conservatives, not neocons or theocons.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006


First, they moved the location of a lot of polling places. Not sure why that was done. Mine was still close to where I live, but not quite close enough to just walk over.

They had three machines but were only using one. There was someone on the machine before me and they were having trouble finding my name (bless these elderly ladies' hearts--even when they got to the page with my name on it they still couldn't find it and it was the first name on the page).

So I finally signed in and saw the voter access cards lying there on the table. I asked them if I should just take a card or what (I knew that I had to have one from the online demo I had done) and they said, no, the woman over by the machine will activate it for you.

So when it's my turn (and my 2-year-old son is with me), I go to the machine and there's a poll worker there. She puts the voter access card into some little blue encoder device and punches in some numbers. I'm thinking "aha--this is an opportunity for tampering" and then she pulls it out and says "I hope this works."

Actual Voting
She puts the card into the machine and the choices come up--only two offices to vote for in this primary. So I vote for Erik Fleming to take out Trent Lott and then I vote for Gene Taylor. Not because he's who I'd like to have as our representative, but he does have a "D" by his name.

By the way, the poll worker is standing right next to me the whole time this is happening, walking me through it as though I'm 80 years old and have never used a touch screen mechanism.

Anyhoo, I must admit that selecting the candidates was easy and painless--my choices were displayed accurately on the screen. Then I pressed "print ballot".

"Verified" Paper Audit Trail (or whatever the printout is called)
Here's where it was a little dicey to me and seemed like more tampering could take place here. The online demo made the printing seem very careful and legible and verifiable. However, in reality, there was a flap covering my printer readout area.

I asked the poll worker if I could look at the printout and she flipped the flap up. The window on the readout area was not very clear--it was kind of yellowish and like a thin plastic material. You could see through it, but not that well. And, unlike the online demo, everything didn't print out "just so."

The paper on my printout did not seem to advance quite right--I could read the first choice I had made. Well actually, I should say I could barely read it. The first choice was the first line printed and it barely made it into the window and I couldn't read the second line at all.


Overall, I like the idea of electronic voting machines and their ease of use. However, as we all know, Diebold is a for-profit corporation, and like any corporation, doesn't care so much about doing its job right as it does about maximizing profits.

And apparently they got $20 million from the federal government for these Mississippi machines. That's a pretty good haul from one state. And now they have the money, so what do they care if the machines don't work right, or don't tabulate votes properly, or what have.

And we also all know that Diebold and other electronic voting vendors do not make their software available to our elected public servants for verification of their security and reliability. So that's troubling.

I just have a bad feeling that these electronic machines are how they're going to try to keep a Republican majority this November...
GAMES PART 2 (also written yesterday, not posted till today)

Note that in this story, there are still no more details about what “some nuclear technology” means. And that even though the Iranian spokesman says that this is a positive development, he still points out that there are “ambiguities” in this incentive plan that will require more talks.

So it sounds as if even the Iranians don’t exactly know what’s being offered–which is precisely the point. The press in the U.S. will play it like it’s a perfectly reasonable, explicit offer, and when Iran ultimately turns it down, the U.S. press will then pounce on Iran’s supposed unreasonableness as a casus belli.
AND THE GAMES GO ON WITH IRAN (written yesterday, not posted til today)

Here’s an interesting con job from Herr Bush. We’re now apparently offering Iran nuclear techonology in exchange for Iran’s cessation of uranium enrichment. And if you read the AP story that talks about this, it’s very vague. We’re not told what the deal is really, we’re just told that the U.S. is being reasonable by letting Iran have what we’ve been trying to keep out of their hands.

Here’s how the AP story describes it:

VIENNA, Austria - A package of incentives presented Tuesday to Iran includes a provision for the United States to supply Tehran with some nuclear technology if it stops enriching uranium — a major concession by Washington, diplomats said.

We’re going to give them “some” nuclear technology. And this is supposedly a “major concession” on our part. It’s meant to show the world how reasonable and generous we are.

However, the Iranians are not going to accept the deal and Bush and Rice and everyone involved knows they aren’t going to accept it. The whole point of this–the con job I referred to earlier–is that when the Iranians inevitably do refuse the deal, that will be the next anti-Iran talking point. We’re reasonable and they aren’t. The security council offered them this sweet deal and they refused it. So we have to bomb and/or invade.

However, we don’t know the details of this deal--or they're leaking out very slowly. And even if we did know the details, why should Iran accept it? Why should any country accept it? It would make the Iranians beholden to us, and that’s exactly what they don’t want. That’s why they’re making steady progress toward their euro-denominated oil bourse–so they aren’t beholden to us.

The U.S. would never accept the same deal but in reverse, i.e., if Iran said we’ll give the United States “some nuclear technology” if the U.S. will stop doing x, y, or z. And well we shouldn’t accept it–it’s a breach of sovereignty. It would make us beholden to Iran. They could always hold that over us.

Again, this is nothing more than a ploy to make Iran look unreasonable, when it’s actually totally reasonable for them not to accept this deal. But Bush and the neocons really want war with Iran to be able to keep the petrodollar system in place. They know what the consequences will be if that system is upended–the iron hand of the corporatocracy will rust and become useless. The tax cuts will be revealed in all their hideousness, the corporate welfare and the free trade fundamentalism will be exposed as the sick joke that they have been all along. They have to keep the petrodollar system in place or the whole economy that benefits the multinationals at the expense of the rest of the world’s people will come crashing down.

Monday, June 05, 2006


More crazy letters in the ol' hometown paper again. I've decided to stop trying to refute those letters because that's how you get screwed up. Not because they aren't easily refuted, but because you have to quote their letters for yours to make any sense, which eats up the amount of words you're allowed to use, and it drags you down to their level, blah blah blah. So rather than respond to the crazy letters that appeared this weekend and today which I will share below, I composed this one of my own to send:

In March of this year, President Bush said withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq
is "an objective" which "will be decided by future Presidents," implying that
the Iraq war will last into 2009 at least.

That's because Bush and the neocons need the cover provided by the catch-all excuse of "we are at war" to finish their project of undermining the Constitution and the American way of

They've made a lot of progress so far--they've eviscerated our right to privacy by allowing domestic spying. They've effectively nullified our voices in Congress by letting Bush negate sections of bills through signing statements without having to veto anything. They've jeopardized the future of our children through the "birth tax"--i.e., the intentionally massive deficits they've created. They've chipped away at our right to due process of law through
their detention policy, which allows the President to declare anyone--even
American citizens arrested on American soil--an "enemy combatant" and lock them
away without access to counsel or specific charges.

And that's just a small sample of the stuff we know about.

There's only one way to change this dangerous course. We must elect congressional candidates this November who will undo all this, be they Republicans or Democrats (but make no mistake,
Democrats are the preferable choice). We must end this war in Iraq and this
concurrent war on our freedom, which Bush and the neocons cynically and
mistakenly call a "war on terror."

Crazy Letter #1

This is from the same woman who wrote a couple months ago that if the Iraq war is still going on in 2008, Bush should be allowed to have a third term. Here's a link and here's a sample:

Shame on those who open the doors of criticism of our president. He has led us through more tragic disasters than any other president: terrorists attacks, war, hurricane Katrina, earthquakes, tsunami threats to our shores, devastating wildfires.

He is the president for ALL the people of this great country and we should express our support of him before the wolves maul him.

George W. Bush has been a great leader, exhibiting faith, honor, integrity, courage, loyalty and strength of character. Incompetent? Never!! Heartwarmingly human? Yes! Impeachment? God forbid!

He has led us through "more tragic disasters than any other president?" And then list tsunamis as a threat to our shores? The mind boggles as to how to respond to this nonsense! The only thing one can assume is that she has never attended a single American history class nor watched the History Channel even once. Either she's a lunatic or is completely unaware of history before November 2000. She is completely in the minority with this opinion.

I think it must be a comedy routine. There is no way a rational human being could believe the things she is saying.

Crazy Letter #2

This one has an obsession with ketchup and betrays a reading comprehension problem on the part of its author.

Check out the Heinz connection

Mr. Essex's letter to the editor (June 2) urging us all to "vote the war backers out of office" is full of half-truths and utter swill. If war-profiteering is what's going on in Iraq and Afghanistan, and "Bush and Company" are the ones profiting, what would Mr. Essex say to the fact that in every dining facility in theater the only brand of condiments to be had comes from the H.J. Heinz Corp.?

This notable company has verifiable connections to one John F. Kerry, and could not possibly be making a profit off the War on Terror, could it?

If Mr. Essex thinks that "voting the war backers out of office" consists of simply voting a straight Democratic ticket, then he is sadly mistaken; many of the most prominent Democrats are making a king's ransom off this war, and no amount of contrived socialist rhetoric will change anything as long as there is money to be made.

On this same subject, it seems that it is only evil for companies connected to prominent Republicans to make money; companies affiliated with prominent Democrats are only engaging in healthy entrepreneurism, I guess...

My suggestion to Mr. Essex would be to spend some time in Iraq or Afghanistan, and see firsthand the good works that are being done by the soldiers, sailors and airmen of the U.S. military, without the snide elitist commentary of CNN and their ilk clouding the issue.

As far as I'm concerned, until you've been there and seen what's happening firsthand, you have nothing worthwhile to say.

The ketchup connection is obvious--and laughable. But you might ask, where's the reading comprehension problem? If you read the letter this writer is responding to, you may notice that it never once uses the phrase "vote war backers out of office." However, the ketchup letter refers to that phrase twice. The problem is that "vote war backers out of office" was the headline chosen to sit atop the original letter--and it was a poor choice of headlines. The original letter was more about not being afraid and not letting the neocons or the Osama bin Laden paralyze us with fear.