"We sold a war based on nothing but horseshit.."

..and elbow grease."

Is anyone else watching Shotime Masters of Horror episode "Homecoming"?  I had high hopes for the series, but did not like the previous episodes.  

In this episode, dead Iraqi war veterans return as zombies to vote against Bush.  It's a harsh satire.  It always feels good to know people hate Bushco as much as I do.  

The Neocon's Iraq Strategy

I watched war criminal Gen. Barry McCaffrey mouth the NeoCon's Iraq strategy on MSNBC this morning.  He outlined the apocalypse that would happen if the US withdrew precipitously, and stated that the ideal case would be if the US could draw down occupying forces to around "one or two battalians" in five years.  In other words, he is advocating a permanent military presence.  This is, and has always been, the Neocon's plan.  

The model for this latest Iraq War was not the first Gulf War (Operation Desert Storm), but another Bush I adventure, the 1989 invasion of Panama (Operation Just Cause).  In 1989, the Bush I administration overthrew an unpopular dictator, who was a former US puppet, in order to gain control of a country which was strategically valuable.  This cost the lives of only 23 US soldiers, and only a couple thousand local civilians.  Despite the fact that this invasion was illegal, there was no serious opposition because it was over quickly, and Noriega had little sympathy in Panama or around the world.

After the invasion, the US installed a new puppet government which declared that the US had a right to perpetual occupation, and conviently amended their constitution to outlaw a national military.  This cemented American control over a strategic territory.  

What a perfect model for Iraq.  No one in "intelligence" believed Iraq had Al Qaeda connections or that Iraq was arming with weapons of mass destruction.  As a casual observer, I knew that Hussien's plan was to re-enter the community of nations.  He began selling oil for Euros in 2000, and while this may have angered the US, it was a clear play for European support to end sanctions.  

I am disgusted and ashamed of my country, knowing that the American people can be so easily manipulated to support vicious extreme neoconservative ideology, conceived by a cabal of dangerous fundamentalists and chicken-hawk war profiteers.  But I am encouraged now that puplic opinion is turning so decisively against the war.  

But the neocons have a sense of political survival and will try to achieve of their goal of perpetual occupation while looking like they are withdrawing.  A strategic draw down of troop strength is not acceptable.  Anything short of complete disengagement from Iraq is victory for the forces of neoconservatism.  

And war criminal Gen. Barry McCaffrey is correct, rapid disengagement will result in anarchy and civil war.  I told this to anyone who would listen in Feb and March of 2003.  If we invade Iraq, nothing good would come from it, and there is no way out.  My sympathies to the Iraqi people, I wish them peace, but US troops must leave.  

The other news story I watched with interest this morning is that the US Supreme Court is decaying and falling apart.  Oh, and some marble fell off the facade.  

Is this Bush criticizing Chavez..

or the other way around?

"The other seeks to roll back the democratic progress of the past two decades by playing to fear, pitting neighbor against neighbor and blaming others for their own failures to provide for the people," he said. "We must make tough decisions today to ensure a better tomorrow."

Holy Hipocrisy Batman

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20051107/ap_on_go_pr_wh/bush

US Chemical Dumps

Is anyone actually proud to be American?

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/story.cfm?c_id=1&ObjectID=10353207

Cant Sleep

The last four years has been a hard time, watching my country turn into something that I am ashamed of.  It is not the "evil-doers" in charge that disturb me as much as "the people." Where have the American people been the last four years, tacitly supporting leaders who are transparent in their inhumanity and corruption.  

But the last few weeks have given me hope.  The GOP machine seems to be self-destructing, and a sense of insight and accountability are beginning to show.  If some of the all-powerful cabal who have seized control of the government are indicted and removed from power, there may be hope for the future.  

So, in breathless anticipation, I find myself unable to sleep.  Ok, well... see you all tomorrow.  

The Trial of Saddam

I would like to see Bush poll numbers continue to fall, or at least stabilize below 40%.  I am afraid that the MSM will play Saddam's trial in a way that will reflect well on Bush.  I expect Rove, et al, are counting on this.

While the actions of Hussein are indefensible, I think it is important to remind the MSM that Reagan, Bush I, and Rumsfeld got into bed with this psychopath a year after (1983) the massacre that he is being tried for (1982), fully aware of its occurance.  I would like to see a co-ordinated attempt to educate the news commentators on these facts while they report the events of the trial.  

From "Shaking Hands with Saddam Hussein:  The U.S. Tilts toward Iraq, 1980-1984" :

"The current Bush administration discusses Iraq in starkly moralistic terms to further its goal of persuading a skeptical world that a preemptive and premeditated attack on Iraq could and should be supported as a "just war." The documents included in this briefing book reflect the realpolitik that determined this country's policies during the years when Iraq was actually employing chemical weapons. Actual rather than rhetorical opposition to such use was evidently not perceived to serve U.S. interests; instead, the Reagan administration did not deviate from its determination that Iraq was to serve as the instrument to prevent an Iranian victory. Chemical warfare was viewed as a potentially embarrassing public relations problem that complicated efforts to provide assistance. The Iraqi government's repressive internal policies, though well known to the U.S. government at the time, did not figure at all in the presidential directives that established U.S. policy toward the Iran-Iraq war. The U.S. was concerned with its ability to project military force in the Middle East, and to keep the oil flowing."

link:  http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB82/

Torture at Guantanamo

Two new stories today about Guantanamo:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/4315668.stm

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/4321324.stm

Not enough energy to express my thoughts and feelings about torture as US policy now.  Simply stated, torture must be opposed by all ethical people.  What the current government has itself admitted lavishly documents the practices that are now acceptable.  When it comes to Guantanamo, we have to remember that the anonymous prisoners have been held for three years without identification, advocacy or charges, and subjected to torture, in violation of both international law, and our own constitution.  

There are several other issues that bother me.  Why are these prisoners being kept in Cuba?  As I understand the situation, if they were to be brought to the US, they would have access to constitutional protections.  They would be named, they would have access to lawyers, and would be protected from torture.  The hypocrisy of the GOP position that judges must strictly interpret the constitution is transparent here.  If this administration wanted a strict interpretation of the constitution, would they also not say that it should be respected on US military bases?  The logic is that the constitution may be disregarded and desecrated so long as it outside the territory of the country.  I would suggest that the constitution is more than rulebook, it is a philosophy, and it cant be ignored by those who have sworn to defend it.  The American people have watched with no sense of outrage as our leaders create loopholes which enable them to piss all over the US Constitution.  I doubt our founding fathers would be proud.  

Lastly, I am overwhelmed by the irony of the location of our concentration camp.. in Cuba.  Where should the US government create a international showcase for the abandonment of our own principles.  In a country that we marginalize for being a dictatorship.  How appropriate.  I lived in Cuba for a couple of months as a medical student on an international elective.  Cuba may have old-fashioned state propoganda filling its airwaves, but the Cubans I knew there were very comfortable disagreeing with the party line.  There were no thought police that I ever saw.  Thoughts here:

http://www.mydd.com/comments/2005/8/24/113846/721/18#18

Now what I think about is conversations I had with Cubans extolling the virtues of democracy.  After watching Cuba become the place where the US government tortures prisoners, and I cant express the depth of my shame as I think back on these conversations.  

Here is Amnesty International's 2005 report on Cuba and the US:

http://web.amnesty.org/report2005/cub-summary-eng

http://web.amnesty.org/report2005/usa-summary-eng

A lot to fight against.

What is there to fight for?  

Like everyone on the board, I love seeing the GOP implode.  Bush, Rove, Cheney, Delay and Frist are all politically wounded and compromised.  I figured last year that the arrogance and transparent corruption of the GOP would lead to the resurrection of the Democrats, and the rejuvination of opposition to Bush policies.

But once again, Republicans fall right on top of the Democrats.  I guess that's what happens when you refuse to stand up.  

I forgive the Democratic Party for allowing itself to be marginalized after 9/11.  The party lacked a strong leader, and to oppose Bush in a crisis, despite his flaws, would have been political suicide.  Four years later, I dont forgive the Democratic Party.  As GOP policies are discredited and their leaders fall, the Democratic party wallows in irrelevance.  

Why are the Democrats impotent?  I am not talking about scoring cheap political points with Delay and Katrina.  If the party had elucidated support for a broad, mainstream opposition to Bush (out of Iraq, fiscial responsibility, support for civil liberties, privacy, environmental protections, et al) Democrats would now be unbeatable.  

So long as their party platform is "we are not Republicans, assume we would do better," they will continue to lose on a national level, and deserve to lose.  

Between the Red Devil and the Deep Blue Sea

A lot of people have been celebrating Bush's declining approval ratings.  I share the sentiments, but it is a hallow victory.  While it is true that Bush's numbers are spiralling, they remain comfortably ahead of any opposition.  I knew it was inevitable that Bush's approval ratings would fall.  He has pursued reckless policies that weaken our country.  His government has one goal that I can see - empowering, protecting and further enriching the already rich and elite.  All the lip-service to wholesome americana cannot disguise the truth for long.  

I was hoping after the last elections that the Democrats would come together as a party, and formulate an alternative vision.  Not a series of speaking points, but the elicidation of the truth:  the best way to protect and defend the American people is to adopt policies of fiscal responsibility, environmental protection, and have the courage to acknowledge that the invasion of Iraq was a mistake.  

If our party leaders had been willing to take a bold stance, and stood strong and resolute against the Republican propoganda machine, the Democratic party would now be reaping the rewards of their conviction.  As Bush's numbers spiral down, the Democrats' would rise.  But our party leaders are careerist politicians, too afraid to stand up for what they believe in, and they have left Bush with a mandate.  

I hate to be the cold voice of skepticism, but it doesn't matter if Bush's approval numbers sink into the thirties.  So long as there is not a viable opposition, the Republicans will remain in power.  Aparently, the Democratic strategy is to be the lesser of two evils in the next elections.  Does anyone think this will work?

from the National Geographic October 2004

Here's a clip in case you didn't read the article:

     It was a broiling August afternoon in New Orleans, Louisiana, the Big Easy, the City That Care Forgot.  Those that ventured outside moved as if they were swimming in tupelo honey.  Those inside paid silent homage to the man who invented air-conditioning as they watched TV "storm teams" warn of a hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico.  Nothing surprising there:  Hurricanes in August are as much a part of life in this town as hangovers on Ash Wednesday.

     But the next day, the storm gathered steam and drew a bead on the city.  As the whirling maelstrom approached the coast, more than a million people evacuated to higher ground.  Some 200,000 remained, however - the car-less, the homeless, the aged and infirm, and those die-hard New Orleanians who look for any excuse to throw a party.

     The storm hit Breton Sound with the fury of a nuclear warhead, pushing a deadly storm surge into Lake Pontchartrain.  The water crept to the top of the massive berm that holds back the lake and then spilled over.  Nearly 80 percent of New Orleans lies below sea level - more than eight feet below in places- so the water poured in.  A liquid brown wall washed over the brick ranch homes of Gentilly, over the clapboard houses of the Ninth Ward, over the white-columned porches of the Garden District, until it raced through the bars and strip joints on Bourbon Street like the pale rider of the Apocalypse.  As it reached 25 feet in parts of the city, people climbed onto roofs to escape it.

     Thousands drowned in the murky brew that was soon contaminated by sewage and industrial waste.  Thousands more who survived the flood later perished from dehydration and disease as they waited to be rescued.  It took two months to pump the city dry, and by then the Big Easy was buried under a blanket of putrid sediment, a million people were homeless, and 50,000 were dead.  It was the worst natural disaster in the history of the United States.

     When did this calamity happen?  It hasn't- yet.  But the doomsday scenario is not far-fetched.  The Federal Emergency Management Agency lists a hurricane strike on New Orleans as one of the most dire threats to the nation, up there with a large earthquake in California or a terrorist attack on New York City.  Even the Red Cross no longer opens hurricane shelters in the city, claiming the risks to its workers is too great.

     "The killer for Louisiana is a Category Three storm at 72 hours before landfall that becomes a Category Four at 48 hours and a Category Five at 24 hours - coming from the worst direction," says Joe Suhayda...

from 'Gone With the Water'  National Geographic October 2004 (88-105)

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