Tuesday, October 31, 2006

The BIG Question

It’s been over three-and-a-half years since George W. Bush announced the start of the war in Iraq. From March 19, 2003 to now, things have gone from terrible to worse-than-terrible. And yet the Bush administration says the US is doing just fine and that we are winning in Iraq. The big question is: What has been the Bush administration objective in Iraq? Remember that great scene in the movie “The Candidate” (1972)? Robert Redford’s campaign manager Peter Boyle sits Redford down to tell him the facts of life about why he was chosen to run for the US Senate. “You lose,” Boyle says. And that had been the plan all the way along. The campaign mavens had decided Redford was “Too Handsome. Too Young. Too Liberal. Doesn't have a chance. He's PERFECT!” In the case of the Candidate, there were cogent reasons why the party believed that Redford’s losing would be better for the party than his winning. And if I’m making an analogy that the neocons in the White House actually have wanted to lose the war in Iraq all the way along, I have to admit, it makes no sense. And yet, when events go in a certain direction over a long period of time, one has to conclude that the people involved like it that way. At any point since the Gulf War the US could have rooted out the nest of vipers in Kuwait and in Iraq by using the formidable US military force in a final and conclusive way, and yet the US chose not to do so. Why not? Since the US first attacked Iraq, it has never deployed a sufficient number of soldiers to Iraq to decisively win the war. Why not? Could it be that losing is better for the GOP, big business, arms manufacturers, and politicians than winning? And now that we have positively and with certainty lost the war in Iraq, a story in the New York Times this morning shows that the US security forces are positively and with certainty failing to train an Iraqi police force. The NYT reported that head of the police transition team in Iraq Capt. Alexander Shaw said, “How can we expect ordinary Iraqis to trust the police when we don't even trust them not to kill our own men?" The police transition team is a Washington-based unit that is overseeing training of all Iraqi police in western Baghdad. "To be perfectly honest,” Shaw said. “I'm not sure we're ever going to have police here that are free of the militia influence." The NYT continued, “The trainers agree that Ani, the new police chief for western Baghdad, is an honest cop who is trying to get the police force in order. But Ani acknowledged in a meeting with U.S. officials that he does not plan to root out and fire militia members. "I don't have that power," he said. "There are people higher than me that control that." Deputy team chief Jon Moore estimated it would take 30 to 40 years before the Iraqi police could function properly, perhaps longer if the militia infiltration and corruption continue to increase. "It's very, very slow-moving," a former head of the police transition team said. "No. It's moving in reverse," another member of the team said. And I say, if this is what is happening, and if this is what the Bush administration calls winning and progressing, then this is exactly the way the Bush administration wants it. Why? I never said it made sense. And I certainly never said the fascists in the White House are sane. I only say that it’s the way it is and the Bush administration calls it winning.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Two Important Facts About Our Military

1) During October, over 103 American soldiers were killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. 2) The American military in Iraq has no idea where hundreds of thousands of weapons intended for Iraqi security forces have ended up, The Bush administration is threatening an all-out war with North Korea because it says North Korea may sell its nuclear technology to other countries. And yet, our own military is so disorganized, sloppy and mindless that, according to the New York Times this morning, our military “has not properly tracked hundreds of thousands of weapons intended for Iraqi security forces and has failed to provide spare parts, maintenance personnel or even repair manuals for most of the weapons given to the Iraqis.” As many as 14,000 weapons are missing, a federal report released Sunday concluded. The NYT said, “The report was undertaken at the request of Senator John W. Warner, the Virginia Republican who is the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee and who recently expressed an assessment far darker than the Bush administration’s on the situation in Iraq.” The report did not examine where the untracked weapons could end up or whether they have been used against American soldiers. “Although,” the NYT said, “black-market arms dealers thrive on the streets of Baghdad, and official Iraq Army and police uniforms can easily be purchased as well, presumably because government shipments are intercepted or otherwise corrupted.” The NYT went on to say, “The inspector general’s office, led by Stuart W. Bowen Jr., also a Republican, responded to Mr. Warner’s query about the Iraqi Army’s logistical capabilities with another report released at the same time, concluding that Iraqi security forces still depended heavily on the Americans for the operations that sustain a modern army: deliveries of fuel and ammunition, troop transport, health care and maintenance.” Which puts the idea that the Iraqis can govern themselves any time soon in a cocked hat. However, on October 27th Department of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said that people should “back off” and “relax” regarding giving the Iraqis deadlines for defending and governing themselves. While the architect of the debacle in Iraq, Donald Rumsfeld, is cavalierly telling everyone to relax re the situation in Iraq, another 100 American soldiers have been killed in Iraq, bringing the total to 2813. And now we find out that the military, which takes its cues and orders from Rumsfeld, has no idea where thousands of weapons are that were slated for the Iraqi army. Bottom line: It looks like all those terrorists that don’t exist because George W. Bush’s war in Iraq has made the world safer, may be using weapons supplied by the US military. Which brings up a couple questions: Do we know where our nuclear devices have gotten to? And, which country is more of a threat to the world, North Korea or the United States of America?

Sunday, October 29, 2006

October Surprise: Iraq Declares Independence

I am so sure! On June 28, 2005, president Bush said, “Our strategy can be summed up this way: As the Iraqis stand up, we will stand down." Since that moment, neither the Iraqi military nor the Iraqi government has shown the smallest aptitude for or ability to stand up on its own to defend and govern Iraq. And the American people have become increasingly convinced that Iraq will never be able to stand up on its own. One reason being, of course, that it’s clear the Bush administration does not want Iraq to be free and independent of the USA. If Iraq were free and independent, Iraq might choose to throw our military and our meddling officials out of Iraq. And that idea is anathema to the White House neocons, who want us to be fighting in Iraq until the next millennium. However, the worst possible thing has happened. The American public wants a timeline for getting our soldiers out of Iraq. The American public wants to know when Iraq will be able to govern itself. In fact, the American public is going to base its votes on November 7th 2006 and on November 4th 2008 on whether it can expect to be free of the Iraq albatross in months, not decades. So wonders of wonders, just before midterm elections, Iraq has suddenly declared its independence. The lead paragraph in a New York Times article this morning reports, “President Bush stepped into an increasingly fractious relationship with the Iraqi government in a videoconference with Baghdad on Saturday after days of angry comments by Iraqi leaders about what they see as American meddling.” The NYT went on to say, “(Press Secretary Tony) Snow said that Mr. Maliki made ‘no demands, and it was a very cordial discussion.’ But the prime minister, he said, made clear that he wanted to move quickly toward ‘an Iraqi assumption of command and control’ over forces operating in Baghdad and elsewhere.” Additionally, the NYT said, “The push for more Iraqi control comes just as American military commanders are saying the Iraqi Army needs more time to improve. America’s top military commander in Iraq, Gen. George W. Casey Jr., said this week that it would be another 12 to 18 months before Iraqi troops would be ready to take over.” As the Church Lady used to say, How convenient! And what bullshit! Maliki is a little toady who most Iraq-watchers termed a “minor” official before he was anointed prime minister. He doesn't do or say anything he is not told to do and say by the Bush administration. Just like George W. Bush does not do or say anything he is not told to do and say by his White House minders. If you believe that now, miraculously, nine days before midterm elections Iraq is capable of standing up on its own, which would signal that American soldiers can begin to be sent home, then you no doubt also believe George W. Bush never said, “Stay the course."

Understanding News Stories About Iraq

The reports coming out of Iraq are confused, confusing, and seem to be in direct opposition to the reports we were getting two weeks ago. Are timelines being imposed? Is the Iraqi government in agreement with the US government? Is the Iraqi government in charge? Are fewer American soldiers needed? Are more American soldiers being deployed? Are we winning? Are we losing? There are only two things you need to know: 1) The Bush administration always lies. 2) Nothing about Iraq is about Iraq. It’s the nature of the Bush administration to lie. Lying is the only thing that can be counted on regarding the current White House. It’s a congenital condition that was present at the birth of the Bush administration. From now until November 4, 2008, all stories coming out of Iraq will have American elections as a subtext. The war in Iraq has lost all importance except in relation to winning or losing elections. For instance, Iraq’s Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki just said, “I am Washington’s friend but not America’s man in Iraq.” Maliki is not Washington’s friend; he is the White House bitch. And whether Maliki is America’s man in Iraq or not is a fine point. The Bush administration’s Ambassador to Iraq Zalmay Khalilzad is America’s man in Iraq. And Khalilzad handpicked Maliki to be prime minister of Iraq. If the GOP feels that an independent Iraq will garner more votes for Republicans in upcoming elections, then Maliki will act accordingly. Whatever Maliki is saying about “this is an elected government and no one has the right to set a timetable for it,” is boloney. These words came out of Maliki’s mouth as a response to the White House idea that timetables could be a means of keeping civil war at bay in Iraq. Proposing timetables is boloney. American officials handed out a list of deadlines for legislative and executive actions. They call their list “a notional political timetable”. The timetable runs from September 2006 through March 2007. Khalilzad said Maliki had been consulted when it was drawn up. But Iraq is already in a civil war. The idea of timetables is a sop to voters who think it has to do with a date for getting our soldiers out of Iraq. These benchmarks, or timetables have nothing whatsoever to do with pulling our soldiers out of Iraq. They don’t have anything to do with anything remotely concerned with reality. They are only useful as talking points during election years. Maliki’s little temper tantrum is boloney. The notional (whatever that means) political timetable is boloney. The idea that there is a rift between Washington and the Iraqi government is boloney. Since the Bush administration always lies, it follows that the puppet government that the Bush administration set up in Iraq always lies. The facts are that the White House doesn’t want Iraq to run its own government because the GOP wants to call the shots in Iraq for the foreseeable future. There is a civil war going on right now in Iraq, which is fine by the White House. Civil war in Iraq ensures that the war the Republicans started in 2003 will keep on keepin’ on and will have rich Republicans in clover for years and years. The neocons love war, the Carlyle Group loves war, Halliburton loves war, Cheney loves war (and torture), the Pentagon loves war, Wall Street loves war, Homeland Security loves war, the little putzes in power who have never been in the military love war. Do you and I love war? No. Do we matter? No. (This was originally posted on October 28th, but because Blogger/Google have had their collective heads up their ass and have been screwing up every Blogger blog for the last week this is posted under an October 29 date.)

Friday, October 27, 2006

Perfect Metaphor For the Bush Administration

Yesterday the Prez signed a bill providing for construction of a fence along 700 miles of the Southwestern border between the United States and Mexico and said it was “an important step toward immigration reform”. However the bill the president signed is an unfunded mandate. Since it didn’t appropriate specific funds for the fence, it is assured that the fence will never be built. As in nearly everything the Bush administration has done or has bragged that it has done, this bill is all hat and no cattle, all bluff and no substance, all lie and no truth. This bill is a huge load of horseshit with no pony. The Washington Post reported, “The House and Senate gave the Bush administration leeway to distribute the money to a combination of projects -- not just the physical barrier along the southern border. The funds may also be spent on roads, technology and "tactical infrastructure" to support the Department of Homeland Security's preferred option of a "virtual fence." And as if that were not a clear promise that this fence will never see the light of day, WaPo said, “GOP congressional leaders pledged in writing that Native American tribes, members of Congress, governors and local leaders would get a say in "the exact placement" of any structure, and that Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff would have the flexibility to use alternatives "when fencing is ineffective or impractical." Our virtual president made a virtual decision to build a virtual fence in his first step toward virtual immigration reform. The last thing the current crew in the White House wants is immigration reform. Big business gets a huge benefit from hiring illegal immigrants who will work for a fraction of the cost of hiring American citizens and/or legal immigrants. It’s not that Americans don’t want the jobs, it’s that Americans feel they should have and deserve a living wage. And why will illegal immigrants from Mexico work for less than a living wage? Because Mexico’s economy is based on the abuse and mistreatment of its citizens. And it is so bad in Mexico that being abused and mistreated in the United States is better than living under the hideous conditions in Mexico. That fence is not going to be built because the GOP likes the services performed by illegal immigrants. And the US is not going to pull out of Iraq because the GOP likes the money that war, any war, puts in Republicans pockets. The US is not going to take a tough stance with North Korea, Iran, or Syria because the GOP has squandered our military power on an ill-conceived and unnecessary war in Iraq that lines the pockets of rich Republicans. The US has to do China’s bidding because China bought us from sea to shining sea after the GOP spent our surplus on the war in Iraq that lines the pockets of rich Republicans. That silly virtual fence between the USA and Mexico is the least of our problems.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

I Ask You, What Are We Doing in Iraq?

Yesterday, the Associated Press posted a story with this lead paragraph: “An angry Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki disavowed a joint U.S.-Iraqi raid in the capital's Sadr City slum Wednesday, and criticized the top U.S. military and diplomatic representatives in Iraq for saying his government needs to set a timetable to curb violence in the country.” In case anyone has a short memory, George W. Bush and Colin Powell lied us into a war with Iraq in 2003 so that the USA could implement the Bush administration plan to take over the Middle East and its oil. And Dick Cheney’s man in the Department of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, has so botched the war that now in 2006 Iraq is in total chaos, is in the midst of a civil war and 2,809 American soldiers have been killed for no reason. Bear in mind that Iraq President Jalal Talabani named Nouri al-Maliki Prime Minister-designate after al-Jaafari was removed as the candidate. Bear in mind that the president of Iraq, Jalal Talabani, has been the USA’s man in Iraq since the Gulf War of 1991. And further bear in mind that the Bush administration’s Ambassador to Iraq, Zalmay Khalilzad, said that Maliki was “someone who is independent of Iran…someone who sees himself as an Arab”. Plus, since Khalilzad said Iran wanted Jaafari to be president of Iraq, Maliki’s nomination over Jaafari was a feather in Khalilizad’s cap as a negotiator (read, Khalilzad had the power to give orders to Talabani). So, the facts show us that despite the bullshit about free and democratic elections, all of the Bush administration’s handpicked ass-kissers are now in positions of power in Iraq. And the guy the US made Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki has been told by his USA bosses that he should appear to have a mind of his own, so he got up on his hind legs about the Sadr City raid and said, “We will ask for clarification to what has happened and we will review this issue with the Multinational Forces so that it will not be repeated." But to assure the Bush administration that he really is still in its back pocket, Maliki said, “I affirm that this government represents the will of the people and no one has the right to impose a timetable on it.” The majority of the people in the United States, the majority of the people in Iraq and the entire rest of the world want to impose a timetable on the US getting out of Iraq. The Bush administration doesn’t want it and therefore its toady, the Prime Minister of Iraq, dutifully said he doesn’t want it. Meanwhile, the President of the United States is crazily denying that he ever said the US would “stay the course” in Iraq and he is making pronouncements like, “I know the American people understand the stakes in Iraq”. Which is my point. America has no stakes in Iraq and the American people know that full well. Only the Bush administration and its puppet government in Iraq have stakes in Iraq.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

GOP Strategy/Tactic: Just Say It…Whatever

God knows it’s cheaper and easier to talk the talk than walk the walk. When the Bush administration thought the public admired a steadfast and unchanging stance on Iraq, the president said he would never change his mind and that the United States would “stay the course” in Iraq “as long as it takes.” Now that the Bush administration has been hit in the head with a board, it understands the public thinks the White House is idiotly stubborn and rigid on everything concerning Iraq, so the US Spokesman for Failure and Insane Decisions has stopped using the phrase. He’s even denying that staying the course was ever a policy. In fact, George W. Bush is saying the White House policy on Iraq always has been one of adjustment, flexibility and change. On October 11th, in an effort to explain exactly what the expression “stay the course” means, George W. Bush said, “Stay the course means keep doing what you’re doing…my attitude is, don’t do what you’re doing if it’s not working; change…stay the course also means don’t leave before the job is done. And that’s — we’re going to get the job done in Iraq. And it’s important that we do get the job done in Iraq.” Any questions?

Monday, October 23, 2006

What If (Horrors!) The Dems Win Nov. 7th?

That’s the new talking point being used to rally voters against the Democrats. And even Frank Rich hopped on that bandwagon yesterday in his New York Times Op/Ed piece. What if the Democrats win the seats they need to control the Senate or the House or both? What will they do with the power? Frank Rich (who I adore and can forgive almost anything) even got in this dig: “Maybe the Democrats can blow 2006 as they did 2004, but not without Herculean effort. As George Will memorably wrote, if they can’t at least win back the House under these conditions ‘they should go into another line of work.’” In addition, Rich said, the New Direction of the Democrats, as promoted by Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is full of “golden oldies—raising the minimum wage, enacting lobbying reform, cutting Medicare drug costs, etc. “--just the same-old-same-old, the pundits are saying and then they yawn. Those golden oldies sound just fine by me. And I suspect they sound fine to any Middle Class voter who feels the US of A is headed in the wrong direction. But Cokie Roberts on the George Stephanopoulos ABC This Week show yesterday introduced a new note of caution to the same-old-same-old complaint about the Dems and what they will do with power. Roberts said that it would be bad for the Dems to win the November 7th elections because that would give voters two years to see how the Dems would handle their control of Congress. Which, she opined would inevitably lead to a huge defeat in November 2008. In a nutshell, Roberts’ view is that the voters in America (Republicans and Democrats alike) will be so upset by the Democrats bringing the war in Iraq to a close, and by the Dems starting to right the wrongs that Republican fascist rule has visited on the United States (and the world), that voters will turn against the Dems and vote for John McCain and his neocon pals. Which argument is about as cogent and intelligent as President George W. Bush himself was during George Steph’s interview with our National Embarrassment yesterday. If Bush weren’t president of the United States, weren’t such a grandiose narcissistic sociopath idiot and asshole, one could almost feel sorry for him. He hasn’t read any of Bob Woodward’s books about him, he said. He wouldn’t feel right reading books about himself, he said. “You don't think there's anything to be learned from these books in real time?” George Steph asked. No! The president answered quickly and succinctly. George W. Bush says the Economy is on an upswing, “I've always found the economy to be an issue. And if it's good, you do OK, and if it's not good, you don't do OK in American politics.” George W. Bush hasn’t thought about what life will be like if the Dems win. “If I have to, I'll think about it later on. But I'm a person that believes we'll continue to control the House and the Senate.” George Steph said that James Baker is looking for a policy between cut-and-run and stay-the-course. George W. Bush said, “We've never been stay the course, George. We have been -- we will complete the mission, we will do our job and help achieve the goal, but we're constantly adjusting the tactics, constantly.” And George W. Bush says there is no civil war in Iraq, but the situation in Iraq is “dangerous”. With regard to North Korea, George W. Bush said the decision to have nuclear devices is Kim Jong-Il's decision to make. “We've made our decision,” Bush said. “Tell us how you made the decision,” George Steph asked the President of the United States. “I don't know,” the President said. “And I — you know, I just don't know. “ Two more years of that. If the Dems don’t prevail on November 7th, then the entire United States truly deserves the consequences.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

A BIG Flip-Flop By Another Name

The facts are that the Bush administration has decided the Iraq war will kill them at the polls and therefore immediate changes are necessary. But a Republican regime that is never wrong and is as immutable as the Pope cannot change. So the Prez says he isn’t changing strategies in Iraq, he’s changing tactics. And the difference is? The Encarta World English Dictionary says: “A tactic is the science of organizing and maneuvering forces in battle to achieve a limited or immediate aim; also called a strategy. A strategy is the science or art of planning and conducting a war or a military campaign; also called a tactic.” Nevermind, the psychopath in the White House says, "Our goal is clear and unchanging: Our goal is victory…what is changing are the tactics we use to achieve that goal. Our commanders on the ground are constantly adjusting their approach to stay ahead of the enemy, particularly in Baghdad." PARTICULARLY IN BAGHDAD? RIGHT! Baghdad, where the war has totally gone to hell and where the US has been ineffective and useless and where death and destruction is unremitting day and night, and where the enemy has constantly stayed ahead of US forces from Day One up to and including today. When the New York Times ran a story yesterday explaining that the Bush administration had drafted a timetable (Yikes! That forbidden word!), White House spokesperson Nicole Guillemard issued a statement that the Times’s account wasn’t accurate, but she didn’t say what was inaccurate. On Saturday, the Prez said in his radio address, “We will continue to be flexible, and make every necessary change to prevail in this struggle. Our goal in Iraq is clear and unchanging.” That’s about the size of it. The Bush administration is going to change (or seem to change) whatever it needs to change in Iraq so that voters will more wholeheartedly embrace the killing of American soldiers, the devastation, the failure of the Bush administration and the plan for the US to occupy Iraq until the year 3000. But the Bush administration has no intention of changing anything.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Pinter Performs “Krapp’s Last Tape”

British playwright and actor Harold Pinter has embarked on a ten-performance run of “Krapp’s Last Tape”, a play by his friend Samuel Beckett. The limited run at London’s Royal Court Jerwood Theater Upstairs will end next Tuesday. It’s a one-act, one performer play. Pinter plays Krapp, a 69-year-old man who is listening to a tape recording he had made when he was 39. “Krapp’s Last Tape” was first performed at the Royal Court in 1958 by Patrick Magee. Beckett wrote the play for Magee after he heard him do a reading of his novel “Molloy”. Beckett said he liked the “cracked sound” of Magee’s voice. This production, directed by Ian Rickson, is part of the Royal Court Theater’s 50th-anniversary season, which is also a celebration of Samuel Beckett’s 100th birthday. Beckett died in 1989. Pinter is 76 years old and has been battling cancer of the esophagus. Last year he delivered his Nobel acceptance speech by videotape and from a wheelchair. At that time he said he would write no more plays. Pinter’s health has improved somewhat, although he performs the play in a wheelchair. By all accounts, Pinter’s performance is electrifying and is a never-to-be-forgotten experience. The New York Times quoted an actress in the audience, Gillian Hanna, as saying, “It is beyond acting. There is something about the coming together of this particular piece and this performance that took me somewhere else.” It’s fair to say that most of us will never have the privilege of seeing Harold Pinter perform any play any time anywhere. However, when he gave his Nobel acceptance speech on December 7th 2005, Pinter took the opportunity to deliver a tirade against American foreign policy. And all Americans can and should download a copy of that speech. Following are a few excerpts of Harold Pinter’s comments about American politics: “Political language, as used by politicians, does not venture into any of this territory since the majority of politicians, on the evidence available to us, are interested not in truth but in power and in the maintenance of that power. To maintain that power it is essential that people remain in ignorance, that they live in ignorance of the truth, even the truth of their own lives. What surrounds us therefore is a vast tapestry of lies, upon which we feed. “As every single person here knows, the justification for the invasion of Iraq was that Saddam Hussein possessed a highly dangerous body of weapons of mass destruction, some of which could be fired in 45 minutes, bringing about appalling devastation. We were assured that was true. It was not true. We were told that Iraq had a relationship with Al Quaeda and shared responsibility for the atrocity in New York of September 11th 2001. We were assured that this was true. It was not true. We were told that Iraq threatened the security of the world. We were assured it was true. It was not true. “The truth is something entirely different. The truth is to do with how the United States understands its role in the world and how it chooses to embody it. (cut) “The crimes of the United States have been systematic, constant, vicious, remorseless, but very few people have actually talked about them. You have to hand it to America. It has exercised a quite clinical manipulation of power worldwide while masquerading as a force for universal good. It's a brilliant, even witty, highly successful act of hypnosis. (cut) “The invasion of Iraq was a bandit act, an act of blatant state terrorism, demonstrating absolute contempt for the concept of international law. The invasion was an arbitrary military action inspired by a series of lies upon lies and gross manipulation of the media and therefore of the public; an act intended to consolidate American military and economic control of the Middle East masquerading - as a last resort - all other justifications having failed to justify themselves - as liberation. A formidable assertion of military force responsible for the death and mutilation of thousands and thousands of innocent people. (cut) “I have said earlier that the United States is now totally frank about putting its cards on the table. That is the case. Its official declared policy is now defined as 'full spectrum dominance'. That is not my term, it is theirs. 'Full spectrum dominance' means control of land, sea, air and space and all attendant resources. “The United States now occupies 702 military installations throughout the world in 132 countries, with the honourable exception of Sweden, of course. We don't quite know how they got there but they are there all right. “The United States possesses 8,000 active and operational nuclear warheads. Two thousand are on hair trigger alert, ready to be launched with 15 minutes warning. It is developing new systems of nuclear force, known as bunker busters. The British, ever cooperative, are intending to replace their own nuclear missile, Trident. Who, I wonder, are they aiming at? Osama bin Laden? You? Me? Joe Dokes? China? Paris? Who knows? What we do know is that this infantile insanity - the possession and threatened use of nuclear weapons - is at the heart of present American political philosophy. We must remind ourselves that the United States is on a permanent military footing and shows no sign of relaxing it. “Many thousands, if not millions, of people in the United States itself are demonstrably sickened, shamed and angered by their government's actions, but as things stand they are not a coherent political force - yet. But the anxiety, uncertainty and fear which we can see growing daily in the United States is unlikely to diminish.” As they say in Great Britain, “Hear, hear!”

Friday, October 20, 2006

Will White House Let North Korea Save Face?

An interesting Associated Press story yesterday said, “North Korean leader Kim Jong Il expressed regret about his country's nuclear test to a Chinese delegation and said Pyongyang would return to international nuclear talks if Washington backs off a campaign to financially isolate the country, a South Korean newspaper reported Friday.” Kim was quoted in the mass-circulation Chosun Ilbo as telling a Chinese envoy, “If the U.S. makes a concession to some degree, we will also make a concession to some degree, whether it be bilateral talks or six-party talks." The Chinese newspaper also said that Kim told the Chinese delegation that he is “sorry about the nuclear test.” Before anyone jumps to the conclusion that the empty threats of George W. Bush were effective, it should be pointed out that China is planning to place an embargo on oil exported to North Korea. Close to 90% of North Korea’s oil comes from China. An oil embargo is far more terrifying to the North Koreans than vague threats from the Bush administration about “grave consequences”. This morning, the New York Times reported that, “China is prepared to step up pressure on North Korea in coming weeks by reducing oil shipments, among other measures, if the country refuses to return to negotiations or conducts more nuclear tests, Chinese government advisers and scholars who have discussed the matter with the leadership say. If Beijing does take a tougher line on its neighbor and longtime ally, the action is likely to bolster its relationship with the United States. Washington has urged Chinese leaders to use all the tools at their disposal to put additional pressure on Kim Jong-il, the North Korean leader.” Will the US allow North Korea to back down with dignity? If the Bush administration had agreed to negotiate with North Korea in the past rather than maintaining a stubborn intransigent no-talk stance, it is doubtful that events would have escalated to the point where both sides were threatening nuclear war. But now North Korea has blinked. The NYT says Chinese leaders believe Mr. Kim might not negotiate a way out of the impasse unless he had no other choice. Right. North Korea doesn’t have any other choice because North Korea needs China. But the United States also needs China, both as an ally and because China OWNS the United States. As of May 2005, the US owed China over $650 billion in debt and that figure was expected to reach $1 trillion in two years. As the NYT says, “experts argue that as long as the Bush administration kept its focus on a diplomatic solution (re North Korea), China would work to maintain solidarity with the United States.” But now that the moment has come to step back and let negotiation and diplomacy solve the North Korea problem, what will the belligerent, swaggering, limp-dick, overcompensating Bush administration do? It’s anyone’s guess.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Idle Threats

At least Senator John McCain (R-AZ) was laughing yesterday when he said in Iowa that he’d commit suicide if the Dems gain control of Congress in the November 7th elections. But President Bush was absolutely serious when he said the United States would stop North Korea from transferring nuclear weapons to Iran or al-Qaida and that North Korea would then face "a grave consequence." The delusional and grandiose Prez would not say exactly how the United States would retaliate. But in an ABC News interview he said, "You know, I'd just say it's a grave consequence. They’d be held to account.” The last time he used the phrase “grave threat”, was with regard to Saddam Hussein. "If we get intelligence that they're (North Korea) about to transfer a nuclear weapon, we would stop the transfer, and we would deal with the ships that were taking the - or the airplane that was dealing with taking the material to somebody," the president said. "The leader of North Korea has to understand that he'll be held to account. Just like he's being held to account now for having run a test," Bush said. So, which is it? Is the Bush administration going to “stop North Korea” and “deal with” ships or planes transferring nuclear materials? Or will Kim Jong-il be held to account “just like he’s being held to account now”? Because the way North Korea is being held to account now is by not holding North Korea to account. Bush probably believes his vow to ABC News that he would use whatever means necessary to keep North Korea from selling its nuclear arms to other countries, because George W. Bush is crazy as a loon. But even Dick Cheney, who has never served in a war, knows that the US would have to be able to back up an act of war with an army and we barely have enough men in Iraq. Bush just said that “it broke his heart” for American men to die in Iraq but to pull them out would mean defeat. A wiser, or at least a sane president, would not make rash claims about staying the course in Iraq plus plans for a new war in North Korea when he can’t get his approval rating above 38%. George W. Bush using “whatever means necessary” against North Korea is as unlikely as John McCain committing suicide when the Dems prevail in elections.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Condi’s Silly Con in Asia

This morning, the NYT reported that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said during a joint press conference in Tokyo with Japan’s foreign minister Taro Aso, "The United States has the will and the capability to meet the full range — and I underscore full range — of its deterrent and security commitments to Japan.” This was right after Aso had said, "The government of Japan has no position at all to consider going nuclear. There is no need to arm ourselves with nuclear weapons, either." Okay. Japan doesn’t intend to go nuclear. And Rice says the US can and will employ its full range of deterrent and security commitments to defend Japan against North Korea if the need arises. Sounds good. Until you think about it. Our deterrent and security commitments consist of telling North Korea not to test any more nuclear devices or the US will ask the UN to start doing radiation inspections in Asia’s ports and borders. If North Korea isn’t saying, SO WHAT! I am sure China, South Korea and Moscow have all joined in a hallelujah chorus of SO WHAT! The NYT said in a separate article this morning, “What Secretary Rice will be negotiating this week with Asian countries is how they will ensure that transfers of nuclear and other material do not happen. China, which voted for the United Nations sanctions, says it is committed to putting the resolution into effect.” So what! While China voted for using the sanctions, it also said it has no intention of imposing the sanctions. The NYT went on to say, “The American idea for a new security framework for North Korea as described Tuesday by the State Department official was intended to try to ensure that the country’s suspicious cargo would be inspected in Asia, but in ways that could not be construed as a blockade. “We do not envision this regime as an embargo, as a quarantine or as a blockade,’ said the official, who was accompanying Ms. Rice as she flew from Washington to Asia, with a refueling stop here in Alaska. ‘It is much more selective in nature’ and aimed specifically at materials for manufacturing unconventional weapons, or building missiles to carry them, the official said.” So what! The US has no way to make any of the sanctions happen because the US is powerless to coerce, cajole, intimidate, reason with, or entice these Asian countries into seeing to it that the sanctions are carried out. North Korea issued a statement on Tuesday (using the initials DPRK which is the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea): “The D.P.R.K. had remained unfazed in any storm and stress in the past when it had no nuclear weapons. It is quite nonsensical to expect the D.P.R.K. to yield to the pressure and threat of someone at this time when it has become a nuclear weapons state.” According to Agence France-Presse, Chun Yung-woo, South Korea’s top nuclear negotiator, said the statement contained “no surprises,” and was just “the usual rhetoric that they have been using.” The same might be said about Condoleezza Rice and her latest little road show through Asia.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Tony Snow Explains It All For You

Yesterday, Editor and Publisher published some of the dialogue between Tony Snow and reporters at the White House Daily Briefing. One reporter asked a straight-ahead question about Iraq. “ Are we winning?” the reporter asked. “We're making progress,” Snow said. “I don't know. How do you define ‘winning’? The fact is, in taking on the war on terror -- let me put it this way, the President has made it obvious, we're going to win. And that means, ultimately, providing an Iraq that is safe, secure, and an ally in the war on terror. And at any given time, as you've seen in previous wars, there are going to be spikes in violence. And it is natural for Americans who have -- really are probably the most empathetic people on the face of the earth, to feel deeply the loss of those who have given their lives in battle.” There you have it. The White House fantasy as illuminated by press secretary Tony Snow is this: Wars kill people and Americans are within their rights to mourn. But ultimately at some point in the unknowable future, the US will win and Iraq will be safe and secure and an ally in the war on terror. As told by Tony Snow, the White House has a kind of “Never on Sunday” view of the tragedy the Bush administration has forced on the world. In that 1960 film from Greece, Melina Mercouri played an appealing hooker who was fond of regaling her admirers with storylines from Greek tragedies. But since the tragedies were so tragic and Mercouri’s hooker was an optimist, she always ended each retelling with, “And then they all went to the seashore.” In that great pie-in-the-sky deluded world where George W. Bush lives and dreams, at some time in the mysterious and incomprehensible future the US will win in Iraq. And then we all can go to the seashore. Another reporter engaged Snow in a back and forth about whether in fact the White House still believes in the principle that when the Iraqis stand up, the US will stand down. After much sophistry and skirting of the issue from Snow, the reporter said, “So they are standing up, but we're not standing down. So is that principle no longer operable?” And Snow said, “It seems to me that we're playing -- this is kind of a fun verbal game.” That’s the way it seems to me too. The Bush administration is playing verbal games, which it thinks is a lot of fun. And George W. Bush is living in never-never-land, which he thinks is a lot of fun. And the real fun for the rest of us is only three weeks away.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Condi To China: Cooperate Or Not…Whatever

The tough-talking, tough-acting powerless US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said the Security Council Resolution which was passed on October 14th, “demands very clear cooperation of member states to make certain that dangerous goods are not getting in and out of North Korea.” She was “quite certain”, she said, that China would act in accordance with this objective, but she declined to offer details. However on Sunday she said she didn’t know exactly how China would cooperate and that the US would not be in any hurry to confront North Korean ships at sea. For its part, China said it had no intention of inspecting border shipments coming over its 870-mile border with North Korea since the resolution does not specifically require the inspection of cross-border shipments. In fact, much of the border between China and North Korea is defined by the Yalu River. When the Yalu freezes during the winter everyone from both sides cross into each other’s country with no detection or punishment. And there is little China can do or intends to do about that porous border situation. As far as South Korea is concerned, it intends to continue its program of cooperation with North Korea. And in fact, South Korea is planning to expand an industrial park and tourist resort because, as South Korea’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Choo Kyu-ho said, “We judged that the contents of the resolution of the U.N. Security Council do not directly affect the economic cooperation programs between the two Koreas.” So…up yours, Condi. And because Condi Rice, the Prez, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and the entire Bush administration have made the US an impoverished, impotent has-been world power, the US is in no position to threaten China and South Korea or even offer enticements. Rice said on CBS’s “Face the Nation” yesterday, “There will be some matters to be worked out.” No kidding! You mean like the US backing down but trying to appear as though it’s hanging tough? Those kinds of matters? There is something so unconvincing about Condoleezza Rice hitching up her pants and scratching her balls.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Repubs Are Confident of Winning Elections

The Repubs say they will win the up-coming mid-term elections in November and the presidential election in 2008 because they are superior to the Dems in getting out the vote. Translation: Repubs are confident because they plan on committing election fraud (again). The point is, is this confidence merited or is it delusional? Can the GOP pull off another win based on vote fraud? And, will the GOP succeed in getting out the vote? Tampering with voting machines only works if the election is close. And by that, I mean, only works well. Unless the vote is close, there is the inevitable investigation, delays and overturned elections. And it is particularly true that voting machine fraud will be detected and investigated now that candidates and voters are tuned into the fact that voting machines can be rigged. This time around, candidates are not likely to concede an election unless and until all means to validate vote counts have been pursued. A landslide for either candidate cannot be turned into a close vote. It’s too easy to prove that an overwhelming majority of voters voted for a particular candidate. In addition, a landslide for one candidate cannot be turned into a win for the opposing candidate. So voting machine tampering is still pretty much a close-vote option. These upcoming elections may actually be won and lost by voter turnout. The GOP is claiming it is the best party for getting voters to go to the polls. But many dedicated Republicans are revolted by the shenanigans in their own party and they are not likely to vote for a Democrat. These disaffected voters may stay home or vote for an Independent spoiler. The thinking Republican voter, which is a small percentage of the GOP voting pool, could decide to hold his nose and vote Republican in the hopes that the GOP will change its modus operandi and become responsible. I think the thinking Republican makes up 10% of the GOP vote and the idiot and rigid Republican makes up 20% of the GOP vote. Which leaves the other 70% with an unenviable choice: Vote Democrat, vote for fascists or stay home. By me, the answer to my original question is that the Bush administration’s confidence is delusional. Seventy percent of voting Republicans are not about to vote for fascists, they are too pissed off to stay home and with a new Bush administration scandal bursting onto the horizon with each day’s dawn, they are very much in the mood to vote for a Democrat.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Maybe Repubs Use a Different Dictionary

Representative John Shimkus (R-IL) has been chairman of the Congressional page program since 2001. Yesterday he said he was “unaware of previous complaints about Mark Foley”. Maybe “complaint” has a different meaning to Shimkus than to reasonable Congressmen who don’t longingly ogle teenage boys. Maybe to Shimkus “overly friendly” is a compliment and whoever said Foley was overly friendly got a high mark on the Shimkus FoleyBoys List. Maybe to qualify as a complaint, a page would have to tell Shimkus that Foley ignored him, or told him he was the kind of page that Democrats would want to have around. We don’t know. The New York Times reported this morning, “A longtime adviser to Mr. Foley has testified that he asked Mr. Hastert’s office to intervene at least three years ago, an account that the speaker’s aides have denied.” Maybe to Hastert the definition of intervening, didn’t mean “coming between”, but “jumping into the middle of and wallowing in”. We don’t know. Maybe to these guys “creepy behavior” means, “oh man, this guy is great”. How do we know? So now that they understand the meaning of complaint, intervene, overly friendly and creepy in the huge world that exists outside of Republican politics, the Congressmen involved in the FoleyBoys Follies truly can swear they weren’t aware of any of it. At least, by my lights, that’s the only way these Republican assholes can claim plausible deniability or avoid blowback on this latest scandal. We know that “failure” means “success” to George W. Bush. But before the Republicans commit the United States to even the teensiest new legal agreement, we should find out what the GOP means by “Christian morality”, “safe and secure” and “democracy”. Because it surely looks like the Bush administration thinks those words mean, “screw anything that’s warm and rob everybody blind”, “keep the folks scared” and “we rule, you obey”.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Mission in North Korea No Longer Preventing

The Bush administration says that if North Korea transfers nuclear weapons or material to “entities” it would be considered a “grave threat to the United States” and the US would “hold North Korea fully accountable of the consequences of such action.” Time was that North Korea building a nuclear weapon was considered a grave threat. But North Korea has built a nuclear weapon. And the United States is powerless. So the White House has lowered the bar. When North Korea sells nuclear weapons to another country, then what will be considered a grave threat? Lobbing nuclear bombs at ships that come into the Sea of Japan? And by the way, what does “fully accountable” mean? It’s another undefined phrase like “victory in Iraq”. The White House has never explained what “victory” means or what it would look like. Likewise, how can it be proved that North Korea is the producer of a nuclear weapon that winds up in another country’s arsenal? And how is North Korea made fully accountable if it is proved? And, at the risk of repeating myself, what does fully accountable mean? This morning the New York Times reported, “Mr. Bush’s statement was viewed by national security experts as a major shift in deterrence doctrine, one that acknowledges that the mission today is no longer preventing North Korea from building a nuclear weapon, but deterring its use or transfer.” But the problem, right here and right now, is that if North Korea sells its nuclear wares to another country and if the buyer uses those wares against yet another country, how can it be established that the nuclear device came from North Korea? That’s a difficult proposition and that’s why the New York Times lead paragraph this morning read, “Making good on President Bush’s vow this week to hold North Korea ‘fully accountable’ if it shares nuclear material will pose a major challenge to American intelligence and diplomacy, requiring new equipment and a high level of international cooperation, administration and military officials say.” I never did like the fact that the United States had become a bully. I never did like the fact that from its position of super power, the United States had decided that only the United States could have nuclear technology and that the rest of the world had to bow down to the United States’ supremacy and ability to intimidate. However, the United States turning into a weenie nation is even more unacceptable. Our downward spiral into impotence has happened over a short period of six years at the hands of a bunch of insane, power-mad silly little men in the Republican Party who have never served in the military and whose every decision has been that of self-interest and could not have been worse for America as a nation or for the American people as a whole. With regard to the upcoming election and the Presidential election in 2008, the Republican cant is that the Democrats have no plan for dealing with Iraq and the other major issues that need to be solved and resolved in the next few years. Duh! Who caused the United States to collapse into ignominy? The Republicans have led us into disaster after disaster and because they have had control of the House, the Senate, the Department of Defense and the Justice Department, the Democrats could do nothing but watch the catastrophes unfold. And now the Republicans have the balls to say the Democrats have not presented a plan for setting things right. It is certainly true that it will not be easy to undo the failures of the Republican Party. Thanks to the Republicans, the Outstanding National Debt as of October 13, 2006 is $8,548,222,338,530.00. The population of the United States is 299,687,370. Each citizen’s (man, woman and child) share of this debt is $28,523. The National Debt has increased $1.63 billion per day since September 30, 2005. Thanks to the Republicans, the war in Iraq has escalated into a civil war and as of today, 2,756 American soldiers have been killed in this unnecessary war. Thanks to the Republicans, 655,000 Iraqis have been killed in Iraq. Thanks to the Republicans, terrorism has more than tripled throughout the world. Thanks to the Republicans, North Korea has built a nuclear device. Thanks to the Republicans, a sex scandal has erupted in Washington, DC involving teen-age pages, a Republican Congressman and the Speaker of the House, Dennis Hastert. Thanks to the Republicans the entire world hates and reviles the United States. Where, may I ask, is the Republican plan to solve these problems by November 4, 2008?

Thursday, October 12, 2006

If Bush Had Answered Truthfully

Yesterday, during an hour-long morning press conference in the Rose Garden that focused on Iraq and North Korea, the Prez said, “I’m asked questions around the country, ‘Just go ahead and use the military,’” Bush then answered the question that had not been asked by saying, “And my answer is that I believe the commander in chief must try all diplomatic measures before we commit our military.” Continuing his question and answer session with himself, the Prez said, “I’ll ask myself a follow-up…if that’s the case, why did you use military action in Iraq?’ And the reason why is because we tried the diplomacy.” If Bush seems overeager to get these pesky questions out of the way, he is. The President’s minders know that everyone in the world is wondering why the White House so cavalierly attacked Iraq, a weak country that had made no aggressive moves against the US, but is now sitting on its hands regarding North Korea, which has just set off a nuclear test, and which has been hostile toward the US for decades. And the honest answers are: 1) The US attacked Iraq because it was weak and seemed to be a pushover that would quickly succumb in the GOP plans to rule the Middle East and own its oil. 2) Now that the US has lost the war in Iraq, has squandered billions of dollars in its failed attempt to rule the Middle East and own its oil, and has used up its military resources, the US is incapable of waging another war or even protecting itself should a nation attack us. 3) The US pushed aside the world’s pleas to use “all diplomatic measures” with Iraq and instead blundered ahead and started a war without so much as a by your leave from Congress. 4) The US has patently refused to engage in a dialogue with North Korea, much less use ANY diplomatic measures until North Korea announced on October 8th it had detonated a nuclear device. It was then the US had to face the fact that due to the Bush administration’s incompetence and wrong-headed leadership, it had no military to use and would have to resort to diplomatic measures with North Korea. Which decision, of course, has come too late. The prudent thing would have been to bribe both Saddam Hussein and Kim Jong-il with outright cash and goods. Bribery would have worked and would have been cheaper than a failed war and having to deal with a pissant despot and his pissant nuclear devices. Outright bribery would not have allowed the US to rule the Middle East or to own its oil. But then neither has our war in Iraq. And we could have negotiated reasonable terms on sharing the Middle East’s oil. If we had bribed Kim Jong-il we could have worked out a deal with North Korea regarding nuclear devices. Kim may be insane, but he’s not stupid. Shaking hands with drug dealing nations and tinpot despots is better than going to war, putting our children and our children’s children into indentured servitude, and weakening our military to the point of nonexistence. But the Bush administration is not about engaging in prudent acts that will keep the United States safe and continue its image as a world-class super power. The Bush administration is about the Republicans staying in power by whatever means necessary. The Bush administration is just one more tinpot despotic regime.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Rice Asserts US Won’t Attack North Korea

That’s like saying, Dick Cheney says he won’t do tag-team wrestling. Of course the US won’t attack or invade North Korea. We can’t. We’re too weak. Our resources have been squandered in Iraq. But then, North Korea is just as full of bluster and bullshit as Condoleezza Rice. North Korea’s Foreign Ministry says, “If the US keeps pestering us and increases pressure, we will regard it as a declaration of war and will take a series of physical corresponding measures.” What measures? North Korea didn’t say. Rice warned North Korea that it now risked sanctions “unlike anything that they have faced before.” What will the upshot of all these threats be? If any military measures are actually resorted to, North Korea will probably attack South Korea to show the US who’s the boss. And the US will do nothing except harangue about sanctions. This morning, the New York Times reported that the US would attempt at the UN “to persuade other countries to cut off economic ties with North Korea”. Lots of luck with that. And the US would use “American banking laws to punish banks overseas that deal with North Korean companies”. Uh huh! In addition, the NYT said, “Sanctions sought by the United States include international inspections of all cargo moving in and out of North Korea to detect weapons-related material. But that might prove difficult for China and Russia to accept, in part because their coastlines and borders would be affected.” North Korea has called the US bluff and our super powers have been so eroded that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice can do little but shake her finger and put on her school-marm face. It’s hard to come up with an argument that sounds reasonable to refute North Korea’s whine that the US had a benign attitude about India’s nuclear technology, so why can’t North Korea have some nuclear weapons? Well, we think India is nice and we think you’re mean, so there! If nuclear technology weren’t so toxic and unfriendly, and so capable of inflicting total damage which lasts for eons, the recent threat and response between North Korea and the United States could only be likened to tots in a sandbox. Unfortunately, these tots are leaders of nations and both Kim Jong-il and George W. Bush are insane. And neither one has a chief of staff who can talk sense to his psychopath boss. By the way…if President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney shot each other dead in a Rose Garden duel over whose water pistol is bigger, you do know who would be President of the United States, right? None other than Speaker of the House J. Dennis Hastert.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

GOP Distraction Ploy Sure Is Working

You got your idiot President Bush talking tough about North Korea’s nuclear tests with no military to back him up. You got your Florida Representative Mark Foley buggering Congressional pages. You got your rumors about Denny Hastert, his chief of staff Scott Palmer and deputy chief of staff Mike Stokke who all live together, being gay and that’s why they tried to cover up the Foley scandal. So, yeah, it’s very distracting. But the result is not what the White House would call a success. The result is that the Republican Party can’t find any good news to boast about and it’s only four weeks until voters go to the polls. Not that the Bush administration won’t boast. It will. But they will have to lie. Which is fine by the Bush administration. At some point, however, the whole White House crew is going to have to come to terms with the fact that their lying has not been productive. After Harry K. Thaw killed architect Stanford White, he supposedly said, “My God, I shot the wrong architect!” when he saw the building William A. Potter had designed at Princeton. Republicans are having similar feelings of regret now about the US aggression on Iraq: My God! We invaded the wrong evil in the axis of evil! But we’ve shot our wad. This morning the New York Times said of North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-il, “Mr. Kim may have calculated, many experts believe, that at this point there is little more that the Bush administration can do to him.” Former Senator Sam Nunn (D-GA) said, “We started with the least dangerous of the countries, Iraq, and we knew it at the time. And now we have to deal with that” But as Mr. Nunn knows, there is no way the US can deal with the debacle in Iraq and at the same time threaten Iraq and Iran. We don’t have the goods, which the whole world knows. Kim is right, what can the Bush administration do to him? Militarily? ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. And besides, the threat from North Korea is not that they will drop a nuclear bomb on the US. It’s that now that they have the technology, they can sell their technology to anyone in the world that wants it. If the neocon putzes in the White House had been willing to talk to North Korea, this newest mess could have been avoided. But no! They had to strut and preen and rattle their sabers and play soldier and pretend the US was still a great world power. Which it isn’t. Oh, and while the big macho men in the Republican Party were posturing and bragging and killing 2,748 American soldiers just so they could feel manly and strong, and while they were gay-bashing and claiming that only heterosexuals had the stones to run the country, it turns out that some of the biggest GOP mahoffs were having threesomes in their closets. So yes indeedy, the country has been distracted. But we’re not comatose. And we vote.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Time Mag Nails the GOP

Yesterday, Time Magazine posted an article by Karen Tumulty titled, “The End of a Revolution”. The article is appearing in the October 16th issue. The subhead says, “Sex, lies and power games are just the latest symptoms of a Republican Party that has strayed from its ideals”. Here are a few random quotes: “Compromise, that most central of congressional checks and balances, has been largely replaced by a kind of calculated cussedness that has left the G.O.P. isolated and exposed in times of crisis.” “As conservative George F. Will, writing in the Washington Post last week, put it, the Foley affair is ‘a maraschino cherry atop the Democrats' delectable sundae of Republican miseries.’” “In the latest TIME poll, conducted the week after the news broke, nearly 80% of respondents said they were aware of the scandal, and two-thirds of them were convinced that Republican leaders had tried to cover it up. Among the registered voters who were polled, 54% said they would be more likely to vote for the Democratic candidate for Congress, compared with 39% who favored the Republican--nearly a perfect reversal of the 51%-40% advantage the G.O.P. enjoyed as recently as August. There was even worse news in a poll by the nonpartisan Pew Research Center that showed a precipitous drop in Republican support among frequent churchgoers, one of the most important and loyal elements of the G.O.P. base. There's no indication that they are clamoring to be Democrats, but the risk is that they will simply stay home on Election Day.” “And the Democrats for once are showing the good sense to stay out of the way when the other side is self-destructing. Sighed one of the younger House Republican aides who sits in on key meetings: ‘Foul play on the Democrats' side? If that is the only card left to play, then we are in serious trouble.’" “Even though many of the G.O.P.'s policies have been hostile to gay rights, its leaders have long followed a ‘Don't ask, don't tell’ policy with what pretty much everyone in Washington knows is a sizable number of closeted Republicans among members of Congress, upper-level staff and top party operatives. Says Patrick Sammon, executive vice president of the gay group Log Cabin Republicans: ‘There are a lot of gay Republicans who are working behind the scenes to advance the priorities of this party.’" The Time poll follows: Do you approve of the way George W. Bush is handling his job as President? Disapprove 57% Approve 36% Approve or disapprove of the job the U.S. Congress is doing? 57% disapprove 31% approve 12% don't know Say they would vote for a Democrat if the congressional election were held today: 54% vote for a Democrat 39% favor a Republican 7% Other party/ don't know Think the country would be better off if the Democrats won control of the House: 49% agree 38% disagree 13% Don't know 78% of poll respondents were aware of the scandal involving former G.O.P. Congressman Mark Foley. Their views: Do you think Republican leaders in Congress handled the Foley situation properly, or do you think they tried to cover it up? Handled properly 16% Covered it up 64% Did the disclosure about Foley's sexually explicit instant messages to teenage congressional pages and the handling of this situation by the House Republican leadership make you less likely to vote for the Republican candidate in your district, more likely, or did it really have no effect on how you will vote? Less likely 25% More likely 4% No effect 68% Do you think Republican House Speaker Dennis Hastert should resign as Speaker because of his handling of the Foley case? Yes 39% No 38% Don't know 23% ("This TIME poll was conducted by telephone Oct. 3-4 among 1,002 adult Americans by SRBI Public Affairs. The margin of error is 3 percentage points. "Don't know" responses omitted for some questions. Asked of registered voters.") The cover of the October 16th issue of Time Magazine was as eloquent as this article. It showed the rear end of an elephant with a caption that read: WHAT A MESS.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Chickens Coming Home To Roost

This morning the New York Times reported, “some Republican staff members worried that several gay men caught up in the (Mark Foley) scandal would be treated unfairly”. Oh my goodness! The same way the Republican Party treats all gays? The NYT says that every couple of months ten top staff members from Capitol Hill meet “to commiserate” about how tough it is being gay Republicans. They call themselves “The P Street Project” because P Street runs through a local gay area. If these men are top staff members of Republican Congressmen, Republican lobbies and Republican flacks, they have had to work on bills, speeches, and plots and plans that denigrate, vilify and stomp on the rights of gays. I can’t feel their pain. Most Republican gay men who work on Capitol Hill hide the fact that they are gay. Whose fault is it that they feel they have to stay in the closet? Could it be that it’s the Republican Party that has made life uncomfortable for gays in Washington, DC? Could it be that it’s the Republican Party and no other party that is falsely equating being gay with pedophilia? Could it be that it’s the Republican Party that is responsible for spewing lies about gays and lesbians and the gay life style? Could it be that these very staff members who are complaining about not being able to live an openly gay life, are ready and willing to betray their gay community in order to work in the Republican Party? Oh you bet your sweet ass that could be, and most assuredly is. Well, gee whiz guys! Get out of the Republican Party then, or get another job! You wouldn’t stay in a job that required you to tell lies about your religion, your family or your race, would you? Or would you? The NYT says, “Since Representative Foley, Republican of Florida, resigned after it was revealed he had sent sexually explicit electronic messages to male pages, gay Republicans in Washington have been under what one describes as 'siege and suspicion.'" Fancy that! And who created the atmosphere of siege and suspicion about gays in the first place? You know the answer. So go get an honest job and take pride in yourself and the fact that you are gay! Because until you do that, all you closeted gay Republicans working on Capitol Hill, you are betraying the gay community, you are betraying yourselves, and you are contributing to the spread of fascism in the United States by the reprehensible and bigoted Bush administration.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

What’s With Bush and Male Beauty?

In a Fox News interview, George W. Bush said about Brit Hume, “In all due respect, you’ve got a beautiful face and everything.” The Toronto Globe reported that he said to Scott Reid, assistant to Canada’s Prime Minister, “Well, you got a pretty face. You got a pretty face. You’re a good-looking guy. Better looking than my Scott (then-Press Secretary Scott McClellan) anyway.” He said to NBC’s David Gregory, “you're looking beautiful today”. And this past Thursday during a Phoenix, Arizona stop where the Prez signed legislation to “protect the American people”, according to the Arizona Daily Star, Bush singled out Republican Candidate for Governor Len Munsil for his admiration. The Prez mistakenly called Munsil “Lee”, but no doubt he was too dazzled to think clearly. He said Munsil had impressed him as "an attractive man, a family man, an honest man." With all due respect, Brit Hume may be many things to many people, but gorgeous he isn’t. Still, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. But why is Bush always commenting on the fact that he finds certain men extraordinarily attractive? Just asking. And there’s another question begging for an answer: While the Prez is running around signing bills to protect the American people, what is going to protect the American people from George W. Bush?

Friday, October 06, 2006

If Hastert Has to Resign, the GOP Won’t Care

If Speaker of the House J. Dennis Hastert does the right thing and resigns (read: is kicked out by his pals), it will not be because he enabled Representative Mark Foley (R-FL) to bugger the teenage boys who fill the posts of pages in Congress. If Hastert leaves, it will be because he has little name recognition among voters and he hasn’t done anything to make himself invaluable in the eyes of Republican dealmakers. He is expendable. The reason Hastert is Speaker of the House today is because former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich self-destructed in a spectacular explosion of arrogance and self-worth delusions in 1998. Gingrich’s big mouth and bumptious personality were already seen as a liability and many Republicans were working behind the scenes to boot him out at a time when Gingrich was obsessed with the Clinton/Lewinsky affair. Gingrich boasted that the GOP would pick up 30 seats in Congress, but instead the GOP lost five seats. Oops! Gingrich announced he would resign as Speaker, and left the House as well. With the Speakership open, Appropriations Committee chairman Bob Livingston (R-LA) was expected to become Speaker, but an extra-marital affair caused him to resign his seat. Then two Texans, Majority Leader Dick Armey and Majority Whip Tom DeLay, seemed to be in the running. But Armey had only recently fended off a challenge by Steve Largent for his position as majority leader and DeLay always was seen as a slimeball and was not Speaker material. Hastert won the position as Speaker of the House because he didn’t make waves, he wasn’t controversial and he had done nothing for 12 years as a Republican Representative from Illinois. Hastert was a compromise. The Republicans are not going to fight tooth and nail for Hastert. If it works out that he can save his job on his own, fine. But no Republican is going to put his reputation or his job on the line for J. Dennis Hastert. He isn’t worth it. How Hastert fares in this debacle has nothing to do with his inaction or his lies in the scandalous Foley affair. It has to do with the fact that the Republicans can afford to rid itself of this Speaker who is and has been a cipher. And if Hastert can be suited up as a GOP scapegoat, that’s what is going to happen. Not only do the Republicans not care a rap about Hastert, they don’t give a mink-dyed rat’s ass about protecting Congressional pages from the advances of rapacious old queens. The White House cares about protecting itself. And only about protecting itself.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Here’s the Point About Florida’s Mark Foley

Congressman Foley and his people are running around trying to find loopholes in US laws that will get Foley off the hook legally for having sex with teenagers. Foley is claiming he’s never had sex with a minor because he actually has sex with older teens. Foley’s focus is to stay out of jail. And although it would be nice to see this particular craven old Nance go to prison and experience predatory behavior for himself, making Mark Foley pay for his unconscionable behavior isn’t the highest priority right at this moment. For years Foley has ingratiated himself with teenage boys. For years he has put himself in positions of trust where he would have the closest possible contact with a group of boys he wanted to seduce. And for years, members of Congress have known what the unscrupulous rakehell was doing and they have let it go on. As a matter of law, it may make a difference whether the boys were 15 or 17, but as a matter of morals and ethics, it’s a distinction without a difference. What Foley was doing was cowardly, contemptible, obscene and foul. However, it may not have been illegal if he zeroed in on boys who had reached the age of consent. Nevertheless, there isn’t a single Senator or Representative in Congress who wouldn’t have wanted to inflict bodily harm on Mark Foley if they had found out he was trying to entice one of their teenage children into bed by sending them salacious emails. And whether their child was 15 or 17 would not have mattered. Mark Foley is a 52-year-old man. He preys on teenagers. And now, the pissant is saying he did it because he was drunk and because he was molested as a child. Ugh. Mark Foley becomes more repugnant as each day passes. But even Foley’s spineless justifications for targeting vulnerable young people aren’t the point. The point is that members of Congress knew what Foley was doing and they didn’t blow the whistle because they feared reprisals from Foley and they feared that if Foley’s predilection became public the Republican Party would lose power. The only measure the leaders of the Republican Party took to protect teenage boys in the Congressional Page Program was to warn the boys that Foley “was odd”. That’s the real point today. Speaker J. Dennis Hastert, Majority Leader John A. Boehner, Representative Rodney Alexander of Louisiana, Representative Thomas M. Reynolds of New York, all knew about Mark Foley’s nasty practice of singling out young pages to entice into sexual liaisons. And they did NOTHING to protect the pages. These men should be kicked out of Congress. Ugh. The Republican Party becomes more repugnant as each day passes.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

My Mean-Spirited and Biased Hope and Prayer

The Foley scandal has given the pious, loftier-than-God folks a chance to exhibit their exalted moral superiority over us lesser types. At the wags who make jokes about the sexual predilections and peccadilloes of Congressmen, the sanctimonious prigs intone there is nothing funny about Representaive Mark Foley trolling for sex partners among the Congressional pages. At the political party spinners, the self-righteous twits tsk-tsk that no one should use the Senator’s downward spiral as political fodder. At those who can’t read enough about the values-flaunting Republican Party being in trouble over SEX, the holier-than-thou faction sniffs that the Foley crisis isn’t entertainment because children are sacrosanct. Okay. Fair enough. However, this post is for the rest of us. I just read that there may be a Florida Scientology link with Florida’s Representative Mark Foley. Oh could this possibly be true? Oh happy day! Please God, make it so!! The news that would catapult me into prejudiced and slanted heaven would be to find out that a man-boy (or at the very least a gay young man/older man) guild exists in the right-wing values-preaching Republican Party in Congress. I’m reading every scrap of news about Mark Foley in the hope that George W. Bush will be found to be a closet whatever. I wouldn’t care what. If this Foley mess turned up news that the Bush family is involved with Opus Dei and that they flagellate themselves into frenzied delirium every morning, I would give a shriek of glee. Or maybe the Prez (and his Florida-Gov brother) will be found to be Scientology converts. Yummiola! So yes, it would please me if Speaker Dennis Hastert, Majority Leader John Boehnr, Illinois Representative John Shimkus and House clerk, Jeff Trandahl, are all lying through their teeth and that they knew exactly what was going on. And I would be thrilled into a Sixth Happiness if the probe found George W. Bush not only knew but applauded Foley’s hobby. There you have it. That’s my fantasy. So sue me.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Aha! Lieberman Plot Thickens

Now that Bob Woodward’s latest book, “State of Denial”, can be ordered on the ‘Net, he’s making the talk show rounds. Yesterday he was on “60 Minutes” and tonight he’ll be on Larry King. The chief topic, is that Woodward no longer is trying to maintain a reporter’s objectivity about the Bush administration. In fact, early reviews of his book (like Michiko Kakutani’s in the New York Times on September 30) show Woodward to be decidedly anti-Bush. This morning, the Washington Post published an article by Woodward titled “Should He Stay?” It speaks to the problem of Donald Rumsfeld’s thorny tenure as Secretary of Defense and the fact that right after Bush was re-elected in 2004, the question of whether Rumsfeld should be ousted was very much on the minds of the entire Bush administration. Woodward says, “The biggest question mark was Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld: After President Bush won reelection in 2004, White House Chief of Staff Andrew H. Card Jr. got out an 8 1/2-by-11 spiral notebook, half an inch thick, with a blue cover. He called it his "hit-by-the-bus" book -- handy in case someone in the administration suddenly had to be replaced… Card had the names of 11 possible Rumsfeld replacements in his "hit-by-the-bus" book, among them Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (D-Conn.), who had been Al Gore's vice presidential running mate in 2000 and was a staunch defender of the Iraq war, and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.).” Well, well, well. So Lieberman had to know he was being considered as a Rumsfeld replacement all the way back to 2004. That does make the cheese more binding, as they say down South. And it certainly explains the kiss Lieberman planted on the Prez at the State of the Union Speech on February 2, 2005. It’s obvious now that Lieberman defected to the Republican side as soon as he was sure Bush would be president in 2004. “But Card thought the best replacement for Rumsfeld would be James A. Baker III,” Woodward says, “who had been White House chief of staff and Treasury secretary under President Ronald Reagan, then secretary of state and chief political adviser to the president's father.” In the end, Bush and Cheney decided not to oust Rumsfeld. “In mid-December 2004, the president made his final decision,” Woodward says. “Rumsfeld would stay, he indicated to Cheney and Card. He couldn't change Rumsfeld. That didn't mean he didn't want to, Card later said.” So did Lieberman opt to throw his whole political career as a moderate Democrat down the tubes, on the off chance he would be made Secretary of Defense when Rumsfeld was canned? Probably not. Rumsfeld has not been canned and from all indications, it looks like he won’t be. It may be that Lieberman is counting on McCain being elected president, at which time he will clinch the Cabinet position as Secretary of Defense. But what seems to have been going on is that Joseph Lieberman had been hankering to switch sides for years. And he has been wooing the right people in order to make it so. In any case, the defection has been accomplished and if Lieberman keeps his Senate seat as an Independent, he can solidify his position with the GOP until 2009. Of course it is devoutly to be hoped that he will lose the upcoming election. The sweetest upshot would be for the little putz to be shunned by both sides.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Another Idiot From Florida

It must be the trickle-down effect. If you have an ethics-challenged numnut running the government, say, oh for argument’s sake...THE REPUBLICAN GOVERNOR OF FLORIDA, it then follows that the Florida secretary of state would commit an unethical act to make the governor’s brother president, and that a Florida Congressman will try to entice teenage boys into elicit sex by email. What doesn’t follow is that when the Republican leadership found out ten months ago that US Congressman Mark Foley (R-FL) was sending sexually explicit emails to a 16-year-old page, they did not grill Foley about it. This morning the New York Times reported, “The leadership had other possible avenues for investigating the e-mail messages beyond questioning Mr. Foley, including an inquiry by the ethics committee or even the Capitol police. But aides said that while the contents of the messages are disturbing in hindsight, they did not set off alarms initially.” Tell me they’re joking! What’re they, blind? The slimemeister is 52 and the kid is 16. These messages didn't set off alarms? Foley: You in your boxers, too? Teen: Nope, just got home. I had a college interview that went late. Foley: Well, strip down and get relaxed. … Foley: What ya wearing? Teen: tshirt and shorts Foley: Love to slip them off of you. … Foley: Do I make you a little horny? Teen: A little. Foley: Cool. ABC News blew the lid off this can of worms yesterday and reported, “The language gets much more graphic, too graphic to be broadcast, and at one point the congressman appears to be describing Internet sex.” A former page told ABC News that his class “was warned about Foley by people involved in the program”. Other pages said they were “hesitant to report Foley because of his power in Congress.” The NYT said, “Among those who became aware earlier this year of the fall 2005 communications between Mr. Foley and the 16-year-old page, who worked for Representative Rodney Alexander, Republican of Louisiana, were Representative John A. Boehner, the majority leader, and Representative Thomas M. Reynolds of New York, chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee. Mr. Reynolds said in a statement Saturday that he had also personally raised the issue with Speaker J. Dennis Hastert.” This morning the Los Angeles Times said, “In its preliminary report, Hastert's office said it had been told twice of concerns about Foley's e-mail contact with a former page.” Guess what? Hastert says he knew nothing about it. Hastert’s office issued this disclaimer, “No one in the speaker’s office was made aware of the sexually explicit text messages which press reports suggest had been directed to another individual until they were revealed in the press and on the Internet this week.” Boehner’s spokesman Kevin Madden said Saturday that Mr. Boehner had had a “brief, nonspecific” conversation about the subject with Mr. Alexander in the spring but that he could not recall with certainty whether he had discussed it with other leaders. Alexander did not respond to the NYT's telephone and e-mail messages. However, Alexander had said that he called the boy’s parents yesterday, and they told him they had not wanted to pursue the matter but wanted Mr. Foley to stop. Foley, of course, will not stop this kind of behavior, but at least he was forced to resign his seat in Congress. And his reputation is in shreds. The question hanging in the air of course is: Were the parents paid off or threatened with bodily harm and other exquisite forms of financial and personal ruin? Because lacking those motivations to clam up, what parent would not want to cut Foley’s balls off, presuming they exist. It surely would be poetic justice, if the state that enabled the worst Republican candidate in the history of US elections to become president, now paved the way for the Democrats to reclaim Congress. And all because of a nasty perversion.