Thursday, November 30, 2006

al-Maliki and his almost beard

Who and what does this man actually represent? He is the Prime Minister of Iraq but what does that actually mean? As best as I can see from the the news and multiple blogs, he has almost no power. Can he tell the officers of the "Iraqi Army" what to do? Is he like Bush in that he is Commander in Chief of the Iraqi Army?

What use was there for him to meet with Bush other than to be humiliated. Bush and his cronies are now actually trying to place the blame on this poor man for the disaster that is Iraq. Who leaked the secret Intelligence memo to the NYT? If I was al-Mailiki I would have caught the first plane back. But back may not be the safest place for him to be these days.

The idea that somehow things will just go along and eventually get better when the streets of Baghdad yield 50-100 bullet riddled corpses a night, many with signs of torture, is just insane. Bush must believe very strongly in deus ex machina, in spite of there being no crane in the wings with the gods, either literally or figuratively.

And, what the heck is it with this guy's being unshaven? Is it a compromise between the West and the requirement of a beard in Islam? Or is he just being Don Johnson Miami Vice cool?

And one more thing from here:
Al-Malaki said he reassured Bush of "the government's resolve to impose the government's authority, bring stability, hold to account outlaws, and limit the possession of arms to the hands of the government."
What's he going to do about Charleton al-Heston and the IRA (Iraqi Rifle Association). Their Constitution says they have the right to bear arms. Right?

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Department of No Comment

U.S. Bans Sale of iPods to North Korea

Tuesday, November 28, 2006


Update Below:

I was struck by this report from Colorado:
Pagosa subdivision bans peace wreath
By Robert Weller
The Associated Press

DENVER — In a town in scenic southwestern Colorado, homeowners are battling over whether a Christmas wreath that includes a peace sign is an anti-Iraq war protest or a promotion of Satan. (emphasis added)
Now I can understand how some dyed in the wool advocates of War can protest, at Christmas time, about a peace symbol. After all, it is the same mind set that got us into this mess to begin with. But that last accusation, a symbol of Satan, well, that threw me.

I am almost certain that the peace symbol that we now are familiar with arose in the 1950's with the antinuclear movement in Britain, spearheaded by Bertrand Russell. In the U.S. it included Linus Pauling on its roster. Everyone is familiar with:

And I am almost equally sure that this sign came from the semaphore sign for the letter "N" (as in Nuclear):

This local controversy is just another manifestation of the Christianist movement, so ably commented on by Glenn Greenwald, Tristero on the subject (at Hullabaloo) and others. Christianism has been around in America for quite some time. It is the same impulse behind the Klu Klux Klan, Father Coughlin, the John Birch Society, and, more recently, the fundamentalist movement with Jerry Falwell, Ralph Reed, Moral Majority morphing into the Christian Coalition, and even Opus Dei. In addition, it is the impulse behind a President of the United States, which has a Constitution separating organized Relition and the State, claiming seriously that he "talks with God."

In is my belief that all of these groups subvert the normal human craving for spirituality, which finds its most common expression in formal religion (Chritianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Shintoism, Animism, etc. (Judaism is #12)) and direct it, as is well described in the blogs mentioned above, towards political aims. This perversion of Christianity into Christianism is most prevlalent in America. It leads to this absurd linking of the the Peace symbol, which was also, it must be confessed, a political symbol, with the bugaboo of all major religions, the devil:
Cross of Nero - Or Peace sign. Another sign that mocks the cross of Jesus. Also know as "The Dead Man Rune". It appears on the tombstones of some of Hitler's SS troops.
But, and it is a big but, the people who consider the Peace symbol satanic also consider almost every other iconic symbol satanic, probably including this one.


Here is the offending wreath itself:

Saturday, November 25, 2006

A Simple Suggestion

Human Rights Watch, which I used to have a lot of respect for, has this to say:
OPT: Civilians Must Not Be Used to Shield Homes Against Military Attacks

(Jerusalem, November 22, 2006) Palestinian armed groups must not endanger Palestinian civilians by encouraging them to gather in and around suspected militants homes targeted by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), Human Rights Watch said today. (emphasis added)
According to media reports, on Saturday the IDF warned Mohammedweil Baroud, a commander in the Popular Resistance Committees, to leave his home in the Jabaliya refugee camp as they planned to destroy it. Baroud reportedly summoned neighbors and friends to protect his house, and a crowd of hundreds of Palestinians gathered in, around, and on the roof of the house.
There is no excuse for calling civilians to the scene of a planned attack, said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. Whether or not the home is a legitimate military target, knowingly asking civilians to stand in harm's way is unlawful.
And the bombing of innocent people is lawful, Ms. Whitson? What about Lebanon last summer. Oh? You forgot. I realize that you famous jurist (I suppose). Since you report from Jerusalem, I guess we know which "side" you're on, as if there should be "sides" when it comes to civilians. And,you are right, all Palestinians are terrorists and all terrorists, even suspected terrorists, even elected officials of Hamas, should be killed, in that strange, twisted world you live in.

Here comes my suggestion. Why doesn't Human Rights Watch supply the Palestinians with F-16's, or better, tactical nuclear weapons, so that they can defend themselves?

Friday, November 24, 2006

Pardon me boys..

The Tragedy that is Iraq

It is hard to imagine how a people can tolerate the carnage that has occurred in Iraq. While this has been particularly intense in the last several days, it certainly has bee escalating for many, many months. Before the illegal invasion by the U.S. and Britain, there had been the long history of depredations to the populace both during the Iran-Iraq War in the 1980's, and after the Gulf War of 1991 when sanctions were enforced on the country. Through all of this, the Iraqi people have suffered from the iron fist of successive U.S. administrations. Our guilt is profound.

At this point, it is not a question of a good solution, or even a neutral solution. It is just a question of what is the least bad of any solution that is proposed. I think getting the American and British armies out of Iraq is imperative. That this will be difficult is without question. That there will be open sectarian strife as a result, well, there is full blown civil war as we speak.

Is there any possibility that the U.N. could serve as keepers of the peace, what little there is? We have so castrated the U.N. that it is probably impossible for it to do so. Which country would send their troops into the jaws of hell?

The innocents among the Iraqi people, and there are many, half the population is below 25, continue to suffer a catastrophe of our making.

In the meantime, Walmart is offering sales. The American public lives on another planet.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006


So, do we have anything to be thankful for this year? Well, yes, there are a few things:

1. The Democratic Party. It achieved victory in the November election issuing a clear statement that the majority of Americans do not approve of the way their government is being run. While the champagne corks are still popping, it is important to recognize that the real battles will come in January when the new Congress sits. Will there be substantial change? Or, will Bush fight tooth and nail (using the veto and the filibuster) to impeded the will of the majority. It is more likely every day, given his rhetoric, that he will precipitate a constitutional crisis over the power of the so-called unitary presidency. At least it will distract him from killing people and put the lie to all his high blown talk of establishing democracy in other countries.

2. Children. As I become older, they become the only thing worth living for. They are always "up" unless they are sick. They develop at an astounding rate and they can always be counted on to say something off the wall. They also are very observant, even though we think they are oblivious. If they are nurtured, they usually turn out good. If they are not, it is a sadness that is hard to bear.

3. Family. It is worth while remembering that everyone has family. The Shiite and the Sunni; the Palestinian and the Israeli; those in Nepal and Darfur, Norway and South Africa; Eskimo and Aborigine. How we forget.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Still Ages Like Sophia Loren

Now here is something from Arms Control Wonk:
In January and March 2006, I blogged about stories by James Sterngold in the San Francisco Chronicle suggesting plutonium, much like Sophia Loren, ages extremely well—remaining quite, um, fissile for at least 60 years.

A new study from Los Alamos and Lawrence Livermore finds plutonium ages much better than Ms. Loren, remaining viable fissile material for at least 90 years.
Now this is important for the following reason: there is really only one way that our planet is going to avoid the unholy threat of mass extinction from nuclear weapons, and that is to have a moratorium on testing new weapons (i.e. the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.) This treaty, as many have pointed out, has been negotiated and signed by many nations including the U.S. Unfortunately, it has not been ratified by the U.S. Is there a hope that it will be with a new Senate? Don't hold your breath.

I have never thought through the import of what might happen if the CTBT was signed, ratified and implemented, even thought my brother has worked on this for the past 5 years. It is unlikely, at least in the short run, that countries like the U.S. or Israel would destroy their bombs. No, the military is much to fond of them. But the fact that the bombs would age and become obsolete (any bombs made in the 50's and 60's would now be very suspect, even with a 90 year tag). Why, that is just wonderful information.

Nature has provided us with unplanned obsolescence of nuclear weapons. If only we could implement it.

Monday, November 20, 2006

It depends on which terrorist you're talking about

Seymour Hersh is always right:
In the past six months, Israel and the United States have also been working together in support of a Kurdish resistance group known as the Party for Free Life in Kurdistan. The group has been conducting clandestine cross-border forays into Iran,
(The Pentagon has established covert relationships with Kurdish, Azeri, and Baluchi tribesmen, and has encouraged their efforts to undermine the regime’s authority in northern and southeastern Iran.) The government consultant said that Israel is giving the Kurdish group “equipment and training.” The group has also been given “a list of targets inside Iran of interest to the U.S.” (An Israeli government spokesman denied that Israel was involved.) (emphasis added)
So, in a nutshell, Israel and the United States are funding terrorist activity in Iran. But, oh:
Such activities, if they are considered military rather than intelligence operations, do not require congressional briefings. For a similar C.I.A. operation, the President would, by law, have to issue a formal finding that the mission was necessary, and the Administration would have to brief the senior leadership of the House and the Senate.
So, once more we have the Imperial Presidency. Or, more euphemistically, the Unitary Presidency. Once more no Congressional oversight which is very clearly stated in our Constitution (which, I am sure, Bush has never read.)

It is ironic that most of the founders of our country were Deists, or, close to being Unitarian. We have come full circle, except it isn't about being a good man. It is the opposite.

And one more thing, if you didn't think the above was ironcial enough:
The view that there is a nexus between Iran and Iraq has been endorsed by Condoleezza Rice, who said last month that Iran “does need to understand that it is not going to improve its own situation by stirring instability in Iraq,” and by the President, who said, in August, that “Iran is backing armed groups in the hope of stopping democracy from taking hold” in Iraq. (emphasis added)
Now if Iran was arming Zapata, that would be a different story, wouldn't it. Insurgent activity in South Texas doesn't sound so nice.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

The Sorcerer's Not-Apprentice

Or, how we screwed the World up, big time.

(Ole W. seems a bit pissed here, doesn't he. Could be that he's got Nancy on his mind?)

Saturday, November 18, 2006

The difference between men

Updated Below...

Why are some men heros and others, like myself, not? This was brought home to me when I read this report of three brave men getting jailed for protesting the presence of 150 nuclear tipped missles under the farmland of North Dakota:
Three men protesting the presence of weapons of mass destruction in North Dakota were sentenced to federal prison terms of over three years and ordered to pay $17,000 in restitution by a federal judge in Bismarck. The three dressed as clowns and went to the Echo-9 launch site of the intercontinental Minuteman III nuclear missile in rural North Dakota in June 2006. They broke the lock off the fence and put up peace banners and posters. One said: "Swords into plowshares - Spears into pruning hooks." They poured some of their own blood on the site, hammered on the nuclear launching facility and waited to be arrested.
During their trial, the men openly admitted to trying to disarm the nuclear weapon. They pointed out to the jury that each one of these missiles was a devastating weapon of mass destruction, a killing machine precisely designed to murder hundreds of thousands. Testimony by experts about the illegality of these weapons of mass destruction under international law, and their effects, were excluded by the court and never heard by the jury. (emphasis added)
The judge challenged Greg Boertje-Obed's (one of the protestors, DrC) decision to take actions that risked a year in prison instead of staying home with his family. "Why would one leave a wife and daughter at home to engage in juvenile acts of vandalism to protest nuclear weapons? I would think your commitment to your family should far outweigh your calling to such actions." Greg's wife, Michelle Naar Obed, was in the courtroom during this exchange. After the sentencing was over, Michelle shook her head and said, "If Greg had left us his for a year and risked his life to go to war to kill people, no one would question him - they would call him a hero! But, because he risked time in jail to act out his convictions for peace, people question his commitment to his family. That is a tragedy."
One was a priest and it reminds me of those other protests so long ago led by Phillip and Daniel Berrigan.

This also segues into the post below about the rule of law (Who does this man speak for?), and Digby's post yesterday about the rising of the ghoul Edwin Meese.

To use the vernacular, we be in for hard times.


TPM Muckrater points us to the following report:
In an unexpected move, a judge granted a request Thursday from David Safavian, the former head of the Office of Management and Budget's procurement policy shop, for a stay of his prison sentence, pending an appeal of his June conviction of obstructing justice and making false statements.
So, if you protest for peace against the most horrendous weapons that mankind has ever known (far more deadly than flying an airplane into a skyscraper) then you go to jail. If you are in the White House and commit a crime, you go free. We might as well not have Courts and Justices anymore, what a farce.

Who does this man speak for?

Chertoff says U.S. threatened by international law

By David Morgan- Reuters

Nov 17, 2006 — WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A top Bush administration official on Friday said the European Union, the United Nations and other international entities increasingly are using international law to challenge U.S. powers to reject treaties and protect itself from attack. (emphasis added)
You cannot have it both ways. You cannot sponsor and support an organization (the United Nations), and sign the treaties created by agencies of that body, staffed in many cases by Americans (e.g. the NPT, outer space treaty, ABM treaty, chemical warfare treaty, etc, etc, etc,) and then turn around and nullify those treaties because they have some utterly remote chance of increasing a terrorist attack.

Exactly the opposite, those treaties, if fully enforced, including the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) signed by Clinton but not ratified by the Senate, would go very far to preventing terrorism.

In fact, an argument can be made that the very reason we have terrorism is because we are the arrogant ass of the world and have thumbed our nose at its laws, including those prohibiting torture. And, this tasty tidbit from the imploding Republican Party:
McCain: Bush Admin Breaks Laws to Hide Global Warming Data
"They're simply not complying with the law. It's incredible."

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) raised eyebrows yesterday with that comment regarding the Bush administration, made before a crowd of several hundred at a Washington, D.C. event.
The simple suggestion is made to Mr. Bush: Return to the rule of Law, or face impeachment.

(Note: Chertoff should be spending more time tending his back yard, i.e. New Orleans, before mouthing drivel off his front porch.)

Friday, November 17, 2006

If you want to be frightened

If you don't think we live in a potentially fascist America, watch this video (from a cell phone).

Then go to America Blog:

and read the commentary. Realize this is happening in America


much, much worse happens in Iraq every day.

The World of Mini Mini

Israel developing anti-militant "bionic hornet"Fri Nov 17, 2006 8:24 AM GMT

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel is using nanotechnology to try to create a robot no bigger than a hornet that would be able to chase, photograph and kill its targets, an Israeli newspaper reported on Friday.

The flying robot, nicknamed the "bionic hornet," would be able to navigate its way down narrow alleyways to target otherwise unreachable enemies such as rocket launchers, the daily Yedioth Ahronoth said.
And next we will have the mini bomb. Just think what will happen of Osama bin Forgotten had one!

At least it would make the Pentagon's budget manageable.

Friday Crab Blogging

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Fair is Fair

Vatican enters Muslim veil debate
By David Willey
BBC News, Rome

Italy has a law against wearing masks in public
A senior Vatican cardinal has expressed concern over the use of some Muslim veils by Islamic immigrants in Europe.
"It seems elementary to me and it is quite right that the authorities demand it," said Cardinal Martino, who heads the Vatican department dealing with migration issues.

That is, when in Rome, do as the Romans do and when in Baghdad:

The World's Shortest Honeymoon

I mean, it was just 9 days ago for crying out loud that the Dems came out of obscurity and now:

US plans last big push in Iraq

Bolton predicts he would win Senate vote on U.N. post

Democrats to renew tax breaks

You know, we didn't even get to see the beach at Maui.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Boom, Boom, Boom

They are out there beating the drums:
LONDON (Reuters) - The United States or other countries will one day be forced to consider pre-emptive action if Iran and North Korea continue to seek nuclear weapons, a senior U.S. government official said on Tuesday.
If North Korea refused to renounce its nuclear program and Iran developed a nuclear weapons capability, it would lead other countries in their regions to seek nuclear weapons, said the U.S. official, speaking on condition he was not identified.

"We, the United States, and others who might be threatened by these developments will have to look at how to respond and inevitably I think people will have to look at the question of pre-emption," the official told reporters. (emphasis added)
First of all, other countries in the region have nuclear weapons. Israel has over 200! Many of the Union formerly known as Soviet states gave up their nuclear weapons, supposedly in exchange for peace. Are we sure?

Secondly, a pre-emptive invasion will be with nuclear weapons. Does anybody want that? (except the children in the Pentagon with their toys.)

The President of the United States won't talk to Iran and Syria. Both are obviously thinking of going nuclear. Who wouldn't, with the example of Iraq in ruins on their doorstep.

Bush is convening his own Iraq Study group. What? I think that the man is certifiable. Even his own father can't control him.

What I worry about the most, though, is religion. While Bush was riding high, when he could do anything he wanted, he allowed that what he was doing was the work of the Lord, with whom he had personal communication. What now??? Has God abandoned him? How will he justify his actions now that things aren't going the way God wanted them to?

"Eli Eli lema sabachthani"

Sunday, November 12, 2006

The Civil War in Iraq

Scrolling down the page in Juan Cole today we have:
In Samarra, police report that the bodies of beheaded 5 Iraqi soldiers were brought to the morgue.
Think about this. If such an atrocity happened in any Western country, particularly in the United States, it would be non-stop 24/7 coverage. The talking heads would explode. It is likely that martial law would be imposed and Republicans would seek to nullify this weeks election. Instead, it is just one more horror observed by a man who was denied a tenured position at Yale because he reports the truth.

Day after day, year after year, Juan Cole reports this stark news until it easily piles up to an utterly devastating holocaust. (Yes, non-Jews can use that word too. But there will be no memorial to the hundreds of thousands killed in Iraq as a result of our actions there.)

It is frequent that people do not realize what is happening during the occurrence of momentous events. That is especially true in America where most people are almost entirely oblivious to what is going on the the outside world. In addition, We have been stable politically since the Civil War (No, I don't think the late sixties classify as anything other than a blip in our political life. In any case, it got us out of Vietnam.) But, we can never go back to those times. The world has irrevocably changed, and we are muchly responsible for the change.

At this point there is too much guilt riding on our shoulders for us to pretend to be a decent people without some kind of compensation to the people of Iraq.

I am not sure how we could do this. Trying to extract even a penny from those obscenely wealthy people in America who have profited from our invasion is a dauntless task. Somehow, when people come into possession of things (especially money), no matter what the circumstances, they protect these things as if they were their children. (It must be something from our earliest days as a species.) And, as anyone can see, this is particularly true of money. Why, you might ask, does Bill Gates need personal wealth of over $50 BILLION? Wealth which exceeds the gross domestic product of over 100 countries in the world (including Nicaragua which is just $5 billion?)

Is Bill Gates responsible for the Civil War in Iraq? Of course not directly. But as someone who has profited enormously from the war machine that is my country, just as the Krupp dynasty in Germany, he holds a disproportionate share of blame, because he has done nothing to stop it. He wields power because of his wealth. He is the richest man in the world. He could buy peace if he wished.

Just think about that. He could buy peace if he wished.

I pick on Bill Gates because he is at the top. But there are literally millions of people in America who could change the course of history if they just realized it was in their best interest. Unfortunately, by the time they get around to thinking about this, it will be too late.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

At Last, an Explanation.

I have always wondered why I am so fat. The conventional wisdom, that it is diet and lack of exercise, just didn't satisfy the inquiring mind. Then my nephew and my brother reminded me of this fellow and his theory.

Bingo! It is clear that I am travelling at the speed of light! You see, I am not fat. I just appear to you to be fat in your frame of reference. In mine, I am svelte and nimble.

And, at this speed I'll never catch the flu (or vice versa).

On the other hand, I guess this explains this Fat Boy too. If only this discovery had remained a fantasy, or at least in some other reference frame.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Friday Crab Blogging

I am fascinated by the anthropomorphizing of everything by children. Check out the face on this guy. Certainly this started a long time ago (probably by Aesop) and continued down through Lewis Carroll to Thomas the Tank Engine. The latter, of course, received a stroke of brillance by using Ringo Starr as the voice over.

I get by with a little help from my friends.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Body Language 101

I am sure that the Bag News Notes will dissect this picture. But I couldn't help posting it because it shows the conception that most of us have (or would like to have) about what is going on. Could it be G.W. cowed by Nancy Pelosi? Just compare that limp handshake to the backrub he gave Merkel.

Don't bet on it for a moment. This is theatre. He got up out of the chair and said he wanted to confirm Bolton and the "Terrorist Surveillance Act." Why are some Republican Presidents such good actors. Did we really think, even for a nanosecond that he had changed? Damn.

Technical Failure

Thousands mourn Beit Hanoun dead

Many of the bodies were draped in the yellow flags of Fatah
The bodies of 18 Palestinians killed by Israeli tank fire have been buried amid emotional scenes in the northern Gaza town of Beit Hanoun.
Israeli PM Ehud Olmert said the strike, which hit a civilian area, was the result of a "technical failure".
In Beit Hanoun on Thursday one man carried the bodies of two babies, wrapped in traditional burial shrouds. (my emphasis)
Oh, just a "technical failure." So sorry. We'll try better next time. Must have been the alternator, or the distributor on that 'ole tank. Pesky things those tanks. They shouldn't have been in a house anyway.

Oh, by the way, expect a tank in your neighborhood soon. And the AIPAC feels your pain.

Government by Catharsis

There's something about a catharsis that is very important.

Glenn Close
It now appears that both the Senate and the Congress have fallen to the Democrats. In spite of some simpering rhetoric, there is no one who believes that the Cheney government has changed an iota in its determination to pursue the War in Iraq.

The question becomes, can our government survive the inevitable clash that will come between the Cheney gang and the new Congress? (Do not forget that the Supremes will be in the Cheney camp.)

It could get bloody but there must be a catharsis.

If we are going to die, literally, then far better to die in this battle for our democracy than in the sands of Iraq or the snows of North Korea.

Good Riddance

Why is this man grinning? He, and his gang, are responsible for hundreds of thousands of innocent deaths, many of them children. Will he disappear into the woodwork like so many have in the last century?

I hear the Boys from Brazil have an opening.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Sorry, Mr. Bush

I am sorry Mr. Bush, you are mistaken. We did not go to all the trouble of getting Democrats elected to have them undergo 'bipartisan' acquiescence to your effing War. A War that is evil. A War that kills children. You, as its chief architect, carry the highest blame. And this is just one example:
BAGHDAD, Oct 31 (Reuters) - Staff at the U.S. military hospital in Baghdad are used to horrific injuries but when the limp, bullet-riddled body of a 5-year-old Iraqi boy was zipped up in a grotesquely oversized bodybag, it was different.

It got worse when they heard he was shot by an American. (my emphasis)
I would attach a photo of an Iraqi child (I have 470 at last count, many of them destroyed like this young boy) but it would humanize something that is is inherently inhuman.

Hear that Bush? Inhuman!


Congratulations to Ben Cardin and Martin O'Malley, Senator and Governor of Maryland.

Congratulations to all the new Democratic Representatives and to Nancy Pelosi, the upcoming Speaker of the House (third in line for President after Bush and Cheney.)

I, and millions of Americans like me, want you to take this victory and change the horror that George W. Bush has perpetrated on the world, particularly Iraq.

We need our soldiers out of Iraq; we need to reopen negotiations on arms reduction to include North Korea, Iran and Israel; we need an immediate reappraisal of the Kyoto treaty and a massive effort to end global warming; we need the tremendous disparity in wealth in the United States and the world to be urgently reversed; we need the United Nations to be brought back to its original intention, back when it had our support; we need the Health Care crisis to be addressed; we need the Education crisis to be addressed; and .....

we need those who have created the mess we find ourselves in to be held responsible and to be punished in an appropriate way.

We would like you to start immediately.

Thank you.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Election Day Crab

The Vote

Somehow I am very sad this morning. Its not that I don't think the Democrats will at least win a small majority in the House. I think they will. But this, as I mention below, is not enough to do what needs to be done. Even here in my State, good people are going to be shuffled aside for either the blatantly misguided or the sinisterly devious. In any case:

Just Vote!

Sunday, November 05, 2006

The Vote

I think that there is a good chance that we will take the House, but probably with a smaller majority than we had hoped for. The Senate races that matter don't look good. I say this because the polls in the last few days show a resurgence of Republican support. I guess that is inevitable in any election, the underdog starts coming up, but I wish it wasn't true. Even in Maryland where Cardin has had a substantial lead, sometimes as much as 10% over Steele, it is now much closer.

What is really discouraging is that Americans did not take this opportunity to turn our country around. Controlling the Senate, the White House and the Supremes will let the Republicans pretty much negate any effort that can be put forward from the House.

It is just mind boggling how awful this current group of hooligans are that occupy the most important offices in a country of 300 million. Just awful.

It may be that we have just seen our Democracy fail. 2008 is just too far away.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Concerning what happened on the Bounty

From here:
An editorial scheduled to appear on Monday in Army Times, Air Force Times, Navy Times and Marine Corps Times, calls for the resignation of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.

Time for Rumsfeld to go
But until recently, the "hard bruising" truth about the Iraq war has been difficult to come by from leaders in Washington. One rosy reassurance after another has been handed down by President Bush, Vice President Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld: "mission accomplished," the insurgency is "in its last throes," and "back off," we know what we're doing, are a few choice examples.
And all along, Rumsfeld has assured us that things are well in hand.

Now, the president says he'll stick with Rumsfeld for the balance of his term in the White House.

This is a mistake.

It is one thing for the majority of Americans to think Rumsfeld has failed. But when the nation's current military leaders start to break publicly with their defense secretary, then it is clear that he is losing control of the institution he ostensibly leads. (emphasis added)
Not to mention who else is losing control. And as that other "who else" has his finger on the 'nuculeer' button...

well, better lean over and kiss the proverbial good-by.

Not to mention Dick 'quick on the trigger' Cheney:

Friday, November 03, 2006

Under the Cover of U.S. Elections

Updated Below:

The S.O.B.'s take revenge:
JERUSALEM, Nov. 3 Israeli troops fired at a large crowd of unarmed Palestinian women in the Gaza Strip today as the women approached a mosque to help Palestinian militants holed up inside. Two women were killed and about 10 were injured, according to hospital workers.

Update: Billmon takes posts like this to task today. While it is almost impossible to argue with him, since he writes so well, I think on this issue that he is working under a false assumption. More about that in a minute. Billmon points out that the IDF claimed that they were firing at a man who was with the women and that the man was using the women as a shield, in violation of the rules of war (whatever they are these days.)

I can't argue that this is not true and that I have fed into a false charge against the IDF, if the underlying assertion that the two sides are "equal" in some militaristic way. But, and it is a big 'but,' they are clearly not. This is not classic warfare. These are not uniformed troops on the battlefield, of course. The IDF operates very much like the proverbial shooting of fish in the barrel. Nothing is sacrosanct when it comes to the enemy, which happens to be the several hundred million other people that live around them. So, cluster bombs in the last 72 hours of invading Lebanon? Go for it. Let them remember that the IDF was there for many moons.

Furthermore, the meme that Billmon shoots out there, that this is a tribal squabble over land, is a littledisingenuouss. It ignores the fact that, except in some strange Biblical sense that 'God gave this land to Israel' the Israelis are squatters on what, for the most part, had been Palestinian land. I have never heard of Palestinians wanting to take over land that had traditionally been occupied by Jews from the midEast.

In my view, the Palestinians have been forced from their lands in a most brutal way and they are fighting back like any of the rest of us would (and as Native Americans did until they were vanquished by superior firepower, except maybe General Custer). When the French Resistance was using terror tactics to fight their German occupiers, we made them intoheroess. Yet when the Algerians foughtback against the French, we had little sympathy.

I guess money is thicker than water.

The "I buy Playboy for the Articles" gambit

Oh, hypocrisy, thy name be Ted:
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Evangelist Ted Haggard admitted Friday that he bought methamphetamine and received a massage from a gay prostitute who claims he was paid for drug-fueled trysts by the outspoken gay marriage opponent.

Haggard, 50, said he never had sex with Mike Jones, a 49-year-old male prostitute who sparked the scandals when he told a radio station he had had a three-year sexual relationship with the minister.

Haggard said he did get a massage from Jones after being referred to him by a Denver hotel.
Oh, give me a break. Just an innocent massage from a gay prostitute?

Wait a minute, what about John Kerry? Wait, wait. Don't go away. Kerry, Kerry, Democrats, Democrats, bad, bad. Traitors.


Friday Crab Blogging - Oldies but Goldies

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Greenwald and Defeatism

Glenn Greenwald had a post up yesterday concerning defeatism. He does an admirable job of trying to rally to troops and, via this graph of Bush's popularity, shows us how far we have come:

(Click Graphic to Enlarge)

I am trying to feel optimistic. But, as a friend of mine who hosted "victory" parties in 2000 and 2004 said, she wasn't going to do it this year so as not to be disappointed in the company of friends once again. You know, especially in 2004, we really thought we were going to win.

Even here in Maryland, and even with a local race that I am supporting, it could still revert to the jerks. And, I don't know anyone who knows what we are going to do if that happens.

There are a million things to do if we win. A lot of us can't wait to roll up our sleeves and get to work. Certainly the environment (including the fishes) and the War in Iraq are in the first order of business. Not to forget nuclear proliferation and Health Care. I just hope we get a chance. I'm not sure what will happen if we lose.

Outsource Religion Now

Businesses may move health care overseas
By MALCOLM FOSTER and MARGIE MASON, Associated Press Writers

NEW DELHI, India - Businesses and insurance companies are starting to eye the potential savings of outsourcing health care from the world's richest country to the developing world.
What an effing stupid idea! Health care is one of the most important segments of the U.S. economy. Health care is integrated into the smallest community, even if it be an outreach clinic. It is true that health care is expensive, but it is also true that the CEO of United HealthCare made 38 million dollars in 2003 (and had to leave the company under duress recently for funny stock dealings.)The state of health care in India in poor and rural areas is not good. Isn't it a little crass to use what resources they have for the Fortune 500 bigwigs?

On the other hand, I recommend we outsource religion. You could have have your church in a neat, biblical place like Jordan or Sinai, and have the congregation attend Redskins Park on Sunday morning for a real time feed (courtesy of uTube). The video screens are really big there, so I'm told. As for more intimate things like Catholic confession (if it still exists) we could use cell phones. Unfortunately they would have to be encrypted so that Bush and the NSA couldn't eavesdrop. But, everything has its down side.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

John Kerry & George W. Bush

Updated below:

What John Kerry said was regrettable. But, John Kerry is not running for office. Neither is George Bush (unfortunately). If this is the best October surprise that Rove can come up with then it just proves what a pathetic ass he is.

And Mr. Bush, you should be worried about this:
Sunni insurgents have cut the roads linking the city (Baghdad) to the rest of Iraq. The country is being partitioned as militiamen fight bloody battles for control of towns and villages north and south of the capital.

As American and British political leaders argue over responsibility for the crisis in Iraq, the country has taken another lurch towards disintegration.

Well-armed Sunni tribes now largely surround Baghdad and are fighting Shia militias to complete the encirclement.
Now Kerry has apologized. At least he showed some sense. Maybe it will disappear into the woodwork. If this is all Rove has to run with, it is pretty sorry.

If the American people are so dense that they do not see what is going on here than, as Billmon says, we deserve everything we get. Just revolting.