Saturday, May 12, 2007

Impeach Bush Before He Attacks Iran

Don't let Bush's plunging poll numbers lull you into complacency. The Bush administration still plans to attack Iran. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, quoted by Reuters, says that Bush is keeping "the military option on the table" even as his approval rating dips to its lowest ever: 28%.

Bush is bogged down in Iraq and at home. But rather than keeping the US out of Iran, former National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski predicts the deteriorating situation in Iraq will lead inevitably to the planned war against Iran.

Congress tarries dangerously amid reports that the US has already begun a war with Iran.

If there is any hope that Bush may be dissuaded from beginning yet another quagmire, it is the news this week that the GOP is running scared, fearing a disastrous defeat because of Bush's quagmire in Iraq. Fear they should. Dick Cheney has flipped off his party:
Dick Cheney said: “We didn’t get elected to worry just about the fate of the Republican party. Our mission is to do everything we can to prevail...against one of the most evil opponents we’ve ever faced.

- Vice President Dick Cheney, quoted in the Financial Times

GOP leaders are as puzzled by the logic as chagrined by Cheney's flip off. Moderate Republicans have, nevertheless, warned that their patience and their support for the surge may be running out. Various numbers are said to be ready to abandon Bush, perhaps even supporting efforts to impeach him.

There has never been a better time to impeach and remove Bush. Already more Americans favor impeaching Bush than ever favored the impeachment of Bill Clinton.

Polls: Americans want Bush Impeached more now than they did Clinton in '99

Submitted by BuzzFlash on Thu, 05/10/2007 - 1:07pm.

A 1999 poll in the midst of Bill Clinton's impeachment trial showed that only 32% of Americans wanted to remove him from office. But a poll this week shows that 39% of Americans want Bush and Cheney to be impeached.

So why is all of Congress - save Rep. Dennis Kucinich - just sitting around when Republicans have already set the impeachment bar so low? In 1999, 79% agreed Clinton had actually committed perjury but a majority of those people still didn't think it was enough to ditch him. By contrast, a poll two months ago found that 54% believe the Bush Administration "deliberately misled the American public" about Iraq, which has resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people.

Of course, Clinton's approval rate was 67% at the time - more than twice Bush's current 28%. That's because Clinton was making the nation a better place despite his personal failings, as opposed to Bush making the whole world worse. For example, 89% of Americans thought the economy was in good shape in 1999, and today 65% oppose the war in Iraq.

Admittedly, I have spent little time psychoanalyzing Bush save to say that he is a psychotic moron. What is left to say? Scott Ritter, however, has an interesting take on just why the US occupation failed from the get go. His article is entitled The Good American
It’s a shame for these Legionnaires that the Iraqis couldn't have turned out to be blond, blue-eyed Germans who looked like us, and whose women could be wooed with chocolate and nylon stockings by the noble American liberator and occupier. Or, short of that, passive Japanese, who freely submitted their women to the massage parlors and barracks of their American conquering heroes while their men rebuilt a shattered society. The simplistic approach of many of the American Legion’s most hawkish advocates for the ongoing disaster in Iraq seems to be drawn from a selective memory which seeks to impose a carefully crafted past experience dating back to the last “good war” (i.e,, World War II), expunged of all warts and blemishes, onto the current situation in Iraq in a manner which strips away all reality.

It turns out that the Iraqis aren’t like German or Japanese people at all, but rather a fiercely independent (if overly complex) nation deeply resentful of a so-called liberation which has brought them nothing but pain and agony, primarily at the hands of those who have, unbidden, “freed” them from their past.
When Bush talks about the consequences of defeat, he implies "victory" that will expiate our guilt, erase the crimes already committed, a pure ablution achieved by merely staying put another six months, another year, perhaps, forever. I have bad news for Bush. There is no ablution, there is no way to wash away our sins " the blood of The Lamb", at a time when Bush should be on the lam.

The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.

- Omar Khayyam (d. 1123 CE): The Rubaiyat, c. 1120

In the differences between Omar Khayyam, the great Persian poet, and George W. Bush, an unlettered barbarian, we find, at last, the very nature of the schism. Khayyam described a vast cosmological scheme over which he controlled only his own actions. Khayyam may have been the first existentialist; he found meaning in the details of his life and took responsibility for them. Bush, a fundamentalist Christian, eschews responsibility for his life in anticipation of a "hereafter" in which his many sins will be forgiven and those of his enemies punished. It is a comforting fairy tale embraced by sociopaths and the philosophically immature.

Never mind that Bush is at odds with Christianity as it has been professed by Saints, clerics, and, indeed, words widely attributed to Christ himself. Bush's version of Christianity is the "pop" version peddled by tent revivalists in the last century and Pat Robertson today. Bush may believe what he will. The world - if it is to survive Bush - simply must deny him the right to impose his personal hell upon humanity and posterity.

Bush has committed capital crimes amid his numerous lies and pretexts. By perpetrating upon the American people and the world a deliberate and deadly hoax, he has committed high treason, an impeachable offense. His innumerable bald faced lies are cited to justify a campaign of murderous atrocities and torture. He has succeeded, thus far, because his opposition is both timid and, itself, compromised by the nature of evil and corruption

In the short term Bush must be impeached, removed, tried and sentenced. And for that much, US criminal codes and the Constitutional prescription of impeachment are sufficient. But, if the US position at Nuremberg is to ever reclaim legitimacy and credibility, Bush must be turned over to the International court to stand trial for war crimes. I am being merciful. If he is tried for war crimes under US Codes, he would be subject to the death penalty.

Think of a world at peace, lived in for the preciousness of fleeting moments, a world free of war mongering beasts of any persuasion, religion, or creed. It was a "Persian" who perhaps gave that fragile vision its most poignant expression:
Here with a Loaf of Bread beneath the Bough,
A Flask of Wine, a Book of Verse---and Thou
Beside me singing in the Wilderness---
And Wilderness is Paradise enow.

- Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, Edward FitzGerald's Translation.

All the world was with us in the few days and weeks following 911. We are now opposed by all the world. Bush has squandered the goodwill of the world.
And those who husbanded the Golden Grain,
And those who flung it to the Winds like Rain,
Alike to no such aureate Earth are turn'd
As, buried once, Men want dug up again.

Think, in this batter'd Caravanserai
Whose Doorways are alternate Night and Day,
How Sultan after Sultan with his Pomp
Abode his Hour or two, and went his way.

- Omar Khayyam (d. 1123 CE): The Rubaiyat, c. 1120

Notes on the image of the "Persian Princess" above.

First of all the top image is used with a blanket permission given non-commercial use by the original host at: Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. The "footer" image is, likewise, used non-commercially and, following a temporary server problem, it is now hosted on blogspot.

Fuzzflash commented:

Does the enchanting and most captivating Persian Princess have an appellation?.
I believe that it is, indeed, a depiction of a real person. Based upon some scanty google research, I am tempted to conclude that Fuzz's "enchanting" Persian Princess may not be Persian nor Indian. If so, she is not a Persian princess at all, but a "Mugol" [called Mughal by the Persians]. The picture may be that of the Mughal Princess Zebunnissa. She was a poet. The following lines are attributed to her by one of the visitors to the site linked to above:
O waterfall, why lament?
What grief wrinkles your face?
What pain, that all night
You strike your head
on the rocks and cry?

Friday, May 11, 2007

What is McCain smokin'and where can we get some?

An interesting item from The Nation: Hiasl, a 26-year old Austrian-based chimpanzee, is petitioning the courts for human status
If a chimpanzee can be declared a person, then there's nothing in the way of a person becoming an ape - and I'm not just talking about a retroactive status applied to ex-husbands. In fact, I predict a surge in trans-specied people, who will eagerly go over to the side of the chimps.

- Barbara Ehrenreich, The Huffington Post

There is no cause for alarm. This field was pioneered by George W. Bush, who became the first human-ape conversion and he has given chimps a bad name.

I see a simian pattern here. The GOP gets territorial and attacks whenever anyone dares tell the truth about them. So it is with John McCain. There was a time when John McCain had a reputation for straight talk and common sense. McCain was even vilified by the Religious Right and, therefore, must have been doing something right. Sadly, McCain hasn't made sense since drinking George W. Bush's kool-aid.

Back from his trip to neverland (Iraq) McCain was in need a left wing demon and, thus, he resurrects Michael Moore though he had not been dead.

Oh, I get it! The delusional McCain would have us believe that US has not (I suppose) created, where Saddam left off, a place of "...indescribable cruelty, torture chambers, mass graves, and prisons that destroyed the lives of the small children inside their walls". Has McCain heard of Abu Ghraib? Is he unaware of US operated torture centers throughout eastern Europe? As far as I know, Saddam did not export torture. He left the "globalization" of war crimes to the Americans.

According to Seymour Hersh, the Bush administration did not close down Abu Ghraib; we took it over and upheld the traditions of heinous torture, murder, and criminal human rights violations. Saddam was hanged for his efforts. Bush has only a red neck but not from the rope that might await him for his commission of capital crimes probibited by US criminal codes. But, I suppose all my mentors were idiots. I was taught that there is no justice when justice is applied inequitably. For committing the same crimes, Saddam is reviled, Bush is praised. The GOP is a party of liars, hypocrites and idiots.

Republicans, especially the fascists seen in the clip, do not tolerate truth tellers. If Iraq had not been an "oasis of peace", it most certainly had not been a nation comming apart at the seams, without infrastructure, without lights, water, refuge, and, in many cases food, medicine, or care. No one pretends that Saddam was a good man, but, it is a measure of how quickly the US itself has descended into hell that Saddam was no worse than Bush, perhaps, sadly, better. Iraqis were better off under Saddam.

Like many another GOP cultist, McCain seems desperately seeking strawmen or, failing that, a subject that he can get away with changing. He has within the period of a week attacked both the "blogosphere" and film maker Michael Moore for daring to exercise free speech.
When I was a young man, I was quite infatuated with self-expression, and rightly so because, if memory conveniently serves, I was so much more eloquent, well-informed, and wiser than anyone else I knew. It seemed I understood the world and the purpose of life so much more profoundly than most people. I believed that to be especially true with many of my elders, people whose only accomplishment, as far as I could tell, was that they had been born before me, and, consequently, had suffered some number of years deprived of my insights…It’s a pity that there wasn’t a blogosphere then. I would have felt very much at home in the medium.

- John McCain [quoted in Think Progress]

What a pity that the millions of us who dare to write about failed, last gasp politicians are not quite stupid enough to have been GOP politicians! With a little less effort and merit, we, too, might have been praised daily for failing. At last, we are consigned to being vilified by liars -or worse: by traitors. It was Bill Maher, I believe, who said recently that "...traitors do not get to question my patriotism!"

Democrats never had that kind of luck. Clinton, for example, should never have become a Rhodes Scholar. The GOP never forgave him for it. Nor did Clinton get the memo that Ronald Reagan had set a new standard, i.e, hereinafter failure and incompetence would be celebrated and rewarded. Could "they" have gotten into office in any other way?

The "celebration of stupidity" must surely explain that dwindling 28% who still think Bush is doing a splendid job. But if he is not, then it is most surely the fault of the blogosphere for pointing it out. In the meantime, plans are being made for celebrations in Texas. When the missing idiot returns to his village, there will be a parade for him down main street.

Like other goppers, McCain had promised always to tell the truth, "straight-talk" he called it. Apparently, McCain learned that in a GOP "America", straight-talk will not get you into the White House.

It has taken long enough, but it is, nevertheless, encouraging to hear Sen. Joseph Biden challenge Bush's failed strategy in Iraq. As far as I know, it is the first time that any American politcian has dared speak the unspeakable, that is, Bush has taken sides in a civil war.

Alas, McCain is just a GOP damn liar and not even a good one. In GOP-land, that and a brother in Florida is enough to get any dumbass into the White House.

But the times are tragic when the best are offered up lightly and remorselessly for the vainglorious ambitions of the very worst.

Clancy Brothers - The Band Played Waltzing Matilda

Waltzing My Matilda - Artist Unknown

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Batiste to Bush: "You have placed our nation in Peril"

General John Batiste's statement to George W. Bush is a direct challenge to Bush's legitimacy as well as his credibility. Bush claimed that he listened to his commanders in the field. It was just another lie. Bush didn't listen to his commanders and would replace those who told him what he didn't want to hear.

And General Bastiste says that Bush should have anticipated the "insurgency".

Nevermind that I object to the term "insurgency". On the whole, Batiste is correct and Bush's incompetence in this area alone is impeachable. Bush heedlessly placed US troops in peril. In my last article, I outlined a very, very brief history of US incursions into Lebanon and Iraq. Bush made all the same mistakes and even more in the bargain.

It is a measure of the tragic nature of Bush's misadventure in Iraq that there is no satisfaction in having been right all along. Bush's overall approval rating has dropped to 28%, the level reached by Nixon just prior to his resignation amid various moves to remove him from office. But learning the truth has taken too long and too many lives, innocent and otherwise. Will the American people at least be told the criminal, fraudulent nature of this war?

Bush has shamelessly exploited a single phrase: "support the troops", code for "if you don't support the war, you don't support the troops." But worse than not supporting the troops is lying to them and that's what Bush has done. His administration would have the troops believe that they are defending America from Islamic terrorists who "jest hate America".

From Iraq, we get another story. The US occupation is opposed across the spectrum throughout what had been a "secular" nation and a secular government. If Bush wanted to strike a blow against Islamic "extremism", he picked a lousy target. Instead, he has given genuine Islamic extremists a cause celebre. Bush, owned by the powerful oil lobbies, has another agenda, his real agenda. It is simply this: secure the oil fields of the middle east for American oil barons. And for the ambitions of Dick Cheney's Halliburton, Exxon-Mobil, et al, Bush continues to sacrifice American troops. Is this impeachable? If it is not, it ought to be. It is one thing to die for one's country, but for Halliburton?

We have all been deliberately deceived. Bush has waged a more effective war against Americans than against Iraqis who have a right to oppose any illegal occupation of their country. Americans, it seems, have acquiesced to the dismantling of our very sovereignty at the hands of an enemy of the people: George W. Bush.
"Iraq is free of rape rooms and torture chambers.

—"President" Bush, 2003 Republican National Committee Presidential Gala, Oct. 8, 2003

That was a lie told to all the nations of the world. In fact the management and operation of the "rape rooms" and "torture chambers" had been taken over by the United States. There's more.
"The Iraqi people are now free. And they do not have to worry about the secret police coming after them in the middle of the night, and they don't have to worry about their husbands and brothers being taken off and shot, or their wives being taken to rape rooms. Those days are over."

—Paul Bremer, Administrator, [Iraq] Coalition Provisional Authority, Sept. 2, 2003

Another lie. The BBC's source, UN chief anti-torture expert Manfred Nowak, paints a vivid picture of reality and truth, a situation "...out of control" and a seemingly endless stream of abused victims traceable directly to the US-led multinational forces, security forces, militia groups and anti-US guerrillas. It's a picture of hell on earth:
The UN report says detainees' bodies often show signs of beating using electrical cables, wounds in heads and genitals, broken legs and hands, electric and cigarette burns.

Bodies found at the Baghdad mortuary "often bear signs of severe torture including acid-induced injuries and burns caused by chemical substances".

Many bodies have missing skin, broken bones, back, hands and legs, missing eyes, missing teeth and wounds caused by power drills or nails, the UN report says.

BBC, Iraq torture 'worse after Saddam'

"Sources have revealed new details from the Army's criminal investigation into reports of abuse of Iraqi detainees, including the location of the suspected crimes and evidence that is being sought. U.S. soldiers reportedly posed for photographs with partially unclothed Iraqi prisoners, a Pentagon official told CNN on Tuesday."—Barbara Starr, CNN, Jan. 21, 2004

"Saddam Hussein now sits in a prison cell, and Iraqi men and women are no longer carried to torture chambers and rape rooms …"—Bush, remarks on "Winston Churchill and the War on Terror," Feb. 4, 2004

"Seventeen U.S. soldiers have been suspended of duties pending the outcome of the investigation into alleged allegations of abuse of Iraqi prisoners, a U.S. officer said Monday."—Associated Press, Feb. 23, 2004

"[B]etween October and December 2003, at the Abu Ghraib Confinement Facility (BCCF), numerous incidents of sadistic, blatant, and wanton criminal abuses were inflicted on several detainees. This systemic and illegal abuse of detainees was intentionally perpetrated by several members of the military police guard force. … The allegations of abuse were substantiated by detailed witness statements (ANNEX 26) and the discovery of extremely graphic photographic evidence. … I find that the intentional abuse of detainees by military police personnel included the following acts:

a. Punching, slapping, and kicking detainees; jumping on their naked feet;

b. Videotaping and photographing naked male and female detainees;

c. Forcibly arranging detainees in various sexually explicit positions for photographing;

d. Forcing detainees to remove their clothing and keeping them naked for several days at a time;

e. Forcing naked male detainees to wear women's underwear;

f. Forcing groups of male detainees to masturbate themselves while being photographed and videotaped;

g. Arranging naked male detainees in a pile and then jumping on them;

h. Positioning a naked detainee on a MRE Box, with a sandbag on his head, and attaching wires to his fingers, toes, and penis to simulate electric torture; …

j. Placing a dog chain or strap around a naked detainee's neck and having a female soldier pose for a picture;

k. A male MP guard having sex with a female detainee;

l. Using military working dogs (without muzzles) to intimidate and frighten detainees, and in at least one case biting and severely injuring a detainee …

These findings are amply supported by written confessions provided by several of the suspects, written statements provided by detainees, and witness statements. …

In addition, several detainees also described the following acts of abuse, which under the circumstances, I find credible based on the clarity of their statements and supporting evidence provided by other witnesses (ANNEX 26):

a. Breaking chemical lights and pouring the phosphoric liquid on detainees;

b. Threatening detainees with a charged 9mm pistol;

c. Pouring cold water on naked detainees;

d. Beating detainees with a broom handle and a chair;

e. Threatening male detainees with rape; …

g. Sodomizing a detainee with a chemical light and perhaps a broom stick."

—Executive summary of Taguba report, finalized Feb. 29, 2004, briefed to superiors on March 3, 2004, and submitted in final form on March 9, 2004

Bush had assured the American people and the world that Iraq was better off under American occupation. Clearly that is not the case. One evil dictator has been replaced by an equally evil occupation and Iraqis are worse off under Bush. We were not greeted as liberators because it was clear to everyone but the American people, who supported Bush at the time, that the only thing Bush wished to liberate was Iraqi oil.

Because we acted, torture rooms are closed, rape rooms no longer exist, mass graves are no longer a possibility in Iraq."

—Bush, remarks at "Ask President Bush" event, Michigan, May 3, 2004

Bush is not merely a liar, he is a hoaxer, a deceiver of nations and people. Is this impeachable? Indeed! This is not merely an isolated lie, a protestation of innocence protected by the Constitution. This is not a mere blow job. This is nothing less than a criminal fraud.
It is a felony, it's a crime to mislead and distort information and submit it to Congress.

- John Dean, Former White House Counsel

That is precisely what Bush has done. The results of Bush's treasonous hoax is as follows:
  • 650,000 Iraqis dead
  • US dead approaches 4,000
  • The very core of the US Constitution has been gutted
  • habeas corpus is caput
  • the separation of powers is subverted
  • due process of law is all but a thing of the past
  • the presumption of innocence is denied arbitarily
  • likewise, right to counsel and the right to have legal representation
  • the right to dissent is in its death throes
  • the right to a speedy trial, indeed, any trial at all can be denied without demonstrable cause.
So...who hates America?

The answer is simple and clear: George W. Bush, a traitor to the nation, the Constitution that literally created the nation, a traitor to the principles of Democracy for which this nation stood, a traitor to the concept of freedom for which this nation went to war in WWII. The reality in Iraq is a harsh light on Bush's big lie.


Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Terrorism is Worse Under GOP Regimes

by Len Hart, The Existentialist Cowboy

It is fair to conclude that GOP regimes either cause or aggravate terrorism. According to FBI stats, terrorism has been worse under GOP regimes at least since 1980. There must be an explanation short of voodoo or just bad luck! Reagan's "War on Terrorism" was counter-productive --either causing terrorism or making it worse! Over a period of two years, terrorist attacks against the United States increased. [Source: Total Acts of Terrorism in the US 1980-98, America's Response to Terrorism, The Brookings Institution (Based on FBI Statistics)]

A brief history puts all in context. Ronald Reagan ordered a US invasion of Lebanon in 1982 and, like Bush Jr, his invasion was premised upon what was politely called a "deceitful pretext", in other words, a lie! The "pretext" was that the PLO, called a terrorist organization, had shot the Israeli ambassador in London. In fact, the shooter may never have been a PLO member. [Fading Illusions: D-Day and Reagan].

By the time Reagan would reprise Eisenhower's invasion of Lebanon [1958] things had changed. Israel had just invaded Lebanon amid "a besieged set of Palestinian fighters". A Syrian expeditionary force and separate armed Lebanese factions had been embroiled in active warfare for a period of seven years. Reagan had no idea what he was getting into.

The American decision to invade was opportunistic as well as reactive. Like Bush today, Reagan had no clear objectives, no definition of victory, no way to "win". Like Iraq today, the Lebanon Reagan invaded became a magnet for various "terrorist groups" who grew more active over the duration of the American occupation. Armed and dangerous, they tested Reagan's resolve and won. Like Bush, Reagan's definition of victory was defined with meaningless slogans -like "you can run but you can't hide". They did both and followed-up with a counter-attack. Reagan lost his war against "terrorism".

Terrorism grew worse over the two years Reagan waged it, establishing a trend did not abate until Bill Clinton was elected President. There were some three times as many terrorist attacks against U.S. interests during the Reagan regime than during that of Bill Clinton.

Nevertheless, Reagan's adventure in Lebanon is remembered for two things: a) the thousands of lives lost amid waves of refugees; b) Reagan's ignominious pull-out following the bombing of the U.S. marine barracks. The pullout was thought to have been cowardly at the time. It is charitable in retrospect to attribute to Reagan remorse for having wrongly invaded to begin with. That's too much to expect from the GOP. In the earlier invasion, Ronald Reagan supported Israel just as Bush Jr has done more recently. [See: Reagan Orders Marines Out of Lebanon]

In the meantime, conservatives bemoan a "lack of support" for the various and asundry "wars" that conservatives are wont to wage but never win. The American people, they say, simply do not "understand that terrorists had already launched the war against them." Is that so? In fact, the opposite is almost always true. American and, in many case, British interventionism and colonialism, are at the very root cause of terrorism. Stats clearly indicate that in those instances when US/British colonialism results in invasion or other aggressions, terrorism increases as a result. "We" have been the starters of war since World War II, arguably our last honorable performance on behalf of the principles of Democracy.

When has America has ever gone to war in the Middle East upon anything other than a dubious pretext? Let's revisit Eisenhower's decision send US marines to Lebanon back in 1958. Ike's decision was called an "open challenge" to the popular uprising in Iraq that brought Abdel Karim Qassim to power. Then, as now, the real reasons for US involvement are easily traced to oil -specifically, the prices of oil at the well-head and the access to the means to transport it.

The seeds of Bush Sr's "Persian Gulf War" are easily traced to 1958. Qassim was then the GOP demon du jour, the Saddam Hussein of his day. He had legalized both the national party and the communist party and, as if to lay the groundwork for Bush Sr's foray on "behalf" of Kuwait, Qassim openly challenged "the British amputation of Kuwait". Kuwait was and remains Iraq's access to the sea, crucial to Iraq's export of oil, Iraq's life blood. Qassim enraged Eisenhower, confining US and British oil companies to one tenth of one percent of the territory of Iraq. The big oil sponsors were chagrined.

Fast forward to Bush Sr's Persian Gulf War. The senior Bush lured Saddam into annexing Kuwait. It was a cynical move worthy of the ex-CIA spook, a move designed to provide the US with a pretext to engage Saddam who had been producing too much oil, lowering the price of oil on the spot markets.
We have no opinion on your Arab - Arab conflicts, such as your dispute with Kuwait. Secretary (of State James) Baker has directed me to emphasize the instruction, first given to Iraq in the 1960's, that the Kuwait issue is not associated with America. (Saddam smiles)

- Transcript of Meeting Between Iraqi President, Saddam Hussein and US Ambassador to Iraq, April Glaspie. - July 25, 1990 (Eight days before the August 2, 1990 Iraqi Invasion of Kuwait)

It is often said that conservatives are stronger on national defense. Are they really? Is it so? As we have seen, we became less safe under Reagan as terrorist attacks increased. Likewise, we are less safe under Bush, the Shrub!

Reagan announced his "War on Terrorism" to a meeting of evangelicals on March 8, 1983, warning terrorists: "You can run but you can't hide!" In the mouth of George W. Bush, over a decade later, it became "one of our objectives is to smoke them out and get them running and bring them to justice". The torture cells of Abu Ghraib and throughout the CIA gulag archipelago of Eastern Europe are not justice. Nor has Bush ever won a victory on behalf of either Democracy or justice.

The only thing said by Bush that could be depended upon was his absurd and grammatically incorrect statement: "There's no rules". If there are no rules there is no justice to defend, there is no rule of law, there is no Democracy, there is no civilization at risk.

Bush, not terrorists, imperils Democracy, indeed, civilization itself. Given the record of miserable failure, why does the GOP persist? I can think of two reasons off hand.
  1. wars are easily exploited to stir feelings of patriotism and false pride;
  2. the GOP is the official party of big oil and big oil can depend upon the GOP to wage its oil wars on their behalf. In return, the GOP gets a lot of money from the likes of Enron (before its Ponzi scheme came crashing down), Exxon-Mobil, Halliburton (to whom Cheney sold his soul), Shell et al.
In the meantime, Americans are less safe under the dictators of "Imperial America". I would like to hear the conservative case that Bush has made Americans safer though the world is in flames. Make my day.

According to the Pew Research Center, American skepticism about the war in Iraq has increased steadily from its inception; it is increasingly seen as harming the "war on terrorism".

A plurality (47%) believes that the war in Iraq has hurt the war on terrorism, up from 41% in February of this year. Further, a plurality (45%) now says that the war in Iraq has increased the chances of terrorist attacks at home, up from 36% in October 2004, while fewer say that the war in Iraq has lessened the chances of terrorist attacks in the US (22% now and 32% in October). Another three-in-ten believe that the war in Iraq has no effect on the chances of a terrorist attack in the US

- Pew Research Center, "Iraq Hurting War on Terror"

The level of vituperative rhetoric has divided and radicalized the right wing. John Dean, whose book I have previously referenced, still thinks himself a Barry Goldwater conservative though he has been among George Bush's most vocal critics. That he looks like a liberal now, he says, is only a measure of how far right the right has become.

Michael Deaver, meanwhile, claims that many so-called "conservatives" who support Bush are not conservative at all. They favor big and intrusive government. Many, like Dick Cheney, believe deficits no longer matter. Others - neocons in particular - openly pine for another Pearl Harbor that might be exploited for political purposes. [See: "Project for a New American Century"] Was 911 "their" Pearl Harbor? In fairness, such "radical authoritarians" have little in common with "conservatives." True conservatism - small government, civil libertarians - is an endangered, perhaps extinct species.

Nevermind that the Pew study hasn't really asked the right questions. It's a close as you get in the GOP Dictatorship-lite.

What makes terrorism worse is, in a nutshell, US imperialism, itself made worse by the competition for a finite resource: oil. Noam Chomsky does a fairly good job of summing it all up with a single phrase: "the United States is terrified".

Sadly, something must be done to stop a pattern of aggression not seen since Adolph Hitler attacked Poland and kicked off World War II. Ask yourself, what kind of world will we live in five, ten, twenty years, if US oil barons and dictator wannabes are not stopped and compelled to behave responsibly? Sleep well tonight.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

The Decline and Fall of the American Empire

by Len Hart, The Existentialist Cowboy

Gore Vidal dated the fall of the American republic and the subsequent rise of the American empire to February 27, 1947.
Fifty years ago, Harry Truman replaced the old republic with a national-security state whose sole purpose is to wage perpetual wars, hot, cold, and tepid. Exact date of replacement? February 27. 1947. Place: White House Cabinet Room. Cast: Truman, Undersecretary of State Dean Acheson, a handful of congressional leaders. Republican senator Arthur Vandenberg told Truman that he could have his militarized economy only if he first "scared the hell out of the ,American people" that the Russians were coming. Truman obliged. The perpetual war began. Representative government of, by, and for the people is now a faded memory.

- Gore Vidal, Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace: How we got to be so hated

Since that time by Gore's reckoning, the US has been an empire, a "national security state". Though the Constitution stipulates that only Congress can declare war, that provision has been conveniently ignored by every President since Harry Truman. The National Security Act created the CIA and other covert agencies in the executive branch. The measure was said to be necessary to counter a growing Soviet threat, though the Soviet Union had been all but destroyed by World War II. It was the start of the long, destructive cold war. It was the start of a hoax still perpetrated upon the American people.

Since that time, the US has intervened aggressively in every part of the world. Some 90% of all federal disbursements go to what is euphemistically called defense. The language itself has gone soft and imprecise. The right wing has gotten away with demonizing the noble word "liberal" from the Latin "liberalis", pertaining to a free person. Corporations control the government and public opinion via an increasingly corporate, increasingly concentrated "mass media" - the official means by which a ruling establishment, a mere one percent of the population, tells the rest of us what to think. Here's the worst of it: in 1991, 37% of federal revenues (taxes) came from individuals and only 8% from corporations. But corporations are treated as if they were persons.

Things have only gotten worse under Bush, a demagogue like many another wannabe who would exploit the corrupt status quo to elevate himself to dictator. Sadly, we won't know what the final figures will be until its too late to do anything about it.

Vidal's ideas, so succinct in his slim little pamphlet entitled The Decline and Fall of the American Empire, inspired William F. Buckley to threaten Vidal with typical right wing violence. It took place on television, in full view of the world. It jump started the famous feud between Buckley and Vidal and most certainly defined the vehemence and the substance of right/left debate in America.

What about living standards in the USA?
Eighty percent of Americans have been falling behind since 1973. That is the date they usually cite for the oil crisis. Nowadays a husband and wife make less money than the husband alone made at that time. On the other hand, some people have become fabulously rich. One percent owns everything - like the CEOs who now seem to be queuing up to go to gaol! Under them there is a further twenty percent who support the Empire. These are the lawyers, the journalists, politicians and bankers and so on. The one percent hires the twenty percent.

- Gore Vidal, The Decline and Fall of the American Empire

How do the Bushies continue to get away with mass murder in Iraq, possibly at home?
"Nothing appears more surprising to those who consider human affairs with a philosophical eye than the easiness with which the many are governed by the few, and the implicit submission with which men resign their own sentiments and passions to those of their rulers. When we inquire by what means this wonder is effected, we shall find that, as force is always on the side of the governed, the governors have nothing to support them but opinion. It is, therefore, on opinion only that government is founded, and this maxim extends to the most despotic and most military governments as well as to the most free and most popular."

David Hume, 1758, "Of the First Principles of Government"

Is it surprising then that the current ruling cabal and the GOP in general have waged war on the American working class at least since the ascension of Ronald Reagan? Briefly: since Ronald Reagan's infamous tax cut of 1982, the rich have gotten much, much richer and the poor have gotten much, much poorer. Over this period of time, only the upper quintile has prospered. Everyone else has lost ground. Of the upper quintile, only an increasingly smaller percentage prosper by any standard measurement.

This was by design, sold to the American public as supply side ecnomics, in reality "trickle down" theory. Wealth did not trickle down.

How modern sound the Vidal/Buckley debates! How little has changed! Now as then, a war rages as a right wing, reactionary administration impugns the patriotism of those who dare dissent. How omnipresent are the sixties -an era that defined the current debate! If there is a difference between Nixon's prosecution of Viet Nam and Bush's prosecution of Iraq it is only this: "we" thought we could change things and got tear gassed in Chicago, shot at Kent State for our efforts.

Today few try because few believe that anyone can make a difference. Having given up protest and activism, we have found nothing to replace them and, if we cannot, we are sorely fucked! Bush will have won and not only the people of Iraq will be enslaved, but also the people of the United States. If we are not already.

If God is on our side, it is hard to imagine how Satan treats the rest of the world.

Some assorted news items from the Bush police state:

U.S. Military Handbook Labels Media "A Threat"

A new U.S. military handbook officially states alongside Al Qaeda, computer hackers, drug cartels, warlords and militias. The handbook was published by the Army's 1st Information Operations Command. The Army has also placed new emails by soldiers. Soldiers sending emails or posting items on blogs must now first clear the content with a superior officer. Many believe the rules will likely result in the end of all military blogging.

Banned by Army: Folk Singer Joan Baez Can't Sing to Wounded Soldiers at Walter Reed
The Army has denied legendary folk singer and antiwar activist Joan Baez permission to sing at a concert for wounded soldiers at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. We speak with Baez at her home in Palo Alto. [includes rush transcript]

JOAN BAEZ: When I got back from touring in Europe, which is why I didn't know anything any sooner, my manager called and said that I had been invited by John Mellencamp to be a guest at his concert at Walter Reed Hospital. And my response was just kind of intuitive or instinctive, the way my responses usually are, and I said yes, and later on thought about why I had said yes, because I usually am sort of very -- run very shy of “singing to the troops.” But I realized that singing to the troops during a war, what I call a Bob Hope syndrome, is really condoning the war, and I’ve always had an aversion to the idea of singing to some kid who’s going to go out and get his brains blown out the next day. I feel as though I should have been sitting there pleading with him to go home.

However, when they got home, either they, I mean, a lot of times received a hostile reception, and for the most part just were ignored, and I think we are still seeing the results of their pain. And so, I thought, well, you know, this is one small way to show a welcome before the fact.

AMY GOODMAN: And so, you agreed. Now, these are people -- at Walter Reed, these are people have come home wounded.

JOAN BAEZ: That is correct.

AMY GOODMAN: So you agreed.

JOAN BAEZ: Yeah. And then -- so, I guess, Mark, my manager and Mellencamp's manager began talking on the phone, because probably the greatest red tape in the history of the world would be the military, but it seemed to be developing in a positive way. So -- and then Mark would check with me, and he said, “Are you still on for this?” And I’d say yes. And this went on for, what, a month? And there was, I think, five days, about five days before the concert, and I was -- I did have a flight booked and a hotel booked and the final agreement, yes. Maybe four days before the concert, then I was told that I was not approved.

AMY GOODMAN: For what reason, were you told? What were you given as the reason?

JOAN BAEZ: Well, not -- I mean, all I know -- and it was Mellencamp's manager who did all the talking. He went there and talked face-to-face to somebody. I don't know whom. And he could not get an answer that made any sense to him from anybody. So all they could say was that I wasn't approved.

- Democracy Now

An extra:

Additional resources:
Now here's an update from Austin, TX in reply to Fuzzflash's excellent comment in which he used the phrase "got a job but not a life". It might have made the perfect country and western song, if Steve Goodman and David Allan Coe had not beat him to it. But that's not Fuzz's fault. There is always another song to be written:

Now...if you think that is over the top, then you ain't ever been to Texas.

As promised in the comments section, I have found a video clip featuring Merle Haggard with members of the Bob Wills' old Texas Playboys. Enjoy. It's hard to find music this good these days. This stuff swings.

The 'Cowboy' on FacebookMedia Conglomerates, Mergers, Concentration of Ownership, Global Issues, Updated: January 02, 2009




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