Thursday, January 26, 2006


Please do not vote to confirm Samuel Alito and please do not invoke the nuclear option over the coming filibuster. Alito is a radical conservative, unlike you. Also, President Bush has been disastrous for our country, his approval ratings of late have been the worst since Nixon, and he has recently admitted to one of the most audaciously illegal presidential power grabs in American history. He will more than likely face impeachment proceedings sometime in the coming months.

This is a frightening time to be an American. I fear the worst for our country if Alito is granted a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court. I know that in general, you like to align yourself with President Bush because he is a Republican and claims to be conservative. But President Bush is radical and his presidency has been a miserable failure.

His ethical lapses have only recently been beginning to receive much scrutiny, such as signing statements appended to legislation, spying on Americans without warrants, no-bid contracts in Iraq and on the Gulf Coast, and so forth. And it has yet to be revealed exactly how close he was to Jack Abramoff.

President Bush is bad for America and really doesn't deserve to be given whatever he wants just because he's the president. He has failed the American people in the following ways:

-the worst terrorist attack in American history happened on his watch
-he has created (intentionally, I believe) a record deficit
-he misled us about WMD in Iraq
-he let Osama bin Laden go in Afghanistan
-he appointed an unqualified man to head FEMA which was of no help at all in the aftermath of Katrina
-he has personally authorized warrantless wiretapping of American citizens
-poverty has increased every year he has been in office
-by the end of his first term, he had lost more jobs than any president since Herbert Hoover

You get the picture. Any president with such a dismal, questionable record does not deserve to have his choice of a person to sit on the Supreme Court for a lifetime appointment. Of course any vacancies should be filled, but filled by someone who is more reasonable and less radical than Alito.

That is my sincere wish as your humble constituent. I doubt anything I have to say will change your mind, but if I don't have hope, I don't have anything.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006


So I emailed Hardball's advertisers as per the "Boycott Hardball" campaign. So far just got a generic customer service response back from Toyota. This site has an explanation of what the boycott is all about.

Political Bias Study

My dad emailed this story about how people make political decisions irrationally. I ain't buyin' it, because even the study in the story asserts bias on the part of the participants based on the fact that they are "ignoring information that could not rationally be discounted."

I can agree that most people make all decisions irrationally, political decisions included. But unlike my father, who has concluded that all political convictions are merely opinions, I contend that there are those who can see the merit or lack thereof of a policy or candidate's claim and then decide to support or reject it accordingly. That is how it should work.

But I realize that that is not in vogue these days--being a member of the reality-based community just ain't fly, yo. Dis here da shizzle peeps be bumpin':

"The aide said that guys like me were 'in what we call the reality-based community,' which he defined as people who 'believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.' I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. 'That's not the way the world really works anymore,' he continued. 'We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality – judiciously, as you will – we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.'"

That is of course from the famous Ron Suskind piece published in the New York Times Magazine on Oct. 17, 2004.

And that's what this story about political bias gets to. The story draws this conclusion from the study: "The study points to a total lack of reason in political decision-making."

It's the culmination of the decades-long war on facts, on journalism, the truth, etc. David Brock nailed it when he said in the Republican Noise Machine that one the biggest goals of the conservative movement has been to get the press and the public to treat facts as opinions and opinions as facts (I'm roughly paraphrasing without the book in front of me).

If this becomes the conventional wisdom (if it hasn't already), then there's no hope for our political discourse, as Bob Somerby has tirelessly and painstakingly pointed out. I mean, there's already so little hope that this study is little more than spitting on a rotten corpse, but still...

Monday, January 23, 2006


So now the Bushistas' preferred term for "warrantless wiretapping" is "terrorist surveillance." I'm sure the lap dogs of the press will, well, lap it right up and when someone has the gall from here on out to refer to Bush's illegal program as "warrantless wiretapping" or "domestic spying," they'll be all-too-quickly reminded of what the Bushies call it. And then if that someone has the temerity to suggest that if something that walks, talks, sounds, and looks like a duck is a "duck," the audience will be assured by the butt-kissing host that such nomenclature is merely the biased opinion of one who is clearly not on the president's team (with the subtext being that if this person doesn't like "terrorist surveillance," how can you listen to anything else they have to say).

Karl Rove must have read "Manufacturing Consent" or "Necessary Illusions" a time or two--he's setting the "bounds of the expressible."

Is OBL dead? Does it matter?

I watched "Loose Change" on the recommendation of a friend (more than a recommendation, actually--he burned me a DVD of it) and I have to say that I found it very intriguing. I watched it just out of curiosity because I knew that the idea that 9/11 was an "inside job" was utter bullshit, primarily because bin Laden admitted to it.

But that is addressed in the movie. The "bin Laden confession tape" does have the aura of being a fake, since he and some of his people are wearing gold rings which is forbidden by Islam, and the left-handed Osama is seen writing on a pad with his right hand, and so forth.

Whether you believe he's alive or dead, you can't argue that his popping up from time to time helps the Bushies even though it theoretically shouldn't--because it means he's still at large, taunting Bush. But like "Loose Change" pointed out, anytime you hear a new statement that "probably" comes from bin Laden, remember that he's "probably" dead.

I mean, in his statement, "bin Laden" recommends the work of a relatively obscure leftist author and cites polls that show Americans' disapproval of the Iraq war. How the hell is he getting this information if he is alive and in the no man's land between Pakistan and Afghanistan? How does he have time to read this leftist book and why would he read it to begin with? Why would he care what an infidel has to say?

Then all the rightwing blowhards go on their shows and say "hey, the Democrats sound just like Osama." I'm not saying Osama is alive or dead or was or wasn't involved in 9/11, but these kinds of statements being released seem to only give Republicans fodder to impugn Democrats. And unfortunately, the Democratic party is just the left wing of the War Party, as Justin Raimondo points out in his perceptive-as-usual takedown of Hillary Clinton's Iran saber-rattling.

Monday, January 16, 2006


If there is an invasion of Iran, I just wanted to note that in this, the pre-war period, the rhetoric being bandied about by Bush and Rumsfailed and everyone else is not about bringing democracy to Iran. It's not about that even a little bit, it's about keeping Iran from getting nuclear weapons, period. So when we finally make the mistake of invading Iran or provoking them into lobbing a missile at us or whatever and then try to stay for decades and Bush says "that's because we started the war to bring democracy to Iran", let's remember what he and others are saying in the run-up to this next war.

Let's check some rhetoric:

Here's Bush from Jan. 13, 2006:

"Iran armed with a nuclear weapon poses a great threat to the security of the world," said Bush, adding: "Countries such as ours have a great obligation to step up, working together to send a message to the Iranians that their behavior, trying to clandestinely develop a nuclear weapon, or using the guise of a civilian nuclear program to attain a nuclear weapon, is unacceptable."

Bush said that "a world without Zionism" was the goal of the Iranian regime. "The current president of Iran has announced that the destruction of Israel is an important part of their agenda. That is unacceptable. The development of a nuclear weapon is a step closer to that agenda."

"It is the world's interest that Iran not have a nuclear weapon," said Bush, insisting that Iran must not "have capacity to blackmail free societies."

Also from that same meeting with new German chancellor Merkel, and reported on Newsmax with the headline "Bush: Iran Intends To Nuke Israel":

"I want to remind you that the current president of Iran has announced that the destruction of Israel is an important part of their agenda. And that's unacceptable. And the development of a nuclear weapon, it seems like to me, would make them a step closer to achieving that objective."

Here's a funny comment from Condoleezza Rice:

“We’ve got to finally demonstrate to Iran that it can’t with impunity just cast aside the just demands of the international community,” Rice said Sunday during a trip to Africa. ("Just because we do it, doesn't mean they can," she went to say--yeah, right.)

So I'll be checking the rhetoric from time to time, just so we know where we stand with the Commander-in-thief.

Val's Comment

And I thought commenter Val had a lot of good things to say over at the Huffington Post. I haven't verified every historical fact or claim therein, but the comment strikes me as a good summary of recent U.S.-Iran dealings and a good refutation of the rhetoric currently being leveled at Iran. I reproduce it without permission, but will remove it if asked:


From what I have been able to read so far, it looks like WWIII over oil is a certainty. But, I get ahead of myself, first, the background.

We know for a fact that Cheney was involved in secret meetings with ENRON and others concerning energy.

We know for a fact that ENRON went bankrupt trying to keep open an energy factory in India.

We know for a fact that Halliburton has been operating and conducting business with Iran for some years now.

We know for a fact that ENRON sold some of it’s overseas programs to GE, a company that has ex-operatives within the Bush administration.

We know for a fact now that the neo-con’s wanted a “Pearl Harbor-like” attack so they could push their agenda.

We know that nine months after Bush takes office that [Pearl Harbor-like] attack occurs on 9/11.

We know that Bush links Iraq, Iran and North Korea into the Axis of Evil.

We know that Bush sent Bolton to the UN.

We know that Bush invaded Afghanistan but was planning the war on Iraq from even before the Afghan invasion.

We know that Bush has all but forgotten about Afghanistan and Bin Laden, but is using Al-Qaeda as the reason to nation-build Iraq’s puppet government.

We know that WMD’s is used as the premise for the attack on Iraq by admission from Wolfowitz.

We know that WMD’s is being used at the premise for creating a nuclear crisis with Iran.

We know that Sharon [of Israel] was in a CHEMICALLY INDUCED COMA following his “stroke”.

So, what DON’T we know?

How about that Britian wants to move gas from area’s in Iran to areas in India. (ENRON had a factory in India, GE bought some ENRON foreign assets, Britain wants to have energy transfer to India, Halliburton has been working in Iran)

How about that the energy transfer would have to move through Iran, Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan? (Afghanistan – Taliban removed from power, Iraq – Saddam Hussein removed from power, Pakistan – Musharref friendly to America, at the moment, Iran – Next on the invasion list!)

How about that Iran is trying to sign a new energy transfer protocol THIS YEAR? (August 21, 2004, Iran takes on west's control of oil trading, Iran is to launch an oil trading market for Middle East and Opec producers that could threaten the supremacy of London's International Petroleum Exchange. A contract to design and establish a new platform for crude, natural gas and petrochemical trades is expected to be signed with an international consortium within days.)

How about one of Bolton’s FIRST acts at the UN was to start a case against Iran? (In Switzerland last year [2004], Bolton riled European allies when he voiced skepticism about European negotiations with Iran on its nuclear program.)

How about that America planes have repeatedly violated Iranian airspace which is an act of war? ("While the objective behind the fighters' violation of the Iranian air space is not known yet, some military specialists believe such moves are aimed at assessing the sensitivity of the Islamic Republic's anti-aircraft defense system," it added. It said [U.S.] military and air force officials had refrained from commenting on the incident when contacted.)

How about the U.S. charged that Iran was in violation of the NPT only to later concede that it did in fact have the right to peaceable nuclear energy, only to then later take the stance that even peaceable nuclear energy should be kept from Iran? (German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer here Monday reiterated Iran’s right to use peaceful nuclear energy amid continued U.S. efforts to politicize Iran’s civilian nuclear program.

How about that the U.S. had ADDITIONAL protocols ADDED just for Iran so that they couldn’t comply with the IAEA’s established protocols? (The extraordinary power of the US was again on full display on Sept 11 when France, Germany and Britain simultaneously agreed to a “November dead line for Iran to dispel concern that it has a covert atom bomb program, according to a draft resolution.” (Reuters) This means that Iran, who has already been cleared by the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) for not having processed enriched uranium (even though that, in itself, is not forbidden under the NPT) must “prove a negative.” It must somehow prove it does not have something it does not have. Sound familiar? Of course, it is precisely the same trap that was set (successfully) for Saddam Hussein, who had no WMD and who eventually agreed to all of the terms of intrusive inspection regimen that were demanded of him. The UN did not call on Iran to cease all uranium enrichment activities, the IAEA did, and even they admit it was illegal for them to do so. Tests of soil samples have shown no signs of nuclear activities at a site in northern Iran, a diplomat in Vienna said Tuesday. The diplomat said the soil samples of the Lavizan military establishment showed "negative," meaning that the samples contained no traces of nuclear materials.)

How about Israel threatened to strike Iran if the U.S. or the UN wouldn’t? (A military strike is among Israel's options to prevent Iran from producing nuclear weapons, Defence Minister Shaul Mofaz said on Wednesday in the latest threat by the Jewish state against its arch-foe.)

How about that with the NPT and “nuclear weapons” rationales failing, the U.S. is resorting to “terrorism” as justification to invade Iran? (There are indications that the US government is planning to use Hamas as a pretext for a potential attack against Iran.)

How about the fact that Sharon was about to attack Iran? (The Bush Administration urged the members of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to approve an October 31 deadline on Iran for compliance or face sanctions at the UN Security Council. Bush lost that vote. Had the motion passed, that would have started the countdown to an Israel-Iran war just days before the November 2nd elections.)

How about the fact that Iran and China were working on a deal for oil exportation? (Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing has said in Tehran that Beijing opposes US efforts to refer Iran to the United Nations Security Council over its nuclear program. China's oil giant Sinopec Group has signed a $70 billion oil and natural gas agreement with Iran, which is China's biggest energy deal with the No. 2 OPEC producer.)

How about AFTER all of this, Iran then reached a deal with the EU to halt uranium enrichment! (A senior Iranian official said on Thursday he was optimistic Iran would halt its uranium enrichment program as Europe demands, in a move aimed at easing fears that Iran is secretly developing atomic weapons.)

How about that certain friendly “organizations” told Bush that Iran, not Iraq, but that IRAN has a “secret nuclear plant”? (An Iranian opposition group has claimed evidence of a secret plant where Iran is producing enriched uranium. The New York Times [remember Judy Miller?] reported Wednesday the National Council for Resistance in Iran said the Islamic Republic was producing enriched uranium at the plant, which had not been disclosed to U.N. inspectors. The White House said Thursday that it could not verify an Iranian exile opposition group's [remember Chalabi?] charge that the Islamic republic was running a secret nuclear bomb facility near Tehran.)

How about AFTER ALL OF THIS, THE U.S. AND BUSH ARE STILL CLAIMING IRAN WILL MAKE NUCLEAR WEAPONS AND ARE WILLING TO START A WAR WITH IRAN! (As was the case with Iraq in the months immediately preceding Bush's invasion, the IAEA has found no evidence that NPT-proscribed materials have been stolen or diverted, nor that Iran is engaged in any NPT-prohibited activity. In particular, there is no evidence that Iran has been enriching uranium in the facilities it has constructed or is constructing. The Atlantic Monthly magazine reported in its latest issue that the Pentagon held simulations of a U.S. military strike on Iranian bases and nuclear facilities. The magazine said the recent war games also included a ground invasion of Iran. The United States has been conducting secret reconnaissance missions inside Iran to help identify potential nuclear, chemical and missile targets, The New Yorker magazine reported Sunday.)

How about that AFTER ALL OF THIS, THE U.S. AND BUSH GOT EVEN MORE PROTOCOL’S PUT ONTO IRAN THROUGH THE IAEA SO THEY CAN THEN GET THE UN SECURITY COUNCIL INVOLVED SO THEY CAN GET A UN MANDATE FOR INVASION! (In a defeat for the Bush administration, the 35 countries of the United Nations nuclear agency board adopted a mildly worded resolution Monday welcoming Iran's freeze of a sensitive part of its nuclear program. The US is preparing for the possibility that it will have to deal with Iran's nuclear program without the assistance of the UN Security Council. In the past weeks the administration has been working with European and Japanese allies on a "menu" of sanctions that could be imposed on Iran even if the issue is not referred to the UN Security Council. According to well-placed sources in Washington, the sanctions being discussed are focused on trade issues, since almost half of Iran's trade is with Europe and Japan.)

How about that GE [remember, they bought ENRON assets?] halts business orders in Iran? (General Electric Co., which has been accused of collecting "blood money" by doing business in Iran, will stop accepting any new orders for business in the country, company officials said Wednesday.)

How about a “blast” went off near an Iranian “factory” and an “airplane” was seen at the same time? (Initial reports said that the plane, which was not officially identified, had fired a missile. The possibility was later raised that it could have been an Iranian plane and that it had jettisoned a fuel tank that had happened to land in the area. The television report initially quoted witnesses as saying Wednesday's explosion was the result of a missile fired from a plane seen overhead. However, it later said the blast could have been a falling fuel tank from an Iranian aircraft.)

How about THAT AFTER ALL OF THIS, THE U.S. AND BUSH ARE PUSHING FOR WAR WITH IRAN, AND, COULD USE NUCLEAR WEAPONS! (Philip Giraldi, a former intelligence officer in the CIA (and DIA), claims that the United States is developing a plan for the bombing of supposed military targets in Iran, which would include the use of NUCLEAR WEAPONS. The US strike would take place after a 9/11-type terrorist attack on the US. However, the US attack would not depend on Iran actually being involved in the terrorism [Operation Northwoods style]. In short, the planned attack on Iran would be analogous to the unprovoked attack on Iraq. Several senior Air Force officers involved in the planning are reportedly appalled at the implications of what they are doing - that Iran is being set up for an unprovoked nuclear attack- but no one is prepared to damage his career by posing any objections.)

How about that not a month ago, the Iranian Guard Commander died in a “plane crash”? There were conflicting reports on what caused the crash. The official Islamic Republic News Agency reported the plane crashed because its landing gear jammed, preventing the wheels from being fully deployed. But the Revolutionary Guards' spokesman, Gen. Masoud Jazayeri, blamed bad weather and engine failure.

Saturday, January 14, 2006


Don't push for impeachment, Cindy Sheehan. Let's all just laugh our way into the endless wars...

Doesn't this all sound a little too familiar? We're told a Middle Eastern country run by a madman has the intention to acquire nuclear weapons, so we cooperate to get them hauled before the Security Council, where a resolution will be written in such a way that this madman's country will be in violation of it before the ink is dry on the paper.

And that all of this is happening prior to a midterm election. Does it sound remotely similar to anything you've heard before? That this madman's Middle Eastern country is harboring and sponsoring terrorists--al Qaeda and such? That this country is a grave threat to us?

And the media talks about this country's "threat" to our country as a foregone conclusion--i.e., this country is a threat because they talk about it as being, therefore it's a threat, no evidence necessary. But they'll try to manufacture some anyway, just to muddy the water. Just so they'll have something that we'll have to try to disprove, and something to create the official story.

I wrote this yesterday but was too lazy to post it until I read, on Americablog, this much more eloquent, complete, and seasonally coordinated piece from Atrios:

How It Goes

Winter/Spring - The clone army of foreign policy "experts" from conservative foreign policy outfits nobody ever heard of before suddenly appear on all the cable news programs all the time, frowning furiously and expressing concerns about the "grave threat" that Iran poses. Never before heard of Iranian exile group members start appearing regularly, talking about their role in the nuclear program and talking up Iran's human rights violations.

Spring/Summer - "Liberal hawks" point out that all serious people understand the serious threat posed by serious Iran, and while they acknowledge grudgingly that the Bush administration has fucked up everything it touches, they stress, and I mean stress, that we really must support the Bush administration's serious efforts to deal with the serious problem and that criticisms of such serious approaches to a serious problem are highly irresponsible and come only from irrational very unserious Bush haters who would rather live in Iran than the U.S.

Late Summer - Rumsfeld denies having an Iran war plan "on his desk." He refuses to answer if he has one "in his file cabinet." Andy Card explains that you don't roll out new product until after labor day.

Early Fall - Bush suddenly demands Congress give him the authority to attack Iran to ensure they "disarm." Some Democrats have the temerity to ask "with what army?" Marshall Wittman and Peter Beinart explain that courageous Democrats will have the courageous courage to be serious and to confront the "grave threat" with seriousness and vote to send other peoples' kids off to war, otherwise they'll be seen as highly unserious on national security. Neither enlists.

Late October - Despite the fact that all but 30 Democrats vote for the resolution, Republicans run a national ad campaign telling voters that Democrats are objectively pro-Ahmadinejad. Glenn Reynolds muses, sadly, that Democrats aren't just anti-war, but "on the other side." Nick Kristof writes that liberals must support the war due to Ahmadinejad's opposition to gay rights in Iran.

Election Day - Democrats lose 5 seats in the Senate, 30 in the House. Marshall Wittman blames it on the "pro-Iranian caucus."

The Day After Election Day - Miraculously we never hear another word about the grave Iranian threat. Peter Beinart writes a book about how serious Democrats must support the liberation of Venezuela and Bolivia.

David Kay and "State Of War"

Here's Andrea Mitchell on Hardball last (Thursday, Jan. 12) night pontificating about Iran's "secret nukes" and Chris Matthews treating Iran's "threat" to us as a foregone conclusion. I wasn't even aware that Iran was being accused of having "secret nukes"--I mean, I didn't realize that that was supposed to now be the official story. In "State Of War," James Risen points out that, as in Iraq before our invasion, we haven't had and currently don't have CIA/intelligence resources on the ground to even know these things, thanks to the cable that mistakenly identified our assets in Iran. And David Kay admits as much in this transcript.

And Risen points out that we, the U.S., gave Iran nuclear plans!

And if you haven't or don't have the time to read the book, here's a good synopsis at Alternet, complete with this great comment on the book's perspective (I tried to say something to this in effect in an earlier post, but this nails it):

The second, and more grave point is that James Risen is a complete sucker for Bush's tonic for the terrorist threat against America and the prevailing White House rationale for the invasion of Iraq: that we must spread the wings of democracy across the Middle East.

How a reporter can get so close to the White House Big Dogs and reveal such devastating evidence about their cynical geopolitical schemes while at the same time swallow the big narrative that underwrites them all is frankly quite stunning.

And of course, Justin Raimondo at turned in a good one on Iran yesterday.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

DARKNESS FALLS ACROSS THE LAND... Alito is sure to get confirmed. I emailed and called my senators, Lott and Cochran, but their vote was a foregone conclusion before Alito was even nominated.

And I posted a few days ago about my hope that Bush will discover who leaked "the Program" so we could all know who our newest national hero is. Turns out at least one of the leakers has now come forward voluntarily--that guy is a fuckin' badass. And his name is Russell Tice.

Now if only more people in the Bush administration would get some nuts like Tice, we could bring G.W. down.

I Ran So Far Away...

And then of course, everyone's scolding Iran again. Tsk, tsk, tsk! Not that nuclear proliferation is a good thing, but hypocrisy is worse. Let's remind ourselves once again that the U.S. is the only country in the history of the world to have used nuclear weapons against another country. And let's also remind ourselves that for every embassy hostage crisis, there's an installation of a monarch or an invitation into an evil triumvirate.

But no, our media will just blather on and on about how all these tinpot tyrants are such a serious threat to what they have to say is "the greatest country in the world," i.e., the U.S. For fuck's sake, we spend more money than any other country in the world on defense--in fact, soon we will be spening more than every country in the world combined, and we still feel that fucking Iran is a threat to us?

When will this madness end? The U.S. is the threat, for crying out loud. That's how the rest of the world sees it, anyway.

But really, we truly are living in a culture of fear, of give me convenience or give me death! If any country in the world has no reason to be afraid of or feel threatened by another country, it should be the U.S. Has all the money that has gone to "defense" over the years at the expense of social programs not been enough? Now they have to scare us into giving up our civil liberties, too?

Here's a sample of a letter from my hometown newspaper today:

I also support the Bush administration's decision to wiretap whatever/whenever,
foreign or domestic, any and all correspondence considered to be necessary for
national security.

Any abuse of this practice will be picked up immediately by the media and made public.
So, Mr. Regl, this wire-tapping measure does not scare me in the slightest.

However, Islamic terrorists do.

What a good little culture warrior this guy is! He knows without a doubt that "it can't happen here!" We're too free--I mean, it's not as if American citizens can be held for three years without charge or anything! He has complete confidence in the media and their adversarial, brave reportage! And he completely trusts the public to be outraged if there are abuses! WHAT THE FUCK!

Why don't these people get it? Just like with the Soviet Union, the "threat" is mostly imagined (al Qaeda-real threat, Iraq-fake threat, Iran-fake threat)--we are fed fear every day so that the military-industrial complex can justify its existence--i.e., on defense contractor GE's MSNBC this evening, Chris Matthews was talking about the threat of Iran. If we're not afraid anymore, we might tell those guys to take a hike and give back some of that money.

In other, simpler, more famous words--"war is a racket." Here's one more quote from that book:

A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of the people. Only a small "inside" group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many. Out of war a few people make huge fortunes.

Sunday, January 08, 2006


My local paper finally printed my letter yesterday...then I got a call around 11:30 that morning from a gentleman who told me he appreciated the letter, thought it was well-written and so forth, but assured me he wasn't calling to "praise" me.

He said I should watch out for the editorial page editor because this gentleman said that some his letters to the editor have been changed and distorted by the editorial page far, all of mine have appeared exactly as I wrote them...


I received the following comment about my last post (I just want to address this because I don't get many comments that aren't from comment spammers)--in which I asked why we should care whether Iran has nuclear weapons or not because after all, the U.S. is the only country that has ever actually used them against an enemy:

the difference is that iran is headed by a nutcase who also wants to destroy israel, and denies the holocaust ever took place. with a guy like that holding a trigger to atommic weapons, no one can sleep easy. just because it isn't yr backyard doesn't mean it won't come bite you in the ass.

The thing is, what this commenter is saying works both ways. That's what I was trying to point out. You know that everywhere around the world people are saying "America is headed by a nutcase that wants to rule the world--he's invaded Iraq, propped up Israel and his country dropped two atomic bombs on Japan; with a guy like that holding a trigger to atomic weapons, no one can sleep easy."

What we must decide as American citizens is whether it is worth billions of dollars and thousands of lives (ours and theirs) to try to keep nuclear weapons out of the hands of other countries because more than likely, they'll never be used except as a deterrent to us.

I mean, we invaded Iraq ostensibly to "disarm" Saddam, and by all Iraqi accounts, Iraq was still three years away from "the bomb" before the first Gulf war, and the U.S. took out Iraq's nuclear capabilities in that conflict--this according to James Risen's new book "State of War." In other words, Iraq not only didn't have nuclear weapons, they didn't even have the hope of getting them before the 2003 invasion. Contrary to Dick Cheney's fantasy, Iraq was nowhere near to "reconstituting" its nuclear program.

And frankly, Iran has every reason to be wary of and hostile toward the U.S. We installed the Shah, we sided with Iraq in the Iran/Iraq war, and Bush said that Iran was a member of the "axis of evil." We rattled our sabers in their general direction, and they're rattling right back.

All of this could be solved through diplomatic channels, regardless of whether the president of Iran hates Jews and denies the Holocaust or not. We don't have to like the policies of other countries and should condemn attitudes like those of Iran's president, but we also don't have to sacrifice our loved ones and billions of dollars just because one Iranian is anti-Semitic. If we invaded every country that had an anti-Semitic leader, we'd go broke quick fast in a hurry.

Car Fire

Here's a picture I took of a car on fire with my new Audiovox SMT 5600 phone. That thing rocks!!!

Wednesday, January 04, 2006


This story about Iran announcing its intention to restart its search for nuclear fuel was a headline on the MSN homepage this morning, where it said something like "Paper: Iran to Restart Nuclear Program" or some such.

Well, bully for Iran! Since the United States is the only country in the entire history of forever to have used nuclear weapons against another country (and are doing so at this very moment) we are really in the morally strong position to discourage Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

Don't let them fool us again! For one thing, who cares if Iran has nuclear weapons? We have an enormous stockpile with which no other country on earth can even begin to compete. The Cold War generation lived through the supposed constant threat of Russian nukes going off any minute and yet we never invaded the Soviet Union.

We've already heard about how al Qaeda is hiding out in Iran, or at least that's what the headlines say even though the stories themselves are about complicated prisoner transfers. We've heard how the new president of Iran is a Holocaust denier and was supposedly one of the hostage-takers in 1979. And now this latest news completes the demonization.

Our only hope is that Bush will be hobbled by the NSA scandal, Jack Abramoff, and God knows what else is going to come to light in the next few months so we no spouses have to have a new sticker on their car in addition to the one they already have: "Half of my heart is in Iran."

Got the Risen book last night and have been reading it in my spare time. It's very disturbing, as you might imagine. The book's subtitle, "The Secret History Of The CIA And The Bush Administration" gives a clue to what's so disturbing--all the secrecy.

Risen talks about secret courts, secret signings, secret prisons, secret briefings, etc. I hope Bush's investigation of the leaking of "the Program" does find out the name of the person or persons who leaked this stuff to Risen, because that person is a hero.

The revelations in the book are not exactly new to those who read the progressive blogs, or even those who can read between the lines of the mainstream media. But it's still sickening, stunning stuff and I'm only up to p. 57.


But what keeps striking me as I read this is, "Is all this really necessary?" All this spying and torture and indefinite imprisonment and intimidation of Congress, supposedly to keep another terror attack from happening?

I mean, I've got a good way to keep another terror attack from happening--stop provoking people around the world. Like in Iraq, for example. Let's leave them the hell alone--get out immediately and try as best we can to fix what we've fucked up.

But I guess you can't make billions of dollars in profits if you don't provoke a few oil-rich countries every now and then. And that's really the crux of the biscuit.

We can put Dick, Halliburton, Shell, ExxonMobil, ConocoPhillips, etc. out of business very easily. Ask Willie Nelson.

And that's the unspoken part of all that Risen is describing--the assumption that America needs to keep on intimidating and provoking people around the world, and given that that is the case, there needs to be this elaborate, secret, civil-liberty-crushing operation that tries to minimize what everyone knows to be an inevitable result of meddling.

"Protecting The Country"

Let's face it, George Bush isn't "protecting" our country or ensuring our "national security." By which I mean, for example, that poverty has risen every year he's been in office after decreasing every year Clinton was in office. Or that the most devastating act of terrorism in the U.S. happened on Bush's watch. Or that American jobs are being outsourced. And then, after letting jobs leave the country, he made it harder to clear debts and get a fresh start. Oh, and then, after losing your job, maybe you also lost retirement and/or pension.

Bush protect this country? It's a fucking bad joke, man.

Monday, January 02, 2006

WELL-MEANIES LIKE TO SPY ON PEOPLE (and a story of an argument)

Cynthia Tucker has a great post at Working For Change about what it means to be a well-meanie...the subhead to her article: "Selfishness disguised as hard-headed compassion" is as good a definition of "well-meanie" as I've yet been able to manufacture. Here's a quote:

So the last thing we should do is establish a broad social safety net that provides generous health care and raises the minimum wage and ensures decent housing for all. Why, any one of those things could prove absolutely ruinous to the poor!

That political philosophy -- which claims to be a hard-headed compassion rather than the hard-hearted selfishness it really is -- has become the conventional wisdom. But it's an odd thing for a nation that claims to be overwhelmingly Christian. There is nothing in the New Testament that says that helping the poor merely makes them worse off.

And that reminds me of a discussion I had with a family member the day after Christmas. This family member (f.m. from here on out) used to be a liberal and has traveled the world, received two masters' degrees, a doctorate, and a master of divinity degree and is pretty smart.

F.M. and I have had many political discussions and it seems we are diametrically opposed even though I basically got my politics from f.m. Anyway, I was trying to drive home the point (as I have done before) that there exist objective truths/facts about the world that are neither liberal nor conservative and that there is in fact such a thing as an unpolitical truth (because f.m. had told me two months ago that f.m. couldn't read about politics because each side distorted the facts to fit its bias).

Anyhoo, f.m. basically said, no, everyone is biased--libs and cons. I asked for specificity about which issues f.m. sees this happening with. After f.m. hemmed and hawed, offered then rejected welfare as an example, I said--well, how about Social Security privatization?

F.M. immediately says, with no prompting from me--"well, that's not a good example of what I'm talking about because obviously if all your retirement is in the stock market and the stock market is down when you want to retire, you're screwed." Oh my!

F.M. kindly made my point for me! I said, "well but that is a perfect example of what I'm talking about--you just cited an obvious, objective fact that shows that privatizing Social Security ain't a great idea." Well, we never resolved anything, but I was astonished and pleased to see that even if f.m. won't acknowledge it, f.m. knows what I'm talking about.

My hopes for 2006

1. Republicans out of power in one or both houses

2. Rove indicted

3. MSM indicted

4. Abramoff brings down Republicans--and some bad Democrats

5. Iraq war ends

6. War on terror replaced by non-provocation policy

7. I get rich and famous (for doing something positive and productive)