Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Weapons and violence by the numbers

Building on the theme of major U.S.screw ups in Iraq, we have a new story. The Pentagon cannot account for 14,030 weapons. Last week recall it was the missing $500 million, lost somewhere in Iraq. That would be our taxpayer money that was earmarked to fight the insurgency. This week its lost weapons. Kind of makes you wonder what the totality of the screw ups is at this point. I assume we are told a figure or an amount that only represents part of the total.

US weapons missing in Iraq

Looking at the following list in one lump sum, provides a distinct feeling quality to this Iraq war. Notice the seventh story down. It about sadistic British soldiers who would beat up those Iraqis who would not remember their assigned nicknames. This is the sadist of your deepest nightmare. We have to also assume that this sort of soldier, the sadist, a very special individual indeed, is right there in the thick of it, helping to secure the hearts and minds. I hope the sarcasm is noticeable. Here is a partial list of blasts and violence in Iraq over October 2006:

30 dead 60 injured, Monday October 30

41 killed in a series of blasts, Thursday October 19

Churches targeted in Iraq blasts, Sunday October 29

Car bomb kills 10, Monday October 16

A series of bomb attacks kills dozens, Sunday October 15

17 Iraqi policemen killed in Basra, Sunday October 29

Iraqis beaten if they could not remember their nicknames, Friday October 27

Facts and figures on Iraq violence, Thursday October 26

In pictures 4 dead from roadside bomb, Wednesday October 25

10 US soldiers killed, Wednesday October 10

Monday, October 30, 2006

Got dollars?

If you want to give yourself a real thrill, take a tiny peek at the economic prospects of the United States as viewed by the top accountant at the Government Accountability Office.

Economic disaster

Quoting from the article: "The vast majority of economists and budget analysts agree: The ship of state is on a disastrous course, and will founder on the reefs of economic disaster if nothing is done to correct it."

Excerpt 2: "Washington tends to keep its fiscal house in better order when one party controls Congress and the other is in the White House."

Continuing on the economic theme, this article from the Guardian written January 2006:

Real cost of the war in Iraq

Quoting from the article: "The unforeseen costs of the war have been blamed on poor planning and vision by the architects of the invasion. In a frank admission yesterday, Paul Bremer, the first US administrator of postwar Iraq, said the Americans did not anticipate the uprising that has persisted since flaring in 2004. "We really didn't see the insurgency coming," he told NBC television."

In other words, the insurgency was not expected by the Bush Administration. Consequently the cost of fighting the insurgency was not even considered. Are we really supposed to believe that the Bush Administration actually operated from the assumption that the war would be over as soon as they reached Baghdad? Yeow. I used to think the neo-cons were extreme but to be this out of touch, its amazing.

Excerpt 2: "But in terms of the total cost of the war "there may have been alternative ways of spending a fraction of that amount that would have enhanced America's security more, and done a better job in winning the hearts and minds of those in the Middle East and promoting democracy"."

Let's state the obvious. The Republicans are supposedly big on security. So they invade Iraq, don't plan for an insurgency, the cost of the war goes off the charts, and a fraction of the money used in that effort could have provided more security for US citizens. Yet these same people are running the show and still have the support of 33% of the people.

Finally this article from the BBC:

Global warming could cut the world's economic output by 20%

What is interesting about this particular article is that it approaches global warming from the point of view of economic effects, not environmental effects. Perhaps this is the type of article to present to your Republican friend who continues to poo poo global warming.

Artwork - Saint Sebastian anonymous 15th century German

Sunday, October 29, 2006


We saw "Catch a Fire" on Saturday night. I recommend it. The movie explores the fine line that rests between revenge and justice during the time of apartheid in South Africa.

It made me think about the Iraqis. Perhaps this was part of the intention of the producers considering the cast includes Tim Robbins.

Specifically, the Iraqis that have suffered by losing relatives or friends as a result of the war. Maybe they were killed or murdered in a tragic unjust way or worse.

The sense of wanting to enact revenge can creep in. The movie shows how the innocent honest person turns into the terrorist because they are seeking revenge. Revenge in this case is the only form of justice that is available. In a situation defined by chaos, there really is no justice. Certainly this would be true for Blacks in South Africa during the reign of apartheid, and with the level of violence that we read about on a daily basis, it is true in Iraq right now.

Allow me to segue here.

Anger presents us with two possibilities.

Anger can move in the direction of destruction or violence or revenge. The energy of anger grows and deepens. You can lose you intelligence as a result. All you see is the quality of anger, its color in your mind.

There is a brilliant side to anger or at least a brilliant side that it points to. This requires an honest examination. Perhaps the energy of anger could move towards harmony and removing the qualities that cause anger. Finding the thing that can switch the negative to positive. After all we become angry when there is a small or large disturbance in the harmony of our life, some kind of friction.

Here's the problem. You can have this understanding, but what do you do when your opponent is only willing to go in the direction of the destructive side? You can be forgiving, loving, kind, wise, and still be carried off and beaten.

It is a complex problem and the answer seems to lead back into the sense of one's own values and understandings. How would you hold up to torture?

Artwork - The Hiroshima Panels by Maruki Iri and Maruki Toshi

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Perversely self -righteous

This was not the week to feel the love in the United States. With elections closing in, the rhetoric is off the charts. There is more civility in an unconscious drunken broken bottle bar room brawl than in these elections.

The Republicans have upped the ante. In fact there is no more ante. With almost the entire Republican campaign funding going to negative ads, and with Republicans holding a huge funding advantage, partisanship, unity, agreement, and consensus are paper boats about to float in the middle of a tsunami.

America is built on a history of exploration. Right now we are exploring the depths of hatred, manipulation, and outright hissing lying.

"Mean" Jean Schmidt, Republican Representative from Ohio who has all the attributes of Coulter minus the kind caring, redefines the number 0. Here she attacks her opponent for breaking Congressional rules, however her opponent is not in Congress.

Rush Limbaugh, seen here mimicking Michael J.Fox, missed his chance. In fact he should have appeared in black face mocking Barack Obama. I'm surprised he hasn't done this already. Afterwards he can talk while faking a severe swollen tongue impediment and mock the severely retarded. His listeners will lap it up.

Fox made the fatal flaw of publicly supporting stem cell research. Recall that science is not high on the list of the Bush Administration.

Karl Rove recently spoke with NPR about the upcoming elections.

Rove article

An excerpt from the article:
"I see several things," Rove says. "I'm allowed to see the polls on the individual races. And after all, this does come down to individual contests between individual candidates."

Contrary to every poll, article, and pundit we all have heard, Rove is claiming that the GOP will retain control of Congress and the Senate. I can only reiterate that this election will be replete with dirty tricks and lawsuits.

Black Eyed Peas "Where is the Love?"

Friday, October 27, 2006

Perception management

Listening to Democracy Now thursday morning, the term 'perception management' came up during journalist Bob Parry's discussion of Regan's Iran-Contra and the Bush Administration's present efforts to effect the elections of Nicaragua.

I highly recommend reading Parry's articles.

The Wikipedia discussion of the term is limited. It does however point out the idea that "...falsehood and deception,.... are important ingredients of perception management." Also it points out that the term originated with the military.

In the early 1980's, The Office of Public Diplomacy provided cover for the CIA as they went about their war in Nicaragua and this was done through the use of perception management. Read this article by Parry for more.

Can you think of the ways that perception management was used on us in the run up to the Iraq War. What were some of the notions floating about? People told me Saddam was as dangerous as Hitler. A statement which now seems absurd, but people believed this to be true. What about WMD and Iraq funded mushroom clouds over American cities? What about the notion that Saddam was responsible for 9-11? What about the term, "stay the course?" A term ultimately more suited for a golf game or a diet program.

These things didn't just come out of the air. In a more realistic time, a time when facts supersedes ideology, perception management would be called propaganda.

There are several terms which we are aware of, and which we do not have the carefully crafted definitions and methods of application. I am thinking of "perception management", "spin", "psychological operations AKA psyops", and our newest friend "torture." All of these have at least one common link. That would be information; presenting it, altering it, inventing it, adjusting it, or acquiring it. Certainly there are more carefully nuanced terms and applications. Certainly they exist in the defense department planners repertoire.

To be continued.......

Painting by Max Pechstein

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Republican vs republican vs soldiers vs Americans

Comparing the sentiment and understanding of varying groups is a good method for getting closer to the larger picture, so to speak.

Today George Bush spoke on the Iraq War. Summing up a few points, he said we will stay until the job is done, which to me sounds like we will stay the course. This slogan of course coming under fire recently, and consequently revealing to us how unimportant slogans of this nature are particularly in relation to a war, and probably anything else. He'll send more troops if asked and articles suggest that the generals want more troops. This indicates of course, an escalation in the war not a deescalation. He says its all about security, he's always said this. 9-11 times a billion. He said essentially nothing new, sorry to say, but certainly not surprising.

Contrast this with Lindsay Graham who says, we are on the verge of chaos in Iraq. This is something that would appear to be true based on the severity of the news stories coming out of Iraq on a daily basis and over the past few years.

Then we go to this. 65 troops to ask congress to stop the war. Here we are getting the perspective from the soldiers themselves. The people who are directly implementing the policy and see directly what is actually going on right there, right in the thick of it all.

Finally there is the perspective from the American people. 54% of Americans want out of Iraq within a year. With the veracity and stability of the voting system in America completely in shambles, and it would be safe to place the blame for that directly on the present ruling party who have used this situation to their own benefit, this poll would probably express the least meaningful sentiment of the four contrasting sentiments. In other words it is a powerless sentiment. (Is it unusual that an opinion, expressed by the majority in a supposed democracy, has no power or weight?)

Summing up, it appears we will be "staying the course."

Photo by Herbert List

Wednesday, October 25, 2006


A dear friend of mine refers to America as 'this sinking ship.' In spite of all, I am not that pessimistic. Now the upcoming elections, that's a different story.

I think a Congressional race is going to be hard to fix especially if the polls indicate a clear cut winner. But if the polls indicate a close lead, let's say a Democrat slightly ahead, I fear their may be mischief.

If the voting system in America was truly accurate, then the Democrats win back Congress hands down. With the voting system corrupted as it is, its going to be a lot closer.

Like the vast majority of Americans, I would like to see the present presidential administration spend two years explaining how they got so much, so wrong. Why did they allow a cabal of twenty some odd neo-cons to take over the direction of our country and impose this hideous new paradigm i.e. war, fear, war, fear, state control over individual rights, AKA pre-fascist conditions?

Here is a comparison chart assembled by a deep operative who has my thanks and appreciation.

Brutal versus more brutal

Hungary 1956
-occupied by Russia
-population 10 million
-2500 Hungarians killed
-750 occupation forces killed
-approximately 200,000 Hungarians fled Hungary
-26,000 put on trial by the Kádár government, and of those 13,000 were imprisoned.
-Former Hungarian Foreign Minister Géza Jeszenszky estimated 350 were executed.

Iraq 2006
-occupied by the USA
-population 27 million
-600,000 Iraqis killed
-3,000 occupation forces killed
-approximately 890,000 Iraqis have emigrated and/or fled
-Tens of thousands have been imprisoned.

Image by Clovis Trouille

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Iraq beyond out of control

This story from CBS News indicates that there are massive breakdowns in governmental guidance and oversight on probably all levels in Iraq.

Over $500 million missing in funds to fight the insurgency

When you add up the death tolls from civilian violence alone, information from and about the James Baker led Iraq Study Group and their statements (and even the notion that this group even exists!), polls indicating a complete lack of support for the war effort from Americans and our soldiers and the Iraqis, human abuses of a monstrous type, screw ups of every color, missteps at every level, there is one conclusion. The war is completely and utterly out of control. Can we get this point across.

Yet all Washington is doing is painting a smiley face on this disaster and for what? Because it may hurt them politically. Damn what's wrong with me, its not about the war, crikey, its about power and money. What on earth was I thinking?

Does the term 'going to hell in a handbasket' mean anything to anybody? Hello Washington, anybody home?

Here's some political comedy for you. Its something that actually does make sense.

First, Andy Dick as the President's speech writer.

Then Bill Maher on neo-con dating:

Monday, October 23, 2006

Fake or Fact or In Between

The more savvy students of politics know that there is truth in political statements and more often than not there is something else. This something else can be an outright deliberate lie intended to misdirect and deceive. It can be a partial truth. It can be a carefully worded statement that suggests any one of a number of things which are understood only through careful parsing. It can also be many other things as well.

I do not know where the truth is in this story. I have assembled a number of links which present the story but differ in their version of the truth.

The story involves an American military munitions depot AKA ammo dump in Iraq near Baghdad. On or about October 10, 2006, the ammo dump either came under enemy fire and was either partially or completely destroyed. Also it may not have come under attack but still was partially or completely destroyed.

Secondly there may have been no injuries to American military personnel connected to the ammo dump. Or there may have been a large number of injuries and possibly many deaths as a result of the explosions.

Let's take a hypothetical case where the dump came under enemy fire and many people were killed, say 100 soldiers. There are many reasons why a story like that would be suppressed or covered up. Certainly this would not look very good anywhere, particularly in America. No need to go into the political ramifications of this scenario. But they are huge.

On the other hand there are many reasons why this same hypothetical case could be one that is trumped up by a very clever enemy. All kinds of reasons come to mind about that, including the very same reason as the one above, it could prove to be very embarrassing politically particularly in America.

Allow me to make a personal statement here. I love our American soldiers. These people are brave and wonderful. I grieve when I hear of a single death and this month of October has been difficult.

Follow these links and decide for yourself. Where is the truth?

If this is true than our troubles are much much worse than I ever thought

BBC story on the blast at the US ammo dump

Blog on massive explosions

Another view from almtamar.net

Another view from The Independent

Another view from Wikinews

From Military.com

From smirkingchimp.com Contains references to transport planes carrying casualties

Video of explosions on Google This appears to be an ammo dump exploding from January 15, 2006. How many ammo dumps have been destroyed? What gives? Is the date a mistake?

Photos of an ammo dump explosion aftermath

Iraq casualties

Operations back to normal according to blackanthem.com

As reported on ABC News

As reported at the Guardian in the UK

As reported on tbrnews.org This is similar to the original lengthy liberty forum report.

Something on a craigslist from who knows where

Photo is of 'Miss Atomic Bomb' - Lee Merlin

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Dreamy Sunday

Sometimes I write down a dream that I remember. There was a period when I wrote them down regularly. The more I wrote them down, the more I would remember. That's how it seems to work. I fell out of the habit. I also sleep better, usually, but not always.

Dreams are like poems. I am not schooled in the intricacies and history of poetry. Once in a while I pick up a poetry book and look it over, especially if its something someone has recommended to me. Poets tend to be a very politically active lot. I suspect you can learn more about politics from poets than from some other professional.

Appreciating poetry is something to cultivate. Poems are complex, brightly simple, secretly referential, intentionally confusing, erotic, all these things. They are something to savor. Poems require your attention, and that's a hard thing to drum up. We tend to want to relax. Reading a poem can be hard work.

'Dream Deferred' by Langston Hughes

What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
Like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore--
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over--
like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.
Or does it explode?

Painting by Henryk Fantazos

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Fear by fear

We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason.
- Edward R. Murrow

Despite polls which show a vast majority of Americans seeking change within the political system, and in particular within the Congress, drastic changes in laws have been made by these very same politicians. It is disturbing to know that our society is being radically affected by politicians that have little to no support in the country.

People have described these changes in the law as the politics of fear. It could be said that a population that is cowering in fear is one that is easy to manipulate and direct. The questions that follows ask is that manipulation going to benefit or harm people. Also, they ask how is that manipulation taking place.

I do not see the benefit in removing habeus corpus. I don't see the benefit in torturing people. Yet I feel the force of the manipulation that attempts to justify its use. Removing habeus corpus brings about more fear. Does the idea of torture not make you afraid?

We know of the recent nuclear test in North Korea. A friend pointed out to me that if the United States so desired, the military could produce a nuclear onslaught of such devastation as to create a virtual wasteland wherever they so desired. They could do this many times over with an arsenal that has thousands of nuclear weapons.

Curiously Americans never tend to think about how much fear America generates in the world with this type of destructive capability. Yet we will shake at the thought of another country possessing a single similar weapon. My point here is not to smooth over the spread of nuclear weapons, only to focus on the state of fear arising from it. Also to ask if this fear drives policies that overreach, over react.

Light that is shed on the dark areas that cause fear, lighten fear. Knowledge always helps to soften fear.

The politics of fear have an erosive quality. The vibrancy of society dims. The purpose becomes murky and confused. I look forward to the time when my leaders inspire much more. Right now they seem to want us to fear.

Painting by Vermeer

Friday, October 20, 2006

Green energy

Imagine this, your sitting in a chair outside your house watching your electric power meter. In amazement, the dials are going backwards. Your house it turns out, is producing electricity from the solar panels you have installed on its roof. A new law makes the power companies literally pay you for the electricity that you are producing. Not a payment in terms of energy credits on your utilities bill, we are talking about money, real money.

Sound good? Well its going on, of course not in the USA, but it is going on in Canada. I guess Americans don't really need this sort of thing. According to Dick Cheney, we will be increasing our consumption of oil as fuel right up until there is nary a drop of the stuff left.

Also with the sharp spikes in climate change due to global warming or as republicans like to call it "mild pollution," those multiple sub zero winter days and endless above 90 days will require gads of oil to fuel furnaces and air conditioners. I guess Americans are all set. Sorry my bad.

But if you think you might like to take a little peek at the article that describes things like a solar energy buying cooperative, try this one from the Washington Post:

Solar energy at work in Canada

Artwork by Pierre Moliner

Thursday, October 19, 2006


There's a certain given about living in the USA. I haven't lived in other countries so I can't speak about that. But its a violent culture to be sure. There's a lot of fear in America. Racial tensions remain sharp, and violence against women is always present. Gays are attacked. My brother William who was gay, was jumped and mugged a couple of times in New York City because he was gay. He was a convenient target. He passed away two years ago, no need to worry about mugging anymore.

The point is that there is an ongoing sense of a need for self protection as we go about our business. We look at who is coming at us, we worry about it, its in the back of people's minds.

I know many women who were assaulted, a few who were raped. All men in America have similar knowledge. I would talk with an old friend back in the day. He would talk about his then present GF, he'd say she was raped when she was a teenager. I would think how horrible. It was something that was so common, either your girlfriend had been sexually assaulted or not, chances seemed about 50/50.

I knew many women as a college student, girlfriends who were assaulted in one way or another. One who was forced to perform oral sex when she was just a child of 10 years old. I'm sure her parents never knew about it.

There is that pervasive sometimes subtle fear of violence. You never know when you will be victimized. I had an excellent friend, a Yale student. He was shot dead in New Haven when he was about 20 years old. Probably could have been a senator he was so bright.

I want to tell you that the most violent American day of the past 6 years was on Tuesday October 17, 2006. Bush got final permission to throw away the right of Habeus Corpus as he sees fit and necessary. He also got permission to torture as he sees fit and necessary. No single act of violence that you and I know of comes close to this assault on freedom and democracy in a civilized society. We are at a low. We all know we are at a low but its getting lower. It can get worse. I suspect it will. Who would even imagine 6 years ago that our government would sign away a human legal right that has been in place for centuries. Well they did it, Tuesday October 17.

Its more violence. Violence breeds fear. Fear breeds violence. Are you that afraid of the terrorist that you are willing to sign away your rights under the Constitution?

Photo by Philippe DiFalco

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Violent food?

I am a fan of maintaining one's health. Exercise, good diet, yoga, and such, all these things are really good for you. So when I found this article at rawstory.com I wanted to share it.

The link between violence and what we eat

I hope you read it, its fascinating. Part of the article goes into the life a repeat offender, in and out of jail for assault, a foggy life. He's turned it around with the addition of a supplement. The supplement you might ask? The answer is fish oil, rich in omega 3 type of fat.

If you are an observer of our American lifestyle, the article will immediately bring to mind the violence that we see present and one possible aspect of its causes. Could it be the junk food? Its not the complete answer but I suspect its part of it.

Recall the book 'Erewhon' which more or less is nowhere spelled backwards. A book by Samuel Butler and I do not recommend reading it. But do browse it. Its a poorly written book, tedious and with long drawn out descriptions that are not relevant. Butler proposes that the real criminals are those that allow their health to deteriorate, and those that need medical care are the actual violent criminals. Butler's world is a flip flop criminal/patient place. The article has a toe nail in this reasoning.

Also I am reminded of Michael Moore's 'Bowling for Columbine.' Moore did an interesting expose of violence in America. Hey if we fed fish oil to the neo-conservatives would they stop being such militant crazies? Certainly couldn't hurt. So the next time a neo-conservative visits your local pro-war think tank don't throw a pie at them throw a piece of salmon, broiled with a light lemon sauce. Oh dear, I wonder if it a federal offense suggesting that we throw broiled salmon fillet at neo-cons? Um um um...it was just a joke!

Painting by August Macke

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Kids and War

There was a recent Yahoo News article that went by the board much too fast.

Teenage girl is questioned by Federal agents about a Bush threat

Read it for yourself.

She put up some statements about Bush on myspace.com that went too far at least from the Feds perspective. To set the picture, she is 14, white, and she was pulled from a molecular biology high school class to be harshly questioned by two Secret Service agents about these anti-Bush postings of hers.

I want to comment on an aspect of the Iraq War that is completely overlooked. The young people in our country, the people that are under the age of 18, all of them right on down to the little ones have to deal with this war also. There are a lot of American troop casualties out there. Over 20,000 at this point, and that is a lot of people.

These injured soldiers and their families are in our American communities, and almost all of us at this point know someone directly, or with a one or two degree of separation, connected to fighting in this war. We're all pretty close to it at this point in some way. That would include all of the kids too.

These kids are feeling stress about this war as well, just like the rest of us. Some of them have relatives, parents, friends, that are in it and maybe got hurt there. The way they express this comes out in all sorts of ways. Let's try to not forget about this ok. Let's try to show that we are an advanced society here.

Image by Mark Lombardi

Monday, October 16, 2006


I stumbled across the real barometer reading for the Bush Presidency. The thing that reveals the true feelings of the American Beast, the public at large. This is it. Forget about the polls, the snippy comics, lambasting politicians, faint inducing articles, shocking tell all insiders, and all of the various leakers. (Leakers?)

At the local chain super mega drugstore by the checkout, I found the latest "National Examiner" and you would not believe what I read on the headline of that true standard of the weekly periodic American flight of fantasy.

The headline read: "BUSH MARRIAGE OVER!"

I know.... I get it too. I know.... I felt the same way. On the left side of the diptych front page photo there is Laura, angry, snarling wrinkle over the lips, venomous look in her twinkling eye, ready to pounce, on the right side George, loopy daze, biting lower lip, foggy eyed, dulled, and innocently receptive. The sub title, you guessed it, "Laura erupts after drinking binge."

Drinking and alcoholism are the trade of the new Republicanism. Think Foley checking himself into rehab to account for his pederast flinging inclination. Also think Ney, soon to be, if not already, checked into Betty Ford Land, contrite and seeking forgiveness for crimes against the people of the fair land.

But its deeper and more subtle, this headline, this photo business. This is a symbolic artifact if there ever was one. It is ripe with meaning. Translating this image is similar to interpreting the salient dream. Its ready to be plucked and plucked good.

I propose this is a message from the Heartland of America. These folks don't bother with facts, polls, speeches, New York Times, internet blah blah blah. All that stuff is phoniness. All aspects of it are dripping with slime. These people speak from below the gut, from the scent. This headline is a distillate of a half decades worth of policy, if it can truly be called policy.

All the wars, taxes, corruptness, fear, hurricanes, economy, religions, abortions, homosexual marriage, all that stuff has had 6 years of boiling over the hot blunt boulder rolling eye of Examiner world. The marriage is over baby, we want a divorce. Do you get it, divorce, split, you got the huge steal tipped working class size 6 through 12 boot, fierce and there's no return. You don't reconcile this. There's no marriage counseling. Its time to play find the identity.

This is a wife leaving the man, leaves him dangling alone, hung out to dry out, and perched on a marble crapper. This is the voice of America, its saying get out you drunken bum. Enough is enough.

Painting by Karel Appel

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Rising anger

A quick examination of the political polls indicates that there is a rising dissatisfaction with the direction of the country under the leadership of the Republican Congress. On top of that information, there is a steady stream of Republican Congressmen who are being convicted of corruption charges, including Delay, Cunningham, and Ney, also Foley with questionable sexual exchanges with 16 year old congressional male pages leading to Foley's resignation. More investigations are in the works as well, as the Abramoff scandal widens along with an assortment of highly specialized scandals of a more personal nature.

I am all for ridiculing these people. They have earned our contempt for failing in their fundamental responsibility which is to work for us, the America people, and to work for our benefit.

The list of horrendous decisions and bad policy from the executive branch is in a league of its own. In most respects, that branch's atrocities makes the Republican Congress fiasco look weak and tame. This clip found on www.youtube.com made the rounds of the alternate news blog this last week.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Baker and Ney

Its Friday again and the stories that Washington does not want you to know about come forth. Remember Friday is the day when people tend to pay less attention to the news.

First up Republican Congressman Bob Ney is guilty of taking money in exchange for influence. An interesting aspect of this story is that Ney's lawyers want their client to get alcohol treatment. Sounds like there is a pattern developing here, as Republican Congressman Foley also quit Congress and is now supposedly in alcohol rehab. The White House was quick to point out that Ney does not represent Republicans. Perhaps they meant he just represents "most" Republicans. Just a little joke, be it a tragic one.

Republican Congressman Ney from Ohio pleaded guilty to charges connected with the Abramoff scandal

James Baker is back with the Iraq Study Group. He is going to bail out Bush jr. from the Iraq quagmire. The article is a bit pathetic in title content.

James Baker rules out victory in Iraq

I mean if they have to announce that victory in Iraq is out of the question as their first salvo, who or what are they trying to butter up or is it soften up? Is it that staunch 33% of the population that thinks Bush is doing a swell job? Hello James Baker.... next idea bub.

Addendum: Republican Congressman Curt Weldon of Pennsylvania also under FBI investigation charging he traded political influence for lucrative family business contracts

Artwork by Christopher Underwood

Friday, October 13, 2006

Chomsky vs Griffin on 9-11 conspiracy

Chomsky explains why 9-11 was not "an inside job." Griffin is the leading author on questioning the 9-11 conclusions.

Chomsky Part 1

Chomsky Part 2

David Ray Griffin

Thursday, October 12, 2006

An even million

A group of us meet regularly to study politics. We share articles, investigate historical precedents, examine the neo-conservative movement, this kind of thing. I'll go into more details about it in the future.

One participant wondered how many Iraqis were killed due to the war. I remembered the one study from Johns Hopkins that placed the number at 100,000, but that was in 2004. Iraq body count has the number at between 43,850 and 48,693 looking at it Wednesday night.

Well there's a new article in the Washington Post:

655,000 Iraqi Deaths as a result of the Iraq War

Shortly after the election of 2004, I read a short prepared statement to a crowd at the library on the results. I was searching for something positive to say, as I was not feeling particularly positive about the political landscape. Anyhow, one thing I said was that each president usually has the blood of at least 100,000 people on his hands and that's got to be something harsh to carry with you and that Kerry would not have that particular burden. I guess I was wrong.

Painting by Frida Kahlo

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Nuke-a-ler confusion

"This may sound a little West Texan to you, but I like it. When I'm talking about.. when I'm talking about myself, and when he's talking about myself, all of us are talking about me." George W. Bush

I came across the reference to this BBC news story at The Raw Story. Raw story is a good alternative news source especially for the liberal and progressive crowd.

The story is a few years old, its from April 3, 2002:

US grants North Korea $95 million in nuclear funds

Here are two excerpts from this article:

excerpt 1: In releasing the funding, President George W Bush waived the Framework's requirement that North Korea allow inspectors to ensure it has not hidden away any weapons-grade plutonium from the original reactors.

excerpt 2: President Bush argued that the decision was "vital to the national security interests of the United States".

Yes I agree, its confusing. Why would the US grant $95 million to North Korea for anything whatsoever involving the word 'nuclear?' On the surface it seems to contradict the messages we presently hear from the White House on North Korea. Also the first excerpt seems to run 180 degrees from the policy that was used by Bush prior to the war in Iraq regarding inspectors. If I learn more about it, I will let you know.

Painting by Jean Arp

Tuesday, October 10, 2006


I ran into this article in my web travels. 1,502 pound pumpkin may be largest ever! Certainly its takes your mind off the expanding nightmarish reality that I refer to by various names but tonight I'll call it neo-conservative hellworld.

After all if they take away habeus corpus, torture whomever they think is a terrorist, stamp out dissent wherever it arises, make it legal for the FBI to search your house without a warrant, taser your ass for yelling out to Cheney that you think he's a shithead, tap your phone without a warrant, take away the validity of your vote with phony ass Diebold computerized voting (non-voting) machines, start wars with nations they suspect might be doing something or other, poison your own army with depleted uranium weapons, take away benefits for veterans, turn your social security savings into a fat paycheck for some fat blathering white guy who needs money like you need a new blood clot, withhold important information about meetings that relate to 9-11, say pointless nonsensical slogans like stay the course, stay the course, stay the course, forget that there's a thing in the world called "DIPLOMACY", determine that everyone in America needs to be a fundamentalist Christian, cover-up the creepy moves of pederasts, extort money from Indian tribes, use taxpayer money to take extended vacations to wherever, forget that New Orleans is part of the USA, then you might be living in neo-conservative hellworld too.

Next article: wisdom and kindness as a political model. In whose dream?

Painting by Dali

Monday, October 09, 2006

Do it

I was talking with an acquaintance about politics. They were saying that its difficult to get involved in understanding politics or to be politically active because its harsh, it sucks you in and then takes away something. They were saying it brings back various aspects of life that appear to be contrary to the spiritual aspects. Politics can make you mad and angry, real mad and angry. It can make you material bound because the fight is sometimes over the material, note: see Iraq War.

Also politics can make you feel rather unimportant. What exactly can you do anyhow. I once spoke with a friend who was upset with me for complaining about the Iraq War. I was pointing out the neo-cons, the history, the this and the that. It upset her to the core. Eventually she told me that my interest, my opinion, it was silliness, its an aspect of being over 50. She said there's something about 50 year old guys, they think they can be politicos. Finally she told me, that's why we have people in government, people who are experts, they take care of these things for us, they know what they're doing. She supports Bush and company. She has a close relative in Iraq, he's an American soldier. She's a more trusting soul than I.

I can't say why people need to become activists, become politically savvy at least. I think about it. I go over the why bother aspects, the you 'must' do this aspects, the well I'll just go so far with it aspects, et al.

Politics is fascinating. People are attracted to politicians for crazy and semi-invalid reasons, from sexual attraction or non attraction, to emotional loyalties and its opposite, to actually having a firm understanding of the issues and their meanings and implications, to pure whimsical flightiness. Its all there. Politics embraces all of that stuff and more and less. So its complex, very complex, and it grows, its life.

When you learn an instrument, at various stages you can tackle more complex music. Or you can begin to play less complicated music better. This same model applies to just about any skill I suppose, as well as politics. You learn a little bit, you understand a fraction, you apply a bit, multiplied by your lifetime.

to be continued....

Further reading: On activism

One last little bit of info:

President Bush prances to the extreme limit of any presidential poll with a 33% approval rating. Let's belligerently chuckle aloud.

Painting by Diego Rivera

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Change it

The violence in Iraq continues unabated. This Yahoo News article attempts to calculate the thousands of Iraqi police killed in the last two years alone.

There are several articles that I've read suggesting that the Bush Administration is changing its thinking on Iraq.

This first article is from the BBC: Republican Senator John Warner is suggesting major changes in Iraq policy.

This next article from tompaine.com delves into the idea of a new CIA inspired coup d'etet to overthrow the present Iraqi Prime Minister, al-Maliki, and install some form of government that is deliberately NOT democratic. Just when you thought you could no longer tolerate listening to GWB mention a democratic Iraq, turns out you may not hear that anymore. Iraq may be in for another "strongman" dictator chosen by Bush and company. Here is a particularly salient part of this article written by Robert Dreyfuss:

excerpt 1: Some outside experts who have recently visited the White House said Bush administration officials were beginning to plan for the possibility that Iraq's democratically elected government might not survive.

excerpt 2: ''Senior administration officials have acknowledged to me that they are considering alternatives other than democracy,'' said one military affairs expert who received an Iraq briefing at the White House last month and agreed to speak only on condition of anonymity.

Just to make a quick recap:

We went into Iraq to destroy weapons of mass destruction that were a threat to the USA. Turns out there were no WMD and in fact there was no military threat to the USA whatsoever.

Then they said we went into Iraq to depose a cruel and vicious dictator who openly savaged his own population. Turns out that now the Bush Administration is looking to install a new dictator.

Also we were told that we went into Iraq in order to spread democracy throughout the Middle East, where we would be seen as liberators. Turns out that the Bush Administration is now looking at "other forms of government" that are not democratic for Iraq.

All Cindy Sheehan wanted to know was, what is that just and noble cause that my son died for in Iraq?

The answer seems circular, absurd, and fundamentally flawed. It is a war designed by the neo-conservatives way back in the late 90s. Bush allowed the events of 9-11 to build public opinion, through deception, to allow for the neo-con inspired Iraq War to begin. As the war progressed major blunders were committed by Rumsfeld that helped to spark the insurgency. As the insurgency fuels a civil war in areas of Iraq that is tainted by complete dissolution of any semblance of orderly society, the Bush Administration is now looking for new ways to bring order to Iraq which include a possible CIA coup d'etat intent on installing a new dictator.

No doubt the next step will be for a new neo-conservative movement which will want war in Iraq to remove a brutal dictator installed by the USA in 2006-7.

Is it making any sense to you now? When I started this blog a few months ago, I really had no idea what I was going to write. This type of news is the sort that makes me want to throw all caution to the wind and try to write nothing but sarcastic criticism about America. The problem is, I dislike sarcasm. I see it as stepping backwards. But how do you comment on this shit? I mean this stuff is totally whacked. Its like some deranged twisted sadistic sick shit head is making this stuff up as he goes. We're supposed to go along with this? You gotta be kidding me. Maybe Kafka could make this stuff up, Catch 22 didn't even come close.

Painting by Gustav Klimt

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Friday watch

Friday night is a good time to watch the news. Its very simple to understand why. Washington likes to bury important stories on friday because less people watch the news on friday. So what interesting stories went by the majority of people on this friday.

Rove's aide resigns over Abramoff

No surprise to see a story that links the White House to Jack Abramoff and in particular Karl Rove here. Any ideas why this story would come out on friday late afternoon?

Marines throw Iraqi in a hole and shoot him

Another late afternoon on a friday story. What does the story do? It makes the war effort in Iraq look bad. Not that it doesn't already look bad but these guys try anything.

Finally this story came out early on friday and it is not a hidden story, it is a curious story to say the least. Perhaps the hippies knew something after all. Don't look a gift horse in the mouth.

Marijuana helps fight off Alzheimer disease

Painting by Georgia O'Keefe

Friday, October 06, 2006

Real News

As the news swirls around the revelation that Republican Congressman Foley was inappropriately and sexually talking with underage male congressional aides, a host of considerations arise.

First it is being revealed that Foley's interest in young page boys was first known 11 years ago.
If Congressional Republicans were aware of Foley's inclinations 11 years ago, that would bring us to 1995, It is important to remember that we don't hear of Monica Lewinsky until January 1998. Do you see what the consideration are?

Republican Congressman went after Clinton aware that in their midst was someone who was/is a pedophile. All these years of hearing this mantra from the right about Clinton and they were covering up criminal behavior of one of their own.

Second the implications have to affect the Christian Fundamentalists and their loyalty to the Republican Party. As the scandal moves forward it becomes more and more clear that the moral fabric of the Fundamentalist is no longer being adhered to by a party that shields a homosexual pedophile. Let's face it, if their was something that would cut to the heart of the religious right, it would be a homosexual pedophile.

Finally here is the real news of the last day at least, excepting the amazing role of the Senate last week in trampling the US Constitution into the ground by legalizing torture and allowing the president to suspend habeus corpus on whomever the president deems to be a terrorist. Truly this is the greatest American tragedy of the last 6 years.

19 American Troops Killed In Iraq In The Last 3 Days

Painting by Magritte

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Focus on environmental issues

Comedian Lewis Black gets it right on his new DVD "Red, White, and Screwed." I paraphrase, "How can a country that can't build levees in New Orleans think about building a 700 mile wall across the border with Mexico?"

The other question is simply, why has this wall been approved by our government while the rebuilding of New Orleans after Katrina is so inadequate?

Recent pictures of "Katrina Refugees":

Katrina trailer park pictures from the BBC

The new 700 mile wall across the US - Mexican border is not popular in Mexico. From an environmental point of view its a disaster. Think about the small ecosystems aspect of it, for example the land animal migrations that are affected and water passages that are disturbed.

Mexico requests US to not build border wall

This next article tackles the larger manifestations of global warming. It is the year 2100 and:

Earth becomes a vast desert

It is not part of the American psyche to think outside the states from the point of view of environmental disasters. Take a look at this one:

Typhoon Xangsane

Painting by Egon Schiele

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Break time

The utterly bizarre and disastrous political events as of late are unparalleled. The Constitution is in shambles, the Republican Party is imploding and exploding, the Iraq War furiously leads on to apparently nowhere, and lie upon lie upon lie prevail.

Break time folks.

Leonard Cohen with Sonny Rollins. Cohen the master songwriter lyricist, and Rollins a master saxophonist.

Creedence Clearwater

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

A second thought and presidential hypocrisy

When asked about the Congressman Foley "boygate" issue, Presidential spokesperson Tony Snow replied:

"Look, I hate to tell you, but it's not always pretty up there on Capitol Hill and there have been other scandals as you know that have been more than simply naughty e-mails. You know look, again, I'll reiterate my point. I think it's important to protect these kids and make sure that they have a good experience and like you, I want to find out what happened. But before we prosecute let's figure out what all the facts are. That's probably the most important thing to do is to be fair to all parties."

Unfortunately I only have this little blog to respond to Mr. Snow but if I were in a position to ask a follow up question to Snow's answer, this is what I would ask:

Tony let's imagine that the President's twin daughters are 15 years old. They are online and receiving instant messages from a fifty something year old woman (or if you prefer, a fifty something year old man). She is saying rather personal things to the President's daughters using words like "ass" and making inferences about masturbation and how she would like to see them doing such activity. With this knowledge in mind, do you think that the President would brush it aside as a "naughty email?"

I didn't think so. Let's get the Democrats in office in November and get these jackasses impeached asap.

Image by Max Beckman

Monday, October 02, 2006


Watching the Republican Party as of late is clearly a thing to behold.

Americans are witnessing a crumbling behemoth. Recapping, there is the revelation that Secretary of State Rice made no mention of her meeting with FBI director Tenet on July 10, 2001. Tenet wanted to warn of an impending strike on the country. Rice was not keenly interested in the meeting. The implications are mind boggling.

Meeting cover up

Poor closeted Congressman Foley, a Republican with high moral imperatives, turns out to be soliciting minors, boys in fact. It is easy to get a sense of the nightmarish life this person lives. Closeted homosexual, fully involved in the religious anti-gay right, and soon you have the makings of horror story. The worst part involves the knowledge that all of this was occurring and Republican House leaders allowed it to continue strictly for the political advantage.

Republican Congressman Foley's scandal

Last Thursday, the Senate signs over the constitution to the President. They allow him to determine who is an enemy combatant and they allow him to throw away habeus corpus and use torture as he sees fit. Very simply stated, America is much better than this. We are not a totalitarian entity. We do not need to become a totalitarian democracy, and I use the term because this is what we are. The term of course is one that does not make any sense literally but how would you describe it?

Finally Woodward puts out a new book, and is all over the media, 60 minutes and such. The book is damning of Bush and his approach to the Iraq War. Damning is kind. Kissinger is back folks. One of the "new" advisers to Bush is one of the most egregious characters in American politics. Kissinger tells Bush to stay the course. What a mess. The person who announced to the world the the election in Chile of 1973 was too big for the people of Chile to decide and helps to orchestrate a bloody CIA coup in that country, incidentally also on September 11, is advising on US foreign policy. What a joke.

Artwork by Mark Beam

Sunday, October 01, 2006


Generally I only post once per day but this Foley 'boygate' is a stunner.

Where do I begin! After years of listening to Republicans carry on over Clinton's consensual affair, Americans have this! This 54 year old male Republican congressman was hitting on a 15 year old boy. The guy is from red state Florida no less and he spends his time in Congress working on legislation to limit pedophile porn and related legislation, and this guys mixed up in it up to his neck. The degree of hypocrisy is unparalleled.

The Republican Senate along with traitorous Democrats hand the least qualified president in US history dictatorial powers. This Foley revelation will change the playing field. First off there are cover-up implications which will cause all sorts of distancing, further investigation, more revelations, etc etc. Then there is the proverbial high moral ground of the Republicans? Not any more.

We have been bracing for an October surprise from Rove. The surprise is here, big time.

Il Duce, where did our love go?

With America dreamily, sleepily, unknowingly, and stupidly in a profound manner (its like a big, 'well OK') embracing a totalitarian form of government, I call it 'totalitarian democracy', I've decided to start examining histories of life under totalitarian regimes. Its my way of moving on to 'the adjustment phase.'

I want to be ready to live fully in a repressive democracy. Consciously medicated or at least blankly making my contribution so that my great leaders can determine which corporation can control my freedom and destiny. Now that my right and your right of habeus corpus is flushing away or is that down, I want to be prepared to be hauled off and tortured by my comrades or is it my mentors, perhaps its my betters or my superiors, ah yes, its my democratic providers, for my own good. In any case, hauled off by the people on the correct side of the law. The people that know best and know all, because as someone who thinks the present regime in Washington is completely and utterly insane, I too, paraphrasing John Lennon, must be insane simply for thinking that.

Therefor I will be developing a roadmap for those ready to embrace a new democratic totalitarianism.

We will start with the preliminaries. Here are a few quotes from the man himself, Mr. Mussolin, take a bow, love ya babe:

"The Liberal State is a mask behind which there is no face; it is a scaffolding behind which there is no building."

-comment: More pithy today than it was back then, in fact this could come directly off the hissing lips of Coulter.

"Fascism, the more it considers and observes the future and the development of humanity, quite apart from political considerations of the moment, believes neither in the possibility nor the utility of perpetual peace."

-comment: Hey one thing we certainly have not heard in the past 6 years, is a call for peace. We have heard, a call to war. We've heard it a lot. Now we are hearing a call for a new war, in Iran. Peace is a dirty word. If you call for peace, you are falling for the ideology of terrorism. That make great sense to me in a GOP way, a call for peace is nothing but a front for terrorists. In addition, there really is no "utility" for peace. Think about it. How can the great corporate wheels of military production, weapons production, and a $500 billion dollar defense budget ever get rolling with peace. If you want peace, you are weak on defense. 

"Fascism is a religion. The twentieth century will be known in history as the century of Fascism."

-comment: So he's off by a century, big deal. We can rectify that.

"Blood alone moves the wheels of history."

-comment: Damn, my man is to the point. It is blood, friends, that will move totalitarian democracy forward, especially your children's blood, we'll just haul you off and torture with belligerence.

Artwork by Erro