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.

My Photo
Name:
Location: Maine, United States

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Immigration Oversimplified

When was the last time you heard advocates for the wealthy say they wanted their immigrant workers to become legal workers or citizens? Ever?
The claim always floated around is that the illegal immigrants in the US, now numbering somewhere around 11 million, are having two negative impacts on the American economy.
1. They are taking away jobs for unskilled American workers.
2. They pay little into the system but are putting a strain on our social system, healthcare, education, welfare, etc.
It is argued that if these 11 million illegal immigrants were legalized, not only would that not solve the problem of them taking American jobs, but it would increase the second problem because legalized immigrants would be more likely to use social programs. I just heard one radio commentator suggest that legalizing the illegals would triple the cost of this second problem.
It's been difficult keeping informed about the immigration reform legislation being tossed about the halls of Washington this month. More than likely that is because the legislation isn't serious legislation. It's political. That means two things:
1. It can't offend the financial base of the Republican Party, namely the wealthy.
2. It needs to pacify the non-wealthy Republicans who actually do the voting.
In other words, any immigration legislation this year needs to be ambiguous.
I've heard from many sources that some proposed legislation would legalize 400,000 currently illegal immigrants. I say wow. While that is a significant number, what about the other 10.6 million of them?
Nobody can be fool enough to assume that we are going to round up and either imprison or expel over 10 million people who currently contribute to the US economy and make life much easier and more profitable for the wealthy in our country. Nobody who knows anything about the Republican party can actually believe that. Some of us can pretend it, but none of us actually believe it.
It is within reason to believe that we would be stupid enough to build a fence between the US and Mexico and then hire security firms to guard that fence. I'm sure the President and especially the Vice President have friends who would be glad to contract out those services at a considerable profit. So that option makes sense. And using that same logic it also makes sense to have privately run prisons offering the services of captured illegals to serve as low-cost laborers - slaves, in other words. That makes sense for some time down the road when we have assimilated ourselves to that sort of thing.
But the reality of today's immigration "problem" lies outside of all these concerns.
If the US really wanted to stop the flow of illegal immigrants into the US and encourage most of those who are here to go someplace else - which is what we claim that we do want - then it would be very easy to accomplish that objective. All we would need to do is send to prison anyone who employs an illegal immigrant. That same radio commentator I mentioned above said that in 2004, only four employers were actually fined for hiring illegals.
I read somewhere that there are 50,000 social security numbers which are all zeros. All zeros! I mean, 000-00-0000. Fifty thousand of them. And for some reason it hasn't dawned on the IRS to do something about that.
If the IRS and the US immigration service and the Department of Homeland Security can't deal with even just two duplicate Social Security numbers, let alone 50,000 obviously bogus ones, then one has to assume that someone with clout in government doesn't want the problem solved. But who with any clout in government doesn't want the problem solved?
Wealthy Republicans, of course.
Nobody is actually coming out and explaining it to the general public, but here's how I think it works...
There can be no doubt at all, no doubt whatsoever, that wealthy Republicans want low-cost labor. Whether they find it within the borders of the US or they have to go offshore to get it, they want it. It's a Republican objective.
There can also be no doubt whatsoever that wealthy Republicans want to minimize social spending. If you haven't discovered that by now you've been sleeping for the past six or eight decades.
Both of those objectives lead to more wealth with less overhead expenses for the wealthy who flock to the Republican Party because that is the party in the United States which is delivering what these people want, legislation encouraging lower wages and lower social costs. Republican legislation opposing those two goals is seen by these wealthy financiers as traitorous.
The current immigration situation works quite well when it comes to meeting those two objectives. If there is a problem, it is that liberals are having some success providing social services for these low-income workers and their families. But other than that, things are going quite well. There are 11 million people working for low wages, even below minimum wage in some cases, putting pressure on American workers to work for lower wages.
But in the eyes of these employers, something needs to be done to end the success of liberals to organize illegal workers and provide social services for them. It's not that we want the illegals to all go home. Far from it. What our Republicans leaders really want is a system where people who come to the United States illegally and work for low wages are afraid to use social services.
With that image in mind, now you are ready to understand immigration reform. Immigration reform is intended and designed to appease the American voter while increasing the fear factor felt by illegal immigrants, yet not discouraging large numbers of them from working for us at low wages.
That's politics.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Foreknowledge

We all should be familiar by now with the Bush administration's claim after 9/11 that we had no way of knowing that terrorists would use airplanes to attack us. That came from a multitude of high Bush administration officials.
I came across something today that is surprising. Reading in a conservative blog calling itself PatriotPostBlog.US, I found this tidbit referring to the 1993 World Trade Center bomber Ramzi Ahmed Yousef:
In 1995, after Ramzi's capture, he was being flown to New York for prosecution. As the transport helicopter passed the WTC towers, an FBI agent removed Ramzi's mask so he could see that the towers were still standing. Ramzi commented gravely, "We are not done yet." Indeed, Ramzi's computer, seized in the Philippines before his arrest in Pakistan, detailed a plan to hijack commercial aircraft and use them as flying bombs against U.S. targets—which his cadre succeeded in doing on 9/11.
Unfortunately this patriot blogger didn't give any reference for this information. It would be interesting to know more about what became of this knowledge and why the Bush administration was unaware of it even after the 9/11 attack.

Torn

I'm torn by two aspects of this story about an unfortunate Islamic couple's divorce in India. On the one hand I realize that it is a real shame to have authoritarian leaders dictating personal matters to the point where they don't even care what is moral, only what seems to them to meet religious law. But on the other hand I envy anyone living in a society where it is this easy to get a divorce satisfactory to the religious authorities! It's a little more complicated in Christian circles. It's no wonder it's against the law to convert from Islam to Christianity!

Monday, March 27, 2006

Zionist Blowback

There's getting to be some blowback on that paper that came from the academic dean of Harvard's Kennedy School of Government Steven Walt and University of Chicago political science professor John L. Mearsheimer. It seems that David Duke liked the paper and is now serving as the red herring for the Israeli interests criticized in it.
However, another Harvard professor, Alan Dershowitz, is offering sharp criticism of the paper. The New York Sun is covering the story. Dershowitz makes some claims in this article that I find a bit difficult to swallow, but that is no doubt reflective of my lack of understanding of the Middle East. One claim, for instance, appears here:

Those mistakes for Mr. Dershowitz include, for example, the assertion that "There is no question, for example, that many Al Qaeda leaders, including bin Laden, are motivated by Israel's presence in Jerusalem and the plight of the Palestinians," which Mr. Dershowitz says "is just absurd."

If Dershowitz is correct, then this view presented by the paper that al Qaeda is motivated by Israel's presence and policies is a common misconception not based on fact. But is it a misconception? Is it true that Israel's presence and policies in the Middle East is not a prime motivator for al Qaeda?
I am particularly confused by the next paragraph in the Sun article:

Mr. Dershowitz was particularly troubled by the claim in the paper that Israeli "citizenship is based on the principle of blood kinship." He pointed out that the authors had conflated Israel's law of return with its criteria for citizenship. "That's right from the neo Nazi Web sites. Anybody can be a citizen of Israel. He confuses the law of return for the criteria for citizenship. He never mentions that a Jew cannot be a citizen in Jordan and Saudi Arabia," Mr. Dershowitz said.

Aside from the obvious red herring concerning Jordan and Saudi Arabia, what is this hair that is being split between Israel's "law of return" and its "criteria for citizenship." Is this another common misconception about Israel? Does Israel not discriminate in favor of Jews in its citizenship laws? Or am I simply misunderstanding Dershowitz?
Among other things, Dershowitz calls the authors of the paper "two bigots" and compares the paper to the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.
But here's a good quote from the Sun article. Quoting Martin Peretz who is referring to the paper in question:

"This goes from the lobby in capital letters, from Jerry Falwell to every left wing Jewish Democrat in the House. It is the imagining of a wall to wall conspiracy and therefore it's nutsy."

So the problem with the paper is that it proposes a conspiracy theory. That claim should defuse the paper. The authors are nuts.
The Sun article concludes with this paragraph:

A former executive director of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, Morris Amitay, who is quoted in the Kennedy School paper, minimized the document's significance. "I would be worried if Henry Kissinger was saying this. But who are these guys?" Mr. Amitay said. "As far as I'm concerned this is a tribute to the Jewish community. We couldn't do anything about Auschwitz, but look, we now control foreign policy for a region of the world so vital to American interests."

Say what? Isn't that exactly the point the Mearsheimer/Walt paper was trying to make?

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Watching Grasshoppers

This morning I came to the conclusion that reading history is a lot more stressful than other kinds of reading. Reading history is a bit like watching grasshoppers. Now for most people, that would seem like a stress-free activity - lying out in the grass in the sun watching grasshoppers jump around. But just imagine that you were in a field where a few dozen grasshoppers were jumping around, each jump initiating and terminating in a state of almost total stillness for the grasshopper, and the task for you was to remember each position each grasshopper had been in before each leap. After all, if you didn't remember each position, it wouldn't be history. That's the sense I get reading a history book. And to top it off, there's always one more grasshopper jumping into the scene, usually from a hidden perch much closer than you would have imagined.
For instance, I'm reading a book called America and the Founding of Israel: An Investigation of the Morality of America's Role, written by John W. Mulhall, Deshon Press, 1995. Mulhall is a Catholic priest. In Section III of Chapter 4, he discusses President Wilson's approval of the Balfour Declaration, adopted October 31, 1917, which stated British intent to "view with favor the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people." This statement was a shift of British policy toward Zionism after the 1916 change in Britain's leadership. Wilson, at first reluctant to agree because of conflicts between the Zionist aims and America's relationship with Ottoman Turkey, nevertheless gave in to pressure from the Zionists. According to the author, British Zionist chemist and bomb maker Chaim Weizmann contacted Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis, "the preeminent Zionist leader in America," (p. 64) and other American Zionist leaders who were able to reverse President Wilson's position about this Balfour Declaration.
Now if that's not like watching a field of grasshoppers, I certainly don't know what is.

Sunday Reading

Here's an interesting read on a bright Sunday morning in spring. I can just picture the righteousness of these people, can't you? This kinda proves the old adage that you can justify just about anything in the name of God. I don't sense that these people had any idea that they might be doing something wrong. Nor did Tom DeLay. After all, they were praying about it and the payoff was God's blessing, wasn't it?

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Swarms of US

The Gruesome Reality of Operation Swarmer
An example of how the media isn't covering the "good news" in Iraq? I don't find any confirmation of this story and this is my first visit to this website. But this sounds like other Iraq stories that have been coming to the public's attention recently.

Out to Get Them

You know, whenever Republicans screw up and get caught, the conservative take on it is always that the "liberals" were out to get them. I mean wasn't that Gannon's gripe? And when Cheney shot his hunting buddy and then found a creative way to reveal it to the public, wasn't that the claim? And don't they claim that Joe Wilson was out to get the White House? And all the critics of the war, aren't they just using the war to score politically against the Republicans? Today there's the Barbara Bush mess.
So we have all these Republican blunders, and many many more, but the blundering Republicans are never the real problem. Nor are their blunders. The main problem is the "liberal" media who criticize untouchable conservatives.
What really needs to be done is for these liberals to just shut up. Let the conservatives expose themselves. And when they do, then sweep the whole dark mess under the rug.
Use the prison torture issue as the example for how to deal with Republican blunders. Systematize the blunders but do it underneath the public's radar. Twist the Constitution to shreds. Lie to the voters. Bribe and swindle. Turn American values upside down. Bankrupt the whole country in every way you can. Distort Christianity until it appears to advocate for the destruction of Creation. Oppose science. Ignore truth. Declare war on terrorism and then fight the war with terror as your main weapon. And call anyone responsible for all these blunders "patriots."
That's the Republican way to handle things. Anything the liberals say is just them "out to get us."

Violins

Get out the violins, folks. Yet another Republican has become the victim. It's time once again to cry in our stale beer. What these poor victims of the abusive "liberal media" really need is to form a support group. Maybe they could elect a reformed gay whore as their fearless leader, someone to help bolster their damaged self-esteem.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Unitary Patriot

It seems that the compromises worked out by Congress in order to renew the Patriot Act weren't welcomed by President Bush so he excused himself from the requirements of the law in another of his "signing statements" which basically amount to a line-by-line item veto of any and every law ever written by Congress. After reading the signing statement myself, all I can think of is Bush telling Congress [go fuck yourself].
Senator Pat Leahy of Vermont responded:
''The president's signing statements are not the law, and Congress should not allow them to be the last word[...] The president's constitutional duty is to faithfully execute the laws as written by the Congress, not cherry-pick the laws he decides he wants to follow. It is our duty to ensure, by means of congressional oversight, that he does so."

Apparently the term "faithfully" means something quite different in the White House than it does to the rest of us.
''The signing statement makes clear that the president will faithfully execute the law in a manner that is consistent with the Constitution," said White House spokeswoman Dana Perino.

Or rather with the White House interpretation of the Constitution. Before the Republican Party neutered the nation's courts, it was the responsibility of the courts to determine what was and what was not constitutional. Now that power is in the hands of the "unitary executive branch" and the only power remaining for Congress is the power of impeachment. How long will it be before the Republican Congress gives that power to the White House as well?

Thursday, March 23, 2006

"Urgent"

Dear William ,
The word is out. Their position is clear. Last week, Sen. Russ Feingold floated a reckless plan to censure the President, and some Democrat leaders have ecstatically jumped on Feingold's bandwagon.
And, if they gain even more power in November, they won't stop there.
Feingold says that censure actually represents "moderation" and calls the terrorist surveillance program an impeachable offense. Dick Durbin, the number two Democrat in the Senate, fails to rule out impeachment if Democrats retake Congress. Iowa Democrat Tom Harkin is talking "high crimes and misdemeanors." And 31 House Democrats are calling for a committee to look into impeachment. Their leader? John Conyers, who would become House Judiciary Committee chairman under Democrat control.
The Democrats' plan for 2006? Take the House and Senate, and impeach the President. With our nation at war, is this the kind of Congress you want? If your answer is a resounding "NO", I need you to make an urgent contribution to help us win this fight.
Democrat leaders' talk of censure and impeachment isn't about the law or the President doing anything wrong. It's about the fact that Democrat leaders don't want America to fight the War on Terror with every tool in our arsenal. Your immediate action will send these reckless Democrats a message and help preserve our Republican majorities.
http://www.republicanvictoryteam.com/WinThisFight/
And what happens if we stand on the sidelines, and give the likes of Russ Feingold, John Kerry, and John Conyers control of Congress? Here's what the The Wall Street Journal says: "In fact, our guess is that censure would be the least of it. The real debate in Democratic circles would be whether to pass articles of impeachment. ... [E]veryone should understand that censure and impeachment are important -- and so far the only -- parts of the left's agenda for the next Congress."
http://www.republicanvictoryteam.com/WinThisFight/
The world is watching. Using every tool at our disposal to fight terrorists should not be a partisan issue. Democrats should be focused on winning the War on Terror, not undermining it with political axe-grinding of the ugliest kind.
Sincerely,

Ken MehlmanChairman, Republican National Committee
P.S. Russ Feingold's censure resolution and Democrat talk of impeachment have raised the stakes for 2006. Make your contribution sign the petition , and help make sure this fight is won.
http://www.republicanvictoryteam.com/WinThisFight/

Strong Words

Commenting on an article about the Israel Lobby:
Profs Document Hijacking of U.S. Foreign Policy

Another Day in the Empire concludes an article with this statement:
*******
Once again, Bush reminds us of the tight relationship between Israel’s territorial aspirations and its connection to the military prowess (now in obvious decline) of the United States. “The threat from Iran is, of course, their stated objective to destroy our strong ally Israel. That’s a threat, a serious threat. It’s a threat to world peace,” said our Caesar. “I made it clear, and I’ll make it clear again, that we will use military might to protect our ally Israel.”
In fact, this is the only approach, as long ago sketched out by the Straussian neocons and their Jabotinksyite overlords, and diplomacy is but a shell game introduced to make the neocons appear reasonable, when in fact they are neo-Jacobin radicals. Bush’s neocons, in control of the Pentagon, plan to eventually attack Iran, certainly not this month as initially speculated, but some time down the road, maybe this summer, maybe next year, but eventually, as the Straussian neocons, the anti-American AIPAC, and the reprehensible Israeli Jabotinskyite racists have long planned, even if it results in the ultimate destruction of America.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Future Presidents

From the White House press conference on March 21:

Q Sir, you said earlier today that you believe there's a plan for success; if you did not, you would pull the troops out. And so my question is, one, is there a point at which having the American forces in Iraq becomes more a part of the problem than a part of the solution? Can you say that you will not keep American troops in there if they're caught in the cross-fire in a civil war? And can you say to the American people, assure them that there will come a day when there will be no more American forces in Iraq?
THE PRESIDENT: Bob, the decisions about our troop levels will be made by General Casey and the commanders on the ground. They're the ones who can best judge whether or not the presence of coalition troops create more of a problem than a solution -- than be a part of the solution.
Secondly, I've answered the question on civil war. Our job is to make sure the civil war doesn't happen. But there will be -- but if there is sectarian violence, it's the job of the Iraqi forces, with coalition help, to separate those sectarian forces.
Third part of your question?
Q Will there come a day -- and I'm not asking you when, not asking for a timetable -- will there come a day when there will be no more American forces in Iraq?
THE PRESIDENT: That, of course, is an objective, and that will be decided by future Presidents and future governments of Iraq.
Q So it won't happen on your watch?
THE PRESIDENT: You mean a complete withdrawal? That's a timetable. I can only tell you that I will make decisions on force levels based upon what the commanders on the ground say.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Those Lying Republicans

Permanent Bases in Iraq?
No, says Karen Hughes, ethics trooper for the Bush administration, December 8, 2005.
No plans, says Rumsfeld on his Christmas 2005 visit to Falluja.
Do not intend to have any, says Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt in Washington state, January 27, 2006.
Yes, says Gen. John Abizaidon Tuesday March 14, 2006.
So, in a government where secrecy and deception are primary ingredients to national security, are we to think of these carefully crafted lies as a good thing or as a bad thing? And just what was it that caused a shift in policy here? Perhaps a newfound desire to ignite a fuse in Iran's derriere?

Thursday, March 16, 2006

In My Dreams

You know how you should never believe anything anybody says in a blog? I mean it's OK to dream that maybe someone is writing the truth, but for all you know it could just be a big bunch of hogwash.
Well I am dreaming that this blog might be onto something big.

Comments

One of my favorite blogs is John Avarosis's AMERICAblog. Much of it is gay rights advocacy, but quite a bit of it is good old Bush and religious right bashing. He made a post today suggesting he'd like to compile a list of all the idiotic things Bush has done in the past five years. The post is dated today at 2:22 PM and as of right now, six hours later, there are 899 comments!
Hahahaha!!
Good one, John!

Note from Ken

My good friend Ken (who knows me on a first name basis) sent me an email this week. Here's what Ken had to say:
***
Dear William
This week, liberal Democrat Russ Feingold called on the Senate to censure the President for a program that is successfully stopping terrorists. After months of searching, Democrat leaders are finally beginning to find their agenda: take away the tools America needs to fight terror. In the last 24 hours, fringe groups like MoveOn.org and Democrat leaders from John Kerry to Harry Reid to Dick Durbin have rallied to Feingold's side, praising his grandstanding as a "catalyst" for the investigation of the President.
Weakening our national security is their agenda. Is it yours? Sign the petition to tell the Democrat leaders to stop undermining the War on Terror with cheap political stunts.
We are a nation at war. Our President has no more basic responsibility than to protect the American people and fight terrorists who want to kill us. It's one thing if a lone Senator wants our government to look the other way when an Al Qaeda terrorist contacts a sleeper cell inside the United States. It's entirely another when Democrat minority leader Harry Reid commends Feingold's censure move for "bringing [the terrorist surveillance program] to the attention of the American people."
Democrat leaders never miss an opportunity to put politics before our nation's security. And now, they would rather censure the President for doing his job than actually fight the War on Terror. It's what the MoveOn.org wing of their party wants, and now, it's their agenda - from the top of the ticket on down.
Make your voice heard. Tell Democrat leaders to stop playing politics with national security.
Sincerely,Ken Mehlman,Chairman, Republican National Committee
***
Thank you, Ken, for informing me.
Now if I read you right...
1. Bush needs the power to use warrantless wiretaps and any other devices he deems necessary, legal or otherwise, to secure America against the threat of terrorism. That seems to be your point and it seems to be the Republican agenda.
2. Anybody who thinks otherwise is an enemy to liberty in America.
3. After five (5) full years of the Bush presidency and four and a half years after 9/11, there are still al Qaeda sleeper cells in the United States, "when an Al Qaeda terrorist contacts a sleeper cell inside the United States."
Ken, could you repeat again who it is that is looking out for the security of our liberty because I really am confused about these points you have made.
William

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

DP

While Americans let the Dubai Ports scandal slip out of their memory, the deal went through anyway and there's talk that the promised selloff might just take awhile.
Meanwhile, Republicans, who benefited the most from this scandal by receiving credit for taking a stand against the Bush White House, are beginning to blame the Democrats for the discrimination and uninformed, bias-based legislation.
Pass the Heinz, willya Mabel? Port security? That's just politics.
This is business.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Worst Case

I was just listening to the news on Public Radio and a question came up about the new direction of the Iraq War that I thought was unusually naive. The question went something like this:
If the worst case does occur in Iraq, are the Iraqi forces strong enough now to handle it?
In other words, if civil war broke out in Iraq, would American troops wind up fighting it or have we trained the Iraqi police and army forces well enough for them to defeat a civil war?
Apparently, Rumsfeld feels that Iraq's security forces would handle it with a little help from their friends.
Someone correct me here if I'm wrong, but that seems to me like a really stupid question and here's why I say that. To me, the "worst case" in Iraq is when the forces we have trained join sides with sectarian forces and fight against each other, abandon whatever it is that the US is supposedly trying to accomplish and go on a rampage against each other in order to gain political strength through warfare.
Why is that not the "worst case" scenario in Iraq? Okay, yes I realize that the worst case really is if that happens and neighboring countries are drawn into the fight but that's not what we're discussing today. Today we are discussing civil war in Iraq, not an overall Middle East War. We'll save that discussion for later.
But if civil war in Iraq were to happen, how naive can a person be to imagine that the forces we have trained would ally themselves with us and not with their own people? Do we think our money is that important to these people that they would commit suicide just to defend "our" cause? How naive are we, anyway?

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Perfectly Clear

Just in case you had any questions about whether you will go to Heaven or Hell after your life ends, here's your answer.
Jabotinsky Award? I've been coming across the word Jabotinsky recently. I'll have to research it.

Two Kinds of Soldier

There's this kind...
And then there's this kind.
Where do you fit in?

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Real Conservatives

I've been saying for awhile that real Republicans should give Bush his walking papers. Most of the Republicans I know, though, are reactionary and their support for Bush is based on single issues like Bush's apparent religious views on abortion. Republicans who support Bush tend to have allowed Bush to convince them that things like preemptive war, torture, warrantless domestic spying, deficit spending, ad homonym debate as a White House policy, capitalist crony politics (political lobbyist graft) and dozens of other disgusting new policies are perfectly normal things for America to be doing. It's not like these Republicans supported these things in the year 2000. They supported the religious views on abortion in 2000 or they supported tax cuts for the wealthy. All the rest of this has come into their realm of acceptable behavior since 2000.
But at least there are a few conservatives out there not blinded by the brilliance of Karl Rove. Dana Milbank reports...

Friday, March 10, 2006

Whores

Forget 9/11. That's reactionary. We need to concern ourselves with free trade but here the Democrats are being Islamophobic. Sure the Republicans are the ones being credited with standing up to Bush and shooting down the deal with Dubai Ports, but now that they have their victory it's time to point the finger at the Democrats for being so against investment and trade. The Republicans are just in this for politics, but the dumb Democrats think there's some real danger involved here. Bush and all of his pundits are slowly bringing the flock back around to the notion that the real concern is trade. Bush has security all wrapped up. Security is not anything to worry about. It's time to get back to Democrat bashing. The Republicans in Congress have their victory.
It really does baffle me how this can be anything but pre-9/11 thinking. The only thing we're saving post-9/11 thinking for now is the lead-up to the Iran War, the next preemptive American war if we can't incite Iran to attack us first or else we do something to fake an attack. One way or another we'll get that war going and then depend on the post-9/11 mentality of Americans to fuel it.
My son had Rush playing on the radio a little while ago and he was ranting about how Islamophobic America has become. He's already starting the movement to blame it on the Democrats. He's suggesting that Haliburton should take over the ports instead of the UAE if we become so protectionist that we won't allow foreign ownership of the companies we depend on for our safety. Even Rush is pre-9/11 now.
I turned on the TV this morning when I woke up just to check on the weather but wound up listening to an interview on CBS about this Dubai topic. They stressed how the Republicans in Congress had stood up against the Bush administration, not how Democrats had but how Republicans had. While posting a baby-faced photo of Karl Rove full-screen they discussed how Bush should but won't (chuckle) change some top White House officials.
It sure looks to me like a cleverly planned political strategy that worked perfectly despite all the complaints against the Bush White House. The mainstream media has played this whole story right into the hands of the Republicans. Why? Because they're just a bunch of White House whores? Hey, just venturing a guess here. No offense, guys.
Here's what I think happened.
I think virtually every Republican on the planet realizes that if the Republican Party loses control of Congress in this year's election, the Democrats will impeach Bush, Cheney, and the whole bunch in the White House. The only possible thing that can save them from that is if Republicans maintain control of Congress. There's no question that this Dubai deal has helped Congressional Republicans from a political standpoint, from the standpoint of public support for congressional Republicans. This whole affair turned the Abramof-stained Republicans in Congress into folk heroes. Although it seems like the Bush White House lost, they actually stand to win from this. This deal has significantly improved Bush's chances of reaching 2009 without being impeached! If that's not a Bush/Rove/Cheney victory, it's hard to imagine what would be.
It's all about political strategy. It makes no sense at all if you look at this deal from any other viewpoint, but from this viewpoint it makes complete sense. Did Rove plan it? The media is trying to make out that Rove knew nothing at all about it. While that's extremely unlikely, I think it's unlikely that Rove has the clout in the business world to pull off something this big. But you know, if this was planned, it was planned with the full knowledge and consent of Bush and Cheney and Rove.
If you don't believe that, then you're left to think that Bush and Cheney and Rove bungled it again. Yeah, right. Roll me another one, Karl.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Dire Threat

It was reported yesterday and is being reported today that Iran threatened the United States. I was out on the road but heard about it on the radio. The article on the front page (below the fold) of today's Bangor Daily News is titled Iran issues threats against U.S.: Security Council on alert for nuclear activity.
From the CNN post that I referenced above, here is the "threat":
"The United States may have the power to cause harm and pain but it is also susceptible to harm and pain," Vaeedi said. "So if the United States wishes to choose that path let the ball roll."

According to this article, Javad Vaeedi is "the deputy head for international affairs of Iran's Supreme National Security Council." The CNN page links to a video segment showing Vaeedi making this "threat" as well as hype to persuade the viewer of the seriousness of Iran's nuclear ambitions and the need for UN and/or US intervention.
Now while you make shake in your shoes at those "threatening" words coming from the lips of an Iranian official, for some reason they didn't seem all that "threatening" to me. They certainly were nowhere near as "threatening" as have been the words of Vice President Dick Cheney, recognized for his tendency to pull the trigger now, look later.
Let me explain what I think Iran meant, just in case you haven't picked it up by reading some of my fairly recent posts. There are more than one way to inflict pain on the United States and Iran is in a position to do it through non-violent means.
For instance, it is said that Iran is the world's number 4 oil producer. Right now oil production is rumored to be near its maximum output and that output is just barely meeting the world demand for the consumption of oil. If something should happen to significantly reduce the world production of oil, demand would soon exceed supply and the price of oil would shoot for the stars. If that were to happen any time soon, it could and probably would have a major impact on the world's economy. Harm and pain well describes that scenario. Being the number 4 oil producer, Iran may very well have the power to inflict such harm and pain simply by removing Iranian oil from the world oil market for awhile. Hey, the oil isn't going anywhere, right? What they don't sell this year, they can sell next year or the year after, right? I mean, it IS their oil, isn't it? Well, isn't it?
Or perhaps Iran could become the only major oil supplier to market its own oil not for the world oil currency of US dollars, but instead, for Euros. I've read that should they do that, which is in their plans, and should it catch on with a few other big oil producers, it's possible that the dollar may lose its place as the world's exchange currency. That could give the currency traders and US bond holders like China some major jitters. Should a panic ensue, the value of the US dollar on the world currency markets could tumble. That might be a way to cause harm and pain on the US without necessarily affecting the rest of the world.
The point is that Iran has ways to harm and hurt the US economy that have nothing to do with their developing and somehow dropping "the bomb" on us. Our reaction is that we can't allow Iran to play with the king and queen on the Globalization chessboard. Iran is one of the pawns and we're going to take them out before they reach the other end of the board. So it is us, the United States, who is the aggressor here. Iran's merely playing the global economy game and it is that, not Iran's nuclear ambitions, that has us shaking in our shoes.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Execution

Now here's a good one. It seems that William Kristol thinks Bush isn't a competent enough executioner to satisfy the Neo-Conservative needs.
Don't you just love it?

Porn

Why is it that reading conservative blogs is so often so similar to reading porn? Why is it such an affront to decency?
Beautiful Atrocities?
Is this an ad hominem statement?

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Just Imagine

George W. Bush is sure making it easy for the conspiracy theory guys. For quite some time now I've been noticing that if you have some notion of how this new Republican version of government works, this new "K-Street Project" democracy of ours combined with neo-con militarism, then it's pretty easy to come up with conspiracy theories which if ever researched truthfully will pan out to be pure gold.
Today's news offers two cases in point.
One is a March 2 New York Times article that documents data concerning federal government mine safety law enforcement delinquency under Bush's presidency. If you claim that this couldn't have been foreseen, you're as full of it as was George Bush when he claimed the size of Hurricane Katrina and the potential for it to breach New Orleans's levies wasn't foreseen, the topic of the second news article today proving my thesis.
Long before these news stories came out, people willing to think critically realized the possibility and the probability of these things being true, the probability that Bush was lying to cover up Republican responsibility for these disasters. As long as the federal government is able to keep information out of the hands of the public, Republicans feel comfortable hiding their responsibility behind a smokescrean of denials.
Unfortunately these aren't isolated incidents. Must I remind you of Iraq's huge stockpiles of "weapons of mass murder" and Saddam's links to al-Qaeda? Need I remind you of Abu Graib, whose cover-up sent soldiers, not their commanders, to prison to satisfy the American public? What about the secret torture prisons, warantless spying on American citizens, extraordinary rendition of innocent people to foreign torture prisons, foreknowledge of 9/11? What about election fraud, the Diebold thing, the Tom DeLay thing, Jack Abramof and the sale of Republican influence to corporations, port security and the Dubai thing? The list goes on and on and on. In every case you have truth hidden by the administration and a smokescrean of lies to mask Republican responsibility.
It seems that all a conspiracy theorist has to do these days is imagine the possible and then go look for it and they will find dedicated Republicans doing it. One of my favorite bloggers today said something I've been saying for awhile. If you voted Republican, you voted for all this stuff. When those Abu Graib pictures came out, you voted for it. When the Twin Towers fell, you voted for it. When you watched the families of those miners crying on your televisions, you voted for it. When you saw pictures of dead bodies floating around in New Orleans and then decaying as the flood waters receded, you voted for it. You own it. It's because of you that these things are happening. It's because of you that the entire Middle East is now sinking into what could easily become a never-ending war. You own it. You voted for it.
Just imagine...