Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Hamas: The Next Generation

A Jonestown bucketful of political kool-aid

This post was originally published on 11/17/08 but I had trouble getting the text to display. So I deleted and re-published it today. Hence the date change.

"George W. Hoover?" Bill Kristol, the arch-conservative, writes In today's (11/17/08) New York Times: "There’s nothing conservative about letting free markets degenerate into something close to Karl Marx’s vision of an atomizing, irresponsible and self-devouring capitalism." Something close? No Bill, it might not be "conservative" but anyone with a pair of eyes can see its just plain greedy, self-serving, stupid, and short sighted. And Bill, BTW - there are millions of real people out there suffering from the pipe-dream that was supply side "economics." Just like in the 30s. Just like collectivism and national socialism - its a dead duck. George W. Hoover, George HW Hoover, Ronald R. Hoover, Newt Hoover, John McCain Hoover, Alan Greenspan Hoover - the whole lot are nothing more than the historical heirs of Herbert Hoover (and Ayn Rand). Let's face it - Republicanism is morally, intellectually and philosophically at the endgame. Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls; like Yasser Arafat and Michael Eisner its hung around far too long and outlived whatever usefulness it may have once had and its time to go. Hasta la vista baby! All that's left is a party with a focus group (and a mascot) searching for a marketing message to sell to Joe the Sixpack Plumber because what it had, proved to be an Edsel, an "Ishtar" a "Heaven's Gate" and a Jonestown bucket full of political kool-aid that's failed miserably and ruined America in the process. ps.. apologies to Herbert Hoover (because he was actually a pretty good guy he just didn't have any business being president), the Edsel (which is now a collectors item) and "Heaven's Gate" (which was actually a pretty good movie).

Bernie Madoff or Hamas?

Ironically, Bernard Madoff may end up doing more damage to the Zionists than Hamas. $50bn is a lot of money and much of it was invested by Jewish charities.

Speaking of Hamas... Israel, Hamas, America and the UK do not want peace. As Country Joe said..."There's too much money to be made supplying the army with the tools of the trade." To be sure there are peace-loving Israelis, Britons, Palestinians and yes Dorothy there are peace-loving Americans too. But there aren't enough of us to tip the balance. We need more truth tellers like Robert Fisk (see link above) and the late Edward Said to enlighten the world. Who is there among the Israelis to fill this role? Is he/she on the talk shows of Israel, the UK and America? Does he/she write op-ed pieces for major newpapers? Is he/she a Nobel prize winner? Please let me know for I wish to hear the voice of peace from Israel because thus far the only voice I hear is the voice of apartheid, bigotry and oppression.

The resisters of the Warsaw ghetto are now martyrs. Gaza is an analogue to the Warsaw ghetto. Squeeze Gaza until it erupts into violence and then kill its innocents because (predictably) it erupts in violence; its Newton's law.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Republicanism is dead - lets bury it and get it over with

John Dean discusses authoritarian conservatism. One more and perhaps, the main, reason to consign Republicanism to the ash heap of history. It's a party that has outlived it's usefulness. It, like Zionism, should join "Communism," Fascism, The Whigs, The Know Nothing Party, ( to which today's Republican party bears a striking resemblance) The Bull Moose Party etc. etc. etc.

To do any less would only invite it to resurrect itself and some day another ruinous Republican administration will "fool all of the people some of the time" and take the reigns of power in Washington digging this country into a hole and another Democrat will have to ride to the rescue of the nation.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Day of Reckoning

Here's my take on what's at stake.

McCain/Palin = policies that continue to benefit the rich and Fortune 500 corporations, especially the oil and arms industries

  • Endless war
  • More socialism for the rich (trickle down voodoo economics & tax cuts for people and corporations that don't need it) & corporate welfare (see $700bn bank & Wall Street Bailout, deregulation allowing the fox to guard the henhouse) & corporate lobbyists running government; in fact most of his top campaign staff are lobbyists and are likely to go back to lobbying after the campaign. Those that don't will likely join his adminstration and do favors for their buddies in the private sector - that's the way it works folks... we all know that.
  • Continued erosion of our Constitution i.e. spying on innocent Americans without a warrant, continuing Bush's policy of torture and illegal detentions & renditions. McCarthyite tactics to stifle legitmate dissent. (See the mass arrests of legitimate protesters and credentialed journalists at the Republican Convention) the possible end of a woman's reproductive rights!
  • Continued belligerence and bluster in international relations - see "bomb bomb bomb bomd bomb Iran." He has a military mind that favors force over diplomacy.
  • The least qualified VP candidate in history. I shudder to think that a someone who can't even name a Supreme Court decision (besides Roe v. Wade) or a single newspaper or magazine she reads to keep current could be one 72 year old heartbeat away from having her finger on the nuclear trigger! What are we thinking? Electing a potential spokesmodel-in-chief? A Vanna Whitehouse? Please let's get serious here folks.
In short a McCain/Palin adminstration would continue the most egregious, ruinous excessive laissez fair capitalist policies that created this mess we're in today. With poverty levels and income equality not seen since the Great Depression, unbelieveably high deficits, state bankruptcies, high unemployment, crumbling infrastructure, wasteful, useless spending in the arms sector, corporate pork & erosion of Constitutional rights; McCain's policies will solve very little beyond palliative measures and exacerbate the decline of the USA while plundering the resources of the people to continue a quest for some kind of world-wide American Empire. Why do we need 750 military bases around the globe?

Obama/Biden = polices to help the middle class, working folks and the poor - the rich and the Fortune 500 don't need it
  • Two self made men, family men, that have risen up to the highest levels of our society through hard work and talent. Nothing was handed to them. Unlike George Bush and John McCain they came up the hard way by earning it and represent the best of our country.
  • End the occupation of Iraq responsibly - we've already won the war folks, victory is ours - Saddam is dead. Its over. Continuing to stay is just Cheney's and the neocon's plan for American Empire dominating militarily the Middle East, Central Asia and its oil reserves. If Iraq can muster an $80bn surplus while we spend $10bn a month they are well enough along for us to begin a significant but measured withdrawal down to a force to protect our Embassy. Without deadlines people don't perform. Its human nature.
  • Domestic economic policies designed to help the people that actually need it. McCain/Palin call this socialism? If that's socialism I've got a bridge to nowhere for sale. When FDR created the New Deal it was called good government. When Teddy Roosevelt busted the trusts and reduced the power of big corporations it was called reform. The GI Bill, Social Security, Medicare, roads, bridges and other infrastructure, good schools, firefighters, police, National Parks; all these cost money. The rich, having suckled at the breast of America, need to pay their fair share to help those that aren't as fortunate as they. Republican policies since Ronald Reagan have systematically redistributed wealth to the wealthy by cutting taxes and deregulating corporations while starving programs for the people and attempting to tear down these basic social safety programs. Aren't you glad that Bush wasn't successful at privatizing social security? Can you imagine trying to retire at this point in history with the worst stock market meltdown since 1929? Using a socially conservative agenda to trick the American people into thinking they represented the common folk while in reality the Republican power structure cares no more for the people than did Marie Antoinette.
  • Fair trade - let's stop the outsourcing of our jobs. Ross Perot was right. There has been a giant sucking sound of jobs leaving the country. Its just business folks, its completely amoral, money like water seeks it own level. If you can make your automobile or refrgerator or TV set in a country where you can pay workers $100 a month with no environmental controls or social rights instead of $100 a day, and shield your profits from US taxes (which are the lowest effective corporate tax rates in the industrialized world - which McCain wants to reduce even more) then you'd be a fool not to take advantage of these enormous loopholes.
  • Respect for work - allow people to organize without fear - which is a right enshrined in law in this country just as healthcare should be
  • A benevolent healthcare system so peope aren't held hostage to their jobs and are covered regardless of their health status. A government takeover of healthcare? If only, Medicare spends 3% of its revenues on adminstration while the fat cats at United Health, Aetna etc. suck up 30% of revenues for administrative overhead. Obama will not nationalize healthcare just make it nearly 100% accessible and reduce its cost.
  • Diplomacy first - force as an extreme last instead of a first resort - rebuild our alliances and regain respect and our moral standing in the world - cooperate not dominate
  • Respect for the Constitution and appointment of Supreme Court Judges that will as well
  • End torture - illegal wiretapping - illegal renditions - close Guantanamo - end the "War" on Terror - treat it as the criminal problem it is
  • End the quest for Empire and go back to being a Republic
  • Capture Osama Bin Laden and go after the people who actually attacked us instead of those that had nothing to do with it. Osama still has a job - do you?

And finally - competence - after 8 years of the most incompetent, morally and intellectually bankrupt presidency in history it will be a relief to get things working again. Stop the flight of qualified people from government. One reason we're in this economic mess is that the organs of government have become so politicized by Bush/Rove that many of the best people just left; leaving us with political cronies and hacks without any experience to run things. (see Alberto Gonzales) John McCain can't even run his campaign without lobbyists and his campaign has been a disaster swerving erratically from one extreme to the other. What makes us think he will run the country any better? Obama's campaign has been a model of organization and efficiency. Its brought millions of new voters into the democratic process and we finally have an opportunity to elect a leader who inspires hope instead of fear; competence and intelligence instead of crony capitalism and intellectual dishonesty; reason instead of superstition.

We can't let the fearmongers scare us. We're Americans, we're not scared of anything! When the going gets tough America gets going! We've done it before and we'll do it again. Obama is the absolute right choice at this crucial moment in our history. He isn't perfect but he's miles ahead of McCain/Palin who are a throwback to fear, superstion and the dark ages. Its time to evolve....

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Is the Reichstag burning?

So - we're concerned about America are we? Then why threaten to veto the package that extends unemployment benefits helping those who really need it while touting a $700bn plan to bail out the Wall Street vultures??

As a good friend of mine said "The Republicans have wrecked America." How stupid do they think we are? The Bushites are trying to stampede Congress into another disaster. After Iraq you'd think that they'd wise up. There is glimmer of hope the Dems and a few sane Republicans might fight off this coup d'etat of unprecedented proportions. No oversight? No challenge in court? This amounts to Congress giving the power of the purse to the executive branch. Reichstag fire anyone? The parallels are uncanny.

I predicted the Bushites would come up with something before the election to perpetuate their power. This may be it. What would really roil the country is another terrorist attack... October surprise? I believe Bush and Co. knew an attack was coming on or around 9/11 and chose to let it happen so they could institute a national security state, and carry out the plans embodied in the "Project For a New American Century" which included invading Iraq. Look it up and then tell me I'm just paranoid.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Of pigs, fish & lipstick: Bravo Andrew!

Andrew Sullivan of the Atlantic Monthly, an a-typical conservative rather than a typical conservative opines on the charade that is the McCain/Palin candidacy.

I must admit I cribbed the "a-typical conservative" line from one of the comments in the above referenced Truthout article.
The outright lies of Republicans are "Beyond the Palin!"
Cribbed that one too - from Keith Olbeman's show. :-)
Choice quotes:
"And when the Senate and House voted overwhelmingly to condemn and end the torture regime of Bush and Cheney in 2006, McCain again had a clear choice between good and evil, and chose evil."
"Yes, McCain made a decision that revealed many appalling things about him. In the end, his final concern is not national security. No one who cares about national security would pick as vice-president someone who knows nothing about it as his replacement. No one who cares about this country's safety would gamble the security of the world on a total unknown because she polled well with the Christianist base."
I've predicted for many months the right wing Pavrovian (made that up myself) smear machine would go into overdrive because it has nothing substantive to run on. By just about any measure this country is worse off now than it was 8 years ago; unless of course you're part of Bush's base and are in the $1m+ income bracket. The Republicans have trashed our economy through laissez-faire robber baron style capitalism, trashed our military with the neo-con wet dreams that are the invasion of Iraq and the quasi-war with Iran, trashed our Constitution with warrantless wire-tapping, the end of habeas corpus and signing statements, the government itself has been trashed so that it has a hard time performing basic governmental functions. As Obama said "they campaign well and govern poorly." That's the understatement of the century. And don't give us that tripe about a do-nothing Democratic Congress that Fred Thompson et. al. spewed - the Dems majority is too slim to pass the important things like cutting off funding for the war and certainly too slim for a veto override.
And McCain/Palin expect us to believe they are change agents???? A religious fundie in the White House - that's change? A campaign run by lobbyists - that's change?
She was for the bridge to nowhere before she was against it? If thats what you mean by change then, OK, works for me. Keeping the money after the bridge was nixed by Congress that's pretty cynical especially when you use it to build a road right up to the water where the nowhere bridge was supposed to be. Billing the state $40K in per diems for living in your own house is even worse. Road to nowhere is right - let's hope this candidacy is on a road to nowhere.
Actually real change would be Ralph Nader or Ron Paul in the White House but I'll be very happy to see O'Biden at the inauguration. (that one is courtesy of a slip of the tongue by Chris Matthews during his convention coverage)

Sunday, September 07, 2008

A Noun, A Verb and POW

From our friends at "The Nation"

John McCain has been exploiting his prisoner of war experience every chance he gets. He has used this story to justify everything from not knowing how many homes he has to his healthcare plan to his marital infidelities to his taste in music. The McCain campaign is even using his POW story in paid ads. But now a veteran who was a prisoner with McCain in Vietnam is explaining loud and clear that being a POW does not qualify McCain to lead our country."

We are sure this video will draw an onslaught of right-wing attacks, but we bring it to you because it is our job to continue to convey the truth together and give these issues national attention. As Dr. Butler has said, McCain does not have the temperament to have his finger near the red button. Get this video to everyone you know-friends, family members, coworkers, and especially those who don't share your political views. The video is designed to reach them. Get it on your social networking sites like Digg. And get it to every blog, newspaper, and TV station that has ever overplayed McCain's POW story. It is time to fight back with truth!

Saturday, September 06, 2008

My Country, Right or Wrong?

This has been bugging me ever since she made this statement at the convention.

From the WP 9/5/08 - click on the link above for the whole story.

"Palin, the first woman to appear on a Republican presidential ticket, continued her attacks on Obama, mocking his background as a community organizer in Chicago and deriding him as showing indifference toward small-town people.

"These are the people who do some of the hardest work in America," she said, prompting chants of "U-S-A." "They grow our foods and they run our factories and they fight our wars. They love their country, in good times and in bad, and they are always proud to be an American."

So, according to Palin people in small town America are proud of their country when it engages in a preemptive war based on fabricated intelligence against a country that did not - I repeat - did not - present a clear and present danger? Proud of America when it tortures innocent people? Proud of America when its fits of imperial pique is responsible for the deaths of countless innocent Iraqis, Afghanis, Vietnamese, El Salvadorians, Guatemalans, Native Americans etc.? Proud of America when its chief executive ignores the law and spies on American citizens? I suppose proud of America too when it arrested and beat lawful, peaceful dissenters at the just concluded Republican convention?

If she is right - and she is not - then what? How can one be "proud" of these actions? I too am proud to be an American but not for these reasons. I'm proud of our Constitution, our Declaration of Independence and our other founding documents. I'm proud of how we separate church from state, that we ended slavery and under the law at least all people are equal. I'm proud of many other actions America has taken over the years and the fundamental principles upon which our society is based. However, one needs to use one's intelligence to discriminate between right and wrong actions. America is far from perfect and has fallen very far in these last dark years of the Bush/Cheney regime.

Palin insults the intelligence of small town America. There are plenty of folks out there that don't agree with her radical right-wing Christian fundamentalist view of the world. God help us if McCain is elected and dies in office and she becomes president. She claims to be a Christian? True Christians don't kill innocents, true Christians don't lie. Her beliefs, which she is entitled to under our system, are in lockstep with the most radical neo-con, neo-fascist, anti-environmentalist, ant-feminist segments of the political spectrum.

Yes, there are unthinking people in small towns just as there are in big cities who chant U-S-A and support whatever war mongering politician happens to be the flavor of the moment but don't paint all small town folks with that brush.

Monday, September 01, 2008

You say poe-tay-toe - I'll say poe-tah-toe

An old saying goes: "There are at least three sides to every story; yours, mine and the truth." To wit:

From the NYT by way of Think Progress:

"Bush’s place in history depends on alternate narratives that are hard to reconcile. To critics, he is the man who misled the country into a disastrous war, ruined U.S. relations around the world, wrecked the economy, squandered a budget surplus to give tax cuts to fat-cat friends, played the guitar while New Orleans drowned, politicized the Justice Department, cozied up to oil companies and betrayed American values by promoting torture, warrantless eavesdropping and a modern-day gulag at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, for people never even charged with a crime. To admirers, he is the man who freed 60 million people from tyranny in Afghanistan and Iraq and planted a seed that may yet spread democracy in a vital region, while at home he reduced taxes, introduced more accountability to public schools through No Child Left Behind, expanded Medicare to cover prescription drugs, installed two new conservative Supreme Court justices and, most of all, kept America safe after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001."

Friday, July 25, 2008

Peace Now?

Photo at left is of one of the thousands of Palestinian homes destroyed as mass punishment against Palestinian villagers. See http://www.interfaithpeaceinitiative.com/ProfitingFromOccupation.htm for more info

icholas Kristof has written some thoughtful columns recently on the situation in Israel and the occupied territories. I applaud him. Its refreshing to see a mainstream columnist finally shedding some needed light on the sorry mess that is Israel and Palestine. I (of course) have what in some quarters might be considered an extreme point of view but it certainly is degrees of magnitude less extreme than an Israeli colonist (I cannot call them "settlers") clubbing 4 innocent Palestinians. Where apartheid policies strangle freedom of movement so that women cannot get to hospitals to have their children and in some cases the babies have died. Or a Palestinian youth bereft of hope resorting to killing his or her hated oppressor by becoming a suicide bomber. I posted the following to Mr. Kristof's column.


Its clear the Israeli government does not want peace. Although there are many peace loving people in Israel, alas there as in the United States they seem to be in the minority. Israel has its military-industrial complex too and its closely tied to America's. Conflate the untold billions made from the war trade with fanatic, fundamentalist Jews holding rational people hostage in their own country with the superstition that "Eretz" Israel was promised to them by God and you have a recipe for endless conflict.

America's financial support and security guarantees enable the Israeli government to act with impunity, which it does. The Palestinians, rightly or wrongly fight back with everything they have - one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter.

Israel is not a democracy any more than the US would be if it forcefully expelled all non Christians and allowed only Christians to become citizens. America must recognize the travesty and tragedy of supporting these policies. Blindness and collaboration with some of the most egregious human rights violations on the planet has cost us our position as honest brokers, if we ever really had it, and we now, witness 9/11, have become a target of the Islamic fundamentalists. Everytime you go through the security at an airport just think; why? We aren't hated for our freedom we are hated because we oppress and support oppression.

One state? It's the *only* solution. One person, one vote, Israel must be secular, the Zionist dream must join the other failed ideologies of the 20th Century, communism and fascism, on the dust heap of history. Insisting on a Jewish majority is simply a racist ideology and will fall of its own accord because it is wrong. It cannot stand. Sorry, but thats the truth and if you think about it everything else is just an incremental step to the inevitable.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Damn Liberal Media!

Katie Couric: "Senator Barack Obama said recently that there might have been improved security [in Iraq] even without the surge” “What’s your response to that?”

Senator McCain: "I don’t know how you respond to something that is such a false depiction of what actually happened. Colonel McFarland was contacted by one of the major Czechoslovak sheiks on the Iraq/Afghanistan border. Because of the surge we were able to go out and protect that sheik and others. And it began the Anbar awakening. I mean, that’s just a matter of history.

Aawww - I just kid the Senator.

Think its funny? Click the title for the link above

Monday, July 14, 2008

Shades of Herbert Hoover

Another clueless Republican mess you've gotten us into Stanley!

From the LA Times 7/14/08 "As thousands of customers waited hours in the heat Monday to withdraw deposits from failed IndyMac Bank, investors dumped the stocks of many mortgage lenders, precipitating the steepest one-day decline in banking shares since 1989.

Southern California fixtures Downey Financial Corp. and FirstFed Financial Corp., specialists in the nontraditional mortgages that fueled the housing boom, were among the hardest hit, with their stock prices down 24% and 19% respectively. Shares of Washington Mutual Inc., the biggest savings and loan, fell nearly 35%."

Join a credit union - at least your money will be lent to people like yourself instead of some high flying deal making super capitalist.

Friday, July 11, 2008


Weapons of mass deception

This is too funny. Looks like both the American and Iranian "Ministry of Truth" screwed up. Now it seems these aren't' even the type of missiles they were initially reported to be. Raw Story has a bit that says they are "old equipment" and "didn't demonstrate any new capabilities and may not have included the long-range missile Iran claims among those launched, a US official said."

Trouble is this image was on the front page of every major newspaper as well as many "respectable" Internet sites and the ignoramuses that are the majority of the American electorate won't see the retraction or the follow up stories and when the sabres are again rattled by the chimp-in-chief they will harken back to this image and be afraid... very afraid.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Whose empire is it anyway? Questioning McCain's Military Record

McCain's neocon beliefs and the platform of the Republican party are enough for a thinking electorate (an oxymoron if ever there was one) to consign them both to the dustbin of history without questioning his military record even if it is, as some say, a dubious one. If Democrats would repudiate their own complicity in America's long, racist, extreme capitalist, imperialist agenda (when pigs fly) and let this country become a republic again, eschewing the empire it has become, we will enjoy a long, prosperous and glorious future living up to the ideals in the Constitution and Declaration of Independence.

Close the 750 odd military bases around the world return the trillions being spent on military-industrialist cronies of both parties to the people, reducing the military to a true defensive entity and cooperate with instead of dominate our fellow humans or, in a massive blowback of historic proportions, we will suffer the same fate as Rome. 9/11 was just the beginning my friends.

Why must we spend more on "defense" then the rest of the world combined if not to dominate? America, do we really want this? Read the ugly manifesto that is "The Project for a New American Century" for just the latest iteration of the ideology driving the corporatist ruling class. From nearly the beginning of the republic through "manifest destiny" to the neocons of both parties this country has been on a mission to subjugate and dominate for profit.

John McCain is a poodle for the military-industrialists: no more no less. He is no more interested in helping the American people than was John D. Rockefeller, J.P. Morgan, a modern hedge-fund manager or an oil market speculator. Barack, while initially offering a glimmer of hope, sadly is rapidly turning out to be the Democratic equivalent.

Same as it ever was.

sic transit gloria mundi

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Democracy Now? WMD was just a cover to bring Democracy to Iraq?

photo at left was taken at Camp Victory just outside Baghdad.

For those of us who still think, ala Scott McClellan, GWB's real reason for the war was to bring democracy to the Middle East here's a chunk of gristle to chew on.

BAGHDAD -Iraqi lawmakers say the United States is demanding 58 bases as part of a proposed "status of forces" agreement that will allow U.S. troops to remain in the country indefinitely.

Leading members of the two ruling Shiite parties said in a series of interviews the Iraqi government rejected this proposal along with another U.S. demand that would have effectively handed over to the United States the power to determine if a hostile act from another country is aggression against Iraq. Lawmakers said they fear this power would drag Iraq into a war between the United States and Iran.

impeach, convict, imprison...

Yes I know it will never happen - I suspect because the Democrats don't want anyone held truly accountable because when its their turn they don't want be held accountable either.

This used to be a Republic -

Monday, June 16, 2008

Unintended or intended Consequences?

Judge for yourself in this Q&A with the two authors of the book "The Three Trillion Dollar War"

A couple of choice ones:

How much money could we have saved if we did not have "contractors" doing the jobs that used to be done by our military? (i.e. security, food & laundry services, construction, etc.) A: It is hard to get a precise number. It appears that, at least in many case, using contractors at least doubles the cost. Part of the reason that it is difficult to get a precise number is explained in the book: the government appears to be financing both the insurance premia for death and disability and much of the benefits (as strange as that may seem.) There is no full accounting. The overall cost of using the contractors is, however, far greater. We have created competition for our military--contractors doing the same work as soldiers are paid far more. This is bad for morale, but it also means that when their service time is over, many leave to work for the better paying contractors. In response, the military is forced to pay big re-enlistment bonuses. But the contractors have cost us in other ways: they focus on minimizing costs and maximizing profits, and those objectives are often not consistent with our broader strategic objectives, as we explain in our book.

Q: The Iraq War has removed a significant amount of oil from the world market. How much has the absence of this oil contributed to the rise in prices? How great is the negative impact of the oil price increase on the American economy, especially now that we are in a recession.

A: In response to several earlier questions, I explained how the war contributed to the rising oil prices. In our book, we attributed only $5 to $10 of the $75 to $85 rise in the price of oil to the war, but I actually think the war was responsible for a far larger part of the increase in the price of oil. As we explain in the book, the high oil prices have had a very, very negative effect on the economy--the effects of which were covered up by the Fed. Money spent on Saudi Arabian or Kuwait oil (or oil purchased from any other oil exporter) is money that is not available to be spent here at home. That means the economy is weaker than it otherwise would be. As I mentioned, the Fed covered up these effects through a flood of liquidity and lax regulations. It fueled a housing bubble and a consumption boom. But it can't do it any more. So in the coming years, we'll be feeling the bite of the high oil prices much more.

Friday, May 16, 2008

"Shut the hell up!"

Special Comment from Keith Olbermann - the closest thing we have to a real journalist on television in this sad country of ours these days. See the rest of it on the link above.

"The war in Iraq - your war, Mr. Bush - is about how you accomplished the derangement of two nations, and how you helped funnel billions of taxpayer dollars to lascivious and perennially thirsty corporations like Halliburton and Blackwater, and how you sent 4,000 Americans to their deaths - for nothing.

It is not, Mr. Bush, about your golf game!

And, sir, if you have any hopes that next January 20th will not be celebrated as a day of soul-wrenching, heart-felt Thanksgiving, because your faithless stewardship of this presidency will have finally come to a merciful end, this last piece of advice:

When somebody asks you, sir, about Democrats who must now pull this country back from the abyss you have placed us at…

When somebody asks you, sir, about the cooked books and faked threats you foisted on a sincere and frightened nation…

When somebody asks you, sir, about your gallant, noble, self-abnegating sacrifice of your golf game so as to soothe the families of the war dead…

This advice, Mr. Bush…

Shut the hell up!"

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Hang Up and Drive

According to a story in today's LA Times driving while using your mobile phone approximates the level of impairment one experiences when legally drunk and indeed reflexes for drivers at the legal limit for alcohol actually were better when braking or performing avoidance maneuvers!

Anecdotally speaking I have to agree as it seems that if I happen to pass a slow or erratic driver invariably they are talking on the telephone.

The text message revolution makes it even worse.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Time to go...

While I would gladly support Mrs. Clinton in the general against any Republican candidate I do not believe she can win the nomination. Mathematically its almost impossible. Therefore instead of continuing to split and damage the party she should bow out of the race and support Mr. Obama immediately before she creates more talking points for the Republican party ensuring the election of John McCain. Mr. Obama is the candidate of the future, as much as I respect and admire Mrs. Clinton she is not. She is also too divisive of a figure. I do not believe she has capability of winning more than 50% + 1 in the general while Mr. Obama has the capability of winning 55% - 60% in the process providing coattails and increasing the Democratic majority in Congress. If Mrs. Clinton wins the nomination her candidacy will not provide those same coattails and the Dems will end up with a slim majority in Congress ensuring four more years of gridlock. As much as it pains me t say this, Mrs. Clinton please bow out before its too late.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

The New Gestapo? Part II

This is an email comment received on my post about the "New Gestapo." This man is a Vietnam Vet and an artist. I have great respect for him. I asked him if I could post this and he didn't reply. He's probably pretty angry with me but his comments are so poignant I just had to share them. My reply to this follows below.

I wanted to briefly comment on your statements about the military, which are basically doing what they are trained to do under orders and fear. This is coming from someone who learned about the innocent civilian camps in Vietnam near where I served and in an outrage to them, made a series of works called, "Innocent Citizen Series". I tended to empathize for the poor Vietnamese farmers, women and children, who were detained by American troops, questioned and deemed innocent or hostile in Kangaroo court fashion. The innocents were sent to a special camp for Innocent Citizens (called I.C's). These camps had a corrugated tin for a roof, barbed wire surrounding them and very basic necessities. Never mind that their farms were burned to the ground or taken over by the enemy the following week.
I also have tape recordings of pilots in helicopters chasing people on foot running through the fields--"If they're running, they must be bad guys, so shoot the m. f'"
As I made the IC Series, I was outraged -- some 12 years after returning home. I continue to be outraged, but what else is war suppose to be? I remember my Dad mentioning that the British would stop the war for tea time, then go back to fighting. That was rather disgusting to him. He was attached to a British air force unit in "Project Avalanche" over Foggia, Italy. To have heard him talk about it, he thought he was over Sicily. I found his army record which said otherwise. He mentioned to me once that he was scared shitless.
I didn't see direct combat, but I rode luxury jet liner with audible explosions around us with no idea what was happening or whether we were the target and what will happen when we land, if we did safely land. I was scared shitless then too. No one knew anything. We continued to not know anything for the 11 months while I was there. After four months of this, one breaks down to a godless and numb state of self-denial, that took those following 12 years and more to expel. And I didn't even see combat. After six rocket attacks, one that came within feet of me, nothing else happened the entire year. My most vivid memory remains to be a pile of combat boots, used, two stories high as I walked on the tarmac to enter the freedom bird. I still had my boots on. I could never shake a sense of guilt about that. And I could never shake the guilt about the IC camps.
But the IC camps were nothing like the Nazi death camps. Abu Grave is laughable by comparison. My Dad was proud of how Americans did not use the tactics that the Germans and the Japanese used in their camps. Hogen's Heroes was just a TV program. This is not to mention the Stalinist Russians, who out killed the Nazis by far. The fact that the victims were Ukrainian, Russians and Poles makes it forgettable for most Americans, and apparently for Roosevelt.
What's my point? Bluntly put, your statements about our military are naive, and because of this stand to lose credibility. Other nations laugh at us because of our perceptions of war. Yes, Bush and his machine are comparable, to only a small degree to the Nazis, but the fascist direction he is taking is unmistakable. As for our military, They are following orders in Iraq and Afghanistan. They are not Nazis. They are gadgetized spoiled brats that find themselves in the sorry mess of a reality that their commander in chief and his buddies sent them to. While they can call home on a whim, email every day and enjoy AC barracks at least some of the time, it is our leaders who should take the rap. Saying this has become more difficult, now that we have a volunteer Army. When people were drafted there was more protest and subversion within the ranks. I am sure that guys volunteered though, for numerous reasons: money, education and the faith in our leaders to use their wisdom (maybe?). Some volunteered to be like Rambo and simply shoot. Some are addicted to killing. That is a small, small percentage of most people in the military. Something like 90% plus are support. 10% minus are actual warriors. (I remember well standing in formation before guard duty how our office personnel would tip their helmets and hold the machine gun they never used in target practice to look like John Wayne or some WWII hero in the movies before the Officer in Charge would straighten their asses out with a few sharp words before they moved out to their posts.) Most are trained to simply think of this war in only one way--and for them that might be their best means for survival. I also remember being told to shoot "anyone" who moved, regardless of age or gender and whether or not I thought they were innocent. That is a part of war I did not have to follow through on, thank God. War is war. Increasingly, those who return home find themselves feeling disillusioned, broken and neglected. They have paid for the war what Bush will never pay for the decision to put them to war. That is the real tragedy.

The post was deliberately put in the form of a question. War brutalizes both sides and makes people do things they would never do in normal life. My point is the German soldiers were pretty much the same in that they were "doing what they were trained to do under orders and fear." Obviously we have to blame the leaders that put them there in the first place. We also have to look within to understand how we empower these so-called leaders to make war, especially those started under false pretenses like Vietnam and this war in Iraq. Hitler, after all, was freely and fairly elected.

The shock value of using the word "Gestapo" was deliberate and while a police organization American soldiers are forced to act counter to their training and police a civil war. I use the term to help the reader question if there are indeed any parallels between the Nazis and our own soldiers. Did you read the entire piece referenced in the link? The quote is from a long article in Rolling Stone by a reporter who spent several weeks with the 2-2 Stryker Cavalry Regiment. The thrust of the article is that the story of the surge working is a myth, a reduction in violence brought about by buying off former Sunni militias and Al-Qaeda insurgents. Essentially we are arming and paying both sides in a civil war to stand down. Whatever works I guess but a small victory in a maelstrom of our own creation. The quote I used struck me so hard that I had to make a post about it. As the saying goes, "never again." and "Those who forget history (or in many cases don't know it to begin with) are condemned to repeat it." All my knowledge of the history of the 20th century as limited as it is keeps me ever vigilant to historical parallels. America is so powerful she can cause great harm to herself and others if she doesn't remember the lessons of other great nations in history.

The facts of your Vietnam experience would tend to illuminate the question posed by my post. But am I naive in this area? Perhaps, possibly, probably; I certainly don't have the same experience as a veteran. All I have is my intellect and education to guide me (and a big mouth). War is ever so. The Nazi death camps were unique. Abu Ghraib and the IC camps you recount were nothing like them. Nor were the Japanese-American internment camps, the Indian reservations, the Trail of Tears, Wounded Knee, the Andersonville prison camp in the Civil War or the slave ships and plantations during slave times. Notwithstanding that these don't reach the level of the death camps doesn't mean they weren’t atrocities. It's a slippery slope we travel. Many in the world see us as crusading imperialist jack booted invaders. The Native Americans and slaves were just the first to feel the brunt.

When does the mission of the soldier become the soldier? I ask because I don't know. Fear and the instinct of self preservation has made humans do unmentionable things.

Your point that these soldiers are volunteers is instructive and brings up questions we probably won't have the answers to for a very long time. The soldiers in WWII and Vietnam were conscripts. What we have now is basically a mercenary army many of whom, due to the failed policies of our government where "free" trade ships jobs overseas to low wage countries, have very little other choice in life to better themselves but to join the military. Not to mention the Blackwater mercenaries completely unaccountable to the rule of law - Iraqi OR American but that's another post.

America and especially the "new left" committed a grave injustice to its returning soldiers after Vietnam by not recognizing they too were victims of a failed policy. Calling returning vets baby killers and showering hate & vitriol on the young men and women who were "doing what they were trained to do under orders and fear" was inexcusable in my opinion. We have to be careful we don't do it again. But should that prevent us from asking the hard questions? Artists are the conscience of society. You perform that function with your work and I in my small way do with words (and music if I can ever finish my new CD!). Provocative? Yes, but shouldn't it be?

Thanks for sharing your experience its a valuable thing to do.

I recommend "People of the Lie" by Dr. Scott Peck. The same fellow who wrote "The Road Less Traveled" he was the psychiatrist hired by the Army to study and report the reasons behind the My Lai massacre. The book studies evil in people and its cause.

This is not a new phenomenon in American history. The Indian Wars, the invasion and occupation of the Philippines during the Spanish American war and many other acts of our government show our history is not as benign as we've been taught and is replete with examples of imperialist behavior and atrocities committed both during war and peace.

The Happiest Place on Earth - and it ain't Disneyland

According to a study published by an English researcher in '06 (I'd heard about it then but came across it online again today as a result of a conversation with my 17 year old daughter) the happiest place on earth is Denmark. The US is #23.

I'll bet that number improves greatly when GWB leaves office. It's been like the Dark Ages in the USA ever since he took office. Click the title of the post for the link to an article on The BBC Site.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

The New Gestapo?

George, have you turned us into The New Gestapo? Support the troops? Following orders? That's what the Nazis said. Where is the line?

I ask not because I know but because I don't know.

Reader - search your heart.

"Somebody move!" shouts one soldier. "I'm in the mood to hit somebody!"

Another soldier pushes a suspect against the wall. "You know Abu Ghraib?" he taunts.

The Iraqis do not resist — they are accustomed to such treatment. Raids by U.S. forces have become part of the daily routine in Iraq, a systematic form of violence imposed on an entire nation. A foreign military occupation is, by its very nature, a terrifying and brutal thing, and even the most innocuous American patrols inevitably involve terrorizing innocent Iraqi civilians. Every man in a market is rounded up and searched at gunpoint. Soldiers, their faces barely visible behind helmets and goggles, burst into a home late at night, rip the place apart looking for weapons, blindfold and handcuff the men as the children look on, whimpering and traumatized. U.S. soldiers are the only law in Iraq, and you are at their whim. Raids like this one are scenes in a long-running drama, and by now everyone knows their part by heart. "I bet there's an Iraqi rap song about being arrested by us," an American soldier jokes to me at one point.

Saturday, February 16, 2008


Yes, yes, yes - about time someone finally used the "L" word.

Monday, February 11, 2008

The War on Tolerance

Another example of the general racism and bigotry the party of Lincoln has come to embody. Especially since Nixon, Reagan, crooks like Tom Delay and Jack Abramoff and charlatans like James Dobson have taken over.

Republicanism used to represent individual freedom, small government and free enterprise which while I didn't always agree with the expression thereof one could have a reasonable debate over. Now it's just come to represent racism, religious bigotry, fear and dog-eat-dog globalistic corporate & class greed.

These attitudes are un-American in the extreme and another argument for the demise and consignment of the Republicans to the dustbin of failed political parties.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

He continues to do his best to ruin our country

Foolish in the extreme, misguided, ruinous, disingenuous, fiscally catastrophic, irresponsible - these are just some of the adjectives used to describe Bush's budget.

The highest level of military spending SINCE WWII! Cuts in mental health, education and health care and he wants to make his giveaway tax cuts to the rich permanent?

$400bn plus deficits and then a craven, disingenuous lie of a statement that says the budget will be balanced by 2012. This idiot hasn't done anything right since he was appointed in 2000. Why should he start now? He's failed at everything he's ever done his entire life, why should this be any different?

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Why do conservatives hate the Constitution?

Titled borrowed from my friend at HipNerd

The above link will take you to an Op-Ed by Richard Clarke - former head of counterterrorism at the National Security Council.

He makes a simple and logical argument that conservatives have trouble understanding. Similarly conservatives have a hard time understanding the constitution guarantees freedom and justice for all: including illegal immigrants, minorities and yes, even our enemies. This is the strength of America, not its weakness and those who would eviscerate and subvert the Constitution – except by legally changing it through the amendment process built into the document - are ipso facto "enemies” of the Constitution as defined by the oaths of office the president and congress swear to upon taking office.

Clarke says; "In order to defeat the violent Islamist extremists who do not believe in human rights, we need not give up the civil liberties, constitutional rights and protections that generations of Americans fought to achieve. We do not need to create Big Brother. With the administration's attempts to erode FISA's legal standing as the exclusive means by which our government can conduct electronic surveillance of U.S. persons on U.S. soil, this is unfortunately the path the president is taking us down."

This government already has all the tools it needs to prevent terrorist acts on the USA. They may not bat 1000% but most Americans, at least those with a SPINE, would be willing to suffer casualties to keep our country from becoming a right wing nut Gestapo dream state. After all more Americans have died for a war started under false pretenses than died in the 9/11 attacks. Get it? George Bush has killed more Americans than Osama Bin Laden.

“We have met the enemy and he is us”

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Shades of Rose Mary Woods

Except this is much worse - 473 days worth of email versus 18 1/2 minutes of a taped conversation in the Oval Office. These guys are in a different league.

I sense a pattern

Nixon Administration: Along with the current administration arguably the most criminal administration in US history
• Accepted illegal campaign contributions in the 50s
• Watergate
• Illegal secret war in Cambodia & Laos leading to the deaths of 3 million innocents
• Secret taping of White House conversations
• More illegal campaign contributions; see Bebe Rebozo
• CoIntelpro (illegal surveillance of so called "subversives")
• Pentagon Papers - Criminal break-in of Daniel Ellsberg’s psychiatrist’s office
• His VP resigned in disgrace and was imprisoned having been convicted of income tax fraud and bribery.

That’s just the main points. Watergate alone contains a multitude of sub-scandals from the break-ins to illegal hush money to wiretapping and numerous convictions and imprisonments of Nixon administration officials.

Ford Administration:

Pardoned the criminal Nixon as quid pro quo for assuming the presidency

Other than that which is bad enough as it seems to have led Republican’s ever after to believe they can be pardoned for criminal acts (see Scooter Libby) his was a pretty clean tenure.

Reagan Administration: Perhaps the most unethical & criminal administration of the 20th Century

• These guys started early even before taking office by stealing debate materials from the Carter campaign
• A record total of 225 people who served in the Reagan administration either quit, were fired, arrested, indicted, or convicted for either breaking the law or violating the Ethics Code
• Sold WMD making material to Saddam
• Stood by and looked the other way when Saddam actually had WMD and used them against his people
• Materially supported Saddam’s aggressive war against Iran for eight years – over a million die
• Cynically and immorally played both sides of this war and illegally sold very sophisticated weapons to the Ayatollahs so they could defend themselves against Saddam and used the profits to fund right wing paramilitary death squads in Nicaragua in violation of US and international law
• Used CIA assets and directed Contra narco-trafficking operations to smuggle cocaine into the USA resulting in the crack epidemic and the explosion of cocaine use in America.
• Drastically increased the funding of the mujahedein in Afghanistan via the Pakistani ISI which led to the blow back of Al-Qaeda, 9/11, the current “war on terror” and the current instability in south Asia. Unintended consequences? Perhaps; but nevertheless precursors to the current permanent state of war we find ourselves in and the erosion of our civil liberties such as losing the right to habeas corpus.
• Granted federal funding to constituents, and defrauded the US government out of money intended for low income housing
• Chief of staff Michael Deaver convicted for lying to Congress
• Used Superfund money to rig local elections in favor of the Republican party
• Aggressive deregulation led to Savings and Loan crisis... the largest public scandal in US history
• De-funded programs for the needy and veterans leading to an explosion of homelessness in America

"Morning in America" indeed. This is the guy that the current crop of Republican candidates want to emulate?

Bush the Elder Administration:

  • Many historians say he was intimately involved in the Iran-Contra affair but nothing was ever proved. However he continued the Republican tactic of pardoning criminals involved in the administration’s criminal conduct. Which many believe is a major factor in the current administration’s habit of disregarding the law and following Alastair Crowley's dictum of “do what thou wilt” – as we’re going to be pardoned anyway.
  • Took America to war to support a dictatorial monarchy.
  • Fomented uprisings in Iraq after the war and stood by while Saddam massacred hundreds of thousands of his own people.
  • Part of the cabal of previous Republican administrations as DCIA, UN Ambassador, Vice President of the USA, and Chair of The GOP.

Bush the Younger Administration: What a way to start the 21st Century!

Too many “gates” to count! Many continue to unfold. From lying to start an illegal war of choice to illegal surveillance of law abiding citizens this administration sets a new Republican standard in criminal behavior. I would award this administration the "Gold" if Nixon hadn't already won it for his and Kissinger's illegal secret war in Cambodia and Laos. Of course after the recent Tonkin Gulf inspired PT boat incident and other saber rattling exercises I wouldn't be surprised if he invades or bombs Iran under false pretenses.

There were 34 scandals and accusations of lawbreaking in the first four years alone. See this link: http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Bush_administration_scandals

Why would America put this party back in power? The party of Abraham Lincoln has sunk to the level of a con-artist ponzi scheme of an organization. They need to relegated to the dustbin of history along with the Whigs & the Federalists.

With a significant minority (and perhaps a majority) of racist, homophobic, sexist members the party uses social wedge issues to advance their war mongering and game the system in the name of globalization and free market economics to enrich their class at the expense of the middle & working class of this country and the world.

Of course we shouldn't let the Dems off the hook. Both FDR and LBJ lied their ways into war too. It's not a new tactic but removing the current crop of scoundrels via impeachment is a start to taking back our country. Not likely but they certainly deserve it. But at least lets not elect more of the same. Stay away from Hillary, Obama and the entire crop of Republicans. It seems Edwards might be the only honest man in the race.