Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Bizarro World


With George Bush seemingly on course to become the least popular president in US history with deserving poll numbers that have fallen through the floor, he is also on course to become, as Gore Vidal predicts, the most hated US president.

Bush is feverishly working in his relentless quest to increase the power of the executive branch.

One gets the distinct sense that Bush enjoys nose thumbing the American people. Isn't the president supposed to work for the benefit of all the people, not just the richest most powerful corporate executives?

This NY Times article reveals the latest moves in this direction:

Bush Directive Increases Sway on Regulation

excerpt: "Consumer, labor and environmental groups denounced the executive order, saying it gave too much control to the White House and would hinder agencies’ efforts to protect the public."

Exactly when has Bush ever been concerned about the protection of the public?

The last few weeks have seen a rise in US troops killed in Iraq.

US military deaths in Iraq

The families of these soldiers are feeling great pain. There is such rejection of the Bush - McCain - Cheney - neocon Iraq policy that one could assume that even the diehards are feeling confused. This is as tragic a situation as any I have ever witnessed.

Sculpture is Rodin's 'The Gates of Hell'

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Private

Listeners to Democracy Now are aware of the role that mercenary troops are playing in the Iraq occupation.

We are of course talking about mercenaries working for the US. You weren't thinking working for the insurgency were you? No no.

Take a spin around the website of Blackwater to get a feel for it all yourself.

The use of mercenaries AKA a privatized army is one of those "remaking the military" projects that Rumsfeld and neo-con PNAC folk are so gung-ho about.

One of the advantages of a privatized army is that it bypasses all of the "democratic" values that the military ordinarily embraces.

Privatization of the military gets rid of some of those little subtle details like a need to follow the Geneva Conventions.

No need to uphold any of those folksy rules like upholding the constitution either.

Now our neo-con cohorts are proposing some additional privatizing features

Privatize the CIA

You read that correctly. This is from the American Enterprise Institute, another neo-con think tank.

I shudder to think of the possibilities this would produce.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Terrorism and The War on Health

When Robert Parry writes an article take notice. He is an excellent journalist, digging through the layers of obfuscation that hide the real reasons behind and the misrepresentations underlying policy.

This is his newest article:

Who's Helping the Terrorists? By Robert Parry

Parry analyzes a recent Washington Post article by Liz Cheney. In the article Cheney insists that we must stay firmly behind Bush's war on terror and occupation of Iraq. Parry digs into the false assumptions in Cheney's way of thinking.

excerpt:

1. "...U.S. intelligence knows that al-Qaeda’s public statements must be taken with a grain of salt."

2. "...even as al-Qaeda baits the United States about leaving Iraq – the group actually worries that a sudden U.S. withdrawal could collapse its position."

3. "Intelligence analysts estimate that al-Qaeda's forces account for only five percent or less of the armed opposition fighting U.S. and allied forces ..."

4. "...Bush and fellow hard-liners, like Liz Cheney, are selective in deciding when Americans should heed the words of al-Qaeda and do the opposite, i.e. only when that matches what the administration wants to do in the first place."

5. "...the “logic” behind Bush’s insistence that Americans must do the opposite of what al-Qaeda wants was...a rhetorical device to intimidate Americans into falling in line behind Bush – or they would face the intimidating question...Why are you trying to “help the terrorists”?"

More on how Bush's health care proposals cut out employee benefits. This gets back to the idea of finding the distinct difference between what Bush says, as in his State of the Union address recently, and what he actually means.

Experts See Peril in Bush Health Proposal

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Flippant

In previous posts I have expressed a little bit of frustration over what I and now the majority of Americans perceive to be gross and flagrant violations of the US Constitution and the foundations of democracy by the Bush administration, across the board and on all levels.

I have had changes of heart from the point of view of how to address this frustration.

Is it best to try to be as deliberately sarcastic and nasty about Bush and company? The downfall of this approach is clear. In some ways it places you at the same level of the object of your hostility.

On the other hand, should one be above board, place the information out there that clearly makes your point and demonstrates the said violations.

I switch back and forth on this. The main reason is that we are dealing with unconscionable people. This is truly the case. The Bush company is made up of authoritarian personality types. This type doesn't really respect the logical, respectful point of view. They would simply roll right over the person that presents the gentle point of view. In Bush's case, torture that person. This is the sadistic bully.

I would simply point to any one of a number of TV interviews with Cheney as the most obvious example of this authoritarian attack. If you want something even less tactful than Cheney, then try Coulter.

Today, I am pleased to see this article appear at MSNBC - Newsweek:

Will Rove Testify?

There is a good chance that Rove will be forced to testify under oath at the Libby trial.

If this occurs, all hell breaks loose, not that it hasn't already. So all hell breaks loose even more.

In the past I have crudely referred to Rove as "The Ass Whisperer." The name refers to the "Horse Whisperer", the person who quietly speaks into the ear of the horse and gains their civility and control. Think Robert Redford. So as "The Ass Whisperer" Rove speaks into the ear of the.... yes that is the point.

This is crude and certainly unbecoming a person like myself, someone who wants to use clarity, gentleness, and civility to try and explain the deficiencies of the Bush administration.

So I am sorry for using the term Rove - The Ass Whisperer. The Ass Whisperer is a mistake. You should never use the term Karl Rove - The Ass Whisperer, for this would be an unbecoming thing to do in this world.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Classic


Classic Bush administration lying and reckless denial of facts -

The Iraq National Intelligence Estimate aka NIE is missing in action, stalled by a paranoid administration. I must say Bush and Cheney are some bunch. Why bother with intelligence that suggests your idea of a "surge" is fruitless. After all Bush is the Decider.

Delayed Iraq NIE Will Undermine Case For Escalation

I have to say, impeachment does not really go far enough. This is criminal. These guys get uglier by the minute.

Stephen Pizzo's article is a skilled comparison of the Bush administration's reckless tendencies and the reckless bankers involved in the savings and loan scandals of the 80s. These scandals made some very shady characters very rich including Bush family members, while the American taxpayer paid the multi-billion dollar tab.

Texas Hold-em by Stephen Pizzo

Friday, January 26, 2007

Scoot




Go to Firedoglake if you want to read a very good, up to date, up to the moment, blog that is transcribing the details of the Scooter Libby trial. You can read the testimonies in detail.





Another excellent article by journalist Robert Parry.

Bush's War on the Republic By Robert Parry

Here Parry goes into details about Bush's State of the Union address.

Excerpts:

1. "Bluntly put, Bush and his neoconservative legal advisers don't believe in the “unalienable rights” guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, including ones as fundamental as the habeas corpus right to a fair trial and protections against warrantless searches and seizures."

2. "Though a surefire applause line, Bush’s praise of liberty represents possibly the most insidious lie from his "war on terror." As U.S. intelligence is well aware, free democratic elections in countries such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia would represent a disaster for U.S. foreign policy by likely putting into power Islamic militants like the Muslim Brotherhood."

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Translation


Allow me to offer a direct and simple translation of Bush's State of the Union address.

Its pretty simple to follow and it requires that you only keep two things in mind.


The two things are:

1. What Bush says.

2. What Bush means.

Most people are of the idea that when someone speaks they actually mean what they are saying. Its a basic understanding that we all share about communication. I say something like, "I am thirsty and I need a glass of water." What I am saying and my meaning converge into one nice little neat statement. I thirst, I want water.

This neat little linking of words and meaning is NOT what George Bush does. No, he does something quite different.

Bush mouths words, but the meaning of the words, that is what will actually occur and what is intended, is far far different from the meaning ordinary human beings connect with his words.

So for example, Bush will talk eloquently about health care. With 47 million uninsured people in America, with skyrocketing health care costs savaging the American economy, health care is a big topic.

With most progressive countries offering universal health care to all its citizens, the United States is all alone in NOT offering universal health care.

So to get back to the Bush words and meaning issue. Bush wants a tax credit for health care. Sounds great doesn't it. This will sove the problem. But what is his meaning. He means that the fabulously wealthy people in the United States will get another massive tax cut, so that the burdens of running our crumbling entity is further squared directly onto the shoulders of the poor, working, and middle classes.

Pretty neat wouldn't you say? The words sound great, health care tax credit for everybody, including the poor! WOW! The meaning though is, additional big tax cuts for my wealthy friends.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

The State of the State


I will not be listening to Bush's State of the Union address.

I can't really endure listening to him anymore. It has to be in smaller doses.

I know that he essentially has nothing to say. I believe he is ill equipped to give any purposeful or meaningful direction to the country. He will not arouse the finer qualities in us. He will not allay our fears, inspire us, or provide any vision of any value whatsoever.

I suspect that in his own mind he is doing these things. As a child I pretended I was Mickey Mantle. Unfortunately pretend is different from reality. Also, unfortunately, the privileged of our country get to play out their fantasies on the large scale, even when they are no better than the most sadistic bully on the block. But that's another essay.

Bush's speech ought to be titled "What Remains of Our Poor Country After the Incredible Mess I Have Made of It" address. This is far more accurate although admittedly somewhat clumsy.

The mess is unbearable. Bush has thrown a wrecking ball against the flimsy facade of democracy. What presently remains no longer resembles a wall.

Bush has invited torture back into the American "vision." Bush has invited lying to generate wars back into the American "vision." Bush has turned the wheels of jurisprudence back to the times of the Roman Empire, except the Romans were far kinder. Bush has sold out all of your rights to privacy. He can see your DNA, your private financial accounts, your reading habits, your internet habits, he can see what's in your mail. All achieved through Orwellian legislation.

Bush has placed more of the common wealth of ordinary citizens into the hands of the top tiered wealthiest individuals that ever existed on this planet and he has done this with blazing speed. This last point always seemed to be the real "purpose" of the Bush presidency.

Bush has not supported the troops of this country. His administration has cut funding for these vets, limiting their access to health care, not to mention inadequately providing for their protection.

Bush has increased the likelihood of terrorism. Bush has done nothing, repeat nothing, to decrease the use of oil and increase the use of renewable energy. Bush has done nothing to assist with reversing the degradation of the environment in any respect.

Bush is the curious uniter. It appears that it is only through his sinking unpopularity that perhaps he is the great uniter, uniting people in their contempt.

The list is much longer and far uglier.

In truth, George Bush has not earned the right to speak to America, he has failed.

I hold out the hope that the new Congress will investigate and expose, times a thousand. The story of the atrocity of the Bush administration needs to be unveiled in public and it needs to happen now.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Nonviolence


Reading through Mark Kurlansky's new book 'Nonviolence', is a revelation.

The book is well researched and informative. He presents a history of nonviolence and related peace movements from the early Christians up through the present time. The book is brief but its chocked full of facts and information.

The New York Peace Society was the first peace society organized in the US. The society arose out of opposition to the War of 1812. Opposition to that war was extensive and almost led to the Northern states succeeding from the Union.

The records of the society appear to have been well kept and are available for purchase as microfilm.

Kurlanksy raises lots of questions and will provoke your understanding of pacifism and the distinctly different concept of nonviolence.

One critical point is the simple fact that there is no proactive word for nonviolence in the English language. It is expressed as the negation of violence, non-violence. Imagine if there was no term for war and war was expressed as the negation of peace. So war is nonpeace.

Nonviolence is far more than that negation. It is an extremely active state of being. Think about it. It includes an understanding of external violence as in all of the wars, armed conflicts, criminality, etc etc that occur, internal violence as in an understanding of the degree of your own violent tendencies, the interaction of the external and internal which is possibly the most salient aspect, and the peaceful alternatives to violence as a basic and ongoing understanding. So we are talking about a BIG project.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Negotiation


"In view of their peaceful nature, negotiations are more beneficial than violence and terror. Violence is a coercive procedure and its effect is temporary. Negotiating, on the other hand, is constructive and stabilizing; it has a lasting effect because it depends on the elements of rational persuasion and mutual respect, on the observation of the principle of equality, the endorsement of friendship and understanding, and the rejection of discord and struggle. Thus, the benefits of negotiation are immediate and come swiftly..."

From a lecture by Professor Wahbah al-Zuhaili, Director, Department of Islamic Jurisprudence and its Schools, Faculty of Sharia, Damascus University, Syria.

Negotiation in Islam

The value of negotiation is well understood throughout the Middle East. The ability to have negotiations is of course possible and dramatically needed and necessary. What will it take to make such a thing happen, a negotiated understanding between, for example, the USA and Iran.

The Bush administration exclaims that it does not negotiate with evil. This is problematic because as it slams the door to negotiation, it throws open the door to war, a major war.

The idea that war is actually the desired course of action comes into play. The dreadful sense that people could possibly be so cavalier about war is heart dropping.

On the other hand, war has been very carefully sanitized for the American public. If we don't see it, we don't feel it and our leaders are well aware of this fact. No one sees the "blown to bits" corpse, the limb-less child, the brutally destroyed face, the agonizing pain of the victim, or the casket of the young American soldier. Its absent, so there is no pain to share.

Rumsfeld was fond of talking about the humanity of his Iraq war, the humanity of the smart bomb. In fact this is the desecration of the English language and western morality. There is no humanitarian bomb. The notion that there is such a thing, is pure deception. It is another aspect of the sanitization of war.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Living


Sent to us by one of Sande's deep operatives.

Living on the Plains (1990)

That winter when this thought came- how the river
held still every midnight and flowed
backward a minute- we studied algebra
late in our room fixed up in the barn,
and I would feel the curved relation,
the rafters upside down, and the cows in their life
holding the earth round and ready
to meet itself again when morning came.

At breakfast while my mother stirred the cereal
she said, "You're studying too hard,"
and I would include her face and hands in my glance
and then look past my father's gaze as
he told again our great race through the stars
and how the world can't keep up with our dreams.

William Stafford

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Nonnegotiable


This article is making the rounds of the alternative media:

Report: Cheney rejected Iran's offer of concessions in 2003

Here Lawrence Wilkerson states that all of the demands presently made on Iran by the USA, were already offered to the USA by Iran back in 2003.

Cheney flat out refused the offer in 2003.

Poor Wilkerson, one of former Secretary of State Powell's top aides, the guy makes the rounds regularly and states these same kind of head slapping admissions about the Bush administration. Its a regular sap fest.

So what do we make of this. First off there's always the old neo-con PNAC document to rely on when in doubt about the Bush adminstration's motives and actions.

PNAC wants war. The other thing PNAC states clearly about wanting is war.

So war, war, and war is at the heart and soul of the neo-con ideology and legacy. Negotiation is off the table, no good, sorry.

Cheney stated that we don't negotiate with evil. Apparently memory is not the VP's strong point.

Recall that it was through negotiation with the Evil Empire (at that time eons ago in the 80s the Evil Empire was the USSR) that brought about the end of the cold war, peacefully thank you very much, and without all of the nuclear displays that we fearfully held onto in the back of our collective grey matter.

In the case of Iran, it has more to do with the desirability of the enemy at hand and yes, its relationship to Israel.

After all its one thing to negotiate with the blue eyed white skinned Russian familiar with Christianity another with the brown eyed darker skinned Muslim. Recall that Bush did not know the difference between a Sunni and a Shiite. He may still not know and, I suspect, not care to know.

Israel has a big say in all of this. Simply look at the influence of the Israeli lobbyists on American politics, its huge. And yea, there is that little thing called oil and the control of oil.

Another pitiful saga sees the light of day. Bush is like this odd contrary kid, he makes a demand of you, and then when you agree, he refuses the offer and decides to beat you up instead. Go figure. This is our president.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Re-Balance



The Democratic sweep in November seems to be propelling an uprising.

Republicans in the Senate and Congress are joining with Democrats to create legislation that appears to actually benefit ordinary people. This is something that we have not seen in a long time.


Raising the minimum wage to $7.25 is a start but this is still completely inadequate. Follow the model of Australia where people earn real, livable wages for all types of work including the dirty work. Then we are talking the real deal.

But what is heartening is seeing the rebellion to the escalation of the Iraq occupation. The war cannot be won. How do we win a civil war?

Bush is more and more isolated and people are less controlled by his dictatorial grip. Hopefully more sanity will prevail before a disastrous war with Iran can begin. Legislators appear to be taking back the reigns of power, all to the better.

I would like to point out a recent article at Truth Out.

The article is titled Bush and the Psychology of Incompetent Decisions

The writers present information on the psychology of the Bush mind. They write,"We don't dare to really confront the scale of his incompetent behavior, because then we would have to face what it means to have such an incompetent and psychologically disabled decision-maker as our president. It raises everyone's uncertainty. And that is, in fact, happening now."

Ask yourself, do you feel a sense of gut wrenching uncertainty surrounding Bush and company and their decision making ability?

Image from Radiant Light Gallery

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Ghost Town



I'm always on the lookout for signs of what American society is becoming.

Ralph Nader has a new article on the economic trends of America.


The Boiling, Surging, Churning and Corporatizing Economy of the United States

Ralph writes, "Among the fastest growing businesses for three decades in America are theme parks, gambling casinos and prisons."

Also, "Citing data from the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University, /New York// Times'/ columnist, Bob Herbert, reports that between 2000 and 2006 the combined real annual earnings of 93 million American workers rose by $15.4 billion. That rise is "less than half of the combined bonuses awarded by the five Wall Street firms for just one year.""

Theme parks, gambling casinos, and prisons, do we see a pattern here? Its almost a 3 step program, from illusion, to addiction, to imprisonment. Forgive my preachiness. And if you are wondering where the middle class dollar is really going.....Wall St. firms?

I was reading from James Howard Kunstler's 'The Geography of Nowhere."
In one chapter, James wrote a brief recent history of the city of Detroit, basically from early to mid 20th century car industrial boom mega-center to late 20th century and present ghost town struggling to revive somehow.

Look through the pictures on these sites to get a sense of some of the Detroit factories that are abandoned. Its fascinating and terrifying, deteriorating hotels, factories, luxury stores and restaurants, stations. Economic forces pushed the people out and away from a once thriving megalopolis, leaving behind massive shells and miles of abandoned housing. Violent riots, a result of this economic upheaval mixed with an ever present racism, occurred in the late 60s.

Detroit Yes Go to tour Detroit.

SEEDETROIT.COM

Shrinking Cities Detroit

Detroit, Demolition, Disneyland

The Detroit riots of 1967

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Adjust Your Reality


George Bush is maintaining a pattern that his administration established in the run up to the Iraq occupation.

This is a pattern of adjusting the events of history to agree with his policy. Once the events are selected that support a policy, then he addresses the American people.

Bush relies on the American people not knowing the facts or the real history of events. Also a little bit of fear can certainly go a long way in creating public convergence around policy decisions.

This article points out the discrepancies in Bush's explanation of the insurgency, how it arose, when it gained momentum, who did what to whom and why a "surge" will somehow do the trick.

Administration leaving out important details on Iraq by Mark Seibel

In this case the Bush administration has crafted a series of events that support his decision to escalate the occupation of Iraq or what Bush calls a "surge."

Personally I often wonder what committee of people sits down and pieces this swiss cheese version of reality together

In the same way the Bush administration "cherry picked" events to find a justification for launching the shock and awe bombardment.

As the escalation is occurring, Bush is repositioning more aircraft carriers in the Middle East. This is directed at starting a war with Iran. After all, would you really need more aircraft carriers near Iraq when the battles are being fought in land locked Baghdad?

Iran target of US Gulf military moves, Gates says

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Moe, Larry, and Curly


George Bush once said that he would stay the course in Iraq even if the only support for this policy was Laura and Barney. This is what is coming to pass.

AP Analysis: Iraq policy isolates Bush

excerpts:

""He is as isolated as a president can be," said Julian Zelizer, a political historian at Boston University."

""I'm wondering if this is not some kind of tragically misguided notion of statesmanship on the part of Bush, that there is something noble about ignoring public opinion," said Margaret Susan Thompson, who teaches a Modern Presidency course at Syracuse University's Maxwell School."

comment:

Nobody wants to see more troops go into Iraq. This includes a slew of Republicans both in the Senate and in the Congress, who are bailing on Bush.

This also includes none other than George Bush himself! Bush said in a prime time speech a year and a half ago, "Sending more Americans would undermine our strategy of encouraging Iraqis to take the lead in this fight. And sending more Americans would suggest that we intend to stay forever."

Talk about flip flopping.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Go Team Go


This Robert Parry article traces the rise of the imperial presidency of George W. Bush through its recent roots in Nixon and then Ford.

Where Gerald Ford Went Wrong

The article also provides more information on one of the projects which gave rise to the neo-cons. This is the development of "Team B" initiated under the Ford administration in 1976.

Team B was established to evaluate the Soviet Union as a threat. Up to that point, the key word was "detente" meaning a peaceful end to the cold war through negotiations and diplomacy.

Detente was not favored by the extreme right wing of the Republicans and Democrats like uber hawk Scoop Jackson. Ford needed to get this faction of the Republican party under his control in order to have a decent shot at winning the Presidency in 1976. Note: many present neo-cons maintain their Democratic party affiliation, calling themselves Scoop Jackson Democrats.

Team B went overboard as we now well know. They painted the Soviet Union as being a great, grave, monstrous, and insidious threat replete with asymmetric warfare, terrorist tactics, and imperialism unrestrained, when in fact the Soviet Union was unravelling at the seams.

Many neo-con stars were ignited in Team B including Iraq war co-architect and planner Paul Wolfowitz. Team B was convened by then CIA director George H. W. Bush, our President's dad. The links are so classic as to be mythological in nature.

What is interesting about Team B in terms of the present George W. Bush administration is that the same tactic of over emphasizing and exaggerating the actual threat to the US is now codified. Its a matter of fact game plan.

For the main example of this, witness the "Office of Special Plans" under Douglas Feith. The OSP found a grave threat to the U.S. in Iraq, advancing propaganda with Saddam as Hitler, WMD, Nukes, and a threat to American sovereignty and the homeland itself. All of these things are complete fabrications, however that fact did not affect the course of this war/quagmire.

It is important to know that this same Team B tactic used by the Office of Special Plans was carried out by some of the very same people that were part of Team B back in 1976.

One can see that they got really slick with the program. They influenced the media and the popular public understanding of the need to go into Iraq. I mean if you didn't want to see the Iraq War start because you knew that there were no WMD's etc etc, then you were scum. Let's also not forget the fear and the paranoia, which is something that became tangible in American everyday experience.

If the new Democratically controlled Congress were to investigate one thing, it would be the drive to war in Iraq as promoted by the Office of Special Plans AND the links and lineage of the Office of Special Plans to Team B. This is the story that Americans need to know.

Next up: War in Iran - pay attention to who it is that hypes the Iranian threat. Could it be the .... neo-cons?

Sunday, January 14, 2007

I Dunno



Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration. One could assume that he is a staunch conservative. He is also a strong vocal critic of the Iraq war and occupation.


His recent article on the "surge" of more troops into Iraq is direct and sharp expressing outrage at and insight into the policy choice.

Surge and Mirrors - What Bush Really Said

excerpts:

"The real content of the speech is toward the end where Bush mentions Iran and Syria."

"The neoconservatives and the right-wing Israeli government have clearly stated their plans to overthrow Muslim governments throughout the region and to deracinate Islam. These plans existed long before 9/11."

"Near the end of his "surge" speech, Bush adopts the neoconservative program as US policy. The struggle, Bush says, echoing the neoconservatives and the Israeli right-wing, goes far beyond Iraq."

comment:

Roberts points out that the neo-conservative goal as outlined in the PNAC document is to invade Iran and Syria. As a participant in this plan, Bush wants to bring war to Iran and Syria.

If you don't like what you see in Iraq, how will you react to the Iraq scenario multiplied many many times over.

Also when Bush links the Iraq occupation with "a threat to American interests," he is referring to American corporate interests, and in most cases multinational corporate interests.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

The Paper Trail


Even though elections have passed, there still remains many problems with the election process. Simply look at the Presidential elections of 2000 and 2004 for proof.

America certainly cannot afford a repeat of those years. I must admit in taking pleasure in seeing the lopsided defeat of Katherine Harris and Ken Blackwell. Well deserving in their losses, though still seriously in moral debt to the American people.

This brings us to HR 550. This is Representative Rush Holt's bill titled the Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act.

This is something that any American interested in democracy can get behind.

The bill would make a voter verified paper trail serve as the official ballot for recounts and audits. The bill also calls for more handicap access to voting centers.

1. H.R.550

2. H.R.550

To be continued...

Friday, January 12, 2007

Examine Torture


Congressman Murtha is to be applauded for his comments and concern about the torture of prisoners at Abu Ghraib by US intelligence officers and military personnel.

Murtha Takes Aim at Abu Ghraib

An examination of the photo included with this essay reveals two torture techniques employed. Both techniques are highly evolved. Places like the CIA have had a hand in developing them and in instructing others in their usage.

The first technique is sensory deprivation. This is seen by the hood over the poor fellow's head.

Sensory deprivation causes disorientation, helplessness, it stops the flow of communication something that we all take for granted and experience continuously.

The second technique is self inflicted pain. This fellow is being made to hold a position where he is standing with arms outstretched.

This position will cause tightness of breathing, unbearable pain in the arms and shoulders, back pain, leg cramping, shakiness. He will be shocked when he fails to hold the position.

He is made to stand balanced on a box. Without position orientation with his eyes, he will easily fall off the box and be shocked and break bones and flesh. Then he is made to repeat the torture.

Contrary to what some in our society call "college pranks", these techniques are very much for real. They did NOT happen randomly or accidentally. These are very very specific techniques, in fact some of the most horrible one's ever devised.

An examination of the photo reveals that some very sophisticated intelligence people instructed or utilized these techniques. They did not happen out of nowhere, they came from very high up in the most sophisticated places where this is developed.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Stay The Course Only More So


As President Bush calls for more troops in Iraq, many of us find this development to be very troubling.

I found the following article on the BBC:

EU plans 'industrial revolution'


The article is about a new energy policy that is coming out of the European Union. Some highlights:

"In addition to the 20% of all EU energy that should come from renewable power by 2020, 10% of vehicle fuel should come from biofuels, said EU energy chief Andris Piebalgs."

and

"The EU wants to make these targets to be binding for the first time..."

Imagine if the United States invested the amount of money spent on the Iraq occupation on renewable energy research, development, and implementation. We would be so much closer to energy independence and it could be green energy, renewable, non-toxic. Sometimes the utter futility and short sighted quality of American policy is overwhelming.

We need to remember that the Bush administration is very much about the oil corporations. This alone explains quite a bit about our foreign policy direction.

I came across this on Crooks and Liars

Where they came from

The site will show you exactly where the troops that have died in Iraq came from, the states and the cities.

Anyone interested will find that the overwhelming number of troops killed come from "blue" states and in particular, the urban areas of those "blue" states, places like NYC, Los Angeles, and Philly. Ironic is it not, that the urban centers where the majority of people oppose the Bush administration also supply the troops for his wars.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Now What?


The cost of the Iraq occupation has topped $357 billion. I am trying to find out how far along renewable energy development would be with that amount of money. Let me know if you do.


What is of primary interest besides the soon to be proposed "surge" is the upcoming war with Iran.

Two articles that address this upcoming war are:

From Consortium News: Bush's Rush to Armageddon

From Raw Story: Officials believe White House chose new Intelligence chief in effort to darken Iran Intelligence Estimate, broaden domestic surveillance

Remember that it is still the neo-conservatives and their endless war plan that is outlined in the PNAC document (Project for a New American Century) which drives this policy. PNAC asserts the need for war in Iraq, Iran, Syria, and North Korea. Iran is next up and the movement to war is in place. The articles describe how the pieces are going into place.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

New Deal



Photo by John Montgomery at the Januray 6, 2007 1,000 people spell out impeach on Ocean Beach in San Francisco event.




Celebrating some potentially significant improvements in American politics, I found Coltrane with the outstanding and peerless Eric Dolphy performing one of my favorite tunes "Impressions."

Monday, January 08, 2007

Pre-emptive Failure


Bush's neo-conservative based plan to increase troop levels in Iraq is under tremendous criticism, even before it is officially announced.

What is surprising is that the dam of political partisanship, that has polarized the parties over Iraq, has burst. Conservatives are openly expressing their opposition to this "surge."

George Will and David Brooks Join Critics of the 'Surge'

Will and Brooks who in the past have literally bent over backwards in lavishing praise on this far far less than praiseworthy president, are just a small part of the conservative backlash.

Similarly and with better insight and understanding, Wesley Clark's recent article in the Independent, a British paper, hits the nail on the head. He points out the fundamental issue that is most glaring in the Bush Iraq position.

The glaring error is the actual policy itself. The policy is the product of the neo-conservatives and can be traced back to the Project for a New American Century's PNAC document of September 2000.

In a nutshell PNAC is perhaps the screwiest document since Hitler's Mein Kampf. It is equally brutal and in direct opposition to all things democratic. In short it is a calling to world domination through unilateral and overwhelming military force.

Wesley Clark: Bush's 'surge' will backfire

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Amnesiac


As I went for my walk today, more walking being my new year's resolution, I realized walking is good for thinking.

I was thinking that I'm out here wearing a t-shirt, its warm out, and its the middle of January when its usually below zero about this time, that global warming is the wrong term. Its too mild. This is global amnesia.

I was thinking about the kind of amnesia that this change in weather brings about. We forget everything. How about the feeling of the cold, the day after the snow storm when its crisp and clear and usually sunny. That's my kind of day, the clear sunny cold day after the snowstorm.

Its still may happen, hopefully it will, hopefully within the next 8 weeks or forget about it. The window is closing. By this time there's usually several, so far nada, not a one.

I'm not sure how to healthfully or skillfully adapt to these changes. They say the polar ice cap will be completely melted in about 35 years. How do you adjust to that?

I was reading that people no longer read classic literature. There is the tendency to ignore traditions in art, music, and such. There are people that continue to slug away at these things, with minimal support. They are mini-cultural historians, like the poets. Still I think its all part of the amnesia.

Is it some kind of genetic micro change to adjust to disappearances?

The political elite seem to be using the general amnesia with a type of belligerence and taking quick advantage of it for their general amusement. What the hell exactly has McCain learned? He must be another amnesiac, running around spouting off the same nonsense that Bush spouted off 3 years ago. Its like he's in a 4 year time warp. I guess he's out there to rah rah up the thick heads.

My present view is that "Jackass the Movie" and "Jackass Number Two" are the purest representations of contemporary meta cultural trends. This is the essence.

Amnesia plays a huge part in the movie. Without amnesia we have no jackass. It always ends with excruciating pain, bleeding, bruising, unconsciousness, and untold bodily damage, but then they always start over, fresh, wide eyed, enthusiastic, perky, and playful, and that's what's funny.

to be continued......

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Science

Friday, January 05, 2007

Call It Democracy


Has George Bush gotten your serious attention yet?

Do you know how many civil liberties of ours he has trespassed on during the course of his presidency?

There's a new one signed into law on December 20, 2006. I just learned about it as well. These things tend to be kept a secret.

New postal law lets Bush peek through your mail

The Bush administration with the full cooperation of a stunningly negligent Republican congress (fortunately that changes today) has set down a long list of laws that also violate your rights as an indiviual. These laws compromise the rights of the individual and place the right of the state above those of the individual.

A partial list of what Bush can now do.

- Come right on into your house without a warrant.

- Decide you are an enemy combatant and therefor...

- Lock you up for as long as needed without trial or the right to know why you are being locked up. (no more habeus corpus)

- Look at what you are reading.

- Look at what websites you go to.

- Listen in on your phone conversations.

- Gain access to your medical records and your DNA.

- Declare martial law and haul you into a detention center.

Is anybody concerned yet?

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Lies, Nonviolence, the Death Penalty



A few more quotes from the book with the catchy title, "Why Bush Must Go" by Bishop Bennet J. Simms


On Governments that lie:

"All regimes that exalt violence use deliberate lies as perverse instruments of power."

"The exposure of deliberate deceit by the administration as preparation for citizen support of the Iraqi war is an alarming sign of social and political decadence."

On nonviolence in human history:

"In light of the best and most recent research, 93 percent of our 100,000 years as sapiential humans we have lived interpersonally in relative nonviolence."

"If all four million years of human evolution were to be telescoped into a single twenty-four hour day, the period of peaceable management and resolution of inevitable conflict would last through the night, the morning, the afternoon, the evening, all the way in fact, until just before midnight. The period we call history, filled with violence and domination, wars and empires, would last barely one minute." from William Ury

Its interesting to see the reaction to the hanging of Saddam unfold. The government of Iraq is ready to collapse from the fallout, and we are hearing more people take the position that it was barbaric. Barbaric it was. The death penalty has been abolished in the majority of countries in the world, with the USA in the company of Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia and China as countries that impose the death penalty.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

A New Old Plan


This article from the BBC made the rounds of the alternative news sites on Tuesday.

Bush 'to reveal Iraq troop boost'

Bush's plan comes from the American Enterprise Institute. The main author of the plan is neo-conservative Frederick W. Kagan along with a host of retired military officers and various consultants mostly from the American Enterprise Institute as well.

Choosing Victory: A Plan for Success in Iraq

As I have mentioned in previous posts, I can't help but lock onto the plans word logo "Victory through Security." It cracks me up. There should be a contest for those wanting to speculate on future American word logos.

How about "Peace through War." It could be reduced to "Life through Death."

The Democrats assume control of the Congress on January 3rd. The timing of the announcement is linked to that date. Presumably the President is desiring to create an instant dichotomy; I want victory in Iraq and here they want to cut and run.

This appears to be the tactic Bush will use to somehow or other "save his legacy", a notion that is ripe with malady. He will spend the next two years telling Americans that he wanted a victory but the "Democrat" Congress wouldn't meet the test. They are seriously concerned about the 2008 elections and with good reason.

Will Americans swallow the hook? At least 30% already have.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

2006 - 2007


The power elite in America have charted a course. They are "staying that course" and of that you can be certain.

We may see a minor reversal or minor setback to this through the election of a democratic majority in Congress. Certainly within that Congress there are a few individuals who appear to understand American political history in its true sense and understand the social issues that America and the world face, but that individual is a rarity.

Although both parties are rooted in advancing corporate American interests, the Democrats still seem to hold out a miniscule rotted twig upon which the social concerns of the vast majority of Americans, cognizant of it or not, precariously dangles.

While the Democrats temporarily come into more power, don't think for an instant that the folks that brought us all of the vicious perks relished by the Bush administration are going away.

On the contrary, they merely go back to the great "think tanks" in order to concoct the blatant ideologies for the next great Republican/ neo-conservative power grabs, brought to us sooner rather than later or never.

The Bushites are like wide eyed children let loose in a utopian store filled with the Earth's greatest and most tempting treasures - the power, the wealth, the control, the subjugation, the warring, all dizzying and intoxicating. You don't just give that up, the thought doesn't even enter that mind stream. In fact they have no mechanism for reflecting on how that power grab affects the peoples of the world.

To these people Jesus wears the same clothes and has the same hairdo as Newt Gingrich. He's all for war, and if you become wealthy on the backs of the middle classes and the poor of "your country" or someone else's "your country" then all the closer you are to living in heaven and deserving of the adulation and worship of the minions.

Just take a glance at this: World faces hottest year ever

This is only something to chuckle at. Power itself is omnipotent and far more important than such trivialities.

The next year is shaping up to be the year when the previously greased mechanism of that unlimited greed, actually comes into contact with some minor friction for the first time in four years.

What will the sparks look like? Some of that is up to the people themselves and what demands if any, they make upon their elected officials and the media. They could be cleansing jolts or micro static tinges.

But the people are really easy to distract, you can tell them anything and they believe it. It just has to be wrapped correctly and contain 1 part fear, 1 part racism, 1 part lies, and 1 part jingoism. Also that gift needs to change from day to day because nobody remembers anything anymore. There is no more long term memory. Bush has a swell old time with this fact, mouthing words that jump from one side of the river to the other with impunity and contempt for all.

Its weird, ultimately the people have all the power but they don't really want it. What do you do with that?

Monday, January 01, 2007

Bonne Année


Its a new year! Congratulations!

Its a good time for reflection.

Its a good time to consider what might be coming up.

Its a good time for appreciatiation.

I have a simple resolution for the new year - do more walking. I like to keep resolutions within realistic and easy margins.

This excerpt is from a book with a catchy title, "Why Bush Must Go" by Bishop Bennett J. Simms. Its about the theologian/scientist/mystic Pierre Teilhard de Chardin.

"(Tielhard said) there is but one evil . He named it disunion. Teilhard meant the very thing that contemporary quantum theory affirms, namely that the cosmos is essentially a single, unified, and pulsing interconnectedness, in which all entities need relationship and intimacy for their fulfillment - from atoms to people to the wheeling stars. What this world view says is that evil is powered by the fears and pretensions that feed the arrogance of not needing one another across all divisions - and not caring for the interconnected fabric of life in the wind and the willows of the perishable earth...."