Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Gaping Intelligence Gap

In what passes for modern political ‘discourse’ in America, the lexicon of English is being grossly perverted in a most Orwellian way. Words such as ‘elite’, ‘liberate’ and ‘liberal’ have acquired very negative connotations and others such as ‘democracy’ and phrases such as ‘free market’ and 'moral authority', are used to convey meanings antonymous to their traditional definitions.

Take the word ‘intelligence’.


The way that it is bandied about in military reports and commentary regarding the illegal war in Iraq, (e.g. ‘insufficient intelligence’, ‘lack of credible intelligence’, ‘intelligence gap’, ‘intelligence gathering’) one might swear that the term no longer denotes the capacity to acquire and apply knowledge or the faculty of thought and reason or (laughingly) superior powers of mind. Otherwise, one might then wonder why smarter people aren’t in charge of these “fragile and reversible” operations if ‘lack of intelligence’ plays such a key factor in the situation in (fill in the blank).

Processing such conventional misuse of the English lexicon to fit such extremely narrow political context contributes to cognitive dissonance and the rising uncontrollable urge to throttle someone.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Our Creepy Veep on the Warpath in Bizarr-o World

It’s time for another visit to Bizarr-o World, my friends. Break out the thorazine, open a fresh party pack of chocolate-covered Prozac and enjoy the fun as America’s zaniest bunch of psychopaths try for the trifecta of World Political Disasters.

Dan Froomkin wrote an article entitled ‘Cheney on the Warpath Again?’ for the Friday, April 11, 2008 on-line edition of the Washington Post. (Imagine that; the press may actually be getting savvy to the fact that Cheney, Bush, and the gang are role-playing ‘Armegeddon’.) In the article, Froomkin quotes our curmudgeonly VP telling Sean ‘the Bean’ Hammity that Iran was filled with nasty apocalyptic zealots who might have a nuclear bomb sometime soon. (Hmm, this rings a bell.) Of course, the only appropriate action hinted at by our creepy Veep is - wait for it - showing them who’s the boss in Bizarr-o World. He started off by sowing his black magic seeds of ‘FEAR!’.

Quothe the Cheney:

"But Ahmadinejad is I think a very dangerous man. On the one hand, he has repeatedly stated that he wants to destroy Israel. … mutual assured destruction in the Soviet-U.S. relationship in the Cold War meant deterrence, but mutual assured destruction with Ahmadinejad is an incentive.”

So, let me get this straight, Dicky-doodle: the president of Iran is even crazier than you are. Is that what you’re saying?

Cuz, he doesn’t have any nuclear weapons. He doesn’t have any fissile material. And he hasn’t even had a weapons program for 5 years according to the latest report by the National Intelligence Estimate. The NIE reported "with high confidence" that Iran did have a nuclear weapons program until 2003, but that this was discovered and Iran stopped it. (Naughty Billies!) It also assessed that the earliest date by which Iran could make a nuclear weapon would be late 2009 but that this is "very unlikely" given that Iran appears "less determined" to develop nuclear weapons than US intelligence had previously thought. In other words, no nukes and nearly a zero level chance of producing one.

On the other hand, Mr C, at last count - I suspect counting them over and over is how you fall asleep in the wee hours - how many nuclear devices are there currently in the DOD inventory, cringing from your clammy touch? An estimated 5,736 active stockpile warheads scattered round the US (and elsewhere) – give or take. That’s what I’d call a very active nuclear weapons program. It’s been going on since the ’Manhattan Project’ without abatement for over 60 years.

Oh, and not to mention – and in polite, elitist intellectual company one simply doesn’t, you know – courtesy of the super sense of fair play and the hyper-sensitivity to anti-Semitism that are the hallmarks of US foreign policy - the state of Israel is the 5th largest nuclear power in the world. It has between 200 and 300 nuclear warheads just waiting for the ‘okay’ from Washington should an Arab or Iranian dare look cross-eyed at them.

And you think that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and all of his advisors are crazy enough to try to build a nuclear bomb and use it to destroy the Zionist State precisely, explicitly, because they, the Iranians, would then be annihilated by US and Israeli retaliation, destroying 6,000 years of history, culture and tradition and subjecting the Iranian population of over 70 million to a nuclear holocaust? Even when we’re talking about apocalyptic zealots – and that’s talking way crazy – nuking Israel and assuring self-induced annihilation is straight out looney-tunes. We’re well past thorazine party favors, booby. That’s more of your Bizarr-o world up-is-down, black-is-white, thinking at work there.

What is beyond question is that Vee-Pee Dick (in the role of Iago) leads a faction of officials in the Pentagon, State Department and elsewhere, who argue that before Dubya hands over the keys to 1600 (none too soon), the US should kick some more boo-tay there in oil-rich Asia, destroy Iran's nuclear facilities, punish them for not keeping the Shah in power and thwarting U.S. aims in Iraq.

(Which are what again? Oh, yeah, the ‘democracy’ thing.)

Froomkin added that some observers suspect Cheney of encouraging Israel to attack Iran as a proxy while he was there spreading sunshine and love from an Israeli check-point two weeks ago and accusing Hamas of trying to scuttle ‘peace talks’. (Those words must curdle in the man’s mouth.)

And Twisted Dick thinks Ahmadinejad is a very dangerous man? Oh, yeah…

So, if this Mahmoud joker is actually planning to pull a nuclear weapon out of his burnoose and use it on Israel, he must be without a doubt, top-to-bottom, upside-downside, backwards and forwards a whole lot crazier than you are, Sour-Puss Dick.

And if you think we are stupid enough to fall for that ol’ WMDs gag again, you ought to try re-doubling your dose of Prozac and start thinking how you’re going to spend your yard time in Leavenworth, Dicky-boy.

BBC News, Tuesday, 8 April 2008

Petition to Begin Impeachment Proceedings

Sunday, April 13, 2008

A Constitutional

Here’s a little, selective stroll through the Articles and Amendments of the Constitution of the United States of America. (Yes, we still have one.) These are pretty straight-forward and easy to understand. There’s very little here that‘s in ‘lawyer-ese’.

Article II. Section 4. The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.


The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated; and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.


No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.


Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishment inflicted.

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

AMENDMENT XIV (ratified July 9, 1868)

Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are Citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

Which ones, in your opinion, have been violated by the George W. Bush administrations and how many would be applicable to Article II, section 4, impeachment of the President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States of America?

Saturday, April 12, 2008

The Never-ending War Story - The Hornet's Nest

Senator McBamanton: General P, we have had our foot stuck in a hornet’s nest for 5 years. Last year, you advised us to punch our hand into the nest to quell the insurgent hornets. When can we start to pull our hand and foot out of the nest?

General P: We have seen that the ‘surge’ - our punching our fist into the nest - has been successful. We are suffering fewer nasty stings and there are fewer insurgent hornets flying around causing trouble. We can expect to start pulling out our hand as long as the insurgent hornets do not start being hostile again. After a ‘cooling off’ period, if the hornets behave themselves, we’ll consider pulling out our foot a little at a time.

Senator McBamanton: General, you have done a wonderful job of punching our fist into the nest and we appreciate your courage and dedication. However, we’ve heard that one reason the ‘surge’ has been so successful is that due to our stomping around for 5 years in the nest and then punching our fist into it, we’ve managed to kill a substantial number of hornets, so there are fewer hornets left to sting us. What’s your comment on this?

General P: While there are always an unfortunate number of pacified hornets which are killed in actions such as this, there are also many insurgent hornets coming from other nests to sting us and to attack the pacified hornets we’ve taken as pets. We feel that the amount of hornet-on-hornet violence is also down dramatically due to our fist punching away at the nest and our foot stomping with conviction on the nest.

Senator McBamanton: So, General, seeing as you think this ‘surge’ has been a success, when can we expect to start to pull our hand and foot out of this nest?

General P: As stated before, we can expect to start pulling our foot out of the nest after we have withdrawn our fist. If the hornets do not respond by stinging us in reaction to the withdrawal of our hand, we will be able to remove our hand or most of it in a few months. Then, after a period of consolidation, if the hornets from this nest and other nests do not attack us or our pacified, pet hornets, we can consider the withdrawal of our foot.

Senator McBamanton: General, isn’t it true that any action on our part, whether it is to remove our hand or our foot will most likely result in the resumption of insurgent hornets stinging us and buzzing all around us?

Gen P: While I do not profess to be able to see all contingencies and outcomes, it is our belief that the hornets will, under the influence of our foot and our pacified hornets, understand that smashing their nest was in their best interest. If insurgent hornets from this nest or from other nests continue to cause disturbance, then we will not be in a position to remove our foot from the nest. Renewed insurgency will necessitate our foot and possibly our hand remaining in the nest until such time as conditions are met by which we can extricate our foot and fist.

Senator McBamanton: To be clear, General, what conditions would meet the criteria for removing our hand and then consequently removing our foot?

General P: The conditions that we are considering, the ones that will allow us to remove our appendages from the nest are those that would allow us to remove our appendages from the nest.

Senator McBamanton: Ambassador C, what is your considered opinion on the prognosis given by the General regarding the possible removal of our foot and fist from the nest of hornets?

Ambassador C: I concur wholeheartedly that should conditions for the responsible removal of our appendages from the nest be met by the hornets, then we can consider removing our appendages in a responsible manner. Should the insurgent hornets prove intransigent then conditions will not have been met by which we might consider removing our foot and hand from the nest. Should, on the other hand, the hornets change into butterflies, then we will re-evaluate the situation and it might reasonably be expected that we could consider the removal of our appendages from the nest in a responsible manner and according to a realistic time-table.

Senator McBamanton: So, General, you and the ambassador are saying that if everything goes well, and the hornets turn into butterflies, we may be able to start removing our foot soon after we remove our fist from the nest?

General P: I’m saying what I have been saying all along: sticking our foot into the nest and then punching our fist into the nest was and is necessary to our security and the stability of all of the other nests. Should insurgent hornets from this nest or other nests continue to sting us and fight us, then we will have no other choice but to continue to kick and punch the nest until they stop stinging and fighting us.

Senator McBamanton: Thank you very much, General and Ambassador, for your insight. It is obvious to all of us that we have brought the gift of democracy and freedom to the nest and it is up to the hornets, now, to get to work and rebuild their destroyed nest and stop their insurgency against our foot and fist. It is time the hornets for their own good, became butterflies.

Nota bene:
Jon Stewart's interpretation of General Petraeus’ testimony: “We can't leave if things are not going well and we can't leave if things are going well or else we will lose ground."Stewart called it “A Catch-22 (billion dollars a month) statement."

Friday, April 11, 2008

The Never-ending War Story - the Prequel

6 months before the US invaded Iraq, Halliburton subsidiary, Kellogg, Brown and Root, were building bases and installations in preparation for the invasion.

The PBS documentary ‘Private Warriors’ presented this fact in June, 2005.
(Chapter three, ‘Embedded with KBR’; at 5:10)

To repeat:

The decision to invade Iraq had been made and Halliburton had been hired to provide logistical support for an armed assault of Iraq long before the fabricated evidence re: WMDs and Saddam/Al-Qaida connections were presented by the White House to the US people and their greedy, jello-spined representatives.

It might seem beyond credibility, given what we know now, that neither the director, Tim Mangini, nor producers, Marcela Gaviria and Martin Smith thought to pursue a line of questioning pertaining to this fact in this ‘hard look at private contractors’. Too off-topic perhaps. (IMHO, the documentary quickly descends into a ‘human interest piece’. Perhaps the tragic story of ex-Navy Seal, Scotty ‘the Bod’ Helvenston and others was too alluring. Helvenston was one of the Blackwater mercenaries killed, burned and strung up from the bridge in Falluja.)

Call me naïve, but I would have thought that drilling to the core of the investigation to fathom the grand reason why we were truly at war in Iraq and in need of all these private contractors would have been the preferred tact to take. (Call it 20/20 hindsight, if you wish.)

If the reporter was correct, sometime in September, 2002, 6 months before the Bush Administration bullied the US into violating international law by invading the sovereign nation of Iraq on March 20, 2003, contracts had been signed and contractors were on the ground building bases and installations in preparation for the invasion. This presumably included the ‘permanent bases’, and quite likely improvements on what is to be the largest embassy compound in the World. A ‘Vatican City’ to serve as the base of future operations in the Middle-east. Most certainly, they were busy building some of the more than 60 sites that KBR operated in Iraq at the time of this documentary.

In his January 28, 2003, state of the Union address, Bush denounced Saddam as “the dictator who is assembling the world’s most dangerous weapons” and listed vast quantities of biological and chemical weapons. What Dubya didn’t tell us is that his cabal of war-criminals had already bargained away any peaceful, diplomatic solutions in a no-bid contract to Halliburton/KBR, three months earlier.

Lest we forget, Tyler Drumheller, the former chief of the CIA’s Europe division, a 26-year veteran of the agency, revealed to CBS’ Ed Bradley on ‘60-minutes’ which aired on April 23, 2006, that in the fall of 2002, President Bush, Vice President Cheney, then-National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice and others were told by CIA Director, George Tenet that Iraq’s foreign minister, Naji Sabri — who agreed to act as a spy for the United States and was reportedly paid more than $100,000 by the CIA — had reported that Iraq had no active weapons of mass destruction program.

Mr Drumheller went on to say that the administration didn’t care about this revelation, no matter the source. Of course not, by that time, in September, 2002, the real decisions had been made by the people who truly matter, the high mucky-mucks of corporate America, and the ink was drying on the dotted line. The gravy-train was leaving the station with a full head of steam and no red flag was going to stop it.

You can almost hear an echo from the addled, collective brain-pan of Bush’s Inner Circle, ‘We can’t renege on the deals we’ve made with our friends at Halliburton. That wouldn’t be kosher. A deal is a deal.’ One must suppose that the ‘finder’s fee’ on the estimated umpteen billion dollars in no-bid, cost-plus contracts awarded to Halliburton/KBR would be a handsome one. And if one had similar connections with other corporations that supplied materiel and services to Halliburton and KBR at inflated cost, one could wolf down the slop at both ends of the trough. Hog heaven, as they say.

That’s a mighty temptation. Mountains of cash up front and on the back end, lots of powerful friends who’d be happy to give you a corner office, a princely salary and a diamond parachute when you conclude your ‘service’ in the US government.

Beyond the dreams of avarice.

And all you have to do is undermine the Constitution, betray your solemn oath to uphold and defend the precepts of that document, lie to the US citizens you swore to serve, deceive the world with bald-faced falsehoods and steel yourself to live with the fact that the blood of thousands or even tens of thousands of human beings are on your greedy hands.

Such a deal.

So, General Petraeus, Ambassador Crocker, when can we expect to bring home our troops and our contractors? When will this war end?

The answer is simple.

The war will end when Dubya, Dicky-boy, Donnie the Rum, Condi, Wolfie, and all those of their sickening ilk can force themselves from the slop of the trough.

Then again, I’m an optimist.

Post Script:
I am very sympathetic to Mr Helveston's friends and family members. I also can understand the reasoning revealed by Mrs Katy Helveston, Scotty’s mom when she told PBS,”When you’ve been in Special Forces for 13, 14 years, you’re trained to do one thing. And there’s not a whole lot of jobs out there for people trained to kill.” Being a private contractor seemed to be a solution to the deteriorating US economy for many of the 10,000 who were in Iraq in 2005.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Flame out!

“The Olympic flame is in trouble. The Associated Press reports the International Olympic Committee is considering scrapping the international leg of the Olympic torch relay as a result of a series of pro-Tibet protests. On Monday, officials in Paris were forced to extinguish the Olympic flame and carry it by bus when protesters tried to seize it”. Democracy Now! Headlines, April 9, 2008.

Watching the scenes of the progress of the torch from Beijing and back again, with concentric ‘bubbles’ of security is quite a statement in and of itself. Roller-blades and mountain bikes? Like a bad TV pilot nobody picked up. And fascists in powder blue jogging suits – how chic!

Aside from the side-show, the flame of peace, hope, and brotherhood is under threat from radical political activists. How dare they interfere with ritual? Especially ritual that has already been bought and paid for!

Well, it just goes show that a symbol, when placed in impertinent, dishonorable hands and utilized improperly with a blatant disregard of higher moral value, can lose all of its meaning and even, as in this case, affect the reversal of the symbol’s traditional denotation.

The protestors are not attacking the spirit of the Olympic flame. They are attacking the perversion of it and its callous use as a PR tool by a ruthless, totalitarian regime.

Not to exempt other previous hosts of the Olympic Games from their own questionable policies, foreign and domestic, but the People’s Republic of China is a totally inappropriate host for this prestigious event, particularly given the current butchery in Tibet. Would Beijing have been allowed to host the Games the summer of the Tiannanmen Square massacre?

Yet in Lhasa, we see similar scenes of brutal political repression to those of 1989. This time the crack-down is based additionally on cultural and religious grounds. If the community of nations cannot withdraw a prestigious social prize of the magnitude of the Olympic Games from a rogue state that is murdering people who are only guilty of wanting to live their own lives under their own laws and by their own traditions, of what value is the honor and its trappings? The prize and its symbols cannot retain their lofty, moral significance when a bloody hand wields them. They can only be valued in the crass financial terms of a butcher shop.

Show me the money! Is that what the Games are about?

If the IOC had hair one, they would stop the whole charade right now. The government of the PRC does not deserve to have the Games. Cancel the Beijing Games. Move the site. Stage reduced Games. Utilize sites in multiple countries. But do not allow the PRC to enjoy the prestige of a civilized nation. If they want to be the Olympic hosts they can stop the bloody suppression of the Tibetan people.

Stop the Games. Boycott the Games. The medals are all deeply stained with the blood of innocents. They hold no honor.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Extraordinary rendition.

Extraordinary rendition.

In times gone by, that phrase would most likely have been used in the context of ‘Yasha Heifetz’ extraordinary rendition of Saint Saens’ Rondo Capriccioso thrilled the audience’ or ‘the extraordinary rendition by Pablo Casal of 'BACH’s Suite no 1 for Cello' brought the listeners to their feet’. It was a term about something beautiful and creative. It was a phrase relating to revelation by an artist of the most noble part of the human spirit.

Now ?

It’s a shameful indictment of the American people and American institutions for their complicity in inhuman extra-judicial torture and imprisonment.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Dubya in Bucharest

Is this just more unbridled hubris, simply another case of sheer stupidity or both? Perhaps it’s just a grandstand move, like the recent Mid-East ‘Peace’ effort to try to balance the historic record of Dubya’s administration.

Bush went to the NATO summit in Romania to campaign for the admission of the former Soviet states, Ukraine and Georgia, into the ranks of NATO and to pressure allies to increase troop commitments in Afghanistan.

First of all, the war there should have been resolved years ago. With the full assistance of the UN and NATO and clear, concerted attention to the stated objective of capturing Bin Laden and neutralizing Al-Qaeda, it quite probably could have been.

The grand distraction of the illegal war in Iraq allowed the primary mission to fail as it was turned over to Pakistan to fulfill; Pakistan which had fully supported the Taliban before and after 9-11. That failure allowed the Taliban and Al-Qaeda to become resurgent by escaping, regrouping, rearming and reinforcing in the Tribal Areas along the Pakistan/Afghanistan border from which they launched a campaign to re-take Afghanistan. (Mullah Rashid Akhond, the overall military commander of the Taleban in Wardak, a central province bordering Kabul, claims to have 2,000 active fighters ready for a spring offense.) Hence, Bush is using what little clout is left him as an out-going president at his last NATO summit to insist on additional military assistance from NATO countries.

In his own little world of Biblical import, Bush also chose to take several punches at Putin, the out-going president of Russia by promoting missile bases and radar installation in Russia’s front yard and the pushing for the admission of two former Soviet states, Ukraine and Georgia, as NATO members.

Putin, obviously not understanding that Bush serves a higher power, counter-punched with a combination of logic and reason. He first questioned the reason for the very existence of NATO, saying the purpose of the alliance was to counter the perceived threat during the Cold War of a country which doesn’t exist anymore, the Soviet Union. He added, "This thesis is rather strange – if one is a member of NATO, there is democracy, and if not, no democracy. This is nonsense. NATO is not a democratizer," he said.

But Bush is the ‘Democratizer’ bunny who has never let reason or logic stand in his way and he wants the Ukraine and Georgia to join the ranks of the newly ‘democratized’ NATO countries which were formerly Warsaw Pac members. There are already ten such members and two more waiting in queue. Bush would like to ask them all to supply troops to the fight in Afghanistan.

Evidently, he and his advisors have forgotten what took place in Afghanistan between 1979 and 1989. It is unlikely that the people of the Ukraine, Georgia, Romania and the other former members of the Soviet bloc which are now NATO members have forgotten.

Nearly 14,000 Soviet soldiers and officers were killed and nearly half a million suffered wounds, injury and debilitating illness before Moscow withdrew its forces in defeat. It is generally accepted that the collapse of the Soviet Union, at least in part, came as a result of that war.

I would doubt that any of the former Soviet Bloc would want to go through that again, especially given the dire situation in Iraq and the state of the US economy. The fact that the hat-in-hand request is coming from Dubya, the lame duck would be enough to give them pause. Time will tell.

NATO, responding to the strong objection from Moscow, rejected the admission of Ukraine and Georgia. More troops from Canada, Spain and France will be headed to Afghanistan, though, so the quagmire will mire on. That should make Dubya and the other remaining neo-cons happy; two never-ending wars spiraling out of control at the same time. That must be an historical first.,1518,544189,00.html

Saturday, April 5, 2008

A Million Iraqi March

An odd combination: military action leaving hundreds dead followed by a call for peaceful demonstrations.

On Thursday Shi’ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr called for 1 million Iraqis to march against U.S. “occupation” next week, to “express your rejections and raise your voices loud against the unjust occupier and enemy of nations and humanity, and against the horrible massacres committed by the occupier against our honorable people.”

One million is the estimate currently given for the number of Iraqis who have died since the illegal invasion of their country by the US-led Coalition Forces.

The date of the march will be on the fifth anniversary of the fall of Baghdad in the city of Najaf, an Islamic Holy City, site of the shrine of Imam Ali Ibn Abi Talib, the fourth caliph. Najaf also contains one of the largest cemeteries in the world and according to Imam Ali, any Muslim buried there will enter paradise.

Let’s pray that the cemetery will not grow larger as a result of this demonstration.

Contemptible News Ninnies

You know, what irks me about CNN (other than the fact that for all of the people and equipment they have in the field, they barely clear the bar as a news source at all) is their incessant self-promotion. Why are they compelled to tout themselves as a news source and lionize their reporters? Why do they insist on telling us again and again that CNN can be seen in all the finest hotels around the world?

I’m watching. I’m watching. You have me as a viewer, now give me something engaging to watch.

If you got the goods, CNN, stopping jawing about it and hold forth. Stop boring us with hype on how good you are and show us some solid evidence of your professed excellence in the form of comprehensive, responsible, unbiased journalism on substantive and relevant topics.