Tuesday, July 29, 2008

General Betray Us

From here:
Overall violence in Iraq is declining to almost "normal" levels, General David Petraeus told USA Today in an interview published Tuesday, following a string of attacks the day before.

The commander of US forces in Iraq warned however that the trend could be reversed by "sensational attacks" like those Monday in Baghdad and Kirkuk that killed some 56 Iraqis.

"If you could reduce these sensational attacks further, I think you are almost approaching a level of normal or latent violence," he told the newspaper in a phone interview from Baghdad.(emphasis added)
Screw you General. A disgruntled jerk opens fire in a Tennessee church and kills two and the American press goes wild for two to three days. Is that what you call latent violence? In my opinion, you are one of the war criminals. I think many in the World feel the same.

We will see how you do after January 20.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Friday Crab Blogging

You can see why I am jealous of this crab, it has hair!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Friday Crab Blogging

We start wtih an anthropomorphic crab. Note the line above the eyes. While not the V of anger, it is the straight line of serious concern. Amazing what a line can convey. And, believe it or not, crabs ARE serious crustaceans.

Continuing the theme, note the relatively strict requirement of anthropomorphism in that to get a face, the artist has to include a balloon head, reminiscent of the stalk eyes.

Please excuse Hunter, he's from Boston and tends to drop his "r's".

As young as Will is, he still manages to get the claws on the crab's major appendages even though they resemble toes. (I don't know whether you have read any evo-devo, but it turns out that toes and claws are based on the same genes. The book to read is Sean Carroll's Endless Forms Most Beautiful: The New Science of Evo Devo

Alexandra draws a good crab. She also expresses her cheerful personality with an anthropomorphic sun. This is a pretty ancient observation, dating back at least to the Egyptians and their sun god Ra.

Believe it or not, this is a crab. But, given the theme of today's Crab Blog, it fits right in. I asked the little girl if it was her. She said no, it was a crab.

For some children, crabs are secondary to buses.

As in previous posts on buildings, the number of windows shows an open personality. The path to the house and the flowers or shrubs are also signs of good social development. I'm a little puzzled as to why there are no windows on the first ("ground" for aliens) floor. It may show a little fear of intimacy.

Not only does Chloe have a sun, she has a sun flower. I'm not sure what the significance of the arms and legs coming straight out of the stick body, but it could be that she wants to be a cheerleader, but not like George Bush (arghh). Also not that she not only has fingers now, but she has hands.
Click on this picture to expand. There is a wealth of detail in this picture by Madison, more than I think I have ever seen.It didn't copy well but all the faces have eyes and mouths, only they are dots! Dad has a dog on a leash and is holding a flower? There are three, happy cats. But most interesting, is the length of the legs on both humans and dogs/cats. She gets extra points for toes and claws. There is even a ladybug or bird!

Finally, the Growlery sent in this crab picture for consideration. He assures me that it is not crab tea (i.e. see the bag tags on the right), but I still suspect that it is. In any case, our faith has spread across the pond and even in the former Empire (which we will soon be)they pay obeisance to the mighty Callinectes sapidus (from the Greek calli="beautiful", nectes="swimmer", and Latin sapidus="savory")

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Dateline Nuremberg

Dateline Nuremberg:

The Truth About Torture
To get a full accounting of how U.S. interrogation methods were used, the president should give those accused of 'war crimes' a pass.

By Stuart Taylor Jr. | NEWSWEEK
The following people have requested a retrial due to the precedent set by President George W. Bush:

Goering, Hess, Ribbentrop, Keitel, Kaltenbrunner, Rosenberg, Frank, Frick, Funk, Streicher, Schacht, Doenitz, Raeder, Schirach, Sauckel, Jodl, Papen, Seyss-Inquart, Speer, Neurath, Fritzsche and Bormann.

(With apologies to Goodwin)

Incidentally, the following is a list of indictments used at Nuremberg:
1. Participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of crime against peace
2. Planning, initiating and waging wars of aggression and other crimes against peace
3. War crimes
4. Crimes against humanity

Sunday, July 13, 2008

A Simple Question

So, the chance that Israel will attack Iran to "take out its nuclear program" is becoming increasingly likely (as the lawyers say, greater than 50%). So, if Israel decides to attack Iran, and Iran retaliates but only against Israel, where does that leave us? Are we automatically drawn into the maelstrom? It must be brutal enough being an American soldier in Iraq, but to think that you could get your ass blown off because of some idiots in the IDF wanting to flex their toys would be too much to even contemplate.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Not with a bang but a whimper

The FISA "compromise" received almost no attention in the press. It is as if the concept of alternative realities has finally been realized (that sounds redundant; a realized reality). It appeared on page three of our paper.

More and more I find myself thinking about what civilian populations in a major power did while their country was at war in a distant place. First, let me think about some examples:
The Roman Empire during most of its existence, excluding the civil wars that were quite brutal (civil war is always more brutal; no known explanation;)

Spain during its Empire days;

Certainly the English Empire up until WWII; in spite of the devastation of WWI to its male population and treasury, Britain itself suffered no major attack (I think a few German airships flew over London and dropped some bombs; certainly nothing like the devastation of the battles of Somme or Verdun;)

Germany in WWII until the intensive bombing began.

Japan in the 30's up until the saturation bombing of Japanese cities during WWII. The opening salvo of this being the Doolittle Raid in 1942.

America in all wars, particularly Spanish-American, WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam and now Iraq (war being our largest export product.)
I didn't watch the recent series on TV about the home front in America during WWII, and I can hardly remember it myself. But, while there was a lot of rationing and "hardship", it was nothing compared to the horror of living in a country that is a battlefield. Consider what it would be like to have lived in Hamburg, Dresden or Tokyo during a firebombing. It is literally incomprehensible to people who are not physically there, no matter how many movies we see or books we read about the experience.

As a result, and back to the initial point by a long circuitous route, Americans are tragically complacent. It just doesn't matter to them that 40, or 70 or 100 people die in Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine, Darfur, etc. It is not a reality like the automobile accident out on the highway.

So, they don't give a damn about what George Bush does or the fact that Congress just took a big chunk out of the Constitution and literally absolved the telecom companies from breaking the Law. It just doesn't matter.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

The Final Nail in the Coffin


I will not review all the emotional ups and down that we have gone through concerning the Foreign Intelligent Security Act (FISA) in the last several years. Glenn Greenwald has done a superb job of documenting the capitulation of the American Congress to the imperial presidency. Today is truly a sad day for the rule of law. But then, we knew that.

More terrifying to me is that this may inaugurate a witch hunt for those that rightly shed the light of day on Bush's illegal activity. So, not only will the bloated telecoms get immunity, good men may go down.

Those we entrusted with our votes to preserve the Constitution have killed it.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Let the Hand Wringing Begin...

Well, it looks like the good ole USA is finally going down the tubes. While the pundits are not quite saying it, there is some clutching of pearls inside the Beltway (my God, the Beltway itself is awful; one takes one's life in one's hands in a bumper to bumper speedway simulacrum). And, liberal bloggers are starting to comment.

The most frightening analysis, though, was posted on Gorilla's Guides entitled: Why the USA can't leave Iraq. Quite simply, its the oil.

If you really don't think that the USA is in the slammer and heading for economic disaster after you read this, watch the video in the Crook's and Liars post: Dana Milbank: Economic Anxiety Disorder or One Nervous Bushie.

Iraq and Iran have vast amounts of oil. Americans of all stripes insatiable need for oil products. It is not very hard to imagine us justifying War in order to satisfy this craving.


(supplants the old one: "Lebensraum, said Daniel Boone!"; I know, I know, Godwin's Law.)

Friday, July 04, 2008

Thursday, July 03, 2008

The Sadness that is Iraq

We have heard almost nothing about Iraq in the American news these days. Yes, of course, there is always the air strike targeting "terrorists" or "insurgents," though all too often the victims are women, the elderly, or, ho hum, children. (Of course if there is a tragedy in Israel it makes the front page.)

Suddenly there is a flurry of the pundit's pens (or, I guess, a clatter of the keyboards.) Packard in the New Yorker says that Obama has a problem because: a) he promised to bring home the troops, albeit slowly but b) WE ARE SUCCEEDING IN IRAQ!. This is apparently a combination of Bush's surge, Petreus, cooperation of the Sunni's, and the coming of age of the Iraqi government. Break out the champagne. So, Obama's promise to bring home the troops, i.e. get our military out of Iraq where they never should have been, is a BAD IDEA.

In the New York Review of Books Michael Massing, a usually astute journalist, gets embedded with the Army in a Baghdad district (Dora) and comes to the same conclusion. We are succeeding! Break out the champagne (but not too much because it will take a long time and we have a long way to go, if only those Iraqi would cooperate. You know, they are just not grateful for all we've done for them. And why shouldn't the big oil companies reap all the profits from their oil. Why, just look at all they've done for the world!)

In 1865 Lewis Carroll published "Alice in Wonderland." Who knows the real meaning, if any, behind this work. What we do experience when we read this work is typical dream experience of up is downism. That there is a world where things that we ordinarily take for granted (like gravity, relationships, hierarchy) are all askew. This is how I feel reading these essays. All askew.

If it wasn't so serious; if it didn't involve the death of so many innocent children, if it didn't involve the destruction of a society and a peoples, I guess one could give this insanity a modicum of credence. But it is serious. It does involve the killing, yea the murder, of countless innocent children. And eventually, it will be rectified. Everything gets rectified eventually. It may take centuries, and be long after myself and Bush are pushing up the daisies, but it will be rectified.