Eden Hill Journal

Comments, dreams, stories, and rantings from a middle-aged native of Maine living on a shoestring and a prayer in the woods of Maine. My portion of the family farm is to be known as Eden Hill Farm just because I want to call it that and because that's the closest thing to the truth that I could come up with. If you enjoy what I write, email me or make a comment. If you enjoy Eden Hill, come visit.

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Location: Maine, United States

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Middle East Futures

Juan Cole has an interesting post today titled " Bush v. Kerry: The Persian Gulf Empire and Perpetual War" in which he discusses the difference between Kerry's likely Middle East policy and Bush's. In his post, he discusses the likelihood under Bush of permanent military bases in Iraq against the wishes of 80% of Iraq's population.
Yesterday I read an article in The Nation titled "When Presidents Lie" posted October 7 by Eric Alterman.
This article goes a long way toward explaining why Bush hasn't been accurately informing either the people of the US or the people of the world about the real reasons for the Iraq War and the future plans for US involvement in the Middle East.

Third Presidential Debate

I watched the third presidential debate last night. I actually stayed in front of the TV and watched the whole thing. I give myself a congratulatory pat on the back for that accomplishment!
As usual, there is a media debate today about who won. Thinking back on it, I have to conclude that I can't see a winner. But what I do see is two clear losers!
Did anyone notice the matching suits? As far as I could tell, they even wore matching ties. My wife noticed that the ties seemed to match the carpet on the stage. Considering that the entire debate was carefully planned by the two political parties, what would this signify, that both men crawl on their bellies? That would seem an appropriate conclusion considering the debate.
Bush certainly came out crawling with his denial that he ever said what Kerry reported him as saying, that six months after 9/11 President Bush had said that he wasn't concerned about bin Laden. Bush did say that and his denial at the debate last night was at best disingenuous.
But Kerry's remark about Cheney's daughter was a low blow too. I would characterize that as belly crawling.
I was disappointed about the discussion over the division in US politics and public opinion. Clearly to me, this division is something that Conservatives have actively been pursuing for decades. The fact that there is now such a deep rift reflects the success of that conservative agenda. The seeds of mistrust of "liberals" and the so-called "liberal media" sewn over the years by conservatives have finally shown fruit during the Bush administration. Kerry had the perfect opportunity to point that out, but he didn't. Instead, he just fumbled with the question.
But Bush's half spoken attack on the media fell flat. I thought that made him look a bit foolish and divisive.
All in all, I think that debate was quite clearly a debate between two losers.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Depressing News

I couldn't take it! It was just too much truth for one hour!
No, I didn't listen to the Rush Limbaugh show again today. I just got up from an afternoon rest with Amy Goodman's Democracy Now program on the radio keeping me company. If you ever really want to hear the flip side of conservative talk radio, this has got to be it!
Today, Amy featured Naomi Klein who has a current article in The Nation titled "James Baker's Double Life" posted yesterday, October 12.
In it, Ms Klein informs her readers of the huge apparent conflict of interest involving President Bush's Special Presidential Envoy James Baker, former Secretary of State under the first President Bush. Baker was given the task by the current President Bush to negotiate debt reduction for Iraq, but according to this article, Baker also has a "relationship with merchant bank and defense contractor the Carlyle Group, where Baker is senior counselor and an equity partner with an estimated $180 million stake."
It seems that the Carlyle Group together with the Albright Group (yes, headed by former Clinton Secretary of State Madeline Albright) and others has made a secret offer to the nation of Kuwait to help Kuwait collect the $57 billion owed to them by Iraq. In exchange, Kuwait, if they accept this help, would pay this consortium $2 billion, half of which would go to the Carlyle Group. It appears that Kuwait is considering this offer while at the same time Baker is conducting now stalled negotiations for Iraqi debt reductions.
This is almost sick enough to make me want to puke. I mean, does the word "extortion" come to mind here? Is Baker in a position to hurt the financial interests of Kuwait if that government doesn't agree to pay this billion dollars to the Carlyle Group? Not that he would ever do a thing like that, mind you. He is, after all, a man of integrity like President Bush and his daddy, right? These are guys we can trust, right?

What If He Really Means It?

For a long time I have been wondering what it would men if George Bush really means the things he says. What if when he says things are going well in Iraq, he really means it? I mean, here is John Edwards spreading the word that Bush is "out of touch" with America, how can anyone fix a problem if he denies that there even is a problem, all that kind of thing. And here are the Bush supporters silently, secretly, believing that Bush didn't anticipate the extent of the post-war problems in Iraq but also believing that everything possible is being done to advance stability and democracy over there.
But what nobody is considering is the possibility that the continued and escalating opposition to the US military presence is actually something that Bush considers to be positive, good for the future of American interests in the Middle East. I can see at least two different ways that this could be possible. One of those ways has become common rhetoric for the Bush administration. The other way, if it is true, is still a secret.
The first way this could be possible is the "bring it on" mentality. We all know that Bush used this phrase in 2003, well after the US occupation of Iraq was accomplished, to invite Islamic militants to come to Iraq to fight their war. In the 2004 campaign, Bush is spreading an illusion of security by pointing out that Americans are safer if we wage the war on terror over there as opposed to fighting terrorists here at home. From that, I would conclude that military action, killing "terrorists" and anyone who either does or might in the future harbor terrorists, is a good thing. Bush is right. Things are going as planned in Iraq. Bush isn't "out of touch," as Edwards and Kerry claim, he is merely operating under a different set of values. War and killing in the name of national security is a positive thing in the Bush value system. It is a sign of "good" to kill "evil."
That mentality may win votes in America, but it won't win the purse strings of those who are financing the war. I think there is a much more practical way of justifying the escalating violence in Iraq.
I think the United States is standing at a crossroads in its history. We are facing the need to make a difficult and potentially very painful choice. Several things have delivered us to this crossroads. One is that we have used, and to a large extent squandered, our domestic petroleum supply. We have become heavily dependent on foreign oil. The second, and just as serious, problem is that year after year, we are exposing ourselves to a balance of trade deficit. We are selling our souls for cheap foreign goods. And as if that weren't enough, we are shipping our own manufacturing capacity overseas in the name of free trade. And we are doing this with no solution in sight with respect to jobs for American workers or the means to balance foreign trade.
I tend to link the Iraq War and the occupation that has followed with this economic world trade problem. I think there are people of influence, American capitalists, bankers, politicians, and planners, who believe that in order for the US to remain economically viable in the new global economy, we need to dominate the energy industry. Capturing Iraq's resources and establishing a strong military presence in the Middle East is key to accomplishing that goal.
Bush knows this. He knows how important it is for the US to have military bases in Iraq. He knows how central Iraq is to the supply of oil and gas to Asia and Europe. He knows that Iraq lies close enough to the Gulf and to the Caspian Basin to provide air superiority support to both regions and to any regions where pipelines could deliver this energy to either Asia or Europe. He also knows how important it is for US corporations to access that oil. He understands both military and economic hegemony. He understands the balance of trade problem and how important it is for the US to establish dominance in the world energy supply.
If there was peace in Iraq now, the American public and the world would expect the US to bring its military home from Iraq. The world would not consider it appropriate for the US to maintain a strong military presence in a peaceful Iraq.
Bush knows this. So when Bush says things are going well in Iraq, is he "out of touch" or does he know and has he accepted that which we have not yet accepted as a nation, that the US needs to continue this war in Iraq, that war, not peace, is a good thing?
Four more years? You tell me...

Tuesday, October 12, 2004


For those among us suffering from paranoia... or is this about another kind of paranoia?:
US seizes independent media sites

Monday, October 11, 2004

A summer home in "downeast" Maine. This is in the town of Perry and overlooks Passamaquoddy Bay looking east toward New Brunswick, Canada. This is almost as far east as you can get in the US. Posted by Hello

Here is an interesting pattern formed by nature along the downeast Maine coast. Posted by Hello