Sunday, August 27, 2006

The State Department investigates misuse of American supplied munitions

Ya think?

Worse than Hezbollah launching rockets that can only be aimed in a general direction not unlike the V1 and V2s in WWII? Certainly in terms of destructive capacity. Terror rains down on innocents on all sides...that's why they call it war.

Say hoss - did you hear the one about that Harris gal shootin' off her mouth again? Wee hoo!

Nice gams though...

BUT seriously folks - you wanna talk "old Europe?" This is old Europe - the kind thinking Americans of all races and religions have tried to escape from for a few hundred years now. Trouble is the fundies always seem to rear their ugly way of thinking by interjecting their "my way or the highway" kill it if it moves philospophies.

We need a new paradigm...

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Tim Russert objective?

"A howler from Bush: “Nobody’s ever suggested in this administration that Saddam Hussein ordered the attack.” OK, maybe not in those words, but how ’bout in these?"

Reading Russert’s words in the link found above, with what we know now, I'm struck by how much he was pushing for the invasion - it's almost like he's goading Cheney and Rice to say Iraq was responsible for 9/11. The symbiotic relationship Russert has with these people is, not unlike Tom Friedman in his column and books, that he uses his show to ask the right questions leading to the endorsement of whatever the previaling winds seem to be blowing his way. He doesn't really get in these people's faces very much. If he did they wouldn't come on the show. So how can you get to the truth if you aren't going to get in their faces once in a while?

He really nailed Howard Den during the 2004 primary season. He wouldn't let Dean off the hook for love nor money. Why doesn't he do that to Cheney, Rice et. al.?

Comments anyone?

Right wing debate tactics

This post is in response to a typical right-wing tactic of changing the subject while debating a specific point while commenting on an article about Ann Beeson of the ACLU winning the decision on the illegal NSA Spying program. Click the link above for the article in question.


Mr. White - don't change the subject - the subject is the court decision that declared GWB's actions illegal.

Bulletin to all liberals: This is a typical right wing debate tactic - when faced with facts and the inevitability of losing the argument because their position is bankrupt they change the subject and resort to name calling accusing anyone who doesn't agree with their narrow self-serving POV of being unpatriotic and wanting to tear down the administration. It’s no more than playground bully tactics – don’t let it scare you or divert you from the point being discussed.

Mr. White - As I said no amount of wishing, washing or prevarication and obfuscation by the right wing is going to change the fact that a distinguished jurist has declared the NSA spying program illegal.

So the question here is did GWB break the law? So far the answer is; absolutely, unequivocally … YES. What does the Constitution say about lawbreaking presidents? We all know the answer to that. Let's see if, after the case winds up in the Supreme Court and they rule the program illegal, Congress has the will to enforce the Constitution.

One point I will grant - you are correct in saying America proper has not been attacked since 9/11. Your grasp of the obvious is truly astounding. However, our new enemies (courtesy of the bungling boobs running this government) have managed thus far to kill, wound and maim 23,000 Americans not to mention 45,000 Iraqis and hundreds of thousands that we’ve helped to kill and maim.

This is an idea, a concept? We are better off? I'd say we are pretty well screwed and substantially worse off due to the incomprehensible policy of attacking Iraq because of 9/11. To quote a famous "liberal" (not!) Richard Clarke it was "like attacking Mexico for Pearl Harbor."

This is foreign policy dilettantism at its worst... shoving democracy down someone's throat at gunpoint is a very difficult thing to do. It takes magnitudes more intelligence and will than the present group of bungling neo-cons has. Expecting that such a wimpy effort as 130,000 soldiers would do the job is faith based foreign policy. If the Bushites and neo-cons really wanted to get the job done right they would have listened to Colin Powell and committed at least a half million soldiers to the effort. Then they may have had a chance. But the bungling neo-cons couldn't muster the will. Now you want to do the same in Iran? You are truly deluded.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

THE WALL - Essential Reading

Essential reading - more to the argument that the USA is a target because of unbalanced support of Israel.

BTW - THE WALL looks stronger than the levees in New Orleans.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Peace keeping in the Middle East?

Beyond the oxymoronic implications of a peace keeping force in the Middle East it seems the Europeans in general and the French in particular ought to step up to the plate with plenty of soldiers for UNIFIL (200 soldiers is not a peacekeeping force it's an insult) especially as Lebanon is France’s old bailiwick and they are in large part responsible for the mess the Middle East has become. (See Sykes-Picot 1916)

But as usual it seems the French want someone else to do the heavy lifting being content to sit back and throw brickbats rather than contribute to a solution, however imperfect.

Fortunately the guilt free Italians (see Libya, Ethiopia, Eritrea & Somalia in the 1930’s) have decided to take the mantle and move into the breach. Analogous to the Balkans in the 90's? Not really, but the Europeans twiddled and whistled while the Serbs massacred Muslims. It took Bill Clinton's and the USA’s leadership put a stop to that.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

The Emperor has no clothes - or hasn't anyone told him yet?

Alberto? Please tell Mr. B that spying on Americans without a warrant is illegal. A high school history student could have told him that. But apparently you couldn't as obviously it took someone with much more legal acuity, knowledge and gravitas in their pinky finger than your Dept. Of Justice has in a gaggle of neo-cons to do the job.

Why won't you all just wise up and realize that George can't be King - ok? There is that pesky thing we call a Constitution that George just doesn't care for because it gets in the way of his protecting "America."

George - someone should tell you you took an oath (twice) to defend and protect the Constitution of the United States from all enemies foreign and domestic - not some neo-con "Leave it to Beaver" version of "America." An America where the rich get richer and the poor get $1 T-shirts at Wal-Mart and 99 cent burgers at McDonalds. As Pogo said "we have met the enemy and they is us..." It seems the the biggest enemy of the Constitution right now (of course there are others) is domestic and your administration and the Republican right wing fundies top the list.

Well, well, well, I had no idea - Tom Friedman a billionaire?

I always thought there was something not quite right about this fellow. Now I think I see why. Having money on that scale makes it very hard to gain anything but academic knowledge of a subject - especially when it relates to socioeconomic issues. Still that doesn't mean the man doesn't have a brain and cannot reason or use logic to deduce a solution to an issue. Never been a big fan of his though - I prefer Dowd - at least she doesn't hide that she's pretentious.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Meanwhile - back at the ranch

NYT: Six-year, $4.7b effort to slash Colombia's coca crop has left price, quality, availability of cocaine on US streets unchanged

Why do I have a strange feeling that the War on Terrorism is no different than the War on Drugs or the War on Poverty? None of them are winnable and all of them lead to oppression of one form or another. Fear and repression of the people is the only constant. Marx would say the ruling classes are just inventing new ways to control the little people. But what did he know - right?

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Couldn't have said it better myself - this from an Israeli historian

"Killing children is wrong. Period. A "war on terror" cannot be won by a democratically elected government acting like a terrorist organization. War is too serious a business to be left to the generals."

Tell it George Bush...

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Israel & the US - Creating tomorrow's terrorists today!

California Congressman Darrell Issa watches as a refugee woman screams "kill Bush" in arabic as she holds aloft her baby that she delivered three days ago at a Catholic Relief Services shelter in the Aschrafieh area of Beirut. - Photo by the LA Times

The latest chapter in the 50 years war will solve nothing. It's just making things worse. The main protagonist of this article, a Mr. Fadl Chalak says

"You see, watching TV every day, I get so angry, I just give up," he said. "Make no mistake. Every Arab now, every Muslim, has a little bit of Bin Laden in himself. We're not religious fanatics, we're a bunch of atheists, after all! But we just feel we have nowhere to go.

"We get together, and one of us will raise the glass, 'Here's to Bin Laden.' And everybody will raise the glass."

Who is this man? A dispossessed Shia Muslim from the no-mans land that southern Lebanon has become? No, this man is none other than the President of the Council for Development and Reconstruction of the government of Lebanon. An upper middle class highly educated technocrat. The kind of man the neo-cons hope will build their "new" Middle East. Imagine, Israel and the US has systematically alienated generations of Arabs both secular and fundamentalist by making war on them, killing innocent civilians, expropriating their land and we wonder why they attack us? We wonder why we have to surrender a bottle of shampoo before boarding an aircraft? We wonder why they hate us? It's no wonder in my opinion.

I've said it before and I'll say it again:

• Israel must leave the West Bank, Gaza, Golan, Southern Lebanon
• Jerusalem must be an international city or with some form of shared sovereignty
• The Wall must come down and the settlements dismantled. Period, full stop, end of story.
• Israel and the US should pay reparations to Lebanon.

This is a small price - $2.5 billion according to the estimates of Mr. Chalak’s office – to pay. Iraq costs us more every month. Just put it on George Bushes tab. He’ll just add it to his $400 billion deficit.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Mainstream British Muslims fault foreign policy for making UK a target for terror

I emphatically agree with the authors of this letter. Typically, when it comes to Israel, No. 10's reaction is the usual specious argument also made by the Bushites.

"No 10 is frustrated by the letter, which it did not know about until last night. A spokesman said: "Al-Qaida starting killing innocent civilians in the 90s. It killed Muslim civilians even before 9/11, and the attacks on New York and Washington killed over 3,000 people before Iraq. To imply al-Qaida is driven by an honest disagreement over foreign policy is a mistake."

This began long before 9/11. The Brits promised the Arabs independence for siding with the Allies against the Ottomans in WWI. Then the Balfour Declaration (1917) began the British tilt toward the Zionists. Coming on the heels of the stab in the back of the Sykes Picot Agreement (1916) where the Britain and France carved the Middle East into French and British zones. The whole mess was followed up by the Paris Peace Agreement in 1919 and the world has been paying the price ever since.

And whether the disagreement is honest or not is immaterial - the Islamic fundies are still trying to kill as many of us as they can. We need to address the #1 root cause of the problem - Israeli occupation of the West Bank, Gaza, Golan, the so called security wall and the settlements. All of which have been declared illegal multiple times by the UN and other international bodies.

The Guns of August

Richard Holbrooke who, for a mainstream diplomat, I admire immensely, wrote a prescient piece in the WP this past Thursday. I agree with his point that events in the ME are spiraling out of control as they did in August of 1914. He makes other important points but a basic underlying premise of his point of view validates the thesis of many of my posts on this blog.

Unconditional support for Israel is not the way we are going to help solve the problems of the Middle East and make this country safer. We must bite the bullet, and despite what AIPAC and it’s ilk have managed to put over on the American taxpayer, start concentrating on what’s fair and what’s truly in the interest of this country and the region as a whole.

At a minimum Israel must withdraw from all occupied territories and Jerusalem must be an international city. The WALL must come down and the settlements dismantled. Anything less and our children will be talking about the 100 Years War in 2048.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Pre 9/11 mindset? Loserman loss "good for Al-Qaeda types?"

Cheney talks about a pre 9/11 mindset. It's clear he and his ilk are looking to take the US back to a pre 1776 mindset complete with King George when there was no separation between church and state and the military ran everything.

Sore Loserman 2006

Sore Loserman - as much as I hated that sobriquet in 2000 it is apt now. If Joe would have fought as hard then as he is now perhaps we would not have had 8 years of Bushie boy to contend with.

One thing people don't talk about is his potential role in Gore's defeat. There are plenty of good 'ol fundie Christian white boys all over the country and especially in north Florida who will never vote for a Jew. As admirable as Gore's motives undoubtedly were I think he made a huge error putting Lieberman on the ticket to begin with. Even one of my best Jewish friends said "there goes the election!" when Gore announced Lieberman as his running mate. Running two campaigns - one for senate and the other for VP - was highly cynical and also a mistake that cost the ticket votes.

Having said that - let him run - it's still a free country - isn't it?

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Where the heck has their maintenance department been all these years?

BP is shutting down the Prudhoe Bay field because 3/4 of the pipelines are corroded and need to be replaced.

Don't they check these lines regularly? All of a sudden 3/4 are no good!? What the f? Some one needs firing here. Taking 8% of America's oil off line will only give the Republicans another reason to drill in ANWR and jack the profits of the oil compaies. This is very fishy.

Cease-Fire in Lebanon - withdrawal from all occupied territories

There must be an immediate unconditional cease-fire in South Lebanon. Innocent civilians on both sides bear the overwhelming brunt of this tragic, senseless war while the militaries of both antagonists suffer miniscule casualties in comparison.

Lebanese civilian casualties exceed innocent Israeli civilians by a ratio of 10 to 1 and will soon exceed 1000 dead. We're not in the sandbox here with a bunch of 5 year olds, although it may seem like it. Regardless who started the latest round of the "50 Years War," we all know it’s Israel's occupation of the West Bank and (re) occupation of Gaza that fuels the fires of the Middle East.

Who is the mature nation-state here? The Israeli Army (courtesy of the American taxpayer) is exceedingly more powerful than Hezbollah and yet stoops to the level of the terrorists by ruthlessly attacking innocents every day. Israel has been responding to attacks and killing by attacking and killing for over 50 years. What has it achieved? It will never end until they withdraw. As Ghandi said, “An eye for an eye leaves everyone blind.”

The eyes of the world see Israel bombing aid convoys, attacking funeral processions and firing on refugees who are just following the instructions of the Israeli Army to leave the area. This is far beyond self-defense. If Israel did not occupy the West Bank and Gaza, Hezbollah, Hamas and Al-Qaeda, like the Red Brigades and Bader-Meinhof gang, would be mere footnotes of history. American made bombs bought with our tax dollars kill Lebanese babies. I don’t want that on my conscience.

Remember; Nixon’s illegal bombing of Cambodia in the 1970's popularized the Khmer Rouge and led to them taking over the country. Is our goal for Hezbollah to do the same in Lebanon? Every dead Lebanese mother or child hands Hezbollah 100 converts just as we hand the insurgents more converts every day we stay in Iraq and handed converts to the Khmer Rouge with every stick of napalm dropped from the B-52s. It’s not that far fetched. Hezbollah could establish an Iranian style theocracy in Lebanon before this is over. They gain power daily. If we really want to help the democratically elected government of Lebanon we need to stop this now before it’s too late. Handing Israel one-sided cease-fire resolutions from the UN will not do it either. Any plan must include an Israeli pullback first and then Hezbollah must stop their missile attacks. This is all that will work. The rest can be worked out after the terror and killing stops.

It may be too late though as I firmly believe, and know I am not alone, that the USA is losing if not already lost our status as an honest broker. Our unfair and unbalanced support for Israel is the cause of much of the hatred directed at us, hatred that reached a crescendo with 9/11 and continued in Bali, Madrid and London and possibly Mumbai. Add the ill advised and incompetently managed Iraq war and we have a recipe for utter disaster.

We must use our influence with Israel and induce them to cease-fire in Lebanon and withdraw unconditionally from all occupied territories. Israel, dependent on our aid, professing to be our friend will surely listen to us, comply with international law and many UN resolutions, and withdraw. This after all is the stated policy of the Israeli Government, is it not? The settlements must be dismantled and the wall must come down. They are illegal under all international laws and just contribute to more hate and as defensive measures are utter failures.

I believe with all my heart and mind that if this happens 90% of the wind will fall off from the sails of Hezbollah, Hamas and Al-Qaeda. The extremists will have nothing to build their so-called movements on. Then we may return to a modicum of national security and the USA will no longer be the target of the terrorists as we are today. This is how we drain the swamp, George. We can’t bomb our way to security, not in today’s world. Killing just makes it worse.

It's very simple really - to paraphrase Bill Clinton "It's the Occupation Stupid."

Sunday, August 06, 2006

AIPAC's Hold [on American Foreign Policy]

more from the Nation Magazine...

"It's the Occupation Stupid!" This is just another round of the same war that's been going on since 1948 - to say Hezbollah started it is like saying the US started WWII when it invaded Europe in 1944. It begins and ends with the occupation. If Israel withdraws and leaves Gaza and the West Bank alone and dismantles all settlements and leaves the border where international law recognizes it should be (per several UN Resolutions) on the 1967 Green Line; 90% of the reasons for Hezbollah, Al Qaeda and Hamas existence goes away. Neither Israel nor the USA can kill our way to security. Sooner or later we must start addressing the root causes of terror not just the symptoms.

Is Israel Good for the Jews?

Seems the word is getting around... further examples of opinion coming around to the notion that unbalanced support of Israel and its policies are not in the interest of the USA or even American Jews.