Sunday, July 31, 2005

Corruption and our Vice President

Over the past 50 years presidents have been taken to task for a variety of reasons. Lyndon Johnson announced he would not run for reelection:
on March 31, 1968, after the Tet Offensive, a narrow victory over Eugene McCarthy in the New Hampshire primary, the entry of Robert Kennedy into the presidential race, and new lows in the opinion polls, he announced, in an address to the nation, that he would no longer seek renomination for the presidency. He cited the growing division within the country over the war as his reason.
Then we have, of course, the defining scandal of Watergate:
Nixon was eventually investigated in relation to the burglary of the Democratic Party offices at the Watergate office complex, one of a series of scandals involving the Committee to Re-Elect the President (known as CRP but referred to by outsiders as CREEP), the White House enemies list and assorted "dirty tricks." .... Despite his efforts, one of the secret recordings, known as the "smoking gun" tape, was released on August 5, 1974 and revealed that Nixon authorized hush money to Watergate burglar E. Howard Hunt, and also revealed that Nixon arranged for the blackmailing of the CIA into telling the FBI to stop investigating certain topics because of "the Bay of Pigs thing." .....In light of his loss of political support and the near certainty of both his impeachment by the House of Representatives and his conviction by the Senate, he resigned, effective August 9, 1974
Jimmy Carter had to deal with the Iran Hostage Crisis (quit possibly manipulated by the Reagan campaign). Of interest here is that he probably precipitated the crisis by giving asylum to the Shah of Iran, a guy about as popular as Ahmad Chalabi:
The subsequent responses to the crisis, from a "Rose Garden strategy" of staying inside the White House, to the unsuccessful attempt to rescue the hostages, were largely seen as contributing to defeat in the 1980 election....Although the Carter team had negotiated with the hostage takers for release of the hostages, an agreement trusting the hostages takers to abide by their word was not signed until January 19, 1981, after the election of Ronald Reagan.
Speaking of Ronald Reagan, we have the infamous, and poorly resolved, Iran Contra Affair. It is interesting to me that several participants in this illegal activity are prominent members or the Bush II Administration (Elliot Abrams comes to mind). Do I need to say anything about the farce of impeaching a president for a sexual dalliance? And don't tell me it was about lying to a grand jury. If you do, I'll make you sit through a Weight Watcher's meeting with Porky Rove (even if it is in Leavenworth with these guys).

Executive Staff - Leavenworth Penitentiary

Which brings us up to the current bunch of crooks. What has rankled with many of us is the brazen corruption that now pervades Washington now that all three branches of the Gov are controlled by the Cheney administration.
Billmon has taken up the cudgel that Molly Ivins has so ably wielded. She quotes from Ken Silverstein in "The Great American Pork Barrel:"
In the past two decades, the pastime has become breathtaking in its profligacy. Even as the federal deficit soars to record heights, the sums of money being diverted from the treasury have grown ever larger. Last year, 15,584 separate earmarks worth a combined $32.7 billion were attached to the appropriations bills -- more than twice the dollar amount in 2001 ... and more than three times the dollar amount in 1998, when roughly 2,000 earmarks totaled $10.6 billion. The process is so willfully murky that abuse has become not the exception, but the rule.
But it is the relationship of our Vice President (aptly named) that rankles the most. Here is a man who was CEO of Halliburton, the company that has benefited most from the Iraq War. He has remained on the payroll of Halliburton while still holding elected office!
A report by the Congressional Research Service undermines Vice President Dick Cheney's denial of a continuing relationship with Halliburton Co., the energy company he once led, Sen. Frank Lautenberg said Thursday.

The report says a public official's unexercised stock options and deferred salary fall within the definition of "retained ties" to his former company.
The company Halliburton is corrupt. The whole Iraq War is corrupt. Where else could $8 Billion ($8,000,000,000) go unaccounted for.
At the end of the Iraq war, vast sums of money were made available to the US-led provisional authorities, headed by Paul Bremer, to spend on rebuilding the country. By the time Bremer left the post eight months later, $8.8bn of that money had disappeared. (emphasis added)
The latest is that Tom Delay placed a stealth amendment in the Energy Bill. He did it after the conference was closed! And it benefits? You guessed it, dear old Halliburton (and of course, Delay's district, Sugar Land). Henry Waxman, my favorite hall monitor, is once again on the job:
At its essence, this provision is a $1.5 billion giveaway to the oil industry, Halliburton, and Sugar Land, Texas. The provision was inserted into the energy legislation after the conference was closed, so members of the conference committee had no opportunity to consider or reject this measure.
This is corruption. This makes Boss Tweed look like a piker. This is Tammany Hall and Teapot Dome in Capitol Letters. It is all about greed and money. No amount of hand waving will remove these egregious insults to our constitutional government and they will tarnish our Government for years.

And this when there are a lot of children starving in Darfur.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Sometimes it is good to laugh

Once again our erstwhile vice President provides us with a little humor:
Halliburton announced on Friday that its KBR division, responsible for carrying out Pentagon contracts, experienced a 284 percent increase in operating profits during the second quarter of this year.

The increase in profits was primarily due to the Pentagon's payment of "award fees" for what military officials call "good" or "very good" work done by KBR in the Middle East for America's taxpayers and the troops. (emphasis added)

The only thing that would be funnier would be a short circuit in his defibrillator. Dick does look a little wan here.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Friday Crab Blogging

From the Krushchev Playbook

When I was a kid, we loved to beat up on Nikita Khrushchev, everyone's boogyman Russian (actually he wasn't a Russian, but, well everyone in that big Red Place Over There was a Russian, or at least a Bolshevik - Bolseh is "big", as in The Bolshi Ballett, or, as in the hotel I once visited in Moscow, the Bolshi Cucaracha). In addition to beating the table at the UN with his shoe,
He is famous for boasting to the U.S. President: "We will bury you. Our rockets could hit a fly over the United States." (emphasis added)
Anyway, I regress.

One of the most important elections in a long time (at least since last November) is coming up next Tuesday. It is for the 2nd Congressional District in Ohio and it features a plain speaking Democrat, Paul Hackett, running against a remarkably inept Jean Schmidt. Mr. Hackett is an impressive man. In addition to being sane, he also spent time in Iraq. No, correction, he is a combat veteran.

The Repubs are running scared. The Stakeholder Reports:
In a sign that the 2nd Congressional District race might be tight, the National Republican Congressional Committee has dumped more than $500,000 into a TV ad campaign attacking Democrat Paul Hackett.

What prompted the committee's entry into the Schmidt-Hackett race was a comment made by Hackett in a USA Today article published Thursday. Hackett, talking about his service as a marine in Iraq, is quoted as saying, "I've said I don't like the son-of-a-b--- that lives in the White House. But I'd put my life on the line for him."

Because Hackett said that, Forti said, "we decided to bury him." (emphasis added)
And we all know what happened to little Niki:
Khrushchev's rivals in the party deposed him at a Central Committee meeting on October 14, 1964. The removal was largely due to his capricious behaviour and personal mannerisms, which were regarded by the Party as tremendous embarrassments on the international stage.
Now, I realize that this is a very convoluted analogy. But I do think that there is a movement building in this country that is fed up with the hubris and the attitude of everyone in the Republican Party from the Idiot in Chief through Turdblossom, Rummey, Dickie, Wolfie, and down through the locals like Ehrlich and Steele (I wonder what their nicknames are?) It is exemplified by their arrogent comment "We decided to bury him." It would be delightful if this backfired.

Maybe we are heading in the right direction. Finally.

I'm not suggesting that you go to the URL

and if you do, I might never talk to you again. Particularly if you contribute to this loser.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

What have you got to hide?

SGO at the Liberal Avenger (real LA on vacation) spins off the Rude Pundit and proposes that we "Socratize" the debate. Simply always ask, e.g. about Bolton, about Roberts, about Rove, about Iraq:

What have you got to hide?

I do think this meme has feet. I'll try it in our local newspaper vis a vis our Dear Gov and his budget surplus. Stay tuned.

The Silly Season

There are many things that G.W. is not, and genius is one of them. For crying out loud, he brags of getting C's at Yale! But then, our friends on the Right say this:
It must be very strange to be President Bush. A man of extraordinary vision and brilliance approaching to genius, he can't get anyone to notice. He is like a great painter or musician who is ahead of his time, and who unveils one masterpiece after another to a reception that, when not bored, is hostile.
You know, we have editorial standards that censor Doonsbury's use of "Turdblossom," a nickname G.W. coined for his Rasputin Rove (as so ably parsed by my friend Redjalapeno and the comments at The Pepper Farm). Why in the world don't we have editor's who will censor crap like this. Harumphf! "..brilliance approaching to genius.." It makes me want to gag, gag, gag if it wasn't so silly.

And so tragic.

And then he displays an obscene gesture to reporters. What does the world think? I am so ashamed of my country.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Not at my Country Club

Governor Ehrlich hosts fundraiser at all white country club, says he doesn't care; Lt. Governor Michael Steele, who will be trying to take Senator Sarbanes' seat, says he doesn't care, either...Bob Ehrlich holding a $100,000 fundraiser at the "exclusive" Elkridge (Country) Club. The Elkridge club uses the word "exclusive" to describe itself because it's a more PR friendly way of saying "we don't let black people join our club." (emphasis added)
Karl Rove will be the star attraction at a fundraiser in Washington for Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele (a black people). The fundraiser takes place at the National Republican Senatorial Committee on the Hill at 6:00 pm. (emphasis added)
Its nice to see Porky mixing with the masses. What's Steele going to say when Porky gets sent to the Country Club where you can't go home (you know, that one Martha Stewart had such a great experience at)? By the way, Porky, they do take fat Texans. In fact, they take all comers. All you need is a sentence. And I don't mean like "See Spot Run." I mean one like "10 years to Life."

The Grey Lady shows a little Blue

Or, some cajones if possible:
It happened on Monday, in a moment that was horrifying even by the rock-bottom standards of the campaign that Republican zealots are conducting against the nation's judiciary. Senator John Cornyn, a Texas Republican, rose in the chamber and dared to argue that recent courthouse violence might be explained by distress about judges who "are making political decisions yet are unaccountable to the public." The frustration "builds up and builds up to the point where some people engage in" violence, said Mr. Cornyn, a former member of the Texas Supreme Court who is on the Senate Judiciary Committee, which supposedly protects the Constitution and its guarantee of an independent judiciary. (emphasis added)
Parallels, Parallels, oh how we see them:
Although the general rationale for terrorism remains unchanged - that terrorists believe it is both right and necessary to use terrorism to achieve their aims - the nature of the current threat is different. (emphasis added)
In the parallel universe that I once inhabited, if someone in Congress implicitly condoned violence (terrorism) against a judge, they would have been dragged down Constitution Avenue, tarred, feathered, and carried out of town on a pole (I know that sounds contradictory; violence for violence; but, there you are).

In a parallel, quite wonderful, universe that I once knew.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Plaid Pants

Apparently plaid pants have come to the front in the recent gentle give and take of right (Charmaine on Wonkette) and left (TBogg on Charmaine):

I quote TBogg:
A soft titter behind a white-gloved hand will suffice...

Oh dear me. Charmaine Yoest on "humour":

And finally. It turns out some of you are a whole lot funnier than Wonkette. You want funny? This is funny:
Patch asked: "Plaid pants??? May I see the part of the Constitution that mentions anything about clothing styles."

David replied: I think it is in the Declaration of Independence, "life, liberty, and the pursuit of plaid pants". And who can forget the Boston Plaid Pants Party. And Patrick Henry's stirring "No Plaid Pants without representation" speech before the Virginia House of Burgess.
Good one, guys.
Thus ends any debate on "conservative humor".

Or "humour".
posted by tbogg at 1:15 AM
I couldn't resist the chance to triple imbed quotes. Sort of like Giles Goatboy. But then, I regress.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Go Figure

Monty Hall problem
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
The Monty Hall problem is a puzzle in probability that is loosely based on the American game show Let's Make a Deal. The name comes from the show's host, Monty Hall. In this puzzle a player is shown three closed doors; behind one is a car, and behind each of the other two is a goat. The player is allowed to open one door, and will win whatever is behind the door. However, after the player selects a door but before opening it, the game host (who knows what's behind the doors) must open another door, revealing a goat. The host then must offer the player an option to switch to the other closed door. Does switching improve the player's chance of winning the car? With the assumptions explicitly stated above, the answer is yes — switching results in the chances of winning the car improving from 1/3 to 2/3.

The problem is also called the Monty Hall paradox, in the sense that the solution is counterintuitive, although the problem does not yield a logical contradiction.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Maryland! Oh, Maryland!

There is much sadness in the world this morning. It appears that terrorism is not going to go away in my lifetime. Given the way our current guys in power (GIPs, as in "you been gyped, man") play terrorism like a concert grand (I guess you will assume Steinway, but Bosendorfer comes to mind), I expect our prez's approval ratings to go shooting up, Karl Rove to quash his opponents like fruit flies, and the Patriot Act to get a ten ton monument in every school yard. The rest of us will just have to hunker down.

Here on the home front my dismay has been escalating. But, as always, our dear Gov provides ironic relief (that's like comic relief, but only in Maryland.) About a month ago he announced that he was cutting off Medicaid support for the children of legal immigrants who had not been here for five years. Budgetary considerations, you know. He did this with his typical streak of cold hearted effectiveness. It has already had a major impact on at least on child in my practice.

And then? And then? And then? Along came .. (no, I can't keep descending into this flashback to the 50's).
"Ehrlich cites big surplus, hints of tax cuts"

Annapolis (AP) - Gov. Rober Ehrlich, citing a state budge surplus he said now exceeds $1 billion, raised the possibility Tuesday of using some of that money next year to reduce taxes.
So, you see, on week one we have no money for poor kids and on week four we are going to give all those poor millionaires a tax cut with our surplus. Ehrlich logic. (of course he is running for re-election)

Just so everyone is on the same page, the reason for a surplus is very simple. The state property tax is a cash cow because everyone and their brother (actually, a lot of fools) are driving the real estate market through the ceiling. Serves them right that their million dollar shack is taxed at a million dollar rate. What did they expect? (Its borrowed money anyway, borrowed from the Chinese. You don't think we're going to pay them back, do you? Little yellow guys.)

They expected, TA DA, OUR DEAR GOV....

Our Dear Gov-21 (Click to Enlarge Comic)

Friday, July 22, 2005

Good Neighbors

It was announced in our local paper that Dick Cheney is planning to buy a house in our area. Then I read this from the American Conservative via Billmon:
The Pentagon, acting under instructions from Vice President Dick Cheney's office, has tasked the United States Strategic Command (STRATCOM) with drawing up a contingency plan to be employed in response to another 9/11-type terrorist attack on the United States. The plan includes a large-scale air assault on Iran employing both conventional and tactical nuclear weapons.
I have considered sending the following letter to the Cheneys:

Dear Dick and Lynn,

Please reconsider buying a house in my neighborhood. To be honest with you, I don't want you next door. For openers, you're the wrong color (red) and having you as a neighbor will make the value of my house sink like Enron stock. But the main reason is that every time you drive by with your entourage of dark window SUV's, I think I see the Iranians lining you up in their atomic gunsights. I just don't want to die right now in a cloud of plutonium vapor.

I hope you don't mind. Nothing personal. Why don't you try Texas? Or Antarctica?

Dr. C.

P.S. I wouldn't want my daughter to marry your daughter either.

Friday Crab Blogging - Karl Rove Memorial Addition

Thursday, July 21, 2005

History Lesson Time

Grigori Rasputin (1869-1916)

One has to be fascinated by the repetitions of History. Its not just Shakespeare who recycled stories. Sometimes, it actually happens in real time. Of course, we don't get all the good bits that Willy threw in like my favorite, "Et Tu, Brute." Or, as most of us do, "Et Tu, (insert loathed opponent who sucks up to you in public)."

There is no doubt in my mind that someday soon there is going to be a real attempt at drama with old Tricky Dick Nixon. I do think that there was a Nixon Agonistes (sorry Milton), and the recent outing of Sore Throat has provided fodder for a million trash novels (I eat up trash novels by the score). I can't wait for The Tragedy of Richard Nixon, Part IV. etc., etc., etc.

But old Greg Rasputin was a trip. According to Wikipedia:
Grigory Yefimovich Rasputin possibly was born a peasant in a small Siberian village .... When he was around the age of eighteen, he spent three months in the Verkhoturye Monastery. There, he joined the Skopsty, a renegade sect within the Russian Orthodox Church that “believed that the only way to reach God was through sinful actions. Once the sin was committed and confessed, the penitent could achieve forgiveness."
So far sounds like your typical St. Augustine wanna be (going to get MY oats in before the gate closes).
Rasputin was wandering as a pilgrim throughout Siberia when he heard reports of Tsarevich Alexei's haemophilia in 1904, a disease inherited from his great-grandmother (Queen Victoria). He was regarded as the last resort of the desperate Tsar and Tsarina. They had tried everywhere to find a cure for their son and in 1905 asked the charismatic peasant healer for help. He was said to possess the ability to heal through prayer, and he was indeed able to give the boy some relief.
Well the plot thickens, though not the Tsarevich's blood. I'm pretty sure that old R didn't infuse little T with Factor VIII. But then, who knows. Maybe he was a reverse vampire. Our story progresses:
Rasputin ..... became a controversial figure, leading a scandalous personal life with his mostly female followers from the Saint Petersburg high society. Furthermore, he was frequently seen picking up prostitutes and often drank himself into a stupor.
This sounds pretty run of the mill. Radical religious sect, lots of kinky sex.
According to Rasputin's daughter, Maria, Rasputin did "look into" the Khlysty sect, and rejected them. While the Western world is particularly interested in the sexual aspects of this sect (supposedly tied to a belief that one can obtain humility only by debasing oneself), Rasputin was particularly appalled by the belief that grace is found by harming one's body.
... Attaining divine grace through sin seems to have been one of the central secret doctrines that Rasputin preached to (and practised with) his inner circle of society ladies.
Why, this guy had nothing on Jim/Jeff Gannon/Guckert or Jimmy and Tammy Faye other than suggesting that the best way to a bird's knickers is via the pulpit. But I digress:
While Tsar Nicholas II was away at the front of the war, Rasputin’s influence over Tsaritsa Alexandra rose immensely. He soon became the confidante and personal advisor of Alexandra. He also convinced Alexandra to fill some government offices with his own handpicked candidates. To further increase his power, Rasputin slept with upper-class women in exchange for granting political favors. Because of World War I, and to a lesser extent, Rasputin, Russia’s economy was declining at an extreme rate. Many blamed Alexandra and Rasputin, because of his influence over her, for this.
G.W. take note, don't go to Iraq and leave Laura behind with Karl. Bad things might happen. But then, it would be a good excuse for the economy tanking.
Prince Felix Yusupov, Duma member Vladimir Purishkevich, and the Tsar's cousin, Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovitch Romanov, important members of the St. Petersburg elite, finally took the lead in the decision to murder Rasputin, because they viewed him as a source of major disgrace for the Tsar's family. They killed him on the night of Dec 29, 1916...How exactly they killed Rasputin is not clear. There was no police investigation after his death, so we know only their own version. According to them, Yusupov invited Rasputin to his palace on the pretext of his wife Irina needing his attentions as a healer. In a dining room in the palace basement, the two served their guest with wine and cakes laced with potassium cyanide. The poison was ineffective, so they shot Rasputin three times in the chest, back and head, and beat him around the head with a dumb-bell handle. They then tied him up in a sheet and dropped him through a hole in the ice into the Neva River. He drifted under the ice, still fighting to free himself.
Please note that Rasputin was a contemporary of Bram Stoker, author of Dracula. (Everlasting sleep and the resurrection from the dead, which are the central themes of his Dracula, were of great importance for him (Stoker), because he was forced to spend much of his life in bed.) Although modern science had make strides at the beginning of the last century (particularly with killing people, as in machine guns), there was still the attraction of fundamental religion to undermine government and rationality. In any case:
A book by Edvard Radzinsky suggests Yusupov may have deliberately fluffed the murder, because he was in love with Rasputin. Nonetheless, with poison, bullets and bruises, he still managed to move about under the freezing ice water.

Alexandra then had the body drawn from the river three days later.

All three killers died much later from natural causes.

Supposedly, his penis was cut off and preserved after he died. A Russian Museum of erotica displays an object they claim to be Rasputin's penis, though there is no credible verification, which could be obtained in the form of DNA comparison.
Right now Jimmy/Jeff is going crazy.
It is also possible the object on display belongs to another species, or is merely a part of a sea creature or mushroom.
That's how things go. And then:
There is some evidence that the British Secret Intelligence Service, worried that Rasputin may influence the Tsar to make peace with the German Empire and thus free up German troops for the Western Front, was also involved.
Now we get to the crux of the story, politics.
I write and leave behind me this letter at St. Petersburg. I feel that I shall leave life before January 1. I wish to make known to the Russian people, to Papa, to the Russian Mother and to the Children, to the land of Russia, what they must understand. If I am killed by common assassins, and especially by my brothers the Russian peasants, you, Tsar of Russia, will have nothing to fear for your children, they will reign for hundreds of years in Russia. But if I am murdered by boyars, nobles, and if they shed my blood, their hands will remain soiled with my blood, for twenty-five years they will not wash their hands from my blood. They will leave Russia. Brothers will kill brothers, and they will kill each other and hate each other, and for twenty-five years there will be no nobles in the country.
O.K., time for the take home message:
1. Karl, you shouldn't let Dick and Wolfie get behind you with any sharp objects.
2. Laura, beware (see above).
3. G.W. if you are even thinking about doing in Karl (see 1), consider that Karl has left a prophecy. By the way, doing him in this day and age would be sending him to the farm where they all play fun games in the dorm at night and you can never, never go home. Actually, he might like it.
4. G.W., you don't have enough SEX in your administration. Condi in hip boots doesnt' count.
5. When the troops and the proles don't like a War, you better have a good Plan B. People like Lenin are getting ready to break a few eggs.
6. We may be in for twenty-five years without Republicans (except on the SCOTUS).

7. History repeats itself. Always as farce.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005


I eat libruls for breakfast!

Bush Nominates Roberts to SCOTUS

Let the Games Begin!

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Why the delay?

Pretty clear language here:
Section 421. Protection of identities of certain United States undercover intelligence officers, agents, informants, and sources
Disclosure of information by persons having or having had access to classified information that identifies covert agent.

Whoever, having or having had authorized access to classified information that identifies a covert agent, intentionally discloses any information identifying such covert agent to any individual not authorized to receive classified information, knowing that the information disclosed so identifies such covert agent and that the United States is taking affirmative measures to conceal such covert agent's intelligence relationship to the United States, shall be fined under title 18 or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both.

Sorry, Karl, it ain't going away. Would you please get your bags packed. Ten long years, WOW!

As Helen Thomas asked yesterday, why couldn't G.W. just walk across the hall and ask Karl Rove what in the hell is going on?

Good Morning!

Monday, July 18, 2005

Trolls, elfs, dwarfs and sundry

I guess I should feel honored having a troll. It is sort of comforting, in a strange, masochistic way. And I need to address the points, repetitive that they are. So, here goes:

1. "1 is not correct because blowing up people, including little kids, is not the only thing a group of people can do to remove an occupying force." No, I suppose it is not the only thing. However, they don't have a lot of options and this is the one they picked. One has to deal with reality.

2. "There is something about us they don't like." I propose that one simply switches the players. Put us in the position of the Iraqi. Figure out why we might not like what's going on.

3. "Why were attacked on 9/11? We were just minding our own business at that point." Mikey, Mikey, my boy. Wake up! America is an imperial power. For better or worse, our culture and influence extends throughout the world.

4. "Why couldn't it be our freedom?" Because before "freedom" as I assume you are using the word (freedom of speech, religion, political expression, etc.) one has to have freedom from harm and freedom from hunger, freedom from thirst and freedom from the elements. There are few political philosophers in a foxhole; and there are damn few in Afghanistan and Iraq.

5. "But it's not G.W.'s fault these radical Muslims are so evil that they have no respect for human life. They did these same things before G.W., they will do these same things after G.W." Really? I've been around a long time and I don't remember terrorism being used like it is now. Suicide bombing from Wikipedia:
Lebanon, during its civil war, saw the first modern suicide bombing: the Islamic Dawa Party's car bombing of the Iraqi embassy in Beirut, in December 1981.
Suicide bombing has increased dramatically in Iraq since the invasion. It is their major weapon. Again:
Suicide bombing may thus "work" as a military tactic (in that it costs fewer lives than any conventional military tactic or targeting soldiers rather than civilians) and may or may not achieve the political objectives sought by the combatant. However, it is likely to remain a method of operation employed by Palestinians, at least as long as the Palestinians are outclassed militarily by Israel (emphasis added).
This is the point. It is the only alternative because of the overwhelming firepower of the American military. Observe carefully that I am not making a moral judgement here. The time for moral judgements is long past. This is practical.

6. "If we are unwilling to fight and destroy the kind of evil that blows up innocent children..." Saddam Hussein was a meglomaniacal butcher as were his sons. He killed many innocents. But we are not up against SH or even an organized opposition. We are up against a fanatical group (10,000? 20,000? who knows) that is well armed with explosives (probably due to our neglect in securing the massive arms dumps after the invasion) that is committed to driving us from their land. It has nothing to do with evil at all.

Jorge Luis Borges once wrote a story about a king and his obsession with models of his kingdom. At first he just had a small model on his table. Then he expanded it to the size of his room. He was so enchanted that he ordered a map that was as big as his palace. Finally, of course, he built one as big as his kingdom.

The moral here is that we would probably have to send 25 million men to guard every single Iraqi every second of the day to vanquish this type of insurgency. You and GW may think that you are bringing "freedom and democracy" to Iraq, but I don't think there are many there that believe that or, more importantly, care.

We need to change what we are doing. It is as simple as that.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Scientology and Politology

Meanwhile, the London Times reports:
58 die in suicide attack
Some residents who rushed to the scene made gruesome discoveries in the blazing wreckage. "After the bomb I went over there and found my son's head. I could not find his body," said Mohsen Jassim, whose son was 18.
Ho, hum, you say. Just another day in Iraq. And yes, it is just another day in Iraq, one filled with flying bits of blood, bone and other assorted organs. It doesn't say how many were children. Ho, hum. It does say that it was "crowded with people buying tea, soft drinks and snacks." Guess there were children there. Ho, hum.

George Bush doesn't believe in Science (that's with a capital S). Oh, of course, he does trust his staff to patch up his bicycle wounds (I wouldn't advise a child to ride his bike again if that child had as many accidents as our Pres; I'd get a head scan). One assumes that his medical staff aren't witch doctors or shamen, though that would be something that might have kept us out of Iraq. What G.W. doesn't believe in is the scientific method. That is, one that postulates a theory, e.g. Iraq tried to buy uranium from Niger, then collects evidence, e.g. sends a former ambassador to scout it out, and then makes a decision based on the evidence at hand, e.g. Iraq didn't try to buy uranium in Niger in the late 90's since there was little evidence to support the theory. It doesn't work that way in G.W. World, where the laws of Science don't hold. As Josh Marshall says, in G.W. World, up is down.

What G.W. believes in is a type of Scientology called Politology. He has constructed a view of the world that has everything revolve around the planet "himself" and his tight circle of wealthy pols. Things aren't based on evidence, they are based on whatever is politically expedient. Exhibit A in this is, of course, the great, past shenanigans of Karl Rove and the Iraq War gang in their movie, "How I Subverted the Constitution of the U. S. of A. while looking like Porky Pig."

Children should not be getting blown to bits anywhere in the world, particularly where we are somehow responsible for their well being, e.g. Iraq. It is a simple, scientific problem.

Theory1: Children are getting blown to bits because men and women have decided that this is the only thing they can do to rid themselves of an occupying force (Americm Britain and a few others in Iraq and Afghanistan; Israel and America in Palestine). It has extended to America on 9/11 and London on 7/7. It has extended to multiple other sites in the last 35 years (it started in 1971 on the tarmac of the airport in Cairo).

Theory2: Children are getting blown to bits ..... etc. because "they hate our freedom."

Evidence: The men and women who do this appear to have an inexhaustible supply of explosives and there appears to be an inexhaustible supply of recruits. Forays into Afghanistan, first hailed as a success, but more recently sinking back into chaos, and Iraq have done nothing but exacerbate the problem. However, we have no real insight into the psychology of the terrorist.

Conclusion1: We have little or no evidence if this theory is correct. However, it has not been proven wrong. It is an open theory.

Conclusion2: There is no evidence to support theory2. We have been operating on a probably faulty theory for four years. Any real scientist in his right mind would go back to the drawing boards.

We need lots more information as to why those who will give their lives as a suicide bomber will do it. I confess that I don't understand. But then, I'm sitting here in a comfortable room without the threat of flying body parts.

And G.W. can go talk to Tom Cruise. I'm not interested in what either of them says. Its all Politology.

The only people who have benefited from this are the stockholders of Haliburton. If Haliburton is anything like medical insurance companies, i.e. if it follows the corporate rule, then "stockholders" are principally a small coterie of men and women who are on the Board of Directors and who own almost all the assets and receive most of the wealth. Incidentally, they also got G.W. elected. But, that is our problem, not the problem of the children of Iraq.

Final thought: Freedom is an abstract. You don't care about abstracts if your child is sailing past you along with the body parts of other children. You simply want "it" to stop.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Silence and Politics

At this juncture in our strange sojourn called America, we should not remain silent. There are two comments on this thought:
In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.
Martin Luther King Jr.
The second comment comes from Juan Cole today:
Iraqi Blogger Jailed
Iraqi blogger Khalid has been tossed into jail, apparently for being critical of the Iraqi government on the Web. The arrest was first reported by Riverbend.
So much for "Freedom and Democracy" in the new Iraq. Sounds like the old Iraq to me.

What is the most effective way of speaking out? I think that it is writing letters to the newspaper. It is amazing to me how many people read the letters to the editor. Why more don't write back, I am not sure. Some might say that such activity is preaching to the choir. Could be.

It is also clear that the Plame affair is in crescendo. It is being linked to the Downing Street Memos and to the Iraq war planning group in the White House. I can't imagine how it is going to turn out. Makes for interesting theatre.

The ultimate sadness here is the silence of the press (lambs that they are). You would have thought that both the WaPo and the Gray Lady would have been all over this like chicken pox. Sometimes I wish I were 20 years in the future just so I could read history.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Friday Crab Blogging