Sunday, December 31, 2006

Saddamnoose


One thing that I noticed that is wrong with this picture is the time on the image. It says it is 11:52:37. I was on the web when the hanging was supposed to be taking place because I wanted to see the flashes from the AP. "Saddam hanged/executed."

I realize its a minor thing, but it was supposed to happen right before 6 AM Baghdad time. That would be 10PM EST. The time indicated in the photograph if accurate means that the hanging took place somewhere in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, because that is the appropriate time zone. Hey maybe its was a bad camera, but you would think that something so dramatic, the thing that is the focus of US history for the past 5 years, that there would be some attention to details, or is something fishy going on.

Allow me to comment on this hanging. We all can imagine the choking and pain and suffocation that would occur in a hanging. Its ugly. But you know, the USA is supposed to be about no cruel and unusual punishment. If an execution takes place that goes awry as one did in Florida recently, people get upset.

Here we have the USA in the center of a rebuilding scheme in Iraq and the whole beginning to the new year is based on a lynching. Now how in the hell is this going to settle things? What the hell kind of a foundation of stability can one foresee that is based on a lynching? Oh yea, this is really going to help world peace.

EU opposes death penalty against Saddam Hussein

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Unilateral Observations


How do they do it? Some of the best and brightest in America converge and come up with talking points, spin, all of that. Take this one for example:

WH: bin Laden Capture "A Success That Hasn't Occured Yet"

"A Success That Hasn't Occured Yet." That is a P.R. marvel to behold. The people that came up with this one are worth every stinking penny. Look, it holds out hope for those of us who are not billionaires, revered artists, world famous race car drivers, or adept yogis. We are simply success stories that have yet to happen.

Republicans now have a viable way to let go of their need to support the Iraq occupation, especially those that do it out of party loyalty. Chris Matthews correctly defined the Iraq occupation as a "neo-con war." This is completely true.

Republicans didn't come up with the ideology to bomb Iraq. It was the neo-cons. The neo-cons are not a political party. The neo-cons have been described as a parasite that has attached itself to the Republican Party. So Republicans, take heed. Even Gerald Ford thought that the idea of going into Iraq was nuts. And you just know that many more Republican elites have kept their mouths shut about it, strictly out of loyalty. Hey your out is right there. Its a neo-con war. Simple.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Edwards and umm Bush


I am happy to see Edwards enter the race for the Presidency in 2008. The democrat is making people aware of the economic disparity in the United States and he is making this one of his key issues.

If you are a reader of conservative talking points and values, you will understand that poverty is highly frowned on by conservatives. Conservatives regard poverty as the "fault" of the individual. The conservative would have us believe that laziness and an undisciplined life are the roots of poverty.

Personally I rile at this. If George Bush were not the son of the American royalty do we truthfully think he could possibly rise to the Presidency? Please.

George Bush has spent a good part of his life being rewarded for failure. This is what unlimited wealth, connections, and power can do. Many of us would like to see what George W. Bush could do with 2 minimum wage jobs and a family of 4. Lazy and undisciplined indeed!

This article appeared at CNN.com

Bush reports 'good progress' on new Iraq plan

excerpt: "Success in Iraq is vital for our own security," Bush said.

"Security" appears to be one of the big selling and talking points of the new Iraq policy. Some people will call it the Iraq "surge" but I like to call it the "Bush push."

As I pointed out in my post from Thursday December 28, the American Enterprise Institute is putting out the neo-conservative backed policy called: Choosing Victory A plan for Success in Iraq

The word logo of the plan for success is "Victory through Security." So we can see that the talking point of "security" rings through in both Bush's words in the CNN article and the American Enterprise Institutes neo-conservative plan. All signs still point to Bush push.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

What?


Regardless of what the White House is saying, the neo-conservative American Enterprise Institute probably will be the source of the "new direction" in Iraq. We are all waiting for the presumed January 2007 announcement of the new Iraq plan.

As Bush has followed the neo-conservative agenda for the past 6 years, why would he change agendas now? Particularly since change does not seem to be part of his mental makeup.

So the plan is already laid out at the American Enterprise Institute in pdf format.

Choosing Victory A plan for Success in Iraq

The A.E.I. group is calling itself the Iraq Planning Group. Could you have a least changed the name a little bit from the Iraq Study Group.This is specifically designed to confuse people. Bush will tell the public that he is implementing plans from the Iraq Planning Group knowing that people will think he means the Iraq Study Group.

Read the study for yourself. But here are a few bullet points directly from the A.E.I. followed by my comments:

Failure in Iraq will likely lead to:
–Widespread regional conflict
–Humanitarian catastrophe
–Terrorist sanctuaries
–Further radicalization of the Muslim World
–Loss of American credibility globally
–Damage to the morale of the U.S. military

(Comment: The claim is that failure in Iraq will lead to these things. With all do respect, initiating the war has created these things. They already exist. The initial policy to invade Iraq was wrong and led to these things. Its already there! Perhaps the policy is wrong. Incidentally why does the morale of the U.S. military take precedence over the lives and wishes of the Iraqis themselves? Notice that the Iraqis are not even mentioned. The Iraqis in overwhelming majorities and in poll after poll express the desire for US troops to leave Iraq now.)

Proposal: Victory through Security

(Comment: Every pageant needs a word logo. Peace through Strength, Victory with Honor, etc etc. Here is the new logo "Victory through Security." And here I have been calling it "Democracy through War." Personally my logo is more accurate, and fittingly absurd.)

Reconstruction Is Essential
• The U.S. must increase reconstruction aid for Iraq
–The Commander’s Emergency Response Program must be funded at high levels
–Reconstruction packages must be supplied to all cleared neighborhoods
–Military commanders should receive authority to disburse reconstruction funds and oversee the execution of reconstruction programs
–The President must require all relevant agencies to accomplish assigned reconstruction tasks

(Comment: this explains the recent article on Bush's New Deal for Iraq with $10 Billion for jobs in Iraq.)

We Are At War
• Success requires a national commitment
• Some military units will be deployed for longer tours
• Military industry must be mobilized to make up equipment shortages
• Equipment, not people, is the pacing factor for rapid deployment, but Army depots are only operating at 50% of capacity!

(Comment: There is no national commitment for this occupation. Reality is not part of the neo-conservative mentality. Are they suggesting increased psy ops against the American public through more propaganda? Also, military units have been given unbelievably bad tours, with several tours for some, extended tours, now these guys want more of that. Good luck, considering the rate at which the military itself is rejecting the war. In January you will see a "redress" before Congress where thousands of G.I.s will present a signed protest to Congress about the legality and validity of the Iraq occupation. And let's not forget to give lots of props to the old Military Industrial Complex. What Wall Street Journal lover wouldn't like this? After all isn't a large part of the war effort to keep those weapons producers hopping?)

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

More of More of the Same


Many alternate news articles are describing the situation that appears to be arising with the announcement of a "new" Iraq policy in January.

Most are convinced that Bush will call for a "surge" in troop levels. This is based on the announcements and preachments of those remaining neo-cons who call the American Enterprise Institute, home.

End of the neo-con dream

The size and frequency of the "surge" is unclear. Neo-con worshipper Kristol states that the "surge" will continue on in Iraq for the long haul. This means that the extra 20,000 to 50,000 troops will remain for a long time, not just for a few months.

The main reasoning for the troop "surge" is to attempt to bring stability to Baghdad. Exactly who the troops will fight and exactly how they will go about the process of finding them once they decide who they will fight, still seems rather unclear. Will they fight Shiites, and attempt to bring the Sunnis back into power? But isn't this who was in control of Iraq when the US arrived in a shock and awe death rain party? Or will the Sunnis be the enemy? With Baghdad divided up into tiny sectarian enclaves, how exactly does one pick it apart?

Considering the results of the US occupation up to this point in time, why exactly would this micro surgical warring surge effort work? What major planning achievement has occurred that says, well up to now we didn't do so well but now we're really going to make democratic peace through war bigtime. Apparently most Americans agree, it won't work, with only 12% of the American people wanting more troops in Iraq. The vast majority of Americans want them out within a year, and I suspect most want them out now.

There is one point in all of this that I can't help but repeat to anyone I know. The majority of people that are killed in modern wars are innocent civilians. The estimate is that 85% of those killed in modern wars are innocent people, women, children, old people. Hear me out now. If terrorism is the killing of innocent civilians then using this same definition, all modern war is terrorism. Its pretty simple. Doesn't take a whole lot of leaps of imagination to make the connection. War is terrorism. So, on the most basic level what the hell are we doing in Iraq anyhow?

With the number of troops killed in Iraq now surpassing the number of people killed in the attacks of 9-11, why is the US in Iraq?

My thanks to James Brown, the man who figured out the funk.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Its a Fact


Who signed one of first pro-abortion bills in US history?

Keep in mind that at present the Republican Party holds the pro-life/anti-abortion policy. (As if you didn't know.)


Give up? The answer is Ronald Reagan. Yes that Ronald Reagan, former governor of California, and president of the United States. The year was 1967 when Reagan was governor of California.

Here is a quote from an article that appeared in "The Weekly Standard." Yes that Weekly Standard home to the neo-conservatives that populate the Bush administration.

excerpt: "... Reagan. In his first year as California governor in 1967, the legislature passed a bill to legalize "therapeutic" abortions. It was an issue Reagan hadn't thought much about and he was torn over whether to veto the measure. Many Republicans in legislature strongly urged him to sign the bill. So did aides on his staff, including conservatives Ed Meese and Lyn Nofziger, who later followed Reagan to Washington. Reagan was assured it would result in only a handful of abortions."
"His instinct was to veto the bill, and the Catholic archbishop of Los Angeles urged him to follow that course. But he signed it into law. Reagan was disturbed by his decision, however, and continued to think long and hard about abortion. The bill, according to Lou Cannon in 'Governor Reagan," "permitted more legal abortions in California than occurred in any other state before the advent of Roe v. Wade." Reagan's worst fear was realized."

The article goes light on Reagan. It tries to veritably say that he was fooled into signing the bill and therefor was not responsible for its implications. The writers at JCSande.blogspot say, "baloney!" Reagan signed one of the most liberal pro-abortion bills in US history up to that time, also one of the very first pro-abortion bills up to that time.

More on the bill Reagan signed:

"Anthony Beilenson (D) sponsors abortion bill (SB 462) which is signed into law by Governor Ronald Reagan (R). Beilenson first proposed abortion law
reform to the legislature in 1963."

"The new California law legalizes abortion in cases of rape or incest, or to preserve a woman's mental or physical health. Legal abortions must be performed: within the first 20 weeks of pregnancy, in an accredited hospital of 25+ beds, only after approval by a therapeutic abortion committee of doctors. Prior to signing the bill, Governor Reagan demands the elimination of the original provision that had been approved by the state legislature permit-ting abortion in cases of substantial risk to the fetus."

Monday, December 25, 2006

X mas







Happy Holidays











i like my body when it is with your
body. It is so quite new a thing.
Muscles better and nerves more.
i like your body. i like what it does,
i like its hows. i like to feel the spine
of your body and its bones, and the trembling
-firm-smooth ness and which i will
again and again and again
kiss, i like kissing this and that of you,
i like, slowly stroking the, shocking fuzz
of your electric fur, and what-is-it comes
over parting flesh. . . . And eyes big love-crumbs,

and possibly i like the thrill

of under me you so quite new

e.e. cummings (1894-1962)

Sunday, December 24, 2006

The Endless War Effort


Events can be studied in at least two ways. One is to focus directly in on the event, separate the event from any context, and objectively attend to it. For example, let's take a look at that sore back of yours, you are in pain so lets prescribe some pain medication, that will fix it. Another way is to look at the event in a greater context. For example let's take a look at your sore back, well it turns out that one of your legs is shorter than the other, so we are going to give your some orthotics and that will actually lead to fixing your sore back.

Take the "war on terrorism" as another example. First off its important to understand that the term itself is problematic. As Howard Zinn points out, war is terrorism. Using one form of terrorism to fight another is a questionable practice. Consider that the vast majority of people that now die in wars are innocent civilians. With this fact in mind, how can war not be terrorism? For the uninitiated the key word is "innocent."

If we put the "war on terrorism" in a context, the backbone of American policy starts to materialize more clearly. This is why understanding a document like NSC 68 (see my post from yesterday) becomes relevant to understanding the "war on terrorism."

NSC 68 directly worked to set in motion the "cold war." What did we get from the starting of the "cold war?" We got the endless war economy that we also know as the military industrial complex. This is the juice in American economics. A lot of money goes through the Pentagon, and this affects many many institutions, corporations, and individuals, even modes of thinking, and modes of behavior. I've read that the faculty of practically every college in the country is somehow affected by the Pentagon's spending. There have been poets in universities who were funded by the Pentagon. This is how extensive military spending is at present.

When the "cold war" sort of concluded, or fizzled away, or was won as some like to say, the slack needed to be picked up. After all the endless war economy was a good thing for the institutions, corporations, and individuals in private and governmental positions. This is the money river for them. Think about it. How many American communities would shrivel up or be forced to rethink their economic lives if military spending instantly stopped. Its too overwhelming to think about. Look at the protests and upsurges in communities that take place when there is the announcement of a military base closing, forget about the closing of a weapons producing plant, or a college that does the R and D, or a plant that provides some key product in the production of weapons, or what about the process of selling weaponry to other countries and all that that entails, the weapons selling industry.

This leads us to the logical extension of the "cold war." This is called "the war on terrorism." Think about this. I have read that Al Qaeda has about 10,000 terrorist members. With almost 7 billion people in the world, 10 thousand terrorists represents 1/70,000 of 1% of the world population. The current military budget is around $500 billion. Or you could say the USA is spending $50 million for each one of those 10,000 Al Qaeda members. I don't have to remind you that as of this time, Osama Bin Laden is nowhere to be found. By the way, do you mean to tell me that we can't obliterate Al Qaeda, if that is in fact what needs to be done, at $50 million per pop per year!

The "war on terror" however has far more nooks and crannies to spend major sums of money on than any old "cold war." If you listen carefully you can hear the salivating corporations that produce the new and improved war on terror related accessories. Surveillance, stealth, secrecy, psy ops, information systems, artificial intelligence, weapons that microwave you, new forms of torture, torture technologies, the psychological studies that support the new forms of torture, new atomic weapons, genetic warfare, bio-improved and chemically enhanced soldiers, the terminology, research, development, production, distribution, and inevitable usage of all of it, this is humming. Business is good, business has been very very good. Oh and let's not forget about the dear old think tanks that come up with the justifications for using this stuff. This is the economy that George Bush is bully on. Bully, bully.

No matter how you slice, this is what we got. Iraq doesn't just end. Come on now. The "war on terror" doesn't end, it just grows wider and deeper. Cheney, Rumsfeld, Bush, the whole gang already explained that. Its possibly the only truthful thing they ever said.

The ideological vein that brings life to the war on terror started long ago. Its a sturdy, shielded, deep and encompassing vein. Iraq is just a little artery. This is where we are at. Stop the occupation of Iraq, that's a good thing, but let's start looking at the war culture.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

NSC 68 part 1



Reading through a recent interview with Gore Vidal: "I'm Jealous of Cuba", I came across mention of NSC 68: United States Objectives and Programs for National Security April 14, 1950.


Gore Vidal points to this document, designed during the Truman administration, as a defining shift and honing of American foreign policy. The shift is to the endless war and an endless war economy.

Quoting Gore Vidal on this document, "...We were to be forever at war with somebody. We were going to fight communism everywhere on earth even if it didn't threaten us. It was a holy war, just as now we've made one on terrorism and Islam, equally stupid and equally irrelevant."

A cursory reading of introductory points II and III immediately establishes the fundamental reasoning.

II Fundamental Purpose of the United States - "...Three realities emerge as a consequence of this purpose: Our determination to maintain the essential elements of individual freedom, as set forth in the Constitution and Bill of Rights; our determination to create conditions under which our free and democratic system can live and prosper; and our determination to fight if necessary to defend our way of life, for which as in the Declaration of Independence, "with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.""

III Fundamental Design of the Kremlin - "...In the minds of the Soviet leaders, however, achievement of this design requires the dynamic extension of their authority and the ultimate elimination of any effective opposition to their authority.....The design, therefore, calls for the complete subversion or forcible destruction of the machinery of government and structure of society in the countries of the non-Soviet world and their replacement by an apparatus and structure subservient to and controlled from the Kremlin."

Talk about establishing a polar opposite tension, and that is putting it in a way that is about as mild as it can be put. Part II establishes "who we are" and if that "who we are" is threatened, then we fight. Part III sets up a monster that is determined to take that "who we are" away. And that monster will not stop at anything until it does so.

To be continued.....

Desperation in the White House

Friday, December 22, 2006

Solstice War


Winter solstice came and went with little notice. I see it as a "nature" holiday, the actual meta origin of the holiday season.

What can we expect in the next year. Perhaps this article gives some indication of what could be the most pressing issue.

U.S. and Britain to Add Ships to Persian Gulf in Signal to Iran

excerpt 1: "Senior American officers said the increase in naval power should not be viewed as preparations for any offensive strike against Iran. But they acknowledged that the ability to hit Iran would be increased..."

comment: This is similar to the rhetoric heard prior to the shock and awe commencement.

excerpt 2: "The aircraft carrier Eisenhower and its strike group — including three escort ships, an attack submarine and 6,500 sailors in all — entered the Persian Gulf on Dec. 11..."

excerpt 3: "Vice Adm. Patrick M. Walsh, commander of naval forces across the military’s Central Command, said ... “Iranian tone and rhetoric creates an environment of intimidation and fear”......"

With all due respect to the Admiral, one would think that a country that possesses thousands of nuclear weapons and a military that is so massive that even most Americans are unaware of its size and power, would be the cause of intimidation and fear especially when it is parked on another countries water boundary.

There are many articles pointing to an escalation in the Iraq occupation. The escalation would be a new war with Iran.

A Very Dangerous New Year by Robert Parry

In addition there is the further buildup of the military under the direction of George Bush.

Bush's move to supersize US military by Peter Grier

I was starting to believe that the possibility of war in Iran was receding, so much for that.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Artists Politics


Examine the work of Trevor Paglen
Artists have had it up to here. For some it makes no sense whatsoever to do anything but examine the present socio-political-economic-militaristic-tortured framework that we live in. They do it in the way they know best.


After all why shouldn't artists delve into politics, when politics is presently controlled by the less than scrupulous.


On Mark Lombardi:

Toward a Diagram of Mark Lombardi

Mark Lombardi was making art about the shadowy worlds of global money

Mark Lombardi: Global Networks

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Baghdad Crumbles


This article from the BBC provides a partial account and description of the situation in Baghdad.

Baghdad diary: Another planet

excerpt 1: "Driving around Baghdad now, Iraqis have to think as if you are crossing borders between warring states. Show the wrong ID card at the wrong checkpoint - run by a Sunni vigilante group or a Shia militia - and you could be pulled from your vehicle and never seen again."

excerpt 2: "...In some ways, the city is becoming a collection of fiefdoms or statelets, with the Green Zone separate from them all."

Baghdad has collapsed. It is somewhat shocking to hear that the Bush administration is planning on increasing troops levels in Baghdad. Who exactly are they planning to fight? Is it to slaughter Shiites and then to reinstall the Sunnis into overall power? One needs to ask at that point, why exactly did they depose Saddam?

As I read the alternative news on the internet, I notice that almost every article that is about Bush or his administration starts with a word like, unbelievably, or amazingly, or shockingly, or tragically etc etc. People are running out of superlative adjectives to describe the depressing incredulity that arises from witnessing and living under this regime.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Top Pick


As I review the alternative news sites, I come across articles that in my opinion seem particularly good.

I found this posted at Antiwar

Six brutal truths about Iraq

Its by General William Odom, one of the earliest advocates of an immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq. Anyone who is seeking to further their own personal understanding of Iraq will find this article to be of interest.

A few highlights:
-We could not have done the war better. The results would have occurred no matter what war plan strategy was implemented.
-Its not possible at this point to prevent more Iraqi deaths. The brutality that we are seeing will continue with or without US troops.

Photo is of Crazy Horse

Monday, December 18, 2006

Melting


Recent articles that tell of the imminent melting of the Arctic within 40 years drove home the reality of global warming.

Arctic Sea Ice Shrinks as Temperatures Rise


I checked the BBC for articles on Arctic melting. Here are a few:

Nov 3 2004 - Arctic melt 'will affect Norther Ireland'

March 27 2002 - Arctic ice 'melting from below'

October 24 2003 - Global warming is heating up the Arctic and melting the polar ice cap, according to Nasa.

Hint: Remember that President Bush has worked hard to suppress any scientific claims made by NASA.

Europe is presently experiencing a warm winter. The skiing industry and related resort industry is affected, but the tragedy is in the environment.

Europe's going green (that's due to lack of snow)

As temperatures remain high in Northern Europe, the water supply in Africa shrinks.

Africa has experienced a significant drying in the past three years, new satellite data reveals.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Investi-Gate


With the democrats assuming control of the Congress and apparently assuming control of the Senate, investigations into the acts of human nature that brought about the Iraq War fiasco and subsequent occupation nightmare will commence.

It is Senator Leahy that will be a focal point guard in the investigations.

Democratic-Led Panels to Probe Administration's Actions in War and Counterterrorism

I like Leahy. He is publicly talking about the power grab made by Bush in recent years, in particular Bush's reversal of practically one thousand years of western civilizations' code of jurisprudence. Bush now controls the right of habeus corpus over the newly discovered entity that is called an enemy combatant. Keep in mind that it wouldn't take much for any old one of us to become one of those new entities as well.

Who can blame Bush for wanting to push his family's power rocket as deep and hard as possible. A quick scan of that family's reach and dalliances within and without the law leaves one upchucking like a jackass movie star snorting wasabi.

The Bush family dalliance list leaves a good looking neocon drooling. There's Nazis, CIA, Weapons smuggling, oil, Arabs, presidencies, governorships, banking scandals to the tune of billions, and on and on and on. Holy Shit it is the empire.

But hey wait a second, at every corner there is a poisonous snake hiding in the Bush brush. (or is that bush?)

Diplomat's suppressed document lays bare the lies behind Iraq war

Oh boy, we're screwed now. And why is that? Because like so many amazing documents and individuals that have come forth screaming out the vast ocean of lies that got the Iraq War started, this is just another feather on the massive Bush dam.

My prediction: Investi-Gate shocks the democrats, the republicans are already stocking up on earplugs. Bush does his high wire act one mile over the Senate house and if he ever slips and falls, he bounces in mid air only to assume and grab more power, presumably this time over the rules of physics.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Yunus versus Rumsfeld



I was listening to a speech given by Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus. He spoke of a brilliant model, a business that is created with its first priority being social responsibility.

Through microcredit he is lifting the people of Bangladesh out of poverty, one person at a time.

Later I heard Bush praising Rumsfeld on his final day at the Pentagon.

Bush to Rumsfeld, "you're the man"

excerpt: "Ours is also a world of many friends and allies, but sadly, realistically, friends and allies with declining defense investment and declining capabilities and, I would add, as a result, with increasing vulnerabilities," Rumsfeld said. "All of which requires that the United States of America invest more."

Could there possibly be a more glaring contrast in aspirations from two people, investment for social responsibility and bringing people out of poverty versus investment for defense.

The US military budget is in the range of $500 billion per year. Because other countries are not spending more on military budgets, according to Rumsfeld that means the US needs to spend more.

One simple model that people can easily understand about military spending goes like this. You build a bomb. Fine, the technicians are paid, engineers are paid, designers are paid, etc etc, but the bomb just sits there, it doesn't generate anything else on the investment. A bomb is sort of a dead end investment.

Now you take the money that is spent on building a bomb and you spend it on educating the poor. Those people grow and move into society with skills that produce endless benefits. The investment is multiplied many times over.

To be continued...

Friday, December 15, 2006

Walking



"If you are seeking creative ideas, go out walking. Angels whisper to a man when he goes for a walk." Raymond Inmon

"Thoughts come clearly while one walks." Thomas Mann

"Walks. The body advances, while the mind flutters around it like a bird." Jules Renard

"I stroll along serenely, with my eyes, my shoes my rage, forgetting everything." Pablo Neruda

"Walking by myself I hope you understand, I just want to be your lover man" Paul Butterfield


My New Years resolution will include more walking, going for more walks. I was designated as a walker in grammar school, as I was one of only a few who walked to and from school. Its one of my "titles", walker.

In Buddhism, there is even walking meditation. Don't take it from me but I believe it involves feeling the sensation of the ground meeting your foot as a point of mental focus except keep your eyes open. Sometimes they do it slowly, sometimes fast, sometimes they even run. Its an interesting practice.

Walk a mile in my shoes. Turns out its the title of songs by Elvis, Bryan Ferry, and somebody named Joe South, among others. Its a simple sentiment. One of the few that points to a method for developing a sense of empathy, at least in American terms.

Then there was "when you see me walking down the street and I start to cry, each time we meet, walk on by..." Sad song huh.

But leave on a cheery note. Its great walking weather.

Photo is Denise

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Neocons in Outer Space


This article is making the blogosphere rounds.

U.S. warns of threat to satellites

excerpt 1: "The Bush administration warned Wednesday against threats by terrorist groups and other nations against U.S. commercial and military satellites, and discounted the need for a treaty aimed at preventing an arms race in space."

excerpt 2: "He also said terrorists "understand our vulnerabilities and have targeted our economy in the past, as they did on 9/11." He said terrorists and enemy states might view the U.S. space program as "a highly lucrative target," while sophisticated technologies could improve their ability to interfere with U.S. space systems and services."

Comment: This is nothing more than the continuation of the Bush Administration's extreme interest and commitment to the neo-conservative agenda. Even with his approval rating in the dumpster and with the vast majority of Americans disapproving of his policies, Bush persists in continuing with the worst political agenda possibly ever assembled.

Here is a short incomplete wish list of things that the neo-conservatives in the Project for a New American Century brought forth in their PNAC document.
Some have been realized, others are definitely in the wings ready to be initiated.

-War in Iraq
-War in Iran
-War in Syria
-War in North Korea
-Military control of the internet
-Military control of outer space
-A new military armed forces division dedicated to the militarization of space.
-A new class of nuclear weapons
-Removing diplomacy from the American foreign policy lexicon
-The reduction of the role of the UN
-An ever increasing military budget that dwarfs the rest of the world's military budgets combined!
-The zombified soldier, who is chemically injected with fear inhibiting drugs as he or she fights.

Conclusion: Why Bush bought into this bill of incredibly brutal goods will be discussed for years. Certainly he likes it and will assuredly persist in bringing forth the neocon agenda even when it truly is just Laura and Barney who approve.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Iraq in Two


Lately I'm of the opinion that there are two major aspects to the Iraq occupation, one obvious, popular, or common and the other aspect, hidden or unspoken.

The obvious one involves how the general public, the ordinary middle and working class people, at large respond to the initial proposal of war, how they are brought into accepting the war, and how their hopes and thoughts are held as the war continues.

In the case of the Iraq War, there was a great deal of effort placed on accentuating fear in the American people as the purpose for starting the war. We were made to feel fear, fear of an atomic attack, or something worse than 9-11. The prospect of this lingers as the war continues. In fact Bush said as much on Monday.

Other common or obvious reasons were a bit of a stretch, as in Saddam being the same as Hitler, or that WMD chemical drones would fly to the USA and kill everyone. Then there is the patriotic angle, the support our troops because once the war begins nothing else matters, we are to throw our knowledge to the wind and then simply pray. Also there is the cause and effect patriotic angle as in freedom isn't free and there has to be a price for Americans to remain free, and if you don't get this then.....

But what really drives the war is not the obvious or common aspect, it is the hidden aspect. I believe that there are two major parts to the hidden aspect

Hidden aspect part 1 is the neo-conservative Project for A New American Century. This think tank produced the PNAC document which outlines the foreign policy strategy of the Bush Administration including invading Iraq. Keep in mind that the war effort of the PNAC'ers doesn't end with Iraq, it only begins there.

Hidden aspect part 2 is corporate America. These are the corporations that stand to benefit by the globalization of the Iraq economy. We are not only talking about the Halliburtons who had no bid contracts for massive sums of money to do apparently nothing in Iraq, but corporations that privatized the Iraqi infrastructure. Things like communications, pharmacy, transportation, and especially OIL. Yes the big one is OIL. We are talking about the energy corporations and the big door prize.

What is George Bush's role in all of this. He has two roles.

One role is to present the obvious common face to the people of the world and the US. This means revving up fear, planting the misinformation about WMD, nuclear bombs, and the constant linking and references to 9-11, etc etc etc.

The other role is to be the point man for corporate America and keep this information out of the ears of the American public. It is kept it in the board rooms of the relevant corporations and especially in the meetings of the inner power elite, the people that control media, banking, energy, all the big stuff.

Here is the kicker. As time progresses, more and more of the hidden information becomes known to more and more people. The trail is picked up by the intelligent scholars and journalists who know how to dig and know how to make the hidden information public information.

This is where we are at now. The curious thing is watching Bush try to dance in that dual role. He is at a crossroads. They need to make this thing go away somehow. So at present he has bought himself a month. Next month the "new strategy" will be brought forth. I will be all ears. Just one problem, the corporations, the energy elites, the inner power elites, they are not satiated. There is a vast reserve of wealth that Iraq holds. Why would they give up on it at this point.

Recall that there is an echo in the media that says things to the effect that the cost of the Iraq War has been slight. That the death toll is relatively tiny and insignificant, and that the cost is chump change. Any bets as to where this originates.

Finally I want to mention the role of torture in Iraq. Torture is conducted by the people that are at the common and popular level of understanding and involvement. Essentially the torturer is the same middle or working class person as the tortured. I believe the role of torture is to take attention away from the elites and the hidden reason for the war and keep the attention on the common and obvious aspect. The manipulation is perverse and far more immoral and tragic than the torture itself. It speaks to the ugliest, most contemptuous part of the power elite.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Stay the Highway


Watch out. Don't get lulled into thinking this Iraq occupation is winding down. That's not the case.

One of many similar articles that are presently appearing in the news.


Bush seeks advice on new course in Iraq

excerpt: "He defined succeess in Iraq as "a country that governs, defends itself, that is a free society, that serves as an ally in this war on terror.""

""And the reason why that's vital," he said, "is because Iraq is a central component of defeating the extremists who want to establish safe haven in the Middle East, extremists who would use their safe haven from which to attack the United States ...""

Comment: Apparently one of the newer justifications for maintaining the Iraq occupation is a rehashing of an old justification, one heard during the invasion of Afghanistan. The idea here is that if we leave Iraq, then the terrorists will set up bases from which they will plan attacks on the United States. So now we are in Iraq to prevent the establishment of terrorist bases from which US attacks will be planned.

Just to review a point for a second, prior to the Iraq "Shock and Awe" war commencement, no Al Qaeda groups were in Iraq. Simply hold this in mind.

Presume the need by the government to play the fear card. This helps in allowing certain segments of the population to simply roll over and play "do what you need or want to do." It helps to quell a modicum of dissent.

Recall what happens to a part of the world where terrorists are grouping, from the US point of view. Basically all hell is let loose. This includes the establishment of places where torture occurs. In this case, the potential terrorist suspect is tortured to reveal the details of the plan, tortured by the US.

Also we will need to have bases from which to conduct these types of activities. Now what does this all amount to? It amounts to the same approach in Iraq. This leads me back to my original point.

Watch out. Don't get lulled into thinking this Iraq occupation is winding down. That's not the case.

Photo is of the Highway of Death, Iraq.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Impeach


Do you want to see George Bush impeached? The majority of Americans do now. I do. Explaining why I want to see George Bush impeached is actually a problem. The problem is that there are so many reasons why this needs to occur, that its hard to pick one single primary reason.

George Bush has turned lying from a white sin detected once in a great while, to the mediated building block of his presidency. He has used deception as Martha Stewart uses olive oil, it coats everything. There no longer appears to be a connection between the words that Bush publicly speaks, and their conventional English meaning. The country is mired in paranoia, distrust, anger, and shock, not from 9-11, but from George Bush. People have tuned him out as a protective mechanism. People turn off the TV or radio when that voice is heard.

Shedding George Bush will be a time of celebration. It will be like the day when the body plaster cast comes off. Like the day when the braces come off. Like the day when the loud drunken neighbor moves off to a solitary island. Like the day when the great mythical black corset comes off the sun and daylight streams down. It will be great. Its in the air, let's make it happen sooner rather than later. What do you say?

Websites:

Impeach For Change

After Downing Street

Impeach Bush

Impeach Bush 2

Impeach Bush Coalition

Do It Yourself - Impeach Bush

Articles:

Garrison Keillor - Impeach Bush

This amounted to what one might call the political equivalent of a bronx cheer: Representative McKinney - Article to Impeach Bush

Ralph Nader - Impeach Bush

Michael Rattner - Impeach Bush

Paul Craig Roberts - Impeach Bush

Five Vermont Towns Vote to Impeach Bush

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Frozen Bush


If you thought that the Iraq Study Group would bring change to the Iraq occupation policy, think again. We appear to be reaching a new phase in the Iraq occupation. In this phase, everyone is screaming to get out of Iraq with the exception of the President and a few of his close ideological cronies. So we think something is going to change but everything remains static. At least our intentions are better.



Report on Iraq Exposes Divide Within G.O.P.

excerpt:

(regarding the Iraq Study Group report)
-(from) The Wall Street Journal.... a “strategic muddle,”
-Richard Perle called it “absurd,”
-Rush Limbaugh labeled it “stupid,”
-The New York Post portrayed the leaders of the group, former Secretary of -State James A. Baker III and Lee H. Hamilton, a former Democratic member of Congress, as “surrender monkeys.”

Bush dismisses Iraq report

Interpretation: The base of the Bush Administration is still the neo-conservative agenda. An election that cleared away the Republican majority and replaced it with Democrats, is meaningless to this president even as his approval hits an all time low. Bush will stay the course. Also it appears Democrats may be lining up for an increase in troop strength.

What to do: Protest, write, scream, kick, get busy, yell, make your voice heard, in short do something.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Blame


My local newspaper included an op ed piece on Iraq. The substance of the article was direct. It is the Iraqis fault for what is occurring in Iraq.

How quickly they forget. Let's take an example. The writer of the article lives in a nice gated community. The military of Russia decides to occupy his parcel of heaven. They come in. Set up check points. Take males between the ages of 16 and 50 to prison. In prison they are tortured, sodomized. The writer's wife and kids are raped and shot by a crazed Russian private. A cluster bomb blows a whole in the center of his house. Get the idea, writer.

A few noteworthy articles: FBI says U.S. criminal gangs are using military to spread their reach

Hey, join the US military. Its a great way to learn the skills necessary to build your own gang turf.

Then there's this: EPA May Drop Lead Air Pollution Limits

So it turns out that because of environmental legislation, lead is actually not quite as visible as it once was in the environment at large. All those nasty illnesses caused by lead are on the decline. So, because the levels of lead are now so low, what would you do if you were George Bush? Here is what he wants to do. Remove the restrictions on lead in the environment because after all, there isn't much of it in the environment now. This is the rational mind of the Bush Administration on display in all its magnificent glory. Of course the real reason for Bush doing this is the same reason he would does anything. If its going to benefit corporate growth or take away any "unfair" restriction on corporations, then it must be good.

Finally: Bush Expresses Caution on Key Points in Iraq Panel’s Report

I'm gonna save this for tomorrow. But briefly, imagine there is a company. The company is hemorrhaging money. The workers are dying from the production. Nobody wants your company to be there. Your product kills people, and yet the president of the company nonchalantly says that business couldn't be better and he wants to keep the whole thing in operation indefinately. Nobody on the board of directors has the courage to stop him either. What would you make of something like that?

Friday, December 08, 2006

Where are we?


Here is the link to the Iraq Study Group report: ISG

I came across an excellent article at Z Net. The author does a good job of drawing together a great many details of the Bush Presidency.

The End of The Bush Dynasty

Brent Budowsky new article at HuffPo describes Bush as the First Catastrophic President.

As I think about George Bush the person, I am thinking he is moving towards a major 60 something personal crisis. His responses and behaviour are perplexing. I mean I've been appalled at his insistence in implementing neo-conservative policy, utterly disastrous doesn't begin to describe it, but here I'm talking about a person's ability to sanely interact in the real world.

The Iraq Study Group comes forth and makes a point of saying that Iraq is on the brink of chaos and a humanitarian disaster looms. Yet we have heard from Bush for several years, words to the effect that things are improving, that the insurgency is in its last throes, that the mission is accomplished, that victory is at hand etc etc. This is a very serious disconnect and/or an incomprehensible strategy for keeping people in line. Either way, we are beyond intervention time. I mean have we all become immune to what amounts to nonsense talk about war?

To be commended, Senator Russ Feingold points out that no member of the Iraq Study Group opposed the Iraq War at its onset. All members of the group were in favor of the unilateral invasion of Iraq. Feingold goes on to state the obvious that the group is supplying cover for Bush.

In the almost good news arena, Senators are working on legislation that will restore the right of habeas corpus to those held in Guantananmo. This is a no brainer. We live in a civil society. The right of habeas corpus has come down to us through centuries of understanding its fundamental importance in a court of law.

Legislators may reconsider suspending habeas corpus for detainees

Article excerpt: Jonathan Hafetz, who handles detainee cases for the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law.(said) "The issue is not whether or not America should detain or try suspected terrorists, the issue is whether we're going to have a lawful and fair process." Interpretation: Our system of justice needs to be fair otherwise we are not living in a democracy.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

ISG



Certainly one of the most often quoted responses to the report issued on Wednesday by the Iraq Study Group came from former Vice President Al Gore. On the Iraq War he said, ".....an utter disaster, this was the worst strategic mistake in the entire history of the United States, and now we as a nation have to find a way ... to manage a disaster..." I couldn't agree more.


The headlines issued by major news outlets followed the pattern of pointing out the study group's message; the Iraq occupation is failing, major changes need to occur, and chaos and a humanitarian crisis are around the corner if we continue with the present policy.


From CNN - Iraq Study Group: Change Iraq strategy now

From the BBC - Iraq report 'is no magic formula'

From the LA TImes - Bush policy in Iraq not working, says study group

Coming from the extreme right side of the spectrum, the remaining neocons and their supporters are pressing for a significant troop build up in Iraq. They have been active in presenting articles in the right wing press and right wing news blogs that paint the Iraq Study Group members as being wrong in their thinking. One must remember that if it were not for James Baker working and intervening on behalf of the Bush family in the Florida election recount melee of 2000, then George Bush and the neocons would not have attained the Presidency in the first place.

Neocons Move to Preempt Baker Report by Jim Lobe

Within the actual recommendations of the study group we find the notion to begin diplomatic contact with Syria and Iran over the stabilization of Iraq. It has been pointed out that during the cold war, the United States engaged in diplomatic relations with its prime enemy, the USSR. The US did not ignore and refuse to negotiate with the USSR simply because they were our enemy. Here is an area of history that the extreme right needs to reexamine.

And then there are the actual people themselves, the little people, the rest of us who are not holding political power beyond our dwindling Constitutional right to vote, assemble in protest, and to speak freely on such matters. What do the American people and the Iraqi people think about the US involvement in Iraq.

Poll Shows Most Americans Want a Pullout

New Survey: Iraqis Want a Speedy U.S. Exit -- and Back Attacks on Our Forces

My prediction: Barring impeachment (In my opinion impeachment being the first order of business for the new Congress), Bush will choose the very few recommendations of all panels, including the Iraq Study Group's, which correspond most closely to his present "stay the course" policy. A policy which to anyone presently breathing is a colossal failure. Bush will do the minimum to give an appearance of change in Iraq all the while pressing for more war in Iran and Syria. Bush will prolong the occupation right through to the meaningless end of his destructive, fruitless, and ill conceived presidency.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Gates


I was listening to the Gates-Senate hearings today. If you ever listen to this type of affair, it was familiar and maintained the standard of previous hearings.

If you think about it though, its quite an odd spectacle. Here we have this civil formality of asking the candidate questions and he politely and respectfully answers. But what's going on here, this is the guy who is going to be the head of the Pentagon. This is about war, the military, and all that it entails meaning, a lot of killing, that's a lot of dead people, billions upon billions of dollars in weapons, training, spying, surveillance, missiles, atomic weapons, and much that is secret and hidden from virtually all Americans.

They can talk about the occupation of Iraq with incredible objectivity, civil and polite exchanges, but its crazy in Iraq right now, crazy, bizarre, bloody, chaotic, violent as hell. It is hell. The tone of this exercise is a gross hypocrisy. Somebody should have been playing the fiddle.

A tiny number of things about the Pentagon:

1. 19 percent of the Pentagon's acquisition budget is devoted to "black" ie classified stuff. The things you willl never even hear about until years from now. That alone accounts for approximately $28 billion. The "black" budget is roughly 4 times larger than the entire population's GNP of Ethiopia.

2. The President's 2007 base budget for the Pentagon is $439.3 billion. Using our Ethiopia model, that is 64 times larger than the entire population's GNP of Ethiopia. One year of the Pentagons budget spread over Ethiopia would change the income of 70 million people from $110 per year to $7,000 per year.

3. "...the military and the Department of Defense (DoD) have an entire system of education and training institutions and organizations of their own, including the many schools of the National Defense University system (NDU): the National War College, the Industrial College of the Armed Forces, the School for National Security Executive Education, the Joint Forces Staff College, and the Information Resources Management College as well as the Defense Acquisition University, the Joint Military Intelligence College – open only to "U.S. citizens in the armed forces and in federal civilian service who hold top secret/SCI (Sensitive Compartmented Information) clearances" – the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center, the Naval Postgraduate School, the Naval War College, Air University, the Air Force Institute of Technology, the Marine Corps University and the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, among others. ...Chalmers Johnson has noted in his book on American militarism, 'The Sorrows of Empire', that there are approximately 150 military-educational institutions in the U.S." source

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Cleaning up the mess


Two key figures in the Bush Administration will be resigning from their respective positions. This is very good news. Both were neoconservatives, and if you have ever heard me rant about the neocons, you know that I am pleased to see them exit.

First US ambassador to the UN John Bolton has give his resignation.


Bolton resigns article 1

Bolton resigns article 2

Bolton distinguished himself as UN Ambassador by openly stating his contempt for the institution. This is a salient ideological point of the neoconservatives. The neocons have no need for diplomacy particularly diplomacy extended to another nation.

Try googling the words "Bolton criticizes", you will come upon a long list of articles. Bolton was placed in his position by recess Bush appointment.
Ordinarily, the UN ambassador position is approved by the Senate. Even with a majority of Republicans in the US Senate at the time of the confirmation, Bolton was not approved. Only through subterfuge would he be.

Second is the resignation of Stephen Cambone, Under Secretary of Defense.

Cambone to resign

This is another positive move. Cambone also a neocon was a firm backer of the policy that landed the US in Iraq. The neocon ideology is one of bringing freedom and democracy to the world through the use of overwhelming military power. If anyone does a simple investigation of those that have tried to conquer the world for good or bad reasons at the end of a sword, one will quickly find the utter futility of this plan.

What we are seeing is the jumping off of the sinking George Bush ship by those that planned its course. I am pleased to see this occur. The damages that this movement caused are massive and we will be working to improve them over many years. But at least now their demise is tangible and in process.

There is a rumor floating about the web that Cheney will resign. This would be tremendous, the cherry on the sundae. However it is the impeachment of Bush that would be the elation.

Monday, December 04, 2006

When harm has been done



When harm has been done in return for good deeds,
Ever. then it is to be answered by great compassion.
The excellent beings of this world
Return a good deed for an evil one. (Buddhist)



The death toll for American troops killed in Iraq, now stands at 2900. Soon it will pass the 3,000 mark and when that occurs in about 4 to 6 weeks, it will briefly make headlines.

There is a present media framing strategy that we are hearing coming from those who are attempting to minimize the damage caused by the Bush Administration. They are saying words to the effect that the amount of loss from the Iraq occupation is not so great and is relatively tiny.

When I hear this, I get pretty angry. It is part of a devaluing of human life and dismissing the misery caused by the death of a loved one. Its cold, its one of the essential problems that we are faced with and it comes from these power hungry insiders. I personally know 4 families who have sons in Iraq. I live in a relatively small community. One of those sons was killed in Iraq, another two were wounded.

My present sense of this larger mess indicates that Bush is becoming more and more isolated in his view to stay the course. Soon the Iraq Study Group will put out its Bush face saving recommendations. Most major news related magazines are all over the story.

I recall protesting the beginning of this war. If you were up on the information, you knew it was all based on nonsense and lies. So you went out and made a small attempt to stop it. The war had only one possible trajectory, the steady movement to utter failure.

I am now of the opinion that the way to stop the crazed authoritarian personality is with stronger power. When you are shouted at, shout back louder. When you are told to be quiet, make the loudest noise you can make. When you are told that dissent is wrong, make dissent your continuous purpose. I don't believe it is compassionate to lay down for the authoritarian personality, to try to win them by reason or with skill or with the truth.

Its time for the progressives in this country to get assertive and forceful and confrontational. I'm sick of swift boaters, sick of lying pundits. We need a break. Send the authoritarians out hard and on the seat of their pants. As you might assume, I want to see Bush impeached, and I want to see him indicted for war crimes along with the whole swarm of neocons. This would be a good step.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Saturday, December 02, 2006

blunDer


Lately I'm hearing a lot of this talk from people,"if I only had done this, or I should have done this, or how things would have been different if I did this etc."


Its a problem. Its about creating more suffering on a mental level.


Here's what Emma Jung said about it in her salient book 'Animus and Anima.'



"Very frequently, feminine activity also expresses itsef in what is largely a retrospectively oriented pondering over what we ought to have done differently in life, and how we ought to have done it; or, as if under compulsion, we make up strings of causal connections. We like to call this thinking; though, on the contrary, it is a form of mental activity that is strangely pointless and unproductive, a form that really only leads to self-torture. Here, too, there is again a characteristic failure to discriminate between what is real and what has been thought or imagined."

Simple interpretation: Don't waste your time, it doesn't help you in any way. Just proceed.

Finally I must say the right has lost its gravity lately. Maybe its the result of the election, maybe its the result of the Bush Administration's implosion, who knows. Now they're going after Keith Ellison. He wants to be sworn in as congressman on a Koran instead of the Bible. The right says its got to be a Bible. Isn't it just like the right, tremendous fight and energy but always the wrong battle.

Friday, December 01, 2006

The Great Correction


Living in the Northeast, I'm surprised to see my sedum and some lilies beginning to bloom. Of course it is December 1, and not March 21. This is not necessarily any indication of global warming but I can't recall ever seeing this either. I know winter will arrive soon. Next week no doubt there will be snow. The sedum isn't going to like it.

A few articles on global warming:

Gaia scientist Lovelock predicts planetary wipeout

Grim Signs Mark Global Warming

Global warming shows it's hand in the UK by Sean Batty

Is global warming become increasingly evident in Australia? by Matt Taylor

Keep in mind that some people are putting forth the idea of a "great correction." No its not that, but it does have to do with going past a certain tipping point regarding our economy and our energy use. After all at some point all of that debt, personal and governmental, and our fossil fuel based economy, among other things, has to give.

Digging In and Digging Deep By Robert Jensen

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Sunday March 18, 2007


Here's the idea, Sunday March 18, 2007 gets designated as "The World Prays and Meditates for Peace in Iraq."

An idea can travel around the world really fast now with the web and email, so by that time pretty much everybody could be aware of the event.

The date would coincide with the 4 year anniversary of the start of "Shock and Awe."

Sunday is a better day though because lots of people don't work on Sunday, many are in churches.

The event is non-partisan. This is not a protest or anything like that, its just a situation where the subtle energy of the people of the world tries to create a positive change.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Lunacy


Newt Gingrich has not adjusted to his new role. Gingrich literally kicked out of politics doesn't want to go away and consequently pundits love him for his predictable over the top right wing to neoconservative political spectrum discourse.


This article was all over the place on the web:


Gingrich wants to "reexamine" freedom of speech

Let me state the obvious, Gingrich is a lunatic. There will not be a diminishing of freedom of speech in America. Americans will not allow that to happen. Gingrich does not have a point. He is a corporate to neocon shill and would do anything to remove any dissent of the policies that he represents, policies that destroy people and destroy democracy.

Ridicule, satire, stand up to this, fight against it, Gingrich is not America.

Photo is of a bed bug

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Alice Walker and book sources


There's a recent Alice Walker article that seems appropriate for the period we are now in.


All Praises to the Pause


The article appears in the magazine In These Times, however I found the article posted at Truthout.

Here are a few publishers that are doing the work of presenting fascinating lesser known books, many with essential political writing.

Verso Books

South End Press

City Lights Books

Monday, November 27, 2006

Obstacles



Interpreting our dreams is something we all like to do from time to time. We'll wake up with such intense images in mind and then later on in the day its forgotten.


Marie-Louise Von Franz is a great source for dream work activity. Her book The Way of the Dream is classic and a valuable starting point in learning to study a dream.

She would ordinarily steer you away from the sort of dream dictionary book that has a simple meaning for an image, a spider means this, or the ocean means this, etc.

Still I came across a passage in a Buddhist text about moving away from negative obstacles in our lives and how that is seen in the dream. I found the passage to be compelling.

"If in a dream we are vomiting bad food; drinking yogurt, milk and so forth; seeing the sun and the moon; walking in the sky; seeing blazing fires; able to subdue buffaloes and persons wearing black clothes .....climbing on a milk-producing tree, or an elephant, bull, mountain, lion throne, or mansion; .... it is a sign of separating from evil deeds."

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Taunt

Petrified is the person
Today being led to torture chamber,
With dry mouth and dreadful sunken eyes.
His entire appearance is transfigured.
What need to mention the tremendous despair
When stricken with the disease of great panic,
Being clasped by the physical forms
Of the frightful messengers of death. (from a Buddhist text)

Read Amy Goodman's well researched article on torture: Rumsfeld and a Mountain of Misery

The you tube clip below is double edged. In it an American soldier sitting in the back of a moving transport truck, holds a bottle of water for an Iraqi boy. The boy chases furiously after the truck hoping to get the water. The soldier holds onto the the water, taunting and amazed to see the great length the boy will run to get the water. Its something we've all done or had done to us before, the taunting.

The double edge is that these same soldiers could be moments from an improvised explosive device revealing one of the tragic qualities of war where there are quick and sudden twists of fate.

Iraqi kids run for water

Friday, November 24, 2006

From Belarus with love

Sound bite tyranny


George Lakoff's recent book 'Thinking Points' is an excellent beginning handbook for progressives who want to find ways to make their message understood.

If you want to get a sense of the mindset of the new conservatives, understand how conservative 'values' are framed and repeated by the media, or to simply get a better understanding of some of the essential differences between conservatives and progressives, this book is a good starting point.

Here is a small excerpt.

"Conservatives see terrorism in simple terms: evil people whose conduct is inexcusable and therefore unworthy of analysis. The most that conservatives will concede is that terrorists "hate our freedoms.""

"Liberals tend to ask questions about the deeper, systemic causes of terrorism. Though liberals agree that the conduct is inexcusable, they consider what factors cause hatred of the United States: our military presence in Islamic countries, the absence of schools other than religious madrassas in those countries, our support of authoritarian monarchies in many Arab nations, and our active support of Israel." excerpts from chapter 4.

There is a tyranny to the media sound bite. It doesn't allow for a deeper look at issues that are incredibly complex. Take for example the sound bite "cut and run." Its catchy but its virtually meaningless other than to communicate perhaps a fleeting sense of abandonment and cowardly slinking. Essentially the phrase is so open ended that people will fill in its meaning with their own ideas. It also fails to allow people to take a look at the bigger picture. In the case of the Iraq occupation, the foreign policy of the Bush Administration is the basic context within which the occupation continues. "Cut and run" doesn't allow you to go into the background, the Bush Administration policy itself. If there is anything to "cut and run" from, it is the foreign policy of the Bush Administration which brought on this mess in the first place.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Thanksgiving 2006


After we saw "Fast Food Nation", the idea of eating meat has evaporated at least for the time being. We will be enjoying a vegetarian Thanksgiving. Regardless, we hope your holiday will be outstanding.

There are more signs that support for the American occupation of Iraq is crumbling.

Here is a top conservative Republican senator expressing his views on the suggested idea of increasing troop strength by 20,000: Republican Senator Hegel, no additional troops in Iraq

This is followed by a new poll of Iraqis, the people in the disastrous center of the blood storm created by the neo-conservatives and the Bush Administration: Iraqis want US troops out now

Comment: Support for the continuation of the Bush/neo-conservative Iraq occupation strategy continues to erode with each passing day. Some neo-cons have jumped ship, many Republicans have abandoned the policy, the election results were an expression of the complete rejection for the Iraq occupation by the vast majority of American people, and the Iraqis along with the world at large want the troops out. So who is continuing this insanity? The answer is Bush, especially Cheney, the neo-conservative think tanks like the American Enterprise Institute, the military industrial complex corporations that are making money on this war hand over fist, and a dwindling minority of the extreme right, the loyalists.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Pull out


What happens if there is an immediate withdrawal of troops from Iraq?

First look at two divergent articles. The links to the original articles and a few salient quotes follow:





1. From the Washington Post on November 6, 2006.
Soldiers in Iraq Say Pullout Would Have Devastating Results.

Quotes from this article.

"It would be a raw contention for power. That would be the bloodiest piece of this war."

"Sectarian violence would be rampant, democracy would cease to exist, and the rule of law would be decimated."

"If my unit left town, the insurgents would come back in and use it to stage attacks on Baghdad."

"It would be an extreme betrayal for us to leave."

2. From NPR on July 29, 2006.
Exiting Iraq: Shibley Telhami's View. Telhami is Professor for Peace and Development, University of Maryland.

Quotes from this interview.

"Right now... there are only bad choices."

"Its not a failure of tactics its a failure of... policy."

"A military shift isn't going to address the problem."

"One thing they(Sunnis and Shias) are united about is that they want to see the troops out."

"The Arab-Israeli conflict unites them.(Shias and Sunnis)"

"The answer for reducing the damage lays outside of Iraq...all these countries(Syria, Iran, Turkey) have a vital interest in Iraq,... they (Syria, Iran, Turkey) are going to meddle if they have a policy against them that is confrontational."

"It requires a change of paradigm."

"Its going to deteriorate if we pull out, its going to deteriorate if we stay."

Comment: It is important to understand some of the background of the present American policy in the Middle East. The neo-conservative policy is the dominating American Middle East policy at this time. The neo-cons want regime change in Iran and in Syria. The neo-cons are presently pushing for bombing Iran. I refer you to an article I posted yesterday: Neo-con Muravchik says we must bomb Iran. The article's titles sums it up.

In this context with the American policy favoring war over diplomacy, it is easy to understand how American soldiers express dismay over pulling out. You see "cut and run" at present only exists in the context of the neo-conservative agenda or paradigm. This is the catch 22. Shibley Telhami highly salient quote is: "It requires a change of paradigm."

What does this mean. It means that the neo-conservative policy of war first, diplomacy not even on the table, must change. What must it change to? It needs to change to diplomacy first, war on the back, out of sight burner.

This is where the problem lies. We can't "cut and run" with the present policy in place. It won't work and as the soldiers express, it would lead to more and more civil violence in Iraq because there is nothing uniting Iraqis and nothing uniting the surrounding countries to win peaceful stability. All the surrounding countries are experiencing at present is the threat of war.

The neo-con war first policy can only lead to another war. Its like calling the sky blue and waiting for someone to tell you it isn't, its a predetermined understanding. So when you hear that "cut and run" will only lead to further violence that is probably correct. What we need first is another policy, a policy that promotes diplomacy. In the context of a diplomatic policy, cut and run becomes time to leave.

If there is a major failing of the Bush Administration it has been the rise of the neo-conservatives and their policies. We see the results of what a war first policy can do. It creates monstrous quagmires like the Iraq occupation.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Impersonal objectification


Neo-conservative Joshua Muravchik is resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. I read through his recent LA Times editorial essay.

Neo-con Muravchik says we must bomb Iran


Contrast it to the most recent New Yorker article by Seymour Hersh.

The Next Act - Is a damaged Administration less likely to attack Iran, or more?

No surprise here, neo-con Murazchik believes that Iran is coming closer to the development of a nuclear weapon, "day by day." He argues for bombing Iran sooner rather than later. Hersh on the other hand produces reports from the CIA that say nothing doing they are not close to making a weapon. Hersh goes further and states that the neo-conservative office of Vice President Cheney rejects the CIA intelligence on Iran and consequently they also state that because there is no physical evidence then the Iranians must be hiding the nuclear weapon production facility, so all the more reason to bomb them!

If you are wondering where President Bush gets his information about Iraq which allows him to express optimistic words about the occupation effort, look to the American Enterprise Institute. It would be fair to call the Institute a hotbed of neo-conservative activity.

This excerpt is from an article titled Time for a Heavier Footprint written by American Enterprise Institute neo-conservatives Kristol and Kagan.

"...Falluja was cleared in late 2004 and has been held. Tal Afar, cleared unsuccessfully twice before, was finally cleared and effective government established in 2005. Mosul soon followed. The Iraqi military that failed in 2004 was disbanded and replaced by Iraqi units that have subsequently fought well in Tal Afar, Ramadi, Baghdad, and elsewhere. No major Iraqi cities are under the control of insurgents as Falluja and Tal Afar once were. The Iraqi government has supported a number of clear-and-hold efforts around the country, including in many neighborhoods in Baghdad. All these developments are important and even heartening judged against the calamitous situation we faced in 2004."

I was struck by the language used to describe a battle which undoubtedly killed and maimed people. The term is "clear and hold." It is a characteristic of all neo-conservative writing that I have seen to this point, to objectify the result of war in its most violent aspect. The deaths of many civilian and military people on both sides through battle is summed up as "clear and hold" when there is an American victory over an insurgent stronghold. Contrast the coldness of this term to the actual bloodletting, suffering, destruction, displacement, shock, and deep grieving that is the result of war.

Addendum: Its important to remember that many of those "cleared" were Iraqis. Does it make sense for America to use terms like "clear and hold" in a country that we are trying to liberate? This is incredibly bad judgement on the part of Kristol and the neo-conservatvies. This only inflames the Iraqis. It makes me shake my head in disbelief.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Trifecta


Iraq

Population: 26,783,383

Ethnic groups: Arab 75%-80%, Kurdish 15%-20%, Turkoman, Assyrian or other 5%

Religions: Muslim 97% (Shi'a 60%-65%, Sunni 32%-37%), Christian or other 3%

Languages: Arabic, Kurdish (official in Kurdish regions), Assyrian, Armenian

Sunday's news was characterized with politicos expressing opposing points of view on the Iraq occupation. You would expect to see that in ordinary political discourse, but this was different. The three opposing views I'm talking about come from Republicans.

John McCain says more troops are needed in Iraq. By more he means many many more. He appears to be coming from the fear based side of the Republican strategy. We are all too familiar with that. He is expressing what one might argue is the equivalent of the domino effect in the Middle East. If we don't win in Iraq, then world survival is threatened, more countries will fall to Islamo-fascism etc etc. The domino effect in Vietnam stated that if Vietnam falls then soon all countries on the Eastern Asian Pacific rim and beyond would fall to communism.
There is another less visible effect of McCain's views on Iraq. His view adds weight to the notion that George Bush was correct in invading Iraq. In so doing he is among those who are trying to keep the Bush legacy afloat.

From the Washington Post: Embittered Insiders Turn Against Bush. Here we have a recap of many of the neocons, Bush insiders, Colin Powell insiders, generals, and such who have turned sour on Iraq. The point of view expressed here is that the neo-conservative ideology which states that America must bring democracy to the world through the use of its superior military force, is not working as once imagined. The implications of this realization by the neo-cons is far reaching. The damage done, wealth squandered, lives lost, lies expressed, intelligence ignored, fear instilled, world status destroyed, negative fascist paradigm imprinted, etc etc will have lasting deleterious effects on our lives. We on the progressive side saw this coming, and yes we did tell you so, and yes keep your coprophagic paradigms to yourself thank you.

Old war horse and world class scoundrel and criminal Henry Kissinger now states that: An Iraq Military Win Is Impossible. Kissinger is in a Republican league by himself for many reasons. We must remember that Kissinger through all of his serious faults and horrendous war crimes resume was a proponent of Détente. From Wikipedia:"Détente is a French term, meaning a relaxing or easing; the term has been used in international politics since the early 1970s. Generally, it may be applied to any international situation where previously hostile nations not involved in an open war "warm up" to each other and threats de-escalate."
Détente is connected with diplomacy, something which is not a characteristic of either the neo-cons or the Bush Administration.

Summation: Republicans are all over the field on Iraq. Many express the sentiment that the war was necessary but handled poorly and now needs to be improved ie McCain and such, others regret the whole mess from the start and with 20-20 hindsight realize the errors of their strategy.
Three and a half years ago all was swell, all mentioned parties were quite onboard. Now the failed Iraq policy and a serious refutation of Republican and neo-conservative ideology by the general public causes a crazed stampede. My personal hope is that investigations by the new Congress will reveal the rush to war in its ugly details. The involved parties need to be held fully accountable, the truth has to come out.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Keroack for Secretary of Defense!


Did you get the memo? Sex is bad again. It used to be good, but now its bad.

Bush has appointed Dr. Eric Keroack to be the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Population Affairs, overseeing the Office of Family Planning.


Its a very curious appointment because Dr. Keroack is opposed to premarital sex and is part of the push towards abstinence only. Let's say he's not on the short list of people to speak out on behalf of women's reproductive rights. This is someone who has major issues with birth control. Abortion? Do not mention the word ever, don't go there, don't, no. One shudders to imagine what tic goes off in his mind over gay sex.

Abstinence Clearinghouse

This appointment has shocked me for this reason only; right man, wrong job. Think about it. Instead of Gates as the replacement for Rumsefeld it should be Dr. Eric Keroack.

Keroack would make an excellent secretary of defense. Its as clear as a bell. Peace would prevail.

He would not want to pull the trigger or load his gun. He would not put his finger on the hot button of Armageddon. He'd be opposed to a preemptive thrust. He wouldn't shoot his missile. He'd oppose exploding the bomb. He'd never penetrate the enemy or cause an orgy of death. How could he sexually torture the prisoner? His troops wouldn't rape. He'd want to maintain the pure innocence of the soldier. He would never go down the deep chasm of nuclear war.

Final unconscious thought: A deep operative and dear friend of mine would tell me that he was thankful to the Catholics for making sex so bad and guilt ridden. He said that a result of making sex bad, is that it made sex so much better and more fun.

Here's an excerpt from Jack Kerouac, writer, beat generation poet, dharma bum.

211th Chorus, from Mexico City Blues

The wheel of the quivering meat conception
Turns in the void expelling human beings,
Pigs, turtles, frogs, insects, nits,
Mice, lice, lizards, rats, roan
Racinghorses, poxy bubolic pigtics,
Horrible, unnameable lice of vultures,
Murderous attacking dog-armies
Of Africa, Rhinos roaming in the jungle,

Vast boars and huge gigantic bull
Elephants, rams, eagles, condors,
Pones and Porcupines and Pills-
All the endless conception of living beings
Gnashing everywhere in Consciousness
Throughout the ten directions of space
Occupying all the quarters in & out,
From super-microscopic no-bug
To huge Galaxy Lightyear Bowell
Illuminating the sky of one Mind-
Poor! I wish I was free
of that slaving meat wheel
and safe in heaven dead